Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Morning Horse, Canyon de Chelly

Standing on the Slickrock
looking down into the still shaded
canyon the man and the woman
could see a mud-roofed hogan
with the top half of the east facing
door open, waiting for sunlight.
A horse walked over to the door
and put its head in as if
to say good morning, or here I am,
your horse, just like yesterday.

Then before the sun touched
the horse's back, before the sheep
came bounding out of their pens
adding their bahs and bells
to the quiet of the canyon
they eased down the trail
in the morning air
toward White House Ruin.
Ravens rode the thermals
and red lizards pulsed in red dust.

The trail ran out at the river
so they took off their shoes
and hung them on their shoulders
and walked on in the cold shallow water.

Now, weeks later, as she sleeps
beside him, he thinks of the horse.
He thinks mornings come to him
like that. That into the darkness
of sleep there comes a long dark
face with questioning eyes
whose light he feels in his own
before he opens them.

Before he turns to her
or she turns to him
the day is already moving in each of them
like sun into the canyon
to light the ruins and the river
and the horse that wants.

- Greg Pape

Today's reading:
  • Storm Pattern - Greg Pape
  • Poetry by Hafez
  • The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success - Stein & Book

Sunday, May 10, 2015

by Kelly McGonigal

  • Is the opposite of fight-or-flight (36)
  • Starts with perception of internal conflict (vs. external threat)
    • Triggers changes in brain (prefrontal cortex) and body => lower heart rate, blood pressure stays normal, breathing slow, muscles relax (37)
    • Helps slow down/control impulses => time for more flexible thoughtful action
  • Internal conflict is it’s own kind of threat: you want something, but know you shouldn’t or you know you should do something, but you’d rather not

  • Heart rate variability: higher => more willpower (39)
  • Anything that puts stress on mind/body interferes with willpower
  • Anything that reduces stress/improves health strengthens willpower (39)
    • Meditation, spiritual practice, time with loved ones
    • Exercise, sleep, healthy diet

  • Improves self-control skills: focus, stress management, impulse control, self-awareness
  • How-to: Sit still/stay put, Attn to breath, Notice mind wanders, Return to breath (26)
  • Short daily meditations better than long but infrequent

  • Think of exercise as something that restores energy and willpower (45)
  • Can’t do the “I will”? Find the “I won’t” (48)
  • Find the “want” that’s more powerful for you (76)
  • Focus on your commitment (vs your progress) (91) – life span practice (vs short term)

Some exercises:
  • Breathe your way to self control (40)
  • Willpower fill-up (44)
  • Relaxation (50-1)
  • Willpower workout: strengthen I Won’t, I Will and Self-Monitoring (68)
  • What’s your "want" power? (74)
  • Focus on the commitment (91)
  • Tomorrow just like today: reduce variability in the behavior, ask “do I really want the consequences of continually doing (or avoiding) this?” (96)
  • Self inventory: do you identify more w/your goals/values or w/your impulses/desires? (104)
  • Dopaminize your “I Will” power challenge (124)
  • Stress of desire (126)
  • Most effective stress release (137): exercising, spiritual practice, reading, listening to music, time w/loved ones, walk, massage, meditation, doing something creative
  • Pessimism for success (154)
  • Precommit to your future self (169)
  • Meet your future self (179-180)
  • Turn “I Won’t” into “I Will” (228)
  • Surf the Urge (231-2) – "urge" can be any destructive impulse, big or small

Small Move, Big Change => the power of microresolutions

Changes in doing lead to changes in being

Microresolution - 7 rules


  • Limited, reasonable, achievable (9, 14); don’t make a microresolution you can’t keep
  • Attn to size (determine if it's better to do more at one time or more frequent but in smaller batches?) (46)
  • Self-improvement happens around the edges = the vital margin (6)


  • What, when, where and how it’ll be cued (22)
  • What = must be explicit and measurable action (15)
  • Cue (time, activity, situation/impulse), if contextual link to an existing habit (floss when brushing teeth)

Immediate payoff

  • The benefit provided by the microresolution today is the goal (26)
  • Focus on your commitment (vs. a step in overall progress), savor this immediate present success


  • Rx that you write for yourself
  • Adjust and tweak as needed (34)


  • Do this by reframing: positive/inspiring: “I enjoy ___ more when I’m___” (37)
  • Zero-tolerance – use this sparingly (for trigger of big negative actions), best if it’s a quick 5-min-max action (42)

Fires on cue

  • Pair an identified cue w/resolved response (58)
  • Know your triggers allows you to pick best cue for the microresolution (59)

Two at a time (66)

  • It takes energy to establish a new normal (147)
  • Gradually, over time, you’ll make real and lasting changes

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 reading...

  • Arabic Graffiti – Pascal Zoghbi
  • Bellocq’s Ophelia – Natasha Trethewey
  • Stet: A Memoir – Diana Athill
  • Too Close to the Falls – Catherine Gildiner
  • I’m Down: A Memoir – Mishna Wolff
  • Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story – Peter Bagge
  • Artist’s Way at Work – Bryan
  • Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol – Nell Irvin Painter
  • The History of White People – Nell Irvin Painter
  • Racism Without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America – Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • Quest – Aaron Becker
  • Under the Egg – Laura Marx Fitzgerald
  • Like No Other – Una LaMarche
  • Circle of Cranes – Annette LeBox
  • Under a Painted Sky – Stacey Lee
  • Nuts to You – Lynne Rae Perkins

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Las palabras

HESTI - Jakarta (from Arabic Grafitti)
  • eft - young newt
  • nene - Hawaii's state bird
  • rara avis - rare bird
  • pia mater - brain covering
  • quire - 4pp folded = 8 leaves
  • aril - seed coat
  • ora pro nobis - pray for us
  • sere - bone dry
  • sloe - blackthorn
  • senesce - age
  • celerity - haste
  • ria - narrow inlet
  • ait - river islet
  • enate - maternal
  • coir - rope fiber
  • apsis - orbital point
  • olla - earthen pot
  • oeno - wine prefix
  • ell - measure of length
  • solon - member of a legislature
  • otoscope - canal exploration device
  • Irene - of of the Horae
  • cyan - blue green
  • Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    The Art of Travel - The Art of Mind(fulness)

    I've been meaning to read Alain De Botton's The Art of Travel for some time, but it wasn't until another MMM (see blog review below) reader recommended it that I finally took the time to get it from the library.

    There is psychological pleasure in...takeoff...for the swiftness of the plane's ascent is an exemplary symbol of transformation. The display of power can inspire us to imagine analogous, decisive shifts in our own lives... (38-9)

    What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home. (77)

    John Ruskin's teaching people drawing as way to teach people to look, to see (vs. photography used less as a "supplement to active conscious seeing" and more as a way of possessing to the world around them. (219)

    Xavier de Maistre's Journey Around My Bedroom suggests that "the pleasure we derive from a journey may be dependent more on the mind-set we travel with than on the destination we travel to." Invitation: apply traveling mind-set (receptivity) to our own locales. (242)