I think it’s important to stay as conscious as you can throughout the day of things like your emotional state, your attitude, your thoughts. It’s in the nitty-gritty of practice where the principles of living peacefully are actually, well, put into practice. (One of those ‘practices’ needs an ‘s’ doesn’t it. Ah, well. I’m sure I’ll get emails.) If you’re on the APRWF list (and if not, seriously, why not?), you’ll know we practice things like unclenching or this week it’s about the emotional muscles.
Thing is, remembering to be conscious is tough. Too often I would get to the end of the day and go, ‘Damn, I forgot to remember!’ It’s like I remembered first thing, then a deep dark nothing swoon, then head hits the pillow and Ding! I would remember again.
Well, I was talking this over with a couple of friends on Twitter, and decided to google ‘Random reminder apps’ and, well, there are some. [click to continue…]
When you work on yourself and your reactions to things, you may find a secondary effect happening.
I call it ‘meta-intolerance’.
“I’m being all owning-my-feelings and staying-out-of-blame, why the hell can’t they?”
“I’ve listened plenty recently. Now it’s my turn to talk.”
“Don’t you shout at me. If you only knew how many times I haven’t shouted at you…”
This is where I should say something wise.
Erm. [click to continue…]
I’ve been meaning to learn about rhetoric for, well, years. It’s one of those things a communication specialist should know, right?
Yesterday, in Heathrow, I found Sam Leith’s ‘You Talkin’ To Me?’ which is proving very educational and entertaining (The Disney Duo).
In the introduction, Sam quotes William Empson’s book on literary criticism Seven Types of Ambiguity (another Book I Haven’t Read) and how ‘in an sufficiently extended sense any prose statement could be called ambiguous’.
And that got me thinking, as I do, about conversations. [click to continue…]
Last night I got hit by The Worries (The Essay Worries, in my case).
In the space of a few minutes, I piled on a few what-ifs and ta-daaa! Mild panic.
So I took a 10-minute Worry Walk.
The 10-minute Worry Walk
As soon as you feel anxious…
1. Put on shoes.
2. Head out door. [click to continue…]
Last night, a Person I Care About asked me a favour (well, two, actually) and it really pissed me off.
Mainly because of circumstances. I was tired, hungry, had my evening planned out, and was late to start on my dinner. If you’re playing along at home, you’ll also know I’m writing essays like a bastard, so both my study time and my off time is pretty planned and pretty precious.
I knew how I wanted to be about it – easy-going, reasonable, loving.
I felt harrassed, annoyed, interrupted, cheated.
Here’s the thing: Your Inner Fighter does not need encouragement.
I’m on a book-buying embargo right now. (Is that the right word? Moratorium? Hiatus? Oh dear. Words I only know from context but have never looked up.)
It comes from the realisation that books take longer to read than they do to buy.
It would take me about 10 years to read all the unread books I already have. I am a slow reader.
So, I’m working on only reading one fiction and one non-fiction book at a time, and I’m to read them to the end before starting another one. Even if my bedtime soul cries out to read it.
I know, harsh.
So, when I was out for coffee with my Dad and his wife the other day and he mentioned he was reading a Karen Armstrong book, I was able to resist the temptation to go out and buy it RIGHT NOW, because I am now a mature bookbuyer who knows how many books he has at home.
I’ve been meaning to read Karen’s books for a while – I pick them up every time I’m in an airport bookshop (which is basically the only time I get to be in a bookshop now I live in a tiny market town) but have never actually done so. She writes about the history of religion and seems to be quite level-headed.
All of this to say, I haven’t read the book I’m referring to, I’ve only heard my Dad talk about it. So, you know, apologies, potentially.
Anyway… Evidently, Karen has this idea that fundamentalism isn’t a pre-existing condition, but is rather a reaction to a feeling. [click to continue…]