Weekly Reads: Contemplative Edition

I’ve had kind of an interesting week, to tell you the truth. I don’t particularly know why, and I can’t particularly put my finger on what has made it “interesting” — a lot of it I think is that I spent a lot of the week “practicing what I’ve been preaching” about choices lately, and the results have been pretty cool:

I pushed through some really big fears (thanks to those of you who helped; you know who you are), stood up for what I wanted and needed in some new and exciting ways, and stopped procrastinating on some personal growth experiments (like my Scanner Daybook) that I hadn’t had the get-up-and-go to do before. Heck, I even just about finished the really evil puzzle that I started over the Christmas break!

But as I sit here and write up my weekly reads, I’m in that somewhat strange contemplative state where you’re not really thinking about anything consciously, but you’ve got that feeling that your subconscious is having a really good go of something. Anyone else know that one, or am I the only crazy one?

I think my reading this week (and really, the past couple of weeks) has added to my contemplative mood. Maybe that will come through a bit in this post… I’ll let you all be the judges.

If you would like to pass on anything you think I might be interested in, post the link as a comment to this thread! I’m always looking for new things to explore. Note that comments on this site are moderated, especially if they contain links, so if it doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry!

Made Me Think

How to Design Your Ideal Life (from Think Simple Now). I just about skipped reading this post after skimming the first paragraph — it seemed like just another “resolutions are bad, make goals instead” piece. Boy, and I glad I didn’t. When I read this heading, it hit me like a tonne of bricks: Live By Design, Not By Default. Yes, that’s what I’d been writing about in my Choice series, but even now I feel as though even just reading those six words, I’m hitting on something really important. I’m going to make either a computer wallpaper or a poster (or both) with those words on it — remind me, and I’ll share it with you :)

The Single Secret to Making 2009 Your Best Year Ever (from Zen Habits). Yeah, I know. One of those titles that you kinda roll your eyes at, and think “whatever you say”. But trust me on this one; Leo Babauta really hit this one on the head: Stop waiting for happiness. Happiness is right here, right now. Let that one bounce around your noggin for a while, then go read Leo’s article. You can come back for the rest of the list later. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Spirituality, Not Religion, Makes Kids Happy (from LiveScience). Okay, I have to admit that as a former religious studies student, the title does make my toes curl a bit (we generally hate the word “spirituality”). But if you get past the shuddering — and somewhat sensationalist headline — it’s a pretty interesting bit of writing. Some aspects are maybe unsurprising, but the relationship between spirituality and happiness (and not religious practice) was thought-provoking for me.

Oldies But Goodies

I encountered (and in a couple of cases, re-encountered) a couple of older articles this week. They’re still fantastic.

What If You Have Too Many Interests and Cannot Commit to Any of Them? (from Steve Pavlina). Any scanners and renaissance souls in the house? (Hint — if Pavlina’s title ressonates with you, you probably are one!) This one is for you. We can always use reminders that there is nothing wrong with having multiple interests, and that we do have options when it comes to pursuing them all. This article takes a bit of a different approach compared to — say — that of Margaret Lobenstein or Barbara Sher. Pavlina goes beyond saying “here’s how to handle all those multiple interests” to arguing that multiple interests is a powerful tool in the pursuit of personal growth. I think I’m inclined to agree.

Q&A with Lisa Diamond (from the Boston Globe). This interview from 2007 is really a brief introduction to research by Lisa Diamond (Ph. D. Assoc. Professor of Psychology, University of Utah), which led to her book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire. (Note, I have not read the book, but am thinking I might track down a copy at the library).  The reason for the link, though, is not just for the interview itself — which is insightful — but as a suggestion that you Google some articles related to Diamond and the research which surprised even yourself. Or heck, just do what I’m going to, and see if you can find her book.

Catch It on Repeats

And finally, a big shout-out about the latest episode of NUMB3rs: Arrows of Time. I’m a big fan of the show any way, but this one was phenomenal in my opinion. Action, comedy, drama — yes, it had all of those. But it also is one of the few shows that I’ve seen on TV lately (if ever) that really dives into the heart of the huge role that religion can play on our lives. I’m also hugely appreciative of how the show, and this show in particular, took the risk of having one of its major characters investigate their own Jewish heritage and faith (even if they do insist on calling the synagogue a temple). Kudos for a fantastic episode; American viewers and those handy with proxies can watch it online at CBS if you didn’t already see it; the rest will have to wait for repeats or DVDs (legally, at least).