Dude’s Book Review: Dead White Guys [Because Parental Units are Expected to "Know All About Life."]

Little Dude ~ Yes you do; you know all about life!

I dig philosophy.

We’re all philosophers at heart.

Whether we realize it for not, we search for answers to life’s unanswerable questions. At some point, we realize that we don’t know…and no one does!

At that crossroads, we can throw on the blinders and slip into the cultural norms guided by powers beyond our control, or we can dig deeper and build a personal philosophy that can guide our life.

This personal structure is unique for everyone. Where to start? Who to trust? What is really important?

Luckily there have been very rad dudes (and ladies too) raising these same questions for a loooong time. Dudes like Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, and many more.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to be swept away by the cultural stream, and for the vast majority of us, we’re not exposed to great thinkers until it’s too late.

Perhaps this is by design.

If people think less and follow more, it sure is easier to guide them.

In the end, we are all responsible for ourselves. And self-education is a primary responsibility.

However, as every parent knows, for the first 18 years, it is our responsibility to mold those young minds. And those young minds depend on us to “know all about life.”

Little Dude: Why can’t girls have boys names?

Dude: I don’t know. (It was early; I weaseled out.)

Little Dude: (Offended now) Yes you do; you know all about life!

How cool is that?! Our kids actually think we know all about life! Awesome.

Perhaps we didn’t get a great education. Or pay attention to that education. But it’s not too late. Not too late for you, and not too late for the little ones that think we have a clue. It could be years before they’re on to us!

Take the blinders off and start to build your personal philosophy. As a result, the little ones will start to build their philosophy too.

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a book called “Dead White Guys.” I’m asked to review books from time to time, and most of the time I decline without much thought.

I have enough to do/read without spending time on unsolicited books. But this one grabbed my attention. As the subtitle says, “A father, his daughter, and the great books of the western world.”

That’s got Dude written all over it. And it didn’t disappoint.

The book is written as a father passing down advice to his child. The advice just happens to be based on some of the greatest minds in history. The book is filled with compelling stories, heart-felt examples, and the loving guidance that only a parent can share with a child. It felt like me, talking to my kids, through the book.

Matt Burriesci is a talented writer that shares a great view of brilliant historic thinkers.

We all need to spend time with these philosophers. But our kids who depend on us to “know all about life” need this guidance now more than ever.

The world is a crazy place. Powers are fighting for your kids’ attention. If you don’t take it, someone/thing else will.

Build your personal philosophy, and help the kids start to build theirs. “Dead White Guys” is a great place to start.

Nice work Mr. Burriesci.

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Grooming the Next King of Foosball: One Ridiculous Don King Quote at a Time

“Gonna beat your face to outer space!” – Little Dude’s foosball trash talk.

Don King? Or does that American flag top hat put him in Apollo Creed territory?

Either way, Little Dude is on the path to greatness. Foosball greatness.

Are you aware there are foosball greats?! Yep, a pro tour, tournaments, world champions, $65,000 prizes, and some scandal too.

But, it’s a shadow of it’s 1970′s prime when the pro tour offered player trading cards, groupies, coke parties, sports cars, and a $1M prize purse.

A rec room legend has been on a long decline.

Perfect opportunity for the rise of the next king.

Last year I transitioned a dirt mound under the deck into a patio. As part of this mastermind landscape creation, I purchased a $50 foosball table on CraigsList and hauled that beast to it’s new home in the Dude casa backyard.

I have no idea how to play foosball.

Why get a table? Simple. Mrs. Dude whipped my unskilled butt on our 2nd date….years ago. Dudes remember these things. Dude pride is at stake.

The perfect addition to the backyard patio.

To pay the bills back in the day, I worked at a dive bar in Boston that was lovingly described as the “star wars bar.” Perhaps the best dive bar…eva. This dive bar rocked a foosball table, and regulars rocked the foosball table. I’ve seen some nasty foosers.

But I never put the foos time in…the dudes seemed waaay too good. And unfortunately, I never realized I could have made it my (alcohol/drug fueled) occupation. Until I read about The Party Boy King of Foosball.

I’ve been sitting on this Men’s Journal article for a year because the foosball table has been sitting idle on the patio for a year. But a couple week’s ago the foos frenzy began.

For some reason (great summer weather, time to kill, threats from Dad?), we’ve started an evening foosball tradition – Dude & Little Dude vs. the Princess.

None of us had a clue at the beginning, but we’re catching on fast. Flick of the wrist here, pass off the wall there, power shots galore.

We’re definitely catching our foosball groove.

Watch out competitive foosball world, Little Dude is sharpening his skills…and his trash talk. 

I just hope the convention hall tournaments and Trans-Am prizes can last long enough to fulfill the dreams of a future foosball legend.

Give the MJ article a read…it’s equally ridiculous and awesome.

Long live foosball.

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Dudeist Priest Wedding Officiant: How to Rock Your First Wedding Ceremony [Bonus: Script Include]

As you may glean from the name of this blog, I dig the Big Lebowski.

Wit, dialogue, deeper meaning…it’s tough to beat The Dude.

In honor of The Dude and his Zen-like ways, I joined the fellowship of the Dudeist Priests many moons ago.

In addition to a few chuckles and reminders of classic Lebowski quotes, I became an ordained Dudeist Priest.

No cost and two minutes of my time, why not?

Ordained priest; check off that bucket list.

In the back of my mind, I contemplated making use of my ordained status…someday, but never dedicated too many brain synapses to the mental image.

A few years ago my cousin asked me to be the officiant at her wedding. But it was a long trip, kids in tow, blah didi blah blah. I declined. I figured my next bucket list check had passed me by.

Turns out my sister-in-law is also a poor judge of character and requested my ordained presence as well.

A beach vacation/beach wedding with the entire family. Hard to turn that request down.

It got really real, real quick.

So, a few weeks ago I performed my first (last?) wedding ceremony. And if I do say so myself, I think I may have rocked it.

Well, I didn’t fall down and I wasn’t booed off the beach. Rocked it? I’d say so.

Lessons for the first time officiant? Sure, how about a Top 10…

  1. Abide. Chill, Dude. I’m a Dudeist Priest…you should have expected that one.
  2. Search flow and scripts online (see below).
  3. Watch officiant videos on YouTube.
  4. Know the bride and groom. Talk about their wishes for the wedding, but more importantly, about themselves and their relationship.
  5. Take time to prep. The great Dude in the sky hooked me up with a 20 minute t-storm to give me added memorization time…much needed.
  6. Memorize, don’t read.
  7. Be comfortable in front of the crowd. Practice…use a mirror.
  8. Keep it short and sweet.
  9. Mix a hint of humor with a whole lotta love.
  10. Tell the bride she’s beautiful. ;)

Marrying two human beings was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Bucket list, checked.

And afterwards, we danced our faces off to a kick-butt funk band, and watched Little Dude dominate the dance floor with his sweet break dancing skills.

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Newlyweds.

Wedding Ceremony Script

Here’s my rad wedding ceremony script. Feel free to use, but use with caution…it’s pretty awesome.

Greeting

Welcome everyone. Welcome on this gorgeous day to the celebration of the marriage of XYZ and ZYX.

On behalf of X and Y and their parents, Z and W, I’d like to thank you all for being here to celebrate this special day.

In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

It’s easy to get lost in the details of the day and lose focus on the big picture.

I encourage us all to stop and look around.

Relax, take a deep breath of the salty air, enjoy this lovely location, enjoy this special moment on this special day as we launch X and Y on their lifelong flight together. (Groom is a pilot, you like that, right?! :) )

Exchange of Vows
(Luckily, they wrote their own vows – not included)

X and Y, the words you are about to say to each other will change your lives forever. It’s an honor to be here to share this moment with you.

X, please share your vows with Y…

Y, please share your vows with X…

Ring Exchange

For X and Y these rings are a symbol of their commitment to each other. By exchanging these rings, X and Y declare their eternal love for each other.

X, repeat after me: “Y, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

Y, repeat after me: “X, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

X, do you take Y to be your wife?

Y, do you take X to be your husband?

Closing

This ceremony may have only lasted minutes, but your promises to each other will last a lifetime.

It is my great honor and privilege to now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. XYZ.

Yes, I did quote the great Ferris Bueller. Classic Dude.

Go forth and marry Dudeists!

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MenEssentials: Smell Waaay Better than Your Grandmother on Fire.

MenEssentials Beard Gear

A few weeks ago the Dude was in need of some new beardscaping products.

I conducted the perfunctory Google investigation and turned up too much and too little. Too many options with too little details.

I quickly turned to Amazon and their highest sellers. Mistake.

The first time I oiled up the beard and slapped on some aftershave, Mrs. Dude responded with…

Sniff. Sniff. “What’s burning? You smell like a camp fire.” Sniff. Sniff. “And those spicy candies my grandmother always had. Pretty much my grandmother on fire.”

Not the review I was hoping for.

Thankfully, MenEssentials sensed a bearded bro in need.

A well-timed email, and the Dude had a box of beard gear waiting on the doorstep. Rad.

MenEssesntials gear is solid. Natural ingredients. Sweet smells. Healthy beard.

Waaay better than your grandmother in flames.

A couple favs: Bluebards Beard Wash + Bluebeards Wonder Beard

Happy bearding matey.

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[Bulletproof] Coffee of the Gods: Quality Beans, Butter & the AeroPress

Quality is important.

Coffee is important.

Quality coffee? Crucial.

I mentioned my affinity for “bulletproof” coffee in a post a couple years ago – grass-fed butter and MCT oil added to quality coffee as a great way to start your day.

Since coffee has become a staple in my daily routine, I’ve developed a focus on improving my coffee routine and quality.

Last week, this improvement hit hyperspace.

A bit of a tangent, but we’ll loop around.

Tim Ferris. 4 Hour Work Week. 4 Hour Body. 4 Hour Chef.

Never read his books. The infomercial names turned me off. But I’ve been listening to his podcast and reading his blog for the past few months.

I’m amazed at the amount of quality info I’ve consumed at the hands of Mr. T. Ferriss in a short time.

Another topic for another time.

Coffee.

The first blog post from T. F. that caught my attention was

Tim digs into the coffee ritual at Apple. Decently interesting. But the magic is in the tips Tim offers to hack the coffee game.

After listening to all of Tim’s podcasts, I realize this is the magic T.F. brings to every endeavor. And the reason his books are probably worthwhile.

Tim tells you how Apple loves coffee and their obsessive habits around it, but he also tells you how to do it cheaper and easier.

I bought the recommended inexpensive grinder after reading that post.

I watched the video included in the post and saw the plastic coffee-maker, but like Tim’s books, I judged the book by the cover. Wrong choice.

Tim talks about using this plastic masterpiece to make the “perfect cup of coffee,” but I didn’t believe.

Until last week. I finally broke-bad and ordered a $25 AeroPress (Amazon).

It’s hard to overstate how great the AeroPress is. Quick, easy. More importantly, the best cup of coffee I’ve had.

For reals. The best. Ever.

Coffee of the gods.

Here’s a great post on the invention of the AeroPress.

And a great video of the AeroPress “ritual”…

Sandwich Video | AeroPress – “Ritual” from Garrett Shannon on Vimeo.

I’ve included a list of coffee-related links below that I’ve collected while wandering the interwebs in search of el perfecto cuppa joe. But all you really need to know is…

  1. Grass-fed butter
  2. Single-origin coffee beans (no blends)
  3. Aero Press for life

Coffee-related Links:

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Zen and the Art of Mobility: A Minimalist Approach to Stretching and Mobility [Fitness Bonus]

I won’t claim to be an expert on Zen. But I dig the Zen/Buddhist ideas I’ve studied.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism. Both of which seem to have strong ties to Zen.

Simple and minimal also have a broad application to an efficient, productive everyday life – a core focus of the Dude’s world these days.

Including health and fitness.

You can dig a bit further on the Zen philosophy and the relation to minimalism in this blog post:

Rather than a focus on esoteric ideas, let’s use this post to explore a minimal, simple, quick and easy approach to mobility and stretching.

And start to consider an efficient, minimal approach to fitness as a whole.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More
  5. Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

From my experience, mobility has always been a drawn out approach – from a short and long-term perspective.

I stretch and foam-roll for 40+ minutes almost every day. And I’m still working through deep-seeded damage to muscle groups.

It’s not a quick fix…but neither was the damage.

Progress is being made, but there is a strong time commitment as well.

As I explained in Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation, my approach to fitness has changed drastically over the last few years, and it is continually evolving.

Efficiency and minimalism are at the core of my fitness approach.

It’s great to see the fitness and health world moving in this efficient/minimal direction as well – forget the gym, use everyday objects and activities, stop over-training, use science to focus on minimal exercises with best impact, get back to nature and use your body.

I could share a long list of resources that are moving in this direction, but rather than an overload, let’s look at a couple recent gems I’ve enjoyed (check my posts listed above for additional links)…

And the motivation for this post – Dan John.

Dan is an impressive dude with a long list of credentials and experiences.

Jumping from one link to another I landed on a post Dan wrote about his go-to mobility exercises:

2 exercises. That’s it!

A big difference from my daily 40 minutes+.

I see value in my slow, deep approach to mobility and stretching. But dang, only two exercises?! I dig. Always room for efficiency.

I’m now working with both approaches. Some days long. Some days short. Dan’s exercises, every day.

Dan sums up his approach to minimal mobility well:

Listen, I KNOW you can do more…I know it! But, will it be better?

Checkout Dan’s great explanation – Two minimal mobility movements:

  1. The Windmill Stick
  2. The Stoney Stretch.

Bonus

Dan shares a great minimalist fitness practice (Pavel says don’t call it a workout) in the same post:

Day One

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Snatch

Day Two

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
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Still Time to Score for Valentine’s Day [More Importantly, XOXO on the Reg]

There’s only a couple rules we live by in the Dude casa.

  1. Never break a promise: Trust is important
  2. Always give a kiss goodnight…

You can’t get today back. Make sure the peeps you love, know it.

  • “I hope they know how much I love them.”
  • “I wish I had a chance to say I love you.”

Such simple regrets to avoid.

Don’t wait for the next holiday to say I love you and share a good night kiss.

Today’s the day.

Holidays? Gifts?

Meh.

Make every day the right day to share a special moment.

With that said, I love love. Any reason for an extra squeeze is good by me.

It’s a week away, but you still have time to score for Valentine’s Day. Here’s how…

You’re welcome.

Posted in Family, Holidays, Life Lessons, Love | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Meditation: The Ultimate Life Hack? [A Dude's Guide to What, Why & How]

The Dude is all about some life hacks.

Simple. But effective. That’s my jam.

As I travel down life’s path, I continue to refine. Every aspect of my life. Daily.

How can I improve? Make this better. Easier. More efficient.

Everything can be improved. Always.

Regardless of the area of life I place my attention – work, art, fitness, relationships, health, well-being – a common thread that binds is the suggestion to practice mediation. It is astounding how often mediation comes up from all walks of life.

I’ve tried to create a mediation practice for years. Read. Researched. Started. Stopped.

I never felt I was doing it “right.” Or my mind would drift, and I felt my efforts were wasted.

Practice was consistently inconsistent.

Almost two years ago, I hit my stride. Daily practice has become a reality.

What changed?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the magik bullet. I did land on a style I dig (check out Theurgy), but mainly, I think I’m at the right place at the right time.

I may not have the magik bullet, but the interwebs sure do have A LOT of valuable info.

During meditation tenure, I’ve collected a variety of articles, blog posts, etc. that discuss the vast benefits of meditation. Coupled with the real-world effects I feel on the daily, I’m starting to believe mediation just may be the ultimate life hack.

Let’s take a gander at what the interwebs have to offer…

What is Meditation

  • The Paradox of Meditation: Great source. Subscribe. The book reviewed here has been on my Amazon list for a while. Time to buy.  In Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (public library), neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris argued that cultivating the art of presence is our greatest gateway to true happiness. After his extensive, decades-long empirical romp through the world’s major religious traditions and humanity’s most potent psychedelic substances, Harris returns again and again to meditation as the holy grail of self-transcendence, the single most promising practice for slicing through the illusion of the ego to reveal what Jack Kerouac so memorably called “the Golden Eternity.” (You can also find a great interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. Book AND source. Foreshadowing?)
  • Ram Dass on Meditation (Polishing the Mirror): Meditation is basic spiritual practice for quieting the mind and getting in touch with our deeper Self, the spirit. Meditation provides a deeper appreciation of the interrelatedness of all things and the part each person plays. The simple rules of this game are honesty with yourself about where you are in your life and learning and listening to hear how it is. Meditation is a way of listening more deeply, so you hear how it all is from a more profound place. Meditation enhances your insight, reveals your true nature, and brings you inner peace.
  • Meditation & Theosophy: Builds on my Theurgy link above. Meditation is thus a continual process of remedying our ills by remembering who we are and adapting to the circumstances we face in life. The techniques of meditation are varied.
  • The Rituals of Kumar Pallana: Kumar loves mediation. Wes Anderson love Kumar. You should love meditation AND Kumar.

Why Meditate

  • A Scientific Revolution Driven by Meditation: Harvard level professors giving attention to mediation. Meditation vs. Mindfulness – same? Maybe. Maybe not. Seems pretty close to me. This article discusses Jon Kabat-Zinn– one of my first entrants to mediation/mindfulness and still one of my favs.
  • The Power of Meditation & How it Affects the Brain: Great mediation overview on Buffer (Don’t know Buffer?! Dude!) – 4 types of mediation, how mediation affects the brain, how mediation affects us, getting started.
  • Meditation Enhances Creativity: David Lynch, famed movie/TV director, uses mediation to find great ideas. Agreed. Keep your bullet journal nearby…sweet creative ideas will bubble to surface.
  • Meditation Alters Genes: Methodology – Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Subjects trained 26 adults with no prior experience in meditation for eight weeks. Results – All of the subjects’ blood samples revealed changes in gene expression following meditation. The changes were the exact opposite of what occurs during flight or fight: genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance were turned on, while those involved in inflammation were turned off. These effects were more pronounced and consistent for long-term practitioners.
  • 10 Benefits of Meditation: The length of your practice isn’t as important as the frequency; you’re far more likely to experience the many benefits if you meditate for five to 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week than if you squeeze your meditation into a 30-minute session once a week.
  • Meditation – Key to Longer, Stress-free life?: Telomeres are portions of repetitive DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our chromosomes from deteriorating. Meditation was the focus of research at UC Davis and UCSF by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD. The 2011 study found that meditation increased activity of telomerase — enzymes that can rebuild and lengthen our chromosomal telomeres — when meditation was conducted twice a week for three months.
  • How Meditation Can Boost Your Brainpower: For skeptics, this study showed how the brain literally changes with meditation in order to provide dozens of positive benefits for anyone who starts a practice. The sizes of key regions of our brain improve as a result of meditation, memory is made far more efficient, and empathy, compassion, and resiliency under stress are also improved.
  • Meditation Appears to Produce Enduring Changes in Emotional Processing in the Brain:  A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. The researchers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.
  • Increase Happiness, Bravery & Attention Span: Great post from a great source. A number of good quotes. Will motivate you to take five minutes out of your day to test a habit that could offer widespread, lasting positive effects.
  • How Changing Your Breathing Will Change Your Life: Think you know how to breathe? You do it every day. Even right now! Yeah, nope.
  • Google’s Jolly Good Fellow: Meditation, emotional intelligence, and Google. Safe to say it’s worth the read.
  • Meditation & the Brain: A team of researchers from Norway and Australia are trying to sort the different forms of meditation and the benefits each one yields.
  • Superhuman Energy Cultivated by Meditators – It’s Science: The energy emitted by people who have reached an advanced level in meditation practice has been shown by multiple studies to exceed normal human levels by hundreds or thousands of times.
  • Meditate Before You Medicate: There have been numerous studies of the health and financial benefits of meditation including: 28% cumulative decrease in physician fees, 55% less medical care utilization with lower sickness rates, including 87% less hospitalization for heart disease and 55% less for cancer.
  • Does Meditation Make You Smart?: A new study claims that meditation activates parts of the brain that simple ‘relaxing’ cannot.
  • Does Mediation Slow Aging?: A Nobel Prize-winning biochemist is engaged in serious studies hinting that meditation might – as Eastern traditions have long claimed – slow ageing and lengthen life.
  • Think Meditation is a Waste of Time? Watch This – The Neuroscience Behind Meditation: Despite its continued growth and popularity, meditation -like so many other practices -is not without ridicule, as a large portion of the world’s population are still happy to classify it as pseudoscientific, or a waste of time. In response to this common classification, the group at Big Think have created an easy to understand short video that explains the neuroscience behind meditation.


How to Meditate

  • 10 Ways to Work Meditation Into Your Day: Surprisingly good suggestions for a quick list. Great accompanying quotes as well.
  • Meditation for Beginners: 11 easy tips to get you started.
  • 100 Breaths Meditation: Increase concentration by using the breath as a focal point for meditation. It should take between 10-15 minutes depending on your natural pace of breathing.
  • Guided Mediation – Destress in 5 Minutes: Thinking is the cause of stress. The most effective way to relieve stress is by taking a break from thinking. Guided meditation does not involve thinking. Guided meditation is one of the easiest meditation techniques available. All you have to do is press play, close your eyes, and follow the voice instructions. Meditation downloads can be found by searching for guided meditation in any search engine.
  • How to Finally Start Meditating (Like a Pro): Without guided meditation, I could barely last for 3 minutes without getting bored, anxious, and giving up.
  • TED – All It Takes is 10 MinutesTransformative power of refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day.
  • 5 Minute Guide to Meditation – Anywhere, Any Time: All you need to meditate is yourself.
  • 12 Meditation Apps: Guided meditation is a great way to start. These apps have you covered.
  • Mind the Gap: Notice that in between thoughts, there’s a small gap of “no-mind.” Thoughts run in succession, interspersed by gaps of empty space. Over time, with practice, we become aware of the feeling, and we learn to extend the gaps, feeling more and more stillness and inner peace.
  • Two Minute Meditation: The most important two minutes of your life.
  • 5 Methods of Meditation: There’s a myriad of methods for meditation. Some are easy and some are difficult. All require daily practice to perfect. Here are five of the most popular methods of meditation and what they each bring to the Meditation Table.
  • Four Primary Skills of Meditation: Presence, awareness, focus, concentration.
  • Learn How to Meditate in 8 Easy Steps: We all already know how to meditate. Meditation is the natural state of all human beings, and we have had to work ourselves very hard to condition ourselves out of that natural blissful state of unity with the universe.
  • Solitude as Meditation: Losing oneself in solitude is a means to the end of finding oneself in meditation.
  • 7 Day Meditation Challenge: 7-Day Meditation Challenge to see the positive affects it has on your life and on reducing stress.

Mindfulness Meditation

  • Science Behind Mindfulness: Researchers highlight six neuropsychological processes that are active mechanisms in the brain during mindfulness and which support S-ART (self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence). These processes include 1) intention and motivation, 2) attention regulation, 3) emotion regulation, 4) extinction and reconsolidation, 5) pro-social behavior, and 6) non-attachment and de-centering.
  • Mindfulness – Meditation for People Too Busy to Meditate: Practicing mindfulness – and reaping its benefits – doesn’t need to be a large time commitment or require special training. You can start right now – this moment. These techniques quite literally train the mind and rewire the brain – ability to concentrate increases, see things with increasing clarity, which improves your judgment, and develop equanimity.
  • How (Mindfulness) Meditation Works: In a practical sense, “sitting” is really all there is to the meditation aspect of mindfulness meditation. You sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath as it moves in and out. Your mind will inevitably wander, which is where the mindfulness aspect comes in. Instead of growing frustrated with your lack of focus or getting caught up in the web of your thoughts, you train yourself to observe the thought or emotion with acceptance and curiosity, and to calmly bring your focus back to the breath.
  • How Mindfulness Meditation Works: Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have devised a model that sheds light on the science behind mindfulness. Instead of a single dimension of cognition, the researchers show that mindfulness involves a large framework of complex mechanisms in the brain that lead a person down the path of developing self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART). Practitioners can begin training themselves to become less emotionally reactive and to recover more quickly from negative emotions.
  • A Simpler Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners: Learn how to do your daily routine activities mindfully.
  • Brief Mindfulness Yields Long-Term Results: Even brief mindfulness practice—typically, a kind of meditation that focuses on a particular aspect of the present moment, like your breath, your body, or a particular sensation—has a substantial positive effect on mental well-being and memory. It also appears to physically improve the brain, strengthening certain neural structures that are tied to heightened attention and focus, and bolstering connectivity in the brain’s default mode network, which is linked to self-monitoring and control.
  • Inhabit the Moment: Practice occupying the current moment. Inhabit it, by really being in it, fully experiencing all our senses in everyday ordinary actions.
  • The Shadow Side of Mindfulness Meditation?: Every yin has a yang. Meditation shouldn’t be viewed as a cure-all. But from my experience, it’s a pretty rad addition to your daily.

Kids & Meditation

HeartMath

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How To Transition from Movember to Winter Beard | A Dude’s Guide to Beard Care

We’ve reached a crucial point of transition in the annual calendar. November to December.

Thanksgiving to Christmas. Real world to holiday world.

Most importantly, Movember to Winter Beard.

You’re feeling good with your Movember scruff, right?

A chance to let the beard hair down. And now you’re supposed to shave it?!

The Winter Beard is your savior. The opportunity to hold onto your bearded freedom – at least until April.

If you’ve missed my previous love of facial hair, peep the links below. But to start, let’s do a quick refresher on why beards are the dopest of the dope.

 

I dig a good beard. Especially during the chilly winter months.

I’m not alone is this love. Here’s a groovy website dedicated to “the celebration of The Beard” – BeardRevered.com. In fact, the December Beard is now a thing.

Despite my longstanding beard love, I’ve never taken the time to understand how to properly grow, groom and care for the winter whiskers.

Seems the start of Winter Beard season is the perfect opportunity for some facial follicle edification.

To start, we need to be honest with ourselves – Should you shave?

Use this handy infographic/flowchart to determine if you’re a candidate for a Winter Beard. We can’t all be beardos.

 Onward, beardo.

But how will the rest of the world deal with your righteous beard? The Art Of Manliness has you covered

Alright, the world is going to love your brawny beardedness. But how do you take care of your new companion?

Keep it trimmed. Keep it hydrated. Keep it looking sweet.

Your beard is a piece of art. Treat it with the respect it deserves.

How To Trim Your Beard; with Joey Tasca from Freemans (coincidence – no way! Beards = freedom) Sporting Club Barbershop – thanks Birchbox.

How to Shave Well; with Charlie King from London Barbers – gracias Mr. Porter.

Don’t forget to Mind the Line

GIF Guide How To Tame a Wild & Bushy Beard – hat tip Birchbox.

Beardsmen unite!

Tools of the Trade

A couple bonus items…

Dude’s Beard Links

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Proud Dad Moment: Spontaneous Beastie Boys

The teacher’s mouth was moving. I assume words were spoken.

All I heard was the sound of the adults in Charlie Brown…wont, wont…wont,wont, wont…wont wont.

Like Neal Armstrong driving the American flag into the surface of the moon (did he do that?), the rap culture was hoisting it’s flag triumphantly in the back of a 4th grade classroom in the (distant) suburbs of Boston, MA.

1986.

The Beastie Boys had (crash) landed.

My friends and I passed the Licensed to Ill cassette tape (!!!) around like it was contraband…Because it was!

Like a scene from an 80′s version of Wonder Years.

Hilarious.

The Beasties are forever misunderstood, but the musical legacy is undeniable.

Changed the face of rap with timeless flow, sick mixes, and a continuously evolving style.

Yesterday, in a proud dad moment, I heard Little Dude (4) spontaneously bust out “You gotta fight for your right to paaaarty!”

Awesome. And to celebrate, the Muppets killing it on So What’cha Want

PS – Want more Beastie info? Check out this awesome Rick Rubin interview. Beasties and so much more.

PPS – Related Beastie Boys Posts:

  1. Sabotage for the Kids – RIP MCA
  2. Beasties + Sesame Street = Awesome
  3. She’s Crafty
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