Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table

bread-basket-food

Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:

…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.

…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.

…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.

…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills

Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control

Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.


Image Source: Foodspotting

Hushed and heavy

winter-mountains-morning-sunrise

…soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed
and heavy.

~ Sara Teasdale, from September Midnight

 


Credits: Photograph – The North Wind. Poem: Lit Verve. Sara Teasdale Bio: Poetry Foundation

Good Dawn Friends!

rain-window-bubbles-morning-train

This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight.
Each has its portion of the spectacular.
But dawn — dawn is a gift.
Much is revealed about a person about his or her passion, or indifference,
to this opening of the door of day.
No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it,
could be a stranger to me.

— Mary Oliver, from Long Life: Essays And Other Writings (Da Capo Press, 2005)

 


Credits: Jianwei Yang – photograph of morning rain from train window. Quote – metaphorformetaphor

 

Monday Morning: Breakfast Time!

gif-photography


Source: Kangaroo sleeping and eating via biomorphosis

I can’t do anything / Contradictions / Blown by the wind

cow-calf-mother

8:06 p.m. on Friday evening.
I’m getting off the train returning home from a long work day in Manhattan.
T.G.I.F.
Susan and Zeke greet me at the train station for our walk home.
Zeke’s tail is wagging wildly, his head on a swivel searching for a present to bring to Dad.

“Eric had a bad day.”

I’m still winded from walking up the stairs from the platform.
The weight of the work week lifts, and anxiety flushes in.
My pulse starts to race. I’m gulping for air.
Bile rolls up my empty stomach and sits gnawing in my throat.

No. Please, no. Not my Son.

“He went to a bull fight with his friends.”

Panic begins to ease. Ms. Drama’s overstatements, or my fatigue misinterpreting degree of “bad day”?

“They left before half. He said there was one bullfighter. The matador has six ‘assistants’, 2 mounted on horseback, three flagmen and a sword servant. Six men looking to kill a single bull. He said it was barbaric. Sickening. He had to get out of the stadium.” [Read more...]

Turkey / / 55 sec to Jump


SMWI*: Start me up!

mick-jagger-gifMick-Jagger-gif-2

mick-jagger-gif-3exercise,fitness,stretch,dance,fit,diet

Mick-Jagger-gif-4dance,exercise,fitness,stretch


SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Moneygoround

5:00 PM Bell: Hit the gates!

funny-gif-bunny-island-running-scary


Rabbit Island in Japan (via Themetapicture.com). Read more on Rabbit Island at the Guardian: Rabbit Island: A Japanese Holiday Resort for Bunnies

Drive up the Nostalgia Bus

album-gif


Source: Rudyscuriocabinet

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

penguin-funny-fall-gif


Source: gifak-net

What’s he thinkin’?

teddy-bear-cute-adorable


Source: Teddy Blue by Marko Mastosaari via Steps on My Sunlight Floor

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

hump day, wednesday,caleb,geico,camel

Whole Wheat. Strong Teeth.


Source: trekearth. Hump Day Related Post: Hit it Again.

Some days, some days…

lynx-cat-paws

…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.

and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws.  Incredible… [Read more...]

I was never completely where I was

crackphone_2

David Roberts: Re-boot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox:

[...] There was no such thing as caught up; there was, at best, keeping up. To step away from e-mail, news feeds, texts, chats, and social media for even a moment was to allow their deposited information to accumulate like snow in the driveway, a burden that grew every second it was neglected.

I spent most of my daytime hours shoveling digital snow. The core of my job—researching, thinking, writing at greater-than-140-character length—I could accomplish only in the middle of the night, when things calmed down. I spent more and more hours working, or at least work adjacent, but got less and less done.

Meanwhile, my mind and body adapted to the pace of digital life, with its ceaseless ping ping ping of notifications and alerts. I got twitchy if I was away from my phone for more than a few seconds. I felt it vibrating in my pocket when it wasn’t there, took it with me to bed, even to the bathroom. (I got pretty good at tweeting while I peed, to my enduring discredit.)

All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram [...]

Don’t miss the rest of the story here: Reboot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox.


Image: “Crackphone” from Saltywaffle.com

Truth

feel-blessing-curse


Source: verystrongwords

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Shower Time

gif,photogr  bird-shower-bath-cute-adorable-2


Source: thesensualstarfish

Running. As a Witness.

head down,tired, fatigued

R. Dass: “Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.

6:31 am. September 6, 2014.

76° F.  Humid.

He’s wearing black shorts, above the knee.

He has two bands on his left wrist. Both black. A Garmin GPS, tracking time and distance. A Vivo Fit, another Garmin tool, tracking his step count.  His head bobs, no, it tics, checking progress on his devices every 30-40 seconds.

His shirt is canary yellow, sleeveless. The sweat stains are darkening his shirt, spilled black ink creeping down his chest.

His running shoes are off-the-shelf new, with hyper-green florescent laces, tied with symmetrical bows on each foot.

His head is down but for the presence of oncoming traffic, when he’ll steal a look up, and offer a wave to the driver who gives him wide berth.

He’s heavy footed. Solemn. A hulking, Dutch plow horse, blinders blocking out peripheral vision. The furrows behind him, turned and plowed over and under and over again. [Read more...]

Read

Beyond the First Draft

wsj: How to Read a Book – and Maybe Write One:

 Beyond the First Draft” is a collection of essays about writing. Because they are about writing, they’re also about reading. For John Casey, as I would judge for most good writers, it’s difficult to separate the two activities. One feeds into the other, and the process is repeated in reverse. No doubt there are exceptions, because there is scarcely a rule to which there aren’t, but it is rare to find a writer who wasn’t first, and for a long part of his life, a devoted and compulsive reader, though not necessarily a discriminating one.

[...] This is just what John Casey does in these essays, encouraging us to look more closely and intelligently at what we read and even at what we may be trying to write.

~ Allan Massie, in a review of John Casey’s “Beyond the First Draft”


John Casey, 75, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa. His previous novel, Spartina, won the 1989 National Book Award for fiction. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is Professor in the English Department at the University of Virginia.  In Beyond the First Draft he offers his essential and original insights into the art of writing—and rewriting—fiction. Find his new book on Amazon here: Beyond the First Draft.

 

SMWI*: Stretch

black and white-climb-stretch


SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Your Eyes Blaze-Out

5:00 PM Bell: Run Walter, Run


Walter, a lab, loves the sea. And he’ll stop at nothing to get there. The footage was captured on the coast of Siracusa, Italy. (Source: GrindTV)

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

read-book-woman-portrait-black-and-white

One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.

~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle

 


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

funny-gif-dog-showering-wet-cute-adorable


Source: themetapicture.com

It did

 

and

all

at

once,

summer

collapsed

into

fall

 


Source: Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men via ...Just Saying

Truth: I am a habit machine. I suffer from character sclerosis.

Six-figure advance: Vincent Deary sparked a bidding war for his book.

Carole Cadwalladr, ‘Vincent Deary: ‘Are you living the life you want to lead?’

At the age of 40 Vincent Deary jacked in his job as an NHS psychotherapist, sold his house in south London, moved to Edinburgh and locked himself in a small room for two years to write a book. Or, more accurately, to think about writing a book. He spent the first year mostly writing Post-it notes. By the fifth year, having turned 45, he finally finished it and called it How to Live

…What comes across most strongly in How to Live is just how bloody difficult it is to change. Or, as is more often the case, to handle change. Deary had a choice – to stay in London or to go – but many of those he cites in the book don’t have a choice. Change has been thrust upon them – partners leave, work dries up, people die. “There are many ways our worlds can end,” he writes in the book. “It may start as a distant rumour, a noise outside your small world, or an unexpected intrusion within it… sooner or later your current world will change, the present season will end.”

And even the perfect people of Facebook, with smiling kids and sunny skiing holidays, are not immune. “They will fall for their lover, their dog will die, they’ll have to move house, they’ll go bankrupt, they’ll die, they’ll age and if they stay the same their circumstances will change so their old responses won’t produce the same response from the environment. So even if they stay the same, that will mean change.” The problem is that we are “habit machines”. We suffer from “character sclerosis”. “Left to [our] own devices, the result will be the downhill slide of a life dictated by whatever happened last, by happenstance and habit.”

Read entire column at The Guardian


 

 

Everything

connect


Source: …Just Saying

Stalking Friday

funny-gif-cat-slowly-showing-window


Source: themetapicture

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-wednesday-hump-day

It’s Hump Day & Beach Day! Dig your toes in and chill.

Don’t miss amazing facts about Caleb and camels: HumanKind. AnimalKind. OneKind.


Source: onekind.org

 

Choose. McEwan.

nuvo-magazine-autumn-ian-mcewan-page-image-book-1918752997

And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

Family.
I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan


Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)


Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call: Up, Up, Up

bird-fly-rain


Source: Thisiseverthing

EXACTLY what I needed to see. PERFECT.

cool-chart-prime-person-ages


Source: People Were Asked About Their Prime Years, These Were Their Answers. themetapicture.com

Goodbye August. Hello September.

charlie_brown_and_snoopy


Source: Father Jim Chern’s Blog

There is only one way to live your life. It’s all a miracle.

monarch-butterfly

The butterfly’s brain,
the size of a grain of salt,
guides her to Mexico.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Notes: Photo Source: nathab.com. Poem Source: Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Running. A bucket in the rain.

running-path-mountains

6:01 am.

Crickets. Birds. And me.

Humidity 90%, but cut by a cool morning, 57º. Running weather.

I check my exercise log. Last running entry: August 3rd. I scan the page. More white space than entries. Ray is down 36 lbs in 7 weeks. I’m, well, you know, Up. And, staring at white spaces.

I’m out the door.

It’s Thursday. Evening.
(Another) last supper with the kids before they depart. It’s a short week, I’m off from work on Friday. Heaviness lifts. Weariness lingers. Gratitude drifts in. A peaceful, easy feeling sets in over dinner. Family. Our family dines together.

It’s Friday. Morning.
Departure Day.
Eric comes up to the attic. “Why are you a hermit, Dad?”
We exchange fist bumps. As he turns, I jump him from behind and we wrestle. He’s become unmanageable. I pull up before things break, on me.

It’s Friday. Early afternoon.
We’re in the car to JFK.
President Obama visits Weschester County on Friday afternoon – the same Friday kicking off the long Labor Day weekend. His security team has shut down I-95, 287 and all major thorough ways, snarling traffic. The result: A 2.5 hour drive to JFK. Purpose of the President’s trip: Fundraisers. [Read more...]

Saturday Morning

saturday-morning-window-breeze

But the pleasant thing is to wake early, throw open the window, and lie reading in bed.

- Edward Fitzgerald, from a letter to W. F. Pollock, May 3, 1840


Credits: Image Source: thesensualstarfish. Quote: Just Saying

T.G.I.F.: I made it!

Puppy-adorable-jumping-cute-gif


Definition of Insanity:

Doing (watching) the same thing over and over and over again expecting a different result.


Source: thesensualstarfish

Such raw being aches

feel-live-peace-art-woman

So often we run from feeling and yet it is only through feeling that we can know the depth of life. Only through feeling can we hold the smallest shell or bone and feel the tug of the Universe. Such raw being aches, for, as the Buddhists say, the bareness of being here is so full. I wake with this rawness and watching you sleep, I’m stopped before I start. Before I dress, I lose why I’m going anywhere. Yet wherever the day takes me- pausing to hold the groceries with the old man who packs them or seeing the neighbor’s child at the kitchen table doing homework as I walk our dog or pulling over to watch the small horse breathe his cloud over the fence- everywhere this bareness illumines. With no way to that bareness but through feeling and the listening that feeling opens. Some say I get lost in this feeling, this listening. But only if I think I know where I’m going, only if I think I know what I’m listening for. Through this bareness of being, we refresh our openness and enliven our innate connection to the one living sense. Through our unblocked, sincere response to life, we can tune our inner person with the great mysteries.

~ Mark Nepo


Credits: Thank you Make Believe Boutique, my daily inspiration, for the poem. Visual Art by Karolina Szymkiewicz via ufukorado.

To hell with old school. Here’s to fist bumps.

germs, bacteria,

A strong handshake is almost twice as effective as a weak one in transferring bacteria such as E. coli from one person to another, according to a study conducted in the UK and reported in The New York Times. A moderately strong handshake, in turn, transfers about twice as many bacteria as a high-five. A fist bump is even more hygienic than a high-five.

~ A Firm Handshake, a Lot of Bacteria from The Daily Stat via NY Times: The Upside of a Wimpy Handshake


Image: Frenchfalpal.

Related Post: Running with Howie

 

NOW. Breathe.

swim-swimming-black and white-breathe


Source: Preciousandfregilethings


That’s the factory whistle. The shift is over.

tired-fatigue-black-and-white

The best thing you and I can do at the end of the writing day is to stash our work gloves in our locker, hang our leather apron on a hook, and head for the workshop door. If we’ve truly put in our hours today, we know it. We have done enough. It won’t help to keep at it like a dog worrying a bone.

I forgot who said this (I think it was John Steinbeck in Journal of a Novel):

Let the well fill up again overnight.

~ Stephen Pressfield, The Office Is Closed


Credits: Quote – Stephen Pressfield, The Office is Closed. Photograph – ufukorada

 

1 and 2 and 3, all together now.

bubbles-cute-dog


Source: gifak

 

Oh No. She’s right.

polar-bear-funny

A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.

- Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong


Credits:

 

 

 

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-funny-pyramids-wednesday-hump-day


Source: camels (Hump Day Call!)

 

 

Like an old dog

dog,sleepy,sigh

Like an old dog
I slowly lower and
arrange myself
in a heap of sighs.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Image Source: Kingray

I’m an Occhiolic

aerial,hair

occhiolism

n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.


Credits: Word Definition – Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Photography: Rona Keller

Related Posts from Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

Thoreau? A Dilettante.

Christopher-Thomas-Knight

His name is Christopher Thomas Knight. He was born 1965. He was 20 years old when he disappeared into the woods in Central Maine. He was captured in April 2013 when he was 47. During his 27 years in the woods:

  • He never slept inside. He slept only in a tent. An unheated nylon tent. In an area which falls to 20° below zero in the winter.
  • He had contact with only one person during the entire time, in the 1990’s. A hiker.
  • He never used a shower. Or a toilet.
  • He never made one phone call.
  • He never drove in a car.
  • He never spent any money. (1000+ burglaries provided sustenance)
  • He never in his life sent an email or even seen the internet.

When he was asked about Thoreau, who spent two years in the woods at Walden, Knight dismissed him with a single word: “dilettante.” (def: dabbler, amateur, nonprofessional.)

At the very end of each of our visits, I’d always asked him the same question. An essential question: Why did he disappear? He never had a satisfying answer. “I don’t have a reason.” “I can’t explain why.” “Give me more time to think about it.” “It’s a mystery to me, too.” Then he became annoyed: “Why? That question bores me.” But during our final visit, he was more reflective. Isn’t everybody, he said, seeking the same thing in life? Aren’t we all looking for contentment? He was never happy in his youth—not in high school, not with a job, not being around other people. Then he discovered his camp in the woods. “I found a place where I was content,” he said. His own perfect spot. The only place in the world he felt at peace.

This story hasn’t left my consciousness for days. Don’t miss reading the full story at GQ: The Strange Tale of the North Pond Hermit.


Portrait Source: centralmaine.com

Monday Mantra: Go Deep

thomas-bernhard

“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”

— Thomas BernhardOld Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)

[Read more...]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Let’s Go

Pocahontas, gif, disney, jump, fly, john smith, animation, film


Source: chalkandwater

Something easily broken, like porcelain or crystal, and something delicate and valuable

Oulu-finland-forest-nature-woods

This is Your Brain on Silence by Daniel A. Gross:

“Silence, Please” has proven to be the most popular theme in Finland’s rebranding, and one of the most popular pages on VisitFinland.com. Maybe silence sells because, so often, we treat it as a tangible thing—something easily broken, like porcelain or crystal, and something delicate and valuable. Vikman remembers a time when she experienced the rarity of nearly complete silence. Standing in the Finnish wilderness, she strained her ears to pick out the faintest sounds of animals or wind. “It’s strange,” she says, “the way you change. You have all the power—you can break the silence with even with the smallest sounds. And then you don’t want to do it. You try to be as quiet as you can be.”


Notes:

 

SMWI*: Three Dancers

imogen-cunningham-three-dancers-gif

This photograph is a gif of Imogen Cunningham’s: Three Dancers, Mill College (1929). Cunningham’s original photograph and bio can be found below:

[Read more...]

5:00 P.M. Bell

gif


Source: YourEyesBlazeOut