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Posts Tagged ‘Interesting Questions’

“God Smiles When You Be You!” ~ Rick Warren

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“What Do You Have that is in your Hand?”

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book’s wild success. He explains his belief that God’s intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good.  ~ from TED.com


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Who Gets the Pass?

Why is it that some of us walk through our lives, expecting that others should know and understand that we are wounded and give us a pass on our insecurities, while at the very same time we’ll make no allowance for the possibility that other people are equally (and perhaps even more) wounded, hurt & insecure too?

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I just ran across a yoga article on an online fitness site Testosterone.Muscle Unapologetic Muscle-Building Elitists. (Okay, not your typical yogi reading material, I’ll admit.) Mike Robertson’s article Yoga is Overrated makes a case against the yoga fitness craze. Surprisingly, I agree with him on a number of his assertions. Be sure to read the full text of Robertson’s article, (with my apologies for the cheesecake picture at the end). A summary of his points:

Yoga the Good

  1. Mind-Muscle Connection
  2. Decrease Stress
  3. Balance

Yoga the Bad

  1. Instability
  2. “Tightness” does not equal “Needs to be Stretched”
  3. Group Exercise/Lack of Individualization

Getting the Most Out of Your Yoga

  1. Find an educated teacher
  2. Smaller classes
  3. Focus on Quality vs. Quantity

His points on instability and tightness do not hold water in the context of Anusara Yoga where the emphasis is on balanced action — you do not stretch a muscle until you draw in circumfrentially with muscular energy. However, Robertson’s “Yoga the Bad” reflects what IS bad in what I’ll call psuedo-yoga offerings. Unfortunately, there are all too many of these kinds of teachers and classes, not only in the gym setting but perhaps (more damaging) in the yoga studio as well.

Just like I’m sure Robertson would agree that incorrectly performed body building exercises are not good for you, I whole-heartedly agree with his assertions as they relate to “incorrect” yoga. His tips for getting the most out of your yoga are worth heeding; his summation a great prediction:

“I may be living in a dream world, but I believe that there will be a revolution in the yoga world in the coming years that puts a serious emphasis on moving in a biomechanically efficient manner.” ~ Mike Robertson

That revolution is here baby, it’s called Anusara Yoga.

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I would really love to hear your thoughts and opinions of this article, and invite you to discuss your ideas here. What do you think of his assertions? Side note: My comments are written with an obvious bias towards Anusara Yoga which I study and practice. Other yoga methods also emphasize the biomechanics and provide effective instruction (with a tip of my mat to my Iyengar friends)!

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Gretchen Rubin writes The Happiness Project blog, a wonderful collection of ideas on happiness which includes everyone from ancient sages to new-age gurus, spiritual advisers and pop psych touters. Rubin shares her experiences “test-driving” these ideas and has written a book which will be released sometime this year.  Earlier this week, she recapped her 10 Myths about Happiness, along with links to her thoughts on each one.

Ten Myths about Happiness — Which Do You Believe?

Each day for two weeks, I posted about Ten Happiness Myths. Today, for your reading convenience, I’m posting the entire list, with links. ~ Gretchen Rubin

No. 1: Happy people are annoying and stupid.

No. 2: Nothing changes a person’s happiness level much.

No. 3: Venting anger relieves it.images1

No. 4: You’ll be happier if you insist on “the best.”

No. 5: A “treat” will cheer you up.

No. 6: Money can’t buy happiness.

No. 7: Doing “random acts of kindness” brings happiness.

No. 8: You’ll be happy as soon as you…

No. 9: Spending some time alone will make you feel better.

No. 10: The biggest myth: It’s selfish to try to be happier.

What do you think of her list? Are there ones you’d add or modify?  Which ones strike you in some way?

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A.K.A. Pamela’s Meaningless Self-Reflection on Steroids

The Assignment: One of your Facebook “friends” sends you this note titled “25 Things About Me” which contains random stuff: personal trivia, goals, memories, beliefs. In turn, you are suppose to write 25 things about yourself, send it back, and forward it on to 24 other “friends.” This is one of those silly things that I have succumbed to. But it took me so dang long to come up with these that I’m not just leaving up on Facebook to fade away in a few days. Thank goodness there’s blogs to permanently archive such things. With that said, here’s what happens when I have a few cups of coffee, a whole morning and my keyboard …

1. I have 3 sisters and our middle names rhyme: Gayle Denise, Sandra Elise, Julia Rene & Pamela Faye.

2. I once lied about making baklava. Told someone I made it from scratch. “You used philo dough?” she asked. “Yes, of course,” I responded. I had no clue what philo dough was … or baklava, for that matter.

3. I can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order in approximately 20 seconds. I can also do it while walking on my hands with my ankles behind my head, though it takes a little longer to reach Wyoming.

4. The first PG-13 movie I ever saw was “The Way We Were” when I was in the 4th grade. I loved Robert Redford. And I thought my Daddy looked just like him.

5. When I was in college I embraced fundamental Christianity. I went door-to-door and shared the 4 spiritual laws with people I did not know. I listened to a lot of BJ Thomas at the time, and Amy Grant too (before she went pop & that whole Vince Gill thing.) (more…)

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By going over your day in imagination before you begin it, you can begin acting successfully at any moment.”

~ Dorthea Brande

Dorothea Brande was a well-known writer and editor in New York in the mid 1930’s.  Her book, BECOMING A WRITER (published 1934) is a staple on the bookshelves of creative writers throughout world. Her second book, Wake Up and Live (1936) sold over 2 million copies, published in 11 languages, and was even turned into a musical the following year. A recent post by Gretchen Rubin on my favorite blog, The Happiness Project, shared one of the teachings from Brande’s book: 12 Mental Exercises to Make Your Mind Keener & More Flexible. Rubin writes, “These exercises are meant to pull you out of your usual habits and to put you in situations that will demand resourcefulness and creative problem-solving. Brande argues that only by testing and stretching yourself can you develop mental strength.”

As I read through the exercises, I found myself thinking of them as a kind of yoga for the mind, mental asana of sorts. (In Becoming a Writer, Brande actually does advise practicing a meditation before a writing session.) I find these intriguing. I’ve acted on #1 from time to time, but usually with passive-aggressive motivations so I guess I need to revisit THAT one!

Summary of Dorothea Brande’s Twelve Mental Exercises

  1. Spend an hour each day without saying anything except in answer to direct questions, in the midst of the usual group, without creating the impression that you’re sulking or ill. Be as ordinary as possible. But do not volunteer remarks or try to draw out information.
  2. Think for 30 minutes a day about one subject exclusively. Start with five minutes.
  3. Write a letter without using the words I, me, mine, my.
  4. Talk for 15 minutes a day without using I, me, my, mine.
  5. Write a letter in a “successful” or placid tone. No misstatements, no lying. Look for aspects or activities that can be honestly reported that way.
  6. Pause on the threshold of any crowded room and size it up.
  7. Keep a new acquaintance talking about himself or herself without allowing him to become conscious of it. Turn back any courteous reciprocal questions in a way that your auditor doesn’t feel rebuffed.
  8. Talk exclusively about yourself and your interests without complaining, boasting, or boring your companions.
  9. Cut “I mean” or “As a matter of fact” or any other verbal mannerism out of your conversation.
  10. Plan two hours of a day and stick to the plan.
  11. Set yourself twelve tasks at random: e.g., go twenty miles from home using ordinary conveyance; go 12 hours without food; go eat a meal in the unlikelist place you can find; say nothing all day except in answer to questions; stay up all night and work.
  12. From time to time, give yourself a day when you answer “yes” to any reasonable request.

Interesting Question: Of these twelve exercises, which ones would be the most challenging for you to undertake? Why?

More Insight: Read Gretchen Rubin’s post on The Happiness Project: “Creativity: 12 Mental Exercises, Zany but Productive”

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What is The Happiness Project?

“I’m working on a book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT — a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will gather these rules for living and report on what works and what doesn’t. On this daily blog, I recount some of my adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will hit the shelves in late 2009 (HarperCollins).” ~ by Gretchen Rubin

You can find a direct link to The Happiness Project, along with the daily feed, on my sidebar.

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Austin-Chronicle Cover Boy

Twenty years ago, Brian and I walked into a party in north Boston ~ a chili cook-off of all things ~ and met the likes of Marc English. As anyone who has ever encountered him can attest, Marc is not someone you easily forget. We began a friendship that evening that has traversed ~ not only a couple of decades ~ but the country itself, winding up here in Austin, Texas.

Marc is a highly talented graphic designer (among other things). At his south Austin studio (cleverly named Marc English Design), you will find an array of old license plates, vintage books, photographs from his travels and moleskin journals recounting his adventures. (Think: art gallery meets small town museum.) Austin Chronicle writer Marc Savlov described the office in his profile of Marc in February 2008:

Books, tattered, well-thumbed, and loved to the quick, are piled, stacked, strewn about: Gardener’s Art Through the Ages, H.H. Arnason’s History of Modern Art, Islamic art, American Indian art, and, on yet another wall, a faded but no less inciting agitprop poster announcing an “Artists’ Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America” by the sculptor Claes Oldenburg. Apsaras vie for space on English’s desk with his shiny new Apple laptop, which sits adrift in a pulpwood sea of Post-it Notes, hastily scribbled half-formed ideas, DVDs emblazoned with Marc English Designs’ award-winning handiwork, the Beatles’ Revolver, and a hand-tooled leather gun belt bearing a pair of ivory-handled toy six-shooters.

This glorious, hypercreative cavalcade of all things Marc English – his lifetime essence, outlandish explanation, and never-ending quest to discover as much cool as his soul can hold – is as clear a glimpse into the soul of self-described “design shaman” Marc English as anyone with half a mind and a working knowledge of midnight fancies and south-of-the-border (any border) rambles could ever bear. Really, you might want to wear a welder’s visor and some chain mail just to be on the safe side; in his hands, “design theory” is a radical, insurrectionist weapon. Joe Strummer would’ve dug this cat, but good.
And if you think that’s something, you should see his HOUSE! Life with Marc is full of surprises ~ from his Christmas cards to his community plays, you never know what creative explosion is about to occur. It’s no wonder that recently Marc offered the following challenge to his friends on Facebook:

What’s on Page 56: The Rules

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note to your wall.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Marc kicked it off with:

“To know the triumphs, we must know the past, which is told in many tongues, in many places; to know the past, we descend, like Odysseus, into the house of Hades and give the blood of our attention (as translators, historians, poets) so that the dead may speak.”

The Geography of the Imagination; Chapter IV: The House That Jack Built [jack joyce, father of james], Guy Davenport, 1981.

So right now ~ and for no particular reason other than “why not?” ~ you’re invited to play along. Post yours below and let’s see what shows up. With Marc involved, it’s guaranteed to be an eclectic blast!

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Check out the Austin Chronicle cover story, which includes: “5 Things You May Not Know About Marc English!”

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