Stop To Think OR Stop Thinking

Thinker

The Thinker.


It’s very important to have time (and space) to sit down and think. 


Not just go through life in the motions–“doing”–because that’s the way we always did it or that’s the way your parents did it, or that’s what your teachers or society told you to do. 


Thinking means we evaluate and assess what we are doing.  Are we going in the right direction?  Are we happy with ourselves?  Are we good people doing good things?  Are there things that we regret and need to learn from and/or course correct. Can we do better and what does better mean? 


I remember at a certain point in my life working very hard, but also feeling like I was in a fugue–and when I “awoke” I couldn’t figure out where the time went to and why I had been sort of numb for a time. Were some things perhaps too raw or painful to deal with (better to shut them off somewhere in a little box) or was I just moving so fast and so hard that I just lost sight of my surroundings and the meaning or lack from it all. 


But then I started to feel and think again. And I knew it because it was like an monumental awakening from a long hibernation through eons of time and space. What precipitated it all, I don’t really know. But when it started coming back–memories, feelings, some satisfactions, too many regrets–I knew that I had been gone a while and wasn’t sure exactly where I’d been. 


So need to regularly stop and “smell the coffee”–think and feel–not just do like a real dummy or stubborn a*s. 


The dilemma with thinking is too much or too little is that it can be a dangerous thing. 


Too much time to ponder and you can become lost in thought or mired in analysis paralysis. Don’t bother me, I’m still thinking about it. Or perhaps, your thinking can be “all wrong” and messed up–your misunderstanding, misconstruing, not thinking clearly or brainwashed by others–maybe those with good intentions who want you to be like them, who think they know better, who mean well but are misguided when it comes to YOU or are engulfed by their own zealousness, self-righteousness or are even jerks trying to f*ck with you. 


Also, while ample time to think can leave you revitalized, with new direction, commitment, and enthusiasm, the flip side is you can become demoralized or depressed by “it all,” It’s too much, it’s too hard, it’s too meaningless, or even it’s too overwhelming important and meaningful. 


Then there is too little thinking going on in that head of yours, and you are a dumb, numb robot who washes, rinses, repeats…not knowing why they are doing it or maybe even that they are doing anything, just that they are in a state of being. It easy maybe to turn off to the world, to keep running on the treadmill of life, get up and do the same routine day-in and day-out.  Not questioning.  Not feeling.  Not getting hurt or dealing with issues better left for another day. But that’s not living. That’s a life of a sick roaming flesh-eating zombie. Someone just stick that iron rod through that useless skull already. 


Think and live…live and think…go forward as in a directed, meaningful way, and not as the walking dead in pain and sorrow or lost in the abyss of lifelessness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

Truly My Love

Graffiti

So this is the graffiti on the wall of the ladies bathroom in Barnes and Noble. 


My wife said to make sure everyone knows that she took the photo and not me (uh, that would be awkward). 


I can’t make out all the graffiti on the wall, but the one in the center says:


“True love isn’t something made up in stories or books. It exists truly, if you believe truly, and truly fight for it. Real love is magic.”


Another one talks about “Gonzales” who is the most beautiful man.


And yet one more…


“I wish I knew how to tell my boyfriend I love him.”


Let me just be frank that the Graffiti in men’s bathrooms is nothing, nothing like this. 


It’s more obscene, uses lots of 4 letter words, and has women’s first names and phone numbers. 


Why do women write and profess their love for men on bathroom walls, while men seem to think and express themselves in far more graphic terms–and why do this while in the stinkin’ bathroom?


I think this may make for some interesting gender studies for someone out there. 


From a technology perspective, I think if people are going to insist on thinking and fantasizing in the public bathroom, perhaps we need some white boards or monitors that you can write and erase from–that way at least we can make room for the next guy/gal to write their truly’s next. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Stop If’ing Me

Mermaid.jpeg

Often in life, I hear people say how if only in life things could’ve been different. 


Then they could’ve been happy…successful…satisfied…contributed more…been a better husband/wife, father/mother, son/daughter, employee or Jew/Christian/Muslim…achieved more…gotten further in life…become more…saved more…been more charitable…or a better person.


I remember in elementary school, in one class when the kids would ask lots of questions…”What if [this]?” or “What if [that]?”


And the teacher (who happened to be the vice principle) would start to get exacerbated, and would blurt out, “If, if, if…if my grandmother had wheels she’d be a trolley!”


Not very complimentary to his grandmother, but point well taken–we can ask if till we’re blue in the face, but what does that accomplish except make excuses for ourselves or fantasize about something that isn’t. 


This came up yesterday when I was talking with some people about the Syrian+ refugee crisis and what is the obligation and right thing to do in terms of Europe and America taking in so many of these people.


And someone said, “Well why should we take them in if they can already go to so many Muslim countries that could take them in–why are we involved?”


And one of the other people goes, “Well that’s a big if about the other Muslim countries taking them in–because they don’t seem to want to help them.”


And then he adds this funny saying to solidify his point, “If the queen had another appendage, she’d be the king!”


Um, okay…that’s another way to put it. 


Not sure this answers the refugee question about who is or should be taking responsibility and helping whom.


But that’s the thing about “if’s, ands, or buts” in life…these can be real questions or they can become convenient excuses, conditions, and qualifications.


And that is why we have to discern if something is a real question that makes us examine things harder and more carefully to make a better decision or whether it’s just another dead end or side track to nowhere. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Can You Just Stop And Think?

Think

So oddly, one thing that many people these days find really hard to do is STOP AND THINK.


What do I mean?


Be alone, do nothing, and just take the time to be with yourself and think.


–without your smartphone, television, music, game, or even a book. 


Just you, the four walls, and your brain…thinking, thinking, thinking.


Feeling a little jittery, scared yet. 


Why are people afraid to stop and think? 


Is it because within the thinking is some craziness, fear, anxiety, and even remorse?


Are there overwhelming feelings and thoughts about issues, events, people, and places that are unresolved and painful. 


Also, by ourselves and in our thoughts, we can realize how weak, vulnerable, and mortal we are. 


If we are here in our own heads, maybe no one will even notice we are gone or maybe no one will even miss us–maybe they’ll replace us?


We’re so easily ditched, replaceable, just another character in a long cast of characters.


When we stop and think, do we worry about all the other things we’re not doing or getting done…perhaps, we don’t have the time to think, because we need to be doing, doing, doing. 


And if we’re not moving forward doing something, then we are being left behind!


But doesn’t thinking lead to more purposeful doing?


A little upfront thinking and planning, maybe can save you some serious time wasted just acting out. 


Somehow, like a prisoner in isolation though too much alone time with your own thoughts is enough to drive anyone crazy, docile, and ready to behave just to get out, interact with other human beings, and doing something.


We need to stay active, not be bored, so we don’t think too much.


When I was in the hospital recently, one orderly named Kelvin, saw me sitting there by myself thinking, and he said to me, “Oh no, you don’t want to have too much time to think. Block those thoughts out of your mind. Why don’t you watch some TV?”  


Smart Kelvin. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Learning To Compromise

Think
My wife and I decided after living in the same condo for the last 15 years that maybe it was time for a change. 



There is a great area that we hang out in with workout, grocery, pharmacy, and–most importantly to my wife–Starbucks–all right there.



So my wife made an appointment for us to look at this rental right above all the action….



The apartment was nice, modern, and best of all in this vibrant neighborhood–but on the smallish side (we would definitely be cramped) and with a substantial monthly. 



My wife, the perennial city dweller, loved it, and I didn’t.



Next, my turn up, we went with a real estate broker to see a charm of a house–this was the one we’d “been waiting for,” all these years. 



Solid, roomy, castle-like…but it would have some ongoing house maintenance things and was a little distance from public transportation (i.e. we’d mostly have to drive). 



This time, my wife hated it, and I loved it.



Back and forth–argue and debate–getting no where (this is a very egalitarian relationship–my wife tells me what to do!) 🙂



Thinking about this, I say “Okay, let’s compromise”–let’s look for a more upscale and roomy condo that we can make our own but in the neighborhood she really likes (and yeah, I like it too). 



1-2-3, with a little searching, we find something online we like, and back to the real estate broker to make an appointment. 



This story is not over in terms of where (or if) we are going to move to, but along the way we continue to learn as a couple to get along, love each other, and of course, compromise. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Just Can’t Bear To Think

Whether though endless work, family activities, exercise, computer time, or whatever, people have a hard time just stopping to think. 

According to the Washington Post, a study in Science shows that people would rather do just about anything–including administer electric shocks to themselves–rather than having to just think for a little while. 

Fully 67% of men and 25% of women chose electric shocks over sitting and thinking for just 6-15 minutes!

People are “desperate for distractions”–whether through social media or smartphones and more.

This is why many ancient practices such as Buddhism, martial arts, yoga, and other disciplines teach meditation–sitting silently, without distraction, deeply in thought. 

People are afraid to stop their endless running, rounds of chores and activities, hustle and bustle, and just think about what they are actually doing and where they are going.

Sitting alone with yourself–you have to confront you!

  • Fears and anxieties
  • Life problems of all sorts
  • Mistakes and personal inadequacies
  • Bad habits and even dangerous addictions

Keeping yourself endlessly busy is an enabler to avoid sometimes painful reflection, introspection, and even necessary self-help. 

While you often hear that doctors recommend a certain amount of activity to keep physically healthy, I believe that similarly, mental and spiritual guidance would be for carving out time for physical inactivity and instead focusing on meditation and reflection. 

Perhaps, this is one reason that the Sabbath (kept in various ways by religions around the world) is so important to the mind and soul–it is a time to stop the work and daily mundane activities and instead focus on your spiritual side. 

Contrary to what you might think, refraining from all the activity may be one of the hardest things to actually do, but stopping and thinking (instead of just continuously doing), confronting yourself, and making life course corrections can be some of the most rewarding. 

Can you stop and think for just 15 minutes or do you need that next fix of compulsive distraction? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Looking At It From The Perspective Of Others

Looking At It From The Perspective Of Others

This was a funny sign hanging on a tree on one of the hiking trails.

It’s a deer and it says “Please Don’t Kill Me!”

With it was a notice about hunters sparing the deer population.

It’s interesting that often we don’t look at things from the perspective of others.

In this case, the deer just wants to be free and alive–and is begging for his life.

As people, we don’t really think of what the deer wants or for that matter often what other people want–we just care about what we want.

Good to remember that we all have our perspective on life and that we should respect diversity of thinking, feeling, and being.

Hey, and unless those deers are bothering you… 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)