Random Happiness: Stories of Kindness

Random Happiness: Stories of Kindness

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ The Dalai Lama

kindness

Tonight a tour around the web to find stories of kindness to all help us think a little better of our fellow man and have a happier day ~ Rev Kane

Tonight we start with a site dedicated to and containing a whole set of stories of kindness.

kindness

A collection of random acts of kindness.

kindness

Ten touching acts of kindness at the Boston Marathon bombing.

kindness

Finally a story from one of my favorite sites, the Tiny Buddha.

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Happiness is Art: Some of My Favorite Poets

Happiness is Art: Some of My Favorite Poets

01An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way.  An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. ~ Charles Bukowski

Happiness is Poetry: Bukowski

Even More Bukowski

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before. ~ Warsan Shire

Some of her poems

Happiness is Poetry: Warsan Shire, Again

More of her work

01“Art” without the blood and torment Mickey Mouse without the mouse turds. ~ from Illumination Information

Happiness is Poetry: Doug Draime

Six Poems

Other Poetry Posts You Might Enjoy!

Rev Kane

Pablo Neruda

Hosho McCreesh

Langston Hughes

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Photographing, Montjuic Cemetery – Part 1

Photographing, Montjuic Cemetery – Part 1

cemetery, photography, spain

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.  What you have captured on film is captured forever…it remembers the little things long after you have forgotten everything. ~ Aaron Siskind

I love photographing cemeteries.  I know this and recently I actually asked myself why.  I can think of a lot of factors.  My fascination/fear of death, the beautiful quiet that you often find at cemeteries, the care taken in creating the monuments, the pure aesthetic beauty of the setting and monuments.  It does seem to me to be at one level kind of morbid, but I can’t get past how really beautiful the photos come out, and how much I enjoy shooting in cemeteries.  So as you can tell I really haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer.

On the way to Barcelona I did a Google search on things to do in Barcelona.  One of the things that came up in the search was Montjuic Cemetery.  So I found an afternoon and headed off to the cemetery, although cemetery seems an insufficient definition of Montjuic.  First, it’s a mountain, literally a mountain of dead people, carefully laid out as a city of the dead.  In one section the crypt numbers are above 20,000+ which is really amazing to me and that may only have been for that section.

Montjuic was a really amazing place and by far my favorite monument is the one below.  A monument depicting a man with his foot on the throat of a turtle while holding a double-sided axe.  I have no idea how this imagery related to the deceased and I love it because it is by far the most bizarre monument I have ever encountered.

cemetery, photography, spain

I shot for over four hours on Mountjuic and honestly I hope to return some day and shoot for two full days because I covered such a small part of the mountain.  Below are a bunch of images from the cemetery, enjoy. ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

 

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Learning to Relax Again

Learning to Relax Again

I’ve always been active – outdoors, on the beach, playing – and so to go home, and have to sit on my couch to relax…it’s frustrating.  Sometimes you really just have to shut yourself down. ~ Landon Donovan

About six months ago someone who doesn’t know me very well told me they didn’t think I was someone who could ever just relax.  She meant it as a compliment, inferring that I was someone who is productive and gets things done.  I replied that I was one of the laziest humans she could imagine.  What I’m coming to realize is that both impressions seem to becoming the truth about me.  First, I am lazy, seriously, I have the potential to watch hours of football and movies and eat, everything all day, for days.  One of the reasons I don’t own a video game system, or have any games on my computers or phones is that I can spend hours playing games without even noticing the time go by.  On the flip-side, lying around today just watching an episode of Babylon 5 on Amazon I felt like I was wasting time.

This is the dichotomy that lives in my brain.  It’s the ability to completely tune out in battle with the thought that I have one life and I need to use my time effectively, achieve something, create something to live by the Ben Franklin motto I’ve adopted for my life.

life, living, quote

My motto in life

The one thing that splits the difference is reading, funny how that holds this special place in my life.  As long as I’m reading a book, even for pure pleasure, I never see that as wasting time.

I’m trying to get back to being more accepting of just relaxing.  Taking time to stare at the clouds, watch snow flakes fall, stare at the stars or just lay down and listen to music.  Relaxation has so many benefits in life, decreasing blood pressure and stress, reduces chronic pain, etc… so working it regularly into your routine is a really beneficial thing.  So, I guess I’ll take my own advice, publish this and go watch a little Babylon 5 and try not to feel bad about it, besides, technically I’m on vacation.  ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness, Attitude and Simple Pleasures

Happiness, Attitude and Simple Pleasures

happiness, attitude, simple pleasure

Sitting in the sun and sipping tea and working on my attitude in the Himalayas, another simple pleasure

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.  ~Thornton Wilder

It has been a hectic time for me lately and I’ve been really stressed out.  The impact of this has been that I have felt fairly joyless over the last couple of months.  The things that normally made me happy haven’t really been raising a smile.  Even some significant events that have a occurred have left others confused that I’m not more excited.

Whenever I feel like this there are some things I do.  First, I do as instructed by Taoist philosophy and go back to the basics, eating, sleeping, and making sure I’m safe in my world.  I also write, not the blog writing I’m doing right now, but more emotive and evocative writing, primarily poetry.  I try to use that as a mechanism to release what emotions may be brewing under the service to get that energy out of me.

It didn’t seem that my usual plan was working this time and certainly if it was, it was taking its sweet time to elevate my mood in any way.  The surest way I know things are wrong is when I’m not eating or sleeping and I’ve been there for a while.

Sometimes nothing works however but reaching down and grabbing yourself up by your bootstraps and willing yourself forward.  More than likely what I had been doing was helping, albeit slowly and the added boost of self-determination has gotten be back over the top.  How do I know I’ve gotten there, well even though today was a very hectic day.  I found myself excitedly and happily watching sports, cheering on my favorite team.  Then it hit me, wow, I haven’t been this happy, over something this simple in quite some time, it feels good to be back.  I hope you are also having a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Happiness Posts You Might Enjoy!

Remember the Sweet Things

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness

Appalachian Trail Happiness: My Best Posts

 

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

starry night selfie

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily lives off our souls. ~ Pablo Picasso

bryant park, nyc, new york

So after coming stateside I spent a really wonderful day hanging out with my brother’s family in Brooklyn.  My little 3 year-old nephew has every construction site, including the color of any excavator involved memorized.  It’s really cute, he also has an extreme fascination with one particular crane.  My other nephew I fully believe thinks I’m a moron.  Anytime I joke or are sarcastic he very directly and very seriously explains to me the situation.  He’s quite smart and incredibly sweet and I hope someday he starts to think I’m smarter.

moma rose

From there I jumped over to Manhattan for a couple of days, to see friends and have dinner in Bryant Park as well as spend a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home of my favorite painting, Van Gogh’s, Starry Night.

moma starry night

For tonight’s post, simply just a collection of some of my favorite pieces from the museum.  I honestly have a love/hate relationship with modern art.  Love some, Jackson Pollack’s work, really love some Picasso and not so impressed with some of the standards like Monet.  And I absolutely consider some of the famous square paintings, and the blank canvases as a total farce.  But to each their own I guess.  Here are the pieces I liked, enjoy and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

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Come out, come out wherever you are?

Come out, come out wherever you are?

quote, happinessA friend is someone who give your permission to be yourself. ~ Jim Morrison

I’m back in my hometown for a couple of weeks before I head off to Mexico.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to have coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in probably ten years.  She’d been one of the readers for my last book of poetry, Otherness.  She wanted to tell me that she felt the book, my poetry, had played some small piece in her healing process, that it reminded her she was not alone.  I was honored to have helped in any way, excited and flattered to know that the book had done, even in some small way, to do exactly what I hoped it would.  It’s what I wrote in the forward to the book.

otherness, book, writing

Otherness

The reason I’m writing about this today is because this meeting with my friend is a reminder that we all need to tell our own story, to offer positivity because you never know when speaking your truth might help someone on their own journey.  So come out, come out wherever you are and tell  your story.  Be yourself and proud of who you are and have a happy day my friend. ~ Rev Kane

 

You can find Otherness and my other book Appalachian Trail Happiness, about my time on the Appalachian Trail, on Amazon.com.

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Happiness is Catching Leaves

Happiness is Catching Leaves

leavesIt’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them ~ Paulo Coelho

It’s finally Fall, my favorite season of the year, the weather turns sunny but cooler, there is that smell on the air, fallen leaves, wood smoke, Halloween and Thanksgiving on the horizon.  It’s a great time of the year to be outside in nature and I’ve always spent more time in the forest this time of year than any other.  Driving today in the country I passed lots of signs for apple picking and pumpkin patches, the roadside stands in addition to selling fruits are now well stocked with pies as well.

Of all of the Fall memories that I have the most cherished one of them all is being on the playground at lunchtime as a little kid.  Our school had a really large tree right in the middle of the playground, it always saddens me to go by there and see that the tree is now long gone.  But in the Fall, when the weather would start to turn cold and windy, a lot of the other kids would stay inside during lunch.  For me though, it was the best time, you see on those cold Winnie the Pooh type blustery days I would go outside to catch leaves.

winnie the pooh happiness

There was nothing more fun that running round and round in dizzying circles trying to catch those spinning flashes of gold.  The joy of catching one of those simple leaves was immeasurable, a feat not easily done.  I would spend all of my lunchtimes for weeks catching those leaves until that sad morning when walking into school I would look up and see only bare branches.  But that is the essential nature of the Fall, beautiful sunny wonderful days that fade into the cold grey fingers of winter.  So while those sunny days are here, go outside and catch some falling leaves and have a happy day my friends              ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

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A nice fall day

A Nice Fall Day

fall, autumn, photography

There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn leaves.  ~ Joe L. Wheeler

Today was a really great fall day.  Although it was grey and gloomy, the temperature was good and you could really feel fall sinking into your bones.  I spent the day taking a walk through my old hometown.  I also spent some time in the Pittsfield Cemetery doing a little photography.  I hope to do a bit more fall shooting in the next week or so, but for tonight, some images to help you have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Voices from the Past

Voices from the past

My POW and I in 1966

 

The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments.  If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by. ~ Alek Wek

My maternal grandfather and I had a special relationship right from the start, the advantage I think of being the first grandchild.  As my late granny often said, “your diapers were the only ones he ever change, never touched his own kids, but you were special.”  He doted on me, played with me and paid a huge amount of attention to me.  Naturally, we became close, very close and one of the little games he used to play with me when I was a baby was to make a fist and go “pow” when his fist touched me and I would laugh.  So as I started to speak I would say “pow” every time he came near and over time would come to call him Pow it became his family name.  I would hang out with him in his workshop, he’d take me for walks and most famously we would drink together.  Pow, with his mug of beer and me with a shot glass of milk.  We would slam back a drink and then I would yell, “more beer Pow!”  There is family famous a shot of the four year-old me and my Pow drinking at the kitchen table in my grandparents kitchen.  They occupied the first two floors of the house and my parents, myself and little sister lived on the third floor.

Although I was only five years old when my grandfather passed away, I have some specific memories of my time with him.  Once when I was in the hospital, I was frequently sick as a child, I remember waking up to find him and his best friend, my great uncle Joe sitting by my bedside.  I remember vividly that they brought me a bag of cowboys and Indians, very exciting as the cowboys actually sat on the little plastic horses.  I even remember sitting at the table with him drinking “beer” and at times over the years while growing up would from time to time mention details about him that would surprise my family that I remembered.

Several years after my paternal grandfather passed away I remembered some cassette tapes I had of recordings I had made of him and I talking when he was in his late 80’s.  At Christmas one year I had the cassettes turned into CDs and made copies for members of my family.  The effect was amazing, it made me realize something about remembering the dead.  We tell stories, we have photographs so we remember what people did, we remember what they look like, but we most often don’t have any recordings of their voices, so we forget what they sounded like.  The most frequent comment I got from family members was oh my god, I forgot about his laugh.  He had a great rolling laugh.

happiness family

My paternal grandfather

The success of that gift got me thinking about something I had remembered.  My grandfather and great uncle Joe had traded audio tapes back in the early 60s, including exchanging messages with my uncle stationed in Vietnam.  My great uncle had recently passed away and my granny was going to be with his wife, her sister, and help her go through his things and take care of the estate.  I asked my granny to send me any tapes she might find, these were the old reel to reel recording tapes.  She said she had found some and sent them to me.  Unfortunately, these turned out to be old 16mm films, some innocuous, some quite racy.

A few years later my great aunt passed away and once again I asked my granny as she went to take care of the estate to look again.  Once again I was told there were nothing and I gave up hope.  When about a month later a box arrived, full of reel to reel tapes.  The box was a random collection of blank tapes, club tapes of comedy acts and commercial comedy tapes of people like Bill Cosby.  And of course, the gold, the mailed tapes between family members including between my grandfather and my great uncle.

I sorted through the tapes and with no reel to reel player available I sent the tapes to be converted to CD by a company.  When I received the CDs I was excited to click through and listed to the files.  It was awesome to hear the voices of my grandfather, gone for 30 years, to hear my late, great uncle Joe and even my granny when she was much younger.  Then the bigger shocker, on a tape from my grandfather to my great uncle Joe I hear him yell, “Michael, get over here.”  Then there it was, the voice of little three year-old little me, saying hello to my uncle Joe.  It was a difficult and wonderful moment, a moment, I had no memory of, but a moment when I was so young, so pure, so loved.  I could hear the love between me and my POW, so many years in the past.  It brought tears to my eyes, like it does now, it shows the absolute power of voices from the past. ~ Rev Kane

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