January 4, 2016

Quotable Me

Don't Do This

Don’t Do This

Occasionally thoughts pop into my head that may or may not be considered “pithy” by me or by others. Years ago this occurred to me:

The trouble with some people is that they’re jumping the gun when they should be biting the bullet.

I’m sure there was context for this mini-insight, but that’s lost to history.

Someone, somewhere, someday might find this quote useful, interesting, inspiring, amusing, and/or shareworthy. So this morning I did what writers do and tacked it to the virtual bulletin board that is this blog post. (We USED to write such things on scraps of paper and use them as bookmarks, tuck them into files, or tape them to mirrors. Usually we just lost them. This is better.)

January 3, 2016

Quote of the Day

Photo: Milky Way Over Yellowstone by David Lane

Photo: Milky Way Over Yellowstone by David Lane

If you live long enough, you learn that life brings you to your knees over and over again — both by sorrow and by gratitude. -Ann Clark

December 9, 2015

A personal response to terrorism

Filed under: Memory Eternal,Random Thoughts — Tags: — Ann @ 6:44 am

Do Good Blog

Two for one.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, clients are sometimes encouraged to come up with two positive thoughts in response to every negative thought. I’ve been deeply distressed about San Bernardino (and Paris and every rage killing), and this morning it occurred to me that for every violent act that occurs, we should engage in TWO peaceful, loving nonviolent acts in return. I’ve decided that this is going to be my personal response to terrorism.

And yes, I know that giving blankets to the needy and baking cookies for a neighbor (for example) aren’t going to begin to make up for the slaughter of innocents. Nonetheless, I’m going to take on these random acts of goodness, and I’m going to carry them out with INTENTION. “This is to bring balance.”

I invite you to join me in this campaign, starting now. ‪#twoforone

February 8, 2015

Generosity of Spirit

Filed under: Random Thoughts — Ann @ 11:23 am
You gotta have heart

You gotta have heart

This morning I read a New York Times story about a sister who, with the best of intentions, sent anonymous Valentine’s Day flowers to her two sisters. The gesture backfired hideously, resulting in the sender being called “cruel,” and causing a rift in the relationship that lasted far too long.

I thought to myself, “Another case where a bit of applied Generosity of Spirit could have prevented a great deal of heartache.”

Cultivating and demonstrating generosity of spirit is to remember to “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (attributed variously to Plato, Philo of Alexandria, John Watson, and Ian McClaren).

It’s bestowing the gift of the benefit of the doubt.

It’s never assuming we know someone’s motivations, and especially never assuming that those motivations are ill-intended.

Generosity of spirit is remembering that others don’t think like we think and have different ways of expressing themselves, and that different doesn’t mean wrong.

It’s understanding that sometimes people’s attempts at humor misfire. It’s understanding that what we hear as a cutting remark may just be an accidentally thoughtless statement.

When we get really good at it, exhibiting a generosity of spirit becomes a kneejerk reaction: we assume that the guy who cuts us off in traffic is in a hurry because he just found out that his kid is sick and he’s rushing to pick her up. A store clerk is unsmiling and unfriendly, and we assume that she has something important on her mind, perhaps a worry about a loved one, or maybe she doesn’t feel well. Sound crazy? Is creating gracious defenses for the behaviors of strangers any crazier than automatically attributing negative motivations to them?

Of course, a small percentage of people do have ill intentions, or are too often careless with their words and behaviors. To encourage loving-kindness in our attribution style isn’t to suggest that we become a doormat for the muddy feet of those who don’t even try to consider our feelings.

But most of the time, people aren’t out to cause us intentional infliction of emotional distress. They’re just being people, and sometimes we humans are clumsy in our attempts to navigate life with others. We end up stepping on toes. But those with sore digits too often jump at the chance to be offended. Instead, try jumping at the chance to be gracious and forgiving.

Try, “I know you meant well, and it’s really fine.” Bonus points if you add, “I’ve done the same thing myself — accidentally hurt people’s feelings when I didn’t mean to.” Because you know you have. We all have. And we all need a little more understanding, compassion, and forgiveness.

July 24, 2010

The Half-Minute Helping Moment

Filed under: Neighborhood Sights,Random Thoughts — Ann @ 7:28 am

The Safeway parking lot was quite full; I parked at the end of a long row. As I walked toward the store, a man finished trunk-stashing his groceries and began the long trek to return his cart to the front of the building. Without thinking I said, “I’m on my way in; let me take that for you.” His face flashed surprise, gratitude; a smile, acceptance: “Sure! Thanks!”

As I shoved his metal bag-buggy into the cart-holder, it occurred to me that we shoppers could be doing this for each other all the time, forming these grocery cart brigades. A simple act of assistance; it made someone else’s life easier for 30 seconds.

June 8, 2010

They Don’t Put This On the Label

Filed under: Random Thoughts — Ann @ 5:52 pm

How the world’s best flavor came into being:

The angels sang out the sweetest words known to heaven; those satiny utterances blended in a viscous glistening glaze of honeyed grace notes, dripped down through the sacred skies absorbing the creamy confection of divinity, the result was blended with brown sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla and cream…and the angels called it CARAMEL.

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