Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I’ve done many things in life simply because I believed it was expected.  In general, I have played by most of the rules and I have done the “right things”.  Much of my life I have been reasonably content even when my circumstances didn’t seem supportive of any contentment.  I think I was able to find some contentment in most circumstances because it generally doesn’t take much too please me and most of the time I am grateful for anything good that comes my way.  In the midst of my contentment I have experienced some truly joyful moments.  What I have not experienced in abundance is an overarching sense of happiness.  Perhaps my expectations of life and people have been too great.  There have been too many situations and circumstances in my life that were little more than tolerable to me.  Part of the problem is my own worldview.  I am a dreamer and a romantic and most of life is not dreamy or romantic.  Although I do not consider myself a poet, I tend to look at life with poetic eyes.  I know I am too sensitive.  Sometimes I wonder if I am even capable of being happy.  Many people would love the life I have.  I must admit, however, that the life I have was never the life I dreamed of having.  Getting married, having children, and living in a house with a white picket fence, was never a life I thought about when I was young.  It all seemed way too ordinary for a dreamer and a romantic like me.  What happiness I have experienced is due to me finding meaning and joy in unexpected moments and places.  I am grateful for my sensitive nature and discerning eye.  I call this “finding the extraordinary within the ordinary”.  I also think this is due to being a contemplative person.  In moments of spiritual wakefulness I am able to see past life’s disappointments and I can find meaning in my life.  However, there are those that think that if you have to look for meaning in your life, there probably isn’t any.  Some believe the meaning in your life should be obvious.  I know thoughts such as these are nothing but existential angst, a malady suffered by most people from time to time.  What about you?  How do you feel?  Are you happy with the life you have?  Is your life meaningful to you or are you constantly struggling to find meaning and purpose within it?  There has to be more to life than simply existing.     

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Chapters Of Our Lives

The chapters of our life stories can often be taken from the decades in which we have lived.  I was a child of the 50’s, a time many considered idyllic.  I came of age in the 60’s, a time that was turbulent and a time in which there were many substantial changes in our culture.  In the 70’s I got a job, married a wife, bought a house, and became a parent.  Most of the 80’s and 90’s were devoted to turning a job into a career and raising two boys into men.  In the early 2000’s life changed for all of us because of 9/11.  I also became a grandfather and I discovered I had a gift for writing and sharing feelings that many people have but cannot always articulate.  I am now in my 60’s and my aging seems accelerated even though I am trying to slow my life down by downshifting as much as I can.  I feel like I am on the other side of the mountain but I am OK with that.  While climbing up the mountain I feel I accumulated some wisdom and a little enlightenment.  Life has been a tall mountain so I am not sure how long it will take me to get to the bottom of it.  I am in no hurry because I am enjoying the ride now.  It’s much easier because it is all downhill.  Life is a journey and every step is important.  How would you measure your life so far?  What are the chapters of your life?  Is the peak of your mountain in front of you or must you look over your shoulder to see it?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Be Alive And Awake

Here’s something I once read from a book called Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.
We try to be in touch with life and look deeply as we drink our tea, walk, sit down, or arrange flowers.  The secret of the success is that you are really yourself, and when you are really yourself, you can encounter life in the present moment.
Today I want all of you to really be who you are.  Along with being who you are I want you to be where you are and I want you to do what you are doing.  This might all sound simple but it is not.  Most people are not who they really are.  Most of us are trying to be who we think we need to be to impress or appease others.  Most of us are not where we are.  Our minds and bodies are rarely in the same place.  Whatever most of us are doing, we are probably thinking about what we need to do next.  Many of our lives demand multi-tasking and that really complicates things.  In today’s world it is very challenging to only do one thing at a time.  Wherever you are today, and whatever you are doing each moment, be there and do it.  If you’re drinking your coffee, tea, or soda, really drink it.  Know that you are drinking it.  When you have a snack or eat your lunch, know that you are doing it.  Taste your food, enjoy it’s flavor, and mindfully chew it.  If you are outside, and there is a breeze, feel the wind.  Today is going to be a nice day so it will be a simple task to feel the sun.  Simply put, live your life today and enjoy every minute of the day.  Be alive and awake.     

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Six Essentials For A Happy Life

Why are some people happy and others not?  First of all, it is a choice.  Some people choose to be happy despite what goes on around them and to them.  Others think they can't be happy until everything is perfect in their lives.  Many more tend to see the glass as half empty rather than half full or over flowing.  It's all a matter of choice and perspective.  I do think it helps to have a balanced life.  Here are some things that I think are important.  Every individual must work out how to have and balance these things in their life.  For me, they represent the essentials of a happy, balanced, and fulfilling life. 
Six Essentials of a Balanced and Happy Life by Michael Brown
Mind.  Develop your intellect.  Read a book.  Learn a new skill.  Be open to new things.  If you don't use it, you lose it.  Rediscover the enthusiasm and curiosity you had as child to learn and discover new things.
Body.  Practice wellness.  Begin to live a healthy life now.  Take care of your body.  It is your vehicle through life.  Some people take better care of their cars than their own bodies.  Don't wait till the damage is done.
Spirit.   Be in touch with something bigger than yourself.  Have a belief system of spiritual and philosophical teachings as well as a personal code of ethics based on your moral consciousness.  Being part of a faith community works for some but not for others.  You can still explore the teachings of the great spiritual and philosophical masters.  If nothing else, the golden rule works for everyone.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.   Practice the religion of kindness, compassion and tolerance.    
Work.  Give work what it needs and requires.  However, being a workaholic and working hard are not the same thing.  Look for work that is satisfying, not only to your bank account, but to your spirit.  Work is one of the ways we can share in the creative process of life.  Elevate it, in whatever way you can, to something more than just a mundane routine.
Family.  Being part of a family who loves you is one of life's greatest gifts.  Appreciate it.  Strive to make those in your families feel appreciated and loved.  Celebrate your family bonds!  Remember, too, that family can extend beyond bloodlines.  Develop friendships that are sustainable and long lasting. 
Self.  Take time for yourself.  Balance time with others by also spending some time in solitude.  Be alone with your own thoughts occasionally.  Be your own best friend.  Enjoy your own company.  When you look in the mirror know who you are seeing.
Give all of these things time in your life.  Too much or too little of any of them creates an imbalance which can be a source of stress for many people.  When our life is in balance and when we are at ease with ourselves and life, we will often realize that happiness is right in front of us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's OK To Feel Your Feelings

The difference between grief and joy is what we do with them.  Grief we push away.  Joy we try to hold on to.  When we refuse our grief, it stays.  When we try to control our joy, it leaves.  That’s the way these processes are.
-Ann Wilson Schaef
I have not experienced a lot of grief in my life.  Yes, people have died in my life but for most of them it was their time and I was able to accept it.  A big exception to this was the death of a dear friend a couple of years ago that was both sudden and unexpected.  I am still grieving that loss.  Of course, grief is about more than accepting and dealing with the deaths of people.  There are many kinds of losses in our lives.  It could be the end of a relationship or a job.  In some ways I have lost my children because they are now adults with lives of their own.  They are no longer the little boys who used to fight with me and beat me up in the middle of my living room floor.  I have also lost my youth and must accept that I am not the man I was at age thirty.  On a positive note I think I am a better man although one with considerably less physical abilities.  I have been blessed to experience more joy in my life than sorrow.  The temptation of joy is the desire to re-create the situation that gave us joy.  I am thinking of a past solitary moment, early on a cool autumn morning, when I sat on the side of a hill, while the sun rose over a lake and the light was shining through the trees and burning the mist from the lake’s surface.  It was one of my contemplative, Zen moments and I experienced what some psychologists call “flow.”  This is the experience of being so in the moment that you transcend time and space and are truly in the now.  On a different day I could plan such a moment and feel nothing.  The joy of the initial experience was a gift, not a reward.  I did nothing to earn it.  It just happened.  Does this make sense?  As people we are deeply emotional beings whether we realize it or not.  Some of us embrace our feelings while others of us repress them.  I tend to do a little of both.  It’s easy to embrace joy or love but I tend to repress feelings like anger.  Sooner or later repressed feelings will make themselves known.  Often they show up as physical ailments like headaches or depression.  I guess my advice would be to feel your feelings.  It’s wonderful to jump for joy but it’s also OK to feel angry once in a while.  It’s all about balance.  I’m not sure it’s possible to be happy, joyful, and upbeat every minute of the day.  To be honest, people like that wear me out.  However, if you are angry and negative all the time, you might want to work on that.  It’s not normal or healthy and it is exhausting to people around you.  All the different types of feelings we experience are part of being human.  A more difficult concept to understand is that we are not our feelings.  I have always read that we are not our personalities.  I must admit that I often wonder who I am if I am not my personality or my feelings.      

Monday, September 21, 2015

When To Speak, When To Shut Up

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time and place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment”.
-Lady Dorothy Neville
I usually don’t get in too much trouble but when I do it is often because of something I said.  There are other times when the events around me challenge me to speak up and I remain silent.  More than once my wife has advised me to shut up.  I can’t actually quote her word for word but most of you can imagine how she said it.  Other times I have been chastised by people who said things like “Michael, I expected you to have more to say”.  In my defense I think I have gotten a little wiser as I have gotten older.  The end of my tongue is now square from all the times I’ve bitten it off to keep myself from speaking.  Knowing when to speak and when to shut up is a delicate skill.  There are times that we should speak.  We may need to give solace to another person with a kind and consoling word.  We may need to speak up against an injustice or to provide counsel to someone.  On the other hand, words can be hurtful or inappropriate.  Listening is almost always better than speaking and the whole world doesn’t need to hear our opinions about everything.  You know what they say about opinions.  One of the older monks at the monastery where I lived as a young man once said, “I’m come to the realization that almost nothing is any of my business”.  Another danger of speaking is falling into the dangerous quagmire of gossip.  Few of us have not fallen into that trap at least once.  I wish I had the discipline to only speak when my words made the world a better place or they gave another person encouragement or comfort.  I wish my mouth will automatically shut when my words spread gossip, hurt another person, or did not improve on silence.  The next time you speak ask yourself if you words are building up the world around you or if they are tearing it down.     

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mindful Eating

When was the last time you practiced mindfulness while eating?  Recent news articles lamented the loss of the “lunch hour” for many of today’s worker’s.  Everyone thinks they are too busy to eat.  I think among some management people the need for a break or lunch is seen as a sign of weakness or lack of dedication.  Baloney!  I don’t care who you are or what you do, your life would be better served by taking occasional breaks along with a mindful lunch where you actually taste you food and enjoy the experience.  I am not talking about a rushed trip through the McDonald’s Drive Thru and a quick consumption of your Chicken McNuggets as you drive back to the office.  I am talking about taking the time to be totally present to yourself and your food.  I am talking about a relaxed and mindful time where you can be one with your meal.  You can smell it’s aroma, feel it’s texture, and taste it’s flavors in an unhurried and relaxing manner.  Today I challenge you to pay attention to whatever you eat.  Think about what you are eating.  Where did it come from?  If you are eating a piece of fruit think about the farmer who grew it.  Say a blessing for the person who picked it.  Remember the truck driver who delivered it to your local market.  Remember that many people worked so that you can have this food.  Most of all, be thankful and grateful that you have something to eat.  Many people in this world will not eat today.

Changing Landscapes

In my city they are building two new bridges between Kentucky and Indiana.   Along with thousands of other people I am affected by the massive construction going on in the downtown area.  The entire landscape is changing to the point where once familiar roads seem totally new and foreign to me.  As I was driving into work this week all of this made me reflect on the constantly changing landscape of our lives.  The world into which I was born in the early 1950’s no longer exists.  I have lived through a great deal of change in my life involving the world at large, our American culture, my lifestyle, and the continuous evolution of the workplace.  The first ten years I worked at Humana there was no such thing as the internet or Microsoft.  I think Freud was correct in his assessment that life is based on the survival of the fittest.  Anyone who cannot change and adapt gets left behind.  Life is never static.  Life involves continuous change and movement.  If you do not willingly move with life, life will move you anyway.  Although I am not really what I consider a go with the flow guy, I have learned to move with the ebb and flow of life.  The trick is being centered within yourself and finding balance.  One must flow with life without being tossed about like an empty bottle in the middle of the ocean.  The world and life is always changing and it will continue to do so.  You need to move and flow and adapt with it.  I am occasionally nostalgic for my past and sometimes I dream of an ideal future but I also know all I have is the present moment and it is changing as I write these words.  Soon the changing landscape of the downtown area will become the new normal, at least until it changes again.  Now that I think about it I remember when everything was in flux back in the 60’s when they build the interchanges between I-71, I-65, and I-64, which many of us affectionately refer to as “Spaghetti Junction”. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bringing Some Calm Into Your Life

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t want a calm life and a peaceful mind.  It is possible to have a calm life, at least inside oneself, but you will never have a totally peaceful mind.  You can create calming rituals in your life to help you be centered.  You can get up a little earlier to enjoy the morning quiet and prevent yourself from having to rush to wherever you need to be.  You can take breaks throughout your day to sit quietly and re-connect with your inner self.  When you get home and your chores are done, you can take a hot bath, or maybe sit outside and enjoy nature in your backyard.  Having a peaceful mind is more challenging.  Your mind never rests or takes a break.  Your mind often feeds your ego and that is rarely a good thing.  In my mind I sometimes have thoughts I do not want.  In my mind I sometimes obsess over small things until they seem to loom large.  When I try to be quiet my mind creates noise.  When I try to be still, my mind tells me I should be busy.  All is not lost.  In the middle of whatever calming rituals that work for you, you can also temporarily distract your mind by choosing to not think.  I do this by focusing on my breath.  Our breath is life.  I meditate by intentionally paying attention to my breath as I breathe in through my nose and I exhale through my mouth.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I am assuming you are breathing.  Pay attention to your breath and you can bring some calm into your life.         

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Personal Enclosures

Monasteries have something called an enclosure.  In some cases this is an actual wall that separates the monastery from everything outside the monastery.  At least in the past, when a man or a woman entered a monastery, the attitude was that they were leaving the world behind.  In a sense, the wall, or enclosure, was a metaphorical and physical way to be separated from the world.  In today’s highly technical world this has become much more challenging because there are now computers in the monastery as well as a more open attitude to "The World".  We can all have some version of an enclosure in our lives.  We can decide, most of the time, who and what we allow to enter our personal enclosures.  For example, I struggle on a regular basis whether or not I should watch the news, especially the local news.  It seems to be totally filled with negative stories about murders, robberies, serial killers, scams, or many other real and imaginary dangers to our lives.  I find it all quite depressing.  I want to be informed but I don’t want to allow all that negative energy into my life.  Imagine that your five senses, especially your sight and your hearing are like open windows to your home.  Do you want everything to have access to your home?  Do you want everything to be able to just fly in whenever it wants?  Probably not.  That’s why most people have screens on their windows.  You want the fresh air but you want to screen out the insects and other things that the wind might carry in.  So, make sure your screens are in good condition.  Build yourself a personal enclosure wall to keep out those people and things that bring negativity and unhappiness into your life. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Peace In Every Step

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!
These words are from a book I once read called Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh who is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.  The book is about practicing mindfulness in everyday life.  One passage I read was about how we all think too much.  For most of us our minds have a never ending tape loop that plays over and over.  Much of what we think about is not worth the time and a great number of our thoughts are negative.  By focusing on our breath, we can reduce the amount of time wasted on unnecessary and potentially negative thinking.  Realistically, we cannot stop all thinking.  Many of life’s daily tasks require some level of intellectual activity.  However, I give you this challenge.  Today, when you are not involved in a task that requires you to think, don’t think.  Between your tasks that require thinking, focus on your breath and enjoy the stillness that it will bring.  If you choose to have a cup of coffee or tea during these moments, smell the aroma of the coffee or tea, pay attention to the taste of your coffee or tea, and finally, enjoy it in a very mindful way.  For those few moments let your attention be on your breathing and the experience of your drink.  Such intentional focus is what mindfulness is all about.

Monday, September 14, 2015

It Will All Be Perfect In The End

“In the end everything will be perfect.  If it’s not perfect now it’s because the end is not here yet”.
This is a line from a wonderful movie I once saw called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  It’s the story of a random group of senior citizens who decide to retire in India.  Admittedly I may have identified with the characters because I am older.  However, I think the movie has a message for everyone regardless of their age.  The message I took from the movie is this.  You are never too old to find yourself.  In the movie the different characters come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences.  None of them have any idea what to expect from moving to India.  The “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is in many ways a dump that has been highly over rated on its website.  Everyone seemed apprehensive when they first arrived.  There was the obvious culture shock.  Eventually all but one settled into their new home and culture.  By jumping into the flow of life in India, and not resisting it or fighting it, they came to a new self-awareness.  The movie reminded me that all of life is a journey and the journey is the destination.  It also reminded me that most of us have no idea where the journey will take us.  The important thing is to enjoy the journey, be open to all of life’s possibilities, and when the journey is over, everything will be perfect.  If your life is not perfect yet, your journey is not over.        

Friday, September 11, 2015

How Much Are You Willing To Pay For What You Want?

The price of everything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
-Henry David Thoreau
If you are depressed you are living in the past.  If you are anxious you are living in the future.  If you are at peace you are living in the present.
Lao-Tzu is a Chinese philosopher and Henry David Thoreau is one of my favorite thinkers and writers.  Whenever I read any of their stuff they are usually right on the money.  This particular Lao-Tzu quote ties in well with all my previous thoughts about mindfulness.  How many of us are depressed or unhappy because we compare our current life to a romanticized ideal of how great we thought our life used to be?  How many of us fail to see what’s really good in our current life because every waking minute we are daydreaming about some life we wish we had and we’re worrying about whether or not we will ever achieve it?  We spend too much time thinking life used to be great or it could be great if only things were different.  When we are truly present to the eternal Now I believe we see things differently.  Part of being mindful is noticing things.  When we are living in the past or dreaming of the future we are not likely to be noticing the good realities of the present.  I once read a quote of unknown origin that went “These are the good old days”.  Remember that today used to be the future and soon it will be the past.  Where you are now is where you will always be in the sense that only the present truly exists.  Notice the present and be at peace.  Thoreau reminds us that everything in life has a price.  Do you want to be the most successful person at Humana?  OK, go for it.  However, there is a price.  Do you want to be well educated and have an impressive degree?  OK, but there is a price.  Do you want to be single or have a spouse and family?  OK but both have a price.  Do you want to run the street, howl at the moon, and abuse your body?  OK but there is a price.  All of our choices, good and bad, have a price.  Each person has to decide what amount of life you are willing to pay for whatever choices you make.    

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Elimination Of Non Essentials

Beside the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
Most of us spend much of our lives performing all kinds of tasks that we believe must be done.  I’ve come to the conclusion that much of what we do is either the result of our own personal agendas or the agendas of others.  Think of all the things you do.  If you died today would someone else assume your tasks?  If you stopped doing some of the things you do, would anyone notice?  Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist and author of the “Hierarchy of Needs” made a statement once that “80% of all work is BS”.  How many of you reading this think that many of your work related tasks have no real value?  The above quote, however, is not just about the non-value added tasks that too many of us perform.  I think it is also about discerning, not only what is essential or non-essential, but what needs our involvement and what does not.  We human beings want to control and manipulate everything to suit our needs.  The damage we have inflicted on our planet is proof of this.  There are way too many control freaks and micro-managers in life and not enough people of wisdom whose desire is to influence and not to manipulate.  Life is not a competitive sport.  We don’t have to control or beat everything.  Certainly there are essential tasks of daily life that must be completed.  However, much of our activity is just self-created busy work or the demands of someone’s else’s agenda.  The universe knows what is essential and what is not and I’m pretty sure the universe can manage itself without our ego-centric agendas.  Some things we need to do, some things we need to influence, some things we need to let be, and some things we need to simply ignore.      

Monday, September 07, 2015

You're Fine The Way You Are

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have been told our entire lives that we aren't good enough.  Our life has been filled with messages telling us that we are inadequate and imperfect.  Most of the messages were unintentional but real never the less.  They have been from our parents, our teachers, our spouses, our significant others, our children, our relatives, our friends, and our employers.  We don't measure up, we disappoint, or we don't meet someone else's standards.  I, too, have heard these messages my entire life.  A friend once recommended a book to me that I finally read.  I would have read it sooner but I am imperfect and lazy so it took me a while to get to it.  As you can see we often give ourselves these negative messages too.  They don't always come from others.  Our biggest critic is often ourselves.  Anyway.....the name of the book is "Regardless of What You Were Taught to Believe.....There is Nothing Wrong With You" by Cheri Huber.  It is sub-titled "Going Beyond Self-Hate, A Compassionate Process for Learning to Accept Yourself Exactly as You Are".  The book begins with a list of the messages all of us received in our early childhoods.  I was amazed how many I had heard, how many I said to my own children, and how many I have even said to my granddaughter who I love more than anything in the world.  According to psychologists most of these messages are set in concrete before we reach age seven.  I know this may all sound terribly negative but it is not meant to be.  Consider it an eye opener and a wakeup call to stop listening to the voices around you.  Today is the day to start loving yourself.  Quit trying to improve yourself.  Quit thinking you're inadequate.  Quit thinking you're imperfect.  You're perfect the way you are.   

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Does Nothing Else Happen?

Two Buddhist monks are sitting side by side while meditating on the side of a river.  The older and wiser monk finally says to the younger monk, who has a look of dismay on his face, “Nothing else happens.  This is it.”
If you are like me, then you surely sometimes wonder to yourself, “Is this it?  Does nothing else happen”?  Much of my life’s journey I have been on a quest to find meaning in my life.  More often than not I do not feel successful.  Sometimes I wonder if I am searching for something that is simply not there.  Too often I feel like life is a treadmill and I’m getting nowhere.  Is it possible that this is it and nothing else happens?  Is my life nothing more than a revolving door with me doing nothing but coming to work, going home, falling asleep on my couch, waking up so I can go to bed, and then beginning the whole process over again the next morning?  This is what my life often feels like.  I want to believe I make a difference but do I?  Occasionally I feel passionate but more often than not I feel like I have lost my mojo and that I am turning into a grumpy old man.  The constant search for meaning can be exhausting.  After originally writing these thoughts I got home one day and waiting for me was an email from a friend containing an article that she said reminded her of some of my previous thoughts.  It was an article that talked about three major phases of life.  The first and longest is the time we devote to accumulating wealth and material well-being.  The second is the accumulation of spiritual things, i.e., gurus, seminars, retreats, and mystical experiences.  The third phase is called divestment.  You stop shopping for enlightenment and you make peace with not knowing.  You make peace with life and accept that life is not a question to be answered or a problem to be solved but a gift to be enjoyed.  I think I am now in this third phase.  I need to relax in my “not knowing” and simply enjoy life as it unfolds.       

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Endless Loops

I once stayed in a resort that was definitely geared towards younger people.  Most days the party started around noon…after all the young people slept off their hangovers from the night before…and it was usually going strong after I gone to bed.  One particular day was “Rave” day.  There was a DJ who played endless loops of dance music with thumping bass lines that sometimes rattled your insides.  I dug it the first few hours but after about six hours I would have liked to hear some Chicago blues.  The repetitive nature of the dance music made me think about the repetitive nature of our lives with the seemingly endless loops of our behavior and thinking.  It is difficult for most of us to break out of routines and to think differently.  We often feel locked into our patterns of behavior.  I receive a daily thought each day based on my personality.  One thought I have received several times challenges me to act the opposite of how I normally act.  Instead of always trying to sugar coat everything, perhaps I need to be more blunt and to the point.  Instead of acting passively, perhaps I need to be more assertive.  Instead of trying to be invisible, perhaps I need to put myself out there more often.  Instead of biting my tongue, perhaps I need to speak out.  Do you get the point?  Our lives can be endless loops of the same old song.  Occasionally we need to change the beat of our lives and create some new and fresh harmonies.       

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


The final element, or habit, of mindfulness is acceptance.  In this scenario, acceptance is defined as  “completely accepting the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and beliefs that you have and understanding that they are simply those things only”. 
Today we finish my thoughts on mindfulness.  When it’s all said and done, mindfulness is accepting reality as it is with patience, without judging, and with a child-like “Beginner’s Mind”.  It is also trusting  in our personal ability to deal with the moment, allowing life to unfold as it will by non-striving, and finally, accepting it for what it is.  Whatever our individual moments add up to be, for most of us they are not the moments we probably dreamed of in our youth.  I’ve often felt like most of my life was an accident.  The life I have is not really the life I wanted.  It is, however, the life I have.  Just because the life I have is not the realization of my early dreams does not mean it’s all bad.  I strive to not see anything as good or bad .  My life is what it is and many twists and turns brought me to this point.  I can mourn the fact that it’s not everything I hoped for or I can accept it and strive to better understand why I am where I am and what I am supposed to do with what I have been given.  Such acceptance does not come easy and I am not totally there.  However, even my feelings must be accepted as “they are what they are”.