January 21, 2018

Refrain from offering platitudes

Refrain from offering platitudes such as, "'I know how you feel'" or "'Things will get better'" to those who visit his center. "Often times when someone close to you is going through difficulty, we want to cheer that person up with lots of nice sayings, but the truth is, you don't know how this person feels. Rather than wanting to change that situation, just be there. When you say those common phrases, it is often yourself who cannot bear the grief that the other person is going through."

-- Haemin Sunim, author, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down.

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January 7, 2018

Attention theft TV

Consider, for example, the "innovation" known as Gas Station TV--that is, the televisions embedded in gasoline pumps that blast advertising and other pseudo-programming at the captive pumper. There is no escape: as the CEO of Gas Station TV puts it, "We like to say you're tied to that screen with an 8-foot rubber hose for about five minutes." It is an invention that singlehandedly may have created a new case for the electric car.

As neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen put it in their book, The Distracted Mind, humans have an "extreme sensitivity to goal interference from distractions by irrelevant information."

In some ways this is a problem we have faced before: In the 1940s cities banned noisy advertising trucks bearing loudspeakers; the case against advertising screens and sound-trucks is basically the same. It is a small thing cities and towns can do to make our age of bombardment a bit more bearable.

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August 16, 2017


Before you start deciding what sparks joy in your life, you must first get a true sense of the problems you face. For example, when organizing clothes, I ask that you take out all the clothes you own and gather them in one spot, so that you can visually comprehend how much you have.

What we don't often realize is that the furniture and closets in which we store our clothing have a remarkable way of concealing truths we would rather not see (a pilled sweater, for instance, that does not bring any joy). It's perfectly fine to take advantage of this masking effect on a small scale, but when the amount of things that you don't need continuously increases -- along with the time and space that you devote to accumulating those things -- you will find that it becomes harder to lie to yourself.

We also work in much the same way. We often hide our problems inside the closet of our hearts as if they never existed. Whenever my mind clouds over and I feel overwhelmed, I immediately take out a sketchbook. I write down all the emotions that I feel and the possible reasons behind them across a blank white page.

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