2021: A Life of Virtue’s Greatest Hits

I started this blog in 2019 as a way to explore topics and ideas that interested me. It was my attempt to search for meaning, and to connect ideas of philosophy, spirituality and psychology to the issues that we face in the modern world.

Connecting with readers and engaging in discussions with the readers and fellow writers I met along the way is the icing on the cake.

If you attempt to discuss deep philosophical ideas with family or friends, at a party per say, people will usually think that your a bit odd or peculiar. Some will laugh with bewilderment, thinking that you are just trying to ‘pull their leg.’ Others will usually try to change the topic of conversation or quietly escort themselves to the bar.

After all, what can be better than a strong drink to take your mind of the existential predicament of human existence? Make that a double shot of whiskey please.

So, I am grateful to you dear reader for taking the time to read my articles. You make writing these articles a whole lot more enjoyable.


Here are my top 5 most read articles in 2021 based on viewership:

1. Expanding Circles: Spiritual Exercises as a Bridge Towards Cosmopolitanism: A reflection on the interconnectedness of life on earth.

2. The Polarization Series: A Look at our Moral Foundations A look at how to have more constructive dialogues with those who you disagree with.

3. WonderA poem I wrote on awe and wonder I find in the natural world.

4. Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times – Key themes and lessons from the ancient philosophy of Taoism- naively summed up in one sentence “just go with the flow.”

5. Hope – A poem on what keeps me grateful and optimistic in times of uncertainty.


Have a happy and healthy new year. Here’s to a 2022 filled with mindful reflections and engaging discussions.

Best Regards,

Andrew


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The Web of Love

A reading of my poem, The Web of Love
The shell of my selfish egotism begins to crack 
What emerges is vulnerability, tenderness and openness -
The possibilities for self-actualization

I enter into a real, an authentic relationship, with the world
I give my gift with gratitude, opening the gates to joy and to bliss

The path to aliveness, the road to true love, presents itself

The "I", the self, slowly vanishes as 
I join with all beings 
in the web of life

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Interview with Mindfulness Teacher Paula Vital: Getting in the Right Relationship with Work

To help us navigate the increasingly blurred lines between work and home life, I interviewed mindfulness teacher Paula Vital to provide her insights and advice on how to regain a greater sense of balance and perspective.

1. How would you define a healthy work/life balance?

I prefer using the term ‘balance in life.’ Life balance is about being clear on what you would like to achieve with your life. It is about acknowledging your priorities and organizing your time in a way that helps you work towards those goals.

Spending a lot of time at work can become unproductive and unhealthy when it becomes an unconscious choice.

The key is to be aware of your intentions and establish the right balance for yourself when it comes to different aspects of your work and home life.

2. In the age of remote work it is difficult to establish concrete boundaries between work and home life. What is some advice you can offer to help us disconnect from our work, and how can we prevent overwork or burnout?

It is important to be transparent and ensure that there are clear boundaries within your organization. In a hyper connected world, the ability to disconnect is important to maintain one’s mental and physical health.

Government or workplace policy can assist in making the line between work and home life clearer. An example of this is recent legislation in Ontario, Canada which requires employers to develop policies and expectations for employees to disconnect from e-mails and calls outside of regular work hours.  

Openness and clear communication are also significant when letting your employer know about your physical and mental health boundaries.

It can sometimes be seen as a badge of honour to work long hours late into the night, and shame can set in for those who don’t fulfill these societal expectations. However, research indicates that this has a negative effect on both productivity and on the quality of your work.

Time to recharge is therefore not only beneficial for our mental health but also benefits our organization.

3. In the modern age, it is so easy to get caught up with never ending to-do lists. We are always busy and on the go. How can we reclaim meaningful leisure time? What leisure activities do you engage in to help recuperate from work?

We need to alternate between states where we are ‘goal or task oriented’ and states of spontaneity or ‘flow’.

Leisure that is rejuvenating and refreshing for me involves pursuing activities which allow me to cultivate a degree of presence and embodiment. It is being grounded in the present moment and doing things not because I care about the outcome per say, but rather for the sake of themselves.

A way to break through the mindset of productivity and efficiency is to practice spontaneous movement and non-linear movement.

Sometimes our best thoughts and ideas come when we least expect it.

4. How does mindfulness and contemplative practice, or more generally the time you spend outside of work, fit into your idea of the ‘good life’?

It is often thought that we have to achieve a certain goal or milestone in life to be happy. However, we seldom realize that happiness and contentment is available to us in each and every moment. Being mindful and present can turn any seemingly mundane task, such as washing dishes, into an act of joy.

Our desires for fame, status and fortune often reveal a deeper yearning for affection, love and recognition. As the acclaimed actor Jim Carey said,

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.

We should always ask, how are we defining ourselves?

If we step back and look at the earth, we can see how we are all closely interconnected to other humans as well as to nature in general. This perspective can inspire us to feel connected to something greater than ourselves and motivate us towards a life of service.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You can view a previous interview with Paula on mindfulness here: A Mindful Approach to Uncertainty: An Interview with Mindfulness Teacher Paula Vital – A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

To learn more about her work through her free course of 3 Minute Meditations: 3 Minutes to Your Greatest Self check out her website www.livethepresent.ca.


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