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Monday, October 26, 2009

Serenity week begins

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace.

The yin and yang of my bliss virtues is fabulous! Following the rather frenetic whimsy comes serenity, calling for a calm and ease with which I am generally unfamiliar. I like the idea of serenity but my personal  relationship with it is rather spotty. I consider meditation, or prayer a good access point for serenity but I have never had a regular experience of either. I did participate in a 10 day silent Vipassana Meditation retreat and had the experience of quieting my mind to a point where serenity was palpable but I made no regular practice of it.

This week's  "Bliss Initiatives," are color coded in purple for quick identification. They are specific things that you too can try, if you want to play along with me.  However, because as Earl Nightingale says, "you become what you think about,"  even if you only follow along,  and never take on any of the bliss initiatives,  I expect some positive results. I will be exploring and encouraging SERENITY this way:
  • Study -  I will be doing my usual internet perusal and will choose a book to read. I will update you tomorrow with that title.
  • Field Work - There will be two aspects to my field work this week. First I will be creating and practicing a morning ritual of solitude and reflection. I mentioned this during my creativity week but haven't yet formed any habit. My second piece of field work is to go to my local Japanese Garden at least twice this week and otherwise expose myself to soothing landscapes. My new home is fabulous but it is time to look outside the walls! If you don't have a friendship garden near your home pick another park or beautiful vista you can access. You know, that pull off on the highway that you drive by everyday but haven't ever taken the time to look or that park just minutes away that you have never visited... there is beautiful scenery all around us, this week it is our job to notice!

Photo from Yelp's review page of the Japanese Friendship Garden.

  • Try some meditation. This week I am going to try a little meditation. Remembering my Vipassaana course has me interested in a Mindful Meditation (I found this one on the The World Wide Online Meditation Center website) where the primary focus is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting enmeshed in them. This calm, accepting, spacious awareness is your Innermost Essence... your Core Self. This meditation is done with your eyes closed. If you prefer to try a visual type of meditation there are some good ones over at Learning Meditation with slide shows of beautiful landscapes to accompany the meditation.
  • Pause 1-2-3 experiment. This week when I feel myself start to react to something I am going to take a pause and count to three. If I had done this yesterday, I could have avoided a disagreement with Rob. Frankly we didn't really have a disagreement, I just misunderstood something he said and I took a very defensive stance in my response to something he said. Next thing, he is reacting to my response and we were both in a bit of a tizzy defending our positions when, when we got to the bottom of it weren't really very different from each other.  If I had just paused when I first felt myself getting upset I would have realized I misunderstood what he said and the whole thing could have been avoided. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. - Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) How many times a day do I react before pausing? I have no idea, but if I can stop even a few I am certain I can foster a bit more serenity in the process! 
Next Post: The Study of Serenity

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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