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To succeed you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you - Tony Dorsett

>> 29 October 2008

Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here...
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.

Nancy Wood, from Many Winters


Attitudes are contagious - is yours worth catching?

>> 28 October 2008

The Impact of Social Presence on Moment-to-Moment Evaluations

- or why we prefer to watch television with other people.

Why do we prefer to watch football or Dr House with our friends and family? Because of a phenomenon called 'emotional contagion'. Psychologists of the University of Chicago filmed the faces of people watching a tv program together. Conclusion: a unification of emotions is happening, with looks deviated from the screen to 'capture' the expressions of fellow spectators. The feelings of the different people end up forming a general dominating impression. We are comforted in our judgement when we perceive that our couch neighbor is experiencing a similar feeling; and when we feel an emotion that diverges from him, a doubt pops up. Individual emotions hence find themselves 'reprimanded', the general feeling becoming 'the good opinion'. On the contrary, when people watch the same program individually, the contagion does not operate anymore. Ditto in the cinema. The big screen and the obscurity plunge us into a sort of bubble. Hence the sentiment of solitude when asking 'You liked it?'


To laugh often and much... - Ralph Waldo Emerson

>> 27 October 2008

Anticipating A Laugh Reduces Stress Hormones

By seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot on our own to stay well

Even though they have been well documented, the beneficial effects of laughter have not finished astonishing us: we have now discovered that laughter does us good before it even happens. In 2006, the team of Dr Lee Berk of Loma Linda University, had already shown that the simple perspective of seeing a funny movie increased the secretion of beta-endorphins (hormones which relieve depression) and the growth hormone (active all our life in the immune system). According to the newest studies, anticipation of a good laugh is enough to considerably reduce the production of stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline).

Check out these sites:
  • Laughter is medicine
  • Norman Cousin’s seminal book ”Anatomy of an Illness” details his healing journey overcoming ankylosing spondylitis (a degenerative disease causing the breakdown of collagen). Given up to die within a few months in 1965, almost completely paralyzed, Cousins checked out of the hospital, moved into a hotel room and began taking extremely high doses of vitamin C while exposing himself to a continuous stream of humorous films and similar ”laughing matter”. His condition steadily improved and Cousins regained the use of his limbs until he was able to return to his full-time job at the Saturday Review.
  • Crazy Sexy Cancer
  • The Humor Collection


In the end, the only heritage we have is our planet - Sebastiao Salgado

In the seas off Patagonia, right whales (so called because they were 'right' for hunting) gather to breed. Acclaimed photographer SebastiĆ£o Salgado, on the latest stage of his epic Genesis project, spent weeks in their company, and saw the ocean turn into a jumping field.

Yes, we may already have destroyed 50% of the planet, but Salgado wants to show us what we have left, and what we stand to lose if we don't take care. "In the end, the only heritage we have is our planet, and I have decided to go to the most pristine places on the planet and photograph them in the most honest way I know, with my point of view, and of course it is in black and white, because it is the only thing I know how to do. I want to see if I can put a kind of virginity in these pictures, if you can say that, and to show 100% respect to nature and the animals."

The photos are just stunning.


Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.

>> 17 October 2008

Today's Friday Fill-ins (#94):

  1. Follow the world in voting the US president.

  2. A book is something I always take with me on vacation.

  3. To achieve your goals, you must live them today.

  4. I have two beautiful sons is something I'd like you to know about me.

  5. I have a new iMac :-)

  6. Hope floats.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting to know my new Mac, tomorrow my plans include swimming with my youngest and packing and Sunday, I am leaving for Spain to visit my best friend!


Ask European leaders to dedicate funds to African agriculture.

Have you ever heard of ONE.ORG?
If you are a U2 fan, I'm sure you have as Bono is its co-founder. Watch Bono's appearance on CNN.

I just signed a petition to support an innovative plan to use extra money from the EU budget to support African farmers. I hope that you'll join me in taking action here.

We've seen aid achieve some amazing things in recent years - like over 29 million more children in school for the first time, and over 2 million more Africans with access to AIDS medications. But we must recognize the ongoing hunger crisis for the obstacle that it is and work to overcome it if we hope to continue our success. Europe can lead the way right now by giving African agriculture the support it needs.


I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence - Man Ray

>> 13 October 2008

I cannot say I agree with Man Ray. I like both photography and painting. And many of the pictures I take are taken because I'd love to be able to paint what I see.

I love the way nature creates an abstract canvas on tree barks and rocks. I would love to copy that on my canvas.

That is why I take a picture.

You can see my photography at My RedBubble portfolio.


Don't miss all the beautiful colors of the rainbow looking for that pot of gold.


Trees of gold
autumn still hold
winter about to unfold

Leaves of gold
still taking hold
shining brightly bold

Sunlight of gold
chasing the mold
warmth to uphold

Rays of gold
expel the cold
autumn to be cajoled

(c) Mindful Mimi - October 2008
Thanks to for prompting this poem.


Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important - Natalie Goldberg

>> 7 October 2008



We were on vacation last week. We took the kids to Disneyland Paris and then went on to Brittany where my other half took part in a sailing regatta.

I had it all organised.

  • Printed route description to all destinations
  • Prepaid hotel with shuttle service (and without the package deal of 3 day access fee to the park)
  • Room with separate kids bedroom
  • Prepaid entrance tickets to the park for one day
  • List of rides suitable for small children (in order to save time)
  • Prepaid apartment in town, close to the harbour (easy access to boat and city)
  • Bag of kids clothing suitable for ANY weather condition
  • Medicine and first aid equipment for ANY kind of emergency
  • Toys for the car/restaurant/hotel/apartment/bed
  • Babyfood/diapers for practically the entire stay (save time on not having to shop)
  • Sheets, towels, baby bed
  • Toilet paper, coffee/filters, tea, sugar, kitchenroll, etc - things you need in an apartment and don't want to buy family packs of that you then have to bring back home
  • List of hotels halfway (in case we needed to stay over on the way back)

The above list is just a general overview and of course splits into zillions of little details and to-do lists before, during and after the stay.

Will you be surprised if I tell you that I am drained after this 'vacation'?

Why? Everyday was like a normal day at home but ten times worse. Because:

  • it's not home,
  • the kids are out of their known, safe environment (i.e. they get cranky much easier),
  • you don't have everything handy despite the overpacking, overorganising
  • every day starts with a to do list on where to go and what to pack - 'just in case'

But the most important reason, I have come to realise now, was ME! I wanted:

So I not only created physical clutter (a car load full of it), but most of all mental clutter (my before-during-after to do lists).
I was so stressed that I would forget something, that something would happen that made the week less perfect than I had imagined and planned it.
It caused a serious situation of brain-drain. I felt overburdened with unfinished business. Instead of having a relaxed week with the kids, I felt I was constantly running behind myself, trying to catch up.


Accept that you cannot control and organise EVERYTHING. You cannot, ever, achieve perfection. Accept that things will go wrong. Your kid will catch a cough and you did not pack cough medecine.

Get help:
Ask someone (like your partner) to help you organise instead of taking on everything yourself.

Write your to-do or to-pack lists if you must. Review them (maybe together with your partner). During the trip/holiday/activity, take a step away from it and check whether you have not started up a new collection of clutter.

Once you have established what you want to pack, to do on location on a certain day, etc, sit down and analyse what the benefit of it all really is. Will it still be fun if I drag my kids through the whole park to make sure they have been on each ride?
Then try to reduce everything by half: Less is usually more fun as you get to enjoy it thoroughly without thinking about getting to the next point in time;

Get creative:
Go away for the weekend and try to pack a strict minimum. See what happens. If something happens and you do not have a remedy, get creative! So it rains and you have no suitable clothing? Make a poncho out of a trash bag. Or look for activities indoors.

Letting go and having fun:
I was so busy holding everything together that I forgot to have fun last week. And I feel I have let my kids down because I was so stressed all the time. So on a next trip, I will try to let go of my need to control and organise. It will be the first point on my to do list. And I will try to just simply have fun.

Read Christine Kane's 18 ways to live simple now.


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