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Side Effects August 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction.
27 comments

Spoiler Alert:  This movie is best watched “in the dark.”  Avoid spoilers.

From Netflix:

Emily copes with her depression by taking antidepressant medication. But when her dire state apparently spirals out of control due to her husband’s prison release, she turns to a new medication that alters her life forever.

That’s enough.

That’s all you need to know about this fantastic film filled with twists and turns.

OK . . . you want a bit more?

This psychological thriller addresses the side effects of prescription medications, the introduction of experimental drugs to the marketplace, pharmaceutical payments to doctors, insider trading, and more, amid a story with a twisting plot line and a satisfactory conclusion.

The cast is perfect, from Rooney Mara as Emily to Jude Law and Catherine Zeta Jones as psychiatrists.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Thanks to Shree Jacobs for the recommendation!

Earth ~ Air ~ Fire ~ Water August 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature, People.
41 comments

Sometime ago, Debra (at BreatheLighter) concluded a post on the USS Iowa with a question:

I wonder if my love of water…ocean or from the tap, has anything to do with the fact that I’m a Pisces?

Just wondering . . .

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My response (at the time of her post):

YES!  It does.

I’m Cancer (the crab, not the disease) . . . one of the 3 “water signs.” WATER has always been where it’s at for me when I need to reclaim balance.

Wikipedia ~ Cancer (astrology) in Public Domain

Earth ~ Air ~ Fire ~ Water

Our zodiac signs give us clues about how to recharge our batteries when we are “running on empty.”

Wait . . . do I sound like a New Age Hippie Freak?
About to launch into the chorus of The Age of Aquarius?

Just wondering.

What say you?  Have you ever noticed a correlation between your Astrological Sign and how you recharge your batteries?

Are you . . .

Wikipedia ~ Astrology (in Public Domain)

* Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) ~ grounded by hugging trees or wandering the woods?

* Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) ~ inspired by mountains and rooftop vistas?

* Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) ~ warmed by the sound and scent of crackling campfires and the flickering sight of candle light?

* Water (Pisces, Cancer, or Scorpio) ~ buoyed by the splashing of waves?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Music Rocks August 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Music & Dance.
20 comments

During summer breaks from college, I worked at the Garden State Art Center, a lively outdoor amphitheater in Holmdel, New Jersey.  I’ve written about the venue once before, recounting the time my boss threw a Birthday Bash for me:  S~U~R~P~R~I~S~E!

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In case you’ve never been, the G.S.A.C. looks like its slightly larger and older twin sister, the Hollywood Bowl ~ the largest natural amphitheater in the US, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000.  Just Photoshop out the mountains.

Here are a few fun facts about the Garden State Arts Center:

About 17,500 people can occupy the amphitheater; there are 7,000 seats and the grass area can hold about 10,500 people.  Concerts are from May through September featuring 35–45 different events of many types of musical styles.

It is ranked among the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country.

That’s right . . . I worked at one of the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country!  Before I even had a college degree!  Go me!

Woodstock-&-Snoopy2During high school and college, we sat on the grassy lawn listening to Stephen Stills, Dave Mason, ELO, Chicago, the Moody Blues, Seals & Croft, Loggins & Messina, the Eagles, Hall & Oates, etc..

Nope, not Bowie.  He tended to stay in venues in the city.
Nope, not Bad Company either.

Years later, we sat in plush “inside” seating at the same venue (after its corporate-sell-out name change to the PNC Bank Arts Center) to see Sarah McLachlan.  We also enjoyed repeat performances by ELO, Chicago, and the Moody Blues far from the grassy knolls of our youth.

We sat on other lawns around the country to hear:

* Pure Prairie League (South Carolina)
* Steve Forbert (Delaware)
* John Eddie (New Jersey)
* The Dave Matthews Band (in Philly at the Mann Music Center)

Sometimes, during chilly winter months, we moved indoors, attending concerts by Bruce Hornsby, the Dixie Chicks, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Indigo Girls in small intimate settings (like Wait Chapel at Wake Forest in North Carolina).

Wikipedia ~ Wait Chapel (in Public Domain)

In larger arenas, younger versions of our current music-loving selves listened with youthful enthusiasm to Boston, Bob Seger, Little Feat, Neil Young, Little River Band, Firefall, the Grateful Dead, Starcastle, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Stevie Nicks, Alabama, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Starship, Jackson Browne, Orleans, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Steely Dan, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, Journey, and Santana.

A few years ago, a much older version of me accompanied two nieces to see Natasha Bedingfield perform at Universal Studios.

Yay!  I can still clap hands with the best of them.  I hope when I’m really old and gray (like Jagger), I’ll still say:  Music rocks! :D

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you enjoy attending outdoor concerts?  Have you ever been to the G.S.A.C. or the Hollywood Bowl?  How about the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado?

The earliest notable rock-and-roll performance at Red Rocks was by The Beatles on August 26, 1964, the only concert NOT sold out during their US-tour. 

What are your favorite music memories?

Do I Look Like A Pawn? August 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Less IS More, Life Balance.
31 comments

IMGP3167b“How can you quit practicing law?  Don’t you realize how many women would love to trade places with you?”

“Of course.  And now they can.”

“What do you mean?”

“As soon as I resign, they can apply for my position.”

“Haha.  Funny.”

“I’m not kidding.  They are welcome to it ~ it doesn’t fit me anymore anyway.”

“Be serious.  You’re a role model for young girls ~ living proof that women can do anything they want to do.”

“So?”

“So . . . that’s why you can’t quit.”

Chess“OK, let me see if I follow you . . . in order to prove that women can do anything they want to do you want ME to keep doing something I no longer want to do?”

“Exactly.”

“No thanks.  Sacrificing my freedom will not enhance their freedom ~ it would just turn me into a pawn.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to Ponder:  Don’t worry about what the world wants from you.  Focus on what makes you feel more fully alive. What the world really needs are people who are fully alive.~ Joseph Campbell

* * * * *

Hand-moving-chess-pieceDo you resist being manipulated by public opinion?

If someone tries to play you, do you put them in “check” by highlighting their faulty reasoning or nonsensical logic?

Do tell.

I always wanted to be somebody . . . now I realize I should have been more specific. ~ Lily Tomlin

Custom-Tailored Mantras & Affirmations August 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
38 comments

Oprah and Deepak teamed up to create the 30-day Meditation Challenge.  I heard about it via I Am Who I Am.

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A few days into the challenge, I Am Who I Am challenged the challenge with an aptly-titled post, Challenging the “Meditation Challenge.”

The post focused on swapping out the suggested mantra of “I am a radiant spiritual being” for “You are a radiant spiritual being.”  Being a big fan of personal autonomy, I applauded that decision:

Repeating a mantra that does NOT resonate with us creates internal discord.  We benefit from creating a mantra that is tailored to US and where we are on the path.

Here are a few “concrete” examples . . . that are not set in stone:

* If we are trying to lose weight, we might consider: “A few moments of pleasure on the lips, a ton of baggage on the hips” or “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”

* If we are taking the Chocolate Diet (patent pending) for a test drive, we might rev up our enthusiasm with: “CHOCOLATE tastes as good as being thin feels!”

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If we are attempting to step up our exercise, we could sing along with King Julius:  “I like to move it, move it,” or motivate ourselves with “Move it or Lose it.”

If we’ve already “lost it,” we might intone: “Age is only a number” or “Every day in every way, I’m feeling younger and younger.”

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If we’re looking for answers to questions that bother us so, we could try:  “When the student is ready, the teacher appears” or “When we LISTEN, anything in life can be our guide.”

If we are anxious and impatient (especially with our lack of patience), we can chant::  “Life is stirred with a slow spoon” or “Be patient and let life unfold.”

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If we’re exhausted at the hectic and frenetic pace of life, we can slow down and relax with: “Sit still and just be” or “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

If we’re paralyzed with indecision or need motivation to break the choke-hold of procrastination, we can consider: “Do it ~ anything will do for a start” or “Just start and the way will appear” or “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” or “the wheels on the bus go round and round.”

Our words have power.  We have worth.  Look deep.  Wisdom lies within.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Do you have any favorite affirmations, aphorisms, or mantras that transport you from where you are to where you want to be?

Care to share?

Stupid Human Tricks August 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, People.
22 comments

IMGP1472aWhy do people spend so much time and energy trying to “get ahead”?

Ahead of what?  Ahead of whom?

Why do people work at jobs they hate to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t even like?

How many thneeds do we need?

What we accumulate in life matters far less than who we become.

I would rather be friends with an honest man with a large heart and little material wealth than with a “successful” man who cut corners to “get ahead.”

How does anyone claim “success” when they are so busy accumulating stuff that they have no time to Live, Love, Laugh, and Learn?

Life is only an exhibition.  It is not a competition.  So, please . . . no wagering!

Aah . . . that’s better!

The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place. ~ Barbara DeAngelis

Calling All Cameras! August 25, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Art & Photography, Nature.
24 comments

Contest Submissions:  Accepted through September 9, 2013.

Eligibility:  Open to ALL photographers (18 years of age or older) regardless of residence or citizenship, if the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation.

Complete Contest Rules: Nature in Focus at the Nature Conservancy

Quote: People will try to tell you that all the great opportunities have been snapped up. In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours. ~ Ken Hakuta

* * * * *

ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY (via Sandra Bell Kirchman):

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Travel Writer? Would You Like to Get Paid to Travel the World and Tell Others About Your Experiences?

Great Escape Publishing and International Living are hosting open auditions for anyone interested in giving this opportunity a try—no experience necessary.

For Details:  Open Audition ~ Travel Writers Wanted

Busted August 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Magick & Mystery, Poetry, Word Play.
33 comments

The bust stared unseeing under crust of dust.

A sudden gust blew through the must of curtains hung in the distant mist of times past.

Busted!

Called onto carpet threadbare, I fussed with my hair, mussed by thin air, ‘neath rusty glare and icy stare.

Cussed by chill breeze.

How did I land here?

The product of intent?
Spent passions?

Or the captive off-spring of “just lust”?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ The Secret Watcher

Illustration:  Wikipedia ~ Pericles (in Public Domain)

If You Can . . . August 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Life Balance.
43 comments

If you can start the day without caffeine

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment

If you can conquer tension without medical help

If you can relax without alcohol

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs

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Then you are probably the family dog!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  e-mail from unknown author (sent by Jane N.)

Silence The Inner Critic August 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
44 comments

In meditation practice, as the observer of our thoughts,  we begin to see all the “crap” (technical tantric term) running through our brains.

That energy could be better utilized in other, more  creative, endeavors.

For example, many of us have an inner critic ~ a voice that reminds us that we are not good enough, or smart enough, to do whatever it is we want to do at that moment.

Sometimes we aren’t even aware that the inner critic has taken up residence in our brain.  We have so much other chatter going on up there, that we don’t hear our critic chipping away at our self-esteem in the background.

My inner critic used to visit me as soon as I got in bed at night.  Instead of giving me a pat on the back for the 99 things that I did “right” that day, my inner critic would launch into a pedantic stream of rhetoric about the one thing that I did not do well ~ using harsh words which would have reduced me to tears if uttered by anyone else on the planet.

Instead of telling him to shut up, I gave my inner critic free rein . . . hanging on his every word, and absorbing his poisonous ranting and raving, until I fell into the blissful oblivion of sleep.

Once I started meditating, I became more aware of my thoughts, including those offered up by my inner critic.

As I observed thoughts arising during meditation, I realized how negative many of them were ~ especially those espoused by my inner critic.

Pressing the PAUSE button for 20-30 minutes a day while meditating felt wonderful.

Over time, through the continued practice of meditation, I began to see my mind as the television set, my thoughts as the various programs being broadcast over the airways, and me . . . as the silent observer in control of both.

In short, I held the remote.  Talk about power!

As we become more aware of the chatter in our heads, and tune in to that chatter, we see clearly the dramas created by our thoughts, and we hear our inner critic spouting lies and half-truths.

Once we get the picture, we begin to reclaim control over our mind and  thoughts by asking a simple question: will watching this show (often a stale re-run), or thinking this thought, bring me happiness? 

If not, we use our remotes to change the channel.

As easily as maneuvering through a DVD, we observe what’s on the screen, we decide whether it’s in our best interest to continue watching, and then we act by pressing the relevant button:

PAUSE . . . FAST FORWARD . . . REWIND . . . MUTE . . .

And even . . . EJECT!

Learn to manipulate your thoughts, or they will manipulate you.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Teralyn Rose Pilgram on Dealing with the Evil Editor (Becky Levine’s Blog) * How To Eject Your Inner Critic