Happiness Part V: We Know Too Much


Day in and day out, we are being bombarded with information.  Some of it will be correct and some of it will prove to be incorrect yet, we will absorb it all as though through osmosis.  Whether we are truly paying attention or we’re subliminally and subconsciously picking it up, we have most of that info, rumbling around in our brains somewhere and it’s acting upon us like a slow release pill, coming out in dribs and drabs. It’s likely that we don’t even recognize that info is there or that we’re utilizing it in one way or another.  Our brains are wonderous machines with a filing system that makes computers look like toys.  Reality is, we know far more than we need to know and it’s causing us both stress and distress.  It’s a road block to being happy.

Remember back a few entries ago when the scenario of children being happy was the centre point of that piece?  If not, you can review it here.  Part of the reason that children are generally happy is that they don’t know enough to be un-happy.  Not only have the brains of children not developed enough but, they don’t know enough to be upset, stressed, worried or any of the adult things that we, as adults, have come to learn to do.  They live in moment because they can’t really foresee much trouble in the future.  Ignorance is sometimes, bliss.

Let me give a scenario here that may help demonstrate that point better.

Two men are in a car, stuck on railway tracks.  They cannot move back nor forward.  The elder gentleman in the car has a form of dementia and is busily reminiscing about days gone by that he remembers with fondness.  The younger gentleman, fully able to compute the dangers of what is happening, is trying not to frighten the older man while trying to start the car again with no success.  Off in the distance, he sees the faint lights of an oncoming train and keeps trying to start the car, filled with panic now.  The elder man is completely unaware of what is happening and continues on his trip down memory lane with pure joy and delight, laughter and a smile while beads of sweat drip down the younger man’s forehead.  Finally, in vain, as the train approaches rapidly, the younger man exits the car, opens the door of the passenger’s side and drags the old man out of the car to safety.  The train soon demolishes the car into a tangled heap of metal before coming to a stop.  The young man tries to catch his breath while the elder gentleman simply says, “why did you stop me?  I wasn’t finished my story.”  Both men experienced the same situation.  The difference in their reactions were simply that the younger man knew what was going to happen while the elder man was blissfully unaware of the danger lurking down the tracks.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t be aware of dangers or ignorant of facts nor, uneducated.  What it is saying is that we are overloaded with information that oftentimes, is false, misleading and most importantly, un-needed.  We can’t be child-like because we now know too much.  As a matter of fact, we know more than we really need to know and that, in and of itself, causes stress, distress and un-happiness.  We are now incapable of simply living in the moment and being amused with simple things like the taste of our coffee, the smell of freshly cut grass, the clouds that are floating past us above, the purr of our cat, the sound of a stream, a song that we love or many other of the most soothing and amusing things in Life.  Instead, we are analyzing everything silly, thinking about what lays ahead, how much damage it’s doing to us and the world, some study that proves that the caffeine in our wonderful tasting coffee can kill us or how the water in our bottle of water might pollute the earth or be polluted by the chemicals in the plastic bottle or wax that lines the paper take-out cup is toxic.  We’re usually reading or listening to the news which is filled with doom and gloom as that is what sells air/paper time and we’re using technology devices such as our cell phones to look up more crazy-making information.  The list is endless as to how information is slowly not only taking away our happiness and ability to be happy but, is potentially causing us stress that will or could kill us sooner or later.

How many shootings do we need to hear about before we can say, “there’s a lot of kids, killing others with guns”?  How many studies have we all heard, read or talked about that eventually get reversed or at the least, changed because newer studies have proven differently and yet, we’ve given up that great tasting coffee or bread or eggs and, it’s now not only ok to have them but, we find out we should have been having them all along as they’re beneficial to us?  How many car accidents do we need to see on the news at night with people we never met, don’t know and never will know before we get the idea that driving a car in today’s world and in traffic or driving distracted or impaired, can kill us? Do we really need 24/7 news stations that cover a story live and have “experts” on panel to discuss every nuance of the situation?

The bottom line is that we have far too much information floating around in our heads that not only don’t serve us beyond simply having a fact/knowledge but, are harming us in one way or another.  It’s all certainly a stumbling block towards being happy.

If you want to feel a bit happier,

  • Turn off the news or put down that newspaper
  • Quit Googling or Binging or whatever search engine you use for a bit
  • Turn off your cell phone or use it to actually CALL a friend or relative and enjoy talking to them instead of texting or ignoring them.
  • Stop taking every study too seriously because it will eventually turn out to be changed or reversed by another that will follow.
  • Either turn up your favourite music and sing or dance with it or, listen to the birds chirping, the stream sounds or your cat purring for a change
  • Watch a comedy or inspirational movie instead of a horror, police or crime show
  • Read a book or story with an inspirational message behind it
  • Buy yourself an adult colouring book and colour for a change.  Heck, get out the crayons and colour a child’s colouring book.
  • Ditch the “Know-It-Alls” who are walking encyclopedias but, are as negative as hell
  • Limit time with or eliminate those people who are bringing you nothing but headaches or demands for you doing something for them
  • Spend more time with people who make you feel good and most of all, make you laugh
  • Get silly. Roll down a hill, play with toys, splash around in a local pool just for the fun of being in water and weightless or buy yourself a teddy bear.  Seriously.
  • Stay out of your head and thinking for even an hour a day.  Just pay attention to things around you that are soothing and relaxing.  If you can’t find that, find them in your memory bank.  They’re there, believe it or not.
  • Be thankful for what you have right now even if it’s not your dream situation
  • Set aside a worry time of 20 minutes where you write your worries out into a dollar store notebook then shut the journal and tell yourself worry time is over until your next planned session then, get on with something light, silly and funny

These are just a few ideas.  There are plenty more.  If you’re going to Google anything, search for ways to have fun.

Stay light, stay laughing, stay away from people or information that brings you down to a stressed out level as much as possible.  Just be.  Be in the moment and enjoy the little things in Life.  Be happy!

Blessings, Love and Light from my little corner of life to yours.


Why Is EgyptAir 804 A Possible Terrorist Act But Not MH370?


EgyptAir Flight 804, an airbus with 60 people aboard, headed from Paris to Cairo, loses all contact with radars and goes down from a cruising altitude of 37,000 ft.  It’s immediately suspected of being a terrorist attack with the feeling growing stronger as the hours and minutes go by.  Yet, Malaysian Flight MH370 which still has yet to be found, with much more mysterious circumstances surrounding its disappearance and is not considered a terrorist act at this point.  One has to question why.

Was it considered a potential terrorist act because EgyptAir originated this flight from Paris, France where there are known terrorist affiliates still working at the airport?  Is France looked upon as a “hub” for terrorists?  What is it that makes this airline’s sudden and catastrophic disappearance any different than MH370’s strange behaviour and resulting disappearance with only a few pieces found some 2 years later, thought to be “most certainly” that of MH370?

In the days that are to come, I’m sure we’ll get more answers to these questions but, the questions are still there.

EgyptAir Flight 804 had taken off from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France at 11:09 p.m., heading for Cairo, Egypt with 56 passengers, 7 aircrew and 3 security personnel that included at least 1 infant.  It’s reported that according to Greek military radar data, “Flight 804 veered off course shortly after entering the Egyptian Flight Information Region (FIR). At an altitude of 11,000 metres (37,000 feet), the aircraft made a 90-degree left turn, followed by a full circle right turn and then began to descend. Radar contact was lost at an altitude of about 3,000 m (10,000 ft).”  At 2:30 a.m. it’s said that the aircraft was lost on radar.  That was some  3 hours 25 minutes into the flight that should have ended approximately a half hour or so later but, had not begun its descent yet and should therefore, have been “safe”.  It was due to land in Cairo at approx. 3:05 a.m. but, when it disappeared 280 km (170 mi; 150 nmi) north of the Egyptian coast.  The plane was said to be swerving 90 degrees to the left and then spinning 360 degrees while the plane dropped from 37,000 feet to 15,000, Panos Kammenos, the Greek Defense Minister, made note.  All contact and radar detection was lost at that point in time.

Unlike MH370 wreckage from 804 has been found near the Greek island of Karpathos and has now been changed from a “Search and Rescue” to a “Search and Recovery” mission.  Egyptian, Russian and U.S. authorities have stated that they believe that this was a terrorist attack, likely involving a bomb.  Yet, no claims have been made by any terrorist group thus far.

Why is it then, that with all of MH370’s mysteries, that it wasn’t considered an act of terrorism?  Lack of debris?

From my little corner of life, it seems that MH370 was likely also a terrorist related disappearance and murder as EgyptAir Flight 804 but, we’ll not hear those words uttered.  For what reason?  Why won’t they say that much about MH370 with all that’s known and not known?  Something is still fishy for MH370 and now, EA 804.


Celebrity Deaths Can Help Us

Three celebrities died during August and early September of 2014  Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall and Joan Rivers all passed away within a couple of weeks of one another.  One was barely talked about, another was covered for a couple of days and the other was and still is being talked about.  What made the difference?

Lauren Bacall had been out of the limelight for awhile.  She was also 89 years old which led to an acceptance that Life has to end at some point or another.  This was hers. More to the point, Bacall’s death came a day or so after a tragic suicide of another celeb who was more in the spotlight at the time of his passing.  It was with little wonder that Bacall’s passing got little more than a media notice and the public was still engaged in William’s suicide.

Comedian/Actor, Robin Williams on the other hand, was only 63 years of age, had a number of projects wrapping up and was moving onto the planning stages of yet another.  His sudden death by suicide was shocking to the world as he was well known around the globe.

Comedienne, Joan Rivers’ end came at 81 years of age and was just as much of a shock as Williams’ death but, was seemingly the result of a medical error or condition. The final cause of her death is still under investigation.  Rivers was also still extremely active and in the spotlight at the time of her passing.

While one can accept that Bacall had lived a full and long life and this was simply her time, it has not been the case with Williams’ nor, with Rivers’ deaths.  Yet, there is seemingly more fascination with Rivers’ death than with Williams’.

Perhaps, the reasoning for the public’s fascination with Rivers’ death, in spite of being 81 years of age by comparison to Williams’ death at 63 years of age, has to do with a number of factors.

Williams’ death had a known cause.  He ended his own life.  Furthermore, it was known that Williams had been suffering from depression and anxiety as well as early stage Parkinson’s Disease.  We quickly dismissed his death as being one of “choice” in a loose fitting way and accepted the explanation given to us as the public, being that of depression.

Rivers on the other hand, seemingly full of life, no depressive episodes known to us, going in for a routine procedure many people go through on a daily basis, seemed implausible to have happened especially, given her fame, fortune and connections with the best of medical care and, we still don’t know for certain what it was that happened during that procedure that caused her life to end.

What also made a difference were a couple of more pieces that our minds can’t seem to accept.

Williams’ family quickly had a very private funeral without public notification.  No one knew that his remains had been quickly cremated and ashes spread.  While the public was still chewing on the horror of his tragic death, his family was discreetly carrying out his funeral, unbeknownst to his fans.  It was over before it began for the public.

Secondly, suicide still has a taboo attached to it.  For many, suicide is still thought of as a “sin”.  Not many want the “shame” attached to a family member’s death via suicide.  It has the ability to cast a form of blame onto those who were closest to him.

Rivers, on the other hand, did not look like her chronological age of 81.  Thanks to her many rounds of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, we were fooled into feeling her to be younger than the years she actually had lived.  Her vim and vigor at this age, with a full plate of both ongoing and future public appearances were of little help in the public’s mind of her being the age that she was.

Next to those facts, the idea that her death was one that shouldn’t have happened while undergoing such a routine procedure that millions have every year, in a clinic that allegedly had the most state of the art equipment and, she could afford the best of doctors, was a shocking revelation to most that things can and do go wrong in spite of all of the above.

Finally, we don’t know yet what actually caused Rivers’ heart to stop and deprive her brain of the oxygen that damaged her brain beyond the capacity to live.  For all intents and purposes, this never should have been the case but, we don’t yet know what it was that caused it to happen.

What is saddest of all (beyond the obvious that world stars have gone) is that Williams’ death by suicide has been all but dropped as a topic of discussion.  The stigma of suicide has once again, caused the topic of depression to be swept under the carpet when it needs to be front and center and discussed to help others who may be facing a similar fate.  Many are in need of this type of a discussion being had and the families of those who have or will face the ravages of guilt from family or friend’s suicides through depression, also need the support that can only come through such a discussion.

On the same hand, we need to know what happened to Rivers in the clinic so that future patients will not end up with the same outcome.  Though extremely rare for this type of thing to happen during a procedure such as this, there are lessons to be learned for all.

Williams’ death needs to be kept in the lime light as much as or more than Rivers’ death.  Until we can remove the stigma attached to depression, mental illness/disorders and suicide, more will happen.  At least, that’s the way that I see things from my little corner of life.

Watching The News Can Make Our Lives Feel Worse

Have you ever been having a bad day, week, month or year and been watching the evening news, only to find yourself feeling even worse than you were already feeling?  Is it little wonder that it does that to us?

I mean, who needs to come home from a hard day’s work, feeling worn out, cruddy and tired, only to turn on the news and hear what else cruddy has happened in the city you live in or the world? 

What worse way can you end your day and go to bed with visions of disaster, leaping through your head?

Or, how about the idea that you already feel anxious or down and turn on the news to hear that there’s been a stabbing in one end of your city, a shooting in the other end, there’s a war going on in several countries simultaneously and by the way, your property taxes, utilities and the cost of your vehicle gas are all going up next month?  

Now, doesn’t that just want to send you off to a restful, peaceful sleep?

Is it any wonder why we all feel stressed in the first place with today’s fast paced world and all that happens in it?  Does it come as any big surprise that we are feeling more anxious, more depressed and that antidepressants are being prescribed by doctors like candy to many of the population, even though not many want to admit to taking them?  

One piece of advice is to avoid listening to or reading the news.  However, that’s not easily done when the talk around the water cooler the next day is about all that was heard in the news the day before or, you suddenly are faced with your boss who wants to know what you think about the most recent event on every news channel as light chatter and you have no clue what they’re talking about.  How foolish do you feel at shrugging your shoulders and saying, “I didn’t hear about that.” 

Maybe, I’m a dreamer and maybe, I’m not facing reality but, why is it that the news can’t contain good things, nice happenings just as much as the bad?  Is our world that bad that there isn’t any good happening in it?  Of course not.  

Good happens but, bad sells.  That’s the bottom line.  People tune into the news to hear the bad.  There seems to be a morbid fascination with hearing all of the ails of the world so, the media works fairly solely on that premise.  The more of it we watch, the further their ratings shoot up and the more they’re going to cover of it.  

What if people were to boycott the news?  Not that it will happen but, let’s suppose for just one moment that we were to all turn off the news channels, turn off the radio news stations, stop buying newspapers and start watching more Big Bang Theory or re-runs of Friends, instead of the news?  What if we were to turn off our radios the moment we heard the latest traffic news and listened to music instead?  What if we were to all do this for a period of time until new producers got the idea that the world isn’t all bad and good things happen all of the time too?  What if the sponsors of the news got the hint that they need to report a mixture of both the bad and good instead of the lopsided stories that they report on?  

Of course, there will always be those who will say, “but, I love the news before I go to bed and can’t go without it.  I don’t want to hear the good.  I want to hear reality.”  

Reality is, that there is good that happens in this world.  We just don’t seem to care about it as much as we do about the tragedies, fighting, negativity, death, murder and everything else that we listen to in each newscast.  

I, for one, have turned off the news more often now.  I still want to stay informed but, I also want to balance it out so that it’s not so negatively affecting my mind on even a subconscious level.  Instead, I turn the radio to music.  I turn the tv to some comedy.  I read the articles and commentaries in the newspaper that capture my interest with new revelations instead of the regular news reports in the papers.  I simply wish to balance it out a bit more. 

If we were all to start doing a bit more of that type of thing, the sponsors and news channels might get the idea that it’s not so appealing to not report the good that happens.  At the least, we will be more balanced within ourselves.  At least, that’s the way that I see things from my little corner of life.  I may be alone in that corner but, it’s my corner and I’m sticking to that.