I just got back from vacation, so my apologies for being gone for so long. I couldn’t believe the headline. An Italian doctor thinks he can figure out how to transplant a person’s head on to a donor body in the near future. The doctor told New Scientist how he plans to make it happen with a detailed written plan.
Many of us are caught up in a vortex of work-home-work that seems to leave us in a dizzying spell with distant memories of vacations, moments of joy, and days when we were once students. But the vortex can be stopped. Some lucky people have a couple hours to spare two or three nights a week, and who can find hope for breaking this vicious cycle and, perhaps, change the direction of their lives. The questions is, are you willing to put on a backpack again to take on the student roll-model you always wanted to become in your novel of life? What inspires you? What do you want to learn about?
Valentine's Day and Your Need For ChangeLook, we all love red velvet cake, most of us anyway. We'd even go so far as to try anything red velvet once. Stores already carry red velvet candles, vodka, coffee, Peeps, and M&Ms. Valentine's Day is around the corner and a very famous snack producer has decided to put on the red velvet jacket. Oreo wants in on the action. Oreo started planning the first-ever Red Velvet Oreo cookie 12 months ago to be released for Valentine's Day this year. So why am I writing about it? For three reasons. First, there's a parallel between our lives and the ever-changing Oreo. A tad silly I realize, but true. Second, I want all of us to be something more enticing. Yes, you heard me correctly. And third, I want to remind us to avoid sweets even though I'm using one as a metaphor (I know it's a tad hypocritical).
A Happy Liver Means a Happy BodyA few days ago, New Scientist Health released a rather informative and motivational article on the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol for a month based on a recent study by a group at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School (UCLMS). The physical health benefits were clear, but the mental health aspects were not emphasized enough. Approximately 17 million adults ages 18 and older had an alcohol use disorder in 2012, including 11.2 million men and 5.7 million women. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually, which is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. In 2009, alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States, and alcohol has been identified as a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast. What the study showed is that abstaining from one month of routine alcoholic drinking produces noticeable and significant health benefits. Liver fat content fell by up to 20 percent, which is impressive especially given the fact that too much liver fat can lead to liver damage, which can in turn lead to liver cirrhosis.
2014 flew by. Today you have to fight traffic to work, make a million phone calls, work relentlessly on a computer, barley find time for lunch, be scrutinized by a manager and fellow worker, fight traffic home, be too tired to cook dinner, and then do something unhealthy like overeat, drink, or smoke to relieve all that terrible stress. Repeat 365 times and 2015 will be over soon. Let's take up arms and revolt. Let's reclaim our precious time, our precious lives that we are given only once. So how can we start a revolution in our own lives, in our own minds, to make this next year of 2015 more ours and less theirs?
1. Do Less Busy WorkThe older we get, the more responsibilities we take on. Usually this means more difficult and time-consuming tasks on a daily basis. We all know that the busier we are, the faster time flies. There is an uncanny effect of time passing faster as the mind gets more distracted.
I want to take a moment to remind us of a few things for this holiday season that I think will help us work through difficult moments. When I ask what matters most, I can eliminate many things. It's not my dog or cat, although some would say it is. It's not the clothes on my back or the roof over my head, although I'm very grateful to have both. It's not money, because money can't buy you happiness (sometimes it can). Is it something less tangible like joy or happiness? Maybe. But I think it's something deeper than that. It's related to those things. When I sit down with my family at the dinner table, it's clear what matters most (and what brings terror to many): family!
Imagine traveling across Spain, and wandering through the beautiful architecture of a church. Inside you see a century-old fresco that has signs of wear and tear. I'm betting - and I'm not a betting man - that you would either take a look, spend a moment in prayer, or continue walking. Surely, you wouldn't pull out oil paints with a brush in hand and paint over it would you? Especially given that - chances are - you're not an accomplished painter, and - chances are - you wouldn't have the audacity to blemish an iconic religious image.
Cecilia the BoldWell, that's exactly what an 83-year-old widow and amateur painter, Cecilia Giménez, did in a small town in Spain. She tried her hand at restoring a nearly century-old fresco of Jesus in a local church. At first, she faced nothing but ridicule and scorn. Her smudged restoration attempt rocketed around the world on Facebook and Twitter.
The world seems crazy about detox. You can find detox food supplements, detox teas, detox tablets, detox shampoos, detox body gels, detox face masks, detox yoga, detox colon cleansers, and even detox bath salts. Tomorrow, detox ice cream and detox socks. At the consumer level, detox is a big business. Billions are spent each year on detox products - juice cleansers alone are a multi-billion dollar industry. The Guardian published a very well-written article today about the myth of detoxifying the body, and the marketing schemes that play upon the ignorance of nearly everyone involved.
Are You Being Fooled?Advertisers will have you believe that you can "revitalize" your hair using "detox" formulas, or that you can "rejuvenate" your skin using "detox" face creams.
Models, actors, and sports celebrities are photoshopped. It's no secret. But normal people are also photoshopped all the time. (Yes, I'm guilty of using the word photoshop as a verb.) You see, we photoshop people in our minds without even realizing it. That pimple on aunt Bertha's cheek gets noticed for a brief moment, and then forgotten 10 minutes later. The new wrinkle under the eyes of your neighbor is remembered as smooth skin. Five extra pounds on a stranger walking by is not even glanced at. Who even stands close enough to notice? Certainly, our minds gloss over imperfections.
Smoothing Things OverSo what do we remember? We remember emotion, how a smile gives off a welcoming feel, or how a dress inspires our imagination. We recall impressions. If we had such exacting memories then we would all have graduated summa cum laude. The truth is that we can't even remember what we ate this morning. We photoshop details into vague impressions, which is great news for all of our imperfections. This means we can all relax a little bit more. Unless you're being filmed or photographed, which is not often for most of us, you can stop worrying about the blemish, pimple, wrinkle or extra pounds.
The next time you start feeling worthless, ask yourself this question: What has more value? My mind, body, and soul, or the floor under my feet? Certainly you are worth more than the floor. Only a fool would give this a second thought. The pangs of depression have the potential to run very deep. Depression can make one feel so low that the mind begins to forget its own value. Feelings are the greatest deceivers. They pull a dark veil over the eyes and fool you into thinking you have no worth. But I'm here to remind you that in every way, shape, and form you carry more value than you think, certainly more than the dirt under your feet. Can we agree on this? Good.