Happiness is Art: Van Gogh

Happiness is Art: Van Gogh

happiness, art, van gogh

Beautiful Van Gosh quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight friends, images from my favorite painter, Vincent Van Gogh.  The reason I love his work is the combination of color and intensity.  You can almost feel madness in the lines and brush strokes in his paintings.  I’ve only ever been fortunate enough to see prints and images, but on my life list is a desire to visit the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, that will be a very happy day friends.  So  here are some images of my favorite works, have a look and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

happiness, art, van gogh

Starry Night

happiness, art, Van Gogh

Wheat fields

Van Gogh, Happiness, Art

Vincent Van Gogh, self-portrait

4 5 6 7 8 9If you like Van Gogh, here are some other Art and Happiness Posts!

Happiness is Art: Andy Warhol

Happiness is Art: Monet

Happiness is Art: Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Chihuly

 

 

 

 

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Happiness is Laughter: Funny Baby Images

Happiness is Laughter: Funny Baby Images

Some funny baby images to give you a chuckle as you head into the weekend, enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Lighting the fire again

Lighting the fire again

Originally published September 21, 2020

It’s been a little over six months since we started our first lockdown related to COVID.  Over that time all of us have bounced through a range of changes, a range of emotions on our way to building to a place that we can loosely refer to as a new normal.  Over this time we’ve all searched for various coping mechanisms and for ways to get what we need.  For instance, with gyms closed, I’ve had to find new ways to workout.  It’s meant buying some equipment for home and doing something that I never thought I would be, I’ve been running.   I would love to be back in the gym, I’d prefer to be walking up fake hills on the treadmill than to running any day.

However, I also have noticed some not great things about my new normal.  Initially I was working a huge number of hours, so at the end of the day I had no energy left.  This led to me falling into a really bad pattern.  Wrap up work each night about nine then fall into a chair and watch two hours of TV before I crashed.  I admit it’s nice at the end of the day to just be mindlessly entertained for a bit before sleeping.  However it has also meant that I have not been very productive with any of my personal projects and goals.  That has to change.

So I took a vacation day today to catch up on some personal projects that have been lagging.  And to get a list together of the projects I need to get back on top of again.  It’s time to come out of this malaise that COVID has led me into and get moving, get started again on my projects including my next book.

So today, I built a list of the projects I want to get going again.  I even put a little calendar together for myself so that I can keep my goals on pace.  Tomorrow we get rolling again.  I hope if you’ve been in a similar place you can start moving forward as well.  The things we’re dealing with in the world are with us for awhile, we can’t just hide in a shell, it’s time to embrace life again, albeit with some modifications.

Wear a mask, be careful, wash your hands, social distance and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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The Benefits of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

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Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.             ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Originally posted January 2015

Tonight I want to talk about meditation.  The first thing I want to say is that meditation is NOT some mystical eastern practice only undertaken by aged yogi’s in Himalayan mountain caves.  Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing.  It is actually a very practical and accessible idea that you can put into practice in your everyday life quite easily.  It just takes, dedication, practice and consistency, just like any other skill you’ve acquired.  So tonight some links on both the practicality and benefits of undertaken meditation.  Enjoy, and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Practical tips on how to meditate

Everything you need to know to start meditating – This is a great piece and tells you how to start meditating in a very practical and down to earth kind of way.

5 Tips for beginning mediators – A nice piece from the Psychology Today that gives some basics on getting started, the article starts with some of the benefits and the useful stuff is further down in the piece.

Meditation 101 Tips to help beginners – A nice piece with some options other than single focus meditation, although focusing on breath or a candle is the easiest way to get started.

 

Benefits

76 Scientific Benefits from Meditation – A very long piece, but from the title you had to expect it, right? The great news, benefits can arrive from as little as 20 minutes of practice per day for a few weeks.

8 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life – For the little bite version of the big piece above here’s a shorter piece on meditation from the Huffington Post.

The Benefits of Meditation – A piece from the The Art of Living, a little more in-depth version of the Huffington Post piece.

 

Other pieces you might enjoy!

Deng Ming-Dao on Reflection & Meditation

The Dude on True Grit, Meditation & Buddhism

Happiness & Meditation

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Happiness is Letting Go

Happiness is Letting Go

happiness fight clubThe truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward ~ Steve Maraboli

Originally posted June 2018

One of my favorite films of all time is Fight Club, there are a lot of reasons I love this film and one of the sentiments that the narrator expresses is how Tyler Durden has, “the ability to let what truly doesn’t matter slide.” Now my friends this is a level we all should aspire to in our lives. We spend far too much time focusing on things that truly don’t matter. How many times in our day do we get angry at someone in traffic or at the grocery store, how much time to we spend mulling over this or that off-hand remark made by someone, we truly don’t care about.

We do this all of the time, let situations that don’t truly matter bring us down, let those we don’t carry about impact our mood. We’ve been programmed since childhood that appearances matter, we watched our parents worry about others opinions. We need to learn how to break this cycle, to worry less about what other people think. In the end, we live alone, we die alone, along the path of our life the only person who we have to lay down with every night is ourself, we have to be ok with ourself and we need to learn to approach the philosophy of Tyler Durden, and let what truly doesn’t matter slide.

Give yourself a hug tonight and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Worry, the Enemy of Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is Reducing Stress

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Happy Friday with the Story People

Happy Friday with the Story People

Originally posted May, 2012

There is an artist/writer/dreamer by the name of Brian Andreas, his work was introduced to me by a dear friend and I’ve come to love what he does, the link below is to his site, they sell a lot of his stuff there and they make wonderful presents, but mostly I’m posting just for you to enjoy the images and the words, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/Home.do

 

 

Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness is Art: Story Telling

Happiness is Art: Chihuly

Some of my favorite Art Projects

The Paintings of Van Gogh

The Art of Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happiness and Learning from Others

Happiness and Learning from Others

I’m already to learn although I don’t always like being taught                             ~ Winston Churchill

learn

Originally posted November, 2018

Everything around us has an opportunity to teach us, sometimes by example of how to live our lives, unfortunately many times by examples of how not to live our lives. The important to thing is to watch, observe and take the appropriate lessons from what we see. One of the people in my life who continually teaches me is my friend Kim. She’s a person I greatly admire for her intelligence. Now admiring someone for their intelligence is not all that surprising except for the fact that I’m quite egotistical about my intelligence. As arrogant as it may be I rarely meet people I would consider to be smarter than myself. My friend Kim though fits this bill by truly illustrating the idea of multiple intelligences. Kim comes at the world from a completely different angle than I do. I’m very much someone who comes at the things from a hard science, hard logic perspective and for that reason people can at times truly perplex me. It is often at these times, or when I ask her to review something I’ve written, that Kim will knock me flat with her perspective. Her social science, humanistic and human centered approach often seems nearly alien to me in everything but its correctness and illumination.

Watching and learning from this example makes me a better and a happier person, I’m always happiest when I’m improving. A great example of Kim’s genius is a graduation speech she delivered, enjoy it. So look around friends, observe, learn and have a happier day ~ Rev Kane

 

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Happiness is Photography: The Himalayas

Happiness is Photography: The Himalayas

Nobody climbs mountains for scientific purposes.  Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.  ~ Sir Edmund Hillary

Chorten at Namche Bazaar

Chorten at Namche Bazaar

Originally posted November, 2013

Tonight friends, photographs from a Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek I did several years ago with Kamzang Trekking, it was a wonderful trip I recommend going with them if you plan a similar trip, and the mountains are as you can see, quite beautiful.  Enjoy the pictures and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Second Gokyo Lake

Second Gokyo Lake

Stupa at sunset

Stupa at sunset

sunset mtns 3

snow day

The Na Valley

The Na Valley

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Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam

Sunset at Chu Khun

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Gokyo lake

Gokyo lake

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Gokyo Town

Gokyo Town

smiling baby

tibetan trader 2

Tibetan Trader

tathanka

Yak on a leash

Yak on a leash

Rev Kane and a hiking friend

Rev Kane and a hiking friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happiness is Floating on the Dead Sea

Happiness is Floating on the Dead Sea

 If you don’t love the sea, the sun, all the simple pleasures, what sort of life are you going to have? ~ Marty Rubin

Originally published, February 2018

I have never been able to float on my back, it was something that used to irk me quite a bit when I was a child.  My sister took to it quite easily but I could never do it.  Then, when I was eight or nine years old, I saw an episode of 60 Minutes on the Dead Sea.  The story was focused on the healing effects of the mud or something, all I really remembered from the story was that they said ANYONE, can float in the Dead Sea.

Now I’m a trained scientist, I get the science, I fully comprehend the concept of buoyancy and that given the conditions in the Dead Sea floating there should be quite easy.  It’s one thing to know something theoretically, it’s another thing to actually experience it.  So on a little bit of a chilly morning I set out down the steps of the resort to the shore of the Dead Sea.  It was in the low 50’s, so a bit chilly but the water was in the high 60’s and quite comfortable.  I stepped into the water walking on the rocks with a pair of reef shoes the bottom is not very pleasant.  I hit the point where the bottom dropped off and as I stepped forward I lost my balance a bit and BAM, my feet kicked up and there I was laying on my back, ON TOP of the water!  I started laughing like a child it was absolutely amazing.

 In the Dead Sea you float like a cork, you can literally float upright in a standing position without treading water.  I sat in the water with my legs crossed, floating like I was sitting on a pool noodle.  You’re actually so buoyant that if you tip a little to one side that side pops to the surface.  It was so much fun, had it been just a bit warmer I would have stayed in the water all day.  However, it was a little chilly and I had a head cold, so after a short float I came out of the water.

The Dead Sea is both beautiful and wild and I highly recommend it as an experience you’ll never forget, I know I never will.

  The salt formations along the shore and really beautiful.  So my friends, get out, travel and have happy days.  ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

My 22 Days in the Himalayas

My Best Appalachian Trail Posts

My Polar Bear Adventure

My Swim with Whale Sharks

Cycling in Ireland

Mardi Gras 2016

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Resilience helps us be happy

Resilience helps us be happy

resilience, happiness, quote

I heard something this week that  really hit home, this is the 26th week of lockdown.  Hyperbole aside, it has been 26 weeks since we first had to shelter in place due to COVID.  I’ve talked in many of my COVID diary posts about the specific challenges so I feel no need to rehash them all here.  But I think it’s safe to say every one of us is under a little more pressure, has a little more stress than normal right now.  And since the challenges associated with life in COVID times are bound to be with us for awhile, one characteristic that can really help keep you happy is resilience.  More simply said, the ability to take the hits thrown at us all and be able to recover.  So I thought tonight I would be talk about how to better develop our resilience skills.

I’ve sourced a lot of what I’m going to talk about from an article on resilience in Greater Good Magazine.  The article talks about five techniques/skills that you can employ to help you build resilience.  Here they are:

Change the narrative

Almost all of us, I was shocked to read an article earlier this year that stated that some people don’t, have an inner dialogue that we run with ourselves.  Very often when we face hard times, we can get a bit obsessed with the issue we’re dealing with and focus our internal conversation on that issue.  Well something that the authors suggested, and that I can personally vouch for is the power of writing.  The exercise that they recommend is doing 20 minutes of free writing on the topic your obsessing about.  Basically you just write whatever comes into your mind about the topic.  Doing this several days in a row has been shown to make people feel happier months after the event.  I personally don’t think there is anything magic about the length of time.  For me, I’ve done this for a very long time, what’s important is burning off the energy you have around what’s stressing you.  So take some time and a blank sheet a paper to just write about COVID, homeschooling, trying to balance work, COVID, homeschooling all at once, whatever your personal stressor is at this time.  Don’t censor yourself, don’t beat yourself up about what you write.  Then after, shred, rip or burn up the paper.  You may write things that others would find unflattering or that you feel the same about, it’s ok, it’s about burning off the energy and getting it out of your system.

Face your fears

This to me is one of the bigger long-term ways to build resilience and something I’ve done a lot of in my life.  We all have have anxieties and fears.  What’s important is developing the sense in your life that you can overcome those fears.  That feeling allows you to begin to minimize your anxiety around the things you can’t control, and to truly face an eliminate fears you have around things you can control.  The method here is to gradually do things that push you out of your comfort zone and make you nervous.  This doesn’t mean that you go out tomorrow and sky dive, but to do small things every day that make you uncomfortable so that you begin to get that feeling of overcoming things that make you anxious.  This can lead to the ability to take on really big things, huge adventures most wouldn’t even consider.  Let me give you a very concrete example from my own life.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you probably know that five years ago I hiked a thousand miles on the Appalachian Trail.  Prior to undertaking that I had never done an unsupported overnight hike in my entire life and I was setting out to do it every day for six months.  But I didn’t just wake up one day, decide to do that and set out. I worked up to it over ten years and a lot of steps.  First, I was a day hiker, so I spent time doing day hikes in increasingly tougher terrain, in more unfamiliar places.  Every time you go on a hike in a new place, especially someplace remote, there’s anxiety.  But after you’ve done it a bunch of times that anxiety turns mostly into excitement.  Then I went on supported long-distance hikes.  I hiked something called the Great Glenn Way in Scotland.  I hiked for a week but each night I was in a nice bed and breakfast and the end of each day of hiking.  This then lead to a huge adventure, a 30 day fully supported hike in Nepal to go to base camp on Mt. Everest.  We didn’t have to carry much weight, there were sherpas supporting us, guides and we were incredibly well taken care of.  But there was a new element, hiking at elevation, up to 18,000 feet, to deal with.  After these adventures, and with a lot of self-education, I was ready to tackle with Appalachian Trail.  This is not to say with something this huge there was no anxiety, there was a lot.  But most things we tackle daily don’t involve completely turning your life upside down, quitting your job, becoming homeless and living in the woods for months at time with lions, tigers and bears.  Ok, just bears, but I love that line.

My point in this example is that anything that your anxious about you can tackle.  But take it slow, do small things that stress you and learn from successfully doing them, by doing that you develop the ability to take on even bigger things.  I promise regularly doing these sorts of things will make you more resilient.

Practice self compassion

I’ve taken the following straight out of the article:

One practice, the Self-Compassion Break, is something you can do any time you start to feel overwhelmed by pain or stress. It has three steps, which correspond to the three aspects of self-compassion:

  • Be mindful: Without judgment or analysis, notice what you’re feeling. Say, “This is a moment of suffering” or “This hurts” or “This is stress.”

  • Remember that you’re not alone: Everyone experiences these deep and painful human emotions, although the causes might be different. Say to yourself, “Suffering is a part of life” or “We all feel this way” or “We all struggle in our lives.”

  • Be kind to yourself: Put your hands on your heart and say something like “May I give myself compassion” or “May I accept myself as I am” or “May I be patient.”

I think this is really great.  We need to be kinder to ourselves, especially when we’re stressed and under pressure.  As the article recommends we have to be mindful of reality, you’re being put under pressure, acknowledge it and remember it’s ok.  Remember others have been here before, maybe you’ve been here before.  There’s help to get through this, there’s information, family and friends who you can reach out to if you need.  Finally, be kind to yourself, treat yourself like you would treat your best friend if they were in the same situation.

Meditate

I’m a big fan of meditation, and it’s something I need to do more of myself.  I’m a terrible meditator.  The key point is to quiet your mind and I have a very hard time doing that.  The article offers several really good meditations you can use, even if you’re not a good meditator.  More than everything else though, it’s about taking time and just stopping.  There’s a TV commercial I really like right now, it’s an image of dripping leaves in a forest in the rain.  It says, do nothing for 30 seconds and a little graphic timer runs down the time.  That 30 seconds seems like a long time, that’s when I know I need to take a break from everything for a bit.  Even just five minutes, whenever you can sneak it in between all of the madness in your life is beneficial.  You can Google, five, ten, twenty minute meditations.  I prefer the ones that are just nature sounds.  Just take the time to stop, relax, let it all go.  If you can work up to better and deeper meditations great, but be kind to yourself and just stop once a day and give yourself a break.

Cultivate forgiveness

Finally, if interpersonal issues are what are making it difficult for you to more easily bounce back from things that happen to you, forgiveness is the way.  I say that from the experience of spending a good part of my life as a young man being very angry.  The anger and it’s impacts contributed to my life spiraling out of control.  It was certainly a factor that led me to alcoholism and addiction.  It took decades to get to a place where I was free of that anger and able to practice forgiveness.  It’s not easy, but the better you get at this, quite frankly, the happier you’ll be.  There are some excellent suggestions in the article for how to get better at forgiveness.

Hopefully my words tonight, and the resource I’ve provided can help you develop more resilience, help you better deal with our difficult times and help you have happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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