A'ight, people. Third time's a charm. This thread could very well be doomed too, but I'm an eternal optimist (I even sometimes think there's hope for Trump, good Gawd, I hope there's hope for Trump) so, there's that. I've been thinking a lot about my values lately. I'm going to list them in a second, but first, I'd like this thread to be about our challenges and triumphs and silliness that makes our lives worthwhile. If politics is part of this, please reveal how it particularly relates to you. Even though this place is for personal things, lets try not to take the opinions of others here personally. This is neither an are for liberal safe spaces or conservative manifestos. It's for us. Share only what you feel okay sharing and treat other members' sharing with an open heart. I've been doubling down on mindfulness and compassion. Let's see if that can last. Eeep! I've been an MC member since 1999. That's longer than some of you have been alive. I might not always get along with everyone. I've stormed off a lot. I think we all have at one time or another. But there's a part of me that loves y'all. That means everybody. We're all Muppet fans, after all. This whole thread could fail, but I'm an artist. I throw a bunch of experimental stuff against the wall and see what sticks. That's my life. I've forgotten many of my values during this time of turmoil and Trump, but this list helped me out a lot when I was in a very bad place in my life. You might like them, you might think they're bunk, but I like 'em. Feel free to take what you like and leave the rest where they are. SKILLS FOR AUTHENTIC GROWTH Excerpts from The Velvet Rage Second Edition SKILL: LIFE CHOICES THE PERSON I WOULD BECOME: Make decisions based on what the person you wish to become would do in the same situation. INNER PEACE ABOVE ALL ELSE: Ultimately, the goal in life is inner peace. How does this choice contribute to your inner peace? NEVER REACT WHILE FEELING AN INTENSE EMOTION: Delay making a decision or reacting while feeling an intense emotion. Distract yourself until the feeling subsides, then decide what decision or action should be taken. CONTENTMENT OVER APPROVAL: Populate your life with investments of time and emotion that increase your contentment rather than eliciting acceptance and approval of others. SKILL: INCREASING POSITIVE EMOTIONS ACCEPT REALITY ON REALITY’S TERMS: Seek to see reality as it is rather than as you wish it to be. ONE THING, ONE PERSON, ONE CONVERSATION IN THE MOMENT: Give your full attention and focus to that which is before you in this moment. TAKE A NON-JUDGMENTAL STANCE WHENEVER POSSIBLE: Limit the urge to classify everything in life somewhere between good and bad. “It is what it is.” OBSESSING ABOUT PAIN CREATES MORE PAIN: The continuous recitation of painful feelings, stories and memories brings only temporary relief and, in the long term, increases your pain. WALK YOUR WAY OUT OF DISTRESS: When feeling particularly distressing emotions, the only way to decrease pain is to force yourself to act contrary to the emotion. RESPECT YOUR BODY: Care for your body as a precious possession. NO FEELING LASTS FOREVER: Emotions are only temporary and all will eventually pass. SKILL: RELATIONSHIPS DON’T LET YOUR PHYSICAL ATTRACTION BE THE FILTER BY WHICH YOU ALLOW PEOPLE INTO YOUR LIFE: Approach and cultivate relationships with people who are authentic and validating rather than just those who are cute. BE RIGHT OR BE HAPPY: Relinquish the urge to always be “right,” and instead attend to the needs of your relationships. ALWAYS LOOK FIRST FOR THE INNOCENCE OF OTHERS: No matter how difficult another person may be, he is doing in that moment the best he can do. IN CONFLICT, ALWAYS ASSESS YOUR REPSONSIBILITY FIRST: Resist the urge to blame another for a conflict, and instead first assess and own your responsibility. KEEP YOUR INNER CIRCLE SACRED AND SAFE: Carefully guard and assess those individuals you allow into your inner circle of intimacy. Their influence is monumental. VALIDATE WHAT IS VALID (AND NEVER THE INVALID): Seek to find the truth in another person’s experience and reflect that back to him or her. OWN YOUR SIDE OF THE STREET: Own your feelings. No one else is responsible for how you feel. SPEAK TO THE OFFENDER FIRST (INSTEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE): In a conflict, seek to speak to the offender before discussing the conflict with others. LIVE IN INTEGRITY: In all interactions with others, be compassionately and deliberately honest. DEFAULT TO FORGIVENESS RATHER THAN RESENTMENT: When disappointed or offended by others, allow the other person to hold a different point of view rather than closing your heart to him or her. EMBRACE AMBIVALENCE: Seek out and embrace the omnipresent competing feelings about all things in life. This is a hard one to wrap the brain around, but we don't have to have 100% feelings about anything. In fact, it exposes the humanity in us not to.