Tag Archives: Coffee

Reading for Pleasure

So you’re sitting there, reading this, wondering how you got here. You may be wondering whether or not you can find this useful, or you may be wondering if you will find this interesting. I know the feeling. You start to do this, and wonder how much you are going to get out of it. Sometimes you find benefit, sometimes you don’t. It can be a metaphor for life, if you think about it. You wonder exactly what it is you’re doing, and if you can really find this useful. Many others that regularly read this blog, like you, have been able to find really cool stuff here. Like book reviews.

I have a friend who works at a bookstore. He doesn’t really make that much money. In fact it makes barely above minimum wage. Despite the less than stellar pay, he is able to find it really interesting. He just loves to read. He finds it fascinating looking through all the books, arranging them on the shelves, picking up the ones people leave on the table when they are sitting around drinking coffee. (I love doing that.) He says just picking up the books and reading the backs as he is returning them to the shelves is the second best part of the job. He has this cart that he wheels around, and he takes his time, so he can read this and that. And he finds some really fascinating things that he didn’t even know existed. Cookbooks, exercise books, photography books. It’s absolutely incredible the amount of information you can find in a book store. And like I said, that’s not even the best part.

I actually met him a few weeks ago after he finished working. We met in the cafe section, and there happened to be a Toastmasters group that was meeting. And this guy gave a speech about goals. He was talking about setting goals, and how you need to make sure you know what is really important when choosing the things that you want to make come true in life. He said that it starts by thinking of something, now, that you want to achieve in life. Something really nice that you want to achieve. And when you think of that, you can ask yourself, what’s important about that? What is really important about having that thing that you want to achieve? And when you really start to imagine what is important about that, you can really begin to imagine how nice it will be when achieve that. And as you read this, you  might be able to do that yourself. I don’t know if you are able think of that now while you read this, but you can really find value in this, because doing this can help you achieve many things in life.

So after the guy finished his speech, my friend told me the absolute best part of working at a bookstore. He gets to talk to all kinds of different people each day. Especially when they come in to his shop, but they aren’t sure exactly what they want. He can help them make a decision, find something that they can really enjoy. And then he takes them and guides them to where the book is, and shows them how to choose from many options, so they can be sure that this is what they really want, and they can be really happy that they’ve chosen this. And since my friend is single, and half of the customers are females, well, you get the idea.

Which is what many people find when they read this blog on a regular basis. Because I like to write on so many different subjects, you can find many things here to read and enjoy. And reading things that you can enjoy is one of the greatest pleasures in life.


Walk Away From Stress and Anxiety

Boy are my feet tired. I met some folks this afternoon at a coffee shop downtown. We were lucky enough because we got a couple of tables next to each other. It was really crowded. It’s really lucky when you find something that can help you achieve your accomplishments. The weather was also nice today, as I mentioned in another article. It’s great when good things that are unexpected happen. You can kind of enjoy the realization of the situation, you know?

It’s like my friend, who is training to be a nurse. She has to go to night school to study after her regular nursing shift. Which is kind of busy, because not only is she pregnant, but she has a six year old son, and her husband works full time as well. I don’t know how some people manage. I have enough trouble getting to work on time. But one thing that happened to her was her husband was suddenly promoted. And the extra pay he got was enough to pay for the extra day care they’ll be needing when the second baby decides to show up. So they were pretty happy about that. I think she mentioned what they were going to name the baby.

Sometimes, though, you are just going through life and it seems like you just can’t ever catch up. It seems like whenever one thing stops, another starts right away. And if you get lucky at work, and you have some not downtime, you all of a sudden get flooded with a bunch of other stuff you have to do. My friend who teaches yoga always tells me that the key is to keep focus on the inside. When I asked him about that, he said that no matter what is going on in the outside world, you are in charge of your internal state. You are in charge of whether or not you feel stressed, or feel relaxed. You can choose to feel relaxed whenever you are in a situation that you used to think was stressful. He said that when he is able to practice breathing, he can train his mind to release anxiety whenever it comes up. And he always tells me how useful it is to just take a minute whenever you’re stressed, and just breath deeply, imagine the stress and anxiety going into your breath, and then slowly breath all the stress and anxiety out. He also says that it is a really good idea to do this just before sleep, because you want to release your stress before you fall asleep.

Which is one of the reasons my friend is pretty excited about her baby. She is expecting in about a month or two, I think. She is a great example of a really attentive mother. Whenever she talks about her kids, her face really lights up. I can tell her children are really important to her. And her husband seems like a nice guy as well, although I’ve never met him. You can always tell how strong a marriage is by how well they speak of each other when they’re not around.

And the reason my feet are so tired is because not only did I walk around downtown after the coffee shop, (window shopping,) but I took the train in the other direction and went to a fairly new shopping mall with lots of restaurants, where I walked around a little bit more. I did buy a new pair of walking shoes, which I will try out tomorrow morning when I take my morning walk through the rice fields.



I was sitting in a coffee shop yesterday, minding my own business, when a young, happily beeming woman walked in carrying a very recent addition to the human race. Tightly bundled in a comfortable looking baby sling, his head poked out and his eyes looked around, ceaselessly amazed at the colors and lights and sounds and activity. Imprinting his fresh young brain with stimuli to later categorize into learnings and beliefs and ideas about who is he and how he fits into all this amazing unfolding of stuff that is always presenting itself to us.

I tried to think back to when I learned something, really able to truly discover something and give it meaning. Through some slippery power of thought, connect cause to effect. When I first noticed that when you turn that round thing on the door, that other part that looks like it’s the same material goes in and out of the side of the door.  Or when you are holding those sort of round white things, and you open your hands, they fall and crack open on the ground into a yellow gooey mess. Or those squiggly lines that my first grade teacher wrote on the board, and made us copy over and over, that had no meaning at the time, but later, through some voodoo magic that I am still trying to wrap my mind around, became letters with which I could build words and sentences and express complicated ideas and desires and plans that were inside my head, waiting for me to give them life.

But then I realized that something happens to us as we grow old. For some reason, we stop being able to see the world as an exciting unfolding of learning and discovery.  We somehow learn, or believe, or pretend, that once we get to a certain level of knowledge, the learning stops.  We trick ourselves into thinking that instead of being people who always find new and exciting things to learn about, we slip into the comfortable habit of doing, instead of becoming. Does it have to be that way? Do we have to give up any idea that we are able to continuously learn and grow and change? And if we do change and learn, does it have to be to satisfy some external requirements by society? Can we not set our own course of our lives so that we can not merely serve others, but to serve others in a way that can benefit us both?

As the young woman sat down to join her friends, they all took turns holding young child. A child who has a long journey ahead of him. Clearly enjoying the support of the caring adults around him. Well equiped by nature to pull from his environment all the resources he will need to survive and thrive. In his young mind the few, yet to be voiced thoughts soon to be joined by many others. The thoughts we all too soon let go of. The thoughts we should never forget, as they can help us to master our reality in any stage of our life.

What is this?

What does it mean?

How can I use it? How can I share it?

I like it! How can I get more?



Magic in a Bag

So there I was, sitting there in the coffee shop, in a nice corner spot. The kind where you can periodically stop what you are doing so you can look up and really pay attention, watch all the people walking around, shopping, eating, enjoying their Sunday off.  I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, and for reasons I’m probably not aware of, that particular movement seemed to stand out of all the flurry of movements, so I naturally turned my head so I could take notice. There was a young female employee of the shop standing facing a middle aged guy that was sitting down.  She seemed to have a look of professionalism on her face, and he a look of boredom. Perhaps his wife had dragged him shopping with her, perhaps he was a little light on sleep. We’ll never know. But as she leaned over to get closer to him, as there were plenty of people around chattering about, I saw an interesting phenomenon take place.  I noticed her eyes, and as she was talking to him in what appeared to be a polite professional tone (judging only by her facial expressions and her body langauge), they shifted back and forth between his face, and the bag that she was holding out for him to take. And as she did so, his face turned from passive disinterest, to mild curiosity, to a look of honest appreciation.  Now I’m not sure what was in the bag, perhaps some exotic coffee beans, or maybe a personalized mug, who knows.

Kind of like the shops around my town, they organize some special new years specials, where all the shops that participate put together bags of secret goodies for ten or twenty dollars. The fun part is that you don’t know what’s going to be in the bag. Of course it will be related to the kind of store of course, but you never know what will be in the bag until you open it up. And they all look the same, so you really can’t tell from the outside.

Like when I was a kid, we used to have lots of presents under the tree at christmas time, but you never know if you were going to get something cool  until you decided to choose a gift  to open.  And of course, most of the time we could expect to be really happy  with the present we got.

Which was what was wierd at the coffee shop, because the guy didn’t really know what was in the bag, only that the girl had decided for him that it was something of value.  Now I don’t if you are able to understand this, but this guy, who could be a doctor or a lawyer for all I know,  was able to transform his own emotions from boredom to appreciation over a mysterious brown bag, simply by choosing to pay attention to the words of a most likely minimum wage earning young lady.

Can you see the magic in this? Simply by assuming that there was value in the bag, she was able to, using only her words and expressions, move the middle aged man from boredom to curiosity to appreciation.

How soon will you be able to find something of value , and with only words, move somebody else to appreciation?