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What’s Next? August 13, 2018

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

Peace in knowing . . . and in not knowing

Always prepared . . . to be unprepared

Reveling in the mystery
Surrounded by uncertainty
In a vast field of possibility

What’s next?

Who knows?

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Providing Perspective August 11, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
29 comments

Life is not half bad.

Yes, I know that POTUS + Power are NOT perfect together.

And I know that wildfires are raging out of control, earthquakes are shaking things up in Indonesia, and global warming is wreaking havoc on the ice caps and glaciers (unless, of course, you are convinced that that’s all Fake News in which case God Bless You).

But I still say that “Life is not half bad.”

Why?

Because of what I just learned about the Black Plague.

A few facts (that may or may not be entirely accurate, but could be) excerpted from Philip Ziegler’s classic account of the Black Death, aptly entitled The Black Death . . . (as recounted by Bill Bryson in his humorous travelogue, aptly entitled Neither Here Nor There ~ Travels in Europe):

*Half the population of Florence Italy (roughly 100,000) lost their lives in just 4 months.

To put that in perspective, think about waking up 4 months from now (on New Years Day, say) to find one half of your street, neighborhood, town, or city dead.  As a doornail.  Like Marley of A Christmas Carol fame.

Not an auspicious start to the New Year, eh?

*Milan reacted to the news swiftly ~> families suspected of harboring a plague victim were walled up inside their homes.  Definitely a solution designed to add to the death toll.

As Bill Bryson put it:

“There’s nothing like reading about people being entombed alive to put your own problems in perspective.  I tend to think of life as bleak when I can’t find a parking space at the supermarket, but imagine what it must have been to be an Italian in the fourteenth century.  For a start, in 1345 it rained nonstop for six months, turning much of the country into a stagnant lake and making planting impossible.  The economy collapsed, banks went bust, and thousands died in the ensuing famines.  Two years later the country was rocked with terrible earthquakes ~ in Rome, Naples, Pisa, Padua, and Venice ~ which brought more death and chaos.  And then, just when people were surely thinking that things had to get better now, some anonymous sailor stepped ashore at Genoa and said, “You know, I don’t feel so hot,” and within days the great plague was beginning its long sweep across Europe.” (p.181-82)

Perspective is everything.

We are HERE and it is NOW.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Margarita Bouquet! July 25, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Nature.
21 comments

Last week, I received a unique and colorful bouquet ~ a huge strawberry margarita (complete with two straws which, due to environmental concerns, are now banned in 31.7 states):

Once the profusion of pink blooms faded, I donated the enormous margarita glass (together with its squishy pink “marbles”) to Goodwill for “repurposing.”

Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.  Repurpose.  Resale.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Space July 19, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness.
19 comments

As we navigate through our days, our senses focus on things and our minds on thoughts.

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But we can switch our focus from things to the space between things.

Anywhere there are two or more things, we can begin to note the space between them ~ between sights, between sounds, between clouds, and between passing thoughts.

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Once you find the space, peer into it and see what emerges.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Fortune Telling July 17, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
21 comments

“Never make predictions. Especially about the future.” ~ Casey Stengel

Stress is often a product of overactive imaginations overflowing with “what ifs?”

Instead of driving past our headlights, we can choose to rein in our thoughts and BE HERE NOW.

In the moment.

Instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Secret to Happiness is . . . Unhappiness! June 9, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
19 comments

For evolutionary reasons, our brains refuse to dwell on incoming data that remains the same.

Instead, it focuses on change and contrast as it constantly monitors the world for intel.

We become acclimated to the sights, smells, and sounds around us.

Neurons that send repeat “texts” (about the clock ticking, the smell of breakfast, or the touch of our clothes against our arms) start to be ignored or blocked.

The brain essentially says, “I heard you the first time.  Tell me something I don’t know.”

Thought of in this light, unhappiness can be viewed as a palate cleanser . . . an amuse-bouche . . . designed to allow us to appreciate happiness anew the next time it appears at our door.

This, of course, is a simplistic explanation of the science behind our senses.

And our sense of humor.

To read more:  The Function of Discontent

Aah . . . that’s better!

Why Childhood Memories Are MIA June 7, 2018

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

Researchers are beginning to understand why few of our childhood memories survive the passage into adulthood.

As children, we are able to make memories, but the circuitry of our brain continues to undergo construction through our teens . . . writing over some memories and erasing the circuitry needed to access other memories.

In short, we need to forget in order to grow.

To read more:  This Is Where Your Childhood Memories Went

And: Why You Can’t Remember Being A Baby

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“Perhaps the biggest mystery is not why we can’t remember our childhood – but whether we can believe any of our memories at all.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Cue The Music June 5, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Music & Dance.
18 comments

Music can improve our mood and positive feelings of well being.  Like meditation, it can improve blood flow, lower levels of stress hormones, and ease pain. It can also improve the quality of our sleep.

Music activates neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention, and memory.

But listening to music can also be unsettling.  Be selective.  Experiment to find what resonates and makes you feel good.

To read more:  Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health

Aah . . . that’s better!

Laughter May 29, 2018

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

A new to me quote you might enjoy:

It was her habit to build laughter out of inadequate materials.  

~ John Steinbach, The Grapes of Wrath (thanks, JoyRoses!)

And a couple of “oldies, but goodies”:

We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh.

Wine improves with age.  
Age improves with wine.  
Life improves with laughter.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Changing Our Mind May 21, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
16 comments

Our “mindset” is a constant filter through which we perceive each and every experience.

Over time, we can shift our perspective by being “open minded” (or “maybe” minded) when exposed to opposing views and viewpoints.

In short, we can literally “change our mind” about religion, politics, fashion, food, TV shows, etc.

It’s like mixing water and wine:

I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas. They’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.

~ Emily Bronte, English Novelist

Aah . . . that’s better!