Tag Archive | thanksgiving

Eat, play, laugh

walking tall

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, at least for Americans, and this it the final post of this series. I’ve covered a few different topics gratitude, compassion, awe, but before you sit down tomorrow with significant (and insignificant) others, to eat yourself silly, I thought I’d tackle some seemingly “less adult” themes that might help to make your holiday weekend happier.

A fellow told me he was going to sky-diving school. He said, ‘I’ve been going for three months.’

I said, ‘How many successful jumps do you need to make before you graduate?’

He said, ‘All of them.’

How many times did you laugh in the last week? I hope a lot.  You probably didn’t laugh 300 times a day (the normal rate for a child. Adults average around 17 times). So there’s room for improvement.

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Laughter is great for the abs and it gets a lot of oxygen into the lungs, which makes you feel better.  Scientific study is showing that laughter really fundamentally helps you to lead a happier life. So making it a point to try and see the funny side of things is going to be good for you, and everyone your with.

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Humor can also stop a lot of arguments cold. At Thanksgiving especially, it pays to know some jokes or stories, even if they aren’t your own. Here’s true one that’s timely.

A Tennessee woman entered into a prolonged, fraught stand-off with a wild turkey that was blocking her car in her driveway.

She tried shouting at the turkey, charging it with her vehicle and also coaxing it out of her way by feeding it a raspberry, but ultimately conceded, “I’m not a wild turkey, so I really have no idea what a raspberry means to a turkey.”

In the end, she was able to scare the turkey away by hurling a frozen turkey at it.

Try to remember some embarrassing things that happened to you over the last year. They’re probably weren’t funny at the time. But now, in retrospect, they might be hilarious. And not just to yourself.

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Even chimps suffer embarrassing moments

Research has show that telling embarrassing stories about ourselves actually makes people like and trust us more. So, get your family and friends around the table to tell their tale and have a good laugh. Rebuild some bridges — through humor.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. — Will Rodgers

Another thing that really helps buoy the mood during group-oriented holidays is play. Play is not just a button on a device.

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Play involves fun, others, and usually the joy that is “mistakes.” It’s something adults don’t do a lot of anymore. Adults tend to watch sports for example, but they don’t play them.

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This guy has play

 

Getting outside, running around playing flag football, or raking and then leaping into leaf piles, or going apple picking, try some serious bird watching, or leaf peeping while showing off your ugly sweater…

Yes, that means all at once!

gets the endorphins up and builds a group spirit.

If you’re stuck inside, light some candles, build a fire, make some hot cider, toast some pumpkin seeds for that long walk in the woods

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and make some pine cone bird feeders to take with you and hang, or break out the traditional actual board,  board games.

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In short, have some fun. Actual physical fun. Don’t worry social media and virtual reality will still be there when you get back.

If you can’t get your teenagers away from their devices, send them to The Purpose Challenge.   There they’ll find a Tool Kin with 4 days (perfect for Thanksgiving weekend) of short but interesting and thoughtful activities designed to help high school students figure out their purpose. (Other than just annoy you)

It helps get them pointed in the direction they may not know they want to go, and figure out what steps to take to be successful and happy their own way, in their own life. It will also give them something to talk about with you! It’s also worth $5,000 – $25000 in prize money for college if you’re a student graduating high school in 2018.

purpose

The hours

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This week, I want to tackle something something no one has enough of — time.

In an interesting study on awe, one of the things people felt when they experienced was an expansion of time. So the upshot is, if you want more time, get some awe in your life.

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For me, awe is standing under the starry sky. Alone in the darkness, under the vast expanse of space, with no sounds but crickets, I feel like everything just melts away. Including time.

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For you it might be standing in forest of ancient trees, or on top of a giant sky scraper. Whatever it is, try to give yourself an awe experience this week.

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Knowing you’re actual place in the universe now, after that time of awe, when you’ve gained a little mental space and time, have a ponder.

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Consider the gift that’s been given to you, and ask yourself how you really want to use the remainder of your hours.

Through the looking glass

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Continuing on with the gratitude theme this month ….

Consider today, as you go through your day, that every person you meet, read about, hear about, see around you, could be you.

You could have born that person, in that place, in those circumstances. You could have lived that life.

That could have been your job or spouse, your home or school, your country or neighborhood.

Those could have been your parents or children or grandchildren. Those could have been your religious beliefs, your values, your culture.

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That could be your debt, your sickness, your struggle, today?

That could be your business, your career, your opportunity,  your win.

That could be your loss, your success, your failure, your luck.

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It could have been your childhood, your education, your battle, your war.

It could be you driven from your home, or buying your first home.

It could be your addiction, your jail sentence, your lottery win, your gain.

It could be your history, or your future.

It could be your life, or your death.

You could have been …. anyone. You could become …. anyone.

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In thinking about that, do you feel grateful?

Do you remember all the times you caught a lucky break or another person played a role in the good things that happened to you?

Do you remember being that lucky break or person who reached out a hand to help? to someone else?

To someone that might have been … you.

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Giving Thnx a try

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It’s November, at last! Time to talk about things thankful. For a start, I’m going to mention thnx4.org. I love this thing.

If you and your friends are spread across the country or the globe, you can use this as a way to reconnect and see what all the good that is going on in their lives this month.

If you’re planning on going home for Thanksgiving, get your family to participate as a group. Then when you get together, you can talk about all things everyone posted instead of the dry turkey and the game on tv.

You can even do this as a workplace, organization, or school. It’s a great way to keep people connected and fight that trend of downward spiral and loneliness that can set in for some folks during the holidays.

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Thnx4 is a free, online, shareable (every time you make an entry, you can choose to make that entry public or private) gratitude journal that makes it easier to say thanks, enjoy the benefits of thankfulness, and see what happens when you get into a better habit of experiencing and expressing gratitude.

It was created by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley as a resource. It draws on two decades of research suggesting that people who regularly feel grateful:

  • report better health, reduce their risk of heart disease, and get better sleep
  • strengthen feelings of connection and satisfaction in their relationships
  • feel more satisfied with their lives, more joy and optimism, and less anxiety.

einstien

 

How it works:

  • Register for a 21-Day Gratitude Challenge either individually or as part of a group by clicking on the Get Started Now! button
  • Receive a friendly, informative ping from Thnx4 daily every other day for 3 weeks, inviting you to journal and share your gratitude, and rate your day-to-day feelings.
  • Throughout the challenge, your Thnx4 Insights page shows you how you typically use gratitude, and at the end, the overall impact of your Gratitude Challenge.
  • At your convenience thereafter, continue to enjoy the benefits of strengthening gratitude with Thnx4: better health, closer relationships, and greater happiness.

So, give it a try. I can say scientifically that you’ll be grateful you did!

 

The Page Count Perk / Pitfall

One of the best perks and worst pitfalls in being a famous author (or self-published) is that your books can be just as long as you want them to be and your publishing house will never call you on it.

  •  Harry Potter: Book 1 is 128 pgs; Book 7 is 784 pgs. Out of control, exponential growth of over 500%.
  • Twilight increased over 35%. However, there were fewer books in the series and the first book was larger to begin with. Book 1 : 544 pgs; Book 4: 768 pages.
  • Shades of Grey increased only 10% over the 3 book series. Book1 : 524 pgs; Book 3 : 592 pgs.

Famous authors get trapped in marketing, merchandising and making a buck by having their books turned into movies. It’s not surprising. People write to make a living. I certainly don’t object to that! Self-published authors get into trouble because no one tells them stop. Most don’t have editors. Few friends who might read it in advance will bring the hammer down.

Still, it’s a sad when a good book gets picked up by a big six publishing house (which does have editors!) and turned into a series, which is then sold to Hollywood. It means the author is now going to expound (at great length, unimpeded) on a topic over the course of X number of books and in a way that’s going to make for a good movie.

I don’t mind big individuals book — James Michener, Margaret Mitchell, MM Kaye, Tolstoy, James Clavell — I’ve read them all. Or a hefty series — although even John Jakes’s largest series (which began with The Bastard)  and ran to 9 books only grew 50% (topping out at Book 9 — 817 pgs), which was hardly enormous considering the series was relating a detailed history of the US!  But, I have to admit, for me, these days size matters.

I just don’t bother to read a book over 300 pages anymore and I prefer my books to be 125 to 250 pages — even if the books are part of a series. In that past, this wasn’t a problem. Agatha Christie wrote book after book, most of them part of a series (Miss Marple; Poirot), but she never wrote a long book. She never allowed her fame to make her forget her readers and, too, I think her publisher made sure all her works got a good editing and were kept at a manageable size for readers.

I can understand a modest increase  in page count over a long series covering complex material. Often times with a series there are more details to wrap up, as well I know. Book 1 of my Sarsfield Hexology is 226 pages, Book 6 is 271. However, 20% growth over 6 books is not bad when the maximum page count is still only 271! All the books are of a size that’s easy to read over a weekend or holiday, because I considered that in the writing of them.

Anyway, I think if I could wish any gift upon a writer, especially a truly famous one (or a self-published one), it would be the gift of an honest, fearless editor. That alone would save the world from so many enormous wild turkeys!