Category Archives: Philosophy

THE PREGNANT DEER

In a forest, a pregnant deer is about to give birth. She finds a remote grass field near a strong flowing river. This seems a safe place. Suddenly labor pains begin. At the same moment, dark clouds gather around above &
lightning starts a forest fire.

She looks to her left & sees a hunter with his bow extended pointing at her.
To her right, she spots a hungry lion approaching her.
What can the pregnant deer do? She is in labor!
What will happen?
Will the deer survive?
Will she give birth to a fawn?
Will the fawn survive?
Or will everything be burnt by the forest fire?
Will she perish to the hunters’ arrow?
Will she die a horrible death at the hands of the hungry lion approaching her?

She is constrained by the fire on the one side & the Flowing river on the other & boxed in by her natural predators.
What does she do?
She focuses on giving birth to a new life.

The sequence of events that follows are:
– Lightning strikes & blinds the hunter.
– He releases the arrow which zips past the deer & strikes the hungry lion.
– It starts to rain heavily, & the forest fire is slowly doused by the rain.
– The deer gives birth to a healthy fawn.

In our life too, there are moments of choice when we are confronted on all sides with negative thoughts and possibilities.
Some thoughts are so powerful that they overcome us & overwhelm us.

Maybe we can learn from the deer.
The priority of the deer, in that given moment, was simply to give birth to a baby.

The rest was not in her hands & any action or reaction that changed her focus would have likely resulted in death or disaster.

We all need to learn to let go. Here’s an example of letting go: There’s a famous story about two traveling Buddhist monks who needed to cross a swift but shallow river. A pretty young woman stood on the bank nearby and also needed to cross, but she was afraid, and she asked for help. The two monks had taken vows to never touch a woman. One monk hesitated, but the other picked her up and carried her across the river, letting her down gently on the other side.

The two monks continued their journey in silence for some time. Then one blurted out, “You took vows to never touch a woman! How could you have picked her up like that?”

And the other said, “Brother, I set her down at least an hour ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

This is a powerful mediation. Had me crying on the mat

I have recently been struggling with metta for myself. For those who don’t speak Buddhist/Dharma Lingo (henceforth to be known as Dhlingo) metta is Pali word meaning roughly “loving-kindness”. I have a history of negative self talk and general feelings of being ashamed of being who I am.  This meditation hit me hard. I wasn’t just crying but sobbing on the mat and I now feel like a weight has been lifted off of my heart. Thank you Kristin Neff for this lovely gift.  https://insighttimer.com/kristinneff/guided-meditations/loving-kindness-with-self-compassion?_branch_match_id=571007114219682540

How to set goals

I started writing a series of articles on small goal setting and making todo lists, but I realized many of us have no idea how to set goals. There are a lot of things in life that we are expected to do but no one showed us how to do it. Goal setting is one of these. I didn’t even realize how much I had to learn about goal setting until I read this article from Psychology Today by Dr. Will Meek Ph.D.

Doc Meek sites John Norcross is a researcher that has been studying goals and change for many years, and defines a goal as a) identifying something that you want and b) are willing to stick with a course of action to achieve. Doc says

This is different from a “value,” because a value is something we find important, but does not have a specific course that we are committed to. For example, you can value being healthy and make some choices that are in line with that, but a goal related to health would be to “lose 10 pounds by December 31st.”

To start with he has some questions to ask yourself about your life:

In the big picture, what do you hope to experience and accomplish? In what ways do you want to improve your mental and physical health? What bad habits do you want to change? What relationships patterns do you want to improve? What skills do you want to learn? What other things have you been thinking about changing?

Wow those are some heavy and necessary questions. Your answers may change as your expectations and experience grow. Make sure the answers are first about you and not someone else. Then make sure they are realistic, achievable, worded positively, and lastly make sure that they are specific. Wanting to be “happier” or “a better person” is great but hard to achieve because of how vague they are.

Now that you have your goals you need an Action Plan!

You have your goal statements but now what are you going to do with them:

1.You need a way to measure them

2.set a time frame you want to achieve the goal in

3.list what you are already doing that is already on that path

4.what are the next logical steps to achive your goal

5.what new skills or information do you need to achieve your goals

6.where can you get support?

One place you can get support is right here! Click here to see membership options. Members will be getting some follow up information on The Art and Science of Making Todo Lists and Eating an Elephant One bite at a time: The Power of setting small goals.

The Primitivation of Problems

When I think about my problems they can become huge and unmanageable. Which can lead to inaction and depression. I often ask myself “How would people have dealt with this in the past?” or “If there was a full scale societal collapse how would I deal with this?”

Sometimes this allows me to put my problems in perspective. Society is a great thing. It gives us safety, stability, and more wealth than our ancestors could have ever dreamed of. It also puts a little too close and creates exceptions on how one should live. We are all up in everyone’s business.

I meet a lot of 20 and 30 somethings that are living at home with their parents, with grandparents or other “sub-optimal” living situation. These cats feel judged or believe they are judged even when no one has thought anything of it.

Don’t get me wrong everyone has an opinion, and they are entitled to it, but let’s look at it this way. You had been living in a shelter made of sticks and leaves for months. You have survived the cold, rain, maybe even snow. One day some guy walks by and says “Hey your shelter sucks you loser!” Are you going to be concerned that you aren’t considered cool in the eyes of some other dude? I doubt it, you are way too busy surviving to care about that dude.

Your real life is the same way. Don’t ever be ashamed of the way you are surviving. You are the one putting in the work. Anyone who comments on the way you are surviving has two options help or f*&k off.

Savage AF – WE ARE A HAPPINESS FACTORY!

The Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Psycology Today, and Washu (hey that’s me!) say that working out (especially cardio) can ease the symptoms of depression. How this works (I think) is that the increased heart rate causes your body to release endorphins which hang out in two receptors of your brain; the pleasure center and pain receptors. Ever been playing too rough an hurt a couple of hours from them or even the next day? Or in my case take a beating at a Martial Arts Tournament, anyway… That was all because of endorphins! It also could be Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression, and/or Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects. Either way you feel better about yourself and you are building that inner Savage.

The Mayo Clinic also says:

Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:

  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

If you would like some help getting an exercise routine together click on Join the tribe and sign up!

It’s all about balance

This post was made in a free verse stream of consciousness. I have not and will not edit anything from this post. Here it is warts and all. More like art than prose.

I was talking to a buddy today that is having issues with balance. He didn’t see them as balance, he was way to busy putting out fires and being overworked to see that. I am lucky that I am in a constantly in a situation where balance and my awareness of it is called into question on a constant basis. But few live in my sphere of influence, and I haven’t been here as long as you may think.

By reading this blog or hanging out with me on social media you may not know but I am a computer nerd. I am a decade and a half long GNU/Linux User, I was an Ambassador and Marketing Team Member of the Fedora Project, I have 3 servers in my home, I was the Director of a Hardware Co-Op (a place that takes unwanted computing equipment and refurbishes it for the underprivileged), I did 4 or so podcasts, I even travelled 13 hours by bus to go to a LinuxFest! That’s right I am a gigantic nerd. This made me very happy for a very long time, but it changed the way my brain worked.

Me at Fudcon Tempe
This is me at lunch at Fudcon Tempe

I remember during these years having arguments with my significant other (SO) about, why can’t you be logical! Why can’t you talk in a structured manner! Stories would meander like a hike in the woods, but what I wanted was a clear man page (man pages are like short Wikipedia articles on how to use a program in Linux) or technical documentation. My attention span was about 10 seconds. I needed popup notifications, and bells, and chimes, and flashing text, and, and I needed more input. Or so I thought.

When I started doing Kung-Fu that started to change. What I needed was movement, and fewer distractions, and accomplishments, and to constantly improve. Or so I thought.

Life is about balance. The Author Cory Doctorow once said “Engineers are all basically high-functioning autistics who have no idea how normal people do stuff.” (Eastern Standard Tribe, 2004) and I don’t disagree. All computer nerds have a certain level of  Social Retardation. It’s what happens when your passion keeps you from face to face social interaction.

Notice I said FACE TO FACE interaction. Facebook, reddit, IRC, forums, mailinglists, and Skype are not face to face interactions.

OK so all I need to do is hang out with people in meat space, right!?! Well yes and no. What you need to do is diversify who you are hanging out with. Remember when I said that Kung-Fu was the solution to everything but then it wasn’t? You can spend too much time with improvers too.  Not just Kung-Fu people but Financial Coaches, Health Experts, and Self Help Gurus. I didn’t really realize this until I dislocated my knee cap and tore my ACL. I was on the couch for a month while my insurance was sorted out.  So since I couldn’t get in to do Kung-Fu I figured I should check in with my old computer pals. I found out they were not evil people who kept you from getting exercise, kept you wanting to buy stuff, and weirdo automatons (ok some of them may actually be weirdo automatons). They are just people. It was technology or my friends that was the issue… the issue is balance. It’s all about balance.

I hear it often that you are an amalgamation of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I believe this.  So you need to pick this group carefully. Get 5 people on your “Social Team” that are from different groups. I do still think that negative people should still be if not avoided,  should have limited contact.  But yeah, consciously pick your Social Team, pick from as broad a population as you can.

I try to balance my time (whether face to face or in some type of media) between Comedians and Artists (they have spoken to my soul more than any preacher I have ever talked to) , Improvement People, Nerds (this includes Gun people, yes gun people are nerds), My SO (We influence each other greatly), and the people I grew up with (as long as they are not destructively negative).

So there you are, now shoot out your five love tendrals and attach to your Social Team, you know scratch that, you Social Tribe. Shoot out your five love tendrals and attach to your Social Tribe to create a vast symbiotic meta being. A Voltron of Love and Belonging. Strike fear and anguish into hatred and loneliness. Big Kiss, mwah!

———————————-
Hey did you know I have a mailinglist? It’s pretty awesome I have all kinds of tips and tricks in there to supercharge your full life upgrade.

go to https://kungfuwithwashu.com/join-the-team/ to sign up.