Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking Things Personally

“When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don't take things personally.”

From The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I came across this quote this morning and it felt like a good reminder.  It reminded me of how taking things personally is an aspect of my personality and it is something that I have made great progress on throughout the years.  If my energy levels are low, that button is more likely to get pushed.  I also have incorporated activities into my life that are grounding, making them habits—rituals to make me feel whole and lessen the sensitivity buttons that have been with me since childhood. 

Lately, I’ve had my emotions all over the place. I have downloaded several Apps from the Apple store and have figured out how I will be using some of the journal writing Apps using them in a way to not only capture when I’m having an emotional or insecure moment, but to capture a whimsy, a photo—anything really, even a doodle with my finger. I used to pour my heart out on the physical page, but now I use the “Day One” App that seems a comfortable place to do this.

As far as my moods and emotions go, every lemon can become sweet.  I am not a sour lemon, but sometimes I need a little sugar and that comes to me in the form of simple things, a smile; taking time for myself to recuperate from the information overload of life. Walking is always a soothing remedy, staring into the sky, losing myself in the clouds; reading and writing make me feel able to keep processing, connecting, sharing. When I stay true to myself and continue the inner work, I am better able to be a source of positive energy. I feel best when I can laugh and laugh and laugh until the laughter is out of control.

Today’s photo was taken of the small rose garden in the park outside the library. Whenever I walk by, I feel lifted. It’s nice to watch the roses go through their different stages.

Happy Writing!


Some Apple iPhone/iPod Touch Apps I use for jotting down thoughts (As far as I know, these are all Apple Apps from the Apple iTunes store):

-Notes.  I especially enjoy the simple “Notes” App that comes preinstalled. It’s simple, straightforward, I can see the list at a quick glance, and I didn’t realize until recently that when I synch up my iPod Touch with my computer, it automatically saves my notes in a folder titled “Notes” in my Yahoo Mail account.

-Wonderful Days – Diary with Style (HandyPadSoft (Tong Liu) (WFD). $2.99. This is a visually appealing writing App. As the name suggests, it helps get you writing about your day—every day. You can add photos, change the backgrounds, add a mood and weather icon. I still have some exploring to do, but I try to get something in here, some little observation for the day.

If you’d like to see a 2 minute YouTube on Wonderful Days – Diary with Style, check this out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2caznxsNFg&hd=1

-Evernote. Free. I had downloaded Evernote some time ago and I must admit I love the bright green background of the icon and the elephant on top. Love elephants! From what I’ve read, it’s a pretty powerful App that you can record anything to including web content, photos, etc. and it synchs up and save all this information to its server—sort of like the Cloud concept. Anyhow, what made me start using it more is that Wonderful Days syncs up with it, so I have a copy saved in two places and can access it when I’m out and about.

Another feature I have begun taking advantage of is the ease of creating different “Notebooks” to organize your ideas.

It looks like Evernote actually can be downloaded to PCs and android phones.

-Day One (Bloom Built, LLC). $1.99. This has become my mood diary. I like that the interface is clean and simple and when I open it, it asks me for my password. It feels secure, like a real diary. I do my mental processing here and try to see if different themes come up or if there are any patterns that I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. So far, it has felt great; and it’s also great that I have not had to use it too much, but just the right amount.  http://dayoneapp.com/

-Project 365. Free. This is an App where you can record a photo for each day of the year. I haven’t been diligent about it, but I do have some photos that I inserted on special days or days I wanted to remember with a photo; text can also be inserted. You can then view the calendar and all your photos appear, one for each day.

-Writing Prompts. $1.99. Just for fun, I downloaded this App this morning. I haven’t explored it much yet, but it seems like a fun one when you need a little boost.

Here’s a short video clip I found on Blip.tv.

When I started this morning, with the quote, I didn’t realize I was going to talk about some of the writing Apps I’ve enjoyed, but that’s what happens. There are some poetry Apps if you do a search. Actually, there is an article that discusses some new poetry Apps and of course if you search under poetry in the Apple Apps store, you can explore what else they have. Here is the article, “Apps for Poets:”


Vincent said...

Have you read The Four Agreements? It was recommended to me by a body-working therapist I was seeing a few years ago. (She did all kinds of techniques: I couldn't count all her framed diplomas.) She spoke very highly of this book, and it fascinated me originally but I had become very sensitive to what I might call "guru-hype".

He ends his chapter on taking things personally with: "If you can keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one will hurt you....You can stay in your state of bliss, and hell will not affect you at all."

Fine words, but 99% of what I take personally is what I say against myself, not what others say against me! This is the hell which affects me!

Vincent said...

I was very interested in what you wrote about the Apps. I don't have any of those Apple machines, only a Kindle and it's not good at input, having one of those tiny keyboards, with basically A-Z. You have to pick out symbols from the screen using cursor keys.

But the general principle of taking down notes, yes, I too have a multiplicity of methods: voice recorder, bound notebook, notepad, "My Diary" (as offered on my blog), and of course the good old word-processing PC using MS Word.

But when it comes to capturing emotion, there are multiple stages. I find that the words I capture at the time are no good to publish. They are full of foolishness.

Wordsworth gives good advice, in his definition of poetry:

"the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity."

When I refer back to the feelings in tranquillity - no longer feeling them - I can describe them more objectively, humorously and self-deprecatingly: which is better for the reader.

Happy writing indeed! thanks Rebb.

Rebb said...

I actually do have The Four Agreements and read it years ago. It was one of the books that was “saved” during my move. The funny thing is a little Apple App brought me back to the book, which is where I got the quote. The App is called PhiloNotes. It was only .99 cents or thereabouts and I said why not. Basically, it’s a cliff’s notes for 100 books deemed worthy by a man named Brian Johnson. The App comes with four free summaries one of which was The Four Agreements. It made me go to my shelf and make sure I did indeed bring the book over with me. I then saw that he had How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day By Michael J. Gelb. I have that book also and have not finished it, so I thought I would get his notes. Additional notes are .99 cents. He provides short a summary to read, an audio, a video, and you can also select “quote” and it will randomly select one from the book.

It turns out his “Notes” are not only for the Apple App store, so here is a link if you’d like to peruse or maybe you’ve come across it already. http://philosophersnotes.com/

I understand about “guru-hype” regarding this book. It’s also difficult when someone hypes up a book too much. I think the agreements he set forth are good, simple truths that can’t hurt. With respect to you being the one who affects you most, it seems his first agreement speaks to that: “Be Impeccable with Your Word.” And that includes our words to ourselves. I agree with what my uncle often tells me: “We are our own worst enemies.” I hold those words close to me. He has said it to me often and I agree.

Taming that beast. The image that goes along with this for me is the Aleister Crowley Tarot Card, the Queen of Wand. The queen is beside a panther with spots and she has her hand between his ears. This is a reminder to her of where she’s been and who she is. A portion of the description from Angeles Arrien’s The Tarrot Handbook: ”At this stage of self-knowledge, she pinched the growth marks of the leopard to prevent it from transforming into a beautiful lion to match her self-knowledge because she wanted a reminder of the dark places from whence she had come (the spots of the leopard).”

I try to be skeptical of hype, but I also take what I can get from any source, whether I agree or not. The only qualm if any I have with The Four Agreements, is that as well as it did seem to be received, in a way it doesn’t feel broad enough. Though this is supposed to be “Toltec” wisdom, it is also very much common sense. With that said, I still feel that it is a positive book for people that are interested in reminders or who need a helping hand—any plus is a plus. I plan on reading through it again and I like reminders!

Rebb said...

Vincent, Until recently I was not in the world of Apple. As silly as it may sound my motivation for getting the ipod touch was that I was going to buy a phone with a data plan where I could play the game “Words with Friends.” Anyhow, my significant other suggested that I look into the iPod Touch because I wouldn’t have be locked into a phone plan I do not need just to play a game. Anyway, it made perfect sense. What I didn’t realize is how many Apple Apps there really are. I also did not realize what the iPod Touch could do. You may know this already, but there is the iPod—strictly music; there is the iPod Touch—basically an iPhone without the phone and a far inferior camera; the the iPhone—which is self explanatory; and lastly the awesome iPad—which would be lovely to have one day—but these are quite expensive. The iPod Touch is reasonable for what you get and you need to be near Wi-Fi or have it yourself to download, etc.

As with Kindle, I poo-poo’d the commercials years ago when I saw a finger swiping all the Apps on the little screen. Now that’s me! I have close to 200 Apps downloaded. I don’t get to all of them all the time, but there they are. Anyway, that’s why I’m glad I keep my mind open and even if I reject something today, tomorrow or next year, or ten years from now, I’ll give something a chance—if I think it’s worth it or wont hurt.

I’ve done voice notes too. They feel strange, but I still like it. I like mixing all the note taking methods up.

Yes! So true with the initial emotion capturing and what a great quote—thank you for sharing.