Bee a Righty

In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give. ~Cory Booker

Today, I read a very interesting article: “Honeybees use right antennae to tell friend from foe”

Researchers reveal that sensory neuron asymmetry affects how bees navigate social situations. It appears that honeybees use their right antenna to distinguish between friends and intruders.

The new study shows that honeybees with only a right antenna recognize and behave in a heartfelt way toward each other. When honeybees interact solely with their right antennas, they are more sociable, positive and interact with each other more cordially. Yet honeybees with only a left antenna go on the attack, even though they are hive-mates. In other words, when they have only their left antennas, they will more likely respond in an aggressive and negative way.

The same study suggests that the bees’ brains are wired asymmetrically, as are human brains. The right and left sides of the bees’ brains seem to perform different functions, like humans’ brains. This new study implies that brain asymmetry isn’t a uniquely human phenomenon after all.

A honeybee’s brain contains only 960,000 neurons whereas an average human brain contains 86 billion neurons. This just shows how extraordinary honeybees are. They are extremely smart. They use their right antennas to navigate complex social situations.

bee and daisy

PHOTO CREDIT: Bees Hive

We humans have a lot to learn from the honeybees.

I bet honeybees would be more civilized in social media. Some people in social media seem to be always on attack mode, whether they do it in public or behind the scenes. They seem to use their left antennas only. Celebrities and those who are friends with celebrities are prone to some ugly aggressive behaviors by others. Low self-esteem, insecurity and a fear-dominated mind-set must have have damaged their ability to use the right antenna.

I am right-brained. I prefer to use my right antenna and I always did. It has always served me well. Just like honeybees, the right antenna is indeed my caller-ID. I can see the difference between authentic and fake friends (those who pretend to be friends). I can distinguish between someone who is sincere and who isn’t. However, I always treat everyone with respect, no matter what.

I wish everyone could use their right antenna. It will always serve well both in personal and professional relationships. But if you can’t use your right antenna, at least be a good listener.

One way to break out of a negative mind-set is to identify the behaviors linked to your fears and try to find out which fears are motivating your decisions (that are ultimately damaging you).

Our actions are always echoed back to us. Choose kindness. If you can’t help people, at least don’t hurt them.

Utilize your right antenna. It can transform your life.

https://twitter.com/LovinShmay

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom. When a man reaches an absolutely silent state, he roars like a lion.” ~Osho

Cherish Each Day

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” ~Aboriginal Proverb

WELCOME PIC

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

It’s basic human nature that we take things for granted. Wisdom does not come easy. I believe we find wisdom in different ways created by our unique journeys in life. From personal experience, I know that we gain wisdom from hardships. Hardships create awareness and spiritual awakening.

I was profoundly touched by an email that a very dear friend sent me last week. Her loved one is battling a deadly disease. Tears were running down my face as I read her email.

For every living soul, our ultimate destination is the same. We may take different paths in this life yet we will arrive at exactly the same place.  

Our greatest power in life is to be able to see the special things in the present moment. I believe when humans face the reality of death, they’re more able to honor the people that they have taken for granted.

We get so distracted by our everyday routines that we don’t see the special things around us such as spending some quality time with our loved ones. If we go away for a few days, we miss them. It seems to me that as humans we are more capable of appreciating the people in our lives when separated from them or when we’re about to lose them.

Most people know about “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. His last lecture in 2007 was wisdom about the life he wished to leave to his family and students. Since then millions throughout the world have been touched by his wisdom, including me. His lecture wasn’t about leaving this earth, but rather the importance of seizing every day and living in the present moment.

“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.” ~Randy Pausch

As we gain wisdom, I believe we’re also learning not to be afraid of death. This is probably the ultimate wisdom. I believe when we face the prospect of dying, we’re liberated. We see everything more clearly. We don’t take anything for granted anymore. We become selfless and self-improved. We honor the special things of the present moment and people who deserve our attention.

During her eulogy to Steve Jobs, his sister Mona Simpson revealed that his final words were: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW”

Is it possible to embrace the mystery of death?
I certainly believe it is. By embracing death, we die with ease, grace and wisdom.

Somewhere in outer space, the sun shines continuously, as does our soul. The soul will return from where it came and live in eternity.

Life and death are not two, but one.

Cherish each day. Live life fully!



Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. ~Randy Pausch

SUNFLOWER

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Feed Your Soul

https://twitter.com/maggietranquila

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

Lately, I found myself reading more than writing. At times, my writing is painfully slow. I’m a fast reader and have always been. Now, I feel my brain suffers from web overload. Does this sound familiar? I also have a feeling that I’m reading at a superficial level when I am on the Internet. Sometimes, I miss the days when I used to read articles in print. There was something special about that. I remember I was one of the most prolific readers at my university. It’s fascinating how adaptable we humans are. How incredibly good we are in developing new habits through repetition. How did we go from reading in print to skimming headlines and clicking from one page to the next in a matter of seconds? No doubt that the new technology is altering our brains profoundly. We spend considerable time in front of computer screens. I’m not even mentioning the time many people spend in front of the television. Personally, I don’t watch much TV, which is perhaps a good thing. After all, there are only so many hours in the day.

The internet continues to be a major part of our lives yet finding a mental/emotional balance is certainly a challenge. Our brains are vulnerable to bad habits. We should schedule regular breaks.

Now, I visit the local library to read magazines. I notice the pleasant/natural feeling I have while turning the page the good old fashioned way. I feel more inspired to keep writing. I feel I think faster and focus better. I leave the library feeling joyful, refreshed and recharged.

Dean Ornish, a clinical professor at UCSF and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, says: “Your genes are not your fate.”
He also says:“When you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.”

I believe the key is to integrate our resources. Making healthy life style choices will boost our brain power and listening to our souls will feed our creativity.

The mind speaks. The soul listens.

SHANNON MAY
PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Giving Gives Back

https://twitter.com/maggietranquila

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.~ Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Everything on our planet has a purpose. Our lives have a purpose.

I’ve discovered that natural givers are always happy, no matter what.

My husband and I lead a simple life. However, we’re both generous people which is the building block in our relationship. We both enjoy helping whenever and however we can.

Yesterday, I was a little tired due to just a few hours sleep yet something profound happened which gave me such energy and filled my heart with joy. Something which made me think how our lives should be about giving and reaching out to others. We donated an item to a kind soul. When this kind soul reciprocated our act of giving with the utmost kindness, my entire being was, once again, filled with the most powerful fuel: LOVE.
I noticed my husband’s joy as well.

“Giving becomes more important than getting because giving is in alignment with your purpose.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Givers are always the miracle workers. When we focus on giving as our life purpose, we seem to receive more. It’s all about unconditional giving, with no expectations in return. If you do this, you’ve aligned yourself with the universe. You’re a miracle worker and more will come your way. Believe it!

Giving gives back. It fuels the universe.

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinsonhttps://twitter.com/maggietranquila

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Social Media Friendships

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ~Jane Austen

Social media has changed the way we communicate and connect with the rest of the world. The profound impact Social Media has had on our lives, is evident (News, Learning, Interaction, Political Awareness, Activism, Marketing).

I love my Social Media connections and do my best to focus on true friends.

If you have good friends, no matter how difficult life can be, they can brighten your day.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth. ~Charles Darwin

Social Networking giant, Twitter, is still my favorite Social Media Channel. I’ve met people from all over the world and age groups.

Some say social media friendships are not real unless you meet in person. I respectfully disagree. Like everything else in life, it depends entirely on the efforts people make.

I consider it a great privilege to have loyal friends. Some Twitter friends have been kind enough to send me gifts.

I received a beautiful greeting card featuring the artwork of the talented artist Baret Boisson.

Fashion Designer George Zaharoff gifted me with a beautiful framed quote
“I invoke positives” in the form of a fabric label. This and other inspirational quotes were selected by George to be sewn into his clothing line.
Also pictured, Zaharoff pour Homme for my husband.

I received some beautiful scented candles from Kathy Ireland. Please also see my earlier blog post: Lite a candle.

STRAWBERRYSHORTCAKE

I received two beautiful Nike agenda books from the fabulous Christina Yow, one for me and one for my husband.

NIKE

The nutritious Zing Bars that I received from the lovely Stacey Fujimura, were absolutely delicious.

Thank you for your generous gifts.
I cherish your kind and loving friendships.

You can follow them on Twitter:

Baret Boisson
baretboissonart.com

George Zaharoff
zaharoff.com

Kathy Ireland
kathyireland.com

Christina Yow
krystynnsg.tumblr.com

Stacey Fujimura
zingbars.com

Sweet Tweets Everyone!

CASA TRANQUILA

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Bring Love Into Your Life

“We are star stuff and our destiny lies in our origins.” ~Carl Sagan

https://twitter.com/LovinShmay

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Many people equate love with (romantic) relationships. No wonder many are disappointed when they don’t find the love they’re seeking outside themselves. The same with happiness. The joy of being and happiness cannot come to us through possession, achievement, people or anything. It emanates from within us. The greater love is what we have inside.

Unconditional love is the ultimate divine source. This is the basis of oneness. All things derive from one source. We are all connected in the universe. We are all related to one another. The divine source accepts all beings unconditionally. How can we then not accept all beings as they are? When we are ruled by the power of ego/fear to separate and reject, we don’t. We can only acknowledge all beings as they are when we accept the conscious unconditional love. Love gives us energy and guides us. Fear distracts us and ultimately destroys us. Our greatest power is the acceptance and appreciation of the power of love we have inside us.

“A friend” who wronged me in unspeakable ways, was a sad image in my mind for a while. Perhaps it was more like a shock coming from someone who identified themselves as being a spiritual person. It didn’t matter how unlovingly they behaved and what they said over the months, I remained non reactive. Because I knew that their unloving behavior was derived from fear. Fear is an illusion created by the ego. It’s my understanding that people who suffer from (past) guilty emotions exhibit what I would like to call a “social hallucination”. When people behave in cruel ways, they’ve forgotten that their true power “Love” resides within them. They let their ego (Fear) control their thoughts and emotions. All we can do is keep them in our own (Positive) light hoping that they will return to their true power. Compassion is the most important thing in the world and essential for our survival.

“When they cast you into darkness, love them for helping you discover your inextinguishable light.” ~Cory Booker

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini touched my soul deeply and I highly recommend it. The heart of the novel is unconditional love.

If you feel love, it will convert into positive energy.
If you feel miserable/sad/envious, it will convert into negative energy.
It’s as simple as that.

All flowers, plants and trees are beautiful, though they are different. We shouldn’t strive to be better than others. Why do we have to compete? Nature doesn’t. We are all unique in our own way. Like Kathy Ireland says: “Beauty comes in all ages, colors, shapes, and forms. God never makes junk.”

Finally, a great reminder:

“The softest of all things overrides the hardest of all things” (Chapter 43 of the Tao Te Ching).

Bring Love Into Your Life!

Maggie's Roses

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson


Keep it positive

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” ~Bruce Lee

I’ve observed three main character traits that I believe are self-destructive in social networking and building relationships.

1. Cynicism
Cynics are known as suspicious, paranoid and mistrustful of others. Scientists categorize this character trait as hostility. Cynics are not necessarily bad people. They read into people’s behaviors, calling it a gut instinct and being suspicious of even a kind gesture.

Where does all this suspicion stem from? It stems from being paranoid and mistrustful of others and has deep roots in their past experiences. I’ve learned that those with low self-esteem (disguised as confident people) display this character trait.  

2. Lack of self-control:

Some people react to every possible tweet, post and they over-analyze. Some others get angry if they don’t receive a response or if they receive a response that differs from their point of view. Then, they go into the attack mode. They say words that they will regret later, which is unfortunately too late. Most feel ashamed of it but their ego won’t allow them to apologize.

Restraint is very important for online relationships as well as in real life. However, unlike real life, what you say online is forever. Don’t think that those private messages, phone calls, Google hang outs or Skype chats are private.

3. Envy, Jealousy and Gossip

Unfortunately, some people, especially women seem to be driven by envy and jealousy. Some of them go as far as telling lies, gossiping and spreading rumors. Lack of purpose in their lives is perhaps the main reason for such viciousness. It’s self destructive and destroy others who are subjected to bullying. It hurts all parties yet mostly the person who is doing it. Yes, I do believe in Karma.

When you tweet: “Be Kind, Be Real”, extend it outside twitter and apply it in your life. Your words have little meaning if your actions contradict them.

Some friends ask me how I remain positive no matter what happens. I’ve learned that positivity depends vitally how I think. Just like life, positivity is fragile. Take a moment to notice your surroundings in social media and ask yourself: How does social media benefit me and others? What is going right for me here?

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”~Carl Sagan

Think of positivity like a beautiful color palette; love, joy, serenity, hope, inspiration, interest, gratitude and awe.

If your social media experience doesn’t seem to serve you well, maybe you weigh it down with self-doubt and cynicism. Be open. Be sincere. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Thinking in this manner can ignite positivity and puts a smile on your face. Be sure to take a few moments each day, to reply and interact with your friends. Positivity broadens our minds and outlook. Positivity enables us to attract people whom we mutually benefit from and helps us see unlimited possibilities around us. It makes us stronger to cope with adversity.

Positivity can change your life and it can change your communities. It can create a more compassionate and harmonic community.

More than once, I’ve been asked this question: How do I deal with rude and negative people? My mind doesn’t embrace combat and war like tactics. My mind simply thinks of peace. I don’t de-humanize people who wronged me as my enemies. I rather think of them as unfortunate small-minded people with big egos who are suffering and lashing out. In my thoughts I extend them love and compassion. Even though they tried to harm me, I still find qualities about them that I can appreciate. Their negativity belongs to them, not me. Last but not least, I see them as teachers in disguise. I’ve experienced this in the past year. I still came out ahead so can you. You can disarm the negativity.

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” ~Bruce Lee

Kindness and positivity nurture each other. In my experience, kind people are focused on how they can make a difference and how they can lend a hand. By boosting kindness, we also increase our positivity. We are more compassionate towards others even under adverse circumstances. By helping others you will help yourself. I haven’t met anyone who reached his or her potential by themselves. Connect with others. You’ll notice an increased positivity and in turn will attract positivity. So interact with others everyday no matter what. Open your heart and mind.

MaggiePhoto4

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Gift Giving

Once I was shopping in a designer store, a petite woman in front of me, was trying to do an exchange. She claimed she received the blouse as a gift and her friend who gifted her, had told her that she could exchange the blouse to her desired size in that particular store. I couldn’t help but follow the conversation between her and the woman at the register as they were talking loudly.

Now, here is the funny part: the blouse looked as big as size 16 and the woman’s size couldn’t be larger than 8. The sales associate at the register told the woman that she couldn’t proceed with an exchange because the item was not purchased in that store (possibly an outlet, where all sales are final). The customer was not very happy as she was leaving the store. Was the unhappiness due to the fact that her friend didn’t have any idea about her size, not even close or was it because she couldn’t exchange the wrong sized item?

I have a pretty good eye for size. I can buy gifts for my loved ones living in distance, just by looking at their pics and they would fit perfectly.

When you give a personal gift, such as clothes, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have an approximate idea of size? Or not give at all and buy another gift, something that can be treasured without going through the hustle and bustle of exchanges. We should also remember all hard working sales people in the stores, who are heavily burdened during the hectic holiday hours. I must admit sometimes I think the sales people are angels with utmost patience as some customers can be so unreasonable.

When we give gifts, wouldn’t it be wonderful to give them with love and not just for the sake of giving a gift?

We shouldn’t consume in the name of love. We should be creative and thoughtful in the name of gift giving.

Maggie's Rose
Pat Austin Rose ~ grown by Maggie Rawlinson.
PHOTO CREDIT:
Jon Rawlinson

Poor Service + Bad Coffee = No Thanks!

Every decision we make is emotionally based. We make friends because it’s the inner bond that draws us together, not the words spoken. We purchase a product because it brings us some level of joy.

I had a bizarre, actually two bizarre experiences lately. Some people would call me a coffee snob. I don’t drink much coffee outside my home but when I do, I like to visit my favorite coffee houses. I am not going to name them here and only call them coffee house A and B. Two weeks ago, as I was waiting for my husband to finish his workday, I popped in coffee house A. I drink black, bold, strong coffee. I ordered a cup and before that I asked if the coffee was freshly brewed. The guy at the counter shook his head, nodding as to assure me it was fresh. I sat down, started playing with my iPad and I am sure I would have spit it out if it was not for my new iPad. The coffee was awful. Not only it was not strong, it was at least a couple of hours old coffee. When I told the guy at the register, he just looked at me as if there was nothing he could do.

My second experience in my other favorite coffee house B was quite similar. At this time, I was certain that those who worked at both coffee houses, simply didn’t care whether the customer was content or they were simply saving money for their employer.

One morning, I stopped at another coffee house (which I will call here, coffee house C). There were two smiling, enthusiastic girls behind the counter. I told them that I wanted a cup of fresh, bold, strong coffee. One of them assured me that they would brew new coffee for me. Both were upbeat and very welcoming. Now, this coffee house C is not my favorite coffee place yet I loved the coffee there that morning. Great customer service should never be underestimated. It’s what keeps us coming back.

Next time, when I want to have a cup of coffee, I am heading to coffee house C. I still remember those two girls’ kind smiling faces.

I know now that I prefer coffee with kindness.

Maggie's garden

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Mayor Cory Booker ~ Food stamp challenge

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker is helping to create the spiritual revolution. Today, Mr. Booker started the food stamp Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, A Movement Toward Food Justice!

For one entire week, he’ll be living on $30 of groceries to raise awareness about how challenging it is to live on food stamps.

This afternoon, the Newark Mayor tweeted his #SNAPchallenge food for the week:


Note: NO Coffee

Mr.Booker who is a vegetarian, continues to inspire us all.

Watch this video to learn the #SNAPchallenge guidelines:

Follow Cory Booker on Twitter
Connect with Cory Booker on Facebook