All posts tagged: mindfulness

Week 45 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Habit vs. Addiction

Do you know the difference between good habits, bad habits, and addictions?  It’s easy to tell the difference between good habits and addictions, but not so easy to distinguish between good habits and bad habits.  Nor is it easy to draw the line between bad habits and addictions.  Also, why is it that one person’s good habit is another person’s bad habit?  How is it that some people become addicted to anything (the so-called “addictive personality”), while other people could drop a sugar habit, or even a cocaine habit, almost one day to the next? 

We can’t sort out all these questions in one blog post, but we can learn enough to start to evaluate our own habits.  By doing so, we make a conscious effort to improve our unconscious behaviors!

Week 44 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Seasons

It’s nearly November. The fall gusts carry brilliant fluttering leaves and the sun barely peeks over the horizon at five o’clock.  We mentally prepare ourselves for the fast-approaching winter by vocalizing our bewilderment at the cool temperatures – “Can you believe how cold it is?” and “Wasn’t it summer just last week?”  The feigned surprise makes it seem as if we expected summer to last into December.

Whether you’re looking forward to cooler temperatures or not, the change in seasons is an opportunity to think deeply about life.  Are all seasons of life equally enjoyable?

Can you Be Present AND plan for the Future?

Pop-culture’s Enlightenment Error “Happiness is only achievable in the present moment.” “To be present you must put aside thoughts of the past and future.” “Just breathe, trust, let it go and see what happens.” Statements about being present are multiplying as quickly as smoothie shops.  Mindfulness websites, motivational wallpapers, and Instagram captions recycle and repurpose ancient wisdom into naïve platitudes that briefly catch our attention as we scroll our lives away.  Quotes paired with photos of smiling yogis, poised on mountain tops, implant into our minds the idea that happy, enlightened people spend life sitting cross-legged, ignoring responsibilities, and breathing – nary a thought of the future and certainly no planning necessary. Somehow they blissfully and serendipitously sashay through life, free of career goals, relationship goals, or worry about what to cook for the kids tonight. Undoubtedly, compared to neurotic fretting, this carefree notion of being present is helpful.  If you’ve totally lost control of your environment and your emotions – you really messed up big time – well then, jettisoning any thoughts of the past or future …

Week 5 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: NOW

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week the topic is challenging because you’ll need to focus on the internal behaviours and observe your thoughts! But the hard work will pay off because it’s a step towards greater mental well-being. Challenge accepted? This week’s question topic: NOW When I was growing up, my dad’s desk had a paper on it that said: Do what you are doing. As a child, I never understood that quote.  I always thought, of course I’m doing what I’m doing! Now that I’m older I realize the depth of the instruction to focus your mental energy on what you’re doing.  It’s a command not to be carried away by thoughts about yourself, your goals, desired outcomes and future problems.  It’s also a command to stop remixing thoughts and judgments about the past.  Basically, make sure your mind is singularly involved in doing what you are doing now.  Now is selfless.  It is the contribution of your authentic being, a gift to the world. The …

Life Lessons At the Xerox Machine

A lesson for self-acceptance from an unlikely place Yesterday at work I walked by a co-worker who was having some difficulty with a new printing system that had recently been installed. She sighed and explained to me that I was lucky since I was new and didn’t know the old system at all. She was used to doing things the old way and, therefore, had to break old habits at the same time as learn the new ones. I, on the other hand, merely need to add a new habit. I thought to myself, “How profound this idea would be, if applied to daily life.”  How can we cease to struggle with habits? Is there a way to change our mindset to live in the freshness of each moment and thereby become excited for change?  Do we need habits? Any advantages? Habit is an essential part of human existence.  Our muscles and minds are habit-forming machines. In fact, if you didn’t have an “autopilot” for most daily tasks, you’d be overwhelmed within hours. You’d likely spend so …