16 Jan 2018 A Swamp filled with Lions and Crocodiles (Dream) and Resilience

15 Jan 2018 – Drawing from yesterday. The word Untangled came to mind – the beauty of complete and true spiritual freedom.

Hello to you. It’s 8:39 am as I begin to write to you. It’s 21 degrees, with a feels like of 6 outside right now! Definitely winter here! So how are you? Hopefully you have nutritious food, clothing, shelter, clean water, clean air to breathe and love. Unless someone chooses to go without, I think everyone should have those basic things!

So with it being colder for sleeping, I’ve been dreaming a lot. The dreams aren’t always coherent enough to share but this first one is. It’s very symbolic I think of what it’s like to try and exist in this world.

The dream began with an actual flash of text, “What went wrong?” Then the dream progressed to a family living on a farm surrounded by a swamp populated with large crocodiles (this came from a video we watched recently of a man filming crocs and his friends telling him to run because they were coming after him) and lions (this came from a recent video of seeing a woman being dragged off by a tiger and mauled nearly to death (killed her mom) at one of those animal safari parks and healthy lion cubs being killed in Sweden).

Well if you didn’t time it right, you couldn’t travel because the reptiles would get too close to the house. I actually had a showdown with two of them through a glass door. Someone had left the house and couldn’t come home because of this situation. I remember watching lions trying to climb over the crocodiles without getting bitten. It was a very uneasy relationship.

The symbolism of the dream holds true to the world we live in especially at the upper echelons it seems. I watch these human beings who claim to be civilized barely cooperating, biting each other, mauling and even complete devouring one another just to keep their “stuff” and their power. There is little compassion or empathy it seems – just doing whatever it takes to survive with little regard to collateral damage.  I haven’t lost hope in them though.  Each day I catch glimpses of the leaders and type of people I think they really want to be – people who make this world better for more than just themselves and their kin.  Progress not perfection!

Then there is this. I searched Google and Bing and found this one article that inspired me to believe we are more than just combatants in this world. This is also a great example of resilience. Today’s Daily Good article really ties into what it takes for a veteran like Brandon Dodson and so many others not to completely lose their shit after serving in the military. Resilience is a word that has figured into my own life on more than one occasion. Just when I thought I was broken beyond repair, the God of my understanding and all the accompanying Earth Angels they could send lifted me back up:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/walls-raised-for-double-amputees-home-in-vista/ar-AAuJwkw?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Walls raised for double amputee’s home in Vista

The “Walls of Honor” event was organized by the Gary Sinise Foundation, which is building the 3,000-square-foot house for Dodson, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2014, and his family.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
Malcolm S. Forbes

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1820/the-gifts-of-imperfection-brene-brown/

Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. –Victor Hugo

The Gifts of Imperfection

–by Brene Brown, syndicated from spiritualityandpractice.com, Jan 16, 2018

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

“Resilience — the ability to overcome adversity — has been a growing topic of study since the early 1970s. In a world plagued by stress and struggle, everyone from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to clergy and criminal justice researchers want to why and how some folks are better at bouncing back from hardship than others. We want to understand why some people can cope with stress and trauma in a way that allows them to move forward in their lives, and why other people appear more affected and stuck.

“As I collected and analyzed my data, I recognized that many of the people I interviewed were describing stories of resilience. I heard stories about people cultivating Wholehearted lives despite adversity. I learned about people’s capacities to stay mindful and authentic under great stress and anxiety, and I heard people describe how they were able to transform trauma into Wholehearted thriving.

“It wasn’t difficult to recognize these stories as tales of resilience because I was in graduate school during the heyday of resilience research. I knew these narratives were threaded with what we call protective factors — the things we do, have, and practice that give us the bounce.

“What Makes Up Resilience?

“If you look at the current research, here are five of the most common factors of resilient people:

“1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.

  1. They are more likely to seek help.
  2. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them to manage their feelings and to cope.
  3. They have social support available to them.
  4. They are connected with others, such as family or friends.

“Of course, there are more factors, depending on the researchers, but these are the big ones.

“At first, I hoped the patterns that I observed in my research would lead to a very straightforward conclusion — resilience is a core component of Wholeheartedness — just like the other guideposts. But there was something more to what I was hearing. The stories had more in common than just resilience; all of these stories were about spirit.

“According to the people I interviewed, the very foundation of the ‘protective factors’ — the things that made them bouncy — was their spirituality. By spirituality, I’m not talking about religion or theology, but I am talking about a shared and deeply held belief. Based on the interviews, here’s how I define spirituality:

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.

“Without exception, spirituality — the belief in connection, a power greater than self, and interconnections grounded in love and compassion — emerged as a component of resilience. Most people spoke of God, but not everyone. Some were occasional churchgoers; others were not. Some worshipped at fishing holes; others in temples, mosques, or at home. Some struggled with the idea of religion; others were devout members of organized religions. The one thing that they all had in common was spirituality as the foundation of their resilience.

“From this foundation of spirituality, three other significant patterns emerged as being essential to resilience:

“1. Cultivating hope

  1. Practicing critical awareness
  2. Letting go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, discomfort, and pain”

Syndicated from Spirituality & Health magazine. S&H was founded in 1998 for people seeking holistic health in body, mind, and spirit. It aspires to help guide the journey to self-knowledge, authenticity, and integration. Its articles draw from the wisdom of many traditions and cultures, with an emphasis on sharing spiritual practices, and look to science to help provide a context for the spiritual quest. Read more from Spirituality & Health here.

 

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14 Jan 2018 Emergence (Drawing) and What exactly is Emergence? (Peggy Holman Cultivating leadership for complex times)

Hello,  how are you?  Keeping it short.  I did a scan of the headlines and even in places I was hoping to find something positive…nope!  Thankfully a couple of WordPress blogs I read this morning did have positive messages; here are links if you wish to check them out!

https://empoweredeverydayblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/promise-me/

https://patrickrealstories.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/patrick-concept-of-blessings-simple-way-to-bless-others/

The final drawing I did yesterday was one I really liked and may even put to canvas at some point.  What came to mind about it was the word Emergence.  What is the definition of this word?  It’s not an easy word to define I found out!  I found Peggy Holman’s method understandable for someone like me and a couple of videos on the different spectrums of understanding.  The whole subject has lit a spark of “wow! that’s fascinating!” in my brain!

When  I was thinking of it after doing my drawing, I was thinking of shining even when we don’t want to – emerging out of our personal darkness and shining.  Quite simple compared to what I’ve watched and read this morning!

13 Jan 2018 – I really liked this drawing after I was done. The word Emergence came looking at it. It is so hard sometimes to emerge from where we are hiding, our personal darkness in order to share ourselves with others and shine our personal light in the world. Kind of a personal hokey pokey perhaps?! “One foot in, one foot out….”

http://peggyholman.com/papers/engaging-emergence/engaging-emergence-table-of-contents/part-i-the-nature-of-emergence/chapter-1-what-is-emergence/

Chapter 1. What Is Emergence?

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

—Carl Sagan, Cosmos

For most of us, the notion of emergence is tough to grasp because the concept is just entering our consciousness. When something new arises, we have no simple, shorthand language for it. The words we try seem like jargon. So we stumble with words, images, and analogies to communicate this whiff in the air that we can barely smell. We know it exists because something does not fit easily into what we already know.

Emergence disrupts, creates dissonance. We make sense of the disturbances that emergence creates partially through developing language that helps us to tease out useful distinctions. As the vocabulary to describe what is emerging becomes more familiar, our understanding increases. For example, disturbance, disruption, and dissonance are part of the language of engaging emergence. These terms are cousins, and I often use them interchangeably. Disruption is the most general of the three words. If something involves an emotional nuance, chances are that I call the disruption a disturbance. When conflict is involved or the disruption is particularly grating, with a lack of agreement or harmony, I will likely refer to its dissonance.

This chapter helps build a vocabulary we can all use by defining emergence. The chapter also provides a brief history of how our understanding of emergence has evolved. It offers some distinctions between strong and weak emergence and describes essential characteristics of emergence—what it looks like and how it behaves. The chapter ends by reflecting on the challenge of learning how to engage emergence.

Defining Emergence

In the preface, I defined emergence as simply as possible: order arising out of chaos. A more nuanced definition is higher-order complexity arising out of chaos in which novel, coherent structures coalesce through interactions among the diverse entities of a system. Emergence occurs when these interactions disrupt, causing the system to differentiate and ultimately coalesce into something novel.

Key elements of this definition are chaos and novelty. Chaos is random interactions among different entities in a given context. Think of people at a cocktail party. Chaos contains no clear patterns or rules of interaction. Make that a cocktail party in which no single culture prevails, so that no one is sure how close to stand to others, whether to make eye contact, or whether to use first or last names. Emergent order arises when a novel, more complex system forms. It often happens in an unexpected, almost magical leap. The cocktail party is actually a surprise party, and everyone knows where to hide and when to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Emergence produces novel systems—coherent interactions among entities following basic principles. In his bestseller Emergence, science writer Steven Johnson puts it this way: “Agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies one scale above them: ants create colonies; urbanites create neighborhoods; simple pattern-recognition software learns how to recommend new books.”1 Emergence in human systems has produced new technologies, towns, democracy, and some would say consciousness—the capacity for self-reflection.

A Short History of Emergence

If we want to engage emergence, understanding its origins helps. Scientist Peter Corning offers a brilliant essay on emergence.2 He brought a multitude of sources together to describe an evolution in perspectives. I have paraphrased some highlights:

  • Emergence has gone in and out of favor since 1875. According to philosopher David Blitz, the term was coined by the pioneer psychologist G. H. Lewes, who wrote, “[T]here is a co-operation of things of unlike kinds. The emergent is unlike its components . . . and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference.” By the 1920s, the ideas of emergence fell into disfavor under the onslaught of analysis. Analysis was seen as the best means to make sense of our world. In recent years, nonlinear mathematical tools have provided the means to model complex, dynamic interactions. This modeling capability has revived interest in emergence—how whole systems evolve.
  • Emergence is intimately tied to studies of evolution. Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher and contemporary of Darwin’s, described emergence as “an inherent, energy-driven trend in evolution toward new levels of organization.” It described the sudden changes in evolution—the move from ocean to land, from ape to human.

Although evolutionary scientists have done much of the work, people from a variety of disciplines have also struggled to explain this common and mysterious experience. What enables an unexpected leap of understanding in a field of study or practice? In 1962, Thomas Kuhn contributed to our understanding by coining the term paradigm shift to describe a tradition-shattering change in the guiding assumptions of a scientific discipline.3

Then the Santa Fe Institute, a leader in defining the frontiers of complex systems research, took the work further. Engagingly told by Mitchell Waldrop in his book Complexity, the story of how the Santa Fe Institute was born reads like a great adventure.4 In the mid-1980s, a hunch brought biologists, cosmologists, physicists, economists, and others to the Los Alamos National Laboratory to explore odd notions about complexity, adaptation, upheavals at the edge of chaos.5 Though their disciplines used different terms, they shared a common experience with this strange form of change. They were no longer alone with their questions. Others were exploring the same edges.

They gave this experience a name: emergent complexity, or emergence for short. While emergence has aspects of the familiar—Mom’s nose, Dad’s eyes—it is its own notion. It isn’t just integrating old ideas with what’s new. It is something more—and different. It is whole systems evolving over time. Single-cell organisms interact, and multicellular creatures emerge. Humans become self-conscious and track their own evolution.

In Emergence, Steven Johnson speaks of how our understanding of emergence has evolved.6 In the initial phase, seekers grappled with ideas of self-organization without language to describe it. Without a coherent frame of reference, the ideas were like a magician’s illusion: our attention was diverted to the familiar while the real action was happening unseen in front of our noses.

As language emerged—complexity, self-organization, complex adaptive systems—a second phase began. These terms focused our attention in new directions. People started coming together across disciplines to understand the nature of these patterns. The Santa Fe Institute was central to this phase.

During the 1990s, we entered a third phase, applied emergence, in which we “stopped analyzing emergence and started creating it.”7 In other words, we could see emergence occurring naturally in phenomena like anthills. And we started working with it—for example, developing software that recognizes music or helps us find mates.

This book is about creating conditions for applied emergence in our social systems. It aims to help us work with the dynamics of emergent complexity so that our intentions are realized as life-serving outcomes.

Distinctions Between Weak and Strong Emergence

Scientists distinguish two forms of emergence: weak and strong emergence. Understanding this distinction clears up some confusion. Predictable patterns of emergent phenomena, such as traffic flows and anthills, are examples of weak emergence. In contrast, strong emergence is experienced as upheaval. When disruptions dramatically change a system’s form, as in revolutions and renaissances, strong emergence has occurred.

Weak emergence describes new properties arising in a system. A baby is wholly unique from its parents, yet is basically predictable in form. In weak emergence, rules or principles act as the authority, providing context for the system to function. In effect, they eliminate the need for someone in charge. Road systems are a simple example.

Strong emergence occurs when a novel form arises that was completely unpredictable. We could not have guessed its properties by understanding what came before. Nor can we trace its roots from its components or their interactions. We see stories on television. Yet we could not have predicted this form of storytelling from books.

As strong emergence occurs, the rules or assumptions that shape a system cease to be reliable. The system becomes chaotic. In our social systems, perhaps the situation is too complex for a traditional hierarchy to address it. Self-organizing responses to emergencies are an example. Such circumstances give emergence its reputation for unnerving leaps of faith.

Yet emergent systems increase order even in the absence of command and central control: useful things happen with no one in charge. Open systems extract information and order out of their environment. They bring coherence to increasingly complex forms. In emergent change processes, setting clear intentions, creating hospitable conditions, and inviting diverse people to connect does the work. Think of it as an extended cocktail party with a purpose.

Characteristics of Emergence

Although the conversation continues, scientists generally agree on these qualities of emergence:

Radical novelty—At each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear (for example, from autocracy—rule by one person with unlimited power—to democracy, where people are the ultimate source of political power)

Coherence—A stable system of interactions (an elephant, a biosphere, an agreement)

Wholeness—Not just the sum of its parts, but also different and irreducible from its parts (humans are more than the composition of lots of cells)

Dynamic—Always in process, continuing to evolve (changes in transportation: walking, horse and buggy, autos, trains, buses, airplanes)

Downward causation—The system shaping the behavior of the parts (roads determine where we drive)

The phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” captures key aspects of these ideas. Birds flock, sand forms dunes, and individuals create societies. Each of these phrases names a related but distinct system. Each system is composed of, influenced by, but different from its mate: birds and flocks, sand and dunes, individuals and societies.

As with all change, emergence occurs when disruptions shape the interactions. In emergence, coherence breaks apart; differences surface and re-form in a novel system. The two most frequently cited dynamics:

No one is in charge—No conductor is orchestrating orderly activity (ecosystems, economic systems, activity in a city).

Simple rules engender complex behavior—Randomness becomes coherent as individuals, each following a few basic principles or assumptions, interact with their neighbors (birds flock; traffic flows).

Twelve-step programs characterize these ideas at work. Most participants are fiercely independent people who are not there to follow someone in authority. Yet with the guidance offered through 12 statements, these programs are highly complex, worldwide organizations that have influenced the lives of millions.

No doubt the simplicity of these two dynamics may leave many senior executives and government agency heads skeptical. No one is in charge? Not likely. Isn’t it interesting that the word order is a term for issuing instructions? What happens when orders come from the top? If they disrupt existing functions of the organization, sometimes it moves in novel and useful directions. And sometimes the orders produce entirely unexpected—emergent—outcomes that arise from within the system, bearing little resemblance to the orders given.

If managers say, “We’re too complex for simple rules,” chances are they’re confusing complicated and complex. We often make things more complicated than necessary. Filling out a form in a bureaucracy is a common example. Complexity is entirely different. Complexity has elegance. It is, to paraphrase Einstein, as simple as possible but not simpler.

Emergence is an energy-efficient approach to accomplishing complex tasks. Consider the different costs of handling conflict through dialogue versus war. Negotiations among a handful of diplomats can lead to breakthrough agreements for all involved. In contrast, armed conflict involves thousands and generally produces results that work for one party, along with loss of life and property for all involved. Quite a different proposition in time, money, and life!

How Does Novelty Emerge?

Two key dynamics shape how novelty arises—how systems, including us, learn and adapt. Increasingly complex and novel forms emerge from interactions among autonomous, diverse agents, like us, through

  • feedback among neighboring agents, and
  • clustering as like finds like.

Feedback

Systems grow and self-regulate through feedback. Output from one interaction influences the next interaction. We talk to a neighbor, we share some of the discussion with friends, and suddenly everyone in town knows that Sally married Harry.

Disruptions are feedback. They signal potential change. Most of us focus on the symptoms, the visible outcomes of such signals. A fight breaks out, and we concentrate on who is winning and losing. What caused the fight? How else might it be resolved? We ask different questions when we pay attention to what’s behind the feedback.

Feedback opens communication. It connects what’s inside and outside, at the top and bottom, across and within systems. It gives us a chance to notice what is emerging and discern its meaning.

Systems theory uses feedback loops to help us map how interactions influence each other. It names two types of feedback loops: reinforcing and balancing loops.

Perhaps this is how the fight erupted: I speak my mind. It pushes your buttons; you get mad and push back. Even if I hadn’t intended to irritate you, now I’m on the defensive. To protect myself, I attack you. And things escalate. In what is called a reinforcing feedback loop, output reinforces an action in the same general direction—sometimes toward more, sometimes toward less. Reinforcing loops are also called vicious or, when healthy, virtuous cycles.

Another form of feedback occurs through balancing feedback loops. Opposite forces counteract each other. Separation of powers among executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government illustrates balancing loops. Each keeps the others in check. In healthy systems, those that continually learn and adapt, balancing loops periodically interrupt reinforcing loops, ending their perpetual growth. Without such checks we get global warming, economic meltdowns, and cancer.

Clustering

As we interact, feeding back to each other, like attracts like. Some of us bond around a shared characteristic. For example, we both like the same candidate for office. Over time, small groups with similar interests form. Perhaps parents advocate for a new style of school. With continued interaction, small groups become larger groups. Increasingly complex networks take shape when something binds them together. Parents, teachers, and small businesses unite to create new types of schools. At some point, a complex and stable cluster arises. It has unique properties unlike its individual elements. A national movement for charter schools takes off. Something novel emerges.

Humans are talented at pattern matching—clustering like with like. We even do it unconsciously. We see it indirectly in how towns and cities form. Asian districts exist in San Francisco, New York, and London. All of the auto dealerships are in the same part of town. As maps of the Internet are created, clusters of highly interconnected sites are appearing. We are experiencing emergence in process. Through our increasingly sophisticated technology, we can track complex networks forming. New tools show us the neural networks of the brain, the ecosystems of nature, and social structures in cultures. The ability to see complexity is reinvigorating interest in emergence. We can finally study complex patterns over time and space.

Such tools make complex stories visible. For example, at a 2010 Journalism That Matters conference, a map of Northwest news and information Web sites caught the attention of an executive editor. He noticed the competition in the center of the map. He searched long and hard to locate his organization. A colleague explained that their antiquated technology caused the problem. No doubt, priorities changed when the executive returned to the office.

Learning How to Engage Emergence

The story of emergence is still young. We have struggled with its existence, described some of its properties, and given it a name. We are early in understanding what it means to social systems—organizations, communities, and sectors such as politics, health care, and education. We are just learning how to work with it to support positive changes and deep transformation.

In social systems, emergence can move us toward possibilities that serve enduring needs, intentions, and values. Forms can change, conserving essential truths while bringing forth innovations that weren’t possible before. In journalism, traditional values of accuracy and transparency are making their way into the blogosphere, social network sites, and other emerging media.

Emergence is a process, continual and never-ending. It emphasizes interactions as much as it does the people or elements interacting. Most of us focus on what we can observe—the animal, the project outcome, the object. Emergence involves also paying attention to what is happening—the stranger arriving with different cultural assumptions that ripple through the organization or community.

Emergence is a product of interactions among diverse entities. Since interactions don’t exist in a vacuum, the context also matters. That is why just bringing diverse people together won’t necessarily lead to a promising outcome. Initial conditions set the context. How the invitation is issued, the quality of welcome, the questions posed, the physical space, all influence whether a fight breaks out or warm, unexpected partnerships form.

In truth, working with emergence can be a bit like befriending Kokopelli, a trickster of the ancient Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, or his Norse counterpart, Loki. Working with mischievous spirits always has some catches.

Back to the Table of Contents

On to Chapter 2. What’s the Catch?

A couple of videos, if you type the word Emergence in to You Tube, there are more:

PHILOSOPHY – Metaphysics: Emergence

Emergence – How Stupid Things Become Smart Together (Kyle and I had to laugh about this)

12 Jan 2018 Time Travelers (chalk drawing) and How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy (http://www.dailygood.org)

11 Jan 2018 – it’s been very cold and windy here the past couple of days so I haven’t been out chalk drawing as much. The sun is out but it’s not supposed to break 40 degrees today!

Hello to you.  It’s 9:01 am as I write to you.  The sun is shining out back but I know it’s still very cold LOL!  We are watching the in-laws dogs Henry and Suzie….last night was as the dogs say…RUFF!  We were up at midnight cleaning up poop and watching You tube Nuke’s Top 5 Lists lool!  There is always an adjustment period when combining packs!

My prayers go out to all those in California and all other parts of the world today.   Whether you are trying to survive the elements of Mother Nature or those of Humankind’s making, I hope you have what you need to get through it.  I hope you know you aren’t alone in this world even if often it may seem like it.  I decided to visit one of my favorite websites for positive stories and found this one.  I hope something in it will resonate in your heart today.

Learn to make the mediator between what you think and what you do be your heart.  If you feel your heart sink below center at the prospect of a thought or an action, chances are whatever it is isn’t the right thing for you!

“If it ain’t light, it ain’t right!” – Carol Lee

 

If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal every moment. –Carlos Santana

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1725/how-to-overcome-stress-by-seeing-other-people-s-joy-kelly-mcgonigal/

How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy

–by Kelly McGonigal , syndicated from Greater Good, Nov 21, 2017

 If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, don’t cut yourself off from other people, says Kelly McGonigal. Instead, double down on your capacity for connection.

One evening when I walked into a classroom to teach my Science of Stress course, I found a newspaper waiting for me on the lectern. A student had brought in an article called “Stress: It’s Contagious.” The report claimed that stress is “as contagious as any airborne pathogen” and compared its toxicity to secondhand smoke.

As an example, the news story described a study showing that participants had an empathic physiological stress response when they observed another person struggling. One of the researchers commented, “It was surprising how easily the stress was transmitted.”

As someone who studies both stress and empathy, I get asked about this research a lot. Does it mean that empathy is a liability, increasing your risk of exhaustion, depression, or burnout? If you are highly empathic, are you doomed to become a reservoir for other people’s pain and suffering?

One solution is to create stronger emotional barriers—to put on a psychological Hazmat suit to protect against the stress and suffering you don’t want to catch. I’ve seen this approach adopted by many people in the helping professions, including health care, social work, and teaching.

If you are feeling similarly overwhelmed by how affected you are by the emotions of others, I’d like to offer another possibility for preserving your well-being: Double down on your capacity for empathy. Instead of trying to become immune to other people’s stress, increase your susceptibility to catch other people’s joy.

The benefits of positive empathy

While modern psychological science has largely focused on empathy for negative states, a new field of research dubbed “positive empathy” shows that it is also possible to catch happiness.

You might have seen studies showing that seeing other people in pain can activate the pain system in your own brain. It turns out your brain will also resonate with positive emotions. For example, when you witness other’s good fortune, it can activate the brain’s reward system. Moreover, this kind of contagious happiness can be an important source of well-being. The tendency to experience positive empathy is linked to greater life satisfaction, peace of mind, and happiness. It is also associated with greater trust, support, and satisfaction in close relationships.

Those around you may benefit from your empathic joy, as well. One study examined the experience of empathic joy in teachers in fourteen different U.S. states. The teachers who had more frequent experiences of positive empathy toward their students felt more connected to them. This positive attitude led to more positive interactions with students, as observed by classroom evaluators, and higher academic achievement by their students.

Importantly, positive empathy doesn’t just make you feel good; it can also inspire you to do good. The tendency to feel empathic joy is associated with a stronger desire to help others thrive, and a greater willingness to take action to do so. Positive empathy also enhances the warm glow you feel from helping others—making compassion much more sustainable.

Search for small moments of joy

Joy is a big-sounding word, and so we tend to look for classic expressions of “big” joy—huge smiles, exclamations of delight, hugs and cheers. The kind of joy associated with winning the lottery and marriage proposals.

Yet other forms of joy exist all around us. As you begin to look for joy, you will notice more and more of them. There is the joy of pleasures, simple or sublime, such as enjoying a delicious meal, listening to music, or savoring how it feels to hold a baby in your arms. There is the joy of purpose, and how it feels to contribute, work hard, learn, and grow. There is the joy of being connected to something bigger than yourself, be it nature, family, or faith. There is the joy of wonder—being curious, experiencing new things, and feeling awe or surprise.

There is the joy of being acknowledged and appreciated by others—sensing what you have to offer, and knowing that you matter. There is the joy of being your best self—how good it feels to use your strengths in service of something you care about, or to express your most deeply held values. There is the joy of having your needs met—being helped, listened to, or held in a comforting embrace. There is the joy of laughter, and especially shared laughter, and especially shared laughter when everything seems to be falling apart.

These are just a few of the possible joys you can witness. When you keep your eyes open for them, you learn a lot about how much possibility there is for joy for ordinary moments, and even difficult circumstances.

Ultimately, this is how I think of empathic joy: as a resource that allows you to stay engaged with life not just when things go well, but also when they are difficult. It’s not just a practice of celebrating and amplifying the good; it also allows us to sustain hope when we face the reality of suffering unrelieved and needs yet unmet.

How to catch joy

What if right now, your empathy radar seems tuned in only to stress, unable to resonate with other people’s happiness? Maybe you even feel the opposite of contagious joy: envy at other people’s success, isolated by others’ happiness, reminded by their good fortune of what you long for, or lack.

If so, you aren’t alone. Philosophers and psychologists have observed that, for many people, empathy for negative emotions is more instinctive than for positive states.

Fortunately, you don’t have to rely only on instincts; empathic joy can be cultivated. In Buddhist psychology, empathic joy is considered one of the four brahmavihāras (sublime attitudes), alongside equanimity, loving kindness, and compassion. Like other mindsets, empathic joy can be deliberately trained as a way to deepen your wisdom and well-being. With practice, you can strengthen your capacity to notice, resonate with, and celebrate the happiness of others.

Here are five of my favorite everyday practices for catching joy. As you strengthen your intention to notice joy, you will surely discover your own favorite ways to witness and share in the happiness of others.

1. Watch a child or animal play. Delight in their joy, energy, and wonder. Let yourself smile or laugh as their playfulness awakens a similar spirit in you.

2. Watch an athletic, artistic, or other kind of competition without taking sides. Appreciate the effort, skill, or artistry of all competitors—and celebrate the joy of whoever wins. Feel glad for their success, and watch how they celebrate it with others. See if you can extend your empathic joy to how they share the moment with friends, family, coaches, or teammates.

3. Help someone else celebrate their happiness. If someone shares good news, ask them to tell you more, and listen whole-heartedly. If you become aware of an accomplishment or milestone in a person’s life, write them a congratulatory email or Facebook post. Go beyond “pro forma” congratulations and really feel the joy of helping someone savor something positive.

4. Witness the good in others. Set the goal to notice when others display character strengths like kindness, honesty, courage, or perseverance. Take joy in seeing the good. Feel heart-glad about what you observe. Let yourself feel inspired by their actions to do good yourself.

5. Let someone else do something nice for you. This might not seem like a practice of empathic joy, but it becomes one when you begin to pay attention to how happy it makes the other person. Sometimes our own discomfort with receiving kindness, or fear of being a burden to others, gets in the way of seeing that joy.

As Pema Chodron writes in The Places that Scare You:

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. We can do this even at the most difficult moments. Everything we see, hear, taste, and smell has the power to strengthen and uplift us.”

From this point of view, it becomes possible to open your heart to what can feel, at first, like a vulnerability. To let your natural capacity for empathy connect you to both the pain and joy of others, and to trust that this capacity is a blessing, not a liability.


This article is syndicated from Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Author Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and a leading expert in the new field of “science-help.” She is the author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Lao Tzu

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it
Marcus Aurelius

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Albert Einstein

10 Jan 2018 Chalk drawings, Memory Wire and Urban Sprawl

9 Jan 2018- First outdoor chalk drawing yesterday. This almost has an anime feel to it. I was thinking of a spiritual journey to the sun.

9 Jan 2018 – My first Memory Wire bracelet. I decided to try it instead of stretchy cord and I really like it. As I made it I was thinking about the journey of existence. There is Blood, Worlds colliding, Creation, Chakras, Rainbows…all sorts of stuff going on.  The bracelet is very comfortable to wear.  Many years ago my Mom gave me a Memory Wire bead bracelet she had a friend make for me.  Wearing it all makes me feel like Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth lol.  Now I have one for each wrist!

9 Jan 2018 – last drawing of the day. Very spiritual feeling to it. More than just a cross.

Hello to you.  It’s Wednesday morning, 7:59 am as I begin to write to you.  I’m sharing some of my creations from yesterday.  Since I’ve nearly maxed out my picture space here again and haven’t decided whether or not I want to buy a professional account, it’s always a nail-biter to see if all I want to share with you will even load up!  Today was a success!

Last night was interesting.  Around 5:59 pm we heard two loud booms that scared us and the dogs.  It sounded like bombs going off.  There was discussion on Next Door (neighborhood internet page) but no definitive answers.  It’s kind of like when we had the 4.0 earthquake a couple of years ago now.  You can’t prepare yourself for those types of sounds and feelings!  Hopefully it wasn’t anything bad.

Our little town is growing much faster than I think anyone thought it would.  Things that used to be o.k. aren’t o.k. anymore in the noise department with more people living in the city proper.  The gap between the folks living on the outer edge of our town and those of us living within it city limits is closing.  A phenomenon I’ve explored here before about this is called Urban Sprawl.  What happens is people will move away from large cities to get away from the chaos and then they tell two friends and they tell two friends and before you know it, they are right in the same situation they left!  When people from large cities move to small ones, they want all the amenities they had but also want peace and quiet….no traffic.  It doesn’t work that way.  Where you go, there you are….I give you Urban Sprawl!

http://www.everythingconnects.org/urban-sprawl.html

Urban sprawl refers to the expansion of poorly planned, low-density, auto-dependent development, which spreads out over large amounts of land, putting long distances between homes, stores, and work and creating a high segregation between residential and commercial uses with harmful impacts on the people living in these areas and the ecosystems and wildlife that have been displaced. Although some would argue that urban sprawl has its benefits, such as creating local economic growth, urban sprawl has many negative consequences for residents and the environment, such as higher water and air pollution, increased traffic fatalities and jams, loss of agricultural capacity, increased car dependency, higher taxes, increased runoff into rivers and lakes, harmful effects on human health, including higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and chronic diseases, increased flooding, decrease in social capital and loss of natural habitats, wildlife and open space. In its path, urban sprawl consumes immeasurable acres of forests, farmland, woodlands and wetlands and in its wake, leaves vacant storefronts, boarded up houses, closed businesses, abandoned and usually contaminated industrial sites, and traffic congestion, which can stretch miles from urban centers and is creating a hidden debt of unfunded infrastructure and services, urban decay, social dysfunction, and environmental degradation.

America’s Biggest Problem   –  well worth spending 14 minutes to watch this!

Published on Jul 20, 2015

Watch the new video, Agoraphobic Nation: Sprawl and Culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH60a…
Most of the problems that we face today in the United States, whether they are cultural, economic, social or environmental are rooted in poor urban design and planning. Due to America’s unique experience of economic growth during the 20th century, this has become the most underrated issue in the United States that most people don’t know about. People react to their immediate environment and don’t see the big picture unless they can step outside and view themselves. It’s important to recognize a problem in order to have the capacity to change it.
Some points at the end were inspired by a lecture by Andres Duany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMvwHDFVpCE

9 Jan 2018 Sum of the One

8 Jan 2018 My outdoor chalk drawing yesterday. The phrase “Sum of One” came to mind thinking of how what is done to one is done to all of us.

Hello to you.  How are you in your today?  I’m doing well today.

We were happy to get a call yesterday evening to tell us Kyle’s wedding ring replacement was ready to pick up.  We are very pleased with both bands!

9 Jan 2018 – it was tricky taking a picture like this with one hand lool!

While we were at the shopping center in Burleson (we try to maximize all the trips that involve leaving the house), he did his customary run to Gamestop whereby he talked himself out of buying any new games.  I limited myself to some Memory Wire instead of stretchy cord for making bead bracelets at Michaels.  At 5 and Below we found something that has been very hard to find this year, a “real” calendar!  We don’t like digital calendars.  Without power you can’t access them for later reference.  When Kyle has to fill out papers for outages he finds having the paper kind of calendar for reference is much easier.   What’s funny too is on the way there we found $2 on the ground.  It was just more than enough to pay for the calendar!   The theme of the calendar we chose was Zen – yay!

Kyle and I had a laugh while in 5 and Below.  I don’t know if you remember me mentioning Kyle and I spending like 9 months trying to find a My Little Pony Celestia.  She was the last Pony to complete the collection Kyle started for me.  Well guess what?!  We found not only one Celestia, but an entire  bin full of them in there!  I wish I had taken a picture!  That happens to us quite often when we can’t find something.  We will finally find it and then the item we were seeking will show up EVERYWHERE! Lol!  BOOM TONS OF CELESTIA’S!  Lol.  I hope they all get great homes.

This is picture of my Grandma Carol Becker celebrating her 75th birthday – (Princess Celestia and Princess Luna from My Little Pony)

This month’s calendar message:  Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony – Mahatma Gandhi

Yesterday we received the Mighty Paw double dog leash and it’s working great!  I took the kids for a spin yesterday after it came in and Kyle took the reigns this morning.   We are both very pleased with the gadget.

Sometimes walking two dogs (or one depending on the dog!) by yourself or with another person can be challenging.  When Links family came by for Christmas, his Mom Tippie and Dad Tyler were hooked up to one (different brand) and it was working really well.  Their son is a pain in the ass, aka “Diablo Blanco,”  to walk so figured this might help and so far so good!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072BF547Q/ref=cfb_at_prodpg

9 Jan 2018 – never mind the blob of me in red and gray. Just wanted to show you what it looks like with two dogs actually hooked up with it.

Mighty Paw Double Dog Leash, Two Dog Adjustable Length Dog Lead, Premium Quality No-Tangle Leash for 2 dogs   (US $15.99)

WHY USE TWO LEASHES AND BOTH HANDS? Enjoy the most convenient and comfortable way to walk two dogs with the Mighty Paw adjustable-length (reflective) double dog leash.

  • WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT? The adjustable lead length accommodates big dogs, small dogs, or both! With our EZ-glide hardware, the leash quickly adjusts from 16-24 inches. The leash accommodates dogs from 0-100 pounds.
  • TANGLE FREE: Never worry about your dogs getting tangled with our innovative tangle-free swivel piece. Our leash rotates freely keeping your dogs comfortable no matter how wild and adventurous.
  • WEATHER-PROOF MATERIAL WITH REFLECTIVE STITCHING: Made with weather-proof nylon and durable hardware, the Mighty Paw double dog leash is sure to last for years to come. To keep you and your dogs safe when the sun goes down, we have added reflective thread stitching along the entire length of the product.
  • CHOOSE WITH HANDLE OR WITHOUT: Add the neoprene padded handle for maximum comfort or simply attach to your every day walking leash, the choice is yours! Regardless of your decision, order worry free with our 90 day 100% money back guarantee

Anyhew….time to get off this thing and go out and see if my chalk slab is dry yet.  I hope this finds you well.  Remember no matter what, make the mediator between your head and your hands your HEART!  Love finds a way to navigate through even the most impossible of challenges.

 

 

3 Jan 2018 How cold is too cold (dogs), planet Nayrobi (dream) and Nairobi Kenya

3 Jan 2018 – the sun is back! It’s still very cold!

Hello to you wherever and whenever you are as you find me here.  How are you?  Hopefully your 2018 is off to a positive start.  My prayers go out to all those experiencing unusually cold weather.  I hope the homeless are finding shelter.  I’m worried about people and animals with conditions like this.  My neighbor had his dogs out all day yesterday and I had to tell him to get the dogs inside because they were coming over to our place!  We are actually experiencing winter here for the first time in several years and no one is used to it!

Source Internet: Our Animal Control folks recently shared this and I’m passing it on. It’s important info for folks who tend to leave their dogs and cats outside all the time.

Last night there were lots of dreams; I will share this one. It had to do with going to a planet called Nayrobi (spelling in the dream), the God of my understanding and something about “dialing things back a notch.” It was like I was floating over the earth in a ship and there was a conversation going on from the ship to the Earth about going to the planet Nayrobi for some sort of therapy. I eventually agreed to go. I guess all the stuff I’ve been watching lately in my waking world about UFO’s, aliens etc. unlocked this dream lol!

I knew I had heard of an actual place on Earth with this name and I was right. Nairobi of Kenya in East Africa looks like a place that would be very therapeutic to visit!

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kenya/nairobi

Welcome to Nairobi

East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Nairobi is Kenya’s beating heart, an exciting, maddening concrete jungle that jarringly counterpoints the untrammelled natural beauty to be found elsewhere in the country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi

Nairobi (/naɪˈroʊbi/; locally [naɪˈroːbi]) is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to “cool water”, a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city proper has a population of 3,138,369, while the metropolitan area has a population of 6,547,547. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun.[2]

Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway.[3] The town quickly grew to replace Machakos as the capital of Kenya in 1907. After independence in 1963, Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya.[4] During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry.[5] The city lies on the River Athi in the southern part of the country, and has an elevation of 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level.[6]

With a population of 3.36 million in 2011, Nairobi is the second-largest city by population in the African Great Lakes region after Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.[1][7] According to the 2009 census, in the administrative area of Nairobi, 3,138,295 inhabitants lived within 696 km2 (269 sq mi).[8] Nairobi is the 10th-largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs.

Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second-oldest exchange on the continent. It is Africa’s fourth-largest exchange in terms of trading volume, capable of making 10 million trades a day.[9]

I had to share this because it made me chuckle this morning.  I was looking at search terms people used on my page and saw this:  why donald trump is willy wonka.   When I did a couple of searches on Google and Bing, some hits actually came up for people having made comparisons between President Trump and Willy Wonka!

Source Internet – Gene as the iconic Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka (HD) “Pure Imagination”

27 Dec 2017 Peace Fragile As Glass and Metallica – The Unforgiven (Video)

Hello to you.  It’s 7:55 am as I write from here.  Another gray and cold day it looks like!  We had a nice holiday with Kyle’s family and got to see Link’s (and ours) family for a short visit before they headed back to Oklahoma.  Erin talked me into reactivating my Facebook account to keep in touch.  I went through and basically sterilized whatever I’m following.  Got what shows up in my feed to mostly just family and friends versus famous people who don’t have anything to do with the pages in their names.  I’m sure I won’t be missed lol.  I also whittled out a bunch of other stuff that I allow to depress and anger me.  Testing the waters!  I go back in knowing full well that I chose to do so.

This morning I had something interesting happen when I tried to attach a star to a tree of life I had made that hangs on my bathroom mirror.  Just as I tried to attach the “broken star”, the glass peace symbol I’ve shared here before fell off and shattered!  I cut myself trying to pick up the pieces.  Is this symbolic or what?!  It was to me.  Peace is as fragile as glass and if you wreck it, there is bloodshed!

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/662577-glass-peace-alike-betray-proof-of-fragility-under-repeated

David Mitchell

“Glass & peace alike betray proof of fragility under repeated blows.”

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Yesterday I moved a bunch of “my stuff” into what was Amber and May’s room aka “the cat room”.  When I tried to remove the cat tree, I felt what I would describe as a “claw to my heart” and I burst into tears!  Yep….felt a physical pain in my heart at the mere thought of removing the tree.  So that tells me I’m still grieving and need to wait before passing the tree on to our friend Rhonda’s two cat boys Gio and Cocoa!
Dreamt about going to see Metallica this morning.  What’s funny is Kyle is the one who has seen them live!
Metallica – The Unforgiven (Video)

METALLICA – The Unforgiven Lyrics

Artist: METALLICA

Album: The Black Album

Genre: Rock

New blood joins this earth
And quickly he’s subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on

He’s known, a vow unto his own
That never from this day, his will they’ll take away

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be, never see
Won’t see what might have been

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free, never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is

Throughout his life the same
He’s battled constantly
This fight, he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares

The old man then prepares
To die regretfully, that old man here is me

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be, never see
Won’t see what might have been

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free, never me
So I dub the unforgiven

You labeled me, I’ll label you
So I dub the unforgiven

23 Dec 2017 The Eraser, Amber and May visit (dream), “Farm Fresh”, Time Travelers (1964 Ib Melchior film) and Elon Musk over Los Angeles

Hello to you. How are you doing in your time as you visit me in mine?  Ready for the holidays?  Ready for the holidays to be over?  Yeah….I fit into the second category as I write to you now,  but I know once we get around family it will feel more like it’s almost Christmas.

22 Dec 2017 – Almost immediately after asking God what my purpose was on a walk alone in the neighborhood I found this…a simple eraser. Hmmm.

It was wet, cold and gray yesterday but I needed a walk so I took one alone around the neighborhood.  I was thinking about the “what’s my purpose” question and outright asked God, “What is my purpose?!”  Almost right after I asked that I found a almost brand new eraser on the curb in front of me.  I asked Kyle what he made of this after I got home.  He said it could mean trying to correct or fix mistakes.  That resonated with me as it feels like much of my life has been about fixing my mistakes and those I see in the world.   I don’t feel like I’ve been altogether very good at this, almost an enabler in some respects, but I’ll keep trying.   I was reminded of a music group I used to enjoy called Erasure:

Erasure A Little Respect (Official Video)

Yesterday evening I decided to go into what has been the “cat room” or Amber and May’s room for the past 8 years.  Since May died, I’ve had the door to the room shut most of the time and the only reason I’ve gone in there was to clean.  I took my cards in there and did a reading while listening to some music.  It was hard to be in that room without my girls being there anymore!

5-oct-2014-may-and-amber-in-cat-room-alvarado-tx

Well last night they came to me in my dreams.  It wasn’t like dreams I’ve had before with those I’ve loved and lost.  This was more like an echo or memory.  It wasn’t interactive.  I didn’t feel their presence.  May’s right ear was shiny like there was some sort of ointment in it like we had to use on Amber when she had an ear infection.  They weren’t in a place I recognized ever being.

I dreamt about a girl hiding out in a hotel and having to keep moving to stay hidden and it was quite involved but I can’t remember anything more than a big man walking across a parking lot.

I dreamt about my neighbor having a huge gray black white and tan dog that came over to me in my yard.  Then it took off running across the street to the field behind us where there was a huge bull with white curly hair on it’s face (cow).  My neighbor was in his backyard and started yelling at the dog as it took off running, “Andrade!  Andrade!” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrade – I knew Andrade’s when I was stationed in Germany).  The dog just kept on going.  As it approached the cow I said, “It’s going to get kicked”  as I thought the cow would surely kick it with how close it got to the cow.  It didn’t.  Just before I woke up I saw, “farmfresh.com” in my mind’s eye.  Weird.

(I was curious to see if there was actually a real web site and found this : http://farmfresh.com/:

Farmington Fresh Story

Nick Rajkovich, father and inspiration for Farmington Fresh. C. 1956


Since 1995 Farmington Fresh has been perfecting apple growing and slicing. We are a proud company with generations rooted in the CA orchards. Farmington Fresh continues the farming tradition of being family owned and operated today.

We are proud of our history as one of the first companies to slice and package fresh fruit. Our team is constantly developing new ideas to offer an exciting array of items. From our sliced sweet red apples and grapes to our broccoli florets and celery; we at Farmington Fresh pride ourselves in maintaining our commitment to quality in all of our products.

We believe good food can be convenient without sacrificing health by bringing the farm to you. We offer a full product line of fresh cut value-added fruits and vegetables.

Changing gears……

Last nights Mystery Science Theater 3000 film was The Time Travelers and we actually really enjoyed it!  We both agreed this would be worth a modern reinterpretation.  The premise of the film and it’s theme’s were very resonant and plausible to the direction we seem to be headed in our current times.  Especially the “man’s folly” being the cause of why the Earth was destroyed, it’s people turned into mutants and why we would have to find another inhabitable planet.     

The Time Travelers (1964) Trailer – Color / 2:18 mins

Published on Jan 17, 2017

The Time Travelers (aka Time Trap) is a 1964 science fiction film directed by B-movie director Ib Melchior. It stars Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, Steve Franken, John Hoyt and Delores Wells. The cast also includes superfan Forrest J. Ackerman in one of his many bit roles in science fiction films. The film inspired the 1966 TV series The Time Tunnel as well as the 1967 remake Journey to the Center of Time.

.In 1964, a group of scientists create a portal that takes them to a barren, mutant inhabited, Earth in the year 2071.

For further movie mayhem;
https://www.facebook.com/VultureGraffix

This morning I saw this and felt it tied in perfectly to sharing about the movie.  If I had seen it with my own eyes, I would have hoped the same thing was happening.  Aliens finally come to help us fix this mess but alas it was only a test of the escape pod

https://nypost.com/2017/12/22/los-angeles-freaks-out-over-ufo-sightings/

Los Angeles freaks out over ‘UFO’ sightings

By Selim Algar

Top of Form 1

Bottom of Form 1

December 22, 2017 | 9:47pm

A space satellite launch sparked a brief UFO scare in Los Angeles Friday night after startled viewers gawked at an unidentifiable streak of light soaring across the night sky.

Observers flooded Twitter with pictures and videos of the strange vessel and they speculated that aliens were finally making their long-awaited debut.

Others braced themselves for extraterrestrial visitation and chided non-believers for ever doubting the presence of life beyond the stars.

“Everyone is Downtown LA was pretty freaked out,” reported one witness on Twitter, adding that crowds cocked their heads skyward to view the phenomenon.

But to a mix of relief and disappointment, other Tweeters quickly debunked the UFO theory, noting that the jellyfish-shaped object was in fact part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite fleet.

The Falcon 9 booster rocket – which carried 10 satellites – launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base around 5:30 p.m. California time en route to destinations across the globe.

‘Elon Musk just scared the f*** out of me!” tweeted one shaken Los Angeleno.

“For 10 minutes I was under the impression that the Aliens had finally come,” said another user in a tweet to the tech innovator. “It was kind of a letdown but still, thank you for the experience.”

 

SpaceX ‘UFO’ Sighting Over Los Angeles Sparks Fear Of Alien Invasion (Elon Musk’s Marketing Stunt?)

 

21 Dec 2017 New bands (Zales) and Reptilicus (1961 Danish-American giant monster film about a prehistoric reptile)

Hello.  How are you?  I’m doing o.k.  It’s been kind of an emotional few days for me.  Christmas as an adult has always been tricky for me and as I get older it gets more and more so.  I did write Christmas cards this year and we bought a couple of things, but we didn’t put up the tree or any lights outside like in years past.  Our gift to each other this year is replacement wedding bands as Kyle split his in half a few months ago!  I don’t think it was a need but we wanted them.   We should have them in time for our “real” anniversary which is 31 Dec.

20 Dec 2017 – We got these at Zales.  The ring on the left is Kyle’s new band made of Tungsten Carbide and mine with Celtic weave is stainless steel. The white gold bands we had just didn’t hold up and Kyle corrodes sterling silver.

We “need” to replace our side fence.  The neighbor dogs reminded me this morning by busting yet another hole in the rotten thing!  I’m amazed the damn thing is still holding up at all anymore lol!   That will be the big expense for the next outage if our neighbors don’t decide to do it sooner.

11 Oct 2017 – As you can see, several methods by the neighbors and ourselves are currently being employed to try and keep the dogs out of our yard until either one of us can afford to truly fix the fence.

Last night’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie was the Danish-American film Reptilicus.  We managed to watch the whole thing.  Kyle and I both felt like it was a bit like watching Dracula in a way….just a huge reptile instead.   We are really enjoying the latest installments of the MSTK3000!

Reptilicus – Trailer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptilicus

Reptilicus is a 1961 Danish-American giant monster film about a prehistoric reptile. The film was produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studio, and separate versions were released in Denmark and in the United States.

The original Danish-language version was directed by Danish director Poul Bang and released in Denmark on February 25, 1961.

The American version, which was in English with a nearly identical cast, was directed by the film’s American producer-director Sidney W. Pink; this version was initially deemed virtually unreleasable by American International Pictures and had to be extensively reworked by the film’s Danish-American screenwriter, Ib Melchior, before being finally released in America in 1962. Pink was angry at the changes and wound up in a legal dispute with AIP.[1] After Pink and others viewed the English-language version, the lawsuit was dropped.[2]

21 Dec 2017 – Drawing this afternoon.

God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.

God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.

God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.

God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.

ancient celtic oral traditions – carmina gadelica