Around the world dancing

If this doesn’t make you want to strap on a backpack and grab a round-the-world plane ticket, I don’t know what will.

“Matthew Harding spent 14 months visiting 42 countries in order to produce “Where the Hell is Matt?”, a four-and-a-half minute video featuring Harding (and anyone else he could rope into it) doing an incredibly silly, high-energy dance in some of the most breathtaking scenery around the world. This may be the best four minutes and twenty-eight seconds of your week.”

Via Boing Boing

If someone takes your shirt give him your coat

In a real-life example of the biblical admonition, “If someone takes your shirt give him your coat” (Matthew 5:40), here is a story of a man who befriended his mugger.

Julio Diaz, a social worker, was robbed at knifepoint by a teenaged mugger in the Bronx. Instead of getting angry or scared, he offered the kid his coat, and struck up a friendship:

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

The robber looked at his would-be victim, “like what’s going on here?” Diaz says. “He asked me, ‘Why are you doing this?'”

Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.

Read the whole story on on NPR. Via Boing Boing.

This is a recurring theme, as shown in this Zen story:

The master Ryokan lived in a poor little hut on a mountainside. One moonlight night he came home and found a burglar looking for something to steal. But Ryokan was a hermit who owned nothing.

“Poor fellow,” he said to the robber. “You have come a long way and have found nothing. But I don’t want you to leave me empty-handed. Please take my clothes.” And Ryokan stripped, and handed the clothes to the robber.

“Poor fellow,” said naked Ryokan, going outdoors again when the inconsiderate robber had left, “How I wish I could have given him this wonderful moon.”

The Key to Happiness

Jack LaLanne hits the nail on the head with his tips for being happy. Eat right and burst out into song every once in a while. Seriously, this would definitely make you happier. What are you waiting for?

Does anyone else think Jack Lalanne looks and acts like Dan Millman?

The Story of Stuff

I came across this on boingboing today. It’s an amazingly compelling description of the ludicrous cycle of consumption we’re in as a culture. It’s hard not to want to change your habits after watching it. Do I really need that new watch? new phone? new car?

Take a look at the Story of Stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Countdown to dead

I came across Kevin Kelly’s post on his “countdown to dead” and found it intriguing to have a daily reminder of my impermanence. Contemplating one’s own death is part of the Buddhist tradition (among others), and seeks to heighten one’s awareness of the present moment and (one hopes) leads you to make the best use of the time you have left.

I added this to my computer’s dashboard a few days ago, and glance at it every once in a while. Today it struck me that when I started the last digit was a 6, and now it’s a 1, and in just two days, the “61” on the end will turn into a 59. And the number decreases every day no matter what. 12761 looks like a big number, but the relentless and unstoppable subtraction is much more provoking than I thought it would be.

What did I do with the last 5 days? Did I do anything of lasting importance? Enhance friendships? Give to others to enhance their lives? Create something that will outlast me?

This counter has really just been a reminder of The Buddha’s Five Remembrances (via Thich Nhat Hanh):

  • I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
  • I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
  • I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
  • All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
  • My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Remembering those things makes all the little things that sometimes bother me appear inconsequential, and makes the truly important things loom large.

Try it …

Walt Whitman

I came across this excerpt from a poem by Walt Whitman. This is the way to live.

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me;
I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me,
I would do the same to you,

I will recruit for myself and you as I go;
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;
I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.

— Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass

Stupid Birds!

The other day my daughter was looking up at the sky and said, “Stupid birds!” I asked what she meant, and she said that the birds were flying the wrong way.

I chuckled and mentioned that if she based her happiness on the direction that birds fly, she is in for many unhappy times.

How many times have you based your happiness on something you can’t control? Do you get upset or angry or depressed about an event that you could have done nothing about? Why not concentrate your attention and efforts on things you can control?

In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses drawing a circle that represents all your areas of concern, and a smaller circle inside of that one that represents the areas that you actually have control over. He teaches that you should concentrate your efforts on the smaller circle, where you have influence, which will then help to expand the size of that circle. If you focus your efforts outside of your circle of influence, your failed efforts will often serve to make your circle of influence even smaller.

Don’t worry about the birds, worry about where you are going.


It’s so easy not to blog. But I had such high hopes when I started this blog about a year ago, so I don’t want to just let it go. Blogging is a great way to increase mindfulness, as I’m compelled to really think about what I’m doing in the hopes of contributing to the blog.

A lot has transpired in the last year: My wife died, I took off two months to travel with my kids, to “reset” our relationship, and I left my job to become a full-time dad. Amazingly, through it all, I’ve stuck to my early riser routine.

I’m really writing this post to induce my self to blog again. More stuff soon…