Your Weekly Diversion, Week 32

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Another week has passed since I began this weekly blog, 32 weeks in all so far. What do we know? Plenty, and you can learn all about it on your Apple News feed, Flipboard, Twitter, Facebook, television news, local or national newspaper (paper or digital) or whatever reliable source you prefer. Even late night talk shows often give important information. Please support real journalism, the kind that is well-researched, fact-based, honest, and a crucial pillar of our Democracy. Too many are getting all their news from non-journalistic sources such as extremist websites and blogs. We all deserve to exercise our rights to knowledge and truth.

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“Anger” from Pixar’s “Inside Out”

What do we do when we are forcefully misunderstood, misheard, misattributed, falsely accused, or otherwise blasted with anger by another? A knee-jerk reflex is to hit back in like anger. Oh, yeah? Did not! You’re wrong! What’s the matter with you? So how do we avoid the knee-jerk response? First, consider the context of the comment. Despite our first defensive reaction, we may find a grain or more of truth in what is being hurled at us so angrily. Have we offended the other person? If so, do we need to make amends? It may help to re-explain our position, decision, or perhaps even reshape our plans. Even if the accusations are totally baseless, blasting back angrily solves nothing and only pours more fuel on the bonfire.

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Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher who is believed to have predated both Confucius and the Buddha, offers us four simple rules of personal conduct that can soften the hardest heart if the willingness exists:

  • Reverence for all Life
  • Gentleness
  • Natural Sincerity
  • Supportiveness

Try them, they really work!

The beautiful glass sculptures above are the creations of Artful Ashes, a company taking a tablespoon or so of a loved one’s ashes (human or animal) and incorporating them into small works of art. I stumbled on this on Pinterest and was surprised at how lovely they are. The white swirl is created by the ashes, and on the website they explain how carefully they track your sample to make sure the one you get contains the ashes you sent in.

I’ve been waiting for just the right week to end my post with this poignant tune by Paul McCartney. I bought the album “Memory Almost Full” years ago but had forgotten this song until I heard it recently when the Phillies honored the members of the team who have passed since their last Alumni Day. It really touched me.

Namasté

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 22

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Graphic courtesy of Awaken Mindset

It’s been about 22 weeks since US Inauguration Day 2016, the life event that has propelled me into a weekly blog. This week has brought terrible heartache from the London fire, the hateful shooting of a Congressman and others ironically bringing both US political parties together as nothing has in a quite a while, more hostile deaths of US servicepersons in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and most recently the deadly collision of a US destroyer class ship with a huge Philippine cargo ship 56 miles off the coast of Japan, with the fate of 7 sailors currently unknown. Add to these tragedies the serious American legal issues mounting up daily and the subsequent angry tweets and contortions of logic and truth.

I’ve curated some really good diversions for you this week, and I hope you’ll find something you can use here! There is such beauty, peace and positive energy all around us despite the negativity and fear being sown far and wide as distraction and worse. Don’t let the dark distract you from the light which is always there.

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Hyyge House founder Alex Beauchamp has elevated eclectic, homey and welcoming style to a major thing, and her blog is filled with wonderful photos showing her exquisite, artistically appointed cottage in Topanga Canyon, near Malibu in Southern California. Every item in her home, indoors and out is well chosen and sweetly positive. I would happily live in any of the cottages and bungalows she has furnished in the hygge style. Her blog and Instagram could uplift your regular web itinerary.

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When you think of water balloon fights, perhaps you recall your mom or other scolding authority figure telling you not to do that, you could put an eye out. Or maybe you remember happily vicious wars, a flurry of waterlogged missiles pounding your opponents as you tried to dodge theirs and failed, both ending up soaked and exhausted when the last balloon was launched and wetly spent. Yes, water balloons can be very dangerous and probably should only be used with goggles, and all the rubber remains ought to be be gathered up so they don’t end up in the gullet of a bird or other creature. That said, here is a video of the craziest water balloon caper ever. Needless to say, don’t try this yourself. It could have ended very badly!

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Photo courtesy of Lion’s Roar magazine

What with all the daunting problems our planet faces right now and in the future of our kids and grandkids, our personal challenges and stresses, and the political climate in the US, UK and elsewhere that begets anger, fear and cynicism, a vulnerable person could burn out. If you’re a helping professional, one who bears witness to the trauma and suffering of others, and you don’t exercise adequate self care, your risk of burnout is great. Fortunately, burnout is preventable. Lions Roar magazine addresses this important issue here.

And here is your musical medicine for today, a powerful spiritual anthem for my time, and maybe for yours. My friend Ann Koplow recently ended her blog with a wonderful video. I listened in rapt delight. Then, as often happens when I visit YouTube I listened to another, and loved this one. You may need to watch it more than once to identify all the players. Hint: Clapton was clean shaven, or a least I think that was he! Listening on your Bluetooth speaker is highly recommended.

Namasté

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Being quiet and listening

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Recolor design colored by Shielagh

Good morning! As I savor my morning coffee each day I read the daily quotations curated by Karl Duffy of Mindful Balance. I highly recommend subscribing to Karl’s blog so that you too can start your day with these words of wisdom. Some are from the ancient ones, while some, as is today’s, are modern quotes. All give us a positive thought to augment any practice.

Today’s quote is brief and very much to the point:

Everything that happens to you is your teacher…

the secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.

Polly Berrien Berends, US author

Please click on the link below to read it on Karl’s blog today with the comments added by his many readers and consider subscribing to his blog so you can enjoy it every day.

Source: Being quiet and listening

Community & Friendship’s Delight

Are you a member of a community? We belong to several and are very grateful for them. Quincy Square, Pinecrest, Friends of Bill W, and more. Here is a glimpse into a wonderful, warm, community I would love to join, if I were close by. But then, perhaps I already am….

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delighted sitting Buddhas ~d nelson

Dear WordPress Community, and Friends on the path,

So easily mind goes here, then goes there.
The mind can go in a thousand directions
including thinking that it’s alone.
But, with mindfulness, concentration & insight
we can remember the path upon which we’re stepping.
On this path are also countless beings supporting us,
at this moment, some of them are of the human-type.

delightfully recycling, together in Deer Park

I’m reminded of so many elders and others
who are isolated and feeling lonely right now.
They wish so much to be with other human beings.
I’ve had these feelings arise, myself
and I’m only almost an elder.
Perhaps you’ve longed for human companionship, also.

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I’m offering a bow of gratitude for all the friends who came
joyfully together on retreat with me recently.
It felt very comforting, connected and safe to be vulnerable…

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 3

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Photo by Shielagh

 

It’s been another week filled with disturbing news. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. My mother always said, “Consider the source,” when I worried about something mean or false someone had said to me.

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Yes, this post is meant to be a bit of diversion, but we aren’t ostriches, so here’s something relevant that may comfort you. Buddhists are speaking out about the controversial so called Muslim travel ban.

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And today when I opened a favorite app, Bloglovin’, I was greeted with this banner atop the page: “Stand up for civil rights. At Bloglovin’ we aim to give a platform to influencers of every nationality, race or religion, and to make everyone’s voice heard. Please join us in standing up for civil rights. Click here to make a donation to the ACLU.”

And by now you must be aware that the ban has been stayed by a Federal judge through a temporary restraining order. Naturally there have been angry responses from the new administration, including immature, indignant tweets. Look them up if you wish, but I will give them no forum here.

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Poster by Shielagh, also on @sonnische on Instagram

We’ve planned a beach day today here in Florida, a therapeutic bonding with nature as we walk in the sand, slosh in the surf and if it isn’t too cold, swim in the sea. We all need a regular dose of nature, and I urge every reader to go out and make contact with the natural world around you today, be it the sea, the desert, the mountains, the woods, the rivers or lakes, your window garden, or even a vestpocket city park. And remember, illegitimi non carborundum!

Update: Oh, how could I forget the toe tapping! Here’s Fitz and the Tantrums just for you.

Namasté

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Opening Up to Learning

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Image from PNG Mart

Take a habit, tweak it a bit and open your world! When my habitual evening iPad crawl lost a regular haunt when the NBC News Breaking News app was put to bed for the last time on New Year’s Eve, I found some new haunts and my eyes opened anew.

A favorite haunt I still enjoy is Recolor. Here’s an image I colored this week, using my Apple Pencil:

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Recolor image colored by Shielagh

Recolor isn’t totally, freshly creative if you use their line drawings, but you can upload your own drawings and color those. The color palette in the free version is quite extensive, many with gradient effects such as those above. The creativity is in which colors you choose to put where. There are extra metallic and pearly ones, and more, that you can buy, but I haven’t wanted to buy any so far. I’m not a great one for in-app purchases for anything.

I still enjoy the daily New York Times Crossword and credit it with helping to keep my aging brain more agile than it might otherwise be. And I torture myself with “hard” level sudoku, usually resorting to “medium” and I soon lose interest.

But, back to the learning of new things!

I’ve been capturing interesting articles and saving them on Google Keep, which by the way is an amazing tool. This week I found the following:

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Photo by Todd Hido, New York Times

A feature on Dr. B J Miller in the New York Times Magazine fanned an ember in my being of working with death and dying, as I did for several years in an outpatient HIV-AIDS unit. His own painful life journey has formed the foundation of a most unusual and giving human being. This TED Talk with Dr. B J is worth checking out.

Not all my finds are as profound as the amazing work of  Dr. B J. Some are just delightful in their own right, or useful, or fun, or seriously instructive.

Now-13-year-old Grace Vanderwaal wowed me with her performance of an original composition on “America’s Got Talent.” Watch this one! She’s already on a rocketship to stardom.

On the blog Style by Emily Henderson I found her style quiz. She nailed me! How about you?

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Photo: Kaylyn Messer

Photographer Kaylyn Messer happened upon an exquisitely perfect circle of ice in a river.

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Blogs abound with how-tos but this one really intrigued me. Nika Rouss shows us how to paint a still life using a combination of stencils, sponged on colors, finger treatment, markers and more. Very cool!

As a psychologist who treats anxiety disorders, I found this short video on social anxiety to be very clear and even fun as it addresses this painful problem so many struggle with. In fact, I have found that for many alcoholics I’ve treated, disabling social anxiety often preceded their addiction. So when they get sober, that social anxiety may return with a vengeance and therefore needs to be understood and compensated for. It’s okay. Even though we believe ourselves to be in the spotlight, usually we’re all just bozos on the bus.

And now, because you’ve been so good at wading through my week’s discoveries, here’s a treat for your ears and those stompin’ feet!

Namasté

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Innovations and Learning Every Day

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On January 1, 2017 the NBC News app Breaking News closed down. I checked it several times daily for the latest news and updates on current events. Okay, I checked it compulsively! So when it went away, what to do? I chose to get apps from BlogLovin‘, Flipboard and the venerable BBC. Sure, I do still read news stories, but now I’m perusing sone great blogs and learning new things. All 3 apps invite you to select areas of personal interest so what you see is curated for you. Always stashing promising recipes on Pinterest, I’m pinning cool-sounding recipes like crazy from blogs I never would have seen before.

In this new year, so much new information and many new things abound, as blogs I’m visiting this year so far prove out. I’ve read about:

  • Cai Guo Qiang, a New York artist, has produced some incredible daytime pyrotechnics displays utilizing not just gunpowder but organic vegetable dyes with fantastic results. The photo headlining this blogpost today features “Remembrance” from a Shanghai performance. Learn about a Netflix documentary on Cai here.
  • On Craft Gawker, I found a free, sweet sleeping fox painting by Hungarian artist Panka to use for wallpaper on my iPad and iPhones.
  • I love foaming hand soaps, but they get used up so fast. But wait, you can refill them yourself! I learned how to do it here, using any delicious-scented hand soap of your choice. It took Goo Gone to fully remove the label, but worth it.
  • An innovative new hairdryer (Dyson) that promises great results for around $400. Probably good but just too costly. When hairdressers start using them in my salon, I’ll think about it.
  • A new countertop cooking device called an Instant Pot that serves as rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer and pressure cooker (and even more). Not sure about this one yet. I still remember my mother’s beets-on-the-ceiling story.
  • Mindful Eating as a blending of Buddhist mindfulness and therapeutic treatment of compulsive overeating. Definitely something to implement this year. (Mindfully drinking a very tasty cherry, lemon, grape spirulina Vanilla Vinyasa smoothie as I write.)
  • What I should put in my gym bag. This is a very useful post that I’ll start to implement for Monday’s gym workout.
  • The five dirtiest things you touch every day. Yikes! Who knew that virtually 100% of shopping cart handles have E. coli!

I’d love to hear which apps and blogs you, my much-appreciated readers and subscribers, recommend! Please comment here so we can all learn. Thank you!

Namasté

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