Saturday, November 25, 2017

Confessions of a Junkie
Jim Aldrich

Let me set the backdrop for what follows. I take a keen interest in life. In part this is because I am not only a participant, but an observer of the often times whacko ways of the world around me. For more years than would interest anyone, I have been and remain a political junkie. As a junkie, I need my daily fix. A fix that is collected from many different sources.

Starting out in my younger years my interest in politics was based on the more traditional definition; the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units; the art and science of government; political science. Quite a mouthful.

As time went by, I noticed a shift in my way of looking at politics. This new view provided a much broader perspective, a view that found me looking for the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, especially those relationships involving authority or power. More recently, I took the next step in my development of a personal political view. This new approach finds me looking at those activities concerned with the acquisition or use (misuse) of power.

All this to set the stage for my current view of politics. Having been a Democrat, then a Republican and then back to being a Democrat I felt I had no real choices in the voting booth. The very idea of voting for the lesser of two evils is repugnant to me. Growing tired of some fat cats choosing my ballot choices is equally disheartening. For these reasons I have taken a leave of absence from being an active participant in the traditional political scene. 

Why such a radical step? Through learning from my experiences, I don’t foresee any hope for change beyond what a voter can do at the local or state level. So, where does that leave me? Many of my political (life) views are compatible with the Libertarian views, but even here I find the most important attribute a voter can have is missing. The view that I should be able to do what I believe to be in my best interest is somehow off-base.  I see the need to take personal responsibility for the choices I make. Choices driven by doing what is right, not only for myself, but for those people I share my world with.

I am a Personalist. That is, a person whose actions include a philosophical, spiritual, and action based balance that stresses the value of persons. I have found that when I view the role politics plays in every area of our lives, the valuing of others is my highest priority.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Stress – What Stress?

October 23, 2017

From day to day each of us encounter various situations. These situations include events, circumstances, even people that are available for us to react to. Thus far, It is important to understand that in this paradigm each of the referred to situations are neutral. It is only when you or I choose to react in either positive or negative way, that any meaning is given to the situation. The focus here is the effect of a negative reaction in our lives.

Much ado about nothing, you may ask? Think back to the last time you felt threatened. It could be a near collision between cars, a nasty confrontation with another person, or what you thought of as a significant rejection of your personhood. How did your body and mind respond to this threatening situation?  Did you find yourself feeling anxious, an increase in anxiety, or maybe fear? These reactions can range from mild irritation to outright rage. Why does this occur? Generally, it is our reaction to the fear of losing control or a becoming a “victim.”  Here’s an example; It’s the night of the homecoming football game. The football field has no interest in the outcome. On each side of the football are two teams. At the games end your team loses. The fans on the other side of the stadium are cheering, while you and your friends are upset at the loss. Both sides saw the same game, but with different reactions.

Let’s extend this story to you engaging in an argument with your significant other, let’s say it’s over where to spend the next holiday. The discussion becomes heated. The intensity level increases until one of you walks out the door in anger. Think about the reaction. At what point in the interaction did you allow the situation to take control of you, rather than your being in control of the situation? How did this happen? Can these kind of reactions be avoided?

The good news is this, YES, you can avoid these reactions. Of course, there is a "Bad News" side as well. To apply a solution will require patience and practice. My recommended approach is based on the old railroad safety slogan: STOP - LOOK - LISTEN. At the earliest sign of a potentially negative situation, STOP, take a moment before doing anything. Once you sense that you can examine the dynamics of the situation, LOOK at what's going on between yourself and the situation. Then, and only then, it's time to take action. That action is to LISTEN to what your creative thinking is telling you is the just reaction.

These observations on how you interact with your world is what Changing Your Mind is all about; Your search for understanding how your mind works. Among the benefits of this search is finding yourself living a life of contentment.

These life choices will increase your ability to take charge of your life. This results in ways that will leave you open to accepting and resolving those negative situations you encounter in your life.
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