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What is time? I posed that question to my father when I was a young boy. His answer has been with me ever since. "Danny," he said..."Time is the rich man's way of telling the poor man when to be at work."

I can't argue with his definition. Of course, he was being simplistic and answering only one aspect of that thing that measures our lives. In fact, it really is the primary measurement of our entire existence. "How old is she?" "How long has he been working here?" "Ahh...what a cutie - and he's grown so quickly in 15 months!" "When did the Earth come into being?" Our questions and statements about time are constant. You've probably checked the time an 
inordinate amount today - just like most people.

We live our lives governed by time. Meetings, deadlines, benchmarks, and other markers of life, are all gauged on, and by, time. But...what REALLY is it in the grander scheme of our everyday lives? How could we measure things without time? 

Time, to me, is just the constant presence of now. That's it. Our time measurements can only happen in the now. As I'm writing this article each moment is a new now. The future only exists in our minds - as does the past. Time is a floating "now" machine. Yeah...I get it. You're gonna say, "Wait a minute - I lived yesterday - I know it for a fact. And...I'm planning for tomorrow because, hopefully, I'll be able to do the things I've posted in my planner." To that I say, "You're absolutely correct!" However, they only happened, or will happen, in a particular now.

When you leave this wonderful spinning globe, will time have any meaning? No. So...time is relative (as Einstein stated). Can it really be wasted. No. Only the efforts you deem necessary and the deadlines you self-imposed are judged, not the time you lived doing (or not doing) them.

With that said, I hope you've enjoyed your time reading this post and perhaps you'll give time a bit more thought. After all...for us it's finite - and now.
 
With the moon's spectacular display last night, once again I thought about how incredible our universe truly is. The heavenly bodies enable us to watch an amazing show every day and every night. The sun, the moon, the stars, and other entities floating in space, allow us to experience both the vastness of the heavens and how tiny, yet powerful, each one of us really is.

The Earth is but a "grain of sand" in the hugeness of space and we are only tiny individual inhabitants of that "grain." Yet...our intelligence and abilities to dissect information, as well as recognize that we are those tiny inhabitants, gives us a perspective about ourselves and our place on this planet that will, hopefully, bring some humbleness to each of us.

Perhaps we, as a species, need to spend more time thinking about how "small" we are in addition to the "bigness" of our hopes and dreams. Maybe, if we spend more time realizing the oneness of everything, we'd be able to understand how important it is to appreciate each other and the things that bring us pleasure, without bringing harm to those people and things around us.

And, then...we might even find that we can revel in the wonder of a peaceful existence and be in awe of things that enable us to see the beauty of life - like...a full moon on a June night.


 
Life has its trials and tribulations, as we all know. One day a person may be filled with joy, the next day he or she may be deep in sorrow or worry. The human condition is not an easy state for many people. There is, however, a way to mitigate one's problems.

For too often a person will begin to wallow in their own "bad" situation. Negativity morphs into worry, regret, jealousy, fear, and other self-defeating and/or self-sabotaging behaviors. The more a person wallows, the deeper they get stuck in the muck. Walking in a field of muck and mire is extremely difficult. If you've ever done it you know that you can sink so far down that your shoes or boots may become "extracted" from your feet...too heavy to lift in the suction of the dense and gooey earth. Yet, some people get through it with relative ease, while others give up. Why?

Perspective helps us deal with the muck and mire of life. One person's mucky field is another person's opportunity for success. The pessimist sees a place to get "swallowed up," while the optimist sees an area to grow crops. 

When one is caught in the muck they often lose perspective. However, that soggy field is almost always just another part of a road that leads you to success. Sometimes getting stuck enables a person to stop, look around, and collect his or her thoughts, figure out how to remove one's self from the mire, and start the next "leg" of their journey.

You'd be amazed to know how many people have used "disaster" as a stepping stone to success. They've taken the lessons learned from their "negative" experience and used it to sculpt a new aspect of their life.

As I've often said, "Keep moving forward!" While, in actuality, life does that for us anyway, in the more colloquial sense...it's really up to you and your perspective. Change your mindset and you can change your life, for the better, very quickly. Don't change it, and...you may have to hope someone hears you, as you're stuck in the muck, and - that they're carrying a "lifeline."  

A positive state of mind is not just an expression, it's a way to lessen your burdens and help you deal with life's situations in a manner that enables you to grow, build, and succeed.
 
Yes...it's true. Size really does matter. In fact, it not only effects your life - but it will certainly effect the lives of others as well.

No, I'm not talking about an outward physical trait. What I'm addressing here is the size of a few things that are far more important. How "big" is your heart? How "broad" is your mind?

Living with a "big heart" and a "broad mind" enables you to spread good energy, see things in a more accepting manner, and allows you to learn more easily. A "narrow mind" and "closed heart" tends to drive people, who may add texture, love, and kindness, to your life...away. What you are left with are only those with the same "closed heart" perspective and "narrow mindset" as yourself. That will, most assuredly, limit your view of life and will stunt your ability to grow as well. 

However, the toughest part is to be able to admit to yourself that you have a "closed heart" and a "narrow mind." It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to recognize one's shortcomings. And...even more to want to change. A "broad, or open, mind" and a "big heart" may cause a person discomfort at first because it goes against what one has "stood for" his or her entire life. Yet...once they are achieved a person frees himself, or herself, from the negative energy and the physical affects that a "small heart" and a "narrow mind" causes.

If you've ever be around negative people (or you are one yourself), their faces emit the affects that their negativity creates. A positive person is lighter, happier, and less stressed. Closing one's heart and one's mind will, ultimately, increase one's stress and also cause physical ailments.

So...be aware of the "size" of your heart and mind. Open them both. It will allow you the freedom to pass on an overly stressful and judgmental life. And - give you the rewards that go with a "big heart" and a "broad mind." 


 
My website, as you know, is entitled: Dan Dissects Life - Practical Tips for Happiness and Contentment. Quite often people think that happiness and contentment are synonyms for each other, but...they're not. One can be very happy and not contented. However, if one is contented - they may not exhibit the traits that one thinks of when they contemplate what happiness should mean. Yet, the contented person may, indeed, be very happy.  

Happiness is a state of considerable pleasure and cheer. The happy person is often gleeful, light, and even euphoric. Happiness is wonderful. The mind and body may be overcome with elation. It is a beautiful "place to be!" However, happiness may come and go. Contentment, on the other hand, is often a way of life.

An example may be the parent who watches his or her child graduate from college. They are proud of their offspring and happy to see him or her reach one of life's great goals. Yet...even during the ceremony, the parent's thoughts may drift to school loan payments (and how they'll deal with them), whether or not their child will be able to find a satisfying profession, and, perhaps, a sadness of knowing that their child will soon be leaving home. They might find themselves being discontented while, at the same time, experiencing happiness.

Contentment is different. It is a feeling of peace with one's self and one's life, an ease of mind and satisfaction with one's state of being. Happiness adds a certain texture to the contented person...a taste of extra satisfaction to an already satisfied state. Yet - there is also a constant calmness to the contented person's "soul."

Happiness might manifest itself when one buys something "new," enabling the buyer to sense fulfillment and joy. The contented person may realize that they are fine with what they have and that just "being" and feeling nature's energy is fulfilling enough.

Experiencing happiness without contentment may leave a person "empty." But, meshing happiness with contentment can lead to a life filled with calmness, love, laughter, and relaxation...no matter how many things and how much money a person may, or may not, have.

 
For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses. 

Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.

You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."

Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.

However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it. 

As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.

Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
 
We all recognize the fact that life can be very hectic. Many of us are faced with a myriad of problems, questions, chores, duties, obligations, deadlines, mechanical and technical breakdowns, and all the other "regular" (and not so regular) stuff that our everyday existence throws our way.

However...there are some things that we can do to make our lives calmer. Here are 5 things that, hopefully, will help you be more relaxed and calm throughout your day (and night).

1. Understand and implement the "Power of No."

"No" is an amazing word. It can prevent you from doing things that you don't want to do, don't have the time to do, or shouldn't be doing. The problem is that too many people have a hard time saying that little two letter word. Especially when you feel obligated to say "yes." It take a lot of strength to understand that there are certain times when you have to say "no," both for your benefit and for those asking you. Often a "no" will empower you to teach someone that it's their responsibility to do something. Or...perhaps if you say "yes" something else may not get done. Or...maybe, you have to assert yourself and stop being made to always be the "go to person." Say "no" enough and people will stop asking! Of course - you have to understand the "Power of No" and when to us it...just like you have to with any power! But...rest assured; learn how and when to say "No" and you will feel less pressured and much calmer.

2. Understand and implement the "Power of Know."

Yep...that's right - know know! As the saying goes, "Knowledge is King." So...the more you know, the more you'll be in a position to realize how to be calm, how not to be frantic, how to revel in life. Knowledge teaches us what we need to do to fulfill our objectives. If your goal is to be calmer, spend some time reading, learning (not where there are tests involved or tasks you MUST do to get a passing grade), stimulating your brain, and using it to understand what calmness really means. Look at the stars, the trees, the flowers and learn about them so that your trips through your garden and nights glaring at the heavens will give you a feeling of the contentment, happiness, and calmness that knowledge (and wonder) can bring. And...afford you the luxury of feeling closer to the things you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. You will soon understand that there really is a sense of calm in "knowing."

3. Understand and implement the "Knowledge of Power."

We are all powerful beings, yet many of us use power to drive ourselves and others into a frenzy. Power does not have to mean what we've come to think it means...controlling others, achieving a position of influence and being self-consumed. Ultimate power is knowing that you don't have to do any of those things to be truly powerful. Power lies within you. You have the power to understand yourself and others, the power to turn away the "noise" that surrounds you, the power to separate yourself from the daily mania of life and remove yourself to a powerful place where your "self" resides. Others will know you're there (if you want them to know). If they don't recognize where you've gone...you may want to tell them, "I'll be back. Right now I have to take care of something very important - me."

4. Understand and implement the "Power of Silence."

"Silence is Golden" as my 8th grade art teacher used to say. And...guess what? He was right. Silence is very powerful. You all know that it is often more powerful than speech. A silent expression can convey as much as a thousand word monologue. Silence can also be the vehicle that brings a person to a place of peace and calmness. The stillness of the mind and body can do wonders for your being. Shut the door, turn off your TV, smart phone, computer, and all your other "devices," and lose yourself in your silence. Look around without a word being uttered and you'll notice things you've probably never seen. Even though you've been with them for years. Quiet your mind and bring your world and yourself closer. It's a wonderful place to be. The world is filled with a cacophony of sounds...take some time away from them and you will be better off, and calmer, for it.


5. Understand and implement the "Power of Art."

Soothing music, paintings, photography, museums, sculpture, pottery, poetry, books, illustrations, and all our other forms of art are the workings of our creative minds. Yes...there are varieties of all of these mediums that are far from calming, so...it's up to you to choose to be in the company of those that make you feel a sense of calm. Our environment is teeming with so many variations of art. Sitting by a stream and taking its picture is art. Writing or reading a poem or prose is art. Sketching is art. Listening to the rhythm of soothing music is art. It doesn't take much to be involved in art, whether as the creator of it or the viewer or listener of it. Whichever way you decide to avail yourself of its power, you will understand its ability to create calm in your life. You may even become so into it that it becomes that relaxing retreat that you can't wait to visit.

 
People are amazing. Each on of us is a "snowflake." No two alike. Yet...we are all the same. How is that possible? Of course we all have the same needs, wants and desires. We must breathe, eat, sleep, grow, process waste, and continue making more of ourselves in order to continue our species. But, somewhere along the line, culture enters the picture. We invent and build differentiators. We become Americans, Brazilians, Turks, French, Nigerians, Panamanians, South Africans, and so on.

We then separate ourselves even further by adhering to different religions, "races," and traditions. It's as if we are all searching for an identity that we had and threw away. There really aren't any countries - we invented them. The same holds true for race - we all evolved out of Africa. Our physical differences are merely adaptations to the climates we settled in. Religions are so varied that there are thousands of them - including divisions of our major ones. They were, partially, conceived so that we could have laws and rules. But...have now grown into large entities that fight to hold onto our minds.

How did we stray from the oneness of "us?" We let ourselves. However, the beauty of it is that we can get that oneness back. It just takes the ability to realize it, believe it and live it. That's all!

So...while we can celebrate our global diversity, we should think twice about making any of it separate us. Our celebrations shouldn't become exclusive - but, we've managed to do that in a lot of cases. Instead...let's celebrate "The Wonder of the Oneness of People." I think that would make for a wonderful holiday!