Our intentions, moment to moment, dictate how we behave and respond to the events going on around us.  Being mindful and aware we can form our intentions with deliberate thoughtfulness and care.  We can live a life, present in each moment, which reflects our values and desires.

Instead of making New Year's resolutions, I plan to spend time today and hopefully everyday, mindfully observing and crafting my intentions.  As Jack Kornfield says in After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, "It is from our intentions that our life grows."

Let the actions of your life shine like the jewels of royalty.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing."  ~ Annie Dillard

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Books and Stories for a New Year (Pockets)

I've done a lot of reading in the past year.  To be surrounded by books and stories can be magic so I'd like to share some of my favorite articles and books with you below.  I try and share my thoughts, my ideas, and my work.  I hope you will do the same ( in comments below?) - it's why we're here.   I wish you all the best for 2016.

Why I Gave My Company Away to Charity at  "I live simply.  I hate waste and excess.  I have a good apartment, a good laptop, and a few other basics...the less I own, the happier I am."

The 10 Fundamentals of Rewiring Your Brain at The Best Brain Possible.  "You're not stuck with the brain you're born with."

9 Ways to Create Lasting Change at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.  "If you don't know what you want, how do you expect to receive what you need?"

How to Achieve Your Goals Without Chasing Them at Simple Mindfulness. "If you think along the lines of "I'll be happy when I achieve Goal B" then you'll never be happy."

What Do You Do on the Worst Day of Your Life and The Best Day of Your Life at .  "Teaching how to think is better than lecturing what to do."

The Ox-blade Incident by David at The Endless Further.  "...the best way to nurture life is to flow with its natural rhythm, letting things be themselves, letting go."

 A few books that have had a great impact upon me this past year.

The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection by Michael Singer

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

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Once invented pockets need never be invented again, but like many things they can be used over and over.

What's wrong with Facebook and Twitter?

There is strong reasearch support that striving for popularity will make you less healthy and less happy.

Spending quality time with or thinking of loved ones, on the other hand, is one of the single biggest factors in health and happiness.

Like many other "things", social media isn't a problem in and of itself.  It's how we use it that matters.

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Small to Big

Ideas become statements or tweets, become discussions or blog posts, become articles or groups, become books or platforms which lead to movements.

All change starts small.

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Merry Christmas

Take care of yourself this Christmas.  Do one or more kind acts for someone not expecting it.  There are crippled people, hungry people, emotionally devastated people....there are so many that could use a smile, a word, or a hand.  Take care of yourself by caring for someone else.

Merry Christmas.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Betrayal (Self?)

Life is unpredictable and can be very difficult at times.  The last few months have been very trying for me.  I've been falsely accused of things, been let down, and been lied to.  From this point I have spiraled downward at times and I know I've let others down from the place I was in - too caught up in my own pitiful mind to see and respond to the needs of others.

My initial reaction to difficulty is to over-react, but this is self betrayal.  Each time that I am faced with a crisis and see it as the end of the world then I am short changing myself.  I've been through many troubling times yet here I am - still standing, wiser than ever.  Better to focus on the good things like walks with my wife and time with my grand-daughter.

Sometimes I want to withdraw - fuck everyone, I can do this alone - but that isn't the way of the Bodhisattva.  I won't sell myself short.  Even when I feel cheated and misunderstood I will try to have compassion.  When I fail at that I will have compassion for myself.

However innumerable beings are, I vow to meet them with kindness and interest.
However inexhaustible the states of suffering are, I vow to touch them with patience and love.
However immeasurable the Dharmas are, I vow to explore them deeply.
However incomparable the mystery of interbeing, I vow to surrender to it freely.

~ Thich Nhat Han's translation of the Bodhisattva Vows.

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"Feelings are what connect us to life and to one another.  To be able to feel is one of the extraordinary gifts of humanity.  To neither suppress our feeling nor be caught by them, but to understand them - that is the art." ~ Jack Kornfield - After the Ecstacy, the Laundry.

And that is the whole of our practice, our life.

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“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do” ~ Benjamin Franlin

"It's my job"

"Sorry it's only business."

"She started it."

"I'm just taking care of my family."

Above are many of the rationalizations we hear as a part of everyday conversation.  I've never understood when someone excuses their actions with "it's only business."  Is it okay to mistreat others for the purpose of making money?

Human beings are excellent at doing whatever they feel like and later rationalizing it.  In fact scientific studies have shown that more often than not, we assign reasons for our behavior after the behavior has occurred.  

If we really stop and think about it, we know the truth.  Most of us know beneficial action and how we would like to be treated.

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