if you expect nothing then you can never be disappointed
the sun doesn’t always shine
Yesterday, once upon a time, my life was complicated. So many things were on my mind and I had so many extreme and conflicted feelings that I struggled to find peace and balance. I was impulsive yet indecisive. I had bursts of intense energy followed by doubt, lethargy, and procrastination. Although I didn’t know it everything was leading to better outcomes for me. It was alien to me, but all I needed was a little patience, and the insight to take a couple of simple steps to get me onto a better life path.
The first step I needed to take was to use my charm and diplomacy as much as possible ~ no matter how bad, negative, and angry I felt inside. No matter how defensive and threatened I felt by people close to me I had to avoid saying and doing things that would come back to haunt me later. I had to learn to compromise my black and white thinking, especially with those closest to me and whom I cared for.
Black and white thinking took me down the path of wanting and needing 100% of my desires and expectations. Yet when if I could but find a way to compromise greater harmony and contentment was there for me. My heart may have strong desires, but oft-times I needed to tame my expectations. I was demanding affection, admiration, love, and respect from people who were resistant to giving it to me ~ because of the way I was.
I also needed to uncover and nurture my deeper internal wisdom, to learn how to face my demons and extreme psychological conflict, to resolve the constant confrontations between the different parts of my psyche. I am not bipolar, but I do suffer from violent, vicious, and fast mood swings. If you’ve ever been there you know how hard that makes even the simplest things in life ~ like holding a normal conversation.
I needed to learn to pause before I reacted to my extreme feelings, and before I acted upon my negative thoughts. I knew I had to always weigh up all the options and come to some sensible next step in my life. I needed always to act coolly and unhurriedly with care and consideration for others.
In my life there have been heartaches and pain, and sometimes I didn’t know if I could face the unfriendly day again. Yet, I have been able to change myself, and in changing myself the rest of the world has changed around me.
Some say that I have to be true to myself. And that I have to learn to love myself before I can possibly love another. All I know is that being a really cool and self-confident guy doesn’t work for me every single damn day.
sometimes it even snows in New Mexico
Be where you are, not where you think you should be.
My post earlier today was about rain ~ sort of. Doing yoga in the warm summer rain is uplifting. Yoga in the foothills of the Himalayas must be even more so.
Yoga is a 5,000 years old form of exercise that is focused on strength, flexibility, breathing, and mindfulness to boost physical and mental health and wellness. Yoga is safe, effective, and beneficial ~ especially when it comes to increasing your strength, flexibility, balance, and inner peace. Yoga tends to improve posture, and far too many people slouch these days, up to and including me, at times. There is strong evidence that regular yoga has a positive impact on people who suffer with high blood pressure, cardio-vascular diseases, arthritis, migraines, IBS, fibromyalgia, sundry aches and pains, lack of mobility, depression, and anxieties. I just find that spending time every day doing a little man-type yoga makes me feel better.
Scientific studies on the physical benefits of yoga show that it helps to alleviate the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis, but, the symptoms of arthritis can make some yoga positions difficult and painful in themselves. However, whatever yoga one can do helps improve the arthritis sufferer’s range of movement, and strengthens the muscles around painful joints. Those with the autoimmune disease of rheumatoid arthritis also benefit from yoga ~ there will be improvements in overall physical health, walking, energy levels, mood, and reduced pain.
The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. ~ Natalie Nevins, M.D.
The physical benefits of yoga include:
- increased flexibility
- increased muscle strength and tone
- much improved posture
- prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
- improved bone density
- helps the lymphatic system and boosts immunity
- helps to fight cancer
- better breathing, energy, and vitality
- better balanced metabolism
- better weight control
- improved cardio-vascular health
- reduces high blood pressure
- improved athletic and sexual performance
- protection from injury
There is also strong evidence that shows regular yoga practice leads to an increase in serotonin, and a natural decrease in monoamine oxidase. What this means is that we feel happier, more positive, more energised, and are less likely to suffer from depression. For me, happier is good.
Some say that yoga is just for girls and metrosexual guys. And, that we should all get a grip and concentrate on everyday life. All I know is that everyday life isn’t everything.
how long to capture that shot?
it doesn’t really matter,
in meditative Yoga time is immaterial.
It’s not a short term diet ~ it’s a long term lifestyle change
I’ve been spending a little time thinking about leading a healthier life ~ well you do when you get to a certain age. Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, meditation, reading self-improvement books, listening to inspirational podcasts, and eating the ‘right’ foods. The snag is there are as many ideas about what constitutes a healthy diet as there are diets.
However, for me eating better means cutting out a lot of fat, being as gluten-free as I can manage, and not eating dairy ~ I’m slightly lactose intolerant anyway. Instead of those things I’m not going to eat I’m planning on a lot more organic fruits and vegetables. Ergo, today’s recipes are kind of leaning towards the long term lifestyle change I’m working on.
One benefit of the healthy eating plan I’m working towards is that, in general, the recipes are very easy.
First up this week, from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have this easy cucumber salad, and you can’t get a simpler recipe than this one.
Easy Cucumber Salad
Next, from Heidi at Foodie Crush we have this great recipe for the best BBQ chicken ~ chicken is firmly part of my healthier lifestyle.
The Best BBQ Chicken
There’s gluten-free, and there’s not eating anything made from wheat, and then there’s the fact that sometimes you’ve just got to have pasta. This slow roasted tomato basil pasta is as healthy as pasta can get ~ from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats. Personally, I will be using gluten-free pasta ~ gluten is nasty stuff.
Slow Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this cool recipe for a corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad ~ this is such a quick recipe, and as I said sometimes one just has to have pasta.
Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad
This is a fabulous dish from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb; one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus ~ and it doesn’t get any better than that.
One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus
Oily fish is an important part of a healthy eating lifestyle, and from Delish we have 45 healthy salmon recipes, including this brilliant foil pack grilled salmon with lemony asparagus ~ it seems that lemon is good for you.
Foil Pack Grilled Salmon with Lemony Asparagus
canned and processed food is not part of a healthier lifestyle
Putting your happiness in the hands of others is a short road to misery
Far too many men beat their brains out trying to change the world so that things are the way they want them to be. In particular far too many men try to get a particular woman to love them, like them, want them, fuck them ~ and one thing men should learn is that you can never, ever, get a woman to do anything she doesn’t already want to do. If a particular woman friend of yours is just a friend, then that’s probably what she is always going to be, and the chances of you getting her to be anything else are exactly zero.
Men should stop worrying about things they cannot control. It’s a total and utter waste of energy, effort, and probably money. Men should focus their energies, effort, and cash on things they can influence ~ and they should learn what it is they can change, and what they have absolutely no control over. It’s astonishing how much time guys spend trying to change what they cannot change, and they then waste more time complaining about their woes, probably over a drink or two.
The answer is obvious, guys should simply focus on what is under their control and influence.
It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilised. ~ Wayne Dyer
Deciding what is, and what is not controllable is difficult. Harder still when you have strong feelings about what isn’t happening to your liking. Even harder when a woman is involved. But, do guys really want to waste their precious time focusing on the wrong things? Trying to change something, or someone you have no influence over whatsoever is a long downhill road to unhappiness.
The big problem is that to decide what you can and cannot do means first of all taking a long, hard, and honest look at yourself. Few guys want to go there. But, if you want to be happy then first of all start with yourself. If you can’t get a date, stop complaining about it and take a look in the mirror. Almost every single man on this planet can improve his look, his manners, his conversation, and his charm.
True happiness comes first of all from within. Change yourself for the better and the world will change around you.
Some say that they just never get a break. And that if only people would do what I wanted, then I could be happy. All I know is that I’ve stopped worrying about things I cannot control.
real men have the courage to take a long, hard, and honest look at themselves
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.
I’m in trouble, my soul is in distress, and it’s only bravado that’s keeping me sane and sober.
Every day is a winding road, and we can never know what the end of the day and the end of the road will bring. The future and the destination are both uncertain, and sometimes all a man can do is to keep on going on. And, it seems to me that the real man doesn’t give up, just because the going gets really tough. As Churchill said sometimes we just have to ‘keep buggering on…..’
My past few years have had lots of ups and downs, but it seems that today I have really hit rock bottom, and there is no booze involved ~ I am stone cold sober. In fact I have passed through sobriety to the desolate slough of despond that lies beyond. Taking a drink would only solve the problem in so far as it would help me to forget my worries for a while. In reality, taking a drink would compound and multiply my real and perceived problems ~ and that’s not a good plan.
For a while I’ve been working towards being a better man, more worthy on body, mind, and spirit But, worthy for whom? It seems that I’ve been striving to be better every day, not just for myself, but also for someone I cared for. Trying to be the better guy for someone else is incredibly false, and it set me up for a fall. Your Goddess will never be perfect, and that presupposes that your ideal of perfection has some ultimate truth.
So, from now on I will still go on quietly working to be the superior man; in body, mind, spirit, and achievements. However, from now on I shall be doing this for myself, and never again to please another. No more lists, no more plans, just living each day to the fullest.
The strong are considered weak, and the weak are considered strong, that’s the way of the world, but it’s not the way of the spirit.
Some say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And that real character is to live each day as if it was your last. All I know is that I don’t want to live another day feeling like this.
don’t make a list
do something real instead
Don’t practice until you get it right; practice until you can’t get it wrong.
Most of the time we do what we do without even thinking about it ~ and maybe the best example is driving. We get in the car, turn on the engine, buckle up, put it in gear, and head out into traffic, towards our destination ~ and the whole process is automatic. It wasn’t always like that. When we were first learning to drive we consciously thought about every movement of our hands, feet, eyes….. However, once we could actually drive, had our licence and everything, the process of driving was handed over to our subconscious mind ~ we drive without conscious thought.
In fact, 95% of everything we do we do automatically, without conscious thought, relying on our subconscious mind to run our lives. Living consciously, living mindfully, is actually an effort. Our subconscious mind is far more powerful than our consciousness will ever be.
The snag is, all our subconscious mind is made up of is a set of programs, and when we drive we play the ‘driving program’. If we can play a sport well; say golf, then when we hit a golf ball we are using the ‘golf program’. And, if we are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, casual sex, then when we engage in those self-destructive activities we are merely using the automatic ‘alcoholic / addict / gambler program’. Remember 95% of everything we do is controlled by our subconscious mind which is merely using a set of pre-programmed routines.
The bigger snag is that most of the programs in our subconsciousness were put there before we were about seven years of age ~ some of them while we were still in the womb. The young mind is like a sponge, it will soak up everything, without having the ability to differentiate between good, bad, and useless. This is why we often act like our parents, older siblings, teachers, and other carers ~ no matter if that’s good, bad, or useless.
The adult mind is not like a sponge ~ it’s more like a fortress. To get a new belief in there is incredibly difficult. I have a drink problem. Consciously I can easily stay away from booze, but when my subconscious mind is in control I want to get blasted. And, it’s no use my saying to myself; ‘stay sober….’ because I’m trying to talk to my subconscious mind ~ and there’s nobody there. My subconsciousness is just a set of programs ~ I may as well try and talk to a bottle of booze.
There are only two ways to connect to my subconscious mind, and both are fairly difficult.
The first is to go back to the childhood mind-state, and in an adult that means entering the Theta State, which only happens naturally twice a day ~ when we are almost asleep at night, and when we are almost awake in the morning. If you know how, then you can use self-hypnosis at those times to connect to your subconscious mind and change the programs in there.
The second way to change the programs in my subconscious mind is through what Dr. Bruce Lipton calls ‘habituation’, which is just a posh way of saying a lot of practice. Remember learning to drive? You did it over and over again until you didn’t ever get it wrong. If you want a new subconscious program, then you have to consciously practice that new program, over and over again until you don’t ever get it wrong.
How long did it take you to really learn to drive? In Europe, where it’s really hard to be a driver, months maybe. Or how long before you got good at your chosen sport? Years maybe.
And they are easy programs. Something complicated like changing a complex subconscious behaviour such as an addiction ~ well it will take a while. Reprogramming yourself isn’t ever going to be easy.
In 12-step programs they have a mantra; ‘fake it to make it’. Try your desired behaviours for a year or so and see what you can really do to change your mind.
just thinking is mostly pointless
we have to get off our arse and do something
If what you’re doing isn’t working, then change what you’re doing.
Time is short, make the most of every day you have.
Sometimes it takes a shock to your system before you realise that things aren’t working. Sometimes you could be aware for years and years that your life just isn’t quite right. As it goes, I’ve had both of those things forcibly tell me that what I’ve been doing, the life I’ve been living, isn’t really working for me, nor anyone else either.
What I want, need, and desire to to lose my feelings of existential dread. To remain calm and grounded in the face of adversity. To be more considerate, more self-aware, and self-reliant. To be less judgemental, and not so angry. To have the strength to defeat my fears and rise up to any challenge. To stop running away from myself, my thoughts and feelings, to stop going crazy and hiding at the bottom of a bottle of booze.
Snag is, to make those deep changes within myself would usually take months or years of counselling, or a good while in a retreat / rehab. I don’t have months or years, and finding a suitable retreat / rehab that would be willing to take me on isn’t a quick fix either.
So, starting from this morning I have built my own programme, and believe you me it is not going to be easy.
- No alcohol and no coffee.
- No bread or anything else made with wheat flour.
- No dairy; milk, cream, cheese, eggs.
- Cut down on sugar and salt. Add more spices such as cinnamon, sage, turmeric…
- Eat a mostly plant-based diet, with no processed foods whatsoever.
- No T.V. except for some motivational speakers on YouTube.
- An hour reading some deep spiritual text every afternoon,
- A 2 hour meditative walk every morning, and 30 minutes or so meditation each afternoon.
- A half-hour of yoga each afternoon.
- Lights out at 22:00 every evening, and wake-up time is 06:00. If I go 3 nights without 8 hours of good sleep then I will take a non-narcotic sleep-aid.
None of that actually gets to the hard point of what this retreat is all about. In meditation I will allow my thoughts and feelings to flow through me, no matter how deep, dark, difficult, perverted, or uncomfortable I will just accept my thoughts and feelings without reacting, taking action, or being judgmental.
This is a weekly programme. Next Sunday I will write a progress report on myself, and probably post it on this blog.
saying ‘Fuck It’ is just running away
The great task in life is to find reality.
We make most mistakes, we suffer the most, and we do the most harm when our thoughts and beliefs differ from reality. It’s when we create stories and assumptions in our own mind which are untrue that we begin on a journey of falsehoods. And, those falsehoods lead to; alcohol abuse, drugs, eating disorders, gambling, heavy smoking, self-harm, casual sex ~ just to find temporary comfort and the illusion that our falsehoods are true. When our beliefs are untrue we can suffer from anxiety and depression, together with a host of other serious mental illnesses such as; Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. The stress of having beliefs which differ from reality causes a raft of physical illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, cancers, diabetes, dementia, and early death.
Yet, there is no such thing as reality.
Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein
It seems that in quantum physics and interpersonal relationships there is no such thing as cause and effect ~ no straight line between the past, through the present, and into the future. Even in very close relationships there are often merely shared perceptions of the world ~ and two people may both share perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs which are untrue. If alcohol, drugs, or mental illness is added into the mix then we get dangerous situations such as physical, verbal, mental abuse and co-dependency.
If your life is going down the shitter, if you are prey to addictions, if you suffer from a mental illness ~ then the chances are that your thoughts and beliefs have seriously differed from reality.
Einstein and other serious thinkers may tell us that reality is merely an illusion, BUT on a day to day basis we have to live in whatever reality surrounds us. That means seeing and accepting reality as it is, and not as we wish it to be. Reality is neutral and impersonal. Reality has no expectations and no beliefs. Reality is the true state of things. There is only one past, present, and future reality ~ it is our own perceptions and beliefs which create an infinity of different versions of the past, the present, and the possible futures.
To find true reality is both very easy and very difficult;
- be totally honest with yourself and others ~ reality is truth
- never take things personally ~ reality is impersonal
- do not make assumptions nor create expectations
Some say that reality is an illusion. And that we are all just simulations living in a matrix. All I know is that when my beliefs differed from reality I got myself into some serious trouble.
to discover your ultimate reality requires a lot of deep thought
Do the best to treat yourself with truth and loving care.
Red Rock Country, Arizona
On my very recent rip to Arizona I was fortunate enough to be taught some of the wisdom of the ancient Aztecs. These new-found insights into dealing with the more difficult parts of life came in useful ~ when I eventually got back to the North of England, after some 30 hours travelling from the Western USA.
After an interminable delay at Heathrow, I manged to arrive late at Newcastle upon Tyne Airport ~ I got home, but my luggage didn’t. I did not take my missing luggage personally, British Airways had loaded none of the passengers’ bags onto that flight. Something the pilot only told us just as we about to deplane at Newcastle. You can imagine the scene at the baggage agent’s desk in arrivals, with more than 100 people completing forms, crying, and complaining bitterly about their ‘lost’ luggage. It was chaos.
I remembered some of the teachings of the ancient Aztecs;
- Be open, honest, and honorable to yourself and others. In all honesty, it didn’t much matter to me that my luggage hadn’t arrived. That just meant that I wasn’t going to be starting my laundry as soon as I got back to the garret. I was also honest with myself, and accepted that all the crying, complaining, and shouting passengers at the baggage handling desk annoyed the hell out of me.
- Don’t ever take anything personally. I wasn’t singled out by fate or British Airways to suffer the inconvenience of missing bags. There were more than 100 people on that flight, and all anyone had was their carryon bag.
- Don’t make assumptions. I’m not assuming that my luggage will eventually arrive, or not. What will be will be, and there’s
fuckbugger all I can do about it.
- Always do your very best. Yesterday, and the day before were not my best days, but somedays my best isn’t as good as 100%, and somedays my best is maybe just 50%. However, if I always do the very best I can in the circumstances, then that’s the best I can do.
These teachings applied to the trivial matter of a horrible 30 hour journey and missing luggage. However, these teachings of the Aztecs apply even more to matters of much more import in one’s life. For example; Love, Relationships, Illness, Poverty, and Abundance…..
Some say that Life is a version of Hell. And that if you think someone is out to get you then they probably are. All I know is that the Cosmos doesn’t really single me out for misery and misfortune ~ even in matters of missing luggage.
Walking is the best possible exercise.
Habituate yourself to walk very far. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Climbing stairs is even better for you than walking.
Regular exercise is good for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Exercise not only tires you out, which helps you to sleep, it also increases your energy levels during your waking hours. This increased energy helps your body to fight off illness and chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Getting a good night’s sleep is also vital to the health of your body, mind, and spirit.
Physically, frequent exercise helps to regularise your weight ~ inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity. Your body uses energy in 3 ways; #1 digesting the food you eat; #2 maintaining bodily functions like heartbeat, breathing, and staying upright. #3 Physical activity, like your exercise of choice, or digging ditches, or chopping firewood. Dieting is very bad at helping you to lose weight, a reduced calorie intake lowers your metabolic rate, which delays weight loss. On the other hand, exercise raises your metabolic rate so you use up more calories.
Exercise also helps to build and maintain muscles and bone, because strenuous exercise releases hormones that help your body to absorb amino acids, which will delay muscle wastage in older people. In older women, regular exercise helps prevent the bone wasting disease osteoporosis.
It has been shown to improve your mood and decrease negative feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, as regular exercise increases the productions of the good hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise also promotes the production of endorphins which help to produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of physical and mental pain.
Exercise also helps to maintain and improve brain function; for a start your hippocampus, the bit of the brain that’s vital to memory, will stop shrinking and begin to grow, which increases mental function in older adults. Regular physical activity also helps to stave off Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
Regular exercise means you will look much better, for a start you will begin to lose all that unattractive bloating and belly fat. Your skin will look better because your body will be producing more antioxidants, and you will have better blood flow which delays skin aging. Looking better means that you’re more attractive to the opposite sex. Not only that but being fitter means that your sexual performance will be better, (women will have more and better orgasms if they take a reasonable amount of exercise).
I was in a bureau de change today, talking with the young lady cashier, (teller), about my walking at least 10,000 steps a day. And she said; ‘is all that walking why you look so young?’
yoga is damn good exercise too
and, I can hold the tree position