• Same story, different day...........year ie more of the same fiat floods the world
  • There are no markets
  • "Spreading the ideas of freedom loving people on matters regarding high finance, politics, constructionist Constitution, and mental masturbation of all types"

Why Do We? Why Are We? A Few Thoughts.....


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wit;in reach
How Does The Mainstream Decide What We Need To Know?


Published on Apr 6, 2015
How does the mainstream media decide what's important for us to know? This week on These Guys, Joe and Mark discuss the mainstream media, it's limitations and what it could look like if stories were different.
I believe the networks are tied together nationwide n' under govt control like the military n' Hollywood connection n' the Important bunk is key worded to all t.v'.s 'cable made this easy to do along with computer programs.... we are programed. the movie" they live" is a prime example of the basics Involved.
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
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Mar 31, 2010
I believe the networks are tied together nationwide n' under govt control like the military n' Hollywood connection n' the Important bunk is key worded to all t.v'.s 'cable made this easy to do along with computer programs.... we are programed. the movie" they live" is a prime example of the basics Involved.


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Why do we?


Published on Apr 19, 2015
Edited by Brady Trautman

Awesome sailing tunes from our good buddy Savi Fernandez!
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Mar 31, 2010
April 20, 2015

And in This Corner…Fear

My grandfather, Johnny Paychek, poses with Joe Louis before their fight for the heavyweight title.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from David Levien.

Fear. My grandfather faced it on a daily basis, and he did it for a living as a professional boxer back in the 1930s and early ‘40s, when the money, and the gloves, weren’t as padded as they are today. As a writer, I face fear as well. Not the physical kind, of getting punched in the face or drilled in the ribs (unless that NYC commute gets particularly nasty), but the fear of an empty page. Everyone with a presentation to prepare, a report due, a project to complete, a stock trade to make, a deal to close, an idea to put forth — in short, anyone who actually gives a sh*t about his job — knows what I’m talking about. It’s the fear of failure. That unpleasant, dry-mouthed, ball-tightening sensation that always manages to strike the moment we actually invest ourselves in the outcome of something.

My grandfather, who fought as John Paychek (though born Pacek), was well past his days in the ring by the time I got to know him. But he was a top prospect back in his prime, winning the Golden Gloves in Chicago and the International Golden Gloves, before going on the pro circuit out of the Midwest, where he racked up an impressive record and string of knockouts. He once spun an Irishman so hard with a finishing punch the guy had to be carried out of the ring with a broken ankle. That’s when my grandfather got tapped to fight Joe Louis for the heavyweight belt. (Heavyweight, although he never came within five pounds of touching 200 on the scales).

He was “invited” by promoters to show up on March 29, 1940 at Madison Square Garden. My grandfather’s camp countered that though their man was 38-3-2, he needed another year of seasoning. He was only 25 after all and it was the Brown Bomber he was going to be facing. The promoter, who knew well that Joe Louis was entering the Army and needed a quick string of money fights said: “Paychek will be there on March 29[SUP]th[/SUP], or he’ll never fight in the Garden in his entire career.”

So he showed up. My grandfather told me about the fight on a few occasions back when I was young. How Louis’s jab had hurt him, and he’d never been hurt by a jab. How the champ was just too fast. But the detail that stood out, the one that really stuck with me was: “I couldn’t get a sweat going in the locker room. I went into the ring dry.” People familiar with the fight game know this means one thing: fear.

I took up boxing in my early twenties, in a recreational, not professional way, at the same time I embarked on my writing career. If it wasn’t completely conscious at the time, it certainly was no accident. The discipline required for each, one more physical, the other more mental, was analogous to me. A boxer squares off with an opponent who is trying to put him down. A writer faces a cursor blinking on an empty page like an accusation. What do you have to say? Why does anyone want to hear it? What makes you think you’re good enough? Huh? A writer battles with the fear that nothing worthwhile will come, maybe nothing at all, that something started well won’t turn out, or that someone else will do the same idea first, or better.

Regardless of career path, every man faces his own challenges in the workplace, and the metaphor that a job, whether temporary or one’s life work, is a fight on some level (especially in today’s economy) is apt. In some cases the opponent is an individual — an actual competitor who must be bested in order to win the account or contract, a vendor looking to take advantage. In other cases, the challenge is an indifferent marketplace, employees, an organization that resists falling in line, a boss who can’t see your true worth, or even an unappreciated idea. Self-doubt can be a constant foe. Am I good enough? Is my idea sound? Am I doing my best, or at least the best I can right now? Nearly all of the time, the self — one’s own willingness to be bold enough or to do the hard work, to prepare, to read and re-read all the documents, to scour the data, to do the research necessary to execute the job correctly — is the true adversary.

The snick of the jump rope and the pop of the pads greet the boxer when he arrives at the gym. He has to train with metronomic regularity, or he’ll suffer for it on fight night. In my case, the writer wakes up to blank notebook pages to be filled with free writing. He has to return to his project each morning and make steady progress or he’ll never get to the end. Just as the boxer trains to instill the skills, but also the confidence he’ll need in the ring, a writer writes every day to build his craft, not only to create greater effects on the page, but to lay in the strength and self-belief that will see him through the dark, confusing times. The boxer catalogs his experience, round by round, bout by bout, and draws on that experience in the big ones.

In a similar way, I can now look back on a series of books and films I’ve written, and use that body of evidence to dial down what might have been full-blown panic back in the beginning to a level of useful edge. We all have to find rituals and disciplines with which to build our strength (both inner and outer), our power, and our courage. Because there will be fights, and we’d better be ready. It doesn’t have to be boxing, of course. It doesn’t even have to be physical. Maybe it’s meditation, or staying up late or waking up early to think about your workday, your month, your year, your five-year plan. Perhaps it’s a seminar that will give you an edge, or finding a mentor who can give guidance and share the benefits of his wisdom. Whatever it is, try and do that extra thing, so you can draw on it when you find yourself on the ropes.

My grandfather was a young guy with some skills who faced a moment that was bigger than he was. It didn’t go well for him — a few knockdowns in the first and a KO by way of vicious hook in the second. But I’ll always admire that he stepped in there against an all-time great, to say nothing of his getting back up after those first few visits to the canvas. When it was time for fight or flight, even though some of his body’s systems were suggesting one, he managed to do the other.

A writer has to be a fighter at heart, to deal with the failures and the rejections, and like a fighter, he’s going to lose some, but he’s got to keep going. Whatever the job, whatever the pursuit, there will be moments when you taste some leather. The more you care, the more it hurts. The fighter’s way of laying in the training and converting the pain into motivation is universal. And when it gets hard, when the idea of quitting might start to glow like a lantern in the distance on a dark night, it inspires me to remember that if my grandfather could do what he did that night in the Garden, then I can at least try my damndest to answer the bell in my own way.


David Levien is a producer, author, and screenwriter known for
Rounders, Oceans 13, and Runaway Jury. His latest book is Signature Kill.



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Apr 2, 2010
Thank you for starting this thread, Searcher. I would like to share something that I have discovered. If you insist on written communications your life will be much better. We have all known people who are prone to allow stupid random thoughts to simply fly out of their mouths. When called on something really off, they invariably respond by saying, 'just kidding". If they were forced to write what they said down and look at it, it is unlikely to be said. This may be one reason why family conversation in books and on television seems to be of so much better quality than the conversations of our own family. I have been watching a TV program called Blue Bloods. The quality of family life of four generations of Reagan's at Sunday dinner is a good example. The writers of this program are very highly skilled. The conversations at the dinner table give the impression of being extemporaneous but in fact are carefully crafted. They are a far cry from what I remember of my family dinner conversations as a child. They consisted mainly of people yelling. I find that I am still overly sensitive to verbal communication. It's not so bad on the telephone, because you can always just hang up. But face-to-face, you just have to stand there and take it. If you give them a good smack, they will probably sue you. They might be asking for it, but they will sue you anyway. I feel sorry for anyone whose job it is to handle customer complaints. If I had to take a job like that I would get some tattoos. Maybe some swastikas on my neck and three teardrops at the edge of my eyes.


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Mar 31, 2010
April 25, 2015

Manvotional: The Joy of Doing

Brett & Kate McKay

“The Joy of Doing”

From Undiscovered Country, 1946
By Raymond John Baughan

The secret of happiness is in knowing this: that we live by the law of expenditure. We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are. There are tides in the ocean of life, and what comes in depends on what goes out. The currents flow inward only where there is an outlet. Nature does not give to those who will not spend; her gifts are loaned to those who will use them. Empty your lungs and breathe. Run, climb, work, and laugh; the more you give out, the more you shall receive. Be exhausted, and you shall be fed. Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not in the taking and holding, but in the doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things, but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.



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Mar 31, 2010
Why Self-Worth Is Infinitely More Valuable that Net-Worth

Written by joshua becker

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” – Henry David Thoreau

Net-worth: Your assets minus your debts.

Self-worth: The quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.

As humans, it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, because we can only compare the things that we can objectively measure, we live in a world that is great at measuring and comparing externals. Somewhere along the way, we decided that we could determine who is living a more valuable life by comparing their clothes, cars, homes, and paychecks.

Simply put, we tied self-worth to net-worth. As a painful result, we began to make judgements about our own life value by the possessions that we own. But, in reality, our life is far more valuable than the things that we own.

The wages that we earn provide for our lives, but they do not define our lives. (tweet that)

Fortunately, when we change our thinking on this matter, we are freed to pursue a life worthy of esteem and respect that is not tied to our possessions. Consider these 8 steps to improve your self-worth regardless of your net-worth.

1. Live a life of integrity and character. There is no greater feeling than laying your head on your pillow at night having no regrets in your dealings with others. Consider the immeasurable value that comes from looking back over your entire life and seeing the same thing.

2. Cultivate worthy endeavors that are available in infinite supply. There is no limit to the amount of love you can show, the amount of hope you can spread, or the number of encouraging words you can speak. Cultivate these things in liberal supply. They will cost you nothing, but will begin to mean everything.

3. Delight in your uniqueness. The fact that you are different from everybody else makes you valuable. Be comfortable with yourself and proud of yourself. Don’t suppress it or hide it. Instead, do the opposite: Champion your uniqueness.

4. Give away your most valuable resource. The most precious resource we own is our time. Therefore, the most precious thing that we can ever give to another person is our time. Make a habit of giving it away to others.

5. Live courageously. Find the mental strength to accept new challenges without regards to the fear that may lie beneath. Live with great expectations about what your life can become and accomplish.

6. Develop self-confidence. A confident person feels better about themselves, stands up taller, and smiles more. A confident person does not follow the crowd or try to become someone else. A confident person focuses on their achievements and anticipates their next opportunity in life with excitement.

7. Embrace your weaknesses. There are no perfect people in this world. We all have struggles and weaknesses. I have found that one of the best ways to identify with others is in our weakness. When we admit that we need help, we are finally ready to interact with others on a truly valuable level.

8. Make the most of every opportunity. Each new day brings with it new opportunities. Don’t waste a single one. Do everything you do with quality and excellence.

Your true self-worth is up to you. Increase it. Don’t allow your life’s pursuit to be caught up in the acquisition of material things – that makes for a nice net-worth, but not necessarily a high self-worth. And self-worth trumps net-worth any day.



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Mar 31, 2010
3 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Get Started with What You Truly Want to Do

by Henrik Edberg


“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Eliot

Getting started with doing what you truly want to do in life can be hard.

No matter if what you want is to start exercising, create your own business on the side, write a book, see other parts of the world or something entirely else.

But often we make getting started a lot harder than it needs to be by standing in our own way.

So in today’s article I’d like to share 3 things you need to stop doing to step out of your own way and make it so much easier to actually get started instead of just keep dreaming about it over the summer.

1. Stop making it a huge and vague thing in your mind.

The more you think about whatever you want to get started with the bigger it tends to become in your head. And as you keep thinking about the various ways this could go it tends to become scarier and scarier.

So do this instead:

■Get knowledge from the others who have been where you want to go. To defuse vague fears about what could happen if you got started and about the unclear unknown, get information from people who have already gone where you want to go.

It is easier than ever to find them today. Look them up online and read what they have written and said or send them an email. Or go ask someone you know in real life that has done what you want to do.

■Ask yourself: Honestly, what is realistically the worst that could happen? Take a couple of deep breaths to calm down your mind a bit. Then ask yourself this question. You’ll realize that in most cases the worst thing that could realistically happen is not that bad. It may sting for a bit. But it is something you can handle. And it is a situation you can find something to do about if this worst case scenario were to happen.

The clarity you get from this question can – in my experience – reduce worries quite a bit.

2. Stop trying to control everything.

Being prepared and knowing some things certainly helps.

But it can become a trap when you try to control it all or think things through 50 times to be on the safe side and to not risk making mistakes, fail or look like a fool.

What to do instead:

■Realize: you will stumble and that is OK. It happens to anyone who steps outside of his or her comfort zone. It has happened to everyone you may admire and who have lived a life that is inspiring. It is simply a part of a life well lived. And if you reflect on what you can learn from a mistake then that will be invaluable to help you grow and improve.

■Learn to set time-limits for small decisions at first. If you have trouble with overthinking then set a time-limit for when you have to make a decision. This might seem a bit scary though. So start small and set a 30-60 second time-limit when trying to decide if you are going to work out or reply to an email. Do that for a while and then move on to slightly bigger decisions. And then even bigger ones after that.

3. Stop thinking that you have to get started in a big and spectacular way.

If you have a big goal or dream or even a medium sized one then it is easy to think that you have to take an action of the same size to get started or to get where you want to go.

That is most often not true though.

What to do instead:

■Go small. Just ask yourself: what is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling with my goal/dream? Then take just that small action. And tomorrow or later on today you can do the same thing again. If that question still lands you in procrastination then ask yourself: What is one tiny step I can take to get the ball rolling?

■Single-task each little step. Focus on just the one step you are taking based on the questions above. Nothing else. Otherwise it is easy to get lost in thought, to go off track or to feel uncomfortable or a bit of fear. So keep your attention on just this one action and step forward. And after that, the next one. Let these actions build day after day into something bigger. And before you know it you’ll have gone quite a distance on your journey.



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May 12, 2015

Wants Vs. Likes

Brett & Kate McKay

“In the world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” –Oscar Wilde

Have you ever wanted something really, really bad, but when you finally got it, you were left feeling kind of disappointed?

Maybe you thought changing jobs would make you happy, but it didn’t.

Or you thought you’d like living in another state, but ended up regretting the move.

Perhaps you sunk a bunch of money into a new hobby you were sure you’d love, only to abandon it after just a few outings.

Why do we experience these mismatches between what we think something will be like and the reality of it?

This misalignment is often the result of confusing our wants and our likes — a common mix-up that gets in the way of our making good decisions and finding real satisfaction.

The Difference Between Wanting and Liking

While we often use “like” and “want” interchangeably, in the realm of cognitive psychology, they’re two different things.

Wanting is simply the prediction that we’ll like something when we get it or experience it.

Liking is the good feeling — the joy and fulfillment — we get from doing or having something.

Wanting is based on guesses.

Liking is based on firsthand experience.

“I want to spend more time in the outdoors.” vs. “I like spending in the outdoors.”

If we want something, we figure we must like it — otherwise we wouldn’t have wanted it in the first place.

Yet our likes and wants are not always so neatly aligned: we often want things that we really don’t like. This is a phenomenon known as miswanting.

What Causes Miswanting?

Why do we miswant? Shouldn’t we know ourselves well enough to accurately predict when we’ll like the things we desire?

In a paper entitled “Miswanting: Some Problems in the Forecasting of Future Affective States,” psychologists Daniel Gilbert and his co-author Timothy Wilson (who I’ve had on the podcast), highlight several ways in which our likes and wants can become muddled and unhooked:

Using Faulty Predictions

The Great Gatsby
is basically a tragedy dedicated to this type of miswanting. Gatsby wanted to be with Daisy so very badly that he spent his entire life molding himself into the kind of man that she would want. When he finally gets her, the experience is completely underwhelming.

Sometimes the thing we imagine when we start strongly desiring something doesn’t match up with the thing we actually experience. Our predictions aren’t accurate.

For example, when Kate and I were first married, we decided to take a trip to Italy. We’re both big history and classics buffs, and we thought we’d really enjoy exploring Rome. In our heads we imagined ourselves freely wandering through a beautiful highlight reel of the ancient sites and paintings we’d seen online. The reality of the trip, however, involved a lot of being packed like sardines, waiting in lines, and shuffling through museums where we could barely get a look at the exhibits over the heads of our fellow tourists; it felt like being in a theme park, but with ancient relics instead of rides. I realized I had wanted to see the major sites, but I really, really didn’t like vacationing in places with big crowds.

We often mix up our wants and likes with bigger decisions as well. Some folks have an idea in the heads of what would constitute their dream job. They think it’d make them happier and more fulfilled than their current work. With some pluck and drive, they manage to quit their hum-drum corporate gig and start the job that lines up with their perceived passion.

At first, things are great. The natural excitement that comes with change and newness makes them feel like they made the right choice.

But after a few weeks, they start noticing annoyances they didn’t imagine when they were in the throes of a real good wanting. They didn’t foresee the late nights, having to worry about bookkeeping, or the annoying, high-maintenance clients they’d have to work with. From the outside, they saw only the fun and interesting highlights of the job, while being blind to the behind-the-scenes dead work that actually makes up the bulk of what they’ll be doing day-to-day.

Soon, these folks start second guessing their decision because they’re not as happy as they thought they’d be. It turns out they don’t much like what they very much wanted.

Having the Wrong Theory About Ourselves

But let’s say you have a complete understanding about the object or experience you want. So there will be no mismatch between what you imagine you’ll get and what you’ll actually experience. Can that always stave off miswanting?

Unfortunately, no.

Even if we know exactly what we’re getting, sometimes we have incorrect theories about how much we’ll like it.

This fact was demonstrated in a simple study that centered on snacks. Researchers asked subjects to plan a menu of snacks they’d receive on three consecutive Mondays. These folks knew exactly what kind of snack they’d be receiving; yet when they finally got it, they were still disappointed.

The problem was that the subjects tended to think that selecting a variety of snacks would make them happiest; their theory about themselves ran something like this: “I’m not a boring routine guy! Variety is the spice of life!”

So instead of requesting the one snack they liked best for all three Mondays, they decided to select something different for each week. For example, even if a participant knew he loved pretzels, he only asked to receive them on the first Monday, while requesting a Snickers bar for the second Monday, and potato chips for the third. Yet when the candy bar and chips were set before him, he felt disappointed; he really wished he was getting pretzels again. Participants consistently miswanted, because they made a decision based on an erroneous theory about themselves.

There are things we’d like to believe about ourselves, and then there’s how we actually are.

In college, I really wanted to be the kind of guy who liked indie movies and only ate at ethnic and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. So that’s what I did. A few of the flicks I saw were indeed good; most I didn’t enjoy. And while I did find some great little restaurants, I also came to the point where I could admit that I really enjoyed going to Chilis too. I wasn’t as cool of a dude as I had wanted to think; but in accepting that, I was able to do more things that I actually liked.

It can be hard to deviate from cherished narratives and recognize that we don’t always like the things we wished we liked. And the consequences can be far more significant than needlessly avoiding eating Chicken Crispers.

Experiencing Emotional Contamination

Even if we know exactly what we’ll be getting with something, and exactly what we like, we’re still susceptible to miswanting.

This is because our feelings from liking one thing can “contaminate” our wanting of other things.

For example, let’s say you go on vacation to some exotic locale, and you feel incredibly relaxed and happy. You think to yourself, “I love this place! I need to move here permanently!” It seems like it’s the location itself that’s making you happy, but it may simply be the fact that you’re on vacation and away from work. Most everyone feels happier on vacation, no matter where they are. Yet the positive feelings resulting from the break “contaminate” your feelings about the place in which you’re taking it, giving you the sense you’d be happier if you lived there year-round.

Emotional contamination often happens with relationships as well. You might be dating someone, and at first think she’s really great; yet the happiness you feel is really springing from your excitement about being in a relationship, period. It’s broken a long drought, and you mistake the buzz of having a pretty gal like you, for you liking her back. This happens with wedding engagements that fall apart too; the couple feels really good about the whole thing at first, but their positive feelings are really arising from the idea of being engaged in general, rather than about their fiancé in particular.

As Dr. Gilbert notes, “feelings do not say where they came from, and thus it is all too easy for us to attribute them to the wrong source.”

Emotional contamination can happen with negative feelings, too. For example, you might be feeling down because you got passed over for a promotion. Your bud calls you and asks if you want to go to a basketball game that night. It’s the kind of thing you typically love doing, but the negative emotions you’re experiencing at the moment color your choice; you feel like you won’t enjoy the game because you’re feeling down about your bad day at work. The reality is that going to a basketball game to get your mind off things is probably exactly what you need to feel better.

How to Avoid Miswanting

So how do we make sure we go after those things that we really like, and don’t just think we like?

While it’s not possible to completely eliminate miswanting from our lives, we can take measures to reduce how often and to what extent it happens, particularly for wants that can have big-time ramifications in our lives like a job change or a move.

1. Don’t be afraid to embrace what you really like, even when it runs counter to cultural/familial expectations. In college I realized that I would probably like teaching best as a career. But such a path didn’t seem to have the kind of prestige and stability I felt was expected of me, and so I convinced myself that I instead wanted to be a lawyer and that I’d like legal work. Halfway through law school I realized I had miswanted, and royally shoulded on myself.

The story of the man-who-buries-his-passion-to-pursue-a-traditional-career has been a common morality tale for a century now. And not falling into that trap is still something to watch for. Yet today, it’s equally “countercultural” to accept the fact that you’d actually like a stable, traditional 9-5 job instead of being a war correspondent or start-up founder. Don’t just give yourself permission to choose paths that are imbued with a cool and “rebellious” narrative, but ones you actually like—even if some folks think they’re boring and unhip.

2. Give it a trial run. Let’s say you want a new job. You hate your current work and find it unfulfilling. You think you’d like another job, but you’re not entirely sure. Instead of quitting your current gig and finding out the new one isn’t what you thought it would be, give it a trial run.

Now this could be tricky or impossible if the job you want is in a completely different field. But take a look at the current organization you’re working within. There could be an opportunity there for you to do what you want to do. If you’re an attorney at a firm that primarily does litigation, but you have a desire to do more consulting/contractual work, ask your higher-ups if you can take on a case that would allow you to explore that area of the law. Tell them you just want to test it out to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Actually getting your hands dirty with the kind of work you think you want to do gives you a chance to 1) get an idea of what the work is actually like, and 2) get an idea if you’re the kind of person who actually enjoys said work. If you find out you don’t like it, no harm, no foul. Just go back to the job you were doing before.

Another way to give a different line of work a trial run is to moonlight with it by creating a side hustle.

If you’re still in school, you’re at a great advantage. Get firsthand experience in the careers you’re thinking about pursuing with internships. When young people ask me if they should go to law school, I always recommend that they work at a law firm before making that decision. There’s no better way to hone your likes than with firsthand experience.

3. Keep a journal. A journal can help you get a better idea of what you really like as opposed to what you think you like. Our memories get hazier, and rosier, over time. Whenever you get a hankering to visit New York City again, check your journal entries from the last time you were there to see how you felt about the visit. It may be the case that you didn’t have as great a time as you remember.

4. Consult friends and family. Friends and family can be a great support in helping you avoid miswanting. For starters, you can use them as a resource to get a correct idea of the thing you want.

For example, maybe you want to quit your job and start your own business. Before you do that, take a family member or a friend who owns their own business out to lunch and ask them to tell you everything they hate about owning a business. This little exercise can help ensure that you have a complete picture of the thing you want. You may find out that the negatives outweigh the positives and that owning a business isn’t something you’d personally like.

Another way friends and family can help you avoid miswanting is by reminding you of what you really like. As outsiders to your internal life, they have a different, and sometimes more objective, view on your personality and proclivities.

Let’s say you’ve just finished reading a Wendell Berry novel, and you suddenly have a yearning to move to the country. You’re convinced that you’re the kind of guy that would not just like, but love agrarian living. You tell your wife this. She reminds you about how much you complained when you were at her grandparents’ house out in the country for only a week. Maybe you’re not the kind of guy who’s cut out for yeoman farming after all.

5. Realize you may end up liking what you didn’t think you wanted. Not only do we sometimes dislike what we thought we wanted, but we end up liking what we didn’t even realize we wanted. You think sushi is gross until you taste it; you swear off marriage for decades until falling head over heels for a special lady; you begrudgingly move back to your hometown, only to discover real happiness there. Keep yourself open and don’t be afraid to try new things; you never know when you’ll end up liking something you didn’t think you wanted!

Let us end this discussion with the insights of our friend Jack London, who explained the essence and significance of authentic liking in regards to how he and his wife wanted to sail around the world, while their friends thought the idea was nuts:

“Our friends cannot understand why we make this voyage. They shudder, and moan, and raise their hands. No amount of explanation can make them comprehend that we are moving along the line of least resistance; that it is easier for us to go down to the sea in a small ship than to remain on dry land, just as it is easier for them to remain on dry land than to go down to the sea in the small ship.

This state of mind comes of an undue prominence of the ego. They cannot get away from themselves. They cannot come out of themselves long enough to see that their line of least resistance is not necessarily everybody else’s line of least resistance. They make of their own bundle of desires, likes, and dislikes a yardstick wherewith to measure the desires, likes, and dislikes of all creatures. This is unfair. I tell them so. But they cannot get away from their own miserable egos long enough to hear me. They think I am crazy. In return, I am sympathetic. It is a state of mind familiar to me. We are all prone to think there is something wrong with the mental processes of the man who disagrees with us.

The ultimate word is I Like. It lies beneath philosophy, and is twined about the heart of life. When philosophy has maundered ponderously for a month, telling the individual what he must do, the individual says, in an instant, “I Like,” and does something else…

That is why I am building the [ship]. I am so made. I like, that is all.”



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
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Mar 31, 2010
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
May 12, 2014

What Good Shall I Do This Day?

Brett & Kate McKay

It’s the 1970s. A 30-something man makes his way across the Golden Gate Bridge. He’s passed by pedestrians and cyclists, and steps around tourists taking pictures of Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the channel of water below that runs between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He gazes up at the reddish-orange towers soaring above, and then climbs over the bridge’s four-foot safety railing. He steps out onto a 32-inch wide beam known as “the chord,” pauses, takes one last long look out at the bay, and then jumps. His body plummets 220 feet and violently hits the water at 75 mph. The impact breaks his ribs, snaps his vertebrae, and pulverizes his internal organs and brain. The Coast Guard soon arrives to recover his limp, lifeless body.

When the medical examiner later located and searched the jumper’s sparse apartment, he found a note the man had written and left on his bureau. It read:
“I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”


What Good Shall I Do This Day?

Benjamin Franklin was a moral pragmatist who had little patience for theology and preaching that didn’t encourage a man to become an upstanding citizen and do some good in the world. As he couldn’t find a sect he felt sufficiently espoused these pragmatic ideals, he eschewed church attendance and came up with his own program of self-improvement. Franklin set out to live a set of 13 virtues, a challenge designed to push himself to become as morally perfect as possible. Each week he picked one of the virtues to concentrate on and kept track of his failures in a notebook dedicated to that purpose.

Of the 13 virtues, Franklin found it most difficult to implement the principle of Order into his life. As an aid in doing so, he created a daily schedule for himself:

To begin his day on the right foot, not only in regards to Order, but living virtuously in general, he would ask himself this question:

What good shall I do this day?

Reflecting on this question helped him think about what opportunities for serving his fellow man might arise during the day.

In the evening, he would return to the question by asking himself: “What good have I done today?” He examined how he had spent his hours and whether he had done the good deeds he had planned on doing, as well as taken action when unforeseen opportunities to serve others had arisen.

In his virtue notebook, Franklin also inscribed a prayer that helped him remember the purpose of this exercise:
“O powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me.”

But What Good Can I Do?

“Loving-kindness is the better part of goodness. It lends grace to the sterner qualities of which this consists and makes it a little less difficult to practice those minor virtues of self-control and self-restraint, patience, discipline and tolerance, which are the passive and not very exhilarating elements of goodness. Goodness is the only value that seems in this world of appearances to have any claim to be an end in itself. Virtue is its own reward.” -W. Somerset Maugham

Many of us want to be like Franklin and do good in our lives. But what does doing good even mean?

74% of Millenials believe they can make a difference in the world. But if pressed, most aren’t sure what that difference will entail.

I was talking to a 20-something friend of mine the other day, and he said, “I feel everyone in my generation wants to change the world, but if you ask them how, nobody knows. They have this restless urge to do something important, but all they ever actually do is buy products designed to ‘build awareness’ or tweet out a certain hashtag to show their support for some cause.”

It’s great to have big, idealistic plans to build wells in Africa or change the whole political process. But oftentimes we only associate doing good with doing something big, and since we don’t know how to get started on a huge project, we end up doing….nothing at all.

Might I suggest we aim simultaneously lower and higher?

Society has any number of pressing needs that are crying out to be tackled. But there’s a need that everyone can start addressing immediately — no experience or Kickstarter campaign required: regularly showing more human kindness.

I know, I know. Talking about kindness can seem cheesy. It isn’t cool. Doesn’t have much currency in our cynical age. Kindness doesn’t scream “manly” either. But I truly believe that helping our brothers and sisters along the way is what this life’s journey is all about, for men and women alike. At the same time, this service is the surest path to finding our own happiness.

Showing kindness doesn’t have to involve Mother Theresa-like dedication. It’s the small things that often not only make the most difference, but also most test our character.

Last year, the writer George Saunders gave a commencement address on the subject of kindness to the graduates of Syracuse University. In the speech, he recalls some of the bigger mistakes and mishaps of his life, and notes that despite their negative consequences, he regrets none of them. Instead, it is a small moment from his youth, a foible of omission rather than commission, that still niggles at him:

“In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me. So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

After Saunders gave his address, he said that many people came up to him to share their regret over a very similar episode – a lonely classmate they thought about befriending, but didn’t.

I have the very same regret myself. There was a girl in my high school – new, very shy, not as affluent as the other students. Often when I would come out of my last class before lunch and start heading over towards the cafeteria, I would see her sitting alone, eating her lunch in an empty part of the building. Each time I saw her, I would think about inviting her to eat lunch at my table. But what would my friends think? And maybe it would be weird to try to talk to her. So I did nothing. And I still think about her sometimes. The things we regret most in life surely are our failures of kindness.

You don’t still need to be in school to find opportunities for doing good. Every day there are so many little things you can do to ease another’s burden just a bit.

Awhile back I came across a really uplifting thread on Reddit (I know, it happens occasionally). The question posed was, “How did a non-sexual, random encounter with a complete stranger, completely change your life?” I’d like to share just a few of the responses that show the power of small acts of kindness:

“6 years ago my wife and I had just had our first child. He was born through emergency c-section because he wasn’t responding to labor. He went straight to the neonatal intensive care unit due to rapid breathing problems. My wife and I were only allowed to see him at certain times of the day after we had spent 20 minutes scrubbing up. We were allowed to feed him but not hold him. After 3 days of staying at the hospital we were extremely tired, frustrated, scared, and unsure of what would happen next. The doctor gave my wife a Rx and I volunteered to head out and pick it up. I hadn’t showered in a couple days and I imagine I looked somewhat like a zombie.

I walked in to the nearest drug store and gave the clerk at the pharmacy the paperwork. He was a 20-something guy working the night shift. He must have noticed I was a little down and he asked how things were going. I told him that we had just had our first son but that there were complications and that he was in the NICU. He asked my son’s name and I told him. He repeated the name back to me and said thoughtfully, “That’s a strong name, sounds like a Heisman trophy winner…I’m sure he’s gonna be just fine.” He smiled and I teared up. He handed me the medicine and told me to make sure I got some rest and I thanked him and went back to the hospital to stay with my wife. 2 days later on Christmas Day we went home as a family with a healthy baby. It may have not changed my life but I will never forget the kind words he spoke…it gave me a glimmer of hope in the middle of a hard circumstance. Never underestimate the power of a kind word to a stranger.”

“I was having a bad day and was traveling by Greyhound from my friend’s city back to mine. I had to transfer and ended up seated next to a guy with a laptop. I don’t know if he could tell that I was upset or not, but he asked me if I wanted to watch something with him. We ended up sharing headphones and watching Where the Wild Things Are. I was pretty shy back then but if I could meet him again today I would thank him for cheering me up.

I know it’s not a life-changing story, but it’s a little thing that made a big difference back then.”

“When I first started trying to run, I couldn’t even jog a mile. I could barely jog a quarter mile.

One day, I was jogging on a very popular jogging trail near my campus and was basically dragging my feet, sweating like a pig, and wheezing like crazy. Of course the seasoned runners pass me by without so much of a glance but I always remembered this one old man who slowed down to tell me,

“Keep it up, you’re almost there!”

His smile and encouragement is something I remember now every time I’m struggling during a workout. Fast forward a few years and I am much healthier and fitter. One of my favorite things to do is offer kind words of encouragement to strangers I see at the gym or anyone struggling on the jogging path. Exercise is easy – it’s the motivation that’s hard.”

Stepping out of your comfort zone to show another person a bit of human kindness can be surprisingly challenging. But the effort it takes to swallow our shyness to talk to another, and/or to put aside our impatience to spend some extra time with someone who looks in need of comfort can end up meaning the world to them. Doing good isn’t limited to helping strangers, either. It can mean choosing to greet your children with warmth when you come through the door despite your hard day or staying up late to help your stressed girlfriend study for a test.

Something I’ve come to understand quite profoundly as I’ve grown older is that folks who are struggling – strangers and friends alike – frequently do not advertise their pain. I cannot count the times I’ve thought another person had it all together – the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect life – only to have them later reveal some incredibly painful death, disease, or crisis they were grappling with. Every man really is fighting a hard battle. Thus, kindness is something you shouldn’t reserve and only dole out when you see an acute need, but something you embody in your day-to-day life. Your inherent warmth may bring someone comfort without your ever knowing it.

Seeking to do good each day weaves rich threads of integrity into our life, so that when we reach the end of our mortal existence, we can be proud of the tapestry of our actions and have few regrets for the things we should have done, but didn’t.

One of my favorite old hymns is “Have I Done Any Good?” It was written in the latter part of the 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century by Will L.Thompson, a member of the Churches of Christ, but its message cuts across religious lines. Singing and listening to it is a reminder to me of the path I want to take in life:


1. Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

2. There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
‘Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.


It’s 2008 and 20-year-old Johnny Benjamin is standing on the edge of Waterloo Bridge in London. He’s lost in his own world of psychic pain, trying to figure out the right time to jump and end it all.

Then he hears a voice call to him. A voice that penetrates his bubble. Another 20-something, Neil Laybourn, very calmly says, “Please don’t do this, I’ve been where you are and you can get better. Let’s have a coffee and we can talk about this.” He begins asking Benjamin about himself, and the two discover they had grown up just 10 minutes from each other. After they chat for a bit, Benjamin climbs off the bridge.

Laybourn’s simple words saved his life.

“He reminded me of what people do every day so the normality of it was really inviting,” Benjamin later recalled. “His act of kindness changed my outlook on life.”

For his part, Laybourn doesn’t think of himself as a hero – it was just a matter of stepping up instead of turning his back:

“Maybe it was fate, it was easy to make a connection. There are people who would walk past and there are those who would have taken action. I am proud that I was in the crowd that took action.”

What good will you do this day?

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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
87 Things Only Poor Kids Know

By Tiffany Willis on May 29, 2014

Categories: Poverty

Kids living in poverty don’t have a lot of money — or options. But poor kids are survivors, and the life lessons they learn are heartbreaking but often invaluable. To research for this article, I asked our Liberal America fans and my friend and follower group for input. And yes, I pulled some of it from my own experience.

My best resource for the lessons in the article came from A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.

Here are some things that poor children know.

1.A fingernail file can be used to file a jagged edge if a tooth breaks.

2.We go to the doctor when we’re sick, but mom doesn’t.

3.We have to move a lot because sometimes we can’t afford the rent.

4.I don’t always tell my mom when I need school supplies. I can tell it makes her nervous.

5.Having to print something for school gives me anxiety. Our printer doesn’t always have ink. It’s easier for me to just get a bad grade on the project than admit to the teacher I can’t afford to print.

6.Ditto homework that requires the internet. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t. People say “use the library” but there’s not always gas money to get there and they are only open one evening a week.

7.God doesn’t hear my prayers.

8.The only time I’ve ever been to a store to buy new clothes is when my aunt took me. The dressing rooms were foreign to me.

9.I learned how to cook ramen noodles when I was six years old. I was hungry when I got home from school and mom wasn’t ever there to cook because she was working.

10.Healthy snacks are expensive. Ramen noodles are cheap.

11.My grandmother criticizes my mom for not feeding us more healthy food. What she doesn’t understand is that healthy food usually costs a lot more.

12.We can never get the chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. We have to order from the dollar menu that mom calls garbage food.

13.Every day when I get off the bus, I’m scared until I get inside the house. Mom’s at work when I get home.

14.I know I’d be a really good football player, but we’ve never been able to afford for me to play.

15.When I go somewhere where there’s a piano, I love to try to play. I know I’d be really good but we’ll never be able to afford a piano or lessons.

16.I don’t wear different clothes every day.

17.We have to buy all white socks because if one gets lost or torn up, it may be a while before we buy more.

18.We are really good at cleaning our house with stuff that most people don’t use to clean, like bleach and vinegar.

19.I needed colored pencils for a project once. My teacher told me that if I didn’t bring them, I wouldn’t be able to do my project and I’d get a zero. I told the teacher I didn’t have any and she told me I’d better figure it out. On the way to school, my mom went into the grocery store. I was confused because she told me she didn’t have money. When she came out, she had the pencils but they were in her purse, not in a sack. I think she stole them. She was crying.

20.Mom keeps her toothbrush in her bedroom so that it doesn’t accidentally brush up against ours in the bathroom. Germs and she can’t afford to get sick and miss work or go to the doctor.

21.I have no idea what other kids are talking about when they’re talking about the latest TV shows. We’ve never had cable.

22.I sometimes dread the summer and weekends because at school, I eat two meals a day.

23.I’ve never tasted any of the cool cereals that my friends talk about.

24.When I get money from relatives for my birthday or Christmas, I use it to buy things I don’t want to ask mom for, like hair products and underwear.

25.My hair nearly always get too long between haircuts. I got sent home from school once because of it. Mom cut it herself.

26.Other kids make fun of my clothes.

27.I know what it’s like to be really cold in the wintertime.

28.We wear our jackets and gloves in the house in the winter.

29.When our dryer broke, we had to hang our clothes to dry. It took all weekend for my jeans to dry in the wintertime.

30.Christmas is about things we need, not things we want.

31.We can never buy cool clothes “just cuz.” They always have to be things that have a dual purpose. We can wear them to school, church, or whatever.

32.I’ve never been to summer camp. Even if we could afford to go, I’d be embarrassed about my old underwear.

33.I did go to summer camp. I was the only kid who could never buy snacks from the canteen.

34.I got my first job babysitting when I was 14. I couldn’t spend the money. We needed it for bills.

35.Sometimes we have to put stuff back in the checkout line because we don’t have enough money. The cereal always gets put back first.

36.Cashing a check is hard if you don’t have a checking account. You have to pay to cash it.

37.I’m an expert on what can and can’t be bought with SNAP and WIC.

38.One Christmas, we had no money so we went to the Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar Mom gave us each $5 and told us to go shopping for each other. It was the weirdest and funnest Christmas ever.

39.Sometimes we have to use dish liquid in the washing machine. It works if you only use a small squirt.

40.Sometimes we get sick and go to the doctor. He gives us an antibiotic and tell us to start it, but if he calls to say that our strep test came back negative, we can stop taking it. When this happens, Mom keeps that medicine so that she can take it if she has an emergency and gets sick.

41.Sometimes we want to pack cool lunches like some other kids do, but it’s cheaper to eat the school cafeteria food. Mom says the food’s not healthy, but we get free lunches so that’s what we eat. Mom gives us money every day so that we can buy an extra milk at school. It’s cheaper than if we bought it at the grocery store.

42.Sometimes we don’t eat if there’s a mean kid in the line. We don’t want them to know we’re getting free lunch. They’ll make fun of us forever.

43.Duct tape can fix almost anything. Mom makes a game out of it. If a window gets a crack in it, she fixes it with duct tape and uses the tape to make cool designs.

44.I sit really quietly when I get an ice cream cone, enjoying every lick.

45.I share a bedroom with my two younger siblings. It’s impossible to find a quiet place to do my homework.

46.I didn’t do as well as I should have in math classes because I couldn’t afford the calculator that was required.

47.I couldn’t be in Boy Scouts because we couldn’t buy the uniforms.

48.I couldn’t be in Girl Scouts because we couldn’t afford the books and patches.

49.You can make a whole meal out of gravy and white bread.

50.White bread is usually cheaper than wheat bread.

51.Spending the night at a friend’s house is awesome. They always have plenty food.

52.Butter and sugar sandwiches are the best.

53.We don’t trust the police. We know they won’t treat us fairly.

54.We eat a lot of: potatoes, beans, and cheap bread.

55.My mom lies about not wanting seconds.

56.I’ve learned that when mom says “do you want the rest of this [food]?”, what she’s saying is “if you don’t want it, then I’ll eat.” I’ve learned to say I’m full, even if I’m not, so that she will eat.

57.Hamburger Helper feels like a gourmet meal.

58.When I got home one day, I let it slip that the other kids went on a field trip and I stayed behind. She asked why I didn’t go and I told her it cost money and I didn’t want to ask. Later, I heard her crying.

59.I’ve had to stay home from school when my little brother was sick because Mom couldn’t miss work.

60.I know what day Frito Lay dumps the expired chips in a dumpster.

61.We can’t always afford to go to the laundromat and we have to wear dirty clothes.

62.A bottle of Febreeze can be used to cover the smell of dirty clothes.

63.When my shoes start to become too small, I get worried.

64.My pants are always too short about two months after we buy them.

65.I know exactly how many miles our car will go after the low fuel light comes on.

66.We take blankets in the car because the car doesn’t have heat.

67.I’ve never had a birthday party.

68.We don’t always get our presents — birthday and Christmas — at the right time.

69.When my mom complained to her sister about not having enough money to raise her kids, her sister told her “you should have closed your legs.”

70.We’ve never been able to take all of the school supplies that we were supposed to have.

71.I’ve never bought a school yearbook or school pictures.

72.I’ve never bought a book at a school book fair.

73.One winter when we ran out of propane and couldn’t buy any for a week, mom made us one huge bed in the floor in the living room. She brought every blanket in the house and we stayed in there all the time staying warm.

74.Our grass gets high sometimes. We don’t have a lawn mower and mom never has enough money to buy one. She usually does have $50 to pay someone to mow the grass but sometimes she has to wait a couple of weeks to get the money.

75.Mom misses my open houses at school and my football games because she doesn’t always have gas. She has a neighbor friend who I can ride with to my games.

76.I’ve never had a new coat. Mom says that we’re lucky that someone always gives us one of their old ones just when we need one.

77.We learned that washing our clothes by hand is a lot of work. Our washer broke and it was two months before we could afford a new one.

78.When we finally got a new washer, Mom bought it at a place where you can rent to own. It costs twice as much to buy things that way. Mom says it’s expensive to be poor.

79.One time Mom had to write a check for the electric bill. She said she knew that she didn’t have the money in the bank, but she had to do it or they would cut off our electricity. She said the bank would pay it. They did, but she had to pay them an extra $30 because of not having enough money in the bank. The electric bill was late and we had to pay the electric company $10 for being late.

80.We’ve never met our doctor. We go to a clinic and a nurse sees us every time.

81.If we go to the grocery store and pay with money, the clerks are nice. When we pay with our food stamp card, the clerks are rude.

82.We know that if we go to college, it’s going to cost us a lot of money because we’ll have to get loans. Poor kids have to pay a lot more for an education.

83.We don’t get to participate in some school activities if they cost money. Even stuff like band costs more money than we can afford.

84.We eat a lot of unhealthy food. Carbs and fats are cheaper than protein.

85.I have a poor friend who lives in the inner city. He’s afraid all the time. Mom says it’s because he hears a lot of gunshots when he’s trying to sleep and during the day. She says that he doesn’t know how to turn off the fear.

86.I’ve never ordered a soda at a restaurant.

87.We never take anything for granted. Whether it’s candy, toys, food, or cool clothes, we know it’s a blessing.



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
9 Tips To Tame Your Temper: Anger Management Made Easy

By Cate Scolnik

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ~Mark Twain

I am in serious danger, and I think you might be too.

I am in danger of becoming a grumpy old person. I get angry easily. I operate on a short fuse, ready to snap or explode at the littlest thing.

I could blame it on a combination of genetics and environment. My father seems to have only two moods, and one of them is angry.

He is like a volcano and can explode at any moment. And I don’t mean he’s just cranky or that he yells.

No. When he loses it, he really loses it. Emotionally and physically.

He tenses every muscle in his body, clenches his fists, sticks his jaw out, and says things like, “Eeeoourgh!!!”

He is a fireball of white-hot fury. Irrational, unreasonable, and perverse.

As a child, I never knew whether I would be hugged or hit. I desperately wanted his approval and love, but often I incurred his wrath.

As a teenager, I learned to fight back, yell as loudly, and be as demanding as he was. As an adult, I learned two key components that comprise anger.

There’s the emotion that can envelope you in a moment, instantly causing you to become irrational and almost uncontrollable. And there are the situations or environments that have the potential to lead to anger, if we let them.

I could let anger rule my life, but I refuse to do that, damn it! So I employ some simple anger management techniques instead.

I am still in serious danger, but with these tools, I think I’ve found a way out.

1. Follow a process.

Create a process for managing situations that often trigger anger. When someone does something that upsets you, take a deep breath and trust in the process.

One process I use to express my feelings calmly is to describe the behavior and explain my emotional response.

So, I’d say something like, “When you yell at me, I feel hurt and upset,” or, “When you behave this way, I feel really angry.” It helps identify the problem and my emotions. It also helps me feel in control and prevents me from resorting to useless, blaming behavior.

2. Tap it out.

Try a little tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a healing tool that helps reduce deep emotional responses so we can manage our lives more calmly.

The whole EFT process includes a tapping routine and a mantra, but I find a simplified version just as effective.

When you feel an intense emotion, just use your first two fingers and tap your collarbone until you feel calmer. If you start tapping quickly and then gradually slow your rhythm, you’ll find yourself calming down.

Sometimes, when I feel like tensing up and yelling, “Eeeoourgh!” myself, I go to the bathroom and tap until I feel calmer. Then I can handle the situation rationally.

3. Think about your belly button.

Centering is a super-simple technique that even a child can use. All you do is focus your mind on your belly button, or rather, just a smidge below your belly button.

As you focus, tense those muscles and draw your belly button in toward your spine. If you’ve done any Pilates or yoga, you’ll be familiar with these deep abdominal muscles.

Doing this exercise is truly calming and empowering. It puts you in a state of calm control, so you’re less likely to react and lash out. I sometimes close my eyes for a moment and focus on my belly button. When I open my eyes and continue centering, I can operate more calmly and coherently.

4. Lighten up.

Anger appears when we’re frustrated, but if you stand back from the situation a little, you might see it’s quite ludicrous. Not always, but often. Before you blow your stack, stand back and see if you can find something silly about what’s happening.

I remember being frustrated by an organization I worked for when they arranged a breakfast for us to discuss strategies to improve our work-life balance.

They wanted us to get up hours earlier than usual and spend extra time with our colleagues so we could talk about ways we could spend less time with them. How ridiculous!

5. Practice daily calm.

We can experience anger and frustration almost daily, and the more we experience it, the more it becomes our way of operating.

When you commit to practicing daily calm, you counteract the anger. You practice something much more beneficial to your health and well-being.

This doesn’t have to be hard. Just spend a moment or two doing nothing, whenever you can. Sit quietly and realize that you’re doing nothing, and see how calming it is.

6. Get curious.

The next time you find your anger rising, divert your energy into curiosity. Get really curious about the other person’s perspective.

Keep asking questions until you fully understand the other person’s opinion. Once you do, you’ll be in a better position to discover a solution that suits everyone.

Recently, my daughter was extremely trying, and I saw red. I drew in my breath, preparing to yell at her. But somehow, in the split second of inhaling, I thought, I just need to follow the process.

Instead of yelling, I reflected her feelings to get to the bottom of why she was behaving so poorly. I got curious about the cause of her behavior, and together we created a solution to the problem.

Instead of an angry interaction that would rip our relationship apart, we had a truly productive, useful talk that brought us together.

7. Hug a tree.

If you feel yourself spinning out of control with anger, you can become grounded by literally grounding yourself. Hug a tree, lay on the ground, or sit with your back to a large, solid oak.

Connecting yourself to the ground in this way will make you feel both physically and emotionally supported, calm, and stable.

Grounding strategies help you detach from strong emotions. They help you gain control over your feelings so that you can get back in control.

If you need a more portable strategy than an oak tree, try putting a small stone in your pocket. When you start feeling overwhelmed by emotion, reach into your pocket and focus on the stone—notice its texture, size, and temperature. This action focuses you on reality and stabilizes your emotions.

8. Close the argument room.

There’s a Monty Python skit where Michael Palin pays for an argument in the argument room. We often do the equivalent of asking for an argument by starting discussions that go nowhere or pushing our opinions onto people who don’t want them.

We should always ask ourselves if going into the argument room is worth it.

When my father rants, I often let him go. I don’t want to engage with him because I’d be entering the argument room, and for what? I’d end up cranky and frustrated, without achieving anything.

9. Look beneath the anger.

Anger is often a secondary emotion that masks the true feelings beneath it. The next time you feel angry, look inside and see if your anger is masking another deeper emotion.

If you can discover the underlying emotion, you can address the real reason behind your emotional response.

Think about the last time someone cut you off when you were driving. The moment it happens a chill of fear runs through you, and then it’s quickly replaced by frustration and resentment.

Or, consider the last time you were running late and someone seemed to be delaying you. Underneath your anger may be self-loathing regarding how you didn’t prepare better, guilt for making someone wait, or fear of the consequences of your late arrival.

Anger is the secondary emotion.

The Truth About Anger

It’s a powerful, all-encompassing emotion.

Well harnessed, it can drive us to achieve great things. We can use it to fight injustice, increase confidence, and create focus. Think Erin Brockovich, Alanis Morissette, and Steve Jobs.

But it can also ruin our relationships, damage our reputations, and make us hard to love. Think Naomi Campbell, Mel Gibson, and Charlie Sheen.

That grumpy old person we talked about? Their anger is unchecked, and it’s become a front.

A way of interacting with people. A mask to hide behind.

And no one can live a great life if they’re hiding.

It’s far better to have the courage to face the world, and your problems, head on. To discover what’s really under that anger, and address the true problem.

The next time you feel your anger flare up, you can hide behind it, or you can dig deep into self-reflection and deal with what you find.

Which will you choose?

Angry woman image via Shutterstock



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
10 Things That Human Beings Have Trouble Letting Go Of & How To Help

May 24, 2015
by Andrew Martin

“The greatest degree of inner tranquillity comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” – Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

In the 6th century, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was imprisoned, to be sentenced to death by torture. Such rulings were not uncommon during this period. However, Boethius was a well-educated son of an aristocratic family from the late Roman Empire. He was a scholar, a highly regarded statesman, and popular figure in Roman society. As politics go, there were scandals and back room deals. Boethius no longer fit the bill under the new regime and had to go. It was during his time on what we would now call “death row” that Boethius produced a great work which went on to influence people for hundreds of years, the “Consolation of Philosophy.” He took a long, hard look at what he thought to be the foundations of happiness and came to the realization that all he had ever had – status, wealth, power – was a false grasping for happiness.

The following excerpt gives some insight into Boethius’ thoughts: “Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.” Not only did Boethius realize that worldly possessions did not equate to true internal happiness, he recognized that there was some kind of inexplicable oneness with the universe.

He saw through his own life and fate how free will and God played an important part in the lives of individuals. He recognized the correlation between seeing oneself as separate and having a divine and closer relationship to God as paradoxical. Boethius understood that self-realization, or understanding of our true identity, and our relationship with God were far more important to our happiness than anything else. He wrote, “Lack of self-knowledge is natural in other living creatures, but in humans is a moral blemish.”

Boethius had to learn the hard way, which is why he came to his ultimate realization. We don’t have to be on death row in the middle ages waiting to be tortured to come to an understanding of what it means to be truly happy and free. We can learn from what others have experienced and are trying to tell us through their writings. Boethius saw that external “things” are not conducive to true happiness and that greater meaning can be found internally and through spiritual awakening.

Ten Reminders Which Can Help Us All Live Life More Compassionately and Freely

1. Let go of the need to be right.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We are all only acting according to the information and knowledge we have available to us at the time.

2. Everything we feel emotionally is a result of our internal thought process.

We must realize this before we can move in the direction of true happiness. Sustained happiness will always elude us until we take responsibility for our feelings.

3. Let go of any negative feelings and thoughts you are holding on to.

This may be easier said than done for some. Holding on to negative and harmful emotions and thoughts is wasted energy. We are the ones who end up suffering.

4. Stop seeking happiness.

The pursuit of happiness may be the very thing which stops us from attaining it. Live in the moment and happiness will come naturally.

5. Put yourself in other people’s shoes.

It is only after you understand what another is feeling and thinking that you can show true empathy and compassion.

6. Accept that everything changes and everything will come to pass.

Holding on to baggage will only make your arm weak and sore, so let go of it. Cherish those happy memories and release harmful thought processes.

7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Often we place pressure and deadlines on ourselves and our lives. This ends up stifling creativity and fun. We end up spending our lives seeking and achieving, as opposed to being and seeing. We start living in the future, spending our waking moments directed towards the attainment of goals.

8. Stop attaching to things.

We cling to material possessions, people, and relationships, and hope these will make us fulfilled and happy. Attachment actually brings us to a place of wanting, which in turn causes pain and suffering.

9. Forget the Self and think more about helping others.

Studies have shown that people who look out for others and put others first tend to be happier, healthier, and live more fulfilling and compassionate lives. All the great masters are experts at this…

10. Live without regrets.

Everyone has their own set of circumstances and abilities. Live YOUR life, not someone else’s. Make the most of what you have and be grateful for what you have been given.



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
9 Ways to Help Yourself When You’re Going Through a Hard Time

By Priyanka Yadvendu

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ~Eckhart Tolle

After my father had a stroke, it became too difficult to manage our family’s convenience store, so we decided to sell it. We spoke to several buyers, but a couple was most interested—the same couple who had originally sold us the store years earlier.

In December 2012, in the middle of the transaction, my father was manipulated and our store and retirement savings were snatched away.

They convinced my parents to transfer the store space’s lease over to them before selling the business. So we were illegally occupying someone else’s space.

The landlord sent legal notices and bills to clear the space. We tried to work out a deal with the couple, but it was of no avail.

I spoke to a lawyer and he said there was no case and that this was a deliberately hatched plan from the outset.

Long story short, we were faced with two choices: give the store to the couple for peanuts, or clear the store and take our belongings elsewhere without compensation.

We decided to clear the space, pack all our inventory and belongings, and dump them into our garage at our home.

My parents could barely open the garage door, and we didn’t know what to do with the stuff. Should we find another location and start our business afresh? Or should we just close this chapter completely?

I was filled with anger, bitterness, and pain, but I held it in.

Bills piled up. My brother and I struggled to pay our mortgage payments every month.

I channeled all my anguish into my work and staying afloat. When someone in my family talked about the situation, I brushed them off and avoided the topic.

One night in February 2014, I cried. The tears wouldn’t stop. Something had changed in me.

It was like my heart had to do an intervention and tell me: You have got to stop and feel your pain. You can’t keep going this way.

I want to share how I finally dealt with my inner demons and shifted to a place of inner peace and acceptance. If you’re going through a tough time, this may help.

1. Stop assuming the worst.

After my experience, I noticed that I jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst about everyone, so I made it a point to acknowledge when someone was nice to me, whether it was a loved one or waitress.

I also tried to be kind in return. This helped me open my heart again.

It’s tempting to assume the worst when you’ve been wronged, but seeing the best in others will bring out the best in yourself.

2. Challenge your beliefs.

I heard the word “struggle” many times throughout my childhood. My father and mother said it frequently. It was ingrained in their consciousness, and as a result, in mine.

After this experience, I decided to adopt a new belief: that I was meant to prosper.

As cheesy as it sounds, I hung up I am a winner posters on my bedroom walls. I read stories about normal people like me who transformed their lives.

I signed up for a life coaching and transformation program. All these things helped me create faith in myself so I could start to live a more inspiring life.

You don’t have to do the same things, but in your own way, you can start to shed your limiting beliefs and support yourself so you can prosper too.

3. Turn inward to heal inner wounds.

I wish I had done this right after we lost our family business, but I was too busy analyzing and strategizing, trying to make things work.

I felt I had to shoulder all the responsibility and hold my family together, so my emotions remained in my body energetically for some time.

One day, I wrote down what had happened from my perspective. I put all my feelings on paper and I didn’t hold back. In doing so, I helped myself embrace my emotions and begin the healing process.

Be honest about how you feel. Dive in deep and fully acknowledge what happened.

4. Stop pushing.

I remember when my father had a stroke; even then, I was busy making phone calls from my office, dealing with our employees, and managing our store. I would have intense, nervous, frantic, fearful conversations with my mother.

I would become angry and scream at her and my father. I was constantly pushing and in action mode. I couldn’t let go. That need to control and push became even stronger after we lost our business.

I clung on tightly to relationships, money, people, and things, all from a place of insecurity and fear. I was afraid I would lose them.

But when you let go, you make space for what is truly right for you. You learn to not tie your self-worth, happiness, or identity to external circumstances.

5. Practice saying yes to your desires.

I wanted to pour myself into my work. I also thought that struggling and living this way was the norm. I was used to suppressing my desires.

If I wanted to relax, I didn’t allow myself. I drove myself crazy with ways to make things better for my family. But the truth was, if I couldn’t find inner peace, there was no way I could help my family.

I learned that I had to be connected to myself in order to be more present for my loved ones. It started with embracing little things. If I wanted to have tea and read a book, I did just that. If I wanted a hot bath, I took a nice, long hot bath.

I used to think that I couldn’t do these things if my external world wasn’t great.

But surrendering to these seemingly tiny moments brought me solace when chaos ruled my external world.

Don’t wait until you have everything figured out to be good to yourself. Be good to yourself and you’ll be better able to figure things out.

6. Stop feeling guilty.

During this challenging period, we all screamed our throats off and made each other feel guilty. It was a vicious circle.

The only way I could make lasting changes and move on with my life was to stop feeling guilty.

I focused on the present moment. In doing so, I was able to forgive my family and energize myself. It rubbed off on them because slowly but surely, I noticed my family started to remove themselves from this guilty frame of mind, as well.

Even if you could have handled things better, let go of the guilt. You’re doing the best you can, and you’ll do better if you feel better.

7. Stay solution-oriented.

When things spiraled out of control, my family and I saw everything as a problem. We developed the attitude that whatever came our way would be difficult.

We became afraid of waking up in the mornings, couldn’t sleep well at night, and couldn’t enjoy time with each other. In other words, we expected the worst. But this is no way to live.

We had to shift to a solution-oriented frame of mind. So when things didn’t work out, I stopped dwelling in self-pity. I tried to look for solutions. If I couldn’t find one right away, I just let myself be.

Trust that answers will come at the right time. It’s easier to cope with hard times when you trust that the Universe has your back.

8. Turn to others for help.

During this time, I confided in my best friend about how I was feeling. Last year, I decided to enroll in a transformation program and had a therapeutic life coaching session.

These steps helped me support myself.

Don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk to your loved ones, friends, and even consider working with a life coach or therapist. You don’t have to go through it alone.

9. Foster a positive mindset.

I had lots of thoughts about revenge, but these only caused me to feel bitter.

I realized over time these thoughts weren’t going to do me any good. I had to shift out of them. They didn’t go away right away, but I accepted them without judging myself.

Then, to shift into a more uplifting state of mind, I immersed myself in things I loved like writing, meditating, journaling, eating, and spending time with friends.

Negative thoughts will come, but they will also go if you let them. Instead of judging yourself for having these thoughts, focus on what you can do to create a more positive state of mind.

If you’re going through a challenging time in your life, keep your heart open. This won’t last forever, and you will get through it!



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
I'm Not Happy with How I Look | Subscriber Q&A


Published on Jun 1, 2015
Video reply to a subscriber Q, and one which is quite common from my experience: I'm not happy with how I look, what should I do?..
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
June 2, 2015

The Narcissism of Minor Differences

Brett and Kate McKay

The English and the Scots. The Serbs and the Croats. The Sunnis and the Shiites.

If you look at some of the fiercest and bloodiest rivalries in history, what’s striking is not how different the opposing groups are, but how similar. Sure, they often hold different beliefs, but they live as neighbors, share ancestry, and hold similar customs.

In his 1930 essay “Civilization and Its Discontents,” Sigmund Freud commented on this dynamic, noting that it is frequently “communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other.” Elsewhere he notes that the phenomenon is not limited to ethnic or religious peoples either: “Every time two families become connected by a marriage, each of them thinks itself superior to or of better birth than the other. Of two neighboring towns each is the other’s most jealous rival; every little canton looks down upon the others with contempt.”

If as a teenage football fan you were caught up in a cross-town rivalry with another high school, you know of which Freud speaks.

So what accounts for the peculiar hostility between groups of people that are in many ways quite alike?

Freud chalked it up to the innate human proclivity for aggression and the desire for distinct identity. To see one’s neighbors reflect and mirror oneself too much threatens a person’s unique sense of self, and superiority. It’s what political scientist Stephen Brooks calls the “uncomfortable truth of resemblance.” To alleviate this injury to one’s ego, one downplays their similarities with others and emphasizes their divergences — which can be amplified into seemingly unbridgeable rifts.

Freud called this phenomenon “the narcissism of minor differences.”

While this idea is interesting to apply to ethnic and religious conflicts, global affairs, and even local peculiarities, it’s also a revealing prism by which to examine the behavior of individuals, including our own.

The Narcissism of Minor Differences in the Modern West

For tens of thousands of years an individual’s identity was almost entirely subsumed by the tribe to which he belonged. His people — that was who he was. Each tribe felt it was superior to others, and the veracity of this claim was easily and simply determined; one village would clash with another, and whoever was stronger and craftier came out the victor. Until they battled again. A man built up his sense of worth by contributing to the strength and reputation of his people — through the provision of knowledge and meat, martial prowess, and siring children.

Ever since the end of tribal living and the rise of civilization, we have been casting about for pieces with which to assemble our sense of identity. Genealogy is no longer enough; the modern self is composed of personality, career, location, hobbies, and, most predominantly, tastes. Taste in music, in clothes, in politics — what you like and don’t like.

Modern culture and consumerism provides an avenue by which you can tweak a thousand little details of your possessions and lifestyle. You can own a rugged truck or a sports car; go Paleo or vegetarian; live like a swinging bachelor or a settled suburban dad.

Yet really standing out has become increasingly difficult; globalism has ensured that millions around the world are watching the same shows, eating at the same restaurants, and shopping at the same stores. Unique traditions, dialects, and pastimes have evaporated.

If the peoples of old trafficked in the narcissism of minor differences, we might be said to engage in the narcissism of micro differences.

Our egos fear those moments when we look at the people all around us, and catch a glimpse of this truth — the realization that while we’re Apple fans and they’re Windows people, we’re really much the same and aren’t very special after all. To keep this dissonance at bay and protect our sense of self, we must ever buttress and artificially inflate the significance of the minor differences we use to construct our identities.

This phenomenon is particularly heightened in communities that share more in common than the general population. Take the Christian college, for example. Here you’ll invariably find those students who want to make sure others know they’re not like the conservative, hardline, “conformist” Christians that walk around campus advocating for Pharisaical rules. They’re not “Christians” at all but “Christ Followers,” distinguished by their open-mindedness, subscription to Relevant Magazine, and skinny jeans.

Or travel to Utah. With 60% of the population being Latter-Day Saints, it’s hard for the average Mormon to feel unique. Thus if you cruise the highways, you’ll see lots of billboards for plastic surgery — an avenue by which a Mormon gal might make herself just a wee bit prettier than her competition. And then there’s plenty of conspicuous consumption; the Mormon dad hopes the size of his house will help him stand out in a sea of peers that look, talk, and think in very similar ways.

The same dynamic operates in non-religious communities as well, of course. You’ve got to work harder to feel unique, in say, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, where hipster style reigns, than you would being an artistic type in Omaha. And being a farm-to-table localvore in Portland won’t make you very special; you may need to take it up a notch, perhaps by personally visiting the farm where your chicken comes from.

The Problems With Creating an Identity that Leans Too Hard on Minor Differences

While I’ve been a little cheeky in sending up the above groups, there’s really nothing inherently wrong with adopting a lifestyle that jives with your beliefs. People have been seizing on minor differences to set themselves apart since time immemorial; tribes in the Amazon will go on and on about how different they are from a neighboring village, and even war with them over this rivalry — even though they split off from the very same bloodline just a generation prior!

And yet there are two potential problems that grow out of leaning too heavily on the narcissism of minor differences:

1) the tendency to define yourself by what you’re not, and

2) a focus on trivialities over fundamentals:

A Negative Self-Identity

Humans are naturally drawn to conflict, and latching on to minor differences to bolster our sense of self is really just a submerged form of aggression and hostility. Standing out is essentially a competition for status — one that allows us to feel distinct and superior to others.

The easiest way to achieve this separateness is to concentrate on the ways in which we are not like other people. “My tastes aren’t mainstream.” “I’ll never take a boring 9-5 job.” “I’m not close-minded.” “I’ll never settle for a mediocre life.”

By focusing on what you don’t like and who you don’t want to be, you turn people who you think exhibit those traits into a foil for yourself, a kind of adversary to push against on the road to selfhood. Drawing lines between ourselves and others has always been an effective means of building identity, even amongst those who claim the greatest tolerance; as Freud wryly notes, “It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness.”

As Dr. Meg Jay writes in The Defining Decade, comparing yourself to others is an okay starting point in building a sense of self, but an inadequate ending point:

“Distinctiveness is a fundamental part of identity…But different is simple. Like the easiest way to explain black is to call it the opposite of white, often the first thing we know about ourselves is not what we are—but what we aren’t. We mark ourselves as not-this or not-that…But self-definition cannot end there. An identity or a career cannot be built around what you don’t want. We have to shift from a negative identity, or sense of what I’m not, to a positive one, or a sense of what I am. This takes courage.”

“Being against something is easy,” Dr. Jay tells her 20-something clients. “What are you for?”

Creating an affirmative self-definition requires moving beyond talking about the minor ways you do, or want to, differ from others, and towards staking claim to the things you really believe in and working to bring them about. Taking real action to build the life and the world you want is one of the surest ways to actually separate yourself from your peers. It’s the mark of a mature man, after all, to actually create something rather than to simply consume and complain.

A Focus on Trivialities Over Fundamentals

One of the dominating labels that nearly every red-blooded American has fought against for at least a century is that of conformist. We pride ourselves on being rugged individualists, and watch ourselves for tendencies to follow the herd. This impulse presupposes the existence of a pure strain of attainable individualism from which we might deviate; if people all walk, talk, think, and dress alike, the thinking goes, they are being compelled to and don’t have the strength to resist the pressures of mainstream culture.

But what if the thing we fear most isn’t actually conformity at all, but uniformity? That the thing we least wish to face is the fact that humans are, at the bottom, pretty much alike? I realize this is anathema to the citizens of modernity, but let’s face facts here: we all do pretty much the same things, all over the world. Nearly everyone “conforms” to a life of relationships, various levels of education, eating, sleeping, fornicating, reproducing, working, etc. Sure, some men are factory workers and some are writers, and some live in cities and some in the country, and some drive cars and some ride bikes, but most of us are doing the same categories of things.

Hanging the hat of our identities on small differences in lifestyle acts as a hedge against having to acknowledge this plainly evident uniformity. As Dr. Sam Vaknin writes in Malignant Self-Love, the narcissist of minor differences ends up attributing “to other people personal traits that he dislikes in himself…In other words, [he] sees in others those parts of himself that he cannot countenance and deny.”

For example, embracing the identity of a “cool” Christian distances oneself from “boring” close-minded Christians, while at the same time obscuring the fact that both types of believers have chosen to conform themselves to the gospel. Are they on different parts of a spectrum? Perhaps, but they’re closer neighbors than they’d like to admit.

The ironic thing about being deathly afraid of conforming is that it actually prevents us from creating a unique self that does significantly differ from that of our peers. In being unable to recognize that we are all conformists to one degree or another, and to countenance the fact that the building blocks of a human life — work, relationships, spirituality, etc. — are common to all, we choose instead to toil at the very edges of our identity and spend our days tending to trivialities.

Instead of worrying about whether we perform the human fundamentals in a slightly different way or style than others, we should simply care about doing them excellently.

Rather than worrying about the hipness of your faith life, concentrate on loving your neighbor.

Instead of caring about whether you’re a cool urban dad or an ordinary suburban one, the question should be: am I an excellent father?

Instead of fixating on whether you have a job that’s more unique than that of your peers, focus on whether you’re adding value to the world in whatever work you’re doing.

Instead of seeking after building a big house, concentrate on the structure of your integrity.

Becoming a man of your word in this day and age? Now that would be a significant difference.



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
5 Life-Changing Lessons You’re Never Too Old to Learn

By Iva Ursano

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius

My son was only a year and a half old when I left his father and began my journey as a single parent. I never in a million years thought I would be raising my child alone. But away I went, with no clue as to what I was doing. I figured I’d learn as I went.

I knew I wasn’t going to be one of those moms that are too strict, too overbearing, and too controlling. I wanted my child to grow up with some freedom, some direction, but most importantly, some values.

It was imperative that he treated everyone equally, including people begging on the street for change, and that he not be afraid to try new things.

I have always had a “throw caution to the wind” kind of attitude (with a touch of fear), and as my son got older, I realized he was adopting it. Yes! Success!

I wanted him to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to learn from them. I wanted him to live and let live.

As he grew into his teen and young adult years, I started getting a little more concerned. He was taking too many chances and doing things that scared me.

Like that time he went to Florida with a group of friends and decided he wanted to go somewhere without them. Off he went, alone, hitchhiking. Yes, Mom was horrified.

Then there was the time he and a friend drove to Boston to attend a music festival, got lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and ended up in some tiny village that probably would have been a good setting for a Stephen King movie. Yup, horrified again.

“Mom, relax,” he would tell me, followed by “Wasn’t it you that told me to try new things?” Darn. It was me. The trouble was, he actually listened. I didn’t really mean it. Did I?

I sometimes worked two jobs to make ends meet. Julian saw, appreciated, and totally respected that.

He never wanted for anything, but he also never took it for granted. Unfortunately, he grew up in somewhat of a poor household. We struggled, but we were happy. Anything I couldn’t give him, he was fortunate enough to get from his grandparents.

Once he was on his own, he worked hard, made lots of money, and hoarded it because he was scared of being poor again. He held on to it for dear life and wouldn’t let go.

Until something happened.

He got let go from his job and ironically enough, he couldn’t have cared less. Armed with more savings than a twenty-six year old should legally have, away he went on his worldly adventures. My anxiety kicked into overdrive.

Over the last two years, Julian has lived the life most people only dream of. Along the way, he’s taught me a few invaluable lessons. I hope they enlighten you as they did me.

[h=4]1. Stuff is just stuff.[/h]This one was an eye opener for me. The things we hold onto, the things we buy, what’s it all for? I need a bigger TV. I think I need more clothes. I definitely have to have that chair. So much stuff. Do we really need it?

In the event you ever decide to pack up and run away, what are you gonna do with all that stuff?

I’ve downsized, and I’m ready to bolt at a moment’s notice, because Julian showed me that the less you have, the happier you will be.

When he packed up his backpack to travel through Asia, he didn’t have to stress about what to do with his things because he had so little. He’s only ever had the bare necessities, and he’s always been happy.

The simpler I live, the less stuff I have, the easier life is. I can honestly say I truly have everything I need. He’s right. Stuff is just stuff.

[h=4]2. People are people no matter where you go.[/h]How often do you wonder if the people in the Bahamas have a better life, or if the people in New York are more stressed, or maybe the people in Los Angeles really are richer? Who cares?

As Julian learned in his travels, no matter where you go, everyone has the same problems. Work, life, kids, bills, sickness, poverty.

We’re all people and we all have stories. We are all on this planet with the same goals. We all live, breathe, laugh, play, cry, and die. Be kind to each other. Treat everyone the same—with respect and compassion—no matter where you are. We are all in this together.

[h=4]3. The world is big and beautiful. Go see it.[/h]Julian posts the most amazing photos on Facebook and Instagram, and I look at them in awe. I can’t believe my son has seen these absolutely breathtaking places.

His message to me is always the same: “Get out of that dump of a town you live in and go see places!”

Not everyone has a huge savings to use for travels around the world, and many of us can’t up and leave our lives for years, but we can venture out beyond the world we know, whether that means visiting a new city, a new state, or a new country.

As Julian says, if you want it bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to do it. He’s right. And I will.

[h=4]4. Things don’t need to be so complicated.[/h]I’m guilty of making mountains out of molehills. Things that really annoy me, anger me, scare me, and just freak me out usually end up being easily managed anyway. Things are rarely as bad as we make them out to be.
Julian always tells me, “Relax, Mom. Just relax. Life is awesome.”

I know it’s easy to say this when you’re young, not tied to anything, and you’re having the time of your life. But life truly is a lot easier and more enjoyable when you relax, keep your eye on the big picture, and focus on the good things instead of stressing out about everything that seems bad.

[h=4]5. Life is short. Be brave and take chances.[/h]Get out of your box and go do things. Many things. Adventurous things, scary things, fun things, not so fun things (because you won’t know that they aren’t fun until you try them).

Seriously, get out of your comfort zone. There is a plethora of adventures awaiting you. Julian tackled deep sea diving and said it was the most beautiful thing he has ever done. That’s what I’m talking about.

At fifty-two years young I am now taking the advice of a twenty-seven year old. I’m more relaxed, I’m planning adventures, I’m finding ways where before there was just excuses, I’m minimalizing, and I have a new love for life.

Deep sea diving? Maybe not, but I’m not opposed to zip lining.
Seniors hiking image via Shutterstock



Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
A Higher Conscious Conversation


Published on Jan 9, 2013
What highly conscious people talk about.

From the film My Dinner With Andre.
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
The Magical Power of Expectations

Frank M. Wanderer, Ph.D., Contributor

Waking Times

It must have occured a number of times in our life that we were supposed to meet so many expectations at a time that we almost drowned in the sea of expectations. At our job our boss wants us to be good employees, good workforce, our colleagues want us to be good colleagues and our subordinates want us to be a good boss. In addition to all this, there are the expectations of the family members, who want us to be a good husband, a good wife, a good child. And we have not yet talked about our own expectations in connection with ourselves. It is not surprising that we find it virtually impossible to meet all the expectations. Put all the expectations in the light of Consciousness, and examine where they come from and why they have such a powerful compelling force in our life.

The Power of the Situation

All the expectations mentioned above emerge from the immense social space which surrounds us, and is commonly referred to as society. It is thus fully justified to call our expectations social expectations, irrespective of whether they are in connection with a specific situation or a person.

The more complex a society is, the more space a specific member of it is supposed to occupy in the complicated system of human relationship. These spaces are called social statuses. Such a status can be of gender (man or woman), family (husband, wife, child, sibling, relative etc.), occupation (teacher, policeman etc.) and of occassion (customer, patient etc.).

Every such occupied status involves a set of rules, the system of expectations that dictate how the individual occupying the status is supposed to behave in a specific situation, how to behave as a man, a father, a doctor etc. These expectations tell us how we must and how we must not behave in a specific situation and in connection with a specific person.

In the majority of cases, these expectations work unconsciously, almost like automatic programs running in our life. These deep programs have become a part of our mind in the course of our upbringing, and they are activated by a specific situation in which we are or a person we get into contact with. Then we put on the appropriate mask, tailored to the situation.

We occupy several statuses at the same time, so it seems that we drown in the sea of expectations. It is also common that the various expectations attached to various statuses collide with each other, generating further anxiety and stress for us.

The Programs of Internal Expectations

As our personality develops, some of the external social expectations become internal ones, and merge into our personality and appear as expectations towards ourselves in our daily life.

Our scruples are derived from these social expectations turned inner ones. Scruples start working when we infringe a rule acquired from our parents or teachers, we do not behave as are supposed to. Everybody knows the unpleasant and compelling feeling that drives us back to the track originally dictated to us by the social expectations turned inner ones.

Another social expectation that becomes an integral part of our inner value system appears at the level of requirements and demands in our life. Our parents and teachers wanted us to meet the expectations of a specific status as well as we could. Our desire to meet the expectations is a demand on our side.

Often we set very high goals and strive to do something perfectly in order to meet our inner demand, that level of requirements. If we perform below our standard requirements, the compelling force appears again, and the unpleasant feeling spurs us to achieve a higher performance, so as to reach at least our standard level. Since we are unable to be perfect in all areas of life, the unpleasant feelings may become permanent.

The Involuntary Track Dictated by the Expectations

What keeps us on the forced track of expectations, why do not we simply leave it behind?

The dynamizing power of the social expectations is provided by our identification with the internal and external expectations, and base our identity on them. We identify with our social statuses, with the masks of our roles in our gender, family and occupation. These masks are attached to us so closely that we would not be able to exist without them. We indentify ourselves with our internal expectations, and our scruples and level of demands often constitute the cornerstone of our identity.

We are so deeply identified with these social expectations, we do not notice that these very expectations convert us into replicas, fake personalities. The pages of our personal history are written by these external forces imposed upon us by society, they determine how to see the world, how to think about the world, how to think about it, what to believe in, what is good for us and what we should avoid.

That is how we have lost our individuality over the years and became unconsciously the victims of a manipulation based upon public agreement. The social expectations have been shaped through a general agreement over the centuries, and became manipulative because we insisted on our identification with separate state of consciousness.

That is how we jointly sustain this identity, rooted in isolation, this social ”creatureness,” because, due to our ignorance, we stick to the world of forms and shapes. We are only able to imagine our personal existence in the here and now.

Existence without Expectations

When we look at the social expectations in the light of Consciousness, we must ask the question: are we able to live without expectations, what is a life without expectations like?

The problem does not lie with the expectations. The expectations are natural parts of our existence in the world of forms and shapes, just as it would be impossible to live as a form without our body. Without expectations we would be unable to exist as a part of the social space in which we live at present.

The compelling force of the expectations is rooted in our identification with the expectations, the fact that we cling to our personal identity and the masks that come with it, and the expectations are a natural part of all this. The proper question to ask is, whether we exist at all beyond our personal identity, beyond our masks?

Our world appears in the space of Consciousness, and the dance of the varied forms takes place in it. Out thoughts, emotions, expectations and everything we sense also appears in that space of Consciousness. That is the space of Consciousness, this Miracle is the only phenomenon which is not a ”thing”, is a „no-thing”, not a manifest object but a space-like, wakeful emptiness in which the image of the world, thoughts and emotions appear.

We, however, in our present, dormant state identify with the appearing content elements of the space of the Consciousness, although our real self is nothing but the very space of Consciousness. We ourselves are the Miracle!

If we give up the efforts aimed at building up our personal identity from the contents appearing in the space of the Consciousness, and instead recognize ourselves as the space of the Consciousness, then–and only then–we are able to exist without expectations.

In an existence without expectations we still continue to meet the basic social expectations rooted in the social status we, for a while, fulfill in the world of forms and shapes. We continue to function as a father, mother, doctor, accountant etc.

At present, the program of our internal expectations have already been dissolved, and we no longer identify with our expectations of the other people. Our entire Self is filled by the Miracle.

About the author

Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D. is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer. Frank is the author of the books The Flames of Alertness: Discover the Power of Consciousness!, The Biggest Obstacle to Enlightenment: How to Escape from the Prison of Mind Games? andseveral books on consciousness. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness.

You can also follow his blog HERE

[Excerpted from the book: Frank M. Wanderer & Ervin K. Kery: The Surprising Truth: Yourself as You’ve Never Seen it Before]
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
By WakingTimes
July 18, 2015

A Time for Letting Go

Zen Gardner, Guest

Waking Times

I love the expression, “What if they had a war and nobody came?” I feel the same about the matrix and the awakening.

What if the matrix had nowhere to manifest?

Our idea of self is contrived. It’s broadcast at us from birth and reinforced by the world around us. It’s on this false, heavily reinforced self-screen on which they are able to project their manipulated worldview. We cooperate, believe their paradigm to be the only one, and help pass it on to succeeding generations.

All the while asleep to the True reality within and without us.

Bugs on the Windshield

We use our egos like a windshield. The trouble is, it often keeps us from fully experiencing true reality. Imagine there was no windshield. You are spirit and not material. Those bugs would pass right through your field of vision, and you, instead of creating their artificial reality.

Which is exactly what happens. Your reality, what you see and perceive in life, becomes the crap stuck on your windshield with your vision being blocked, picture of life altered into whatever is forming on the screen, and very little of the true picture getting through to you.

It’s the same with consciousness. When you wake up you realize you have nothing to defend, nothing to fear, nothing to strive for. You find out you’re already complete and connected to everything. No one can take your freedom because you are freedom. You realize this whole game of life that’s been meticulously laid out for us is built upon implanted wants and perceived needs based on, amongst other things, a false sense of scarcity, and the impulse to strive to get what you are told you need.

None of this has to be. It’s all based on ignorance and the whims of a predator race that feeds off of the sleeping aphids they’ve co-created and manipulated.

Sad, but true.

Hooks and Hoops

That’s all Velcro is. Now if those little hooks were straightened out, nothing would stick to the hoops. The picture of our manipulated idea of self is these bent attitudes and deformed ideas of reality. You can get “strung along” by just about anything. And when it sticks, your hooks feel useful and you start accumulating stuff. You grow and start to appear as though you are what is sticking to you.

Everyone else is mimicking the same thing, so you feel justified and even comforted. In fact you look for stuff to stick to you.

This is happening on several levels. You sit and watch TV and stringy Velcro balls are flying at you in all dimensions and you can’t even see most of them. You just come away with more crap clinging to your mind, heart and spirit and hardly notice.

The only reason this stuff sticks is because you’re “hooked”. Somehow, somewhere, you and I were programmed with hooks and hoops that attach to stuff.


Letting go of this mindset is not an overnight thing, but your wake up can be. It takes time to realize all the ways we’ve been programmed and the vast quantity of disinformation and wrong mechanisms we’ve been given. The beautiful thing is it’s actually a very simple process to get free. You just have to listen to your inner consciousness and dig into real and true information.

Then do what your awakened consciousness tells you to do.

That’s the “catch”. Unless you put what you’ve learned to be true into action you’ll be just another stillborn spiritual baby. That’s not what you want. Just get started one response at a time and it all kicks in.

What makes it difficult is that waking up is cross-grain to society. The matrix is built to search out and smother dissent. It doesn’t like to be exposed, so it will activate all kinds of machinations to stop you; fear, guilt, humiliation, doubt, retribution, peer pressure, financial worries, and governmental threatenings.

It’s nothing new. That’s how they run everybody’s lives. But when you start speaking up as well as changing your life according to what you’ve learned to be true, you’ll see fantastic confirmations. But you’ll also see some weird stuff come up.

My advice is to just let it pass. Don’t put the windshield back up. It’s all a lie to get you to do that.

The Spider and the Fly

The central spider concept is a real one. Nasty forces are behind this Matrix web. The beauty of it is once you “get it” the Matrix loses its power over you. True Universal Consciousness, of which we are part, is beyond these lower level matrices and paradigms.

However, those unaware are subject to many influences. I don’t fully understand the dynamics by any means, but those trapped in this web of deceit and control are not just subject to psychological, social, political and economic manipulation, but spirit manipulation as well. The worst of which is religion, but this has also morphed by manipulated “new age” dynamics. There’s much to beware of.

True spirituality is diametrically opposed to organized religion, doctrines or beliefs of any kind. Oddly enough, those entrapments feed off of this hunger for spirituality and then build their elaborate hierarchical structures to control and contain it.

Again, all part of the matrix.

Warning – Cling-Ons Are Real

The warning though, is this. Beware the cling-ons…the real ones. Whatever you want to call these negative, parasitic socio-political “conventionals” and even inter-dimensionals. “Cling-on” is simply appropriate because that’s exactly what they do. But the “hooks and hoops” need to be in place for the cling-ons to be effective. That’s where conscious awareness comes in.

You’ve seen dark and mean people who appear to be periodically powered by something outside themselves. This is real. And we’ll be seeing more and more of this in the days to come. It happens to people who invite these influences in, consciously or subconsciously. They either like the lusty lives they get into as a result, the psychopathic control over others, or their propensity for greed and violence that gives them a sense of power. It often manifests in outright Satanism or extreme religiosity or some such self-righteous exercise. Sexual deviance and child abuse “naturally” run rampant amongst these people.

Stay far away from anyone prone to these influences. Trust your instincts.

This is why we need to wake people up. The ignorant can not only be easily manipulated by the matrix, but they can get “jumped” by weird things going around. As I’ve often said, these types of things are manifesting more and more as the Matrix falls apart and we’re bombarded with these vibrational changes.

This shouldn’t put fear into anyone, but we do need a healthy respect for the quickly evolving battleground we are in and aware of its many influences.

Letting Go

That’s the key. Detaching from everything. We are the only ones who let anything have power over us. It happens when we’re ignorant of the Truth and base our thoughts or actions on lies.

It happens when we’re tense, overly left brained about something, in a hurry, or many other “reasons”. All to be vigilantly monitored and avoided.

It happens when we try to defend ourselves and any sense of “who we are”. It happens when belief replaces knowledge and experience. It happens when we don’t respond to what Love tells us to do.

It happens when we’re attached to the outcome. This Velcro effect is a tough one, it keeps growing back and catches so many. When we get set in our minds that something needs to be a certain way, or we need to be in a certain place, or at a certain time when it’s actually arbitrary, or think our goals of any sort are “set in stone”, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble. That applies even more so to “beliefs”.

What if the Universe opens another door? We’re not free to enter it in that mindset. Our mind’s made up. In fact, in that state of mind we can’t even see the new door that’s opened, for any one of the reasons listed above.

In those states we’re “unconscious”.

Synchronicity for Fun and Prophet

My definition of personal freedom is when we’re free to follow life’s signs and live in synchronicity. This for me is a daily adventure and constant check for me whether I’m in the moment now, or somewhere else.

The wonderful thing is, following synchronicity is fun! Wrong turns become right turns. Delays become adventures. Red lights become free time…free to enjoy the scenery and look for something we might need to see.

Carl Jung defined synchronicity as the ”acausal connecting principle” that links mind and matter. It manifests as uncanny yet meaningful coincidences and serendipities. Since we’re all interconnected in a flowing field of information it makes perfect sense we should be able to see this inter-connectivity at work, and the more conscious we become and learn to fully live in the moment, the more we’ll see.

So keep an eye out for synchronicities—they’re extremely powerful experiences and really enhance your life.

This is a great time be alive…but not a good time to be asleep.

So keep the wake up rolling. If folks don’t listen now, they’ll remember what you said real soon.

Keep it loving.

Love, Zen

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
I don't agree with some of the ideas presented in this but it sure made me think. Enjoy.

The 1 Rule Of The Internet (And Life)


Published on Jul 28, 2015
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Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
*Don't let the title fool you. Everyone (man & women) has ran into one or more of these.

Don’t Be That Guy: The Taxonomy of Lousy Male Friends
Read more at: http://tr.im/yJB7p


Mother Lode Found
Mother Lode
Sr Site Supporter
Mar 31, 2010
Secret to Success | Episode #17
(Thought Life)


Published on Aug 12, 2015
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