Seize the Alive Time*

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Ryan Holiday recommends seizing the “alive time.” You know, the moment in front of you – the only one that counts. Look into the eyes of the person speaking to you, don’t check your phone when at lunch with others.

Alive time.

“Face fears. Reach out and connect with someone. Do something you’ve been putting off. Expose ourselves to sunlight and nature. Be still and empty. Prepare for what lies ahead. Or just live because who knows how much time we have left.”

Ryan Holiday

Today, educators from all over Arizona are marching from Chase Field to the Capitol. We are working to create change. Change is uncomfortable. It’s not easy. But it’s necessary and unavoidable.

 

I march for Lily, who wants to be a teacher someday.

I march for my students, who deserve resources to learn and become critical thinkers and productive adults in our society.

I march for myself and my peers who deserve to have resources to get our jobs done and to feed our families.

I march for education which is the only antidote to discrimination, violence and inhumanity.

 

 

*9th Habit from From Ryan Holiday’s blog “13 Habits You Should Adopt Every Single Day” (Thought Catalog)

No Mud, No Lotus

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“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”

THICH NHAT HANH

Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that we are so afraid of facing our suffering (worrying, anger, despair, fears, loneliness) that we go look for something to eat, or drink or watch TV. And many people do all of those at the same time. Even if there is nothing interesting or satisfying to watch, we are afraid to turn the television off, because then we will be left to face our suffering.

But it is necessary to face it.

It makes you stronger.

It makes you lighter.

It leads to happiness and nothing else will.

Frenemy

 

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Photo by Yuriy Bogdanov

 

If you make “friends” with your fears and “problems,” then everything will be peaceful and you’ll be truly happy. This is easier than you think: You just need to have an open mind and try.

 

 

 

The 101 South

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photo by Taste for Life

My daughters are participating in a summer violin camp for 9 days. It’s a 30 minute drive on the 202 West to the 101 South. I’m always on the 202, but haven’t had to drive the 101 South much. I don’t like it. Drivers speed and change lanes quickly. They all know where they’re going and they’ll ride up on you if you hesitate for even a second.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn’t sleep for over an hour. I was thinking of the 101. But this time, I remembered something.

Seven years ago, I had to take the 101 South to a high school twice a week, after work. I was completing my M.A, in Educational Leadership and I was in a night class. I had just been diagnosed with early stage I breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy. I was determined to finish the degree. So I drove to my class with tubes coming out of my chest. The tubes drained excess fluids where the tumors used to be. My chest was tightly bandaged and no one in my class knew what was underneath my shirt.

So my fear of this route was not so much the traffic, but old memories. The fear of infection, disfigurement, recurrent cancer… I had those thoughts during my drive. I mourned my life pre-cancer. Here is a post from that time.

My insomnia occurred on the seventh anniversary of my radical mastectomy.

Driving today, I felt much better. The apprehension was gone. Sometimes, just identifying the cause of one’s jitters and meeting it with compassion (not over-analysis or sentiment) can be enough to overcome it.

 

 

 

 

 

Terms and Conditions

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When you buy a new cell phone with service or sign up with WordPress, you have to sign a contract called “Terms and Conditions” regarding use. Basically, you agree to a set of rules and guidelines in order to use the app/website/service. What they don’t say is that they want to make clear the limits of your use. If you go over certain minutes, a fee is charged. If you call across state lines, another fee. If you don’t pay on time…you get the picture.

As you live your life, you have your own set of Terms and Conditions. There are things you won’t do (most of us won’t risk prison in order to steal groceries). And there are things you will do (work a steady 9 to 5 for a paycheck instead of pursuing your dream of entrepreneurship). You have set limits in how you live your life. Some are important, but others may require re-thinking.

Your life, as it is now, is what you’ve chosen.

It’s an amalgam of your life circumstances and your choices, certainly.  But your decisions have been the forks of your life which led you here.

You might argue. You may deny.

But it’s true. And the first step in making things better is to take responsibility for your actions. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Secondly, be grateful. You are fortunate. If you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet. When you live in a state of gratitude, you’re more likely to attract positivity.

Thirdly, be aware that YOU set the Terms and Conditions of your life.

Don’t like your job? Leave. But, I have to pay the bills….I didn’t get a college degree.

Excuses.

Your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse is abusive? Leave. But I’m afraid…I don’t want to be alone.

Get over it. (And really, you’d rather be with someone who calls you names than be alone?)

What are the Terms and Conditions of your life? Are any of them limiting you?