5 Minimalist Communication Tips

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Here are couples ideas that would greatly increase harmony in homes and marriages.  This is very important to me, because there is nothing more stressful and economically costly than an unhappy marriage or childhood.  For me, when I try to mediate between arguing people, it is difficult because people are complex and generally not solution-oriented.  So I understand if you are dealing with mental illness in a child, parent, or partner, but acknowledge what you are up against.  Solutions have to meet this reality.  We have to work within the parameters of what is with people, not what we envision.  Harmony and effectiveness should be of primary importance.  With these concepts in mind, homes can be a place of peace, a secure base from which to live purposefully and peacefully.

5 Easy Ideas:

1. Work within reality.  

Avoiding control (because of idealization, anxiety, self-righteousness) or manipulation (going behind someone’s back, bringing up topics at inopportune times, checking out).  Developing skills of diplomacy and solution-orientation.  Recognizing how people are and what solutions/communication style would be preferred.  Writing things down if people are forgetful or if people are long-winded.  Including people in decision-making if they are checking out, to prioritize their values.

2. Clarify solution. 

Developing good communication skills: both sides are considered in resolution and egos are brought down to resolve conflict.  Action usually favors the more aggressive person.  The more controlling person needs to be fair and put the passive person’s values at high priority.  Controlling pushes people toward manipulation (hiding, checking out).  This does not create harmony or long-lasting peace; people have to feel considered.  If you are anxious, paranoid, controlling, or pessimistic, not justifying this, but examining behavior.  Seeing behavior objectively (checking out, physical touch – is it for something in return or for only yourself?).  Lead by example.

3. The power of one. 

One problem is dealt with at a time.  No backlog of problems, no pettiness.  If one person is presenting a problem, nobody else gets to present a problem on that day.  The second person has to wait until the next day, so their comments are not retaliatory. 

4. Stay focused. 

While venting is fine at therapy or with your spouse on another day, on days where conflicts are being mediated, then monologuing or having emotional outbursts are not productive and should be avoided.  These make finding a solution almost impossible. 

5. Exhibit harmony.  

Not dealing with petty problems.  Having the ability to be as unbiased as possible to see what is creating the problem.  Having a teamwork mentality, not an us versus them, or a me orientation.  

People can get caught in marriages for 20-30 years and start giving up, so they check out, or they start on a backlog of problems or focusing on petty issues (the way someone places donuts down on the counter, which I saw at a house once).  Getting to the root of problem is essential, and that’s not possible if people are clinging to their ego or emotion, if they are talking down to another person.  The controlling person has to make the other feel valued, and the passive person needs to acknowledge the logic or at least anxieties if there is no logic, of the more controlling person.

A Better Future:

Childhoods where there was neglect, inconsistency, or abuse leads to (1) people trying to prove themselves – monologuing, always working, (2) frustration/controlling/perfectionist tendencies, (3) other difficulties like paranoia or anxiety, and (4) inability to truly listen or articulate well (ambiguity).  Therefore, it is incumbent on those from difficult childhoods, to make sure that they are not an extension of the difficulty they left.

What we model sets the baseline for children for what is normal.  It shows them what is valuable, how to handle conflict, if one should care for their own agenda (an agenda that is noble) over listening to others.  We want to give them a healthy baseline.  When it comes to interpersonal relations, kindness matters far more than anything else.  

Healthy Relationships: New Solutions

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Who we surround ourselves with is very important.  Other people set the mood. Order cannot stand complete disorder, and vice-versa.  Therefore, if we are around disorder in environment or friends, it is important that we (1) recognize what in us needs work and (2) be able to assert ourselves.  Courage is easier with integrity.  If you don’t have a voice, don’t sacrifice it for idealization or for bad habits.

Clarifying:

If we cannot assert ourselves, which is more common in women than men, then resentment or subterfuge is left, which causes extreme stress for everyone.  These are not solutions.

Therefore, one of the most valuable things you can learn is to stand up for yourself, to articulate yourself, and to effectively communicate (not starting off with an insult, not bringing up things on bad days or at inconvenient times).  A lot of dysfunction in relationships is due to passive-aggressiveness, manipulation, or being vague.  Fights erupt.  Words are not constructive, and keep at a high volume.  People go back to the same behavior, which is not a solution.

Rather, health is growth, transparency, consideration.  So then the best thing to do is to be an environment that encourages transparency and to be solution-oriented.  How I have watched.  How many arguments focus on pettiness, not a solution.  The actual problem gets lost.  People fight unfairly, based on emotion.  Anger flies, backlog of hurts are presented.  This methodology gets in the way of actual peace.  Peace is in organization, caring, and being solution-oriented.  A true solution makes sure both sides feel valued and makes sure pettiness and anger/resentment isn’t a factor.  Always present one problem at a time, try one new solution.  One problem per day.  The other person has to wait another day.  Solutions may not work.  Adjust or try another.  But work together, like a team.

Disorder:

How few marriages function with health and peace in mind.  One person is doing the controlling, or one person is working behind the other person’s back to do what they feel like is necessary or to get their due, or fights erupt without focus on resolving problems.

The root of the problem often stems from childhood.  People didn’t feel valued or loved.  So they project that onto their partner all the time.  They’re not ever seeing things as they are, they’re seeing things with idealization or pessimism.  They’re either trying too hard to prove themselves or checking out because they feel it’s futile anyway.  

Represent Change:

But representing peace is being a part of the solution.  I know familial patterns are hard to break, but it takes introspection to know what you are likely to do and to make sure the outside isn’t the only thing that changes.  Wardrobe, commitment, and careers are easy to alter, but patterns are far more important.  The external distracts from the actual problem.  Without knowledge or awareness, solution and peace become impossible.  Let us promote harmony through lightness of being, and through a focus on solutions over sides.

Greed and Materialism: Getting to Minimalism and True Priorities

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Greed is driven by fear, and fear is one of the biggest motivators.  It is economically costly.  Fear and anxiety are behind low self-esteem, alcoholism, and other addictions.  Fear gets in the way of productivity more than anything else because peace of mind brings true efficiency.

Ambition gets in the way of accuracy.  It is hard to separate greed and ambition, but ambition can be fueled by passion and purpose.  I remember starting court reporting school with stars in my eyes.  I loved everything about it.  Efficient, challenging, only two years of school, a promising profession.  Most of the people who came through court reporting school’s doors heard about the money.  

It used to irritate me, until I realized my own fears that drive my own saving tendencies and more-is-more mindset after graduation, but I guess there’s some humility in finding hypocrisy, which is common for all humans.

Materialism:

We live in an individualistic and materialistic culture.  But what drives materialism and greed? What drives attention for identity or love?  I started doing research:  People who grow up economically deprived are more likely to be materialistic and to find excess attractive: The more-is-more attitude makes up for the deprivation felt on every level.  Also, millennials are far more materialistic than retirees.  So those who have the most money, are the least likely to value it.  I know it’s not everything that it seems – to have everything we think would make the world an ideal place.  The older we get, the more we know we don’t understand or the answers aren’t simple – humans are complex and valuable.  

Simplicity:

Greed is constricting.  To worry about every receipt, coupon, or to fret about finances and career.  To be unable to donate money or to be happy without a life full of travel.  Certain music and beliefs and people feed into one another, and life continues to get more complex.  But underneath it all, we always come back to a few similar principles: Simplicity attracts simplicity.

True and valuable things can’t be bought.  There is a quote, “Anything that just costs money is cheap.”  With the wealthy, generosity is esteemed and can even be made into show.  I have seen with older people, how little they value money, and how much of it they give away.   

To be around people that are orderly and modest is healing.  Simplicity and transparency is the sunshine that illuminates intention to purify.

Balance:

I’ve never been careless, and I do think people should save and choose a profession with the future in mind.  To be sensible and modest is to care.  Skill is valuable, hobbies are valuable. At the end of the day, passion included, work is work.  But it is what you make of work, or a poor background, or giving.  Humans give life meaning, money doesn’t give life meaning.  

Though money makes things simpler, and is envied, as individualism, values and simplicity make life truly rewarding.  Sometimes being true to yourself doesn’t stand out at all, but it’s easier to listen and to care.

We may work hard to show care — and that is admirable — but feeling consideration and love is what stands the test of time.  Love and presence is what people think of in memory, and that doesn’t cost anything.

2018: Bright and New

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2018 is upon us.  Another year, another clean slate with which to align our actions with our values.  When we say the world is not all it could be, we say that man is not what he could be.  It is easy to focus on the macro level of politics and global issues, instead of our own homes and our own souls.

I don’t know where you are at, but you do.  Perhaps you have always lived in the moment and flitted from activity or thought to thought, this is your year to balance out the virtue of being, with the virtue of planning ahead and savoring the moment.  Maybe you are like me, and your head is often in possibilities and planning, and it is your time to balance that with being present, clarifying.

All that I know is that complication is an easy thing.  It takes strategy; it takes effort and attention to design systems that pay off dividends over decades.  These are simple systems to implement and to afford.  It is worth the time and thought to plan well and reap the benefits over a lifetime, to make life more efficient and to make values more of a priority.

Vision:

I know that skills are transferrable.  The things a woodworker can teach you, there are principles underneath that can be applied throughout life: “There are many ways to put two boards together, but all of the different ways hold well enough.”  So don’t stress on methodology, as much as have a direction, a vision.  Pencil out a rough draft of what you’re building.  Have an idea of what your values are.  Your values are your blueprint.

Pleasant Acts:

For minimalism this year, I have done some things I do at the end of every year.  I wanted to share them with you.

1. Start a new notebook.  This is a good time to start over.  There’s so something so exciting about fresh new pages.  Scan your remaining papers.

2. Start a new email if yours is inundated with spam.   Be more particular with whom you give your email to so that it is manageable.  It is a good time to cancel cards you are not using either, if you have any.

3. Curate social media.  Social media does not resemble real life.  It is a compendium of what stands out to us in real life.  It is what inspires us.  So then be sure that the spirit of the people closest to you and the things that you consume are things that are aligned with what is pure: beauty, reason, sincerity.  Throughout all causes, there are many negative and positive voices, and we are drawn to the voices within them that resemble us.  The causes do not tell you who you are, but the voices within those that you are drawn to.  So if you want to take stock of your life, examine your friends, the people you look up to, and the people you follow.  They will tell you about yourself.  People are drawn to the familiar.

4. Donate one bag to Goodwill.  If there are any gifts you can’t use or clothes you’ve grown out of, it’s a good time to pass it along.  The end of the year is always the right time.

5. Boil water.  Drop essential oils in, an orange peel.  Opening the windows, dusting the windows, clears the air.  You can use a humidifier as well.  Indoor plants keep air smelling fresh.  Attending to plants, watering and pruning is very therapeutic.  Thriving plants always give me joy.

6. Light unscented candles.  A fire and a warm blanket is always worth it.  Everything about a home fire is satisfying: looking at it, feeling it.  Warming water to infuse and to drink.  Warmth is in mood as well, the joy that we exude and how we feel.

7. Examine systems in your house, the flow of your house.  See if it has worked well this past year.  For me, less mirrors and prickly items brings satisfaction.  The softer, warmer, and more efficient my home, the more soothing.  Feng shui advocates decluttering, avoiding mirrors, and even though I do not practice feng shui, I do think many design suggestions within are wise.

8. Buy a new book.  Every month, I buy a few more books in a subject that I’m interested.  Currently, it is simplicity in business, and physics. Physics was one of my favorite subjects as a teen, to find the conclusions you could figure with very few data points.  Physics is a very fascinating subject, and the principles are true to life:  Very few data points are needed to get an accurate answer, but the right data points are needed.   Figuring out the relevant data points in life is worth your time.

Fresher:

In the end, to get back to simplicity is to get back to creativity.  In your childhood, your day was to play and to learn.  Adults took care of the mundane – the 10% of our life that we spend on cooking and cleaning.  We had many hours to breathe and to think.  To get back to that state through intentional simplicity, is to bring us back to a clear mind full of possibility and joy.  We have knowledge and structure that age brings, so we can combine creativity with reason for purpose.

Happy New Year.  Take the time to celebrate it on your own time, not just with others.  Light candles.  Start a new notebook.  Rise to what is for the day without hesitation.  Enjoy your life now.  Be here now.

 

The Orderly Life

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It is almost 2018.  When I think of a new year, I imagine clean air, white walls, and aspirations.  The new year is time for us to align all that we have chosen as pure in the world.

There is a saying, “Don’t build your own enemy.”  In that sense, we have a chance to align ourselves with the virtues we have chosen based on what is needed – fortitude, reason, transparency, compassion.  Take a look at your internal protocol, and make sure your values have opposing ones.  For instance, if you excel at only compassion and love, there is imbalance.   In not all circumstances is kindness a virtue.

In the Star Wars’ series, there is a great emphasis on the fact that you can’t draw from the dark side to serve good ends, that it’s a lie. Every person designs their reality, and we pass down traits and behavioral patterns.  So make sure the patterns you are duplicating are objectively good.  You cannot underestimate the effect environment plays on preference.  If we are present, we are paying attention.

Order:

Order brings the means, the bulk of life, to account. A list is a mark in time, of priorities/stimuli – and this is valuable information when looking for patterns.  We get caught up on specifics, that we miss the big picture.  But pinpointing underlying principle provides efficiency and objectivity.  Your reaction to things tells you about yourself probably more than anything else.

If you can be realistic and compassionate with yourself and others, then you reap only the rewards of having protocol and organization.  Look at a project and ask if it appears done at 80%. Perfectionists often put in 120%, at the cost of efficiency and reason.

Efficiency is the new virtue in the technological age.  To get your life in order is an intelligent thing.  There is incalculable waste involved in lacking ballast – a stabilizing mechanism or protocol – and stabilization/peace starts inside.  It is true in childhood, and it is true in adulthood:  The environment indoors is the home base, from which all things can thrive.  This is also true conceptually speaking: Your internal state, if it is in order, protects and doesn’t distract.  So if your childhood did not encourage transparency and peace, then you have greater work to do in adulthood: to be more attuned and deliberate.

Life is not about us.  We get so caught up on the faces, because we get caught up on ourselves.  But the details matter a lot less than the pattern and principle belying the detail.

If you are drawn to chaos, then study the stimuli.  Recognize what draws you to destruction, what you believe, your draw to various sights and habits, and subject yourself to new stimuli with intentionality.  You create a new familiar.  If we subject ourselves to new things and change the specifics, but not the underlying pathology, nothing truly changes.  This is why patterns, not faces, matter far more.

Purpose:

There is no proving ourselves and no perfectionism in peace: Because life is not about us.  We are symbiotically tied to an environment, patterns of the past, and the people around us.  When we thrive, the environment for our children thrives.

We achieve because there is passion and purpose.  There is hope when you apply your talents to something greater than yourself, to strengthen the means we share.  Resentment and ambition remove accuracy, because now we are stuck on specifics.  There is no hope without principles.

Patterns are prolific, but there are no long-term gains to lack of truth.  We are in the information age:  It is our privilege that we can shed light on what matters efficiently.  We all have a part in this to work together to propagate all things that are true and beautiful.

2018 is a time for the orderly life.  Organized minimalism.

 

Prove All Things

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The older I get, the less sure I am of what I know, but the more sure I am of myself, because I know myself better.  Combing through childhood, the psychology behind being drawn to familiarity, and my personality strengths – they highlight limitations.

Limitations and common detriments are important to know.  This is why living in the information age is the best time to be alive, because we can sort through our thinking and examine ourselves and data more objectively.  We are working together to comb through what is real and what is helpful going forward.

When I accepted my limitations, I was able to gain focus and clarity.  When you’re a child, you don’t have airs about you, you are yourself in an unadulterated form, and so it provides extremely valuable information about who you have always been.

Projection:

For centuries till now, humans have explained whatever they didn’t know with projection.  They put their personality or perspective in the gaps of understanding.  The world appeared flat from our vantage point, so this was an accepted fact.  White light looked white, not a rainbow combining to one.  There were things we had no explanation for, so even if a theory sounded implausible, there was often nothing else with which to counter.

Most of us have simulated our own reality, twisting the truth to fit our pre-made value system.  A professor once said, “There is a lot of reality, and very little you, so you better make sure you’re on the side of it.”   Perfectionists detest reality, and so can be unable to bridge the roads to bring idealism to this world:  For an unhealthy perfectionist, impatience, anger, and control are paramount.  For the healthy perfectionist, patience and judiciousness emerge.  Maybe impatience and control produce results, but not long-term.  The long-term is on the side of reality.

Every person projects into the unknown to some degree.  This is why humans depend on what is articulated from another, because unless you are an almost exact mirror of another person in society, you will project your values into the other person’s needs or desires.  When we recognize that our words and gifts speak more about us than others, we see things more purely.

Belief:

I am drawn to people familiar to me, in either personality or upbringing.  I remember the day I lost my belief in systems.  There were many inconsistencies and injustices that I couldn’t defend.  It’s a devastating thing, to lose community and surety in a brief time period, and I’ve watched the effect it takes on others.  There is a lot of incentive to keep things as they are.  Nothing ever feels the same.  Childhood imprints upon us a taste for certain things, and those preferences largely stay to some degree.

I will always be hopeful.  In my bed at night, I always held hope that there was a God, and that he was wise and caring, that he’d allow Pat in.  Every person hopes differently and describes God differently, and I listen carefully because each person focuses on the text that resonates with their values.  I held out hope for the future, but I didn’t hold to the verses that I had enjoyed, the wisdom of the past, which was my mistake.

The systems I left didn’t strive for objectivity.  Most systems prioritize conclusion over all things – and there’s good reason for this: When you can cut research short, you receive confidence and productivity, which (1) was our greatest priority in the days before electricity for survival and (2) those that are most productive make the rules in societies.  What we lose for cutting research short is perspective, innovation, flexibility, and accuracy.

The information age challenges systems because the list of human biases and a great deal of knowledge is accessible, so bias is harder to stand by.

No peace in resentment, no wisdom:

Leaving systems behind was not an error, but my error was that I justified my resentment.  I was resentful of the people that abused these systems, the people that backed the reprehensible and inconsistent, the disregard for biases.  I projected my priorities onto those in control.

But there is nothing more deadly than an us versus them mentality since the history of man, because when we are on the defense, most things are justified, a level head is hard to keep, and a great deal of perspective is cut off.

I was reduced to instinct without an internal protocol to handle common circumstances.  When you lose courage, clarity and peace of mind are close behind.  Perhaps with integrity and introspection, peace can be found in the middle of any system, even.

I went back to the start, to my childhood and went through each premise separately, not tying them to a person or ideology.  When I put aside my pride, I could gather experience, draw from the past and all principles I’ve heard, to form a personal sustainable protocol.  I asked people for help and for direction.  In the end, every person has to go their way and defend their systems and choices, find the most objectivity they can find and test it against reality.

We don’t set millennials versus Baby Boomers, conservatives versus liberals, or thinkers versus feelers.  To prioritize only what we are takes the humanity and value from the individual.  Pride hampers growth, limiting us to solve problems in the ways we’ve always tried.  But without pride, there are lessons to learn from everyone and in every circumstance.

 

 

Stability

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Stability comes from detachment of outcomes.  To do our work with focus, and to let the results go where they may.  To love and let people be as they are.

When we do not expect, then inside we are unified.  We have accepted the dark and the light, we have accepted what is in the environment.  With a level head, we can commit our hands to doing a good job, our backs labor in peace.  We sleep.  We rise up to whatever comes our way.  People can be inspired in times of instability when they see equilibrium.

Time:

We have our time to mourn, our time to put our hand to the plow.  We pay our dues.  There are injustices, discomfort, and things fall apart.  We are moved to tears by beauty and loss, but there is no resistance to the emotion or resistance to what life doles.  We accept it as it is, and stability restores everything to its original condition.  Courage, honesty, and dedication step in to broker a better world and a safer reality, and cooperation feeds the soul.

The alternative is to control, and to be bound to everything in the external – validation, wealth, pleasure – but we are tossed around accordingly.  The only true things come from inside, and they give constancy and ballast.   They orient us toward all that we were made for, so that there are no elaborate plans.

In the holiday, may you be in the moment with your family, with your tasks, with your conversation, with your dress.  May you never focus on lack or what you want to get to, but live and realize what each moment offers.

Balance:

To move quickly is to miss the beauty of patience and interiority.  To get lost is to miss the ballast built from detail and hard work.

When I stand too close, the earth appears flat; but with distance from my own biases, everything gets clearer.

Peace In Earth

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I really recommend seeing Coco if you haven’t.  It’s a cartoon that touches on life and death, legacy, justice, cooperation, and accepting and understanding differing points of view, life as it is.

Peace is a subject that fascinates me more than any other subject because, without peace, the pleasure of a thing expires as quickly as it presents.  The absence of peace affects every dream, observation, and even accomplishment.

I used to read into things negatively, because I didn’t trust in life in general.  I trusted only my abilities, and so I lost many moments.  But a man divided against himself can’t stand, and my own mistrust generated an us vs them mentality on many subjects.  To be at war inside, is to be in defense mode, which is to generate an us vs them.

But the more that I lived in the future, or that I locked myself in my mind, the more peace I lost. Each experience acquired provided little benefit, and I was back to wanting before my body even returned back home. The lessons were few and far between, as was the joy; it was all there, but I was not.

But when I let go of expectations and resentment, there was unparalleled clarity and focus.  All the things that eluded were inside of me.  Abundance was in every moment, in every class.  New lessons, new chances.  It takes a lot to trust yourself, but a country at war cannot focus on other pursuits.  It consumes all of the taxes, all of the news cycle, all of the thoughts and literature.  So if we cannot find peace in ourselves, all other pursuits get overrun by the negativity we project and experience.

There is no chasing in peace.  Internal protocol matters, values matter, but excess does not.  What you have to live with inside for the rest of your life matters far more than what you have to live with outside.  Stability comes from the inside, because protocol grants consistency.

If I could have one thing, I would want no thing.  No expectations, no changes.  To do my work diligently, with precision and focus, to complete my work, and to take part in sharing with others.  Being at peace equips me best to take on and experience anything that comes my way.

All the things we go after — being loved for who we are, pleasure, security, capability, harmony, and depth of experience — we focus on all the things that hold these affairs back.  But if peace envelops, then we can see that all the things we were made for, come naturally once our mind accepts the moment as it is.  We were built for the things we long for.  They are inside of us, and we search for it outside.  But the fact that we orient for something shows us who we are, and that we don’t have to search anymore.

Black Friday: Shopping

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Black Friday is a day like most others, though with more excitement, spending, and anxiety for most people.  The holidays in general can wear some down for a myriad of reasons, but there is something to learn and to accept in every season.

In the US, it is the biggest shopping day, the most important day for many businesses, and an adventure for many shoppers – this is Black Friday in its best light.  In its worst, we see people trampled, rampant greed, and disregard for thought or consideration.

It is important to stray from an us vs them mentality.  It is important that we are aware of this trend in ourselves or in society because there is nothing more dangerous and corrosive.  To view people as an other starts with a divide in ourselves, in perfectionism or fear.  But if we come to peace with ourselves, we can be at peace with others.  Shine your light, but let others have their virtues.

Habits are not inherently bad of themselves, but they are warped and twisted through desire or lack of awareness, but honesty is our saving grace.

Questions:

The root of excess in shopping, like any addiction, is important to examine.  What do we derive from this habit?  When does it go past the point of benefit for us?   What drives our compulsion, what triggers?

Here are some ideas of what could drive negative shopping patterns:

1. Self-esteem. 

If you have a low view of yourself, but higher view of others, you may go after careers or novelty with determination, but none of things resolve what is inside or make you feel worthy.  None of those things matter after a while either, because the soul of man isn’t found in searching.  The further we get away from things that make us feel well, the less at peace we feel, and the more likely we are to keep searching.  We can shop and live with intentionality and with a focus on the pragmatic.

2. Image.

Image is important to most people.  This is because it takes effort to look past the surface, and we live in a visual culture.  Also, the surface is easier to alter than engrained patterns.  But a generous increase in beauty or packaging will not increase the quality of what truly matters in life, not even in relationships.  If that were so, supermodels would never divorce.   People are who they are.  It is a fallacy to equate beauty to quality, but rather, beauty is attached to opportunity, like education or any other societal focus.  But without peace inside, more opportunity means likely more mistakes — and with peace inside, there is nothing to prove.

3. Security.

If we have more of something, then for sure we will never lack and for sure we are less likely to hurt.  People will always need us more than we need them.  There are so many places to put fears, but nothing resolves fear except courage. The courage to be honest and objective, the courage to accept limitation.  Equanimity is the answer to setback; fear weakens our strength and misguides our aim.

4. Contentment.

A chasing of novelty, a feeling, or certain look, to maintain or control moods, has its root in discontent with how the moment is.  Our thoughts, technology, and fantasies move faster than life.  Combine that need for pace with an unstable childhood, then you get fluctuations of discontent and low self-esteem, ripe for marketing.  There is no extra human value in possessions or beauty, just attention.  Superficialities do not improve self-worth; it only improves the image guarding it.  You don’t have to prove or be anything, to warrant consideration or value.  You have value now.  How few can listen, be present, how few can care or practice humility.   There are so many things of great value to society that doesn’t require spending.  There are so many activities and pastimes to take part in, that don’t require a dollar.

5.  Dopamine.

To search and to find a prize is the part that serves.  The validation from having possessions or a certain look were addressed above, but the good feeling associated with finding is real.  It can be found in many other ways.  For me, being around green plants, getting sun, seeing a favorite clear item in my house, petting Pat, sitting on the table working on a new project, walking outdoors, encouraging others — there are so many ways to feel good, that we can afford to give up some of the habits that weigh on our health.  Peace of mind is greater.

Ultimately, a shopping dependency is an internal problem, and it can be resolved through being present, showing gratitude/meditating, building habits in line with internal values, and focusing on others.  When we get outside ourselves, we find ourselves.

Courage

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There is something beautiful about patience. It is a newer protocol to me. I am generally aggressive or impatient, and so it was for me to sit with others and trust that they will get to where they need to and know what is best for them.

There is great anger in perfectionism.  It disguises itself as passive aggressiveness or impatience, and that is why I had never detected it in me. We can focus on the pros – the organized life and clarity. However, honesty illuminated reality. Do we accept ourselves, the bad and the good?  How can we see others as a whole entity, if we do not?

A natural part of my personality will always wants to get back to the center, and I genuinely believe that the laws of reality favor truth. Good always prevails in the end.

Peace:

We can get distracted with the current divisiveness in politics, but this is only a mark in time.  There is the greatest simplicity in perspective.  Twenty years from now we will be focused on another matter, and we will rise to it. I want to understand others and to have the courage to stand up for another. I don’t see myself as an outsider nor as an arbiter of truth; elitism and self-indulgence comes in where “we” ends.

To be whole with myself enables me to not lose myself in the whole. There are still individuals within a we; when people have united internal resistance, when people are whole, they can allow imperfection also in others, so that each individual can breathe and trust their own judgment.  For all the wars I’ve raged inside, guilt or random indulgence placated.  But desire and need come back to require their due, mistakes and burdens are a part of the price we pay.  To err is human; to forgive our enemies will include forgiving ourselves as well.

We are both our greatest friend and enemy, and one cannot discard the other, only accept things as they come.  No man can ever be only bright.  Light and dark reference; the heart that beats goes up and down – it neither flatlines nor refuses blood.  We must allow things to flow through.

Courage:

Taking a stand is important mainly because it is a symbol in time that marks the way for me. If I don’t write something down or decide, it is not conscious reasoning. It gives me a way to justify all things.  Standing risks hypocrisy, but let our stances be for the right motivations: for the good of the whole, not for our pride.  Let us stand for simplicity in existence.

I have learned that the worst thing I can do is to want or expect people to act like me. Every man finds his own path and needs things at different times, and if I trust myself, I can trust others.

The mind races analytically and imagination soars so that the present can seem dull in comparison. But the more that I am within the present and within myself, the more the mind and imagination penetrate reality and rest in it.  There is courage in participation and being present.

Presence:

The dark goes with the light.  There are stories of heroism amidst adversity. There are stories of redemption amid genocide, where a man slaughtered a family, convinced he was doing what he had to.  The surviving daughter forgave and even befriended.  If we could see inside of people, the burdens they carry that came long before they, the dark and light inside us all, we would see.  When we forgive others, we can forgive ourselves.

Within the present, there is minimal clutter in thought.  There is peace in being grounded and light this holiday season.

When people are allowed to be real, there will always be imperfection.  A stone perfectly pure is rarely genuine.  There is an amber glow in good will and in differences.

Having principles is a light that guides my way, but let my first principle be love.