How to become an optimist

Research shows that life goes better for optimists. I used to be very pessimistic. I am changing. Here’s my plan:

  1. Limit your exposure to negative things. Seek out positive things.
  2. Cultivate optimistic friends.
  3. Be thankful. Write down one thing a day in a notebook by your bed.
  4. Exercise. Get some fresh air.
  5. Persevere. Don’t give up. Try a new way. Let go.
  6. Help others. Encourage them. Compliment them – genuinely.
  7. Listen to “positive” music. Dance. Sing.
  8. Laugh! Practice makes perfect.

For me the last item is key and I do this by participating in an awesome weekly Laughter Club. What are some of your ideas?

The gift of a healing touch

We just spent three days at a wonderful spa retreat centre in Mission. While there, I was given a few massage / acupressure treatments by a highly skilled and gifted practitioner. The first session in particular was amazing; I could actually feel the energy rebalance in my body. I’ve never felt anything quite like it.

I’ve been reflecting on this experience, and I realize that we don’t touch one another enough. Fear of physical contact – that it be misconstrued as sexual or that we don’t want to “invade” another person’s space – means we hardly touch others at all. Because of these past three days however, I have more of an appreciation for the power of touch to connect us with others and to connect our minds to our bodies. And to heal us.

I am changing. We are changing…

Hello friends, family, and the Internet,

I have heard from many friends that November was a hard month. Very Hard. And I personally have been through a lot in the last 4 weeks or so. I have also learned (or relearned?) a lot about myself and life. And I am changing. And growing. And it has been hard. And it continues to be hard. There have been a few key things that have made it possible for me to make it this far. Music. Sunshine and fireplaces. Laughter Yoga. And most importantly, friends. I think that is the major thing I am learning is that friendship is crucial. Family too. I am learning that I need to do things for my own self care and growth. Not an unhealthy selfish but instead a healthy selfish.

I am growing to have a more optimistic life outlook too. I think being in a weekly Laughter Yoga group is a large part of that. And having optimistic friends helps too. I am learning that the key to health is a positive environment. Both external (people) and internal (thoughts). It is certainly good to be grounded but it is equally important to believe the best. We all need that spark of hope that the future will not be as dark as some say, now more than ever. Yes, things do look challenging. Very challenging. And even if the long term might be better than today (although very different) getting there will take every ounce of optimism we have.

I need to rediscover what my desires are and pursue them with passion. When I am healthy and happy, that lifts others. Life is short and unpredictable. We need to seize opportunities when they happen. Take risks. And try to have as few regrets as possible. What have your experiences been recently?


The super hero meme

One of the big problems with our (and other) cultures, in my opinion, is the deeply ingrained “super hero” mythos / meme. We can see this exemplified in the huge popularity of super hero films (Batman, Spiderman, Superman) and in certain religious figures (Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad). Now I’m not going to delve into whether or not these latter “heroes” were all they are purported to be. My point is that the mindset of “some champion is going to come and save us all from the mess we’ve made for ourselves” is fundamentally an unhelpful one. When you look at Nature, what do you see? How does change come about? For example, (with the very rare exception) the mountains are not worn down by one big event (i.e. a volcano blowing its top) but by multitudinous individual drops of rain. The message here is that power comes from many acting together, rather than a single super-one acting alone. If we are ever going to dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in (pick your favourite current crisis) we will need to do so together.

Probability Travel

So never mind space or even time travel, what I want is probability travel. We all know what space travel is. Surely by now almost everyone has at least heard of time travel. However almost nobody has heard or even conceived of probability travel. The basic premise is that from any point in time there are not just one but many (infinite?) possible ways the future might unfold. There is a movie that explores this called Sliding Doors. Now wouldn’t it be great to be able to surf between different outcomes and see what different realities are like? For a short video describing the theory of higher order dimensions, please follow this link. As always, I welcome your comments.

We are all actors

So here is my latest idea: We are all actors. What do I mean by this? Well think about it, what defines who you are:

  • Your name
  • Your gender
  • Your race
  • Your generation (year of birth)
  • Your home town (where you were born and raised)
  • Your family (parents and siblings)
  • Your culture
  • Your genetics (hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, height, personality)

How many of these did you pick? Exactly. So this must mean that we are all just playing a role as defined by the above. Further, once you have made a few decisions in life, other things fall outside of your control:

  • Your children’s personality and friends
  • Your spouse’s / partner’s friends and family
  • Your co-workers
  • Your church / club members

As a final thought, on most people’s grave stone you will find:

  • The person’s name
  • The person’s date of birth
  • The person’s date of death

For the majority of people, none of these are self determined. Something to think about.

New Urbanism

There is a website dedicated to the idea of a new kind of urbanism. From the site:

Giving people many choices for living in more sustainable, convenient and comfortable places, while providing the solutions to global warming, climate change, and peak oil was started in 1998, and has since grown to become a leading and well respected informational website promoting walkable urbanism, transit oriented development, trains and sustainability.

See here for the website.