The Little Rituals of Life that Bond and Nourish

September 23, 2013 4 comments

Baby John's 1st Football Saturday!

Baby John’s 1st Football Saturday!

In the hustle and bustle of life, I have often found that the little rituals of life that I have setup not only help ground me, but also help to nourish various parts of my life, by maintaining important bonds with my friends and family. For example:

1) Every morning, when I get to the office, I always have my first cup of coffee in silence, before I even turn my computer on. This lets me relax, and focus on the tasks at hand, as well ground myself.

2) On days when I can, I always try to set aside 10 to 20 minutes during lunch for meditation or contemplation.

3) Every Tuesday or Thursday, my in-laws host a big family dinner. While this may seem horrible to many people, I am blessed to have great in-laws, and it is always a great time to catch-up and just spend time together.

4) Every Friday I try to have a big lunch with friends. This gives us a chance to catch-up, and stay connected. Some Friday’s we may have four people, and some Friday’s it may be standing room only, but no matter what it is a great time!

5) Every Saturday morning my son and I go to the doughnut shop together. While not the healthiest ritual, it gives us a chance for “guy time” as my four year old calls it. We talk about the previous week of school, and our big plans for the weekend.

6) I am extremely lucky that I married someone who likes college football almost as much as I do. So when football season comes around we will try to get all of our chores done by 11:00 am, so that we can watch the first kick-off, and generally we will stay up until the last game is over.

While these little rituals may seem trivial, they have become very important to my life, and they each serve a unique purpose. I often hear people say that they don’t have time to take care of themselves, to meditate, to spend time with friends, or to spend time with their families. I have found that I have to make time for myself, my friends, and my family. I have a very hectic work schedule, and with an almost two hour round-trip commute, I have to make a habit out of the little rituals that help fulfill and nourish the various areas of my life.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett

As always, thanks for reading, and please share what little rituals you have carved out of your time for grounding, bonding, or nourishment.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

Introducing My New Book: “The Path”

September 15, 2013 8 comments

Thank you all for your early support! In less than 24 hours “The Path” is already number 36 on Amazon.com’s Comparative Religion List! I am truly grateful!

 

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent on here lately. Well, I have been finishing up my book, which has been an almost 10 year long project. It has really been a labor of love, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure that I would ever actually finish it, but I finally have, and it has now been published by Stone Guild Publishing!

ThePath_Cover_Mockup_1024I appreciate all of the kind words and support that everyone has given me over the years, and I am very excited to finally be able to present this book.

From the Back Cover:

Jason E. Marshall is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and children. Jason holds a B.A. in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations and Cultural Studies, as well as a Juris Doctorate. Jason became interested in the study of comparative religion during his undergraduate studies, after undergoing a truly transformational experience during an introductory comparative religion course. After his initial transformational experience, Jason undertook a personal journey to learn more about the various religions of the world in order to gain a better understanding of the ties that unite humanity, as well as his own true nature, and ultimately God. What began as personal notes from his studies and journeys became the genesis of this book.

Rather than the normal dry recitation of facts that highlight the differences among the world religions, in The Path, Jason explores the seven major religions of the world in order to highlight the ties that should unite, rather divide, humanity. Jason also shows how the teachings and insights from the various world religions can be applied to anyone’s journey of personal and spiritual development, regardless of one’s particular path or spiritual background.

In order to kick this book off, I am going to have a contest where I will give away two (2) free signed copies via random drawing on September 30, 2013. This is how it will work. Every “Like” on the blog will get one (1) entry, and every “share” will get three (3) entries.

There will also be a Facebook page contest with similar rules (Yes you can enter both contests). Please visit the Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/ThePathBook

To purchase the book please visit Amazon.com: or simply click the book cover below!

Parenting with Mindfulness

August 28, 2013 10 comments

My sweet boys

My sweet boys

A few weeks ago I was up all night with my newborn John. I had an extremely busy day planned, and no matter what i tried, he refused to go to sleep. As the hours ticked away, I could feel myself grow increasingly frustrated. I really wasn’t in the mood for this, I really didn’t have time for this, I really needed sleep so that I could go to work and be productive… Then it hit me. This will pass, and very quickly. Too quickly…

Obviously John wasn’t feeling well, and he was depending on me for comfort and care. While we were apparently getting our signals mixed, he still needed me, and I needed to let go of being frustrated. While I don’t relish sleepless nights with newborns, it seems like just yesterday I was on the alternating night shift routine with my wife, so that we could watch and take care of our oldest son Jase… and Jase started school two weeks ago.

I remember with Jase I couldn’t wait for his next stage of development. I couldn’t wait until he slept all night, I couldn’t wait until he ate solid food, could crawl, walk, be potty-trained, etc. Looking back, most of my anticipation seemed to be driven by more than a dash of selfishness. Once he slept all night, so could I. When he could crawl and then walk, I wouldn’t have to carry him everywhere. Eating solid foods meant I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare and clean bottles. Once potty-trained, I no longer had to check and change diapers every few hours. To say that children grow up too quickly may seem like a cliche, but just looking back over the past 4-1/2 years of Jase’s life, I can tell that it is true.

It is easy to practice mindfulness (the practice of being fully present in each moment), during slow times, meditation, or while conducting a relaxing activity; however, I think that mindfulness is especially important when interacting with our children, no matter how young or old. By being fully present in the moment, we are fully present in life. By being fully present as a parent, we are fully present in our children’s life, which is the most important thing we can do, because only then can we fully interact with our children the way that parents should. Parenting can be tiring and frustrating, but it really is the most important job we have, because our children are mirrors that reflect the lessons and general environment that we provide for them. Our parenting also has a definite impact on the type of adults that our children will grow to be. Will they be impatient, and quick to anger, or will the be kind and understanding? Read more…

Dear John: 1 Month

August 12, 2013 2 comments

Another great post from my wife. It is easy to try and rush past important, yet sometimes frustrating and tiring moments in our lives. It seems like just yesterday my oldest son was the crying infant, and this coming Thursday he starts school!

Dear John: 1 Month.

Categories: Uncategorized

Introducing John Thomas…


Hi There! It’s been several months since I have posted anything, but I have been extremely busy with work, and my family. My wife and I recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy, John Thomas Marshall, into the world on July 3, 2013.

I hope to start posting regularly again soon, and I should also have a new book out in a few weeks!

Until then, please check out my wife’s post on her new blog!

Introducing John Thomas….

Thank you all for your support!

Categories: Uncategorized

Division as the Root of Conflict

April 22, 2013 7 comments

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonfly1965/5948700943/ (c) dragonflynan1965 2011

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonfly1965/5948700943/ (c) dragonflynan1965 2011

This has been a rough week of terrorism for the U.S.A., in a single week we have witnessed the bombing of the Boston Marathon, and the mailing of ricin laden letters to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. This week was also the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing (04/19/1995).

Those directly effected by the Boston bombing showed tremendous heroism by rushing to the aid of those injured immediately following the attack, and some runners even continued running to the nearest hospital to donate blood… after already running a marathon! The city of Boston as a whole, also seemed to show tremendous resolve and unity during the manhunt for the perpetrators.

However, almost immediately after the news broke about the bombings many people who were not directly effected by the acts seemed to be in a rush to pin the blame on someone. Were the acts done by radical Muslims? Right-wing fundamentalists? North Koreans? Everyone seemed to be in a rush to pin blame on “them”. There seemed to be an intense need to exonerate one’s own group (“us”), as well as justify deep seeded mistrust of “them”. Once it was discovered that foreign born, presumably Muslim, young men had perpetrated the bombing (Perhaps if we add in enough identifiers, each of us can distance ourselves from “them”), I watched on several social network sites, as many people almost gleefully celebrated the exoneration of their group, while armchair quarterbacking appropriate responses and protections.

While it is unknown at this time what exactly triggered the Tsarnaev brothers to commit their act, I can guarantee you at the root of it was division (a classic “us vs. them” conflict). Perhaps they didn’t feel that they fit in to American society, so the entire community composed “them”, perhaps they felt persecuted or marginalized because of their faith or ethnicity, perhaps it was an extension of the Chechnya -Russian conflict. Somewhere, there was an us vs. them mentality at the root. There always is, because regardless of what “group” a terrorist comes from, the us vs. them mentality is the fertile soil that allows the seeds of extremism (darkness) to take root and grow. The division (whether perceived or actual) is necessary for terrorism, because in order to conduct an act of terrorism, you must view your victims as sub-human, or at least deserving of carnage and death, which is not what G*d wants for us, nor is it what human nature dictates. Also, after an act of terrorism, the us vs. them mentality causes friction that prevents true healing.

Read more…

Zen Moments


This is my twenty-sixth (and final!) post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I have tried to post a point of reflection or insight that I used to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I attempted to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lent itself to interesting insights and growth, because I not only had several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but I also had several days to put any lessons and insights that I discovered to work in my every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I tried to write updates as the weekly topics came up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

Z= Zen Moments: Zen moments are moments, often unexpected, of mental and/or spiritual clarity and insight. Zen moments are the times in our life where clarity and insight breaks through the mental and spiritual clouds that can build up during every day life. These moments can happen at any time, but some of my most profound insights and experiences have occurred somewhat out of the blue after I have been ruminating on a seemingly endless topic for quite some time, or when I just take a random moment out of my day to relax, meditate, or reflect.

I have also experienced several of these moments out of the blue with my wife or son, where their laughter, a smile, or a simple hug blissfully places me smack-dab in the here and now, where I cannot help but relish in the beautiful simplicity of the moment. During these moments, the mental clutter and buzz of normal life fades away, and living in the now, is truly blissful.

Some may see moments such as these as a distraction, or even a possible anchor for attachment; because after all, bliss-hunting or bliss-seeking can easily lead one to fall into a never-ending trap of attachment, seeking, depression, and even addiction. However, these moments of clarity, insight, and general bliss, really help to keep me going on my spiritual path. Life isn’t about asceticism, where the one who gives up the most wins the most, the Buddha tried that method and failed miserably. Life should be embraced and enjoyed. Life should be blissful, peaceful, and serene. Read more…

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