CircuOsity Podcast
Becoming Aware - Considering Complaining - Choosing a Better Path

Becoming Aware - Considering Complaining - Choosing a Better Path

July 29, 2019

J.R. Korpa's photo "Mannequin Models" courtesy of Korpa and Unsplash.

Jim Opens up this week's episode with a welcome and explaining of CircuOsity's purpose. He then introduces today’s theme - learning to seek awareness in order to reduce ignorance. He uses one of Silas Day's Insight Timer meditations as a primary resource for ruminating upon this important topic. Our development of a meditative practice offers us intentional time and space to shine out awareness onto our ignorance. We focus mindfulness onto our views, experiences, and attachments (Christian terms, passions or sins). Ignorance is based upon our presumptions of reality.

  1. A Fool who discerns his ignorance gains understanding and therefore becomes wiser.
  2. A Fool who assumes that he is wise expresses and shares his foolishness. (chime)

Complaining is a common place and almost always inconsequential habit in and of itself for increasing awareness, reducing suffering, and gaining insight. Jim uses this podcast to summarize how bringing awareness to his habitual complaining is helping him to shift his way of being.

Silas' meditation "A Contemplation on Ignorance" shines light upon the importance of developing a meditative mindfulness practice. Complaining is a consequence of our attachments to ignorance. Jim's shadow resides in unexplored or unrefined awareness of childish desires to possess control and impatiences with himself, other people, God, and countless other circumstances residing outside of his sphere of influence. Complaining only offers wisdom when someone gains awareness of the circumstances, experiences, attachments (passions) provoking the complaint. Ignorance means to lack wisdom or unknowing. (Complain derives from the Latin term for lamentation - an expression of suffering)

Buddhism teaches us to express our awareness of sufferings existence. Christianity teaches us that it is through suffering that resurrection becomes most possible. If true, and complaining or other unhelpful habits (patterns) exist, what might we do? 

Jim suggests that bringing awareness to this issue renders solutions. Such opportunities include paying attention to Buddhism's Eightfold Path , Christianity's Gifts of the Spirit, and The Circle Way's principles. And, the Plan (Prayer), Do (Devote), Check (Contemplate), Act (Adapt) model,  (PDCA) provides a proven contemplative and actionable means for increasing awareness and compassion as well as for reengineering work in sacred and worldly settings.

Here is some of what Jim learned and is learning as a consequence of undertaking a 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge experience. The process requires an intentional examination of his complaining. The work begins with observation and continues with creating a prayerful (mindful) plan. The purpose in this endeavor has been to Identify a meaningful improvement opportunity, Jim loves learning and thereby understands that he needs to shine light upon the ignorance of his complaining. You should listen in order to hear about the rest of his work rather than read his probably boring explanation here. :)

In sum, this opportunity (and similar intentions) all possess capacities to establish new ways of being.

Jim concludes with another summary of Silas Day's wisdom. He refreshes some of today's episodes of learning:

    1. Small rituals such as meditation shine awareness onto the shadows of our personalities – our soul’s and ego’s suffering

      1. Offering Love depends upon enlightenment and devotion toward something bigger and better than ourselves.
    2. SMART Goals are excellent for any intentional practice to reduce ignorance, acknowledge suffering, and gain wisdom and joy.
    3.  Emotions are fluid and fleeting. God’s presence is always available.
    4. Working on one attachment, one pain, one burden, one wound at a time will encourage further growth, and a possibility or renewed body, mind, and spirit. .
  • Jim says Good Bye with a Blessing, Thank you for listening, and a hope that you will share CircuOsity.

Blessings along The Way, Jim



Visit Silas Day's website and follow him on Insight Timer.

Chatting with Elephants in our Living Rooms

Chatting with Elephants in our Living Rooms

July 20, 2019

Jim takes an adventure on how to be navigate our pilgrimages with our emotional elephants.  He calls upon Jonathan Haidt's Happiness Hypothesis work to understand why our emotions more often than not govern our gifts of reason.

Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider upon an elephant that cannot force the elephant to go in a particular direction. The rider is the rational part of our brains whereas the elephant is the emotional (automatic) portion of our brains. It takes courage and compassion for human beings to create a synergistic relationship with ourselves,neighbors,and God. (Read the Happiness Hypothesis for deeper learning).

Jim refers back to last week's episode and the Plan (Prayer), Do (Devotion), Check (Contemplate), and Act (Adapt) [PDCA] cycle as a model for talking with and riding the elephants in our living rooms who we avoid, or fear to tame . Jim shares how he is using this model to hold the reigns of his emotional, complaining elephant with more wisdom, patience, and maturity. His current work is with a 21 day Complaint Free Challenge

Emotional elephant joy riding can be awesome when you have a purpose, plan, and flexible course of action.  You shouldn't be afraid of falling off either.

Check out Michelle McQuaid and Peggy Kern's podcast to learn more about developing emotionally well elephants in workplaces. 

Check out Marc Chernoff's elephant metaphor to better understand how old and outdated habitual patterns and beliefs keep us tied down.  

'Hope that you enjoy this adventure and your own ride w/ your elephants and the emotional opportunities to grow in your self, families, and communities.

Happiness is not something that you can find, acquire, or achieve directly. You have to get the conditions right and then wait. Some of those conditions are within you, such as coherence among the parts and levels of your personality. Other conditions require relationships to things beyond you: Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to thrive, people need love, work, and a connection to something larger. It is worth striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.” 

Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom


Blessings along The Way, Jim



Complaining Less - PDCA your way to more joy

Complaining Less - PDCA your way to more joy

July 12, 2019

A curious thing happened on Facebook today. Amy Welin invited her friends to join her in complaining less. Amy is the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Stephen's in Harrisburg. She seemingly has somethings unsettling her. Jim has been kinda frazzled recently and consequently been complaining about many things rather than contemplating and acting upon potential improvements.

Jim decided to take Amy up on the 21 Day Complaint Free Challenge. Amy referenced Rabbi Brian's Not to Complain blog post as a resource. Jim decided to blow the dust off of an old continuous improvement friend - The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. Jim revises the PDCA model a bit to frame it in a more spiritual fashion. You can learn more about Jim's adaptation here.


Today's podcast uses Lisa Lahey and Robert Kegan's Immunity to Change model as a basis for initiating today's conversation. Learning to complain less means making an adaptive change - a gut-felt yearning for choosing a different way of living. The PDCA Model offers a template for undertaking such an transformational learning process. (Jim offers a somewhat detailed description of the PDCA model from 5:27 - 11:28 in the episode).  Jim lays out his proposed plan and do stages of  his complaint-free journey.  Thankfully, there are lots and lots of models to work happily with for the next three weeks.  Jari Roomer recommends achieving success one step at a timeSMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) are handy for keeping track of progress.  WOOP is a quick and imaginative way for visioning a healthier future. And of course, taking a challenge with friends is more fun than doing it alone (except for truly introverted people)

Ultimately, this 21 Day Challenge like any transformative growth is about letting go of established habits of thinking believing, most likely because a person's love for a greater goal is more powerful than the status quo. Have a listen and follow along with Jim and others as they strive for less complaining and more compassion.


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