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Jonathan East

Jonathan East

Be Still and Become Aware

Happiness, sadness and emotional well-being are not necessarily destinations or conditions of the mind that we must fear or long for. If we want growth and maturity, we must welcome all aspects of being human.

Love and appreciate each and every experience. What we gather during that time, in forms of lessons and insight, will determine the rate in which we grow and how deeply we feel toward ourselves and others.

Life is definitely a journey. Be wise and pay attention. Enjoy!

12 Years a Slave Changed My Life

Originally posted on Ideas:

A friend recently echoed the typical response I hear from people who have seen the film 12 Years a Slave: “I was moved.” Maybe they’re afraid to say too much because it’s about racism. But a more accurate response to the film, one that resonates best with me, is “I will never look at this country the same way again.”

12 Years a Slave is not Disneyfied or glossed over. It’s not a beautiful movie about the “Great South” with lavish costumes, grand balls, and white war heroes. You won’t leave the theater saying, “Oh my God, I loved that movie!” It’s just one man’s story, but it makes you imagine how horrible life had to have been for millions of others who lived exactly like him for hundreds of years. They built much of the foundation and wealth of this country in absolute misery and for free.

12…

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Show You The Way To Go by The Jacksons

Show you the way to go by the JacksonsI got choked up this morning listening to the song “Show You The Way To Go,” by The Jacksons.  There’s something about these old songs from my childhood (especially Michael Jackson’s) that touches me deeply. I guess the time I spent with a childhood friend last weekend is responsible for me being in this state of heightened awareness. She opened up to me revealing many things about her childhood and her current emotional state that, in turn, opened me up.  It seems that I can feel again, which is something I welcome.  I hadn’t realized how much I’ve cut myself off from people… from feeling… from expressing.  I’ve justified it by saying that I don’t want to spread my negative energy. For the most part I love being alone with my thoughts. However, I do realize that too much isolation can be dangerous.  Human interaction is as important as breathing, so we must make an effort to connect. Not just with anyone either. I think if we listen close enough our spirit will whisper whether or not to connect with someone. I’m so happy I decided to listen to mine that day when I reached out to her on Facebook.

The only person that I connect with on a deep level is my oldest sister. When in pain I simply retreat to my inner world and deal with it alone or chat with her about whatever is dancing around in my head. Like most people I tend to suppress extreme emotions for the sake of coping. It may just be that the key to healing is feeling. We must welcome our suffering (perhaps we should stop referring to it as suffering).  It’s simply a temporary condition of the mind, right? I’ve written many times on this blog that if we want growth and maturity we must feel our pain… sit in it… and at times share it with someone we trust. I am so honored that she decided to share her pain with me. I will cherish our friendship and I can’t wait to communicate with her on deeper levels.


Show you the way to go lyrics by the Jacksons

19 Symptoms That Indicate Your Adrenals Need Support

Originally posted on DrJulissa.com - Official Website of Julissa Hernandez, ND:

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This gland is your gland, this gland is my gland.

Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. These chemical messengers have specialized tasks in the body and control a myriad of bodily functions, including sleep, growth, sexual development, metabolism, tissue repair and more. Glands can become weakened by stress, a poor diet, chemicals in our food and air, and many other factors. Such weakness can manifest as low energy, low sexual desire and other imbalances.

Facts about the glandular system, especially, your adrenal glands:

  1. The adrenal glands, two of the most important glands in our body, are the size of grapes.
  2. The adrenal glands can be weakened by physical and environmental stressors.
  3. Weak adrenal glands are often a cause of low sex drive (low libido) and insomnia.
  4. The glandular system relies on trace minerals for specific nutrition, but food processing…

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The Wizard That Never Was

The Wizard That Never Was.

Mindful Living

The world is my oasis

The world is your oasis!

Words of Epictetus… as interpreted by Sharon Lebell

“Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, not can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!

Create your own merit.

Personal merit cannot be achieved through our associations with people of excellence. You have been given your own work to do. Get to it right now, do your best at it, and don’t be concerned with who is watching you.

Create your own merit

Create your own merit

Do your own useful work without regard to the honor or admiration your efforts might win from others. There is no such thing as vicarious merit.

Other people’s triumphs and excellence belong to them. Likewise, your possessions may have excellence, but you yourself don’t derive excellence from them.

Think about it: what is really your own? The use you make of the ideas, resources, and opportunities that come your way. Do you have books? Read them. Learn from them. Apply their wisdom. Do you have specialized knowledge? Put it to its full and good use. Do you have tools? Get them out and build or repair things with them. Do you have a good idea? Follow up and follow through on it. Make the most of what you’ve got, what is actually yours.

You can be justifiably happy with yourself and at ease when you’ve harmonized your actions with nature by recognizing what truly is your own.”

Bring on the learning revolution by Ken Robinson

“Very many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be…”

The Wizard That Never Was

the_old_man_in_the_mirror_by_vergyl“Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.” Benjamin Franklin

My 14 year old daughter asked me to tell her a story the other night.  It was at one time an evening ritual, something I looked forward to as much as she. I couldn’t wait to see how those innocent eyes would react to the strange twists I would put in the stories. Wow, she’s no longer a child. The window is shrinking fast. A few more years and she’ll be off to college. I often worry about how little time I spend with her. Between my full-time job and the part-time job I recently stepped away from, I found myself pretty exhausted by the time I arrived home. Now that my evenings are free projects around the house takes up most of my evenings. The main bathroom has been ripped up for a year and a half now. After I remove a few more sections of the floor I’ll start prepping for the tub installation. Taking a shower in the other bathroom is fine, but I miss my hot relaxing baths.

My mind has been in overdrive with all that I have to accomplish… remodeling the bathroom, painting the kitchen, landscape… pretty much the entire house needs a makeover. But my daughter and son need my attention more than anything of those things. The to-do list will always be there, right?  There must be a healthy balance where by doing at least 30 minutes of yard or house work each day I’ll feel as if I’m progressing. Time spent with my kids each day is a must.

When my daughter asked for a story my first reaction was to say, “Some other time sweetie.” But heck, it has probably been a few years since telling her a story. I had come up stairs only to see if they were asleep. I was watching game 6 of the NBA finals and with only 2 minutes left in overtime I didn’t want to miss anything. I told her I’ll be back up in a few minutes not knowing if I had it in me to tell her a story. Over the past 5 years or so I’ve been in a different state of mind. I underestimated the affect stress would have on me. I’ve always viewed myself as a grounded person, someone with a healthy dose of humility, ambition and confidence.  I knew I could take on as much as life wanted to dish out. But stress began to slowly chip away at me. My circumstances and many of my stressors are somewhat common, but some of them I felt were not so common. Stepping away from opportunities in the film industry that could have led me down a different path, recovering from a near bankruptcy from a failed business venture in 2005 (I should have filed as my advisor suggested)… following my two precious little ones back to MI away from my Southern CA paradise… a mentally unstable elderly parent… the unwelcome career move… all took its toll. Before I slip further into neurosing about my past, I’ll shift gears a little and write about the story I told my daughter last night.

Old Puppet Man without words

After watching the Miami Heat avoid what seemed at the time to be a sure loss, I headed back up stairs to see if I could muster up enough mental energy for a story. As I sat down next to her the word wizard jumped into my mind.  “The Wizard that Never Was,” flew off my lips. Not knowing where I would take this I began telling a story about an 87 year old wizard who had chosen a life of solitude, isolating himself from everyone. He has allowed fear, the opinion of others and all else pertaining to the ego mind to control him. And the sad thing about this wizard I told her was that he was the most gifted of all of his kind. He simply never felt led to express his talents and gifts. For most of his adult life he did nothing but sit on his front porch. This old man was such a mystery to everyone. Every person in town made up stories about him, ranging from him being the wise oracle, prophesied in ancient mythical stories about being The One… to him being nothing more than a deranged old man who simply never lived up to his potential.

I shared with my daughter a Benjamin Franklin quote… “Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.” Again, I didn’t know where I was taking the story so I threw in something from another story I heard about a morning runner and an old man, changing it a little to fit the direction my impulses were leading me. I started talking about a 37 year old runner passing his house each morning. Every morning a quiet voice within would speak to her, telling her to stop and talk to him. She was curious about the old wizard. But she was afraid, until one morning she passed his house just as he was turning away from his mailbox. Only inches from the curb he stopped and said without turning around, “Don’t you have something for me?” She wanted to keep running but the timing and how it resonated with what she had been feeling each morning made her feel as if she had no choice. “I don’t know,” she said. “What do you mean?” she asked. By this time he had made his way to his porch. “Please, sit down,” he said. For what seemed to be an eternity she sat there next to him without a word being spoken. She didn’t know if she had something for him or not.

“What do you run from each morning?” he asked. “Nothing,” she said. “Is that some sort of rhetorical question?” “I don’t know,” the old man said. “Aren’t you that wizard?” she asked.  She sat there waiting for him to answer but he continued to look off into the distance. He finally broke the silence by asking, “How do you define wizard?” “Someone who has special powers,” she says. “Don’t we all have special powers?,” he said. “I don’t know where you’re going with this old man.” “I don’t either… you’re the one with something on your mind.” By now she’s becoming a little frustrated, I tell my daughter. The runner then goes off on a little tangent expressing how her mother thinks that he’s some kind of holy man, possessing gifts that no one else has and how all of her friends growing up think he’s nothing more than a crazy old man.  A few seconds after she finishes her little rant, he does nothing but stare at her as if he’s waiting for her to tell him more. She stares back at him, thinking she could somehow feel his answer. She had recently read a book about telepathy and metaphysics, so she thought she’d try and see if some of that stuff was true. But she didn’t feel anything, just the burning sensation from her left plantar fascia tendon. Knowing she had another mile to run she didn’t want her body to cool down. “I have to go,” she said. He smiles and says, “Come back when you figure out what you’re running from each morning.” Feeling frustrated again she starts explaining why people run, as if speaking to a child who doesn’t understand the idea of exercise and fitness. “I know why you think you run,” he says calmly. “Rhetorical or not, the answer you will find is the same…. next time when you stop and talk to me simply expect to have the answer… you’ll be surprised and enlightened by what comes out of your mouth…. I know you will have something for me.”

She smiles and says before running off, “I hope so.”

I said good nite to my daughter and asked if she’d chew on the story for awhile and then come up with the next part where the runner comes back for her next visit.

Great article about the philosophy of anger.

The Philosophy of Anger – The Hindu

by Sudhamahi Regunathan, The Hindu.com

In his documentary, Botton illustrates the driving mechanism behind anger and its management by citing philosopher Seneca’s beliefs

Modern life is full of frustrations and most of us do not seem to be able to respond philosophically to it. We are prone to losing our tempers. Anger seems as much a part of life today as bad driving and traffic jams,” says Botton in the third documentary on “Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness”.

“We find one ancient philosopher who was particularly concerned with anger and wanted to calm people down. He was born in Coduba province of Spain in the year A.D. 180. His name was Seneca. The author of more than 20 books on all aspects of life, Seneca came to Rome and became influential here. He was the most popular and famous philosopher of his day. But that does not mean his life was free from frustration. He was naturally a melancholic man… and he lived in very dangerous times of despotic, violent and unpredictable rulers.”

In 49 A.D. he had to take on, against his will, the most fateful job in the Imperial administration: tutor a 12-year-old boy, the future emperor Nero. “It soon became apparent that Nero was a murderous psychopath. Knowing he was in danger, Seneca attempted to withdraw from court. He offered his resignation twice. The emperor Nero refused. Nothing in Seneca’s experience encouraged him to believe Nero, when he embraced him tightly and he said he would not harm him, that he would actually not,” says Botton

Botton takes you on a virtual tour of the underground chambers where Nero, who wielded absolute power, perpetrated utmost cruelty on his countrymen. Botton enumerates them, painfully. That is why, he says, Seneca felt the urgency to tame tempers. “It was because the consequences of anger were so great that Seneca was desperate to assuage them,” says Botton. “Seneca dedicated a whole book to the subject titled ‘On Anger’. The most hideous and frenzied of all emotions, he called it, but crucially he refused to see it as an irrational outburst, something over which we had no control. Anger arose because of some rationally held ideas about the world, and the problem with these ideas is that they are far too optimistic. Seneca said people get angry because they are too hopeful. Whenever we get angry there is an element of surprise, self-pity and injustice. Seneca’s first advice is to be more pessimistic so that we adjust our view of the world so that we are less surprised when reversals occur. Also if we accept that we are less likely to be able to do something about them, we will lose it less often.”

Seneca said that we want the world in our way; that cannot be. Like a dog on a leash, we have some freedom, not all. And like a dog on a leash it is better to know the length of your leash. So Seneca says our freedom comes from knowing what we can do is to acquire an attitudinal change.

“Seneca believed prosperity fostered bad tempers. The wealthier you are the more expectations you have,” says Botton, who goes on to talk of how surprises can also throw your temper off balance. “So he recommends a calm daily meditation on how things can go wrong.”

That makes you more prepared and also differentiate between the things you can change and that which you cannot. Seneca believes we often overestimate our capacity to change things. “In order to remind us constantly of just how many things lie outside of our control he invoked Goddess Fortune. She holds the cornucopia, which was a symbol that she would bestow the best in life. In the other hand she had a darker object, the rudder, a reminder of her power to shift our destiny for the worse. She is a symbol of everything we must accept… the good and bad.”

Botton ends with shots of Pompeii where destiny ran her course of hot lava without man’s permission and the story of how Seneca was ordered to kill himself by Emperor Nero. Seneca did so with fortitude, giving life to his beliefs in his death.

Seneca on Anger – Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness

When It’s Time For You To Move You’ll Know It; Trusting Your Instincts

Greek Islesby Jonathan East

I have yet to pinpoint why I’ve been shying away from posting anything. It’s been more than two months since my last post. Some creative types push the idea that one should always be in a constant state of production… even if you’re not feeling it you should always produce something. On such days I used to start my journal entries with words describing my hesitation, and surprisingly something magical would kick in where I would simply write what came to mind, completely unfiltered.

I think my hesitation with writing on this here blog may stem from my decision to share the web address with a few friends of mine. Exposing your inner most thoughts takes courage. I never wanted this blog to be something I had to work at. I simply wanted a place where I could come to lay down my thoughts, without worry of being misunderstood or any of those unhealthy thoughts that stifle creativity.

Regardless, I must create space for my spirit, a place where I can roam freely without boundaries, worry or hesitation. Like most people, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now… which is okay. I definitely see that I must revisit my personal constitution to add something that deals with difficult decision-making. Should I head back to graduate school where I can write and continue down the path of exploration and understanding… dive back into the world of entrepreneurship… or should I simply keep rotting away in the confinements of my 9 to 5. I can hear an old mentor of mine in my ear right now saying that I should start by not calling the decision-making difficult.

I spent time alone this past Saturday which helped quiet my mind. I spend way too much time upstairs. I need to get out of my head for a while and start looking for ways to help others. And when it’s time for me to make a decision I’ll know it. Trusting and acting on my instincts was something I did quit often at one point in my life. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the practice.

The World is My Oasis

The World is My Oasis.

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