SPREAD  HOPE

Elizabeth Bernstein writes a column," Bonds: On Relationships, " for the Wall Street Journal. Here are excerpts from her article on HOPE.

"Most psychologists define hope as a yearning for something possible but not certain - such as a better future - and a belief that you have some power to make it happen. And they believe that it has two crucial components:  Agency, or the motivation to achieve the the desired goal.  And a strategy, or pathway, to do that.' 

She recalls that she once interviewed Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate, author and Holocaust survivor, who "told me something I have never forgotten. 'Every word we speak or write matters.' "

"Heed Mr. Wiesel's advice. Think carefully about your words. Use hopeful language: 'I can.'  'We will.'  'It's possible.' "

"Spread hope. Emotions are contagious. And everyone is searching for hope right now. So  model it for others.  Explain what makes you hopeful."

"Share your goals.  And describe how you plan to reach them. You may garner support. You'll inspire others, showing what is possible. Remember: Hope begets hope."

"  'When people around you are energized, that can energize you as well,' says Dr. Milona.'  "

NOTE: The above is from Elizabeth Bernstein's article "Finding Hope When Everything Feels Hopeless," The Wall Street Journal,  p. A12, October 28, 2020. Professor Michael Milona has just published a paper on  hope and optimism commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic institution;n that funds scientific research.

 

.BRILLIANT   EPIGRAMS

The wise and witty author and syndicated cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant has written many books  of illustrated epigrams that are a tonic for the mind. Here are some from I WANT TO REACH YOUR MIND...WHERE IS IT CURRENTLY LOCATED? published by Woodbridge Press, Santa Barbara, California .

UNFORTUNATELY, MY ABILITY TO STAY UNHAPPY FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME has very little practical value.

I SPEND ALL MY TIME TRYING TO IMPROVE MYSELF and then people complain that I'm self-centered.

YOU'LL NEVER KNOW  HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE YOU,                                    BECAUSE I'LL PROBABLY NEVER TELL YOU.

LET ME KNOW IF THERE'S ANY WAY I CAN RELIEVE YOUR PAIN without increasing my own.

YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, perhaps as a punishment.

OH HOW I REGRET THAT I CAN'T DEVOTE MY ENTIRE LIFE TO YOU AND YOUR PROBLEMS.

SOMEHOW ALL THE MAGIC HAS GONE OUT OF OUR SEPARATION.

TO ME YOU ARE HEAVEN, But you're not exactly what I thought heaven would be.

EVERY FAMILY SHOULD HAVE A HISTORIAN, TO MAKE SURE THE RECORD GETS PROPERLY FALSIFIED

I'M TORN BETWEEN ALL THE THINGS I DON'T WANT TO DO.

DON'T LISTEN TO THEIR FOOLISHNESS - LISTEN TO MINE.

WE MUSTN'T ACT HASTILY!   LET'S WAIT UNTIL OUR ENTHUSIASM EVAPORATES.

 

Nothing we do can change the Past, but everything we do changes the Future.

THINKING  LIKE  SHERLOCK  HOLMES

"I have a turn both for observation and deduction."

"You know my method . It is founded upon the observation of trifles."

"To a great mind nothing is little."

"Now for the facts."

"If I take it up I must understand every detail. Take time to consider. The smallest point may be essential."

"We shall put the case aside until more accurate data are available."

"You have furnished me with seven clues, but, of course, I must test them before I can pronounce upon their value."

"The principal difficulty in your case lay in the fact of their being too much evidence. What was vital was overlaid and hidden by what was irrelevant. Of all the facts which were presented to us we had to pick just those we deemed essential, and then piece them together in their order so as to reconstruct this very remarkable chain of events."

"No, no; I never guess. It is a shocking habit destructive to the logical faculty."

"One should always look for a possible alternative and and provide against it. It is the first rule of criminal investigation.."

"There is a strong family resemblance about misdeeds,  and if you have all the details of a thousand at your finger ends, it is odd if you can't unravel the thousand and first."

"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

"When a man embarks upon a crime he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it."

"My dear Watson [reader], try a little analysis yourself . You know my methods. Apply them,"

 

NOTE: These excerpts from the great detective's stories come from THE WIT & WISDOM OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, a Prion book, an imprint of the Carlton Publishing Group, London, 2017.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

The mind tells the brain what to do. Make the mind's messages constructive. Below are quotes from Dr.  Caroline Leaf's book SWITCH ON YOUR BRAIN.

*  When we think on something we build it into the structure of our brains.

* We are designed to do our own brain surgery and revive our brains by thinking and by choosing to renew our minds.

* The choices you make impact your health mentally and physically  and the world around you - for generations.

* When you smile with your eyes and mouth [deeply], the part of your mind involved in decision-making, intelllectual pursuit & shifting between thoughts and thinking things through rationally becomes stronger and more effective [and it's contagious].

* Thoughts create your mood....Toxic thinking and stress have been shown to reduce the size of certain structures in the brain. [Negative thinking makes] your body vulnerable to other diseases and illnesses.

* 75 - 90%  of the illnesses that plague us today are the direct result of our thought life.

Dolores Cannon tells of a man with a serious problem. Every time cancer in one part of his body was healed it popped up in another part.  She asked him if he was angry about anything. He replied, "Yes! I hate my ex-wife! She has the children and she won't let me see them." Cannon told him that his anger was affecting his health, and to let it go, to forgive his ex-wife. He said, "I can't forgive her! If I forgive her she wins."  Cannon replied, "If she kills you she wins."

What are you thinking?

NOTE: Dr Carolline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist  who has been researching the mind-brain connection for decades. Her latest book is THINK, LEARN, SUCCEED. Dolores Cannon was a past-life regression therapist  who periodically encountered historical characters and situations when working with her clients.

SUMMER  FANS:  A  MESSAGE  CODE

One hundred years ago there was a language of hand-held fans that men understood.  Here are the messages they communicated.

WITH HANDLE TO LIPS    -    Kiss  me

PLACING IT ON LEFT EAR    -  You have changed

FANNING SLOWLY    -  I am married

FANNING FAST    -  I am engaged

OPEN WIDE    - Wait for me

DROPPING    -  We are friends

DRAWING ACROSS FOREHEAD    -  We are watched

CARRYING IN RIGHT HAND    -    You are too willing

DRAWING ACROSS CHEEK    -  I love you

CARRYING IN LEFT HAND    -  Desirous of acquaintance

IN RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF FACE    =  Follow me

DRAWING THROUGH HAND    -  I hate you

TWIRLING IN LEFT HAND    -  I wish to get rid of you

TWIRLING IN RIGHT HAND    -  I love another

CLOSING IT    -  I wish to speak to you

DRAWING ACROSS EYES     -  I'm sorry

LETTING IT REST ON RIGHT CHEEK    -  YES

LETTING IT REST ON LEFT CHEEK    -  No

OPEN & SHUT    -  You are cruel

NOTE: My thanks to the Victorian  Trading  Company (800-800-6647) for the above message code. It came along with my purchase of fans.

HOW  TO BECOME CHARISMATIC IF YOU'RE  NOT

We think of charisma as a magical attraction that cannot be duplicated, but psychologists say it can be learned. In a questionnaire given to 996 people, with accompanying traits like attractiveness and extroversion excluded, two characteristics of charismatic individuals were revealed:  Influence and Affability.

In addition 122 students  read two arguments on wind energy. Students who read the stronger argument were judged on the strength of the argument.  Their charismatic rating had no effect on their ability to persuade their listeners, but students who rated high on charisma and had the weaker argument were more persuasive than students who rated low on charisma and read the same weak argument.  Charisma has nothing to do with intelligence.

If you take the Influence/Affability test you can judge how charismatic you are and learn what areas to work on to up your charisma score. Here's the test:

ON  EACH  ITEM  ASSIGN   YOURSELF  A  RATING  OF 1  (strongly disagree) to 5 (strong agree).

          INFUENCE  -  I AM SOMEONE WHO

          ----- has a presence in a room

          -----has the ability to influence people

         ------knows how to lead a group

         Average Score --------

          AFFABILITY - I AM SOMEONE WHO

          -----makes people feel comfortable

          -----smiles at people often

          -----can get along with anyone

          Average Score --------

An average score above 3.5  on INFLUENCE and above 3.9 on AFFABILITY indicates that people find you more charismatic than most.  The accuracy of this test has been statistically proven.

NOTE: The above information comes from Diana Wechsler Linden's article "Charisma Quantified," in The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017.  The test is from "Charisma in Everyday Life," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by Konstantin Tskhay, et. al.

 

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YOUR  FACE  TALKS  TO  YOUR  BODY

Your facial beauty rituals not only can improve  your appearance, but your health as well. Massaging your face is the key.  Whether you're massaging in cream, oil, cleanser, whatever, your body benefits. 

" 'Massaging generates blood flow, and simply releasing your tension gives you tighter, brighter, healthier skin,' says LA facialist Joomee Song."

"'Being busy, being stressed, being overworked, being too sensitive, being overreactive, being rundown, being overfatigued, all of these things show up on our complexion,' says Anastasia Achilleos, the London- based facialist....'Physical touch stimulates, enhances and promotes wellness, affecting the muscular, sensory, nervous, lymphatic and circulatory systems. Regular message ... feels relaxing  because it is on a physiological level, lowering blood pressure and heart rate..' " 

If your face talks to your body, maybe you should talk to your face ! Keep up the beauty rituals!   

NOTE: The information and quotes above come from the article  "The Beauty of Everyday Rituals," by Fiorela Valdesolo, p.22. The Wall Street Journal Magazine, June/July, 2020. 

FRIENDS  CAN  AFFECT  A  MARRIAGE

 

"Researchers from seven U.S. universities evaluated sixteen years of data from 355 couples who participated in the Early Years of Marriage Study, a survey conducted at the University of Michigan's Institute of Social Research, that followed  couples for several decades." These are the results: Overall divorce rates were double in marriages where the husband perceived interference  from the wife's friends. "White couples where husbands reported disliking the wife's friends had higher divorce rates, even when the friends didn't interfere.  Black couples had higher rates only when the friends interfered. More negative effects can occur when the husband is the one who is dissatisfied with the spouse's friends. Psychologists say - "A husband often relies on his wife for emotional support, so he may be jealous of the intimacy she shares with her friends.  Women are also more likely to discuss marital problems with friends than the husbands are, and a husband may see this as meddling."

What can be done?  Talk specifically to your spouse about the issues related to the problem, including the state of intimacy in the marriage. Let your spouse know that he/she comes first. Try to accept your spouse's friendships. You needn't participate in them yourself. Friends can play a beneficial role in a marriage. Communication with your spouse can keep it from becoming a destructive one.

NOTE: The quotes and information above came from "Bonds on Relationships -When Friends Hurt a Marriage," by Elizabeth Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2018, Page A 10.

 

ADVICE  FROM  NICOLE  KIDMAN

Here are a few of the actress/producer's responses to questions in the May,2020 issue of The Wall Street Journal Magazine:

What's the one trait you consider essential to your success?

 Resilience.

What's the one thing that keeps you motivated?

 The desire that my fire still burns within. So that motivates me - thinking I haven't done the work I want to do yet creatively. 

What is the one piece of advice that most changed your life?

  "When you get to the top, just remember there's nothing there. The only thing that really matters is love."  No matter what your accomplishments are, it's incredibly lonely if you're not surrounded by some form of love.

PROFILE OF VENUS

There are many stories of the birth of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The general belief is that before there were gods on Mount Olympus, she was born the child of Dione, a sea nymph and Uranus (the sky). She rose from the sea when the waves carried her to Cyprus. She was originally the Greek goddess Aphrodite (from "aphros," a white foam).  In time she somehow reached Mount Olympus, perhaps in a chariot drawn by doves and sparrows, as the Greeks believed, or in a chariot drawn by swans, as the Romans believed. Zeus (the Roman god Jupiter) decided to marry her to Hephaistos ( the Roman Vulcan), a fabulous blacksmith, who forged gorgeous jewelry. He was the unattractive, limping son of Hera (the Roman goddess Juno), the goddess of marriage, and the wife of Zeus. Hephaistos had been evicted from Mount Ollympus because of his disability, but he had been clever enough to ensure his return by sending his heartless mother a magnificent throne. When she sat on it she couldn't get up! Only the creator of the gift could release her. But Zeus had decided on Venus' marriage without consulting her. Although she married the former outcast, he didn't appeal to her. She preferred sexier gods. Her favorite was Ares (the Roman god Mars). Since opposites often attract, Venus the goddess of love and sex was married to the virile Mars, god of war (Hephaitos was remarried to one of the three graces.)  Venus and Mars had two sons, Phobos (Fear) and  Deimos (Terror), and one daughter, Harmonia (Harmony). Eros (Roman god Cupid) is acknowledged as the son of Venus, but his father is a matter of speculation.

The gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus could be as generous or nasty as human beings. They would avenge slights, great or small, compel mortals under their spell to do their bidding, cause mortals to fall in love with them or others of their choosing, assist favored mortals with the power of their specialties and cheat on their spouses. From time to time Venus and Mars strayed with other lovers. Venus' most challenging love was  Adonis, considered to be the most handsome youth in the world. Although she was interested in him, an accidental scratch from one of Cupid's arrows made her passionately in love with him. However, Adonis was passionately in love with hunting, not goddesses, and it took a while before he succumbed to her charms.

Cupid was usually happy to do his mother's bidding, but they did fall out once, in the matter of Psyche, a beautiful mortal princess, who was adored and patronized by her people, supplanting Venus in their affections, Venus was both jealous and furious, and made Psyche's life miserable, which was hard on Cupid, who had fallen in love with her. All was finally resolved in Cupid and Psyche's favor , but it was touch-and-go for a while. The couple had a daughter whom they named Voluptas (Pleasure).

Venus could be loyal to a fault. When her son Aeneas was toppled from his chariot in a battle with the Greek warrior Diomedes, she wrapped him in her robe making them both invisible, in order to drag him off the battlefield. She received a hand wound from Diomedes, who saw a cloak moving of its own accord, and she received a reprimand from Zeus, who reminded Venus that her province was love, not war.    

Venus could also be vain. When Paris, seemingly a herdsman, was required to judge a beauty contest involving three goddesses, Venus was determined to win. Her rivals were Hera and Athena ( goddess of philosophy, wisdom and war). Hera promised that if he chose her she would make him ruler of all Asia. Athena promised that he would never lose a battle. But Venus promised him a marriage, not to the farm girl he was betrothed to, but to the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, wife of Menelaos, King of Troy. She told him that he wa a prince by birth, and that she would restore him to his rightful position. Naturally, Venus won the beauty contest - and was responsible for the Trojan War!

Venus and the Olympian family were worshipped by the Greeks and Romans. Although beauty and love are sought year- round, Venus was in her element in the spring, a time of fertility, and a  time when most of her temple festivals were held, festivals that celebrated the various traditions her cults attributed to her, such as goddess of love, water, trade, wine, motherhood and domesticity. She was also considered to be the world's creative deity and the protector of Rome. (Her son Aeneas, by Prince Anchises of Troy, is the mythic hero of the founding of Rome.)  Roman leaders, as well as ordinary people worshipped Venus. Julius Caesar believed his family was descended from the goddess.

As Christianity loomed large in the Middle Ages, the Olympic crowd almost disappeared. The ageless goddess settled down and became more circumspect and less salacious in the Renaissance, as artists depicted her birth and amorous activities. Nobody wanted to jettison Venus!

In astrology Venus is the ruler of the signs of Taurus and Libra, but she is present in all twelve signs of the zodiac, her placement in each sign emphasizing the various aspects of her expertise. So Venus lives on. In our concern about beauty, romance, love and sex we still pursue the power of - a myth.

NOTE:  Although Venus could cause romantic attractions, individuals can do this for themselves. Some don't have to do anything. They have a quality, an "it" that attracts the opposite sex. This is true in the classic film  IT, in which a department store salesgirl falls in love with her boss.This is a must-see film for all romantics, and you can see it free of charge on Youtube. You won't mind a bit that it's a silent film. It's marvelous, and stars Clara Bow, famously known as the "IT' girl.

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"        ALMA  DEUTSCHER  AND  BEAUTIFUL  MUSIC

Alma Deutscher, a young lady in pigtails, speaks:

"I've always wanted to write beautiful music, music that comes out of the heart and speaks directly to the heart. But some people have told me that nowadays  melodies and beautiful harmonies are no longer acceptable in serious classical music, because in the 21st century music must reflect the ugliness of the modern world .... I went in exactly the opposite direction.."

Alma plays the violin and piano with sensitivity and charm. She's intelligent and speaks her mind. She's home-schooled and reads "lots and lots of books about almost everything - history , geography, fiction, science, whatever. As long as they're interesting." 

Can she write a sonata, a concerto, a symphony, an opera? She can and she has. Google her name and you can listen to  the world premiere of her piano concerto in 2017 - she's at the keyboard  and the music is delightful - or other compositions and interviews with her. In the short opera she wrote at age 7 titled SWEEPER OF DREAMS, based on a story by Neil Garman, Wikipedia states: "A job is advertised for a Sweeper of Dreams, to help people forget their nightmares. The three middle-aged men on the committee are shocked that the only candidate, Alex, is a sixteen-year-old girl. Her interviewers mock her because she committed two terrible crimes: the first was being a child and the second was being female. But through her talent and determination Alex proves her suitability and is hired."  Alma's full-length opera, begun at age 8 and completed at age 12  is CINDERELLA (available on DVD). Cinderella is a composer. Reviewer Heather MacDonald called it an "opera of astounding wit ,craft and musical beauty." The Salzburg State Theatre has commissioned Alma to write a second full-length opera, but she won't reveal the subject.

About composition? Alma states "It's work. I have studied many scores. The greatest teachers are the old masters. I've studied the scores of Richard Strauss, of Beethoven, of Mozart and many others....Since I was 6 I wanted to write a symphony. I'd read a novel in which Nannerl Mozart [Mozart's sister] secretly writes symphonies and she wasn't taken seriously because she was a girl.  And I thought I want to write symphonies, and I want to be taken seriously." Last October Alma Deutscher received the European Culture Prize. She said that perhaps "a more tolerant age is dawning when melody and beauty will once again be permitted."

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