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Old 02-09-2009, 01:50 PM   #41
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It may be that some folks are just genetically predisposed to being unhappy. And some are just dumb and lucky. This is just a thought and not directed at anyone.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:22 PM   #42
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It may be that some folks are just genetically predisposed to being unhappy. And some are just dumb and lucky. This is just a thought and not directed at anyone.
Yeah, I hear you. I never remember my paternal grandmother ever being happy.

As for yours truly, I'm three parts dumb and one part lucky.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #43
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It may be that some folks are just genetically predisposed to being unhappy. And some are just dumb and lucky. This is just a thought and not directed at anyone.
Isn't that still an active quest in genetics - sorta like the Higgs Boson among physicists.

Did not John Stossel do a tv program a long time ago - some people with the 'happy gene' are just naturely happy.

heh heh heh - I personally like to perfect the finer aspects of whining - but I don't take myself to seriously - nor does anyone else.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:53 PM   #44
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I actually have, Khan , thanks for asking. One of the reasons I found myself pondering this issue again is I have lost my 'sanctuary' outside with this weather. For quite some time I made it a point to sit in my back yard, clear my thoughts, listen to the birds, rest in my hammock, and just enjoy being there. With the weather in NE Ohio the way it is in the winter, I find that technique hard to replicate!
Yes, it is difficult to sit and enjoy the outdoors when it is cold and wet.

Spring is in the air; the birds have started singing.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:59 PM   #45
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Home | Prayer Request | OurPrayer.Org
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:26 AM   #46
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Interesting link from the same site:

| OurPrayer.Org

Praying for financial success? Maybe this explains why my portfolio is falling so much this last year or so. God is on the side of the shorts.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:51 AM   #47
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For us the realization came with retirement and the move to WV. After the novelty of not having to work wore off we both started to look around for "What to do next?" accompanied by the question of "Why do we have to do anything?" Slowly it dawned - we don't have to do anything. Other people expect us to do something. Without the distraction of having to earn a living we have the freedom to do, or not do, whatever we want.

DW started back to school to finish her BA degree and one of the first classes she took was one on Marriage And Relationships. So we had the time to just talk with each other about ourselves, our marriage, and what decisions we had made in life and why. It was neat - sort of a DIY marriage retreat. That was the year of the most romantic wedding anniversary I ever had. We just went out to dinner, came back and she put on her wedding dress. Went out and sat on the back porch with a couple of glasses of wine and watched a full moon rise, and just talked until she fell asleep.

An example - for one of her classes she was to watch a movie and write out her notes on the movie and what she saw happen with it. She asked me to do the same to compare notes with, and I did so. Looking at the notes later we were both surprised - did we see the same movie? She wrote about emotions and how people felt, and how they were affected by how they felt. I wrote a factual account of events, ("just the facts, ma'am") accompanied by the relevant legal issues. (The movie was The Verdict, if anyone remembers it.)

The experience highlighted how differently she and I perceive the world and the people in it, and I got a slightly better understanding of who she is and why she does what she does. And it made me appreciate her all the more.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:39 AM   #48
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Aw, that is so sweet and so romantic, Walt34! What a wonderful way to begin your retirement.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:37 AM   #49
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I love doing nothing and taking long naps.
I used to run around and party, doing 15 things in one day and having a few breakdowns in the process.
I learned meditation a few years ago and it is absolutely amazing. I also have a cat and he teaches me how to be in the moment...play, eat, sleep, and cuddle. Just because we have an analytical mind does not mean that we don't need those simple things in our life.
Life is very short. Some great books to read is Carolyn Meyss "Anatomy of the Spirit", Don Migul Ruiz, "The Voice of Knowledge", "Mastery of Love", "The 4 Agreements", anything by Wayne Dyer.
We can all worry about tomorrow....but we can die in a moment today. I don't want to be known as someone who was a great multi-tasker. I want to be known as someone who laughed and enjoyed life, who had great friends and knew how to be a friend, who followed her dreams, and her heart.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:29 PM   #50
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I think contentment can be a habit to a certain extent - Explicitly practicing gratitude for example - just deliberately thinking about what we are grateful for (like at Thanksgiving - but daily instead of annually!) can be a great mind shifter and really helps overcome unhealthy attitudes/mental habits.

For those who have difficulty being in the present - yoga classes are one good way to train yourself to quiet the mind and learn to focus on now (and develop amazing body awareness - and is very explicitly "centering").

Anyone who has had a loved one die too early in life gets a quick wake up call to pay attention to now and not assume that the future will always be there. I'm not sure that lesson is learned otherwise!

I think Americans have a hurry-up and do as much as you can disease and a preoccupation with being "productive" and end up becoming hyperactive and stressed out and unhealthy because they don't have time to take care of their health. IMO it's more important to prioritize and focus on the few most important things in our lives - really streamlining it down to the essential few. And then giving oneself permission to also relax and enjoy life and goof off plenty.

For anyone who needs to get in touch with what really matters/motivates/energizes/brings joy to them, I recommend learning the concept of "touchstones" as presented in Barbara Sher's "Wishcraft" - available online free here: Welcome to the home of Barbara Sher's WISHCRAFT!

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Old 02-13-2009, 07:34 PM   #51
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FWIW I was certainly one of those people who was too busy working to do more than tentatively sketch out what I would do when retired. I recognized that work drained most of my creative energy, and so I realized that I was going to have to wait until I retired to really develop my life. I knew there were a bunch of things I was interested in exploring once I had the time, but beyond that it was hazy.

So, while working, I gave myself permission to not try to figure everything out ahead of time. I decided that I could go on faith that once I retired, I would have the time and energy to "figure it all out" and that if I spent the first year or two floundering somewhat - that was OK too! In fact, to use the first year or two to experiment and learn. I figured I also just needed time to "decompress" - and sure enough!

And it all did indeed work out - and beautifully. Trying to figure it all out ahead of time would have been a waste of time and energy as what we ended up as our lifestyle was far beyond what we ever imagined. I guess that means it's more of a "process" which I suppose is what all the wise people have tried to tell us for millennia anyway.

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Old 02-13-2009, 09:30 PM   #52
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if you never want to be disappointed, then have no expectations. whether you are attached to things or people, one day that wonderful puppy dog will break your heart and so it is observable that suffering is inherent to all of life. if you are not satisfied, then seek a higher quality of discontent.

Ah yes, a little bit of Buddhist wisdom there.

Fed, you might find the following books of wisdom interesting. You actually might find your answers in them as well.

A New Earth, Eckard Tolle. (IMHO, a brilliant book)

Any book by Pema Chodron. She is a Buddhist who writes in a manner that type A Americans can understand and relate to.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:05 AM   #53
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Ah yes, a little bit of Buddhist wisdom there.

Fed, you might find the following books of wisdom interesting. You actually might find your answers in them as well.

A New Earth, Eckard Tolle. (IMHO, a brilliant book)

Any book by Pema Chodron. She is a Buddhist who writes in a manner that type A Americans can understand and relate to.
reading A NEW EARTH right now, and it is brilliant imho as well. it's really speaking to me and i needed a break so i could gather my thoughts, and dive back in. too bad i didnt read it 10 months ago when you suggested it!
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:47 AM   #54
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Consider adopting a homeless dog or cat. Not only will you feel good about saving a life, you can learn a lot about inner peace and contentment from animals. Cats are always content and self assured. Dogs are always glad to see you and thrilled with any activity. Both cats and dogs live in the moment. We can learn a lot from them.
Purron, I agree completely about dogs and cats being good for people, and helping one find inner peace. I tend to be a Type-A personality myself, and have one dog and one cat (both adopted from the shelter in town). I have to chuckle, though, because as I was reading the posts in this thread and starting to relax, my dog (3-yr old lab) is here staring intently at me from about a foot away, wagging his tail vigorously as if to say "alright, that's enough reading dad, let's go DO something!!". So, off for a walk we are headed (and that is good for me too, I know).
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:48 PM   #55
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I agree with the post about seeking happiness as an exercise in futility. Happiness is best found as a by-product of other endeavors.
Personally, I believe that contentment comes from a spiritual center - based on the Bible. True contentment comes from a personal relationship with God.
Having said that - I have come to the belief over the years that much of our advertising media is so focused on making us discontent with what we have, that I really don't like much in the media anymore. Every ad and many TV programs (High Net Worth, others similar to it) are really a push toward discontentment.
I also have found that focusing on personal relationships also does not bring contentment. People come and go - some can inspire you and some drag you down - but people (including myself) are inevitably fallible, fickle, and fragile. Depending on them for contentment will never be sure to give contentment. Just my view
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #56
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I agree with the post about seeking happiness as an exercise in futility. Happiness is best found as a by-product of other endeavors.
Personally, I believe that contentment comes from a spiritual center - based on the Bible. True contentment comes from a personal relationship with God.
Having said that - I have come to the belief over the years that much of our advertising media is so focused on making us discontent with what we have, that I really don't like much in the media anymore. Every ad and many TV programs (High Net Worth, others similar to it) are really a push toward discontentment.
I also have found that focusing on personal relationships also does not bring contentment. People come and go - some can inspire you and some drag you down - but people (including myself) are inevitably fallible, fickle, and fragile. Depending on them for contentment will never be sure to give contentment. Just my view
all which you just said hits home when reading the book i mentioned 2 posts above. i guess it'd be best to read the precursor to that book, which is "THE POWER OF NOW", first. either way, that whole paragraph you just wrote almost makes me chuckle after the chapter i just read. i highly recommend it. you are on the right track, and i think could glean something from it.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:03 PM   #57
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I don't know how I missed this thread earlier. Maybe I am ready for it now. I have just requested Meditation for dummies and A new earth as well as The science of happiness (again) from my local library.

I am definitely still struggling with many of the same issues from the OP. Perversely, this is the one area where my obsessive (possibly compulsive) nature seems to desert me.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:15 PM   #58
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I don't know how I missed this thread earlier. Maybe I am ready for it now. I have just requested Meditation for dummies and A new earth as well as The science of happiness (again) from my local library.

I am definitely still struggling with many of the same issues from the OP. Perversely, this is the one area where my obsessive (possibly compulsive) nature seems to desert me.
Let me tell you what I've found...take it for what it's worth. A NEW EARTH is great. it may be wise to read 'The power of now" first though, based on reviews i've read....although i'm reading them backwards so who knows...

Also, i got that meditation for dummies, and still had a tough time. I found a good one though that holds my hand from step 1..."8 Minute Meditation" by Davich. I'm only on week one of his 8 week program, but it's pretty straight forward. I'd recommend reading the power of now or new earth then starting on the 8 minute meditation plan

I hope you find what you are looking for. Although, if you are seeking, you are looking in the wrong place(that's my buddhist wisdom for the day haha)
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:11 PM   #59
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theFed - reading earlier bits of this thread and the recent bits about meditation is making me think about yoga - again! I keep coming back to its profound benefits.

Yoga is really moving meditation. It's a lot easier IMO than sitting quietly meditation because you are "doing" something, but if you do the slow steady breathing properly and focus on your movements and how your body is feeling/responding to the poses - it's easier to stay focused on the now. Something about the slow movements seems to induce a meditative state without it seeming boring.

And I think doing yoga regularly gets you into a mental state that makes it easier to stay balanced in your life - less ups and downs, reduces strong feelings, etc. Certainly lowers the adrenaline that external factors or your own thought patterns might be generating. Is proven (the only exercise in fact) to reduce cortisol! I think that's a stress related hormone.

Plus it helps the body too - posture, balance, some strengthening. These things definitely help improve mental state for a longer time period.

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Old 12-15-2009, 11:12 PM   #60
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Great thread! I also don't know how I missed it the first time around. I am getting a little better this year about the art of doing nothing, but I still have a long way to go. The OP's first post made me chuckle. I also can think of a hundred things to do every weekend. I usually start out with only a few things planned on Friday, but as the weekend went on, my to-do list just keeps growing. By the end of Sunday I have a very long list of things partially accomplished.

I just requested "A New Earth" from the library. There were both a CD version and a book version. My first thought was: I need to get the CDs to listen in the car since I have no time to sit down & read a book! Haha.

I also agree with another poster's statement that personal relationships have limited ability to bring happiness. I used to think better personal relationships were a part of the cure to my constantly-distracted being. After trying a year to foster relationships, I have come to the understanding that only a few relationships are really worth cultivating. It could be spouse, family or friends. But the majority of my friendships (no offense to my friends) are fairly shallow, and although they add to the richness of my life, are not something to depend on.
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