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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Ten personal commandments

Once upon a time I came across a meme on LiveJournal asking people to identify their ten personal commandments.  I like memes. When people participate in them, interesting thought experiments spread across the world.

I took the assignment seriously and took perhaps a full week to think about what ten principles I would like to live by. I wanted them to be universal, to apply in addition to rather than instead of a religious belief, and to address both harm to self and harm to others.

Here is what I came up with:

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Deadly Sin Wrath

Aw, hell. I was in the middle of this post about wrath when Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown,  Connecticut became the victim of  a mass killing of (among others) kindergarten students. I have completed my original thoughts, but have added, in the context of today’s events, a comment about what happened. It’s at the end of this post.

I started this series with wrath because it is perhaps the most deadly of the deadly sins — and not just because people who live in anger have a greater tendency to commit murders.  Anger creates a condition of continual stress in your body, which, over time, causes heart disease, high blood pressure, and other physical ailments.

Anger vs. Wrath

When people come to a therapist, they usually have one of three emotions that they are trying to ‘get rid of’: anger, fear, or sadness. Leaving aside for a second that “getting rid of”

deadly sin wrath

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Vices – Anger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

an emotion is not the answer, the key here is that anger is one of the top three most miserable emotions to live with… and it’s even more complicated than that.

Anger is almost always tied up very tightly with anxiety. Sometimes the anger attempts to hide the fear, and sometimes the fear is desperately covering up deep rage, but they appear to be paired in many, many people.

On top of its marriage to anxiety, anger also sometimes serves an important function, by giving energy to people who are paralyzed by fear or depression, to function at a more or less ‘normal level’.

Anger is a useful emotion.

That bears repeating: Anger is a useful emotion. Which is why I tell people I will not help them get rid of it, only to use it better.

It can help you identify wrongs in your life. Is someone consistently treating you with disrespect? Anger will let you know, if you let it. Are you being asked to do more than your fair share at home or work? Anger will give you a heads up. Are someone’s lies hurting you? Anger will tell you (if you let it).

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Ion having depression; dandelion seeds blowing in the wind Have Depression

I am not owned by my depression but I am affected by it.

I battle it into submission, and sometimes it battles me into retreat

Having depression means I have to take enormous care to eat right, get the sleep I need, and balance my life. and that I am sometimes completely incapable of eating right, sleeping right, or balancing my life.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

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Mindfulness

(A mindfulness meditation exercise. Get comfortable, and begin).

Shh! Close your eyes again, and now wake up slowly. Imagine.

It is the hour before the dawn. There are a few birds chirping.

You hear a car drive by, but only one, and its very quiet, as if it is trying not to wake you.

Someone has brewed coffee. You smile, knowing it will still be hot when you get up.

But not yet. 

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

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Visualizing mindfulness (366/194 July 12, 2012)

Visualizing mindfulness (366/194 July 12, 2012) (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

What is ‘everyday mindfulness’ and why do it?

Mindfulness is the state of simply being, in the present, with all of your attention in the present.  It is compatible with any spiritual or religious belief, or lack thereof. It’s both simple and difficult, and it has been found by numerous studies to be useful in a variety of situations, including easing chronic pain, depression and anxiety. It doesn’t (necessarily) involve any special equipment, can be done (nearly) anywhere. 

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

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A drop of water frozen by flash
Image via Wikipedia
I used to have a little quote pinned to my cork board at work that said something to the effect that constant activity is the Western idea of laziness. It is impossible for some of us to do nothing. In the interest of not perpetuating a stereotype, I’m making clear that this isn’t true for all Westerners – but for some of us it can be very true.

I literally cannot ‘just’ watch television. I can barely stand to watch movies in the theater, and then only because I consume far too many calories in the process of giving my hands something to do. I can read for hours on end, but only if I completely still my environment – the opposite of how I cope with ‘doing nothing’ in many other situations.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

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The majority of this post was originally published as Before the Interview: Relaxing Your Way into a New Job on Technorati. (since removed from Technorati)

Too many people think that interview preparation is just about knowing the answers to questions the interviewer is going to ask you, looking “professional”, and striking the right balance between ‘interested’ and ‘eager’. All those are important, don’t get me wrong. But if you go into the interview uncomfortable and unhappy, you will not be able to put your best foot forward no matter how you try. 

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