Random Happiness: The beauty and power of nature

Random Happiness: The beauty and power of nature

unaka quoteToday friends, some amazing images from nature, from fog, clouds and storms to the migration across the Serengeti, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

 

Unbelievable fog coming over a mountain

tornado lightning

tornado lightning

60 Crazy Cloud Formations

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Migration on the Serengeti

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weather 2

 

weather 3Japanese quake and tsunami images

 

lava fall

lava fall

volcanoe

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Why giving makes you happy

Why giving makes you happy

happiness, cooking

Rev Kane and LeAnne at her 25th Wedding Anniversary Party

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

Things I Have Learned (or reminded of) Recently by LeAnne Notabartolo on her Good for Spooning blog a really wonderful blog about food and life.

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Don’t Be Afraid to be Happy

Don’t Be Afraid to be Happy

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

 

Similar Posts You Might Enjoy

Remember the Sweet Things

There are Angels Among Us, A story of Kindness and Giving

Life Lessons from Granny

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Grateful for a Wonderful Week

Grateful for a Wonderful Week

gratitude quote

It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. ~ Eckhart Tolle

We have all had a tough times the last few months, there is a pandemic raging around the globe.  Police shootings, violence from white supremacists and public protests have left people feeling unsafe.  Our society is so politically polarized that something, wearing masks during a pandemic, that should be utterly uncontroversial has become a massive point of political contention and further polarization.  We are all a bit worn out, anxious, tired and in need of some good news.  I wish had some specifically for you, but what I do have and I want to talk about, is the really good news that I got this week.  Hopefully, what has made me so happy this week, can at least bring you a smile.

I wrote a post last week about my niece, The Night Ninja, well this week she went through her graduation and I got to watch it live on the internet.  Her high school, also my old high school, did a really wonderful job with creating a socially distant way to honor the graduates.  My niece looked absolutely wonderful.

graduationIt was a really proud moment, even if I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning to watch.  It has been a big week for my nieces, the oldest above graduating from high school and my littlest niece turned one.  I’m gratefully blessed with a whole clan of nieces and nephews, eight in all who routinely make me proud and happy.

Earlier in the week I actually got approval to take vacation in a couple of weeks.  Normally this isn’t such a big deal, but I went eleven weeks straight of working far too many hours over too many days each week due to all of the changes brought about by the COVID pandemic.  So to actually have time off to look forward to is wonderful, I’ve got a little road trip planned for my time off.

The big news that came later the day of the graduation was that my brother, who was very concerned about being laid off from his job, found out that he is in fact being kept on.  For someone who has a wife and three young children, it was a massive relief for my whole family.

In these turbulent times, any good new is a treat and to get four doses of good news is one week is utterly fantastic.  I hope my friends, that some good news comes your way as well and thank you for indulging me sharing tonight. ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

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My COVID Times Diary – A Socially Distant Graduation

My COVID Times Diary – A Socially Distant Graduation

My path has not been determined. I shall have more experiences and pass many more milestones. ~ Agnetha Faltskog

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.

graduation

It was a wonderful day and a really creative way  for the students to be celebrated.                ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane

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Happiness are Sunsets – Part 2

Happiness are SunsetsPart 2

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Tonight part two of the sunset shots, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Sunsets – Part 1

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Happiness are Sunsets

Happiness are Sunsets – Part 1

01So tonight the first of two parts of a collection of sunset shots.  I’m blessed to live in a place with great sunsets, enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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My COVID Times Diary – Acceptance

My COVID Times Diary Acceptance

italian cemetery, colmaFor after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think we’ve hit an interesting point during these COVID times.  I’m calling it acceptance, although a more accurate term might submission.  I really think that as a society the United States has given into the corona virus.  We’ve given up and have declared it the victor.  What was it that the corona virus did to so easily defeat us?  Well, quite frankly it made things uncomfortable for us. Yup, that’s all it took, it is apparently too hard for us to wear a mask and to social distance.

Of course life has to move forward and businesses have to function.  We started out well, some places did absolutely amazing and are seeing the fruits of that work with lower infection and hospitalization rates.  Overall in America the rate of deaths from COVID have been declining consistently for over a month now.  A lot of that reflects the high infection and death rates in NY and NJ declining.  And most places are using this as justification for “opening” up society even more than we already have.  Tonight on my walk life seemed very much back to normal in downtown San Bruno.  Almost every business was open, including all of the bars and restaurants.  The local bar was crowded, people shoulder to shoulder with nary a mask in sight.  The streets were busy with traffic, honestly, if it weren’t for the people that were wearing masks, you could have easily thought it was June 2019, not June 2020.

Great you might say, it’s about time life has gotten back to normal.  the problem is, things aren’t normal, there is still a virus raging in America killing 500 people a day, that’s 15,000 a month.  The equivalent of an average year of flu deaths every two months, and that’s after shelter in place orders generally shut down society for 6 -12 weeks.  As we are re-starting society there was an expectation of more infections and of course more deaths.  But the goal was to move slow, do lots of testing and contact tracing for positive cases.  However we haven’t done a good job setting up for that, but have move forward anyway.  We are currently seeing, in about a dozen states, high levels of infections, hospitals and ICU wards in particularly are also getting crowded again.  Sounds like a warning bell, something to make us pull back.

But no, that would mean we were ready for sacrifice and fight against the virus.  But that’s not who we are.  Most of us consider twelve weeks of sheltering in place to have been a hardship and that we’ve done our part.  I’ve heard many people say that they are done, it’s time to get back to normal.  We’ve seen professional and college sports make the first moves to get restarted, only to find, once they started testing, clusters of dozens of positive cases.  This is what we face with sports returning, what we face with secondary schools and college campuses opening.  I have a feeling the July 4th holiday weekend is going to be a party for COVID even more than for us.  With people feeling things are back to normal, with group size limits expanded, with bars and restaurants open, we’ll see crowds everywhere.  Drinking in crowds, in close contact at bars, parties and barbecues is perfect for spreading the virus.  I have a feeling in mid-July we will see the trend of decreasing COVID deaths flattening or even starting to grow again.  Especially when you start having political rallies with 6000 people together, mask free, cheering in the same building for hours.

So it would sound like we’re about to be sheltered in place again as things start to get bad, but I don’t think that will be the case.  You see, as I stated at the beginning, we’ve given in, acquiesced, we’ve come to accept that people will just have to die, so the rest of us can continue on with a relatively  normal life.  I find it really sad that the attitude I hear expressed far too often right now is, oh well, people are gonna die some time.  I think that attitude only lasts until someone you know dies from the disease.  But before then, people feel invincible and can justify acting irresponsibly.   We’ve accepted that lots of people are going to die and as long as we’re not personally inconvenienced, well then that’s just fine.

Acceptance can be a good thing, as the quote says above, the best thing you can do when it rains, is to let it rain.  Rain is inevitable and you can’t change or stop it.  Acceptance was one of the most enduring lessons I picked up during my 1000 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.  You come to learn when you are living out in the elements that you just have to come to accept the weather.  That’s the frustrating part for me of this attitude I see.  We can change this, simple social distancing and a high level of mask wearing would greatly reduce the risk of the infection exploding again.  But we’ve given up, wearing a mask and being socially distant is just too hard for us, and that idea is just too sad for me. Stay safe and be well.  ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane

Other COVID Times Posts you might enjoy!

COVID Times, the Great Pause

COVID Times, Travel Memories

COVID Times – Inequality

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Happiness Through Turning Inward

Happiness Through Turning Inward

sunsetThe outward work will never be puny if the the inward work is great.               ~ Meister Eckhart

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.

A bit of a crazy reflection shot

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.

sunset selfie

sunset selfie reflection

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

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Happiness Resources: Habits for Happiness

Happiness Resources: Habits for Happiness

happiness

 

 

 

 

 

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

The 12 habits of calm and happy people

22 Habits of Happy People

7 Habits Happy People Have and Never Talk About

10 Habits of Happy Couples

10 Little Things Happy Couples Do

7 Habits of Happy Kids

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