My Covid Times Diary – Anxiety

My Covid Times Diary – Anxiety (March 26th)

anxiety, covid19

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~ Rev Kane

So my original intention was to write this diary once a week, I’d fill it in, in bits and tie it up in a nice bow on Tuesday nights and send it out.  That’s still the plan, but after yesterday I realized that at least for this week, I needed to write one a bit earlier.

Anxiety

I’m not an anxious person, not a worrier, I have a tendency to attack issues that are bothering me and if they can’t be addressed, I’m pretty good at letting them go.  I have a lot of worriers in my life, you know who you are.  I’ve been making a point as the whole Covid19 issue has been growing, to reach out and try and talk them down a bit.  As I mentioned in my last post, overall, my biggest worries with all of this are for members of my family and I’m doing what I can to help with those situations.

You can see the anxiety all around us as the pandemic first entered, and now has firmly taken hold in America.  You can see worried posts online, you can see it as people write about their new situations, their struggles juggling work, home schooling and sheltering in place.  You can even see it in the way people are even attacking each other, you can see that their anger is really just their anxiety manifesting itself onto someone else.

I’m generally fairly immune to most of this, but I guess no one is completely immune at the moment as I learned yesterday.  Work has fully transitioned to a remote clone of it’s in person self.  Yesterday was one of those typical days where every conversation seemed to turn into a knife fight.  Innocent emails were interpreted as nefarious acts spawning conspiracy theories, outbursts and anger.  Now I get it, I know a lot of it is just people currently existing in uncertain situations filled with change and anxiety.  So they aren’t on their best game, yet it never feels good to be dealing with angry and anxious people acting out especially when they direct it at you.

One of the things you realize when you’re stressed, and have no doubt anxiety is just another form of stress, is that what falls away from you first is your emotional reserves.  That emotional cushion that allows you to take some hits to your psyche, not react and bounce back.  I realized last night that I was in that state, that the day had gotten to me a little more than it should have.  There is a feeling that I hate more than anything in the world, it’s the feeling I would have, that knot in my stomach I would get as a kid when my father was drunk and on a rampage, screaming at my mother.  I found myself with a minor bit of that feeling last night, that was the big tip off for me of where I was.

So I did what I do, I did a little writing, listened to a little music and laid down and meditated awhile watching my psychedelic lights.  I nodded off watching a television show I like.  I slept restlessly last night but woke up feeling a bit better.  Today helped a lot, we got some great news for a couple of our programs.  I watched my Cosmetology faculty and staff in a less than two hours completely revamp their program to deal with our new reality.  It was an amazing demonstration of collaborative work, out of the box thinking and truly caring about students and what’s best for them.  I was massively impressed and in awe of them all.  Then a bit later a faculty member shared a really uplifting note she got from one of her students.  Those reminders of why we do what we do really helped today.

What’s Coming

For all of us, that anxiety we’re feeling is likely to really ramp up over the next few weeks.  A couple of things are about to happen, testing is expanding across the country so we are going to see a lot more positive cases.  Second, the infection is going to continue spreading, today the US registered a higher number of cases than any other country on earth.  So those numbers are going to get really scary, the news headlines will get ugly.  The amount of stress and anxiety people have will expand.  You also may see tighter restrictions on people, more shelter in place orders, schools are out until May and likely for the year.  As all of this starts to settle in, people are going to get very anxious.

So get ready, people will get snippy, shorter with you, blow ups will be far more frequent on you social media platforms.  But I have some great advice for you, unplug.  You know what you need to know at this point.  You know you have to social distance, you know going out to anyplace with people is a bad idea.  The only thing you’re learning from the news and your social media is the equivalent of the details of a car crash.  You don’t need that, it’s not good for you.  So, listen to more music, watch more videos, read more books, in a socially responsible way get out of the house and walk, run, but most of all enjoy having the sun on your face.  Be kinder than normal, be patient.

I know it sounds biblical as hell, but this too shall pass.  We will come out the other side, but it’s going to be a hell of a ride the next two weeks, make sure you protect your psyche and take care of yourself.  As always, you can reach out to me if you need to Happinesskane@aol.com helping someone else always make me, and likely you, feel a little bit better. ~ Michael “Rev” Kane

 

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My Best Photo Posts

My Best Photo Posts

travel, happinessWhich one of my photographs is my favorite?  The one I’m going to take tomorrow. ~ Imogen Cunningham

So at least for those of you in the United States, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  So tonight you are likely wired out with last minute shopping, prepping a huge meal or on the road to grandma’s house.  So I figured tonight instead of something wordy you might all appreciate links to a lot of pretty pictures from a lot of pretty places, both my photos and the photos of others.  Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Ireland

Ireland happiness

Polar Bears

Mardi Gras – Krewe of the Bossom Buddies

Mardi Gras in Mobile

Mardi Gras in New Orleans – 2016

Mardi Gras New Orleans – Parade Shots

Scotland

Glascow Scotland

Burning Man – Burn Night

Burning Man – Art

Burning Man – 2014

Burning Man – Gallery

Art, burning man

The Phoenix Art Installation at Burning Man

Great Photography Sites

Day of the Dead

Appalachian Trail Photos

Random Happy Photo Collections

Amazing Nature Photos

happiness, everest

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My Covid Times Diary, March 24th

My Covid Times Diary, March 24th

You have within you,right now,everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you. ~ Brian Tracy

So in my post on Sunday night, You will never be the same again, I recommended that one of the things you should do is to write about what’s happening to you during Covid Times.  We are living during an exceptional time in history, and in the future people are going to want to know what it was like.  And what it was really like, not just what it was supposedly like in their parents’ or grandparent’s exaggerated stories of walking barefoot through the snow uphill both ways to school to avoid the virus.

So, I decided to take my own advice and have decided that once a week I’ll write a little diary about my life in Covid Times.  This will be a little different from what I normally write for the Ministry of Happiness blog.  My end goal here won’t be to help you find ways to live a happier life, but just to relay an honest account of what I’m thinking and feeling as we go through a global pandemic.

Week 1 of Covid Times

Ok, so this really isn’t week one right?  I mean China has been on fire with this virus for a couple of months and we knew it was coming, eventually.  As someone who is what I would consider a light prepper, I was somewhat ready for this.  By that I mean two things, first prepper light means I always have a disaster kit that includes several weeks of food and water, medical supplies.  I have ways to defend myself and I’ve put a whole lot of thought into multiple what if scenarios.  Secondly, I pay attention to the sorts of things that could lead to survival situations, political unrest, natural disasters and of course disease outbreaks that might become pandemics.

So as the news from China got worse, as the number cases started to grow worldwide, I moved into action.  I bought a new backpack to replace my old go bag backpack.  I ordered some additional dehydrated food supplies to add to my stock.  I picked up some things that I needed to add to my supplies, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment, there always seem to be a couple of things you’ve forgotten or are out of date in your kit.  I did a Walmart run while in Sacramento for canned foods, they are far cheaper at Walmart and especially cheaper outside of the Bay Area.

I went to my storage space and brought all of my reserve food supplies to my home.  So in addition to a full cupboard, I also have my tub of emergency supplies, pasta, Top Ramen, salt, pepper some other basics.  I also brought my long-term emergency stash, I have liter soda bottles that I washed and sterilized and have filled with rice or beans.  Basically a months supply of emergency rations and my case of MRE’s.  Given all of this I now have probably 2-3 months of food in my house.  Given the particular situation, I worried about how I might keep a good supply of fresh vegetables for a time, so I signed up for a CSA box and now every two weeks I get a box of fresh vegetables delivered to my home.  I filled up my emergency water supplies so now I have about 14 gallons of water on hand.  Not that I expect water to stop flowing, but it gives me a bit of comfort to know I have enough water for a week or so on hand if that should happen for any reason.

So basically I have all of the supplies I need.  As this all started I stocked up on some things I also wanted and I got a 3 month supply of my most necessary medications, I also bought a gallon of ice cream.

The virus hits the US

Then it happened, the virus hit the United States, first just outside of Seattle an outbreak occurred.  It didn’t take long before cases started to show up in the Bay Area, mostly around San Jose to the south of where I live.  At that point, it was a matter of time before cases showed up where I live.  We knew that it was being passed along by community  transmission and that likely there were asymptomatic people transferring the virus in our area.  Then, there were two people who tested positive at the Senior Center down the street from my place.  That’s when it got real for me, that’s when I told people that it was a matter of time before we would have some time off from school/work.  Two weeks later and it was obvious from all of the meetings I was suddenly having that we would be moving all instruction online.  It really accelerated at that point, we went from classes online, to some staff working from home, to almost all staff, to a few people on campus, to recommending no one come to campus, to now a vice chancellor having to approve anyone going to campus and those approvals becoming rare.

I won’t go into all of the work stuff I’m dealing with, you can imagine, hell you’re going through it.  A lot of meetings, a massive amount of change and a significant learning curve about the way we need to operate, the inevitable frustration with how and when decisions are made.  That has nothing to do with my particular situation, regardless of how fast or how good the decisions are, when you don’t get to make them, when there is as much uncertainty as there is now, with all of the anxiety and fear, there will be frustration.  But as I said, I think about this stuff all of the time, I’m good in an emergency, so for the first week or so as things were changing rapidly, as we were making literally hundreds of decisions a day, I was at my best.  I enjoyed these days more than my normal days at my job, as morbid as that may sound.  I also canceled my gym membership figuring a crowded germ filled gym would be a bad idea for a time.

Shelter in place

The big change that drove a lot of what happened at work was the Bay Area’s six counties getting a shelter in place order.  This basically meant, unless you really need to, stay the hell home.  Initially it didn’t work that way so much, lots of people were still out and about, so was I a little, picking up the last little bit of supplies, my last lottery tickets for awhile, why not take a shot at getting rich while the world goes to shit for a time.

Sheltering in place is not a big deal for me.  I’m a big time introvert, I don’t make friends easily, I live alone and I’ve only been here for about 8 months.  So I don’t spend a lot of time with other people.   So for me normally, I work, I go to the gym, I hike, walk the coast, I go to the track, the movies or take trips.  But I do almost all of that alone.

So now, other than working from home, and lifting at home, I bought some freeweights to avoid going to the apartment complex gym, life is generally the same.  I still go out everyday and walk or to run a bit.  Sometimes I go to Mori Point in Pacifica, but there are too many people out still.  Sometimes I hit a local trail but that is far more crowded than it used to be.  So I’ve settled with walking around San Bruno.  I’ve scoped out a two mile loop and most days run or walk that route.  Once a week I need to go to the ocean and walk the coast for sanity reasons, but am careful with my distancing around the people there.

Things are starting to get real

The first few days of shelter in place and people were nervous but mellow, but things are starting to get real for people.  The number of infections are going up, yesterday was the first day that 100 people died in one day in the US.  The growth curve for the disease in the US is disturbingly higher than then even the Italy curve, time will soon tell if that is a temporary situation or if we’re in real trouble, but it definitely has made people nervous.  I heard conversations near the beach between two people who live in that neighborhood about how anyone not living in that neighborhood should go home and not bring their germs to the beach.  Of course, they were standing a foot apart talking, breaking the most basic social distancing rule.  I’ve read similar sentiments online from people in Marin County and from people in upstate New York about people from New York City.  The most dangerous thing about a situation like this is not the virus, it’s the way society reacts.

People so far, have not reacted well.  First they did a minor run on supermarkets including the standard things like hand sanitizer, cold medicines, thermometers, cleaning products, etc… then the second wave was the ingredients to make hand sanitizer (rubbing alcohol and aloe) along with Top Ramen, water, rice and beans.  Oddly the first thing to sell out and remains sold out still is toilet paper, the minute it’s stocked it’s out.  It makes no rational sense that people have freaked out about toilet paper.  I’ve also started seeing surgical gloves and clorox wipes on the ground as litter.  People are afraid to keep a used glove in their car.  I’ve had a few friends express that they are starting to feel nervous.  Some have reported friends or family who are ill or caught out of the country.  People when they are scared start looking for scapegoats, get paranoid and start thinking us against them.  If you want to see how bad this can shake out, find an episode of the original Twilight Zone online called the Monsters are Due on Maple Street.

monsters on maple street

The monsters on Maple Street

For me, so far no one in my life is sick enough to be hospitalized, although I have family members who may have had a mild case of the virus back in New York.  My biggest fear is economic, I have a family member whose job is very much at risk.  I have elderly parents, and aunts who are at high risk, I personally have all of the underlying comorbidities that could lead to a severe case were I to get infected.  But I’m medicated and in good health and in pretty good physical condition, I’m older, but not yet 60, so my chances of survival would be ok.  My mom is a 78 year-old smoker with poor respiratory health, we discussed the reality tonight that if she gets this disease, she’s likely dead.  These are the type of scary realities that people are dealing with right now, which is why they are nervous and a bit freaked out.  Not to mention that they are dealing with change, which they don’t handle well.

Right now, people are doing what they can so to try and be normal, to keep up appearances.  I haven’t been impressed with people so far.  I’ve watched people not take this disease seriously, I’ve watched them ignore social distancing rules, I’m watching them set up the framework for us against them.  I still believe that overall this will be a far worse economic hit than it will be in terms of loss of life.  Every death will be sad, of course, but the economic impact will be massive and if bad enough, will kill albeit indirectly, nearly the same amount of people.  The hard times are actually not here yet, but they’re coming.  In the next 3-4 weeks the deaths will start to add up quickly, the fear will grow exponentially and hopefully people’s better angels will prevail.  It’s not a certainty that they will, and if they don’t, I worry about my family not about myself.  Here’s hoping the madness stays at bay. ~ Michael “Rev” Kane

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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

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

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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You will never be the same again, life in Covid-19 Times

You will never be the same again, life in Covid-19 Times

mermaid, photographyHope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

You Will Never be the Same

You will never be the same again my friends.  The world, and by default you, have forever changed.  When your children are old they will tell their grandchildren about what it was like in Covid Times.  How they survived the great pandemic, the things they saw, the things they did.  You are living in this moment through utterly historic times.  There has not been a truly impactful global pandemic in over a hundred years.  No one knows exactly how this will play out, if they tell you they do, they are lying to you.

But our lives have already completely changed.  I was thinking about this today as I was walking along the beach in Pacifica.  With social distancing being the order of the day, I found myself carefully working to maximize distance as I went by people.  I looked with extreme judgement at the people obviously flouting the rules of social distancing.  Even stopping to take some photos, I put my arms on a railing and immediately thought about the need to avoid surfaces, to wash my hands as soon as possible.  I wanted a Friday treat, thought about getting a pizza, or maybe just a Coke.  But I opted instead to come home and raid my disaster supplies for a box of pasta and treated myself to pasta for dinner. I made that call because I decide the treat wasn’t worth the risk of interacting with people.

I sound paranoid don’t I, well I’m a diabetic, with high blood pressure and a heart condition, I’m 55 years old.  As such, with those co-morbidities the virus is a higher risk for me.  But as this pandemic continues to spread we will all begin to think this way, it’s just plain common sense survival.

How has the World Changed

Work has changed for many of us, at my community college there are no face to face classes while this proceeds.   Teachers who never thought about, hell who utterly disliked the idea of, teaching online now are doing it.  I have an 80+ year-old part-time faculty member who is learning many, many new things.  We’re learning how to do everything virtually, I’m spending hours every day on Zoom meetings, some with video, some just on the phone.  Email, phone, Zoom, text all happening nearly simultaneously is how I spend my days.

2020

It’s finally getting real

This is all just getting to be real for people, today I found more and more of my faculty and staff needed not specific questions answered, but just someone to talk with, to make a connection.  I know my extroverted friends are struggling a bit, the worriers in my life are starting to max out.  I’m fortunate in some ways, first I’m a bit of a prepper, I’ve been thinking about and planning for something like this for a long time.  I have all the things I need stored in my house and as things started I quickly added to my supplies.  I’m also a really large introvert, I spend a lot of time alone.  At my job, the thing that wears me out everyday are all of the face to face personal interactions I have to engage in.  Without those, I’m actually less stressed at the end of these days even with the level of stress we’re facing making lots of really fast and important decisions.

This disease will impact us all, friends and families will get ill, some may die.  If the worst of the projections come close to being correct, because we don’t shelter in place appropriately, you will know a lot of people hurt by this disease.  Kids growing up now will be permanently marked by having grown up during this pandemic.

Covid-19 has always been a greater threat to the global economy than global health.  Like the SARS epidemic before it, this coronavirus will make many, many people sick, it will kill a lot of people, but likely not to the levels that the flu does, especially not the Spanish flu of 1918.  But it’s a novel virus, it’s new, we have no immunity, we have no vaccine, any vaccine is optimistically a year away.  According to disease experts, what truly brings us through this is a significant number  of people becoming ill, recovering and gaining immunity, combined with a vaccine.  The same combination that protects us from the flu every flu season.  So until we reach an effective level of herd immunity we will likely be sheltering in place, maybe three months, maybe 5, maybe 8, no one knows for sure. Sheltering in place also slows the disease down, helps hospitals be not so overwhelmed, which in turn means more people with better care and more people surviving the disease.  It seems somewhat surreal to even be writing this.

The Threat to the Economy

The economy is going to take a massive hit, businesses will fail, unemployment rates will be much higher than they were just weeks ago.  We’ve seen the stock market, until a couple of weeks ago on the longest winning streak in history, suddenly take daily record hits in a negative direction.  The Dow Jones has seen some of it’s biggest one day losses in history.  The market’s gains of the last three years are gone.  This will impact a lot of people’s retirements and retirement decisions.  I’m already making different financial decisions based upon the way this disease is impacting the world and the people I care about.  A lot of people will take financial hits, some will be broken financially.  I imagine after the great pandemic has passed, we will do business differently, we will view trade and education differently.  It will change the way we address health care, debt, and just about everything else will change.  Some new businesses will also be born, innovation will spike, people with the means who invest correctly will become rich because of this situation.

 

We are all different now

We are already thinking different, working differently, shopping, connecting, exercising and even spending and saving differently.  Hell some people are apparently going to the bathroom differently, how else do you explain the massive runs on toilet paper.  We are living through historic times.  So what do we do?

what's next quote

What do we do?

First of all don’t despair, worry is the enemy of happiness, despair doesn’t do anyone any good.  This will end, this is not our new forever, just our new reality for a time.  So it’s time to think like marines and follow one of their mottos; improvise, adapt and overcome.

We’ll have to improvise, at work, in teaching our children, we’ll need things we don’t have or can’t get, we’ll have to improvise new ways to do things we’ve always done in different ways.  I hope you all have plenty of duct tape, seriously, that stuff is amazing.

We will have to adapt to our new reality.  This is as much mental as physical.  I hear an interesting interview with a man in Wuhan who has now been quarantined for months.  He talked about having more difficulty going to the store, where he might have to deal with people, than he did being home alone after so much time isolated.

Overcome, we will overcome, should I have made that we shall overcome so we could burst into song?  We will face this challenge, find new ways to live and do the things we want and need to do.  The overwhelming majority of us will survive this challenge, some by avoiding and some by going through and surviving Covid-19.  Eventually, given all the money, energy, support and effort being put into finding one, there will be a vaccine.  Humans when appropriately motivated and pressed can be absolutely amazing.  Scientists rock and like they have many times they will help save the day.  Life will slowly get back to normal, well to a new normal anyway.

Friends, I suggest you document what’s going on.  Keep a journal, take pictures, make videos, your young children, your future grandchildren, hell historians will appreciate it.  Write about it, write about how it feels to go through this, it will help you and it will be fascinating for people to read in the future.  It will be painful and beautiful for you to read and remember what it was like.  It is overwhelmingly likely that no one alive today, will every go through a full blown global pandemic again in their lifetime.  There will be a definite, life before, and life after the great pandemic, much like there was for the Great Depression, WWII, the assassinations of both Kennedys, Martin Luther King and 9/11.

While we’re in this it’s important to practice self-care.  You not only have to take care of those around you, but also yourself.  You’re of less help to those people if you’re wired and burned out.  So find those moments for yourself.  Maybe that’s early in the morning, or late at night, but find a spot and do something for yourself.  Take a bath, read a book, meditate, eat a little chocolate, find a way to laugh.  Take spots during the day, each day, to just stop and breathe.  Even if it’s only the time to stop and take three deep breaths and let the tension drift.  There are lots of meditation and nature videos on the web that you can just listen and relax to for a bit.

Helping others will always make you feel better.  This is a really easy time to be able to help others.  Even if it is just by checking in on someone, the elderly person down the street, a relative or even a friend.  I’m making it a point each day to reach out to someone different, to connect in a real way.  Not just a hello on Facebook or by text, but really connect, a full chat or even go old school and make a phone call.  Let’s use this time to reconnect to people we’ve lost a little bit in our lives and remind ourselves and them of our connections.

rev kane, slower pace of life, can make you happy

A slower pace of life can make you happy

Don’t forget to celebrate!

Don’t forget to celebrate!  Celebrate everything!  Any reason you can think of, make some stupid party hats, create a fancy snack, do shots of kool-aid.  Do a Facetime, Zoom or Skype happy hour with friends, do a Netflix Watch Party.  Have a it’s Wednesday party, stop everyday at 11:11 and pretend it’s New Years Eve.

Get better!  Read, exercise, develop better eating habits, research out of where some pirate might have buried their treasure and then go search for it when all of this is over.  Design the ultimate vacation to take when things get back to our new normal.  Learn a new language with a free app like Duolingo, play that guitar in the closet.  Invent a new story, maybe you’ll become the next JK Rowling.

happiness

As with everything, our attitude is everything.  Keep yourself positive and if you find yourself slipping reach out to someone who can help.  If there is no one else, reach out to me, Happinesskane@aol.com.  I’ll be thrilled to chat with you and help you raise a smile, it will make me feel good as well.

And while you’re home here’s a post with literally hundreds of thousands of things to do.  Gallery tours, concerts, images, videos, activities for kids, free digitized books, free audiobooks and couple of pretty pictures thrown in for good measure.

I absolutely know you can, so have a happy day my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

 

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Some Great Websites for those Sheltering at Home

Some Great Websites for those Sheltering at Home

bored, coronavirus

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified? ~ Chuck Palahniuk

So for the last week I’ve been collecting virtual activities off of social media, here’s a collection to help make your time stuck in the house a little happier. ~ Rev Kane

I’m going to start with this one, the NY Philharmonic Digital Archive, this one is personal as my brother works there, so give it lots of hits so they keep him working.  🙂

The Bucket Shot, a 20 minute video on the photo of a lifetime

A link to 450 Ivy League courses you can take online.

A great blog post, by my friend Shari

coronavirus, heroes

63 experiments for kids to do at home with household stuff

100’s of free children’s audiobooks to listen to on Audible

If that’s not enough 6000 Digitized Children’s Books

california blue ocean

A blog post containing one of the best stories of ever heard, Remember the Sweet Things

Take a virtual tour of Hawaii

Watch a video stream of the Northern Lights

A little something to mess with your mind

 

300,000 downloadable books from the New York Public Library

A list of upcoming live concerts you can watch at home

Activities to keep college students active, but a lot of these could be adapted for younger students

optical illusion

33 Virtual National Park tours that you can take from home

Library resources you can access from home. This is a truly amazing list put together by the Portland Library.

100,000 images from French Art Museums

Scholastic has put a bunch of learning modules for kids online

Apollo 13, a multimedia presentation where you can follow this flight to the moon.  The site offers the same for Apollo 11 and Apollo 17.

Five astronomy and space related activities, this includes the Apollo sites above.

The Berlin Philharmonic Concert archive, lots of concerts online as well as streaming concerts.

12 museums with virtual tours online

bored, coronavirus

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Happiness is focusing on the good things

Happiness is focusing on the good things

double bow 1

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Life is hard, and if we are to be happy in this hard existence we must remember to focus on the good things.  This is not easy.  This is not easy at all when a family member is diagnosed with cancer, when your child is having problems in school or in life, or when someone breaks into your home and threatens your very security.  We hold so many things dear and when those things, whether they be material things or the more important safety, security or health are threatened, then life seems like it can break us.  We can feel our lives to be an insurmountable obstacle that we can neither climb nor escape from, not even for what would be just a precious few hours of rest and peace.   When we are at this point and our mental reserves are shot it is incredibly hard to be there for our loved ones the way would like to be, the way they need us to be.  So what do you do?

Taoist philosophy tells us to be patient, there are so many things in life that we cannot control and it is useless to waist your energy against an immovable obstacle.  So be patient and wait, wait for what you can control, what you can change and then make that change.  This is excellent advice, but what do you do while you’re waiting for that opportunity to change things?  You focus on the good things, the cliché is, count your blessings, but it is a worthwhile exercise.  And while you are thinking about the good in your life, make sure you smile.  The quote below from Mother Teresa is one of my favorites, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Because what we must remember is that a smile, even if forced, will make us feel just a little bit better and that’s a start.  Even more importantly, in the middle of our pain, or grief, or frustration, by smiling we can still help others.  Sometimes in the middle of a purely shit day, a smile from a friend or even a stranger can turn things around.  And if you’re smiling at them, they’re likely to smile back and make both of your days just a little bit better.  So smile sunshine, things will get better and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. ~ Mother Teresa

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Remember the Sweet Things

Remember the Sweet Things

The best way for a person to have happy thoughts is to count his blessings and not his cash.  ~Author Unknown

 orange

This is a repeat of an old post but one I think is really special ~ Rev Kane

First I have to thank a friend, Krissy for providing the link I’m going to share with you today.  The link below is to a site that offers an audio recording from a story teller about riding the bus one day.  On that day, on that bus, he encounters an old Jewish man who produces for him an orange and asks him what he thinks of it.  The younger man doesn’t think much of the orange, it’s an orange.  The old man goes on to explain what an orange is and can be, the clip is a six minute listen and if I may be so bold will be the six most intense and thought provoking moments of your day, give it a listen:

The Orange

Hey you, yes you, the person who just skipped over the link because you don’t really have six whole minutes to spend on listening to a story about an orange, shut your office door, turn off the TV, or whatever can distract you and listen, six most intense, thought provoking and beautiful minutes of your day.

Remember the sweet things, the things that taste sweet, that look sweet, the sweet moments of your day, your life and even more importantly provide a sweet thing or moment for someone else.  Maybe it’s a friend or a relative’s birthday.  Well take a minute and don’t just leave happy birthday on their phone, let it all hang out, sing happy birthday with all of your might, out of tune and ridiculously and give them a really sweet happy birthday.  Even just a hug today, unexpectedly and out of the blue for someone can be the sweetest thing, you never know what the person next to you is going through and that hug can be a sweet thing for them to remember and can make them have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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

 

OTHER POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY!

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Our Best Happiness Posts of 2015

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Why I’m Happy Right Now!

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Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

fearWe can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light ~ Plato

One of the biggest problems I see in society these days is fear.  It most often shows itself in the form of worry, people are afraid and so they worry about so many things that could go wrong, or harm them, or might happen.  I’ve written about this problem before in a piece entitled, Worry the enemy of happiness.  But today I want to talk more specifically about fear for two reasons.  First I see people expressing a lot more fear these days than I ever remember hearing and seeing before.  Secondly, most of the things that we fear are irrational.

I often hear people, usually people who want your support in some way, saying how smart people are and I’m not sure I agree.  Now you know you’re smart so of course that statement must be true.  However if it was, I don’t think we would so often see people letting their emotions overwhelm they’re intellect.  You may argue people are smart but they don’t use it.  This is like arguing that Billy is a really fast runner, he just never runs fast.  Possibly true, but not very likely.  What is often said about people that I do agree with is that people fundamentally want to be good and kind and happy.  I have seen this demonstrated, not so much in day-to-day society but in times of deep sorrow and tragedy.  People get caught up in a me first attitude day-to-day, but when confronted with the truly harsh realities of life their better nature usually comes to the fore.

Let me point out, in relation to our fears, exactly why I’m not convinced people are very intellectual.  I know perfectly fine human beings who climb into a car and drive every day without a care.  In the United States, nearly 33,000 people died in car crashes in the United states in 2013, nearly 100 per day!  Those exact same people will not wade more than ankle-deep in the ocean because they are afraid of sharks.  On average in the United States, ONE person per year is killed by a shark, six are killed worldwide.  There are normally less than twenty shark attacks in the US each year.  Our fears about sharks I have a feeling went up significantly in the 1970’s with both the book and the movie Jaws.

01Our fears are driven not by an intellectual evaluation of risk but our emotional reaction to the object of fear.  In the last ten years, less than 100 Americans have been killed in the US by terrorists.  If you want a bigger number you can go back to 9/11 and the total will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3200 people in the last fifteen years.  In the last ten years, there have been roughly 300,000 deaths due to gun violence in the United States.  Yet I hear much more concern about terrorists coming to the US to kill us than I do about fearing gun violence from other Americans.  Again, this is driven by emotion not rational risk analysis, but I get it, the image of planes flying into towers, massacres in the streets of Paris, news of deaths in San Bernardino cause an emotional reaction.

Having an emotional reaction to something terrible is utterly normal, reading about someone being attacked by a shark or killed by a terrorist at a cafe should elicit a fear response.  That you react emotionally to the event does not impact your happiness.  How you choose to react and act past that initial response is what can damage your happiness.

If your reaction to shark attacks is to spend hours worrying about a shark attack before you go to the beach you’re impacting your happiness.  If you are unable to enjoy yourself in the water because you are very afraid that impacts your happiness negatively.  Worst of all, if you won’t go to the beach at all, or won’t go on a cruise or let your kids swim in the ocean you are letting your fears keep you from doing things that will very likely make you happier.  Some may argue that if you have that fear then staying home is the best option, you’ve escaped your fear and aren’t stressing.  But I’ll give you another way to look at this, you’ve let your fear dictate the way you live your life and have reduced the number of positive experiences you are able to have.  If you begin to avoid everything that harm you pretty soon you’ll be living in a padded room.

I see the same thing with terrorism, yes, there are people in this world who are willing to kill you.  They want to kill you for nothing more than your nationality, religion, color of your skin, sexual orientation or any number of other things that someone has deemed is wrong.  For this reason I see people speaking out in unkind ways about people they have never met.  I see political leaders using this fear as a foundation for bigotry.  Hatred and suspicion will never be a path to kindness, generosity or happiness.  And I would argue that most people see themselves as kind, generous and want to be happy.

When we come back to actual risk however, we see that terrorist truly pose very little risk to our lives.  This does not mean we shouldn’t work to reduce that risk for us and others, but it also doesn’t mean we should act in ways that are counter to our core values.  In particular where refugees are concerned, I believe we should continue to vet refugees the way we do, do a good job of weeding out those who mean to harm others.  We have the data that in fact shows over the last ten years there has been very little risk created from the hundreds of thousands of refugees we’ve admitted to this country.  We typically admit about 70,000 refugees per year into the United States.

04I don’t think we should fantasize that we can ever devise a perfect process, or that people may not change after they are in the United States for years.  We’ve seen this fear before in the United States, fear of Italians, of Jews, the Irish, Mexicans and Communists.  And yes, throughout our history we’ve allowed folks to immigrate to the United States who have turned out to be mafia members, criminals, Communists and others who were not a positive force on our society.  But this number has always been small, we emotionally fear the new, those we see as other, in reality these people have always and will almost certainly always pose a very small risk to each of us.  On the other side think about how these people have enriched our society and culture, it is part of what makes America the envy of the world.

02So let’s get back to being happier in our daily lives.  We need to reduce the fears that we have and hopefully this will lead to reducing worry and the stress that it brings that is so detrimental to your health.  My recommendations are as follows:

  1. Reduce your news intake, particularly your cable news intake.  You don’t need to watch 4 hours of coverage about the latest attack regardless of where it is or how many people have died.  Understand that local news also has a formula that will cause you unnecessary worry.  Whatever tragedy occurs, attack, earthquake, meteor strike, Ebola, local news will always do a story, entitled, <insert horror> can it happen here? Even if the answer is no that story will still make you worry.

2. When you do start to fear and worry about something, do a reality check.  I’m afraid of Ebola, let’s see how many people have ever died of Ebola in America, zero, ok, maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about that.  It may not eliminate the worry but it should put it in proper context.

3.  This will seem counter intuitive, but scare yourself, stretch yourself.  I am a huge proponent of adventure leading to happiness.  I can tell you from personal experience, the more you test and scare yourself and succeed, the more you will begin to realize that your fears aren’t as real as you believed them to be.  And focus on that, if you’re afraid of shark attacks go to the beach and just watch.  Lot’s of people frolicking in the surf and no one is getting voraciously consumed by the epitome of swimming death.  Focus on the reality of your experience instead of the fantasies of your fears.

4. Finally, actively work to stay positive, when you are worrying or afraid, ask yourself is there another way to look at this situation?  Instead of focusing on the 6 shark attacks this year, how about focusing on the hundreds of millions of people who swam in the ocean without being attacked.

I hope these tips can help and I want to make a final comment related to social media.  It’s easy to express your fears behind a computer screen and to dismiss other opinions.  Online we seek out others who echo our opinions, be careful.  If we have a fear about sharks and we post and read posts about shark attacks, the algorithms for sites like Facebook will feed you more posts about shark attacks.  In those posts you see lots of comments for people with the same fears which amplifies and confirms your own fears.  Be smart about how you use social media and don’t respond to others who disagree out of emotion and fear.

03So my friends, try to reduce your fear and worry, try to focus on more kindness and generosity and have a happy day.  I’ll end this piece with one of my favorite quotes from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, I have always found these words to be profoundly wise and have quoted this to myself at times when I was truly afraid. ~ 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.          ~ The character Paul from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Remember the Sweet Things The best story you’ll ever hear!

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Stories of Kindness

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Happiness Tips

Happiness Tips

happiness volunteering

So I thought tonight it might be interesting to post a number pieces that share tips on living a happier life, if for nothing else than to see what the overlap was, have a look and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

From Deepak Chopra

From LifeHack.com a pretty standard list

From the Happiness Institute

52 Tips from Zen Habits

37 tips from Daring to Live Fully

12 Tips for a happier day

From WebMD, 6 tips for overcoming barriers to happiness

How $10 can get you 7 hours of happiness

15 Tips to boost your well-being and fitness

7 tips to cultivate gratitude 

 

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