Archives for posts with tag: Hardwiring Happiness

I finally gave in to sleep a little earlier than usual last night. I set my alarm for a couple of hours later than usual, ensuring that I would be up early enough for plans, and also able to fully relax and just sleep until I woke, knowing there was an alarm set. I didn’t expect to wake to the alarm – it would amount to 10 hours of sleep! lol

Then...night.

Then…night.

…The beeping of the alarm continued for sometime until I realized it was a real, actual, ongoing sound reaching me. I woke slowly, and without stress – or any particularly grogginess – and feeling very restored. (Go sleep!!) My first moments today have been quite delightful. I greeted myself in the mirror this morning with a rather astonishing spontaneous moment of contentment and calm joy. I found myself gazing upon this relaxed, beautiful, curvaceous woman – clearly adult, wearing it well, smiling softly, plump with sensuous curves – an odalisque, a goddess, a warrior, a sage, a woman. Damn. 🙂 A lovely moment of recognition, acknowledgement, and enjoyment – all from within – is an excellent way to begin a day and I strongly recommend it (your experience, and your results, may vary). I stretched, smiled at my reflection, and ran my hands over curves that defied a lifetime of dieting before I finally yielded to the inevitability of being beautifully curvy, and discovered the wonders of beauty’s variety and splendor – beautiful curves don’t stop strong lean athletic angles from being beautiful, too.  As with art – there are many sorts of beauty, all quite beautiful to someone.

I am sipping my coffee and enjoying being comfortable for the moment – whether I am actually having a rare pain-free day (or moment) or merely in a position in which my pain is eased is irrelevant right now; I am relaxed and feeling comfortable, and letting it be what it is. Seems worth enjoying for as long as it lasts. Enjoying what feels good is an excellent practice – simple, and of course, there are verbs involved. 🙂

A really first-rate practice I picked up a couple of years ago, and continue with even now, because it just matters that much day-to-day, is taking the time to genuinely enjoy the best moments life offers, however, humble, complicated, or fleeting. The ‘negative bias’ human primates are equipped with tends to color our implicit memory far beyond what we’re aware of – and that colors our entire experience. I don’t need to practice dwelling on some awkward or uncomfortable moment, I don’t have to practice going over a troubling bit of conversation in my mind a hundred times, or practice obsessing over some detail of mistreatment in the course of a lifetime; my primate brain will make sure I do these things without any prompting or practice by me. On the other side of things, so often the best bits are glossed over – they have much less ‘survival improvement potential’ to be gleaned from further review… but… when we rush past the wonders of life, the excitement of a romantic moment, or even a fleeting moment of self-approval reflected in the mirror, we continue to build and enhance only the negative bias in our implicit memory. The practice I learned to practice is to specifically and willfully take the time to savor and reflect on beautiful moments, great emotional experiences, wonders, joys, things of beauty, gratitude – all manner of pleasant, joyful, delightful things honestly. All of them. I take real time out of my day to focus on the good stuff, to relish it, to enjoy the thought and memory of it, to share it out loud as a storyteller – building on the positive in my implicit memory has been a large component of slowly shifting my background ‘ambient experience’ away from one heavily weighted toward stressful vigilance, fear, and frustration, and the avoidance and prevention of those experiences. (As it turns out, they are far easier to prevent when I’m not so focused on them as commonplace, too.) Try it – take a moment for you, and think over something wonderful that happened recently – big or small, doesn’t matter – and really recall it in detail, feel the good feelings, and imagine they are soaking through you as you consider this lovely moment. You probably won’t notice anything much except that it’s nice to think about something pleasant, and emotionally nurturing to appreciate our experience. It’s a practice; incremental change over time is a real outcome. 😉 I will observe that this is one of my most favorite practices, feels great to do, and… well… I am not very like the woman I was 3 years ago, and this practice is one of the more profound (if simple) changes I have made in that time.

Let me be clear for a moment, really frank with you; I’m not promoting any practice I practice, or treatment method, or means of [emotionally] getting ahead in life for my own financial gain. (Not yet, anyway… lol) Most of these practices are not of my own creation. My reading list (see up there at the top, or in the ‘menu’ drop down?) has the source for most of them. In this particular case, several sources recommend savoring pleasant moments in some form or another – I practice it as a practice. You can find it, and many other great practices, more clearly explained and with references cited (yep, there’s science on this stuff), in The Happiness Trap, Tiny Buddha, Hardwiring Happiness, or Get Some Headspace. All fantastic starting points for improving one’s outlook on life or self.  I’m not pushing you – I’m just saying, I think you’re [probably] awesome [definitely human!] and I am eager for you to enjoy everything about living your life. (Almost exactly what I said to the woman in the mirror, more than 3 years ago – a lot more than three years, really – it took awhile to get to this morning, and a wonderful moment with the woman in the mirror.)

🙂

My coffee this morning is tasty, well-made by a woman who really cares about me, and whose company and turn-of-mind (and phrase) I genuinely enjoy. The day seems to unfold ahead of me pleasantly, without anxiety, or pressure, well-planned and comfortable; learning not to over-commit myself has been another good way of taking care of me.

Distractions and obstacles take a lot of forms... I'm fortunate when the path is obvious. :-)

Distractions and obstacles take a lot of forms… I’m fortunate when the path is obvious. 🙂

Today is a good day to practice practices that have taken me so far – so far. Today is a good day to smile at strangers – aren’t they people, too? Today is a good day to be patient with myself, and with my companions on this strange projectile hurtling through time and space. Today is a good day to enjoy the journey, and stay on the path. 🙂

I am sipping my coffee, listening to the demands of crows beyond the open patio door. The aquarium, behind me here, trickles softly; I almost don’t hear it moment-to-moment, I am so used to the sound of it. The sound of distant traffic is a hushed murmur still farther beyond, and not a disruption of the still morning – although when I am most stressed out the sounds of humanity are more than I can bear, even at a distance. I sift through ideas, and notions, musing contentedly about this-n-that, unconcerned about the passage of time and the still blank page. There is no point hurrying life, really, is there? Eventually the passage of minutes will take me to the edge of some moment that requires action, but that is not now.

“Now” is for hot coffee, birdsong, and words if I find them.

I have lived alone for a bit more than a month. Thinking about the date reminds me that I must pay the rent on my way to work…and that marijuana became legal in Oregon today. I’m not sure which is more directly relevant to me, today; I will spend the day at work, and certainly neither cannabis nor rent factor in that experience. It’ll be nice to come home to a home, though – so rent is clearly important. I’ll be coming home to cannabis as well, inasmuch as it remains the only medication that eases many of my PTSD symptoms, especially if I am in crisis. I don’t write much about it. I’m not sure I know how. I do know it works, and as of today being a consumer of cannabis is just a little bit less stressful in Oregon.

Worth paying for. The sticky note on the inside of my front door this morning says 'don't forget the rent!'

Worth paying for. The sticky note on the inside of my front door this morning says ‘don’t forget the rent!’

This morning I continue to experience a feeling that has been lingering in the background for a couple of days now; I feel a bit ‘over loaded’… or something. Maybe a bit distracted…by something…or something. I’m not sure quite what the feeling is, but I notice that what eases it most is solitude, and stillness. I get the solitude fairly easily by canceling plans and choosing to be alone. The stillness seems a tad more problematic, lately. The world throws distractions at me almost continuously, and I am again facing mindfulness as a beginner – perhaps I always must? No stereo this morning, or yesterday – I love music and dance, but those are not stillness. The last couple evenings I have struggled to choose wisely, often finding myself flipping on a video that I then do not actually watch, instead restlessly doing other things, and half listening to it. Sometimes I sit down to read, and manage a page or two before sleep finds me…or distraction pushes the book beyond reach and I pursue some other activity, but without real focus. I take steps to paint, and find myself hanging paintings instead, or only sketching rather distractedly.

I am frustrated in a small way by my lack of focus, but I don’t view it as any sort of personal failure or character flaw; more likely my broken brain is working on something I can’t quite get at directly, and the overwork in the background of my thinking fractures my conscious direction and intent. The stillness is needful, getting to it requires verbs, and more verbs after that – particularly some verbs that give every appearance of lacking actual action. Meditation. More meditation after I meditate, and perhaps, some more meditation after that. No, I’m not kidding, but I’m also not certain that I quite have the well-developed adult will and discipline to do this simple thing that I need for and from myself. I am a child. I am a beginner. I am unrealized potential. The choice is in front of me and there are most definitely verbs involved. There will be more practice. Everyday practice, every day.

I am not feeling critical of myself, and I am not disappointed with my choices thus far. I am keeping a lovely home for myself, and I have been enjoying cooking for one – and in some cases taking on some rather more complicated recipes that I might have, had I been concerned about the needs or expectations of others. It’s been fun playing house with myself. I tend my beautiful garden, and eat healthy food. I practice good practices and keep good company. I am enjoying my experience – but on another level I have been sort of ‘taking it easy’. There is more ‘work’ to be done sorting out the chaos and damage, and I have been, in a very real sense, taking a break from all that to settle in here, and get a feel for living solo. My recent level of distractibility – and willingness to be distracted – has been an emotional vacation of sorts. This morning I recognize it so clearly, and with the good-natured tolerance of any parent, I am ready to look into the face of the child within and remind her there is work to be done. There will be no shortage of healthy meals, good rest, excellent self-care, and fun – but there is a purpose to choosing this lifestyle that goes beyond contentment, and it is time to get back to work.

"The Shelf" - everything I need for being and becoming.

“The Shelf” – everything I need for being and becoming.

I suspect that my sudden urgent desire to organize the books on my book shelves was fueled, in part, by my recognition that it is time to get back to the demanding work at hand of healing, and nurturing this broken brain, and this fractured soul. The shelf nearest me while I write holds all the most critical [to me] reference material on which I rely for information regarding my brain injury, mindfulness practices, cognition, language, and relationship building (with self and others). No book ‘makes the shelf’ unless it proves itself worthy – otherwise, there is plenty of room on other shelves along the wall. My kindle also has ‘the shelf’; a collection of similarly prized and limited tomes, some of which are duplicated in real books in my library, others which I could not so easily afford to own in any format besides digital. (Some of the science books are quite expensive.) I am ready. I am capable. The trick, of course, is that there is only ever ‘now’ during which I can work on me, effectively. 🙂

The sweet fruit of commitment, will, and action await me.

The sweet fruit of commitment, will, and action await me.

It is a lovely summer. I have everything I truly need (and more). I am safe in my home and free to pursue any endeavor I care to. I have ‘now’, and I have all the words in the world. I have any measure of stillness I am capable of embracing, and sustaining. Today is a very good day to get back to work on this amazing project I call ‘me’.

 

It’s a weekend of quiet, spent mostly on housekeeping, meditation, and reading/studying. I spent some time, too, coloring in tiny squares on my Life in Weeks chart, which I started this year; it’s already an eye-opening project. I’m a very visual analyst, and I see patterns and trends fairly easily – especially painted with such a broad brush. I’m not imagining things; I’ve spent the largest portion of my life devoted to, and in support of, someone else’s agenda besides my own. Now, though, I also see the next 40 years laid out ahead of me – incomplete, unknown, and wide open with possibilities.

I’ve also been feeling fairly lonely. It’s odd. I’m not alone. I’ve spent considerable time in shared space with loved ones, too. The thing is…we’re not connecting easily. We’re each at such different places in life, with ourselves, with our understanding of the world; it is a season of change. I am learning to take care of me in moments when a conversation takes a turn that doesn’t really involved me, or isn’t the sort of thing I care to be all caught up in for one reason or another…by gently disengaging, or refraining from becoming involved in the first place. That’s a positive step for me…my tendency has been to be all up in everything, if it is within earshot, which over time feels more invasive than supportive for my loves, and for me quickly becomes a drain on my emotional resources, and just not much fun. There are other experiences I’d rather share with people who matter to me.

Taking a step back and letting other people’s business be other people’s business, and letting them have their moment – without me – feels like a better choice for my emotional wellness…but I had no idea just how much of what is going on around me has nothing whatsoever to do with me, at all. I am surprised to find that although I am aware that too little of my time supports my own agenda…I may not be prepared for what life holds if I stand firm on putting more of my emotional resources, and time, into my own needs and agenda; it could be very lonely indeed. This is a chapter in life’s curriculum I will study with great care; it looks like one of the more challenging bits. 🙂

OPD swirls around me in the background. I stay to myself. Sometimes it’s lonely, but it is less stressful, less emotionally fatiguing, and interestingly – I also seem to have far fewer, less intense, headaches. I don’t know that there’s any causality in there, but it’s an interesting coincidence.

When I started this journey I had some idea what I might find, built on assumptions and expectations.

When I started this journey I had some idea what I might find, seen through a veil of assumptions and expectations…

My traveling partner shared an article this morning, and I learned a new word that just delights me. The word is ‘listicle’ – you know, an article that is a list. I’m just delighted. It’s a needed word, that describes a real thing. It’s even in the dictionary. I feel like a child seeing a butterfly up close. lol I love words – they make it possible to communicate some very nuanced ideas. The article itself has value; it is a list of 7 traits the author suggests are common to chronically unhappy people. As I read the article, I felt a sense of forward progress, growth, and accomplishment, because there was a time when I definitely had all 7:

1. A default belief that ‘life is hard’ was definitely part of my experience until some relatively recent point. I’m not sure I really noticed when it changed, but reading the article this morning I feel keenly aware that it has. I would go so far as to acknowledge that I sometimes find life complicated, challenging, or moments when life feels hard, but it’s recognizably not my default experience.

2. A belief that ‘most people can’t be trusted’ most certainly describes how I used to feel about ‘people in general’; fearful, distrustful, and very very certain that if I dropped by guard for an instance, or turned my back, or shared a confidence, the consequences would be swift, severe, and painful. I don’t feel that way at all now. I find that generally, people mostly do their best, and are well-intended within the limits of their understanding of the world they live in. Well-meaning isn’t always enough for a good outcome, and I find that I am pretty accepting of that, too. I’m aware that people lie, that people are capable of fraud, bad acts, and real nastiness. I trust that each person I meet will likely behave very consistently with their nature, and underlying values, and that the best outcomes come from clear communication, awareness, and refraining from making assumptions, or holding on to expectations – or grudges – and that walking away from ‘toxic people’ is sometimes the only productive healthy choice.

3. Concentrating on what’s wrong versus what’s right is something I still struggle with. I get emotionally invested in something that seems unjust, unfair, unreasonable, and unnecessary, and my frustration with it can push me into becoming over-invested, and emotionally involved to a point that I lose perspective. I see this, too, as progress; I started in a very different place than I stand today. There is further to go.

4. Comparisons to others, and fostering jealousy are something I suppose most people struggle with; comparisons are an easy shortcut for measuring where we stand. The thing I’ve learned over time is that it’s not a competition, this ‘life’ thing. It’s more like a journey, and I take it pretty much alone – my own progress over time is my only measure of performance, really, and what that other person over there is doing with their time, money, heart, or intellect has little to do with me.  At the end of my life, when I look back, it won’t be to say “Well, compared to [insert name of celebrity or role model] I sure went far”; my life will have to stand on its own merits. Jealousy is new for me; I only recently learned what that feeling is, at all. I’m not really wired for it, and having finally experienced what it feels like, I’m okay with moving on as a being to a place where it is simply not likely to come up. Like ‘worry’ or ‘guilt’, ‘jealousy’ is a pretty pointless emotion that tends to start trouble, without offering any solutions. Having finally experienced what all the fuss is about, though, I am learning to use the feeling as a flare that pulls my attention to a specific need that I am not taking care of, and identifying that thing; making the underlying need, and taking care of that, a priority has tended to entirely satisfy any moment that feels like ‘jealousy’ – it nearly always turns out that some small thing I need isn’t being handled by me, and that I’ve made the mistake of assigning blame or responsibility to some other person, without being aware of it.

5. Striving for control isn’t something I have much problem with, at this point in my life, and it’s been a long while since it has. For me, letting go of the need to control everything in my experience turned out to be easily resolved by avoiding controlling or manipulative relationships; relationships of that sort tend to find me ‘pushing back’ to regain my freedom of will. It becomes an unpleasant see-saw of competitive power games that I find distasteful, and I went a different direction some years ago, and never looked back.

6. Considering the future fearfully comes up now and then. That’s sort of a given with anxiety. It’s not on the same order it once was, and these days I generally find that taking time to meditate kicks fear to the curb pretty handily. A better understanding of the value of thinking, of thoughts – and the understanding that thoughts have no ‘reality’ that I don’t give them, that I create them myself – has freed me to consider a ‘what if’ scenario to its conclusion – however ludicrous – and learn from it without being wounded by it; it’s not real.

7. Gossip and complaint filled conversations…yeah…just not my preference these days. Living in chronic misery, though, what else was there? It was a way to lift myself up…by comparing my experience to someone else’s. It was a way to make myself important…by venting about some unsatisfying thing or another. It was a way to get  and hold attention for some moment…and feel a little bit supported. It’s not honest, though, and it’s not … consensual. It also isn’t as effective as simple communication about my own feelings, and experience, using ‘I statements’ and just asking for a hug. Taking that more effective approach requires me to embrace a level of genuineness and vulnerability that was pretty scary, at first. It’s been worth it.

I don’t say much, above, about what I did to make these changes happen over time – because I’m not actually sure. Is it the meditation practice? Is it better health care? Is it taking care to get enough sleep? Is it a byproduct of changed perspective with time, and aging? Is it all the studying of the neuroscience of emotion, and the structured practicing of techniques intended to craft a more positive implicit memory? Is it love? Is it a coincidence? Is it my own idea – or someone else’s? I have no idea what specifically I’ve done that has amounted to so much change for the better, over time… I wasn’t even aware so much had changed, until I read that article (expecting to find myself nodding along and checking off all 7 as things characteristic of myself) and realized that it doesn’t speak to my ‘now’ experience.

...Without the powerful limitations assumptions and expectations place on my experience, I have found wide open vistas of possibility, and broad horizons of potential for change.

…Without the powerful limitations assumptions and expectations place on my experience, I have found wide open vistas of possibility, and broad horizons of potential for change. There are verbs involved, and your results may vary.

Today is a good day to share progress, and feel encouraged. Today is a good day to recognize change for the better. Today is a good day to say with conviction “I have come so far!” Today is a good day to see that I am changing the world…and to remind you that you can, too, and probably do. 😀

My day is a bit like ‘Schrödinger’s Day’, today… I am in my own space, behind a closed door. Events on the other side of the door exist, but exist without context or definition; I just don’t know what’s on the other side of that door. Once I open the door, the day is what it is. Having not yet opened the door (well, since my last interaction with my traveling partner, who made this tasty latte in front of me) the day remains all potential, and unanswered questions.

I could make assumptions about what is on the other side of the door. Assumptions of any sort I might make would give me something on which to anchor decision-making about whether to open the door, certainly. There’s no reason to further assume that any such assumptions would be accurate. They’d be entirely made up within my own thinking, based on what I know historically about my experience, and then filtered through my baggage. Perhaps not ideal decision-making material?

I could eschew further in-the-moment assumption making, and go with ‘expectations’ of what is on the other side of the door. Expectations are assumptions I’ve made in advance, and planned around…not really any more useful for decision-making about whether to open the door. The outcome could be more stressful, too; assumptions that fail the test of reality can be frustrating, and cause me confusion and stress, but not on the same order of magnitude as when reality doesn’t ‘measure up’ to expectations. The disappointment that can carry with it sucks, and I’m not a fan of creating disappointment for myself. As experiences go, I prefer disappointment be a rarity, and that I not inflict it upon myself needlessly.

Being present in this simple uncomplicated moment gives me a chance to really consider that closed door, and what may be beyond it, and to practice some fundamentals of awareness, observation, and presence. It’s a closed door, nothing more. I am here, now, in this safe and quiet space, quite solitary, content, and safe. The specific experience I am having now is quite calm, relaxed, and pleasant; things on the other side of a closed door may not be relevant to me, at all.

It's worth taking a few moments to pause and reflect on a change in perspective, or a moment of growth. I am learning to spend more time on the good stuff.

It’s worth taking a few moments to pause and reflect on a change in perspective, or a moment of growth. I am learning to spend more time on the good stuff.

This may not seem like a big deal for many people, and quite naturally so, I’m sure. As a survivor of domestic violence, emotional abuse, and trauma, that closed door has often felt dangerous, threatening, limiting, frightening, powerful – and I cowered in fear behind the limited safety it offered from whatever was on the other side. Raised voices, angry yelling, slamming things, stomping (pretty much all the sounds of intense negative emotions) are fairly easily able to trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress, for me. Reaching a place where that closed door is neither an enemy nor an ally, and is simply a closed door is a pretty big deal… I can open a closed door…or not. That’s simple stuff, as decision-making goes.

Today is a good day to make simple decisions to take care of me. Today is a good day to consider the hearts of others. Today is a good day to live well, to love freely, and to be kind. Today is a good day to change the world.

I woke earlier than I wanted to this morning. I fell asleep later than I wanted to last night. The sleep in between those points was filled with distressing dreams that were neither pleasant, nor were they nightmares; they were instead rich in content, symbolism, and implication without being over-obvious, as if daring me to overlook what matters most in the storm of surrealism. I woke feeling stiff and twisted, with a headache that sources down low in my spine, and makes it way to my skull, a dull unrelenting ache that pulsates when I walk. It’s about as dreadful as it sounds…only…I also woke warm and dry, safe from physical harm, indoor plumbing near at hand, and clean drinking water besides. I woke to birdsong outside my window and a not-too-very-rainy morning, and the sound of Dave Matthews Band on the stereo; my traveling partner already awake, playing chess quietly. I woke to an offer of a hot latte made just the way I like it. I woke to a warm hug, and a loving smile. This is my very human experience; it’s not good sometimes and bad other times as much as it is generally a mix of details of a variety of sorts.

Over the past two years I’ve read a lot of words written by several people whose working lives are spent studying the neuroscience of emotion and consciousness. I’ve read about negativity bias, and have a very elementary understanding that the most intense experiences tend to be most memorable, and that we tend to prioritize negative experiences more highly on an implicit level as a survival trait. Sounds damning, sometimes. I’ve also read more than a little bit about a number of practices that can be put to use to minimize or mitigate our negativity bias – resulting in a more implicitly pleasant experience overall; they do work, I’ve tried them. I’ve read about (and tried) practices for calming my storming heart when my PTSD catches me unawares, or I find myself so fatigued that I am unexpectedly volatile. I have explored practices that have tended to take me from a very negative, bitter, chronically irritated and dissatisfied state of being, to a day-to-day state sense of self that tends to be rather calm, generally content, and mostly pretty joyful.

I hope I’ve never led you to believe it’s “easy” every day. I work at ‘happy’ and ‘content’ by practicing an assortment of practices that tend to take me that direction over time. There are verbs involved. A commitment to wake up every day and actually practice them – because they are only effective when I do them. Thinking about them doesn’t quite change anything. When I consider moments over the past two years when things just didn’t seem quite as good as they could be – speaking just of my own experience, subjectively – it seems significant that there’s often some days preceding during which I was less committed than usual to some key practice or another. (That’s often how I figure out which ones are ‘key’ for me personally! lol) I don’t feel any shame over that, and I don’t feel like a failure. (I hear my traveling partner’s voice in my thoughts asking in a humorous tone “Well, how do you feel?”) I do feel very human; encouraged by the bits that go well, and a little beat down by the things that don’t.

Like it or not, there are verbs involved. Real actions to take, that require some small effort of will – a decision, a choice, an intention followed through on with a behavior of some appropriate sort. There’s just no getting out from under the action-reaction thing. The actions I choose aren’t always ideal; that’s the next challenge, isn’t it? Once my will is firmly in place, and I’ve made a choice, and taken an action, then experience unfolds the next lesson like a map, and I see where my choices take me. Then the whole thing again, for some other circumstance. Life. I am learning to be more aware of the puzzle pieces themselves in this jigsaw puzzle, rather than straining to see the finished picture while I piece it together.

It’s hard to overstate the value I’ve been finding in the ‘taking in the good’ exercises in Hardwiring Happiness. I haven’t ‘finished’ the book yet, because I keep re-reading it, and meditating on pieces of the content that are most relevant to my own experience. The practice, particularly, of lingering over pleasant moments for a considerable time rather than allowing them to be so fleeting, and also of refraining from lingering over unpleasant moments and treating them fairly casually after-the-fact, is a current favorite; it really does seem to be altering my implicit emotional bias for the better. I recently started a simple practice for improving my perspective with regard to positive and negative interactions, intended to prevent me from taking such things personally, particularly when they are not (and they mostly aren’t). It’s a simple reality-check; if I am feeling very picked on and emotionally beat down, I make a list of the specific complaints, or negative feedback, directed specifically to me, about my actions – no other negative content is listed, because it ‘isn’t about me’. The first time I did it, I quickly recognized that I’d only actually been offered a single point of negative feedback – and the rest of the discussion wasn’t about me at all, however negative it sounded in my thoughts. A negative bias functions on a lot of levels, it seems. This simple practice has seriously improved my relationships with other people; in one case I was able to recognize that new boundaries needed to be explicitly set in a work relationship, without things blowing up, when my list made it clear that 1. the relationship was profoundly negative and critical, and 2. there was a legitimate issue surfacing as a theme that could be easily addressed.

Illumination, or artificial lighting?

Illumination, or artificial lighting?

Meditation does take a commitment. Practicing is action. Choices are necessary. Verbs are involved. The results, for me, so far, are entirely worth it. I sure don’t have ‘the answers’. I am finding it worthwhile to consider some of the questions carefully. Will… that’s the thing, isn’t it? The Will to Practice. How do I build Will? Practicing.

Today is a good day to experience the birdsong, the music, the laughter, and the love. Today is a good day to change the world.