Thoughts From An Old Brain

This article shares an assortment of thoughts from an old brain that I periodically find active between my ears… today was one of those days. Some photographs have been added to serve as visual breaks.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-450

No one can manage time, only priorities.

Time is a precious commodity. It incessantly ticks away moment by moment and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Many years ago when I was in corporate life I remember going to various ‘time management’ seminars and training sessions.

It really didn’t matter who the trainer/presenter was, the content always came down to a simple, fundamental approach. Identifying and managing priorities.

Each of us is here for a very limited time. For the most part our individual ‘due date’ is unknown. To make the most of our time here we need to identify our priorities in life… then do our best to manage those priorities on a daily basis.

It could be spending time with family. Taking time to learn new things and increase our knowledge base. Dedicating part of each day to exercise. Or a host of other interests.

What we say is important to us may be a complete illusion. The proof of what is actually important to us is defined by how we choose to spend our time.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 60mm, efov 162mm, f8. 1/320, ISO-160

Mistakes are lessons in disguise.

I’ve never met a person who woke up and consciously though, “I think I’m going to do something so stupid that I will purposely put my job, my relationships, and perhaps my life at risk.” And yet those things do happen every day.

The majority of people that I’ve met in life try their best to make good decisions. Those decisions are based on their level of awareness of a particular situation, and the emotional state they were in when they made the decision.

To be human is to make mistakes. Rather than feel guilty about them, it is far more useful to see our mistakes as lessons in disguise. When we examine facts or issues that may have come to light after we made a decision, or re-assess our emotional state at the time of the decision, we can learn valuable lessons.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 60.4 mm, efov 163.1 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-800

Keeping score fuels unhappiness.

Many of us go through life treating it as a scorecard on which we keep track of our possessions, money, accomplishments and other things. Regardless of how ‘successful’ we perceive ourselves to be, there will always be other people who are more accomplished and with more robust scorecards.

Keeping score invariably leads to comparisons with others and potentially fueling our unhappiness. Each of us has intrinsic value as a human being… not as a human doing.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 22.9mm, efov 61.8mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO-160

How we live impacts how we die.

Most of us know far more about living a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise than we actually put into practice. At some point everyone’s physical health will eventually fail and we’ll leave this world.

It is estimated that up to 70% of health care dollars in many developed countries are spent on treatments for preventable diseases. Some of these diseases can result in prolonged and gruesome journeys of failing health. The “C” word is one of them.

Making decisions about diet and exercise today that may impact our health 20 or 30 years down the road, are hard for many people to do. Especially when we tend to be immersed in cultures of instant gratification.

Reminding ourselves that how we choose to live our lives today impacts how we’ll die in the future may be an uncomfortable thing. The truth often is.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600

Follow talents and passions.

Discovering and following our talents and passions is a cornerstone of living a healthy, productive and rewarding life. It is a path of discovery and creativity. A way that we can give the best of ourselves to others.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 20 mm, efov 54 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-160

Attachment has a price.

Everything to which we form an attachment, comes with a price. Relationships with other people. How deeply we yearn for material possessions. Our cravings for fame and fortune. Clinging on to successes from the past. Self illusions about our importance. Our political orientations.  And a variety of hard-held beliefs. The more we try to hang on to these attachments, the more we potentially limit our growth. And the harder it is to find our essential selves.

Each of us will face that final moment in life when every attachment we have will need to be left behind. From time to time my old brain wonders if I will be ready for that moment. And if not, what I can do now to begin to properly prepare for it.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 264 mm, efov 713 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-800

Observe emotions.

The emotions we feel are caused by our thoughts. If we are not careful our emotions can consume us… like a tiger fighting and killing a rival in the forest. Rather than be a tiger, we can learn to observe the tiger… and move it outside of ourselves.

Often our emotions are aroused to the point that they can be felt physically. By observing our emotions we can learn to separate ourselves from them. And, a deeper level of self-understanding results.

Observing an emotion deeply can have a magical effect in terms of completely eradicating it. For example, if we feel consumed by anger there are physical sensations in our bodies that are directly linked to that deep felt emotion. If we use our powers of concentration to feel every bit of that physical arousal associated with our anger… the emotion then magically disappears. It disappears because we have separated ourselves from the thoughts we had in our minds that caused the emotion to erupt in the first place.

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,170 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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