The power of books

The power of books helped President Obama survive his presidency. Read more! Support your local bookstores. Own books that inspire, give you joy, entertain, allow for escape, motivate, delight and tickle you!

And if you have ideas, write them down. You never know how or when you could make someone smile.

The power of books

Choosing a partner is actually choosing yourself

If our choice of partner is a reflection of ourself, then we should endeavor to be the best version of us in order to be worthy of our partner.

“A man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions…. He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer–because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Choosing a partner is actually choosing yourself

Flash Friday

What I’m reading: Stories of You and Others by Ted Chiang. Arrival, based on one of the short stories in this collection, is one of my favorite movies of last year. It just resonated with me. I told everyone I know about this film and encouraged everybody to see it. The other short stories in the book are equally compelling. The writing is top-notch. The best sci-fi writings reveal a something insightful about human nature. Chiang has tapped into that window.

What I’m watching: Sherlock is back. Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor, but his introduction to me and likely to most people was as Sherlock Holmes. The series has lost a bit of the magic from the beginning. Still, it is entertaining and better than most of what’s currently on TV.

Where I’m going: Westlake Village. Weekend getaways are great for getting out of the city. Only a stone’s throw from home, Westlake is just outside of LA enough to qualify for a quick getaway to decompress, recalibrate and get back to the center. More out-of-town trips will be in the cards this year. No excuses.

What I’m trying out: Not working everyday, which leads to…

What I’m pondering: “Fit your work around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around work.” I saw this graphic on Twitter. It wasn’t attributed to anyone (I might even be re-quoting it wrong). It’s a good reminder to assess our priorities and decide for ourselves what’s important, not what’s important to someone else. You are solely responsible for your own happiness. Don’t delegate that job to another person.

Flash Friday

Seriously by Sara Bareilles and performed by Leslie Odom, Jr.

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This is hauntingly, achingly beautiful. The gravity of life compels profound expressions. We need more artists in the world, for they are the conduits for understanding life.

Seriously by Sara Bareilles and performed by Leslie Odom, Jr.

Flash Friday

It’s a little late, but I’m counting this anyway. I’m trying out a weekly feature that I’m calling “Flash Friday.” It’s a list of what I’m enjoying or contemplating. Here goes…

What I’m reading: The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
This book was a holiday gift from a friend of mine. I’m only a few chapters in, but it has legitimately changed my life. The approach it gives to viewing the world and processing our experiences is both simple and profound. I’m discovering tools I didn’t have and didn’t know I needed to understand myself first and then secondarily the world. I recommend it to anyone who wants inner peace and true contentment.

What I’m watching: Travelers
This is a Netflix show about a group of time travelers from the future who have developed the technology to send their consciousness back in the past to inhabit the bodies of people who according to future historical records were going to die. Their mission is to alter the timeline to avoid a disastrous future fate of humanity. Entertaining so far. I’m somewhat of a sucker for time themed movies and shows.

Where I’m going: The Huntington Library
Technically I’m going tomorrow (Saturday). I’ve been planning this little trip for a few days now. It’s a special place. I will be reading, journaling and meditate within the gorgeous landscape and among the art of this priceless institution. I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time now. No better time than the first Saturday of the year.

What I’m trying out: Running
Ever since I developed plantar fasciitis on both my feet, I had to stop running. I had to contend with chronic sore feet the past few years. Then my right ankle started hurting and it wouldn’t heal for months. I finally visited a podiatrist who diagnosed a collapsing arch as the source of all my problems. Fortunately there was a remedy: orthotics. The fasciitis and ankle pain went away within a week. It was miraculous. So now I’m trying to get back to running again.

What I’m pondering:
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your own path.” This quote may or may not have been correctly attributed to the Buddha. There is sufficient evidence that it was not. However, the sentiment of the message is wonderful no matter who the speaker was.

Flash Friday

This above all: to thine own self be true

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” — William Shakespeare

Sometimes we say yes when we mean no. Sometimes we subjugate our feelings and desires because we want to appease. Or we don’t want to be hurtful to someone. We think we are protecting the other person. But usually we are just saving ourselves from an actualization. When in doubt, be true to yourself. There is no explanation or justification needed.

This above all: to thine own self be true

New Year, New Challenges

The new year came and went as it always does. The old giving way to the new. Is it all imaginary though? What’s the significance of going from December 31 to January 1? There is no apparent cosmic ushering, just human constructed ceremony to mark time. This past New Year’s Eve was especially unceremonious. There was the watching of the clock, sipping of the champagne, and hugs and kisses with friends. Then it was off to bed.

But old habits die hard and we’re sort of wired to set new goals (some called them resolutions, but the connotation of the word suggest whatever intentions we assign on the last day of the year will be abandoned two weeks later). I haven’t made new year resolutions since grade school and don’t plan on doing so ever again.

I will, however, take account of the things that worked and didn’t work this past year. Usually things that didn’t work will outnumber the ones that did. An advice that I heard recently is: emphasis and focus on your strengths (things that work) and not your weaknesses (things that didn’t work). Sound suggestion, I think.

There are some things that I started doing in 2016 that seem to be good for me, so I would continue doing them in 2017, namely:

  • meditation
  • yoga
  • journaling
  • eliminating sugar & carb
  • outsourcing (for work & life)

2016 was very much about self-care. If there is one intention I have for 2017, it is connectivity. For the past year, I’ve withdrew into myself. There were obvious issues that I need to address. That part is a work in progress and likely will be for a while, if not for the rest of my life. Connection is important, too. Connecting to people, ideas, and places are needed for personal and professional growth.

So that’s my challenge for the year: to connect. The dots are there–just have to connect them. These are some of the things that I’ll try out:

  • meet a new person every week
  • travel to 2 new places each month
  • reconnect with an old friend/colleague each week
  • try something new each week
  • learn a new language

It’s a modest list, but the items here have growth potential and they could each lead to something else. Some days/weeks will be challenging, but I intend to keep up with it for as long as possible. Wish me luck.

New Year, New Challenges

The mind is like a dog

Oftentimes our mind is like a dog chasing its own tail. It’s true that our thoughts tend to wander. It’s an evolutionary quark that probably helped save our lives early on, but can be detrimental to our well-being if untamed.

Our mind likes to be overactive. It wants adventure, intrigue and, yes, drama. So it spits out thoughts to fuel the compulsion, resulting in stress, anxiety, paranoia and fear.

Add alcohol and you have a combustible potion. This happened earlier this week. I was a slave to my own thoughts. My brain chemistry was unbalanced. Fortunately for me I was able to call a friend who took the time to walk and talk me back to a more grounded reality.

Everyone needs a friend like that. Put that person on speed dial, because every once in a while your mind will break its leash and chase its own tail. You’ll need that mind-catcher.

The mind is like a dog