Monday, Oct 23rd

Just One Thing: Be Curious

Curiosity is one of my favorite traits, so this week’s focus sounds fun to me. Rick Hanson starts with a story about curiosity about the world, and I definitely love that sort of curiosity: Why are those buildings so different from the ones over here? Why does this sort of plant grow in one place but not another? What is that bug doing?

But he also points out that curiosity about ourselves and each other can lead us to be better listeners, more discerning friends, and more self-aware. It can help us to see more broadly, so that small things are put into better context. In the best case it can nudge us toward the state of beginner’s mind, relieving us of assumptions so that we can see clearly.

And of course, being curious is just fun.

Happy Monday!


Saturday, Oct 21st

Repeat and Recharge

My most potent experiences of strength this week were physical, which I suppose makes sense — the sense of strength involved in jogging up the hill, or lifting something heavy, is immediate and easy. I tried to savor those feelings as much as possible. I found it significantly more difficult to experience mental or emotional strength. There was one opportunity, though, when I reached out to someone despite feeling vulnerable about it, and I tried to center myself in the feeling of strength.

Recharging was easy today. I’d taken my family to my dad’s house for apple cider making, one of my favorite parts of fall. This meant lots of solid outdoor work, a vibrant fall day, people I like, and the pleasure of fresh-pressed apple juice.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, Oct 18th

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is the Fallacy Of Fairness. (There’s a mention of it on this page, but you may have to search for it.) This is an idea that I think I first saw in CBT, but my sense of it has expanded over time. I know intellectually that life is not fair, and that I cannot, for example, work really hard for most of the day and then expect my kids to give me a break in the evening. Nevertheless, while it’s so easy to pick out this fallacy when my kids fall prey to it, all too often I find myself becoming frustrated in ways that indicate I expect to the world to be fair.

Today my goal is to look specifically for this fallacy, wherever I can, and remind myself that the world does not work quite so nicely.

Remember: Find strength.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, Oct 17th

Gratitude Journal

I am only two days away from the completion of a project that I’ve been working on for months. I am both nervous and excited. And I am also hugely grateful, because I have not been working on this alone. Many other people have put substantial time and effort into it, and today I’m writing about those people, their generosity, and how awesome it’s made me feel.

Remember: Find strength.

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, Oct 16th

Just One Thing: Find Strength

Strength, as Rick Hanson points out, comes in many forms. I like how he uses determination and grit as synonyms, and offers the idea that Strength keeps leaning.

For this practice, he recommends several ideas. First, he rightly points out that mental strength rests on physical strength, and that eating well and generally taking care of yourself are a necessary part of strength. He suggests trying to honestly list your strengths, or even having someone you trust help with this. And of course it helps to remember and soak in any times that you felt strong.

He also talks about how good it feels to be strong, and how anyone truly on your side wants you to be strong.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, Oct 14th

Repeat and Recharge

Focusing on taking pleasure has had unexpected side effects for me this week. Making a conscious effort to be aware of the pleasure of food reminded me how often I put things in my mouth without thinking. Being mindful of the pleasure of touch made it obvious that I often miss the opportunity to hug or connect with my kids. Every time I indulged in a worry or negative daydream, I began to see that I was losing a chance to enjoy other thoughts. Increasingly I’ve felt that the world is saturated with opportunities for pleasure, and I take advantage of only a tiny fraction.

Today is a full day, but to recharge I’m taking a book out into the sunshine. Not for long; someone will need something soon. But a short read in the sun is better by far than none.

Happy Saturday!