Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘happiness’


Cape 027

Little Bit on the Cape

We build these castles of sand

With those we love,

With our favorite companions,

Though we know our constructs are to be

Reclaimed by the eternal tides,

The joyful feet of passing children,

The loyal paws of joggers’ dogs.


The joy is in the building.


Seek peace,





This Now




I don’t know why I love this Now, but I do, now.

Don’t know how to capture it, or why I should.

Is that not the essence of Now?

It cannot be preserved or lived over or in advance.

Now it is gone, and it is now.




I love this now because I can be me

or choose not to be me,

or, then again, have Not Me choose

to not be me.


This now has all of me,

The me I am

The me I want to be

The me I might wish I was

The me that will never be.

I love this now.

These “me”s.


Seek Peace,







I don’t know why

I was reminded of you by this

Gently falling silent snow.


As it softly caresses the Earth

I remember how you

Made me love you

So many wonder-filled

Years ago.


Downy Flake

Downy Flake




Happy 15th Birthday Chuy!

Happy 15th Birthday Chuy!

Getting a haircut at the Schuyler Barber Shop. Mia has been here the last couple of years, and we have that familiarity one develops with their barber.

“So, any New Year’s resolutions?” Mia asked. “Mine is losing weight. I packed on a few pounds this year.”

“Not really any New Year’s resolutions.” I replied. “I started a long time ago to just add one thing each year. Practice it and keep it. Things like shaking hands. Reaching out and shaking hands “hello”, “goodbye” or “thank you”. Like looking folks in the eye when we’re conversing. Deciding to be the person that always lets the other go ahead, in traffic, in the checkout line, at entrances and exits.”

“That’s a cool idea.” Mia commented. Then I stopped talking to listen to her. Another “resolution” of years past. She talked of her engagement, of her daughter’s absentee father, whatever else was current and interesting.

“You know how everyone says “Why can’t every day be like Christmas?”, and “Why can’t we be as thankful as we are on Thanksgiving, throughout the year?”, I asked, rhetorically.

Mia acknowledged.

“That’s me.” I stated. “I try to live every day like Thanksgiving and Christmas in one. To see beauty in the everyday world around us. To remember the only really important things in this life are the people we cherish. To give whenever possible and take as little as needed. To remember that each day is a gift with something wonderful in it, if you’ll just open your eyes to truly see.”

As it turns out, every day can be like Christmas, and for me it is.

I realized only recently that I have achieved a certain plateau. Perhaps I climbed right past the summit? (an old MST3K joke)

I found myself driving home in congested traffic after a long day at work, smiling like the proverbial village idiot, for no reason other than being happy to be here.

In each exchange of every day, I found my “me2” subconscious coaching me. What’s the best outcome for all parties? What is the honorable, noble, kind-hearted way to approach the situation? What’s the most caring toward the people involved? What would Buddha do? How would Jesus handle this? What would a cowboy do?

I am following all the “cowboy rules”: Cowboys don’t drink, smoke or swear (still need to be vigilant on the last one!).

Cowboys are kind to children, the aged, and animals.

Cowboys don’t shirk the hard stuff. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” When you stand up, to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves, when you stand your ground on ethics, morals, forgiveness and loving-kindness, when you stand beside those who have fallen, you may find you stand alone.

With right mind, an inner peace, a sense of belonging in the cosmos, speaking truth, I will stand my watch until the time comes for me to return to the earth from which I was made.

In the meantime, it’s a beautiful ride through a wondrous world, and I am drinking in every moment.

May peace and good fortune follow you each day through this New Year, and each new year after.

An old Irish saying: May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.


Seek peace,



Our Own Pot o' Gold

Our Own Pot o’ Gold



Spirit Of Frosty

Our Holiday Greetings

Our Holiday Greetings

It occurred to me just how much I admire Frosty The Snowman, and his philosophy on life. Well, life as it is to an inanimate object, or in this case a fictional character who is also an inanimate object. This is personification at it’s best, I suppose.

If you’re not familiar with the children’s tale, here are the Cliff’s notes:

Kids build a snowman and find a silk top hat to put on his head. The top hat has some magic in it, and this animates the Snowman, whom the kids have named Frosty. He springs to life exclaiming “Happy Birthday!”. Yes, it’s a Christmas-season tale, but it is Frosty’s birthday, after all.

Frosty plays and has fun with the kids until he begins to melt. The story is based on the song, I think, and the animated cartoon special picks up the story where the lyrics left off.

In the song, Frosty waves goodbye as he melts, says “Don’t you cry!” to the kids, and “I’ll be back again someday.”.

In the TV special, one of the children is heartbroken at the thought of Frosty’s departure, and adventure ensues as the little girl tries to get a six-foot snowman to the North Pole before he melts.

In the song, the lyrics state “Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day. So he said ‘Let’s run and have some fun now, before I melt away.'”

Now there’s the spirit I admire. Frosty has this little window of life, knows he’s terminal, and instead of spending all his time worrying about how he can be cured and prolong his life, he decides to enjoy it before it’s gone.


The cartoon special takes it further, as the little girl becomes obsessed with “rescuing” the snowman from his natural demise. He’s fine until the human tries to “save him”. Only when pitted against or seen from the human girl’s perspective does Frosty’s limited existence become viewed as problematic. They spend their last days together in agony. Problems getting transportation, a magician trailing them, trying to steal the hat, the girl starts suffering from hypothermia following the snowman into the arctic. Ultimately, circumstances conspire and the girl is forced to watch Frosty’s destruction before her very eyes. *

I’m adopting Frosty’s original spirit. Life will come and go whether it’s on a snowman’s timeline or a human man’s time line.

I say let’s run and have some fun!

Before I melt away.

Seek Peace,




* Calm down. The girl isn’t real, she’s in a cartoon. And Frosty is magic. Before the kid stops crying, a freezing wind blows Frosty back together and he comes back to life, exclaiming “Happy Birthday!” once again. Happy ending, although it does prove the fruitlessness of the child’s work and worry.

The Boy Within

Boy Me, ready for adventure

Boy Me, ready for adventure


You’ll never guess who I ran into this week. The boy within.

In Armchair Zen World, we follow a thought called Ring Theory. This says that as you grow, like a tree, your inner rings or younger years exist beneath the newer rings, the outer bark, your present age.

It’s sort of like that “inner child” thing that was popular philosophy in the 80’s and 90’s. I’m not sure what the pop philosophy was about, but I know I am the same person, within the same mind, as the me who was a boy long ago. I can still be as excited over a favorite toy or a rainbow or a shooting star or a fish on the line as I was then.

Boy Me suddenly popped into conscious reality one day recently. I suppose I may have conjured him up a bit as I posed the question “What would boy me think of now me?”.

Boy Me was very excited that we could drive a car, for instance. A dream of the future for a ten-year-old. Boy Me was astounded that we had so many wonderful grown-up toys we’d only imagined owning. A house, a car, a pickup truck, a fishing boat. More guitars than one person needs. And money! Money in my pocket, the freedom to spend it and the transportation to get to the store!

Grownup Me was a bit surprised. Grownup me had made the mistake of viewing his world from a rough patch of bark on the shadow side of the tree.

There are bills to pay. Work to be done, 60 hours a week dedicated to the prospect of bringing in enough money to pay the bills, hoping for no surprises. No end in sight to the treadmill, but a long upward climb to the end-phase, “retirement”. A future worry to worry about. Worry about how we’ll make money and spend money in a time that doesn’t even exist yet. A time whose conditions are entirely unknown, and could be better, worse, the same or non-existent by the time the human calendar and the endless clockworks arrive at that place.

There is rest to be had. Rest after work. Rest after dinner. Rest after resting. Rest up to go rest. There have been many years of working and mowing and painting and marrying-off children and burying friends and relatives. There have been decades of mortgage payments, nights in the emergency room, the decision to unplug life support. There have been cars stuck in the snow, stuck in the mud, stuck on the side of the road. There have been ruts in which I was stuck. Sometimes for years.

Boy Me was flabbergasted. Rest? Really? A house and land and money and a family and a car and a dog and so many wonderful things to be excited about, and all that can be imagined is rest? Are you kidding me?

Boy Me remembered being 10, 12, 15. Imagining someday. Someday had a house and land and a car and a family and a dog. Someday had money to spend, a fishing boat, a snowmobile, and time to enjoy them. Someday there would be grownup-ness, and I would be the decider. I would decide what time was bedtime, if there was to be any. I would decide what is good for me to eat or drink or how late I could have a snack or how many cookies were appropriate. I would decide if I would empty a candy dish in one sitting.

Imagined Someday would find me with the freedom to do as I please, within reason. To do as I see fit. To do, or not do if I so chose.

Grownup me was a little hesitant. A little grumpy. A little achy. A little tired. Worried about the weather for Sunday’s Leaf Pile Party. Worried about the approaching heating season. Buying gas, buying pellets. What if the combustion blower needs to be replaced this year?  There’s too much tired and worry and work and winter to be concerned with. Perhaps this is not a good time for childish thoughts.

Boy Me laughed. You grownups. You just don’t know when you’ve got it good, do you? From the perspective of the age of ten, I’d say you’ve achieved a place similar to a god, or perhaps a king. No one to tell you what to do but yourself. Thankfully, you still have all the functions you had as 10-year-old you. Arms and legs and eyes and lungs to go forth into the world, to read books, to select satellite channels, to buy gas for the mower, to haul in a smallmouth bass, to have lunch whenever and wherever you want.

Power tools and model airplanes and you don’t need anyone’s permission to use them!

It's good to be the king.

It’s good to be the king.

Sure, the whole having things and money and toys goes against the grain of eschewing wordly possessions, I suppose. Then again, this is Armchair Zen, not a temple.

Boy Me: What? You even have your own blog site and your own brand of philosophy?

Grownup Me: Well, yeah. It’s pretty easy when you’re a grownup.

Boy Me: But isn’t this exactly what we wished for as a child? To be able to have and do all these things? What are you waiting for? Let’s go play!!

Grownup Me: I, um. I thought there was something that prevented me from acting like a child…

Boy Me: Race you to the car!

Grownup Me: Bet I can be there first!


Be at peace,




One Step of Our Journey

This is the third of a 3-part journal entry. To follow the story from beginning to end, read The Call, and The Longest Ride (ACZ Archives, November 2014) prior to reading this post.  – Paz

First Frost

First Frost

Our journeys together have the power to overcome that endless river, the cosmic clockworks, time itself. Our lives are filled with memories of moments. Each of these, like a snapshot, a sound bite, can be recalled repeatedly, at will. It is the essence of timelessness. It is the attainment of immortality, in a manner, in that we each live on in the hearts and minds and lives of others, long after our imminent demise.

This I have learned from my grandfather, the original “Pop Pop”. From my sainted mother, Marie Lillian. From a few others that have gone before me. Their faces, their voices, their smiles are engraved in my memories. They have shaped me and continue to do so. Every so often you may hear a little New Jersey in my pronunciation. You may be showered with proverbs credited to my grandfather. “My grandfather always said…”

This day, my journey with my beloved dog of nearly fourteen years, Chuy, brings us to the Veterinary Clinic, following a sudden onset of a loss of control over his legs. Unable to stand without assistance, unable to walk without careening side-to-side like a drunken man, this appointment is one I sorely dread. What is the prognosis for an old dog that can’t walk? I couldn’t say the words out loud to the receptionist.

“I’ll wait outside in the van with Chuy.”, I told the kind woman with the saddened face sitting behind the desk.

Why is this tale fitting for Armchair Zen entries?

More than any time in my life I felt an inner calm, an inner peace, a sort of “knowing”. I find it difficult to express. Here was one of the dearest things in my world facing the real end, yet I felt prepared to move through this. Yes, it saddened me. Yes, in spite of years of stumbling down the zen path, I still felt some impending loss. Still, it was not a fear of loss. Not a sense of longing for past days, nor so much the feeling that something big and important, a constant through so many years, was to be taken from us forever.

There seemed, somehow, to be a natural ending occurring. A shuttering of sorts, akin to the putting-away of domestic things in preparation for winter.

These things are not gone or ended forever. They are squirreled away in storage quarters, or buried beneath the frozen soil, or in some cases, standing right where they’ve stood all year, but now without foliage or flower.

Vernal equinox brings that which fades into Autumnal equinox. The book of moons remains unchanged. Such is the way of all things.

Doctor Durie walked out the front door of the vet clinic. He had that concerned Doctor look on his face. Not the “it’s great to see a happy dog for another well-check.”, nor the caring half-smirk of “So, he didn’t learn from the first porcupine, eh?”. But the look of “Oh [sigh]. What do we have here?”.

I described the symptoms robotically. He can walk, but has no balance, falls over. His eye is twitching. His head is tilted to the right constantly. Maybe a stroke?

“Strokes are extremely rare among dogs,” Doctor Durie stated. Kind of him to share, but that didn’t help me. He picked up Chuy’s head, listened to his heart.

Doctor Durie patted Chuy’s head. Then he looked me in the eye, poker-faced.

“He’ll get over it.” the doctor concluded.

“What? Seriously?” I nearly shouted. I was dumbstruck, elated, confused, anxious. I hugged my dear puppy.

“It’s vestibular syndrome,” Doctor Durie stated, and went on to explain how tubes balance air pressure between the two ears, affecting balance. A tube or vestibule stops working on one side and their balance is shot. “He’ll learn to compensate for it. A few days to a few weeks. There may be some permanent change, but he’ll be okay.”

I paid the nominal vet bill. “Best twenty-five bucks I’ve spent all year!” I said to the happy-faced receptionist. Glee all around, for the receptionist, for Doctor Durie, for me. Chuy wasn’t all that gleeful, but if he could have understood the conversation, he’d be gleeful in his heart.

One more step in our wonderous journey together. A reprieve, however brief!

It would be a few days before Chuy could really walk on his own without bouncing off of my leg every third step or so. Today, more than four weeks after I first received that startling call that Chuy had collapsed, he’s almost back to his old pace.

He retains a crooked head, cocked slightly to the right almost always. If he shakes his head as dogs are wont to do, he sometimes staggers afterward. I think his hearing is worse than before, and his dog-tracking is off a bit (his rear paw doesn’t land where his forepaw was lifted while walking, as has been the case hitherto.)

Day two of his ambulatory recovery, we pressed, both of our old, less-than-perfect selves, to walk the trail all the way to the top of Nishan Hill, as we had done hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before. Our place of reverence and serenity, our hilltop cathedral.

“The longest journey begins with a single step.” says an old proverb. There is only one journey for each of our conscious minds, and it is our lifespan here on Earth. The single step is forgotten long ago. It was a day in 1960, when my mother’s beaming smile let go of my hand that first time, that moment.

She knew what she was doing. She didn’t want to let go of her baby. For me, it was the first, single step.

For her, it was but one step of our journey.


Back on Top

Back on Top


Be at peace,



Lesson from a Pooka

In the movie Harvey, James Stewart tells an acquaintance “You can be ‘oh-so-smart’, or ‘oh-so-nice’. I choose ‘oh-so-nice’.”

It’s a great and simple lesson if you can hear it.

Think of the people you love and admire.

How many are “oh-so-nice”?

While we may admire many smart and successful people, when it comes to those we would want to spend time with, don’t we choose “nice”?

In Armchairzen world this means accepting others as they are.

Not being the person that has a comment or opinion or advice (unless you ask for it), but the person who sits and listens.

Not being the person that starts most sentences with “I, me or my”, but the person who talks about you and “us”.

Not being the person to ask “why?”, but being the person that says “why not?”.

In Stewart’s role as Elwood P. Dowd in the film Harvey, the Pooka is a 6-foot rabbit named Harvey, a sort of spirit companion, that only Stewart can see.

It never bothers him that others think he’s crazy. He knows he sees and speaks to Harvey, and easily understands and forgives others for not seeing him.

His sister, concerned for her brother’s mental health, is convinced to commit Elwood to a psychiatric hospital.

In this Pulitzer-winning drama by Mary Chase, when Elwood finds out that his committal is his sister’s desire, he readily submits, simply to please her.

Ultimately, Elwood’s sister realizes that his craziness is just the thing we need in this world. Not someone all wrapped up in themselves, their career, their success.

Without the Elwoods of the world, who would pursue beauty and kindness, forsaking selfishness, meanness and short-sightedness?

You must see the play or the movie sometime to experience the niceness of Elwood P. Dowd. It’s infectious.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received in my life comes from a fictional character described as insane, talking to a six-foot invisible spirit rabbit.

Crazy or not, I  too choose “oh-so-nice”.


Elwood P. Dowd

Elwood P. Dowd



Be at peace,



The Storm Strikes

Squall line horizon

Squall line horizon

This is the third of a 3-part journal entry, beginning with Off The Grid, followed by The Storm Approaches.  -Paz


For Saturday night’s dinner we motored over to Joe’s camp  a bit before dark. Joe filleted the fish that were not eaten as they sat on the stringer in the water. We decided it must have been a cayman that ate our fish, even though they’re not indigenous to our area.

We gorged on fresh-cooked foods as the light faded into darkness, and upon finishing our meal we felt a couple of raindrops fall. Then pat-pat-pat they picked up their pace. Then, BLAM! It started to pour!

We must preface this with two backstories.

First: While I do my best to shun possessions in a zen way, I am one of  those over-prepared people, and this is especially true when on a sojourn. For camp, not only did I bring three changes of clothes in a barrel bag (and like a hundred pairs of socks because I can’t stand wet socks), but also a dry bag with the “last bastion” set of emergency clothes (head-to-toe including briefs, tee, pants, shirt, sweatshirt and dry shoes). Additionally, of course I brought my slicker, just in case we had to strike camp and pack out in the rain forecast for tomorrow.  I brought none of these things when boating to Joe’s camp for dinner, and was wearing just an overshirt, trotting off into the cool July evening.

Second: Joe & Bowin are “absolute minimalist” campers. They each carry a pack of their own gear, and one pack of camp gear. They sleep in hammock tents, hammocks designed for camping that have a mosquito net and rain fly. So at Joe’s camp, there is no tent. There’s no tarp, no pop-up, no lean-to. Nothing whatsoever for shelter.

BOOM! Goes the thunder, as suddenly, before we could toast an after-dinner marshmallow, a storm rolled over camp like a bulldozer. Rain fell in torrents as Joe & Bowin scrambled to put their blankets in the privy, the only place hereabouts that will remain dry in this next hour. We huddled under a tree, and as the thunder rolled again I doubted the wisdom of doing so.

“We should leave now!” I said to Ryan. “This could keep up for hours. We should get back to camp before it gets any worse.” I’m a bit nervous, frankly, that we’re across the lake, in the dark, in the rain and lightning, without shelter, a change of clothes, a fire or even a jacket. I don my fishing vest as an extra layer, some minute measure of rain shedding and warmth.

“Let’s wait it out. I think it’ll pass.” Ryan replies, as he nurses a beer relaxedly from his 32-year-old, peak-of-fitness, immune-to-rain-and-cold perspective.

The rain continues. It came up so fast Joe didn’t save his clothes, only his blankets. The fire was hissing its way to an early death as the firewood stacked on either side of the stone fireplace soaked up the water. I realize that our camp is not rain-prepared. Our firewood, too, is getting a shower, and even if—I mean when–we get back to camp, there would be no warming flames. I can’t recall what else is on the picnic table; lanterns, the camp stove, and..?

Another roll of thunder and the rain keeps up its steady downpour. Now I’m just starting to work on panic. There’s no trail out of here, so our only exit is via boat across the lake. My light-duty clothes are soaked. I curse myself for not even wearing a sweatshirt, let alone remembering the slicker. For not covering the firewood (even though rain was not expected). For putting myself out here on the edge with a 15-year-old and a couple of thirty-something, husky guys in their prime. Now here am I, at 55 years old, with a bit of a heart condition if you must know, stranded from camp without as much as a trash bag to hold over my head. Honestly, it’s not my head I’m worried about. Too much rain for too long, and a guy like me is going to get a serious chill. This is not good when your blood-pump is half worn out. A little hypothermia could spell trouble. Okay, so maybe I won’t die on the spot, but I have only three nitro pills around my neck, and we’re hours away from any kind of medical facility. In my best zen sense I am at peace with dying, but I don’t want to spoil the camping trip.

Generally, I’m pretty cool in a crisis. I can assume control of a hazardous or emergency situation and think faster than a rabbit in headlights. Problem now was, if I become incapacitated before I can take over, I’ll be useless to the entire party.

“I’m hiding in the privy.” I said, as I made my way to the outhouse, expecting a couple of takers to follow me. We’d figure out how to fit and it would be a great story to tell. No one followed. They waited and stood in their overly-manly, carefree way (even the 15-year-old) under that tree. Talking, soaking up the rain, waiting for lightning to strike the 70-foot poplar that was their shelter.

Joe in camp

Joe in camp

What if I’m stuck here for hours? Well, it really was not uncomfortable in the outhouse, now that I wasn’t getting rained on. I started thinking about how one would sleep in a little outhouse all night, still worried my wet clothes would plunge me into a trembling chill. About then, just as the other guys had suspected, the rain started to let up. I suppose the whole shower couldn’t have lasted longer than half an hour or so.

As the squall line moved off to the southeast, the lake quieted to a calm, and the night air seemed to feel a bit warmer. We made our wet way to our wet boats, pumped the bilge water out of the AquaMarie, tied a line to Sparky’s canoe, and bade farewell to Joe & Bowin. They refused all invitations to come to our camp, sleep in a dry tent, get some dry clothes.

“We’ll be fine.” Joe said, in his usual manner, taking everything in stride and making us believe they would, in fact, be fine.

We towed Sparky’s canoe under the running lights of the AquaMarie and a waxing full moon. The water was smooth as glass as Ryan rode shirtless in the bow seat, embracing the evening air, the spray of the boat, the light of the moon and the adventure of it all.

The little flashing light we posted at our camp, thankfully surviving the storm, appeared in the distance. Home! We docked the boat and tied up Sparky’s canoe for him to retrieve in the daylight. I dug around in the bottom of the wood pile for the driest pieces of wood and found a wax fire starter. In a few minutes, we had a little fire going and were in dry clothes, the storm just a memory. Sparky returned in dry clothes to share some of the warmth and the first retellings of the tale. We wondered about Joe & Bowin. Hoped they, too, had a fire by now.




Tomorrow we would strike camp. Joe & Bowin would roll up their hammocks and be at our camp for coffee in the morning. Sparky would pick up his canoe, way early, as I was just waking in the tent. Ryan would be eager to get home to his wife and my 18-month-old granddaughter Ellie (and her big sister Maddie).

And I would regret leaving this place. Take one last look around, then another. Maybe one more. I would not be in a hurry to escape Forked Lake, the High Peaks, the Adirondack Park, our beloved time in the piney woods. I learned a bit about myself on this trip. I faced my limitations.

And the best memories, the “moments” we are bound to remember and relive, were not of sleeping in a tent or catching fish, nor of boating or cooking on the fire.

This year was a great trip, filled with stories that can be exaggerated and amplified as the years pass.

“Did I ever tell you about the time a cayman ate our entire catch of the day and we almost starved?”

How about the time we weathered a hurricane by mustering in the outhouse? Or the time we crossed the lake at night in a storm? Or the time I flipped the canoe and could have drowned?

Sit down, if you have a few minutes, and I’ll tell you about the most wonderous time I had with just a few of my favorite people, and some amazing adventures.

Oh, and how I almost died. But I didn’t.

Be at peace,



It’s not for everybody

Wonder years


We are each products of our upbringing. Our lives to this point, mostly shaped during our early childhood and wonder years, and continually built upon each day until now. (see “Ring Theory”, ACZ Archives, February 2011)

 In my line of work, that day job I have to support my life in this Techno-Monetary society, to pay for things like this blog site, we deal with a number of skills. Our jobs are half technical, half construction, half art and half people-business (sort of paraphrasing Yogi Berra). Some of the folks that try just don’t make the cut, and I tell them “it’s not for everybody”. It takes a unique set of skills and the ability to handle some difficult aspects of the job, such as frequent overnight travel.

 The same can be said of Armchair Zen, or perhaps any number or all manner of philosophies, behaviors or outlooks. Someone wrote to me once and said something to the effect of “I don’t need to practice a certain belief to feel at peace, you just get there.” Well, I won’t argue with that, because that’s their belief, but I know in my case it took many years and a lot of introspection and self-imposed amateur cognitive behavioral therapy, and I’m still not done, I’m sure. If it wasn’t for a number of triggers and some writings of sages, I may never have tried to seek the path of peace.

 Still, just like sushi or football, it’s not for everybody. It seems some people are comfortable in their anger or hostility towards the world, or they feel helpless and overwhelmed, drowning in their negativity. I can’t understand some of it, but it almost appears that they like being angry or bummed-out or suffering all the time.

 Much of that could be considered attention-seeking behavior, and some of it is clearly defensive. It seems some people like or need to be at the center of things, and they draw attention with their tales of woe, worry and angst. It seems some people have a hard, often aggressive and verbally defensive exterior, and I can’t help but think it’s a lot of hooey covering up a great deal of insecurity.

 Many times I have tried to work with someone in one of these states, pouring buckets of Armchair Zen over their heads, hoping to save them from their worries, save them from themselves, essentially. I’ve noted how often there is no suggestion that can help them, no way out of their dilemma. That’s when I say “Clearly you don’t want to consider any other options here, as it would interfere with your suffering.

 In his book Illusions, author Richard Bach wrote a bit that I have adopted and used for the past 35 years or so, to wit: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they are yours.”

 So I’m partial to introspective philosophy, self-scrutiny, and all the rest that makes up Armchair Zen. It doesn’t mean I have to move to Tibet and give away all my worldly possessions. (Though strangely I see monks with cell phones on TV…hmm) It just seems to me that CHOOSING to think in certain ways, KNOWING why we think or feel certain things, QUESTIONING if this is the me I’d imagined for myself, and PRACTICING that which I think is in harmony with the cosmos is a smarter way to go.

 But, you know, it’s not for everybody.

 Be at peace,


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