9 Insights on this Incredible LIFE

Carpe Diem

 This came from www.seetheperfection.com and re-posted by www.babeandbutter.com and I am re-posting it here because I enjoyed it so much.
 
I am re-posting this again because I needed a refresher.

9 Insights on this Incredible LIFE

1. You are not your mind.
The first time I heard somebody say that,  I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.
I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.
If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the centre of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.
2. Life unfolds only in moments.
Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.
3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.
I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
4. Most of life is imaginary.
Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.
5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.
Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behaviour. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.
6. Emotions exist to make us biased.
This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism  with nasty side-effects.
7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfil their desires and to escape their suffering.
Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behaviour other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skilful and helpful to others, others are unskilful and destructive, and almost all destructive behaviour is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.
8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.
Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.
9. Objectivity is subjective.
Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, un-sharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.
Have a wonder-filled day,
Donna Flanagin
Check out my business website (here)
Random me:  I am a fan of Oprah’s network OWN.
Published in: on July 1, 2014 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

100 Day Challenge – Random Acts Of Kindness

Scatter Kindness

Note the semi-hidden hummingbird

Amazing Random Acts of Kindness. 

You are about to embark on an amazing journey through some heartfelt, thoughtful, creative and joyful random acts of kindness.  Each Act will be described by the challenge participant in their own words.  You will be able to feel the joy it brought to both the participant as well and the recipient.

Here is how it started:

On October 15, 2013 I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave myself a 100 Day Challenge. Each day for 100 days I asked a different person to do just one random act of kindness and then tell me about it. Simple enough, right? There were no rule, no expectations, just do something that would bring a smile to someone else.

I asked 16 men and 84 women if they would participate.  For the most part,  I asked only once and did very little follow-up or reminders.   The response was amazing.  I hope you enjoy following this blog to see what Random Acts of Kindness my family, friends and colleagues came up with.

To my surprise, many participants thanked me for including them in this challenge.  The THANK YOU goes to each one of you that took on your own challenge to make a difference.

THANK YOU for making the world a better place!

Today is the last day of this challenge, tomorrow the ripple effect begins. Enjoy!

If you would like to follow this journey, check back or subscribe over on the right column to receive email notifications.

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I was not completely comfortable doing this challenge.  I  felt like I was imposing on their busy lives and didn’t want anyone to feel obligated. 

 

She felt special

DI 2013

My daughter Monica attended the Disney Institute  Approach to Leadership Excellence program at Ivy Tech yesterday.

When I asked her if she liked it, her response was “Yes being there was awesome enough but Jeff (Noel) sending me some magic was amazing!!!!!”  Over 100+ attended, she was presented these coveted ears in front of everyone. Now if you think I am crazy by calling them “coveted”, just attend a Disney workshop and you will see what I am talking about.

He went out of his way to make her feel special.  He certainly didn’t have to do that but he walks the talk.  Disney philosophy ” Make your guests feel special” and that is exactly what he did.

What do you do to make your guests (customers) feel special?

She will always remember how he made her feel and that is part of the Disney training. And by the way, Jeff wasn’t even attending this workshop, he went out of his way to make sure she got her ears!

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Writing before the sun comes up.

A ValpoLife that Matters – some days are just plain special.

This card is for Caitlin.

This card is for Caitlin.

On Monday I got a call from Caitlin Vanlaningham wanting to know if I would like to be featured as “A Valpo Life that Matters” for Valpolife.com. Caitlin immediately knew I was overjoyed by my “not so” calm response.

We met for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and the article was published by Wednesday morning.  Just another “wow” by Valpolife.com and Caitlin.

Click HERE to read the article.

Scatter Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I owe so much to Debbie Thiel.  She is an unwavering supporter of my life and business.

Hidden History #27 – An Old Wooden Cane

Resting comfortably

Resting on the park bench is an old wooden cane. 

Along with the luggage, glasses, and open book you may get the feeling someone is waiting for the train or just enjoying an afternoon in the park.

All together they evoke a feeling, individually not so much.

Except to those with insider knowledge that the cane actually belonged to my uncle who lived with my mother and I after my dad died.

Most visitors just see a cane, but I see family history.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  Daily routine,  one cup cream and sugar.

Hidden History #26 – Fashions by Inez

Fashions By Inez

I remember my mother doing a lot of sewing in my childhood. 

She sewed clothes, slip covers, drapes and costumes. 

What she is most remembered for is sewing Barbie doll clothes. 

Even with her arthritis crippled hands, she was able to sew the tiniest of patterns.

It was only fitting that she we honor her by being the entrepreneur of our dress shop on Main Street.

Thanks mom for passing down some of your sewing skills to me.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  I sewed my costume from scratch for the Fairy Glad Mother.

The Fairy Glad Mother, Ronald McDonald and Ella Seaswirls

Hidden History #25 – The Bakery

Swedish Bakery

By design the bakery is not just any bakery but it is a Swedish Bakery.

From the shingle to the items for sale, it has a Swedish flair.

Why?

The hidden history meaning…. Doug and I are both 1/2 Swedish. Thus are children are more Swedish than anything else.

Click here to view Hidden History #26

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  My first pair of skates were the steel skates with the skate key.  If you’re old enough you know what I’m talking about.

Hidden History #24 – The Knob

This door knob holds years of memories

It has meaning to me, but no one else would have any idea.

The door knob on the bakery is the actual door knob from my bedroom door as a child.

Who knew when the hardware in the house was updated that the old knob would find such a meaningful home?

Not me.

Click here to view Hidden History #25

Have a Wonder-filled Day,
Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  I do not have a green thumb.

Hidden History #23 – The Shovel

The cap, the bandana and the shovel.

The cap, the bandana and the shovel.  All things a railroad worker might have used.

Typical railroad decor with hidden history.  The shovel actually belonged to my grandson.  My husband bought it for him as a small child to work alongside him on jobs, making him feel an integral part of the project.

My grandson is now over 6 ft tall so the shovel is far too “small”, but it holds a “large” piece of our heart.

Click here to go to Hidden History #24

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  I remember helping me dad paint our house as a teenager, realizing I had no idea how to paint!

Junior Flanagin Fairies and Applebees

Our Local Applebees

Our local Applebees recently shut down to remodel.  When they re-opened the walls were lined with murals of local people and events.

To our amazement, there they were, our Jr Flanagin Fairies from the 2011 Popcorn Parade.  Madison and Reese (aka Ginger Glitterdrop and Scarlet Sunflower)

We are so proud and so happy for the girls.

Kudos to Applebees for highlighting our community, people, and local events.

The original picture

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me: I usually put too much pressure on myself.

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