Source: Mme Scherzo
Source: Mme Scherzo
Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:
#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.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan,
stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark source.
As for me,
I don’t care
where it’s been,
or what bitter road it’s traveled
to come so far,
to taste so good.
~ Stephen Dunn
In the midst of winter,
I found there was,
an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy.
For it says
that no matter how hard
the world pushes against me,
there’s something stronger—
pushing right back.
— Albert Camus, from The Stranger
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 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.
A good book
Pandora on loop
A Snow Day
Wood cackling in fireplace
Dog wagging tail
Pancakes with maple syrup
Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Piping hot chicken noodle soup
Hot Tea with honey
An unexpected call from a friend
Softness of skin after shaving
Hot apple cider
Long afternoon nap
Warm tropical winds
Poetry I understand
Poetry about spring
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
Happy Jumpin’ Llama via thememetapicture
“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”
— Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz
References and Credits:
20 cancer patients participated in a unique makeover experience. They were invited to a studio. Their hair and makeup were completely redone. Here’s the outcome.
“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:
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
“…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...]
“…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.
Source: Endless Possibilities
..be like Lisa. (Come on. Own up. This made you smile!)
Source: Hungarian Soul
“…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…”
…55 filmmakers from 31 different countries on 5 continents all shooting a smiling woman and man in each country…The official website : thesmilebook.org
Related Posts: 30 Gifts to 30 Strangers…
Loved this…back in a “simpler” time.
I can’t say that I execute every day, but I do believe this. Yes I do.
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
Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:
Olive @ Olivethepeople with her post titled The Subway Samaritan: “…He was crazy. At least I thought so. At least at first. You see…“
Tina @ Practical Practice Management with her post titled Who Made an Impact on You. I’ve read similar iterations of this thought but it never seems to get old and always seems to leave me in wonder. “Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time…“
Sedone @ Getting Better, Man. with his post titled Giving Happiness a Helping Hand aka Beware the Silent H*. “I’m dedicated to giving happiness a helping hand, although sometimes I want to give it the finger…And don’t miss the short video.
Good Wednesday morning. All of my inspiring posts of the week come from a single source. Thank you Sandy Sue for pointing me to Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings who has started a series of guest posts called “Should Have Been Freshly Pressed.” Peg awards the bloggers a “Freshly Pegged Award.” Here’s some samplings:
Life In The Boomer Lane with her guest post titled Why I’d Rather Be 65 Than 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, or 55: I hate that my body moves more slowly than it used to, that when I roll over in bed, my back hurts, that sex is accomplished in mostly one position, that photos of myself scare me, that I can no longer run up and down the stairs or sit in a pretzel position on the floor or reach way under the bed to grab something. I hate that reaching way down into the crib to pick up my grandson must be planned like a military operation . I hate that my memory fails at the oddest times, that I am beginning to lose a grip on pop culture, that I think a lot about being home in bed with a book when I am out in the evening. I hate that people in charge can look younger than my children…” Great post. Read more here.’
Misty @ Misty’s Laws with her guest post titled The Last Straw…To My Heart. “I have an admirer. I am being wooed on a daily basis. I see him almost every day and he gives me what I so desperately need. He satisfies my cravings and soothes the beast within. He gives me the ability to face the day. He provides me with the fix that I need before I can function every morning. He is . . . the drive-thru guy at my Dunkin Donuts...” Read more here. [Read more...]
Spring has officially commenced at 11:02am today. (And it couldn’t have come soon enough.)
Good Wednesday morning. Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
Good Wednesday morning. Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
Good Wednesday morning. Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
Good Wednesday morning. Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
Good Wednesday morning. (Wednesday seemed to come in a hurry this week.) Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
The photo above was shared by Canadian Art Junkie in a post titled Paul Nicklen’s World Press Photo Winning Shot of penguins in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Be sure to check out Nicklen’s other nature shots in the post at this link. (Very inspired.)
And here’s more Paul Nicklen inspiration. DK at Lead.Learn.Live with his December 2012 share of Nicklen’s Ted Talk on The Fear Leopard Seal. Yes, shameless self-promotion of my own share. But come on people – not 1 like? This is one of the most inspiring nature talks/videos you will ever see. It’s a longish 18-minute clip and you need to hang in until the end. It will be worth your time.
S.L. Hoffman at Eagle-Eyed Editor with the post Top 10 books you don’t want to miss in your lifetime. Tell me it ain’t so. I haven’t read one book on this list. And no, I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird. Check out the link to see how many you’ve read.
Young baby elephant goes for a swim. I haven’t seen anything like it. One happy creature…
Good Sunday Morning.
Good Thursday morning. (Yes, we’re mixing it up a bit. Slept in yesterday.) Here’s my selection of inspiring posts of the week.
That’s Patrick Latter‘s photograph above of Canmore Mountains in Alberta. Be sure to check out Patrick’s blog, Canadian Hiking Photography, where every post is an inspiration.
John E. Smith @ The Strategic Learner with his post: Why We Have Social Media. John’s post reminded me of the incredible virtual friendships that I have made on this blogging journey. Thank you all for reading, following, commenting, sharing and joining me for the ride. I’m grateful. Check out John’s short post at this link. [Read more...]
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.
Good Wednesday morning. Here’s my selections for the inspiring posts of the week:
Alex Jones @ The Liberated Way with his post titled The Little Butterfly: An hour ago an Admiral butterfly emerged out of nowhere fluttering about my head. In this cold season it is amazing to come across a butterfly let alone in my own home. In wonder I blinked at this amazing beautiful creature fluttering around the light, apparently it must have been hibernating and had awoken…Read more at this link.
New blood. John Zimmer @ Manner of Speaking with his post: A Truly Heroic Speech. Six year-old Benjamin Wheeler was one of the victims of the 14 December 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Recently, Benjamin’s father, David Wheeler, gave testimony at a public hearing before the Connecticut State Legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety... Read more at this link and be sure to watch the video clip.
Back for an encore. Ray Visotski @ A Simple, Village Undertaker with his post titled “That Was Us“… Oh, the simple life we lived…still seems like so much fun, how can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?…Read more at this link.
More new blood. Let’s hear it for candor and a few laughs. Lily Reed @ We All Shine On with her post “Failure“…The past two days, I’ve seen the internet full of FAILURE talk. I don’t mean cutesy memes…Hang on. Failure means that you LEARNED something, right? I mean, if you look at something and say, ‘Wow, that was @#$%%^ up!’ What was your next step? I’m thinking you inhaled. BAM! Another chance. Read more at this link…And, if you liked this, be sure to check out Now I’m Complaining and Almost 4, Bobby’s Learning How to Ride.
And the Hump Day Inspiring Image of the Week comes to us from Bodhisattvaintraining who takes us to Umbria, Italy – with olive trees, pencil pines, sunflower fields and Lake Trasimeno. SIGH. Another bucket list destination…
Bliss Definition: Google
Here’s my picks for the inspiring posts of the week.
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.
“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)
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 Today: …Once 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.
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.
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.