Archive for September, 2011

Five Ideas for Staying Refreshed

September 25, 2011 5 comments

Staying refreshed is one of the most important things that you can do to stay physically, emotionally, and spiritually happy. However, in our busy and hectic modern world staying refreshed can be difficult. I know there are times where it seems that all I do is commute, work, spend a few hours with the family, and then go to sleep, just so I can repeat the process all over again the next day. (sometimes that schedule isn’t too far off from reality). I know during these periods my relationships with my friends and family suffer, and so does my personal physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Sometimes during these hectic periods I have found it helpful to take a step back and analyze various aspects of my life and schedule, which allows to regain control of both. Here are five ideas that I employ on a regular basis in order to stay as refreshed as possible.

Read more…

Zen and the Art of Corvette Maintenance

September 16, 2011 9 comments

My 1975 Corvette

I have a confession to make, I love cars, I mean I really, really, really love cars. Some people “like” cars, and if people are really into cars they might call themselves a “gearhead”. I really don’t think the term “gearhead” adequately covers my love for all things automotive. From my office, I can listen to the traffic outside and tell you by exhaust note alone if a vehicle is a Ford, Chevy, or Doge, and even more specifically if it is a Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, or a truck from one of the aforementioned brands. I can also diagnose most vehicle issues by sound alone.

Now then, I didn’t right this article in order to flaunt any of my preconceived notions of automotive prowess. Instead, I will tell you about some insights that I learned while working on my 1975 Corvette Stingray, which is in response to a request made by a friend

My old Corvette is in really good shape, mostly thanks to a fairly extensive restoration done by the previous owner. However, like any car that is 36 years old (at the time of this writing), it has some “issues” that have to be ironed out from time to time. The most recent issue was with the brakes, which is really the most important component of a vehicle; after all, it doesn’t matter how fast your car is if you can’t stop. Therefore, in the interest of avoiding a catastrophic  brake failure, I decided to replace the entire braking system.

While I have done this on numerous vehicles in the past, the ol’ Vette has proved to be a huge hassle. It is no exaggeration that literally every nut, bolt, and fitting is either rusted solid, stripped, galled, cross-threaded, or the incorrect size. Therefore, there have been many trips to various auto parts stores, online retailers, and long nights full of busted knuckles. Some of these late nights have been particularly taxing because I am generally tired from working all day, and I don’t like having to spend time away from my family, especially my two year old son whose sole wish is to help daddy on the car, but who must be refused because of the large amounts of automotive chemicals that have been spilled onto the floor. Read more…

7 Common Questions Regarding Meditation

September 9, 2011 5 comments

I am writing this article as a follow-up to a guest post that I wrote for The Art of Manliness Website, “A Primer on Meditation“. I feel that the article was well received, and almost all of the comments have been positive, except for the inevitable internet trolls. While perusing the comments sections, there were several questions that seem to be common amongst those unfamiliar with the practice, those just beginning the practice, or those simply in a rut. Since many of the questions presented by the readers often come up in any discussion on meditation, I will attempt address some of them, as well as other common questions. As always, I disclaim any expertise, I am merely a seeker and a practitioner.

1) Is Meditation “Evil” or Does it Conflict With My Religion?

Well no, unless you feel that any sort of self-improvement or self-introspection is evil, or conflicts with your religion. All religions teach the need for some sort of spiritual development, meditation provides fantastic ways of accomplishing the inner work that is vital to spiritual and personal development.

At its core, meditation involves delving within yourself to discover who “you” really are. There are many different ways of doing this, and some of the most common types are discussed in my article on The Art of Manliness. While some forms of meditation involve repeating a mantra of some kind, you can easily use a verse/poem/saying of your choice to recite; therefore, a mantra/affirmation is adaptable to any religious, spiritual, or philosophical viewpoint. Also, there are numerous meditation techniques which require no mantra/affirmation at all. Read more…

Be a Good Ancestor Today

My Son and I reading on my Nook Color

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors

– Jonas Salk (Developer of the first Polio Vaccine)

Recently I have ran across several blogs, topics, books, podcasts, etc., promoting the message, “Be a Good Ancestor Today”. While it appears that the message originates from the above quote by Dr. Salk, the message has recently been popularized by the World Wildlife Fund, Dr. Judith Rich, Samantha Power, as well as various other authors and academics.

The central message of this theme/movement is that we must undertake actions that will ensure that future generations, our kids, grand-kids, etc., enjoy a healthy society and environment. While this might seem opposed to a “living in the now” mentality, it is not. While a living in the now mentality involves enjoying and fully experiencing each moment of life to the fullest (Zen Buddhism has excellent teachings on this), it certainly does not mean that we should undertake actions which are selfish, or harmful to others. To the contrary, we each have a duty to make sure that others are not harmed by our actions. We should always seek to help, but take care to never harm or negatively influence others. Future generations should look back on our life, and find it worthy of emulation. Read more…

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