May you experience the peaceful places,

the tranquil moments, and quiet thoughts

that nourish the soul.

— Hallmark Christmas Card

I came into work this morning surprised to see a Christmas card on my desk from a coworker. The front picture of the card was a black and white image of a forest in the winter. The day looks peaceful, the snowing stopped and the trees look peacefully content covered in snow.

I must admit, this is one of the better cards I have seen and better yet, have received. This year has been a bit hectic with lots of changes in life.  There are times when I long for that peaceful place, only to be confronted by boiling waters of the heart.  There are times when I try to induce tranquil moments and quiet thoughts, only to be jarred awake by the not-so-peaceful images in my mind.

“All the best in the new year!” is hand written into the card. I look forward to the new year. It will be a time of new beginnings, a time to let go of the past, like water under the bridge

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Oops, I did it again and bit the hook.  This time, I bit the following hooks of distorted thinking:

Disqualifying the Positive – You dismiss positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
  A. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.

— Source: Sources of Insight – 10 Distorted Thinking Patterns

I felt the anger arise and the lashing out beginning, but I was unable to stop it.  In doing so, I really discounted a very positive and caring act, only to flip it around and conclude it as a negative act.  Additionally, while the act itself was thinking on my behalf, my distorted view flipped that on it’s side.

Ever since I have become aware of these distorted thinking patterns, I find myself time and time again falling victim to them.  After the event, I tried to do some breath counting meditation, but was unable to make it past 50 (I will usually do 100 counts in a sitting).  The reason, I was just feeling way too angry inside and realized I was rushing the counting and only going through the motions.

It’s time to step back and try to take an objective view on my own behavior and thought patterns. I am still convinced the disarray of my home office is a direct reflection on the mental state of my mind.. twisted, strewn about, and disorganized. 

Don’t Bite the Hook

December 4, 2008

Recently, I have been listening to an audiobook titled “Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions” by Pema Chodron.  One of the main points of the book is addressing our own angers.

One of the questions asked is, when we get angry, do we find joy in our anger? Is our anger making us happy or a better person? Is the anger constructive? Are we just adding fuel to the flame?

We can suppress anger and aggression or act it out, either way making things worse for ourselves and others. Or we can practice patience: wait, experience the anger and investigate its nature.

— Source: The Answer to Anger & Aggression is Patience

Read the rest of this entry »

The Starfish Story

December 3, 2008

Yesterday I ran across a plaque on the wall that had “The Starfish Story” on it. This is the first time I have run across it and found it very inspirational. I would like to share that here:

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said…

I made a difference for that one.”

When I read this, I became inspired because it showed that no matter how small or how trivial something may appear to be, we can always make a difference.  Whether we decide to leap, take a step or have an intention of moving, we make a difference.