Random Happiness: The beauty and power of nature
Unbelievable fog coming over a mountain
Japanese quake and tsunami images
Unbelievable fog coming over a mountain
Japanese quake and tsunami images
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~ Lao Tzu
We’ve talked a lot about gratitude and giving and one of my favorite posts on the subject comes from a long-time friend of mine on her wonderful blog. Her piece is short and simple and truly gets at the core of why giving of your time and yourself can make you happier. The best bit is that she posts a list of the things that she learned or relearned as part of her volunteering, give it a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.. – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear (From the novel Dune by Frank Herbert)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fear in our society. Fear really holds us back in a lot of ways. One of the frustrating things for me is that what I often see is that people are very often afraid of the wrong things. What do I mean by that? In an average year in America, one person dies by shark attack, however around thirty die by dog attack. However, I bet far more of you would be willing to walk up and pet a strange dog in the park than would swim in the ocean. Fear is not a rational activity, which is why so many more people fear sharks than dogs. Now I know what you’re thinking, there are no sharks in my pool at home. However, in a given year about 60 – 70 people die of drowning each year.
In America fear has become rampant, in addition to sharks, we fear being murdered by gang members, blown up by terrorists and dying in plane crashes. Of course murder rates have been declining for 30 years (except in a couple of urban cities), you are about as likely of being killed in a terrorist attack as winning the lottery and plane travel is safer than traveling by car. Ok, so we’re afraid of the wrong things, why is that?
Fear is a psychological phenomenon, the idea of being torn about by a shark or falling out of the sky is so horrifying that it magnifies the danger in our minds. Add to that something like Jaws and pretty much sharks become utterly terrifying. What we have to also remember is that fear is a business in America. You see fear sells newspapers, pumps up cable news ratings, sells us types of insurance we don’t need. Remember all of those stranger child abduction and molestations in the 1980’s and those poor kids that were abducted by Satanic Cults? Those stories sold a lot of newspapers and books, only one problem, they never happened. But bring it up at work tomorrow and I bet you can find someone who will swear it all happened. We are bombarded daily, heck hourly, by things that are meant to scare us so that people can make money off of us.
How do you beat the cycle. First, the next time you are hesitant about doing something that scares you look up the facts. Knowing the real risks might make that step a little easier. Stop watching cable news, something my friend Rich bugged me about for years, even though I was watching very little by that point, stopping made me happier. There was a time when I would usually have CNN Headline News on in the background at home. Loop after loop of the same stories, murder, death and destruction as a running commentary in my life. Later, as I still tuned into CNN once a day for an hour, it really was more of the same, shallow stories meant to make me nervous and not want to risk missing what else might be happening. Please understand, I’m not suggesting you ignore what’s going on in the world, just that you take it in small doses from sources that are not as inflammatory as cable news. I scan the headlines online from CNN and if I see something that looks interesting I dive in on sites with more substance. Sites like the Christian Science Monitor, the BBC, the NY Times or Al Jazeera. Especially sites like the Christian Science Monitor take a nice deep dive, you won’t get a story ten minutes after an event, but you’ll get a non-biased in-depth analysis.
Finally, as we’ve discussed before, happiness is a choice, as is fear. The quote above about fear from the novel Dune, is one I love and good advice. For me, what gets me past my fear in most instances is taking an honest look at two things. What is the worst thing that could likely happen, not the worst thing, but the worst likely thing. Then comparing that the best possible thing that could happen. In the end, we more often regret what we didn’t do than what we did and that is because the best possible thing is often magnificent. The best example I can give is my trip to Jordan in December. Yes, there was a small chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, however the most likely worse thing was a twisted ankle or knee. However the best thing was what happened, utter awe seeing the 2300 year old city of Petra and one of the most joyous moments in my life floating in the Dead Sea.
So my friends, let your fear flow through and past you. Minimize the sources of anxiety in your life, you’ll be happier for it. And take chances my friends, risk leads to reward.
Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
As someone who works in education, there is one annual milestone that is a huge deal and that’s graduation. The culmination of the efforts of the students, a moment of recognition for them and their families. An opportunity to gather and celebrate with their family, friends and teachers. A chance to express their gratitude to everyone who helped them achieve this goal.
One of the things the our COVID Times has done is all but eliminate large gatherings. So traditional graduations have fallen by the way side. There have certainly been some creative ways in which schools have tried to celebrate their graduates. There have been virtual graduations online, graduations at race tracks, delivered diplomas and even drive-in graduations.
This past week I got to experience one of these personally. Hudson High School in New York, my old high school, held a virtual high school graduation and my oldest niece participated, I wrote about her last week. Living in California meant that I had to get up at 5:30AM to watch the ceremony online but it was absolutely worth it.
The school did a fantastic job, as you can see from the photos, the graduates were spaced following social distancing rules on chairs on the football field. The parents, were asked to wait in their cars and were called to the stands corresponding to the row that there student was in. So every student’s parents got to view the moment their student collected their diploma, got to cheer for them and take a picture. On stage the moment they got their diplomas was the one moment they got to take their masks off. A small moment of normalcy in a very not normal senior year.
There were a few things missing, no speeches by the valedictorian or faculty, no mingling with friends and families but the students did get to have a graduation. And my niece got to cross the stage, get her diploma and smile for a picture. It was great to see people cheering for all the students including my niece, in the comment section.
It was a wonderful day and a really creative way for the students to be celebrated. ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane
Tonight part two of the sunset shots, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane
Original post date – October 7, 2019
So it was a busy weekend. I did some writing Friday night and stayed up late and decided that I’d sleep in late on Saturday morning, the planet had other ideas in the form of a 3.5 earthquake at 8AM. It wasn’t big or long, but short and violent and shook me awake from a deep sleep and left me disoriented for a minute. It moved a few of my paintings and leaned over a water bottle, just life when you literally live on top of the San Andreas fault but it was my first earthquake since moving here.
So, I got up and hit the farmers markets, I was in the mood for good tomatoes and happily landed some really beautiful Black Krims, so I’ve been satiating my tomato urges for a couple of days. I’ve been working on my blood sugar which has gotten a bit out of control, so for the last two weeks I’ve been eating very few carbs. This means I also skipped my normal weekly cheat meal, which is where I allow myself my weekly Coca-cola. As a bit of a reward for going two weeks without a cheat meal I headed into the Mission District to get a couple of good slices of pizza and a coke. I’m a little embarrassed to tell you how unbelievably satisfying that coke was, yes, I have a problem. 🙂 But it is important to reward yourself for good behavior.
I also checked out a pirate supply store and a science fiction book shop I’ve been wanting to check out. For me I know I’m in the right bookstore when the staff recommendations are heavy on Christopher Moore, Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman. I picked up Gaiman’s short-story collection Fragile Thinks, I have some flights coming up soon and can’t wait to dive into it. On BART on the way back home, I met a couple of Belgian women who’ve been touring America and were heading for the airport. It was great to run into some fellow travelers and listen to some stories.
Finally on Saturday night one of our student programs from the college was putting on an event. The students took over a coffee shop, posted their art and did some performances. Students did everything from spoken word, to rap, to musical pieces on guitar. I had the opportunity to chat with a few of the students about their art pieces, it was a lovely night.
Today I headed up to Point Reyes and did a small hike and attended a little gathering for a friend,s birthday. A lot of driving and a very full day.
I don’t like my weekends to be too hectic, I’m someone who absolutely needs to have some quiet and downtime on my weekends. I think it’s important for all of us to find ways to turn inward, recharge our batteries and build our happiness. So I decided to do a little photography tonight. Last night, heading to the student event I realized with our recent clear skies, the site of our new building on campus should over some good sunset photo opportunities, especially tonight as the clouds started to come in. Photography is something I get lost in, something that calms me and makes me happy so I spent about an hour shooting the sunset.
I also got a bit of a bonus on the happiness front today. I sent cards and a little cash to my littlest nephews for being good big brothers. They have recently welcomed a little sister into their lives and have been doing a good job of dealing with the adjustment. Well they sent me a picture today of what they had done with their money, they pooled it together and it was a picture of them holding a pizza box, they’re definitely my nephews.
It’s important to find time my friends. First to satisfy those lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, sleep, food and security and then to work up that pyramid to the things that bring us happiness. Take some time my friends and you’ll have happier days. ~ Rev Kane
Tonight, a tour around the web for articles and links on the habits of highly happy people. Enjoy the read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane