Day two of 21 habits of happy people has taken almost a full month to complete. How do I remain mindful, living in the present day, not focusing on the past or the future? How can you write around a single quote and remain mindful? We have four words today, “choose your friends wisely”
You don’t become what you want, you become who you hang out with or what you have learned to accept. This matters. How your friends act has an impact on how you will act. Be around people who will encourage you to do the right thing. Choosing your friends also is a reflection on how we feel about ourselves.
In the search that we go through to feel wanted or accepted or loved, we sometimes lower our standards and allow the wrong people to have influence in our lives. It’s important that you let the right people into our life, who offer a positive influence. In many cases, you may not know or understand what your real standards are because your are following someone elses bad, negative influence. Don’t allow yourself to be trapped by others because of your past.
Your friends can make you feel like a million dollars, full of worth and figuratively the richest person in the world. They can also make you feel like a piece of shit. I used to be very poor but with bank accounts full of money, I felt poor… empty. This is my history, following the bad influence merely for the sake of acceptance and a feeling of comradery. It was always a facade. I think many people have been left in a ditch with a knife in their back.
Friend drama follows family drama. We all pursue perfection in one way or another. Sometimes it is “repeating to perfection” whether that is a dysfunctional friendship to match a dysfunctional family or just being on the wrong path due to low self worth. How does someone from an abusive family often choose friends or relationships? The answer is relative to “repeating to perfection”. If dysfunction or abuse is all you know, this can be all you attract or are attracted to until perfection. This perfection can be pain, anger, physical abuse, self abuse and even death.
The perfect friendship is one where all you have to do is bring in yourself and reciprocally, you hopefully receive the same investment from a friend. You don’t have to remake yourself to become part of a group or in a single individuals life. You shouldn’t feel the need to impress someone or have any feeling of inadequacy. You should both like each other for who you are… not who you pretend to be or want to be. Friends should want to be your friend for who you are, not what you have… not who you want them to be. This can create a positive influence in your life… almost by accident.
You shouldn’t have to feel that you aren’t good enough. You should be accepted for who you are and by the same token, you don’t want to attract someone who will put you down, nor should you have any feeling of inadequacy or jealousy. A real friend pulls you up and keeps you from falling off a ledge. They don’t just stand there and watch. Friends build off of each other.
If you have no solid foundation in family, you are susceptible to friendships and relationships with no foundation at all. Friends are not for finding the right party or a popularity contest. Friends are for building trust, kindness, a nurturing relationship where one builds up the other, stands next to the other in times of trouble. There are plenty of fair weather friends… but the weather isn’t always sunny and 72, like my cave. When the weather isn’t fair, friendships crumble and fall apart.
Friendships should be primarily about mutual giving and not using or exploitation in one way or another. Friendships need to have some sort of common bond that holds it together. Think about what you value or… your values and see that they match in friendship. If a friends values do not match yours, you may end up doing things that you are not comfortable with personally.
Only you yourself can determine which of your friends (if any) are a healthy solid influence in your life. And only you can determine if the friendship has any value or serves a purpose other than momentary feelings of happiness or worth. Only you can make that value judgement and if there is no emotional value, it’s also up to you to make a friendship less relevant. There’s no need for more drama or pointing fingers… it just means that person or people need to change from friend(s) to associates and reduce the influence they have oer you.
When making new friends, you need to do so in total blindness, so nothing superficial has an influence over allowing better, healthier people into your life. Be the kind of friend that you want to be with… not the other way around. By doing this, you will attract what is right and healthy for you and a friendship. The key to this is being yourself.
So… here we go… “Choose your friends wisely” and be sure they have the same set of values as you. If you can sit across from or next to a person and not have to talk… just be… that’s a good start of a friendship. If you feel the need for liquid courage, perhaps you need to rethink the friendship. If your friend feels the need for liquid courage, that’s a sign for you. If you feel the need for liquid courage yourself… you’re in the wrong place.
A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it…?” Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.“My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE.
You are special-Don’t EVER forget it.” If you do not pass this on, you may never know the lives it touches, the hurting hearts it speaks to, or the hope that it may bring. Count your blessings, not your problems.
“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with”. Mark Twain
It’s good to be alive.
I’ve written that a lot in recent years. Every single morning I wake up after a good night sleep I look in the mirror and realize how lucky I am to be here, still. I’ve grown into not just appreciating but loving life and those who have chosen to be with me. My people give me reason to want to live and appreciate life and those that are in it.
I like to think I can look through any facade and see the good in people. Good can come from evil and when it does, it’s a great accomplishment. Each day I try to make a positive impact on someone’s life, including my own.
The time I take to volunteer and help others is repaid with the knowledge it helps me appreciate life and what I do have.
I know what I have in my life… my large blended family, my small group of friends. I also remember what I never had in my life before last year. That doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t take anything or anyone for granted and make sure I am a part of the lives of those who are close and important to me.
I take my experiences, good and bad and use them to cultivate personal growth and a part of that is learning to appreciate life and all that comes with it. Learning to appreciate life has little to do with tangible items we all have and love and think we can’t live without. It’s just stuff and if you somehow lose that stuff, it’s makes it easier to remember what you do have… The intangible and appreciation of life.
“The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several million human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.”
Underneath our ordinary lives, underneath all the talking we do, all the moving we do, all the thoughts in our minds, there’s a fundamental groundlessness. It’s there bubbling along all the time. We experience it as restlessness and edginess. We experience it as fear. It motivates passion, aggression, ignorance, jealousy, and pride, but we never get down to the essence of it. – Pema Chodron
We have negative mental habits that come up over and over again. One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future. Perhaps we got this from our parents. Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life. We speculate, dream, strategize, and plan for these “conditions of happiness” we want to have in the future; and we continually chase after that future, even while we sleep. We may have fears about the future because we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and these worries and anxieties keep us from enjoying being here now.
I take great pride in the accomplishment of keeping politics away from my facebook. Sometimes I just need to vent and hope and hope and hope, some people… some of my friends, will sit down and learn for themselves all of contemporary US history and not what you are told (repeatedly) by revisionists, entertainers on cable networks and terrestrial radio… all talking heads for commercial interests.
Many of you take a blog, just like mine… right here… this thing you are reading and reference it as gospel and newsworthy. Taking rhetorical quotes as factual. Taking one element of truth and creating a fantasy manuscript. This blog, my blog… is not news. It is opinion. My opinions is biased. Biased towards peace, love, happiness, coexistence, mindfulness, compassion among others. As I experience personal growth, my list of biases gets longer.
What I am writing here is biased and I’ll be the first to admit it. I dislike wing-nuts, but I do not hate them. I dislike ultra liberals, but I do not hate them. I dislike ultra conservatives, but I do not hate them. I dislike those in the so-called middle and their fabricated libertarianism, which is an abbreviation for freeloader, but still, I do not hate them, nor do I want to see them die on the side of the road, as they would watch you because of their self preservation/interest. I dislike anyone who hates. I dislike hate. I dislike the fact that innate hatred overpowers rational thought, but I don’t hate those who don’t think for themselves. I love all of you. I love having conversation with all of you, primarily so I can identify some of your character flaws that make you such a sucker… You are nothing but a heard of sheep.
I just happen to love people who do not follow strict party platforms. I love people who take each issue and vote based on fact or with their heart. I love people who vote for the greater good and not for the good of themselves. I love people who take action and do not only yell on the soap box. I love people who leave their gospel at home and vote as our founding fathers would want you to… with the absence of religious influence.
You follow and quote a fiction writer who creates an unrealistic hate filled world where it’s every man for himself. Ayn Rand… a jew… someone who many would just hate (not my word) if they knew just this simple fact of her religion. If they really knew the philosophy they follow is one that they actually know nothing about. I am John Galt is not I am Ayn Rand… in as much as The Book of Mormon (as dictated by aliens from outer space) is the same as The King James Bible (as written from rumor and innuendo by storytellers, generations after any possible eyewitness has been long deceased and before any other written word was penned). Do not argue with me about any of these books a) unless you have read them b) have them on a bookshelf or electronic device for reference. Knowledge is power and unfortunately, most people have no power. Not over their free will, their free thoughts or their freedumb.
The following opinion is reposted here with permission of it’s author, “The Minister of Truth”. His name is Jesse LaGreca and you can follow him on twitter @JesseLaGreca. You can also follow him at http://www.dailykos.com/user/MinistryOfTruth.
PLEASE, sit back in your Sunday easy chair and read.
An Open Letter to the People Who Hate Obama More Than They Love America.
“I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn’t call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn’t call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.
You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don’t know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.
Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.
You hate liberals, moderates, hell, anyone who disagrees with Conservative dogma as espoused by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You hate em.
Well, here are the facts, Jack. If you hate the Government then you are unqualified to manage it. If you hate gay people more than you love America than you should take your own advice and get the hell out. There are several countries that are openly hostile to gay people, but they are full of brown people and you don’t like them much either from what I understand. It looks like you are screwed, but that’s not what I am here to tell you.
Now that you have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at President Obama and it still hasn’t worked you are panicking. Obama’s approval ratings are still near 50% despite your best efforts to undermine the economy and America’s recovery at every step you can. You tried to hold the American economy hostage to force America into default on its’ debts, debts that YOU rang up under Bush, so you could blame it on Obama and it failed. You’ve used the filibuster more than any other Congress ever, going so far as to vote against providing health care access to 9/11 first responders. You remember 9/11, don’t you, it’s that thing you used to lie us into a war in Iraq, and then when Obama killed Bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq you told people that he hates America and wants the troops to fail. You monsters. You hate Obama with a passion, despite the fact that he is a tax cutting, deficit reducing war President who undermines civil rights and delivers corporate friendly watered down reforms that benefit special interests just like a Republican. You call him a Kenyan. You call him a socialist. You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950’s musical.
Frankly, you disgust me. Your hatred nauseates me. Your bigotry offends me. Your racism revolts me.
Dear haters, I am openly questioning your patriotism.
I think you hate gays, Obama, black people, poor people, all of us, women, atheists and agnostics, Latinos, Muslims, Liberals, all of us, I think you hate every one who isn’t exactly like you, and I think you hate us more than you love your country.
I think you hate gay soldiers more than you want America to win its wars.
I don’t even think you want America to win wars, you just want America to have wars, never ending wars and the war profiteering it generates. You love that kind of spending, you love spending on faith based initiatives and abstinence based sex education (George Carlin would have loved that one), you love spending on subsidies for profitable oil corporations, you spend like drunken sailors when you are in the White House, but if it is a Democrat then suddenly you cheer when America doesn’t get the Olympics because it might make the black President look bad. But oooh you love your country, you say, and you want it back. Well listen here skippy, it isn’t your country, you don’t own it, it is our country, and America is NOT the religiously extremist Foxbots who hate science, elitist professors and having a vibrant and meaningful sex life with someone we love if Rick Santorum doesn’t approve of it. Rick Santorum isn’t running for America’s fucking high school dance chaperone, he should probably just shut the hell up about sex, but he can’t because he has nothing else to run on.
Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They’ve got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass.
But they love multi-national corporations, just ask a gay hating and racist religious extremist if they think Corporations are people and they will gladly agree, but if you ask them if gay people are people they aren’t so sure.
Dear haters, you are the cruel, heartless misinformed assholes who would sell America out to Haliburton in a heartbeat, you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity. You are a cross to carry and a flag to wrap yourself in away from being the people who Sinclair Lewis warned us about, but I guarantee that if Fox News told you to dress that way you would, because you are the same blind, ignorant and closed minded dunces who drove this country into a civil war years ago because you are bound to the notion that some men are more equal than others. In short, the reason I proudly wear my union army hat is because of seditious sell outs like you who constantly fuck over working class Americans so a foreign entrepreneur like Rupert Murdoch can get a bigger tax break. If corporations are people, they are neither American patriots nor capable of love. Just like you.
So stop wearing your hate with pride. Stop celebrating your anti-science, anti-math ignorance. Stop using code words to mask your bigotry like “family values”, especially when you hate my family and when you stand on the same stage as a guy who has had three marriages or if you share a seat in the Senate with a guy who cheated on his wife with hookers while wearing diapers. You should be ashamed. I know that you are just doing this to motivate your misinformed hate cult base because if they actually knew that your ideas will make them poorer than they are now, they would never vote for you. You are doing your best to impoverish your countrymen so rich people can get bigger tax breaks and you can keep on delivering corporate welfare to the special interests who have bribed you, and I am disgusted by the way you gleefully parade your hatred with aplomb. I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.
You should think about that, and maybe get some help.
And for the record, I do not hate you. I am embarrassed by you and nauseated by your cruel and thoughtless behavior and your all consuming greed, but I do not hate you. I forgive you and I hope you can change someday, but I don’t hate you. You have enough hate in you for the rest of us as it is”.
Cultivation of compassion is not something you can just snap your fingers and obtain. Being compassionate towards others is something that has to come from mindfulness.
Mindfulness keeps you in the present moment with focus on only the current moment. Avoiding negative thoughts and focusing attention only on the present moment, not what will happen tomorrow or next month or what happened in the past. Making no assumption about the future, recognizing and stopping instinctive or habitual reactions to stressful situations in life is a prerequisite to obtaining mindfulness..
It’s not reasonable to claim you are a compassionate individual while at the same time putting your compassion on your calendar. Compassion on only certain days of the week and the other days you are a vicious, sadistic person with a nickname “hyppocrates” by causing stress, pain and suffering to others and having no concern about it while creating an illusion of compassion. This turns you into a hypocritical, diabolical monster.
Mindfulness comes from the ability to breath and focus on the present moment. If your mind wanders to some other place or time, being able to recognize this wandering and where your mind has wandered off to is key to mindfulness. Recognition of the reaction you are experiencing is necessary to return to breathing and focusing on each breath and not negative or painful thought, anticipation of something not necessarily real, such as what occurs with a phobia.
That’s all I have for you this morning. It time to breath and to focus in the moment.
Marc Gilbert-Widmann (March 10, 2014)
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.