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Category: Life Notes

values, mindsets, finding your own meaning and mana

UBUNTU (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

UBUNTU (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

The stress of coping with the effects of the global pandemic in 2020 and beyond – social distancing, forced quarantines, and travel restrictions as well as the awkward and unsettling changes in day-to-day living and the resulting changes in our accustomed lifestyles — led many of us to re-examine what makes our own lives meaningful.

I suppose it should not come as a surprise that making connections with other people and working on keeping these connections going and growing will always play a large part in adding meaning and richness to our lives. 

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DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

Lately I’ve been stumbling over books and assorted other offerings by shiny people and various sorts of life-advisors parsing out all the advantages (plus some of the disadvantages) of “being different.”

If you do this, they say, you will stand out.  You will be an “interesting” being.  You will be a Winner-with-a-capital-W.  Maybe you’ll even get to be rich and famous.  And isn’t that a cool thing?

The problem, as these life-advisors will also tell us, is that “being different” can turn your world into a battlefield.

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“Sanctuary” is a word derived from the Latin, “sanctarium,” which means “a container that keeps a cherished or sacred thing safe.”  The word, as used by the Greco-Romans referred to places of holiness or safety.

Even though the word is often traced only as far as the Greek and Roman empires and their temples, the concept of a place of refuge is universal.  It appears in almost all of the cultural and spiritual traditions from all over the world and has been around for thousands of years.

“City of Refuge” by Intangible Arts via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Some say the idea of giving people a space that provides them safety from the persecution of their oppressors or gives them a respite from their troubles is derived from the most basic features of human altruism.  We are, after all, hardwired to help other people during the hard times.

“Displaced populations at Bangui Airport” by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
In these post-modern times, we’d probably call it some version of “paying it forward.”

We might provide this space for others in the hope that if, at some point, we are in a bad way there will be someone there to offer us help.  Often, too, the act of providing refuge is an acknowledgement of having received such help when we needed it our own selves.

It occurred to me that if “sanctuary” is a container for the sacred and the cherished, then whatever is put inside a sanctuary is, according to the definition, a sacred, cherished thing.

“Elder Woman in Temple” by Sergio Carbajo via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]


Here are a couple of harsh truths:  The world can be an uncertain and fearsome place.  All humans are fragile and can break.

“Portrait of a Daydream” by Fouquier [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Sometimes the cavalry just ain’t coming and often refuge is hard to find.  The only choices you have then are either to duck and run or turn around and deal with what’s in your face.  (In either case, you might die…but, then again, maybe not.)

And here are another couple of truths that are not so harsh:  All humans are a conduit for the power of the Creative and each one of us helps to build the world in which we live.

“Late night problem solving” by Cambridge University Dept. of Engineering via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
And, perhaps, in those latter truths there may be a way to get on with doing your own walk through the world.  Maybe there is a way to be a sanctuary for your own precious and sacred self.

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that you can make a sanctuary for yourself that endures.  [The price for that is developing yourself into a person you can trust to meet whatever comes at you the best way you can.]


Yeah, yeah, I know.  It sounds like that other ubiquitous bit of advice that’s slung around willy-nilly about how you’ve got to love yourself before you can love anybody else.

That’s sort of a truth.  The real is that even though you don’t love yourself very much, it’s likely that you’ll know something about how to connect with other people around you and maybe you’ll love them dearly even if you can’t show it very well.

Saints and other blessed sorts do it all the time.  So do lots of ordinary folks and those who habitually tweet or spend half their time on Facebook doing silly selfies and food snapshots.

“Facebook Icons” by Kuningmas Auto Care via Flickr [CC BY-SA]
(It’s another human thing.  We very often do the best we can with what we’ve got.)

Most of us, though, have not been taught how to love ourselves. Often we’ve even been discouraged from doing so.  (It is more than possible that we’ve never even been introduced to our own selves and we don’t even know where to start.)

This 2020 YouTube Video, “Why You Need to Stop Trying to Be Loved But Love Yourself Instead,” was published by English author, nutritionist, hypnotherapist trainer and motivational speaker Marisa Peer to introduce her book, I AM ENOUGH:  Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life.”

Peer is the creator of “Rapid Transformational Therapy,” which she developed over her thirty years of working as a life coach and advisor for “royalty, rock stars, actors, professional and Olympic athletes, CEOs and media personalities,” it says here.

I’ve included it in this post because it does give you a good place to start on building your own trust in yourself and appreciating your own self-worth.

Peer does a really good job of delineating the advantages and benefits of embodying the idea that you are “enough.”

If you know that you are actually “enough” and if you can consistently work on learning how to deal with the world on your own terms, then it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to make yourself into that person you know you can trust.

You’ll probably be better able to accept whatever help you might receive along the way as well.


Trust is all about knowing that somebody’s got your back.  It is earned, that trust.  A trustworthy person will consistently act in a certain way that works for you.

You can’t trust someone you don’t know or someone who you have not seen being tested by challenging circumstances.

“Trust” by Lex McKee via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
It stands to reason, then, that you will probably not trust yourself if you don’t know how or why you stand and move as you do or if you’ve never allowed yourself to face and resolve trying situations.

If you get blindsided by your own shadows and demons every time you step out and try something new or different, it is unlikely you’ll even WANT to step outside your own comfort zone.  And if you never do anything new or different, that comfort zone is going to be mighty small.

“Courtney tackles her fears and tries the bridge!” by Kate Webster [CC BY-ND 2.0]
How are you going to dream a dream and make the moves to go get it if that dream is different than what you already know?

Trusting yourself is actually a prerequisite for being a person who knows what they really want.

Trusting yourself also means giving yourself permission (and the desire to develop the ability) to go towards the dream you want even if nobody else believes in it.

Every day is a big adventure for my little boy. Gotta remember to live more like he does each day….” By Hyunwoo Sun via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
You’re going to need all that when you go for your dream, you know.


This 2018 YouTube video, “You Are Who You Are Looking For” features motivational speaker and spoken word poet Adam Roa.  It was uploaded by Goalcast.

You can learn more about Roa’s work by clicking the button below.

click-hereHere’s a poem:


There are tiger eyes in the mirror

Staring back at me,

Calm, alert to all around them,

Wells of warm placidity.


There are tiger eyes in the mirror

And I just have to smile.

They tell me now I’m strong enough

To deal with this world’s guile.


There are tiger eyes in the mirror,

Loving and serene.

Trusting the beast once hated

Seems to be transforming me.

Created by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Sunrise: Life at 10,000 feet” by Mattie B via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.


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JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

Journal-keeping and diary writing – tracking daily events and happenings in some sort of record book – has been going on for centuries.

Except for wanna-be smarty-pants and wise guys (i.e., the “intelligentsia”), poets and writers and Creatives of every stripe, and young girls teetering on the brink of woman-ness, the keepers of these journals mostly recorded daily events and happenings with an exterior point of view.

People with a visual orientation did sketchbooks.

Most everyday journalers used their ledgers, record books and such to document and track their doings in the world, stay on top of their obligations, commitments and schedules, and note the progress made and the results of the actions taken.  

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WHICH SELF? (Another Un-Seeing Exercise)

WHICH SELF? (Another Un-Seeing Exercise)

I bet you’ve heard it more than a time or two, from moms, dads, assorted other relatives, besties, advisers and counselors of all sorts.

“Be yourself,” we’re urged, and the person telling us this stuff usually has a kind of self-righteous look on their face, as if they’ve imparted some grand wisdom saying or other.

You’ve probably even given out this specious piece of advice your own self – usually to someone who has been plucking at the one single nerve you’ve got left, after you’ve been all empathetic and compassionate and caring in the face of all of their self-doubts and whining and moaning about how unsure they are about getting on with walking through some social situation or other that is new to them. 

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Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that every human in the world has at least one thing in common:  We, all of us, struggle.  No matter who we are, struggle seems to be a fact of life.

Some of us have great obstacles to overcome and some of us have more massive ambitions than others do, but, every one of us does have some sort of difficulty making it from where we are now to where we really want to be.

Sometimes we’re struggling with other people walking through our worlds.  Their ideas or life views might not mesh with our own and there will be bumping and grappling involved when we try to get to a meeting of the minds.

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GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

I just stumbled over a quote from the amazing Maya Angelou that resonates with me enormously, especially during this time of lockdowns and disconnection:

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that,

the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

The lady knew.  To become fully human, we have to go out and play.  Then we need to come back inside and tell each other our stories.

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For years now, I’ve heard about the “Slow Movement.”  The ideals of keeping to a human pace, puzzling out and enjoying inherent creative processes, caring about human interactions and needs, and savoring life’s little moments one by one have always resonated with me.

But, hey…I’ve been busy!  As the consensus-world kept picking up speed and going hyper, all kinds of interesting things were popping.  The razzle-dazzle got brighter, and the pyrotechnics were grand.

Busy, busy, busy was the order of the day.  I felt like the littlest cousin again, chasing after the big kids yelling, “Hey, guys!  Wait for me!”

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One of the most-quoted (often illustrated) inspirational bits hanging about on the Internet platforms and in assorted posts and books is this one:

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination. For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.”

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MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom): an understanding that every form of Making is ultimately another way of practicing being human.  [Humans make things.  It’s how we connect with one another and with the World.]

I am pleased when I can wander through poet Mary Oliver’s words and borrow her eyes and her heart to see again the beauty and the mystery of Life-Its-Own-Self.  The words remind me:  I am not alone.

That one helps me get back to peace again amid the hurly-burly bustle and the noisy push-me, pull-you tumble fades away.  AHHH….

My favorite Oliver quote does not come from a poem.  It was part of a rare interview she gave with Rachel Martin on a 2012 National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.

She said, “I said once, and I think this is true, the world did not have to be beautiful to work.  But it is.  What does that mean?”

That, I think, is a worthy big question.  It’s certainly big enough to fuel a life-long work.

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