Have you ever had someone repeat something totally crazy that you said but can’t remember saying at all. When I was 15 I made a quote. “People are like Oreo’s: The cookie is the body and the filling is the soul. It just depends which part you eat first” I have no clue WTHeck that means and I really don’t remember saying it originally. I’m sure some super-intelligent person somewhere, made some super-profound remark about how the mind/body/soul is like are garden, which needs to be tended to be maintained.
In my opinion it’s important to have mental stimulation in a lot of different ways. As it was recently discussed on Poor Richard’s Almanac, in their post about shrinking brain power (“Not as smart as we think“) we don’t use all parts of our brain at once. We use different parts for different tasks. Senses, feelings, impulses, self-control, etc….. Mental stimulation isn’t just about keeping your mind nimble, it’s about entertaining yourself, experiencing a variety of things throughout the day. It’s important for widening your world view and for enriching interpersonal relationships, (how long would you last with someone can’t hold your interest, or who can’t carry a conversation on your level?).
When we do meaning-less work to make a living, like data entry, braining numbing activities — mental stressers, we need to sit back at the end of the day and just shut off completely. How else can I explain why intelligent people like me can tolerate shows like Real Housewives, just for example.
Here’s what has been on my mental simulation and self-cultivation list.
I don’t usually recommend movies that make me cry, but this is one powerful, mind-blowing film. It won a 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary and Viewer’s Choice at 2009 Sundance Festival. This documentary has a feeling of international espionage, following an undercover team, lead by the former trainer of Flipper, as they attempt to destroy the dolphin market he helped create, by exposing mass dolphin slaughter in a secret high-security cove in a Japanese town that is not as pristine as it seems. The team is continuously followed by civilian cars, yet they manage to plant hidden high-tech cameras that capture what really happens in the cove. If you’re a fan of Whale Wars, this is a must see, it really shows just how far the corruption goes, from school lunches containing dolphin meat, to bribing third-world nations to support whaling. It’s a ghastly film, not for the faint of heart. It’s the kind of thing that stays with you for a long, long time.
Two of our long time favorites, Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, join their mighty and monstrous powers to bring us the food documentary to end all food documentaries, the documentary that will surly make you never never eat food again — unless it ‘s grown by a local farmer or in a field you tend yourself. Just kidding, but it will make you count your lucky stars, or socks, or whatever, that you became a vegetarian when you did. You’ve heard about chickens that grow so fast they can’t stand up, can’t breathe, and their organs can’t support their overgrown bodies, well, now you get to see that and all the horror that goes along with it. I have to say the first 30 minutes is the most graphic and horrible, particularly the chicken footage. As you would expect from the two authors, they go on to explore the meatpacking and slaughter industry, illegal immigration, subsidies, corporate corruption, agribusiness, and a good portion is devoted to the…. shall we say…. a certain corporation who must not be named but begins with the letter M? right……them…..How they make it impossible for a small one-man seed-threshing operation to legally operate. How the big corporations begin lawsuits they can’t win just to make a point. It’s a sickening, sickening, scary film and seems to be virally popular in the blogosphere with the Real Food Challenge and lots of other good publicity.
Meanwhile DH has been starting his Tai Chi again. Tai Chi isn’t just a martial it, it combines a lot of different skills for a work out that is aerobic, uses natural body weight, helps with coordination, and improves the chi flow. There are a ton of instructional videos on you-tube. Just go to the site and search tai chi short form. I’m not so good at taking my own advice, after all I did have a daily yoga practice that I pretty much abandoned. It’s never to late to pick up something new or become re-interested in something you already do or did.
I’ve recently been dealing with a lot of questions that really challenge one’s self-worth. I’ve been looking for a job locally, since before the holidays, but I haven’t even received one call back……that’s really hard. I try to console myself, by considering all the other people who weren’t called back, people who have more of an obligation to support their families, even children.
It’s okay knowing that you didn’t get a job that you felt neutral about, but when it’s a job you are very qualified for and really really want(ed) and can see yourself being great at. That’s the hardest. It makes you consider the old adage, “it’s not what you know but who you know.” Even when you think of all of these “truths” it is hard to reconcile it all with your ego….
This economy can be really difficult on a lot of personal levels, zapping your motivation, killing your ego, stressing your relationships with constant financial worries. Now is the time to turn that around into something positive. If you’ve seen “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, one of the central themes is about turning job loss into a time for personal growth, rediscovering what you really wanted to do. Everyday we come up with excuses to put off things that we’ve wanted to accomplish. Why not make time for things we want to do? Ya know write that novel you’ve always dreamed about, start a workout routine, and all that jazz. Self-cultivation is about increasing your self-worth and felling great about everything you are, and knowing that another door will open and another opportunity will come along.