Thursday, March 04, 2010

Awesome Things Volume VII

Doing nothing. Last Sunday I had a rare opportunity to do absolutely nothing. I took advantage of this opportunity and spent most of the day sitting in my chair looking out my window. Most of our lives, even our personal lives, are spent under pressure to be productive, always doing something, spending every waking hour working on a never ending to do list. Beside those things that demand attention, there seems to also be never ending list of tasks or things we want to do that don't really need to be done. We are restless and hyper. Even I am a driven person. My reputation as a laid back and passive person isn't totally true. I have an overactive mind. I, too, struggle with being still, being quiet, and simply being. Yesterday I overcame my restlessness and accomplished nothing. I am very proud of myself.

Taking a day off from your normal routine. I took Tuesday off from work. It wasn't exactly a vacation day in the sense that I got to sleep in and lay on the couch all day watching old movies. I still got up early, waited for the cable guy, took my car to the dealer for a minor repair, got a haircut, and visited my 80 year old mother. Still, even with the busyness, it was a good day. It good to sometimes break your routine and have a day that different from the majority of your days. I am a creature of habit so routine is a big thing in my life. Routine can be boring but it's also the safety net of middle aged forgetfulness. Now what was I doing before I started typing this?

Seeing the reality around us. We've all heard the expression, "That person doesn't have a clue". Hopefully, none of us are "that person". I found the following thought in a book of Chinese philosophy: "All that we experience is subjective. There is no sensation without interpretation. We create the world and ourselves; only when we stop do we see the truth". The world we create in our minds and the opinions we have about it are not necessarily reality. It is difficult to see true reality through the filters and prejudices we all have. I've always liked the statement, "It is what it is". Unfortunately, what we think we see is not always what is. To see "reality", we need clarity of vision and this is tough to have all the time. When you have such a moment, it's called an epiphany. An epiphany is a sudden insight, a moment of awareness, a sense of clarity. The lens that most of us look through are cloudy and so is our perception of reality. Why do you think we disagree so much?

Mindfulness. What is Zen? What is mindfulness? Books have been written about these things but it all boils down to this: Mindfulness is being where you are and doing what you are doing. It is being in the moment. Most of the time our minds and our bodies are not in the same place. The practice of mindfulness is an attempt to unite our mind with our body. Being where you are and doing what you are doing is not as easy as it sounds. Yesterday on the way to work I missed two turns because my mind was in a different place and time zone than my body. Mindfulness is challenging in a world that demands multitasking. Most of us probably have at least a touch of attention deficit disorder. Today's challenge is to be where you are, doing what you are doing.

My granddaughter's imagination. Chloe thinks my wife and I have a magic closet in our house. Why? Well, if we know she is coming over we will put a small gift in the closet. As soon as she gets in my house she immediately runs to the closet to see "what's in the magic closet". Are we spoiling this child? You bet your life we are. She's my only grandchild and she lights up my life. A small and inexpensive gift in a "magic closet" is a small price to pay for the happiness she gives me.

Taking a walk outside on a beautiful day. We got sunshine today! As I walked around the park outside my office I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face and my shadow accompanied me most of the way. The sky was deep blue and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. Lately the days have been cold and gray and overcast. The sunlight was rejuvenating.

The cheesy biscuits I ate tonight at Red Lobster. The shrimp scampi and stuffed flounder weren't too bad either!

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