Saturday, December 23, 2006

Art With Heart's Chill & Spill art journal

Here's a link that came from exploring today's Artella's Link Latte, daily links for artists and writers.
http://www.artwithheart.org/1113.html


Chill & Spill is a therapeutic guided journal designed to help the user (ages 10+) articulate and transform difficult issues they are dealing with. It offers a combination of 20 creative writing and artistic expression activities with enough blank pages to explore both head and heart and to talk, yell, cry, boast, dream and evolve.

Co-written by Oodles of Doodles author, Steffanie Lorig and Art Therapist and Life Coach, Jeanean Jacobs, MA, ATR-BC, CPAT, CPC, this book helps those who are in need of additional emotional support because of:
Anxiety / Depression • Grief / Loss • Illness • Self-Esteem / Social Development Issues • School Crisis • Self-Harm • Family Difficulties • Eating Disorders • Suicidal Tendencies • Anger Management • PTSD, etc.

They also have a Therapist's Companion. Here are some of the sample pages and they generously show you a sample page from each artist. Do have alook:

Inside front cover: quotes to inspire

Bridges: figuring out where you are, where you want to go and how to get there

Our Heroes

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A story for winter solstice.




A friend got a Christmas card from someone who would be turning 70 in the spring. She had put an image of herself as a child on the front of the card and inside she told a story about how she was evaluating her life, looking in the corners for anything left undone or any wishes left unmade. She said her Christmas and New Years wish was that my would find any unfulfilled dream, fulfill it, and then tell her about it as a birthday present in the spring. Now isn't that a lovely idea?

Happy Longest Night of the Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Google's Book Search


I discovered something fun. Google has a book search and they have photographic copies of some of the pages of the books they list, so it you click here you will find Creativity and the Dissociative Patient or at least quite a bit of it. Between the pages they give you and the pages Amazon.com gives you, you can get quite a bit of this book, for free.

Not bad!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Splendid Gifts

Here are a few more Splendid Gifts!!
Hope you enjoy unwrapping things slowly!

These collages were made with scans of Citrisolve and National Geographics. The
Citrisolve slides the color all over the place, very exciting. If you go to Sally T's website you can read the instructions there. Scroll down to Turp Papers. She used turpentine with wonderful effects.




Then I added some collage elements from Scrapartist.com. Now there's an interesting website, full of wonderful digital stuff, downloadable and affordable. I got these snowflake Photoshop brushes there to make this festive collage.



For something a little different, go to Keri Smith's blog for some lovely gifts, a portable Christmas tree, instant snow, and an Artist's Survival Kit, all free downloads, bless her.

Art-E-Zine has some wonderful pages of vintage images and ephemera for collages and digital art. This page is full of links. Be warned.

So here's my last collage, using the citrisolve paper at the top of this blog, some ephemera and brushes from Scrapartist.com, some advice from Keri Smith's survival kit, and some ephemera from Art-E-Zine.


Commit yourself to a stress free holiday. Join the 14 Secrets Yahoo Group and learn about making yourself and others happy with art, mail art, art swaps and round robins.

Give yourself an eWorkshop, the Artist's Happiness Challenge at Artella and as soon as you sign up you will have access to loads of articles on positive psychology, positive human emotion, stress reduction and spirituality, and starting the beginning of January, you will receive 12 weeks of artistic challenges, guaranteed to lift the spirits and release endorphins.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Splendid Gifts

This collage was inspired by jaihn's links to Wilson A. Bentley's snow flake photography and her great link to light images at Image Savant - SPORE
So let this collage be a little seasonal gift. And here's another; a link for a new little zine of encouragement here for you from me. You can download it, print it and fold it so that it makes a little zine. With the folding instructions you can create more zines of your own.

There are more seasonal gifts and stories to follow in this blog because people are sending me the most amazing links and ideas which need to be shared as I read on Reclaiming.com an amazing link from Juba, an art therapy student in Nelson, BC.
The central goal in Native American child-rearing is to the teach the importance of being generous and unselfish. In The Education of Little Tree, Forrest Carter shares the advice of his grandmother, "When you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out where no telling it will go." In helping others, youth create their own proof of worthiness: they make a positive contribution to another human life.


So the first story is from Kent Nerburn's Small Graces; The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life. In it he describes the kindergarten class room of a friend of his.

There were hugs, small animals, baskets full of clothes and costumes; colors, shapes, signs that meant nothing at all. Put them on, march around, crawl on the floor. Speak in a language that no one else knows. Draw a picture of something that no one has ever seen.
What's your name today? Why don't we all talk backwards? What would a starfish say to a star?...
'What is the secret?' I ask her...
'Corners,' she said. 'All children need corners.'
I looked around the classroom. Small piles of stones in shoeboxes. Little worlds constructed in cubicles and cubbies. Corners.
She showed me a hidden place behind a bookshelf where one boy had strung a complex web of string and yarn, and filled it with climbing plastic men.
We walked to the center of the room. A circle had been taped to the floor. 'This is where we meet together,' she said. 'It is good for them to know that we are all part of a whole. But there,' she continued, pointing to the corners, boxes, the cubbies, 'is where they go to dream.'


That's exactly what we need, circles to know we are part of something greater than ourselves and we need corners, too, where we can dream and make art.


The next story came from CharityFocus a newsletter with little inspiring stories and challenges. So this story was about John McCarthy', a 29-year-old British journalist who was ambushed in Beirut and imprisoned in a tiny cell for 5 years. His companion in captivity was Irishman Brian Keenan. In Keenan's words, at the heart of their shared ordeal there lay an implicit paradox: that "in the most inhuman of circumstances men grow and deepen in humanity." An inspiring interview with John McCarthy follows here all about simplicity and kindness. Very good read!

Then Lore sent me this story about a humpback whale that was freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines, so imbedded in her skin that it took 3 divers about an hour to untangle and free the whale who responded by "swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one."
To read the whole story, click here.

Here's the end of Lore's email, which I'll pass on to you:

May you, and all those you love,
be so blessed and fortunate ....
to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.

And remember for great suggestions for simplicity and joy during the holidays visit http://www.newdream.org/

Hope you are having a lovely, stress-free, joyful, creative, and simple holiday season.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Just for fun, what Tarot card would you be?


You are Strength


Courage, strength, fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of judgement, but passing on to further action, sometimes obstinacy.


This is a card of courage and energy. It represents both the Lion's hot, roaring energy, and the Maiden's steadfast will. The innocent Maiden is unafraid, undaunted, and indomitable. In some cards she opens the lion's mouth, in others she shuts it. Either way, she proves that inner strength is more powerful than raw physical strength. That forces can be controlled and used to score a victory is very close to the message of the Chariot, which might be why, in some decks, it is Justice that is card 8 instead of Strength. With strength you can control not only the situation, but yourself. It is a card about anger and impulse management, about creative answers, leadership and maintaining one's personal honor. It can also stand for a steadfast friend.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Playing with unknown materials...

This is a little workshop for encouragement to follow your passion for play with new materials; ... or what to do when you think you have ordered, via the internet, copper foil (as in metal) and you discover what you actually have is a filmy plastic shiny coppery colored stuff that you have no idea how to use properly.




So I thought why not play with the stuff. Cut off a strip and run it through the little xyron machine, then maybe it could be used it in a collage.




Well here's where it gets interesting. The xyron put a layer of glue onto the back of this "foil" and when I went to peal away the white backing I discovered that what I had was a very interesting faux gilding type material if I peeled very carefully.






Peeling it very carefully.



Here it is on watercolor paper.



And in my collages.


I could add a touch of this copper gold stuff to paper, collages and even metal. Now it's appearing on my collage Christmas gifts, my art journals, and if the Bergamasco boys aren't careful they will be next. What do you think, a little gold in the dread locks?

Holiday inspiration

http://www.sallyjean.com/sallyjeanshoporiginals.htm



Are you looking for some holiday inspiration that won't add more debt and pressure to your life? Here are some wonderful ideas for you.

For alternative multi media artists Sally Jean's website is full of amazing ideas, and she's got a book with even more ideas so get inspired here.

Katie Kendrick and Sally Turlington have some amazing inspiration. I'm going to try the Turp paper right away. If you check their links you will be lost for days.

Here's an excellent blog if you are interested in health & happiness:
http://ririanproject.com/

The Ririan Project is about creating a brand new life full of maximum achievement and inner peace, a life that has balance in all it’s areas. Start today, read Ririan's blog and work toward a more joyous life!

Ririan is a student in Bucharest, Romania, who reads A LOT about productivity, personal development, health, & nutrition. His blog is full of information to help you make steps towards creating a better life, day by day. And he's got some good ideas about the holidays in there.

Oh, and Lore says don't forget the Beads at Beads for Life. Take a look especially for those working on the 14 Secrets prayer bead swap.

And finally New Dream has a Holiday Survival Tip email gift for you. You can look at the archives and ask them for to survive the holidays. They also have free downloads on simplifying the holidays and other great ideas. Check them out and be encouraged.

More soon!

Community Building in Prospect

Mary Ellen Duggan with daughter Annina (1895 to 1972) and son Howard (dates unknown) and two twins whose names are not known.

We went to the unveiling of the NEW Prospect Village website on Friday night. What a wonderful turnout, lots of good desserts, coffee, tea, and soooo much to see. Nat and Barry had a slide show of all the improvements on the website as well as old and new photos of Prospect and its inhabitants. What an enjoyable time, hearing old stories about various ancestors and characters form the past but still very much a part of the history of Prospect.

If you are thinking about joining us for the First Annual Lost Sisters Reunion and Art Retreat here in Prospect Village, you might want to take a tour of our history and view the landscape!

Another thing that's been happening in the community building front is Puppet-making workshops with a final story creation next Friday. I can't wait to hear what kind of story we will come up with, but it should be wonderful with all the amazing characters we have so far. We will be performing the story for the Prospect Children's Party on Sunday the 10th of December in the Church Hall. Hope you can join us!!!

Here are SOME of the characters you may meet. Santa, an old elf, a dancer, the dancer's mom, the dancer's mom's husband, the Grinch, a cool dude and wrestler, two little mice, and lots of finger puppets.





Saturday, December 02, 2006

May we all be happy



I've been thinking about this holiday season and working on the idea of creating a visual prayer or wish to accompany these words:

May we all be happy and create happiness for others.
May we all be free from suffering and from causing others to suffer.
May we all dwell in peace and ease without too much attachment and too much aversion.

Here are some lovely links, but be warned, they may cause happiness, peace and freedom from suffering.

Beaded Prayers Project has wonderful instructions for creating little beaded prayer amulets along with the history of the amulets.

The Bauer Studio has stunning photography, especially beautiful are the hands holding gifts. Here's what Penny K. Bauer says about these hands and gifts:
For several years I have been asking others, "Who is the wisest person that you know?" My vision for this project is a circle of elders from different cultures whose hands offer gifts of support as we pursue our dreams. It has been my great pleasure to collaborate with these wise men and women in the creation of the gifts now being offered to you.

These elders are wise in the most profound sense. With courage, they have pursued their lives with great passion. They have not gone into greater fear and despair as the years passed, but have remained curious about life and increasingly generous. They know about true beauty and that the health of communities depends on the generous sharing of resources with all. Some of them speak eloquently to us about gifts that come through loss. They are mentors and know how to bless. They are here to encourage each of us to step into the talents and gifts which we have been given and to share them. They remind us that we are never alone.

You are invited to spend time with each image and ask, "What is the gift that I am being offered at this time in my life?" Stories that accompany each image can be found in the photo info section.


From Adela, I got this link:
Art Start started in the spring of 1991, with a handful of artists who got together to make art with homeless kids in New York City. Over the next ten years Art Start became an award-winning, nationally recognized model for using the arts to save lives.



Here's what they have to say(click on it to actually read):



Denise & Monsta by Loretta, age 10, during a puppet-making workshop, 1997.

From jaihn's blog I discovered David Byrne's radio playlist for December. It is full of Gospel and the sounds that I have grown so fond of. He also has an on line journal in which he writes about Film, Music, & Religion.
In writing about Fernando Trueba’s documentary El Milagro de Candeal he says "... singing together. What does this have to do with the rebirth of a neighborhood? Maybe everything."

Lovely! So I would add this to my prayer/intention/wish:
May we all sing together in our neighborhoods.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Orleans feedback



Adela sent this slide show link from the New York Times Magazine. Do take a look.

She also sent a link for an Alice Walker article from We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Light in a Time of Darkness (The New Press) and it's about giving yourself a break, a "pause."

She says, "And we find ourselves required to stop, to sit down, to reflect. This is the time of "the pause," the universal place of stopping. The universal moment of reflection." Want to read more? Take a look at the article!

Thank you Adela!

Beth Newman wrote that she had that cab ride while in New Orleans and "was mortified, transformed and so incredibly deeply moved. For hose who never left the Hilton, one would never know New Orleans wasn't doing 'so well!'."

Thank you, Beth.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

"There is a field. I'll meet you there."



In order to be here now I need to do something with being there then. So I re-work the collage from yesterday, adding plant life and candles, a little altar of sorrow for all of it.

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense."

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi - 13th century

Friday, November 24, 2006

Back from New Orleans



I'm back and yet somehow, I don't feel quite settled in. It's a very difficult thing to see, so much devastation, so much lost. The art therapy conference was good. Lots of good papers and ideas, so here are some links for you.

Bessel van der Kolk gave the keynote, and you can find lots of good papers here:

http://www.traumacenter.org/webarticles.html
http://www.trauma-pages.com/articles.php

I attended a few talks on mourning rituals and art and from Robert Morrissey I got a reference to what looks like an excellent book:
Passed On: African American Mourning Stories by Karla FC Holloway

If you are interested in creating alters, desconsos,retablos, and other kinds of memorials and mourning art see:
http://www.b-muse.com/newsezine-fall-06.htm
Scroll down to Mexican Mission Ornaments.

And there are more ideas on this website:
http://www.photographicmemoryart.com/

And if you thought New Orleans is completely back, ask a cab driver to take you on a short tour of the lower 9th ward. Ask him to tell you the story. Ask him if he knows where to get a boot-legged copy of Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke" and let him know that the world still cares what happens on the Gulf Coast and in the 9th ward.

If you can't do those things then go to this website and take a look.
It really doesn't look too much different now from how it looked this past summer.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina




Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Heading down to NOLA



My bags are packed full of puppets, dolls, books and zines.

Hope to learn lots at the American Art Therapy Conference in New Orleans. The topic of the conference is "rebuilding community." A person might drown in the tears of such a topic in such a location.

I'll be teaching a full day course on puppet making, running a supervision class on puppetry with Matthew Bernier and giving a paper on the work I did with Susan Anand this past summer, on the Gulf Coast. I only hope I can communicate the delight and joy that work brought to me, the wonderful experience of making new friends, and the amazing fortitude that is asked of people on the coast!

I'll be back soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Listening to Rain

Rain collage by Lani

I've been listening to the sounds of rain and crystal bell/bowls on a variety of CD's from a variety of sources. Very interesting research.

Holoscyn says their sounds induce the brain wave patterns of deep meditation. Users experience the same classic developmental and evolutionary mileposts as in a traditional meditation practice, but in an accelerated time-frame. Their neuro-audio technology produces many desirable cognitive, emotional, and spiritual states.

Jim Peters of the University of Texas did an analysis of the Holosync sounds which you can read here. He's quite happy with the analysis and seems very supportive of the Holosync program provided you have the money for it. The advantage to Holosync is all the support that comes with their program, but you can read his very informative report for yourself.

Binaural-Beats.com has a variety of CD's that use specially generated sounds to alter your brainwaves. They have one that reportedly helps your brain release endorphins, enkephalins, endogenous opiates, and serotonin. They have another for meditation and one specifically for headaches. This company explains what frequencies each CD utilizes and what these frequencies do as far as what is released in the brain. Very interesting reading I must say.

The Meditation Solution explains the Binaural Beat as the introduction of a different frequency sine wave into each ear using stereo headphones. Your brain begins to resonate to the difference between the two frequencies. As the two frequencies go in and out of phase with each other, a binaural beat is created in the brain which corresponds to this phasing of the two sine waves. The brain will resonate to this Binaural Beat causing the brain waves to become entrained to that beat.

Grasshopper.com has some free downloads to listen to. The first is Brain Flex and if you scroll down you will find a second one called Digital Espresso. They say it has been found to reliably increase energy and motivation. I tried it and I must say I did feel a boost of energy. They also have a CD through cafe press which you can find on their web page in the Products box. It's called BioRecharge.

Immrama Institue also carries these CD's designed to reduce stress and anxiety through brainwave technology. Immrama is originally Gaelic for a journey of self-discovery, a voyage of exploration. Lots of information here.

Me, I love the sound of rain and crystal bell/bowls, and all of the other stuff? Well, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Links and inspiration

Prospero says, "Have a happy life, you are good people!"

Artist Happiness Challenge News:

NEW -- A 4-WEEK Mini-eWorkshop
The Artist Happiness Challenge -- Condensed
Beginning November 1, 2006.
Only $20.00 4 weeks of challenges and support.
A new full 12 session will begin January 1, 2007. 12 weeks of challenges and support.
The cost is $40.00
Click here.

Click here. Images, lots of images, vitamins and nourishment for the eyes (not just eye candy) Type in a category in the search bar and see what you come up with.

Diane AuCoin sent me this link and from it I got lost for a couple of days. Some of these links following are Diane's fault.

Click here. Joyful dolls and craft links.

Click here. simple little dolls

Click here. paper toys

Click here. paper toys, lots of links

Click here. Fabric art

Click here. Some nice photoshop tutorials here.

Click here. houses and safe places

Click here. Dolls

Click here. art

Click here. Lots of doll patterns and great stuff!

Click here. Barb Kobe now has e-patterns for her little emotion dolls "Numbfull and the Fulls"

Click here. jaihn's spacious corner of the internet, lots of amazing Hallowe'en and El Dia de los Muertos and Altars links! Now jaihn sent me on a week long link adventure starting with this one:

Click here.

They have a manifesto (This is great. I want to make one of these! What would yours look like?) here:

Whip up is for experimentation, innovation, self expression and the sharing of information and ideas.

Whip up is against mass produced small plastic crappy stuff designed specifically to extract money from wallets, last less than 10 minutes and spend eternity in landfill.

Whipup is about taking time out of your hectic schedule to make. To make something by hand. And by making something by hand instead of buying it, you achieve personal satisfaction, then by teaching yourself and others new skills you will enjoy life more fully.

Whipup is for the slow movement, slow cooking, slow living, slow schooling, slow sundays, slowly enjoying life. By living life out of the fast lane we will hopefully notice more, learn more, enjoy our children, friends and family, enjoy our time doing the things we love.

Whipup values time over money, values skills over things, and is for creating a space in a hectic life for making.

Whip up is all for the handcraft movement.

Some people say Whip up should be against frilled toilet roll holders, but I say if they are made with love then why the hell not eh!

Whip up is against such polarised views as for and against stuff.

Click here. Monk-E-Mail (Very funny!)

Click here. free books to download

Click here. Simplicity

Click here. Scott has some really beautifully strange characters here

Lore Caldwell sent me this link:
Click here. Eleanor Wiley's beautiful beads with a purpose.

Lore is hosting a bead round robin based on Eleanor Wiley's beads.
You can join it here:
Click here.

There are a lot of other great mail art exchanges happening there as well.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I haven't gone missing...



OK, I haven't gone missing, I was in London, and Hamilton, Ontario visiting family and friends. What a great time. One amazing thing we saw was a butterfly garden which had the most beautiful big Blue Morphs that didn't flutter so much as move with wing beats that were slow and languid. Whew. And a butterfly only lives for 2 weeks so they had these adorable tiny quails running around under foot and foliage, tidying things up. So sweet.

I've also been working on ART and some other "secret" things which you can find here:
http://askpussykatz.blogspot.com/
and here:
http://www.artelladailymuse.com/

By the way, you can sign up for a free two-day subscription to the paper at

http://www.artellawordsandart.com/members.html


While in Hamilton I was talking with some of the "Lost Sisters" who may be coming to Nova Scotia for the "Lost Sisters First Annual Reunion and Art Retreat" and the idea of making in intergenerational came up, you know, having a grandchild there, or a niece, etc. Sounded really fine by me. What do you think?

Another thing that is coming up really soon is the American Art Therapy Conference. Susan Anand and I are going to be running a pre-conference course on creating short term puppet-making/story-telling workshops for communities that have suffered stress (addictions, loss, school violence, and hurricanes are all stresses we have worked with). The idea is to use community strengths and strategies for resilience while creating narratives and puppets. The format has been used in First Nations groups in Canada, to folks distressed and displaced by Katrina in the southern US states. If this workshop is of interest then contact AATA by Oct. 23, tomorrow!!!

And on a totally different note, have you seen the free hugs video on "you tube?"

A delightful video, a young man with a concept, free hugs, wanting to give away free hugs and share a little human warmth and connection. He was given a police citation and had to raise a lot of support in order to keep hugging in public. You can see the video here and there are follow up video's as well, not all of good quality of course but there were a few worth watching. One here where a young woman tries free hugs in Toronto and another woman signing. I don't read sign but it was extremely eloquent non the less!

Thank you Adela for sending me out to find free hugs. Hope you are getting lots of great hugs in rehab and that all your injuries are healing speedily!

A collage for the Paperwhimsy Yahoo Group.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Let's go to that place of our beginnings...


Diane AuCoin was reading author Sue Monk Kidd's (The Secret Life of Bees)newsletter and alerted me to this lovely quote:
I have come to love the following words by the French Nobel laureate, Albert Camus: “A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.” Where did your heart first open? And how shall you find your way back to that dawning?
Ah, yes, let's go to that place of our beginnings; and remember the moments when the light broke and our hearts opened.

Lore Caldwell sent me two quotes, so I'll give you excerpts:

Some form of suffering often brings about a readiness. One can say it cracks open
the shell of the egoic mind with which many people identify as "me." Life cracks open that shell, and once that crack is there, then we are reached more easily by spiritual teaching. We're suddenly open to it, because it reaches the deeper levels of our being. Something from within-not from our conditioned mind but from the deeper level of unconditioned consciousness-responds immediately. Often all that is needed to evoke this response is to listen to one statement of Truth and immediately there's a response. Because we all carry the Truth within us as our essence, we recognize it immediately. --Eckhart Tolle from an interview in Science of Mind.


And from The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I
want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls
away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like
the company you keep in the empty moments.

Lovely! And finally there is this Nietche quote which popped up in Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth:
For happiness, how little suffices for happiness! ...the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a wink, an eye glance - little maketh up the best happiness. Be still. -- Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra


So the light broke and my heart opened when I looked at Prospero this morning.
And I looked for the "least little thing" that made the "best happiness" and there were too many to count, but I took a picture of Edward's Icelandic Poppies in the early morning light and that will have to do for now. Some days it's such an amazing thing just to breathe... Sigh.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Playing with Happiness Challenges

Photoshop collage by Lani "When a door opens..."

Working hard on the artist's happiness challenge! Looking for images, inspiration, and fun!
So here's an article on health and optimism!
Chris Peterson was teaching a class in abnormal psychology at Virginia Tech when he told his students to fill out an Attributional Style Questionnaire - a carefully designed test that determines a person’s level of optimism and pessimism. The students also answered questions about their general health, including how often they went to a doctor.

Peterson followed the health of his students the following year and discovered that the pessimists had twice as many infectious diseases and made twice as many trips to the doctor as the optimists. Later, Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania and two of his colleagues, using interviews and blood tests, found that optimists have better immune activity than pessimists.

Studies by other researchers show the same thing. Why?

One big factor is that “[p]essimistic individuals,” as Seligman writes, “get depressed more easily and more often.”

When a person is depressed, certain brain hormones become depleted, creating a chain of biochemical events that end up slowing down the activity of the immune system.

For example, two key players in our immune systems are T cells and NK cells.

- T CELLS recognize invaders (like viruses) and make more copies of themselves to kill off the invaders. Pessimists’ T cells don’t multiply as quickly as optimists’, allowing invaders to get the upper hand; and

- NK CELLS circulate in the blood and kill whatever they come across that they identify as foreign (such as cancer cells). Pessimists’ NK cells can identify foreign entities, but they don’t destroy them as well as the optimists’ NK cells.

Optimists also look at information in more depth to find out what they can do about the risk factors. In a study by Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, at the University of Maryland, subjects read health-related information on cancer and other topics. She discovered that optimists spent more time than pessimists reading the severe risk material and they remembered more of it.

“These are people,” says Aspinwall, “who aren’t sitting around wishing things were different. They believe in a better outcome, and that whatever measures they take will help them to heal.”

In other words, instead of having their heads in the clouds, optimistic people look. They do more than look, they seek. They aren’t afraid to look into the situation because they’re optimistic. Thus, for yet another reason, optimists are likely to be healthier. The best news is what research has shown repeatedly: Anyone can become more optimistic with effort. And every effort you make to keep an optimistic attitude will reward you with a stronger immune system. So you’ll enjoy better health.

And it is also true that the better your health, the easier it is to maintain an optimistic outlook. Become more optimistic.

From OPTIMISM: THE KEY TO A GOOD LIFE by Adam Khan
read more here:
http://www.thisisawar.com/HealthOptimism.htm

"The laughter in our home is its heart beating. Laughter leads us, kneads us and sometimes helps bleed us of torments and woes. "(Bob Talbert)
What can you do to pass some humor on to someone else today?
Put funny notes in odd places; bathroom mirror, kitchen sink, kid's lunch. Leave small humorous art where it can be found; in the library, in the park, on a lamp post.
Check out:
http://www.humorproject.com/

Friday, October 06, 2006

What I learned from the Bergamasco Boys


This is highly borrowed and slightly altered from Bill Harris's 19 Ways to Have a Better Life
(for jaihn who introduced me to Bill Harris and Holosync sounds of rain and crystal bowls)

1. Don't pass up any opportunity to go in the car.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure
ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run to meet them and be sure to vocalize you happiness.
4. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. Use your Bergamasco judgement on this.
5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
6. Take lots of naps and stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp and play as much as possible.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you're not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle
him or her gently.
13. Thrive on attention and let people touch you and play with your dread locks.
14. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
15. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
16. When your happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
17. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
18. No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and
pout...run right back and make friends.
19. Let what ever happens be okay. Tomorrow will be a new day, more walks and play, food, and wind through the dreads.


Some good things today, fine weather, a little family of rock sculpures out in the wild (made by who? no one knows), and a feather with dew on it. Lovely.

Friday, September 29, 2006

3 marvelously good things



3 marvelously good things this past week.

1. One morning this week, as we took the boys for a walk on the headland, there was a shimmering blanket of fluttering white butterflies as far as you could see. They were everywhere. I even got a little film clip, the above photo is from, showing the Bergamasco Boys playing with each other and one passing butterfly. (I'm trying to see if it's possible for me to load little clips on here. I know it is possible for lots of people.) It was truly a delight.

2. The village celebrated the wedding of Sue Brown and Jeremy Frith last night, quite vigorously, in a good maritime Irish traditional way. Everyone is tired but very pleased for Sue and Jeremy.

3. Diane AuCoin suggested I have a peek at Armando Lopez's Sculpture gallery. Ohhhhh, lovely! Take a look!