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What inner change have you made to shift the entire trajectory of your life?

Serendipity can force change on any one of us.

Someone dies. A business closes. A tree falls. The lump grows too large to ignore. The spouse leaves. Love comes along. Lightning strikes.

But what inner change have you made knowingly and willingly -- even though it may have been very difficult -- to shift the entire trajectory of your life? Why? In what way(s) has this change made a difference in the manner in which you live?

For me: Mindfulness meditation works daily in and on my life. Few people are aware of this, though family and friends know my history of study. It helps me back down when I'd rather retort, it helps me move toward when I'd rather edge away.

These decisions are often quite insignificant in the whole play of life. You know, because you have your own scenarios. You let someone into the line of cars or you don't. We decide, sometimes in a split second. We all face these decisions.

You decide to continue to send a quick wave to the neighbor who never acknowledges anyone. This, instead of reacting: "Hey, she doesn't deserve it."

The influence of mindfulness: If you're someone who waves, then you wave.

So, mindfulness meditation over time has helped pumice my roughness, helped me take a breath before responding, to remember it's not all about me. Never was.

You: Have you adopted a philosophy or shifted course or educated yourself in some way that has made all the difference in changing the trajectory of your life?


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    Jun 20 2013: I don't know that I have made much inner change. I was a nice kid, a nice young adult, now I'm a nice middle-aged adult. What prompted you to make the change you made?
    • Jun 20 2013: Greg, thank you for your response to the question.

      I'd characterize myself the way you characterized yourself. However, I had certain beliefs about the world and my place in it that had no structure on which to hang. One day I was in a bookstore and found writings by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Buddhist monk. I thought: "Well this is what I've been seeking -- a community of like-minded."

      My desires: I felt I needed more patience, though I had quite a bit, I felt I needed more ease with the concept of "don't know" rather than always trying to find answers, and I wanted help in focusing more on the present moment than on past or future. I was granted that structure and support when I picked up that first book.

      Meditation has helped me make things stick.
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        Jun 21 2013: well, come to think of it, I have made some changes, but they usually feel rather passive, they were just a response to outer changes. For example, at some point I started fighting noise. Growing up, I was rather wild, played a lot of loud rock music, noone ever complained, I never realized it might be bothering other people. Then I had a surgery, and when I came back to my apartment, I had a headache from the anesthesia, and the rap music from the apartment next door was bothering me. So I went next door to ask them to turn it down, and after that I changed, I started really becoming annoyed by people playing music in the apartments around me and it bleeding into my unit, so I started asking people to turn it down, I became very educated in the municipal noise codes, asked for help from the building management, occasionally called the police. For me it's been a good fight, at age 53 I like and need peace and quiet.

        The other big change I made was getting interested in the Masai people of Kenya, they are very oriented toward the cow and milk, they don't have a lot of different jobs, they're all dairy herders. After I got interested in them I moved from Hollywood, California to a dairy area about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, Ontario, California. I tried for three years to get a job milking cows. Today I've ended up in my original city, Glendale. I like it here because it's where my mom and sister live, but there's no dairy work to be had here. But I do live on milk, for the last five years, 365 days/year, I drink about two gallons of skim milk a day, and don't eat or drink anything else. It's been pretty great, I'm trying to get this diet approved by the nutrition establishment so I can start advocating it to other people.

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