Green-Padded Stool Psychology

I entered the End of the Line Tavern through a revolving door.

There was a mist inside, it was like walking through a fog.

I climbed up on a stool, it was green-padded and very comfy.

Then I noticed I had sat next to a big chap, looked to be in his eighties just like me.

I ordered a beer and said:

“What are you drinking, I’m buying?”

“A soft drink”, he replied.

“Barkeep get this fella a soft drink.”

“Thank you sir”, said the big old fella.

“My name is Dave”, I said, holding out my hand.

“Mine is Tom”, he said, shaking my hand.

“Tom, I just turned 81 and I’m trying to figure myself out, sort of old age self-understanding.”

“I’ve been trying to do that all my life.”

A friend told me:

“Self-understanding, oh that’s just common sense.”

“So, what’s common sense?”, said Tom.

“That’s a good question, Tom, because common sense isn’t so common.”

I took a long gulp of my beer.

“These comfy stools seem to give me energy that I didn’t have before I sat on them.”

“Yeh Dave, it’s like a small electric shock.”

“I’ll have to buy one of these stools.”

We both took a sip of our drinks.

“Common sense is defined as collective wisdom.

So, lets turn to the proverbs:

Opposites attract, would tell us about relationships.

Many hands make light work, gives us insight into group behaviour.


Birds of a feather flock together, contradicts the first one.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, contradicts the second one.

The point is:

Common sense can be contradictory at times and may simply be one person’s point of view.”

“Wow! That’s interesting, Dave. So, what are the ways to get self-understanding?”

“Two ways, Tom, Introspection and Self-Perception.

Lets take Introspection first.

It’s the process of looking inwards at your internal states, such as thoughts and feelings.”

“I always have problems being introspective.”

“No wonder, Tom, there’s three big problems with introspection.

First, we are constantly processing so much into at the same time that we really don’t know which into is causing our thoughts and behaviours.

Second, we overestimate our positive attributes.

The other day I was asked to rate my looks, I said:

“Oh, I am definitely “over average.”

Now that doesn’t really mean much, what’s average?

Three, for self-protective reasons we drive bad thoughts and experiences out of our heads.

So, how can we learn from our bad experiences?”

Self-Perception, what’s that all about, Dave?”

Tom was eager for education. The stools were working their MAGIC!

“It has to do with one’s observation of one’s actions from this we could deduce how we feel and what we are thinking and who we are.”

“Is there any problem with self-perception?”

“Yes, the problem is “CONTEXT”, the circumstances under which the action occurs.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“If you went to the theatre because your wife wanted you to, you wouldn’t say you were a theatre lover.

But…if you went on your own volition or by yourself, then you could call yourself a theatre lover.

It’s the CONTEXT that matters.”

We both finished our drinks.

“Well Tom, I’ve got to be going now.”

“I’m going as well, Dave.”

As we left the tavern, I said:

“Talking to you Tom I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”

“Ditto for me, Dave, hope to see you again.”

Out into the sunshine we went–two old men facing life with a SMILE!!!


Past, Present, Future

This blog is sort of a three question “horror story” to ponder.

What if your Past disappeared completely?

It was completely wiped out!

All your new memories in the Present are forgotten because they have become your Past, which is wiped out (dementia comes to mind).

You don’t remember anything that happens in the Present.

What would happen to your world if your Past disappeared?

Would you be a different person?

Are we defined by our Past?

We certainly are molded by our Past.

I think we are only partially defined by our Past because we are in a constant present state of becoming, which of course then becomes our Past.

But, I will say early bad childhood experiences can define a person. forever, they leave a trauma that may never heal and create the illusion a hostile world.

This can cause a person to grow up depressed (one of the themes of my novel, “The Becoming”).


What if your Future became non-existent?

Planning would not exist, you couldn’t create goals.

The Future would become a dark place!

What if this was the world you lived in?

You would lose your motivation to plan.

Your ambition would be gone, life would become boring.

You would have lost all direction!


What if your Present moments disappeared?

Your life would be gone, because you can only live in the present.

If only your Past and Future exist, then

You would be physically Frozen because your body would only be in the Present.

Your Past would be Dead because your Present wouldn’t be creating new memories.

If your Future existed without the Present, then it too would be frozen and your life would have already been planed without your input!

That’s the end of the ‘horror story” because to live fully you need all three time periods,

Past, Present and Future.


You have 24 hours a day and you have choices.

You have a choice on how your mindset will be and how you will allocate your daily time.

Accept your Present situation and choose NOT to focus on the unpredictable and uncontrollable Future.

Hobbies keep you in the Present.

I fully immerse myself in the writing and researching of my blogs.

I treat my blogs as ART.

Art is limitless and it’s a wonderful way to use the Present.


Some situations are unchangeable, uncontrollable and unforeseeable.

Accept the unchangeable, it will lessen your mental suffering.

You allow the Future to be what it is, you then relax and feel like a weight is lifted.

You change the way you look at things.

You’ll feel pain and you’ll get frustrated but you’ll lighten the load.

Be thankful that you’re ALIVE and have the opportunity to embrace life in the Present.


In conclusion:

The Present is the most important time period.

Whatever happens in the Present it positively or negatively affects everything in your life.

It’s the only time you can LIVE!


You MUST live most of your time (90%) in the Present.

You must fully take in each moment you have.

Every feeling you have, everything you learn, everything you experience happens in the Present.

A small amount of time (5%) should be spent in the Past to learn from your past experiences, good or bad.

A small amount of time (5%) should be spent in the Future to create goals.

This is the recipe for contentment.


Three Liberating Practices

I’ve found these “Death Awareness Practices” very liberating, especially in my old age.


Because repeating “memento mori” which is “remembering you will die”, you realise  you have to ENJOY LIFE WHILE YOU HAVE IT.

I firmly believe:

Each day is a separate life to enjoy as much as possible, even with the aches and pains of old age!

Death Awareness gives me a greater appreciation for the gift of each new day.

I know to have COMPLETE PEACE I’d have to be at peace with the prospect of dying.

Points to Ponder:

Courage, Integrity, Humour–We are ultimately ALONE and these three words are values to get you through.

We are all on a journey, good or bad, and we have NO choice but to ENDURE and come to terms with what afflicts us.


Practice One:

Remembering you will die!

This could be your death day!

When I awake, I think, “This could be my last morning.”

Then a warm appreciation arises in me–appreciation for this morning in which I am very much ALIVE!

Practice Two:

Remember the time of our death is uncertain.

Thankfully, we don’t know when we will encounter death.

So, I treasure each day that I’m ALIVE and that those I love are alive.

Practice Three:

All grasping is finished at death.

What does that mean?

It means that all the things I preoccupy myself with will dissolve at death…all my opinions that I think are so important, all my worries about the future, all the material things around me that I think of as mine–all the grasping will be gone!

I find this life-affirming and liberating because I then consider what IS important to me in life.

It’s NOT opinions, worries or possessions.

What I value most, as I get older, is my relationship with other people.

Was I patient and caring?

Perhaps my blogs have helped someone live better.

All this death awareness has helped me live in the present moment and embrace the world as it’s unfolding right at this moment.

In conclusion:

Being conscious of death makes each day more precious to me.

I’m living more purposefully and I am living my present better.

Each day is a separate life!

So, get on with it…

Embrace it and accept it “AS IT IS.”

Enjoy it as much as possible with equanimity.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

Live Forever?


This is the story of a man who was given a potion that gives immortality and he drank it!!!

Now, 180 years have passed and the man figured out that he cursed himself by drinking the potion.

His wife, all his friends and lovers and relatives had grown old and died, leaving him alone, bored and weary.

Now he longed for the grave!

With no death in his future he lacked drive and ambition and curiosity because he had forever to live!!!


What do we glean from this story?

We know everybody dies.

Knowing this is liberating because it teaches us to make good use of our time and live as fully as we can.

No matter how much life we have it never is enough.

People are always hoping for more time.

If we had endless time, the concept of living fully and making full use of your time would be meaningless.

Endless life would be a pointless burden!

In conclusion:

We are RESPONSIBLE for how we use our time.

Every day we are given is precious and the older we get the more we realise this.

We should stop thinking “if only I had more time”, and think instead, “if only I made better use of the time I’ve got.”


What do you think?

Live Together With Self-Interest?

The vicar said when Tom and Jane, who were both divorced, were married:

“To make your marriage work you MUST put your collective interest first, and your individual interest second.”

They both thought this. might be difficult to ACCEPT without question, but they would try.

Tom, with his calculating brain, reasoned that if he put himself second and Jane put herself first, Jane would get the better of the marriage.

His self-interest would be lost!

Jane had similar thoughts.

Both their egos were quivering.

They didn’t trust the other to honour the bargain.

So, secretly, they both looked out for themselves.

The marriage would suffer. But was this the best rational course to take?

This is a conundrum. Two people fighting with themselves to decide what is in their best interests.

We know that cooperation is required to get a good marriage, but neither Tom or Jane can guarantee the other will do the right thing.

Because of their previous relationships their trust had been eroded.

But without trust the second marriage might fail!

What is the moral of the story?

Trust is required to get the most out of life even though we may open ourselves up to exploitation.

But if we don’t trust we close ourselves off from the good things in life.

In the final analysis:

Tom and Jane’s SAFE STRATEGY protects them from the worst of their union, but it also separates them from the best!