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Shooting Ducks on the Midway September 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
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41 comments

Broccoli-Mocking-Stewie

Ego (the false self, the illusionist, the imposter, the story-teller) will do anything to keep us off balance.

Ego knows that, as long as we’re struggling against the roiling waves and brush fires it creates, we will be too busy to toss him overboard (or fight fire with fire).

Ego wants to live long enough to create conflict another day.

Once we “wake up” and see that we are not the thoughts we think, the stormy seas left in Ego’s wake dissipate.

Donald-Duck-LazyI am not the thoughts I think.
My thoughts are not “me.”

I am the silent observer of thoughts that arise.
The detached witness.

I can identify with the thoughts Ego tosses at me.
Or allow them to drift away.

When we practice mindfulness, we no longer believe all the thoughts we think.

Instead, our authentic self  (the still silent observer) watches the ticker-tape parade of thoughts that pop up in rapid-fire succession (like those revolving ducks at the shooting gallery on the midway).

Donald-DirectorAs we watch, our awareness of our internal landscape improves, as does our aim.  We get better at shooting toxic thoughts down as soon as they pop up.

Instead of being thrown off balance by non-productive thoughts, we watch Ego’s ineffectual attempts to “stir the pot” with detached amusement.

We see that Ego is just a big fat QUACK!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Like A Box of Chocolates September 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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48 comments

IMGP1105bThe titles of blog posts can be misleading.

Titillating titles and teasers may grab our attention without holding it.

Great curb appeal may mask an empty shell:

Inside the vestibule, we encounter a veritable dumping ground of mish mash and pish posh with little rhyme or reason, almost as if the author tossed a bunch of unrelated thoughts into the air and allowed the hodge podge and hoi polloi to descend and settle willy nilly into disordered and discordant chaos and disarray.

Like so much falderal and fiddle dee dee.

If a post leaves me befuddled (because “the point” of the post is M.I.A.), I leave the pointless post, post haste.

Of course, the opposite also occurs.

On occasion, we stumble across a blog title so dumpy or frumpy that we lower our expectations before stepping across the threshold.

Why step inside at all?

Curiosity, perhaps.  Or maybe the slim reed of hope that the dowdy exterior, like an oyster shell, houses a pearl of wisdom.

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Sometimes, despite the gloomy interior heralded on the marquee, intrepid visitors are rewarded.

Instead of finding a warren of empty rooms, we encounter a brilliant flash of light as a veritable palace of jewels and gems opens before us.

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What a delight when valuable insight awaits those who venture past a dingy signpost outside.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~ Forest Gump

Spirit Prevails September 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Poetry, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
45 comments

Ego hangs on tight
Preferring known to unknown
How boring is that?

Resist hanging on
Attachments become anchors
Let billow your sails

Relinquish your fears
Live amid uncertainty
Discover what’s next

Embrace all with joy
Relinquish with joy also
Learn to flow through life

The still silent voice
Guides you without faltering
Get out of its way

* * * * *

Artwork by Maitte Van Arsdel ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Related posts:  The Inner Path to Peace * The Answers Lie Within * It’s Time To Wake Up * Backwards LivingA Not-So-Quick Quiz: Who Are You? * The Awakening by Sonny CarrollAccess Your Inner Wisdom * Meditation 101

Festivals of India September 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Music & Dance.
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39 comments

On Saturday, we enjoyed Indian Dancing, Music, Costumes and Food in air-conditioned comfort at India Fest 2014.

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The theme of the festival focused on eight major festivals in India:

Uttarayan ~ kite flying and rooftop picnics to celebrate winter’s end
Baisakhi ~ celebrated in different ways by Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists
Pongal ~ celebrants greet milk boiling over with shouts of “Pongalo Pongal”
Holi ~ marking the first full moon in Spring with clouds of colored powder
Ganesh Chaturthi ~ celebrating the birth day of Lord Ganesha
Onam ~ festival of rain, flowers, and rice harvest
Navratri ~ celebrated over nine nights around harvest time in October
Diwali ~ festival of lights illuminating the country with brilliance

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After a brief history of each festival, lithe and limber dancers in elaborate and elegant costumes performed traditional dances to traditional music.

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Each dance ended amid appreciative applause.

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After the dancing and music, all performers returned to the stage for the singing of India’s national anthem.

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A bejeweled Lord Ganesh watched over the festival.

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POLICE watched over Lord Ganesh and his jewels.

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After the music and dancing, attendees wandered the food stalls and the bazaar, stopping to gape at colorful plumage.

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We  sampled Spring Rolls, Samosas, and Bhel Puri (a favorite street food in Mumbai featuring puffed rice, peanuts, tomatoes, tamarind sauce, potatoes, mint, cilantro chutney, onions, cumin, chili powder, lemon juice, chaat masala, sel, papdis, etc.).

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Before leaving we stopped for a photo op with that gorgeous peacock we spied earlier ~> his plumage matched my skirt!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Winner . . . Winner . . . Lobster Dinner! September 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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24 comments

As mentioned in Short Short Stories, the winner of the Longboat Key News Short Short Story Contest receives a complimentary dinner at The Lazy Lobster.

Winner . . . Winner . . . Lobster Dinner!

If you would like to vote:

1.  Follow this link ~ You Choose:  Which Story Is Your Favorite?

2.  Scroll through the entries and pick your favorite.

3.  E-mail the TITLE of your favorite story to:  story@lbknews.com

Aah . . . that’s better!

You can stuff a lobster, but NOT the ballot box ~>  only one choice per e-mail will be counted.

If you have a favorite . . . feel free to share its TITLE in the comments below.

 

What’s “Wrong” With This Quote? September 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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46 comments

An excerpt from a book, The Strangest Secret, landed in my in-box today.  In the middle of the excerpt, I happened upon this quote:

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry—his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing… he becomes nothing.

As I read the quote, I found it “wrong” for any number of reasons:

Donald-Ducka1.  There is no universal mandate that our thoughts “must therefore be” anything other than what we choose them to be.

“When we master our thoughts, we master our life.”

“How we relate to the issue IS the issue.”

2.  Some people will flounder in the face of uncertainty.  Others will flourish.

“In uncertainty lies all possibility.”

“Embrace all with joy.  Anything can be a gift of gold in disguise.”

Mickey-Surfer3. Happiness is the goal behind all goals.

If we convince ourselves that reaching a set destination is a pre-requisite to happiness, we are apt to be disappointed since the rewards we envision, if they materialize at all, often feel less like rewards and more like dead ends.

Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road ~ it’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!

4.  We don’t need to know where we’re going as the path unfolds before us.  In tune with Spirit, we remain awake and aware, seeing opportunities as they arise.  We notice the winks, whispers, and nudges intended for our eyes, ears, and hearts.

“The way teaches us the way.”

5.  If we’re enjoying the journey, we win . . . no matter what happens.

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

6.  When we are too intent on reaching a set destination, we may become frustrated, impatient, and discouraged if our goal, like the proverbial grapes, remains “out of reach.”

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

7.  We can NEVER be nothing.

No matter what.

Accessing the authentic self is simple.  Just be.  Follow the breath to your innermost core.  Let all else fade away.

In the silent spaces between thoughts, we find ourselves waiting.

Ego despair and confusion dissipate.  Peace, Joy, and Happiness surface.

We become one with the source.

“I am that I am.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The ABC’s of Happiness September 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Simplify Your Life.
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18 comments

Accept the “what is.”

Be Here Now.

Choose your focus and count your blessings.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Embrace all with joy.

Face your fears and follow your dreams.

Go with the flow.

Hardship is inevitable, misery is optional.

In uncertainty lies all possibility.

Joy is never in things, it is in us.

Kindness and compassion are keys to happiness.

Lift your spirit with laughter.

Miracles abound ~ let them astound.

Nurture yourself ~ you are the garden, love grows within.

Obstacles are opportunities.

Peace is yours for the asking.

Quiet contemplation allows our inner wisdom to surface.

Relinquish all with joy.

Simplify your life . . . sometimes less is more.

To learn, teach.

Unity and love are the heart of creation.

Variety is the spice of life.

We do not laugh because we are happy.  We are happy because we laugh.

Xanadu awaits.

You are here.  The time is now.  That is enough.

Zero risk does not exist ~ reach for the stars.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Telling Tale from the Emerald Isle September 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,
18 comments

220px-OldBeggar1Paddy had long heard the stories of an amazing family tradition.

It seems that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been able to walk on water on their 18th birthday.

On that special day, they’d each walked across the lake to the pub on the far side for their first legal drink.

So when Paddy’s 18th birthday came around, he and his pal Mick took a boat out to the middle of the lake.

Paddy stepped out of the boat and  nearly drowned before Mick managed to pull him to safety.

Disappointed and confused, Paddy went to see his grandmother.

170px-Maes_Old_Woman_Dozing“Granny, ’tis me 18th birthday, at long last.  So why can’t I walk across the lake like me father, his father and his father before him?”

Granny looked into Paddy’s troubled eyes and shook her head.  “Ye father, granddad and great-granddad were all born in December when the lake is frozen.  Ye were born in August, ya daft banana!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

Nothing Knowledge September 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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46 comments

170px-PuckCoverMuch of what we read on the internet and watch on TV is fluff.  

And nonsense.

We think we’re “in the know” if we keep tabs on the lives of the rich and famous on our Smart Phones . . . while monitoring the strokes of the U.S. Open on our iPads . . . while catching breaking news on TV:

Some jury somewhere reached a verdict about someone or something.

Even if none of these things impact our lives in a direct way, we refuse to remain in the dark.

When a celebrity dies, has a wardrobe malfunction, or twerks in someone’s face, tabloids toss out sordid details to boost readership.

Instead of barking out, TMI!!!, we emulate Pavlov’s dogs (or seals training at Sea World) and eat up this “nothing knowledge.”

It’s free!  So why not?

Because there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The vortex created by this nothing knowledge, the black hole of social media manipulation, distracts us from our stated priorities ~ our friends, our families, our health and well-being, our dreams.

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What we put into our mouths is with us only a short while before making an exit through the back door.  What we put into our minds may haunt those hallowed halls forever.

Maybe one day, in the not-so-foreseeable future, we’ll evolve past the point of ingesting anything and everything tossed our way.

Until that day arrives, do your best to steer clear of whine fests, pity parties, and other non-productive time sucks that put your tizzy in a tail spin.

Aah . . . that’s better!

* Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma ~ which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs

* It’s amazing the things we find to do . . . to avoid doing amazing things.

* Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.

Where Happiness Resides September 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , ,
27 comments

Happiness is never in things . . . it is in us.

Or, to paraphrase The Grinch:

Happiness does not come from a store.   Happiness means just a little bit more.

Happiness is a natural state of being which we can access Here and Now.

Let there be more joy and laughter in your living. ~ Eileen Caddy

Happiness arises as soon as we let go of all the monkey chatter running around our brains and smile . . . for any reason, or no reason at all.

Happiness arises as soon as we tell Ego to shut its yapper so that we can enjoy the bliss, stillness, and happiness within.

Happiness is not something that we need to “achieve.”

Happiness surfaces without effort when we return our attention to the present moment.

Happiness resides in the calm stillness that lies beyond all labels.

In the timeless present, you don’t need a reason to be happy . . . you just are.

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right? ~ Charles Schulz

Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road.

It’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!

♥ ♥ ♥

If you’re not already where you want to be . . .

* Swap out one negative thought a day for a more positive thought.

* Don’t expect others to cheer you up.   That’s not their job . . . it’s your job.

* Focus on what’s going right in your life.

* Create space in your life for what matters.

* Look for opportunities to laugh and smile.  Life improves with laughter.

We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh. ~ William James

Sometimes the smallest action pays the largest dividend.  Once we experience happiness “for no reason at all,” we realize how accessible it is.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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