Focal Point

 

Taking a good picture with a manual camera requires forethought, patience and careful calibration. You choose what you take a picture of  – that is, you choose what you focus on.

You also choose what you focus to think about.  There is new scientific data that shows people who choose to meditate and/or think positively have increased plasticity of their brains. That is, they have strong external and internal networks in their brains. External networks light up when people think about external tasks and internal networks refer to matters that “involve themselves or emotions.”

Buddhist monks meditate and direct their minds to think compassionate thoughts and positive reflections. They purposely think this way.

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who ironically, suffered a brain hemorrhage. It (temporarily) disabled her ability for language and logic. With that, she was left with a dominant right hemisphere brain: creativity, intuition and imagination. She was happy. She was completely present and non-judgmental. All her thinking (and worrying) ceased. She had no negative thoughts! As her left brain recovered, she made up her mind (haha) to never go back. She chooses to think happy thoughts and to be blissful.

How do you do this?

Bolte Taylor says, “When you find yourself thinking negatively, it feels bad in your body. As soon as you feel it happening, think about something else!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting Pain

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No longer mine – can’t carry you anymore,

you’ll stumble, fall and eventually – soar,

As your path widens and grows long,

I realize how I was so very wrong

 

 

You take your steps while I watch

sometimes wincing

Your self-determination can be dreadful

yet entirely convincing

It’s fast becoming apparent

that your flubs and whims aren’t errant

You don’t own reasons for my heart breakin’

for I never “owned” you, in that, I was mistaken

My “Space” Experiment

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Octavian Rosca

We are all so busy with life: our work, family, and hobbies. My job is very noisy. I’m a teacher in an elementary/middle school and the hallways are filled with children yelling and laughing from very early morning until late afternoon. My students and I have lively discussions and then there are meetings after school. My fellow teacher (and friend!) and I are also sponsoring the school talent show – another boisterous endeavor.

When I get home, my husband and I discuss our day, my kids practice violin and tell us about their day. It’s all good, but…it’s challenging – to say the least – to get some quiet time. And I LOVE, love, love quiet time.

 

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Kristina Flour

In addition to walking my dog after work and walking in middle of the day, I have started mini-meditations. In mini-meditation, I focus on my breathing. This might last 60 seconds or three minutes. I also meditate for 8 minutes in the morning right after waking.

Eckhart Tolle suggests the mini-meditations throughout the day in order to incorporate it as part of your “real” life and not as a compartmentalized portion of one’s life.

It makes sense.

I’ve noticed that since I’ve started this practice of incorporating space into my day, I am experiencing spontanenous moments of peace within chaos. Where I used to feel anxious or stressed, I feel calm and centered.

 

 

The Non-Judgment Experiment

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Photo from Sebastian Spindler

 

Animals and Zen masters are the most peaceful living creatures. They don’t judge.

 

I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more judgmental than I’d like to be. And this tendency is a formidable block to inner peace.

I’m on a self-imposed challenge: stop judging people. First, I must be aware of when I judge. It’s strongest when I’m driving. Wow! Do I have very negative thoughts! The good news is that it’s completely impersonal. I don’t know these people.  But still…

Will you join me? Next time you’re in the company of one or more other people, notice your thoughts. Are you judging? Be aware. And then let it go. Don’t try to fight it. Just let it go. Just say to yourself, isn’t that interesting? My mind is judging. 

As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.

Gandhi

 

When you change, your world will change.

 

Losing “Everything”

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Ellen DeGeneres decided to come out of the closet in 1997. She was at the top of her game at the time, starring in her popular “The Ellen Show.”

Why did she take the risk? Because she felt it was important -and healthier – than living in fear or denial of who she really was. The “secret” made her feel as if she was wrong and she knew she was right.

So she came out as the real Ellen and then had her character come out on the show.

What happened?

She lost her show. No one would call her. She got no gigs.

Three years.

For three years, she was stripped of all the external factors of identity: no career or the benefits that come with it. Not only that, some of her previous fans berated her and judged her. Christian groups picketed her studio and mentioned God while acting very un-Christian. Studios wouldn’t touch her.

You realize who you really are when you don’t have anything. – Ellen

And then “Finding Dory” came along. Ellen also got her own new talk show. She’s immensely popular all over again. Only now, she has no secrets.

Does she regret coming out?

NOT AT ALL.

“It’s the best -because I’m free.

I’m completely able to be exactly who I am.”*

 

*http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/TV/2011/10/04/DeGeneres-doesnt-regret-coming-out-as-gay/74651317701340/