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DAVIDSON: The Joy of Doing Nothing

People are finding it hard to be alone with just their thoughts.

Jeff Davidson

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The speed at which the Internet, and being online, is dominating our lives is a modern phenomenon afflicting people on all sides of the political Spectrum. How did something that people lived without since the dawn of civilization suddenly become so compelling, that most people are demonstrably upset if they have to proceed without it?

Some psychologists today believe that our connection to the Internet is more of a compulsive disorder rather than an addiction. Moez Limayem, Ph.D at the University of Arkansas, conducted a study and found that “the underlying motivation to use a mobile phone is not pleasure,” as an addiction might indicate, “but rather a response to heightened stress and anxiety.” In other words, we don’t use our technology necessarily for pleasure, we use it in an attempt to feel less tense.

I am So Alone

Increasingly, people are finding it hard to be alone, specifically alone with just their thoughts. When researchers sought to induce people to do nothing for a 15 minute segment, many people devised ploys to avoid such a ‘long’ stretch of time devoid of some type of activity. Surprisingly, not just millennials exhibited such behavior. Older adults and even seniors were not comfortable essentially doing nothing for 15 minutes.

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How exactly did we arrive at this state? Is it our fate as a species to be drawn into an ever fast-forwarding world where we demand of ourselves constant activity, or otherwise we feel uneasy, and perhaps even unworthy?

Reasonable Stretches

If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to sit still for a reasonable stretch and to be alone with your thoughts, it’s time to return to square one:

1) Recognize that stillness has value. Even if you’re not a meditation enthusiast, undoubtedly you’ve had times throughout your life when being alone with your thoughts was enlightening, perhaps even beneficial. While you are waiting to receive an award, and anticipate your name being called, the world tends to slow down. If a friend or loved one is sick, it is vital to be alone with your thoughts in your hospital waiting.

You don’t have to wait, however, for superlative or trying conditions. You can make a choice any time throughout the day that the next few minutes are going to be for quiet contemplation. Start with two or three minutes. Work your way up to eight or 10 minutes. The benefits will start to be evident.

2) Join a meditation class, especially if you have not previously done so. It is easier to begin the practice of meditation while surrounded by others with the same objective. Yes, you could do this at home or alone, certainly your computer or smartphone can assist you. All kinds of timers, guided meditations, and other meditation support elements are readily available.

Nevertheless, for beginners, meditating with others represents a viable launch pad. You are alone with your thoughts, concurrently recognizing that others are in the room, alone with their thoughts. Try a meditation class. You’ll be amazed at how comforting it can be.

3) Seek out stretches of time throughout the day or week when you’ll allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts. Have nothing scheduled when you’re willing to just shoot the breeze. Maybe you’ll sit in your chair and stare out the window. Maybe you’ll sit on a couch and close your eyes or, if not, let the world pass by slowly.

Such cerebral breaks throughout the day are innately rewarding. New thoughts might arise. New ways of proceeding that you had not previously contemplated could spring forward. Or, nothing of significance pops into your head. Fine.

Go Ahead, Trust Yourself

The great part about being alone with your thoughts for a few minutes here and there is that you begin to trust yourself more often. You recognize that you won’t miss out on something by taking a few minutes break. The world will still be spinning. You’ll still have your job, your relationships will be the same, and you can turn right back to what you are doing.

As a byproduct of taking this time, your pulse could decrease a bit, which is good. Your ability to take deep breaths might be enhanced, which is highly beneficial. In any case, let yourself into that wonderful mind of yours, for a while, before you jump back into the fray!

Opinion

Capitol Cop Charged with Obstruction After Coaching Rioters on Social Media

His arrest came over nine months after the Capitol riot itself.

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Over the course of the next several months, (or more), we will be inundated with stories pertaining to the adjudication of cases stemming from the events of January 6th, and we certainly aren’t going to like everything that we hear.

For some, it will be the realization that some of these insurrectionists did indeed mean to do harm to our elected officials, including then-VP Mike Pence.  For others there will be angst as Obama-appointed judges ignore prosecutors’ requests and tack on additional jail time for those convicted in the incident.

And, for a great many of us, there will be some concerns about the possibility that participants in the incident were propelled and protected by Capitol Police. 

A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police force was charged Friday with trying to protect a man who was later accused of illegally entering the Capitol during the January 6 riot.

A grand jury indictment charged Officer Michael Angelo Riley with repeatedly telling the man to delete all social media that would provide proof of entering the building that day.

“[I’]m a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley said in a Facebook direct message, according to the indictment. “Take down the part about being in the building they are correctly investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!”

Riley was arrested on Friday, some 9+ months after the storming of the Capitol itself, which appears to indicate just how far we are from the end of this issue.

Over the course of the next several months, (or more), we will be inundated with stories pertaining to the adjudication of cases stemming from the events of January 6th, and we certainly aren’t going to like everything that we hear. For some, it will be the realization that some of these insurrectionists did indeed mean to do harm to our elected officials, including then-VP Mike Pence.  For others there will be angst as Obama-appointed judges ignore prosecutors’ requests and tack on additional jail time for those convicted in the incident. And, for a great many of us, there will be some concerns about the possibility that participants in the incident were propelled and protected by Capitol Police.  A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police force was charged Friday with trying to protect a man who was later accused of illegally entering the Capitol during the January 6 riot. A grand jury indictment charged Officer Michael Angelo Riley with repeatedly telling the man to delete all social media that would provide proof of entering the building that day. “[I’]m a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley said in a Facebook direct message, according to the indictment. “Take down the part about being in the building they are correctly investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!” Riley was arrested on Friday, some 9+ months after the storming of the Capitol itself, which appears to indicate just how far we are from the end of this issue.

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Opinion

Brutal Hashtag Trends on Twitter as Biden Blamed for Supply Chain Disaster

Americans are NOT happy!

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Problems are continuing to pile up for President Joe Biden, and the nation at large has certainly taken notice.

Biden’s first nine months in office have been nothing but trouble, in all honesty, and the Democratic Party isn’t even trying to hide that fact anymore.  Between the border crisis, the labor shortage, and his inability to get even the most basic bits of his agenda passed in Congress, it appears at times that the administration is simply doomed.

Now, with a supply chain issue bearing down on the nation as well, Twitter users are placing the blame squarely on the Commander in Chief in a brutal fashion.

The hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe shot to the top of the trending topics on Twitter Thursday amid the supply chain crisis threatening the nation’s economy and holiday shopping.

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Social media users employed the tagline to rip President Biden for empty shelves and skyrocketing prices caused by a backlog of shipping containers waiting to dock at California ports.

And they weren’t holding back.

“Just went food shopping…again…thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe I really love having to go every day now in order to find what used to take one trip,” one account wrote, along with a photo of near-empty shelves at a grocery store.

“I’m pretty sure @JoeBiden and the Democrats in DC are eating just fine and are having no issues getting what they need,” another Twitter user posted. “The rest of us lowly Americans who actually go to the grocery stores, not so much. #EmptyShelvesJoe.”

Biden recently announced that the federal government would be easing restrictions for port employees in an effort to expand working hours and power through the logjam.

Problems are continuing to pile up for President Joe Biden, and the nation at large has certainly taken notice. Biden’s first nine months in office have been nothing but trouble, in all honesty, and the Democratic Party isn’t even trying to hide that fact anymore.  Between the border crisis, the labor shortage, and his inability to get even the most basic bits of his agenda passed in Congress, it appears at times that the administration is simply doomed. Now, with a supply chain issue bearing down on the nation as well, Twitter users are placing the blame squarely on the Commander in Chief in a brutal fashion. The hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe shot to the top of the trending topics on Twitter Thursday amid the supply chain crisis threatening the nation’s economy and holiday shopping. Social media users employed the tagline to rip President Biden for empty shelves and skyrocketing prices caused by a backlog of shipping containers waiting to dock at California ports. And they weren’t holding back. “Just went food shopping…again…thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe I really love having to go every day now in order to find what used to take one trip,” one account wrote, along with a photo of near-empty shelves at a grocery store. “I’m pretty sure @JoeBiden and the Democrats in DC are eating just fine and are having no issues getting what they need,” another Twitter user posted. “The rest of us lowly Americans who actually go to the grocery stores, not so much. #EmptyShelvesJoe.” Biden recently announced that the federal government would be easing restrictions for port employees in an effort to expand working hours and power through the logjam.

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