Category Archives: inspiration

Mental Decluttering by Not Giving A

In the TED Talk “The Magic of Not Giving a F***“, Sarah Knight’s approach to minimalism is very… practical. And colourfully stated!

She covers her ‘notsorry’ method, which guards your time and treasure without you feeling like a… jerk. She ends her talk thus:

But mental decluttering: learning how to say ‘no’, set boundaries, and give fewer, better fucks? That lasts forever.

So decide what you don’t give a fuck about (know your ‘fuck budget’). Then don’t give a fuck about those things (honestly & politely). 12.5-minute video embedded below to better get this message. Enjoy!

Oh, and yeah, she audibly drops the F-bomb. A lot. But otherwise, it’s SFW!

Vote Every Day

(The following is what I shared with my co-workers today shortly after noon, Boston time, the day after we elected Trump to the presidency.)

To those of us who voted, hello there. This is for you.

I was born in a literal kingdom (…of Saudi Arabia) 8,000 miles away, onto soil that was… not home. I spent the first half of my life (17 years) there, surrounded by ex-patriots knowing one day we’d all… go home. One day, we’d go live in America, and do American things, like vote.

That’s why yesterday was special for me. I got to vote yesterday.

In the hope of connecting to others’ humanity ( [robot face] [winking face] ), and at the risk of sounding unprofessional, I’ll share my candidate didn’t win the presidency, and this has gotten me to think about what it means to vote. ( controversial hook / tension builds… ) Continue reading

Little Thistledown Things

Am sharing a video of Alan Watts, one of my favorites.

Here’s the transcript:

I remember once, I, uh, was looking in the open air and one of those glorious little thistledown things came and I picked it up, like that, and brought it down, and it looked as if it was struggling to get away, just as if you caught an insect by one leg, like a daddy longlegs or something of that kind.

It seemed to be struggling to get away and I thought, “Well it’s not doing that, that’s just the wind blowing.” And then I thought again, “Really? Only the wind blowing? Surely, it is the structure of this thing, which, in cooperation with the existence of wind, enables it to move like an animal, but using the wind’s effort, not its own.” It is (a) more intelligent being than an insect, in a way, because an insect uses effort, like a person who rows a boat uses effort, but the man who puts up a sail is using magic.

He lets nature do it for him, with the intelligence to use a sail. You see? Now, that is the most highly skillful art of all. That is Taoism in perfection.

So, I take that as: structure yourself to work with the Universe to act without effort.

The Taoist notion of ‘Wu Wei’ can be described as “the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life”. So you can read THAT, or choose to think about “those glorious little thistle down things”.

Play The Ball Where The Monkey Drops It

I’m reblogging a sermon… not because I joined a church this past Sunday and paid extra special attention… not because the title is so damn intriguing… but because the reverend was able to whip up a Forrest Gump-ism from a dare.

As an exercise to ministers-in-training, our reverend challenged her class to come up with a sermon out of a random word. To prove it could be done, she partook, and had ‘golf’ as her word. After googling ‘golf’ for some material, she proceded to share one of the best sermons ever, to which I won’t come close to giving justice.

Once upon a time, the English Empire annexed India. Not one to arrive at a colonialization party empty-handed, the English brought golf. The Indians brought lush jungle. Lush Indian jungles brought monkeys. Lush Indian jungle monkeys brought a curiosity for round white objects that flew through the dense jungle air. Lush Indian jungle monkey curiosity brought frequent relocations to freshly fired golf shots. Sometimes the ball would land in the rough, and the monkeys would pick it up and drop it on the green. Sometimes it would land on the green, and the monkeys would pick it up and drop it in the rough. They tried to control the monkeys, but to no avail, so the English & Indians wrote them monkeys and their monkey-ball behaviour into the Book Of Life Golf: Play the ball where the monkey drops it.

I couldn’t make this up.

I mean, I COULD… but my flavour would fold in a vast right-swing conspiracy and a tasteless bastardization of a Gandhi quote, which would go:

First, you they are annoyed by how you bugger up their sporting events. Then, they ignore you. Then, they laugh at you. Then, they fight you. Then, you win.

And isn’t this life? Sometimes, you do all the right things (great shot!), and walk away with nothing to show for it (damn monkey!). Sometimes, you make a right mess of it (hooked it!), and somehow it turns out better than expected (good monkey!). Reality becomes the resultant vector of both what you can and can’t control, and all you can do, is, say it with me: Play the ball where the monkey drops it.

It’s a pretty Buddhist idea.

It’s also a pretty successful Disney song.

Days Of Future Presents

There is a movie out now called X-Men: Days of Future Past. No, I haven’t seen it, so I don’t get if there’s something to the title beyond a convoluted curiosity, but that won’t stop me from bastardizing it to paraphrase this one quote by Alan Watts from a lecture of his that somebody entitled Life Is A Musical Play.

If you cannot live in the present, then you cannot enjoy the future for which you have planned.

This was said in the context of discussing how planning isn’t useless, but it is useless if you can’t enjoy the present moment. If you can’t enjoy the Day of Present Present, how can you enjoy the Days of Future Presents?

It’s an interesting consequence of what it means to “live in the now”.