Saturday, March 24, 2018

Highlights from a good book

I enjoy writing about the events in my life and my thoughts.  Otten the thoughts are related to some book I am reading. Once in a while, I read a book that is printed on paper but usually, I read on a Kindle Voyage.   Several friends who are more or less my age also read on a Kindle, often the Kindle Paperwhite.

I have a Twitter account using the name "@olderkirby".  When I first used Twitter, I was encouraged to write about what was happening.  Since I am indeed old, sedentary and live a life filled with routine and repetition, I had all sort of resistance to writing "I am sitting down", "I am eating", "I am leaving the table."  I have 3926 statements, postings, called "Tweets". I enjoy seeing remarks in a book I am reading that are clever, memorable, valuable.

I am reading and enjoying Amit Sood's "Mindfulness Redesigned for the Twenty-First Century: Let's Not Cage the Hummingbird A Mindful Path to Resilience".  I use the Kindle Paperwhite to quickly post a Tweet of a passage that is one of those good ones. There are many very good statements in Sood's book so I am disappointed that the Paperwhite, this time, does not function the way it is supposed to.  All of the passages I have Tweeted are supposed to reside in the device and be available in a flie for me to send to my email. But that feature is not working. It has worked in the past. I used it to make the Dan Harris 10% Happier highlights page on my website, Kirbyvariety.

I did make a separate listing of the highlights from Sood's book.-------------------------------------------

A large body of research across several disciplines shows that much of our daily stress is because of brain overload that comes from excessive demands placed on us , lack of control , and an inability to find meaning .

I have never heard a CEO say , " Let's do less with more . "

The targets keep going up . Pressed by their boards , leaders in every industry are pushing for bigger numbers while , in at least some cases , ignoring the pain and burnout they are causing .

It breaks my heart to see that most large hospitals now have pediatric sleep apnea clinics in which obese ten - year - olds are being prescribed CPAP masks so they can sleep better . Kids who are lucky enough to dodge these demons get trapped in bullying , school politics , social - networking sites , and mountain of homework .

It is an effort to expand the reach of mindfulness to the brains that struggle with impatience , contend with constant distractions , and feel frustrated when they can't experience sustained stillness on the mat .

Humanity is hurting and overloaded , and we don't have an effective solution

These practices broke free of rituals and dogmas ( to a large extent ) , became less rigid , and received a thumbs - up from science and celebrities

But even the best evidence - based ideas can languish and remain undiscovered in the attic if they aren't marketed well .

To complement the research studies , yoga received strong celebrity endorsements .

deeper ? I believe a deeper exploration is inevitable , because the curiosity of the human spirit can't be doused .

It didn't matter whether you took three or four circles around the altar . What mattered was that you were kind toward others and yourself .

Practicing kindness in the littlest of activities is more important than most rituals .

Buddha directed his students to wisely choose their focus of concentration so they could negate their maladaptive predispositions .

He reminded them that having a relationship with life included losing it .

Noticing the wars that ravaged the world he lived in , he advised people to renounce inner violence to stop outer violence .

I do , however , have another choice : to think differently , until the new thoughts become habitual .

Until a few years ago , I was training my mind to redirect its attention with a time - tested technique I learned as a teenager : meditation .

In today's world , most elephants , lions , hyenas , wildebeests , buffalo , geese , ants , and honeybees have richer social connections than the average human .

Loneliness can increase sympathetic activity (fight or flight tension) , worsen immunity , increase inflammation , and cause sleep disturbance and several chronic illnesses .

Mindfulness was not designed to make us numb ; it was developed for personal transformation .

Are the media representations of the purported benefits exaggerated ?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Had lots of bounces this morning

I expect my email messages will go through all right in the coming days but for now, if you want to see today's post of the Biblical praise of a good wife, check the blog's web page.  Bill

I have a frugal and skillful wife

Every now and then, I realize again that my wife’s frugality and skills benefit me greatly and yet I never thought about such things when we were dating.  

This is Proverbs 31:10-31
31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

 The King James Bible (with book and chapter navigation) (Kindle Locations 16970-16971). Diana Mecum Kindle Edition.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Still bought and still read

I am an Amazon and Kindle fan.  Generally, Amazon ebooks are less expensive than alternatives and very quick to download.  I like Amazon Charts. They show the most sold and most read top twenty in fiction and non-fiction now.  

J.K.Rowling's first book," Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was published on June 26, 1997.  More than 20 years later, several of the books in the series are on Amazon's charts as very often read and very often purchased.  Any way you look at it, she is an amazing phenomenon. If you watch the movie story of her life, "Magic Beyond Words", you may decide she is even more amazing than you thought.  Joanne Kathleen took a trip to Spain, met a guy she liked, became a single mom, returned to her native Scotland and got on welfare. She became the world's first billionaire author.  She gave away much of her wealth to charities but is still among the most wealthy people in the United Kingdom.

Rowling has other books besides the Harry Potter series.  Lynn and I have read aloud the "Robert Galbraith" series, written by Rowling under a pen name.

There is considerable information about Rowling (properly pronounced Roh-ling, rhymes with no-ling) in Wikipedia and her life and adventures. Rowling has her own extensive website, Pottermore, and has original writings there, among other things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Only three

A week from this Thursday, the 29th, will be the 10 year anniversary of this blog.  The earliest entry in the blog is dated March 29, 2008. There are actually two posts on that date, the second and longer one is a summary of what I had posted in an earlier blog I began.  By the anniversary, I will probably have about 3115 posts, or going on a million words.

I took a course in fiction writing in college and found I didn't like that sort of writing. The endless array of possibilities was distracting and tiring. Even now, I dither about what to write about.  I have developed a procedure for getting started that involves making notes on up to five possibilities for the post of the day. Until a few minutes ago, I had only three for today but I still have ten documents of previous notes, each of several pages.  

Get a cat to blame, rightly or wrongly

When we had children in the house and we found something amiss, we could blame the spilled salt shaker or the wet towel on the floor, we could suppose that an unspecified minor was responsible.  We recently got a regular house cleaner to come and fix us up. She does a terrific job and her smile and energy brighten our day. It occurred to us that everyone should engage such a service or get a cat.  That way, there are others that can be blamed in absentia for mishaps, and spats between the two of us as to guilt are less likely.  

Lie or misunderstanding

What with fake news and all, I have read more instances of a statement that something was a "lie".  I think the relation between what is a lie and what is not true, is similar to the difference between murder and manslaughter.  It is a lesser crime to kill someone if it was terribly negligent but not intended. Similarly, it is a lesser crime or disservice to state something that is not true such as "I am a giraffe".  I advise reserving the charge of lying for situations where the speaker deliberately stated something that is not true and did so knowing that the statement was not true. Elvis sang in "Hound Dog" that "they said you was high-class, well, that was just a lie."  But I advise Elvis to check it out. If they have a different definition about what high classness is, or if they heard about you being high class without actually experiencing your class, they might not qualify as liars.

Practicing fierceness

About the 7th grade or so, I practiced fierce expressions.  I am not sure why. To some extent, it seemed part of the preparation for warriorhood.  It felt good and appropriate. I have seen writing recently that makes me wonder if maybe the idea of being fierce is semantically and socially acceptable to more young girls and women than previously.  The book by the young gymnast, Ally Rasiman, is titled "Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything" and uses the word. Somewhere else, I saw the word in a context that made me wonder if the term and the notion are more acceptable to women of today (and tomorrow) than previously.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Better opening bids

Eric Barker writes the blog called "Barking Up the Wrong Tree".  He sends out an article on the blog once a week. This week's is titled "How to Easily Make Your Relationships Awesome: 4 Secrets".  The post focuses on the work of John Gottman, the retired professor known worldwide for his research on marriage. It is often the case, these days, that "relationships" refers to heterosexual couples' arrangements, marriages, pre-marriages and post-marriages.  However, Barker's summaries of Gottman's research refers as much to all-guy and all-girl relations as to couples.

Barker's post for this week arrived today and as I read it, I was intrigued by the Barker/Gottman concept of "bid".  Parallel to a bid in an auction or in a game of bridge, these men use the word "bid" for an opening, an offer, an attempt to befriend, to open a conversation, to strike up a relation or a mini-relation.  Reading the article (linked below), I remembered a laugh I had back in high school. I read Stuart Chase's helpful book "The Tyranny of Words." It was so good and so helpful that I went on to Hayakawa's "Language in Thought and Action".  The two were both semanticists, specialists in words and their effects.

A one point, Hayakawa was discussing initial comments, the kind one makes to be civil, maybe to be sympathetic, maybe to talk about a problem and arrive at a solution.  He said to suppose one had a flat tire, a problem that used to be more common than it is today. You're getting out the jack and the lug wrench, cursing your luck, when a person walks by and says (and I quote)"Got a flat?"  I don't know about you but my people and me are the sort who could be quite peevish about such a remark. "What the hell does it look like?" comes to mind along with variations as a response. S.I. Hayakawa, who was a college president and a US Senator, advises to translate the remark into a bid for conversation.  Offer a civil reply and at a minimum, feel better about the world and its ways. Who knows? The passerby might turn out to be an expert at changing a tire, just looking for someone to help.

Take a look at Barker's pleasant summary of the Gottman book, "The Relationship Cure":

Monday, March 19, 2018

Importance of water, spring and the strength of plants

I took two pictures of our bouquet of tulips.  The first was when the water ran dry and wow!  did those tulips collapse.  I confess to manipulating the one photo a bit so the poor drooping plants looked even poorer and droopier.  We added water and overnight, they perked up quite a bit.  I messed with the document for about a hour but couldn't find a way to get the total file size down far enough to accommodate Gmail's restrictions on attachment size.  So, I am inserting a link to the document as it is in my Google Drive.

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