Posted tagged ‘mindfulness’

Enclave

March 30, 2017

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I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties.  That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder.   Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found.  However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward.   A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way.  To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving.  He is still our son and still on our minds. (more…)

The Committee in My Head

September 18, 2016

entertainHave you ever heard someone speak of The Committee in My Head as a way of describing the assortment of thoughts that can seem to appear out of nowhere in your mind, especially in difficult situations?  As you’ve tried to reason your way though such a situation, have you been surprised by the unproductive and sometimes downright nasty  thoughts that turn up?  According to Barry Gordon in an article in Scientific American, We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. And if that isn’t bad enough news for those of us who would like to be clear and rational thinkers, Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner says that vigilantly struggling not to think about something or someone forces part of your brain to be on guard for that thought. Holding it there, even subconsciously, keeps the thought alive, and sometimes it escapes out of the prison it’s being kept in and erupts into your active thoughts. This is mostly likely to happen when you’re under stress, mentally overwhelmed or just plain exhausted.   So, if we can’t control our thoughts … and trying can actually make doing so harder … what is an over-thinker to do? (more…)

Motown Memories

September 2, 2016

yearsI am an introspective sort of old guy.  Being old … seventy-two, to be specific … is an advantage for an introspective man, providing lots of life to introspect (no, it’s not a word … consider it senior literary license).   I am also a lucky man.   As I move inexorably into my seventies, I am, as they say, comfortable in my own skin.   No, I am not quite perfect … defects of character and irrational prejudices still haunt me … but for the most part, I manage not to act on them.   Mistakes?  Yes, Frank Sinatra, I’ve made a few but I’ve tried to learn from each of them and I think I am a better person for the effort.  Pardon me if I pat my own back and say I have an examined life, which, according to Socrates, makes life worth living.   These days, I find myself looking back over the years not in judgement but in curiosity, trying to understand what made me turn out as I am.  So let me ask you this.  Have you ever asked yourself, What was was the most significant year in determining who you are? (more…)

Good. Bad. Indifferent.

July 10, 2016

park sunset1I will tell you that this post could be a ramble.  It addresses a topic that’s been rattling around in my head for months and unless I write it out, it won’t stop.  It might not anyway.  I am fortunate to be part of several men’s meeting where guys talk about life and how they live it in a much more intimate way than I have ever known before.  Sometimes, I get to see our similarities, how we all do our best to deal what life deals us and how we can learn from each other’s struggles.   Other times, I get to see differences in the way we view the world … and the way we deal with it.  In those instances, it would be nice if I could just say to myself, This is what I do … that’s what they do.  But sometimes, their way looks easier if I could only mange to follow suit and I need to articulate my beliefs … to myself. (more…)

Happy Now

March 22, 2016

snowI am sitting at the kitchen table in my daughter’s house in Herriman, UT.   Through the window in front of me, I can see an early spring snow flurry lightly coating the back lawn with white.  My daughter just got home from work, stylish and beautiful (much more so that she believes, but isn’t that true of many of us?).   I’ve been sitting here, writing and emailing friends for a couple of hours.  I am at peace.  I am happy.  It is all too rarely that I stop to acknowledge that kind of happiness, simply being in a place I want to be, doing what I enjoy doing.  Too often, I want the Capital H Happy.   You know.   Everything is going well, the future looks bright and, by the way, any unhappiness from the past is resolved, forgiven or forgotten. (more…)

Head. Feet. Together.

February 21, 2016

With visitors coming this week, this SatHome depoturday was a chore day.   I had a long list of things to do around the house and of errands I needed to run in order to be able to do those things around the house.  Chances are about 98% that on a chore day, a trip to our local Home Depot will be required.  Today, I needed flowers … assorted viola and some sweet alyssum … toviolet brighten up my flower pots in the yard.  I also picked up some kitchen cabinet polish.  The plan was to finish at Home Depot, take some boxes to our storage bin, then stop at Target to pick up some cat food before heading home to start on my chores.  Everything was on schedule until I loaded the plants into the trunk in the Home Depot lot and closed the lid.  Have you ever had one of those moments where your hand is in the process of closing the door and a voice in your head shouts KEYS!!! … but it’s too late to stop?  You hopefully look in your pocket but you know where they are.  In the trunk with the plants.  And the car doors are locked.  Shit. (more…)

Serendipity Plus Patience

January 26, 2016

cameraI have always found photography an interesting and frustrating artistic medium.  After all, if I were to stop people at random, in, say, the Brea Mall, how many do you think would say, Oh, yes, I paint in oils, or Watercolor is my favorite medium.  How many would confess to loving to work in charcoals?   But almost everyone takes photographs, particularly since the advent of capable smartphone cameras.  I know quite a few people who regard themselves as photographers whose photographs, while beautiful, seem to be nothing more than snapshots taken in very beautiful places.   To me, a photo becomes art when it illuminates some familiar place or thing in a way I’d have never seen through my own eyes.  That can be a matter of composition, or lighting or even a particular moment in time that makes me say, Wow!  How did the photographer ever catch that?  Sometimes it takes serendipity, just being at the right place at the right time.  With camera in hand, of course.  But look at Thomas Mangelson’s signature photo, Catch of the Day.  Does that look like serendipity?  Yes, right place, right time plus endless patience.

catch (more…)