A Memoir and a List of Loopholes Used to Justify Drinking

wineinparis-300x225Because of my interest in habits, I read a lot of memoirs of addiction. I don’t tackle addiction in Better Than Before, but still, I find that I get a lot of insights from these accounts.

I recently finished an excellent new memoir, Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.

I was particularly  interested to see how she used loopholes to justify her drinking.

When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them.

We’re so good at thinking of loopholes! I’ve identified ten categories, in fact, and Hepola uses several of them as she justifies her drinking to herself. Continue reading

From Facts to Meaning, Through Beauty

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By Frank A. Wilczek, PhD and Deepak Chopra, MD

Science tells us what the world is, not what it means. As expert as they are at collecting and analyzing data, most modern scientists tend to shy away from the question, “What does it all mean?” To them, the question seems so vague as to be, well, meaningless.

But it was not always so. The boundaries separating science from other ways of understanding reality–mysticism, theology, and philosophy–used to be more fluid. In ancient Greece Pythagoras was both a rigorous mathematician and a charismatic shaman. Sir Isaac Newton was both a hard-nosed empirical physicist and an obsessive Christian theologian. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr elucidated physics and at the same time wrestled with issues concerning the basic nature and meaning of reality. Although not a conventional believer, Einstein was comfortable with fluid boundaries, as one sees in a famous quote of his: “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” Continue reading

Being a Mindful Child: 24 Hours in DC with DC

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24 Hours in Washington D.C. with my father, Deepak Chopra

In my book, Living With Intent, Take Action is an important step in my path to INTENT. The insight for this step came to me when my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and I realized that the now is the time to live the purposeful and connected life I seek. (And for the many who have asked, the good news is that my friend is in remission.)

Loss has also reminded me to have gratitude and be present with those we love if we have the opportunity to do so. In my 40’s, many people I love have transitioned, and I have seen family and friends lose their parents, spouses, even children, to disease or senseless tragedy. My intent to spend time with loved ones is a priority for me. Continue reading

Mindful You: Where Did the Day Go?

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You arrive at the end of your day.

Do you know how many steps you’ve taken?

Do you know how many calories you ate?

How many minutes were spent on a phone?

How many spent on “you time” or wrangling kids or making dinner?

Where did the whole day go?

Sometimes our days are a cyclone at best. If we made it out alive, it’s cause for celebration. The trouble when we stay in a perpetual survival mode. We live constantly like we’re barely squeaking by- grab the cookie from the office kitchen since there’s not a second for lunch! Send one more email from bed! “What is this lady’s name?! I know I’ve met her before!!” Continue reading

Just Notice: The Gift of Seeing and Changing Lives

Xan you remember the people you saw this morning on your walk from your house to your car? From your car to your office or into the grocery store? While we are aware that there are other humans crossing our paths, we don’t always notice who they are or what they’re doing.

 

I got inspired by a kid ❤️

Posted by Joyce Gilos Torrefranca on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Joyce Torrefrance, a student from the Philippines, shared this post of a child she passed on the street who appeared to be studying at a makeshift desk on the street. With further investigation, news outlets were able to identify the child as 9 year old Daniel Cabrera who studied on the street as his mom Christina Espinosa worked in a shop nearby. Since the loss of her husband 2 years ago and her home to a fire 5 years ago, Espinosa has worked hard to provide for herself and her three children. Continue reading

Tap Into Your Compassion to Push Out Negativity

carOur most negative encounters can sometimes offer us great spiritual guidance. For instance, I once had a blow-out fight with a woman at a car rental counter. She felt the need to flaunt her power and go out of her way to make things difficult for me. My reac
tion was no better than her outburst. I felt the need to respond with my own power play by threatening to call her manager and make a complaint. And I did just that.
Hours after stating my claim to her corporate office and regional manager, I felt no better. I thought that complaining about how poorly I was treated would help me get over the experience. Instead, it made me feel worse. I sat with this and explored what the lesson was for me. In stillness, I heard my inner voice recite one of Yogi Bhajan’s five sutras for the Aquarian age: “Recognize the other person is you.” I was floored by my inner guide—the message was so clear and resonant.
I went on to explore what it was about this angry customer service rep that reflected me. I came to realize that her behavior was merely mirroring a disowned part of my own shadow. In silent contemplation I was able to accept that deep down there was a part of me that wanted to control the situation and the outcome. This was the same quality the customer-service representative had. Her deep-rooted need to be in control came head-to-head with my need to be in control.

Real Simple: How to singletask your way to success and sanity

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Despite the fact that today we pride ourselves on being a culture of multi-taskers, I myself am anything but. For me, multitasking is the art of messing up several things at once. But we all know – and perhaps secretly despise – the woman who can seemingly do it all. And seamlessly, at that! Yes, she’s the one who gets up at 5 a.m., sprints to the gym, then showers, answers all her e-mails, fixes her family a breakfast of steel cut oatmeal with flaxseeds and warm organic maple syrup and is ready to go to the office as soon as she drives her two equally perfect children to school. Her male counterpart is just as Type A and accomplished. Not only does he hold down a high-powered day job, but he is a nationally ranked squash player and on weekends writes poetry when not competing in an Ironman Triathlon. In a pinch, he can re-shingle his roof.

One morning, many moons ago, I decided that I, too, could do it all. On that particular day, I also made my family oatmeal for breakfast and carefully chose my husband’s suit and tie. And as soon as I rushed my older sons off to the bus and took my little girl to nursery school, I hopped in the car and gave him door-to-door service to his office.

An hour later, all missions accomplished, I returned to my office and started to write my column with still plenty of time left to meet my deadline. I sat back in the chair and let out a large self-satisfied sigh, thinking to myself, Who said you can’t do it all? Just then the phone rang. Continue reading

A New Hot Button: Consciousness-Driven Evolution

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Science is meant to be the opposite of a belief system. No one underlined this point more securely than Charles Darwin, who devised a theory of evolution that defied the strongest belief of his time, the all but universal belief in the bible version of the origins of man. The fossil record supported a notion contrary to the Bible, that creation was a process, not a single event dictated by a divine Creator. Despite a century and a half of proof that Darwin was right, taking God out of evolution still sticks in the throat of many people.

Pollsters find, to the dismay of trained scientists, that God remains in play for many when it comes to our origins. For example, a 2013 Pew Research poll found that one-third of respondents believe that human beings have always existed in their present form. When broken down by religion, this anti-Darwin, pro-Bible view is held by 64% of white evangelical Protestants and 50% of black Protestants broken down by political party, only 43% of Republicans believe that human beings evolved over time versus 67% of Democrats and 65% of independents. Continue reading

Party Like a Colonist: the Original 4th of July

This weekend is the 4th of July! It usually means fireworks, BBQs, and red, white & blue.
It can get pretty wild, but the truth is it’s nothing compared to cannon fire, burning effigies, and melting statues down into bullets like the original colonists. We love this retelling by History Channel of the original 4th of July party!
How do you celebrate Independence Day?

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