mindfulness doesn't mean what I thought it did

Somewhere along the line, I picked up the idea that it was good to pay attention to my thoughts. I now suspect that was a misunderstanding.

It's recently come to my attention that some problems cannot be solved by thinking them through. And that more often than not, my thoughts are NOT my friends. This is probably not true for everyone, of course. I'm sure that plenty of people have figured out how to use their minds in a more effective way than I have thus far. But it's quite clear to me at this time that I definitely do not need to add any additional fuel to my mental fire by paying more attention to what is going on up there.

I don't need to be more mindful, I need to be more body-full. While my attention is spinning in my head, there's no awareness monitoring the situation below my neck. So I don't notice that I am slouching and can barely catch a full breath. I don't realize that my stomach is contracting painfully because I haven't eaten in many hours. I don't feel that my neck desperately wants to stretch.

So today I started a new experiment: fasting from thoughts. Which means that unless I am actually using my brain for a task, I'm not letting it do any thinking. As soon as I notice I am pursuing something mentally, I gently tell myself to Settle, and immediately place my attention on whichever parts of my body are in contact with the ground, and sink my weight down into them.

I think I logged about a thousand settle utterances before noon. But I am feeling much calmer and clearer already. I ate when I was hungry. I walked slowly enough so that I could feel each step on the bottom of my feet. And I liked it.

I notice this is much easier to do when I am alone, and I imagine it will take a while to maintain it while interacting with others. Which is no problem. I've got the rest of my life to practice.

up, up and away

a dear friend of mine gave me a tremendous gift when he shared his vision of me the other day.

He said I'm like a passenger riding in a hot air balloon. If someone were to ask me where I am going in life, I'd point in whichever direction the wind is blowing at that moment.

If asked again in five minutes, I may shrug and point in a different direction if the wind has shifted. But what remains constant is that I pay close attention to whatever territory I am floating above, and document it in great detail.

I find great comfort in that visual. It feels right on, and it's really awesome to have friends who understand me so deeply. I have no idea where I am going in life, but I feel pretty safe and secure in my little floating basket. I sure do enjoy the scenery most of the time. Writing my travelogue brings me boundless pleasure. I seem to be drawn to document the mental and emotional landscape, at least for now.

And since I never really seem to land, I spose a destination isn't actually all that important anyway.

As I was thinking about this on my morning walk today, I came around a corner, and guess what I saw in the sky?


she didn't buy it

seems like this whole 'it's not about me' concept has hit the mainstream.
check out this fascinating article from the New York Times:

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.


twenty responses to unsolicited advice

I created this list to help me deal with comments that I consider to be opinions but the other party considers to be facts. For example, while I am enjoying a cookie, a well meaning friend might announce, "Too much sugar causes diabetes."

I happen to believe that there are multiple causative factors beneath illnesses, including thoughts, beliefs, and expectations. So instead of explaining that I don't believe it's that simple, and trying to launch a discussion about the many potential non-physical root causes of disease, I might try saying something from my list:

I'd be curious to hear about your personal experience with that concept.

Thank you, and I'm gonna change the subject now.

Thank you, and I will give that some thought.

I agree that it may be one of the contributing factors.

I am sure that is indeed one piece of a rather complicated puzzle.

That's probably true in some cases.

Sounds like you are really passionate about nutrition.

I appreciate that you want to share what you learn with me.

I don't know what to say to that.


That's one way to look at it.

Could be.

Well, I tend to have rather unconventional opinions about things like that.

We may need to agree to disagree on that point.

Hopefully you can respect my right to take a different perspective.

That interpretation does not resonate with me, but thanks for sharing it.

Thanks, and if I want to hear more about that, I'll be sure to ask you.

Is this something you want to discuss, or did you just want to let me know your thoughts?

Sounds like you believe sugar is damaging to the body.

Sounds like you take a strong interest in health and nutrition.

If you have some other responses to add to the list, please let me know! It's a work in progress.