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Just a Little Something to Make You Happy

September 2, 2010

Everyone on planet earth should watch this video:

Slowing Things Down: A Few Ideas to Start You Off

August 26, 2010

Last week’s post was about the necessity of slowing your life down so that you don’t miss it. This week, I’m going to start you off with a few practical ways to do that. Here we go:

Turn off the TV– When was the last time you had a really good night’s sleep? If you’re one of 50% of Americans who end their days with TV, I’ve got good news for you. Studies show that if you turn off the TV two hours before you go to sleep, you will have a much better rest. The unfiltered audio/visual stimulation you receive from that screen keeps your brain buzzing long after you close your eyes. For the rest of the week, try this: flip the switch, climb into bed a little earlier, grab a book or a loved one and enjoy the slow fade into a great night’s sleep.

Stretch- So you’re feeling much more rested as you turn your alarm off in the morning. You pull yourself out of a comfy bed, hop in for a quick shower, grab some coffee and a Gogurt, and head off to work. Woah woah woah. Rewind that scene for a moment. Yes, even past the Gogurt. Wanna start the day off right? Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier and stretch. Here are some key stretches. Pick a few and spend at least 30 seconds on each one before hopping into the shower. Continue stretching here and there at work and don’t ever skip a stretch before physical activity. The time you take to stretch will not only help deepen your breathing, slow your mind down, and increase your circulation. It will save you on injuries, poor posture, and medical expenses.

Be the Smoothie King- If you live alone, or with hibernating bears, this is a great way to start the day. Otherwise, save it for an afternoon treat when you get home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A peeled orange (You don’t even have to separate the segments).
  • A blender
  • Two (or three) tablespoons of sugar
  • 5 or 6 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Now blend, my friend… blend. (If you’re daring, start trying the same recipe with other cheap fruit: I like using watermelon or grapes.)

How bout you? What practical ways have you found to slow things down?

Slow Down

August 20, 2010

Snail

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

These days we’re all about speed & efficiency. High speed internet, more mpg, tv on demand, twitter accessibility anywhere; all so that we can keep moving and not have to slow down. I’m one of those people who always has to be doing something. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m just wired for activity, oftentimes multiple activities at once. Which is one of the reasons Jacki is so perfect for me.

I catapult out of bed in the morning, my mind blazing with to-do items. Jacki lingers, enjoying the softness of the sheets & the coolness of the morning air. It’s one of the most frustrating &, yet, most lovely things about having her in my life. She slows me down. She helps me engage the moment.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a driven, hard-working individual. But what do we spend so much of our life working for, if not to enjoy the fruit of our work? It’s not the grand scheme or laborious accomplishment that truly give our life meaning, but the journey getting there. It’s the details, the little moments, that make up the story of our lives. If you don’t take the time to slow down and savor them, then you are losing your life bit by bit.

So I’m pleading with you, slow down & cherish the details of your life. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some of the practical ways that I have found of slowing down my life & enjoying the moments. I would love to hear from you about some of yours.

Watch the Perseids Tonight

August 13, 2010

Perseids

Imagine what it would be like if the universe threw a New Year’s party in your backyard. Well, that’s what’s happening tonight. They are called the Perseids, a stream of meteors that seem to come from the constellation Perseus. And they are the rockstars of the meteor shower world (up to 50 an hour). They’ve been showing up since the end of July and will be around till close to the end of August, but tonight they are out in full force. Don’t miss this opportunity to take in some of the wonder of the massive universe that you live in. Here’s a few tips if you plan to go stargazing.

  • Get comfortable. Depending on where you live, you may want to bring a jacket and a blanket. You’ll definitely want to bring a sleeping bag or picnic blanket to lay out on.
  • Turn off your cellphone. They ruin your night vision and they’ll distract you from just being where you are.
  • Get outta town. Light pollution and clouds will make it a little harder to see the stars and meteors above. If you can, find a place away from the city and possibly at a high point to watch.
  • Know where Perseus is. (Check out the pictures below) If you don’t know your sky, look for these markers: Orion, Cassiopeia, & Cepheus. Perseus is right between them. Don’t concentrate too hard, though, meteor’s can streak all over the sky during a meteor shower.
  • Plan for a late night. Often, the best times to see meteor showers are between midnight and dawn. You don’t have to stay the whole time. Even an hour or two will be worth your time.

So here it is, your invitation. The universe will take care of the fireworks, all you gotta do is bring a few friends, kick back and enjoy the show.

Perseus

Perseus

Orion

Orion

Cepheus & Cassiopeia

Cepheus & Cassiopeia


The Home is Alive with the Sound of Music

August 6, 2010

You know that feeling you get when a song you love comes on? Or how much fun it is to belt out the lyrics of a song that’s totally out of character for you? What if you could savor those moments all day long? The fact is that you can.

I grew up in home where my parents always had the house bathed in music. Because of that, a good sound system is one of the first things that my wife and I have bought when we’ve moved into a new house. Think that’s a bit extravagant? Think again. Two years ago we bought a surround sound system for $50 at WalMart. Okay, so it’s affordable, but is it really that important? Take a look at these benefits of listening to music and decide if you can really afford to miss out on them.

  • Set the Pace– Your brainwaves naturally sync up with the tempo of the music you’re listening to. Want to get amped up, concentrate on a project, or stir up some activity in your brain? Listen to uptempo music. Want to settle down your racing thoughts, relax and enjoy a few moments of peace, turn on something with a slow beat.
  • Breathe!– When your brainwaves relax, the rest of your body follows in suit. Music helps regulate your breathing, which, in turn, reduces tension in your muscles, sends oxygen through your body and into your brain. All of this helps you think clearer and reduces stress. Stress leads to all kinds of heart problems and other nasty diseases you don’t want to have to deal with.
  • Tune Up Your Motor Skills– Music can help improve your motor skills. That’s why you run easier with an iPod or play with more ease when a song’s blaring in the background.
  • Memory Help– Listening to music while taking in information can help you recall that information when that music is played later.
  • Enrich Your Life– Music connects us to each other. We read the map of our cultures through the stories, words, melodies, and values expressed in song. We share experiences and explore themes of love, significance, happiness, etc. Branch out in your musical tastes and you can discover a whole way of life that you had never encountered before.

These are just a few benefits of listening to music. For more, you can check out this article in Men’s Health, and this article in About.com. And if you like the looks of those boomboxes, check out Lyle Owerko’s site for more.

So this week’s Quinessential? If you don’t have one already, go out and buy a sound system. If you can’t find one in your budget, try some cheap computer speakers in the meantime or an iPod dock. Then, start creating a playlist for your home.

If you’ve got some other benefits of listening to music, feel free to post them here.

You’re Only as Happy as You Want to Be

July 30, 2010

Pick one of the following to finish the sentence: I would be happier for the rest of my life if I…

  1. Won the lottery
  2. Became a parapalegic

The answer may surprise you. Watch this Ted talk presentation by Dan Gilbert to find out what it is and why he believes in the simple truth that happiness is a choice.

International Day of Laziness

July 26, 2010

Yeah, you read that right. We’re starting a new holiday. It’s almost through summer and it’s about time you took a day off and really did nothing but enjoy it. So this Saturday, the 31st of July, we’re declaring the first annual International Day of Laziness. Go for a picnic, fly a kite, take a leisurely walk, build a suit of armor made of packing peanuts and have battles with your friends. Scratch that last one. There’s too much effort to that idea. If it causes you to break a sweat or furrow your brow, you have absolute liberty to procrastinate it. Take that time of being not productive to enjoy a nap and the company of the people you love the most. Let us know how it goes.

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