Archives for the month of: April, 2013

Several years ago, Buddhism helped me redefine myself. The teachings of H. H. The Dalai Lama have been foundational to my pursuit for happiness. However, I don’t feel like I’ve ever strongly identified with a religion. I may have in the past, but in the present I’d consider myself largely spiritual. Why compartmentalize myself? I’m not a religious man, but I certainly identify with what many have to offer. Since the beginning, I have been a fan of the NBC TV series The Office. I’ve always connected with the characters. Without spoilers, this weeks episode ended with a statement about love quoted from Corinthians. To be honest, I know very little about the Bible. But what I do know is that this passage resonated within me.  Love and happiness are undeniably connected. Romantic love is not necessarily a prerequisite of happiness, but patience, kindness, and truth surely are.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” – Corinthians 13:4–8a)

– Daniel


For the regular reader of this blog, it is very clear that the concept of the “bucket list” is very important to me. Developing a list of things I want to do before I “kick the bucket” has become one of the most worthwhile projects that I’ve undertaken. I’ve learned so much about myself, how far I can push myself, and how far I’m WILLING to test my limits. Bucket lists, especially those that are public (like this blog), are a great way for one to share their dreams. But not only this. Sharing one’s dreams is to openly acknowledge that you possess the confidence  necessary to act upon your words. You open yourself up to potential judgement. You make your failures public. Attempting to make dreams a reality and share them with the world is perhaps the highest form of courage.

Candy Chang made this possible for many people in New Orleans.

“Installation artist and urban planner, Candy Chang recently inspired New Orleans locals to declare their hopes and dreams on a wall in their community for her new project, Before I Die. This interactive street art uses an abandoned house as a blackboard and encouraged passersby to write down the one thing they want to do before they kick the bucket with the chalk provided.

It’s also about turning a neglected space into a constructive one where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us.

To the artist’s amazement, the entire wall was filled before the end of the first day.”

Check out more photos of Candy Chang’s New Orleans installation at the Kidrobot blog!

– Daniel


The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.”  – Carlos Casteneda

Combat have always fascinated me. I don’t mean the act of harming someone or something, but the act of persevering. Standing tall against adversity and winning. Being steadfastness despite difficulty. I simply just love a challenge. But sometimes these things can get the better of us, especially when we test our limits. Meditation or times of quite self-reflection have always helped me cope with stress and difficult times. Tactical breathing is just another tool that I’ve learned!

“As practiced by modern police and military, it allows you to rapidly regain control of you body during critical situations. Body functions, such as heart rate, body temperature, breathing, blinking, and digesting are controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). In most situations, you are unaware of the workings of the ANS because it functions in an involuntary, reflexive manner. There are two responses you do have control over – breathing and blinking. We can use breathing as a bridge back from mindless panicked “fight or fight” to put ourselves in an optimal condition to fight.”

Here’s how to “breathe tactically”:

  • Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4.
  • Hold your breath to the count of 4.
  • Breathe out through your lips to the count of 4.
  • Hold your breath to the count of 4.
  • Repeat until you feel your body and mind relax.

I was at first quite skeptical. I found myself wondering, “would this actually work?”. After using this technique for about two weeks – training at the gym, sitting in my office, before my shift at work (in the middle or before any potentially stressful scenarios) – and have only encountered positive results. If you aren’t sold or find yourself hesitant, especially because of the “tactical” (implied for military and law enforcement) label, simply view it as controlled breathing!

Breathe – manage your distress, clear your mind, and be happy.

For more on controlled/tactical breathing, check out this fantastic article: Tactical Breathing Can Stop Stress on the Spot

– Daniel


via The Buried Life

– Daniel


This song will be stuck in my head for the foreseeable future. The video? Brought a huge smile to my face! I hope it does the same for you.

 

“Baby monkey! Baby monkey! Riding on a pig, baby monkey! Baby monkey! Baby monkey! Going backwards on a pig, baby monkey.”

– Daniel


“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you– – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”

– Shel Silverstein


Indeed, to paraphrase John Burroughs, I’m getting to the point where I desperately need to escape to nature. Perhaps it’s the fact that I will not be returning to Jordan, but I feel the need to get away from life in Toronto. Being away from the hustle and bustle of downtown life seems to mentally and physically heal me. Returning to nature is a humbling lesson in patience and persistence. The smell of a forest, the taste of dew in the air, and the refreshing breezes of a fine day…they aren’t luxuries. They’re necessities.

Nature is calling me…

– Daniel

There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.”  – Lord Byron


via I Fucking Love Science

– Daniel