Category: Quotes

Grateful for the life you have

So you think your life is so miserable and unexciting. You are constantly bombarded by information that emplores you to want more, so you seek satisfaction in acquiring more things, more money, more appreciation, something that you don’t have. All the while you compare yourself to others that you view as more successful, better looking, happier, wealthier, or whatever. Stop doing that shit!

If your mindset is all about striving for more or comparing yourself to others you will never be happy. If it is comparisons you want then think about the millions, well billions of people that would trade places with you if they could. Then what the hell is wrong with me? Well, let me tell you. You are fricking ungrateful for what you have and are seeking fulfillment in the future, usually by seeking more of something. You are being duped by this ungrateful, never satisfied, paradigm. If you continue down this path there will only be more of the same, achieve this, acquire that, and a continuous saga of pursuit.

Pop your head outside of your ego for a few minutes, look around you. Do you see the beauty in this world? All this shit you have didn’t exist 50 years ago, that cell phone that you stare at, or that flat-screen TV, the internet, shit even air conditioning. We are so unappreciative of all this stuff, we just take it for granted. Instead of appreciating what you have, you spend your time wanting more. Do you really need a BMW or Mercedes? Will it get you to point “A” better than your Honda?

You have become a materialistic junky, addicted to shit you don’t have, spending all your energy working for more stuff. It should come as no surprise by now that you live your life looking towards the future, missing out on the present moment and you lack even a small amount of gratitude for what you have. If what I have written here so far even marginally rings true for you, then you are in a pretty serious need of a reset in the way you think.

Let’s turn this shit around and instead of making what you want paramount in your mind and behavior, start with gratitude. There are many ways to shift from I want more stuff, to I appreciate all that I have. The two most effective ways that I have found to be more grateful include:

  • Be Present – When you shift your thinking from looking to the future for happiness, you start appreciating each moment. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do when you have spent the majority of your life looking ahead for satisfaction. The present moment is the foundation for being grateful. For me and my monkey mind, I need to practice yoga, meditation and take long walks to help me quiet the mind and live in the present.
  • Grateful Practice – Being the stupid egotistical morons that we are, we need to frequently remind ourselves to be grateful. I have a journal that I write down 3 to 5 things I am grateful for. I do this in the morning shortly after getting up so that I start my day with a feeling of being grateful. I find that actually writing it versus putting in an app on my phone, seems to make it more effective. This daily repetition is the beginning of a habit where you remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for which then chips away at the ego.

If you still need to compare yourself to others, then think about the billions of people that would trade places with you, and happily assume the life you have.

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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Focusing on your purpose

It is one of the fundamental laws in life, that you have finite time, and using it for any particular purpose is where you will see results, not elsewhere. Let’s take an example say you work 60 hours a week at your job, but you would like to be a writer. Now that book you have wanted to write will not magically write itself, as almost every waking hour is dedicated to your work, i.e. not writing. It’s called a tradeoff, this is what life is one tradeoff after another. You spend your time doing this and you can’t do that other thing. The problem is not that we are making tradeoffs, it is often that we are focused on the wrong thing.

If you really want to work 60 hours a week on your job because you love your work then, by all means, do it, but be aware you may be giving up family, friends, hobbies, and relaxation. We have created a society where many of us can work from anywhere and we have so many tools that make this possible. I am constantly being interrupted by messages sent to my phone by various apps that I feel like I am never off the clock. To make it worse we have a global workforce, where you will often work with team members in China, Europe, India, Mexico, and the United States just to name a few. What this means is early meetings and late meetings the day is being stretched and so are we. What used to be a manageable length day now becomes a marathon.

Just remember you get what you focus on and nothing else. Make a habit from time to time to analyze what you are spending your time on and weighing it against where you want to go.

Namaste

 

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Still miserable – Seneca

Seneca rightly points out that a mindset devoid of gratitude is never satisfied regardless of the amount of achievement, material things, or pleasure bestowed upon the person. For many people this is their life, in a nutshell, seeking and finding, yet no appreciation. They have accumulated great riches, big houses, expensive cars, fine wine, country club memberships, and yet at their core, they are miserable.

Gratitude is a mindset after all, that you can cultivate, but you must begin to challenge the assumptions you held so dear for such a long time. Your assumptions have been that seeking wealth and fame is my life’s goal, which feeds your ego and provides a nice way to compare yourself to others. You think you are superior because you have more money, a bigger house, and a luxury car, but you are never really happy.

Let’s start by chipping away at your ego, shifting your goals from wanting more, to appreciating what you have. I love this quote by Lao Tzu which always helps me put things in perspective:

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu

Start by being grateful for what you have, especially the small things. Start a gratitude journal and write 3-5 things you are grateful for every morning or evening. If you can do that you begin to chip away at the ego and your materialistic tendencies and a shift towards gratitude begins to take place.

Namaste

 

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Imperfection in ourselves

As human beings, we have this uncanny ability to see flaws in things. I’m not talking about criticizing, but that often becomes the result of this ability to find fault in something or someone. Some of the ability to find flaws comes from society as we are taught to judge, seek perfection, and determine what went wrong. I also think that as a species we must be able to discern what is good for us by analyzing things for our own safety and well being. Such as things like:

  • Is this good to eat, or is it spoiled or poisonous?
  • Should I trust this person?
  • Is this situation I am putting my self in dangerous?
  • Is what I am making or buying high quality?
  • Is the love I am about to give to another going to be reciprocal?
  • Can I trust you, or will you let me down?

For instance, I had some remodeling done after a tornado did some damage to my home. We had new laminate floors installed and they looked great, except that there is this one spot where someone installing the floor chipped this tiny little spot, and every time I walk by it I notice the flaw. It is this innate ability to see every little flaw in something that probably has led to a lot of our success as a species, as we seek higher levels of quality in almost everything we make or do.

Of course, this uncanny ability to find flaws doesn’t work so well with our fellow humans, especially when it results in criticism and disdain for others that we see as flawed. We will say things like they are stupid, ignorant, lazy, racist, fat, ugly, or any other number of negative adjectives we use to describe others. Here’s the thing, you and I both know that we have our own flaws. Surprise you might not be perfect and of course I would be the last one to tell you that because I am a real bit of work in process by any standards. So this uncanny ability serves us well in many ways and has probably saved our ass over the years, but the price we pay for this ability is very high. Maybe the ability to find flaws in material things can be of benefit to us, but even that comes with a price as in my remodeling example. Other than those situations where your personal safety is involved, it might be wise to turn off the quality filter from time to time and stop judging the hell out of everything.

You have to ask yourself does my judgment I am making about this thing or person really matter? Is my propensity to judge everything as good or bad, making my life better?

Only you can decide how much judgment you allow to be part of your life.

Namaste

 

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Satisfied with a little

The Greek Philosopher Epicurus sums it up so simply and yet eloquently with this quote. If you can’t appreciate the little things in life you will not appreciate anything. Did you enjoy that cup of coffee or tea this morning, walking the dog, cleaning your kitchen, or taking a shower? These are simple examples of little things you might do in the morning and if you gained some sense of satisfaction or joy from them, then you are living in the present moment and you have some sense of what it is like to be grateful for even small things.

What if instead, you can’t find any pleasure in the simple things that are most typical in our lives? You would then be someone that is consumed by thoughts of the future, seeking something better, and likely never satisfied with anything or anyone. We can all shift into this mindset from time to time, and then we become ungrateful, egotistical, and greedy. Your life will now consist of periods of suffering and discontent, followed by spending your precious time criticizing everything. Nothing is ever good enough, everyone is a jerk, and life sucks.

Contrary to what you see in the media or on Instagram, life is not some highlight reel where every day is a party, and people are throwing money at you. Instead most of what we call life is made up of little things. If you allow your mind to drift into future mode, then you miss all the little things, and you basically are missing out on life. The quote below by Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of my favorite quotes for helping us to appreciate all the little things in our life.

Sometimes you just need to reboot your brain and one of the best ways I found is to go for a walk. This allows you to breathe the fresh air, look at the sky, feel the sun on your skin, and soon you begin to calm down and start living in the present. Walking is a healthy alternative to sitting around and watching television or messing around with your phone. When I go for a walk I’m not doing it to burn calories or increase my heart rate, in fact, I am really doing quite the opposite, and sometimes walk fairly slowly just enjoying the sights around me.

Walking is a little thing, but be grateful as it is also a wonderful thing. Your life is made up of hundreds of little things and they all have the potential to be a great source of joy if you stay present and mindful.

Namaste

 

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A bit about Epicurus

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

Epicurus (Ancient GreekἘπίκουροςromanizedEpíkouros;[a] 341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by DemocritusAristippusPyrrho,[3] and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to MenoeceusPythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the statesman and Academic Skeptic Cicero.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to help people attain a happy, tranquil life characterized by ataraxia (peace and freedom from fear) and aponia (the absence of pain). He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. Epicurus taught that although the gods exist, they have no involvement in human affairs. He taught that people should behave ethically not because the gods punish or reward people for their actions, but because amoral behavior will burden them with guilt and prevent them from attaining ataraxia.

Like Aristotle, Epicurus was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the senses are the only reliable source of knowledge about the world. He derived much of his physics and cosmology from the earlier philosopher Democritus (c. 460–c. 370 BC). Like Democritus, Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. Epicurus deviated from Democritus in his teaching of atomic “swerve”, which holds that atoms may deviate from their expected course, thus permitting humans to possess free will in an otherwise deterministic universe.

Though popular, Epicurean teachings were controversial from the beginning. Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic. It died out in late antiquity, subject to hostility from early Christianity. Throughout the Middle Ages Epicurus was popularly, though inaccurately, remembered as a patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons. His teachings gradually became more widely known in the fifteenth century with the rediscovery of important texts, but his ideas did not become acceptable until the seventeenth century, when the French Catholic priest Pierre Gassendi revived a modified version of them, which was promoted by other writers, including Walter Charleton and Robert Boyle. His influence grew considerably during and after the Enlightenment, profoundly impacting the ideas of major thinkers, including John LockeThomas JeffersonJeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx.

The way

I’m paraphrasing here, but from the book UNFU*K Yourself by Gary Bishop, he says something like “Only You Can Save Yourself”. So when I say let your practice be your salvation, it means your practice, not someone else, but you must become your own salvation. Your practice and I mean meditation and studies are the means that will lead you to find yourself.

The only way to reveal the true you, the you that is buried deep inside is through your practice. Without daily practice you continually let yourself become some manifestation of your environment and you move further away from who you really are. Either you direct your mind or the world around you will do it for you. I think this quote from the Buddha illustrates my point about why your practice is so important.

For a Buddhist, there is only the way, and the way is to practice.

Namaste

 

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Find something you love

Simon Sinek wrote a book called Find Your Why, which helps you create a sense of purpose, your why becomes a vision statement for your life. I highly recommend you check out that book or watch some of his YouTube videos, as it reinforces some of the things in this post.

You probably have a pretty good idea of what you love to do, but often you don’t spend as much time as you would like doing it, because you feel it is not advancing your career or there appears to be no money in it. You know what that is great because now you have found your passion. If no one is patting you on the back or paying you for it, then you should be doing it for the sheer joy you receive from it. Let’s say you love to play guitar, paint, do yoga, write blog posts, read books, exercise, do home improvement projects, or any other of the thousands of things you might enjoy. Are you so busy making a living, running on the hamster wheel, and taking care of everyone else that you cannot pursue your passion?

Dammit, wake the hell up! 

In most cases what we love doesn’t create an income, but is something we do for free. We do it for free because we love doing it, and it brings joy to our lives, enriching our days on this earth. Many of the greatest artists, musicians, and writers barely made a living from their work, but it didn’t matter. They did it because they loved doing it and nothing would stop them. If what you are doing is done to impress someone, stroke your ego, or gain financially then it is not inherently your passion.

Now here is the funny thing about doing what you love, it may someday turn into some form of recognition or become financially rewarding, but those were not the reasons you started doing it, they simply became an outcome. Always ask Why am I involved in this activity? When your why is because you are passionate about it and would do it for free, you have found your why. Doing that thing you love doing eventually turns into mastery if you invest enough time in it, then that alone provides a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Life is too short to spend all your time seeking recognition and striving for more money. Spend a little time today doing some of those things you love to do and all will be well with you.

Namaste

 

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An opportunity to grow

After working much of the weekend, which is a bit abnormal for me it occurred to me that I was not resentful over spending so much of my time on the job that currently pays the bills. I won’t bore you with the details, but some of the work was not even remotely interesting, but it got done anyway. I was thinking about it this morning and such a simple concept came into my mind. Is it possible that you either view all the things you need do as an obligation (negative), or as an opportunity (positive) to grow and improve?

Most of us view the things we need to do as obligations, which means there is a somewhat negative connotation in play here. Obligations weigh on our mind, cause stress, and a feeling of dread. Looking at the things you need to do in this world as obligations provide no joy, no focus, and little sense of accomplishment. You just feel like a hamster on a wheel, living a life where you dread each day as the process repeats itself again and again.

What if instead, I looked at those things I need to do as an opportunity to grow. What would my day look like then, maybe the consequences of this viewpoint would provide:

  • Growth in terms of knowledge acquired, working towards mastery.
  • If I view what I am doing as an opportunity I am more likely to stay focused in the present moment and to experience flow.
  • I am sure to be more productive since I am getting things done because I want to do them, instead of feeling obligated.
  • I will have jumped off the fucking hamster wheel, left the stupid matrix, and I will begin to find meaning and satisfaction in what I do.

Oh, I forgot to mention you might even feel a strange feeling that was buried long ago, something called happiness!

Maybe I had a flash of Satori or it could have just been the three cups of coffee. Satori is a Japanese Zen Buddhist word used to describe a temporary experience of awakening or oneness that seems to come spontaneously from within.

Seriously, if you start viewing your work as a series of opportunities for growth, you begin to live in the present and that is where the magic begins to happen.

Namaste

 

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Until the next page is turned

Your life is like a book where you turn a page every day as you awaken. Each page is to be savored because you may not finish the book and it would be in your best interest to enjoy each page that you read. Waiting until the book is finished to be grateful would be a shame and a waste of your time.

Each day you turn another page and you have another opportunity to be alive, to enjoy the time you have on this earth. Should you choose to spend your time complaining and wishing for something more you will have wasted that day. Your life unfolds minute to minute, enjoy the journey wherever it takes you. Remember you can’t go back and say I wish I would have gone in this direction or that direction. You are where you are for a reason because this is where your path has led you.

A couple years ago I started writing in a journal three to five things I am grateful for every morning. It has become a ritual over time, that is followed by some yoga and meditation. Starting each day feeling grateful for what you have will allow you to serve others, instead of having feelings of resentment, anger, or another ego manifestation.

Today I am grateful for?

  1. My family who may not be perfect, but are always my top priority
  2. My work that provides challenges and financial rewards
  3. My writing, which is a therapy for me and hopefully benefits others
  4. My yoga and meditation practices that make me feel good and calm my mind
  5. Waking up today and having another opportunity to enjoy each moment as it unfolds

 

Being grateful has many benefits including:

  • When you are grateful for what you have feelings of entitlement and envy melt away
  • When you are grateful for the people in your life you will treat them better and be less critical of their behavior
  • When you are grateful for your dwelling and having food to eat you will crave less and feel more satisfied
  • When you are grateful for what you have you will have a tendency to serve or give back in appreciation versus expecting something
  • When you are grateful you will feel better and be more positive

Of course, I could go on and on, but you get the point by now that a grateful practice has too many benefits to not incorporate into your daily routine.

Namaste

 

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Embrace acceptance

We wake up every day, and most of us start out the day with some expectations. We might think this will be an easy day, I have time for some of my hobbies, and 10 minutes later you log in at work and fuck the world is coming to an end and you are asked to address a whole bunch of shit that you had not expected. You become upset, not so much that all this shit was thrust upon your plate, but because you expected a different kind of day. You had a plan or expectation for your day, and it got thrown out the window.

Welcome to reality! Not the stupid planned reality created by your expectations, but the kick you in the ass reality called life. Ouch! As I have observed the most painful periods in my life, they are painful because I expected one thing and life said so what and providing something else. Of course, now I’m pissed off because things didn’t go the way I expected, and not only am I angry, I become negative as hell and start acting like an asshole.

Consider that expectations are either in the present or in the future. I think planning is a good thing, but having an expectation that I will execute all the tasks or adhere to a timeline called out in the plan is where the problems begin. The world and other people don’t care about your plan, so accept you have much less control over what will transpire each day than you might think. Go in with a plan and adapt as needed without all your expectations weighing you down. Well, you might say well shouldn’t I expect good things to happen for me today? My advice is that it would be nice, but if you do and things turn out differently you end up crushed because life didn’t meet your expectations.

All you can do is stay present, drop the stupid expectations, and start accepting what life throws at you. I’m not going to take on the Law of Attraction movement, which I have written about before and have some belief in, but much of it is predicated on you believing (expecting) something to come into being in your life and that will cause the Universe to make it happen. Life, on the other hand, will provide plenty of chaos and contrary results that provide disappointment after disappointment if you keep expecting a certain outcome. Choose to dream, have a vision, and be positive, but stay away from expecting too much on a daily basis.

I am going to try and accept what happens to me today, without expectations.

Namaste

 

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