Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Randoms & Quotables: Filling my pocket of wisdom

"They say a peaceful mind makes a peaceful man. A peaceful man makes a peaceful family. A peaceful family makes a peaceful village. A peaceful village makes a peaceful country. A peaceful country makes a peaceful world.
What does this mean? That I want to change the world, I have to change myself." — Colin Beavan, "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process"
Drawing from illustration @Daytrotter Blog

Having been prone to panic attacks at times in my life, I've spent a lot energy figuring out ways to settle my brain. At a brunch (at the lovely, newest Samovar) for my yoga teacher, I got to talking with several classmates, finding out more about what they do off the mat. One had recently earned a Ph.D. in aesthetics, while another was a therapist. Being dedicated yogis, many (if not most) of whom have tried a lot of brain settling techniques before finding yoga was some of (probably) the best medicine around, we all knew what he meant by 'cognitive' therapy.
"The difference between thoughts and feelings," I said, recalling the lessons of a very early life-improvement/EST informed course I'd taken more than 20 years ago, when I first learned you could change your mind.
"And recognizing distorted thinking when you see it." he finished. I tucked this sentence of instruction in my metaphorical pocket, then went to my show. Even though panic is more currently a ghost I occasionally see floating by my minds eyes rather than the large carnivorous mammal at my back I used to know, managing life hasn't gotten any simpler. So 'recognizing distortions' seemed a clearer, or at least less glib direction, than 'keep it real.' Likewise, these gleanings from media perused amid a packed week (tour prep, the kick-off @ El Rio, workshop development, basic yoga instructing, and pitching in with Twestival communications), have joined my classmates' quote in that metaphorical pockets of wisdom and inspiration:

  • My love affair with the Daytrotter Blog has not abated. Listening to the live recordings always fires me up to play more music. (hint: check out the archive as much as the more recent stuff).
  • No Impact Man, the Movie. I haven't seen it, but I loved the blog. Grist says it's real star is "no impact woman,' Michelle Conlin, wife of Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man of blogging, sustainable living fame. I seem to get to about 5% of the movies I want to see, but I'm gonna try to check it out this month. Beavan also has a book. Talk about keeping it real and holding in check the 'distorted' consumption patterns that have gummed up the environment.
  • Gardens. Sitting in one, especially this time of year, does wonders.
  • Dan Barry, wrote a particularly moving column "My Brain on Chemo: Alive and Alert." The closer was universal: "... Just the other day, in the car with my wife and my two daughters, I began railing about being stuck in a traffic jam. 'Perspective, my wife said. Perspective.' I could not hear her. You see, I’m struggling with this pre-existing human condition." — Dan Barry, 9/1/09, New York Times

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