Here are a few life lessons I’ve selected that came from the Ted Lasso show. There are many more, but these popped for me. I’ve also bottom lined them.
Start where you are. Ditch any beliefs that you should already be an expert. Take stock of your own assets, such as your character strengths that will propel you.
Own and share your emotions - The lesson is clear: When you experience emotional pain, acknowledge it. Allow yourself to feel it. Seek and accept support. Forget the outdated mandate to power through it alone—a sure prescription for burnout and psychic numbness. A more effective way to cope is to reach out to someone who cares, who will validate your pain and walk with you.
What is the best version of yourself? What would the best version of you look like? As Atomic Habits author James Clear reminds us, "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become." Who do you wish to become? What kind of actions will you take?
Make quality connections. A reliable predictor of psychological health can be found in one's quality connections. Taking time to nurture your relationships does not represent dereliction of duty but expresses wise self-care. You'll experience more immediate pleasure and meaning while investing in future dividends.
This is my favourite: Be a Goldfish.
Part of Ted's hope strategy involves turning off the negative self-talk. "Be a goldfish." He claims they are the happiest creatures on earth because they have a ten-second memory. The next time your inner critic gets out its whip, call on your inner goldfish and move on.
Comments are welcomed.
Here’s the thing. Did you ever find yourself not in the mood to do something? You can either push past that unmotivated moment and do it anyway or, flow with the mood. That’s where I found myself as I sat down to write this week’s blog.
There have been a number of times over the years when I went on a hunt for a muse to supply me with wonderful, fascinating blog topics. Not the case this time. There are options in my idea repository from which I could select. Sorry, but I am just not into it. I decided to buddy up with the mood and “go along not bothering.” All that being said, I will not leave you with nothing. Following is a little something, a little Autumn poem and a little Autumn Haiku.
Starlight bowed then slowly faded
from eventide's blue shadowed sky
giving way to the gilded glow
of autumn's harvest moon
as she reigned over the world below - Michael Burch
Gentle breezes blow
Coloured hues of red and gold
cloak the waiting earth. - Mary Serenc
Raindrops on the roof.
Golden leaves crunching underfoot.
Snuggle with a book. - Ann Southall
While kicking around some options for this week’s blog, I came across an alphabet game I wrote about at one time. I so enjoy all kinds of word games. I’ve made up several of my own. Some of which help me to fall asleep at night. My brain most likely gets bored and checks out. Thus, sleep.
Many of the games I’ve made up involve the alphabet. Here is one that I like to think of as an alphabet for all seasons. Some letters have several words, which are primarily virtues. What words might you come up with?
A: Appreciation, Awe
B: Benevolence, Blessing
C: Compassion, Consideration, Connection, Caring
D: Decency, Dedication,
E: Enthusiasm, Enjoyment, Effort
F: Friendship, Forgiveness, Fairness
G: Generosity, Goodness, Gratitude, Good Will, Grace
H: Hope, Honesty, Humility, Happiness, Honor
I: Inspiration, Imagination, Insight
J: Joy, Judiciousness
K: Kindness, Kindness, Kindness
L: Love, Light-heartedness, Levity
M: Merriment, Mindfulness, Mirth
N: Nurturance, Novelty,
O: Optimism, Objectivity
P: Peacefulness, Positivity, Playfulness, Presence
Q: Quietude, Quality
R: Respect, Resilience, Reasonableness
S: Sincerity, Smiles, Simplicity, Selflessness, Service
T: Thankfulness, Tolerance, Thoughtfulness, Trustworthiness
U: Understanding, Upstanding
V: Value, Virtue
W: Well being, Wonder, Wisdom
X: Xenodochy which means hospitality and fellowship,
Y: Young at heart,
Z: Zesty, Zen as in peaceful, calm
Comments are welcomed
There’s a restaurant a friend and I lunched at before the pandemic. I haven’t had an opportunity to return since. Recently we reconnected and made arrangements to go back this week. This restaurant has a very fine baked goods section. I would always purchase some cookies to bring home. So, the past few days I’ve been dreaming about cookies, lots of cookies. The plan is to leave that restaurant with a generous supply of my favorites. I will put them in the freezer and have one now and then for a special treat. That said, following are some fun quotes about cookies.
Today we will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. Then we will have a cookie.
A balanced diet is one cookie in each hand.
You can’t be a smart cookie if you have a crumbly attitude.
Cookie is the answer. Who cares what the question is.
Save the earth. It’s the only planet with cookies.
When you are down and feeling worse, keep a cookie in your purse.
Sorry, Santa, too late.
Grandmas never run out of hugs and cookies.
Cookies are like duct tape. They fix everything.
Cookies are happy, because that is their job. Making those you know, and don’t know happy. They tell people you care.
I don’t know about my inner child, but my inner cookie monster wants to come out and play.
In case you were concerned, broken cookies don’t have calories.
Comments are welcomed.
The researcher behind the practice of self-compassion is Kristin Neff of the University of Texas, Austin. Here are just a few of the benefits that her research has demonstrated:
-Decrease in anxiety and depression
-Increase in emotional and physical well-being
-Greater sense of self-worth and optimism.
And, in case you’re worried that self-compassion will leave you happily eating chips in front of the TV all day while your bills go unpaid, Dr. Neff’s research also makes it clear that self-compassion actually enhances our lives in practical ways as well, including:
-Greater personal responsibility
-Decrease in procrastination
-Greater progress toward goals.
So developing a practice of self-compassion can be extremely helpful in our efforts to create lasting positive change in our lives. Let’s look at how we can start to develop that practice.
The first thing to do is to think briefly about an area in your life where you tend to be self-critical. What does the self-critical voice in your head tend to say to you? And if you heard a friend or loved one saying things like that to herself, what would you say in response? Or what would a wise and caring friend say to you if she could hear the self-critical voice in your head? Thinking about this can help you to craft self-compassionate responses that you can offer to yourself when your self-criticism starts to kick in.
Kristen Neff describes the friend whose kind voice we’re trying to call up as being both wise and caring. Our self-compassionate statements are meant to comfort us and encourage us—not simply to let us off the hook, but to affirm our worth in a way that can lead us back to what we most want for ourselves.
One of my favorite Neff quotes during a difficult time is: “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”
Comments are welcomed.
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opened it’s gates this past weekend. It’s one of the big events reminding us that summer is going to be moving on. One of the CNE’s trademarks is it’s food menu.
This year’s menu seems to have outdone itself. Following are a few of the stomach-turning options.
Cheeseburger Ice Cream - ice cream is served in a cheese-coated waffle cone, topped with a pretzel and pickle while the Street Corn ice cream features a lime, cotija cheese and chili seasoning.
Holy Moly Cannoli - This jumbo cinnamon cannoli is stuffed with veal cutlet, breaded and rolled in provolone cheese. It is then topped with provolone and Pomodoro, garlic aioli, rainbow sprinkles and topped off with hickory sticks. Don’t forget the sprinkles.
Malibu Pink Mac & Cheese - made with a pink champagne sauce along with three cheeses -- aged cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan. And, to make things a little more extra, it comes in a bread bowl along with an optional dollop of caviar.
Krispy Kreme blueberry chicken sandwich - features the signature crispy chicken breast sandwiched between two classic Krispy Kreme glazed donuts and slathered in sweet and spicy whipped blueberry cream cheese.
The watermelon burger! This combination features a juicy burger patty with feta, mint and spinach sandwiched between two watermelon slices. It’s then doused with balsamic glaze.
The piece de resistance: The four-pound taco. - composed of a hard-shell taco with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado, tomatillo salsa, pineapple, chorizo and french fries.
You can top it all of with some Pickle Cotton Candy.
If you dare to indulge, be sure to have plenty of Pepto Bismol and Alka Seltzer in your backpack along with your cardiologist and gastroenterologist on speed dial. Bon appetite!
We are in the middle moving toward the end. There’s still so much to enjoy the next couple of weeks – fairs galore, harvesting of the new crops, shopping trips for new school and work duds, still time for vacations, a super blue moon on the 30th and more. After coming across a couple of short poems that made me smile, I decided to stick with August one more time. Here they are.
Buttercup nodded and said good-bye,
Clover and daisy went off together,
But the fragrant water lilies lie
Yet moored in the golden August weather. - Celia Thaxter (1835–1894
All the long August afternoon,
The little drowsy stream
Whispers a melancholy tune,
As if it dreamed of June
And whispered in its dream.
The thistles show beyond the brook
Dust on their down and bloom,
And out of many a weed-grown nook
The aster-flowers look. – William Dean Howells
The months have rolled around once again to August. There’s something about this particular flip of the calendar that has an oddly positive affect on me. I say odd because I don’t feel quite the same for other months regardless of what they offer. I have not figured it out yet. Perhaps it doesn’t need to be figured out, just enjoyed.
Most of what makes August is still the same. The one thing that is not the same and concerns me is the weather. Once it became August there was a shift. A slightly cooler crisp quality that would start to replace the hotter humid air. Not this year or even in the very recent past. Climate change is hitting full on. There are record temperatures all around the earth, not to mention increased wild fires, floods and other natural disasters.
This ought to be a major wake up call. Especially to those who can actually do something significant about it. Of course, each one of us can do whatever small things we can. It can make a difference. The more of us that do our part the difference will be bigger. What shocks me is that there are still those who don’t believe in climate change. To what else would they attribute the current condition?
Anyway, I don’t want this to get depressing. There’s still much from which we can find fun and happiness. And, in case you may have forgotten or didn’t know tomorrow (August 8) is Sneak Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.
Comments are welcomed.
As I was thinking about the current state of everything, Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten came to mind. The lessons he sited are inter-generational.
They still hold value today. I revisited those lessons and thought I’d share some of them with you.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your
world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every
afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and
to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
Comments are welcomed.
This has not been a good week to write a blog, or anything else for that matter. My body was invaded by some unidentifiable army of germs. It was not Covid as confirmed by negative tests. I thought it is some kind of cold. I had the good fortune not to have contracted any illness for several years. I was not handling this one well. The worst part for me was losing my smell and taste which is in day 5 now. Again this has not been due to Covid. Likely a sinus thing. Whatever the cause, it’s not something I’ve experienced quite like this before. I do recall, many years ago, not being able to smell or taste when I had a cold. Never did it last more than a couple of days. Truth be told, I am being a wus about it.
I’ve certainly have not been myself these past 2 weeks. For example, I find myself thinking about all the foods and treats I enjoy eating knowing full well I won’t be able to taste them. That’s just nuts. There have been other things that are out of character for me. Really, no point to go into them.
I share this with you just to explain why I am not blogging. Hopefully, I will find myself firmly entrenched back on Earth One and feeling more myself by next week. You all have a good week and be well.
Is there such a thing as a watermelon with bad juju? Could the fairies or elves who watch over gardens have had a disagreement and accidentally let bad vibes penetrate some watermelons? Here’s the thing. My favorite part of summer is the sighting of watermelons appearing in the markets. My body seems to crave watermelon. Even a few little cubes at a time make a joyful jolt to my entire body. I always feel more alive and happier. Facts and health benefits are an easy find on the internet, but here are a few. Watermelon is 90% water. It can provide hydration, which can be more effective than water as it is absorbed into the cells. It has several antioxidants which can address a number of issues. The sugar content is actually quite low and there are no fats or cholesterol. Now on to what happened.
I had gone shopping with my grandson on a very uncomfortably hot day. We did a lot of walking , going in and out of shops. One of the last stops was at a market where I picked up a wedge of watermelon. When we got home, I cut up the melon into cubes filling a 2 quart bowl. I left It on the counter to say good-bye to my grandson.
At this point I was rather exhausted primarily from being short of sleep the night before and not doing well in the heat. Surprisingly, I was still functioning rather well. My last action before heading for a shower and dinner, was to put the watermelon in the refrigerator. I started to put plastic wrap over the bowl when it went off the counter onto the floor. I couldn’t believe how it could have happened. It wasn’t like I had tipped the bowl nor was it that close to the edge. Let me tell you those cubes of melon can sure travel far and wide.
I managed to get a colander without stepping on the mess. I gathered up the watermelon into the colander, rinsing it until there was no evidence it had gone on an adventure.
Then came the task of cleaning the floor. To make a long story a little shorter, I ended up, over 2 days, washing the floor 3 times on hands and knees to get rid of the stickiness. And, that’s not the end of the story.
The day after the final floor washing, I went into the refrigerator to get some watermelon. It was déjà vu all over again. As I was picking up the bowl, it flipped out onto the floor. OMG! Was this innocent looking piece of Citrullus bewitched? Obviously, for some unknown reason, I was not meant to eat that particular melon.
Trying to understand how that could of happened, I came up with 2 possibilities. First, it could have been our good friend Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravity. Gravitation is universal. ALL objects attract each other with a force of attraction. This force of gravitational attraction is directly dependent upon the masses of both objects . The conclusion I drew was that the floor mass was greater than the watermelon mass, consequently drawing the melon to it.
The second possibility was just bad juju. Take your pick.
Comments are welcome.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being hooked on a feeling. Similarly, I realised I am hooked on a feeling about a word. The word is whimsical, defined by Oxford Languages as “playfully, especially in a quaint or fanciful appealing and amusing way.” When I hear the word or say it in my mind, it sets off all kinds of sparkles, delightful images and smiles. Whimsy wakes up my brain cells. It wakes up those brain cells responsible for imagination, creativity, playfulness, joy and a teeny bit of mischief. If those cells are dormant, how else could I slide down my favorite color of the rainbow? How else could I find the wizard living in a tree house in my daughter’s back yard? How else could I have tea and petit fours with the fairies that blow in with the wind? How else would I know that my appliances converse with each other when they think no one is listening?
I am grateful when whimsy comes calling. It is often an antidote for those awful, no good, very bad days or just feeling down in the dumps. What helps you get through those downer times? What helps you to not take yourself too seriously? In these difficult, crazy times our well being can be boosted or at least kept afloat with fun playfulness or whatever brings a smile to your face.
“Being playful is a key component in making us happier, healthier, more present and connected in all of our relationships.” - Meridith Sinclair
Comments are welcomed.
Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s how I’m feeling about technology at the moment. For all the wonderful things technology has provided for us, there are also many annoying, frustrating, inexplicable and downright idiotic aspects. My current beef is with a new set of hand held phones. For a number of reasons I prefer these to using my cell phone at home.
The hi-tech recharge base is adorned with a ridiculous number of buttons. When all of the buttons are active, I doubt I would even need to have an actual conversation. The phone would do it for me. As soon as it rang I was getting a plethora of vocal messages. This device must be a relative of Hal. Hal, if you recall, was the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey that took over everything. No doubt a precursor to AI. I immediately turned off all vocal functions on the phone. That allowed me to use it in the traditional manner with me in control, until…
I get way too many calls from unknown numbers including long distance codes. If I don’t recognize the number, I let it go to voice mail figuring if it’s really for me, they will leave a message. I have also come to expect the long distance calls to be spam or scams. Again, unless I happen to recognize a particular number, I don’t answer. You can’t be too careful these days.
Here's what happened. Remember, I disabled every possible vocal function on the phone. One day one of those unknown numbers came in. I have my phone set for 6 rings before it goes to voice mail. It rang 6 times when Hal spoke saying, “enter your access code.” What the heck was that? It kind of freaked me out. Maybe it was a one off glitch and I would check the manual if it reoccurred.
For the next several days it was business as usual,. Then a call came in. After 6 rings, Hal asked for an access code. Another freak out. I went through the phone’s manual with a fine tooth comb. There was nothing about this weird function. Not a word that could possibly explain why this was happening. Nothing. Nada. I asked a couple of tech savvy friends about it. They had no explanation either.
Strangely, bizarrely, seriously creepy, Hal was showing up more and more frequently. Enough was enough. Newton’s 3rd Law was in motion again. My equal and opposite reaction was to bring Hal to his demise. I unplugged the phones and packed them away. Fortunately, I kept the previous set and reactivated them. Now, when the phone rings, I answer. If not it quietly goes to voice mail. Wonderful.
I do wonder what that was all about. Why ask for an access code? What was it then access to? Is AI beginning to run amok? Many questions. No answers. We live in interesting times.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the song, “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede. Every time I hear this song I am hooked on the feeling I get from two of the lines and the music. The 2 lines being, I’m hooked on a feeling. I’m high on believing.” There is more to the second line, but I use my own words to finish it. Anyway, I am suddenly hooked on a feeling that I want to write. This unexpected desire to write is unusual for me. Since it’s my main creative endeavor, I find writing is more obligatory than pleasurable Although, I do occasionally have fun with it.
Now, here I am with the desire, but no subject matter. Tell me, did you ever get a feeling about something, but couldn’t quite define it? That’s where I am. I’m going to take a pause and consider where to go from here.
Okay. I’m back. Here’s the thing. Our brains actually have an aspect that is always in need to know mode. We want answers. We want to know the whys and wherefores. However, we may not always get those answers. My question then is, so what? What if we don’t know the whys and wherefores? Perhaps a little uncertainty now and then is not a bad thing. What if we just flow with the not knowing and see what happens? That’s what I came to, just enjoy being hooked on that feeling. If it leads somewhere that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.
Comments are welcomed.
Wabi Sabi was mentioned in a post about what seems like months ago. I said I would offer a better description of this Japanese philosophy of aesthetics and way of life.
“In a few words, one could say that wabi sabi is the beauty of imperfect things. Of course, that would be overly simplistic explanation for such a deep and profoundly rooted notion in the Japanese spirit. Something between an artistic concept, a philosophy of life and a personal feeling, wabi sabi is everywhere
In Japan, wabi sabi is imperceptible but everywhere: a crack on a teapot, the wood of an old door, green moss on a rock, a misty landscape, a distorted cup or the reflection of the moon on a pond.
The term wabi sabi is composed of two kanji characters. The second part, sabi (寂) is said to date back to the eighth century, when it was used to designate desolation in a poetic way. From the twelfth century, the term evolved and referred more precisely to the delightful contemplation of what is old and worn. It was also used to talk about the beauty of faded or withered things. Sabi could also mean “old and elegant”, or “being rusty”, with an untranslatable impression of peacefulness.
The term wabi (侘) only appeared in the fifteenth century to designate a new aesthetic sensibility closely related to the tea ceremony, which referred to the general atmosphere and to the objects used during this formal service. The definition of wabi can be traced back to loneliness or melancholy, to the appreciation of a serene life, far from the urban hustle and bustle.”
Wabi Sabi is about appreciation and acceptance, striving for excellence rather than perfection, finding happiness in the simplicity and impermanence of all things. Of course, there is much info about Wabi Sabi that can be found on - where else – the world wide web for anyone interested. For great depth and history, I’d recommend taking a glance at japanobjects.com.
Comments are welcomed.