Life is Not a Movie

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June trailThe other day, while walking on a beautiful forest trail, I suddenly thought “this would make a nice scene in a movie.” The thought was so out-of-the-blue, it really struck me. I had been thinking about what the North was like before pharmaceuticals, how people truly lived off the land. They used the plants that grow naturally to cure things that bothered them. They learned what plants helped what problems by trial and error, and by following their intuition, and the knowledge was passed down verbally from one person to another. I was completely focused on nature, which is why the thought about movies was so surprising, and, of course, it got me thinking about media.

I wonder how much of the time we relate our real lives to things we see on film and on TV. How often do we compare our lives to the glamour we see on screen, and feel unsatisfied or inadequate? How often do we think about what we look like from the outside, or how our situation must look? I think we do it all the time, sub-consciously. We are all like Abed from the show Community, we just don’t say it out loud. And I just did it again.

Go back in time (like Michael J. Fox), in your mind (it’s such a beautiful one) and imagine a time before there were movies, TV or the internet. Think of Little House on the Prairie. See how it goes? By just mentioning shows or actors you know, I can very quickly get us all on the same page and go from there. Starting with the obvious things, before there was TV, people never thought about getting home in time for a show, or recording it, or when the next episode will be or what might happen. They never shopped for a new TV or a flatscreen. They never thought about bandwidth or usage. There was no Hollywood and they never thought about what the stars were doing. They just went about living their lives — okay, they might have listened to the radio! — and they never talked about something they’d watched with their family or friends. They must have talked about other things.

Think of how much we refer to media in conversation. We do it to make analogies so that we understand each other. A friend recommended I watch Warm Bodies. It’s a love story about a young-man-zombie who falls in love with a normal twenty-something girl. He saves her life and cares for her, and she gradually starts to like him, too. As a result, he comes back to life and starts a biological/spiritual movement that sweeps through the zombie world, causing lots of others to remember their humanity and come back to life. It’s a great story, and because my friend and I shared the experience (even though we didn’t watch it together, we can talk about it now), we have all sorts of great zombie jokes and references.

It all seems harmless until we think about the deeper consequences. Watching a lot of media makes us think of our lives as if they were movies. We want to be entertained, informed, or get caught up in the drama, like when we watch media. We subconsciously expect everything we do to fall into one of those categories. We think of our life as it if had a plot. We hope there’s a happy ending. We want our love lives to be full of romance, and we want our vacations to be glamourous. We love hanging out with that funny friend of ours because he makes us laugh. If one day he goes through a tragedy and isn’t funny any more, we don’t know how to relate.

I wonder if too much media might make us seem less vibrant, more shallow. Comparing our lives with movies or TV can lead to discontentment. Of course, it’s not all bad if it gives us jokes and helps us relate. But if we need media to relate to one another we’re in trouble. I have an acquaintance that watches very different things than I do (I’m almost completely off-TV as it is), so it can be a challenge to find something to talk about. When we do find something, however, we have great, meaningful conversations — much deeper than which shows are good and which aren’t worth the time.

Another thing to consider is this: how would you cope without any media? Would you be able to have conversations with others? How would you keep yourself entertained or spend your time in general? Would it be so bad if you didn’t watch the news? You know I love making you think, and that’s really all I am doing in this post.

Off Coffee

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I’m off coffee again. I used to drink it like a maniac, but these days I go through phases where I drink a cup or 2 a day and then go off it for a few days. I usually get a headache on the second day off coffee — it used to be my Sunday headache because I drank it every day Monday to Friday but didn’t have any on Saturday. I have heard various things about it being bad for you, good for you, and that it adds to your “fire” or “yang” energy. Either way, I’ve pretty much decided I am going to stay away from the cheap stuff (especially instant) but enjoy a nice, hand-ground cup whenever I feel like it.

And what is hand-ground coffee, you ask? It’s what you do when you have some really great beans you want to brew but you don’t have a grinder — you grind it by hand in a cast-iron frying pan. With a rock, preferably. :) This is what my awesome roommate and I did in Wrigley when I was there. It was, hands down, the best coffee ever! (The beans were Kicking Horse Coffee.)

A little over a week ago, I went to visit this roommate of mine, and he offered me a cup of tea. It was evening, so we weren’t going to get into coffee. I chose a nice black tea with loose leaves and put a few into my cup. I hadn’t had any coffee or black tea for about a week or so, and let me tell you what the first sip of caffeine felt like! It went straight to the frontal lobe of my brain — I’m not joking — and I could feel it doing something there. It was so obvious and so strange!

This got me thinking — are there any other times I have done this — gone off something and noticed a big effect when I started up again? One time, it was television.

I was totally off television for a couple of years, only watching tiny bits in restaurants and at friends’ places. Now, I’m still “off television” in principle, but my landlord likes to watch it sometimes, and I seem to find myself eating with him in front of the TV occasionally, or visiting with him in the living room with the TV on. Let me tell you how it affected me!

The first time I sat in front of it and actually watched some, I felt like someone was trying to program my brain. I felt like I was being manipulated and sold certain messages. I also felt like I was being “talked down to,” like I was stupid or at the very least, slow. It was so clear to me, it was startling. I remember turning to my landlord while the news was on and saying “do people actually believe this? Do they think this is all there is to this issue?” He had a sort of numb look on his face, but then he agreed that there was more to it. I don’t even remember what story was on the news. I felt a little better watching football — at least the message was straightforward and I didn’t feel manipulated.

I was off the internet (almost completely) for about a month this year too, not by choice. There were major delays in getting the phone and internet hooked up (read the story here), and when I went back online, I noticed something then, too. I felt a slight stress come back — stress to check my emails regularly and respond, to check facebook, to be reachable, and of course, to get all sorts of blogging and other things done on my various websites. Life had been so simple before…

I have realized something from this experience: Caffeine, TV and the internet are not inherently bad, but if I want to know how they effect me, the best way to do that is to go off for a while and then try a sample again. By paying attention while trying that sample, I can learn a lot about myself and how I react to whatever I had cut out. Then, I can decide if I want that affect on my life all the time, or if I want to stay “off.” So, for example, if you think TV is totally harmless, I challenge you to go off TV for a couple of weeks and then watch something again. How does it make you feel? Do you feel like I did? I am curious if you’ll have the same experience. Perhaps more than a couple of weeks is needed — let me know what your experience is.

I also think that things like TV and internet and coffee complicate our lives. We arrange our schedules around when certain shows are on, we use up large amounts of time on the internet and we change our travel route based on the drive-thru coffee shops along the way. When you eliminate these things, it is simpler, but then again, didn’t I recently discover it’s not about having a simpler life? Aaah well, I slipped back into an old pattern there! :)

Materialism in the World

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Boxing Day. The most materialistic day of the year. I am still coming to terms with modern society after my sabbatical-of-sorts in Wrigley. As we drive around Edmonton, I just can not get over how many stores there are! And new developments — whole new neighbourhoods have sprung up since I last noticed. But I think it’s the stores that bother me the most. I even said out loud on the way home after supper, “do we really need this many stores?” My family agreed that no, we didn’t.


Yet I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I need stuff too sometimes. I have to remember that there are thousands of people that need stuff, so of course there are going to have to be stores to serve them. There are students, freshly moved out from their parents’ places who need to furnish whole new apartments. There are people who have moved from across Canada to take advantage of Albertan opportunities. These people I understand. They make sense to me. But I have a feeling a lot of people who really don’t need new stuff spend a lot of resources (time and money) buying stuff they don’t need. More candles. New curtains. Just stuff.

This bothers me. I don’t know why. But, when something bothers me, I try to understand why it bothers me so much. It must be a mirror to me — showing me something about myself. It’s an opportunity to learn something new about how I tick.

It could be because I see how people are trying to fill a void in their lives with material things. It could be because I think people are being programmed by commercials on TV until they believe they need things they don’t. It could be because I lived without stores and was totally happy! It could be because I lived without new things of any kind for so long when I was a university student — I joke that I was food bank girl — that I know it can be done. It could be because I feel that the world’s resources are so limited, we shouldn’t be wasting them on more scented candles and unnecessary curtains.

boreal forest near WrigleyYet I know that the world is far more abundant than we think. I have seen abundance in the trees, snow, and the immense size of the Mackenzie River. I know that the world is healing itself faster than we can hurt it. Little old mankind has less effect than we think — it’s egotistical to think that we can “destroy” the whole planet. We make significant marks on the surface, to be sure, but Gaia is not in danger. But I digress.

I think what bothers me the most is this: I perceive that people are very materialistic. This isn’t actually true, so as a result, I feel unsettled. That is all. If I can adjust my thinking to see stores as a good thing, or a sign of a prospering economy, rather than a sign of social disease, I know I will feel better. Edmontonians are actually kind, generous people.

Could it be universally true that when we feel bothered by something, it is only because we are thinking, or believing, something that is fundamentally untrue? I think so…

Or maybe I’m just a little freaked out by the $99 long johns at Cabella’s. I’m still buying everything at second hand stores if I can. :)

Top 10 Modern Products I Can Live Without

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Time for another top-ten!

Top 10 Modern Products I Can — and Do — Live Without!

Some of these things I consider scams, and others are just things I have left out of my life for simplicity’s sake.

10. A Coffee Maker. Yup, don’t have one. We have a one-cup-at-a-time funnel brewer thingy, and we have a bodum if we are making for more than one person at a time. Lots of people have those Keurig machines — I use the one at the fire hall and it’s great — but I can live without it! Our main reason for no coffee maker is to save on counter space.

9. Workout machines. You know, the Bowflex, the Ab Circle, Leg Magic, Vibraslim, Stairmaster, treadmills, ellipticals, etc… I’ve been doing crossfit workouts, and most of it is basic weights, using your own body weight (like in push-ups or pull-ups), or doing things from sports. Getting out and doing real things with your body is the best!

8. Fancy fabrics. I’m talking about some of these ultra-thin wool undergarments that cost $80 for a shirt. Or sweat-wicking workout clothes… an old T-shirt works just fine. Unless you are climbing Mt. Everest, I think most of these fabrics and clothes are a scam (and some don’t even look like they are made all that well).

7. Make-up. Although I own a little bit of make-up, I only use it a few times a year. Last time I wore mascara, I regretted it — I got a paint-covered eyelash in my eye and it wouldn’t come out for 3 days! And do I look ugly? No. My skin is as nice as ever, mostly due to what I eat.

6. Video Games (like Wii, Nintendo, whatever). I know, by now you think I am a total freak, but hey! I have never owned one of these, and somehow I have lived. I play games on my computer or online sometimes, but I just never got into these plugged-into-my-TV games.

5. Microwave. While we actually do own one, we only use it to warm up our wheat bags when we need a little heat on our feet (or wherever). We don’t use it to irradiate our food. Not that that’s bad exactly… we’re just keeping it real! And you can re-heat and cook everything better using other methods, like the oven, stove and barbeque.

4. Satellite dish. I don’t like TV, so I don’t have any. Don’t have cable either, so if we want to watch something, we use DVDs or stream it over the internet. So it’s not that I’m a techno-phobe, I just have no interest in TV, and especially dislike commercials.

3. iPhone. I don’t have one, and you know what? My life is not terrible! :) I might get one, someday, but for now, my simple cell phone does the trick just fine.

2. Orthotics. I used to have them, then I didn’t. I massaged the arches of my feet with a tennis ball and switched to Vibram 5-Fingers (basically, the opposite of orthotics) and I couldn’t be happier. NO foot pain, more foot stability, and no problems (granted, I don’t wear high heels anymore). :)

1. Tooth paste. You can get tooth paste with baking soda, or… you could just use baking soda!! Baking soda really works every bit as well as tooth paste, and you can skip the nasty chemicals in most tooth pastes!

So, this post is not intended to make you feel guilty or make me look weird. It’s just the way I feel about some modern devices, and maybe it will make you think differently about them too! :)

P.S. Can you believe this is my 300th post on this blog!?! And I started over 6 years ago? Crazy! If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Feel free to browse the archives or use the tag cloud at right for topics you are interested in! :)

Too Much Reality is Not a Good Thing

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One unexpected negative side effect of the scientific revolution — the way that science has crept into every part of society — is that we have become quite analytical about reality. We want to measure things, inspect or observe things, quantify and describe things, and generally try to get a good handle on the objective reality of the world around us.

The problem is, we get so caught up in examining what is there, we forget that we have the power to imagine what we want and create our reality. We also tend to take a pessimistic approach to what we see, and this makes us more likely to get into a rut, or worse, a downward spiral.

For example, if you watch the news, you may hear about various aspects of a recession that is going on. They’ll give stats or anecdotal stories about how it isn’t ending yet, it’s worse in this sector or that area of North America, or whatever. But that is such a small part of reality! In lots of areas, things are looking up, business is increasing and people are prospering! I’m as busy as ever (hence I haven’t been blogging much, sorry about that), and this winter is predicted to be a really busy one. While there might be unemployment elsewhere, that sure isn’t the case around here. In our local newspaper, they reported that the only limit to our “boom” this winter will be staffing shortages. And I can’t help but think it’s partly because we don’t give too much attention to the “reality” that is talked about elsewhere. I’ve heard that US news is still very heavy on the the recession, while Canadian news is not. Could that be why it hasn’t hit us as badly — because we don’t give it as much attention?

I wonder what would happen if we went on a “news fast” and stopped listening to stories about other peoples realities, and just focused on our own? What if we spent just 2 minutes every day, imagining how our lives will be in 6 months? I bet that in 6 months, we’d be exactly where we envisioned ourselves, especially if we did this imagining or envisioning consistently.

Let me give you an example. I was able to manifest an incredible crew on the York boat last spring, once I got incredibly clear on what I wanted in a crew. I was very specific; I had a list of about thirty things that I wanted. After I got that clarity, the crew just worked out perfectly — and I mean perfectly — even though people still cancelled and I could have reverted to my mode of being stressed out about it. But I didn’t. I believed that the perfect people for the crew would be on board. Whenever I was tempted to feel stressed, I just reminded myself about the clarity and fanned the spark of faith — faith that I would end up with a great crew. And let me explain what I mean when I say “after I got that clarity.” I am not speaking of divine inspiration or a profound message of intuition. I just sat down and in my rational brain, with a hearty dose of imagination, said and wrote down exactly what traits I wanted/needed in a crew.

They key to it all was getting past my current reality. I was two people short. One guy could only do the first 4 days — then what?!? Who would I find to do the other 14 days? I only had a confirmed crew of 4, including myself — I thought it wasn’t possible to go with less than 7. It turns out we ended up with only 5, but they were the perfect 5 and we didn’t need anyone else. We managed superbly, so well in fact, I’d say we thrived. So even though the photo above looks like we are working hard, we were actually having the time of our lives! You just can’t tell by looking and you just can’t believe what someone else says is “reality.” Get your own!

**Look closely at the photo above, and count how many people you see. See 6? Extra people came out of the woodwork when we needed them, and we actually did have 7 people for about 2 days. Although it worked, we were a little crowded. So, you see, all that time before hand I was stressing about finding a crew of 7 when all along I only needed the perfect 5.**

Related Posts: Mind Your Television | Endpoints | Lies We Believe | What if…

Having the time of our lives...

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

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I should be in bed sleeping. Or sending important emails, or working on other aspects of this huge project I’m managing, but I just got a flash of insight so clear, I had to blog it.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Because they expect it to happen.

Watching a mere five minutes of the news will convince you that the world is full of terrible people, all your neighbours are criminals, war is breaking out everywhere, all policemen are corrupt, and Mother Nature is punishing us with natural disasters. And we are all pretty sure we know why — we deserve it.

Here’s an example of how the news has affected a lady I know. The evening news was filled with serious reports about forest fires raging through Slave Lake, a medium-sized town in Northern Alberta. There was a strong wind pushing the fire, causing it to spread faster than they could put it out, at least initially. The whole town, around ten thousand people, were evacuated and a whole neighbourhood, about a third of the town, burned down — a serious situation, even a tragedy. The Premier, being interviewed for the news, looked like he might cry.

One of the first comments I heard this particular lady make was “oh, there will be looting! With all those homes empty, there will be LOOTING!”

What?!? The town is empty! The only people there are fire fighters, and even if there were others around, that is the absolute LAST thing that would happen. I know this town, and it just would not happen. But years of living in a big city, listening to the radio news every hour and watching TV news throughout the day has completey skewed this woman’s view of the world, and also her expectations.

She expects the worse. Wherever she goes, whatever is going on around her, she sees crime, tragedy, illness, and other newsworthy stuff. I’m afraid to say that this is what she will attract into her life, because the Law of Attraction is ALWAYS at work.

You ever heard of the lawyer’s house that gets broken into repeatedly? The woman who continually has car trouble because she is always worried about her car? That man who gets ripped off because he’s always trying to cheat the other guy?

We each get what we THINK about most, especially if there is strong emotion involved, and what we EXPECT. It’s sometimes also what we WANT, but sometimes we get the opposite of what we want because the thinking and expecting are so strong.

Except for today, I have not watched the news for weeks. It’s a good thing, because I am working on focusing only on positive things, and I gotta tell ya, I get courteous drivers around me, holes in the traffic, mostly green lights (but red lights let me check my map or change my music), and I believe it happens because I know it’s possible. It is not only possible, it’s virtually* guaranteed when I focus on good things, and look for the best in people and situations around me. I have started expecting to have days that go smoothly.

Sometimes it’s hard. With the fires in Slave Lake, all I can think of is that this is a chance for our fire fighters and emergency co-ordinators to shine. And shining they are.

* only “virtually” because I’m sill practicing!

I’d love to hear your comments on this!

Surviving Cabin Fever

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It’s been a while since I did a Top Ten, so here you go! :) Perhaps others don’t have such a hard time with this, but I think it’s relevant for the season!

Teresa’s Top Ten ways to combat cabin fever when it’s been too cold for too long:

10. Get smashed. Go to your liquor cabinet, with a tall glass in hand, and pour one shot of each liquor — whatever you’ve got — into the glass. Add ice, if you like, and a splash of orange juice, coke, or grenadine, depending on your tastes. Drink one of these every hour until you can’t walk, talk or think. JUST KIDDING! Don’t do this! If you do, you’ll have the worst hangover ever! But I guess you wouldn’t be bored any more! :) Seriously, it can be fun to invent a new drink, with just one or two types of liquor and have one or two with a friend.

9. Clean something. Ya, I know, it’s not a very fun one, but it’s a productive way of spending some time at home… tackle that messy hall closet or scary corner of the basement. Keep reading, I have better, funner ideas coming up!

8. Eat something. But not just anything… Scour your cookbooks or go online and make something wild and fantastic you’ve never made before. Like this chocolate cake (it took me three days to make last year!), these brownies (so strange yet soooo yummy!), or a spicy curry dish (one of my favourite meals). Maybe you’ll have to make a trip to the grocery store, but you probably have a lot of crazy ingredients at home that you could use. Check out the “leftover wizard” at Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients if you don’t have what you need and you don’t feel like leaving the house. Then savour your creation!

7. Make something. If you’ve got a project half-done, finish it! If you don’t, check out the Make webpage and see if you’ve got something around the house that you can transform into, say, a guitar!

6. Grab a book. You probably have a few books (or 20) that you’ve bought or been given, that you just haven’t quite started yet. Grab one, and a nice warm beverage, cozy up in your favourite spot and read the afternoon away.

5. Play a game. If you’re home alone, I guess it’ll be solitaire or something computer-based. But if you have family or friends over, convince them it’s time for Twister, Wii, or get out the cards. Aggravation is one of my favourites, or Blokus. No doubt you’ve got something you can play… strip poker anyone? (Not to be played with granny.)

4. Learn a new hobby. Got something you’ve thought about trying? Why not do it now? You can find videos for almost anything online, so as long as your internet (and your furnace) work, you can do anything! You could learn to knit or crochet, do yoga, do tai’chi, make fishing lures, build something out of wood, learn photography, start a blog or podcast… your imagination is the limit!

3. Play music. Get out that guitar you haven’t played in months (or the one you just made) and learn some new chords. Or, if you find your house strangely lacking in musical instruments, go through your music collection, listen to something you haven’t heard in ages (your fav’s from the 80’s!) and just enjoy the tunes! Dance your heart out. Air-drum along, or use pots. :)

2. Get off your duff. Step away from the TV, or computer (not right now, as soon as you finish reading this), and get some exercise. Most of us have some form of exercise equipment around the house, and most of it is rarely used! Blow the dust off, get out the track pants, and burn a few calories. Don’t do it because you have to, do it because you’re bored silly — do it for your sanity! (I promise it will help.)

1. Do something fun outside. This is perhaps the hardest cure for cabin fever, but it’s also the most effective. Bundle up, wear double scarves, toques, mitts, whatever it takes, and go outside. If you’ve got equipment like cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, or a ski-doo use it! If not, simply take a walk, go tobogganing (cardboard will work on a packed hill), make snow angels, or stomp out patterns in fresh snow. When you get back, you’ll be glad to be inside, cozy and warm!

The overall strategy for curing cabin fever is distraction. Distract yourself from the fact that it’s freezing and you’re stuck inside… that you’re bored or lonely… that it’s cold and only getting colder… :) I hope this blog will help you distract yourself with something that’s mildly productive or fun (more fun than TV)!  :)

I think I’ll do my next blog on how to dress for cold weather. It’ll be practical and fun, yet serious life-saving stuff! Check back in a couple of days!

Life Without Christmas

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Christmas is fast approaching, isn’t it? The days surrounding Christmas can sure be fun! Crazy. Exciting. Busy. Frantic! But not for me.

I grew up without Christmas. (pause for the shock to sink in) The religion my family belonged to didn’t celebrate it. If you are an old school mate, you might remember what a “weirdo” I was; I didn’t make cardboard jack-o-lanterns at Halloween — it was strictly pumpkins for me. All the trappings of Christmas were stripped of art class — no Santas for me — I made “winter trees” or snowmen. My poor parents had to go to parent-teacher interviews each year and explain the situation. I think it was much harder for my older sister, with her classmates and teachers. At least when I came into the system 2 years later, the teachers remembered my weird sister and would say “oh, yes, we remember the drill. No Santas, no valentines, no Easter bunnies.”

We didn’t have anything to do with these holidays, with Christmas causing the most fuss. Think about it — what do kids talk about for a MONTH at school? Where they are going for Christmas, what they might be getting, the candy, and then in January, for another week, the only topic of conversation is what they got for Christmas. I don’t think the kids who rode the school bus with me were trying to be mean when they asked “what did you get for Christmas?” But my answer stunned them every time: “nothing.” I think some of them thought it was because we were so poor (I wore a lot of hand-me-downs in those days). Kids who weren’t in my class didn’t see the all the other signs I was different than the rest.

I am not bitter for growing up in this different way. My sister and I put up with quite a bit of teasing and shunning; I didn’t have any friends at school until grade 5 or 6. I am very grateful for the kids who did befriend me. Some of the teachers treated my sister and me differently too, besides the basics of being banished to the library during Christmas concert practices. Actually, that was kind of fun, ’cause we had the whole place to ourselves and could run, make noise, and throw paper airplanes.

I survived the school years without any aspect of Christmas. When our religion changed and started to become more main-stream, many people struggled with how to change their thinking and traditions. We had our own traditions and holidays, you see, that were quite meaningful and beautiful. It was as hard to toss them out as it was to accept new ones that had been the source of our rejection, and we’d been criticizing, for all those years. Christmas trees are pagan, phalic symbols, don’t you know!?!

So, it might come as somewhat less of a shock to hear that my husband and I aren’t really doing much for Christmas. We have lights on our house, and some family/friends will get small presents, but we aren’t giving anything to each other. I don’t think we did last year, but we got married at the beginning of December and things were pretty hectic due to that (our wedding was also a small, un-hyped affair). Do you think that strange? Impossible? Crazy? Maybe it is for you, but I think a LOT of what happens at Christmas is pure distraction. Some traditions are lovely and some families do manage to keep it simple, but MOST of the stuff that happens has nothing to do with Jesus (the reason for the season, you know) or family bonding. Never mind the soap-opera-like baloney that goes on among people offending each other, re-offending, being offended, shunning… mostly because of presents or other silly reasons. The stories I hear from some people make my head hurt!

This got me thinking that a lot of what happens in life in general is distraction. I use the radio as a distraction on my drive home, for example. To keep me from thinking about what, I don’t know. TV is a bad culprit for this, and so are books. We enter another world through these media… I wonder what is wrong with the one we’re in? Jobs, tasks, goals, children, hobbies, material things, holidays, traditions, and entertainment are all huge distractions to what we really are. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: We aren’t human beings on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journey.* I think that sums it up nicely.

In the busyness, craziness, and loveliness of this season, please don’t forget that we’re all on this planet to share an experience. Don’t try to control others, just as you hate to be manipulated. Be patient. Love the ones you’re with. :)

* quote attributed to Stephen R. Covey.

Just saw this, and it’s too funny!

Balancing Act

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Major intersection in Beijing, after a snowfall

I still think about China sometimes… the friends I made there, what living in Beijing is like… how they can be so happy in such a crowded, busy place! How they can find time to think or have any serenity! They do it, though… not sure if I could!

Life is such a balancing act, isn’t it? I need enough sleep, but not too much. Enough food, but not too much. I definitely need more exercise, and I don’t think I’m in danger of getting too much, but some people are! A little caffeine is great, but some days, coffee makes me jittery. A little sugar is okay… some vitamins… enough free time, enough work…

What about my mental state? I’ve realized that it’s okay if I’m not happy all the time, but I wouldn’t want to be down and out very often either. A person has to think about money sometimes, but if you start to obsess, that’s going to skew your perspective. I like to be positive, but also a bit skeptical of what I hear — it’s easy to go too far and end up a nervous basket case (which sounds so much better than “paranoid freak,” don’t you think?). I don’t even believe the news on TV, because I think it’s usually over-summarized and often has a slant to it. Finding the balance between taking some things seriously and others with a grain of salt is tricky.

Life naturally has good days and bad, happy and sad, easy and hard, and if it didn’t, it would be like living in a monotone world. I think we all naturally need these contrasts; if you’re dissatisfied with your life, perhaps you have too much of something?
You could be stressed because of too much instability, or bored from too much security. It’s good to avoid certain extremes:

Too much instability Too much security
Too much routine Too much adventure
Too much stuff Too much nothing
Too much money Too much debt
Too much work Too much down time
Too much busyness Too much laziness
Too much loneliness Too much togetherness
Too much freedom Too much religion (or too many social expectations)

Look at the table above — what areas do you immediately relate to? If you think to yourself “well, I certainly don’t have too much adventure” then it’s possible you have too much routine. A balance of both makes for an interesting life! Maybe you immediately realize you have too much stuff… have you thought of getting more nothing? Giving things away, and not buying things you really don’t need? If you recognize you have too much of something, rather than simply decreasing it, try increasing whatever’s in the adjacent column. If you realize you don’t have enough of something, try decreasing whatever’s in the adjacent column.

Also, we all need beauty and creativity in our lives! Make sure you have a creative outlet, whether it’s creative cooking, building, a hobby, music or art.

That’s all for now! Okay, one more China pic!

Nope, it's not daytime. That's a huge LED screen! It's showing dolphins jumping out of the ocean, but it also plays a few other videos, like a space voyage! Wow!

A Few Laughs

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I know I don’t usually do this, but I don’t usually surf on You Tube. Yesterday, I was a little bored and went in search of some funny videos. I lost all track of time, but I came across some very cute, funny videos. Thought I might as well share them here! First, a couple of funny cat ones:

Simon’s Cat – “Cat-Man-Do” and any other “Simon’s Cat” animation. :)

The Mean Kitty Song

A couple funny commercials (there are so many out there, but these were my favourites):caution-lost time

Kid-having-a-tantrum commercial (french with subtitles)

Magic fridge commercial

…and a couple to poke fun at men with fast cars (thanks Loretta)!

Red Ferarri

Yellow Corvette

See, I told you commercials have a plot and a hidden (or not so hidden) message! These ones are funny, but most are designed to create a want or a feeling of lacking something. It’s subtle, and you may be so used to it, you don’t even notice. Anyways, enjoy these ones, and have a giggle!

*CAUTION* You can easily get sucked into YouTube for hours and not even know it!