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I Want To DO Less . . . And BE More February 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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57 comments

IMGP1800bOne of the best tricks I’ve found to discern whether I’m on the right path for me is to envision this as the last year of my life ~ to question whether I would regret spending the next 12 months engaged in similar endeavors.

At this point, I’m happy with the flow of my days and nights, but in earlier years this simple exercise inspired big changes:

In 1997, it led to my decision to leave the practice of law, take a sabbatical, and re-enter the work force as the director of a Crisis Intervention Team, assisting victims of domestic violence to evaluate options.

In 1999, it encouraged us to shed possessions, down-size, and move out of New Jersey to a home on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay ~ still close enough to visit family while being far enough away to live our own quiet lives.

In 2008, it freed us to leave winters behind for good and move to Florida.

IMGP2615c

Aah . . . that’s better!

What would you do if your “final curtain call” lay around the next bend?

What If No One Is Watching? February 11, 2015

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

alice26thEgo likes accolades and acknowledgement for accomplishments, big and small.

For Ego, it’s not enough To Do or To Be for the Do-ness or Be-ness of it all.  Ego is convinced it doesn’t count if no one is watching.

Ego is in a perpetual state of “Look At Me!”

Hence the rise of Selfie Sticks.

It’s not the journey of writing, painting, singing, dancing, creating, or exploring that matters to Ego, it’s the applause of the audience, the roar of the crowd, the recognition from others that we matter.

A legacy left behind.

If I slam a door, and no one hears, should I slam it louder?

Hmm . . . that depends.  
Am I slamming it for me . . . or for them?

Remember George Costanza and the Tip Jar?  He didn’t toss a tip into the jar because he wanted the self-acknowledgment of having done so.  He wanted “them” to see him toss the tip into the jar.  He wanted recognition from others for his actions.  He wasn’t giving to give, he was giving to get.

When he realized “they” weren’t watching, he reached in to reclaim the tip for a “do over” and lost what he was trying to gain . . . his paisano’s approval.

Donald-Duck-BaseballWhat would you do if no one was watching?

Would you spend decades building the cathedral, the bridge, or the concert center if you retained your anonymity?

Living in the shadows in a state of obscurity?

With no one applauding your efforts?

You know you’ve found your bliss and are headed the right way when your spirit is soaring and work feels like play.

Even when no one is watching.

Aah . . . that’s better!

After enlightenment, the laundry. ~ Zen Proverb

7 Pearls of Dubious Pedigree January 27, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People, Word Play.
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48 comments

Every so often, I toss flotsam, jetsam, and/or detritus overboard in order to keep synapses firing at optimal efficiency.

Here for your consideration are 7 Pearls of Dubious Pedigree:

Ringling Museum 018c1.  Judgment is discernment.

Judgment gives us the ability to weigh options and choose between competing priorities.  We would be lost without it.

Fundraisers unite
with one common goal ~ to take
your money and run

Even if you give ALL opposing ideas, thoughts, and opinions the benefit of the doubt, that doesn’t mean they possess any inherent validity.

Some ideas are ignorant, idiotic, and/or just plain evil.

Not convinced?  Keep reading . . .

2. Rejecting Social Acceptability.

Next time you’re in a restaurant (or, better still, the bowling alley!), reach over and grab a handful of French fries or a slice of pizza from your neighbors.

See what happens.

Snoopy-and-Schroeder

3.  The Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project.

If parents can’t make equitable distributions between 2-3 offspring, how would society do so for everyone?

“How come Mozart got a GRAND PIANO and I just got a stupid harmonica?”

“Be glad it’s not a rock, Charlie Brown.”

3D-Cow4.  Why are carnivores averse to cannibalism?

Why are cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys gobbled up while horses, dogs, cats, and rodents are shunned by everyone but Andrew Zimmern?

Why are we willing to donate our organs to science . . . but not to someone’s breakfast table?

5.  A “Pay It Forward” Pyramid Scheme.

There’s a Pay It Forward chain letter circulating through cyber space.

When I saw it for the first time, I refrained from leaving a comment on the post because I did NOT want to be selected to win an “unspecified surprise” . . . not if it meant agreeing to add five more people to the chain by offering to send them an unspecified surprise if they would each agree to add five more people to the chain.

Snoopy2

Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  Ad Nauseum.  The whole thing is just too forced and phony.  A pyramid scheme gone awry.

I’m happy to perform “good deeds” and “random acts of kindness” on an ad hoc basis, but I don’t like gifts with strings attached.

And, even if I enjoyed being manipulated via cyber strings, I’m not going to agree to send out 5 surprises in exchange for one surprise I might not even like.

“Be glad it’s not a rock, Charlie Brown.”

When we are mindful, ample opportunities to be kind appear in our In Box every day . . . without the necessity of entering into contrived cyber contracts.

IMGP1368a6. Happiness is ‘eeling.

Laughter each day keeps the doctor away.

He who laughs, lasts. ~ Mary Pettibone Poole

And even if you don’t get better, you’ll feel better.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

Except the doctor.  But ‘eel get over it!

Eek . . . an eel!
Grasping on to my heel!
Whilst wrapped in chain

Oh what a sight
I shudder with fright
But ‘eel steal my pain

All’s well that ends well

The Eel that Time Remembered (Kate Shrewsday)

448px-Alice_05a-1116x14927.  No Fungus, Please.

When I was a kid, I ate a poisonous mushroom in the backyard and had to have my stomach pumped.

It left a bad taste in my mouth.

That’s why I refuse to eat fungus.

If ever I get around to writing a Vegetarian Cookbook, it will NOT include any recipes featuring mushrooms, toadstools, or truffles.

I’ll call it, No Fungus, Please!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  13 Pieces of Potpourri * 13 Unpolished Gems . . . One Stone7 More Unpolished Stones

Friendships Based On Mutual Distrust January 21, 2015

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

IMGP3921“Offering superficial approval, passive agreement, and placating compliments is easy. Being a good friend is hard.”
~ Janna T. Writes

Yup.

When friends ask us to “be honest,” they don’t always mean it. Instead of thanking us for our honest candor, they may lash out or turn their backs on us.

That happened to me once upon a time.

A friend asked me what I thought of the guy she was dating. Everyone else (including her mother) lied to her and said he was wonderful. I told her that he seemed selfish and full of himself.

He dumped her a few months later.

At that point, everyone else (including her mother) admitted that they had NEVER liked him, that he was a complete and utter jerk, that she was better off without him, etc.

IMGP1472aAnd she was OK with their about-face.

Even though she KNEW they had intentionally lied to her, she was OK with their dishonesty.

She was NOT OK with my honesty.

She gave me the cold shoulder for YEARS, later revealing the reason why.

As I pondered her belated explanation, I decided that, if given the chance, I would not retract my words to gain her approval by lying.

Maintaining pseudo-friendships based on mutual distrust and insincere platitudes seems rather pointless.

What do you think?

Be Honest!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Kindly Be Honest

Coasting Downhill January 9, 2015

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

It’s great when we reach the point that we can say with confidence: “Who I am is who I want to be.”

Then we can coast downhill to the finish line.

Mountain-Biking

Aah . . . that’s better!

How To Cripple A Butterfly January 4, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature, People.
Tags: , , ,
46 comments

Mickey-DiverIf we rush to comfort a baby every time he cries, he doesn’t learn to comfort himself.

If we toss a “fish” every time someone’s hungry, they won’t learn to fish for themselves.

When we rush to empathize or sympathize every time someone has a “hang nail,” we are training them to look to OTHERS to meet their needs rather than looking WITHIN for guidance.

We are encouraging them to share every minor annoyance and aggravation in their lives because it “feels good” to get attention from others . . . and we can give ourselves a pat on the back for “being there” for them.

We need not refrain from helping others when they really NEED help, but we may do more harm than good if we rush to help without allowing others the time needed to process things.

ButterflyThe best way to cripple a butterfly is to interfere with its efforts to emerge from the cocoon.

Our struggle to emerge is part of the path.

 Aah . . . that’s better!

Milestones and Markers January 1, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: ,
36 comments

As we learn to silence the mind, our present moment awareness increases.

Instead of being actors on the stage of life, tossed around by daily dramas and stormy seas, we become observers in the audience watching as each moment and scene unfolds.

As detached observers, we interact with others in a more deliberate manner ~ with fewer automatic and habitual knee-jerk reactions to idle chit-chat around the water cooler.

Life seems calmer and slower, more peaceful and less precarious.

Along the path, numerous milestones and markers encourage us to keep moving forward on our journey:

* External turmoil diminishes in significant measure.  Instead of vast tidal waves threatening to capsize us, most daily dramas we encounter barely ripple the peace and tranquility we feel within.

* Instead of blindly bumping into boulders, obstacles become  pebbles, easily tossed to the side of our path.

* Connected with the flow of life, our spirits soar and life feels more joyous and playful.

* We see obstacles and challenges as opportunities for growth, rather than as permanent impediments to our happiness.

* Instead of struggling to solve problems (at the level of ego), we see struggle as the problem.  As we learn to be patient and accept the what is, we allow life to unfold in its own time and in its own way.

* Rather than beating our heads against brick walls and screaming at locked doors, we follow the path of least resistance as we flow over and around the walls and doors on our path.

* Seeing angry words as nothing more than pulses of energy, we become less inclined to lash out in kind to defend our point of view.  Instead of wasting time and energy defending our limited perspective on life, we maneuver around hostile opinions in our path.

Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.

* As we become more adept at using an internal compass to guide our daily choices, we develop clarity ~ allowing us to observe not only our actions (and the actions of others) more clearly, but often the underlying motivation behind those actions as well.

When we remain awake and aware, we reclaim our freedom to make conscious choices and become more fully who we were always meant to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Our Field Of Dreams * A Beacon in the Dark

Things I’ve Re-Learned This Year December 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , , ,
24 comments

Life lessons aren’t mastered in a single bold stroke.  We learn, we practice, we forget, we remember, we re-learn.

Here are a few key notes I re-learned this year:

1.  Like a bottomless well, Ego’s desire for applause, accolades, approval, acknowledgement, acclaim, awards, and recognition is never satiated.

2.  When we stroke Ego, it purrs.  When we stop, it snarls.

Broccoli-Mocking-Stewie

3.  People want us to do what they want us to do when they want us to do it. They are affronted when we don’t.

4.  When people ask us to “be honest” . . . they don’t always mean it.

daffy_duck_boxing

5.  It’s silly to buy another pair of shoes because we want an Ego Boost from others when they see us rocking our new ruby slippers.

6.  In many ways, we are at the mercy of the tides.  Life ebbs and flows.  Joy comes and goes.  Sorrow is hard to avoid.

Lumpus-Moose

7.  Even if we’re not convinced that “everything happens for a reason,” taking time to look for “silver linings” helps us deal with passing clouds.

8.  When we aren’t wedded to a set destination, we enjoy the journey (and its inevitable detours) more.

Mickey-Surfer

9.  If we are enjoying the journey, we win.  No matter where the wind blows us.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

For Life Lessons by other writers, check out Timi’s series on Lively Twist:  Did We Do Any Learning? [1]  Learning [2]  Learning [3]  Learning [4]  Learning [5]

Does Santa Make Kids Selfish? December 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
46 comments

Xmas-CatThe training of new consumers begins on Santa’s lap. Ho~Ho~Ho!

And continues in front of the TV as animated ads from Toys ‘R Us ask . . . “What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get?”

We are programming kids to become greedy meanies.

For an eye opening look at how Santa’s questions frame responses and keep the materialistic spiral going:

But all is not lost.

Once Santa shifts his script from getting to giving . . . the kids opt to give the larger piece of chocolate away.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Thank You . . . I Am Inconsistent! December 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , ,
46 comments

Tree-Frog-PerchedConsistency is consistently over-rated.

* Consistency makes us predictable. That can be a great help to others in anticipating our acts and reactions.  But it may be a hindrance to us.

We are, all of us, in the process of becoming.

To become more fully who we were always meant to be, we need to embrace change.

* Consistency gives us a sense of control because we know that we didn’t care for green eggs and ham yesterday and probably won’t like them any better today.

Of course, nothing in nature is stagnant ~ neither should we be.

We are not who we once were.

* Consistency makes us feel “right.” As if we’ve figured out the answers and need not ponder the questions any longer.

Because of our routines, we forget that life is an ongoing adventure. ~ Maya Angelou

Boredom arises from routine.  Joy, wonder, rapture, arise from surprise. ~ Leo Buscaglia

Tree-Frog-Percheda

Re-considering self-imposed boundaries and our consistent consistency is a good thing.

That’s why, when someone accuses me of being inconsistent, I give them my best Mona Lisa S~M~I~L~E.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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