Category: Musings

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’m pretty deep into some serious rebuilding of my soul. Party self-inflicted. Partly a big-for-me birthday. Partly some relationship issues and betrayals. So I’m reading a lot. Literally sitting in my woman made cave somewhere. I’ll get there. But I’ve never gone this deep, on my own before without just labelling it depression and having that colour the experience or have me pull back from the work. It’s hard but it’s going to be better to have been through, rather than to the edge, or around the chasm. It’s also multi faceted, which makes it easier.

All that to say courageously that in my cave reading yesterday I came across this quote that I’m loving, strike that finding challenging from Brené Brown’s work Daring Greatly.

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose;the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

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I had a sloppy day yesterday. By the time that it got to 11 am, and I hadn’t yet done my spiritual practice or anything else on my todo list or my bed side pile of books, I had more or less accepted this fact and yesterday turned into a rest day. It was filled with a game on my iPad that will ultimately means nothing and thinking. The study I still have to do by the end of today still needs to happen. I need to get back on the horse in terms of my spiritual stuff.

But at some point yesterday I was okay with letting yesterday go. In rest. Not like the day was stolen from me in laziness like others have felt before but because  I chose to let it be my sabbath. Without any scheduling, or ritual. Without the promise of a routine. Fully aware in my own mind at least that I far from deserve a day off at this point.

There was no great crash out on Friday. I’ve had it lot on my mind lately and I do need to reboot some major stuff; like my integrity. But it wasn’t one of those.

I also needed  to lie down earlier I was planning on last night so I didn’t get to write about it. But between Friday night and now a few things have come into focus. This is nice as I have felt like a study in contradictions lately.

  • I realised that there are a lot of books that I want to read but my library doesn’t have and I don’t want to buy a lot of books.
  • I realised again that I want to write more, speak less, think more.
  • I want to live minimally but be well informed and have just what I need when I need it.
  • Silence doesn’t scare me. Judgement does. My own stings more than anything another can do.
  • I realise that I fall to easily into trying to be someone that I am not. That needs to stop now even though it’s going to be very uncomfortable for a while.

I have always thought that when I was being really me, I lived very consciously. Things like; Think carefully through what you are going to do, say, wear, eat. Not just once but each time. Make your choices consciously and be aware that the act of not making a choice is in fact a choice. That even when a situation doesn’t seem to have a choice, your response to that situation is your choice. That there will be hard choices, but being adult means accepting that even those are choices.

This lifestyle felt right but very hard and very unpopular. It seems out of kilter with the way I was “supposed” to be. It was not easy or fun. It was hard to be unpopular again. But I think that I need to go back to that. A life of intentionality and conscious living and see what happens. I am older now so maybe that will help.

It will require radical honesty. First with myself and then with others. About who I am, and what I really want. That will take time, but after my Sabbath i feel quietly ready. Not in a zealous let’s run and have a packing party and I’ll move to India. But in a confidence and courage that I haven’t felt in over 10 years. I feel more myself today.

I can now see some intersections between what I think my values are and actions I can take.

I was listening to a podcast on YouTube interviewing Colin Wright who moves intentionally every 4 months. Watching a TEDx talk of his gave me a word for it all. The seemingly endless contradictory goals.


Coming into another birthday my word of choice will be intentionality for the next phase. His talk was not just looking at stuff; the minimialism piece but intentionality in relationships. Contextual friendships. Draining relationships. Being “on purpose” here too. This is an area I need to address, both in the repair (if possible) of some that I have abused and or neglected and in the clearing of others which do not serve now in the way that I have been trying to make them work.

But first to me. I’m not going to make radical commitments to myself right now. That hasn’t been healthy for me. I’m just going to start by trying a little harder to pay attention and use my hypersensitivity to my advantage. To think more.

Start from there.

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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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I’ve been scared to come back

Some of that fear has a greater basis in “legitimate” concern. Some of the fear is far less practical and that fear is getting worse the longer I went.

First about the practical stuff.  I felt that for safety reasons I needed to take myself offline for over two years. Those fears and their basis probably still exist.

I guess I figure that  one can’t live one’s life in fear and if I do suffer actually real world consequences for being back “out” (as in online) I’ll deal with them then. I have dabbled in YouTube but didn’t really have the courage to continue. I think it also had a bit to do with my second fear.

I lost my voice. I didn’t know if I had anything to say anymore even to myself, much less to anyone else. I didn’t think that in all this time blogging I had much of a following. At one level I get that how popular your blog is doesn’t or shouldn’t matter. But I did hope to be relevant. I get that consistency is the key and that as a result of my neglect any readership  beyond my real life friends I did have I have possibly lost. But I’m willing to try.

Because…… I’ve missed it.

Over the last little while as well as feeling far dumber and more insular than I want to I’ve said to myself a few times “Oh I could write about it on the blog….. umm but I’d have to explain where I’ve been” and then the fear and embarrassment of one more I’m back post sets in and I would just give up.

I paid both the domain and hosing fees in the last week, bills I could ill afford this month with other bills needing paying but I had put it off too long and finally needed to because a friend has email and storage on my server. It had already been archived.

In a strange way that difficulty getting on here was the final push.

I’ll try again then.

I’m still not going back on Facebook. For the moment comments are off, but I’ll respond to twitter or email in my time. Postings will hopefully be more regular, but unlikely to be live. I’ll write or post when the mood takes me and schedule them to go live after the fact. I might try batch writing.

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The other race that stopped our nation

In Australia, we have an idiom for the big horse race, the Melbourne Cup. It is known as the race that stops the nation. It is run annually on the first Tuesday in November. It is, regardless of whether you live in Melbourne or not, more or less a national holiday. Offices hold sweeps and long lunches breaks, women who wouldn’t normally wear a hat become fascinated with fascinators and even normally fairly serious news presenters and politicians are dressing up and talking or tweeting about their tips. These tips are often based on very random criteria, rather than any sort of history with the form guide. After all the fuss, the people who can and do stop to watch the race do so for the 3 minutes or so it takes to run and then return after a bit of celebration to merry-making or work.

In years past, the US election has been held in the same week as the Melbourne Cup. I recall 8 years ago, watching the horses one day and Obama’s speech the very next.

This year it was the week after, and more so than any other election “over there” that I can recall, ordinary Australians were glued to the news channels on Wednesday as the news came in. I was at an airport way ahead of my flight and everyone was talking about it among themselves and even to complete strangers. It was shock and disbelief. But we were glued to it for a good couple of days later. Friends who I don’t normally talk politics with were expressing shock and degrees of discomfort at the idea of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world and what that says about our global mindset and future. I’m sure there are messages there to be examined even before he takes command in January.

The last time I remember seeing Australians glued to the tv for events overseas like they were a week ago was when the World Trade Centers went down. Seems we tend to be the onlookers to the crashes we can’t tear ourselves away from.

My recovery method has centred around becoming hooked again on the West Wing. I know it is fiction but it has to be based on some degree of reality or it wouldn’t work as a drama right? I want to use my intellect more and use it for good .

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Something to aspire to, or perhaps explain me

I like this explanation of self-sufficiency . It’s interesting too that Taylor talks about the differences between self-esteem and self-sufficiency. Also the different scales, as well as the positive and negative sides to these traits, like all traits.

My highlights though…

‘Self-sufficient’ people are authentic. They tend not to play roles, or to be dishonest or misleading just to please. Their inner stability and wholeness means that it’s not so important for them to gain affirmation or respect from others, so they may be prepared to risk being disliked by speaking truthfully. If you show them a poem or a painting and ask them, ‘What do you think?’ be prepared for them to give an honest assessment. Fundamentally, they’re not so interested in trying to impress other people, and so it’s possible for them to be more authentic.

I don’t think I can personally say that I am one size fits all on this. But I do tend to give my opinion with varying degrees of candour depending on my courage, energy, audience as well as occasion. Some people though I do have disease to please though. I do like the aspiration of authenticity.

And this makes sense….

And in terms of their lifestyles, self-sufficient’ people are happy with their own company. They may be social and sociable to a normal degree, but they also enjoy solitude. Whereas some people find solitude and quietness difficult to endure, and use diversions and distractions (like the Internet or television) to avoid them, self-sufficient people are perfectly happy to be alone with themselves.

This aspect is stronger now than it used to be. Mostly deliberately.

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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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Cross post: Menthol, Sunshine and the possibility of human potential

Cross post from my other blog.

So the other part of my birthday gift from a friend of mine was enough iTunes money to buy myself Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I bought it to prepare for one of my exams for uni and then watched it last night.

I missed the class in which the movie was shown and yet on being shown that the biggest question (worth 40%) centres around philosophical reflections on this movie, it jumped to the top of my “to watch” heap, which to be generous is not that long.

I watched the “trailer” on iTunes a few days ago and worked out this was what I would term a gritty movie; and deep content (fine), ensemble cast (fine, though I didn’t recognise the two actors in the trailer) dark lighting to go along with the dark themes.  It was going to be a word film, a concept film. Great. Being a wordy thinker in a philosophy class that works well. Psychological shows you leave thinking about.

I tend not to read much about films before I see them. I like to see if they can absorb me without preconception playing a part. Besides, in this case, I had to watch it for class and I hasten to add I like my lecturer and the way she thinks so would trust her judgement. This was just as well.

Apart from films like The Green Mile, or the early Harry Potter movies , where the science fiction is more conceptual than visual, as a rule I don’t like science fiction. I think I was traumatised early by watching one that was out of my age range or something. I don’t know. I think I also really really get how scary some of that stuff could be for human existance if it came off. Ask anyone that has tried to watch tv with me, any sort of  morphing, even cartoon mophing of any sort, or the butter menthol ad below where even after treatment she still makes that noise have me hiding in the nerest armpit or pulling the face of a 2 year old!

This is where the idea of walls disappearing as you walk around your memory as you’re trying to notify distracted medical professional that you changed your mind about getting your memory wiped really gets icky. But hey that’s the point, right? That stuff should be icky. Yet I can happily watch reruns of the gory bits of medical docureality and not bat an eyelid, even though that stuff does happen to me!

Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe it’s the unknown potentiality that freaks me out. Particularly the unknown potentiality of human beings. In many ways potential is meant to be a positive. But if mere carelessness can cause the heartache and trauma it causes, much less Hilter, ISIS or the like, then what else is the potential is others are not just being  careless in their neglect.

The other reason I’m glad I didn’t pre-read on this movie: Jim Carey. I have not been a fan. At all. For me, his slapstick is hard to watch, even in Bruce Almighty.  Although I would have watched it anyway, I’m so glad I didn’t recognise him in Eternal Sunshine until 25 minutes in. The humour was much drier and to my taste

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