Concentration

Concentration: (n) the action or power of focusing

Pain is insane.

Especially when it is self-induced.

It is an automatic thought that springs into our head: if things aren’t difficult, they’re not real accomplishments.

This is certainly one of the greatest pieces of human foolishness.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I need to concentrate” without frowning. They are communicating that they are so damn mature that they must go into contortions funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to acquire achievement.

What the hell?

If life was intended to be difficult, yet we are all universally intended to live it out, how cruel is our Creator? For we are not all suited to the same regimen.

Of course, a certain amount of concentration is necessary to alert the brain to turn off all phones, ignore other messages, and place focus on the project at hand. Undoubtedly.

Yet if that experience is not rewarding–and dare I say, joyous–we will run away from concentration in favor of erratic behavior.

So I taught all of my children, and those who ever came within my earshot, a very simple principle, which both initiates concentration and provides fulfillment through it:

Wherever you are, be there.

Don’t split your attention. Don’t be considering lilies and weeds at the same time.

Allow yourself the glorious blessing and luxury of inhaling the atmosphere which has drifted your way.

 

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Chronic

Chronic: (adj) (of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.

There are several maturity banners that are displayed on our human journey. These are truths which are not always comfortable, but if denied, can put us in a chronic state of misery.

For instance:

  1. Nobody is going to do what you want them to do.

People imitate, they steal, they deny that they got what they have from you–but no one wants to admit that they are not autonomous and require assistance..

  1. The fewer categories you put people in, the better off you are.

When you start delineating by culture, color, sexual orientation and even gender, you get yourself in a horrible, tangled mess of misconceptions.

  1. And a third one is the realization that sometimes the solution is more painful than the problem.

Although we extol the value of solving dilemmas, we can often end up in more red tape, difficulty, struggle and misunderstanding than if we just learn to adjust our temperament and approach to the problem.

For instance, it is rather doubtful that poverty will go away. The more we complain about it and compare our levels of indifference, the less people get fed.

Go someplace where they offer two sandwiches for a decent price. Buy two. Eat one yourself and give one to a hungry person on the street.

You didn’t solve the problem–but you also didn’t trap yourself in a chronic search for an unattainable solution.

 

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Buxom

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Buxom: (adj) a woman with large breasts.

Prude or rude?

These appear to be the two choices offered to me every day.

I can take a path of believing that anything that sounds sexual or stimulates my temptations should be ignored or relegated to a private corner.

Or I can just pop off and use all the vernacular of present day society, acting like the free spirit, uninhibited to speak my mind.

We just don’t seem to have the ability to find better ways to share our thoughts.

So we end up looking on buxom women as if they are motherly, or else we proclaim them to have “big tits.”

Somewhere along the line we have completely lost the evolutionary meaning of women’s breasts. So some folks refuse to talk about them and other people giggle and ogle them.

What is the correct procedure?

It’s simple: it’s up to the person who has them.

If a woman is proud of her breasts, wants to talk about them and feels uplifted, so to speak, by others appreciating them, I think that’s just jim dandy.

If she’s embarrassed, tentative and uncertain about her bosom, I have absolutely no problem remaining silent and diverting my eyes.

Being a prude or being rude is a decision to make a decision for someone else. You are either communicating that they should be embarrassed by their buxom condition, or that they should be prepared to be leered at by every fellow who passes by.

We have no right to make decisions for other people.

It is our job to bounce off the desires that each person we meet may express, and honor his or her wishes.

In doing so, we actually begin to approach maturity.

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Burden

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Burden: (n) a load, especially a heavy one.

Being able to define what a burden truly is may be a step toward maturity and a leap in humanity.

We are quick to complain of simple cumbersome circumstances. They are often temporary but we still lodge our formal objection.

Sometimes I don’t understand myself. I am fully aware that the universe does not favor me, yet somehow I anticipate front row seats, flowers at the backstage door and standing ovations for simple tasks.

Vanity is not merely propping up our better features. Vanity is when we believe our features should be sufficient without propping.

What is a burden? Because once we define it, then we certainly know, in the realm of the spirit, our mission is to make it as light as possible.

The burden should be light.

But until we conclude what burdens us, we are apt to invent new definitions for the condition based upon the color of our mood.

For instance, watching the grandchildren one week may be a treasure, but on the following Tuesday may seem to be a burden.

There are times that shopping for a new pair of shoes has the sniff of adventure, and on other occasions, just stinks.

We keep moving the poles, changing the dimensions and re-negotiating our grouchiness.

The true definition of a burden is something which is unexpected but proven to be necessary and therefore needs to be taken in stride as much as possible–so we don’t lose our good cheer.

Yet if we stubbornly insist that life should never sneak up on us, we will constantly be jumping out of our skin at the slightest inkling of evolution.

 

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Brier

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Brier: (n) any of a number of prickly scrambling shrubs

Maybe pleasure is the absence of pain. It seems like a dark definition.

Perhaps pleasure and pain should be separated by some great gulf to ensure they will not bang into each other. We could call that valley between the two “normalcy.”

But all of us know that’s a lie.Dictionary B

What we gradually learn is that having a wet diaper and a hungry tummy isn’t worth squalling about. It sure seems like we should do it when we’re babies–but that’s because we’re babies. Everything is about us and our comfort, and anything that disrupts us is considered so despicable that we must scream at the top of our lungs.

Nine years old and I went out picking blackberries. There were briers with thorns. The blackberries were beautiful. Can I also say they were quite tasty?

But I pricked myself three or four times and came back with a bad memory of the excursion because of a little pain.

Since that time, life has come along and beat me up quite a bit–to the point that being pricked in a brier patch seems miniscule, especially in comparison to the pleasure which comes from the fruit of my labor.

Maturity, especially spiritual ascension, is once and for all understanding that the absence of pain is pleasure.

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Brew

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Brew: (v) to make beer

The truth of the matter is, whatever I choose not to do becomes suspect.

I don’t like that. Matter of fact, I try very intensely to counteract that through my actions.Dictionary B

But if internally I have made a choice, generally speaking I think it’s a right one, and therefore have a tendency to flirt with intolerance.

Yet maturity is the process of realizing that our thoughts are not supreme.

This has always been my problem with alcohol. I just never jumped on the “rum run.”

I’ve never had more than a few sips of beer.

I’ve choked down a few glasses of wine.

And maybe once or twice I had a mixed drink simply because I thought the inserted umbrellas looked really pretty.

I found all of those experiences to be unfulfilling.

So the prevalence of alcohol in our society–especially since it’s tied to being an adult–leaves me baffled.

Many years ago I did a tour of Lutheran churches in Wisconsin, and discovered that most of the parishioners brewed their own beer.

Please don’t misinterpret my sentiments. I’m not saying that drinking or not drinking makes you a good or bad person.

Or maybe, in some silly, immature way, I am.

I’m not sure.

But I am grateful that I have never carried through to completion a judgment on someone based on whether they partook of the brew.

Over the years, I have tried to adjust my thinking … without actually drinking.

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Breastfeed

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Breastfeed: (v) to feed a baby with milk from a woman’s breast

A simple standard of maturity is when we stop giggling and laughing at somebody who’s picking his nose. If we find ourselves still chortling, then we’re probably stuck somewhere in the second semester of the fourth grade.Dictionary B

The adult solution to such a quandary, to avoid becoming a giggling fool, is to turn away and not look.

Truth of the matter is, picking one’s nose is common to us all. Though some people will probably insist that they never do such a thing, the reality is that most of us, at one time or another, do a little mining for nasal gold.

Likewise, I become a bit confused when people are affronted, concerned or put off by a woman baring her breast and feeding her young one. Since we all have spent some time on the teat, it might be good to recognize that a sign of maturity is accepting this as common human effort and behavior instead of frowning or gossiping to the “teacher.”

Just look away.

Breast-feeding is here to stay–just like picking your nose.

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 Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy