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Category: Life Notes

values, mindsets, finding your own meaning and mana

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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THE BIG S.L.O.W.

THE BIG S.L.O.W.

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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CHOOSE A STANCE AND CHANGE YOUR PROBLEM

CHOOSE A STANCE AND CHANGE YOUR PROBLEM

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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MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

Lately I’ve been stumbling around after tripping over a mind-game construct called “doing a mindset reset.”

Apparently, it’s based on pretty recent neurological studies that the guys and gals in lab coats say reveal the inherent “plasticity” of a human brain’s ability to control our body’s functions, actions and all that.

There are all kinds of big words and dizzy-making charts and boring numbers and, as usual, my poet-brain goes to sleep when I try to think on them.  The best I can do with all this stuff is to come up with yet another story.  So, here goes….

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WALK LIKE A “BESTOWER”

WALK LIKE A “BESTOWER”

Nipun Mehta walks his talk. He’s been doing it for over 20 years now and his walk has been highly successful at helping other people walk theirs.

Mehta was a UC Berkeley computer nerd and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who witnessed and participated in the peak of the DotCom madness.  By the time he was in his third year at UC Berkeley, he was at Sun Microsystems doing work that gave him what he says was more money than he needed.

There he was, well on his way to finishing a degree at Berkeley with a career in fabled Silicon Valley ahead of him, and he felt hollow somehow.  It felt like he was coming to a personal dead end and he didn’t like it.

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ALL OF US ARE FREEDOM’S SLAVES

ALL OF US ARE FREEDOM’S SLAVES

“Freedom’s slave.”

This phrase is fascinating to me.  The words evoke a sense of mayhem and magic, and of paradox and painful lessons.

A world-traveling friend gave the words to me as a gift.  (He knows I collect such things.)  He told me he had seen a tattoo of that phrase two different times in his many years of travel.

One of the tattoos was inked on the forearm of a fellow traveler, a scammer and nascent chaos-hound traveling through Southeast Asia.

The other one, which he saw years later, was on the chest of a European refugee living in Ecuador and working on stabilizing a life for himself and his lady who was earning large as a mercenary soldier in some Middle Eastern skirmish somewhere.

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FLOW WITH YOUR GO

FLOW WITH YOUR GO

It occurred to me that the most effective “time management” stance is basically saying “no” to all the things you’re asked to do – either by your own self or by other people — until you get to a thing to which you can or want or have to say “yes.”

The “yes” is your “Go.”

Ideally whatever task pulls that “yes” from you is one that you think will make some sort of difference in your life – one you really want to happen, one that adds something to the life you are living.

Sometimes, though, the tasks that carry your Go are buried under all of the other stuff you have to do.  Time management, if you choose to use it, can be a big help when you want to flow with your Go better.

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PARADOX OF EXPECTATIONS

PARADOX OF EXPECTATIONS

Expectations shape our lives.

Expectations are the stories that we tell ourselves when we wake up in the morning and begin walking through our days and nights.  They can either help provide the motivation for us to get out of bed or make us want to pull the covers back over our heads.

Expectations are the stories into which we fit our actions as we move along our journeys by ourselves and with others to our own projected destinations.   Not only do we make up these stories about ourselves, but we also make up stories about the world we live in and about the other people in our lives. 

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PINPOINT “ENOUGH”

PINPOINT “ENOUGH”

Probably we’ve all heard the teaching stories – the ones that make us all nod as if we know something, the ones that make us mutter aphorisms and wisdom-words at each other about the consequences of greed and getting more and more.

The stories are usually about some guy sitting all alone in a big old mansion on a hill somewhere.  He has everything and yet he feels like he has nothing.

(Usually the tale is about a guy, but, really, we could easily substitute a gal in there instead these days.)

Here’s a thought:  Maybe it wasn’t greed that led that lonely one down the road to Empty.  Maybe he or she just didn’t recognize when they had gotten to “Enough” and just kept on going.

prospect-hill-plantation
“The Legacy of Prospect Hill Plantation” by Michael McCarthy via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
That does happen.

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