Losing balance and readjusting

Sometimes life can throw us off balance. Literally!

I remember back during my college years I was riding my skateboard around campus, and I hit a bump in the sidewalk that sent me flying several feet away from my board.

Thankfully, I landed in a patch of grass. But man, it really did hurt.

In life, from time to time, you fall and get injured. We’ve all heard the ol’ cliche that when you fall you have to get back up again.

But it’s not just about getting up. It’s about stopping, thinking, and readjusting. Sometimes we allow life to carry us along for the ride instead of dictating the speed at we wish to go.

I am not afraid

Today I am not afraid of what may come.

Terrible, awful, horrible things may come. I say let them.

Today I may get fired from my job… So what. There are a million and one other things I could be doing.

Today I may lose someone very near to me, won’t that happen anyway someday? Why fear eventualities that you have no control over.

Today I may very well die! And to that I say Hurray! What a beautiful life I have lived. I have loved and been loved. I have experienced many of the wonderful things that life had to offer. I have made the conscious decision to live with no regrets.

Why then should I be afraid? I have nothing to fear from this world, neither death nor life nor loss. All these things shall pass away.

No Regrets.

I don’t regret the things I’ve done. They’ve made me who I am. For what is regret even, except living in the past. I’ve vowed to live in the present, this moment right now.

What I am now is the culmination of all my past actions. Every decision I’ve made has propelled me to this very moment. Why live in regret then?

If I could go back and alter the course of my life, there’s no telling who I’d be. What would I have learned from circumventing the necessary failures of my life? How could I ever be better?

So too, like regret, I cast off shame as well. How is it helping me right the course of my life? Pain and sorrow I hold to my chest, however. For these are things that come and go from time to time. They are lived in the present moment, but regret and shame always reference and causes one to obsess about the past.

The past is what it is. The past. It is decided and fixed and futile to me. Let it be a learning tool for my spirit. And then let it be dead to me, let it fade away. For once I have learned the things that help me, the past is of no use to me. No regrets.

Mindfulness Economy – Doing good while making an income

You may be thinking, is this the “you economy” or “gig economy”? Well, sort of…I have my own list of criteria which I’ll share later. You may see some overlap.

The mindfulness economy is a phenomenon that I have been seeing all around the web. The concept is simple. Everyday people can earn an honest profit by doing things that are thoughtful, kind, and non-exploitative.

Take this blog, for example. I started this blog for 2 main reasons.

  • I wanted to blog about mindfulness and help those who may be struggling with living a meaningful life or have an interest in living a compassionate, reflective and mindful lifestyle.
  • Secondly, I wanted to make an honest profit without exploiting people or using manipulation tactics to drive sales

I know there are people out there who care about what I have to say and who are willing to invest in me and/or the products I promote. They do this by making purchases by clicking through affiliate links, commenting, giving me feedback, and subscribing to my blog’s newsletter. To be honest, I’m not getting rich or anything, but I have begun to see a couple dollars trickle in and it’s exciting. It’s exciting because I’m doing what I love, sharing my ideas and making a little bit to support myself in the process.

My service and the service of many others in the mindfulness economy is thoughtfulness and authenticity. Those of us who are part of this movement are not only looking to make a profit to sustain ourselves and our families, but we are also looking to uplift and help others in the process.

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What is mindfulness?

As someone who has been practicing mindfulness and meditation for several years, I have developed my own definition of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is our ability to be fully present and in the moment, without dwelling on past events nor conjuring up ideas of a future that hasn’t happened nor anything that would pull our attention away from the present moment.

More simply put, my one phrase definition of mindfulness is this:

Wherever you are, be there.

This short phrase is straightforward and elegant mindfulness mantra and definition. Wherever you are, be there. If you are with people or doing something with intentionality, be there. Be there physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Be wherever you are entirely in that moment.

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My mom invented digital minimalism

My mom invented digital minimalism (I’m only half joking)

My mother used to make my sister and I go on technology fasts. At the time, I thought it was awful and I’m sure my sister and I would have readily nominated her for the worst parent award at that moment. This was back when I was in high school before Facebook was the behemoth it is now.

She told us that, for an entire day, we were no longer allowed to be on the computer, play video games or watch tv. Needless to say, my sister and I almost died.

What my mother had stumble upon when she created this day without wires, screens, and buttons was something that most of us are only coming to realize now. We, as human beings, are incredibly susceptible to becoming overly dependent on (dare I say addicted to) digital technology.

I’m so thankful to my mother, who had the foresight to set boundaries on the amount of time my sister and I spent staring into our screens at such an early age. It sparked in me an awareness of how technology was shaping me as a human being.

It’s absurd to think about how angry and upset my sister and I had gotten when she created the 1-day prohibition on technology. If this is how we responded to digital fasting, then maybe we really were addicted to our screens.

Fast forward to now, I know I am much more conscious and intentional about my consumption of social media, Netflix, and my interneting in general. I don’t need to compulsively check my phone (texts, facebook, twitter, cat photos) every 20 minutes at work. I can even go an entire weekend without using my phone on a camping trip with friends (save one text message).

I know this doesn’t sound that spectacular, but consider your own children, spouse, friends, or co-workers. Would they be able to show the same level of restraint in this modern age of social media behemoths and streaming service giants? I rest my case.

So what is a mindful individual supposed to do to stay present, aware, and sane in this digital age?

Well, you can keep reading my blog for one ^_^


*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from this link. This helps me offset the cost of my blog. Be mindful before you click on any links and ask yourself, “Will this purchase add value to my life”?


But in all seriousness, I do have a few recommendations

  • First and foremost, I recommend having household low tech days similar to the one my mom instituted.
  • Another tip is to check out the literature that is already available on digital addiction.
  • I recommend the book Digital Minimalism* by Cal Newport. In his book, Cal explores the digital minimalism movement and offers thoughtful tips, tricks, and reflections on how to manage our relationship with technology and stay sane in this digital age.
  • I also recommend doing a google search for some quality articles to understand how our smartphones and social media are affecting our health and well being. NPR has a curated collection of articles ready for your mindful consumption if you are interested

I’d love to hear how you manage and find balance your digital life. Please drop me a line at landon@compassionmonk.com or leave a comment below.

This is my “dumb” watch

Casio Men’s ‘Easy To Read’ Quartz Black Casual Watch*

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from this link. This helps me offset the cost of my blog. Be mindful before you click on any links and ask yourself, “Will this purchase add value to my life”?

casio watch

Key Features
[x] – Telling time
[x] – water resistant
[x] – the battery life lasts a gazillion years

Other features
[x] – Doesn’t have apps
[x] – Can’t receive phone calls
[x] – No voice assistant
[x] – It does one thing really well

I love my Casio watch. It’s less distracting than having a smartwatch and a lot less expensive. I don’t have the obsessive urge to check it every time it vibrates because it doesn’t do that. It tells time incredibly well too. There is no place to plug it in because it doesn’t need recharging. Apparently, the battery lasts a long time.

Take 5

A couple of days ago I came home from work extremely exhausted. I hadn’t slept particularly well the night before and after putting a full days work in, I felt a bit scatterbrained and unfocused. As I walked in the door, I was greeted by my wife and we watched a show together and talked for a bit. I felt myself becoming increasingly more aware of just how tired I was. I seriously needed a break. The show we had just watched didn’t make me feel any more relaxed. I thought about maybe reading a book to settle my mind a bit, but I knew that wouldn’t help either. Maybe playing some video games would do the trick to help me “check out” for a bit. I knew that wouldn’t help either. What I needed was to “check in.”

What could possibly help me feel a bit more grounded and mentally sane after a long day? Meditations of course!

I told my wife that I needed 5 minutes by myself to meditate before I did anything else. It sounds like a small thing, but it helped me to feel a lot better. After going going going all day, It felt nice to take 5 minutes in my day to breathe and be fully present. Knowing what you are feeling on the inside is so important to being mindful. We must give ourselves a break from the constant hustle and bustle if we are to stay sane and emotionally healthy. So why not try carving out 5 minutes in your day to sit in stillness? Five minutes is all you need to be fully present.

Am I suffering?

Softly, gently I hold the present moment to my chest. Here and now, that is all there is. But what is this weight I feel, what is this shortness of breath I have? Am I suffering?

Yes, this is indeed suffering this is indeed pain. Anxiety about the future, that is what I feel. But who told me to live in the future? Tomorrow isn’t promised or so they say.

This moment and this breath is all I have right now. In this quiet space and time, I find myself. In this space I find peace, and I let go of my suffering. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt or that it isn’t difficult. It is very difficult and yet it is so simple.

If I fail to see my problems as problems do they cease to be that. If I fail to see my enemies as enemies do they cease to be them. If I fail to see my pain and anxiety as that do they become short-lived states in a longer narrative, do they just become a part of the experience of living?

And why should I flee this pain, this anxiety about living, this suffering that I am experiencing now? All that I feared and was once afraid of in my life has passed, so too this.

I look to the present to find comfort and solace, knowing that it is a gift. This moment is a gift. This moment is a blessing. This moment is too good to be true, and yet it is.

Since the beginning of time, people have come and gone and come and gone and come and gone. My fate will be no different. Tell me what do I have to fear? Even death is predictable, so is pain and suffering.

Sometimes I lay awake at night, 2 am or later, and I wait up for them. I hope I can catch them off guard, surprise them even. I want them to see me smiling, laughing even. I want pain, sadness, and sorrow to find me rolling around on the floor smiling and laughing all the while. I am present. I am awake. I have nothing to fear.

I choose to be here. I choose to let nothing darken this heart of mine. Nothing will erode this gem inside myself, this inner stillness that I have.

This world may remember me not. They may never even know I existed but what does it matter. I am here aren’t I. I am sitting here in this present moment and I know that I am here. That is enough for me. To be here and now and forever here in this moment that I call the present.

One lifetime is enough

One lifetime is enough

Grant it, one lifetime may not be long enough to do everything, but it’s enough to do many things.

Think about the people you look up to in your life, be it your parents, a friend or some historical figure. Chances are that person has done various things throughout their lives.

I believe it is essential to reflect on our lives and think about the direction we would like to move while remaining open to all the possibilities that life presents us.

What purpose do our lives serve and what do we want to accomplish? I know for me I want to live a compassionate, joyful, authentic and service filled life. I want to continue to ask the deeper questions of life even as I accept I do not and will not know all the answers.

I do this every day in small and intentional ways. One such way in which I try to live a compassion-filled life is by trying not to judge everything that comes my way. This is what the Buddhists call non-duality. Every day I strive to encounter the world not as a series of dual modes, up vs down, right vs wrong, good vs evil, etc. Instead, I choose to see the world as an infinite series of possibilities.

I believe that this one life is enough to embark on a life long journey of growth and self-discovery. I hope that throughout this incredible journey I can become more in tune with the world and more present to those around me. I believe one lifetime is enough to live fully.