Science and Spirituality
We are part of everything and everything is part of us…. Jeff Lieberman, an MIT scientist gives a wonderfully mind-boggling TEDtalk about our connection to everything in existence and everything that ever was in existence. I loved it because some of it meshes with my personal understanding of life. I wouldn’t have thought of most of it in this way though – another reason to enjoy this talk. Give it a listen. (If your brain starts to feel like it’s being tickled that means it is boggled.)
A Lesson in Empathy
Have you ever wondered about other people’s lives? I have. Often it’s when I’m on a bus and watching people going by. Sometimes it’s when I’m in my car and looking out the window at someone in a car beside me or when I’m in a slow moving line at the grocery store. Okay, it sounds like I’m only curious about other people’s lives when I’m stuck somewhere. But even if the motivation comes from feeling stuck, it gets me wondering about other people are experiencing in their lives. That’s a good thing.
The Cleveland Clinic has produced a short video on Empathy about just that – what other people are going through in their lives. Unfortunately, in real life there are no little pop-ups above people’s heads to tell us what they are experiencing – good or bad. But if we can keep in mind that we don’t know the other person’s story, we might be able to treat each other more gently. For myself, I’m going to try to be more consciously curious enough to really see the people I come across – even if I’m not stuck in traffic. Warning:the video just might make you cry a bit.
Ingenuity and Innovation
Inspiration and hope, and just plain – Wow! What amazing young people there are out there (thank goodness.) The Mothers of Invention articles are about women – not just young women but mainly they are young – who have come up with creative, practical, and often inspired ways of filling a need. (Click on the title, “Mothers of Invention” at the top of the web page to read the previous articles and watch a few interview videos.)
Sixty percent of all skateboard injuries happen to children under 15 years old and are predictable and preventable. Make sure your child has a good helmet and all the other safety equipment. After watching the incredible display by Tony Hawk at Polo Park and the great example they showed in wearing all their safety gear, it is important to reinforce safety habits. The height of the ramp was breathtaking. After it was over and as I was picking up my son, I could not help but notice the number of skateboarders trying out their skills. Some had safety gear, some did not. We can use professionals’ habits of safety to reinforce that it is the right thing to do. In our communities do we ask skate parks to post signs that encourage wearing of safety gear?
Did you know we have a fantastic kids safety resource at our fingertips? A number of Canadian child safety groups got together and now you can connect to them under Parachute!
They have free downloads on many topics from a quick reference on how to spot a concussion in sports to home and recreational (don’t forget about summer water safety!) activities for kids and their parents.
There is a volunteer group called ThinkFirst you should check out. Chapters are across Canada and they support child safety and could likely use some more volunteers to spread the word about child safety.
“there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known“ Lennon-McCartney
Turn on your audio before you click play to hear Allison Crowe’s cover of In My Life, and see if you are one of the many heads that have given me pleasure over the years.
I don’t listen to the Beatles that much anymore, but I stumbled upon Penny Lane in my iTunes library while going through photos of some of my RRC connections over the years. What could be more appropriate? And what could be more freaky than hearing Penny Lane again in SuperStore the very next day? 20 years without hearing a song and then it pops up twice in 24 hours? Clearly a sign. So I went back to my pictures and started counting. 100 faces I could put a name to, never mind all the mugs with no handles! I was amazed. Read More →
It’s a cliché worth repeating: the most precious resource we all have is time.” Yet it`s also one of the most squandered. And once it’s gone, you don’t get it back. Friends and family are like that. Like time, gifts to savour and enjoy but all too often taken for granted. Time stopped for me today. Actually, it stopped yesterday when I first heard that Peter Komarnicki, a friend, died suddenly and unexpectedly. I paused then, stunned by the news, casting about the office for others who knew him and with whom I could share my grief. I called Mary, his wife, to see how she was doing, completely at a loss for something appropriate, supportive, to say. After hanging up I managed a few more dangling to-dos before giving up and leaving early. Read More →
Since our Chili cup event is coming up, I decided to collect some tips on how to enhance your chili experience at home.
1. If you chili is too thick, don’t use water to think it out. Use broth instead. Water deludes the flavors but the broth add to the flavors.
2. If your chili is too thin, you could add some tomato paste to thicken it. If this doens’t work, the next step is to add corn starch or corn meal.
3. Most folks use green jalapenos which are sold at the grocery store to give the chili its hotness. Apparently, there are many types of chiles with different names like: Anaheim, Poblano, Serrano, Santa Fe Chiles, etc. Basically, we can experiment and have fun with the whole process by trying different chiles. It is possible to use a combination of chiles as well.
4. The first step we take is to cook the meat. You need to brown the meat before you add the liquids to the recipe.
5. The better the quality of the meat, the better the chili. If you get meat that is less tender, make sure you cook the meat longer to soften it up and consider using a meat tenderizer.
6. Use fresh vegetables, not canned. There is a major difference. (This makes sense!)
7. Cook the chili the day before you plan to eat it. This way you give all the flavors in your chili time to blend. If you don’t have enough time to cook it the night before, prepare it in the morning and let it simmer all day.
8. Use your own mix of spices, herbs and chiles instead of using a prepackages mix. Prepackaged mixes have a lot of salt and preservatives which can change the taste of the chili. The batch of chili spices you make can be stored in your freezer for up to one year.
9. Don’t use old spices for your chili (or for any other cooking….for that matter). If you happen to have old spices, make sure they have been on the shelf for less than a year. After one year, spices loose flavor.
10. Have fun! Making chili takes time, but it can be a lot of fun as well.
I remember walking in the neighborhood in Vegas where I lived when I was 18 years old. I was enjoying my walk and smiled at the people passing by. I decided to do my own experiment. When people smiled back, if felt great. If they didn’t, it was still all right because I was doing what felt right.
Did you know that we smile even while we are in the womb? 3-D technology now shows that developing babies smile. After babies are born, they continue to smile (at the beginning in their sleep) and even blind babies smile in response to the sound of the human voice. Isn’t that fascinating or what?
Have you ever wondered why being around children who smile frequently makes you smile more often? There is a high chance when we smile for people to smile back. It would be very challenging to frown when looking at someone who smiles. Charles Darwin developed the Facial Feedback Response Theory which suggests that the act of smiling makes us feel better. This theory is supported by a research done in Echnische University in Munich, Germany. In 2009, scientists used fMRI (Functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain. They found out that facial feedback changes the neural processing of emotional content in the brain and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile.
Unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has therapeutic effects and is associated with reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.
I am not finished yet. It seems like smiling is one of the best things we could be doing. Smiling makes us look good in the eyes of others. A study at Penn State University confirmed that when we smile, we not only appear more likable and courteous, but we are perceived to be more competent.
Here is a brief summary of the stats about smiling:
When you smile, you look good and feel good
When others see you smile, they smile too
When others smile, they look good and feel good, too.
Well, we can all together start a smiling revolution! One thing, though, the smile you give has to be big and genuine.
In conclusion, smiling can improve not only your life, but also the lives of others. It helps us live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
Mother Teresa said: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”
Another school year! I see some new faces and lots of familiar faces. It is so nice to see the students stopping by, saying hi, making sure they connect now that they are back on campus after being away for the summer. I love it! My son also started kindergarten! I am excited for him and I am nervous as well…
I read an article recently saying that educational institutions have the responsibility to make the experience of the students as meaningful as possible. This statement got me thinking and it felt right. Here I am, working from my office with prospective immigrant students and assisting current students in many different ways. One big part of my position is to connect with students on a human level. I will admit that this is the favorite part of my position.
I have worked in educational institutions for the last ten years. I started as a student advisor in Vegas, then at U of M, and now at Red River College. I like the energy of educational institutions. I also realized that I am still a student. I learn every day how to be a human and I love the stories I hear every day. I secretly call myself the Story Keeper.
One day, the students we come in contact with will graduate and will go on their own path of life. Many students will have the same diplomas and professions. But each student is the only person who has custody of his/her own life. Not only the life at school and work, but also at home, at the bus, in the car. We all possess not only a life of our mind, but also a life of our hearts.
You may wonder how does this all related to Wellness? Bear with me, I am just painting the big picture, I am setting the stage for the main message to unfold. After all, health and wellness have different dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, etc. All these dimensions are interconnected.
So, how can I do my part of making the experience of the students meaningful? I can offer the best of me and be present for the students only when I operate from a place I know I am enough. I am calmer and I listen.
What makes me ENOUGH? I am enough because I am alive and I exist. I am enough even if nobody knows my name. Becoming successful doesn’t make me enough. It just changes my experience, but it doesn’t change me.
Being enough, I become comfortable with my background, my past experiences, abilities because none of those define me. Now that I am enough, I don’t have the need to impress people because what people think of me is secondary to the way I think about myself.
As a mother, I have my daily challenges. I ask myself often of the lessons I would like my son to know. I read, I analyze, and then….I need a break from it all. But there is one thing that I want my son to know—that he is wanted just the way he is and that he is loved no matter what. It is all right to be open to learn more about parenting, but at the end of the day, the best gift children need is the unquestionable approval of their existence. It sounds simple, but….it can be one of the hardest things to do.