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Bruce's Blog || Just sayin'. . .

Tom Hanks, Therapy and A Funny Thing Happened

Posted on December 07, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton
Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,
 
I attended a "wake" earlier this week; it was not a sad event. She had a good life and was elderly. Family and guests were in good spirits.
 
I find "wakes" make me feel a bit uncomfortable, and don't usually enjoy them; most people don't. I share this because I know some who do. Wakes are a fertile spot for characters and respectful folks to gather. They discuss the past and catch up on the present. No discussions about the future, no need, we are standing in it.
 

Being there got me thinking, most of us who were there might not have 20 years left on our biological clocks. No one knows the timing for sure, but our clock is ticking, and the ticks are louder for some of us.

 All the more reason to live an intentional life

Below is from the article and the full article in the link above, A Guide to Intentional Living by Joshua Becker. 

  • Realize that your life is made up of choices. Every morning is a new day full of decisions and opportunities. You get to pick your attitude and your decisions. You don’t have to let the circumstances of your past negatively determine the pattern of your life in the future. You have a choice in the matter. You do not need to be stuck in the same pattern of living that you have been for years… realize that every morning is a new opportunity.
  • Evaluate the culture that you’re swimming in. Life is not lived in a vacuum. It is lived surrounded by a culture that is moving somewhere. This culture around us forms a swift downstream current. Living with intention will require you to take a step back and evaluate the flow of the stream to determine where it is headed, how it is affecting you, and if it is taking you in a direction you desire.
  • Examine yourself. Know who you are. Get a strong handle on your passions, talents, abilities, and weaknesses. Give precious time and energy to this endeavour. It is one of the most valuable things you can do.
The funeral home has a little dog walking around the place, to give comfort. It seemed to do little of that. I am sure it was a cat in a dog body; it would barely stop for anyone. The dog might have very well been replicating the owner of the funeral home. The owner floats sympathetically through ensuring the guests are comfortable. And I mean the ones standing, the other has already been well cared for.
 
Standing in line, I started imagining what my wake might look like.
 
During my wake, please serve tea, cake, ice cream and encourage storytelling to take place. Please, no reception line. Just sit me up in the chair and paste a smile on me like no other. I am comfortable saying this as I will already be in a great place playing crokinole on the clouds with Christ.
 
Back to earth, for now...
 
Recently, I was asked where I was on the happiness scale. In answering, I said, “It depends.”
 
If I am learning and growing, I am happy. If I am helping out in some fashion, I am happy. I want to continue learning more and still have a desire to do so, I'm happy. If can continue to serve more, I am happy.
 
So if I want to be happy, I need to make sure I am focused on doing more of the above.
 
Joshua Becker says it well, "The greatest gift you can ever give yourself is to live a life aligned with your values. When you spend your money, time, and energy on the things that bring you happiness today and joy tomorrow, you experience peace, confidence, and satisfaction in the life you have chosen to live. 
 
Sounds almost therapeutic, so here is a new addition to the blog:
 
Three Tiny Therapy Tips from Twitter.
 
  1. “Honesty without tact is cruelty.”
  2. "Do good deeds, and don't get caught." 
  3. “Five senses. When stressed or anxious, do this to keep yourself calm and in the moment. Take a few deep breaths. Count five things you see. Four things you hear. Three things you feel. Two thinks you smell and one thing you taste.”
Recent night at the movies...
 
I find most movies at the cinema or online hard to watch these days. There is not much substance in the way of the story and or not adding much positivity to the world.
 
That said, Shirley and I enjoyed “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks.
 
If you haven’t seen the movie, might I recommend it?
 
Whether you are a fan of Mr. Roger’s or not, it is a great story and one worth seeing.
 
It is much about journalist Tom Junod, whose 1998 Esquire profile is the basis of the film. Great story of an estranged alcoholic father and son and how Mr. Rogers affected their lives.
 
This NY Times article, called "This Tom Hanks Story Will Make You Feel Less Bad," is worthy of your time as well.
 
Great journalism shared in the Paris Review called, The Radical Mister Rogers.
 
To learn and grow more as a productive person, I am trying to establish new habits. Whether reading, exercise, diet, etc. The trick is to start small or with baby steps. I am leaning on phone apps to assist me. One is from Apple called Reminders. Another, called Done, by a developer promoting it on the Apple app platform and having fun and success with these so far.
 
In a previous blog, I had mentioned reading a chapter a day of a fiction title was a goal. I added a chapter a day of a non-fiction title, as well.
 
Listening to 3 Books with Neil Pasricha inspired me to read some classic books. Particularly those read by his podcast guests. Each podcast (chapter) of 3 Books will uncover and discuss the three most formative books of an inspiring individual. 
 
One such book suggested by a guest was For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway.
 
I didn't own it, so I set out hunting for a hard covered copy of the book.
 
A funny thing happened at the used book store…
 
I asked the clerk if they had a copy; they weren't sure. So we sauntered down to the classic section. Among the hundreds of books in the category, we could see an old copy at the very top of the bookshelf. But it was only a step ladder away.
 
He stepped up and brought down the copy, opened the cover to reveal the cost. With me peering over his shoulder, the open cover reveals the cost. I could see the price in faded lead pencil, $50.00!
 
My first reaction was whoa...then for some silly reason, I asked, “Any chance this was a first edition print?”
 
He responded, "no, this is like a Reader’s Digest publication." I asked, “is there a way to find out”?
 
He handed me the book, and we headed to the front of the store where an iPad with an internet connection lay waiting. He picked it up and “Googled." Lo and behold, it was the first edition and listed online for $495.00 US.
 
Now there is no question to the clerk’s integrity, but I was glad the book was in my hands when we discovered this news.
 
I paid him the 50.00 and left there with that big smile I hope they paste on me when I am sitting up at the funeral home.
 
I have been enjoying reading the book one chapter at a time, as of today I am on Chapter 10.

Well, that is it for today folks, have a lovely weekend and thank you for your time today. Be nice out there. 

Here is something in keeping with the spirit of the season. I hope you enjoy it.

Quite a bit this week and this morning while writing, I have been listening to Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang. She combines an astonishing technique with a rare musical instinct. One Day in November features a selection of enchanting works that bring out every aspect of her artistry. 

Watch here. 

 

May you have a season of grace, gratitude, inspiration, self-compassion. And one filled with qualities that nourish your soul and others as well.
 
With love from Prince Edward Island,
 
Bruce
ps.
 
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"
 
The eagle answered, "Sure, why not."
 
So the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. Suddenly, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
 
Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Quit Your Day Job, River of Light, Need to Put My Glasses On

Posted on November 23, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,

Thank you for being here, let's have a cuppa. I’ll put on the kettle.

Earlier this week I read an article the Intelligent Change curated newsletter.

The article, Your Mess is Your Message, by Kevin Evans was about a book review he did. The book by Cathy Heller, titled Don't Keep Your Day Job.

The book is about Cathy’s entrepreneurial journey as well as many known entrepreneurs who turned their lives around by dealing with life's rejections.

In the review, I was especially inspired by Josh Spector's story. 

A young man who was very involved in all things athletic, even being a competitive surfer while living in Hawaii. During his junior year in college, he was struck by a car while driving his moped. He ended by being paralyzed.  Lawyers told him he would be awarded millions of dollars.

During Josh’s darkest days, a friend brought him a Bible. He started to leaf through it until he happened upon the story of Samson.

Samson is confronted by a lion, whom he tears apart with his bare hands (Samson is best known for his strength). Later comes upon the carcass of the lion and finds a beehive filled with honey. 

Josh read these words, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” Josh took these words to heart and he felt they were sent directly to him.

He awoke from his place of darkness and made the decision to not pursue the lawyers and their money option. He personally felt he had not come to a complete stop at the intersection and in good conscience could not do it.

That is integrity, that is convicted character.

He felt what happened to him had a larger purpose for his life. Samson’s experience revealed a spiritual realization. God will use situations in our lives to accomplish His will. 

Josh, accepted the revelation and set out to make a difference. Today, he owns The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, which he started from scratch. 

If ever back in Los Angeles, I will visit. 

Here is a bit of his story via Vimeo.

 

Speaking of books...

This week I purchased and am preparing to read, Drinking from the River of Light, the life of expression by Mark Nepo. He is a poet and philosopher providing personal reflections and exercises in this passionate testament to the spirituality of expression, particularly prose.

Here is a quote from Mark's book.

"The fundamental truth of being human is that we are incredibly sensitive creatures whose joy and pain are registered through that unique sensitivity. This sensitivity allows us the gift of seeing and perceiving. This sensitivity allows us to make sense of being alive. Unlike any other form of life, being human allows us to fit things together or to break things apart. Inhabiting the art of expressing ourselves is what lets us fit things together rather than break things apart. The art of expressing ourselves—what we experience, what we feel, what we think, and what we imagine exists within us and beyond us—is a form of inner breathing. And so, we each must learn how to do this or we will cease to exist. If you stop breathing, you will die. If you stop expressing, you may still walk around and buy groceries and pay the bills, but you will not be alive." ~ Mark Nepo

A quote I am thinking about this weekend. "The proper function of man is to live, not to exist" ~ Jack London

This morning, I learned of a friends passing. “Tom” Davies was a wonderful 82-year-old man. A fellow restauranteur who at a time owned all the KFC’s on the Island among other businesses as well. He was a gentleman and someone I admired and appreciated very much. His character continues to reflect through his gracious wife, Eleanore and his children.

In David Brooke’s book, “The Road to Character” speaks of two kinds of virtues. Resume virtues and eulogy virtues. While the former is deemed important in the marketplace, it is eulogy virtues, that speak to the character, when others praise a person who isn’t around to hear it. My memory of Tom will always be he was a man of humility, gentleness and kindness. A wonderful character. RIP Tom.

Moral improvement occurs most reliably when the heart is warmed when we come into contact with people we admire and love and we consciously and unconsciously bend our lives to mimic theirs. ~ David Brooks

Pulling on the thread about friends...

I read an interesting New York Times article listing many studies from around the world that support the theory that "friendship" is good for our health. Friendships are an essential ingredient in a happy life, so it’s time to give them the care and attention they deserve. The kind of friendship bond they spoke of was the non-spousal kind. Interestingly, they also found the proximity of the friend was not all that important.

Researchers are starting to pay attention to the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health.

Considering the fact the next few months are all about family and friends, the following links might be read and considered.

Read Smarter Living by Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times.

How to Be a Better Friend

The Benefits of Friendship

How to Make Friendships Last 

How to Listen

How to Argue with Friends

Well friends, got to run, market morning...fresh eggs and sourdough bread. YumYum. 

While writing I have been listening to a new album by Sofaine Pamart. 

Gold Medal of the National Conservatory of Lille, Sofiane Pamart is the new French prodigy of the piano. At the age of 23, he spanned the biggest stages: Olympia, Bataclan and La Cigale in Paris. He has already collaborated with many French and international artists such as Kery James, Grand Corps Malade, Gael Faye, Medine, Scylla and Selah Sue. He draws his inspiration from today's rap and classical references such as Vladimir Horowitz, Ravel and Chopin.

His music is precise, sharp, rich in cultures and influences. 

Enjoy the sound. Sample Listen Here

Taking care of business. Be sure to take a peek at our offerings in the newsletter this weekend. If there is anything we can do to make your gift-giving easier, let us know. We can personalize each gift with your choice of items, and we handwrite the cards with your good wishes.

Have a wonderful weekend. 

Be nice. Love is a verb. 

With love from Prince Edward Island, 

Bruce

Ps. 

My face in the mirror isn’t wrinkled or drawn.
My office ain’t dirty; the cobwebs are gone.
My car seems so shiny, like I waxed it anon.
My abs are a ‘six-pack’; my body’s all brawn.

My desk is uncluttered, with papers not o’errun.
My screen crystal clear now and typing is fun.
My garden looks lovely, nd so does my lawn.
I think I might never put my glasses back on.

~ Dr. Bob Griffin

Thanksgiving, Pets and Drunk Birds

Posted on October 08, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Ever wonder who had Thanksgiving Dinner first, Canada or the US? Take a peek at this cute video in the Globe and Mail. 

Thanksgiving is to stop for at least a day, spend time with family and reflect on the past year and all that there is to be grateful for.

Certainly one of the reflections is of the people who I enjoy and appreciate, I took a lead from this article and decided to tell someone how much I appreciate them.  Read Here.  Try it, most likely with make yours and someone else's Thanksgiving.

With the weather changing the nature’s habits taking place, I was intrigued by the story in the Washington Post and tried to remember if I had ever seen a drunk bird before. Read Here

Shirley and I are so happy to have one our daughters home for Thanksgiving and able to join aunts and uncles, cousins for the big dinner on Monday. This year we are supporting the New Glasgow Christian Church in their annual Thanksgiving Dinner as they raise funds for the community.

Carolyn Aiken lives three minutes from our home in Warren Grove, Prince Edward Island. Her blog is a wonderful testament to gardening and all things special. If you appreciate the romantic design and lifestyle you will love, Carolyn’s eye for detail and beauty. You have to take a look, perhaps even sign up for her blog. Take a peek here, as she writes about her experience with our Afternoon Tea.  

For pet owners, you might want to think twice about feeding leftovers to your pets. Take a read here. 

Shirley and I want to wish all those who are celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving a wonderful weekend with many blessings derived from the gratitude given.

The music I am listening to this morning is the album called Inscape by Alexandra Streiliski, one of the rare women in the neoclassical world, she creates music that enthralls listeners, filling their minds with rich, cinematic images. An artist of Polish Jewish origin who grew up between Paris and Montreal.

To the album, Alexandra says, “To me,” says Stréliski, “Inscape was an existential crisis. A year where everything capsized and I had to go through various interior landscapes – hectic, beautiful and painful at the same time.” In her attempt to fill a certain emotional emptiness, she follows a creative urge that commits to taking the listener back to a form of lost sincerity. “A piano, on its own, is a very vulnerable thing, and I want to share this moment with the listener.”

Take a listen to her album, Inscape here.

Quote, I am thinking about. 

“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” –Herbert Bayard Swope, American editor and journalist, and first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize

With love from Prince Edward Island and to all a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Bruce

ps.

An older man arrives at the hospital with two burned ears. "How'd it happen?" asks the nurse. "I had to iron my shirt and the phone rang. Instead of the phone, I picked up the iron," he explains. "How'd you burn the other ear?" "They called back!"