Quote

Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement — when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life — you won’t enjoy any of it.

Sam Harris — Waking Up

Murrmurrs: Unexpected Fabulous Objects

If you really want to be joyful, you need to be surprised, often. And to do this, you really need to go outside. There’s only so much astonishment you can manufacture for yourself if you’re in your house or (worse) in your head all the time. You might come up with something unexpected in your refrigerator, but if you thought about it, you’d realize you should have seen it coming the moment you stuck that thing in the used yogurt container and shoved it toward the back. But if you’re outside, paying even a modicum of attention, something is bound to slap you happy.

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What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

Portion of the US Declaration of Independence - they got a lot done without the help of keyboards and inkjet printers.

Portion of the US Declaration of Independence – they got a lot done without the help of keyboards and inkjet printers.

My-wife-the-shrink has always maintained that journaling and other handwritten work sticks with us longer, and accesses more memories and deeper thoughts than working on a keyboard.  My own efforts at journaling, which I’ve done for more than fifty years, bear that out.  When I’ve tried to keep electronic journals I’ve been more prolific, but they tend to be more superficial and I tire of keeping them.  The satisfaction of handwriting in a book, however, continues to charm and inform me. 

Now studies of children utilizing brain imaging technology bear out that theory.  In addition, it turns out that keyboarding, cursive writing, and printing each activate different portions of the brain, with cursive having the most effect.  Given the learning and other cognitive disabilities associated with addiction, particularly in those who begin to use at an early age, this could be applicable to rehabilitation.

This is a fascinating article, and a good argument for keeping cursive in the curriculum despite the supposed advantages of teaching printing only.

Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.

When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.

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Rowboat

One of my favorite Buddhist teachings was given by the late Charlotte Joko Beck in her wonderful book “Everyday Zen”. It goes something like this.

Boat fog

Imagine that you live by a lake, and you have a rowboat. You’ve just repaired and repainted it, and you’re really pleased with the job. There’s a fog on the lake the morning after a stormy night, and you decide to row out and enjoy the quiet, surrounded by nothing but the mist and the water.

So you’re rowing along, and then scraaaape, you run into something, and you realize it is another boat. You know your paint job that you’re so proud of is messed up! You’re ready to give the other boater a piece of your mind when you realize that the other boat is empty. Looking closer, you see that there is a rope dragging from the bow, and you realize that the boat must have broken loose from its mooring during last night’s storm. Continue reading

The Iron Masque


Masque
[mask, mahsk]: a form of aristocratic entertainment
in the16th and 17th Centuries…elaborate productions
delivered by amateur and professional actors.
Dictionary.com

Addicts are actors. We hesitate to reveal who we really are because we are ashamed, and we develop an act that we perform for the rest of the world.  Friends and family think they know who we are, and initially it may be that a bit of the “real” us peeks through, but addiction changes that.  Every addict is an actor, and we each star in our own masque. The difference is that actors are most proficient at the ends of their careers; we aren’t.

the-iron-mask_2292919As our addictions progress and we become more enmeshed with the substance or behavior,  the circumstances force our masks to harden.  We become secretive to protect our addictions, and often try to hide it with “sincerity” or grandiose gestures.  We make up legends to explain who we are, and why we behave a certain way.  As we do so, we draw farther and farther away from everyone else’s reality, and into a world of our own.  Rarely does the sun shine in, and neither do we shine out.

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