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Simple Abundance April 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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19 comments

Ego concerns like fear, anger, and guilt get in the way of  our happiness.  We hang on to things for days that we should brush off in minutes.

When life hands you lemons, remember to spit out the seeds!

300px-Paradiso_Canto_31

Recognize the richness of your existence:  

* Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind. ~ Mohammed

* How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward. ~ Spanish Proverb

* What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner. ~ Colette

Aah . . . that’s better!

For a wonderful post on the power of breathing ~ Breathe Well and Be Well (Find Your Middle Ground)

At What Price, Conformity? April 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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

Playing The Blame Game March 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness.
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32 comments

Broccoli-Mocking-StewieIt’s a shame when we insist on playing the blame game, because we proclaim ourselves as “victims.”

Much better to see our part in the process and maintain our autonomy and freedom of choice.

When we control our thoughts, we control our life.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Owning Up (Suzicate) * How to Get Out of Prison (Gems of Delight)

OMPM: Television & Blogging March 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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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)

3 Easy Ways to Better Days March 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
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34 comments

Tigger-Bouncing1.  The easiest way to have a better day . . . mindful moments.

Press the PAUSE button and check in with your surroundings ~ what do you see, smell, hear, feel, taste, touch, and sense?

Claim the Moment.  Notice what’s happening.

Put your To Do list aside for a moment and Be Here Now:

* If you’re eating, taste your food.
* If you’re listening to music or nature, hear the notes.
* If you’re peeling an orange or spy a rose, smell the fragrance.
* If you’re walking, notice the miracle of movement.

Tigger-PogoOur best days are filled with mindful moments when we’re not pulled into the past, pushed into the future, or lost in thought.

We start to “notice the good” and stop taking it for granted.

We’re inspired to make more of the moments of the days of the weeks of the years of our life.

2.  Allow your Inner Tigger to surface, pull up a chair, and stay awhile.  

Tigger-Looking-At-His-TailOh, who am I kidding?

Tiggers are way too busy bouncing and giggling to pull up a chair.

You’ll have to pull it up for him.

But remember, you can lead a Tigger to a seat, but you cannot make him sit.

3.  Create space for what matters.  Have a family game night.  Award prizes.  Go for a picnic in the park or a walk on the beach.  Play on the playground or toss a Frisbee around.  Organize a theme night for dinner ~ exotic costumes optional.  Have a talent show.  Tell jokes.  Laugh.  Have fun!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Think back to the best days in your life.  What made them so special?

Related posts:  Moment by Moment (Mindful Balance) * How to Stop your Mind from Talking all the Time (Raptitude)

Reflections on a Still Pond March 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature.
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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!

Laughter Lights The Way March 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
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22 comments

IMGP1786bWhenever possible, be funny:

Wine improves with age.  
Age improves with wine.  
Life improves with laughter.

If you can’t be funny, be fresh:

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

If you can’t be fresh, be relevant:

Through training our minds, with constant effort, we can change our mental perceptions and attitudes.  This can make a real difference in our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama

If you can’t be relevant . . . it’s never too late to shut up.

Aah . . . that’s better!

I Am That I Am March 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
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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!

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