Nov 30, 2009

Time: A gift of preparation

Turning from November to December. (From nine to ten – those Romans really did influence our calendar didn't they?) I'm ready for the season of reason. I'll prepare for the mid-winter holiday I love so much. It hasn't really snowed here yet, at least no accumulation. Not cold enough to make ice for skating. The lakes, still, open water. We haven't had more than a few days of temps below freezing.

So let's keep the mid-winter holiday in perspective. This not a time for a feeding frenzy of purchasing like the stories in the paper. Not a time to obsess about every detail of a party still weeks away. It is time to share with friends and acquaintances. Share food, meals are excellent sharing venues.
  • Invite a friend to breakfast or dinner today.

Nov 27, 2009

Gifts: Giving w/o spending.

For years the frenzy of holiday purchasing ramped up. More each year. Last year retailers sold less than in 2007. Now, predictions for national retailers is another drop for 2009. But, small, independent, locals seem to be growing. There is another aspect of this change that can't be measured by retail sale. The new gift paradigm. Gifts of ideas, gifts of technology -not gadgets, processes or techniques- and the gifts of understanding; these uplift the soul, enhance the culture, and degrade the toxic effects of compulsive consumption.

When I started to write about patience about 10 days ago I was not completely sure where the topic would go. Now, as the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas (a season we called Advent when I was young) starts w/ the ghastly named Black Friday, I realize patience is just another intangible gift that can be recycled and repurposed and regifted. You can teach yourself and others to be patient. Simple techniques like breathing thru your nose or sipping rather than gulping when you thirst can build your ability delay gratification of your desires.

Gifts of intention, reflection, will-power, integrity, passion, respect, and commitment are often more appreciated than you would think when you present them with dignity and understanding.
  • Try a new gift paradigm today!
  • Share your ideas with me and other who read my blog.
The Wisdom of Santa

Nov 22, 2009

Play: When games intrude on work.

Once evolution started to build on core brain parts such as; the medulla, cerebellum, pons, the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, etc. and creatures started to use the cortex for executive function, we learned to play. I speculate that play; exertion for sport, fun or enjoyment as opposed to work for food, shelter, or procreation, is one of the earliest human impulses. I believe play is central to our curiosity and wonder. Without play I don't think we would have begun the search for meaning or origins.

When we play instead of work we are postponing biological imperative to engage in frivolity! How can this be good for furthering our genes? How can playing enhance our survivability as a species? When we decide to play a game or engage in physical exertion for fun we are tuning our brains and our bodies.
The limbic system of the brain - aspects that mediate between strictly autonomic nervous reactiveness of the brain stem & the control functions of the cortex & are shared with most mammals, monotremes, & marsupials - provides us with amazing new capabilities. We can see that is us in a mirror. We can imagine what someone else might be feeling simply by observing their posture. We can envision the world thru the eyes of another. When I wrote about empathy as the first gift of human civilization I pointed out that people now are trying to portray humans in the context of the law, as unfeeling machines. I argued that this was a mistake.

I make this digression because I want to argue that play helps to increase the links between the cortex and the r-complex at the core of our brains. We build our skills in human emotion when we play! It gives us the chance to try out ideas, personalities & new styles without as much risk because it is a game. Football is better than war.

  • Play more, fight, die, & stress less.

Nov 21, 2009

Wait for Sex: More than just a moral thing.

The ecstasy of orgasm can be a powerful attraction. Many people, mostly men, crave the feeling. When we learn to wait, we learn the value of delayed gratification. We show our self-control.

Many folks imagine the suggestion we wait only works in conjunction with a religious message: we can only argue our teens should wait when we cite the Koran, the Bible, or the Torah. This is not true. We can talk openly about sex. Waiting can mean; put more time into foreplay. It can mean; come close to sex without actually consummating your passion. There is power in physical interaction even without sex.
  • Waiting for sex could mean, more cuddling first.

Nov 20, 2009

Wait for Food: Intensify Deliciousness

Think about waiting to eat food on a holiday like Thanksgiving. If you're like me and you love eating. If you invest a lot of time and thought in your food, waiting to eat can be very hard. When dinner is served, if you can stay calm and enjoy the event; savor the smells & tastes, drink slowly from the chalice, breath deep the air of festivity, you will have a greatly enhanced experience. A thoughtful, intentional waiting builds anticipation while adding to the delicious experience of food.
  • Wait calmly for & eat slowly the feasts of holidays. They always taste better that way.

Nov 19, 2009

Waiting means we believe the future will come.

If you stop to think, when we wait for something it is implicit acknowledgement that we expect the future to happen. In other words, we have an expectation of a future event. This is an awesome advance for a species to make. To have a brain big enough to imagine a future is really different. Most creatures on earth live for the moment. (Ironically, an entire industry now exists to help people live in the moment.) People, most likely when we learned to throw, learned to predict the future. This brought us into the future in more ways than one.

  • Waiting, the beginning of planning.

Nov 18, 2009

Patience: the gift of delayed gratification

At my household we celebrate the mid-winter holiday from December 20 or 21, 'til about January 13. In America today we are already weeks into a consumer frenzy called Xmas. The third Walmart Holiday ad came in the Sunday paper this weekend. Santas across the globe are talking about their gigs starting. I take deep breaths & hope to stay calm during the next several weeks. I'm rehearsing to sing in the choir with Open Eye Figure Theatre's Holiday Pageant.

When we learned to wait, to be patient, we built several strong, new connections in our brains that serve us today in ways we are only beginning to understand. Patience is ultimately the basis of economy. A look at the word economy reveals the notion of managing a household: in other words food, shelter, & offspring or dependents. If a strong economy means the ability to eat well, live & sleep well, and bring great kids into the world then patience gives us real advantages.

Over the next few weeks I expect to write about how our ability to wait: for delicious food; the ecstasy of sex; the comfort of home; the exhilaration of games well played, art well made, songs well sung, dances well danced; or the transcendence of preforming a physical feat, has helped our brains to become better at guiding & planning fulfilling lives.
  • Patience, a real gift for the holiday.

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