Author: G. Jefferies
A week ago, although it seems rather longer, Niki Lopez initiated a challenge. Not the sort I’d normally do because it’s one that drags you inside yourself to explore stuff that usually gets boxed up and ignored. Part of that default mind. The one that runs day to day business without too much thinking, well, apart from catastrophising that is. The usual mantra of despair, mistakes, the future. All neatly reinforced by TV news, media and politicos whose openers are ‘just to be absolutely clear’ when they are about to spend the next hour talking about nothing at all of substance and more than a lot about how great they are, cutting a good deal, vote for me or civilisation is doomed.
I will, at this juncture, just say the blogosphere has really caught me out. I have views and follows from over 50 countries. FIFTY countries people, and what does that tell me…we just want to get along fine. I see friendships forming, support for anything one cares to ask and kindness everywhere. This isn’t from the bloke down the road either. This is real people behind the blog. I’ve had chats with people in India, Spain, the Philippines, South Africa, Peru…I could go on and on. I’ve deliberately omitted UK (I live here) and the US (because it dominates hits…apart from Spain…on Facebook my author page collects people from Spain…why? I have no idea but that’s just brilliant don’t you think? Going global, to coin a phrase.
I’ve posted comments relating to my disdain of politicians in many a comment here and there so to those that have heard the above before I make no apologies but hope you read on.
I guess this is where this year started from. I prevaricate a lot. I learnt this on a mindfulness course, then a writing course. It may have been the other way round but the point is the default mind take over. Living zombie mode, automatic pilot, existing not living…no, that’s zombie mode again. Stuff happens in life that knocks the confidence now and then, throws a curve ball or proper stuffs you up. Everyone gets those here and there, some better, some worse; some affect you, some don’t. It’s life. Trick is to not collect bad things, not to dwell on them…the word here is catastrophise…sit in default mode recycling negativity until it paralysises the will to motivate.
I try to write books and stories. That was my personal hole. Good or bad? Am I messing about, people will think this is rubbish; hell I think it’s rubbish. I still do in unmindful moments but that, I’ve learnt, is the author mind and not unusual. I use the word learnt deliberately…it’s different from not knowing it happens and catastrophising to the point where you just stop.
So, in January I hit the blogosphere. Then met a few people, then a few more people and ended up where this post began. The kindness challenge, week one.
What am I grateful for?
Being here writing to you in a medium that is out of my comfort zone, going global and putting my writing up to be shot down in flames. Except it hasn’t and that’s down to all the wonderful bloggers that have taken time out of their lives to read, comment and make suggestions
Something I love about myself.
I’m here and enjoying writing, living in the moment and aiming to publish a book that is currently at my proofer.
Read an inspirational quote.
If you read any of my three day quote challenges then you will know I love quotes already 🙃
Wake up and think about 10 beautiful things in your life.
This is harder and comes after the chaos of school runs. That said, two of the ten sit in my car on the way…the other eight are for me to know. I’m not good at positive self appreciation yet, never mind going global with it 😊
Do something nice for yourself.
I do, over morning coffee, I come to check out my bloggers and whenever time allows comment and reply. Alas time is my enemy here and I can’t react to every blog I follow. If I try, and I have, it deals me a personal unkindness because I don’t achieve things I need to be doing. I have faith you all get this and have similar conflicts. But that’s OK, yes?
Dedicate some time to yourself.
This is new. Well, old but I forgot to keep to the plan. Two hours a day writing. It’s part of why I’m doing this challenge. To get into a habit for me.
Give yourself a break.
I’m working on this one. A break from catastrophising about things that can’t yet be changed, a future that hasn’t yet happened and a past that is not just filled with bad memories
Think of 5 good things for every negative thought.
Refer to the previous giving myself a break. This is where mindfulness comes in. Breaking the cycle. Meeting good people, engaging with them and remembering times that make me smile. They, I have realised, outweigh the negatives.
Come up with your own self-kindness exercise.
Not an exercise a clause. The Kindness Clause. I have developed this as a feel good factor for fellow bloggers and myself. It runs like this…
If you have the audacity to like a post, follow or comment written by me anywhere then I will visit your blog and repay the kindness with a comment and usually a follow.
I know not if this satisfies the challenge criteria. I was unmindful in leaving it until today to construct but in knowing that, I have been mindful to do it. I hope you all have a wonderful week and thank you for reading. I leave you with two more quotes;
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.”
Hi, Gary! I’m sure you’ve read enough of my blog to know I’d LOVE this post. Giving yourself a bit of kindness, and offering it to others is the perfect act. First, because it feeds your should, and second because it feeds others. I believe we need both, to give to ourselves and to others, for meaning and magic to emerge.
I, too, have been thinking about zombie mind a lot lately. Sometimes I worry that’s all we are. How to wake up the world? I don’t have the answer. But I see your post and I remember the fifty countries and the connection-seekers in all of them and I hope. I hope.
I have indeed 🙂 How on earth did you find this one? It’s over a year old and part of a kindness challenge. That said I have a lot to say on this subject and really ought to use that in posts more. So many things could go into them and the message needs to be told more. News and media are just after negatives and I do believe that affects the general health of the people watching it. A sort of collective ill health that turns us all into zombie minds, as it were. Thanks for this comment too. It’s quite uplifting to get a mention on a topic I have ignored for too long 🙂
I found it on Pinterest! And I’m glad I did. 🙂
Ooh, you are the first to find me through Pinterest! Mind you Susie is currently in control of that to get it set up right lol.
There were seven posts on this by the way. I did it just after an 8 week mindfulness course by two Australian doctors. It was quite fascinating listening to them. 😊
That sounds fascinating! Well, Susie’s strategy is working.
Think of 5 good things for every negative thought!… This is really apt, for we tend to dwell on all that goes wrong in our life for hours on end! Very inspiring post! ☺
Thank you again 😊 And quite right…we seem programmed to dwelling on failures and spoon fed negatives by the media…very cyclic…I’m trying to break out of that loop now and pick up good stories. I’m pleased you found it interesting and a useful post….there will be more I hope soon too 😊
You have a lovely blog here, Gary! I really enjoyed this post. I can relate to many of the problems you mentioned, and those quotes resonate (I’ll have to save some of those quotes for when I need a mental boost).
It’s amazing what people you’ll meet in the blogosphere, like you said. I now have friends from all over the world, even the Philippines, which I’d never imagined before I started this blogging journey. 🙂
Thank you so much for that kind comment…I’m still quite new at this, so its all a work in progress. This post is part of a kindness challenge so I’m due to do another one this weekend….well, ramble….they tend to start that way as I’m rubbish at planning them 😱
As for people…last time I checked my insights I had view from nearby 70 countries….can you believe how awesome that is….not as a back slap but just to think of that many nations wandering the blogosphere and becoming friends…I still find it amazing and, like you, entirely unexpected 😊
70 countries, that’s awesome! 🙂
It certainly is…but also very heart warming to know via blogging I’ve found that people are more in tune with getting on than my news channels seem to think. That gives me hope 😊
Thank you for sharing the challenge as well as your insights and experiences. Connecting with like-minded people is so rewarding!
It’s funny because my whole new endeavor (Goods Giving Back) incorporates the 10 things you list in some form or fashion. It was born out of my belief that the heart of a maker includes kindness which translates to the willingness to donate their goods (physical or virtual) to nonprofits in need.
I am a firm believer that life is not a zero sum game and hope to build a community that demonstrates this tenet through the beautiful things they make and share.
Kindness is key.
Thank you Dana, it is rewarding and very positive to find like minded people, wherever they are. Kindness is a key that unlocks a whole new way of thinking that is a way of viewing things and people in a very different light. All very positive stuff. I’ll be heading over to your blog very soon 😊
Love the post..I am still pondering on Nikki’s challenge and telling myself that I have just moved , the internet was only reconnected 2 days ago etc etc and then I read ” it doesn’t matter when you start but everyone will wait at the finish line for you ” so looks like I’ll just have to bite the bullet..mmmmmmm 🙂
Thank you so much for the kind comment 😊 Pondering, or prevaricating 😁 Although it sounds like you have very valid reasons. However, if you are at the pondering stage then one might assume a modicum of putting it off lol…. Go for it. I don’t think it matters when you start but more that you do, or at least think about it as if you were doing it even if you don’t have time to write a post. I’m sure there will be many more opportunities to engage if time is tricky right now…have to say, I’m finding this week really hard to create time to write too 😱
Just Andrea 😎
Just Andrea it is, although that sounds like some fantasy character…Andrea the Just…. I may ‘just’ use Andrea 👻
Thank you for sharing your kindness (with me) Gary! I look forward to learning from & with you. I am inspired by your writing.📝💫
You are very welcome Andrea. I can use Dr if you like but I dispense with my title here…personal preference but if you prefer it I will use yours 🙃 I’m pretty new to mindfulness so pretty much making it up as I go along but so far it’s been a fascinating self exploration. Looking forward to learning what you have to say on the subject too and thank you for your kind comment about my writing 😊
Great post Gary! I could connect to most of it. As we already talked about going global with blogosphere! This should by now have become your comfort zone, don’t you think?
I love the quote by Winston Churchill! I hope we are reminded of this during hard times/failure, but that’s hardly the case. Thank you for sharing and spreading kindness 🙂
It is part comfort zone…except when it isn’t….if you follow the patterns of catastrophising…must be a writing thing too…can I, can’t I… All very cyclic…but, being aware of that is also quite mindful and helps stop it becoming debilitating. This quotation thing is becoming a recurrent theme since the challenge too 🤔
Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to read it 😊
Gary, how kind of you to let us know what’s going on in your mind!
I have 2 beautiful things in my life too. No, make that 4. @ grand beautifuls!
THe blogosphere abounds with kindness. I’m so glad you joined us!!
See…not all horror 😜
You’re right though the blogosphere is a pretty amazing place. Not sure what the rest of this challenge is going to unveil 🤔
Yay!! Thank goodness!
I’ll keep tabs on ya, to find out!
You are quite mad…which is most excellent in my books 😁
Oh, definitely mad, in the craziest good sorta way!! 😉
What a lovely post you have posted, Gary, and what a lovely set of peons you have. All of them bright as buttons and as positive as the future is long. 🙂 Can I borrow one of two of them to brighten up my day?
Please tell me that was auto-incorrect and you meant peers 😱
And yes, I am privileged to have such an amazing bunch of followers. It’s not just the comments but the engagement multiple times that really makes a big difference…mind you I do clutter up other bloggers threads at times too 🤔
I reckon pop into the next meet and greet and many of them would hook up on account of them being very welcoming folk 😇
I did actually mean peons, but maybe I should amend that to minions in order to avoid future confusion. 😀
But seriously – yes – p.e.o.n.s.
Meet and greet? What’s that? Invite me, invite me!!
Indeed…peons I think rather suggests inferior in which case it is entirely the reverse and I would put myself below some of those that choose to comment and follow being the humble chap that I am 🙃
Meet and greets happen all over according to my reader. Next one is the coming weekend I believe but as yet the announcement has yet to surface. When it does I’ll chuck the URL your way 😁
Yes, yes. But being the contrarian that I am – and all of that.
Yes – I’d totally live to meet and greet. Please do.
My fellow bloggers are, of course, much better than me – you included. I am a talentless schmuck. Wanna join my fan club.
Okay – let me play the straight guy for a moment. We are all wonderful and I love interacting with us enormously. 🙂
Contrarians are essential to despotic debates rich in humorous discourse 🙃
Will chuck you any links I’m following up on then wrt m&g’s…but better at blogging …me? Err I make it up as I go along…I’ve not even found the uber theme for me yet…never mind customising anything 🤔
Much better….but I got the impression already you like chewing the fat…and I do not mean porky scratchings 👻
You are correct in your impressions. I often have more than one point of view on pretty much everything – and they are all valid in my head. It makes for more flexibility for me but more confusion for those around me.
Did you know that Ancient Greeks did not regard thoughts as coming from their own mind? They saw them as messages from the gods (and goddesses). I’m pretty much in agreement with that – but again, it confuses people.
Thanks in advance for the links, Gary.
That rings true here…I can often debate from both sides of an argument just, well, because I can. Infuriates some people but hey ho. I find to form a solid opinion you have to look seriously at both sides of the coin and evaluate them similarly to come to your own decision rather than limo up into one not knowing or empathising with an alternative view point… Confusing it can be 🙃
Did you know…big hair man that does Ancient Aliens considers the Ancient Greek gods doing that were actually mind control extraterrestrials providing them with strange knowledge…cf God Strain sequels 🤔
Re. the aliens: hmm.
Re. the rest: I find that if I take a side I get upset so it’s best for me to see more than one side. 🙂
Thought big hair man might draw a hmm…but are deities any more plausible ?🤔 That’s one side of a theological argument 🙃
I can see the sides of the argument, but some more strongly and some more hmm-ly. 🙂
I like your words. My name is Gary as well. Also, I know know what prevaricate means. If I learned the word correctly, I am probably prevaricating all the time, though not necessarily intentionally. I’m just an evasive sort of Joe, naturally! Thank you for the follow👍🏻😄🚀
Thanks Gary…although that sounds like self appreciation 🙃 You’re welcome for the follow and I’m honoured you took the time to pop over and read the words. Evasive by nature is one thing but the true context of prevaricating is avoiding doing something that needs doing by intentionally doing something else. It becomes deliberate evasion if you like….I think in mindfulness terms it’s a different beast altogether 🤔
Very interesting. Maybe it is taking advantage of the limit of things your mind can concentrate at one time, if you don’t like the current content, you just stuff in a few different ideas and maybe some bad ones will be pushed off the edge?
That’s a new way of thinking about it…bit like the desk volcano filing system…like it in the centre and whatever falls off ain’t important. It’s all too easy to go round in circles with the same thoughts though…new ones would really help break that cycle methinks
First of all I hope that you are feeling very pleased by having done this before Monday! I hope that it came easier than you thought going into it. I love the way you highlighted not recycling the negative. That’s a good way of putting it. Life happens but sometimes it’s how you react that makes the difference. How can you be more mindful and purposely give yourself a break? No need to answer, just something to ponder as we move from week 1 into week 2 without forgetting to practice the things that came to light. I’m so glad you decided to take part in the challenge and look forward to seeing how this can compliment your endeavor to be more mindful and live in the moment. Happy Sunday, enjoy you deserve it!
Did it this morning as per usual planning went off at a tangent when it got going…nothing new there 😁 Did it ping back to you? I wasn’t sure I had the right link. I must look out for this weeks prompts and get ahead of the game this time too! Thanks for popping over Niki…really appreciate it 🙃
I loved your post. I also love your Kindness Clause. I try to “spread”the love in the blogosphere. Like you said, if someone likes or comments, I always try to get them back by replying, following and liking myself 😊
Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I found it quite hard and easy at the same time. I do have trouble with self assessment though..it feels very alien which makes this challenge quite difficult (my opinion). That said your kindness in reply has made my day 😊
Yeah – who could resist Liking that comment! But only because I do exactly this too. It’s a great way to meet new people.
Imagine, if you will, a world where we could do that in ‘reality’. Imagine the looks on people’s faces when you go up to them and say ‘I really love your skirt – it sets off your eyes wonderfully – please Like me and Follow me!’ Imagine! 😀
It is indeed a great way to meet new people and I’m finding it ever harder to keep up with everybody…it’s proper amazing though…and like you I wish real life communities had half the kindness blowing around the blogosphere. I know some do, but nothing like I’ve experienced here. 🙃
I’m thinking of starting a real life fan club here in York. I’m also thinking of becoming a politician. Both of these thoughts horrify me and are way beyond my capabilities and miles outside my comfort zone. But think of the growth opportunities involved! 🙂
Yeah – I’m finding it difficult to keep up, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Hmm…best start learning to talk total gibberish and start using openers like ‘just to be clear’ then talk for an hour saying nothing at all. In truth I think they are not beyond anyone’s capabilities because the idiots we have seem to make it up on the fly now…and being of equal opportunities….I am not being part specific here 🙃
A ‘friend’ of mine says that to be a politician I need to be able to say things that I don’t believe and to get people to like me, both of which are beyond my capabilities.
Radical change my friend…that just fuels the status quo…we need less bull and more real…not shouting across a debate about here are the problems but answers as to how to actually fix something and kick ass….
What do we want? Action!
When do we want it? Erm – let me get back to you on that – I need to make this important phone call. Ah ah ah – steady now!
What a wonderful honest post Gary. Life’s certainly no picnic in the park but with Niki’s challenge at least it’s forcing us to realise that what we have is enough. And that if we change our thoughts we can make a mindful difference to our life and that of others. Cheers and have a great week ahead Gary. 🙂
Thank you so much Miriam. Can’t really be anything but honest in this one otherwise it just defeats the point 😁 Not easy mind and out of comfort zone springs to mind !! I’ve concluded its not life but thinking methods that are wrong. Change the latter and things might not be as bad as the default mind seems to insist they are….I posted two memoirs on here that started the past journey…turning it from bad memories into, hang about, there was some damn good ones buried in there too…what about them? It makes a difference. Thanks again and I hope your week goes well too. Will try and catch up on all the posts on this challenge shortly 😊
You’re right Gary, honestly is the best way to go. And yes, change the way we think and things don’t usually end up as bad as they seem. It’s all in the mind! 🙂
That was the emphasis on the mindfulness course. When you feel your mind drifting then reign it back into the moment. And keep doing so each time it tries to go back. It sounds really easy but in reality it takes a great deal of effort once the default comfort zone is established and rooted in. I decided to do it again next month !
Good for you Gary. I agree, it’s not easy. It happens to me so often. I start to think about things that I shouldn’t be, then I have to catch myself and consciously change the direction of my thoughts. Takes a lot of effort.
The course guys said its retraining the minds default back to a time before it started catastrophising. I suspect that’s got two issues…length of time the default has been poor and motivation to pull back each time it slips. The latter for me is the hard one. Spotting it and reacting before it causes problems 👻