Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Formula for Joy

This is the formula for Joy that I came up with in the early stages of what turned out to be my longest manic episode. I was "up" for 4 and 1/2 months. It was very difficult on those who loved me. But of course I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. In fact, I thought that I had reached a new plane of human existence.
So one day in the shower, I came up with my version of  the formula for JOY.  I figured if  the relationship of matter and energy could be expressed as simply and elegantly as E-MC2, then there should be a way to make JOY a part of every day.  Here it is:
  1. self-knowledge (knowing) and
  2. Centering on the Eternal (being) and
  3. Doing what you love to do (doing)
Divided by Zero (nothing should divide us - acceptance)

What was funny to me about the formula is that in math, you can never divide by nothing or Zero.  But in my formula it simply means that whether it is acceptance of self, life,pain, differences, those are all things that keep us from happiness. 

The other notes on the image include:
  • Life is not linear
  • My two BIG goals were flexibility and strength
  • And "Life's a Party!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Multitasking - specific ways it can be effective or not. PART 1

Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton
This is an excerpt from a book I am currently writing the working title of which (for today, it keeps changing)is Joy, Creativity, and Fulfillment   Subtitled: The possibility of transforming our lives.  I am qualified to write this because my life has been such a mess that transformation is the only way out.  I'm not an expert in transformation, but I know that I cannot change, but only transformed, by a Power much higher than myself, and in connection with a group of other people who share similar goals of transformation (not change).  I am a work in progress, and I'm guessing you are too, so we have a LOT in common. And though I'm sharing things that I have realized, experienced, or discovered, those of you who know me know that indeed, I have only taken as yet very minute steps in a process I intend to continue my remaining life on Earth.  Your transformation and mine can really only take place in a community.  A committed group  supporting each other as allies in the quest.  Friends and Lovers, and Allies who accept
  • the possibility of enough self-awareness to give up the denial of our faults, 
  • the possibility of enough Love for forgiveness of the evil we have done, 
  • the possibility of restoration to a state of Pure Love,
  • and the Joy of becoming more like our Father in Heaven.


Multitasking as it is generally practiced is highly overrated, not just in my opinion, but substantiated in several scientific studies.  Before you click on the links at the bottom that  are just footnotes for that statement, though, I'd like to share my insight and experience of multi-tasking:  What is possible, what is not.  The next excerpt (post to this blog) is about what are effective ways to multitask and stay on top of having several things you are trying to accomplish in a given day.  If you want the "executive summary",  you will have to wait several days, and keep coming back to visit.

First, let me give an example:  You probably have seen on some TV show a person who can spin 30, 40 or even more plates at a time on top of long, flexible rods.  How does he do it?  By alternately going to the two that need the most care to keep spinning and spinning TWO of them.  The fact that God, or evolution, if you prefer, gave us two arms is a hint.  We have two ears and only one mouth, suggesting that we should listen twice as much as we talk.  In a similar way, our brains are wired to be able to work with two things since cave man days.  One hand to hold the stone, the other to chip it into an hoe or arrow head.   So, generally for manual tasks, there is typically one thing we can accomplish at a time. Unless you can ride a unicycle and twirl a baton at the same time, which only comes with extensive, deliberate practice.   (I may expand on this in another post).  Notice too, that when both hands are involved, one hand is often the active hand and the other the proverbial "helping hand".  Usually we utilize our primary hand, depending on whether you are right or left handed, to do the task that requires the most skill.  Think about what your other hand does when doing a few tasks today, and just notice and be aware of how this works. 
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  In fact, the only rule to which there are no exceptions is the rule that there always are exceptions to a rule. . . ;-) I thought that up myself just now.

For now, until tomorrow or my next post, try to think of and write down some of the exceptions that come to your mind.  Let's compare notes tommorrow, and all comments and suggestions are welcome.

Multitasking - specific ways it can be effective or not. PART2

Here is what has worked for me:
1) a primarily physical task that is semi autonomous, such as knitting or crocheting, can be successfully combined with a visual event such as watching TV.

2) A primarily physical thing, like walking and running can be combined with music, even if the music has words, because there are no meanings going on with running or walking, so the mind can be available to listen and enjoy the lyrics of a song. 

3) On the other hand, if you are walking in a park with headphones on or using a cell phone, you are indeed missing out on the joy of listening to the twittering of birds (my favorite kind of twittering. . .no offense to the web tool).  You also miss the sound of the wind in the trees, and quite possibly the sense of the breeze in your face, and are less likely to spot that delicate flower beside the path.  So if you are out in nature. . .my preference and suggestion is to not overload your capacity to be present with either headphones or a cell phone.

4) When I'm working on a project on a computer, or reading, and there is something involving my thought and meaning generators (like while I'm writing this) what I have found to work is listening to music without words.  Why? We are meaning generators, and words are the crucible in which meanings are carried.  No iron worker  making some serious molten iron would ever thing of carrying a bowl of soup in addition to the vessel of molten iron he's transporting.  It can be done of course, but you may spill one or the other, with serious consequences.   You may have noticed in life that each and every choice has a consequence.

5) Pay attention to what works in movies.  Generally songs with words occur at the beginning or at the end of a movie, while we are simply viewing images of introduction, or lists of credits to which few are paying attention.  In places in the movie where there is dialogue, there is supportive music without words that heightens and intensifies the mood, the tension, or the resolution, of the scene.  When we see the montage of someone driving down the road on a road trip, just enjoying the scenery, that's another time when a song with words might be worth considering.  Smart and effective. . .that's why they do it that way.

6) An exception to the music without words combined with visual images that I have noticed is this:  In my most recent DVD entitled "Wide Nature", which is a compilation of 500 or so of my best nature and landscape photographs from the last 5 years,  I wanted the music, quite naturally to play only a supporting role to my primary goal of providing an exciting yet relaxing visual feast.  So most of my soundtrack is so-called New Age piano, light jazz, or other wordless music, that I chose to enhance the particular part of the movie.  Here's the interesting thing I found:  I could use some haunting music by with a Latin text without interference.  Why? Precisely because there are no meanings associated with an unknown language. . .they are just interesting sounds.  If you happen to know Latin, you get the added reward to some exquisite, spiritual words. . . or you can simply look inside the DVD jacket, and read them in 20 seconds with a minimal interuption, while conveying the meaning in one short burst.
Here's a link to just a tiny portion of the video several iterations before the final form, just for a tiny nibble.

Oooops, it's time for an ad or SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION  - Copies of the DVD are available for purchase.

Multitasking - specific ways it can be effective or not. PART 3

Some things that quite definitely DON'T work:
1) doing something physical, like driving a car, that requires focus, awareness, and attention to present surroundings, cannot be combined safely with texting or even making a cell phone call.  Our cave-man brains never had to deal with anything remotely like that,  and unlike us, cave menwould have been self-aware enough to know better, because survival was at stake.  You don't try to hunt and carve a weapon and beat a drum at the same time.  An exception might be a cave woman nursing her child while grinding corn or spinning yarn.  Well, folks, survival IS at stake for yourself and for others on the road when you take this dangerous, foolish action.  However this is not a diatribe on the subject of safety, but rather on the subject of what is possible and less than possible to do at the same time.

2) Trying to do three things is out of the question.  I saw a woman some time ago, walking with her beautiful three year-old in a park.  She was holding her child by the hand with one hand and talking on a cell phone with the other.  I could see how unfortunate it was and felt a deep sadness.  The woman was not be present to and missed for all time the experience and JOY in the "here and now" of the beautiful park and the precious, unrecoverable time with her infant.  Her mind, focus, and attention were clearly on other events in another place, and she was possibly talking about something that had happened or some upcoming event.  Clearly not in the present. And as any wise person knows, the present is all that actually IS, the "Eternal Now" as Paul Tillich calls it.  The future and the past are only the electro-chemical firing of memory cells in our minds.  They are only thoughts and no longer ARE or have any being.  If I want a wonderful life, I'm aware that I must live as much in the NOW as possible.

3) One final example that saddened me much during the 30-day rail trip that Grace and I took in September of 2008,
was that people on the train under 30 almost without fail had they nose in the screen of a laptop, a portable electronic game or portable movie DVD player.  I never saw any of them just looking out the window at the beautiful scenery, which would only pass by them likely just ONCE in their lives.  Anything and everything that they were doing on the electronic visual gadgets could be done anywhere and anytime else.  The choice not to be present to,  well, the present saddened me.  It made me think how far technology has taken us from our present reality.  Even as I write this, I'm aware of the need for me to go take a walk and just be present to my surroundings and not to a rectangular flat screen.

4) The final thing that so doesn't work and irritates me severely is the combination of trying to converse with someone while a Television is on.  Does that bother you, too?  It makes me feel quite unimportant and second rate, for someone to divide their attention from our conversation and friendship in that way.  It's even worse when someone is actively flipping channels.  My best defense at those times is to simply say, "I'm sorry, but I have a great deal of difficulty concentrating on what you are saying when there is a TV on.  And I would love to just be able to enjoy your company".  That's a non-threatening way to deal with it directly.  Another trick I've found is to find a way to distance from the problem.  I generally suggest something like:  "Let's go on the back porch to talk about this,  it's  so pleasant outside right now".  If the weather is inclement, a simple move to the dining room or TV-less room of any sort will do.

We are at most able to do things two at a time, some combinations more effectively than others.   Some of the things that work are a combination of visual and auditory, or visual and manual, or manual and auditory.  The most efficient combination of visual and auditory is where only one or the other contains words and therefore meaning.  Our minds were only designed for one meaning at a time.
Another consideration is about being present to the moment.  It often saddens me to see a whole generation of people under 30 for whom the concept and the experience of being with nature without an electrical gizmo of some sort along.  Nature, time with friends and lovers is a moment to being as completely present as is possible for us in our present state of mental and spiritual development.

Monday, July 12, 2010

FUN ideas, Joyful Inspiration

There will be a Chapter of quotations in my book. Many of the quotations will be my original thoughts and of course copyrighted as per world copyright law.

Yet my thoughts are a gift to me from a Loving God who created me and my mind, gave me life, my family, a wonderful community of Christians her in St. Louis: Christ Church Cathedral, and many more other gifts than you would care to read about.

Therefore, since my very thoughts are a Gift from my Father, in order to be more like Him, I must also learn to give and share. Therefore I hereby announce my written permission to utilize anything on my "Quotations from Timothy Keith Hamilton" blog, with no additional permission needed. My only request is that if you print or quote one of my quotations, please give me the gift of attribution. Like this: "Quote from Timothy Keith Hamilton".

I will be having several links on my blog to the 4 or 5 best websites that I have discovered. That way, If you need a quotation for a sermon, an article, or just a blog post, you can have "one-stop shopping" by coming to my blog.

Primarily, though, the reason I have the links is so I can research the quotation I have created, and make sure it has not already been said better. I expect that will often be the case. If if I find something that has been said better, I will post it with a credit to the author, even in the case of Mr. Anonymous, who is the most prodigious of them all. Mr. Anonymous is the collective wisdom of humans whose source is unknown, however, the excellence of the thought is such that it is remembered, repeated, and passed on. I probably won't be remembered past the point in time where the people I have known and my grand-children (if any) pass on. My hope is, though, that I may make a contribution that at the very least will become part of Mr. Anonymous.

If you would like to keep informed as to what I'm up to. . . your best bet is to follow me on Twitter: @creativityPlus

Twitter is the hub, and focal point of my on-line publications. I solemnly promise not to overwhelm you with tweets. . .you can expect only two per day, and of course you can simply ignore them anyway if you have something else going on. The link to the Quotations blog is:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nature or Nurture?

Most of us have noted that we choose individuals who have complimentary personality traits as our lovers and partners. We now know that many "psychological" traits, such as depression and bi-polar have deeper electro-chemical-biological roots in our physical brains. Ergo, much of who we are is due to genes, and physical results of those genes. In the debate over "nurture or nature", I lean strongly towards nature. My daughters both grew up to be very much like me, even though there was a ten year period wherein I did not see or communicate with them in any way.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

                                               photo courtesy of Creativity+ Timothy K. Hamilton Copyrighted 2010

 These are also ways that each of us can take responsibility of our demand for oil, and could help prevent another oil spill catastrophe.

  • Commit to hanging your laundry out to dry.  
  • Dedicate a portion of your lawn to a vegetable garden.  
  • Get to know your neighbors. Cooperate to save money and resources.  
  • Go to your local farmers' market each week before you head to the
    grocery store.
  • Do some spring cleaning to identify everything in your home that you absolutely don’t need. Donate to help others save money and resources.
  • Make a commitment to start carrying your own reusable bags and use them on all your shopping trips.
  • Choose one local food item to learn how to preserve for yourself for the winter.  
  • Get your family to spend more evenings at home, preferably with the TV off.
  • Cook for your family.
  • Focus on enjoying what you have and who are with. Stop fixating on what you think you may need, or how things could be better "if only."

 This post appeared in the weekly Ezine  from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri