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Just Do It/Just Don’t

In my last post, I mentioned having recently gone on a short excursion to Portland with a friend of mine, to visit a mutual friend of ours. For three days and three nights, the three of us did pretty much everything together. It was really lovely.

During our first full day together, we stumbled upon a saying that wound up becoming our trip’s guiding mantra: Just do it…just don’t. It was spurred by a car sporting a Nike Just Do It bumper sticker. We were getting ready to enter a tunnel on our way to visit the coast, when a car hopped in front of us rather abruptly (ya know, the way cars often do) (oh, and we’ve all been that car too – just sayin), with their Just Do It sticker beaming proudly in close view. The dialog in our car then went something like this:

Geese, what is that guy doing?!

He’s “just doing it”, I guess.

(Pause)

Well, I think it should’ve been more like: “just don’t.”

We then proceeded to carry this interplay of Just Do It/Just Don’t into an array of occasions throughout the rest of our trip together. Some times it was jokingly and sometimes it had real meaning, while still in the spirit of lightness and fun. Turns out, there are a plethora of opportunities in which to bust these guiding life statements out.

There’s great wisdom in knowing when – and how – to invoke the dharma of Just Do It/Just Don’t. When we learn how to call on them in a suitable fashion that is appropriate to our own individual situation, with Right Attitude and Right Intention, we can actualize the fruits of the practice of Right Action.

There are times to Just Do It and there are times to Just Don’t. And there are no one-size-fits-all answers as to when to apply which one to which string of moments. This is why we must ongoingly cultivate a strong relationship with our own person. If we’re not able to tune into our own mental, emotional, and spiritual landscapes, we will have no clue as to when to use each part of the mantra, as only we our self can know which instance calls for which part.

If we’re not well-connected with our own person, we also run the risk of going the Just Do It route when really we would’ve been much better off having gone the Just Don’t route, or vice versa. There are plenty of times when we would do well to push ourselves a little bit outside of our comfort zone, too. In general, I think more of us have the tendency to say Just Don’t than Just Do It.

So, feel free to use our trip motto, if you like. And if you do, please let me know how it goes :)

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My two new practices from 2018 (part 1 of 2)

Every January, for the past few years, in an effort to keep my practice fresh, vibrant, and strong, I’ve come up with 2-3 new mindfulness-based practices in which to enfold into my daily/weekly life throughout the year. For me, these new practices each year serve as the ultimate homage to the tag line of this blog, the URL of my website, and my social media namesakes on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube: In Mindful Motion.

As I don’t think I’ve made much reference to them here over the course of the past calendar year, I thought I’d take the opportunity to do so, as 2018 comes to a close.

This past year, I’ve had two new practices. The first of which is shown above (my second practice will be fleshed out in a part 2 post). Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and coming across his set of Thirteen Virtues, which he formulated at age 20 in 1726 as a system to help him develop his character, I came up with a similar approach to the charts he made for himself in order to help keep track of his progress.

 

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Posted by on December 30, 2018 in Everyday Practice

 

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Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana

I recently completed a solo 10-day road trip loop around the states. Here are the stats:

I left home in Missoula, Montana on Friday October 12th at 5:40am (camped over night in Medina, ND)

I arrived in Stillwater, Minnesota on Saturday October 13th at 12:30pm

I left MN on Tuesday October 16th at 5:00am and arrived in Bull Shoals, Arkansas later that same day at  6:08pm

I left AR on Friday October 19th and arrived back home in Missoula on Sunday October 21st at 12:19pm (camped over night in Paxico, KS and in Kaycee, WY)

Grand total of miles traversed: 3,834.3 miles

________

Arkansas

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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Travel, writer's life

 

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Observations On the Road

In lieu of a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve been coming up with a new mindfulness practice for myself at the start of each calendar year. Last year I partook in what I called Bumper Sticker Practice, where I paid special attention to bumper stickers while driving around town and jotted down the ones I found particularly interesting/funny/odd/strange/beguiling. I so enjoyed having a mindfulness exercise to do while driving that I decided that my new practice for this year would also involve something I could do while on the road. Even though I wasn’t quite sure what it would entail, I landed on: Observations On the Road. It involves my jotting down either an outer observation, or an inner observation prompted by something I see directly around me, while either driving around town, stopped at a red light, or otherwise hanging out in my car for some reason (such as waiting to pick my stepson up from school or waiting in line at the drive-up teller at the bank).

Last year, with the Bumper Sticker Practice, I wrote a blog post in June, documenting the stickers I’d come across in the first half of the year. Now I’m back to do the same with this one!

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Bumper Sticker Practice, Part 2

t2ec16hzqe9s3sufkfbse9lrlmg60_35This is Part 2 of a two part blog post, to read Part 1 click here!

From Part 1: “Earlier this year I came up with a new mindfulness practice: bumper stickers! OK, let me explain. I like finding new and inventive ways to cultivate daily mindfulness, which means paying intentional attention to something in particular. Being mindful means being mindful of something. And that something can be anything! Anything that allows us the opportunity to practice getting in touch with and connected to the present moment can be considered a practice of mindfulness. And it’s fun to find new things in which to practice with.

So, in January this idea of bumper sticker mindfulness came to me. For each month in 2016 I would practice noticing bumper stickers, while cruising around town. In order to put a little extra weight on this new mindfulness practice, to help encourage me to do it, I would also write down the bumper stickers that caught my eye as being especially odd, funny or interesting. I then also resolved to write a blog post about it further into the year (with Part 1 having been written in June).

As an FYI: my bumper sticker rules included only writing down bumper stickers I saw in action, meaning displayed on cars – so bumper stickers I saw for sale in a store didn’t count. I have a nice little notebook and an easily accessible pen in my car that I scribbled down all of the ones I saw that I deemed worth noting.”

I was a little bit concerned that I had exhausted all of the good bumper stickers in town after posting Part 1, given that Missoula is a smallish place. But I’ve been delighted to find a wealth of interesting new stickers over the past 6 months. I’m also brainstorming for my next new mindfulness practice come January and feel fairly confident that it will once again involve something I’m able to do while driving. As it turned out, my bumper sticker practice wonderfully aided in reducing the frustration I routinely experience while driving. I found myself willing lights to turn red, so I could stop behind a car sporting a new sticker to read. It was like a great treasure hunt every time I took to the streets!

Here are the stickers I jotted down, in order of date seen, since June:

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Posted by on December 14, 2016 in Everyday Practice, Fun

 

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Daily Practice – Day 18

2011-02-04-mountaintopDay 18 – This week has been quite full and I have often found myself with very little time in the day to simply sit and rest for a few minutes.  But I’ve been continuing to do my sitting meditation for a few minutes everyday and its been working well to do my practice before I leave the house for the day.  So, not first thing in the morning but after I’ve gotten up, dressed and ready to go I take my 10 minutes and do my sitting meditation before setting out for the day.

Today was a bit stressful time wise in getting certain things done and as I sped around town griping at drivers who were going 5-10 miles under the speed limit, as is often the case around here, I caught myself in a hurried fit many times laughing at myself.  It really is a comical scenario to be carried away by something in which I have no control over, such as other cars.  I also find it helpful in these cases to talk to myself by saying things like, “There’s nothing you can do so you might as well calm down, you’ll get there when you get there,” or, “OK, take a breath right now.”

How much time is wasted in a day by living in a moment that isn’t happening?

 
 

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