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I Like Global Warming – Lol

January 13th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
It’s Sunday, January 13 in New York and I don’t even have to put a coat on. The truth be told, we haven’t had a single cold day all winter; of course we have the rest of this month, February, and March but still. Whether or not we have frigid temperatures and tons of snow for the remainder of winter, the fact remains, that the climate has changed and scientists have confirmed that the planet is warmer.
Now the big question is: Is it our fault or is it just the earth’s normal course of events? The answer should be obvious to everyone except for excessively money – grubbing big business who see the human induced emissions of greenhouse gasses, but refuse to acknowledge it – “More government regulation with this economy, let my grandchildren worry about it”. It really is a form of denial or just a question of plundering gluttons who just don’t care about anyone but themselves. The notion that extracting fossil fuels from the earth and releasing prodigiously unspeakable amounts of pollutants into the air goes without major consequences is absolutely ludicrous. We are in a nutshell, killing ourselves! We as a collective species have been on the road of self – destruction and extinction since the industrial revolution. There isn’t a single accredited scientific body who disagrees with the fact that man – made pollution is responsible for the insidious destruction of the earth’s atmosphere.

Here is a brief list of the culprits:
Emissions by major industries

Power stations such as smoke stacks, power plants, manufacturing facilities, waste incinerators, etc.

Emissions from cars and trucks (just Google image LA smog and it will sicken you)

Fuel combustion in homes and businesses

The use of solvents and homes and businesses

Landfills


I can go on and include household activities such as wood burning but don’t go crazy and get rid of your fireplace, besides, if we still had winters, there’s nothing more cozy than a drink and a nice fire on a cold night.

So to conclude, for the sake of our grandchildren, we MUST go green. I know many republicans have attacked the Obama administration for wasteful spending on solar investment but if we want to save the planet, we simply have no other choice.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? Note: if you’re really interested in the actual chemicals i.e. carbon monoxide, sulfer oxides, etc. just go to Wikipedia and plug in air pollution. The environment is just as important as the gun problem, whereas guns are really a national issue concerning only the United States, climate change is an international issue – global warming.

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Cold Comfort

November 4th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
The effects of Hurricane Sandy hit our shores on Monday, October 30th, when at 5:38 pm the power that thrice taunted me with the tampering of electrical devices suddenly made good on its threat. Five days later, I write this by candlelight on a placid November night accompanied by the steady hum of neighboring generators providing access to heat and hair dryers for a fortunate few. Nearly a half million Long Islanders still without power curse them in their envy.
The harrowing winds that bent and uprooted tress and utilty poles too numerous to count, are stacked up like firewood here and there but in the forested preserve across the way they lie like gentle giants gone to sleep. There they will stay, their remains to either decompose or petrify, barring a favorite path to serve as a place to bench instead. Perhaps to reflect on these unsettling circumstances years from now.
I wonder that I don’t feel angry at the slow progress of the 21st century in restoring us back to the modern world. I am at home with book and candle, bulky sweaters to ward off the chill. Grateful for the hot water with which to shower which has been my sole comfort, yet why and how it functions is beyond me.  Food is prepared on the BBQ grill powered by propane, thanks to Jetmore for taking our last $7.00 between us for a $20.00 tank with a $13.00 IOU to be mailed off tomorrow. There were no ATM machines to serve us without power, likewise no gas to fill up the Jeep without the aid of electricity. Therefore trips to the supermarket for essential canned goods and non perishables are carefully planned to include trips to the pharmacy and petco enroute.
My patience is unwavering only because I know it’s just a matter of time before everything returns to normal. Meanwhile the battery operated radio reports of a drop in overnight temperatures with a Nor’easter in the wings to deal with next week; cold wet rain with wind and possibly some snow. On Monday my battery operated alarm clock will wake me at 5 am for the 20 minute walk to the train station, flashlight in hand (skirting any downed wires) to wait for the hourly service into New York City. Or with any luck, trains will be back on schedule. I can charge my cell phone and sip hot tea at my desk while perusing the news via internet. Ahhhh…….. Simple pleaures.
In case you’ve been wondering how I happen to have posted this, we have been graciously catapulted into the land of the living by our next door neighbors who have just returned from their week long stay in Ireland. They connected us to their generator for heat and computer access only. At 9 pm the service will be cut. So until LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) does their job (or lack thereof, which is being hotly debated on both sides of the party line), it’s Roger, Over and Out.
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Howling Mad

September 26th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor


An article appearing on NBCnews.com today rankled me enough to protest the senseless slaughter of an entire wolf pack in Washington State consisting of no less than 8 wolves. And why??? Because rancher Bill McIrvine has not done enough to protect his cattle grazing on public land. His convoluted idea that there are radical environmentalists conspiring to introduce Gray Wolves to the detriment of ranchers who lease grazing land is absurd, when it is he who has done nothing to prevent the wolves from doing what comes naturally. The Gray Wolf, on the endangered list, has only just begun to proliferate over the last ten years, and now sadly, an entire pack must be destroyed because of the stupidity of just one person.
Long a subject of controversy, Ranchers versus Conservationists advocation of wolves, the two can readily co-exist by separating wolves from domestic livestock. It’s a no brainer – open land, open hunting. Wolves don’t understand they’re not supposed to do this. Man with his brain has to delineate the line by making it a visible one. We have McIrvine to thank for not using his and compromising an entire species for his ineptitude.
74% of the public vote NO in the decision to eliminate the pack. They are being destroyed as we speak. Get smart, America. Endangered or not? Extinct or not? It’s up to you. Make McIrvine assume responsibility for his non action. He wants grazing rights without lifting a finger. Then points it at us when the end result is what’s to be expected. Go eat a burger, you foolish excuse for a human being. Get yourself endangered with a huge topping of cheese.
So……….whadayathink? What do you think? Even ranchers have commented on McIrvine’s lack of wit. As ranchers, they expect a certain number of cattle to be lost to wolves but they use preventive measures. Even so, they are not opposed to wolves. If they can understand we’re all part of the chain, why can’t McIrvine?

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Woodswomen

August 7th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Numerous articles were written on Anne LaBastille since her passing on July 1, 2011 but Anne’s many books best describe who she was and how she lived her idyllic lifestyle. I first became acquainted with this remarkable lady in 1976 upon acquiring her first book entitled Woodswoman. Vicariously living her life through her words as she had lived hers through  Thoreau’s Walden, I connected with this kindred spirit but drew the line at actually living out the dream. It might have been she who spawned my desire to become a Conservationist in the Adirondack region but my intense fear of bears prevented me from embarking on the journey she so freely embraced. Instead, I took a detour, enjoying all the benefits of the family summer home in the mountains while still retaining my ties to civilization. Truth be told, I just didn’t have it in me to live a life of such reclusive isolation. I was in love with the idea of it and so Anne’s books sustained that love without my having to endure all of the hardship and lonliness that went along with it.
The other day I came across her book, Beyond Black Bear Lake. I was in the family cabin, now belonging to me 36 years later. Her books take me back to that time, when our cabin was built  and all my girlhood dreams came flooding back like the river that lies at the base of the mountain. Like the river, they were there all along but lay dormant, and dislodged like a rock in the muddy contours of my mind. The rock that slid out from under me at having learned of her passing, a year and a month too late. A profound personal loss overcame me, as though part of my past, that should be as solid as the book I held in my hand, had suddenly disintegrated. Woodswoman, it dawned, was the essense of what (not who) I was and it hurt me to the core. The unspeakable sadness that this fiercely independent woman had succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease, had spent the last few years of her life in a Plattsburgh nursing home, had had her worst fears realized. Forced to give up her dream life, her cabin, her dog . Herself.
I pick up the book and begin to read. Anne speaks. Reliving the life as if it were just beginnng. Once more, I join her on the journey. On a beautiful moonlit night, canoe slipping softly through the water, German Shepherd in the bow. We are living, and breathing the crisp Adirondack air scented with pine.  Enter the tiny lamp lit log cabin. The night is long and summer is eternal. Write your story, Anne. The one that never ends. I can still see the water lilies floating on the pond.  And nothing breaks the surface.
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Perils Of Wisdom

July 14th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
I love the great outdoors. City born and bred, I quickly became enamored with country life early on by our many family outings to (a once wilder) Long Island and the deep woods of upstate New York. I vowed to one day move to the country and have had my dreams realized once or twice in my lifetime. Whatever circumstances intervened to keep me from my idyl, the thought of permanently returning is never far from my mind.
Lovely as it is, outdoor life has its dangers; poison ivy, bee stings, sunburn, getting lost in the woods, getting snowed in, mud slides (twice our dirt road was washed out by torrential rains that affected the entire upstate region causing a state of emergency). The majority of most of these perils can generally be avoided with just a little foresight (or hindsight if you’ve already had the misfortune to misjudge), while others are simply unavoidable. Common sense however, is the saving grace in all things. I’ve experienced all of the situations mentioned and have questioned my sense of judgement more than once to ascertain if my calamities were brought on by carelessness or happenstance. The conclusion is, invariably, both. But this is how we learn and the mistakes made never bear repeating. And if they do, we are at an advantage as to how to better handle them the second time around.
My biggest fear is an encounter with a wild animal such as a bear or a bobcat. Though both are said to be elusive, nature is unpredictable. I have never seen either one in its natural habitat, but they’re there all right. They see you . One deterrent is to make noise. Quiet by nature, I find this behavior a little out of character for me but my fear of coming face to face with a ferocious version of Smokey will prod me to do some things any sane person witnessing would find alarming. First Rule: Never venture out of doors without your hiking stick, though I tend to think of myself running in the opposite direction rather than actually poke Smokey in the nose with it. Rule Number Two: Make noise. My idea of making noise is to sing a ridiculous song at the top of my lungs in an over zealous manner. That should send Yogi and Boo Boo hightailing to Canada along with a good majority of the human population. Unfortunately, all I’ve thus far managed to do is send poor little Peter Rabbit scurrying for cover. Awww….and he was so cute too.
In years past, there was no threat of bears in our area but they’ve made a recent comeback in prolific numbers. Then again, how do we know they weren’t there before? Maybe we just didn’t see enough of them and what we’re seeing now is the baby boomer generation of bears. I shudder to think of my teenage hiking days, traipsing off into the woods by myself. I’d be quiet as an Indian to try and spot as many wild creatures as I could when all the while there’s old Bigfoot with his eye on me, salivating at the thought of a teen burger. Really, Mister Bigfoot, I’m too skinny, I might have protested. On the other hand, my younger cousin was entirely fearless. Come dusk, she’d grab her sleeping bag and head for the forest, all alone. I never thought that was a very wise thing to do then, and especially not now.
I think of my many foolish moments off on my own. Once I found a small cluster of black flowers growing at the base of a huge tree in the woods. I was intrigued. I had never seen black flowers before. I crouched down to examine the sharply pointed petals on their long smooth stems. There were only 3 or 4 of the flowers and none others nearby. I decided to bring them home and place them in a vase. Home, at the time, was just a short walk up the road. The moment the flowers were placed in the water filled vase, they drooped. As in, died. As if the most abhorrent thing in the world to them was water. It was like the scene in The Wizard Of Oz where the water gets thrown on the witch and she starts melting. I was perplexed and a little bit frightened. What flower doesn’t like water? What was this mysterious plant? I have searched the internet and have never found any wildflower remotely like it. It could have been the poisonous creation of Merlin the Wizard for all I knew.
The point to my ramblings is this; If you have any misgivings on what your foragings have to offer, heed them. Don’t touch anything that’s not familiar to you. Learn as much as you can about your surroundings and don’t go nosing around unless you know what you’re doing. Be alert to what’s happening around you. If you hear a humming sound and you’re in God’s Country, it’s probably not the drone of an airplane, but a swarm of bees that are not necessarily airborne but may very well be where your next step lands; on the ground. No matter how much we think we know, there will always be moments of wonder.
Happy Trails and have a Safe and Happy Summer!
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Campfire Memories

July 12th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Years ago. our little cabin in the woods had a campfire pit built nearby, composed of rocks dislodged from the walls assembled by farmers when there were fields instead of the now surrounding forest. Three trees were felled to use as “benches” around the campfire where we’d huddle roasting ears of corn or marshmallows long into the night. The familiar faces of family members glowed with warmth in the firelight and at the stories they told filling the night air. Since then, some have passed on, our circle broken; the rocks removed and scattered to the wilds. Our rustic seating area disintegrated over time, meshing back into the earth from which it sprang. Even so, the memories remain. Star studded nights call them back to this place, sequestered from all else. I wanted it back. The people along with the memories. At the very least, the campfire in its rightful place once more. A primeval force rekindled by a tribal instinct.
Last summer, I attempted to do just that. While Michael napped in mid afternoon bliss, I trudged up the hill to borrow my brother’s wheelbarrow. No one else was around for the weekend. I was on my own. I knew just the place to garner the rocks needed to recreate the pit. Wheelbarrow in gear, I barreled down the hill to the old stone wall that ran along the roadside. The wall was in a state of partial collapse and I would help it along by removing only as many rocks as needed. In an effort to get as close as possible to the wall which was situated up the other side of the ditch, I had to get down into the ditch itself. It was full of water but no matter. I splashed the barrow into it where I promptly became stuck. In the country, flip flops are not the wisest choice in footwear. The mud sucked at the soles. Squoo-utch! Squoo-utch! One for each foot, thus rendering me immobile. I was like one of those dolls with the suction cups stuck on a dashboard of a car. In attempting to disengage myself from the mud sucking ditch, I fell over sideways into the muck. Great! I heard myself laughing at my own foolishness. I struggled to my feet, slipping out of my flip flops which held fast to the mud as I tugged at first one and then the other, releasing its grip from the mud monster. I began again, this time carefully avoiding the ditch, and climbed up to the wall. I dropped rocks into the barrow with a satisying resounding thud at each collected prize. Filled to the brim, I jumped back down (barefoot) and gripped the handles of the barrow that proved too weighty to move. It buckled and shifted to one side, toppling into the ditch very much as I had done earlier. I had to remove some of the rocks to lessen its load. This done, and still with considerable effort, I forced the barrow out of the ditch and up onto the road with a grunt. Then went back for the remaining rocks with which to refill the barrow.
I was now ready to haul my load of rocks to its intended site. It wouldn’t budge. I removed some rocks yet again. Ugh! Still too heavy but I somehow managed to inch my way up the road, and I do mean inch in its every literal sense. I was determined, with all the backing of my deceased relatives cheering me on, to labor at my task like a demented workhorse. I began to break into a sweat, not having had the foresight to realize how….very….far….my destination lay. I….just….couldn’t….do it. Abandoning the wheelbarrow in the middle of the road, hoping a car wouldn’t happen along, I walked the rest of the way to get help. Now, the road is a private one, composed of dirt, and just as natural a country road as one could imagine; wide enough for just one car, that dead ends after a mile or so. It wasn’t likely that a car would come along; the only houses were a couple of vacation homes and a neglected campsite or two. But with the way my luck was running, I didn’t want to chance it. I went back. Tried again. And again. And a ….gain. Until eventually, I came within sight of my destination. Close enough.
Now for the fun part….
I would assemble the fire pit. Fairly soon however, I ran out of rocks. It wasn’t even half done. I couldn’t go back and repeat the insanity. Instead, I grabbed rocks wherever I could, even risking entering the forbidden (ja, das ist verboten) poison ivy area where everyone is repeatedly warned to steer clear. Certain I was immune to the unassuming little plant, I plodded on. Still….not enough rocks. By this time I was overcome by an overwhelming desire to squash the project in favor of something less arduous. In exasperation, with no energy left to wave a flag of defeat, I simply gave up. Someone would help me next time. Michael. My brother (maybe not, if he ever finds out I bent the frame underneath his wheelbarrow and frantically bent it back into shape weakening the entire structure). The main thing is, I made some new memories; in the form of an itchy, scratchy, miserable rash on both legs that lasted for weeks and grew progressively worse as time wore on, defying every conceivable remedy. Never underestimate the power of a tiny little plant with three very distinctive leaves. When (if) the fire pit is finally built, I’ll be itching (pun, most definitely intended) to tell this story around the campfire. It needs no embellishing.
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For The Birds

June 24th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

While bike riding in the nearby Massapequa Preserve yesterday, I came across a glorious sight. Twelve swans floating as one in the creek that’s fed from the large pond a little further upstream. Other people also stopped to observe, one remarking “Six pair”. Everyone knows that where there’s one swan, there are usually two. Thus, multiple swans should turn out in pairs. They mate for life (something we humans can learn from). I spent a few moments drinking in their beauty before continuing on my way.
On my reverse trip, it seems that a Swan Lady had appeared, knee deep in the water, looking magical as the swans surrounded her. Then it became apparent, as the scene tarnished by the  fact that she was feeding them along with a smattering of baby ducks.  We were always told not to. Had something changed? As if reading my mind, she turned to me and said “It’s actually good for them. It’s wheat bread, not white”, she added in defense, as each swan politely took its turn accepting her offering by hand. I was somewhat skeptical but thought that she might be a swan expert, so certain was she in her conviction . She seemed pleased with herself at saying they had finished off the loaf. She had brought two and immediately began doling out the second one as more people gathered to watch. “Do you have any bread for the birds?” she asked a set of toddler twins. “If you do, then you can feed them too”.
On the other side of the preserve is yet another pond, along with a prominently placed sign facing Merrick Rd. DO NOT FEED THE WATERFOWL. It was posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation listing the reasons:
Poor Nutrition
Increased Hybridization
Water Pollution
Delayed Migration
Concentration At Unnatural Sites
Overcrowding
Spread of Disease
Costly Management Efforts
Unnatural Behavior
Cumulative Effects (one person feeds them, then another and so on)
Devaluation of the Species
And so, dear people, please leave nature to itself. It’s quite capable of providing for itself without any “help” from us, however well intentioned. It’s done so since the dawn of time. Take the bread home and spread some peanut butter and jelly on it for your kids. There are other ways of teaching your children about nature, beginning with suppressing the urge to feed the birds. They are not starving. They beg for food the same way your dog or cat does but the added distinction lies in the fact that these creatures are wild. So enjoy them at a distance with all the respect that they deserve. Meanwhile, the Swan Lady has prompted me to request another sign from the DEC to be posted at the Swan Lady’s site. It seems that it is she who needs to be re-educated, not I.
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I Love NY – Don’t Frack It Up

June 14th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Fracking – The extraction of natural gas from the earth using un-natural methods.
Fracking – The decimation of the land affecting all living things.
Fracking – The polluting of groundwater to the detriment of all.
Fracking – The promise of jobs in exchange for a lesser quality of life.
FrackingBig business versus the rest of us.
Fracking – An easy fix for an uneasy existence.
Fracking – The means to an end of life as we know it.
FrackingThe lazy man’s solution to alternative energy.
FrackingIrresponsible measures taken in a grand show of national independence.
Fracking – The invasive drilling of the earth with no regard for the consequences.
Fracking – A dirty word for a dirty business.
Fracking A bad idea for a good many reasons.
Not in New York. NOT ANYWHERE. For more information and what you can do to stop it, Google “No Fracking” or contact NY Officials directly at amillionfrackingletters.com….
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The Egg Lady

June 12th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
“There it is”. I’ll point it out each time on our way to our country place. Sometimes I just say it to myself. Other times we drive by so fast I won’t see it coming. But always, I look for it. The ramshackle old farmstead with its cluster of outbuildings left abandoned now. It didn’t look much different back then, back in the 1970’s when my family and I first made our jaunts to the mountains that are so familiar to me now. We can find our way in the dark, and oftentimes do. I remember we always stopped at The Egg Lady’s. I know there used to be a sign for it somewhere – “Eggs”. A more prominent one announced – “Worms”. Guess fishing was in its hey day then. Anyway, we’d always stop for a couple of dozen eggs before continuing on our way.
The Egg Lady (or so she was known to us) lived all alone and ran a sort of gentleman’s farm, minus the gentleman and without the gentle manor lifestyle. In addition to eggs, she sold chickens, rabbits, worms, and even dirt. (If you can’t find dirt here, you won’t find it anywhere). Eggs were cheaper in the country – a dollar a dozen, and fresher too. Big, hearty, orange yolks swimming in their puddles of goo. Not like the puny yellow ones you get in the city. What would be the difference – they both come from chickens, right? Ah, but the country hen has free range (all the rage now) and is fed as a chicken should be fed, with scraps of leftovers in addition to its ration of mash, pellets, and cracked corn. The other guys (or gals, to be politically and biologically correct), the ones with the puny yellow yolks, are assembly line chickens, trapped within the confines of their clinical cages, and no table scraps for them. So why would they be expected to produce a better egg? It was well worth stopping at The Egg Lady’s.
She was attired as a farmer’s wife might be expected, going about her daily chores, but in stark contrast to her Beauty Parlor Blue hair she always wore stylishly arranged. She’d emerge from her weather beaten farmhouse that was worn down to its gray siding, stripped of its paint long ago. She hastily gathered enough eggs to make up the two dozen asked for, and placed them in recycled cartons she kept readily on hand. The chicken coops were intermingled with an assortment of rabbit hutches scattered haphazardly across the ground, and although an enormous barn stood alongside, it was never utilized for their benefit. When winter came, she simply covered them up with tarps of plastic. One day, there weren’t enough eggs outside so she had us come into the farmhouse for more. Standing in what should have been a functioning kitchen, were precariously piled newspapers, towering stacks of dishes, and all manner of odds and ends covering every available surface, so that it was virtually impossible to actually sit and eat a meal if one were so inclined. The sink was full of dishes that looked as though they had been there for an indeterminate length of time. It was even rumored that she had animals in the house. (What in heaven’s name was in that barn?) The truth dawned. The Egg Lady was a packrat, a hoarder, not the tidiest of housekeepers, and worse – we were eating her eggs….. But, I reasoned, the inside was pure and untouched. It was deemed safe enough. And besides, they tasted great.
Our relationship with The Egg Lady continued for some time but came to an abrupt halt when she raised the price of a dozen eggs from a dollar to a dollar fifty. (What! Highway robbery). They were suddenly the same price as those we could buy in the city. Still, they were way better. However, this is what hatched the plan, so to speak. It was decided that we would keep chickens of our own. House them in a proper coop (as opposed to housing them in a house), and give them enough food and water to last the week until we could arrive for the weekend and replenish their supply. Our first tenants came in the form of 6 baby chicks I was given as a surprise. But in a matter of weeks, they developed into 6 fine roosters (even more of a surprise). No eggs there (and no surprise there). Then one day, a baby chick stumbled into our driveway in the city. From whence he came, no one knew, but he picked the right house (someone must have told him) and we promptly scooped him up and drove him the 200 miles to chicken heaven where, in a matter of weeks, he too turned into a handsome rooster.  It wasn’t until we finally purchased 6 fully grown hens (we weren’t taking any more chances) from a nearby farmer, that we finally had a full fledged country breakfast and have continued the tradition ever since. This is the first year a brood of five chicks were hatched. It’s only a matter of time before we know…..
As for The Egg Lady, the farmstead has stood abandoned for several years now, she having passed on to perhaps a true gentleman’s farm where it’s hoped she doesn’t have to work so hard. Everything looks as it always did. I can finally see the sign I couldn’t seem to see before, in large hand blocked letters – EGGS. But no one ever stops anymore. I can’t help looking, though. As if I can glimpse her trailing through the barnyard in a sort of time warp, coiffed in blue elegance. But the meadowgrass is all that breathes, in a gentle whispering wind.
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Mindfulness: The Art of Living Well

December 5th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I have been a student of eastern philosophy for more than three decades and I am delighted to see that the practice of Mindfulness is very much in vogue today. One doesn’t even have to concern oneself with the historicity of Mindfulness nor even be remotely interested in Buddhism out of which this very simple, though at the same time very difficult and yet prodigiously effective practice sprung. As a matter of fact many psychiatrists and psychologists have recommended Mindfulness to their patients as a way of reducing stress, anxiety, and dealing with depression.
Many people have stated that Mindfulness has dramatically changed his or her life for the better; whether it is practiced by someone who suffers from some anxiety and mild depression to very serious psychiatric afflictions such as paranoid schizophrenia. (Last week The New York Times profiled a man who was diagnosed with having schizophrenia but was able to cope and function as a productive solid citizen, he is currently employed full time as a computer programmer, with the aid of medication and the daily practice of mindfulness.)
So what is Mindfulness? Is this something for you? Can you incorporate this sort of practice into your life and busy schedule? The answer to all three of these questions is a resounding yes. Mindfulness in a sense is a form of mediation, one doesn’t have to set aside a half – hour or more and sit in the lotus position counting one’s breath. Mindfulness is actually a way of life and a new way of looking at the world. Ideally, a person ought to be mindful every waking moment. The best definition for mindfulness is simply (it’s actually very hard) bringing your attention to the present and paying careful attention purposely and in a particular way to the present moment; the particular way is to be nonjudgmental and to except what is true and real without any pre-conceived notions or delusions. This is the reason a Zen Buddhist very often refers to this “state of mind” as Beginner’s mind or experiencing life as if for the very first time. One can be an eighty-year-old man with a lifetime of experiences and memories and still live almost child-like in terms of being curious, open, and accepting what you perceive to be the absolute truth – life is exactly what it appears to be, nothing less and nothing more.
Although Buddhism has been around for 2500 years, the concept and idea of cherry – picking, so to speak , the utilitarian down-to-earth nuts and bolts aspects of how to live a good life without adhering to and embracing the philosophy and religion of Buddhism, was put forth by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Minfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts to treat the chronically ill. This was a hugely successful and clearly effective way of maintaining good health physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually combining western medicine and the eternal truths from the East (from the East but they’re truths that are eternal and universal) about the human condition.
So tomorrow morning when you have your morning cup of coffee, experiment with mindfulness. Drinking coffee or tea is a good way of beginning your Mindfulness training. There are actually scores of books written about Zen and not only drinking tea but also the preparation involved which is sort of a ritual for many Easterners. (Now Westerners too, thanks to the proliferation of Zen and Mindfulness). Say to yourself, “This is the beginning of a new and wonderful day; this particular day has never happened before and never will happen again. Be mindful of this and be grateful. Smell the aroma of the coffee before taking your first sip, feel the porcelain touch your lips, take note of the weight of the cup, let all of your senses open up, and come to life. Nothing else matters at this particular moment and time but you and your cup of coffee. Be at peace and be totally present. If a thought, worry or concern crops up do not dismiss it, simply acknowledge it, accept it and gently bring yourself back to drinking your coffee or tea. Thoughts, feelings, awareness of your surroundings is all normal, the key is to be in the present and greet each feeling and sensation with curiosity, openness, total acceptance and feel the connection and relationship you have with your cup of coffee and ultimately with everything that exists and is in the universes. Yes, life is good and for these few minutes, there is nothing but this. You’re as close to the truth as the Dali Lama is as he meditates to greet the morning. “
So WhaDaYaThink ? What Do You Think ? This seems like a very simple exercise in Mindfulness but I can assure you, invariably a multitude of unwanted thoughts will permeate you being – just let them come and go, eventually you will be the master of your thoughts and you will be more peaceful, more at rest and yet more alive than ever. Peace on Earth.

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