Building community in a changing world

Monthly Archives: August 2020

August 25, 2020

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (To the Extent Possible)

With the election looming – and a pandemic raging – it’s so hard to even consider being happy. But recently, a friend mentioned a book called “The Happiness Project.” The author – Gretchen Rubin – dedicated a year of her life to becoming happy. I still haven’t read it but it’s a bestseller and apparently there is a “movement” where people meet in groups all over the world to discuss their progress in their happiness journey. Becoming happy is big business as it should be. For my sons, all I’ve ever asked of them is to strive to be as happy as they can. So it makes sense that there would be guidance out there about how to achieve that goal.

My friend also recommended “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor and “Authentic Happiness” by Martin Seligman. “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert is also supposed to be good if you want to learn about the science behind happiness. The one book I have read is “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalia Lama. It’s been a while since I read that and I should give it a re-read. The book explores the notion that the purpose of life is happiness – and that happiness is determined more by the state of our mind than by our external conditions & circumstance (once our basic survival needs are met). Meaning that happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts & minds…

August 18, 2020

The Power of Gratitude

In the self-help community, there’s been a lot written about the power of gratitude in recent years. The notion is that you can’t be angry when you’re being appreciative.

Personally, I use this concept in two ways. First, when my wife & I take part in our regularly “check-in” exercise, we start by expressing what we’re grateful for (not necessarily in the relationship, but in general). That helps to take the edge off before we get into a deeper discussion. More about this “couples check-in” in another blog. By I also try to remember gratitude when I’m nearing the “red level” in my anger over something. I’m not always successful but when I stop myself from going over the cliff, I’m grateful for having been grateful about something.

Regardless of how you feel about Tony Robbins, he does have some pretty good “gratitude exercises.” If you do a Google search of “Tony Robbins gratitude,” you’ll find all sorts of resources. Here’s one video of him doing his thing live that is 7-minutes long.


August 11, 2020

Getting to Know Your Own Truth

As we get deeper into this pandemic, I’ll admit I’m struggling to keep listening to “mindfulness” content – as I stray towards comedy to keep myself afloat. And when I do that, I can’t help but notice those moments during the laughs that wind up providing mindfulness lessons. Once again, I found one of those moments in a podcast hosted by Adam Ferrara – this time in an interview with Aasif Mandvi (you may recall Aasif from Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”).

At the 13:10 mark, they talk about what its like seeing a therapist. They get into ‘how we lie to ourselves more often than we lie to anyone else.’ Trying to get to our own truth, the illusions about who we think we are, and how we want the world to perceive ourselves. Being brave enough to conduct self-examination. It’s something that I constantly have to remind myself about. It’s so easy to fall back into the trap of being absorbed by those ‘monkey mind’ stories that we love to tell ourselves.

At the 14:40 mark, I love when they talk about their spouses telling them – “that’s not funny” – when they come up with potential bits for their comedy and their significant others think not so much of it. It’s a great interview. Heartwarming story about how Aasif got his spot on Jon Stewart’s show too…

August 4, 2020

Leverage Tapping to Release Your Energy

Like a lot of the energy healing stuff, I am new to “tapping.” It’s easy to do – it’s literally using your fingertips from one hand to tap your body – and  it helps to build your immune system. Not a bad thing these days. As noted on this site, tapping is based upon Eastern medicine that’s existed for over 5000 years – and like acupuncture and acupressure, it’s a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points.

It’s also known as the “Emotional Freedom Technique” – or “EFT” – and plugging that term into YouTube elicits a long list of videos that display how to tap.  This “Healthline” page lists five steps to EFT (identify your issue, test initial intensity, setup, tapping sequence & final intensity) – and this Pinterest page has a bunch of EFT images that can be handy to keep in your pocket as reminders to tap.

What are your major energy meridians? Here’s an excerpt from this “Healthline” page – There are 12 major meridians that mirror each side of the body and correspond to an internal organ. However, EFT mainly focuses on these nine:

  • Karate chop (KC): small intestine meridian
  • Top of head (TH): governing vessel
  • Eyebrow (EB): bladder meridian
  • Side of the eye (SE): gallbladder meridian
  • Under the eye (UE): stomach meridian
  • Under the nose (UN): governing vessel
  • Chin (Ch): central vessel
  • Beginning of the collarbone (CB): kidney meridian
  • Under the arm (UA): spleen meridian