jump to navigation

The Mad Hatter April 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Nature, People, Poetry.
Tags: , , , ,
20 comments
220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

Wikipedia ~ Alice in Wonderland (in Public Domain)

Trained to restrain
Our joys and triumphs
We share instead
Our sorrow and pain

Wings clipped, lights low
We diffuse our truth
To broadcast tales
Of worry and woe

Who created these social norms and mores we blithely follow?

The Mad Hatter?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Our Deepest Fear

 

At What Price, Conformity? April 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
38 comments

At times, we are tempted to conform to the expectations of others ~ to use an external reference point to guide our actions rather than being guided by our own inner compass, vision, and values.

IMGP3968

But is it worth shaving off the non-conforming parts of ourselves in order to fit our square pegs into round holes?

Which is more important:  gaining approval from others or being true to our selves?

At what price, conformity?

220px-Pinocchio

Wikipedia ~ Pinocchio (in Public Domain)

If I pretend to be someone I’m not and people like me . . . I’ve gained nothing, because they’ve fallen in love with a “mask.”

And if they don’t like the “pretend me,” I’m left wondering if the real me would have fared better.

I’d rather be disliked for who I am than loved for who I am not.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be nobody but yourself ~ in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ~ means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~ e.e.cummings

Happiness as a Hymn March 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , ,
37 comments

Yesterday, I read an undated Philosophy paper my mother wrote years ago ~ probably in college but possibly later in life.

After addressing a number of different theories (Existentialism, Rationalism, Determinism, Intuition), she concluded with the following:

What are we trying to achieve?

Here, I believe with Plato and Aristotle that the highest good is the full development of our individual potentialities ~ and this is happiness, complete in itself, the intrinsic good.

The individual will know happiness as a state of being, not as a momentary pleasure, and it will be the hymn of his life to uplift him and to sing on into the lives of all who know him.

On these points, she agrees, also, with the Dalai Lama . . . we are here to be happy and to make others happy.

camping1a

Let that be the Coda to each of our lives.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” ~ Aristotle

Related posts:  Coaxing the Statue from the Stone * International Day of Happiness (Huffington Post) * International Happiness Day (T4D)

Shades of Misanthropy March 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature, Poetry.
Tags: , , ,
22 comments

Sample_Picture08Perhaps my philosophy
Includes shades of misanthropy

A cynicism born of man’s endless fascination
With devastation and decimation

All in the name of progress

Each step forward erodes the foundation
Of natural creation

What is a cathedral or skyscraper, however high
Compared with a mountain peak ‘neath a clouded sky?

What is electric generation and digital manipulation
Compared with starlight, moonbeams, and fireflies?

In auditoriums, applause and accolades
Distributed to the chosen few
Like manna to man
Erode our view
Of what makes life worth living

Outside the skies ebb and flow
from night to day

While we remain asleep at the switch

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Post: The People who Make A Difference (Good Time Stories) * Red Mountain (Janna T. Writes)

“The reason men are so anxious to see themselves, instead of being content to be themselves, is that they do not really believe in their own existence.” ~ Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life

OMPM: Television & Blogging March 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
42 comments

Brian-with-coffee-and-newspaperIt’s been a long time since I wrote an OMPM: One Mistake People Make post.

Two posts I read yesterday spurred me to write this one.

(1) Maggie’s post ~ Land of the Free, Home of the Ignorant?

Maggie’s review of Susan Jacoby’s book, The Age of American Unreason, included Jacoby’s unreasoned opinion on blogging:

Blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing…”

Jacoby might be right . . . about some of the blogs some of the time.

Streetlight

But that doesn’t mean that we should make Jacoby’s mistake and lump all blogs together before dumping them into a single “waste” basket.

When blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing,” the solution is simple:

Stop following those blogs.

(2) Eric’s post ~ Wasting, Existing, or Thriving

Eric’s post has much to commend it, but his admonition about television lumps a panoply of education and entertainment into a very small “waste” basket:

4.  And this one might get me in trouble… Turn off the TV. How many hours do you waste (see, we’ve come full circle to waste) in front of that screen? Lessen your attraction (addiction?) to it and find other things to do, things that will stretch or challenge you. Consider actions that will nourish your thriving.

Snoopy5

Whether watching TV is a “waste of time” depends on the viewer.  Engaging in any activity in a mindless way can be a waste of time ~ whether that’s blogging, listening to a podcast, watching TV, or reading a book.  

It’s NOT the activity but the attention we bring to it that matters.

Snoopy5Television brings nature, history, science, discovery, travel, cooking, drama, medicine, space exploration, and comedy directly into our living rooms.  

Most of us could never hope to experience all of that on our own even if Oprah agreed to finance our endeavors and we didn’t mind increasing our carbon footprint.

Snoopy5Watching thought-provoking shows (and reading inspiring blogs) allows us to expand our minds and experience life through the eyes of others.

Of course, there’s also a lot of “empty fodder” out there. It’s up to us to pick and choose where to place our attention.  See #1 on Eric’s List. 

Snoopy5We control the remote and can change channels from mind-numbing to mind-expanding fare.

When we are actively engaged and enjoying ourselves (even if we are “only” chopping wood or carrying water or cooking dinner or watching TV or reading a blog), we are not wasting time ~ we are living in the now.

Snoopy5When we are mindful as we read, write, sing, dance, and observe life (in real time or on TV), we are in a better position to:

* weigh possibilities and make wiser choices
* reclaim the reins and honor our priorities
* enhance what we get out of every experience

By way of example, watching a short clip like this might help us plan a fun, exciting, and educational summer get-a-way for the whole family:

When we remain awake and aware, we find we have not wasted our time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Addendum:  David at Raptitude shared 15 Powerful Side Benefits of Living in the Moment.  On TV viewing, he has this to say:

11. You become less attracted to passive entertainment like TV.

One of the big draws of television is that it’s an effective way of giving you a break from your thoughts at the end of the day. A mindfulness habit gives you frequent breaks from your thoughts throughout the day, and so you no longer need TV as a therapeutic device. You’re already “unwound” by the time you get there. It can still be entertaining, but your standards for what to watch will rise.

Exactly!

Related posts:  75 Waggish Ways to Waste Time * OMPM ~ Overkill *  OMPM ~ Hanging on to Anger * Blogging: A Waggish Waste of Time? * Spring Break?  Travel Blogs Help You Pack Your Bags (WP News)

Reflections on a Still Pond March 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature.
Tags: , , ,
29 comments

alice26thAn arrogant man, who felt that no one could teach him anything, visited a Zen master for tea.  

The Zen master poured the tea until it overflowed the cup, and still he continued to pour.  

The arrogant man cried, “Master, stop!  Why do you keep pouring? The cup is full.”

The master replied, “You too are full of your opinions and judgments about the world.  You must empty yourself of the past, to receive the present.”

* * *

When we let go of automatic responses and live in the here and now, we uncover the joy and happiness within.

Rather than allowing past experiences to dictate our re-actions to new events, we begin to view life with alert curiosity.

Like a water-wheel filling and emptying its buckets as it turns, we empty out who we were to become more fully who we are meant to be.

No man steps into the same river twice ~ for it is not the same river and he is not the same man. ~ Heraclitus

* * *

IMGP2584bLife is a constant flow of comings and goings ~ Every day shapes our lives as running water shapes a stone.

Nothing lasts forever ~ Soft flowing streams erode the hardest boulders.

It does not happen in an instant ~ A bucket is filled drop by drop.  

We cannot force it ~ Pushing the river won’t alter its flow.  Shaking our fist at the sky won’t stop the rain.

That’s OK ~ Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass . . . it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.   ~ Vivian Greene

A still pond provides a clearer reflection.

Aah . . . that’s better!

I Am That I Am March 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
16 comments

IMGP1472aFace the challenge of simple (not easy) discipline.

* The greatest teaching is to live with an open heart. ~ Anonymous

Heed the signs.

* I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand. ~ Zen Proverb

Avoid over explaining and over interpretation.

* We often learn lessons in simple and everyday ways. ~ Pearl S. Buck

Shed your fear and guilt and you will have nothing to dull the brilliance of your spirit.

There is one Light but many lamps. ~ Proverb

Shine on!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Unearthing The Essential March 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
26 comments

Brian-with-coffee-and-newspaperRefraining from snap judgments about people, places, and things makes sense given our limited vantage point. We should keep our eyes and ears open and mindfully observe life with alert curiosity rather than a rush to judgment.

But . . .

As we observe the world around us ~ seeing people, places, and things with alert curiosity ~ we are going to see patterns which enable us to conclude, suppose, or conjecture about what we’ve observed.

Donald-Duck-BaseballBased on our observations and experiences, we may be drawn to some people, places, and things, while being bored or repelled by others.

And . . .

Maybe that is as it should be.

If we are to honor our own life purpose, we have to allow ourselves to be the arbiter of what we are drawn to and what holds little or no interest or appeal. After all, there is not enough time for all of us to do it all. We have to pick and choose those pursuits and interests that work for us.

* The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it’s a different kind of life. ~ Buckminster Fuller

Donald-Duck-DrivingRecognizing that something is “boring” is OK.  BFF loves flipping through car magazines. I find them boring. I would rather watch paint dry.

That’s a clear signal that cars have nothing to do with my life purpose.

* Take charge of your life or someone else will. ~ Herman Millman

The key to sifting through options and possibilities is to do it mindfully and with alert curiosity ~ a conscious effort to sift through what is “extraneous” to us so that we can unearth the “essential.”

Donald-Director* Once in a while it really strikes people that they don’t have to live in the way they have been told to. ~ Alan Keightly

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  It’s Boring (Candid Impressions) * Judging and Kindness (Find Your Middle Ground)

Behind The Clouds February 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
26 comments

Bunnies always make me smile.  As do tiny tots, especially when they laugh.

Sometimes the smallest thing reminds us that the world is ripe for picking:

* a fragrant orange entices our taste buds

* a songbird’s trill resonates at our core

* a blank sheet of paper invites insights

“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.” ~ Charles Dickens

Pulled into the Now by our senses, we remember . . .

The sun is always shining somewhere behind the clouds.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Seven Wonders of the World (Grannymar)

Image:  Wikipedia ~ Peter Rabbit (in Public Domain)

The Fruit of Friendship February 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Balance, People.
Tags: , , , ,
24 comments

Tiggers-R-UsFriendship is a fluid concept, changing as we change.

At its most basic, I would define friendship as a “mutually rewarding relationship” ~ a give and take, fueled by reciprocity and generosity.

Friendships blossom in comfortable silences and shared smiles.

Friends don’t all offer us the same thing.  We may have different friends for different reasons (and seasons):

* Some lighten our load when we’ve had enough.
* Others make us laugh.
* Some offer a shoulder to cry on and bring us soup when we’re sick.
* Others tease us and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.
* Some are trusted confidantes.
* Others share our love of art, music, dance, books.

The occasional few do ALL those things (and more).  These keepers, like Hobbes, become our BFFs ~ Best Friends Forever.

Friendships ripen over time, developing depth of character with age.  They improve our journey, no matter the length of the road.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Thoughts on Friendship (Lisa A. Kramer)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,745 other followers