Apr 01

Versatile Blogger Nomination

Well, after four days of fun, fellowship, education, and spiritual growth with my Scottish Rite brethren, I decided to get caught up on my blog reading. Much to my surprise, two of my favorite blogs nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is a real treat for me because I absolutely love both of the blogs that nominated me.

I was nominated by:

A Second Cup– This is a wonderfully refreshing blog, where the author mixes various musings and insights into eclectic and humorous posts about life spiritual practices. I really enjoy reading this blog over my first (and sometimes second, or third, or fourth…) cup of coffee, and it never fails to make me smile and/or provide me with material to reflect upon.

Zen Being– This is a great blog which applies Buddhist teachings and practices to every day life. I always enjoy reading this blog, and I find the author’s insights to be extremely helpful and meaningful. This blog has continually helped me to continue striving to live in the now, and simply “be”.

Part of the nomination involves naming 7 blogs that I enjoy, other than the ones that recommended me, thus nominating them for this award: Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 19

Rain and the Flow of Life

Photo by: Malene Thyssen

April Rain Song:

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night –
And I love the rain.

– Langston Hughes (1902-1967).

I have always loved the sound of rain, which is probably why I love spring in Oklahoma, and wistfully wish that I lived someplace like Washington State, where it rains almost all year long. Unfortunately, those of us in Oklahoma have been suffering through the worst drought since the famous “Dust Bowl” period. Luckily, today we have been blessed by several hours of hard steady rain. The rain and occasional thunderclap have added a wonderful soundtrack to my workday, as I finish up some discovery responses in a legal case that I am working on. I have also enjoyed the fresh and clean smell of nature as the various plants outside of my office window open up to receive the rain.

During lunch I replied to a series of emails from a reader asking for advice on how to deal with the spiritual and emotional highs and lows of life. My advice to her was, as I have stated several times on previous posts, is to simply learn to go with the flow of life. I always, half jokingly, tell people to watch “The Big Lebowski“, and try to be more like Jeff Bridges’ character “The Dude”, because no matter the situation, The Dude abides. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 12

Imperfectly Perfect

“We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence.” – Shunryu Suzuki

Life has continued to be very hectic for me in the past few weeks, and my hectic schedule was made more difficult by a Rhumatoid Arthritis flare that struck me last week. Between the stress, pain, and crap-mood inducing steroids, I really struggled to stay “tuned-in”. When I would try to meditate, catch up on some reading, or even just take some quiet time to reflect, I found myself being distracted by joint pain, or miffed about something, or a combination thereof.

Saturday morning, it was cool and rainy, but for the first time in about a week, I felt well enough to actually get up and walk around without a tremendous amount of pain. Luckily, the rain took a long enough break, that I was able to take my old corvette for a little joy ride. As I was driving, just as I did several weeks ago during a particularly hectic work week, I ran through a quick emotional and physical checklist, and quickly figured out that I really needed to “snap out of it”. Even if I was in pain, even if I was in a bad mood (drug induced or not), I needed to still strive to be the best person I could be, rather than simple wallow in negativity. After all, negativity doesn’t help yourself, or anyone around you.

As I was driving I began to look around my old Corvette and notice some of its minor character flaws. While my Corvette is no museum piece, it is in really good shape for a 37 year old sports car (most sports cars are driven into the ground… literally). However, the old girl has some faded spots, some cracks, some squeaks, etc. (I can relate). However, it has been recently restored, and almost all of these things would go wholly unnoticed by anyone other than myself. In the same way, we each have minor character flaws, many of which we keep deeply hidden, so as to put our best face out into the world, even if we are full of turmoil inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 28

Make Today Meaningful

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”- H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

Too often I find myself falling into the “just get it over with” mentality trap. Usually this occurs on Mondays, or whenever I have a daunting project/task to accomplish. The problem with this mentality is that it pulls me out of living in the now, it causes me to not enjoy the present moment, and the wonderful experience of actually “living”.

When I fall into this mentality I basically go on auto pilot, which allows negative (counter-productive) thoughts and emotions to gain a foothold in my psyche. Once this begins to occur, it is easy to allow those negative thoughts and emotions to snowball into a myriad of negative mental states. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 13

Lessons from my Taoist Masters

Suzie (black) and Willie (Yellow)

I live with two Taoist masters, yes two, they are my two dogs, Willie and Suzie. Now then, before you click away thinking I have lost my mind, let me explain. :)

One of Taoism’s central goals is to live in harmony with the natural flow of the universe (known as the Tao, hence where the religion gets its name). One of the central concepts ofthe fluid and harmonious philosophy of Taoism is reflected in the essential Taoist concept of Wu Wei (action without action). Wu Wei is best described as effortless action, or acting without acting. While this may seem paradoxical, it simply means acting in accordance with the natural flow of the universe. For example: a stream flows without having to consciously act to flow, heavenly bodies revolve and orbit throughout the universe without any conscious action on their part, even plants and animals grow without having to consciously undertake actions to grow. Therefore, the key to Wu Wei is to simply act in accordance with nature; in other words, act when it’s appropriate, and refrain from acting when it’s inappropriate, basically learn to go with the flow of life. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 23

The Power of Positive Thinking

My son loves going for rides in my old Corvette.

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.   ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

Well, I have already blown one of my New Years resolutions, which was to write a post a week. Well, sometimes life just happens, and that’s okay. I have had an extremely hectic past few weeks, and this week looks like more of the same. One thing that I have had to constantly remind myself over and over again during the hectic past few weeks has been to simply, “stay positive”. Staying positive is relatively simple, yet it has profoundly positive effects on our moods, emotions, and overall quality of life, because it helps you to make the best out of life and enjoy your present moment (living in the now).

If you stop and think about it, our moods and emotions (feelings) are largely governed by our thoughts. For example, when you are stressed out about something, you are probably running a constant stream of thoughts through your mind involving the cause of the stress (stressor). Also, if you are angry with someone, you are likewise probably running a stream of thoughts through your mind reminding yourself of all the ways you have been wronged, and how you are justifiably angry. Even negative feelings towards our jobs and relationships are governed by our thoughts towards the relationship or situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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