Posts Tagged ‘book’

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Over this past Labor Day weekend, I found myself reading excerpts from distinguished professor of psychology and management Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (pronounced me-HIGH chick-sent-me-HIGH-ee) seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (HarperCollins, 1996).

He writes:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

Mihaly describes ten traits often contradictory in nature, that are frequently present in creative people. In Creativity, Mihaly outlines these:

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.

They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.

“It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.”

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.

But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, and perseverance.

“Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. Vasari wrote in 1550 that when Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello was working out the laws of visual perspective, he would walk back and forth all night, muttering to himself: “What a beautiful thing is this perspective!” while his wife called him back to bed with no success.”

4.Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.

Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted.

We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.

It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.

When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.

It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

9.Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.

Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility. Here is how the historian Natalie Davis puts it:

“I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can’t be so identified with your work that you can’t accept criticism and response, and that is the danger of having as much affect as I do. But I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something where age really does help.”

10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.

“Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”

Paradoxical or not, what I have learned most is that there is no formula for individual creation. As Mihay says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.” So, more than anything else, what it takes to be creative is resourcefulness and the courage not to give up.

carrot egg and coffee
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point,grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.
“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?
Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

learning what love is

learning what love is

Love feels unsafe.

To the little girl within me, love is unsafe.

To her, love means hurt.

Love means pain, trauma, inconsistency, insanity, and conditions.

Love was fucked up, twisted, and tied so deep into their self-hatred, that it came out wrapped in violence, rather than gentleness and warmth. Bitterness, rather than compassion and understanding. Jealousy and resentment, rather than supportive holding and cheerleading.

The love wasn’t hers, it was theirs—it had the potential to change any moment. And generally, it did. No matter how hard my inner girl or inner teen tried, things stayed the same.

Why—and how—would they be any different, now?

I remember the first time I got told about unconditional love, about years ago:

“You don’t have to do anything for someone to love you?”

I laughed, thinking it was a joke.

When I realized it wasn’t, I felt a sudden sorrow—a deep grief—for myself.

How did I not know this?

My relationship with love had been ‘wrong’ my whole life.

An innately wise part of myself always understood unconditional love existed—as a kid, I remember watching other parents and children, knowing somewhere deep inside that what I experienced at home wasn’t the only way. Somehow I knew, beneath my wounding and fear, that things wouldn’t always be this way.

What I was experiencing was only a chapter, or two, of my Love Story.

As I’ve begun healing my youth and early adulthood, my relationship with love—towards myself and others—is rapidly changing.

I’m learning what love actually is.

But I’m in the messy stage.

My defenses, fears, past hurts, and insecurities, feel more tender and in-my-face, than ever—I can’t step round, look past, or dive through my wounding, anymore.

My need to feel safe, feels more important than any other need I have, so it governs almost everything I do.

I struggle to trust people. To believe or trust the love and time they give me, and that they—or it—won’t disappear, feels terrifying, and almost impossible, even though part of me knows it isn’t, and it won’t.

I worry that love I receive will also disappear when the person really sees me and witnesses my imperfections, so I make sure I only share the imperfections I feel safe sharing. Even though I love others for, and with, theirs, and that mine just make me human.

I notice there’s always a desire to rip apart any love or support given, by finding reasons or supposed ‘proof’ that the love wasn’t really genuine—“they were just saying that…they probably felt like they had to”—even though this habit only brings hurt, and I know it’s generally not true. And even if it is, or they were, it’s not my place to take it on.

alone

I take risks, show myself, and share my needs or vulnerabilities—or my authentic rawness and openness—and then freak-out by reading into people’s every move or every word. I close up, building an imaginary “wall”, or disappear for a few days/weeks, convinced I was ‘too much’. Sometimes I find myself laughing, because the theories my inner critic comes up with in these moments are so well thought out, convincing, and hilarious. Other times I find myself unable to laugh or find solid ground beneath the fear and self-judgment, worrying that what I’m believing, is definitely true.

My fear of abandonment feel so great, and so sensitive, that I avoid situations in which there is potential for abandonment—I end up avoiding and declining a lot. Sometimes the fear, or potential risk, of not feeling safe, is one I want—or feel able to—work with and compassionately notice. Other times it isn’t. This part of my relationship with love and trust and people, breaks my heart the most.

I feel like I stranger to myself and my previous life. I almost constantly feel slightly, or completely, disconnected or alone. Even though I’m not.

I let a friend in, become close, and then freak-out with fear of the close connection, and fear that I will be really seen. Sometimes I stay but keep a certain distance, to ensure I feel safe. Other times, I’ve fled out of fear they wouldn’t love me if they continued to get to know me.

I don’t value my love enough—I don’t value that my love is a gift itself.
Every time someone still shows up despite me not having ‘done’ anything, or regardless of whether I believed I was loveable the last time we hung out, or whether I’d shown my imperfections, or how many other times they’ve showed up before, a little piece of my unconditional love puzzle is put into place.

As I continue to discover just how twisted my Love Story has been until now, I continue to notice how deeply this impacts the way I love myself—the way I parent myself.I’m almost constantly noticing or realizing something different, something new.

Couple months back it suddenly hit me that I was only loving myself when I was doing or achieving things. I hadn’t realized that that part of the relationship I have with being able to be loved by others, was also the relationship I have towards being able to love myself.

I wrote this note to myself and stuck it on the wall, with the desire to love myself regardless of whether I’m doing or not doing.

I can love myself just for being.

I’m trying to trust that as this new kind of love—unconditional love—, as well as the forgiveness and acceptance it brings, begins to ripple inside myself, it’ll begin to ripple through the beliefs I have about others love for me, too—that they can love me for just being, also.

And that the people around me have been loving me this way regardless of whether I’ve been able to see it and believe it, or not.

I often feel frustrated with my process—the way that my fear and wounding has such a strong hold, and it feels like it’s taking so fucking long to ease or shift—because I long to feel able to be connected and held, rather than scared and un-seen.

When I look closely, though, things are so far from where they once were. And in my heart, I know this messiness and my wounding being so vividly here, is the beginning of truly healing.

And that can’t help but excite me and leave my worry gently soothed.

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“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Voltaire said that “common sense is not so common.” Most people would probably tend to agree, as foolishness is certainly rampant. Although it should be core curriculum, they just don’t teach common sense in school. You can only get so far in life by memorizing a bunch of facts. To be truly successful, you’ve got to have good sense.

So where does one get good sense? Is it something that a lucky few are born with? Luckily, no. Good sense is one hundred percent learned behavior, equally accessible to anyone who wants it. All you have to do is observe what works and what doesn’t work for others.

Here is twelve common traits among people with good sense:

1. They keep their promises.

People with good sense aren’t flakes. They do what they say and by maintaining their integrity, they build trusting relationships. People with good sense are people you can count on.

2. They set boundaries and know when to say no.

Boundaries create balanced lives and people with good sense understand this. They know what they can handle and which behaviors are unacceptable in other people and are able to confidently and clearly state their limits.

3. They control their own money.

I’ve seen many a life-ruining disaster caused when individuals give up control of their finances to someone else. People with good sense make their own decisions about spending and investing. They know how much money they have and where it’s going at all times.

4. They don’t have children they can’t take care of with unfit partners.

This may well be the most important lesson. Take it to heart. Having a child that one is not psychologically, financially or physically prepared for is probably the worst mistake anyone can make. Having a child with a partner who is equally unprepared to parent or who isn’t interested in parenting will not end well for anyone involved, especially the child. Good sense means planning and preparing for parenthood.

5. They don’t poison their bodies.

Common sense would tell you that smoking, eating junk food, getting high or binge drinking are stupid things to do, yet so many people ignore this logic and over-indulge. People with good sense seek healthier alternatives and honor their bodies.

6. They know that it’s ok to changes one’s mind.

Politicians have tricked us into thinking that being a “flip-flopper” is a bad thing. Wrong. Stubbornness and close-mindedness aren’t virtues. People with good sense are able to objectively assess situations and see different viewpoints, giving themselves the freedom to change their opinions when they have more information. That’s called learning and having humility.

7. They can delay gratification.

The most successful among us, by any definition of the word, are those who can make sacrifices in the present in order to obtain future rewards. Also known as will-power.

8. They don’t buy things with money they don’t have.

Follow this wisdom and you’ll save yourself a world of trouble and stay out of debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Period.

9. They have goals and plan for the future, yet remain flexible too. People with good sense look forward to their futures. They have a plan but they understand that being rigid isn’t useful. Unexpected opportunities can always arise as can sudden setbacks and it’s important to accept change and go with the flow as one works towards his or her goal.

10. They don’t build relationships to “network” or because a friendship benefits them in some way.

They make friends because they appreciate genuine, meaningful human interaction. There are no real rewards to kissing butt, but the benefits of true friendships are endless.

11. They spot red flags and move on without making excuses for people.

Another biggie right here, people. Making excuses for other peoples’ bad, toxic, stupid or otherwise unacceptable behavior isn’t the same thing as being kind, tolerant, forgiving or nonjudgmental. It’s just dumb and it will get you into a world of trouble. When people show their true colors, forgive them in your heart, but run as fast as you can away from them. People with good sense don’t waste time on dysfunction. They surround themselves instead with nurturing relationships.

12. They are committed and focused.

Most successes can be attributed to showing up and sticking around. People with good sense are in it for the long haul and they aren’t fickle. They don’t give up at the first signs of discomfort and they know that sometimes, to solve a problem, gain a new skill or master a discipline that you just need more time. They complete projects instead of abandoning them and they don’t continually stop what they’re working on to start something new. They’re loyal to their passions.

( source article is from http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/01/the-top-12-habits-of-people-with-good-sense/)

love is freedom…

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Philosophy
Tags: , , , , ,

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google translation:

the anguish of my moments of doubt the certainty of my moments of faith.
Because I knew that my Soul was coming one day, I just started learning the Tradition of Just to be certain of your existence, so you continue to exist.
Brida could not suppress the tears.
Then you came and understood all this. You came to set me free from the bondage of slavery I myself had created, to say he was free, he could return to the world and the things of the world. I understood everything I needed to know and I love you more than all the women I met in my life, more than the woman loves detour me unwittingly into the woods. I will remember always that love is freedom. This was the lesson to learn years later attempts.
This was the lesson that I exile and now sets me free.