Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In This Time of Uncertainty

In this chaotic and unsure moment of presidential power versus constitutionality and the guarantee that the United States is a nation of laws and not men I've thought a good deal about mindfulness and nonattachment. How do they fit in? Where is their place? How do we use them to make sense of, and employ them as a protest of the current situation? In my thinking I realized I've been operating under the notion that mindfulness and nonattachment equate passivity. They are not a surrender to events or a retreat into the self as protection against the elements. Much to the contrary. Mindfulness is not appeasement. Nonattachment is not indifference. They are weapons against fear that cannot be crippled by executive order. They cannot be barred at airport entry gates. They cannot be taken in the night be jack-booted thugs. They cannot be legislated away by a woefully ignorant, chickenhearted political party. Mindfulness and nonattachment are larger and more powerful than the pettiness of ego and narcissism. For these reasons they must be employed to their fullest potential now more than ever.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Detractor

When you set a goal for yourself stop and notice those around you. There will be those that give you unwavering support and encouragement. Then there are the skeptics. The naysayers. The ones who are telling you what you can't do. Telling you what you're trying to accomplish is too big, too complicated. Telling you to play it safe, telling you what you shouldn't do. Look closer. What are they doing? Are they working hard at something like you are? No? Imagine that...

Our Inner Voice

Sometimes our inner voice speaks to us with such cruelty and debilitating criticism. We are our own worst critic. We are pointed out to ourselves all the flaws, real and imagined, that no one else would ever notice. We are relentless in our critical and painful self talk. We speak to ourselves in ways we would never allow others to speak to us. When we become more aware of this, however, we have an opportunity. An opportunity to change the inner dialog. To be our own biggest fan instead of our own harshest judge. 

Monday, January 9, 2017


I realized a powerful truth this morning. Procrastination is an extension of, or another form of fear. When we procrastinate we're letting our fear of that thing take us over. Procrastination is very shenpa-based. Much of what I put off has its roots in fear. When we stop fearing we stop procrastinating.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Russian Nesting Dolls of Worrying What Others Think

Over the past year and a half I've been undergoing major changes and awakenings, embracing my better, truer, and happier self. This is a process that began about ten years ago. A process that I have come to understand as not one with a destination, but one that is an ongoing journey. In the various reading I do on and offline I always come across one point that makes every "How To Be Happier" list. That is: stop worrying about what others think of you. 

Easy to say. Easy to understand. Not so easy to do. I've always been aware of the people pleaser inside me. Someone so concerned with what everyone else wanted and needed. Someone so worried about what everyone else would think that I put my own desires and happinesses aside so they wouldn't be inconvenienced. Guess who was the one that always wound up unhappy and feeling unfulfilled? Through some deep introspection and rigorous honesty from the above mentioned journey, I know and understand where that desire comes from, and why I'm so concerned with what others think of me. That's a story for perhaps another posting, however.

What is important, and curious to me, is how deeply-rooted that worry about what others think of me was/is. It was easy to recognize the glaring, immediate ones. What if they don't like the dinner I prepared? What will people think of the sweater I'm wearing? What if he doesn't like the movie I suggested we see? Behind all of those questions was a fear of being rejected, not being liked, people being angry with me. 

As I progressed in my journey of self-discovery and understanding, I came across deeper, more subtle, and dare I say sneaky places where the fear of what others thought of me resided. Recently I decided to make a career change. I was burnt out and unhappy in my current field and wanted to move to something more fulfilling. Something more worthwhile. When I decided on what it would be I began taking college courses to fulfill my goal. All along, however, I felt a sheepishness, a sense of humiliation, an embarrassment about it. What would people think about me changing careers? He couldn't hack it in his current profession so he's running away. I worried what people would think if I took to long at the gym. Worried what my partner would think if I brought home the wrong kind of coffee creamer. Scared what people would think if I moved the date of a get together. It was constant and deep. I came to realize most everything I did had behind it the guilt and terror of what would people think. It was what I like to call the Russian Nesting Doll Syndrome. Open one and there's another. Open that one and there's another. Open that one and there's another still. And on and on it goes, never ending.

Each day I uncover some new area where I find my thinking has been subtly twisted by this fear of what others may think of me. It perplexes me and intrigues me. Its tentacles have reached almost every aspect of my life. The difference today is that I have stopped allowing myself to be hostage to that way of thinking. Recognition, understanding, and the ability to look into these places with honesty and openness, unafraid of what I will find strips these places of their hold on me. 

Quotes by two people come to mind. My friend Dan who says, "I can honestly say what other people think of me hasn't been a consideration of mine for years. Who cares? Many of them don't even know what to do with their own lives, let alone mine." And Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely advises, "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do." 

I must agree with those philosophies. With conscious effort, mindfulness, nonattachment, and an honest desire to find out more about myself, my journey will be an adventurous one for sure. 

Monday, January 2, 2017


I think some people confuse letting go, going with the flow, and being open to the opportunities that come our way with doing nothing. I know I was at one time. Lying on the sofa all day wondering why things haven't happened for us is not enough. There is always preparatory footwork to be done. That is an important part of the being open and being ready process.