Monday, June 27, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Back By Popular Demand

I've had more than a few requests to reinstate Mirthful Monday.

So, courtesy of Kathrin, here is today's bit of wonder - Stuff You Don't See Everyday!

Do you have a favourite?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Garden of Life

This spring has been cool and frequently wet, yet despite the rain, the seeds I've planted are breaking free of their interment. The beans and the peas are doing well with small amounts of sunshine. Even the topsy-turvey tomato appears to bask in the afternoon sun, whenever the curtains of clouds are pulled back.

Along with this year's anticipated crop of herbs and vegetables, I see a number of weeds muscling their way in, clamouring for their share of the sun. I know that it's best to remove the weeds before their roots take hold, making them more difficult to pull out.

Not unlike the garden of life. Bad habits can be like deep roots; difficult to unearth. How are you encouraging healthy growth? Do you regularly weed out that which no longer serves you?  Is it time to make some changes? When was the last time you experimented with some new seeds?

Sun, nutrients, water and care; these are all elements that encourage healthy growth. Learn to undress your stress and enjoy the splendours of the garden that is your life.

Related Post: Soil (Soul) Inspiration

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Garden of Words - W.O.W.!

Carol's post started me thinking about the wonder of words - W.O.W.!

I liken writing to my efforts at gardening. Each year, some plants remain undisturbed. I can imagine them breathing a collective sigh of relief, secure in their alloted spot. For now. Other plants are uprooted and moved because I think they'll do or look better in their new location. After a few weeks, they seem happier in their new home.

When I write, my words often move about, as well. I must admit, this is much easier than those long-ago, Olivetti-typewriter-days-of-university-essays. That's when shifting a phrase usually meant tearing out the paper and cranking in a new sheet, to start afresh.

Blossoms can appear early in the season or not make an appearance until the summer begins to show signs of fading into the chillier days of autumn. Similar to writing, where showy sentences may scent the piece early-on, or leave the reader reaching for that last bouquet of prose.

Sometimes, a pruning is necessary. Even then, those more tenacious members of the garden club pop up again and again. Editing and pruning. Pruning and editing.

Words, like so many plants in a garden, require attention and care, fertilizing, seeding and weeding. As time goes by, the garden grows and is shaped - much like the writing process, which also flourishes with attention, care, fertilizing, seeding and weeding.

I love that English cottage-garden look. I wonder if that says anything about my writing? LOL!

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Hockey, Hooliganism and Heart

Sadly, a recipe for violence and destruction was served in the City of Vancouver on Wednesday night.

Place one Stanley Cup Playoff game in a large container. Mix in one part fear, two parts group mentality, add in a helping of Andy Warhol (fifteen minutes of fame via social media), liberally add alcohol and omit the intelligence of the heart.

By now, the whole world has seen images of the riot that occurred following the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins.

Who knows what went through the minds, but definitely not the hearts, of the small group of hooligans who went on a big rampage.

Perhaps there would have been less damage and fewer participants if they had known how to engage the power of the heart.

Consider that the heart is the strongest organ in the body. The heart can work independently outside of the body and its electromagnetic force can be measured in an eight foot radius (2.4 metres). It keeps us alive and it also adds quality to our life. Our language contains over seventy-five idioms to do with the heart, whereas there are approximately eighteen brain idioms. The heart is the essence of who you are, what you are and how you are.

When you act from the heart, you are acting with honour and from a higher place/plane. As you learn and practise techniques that activate the power of the heart, you'll notice positive emotional, mental and/or physical changes. Many notice an improvement in self-esteem, along with the ability and desire to act with more integrity. As you honour yourself, a "Reverberational Effect" takes place which positively impacts your environment.

Negative emotions such as frustration, anger or restlessness trigger a very different cascade of hormones than do positive ones. Paradoxically,  the 1400 hundred chemicals have side-effects that can add more negative feelings, unless an intervention is implemented.

How does the city begin to heal? On Thursday morning, many tweets focused upon the positive clean-up efforts by the residents to help make reparations downtown.

The image you see here was posted on Twitter by  @Scazon who wrote, "People are writing VPD thank you notes and putting flowers on a parked cop car in downtown Vancouver."

Post Stanley Cup Riot, the world is witnessing a labour of compassion; actions straight from the heart! Thank you.

A big heartfelt thank you to Sam, who without knowing me, generously agreed to allow me to use this positive image in my blog post!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Your Stress Muscles

Curiosity. Appreciation. Imagination.

In this six minute video, Michael Wolff talks about using those three "muscles" in his design work.

The interesting thing about these three "muscles" is that they are put to work in the stress undressing process.

The more you take time to appreciate the things, people, places and events in which you find yourself, the more you find to appreciate. Do you regularly stop to sing a song of appreciation? When you do, you begin to effect physiological changes that help to evaporate stress. A kind gesture, a good book, the ability to move, see or hear well - nothing is too ordinary to be excused from a simple and heartfelt expression of appreciation.

Stress dampens curiosity. Undress your stress and reawaken to the wonders of the world. Big ones, small ones and just right ones!

Does it feel as if someone snuffed out your imagination? It's not a big surprise if your stress levels have been mounting. A cascade of 1400 chemicals prepares your body for the flight or fight response; a different part of the brain is activated when you are preoccupied with whatever is stressing you. Creativity is sparked when you implement stress techniques that treat the cause of your stress and not just the symptoms.

Are you ready to start flexing those "muscles" of appreciation, curiosity and imagination?

Do check out Michael's delightful, inspiring, thought-provoking and whimsical website.

Thanks to Steve Finikiotis who helped grow a new post by retweeting this link on Twitter.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Last Dance

This is the final episode of Mirthful Monday.

Do you struggle to get back to a regular routine after a weekend that may have been filled with hilarity, rest or over-indulgence? My intention for Mirthful Monday was to provide you with stepping zones to move you out of misery and into mirth.

Humour is a wonderful stress undresser. I hope that you've enjoyed Mirthful Mondays and that you will continue to infuse your life with heaping moments of merriment.

Your funny bone can break with prolonged stress - learn to transform it and get a new line on life - one that includes laughter lines!

As my final Mirthful Monday post, check out this YouTube video that expresses joy and amusement. Take a close look at the faces of the commuters as the "crowd" breaks out in song. (To enlarge the video, please click on the screen twice.)

Have you ever been on location when a Flash Mob performed?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Skein of Hurt

As a child, many of my winter nights were spent watching television and hearing the accompanying Click-Clack-Click! of my mom's needles as she knit her way through whatever shows we were watching. 

One of my tasks was to take the wool from the skein and wind it into a tight ball, ready for her to make everything and anything – mittens, socks, sweaters, afghans and even Barbie doll clothing. 

Some time ago, Holly, our busy adolescent dog, managed to grab hold of the ball of in-waiting wool. Off she went, trailing the quickly unravelling ball of wool.

As I started winding the wool back up, I was thinking of how similar this is to the hurtful events in our life. We wind them up, tighter and tighter, and there they stay, until we're ready to let them go by knitting them into something new.

Your emotional pain can cripple you. It can also make you stronger, provided you learn to let it go. Holding on to past hurts is akin to trying to knit from a knotted ball of wool. The more you pull, the tighter the knots and the greater the frustration. 

When you come back at a later time, in a calmer state, you are able to gently pull apart the knots and begin to create a work of art.

Learn to balance your autonomic nervous system, become calmer and more creative. What would it be like to untie those knots and effortlessly find the "purls" in your life?
Image courtesy of  Norriuke.