Let’s Make This Simple

Let’s Make This Simple

I was going to name this, The Tim Ferriss Delusion, but do you know who he is? I wasn’t sure. There was a moment when I the envied people like Tim Ferriss. Those who make book writing and mega-blogging look easy. They are the gods and goddesses of the internet. There’s also another side. Well, I got perspective. And I used my smarts. People, don’t buy into the grand delusions and oversized egos of the overnight success stories. They will brainwash you and sell you the ocean. The truth can come out if you’ll let it. Oh…that was easy?

I stumbled across a podcast where one of my favorite bloggers gets rather harsh on air with the host. Penelope Trunk Calls Bullshit On Me. Yeah, that’s the title. She tells him he needs to define his goal. In my words, not hers, he is under the Tim Ferriss delusion.

Work It

We must structure a life that’s comfortable for us. Make it workable. What’s most important? It’s easy to let small things fill up space. I can waste more time trying to decide which picture to post at the top of each weekly blog entry than it takes to write the blog. That’s ridiculous. Rarely does it matter.

“The road to hell is paved by perfectionists working with grains of sand. Uh-oh… Missed a spot.” Sarah Ban Breathnach – Simple Abundance

If You Want It:

  • Write down your goals. Know what you want from the beginning. Let your family know. Tell your friends. Don’t be ashamed or hide it, unless they are going to sabotage you. Get help and support if you need it. When I was in my last writing sprint,  http://nanowrimo.org/ helped me hit my goal. It was the crunch and the ideas of other people that helped.
  • Limit your resources. We use the elimination diet to find what’s causing our food allergies. In the same way, we can use a media elimination to find what’s disturbing our peace and equanimity. Whether it’s the news or social media, start dropping them.
  • Structure your time to put the extra projects you want to get done early in the day. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 A.M. to do my book editing. Silly? Well, it’s either then or wait until I come home in the evening. I tried doing that, and other obligations kept limiting my time. It was a hit and miss. I found I was sporting a ‘tude. Angry at the world is not a good look for me.

Nothing happens by mere thought alone. Sorry to all of The Secret lovers. Even Stephen King took a job. But he purposely chose one where he could write while he worked also. He was intentional. He had a goal. If you have time, I recommend listening to the podcast I mentioned above. Yes, it’s harsh. But there are some gold nuggets in there.

Get to it. No excuses. And take care of yourself!

 

A Little Something More

A Little Something More

Contentment hasn’t been an easy topic for me. It’s a subject I’ve struggled with since I don’t understand it. I rarely feel it. There are moments when I lose myself in a movie or a good book and forget about contentment, and I might even feel bliss.

Don’t believe anything is dead until you’ve burned it, poked around in its ashes, and then waited a day or two to see if anything rises from them.  Jerricho Barrons in Bloodfever, by Karen Marie Moning Ch 10

IS IT DEAD?

I get angry when I hear the outrageous lies of quick schemes for getting rich told to simple people and that’s probably an expected reaction, but I’ll tell you the one that caught me off guard recently. It’s a simple, cute blog, it’s called, Cupcakes & Cashmere and I like it. BUT. I like fluffy and sweet, mostly. I hate my reaction because I wish I could be content with being the type of person that reads blogs about fashion, dating, and cupcakes. BE HAPPY, JANET! Then there’s the entry -> The Moment I Knew G Was the One. Oh dear! I swoon. I think that was probably my issue. It wasn’t her fault. I blame the darkness within. You did read the quote above by Jerricho Barrons, right? Darkness.

WHY IS THE FLUFF NOT ENOUGH?

Making assumptions is easy. I can frame or reframe any scene as scary, happy, cheerful or content based on the wording that I use. Music has the same power to change perception. Play a bit of sad music along with any reel of video and most women will feel the need to cry. The music will pull at our heart strings, loving creatures that we are. Watching little children playing on the beach seems innocent enough, but I dare you to play the music to Jaws while you’re watching.

THE GAME OF MORE

Is a person’s life all that it appears to be? A picture may be worth those thousand words claimed, but today’s gloss & splash advertising has trained us to polish ourselves as beautiful as the photo. And what if we don’t match up? Try harder. Buy more product. People will buy just about anything for the promise of perfection.  What does this have to do with contentment? Heck, if I know. For me, there is no ONE, of anything or anyone. Most of life is a game we all play. There are a lot of adventures in life and a lot of experiences.

Here’s an interesting blog – Calm Things, A Monday Morning Blog – To Carry Joy

“She wanted something else, something different, something more. Passion and romance, perhaps, or maybe quiet conversations in candlelit rooms, or perhaps something as simple as not being second.”

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Lies, Lies, Lies

Lies, Lies, Lies

Simple little lies seem harmless. Your cooking is great. You look great in that dress. Those never really bothered me. I tried usually to ask what the person thought. A lie in itself is only a cover. An actor is lying when he plays the part of a police officer when he’s on the stage. He limits himself to the stage or his role in a movie. He isn’t an officer in real life. It’s a lie. It’s pretending.

There were a couple of shows that reminded me that sometimes harmless lies can be forgotten to be lies. They are the new truth. Up becomes down and right becomes wrong. Or, is it wrong becomes right? I’m confused. Anyway, the first was on Netflix. Kumaré-imdb. The second was an episode of Derren Brown which starts as a lie, but for some becomes the truth. Derren and Dawn Porter try to convince an entire town that a statue has special powers. Todmorden’s Lucky Dog (Long version click here)
Here is the short version:

Lies – Ones I’ve told. Ones I’ve believed – Spiritual Mentor that’s in my head:

  • If I don’t go to school, I won’t get a better job
  • If I don’t get a better job, I’ll struggle financially
  • Having all of my needs met is the most important thing.
  • I am better than others because of my aspirations, opinions or knowledge. I’m enlightened.

These are also illusions. Warped truth, not lies. These are just things that my eyes don’t see clearly. I don’t want them to become my truth. I squint and rub my eyes to try to look at them clearer. The crazy part is that they may be truth for someone else, but that doesn’t mean they are for me. I want to remain true to myself. What’s my truth? What’s the most important thing for me?

I received another invitation to Yoga church. The concept is interesting. I’m not sure how it’s different than going to a temple Sunday morning. Tell me what you think, hype, lie or truth? Yoga church. http://www.truenorthyogacoaching.com/yoga-church/

Join me every week for a new post.

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

My grandmother was a very superstitious lady, black cats, ladders, salt over the shoulder, and all of that. I remember once, walking across the yard with her and my mother. We lived in a small town and had walked to the hair salon to get Grandma’s hair fixed. On the way back into the yard I parted ways and ran ahead. I had been warned previously by my mom and knew that Grandma had very superstitious ways, but I was an irreverent child to these superstitions at that time. I ran to the right of the big oak tree while Mom and Grandma were walking around the left. The two women stopped. Mom looked at me and told me to get back around with them. Grandma was very serious about this walking stuff. After much stalling, I started walking forward towards them. And I was chided more. I skulked back around the tree. I made it obvious that I thought they were stupid and rejoined my mom and my grandma who greeted me with a big approving smile. Lesson learned. Do not provoke Grandma.

Somewhere in the middle of the silliness, there was a nagging doubt. What if these things mattered. That little doubt has stuck with me most of my life. I was around 10 or so at that time. Church and all the spirit woo-woo added to the accumulation of cause and effect evidence. So until this day I still get that nagging feeling, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, or may I should have said or done something else. And, I wonder, is any of this true? What if I could toss all of this stuff in the trash? Life would seem so much freer.

It made me believe that everything that exists was caused by another thing. Cause and effect. Or also called the Rooster Syndrome:

The rooster crows and the sun rises: cause and effect, or red flag?

If I tripped and fell it’s because I wasn’t paying attention. So I could prevent the fall by paying closer attention and clearing my path. You can see this if you look at my life. I was always a very attentive person. And yet somehow I’ve had similar incidences as those that haven’t been as careful. I’ve been attentive and fallen. I’ve been attentive and broken my arm. It’s all just superstition in some form or another. Live and let it all happen as it will, because some things can’t be prevented.

To quote Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory:

Sheldon (on phone): Oh, hi mom. … The Arctic expedition was a remarkable success, I’m all but certain there’s a Nobel Prize in my future. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I’m entirely certain. No, mother, I could not feel your church group praying for my safety. The fact that I’m home safe is not proof that it worked, that logic is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. No, I’m not sassing you in Eskimo talk. – “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation”, The Big Bang Theory

Do your work as best you can and be kind.

 

 

I’m Not Dead Yet

I’m Not Dead Yet

When I first walked away from Christianity, the one thing that scared me was dying. And the no-life-afterwards stance of Atheism. I felt like a child whose Halloween candy had been stolen. I’ve held on to the opinion that Atheists could be wrong. Denial in the first degree!

People like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens, have stripped away my belief in a separate soul, so what would be left to carry on after my body dies? Energy particles? It’s taken some time and lots of truth seeking. Richard Dawkins attitude has really helped with my perspective. Yeah, I may not have eternity in white robes, but I can live a full life and celebrate every day right now.

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” 

Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Denying truth doesn’t make it disappear. What happens after I die can’t be prearranged. The events are out of my control. Maybe I’ll be happily surprised with more candy or maybe I won’t. Either way it’s done. Richard Dawkins is right. We are the lucky ones.

Saddles

Saddles

Ever see a cowboy dragging a saddle behind him? It doesn’t matter how well constructed the saddle is or how long the cowboy has owned it. It could have been in the family for years. Maybe it was his grandfather’s, then his father’s, until finally it was given to him. A saddle is a proud thing to own. Well crafted, hand tooled. I have nothing against saddles, but…

There’s no horse. Faith is like dragging a saddle. Old habits die hard because they’re familiar. And familiar feels right. That first Sunday you don’t go to church feels empty. I felt like I’d missed a step in the stairs and I was going to fall headlong. If you’ve ever noticed, people who have strong beliefs are afraid to let go of them. It’s been in the family for years. Their grandfather was a preacher, their dad a pastor, and they’re a Sunday school teacher. To leave this legacy is like spitting in the face of your heritage. It’s also how you define who you are. Sometimes you feel you’re not special anymore. I know this because I left this heritage myself.

To say I lost my faith is somewhat of a misunderstanding. I walked away. I walked away because I was going through the motions, which I could still do if I wanted. I could walk into church and still teach. No one would know the difference, but it wouldn’t be true. The horse isn’t there and I’d just be dragging a saddle around behind me.

 

Verifiable Results

Verifiable Results

There’s an interesting fellow I see often on my drive home from work. He’s a boxer. You can see him almost daily along the Riverwalk in Tulsa. He stands in the middle of the drainage ditch and he jumps rope and shadow boxes. I’d like to know his story, but I haven’t ever had the nerve to find out. I wonder if when he was a younger man that maybe he did real boxing, but now he might be living in his imagination, but then I think that my thoughts are presumptuous. Maybe he just likes the exercise.

Youngsters

When I was younger I spent a lot of time praying. I prayed for the children in Africa and the people I saw on the news. I had no way of physically helping, but somehow the praying didn’t feel like a copout. I felt satisfaction after I prayed and I thought it was proof of results. It seemed that it was a ping back from the source telling me Yes, that’s it. You’re on target. But it wasn’t. It’s not. It’s just the chemicals in my brain telling me I’ve done an action that my belief system approves of. It’s not confirmation of it being effective. Otherwise the continent of Africa would be full of healthy people. The bad guys controlling the countries would be dead or disabled. The wildfires of Texas, Colorado, and California would be over as well as the long drought. And yes, when I prayed for these things I had faith. I got the ping back.

If only

If there is a god and the precepts are true then the results should be verifiable. If a disease or tragedy hits because of sin it should harm only the ones doing the wrong deed, or am I a simpleton. I’m thinking the arrow of disease is coming from the hand  of a just god.

Christians should be by a verifiable percentage of reality these things:

  • healthier than other religious people
  • impervious to disease more so than other religious people
  • not dying from snake bites
  • above only, as in, not enslaved to debt
  • lead happier lives
  • wealthier or having the ability to obtain wealth

Further, the Bible makes specific promises, but these promises are never fulfilled. For instance, John 15:7 states, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This is simply not true! How many Christian people have prayed all over the globe for a release from the grip of terrible suffering just to be left in their circumstances with no way out?  Lydia @ DogmaDebate

If something exists or a pattern is true then you should see results. For example, if you take a medication that has been approved by the FDA Federal Drug Administration, it’s already went through Double Blind testing. There are certain tests that show it works. The man on the side of the road is getting exercise. I don’t wish to mock or belittle someone for their efforts. I only want to acknowledge the difference between efforts and results. If you want the exercise of meditation or praying or even shadow boxing, yes they do have their own benefits, but if you want to knock someone out you’re going to have to punch them.

So what works?

In the Bible, James says,

Faith and Works

17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

 

 

My Version of Confirmation Bias

I did something really stupid over the last 3 or 4 months. I hesitate to tell it because it seems so embarrassingly obvious now. And I bore you with the upfront explanation because I’m vain. Yeah, I know. It’s hard to believe, but I’d hate for anyone to think I’m as ditsy as my blonde hair appears.

I have one credit card that I run my monthly expenses through, as suggested by many financial experts, such as, Ramit Sethi, although I’m not a total fan of his.

I had some unexpected expenses so I didn’t pay my card in full and thought I’d catch it up later. Well this is the silly part. I downloaded the online spreadsheet each month to keep track of my monthly expenditures. This sounds smart, right? Until I misread the spreadsheet. I glanced and glazed over at the charges, mentally noted the total at the bottom. The next month the same. By the third month I’m puzzled. The balance was growing tremendously. Curious, I went back over the expenses and mentally added them up…whoa wait a minute. There’s a payment credit and it’s numbers offset the balance. Ugh. Classic mistake of confirmation bias. I had looked at the total I wanted to pay and just went with it. I liked that number. It’s what I wanted it to be, regardless of the true amount owed.

In short, your own mind acts like a compulsive yes-man who echoes whatever you want to believe. Psychologists call this mental gremlin the “confirmation bias.”- JASON ZWEIG

How to Ignore the Yes-Man in Your Head

Have you ever read through something you’ve written a month or a year ago? Amazing how you notice the errors later, but you swear they weren’t there when you posted the writing. That’s why we hire editors for the really important stuff. I call it confirmation bias, but it’s also called not seeing your own imperfections. You can’t. You’re too close. You need the skill of another person that’s not your mom or dad. Someone not too nice or not too critical. Truthful.

Humans are pattern-seeking animals. Once we have determined that a pattern exists, whether it actually does or does not, we tend to look for ways to confirm our suspicions. This is what is known as a confirmation bias. It can influence you in almost every area of your life; from school, to work, or even with the news or entertainment you may enjoy. However, recognizing that you have such biases is the first step in overcoming them and having a more objective view of the world. – Examples of Confirmation Bias

The next time something doesn’t seem right, but you just don’t “see” it, ask for a second opinion. Maybe someone else can help. We all have confirmation bias. Sometimes it’s as plain as the nose on your face, but you look right past it.

What is a Confirmation Bias? – Psychology Today

Now for my other bias, I love this music….

I Can’t Change Your Mind

Don’t pretend your argument is perfect. You show me your perfect solution and we’ll show you our pet unicorn. Think Like a Freak

I listen to a lot of podcasts and debates and sometimes I tire of the same arguments over and over. I’m sure the debaters do also. People rarely change their minds even with the proof staring them in the face. One question asked a lot is, “What would change your mind?” A common response is, “Nothing.” It reminds me of the police officer being called in on a domestic dispute. He stands between the abusive husband and his bruised wife. While she stands there crying she will side with that abusive husband more times than not. He didn’t mean to hurt her. He doesn’t know his own strength. I shouldn’t have said what I said. Where will they be next week? Right back at fighting. Familiarity trumps truth.

Is it hopeless to show proof? Not hopeless, but not usually effective.  Also, someone else listening might benefit. The tide of time and the redirection of society’s habits are usually what changes most of us. Look how far we’ve come on human rights. There was a day that it was thought that women had no souls or as in the Aztec society, those of the lower class were considered soulless. So it’s not hopeless. It’s the continual drip. The constant pressure. So we keep arguing and keep proving, not because it will change anyone’s mind today, but because it could change society.

For instance, Clair Patterson,

Clair Patterson, a geochemist who pinpointed Earth’s age for the first time and also uncovered a secret: Lead contamination is a major and potentially deadly problem…After much time and effort, Patterson’s scientific work with lead paid off, leading to a ban on lead in products like gasoline, canned goods and paint in the United States. – Space.com

I like the story of the wind and the sun from Aesops Fables

THE WIND and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

I can’t change your mind, but I might change your future. Or you may change mine.

The Promise of a Great Nation

"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3 (1611 King J...

You would think that if you had a visit from the one and only true god, the one who created the heavens and the earth, and he gave you instructions to build a kingdom, you would think it would be the most amazing kingdom EVER.  This god could tell you where to find gold and diamonds. How to store your food and how to farm your land. Your walls would be built of the best materials. You would know the most effective fighting methods with very little loss of life on your part. I’m referring to Abraham and later Moses and the promise of a great nation made by Jehovah.

There was blood spilling everywhere (not love)

Would he really need to cause a plague to destroy half of the people because one person sinned? One person married a foreigner or kept a piece of gold that they shouldn’t have. Couldn’t he just tell you? Instead of grandeur or wisdom, we see hundreds and thousands of years full of strife, discord, internal fighting and struggles to survive. Famine, war and plague. The methods were no different from the other warring factions surrounding them.

It’s among the same traditions that existed of the day (nothing new)

Some would ask, why are you criticizing god? I’m really not trying to criticize any god. Not Jehovah, Ahura Mazda, Thor, Odin or Ra. What I’m saying is, either this “god” isn’t who he says he is, or more likely, there wasn’t a god that was instructing them to create their society. This could be a story made up by someone, since it’s really not a new way of thinking. Wouldn’t a great god come with a novel idea? Fresh ideas. Ways of acting that were helpful and wise? Maybe even create a society that was different from their neighbors? Like Cyrus the Great did? I take the stand of First John 4:20,

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

If the word of god comes down from the god of love, it should show love. Which leaves me with the thought, maybe this promise of a great nation didn’t come from god, but a man and his ego.

If you’re into history of the ancient times, here’s a good podcast, Ancient World podcast.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta