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Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World

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Striking Realizations

The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice

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All too often, I’ve been in the position of either participating in or being a spectator to the following arguments:

  • Addiction is a choice. Why should my tax dollars go toward providing rehab and therapy for someone who chose to get high and party?
  • A lot of people choose to be homeless. I don’t know why, but maybe they’re just lazy and don’t want to work for a living. McDonald’s is always hiring, so I can’t understand why they don’t just get a job instead of holding a cardboard sign and begging all day.
  • I don’t believe in tipping waitstaff, baristas, or delivery drivers. They chose to work in a profession that pays horribly and relies on tips. If they don’t like it, just go find a better job.

Perhaps you have as well.

While each argument has numerous points deserving of debate, there’s a common denominator running through each that arguments fail to address: the illusion of choice. Continue reading “The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice”

The Greatest Picture I Never Took

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On the eve before my youngest son’s first day of second grade at a new school, I spent the better part of an hour cuddled up next to him before bed, listening to him as he discussed his fears and worries with me, including everything from getting lost, to having a mean teacher, to dealing with playground bullies and worrying about whether the kids at the new school would accept him or not. Continue reading “The Greatest Picture I Never Took”

The Bookmarks to Our Life Stories

fb_img_1428860458077_900858ba3edad2232d66bc617464e937.today-inline-largeThis week, the online world was introduced to a young man named Carter Gentle, a brave little boy with a congenital heart defect who has undergone multiple open-heart surgeries, and when looking at his chest riddled with scars, Carter cried when seeing them out of the fear of being judged by others as hideous or ugly. Carter’s dad, though, acted nobly by sharing this story online, so that his son could hear from the rest of the world how beautiful he is because of the stories his scars tell us about uncommon strength. In less than 24 hours, Carter had over half a million people reassure him that his scars were not only nothing to be ashamed of, but stories of which he should be proud. As of this writing, that number is in the millions.

As Carter’s story spread, others came forward to share their scar stories, as well as how they came to terms with what those scars represented to them. The sharing of this story has given way to a crucial conversation on the definition of beauty as it relates to personal “flaws,” and more importantly, how we, as a society, allow our culture to define what is flawed. These conversations have been ongoing in my family for the last seven years or so, thanks to one event that could be considered any parent’s nightmare. Continue reading “The Bookmarks to Our Life Stories”

Of Products, Perfection, and the Process of Parenting

255570_794709274363_186471642_nBedtime: A word representing that time of day for a parent that either inspires anticipation or instills dread. For a great many of us, the latter is the case, for when we announce, “It’s bedtime!” — our children often tap into some previously undiscovered energy reserve, which is then channeled into arguing, protesting, and if your children are like mine, the ancient ninja art of escape.

Sometimes, we give in, too tired ourselves to fight, and then they fall asleep in the most unlikely places: Continue reading “Of Products, Perfection, and the Process of Parenting”

Why I Will Never Carpe Diem Again

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“Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” The moment I heard those words fall from Mr. Keating’s lips in Dead Poets Society, I felt myself come alive. Even as a headstrong teenager, I knew Keating was right, and I set out to suck the marrow out of life, to seize each day, and to make it extraordinary. From that day forward, back in 1989, I committed myself to those two familiar words, made immortal through a near-extinct language: carpe diem. Continue reading “Why I Will Never Carpe Diem Again”

5 Steps Toward Parental Perfection

What do nearly all parents have in common with Heath Ledger’s Joker?  Take a look at the following quote:

a8cbd262a627a304e694027ae9f5b65f4c090c3145f558322492098b8d2bec2dWhat this quote from Ledger’s legendary portrayal of Batman’s nemesis does is perfectly encapsulate the essence of chaos, and what this has in common with most of us is the pursuit of perfection, for most of us wouldn’t know what to do with it, IF we ever caught it, but continue to chase it, we must.

Earlier today (thanks in part to HowToBeADad.com‘s post on Hindsight Parenting and how wise parents become when looking at our experiences in retrospect), I asked my wife what, if anything, she would advise our children someday, when the time comes for them to become parents.  Her response was a brilliantly simple as it was beautifully profound. Continue reading “5 Steps Toward Parental Perfection”

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