Moz journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Mozenjo, May 22, 2014.

  1. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    My son made a dumb move at school last week, and will be paying for it until school is out. His mom and I are helping him atone for it, but reacting to his deeds with anger won't help anything. So far, I've been OK at keeping calm.

    Among the many things I'm trying to be more conscious of is my impatience, and how being quick to temper has been a very destructive force in my life. I had a road rage incident a couple of weeks ago, where some dude was insistent on not letting me "take my turn" where lanes were merging. I stuck to my guns, because how could someone be such a dick, right? Well, since I was on the shoulder side of the road, I had to be the one to back down from this stupid game of chicken. It was a dangerous episode that could have ended badly. Then, after getting behind him, I noticed he had a small child in the back seat. So he was putting her in danger by letting his need to be in front of me take over. And if we had gotten into an accident, I would have felt even more terrible.

    If I expect to make everyone take their turn and be polite, I'm going to be disappointed every day all the time :mad: By not reacting to people needing to be ahead of me, I'll save myself a lot of grief. Besides, how many people have grumbled at me for being an aggressive driver (and being called the very dickhead I'm complaining about here)? I probably wouldn't want to hear that answer...

    When I've vented about this subject to co-workers, they invariably say, "yeah, I just let 'em go by". Wow, how simple is that?

    Great stuff, Saville. I've felt the change in my mind coming, but have not allowed myself to break the chains. The biggest challenge is to let the day end without giving the compulsion the power to take over.
    Bobby44 likes this.
  2. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I've been that dickhead! :D Take a look at the Thic Nhat Hanh if you get a chance. I read the book Being Peace and I got a lot from it. When my wife flipped out on me the other day I remembered how he said "you are your irritation." We are our anger, our everything, because we are one. The energy from our anger doesn't go anywhere, but we can transform that energy into something affirming. Today I raked a good portion of my neighbors leaves because he couldn't bothered and they keep blowing into my yard. I didn't mind, not at all. I'm sure he'll be surprised as hell. I'm not him and I have no idea what's going on in his life. Chances are he's powered down like I used to be and something I still struggle with. I was hoping he'd come out so I could smile at him. There's great wisdom in what your colleagues said "yeah, I just let 'em go by." Phew, wonderful to be able to keep our own power and smile. :)

    This is awesome! I can sense it in you.
  3. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Saville. As it happens, I've had Thich Nhat Hanh's book "The Miracle of Mindfulness" on my table for many months, and am barely halfway through it. Which means I don't pick it up very often. I think I'll go ahead and finish it this weekend. There is good stuff in this book. I'll check out "Being Peace" too!
    You're right about anger. I am much more content when I channel my angry energy into positive action, rather than dwelling on the usually silly reason for getting angry in the first place. And I seem to get a little better at it as I age. But I have a lot of work still to do there, as my road rage incident proves :(
    Kudos to you for your magnanimous gesture to your neighbor. The world sure needs more of these random acts of kindness, my friend.
    Squire, Billy B. and Saville like this.
  4. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Thanks, man. :) I'm not going to make a habit of tidying up his leaves, but I felt like at that moment. There is a book "The Five Second Rule" that I think I may have mentioned way back when. I haven't read the book, but I've watched enough of Mel Robbins videos to understand what she's talking about. Basically, if something occurs to you, in your mind, and you wait longer than 5 seconds to act on it, then you aren't going to do it. For instance, if you see a person you'd like to talk to, yet you wait more than 5 seconds, then you aren't going to meet them. This is a tool I've used throughout my recovery. If I think about going for a walk then I go get my jacket on, because I know if I think about the weather, about whether I should have a snack first, that I'm not going out the door. So, when I saw his leaves I said "I can rake a few of his leaves" and I did it. If I'd allowed myself to think beyond that then I wouldn't have bothered. As a footnote to that story, he came out later that day and raked all his leaves up. I'm not sure if it was because of me, or not, but the universe can put a positive spin on anything. :)

    I love the simplicity with which he writes and speaks. For people like us, who have danced around inside our brains relentlessly, it is comforting to know that the way out of our mess is just straight forward. I like to call myself a 1/4 Buddhist; this leaves room for other wonderful things to inhabit my being. :)
    Libertad likes this.
  5. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Good to seeya doin' well, mate! :)
  6. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    This is on a different track but James Clear wrote today on his blog about the 2 minute rule. If a chore would take you 2 minutes or less to do it, don't think about it or make a plan or write it on a list, just do it. Secondly, if you want to start a new habit, start by doing it 2 minutes or less. Build up from there.

    Totally new concept to me . . . never considered such a thing . . . 1/4 Buddhist . . . intrigued . . . this framework of thinking about it has some possibilities for me . . .
    Billy B. likes this.
  7. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Yeah, man. 01111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

    That was the cat on the keyboard...

    Neighbour's cat.

    Cheeky lil' bugger!

    But always good for a giggle and some oxyitocin or whatever. :)

    Anyhow, yeah: Buddhism: I've been unofficially studying the history, philosophy and practices for a number of years now and, as I understand it, the core more or less 'secular', tenets of the various Buddhist traditions can be practised without necessarily any internal conflict arising between them and one's pre-existing spiritual, religious or other beliefs. Depends, of course, but there are certainly many, many practitioners who identify concurrently with other faiths. It fits well with atheism too, along with the best of scientific enquiry, because, at it's best, it asks the student to take nothing on faith alone, but to practice and contemplate and experiment and find out for one's self. The Buddha himself never claimed to be a god but just a fella who engaged in some very, very deep healing and come up with some tools for us to try. :)

    And, if one can't get past all the trappings, Mindfulness is a modern secular alternative that, arguably, provides nearly all the same benefits.

    Can you tell I'm an advocate! :rolleyes:
    Squire likes this.
  8. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Apologies to hijack yr journal for my own... prosthelytising, Moz. :p

    But Squire did intimate and interest... :rolleyes:
    Squire likes this.
  9. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    So true
    Squire likes this.
  10. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Hey gents,
    Starting the day on the right foot...I came here first, and was happy to see y'all have been leaving some great doodlings for me to ponder!
    Billy, I checked out, and will have to spend time listening to some podcasts. I dabbled in a "sect" of Buddhism in the late '80's that seemed to be all trappings and no meat. It didn't work for me at all. What drew me to it was my interest in what I had learned of Buddha's teachings up to that point. Since then I've learned more, and want to continue learning. Most of it seems like such common sense, as the human condition hasn't changed much (if at all) since he was around. He just had a great way of conveying it.

    Thanks again to all of you for your posts. I must not disappear for long stretches anymore. I started listening to "The Willpower Instinct" again as I drive around. Of the many self-help tools I've tried over these last 4 years, it's the one I come back to. I think this is the fourth time. My key takeaway is that willpower is a muscle that you must exercise for it to get stronger. And we all have it.

    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  11. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    This morning I was thinking about what Zen Christianity might look like in my life. No doubt there already is such a thing and probably a lot written on it I can investigate. I don't know much about Zen but the image in my mind is of meditation in a place of calm, quiet, beauty, peace, laid-back attitude, not rushed, spending time in nature and making my surroundings beautiful like a spa. LOL.
  12. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Squire, your image of zen sounds like a great way to live! I may have to wait until retirement to be able to get to that place, but in the meantime, I'll take whatever help I can get from the Zen Way.
  13. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    Yah and the cool thing for me is that none of that involves any kind of compromise of my Christian belief system, it's very compatible. The negative things I've experienced in Christianity are things created by ignorant and negative people with narrow worldviews. They are not the essence of the faith itself.
  14. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Richard Rohr, the Franscican monk, is really rather Buddhist in his outlook, though he's a follower of Christ. Worth a look, I think, for Christians and non-Christians alike.
    Mozenjo and Squire like this.
  15. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I have found that in addition to willpower keeping one from stupid decisions, it also is willpower to put a mistake behind
    you ; getting up and keep pressing toward your goal
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  16. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    That's golden man. Never thought of it that way!
  17. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Yes, a great way to start the day! Pressing on!

    Today is my 4 year mark here. PMO last night. After almost 5 days of battling but not totally giving in, I felt that familiar push to start fresh. It's a mistake I must stop making. Winning little battles, even if it means I've peeked in the process, is PART of the process.
    Gotta head to work. My goal is to take my recent progress and build on it. Today is going to be a good day.
    Saville and Squire like this.
  18. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    That is a really interesting way to put it - "familiar push to start fresh."

    Are you a perfectionist by any chance? I struggle with some perfectionism. So for example, if I were working on a painting and it wasn't going just right, I would have this urge to throw it away and start another one. Or playing a video game, if I made a mistake in the game I would often restart the whole thing and try to play it mistake-free, making only perfect choices each time. Writing term papers in college, I would re-write my introduction dozens of times until it was absolutely perfect, then run out of time to work on the rest of the paper.

    So you have me thinking now . . . is one of the reasons I have had frequent relapses because I like the feeling of starting all over again? A fresh slate, this time I'm going to do it perfectly. And maybe when I have some difficult days along the way, or when I looked at a p-sub and then it's a little ambiguous whether that counts as PMO or not . . . well there's this part of me that feels like I've messed up and I want to start over.

    So I'm wondering in my case and maybe in yours (?) if it would help to look into the roots of perfectionism and how to change our thinking and behavior so we can live with imperfection in little and big things. A messy life in progress. Maybe a relapse we learn from and make changes as a result of can be thought of as a "dirty win." Still a win, if we choose to make it into one.
  19. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Yes, and it's been part of my struggle with giving this stuff up. Perfectionism works hand in hand with my OCD tendencies, where things have to be "just right" for me to be comfortable with them. It can make the simplest tasks much harder than they need to be. Knowing about the condition definitely helps treat it.
    My mom has told me that when I was a little kid, I would crumple my drawings up and throw them away if they weren't to my liking.​
    The roots of perfectionism may differ for different people. If we were wired this way, then the challenge is to get under the hood and do some re-wiring. I don't like the idea of having perfectionism or OCD be an excuse for failure. Because lots of people have both of these conditions more severely than I do, and they cope with them effectively.
    Sometimes "good enough" is actually good enough. There's a tenet that was drilled into the managers where I work: "Launch at 80%." Waiting until a project is perfect will work against you. People will wonder if you're ever going to finish, and suddenly you're rushing to get it out the door for fear of being criticized for suffering from "paralysis by analysis".

    Alcoholics in AA admit their powerlessness against their addiction. So they don't take a drink, because they know what will happen. There really isn't much gray area. In a way, I wish our plight were as straightforward as that. Because images will pass through our consciousness every day. I suppose our challenge, if we are to use the AA analogy, is to not "take the drink" by not dwelling on the images. And there's the conundrum: if we feel like we've dwelled too long, do we throw everything away and start over until it's perfect? Or do we admit our small failures, but keep the goal in sight and stop the cycle of waiting for perfection? I think the latter. The old PMO counter we used had options to choose from , depending on our definition of failure(maybe the new one does too; I just haven't tried it). We'd obviously start up again if we went full PMO, but some of us would reset if we intentionally looked at anything arousing. It's a personal decision, and my threshold has changed over time. And I've given up a lot because I just can't stay consistent with any of the bars I set for myself.

    Anyway, my bar now has to be to recover in whatever way will be effective. The one which will allow me to rid myself of this addiction. I'll abstain, but if I'm not absolutely perfect at it, I'll try not to throw it away by falling down to the bottom of the mountain. I'll slip down, and grab a foothold and keep climbing.

    Thanks for your insight, Squire. Let's make this happen.
  20. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    Do you think it would be effective to intentionally mess up something and leave it imperfect? For example, the way I just left a split infinitive in my last sentence... Sometimes I force myself to use the eggs out of the egg carton in random order. Yesterday I mowed the back yard in random crazy directions and it looks like crap but hey, it's the back yard and it was more fun to do it that way. I still cannot bring myself when I take off my shoes to leave the left one on the right and the right one on the left... There has to be a limit, you know. We mustn't do things that will cause the universe to implode... :rolleyes:

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