Shutting down . . .

Well, having accomplished what I set out to do with this blog, I think it is time to shut it down.

The reason I’m doing this now it simple:  I had 90 days to renew my domain registration when they informed me that WordPress has decided to force a 2-stage authentication process that requires a form of verification that I literally can’t provide – a cell phone number.  Since I do not have a cell phone, and wouldn’t tie it to my blog even if I did, it is time to quit WordPress.  Besides, I’ve done what I set out to do with  this blog, by laying personal claim to ideas that were hugely influential in the outcome of the 2016 election for the USA.  Everything else was gravy.

So, I’m transferring all of my files and blog posts to my original blog at:  http://mr-spock.livejournal.com/ and asking that if you want to continue to follow my journey of self discovery, you’ll bookmark that page or subscribe to it.  I’ve been blogging on that page since 2004.

Thank you, one and all, for making this page feel like a resounding success.

New Year Resolutions?

During this last week of 2016, many people’s thoughts are turning towards the annual “New Year Resolution” ritual.  Millions will make anywhere from a few to dozens of decisions about how to change their lives for the better – and if history is any indication, 98% of all resolutions will be in the waste bin before the new POTUS is sworn in.

So, I have been thinking about life itself for some time, and I’ve noticed something.  Ever since the early ’80’s there has been a trend of people demanding ever more of themselves, and businesses demanding ever more of their employees.  This inevitably results in people multi-tasking (trying to do several things at once, like a woman driving her car while eating breakfast and using the rear-view mirror to put on her makeup).  I’ve even seen people BRAG about how much they can get done by trying to multi-task.

I have news for you.  NOTHING in this world is designed to help you become a better version of yourself.  Nowhere is that more true than the pressure to multitask, because every self-help and spiritual growth guide I’ve ever read said that the key to growth is being ever-present in NOW.  You absolutely must focus on ONLY what you are now doing.  That means if you are eating breakfast, you are only eating breakfast.  Your mind can’t be on the business meeting you have scheduled for 1330 hrs., or reminding yourself of the parent/teacher conference you have tomorrow morning, or Aunt Bigear’s birthday next week.

So, if there is only room in your NYR’s for one resolution that you might have a chance to actually keep – I’d challenge you to start learning to focus.  Do ONLY one thing at a time, do it to your very best, and do it completely so that when you move to your next task, you have no reason to continue thinking about the one just completed.  Use a list or computer scheduler to keep track of what needs done, so you don’t have to keep thinking about what else you could be trying to do. Who knows, you might even learn that you are getting more done, and doing better work could even get you that promotion at your job!

My bear to cross . . .

When I was growing up as a child in a small Kansas town where EVERYONE was a member of one or the other of two churches, one thing I heard people say from time to time was, “This is my cross to bear” – by which I understood them to be saying that some burden was theirs to deal with.  Nobody could help, and the problem might never go away.  Much like Jesus on his way to Calvary.

Well, in circles of those who seek spiritual growth, there is a similar notion – that the universe seeks balance, and those who seek spiritual growth may be “balanced” by physical limitations or self-imposed restrictions.

I’m facing a growing awareness that this may be exactly the description of my own physical limits since the bone tumor in my leg back in 1980.  The arthritis (which the No Grain, No Pain book describes as an auto-immune disorder caused by intestinal leaking after prolonged NSAID pain killer use) is going systemic, my migraines are taking on extra symptoms (by which I mean that the 3 classic symptoms that earn a headache the term “migraine” are now arriving in pairs) and my physical strength is declining despite my workout program.  No, not the strength – the endurance.  I have no energy reserves.

I’m not saying all of this to wave a white-flag, or imply that I’m giving up.  I fully intend to keep trying to heal my body. It just seems that every time I take one action to fix one area of my health, it throws another out of balance and my health in that area declines.

I just have to accept – in advance – that it may be a fools errand, and be prepared to live with that.  With my family genetics, it is entirely possible that I have another 30-50 years to live, so accepting this “as it is” while seeking ways to make my life and this world better are key ideas to balance against each other for inner peace.  I think.

Saturday Posts . . .

Today I’m doing something a little different.  Instead of one of my usual graphics about something thought-provoking or humorous, I’ve opted to actually write something.  One of my recent posts (7/16) had the honor of a dear friend telling me that it “shifted my viewpoint” – and this is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate goal of every person who shares spiritual ideas or life insights with others.  Each and every one of us who is on a life path to grow as a being cares first about making our own growth continue, but when we can succeed in helping another who is also trying to grow it is awesome!

Anyhow, one of the places that I look to for helpful ideas and products to further my self-help practice is Mindvalley.com.  They are totally focused on individual spiritual growth products, and some of their blogs do shift MY viewpoints.  I recently got an email from one of their staff – you and I would call her a “customer service representative” – and something jumped out and wouldn’t let go of my attention until I acknowledged it.

When she signed off on the email, she gave her name and job title.  It was the job title that got my attention.  Chief Happiness Manager – that was her title.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were all “Happiness Managers” – and we all stopped “doing jobs” and started making it our job, no matter what it was, about ensuring the happiness of those we encounter?  Not just putting our own best foot forward, but helping others to put their own forward as well?  I know my friend does this – everything about her job (and her husband’s, for that matter) is about finding ways to make the lives of other people better.  Not in her opinion, but THEIRS.  She is so good at doing this that you begin to feel more at peace just by being in the same room with her.

This world needs a LOT more of that.  Let’s all be “Happiness Managers”.  Stop trying to be at the front of the line – at the checkout or the traffic light.  Stop trying to force others to see that we’re right, and try making them feel secure that they are right FOR THEM.  Make it your daily mission to put a genuine, heart-felt smile on other people’s faces, or find a way to make the burden they carry lighter.

Mystic Lands series . . .

One of the things my wife and I have been watching lately is a documentary series (available on disc through Netflix) titled Mystic Lands.

It was conceived rather ambitiously for a network TV series (originally airing on the Learning Chanel).  The idea was a 13 episode series looking at numerous different locations of the world, and the spiritual practices that were (or, in some cases, are) practiced there, without cultural bias or prejudice as to the views of the practices being shown.

We’ve seen 4 episodes so far, and I have to say that I think they succeed.  Series director Chip Duncan (who is interviewed about the project in an extra feature on Disc 2) wanted to show spirituality as a potential unifying force of humanity despite the diversity of beliefs, and I respect that view tremendously.

I would choose to phrase it this way: WHAT you practice is not so important as IF that practice means something to you. On the other hand, something being successful as a faith for you is no indicator of it’s rightness for anyone else.  You have a right, and obligation, to do what is right for you, but you have no right or authority to enforce it on anyone else.

Ultimately, your decision to make someplace a spiritual place for you is the only thing that is necessary.  You can make it spiritual just by setting up an altar in a room in your basement.

Painful Intuition

I’m still dealing with a migraine, but this needs to be shared.

I have believed for several years now that intuition, for lack of a better term, is a skill that can be developed.  Oh, and I’ve been actively trying to develop mine, by looking for those times when my “gut feeling” told me one thing was right, and then seeing how things turned out.  Over time, I’ve been learning to trust my instinct, even when the facts of a situation appear to go against it.  That isn’t easy for someone who once (and to some degree still does) venerated SPOCK from Star Trek.

However, the problem with intuition is that when you get one of those feelings, it is tough to explain the idea to someone else, as my little narrative is about to demonstrate.

Re-wind to about 0300 hrs Sunday morning.  I was sitting there playing a video game when I felt a migraine kick in.  It was a real hum dinger, too.  When my wife got up, I had all the lights off except for a table lamp 15 feet away from me, and the TV volume was turned down so low you couldn’t hear the sound at all if you were 10 feet from the TV.  Even with all of that, I was wearing sunglasses.  I’d taken Imitrex AND Excedrin, and still couldn’t relax.  It was THAT bad.  I normally would go to bed at around 0700, but I was up until 1330.

I mostly tossed and turned, not getting any real rest, until my bladder needed relief at almost 2100.  When I got up, one of the first things I noticed was that odd “gut feeling” that something was off.  I couldn’t tell you what it was, but something was wrong.  By the time I got to the living room, I noticed that my wife was about a half-hour into the most recent BATMAN movie (with Christian Bale as BATMAN).  If she’d stayed up to watch the whole thing, it would have been almost 2300 when she went to sleep.  I did a bad job of pointing that out to her, and we had a small spat and then ironed it out.  She went to bed, and I sat there wondering how I could have expressed my concern better.  On went the sunglasses, and I did a bit more gaming.

Then, at about 2345 I noticed what the problem was that had plagued me hours earlier when I got up.

My wife’s bedside alarm clock went off at 0600 Monday morning, and when she sat up I handed her a single AA battery.  She put her glasses on, looked it over, and asked why she needed that.  I whispered that she needed to follow me.

In the living room, her chair sits closest to the wall clock AND the TV.  Due to it’s orientation, her natural habit is to look up at the clock whenever she wants to know the time, even when she’s currently using her laptop.  At 0600 Monday morning, that wall clock still said it was 2048 of the night before, and the second hand was still struggling mightily to complete it’s climb to 2049.  Suddenly she was very glad I’d made an issue of her getting to bed the night before, even if we both still acknowledged that I had done a poor job of it.

After a quick action of replacing the battery, the clock resumed working perfectly.

Spirituality newsletters?

I’ve been reading about spiritual growth, and doing a lot of other “self help” activities, for many years now.  I look back at who and what I was when I started this journey, and I can see some real changes.  I laugh a lot more than I used to, for starters.

However, I’ve noted something recently that really bugs me.  In the last week, I have unsubscribed from at least a dozen different internet newsletters that were pitching themselves as “spiritual growth” or “seekers” newsletters, but were in fact “get rich quick” schemes.  I have no idea how I got on their radar – I’m not interested in becoming an overnight millionaire by taking money from others without a fair exchange.  And I certainly do not see any connection between fast profits and spiritual growth.  IMHO the people advertising such things are con artists and attention whores who know NOTHING about real spiritual growth.

Oh, and just in case you are finding a lot of the same type of stuff in your email in-box, here is a tip.  You can unsubscribe, block, “mark as spam”, or just delete anything that asks you for money as a part of finding spiritual growth.  They never work, and the proof is that the person offering it needs money from you.  Someone who is really enlightened doesn’t need to charge anyone for anything – from their point of view, the universe meets their needs without them having to put any attention on money at all.