Busy hands…..

How busy hands can alter our brain chemistry

“Admiring your own handiwork” is a familiar expression containing an important truth about the mind. We handed this particular story to our Tony Dokoupil: Are you the kind of person who actually likes washing dishes? How about folding laundry? Yardwork? What all these have in common, of course, is they occupy our hands.

Moderate Drinking Healthy?

This Study May Find That Moderate Drinking Is Healthy. The Alcohol Industry Was Asked to Pay for It.

“This must have seemed like a dream come true for industry. Of course they would pay for it,” he said. “They’re admitting the trial is designed to provide a justification for moderate drinking. That’s not objective science.” Asked about the meetings, Dr. Mukamal did not deny he had participated, but said the slides did not convey the full complexity of his presentation.

Sleep, perchance to be healthy…

Catastrophic lack of sleep killing us – expert | Cape Times

A “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic” is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases, a leading expert says. In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, said that sleep deprivation affected “every aspect of our biology” and was widespread in modern society.

The Shame Culture

I don’t believe there is a more reasonable man alive than David Brooks.  I’m often shocked watching the PBS NewHour when Shields and Brooks go at it because, come on, Brooks is a Republican and we all know what that has come to mean.  But he truly is the embodiment of what being a Republican used to mean when Republican wasn’t synonymous with intolerance.  In any case, I love his take on social media and shame.  I fight with the concept all the time……

The Shame Culture

In 1987, Allan Bloom wrote a book called “The Closing of the American Mind.” The core argument was that American campuses were awash in moral relativism. Subjective personal values had replaced universal moral principles. Nothing was either right or wrong. Amid a wave of rampant nonjudgmentalism, life was flatter and emptier.

Review: The Burgess Boys

The Burgess Boys
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some writers can mask their characters’ inner worlds with plot, description, and dialogue. Some can tear off those masks and show us a startling reflection of our own inner worlds in those characters with a gently placed sentence at the end of the book. That’s what Strout does. She disguises the inner world for most of the book and then, BAM, you read a sentence and your own mask has been suddenly ripped from you. Not a bad way to write and to make a difference in a reader’s life.

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Karma’s No B*tch: Law Two

This week’s Law:  The Law of Creation

I have to admit that once we start adding more ‘laws’ than the first law, they all seem to meld, blend, and become a cohesive thing that at first glance seems to lose it’s individual pieces.  After posting the first law last week, (reap what you sow, want happiness—be happy, whatever we put out there comes back at us), I really did try to think about it as I went about my daily life.  One particular example comes to mind, however, in that it seemed to exemplify this law and helps clarify the first from the second law.

By Saturday, I’m pretty tired.  I’ve dealt with 3 shifts of retail, working next to a bar, trying to get all the other work of the business done while adding constant foot traffic and possible sales opportunities.  As an introvert, this is a mask I put on so that I can make the customer feel good about who we are, our brand, and their possible purchase.  I can enjoy wearing the mask if my stress levels are being managed.  I can sit in my chair, say, “Hi,” and go back to my computer.  I can engage in a conversation.  I can tell a story, ask questions.  Or I can turn on the floodlight of energy that is “Spencer, Dial 10.”  But when I’m tired, it’s hard.

As I was walking from my car to my long Saturday shift I specifically said out loud, “Today is going to be a good day. Today I’m going to be happy.”  It was simple.  Then I went to work and had the best shift I’ve ever had in the 3 summers at the gallery.  And I didn’t even sell anything!  But the energy pouring off the people who came into the shop was exactly the kind of energy I give when I am ‘on.’   Would that have happened had I not said that affirmation at the car?  I don’t know.  Would those same people have come in and offered me their energy?  Possibly.  But it was the joining of the two that made the experience.  I had to participate in my own happiness, not just affirm it as a desire or hope for it because I pasted a fake smile on my face.

Law two talks about actively participating in the world around you.  Participation is the act of Creation.  Sometimes I get hung up with the notion of being “creative,” being an “ARTIST” (caps intended), living a creative life, etc. when in reality if I am actively  participating in my life with positive intention, I am living creatively.  I am living the Law of Creation.

How does this play out in recovery?  I have to tell you, sometimes the process of recovery is depressing.  The rooms are downright depressing.  Joining a group of 50 people, half of whom are still talking about the same issues they were dealing with 3 years before (let alone 3 decades) without visible growth, all of whom define themselves as an addict first and foremost, can be depressing.  Often when I have spoken/shared, I can feel an energy that I give off; it’s simply who I am.  But as an introvert, I can only give so much before needing to be refilled either by myself or by others.  I have discovered while exploring my creative world that there are few people out there who fill my coffers.  And not because I am reclusive and an introvert.  I, like many, need to rediscover who I am, and sometimes because I have focused so exclusively on SOBRIETY, I started to loose faith that the creative still existed.  Sometime I need a break from the rooms in order to take a leap into myself as opposed to carefully treading one step at a time.

I am trying to honor my ‘self.’  “Be Yourself.”   Novel.  Creative.  Unique.  Passionate.  Loving.  I have to remember to look at what I am surrounding my ‘self’ with:  If I’m not happy, perhaps I need new surroundings.

Thanks to Stevenaitchison.co.uk

2. The Law of Creation

  • Life doesn’t just happen. It requires our participation.
  • We are one with the Universe, both inside and out.
  • Whatever surrounds us gives us clues to our inner state.
  • Be yourself, and surround yourself with what you want to have in your life.

Review: Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes

Intolerable: A Memoir of ExtremesIntolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At times I found myself forgetting the narrator was gay and making choices to ensure he could live as a gay man man because I was focused on its historical/political/socioeconomic portrayal of the Middle East. I learned a lot and am once again a bit ashamed of our school systems because I knew nothing of the area. Also a bit embarrassed I hadn’t taken it upon myself to soak in the news of the last 3 decades in order to better understand everything from religious extremism to the Arab Spring. Then, just in writing this review, the videos of gay men being thrown off towers to their deaths popped into my head, and it all came together. It’s an important read, one I recommended my teacher partner take to his HS seniors.

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Karma’s No B*tch: Law One

It’s hard not to discover some great blogs out there; makes me wonder sometimes whether mine is redundant or necessary.  Regardless, what my blog is doing is helping guide me into my next steps.  Putting it Together, as the song goes.  This might not last as long as I originally had planned but that will only be because my sights have become more and more focused on personal creative projects which, up until I gathered the confidence to start these websites, had suffered from lack of drive and confidence.  I’ve been building those things up, and low and behold, everything else gets built up along with drive and confidence.  Creative energy, esteem, hope, positive outlook.  Why?  Well, the LAWS OF KARMA!  Doh!

I’ve always inherently believed in the Laws of Karma, believed in the synchronistic power of the universe and the energy that is ME.  But life makes you forget, and before you know it, your are swirling down the drain into the unseen world of pipes, plumbing, and cesspools. So when I came across this great post reminding me there is actually a list of “laws” which I firmly believe hold true in my world, it was a relief.  Like finding a plumber you can trust so you can put your faith in the seals, the welds, and know there will be no leakage if I use the system correctly and don’t overwhelm it.  (did I take that imagery too far??)

So I’m going to post them one by one.  Starting with:

Thanks to Stevenaitchison.co.uk

1. The Great Law

  • “As you sow, so shall you reap.” This is also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect.”
  • If what we want is happiness, peace, love, and friendship, then we should BE happy, peaceful, loving and a true friend.
  • Whatever we put out in the Universe is what comes back to us.

Drowning In Social Media




I seriously don’t know how people do this blogging thing.  It’s utterly overwhelming even for someone who considers himself technically savvy.  But there’s a big difference between figuring out how to rewire a fuse box and trying to figure out how to manage all the various venues, outlets, and platforms of social media.  I suppose the younger generations have the same leg up as those who graduated shortly after me and who learned HTML along with their normal spelling lessons.  Oh, right, there were no spelling lessons because spell-check made that obsolete!  I’m trying to figure this out, trying to set boundaries (No twitter, no Instagram) but perhaps my biases against the ‘see what I am doing right this instant’ mentality is unfair.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that this is incredibly time consuming.  All consuming.  Breathe, step away, doing something for myself first, then blog.






Review: Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace
Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D.T. Max
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Knowing when to give up is a gift. DFW killed himself at 46, a creative genius haunted by mental illness and addiction. Hmm….I’m 47, haunted by my own issues, creative (I’ve never be called ‘genius’), years of meds and suicidal ideation. C was kind in thinking I would get something out of the read; unfortunately too much. I last 60 pages and realized it wouldn’t be healthy to go further. I skipped a couple hundred pages, read the last page of “how he did it,” then went to play the piano. Knowing when to give up a book is the gift. Knowing when to hold onto life is another.

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