Musings

When I focus too hard on the things I want, I lose my ability to be light and easy—to appreciate the moment and delight in unexpected blessings.

But when I focus on being happy here and now, regardless of what may or may not be happening (or if that’s too hard to manage, I focus on resignation and apathy, which eases my negativity and paves the way for positivity) my mind becomes gradually more appreciative, and those unexpected blessings begin popping up again.

39 thoughts on “Musings

    • You are luckier than me if you could get away with that, I’d burn blister and peel after just a few hours of that… The genetics weren’t kind enough to spare me from needing SPF 50-100. Otherwise, I would say laying in a hammock (or even a mattress) in the sun sounded heavenly 😄

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  1. That is something I struggle with, for sure. I tend to get laser focused on things I want, and that definitely can impede my ability to be emotionally lighter and enjoy the moment. That and the fact that I spend most of at least 5 days a week (sometimes all 7) doing therapy stuff which makes it hard to focus on anything else but things I want to see achieved. I have been focusing more on trying to keep my mind present and not wandering off to plan how I am going to attack a certain problem, etc. It is good, I think, to be reminded of the downsides of so much focused intensity.

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      • I have noticed that the universe likes to repeatedly serve up a lesson like unwelcome left overs as long as any aspect of it remains unlearned. I am not in anyway trying to be dogmatic with that statement, I don’t have an official spiritual belief system that is coalesced around any one specific ideology at this point. It is just something I have noticed in my own life. Once I fully recognize what life or the experience is trying to teach me with a specific situation, it tends to stop repeating. Which is an interesting thing to observe. In reflecting on it, I suppose it is always possible that those circumstances don’t bother me anymore so I don’t focus on them and are less noticeable to me, but sometimes the lessons are so painful and unpleasant you can’t help but remember them and the cessation of them is hard to miss. I think you are wise to trying to get ahead of the ball! Sometimes I am a little more obtuse I think than the universe would like, and I end up being served those repeat courses more than I would like before it registers 😆

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      • I’ve gone through my fair share of that. Eventually I was just like, “Eh, I’ll let life have its way with me.” But then I’d get stubborn and try it the old way, and it’d happen all over again. But I’ve gotten better at it over time…maybe that’s the goal? I dunno. 🤷‍♂️

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      • I think dwelling in acceptance helps (which is how I describe letting life have its way with you), but I will also be the first person to tell you I don’t have the answer to a whole lot of things, including why certain things happen in life. I have spent the past 40 minutes glittering up my eyes and strictly lecturing myself into editing myself down and not launching into a rambling, meandering response. I love to discuss philosophies of life with people. So the most edited down version of my thoughts is that I have seen and experienced a lot of hard things in life, and I am sure you have too. Horrible things happened to people who never deserved it, and fabulous things happen to seemingly horrible people… it’s hard to resolve all of that. I think we are all just doing the best we can to make sense of everything as we live our lives…

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      • Yep. I used to be fixated on trying to figure out what the answer to that was, now I just try to enjoy myself and appreciate things. And if I’m too depressed to do that, I usually find relief in how insignificant we are in the cosmos and how nothing matters in the long, long run. Only when I’m depressed, though—if I’m in a good mood, that’s taking a step backwards.

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      • I think there is a lot of wisdom in trying to enjoy life and appreciate things, though I also like to try and do things to make the journey better for the people around me. I think perhaps the collective “we” may never figure out an accurate answer to the “why’s” of all of that. Plenty of people are happy to say they have the official one and only answer. My former church, for example, is really big on claiming that, and all the while their top leadership has been knowingly misrepresents their history, etc. I feel like many people tend to come up with something they believe and try to hard sell it to everyone around them, but it’s not really supported by the evidence. “The opiate of the masses” doesn’t really provide a satisfactory answer for the logically or justly inclined, yet that doesn’t in and of itself disqualify the existence any sort of universal order or divine plan…it just doesn’t seem to be something people can agree on though, either way. So being kind to others and appreciating what you can in life seems like a good plan to me!

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      • It’s kind of the downfall of all religions and all philosophies: they can only offer a starting point, but at some point, people have to find what works for themselves. Otherwise, what’s the point of being an individual? (curious though—I wonder if identical twins might have success with the exact same approach all the way through).

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      • Well, I think many religions and philosophies don’t necessarily encourage individuality or the attainment of any sort of condition of being an individual, I think many want you to color within the lines they give you. And, if that is what works for some people, that’s great for them. I have noticed even within denominations that encourage incredible orthodoxy people have a “public” position on their religions views and a “private” one that they will only share with people they feel they can trust behind closed doors because they’ve developed differences in opinion from the orthodoxically held views they are told to adopt.

        And so many things can be interpreted differently even by people who espouse to have the same general faith tradition. I e-mail back and forth every week or so with someone who used to write a blog but recently converted to Christianity and shut her blog down. She was asking me my position on LGBTQIA issues as regards to the Bible and whether or not I think they are sinful based on the Bible, because she knows 1) I’m Bi , 2) I’ve read the Bible a whole lot (though I don’t at this point identify as Christian, and 3) one of the churches I go to sometimes is a progressive Christian denomination (because I am never, ever going to want to listen to another sermon telling me the way I believe I was made was wrong). Let’s just say her Pastor and I and the Pastor for that UCC I sometimes go to don’t have the same interpretations (though the UCC pastor and I do). So much can be disagreed on even in the same overall faith tradition. The question you pose about twins is a fascinating one, I don’t really know, but I wonder if someone has done any research on it? It is a great question I think! Wishing you a wonderful day! 🙂

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      • Not to be an echo chamber, but I’m pretty much with you on everything you said. Furthermore, I’d say that organizations’ foremost concern is loss of power. If they can’t boss people around, their leaders tend to become concerned with the supposed lack of power. But I don’t think that has to be the case; I think the most empowered individuals can help people out and leave them to develop by themselves. It’s why I think Buddha said he’d come back as “matreiya,” a derivation of friend or friendliness. Not teacher, not boss, not idol, just a fellow equal to hang out with as time passes and the world turns.

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      • Ok, I’m going to try and slam through a response to this because I have a therapist showing up here any minute now, and the schedule the last two days has been just boom, boom, boom… so if anything I say lacks coherency, I’ll try to rectify that maybe tomorrow 😀 You know, I’m just a person who loves a good discussion, and the only thing I really value is people being genuinely who they are. I appreciate it also when people feel confident enough to disagree with me…sometimes what they say won’t change my perspective, but other times it is something that I am able to take in and expand my own thinking with. And sometimes, I’m just plain wrong on things and need to be called out for it! Although, I always do better with that if someone’s not being a total asshole about rubbing my nose in it, like I imagine all of us do.

        So, yeah, I think power is definitely a component. Also money, because you can have power over someone and not be getting any money from it. I know for my former church, money was a big consideration in the way they handled things. A church that is sitting on more than 100 billion dollars in profit is doing so because they have made money a top consideration in everything they are doing. Basically, that organization at least certainly functioned like a corporation. I really loved what you shared about the Buddha’s idea of empowering one another as friends/equals! ❤ Truly! I spent 6 months practicing Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism more than 20 years ago, but I think that group emphasizes some different practices and teachings. I think what you expressed is a fabulous concept! I think friendship can be one of those tricky things sometimes though with religion…some groups use that to try and suck people in. I know I was very susceptible to that as a young woman because of my childhood, and that was one of the ways my former church got to me. All of the love bombing. So it is something that can be misused and abused, but a true friend would never do that…and I think that is perhaps the most important component, being a true friend to someone and valuing their right to determine their own journey while holding them in love and not judgement.

        I did look into the twin thing a bit, but I am now out of time so maybe I will comment on that later, because I have one therapist already here just now, and clinical supervision hot on their heels. Take good care of yourself! 🙂 Ari

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      • Yep, seems like money is a big consideration for religions. It could be argued that it equates to power as well, in many relationships between organizations and people (as well as between people).

        I hear you on the Buddhism. Most of it (to me), follows a religious model of thought. By that I mean you have to do A B and C (meditate, karma yoga, misogi, what have you) before you can reap the rewards of enlightenment/heaven/whatever. A pay to play, transactional mode of existence where I gotta check off the boxes to enjoy my life. It’s why if I had to pick an established tradition, I’d go heavily with the mystical side of stuff, where it says God is already in you, or you’re already enlightened etc. etc, and you can abide in a state of natural peace, where you can chill and enjoy yourself, even if you’re outwardly straining for whatever reason. But even people who subscribe to the mystical side seem to start piling on requirements and conditions onto that premise, basically creating yet another checklist I have to adhere to. I don’t think I was made or incarnated or whatever to not know the rules, find out the rules through pain and suffering, then painfully suffer through some existential checklist where I delay gratification time and again, and fetishize how much I can sacrifice so I can evangelize my nobility to other people. Then they gotta follow this checklist that I’ve refined and championed. I don’t believe that’s how it works. Even if it is, I want to find another way to do things, because that way of being has no appeal to me anymore.

        Just me, though.

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      • No, I don’t think it’s just you. I loved actually, the way you phrased it when describing an existence that requires one to “fetishize how much I can sacrifice so I can evangelize my nobility to others.” In my most cynical moments I feel that it is possible that some of the organizers of religious movements wanted to capitalize on a common need for humanity to find a deeper meaning in life and frame it in such a way as suffering and a diminished state were more glorified…because ultimately that plays into a narrative for a group that is hording power and resources, by allowing those with a lesser portion to find some way to remain content and not revolt.

        So for you, if I am understanding what you said correctly, you might lean towards a similar perspective to someone like Anita Moorjani, who had an NDE (near death experience) and came back to experience what many would consider to be a miraculous healing of her cancer, and who states something along the lines of we are here to love others and we are here to enjoy life and nothing can separate us from the love of the divine, we are enough just the way we are…it’s been a while since I read her book, but I think that’s roughly the gist of it.

        For me, I tend to admire certain individual concepts from certain religions or philosophies at this point, and I take in an idea, but I like to take in ideas from lots of different places and I don’t see any one place as being my spiritual home/match…although Unitarian Universalists are probably the closest. I have struggled to color within the lines my entire life, even with recipes or patterns I find myself inspired to make changes that suit me personally. I may go sometimes to places of worship because I have a relationship with some of the people there or I like their community outreach programs, but I can’t see myself ever wanting to officially become a member of another church again. I like being free that way, free to think what I want to about spiritual matters without being given a mandated set of beliefs. Free to like and practice certain spiritual concepts and not others. Free to have my own thoughts about that and have it be OK. So, I honor your right and everyone’s right to find their own path.

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      • Seems like I would vibe with Anita Moorjani, because I definitely agree with her fundamental beliefs. Gotta say though, I’m pretty introverted, so sometimes it’s hard to love others. In those cases, I just give into optimistic nihilism—if life is meaningless, then I’m absolutely free to assign it my own meaning, which leads to enjoyment and so forth until I’m feeling positive again.

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      • I like a lot of what Anita has to say. You know, it’s your life, you do whatever works best for you 😊. I personally am a paradoxical mix of introversion and extraversion. I love easily, but I don’t trust easily. I love people and I love helping people, but I don’t often want to go deep when it comes to a relationship with everybody. Some people I will feel this pull from my intuition that I have generally found to be reliable, and I can talk to those people probably too much. I inherited my grandmother’s loquaciousness, sadly. She’s the person I resemble most in my family when it comes to overall personality and behaviors, though I inherited some of my artistic skills from my father and some of my other gifts from my mother when it comes to the genetics side of things.

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      • Interesting. I’ve also been let down by people when I give them the benefit of a doubt, so now I just let em be unless they directly ask me for help. I’m pretty introverted except when it comes to dogs, but I’m not sure being around a dog qualifies as social interaction.

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      • Dogs are generally very loyal and loving. I have had cats most of my adult life (they are complicated thinkers and I appreciate that about them), but when we were younger we had a St. Bernard and a black lab and they were everything that was fabulous- except for the drool🤣. And there was this chow that I would walk past on the way to my Aunt Cile’s house (she was my grandfather’s sister & she lived about a quarter mile from my grandmother) and I would always save sugar cookies to feed him..and he was always happy to see me 😂 So, I actually think animals can fulfill a social connection. You know, it is true there’s no end of the ways people can let you down. I have experienced a lot of that. But I was also blessed to have a couple people that were always good to me and really loved me in an unselfish way even though they weren’t the constant presences in my life because of family circumstances (my grandmother and my aunt Cile), and it helped keep me from becoming too pessimistic and jaded. I have experienced that there are good people out there, so while it hurts when I find out someone isn’t what I thought they were in a relationship, and it can take me I really long time to get genuinely close to someone, I grieve things that go wrong and then I move on because I know there are good people out there.

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      • True enough…I just don’t want to live with them! 🤣 I like seeing the good side of people, so for me that entails the occasional tasty meal, followed by a leisurely cigar with maybe some weed or shrooms. If I hang around them too long, I usually find something to pick at and I’d just rather not.

        Dogs, though—I think I’d like at least two, maybe three. At one time, I had four dogs and a cat in a two bedroom apartment. Oh, the glories of napping on a cold rainy day with a warm pile of dogs! 😁 Can’t beat it!

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      • Living with others isn’t always easy even when your definition of love was hung upon how you feel about them, and there’s no denying that! I have to spend time telling myself to “take deep breaths and remember how much you love this person before you react/respond to this” (if love was involved, for some roommates I had prior to being married it certainly wasn’t). If those things make you happy, it’s your life, and you get to do what works best for you as far as I’m concerned! 🙂 I personally can’t sleep with pets any easier than I can sleep with humans. My childhood forever changed some things in my brain and no amount of anything has ever been able to change them back. Even slight changes in a person’s breathing will wake me up…

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      • I get it. I experienced the same thing, but the roles were reversed. I tend to fidget and shift a lot before and during my sleep, so I’m horrible to snuggle with. My dogs would frequently rumble with annoyance and sometimes just sleep on the floor. 😅

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      • Poor sweet doggies, I feel their pain😅 A couple years ago, Andy said to me maybe he should get a sleep study to find out if he had apnea because he felt so tired in the mornings. And I just looked at him and said, let me save our family about $3,000 and assure you that you do. So, I suppose there’s always a benefit somewhere to be had😂

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      • And, unfortunately as you can see from what I said to my mate I’m not always at my most tactful when I am sleep deprived… definitely doesn’t always bring out the best version of me, but I try to honestly represent me even when I’m not exactly being everything I want to be… Undoubtedly my initial reaction wasn’t the most supportive…

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      • If you can swing it, separate rooms are the best! I’m also pretty gassy in my sleep, so that doesn’t help either. I’m probably the worst person to sleep and snuggle with—a fidgety, farty, loud-snoring blanket stealer. 🤣

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      • Oh my God, so what you’re saying is that you have a human body that does utterly human body things? I’m not sure I can survive the shock🙀🤯🤣🤣🤣
        We are sleeping in separate spaces at this point. My husband is a good and a kind man. We tried a lot of different things to give each other what we both needed and sleep in the same space and it just wasn’t working in terms of getting my sleep needs met. For him, the emotional intimacy of sleeping in the same room is an important thing, but he does care about what I need also. When I developed POTS this past January after going into anaphylaxis, improving the quality of my sleep became essential for my health, and he agreed that we needed to do what was necessary in that regard since none of the other things we were trying were working…

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      • Damn this human body and its stupid human ways!! 🤣🤣🤣

        That’s a good move with the separate spaces! I think people are slowly starting to come around on the importance of sleep, from a health standpoint and a quality of life standpoint as well. Cycling melatonin and a quality sleep mask (the ones with the indents so they don’t press against your eyelids and flap open at the edges) have also been of great help to me. 😊

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      • I honestly wish I could get more sleep, but those aren’t my life circumstances so I’ve landed in a place of acceptance and try to focus on not getting too hung up on what I cannot have, regardless of how beneficial it would be to my circumstances. Sometimes it’s completely out of my control (like a couple Sundays ago Tony woke up just after 1:40 a.m., and then I was needing to get up every so often to walk to his room to tell him “no, it’s still the middle of the night) because he kept requesting tv, food, trips to restaurants and Parks on his speech device… Sometimes it’s Bandit’s fault, because that cute and precious kitty has realized I am the easiest person to wake up in the house and if he wants anything, I’m the one he goes for 😩 And sometimes, I just take my own risks. Like for example, I had a POTS flare up this past weekend after I got my covid booster, and I was feeling scared and anxious, which can make the flare-ups even worse. So I asked Andy to sleep with me despite the risk of his snoring keeping me awake, because being held sometimes helps me feel calmer and that can be more important in a POTS flare up then a perfect night’s sleep. Thankfully the more severe part of the flare up was a shorter one in duration, but part of that I think was prioritizing what I needed to keep other pressures from building up on my nervous system. I already do the melatonin thing, sleep masks are kind of touchy for me… Sometimes they help and sometimes they don’t. Wishing you much more fabulous sleep than I sometimes get 😁

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      • A perfect night of sleep is indeed a luxury…I remember when I used to be able to fall asleep anywhere, especially in vehicles. Now it’s touch and go and not nearly as refreshing. A couple months ago I had a night of sleep where I woke up completely refreshed and enthusiastic, and it was the strangest sensation. I had completely forgotten what that felt like. I can’t believe that I took it for granted when I was a kid. Wishing you fabulous sleep as well!

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      • Thank you! It’s the holy grail of hard to find items for me and has been since I was a little girl. But I have other things to appreciate and steep myself in, which is probably a good thing because I don’t know if Tony is ever going to sleep consistently 😂

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  2. Hey there Mr. Buddha! I relate to your musing all too well. I think we are all guilty of getting caught up in the destination instead of the journey. I know that is a cliche’ thing to say, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Letting oneself get caught up in the joy of the task or project at hand instead of the carrot at the end of the stick can kill creativity faster than I can kill a can of Pringles…but that’s another musing:) Thanks for the insight and for the like! Happy musings to you!

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