Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekly Quotes 2014 #4

Ralph Waldo Emerson called it “provocative reading”—an approach to reading spiritual texts designed to provoke us into new ways of thinking and living.  The practice is quite straightforward:  take a short text, read it over several times, and then meditate upon its meaning for your life. (150)

[A]dherents to a particular tradition can easily succumb to the temptation of believing that their scripture is not only definitive for them, but definitive, period: for all people and all time. This temptation can lead to the sin of scriptural idolatry, the belief that the initial or current form of the scripture remains inviolable.  (151)

In a secular age, the process of establishing ethical standards is more complicated than opening a book of scripture or doing what seems right in our own minds.  (155)

Perhaps there is no one truth, only different truths embraced by different communities.  This situation is commonly known as moral relativism.  If relativism is the ultimate ethical principle, however, then tolerance becomes the highest moral virtue.  The problem is that some actions are intolerable, no matter who commits them, or when, or where.  We need a higher standard than individual preference upon which to establish our code of conduct.  (159-160)

Virtue requires both the ability to act rightly and the knowledge of what constitutes acting rightly. (163)

[I]t’s better not to see than to see wrongly.  (238)

A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristics of Quality.  (247)

I tell him getting stuck is the commonest thing of all. Usually, I say, your mind gets stuck when you’re trying to do too many things at once.  What you have to do is try not to force words to come.  That just gets you more stuck.  What you have to do now is separate out the things and do them one at a time.  You’re trying to think of what to say and what to say first at the same time and that’s too hard.  So separate them out.  Just make a list of all the things you want to say in any old order.  Then later . . . figure out the right order.  (249)

The past cannot remember the past.  The future cannot generate the future.  (255)

The real ugliness lies in the relationship between the people who produce the technology and the things they produce, which results in a similar relationship between the people who use the technology and the things they use.  (261)

If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. —Vincent van Gogh

It’s not possible for kids to always feel secure. 

Placebos work. In fact, in research conducted at Harvard Medical School, adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who were told they were taking a placebo improved as much as those on the very best IBS medications.  

When it comes to kids and worry, not feeling like trying a new or difficult activity creates a major hurdle. 

Knowing what outcome you want and really wanting that outcome can motivate you to face what you fear.  

“Some men think because they are afraid to do.”

It was one thing to slay a lion, another to hack his paw off and leave him broken and bewildered.

I never wanted to see half the things I’ve seen, and I’ve never seen half the things I wanted to. I don’t think wanting comes into it.

“The gods made men to fight, and women to bear children. . . .  A woman’s war is in the birthing bed.”

“The worst isn’t done. The worst is just beginning, and there are no happy endings.” 

When we’re mindful, we’re less likely to want life to be other than it is, at least for the moment.  (39)

Mindfulness is both knowing where our mind is from moment to moment and directing our attention in skillful ways.  (41)

Distractions are a part of meditation.  Each moment of recognizing distraction actually should be welcomed rather than used as an occasion for self-criticism, because it shows that you’ve just “woken up” from daydreaming.  (48)

This book is not written for people who want to become meditators, although some readers might develop a taste for it.  (52)

Formal meditation is never an end in itself; life is the real practice.  (52)

January Wrap-Up

I started the new year with a lot of goals but Holly has had other ideas for me and we’re still taking baby steps.  I promised myself that I would look at things at the end of each month to assess where I am and how I feel about things.  I had some positive surprises that may have mixed things up in unexpected ways but made my month interesting.

Boot Camp & The Firm Medicine Ball Kit

The first significant surprise was the opportunity to participate in a free, online boot camp.  I may have started a few days late, but I’ve exercised consistently every day since being given access.  And without injury!  For those of you who know me, that is remarkable!  I have even managed to lose weight.   Then, I received The Firm Zip Trainer Medicine BallKit.  Naturally, I was eager to try it right away.  However, I am committed to the No Excuses Boot Camp which is why I held off breaking out the new fitness toys.  I’ll be using it today and tomorrow with plans to blog about it on Tuesday.  Yay!

Edited a Manuscript

A friend told me that her sister has a manuscript that’s ready for publication and only needed to be proofread.  Enter yours truly.  I spent two weeks copy editing and proofreading the manuscript, taking copious notes.  When all was said and done, I left over 1900 comments in a manuscript that is just over 24K words.  Can you imagine?  I hope the author isn’t overwhelmed, let alone discouraged.  I encouraged her to create a blog and some of the suggestions I made for the book lend themselves to being a foundation for her going out and leading workshops or seminars.

But What About The Book?

I can’t believe I misplaced The Mindfulness Path for Self-CompassionActually, I did not misplace it.  Holly had knocked it off a table and it was tucked behind some furniture I could not immediately see it.  When it finally turned up, I had missed an entire week of reading and there was simply no way I could catch up to finish by month’s end.  It simply wasn’t worth it.  I’ll be starting Walden, Civil Disobedience and Other Writings with the new month.  If you want to join me in my monthly reading, let me know.  I’ll try not to lose my book this time.  If I think I’ve misplaced it, I’ll be sure to look behind the obvious pieces of furniture, assuming Holly has once again knocked it over.   Promise!  (Don't forget to check out the "Read Along With Me in 2014" page for future choices.)

Planner Limping Along

I haven’t quite become comfortable with using my planner.  Oddly enough, I’ve been making use of an online resource that is actually working for me.  I can’t even say why this is so.  Someone on g+ mentioned so I checked it out.  So far, I’ve been keeping up with my daily tasks, to-do list, and creating healthy, positive habits.   But I’m not taking full use of the website.  Apparently there are quests.  I could be participating with groups.  I just haven’t been motivated to make use of all the bells and whistles of the idea.  I wish I could figure out what about it works for me. 

As for my paper-planner, it’s still a hit-or-miss.  I said it would probably do just that—set it up and tweak it as I go along.  For instance, I knew I didn’t need an entire page to track my daily activities so I printed out a double page weekly schedule.  No hours—just blocks for each day of the week.  As it turns out, I don’t even need two whole pages.  So now I’m down to one page for my schedule.  It was good to have the binder in place for when I started working on the manuscript.  I used my calendar to keep track of my hours so I could properly document them on my invoice.  I even added a few notes for phone-calls I needed to make.  I’m just not in the habit of opening it up. 

My Month Ahead

In February, I hope to do the following:
  • Make more use (not better use) of my paper planner
  • Revisit the Commit to Sit challenge (starting 3 February)
  • Continue with the boot camp and my goal to be more fit

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weekly Body Check-In: #amlosing

Can you believe I’ve lost 10 lbs since the beginning of the year?  Me neither.  I can’t really say why?  I did change a few things in January.


As you know, I’ve been doing a boot camp with Jonathan Roche and I’m thrilled with it.  There are five coaches (although I’ve only used four because I can’t hear the fifth) and the workouts are only around 30 minutes long. This is a far cry from the 2-3 hours of exercise I was doing before.  Can you imagine working out 2-3 hours and seeing no results?  That was me.  Week after week.  Now I’m only doing 30 minutes and I’m losing weight.  Finally.  In a couple of weeks, I’ll be taking my second set of measurements.  I’m not sure what to expect but I’m not setting myself up by having any expectations.  You see, I was looking at how much I have lost.  My goal had been to lose one pound a week so, obviously, I’ve exceeded that goal.  As I sat there, I thought to myself, “I wonder how much I would lose if I kept up losing at this rate?”  Almost at the same moment I backed away. I refuse to do that to myself.  It is enough for me to just show up, to do something each day and to do it with focus (and sometimes even enthusiasm).


I’ve increased my protein and am limiting high GI foods.  I don’t feel the least bit deprived.  I even had a sliver of Bibi’s birthday cake!  For instance, tonight we’re having pork curry served over a bed of cauliflower “couscous” (really cauliflower run through a food processor and then sautéed).  Tomorrow we’re having a three cheese broccoli soup (Gruyère, Jarlsberg, sharp cheddar). Does that sound like I’m depriving myself to you?  It surely doesn’t sound like I am to me.  And I’m feeling better.  I have more energy for everything, not feeling like I need to take naps.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?  Oh yeah.  I was trying to eat more vegetables to reach my caloric goal and failing miserably.  I’m still not succeeding, frankly.  But I feel so much better that I don’t know that I care.  Pass me some cheese and mixed nuts! 


I received a free bottle of Garcinia Cambogia Extract and have done so for three weeks (slightly longer than I’ve been doing the boot camp) and it’s quite possible that this too is having an effect.  It supposedly blocks fat and suppresses the appetite.  I actually have no desire to minimize my appetite.  Why would I when I am trying to eat enough calories?  But if that is your goal, if you feel you need an appetite suppressant, then this could be something you try.  Apparently, Dr. Oz has recommended this supplement.  (This doesn’t actually influence me because I only noticed that today in trying to provide a link for the blog post.)

So Many Changes = Success

Who cares what it is, right?  I mean, I’m losing weight.  I’m doing my best.  I’m not giving up.  And today I am celebrating myself.  Celebrating myself and the snow outside.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

If Not for The Case of the Missing Book, My Week Was Banal

On the surface, it's been an uneventful week.  Holly is getting better at being housebroken by which I mean we are gradually having fewer accidents per week.  I have been plugging away at my boot camp and, as of today’s weekly weigh-in, have lost 10 lbs (4.5 kgs).  I’m proofreading a MS for an author.  Rob had three gigs this week.  My mother is home from her winter trip to warmer climes.  My daughter went away for the weekend to attend Kimute in Tennessee and will be back today.  My boys are both doing well.  Basically, all is right with my world.

Except for one thing. I can’t find my book Mindfulness Path to Self-Compassion.  Seriously.  I was more than halfway through it because it is my book for this month and I could easily see I would finish it by the end of the month, just as I had planned.  Then it just disappeared. Rob can’t find it.  I can’t find it.  It’s just . . . gone.  I haven’t left the house with it.  Nobody has come over to perhaps steal it.  Not that someone would steal it but I’m grasping at straws here. 

Seriously, it’s like a sock disappearing in a dryer.  There is no logical reason why this book is gone but it is and I am clueless about how to find it.  Argh!

So what to do?  I guess I could start my February book early.  That way, when the other book turns up, as I know it will eventually, I can just pick up where I left off and not fall too far behind my annual goal.  I just feel silly for not being able to find it.  How hard can it be to find a book?  Apparently, nearly impossible and, until it is found, that won’t change.  

In the meantime, here's Holly huffing something she discovered although I have no clue what it is.  Perhaps it's my book, mocking her from behind the oven or somewhere just under the house.  I wouldn't put it past that book to do something like that.  I obviously have no clue where it is.