While at face value, following a specific set of actions may seem difficult or complicated, the reason it works is because, in actuality, the rituals make life more simple. Simplicity during the times I feel most sensitive to worry is like a little gift to myself, the gift of certainty. There are so many times in a day that I worry about what's next. When I know exactly what is going to happen next, I don't worry about it. Reducing worry in my life is one of my major goals in my search for personal serenity.
This is Offbeat Home's archive of Philosophy posts.
Not everything on Offbeat Home centers around the physical. Sometimes being an Offbeat Homie is all about the mindset.
It's something unique to computer-goers of the Internet era: It's important, we reasoned, when you're taking to a stranger on the Internet that they know some important things about you in a succinct manner. A/S/L — age, sex, location. What religion we are. What our political leanings are. Our sexual orientation or gender presentation. Our favorite quotations or song lyrics. Things about us that are symbolic of our personalities, our likes and dislikes; our whole self. It's a form of branding, and for years we were proud of it. It happened while I was on Facebook: I noticed that I was the only one going through a labeling crisis.
I am thoughtful, open-minded person who believes in the values of calm and stillness, who understands the neuroscientific studies on the way meditation massages our grey-matter, and who really wanted to be a Jedi when I grew up. And I refuse to meditate.
Small-town Chinese food outings were part of the fabric of my college days. The food was always delicious, regardless of the spelling, especially when flavored by good conversation and laughter. Fortune cookies offered a final opportunity for a smile — especially when followed with "in bed." Once a friend got "Everyone knows you are the best." While that still may be the best fortune, I've come across a contender…
In our household, the lines of the past that steadfastly identified what was considered "man" and "woman" responsibilities were more opaque. It's not the easiest job in the world, but to be honest I felt pretty good about being what most people would label a "modern dad" and I wore that title like a badge of honor. My title was put to the test however the day my wife brought a particular hula monkey toy home for my son…
I'm happily engaged to another woman, and yet, I find myself adhering to more conservative religious dress standards. I have seen glimpses of others like me online — the ba'al teshuvah lesbian on Tumblr who actively dates women; the queer "frum from birth" Jew who got a tattoo to commemorate his struggle with traditional Torah observance; the genderqueer Muslim I went to school with who wears a hijab; the Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal LGBTQ activists who blog for other queers in their denominations.
When someone cuts me off in traffic, I imagine that they're in a terrible hurry and didn't see me. When a young man asks to use my cell phone in a bad part of town, I hand it over and ask if he needs anything else. When I'm taking a Greyhound bus ride and the bus is half full of freshly released prisoners, I always happen to end up right in the middle of their group of seats. I am often called naïve. But I won't let that change my world.
When you accomplish a goal, are you the type to doubt that your accomplishment is worth acknowledging at all? If you succumb to the zombies of self-doubt, you risk burnout, loss of motivation, and being generally bummed out. Besides that, the zombies are really not good for your self-esteem. I struggle against them myself. Here's what I've come up with to try to help remind myself to be my own cheerleader and celebrate my accomplishments.