Happy New Year

And so, on to 2022… after a thoroughly agreeable, if low key, festive period.

Between the turkey, goose, ham, endless cheeses, trifles and chocs – the wisdom of Joseph Goldstein on my daily dog walks has been a more ethereal and less calorific sustenance.

Now, if you’d have told me in any prior decades of my life than the one I’m living in, that I’d be listening to this sort of thing; I’d have said you were mad. Way too much Buddha and beads for an honest Northern lad like me.

But nobody said wisdom was a young person’s game. It takes time to tune in to these things. Thanks to the likes of Joseph Goldstein, I’m starting to develop an ability to slow down; to notice more and to hurry and worry less.

After all, most of what we spend our time doing – as Joseph Goldstein regularly reminds us – is struggle under the weight of two mountains: the mountain of the past and the mountain of the future. But although both weigh heavily on our shoulders, in fact neither of them is any more substantial than the wisp of endlessly passing thoughts and fears, regrets and memories.

Of course this has survival value. The so called Default Mode Network, which our minds switch to whenever we are idle, flicks relentlessly from past experiences to mid-term worries, to help us sweat the future and chart a safer path through it.

But it’s a bit of a waste of time really… The future will largely look after itself. As this Christmas showed, there’s a lot to be said for friends and family and simple pleasures.

So here’s to not having a plan for 2022. The dog has the right idea – simply chew on what’s to hand.

: )

Selfless

The path to enlightenment is no doubt winding; but letting go of a strong sense of ‘self’ is one of the core ingredients.

I’m enjoying Waking Up (as above) with Sam Harris, and in particular the ‘Path of Insight’ offered by the exceptionally wise Joseph Goldstein.

Yesterday was a pretty ordinary day at the (virtual) office. Plenty of small impediments and human scale frustrations. But I’m well prepared for this, thanks to my longstanding Monday reminder:

But remembering the ‘learned optimism’ of Martin Seligman (explained here) I changed this reminder recently… now it’s:

But on a much sunnier (in every sense) Tuesday, I’ve realised that Joseph Goldstein would likely nudge me to an even better place… namely:

Job done. No need for ‘self’ talk; just remembering to spot the universe up to its usual Monday tricks. Another step on the path to enlightenment.

: )