1. Boxes

I have always been good at putting things in boxes – be it the stress or anger I am feeling, some kind of guilt or shame, or even grief. I have developed an excellent ability to put my feelings into a metaphorical box in my head, and soldier on. I think I learnt how to do this from a young age and I will most likely write about that another day, but what I learnt was, on the surface, it can work really well.

I appeared to be unflappable, dependable, together – but actually I was just the guy who didn’t really deal with things AT ALL. The problem with that is, after a while, those boxes get pretty jam packed with all the crap you are shoving in there, and they explode. And when that happens, you best not be standing anywhere near, because shit gets crazy.

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34. Don’t Stop

From www.freepix.com
From http://www.freepix.com

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

33. One Of Those Days

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Today has been one of those days.

Something else in life has just become that much more uncertain. However, I am doing my best to keep focused on the things that are certain so this doesn’t rattle me and get me down.

My go-to thought process is worst case scenario, but who knows what could happen. It could end up being a good thing.

Life. Is. Interesting.

31. New yoga workout

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I found this Yoga DVD – The Biggest Loser Workout – Weight Loss Yoga, and it is really cool

First off is a 27 minute regular yoga workout. I would say it is a beginners yoga work out because after having done my other beginners routine, I found I was pretty able to do this one without too many issues.

Then there is a 17 minute yoga and pilates workout.

To finish off there is a 20 minute yoga/weights (just small dumb-bells) workout.

You could do all three in one one-hour workout or spread them out through the day.

What I like about this DVD is the people in the DVD are ex-contestants of the Biggest Loser and are not all stick thin or professional athletes. Sometime they over-balance or need to be corrected on how they are doing something, plus they show how you could do an easier version of the workout if you aren’t ready for the more complex/challenging version.

I like the idea of combining yoga and weightloss, so I am pretty pleased with this find.

30. 10% Happier – Chapter 6 Part 2

First of all, pretty crazy that I have made it to 30 blog posts – gold star for me.

From www.amazon.com
From http://www.amazon.com

The rest of Chapter Six was more of Harris educating himself on meditation and mindfulness.

  • Two job opportunities came up, and the first thing he did was come up with all of the worst case scenarios.
    • As I have said before, this is my go-to response to uncertainty. But I am learning the need to combat that.
  • He had a job interview for these two new roles, but was given no certainty about the outcome. Harris saw this uncertainty as a good chance to practice mindfulness. He was still struggling with the idea of not focusing fully on his uncertainties, because he still had a belief that looking at a problem from every angle could give him some kind of edge. At the same time, he also realised that continued worrying could give him a mental breakdown
  • Harris Booked himself into a 3 day Buddhist conference
    • Mark Epstein was one of the speakers
    • Talked about the power of negative thinking, that examining the negative thoughts and being mindful of them could be liberating
    • Another of the speakers Tara Brach spoke about a technique of Mindfulness with the acronym RAIN:
      • R: Recognise
      • A: Allow
      • I: Investigate
      • N: Non-identification
    • So for Harris’ job offer situation, recognize meant to acknowledge his feelings and allow meant to let it be, or let it go. Investigate was to think about how the feelings are affecting the body e.g. hot face, fast beating heart, sweat. Lastly, non-identification meant realising that the feelings of fear or worry were passing states of mind, not forever parts of personality.
  • He met again with Mark Epstein and he talked about the idea of responding (after being mindful), not reacting (mindlessness) to situations and people.
  • Epstein suggested that he went on a ten-day silent retreat to practice meditation, because mindfulness was a skill that could improve with time. He recommended that he went to a retreat with a teacher called Joseph Goldstein (this retreat was so popular that they had a lottery system).
  • Around the same time he found out he hadn’t got one of the two jobs, and that it was uncertain when he would find out about the second job.

So this chapter finishes with the scenario where Harris has got into the 10 day retreat, and is in a state of uncertainty with his future job prospects (he calls it purgatory).

I am really enjoying reading this book because I find that certain things I am thinking and discovering are very similar to the journey that Harris is on. My blog post 29 fits in really well with the ideas that Harris is grappling with at this part of the book. Sometimes it is just refreshing and calming to know that someone else out there is going through similar things as you.

29: Certain versus Uncertain

Certainty

Today I got some good news to do with a situation I had been worrying about.

In hindsight, I can now see that there was no need to worry about it, because it worked the way I thought it probably would anyway.

It is a good reminder that I need to focus on what is certain instead of concerning myself with a bunch of “what if?” scenarios.

It comes back to the idea of mindfulness and being present in the moment. If I am walking down the road and fully present in my moment of walking, and what I am seeing, hearing and experience, I am focused on certainty. If I walk down the road focused on my worries about potential possibilities in the future, I am not only focused on uncertainty, but I am wasting the present.