If I focus on bad things all day I’m unhappy. If I focus on good things all day I’m happy.
The other night I was pondering some distressing episodes from my childhood. Later that day I was a horrible dad to my children. I don’t think this is any accident.
The next day I read a beautiful piece of writing (by Nick Cave) about being kind, and later on I found myself being much kinder to my children.
To experiment with this idea of focusing in the right direction I plan a week of making ‘Lists of Good’.
Here’s todays, just up to lunchtime:
List of Good, Tuesday
– Got up at 6.30 am and got some work done in my invaluable, secret private time while everyone else sleeps.
– 6 km walk before work in Madrid’s Casa de Campo park.
– My son and I are massively enjoying Calvin and Hobbes collections.
– Spent 10 minutes watching ducklings in the park.
– I’m alive! Being alive is incredible in it’s own right!
– I’ve got some excellent books to read (Thoreau biography and Journals).
– I’m writing.
– It’s a wonderful sunny day!
– I crystallised a desire to be kinder to my children:
Let me be kind to my children every minute of every day. As kind as they were to me in all their innocent beginnings, as kind as I need to be for them to grow up kind and extend that kindness on. Let me be kind to myself and kind to my wife, and kind to everyone I come into contact with. Above all, let me be kind to my children.
I once heard the artist David Hockney gently raging against the health sections of newspapers, saying they are just filled with fear and lurking dangers. ‘That’s not health!’ he says, it’s just a fear of death, and as far as he is concerned, that’s a waste of time.
‘The opposite of fear of death is LOVE OF LIFE!’ he says.
What a great idea! You can walk around all day shrouded by a fear of death or you can jump up, kindle your internal fire and love life!
You can see Hockney’s love of life in his paintings, they shine with bright colour, they prod us in the ribs, stating clearly: ‘have you really looked at the world? Are you walking around in a dream or are you looking at this bright, shining, life? Are you really seeing the world as it is in all it’s glory? Wake up and love life because it’s absolutely incredible, much more so than you ever thought!’
‘To lose the present is to lose life’, says my old friend Thich Nhat Hanh, he and Hockney would get on well. They both see the world in front of them, sparkling with colour and light and possibility. They both see.
In today’s episode Ben talks about how our body can let us know when we are doing the right thing or not, and tells a favourite tale from long ago that can help us enormously to see what we might better be focusing on in life.
In today’s episode Ben talks about a surprising day where he learned a lot about what leads to fulfillment in life, how easy it is to abandon our needs in favour of achievement-seeking, and how to reconnect with what those needs really are.
Non-Violent Communication has completely changed the way I communicate with and listen to my wife and kids, all to the benefit of our relationships. More on that in another episode…
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