How to Meditate

These are just two approaches to meditation, not the end-all be-all. Though there are many out there, I find these works the best for me. Several people had asked me to explain them throughout the years, so I figured I'd just write it all down and put it out there. Without further delay:

Active Meditation

Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position. I choose to sit cross legged with a pillow under my butt so that it’s elevated, allowing for easier, low-maintenance balance. Rest your hands on your knees, arms fully extended, which also helps with balance. It doesn’t much matter how you sit, so long as you’re comfortable and able to focus without falling asleep. If you’re going to use a timer, start it now.

Once you’re in a comfortable position, close your eyes and begin breathing deeply into your stomach first, then into your chest once your stomach is fully expanded. Exhale in reverse order, starting from your chest, and then your stomach. You will continue to breath like this, deeply and slowly, the entire time. Once you have set your rhythm, focus on tensing and relaxing all the muscles in your body, one after the other. Begin with your feet, then your calves, then your quads, etc. Tense one, relax it, then move onto the next. The purpose here is to find and release any tension you may be unknowingly carrying. Pay particular attention to your shoulders and face, which is where a lot of people seem to carry permanent tension.

When Plans Go Wrong

More Windsor Street Art
I remember reading one time that the Ancient Roman's view of chance in life was not to fight it, but to embrace it. If I recall correctly, they saw chance as an overarching feature of life that should be expected, and that we should welcome what comes. Even if I'm misremebering, this seems like the only real approach we can take. To do otherwise is to continue running forward when we clearly see a cliffs edge. Why not veer off to a side and cross the eventual bridge that comes?

Life Is Chance

When you look back at your life, how much of it was pre-planned to end up to this exact point? How long before you had to take the plunge did you have your plans set in stone? Now compare those two answers to the following: how many times have your plans been completely derailed? How many times did something big knock you off one track and onto another, completely unexpected one?

If your life is anything like mine, then you'll probably see that the final questions have a lot more (interesting) stories than the first one. I don't think it's any surprise that things will happen that make it so you have to have to take a last-second turn, or maybe a complete detour. I mean this both literally and metaphorically. 

If we look at driving as a literal example of our metaphorical life, the analogy works quite well. Most of the time, the mundane things will be going smoothly, but occasionally there'll be massive construction, accidents, emergencies, someone will cut you off, or maybe you, yourself, will be struck. Despite this, we learn to cope, we make due, and we become better because of it.

Wrestling with Anger

Printing Press in Winsor

Creatures of Habit

Lately, I've been dealing with a lot of angry people. Sometimes they are angry for good reason, other times it makes such little sense that I can't help but laugh and shake my head.

We all get angry over stupid things from time to time, but it's how we deal the anger that really matters. Some cities are now furnished with so-called "Rage Rooms" where people can let loose and destroy things such as plates, toilets, and other household breakables - for a fee, of course. The ones I read about allowed you to bring items in, such as those from an ex, and smash the living hell out of them with a variety of tools. As the owner of the Toronto Rage Room was quoted:
"Society prevents us from expressing that anger outward most of the time, so this Rage Room is a cathartic relief for participants"

How to Make Lasting Friends

Downtown Detroit
I wanted to begin by addressing the ever-present sentiment on social media that "people are not to be trusted" and that "you find out who your real friends are when things go bad." While the second has some weight to it, I think they are both gross oversimplifications. There may actually be a case revolving around intelligence. Let's take a peek, shall we?