18 September 2018      

Hello there!  Now we're well into the second half of our ninth month, in a week that will
see the end of summer and the beginning of autumn!  Change is in the air, and it
may be worth our while to consider whether or not we have some changes that
we can make or continue to work on in our own lives.

Attention
Bruce I. Doyle III

What's Wrong with Grown-Ups?

Why I Don't Carry a Cell Phone
tom walsh

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When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Dakota tribal saying

What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

George Eliot

Out of our beliefs are born deeds; out of our deeds we form habits; out of our habits grows our character; and on our character we build our destiny.

Henry Hancock

  

Attention
Bruce I. Doyle III

What you put your attention on strengthens or expands in your life.

Scientists are discovering more and more evidence that we humans are not independent observers of a mechanical universe.  Our attention, backed by the intent of our beliefs, creates what we experience as our lives.  Scientifically, one might say that focusing your attention on the energy field of consciousness, which contains the waves of all possibilities, creates the particles (events and materializations) that you experience as your reality.

This is a very important concept.  Let me repeat it:  what you put your attention on strengthens or expands in your life.  This one idea alone can make a big difference for you.

Remember the last time you were considering buying a new car?  You had your attention focused on it, and what happened?  All of a sudden, you noticed many different types, models, and colors of cars, "for sale" signs in windows, ads in the paper, and people relaying information to you about a friend who was thinking of selling his car.  Your attention brought things into your awareness because of your focus.  The moment you purchased your new car, your attention shifted.  The same information about cars was available, but it was no longer attracted to your awareness.  Your attention was focused elsewhere.

Imagine a coal miner with a helmet that contains a light to enable him to see directly in front of him.  Now picture yourself with a similar light beaming from your forehead.  Think of it as your attention beam.  How often are you aware of where it's focused?

It is important to focus your attention effectively.  In other words, don't waste your creative energy.  Without deliberate focus, you're spreading your attention around randomly, achieving no real benefit for yourself.  Keep your attention focused on something positive, and good things begin to happen.

This is the real reason for goal setting.  It's the mental focus that helps you achieve your goals.  Your focus is actually strengthening the thoughtform that you have expressed as your goal.  Unfortunately, many of us have been oriented to the pass-fail aspect of goal setting, and so, to avoid failure, we don't set goals.  Yes, the concept of pass-fail is a belief--a very strong shared one.

If there is something in your life that you want, keep your attention focused on that goal.  if things show up--and they will--that seem to get in the way, don't focus on them.  Handle them, but stay focused on your goal.  It's when you focus on the obstacles that you tend to give up.  Think about what we have already discussed.  What happens when you focus on the obstacles?  Right--your focus just strengthens the thoughtforms related to the obstacle.  Stay focused on the goal.

You might have a goal that you believe can be achieved only if you have a certain amount of money.  Instead of focusing on the goal, you focus on the fact that you don't have enough money.  What gets strengthened is the thoughtform for not having enough money.  Maybe there is a way to achieve the goal without money.  By not focusing on the goal, you restrict possibilities, of which you may not be aware, from occurring.

Victoria Heasley, a massage therapist, constantly amazes me with how she obtains what she needs.  She is the kind of person who says to herself, "I sure could use another couch," and within days a friend who is moving out of town calls her to ask if she knows anyone who could use a good couch.  If she focused on worrying about the money to buy a couch, she would miss these opportunities.  Stay focused on your goal!

Remember the story about the little steam engine who believed he could make it up the mountain?  He was really focused on his goal.  How well do you think he would have done chanting, "I'll never make it.  My joints are sore.  I'll never make it.  My joints are sore"?

Knowing where your attention is focused is also important because you physically experience what you focus your attention on.  You're probably focused on limiting or negative thoughts any time you are experiencing something unpleasant.  So if you want to change how you feel, shift your attention to something else--a pleasant memory, a different subject, anything.  Or, best of all, become an observer of your thoughts and just watch them float by.  This can be quite relaxing and can be referred to as meditating.  By monitoring where you are focusing your attention, you will begin to gain insight into why you are experiencing what you are experiencing.
   

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A note about this article:  One of my biggest motivators in life is trying to avoid becoming a person I don't want to be.  I witnessed alcoholism as a child, and I didn't want to become that.  I've seen teachers who don't know their job and who treat young people horrible--I don't want to be that kind of teacher.  The children who wrote these things have described very well the adult I don't want to be, especially when it comes to relating with young people, who really do deserve my best.
What's Wrong with Grown-ups?

According to a class full of ten-year-olds in a Sunday school class, these are the problems with grown-ups:

1.  Grown-ups make promises, then they forget all about them, or else they say it wasn't really a promise, just a maybe.


2.  Grown-ups don't do the things they're always telling the children to do--like pick up their things, or be neat, or always tell the truth.

3.  Grown-ups won't let their children dress the way they want to--but they never ask a child's opinion about how they should dress.  If they're going out to a party, grown-ups wear just exactly what they want to wear--even if it looks terrible, even if it isn't warm enough.

4.  Grown-ups never really listen to what children have to say.  They always decide ahead of time what they're going to answer.

5.  Grown-ups make mistakes but they won't admit them.  They always pretend that they weren't mistakes at all--or that somebody else made them.

6.  Grown-ups interrupt children all the time and think nothing of it.  If a child interrupts a grown-up, he gets a scolding or something worse.

7.  Grown-ups never understand how much children want a certain thing--a certain color or shape or size.  If it's something they don't admire--even if the children have spent their own money for it--they always say, "I can't imagine what you want with that old thing!"

8.  Sometimes grown-ups punish children unfairly.  It isn't right if you've done something just a little wrong and grownups take away something that means an awful lot to you.  Other times you can do something really bad and they say they're going to punish you, but they don't.  You never know, and you ought to know.

9.  Grown-ups talk about money too much, and bills, and things like that, so that it scares you.  They say money isn't very important, but the way they talk about it, it sounds like the most important thing in the world.

10.  Grown-ups gossip a lot--but if children do the very same thing and say the same words about the same people they're being disrespectful.

11.  Grown-ups pry into children's secrets.  They always think it's going to be something bad.  They never think it might be a nice surprise.

12.  Grown-ups are always talking about what they did and what they knew when they were ten years old--but they never try to think what it's like to be ten years old right now.

Does this sound familiar to you?  If it does, it might interest you to know that these complaints were made in 1953--well over half a century ago.  Just what have we learned about being adults and treating children over the last five decades, if we continue to perpetuate some of the treatments that were unfair so long ago?

  

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And then I thought: what fools we are with our children--always plotting
what we shall make of them, always planning for a future that never
comes, always intent on what they may be, never accepting what they are.

Howard Vincent O'Brien

   

 
Why I Don't Carry a Cell Phone
Defining My Own Rules

People sometimes ask me why I don't carry my cell phone with me all the time, as if I'm some sort of dinosaur stuck in the past, refusing to conform to modern standards.  To them, it's only natural that everyone should carry the things, because they've been convinced by others that the phones are important.  After all, what if I need to get hold of someone?  What if there's an emergency?

Well, I've got news for those people--this world went along fine for many, many centuries without us being able to get hold of someone at a moment's notice.  In fact, our lives were much less stressful when we weren't at the beck and call of anyone who happened to know our phone number.  I've been on this planet many years myself, and there have been extremely few situations in which I absolutely had to contact someone at very short notice, and in those times I had to use a bit of ingenuity in order to do so--I didn't just reach for a piece of technology that never challenges me to think at all.  (And that in fact could rob me of many important chances to develop and improve my thinking skills.)

Not carrying a cell phone is a choice.  When I make that choice, I'm saying to the world I live in at each moment that I'm open to it, that I want to experience it, and that I value it.  If I'm stuck to my phone, I'm telling the world around me that it's not good enough, that there's probably something or someone out there that's more interesting, more engaging, and more important to me.  But when I leave my phone at home, in a positive way I'm choosing to live fully in my surroundings.  I'm choosing many different aspects of life that are simply impossible to choose if my mind is always on the phone, wondering who's calling or who's texting--or why someone else isn't calling or texting.  Here are some of the positive choices that I'm making when I don't bring my phone with me:

I choose awareness.  I want to be fully aware of what's around me--the people, the animals, the trees, the flowers, the sky.  When I answer the phone, my mind (and in many ways my spirit) is immediately taken somewhere else to deal with issues that are going on somewhere that I'm not.  Once that happens, I stop seeing and hearing and smelling my surroundings with clarity.  My senses for the present moment are dulled, and there's really no way that I can focus on appreciation for the environment in which I find myself.  If I'm working, my job suffers because I'm no longer truly focused on what I'm doing--my focus is split, and I'm not able to process sensory input like I would be without the distraction of the new conversation in which I'm involved.  I want to be aware of where I am so that I can recognize and appreciate the blessings that are there for me.
   

You want technology to support your life, not run it.  The
problem is not that the cell phone rings, but the problem
is that we answer it when we shouldn't.

Odette Pollar

   
I choose to pay attention to the people I'm with, not people who aren't with me.  I know that I feel pretty crappy when someone answers the phone in the middle of a conversation with me, and I never want to make another person feel that way.  If I choose to talk with someone, I do so because I really want to talk to that person.  If a phone call comes and I answer it, my not-so-subtle message to that person is "This person is more important than you are, so please wait a moment while I talk to them."  And it's important to remember that even if that's not the message I want to send, the receiver of the message is the one who determines the meaning of the message for him- or herself, and the intent of my message isn't always accepted as it's meant.

I choose not to be influenced by companies that want the money I would spend if I had a computer/phone.  According to one source, the average Smartphone bill from one carrier last year was $148 per month.  That's what we used to pay per year for a landline phone, and we got along fine.  That's almost $1800 per year, and most people spend that money just to check Facebook and other social media, or to occasionally check email to see who's contacted them recently and who hasn't.  When I think of parents paying that much money instead of putting it away for their children's college funds, or young people paying that much and not being able to make ends meet, or couple stuck with those payments and struggling constantly with money, it astonishes me.  It's a LOT of money, and if it were rechanneled into more practical expenditures, people could benefit greatly.  And we're spending that money not because we need to call people and check social media, but because we've been convinced by advertisers and friends that we're somehow missing out on something if we don't.  But here's the important news:  we're really not missing out on anything that's important to us as human beings.  We're not missing anything that will help us to become better human beings, that will help us to grow and learn and develop.  We may be missing out on the latest tweet by some celebrity whom we'll never meet, but who cares?  That celebrity truly doesn't care about us.
    

Nature's what it's all about, but our people have been
brainwashed into thinking that life is a cell phone against
your head and the TV on a beer commercial with hot chicks.

Tim Dorsey
Nuclear Jellyfish

    
I choose not to have my behavior modified by an electronic device.  I feel kind of sad when I see people who are enjoying themselves while doing something that's a lot of fun, who immediately drop everything as soon as the phone rings.  That used to happen only in the home, and it was bad enough then.  Now it happens everywhere.  Are you enjoying your kid's baseball game?  Once the phone rings, the game becomes much less important as you drop everything you're watching to reach for it.

Pavlov would be proud.

In each moment of my life, I prefer to choose my own behavior to the best of my ability.  There are times, of course, when certain courses of action are called for and my choices are limited, but for the most part, it's up to me to decide what I'm going to do with each moment.  The ringing phone in my pocket changes that, though, and compels me to answer it.  And it's ringing because I decided to put it in my pocket and I decided to turn the volume up loud enough so that I can hear it when it rings.  And if I'm twenty feet away, I immediately hurry over to it because it's calling me.  I then choose to ignore the people around me.  But I don't want to make those choices just because a phone is ringing.  I want to choose what I do with my moments in life, and I want to choose whom I spend them with.
   

Cell phones are not a sign of power,
they're a sign of subservience.

Doug Pappas

   
I choose courtesy and respect.  I want the people I'm with to feel that I value them, not to feel that I value them only until my phone rings.  I want to pay attention to them, to listen to them, to enjoy their company.  So the phone stays at home.  And if one of them gets a call and blows me off, so what?  That's their choice to make.  I have my choices to make, and I choose respect.

The cell phone is in many ways a remarkable achievement from a technological perspective.  From a psychological perspective, though, it has become a burden for most people, not a boon.  The advantages of the phone have quickly turned into the disadvantages that one discovers in pretty much all addictions, including an inability to function normally without the device in our hands or pockets or purses, and the added stress that we feel when our minds are on the phone and not our current experiences.  There's a lot going on in my life, of course, but I never once have regretted not having a phone with me.  There are times I will carry mine if I'm going out of town or if I'll be away for a while, but all in all, the phone is like a hammer--it's a tool that serves me well when I need it, but that's better off in the tool box, where I can find it when I need it.
   
   
  

   

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Those persons are happiest in this restless and mutable world
who are in love with change,
who delight in what is new
simply because it differs from
what is old; who rejoice in
every innovation, and find a
strange alert pleasure
in all that is, and that has
never been before.

Agnes Repplier

  
The Balanced Self
Wilferd A. Peterson

The man walks out on the high wire over empty space, sways above the breathless crowd, defies the law of gravity. . . .

The successful living of a life can be compared to walking across a high wire.

The indispensable quality needed is balance.

The balanced self is the well-integrated self.  A harmonious combination of all the constructive elements of personality makes the self whole.

The balanced self practices moderation, avoids extremes, follows the maxim "Not anything too much."

The balanced self meets the challenges of life with equanimity.  It is neither exalted by success nor dejected by failure.  It meets despair with hope and climbs the heights with humility.

The balanced self maintains mental equilibrium. It has ideals without illusions.  It separates fact from fancy.  It keep a level head.

The balanced self is mature.  It considers everything from a grown-up viewpoint balanced by a child's simplicity.

The balanced self balances dreams with action.  It uses the power of inner thought to inspire outer achievement.  And it uses action to stimulate further dreams.

The balanced self guards against quick emotional reactions.  It does not jump to impulsive conclusions.  It delays action until it has had time, calmly and fairly, to balance all the factors involved.

The balanced self is resilient; it is flexible to change.  Like a tree in the wind, it bends without breaking.

The balanced self knows the error of constant effort.  It renews itself through prayer and relaxation, that it may apply a higher impact of energy and creative power to the task at hand.

The balanced self lives a balanced life.  It balances work and play, love and worship.

The balanced self maintains the I AM of the spirit at the center of self, in full command of its destiny.

   

  

You may find merry-go-rounds tame.  Perhaps your life is more like a
roller coaster ride.  That's okay, as long as it is the ride you want to
be on.  Maybe you enjoy the highs and lows of the roller coaster.  I
have fun on the merry-go-round, where I can meet people of all
ages and we can talk while we ride.  The kind of conversations and
interactions I like are impossible when we are alternately shrieking or
tense with anticipation.  But if that kind of life is truly your choice
and makes you happy, then go ahead and ride the roller coaster.
  Whatever ride you choose in the carnival of life, just remember to
stop, now and then, for a rest and refreshments.  And those of us
who are carousel riders should definitely take a break whenever
the merry drops out of the merry-go-round.

Bernie Siegel

    

  

   

A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

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