Category: books and learning

Quote and a challenge

“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”


Maya Angelou


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Tools for my toolkit

These tools came from a book I listened to today by George Simon. They were presented nicely the context of communication with particular aggressive character types but I think that there is application in a broader sense as well. My own thoughts I will include in bold. Otherwise it is a direct summation.

  • Accept no excuses especially from myself. The ends never justify the means for inappropriate behaviour.The objective of aggressive behaviour is always to resist civil conduct.
  • Judge actions not intentions.
  • Set personal limits; both for what you will tolerate including from yourself and what you expect.
  • Make direct requests. Use I statements.
  • Insist on direct responses
  • Stay in the here and now.
  • When confronting an aggressive communication, behaviour or person keep the weight on the aggressive behaviour.
  • When you need to confront someone avoid sarcasm, hostility or put downs.
  • Avoid making threats. It’s a form of manipulation.
  • Take action quickly
  • Speak for yourself.
  • Make reasonable requests.
  • Be prepared for consequences.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the roles of regret, remorse, guilt and related topics in my life.

In extreme summary they are different and each have a use in my life and can also be abused.

Of course you can’t think about those topics without thinking about Grace. I came across this quote from Kathleen Dowling Singh in the context of a spiritual (auto) biography;

Grace has enabled whatever healing we’ve experienced thus far, whatever degree of inner peace and freedom we feel in this moment.  We can gratefully acknowledge the grace of our heart’s yearning that led us to begin a spiritual journey to begin with.

Liked it. I’m a striver so it’s a gentle tap to stop and smell the roses and go forward with gratitude for the lessons so far.

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Plato on the knowledge of death

Reading some Plato: as ya do:

Not commenting on this, just putting it out there, from the Apology: defence of Socrates

After all, gentlemen, the fear of death amounts simply to thinking one is wise when one is not: it is thinking one knows something  one does not know. No one knows, you see whether death may not in fact prove the greatest of all blessings for mankind; but people fear it as if they know it for certain to be the greatest of all evils



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retro active

I’ve been quiet lately introverted. Reverting to some old favourites. Old based not just on the regularity with which I return to the faithfuls but also in terms of the setting.

I’ve listened to Pride and Prejudice as an audiobook which I do annually when I need a bit of TLC and gain watched the BBC version (I mean Colin Firth isn’t bad to behold), and revisiting the “Pride and Prejudice from Mr Darcy’s point of view” options that I’ve collected over the years. I have my favourite which is the 3 part series; Pamela Aiden’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman.

As appears to happen to me I then start googling and YouTubeing around the topics I’ve read, and in this case dreaming that a little bit more of the Regency lifestyle was present in the modern world.

I’m thinking more of the senses of etiquette and occasion, letter writing and calling cards and yes perhaps a slightly slower pace to some things like making plans to socialise by letter well in advance and thereby harder to just flick off a sms to change.

“I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family on Monday the 18th ……You may expect me by 4 in the afternoon”

(Mr Collins taken from the mini series).

I’m not decrying modern technology. I’m blogging about this after all. But maybe the pace means things are taken for granted, and the healthy sense of marking occasion is missing. I also acknowledge that the Regency period was not all rosy, or romantic (which is covered more in the Aiden books and part of their appeal to me). Yes, I also know that a single woman at my age who used a wheelchair would not be welcome in society if I was even alive. But I’m after relief and the lessons that I like.

I’ve bene drawn over the last few years to wanting to write letters again and mark things with gratitude. So on the back of my annual Bennet/Darcy/Bingly fest, I ordered personalised thank you cards and return address labels from Vistaprint and while waiting have sent off 2.

I also found this, which includes this list as the Maxims and Rules for the conduct of women, published in 1806.

1. In the exterior, decency and cleanliness.
2. In demeanor, reason and simplicity.
3. In actions, justice and generosity.
4. In language, truth and perspicuity.
5. In adversity, fortitude and pride.
6. In prosperity, moderation and modesty.
7. In company, affability and ease.
8. In domestic life, rectitude and kindness, without familiarity.
9. Fulfil duties according to their order and importance.
10. Never allow yourself any thing but what a third enlightened and impartial person would allow you.
11. Avoid giving advice.
12. When you have a duty to fulfil, consider dangers only as inconveniences, and not as obstacles.
13. Sacrifice every thing to peace of mind.
14. Combat adversity, as disease, with temperance.
15. Be anxious only to do what is right, paying as much respect as possible to the world and to the law of decorum; but, having observed this rule, be indifferent to public opinion.
16. Never indulge in any but innocent raillery, which is not injurious to principles, nor painful to persons.
17. Despise interest, and employ it nobly.
18. Deserve respect.

Quite apart from wishing to say that I think these same rules could apply to the Gentlemen too, I think we could all do worse.

But then there I go breaching Rule No 11.


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Maybe not just faiths but denominations too?

From LivingBuddha,LivingChrist10thAnniversaryEdition” target=”_blank” title=””>Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result

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on economy of various sorts

I’ve been reading and hibernating mostly. Just being quiet and trying to battle technical dramas of one sort or another.

I’m feeling more naturally able to be quiet and a bit smaller. Not in terms of stature but in terms of the footprint stuff. My own footprint and the extent to which I let other people’s footprints on me and never find out about it.. Not entirely of course. But certainly with strangers I’m better than I was. I’m remembering the need for boundaries, if not always remembering to apply them. As I said to someone yesterday I’m now remembering to include myself on my radar of people to care about the preference of. Even if i then don’t choose not to apply my preferences, as i often don’t, (preferring others needs to my own), I usually resent the sacrifice less because it felt more of a choice. Which I’m less likely to “automatically” repeat if the costs to me are too high or the return on investment is too low.

My quest for personal economy is heightened as well. Saying less is a beautiful thing. Not only wise in terms of social matters, but better resource management for me. I am learning to embrace my inner introvert, instead of fight her or merely tolerate her thanks to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In summary I understand myself better. I now have a clearer idea about why loud random people and noise not only causes spasm but annoyance and almost a different sort of pain.

I’m still also on the minimalism track from a bit of a different angle this time. Among my reading on my iPad is also Walden. There’s a lot in there, but while I don’t fancy myself ever becoming a subsistence farmer with arguably only one or 2 sets of clothes, I do wonder how much money and more energy I could still save. I also wonder how extreme I would be ready to go.

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Well read?

As I said on Twitter last night,

used to be reasonably well read and love reading but gone a bit soft. need some good book recommendations, ebook audio included. Anyone Pls

I got one reply to that message suggesting the Tale of the Ancient Mariners. Thank you, but I am not really not thrillers or comedies.

The fact is I think I’m started to reflect my hair colour and a trip to a real book shop (second-hand ones aren’t generally easy to navigate) hasn’t been revealing much. Although I’m sure there are gems there, nothing is jumping out save for the American driven self-enrichment stuff and chick lit, of which I have some, but want something to get my teeth into.

It wouldn’t help the situation that I don’t exactly know what I want. I used to read a lot and I’d like to get back there. I had a look at this list of books slated to make one well-read and felt ashamed. Having said that, I also think there are some classics missing, don’t you?

I’m pretty clear that I don’t like crime or horror. I have loved biography and other non fiction. I like classic literature. I want to both stretch and expand yet feel comforted.

I have been reading more, but I feel informed more than enriched. In fact it was a book that started this. I’ve been listening to The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin on and off for a while. It’s really a great book with useful ideas. But what I’m really impressed with as well as the content is how widely read she is. Sure there would have been a lot of research on happiness and such, but I’m betting she has an impressive general collection.

In the only disability twist to this I kind of miss not being able to drop in on more friends and peruse their bookcases as only one friend has discovered Shelfari!

So come on folks, please give me some recommendations or a virtual peek at your bookshelf. I won’t judge if you don’t. 🙂

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More writing ..again

So, yet another piece of writing software becomes part of my choice to buy as part of Dad’s iTunes gift and yet I claim I want to de-clutter my life. But he did say to buy something very me; and rightly or wrongly, this feels very very me and something that is in fact very him too.

But writing does help and so I write. This bit perhaps to de-clutter my head if not my desk. I tried 750 words, but somehow that felt like competitive clutter, online clutter and another login and so I found myself stopping.

So Christmas is over and I’ve used the gift vouchers or am starting to. The iTunes voucher, Books for the Kindle, a dress some time ago, and my perfume by virtue of a gift voucher from my brother. The rest was food-y which was nice, although my stomach wasn’t really up to much this time unfortunately even on the day itself, in a pretty severe way.

So one of the books I choose was The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul. 24 pages in, he is a very funny and self-deprecating author. So the book is fun, but so far I am still sitting here in what I consider to be a mess. I can’t help wondering how much flexibility I should allow for limited mobility etc. Time will tell I guess

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But something I did like

Was Meg Wolfe‘s The Minimalist Woman and the follow up The Minimalist Woman’s Guide to Having it All. Buying the latter especially in light of the whole minimalism philosophy and my own, did indeed feel a little counter intuitive! But both books were each useful.

I seem to be on a gentle quest of self-development. I dare not speak too loudly of it as experience has taught me that if I start striving after self-development, I crash and burn.

So mini steps (micro rolls) are working for me.

  • I’m getting a little better at boundaries. Long long way to go here, but I’m not turning myself inside out to fit other’s schedules or more likely lack of them.
  • I’ve bought yoghurt, nuts and protein drinks and am eating them as snacks. This increase in fibre and protein has had an impact, some of it a little inconvenient.
  • I’m using things up before I toss them.
  • So far I’d decided I’m going to use up my other perfumes before I replace my favourite one.
  • Despite the stack, I’m trying to read a book or two to the end before starting a new one.
  • every time I leave this room I try and toss a piece of rubbish.

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