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THOUGHTS About… THINKING

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It’s hard to turn off our thoughts, don’t you think?

And since we can’t truly turn them off, why not think thoughts that make us more relaxed, content, productive… and… thoughtful.

While I’m traipsing the backroads of the Irish Isles, I turn once again to a forever friend and guest blogger.

Who better to turn to than my “retired” Physician Associate and deep thinker buddy Jim Ferguson. Jim is one of those rare people who can rationally combine his religious, philosophical, and scientific thoughts and not get himself tied up like a pretzel. While you think about this.. let me say…

Over to you James

Well…yours truly has once again been invited to share a few thoughts and to cast them out into the MOTF blog-o-sphere for your consideration.

As I was pondering on a topic to write about, I found myself going down a deep rabbit hole on the topic of thinking!

Yup…I was thinking about THINKING!

I know… I know… you are probably thinking,

1. How did Larry ever hook up with this nut job, and

2. This guy definitely needs a hobby.

The answer to the 1st question is a long story and probably worthy of a blog post in and of its own right (and one that could lead to jail time for both Sir Lawrence and myself…😊).

To address the second point-given my ADHD nature, I’ve got more than enough hobbies to keep me going for the foreseeable future.

Sooooo… back to this concept of thinking about thinking.

It sounds like an episode from Seinfeld…right? The show all about nothing!

Well…let me tell you that there is a lot of thinking going on about thinking (and the nature of consciousness which is a blog topic in its own right) and there are many neurobiologists out there who are sharing their wisdom on the topic. 

One such expert in the field is Joe Dispenza. Go look him up on-line. You will find lots of references to explore.

Joe has become one of the “gurus du jour” in the field and my impression is that he has now become more well known as a “celebrity” than he is as a hard-core scientist. This seems to be the case for so many who venture into the arena of being an expert in a specific area plus being a public figure.

They become a celebrity. One could argue that this is the case for people like Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil (my mentor), Dr. Oz, Dr. Fauci (he of COVID-19 fame), Willard Scott (RIP), and the list goes on.

Back to the theme lest I get too distracted.

I actually have listened to Joe Dispenza lecturing on neurobiology topics including the topic of thinking and he has some fascinating things to share on that theme. I would never accuse him of “selling out” to the celebrity juggernaut as I find his talks both stimulating and grounded in solid science. Maybe he has found a happy medium between his science and celebrity. 

Dispenza states that the average human thinks anywhere from 40,000-70,000 thoughts per day.

Were you aware of this? I was blown away by that number when I first heard him say this during one of his talks a few years back.

If the average person thinks that many thoughts, what about me and my ADHD mind? Geesh…that must mean that I am upwards of close to 80,000+ thoughts per day. I am always thinking things, pondering, considering, reflecting upon things! It is challenging to slow my mind down on a good day! 

I found that stat to be truly astounding BUT what I found even MORE astounding (and alarming at the same time) was this next stat. You might want to sit down for this one!

Dispenza says that of those 40,000-70,000 thoughts you think on a daily basis, 80-90% of those thoughts are the SAME THOUGHTS that you thought yesterday and the day before that and so on!

Joe Dispenza

In other words, the thoughts we think today are merely repetition of thoughts we have had for days, months, years previous. Think about it and see if this is true for you. I did a study on myself and found that his statement was pretty accurate!

This has profound implications for those who find themselves “stuck in a rut”, “bogged down”, “who can’t seem to get out of their own way”, “who are constantly sad, depressed, anxious”, “who have that nagging monkey mind that never stops”, etc.

We know from solid science since the mid-1970s that the cells of the brain renew themselves. For decades before that time, it was understood that once humans reached five years old, we stopped producing new brain cells and stopped forming new neural connections. Not so!

The work of neuroscientist Candace Pert and her colleagues discovered that the brain continues to produce new brain cells (neurons) throughout the life span. The science on this theme has exploded exponentially during the past two decades. We now understand the brain to have the property of “neuroplasticity” i.e. it can produce new neurons and can rewire synapses throughout our lifetime.

Sooo…. the brain has neuroplasticity. Check.

Now back to the thinking part of this discussion.

Dispenza and others argue that if we want to get out of our own way, out of the ruts we find ourselves in, to address depression and anxiety, monkey mind, etc. we need to give serious attention to how we think!

We all have different habits of thinking. One size does not fit all in this case.

Some are deep thinkers while others maybe not so much. Some are easily distracted while others are not. If we find ourselves waking every day to the same mental and emotional stress in our lives, could one of the keys be to think deeply on our thinking patterns and to direct our energies towards changing these patterns. This makes perfect sense!

A quote from the Baha’i writings states, “The reality of man is his thought…”

This makes perfect sense and is on target with Dispenza’s thinking.

Whatever we think tends to manifest itself in what we then believe and then what we believe becomes our reality manifesting itself in our actions. The key according to Dispenza and others in his field is to change our thinking which then rewires the synapses (connections) between the neurons in the brain and then the result is new behaviours. Change our thinking=change our actions! 

Sooo…. how do we go about this process?

Dispenza recommended that we practice meditation. During meditation we can practice thinking about our thinking and then adapt so we are then thinking new thoughts and avoiding going down those old thought pathways over and over again. To be proactive and develop new thinking patterns.

Other mind-body practices (Tai-Chi, Qi gong, Guided Imagery, Autogenics, Hypnosis, etc.) would also meet this need for developing new thought patterns. I have practiced meditation and I have found it to have profound effects on my thinking patterns. 

Bottom Line: if we want to change the way we think, we need to first think about how we think (and we are all different based on our own individuality) and then implement new practices that allow us to develop and reinforce new thought patterns that will then manifest themselves in our outward actions.

If we do this, it results in rewiring of neural synapses in the brain which can lead to (as Candace Pert said decades ago) recreating ourselves on a daily basis.

This may seem simplistic yet it makes so much sense and people have been utilizing these simple mind-body practices for thousands of years with excellent results.

Peace,

Jim

You Can Become A Minor Hero…

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Every week we are bombarded with yet another new superhero, caped or masked, leotarded or graphite-enshrouded.

Movie and TV screens are filled to the brim with “superheroes”… imaginary beings that save the world… save civilization, save the universe.

Superheroes aren’t really my jam, aside from the quirky Deadpool, who is the weirdest, anti-hero hero. Anyone who makes me belly laugh is inducted into my hero club.

But I prefer to spend my mindspace real estate on real-life, often “minor” heroes.

Since Ukraine has been under attack, I find myself wholly intrigued and mesmerized by Volodymyr Zelensky, a totally unexpected, shockingly surprising hero. A real-life capeless hero.

I know from reading countless Facebook posts over the years that most of us are inspired and lifted by the day-to-day real-life heroes out there. We revere heroes.

The Huffington Posts posits that there are 6 kinds of real-life heroes…. maybe there are more, I don’t know.

  • The Warrior Hero.
  • The Protector Hero.
  • The Healer Hero.
  • The Master Hero.
  • The Leader Hero.
  • The Teacher Hero.

There’s a pretty good chance that you’re one of these. I hope so. You may not even realize it.

There’s a common thread running through these real-life heroes, it’s called…

INSPIRATION

They show us what we can attempt to be as humans and inspire us to become better versions of ourselves. Minor heroes.

My Walter Mitty inner-persona sees myself aspiring to become a saviour of the downtrodden, a visionary to those who need inspiration and hope.

It’s largely a mirage, but an aspiration nonetheless. It takes aspiration to make inspiration to take action.

Real heroes are the people who do little or large things, unexpected things, everyday things, that leave the world around them better or preserve lives.

The best heroes to me are often normal people who scarcely notice how extraordinary they are, often overlooking their contributions because they were never presented with an official cape by the mayor of Gotham City. Humility and heroism are twin virtues.

Becoming a hero is often not a choice, it’s thrust upon us and we must decide if we can or will surmount our personal worries and fears.

Volodymyr Zelensky is the latest, greatest example. There are countless others, in Ukraine and all around the globe, that we never hear about who are saving lives, or making lives better with what they do for little or no recognition.

Take that Vladimir!

Big wars make minor heroes into major heroes (and minor villains into major villains)… small people of all genders and ethnicities and belief systems that rise to the occasion.

Zelensky may – I hope – triumph in his unasked-for quest, or, he may perish and become a martyr, a chapter in a history book like Martin Luther King or Ghandi.

There are Ukrainian heroes, Afghan heroes, Syrian heroes, Jewish, Atheist, Baha’i, Muslim, and Christian heroes… even Russian heroes. Far off and right next-door heroes.

I chop vegetables and make sandwiches a few days a month alongside a longtime friend, a lady at the soup kitchen who birthed 5 kids, two with Cystic Fibrosis. Tough stuff, yes?

Today, retired and all her kids grown: one child has died, one has had a double-lung transplant, another has lupus and heart problems, her husband had a heart attack last year.

Can life get any more difficult for one person? Of course it can, but it’s the fact that she courageously shoulders this life without public complaint, with a cheery smile, and a desire to help others that makes her a hero in my view. A minor hero but a hero still.

Not everyone has to become a big hero. The world needs a major hero from time to time… a Churchill, a Mother Teresa, a Zelensky.

But even more, the world needs an army of minor heroes, or people making daily attempts to make the world a better place with unselfish acts.

And if you look inside yourself, there’s probably a hero buried there too.

I’ll never be a big hero, never a Zelensky, never a Churchill, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Ghandi, or Dalai Lama… the kind of hero who forgoes all rational grasp-holds of safety. I’m merely “Yoda-trying” to find my inner minor hero.

I’ll leave you today with just a few ideas about how you can sew your own cape (maybe don’t squeeze into the leotard, OK?) and become a minor hero in your world…

  • Perform random acts of kindness. 
  • Shovelling your neighbour’s snowy driveway for them.
  • Helping to pay a student’s tuition.
  • Buying lunch for a depressed friend.
  • Buying groceries for someone in need.
  • Taking an elderly neighbour to an appointment.
  • Volunteer your time. 
  • Help build houses with Habitat for Humanity for low-income families.
  • Join a gleaner’s group.
  • Get involved with your neighbourhood clean-up committee or watch group.
  • You don’t always have to volunteer in an official way. You can offer to help a friend move or give up some time to listen when a family member is in need of emotional support.
  • Use small gestures. 
  • Even offering someone kind words can help you grow as a hero. Smile and say thank you to service workers.
  • Bring a friend a fresh flower.
  • Write your mail person a thank you note.
  • Offer your seat on the bus or subway to a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or someone with a cane or crutches.
  • Send a family member a surprise email or text telling them something they did in the past that made you feel good.
  • Promote the Good rather than Oppose the Bad 
  • Attend a “pro” rally instead of an anti-demonstration. Pro-peace, pro-immigrant, pro-BLM or pro-LGBTQ.
  • The most successful, heroic people focus on the positive. 
  • Volunteer Your Treasure
  • Donate a portion of your income (or blood) to help others – people, animals, projects in need.

Get Running… Get Better… Live Longer… Live Better…

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Photo: Maureen Green

RAH rah rah!

See that guy in the picture above?

Whaddya mean which guy? The 7-footer dressed in orange and black.

This was at the starting line of a running race I was in 10 years ago.

Once the starter’s pistol began the event, I never saw him again. He was a jaguar on two legs.

And oh yeah, he won the race… SHOCKER!

I’ve been in a couple hundred running races in my “short” life.

And in a mere, lonely ONE (one is the loneliest number) of all those races I won a medal… 2nd place in a 10k run on a steamy June Okanagan evening. WAHOO!!

Second place is pretty good, right?

Full Disclosure: Did I mention there were only 3 runners in my age group?

Let’s face it, clearly I don’t run for the glory of prizes or medals.

I’ve been very fortunate… my joints have help up to the gravity-assisted pounding of my non-lightweight body (so far).

Running for me is about hard work, consistency, training, sweat, fresh air and blue skies, enduring a little pain, and … getting better… living longer…

Guess what? Today’s blog post is about getting better and living longer.

You may run. You may not.

Don’t matter to me.

Not many of you are likely interested in running as a pastime or vocation, which tells me that I should be searching for universal truths, common bonds we share…

What matters to me, and very directly to you, is that we do something that makes us breathe hard, maybe feel a twinge of muscle soreness, and yes, bring on a bead of sweat.

Planning ahead 20 years, we need to think about what we can do TODAY to keep ourselves intact physically and mentally (healthspan) so we can: canoodle on the floor with our grandkids, or play our bridge games, or unmaze our WORDLES, or maintain our ability to carry groceries up the stairs into our house/condo.

Do just that and you’re getting better. Can be running, swimming, golfing, cycling, pickle-ball, soccer, tennis, pilates, or even just walking briskly. Yes, practical, work-based exercise (mucking out stalls, tossing hay bales) will do the trick too!

I’ve written here before on a couple of occasions about longevity and healthspan. Take that little paragraph above and wear it like a mantra. Repeat your activity(ies) daily, and you’ll be a huge part of the way along to increasing both your lifespan and healthspan… your worldly enjoyment.

Need proof? Here are a few scientific papers and links backing up the connection between fitness and your longer-term ability to keep breathing:

  1. RUNNING: https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/4877a5be-9ac4-4822-9623-e00098fd79c5/content
  2. SWIMMING: https://www.medicaldaily.com/swimming-benefits-8-reasons-why-sport-good-you-247152
  3. GOLFING and WALKING: https://phlabs.com/whats-the-secret-to-longevity-it-may-be-golf
  4. TENNIS: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2018/09/17/want-to-live-longer-take-up-tennis/?sh=5f1da61f301b
  5. WALKING: https://neurosciencenews.com/walking-longevity-20133/

Your heart gets better, your leg strength gets better, your lungs get better, your blood sugar regulation gets better, your brain function gets better. It’s a Vegas jackpot winner. BETTER BETTER BETTER… WIN WIN WIN

I know that you know all of this but we can never be reminded enough, so here’s your little push.

Listen, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better. YOU get better.”

— Joan Rivers

I’m feeling excited right now because I’m training for the Vancouver Half Marathon on the first of May.

Super excited because the race has been COVID-cancelled the last 2 years, so the build up for a return to “public” running is big. The spectacular ocean and mountain scenery will help diminish the fatigue and outpouring of sweat. Maybe even lessen the pain in the last few kilometres.

And even more is that I turn 65 this year which seems like a good time to celebrate reaching middle age!!

In the end, we all start our day with different reasons to get up and move. Some of us search for purpose and meaning, some for the best coffee beans or tea leaves, while others just seek the little moments of joy that happenstance brings their way.

You have to find your own way, but getting better each day will be a fabulous investment in yourself and your family and friends.

Medals may come our direction, but every time we choose to exercise our bodies, we end up learning a tiny bit more about what we’re truly capable of, and what our future can look like.

And sometimes, that alone is worth some small discomfort.

We’re reminded during this week of terrible global turmoil of the tremendous freedoms we enjoy. Let’s try to channel our inner unrest, and exercise our freedoms to getting better…

The Wondrous Beauty of Being AND Doing

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I get confused when I hear the expression, “we’re human beings, not human doings.

I like to think of myself as BOTH a noun AND a verb… yes, this one thing I can multitask in a focused way!

You got it… I’m part sloth, part puma…. grrrrrr….

Here’s how I maintain myself as a human being and a human doing…

My desktop – the real physical one I can touch and spill my latte all over – is filled with sheets of foolscap and lined paper pads … papers that run top-to-bottom and side-to-side with my daily scribbled LISTS!

Without lists, without a calendar, without the morning sunrise… I’m solely a human being… you just might as well take me to my grandson’s daycare each morning and show me which toys to play with because I will have ABSOLUTELY NO Direction.

None, nada, zilch… you catch my drift? I get “LISTLESS”.

…………………

Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.

~Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher

…………………

The three greatest hallmarks I possess (*one of which used to be my hair*) are

  • 1. my calendar
  • 2. my lists, and
  • 3. a slave-like devotion to “Own The Morning”… getting the most important things done early in the day.

I get it. I understand that we don’t want to become automatons enslaved to “do do do“, but I also understand that I don’t want to imprison myself in a philosophy of “idleness, indolence and inertia“.

     (Aside: Pet Peeve: It drives me nuts when I see men (it's almost always XY chromosome creatures) who think that earning a living ie. being the hunky breadwinner, is sufficient excuse to collapse on a couch after a workday. 
     Meanwhile, the (usually) woman partner: works, cleans house, grocery shops, prepares meals, looks after children.
     Any relationship where one partner believes that doing only 20% of the daily work involved is equitable, is stuck in Slave-holder Plantation-Master mode. Beware the Underground Railroad!  

OK, where was I?

Right. As part human doing, I’m not advocating for non-stop busy work or a compulsive need to be constantly accomplishing stuff… yes, rest and recovery are important. My human being part needs regular refreshing.

But a life well-lived, in my books, is one where we experience things directly, by doing… we learn, we try out all kinds of things both easy and difficult, we meditate and sweat, we love and hate, we laugh and cry, we eat and fast … doing and experiencing= invigoration.

…it’s part of the ancient stoic philosophy of overall self-improvement blended with healthy balance.

It’s no accident that my daily practice of making lists, checking my calendar, and owning the morning, allows me to revert to a partially relaxed and satisfied form of slothdom later in the day. However, if you happen to flip the day on its head and Own The Night, well, good on you too!

When life’s critical doohickeys are done, my head becomes clear and unbothered, my body trained and physically tested, my spirit able to enjoy and absorb.

I’m an ordinary Tale of Two Humans and that’s a wondrously wonderful thing.

Looking To Your Heart…

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Are all months created equal?

In the world of many major religions, December is different… unique and special.

But unique and special can be overwhelmingly positive – OR – overwhelmingly overwhelming. It can even be both.

December has a concentrating effect on our emotions. This concentration can lead to stress and worry and anxiety for many (I’ll include myself in this group).

In a year (or even years) where you may be impacted by the effects of COVID, or a loss, any loss – a special person in your world, a treasured pet, maybe financial, physical or mental health – finding some inner peace and solace can be very difficult.

Today, as these possible December woes descend, I’m privileged to share with you another guest post from my good friend Jim Ferguson. Jim is a newly “retired” Physician Associate – Canadian (Nova Scotia)-born, but living and raising a family for many years in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA.

Jim is a hybrid in many areas… he combines a deep scientific curiosity and knowledge with great compassion through his religious and philosophical beliefs, thrown in with a blend of humour and silliness that sets him apart.

I’ll let Jim take the reins for today’s helpful post with “heart-healthy” practical advice to support us all through the coming month (and years):

FREE!!

Who amongst you loves FREE STUFF?

I think we all do.

Larry has welcomed another guest blog from yours truly and I decided for this blog it was time to give out some “free stuff”, some “intellectual swag”, information that could have a profound impact on your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Most importantly… IT IS FREE!

It doesn’t come in a capsule or tablet. You don’t need an IV infusion. You simply need to read today’s blog and ponder the content and practice the skills. That’s it! Interested? Read on.

Do you remember the television commercial where the woman is stressed to the max and she utters the words “Calgon…take me away!” The next scene shows her in “bubble bath bliss” as the Calgon soaks away all the stress.

If only it were that easy, right!

How many of us have jokingly (or not) uttered those words for a laugh or in a moment of exasperation? While the t.v. commercial is good for a laugh, the underlying existence of stress in our lives is real and for many of us, it is no joke.

We all have experienced the deep valleys of negative emotion and the summits of positive emotion along life’s journey.

What if there were some basic mind-body tools that could help us manage stress effectively. Well…there happens to be such tools and they are simple to learn.

What would you say if I were to tell you that your emotional-wellbeing is closely related to the rhythm of your heart? That there is a direct connection between your heart and brain and that your heart rhythm plays an integral role in regulating emotions and cognition?

There is scientific research from the HeartMath Institute (HMI) that shows these statements to be valid.

We all know emotions are a normal part of life. We all experience the “highs” (joy, love, happiness, peace, exaltation, etc) and the “lows” (sadness, stress, anxiety, depression, etc.).

Nobody is exempt from the rollercoaster of emotions. Neurobiological research shows that with every shift from positive to negative emotion or vice versa, over 1,400 biochemical changes occur in the body and these changes impact not only our physiology but our psychology too.

HMI identifies negative emotions as depleting emotions while positive emotions are renewing emotions.

I doubt this is a surprise to you. I have experienced the energy drain of sadness, depression, stress, etc. and the energy renewal that comes from joy, happiness, love, etc. I suspect you have too.

You are, no doubt, aware that depleting emotions result in the release of “the stress hormone” cortisol from your adrenal cortex.

Medical scientists have been telling us for years that one of the greatest predictors of life longevity is our serum (or salivary) cortisol level. The higher the cortisol, the shorter our life span. The opposite is also true. The lower our serum cortisol the greater our longevity.

When we experience renewing (positive) emotions, our body produces regenerative hormones such as DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) and the love hormone known as oxytocin. These hormones increase our resilience and, like cortisol, can be easily measured with a blood sample.

The cutting-edge research of HMI shows us that by activating the powers of the heart we can reduce stress by shifting from depleting to renewing emotions.

I can hear it now: “I thought the heart was just a pump for the blood!”

We have come a long way in our understanding of the heart and have learned that the heart is much more than a pump. The great mystics, sages, and prophets have known this for thousands of years.

The heart’s rhythm affects the brain’s information processing abilities and emotions. Neurocardiologists have discovered the heart has its own complex nervous system – coined by Dr J. Andrew Armour in 1991 as the “heart-brain”.

The heart has over 40,000 associated sensory neurons that transmit information to the brain including the amygdala – the emotional processing centre of the brain and the thalamus – the critical thinking centre.

The science shows the heart is sending much more neurological information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. The heart has an electromagnetic field, and this field can be sensed several feet outside the body.

Research shows that while negative emotions can create chaos of the nervous system and our emotions, positive emotions can bring order to the nervous system and to our emotions.

HMI refers to this heart rhythm “order” as coherence. Heart coherence is attained through controlling breathing patterns which subsequently act to coordinate the heart’s rhythm. Positive emotions can be added to the controlled breathing to increase our brain’s ability to make good decisions. This combination can even boost our immune system.

Coherence is a measurable state involving the coordinated alignment between heart, mind, and emotions. It is measured by looking at the heart’s beat-to-beat changes in rhythm known as heart rate variability (HRV).

With sustained positive emotions, we experience high coherence positively affecting our physiological, emotional, and mental wellbeing. With sustained negative emotions, we experience low coherence and disruption in our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. It is that simple.

So… enough of the science review.

I want to leave you with three (3) simple tools that you can practice, thus creating positive coherence in your life promoting a state of physiological, emotional, and mental balance.

Remember: these are practices.

Doing these once or twice isn’t going to cut it. To get the best mind-body “bang for your buck” you must develop the practice over months to years. If you do this, you will have simple tools at your disposal to help you through any stress life may throw at you.

Caveat: if you have health concerns that would prohibit you from performing these practices – don’t do them.

First, I want to teach you the core breathing pattern called “Heart-Focused Breathing”.

Sit in a comfortable position with hands resting on your lap. Now focus your attention around your heart and imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart/chest area. As you imagine this flow, slow your breathing and make the breaths deeper than usual. The ideal breathing pattern is approximately 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out for a total of approximately 6 breaths/minute. Practice this for a minute or two. As you become comfortable with this practice you can lengthen the duration to several minutes. Take notice of how this practice makes you feel. Take note of your heart rate. The research has shown that this breathing pattern is ideal for creating coherence – for shifting one from the stressful “fight/flight/freeze” mode of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxing mode of the parasympathetic system.

Second, I want to now teach you the “Quick Coherence Technique”.

Begin by initiating the “Heart-Focused Breathing” pattern above. Once you have settled into this coherence-generating rhythm now activate a positive or renewing feeling or attribute such as gratitude, appreciation, love, calm, etc. Take notice of how you feel as you practice this technique. With practice, you can use this technique “in the moment” in any situation that might typically lead to stress. By initiating this “Quick Coherence Technique” you can shift from a potentially depleting situation to one of renewal quickly.

Finally, I want to introduce you to the “Heart Lock-In Technique”.

As you have learned already, begin by initiating the “Heart-Focused Breathing” pattern and then shifting into the “Quick Coherence Technique” by adding the positive emotion or attribute. Now I would like you to practice actively radiating this positive emotion outward to all you encounter. As you practice this technique, take notice of your breathing and heart rate and rhythm. Take notice of your own emotions and of those with whom you engage while practicing this technique. This is a powerful renewing practice that can have amazing benefits for you and those with whom you come in contact. Remember, your heart has a magnetic field that extends several feet outside your body, and this can be sensed by others with whom you come in contact. Just like we are sensitive to people’s negative emotions, we can also sense positive emotions. Just imagine how different our world would be if we all practiced these simple actions.

So… there you have it.

I have provided you some basic review on negative and positive emotions and the connection between the heart, brain and emotions, and the concept of coherence. I have provided you with three simple techniques that can create a higher sense of coherence in your life and in the lives of those you encounter.

Now it is up to you to practice these techniques and utilize them for greater physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing for you and those around you.

I hope you find this helpful.

Peace,

Jim Ferguson

Both Sides Now… To E or Not to E

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Debate Time.

In one of my earlier lives, I acted as a volunteer judge for high school debates.

Not only were these verbal tangles fun to watch and listen to, but I got to see firsthand how amazingly bright many teenagers were in their ability to see an argument – any argument – from both sides.

In our polarized and polarizing world, wouldn’t we all benefit from this bold and openminded concept?

In 2016 I conducted my own little internal debate here on this blog site comparing E-readers to traditional books. I think I came to a stalemate in the end.

Today, once again, I’ll take on another “E” and debate myself on an issue that cycles around and rides across my face just about every day.

E-Bikes (Electric bikes). Yea or Nay?

E-bikes are becoming ubiquitous in my area. No matter where I am or where I’m going while riding my own regular bike, I see another “bike” fly past me at an impressive speed.

On the flat, downhill, uphill… ZOOM! ZOOM!… it doesn’t seem to matter.

The age or gender of the rider… doesn’t matter.

Rider size… small or large, again… doesn’t matter.

Honestly, I’m a traditional ten-speeder… a recumbent reactionary … a cycling snob… and so I’ll admit to some animosity while being passed by some smiling, non-sweaty, elderly rider.

I smile back pleasantly, all the while hissing 4-letter epithets under my breath.

WTH!? I’m gasping for air and you’re lazily dragging back on a cigarette?

I know I need to re-assess and adjust my thinking, so I’m going to make an attempt at fairness and look at this new technology with impartial eyes. Let’s go:

Are E-Bikes Good, Bad, or Just Ugly?

THE GOOD:

  • 1. Cycling is a more active form of transportation compared to walking, transit, or driving. E-bikes are like owning a hybrid car, sometimes gas (human) motor, sometimes electric motor.
  • 2. Enables you to reduce the number of auto trips. The earth has one less shot of global-warming-gas spewed. Our world thanks you.
  • 3. An E-bike takes you door to door.  You don’t have to walk from the nearest transit stop or parking garage. Just find a rack in front and lock your bike. 
  • 4. It’s still a workout. Maybe not at the same intensity as a regular bike, but if you’re not a regular cyclist, this is far better than no exercise.
  • 5. Enjoy riding equity when you ride with a faster friend. Everyone gets the speed they need and the workout they want.
  • 6. Conquer hills. This is a big plus for E-bikers, but also the one that drives me most crazy as a traditional cyclist who sweats and pants up the inclines.
  • 7. Haul a heavy load. You can carry a couch or refrigerator, ok, a loaded backpack, and not be exhausted by the extra weight.
  • 8. Arrive less sweaty and exhausted. If you commute to work, no need to spend your day in sweaty, stinky clothes like I used to. Your co-workers will love your E-bike for their own unscented benefit.
  • 9. Got a gimpy knee or nasty hip joint? An E-bike allows you to exercise despite physical limitations. This may be what it takes for us to attain our own Centenarian Olympics! 
  • 10. Save money. Depending on your appetite, the price of food fuel and bodily maintenance is hopefully lower than the price of fossil fuel and auto repairs. 
  • 11. A 2018 North American survey of 1,796 Electric Bicycle E-bike owners showed that their use leads to more cycling, which leads to better health. About 55% of the surveyed bike owners rode daily or weekly before owning e-bikes. After they switched to E-bikes, an impressive 91% of the surveyed bike owners cycled daily or weekly. 

THE BAD

  • 1. Can’t ride them everywhere. Many jurisdictions don’t allow E-bikes on mountain bike or hiking trails.
  • 2. Servicing E-bike specific components requires advanced skills. You’re on a more complicated piece of equipment that takes a higher level of knowledge and repair skills.
  • 3. More difficult to change a flat. A relatively simple procedure on a traditional bike takes on a new dimension with the hardware of the E-bike.
  • 4. Need a safe place to store and charge. If you don’t have a power source where you store your bike, you need to get a bike with an easily removable battery. With higher purchase costs, an e-bike is especially attractive to thieves. 
  • 5. Batteries need to be managed and monitored. The extra weight of an E-bike can become an issue if you’re 15 km. from home and your battery dies. Maybe one day we’ll have an Automobile (er, E-Bike) Association we can call for tire changes and towing.
  • 6. For younger kids and fitter adults, E-bikes remove some of the physical effort and exercise effect. I lean in to laziness. I know with myself that I’ll rely on a motor if it’s handy. This is similar to why I love automatic savings plans for retirement. I want to make it as easy as I can to save money… and also force myself to sweat!

THE UGLY

  • 1. Cost. Typically, because of the extra electrical components, an E-bike will be more expensive than a similar standard bike.
  • 2. Weight – those same electrical components, primarily a battery, will add about 40-50% weight to an E-bike versus a traditional bike.
  • 3. Safety on the road. The additional weight (and speed) of an E-bike might make maneuverability a bit more difficult and therefore slightly less safe.
  • 4. People might hate you because of the extra speed you can carry and sustain. Yup, this is me being pissed when passed with ease on an uphill stretch!

OK… the debate is up.

What do you think?

Despite my reservations, I get the appeal.

Reluctantly, I say … GOOD.

Baby boomers (and many others) like myself are flocking to the joys of bicycling with just a little added boost.

Ultimately, any physical activity is far better than NO activity. Our hearts and lungs and longevity (mental health too) will all be positively impacted by this new craze.

For today, I’m not ready to go and buy myself an E-bike yet, but I can see the day coming… the day when my joints or lungs say enough and…

… unlike the Hula Hoop, Bobby Socks, and Pet Rocks, I hope the E-bike will be out there as a permanent addition to our tool-chest of useful devices.

Ride, ride ride, let it ride…

Another Year of the Non-Marathon – 8 Anti-Pandemic Motivating Ideas for YOU…

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It’s spring, at least for us northern hemisphere’ites… and all feels blissfully… normal…

… the birdies are totally randy and twitterpated (way too many PDA’s! even PDF’s!)… houses are selling above asking price within milliseconds of being listed for sale… daffodils and snowdrops and daphne are all in sunny rainbow bloom …

Springtime, and the acacias are blooming”… (The Eagles)

… but of course, not EVERYTHING is normal, not anywhere, at least not on this small blue planet that Elon Musk is trying to escape. Dark ominous shades of COVID clouds persist, for a little while more anyways.

We’re all finding NEW adventures and new ways of doing things we love because many of the old adventures and old ways have been subtracted from our daily arithmetic.

Maybe you’ve made 5,000 sourdough loaves, or crocheted 75 doilies, or binge-watched Bridgerton sex-scenes 6 times, and ZOOM’ed 10,000 work meetings or chatted with family members…

… in my case, I’ve spent my COVID sabbatical year writing and recording probably a dozen new songs, which is WAY above my normal productivity.

Sure there have been changes, and I really do miss helping out at the soup kitchen, but… most of the things I love to do haven’t been profoundly affected by this year of closures and partial re-openings followed by more closures, and then more re-openings followed by… you get the idea.

However, the one thing that I’ve missed the most is external motivation.

I thrive on motivation which is why I’m constantly searching for mentors and leaders and thinkers who inspire me to get off my butt and JUST DO IT!

Once again this year, for the second year “running” (thank you COVID), I’m missing my spring Half Marathon race in Vancouver (first Sunday of May) that typically pushes me hard – physically and mentally hard – in training from January to May each year.

It’s a beautiful spring run – surrounded by 10,000 other crazies like me – with fresh, early morning ocean air, and gorgeous snowy mountain vistas that blunt the mountain of advancing pain in the waning kilometres of the race.

Training preparation is the motivational voice whispering in my head that tells me to run a little farther, a little faster. I’m the dog with his ear listening intently to his master’s voice on the RCA Victrola machine.

Now, if you’re a strong self-motivator and don’t need a looming deadline, I hereby award you a gold star and applaud your discipline and energy; I bow to you humbly.

You’ve already graduated and can leave the classroom now. But, if you’re at all like me and need a reminder and a push… especially in viral times like these…

… well, let’s work together and push ourselves forward until this pandemic is in our rear-view mirrors!

In the “tips and pushes” I’m listing below, I’ve largely focussed on physical exercise for my examples… but they can just as easily apply to gardening or reading, piano or sewing, or a hundred other pursuits that get your heart rate or enthusiasm gene excited…

*8 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Your Way Through A Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Pandemic*

  1. My biggest personal item… JUST start. Don’t wait and wonder when the motivation or inspirational moment will arrive. For me, the stimulus occurs when I decide to make it occur. It ain’t magic, it’s simple (but ironically difficult) perspiration and dedication.
  2. EAT the elephant one bite at a time. Sure, a terrible cliche, you say? So true. It’s super easy to be dissuaded from starting a big project because it’s … well… BIG! Broken down into a bunch of tiny steps, it’s amazing how the big can be tamed by focussing in on the small stuff and taking one teensy step after another. When I run a half-marathon, I don’t cross the start line with the entire 21.1 kilometres coursing through my head… instead I focus on one kilometre at a time… first kilometre goal in 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Kilometre 2, can I closely match the first kilometre time? When I reach the final 5 or 6 kilometres, my mind tells me to try and only slow by no more than 5 seconds per each kilometre. Yup, one bite or kilometre at a time.
  3. FIND your focus – it’s easy (so so easy) to be distracted by a dozen or more things on your TO-DO list. It takes a lot of discipline to narrow your focus and decide on the most important stuff to tackle. This is why I usually do my run training early in the day, so I’ve accomplished this and can let my TO-DO monster go wild for the remainder of the day.
  4. TALK up your ideas and desires – by sharing your goals and plans with others you build in a voluntary “peer pressure” system for yourself. Many of us like to show our relatives and friends that when we say we’ll do something, we follow through and do it. YOU have sticktoitiveness… YES!
  5. MUSIC – this works even when I’m looking to motivate myself to write… music! Listening to music we love has a magical power to excite, energize, and motivate us when we need a lift. Today, 30 years after I first heard it, John Parr’s song MAN IN MOTION (also the theme song for Rick Hansen’s wheelchair-around-the-world-tour to raise money for spinal injury research) still pushes me to go much harder than I would otherwise, when running a track interval training session. Music is a genie in a bottle that needs a release… if you only let it…
  6. FIND your competitive spirit – no, not in the way we normally think of competitiveness. The approach that I’m looking for here is the internal drive to go beyond what we have done before. Maybe a friendly competition with yourself to, for example, finish a boring or routine task. Repeating a single line of a guitar lick in practice literally 100 or more times isn’t always fun, but eventually carries me to where I want to be. The routine things are often what we have to surmount to get to the greatness of our overall goal. Call it a necessary evil.
  7. AVOID the ruts… yes, ruts can and will kill motivation. And ruts, like SH*T… happen. Change and variety can bring you a freshness and new approach to your task, so mix things up. Try varying what you do instead of just going through the motions. As an example, when preparing for a half marathon, I mix up my types of exercise so it’s not only running. I bike or swim, or play some soccer for the mental break away from only running. Try listening to music and podcasts that you usually don’t listen to. A refreshed mind is a good way to keep the enthusiasm up. Rah rah!!

  8. REWARDS – this is the super fun part. If you’re really looking forward to a nice reward after you’re done with a task or a project, then your motivation tends to go up. Tea or latte break. Exercise break. CBD or THC oil break. Cookie or ice cream break. Martini or Margarita break. One minute “self-appreciation” break. OK, a Bridgerton sex-scene break! During the half marathon run, I readily admit that I begin to hallucinate and fantasize about the food table set up after the FINISH banner… cookies, muffins, donuts, bananas, juices. Dangle those carrots *ahem, more like chocolate Larry* in front of your nose and celebrate to keep your motivation up.

Congratulations… we’re fired up and ready to get going. Let’s not let this golden moment pass us by while we await our “old” world – somewhere over the rainbow – to return…

My Life As A Bigoted, Elitist, Racist, Misogynist, Atheist

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Y

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ou could hate me. Maybe you should hate me.

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There is no doubt in my mind that I’ve done or said something in my lifetime that should enrage you… it’s inevitable that I’ve uttered undiplomatic comments about your gender, or sexuality, or ancestry, or intelligence, or religion.

I haven’t always been sensitive or “woke”. I can understand that you might hate me. I’ve had to erase many many words from my vocabulary that are laced with hidden, and often unintended, hatred.

I’ve lived the most privileged of privileged lives ever in history. I don’t have to buy a lottery ticket, because I won the biggest prize by merely being born a white-skinned male in North America in the 20th century. BINGO!

I’m a billionaire by universal standards of fortune. It’s both wonderful and challenging at the same time.

I’m living in a different world today than the one I was born into… and I’m adjusting and learning and trying… but I also know I’m living my days reading a road-map (without my reading glasses on) that doesn’t have clear cut directions.

In my early years, I said and did things that were hurtful and hateful and just plain stupid when I look back. Many people my age and in my circumstances did the same.

We echoed stuff our parents and grandparents said without understanding who we were mocking and knocking. I won’t give examples, but you probably know the kinds of things to which I’m referring.

It seems pretty clear to me now that making jokes about someone’s gender or sexuality or skin colour or religious beliefs – even hair colour – is crazy dumb and not helpful in any way.

Fortunately, my awareness factor has risen thanks to the resistance movements of Women’s Liberation, LGBTQ+, #MeToo, BLM, and a host of other trod-upon groups.

And yet… today I still get confused and make unintentional gaffes.

I know that no matter how much I try, I still stumble and hurt or offend. I take this for granted and carry the awareness or non-awareness around my neck like a scarf… one that tightens and restricts my breathing when I stray, and warms me when I’m on the right track.

The planet is growing smaller and smaller (metaphorically) and the privilege I was given as a birthright is one that everyone deserves no matter where they are born, no matter their skin colour or language, no matter their gender identification, no matter their choice of partner, no matter their belief or non-belief in a god.

I can’t change what I was or believed in my younger years, but today, we all can make a choice to accept and rejoice in the variety of humanity in much the same way I rejoice in eating delicious foods from India or China or Peru or France or even McDonald’s.

We ALL deserve a rightful and generous place in the world. At the very least, it’s a right we deserve to start out with and maintain if we live in a way that continues to earn this right. Does that make sense?

So, you can choose to hate me and I’ll get it.

But I’ll be a lot happier (and so will you I think) if you try… just try… to understand that I’m crawling, grasping my way out of this cocoon of ignorance, and will make slips and blunders as we wander this complex, cosmic road together.

I’m trying to leave my life as a bigoted, elitist, racist, misogynist, atheist behind… OK, perhaps not the atheist part!…

…and I will always wish for you and everyone the “billionaire” status I was given with my first crying breath, as a part of our birthright.

To Be A Millionaire by 35… NOT!

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Ay Ay Ay… I rocked my head in my hands.

It was a main course of gut punch accompanied with a side serving of humiliation and wounded pride. Nausea was my dessert.

I had just – overnight – lost about $25,000 on a publicly-traded company called YBM Magnex.

Not paper money, not Monopoly money… real money (or as real as the Canadian dollar gets).

I like money.

We should all like money to some degree… I know, I know, we could debate that degree until the cows come home… but I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.

YBM was a not-inconsequential part of my family’s net worth when this happened about 30 years ago. It was a great company with wonderful financials…

WAS! More on this later.

I “dig” financial numbers and have a pretty decent understanding of what makes a company worthwhile when I’m looking to buy a chunk. YBM was definitely worthwhile.

This investing stuff might not mean a whole lot in your world, but whether you’re young or not-so-young (like me), let’s try to get you engaged for your future.

……….

Ah the hubris of my youth.

I told everyone far and wide in my 20’s and early 30’s that I’d retire by 35 and live comfortably on the millions I had invested and flourished upon.

In my heart I knew the map with directions to take me to the Land of Milk and Honey.

Turns out it was a semi-fictional map that led me to the Land O’ Skim Milk and Artificial Sweeteners!

I’m not complaining, just noting the true course of my investing ventures and adventures.

The investments I’ve made over the years have by-and-large been good ones, but honestly, the mega-blockbusters (the pros call them 10-baggers) have passed me by… nope, in re-thinking this, I’ve passed them by.

My biggest problem as I look back now is not the quality of my research and purchases, it was the quality of my “gut-strength”.

BUY LOW, SELL HIGH… you and I have both heard this maxim a hundred, maybe a thousand times. It’s kinda like saying, BE BORN YOUNG, DIE OLD. Easy to say, harder to do, right?…

You only really have a choice on one end of either of these equations with certainty. LOW and YOUNG both begin at 0… HIGH and OLD have no upside limit (OK… maybe OLD does have a finite point, but remember, bibilical Noah lived to 950).

I’ve been quite good at buying LOW… then too often sold high… but not high enough.

When my winners rose 15 or 20%, I started to feel the hair on the back of my neck creeping upwards … way too often I’ve sold for a modest profit rather than holding on to quality companies and letting them do what they do best… keep growing and adding big profits for themselves… and by osmosis… to me!

Well-run companies with great management have a way of thinking through the tough stuff and finding ways to continue to prosper regardless of the toughness of any economy, year after year.

My advice to myself AND to YOU?

If you should find yourself fortunate enough to own a bit of companies like Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Disney, Amazon, or McDonald’s, hold onto them tightly unless something dramatic occurs that will wound them irreparably… otherwise cling to them as they find a way to renew and carry on making you money hand over fist. (Full disclosure: I own Apple, Disney and Amazon, but sold both J&J and McDonald’s much too early)

It’s a test of our self-belief and “gut-strength”.

GUT strength AND balls…

If I could start all over with a small sum of money that I wanted to grow to a large sum of money, I would show more patience and resolve when the tides of a slowing economy or a rising share price have caused me to sell too soon.

Trust my research would become my mantra.

I’m not Bill Gates, I’m not Elon Musk, I’m not Catherine Wood, I’m not Warren Buffett… but as Larry Green I resolve to hold on to the investment rope when it gets a bit slippery – to trust my choices and decisions in the investing world.

Right… Back to YBM Magnex… remember them?… here’s the rest of the story.

YBM was a solid-appearing company with wonderful assets and sales and profits in producing and selling rare earth magnets to the technology industry. But there were worrisome whispers…

After a strong report from an internationally-renowned auditing firm that gave a green light to the quality of the company’s reporting standards, I stayed on board despite the various reports of fraud and money laundering.

WRONG! Early one morning, the FBI burst through the front doors of the company and uncovered proof of Russian Mafia money-laundering. Poof! My investment dollars disappeared like feathers in a hurricane.

My research had been fine, but my trust in “reputable” auditing companies took a big hit… expensive lesson learned.

Markets are close to highs right now. Riding a market tide-swell is a rush.

They might rise more, or… they might tumble mightily. I have no idea which will be the next stage. My crystal ball has always been murky.

But I will do my best to stay strong and ride whatever waves come my way. We survived (sort of) a period of Trump, and I trust that we can get through the next wave of worry, whatever it might be.

I know the map and the directions, now comes the trusting part.

PS. Despite my braggadocio, I did NOT retire at 35. I’ll never truly retire, but I DID leave my long-term medical lab career behind on my 57th Birthday!

PPS. Just one more thing… I’ve been a fan-boy of Australian acoustic guitarist Tommy Emmanuel for a few years (I have tickets to see him in-person once the pandemic undoes the handcuffs!). Stay Close To Me, the instrumental guitar piece I recorded (below) was written by Emmanuel… I use him as a source of incentive and motivation to work away at my guitar skills. If I can capture 25% of his skills, I will possess a million stars in my eyes (and fingertips)!

My Very Early Letter to Santa

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VROOM VROOM… I’d love to be a hybrid. All muscle, no fat.

Like my car, a Toyota Camry that switches back and forth between battery power and fossil fuel… a mix of all the eco-goodness with only a wee tiny snippet of the deplorable. Nothing’s perfect, yes?

What I’m getting at here is that while I appreciate ALL of my wonderful, amazing positive points – far too many to count in a short blog post (“Larry, people are sick of hearing about how humble you are”) -, like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof wishing to be a rich man, or the Barenaked Ladies wanting a Million dollars (really? a million? only? amateurs!)…

… I’d like to Super-Size myself and morph into a superhero in all areas of my personal humanity.

Let’s go for a different version of Super-Size…

This could be a major makeover…

Areas such as:

  • physique-wise
  • intelligence
  • business/finance
  • compassion
  • philosophy
  • lover
  • fighter
  • musician
  • writer
  • philanthropy
  • teacher
  • learner…

Obviously, I’ll need help here (no need to nod your head in agreement!)

But who do I know with the power to transform me?

Tony Robbins is booked until 2027, Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern are tied up fighting the COVID threat, Oprah charges too much, even the Google doesn’t know God’s cell number or postal code.

BRAINSTORM!

Maybe a carefully-worded begging letter to Santa would do the trick. This is his downtime so the time to ask is now…

Santa is mystically powerful (his sleigh runs on hybrid reindeer) and knows all about me, he even sees me when I’m sleeping and knows when I’m awake. This is Idea Sex in its finest form.

My fingers are crossed… let’s put this missive together:

Dear Great Omnipotent Father Claus:

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Larry here… How are YOU? I am fine. How’s the Ms. and the People of Diminished Stature?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you.

It’s long overdue but firstly… I’m sorry about the letter of complaint I sent you in January 1962 when you brought me a Casper the Friendly Ghost doll instead of the GI Joe action figure I specifically asked you for, while sitting on your lap in the Centre Mall in Hamilton. It was a child’s rash outburst that I’ve felt really badly for all of these years. I hope you’ve found it in your heart to forgive me and refrain from shifting me onto the NAUGHTY list.

Still, I’ve been a huge admirer of yours since… well… since, forever. Will Ferrell sends his best too!

You’ve brought joy and happiness to billions of us mere humans, and never once been found to have diddled with children, or swindled grocery money out of grandmas, or instigated a violent riot against any government (you weren’t involved in the Cabbage Patch caper, right?).

I know it’s early in the Christmas Wishlist year but I kinda need your help.

I’m just a simple, modest, super humble guy. During these viral days I’m trying my best to make myself into a better, stronger, and smarter version. Vitamin C and Viagra have only taken me so far.

I’ve been thinking about all the people out there that excel in realms and spheres whom I admire and look up to.

As a perfect example Santa, I am in awe and desirous of your generous spirit and jolly good mirth, but sorry to say, I don’t want your “bowlful-of-jelly” tummy. I want the very best of my heroes without their drawbacks, I have plenty of those already.

You probably need to get back to your late-winter nap, so this is the crux of my note. Here’s what I’d like you to send my way ASAP with many thanks Mr. Big…

In no specific order, I’d like a teaspoon or 2 of the supernatural pixie dust from each of the following:

    • the physical prowess, mental strength, and skills of Jesse Owens, Patrick Mahomes, Clara Hughes, and Wayne Gretzky
    • the writing chops of Stephen King, Aaron Sorkin, John Steinbeck, and Nora Ephron
    • the investing acumen of Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch and Catherine Wood
    • the compassion genes of Mahatma Ghandi, Terry Fox, Harriet Tubman, and my Mom
    • the intellectual capacity of Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and Yuval Noah Harari
    • the philanthropic know-how of Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, MacKenzie Scott, and Priscilla Chan
    • the oration skillset of Pete Buttigieg, Stephen Lewis, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama
    • the balls of Elon Musk, Greta Thunberg, Steve Jobs, and the Chess girl from The Queen’s Gambit
    • the music magic of Tommy Emmanuel, Keith Urban, James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin, the Eagles, The Beach Boys

Thanks for helping me in my quest for perfection.

Oh… one last small thing… Do you think you can do something about this nasty virus so little kids don’t need to be nervous about going to school, or visiting their grandparents?

Is my list too much?

Well, just do the best you can and I’ll put whatever you can’t manage this year on next year’s list, OK? Delayed gratification is a virtue…

Mr. Claus… I think you’re the best… they should make you a Saint… too late?.. how about a movie? that too? for sure a bubblegum card… well deserved Big Guy!

Sincerely, your little friend, Larry

PS. Virginia O’Hanlon, as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, was surely right to look up to you.

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