Monday, June 30, 2008

The Pain of Attachment

I think I'm starting to get it. Starting, mind you. I'm certainly no expert, and I'm only barely "living" it, but. I'm starting to understand the Buddhist principle that attachment brings pain.

I remember one evening in college, over coffee with a professor, railing about this idea. How could you not be attached!? Attachment is how you express passion! What would life be without attachment?? She smiled and said that detatchment was a journey, that no one expected a mere human being to be completely detached. I still thought it was all hogwash.

Gretchen Rubin, who studies happiness, talks about it in social science terms as re-framing. Library fines: a shame and a bother, or a small fee for an amazing resource?

Eckhart Tolle take a more spiritual bent, discussing "radical acceptance." Can you accept each moment for what it is? That's the beginning of the spiritual journey.

I came up with a pretty good formulation several years ago:
If I am complaining, it is a sign that I either need to
a) change the situation, or
b) change my attitude towards the situation.
It's the serenity prayer, as rendered by a technical writer.

But it's only recently that I've started to recognize the pain, and see that it's directly attached (har har) to the attachment, and for me the attachment comes in this form: wanting things to be different.

Wanting a spend-thrift friend to be budget-minded. Wanting my house to sell quickly in this market. Wanting my boss to understand my career aspirations better than I do. Wanting DC weather to feel like Seattle. If I focus on any of these things long enough, I can induce a fair tizzy of anxiety, depression, rage, and yes, pain.

I guess my magic formulation is missing the "wisdom to know the difference" part. I think I should be able to change these things, if I just work hard enough. I'm attached to the idea of the thing changing, and I'm attached to the idea of my efficacy in changing it. Why, hello brick wall--we meet again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The First R: Reduce

6 cobalt Baggu Bags: $38
Klean Kanteens for the whole family: $70
Teapot with strainer: $35

Fewer recyclables, less garbage: priceless

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PT#1: Bra, Sweet Bra

I hereby declare Wednesdays Pregnancy Tip Day. Until I run out of tips.

Pregnant boobs are big and tender. Start wearing a nursing bra now. Here's my favorite. It's soft and comfy - like a sports bra only friendlier.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Call to Action (Thanks, Dr. Pausch!)

In Randy Pausch's fabulous Last Lecture, he mentions the "best piece of advice pound-for-pound that I have ever heard."
And I think all young ladies should hear this. Syl said, it took me a long time but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It’s that simple. It’s that easy. And I thought back to my bachelor days and I said, damn.
Damn indeed. I wish someone had told me that in college.

That line--as well as many others--stayed with me. I started to think, y'know, that applies to the women, too. And it certainly applies to parents. And at work. And--woah--politicians!! In fact...

Doesn't that apply to just about everyone? "Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. "

What if you couldn't say anything? Make an excuse, make a joke, tell a story, apologize. What if all that mattered was what you did? Would the people you care about know that you care about them? Would the people you respect feel your respect?

What if you only thought about something long enough to decide what to do and make a plan of action--and then you let it go 'til you actually did the thing. Would there be a lot more peace and quiet in your head?

Since my head is not a very quiet, peaceful place most of the time, I certainly have a lot of thinking... uh, doing to do.

I've been talking about doing more writing for a long time now. Here's my blog.

What have you done lately?

Hello, there...

Just getting started. I'll be back with more soon.