Be careful what we wish for. Building a great society isn’t all about the individual. Can we keep what’s good while we make it better?

Can we keep what's good while we make it better? Building a great society isn't all about the individual. Be careful what we wish for.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be thankful for what you have: you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey

It’s a year today that my daughter and son-in-law came back from Jamaica to start their married life. They are having a fun weekend of going out and celebrating their anniversary.

Our dog Lulu still barks when she hears the basement door open. She’s on high alert when anyone comes in or leaves the house. This new arrangement still seems new to her, or so that’s how it seems to me.

This year has flown by. Progress in areas I thought I would see progress in, have eluded me. The commitment to my blog has been surprisingly easy. When I miss a day, I really miss it. I’ve tried to not miss two days in a row. When I go back and read what I’ve written sometimes I wonder where that came from.

Mostly I have no idea what will end up on the page when I sit down to write. Sometimes I think it will be something but it turns into something else. Thoughts daisy chain in a way that is not predictable. We don’t know what is going on in our head until we get it onto the page it seems.

Anyone who has been reading my blog I am so grateful for your support. Getting feedback is wonderful. In March I gave my Mother a binder of my posts and she reads one a day. She needs a new binder which I will print off and send. She tells me I make her think. What a high compliment.

We need to do a lot of thinking as we continue to build our society. We need to be careful about what we try to fix, because we don’t always make things better.

Yesterday my husband, son and I were having a conversation and my son was heaping many of our ills at the feet of us women. We got out of the home to take on jobs that aren’t as important as the one we left, in his opinion. Having babies and raising them is more important than doing the work that men can do. Providing for wives and children is the job that makes men’s lives full of meaning and purpose. Children don’t do well without fathers; childcare isn’t as good as parental care. Picking up something to eat isn’t making us as healthy as home-cooked well-planned meals.

When we are told we need to be careful what we wish for, it is true. So many well-educated women are looking around for their partner in life and can’t find a suitable candidate. Are they educating themselves out of the dating pool?

We need to be comfortable being more than our job, education, and aspirations. As a singer, last night whose name I don’t know was saying on TV. “If you are an internationally renowned artist but your kids aren’t speaking to you, that’s not success.”

What makes a successful life? Is it more, more, more, of what, what, what? There is a joy, peace, and sense of accomplishment of sitting down to dinner with family that I can’t imagine anything else taking the place of. When I finally have the pleasure, joy, and gift of holding a grandchild I can’t think of anything more special in the world.

As life moves forward I find who my values and beliefs align with are not who I thought they would align with when I was in my twenties. We let go of old-fashioned values and wonder where all the morality went. We quit teaching our children a lot of it. We quit modeling it for them.

It isn’t always easy to live our values, to be the role model, to be held to standards we want our children to emulate. If we don’t live a life we want our children to emulate, who do we want them to emulate?

What do we want going forward? What will make life better for all, or at least most? Are we willing to hold ourselves to the standards we would like other people to meet?

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tail

In a Ted Talk by Andrew Yang he talks about how our Capitalistic system must change because what capitalism prioritizes the world does more of. So the question becomes: In a system where capitalism is a prime determinant of value, how can we preserve what we truly value as humans, what matters to us beyond money?

In the US, and in much of the developed world, our current form of capitalism is failing to produce an increasing standard of living for most of its citizens. It’s time for an upgrade. Adam Smith, the Scottish economist who wrote The Wealth of Nations  in 1776, is often regarded as the father of modern capitalism. His ideas — that the “invisible hand” guides the market; that a division of labor exists and should exist; and that self-interest and competition lead to wealth creation — are so deeply internalized that most of us take them for granted.

Imagine a new type of capitalist economy that’s geared toward maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. These goals and GDP would sometimes go hand-in-hand, but there would be times when they wouldn’t be aligned. For example, an airline removing passengers who’d already boarded a plane in order to maximize its profitability would be good for capital but bad for people. The same goes for a drug company charging extortionate rates for a life-saving drug. Most Americans would agree that the airline should accept the lost revenue and the drug company accept a moderate profit margin. But what if this idea was repeated over and over again throughout the economy? Let’s call it human-centered capitalism — or human capitalism for short.

Human capitalism would have a few core tenets:
1. Humanity is more important than money.
2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.
3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

In business, there’s a saying that “what gets measured gets managed for,” so we need to start measuring different things. The concepts of GDP and economic progress didn’t exist until the Great Depression. However, when economist Simon Kuznets introduced it to Congress in 1934, he cautioned, “The welfare of a nation can … scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.” It’s almost like he saw income inequality and bad jobs coming.

Our economic system must shift to focus on bettering the lot of the average person. Instead of having our humanity subverted to serve the marketplace, capitalism has to be made to serve human ends and goals.

In addition to GDP and job statistics, the government could adopt measurements like:
Average physical fitness and mental health
Quality of infrastructure
Proportion of the elderly in quality care
Marriage rates and success
Deaths of despair; substance abuse
Global temperature variance and sea levels
Re-acclimation of incarcerated individuals and rates of criminality
Artistic and cultural vibrancy
Dynamism and mobility
Social and economic equity
Civic engagement
Cyber security
Responsiveness and evolution of government

It would be straightforward to establish measurements for each of these and update them periodically. It would be similar to what Steve Ballmer talk: (Our Nation in numbers) set up at Everyone could see how we’re doing and be galvanized around improvement.

Maybe you smile in disbelief at the concept of “social credits,” but it’s based on a system currently in use in about 200 communities around the United States: Time Banking. In Time Banking, people trade time and build credits within their communities by performing various helpful tasks — transporting an item, walking a dog, cleaning up a yard, cooking a meal, providing a ride to the doctor, etc. The idea was championed in the US by Edgar Cahn, a law professor and anti-poverty activist in the mid-1990s as a way to strengthen communities.

Despite the success of Time Banks in some communities, they haven’t caught hold that widely in the US in part because they require a certain level of administration and resources to operate. But imagine a supercharged version of Time Banking backed by the federal government where in addition to providing social value, there’s real monetary value underlying it.

The most socially detached would likely ignore all of this, of course. But many people love rewards and feeling valued. I get obsessed with completing the 10-punch card for a free sandwich at my deli. We could spur unprecedented levels of social activity without spending that much. DSCs could become cooler than dollars, because you could advertise how much you have and it would be socially acceptable.

The power of this new marketplace and currency can’t be overstated. Most of the entrepreneurs, technologists and young people I know are champing at the bit to work on our problems. We can harness the country’s ingenuity and energy to improve millions of lives if we could just create a way to monetize and measure these goals.

I’m no fan of big government. The larger an organization is, the more cumbersome and ridiculous it often gets. I’ve also spent time with people at the highest levels of government, and it’s striking how stuck most of them feel. One Congressperson said to me, “I’m just trying to get one big thing done here so I can go home.” He’d been in Congress for 7 years at that point. Another joked that being in DC was like being in Rome, with the marble there to remind you that nothing will change.

But I’ve concluded there’s no other way to make these changes than to have the federal government reorganize the economy. Even the richest and most ambitious philanthropists and companies either operate at the wrong scale or have multiple stakeholders that make big, long-term commitments difficult to sustain. We’re staring at trillion-dollar problems, and we need commensurate solutions. We’re in a slow-moving crisis that is about to speed up.

Excerpted from the new book The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

Does he have the answer or even part of the answer? We get more of what we focus on so focusing on answers to our problems is probably the way forward. Human ingenuity has brought us to where we are. Human ingenuity will solve the problems we focus on. Change is the only constant, we must grow and develop as individuals and countries where what is good for me is good for you. If not, won’t we lose what we love most, being able to live in peace and plenty?

We all have to be our own control board or we will be controlled. We women will have to act in the best interest of society as well as in our own best interests. Selfish women don’t make a great society, nor do selfish men. It takes courage to build a life, family, society, and sometimes we have to put the needs of the family, and society first. What does that look like going forward, as we build a society that is good for everyone, especially our children?

Pierre Trudeau – “We know we have a very fortunate country, fortunate almost beyond belief. We have problems, but we know that they are not great compared with the problems of other peoples. But we need to solve them before they become great, and before someone comes to solve them for us.” – speech, Renfrew, Ont., June 24, 1968

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America Hardcover – Feb 4 2014

by Andrew Yang (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Is there a downside to gratitude? Or does gratitude change everything, but it isn’t as easy for everyone to be grateful as we think?

Does gratitude change everything, but it isn't as easy for everyone to be grateful as we think? Is there a downside to gratitude?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Learn to be grateful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want. Jim Rohn

I am reading that some people are questioning gratitude as a positive thing. Really, what could be the downside of being grateful? Some people make it sound if we are grateful for the circumstances in our life that aren’t so great, we won’t change them. Can’t we be grateful we have a job and a roof over our head even if we want a better job, and a better roof? Being grateful will not get us a better job, or a better roof, but nor will hating our job or our roof.

Perhaps people who don’t like the concept of gratitude are forgetting that they still have to build their lives and make the changes that need to be made. Gratitude or affirmations won’t change our lives if we don’t change them. We can chant “I am rich, healthy, and thin,” all the days of our lives, it won’t make any of them true unless they are already true, or we make them become true.

If we want things to change in our lives, we need to know the why, how, when, and what we need to do to make it happen. Can’t we feel grateful for what we have, the abundance that we do have, our health, friends, family, security, and a place to lay our head at night? When we are grateful it doesn’t mean we don’t want things to change in our life. We can be grateful when we are single, and still, want to find that special person. We can be grateful when we are childless, and still, welcome a new person into the world.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

Can we be grateful we have seeds to sow and be grateful when we have a crop to reap? Even when our relationships aren’t great can’t we be grateful because we have the opportunity to make them better? Can’t we be grateful for what we got out of a relationship even if we know we must move on? Even when we decide we no longer want to live there can’t we be grateful for where we lived?

I’m trying to see the downside of gratitude. I’m wondering if some people are pretending to be grateful, they write their gratitude list as penance not feeling grateful at all. They think they should feel grateful, but they don’t feel grateful so they feel worse because they don’t know why they aren’t grateful. Even in their unhappiness, they have more than many. That isn’t gratitude that is guilt over not being grateful.

In Noah St. John’s book Afformations he says affirmations don’t work because we are saying things we don’t believe. We tell ourselves we are rich when we aren’t rich and happy when we aren’t happy, and perhaps grateful when we aren’t grateful. What if we asked questions instead? Why aren’t we rich? Why aren’t we happy? Why aren’t we grateful? What do we have to do to be rich, are we willing to do it? What would we need to do, be, or have to be happy, are we willing to do it? What would we need to do, be, or have, to be grateful, are we willing to do it?

All of us should be able to find something to be genuinely grateful for. If we are breathing we can be grateful. If we have something to eat today, we have something to be grateful for. If we woke up this morning we can be grateful. Maybe some of the people struggling with gratitude feel they need to be grateful for what they are not grateful for. Who says we need to be grateful for everything in our life, but does that mean we should be grateful for nothing?

Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. David Whyte

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Afformations®: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk Paperback – Nov 19 2014

by Noah St. John (Author), John Assaraf (Foreword) 4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Finding meaning in our everyday life. Enjoying the moments means enjoying life.

Enjoying the moments means enjoying life. Finding meaning in our every day life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. Anais Nin

This morning I barely catch my daughter to say “Good morning” before she rushes out the door. It was a moment we would have missed if I came downstairs a few minutes later.

“Would you prefer breakfast or dinner for Mother’s day?”


“Breakfast is better, then we can relax”, she says before leaving for work.

A small little conversation, a moment in time, a moment in our memory, these small moments is how we build our life.

“Do you want to go for breakfast,” my husband asks. We love breakfast on Friday mornings. The work week is finishing, we are a little more relaxed. I might have a few stories from Toastmasters to tell him over breakfast. We laugh, talk about what’s going on in the world, our plans for this weekend, or whatever is coming up.

Being part of a group gives us something to learn, skills to hone, and we develop ourselves in other areas. We have more to give to our partner when we return home.  We learn what others are doing in their lives, we learn where they’ve traveled, the places they’ve been they enjoyed the most.

Life is meant to be fun, and joyous and fulfilling. May each of yours be that. Jim Henson

In a group like Toastmaster’s we see people develop as speakers, they become more animated as they speak. The people who join Toastmasters are often shy but not always. We all have skills we want to develop and things we want to learn. Being part of a group of people whose intent is bettering themselves encourages all of us to go after our dreams, take more chances, and look on challenges as opportunities. When we discover our strengths, we find the courage we didn’t know we had to go after what we want. We get clearer in what we want as we spend time with people making goals, talking about their challenges, vulnerabilities, and successes.

We have been as touched by some of the speeches at Toastmasters as by great Ted Talks. We don’t know the challenges people have dealt with. When we hear about some of the World events through the eyes of those who lived through them, we get a different understanding than when we hear only the news or read about it in a book.

We’ve heard speeches about “The Arab Spring,” the great famine in China, marriage customs from around the world. How people deal with death in their families, the lessons they’ve learned through hard times. We learn tricks and tips for being healthier. I’m looking forward to hearing a talk on what it’s like to run the Boston Marathon.

After Toastmaster’s we often go out for a drink, a nibble, but really for conversation. We love to laugh and learn more about each other’s lives. Anywhere people congregate in groups, Church, or work are places to connect with like-minded people.

We need to be careful to keep or find balance in our life; we can let groups take control of our life if we can’t say no. It is not good for our partner to play second fiddle to a group. If we can keep it in balance our primary relationship will benefit from what we get from a group.

Are we spending too much time or not enough time with other like-minded people? Are we spending enough time with our spouse? Do we have enough “moments” with the important people in our life? This is our life if we only get one, are we making it the best it can be?

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is. Hermann Hesse

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, friendship, and love.

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The Bond: How to Fix Your Falling-Down World Paperback – Jun 5 2012

by Lynne McTaggart (Author) 4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Good habits make great lives. Be willing to start small. Start something great.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Samuel Jackson

Is there a secret to a good life? Could it be that it starts with the habits we develop? If we are taught good habits does our life develop in one way and if we develop bad habits does our life develop another way? Is this one of the ways the sins of the parents follow down the generations, they pass on their bad habits, and their children don’t do as well as those who pass on good habits?

Bad habits can ruin our life, our health, and our relationships. Does the good life depend on the habits we develop? I’ve always told my kids, “continue to develop good habits, and keep the good habits you already have.”

When we look at people whose lives we would like to emulate they have often developed good habits. When we emulate their habits our lives get better. To have what someone else has, we have to be willing to do what they do, we will have to make the sacrifices they make to reap the rewards they reap.

To build a life we love we need to focus on the key areas of life, health, fitness, relationships, work, finances, learning. If we can continue building and maintaining good habits in each of these areas, tweaking as we go along. We will likely build a life we are proud of.

Sometimes different areas of our life may be our focus. Perhaps it is too much to think we can give time to everything. This is where habits come in. Once we have a habit we don’t have to expend energy persuading our self to do something we just have to do it.

To create a habit start small. As I reflect on my writing it is a habit, and that habit enabled me to complete a novel. One word on top of another word added up. It is that simple and that difficult to master most things we want in life.

The truth won’t set us free – until we develop the skills and the habit and the talent and the moral courage to use it. Margaret Heffernan

Starting is half done and don’t quit. One simple habit that starts the day off right is making our bed in the morning. No matter how our day goes, we’ve accomplished one thing. On a bad day if nothing else we can crawl into an inviting, made bed.

So often we want to make big changes, but if we start small they can become big changes over time. We want to bring exercise into our life. Can we start with two pushups per day? If we haven’t done them before we get into bed can we muster the energy for two pushups? Once we start we might not stop at two, but two is all we have to do to complete that goal. It sounds silly to set our goal at two pushups but try it; it will change our life if we keep it up.

My goal when I started writing on October 9th, 2000 was to keep a writing journal and if I could write down the time I started and the time I finished and the words I wrote. My writing session was a success. I didn’t know it at the time but I was creating the habit of writing.  It has added up to something, a soon to be published novel, now a blog. My art is the same; I always try to have a painting on the go. I am not a fast painter but conceptualizing a new painting as the old one is close to finished keeps me going forward.

Start small, but start, because starting is half done. I watched a video on blogs and one piece of advice stood out. Don’t wait until you have the “about me” page perfect before posting. So I didn’t, my son set up my blog and the next day with trembling hands I pushed publish. Then I relaxed, for better or worse my blog was out in the world.

Just do it! Then do it again until you have a long line of accomplishments. It is mostly true, it is never too late to start, to be the person we know we should be. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Too many of us have never done the things we dreamed of because something wasn’t perfect. It will never be perfect and maybe it shouldn’t be perfect, maybe it should be just like you and just like me, perfectly imperfect.

Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do. Sean Covey

Until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word to those whom you do not admire, you will be neither successful nor happy. Napoleon Hill

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, good habits, and love.

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When we choose our food, we choose our health. We are what we eat.

We are what we eat. When we choose our food, we choose our health.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let food by thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. Hippocrates

Yesterday when trying to edit the photo for my blog a comment that said I needed to reload the photo popped up. After three tries I was locked out of my Word press account. Panicking a little, although it is not life or death if a post gets out or not. I went into admin and after proving I wasn’t a robot got into my WordPress account but still couldn’t edit my photo. I chose one that was right side up and posted.

The upside is, my son showed me a better way to access and edit my photos, so even though I still have the problem with Word press I will have a better method of editing my photos. We don’t know when a problem presents itself that we may learn something from, we wouldn’t have learned without the problem.

This can happen in all areas of our life. When a heart surgeon Dr. Steven R. Gundry feels he can help more people through nutrition than surgery I’m willing to experiment with what he says and figure out if it works for me. He thought he was eating a healthy diet, running and weight training but when he tweaked his diet he got healthier. Since starting Plant-Based Whole Food (most of the time) in 2015, I am healthier.

Leaky gut is what he promises this diet will heal. Leaky gut is something I’m sure I’m dealing with. This is the reason I am tweaking my diet.

Today is the start of my daughter’s and my three day Plant Paradox kick start. Because I spent yesterday with my sister, we aren’t ready. My daughter had to leave for work by six thirty. She said she didn’t know what to take for lunch so she grabbed something from the fridge.

Certain members of the family are looking at us like “Why are we doing this”? As an experimenter of food, and perhaps now a commenter on it, it is an important part of my journey. We are what we eat, and certain foods affect us in certain ways. The Plant Paradox is a plan to help us figure out what plants may contribute to certain problems we have. By listening to our body we can nourish it and remove what is not nourishing to it. This is a continuation of the experiment with food I have been conducting for years.

When we look at the robustly healthy older adults in their eighties and nineties we wonder how they got that old, that healthy. They aren’t always people who never had a health problem. They are often people who have taken their health in hand and worked with their body instead of against it.

Those who have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to have time for illness. Edward Stanley

Mom didn’t eat much fat because of a gall bladder problem for forty years. She watched what she ate instead of having her gall bladder removed. When she ended up with high cholesterol and my Dad didn’t, she started eating more fat.

It isn’t just luck that Mom is as healthy as she is. Part of it is how she has managed when she’s had problems. She’s eliminated foods from her diet that bother her. She has gone whole weeks on cream-of-wheat porridge while she figured out what the offending foods were. She didn’t go to the Doctor for a pill, she figured out what her problem was and fixed it. You can’t do that for everything but a lot of our lifestyle diseases are caused by what we eat, and they won’t be fixed until we change our way of eating. Everyone’s body is different, what works for one may not work for all.

Mom can’t eat canola oil, hazelnuts, or cherries. Spinach is a healthy food that can cause problems for people prone to gout. These are all healthy foods. We can be working hard at getting healthier but if the foods we are eating to make us healthier aren’t ones that agree with our body we may be going in the wrong direction.

This is not a one size fits all. Our ancestors figured a lot of stuff out so our ancestral diet will likely work for us, but often there are certain diseases accompanying certain ways of eating. Many of us are no longer of one ancestry; we may have more to figure out or less.

If we start from the premise we should be healthy, and if we aren’t there is a reason, and if we look for it we can find it, we might be on the road to health. We have a place to start. Will we live to a healthy hundred if we do this, not necessarily? If we can live till we die as healthy as possible that’s good enough for me.

Is nutrition the answer to everything, probably not? Can we make our food work for us instead of against us? Can we figure out what those foods are?

Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments. Bethenny Frankel

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, health, and love.

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The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy: The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free Paperback – Jan 8 2019

The power of groups. Tapping into group energy is more powerful than doing things on our own.

Tapping into groups is more powerful than doing things on our own. The power of groups.

Photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let the enthusiasm and energy of the group be your fuel. Unknown

Yesterday my son, his girlfriend, my daughter and her husband ran a 10K marathon. My husband and I looked at each other a couple of days ago and said we should join too, but we didn’t.  They have another story to tell, and we do not. The energy before the start of the marathon was probably palpable. It would have been great to be there just to feel that energy.

Life is about doing, getting involved. As we sat recounting the race with them we looked at each other and said, “maybe we’ll join next year”. This was the year to do it. We’ve missed it. Who knows what will happen next year? We are driving for two hours to see my sister. Would we have been so stiff today to it? We went for a 5K walk instead.

A Toastmaster’s buddy ran this year’s Boston marathon. An accomplishment few of us will achieve. The weather was awful, she wasn’t happy with her time, but she’s glad she did it, and the people were wonderful giving support the complete length of the marathon.

We can’t do everything but what we do and what we don’t do make up our life. When it came right down to it, even though we wouldn’t mind doing it, when it came to putting our money down and committing, we passed.

It’s not a big miss; some people will damage themselves from doing it. I’ve hurt my knee in the past and it took a long time to heal. If I hurt it now would it ever be the same? A few people passed out, how embarrassing would that be?

Our stories are the choices we have made, we can’t do everything. Some things would have been interesting to do. Getting together is one of the most important things we do. We do it when we get together and laugh as we recount our exploits. When we join a group of like-minded people to learn, experience, or accomplish something.

Man’s brain may be compared to an electric battery… a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery. Napoleon Hill

We were listening to a Youtube video yesterday. The speaker was comparing social media to porn. It might be better than nothing but it isn’t the full experience of having a relationship with someone. Relationships matter, we need to be face to face, sitting over dinner, coffee, going for a walk, playing sports, or being part of a group.

We don’t do well alone. People talk about finding their tribe. Their group of like-minded people who “get them”. When Mom and Dad moved to B.C. and moved to a small town they always went to the Farmers Market every Friday. This is where the retired farmers congregated. It was a thriving Farmers Market because it was a meeting place for likeminded people who also bought some vegetables and fruits. The majority of the people who went there weren’t only looking for fresh carrots.

Groups have energy. When I was looking to rejoin Toastmasters I went to a few groups. When I went to the one I joined, it felt right. How do we create that energy? I’ve joined groups who had that energy and lost it. Could I have been part of the problem?

We might not know how to create that energy; we know it when we see it and feel it. Is there a group of like-minded people we should look into and consider joining. If we are already part of a group should we get more involved? We can tap into the power of groups, it might change our life.

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever. Amy Poehler

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Life is full of things to be grateful for. Sometimes we need to be grateful it wasn’t worse.

Sometimes we have to be grateful it wasn't worse. Life is full of things to be grateful for.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life. Robert Louis Stevenson

Yesterday my husband and I were going for coffee before starting work. We were driving and heard a loud noise, we looked at each other, “did that come from our truck”?

As we parked we heard the noise again. When we drove to the garage, then the verdict was given, rear ball joint. “I’ll show it to you,” the mechanic said. My husband looked and our truck was not roadworthy, we were lucky we got to the garage. The bill was large. We had to swallow hard as we told the mechanic to fix it.

My husband had an appointment in the afternoon he had to cancel. Fortunately, this was with a customer that didn’t have to make any special arrangements for this appointment.

When we were waiting for our daughter to come home to borrow her car to pick up ours, we got a knock on the door. One of our clients was hand delivering a cheque a little larger than our repair bill.

We are so lucky the ball joint went when it did. Had it gone when my husband was on the highway on his way to the appointment it would have been much worse. Had it gone when we were on the way to my Sister’s tomorrow that would have been worse.

Sometimes we need to be grateful for the timing of things in our lives. The timing of things we did not want and are not prepared for.

Be thankful for the bad things in life, for they open your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before. Unknown

Years ago before cell phones and bank machines, my husband and I were driving and something happened to his car. A gentleman stopped to see if he could help. He was a mechanic, he knew where we could get the part, and he put it on for us. Fortunately, I had more money on me than I would normally carry; it came in handy to pay him for the part and his services.

Another time my girlfriend and I were driving home. The road was icy a police officer had someone pulled over on the highway. My girlfriend touched the brake and the car did a donut in the middle of the highway, barely missing the police officers legs. The car settled in the same lane, going the same way, we sat for a moment waiting to see if the police officer would come over, he didn’t so we drove away.

We may think we aren’t lucky, we’ve never won the lottery, except we won it when we were born. There are so many times in life when something happens but it could have been so much worse.

When we look back over our lives we have so much to be grateful for. There are times when the situation could have been worse, there is nothing to do but give a prayer for what could have happened but didn’t.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

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The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks Paperback – Sep 6 2016

What? What if? What now? Mindfulness reflections.

Mindfulness reflections. What? What if? What now?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate on the present moment. Buddha

Being mindful is, “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state or heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences on a moment to moment basis.”

Last night at Toastmasters a powerful speech was given on mindfulness and how being mindful by asking the questions, what? what if?  what now? helped someone put their life and thoughts into perspective and develop a better view of themselves.

One of our biggest problems is we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others. Of course, we find our self not living up to our own expectations by doing this. We are often kinder to everyone else than we are to our self. We understand they made mistakes, but we can’t forgive our self for our mistakes.

We all make mistakes, we reach for something beyond our grasp, we fail and we grow. Sometimes we only recognize the failure but do not recognize the growth. As Albert Einstein said, “We are all genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” We do this to ourselves; we berate ourselves because we don’t have talents in particular areas while we don’t recognize the talents we do have.

In Louise Hayes’s book You Can Heal Yourself she tells us to tell our self, “I approve of me.” She doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve; learn from our mistakes, or change attitudes and behaviors that don’t serve us. We are doing the best we can, and when we know better we do better. When we acknowledge we are not perfect, we will never be perfect, but we are enough we can treat ourselves kindly. We can give ourselves the tools, resources, and environment to bloom where we are planted.

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. Thich Nhat Hanh

Each one of us is unique, we all have things about us that are admirable, and we all have things about us not so admirable. We need to accept all of who we are, warts and all. As long as we live we can grow, develop, and learn. If we look at someone else’s life and they have or are doing something we want to have or do, we need to figure out what they’ve done to be who they are and have what they have. Are we willing to do it? Do we want our life of relaxation and time for our family but their money and position because they’ve given up relaxation and time with the family? Have we looked at the price they’ve paid, because there is always a price? If we want what they have, we have to do what they did, but we also have to pay the price they’ve paid.

This may seem daunting but it is also freeing. There is a choice, lives are built, not by happenstance, but by actions, one action built upon another action for good or ill. What we think and do today builds our tomorrow. What we think and did all our yesterdays built our today.

If there are things about our life we would like to change we can make big or large adjustments on how we deal with others, our time, our thoughts, and our actions.

Sometimes we need to take a good long, hard look at our life. We may wish we’d made different decisions but when we look at our life what would we give up for what someone else has? If we have close relationships but not enough money would we trade? If we spent our youth becoming trained in a specific area would we give that up for the person who tripped around the world, would they change places with us?

We spent our life building a family instead of a business; would we trade, would they? We see someone’s fit body but are we willing to go to the gym at six in the morning? Life is about choice. If we want something different we’ll have to do something different. Maybe we can start by asking ourselves the questions. What? What if? What now?

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. Mother Teresa

“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.

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There is always something more to learn.

There is always more to learn.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning. Bruce Lee

We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what we have to learn, what will jump out at us and force us to learn, or what we may learn when we search for knowledge about something else.

This is part of what makes life exciting. Learning something may set us on a path we didn’t know we were interested in. We may find a new field of study, a new hobby, interest, career, or business. We don’t know where life will take us. When we’ll read something or have a conversation that changes our life.

This week I learned figs are flowers, not fruit. I learned eating goat, sheep cheese, and ghee is often okay for people sensitive to regular dairy. Soaking oatmeal in vinegar makes it easier to digest. Pressure cooking beans and lentils neutralize harmful lectins.

As much as we congratulate ourselves on the modern world we’ve built, we are not as healthy as we used to be. We don’t die because we are gored by a rhino; we die because we are undernourished, overfed, and lonely amid crowds.

People who believe the earth is flat are real, not just jokester’s. It sounds like you would have to be joking to say “the earth is flat”. That all the photos of earth from space are just a hoax, and there’s a rim of ice that keeps the oceans from spilling over.

My parent’s always told me truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

Lifetime learning provides many benefits. Through lifelong learning, we can improve and develop new skills, gain confidence, fight boredom, and keep our mind and brain healthy. We model positive behavior for our children and grandchildren. We discover new interests, stay healthier, and sleep more soundly.

Too much of our formal learning is focused on giving people credentials instead of knowledge. Learning is fun, but we’ve found ways to take the joy out of it. Why do music lessons suck the joy out of music for our children instead of creating great musicians?  Why are a lot of the people with a real passion for the arts, writing, and music self-taught?

Children do not move, think or speak in a straight line, and neither does imagination nor creativity. But sadly, our standardized pathways of education do. Unknown

There is a place for lessons, but if we missed out on lessons we can still do what we want to do. We can teach our self music, art, writing, sewing, house remodeling, etc. We don’t have to make money from our interests, or maybe we do make money from them. Finding new interests engages our brain, adds excitement to our lives, make us think, dream, and discover new possibilities. We add color, joy, and passion to our life.

I was just reading about a professional musician who no longer loves music. Perhaps a new interest needs to be found; music has become a job and no longer a passion. Most of us need jobs and need to find our passion elsewhere. Learning something new can bring passion back into our lives. We have an idea; we can’t wait to see if it will work.

Life becomes an experiment again. It may be something as simple as seeing if cutting dairy from our diet makes us feel better. How far can we walk today? Who would we meet if we joined a class, group, or club? Where could our lives go if we started learning something new, now? There is always more to learn, we don’t have time to learn it all, but we can die trying. Is it true, the more passion we put into our lives, the more passion we get out?

When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn. Confucius

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

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Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast, and Find the Hidden Path to Happiness Hardcover – Jun 27 2017

4.2 out of 5 stars   4 reviews from |

Reclaiming our health with our choices. No one can make us healthy but our self.

No one can make us healthy but our self. Reclaiming our health with our choices.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Ann Wigmore

My husband asked me, “When are you starting your Plant Paradox Diet”?

“Eating plan”, I corrected him. Monday is the start of the three-day kick start. I will report our progress periodically. If anyone wants to join us, feel free.

Because I’ve been plant-based since September 2015 (mostly vegan) this isn’t so hard for me. I’m bringing some foods back. He offers vegan and vegetarian options and believes too much protein isn’t good for us. I’m not interested in getting back into a meat-heavy diet but small amounts of grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken (not sure where to source this), omega 3 eggs, wild fish, and seafood coming back into my diet and getting healthier sounds like a win, win to me.

Dr. Gundry is even telling me I can bring some dairy back into my diet. French, Italian, or Swiss cheeses, and also goat, sheep, or water buffalo cheese, and ghee (clarified butter).

I’m being told to peel my potatoes, eat white bread instead of whole grain, pressure cook my beans and lentils, and eat white rice instead of brown.

I’ve been playing around with his program, filling in my food journal and the other day I noted I felt better, and I hadn’t been feeling bad. One of the things I’ve had is an inflamed tonsil and it looked better yesterday. Last night I ate something that didn’t agree with me, so it makes me think he is onto something. We need to listen to our body, but first, we need to get rid of everything that bothers us, get our immune system off high alert, so we can notice when we’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with us.

The basis of good health is always real, nutrition-dense food – all other therapies depend first and foremost on the diet. Sally Fallon Morell

The Plant Paradox isn’t the first book to talk about lectins. I pulled out my books on Eat Right for Your Blood Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. Dr. Gundry and Dr. D’Adamo’s list of lectin foods are very similar. What I like about The Plant Paradox is the connection to our health begins in our gut.

Good oral health and good gut health seems to be where we should put our emphasis. Good oral health isn’t just about going to the Dentist and flossing and brushing regularly although that’s important. Nutrition is the other pillar of good oral health.

When Dr. Weston Price visited peoples with excellent dental health before they adopted a modern diet they didn’t have excellent dental health because of their oral hygiene, but because of their diet. From what I have gleaned Dr. Weston Price’s recommendations and Dr. Gundry’s recommendations are similar.

Dr. Gundry is recommending we look at traditional diets and find what worked. Why are seeds and skin not included in Italian tomato sauce? Why was white rice the staple of millions instead of brown rice? Why was bread made with sourdough? Why was white bread the staple over brown?

We in our hubris often think traditional societies didn’t know anything. “That’s an old wives tale,” we’ll say about a traditional way of doing things. We are trying to relearn what societies learned over thousands of years. Do we really think health wasn’t important to our ancestors? Can we reclaim our health through better choices?

The problem is not so simple as merely cutting down or eliminating sugars and white flour though this is exceedingly important. It is also necessary that adequate mineral and vitamin carrying foods be made available. Dr. Weston A. Price

People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food. Wendell Berry

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Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition Paperback – Apr 1 1997

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Primal Nutrition: Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health
Primal Nutrition: Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health
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