Monday, May 31, 2010

working Memorial Day

So far in the ER today its pretty easy. But its only 8 AM. Mondays are usually pretty busy for some unknown reason, and a holiday Monday should be wild. Hopefully it will stay pretty nice until night, as I get off at 4 PM today.

I am transitioning from nights to days with my new status as a regular employee, so will have a few more nights to work in the next couple of weeks along with my regular day shifts. Not complaining, just commenting. If it were really up to me I would work noon-midnight but this ER doesnt use that shift.

I saved my stepson's blog post for his father to read, since the last one was partially ABOUT his father. Typical man, all he said was "That kid just loves to talk." Hopefully my stepson will know that the comment is actually high praise from his father. Thirty years I have been trying to teach some communication skills to my husband without a lick of success.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Zen Habits

The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People
Posted: 27 May 2010 07:13 AM PDT
"In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for contructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone." ~Rollo May
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter or identica.

Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?
I've reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I'd look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word "creative".
This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.
It's the Most Important Habit when it comes to creativity.
After you read the No. 1 habit, please scroll down and read the No. 2 habit — they might seem contradictory but in my experience, you can't really hit your creative stride until you find a way to balance both habits.
The No. 1 Creativity Habit

In a word: solitude.
Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.
Of course, there are lots of ways to find this solitude. Let's listen to a few of the creative people I talked to or researched:
Felicia Day – wonderful actress perhaps best known for her awesome awesome work on Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Guild.
I was thrilled when she replied to my email asking about her creative habits. One of the things she said: she makes "sure to be creative first thing in the morning, before doing anything for the outside world, really sets the day up for me. It makes it feel that CREATING is my job, not answering emails."
Ali Edwards – an author, designer, and leading authority on scrapbooking.
I was honored with a response from Ali as well. One of her top habits wasn't exactly solitude, but is related: "Do nothing. I have a habit of welcoming time away from my creative work. For me this is serious life-recharging time where my only responsibility is to just be Mom & Wife & Me. Doing nothing has a way of synthesizing what is really important in my life and in my work and inspires me beyond measure. When I come back to work I am better equipped to weed out the non-essential stuff and focus on the things I most want to express creatively."
Chase Jarvis – an award-winning photographer.
Chase also kindly responded with several of his key creativity habits — see more great ones at the bottom of this post. But here's one that I loved: "Find Quiet. Creativity sometimes washes over me during times of intense focus and craziness of work, but more often I get whacked by the creative stick when I've got time in my schedule. And since my schedule is a crazy one and almost always fills up if I'm just "living", I tend to carve out little retreats for myself. I get some good thinking and re-charge time during vacations, or on airplanes, but the retreats are more focused on thinking about creative problems that I'm wanting to solve. That's why I intentionally carve time out. I make room for creativity. Intentionally. The best example of what I mean by a retreat is a weekend at my family's cabin. It's a 90 minute drive from my house on the coast. There are few distractions. Just a rocky beach and a cabin from the 60's with wood paneling and shag carpet. I go for walks, hikes, naps. I read. I did get an internet signal put in there to stay connected if I need it. But the gist is QUIET. Let there be space for creativity to fill your brain."
Maciej Cegłowski – painter, programmer, excellent writer.
Maciej is one of my favorite bloggers, and responded to my email with a classically short answer that to me, embodies a beautiful way to find solitude.
What habit helps his creativity?
Maciej replied: "Running up hills!"
Leo Babauta: OK, I wasn't going to talk about myself in this post, but I thought I should share some of my previous thoughts.
The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it's only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. Some of the most famous philosophers took daily walks, and it was on these walks that they found their deepest thoughts.
My best writing, and in fact the best of anything I've done, was created in solitude.
Just a few of the benefits I've found from solitude:
time for thought
in being alone, we get to know ourselves
we face our demons, and deal with them
space to create
space to unwind, and find peace
time to reflect on what we've done, and learn from it
isolation from the influences of other helps us to find our own voice
quiet helps us to appreciate the smaller things that get lost in the roar
Read more: the lost art of solitude.
The Greats on Solitude

Of course, many other creative people have believed in the habit of solitude. I've collected a small but influential sample here. There are many more examples.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
Mozart: "When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer–say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly."
Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time. He is often regarded as the father of modern physics.
Einstein: "On the other hand, although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn't going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination."
Franz Kafka – one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Novelist and writer of short stories whose works came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature.
Kafka: "You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
Nikola Tesla – inventor, one of the most important contributors to the birth of commercial electricity, best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism.
Tesla: "The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born."
Joseph Haydn: A life-long resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – German writer and polymath. Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, and science.
His magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust.
Goethe: "One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude."
Pablo Picasso – Spanish painter best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortunes throughout his life, making him one of the best-known figures in twentieth century art.
Picasso: "Without great solitude no serious work is possible."
Carl Sandburg – American writer and editor, best known for his poetry.
He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat."
Sandburg: "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude."
Thomas Mann – German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual.
Mann: "Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry."
The No. 2 Creative Habit

While it might seem contradictory, the No. 2 habit when it comes to nurturing creativity: participation. This can come in many forms, but it requires connecting with others, being inspired by others, reading others, collaborating with others.
But how can you have both solitude and participation? They obviously have to come at different times. Finding the balance is key, of course, but it takes a conscious effort: this time is for solitude, and this time is for participation.
Why are they both important? We need inspiration from without, but we need creation from within.
A couple of the people I interviewed had habits that relate to this:
Chase Jarvis: "Devour Popular Culture. Consuming the works of others inspires me. And it's not just museums and the "establishment". I devour magazines, books, street art, performances, music, etc. All things that make me think critically (and whimsically) about the world. You get the picture. Inspiration can come from anywhere."
Ali Edwards: "Participate. My creative spirit is interested in documenting the wonderful everyday details of our lives. To really get to the heart of the matter I need to be fully participating in my life, in the interactions with my kids and husband and family and friends. If I am just going through the motions or wishing away the present moment for "the next thing" I am missing the blessing of right now. My creativity requires the habit of active participation and daily attention to detail."
Other Creative Habits

There are other habits than those top two, of course, that can nourish creativity. Some other good ones:
Felicia Day: "When I am most productive I am the most ruthless with my schedule. I will literally make a daily checklist with, "one hour gym", "30 minutes of internet research," and "drink 3 glasses of water" on it. For some reason being that disciplined creates a sense of control that I wouldn't have otherwise, as a self-employed person, and I get the most out of the scheduled hours that I have for writing."
Ali Edwards: "Take notes. I am a really good note-taker. It's essential for me to write down my ideas when they come to mind…otherwise, poof, they disappear way too quickly as I move on to the next task (diaper changes, wiping noses, tending to the stuff of life). I use my phone, my computer, and a moleskine notebook to jot down thoughts and ideas and then I move them into Things every week or so."
Chase Jarvis had a few more:
Live a creative life everyday. I very much believe in doing creative stuff everyday. For one, I take photos and videos almost everyday. Doesn't matter the camera. I use my iPhone everyday. Just taking photos keeps me in a creative headspace. Hell, I play with my food and draw and doodle.
Moderate Expectations. Make it a habit not to judge yourself on your creative output. Sometimes your creativity is on fire. Great news. Other times, it's not. It's hard sometimes when you make art in a professional commercial capacity because you're paid to be 'ON', but you'll save yourself a lot of greif if you make it a habit to be cool to your psyche when your creative mojo isn't firing on all pistons.
Shake Your Tree. When I'm starting to feel stale, I make a habit of getting into adventures. Break molds. Drive home from work a different way. Stir up my routine. I get active and shake my tree.
Find fun. Doing what you love inspires you to be more creative. Make time and space for having fun. All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.
Lastly, being creative means living a creative life. Expect yourself to have one. Believe you are creative. Know that you are. Make that the most important habit of all.
For more on creativity, read my Little But Useful Guide to Creativity.
"Creativity is essentially a lonely art. An even lonelier struggle. To some a blessing. To others a curse. It is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself and drag forth from your very soul an idea." ~Lou Dorfsman

Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza
Recipe # 779

Yield: 8 (8-inch) pizzas
Bake Time: 6 to 8 Min


3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 envelope Fleischmann’s® Pizza Crust Yeast OR RapidRise Yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/3 cups very warm water (120° to 130°F) *

1/3 cup oil

Additional flour for rolling

Pizza sauce

Other toppings as desired

Shredded mozzarella cheese


Start charcoal fire or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat.


Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add very warm water and oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute.  Gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough.  Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead** on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic but not sticky, about 5 minutes.  (If using RapidRise Yeast, cover dough and let rest 10 minutes.)


Divide dough into 8 portions. Pat or roll dough on a well-floured counter to about 8-inch circles; they do not need to be perfect. 


Using hands, lift each crust carefully and place on grill.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until bottom is lightly browned and top looks set.  Using long handled tongs, remove crust from grill, grilled side up, to a platter or baking sheet.


Lightly add sauce and top the grilled side of each pizza crust.  Excess sauce or toppings makes the pizza hard to handle.  Repeat with remaining pizzas.


Carefully slide each pizza onto the grill.  Cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes until bottom of crust is browned and cheese is melted.  Remove from grill and serve immediately.


*If you don’t have a thermometer, water should feel very warm to the touch.


**To knead the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hand to keep the dough from sticking.  Flatten dough and fold it toward you.  Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion.  Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the ‘fold, push and turn’ steps.  Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and elastic.  Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.


Make Ahead:   Dough (but NOT individual crusts) may be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator.  Punch down and roll out just before grilling.  OR, pizzas may be partially grilled ahead of serving.  Here's how: Grill one side of the pizza crust. Cool.  Tightly wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Top pizza with desired toppings (on grilled side) and finish grilling on preheated grill.

Dough sticking to grill? Make sure the grill has been preheated and cleaned. To prevent sticking, drizzle oil over paper towel and carefully wipe over grates.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fwd: zen habits: Slow Down and Enjoy Relationships

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Zen Habits <>
Date: Tue, May 25, 2010 at 6:09 PM
Subject: zen habits: Slow Down and Enjoy Relationships

zen habits: Slow Down and Enjoy Relationships

Slow Down and Enjoy Relationships

Posted: 25 May 2010 05:18 PM PDT

I keep my time saved in a box
From going fast in cars
I've piled it up high
From saying hello to friends with a quick goodbye
~Kathryn Williams, Flicker

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Corey Allan of Simple Marriage.

The world is seemingly moving at a faster pace. Everywhere you turn, the pace is quick. Deadlines are moved up, workload is increased, kid's schedules are packed, to-do lists are long, housework never ends – it's chaos.

At least it feels this way.

Has the world really sped up? Are there more things happening today than 50 years ago? No, and no.

Some things around us may involve more pressure and feel like it's moving faster, but many times it only feels this way. Thanks to the Internet and cable we hear about everything that happens, immediately.

Our interconnectedness through technology has helped create the illusion of a faster paced world. It's also created the illusion of less loneliness and isolation – but there's nothing that can replace real life connections with other people. Physical contact and interaction is vital.

This loss of contact and the perceived pace of the world produces a feeling of chronic anxiousness and a decrease in the ability to find pleasure in some of the simple things.

Honestly, when was the last time you stopped and took in the smell of fresh baked bread? Or colored with crayons? Or walked barefoot in the grass? Or took a few minutes to just breathe?

No where is the impact of our pace felt more than in marriage and family. It's extremely difficult to move hurriedly through your day and then slow down enough to enjoy your family or your spouse in the evening.

Some of the reasons marriage and family relationships go through sour patches is the squeezing they get from our schedules, disconnection, and pace. It's easy to get caught up in other things and have the immediate outweigh the important.

To reverse this, here's a few ideas to try:

Start small.
No change in life is easy or comfortable. Working to let go of the pace around you and creating your own speed takes time and should be attempted in small, incremental steps. Begin by giving yourself permission to slow down. This may seem like a no brainer, but many people believe they don't have permission to slow down. You do. Whenever life seems to move too fast, take a deep breathe. Three to five slow, deep breaths will slow everything down.

Leave the office.
And I mean leave the office. Shut off all projects, messages, emails, phone calls and conversations and leave the office at the end of the day. Most everything can wait until the next day, so leave it alone until then. As an added help, create a routine to help you disengage from the office on the way home. Walk down the stairs slowly rather than taking the elevator. Drive down tree lined streets rather than the interstate. Walk or bike home from work if possible. Listen to good music while on the train or bus. Stop by the gym for a workout. No matter which way you transition from work to home, make it intentional. Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Let work go. Then walk through the door to your home and enjoy time with those you love.

Turn off all electronic gadgets.
This one is simple. Turn off the phone. The Internet. The television. Spend time talking, playing games, take a walk outside. The point is, unplug and connect with other humans.

Be 100% present.
This is tough at times. But it also is a source of increased tension in life. When I'm with my kids and have other things on my mind, my kids become a pest and source of frustration – at least that's the way it plays out. When I've got work on my mind, my son's request to play cars is an annoyance rather than an invitation into the world of imaginative play with my child. Whatever you are doing, focus on being 100% present. Multitasking is impossible anyway. Focus on doing one thing at a time and being 100% present while doing it.

Take a walk.
Make it a priority to walk with your spouse and your kids each day. There's tremendous benefit to being out in nature, even if it's nature in the city. Want a sure-fire way to improve your marriage? Walk and talk with your spouse at least 30 minutes a day.

Eat outside.
There's something great about being in nature. There's something even greater about sharing a meal with others outside. Head to the park for a picnic, eat on the patio at home or restaurants.

Prepare for your day.
Spend a moment at the end of your day preparing for the next day. Pick out clothes, make lunches, talk with your spouse. Then in the morning, before you jump into your day, take some time a simply sit quietly. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Breathe slowly, meditate, pray. What a great way to start each day.

Corey is the editor of Simple Marriage a site filled with laid back information that will make your relationships better. You can subscribe via rss or email.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Working and playing

2 more days, actually nights to work and then I will be off until next weekend. It probably wont be as restful as usual though, as we are trying to help our young friends clean up and move into the house our hoarding neighbor has vacated. It is truly awful, and no matter how much stuff we haul out, what is still there seems to expand. And now the woman says she just doesnt know if she can live there after seeing how awful it was.
Poor Mike. He has been dancing attendance on her for over 12 years, always doing and living where SHE wanted, and now he REALLY wants to live on this property in the country. He is cleaning it up without much help, most of it from my dh and a little from me. I dont know what he will do if she absolutely refuses to move in after it is cleaned up.
It will be a lovely place when clean. We would have bought it ourselves if our place wasnt already perfect. Dh halfway wanted to buy it and give to his son but since his son doesnt even want to live in AZ, that would be a useless exercise in disappointment. And it will take special people to live out there, even more than living here. It really does take 4 wheel drive to get there, and you can get here, albeit carefully, in a car if you go slow enough.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday I finally received the transfer offer to become a regular parttime employee instead of an oncall pool employee. I am soooooo happy. It has been 8 long discouraging months of trying and failing to be hired, and I was really beginning to think nobody loved me. The best part is that I will be doing the same job I have been doing, which I love, and doing it on days besides. My dh really loves the days part. He hates for me to work nights, but I really prefer them. Oh well, I will do many things to keep the peace, and besides, I can pick up a night shift every week if I want to.
So I will finally have health insurance again. Peace of mind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just finished

And I basted it, using the disposable blankets I got from work for batting. I will try and start quilting it as soon as I clear a machine.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 17, 2010

Collecting, hoarding, whatever

We have just spent the last few days helping our little old lady neighbor try and get ready to move far away. It was nightmarish and has made me doubly suspicious of buying ANYTHING.
I love my neighbor, former neighbor now, and it just breaks my heart what she was reduced to at the end, living environment-wise.
She was on that property 11 years, and has evidently been hoarding many things the entire time. Even though we have always been friendly, I had only been into her house a few times and mainly noticed that she was a lousy housekeeper. But the reality was much worse. There were narrow little paths through the house and STUFF everywhere else, piled as high as it would go in most places. There were hoards of various canned goods in every room, in the garage and shed outside, and in the mobile home also on the 10 acres. The deep freeze was completely full, and stuff fell out of the refrigerator whenever the door was opened. And she bought more food every time she went to town.
But the food hoarding is fairly benign compared to the rest of the story. The clothing and papers and trash were piled so high in the master bedroom that you couldnt open the door more than a foot. The bathtub was full of stuff and the toilet unusable because of stuff piled around and on it.
The second bedroom was not quite as bad, as the computer was in there and a path needed to get over to the desk. The bed piled high and unusable just like the master bedroom.
The third bedroom was evidently where she had been sleeping, maybe. It wasnt piled quite as high, but did have sheets and a pillow on it and a small area where someone could curl up to sleep. The small bathroom and shower in that bedroom were actually usable.
And the kitchen boogles the mind. No surfaces, with dishes and papers and more canned goods everywhere, all the cabinets stuffed full with stuff falling out of them, the dishwasher full of dishes and every little nook stuffed with plastic bags.
The living room had/has so much stuff piled everywhere that you couldnt tell where there was carpet and where tile, or what color they were. So much stuff in front of the fireplace you couldnt tell if it was open or had an insert. Years of cobwebs festoon all the windows. 2 living room chairs not covered, one for her and one for the dog.
At least there wasnt dog shit everywhere, as I have read that many hoarders end up unable to even keep their animals from defecating inside. This little dog is housebroken.
Her son came from WA to move her back up there, and rented a huge truck to do it. It was incredibly painful emotionally for her to sort stuff into what should go and what should be thrown or given away. And sorting clothing or food was just as hard as sorting furniture. I tried to get her to let me just box up canned goods to take to the food bank and she wouldnt do it; tried to bag up clothing for the Goodwill, but she wouldnt do it. It was not that she necessarily wanted it, she said, she just couldnt let it go.
Her son and my husband finally just loaded all the furniture on the truck and put in all the other stuff that men think you need, like garden tools, bicycle, outside stuff. SHe wouldnt sort the books, so they boxed and loaded all of them.
Her son left at sundown but my neighbor said she just needed a couple more hours to finish packing her vehicle and she would follow him. She called last night to let us know where the keys are and say she was leaving but she will come back and sort some more before the renters move in at the end of the month.
I dont know what will happen there, but I know there are at least a couple of dumpster loads of trash there, as well as lots of usable stuff still.
Preserve me from becoming that way. Continue to destash and de-accumulate. I dont believe in god, but please god dont let me lost my power to make decisions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

from Zen Habits

Letting Go of Attachment, from A to Zen

Posted: 11 May 2010 07:04 AM PDT

"Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities." ~Dalai Lama

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha.

If there's one thing we all have in common it's that we want to feel happy; and on the other side of that coin, we want to avoid hurting. Yet we consistently put ourselves in situations that set us up for pain.

We pin our happiness to people, circumstances, and things and hold onto them for dear life. We stress about the possibility of losing them when something seems amiss. Then we melt into grief when something changes—a lay off, a break up, a transfer.

We attach to feelings as if they define us, and ironically, not just positive ones. If you've wallowed in regret or disappointment for years, it can seem safe and even comforting to suffer.

In trying to hold on to what's familiar, we limit our ability to experience joy in the present.  A moment can't possibly radiate fully when you're suffocating it in fear.

When you stop trying to grasp, own, and control the world around you, you give it the freedom to fulfill you without the power to destroy you. That's why letting go is so important: letting go is letting happiness in.

It's no simple undertaking to let go of attachment—not a one-time decision, like pulling off a band-aid. Instead, it's a day-to-day, moment-to-moment commitment that involves changing the way you experience and interact with everything you instinctively want to grasp.

The best approach is to start simple, at the beginning, and work your way to Zen.

Experiencing Without Attachment

Accept the moment for what it is. Don't try to turn it into yesterday; that moment's gone. Don't plot about how you can make the moment last forever. Just seep into the moment and enjoy it because it will eventually pass. Nothing is permanent. Fighting that reality will only cause you pain.

Believe now is enough. It's true—tomorrow may not look the same as today, no matter how much you try to control it. A relationship might end. You might have to move. You'll deal with those moments when they come. All you need right now is to appreciate and enjoy what you have. It's enough.

Call yourself out. Learn what it looks like to grasp at people, things, or circumstances so you can redirect your thoughts when they veer toward attachment. When you dwell on keeping, controlling, manipulating, or losing something instead of simply experiencing it.

Define yourself in fluid terms. We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change. Defining yourself by possessions, roles, and relationships breeds attachment because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.

Enjoy now fully. No matter how much time you have in an experience or with someone you love, it will never feel like enough. So don't think about it in terms of quantity—aim for quality, instead. Attach to the idea of living well moment-to-moment. That's an attachment that can do you no harm.

Letting Go of Attachment to People

Friend yourself. It will be harder to let people go when necessary if you depend on them for your sense of worth. Believe you're worthy whether someone else tells you or not. This way, you relate to people—not just how they make you feel about yourself.

Go it alone sometimes. Take time to foster your own interests, ones that nothing and no one can take away. Don't let them hinge on anyone or anything other than your values and passion.

Hold lightly. This one isn't just about releasing attachments—it's also about maintaining healthy relationships. Contrary to romantic notions, you are not someone's other half. You're separate and whole. You can still hold someone to close to your heart; just remember, if you squeeze too tightly, you'll both be suffocated.

Interact with lots of people. If you limit yourself to one or two relationships they will seem like your lifelines. Everyone needs people, and there are billions on the planet. Stay open to new connections. Accept the possibility your future involves a lot of love whether you cling to a select few people or not.

Justify lessI can't let him go—I'll be miserable without him. I'd die if I lost her—she's all that I have. These thoughts reinforce beliefs that are not fact, even if they feel like it. The only way to let go and feel less pain is to believe you're strong enough to carry on if and when things change.

Letting Go of Attachment to the Past

Know you can't change the past. Even if you think about over and over again. Even if you punish yourself. Even if you refuse to accept it. It's done. The only way to relieve your pain about what happened is to give yourself relief. No one and nothing else can create peace in your head for you.

Love instead of fearing. When you hold onto the past, it often has to do with fear: fear you messed up your chance at happiness, or fear you'll never know such happiness again. Focus on what you love and you'll create happiness instead of worrying about it.  

Make now count. Instead of thinking of what you did or didn't do, the type of person you were or weren't, do something worthwhile now. Be someone worthwhile now. Take a class. Join a group. Help someone who needs it. Make today so full and meaningful there's no room to dwell on yesterday.

Narrate calmly. How we experience the world is largely a result of how we internalize it. Instead of telling yourself dramatic stories about the past—how hurt you were or how hard it was—challenge your emotions and focus on lessons learned.  That's all you really need from yesterday.

Open your mind. We often cling to things, situations or people because we're comfortable with them. We know how they'll make us feel, whether it's happy or safe. Consider that new things, situations and people may affect you the same. The only way to find out is to let go of what's come and gone.

Letting Go of Attachment to Outcomes

Practice letting things be. That doesn't mean you can't actively work to create a different tomorrow. It just means you make peace with the moment as it is, without worrying that something's wrong with you or your life, and then operate from a place of acceptance.

Question your attachment. If you're attached to a specific outcome—a dream job, the perfect relationship—you may be indulging an illusion about some day when everything will be lined up for happiness. No moment will ever be worthier of your joy than now because that's all there ever is.

Release the need to know. Life entails uncertainty, no matter how strong your intention. Obsessing about tomorrow wastes your life because there will always be a tomorrow on the horizon. There are no guarantees about how it will play out. Just know it hinges on how well you live today.

Serve your purpose now. You don't need to have x-amount of money in the bank to live a meaningful life right now. Figure out what matters to you, and fill pockets of time indulging it. Audition for community theater. Volunteer with animals. Whatever you love, do it. Don't wait—do it now.

Teach others. It's human nature to hope for things in the future. Even the most enlightened people fall into the habit from time to time. Remind yourself to stay open to possibilities by sharing the idea with other people. Blog about it. Talk about it. Tweet about it. Opening up helps keep you open.

Letting Go of Attachment to Feelings

Understand that pain is unavoidable. No matter how well you do everything on this list, or on your own short list for peace, you will lose things that matter and feel some level of pain. But it doesn't have to be as bad as you think. As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Vocalize your feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them, express them, and then let them naturally transform. Even if you want to dwell in anger, sadness or frustration—especially if you feel like dwelling—save yourself the pain and commit to working through them.

Write it down. Then toss it out. You won't always have the opportunity to express your feelings to the people who inspired them. That doesn't mean you need to swallow them. Write in a journal. Write a letter and burn it. Anything that helps you let go.

Xie Xie. It means thank you in Chinese. Fully embrace your happy moments—love with abandon; be so passionate it's contagious. If a darker moment follows, remember: it will teach you something, and soon enough you'll be in another happy moment to appreciate. Everything is cyclical.

Yield to peace. The ultimate desire is to feel happy and peaceful. Even if you think you want to stay angry, what you really want is to be at peace with what happened or will happen. It takes a conscious choice. Make it.

Zen your now. Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome another experience.

It won't always be easy. Sometimes you'll feel compelled to attach yourself physically and mentally to people and ideas—as if it gives you some sense of control or security. You may even strongly believe you'll be happy if you struggle to hold onto what you have. That's OK. It's human nature.

Just know you have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy: with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace and love.

The most important question: what do you choose right now?

Read more from Lori at Tiny Buddha, providing simple wisdom for complex lives. Subscribe to Tiny Buddha's feed or follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter for daily quotes.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I may have to stop reading these Zen Habits postings. It is definitely not the purpose to make me wonder if its even worth it to try and stay in my relationship, but that seems to be the end result. I am afraid that my dh will continue and increase his negative attitudes about everything and I just dont know if I want to live with it forever. It is a reasonable expectation, too, since he has been headed down this road for the past 30 years, but it has only started becoming unbearable since he retired. Before, at least some of it was directed at OTHER people, not just at me.
And just look at his mother. Meanness begets more meanness, and making other people feel awful seems to become an end in itself. Can I cope with that? Do I even want to?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

from Zen Habits

kindfully + mindfully

Posted: 07 May 2010 07:29 AM PDT

"Do every act of your life as if it were your last." ~Marcus Aurelius

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter or identica.

There's something so powerfully simple, profoundly beautiful, about the Dalai Lama's quote: "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."

It's a philosophy I've been exploring for awhile, and though I don't claim to have even come close to mastering it, it turns out this is a single word that can become the central tenet of your life, if you let it: "kindness".

Kindness can guide every interaction you have with others, can guide your life's work, can give meaning to your life, can even guide your eating, parenting, marriage, and more.

All else will melt away, if you let go of it, and leave only kindness.

Doing to others IS doing to yourself

The Golden Rule goes something along the lines of, "Treat others as you'd want to be treated (in their place)", but in another conception, how you treat others is how your treat yourself.

Consider: when you react to others with anger or meanness, you are putting yourself in an angry mindset, a bad mood. You'll likely feel pretty crappy for at least an hour, if not all day.

When you are uncaring or indifferent to others, you also create an empty, blank feeling in yourself, a void that cannot be filled with gadgets, social networking, shopping, food, or possessions.

When instead you are kind, you build a good feeling within yourself, you make yourself happy. In effect, you are being kind to yourself.

Other outward-facing actions have a similar inward effect: if you want to learn, teach. If you need inspiration, inspire others. If you're sad, cheer someone up.

mindfulness + kindfulness

It is near impossible, in my experience, to transition towards kindness without being mindful. Thoughtlessness leads to unkindnesses.

You must be mindful of every interaction with another human being. Approach each person mindfully, with your full attention, smiling, seeking to understand them, trying to interact with gentleness, warmth, compassion.

When someone comes to talk to you, when your kid tugs on your pant leg for attention, when your spouse or best friend starts speaking, turn to them without distraction, putting everything else away, and give your full attention. Listen.

Here's something beautiful: by treating others with kindness, you will create a happy feeling within yourself, effectively creating a positive feedback loop for your mindfulness. This will encourage you to be more mindful throughout your day, which will help you to treat others with yet more kindness, and so on.

Mindfulness and kindfulness feed on each other in a wonderful cycle.

Practicing the religion of kindness

This all, of course, takes careful practice, and the more you practice, the better you'll get at it.

There's an evolution in kindness, a process in which I'm still only near the middle (more likely in the beginning and just don't know it), where kindness can slowly infuse your life, transform everything you do.

Relationships: Your interactions and eventually your relationships with others, including friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, will slowly grow more positive, stronger.

Parenting: If you are a disciplinarian parent, learning to make every interaction with your child one centered on kindness will create a new type of relationship, and will teach your child how to be kind to others, by your example. Your actions are a much better teacher than your words.

Work: It might seem unrealistic, but it is possible to center your work around kindness. Gradually and purposefully make your work a living expression of your kindness, your love, in your interaction with your customers, co-workers, colleagues, the world … in what you produce and put out there.

Eating: A vegan diet is perhaps the kindest diet, all things being equal. This is from the belief that animals suffer when we put them in miserable living conditions, maim and shock them, kill them, for our pleasure. I'm not saying this to be self-righteous, or to make anyone feel guilty, but only for your kind consideration — to consider the animals as you eat. Consider also, as you are contemplating kindness, your eating's effects on farmers and workers, on your health and the health of your family, and on the environment.


It isn't easy to be kind on every possible human transaction, on every interaction we have throughout the day. It's far easier to be thoughtless. It can feel better to get back at someone when they are unkind to you (at least, it feels better at first). It takes less effort to not care.

But when we touch another person's life, our lives are being touched as well. What shape do you want your life to take? That will be completely determined by the effort you take to be mindful, and to be kindful.

"Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness." ~Seneca

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Working and playing

The previous post, that I forwarded from a newsletter I get by email, brought home to me once again how important it is to my life that I spend time doing what I WANT to do, instead of just doing what my DH wants me to do.
Sometimes I think he devotes more time to preventing me from doing what I want, than he does to doing what he wants. Or even maybe that he is finding his fulfillment in preventing mine. That is a harsh thing to say, but it often feels that way.

Words to live by

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Zen Habits <>
Date: Tue, May 4, 2010 at 6:11 PM
Subject: zen habits: 5 Essential Zen Habits for Balanced Living

zen habits: 5 Essential Zen Habits for Balanced Living

5 Essential Zen Habits for Balanced Living

Posted: 04 May 2010 07:30 AM PDT

"Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some." – Robert Fulghum

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Anastasiya Goers of Balance In Me.

Do you sometimes wonder whether your life is in balance? It is easy to know if you lead a balanced life because if you do then:

- you enjoy every moment and every second,
- you can cope with any difficulties,
- you can be happy without any reason to be happy,
- you can be yourself and love the person you are.

Today the world constantly tries to throw you out of balance and sometimes no matter what you do you still feel like your life is going in the wrong direction (I know I feel this way sometimes.) Balanced living might seem like one of those theoretical terms that nobody can put into practice but in fact there is nothing simpler than living a balanced life.

It might take some work at first but once you get in the flow and discover the simple ways to steer your life in your desired direction you will feel empowered. You will be inspired and energized by every day of your life. Your life will be full of amazing adventures and events that will make every day memorable. You won't be wasting your life anymore or spending gloomy hours contemplating about the misfortunes that might have happened on your way.

Does balanced living mean that your life will be full of only positive people and events that will bring you happiness every moment of your life? Not at all.

Balanced living is when you can always offset any negative events in your life with positive ones. It is also when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Balanced living is when you are happy working and playing equally. If you picture happiness and everything great in your life as a diamond, then any negative things that may happen are just the setting that makes this diamond shine only brighter.

If you want to live a balanced life then there are 5 essential habits that you need to develop.

  1. Awareness and mindfulness. Awareness is the key to balanced living because it lets you see every moment of your life and appreciate it. A mindful person lives in the present and does not get obsessed with the future or the past. It's important to plan for the future and learn from your mistakes in the past, but it is even more important to appreciate who you are right now and find joy in this state.
    When you are aware of this moment you are calm and you do not make any decisions that you might regret later.
    When you are mindful you are in balance with the universe.
  2. Appreciation of your body. By "appreciation" I mean taking care of your body. If you are grateful for the very first gift that you received in your life (your body) then you must take care of it. It means making healthy choices in life, exercising and being generally active, eating a balanced and healthy diet, letting your body rest when it's tired and pampering it every once in a while.
    Your body is the tool that lets you experience so many wonderful moments in life and you need to do your best when taking care of it.
    Clearly, balanced living is not possible without a balanced body.
  3. Creativity. Every day we face a lot of challenges and choices in life. Some of these challenges might be easy while others will be more difficult. If you approach each of your challenges with creativity then your life will be filled with adventures. Conversely, if you turn off your creativity, then your life will turn into torture.
    Creativity is a wonderful tool that lets us turn our dreams into reality, turn play into work and work into play, and enjoy life even when it seems empty.
    Creative people are the ones who can make the exquisite setting for the diamond of their life.
  4. Patience. With patience we can overcome almost anything whilst without it we can ruin almost anything.
    Patience can help us turn our dreams into reality (losing weight, starting a business or blog). It can help us be better parents, spouses, friends and even strangers (sometimes a smile from an understanding stranger can make the biggest difference when you are having a bad day). If you are patient you do not have to worry about the minutes spent in traffic or in the line at the grocery store. With patience you can see results in all your endeavors and you do not have to spend the precious time of your life getting mad or infuriated.
    Patience leads to mindfulness and mindfulness brings you in balance.
  5. Simplicity. Simplicity is probably the most important part of life balance. When you build your life around simplicity you reduce the number of out-of-balance things that can disrupt your happy living.
    In balance everything is simple. There are two opposites (like black and white) and you just have to pick something in the middle:
    • Simplify you work schedule so that you do not have to think about a hundred things at the same time.
    • Simplify your relationships by connecting with people you truly care about and getting rid of the ones you don't.
    • Simplify your diet by choosing simple healthy ingredients that are part of balanced nutrition.
    • Simplify your social media exposure and enjoy living life and getting things done rather than wasting time online.

    Simplicity makes life balance simple.

These habits have been my lifeline for many years and I cannot imagine a balanced (and happy) life without them.

Living in balance is easy and very rewarding because your life becomes the one of joy, happiness and serenity. If you put some time and effort into turning your life into a balanced direction then you too will live a truly Zen life.

Read more from Anastasiya at Balance In Me, subscribe to her feed and keep your life in balance.

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