07 Aug 2019, 07:59

How to have lucid dreams

Have you ever found yourself flying like a bird, only to later realize it was a dream?

Have you been chased by “bad guys” or haunted by scary situations in your dreams?

“Lucid dreaming” is a state of dreaming while being aware that you are dreaming. Lucid dreaming allows me to have more fun flying dreams and fewer scary dreams. This is how I got started:

There are a few techniques I have used at different times of my life.

  1. Start a dream journal. Prepare a notebook and pen, and leave it next to you when you go to sleep. Immediately upon waking, write down anything that you can recall. A sketch, a sentence, even a single drawn line or single word can help. This process of writing or drawing helps connect your waking conscious mind with your dreaming mind.

Do this consistently over some weeks or months and you will soon have more to write than you possibly have time for upon waking.

  1. Check to see if you are dreaming. There are several different ways to do so. Do one or more of these tests throughout the day, like every hour or so. Eventually you will do a test while dreaming and find yourself lucid dreaming!

Test 1: Read this sentence. Read it again. Close your eyes for a few seconds. Open your eyes and read it again. Did it change? No? Then you are probably not dreaming.

Did the sentence change? Then you are dreaming. Congratulations!

Test two: Stand up. Look up toward a point way up above you and jump to it. Did you come back down? Then you are probably not dreaming.

Did you stay in the air or fly to that point? You are dreaming!

Test three: Count your fingers. Count them again. Do you have the normal number? Can you do it easily? You are probably not dreaming.

Do you have extra fingers than normal? Fewer fingers than normal? Congratulations, you are dreaming! (Or you may have just had an accident. Call emergency services!)

One other technique I have read is to fall asleep with the intention of being aware in your dreams. I personally have not had success with this technique, but it may work for you.

Do you keep a dream journal? Do you have any other techniques to share? Email me at rob α𝐭 robnugen.com to let me know!

05 Aug 2019, 09:33

Eye Gazing Workshop - 17 August 2019

In two weeks I will be leading an Eye Gazing Workshop near Shibuya station.

To help plan my first workshop, Rin asked me to choose something that made me really excited.

I told her I would have to think about it, and a couple days later it suddenly came to me as the perfect workshop.

After determining what I wanted the final outcome to be, the workshop plan went through a few iterations, with support from Georgie, Mark Wild, Soness, Kevin Turner, and others.

Georgie has been doing eye gazing workshops for years in Australia.

They say our eyes are the window to the soul.  This workshop will give
us a chance to look more deeply into ourselves and more deeply into
those around us.

The process is simple, and the results can be profound.  You may
discover parts about yourself that you didn't know where there.

In this workshop, we will be looking into the eyes of people that we
may never have met before.  We will have a chance to sit with multiple
participants, with a small break in between each person.

It's important to have an intention before each eye gazing practice,
so be sure to have some possible intentions in mind.  Some examples
might be

“I intend to get to know myself better”
“I intend to connect with my intuition”
“I intend to practice acceptance of others”
“I intend to practice acceptance of myself”

Let’s enjoy learning about ourselves and each other.

Location: between Shibuya and Shinsen stations on Dogenzaka

Email me at rob α𝐭 robnugen.com to RSVP and get the address.

18 Jul 2019, 13:28

Self care must come first (usually)

In relationships where everyone is equally able to take care of themselves, you need to take care of yourself first. In general, you are the only person who truly knows what you need, and everyone else is too busy taking care of themselves to take care of you.

(And to be clear, I am speaking to you, dear reader, not just the generalized “you” which really means “I”.)

Today I learned the value of taking care of myself as related to my (online) men’s group. Because I had not done my meditation nor my other morning things, I was not prepared to be in the circle.

In the end, I learned I need to put my own needs above my perceived “needs” of the circle.

One man even mentioned that one of the indicators of burnout is the belief that “I am the only one who can do it.”

If you hear that in your life, is it time to evaluate the roles you have taken in life?

10 Jul 2019, 11:50

See more by walking slowly

When out and about, I like to allow plenty of time between clients so I can be relaxed while in transit. Today I took it a step (ha) further by walking quite slowly.

After slowing myself down physically, I noticed a sense of peace come over me. An awareness of joyful awareness like a tautology of being happy because you’re happy.

Time lost its meaning as I simply walked step by step, aware of the surroundings like being there for the first time. I was practically on vacation on my way to work.

There’s so much to see! Each leaf on each tree has a story. Each brick on each wall is unique if you look closely enough.

Walking down a walkway I have been many (!) times before, I noticed something new that I hadn’t seen before.

Each shop has its own design (and they clash like wow)!

2019 july azalea shop designs 3 2019 july azalea shop designs 2

What happens for you when you walk slowly and breathe?

08 Jul 2019, 12:49

my focus matters

Where I place the focus my attention makes a difference in how I experienced my life.

Have you seen the basketball video? If not, have a look:

If I’m in a bad mood I tend to see things that are likewise bad. If I’m in a good mood I tend to see things that are likewise good.

This causes a natural feedback loop that tends to amplify itself.

So if I’m in a bad mood, how do I get myself out of it? The best way that I know of this is simply say (or otherwise recognize) “this too shall pass.”

If I’m being squished on the train and can’t breathe very well, I think “wow this is my chance to have this experience! It won’t last forever, and it won’t happen exactly like this ever again.”

If my bare toes get scuffed or squished or bleed due to stubbing a concrete curb, I think goodness I get to go around barefoot most the time. Most curious of all(*), I thank goodness for the chance to wear shoes so I don’t have to worry about my feet being injured.

(* As a positive preventative measure, I thank goodness that my feet rarely get injured and therefore I go barefoot most of the time anyway.)

In short, I can choose how I focus on something no matter what the situation. If, hypothetically, I were to be yelled at by an immigration officer for overstaying my visa, I would again focus on the temporal nature of the moment, and bless the man for doing his job in the best way he knows how.

Choosing to focus on the positive aspects of things allows me to experience more of the positive aspects, and therefore have more positive experience overall.

04 Jul 2019, 12:08

Rubber ducking ftw

Recently, I have had a big server upgrade that has been challenging me on how to finish it. Yesterday I asked a friend of mine if he could look over my plan for the upgrade.

He agreed, and I began to write the email that articulated my plan.

Just in writing out the email I recalled the value of rubber ducking.

The idea is that you explain the problem to a rubber duck, giving enough information so that the rubber duck can understand.

(I like to add the idea that rubber duck brains are not very big, so I need to articulate things in bite-sized pieces.)

In doing this process, I noticed a couple of solutions that will help me move forward with my plan. It also helped me get a sense of how big the project is, and where its steps need to be fleshed out.

Thank you, rubber duck!

03 Jul 2019, 18:42

Maintaining state in long projects

As a programmer, I often want things to be just right, finding that balance between maintainability, extensibility, and plain ol’ get-‘er-done. Today, banging my head against unexpected walls while trying to spin up a virtual machine with Vagrant, I had to keep my focus on the goal at hand: Keep the website up while migrating from PHP 5.7 on Ubuntu 14 to PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 18.

In this case, the task seemed simple. Write an email to Client so they know the status of the project.

The tip for today is to keep a stack of tasks written down so I can recall where I am headed.

  1. Write an email
  2. Estimate price of RDS
  3. Make sure I can test MySQL locally
  4. Spin up local instance of Ubuntu 18
  5. Upgrade Vagrant
  6. Upgrade local copy of Ubuntu 18
  7. Install latest copy of website source
  8. Run tests
  9. Install test framework
  10. Need to install PHP modules

I ran out of time around that point, and still had not done the first item on my list. Fortunately, I still remember what I was trying to do, and can come back to it with fresh eyes tomorrow.

02 Jul 2019, 09:27

Insanity and exponential curves

We’ve all heard the quote something like

Insanity is repeating the same thing
 and expecting a different result.

I just realized that I have been trying to apply that quote too strongly in my life. I have low-key assumed I have to make some huge radical change in my life in order to have anything different.

That belief was blocking my ability to make lasting change. I don’t have to take on a huge change or multiple changes all at once.

I can make a single, manageable, bite-sized change.

The trick is in finding what to change. That’s where I come in. Let’s find your bite-sized change together.

With the power of exponential growth, these small changes accumulate.

Allow your new habits to bring your empowered life.

27 Jun 2019, 11:27

Simple steps for dealing with anger

1) breathe.

Focus on your breathing until the initial wave of anger has passed. It may help to focus on counting the breaths.

Allow your breathing to deepen and slow.

2) label.

Say you yourself, “I feel angry.” Labeling the emotion brings your thoughtful brain back online.

This helps move beyond the Fight or Flight reaction of the reptilian brain

3) acknowledge.

Recognize the steps that brought you into this situation. What part did you play in the buildup to this anger?

Taking responsibility for your part helps point to small changes that you can take to avoid anger next time.

4) plan.

After acknowledging your part in the situation, notice where you can make different choices next time.

Visualize yourself making different choices to help increase the chance of remembering when necessary.

- - - - optional - - - -

5) apologize.

Depending on the situation, it may serve you to apologize. Taking responsibility for your part in the situation can help restore your relationship with the other party.

22 Jun 2019, 14:27

Save Money Through Meditation

My TV says if I buy this or that toothpaste / car / ______ then I will be happy. What TV doesn’t tell me is that happiness is temporary. Instead of buying my way into temporary happiness, I can sit my way into lasting happiness.

Sitting allows me to reset my brain to my center, my spirit, my essence. This is where permanent happiness resides. In this moment, sitting in what I call the Ever Present Present, I can just be, happily.