Monday, May 31, 2010

Open thought process: Kindness vs. Compassion

So is there a difference between being kind and being compassionate? Maybe let's take a look and see.

Compassion in my mind is the ability to feel for another, to recognize another person or creature as having feelings similar to your own. When being compassionate we strive to eliminate suffering, ease hard ship and let others know they are not alone.

Kindness on the other hand is about being aware what others want from the world in general and from us specifically. It is not about easing suffering that is present but instead about increasing happiness.

I think there is a greater call in our lives, or at least in my own to be kind rather than compassionate. Kindness can play out in small actions it can show our affections, brighten an already good day, or smooth out a social situation. An important difference between the two is that compassionate actions tend to come as a surprise, they are not expected; where kindness is and its absence can cause suffering.

Compassion tells us that the other is important and like us, Kindness works to bind us to the other in little ways every day.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, May 28, 2010


So my vacation is coming to an end. It has been nice to get away from the struggle with circumstances that are life. Taking time to rest in recharge is necessary in any endeavours we commit ourselves to, a fact that I all too often forget. The problem with resting is it can be difficult to start again, but if we set boundaries to our rest it can be helpful. Not every rest is a vacation either so how can we give ourselves rest while still creating boundaries to define the beginning and end of rest.

There are two real options for this in my mind: physical and temporal. We can create a space we use in our homes, or that we can visit in our towns. The other option is create a time period that is ours to let down our guard, not subject ourselves to worry. Time for some examples:

Physical Some physical options could be a craft room in your home, a spot you like to curl up and read. It could be a trail in a park or a bench by a pond. The important thing is that it needs to be someplace where we can relax, where others know not to bother us.

Temporal If for whatever reason you cannot create a physical place, maybe you travel, maybe you don't have time at home to rest or maybe home is not a good place to relax. We can also set aside parts of our day an hour for lunch, or some me time in the evening. The important thing here is to make sure that it is the same time every day. As relaxing at noon every day becomes habit you will naturally stop stressing, stop working and be able to recharge. More importantly as you get in the habit of picking up the worries you set down at noon when one o'clock rolls around you create the habit of getting back to work.

Both of these mini times of rest should be conscious, should be doing something you enjoy and should be made clear to others that you are not to bothered with anything that can wait. This is your time; this is where you will find the strength and energy to keep on keeping on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seven Be’s

So I have been thinking about what is important in my personal growth. These are the load bearing beams I want to build myself on, they are the framework that is determining my growth.

Be yourself- At the core of our being we have a bundle of likes and dislikes that make us who we are, wrapped around these are our beliefs and values. This is our identity. Our actions are an expression of this identity filtered through our allegiances and self applied stereotypes. I want to cut through those things and just be me. This does not mean accepting the aspects of my character that I do not like; those aspects are the results of the wrapping of outer identity that we share with the world. We need to learn to take the armor off and live at peace with who we are internally in an external fashion.

Be honest- Being honest is more than just telling the truth it is being able to hear the truth and more importantly act in a truthful manner. We must be honest with ourselves if we are to grow and our actions must be honest to our values, our dream and our commitments if we want them to succeed.

Be confident- Confidence opens the doors of opportunity and possibility. When we are confident our relationship to the world and those who inhabit it changes, we become more prepared to take on greater challenges. We also are more likely to make changes in our lives that stick, and stick to those changes once we make them.

Be compassionate- We exist in a world with other people and we make the world a worse place when we bring suffering on others. People are people living lives just like ours facing hard ships just like ours. They suffer in the same way as us. Suffering is not something that must be conserved like energy, there is not one set amount of suffering that must be shifted from one state to another. Suffering can be created and destroyed. The tools we have to destroy suffering is our words and deeds, these two things can make the world a better place not just for us but those around us. This is something that must be done.

Be persistent- Failure is a part of learning, learning is a part of growing, and growing is a part of becoming the person I want to be. To grow I must fail but I must also not give up, give in or give out. As long as I keep trying to change, keep trying to grow that is enough for me to become what I want to be. One day, one attempt will work and I will learn how to do the things I need to do.

Be aware- We need to connect with now; this is the time and place where we can make change. All our planning to change does no good if we do not put it in to action and the moment is the only place where we can act. So I must be aware of my surroundings, my actions and my experience now, in the moment. If I cannot be here now I will never truly be anywhere. If I cannot act in the moment then my actions will not be effective.

Be playful- Life is not drudgery, we must have fun and enjoyment and seek out these things. If we cannot find time to play, and play is what you want it to be, then all we do is toil. Life is not something to be suffered through it si something to be enjoyed. We learn to suffer, we are taught that life is hard but it is only that way because we make it that way. If we approach everything with an attitude of play, if we seek enjoyment even in the things we have been though to resent it can transform our lives.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation priorities

This morning I am thinking a lot about the advantages of getting away from everything. I am on vacation, out of the city, up in the mountains and enjoying the stillness. Finding the moments here and there to appreciate the beauty in the world while we are living our lives can be hard. The true power of vacation is not the rest it brings but instead the reminder to appreciate what is around us. This is not to underestimate the benefits of the resting and relaxing that may be done on vacation but these things are the teacher and the lesson is be still.

Being still in our daily lives is not easy, deadlines, commitments, meetings, social, scholastic, and occupational obligations pull at us. What we need to be able to so is set some time aside to just be our selves. When we are meeting these obligations we are filling roles, we have a set of priorities that are not completely ours, again not a bad thing actually this shifting network of priorities is the fabric of social interaction. We need to make time each day to only be governed by our priorities and this is what we allow ourselves to do on vacation. But we need to make the time in our day-to-day lives to touch base with ourselves, to look at and know our priorities and make sure they are being met.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Being positive through the stress

During the course of my last semester of school I went through a lot, I played games, I made a game from scratch in under a week, I passed my classes with good grades, I moved three times and I split from my partner. A lot of this I am proud of some of it took the wind out of my sales. The grades, the game, the things I did well gave me a lot of confidence. Not being able to keep a home hurt a lot and still does, I am still in limbo about where I am living and that makes life a bit uncertain. The split has been amicable we are still good friends but we both are learning a lot about ourselves, what is important to us and what we want.

I have tried to be positive through all this and that has been a big key to not giving up on school, not giving up on the blog and not giving up on happiness. Yes life can be difficult but we work with what we are given. It is easy to get bogged down in the trials and tribulations but when we do we become mired in despair. By keeping our attitude positive we are able to keep moving, keep pushing and get past the bad places.

This also ties in with being here, being now. The things that have gone wrong we can't change, the only time we have to change is here and now. If we worry about the past we lose the opportunity to make things different. So through it all stay positive, stay in the now, and look to what you can change to make life better for you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wear your role don’t let your role wear you

I realized something the other day; well ok last night really, sometime during the course of the semester I started to hide behind my role as a student. There have been some stressful things going down in my life the last few months which I have not shared here and my excuse, to myself, has been well I just need to get something up on the blog before school. My role of student overtook my life and by making that my priority I was less honest about other aspects of my life. When I say less honest I mean less honest with myself.

The things we do are not our identity. They are just descriptors of the rolls we fill and we should not let them overshadow our nature. This is what I was guilty of, sort of. Part of my nature is to be very guarded about the things that embrace me, the person I want to be owns up readily to his mistakes. By getting caught up in the student role and putting all my energy in to that I was able to hide from my plans for personal growth.

So what is the lesson here? Be yourself first? Be Quinn being a student? Our occupation is not our identity? Or is it something more fluid more difficult? I think it is, and this is something that I will be playing within the next few months. I have this feeling, this intuition that the answer is more along these lines: We need to be our roles like clothing. They need to be tailored to us, a set of priorities that work well with our own base frame of priorities but at the same time allow us to put effort in to priorities put on from outside. Under the clothing of theses rolls we are still ourselves and as we shift from one roll to another our outer priorities shift but our nature our cores does not.

I'm not sure if I am expressing this correctly, and it needs more thought, I would be interested on hearing what others think of this idea. Feel free to comment.

P.S. Some of you might have noticed I have not talked about the stresses I was hiding from, those are topics in and of themselves and I will get there I promise.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Be aware of the risks

Taking risks in and of its self is not stupid.

When we take risks we step outside our comfort zone, we do something new, something different or something challenging. This is where growth occurs the fastest when we challenge our selves. Most challenges do not come without the threat of losing something if we do not successes. We have to be aware of what we are putting on the line and we have to be sure it is something we are willing to lose.

This is when risks become foolish when we gamble with things we are not prepared to lose. The gain from the risk should be equally great to what we are putting in to it; otherwise it is a waste of our time and resources. The other factor we have to look at when judging the riskiness of any situation is how likely we are to not successes in our endeavor. So when we look at risk we must weigh the value of what with risk losing with the chance we that we will lose it and see if that is reasonable in terms of the reward.

Growth does not happen without change and change often entails some element of risk. We should be aware of what we are risking before we start anything new. Knowing the danger involved should not be allowed to make us nervous however it should be used to drive us to succeed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A ramble for the last day of school

One of the things I have found difficult throughout the semester is maintaining a level amount of effort from the first day to the last day. It was easy, and exiting to be at school in the beginning, I was psyched up and ready to perform. A mid semester the effort began to fade and the amount of time and energy put in to school faded as well. Now as the semester draws to a close it is once again lots of effort and lots of energy to get everything done on time.

I think next semester I will build in a quarter review system for myself somehow. Some sign posts that I can use to reinvigorate my efforts throughout the semester. This is something that could and probably should be extrapolated to the rest of life.

We need to maintain levels of effort that are reasonable, realistic and effective. To do this we need to have a system in place for channeling the energy we put in to a project. Scheduling is one great system. Creating blocks of time were we do the same class work every day is one example.

Any way those are some rambling thoughts for the day as finals week draws to a close. Yes I'm tired, yes a little fried but I feel the battle field has been retaken and school from now on will be a place where I can be successful. Probably more on that tomorrow when I can be a bit more coherent.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Forgiving your self

Forgiveness is an important part of personal growth. We have to be able to forgive others to move away from feelings of hurt and resentment in our lives. This is the easy forgiveness to do, what is harder is to forgive our selves. We all make mistakes and have regrets that torment us with guilt and sleepless nights.

When we do not forgive ourselves for these events we become stuck in the past. We relive the stress and agony of the poor decision time and time again. This takes us out of the moment and we miss out on the things that life has to offer us now. The moment may not always be pleasant but we can affect the moment, we can change the now. The past is over and done with and all we can do is celebrate it or make reparations were necessary.

So when we find ourselves being sucked in to the black hole of old long dead stress over our bad choices in life let it go, say sorry to yourself and wash your hands of regret. Face the day with a determination to make good decisions, live in the present and don't let yourself be dragged back into old crap.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten thoughts

Because I am running late this morning here is a quick list: Ten things to remember about life. Some of these may become topics for future blogs so if there is one you want to know more about let me know.

1. It is not always easy but it is not always hard

2. Take time to feel the emotions you are feeling then let them go

3. You only get to do this once, don't regret.

4. A success is what you want it to be.

5. We are all in it together; if we make it easy for others it becomes easier for us

6 .Failure happens when we stop trying, not when we don't succeed.

7. We must know our selves to change our selves.

8. We must forgive ourselves as well as others.

9. There is more than one right way to do something, a right for one may be wrong for another.

10. Take the time to laugh every day

Monday, May 17, 2010

Changing the world

The world can be a rough place, people cut us off on the road, we are not given the respect we think we deserve, and people give us dirty looks or yell at us. What can we do about this, how can we change it? All we can do is not add to it. To do this we must be kind to others.

Being kind to others is easy in theory but not always in practice. We understand how we want to be treated and that others should be treated in the same way we hope that they treat us. The hard part is we need to remember that the cranky people we meet are still people. There are things in their life that make them angry and grumpy. Most likely they cannot change even if they wanted too because they give anger in to the world and that is all they get back. Our kindness can be a light for them, to show them they is another way to be me. The same is true for those who lash out from fear, hurt or sadness. Most of the time they have been treating the world in one way for so long that all they get back from the world is more of the same.

This does not mean you will treat a jerk with kindness and the next day they will be a wonderful person. Instead just as we work hard on changing ourselves we might spark the desire to change in another. But even if we do not reap the rewards of a nicer world our selves it is still worth treating others with the respect, compassion and honor that we wish we would be treated with.

Remeber that others hurt and fear and grieve and all of this will make them or us for that matter lash out. We can not make them lay down their lash but we can choose to put ours aside. In this way we can sooth the anger, fear and rage that afflict our society one person at a time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stress might be a bigger problem then I knew

I had a very clear reminder today of the negative effects of stress. It has been the run up to finals week in school as I posted earlier, we have had last assignments due in most of my classes and I have already had the first half of my big speech final. This entire week I have not slept well I have been waking up an hour early; which means 4:30 instead of 5:30 and not being able to get back to sleep. Yesterday I turned in the next to last assignment and then went and hung out with friends. Then I had the best sleep I have had all week.

I did not even relies I was that stressed out by school this semester, I did not feel tense or supper worried but my body new. The tossing and turning was a definite sign and from now on I will be watching for that as a cue to know I am stressed. Monitoring my stress levels needs to be something I am more aware of, since most things I get in to that stress me out are of my own making. Right about now is the time I should offer tips for dealing with stress but it is not a topic I think about much. I need to do some research on stress, how to manage it and how to notice it.

Thanks for listening today, and have a good weekend.

P.S. I have a few quick questions to ask my readers. IF you don't mind answering just leave them in the comments.

1) Do you like the new look of the blog?

2) What about the pictures I lead with should I bring them back or let them go?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lighthouses and getting unlost

Sometimes it is easy to get lost along the road to becoming the person we want to be. This is why goals are important; they can serve as landmarks along the way. When we get lost we can find the nearest hill, get to some high ground and try to spot a new route towards our goal.

I should be clear here the type of goal I am talking about is not the short-term things I need to do today kind of goals but the big goals the over arching things we are trying to achieve. These big picture goals are important not just to keep us on track but because they define the path we are taking. Without big picture goals we tend to move from one idea to another staggering drunkenly across the plains of our life.

So what are the important aspects of a large-scale goal?

It has to be relevant to our lives and the places we want to go in our lives: in other words if it is not our goal and does not connect with our values and dreams it will not be something that can lead us.

It has to be realistic: The goal must be one we can conceivably hope of accomplishing in our lifetime. This is not to say we cannot dream big but a goal that we cannot see a clear path to achieving is not a goal worth working towards. Also it does not matter if the path is clear to others, as long as we can see it and commit to making the dream a reality it is a worthy goal.

It has to be progressable: In other words progress on the goal must be visible; there should be smaller goals that make up the bigger goal. Large projects that have no resolution until some point in the future and no way of showing progress can be discouraging.

It has to be exiting: if our large goals are not exiting, if they do not make us want to work on them then we will not. Large gaols should be light houses to guide us back to where we want to be, and the fire that burns in them is our excitement for the results.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Update on school

Well the semester has been a long one, but the idea of taking back the battle field seems to be working. Classes have been attended tests taken and papers written and now we are easing in to finals week. My first final is today and I feel I am ready for it. This return to school has been a big success for me in my opinion, here is how it is going:

My Comparative religions class has had some interesting insights on the nature of the self and personal growth many of which have seeped in to my writing here. It has been a good class but the last few weeks have been a bit rushed. The testing in the class has been out of line with the presentation of the material however so this is the class I am least confident about my grade.

Speech 1A has been an interesting class covering diverse topics such as the way the mind relates to language, the structure of arguments and the impotence of confidence. I like to think I have given some good speeches in this class and have done well on the one written test we have had so far, one last exam to go and one more speech and I should have a good grade.

Journalism 1 this class has been interesting and a bit challenging, the model for writing news is very different then writing essays, blog posts or fiction. I have had to learn how to curb my opinion and just state the facts.

Critical thinking, I am not sure what to make of this class, it has felt like I get nothing at all out of the lectures but the process of writing the papers for this class has been the most taxing I have ever gone through. This class is the one I am most confident in getting an A in, all my papers so far have been A's and with just one more project to go I think I am fairly safe.

I will be back in school again for summer semester. This time taking a history class, intro to film and an excel cores to clean up my academic sins from earlier semesters.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Taking time to listen

The root of personal growth is self understanding. If we do not take the time to know who we are and what we want our growth will never lead to successes. We must take the time each day to listen to our selves to quite the world and come to understand who we are. These times are important for they give us an opportunity to understand why we do what we do and to know what we want.

The problem is we have to listen to the bad stuff as well as the good. When we start looking in to our hearts we see the doubt the worry and the things we don't like. These things are as much a part of who we are as the things we love about ourselves. Worries must be addressed; doubts must be examined to see if they are founded in act or are just meaningless fears. And the parts of us we don't like those are the areas we need to figure out how to work on, how to change and how to transform our selves to being the people we want to be

This process starts simply by listening to our own voice, and understanding where it is we are coming from.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some places to find confidence

Confidence is the building block of successful change. It is when I forget to be confident, when I let my doubt and unhappiness gnaw it away to nothing that I fail, and worse than that when I stop trying. So here is a quick list of ways to build confidence.

Look up Changing your posture and can be a big help in building confidence, or at least the appearance of confidence. Standing up strait, looking at people when you talk to them or are walking instead of down at your shoes can have a huge impact on how people perceive you. As I have said before we tend to act like the people around us expect us too and if they expect us to be confident then we will be.

Do small tasks Find little challenging tasks that you know you can do and do well. Each success builds our confidence a bit. As these bricks of confidence come together we can start trying more and more challenging things.

Know your strengths Being aware of what you are good at and taking time to do activities that let you show off a bit is good for building confidence.

Work on your weakness The other side of the coin is that we cannot just hide out in the areas of our lives we are good at. Instead we must turn our attention to the things we don't do well and work on them. This is harder, more dangerous territory to be mining confidence in but the ore is richer here as well. When we start to succeed in a place where we have routinely failed that gives us a huge boost in confidence.

Remember your successes When we are scraping the bottom of the confidence bearlale or we need to prime the motor we can always look back on our past and find the times we have succeeded. These successes are part of who we are now and can be a great source of inspiration and confidence. We are that person who succeeded once and we will succeed again.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What I have learned from my mother

As mother's day fast approaches I want to share a lesson I learned from my mother. Not the only lesson she has taught me over the years just one of them.

I forget what year it was, but I know it was the Fourth of July and I was some were in high school. My mom was administrating a nursing home and was short-staffed in the laundry. Not just short-staffed but had absolutely no one to work that afternoon. The patients needed clean sheet, they needed clean towels and all the other bits of fabric that pass invisibly through the operation of a convalescent home.

There was no one to do the job but her, it was her hospital, it was her responsibility. The job was too big for one person so she asked me to help. We spent a large part of our Fourth of July folding towels and bed sheets in a hot and humid industrial laundry room.

I talk about commitments a lot around here and this is why, this is the lesson my mom taught me that day: If you make something your responsibility you need to do everything you can to make sure it gets done. If this means you suffer in the heat so be it, if it means you get your hands dirty so be it.

Thanks for the lessons mom, happy mother's day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring cleaning of the heart

It is that time of year again, the skies are staying blue, the sun is shining and it just feels like a good time to be happy. We are airing out the house and chasing the dust bunnies from under the bed but there is some were else we need to look. We need to give ourselves an emotional spring cleaning as well. We accumulate dust bunnies of regret and stuffy rooms of unforgiving hurt all throughout the year. Spring is a great time to let that go.

There are those things in our lives we can change and those that we cannot. The interesting thing about what we cannot change is that it all resides in one place, the past. We can change things now and we can plan to change things in the future but the past is set in stone. If we cannot change it why do we insist on worrying about what has happened. Sure there are things from the past that can come back and bite us in the ass but that is not what we are talking about here.

We have all done things we are not proud of and been hurt by those we hold dear to us. These events are over and done with, the damage is done, and the pain is felt. We should let it go. Instead we hold on to the hurt like a serial killers grim collection of trophies. We can pull the hurt out again and torturer ourselves with it. We say "Why did I do that? If only I had not done this." But we did, we suffered and now we must let go.

Open up that trophy cabinet of pain this spring. Forgive those who need forgiving, this includes your self. Then forget about the hurt, fill the trophy cabinet with thoughts and memories of happiness and successes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Morning rituals

Our morning rituals set the tone for our day. I am not talking about personal hygiene and the other necessary rituals of waking up, instead I am talking about the little things we do for ourselves every morning that make us happy. For some of us it may be our coffee making experience, others like myself, might get on the internet and play a game or two before doing anything else.

These rituals put us back in touch with the things we like, love and enjoy. It is important to be reminded of these things every morning because when life gets hard that bit of happiness can sustain us. There will be times in the day when life is tough we are up against deadlaines, people cause drama, we cause drama but if we have taken the time for our selves, and know we will have time for ourselves these hard ships are more easily born.

What are your morning rituals, what do you do for yourself every day, what do you wish you could do for yourself?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Growing habits

So I have been having a problem with deadlines lately. I have come up with a new plan to deal with this problem. I am planning on creating a desk top folder for every deadline I have. I will label it with the date the project is due and then store all files and info related to that project in that folder. As folders go out of date and the projects are finished I will move then to an archive folder.

The idea here is to create a structure that will help enforce the habit I want to create, in this case better deadline management. In a way I guess that habit building is a like growing peas. You need something in place that helps to guide were and how they grown. A trellis or a few stakes will give the new habit something to cling to. These little structural reminders are important since habits grow slowly, a bit at a time.

The rewards of new habits, especially when they are purposefully created are they become reflexes, we do not have to think about doing the things that are habitual for us we just do them. So what habits are you going to creat for yourself in the months ahead, are they going to be accidental habits or are they going to be habits that lead you to your goals, dreams and the places you want to be in your life?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Avalanches of annoyance

Sometimes we get to a point in life where everyone seems to be out get us, people treat us badly and life just feels unfair. Maybe what needs to change is not the people around you but what you are looking for in them. When things start to go bad it can have an avalanche effect. One pebble of unkind words gets our attention and the next pebble we notice, maybe one we would have ignored before. Now we start looking for pebbles and they begin to grow. Little things get bigger neutral things turn bad.

So what we need to do is stop looking for pebbles in this situation and focus back on the view. When we are staring at the pebbles of annoyance we do not see the beauty of the skyline, trees and birds. This beauty distracts us from feeling the hurt, and the hurt only heals when it is left alone.

This is not to say that all pain and hurt should be ignored. A pebble bouncing off your leg is one thing, one in your shoe is quite another. If it is in your power to affect positive change and alleviate a source of irritation do it. Remove the pebble from your shoe but at the same time don't let the things that are beyond your power to affect turn in to an avalanche of misery.