Tag Archives: Choosing thoughts

When you can’t get what you want

(Originally published July 5, 2013 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 2014-09-17.)

There is a song from The Sound of Music that relates; it concludes, “… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Wednesday morning I stood outside McDonald’s having my last smoke before leaving.  I considered that as soon as I got to the library, I’d need to count my pennies and plan spending for the rest of the week.  I pondered whether or not to buy a soda on my way there.  I’d had some unusual spending earlier in the week, and faced some more unusual spending in connection with the 4th of July (The library’s closed.).  The wisdom of having bought or not bought a soda at this time would depend on the outcome of that planning.

Continue reading When you can’t get what you want

Keep the focus on you

(Originally published 09/15/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 06/25/14.)

Teddy is an old man. He wears a rosary around his neck, and never fails to “testify” in chapel. “I talk to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost every day,” he says. Every time there’s an altar call, he runs right up there to get born-again — again. Five times a week, he’ll do that.

He got barred out a year ago for selling someone oxycontin.

Friday night 09/07/12, he came back. He insists to everyone that he’s never been here before, and said he wants to get into the program.

Aside from those things, he hasn’t changed at all. Still all the same empty religious talk.

Sunday night he said he changed his mind about the program. They require you to sign over all your benefits, and he’s not willing to do that. That tells me you don’t want to get well.

I get bad feelings every time I see him.

———— ♦ ————

Sitting outside waiting to be let in, Wednesday 08/29/12 Fallon and a couple other guys I don’t like too much got into reminiscing about how this shelter used to be, years ago, before the renovation. This upset me.

Continue reading Keep the focus on you

The power of presence

(Originally posted 08/15/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 05/21/14.)

[Note, 08/15/13: Releasing this now as I will have another post on similar topics in the very near future.]

Wednesday afternoon 07/03/13 I stepped into the shower and said, “OK, what will I think about?” The answer came, “Think about nothing. Give yourself completely to this activity, this experience.”

And at once, for the first time in weeks, I felt the boost that comes from conserving one’s energies, when they are no longer being drained by attention to things distant from here and now and what I myself can do.

This is the power of presence.

[Notes to follow up on in the future:
– Scott Morrison
– Brother Lawrence: silence; feelings
– Forgive us our trespasses
– Take no thought
– The needle’s eye
– Just for today
– Serenity prayer
———
– Be here now
– Wherever you go, there you are
Conspiracy Theorists: America’s Lost Sheep?
Was There a Jesus? If So, What Was He Like?]

Tactics

Take things in stride

From a previous post:

A runner’s “stride” has two factors.  First is the distance between steps — from where the toe of one foot hits the ground on one step, to where the toe of the other foot hits the ground on the next step.  The second factor is the number of steps she or he takes per minute.  Ideally, both factors are constant, so that the runner maintains a steady speed.

Sometimes an obstacle or interruption may come up in the runner’s path, that he or she will step in or on unless some adjustments are made.  Could be a hole in the ground or a pile of doo-doo.  In this case, the runner may shorten or lengthen one step in order to avoid stepping on the thing, and correspondingly lengthen or shorten the next step, so that overall her or his speed doesn’t change.  This is “taking things in stride.”  One can do the same with the obstacles or interruptions of life.

The afternoon of Tuesday, June 12, became a comedy of “What else can possibly go wrong?”

My Medicaid had got cut off because they required proof of income, and the only proofs I thought I had weren’t acceptable.  I dreaded accessing their website because it’s impossible to navigate and never gives me enough information.  I dreaded phoning them, because the person’s voice is always so faint on the other end of the line, I can’t hear the person.  I found out that various centers are available where one can get in-person help.  I found one nearby.  They operate by appointment only.

So, to make that phone call, I went in the big plastic grocery bag where I keep about half my things, to the place where I normally keep my phone (off, to save battery).  It wasn’t there.

I had carelessly left it on top of the table earlier in the day, and a specific passerby took it.

So I had to go replace it, in order to make that phone call.

Online I found a T-Mobile store at Lombard and Light Streets, and in due course I went there.  They had a $75 phone on display, but the clerk told me it wasn’t in stock; that one was for display only.  He said the other store, at Harborplace, had it in stock.

Half a mile distant.  So I went there.  The manager said the $75 phone wasn’t in stock, but she could give me a special deal on a different one for $100.  So I took that.

By the time she finished what she had to do, it had become pretty urgent that I get back to the shelter, if I was to get a bottom bunk (preferred) or any bunk whatsoever — and not get turned away and have to shell out for a hotel room for the night.

Something else suddenly became more urgent, however:  I needed to sit down in the bathroom.

So I finished at the store, asked where was the nearest men’s room, go did the necessary there (very messy), and set my sights on a fast trip to the shelter.

When the strap on my plastic bag broke.

Fortunately, I had an identical bag rolled up in my backpack, and was able to put all my things into that.

And, as it happens, wound up getting a bottom bunk.

Hours later, though physically worn out, I found myself in high spirits — because I had taken things in stride.

Related:  Previous post, same title:  Take things in stride

Keep the thought, change the feeling

One may find one’s mind focused on an idea, person or situation, and one’s feelings toward that focus untoward.  The practical needs of the moment may mean one can’t just “get your mind off it,” but one can possibly choose more desirable feelings.

One possible option sometimes is “flipping.”  If I find I’ve just cursed someone, I can begin thinking and feeling the exact opposite, thinking, “God bless him,” and sending the person love, light and prayers.  Thus usually entails a lot of chagrin for the sin I committed to start with.

Other times, the change — sublimation — may take more time and effort.

Keep the feeling, change the thought

Feelings one may find objectionable — may not necessarily have to be so.  It is hard for me to discuss or name some of the feelings involved, since for most of my life I never voluntarily let myself feel them, and I have only lately become willing to manage these limbs of my soul.

Feeling mean, being mean; being or wanting to be “hard;” “getting your game face on;” being aggressive: these are some of the feelings in question.  To me, determination feels a lot like anger.  But these feelings have their God-given uses, when one faces hard physical exertion or has to overcome obstacles.  One like me, who wants to rise out of poverty, faces a ton of hard work and many obstacles to overcome.  So I’m coming to accept, even welcome such feelings — and when they come, set my mind on situations where they may be useful.  One example is to see myself climbing the ladder, up out from the pit of poverty, to the level ground of the social mainstream.  It’s hard, and it’s OK to feel hard.

A very common situation: untoward sexual lusts.  If one is in a presumptively exclusive relationship, lusts directed towards another need not be denied, repressed or sublimated, but instead merely redirected towards one’s partner.  For single women and men, attraction to an inappropriate person can be redirected towards one or more appropriate persons — even if the object of one’s fantasy can only be purely imaginary.

Soul farts

It took me years to accept that these do, in fact, occur, and that they are what they are.

Unpleasant feelings may come out of nowhere, not in response to any event, and hang on for minutes or hours, unable to be sublimated.

Just as the physical body produces various wastes, including gaseous farts; it stands to reason that the soul also produces spiritual (emotional) wastes, including farts of its own.

One handles a soul fart the same as a bodily fart: just let it go, though the “smell” may inescapably abide for a while.

In the midst of a soul fart, it’s essential to know that this has no rational basis and is not in response to any event.  One needs to step back from one’s feelings — put in the clutch, so to speak — and determine not to take anything too seriously, anything anyone says, anything that may happen.  Hold off on any major decisions until after the gas passes, when one will have better judgment.

The Itch

The most troublesome soul fart for me has been what I call “the Itch:” the desire for turmoil, the desire to find (or create) trouble, to be angry, even to possibly hurt others, and so on.  I am coming more and more to accept it as a soul fart, and to stop beating myself up just because it happens.  The chapter “About organized religion” will deal at length with a man who has an especially bad case of it; the possible karmic bases; and what he must do to be free.

 

 

The path of presence

Thursday, May 1, 2014.  For several days, I’ve sought a sign as to whether presence is, indeed, the way to go.  No answer could be clearer than my experience this afternoon.  I’ve gone through exactly the transition described in “Chaos overwhelms the poor.”  I have power and competence to deal with my current circumstances, with the resources at hand.  I perceive the universe as a well-ordered place.  This cosmic harmony provides the foundation for hope.  I may soon be able to face with confidence the unknown, uncertain future.

That I did all this on my own raises the question of whether there exists, in the end, the unseen world.  I have that answer already; I’ve been in this place before.

———— ♦ ————

From “Chaos overwhelms the poor:”

Jesus and others have taught an approach to life that enables one to learn to care for oneself and begin to establish harmony in one’s immediate situation.
Continue reading The path of presence

Job search status: Pep talk

(Originally posted 12/26/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 05/07/14.)

A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store. There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made. In the days since, there have been some communications glitches. Meanwhile, time goes on.

This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.

I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.

Was the class a waste of time? Continue reading Job search status: Pep talk

Attitude …

… can make a hard situation easy, or make an easy situation hard.

To enter the shelter, you walk across this parking lot to an iron gate, and then down these steps to the “smoke pit,” an 8 x 20′ area with benches where we sit until they call us in, in groups of six, to register for this night. One does this every day.

Continue reading Attitude …

The wrongest verse in the Bible

Proverbs 3:5-6:

5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Continue reading The wrongest verse in the Bible