Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Test

I was eating a pomegranate and after about thirty minutes of fighting with that lemony-sweet bag of deliciousness, I realized that eating a tangy, cold apple would have saved me A LOT of time. Pomegranates eh?

As the saying goes, “patience it taking too long.” So maybe patience is overrated? Sure, it improves mental health, relationships, and achieving goals, but if it’s so good for us, why is it so difficult? We need a patience hack. My research revealed a foolproof training strategy for mastering patience: “make yourself wait.”

Really? That’s it? That’s all you and I have to do? Not likely. Well I guess since I’ve been wrong about 2.8 million times before, I decided to test it.
  1. So I made macaroni. I had to wait for that water to boil. It wasn’t that bad actually. I used self-talk but then I had to wait for it to cook too. Ugh.
  2. So then I also picked the longer line at the grocery store. Brave, eh? BRUTAL. In fact, it didn’t even work because the cashier waved me over to the next check-out.
  3. So then this: my wife ordered a very cool gift for me but it did not arrive in time. No worries; I decided to embrace this crime against me and go full chill. I simply wiped it from my mind. After a week, my wife tracked it online and shared that it’s en route. I continued in full chill mode. Everything was moving along swimmingly and I was learning loads of patience until we saw said gift advertised on TV. My wife tracked it again and discovered it has been in the same location for weeks. WHAT? Haven’t I endured enough? I demanded we call customer service and RAGE AGAINST THIS INJUSTICE but then we got distracted by the Food Network and forgot.
  4. So I worked out for thirty minutes but still no abs. Sheesh.
  5. So I also tested the theory this way: I texted my son. Yup, he REALLY supports my patience mission I guess.
In conclusion, this strategy is bunk. So what now? Let’s all resume instant gratification mode because I think that’s really working out for everyone. Right

Friday, January 6, 2017

Check

Checklist for an amazing January:
  1. Furnace
  2. Fuzzy blankets
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Booster cables
  5. Alcohol
  6. Throat lozenges
  7. Mittens
  8. Electricity
  9. Fireplaces (or perhaps the Fireplace channel)
  10. Firewood
  11. Repeat quietly as needed: "A little more daylight every day. A little more...."   
  12. Chips (because buying fruit might require a second mortgage)
  13. Books
  14. YouTube
  15. Hot chocolate
  16. Command start
  17. Skidoo
  18. Reminder: mosquitos are deader than disco
  19. Friends who bring the funny
  20. Potluck parties
  21. Skating (no skates required, some days)
  22. Snow forts
  23. Snowshoes
  24. Mukluks
  25. Hoarfrost
  26. An awareness of upcoming Sweet Short February
  27. Hoodies (bunny-hugs, kangaroo jackets)
  28. People who clear and sand the roads
  29. To heck with shaving
  30. Mettle (noun): a Canadian’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face any demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way. Synonyms: fortitude, strength of character, moral fiber, determination, backbone, grit, courage, fearlessness, daring, disposition, nature, temperament, personality, guts, spunk, balls. [See Alberta man who punched a cougar at Tim Horton’s in Whitecourt, nuff said, drops mic.]

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fave Reads 2016

I absolutely believe that "if you don't read, you can't lead." However, given a confusing handful of current world leaders (one in particular), I have been proven wrong. Apparently, it isn't a prerequisite for getting elected. Sad!

Nevertheless, this means books are more important than ever. So is the library. So is determining the exact sources that inform what we read. Whatever you read, find what's more important than ever in this particular ever.
This book echoes with
some of the mysteries in
my own life. It reminds us
that life is worth
re-examining because
we might just be our own
unreliable narrators.  
It's never too late for
love. Plus it may take a
lifetime to understand
the truth, and the
surprising reasons
for everything we
thought we understood.
Here, a graphic novel by
Richard McGuire is a page-
turner and returner. Non-
linear, and set entirely in one
room, McGuire takes us on
a passage through time, yet
careful reading reveals how
connected these visual tales
really are. 
Gord Downie's last concert
and his songbook The Secret Path,
moved me to read everything I
could about Chanie Wenjack.
Boyden's brutal use of the
objective point of view, and
Chanie's heartbreaking
humanity broke me. 

During the Holocaust,
when intellectuals "disappeared,"
young Anna is left fatherless,
but she meets the Swallow Man
and begins a journey that feels
part Anne Frank, part Life of Pi.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sound

What’s your favourite sound?

I love sound: honest music, belly laughs, kittens purring, faraway skidoos, loved-one’s voices, rivers flowing, birds singing, ukulele strums, stomach gurgles and soft heartbeats. And more. It’s all great. But my favourite sound? Silence.

Around us everywhere is sound. And we are constantly processing it. We may filter some, but sound is hard to ignore. Worse yet is the chatter. It distracts us, it demands, it chastises, it confuses, it weakens: the radio, the TV, the texts, the constant updates and news flashes, the global cycle of doom, gloom, renewal, and resume. All these sound-waves impact us. They reverberate. We absorb them. Once they’re inside us, we process that discord and it churns. We’re distracted, we’re frustrated, we’re confused, we’re anxious, we’re worried, and we may not even know why. Whatever or whoever the din, we must continually swim in this steady stream of noise.

Therefore I wish you silence. In other words, I wish you peace. What’s more valuable than peace? Think about it. Don’t we all deserve a little peace? Peace of mind? To be peaceful. It soothes. It balms. It bolsters. What’s better than that?

That’s the thing: we can make peace. We can find it. We can choose it. In small ways and big ways. For most of us, it’s not that far away. And for those whose peace is distant, we can make peace for others. There are a million ways. Go offline. Go outside. Be pure of heart. Have good intentions. Apologize. Walk. Pull your sheets out the dryer and crawl inside them. Seek ways to be on good terms with others. Stop comparing yourself to others. Compromise. Forgive. Empower someone else and bask in their happiness. Surrender something. Learn something. Be honest and open and real and vulnerable. Stop trying to solve everything, at least for a while. Accept that determining blame is unproductive. Be humble. Sneak away for a while. Stay in bed an extra hour. Spend time with someone you trust and tell them what’s troubling you. Like cats do, sit in the sun. Give away cookies. Think about what you’ve accomplished instead of what you haven’t. Wander for a while. Slow down. Recharge. Breathe. Make peace with someone and it might hardly make a sound and yet it will be heard in the most important places in the heart. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

celebration.

A friend taught me that celebrations need not be elaborate nor fancy nor do they even need to be public. (Very soothing words for guilt-ridden public celebration-anxious introverts like me.) He explained that celebrations simply acknowledge gratitude and they mark joyful moments. Together or alone, whatever, whenever.

Whether like today, it's Hanukkah or Christmas (or simply a Saturday) I'm a big fan of seeking joyful moments. And today's joyful moment came thanks to a combination of writing inspiration and Baileys. What am I celebrating? Smart friends. Letters to old friends. Memories. Peacefulness. What's more important to celebrate than that? (And I hope the same for you.)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Look both ways?

My son is grown now but I remember prepping him for Kindergarten. Because he seemed like a risk-taker, there was one important question I needed the answer to: “How do you properly cross the street?” He quickly replied, “Run!”

I laughed. I expected “look both ways.”

It’s one of the foremost things we’re all taught in life, isn’t it? Look both ways. Hmm. Is this expression more than pedestrian behaviour? Could it be a life strategy?

Look both ways has obvious safety benefits, but maybe it also correlates to looking back and looking forward. Looking back seems easy: life was simpler then. Less pressure? Fewer responsibilities? More carefree? Yet I don’t long to return to that time; it would mean giving up so much. My life is rounded now, fuller. Looking forward seems easy too: I envision a bright future for my children, for my wife, for myself. I hope to be wiser and more satisfied, for more comfort, for health, for travel, for time. Even more, I hope to see my children achieve success. Yet looking forward, I can’t help but wonder too: how much time is left?

Probably not enough. And that’s why I realize now look both ways wasn't the right answer: what's important is now. I realize my son said it best because there’s something better than looking both ways.

I need to run. Thanks son. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

the view.

If one looks closely, it changes every day. And it leads somewhere new every time.

Go with it, and grow with it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Facts or Factish?

According to a variety of sources, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are colour-blind. Typically a genetic condition, there are several types of this “blindness.”  Some forms are mild, some severe such as those who see no colours at all, only greys. Most colour-blind people DO see colours although they are not fully able to “see” red, green or blue.

Think about that. Colour-blindness is a fact. And yet don’t we “regular-sighted” people tend to think red is a fact, green is a fact, blue is a fact. Maybe that’s not true? Even though 11/12 men could all point to red and 199/200 women could do the same, maybe colours can be opinions?

Colour-blindness is not considered a severe limitation; “sufferers” learn to adapt by using other cues such as labels, brightness, or location. Red/green colour blindness is the most common. The name is tricky because apparently, this doesn’t mean sufferers mix up red and green; instead, they struggle to distinguish colours which contain some red or green as part of the whole colour. For example, a red/green colour blind person will confuse a blue and a purple because they can’t ‘see’ the red element of the colour purple. One man described it this way: “most people would see 32 differently coloured crayons in a box; I see about 12.”

Think about that too. For some, 1 x 32 = 12 colours. Whoa. Maybe basic math isn’t factual either? 

This leads me to three conclusions:
  1. Some so-called facts are actually fact-ish.
  2. Therefore, it’s important to question "facts" (and their sources).
  3. And it’s especially important to question facts even if you’re absolutely sure you know the facts because those have been the “facts” your entire life.

Here's my point: our judgment, our choices, our decisions, must be based on critical thinking. Sure, confirmation bias is way easier, but emotions aren’t facts. Perceptions aren’t facts. Opinions aren’t facts. Even some facts may only be fact-ish. Determine the truth based on a combination of evidence from several sources through observation, experience, evidence, analysis, reasoning, research, reflection, and so on. Otherwise, we may become colour-blinded people manipulated by those who insist their red is red and their green is green.
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