The Importance of Balance in Losing Weight

The Importance of Balance

Balance and Happiness

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

The Importance of Balance

We have talked about balance many times on this blog.  Normally I’m writing about things like the balance between work and play.  Encouraging you all to make sure you find time for yourselves in between of all of your life responsibilities.  One of the things balance helps with is reducing stress.  When things are in balance you have a tendency to not be so stressed.

Losing Weight

Although I have a pretty thorough understanding of balance and in fact am someone who writes and does talks on life and work balance, even I forget sometimes how important balance can be.  Last year I decided to try and lose some weight and I was pretty successful.  I dropped about 30 pounds and got down to around 190.  Over the last year I put about 10 pounds back on and recently I decided that I’d like to drop another 20 pounds and get down to 180.

So, I did what I normally do to drop pounds.  First, I start eating like I should in the first place given that I’m a borderline diabetic.  So, I cut out my more than occasional coke.  I control my portion sizes better and really start to be careful about the number of carbs I eat on a daily basis.  So basically focusing the majority of my diet on protein (meat, beans and nuts) and vegetables, I eat at least one bowl of salad each day.  That’s pretty much the recipe, and I know, you’re wondering where in this is the workout piece?  The fact is I work out 4-5 days every week, so in fact my weight really isn’t related to my workout schedule.  Sure, if I wasn’t working out, it would be harder to lose and certainly easier to gain weight, but working out is such an integral part of my life now that it’s not really a factor in this process.

So I initiated this process, I was at about 204 the first morning and very quickly started losing weight.  My goal was to hit 180 by my birthday at the end of August.  That meant I needed to lose about 2 pounds a week over the period of time I had left. I started out really well and quickly got down to about 194.  I was feeling pretty good about having dropped the 10 pounds.  Well then things kind of stalled for a couple of weeks, that happens and I unfortunately wasn’t patient like I should have been.  So I pushed a little bit, mistake, I did some fasting, not for the right reasons, but just to cut calories.  It worked a bit, I dropped another couple of pounds but I stalled again  Then it happened.

I’m most certainly an emotional eater, I could explain the connections back to my childhood and how that developed but my purpose is not to bore you to tears in this post or to make you feel sorry for me.  Unfortunately, some things went wrong in my personal life, some shit piled on at work and my mood shifted.  I gave myself a small break and let my eating slide a bit, but the stress I was under didn’t let up.  So, I continued to slip and eventually just gave in.  The crazy thing about weight, as hard as it is to lose, man it comes back fast and within a couple of weeks I’d put most of the weight back on.

My mistake was that I pushed to hard, I allowed things to get out of balance on a number of fronts and things spiraled.  I finally got my head right a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve changed my goals, I’m hoping for 180 by the end of the year.  That means that I’m back to a much more reasonable pace of about a pound a week.  Not easy, but much more manageable than what I’d been doing.

Hopefully focusing on the importance of balance will help me in losing weight the way I want to.  More importantly staying balanced in your life helps you be happy.  So keep yourself balanced and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts on the Importance of Balance and Happiness!

Happiness Resources: Balance

Happiness, Health and Balance

Getting back to Basics to be happy

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts


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The Dalai Lama on Compassion

The Dalai Lama on Compassion

dho assembly 2

My basic belief is that first you need to realize the usefulness of compassion, that’s the key factor. Once you accept the fact that compassion is not something childish or sentimental, once you realize that compassion is something really worthwhile and realize its deeper value, then you immediately develop an attraction towards it, a willingness to cultivate it.

~ Dalai Lama

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Happiness & Selected Families

Happiness & Selected Families

family, selected family, happiness

A member of my selected family, the fabulous and powerful Oz!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  ~Marcel Proust

Although your personal happiness depends first and foremost on you, others can help you along your path to happiness.  This can be accomplished by consciously connecting with others who can help you on the path.  Now there are a myriad of people in our lives, friends, family, coworkers and all the people we run into on a daily basis.  Our initial expectation is that those who are closest to us are the people who are most responsible, after ourselves, for helping us move forward on the path to happiness.  Unfortunately this is often not the case and in fact, sometimes they are the very people who can inhibit us from moving farther down the path.  This is not a condemnation of those close to us, they have their own path to follow and their own mountains to climb.  Sometimes the process that they must undertake can make our own journey more difficult.  This is not to say you should become selfish and not assist them as best you can, in fact helping them can actually help you.  Helping others is something we have discussed before and this is a great opportunity to put those thoughts into action.

However, you should also not sacrifice yourself for the mistakes of others.  Your biological family was decided for you, but your friends, or as I like to call them your selected family was not.  In creating your selected family it is important to choose people who bring you positive energy, make you feel good about yourself but do so in an honest manner.  No one who always tells you only good things for fear of hurting your feelings is helping you.  The best friends are those who will support you and when need be, honestly and compassionately let you know when you’ve gone astray.

I also highly recommend that in your selected family that you have people who make you laugh, the importance of laughter in our lives is huge.  I think we all have made the mistake of including people in our circle of friends, or our selected family, who are consistently negative and bring us down.  Although it can be stressful, or cause a confrontation, it is important to work these negative forces out of our lives.  Any removal of negativity reasonably improves our situation and moves us down the path to happiness.

So in order to improve our happiness we need to have the appropriate people around us.  Our selected family should be composed of positive, honest and upbeat people who can make us laugh.  Those people who are negative, that for whatever reason you can’t remove from your life, need to have their impact minimized.  Interact with them as little as possible and on a regular schedule so you know when the interactions will happen and limit the interactions to only necessary discussions.  For those you have to remove from your life, do so as quietly and compassionately as you can, but make the break quickly and fully.  If you leave them in your life at any level the negativity can creep back in.  Follow these steps and I promise you happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~ Mother Teresa

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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Happiness Images

A tour around the web for images that remind us how to be happy, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

hpp1 hpp2 happiness happiness, quote hpp5 happiness, be happy happiness, quote happiness, quote

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Happiness and Balance

Happiness and Balance

happiness, balance, be happy

Happiness and Balance

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.  ~ Thomas Merton

Balance is a concept we will come back to time and time again on this blog.   Even in attaining happiness, everything has to be done in it’s measure, all aspects of your life must be balanced.  This is something we all understand intellectually but often fail to achieve in our life.  Of course I’m being a little hypocritical as I’m writing this after coming home from working an eleven hour day.  So I return to my reading for the day, and share my daily meditation with you courtesy of Deng Ming-Dao.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane


Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow,
Scorched leaves to brittle paper,
Dried lakes to cracked clay.

Chill autumn brought little relief-
But with the early gentle rains,
The earth’s fissure softened
And desiccated plans began to dissolve.
Slowly, balance comes once again.

Many cultures describe old people as having seen many winters.  These elders have seen many cycles come and go, and their wisdom comes from long observation of life’s rising and falling.  If we have a long-range view, then we realize that equilibrium comes in the course of nature’s progression.  Nature does not achieve balance by keeping to one level.  Rather, elements and seasons alternate with one another in succession.  Balance, as defined by Tao, is not stasis but a dynamic process of many overlapping alternations; even if some phases seem wildly excessive, they are balanced by others.

Everything has its place.  Everything has its season.  As events turn, balance is to know what is here, what is coming and how to be in perfect harmony with it.  Then one attains a state of sublimity that cannot be challenged.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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What is your Calling?

What is your Calling?

fix yellow highwayCareer is what you are paid for. Callings is what you are made for?                   ~ Ed Young

One of the questions people are most familiar with is, what do you want to be when you grow up? I really don’t like this question, I circumvent it with a really easy answer, I’m not planning to grow up?  Now as flippant an answer there is, there is some underlying wisdom that I accidentally stumbled upon.  You see, it is in childhood that we are able to get lost in something we love.  Remembering playing as a kid I can remember hours playing sports, building dams on streams, playing with toys in my room or just walking in the woods.

skyI’ve worked in education for over 25 years and a lot of that time I’ve worked with students in helping them find their way to a major and direction in college.  One of the ways we first try to help students do this is by asking them what they are interested in.  One way to do that is to think about the types of things you do where you lose track of time.  So if you can lose track of time while drawing and painting for hours a career in the arts might be something you’ll enjoy.

For students, honestly, the process isn’t that hard.  You establish what they like, you find out what their aptitudes are and those two pieces of information really narrows down the possibilities.  You can’t  be an engineer if you’re terrible at and dislike math, no matter how much you like building and designing things.  But you might be a great construction worker, welder or project manager.  So after narrowing the field, a student can explore a bit by taking classes or other activities and come to a pretty solid decision on where their career will start.  We also recognize that people will change jobs multiple times over their lifetime.

lanternsThe tougher job is of course when you’re trying to help someone in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s find their way.  Even harder when the person you’re trying to help is looking back at you in the mirror. As we get older we all accumulate obligations, our decisions have a tendency to impact more than just ourselves, we have debts.  All of our obligations make the process of pursuing our calling that much harder even when we can identify that calling.  It can still be done, it just takes a lot more planning, work and negotiation with those whose lives we’re intertwined with and of course patience.

I’m in the midst of all of this myself.  This week while on a business trip I was working with a company that has a software package that helps students identify their calling.  While talking to one of their people about my adventures over the last couple of years he said, “you’ve found your calling.”  He was referring of course to traveling, writing, photographing and speaking about my adventures.  Without a doubt this is my calling.

path-2If I were in my 20’s it’s an easy call, flat-out jump in with both feet.  Of course I’m in my 50’s, I have a significant student loan debt ($800/month) and then there’s retirement looming.  I have a good life, a good job, I make good money, I have health insurance and if I put enough time into my retirement system I’ll have a decent pension.  My job is ok, I like what I do, but the question, in such a short life, do I wake up in the morning excited to go to work, no.  It is a job, a good one, but a job.  Would I be excited to get up everyday to hike, and cycle, to write and photograph what I do, to go out and be a speaker to help motivate people to make positive change in their life, absolutely.

The retirement issue is probably my largest obstacle, I wasn’t in a position early on to start saving for retirement the way I should have, and worse, not wise enough to do the minimum that would have absolutely paid dividends through the miracle of compound interest.  But that didn’t happen, so you make the best of where you are and that is the first step, having a positive attitude.

So I do what I can, it’s partially the reason I take significant time off every 5 years.  My book is being edited and will hopefully be published before the end of the year.  I have a couple of speaking engagements lined up and plans for a couple of other books that I’m already working on.  I look forward to my next leave in about three years and try to find ways to the things I love in between.  Of course I’m always looking for a crack, a way to make a significant change that will work and that hope is part of what sustains me day-to-day.

pathSo that’s the process my friends, for those of us who are older and more obligated.  Find your calling, and start to develop a path.  Find incremental ways to test the waters and to feed your soul.  Plan for the time you can jump full-time but always be on the look out for that lucky break, if you get that shot and you’ve been planning, it’s that much more likely to be successful.  Finally, be prepared to be a little bit fearless, life is short and the last thing anyone wants to do, is to be laying on their deathbed regretting never have taken their shot.  So feed your soul, plan, be positive, be fearless 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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Give me time & attention and I’ll be happy

Give me time & attention & I’ll be happy

be happy, human contact

A hug to be happy

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

There is something we all learn when we are children.  There are people in our lives who when they show up, bring us presents but don’t pay much attention to us.  Children are happy to see them, but only for the few minutes when they first arrive.  There are other people in our lives who show up, with or without presents, who make the time to pay attention to us.  We love those people dearly and are always excited when they arrive.

When I was a child I knew exactly who these people were.  My Granny was someone who gave attention, affection and appreciation and I loved her dearly.  My Uncle Mikey was someone like this as well, as a very young child Uncle Mikey always had some gum or candy in his pockets.  As I got older he had the house with the pool where we would all go swimming a place where his attention was nearly unlimited.  I also had people in my life as a child who were supposed to care about me, but they gave cash or toys, but rarely their time or attention, even when we spent time together.  Attention breeds affection and demonstrates caring and without that, no matter what your relationship, your connection to that person fades over time.

Attention, affection, be happy

Attention, Affection and Appreciation

Giving your time and attention

Remembering and knowing this I have really tried to make sure that I focused on attention, affection and appreciation with my nieces and nephews.  Not just because I should, but because I want to, they are really amazing little people.  I really and truly enjoy nothing more than having conversations with them about their lives and what they think about things.  Living 3000 miles away from them there is never quite enough time.  I was blessed for a while a couple of years ago to spend a lot of time with some of them and it was fantastic.  Of course part of the joy is the absolute two-way street of the situation, in return for my attention I get their attention as well and it’s absolutely wonderful.

This whole idea is something I think a lot of us understand with children but forget with the adults in our lives.  The reality is what works with children in this respect also works with adults.  So remember this my friends with the children in your life.  A toy through the mail brings a smile, a chat on the phone or over Facetime or Skype is attention and it brings affection.  Your time matters, give it to them.  Of course this is exactly how it works with adults as well, conversation is giving your time and attention.  Interact with the people you care about, don’t just assume they are there for you.  Sure, those who you have the most connection with will hang on the longest, but without the time and attention, affection decreases, don’t let that happen with the people who are important to you.  Because perhaps, that is the true measure of who really is important.  Reach out, connect and have a happier day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Other Happiness Posts You’ll Like!

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Taking Risks

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way

Happiness is Not Safety







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Movies make me happy: Reviews

Movies make me happy: Reviews

the dude, big lebowski

The Dude in the Big Lebowski

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. ~ Stanley Kubrick

I absolutely love movies, even though I absolutely hate the way people behave in theaters.  It drives me crazy so I watch most of my movies at home these days.  Although, there are some films that need to be seen on the big screen, and sometimes, I miss it enough to sneak out to a matinee after a film has been out for awhile and have a good old fashioned movie experience.  Don’t even get me started on the costs!

Movies make me happy so I decided to put together a post, one I can add to from time to time to review the films I go to see at the theaters, I hope you enjoy it and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Director – Matt Reeves

movies, make me happy, be happy

War for the Planet of the Apes

I had heard great things about this movie and I really enjoyed the first two so I thought I would go check this out while of vacation last week.  First off, if you haven’t seen the first two films in the series go see them first, this is certainly a well-connected trilogy and I don’t think the third film would work as a stand alone, even if you know the old 70’s Planet of the Apes film.  A quick bit about the franchise.  I loved the original Planet of the Apes, I saw it as on a child on TV and absolutely fell in love with it.  Caught a couple of the follow-ons in theaters as a kid.  Loved the TV series and have watched most of those old movies on TV dozens of time.  Even got to meet Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter in costume at a car show once in New York.

The first movie was a classic and amazing film, the rest were B-grade scifi fun films, cartoonish and goofy at times.  Tim Burton took a shot at a restart and the film was absolutely terrible caught somewhere between trying to be a good film and catch some of the magic of the old films.  It missed.  The most recent restart of the series has been a revelation, I really enjoyed the first two films and think they did a magnificent on both of them.  Things brings us to the third film, War for the Planet of the Apes.  On the surface this looks like your typical summer blow stuff up action blockbuster, it’s not! Even the good buzz around the film had me thinking it was just a really good summer blockbuster and hey, I love films like Independence Day, so what the heck.

I was deeply surprised by this movie.  Sure, there are some good action sequences, but this is a great film.  The story is excellent, flows well and introduces us to some amazing ideas and characters and has a lot to say underneath.  Matt Reeves does a wonderful job of utilizing motion capture technology and the actors are physically fantastic.  This film keeps your attention, entertains you and makes you care deeply about the characters.  Well worth the ridiculous cost of going to the movies.


Director Luc Besson

valerian, Cara Delevingne


I have to start discussing this film by discussing The 5th Element, one of Luc Besson’s best films.  I didn’t go to the film in the theater because it starred Milla Jovovich and she really doesn’t like me, it comes back to an incident that occurred between me and her in Knoxville while she was on tour for her “album” but that’s a story for another time.  It was a choice I regretted as I’ve come to really love the genius of that film and Besson’s work on it.  There’s a great cast, the story is a hell of a lot of fun and it’s a film that I watch again and again.  No, there’s a little bit of an on the nose, good vs evil message, but this is a film for fun not deep thought.  As such, it does a magnificent job, Milla is fantastic in this film, maybe that sincere compliment will repair our relationship.

I’ve been seeing mixed reviews for Valerian, they have ranged from the promotional awesome, to the over critical horrible.  I honestly didn’t have high expectations for the film, but Luc Besson is a director who looks at the world differently and sometimes, like with The 5th Element, The Professional or La Femme Nikita, he does some amazing work.  So on a hot day it was worth the gamble of a matinée price in the air conditioning.

The movie’s primary star is Cara Delevingne, she’s a beautiful girl with a great body, assuming you can ignore the caterpillars on her forehead.  I know, that’s not nice, some people love her big dark eye brows, I’m just not one of them.  She’s in the film for her look, she’s not a great actor and her constant eye-roll and scowl seem to be her one acting skill.  But she’s generally easy on the eyes as is her co-star and again, that seems to be their draw, young pretty people.

The movie is visually amazing, the opening scene, that sets the stage for the story, is absolutely visually stunning and emotionally evocative.  The scene really made me happy.  Unfortunately, the visuals are absolutely the highlight of the film.  The city of a 1000 worlds as a concept is great, the quick descriptor though is really just a tease and I wish they would have gone deeper into the idea of the city and explored it somehow.  The story moves through fairly linearly and the action sequences are ok, but the whole film is really carried along as a feast for the eyes.  But where The 5th Element was inventive and the story interesting with some great characters, Zorg, Ruby Rhod and The Diva, Valerian looks spectacular but feels utterly linear and two-dimensional.  Wait for it on TV.


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Happiness and Massage

Happiness and Massage

Happiness lies, first of all, in health ~ George William Curtis

massage, happiness

Happiness and Massage

We all have heard the sentiment that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.  Many of us address this idea when we have some sort of acute illness, when we feel badly.  However, like anything else prevention and maintenance are the best way to keep from feeling badly.  This means something none of us want to hear, regular exercise.  It means eating well and it means caring for our bodies.

Several years ago when I took a new position and started making more money than I had ever made before I did what any of us would do and decided to spoil myself a bit.  Now some people buy expensive cars or clothes but me, I decided I would get regular massage.  This sounds easy but in fact it can be incredibly difficult to find a dependable and talented masseuse.  In that search I wandered through all manner of interesting experiences, types of massage and downright weirdness.  I experienced the angry masseuse, the masseuse who thinks it’s all about how much pain she can inflict, the “isn’t this Taos” massage experience, and the walk on your back massage.  The weirdest by far was one near Halloween who hid behind her door and jumped out and scared me laughing hysterically, not exactly relaxing.

I have been fortunate enough to finally find a really wonderful therapist.  She does an amazing deep-tissue massage, is professional, knowledgeable, spiritual and has a great personality.  She’s become more than my massage therapist she’s become a friend.  As a result I get a massage every two weeks and I feel wonderful.

Massage has a range of benefits; here is a link to a piece that will lay them out for you. One additional benefit to having a regular massage therapist for a pale white guy like me, especially with a family history of skin cancer, is that they can alert you to moles that don’t look quite right.

At the end of the day there is nothing better than that wet noodle, relaxed feeling after a great massage.  So go get a massage, and have a happy and relaxing day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Happiness Posts!

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Taking Risks





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Happiness, Smiling & the Art of Being Positive

Happiness, Smiling & the Art of Being Positive

happiness, smiling, art of being positive

Happiness, Smiling and the Art of Being Positive

Smiling has an amazing range of impacts and I meant to write about that today until I found an absolutely amazing piece about smiling on the web, I think the article is absolutely perfect and here it is:

The Art of Smiling

A natural flow from smiling is to be positive, remember that smiling, being positive and in the end being happy is a choice.  You choose to decide whether your boss’ attitude, your team losing, or even the other driver in traffic is going to set you off, or if you decide to let it go and not let it disrupt your happiness.  From the piece linked below here are some fantastic tips:

Hints and tips on becoming more positive

  1. Train yourself to notice when you are happy and try to collect five happy moments every single day.
  2. Get Active – physical activity releases happy chemicals in our brains.
  3. Sign up as a volunteer research shows that helping others gives us a sense of wellbeing.
  4. Keep in contact with your friends – scientists report that individuals with a good social network are more likely to be positive people.
  5. Write a letter of thanks to someone who has helped you or had a great influence on you. This will increase your positive and contented feelings.
  6. Eat healthily, drink plenty of water and get sufficient sleep. It’s hard to feel positive if you aren’t treating your body with care and respect.

The link to this piece is below, have a great day and remember, happiness is a choice, choose to have a great day.

Being Positive

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Why I’m Happy Right Now!

Best Happiness Posts of 2015

Happiness is Art: Storytelling

Happiness & Positive Vibes

Staying Positive When You’re Taking Criticism



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