July 2019: Valuing Relationships

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Last month, reveling in business nerdiness, I took a workshop on Lean methodology. Popularized by companies like Toyota and books like The Lean Startup, Lean is an approach that optimizes systems to eliminate waste and optimize potential. Creating the conditions to help people reach their ultimate potential is what we’re all about at Pregame, so I’m continually learning new ways to improve the ways we do it. But rather than the lessons I expected from Lean, like streamlining the way we do things, what stuck with me most was the concept of ecosystems. In American culture, we’re socialized to prioritize […]

What If It Really Is All About the Journey (or the Hokey Pokey)?

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I have to be honest. It makes me panic a little when I think life really is all about the journey and not the destination. Because that would mean, if I believed all that Buddhist-mindfulness-meditation-acceptance-is-the-answer logic, I should be able to make myself happy RIGHT NOW. I should find joy in every moment. I should embrace the suck. Pain is a portal. Ugh. The pressure. And, that, my friends is the problem. All those damn shoulds. All the supposed-to’s. All the have-to-or-else beliefs. All those expectations and pressures about how I ought to be living my life (but clearly am […]

The Cult of Oppressive Positivity

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Trends come and go. Some leave indelible marks upon a culture, and others just fade away. When a trend is couched in terms like “positive psychology” one might expect that any influence it exerts on a culture will be, well…positive. But is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? The contemporary positive psychology movement was founded in the ’80s by Martin Seligman, so you would think he would extol only positive virtues, yet even Seligman advises against too much reliance on positive thinking. In his book, Authentic Happiness, Seligman writes “positive thinking often involves trying to believe upbeat […]

Not Caring What Others Think

Joel Daniel Phillips. TrashBags

We learn by watching others, seeing what works and doesn’t work. As human beings we have mirror genes that allow us to empathize with the sufferings of others. Our feelings of safety and security depend on feeling accepted and protected by the tribe; being ostracized cuts deeply, often leaving us feeling alone, insecure, self-doubting. It can be disconcerting when we are criticized, in relationships, work, families, friends, art. —sharp, chiding, disparaging words about our reputations security feel threatened. —there’s a tendency to turn disparagements into identity views, to feel trapped —it can leads to papanca, an inner debate with those who disapprove of us. […]

Book Brief: Unsubscribe by Josh Korda

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Unsubscribe: Opt Out of Delusion, Tune In to Truth by Josh Korda 2017, Wisdom Publications A three-step guide to recovering from the modern addiction to consumerism, social withdrawal, and emotional inauthenticity — from life as you thought it had to be. The Idea If you’ve ever felt like there must be more than the rat race, or that the modern American definition of success might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Recommended For Those of us who are searching for more depth and meaning beyond the mainstream American approach to life and fulfillment. The Author Since 2005 Josh Korda been the guiding teacher […]

An Overview of the Journey

Peter D. Gerakaris, Tropicália

Everything is in flux. One of the most fundamental insights of spiritual practice is that despite all the safeguards civilization provides, the feelings of security we achieve through work, relationships and family, etc, we remain inherently vulnerable to abrupt loss and change. Everything is in flux: the world, people in our lives, moods and thoughts arising and passing in our minds. This fundamental change includes the way we relate to people, places and things: each new iGadget feels exciting and promising out of the box; months later it brings little more than a momentary diversion to the day. So, what […]

Mindful Alarm

Marcus Cadman, Protector of the People

Its a common practice to rely on certain phrases as self-motivating, activating mantras; mottos to get us going, to hurry us along, put a move on it, pick up the pace, set stuff in motion and focus our attention. These inner incitements come in many forms, but they all have the same, underlying message: We’re really screwed this time, unless we work ourselves up into a lather. Let’s listen in on these enlivening mantras: “I’ve got to get myself together… It’s later than I thought… I’ve got to get going… There’s not enough time… Time’s running out… There’s even less […]

Shelf Life of the Shrink-Wrapped Heart

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It’s taught that the Buddha managed to live 28 years before encountering old age, sickness and death. Today, such a remove from distressing events is all but impossible to imagine. Unsettling images are found everywhere; tucked among a stream of wedding and birth announcements, travel photographs, and restaurant reviews that unwind on social media; or the quick glimpse at a news outlet, bombarding us with horrific scenes, videos of people running from explosive discharges or flooding rivers, underscored by frantic announcements, dire bulletins, and wild speculation, packaged into the two minute news clip. Watching helplessly from a distance, we’re left […]

When Wellness is a Dirty Word

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First came the anthropologist of Arctic poverty who found me on Instagram and confided that she was a Jazzercise fanatic. Then the intellectual historian who eloquently introduced herself as an expert on a similarly Serious Topic but rapidly and with sparkling eyes, before any of our fellow conferees entered the elevator, effused that it was really her Ashtanga yoga practice that sustained her. And the implacable administrator who waited for the meeting room to clear before explaining to me, her gaze softening, the admirable commitment of her Wednesday-night “Zumba ladies,” who traveled from three boroughs to their class in the […]

Staying Sane in a Sh*t Show

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In the latest podcast from Dharma Punx NYC, Josh Korda, Buddhist teacher and lifelong activist, shares practical approaches for staying sane while politically engaged. In the 2,500 year old tradition I teach entirely by dana: scraping by entirely on the generous donations of those who listen and get something from the teaching. Please check out dharmapunxnyc.com for info about our classes & retreats, or donate at dharmapunxnyc.com.