It only gets better from here…

middle-age

wsj.com – The Myth of the Midlife Crisis:

  • According to a growing body of research, midlife upheavals are more fiction than fact.
  • Life satisfaction reaches a low point around the mid-40s, perhaps due to stress associated with the simultaneous demands of work and family. But it rises after that.
  • Midlife, he adds, “is a surprisingly positive time of life.”

And yet, I can’t help but parrot Franz Kafka: “My condition is not unhappiness, but it is also not happiness, not indifference, not weakness, not fatigue, not another interest –so what is it then?”

Take the test. How do you measure up?

Maximizer or satificer

91 total points. (If you are higher than 45, you are a Maximizer.)

“Most people fall somewhere in the middle.”

“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).

“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,”

“Maximizers landed better jobs. Their starting salaries were, on average, 20% higher than those of the satisficers, but they felt worse about their jobs.”

“Satisficers also have high standards, but they are happier than maximizers, he says. Maximizers tend to be more depressed and to report a lower satisfaction with life”

My Score: 60. (Oh Boy)

Read full article in wsj.com: How You Make Decisions Says a Lot About How Happy You Are

Find Your Beach

zadie-smith

Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[...] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach


Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: oprah.com. Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Saturday Morning

kitten-cat-cute-adorable-bliss


Source: awwww-cute

 

Monday Mantra: Carpe Momento

black and white,gratitude

Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement— when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life— you won’t enjoy any of it.

Most of us could easily compile a list of goals we want to achieve or personal problems that need to be solved. But what is the real significance of every item on such a list? Everything we want to accomplish— to paint the house, learn a new language, find a better job— is something that promises that, if done, it would allow us to finally relax and enjoy our lives in the present. Generally speaking, this is a false hope. I’m not denying the importance of achieving one’s goals, maintaining one’s health, or keeping one’s children clothed and fed— but most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.

Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.

~ Sam Harris. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (Simon & Schuster. 2014)


Photographer: Sasha Onyshchenko via Thisiseverything. Blog post title is twist on Carpe Diem (Seize the Day to Seize the Moment)

Monday Mantra: Stirring the Pot

pot-boiling-stir

When the mind becomes highly relaxed and alert at the same time, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness. Here is the analogy. Imagine you have a pot of water full of sediments, and imagine that pot is constantly shaken and agitated. The water appears cloudy. Imagine that you stop agitating the pot and just let it rest on the floor. The water will become calm and, after a while, all the sediments will settle and the water will appear clear. This is the classical analogy of the mind in the alert and relaxed state. In this state, we temporarily stop agitating the mind the same way we stop agitating the pot.

~ Chade-Meng Tan, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) [Read more...]

The touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji

shoji-japanese

‘Always remember, child,’ her first teacher had impressed on her, ‘that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that need disipline –training- is about. So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of the flower arrangement, the tranquillity of dawn. Then, at length, you won’t have to make such a great effort and you will be of value to yourself.’”

- James Clavell, Shōgun


Credits: Photograph: mlisowsk, Yoshijima-ke, Yoshijima heritage house, Takayama, Japan. Quote: The Poet Master

Monday Morning Mantra: Ear flaps Up. Keep legs moving.

funny,happiness,peanuts


Source: NY Times from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts: Artists Edition Published April, 2014

 

 

Or. Don’t End. Don’t End. Don’t End.

book-cover-reading

When you finish a book and want to start another but you think the one you just finished deserves a moment of silence.

~ Ourfandomtopia

 


Illustration: Adara Sánchez Anguiano

 

5 Rules For A Happy Life

Charles-alan-murray

Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:

  1. Consider Marrying Young
  2. Learn How to Recognize Your Soul Mate
  3. Eventually Stop Fretting About Fame and Fortune (Fame and wealth do accomplish something: They cure ambition anxiety. But that’s all. It isn’t much…)
  4. Take Religion Seriously
  5. Watch “GroundHog Day” Repeatedly

#4: Now that we’re alone, here’s where a lot of you stand when it comes to religion: It isn’t for you. You don’t mind if other people are devout, but you don’t get it. Smart people don’t believe that stuff anymore. I can be sure that is what many of you think because your generation of high-IQ, college-educated young people, like mine 50 years ago, has been as thoroughly socialized to be secular as your counterparts in preceding generations were socialized to be devout…I am describing my own religious life from the time I went to Harvard until my late 40s. I still describe myself as an agnostic, but my unbelief is getting shaky…Start by jarring yourself out of unreflective atheism or agnosticism. A good way to do that is to read about contemporary cosmology. The universe isn’t only stranger than we knew; it is stranger and vastly more unlikely than we could have imagined, and we aren’t even close to discovering its last mysteries. That reading won’t lead you to religion, but it may stop you from being unreflective.  Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas. 

Read all five rules here.


Image Credit

Too true, dear love, too true

birds-night-flock-free-happy-bliss
I lay in the firelight peacefully listening to pigeons on the roof.
To me pigeons say, “Too true, dear love, too true.”
I listened,
looked out on trees beyond both windows
and I was free and happy.

~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days



18 Simple Things

It’s all that matters

chair on stage

I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.

I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin.  I’m twisting.  Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.

I glance around. The room is fidgeting.

He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.

He’s successful.

No.

He’s wildly successful.

A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.

The room is quiet. Locked-in.

His energy fills the room.  His mind is whirring.

He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.

And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.

We’re in his web.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone.  A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.

He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)

A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.

That is all that matters.

That is all that matters to me.


5º F. I need:

cozy socks

Hot shower
A good book
My comforter
Japanese Art
Zeke
Pandora on loop
Kindness
Warm boots
A Snow Day
Quiet
Wood cackling in fireplace
Dog wagging tail
Pancakes with maple syrup
Fleece sweatshirt
Fleece sweatpants
Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese
Saturday morning
Smartwool socks
French movie
Costa Rica
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Piping hot chicken noodle soup
Hot Tea with honey
An unexpected call from a friend
Softness of skin after shaving
Long weekend
Ice Skating
Hot apple cider
Chocolate
Long afternoon nap
Warm tropical winds
Poetry I understand
Poetry about spring
Spring
Spring
Spring


Image Credit


I have led too serious a life

Henry-James

I have led too serious a life; but that perhaps, after all, preserves one’s youth. At all events, I have travelled too far, I have worked too hard, I have lived in brutal climates and associated with tiresome people. When a man has reached his fifty-second year without being, materially, the worse for wear — when he has fair health, a fair fortune, a tidy conscience and a complete exemption from embarrassing relatives — I suppose he is bound, in delicacy, to write himself happy.

~ Henry James (1843-1916) from The Diary of a Man of Fifty


Reference/Credits:

  • Henry James: “The Diary of a Man of Fifty is FREE at Amazon for Kindles/iPads.
  • Henry James was an American-born British writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James.
  • Image and Quote Source: Brainpickings

Aching, aching, aching

man, face,portrait,black and white, close-up,stare

There is within me a thing that is aching, aching, aching always as the days pass.

—Mary MacLane


Credits: Poem – Sleepwalking.nu from Mary MacLane’s book , “I Await The Devil’s Coming”. Photograph: Bill Moore


Happiness? You control how much? 12%

happiness

“HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you…Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources:

  1. Genes: ~ 50% of happiness is genetically determined.
  2. One off-events: Up to 40% comes from things that have occurred in our recent past – but won’t last long. Happiness dissipates quickly from a big raise, a new job, a move to California.
  3. Values: 12%.  That might not sound like much, but the good news is that we can bring that 12 percent under our control. It turns out that choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness.

Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and meaning are hardly shocking…Work, though seems less intuitive…Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others.  Franklin D. Roosevelt had it right: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”  In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success. This is not conjecture; it is driven by the data. Americans who feel they are successful at work are twice as likely to say they are very happy overall as people who don’t feel that way….You can measure your earned success in any currency you choose. You can count it in dollars, sure – or in kids taught to read, habitats protects or souls saved.”

Read full article in NY Times: Arthur C. Brooks, A Formula For Happiness

See video: The Secret to Happiness: A Few Simple Rules


Image Credit

WAY (better)

funny-Snoopy-Charlie Brown-dog-love


Source: themetapicture.com

If we’re not supposed to dance

bird-autumn-leaves-sing

To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That’s crudely put, but…
If we’re not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?

~Gregory Orr


Sources: Photograph: Sensualstarfish. Poem: Thank you Karen @ Tearinyourhand. Gregory Orr Bio.

Luck likes you best when you’re looking for it the least

Anna Luyten-Portrait - Portfolio - Stephan Vanfleteren

“…Did you know they have performed studies? Tests? Surveys and scientific trials into the idea of luck, into the phenomenon of good fortune? Of course they have. They are trying to answer why some people enjoy endless, seemingly effortless heaps of happy fortuitousness and serendipity, while others – do you know anyone like this? – are in a state of near constant, ass-clenched frustration because the world refuses to obey their narrow and twitchy expectations, and therefore they are always sick, broken, late, damaged, loveless and lost, and nothing good or happy or fortunate ever seems to happen to them. Don’t believe it? Just ask them…

It’s a dead-simple thing, really: Luck is a choice. Luck is a modality, a way of operating, a thing you can switch on in an instant and then enjoy its throb and heat and pulse forever and ever until you die, like a cosmic rabbit vibrator for your soul…

“Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more relaxed and open, which means they see what is there.”

See? Obvious. But there’s a catch: Despite its simplicity, it’s not at all easy to change modes and switch that luck energy on. After all, misery is addictive. Millions of people are deeply attached to their suffering, their haphazard convictions, their inability to see how their own nervous monofocus and attachment to particular goals or obsessive desires might be blocking out all manner of opportunity right here and now, in the white-hot immediate moment. [Read more...]

Replace the tape with a new one

NewImage

Michael Brown prompted the wheels to turn last night.
And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

The thing is, I could choose to replace the tape with a new one.”

But what tape is playing?
And what tape will be playing?
The Good Enough tune?
The Patience beat?
The Acceptance rap?
The Gratitude melody?
Or does a sharp gust of wind blow it over.
And scramble it all up.


Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over.
— Marjorie Celona, Y


Credits:

I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty

Veneto Countryside Vincenza Italy

“This inner silence which accompanies me is born of the slow stride which leads from one day to another. What more can I long for than this room opening out on to the plain, with its antique furniture and its crocheted lace? I have the whole sky on my face, and feel that I could follow these slow, turning days forever, spinning motionlessly with them. I breathe in the only happiness I can attain—an attentive and friendly awareness.

I spend the whole day walking about: from the hill, I go down to Vicenza or else farther into the country. Every person I meet, every scent on this street, is a pretext for my measureless love … all are props for the person who can no longer be alone. But the tender and bitter piping of the grasshoppers, the perfume of water and stars that you meet in the September nights, the scented paths among the lentisks and rose bushes, all are signs of love for the person forced to be alone. Thus the days pass. After the dazzling glare of the sun-filled days, evening comes, in the splendid décor offered by the gold of the setting sun and the black of the cypress-trees. I then walk along the road, toward the crickets that can be heard far away. As I advance, they begin one by one to sing more softly, and then fall silent. I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty.”

—Albert Camus, from “Lyrical and Critical,” Betwixt and Between (1937)


Credits: Quote Source: A Poet Reflects.  Image of Vicenza Italy Countryside: Photoree.com


I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state by working harder and faster

David-Allen

“Folks, can we hear it for sloth, indolence, and procrastination?!” That’s how I have started many of my seminars over the years. And it always gets thunderous applause and raucous cheers. I think it hits a nerve.

I’ve been working on both (self-forgiveness and sense of humor) for decades now, and still find it quite challenging at times. But you know, when I’m in a loving, whole, and healthy state of mind about myself and about life, everything’s cool. Where I am, doing what I’m doing, is exactly where I need to be and what I need to do. God’s on her throne, the mail is coming, my dog loves me, and tomorrow is just fine right where it is, not showing up until then.

And I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state of mind by working harder and faster. Sometimes it helps, but more often it just perpetuates the angst. [Read more...]

So, is it “A” or is it “B”?

WOULD CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DESCRIBED THIS WAY?

successful-unsuccessful-chart

OR THIS WAY? (See below)

[Read more...]

10 Secrets of Science For Achieving Bliss (and my take)

photography, jump, bliss, joy

Lori, my Zen Master and a bubbling brook of knowledge and wisdom, shared this FastCompany article titled: 10 Simple Science Backed Ways to Be Happier Today. I reflected on it for a few days. Here’s my conclusions and scorecard:

  1. FC: EXERCISE MORE–7 MINUTES MIGHT BE ENOUGH. (DK: Yes, to Exercise more. No, to 7 minutes being enough. Come on. 7 minutes would imply lazy, quitter, lacking and absolutely nothing. Period. Full stop.)
  2. FC: SLEEP MORE–YOU’LL BE LESS SENSITIVE TO NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. (DK: Completely agree. Horrible in actual execution.)
  3. FC: MOVE CLOSER TO WORK–A SHORT COMMUTE IS WORTH MORE THAN A BIG HOUSE (DK: I’m all in on this one. A BUYER.)
  4. FC: SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY–DON’T REGRET IT ON YOUR DEATHBED (DK: Hmmmm. Introverts? Solitude? Thoreau? Let’s define what we mean by “time.”)
  5. FC: GO OUTSIDE–HAPPINESS IS MAXIMIZED AT 13.9°C (DK: Half way there. All-in on outdoors. Happiness cannot be maximized @ 57° F. Give me Heat. Implementation at 50%)

    [Read more...]

Half way home.

epictetus


Epictetus (AD 55–135) was a Greek sage and philosopher. He was born a slave in present day Turkey, and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life.   Philosophy, Epictetus taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.  Suffering occurs from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, it is our duty to care for all our fellow men. Those who follow these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.  (Source: Wiki)

Bali: There’s just this astonishing sense of flow

tukad unda dam

“…In Bali, for the most part, the flow of traffic – and of parenting, and of life – is smooth and organic, despite a complete lack of stop lights, road signs, junk food, iPads, or anything resembling a lane or a cohesive set of rules. There is no crazed speeding, no swerving, cursing, angry honking, road rage or middle fingers. It’s true for the whole of Balinese life, actually; there’s just this astonishing sense of flow.

As a result, thanks to endless ritual, offerings, long-standing community connections and a deep, relaxed veneration for all forms of divinity that’s unheard of (if not nearly impossible) in the west, kids turn out sort of… luminous. They tend to be calm and friendly, curious and kind. Like all Balinese, they smile easily. They do not scream and lurch, they do not walk around all sullen and bitchy.

How refreshing. How unlike anything we think we know. How frequently we should keep asking ourselves: How many ways are there to dance this amazing dance, really?”

~ Mark Morford, 101 Ways Not to Raise Your Kid


Image Source: NatGeo Photography by Lisa Hendrawan at Tukad Unda Dam, Bali.  This dam is on a river called Tukad Unda in Klungkung, Bali. Locals regularly bathe and wash their clothes here. It’s also a fun place for the children to play.


Sophrosyne

word, definition


Source: Endless Possibilities

I am pleased enough with the surfaces

woman walking barefoot

“I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need?”

- Edward Abbey



Yes.



James Joyce - Ulysses


 

Interpretation of passage in James Joyce’s Ulysses by shmoop.com:

“…The prose in the last few pages of Ulysses is breathtakingly beautiful. Throughout Bloom’s day, we’ve been forced to see all the banal unattractive parts of life: boredom, hunger, despair, the need to go to the bathroom, broken trust, small-mindedness, unrealizable dreams, apathy, our own insignificance. Joyce gives us a lot of very good reasons to think that life is a pretty tiny and horrible thing. Of course, we read this and we think that our life isn’t going to be like Bloom’s. I mean, he’s one pathetic guy, our life will be infinitely better than Bloom’s. But, truth be told, we have no way of knowing what our life is going to be. It’s quite possible that one day we’ll find ourselves in Bloom’s shoes, in a marriage based more in fondness than in romantic love, in a place where most of our dreams are stretched out behind us rather than laid out in front of us. And for all that, Joyce is telling us: Do not despair. He’s telling us to say yes to life, to swallow it whole, to find happiness wherever we can…”


Quote Source: proustitute.  Image: wallquotes.com.

And suddenly you know: that was enough

black and white, photography,portrait, eyes closed

Remembering

And you wait. You wait for the one thing
that will change your life,
make it more than it is -
something wonderful, exceptional,
stones awakening, depths opening to you.

In the dusky bookstalls
old books glimmer gold and brown.
You think of lands you journeyed through,
of paintings and a dress once worn
by a woman you never found again.

And suddenly you know: that was enough.
You rise and there appears before you
in all its longings and hesitations
the shape of what you lived.

- Rainer Maria Rilke


Wiki Bio for Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926).  Credits: Image by Stephan Vanfleteren. Poem: Thank you Whiskey River.

T.G.I.F.?

happiness, summer, friday, happiness


Source: weheartit.com

Family: A Postcard from 1952

Loved this…back in a “simpler” time.

“Postcard From 1952″ – Explosions in The Sky from peter simonite on Vimeo.

Good Morning Grumpy


I can’t say that I execute every day, but I do believe this.  Yes I do.

Good Morning!


Source: swiss-miss

What the h*ll was that?

Steve Layman posted this cartoon last week. It activated an immediate reaction.  I laughed.  Then said: “TRUE.”  Then said “THAT’S ME.”  Then psychoanalysis rolled in like a thick soupy fog in the Bay Area.  And hangs low and hovers on the “why.”  And went on lingering on the 11-hour ride to pick-up Eric from college.  Didn’t we just take this emotional empty nester ride a few months back?  Time.  Whoosh.

Robert Weber

Don’t Worry Be Happy

chart,graph,ilovecharts,happiness,joy,worry


Source: ilovecharts

Sleep. China. Leisure. Marx. Judging.

senior woman in black and white

Potpourri of articles that have lingered with me…and have fired up the thinking gene:

1) Extend our conscious life span by 150%.  The End of Sleep. (Aeon Magazine)
(DK: I need to get some of this “medicine.” Or, maybe not.)

2) Not Doing Better Than Our Parents. And Loving It. (The Umlaut.com)
(DK: Just what my kids need to read.  I can hear it already.  “See Dad. You have it all backwards.”)

3) Choking on China.  The Superpower That is Poisoning the World. (Foreign Affairs)
(DK: I’m not Mr. Green.  But, this.  This is frightening.)

4) A Man of His Times (Karl Marx). (NY Times)
(DK: Hard left. Hard Right. We’re all human. )
“He is an intensely loving father, playing energetically with his children and later grandchildren, but also suffering what would now be diagnosed as a two-year depression following the death of his 8-year-old son Edgar.”)

5) Change Your Thoughts About People For a Better Life. (Steve Aitchison)
(DK: I set a modest goal after reading this post.  No judging for 1 day.  Outcome: Fail. I’m workin’ it. First step in recovery is recognizing…you know the line…I’m on step 2.)

6) The Happiest People Pursue the Most Difficult Problems. (Rosabeth Moss Kanter @ HBR Blog Network)
(DK: “It is hard to feel alone, or to whine about small things, when faced with really big matters..” YES.  Period.)


Image Source: GagaBoss Studio

Monday Mantra: Cleaning Piece III

Cleaning-piece Yoko Ono


This one made me think.  (And I averted my eyes away from the double negative as I re-read this 3x.)

If you are curious about Yoko Ono’s Cleaning Piece I, II and IV (I was), you’ll find them @ Ibloghappiness.


Source: thisisnthappiness

Picture of Bliss

Bliss

bliss

/blis/

Noun
  1. Perfect happiness; great joy.
  2. Something providing such happiness.

 


Bliss Definition: Google

6:53 am. And inspired.

Canola Field Shaun Lowe

Here’s my picks for the inspiring posts of the week.

Thank you Canadian Art Junkie for sharing the photo above in her post Shaun Lowe: Canola, Sunshine & The Sea.  See her post for more wonderful photographs of eastern Canada.

Steve Gutzler with his post titled 7 Keys to Building Irresistible Energy:I’ll be honest, one of my favorite compliments is when people take note of my energy and passion. But having such energy has been a life struggle of mine. When I was a young man in my early 20′s, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. For over three years I woke up every day with a low grade temperature and lacking energy. I’d drag through my days. My attitude was good but my immune system was ravaged…Well, fast forward to today. I’m healthy with no hint of fatigue. I train 4-5 days a week and I eat like an athlete. I strive to get seven hours of sleep and I’m working most days by 5 AM. What I like most about where I am at is how grateful I am for what I have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, not perfect but I’m sure grateful for what I have!”…Read entire post for Steve’s 7 Keys to Building Energy at this link.

Maybe It’s Just Me who describes herself  and her blog as “The life of a middle aged hippie on Maui, eating raw and vegan and staying healthy. I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain in fall 2012 with my husband and son“…do we need more inspiration than this?!!  Her beautiful post shares her sensations as she returns home to the various places she’s lived.  The post is titled:  As We Relive Our Lives In What We Tell You and this excerpt is returning home to Maui: …there is no better feeling than coming home to a place that I love.  I went up onto the roof deck today to look at the clouds, the palm trees, and the volcano rising above, and again later on, to watch a glorious sunset over the ocean.  I was content to just sit and feel the warmth of the island air on my skin.  Skin that desperately cries out for sunshine and humidity, and that whispers “mahalo” every time I return home to Maui.”  Read her entire post at this link.

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Joy

puppy, car ride, bliss, joy, happy, cute, dog

“Is happiness a lesser version of joy, or something totally different?  I’d argue it’s different and not only because it’s more prevalent. Many more things can cause happiness than joy. Also, happiness is somewhat within our control. We can create it through our decisions. Joy happens to you. It’s unruly. You submit to it. It usually comes as a surprise, as it did every morning with our newborns

…Certain experiences lift you out of yourself. They enable you to exist fully in the moment. (A singular serving of French toast in my late teens on the corner of 62nd and Lex at Burger Heaven; Christmas 1963, when Skippy, our first dog, popped out of a box pocked with ventilation holes.)

…What distinguishes joy is that it doesn’t come around that often. Indeed, you’re rather aware of its perishability, its evanescence, even when you’re in the midst of it.

…But it may be the thing that unites French toast and lifting a newborn out of its crib in the morning and bringing the child into bed with you. I’m not necessarily talking about one-on-one love, but the universal, John Lennon “All you need is…” variety that connects us to something beyond ourselves, and seems to be floating out there…

…We spend the majority of our lives worrying, even when we’re happy. We’re worried about catching the bus or subway or whether there’s a cab that isn’t off duty; we’re worried about our work; we’re worried we offended somebody; we’re worried about money; we’re worried about sleep; we’re worried about being worried.

…If there’s any dread, it’s in the way we create barriers, denying ourselves access to it (joy) more frequently.”

~ Ralph Gardner, Joy Spills Over, Wall Street Journal (Excerpts)


Sources: Image – BJLove.  Quote: Wall Street Journal

5:28 am. And inspired.

David Tribby - Chicago Panoramic Skyline & Sunset

Thank you David Tribby for the inspiring panoramic shot of the City of Chicago. And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

James Altucher, pro blogger, @ The Altucher Confidential with his post on his morning ritual titled The Six People You Must Find TodayOnce you do this, oxytocin will explode through your body, lighting up all of your pleasure centers. (1) Someone to love. Write the name and why you love this person. (2) Someone to thank. You must call them and thank them. If you can’t call them, just write their name down. (3) Someone to be grateful for…Read entire post at this link.

Judy @ petit4chocolatier with her post: Chocolate Cupcakes with Soft Blue Butter-Cream Icing with Little Chocolate Sprinkles.  She had me at her post title.  And then she stole my stomach with wave upon wave of delectable cupcake photos.  I wanted to come through the screen to get at these.  Pan through Judy’s other posts.  Amazing.

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David Byrne: Hidden Roots

byrnearboretum_hiddenroots


David Byrne, 60, is a Scottish musician permanently residing in the United States.  He is best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991.  He has received Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe awards and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Brainpickings.org describes Byrne “as also one of the sharpest thinkers of our time and a kind of visual philosopher. About a decade ago, Byrne began making ‘mental maps of imaginary territory’ in a little notebook based on self-directed instructions to draw anything from a Venn diagram about relationships to an evolutionary tree of pleasure yet wholly unlike anything else. In 2006, Byrne released Arboretum, a collection of these thoughtful, funny, cynical, poetic, and altogether brilliant pencil sketches — some very abstract, some very concrete — drawn in the style of evolutionary diagrams and mapping everything from the roots of philosophy to the tangles of romantic destiny to the ecosystem of the performing arts.”

Bottom line: Brilliant.


Sources: Brainpickings.org and Wiki

4:02 am. And inspired.

Red Sea, Sea, beach, sunrise, Egypt

Thank you Sandy @ Another Lovely Day for the amazing photo share of the Egyptian sunrise over the Red Sea.

And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

Julie @ jmgoyder – Wings & Things from a retired dairy farm in Western Australia…with her series of posts on Gutsy9, an abandoned baby peacock that was adopted by Julie.  Start at this post: Tips on Raising a Baby Peacock and then pan forward to the photos and updates.  I look forward with anticipation to Julie’s updates on Gutsy9.  Here’s an excerpt: So I have been raising Gutsy9 myself and he and I are totally imprinted on each other now. He is a pied, so half white and half blue so it will be interesting to watch him grow up. At night he sleeps in a box in the veranda and during the day he sits on my shoulder. Read on for the 6 tips at this link.  And, don’t miss Julie’s Bio/About page.  You won’t be disappointed.

Linda Petersen @ Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog rings the bell again with a wonderful post titled Life Is Like A Tiny Bag of Jelly Bellies.  Linda shares a number of little events that give “her a boost and make her happy.”  Here’s a few of her Jelly Bellies…”(1) seeing a grandfather walking along, holding the hand of his joyous granddaughter, all dressed up with coat and fancy hat, skipping happily along, ribbons trailing, (2) hanging a picture on the wall and having it come out straight the first time, (3) finding a $10 bill in the pocket of a coat I haven’t worn in a long time, (4) a hug from a child, especially if it is accompanied by and “I love you.”  Hit this link to read more.

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Trees. Home is within you.

Trees Forest in winter

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. [Read more...]

5:03 am. And, Inspired…

canoe, canoeing, river, mist, fog, Golden Ears Mountain

Good Wednesday morning. The peaceful, easy feeling photo above of the Alouette River, Pitt Meadows, British Columbia was taken by Kevin van der Leek.

Paulette Mahurin @ The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap with her post The Touch That Changed My Life: “While in grad school at UCLA, I had a clinical rotation at a VA outpatient hospital, when a homeless man was brought in to the emergency room. He was filthy with a foul odor, as if he hadn’t changed his clothes in days nor took them off to go to the bathroom. I saw him come with the paramedics and the commotion that ensued with a lull before anyone started treatment, to gown and glove up, goggles over eyes, all body parts covered…Read More at this link.  Inspiring.  Period.

Linda Petersen @ Raising Five Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog with her post I Have Raised My Children Right in the Most Important Area: “I am sure that every parent questions how they have raised their children. I know I have.  I have not been strict enough in making them eat all of their vegetables and clean their rooms, (mainly because I don’t eat all of my vegetables and clean my room.) I know to some people  this is a major parenting faux pas.  However, I have raised my children right in the most important area…caring for others…”  Read the rest of this inspiring story at this link.  And don’t miss Linda’s ABOUT page.

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7:40 am. And, Inspired…

Nitzus Wheatfields and Vineyards near Waikerie Riverland Region South Australia

Good Wednesday morning. Nitzus kicks us off with a photo he titles “Land of Gold” – wheat fields and vineyards near  Waikerie in the Riverland region in South Australia.  Be sure to check out his blog and other great photos.  And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Don Carnagey~Lanier with his post Giving Gratefulness and Being Lonely: “All of our lives are a cycle and a river that we must each travel one our own. The destination is set, but the method of our journeying is up to us. We can cruise down the middle of the river at top speed, or we can hug the shore and spin around in eddies. We can crash over rapids or chart a safer path between obstacles. We can slum along the bottom in the mire and slime of sediment, or we can glide along the sparkling surface where the air is clean. The river is ours from birth to death. How we’ll navigate it is determined by the hundreds of small choices we make each day.”  Read entire post at this link.

Make Believe Boutique with another of her steady stream of thought provoking posts titled The Fresh Blush of Color in the Transpersonal Soul:  “What capacities lie unrecognized within us? What currently unfathomable abilities lie dormant, and what can we do to speed their appearance? These are humbling questions that remind us that for all we know our potentials may exceed our wildest dreams. Plotinus claimed that humankind stands poised midway between the beasts and the gods. Perhaps this is another way of saying that we stand midway on our developmental and evolutionary trajectory to full human potential…”  Read entire post at this link. [Read more...]

5:20 am. And, Inspired…

Linda's Son Standing in Mono Lake

Good Wednesday morning. Linda @ A Nature Mom took this photo of her son at Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra California.  So much seems to have happened since my last hump day post.  Children are on my mind and this wonderful, peaceful (and safe) photo resonated with me.  Be sure to check out Linda’s blog and her photos – wonderful, heartwarming images.

And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Tony Caselli with his moving post  A Night of Long HugsThe house is quiet…On a day like today, with the tragic shooting in Connecticut, I felt fortunate to be rehearsing a play about love, and the power of family and kindness. I got home from rehearsal just before bedtime, and hugged my wife. My daughter came out in her pajamas and gave me a big, long hug, saying “I love you Dad”…10 minutes later, sitting with my 12-year old as he was about to read himself to sleep, we quietly discussed how sad those families in Connecticut must be right now. After we sat for a minute in silence he looked at me. “When I grow up and become a psychologist”, he said, “I hope I can help someone to not do stuff like that.” I hugged him close. “I think that’d be a pretty great thing, buddy.” And now I lay in bed, and I listen to the quiet of the house.” Read entire post at this link.   [Read more...]

The Best Years Are Still Ahead (Thank Goodness)

chart, graph, happiness, age, Andrew Oswald, aging, youth, happy

  • The behavioral economist Andrew Oswald found that from about the time we are teenagers, our sense of happiness starts to decline, hitting rock bottom in our mid-40s (middle-age crisis, anyone?). Then our sense of happiness miraculously starts to go up again rapidly as we grow older.
  • All in all, Oswald tested a half million people in 72 countries, in both developing and developed nations.
  • And it’s not only we humans who slump in the middle and feel sunnier toward the end. Just recently, Oswald and colleagues demonstrated that even chimpanzees and orangutans appear to experience a similar pattern of midlife malaise.
  • Women hit happiness-bottom at 38.6 years on average, whereas men do more than a decade later, at nearly 53.

Source: Brainpickings.org – Life Cycle Of Happiness

4:03 am. And, Inspired…

Visiting The Wheat Fields Next To Van Gogh's Grave, Auvers Sur Oise, France

Good Wednesday morning.  The photo above is a couple visiting the wheat fields next to Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers Sur Oise, France.  Hit this link to get full impact of this shot.  The full size photograph evokes many powerful emotions…

And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Lvsrao @ Lvsrao’s Blog with his post The Seven Principles: Life is a struggle. Remembering 7 principles gives strength.  (1) In generosity and helping others be like a river. (2) In compassion and grace be like the sun…(Read the rest of his five principles at this link.  Loved it.)

Kim @ Tranquil Dreams with her post When is it OK…:  “Six years ago today, my dad (passed away)…My dad was the typical Chinese man from previous generation who didn’t show his emotions much and didn’t compliment much (or at all). …After he passed, it was when I realize that a good part of my life was spent on trying to do things to make my father proud, however it seemed that I never did actually get to that point.  I was just never that perfect daughter…(Read more for the full story and conclusion.  And listen to the music clip.  Moving.)

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