Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Inspirational Music

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Look at that smirk

Alivia Sue Hughes, my niece.
I got to see her today! She is starting to walk with even more proclivity. She just grabs my thumb (or whatever finger is available) and takes off in the direction she's heading. I love how she assumes that the body attached the the fingers she's holding onto will simply follow her. When I arrived she was in her car, and was having a particularly hard time getting her foot unstuck as she tried to move around in it. She was all about it and only got out for a short time before going back to it. She had one heck of a time trying to figure out how to get in until she accidentally opened the door. I've been blessed with being a part of her first year of life. I've watched her learn so many little things and I've always been created with her infectious smile. I gotta say, I love being an uncle!
Here's a quotation that contains some simply profound wisdom.
"Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi
I recently listened to the audiobook of The Power of Habit. It goes into great depth about habits and the neuroscience behind them. In any case, I think Mr. Gandhi was able to say most of the important things.  I really appreciate that he changes the verbs he uses for each of the stages. You can't just use the same approach for every part of yourself. It takes a great deal attention at every stage, but the focus is different for your thoughts (watch) than your values (understand and embrace). When it comes to our thoughts, sometimes it seems as if they have a mind of their own. At least, mine tend to run circles around me, especially if I'm attempting to corral them and push them through a pen onto paper. Our words though are more manageable. Learning to use our mouths and ears in correct proportions greatly helps this particular skill. When it comes to our actions, we get back to thoughts a little, but this time we are directing them through consideration and then need the guts to judge actions. Our habits are something that require our recognition or acknowledgement. We are made up of them. Some of them seem to have come from our past or our parents etc. but we need to see them for what they are and understand their strength. Kurt Lewin said, "If you want to truly understand something, try to change it." I think this applies to habits particularly well. In the book The Power of Habit, William James is quoted: "All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits--practical, emotional, and intellectual--systematically organized for or weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be." Then we approach our values in a similar way by using the directed thought idea but we get the kicker: embrace them. This is a very hard task. Embracing anything about ourselves is hard. It's hard for me because I'm usually so uncertain about knowing exactly what it is about me that I'm embracing.  But, embrace we must. Our destiny will be determined by what we spend most of our time doing, how we think about those things, and our determination to change what we can and embrace what we cannot.

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