Archive for March 9, 2013


zenhabits – 7 Habits of Calmness

                                                        http://zenhabits.net/calm/

The 7 Habits of Calmness

By Leo Babauta

I have come to believe that high stress, constant anxiety over tasks and work and life, social anxiety … is all a part of the modern way of life.

Most people just don’t feel a sense of peace, of calm, of serenity, throughout their day.

I have to admit that I’m the same way some of the time, but I have learned a few things that have helped me create a feeling of calmness much more of the time than ever before.

It’s a series of habits that have developed over the last few years. I’m not perfect at them, but I do practice them, and they are always helpful.

These are habits, not a one-time change in my surroundings or work pattern. Changing your environment is great, but you can’t control the things that happen to you much of the time, and you certainly can’t control how other people act. The only thing you can control is your response — and this response matters. You can respond to the same event with anxiety or anger, or you can respond with peace and calmness.

Let’s figure out how.

The Habits of Calmness

These are the habits to develop that will help you develop calmness (based on my experience):

  1. A calm morning ritual. Many people rush through their mornings, starting the day out in a stressful rush. I wake up a little earlier (5 a.m. these days, though that changes), and start with a little meditation, then a few yoga poses. I then start writing, before I let the noise in. Exercise is another component of my morning routine. You don’t need to do the same things, but find the quiet of the morning and make the most of it.
  2. Learn to watch your response. When something stressful happens, what is your response? Some people jump into action — though if the stressful situation is another person, sometimes action can be harmful. Others get angry, or overwhelmed. Still others start to feel sorry for themselves, and wish things were different. Why can’t other people behave better? Watch this response — it’s an important habit.
  3. Don’t take things personally. Many times the response (that you noticed in Habit 2) is to take things personally. If someone does something we don’t like, often we tend to interpret this as a personal affront. Our kids don’t clean their rooms? They are defying us! Our spouse doesn’t show affection today? He/she must not care as much as he/she should! Someone acts rudely at work? How could they treat us this way?! Some people even think the universe is personally against them. But the truth is, it’s not personal — it’s the other person’s issue that they’re dealing with. They are doing the best they can. You can learn not to interpret events as a personal affront, and instead see it as some non-personal external event (like a leaf falling, a bird flying by) that you can either respond to without a stressful mindset, or not need to respond to at all.
  4. Be grateful. Sure, lots of people talk about gratitude … but how often do we apply it to the events of our day? Things are crashing down at work, or our boss is angry, or our co-workers are rude, or our kids are misbehaving, or someone doesn’t love us as we’d like … do these cause anger/anxiety/unhappiness, or can we be grateful? Drop the complaints, and find a way to be grateful, no matter what. And then smile. This unbending habit can change your life.
  5. Create stress coping habits. Many times, when we are faced with stress, we have unhealthy responses — anger, feeling overwhelmed and withdrawing, eating junk food, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, shopping or otherwise buying stuff, going to time-wasting sites, procrastinating, and so on. Instead, we need healthy ways to cope with stress, which will come inevitably. When you notice stress, watch how you cope with it, and then replace any unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones. Healthy stress coping habits include: drinking tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, massaging your own neck & shoulders, taking a walk, drinking some water, talking with someone you care about.
  6. Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.
  7. Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise — visual clutter, notifications, social media, news, all the things we need to read. And truthfully, none of it is necessary. Reduce all these things and more, and create some space, some quiet, in your life.

me

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/829f6a3b0a2d786b5cc090df8e4de59f/tumblr_mhbhhwDhcG1rlzvmho1_500.jpg       this     applies to me……………….

b’day

i’m lucky to have  a frd   like this   in my life …………………………..Many many happy returns of the day   sharD,   ……………..     :_

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

Henri Nouwen

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/a-goldfish-minute/article4373985.ece            – We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab.

https://i1.wp.com/www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01351/SM_GRAPHICS-26__SM_1351091g.jpg

………………………………, if you ask me, it all boils down to this: we get bored too quickly and too often. We’ll try everything once, but the problem is, we’ll also usually try it only once. Or twice. Sometimes, we might even stick to it for a whole month or year but, sooner or later, we move on to something shinier or, like it is nowadays, darker. Everything catches our attention. A good-looking face, an emotionally manipulative Kony video, a really happy South Korean man. We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab..

Let’s face it: today, when we have Google and Wikipedia to tell us everything, Poirot’s favourite little grey cells are severely under-worked.

Like a lot of people out there, I feel strongly about a lot of things. A parched beggar knocking on my car window leads me into a lengthy, involved and modestly sensible debate about the state of things today, with respect to our homeless, unemployed and poverty-stricken population. A sickening gang rape and murder in my adopted city sets me off on a short, but very charged, warpath. A homophobic statement on the news makes me want to grab and shake the next person with even the slightest reservations about LGBT rights. I am not apathetic, not even a little bit. I could pride myself on that. I think I even did, once upon a time.

Not now though. Not after I’ve realised that I’m surrounded by almost identical people, cardboard cut-outs with big hearts and a short attention span. I’ve been where almost everyone else has been. I’ve held an issue close to my heart, fed it my anger and sadness and ideas and solutions, and then left it out there in the cold to fend for itself.

The cathartic, almost numbing effect words can have, the way they fool us into thinking that we’ve done our bit. And so, after a well crafted debate, whether on or off paper, most of us stop. The weight is off our shoulders. Some other, more pressing, more demanding issue is waiting to be looked after. And so, we level up.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/republic-of-the-offended/article4373986.ece      –  We are becoming a nation of individuals and groups who get offended at anything and everything. If it is not the out-of-context remarks of well-known academic Ashis Nandy at the Jaipur Literary Festival then it is the presence of Pakistani writers at festivals and sportspeople on playing fields………….For instance, when we read news day in and day out about little girls, some as young as three years old, being raped, do we get offended? Recently, in Mumbai, there was the story of a five-year-old girl in Dharavi who was lured by a man who offered her chocolates and then raped her. Her parents went looking for her and found her crying outside a public toilet. She was bleeding and could barely explain what had been done to her. Such stories should outrage us. What is happening to our society that even little girls on their way to school have to be protected from these predators?

Look at our cities. All of them are turning into giant garbage heaps. The authorities claim the mess is beyond their control. And citizens, the very same who take offence at so much else, seem not to mind as they add their might to enlarging these mountains of garbage. It never occurs to them that perhaps they too need to reduce the amount of waste they generate. So we live in the midst of this filth and do not get offended. We point fingers. Or we simply look the other way.

Here is my list of things about which all of us should be “offended”: that in this “free” country, where our 63-year-old Constitution promises women equality in all spheres, they continue to be second class citizens; that they continue to be denied the right to even be born; that they continue to be denied the right to education if they are poor; that they continue to be denied the right to have control over their own resources; that they continue to be tortured and killed for not bringing enough dowry; that they continue to face verbal and physical abuse inside their homes if they so much as dare raise their voices; that they continue to be assaulted and raped irrespective of their class or creed and that they continue to be abandoned and isolated if they become victims of sexual assault because they are deemed “spoiled goods”. Yes, take offence by all means but on issues that a civilised society should not tolerate.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/why-have-you-forsaken-me/article4373988.ece   –

Rejection happens to everyone, but the person isn’t being rejected as a whole.Some experience a sense of relief, some others bewilderment, but most are hurt, sad, angry and maybe even hostile. And, mercifully only occasionally, some may find the pain and mortification too much to handle and end up coming to the drastic conclusion that their lives have no further value and may harm themselves. Or they may angrily plot and even execute a vengeful act against the rejecter, like throwing acid on an unresponsive object of desire or affection.

Rejection happens to everybody. Certain severe forms of rejection such as child neglect or abandonment, social ostracism and oppression on account of caste, social class, religion and the like, are more intensely painful, are more closely related to hierarchical power equations, result in feelings of unimaginable helplessness, have deeper psychodynamics and merit being considered separately. I will therefore confine this exploration to the more quotidian forms of rejection which, for the sake of convenience, can be classified as taking place in the inter-personal and social spaces.

‘need to belong’, the second tier in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Although in the animal kingdom, social exclusion often results in extreme consequences, even early death of the excluded creature, it’s not always as catastrophic for the human race, only because there are a large number of social groups we can belong to, unless the group that rejects us defines our primary social identity, as do groupings like caste and religion to many of us. Inter-personal rejections, as in being rejected by a parent, a child, a lover, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker and so on, take place in the context of a specific one-on-one relationship in which we have invested our emotions, expectations, time and energy. As a result of this investment, we start looking at ourselves through the eyes of the other person. When, for whatever reason, the other person disinvests from the relationship, particularly when our investment remains intact, we experience a sharp stab of rejection for our self image takes a beating. For, after being rejected, when we look at ourselves through the eyes of the rejecter, we don’t any more like what we see.

In other words, it’s not a rejection of you, but an assessment, right or wrong, of the perceived differences between you and me. If we keep this in mind, and never allow anyone else that much of control over us that we feel completely devastated when they distance themselves, we might never need “rejection therapy”, an online game that gets you used to being rejected by rejecting you over and over again in hundreds of simulated situations. And just as we value pleasure more when we have experienced pain, or profit more when we have suffered losses, so too do we appreciate the joy of acceptance more when we have mourned the grief of rejection.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/lone-warrior/article4473319.ece             -……………  Unfortunately, society’s penchant for topsy-turvy is still going strong.

https://i2.wp.com/www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01383/04BGMASTADDEBOO_04_1383873e.jpg

We still live in a country of dichotomies. Not least among these is the irony that often, those who spend their lives in training, practice and discipline of various genres of dance are assessed by those who know nothing about the art. As a result, financial support for art is dependent on the whims of such non-aesthetes!

No wonder a celebrated dancer like Astad Deboo speaks of having to search for platforms despite over four decades in the profession. If he finds himself answering the tactless questions of “young marketing geeks” of the corporate world who quiz him about numbers and mileage and try to get the best deal for the money they might invest in his productions, he has also recently declined an invitation to perform at the prestigious Khajuraho Dance Festival because of the “ridiculous kind of money they offer.” He adds, “The sad part is, dancers accept it.”

That, he explains, has been his journey, and he is “not feeling sorry for it.” He takes pride in knowing that “nobody can point a finger and say, ‘He’s there because so-and-so helped him’.”

http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/in-search-of-ramasseri-idli/article4269105.ece  What strikes you first is the unique shape of these idlis. The Ramasseri version is a trifle flat, unlike the more common ones; it is almost like a mini dosa. It feels fluffy, spongy and soft.

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/showcase-dreamscapes/article4269245.ece   –  https://i0.wp.com/www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01319/06smmeitei2_jpg_1319757g.jpg          Her paintings are songs of praise, celebrating life and nature.”

Maïté’s works have an almost fantasy-like touch. Her canvases manifest a paradise that one conjures in an idyllic dream; a world where lush green trees are laden with plump juicy fruit; birds chirrup happily as they flit from one branch to another; and babies bask in the tender attention of their mothers.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/wellness-read/article4278371.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/more-coffee-breaks/article4278365.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/for-richer-for-poorer/article4278361.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/the-secret-illness/article4278369.ece

 

 

BOOKS TO READ

How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997)
The Consolations of Philosophy (2000)
The Art of Travel (2002)
Status Anxiety (2004)
The Architecture of Happiness (2006)

Alain de Botton – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia »

 

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison – review »

The clinical psychologist’s 1995 memoir of living with manic depression has yet to be surpassed

http://99u.com/articles/6775/is-consumerism-killing-our-creativity

Have you ever fallen into a black hole of comparison shopping? …………………….. As Annie Leonard says in The Story of Stuff, “Our primary identity has become that of being consumers – not mothers, teachers, or farmers, but of consumers. We shop and shop and shop.” We love our stuff. Yet more than the stuff itself, we love the act of finding it – the search, the anticipation………………………….Highly creative adults frequently grew up with hardship. Hardship by itself doesn’t lead to creativity, but it does force kids to become more flexible—and flexibility helps with creativity.
When we have less to work with, we have to be more creative. Think about that the next time the consumerist impulse is threatening to encroach on your creativity.

http://99u.com/articles/7292/More-Insights-on-Sharpening-Your-Creative-Mind

http://evelynrodriguez.typepad.com/crossroads_dispatches/2011/06/you-start-out-into-the-dark-strange-help-mates-come-along-joseph-campbell-ally.html If the path before you is clear, you’re pro“bably on someone else’s.” – Joseph Campbell….

“They thought it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group. Each entered the forest that he had chosen where there was no path and where it was darkest.” Now, if there’s a way or path, it’s someone else’s way; and the guru has a path for you. He knows where you are on it. He knows where he is on it, namely, way ahead. And all you can do is get to be as great as he is. This is a continuation of the dependency of childhood; maturity consists in outgrowing that and becoming your own authority for your life. And this quest for the unknown seems so romantic to Oriental people. What is unknown is the fulfillment of your own unique life, the likes of which has never existed on the earth. And you are the only one who can do it. People can give you clues how to fall down and how to stand up; but when to fall and when to stand, and when you are falling and when you are standing up, this only you can know.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/03/08/buckminster-fuller-synergetics/

Synergetics, a hefty tome of nearly 1,000 pages, is fascinating and mind-bending in its entirety. Complement it with Benjamin Betts’s Geometrical Psychology from nearly a century earlier and Bertrand Russell’s Education and the Good Life.

Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe.

https://i0.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/synergetics.jpg https://i1.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/milton_millman.jpg