Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Category: Life Stories Page 1 of 45

Love changes the world – yes, really, and by a lot!

My (now) occasional columns are originally published on the Armchair Mayor News, this one included.

I saw the tiniest hummingbird the other day, while on the morning hike. No bigger than a (small) dandelion flower, it was hovering around a Saskatoon bush. I got home and promptly put up the red hummingbird feeder in the backyard.

Why I do not miss Facebook and why just one resolution

It’s been many months since I deactivated my Facebook account. I do not miss it, and as much as I would like to, I cannot delete it fully because there are people I care about who are for now communicating only via Facebook messenger.

The social media rundown

Be as it may, the bad noise is gone. By that I mean the tsunami of fake information and rants spreading like wildfire leading to nowhere but high anxiety, and the countless posts of what should be private information. Oh, and there is also the marketing, incessant and shameless, which I do not miss. That is to say, I do not intend to return. Ever.

This month I am also taking a break from Twitter. Again, the noise can be too much at times. It’s different noise and I like being connected to like-minded people and their worthwhile words and ideas, but breaks are good. They make room for thinking and most importantly, they clear some much-needed space for other pursuits. Or more of the ones we always say we need (more) time for.  

You may be wondering about the other platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn. I am for now set on a weekly post on Instagram and a weekly review of a few informative accounts. Since I am also keeping updated on a few science and self-improvement podcasts, any extra time on the same would mean a higher risk of falling into virtual rabbit holes which there are many. As for LinkedIn, I use it as the name implies: to link/connect with other professionals and/or professional groups.

Yes, our relationship to social media is a complicated one.

Thinking space

One resolution and a few steppingstones

It’s that time again: the yearly opportunity to start on something new (or pick up that dropped self-improvement project) to improve quality of life. I am not much for a laundry list of resolutions because I know it’s easy to get amped up and then drop one too many, but I do like a fresh start towards one or two long-term goals, and I know consistency pays off. So my one resolution is to be consistent on whatever I embark on.

For example: I want to be able to take part in the next polar bear swim (January 1, 2022) so my steppingstone is a daily cold shower (starting at 15 seconds and working towards two minutes). Since I already have a morning routine of breathing and stretching, I can pin this one on. And don’t let the 15 seconds fool you. That’s where math fails: 15 seconds under cold water does not equal 15 seconds of warm water shower. Still, cold water exposure has many virtues, and I will expand on that in a later post.

My next one and the big news I hinted at a couple of posts back is that I will be starting on a new path after spending the last year and a half studying for it. I have become a certified nutritional consultant (CNC) and that means, among others, that a new website with science-based nutrition information will be launched soon and, most importantly, that I can embark on a journey that I long dreamed of: disease prevention through healthy nutrition.

A long-term goal if there ever was one. The steppingstones in this case: reading, writing, and keeping up-to-date with the latest research on nutrition topics I will highlight in regular blog posts.

Credits

My inspiration to work on building good habits comes from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits – An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (Penguin Random House, 2018).

My inspiration source for minimizing social media presence is Cal Newport, author of many books on focus and productivity, including Digital Minimalism – Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (Portfolio, 2019).  

The inspiration for embracing the cold showers is provided by Wim Hof, also known as The Ice Man (and that says is all, though he does more than that).

A refreshing book I discovered this past year and enjoyed reading was Ultralearning – Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition and Accelerate Your Career (Illustrated, 2019) by Scott H. Young. Never stop learning!

On that note…

Dogs know

If you have books or people who inspire your journey towards a more balanced life (I know that may mean different things to different people), please feel free to share. Knowledge is delightful, more so when shared.

Here’s to a good year and here’s to being present, curious, and kind. Most of all, grateful.

11 lessons from the year we are bidding goodbye to

I saw this cartoon the other day. A group of people were cautiously opening a door by pushing it with a long-handle broom. The door had 2022 written on it and the caption read ‘2022 – We’re all gonna walk in real slow…’.

It’s funny in that way that we have learned to laugh at since the first wave of the pandemic. We have now entered the fifth wave and I remember the initial predictions of the health officials about the light at the end of the tunnel becoming more visible as we were riding that first wave. The light, we have since found out, keeps going out and tunnel’s end keeps getting farther and then closer again.

Life as it happens: Ends, Beginnings and the Quest for Pursuits That Matter

Time to be…

It’s been a while since I wrote here and it’s not for lack of interest or topics. On the contrary. However, I admit to shifting things around a bit as of late. As you may have noticed, I put the regular column writing on hold. It’s been almost a decade since I started showing up with a new column each week – rain or shine. I felt it was the right thing to do given the sorry state of our public discourse.

You may rightfully ask, ‘hasn’t always been that way though?’. Yes and no. I know we are all falling into the trap of assuming the times we live in are the worst and I know they are not, but personally I felt that way for a while so I figured a break would be just the thing.

And speaking of ill-construed public discourse, I left Facebook. Before it was down, that is, which happened yesterday for a few hours. It’s been a beautiful kind of quiet in my thoughts now knowing that I closed the door to a world where I would occasionally go for a visit but never felt comfortable enough to stay longer than I had to post things for a few businesses I write for. The pervasiveness of this platform into our everyday lives is a phenomenon to be mindful of, and one I do not want to be a part of.

The outlandishness of so many posts, the pushing of hatred and counter-common sense in so many areas of life, the ‘loud’ writing of intimate and beautiful things in life that should be whispered only to those that would know what to do with them, the overpriced illusions…there you go, a mere sample.

Plus, my forever complaint with this platform: the wrongs we cannot see, their impact on people and life in society, the noise of what you know to be wrong which you cannot fix in any way of course, and which keeps lingering until it becomes the hum that takes over the quiet you need to keep sane and joyful. None of that will be missed.  

Yes, there are many good people who bring valuable ideas and concepts to be discussed on Facebook, and that I will miss, but even these good happenings are festooned with the same ugly and tireless monsters hiding in countless closets. If these good things are the babbling brook you stop by in hope of breathing in beauty, the platform presents itself like flood waters bringing in everything you did not existed plus the kitchen sink. The algorithms make visiting just the brook impossible, hence my decision.  

My second pursuit is one I will communicate soon, and it has to do with purpose, health, and more writing. It will be interesting, I promise.

Meanwhile, you will still see posts on life as it happens, opinions on current events at times and the reoccurring invitation to gratefulness.

Also, the occasional informal book recommendation because I believe books are essential to life. Some I get from publishers to review, and countless others I discover as I follow through with my professional and personal interests. I am probably not the only one with ever-growing piles of book by my bed, or in various places around the living room. Well, why not? They have the power to take us to where our minds get a good scrub and a powerful incentive to think and change towards a more worthwhile rhythm in our step.

Books I delight in presently: Out on a Limb – What Black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition by Benjamin Kilham, When by Daniel H. Pink, and The Secret Life of Your Microbiome by Susan L. Prescott, MD, PhD, and Alan C. Logan, ND. I will let you know my impressions on each once I am done.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

The day after the anti-vaccine protests is a sobering one

I will start by saying I did not know there were anti-vaccine protests scheduled all over British Columbia for September 1. An update from a trusted news source revealed a reality that baffled me.

There were photos of an anti-vaccine protest taking place here in Kamloops, right in front of the hospital. There were more in other cities too, including Vancouver.

What better place than a hospital, the protesters thought. Never mind that for a long time now, the hospital has been the scene of some terrible battles with the COVID-19 virus (spoiler alert: it still is). Many people were intubated, some died, and many others recovered but not everyone is symptom-free. Some are what now we know to be long-haulers.

Weekly column: History needs to be written and learned the way it happened

Originally published as a column in the Armchair Mayor News on June 15, 2021.

The forest has stories to tell you if you happen to visit every now and then. As of late, the stories are sad, but that makes listening that much more important.

We took our youngest on a daytrip to Wells Grey Park this past weekend. On our way out of town we drove in silence past the crosses for the 215 children whose unmarked graves have been recently discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. There is deep sadness in each piece of clothing hanging by the side of the road, fluttering in the wind, and reminding us forever of all the lives that were violently taken away.

Weekly column: When hope, help and gratefulness count as stepping stones

Originally published as a column by Armchair Mayor News, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

On July 26, Jessie Simpson will turn 24. That’s also the day when his mom hopes to have him at home for a few days, so he can enjoy the place he has not been able to see but in memory, fragmented as it is, due to the horrendous attack Jessie suffered in 2016 on the night of his graduation party.

Presently he is in the hospital, fighting his way out of a kidney infection that has him in pain and nauseous. Just a few weeks ago, he had yet another seizure which his mom witnessed.

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