Selfish Saturday: The Waffler is out

keepoutcomebacklaterYesterday I had to attend my son’s end-of-year picnic; he was very disappointed last year, when I didn’t. I should have passed again. The 27-degree, 100%-humidity weather made me feel like a steamed dumpling even first thing in the morning, and had given me a raging case of heatstroke by the end of the day. Let’s say it hasn’t been a fun 30-odd hours.

I can have a lot of odd thoughts when physically incapacitated… odd, but generally good. And this time I decided to break out of my rut over the holidays. I usually dread them, because they tend to mess up the regular things I want to do. Maybe giving up some of those regular things will help me enjoy myself more.

Long story short, the Waffle’s regular columns are going away for the summer. There will be bites from DailyOM to keep the mind alert, but all the books, music, food and art can wait for order to reassert itself. If all goes according to plan, regular activity will resume on September 4. Take 45 and enjoy!

The Mind Follows No Timeline

The talents that intrigue us the most oftentimes seem to exist just outside the reach of our grasp, even though we are all capable of mastering new crafts and skills. Life has a tendency to intervene in humanity’s best-laid plans, and it is easy to sacrifice a dream when facing unrelated obligations. We may also feel that we are too set in our ways to absorb fresh skills or that doing so would ultimately prove a valueless undertaking. However, learning is, first and foremost, an endeavor of the mind. To learn, we must legitimately believe we can learn and that the abilities we gain as a result will serve to enrich our lives. Once we do, we discover that education and practice inspire us and awaken us to a whole new range of possibilities.

When you challenge yourself by committing to master a new pursuit, you affirm your belief that neither chronology nor fear need be an impediment to growth. You comprehend the value of learning—the interest it adds to your day-to-day experiences and the creativity it inspires within you. Being a beginner can be hard, and you may find yourself tempted to give up, but try not to let yourself become self-conscious. If you are revisiting an activity you enjoyed in childhood, you may take in information more slowly than you once did or you may pick it up again like it was yesterday.The simple fact that you are pursuing a path because you want to means that your determination will give you the strength to cope with any difficulties. Your ability to work toward an aim will be heightened by your sincere desire to grow as an individual.

Try learning something new this week. What have you always wanted to do? Take a dance class, learn to sail, knit a sweater, sculpt—whatever you choose, your life will be enriched with fun, new friends and the pride of trying something new.

DailyOM

What We See

Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, the conclusions we come to are seldom unaffected by our own fears and our own preconceptions. Additionally, our judgments are frequently incomplete. For example, wealth can seem like proof that an individual is spoiled, and poverty can be seen as a signifier of laziness—neither of which may be true. At the heart of the tendency to categorize and criticize, we often find insecurity. Overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear is a matter of understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance.

When we catch ourselves thinking or behaving judgmentally, we should ask ourselves where these judgments come from. Traits we hope we do not possess can instigate our criticism when we see them in others because passing judgment distances us from those traits. Once we regain our center, we can reinforce our open-mindedness by putting our feelings into words. To acknowledge to ourselves that we have judged, and that we have identified the root of our judgments, is the first step to a path of compassion. Recognizing that we limit our awareness by assessing others critically can make moving past our initial impressions much easier. Judgments seldom leave room for alternate possibilities.

Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” If we are quick to pass judgment on others, we forget that they, like us, are human beings. As we seldom know what roads people have traveled before a shared encounter or why they have come into our lives, we should always give those we meet the gift of an open heart. Doing so allows us to replace fear-based criticism with appreciation because we can then focus wholeheartedly on the spark of good that burns in all human souls.

DailyOM

Compelled to Create

Inspiration is an intangible yet inseparable part of the creative process. Nearly all creative possibilities are related to the muses that inspire us. The ancient Greeks believed that all creation, whether artistic or scientific in nature, was motivated by goddesses who served as the literal embodiment of inspiration. These were the Muses, the givers of the creative spark. We still rely on muses to drive the creative process, though ours may take a diverse range of forms. People we meet, intriguing ideas, movies, books, nature, and cultural ideals all have the potential to awaken our imaginative minds. When we are touched by our muses, we understand viscerally that we are capable of producing our own unique kind of greatness.

Many people move through life unaware of the presence of their muse. This lack of awareness can be compounded by the fact that we may have one muse that remains with us throughout our lives, multiple muses that inspire us concurrently, several muses that come and go as necessary, or a single muse that touches us briefly at specific moments. You will know that you have found your muse when you encounter a force that makes you feel courageous enough to broaden the range of your creativity. The presence of this force will erase your self-doubt and motivate you to give your thoughts and feelings form. Should your muse continue to elude you, however, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of falling under its inspired influence. If you surround yourself with people who support you, keep a pen and paper handy, immerse yourself in culture, and brainstorm frequently, you will soon reconnect with your muse.

Once you have identified your muse, embrace it by giving yourself over to the creative inspiration it provides. No matter what you are moved to create, you will find that neither fear nor criticism can penetrate the wonderful bliss that goes hand in hand with the act of taking an idea and turning it into something the whole world can enjoy.

DailyOM

Promoting the Positive

Sometimes we start out with the best intentions to think and speak only positive thoughts, but the people around us throw us off course. Not everyone fully understands the power our thoughts and words have, or even if they do, they may be stuck in old patterns of negativity. Much of our habitual communication takes the form of complaining and criticizing, and it can be hard to find a way into certain conversations without lapsing into those old habits. However, we always have the option not to participate in negativity or to find a way to influence the situation in a positive direction. In the right company, you may even be able to directly acknowledge the fact that things have taken a negative turn, thus freeing yourself and others from the negative pull.

Not everyone will respond to your cues, and there’s no need to become overly attached to the idea of changing other people, because people have to choose for themselves how they will be in the world. Many people choose negativity because it is familiar to them and feels safe. It is important to give people the space to find their own way, but you can always set an example, subtly representing the power of being positive. At times you may interject an affirmative statement into the conversation, and at others you may simply change the subject. You may also simply withdraw your energy and presence, which also makes a subtle statement. If you feel comfortable enough with somebody that is always negative, perhaps you can have an honest conversation with them; after all, awareness is the first step to change.

A powerful way to free yourself from the negative pull is to enlist allies who are similarly minded. You and a friend, coworker, or family member may agree to work together to continually shift the energy in a situation in a positive direction. The power of two people working to promote the positive is exponentially greater than one person working on their own. As you and your allies work together to lift the energy around you, you will be amazed to see how quickly the positive pull begins to draw people into its orbit, freeing one mind after another from negativity into light.

DailyOM

Capturing the Thrill

Each human life has the potential to be dramatic, thrilling, and awe-inspiring. Our lives are, in truth, ours to design. Each day, we make choices that influence the character of our experiences, and our decisions determine whether our paths are rousing or tedious, breathtaking or tiresome. We can create an exciting life by simply doing what excites us whenever the opportunity presents itself. Your passions may ebb and flow, and what excites you one year may not excite you the next, but when you make excitement a regular part of your existence, life becomes more fun and more fulfilling.

If you are somebody that tends to live practically, excitement may overwhelm you at first. To ease the anxiety that prevents you from incorporating all that you find exciting into your life, acknowledge that you are alive right now in this time and every moment matters. When you choose to do more of what excites you, even if your choices requires you to make certain sacrifices, your daily life will soon be imbued with exhilaration, pleasure, and optimistic anticipation.

To understand what excites you, you may need to observe and ponder your reaction to the activities, events, circumstances, and concepts that make up your life. What makes your pulse race, what makes you want to get out of your chair and take action? Try to avoid getting too wrapped up in life’s details; their tedium may cause you to plod through your existence unaware of prospective excitement. Once you have created a substantial list of what excites you, find ways to integrate each item into your routine. You will soon find yourself riding a wave of excitement that lifts you up and makes life truly worth living. What excites you in your life?

DailyOM


Month at a Glance

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