Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh

Soundtrack: Leonard Cohen, James Galway, Franz Litszt, Flavstaf and Meatloaf
News:I can now check off another thing that way way low on my priority list: I have now created my own favicon for Humanyms.
Quote of the Day: “I haven’t got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out”~David Sedaris in his book Naked

Yes, that usually comes second but turning things upside down is healthy now and then. And what better time than now. You do know what May 1st is, don’t you?

I’m not speaking of your anniversary or special someone’s birthday – It’s World Laughter Day. This was started in 1998 by a laughter club for world peace and inner spiritual health.

So laugh in the face of adversity. Amusement at bullies feeble attempt to unnerve, not taking hyped nonsense seriously is a great antidote to self-importance and inappropriate outlay of power, yours or someone elses. Look for events in your local area or chuckle quietly among yourselves. Stifle giggles and feel free to guffaw especially when totally inappropriate. Consider it the start of a workout for regular health. Start slowly as you would for a marathon. Or throw caution to the wind and put yourself in stitches. Seek out comedians, simple everyday humor or laugh yogically from no provocation at all.

Around Canada’s capital there will be a one hour session of “Laugh for No Reason” outside of the Canadian Civilization Museum on Laurier St in Gatineau, Sunday May 1, 1:30-2:30. Free, open to all: families welcome with children! Join us for 5 minutes or for the whole session! Just for the fun of it!  Or people can join thousands of people around the world on this day as we gather at Central Park in the Glebe, Bank St. at Powell, Sunday May 1, 2:00-3:00. Do laughter exercises for the fun of it and the therapeutic benefits! 

For tongue-in-cheek humor, how about, Not Without Her Make-Up by Tazin Abdullah

A day in the life of a normal woman here requires her appearance to be the focal point. Her sexuality must be available for everyone to consume… Since the fundamentalist regime insists that it must be available for display in a certain manner, she must follow these rules….based on the Australian Holy Scriptures, two of which are Dolly and Cosmopolitan. Also known as magazines, these contain the teachings of hard-liner editors and reporters/writers who design the way in which society must view women and the way women must dress and act. Since the advent of these magazines, there have been mass conversions in the country to the faith they preach. Authority and control have been transferred onto them and they play a vital role in the life of women. They have institutionalised radical guidelines such as the 36:24:36 measurement of a woman’s body.

David Sedaris has his humourous moments as in his book Me Talk Pretty One Day about growing up and eventually going to France and mucking up French. I haven’t got that far yet. We’re barely into it where the preteen gaffer is going head to head with his speech therapist, as intent to avoid saying an “s” as much as she is intent on making him say the target sound while

pretending to have a normal conversation. “So,” she said, “what are your plans for the holidays?”

Well, I usally remain here and, you know, open a gift from my family.”

“Only one?” she asked.

“Maybe eight or ten.”

“Never six or seven?”

“Rarely”, I said.

“And what do you do on December thirty first, New Years Eve?”

“On the final day of the year we take down the pine tree in our living room and eat marine life.”

So much for dueling wills. Get the book for the whole thing.

Now off you go. Exercise your humor muscle. Scoot. scoot.

Let It Go

I was waiting in the doctors office and came across a November 2004 vintage of Prevention Magazine. It had a fascinating set of profiles of people who were diagnosed with Type II diabetesand took that as an opportunity to become self-aware. They started to note cause and effects between what they eat and drink, how much they move and how well they feel, and how well they think.

It’s strange really that to live biologically we only need to breathe, eat, drink water, move, have sex and sleep. Yet how many of these core functions get sidelined as less important minutae take precedence?

  • How many meals are tossed back without being tasted while typing, or driving, or in the elevator?
  • How often do we forget to breathe deeply and give our head its maximum oxygen?
  • How often do we emulate the inanimate objects around us when to get blood flow to function, we need to move.
  • For our bodies to take up the insulin in our blood stream, we need muscle mass to use it up so why take the shortest easier way?
  • For our brain to keep a level amount of hormones and neurotransmitters, we can’t have it pooled in blue-grey feet. Gotta stretch, clench, relax, rotate, and do it again?
  • To sleep well, we need to breathe well, stretch, breathe, slow the old thought train before we derail into insomnia.

Wearing yourself out by fighting people or thoughts or things until we have satisfaction may allow us to rest but the rest is seated in conflict. It takes discipline to set aside terribly important things and reduce the mind traffic to a single footstep, shift of weight, next footstep. Living consciously and if we think we can handle the footstep, try to throw in a stick of gum too. Simple things are under-rated.

These people profiled had taken up their ok life and made it wonderful, harvesting alertness, energy and feeling of well-being by eating well, finding their senses open up, and quality of living improve.

We are each a set of systems of sytems interacting within us.

  • What we think affects what we digest, how well and how fast.
  • What and how much we eat affects how we think with clarity and alertness or with frenetic energy or sluggishly.
  • How we move affects how much we want to eat.
  • Generally the more we move, the less we need to eat since eating is often from appetite or cascading collapses due to sugar or caffeine roller coasters, more than true hunger.

If this old brain bag of a body is to last any time at all, we need to attend to the irrelevant small aches that are telling us something. The pea under the mattress can affect any of us to a larger degree than we could imagine and is easily removed.

The body generally doesn’t pain without cause. Rooting out the underlying cause whether with an allergist, a chiropractor, a podiatrist, dentist, or alone in a time of meditation and watching the emotions and thoughts at work, observing the mind and body in motion.

There is no other responsible for you, only you. There is no past. There is only this moment and where you live it, how you allow yourself and train yourself to react.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. There is no starting from scratch and you’re too valuable to A-bomb away to rubble anyway. We each have to start where you’re at and figure out moment by moment how to make it better inside that one moment. It only takes willingness to admit things not only could be better but a willingness to allow yourself to make things better.

Another article from the Prevention magazine mentioned in passing the work of Robert Emmons from the University of California and Michael McCullough of University of Miami. These guys have been studying Gratitude among other things. Together they wrote an almost 400 page tome of the in and outs of it, and quite a number of articles. In one case they divided hundreds of people into 3 study groups. All three groups did journaling.

In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). ~ Bob Emmons

One control group recorded anything they wished of daily events. One group was to record only hassles and the third group was to list things they were grateful for. This last group on average reported being more alert, more optimistic and having made better progress towards their goals.

I find it interesitng that even though they were not doing goal setting, their energy level was bettered and their attitude difference allowed them to be making progress. This was a random choosing, not people that were by character having a predeliction for being optimist, pessimist or realist. The simple act of looking for the good made a difference regardless.

Hey man, you don’t know what you’re missing
You count your curses and forget about the blessings
Don’t you think you should learn a little lesson
What are you waiting for?

Let it Go Let it Go
This is smaller than you know
No bigger than a pebble lying on a gravel road
Let it Go Let it Go
Let It Go by Great Big Sea

Movie Recommendation: Boys from County Clare

27 Apr 2005, 4:35pm
Life Anecdotes Photos Poets
Comments Off on Staying in One’s Centre of Gravity while Moving

Staying in One’s Centre of Gravity while Moving

So, it’s official. I’m giving notice. An *update notice* that is: My writer’s bio is updated and is now up. So is the updated page about my poetry writing (of how much I’ve written and when and done what with). They are linked from the sidebar as well.

I’ve been following the Aviator’s Priority List:
1. Aviate — Avoid contact with terrain or other aircraft.
2. Navigate — Figure out where the #$#$@ I am, where the $%&*$ I’m going, and how the #$#@ to get there.
3. Communicate — After accomplishing 1 & 2, you then have time to tell the tower all about it.
via Demo Reel

Apart from all that, I’ve been busier and dizzier than a bee in a wildflower field. But working on coming straight down from it and following the advice of Thich Nhat Hahn, “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

It’s time to cycle to settle to be ready to launch myself again. To refuel for alert calm, engaged the way only a clear mind can. As another poet put it,

?I return to earth
Breathing with the dirt
Into this coin-operated planet
Heartbeat to heartbeat,
Mass, and acceleration.

by Reshma Sanyal

Great poet, isn’t she? They say in editing that you don’t have to eat the whole egg to tell that its rotten. Neither do you need to read the entire opus of a life to see that it is good and sweet.

Another person of admirable skill is Moushumi Chakrabarty. You can sample her poem On Reaching Middle Age at Pandora’s Collective literary, arts and literacy alliance.

Lastly, these are images of how my name is written phonetically in Arabic, Hebrew and Chinese respectively. (There are three diacritics under the first letter in the Arabic one because that is the diacritic for a linguist. Arabic has no [p] so the one dot of it has been modified to make a phoneticians [b] character.

my name my phonetic name

Soundtrack: Zap Mama a capella world music.

Link Finds: Have you got a hijab organizer (which alternatively could sort your scarves or, I suppose, ties, with panache?)
The 2005 Poetry Face-Off’s top winner is Tim Cusack. (Unfortunately it’s a CBC flashsite again but the information’s good.)
If there’s anyone reading locally, this could be of use:

The mooncup for menstruation seems like a better option for sustainability than sphagnum moss or washable cotton; I’m half-lured away from the mainstream of the moment.

Word Association: gunwale, gusset, gussy up, flatten, flatter, flatwear, slat, slake like a wet flake, slough as doffing but with splatterability, splat like a squishy rockslide and menstrual messtrocities.

Quotes of the Day: On relationships: “When you plant lettuce and it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.” ~Thich Nhat Hahn

23 Apr 2005, 4:39pm
Poem Drafts Poets

Missed in the Rain

A draft for this rainy day among a cluster of rainy days.

Missed in the Rain

It was spitting rain
when we parted from
that latest installment
of Alice in Wonderland
conversation series. How
appropriate then my route
through the rabbit’s warren
of suburban streets.

I got lost in the whorls
of mystery sirs’ black hair,
two bench bus seats ahead
his spikes of hair gel,
tubes of his ears, the curl
of flannelette cartilage

he bobs out of view,
recrosses his legs
shifts his, I imagine,
narrow hips, checks time

back in profile he steams
the flat side of raindrops
watches the trickles play
red rover with droplets
his eyelashes follow
the same gravity

he rigs a brace
from a crook of his arms
I watch the bamboo-smooth
back of his sleeping hand,
his palm a soft but thin pillow.
he props his heavy thoughts
his chin teeters, tips, tips
we slept together then
in the rain against the
grumble of streets.

And for someone who’s much better than me, an excerpt of the story telling of Mary Oliver from West Wind (last quote I promise). This one is about a cricket under the fridge, in the comforting company of whirring compressers and motor, sitting in that “most prized gift of the gods — warmth”. We take up the story there just before it takes up its black thigh to play a tune of joy —

There was not a single night when it did not find, sooner or later, a sweet crumb and a small plump seed of some sort between the floorboards, Thus it got used to hope. It revised altogether its idea of what the world was like, and what was going to happen next, or even, eventually

Promoted Product of the Hour: lady’s model tattoo shirt
Link of the Day: Disconnected: flash fiction by Donna Vorreyer
Menu: retroactively cereal, then for the next 2 meals, cereal. Lastly, curried collard greens with potaotes, walnut sourdour bread and udon noodle stir fry with veggies and bean sprouts.

21 Apr 2005, 10:13pm
Music Ponderings

Groupist Games

When we think of children, we think of them playing innocently, learning and growing freely, or being abused. We think of toys and how life “should be” idyllic at this age. When a Vietnamese man I’m acquainted with was asked what games he remembers from childhood he said, “In Vietnam children had no time for games. They were too busy fighting wars.” (When we’re safe, we forget the whole fight to stop nastiness is not over.)

The instance also brought to spotlight that whenever we summon up the notion of a convenient block of other we presume a generic personal of a representative group character and limits on what they should know and do. Children play. Men fight wars. (Check yourself for group notions. For how many of these group tags do you form immediate composite images? Senior, black, lawyer, naturopath, Taiwanese, het, panhandler, man, 12-year-old, politician, shemale, farmer, pro athlete, 3rd world person, Scottish, feminist, jock, Wiccan, Jain, latina, bleeding heart liberal, fundamentalist.)

Grouping people can be satisfying mental or verbal shorthand, and can be statistically useful, but the similarities can be superficial and transitory, of convenience. Children aren’t the only own who give the answer expected of them. We habitually present a simplified image of ourselves and others and manufacture a slot for us to go in so we can move on. In deep structure of self, however, nothing may follow from any sign you see. You are misled if you imply much, from say someone having a lawn mower. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and say there is a nothing in common or everything in common. Each is more complex than that caricature yet it is so pleasurable to create of heroes and villains and insignificants.

All is a mixture of all. The underlying constancy is, in a way, the unpredictable diversity of people not being from the weft and warp they were seemingly carded for.

Even the most believable streamlined narrative has another set of sides. One man took another look at 1992 Nobel Prize winner, Rigoberta Mench and looked at corroborating her view of guerrilla warfare, what’s what, and who’s who. It lets loose the idea that even among the solidarity-based people’s revolutionaries, there is the matter of conviction and then there is convenience. Allegiances may not run deep. At least some of the 85% of the surviving people in her Guatemalan village, were not in their hearts, with the revolutionaries, nor with the government — its possible that they just wanted to avoid the hoopla and get on with raising corn, raising children and not get shot in the process.

In Guatemala, threats happened (and is happening) and violence happened and violence begets violence. Anyone will make any choice if the circumstances make it seem like the best feeling/best logic route. When a group in Congo or Germany or any social group circle goes mad, yes, there is wrong choice and culpability is of the direct participants but, the people around have a role of inaction or action. We can’t feel personally guilty over what we aren’t making others do. We can only live our own life, do the best we can and realize the outcomes or butterfly affect of our actions and words are not knowable or controllable absolutely, but that does hang us for nor free us from culpability. What to do? Firm acts of redirection from grudge and negative group judgements. Soft hand, soft words insistant on listening.

Quote of the Day: Knowledge is being aware that a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting one into a fruit salad.
Link Find: free Arabic course or Phrasebook
Currently reading:
Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, The Malahat review, 1981 back issue, and Quo Marzo 2005, “Qu est�s dispuesto a hacer contra el cambio del clim�tico?
Word Association: habibi, baby, habit, Hubble, rupture, rapture, capture, disruptions, interruptions, shunned, sunned, suddenly, enlightened, Boddhista
Soundtrack: Sudairy music – best collections, samples, artists, radio stations such as Amr Diab singing nour el ain

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