I’m really blown away by Chris Guillebeau’s book and website called “The Art of Non-Comformity.” This guy is all about living on your own terms and not being sucked into the way society feels you should be living your life. This makes me want to shut down my computer for a few hours and take a walk in nature or make five dozen cookies, wrap them up and drive downtown and give them away. We need to enjoy life, people. Just take matters into your own hands. You can do it.
Call me crazy, but whenever the size of the universe comes up in conversation, I always hear a variation of the same statement: it just makes me feel so, you know, small. And I say “really”? Yes, I understand that the earth is a fraction of an atom in the great design of the universe. I get it. But my predominant reaction is “well, that’s makes me part of an astronomically (obviously) large thing. I am part of THAT!” So in a kooky way, it makes me feel really good. As Carl Sagan said, human brains literally can not comprehend/compute/fathom the size and scope of the universe and what’s in it. That’s not our job. I suppose when we try to measure that, it’s a bit like trying to make flowing water into a box we can hold and grab and toss. What’s the point? Perhaps the real question is “how are we a part of it all?” Here are two cool videos referencing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D.
And here is George Smoot at the TED conference discussing the actual design of the universe. I am so fascinated with how matter-0f-factly Smoot basically describes so effortlessly and definitively what we know about the universe. Certainly, we only have what he calls a “droplet” of information to go on, but oh the places we will go (that’s Dr. Suess, not me.)
Tim Burton films run hot and cold for me. Hot? That would be Edward Scissorhands. Cold? Willy Wonka. I appreciate his sense of style, fantasy, imagination, fun and darkness. He has a voice… a perspective. And that’s something. So as a huge fan of classic children’s and middle/young adult fiction, it’s with great anticipation that I saw the trailer to Alice in Wonderland. Looks good enough to eat.
Today was a great day. We were with our lovely neighbors at the lake early this morning enjoying the cool water, the nibbling fish and the joy of a young child discovering a remote cove for the first time. We snacked on cherries and crackers and basked in the beauty of the rolling Texas Hill Country. By 1 p.m., we were back in our comfortable, safe and air conditioned home with a happy, sleepy little boy nestled into a dark little room for a summer afternoon nap cuddled up with a Very Hungry Caterpillar doll. He woke up all smiles and light, and I know that there is no amount of money on earth that could come close to how rich I felt today with my family and friends.
So I thought about this song by The Submarines. And though it always reminds me of those pesky iPhone commercials, independently of that it’s such a great song about living life with a full heart and how that keeps us present and alive.
“Here we are in the center of the first world. It’s laid out for us. Who are we to break down? Everyday we wake up. We choose love. We choose light. And we try, it’s too easy just to fall apart.”
My birthday was last month and my big sister Marisa couldn’t get up here to celebrate. She was busy getting ready for a business trip and preparing for a big trip to Puerto Rico with her family. I miss her sometimes, but I’m glad that I have an amazing group of “sisters” that I meet with once a week to talk about matters of the heart and soul.
This week we talked about the power of meditation and prayer, as well as the definition of happiness. Is happiness the same thing as joy, gratitude, authenticity? We wrote about it a bit and there was a magical consensus of sorts. Happiness is about a return to your true self, and the power of that self exists in each moment. Wherever you are.
So yesterday my father delivered a present from my sister. It’s an art collage with writing created by Christine Mason Miller. It reads:
“The deepest joy exists in those rare instances of CLARITY when there is no wanting, no yearning, no clinging to some idealized life we believe exists somewhere other than exactly where we are.”
I love it when themes emerge. Don’t you?
Soul Lab Radio: Interview with Varla Ventura, author of “The Book of the Bizarre: Freaky Facts and Strange Stories”2 Jul
Just had a fun conversation with author Varla Ventura on Soul Lab Radio about The Book of the Bizarre: Freaky Facts and Strange Stories which has thirteen chapters including Something Wicked: Mysterious Objects & Haunted Homes and Morbid Writers and Tortured Artists: From Edgar Allan Poe to Vincent Van Gogh. Other topics in the book range from Strange Rock and Roll Stories, Medical Maladies, Conspiracy Theories, Superstitions, Hexes and even UFOs.
So what’s in the book? Did you know duck dander is hallucinogenic? Or that Katherine Hepburn had a phobia of dirty hair? Have you ever wondered about the Magickal Skull of Doom or contemplated the mysterious Transylvanian Tablets? Varla has gathered a veritable treasure trove of startling and stranger-than-fiction trivia that spans history, continents, even worlds.
We also got into some of the weird stories and I was particularly interested in a chapter called “Coincidences or Synchronicity?” Then we launched into a discussion about psychic awareness and children. Varla was introduced to the strange and unusual at a young age. Her first game was a Ouija board, and family picnics in cemeteries were common outings. She spent most of her formative years exploring graveyards, underground tunnels, and abandoned mansions in, around, and under Nevada City, California. She is the author of Sheroes and Wild Women Talk About Love. Varla currently lives in the attic of an 1890’s Victorian in the hills of San Francisco, with her cat Midnight. Of course, Halloween is her favorite holiday.