Sunday, April 20, 2008

5 Things Happy People Do

Five Things Happy People Do
By Gabrielle LeBlanc

"They find their most golden self. Picture happiness. What do you see? A peaceful soul sitting in a field of daisies appreciating the moment? That kind of passive, pleasure-oriented—hedonic—contentment is definitely a component of overall happiness. But researchers now believe that eudaimonic well-being may be more important. Cobbled from the Greek eu ("good") and daimon ("spirit" or "deity"), eudaimonia means striving toward excellence based on one's unique talents and potential—Aristotle considered it to be the noblest goal in life. In his time, the Greeks believed that each child was blessed at birth with a personal daimon embodying the highest possible expression of his or her nature. One way they envisioned the daimon was as a golden figurine that would be revealed by cracking away an outer layer of cheap pottery (the person's baser exterior). The effort to know and realize one's most golden self—"personal growth," in today's lingo—is now the central concept of eudaimonia, which has also come to include continually taking on new challenges and fulfilling one's sense of purpose in life.
They design their lives to bring in joy. It may seem obvious, but "people don't devote enough time to thinking seriously about how they spend their life and how much of it they actually enjoy," ... . Fortunately, changes don't have to be big ones to tip the joy in your favor. Schkade says that if you transfer even an hour of your day from an activity you hate (commuting, scrubbing the bathroom) to one you like (reading, spending time with friends), you should see a significant improvement in your overall happiness. Taking action is key.
They avoid "if only" fantasies. If only I get a better job…find a man…lose the weight…life will be perfect. Happy people don't buy into this kind of thinking.

The latest research shows that we're surprisingly bad at predicting what will make us happy. People also tend to misjudge their contentment when zeroing in on a single aspect of their life—it's called the focusing illusion.
The other argument against "if only" fantasies has to do with "hedonic adaptation"—the brain's natural dimming effect, which guarantees that a new house won't generate the same pleasure a year after its purchase and the thrill of having a boyfriend will ebb as you get used to being part of a couple. Happy people are wise to this, which is why they keep their lives full of novelty, even if it's just trying a new activity (diving, yoga) or putting a new spin on an old favorite (kundalini instead of vinyasa).

They put best friends first. It's no surprise that social engagement is one of the most important contributors to happiness. What's news is that the nature of the relationship counts. Compared with dashing around chatting with acquaintances, you get more joy from spending longer periods of time with a close friend ... . One of the most essential pleasures of close friendship ... is simple companionship, "just hanging out," as he says, hitting the mall or going to the movies together and eating popcorn in the dark.

They allow themselves to be happy. As much as we all think we want it, many of us are convinced, deep down, that it's wrong to be happy (or too happy). Whether the belief comes from religion, culture, or the family you were raised in, it usually leaves you feeling guilty if you're having fun. ... ."

More here:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be." – Osho

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elephants! Yay!

The circus is in town and the elephants were eating salad for lunch

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My stump. My stump my stump my stump.

My lovely sitting stump.

So I've been wanting a stump to sit on . I don't know why, I just do. So yesterday while I was wandering around the yard I noticed a stump that would do well. A stump from a dead tree we had cut down a few years ago. It's actually not way back in the woods, not too far from the yard actually. And I don't know after all the brush grows in whether I'll be able to get to it. I cleared around it just a little bit, but there are berry vines growing back in there. I wonder if I can sit out there and not be afraid a snake will wander by or a bunch of ticks will decide to take up residence in my hair.

Anyway, here's me on my stump, captured by Husband who apparently was spying from inside :).

The view from my stump to the right

Straight ahead - the tree that was cut down, that used to belong to my stump.

Looking to the left. That other tree fell during a storm. There are a bunch of cut pieces of it that would make great seats for a fire ring, but they're too heavy for me to carry very far (I tried). And really, what would I do with a fire ring?

Spare tracked me down and wanted to sit on my stump with me

And wants a belly rub


Rascal sits on the fallen tree. Can you see him?

Spare will keep my stump warm until I come back.

Stubby watches from inside, wishing he could sit on my stump too.

Redbud Tree Blossoms

A springtime drive

I've done this in the winter (posted pics of a drive) but not in the spring, my favorite time of the year! Come with me!

At the bottom of the road we'll turn left onto Pinch Ridge Road.

Trees & Clouds

Sunroof Shot

There are redbud trees along the road everywhere

Look at the forsythia in that yard!

A couple of young Hereford cows

Look! Another cow!

It won't be long until these trees are green again

Tower cows on Dutch Ridge Road. That shaggy winter fur must be itchy. The middle cow was scratching her head on the tree.

The Elk River at Queen Shoals in Clay County

Now we're heading back toward home on 119 between Clay and Clendenin

Almost home now! That field needs some cows.

Need help identifying critter digging holes and damaging my trees

I'm not sure what, exactly. I'm not even positive it's the same animal doing both things, but I noticed both at the same time. Based on my internet research, the holes might be dug by a skunk, but I can't find anything about skunks damaging trees like this is doing. I haven't ever seen any skunks around here, but the other night I looked out on the deck and thought I saw a skunk tail, but then saw Spare eating and thought it was him. Now I'm really not sure.

The holes are too small for a vole and not large enough for a groundhog. It doesn't look like a mole's hole and there aren't any tunnels around. Whatever it is, is apparently digging for grubs, because there are several holes and none of them lead to anything.

So here are the pictures. Any ideas?? If you know anyone who might be able to help, you can send them the whole album with this link:

Now for the pics.

The biggest hole with my foot for size comparison

Two of the holes (one on the left is the one in the other picture)

This is the oak tree right beside the deck. Husband keeps wanting to top it off or cut it down but I am against that, because I love this tree. I hope this doesn't kill the tree. :( That hole was not there before. To the bottom left, I pulled the bark away and found a bunch of pill bugs (roly poly bugs). I don't know if that's what they were after or some other grub or larvae.

An oak tree in the back of the yard. This hole is pretty large and may not be a completely new hole.

This is a dead oak tree in the woods over to the side.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

“We live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure.”

-- Macrina Wiederkehr