Monthly Archives: April 2014

Lifelong Learning

Whether we try or not, we learn through our experiences every day. Some of us not only experience life each day, but we strive to learn more and more as each day goes by. The quantity of learning is not important, but the fact that we further our education, our knowledge, and our skills every day adds life to our living.
I am a voracious reader and avid learner. I am a curious creature. Even simple things like learning a tip for Excel or using an Excel formula that I hadn’t previously used is a cause for excitement. I do a lot of data compilation at work and sometimes that can get quite boring. When it does get boring, I like to listen to TED radio or listen to TED and TEDx presentations on my smart phone. I prefer TED radio, though, because I never know what subject I will hear next.
Lately, I have been reading lots of materials on nutrition. I find the chemistry and the intelligence of our body and its cells absolutely fascinating. My target subjects change from time to time, again, keeping life interesting.
Albert Einstein once said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Michel Legrand said, “The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.” I wholehearted agree with Michel on this one. There is so much that can be learned. That is why I am excited that we have the internet. It is like having every library in the world at your fingertips.
I am not a scholar, but I have a great deal of respect for those who are. They can, at times, spend their entire life seeking to fully understand a subject. Their passion impresses me. It convinces me that certain subjects are so remarkable that even lifetimes are not enough to truly grasp them, subjects such as cosmology, religious writings, and even how our own body and brain works. Julia Child said “You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
I hope that you take the opportunity to learn as much as possible but anything that might interest you. It keeps you young. I truly believe that. It keeps our brains active. It keeps us curious. It makes us more than our experiences.

Choosing Stress

Stress can be both good and bad. When people read or hear the word stress, they usually think of the bad type of stress, at least I do. Do we choose stress? Not on purpose, I don’t think. We tend to react to stress, thus making an automatic choice to allow the stress to rule over us. Although we cannot choose what happens to us each day, we can choose our response to those stresses. Some situations are really unavoidable for us.
For instance, on my way to work, I can have a great ride but often there are traffic obstacles. I can let these delays upset me or I can just accept that these things are inevitable. I realize that I cannot control the universe and that things will happen no matter how much I might wish they would not.
Too often we react to stress as a victim and suffer through it. In reality, it usually is a waste of time to be upset. It generally steals your joy and prevents opportunities for moving forward. Allowing stress to eat at us eventually takes its toll. Stress can cause many problems in our bodies, Continuing stress can affect: your weight;, your mental health; increase your blood pressure; raise your cholesterol; headaches; stresses your immune system; and your digestion.
We can take steps to alter the situation or take steps to change the situation. We can realize that we might not be able to change it so we accept it and try to learn from it. And if possible, we can try to avoid it. These are all ways we can respond to stress. Each one of these responses will vary in success depending on the nature of the stress.
I would rather choose peace whenever I can. Most of the stresses are beyond my control. I realize that most of it isn’t even directed at me, I just happened to get in the way. My most recent stressor involves not knowing what is going to happen with my work. But not knowing isn’t always bad. Whatever happens, there will be something to follow. What might look like an ending might be the beginning of a new adventure.
“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.” – Pema Chodron
Sometimes stresses are hard to avoid and we choose to stay with the situation or the persons who stress us. This might be a job situation or even a loved one. We need to examine what we can learn, decide what we can do, and maybe even have to make the difficult decision to remove ourselves from the situation or grin and bear it.  It isn’t always  a sign of weakness to move away from a bad situation, it can be a act of great strength and resolve. It might even open the door to a new and wonderful adventure.
There is sometimes no easy choice, but in the end, we still get to choose how we respond to stress, even when we don’t think we are choosing.