I haven’t written anything that reflects a personal look within lately. Maybe it is because I need to be more professional for Psychology Today. Maybe finding time for writing is generally tougher. Maybe right now I just have too much time on my hands teaching only one course and having a smaller caseload of clients. Whatever the reason, I thought I’d do some reflecting on where I am currently.
I guess I’ll start with the writing. I probably haven’t been writing enough, especially on the book(s). Most of my writing has focused on Psychology Today, and producing the best articles for them I can. It has been a lot of work editing down my usual writing style to fit my editor’s taste. My writing has definitely improved through the process. (Don’t judge by this, this won’t be edited down). My most recent article, “Were the Hippies Right?” was on the Psychology Today “most read” list for a few hours. It also nearly doubled the readership of my second most popular article. What puzzles me, though, is I’m not sure why.
When my article on relationships doubled the reading of my previous most popular article, I suspected people are simply more interested in reading about relationships. The next two articles weren’t popular at all. Then “Hippie” article, which is similar to most of my other writing, doubled the relationship article in reads. Frankly, I believe I have written better articles that have closer to a quarter of the hippie article readership. (See “I Think Therefore I…Huh?” or “As Good as it Gets” for example). Regardless, I want to get back to writing the books, and get something to a publisher.
As for reading, again, there is room for improvement. I am working slowly through two books, one on meditation, and one on happiness as it relates to philosophy. I am enjoying them both, but could read more. Damn Netflix!
Since before the beginning of the year my personal growth focus has been on being a more loving person. I’ve made progress, but I’m definitely not where I want to be. In trying to be a more loving person I began to focus on “Right Speech” from the Eightfold Path to enlightenment. I think I’m improving some in that area, although I still have difficulty. I wonder if the Dalai Lama curses his cat out when she rubs against him getting cat hair (which his partner is allergic too) all over him? Do you think the Buddha had occasional lapses of Right Speech and cussed out a poor driver under his breath? No, there probably wasn’t much traffic back then.
But I digress. My attempt to be a better person is based on accepting who I am, along with working toward my ideal self. Basically, I have an idea of how I want to be. These ideals are a bit perfectionistic. (I believe this is common, but I won’t generalize). So I have to temper my ideal with an acceptance of who I am, flaws, shortcomings, and all. My desire to be better isn’t based on not feeling good enough, but rather on a desire to improve, to be the best I can. For me, this means working with the temperament I already have, and tuning it toward the other pole. For example, I am a relatively talkative person. Part of Right Speech is not speaking unnecessarily. Shit, if most of us didn’t speak unnecessarily we would barely speak! So I accept my temperament (toward being a more talkative person) and work toward toning it down, stopping myself sometimes, and catching myself before I say something negative to others. But, as I said, I still cuss the cat (too much) and the occasional bad driver. Anyhow, I wanted to at least throw that out there so others who want to work on self-improvement might relate or decide to try this path. As the saying goes, there are many roads to Rome.
As many who read me regularly know, I focus a bit on death, especially my own approaching. I know it might be a decade or more away. But I try to remain mindful of it to use, and enjoy, the time I have. I am becoming wrinkly, and that is a bummer. I see myself ageing. On a more positive note I am attempting to pay down my debt so my kids don’t get stuck with it. I haven’t been using credit cards and am making an effort to decrease my debt substantially before I die. I would hate to burden my children with my debt.
I’m also eating healthier. I have had more salads so far this year, than any other three year period in my life! Imagine that: In five and a half months I’ve eaten more salads than any three years previous. Damn, maybe taste buds do change.
Generally, I remain a happy individual, doing what I love and embracing my life. I welcome any comments, and hope some may shed light on why the hippies article (I really should call it the love article, because that is what it is about) was so much more popular than others of (I think) equal quality.
Thanks for reading!