April 1st, 2012

First Week of April-Happy Heart in the Moment

According to Eastern medicine, joy is the emotion associated with the heart. Happy people are less likely to develop heart disease. Happy people are generally optimists meaning they see the life glass as being half full rather than half empty. Glass is half full people live longer.

We have a choice in how we go about our life. That choice is made in the present. When we chose to see the present as a life experience and live it to its fullest we chose to live our life to the fullest. The present will never return. Appreciate it even when it appears to be a difficult moment.

Reflect now on how you are choosing to see the world. Are you choosing to dwell on the negative? Are you choosing to relive past failures? Are you choosing to dread the future? If you are you are a pessimist. Chose to turn into an optimist. Think about the positive in the moment. Forget about past failures. Live today at your fullest and realize tomorrow will be fine if you are living at your highest level in the present.

Above all else trust your heart. Consciously get it tune with your heart. Recognize you have a natural rhythm and and your natural rhythm is in your heart. Your natural rhythm is at its best when you heart is happy. Try to unite your natural happy heart rhythm with the natural rhythm of what is happening around you-this is the natural rhythm of the universe. This is where your heart wants to be. This is where your heart and you thrive. Try it you’ll like it and you’ll live longer.

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March 18th, 2012

Third Week of March-Live in the Moment

Your time is circumscribed, and unless you use it to attain calm of mind, your

time will be gone and you will be gone and the opportunity to use it will not be

yours again… . Perform each action as though it were your last.

Epictetus, Meditations.

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March 12th, 2012

Second Week of March-Change

You might just as well say that the fall of leaves is ill-omened, or for a  fresh fig to change into a dried one, and a bunch of grapes into raisins. For all these changes are from a preceding state into a new and different state; and thus not destruction, but an ordered management and governance of things. Traveling abroad is likewise, a small change; and so is death, a greater change, from what presently is-and here I should not say: a change into what is not, but rather: into what presently is not. – In which case, then, shall I cease to be? – Yes, you will cease to be what you are, but become something else of which the universe then has need.

Epictetus, Discourses, III, 24, 91-4 (cited be Luc Ferry, A Brief History of Thought (2011) at 37.

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March 4th, 2012

First Week of March-Human Dignity

Recently my wife and I helped serve food to tent city homeless people. We did this through the Rotary Club of Downtown Kirkland. We served at a local church where the tent city is located. When serving the food I felt the homeless people enjoyed the occasion beyond the food, but it didn’t hit me on what it was until we heard back from the church minister.

When the minister gave us feed back he did not mention the food. He discussed how the tent city people appreciated us taking the time to serve them. When hearing this it clicked: The tent city people appreciated being treated with dignity. The food was an after thought.

It today’s difficult times we see a lot of people who are having hard times. We see homeless people. We see people who have no employment. We see people who have employment below the status they once enjoyed.

While most of us lack the ability to right the economic wrongs that have befallen many people, we all have the ability to give people what they desire most: Dignity and Respect. Take the time to recognize your fellow man. Couple the recognition with a showing of respect. Taking the time to give another the dignity they deserve as a fellow human being is taking the time to give a gift we can all give-the gift  of human dignity which in the end means the most.

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February 26th, 2012

Fourth Week of February-The Universe as Living Order

It is worth while to read and contemplate ancient philosophers and their way of seeing the universe. To the Stoics the universe is perfectly made. It is logical and divine. According to Cicero: “It remains no less true that nothing is more perfect than this world, which is an animate being, endowed with awareness, intelligence and reason.” citing Luc Ferry, A Brief History of Thought (2010) at 21-22. In essence the Stoics weere convinced “that a ‘logical’ order was at work behind the apparent chaos of things and that human reason was able to discern the divine character of the universe.” Id. at 22.

Being of this mindset Marcus Aurelius saw nature as a harmonious whole serving as a model for human conduct and the order of things: “All that comes to pass with justice. You will find this to be so if you watch carefully. I do not mean only in accordance with the ordered nature of events, but in accordance with justice and as it were by someone who assigns to each thing its value.” Id. at 23 (citing Marcus Aurelius, Meditations).

Today following the discovery of quantum physics we can say the universe is alive and in constant motion. All matter is interconnected. Although the Stoics did not understand quantum physics, they understood the universe as living order.  Recognizing this reality allows for an understanding of the universe and how we and all are interconnected. In the end Marcus Aurelius is likely correct justice prevails in a universal way.

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February 12th, 2012

Third Week of February-Peak Value and Career Value


The baseball writer/statistician Bill James refers to baseball players having both peak value and career value. Peak value refers to the player’s performance during the best years of his career. Usually this is when the player is between 26 and 30 years old. Career value refers to the player’s performance over his career.

Life can be looked at in the peak value career value way. We can think of many examples of famous people and not so famous people who have a few great years and then flame out to ashes. We also know people who never flame out. These people have “life career value.”

People who have life career value keep going in adversity. People with life career value stay productive throughout their life. People who have life career value foster quality relationships. People with career life career live life as a marathon. They finish the race. They may hit a wall from time to time, but they continue through and accomplish quality in their chosen pursuit and in their relationships.

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February 5th, 2012

Second Week of February-Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

I started a self defense class recently, and it has started to change the way I react to certain events. The old me would be upset if a stranger  was inconsiderate in public. I might even say something to him or her. The old me would take the time to argue with a stranger who expressed an opinion I disagreed with.

The new me chooses not to react. Now I ignore an inconsiderate stranger and don’t give him another thought. The loudmouth opinion stater that I disagree with does not phase me.

From a self defense standpoint this results in less chance of interacting with a violent person. From a psychological standpoint  being the new me has a calming effect. Now that I ignore inconsiderate people and loud mouths I have less stress in my life. I think this is one reason people say “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It makes life safer and less stressful.

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January 30th, 2012

First Week of February-Life is What You Make It


Last week I read  late January and early February is the most depressing time of the year. This is because for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere the days are short and the weather is dreary. The holiday season is over and we have weeks of winter ahead.

While this may be true as far as short days of winter, there is no reason to despair. Challenge yourself to get better at something. Grow your knowledge by reading something worthwhile. Better foster a relationship.

You have control over how you grow your life. Use the days of winter for positive change. Remember life is what you make it.

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January 22nd, 2012

Fourth Week of January-One with Nature

All actions take place in time by the interweaving of the forces of nature, but the man lost in selfish delusion thinks that he himself is the actor. But the man who knows the relation between the forces of Nature and actions, sees how some forces of Nature work upon other forces of Nature, and becomes not their slave.

Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad

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January 15th, 2012

Third Week of January-Rich v. Poor

Rich, Poor conflict strongest in 24 years (The Associated Press 1/12/12).                                                 The Associated Press article says “Americans now see more social conflict over wealth inequality… .” About three in 10 Americans polled said there are “very strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor. The share of U.S. wealth held by the top 10% of the population increased from 49% in 2005 to 56% in 2009. Id.

The United States government considers wealthy as having a household income that exceeds $250,000. Although this is a significant income, wealthy is a relative concept. The breadwinners of a family making $250,500 in an expensive area of a major city with typical family overhead most likely do not consider themselves wealthy.  But this family is wealthy compared to a family living on under $30,000 a year which is close to the official poverty level.

One should not feel guilty about making a good income;  one should not feel guilty about being fortunate; but one should remember how tough it is for those who must live on a minimum income:

-Give dignity by showing respect for others regardless of their income level.

-Give to charitable causes that help those less fortunate.

-Refrain from flaunting wealth.

-Remember it is not what is outside the person that counts it is what is inside.

-Remember we are all in this together.

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