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What POSITIVE CHANGES are you making in your life?
charlest wrote: Dysjunct, or anyone else, can you speak to any personal experience with meditation and its positive effect on your life?
I've been curious about practicing meditation and mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition, mostly as an exploration of consciousness. But I have some hang-ups on committing to it and not quite sure where to start, or whether it would be worth my time.
Probably the main practical benefit is that it puts a little mental space between my emotions and how I act. I got a lot better at realizing that my impulses aren’t “me” and so I could slow down and be more deliberate about things.
As far as exploration of consciousness, that is a much more ambitious project. The general path is to do concentration meditation first. You focus on an object — your breath, or a candle flame, or whatever — as long as you can, and when you notice that your attention has drifted, you gently bring it back. With practice you get better at it and can do it for longer without getting distracted. The reason you do this first is because without the ability to pay undivided attention for long periods, you won’t be able to observe your thought processes long enough to really dig into what’s going on.
Then you can move on to more awareness, inward-directed meditation. You observe sensations and thoughts coming and going. In traditional Buddhism, there’s various stages that you go through as the mind gets progressively quieter. Eventually you directly experience all perceptions as an endless flowing stream, arising and passing away, with no self mediating or conceptualizing the experience. If you get to that point, padawan, that’s considered the first of the four stages of enlightenment.
My own experience is that I have had that kind of thing happen in meditation. It is kind of weird. My whole sense of self dropped away like the bottom of a bucket falling out and there was nothing there. It was somewhat pleasurable, like a feeling of mild bliss.
As far as where to start, if you have a vipassana group near you I’d start there. Otherwise the Waking Up app is very good. Many of the other meditation apps are focused on “mindfulness” from a self-care perspective, which is fine, but if you’re looking for insights into consciousness, you probably aren’t going to get those with a “10 minute de-stress!” program.
So I just booked an appointment for a photoshoot with a professional photographer with a specialty in fashion shoots with an editorial style. It will be an outdoor shoot in my favorite local park with a backdrop of post-peak fall colors. I'm only paying for an hour, so I am limited to two outfits, but she recommended that I bring several extra outfits so we have some options. She charges 50% more than other portrait photographers in my area, but her photos are striking compared to the bland portfolios of the competition.
My buddy has told me absolute horror stories and I’ve come to the conclusion that the only place anyone I know has found a real gem after 40 is at cancer support groups where women lost their husbands. The rest of the 40+ single/divorcees all seem to be either really damaged or really batshit crazy. One lady literally sucked my buddy into a six month long-game con FAKING CANCER to get money from him.
So, hard pass on all that.
I recently was at the ex’s house, we still hang out all the time. She was having a really bad few hours at work and she just started going off like she used to about everything. I literally was having a mini panic attack. It took me totally by surprise. I involuntarily said “holy shit, I was literally traumatized” and she began mocking me but not AT me, just kind of at the clouds between rage yells about her computer not working.
I had to get the hell out of there and I took her dog and asked my daughter if she wanted to go for a walk. My kid says “we all were.” and I ask what she’s talking about, she says, “We all were traumatized by the crazy and she knows it, and that’s why she’s mocking you.” I had no idea she heard any of it. But yeah, she’s right.
So I finally realized that the only person who really mattered, ever, to my ex-wife is my ex-wife. It was just such a stark realization. My other daughter told me a story about how she was going grocery shopping with her mom and when the ex was deciding what to wear she literally said “Oh I can’t wear that dress because it will be too distracting and all the men will stare.”
It’s so strange. I think it feels like being in a submarine for a while and you don’t really realize you’re underwater and under immense pressure but when you finally disembark after a 6 month tour you realize how you didn’t even notice how bad the air smelled inside and how light you felt.
So, I’ve decided to not entertain reconciliation with her. Not really. She’d have to go to counseling and get her narcissistic bullshit and her rage under serious control before I’d even entertain it.
So, that’s one positive thing. I also started weight training in earnest again, and I have changed my diet substantially. I never worked out much except for fun because every time I mentioned fitness I was immediately accused of only wanting to do so to get other women, not because my father died extremely young of heart disease and diabetes. So, I got this Caliber app and it’s exceptional, plus the MyFitnessPal calorie and macro app, which I’ve been using on and off for maybe 12 years. I talked to my buddy who is an ex-pro bodybuilder and he got me onto some killer protein (Beverly UMP) which is amazing stuff. I haven’t felt this good in ages, despite my shoulder injuries from years of being stupid (I was always “permitted” to work out on bags or spar with my fighting buddies for some reason…so my shoulders aren’t great anymore..lots of arthritis).
Dating is hard in my 50s. I want to date age-appropriate women, but not anybody who looks like a grandmother, even though I am old enough to be a grandfather. Most of the women who "like" my profile are either too far away, or a few years older than me and look even older. The overwhelming majority are divorced, and the second most common status is widowed. Here are the five women that I actually dated this last year:
1. Five dates with a bipolar racist with a drinking problem. She seemed off from the start, but it took a while for her to let her guard down and expose her issues.
2. Five dates with a snobby programmer from India.
3. One date with a nice lady who looked like Helen Hunt. We coincidentally wore matching outfits and had a lot in common, but she vanished after that first date.
4. Five dates with a psychologist from Taiwan. She called it off just as we were falling for each other, because she is a serious Christian and I am an atheist. I volunteered to go to church with her and work at becoming religious, but that was insufficient.
5. One date with a teacher from China. She lost interest when I revealed that I rarely travel anymore and have never left the U.S. Roughly 95% of the women on the dating sites are very interested in travel. Maybe it's how they screen out broke guys and cheapskates.
Kayaking is code for “be fit, even if I’m not, and also, I drink”
Travel is code for “Booze cruises all around on your dime”
True Crime!is code for “I watch tv a lot”
Kayaking is awesome, Mark. Honestly, great chest and back workout and wonderful nature views
For a long time, I suspect that my cat has been lonely for the company of other cats. Whenever one of my cat-owning friends is over, my cat always wants to sniff their purse or roll around on their coat because of the cat smell. A month ago, we encountered a feral cat during our daily walk, and my cat really wanted to meet her. He slowly crawled closer and closer to her, but she was probably freaked out by me holding the other end of my cat's leash. So she hissed and ran away, and my cat insisted that we keep returning to that spot for a week afterwards. The other day, he found spot where another cat had been lying out in the sun, and he kept sniffing and rolling on that spot.
So I want to get another cat, but apparently a kitten would be better in this case so that my elderly cat doesn't get bullied and they will more easily get along. Supply is still pretty limited at local shelters. Nobody wants to adopt an older cat (though I normally would consider it) or a bonded pair of kittens, so the single kittens are scarce like unicorns. I am also willing to consider a young cat who is a little older than a kitten, like 5 to 11 months old.
SuperflyPete wrote: Travel is code for “Booze cruises all around on your dime”
in addition to 'don't be afraid of leaving your comfort zone'.
That's your cat marking its territory & telling other cats to F off.
Shellhead wrote: The other day, he found spot where another cat had been lying out in the sun, and he kept sniffing and rolling on that spot.
Introducing cats to homes with other cats is a crapshoot. Cats can be highly territorial & react unpredictably to other cats. Most cats who truly get along were raised from birth in the same litter. We have a grey cat who is sweet as can be with people, but we have a screen door installed in the house to keep him in his own half of the palace, because when other cats wander back there he truly attempts to murder them. Raising an older cat with a kitten can be a better idea, but realize sometimes the older cat ain't into new pussy, and the kitten won't necessarily grow to love the existing cat. In my travels cats often just want a quiet home with a sunny window where they can be left alone in peace.
Shellhead wrote: So I want to get another cat, but apparently a kitten would be better in this case so that my elderly cat doesn't get bullied and they will more easily get along.