Horses and Happiness

CEM Skyler and Koebe Egg Tempera on Wood Panel 15inx 20in 2012

 

I don’t think there are many little girls who don’t long and dream of having for a horse. I was no different. But it wasn’t until I became an adult until I could fulfill this dream for myself, because I came to realize I was the only one responsible for my own happiness. No person place or thing can make us happy. These can certainly add to our happiness, but ultimately happiness is an inside job, as they say.

Children seem to be inherently happy until the introduction to unmet needs become apparent and the sense of self is more developed, and then they can loose their way.

Animals intrinsically add to a child’s happiness, and I can say this from experience growing up with animals. They have continued to greatly add to my happiness.

I feel badly for those who have missed out on the unconditional love of animals growing up, or have had bad experiences with a dog that has bitten them or some other negative animal encounter.

Can Praxis , a wonderful organization that provides Equine Therapy to Vets with PTSD, and other kinds of animal therapies demonstrate the healing power of animals to effectively increase and add to an individuals happiness and healing.

The highlighted word horse will link you to a beautiful touching video of a little girl and her loving interactions with a pony.

 

 

Are My Relationships Making Me Happy and Healthy?

 

Robert Waldinger

TED Talks are something I’ve really enjoyed watching for a number of years now, and I’ve found many of them very informative and insightful.

One of my good friends from University posted this today, stating that she has also watched many of the talks, but found this TED talk by psychiatrist Robert Waldinger to be the best one she had seen to date. After I watched it, I understood why she said that, and I think I have to agree, if not the best, it’s one of the most important for people to watch.

I’ve long believed that relationships are what life is all about, and the most important  thing about being a happy healthy human being. The 75 year study that Dr. Waldinger has participated in, bares witness to this fact.

During the special holidays such as Easter, we become more poignantly, and sometimes even painfully aware of how important our relationships are as we gather together or not.

Sadly the reality is today there are increasingly more people who are alone and lonely, whether through circumstances beyond their control, or because they have chosen to isolate themselves in one way or another for a myriad of reasons. This leads to unhappiness and ill health. If we can make an effort to reach out to another in love, this can make all the difference, to not only to someone else’s happiness and health, but also to our own health and happiness.

We need to take care not to take our relationships for granted and need to make them relationships of quality, and substance. It will surely make for a happier and healthier world.

 

 

 

Big Brothers

Photo Ralph005

Today is a sad day for me.  I am remembering my late big brother, Guru Ralph, who died 14 years ago at the age of 59, and he’d be 73 on this day March 26th. It’s hard for me to talk about, painful and all, but I think it’s always therapeutic to talk about difficult feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. I had a life time of that, and it’s toxic to always keep painful feelings suppressed.

From the get-go my brother was always my hero. Once I hit puberty though we came to logger heads. He was very protective naturally, being a ten years older. But I was having none of it once I hit my teens. Not him or any one else was going to tell me what to do. I was a sixties wild child.

Our age difference meant, he grew up in the 50s and was a die hard greaser. Black and white t-shirts,  blue jeans with cuffs, Converse running shoes, Brill Cream,  shirt sleeves with his smokes rolled up in them, Rock & Roll music and the whole deal. I was the opposite, or so I thought.. I was what I call a fringe hippie, not quite old enough to be a full fledged hippie, but I was determined to try hard to be one.

I learned so many things from my brother Ralph and especially once I became an adult. He taught me by example, how to live life with grace, humour, humility, strength, and courage in the face of adversity.

We always had a laugh about his nickname Guru Ralph because he’d come up with these crazy sayings, like ” Do unto others , then beat it.”

Many years ago when I was young and foolish, I resented him trying to tell me what to do, now I wished my big brother was around to do just that, because he lived up to his nickname, Guru Ralph, in lots of ways. He was full of wisdom. My big brother Ralph was the best brother a little sister could ever have,  I’ll miss him always, and he’ll always be my hero.

Photo Ralph003

 

 

 

 

How Dirt Makes Me Happy

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Picture 001

There is nothing that makes me happier quite like gardening, and growing seeds to transplant into my garden in the Spring. My little grow mat warms my seeds quickly germinating them and really works like a charm, giving me about a two to three week jump on the season.

Gardening works like a charm too because it awakens our primal urge to connect with the earth and uniting with nature. Getting outdoors into the fresh air, exposing ourselves to the sun, gives us our much needed Vitamin D.

The microbe Mycobacterium vaccae  releases serotonin, the happy chemical in our brain, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system, and mirrors the effect on neurons in our brain the way Prozac does.

Individuals with Dementia have been known to benefit form gardening, lessening anxiety, depression and aggression. It is seen as being a preventative measure against the disease as well.

It has been reported in one survey that 80% of those who garden say they are happy and satisfied with their lives compared to 67% of non-gardeners.

Gardening makes me feel grounded. Grounding or earthing is an actual thing we can do by throwing off our shoes. It brings us back to a neutral balanced state when we make direct contact with the earth’s surface that has negative ions. These rush into our bodies discharging numerous unpaired positive ions, or free radicals we pick up every day.

Dirt makes me happy!

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Verda

Rick and Verda 2
Rick and Verda (Brother and Sister)

There can’t be any happiness found in the death of loved ones.

Brian and Verda
Brian and Verda (Brother and Sister)

But I know there are worse things than death. I especially think of seeing those we love suffer, is so hard to cope with and painful for everyone.

Many families, my own included, have experienced so much loss of loved ones to death and to suffering

Having lost my sweet, gentle and kind cousin yesterday, my thoughts and prayers are with her immediate family.

I can’t say I knew my cousin well, but I knew her well enough to know she was very much loved, and a bright shining sweet light. She always was quick to smile and laugh, with a very warm welcoming heart. Verda was the salt of the earth.

Her brother Freddy and I once went on a spontaneous trip to Minto New Brunswick where all my family are from. We visited with her and her husband and were of course invited to spend the night. I’ll never forget the musical fun with songs and playing guitar in the evening, lots of laughter, and the morning a hearty breakfast of deer meat  eggs, potatoes, and toast which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Verda was the kind of spirit that always made you feel like you were home when you were around her. Her arms seemed to wrap around you with her warm heart.

 

Meyers Family
Meyers Family Cousins
Verda
Sweet Verda

She will be very much missed and loved, always.

Verda
Rest In Peace Verda

The Darkness Saved Me

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This time of year always fills me with thoughts about the light and the dark. I think about how we need both in ever aspect of our lives.

The extremes of Winter weather lately are one day like Spring, next day a big Winter storm.. My thoughts are often about Spring in the dead of Winter. I try to embrace Winter, even though I really dislike it’s psychological confinements.

Trying to embrace the short days filled with darkness, makes it a bit easier to accept and to even like whatever I can. I become introspective and solitary in the Winter months.

When I first heard this song, The Darkness by Rose Cousins, it resonated so much with me. It really speaks a truth that we all can identify with I think.

Like my wise and gifted friend Indigene Theresa  said to me,   “The darkness is a major part of who we are and learning to acknowledge all our parts, allow us to be complete.”

I have to say the  darkness saved me from myself.

 

The Darkness Rose Cousins

To take a light into the dark is to know the light

To know the dark

Go into the dark

You can lock the door yeah you know how

You can stay alone, you’re so proud

But you can’t keep the darkness out

Oh you’re probably the strongest one I know

You got to the thickest skin

You got weight to throw

You can’t keep the darkness out

You can’t keep the darkness out

Whatever hurt you, what keeps you mad

Wants you to let it go, let it pass

When memories turn to doubt

You can’t keep the darkness out

Oh the dark is a river

and though it may divide

If you wade into it

With your arms open wide

Let it take you with it

Oh you don’t have to fight

It will provide, it will provide

There’s nothing wrong

with the heart in your chest

It might be heavy but it’s innocent

And it can’t keep the darkness out

You can’t keep the darkness

You can’t keep the darkness

You can’t keep the darkness

To take a light into the darkness is to know the light

To know the dark

Go into the dark

To take a light into the darkness is to know the light

To know the dark

Go into the dark