Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knowledge is life enhancing

Knowledge is power, knowledge is life enhancing and I can assure you, ignorance is NOT bliss! Our brains and minds are optimised for creativity and learning. When we stop learning we stop really living. So embrace a life enhancing love for learning in your life!

Research on neurogenesis has now shown that learning stimulates the growth of new neurons. You can actually increase your brain power through learning. Research has also shown that the neural pathways through which we learn about the world tap into the same pleasure networks in the brain activated by sexuality and drugs. Learning actually produces a physical and psychological ‘high’.

So learning can be fun! Learning can be filled with pleasure! It opens you up to new opportunities. It gives you greater knowledge and skill, providing more choice and control in life. We are in a time of massively accelerating change. Learning helps keep you on the leading edge of that change.

Enhance your life by filling it with learning and on-going personal development. Read books, go on courses, take up new hobbies, gain new skills. Expand your creativity and your horizons. There’s so many fascinating new things to learn about. Enhance your life by embracing the opportunity to learn!



So what will you do? Think about it now. What new thing could you inspire yourself to start learning? What short course could you do? What non-fiction book could you read? What could you google and learn about right now?

Do something now that increases your learning and knowledge, because knowledge really is life enhancing!


Here's some fascinating learning about your brain and neurogenesis:

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

For years the doctrine of neuroscientists has been that the brain is a machine: break a part and you lose that function permanently. But more and more evidence is turning up to show that the brain can rewire itself, even in the face of catastrophic trauma: essentially, the functions of the brain can be strengthened just like a weak muscle.




Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves

This book is a fascinating and convincing account of recent discoveries in brain neuroplasticity (i.e. its `pliability') even into old age, and the amazing implications of such discoveries.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Heart Coherence

Today I'm going to introduce you to an incredible Life Enhancing Device (LED) called the emWave. It's a biofeedback tool that you can use to powerfully control your heart coherence and therefore reduce stress and fill you heart, mind and life with positive, peaceful calm.

The effects of stress are largely due to the sympathetic nervous system’s response to perceived threat. Our autonomic nervous system is comprised of two sub-systems – the sympathetic system which is responsible for the fight and flight response; and the parasympathetic system whose role is to bring your brain and body back into homeostasis, into balance.

As you know, your gut and heart both have a brain. Each has a large independent chunk of neural tissue that acts like a little brain, taking in and processing information from your environment and responding to protect you. When the heart and enteric (gut) brains perceive a threat, they kick the sympathetic system into action and your heart starts beating faster, adrenalin and cortisol are released and all the physical stress responses fire up. It’s nature’s way of helping you get ready to fight or run.


If you looked at your beat to beat heart rate when you are in a stress response, when you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, you'd see a very unhealthy jagged graph as your heart speeds up and slows down and speeds up again, erratically racing to ready you for fighting or flighting. Conversely, when you are calm and in balance, when your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are in balance, your heart beat traces a very smooth sine wave like curve. You can see this in the graph below, which is a screen shot from a HeartMath monitor, of my heart when I was meditating. Notice how smooth the graph is.



The measure of how smooth and evenly repetitive your heart beat is, is called Heart Coherence. It's a mathematical measure and indicates how balanced your autonomic nervous system is. It's also correlated with heart health and with a decreased stress response. So the higher the coherence score, the better it is, and the better you feel.

You can learn to bring your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems into balance and calm your head, heart and enteric brains down through a technique called the ‘heart-breath’. This is a way of focussing and breathing that sends powerful messages to your whole cybernetic loop and increases your heart coherence so that your heart, body and mind remain healthy and resilient. Given the usefulness and importance of this technique as a mechanism to control your mind/body in a very powerful way, I'm going to describe it in detail in this blog entry. Before I do though, I'm going to tell you about the emWave LED.

http://tinyurl.com/heartmath-special

You can now buy a fantastic bio-feedback tool from the heartmath.com organisation that helps you learn and reinforce your skills in heart-breathing and easily allows you to see just how much heart rate coherence you are generating. I highly recommended owning and using this tool to enhance your life and happiness.The tool is called the emWave. It's a small portable device that allows you to see at a glance what your heart coherence is. It has a breathing pacer function that helps you to pace your heart breathing and a number of modes and functions to help you learn to increase your heart coherence. You can also buy a PC based version that shows you the second by second graph of your heart rate along with your coherence score and cumulative coherence score. It comes with a number of games to help you learn in a fun way to become more coherent, calm and balanced.

(And no, in case you are wondering, I have no shares or affiliation with the Heartmath organisation whatsoever, I simply think their tools and systems are Life Enhancing Devices and I’ve been using and recommending them for a number of years now. Their tools are powerful and in my experience really do work to help you quickly learn to control your autonomic nervous system responses.)

The thing I like about LED's like the emWave, is they allow you to use modern technology to learn quickly and amplify positive skills and states in your life - they are life enhancing! They cost relatively little, yet provide large positive returns in the quality of your life. They also provide objective measures of how well you are doing in controlling your mind/body. I really can't recommend highly enough that you invest in enhancing your life and gain the benefits of biofeedback technology. And now, let me share with you the details of the heart-breath technique, which you can use with or without the amplifying effects of biofeedback.

Heart-Breath
  1. Imagine your breath coming in and going out through the area around your heart, in the center of your chest. Make each in-breath and out-breath last about 5 to 6 seconds.
  2. As you continue to breath through your heart, recall a fun, loving or positive time in your life: A favourite friend, a special vacation a deeply loved person or something you adore. Fully re-experience and hold this positive feeling in your heart as you continue to breath through your heart.
  3. Notice the emotional, mental and physical shift that occurs as your heart coherence increases and your autonomic system comes into balance.
That's it. Three easy steps that can be done free of charge, any time, any place, and no batteries required.


wishing you life enhancing balance,
smilings, Grant


And in case I've inspired you to buy yourself or someone you love the gift of an emWave:

emWave Personal Stress Reliever

http://tinyurl.com/heartmath-special


The Heart's Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy



The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath's Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart's Intelligence



From Chaos to Coherence (The Power to Change Performance)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pampering your self

You deserve to be pampered! Indeed, even more than that – you require pampering. It’s life enhancing, healthy and rewarding to enjoy a good pampering, a relaxing massage, a sublime facial, a life enhancing session of caring self indulgence.


Too often, we are bombarded with messages from society that pampering is wrong or sinful. That we don’t really deserve it. That it’s a sign of weakness. These messages are rubbish!

Pampering is about experiencing human touch and caring. Pampering is about support. It’s a reward for being alive. It stimulates your immune system. It supports feelings of warmth and lovingness which in turn heal the heart and mind.

Pampering is a celebration of being alive and enjoying the sensuousness of life. Cherish your body. Pamper it with massages and spa treatments. Have a hand, foot or scalp massage. Relax back into a warm scented bath. Surround yourself with candles and gentle sounds.

Feel good about your pampering. Every human deserves it!

Your health and balance require you to enjoy and stimulate your senses and every part of your body. This gentle, pleasurable stimulation sends messages to your heart-brain and gut-brain and brings balance to your autonomic nervous system. Pampering provides parasympathetic signaling and buffers against stress.

Make pampering a regular part of your wellness and health maintenance. A healthy mind requires a healthy body. So give yourself the life enhancing gift of joy and pleasure.

Positive psychology has scientifically shown that positive feelings and emotions produce spirals of mental and physical well-being. You truly do deserve and require a deliciously life enhancing pampering. So schedule one in right now!!!


wishing you much life enhancing wellness,
smilings, Grant

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life Enhancing Dreams

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

Without dreams
, what is life?

Our dreams and desires create our life. They lead us to our goals and outcomes and ultimately inspire us to create the life we live. At least they do when we put life enhancing actions to our dreams.

“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.”

There’s so much that’s important to explore and understand here. So let’s dig deeper…


Dreaming Big Dreams

Dreams come from your heart’s desire. They’re motivated by your values and strengths. What is important to you? What do you value? The first step in dreaming big and inspiring dreams is to work out and get clear on your values.

You know we have a fully functioning brain in our heart – a ‘heart-brain’. Neuroscience has recently discovered that we actually have a functioning system of neural tissue consisting of over 40,000 neurons in our heart. This heart-brain connects to our head-brain and other body systems and integrates information and sends messages out across our mind and body.

There is wisdom in your heart – in your heart-brain. Your heart is the seat of your desires and many of your emotions. Learn to tune into its signals and messages. Trust your heart. Ask it:

“what will make me happy and fulfilled?”

and then listen and look for the answers it provides. It will tell and show you your dreams and yearnings. And as it does, write them up on a Dreamlist. Create a list of all the things you dream about and want – a list of what’s important and inspires you. Make a collage of photos and pictures from magazines of these things. Make it beautiful. Put it up on the wall as a poster of dreams.

Notice also whether the things you’re dreaming about are based on ‘shoulds’ versus ‘desires’. Society, family and culture fill your head with generalisations and stereotypes about what’s right and what you ‘should’ want and do in your life. Some of these ‘shoulds’ are useful, but some are restrictive and will dampen and minimise your life - they are life denying rather than life enhancing.

Question all your rules, beliefs and ‘shoulds’. Make sure your dreamlist is truly filled with what you want for your life, with what will motivate and inspire you. Remember it’s the life you lead – it’s your life and you might want to dream BIG and amazing dreams and then lead yourself in achieving them.


Dreams versus Outcomes

Here’s an important distinction: dreams are not outcomes.

Yes, that’s right, there’s a huge difference between dreams and outcomes. Dreams are those things that you desire and would love to have or do in your life. But making dreams into reality takes time, effort, money and resources. Not all dreams can come true.

For a start, some dreams are incompatible with others. I’d love to spend my life traveling the world, not living in any one place, just wandering like a gypsy from experience to experience. I’d also love to live quietly and peacefully on a mountain retreat. Living and meditating in a cave, living an austere and transcendent existence. But then, I also dream of living in a city like Tokyo or London, filled with people and life and adventure and stimulus. I can’t live all three dreams at once. They don’t match. And of course, your dreams don’t have to match. They don’t have to be sensible. That’s what outcomes are for.

You need to begin by prioritising your dreamlist. Given the time limited lifetime we have and given the cost/risk/benefits involved in achieving your various dreams, which dreams would you most like to live first? What is the one dream you’d choose if you could only choose one? What would the next one be? What sequence do you want to achieve your dreams in? Prioritise your list.

Now, let’s talk about outcomes. Outcomes are those things that you are actively working towards achieving in your life. They’re the goals, plans and results that you’re making happen in your life. Outcomes set directions that you action. And according to NLP, for success in life you need to set well-formed outcomes. A well-formed outcome is one that:

  • Is positive, worded positively and says what you want rather than what you don’t want.
  • Is specific and behaviourally measurable – you can see, hear and feel what it would be like to have achieved the outcome.
  • Is self-initiating and self-maintaining – only relies on yourself, not on others.
  • Is supported by positive beliefs.
  • Is ecological – has no negative consequences to you or the people you relate with or the systems in which you live.
  • Is sufficiently resourced – you have all the resources, money, time and skills you need to achieve the outcome.
  • Doesn’t have anything that can prevent it – it’s physically possible and you can overcome any obstacles.
  • Is linked to and motivated by a clear purpose and set of values.

You see, the way to work with dreams and outcomes is to keep dreaming big dreams, making a prioritised list of them and then when you are ready, moving your dreams one at a time into becoming clear and well-formed outcomes.

Once you have set an outcome, use the NLP Success Formula to make the outcome happen. Remember, the Success Formula is:

  1. Clearly know your Outcome – know exactly what you want and ensure your outcome is well-formed, that it’s positive, achievable, believable and ecological.
  2. Take positive Action – congruently and wholeheartedly take action to achieve your outcome.
  3. Learn from Feedback – use your sensory acuity to determine if your actions are moving you closer or further away from your outcome. There’s no such thing as failure, just great feedback, cause if what you are doing is not moving you closer to your outcome then you need to perform the next step –
  4. Flexibility – change and adjust your behaviour (step 2) till you move closer to your outcome.

To know which dreams to make into outcomes do a cost/risk/benefit analysis of each dream at the top of your list. Grab a piece of paper and put 3 columns on it, then list each of the Costs, Risks and Benefits that the dream entails. Note that costs include more than money – there are costs in time, effort and the loss of other things that achieving the dream will cost you. Note also the distinction between ‘risk’ and ‘risky’. Some things are risky – that is, they involve risk that cannot be mitigated or controlled. Other experiences have associated risks, but these can be controlled.

For example, rock climbing using a rope and protection has an element of risk that is controlled by how much protection you use and how well you place it. Free climbing with no rope, no partner and no protection is risky. You just don’t know what is going to happen and have no mitigation against accidents and harm. If a rock dislodges and causes you to fall or be knocked unconscious then you suffer the fatal results. If you used a rope and protection to control the risk, an accident will merely leave you dangling from the rope and able to be lowered so you can climb another day. It’s important to ensure that your dreams are not risky before you move them to outcomes.

Once you’ve analysed the cost/risk/benefits of your dreams you can decide which ones are worthwhile turning into outcomes. Then think them through clearly to ensure they are well-formed and redesign them or fine-tune them until they are. Now you’re ready to take action. And that’s where being gutsy comes in.


Doing Gutsy'ness

Just like we have a brain in our heart, we also have a brain in our gut – it’s called the ‘enteric brain’, and consists of a functioning neural system of over 100 Millions neurons that thinks and communicates with the other brains in our body and head.

Being ‘gutsy - doing gutsy'ness - involves aligning your gut with your heart and your head. The gut-brain is attuned to fear and danger and is used to evaluate and prepare for risk. It’s also the seat of courage, strength and determination.

To help yourself do ‘gutsy'ness’ – to have the courage to make your dreams into outcomes and then live them – you can use your heart-brain to talk to your enteric-brain and get all of your brains aligned.

You do this by thinking of times and situations in which you’ve been positive, strong and courageous. Fill your heart with positive, strong and loving feelings. Amplify and centre those feelings. Breathe them into your heart and chest. Then when you are really feeling the positive heart feelings, move them slowly down into your gut. You’ll experience an amazing flow of strength and motivation in the pit of your stomach, across your torso. Some people feel it as a warmth or a tingling or an uplifting sense of positive courage.

This is how you build courage in yourself. It’s how you flood your life with the passion and strength to live your dreams. Hold your dreams on high. Make them into compelling and inspiring outcomes. Align your head, heart and gut. And move yourself forward into an enhanced life of loving and fulfillment.


Invest in your Self

It is the life you lead! So lead it well. Invest in enhancing your life and your future. Build up your knowledge and skills. Determine your strengths and then build on them. Focus your life. Gain as many and as varied experiences as you can. Educate yourself. The more you invest in your self and your life, the more you’ll be able to live life enhancing dreams. Life is a wondrous adventure and there is nothing like living an amazing dream to create an amazing future now.



Wishing you awesome, life enhancing dreams!
smiles, Grant



And here's some great books to help you dream BIG dreams and put them into action...


"Live Your Dreams... Let Reality Catch Up helps you discover who you are, what really motivates you and provides you with the knowledge and tools for you to choose what you want in life."





21 Days To Creating Your Dream Life

"This empowering book shows how changing the way a person thinks can radically transform their life; it is an excellent guide to help get anyone on the path to creating success and abundance. It is a step-by-step inspirational guide with real life examples to leave a powerful and lasting impact in the readers mind. It takes the reader through the necessary steps to start changing their thoughts and beliefs so they can achieve their dream life. You will learn more about how your perceptions control everything you see and hear, while providing useful life tools to create a better life."




You Can If You Think You Can: Rebound From Adversity And Follow Your Dreams

"Our true worth comes not from what others may think or say about us, but from what we believe about ourselves. Hope, encouragement, motivation and practical strategies to overcome adversity, rebuild self-esteem and fulfill one’s most cherished Dream goals is what this book is all about. It will change your attitude and change your life."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Experiencing the World


We live and experience the world through our 5 senses – indeed, we make ‘sense’ of the world through them. The more distinctions and exquisite awareness we can make through our senses the more life enhancingly we can live. Sense-uality is your ability to use your senses, to revel in them, to embrace them and the world through each and every one of your senses.


Western society has a love-hate relationship with sensuality. At one extreme, it is denigrated and seen as a selfish, frivolous waste of time. At the other extreme, the rich and famous invest incredible amounts of time, money and resources indulging in stimulating their senses and sensuality. They pamper themselves, and the rest of us look on with envy.


So what’s this all about?

Why is there such guilt and conditioning around sensuality?

Sensuality is linked strongly to pleasure. It’s also linked to sexuality. There is a fine line between sensuality and sexuality. Stimulating your senses brings you alive. It expands your awareness. It enhances your life. It allows you to connect with the world, with other people and with various parts of your own multi-mind.

Unfortunately, the Judaeo-Christian philosophy that the western world is mired in, sees sexuality and therefore sensuality as evil and sinful. This is a paradigm of coercion and control that is more about ensuring people live programmed lives in obeisance of the central authority of the church and those in political power. It is opposed to personal freedom, to personal understanding and does not encourage free thinking or the questioning of the rules and social moirés.

When you love your life sensationally, you realise and desire more freedom, choice and personal power. It’s your life, so live it well and live it in your own way. Find and follow your own destiny, not the proscribed behaviours of a societally controlled existence.

One of the keys to living a great and enhanced life is therefore to embrace your sensuality. Develop each of your senses and your ability and experience and explore the world through them. Increase your awareness to make distinctions with every sense. Let go and relax into your senses. Reprogram your habitual ways of using (or limiting) your sensing of the world – your sensuality – by doing adventures that stimulate your senses. Really celebrate and revel in your senses and sensuality. Look for what is sensuous and accept it into your life.

Of course, control and balance is vital for wondrous living. So ensure that your sensuality is balanced and grounded. Stimulate your life but don’t over-stimulate. Find the bliss-point, the sweet spot that adds value to your life’ing rather than takes away. A glass of great wine can really add to a delicious meal; a flagon of wine indulged beyond sensibility will leave you hung-over and degraded with no memory of the meal it was consumed with.

Surround yourself with beauty. Listen to uplifting music. Use aromatherapy and incense to scent your life with wonderful fragrances. Light scented candles of an evening to combine the delight of flickering ambient light with the stimulation of perfume. Step away from family rules and stereotypes to find new ways to evoke your senses. Art, photography, food, clothing, fantasy – love your self in new ways, pamper and pleasure your world with new experiences. Let go of any societally conditioned feelings of guilt about sensuality and instead embrace a life enhancing attitude of being proactive and explorative with your senses.

Your sensuality is a deep expression of your joy in being your self. So open your self to the world, accept your body through your senses and be life enhancingly ‘sensible’. You really only ever experience the world through each of your senses, so enhance your life more sensationally and you’ll gain a sense of self you could only otherwise dream about.




Sensationally yours,

Grant :-)



Some sensational reading you may enjoy:

“A meditation on sensory experience that weaves personal experiences with history, science, philosophy and theology for a wide-ranging approach to our centuries-old but undissipated curiosity about the origins of pain and pleasure…. An erudite work.”




Come to Your Senses is a unique approach that can change your life. These simple techniques may even save your life!”




“In Meta-Magick, Philip Farber combines traditional ritual sensibilities with contemporary concepts of neuro-linguistics.”




“Professor Lingis shows how new conceptions of sensation, sensibility, sensuality, and susceptibility enable us to discover the intelligibility of our sensuous environment.”



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Loving your mind

"The key to success is to focus our mind on things we desire not things we fear."
Brian Tracy

As I've said in a previous blog entry, television, newspapers and the media exist to make money. They do this by focusing on FUDGE – Fear, Uncertainty, Disaster, Greed and Envy – in order to grab your attention and influence you both through editorial and advertising. They take existing negative values and amplify them.

Because of evolved processes and mechanisms in the neural patterning system of the brain, we are strongly attentive to danger and negative stimuli. The media makes use of these processes and mechanisms to garner your awareness and attention. They celebrate fear and failure. Good news is NO news. Papers are filled with disaster and despair.

The Research is in...

There is a huge body of research showing the influence of television and video on human behaviour. The preponderance of evidence from more than 3,000 research studies over two decades shows that violence portrayed in the media influences the attitudes and behaviour of those who watch it.

Television is filled with violence and aggression. For example, an American Psychological Association report on television showed that by the time the average child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed at least 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other assorted acts of violence on television.

This is not something you would subject your loving self to when you give yourself the gift of life enhancing!

We become what we focus on...


We become what we focus on, and we’re influenced by the messages and environment around us. Television sends a mixed bag of messages, the majority of which are negative and filled with stereotypes of selfishness, greed, demeaning sexuality and shallow values. Are these the messages you want to imprint in your unconscious mind? No!

The great personal development motivator Zig Zigler says that we are all:
SNIOP – Susceptible to the Negative Influences of Other People”.
We are social beings and our brains are optimised for tracking and responding to the behaviours and social messages of others.

Television and the media present distorted views of others; they show us either the worst of human behaviour to which we either become desensitised or have our innate ‘out-group’ fears amplified, or they show us the very small percentage of special, ‘beautiful’ people – ultra-thin fashion models or ultra-rich greed models.

None of these are healthy messages for your mind. None of these are healthy messages for life enhancing.

I stopped following the media...

I well remember the day I decided to stop buying and reading newspapers. I was doing my Masters degree in Applied Physics. A National newspaper had decided to report on the research being done by our group. The reporter came and interviewed us all. This would be a minor article that would be printed in the back half of the paper – not earth-shattering news, more a general interest section.

We eagerly awaited the following day’s paper to see our small piece of fame. What a surprise we got. Almost nothing in the article was correct. We had been misquoted, the facts were wrong, the article was a load of rubbish. “Wow”, I thought, “How can they have gotten something so simple and so un-political, so wrong?” There was no benefit or purpose in how inaccurate the piece was. This was not something that had political or monetary motivation.

It was then I realised, that if something so trivial was so badly distorted, what was happening with the more important stories – the ones that carried social importance and influence? How were they being distorted and misreported?

Read something more useful instead...

I decided that in future I’d use my time to read a varied selection of non-fiction books and non-fiction magazines like ‘New Scientist’ to gain the important information about what was happening in the world. Society changes through the impact of science and technology. I would be better served learning about the coming advances that would change our world, rather than reading inaccurate and biased editorial from media designed to amplify FUDGE and serve the interests of power groups and money-lords.

What's your choice?

It’s up to you. How do you want to invest your time? Who do you want to be influenced by? What sort of influences – positive or negative – do you want in your life? Choose carefully.

In this massively changing and accelerating world, where information is bombarding and coming at you faster than you can filter it, do you want to carefully choose the media that’s sending messages throughout your mind and life? I sure do!

Living an enhanced and enhancing life means giving yourself the gift of positive influence. Loving yourself and supporting yourself means being careful of what information you allow yourself to be bombarded with. Stay away from television and newspapers – there are much better ways to learn about the world and learn about and create your wondrous and enhanced life.

Loving Your Mind... Loving Learning and Knowledge

Knowledge and choice give you more power and control in your life. You gain knowledge through reading. Reading brings the thoughts and ideas of other minds into your life. It’s an incredible way to absorb vicarious experience. Think about it. Most books, even fiction books, represent months and sometimes years of work and distillation of ideas and thoughts by another human being.

People write books because they have something to say or share. In a couple of hours reading you can experience what another person took a lifetime to accumulate and learn. Books and reading are an amazing way to quickly live aspects of another person’s life, to absorb some of their experience and wisdom.

Reading also increases your vocabulary. And research has shown that people’s perception of intelligence is correlated strongly with vocabulary. The larger your vocabulary, the more you will be perceived as intelligent by other people. This can be important because it has also been shown that income is linked to the perceptions of others. The take home message here is that reading can actually lead to more opportunities in life, a higher income and ultimately a better life.

Read often!


So read widely and read often. Go on an Accelerated Reading course. Learn to read swiftly and with increased memory and retention. Once you’ve mastered the skill of accelerated reading you’ll find that reading is immense fun. It takes you into a ‘zone’ of flow, where the words disappear and instead the ideas and images go straight from the page into your brain and mind.

It feels fantastic and the research from Positive Psychology shows that this experience of flow actually creates lasting positive spirals of creativity, clarity of thinking and emotional resilience. How cool is that? Reading is not only fun, it’s actually good for your mind and body!

Value reading

So make time to read in your life. Make it a positive habit. Pick up a book, a novel or a highly valued magazine, rather than turn on the idiot box television or video. Be thoughtful and selective in your reading. Stretch yourself.

You’ll be grateful to yourself for loving and supporting your brain and mind more wondrously. See yourself as a great reader and make it a permanent and proud part of your identity and life.

Now that is life enhancing!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

O-priming your life

In the field of General Semantics, there is a linguistic technique called ‘E-prime’ that involves using English in a way that excludes the use of the verb ‘to be’ and its various forms.

The idea underlying this suggests that the ‘is’ of identity and the ‘is’ of attribution can lead to unsane thinking and consequent behaviour. For example, if you say “I am stupid” you are linking the process of stupidity to your identity, rather than expressing the behaviour as one of many skills or traits that you do. This can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies that maintain an unconscious competency of doing stupidity at all levels of your life.

Since language influences perception, the use of E-prime encourages the careful choice of verbs and meanings. E-prime can also lead to a less dogmatic style of expression and reduce the possibility of misunderstanding and conflict. I'll talk more about E-prime in a future blog entry. Today, I want to introduce you to a concept and skill called O-priming that I've been exploring.

Grasping, Desire and Ownership

The ancient philosophy of Buddhism maintains that the nature of the universe is impermanence and that consequently much suffering stems from attachment and grasping. The need for ownership and attachment can lead to unhappiness.

As the Buddha propounded in the discourse on the Four Noble Truths:
due to contact there is feeling;
due to feeling there is attachment;
due to attachment there is grasping;
due to grasping there is suffering;
suffering has ignorance-obscuration as its root cause;

There is a way out of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.

The Materialist Imperative

"We've been raised to compete, to want more! More! More! It's a way of life. It's about greed.”
Sandy Duncan


We have a long evolutionary history of hunter-gathering and an instinctual predisposition towards ownership. We love owning and gathering things. It’s the materialist imperative. We desire things: houses, cars, boats, clothes, toys and all the entrapments and enchantments of bling.

It’s also the ownership trap! Because everything you own, owns a small piece of you, and the more you own, the more it owns you. Remember this!

The psychology of ownership is fascinating and understanding it is crucial to overcoming patterns of attachment, desire and greed.

The psychology of ownership

Ownership changes perceptions. Research by Social Psychologists has shown that once a person owns an item they place higher perceived value on it than on an identical item they do not own.

Stop and think about this. The mere fact of owning something increases how much you value it!

Ownership is also linked to Loss Aversion. The research shows that people prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Indeed, some studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful psychologically, as gains.

So once you own something, it really does start to own you emotionally and psychologically. You become attached to it and form a relationship with it. It takes up your time, thought, energy and life.

Marketers are well aware of these traits and use them to manipulate you. Partial ownership confers similar effects on perceptions, so they encourage free 30 day trials and money back guarantees, knowing that the majority of people will grow attached to the item and not return it. Similarly, in on-line auctions, people start feeling they own the item even before the auction has completed and so drive the price higher than they would pay if they’d bought it from a shop.

Sure, owning stuff is useful. Where would we be if we owned nothing? Probably still swinging in the jungle and living from hand to mouth.

The problem occurs when we own too many things; when we get stuck in the greed of the ownership trap – of wanting more and more and more. And this problem is even more insidious when we 'own' ideas, when we grow attached to concepts, beliefs and ideologies.

Greed is a verb

Let’s get one thing sorted right away. Greed and attachment are verbs. They're processes. We often talk about greed as if it’s a noun, an object, a thing. However, people don’t ‘have’ greed. They ‘do’ greed – more accurately, they do greeding. Same with attaching. It’s an active process, a skill, an unconscious competency.

The behaviours of greeding and attaching occur naturally, use primitive biological survival circuits of the brain and body and are in large part instinctually driven. That’s why they're so insidious. Research shows that greeding is linked to hunger and sexuality, so it can be very powerful.

But the main point is that it’s a process that can be controlled and moderated. It's a skill that has counter skills that can be used to constrain and control these unconscious behaviours. Learning to notice and control the thoughts and languaging that supports greeding and attaching is one of these key skills.

O-priming

So to summarise: Everything you ‘own’ owns a piece of you, and that ownership, attaching and grasping can cost you dearly. Nothing lasts forever and everything is always in a state of flux and change. So grasping, attaching and ownership are insidious enemies to life enhancing happiness and can lead to much suffering.

Based on these deep insights from the ancient wisdom of buddhism and modern psychology, and following on from the neuro-semantic concept of E-prime, I have created the technique of ‘O-priming’.

O-priming involves the use of English in a way that excludes the use of the verbs, adjectives and predicates of ownership and attachment – especially in the case of ownership of intangible experiences. O-priming is effectively the use of english without the use of the verb ‘to have’ and other linguistic presuppositions of ownership.

O-prime is a semantic tool that helps you notice and filter for processes of attaching and ownership that can impoverish your model of the world, your experience, thinking and ultimately your behaviours. O-priming also encourages denominalising - shifting nominalised nouns (disguised verbs) back into their active verb form.

For example, if you say “I have an understanding of General Semantics” then you are indicating ownership. You are saying you ‘have’ understanding.

This suggests a grasping and need for understanding and nominalises the process of understanding into an object that you own. However, understanding is a process that can change with time, experience and knowledge.

If you feel you ‘have’ an understanding of General Semantics and then someone shows you your current understanding is not complete, how do you feel? There’s every possibility you may feel threatened since ‘your’ ownership and ‘your’ understanding is about to be ‘lost’.

Contrast this with the O-prime version that replaces ownership with process – that shifts “I have understanding” to “I do understanding”.

With O-prime, you could more accurately say “I feel I do understanding of General Semantics very well”. Or perhaps you may express it as “General Semantics is something I understand well” [though this would not be e-primed :-)].

These O-primed ways of thinking and communicating remove the semantic presuppositions of ownership and grasping.

Practical O'Priming

Removing all forms of ownership expression from your language is not really practical and not what is suggested. The key message of this deeper understanding is to note that the language of ownership can at times be pernicious and lead to unsane thinking and behaviour.

Instead, use O-prime appropriately to allow yourself to gain more choice and control over how you are modelling your world. Where useful, track for and replace the language of ownership in how you communicate and express your experiences so that the language you use supports your outcomes. This is much more life enhancing.

Stop grasping after permanence and allow yourself to flexibly flow with the ongoing processes of change. Every opportunity you can, refuse to be sucked into the ownership trap. Notice and adjust your languaging to support a more sane and life enhancing way of thinking and living.

Some Examples of Ownership Predicates

Presuppositions of ownership are indicated by words such as:

- All forms of the verb 'to have' e.g. Have, had, will have
- Get, got, own, buy, rent, contract, pay etc.
- My, mine, yours, theirs etc.
- Grasp, grab, catch, hold, take, possess, keep etc.
- Create, establish, build, make etc.


Do wording powerfully and in a way that supports enhancing your life and the lives of those you care about!

Life enhancing best wishing,
Grant

And here's some Life Enhancing reading for you:







Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Words are Life Enhancing

"Words can either Build Up or Tear Down, Strengthen or Weaken, Emancipate or Enslave…THE CHOICE IS OURS!"
Roger Anthony


As we've discussed, many times in this blog, words are the tools you use to understand, filter and construct meaning and reality. They're also the tools you use to communicate, negotiate, influence and inspire others.


So it won't surprise you to hear that the larger your vocabulary, the more life enhancing it is. It's like being a carpenter or trades-person and only having a couple of tools in your toolkit. If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail...

The more tools you have at your disposal, the better a crafts-person you become, the better you are able to do your job. It's the same with language.

The more distinctions you have for describing and articulating your world, the more refined you'll be in the outcomes you create. Meaning is created in large measure through language, so enlarge your skills in languaging and enlarge your vocabulary.

Word of the Day

What prompted today's blog entry was the arrival of the following 'Word of the Day' in my email inbox:

The Word of the Day is:


enhance \in-HANS\ verb
: heighten, increase; especially : to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness

Example sentence:
The newspaper company hopes that including more full-color illustrations and adding extra news features will enhance their product and reverse the decline in circulation.

Did you know?
When "enhance" was borrowed into English in the 13th century, it literally meant to raise something higher. That sense, though now obsolete, provides a clue about the origins of the word. "Enhance," which was spelled "enhauncen" in Middle English, comes to us from Anglo-French "enhaucer" or "enhauncer" ("to raise"), which can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin verb "inaltiare." "Inaltiare," in turn, was formed by combining the prefix "in-" with Latin "altus," meaning "high." Although "enhance" initially applied only to physically making things higher, it developed an additional and less literal sense of "to exalt especially in rank or spirit," and quickly acquired extended figurative senses for "raising" the value or attractiveness of something or someone.

Why not subscribe...

Yes... many years ago, knowing the importance of an enhanced vocabulary, I subscribed to: the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - Word of the Day

Every day I get a great email teaching me a new word, or giving me details about etymology, usage etc. of words I may already know, but don't know the history of or the deeper meanings of.

It's so easy. The emails are short, concise and interesting. Each day my vocabulary expands and the thinking tools at my disposal are enhanced and augmented. Now how cool is that. It costs me nothing and adds immense value to my life.

The 'Word of the Day' is Life Enhancing! I highly recommend you sign up for it, or to some other online word/dictionary service.

Perceived Intelligence

And if you want further motivation to enhance your language and vocab skills... did you know that research in the field of Intelligence has shown that "Total vocabulary has the highest correlation (0.8) with overall IQ of any individual measure of intelligence."

Yes that's right. Higher vocab is correlated with higher intelligence. It's also linked with perception of intelligence, that is, people rate those with a large vocab as being more intelligent.

So by increasing your vocab and ability to articulate you will change how others see you and how they rate your level of intelligence.

Higher levels of intelligence have also been correlated with work remuneration. Within limits, higher intelligence means higher pay. So by increasing your vocab you increase your IQ and therefore the likelihood of getting paid more.

This makes sense, because it's a natural mix of Perception Management - managing how others perceive and respond to you, and the fact that you can think more deeply and wide-rangingly when you have better tools for thinking - more and better linguistic distinctions in which to understand and influence your world.

Words are Powerful!!!

Is this making life enhancing sense to you? Do you get why Words are so powerful? And why you want and need to learn more words and increase your languaging skills!!!

As I like to think: 'The dictionary is your friend" :-)

So subscribe to the 'Word of the Day' and start to expand and enhance your tools for thinking, learning and creating meaning.

Happy Generative and Life Enhancing Wording,
and many smiles,
Grant

and here are some great books I recommend about the power of words and how to use them to enhance your life:








Monday, October 5, 2009

Niceness - It's Life Enhancing

Ok, I gotta tell you something... NewScientist (the magazine) is incredibly, amazingly life enhancing!!!! Read that again. Then rush out and subscribe. I really can't recommend NewScientist too damn highly. I threw away reading news papers and traditional media over 30 years ago, and instead subscribed to NewScientist and I've thanked myself ever since. Why?

Cause traditional news media is based and marketed on FUDGE (Fear Uncertainty Disaster Greed and Envy). It is incredibly biased. It's largely puerile. And it rehashes the same stuff again and again and again. It's basically the same process applied to different content. The names change, but the process remains the same. Wars, political overturns and machinations, crime, violence and fluff. There you go, you now have the recipe to create a newspaper. Go for it LOL

Society changes largely due to the social effects of new technologies and advances in science. And where will you read about them... in NewScientist and other like magazines and journals. By reading NS you get an overview of the coming advances in science and technology and can therefore reasonably predict and track the expected social changes that will emerge and impact your life. It keeps you life enhancingly ahead of the 'normal' curve.

Ok, now I've got that of my chest :-) I'll move on to the content of this weeks blog entry.

I was reading NS while enjoying a delicious dinner and a very nice glass of wooded chardonnay, when I came across a great article entitled 'Be nice to people'. The information in the article was life enhancing, so I thought I'd blog on it and share it with you.

The opening paragraphs of the article summarise it nicely:

It sounds kind of obvious, and a little trite: the world would be a better place to live in if we were all a bit kinder to each other. But how can we make that happen?

This is fast becoming a valid scientific question. Psychologists and neuroscientists are exploring how to increase people's capacity for empathy and compassion, with two ongoing studies claiming that meditation not only increases compassionate feelings but also improves physical and emotional health.

But you don't have to be a Buddhist monk or an expert on brain plasticity to help increase global compassion. There is evidence that altruistic acts spread through social networks. In other words, if you are kind to a friend, they are more likely to be kind to someone else they know.

Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School in Boston designed a cooperation game in which 120 students were organised into groups of four and asked to give money to their group. The game lasted five rounds, and after each round the students were reorganised so that no two appeared in the same group twice. The researchers told the participants at the end of each round how much the others in their group had given

They found that generosity is infectious. If someone gave a dollar more than the predicted group average, the others in that group gave approximately 20 cents more than expected in the next round. This altruism persisted into the third round.

Christakis's team found in a separate study that cooperative behaviour spreads to three degrees of separation - from friend to friend to friend. So if you are popular and well connected, you could have a special role to play: your compassionate acts could resonate further through the network, and you are also more likely to benefit from other people's kindness.


Now isn't that interesting -- The power of social networks to amplify consequences and behaviours! When you are compassionate and nice it spreads. Cooperation breeds cooperation. Generosity leads to generosity in return. Now this is truly a life enhancing insight! You can enhance your world by practicing and spreading niceness :-)

How cool is that piece of knowledge! It's a great encouragement to practice random acts of kindness, or give out free hugs. Be extra nice to your friends, it will feel great and lead them to spread the love into their social network. And I think the world can really use as much loving kindness and compassion as we can give it.

So become a 'niceness generator' and enhance your life and the lives of those connected in spreading activation throughout your extended social networks, it really will make a difference to the world!

with kind wishes
and nice thoughts
Grant


Christakis's book that describes his research and how to apply it in real life:



Book Description

"Your colleague's husband's sister can make you fat, even if you don't know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse. These startling revelations of how much we truly influence one another are revealed in the studies of Drs. Christakis and Fowler, which have repeatedly made front-page news nationwide."

"In CONNECTED, the authors explain why emotions are contagious, how health behaviors spread, why the rich get richer, even how we find and choose our partners. Intriguing and entertaining, CONNECTED overturns the notion of the individual and provides a revolutionary paradigm-that social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behavior, politics, and much more. It will change the way we think about every aspect of our lives."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Enhancing your map of the world

In 1933, Count Alfred Korzybski wrote and published a seminal book called ‘Science and Sanity’ and founded a field of philosophy known as General Semantics. In his book, Korzybski showed how language influences our perceptions and actions and that incorrect use of language and thought can lead to what he called 'un-sane' behaviour.

Indeed, Korzybski coined the term ‘neuro-linguistics’ and created the foundation for many fields that sprang from his original insights, including the field of NLP.

Korzybski focused on the process of abstracting, of how we as humans build and evolve concepts and generalisations. He described how we build theories and maps of the world in order to make sense of our experience.

The map is NOT the territory

One of the key insights from General Semantics is that “the map can never be the territory”.

What this means is that... given that humans can never operate off and know the full and complete world – the territory – they must, and can only ever operate off a map of the territory.

And no map can ever be a full representation of the territory; therefore we will always be operating off a deleted, distorted and generalised/abstracted map of that territory.

This sounds like a very simple and obvious idea, yet it has profound implications and applications.

Thinking ToolMapping the world

"The map is NOT the territory. It only
represents the territory."


Most people don’t realise that their five senses do not actually provide an absolute and real experience of the world. Our senses and brains evolved to efficiently track and notice difference in the world, not to provide an absolute and accurate representation. Each of our senses tracks change rather than absolute data, and our brain then takes each of these differences and changes and does its best job at making a useful map of the territory.

For example, you probably didn’t know that your eyes are not like a camera. A digital camera has an array of pixels that take the amount of light focused on them and provides an absolute representation, a one-for-one representation of the image that the camera sees. Your eye however, has rods and cones for receptors, and these don’t measure the absolute amount of light focused on them. Instead they only give a signal when the amount of light changes; they only measure and track change and difference.

You have small muscles around your eyes called ‘micro-saccades’ and these muscles keep your eyes moving and tremoring in micro-circles. These movements ensure that the image on your retina keeps changing.

When neuro-physiologists first anesthetized these muscles, they found what was called the ‘Ganzfeld effect’ – the grey/complete field effect. When the image subtended on the retina stops moving, the eye stops sending a signal to the brain. If we anesthetized your eye muscles and kept your head still, and if there was nothing moving in your visual field, your vision would grey out and become blank. After about 5 seconds, you would see nothing.

This is because the eye and brain didn’t evolve to get an absolute image of the world. They evolved to efficiently help you survive, and the easiest and best way to do this is to only notice and respond to difference and change.

All of your senses and nervous system are ‘designed’ by evolution in the same way. You only track for difference and your unconscious mind builds a ‘best-guess’ map of the world from integrating and summing all these little changes and differences. You see, you can never ever absolutely know the world. You don’t have the sensory apparatus to experience the world absolutely.

Add to this your sensory systems only operate over small ranges of size, frequency, speed, etc. and you’ll realise that your map is certainly very, very deleted, generalised and distorted.
And as Korzybski pointed out ‘The map is NOT the territory’.

So when it comes to knowing the world, when it comes to knowing the ‘truth’ you need to be very, very careful. You can never absolutely know the ‘truth’. Your abstractions and the abstractions of your abstractions are a long way from absolute reality. That’s what science is all about, it’s a method for attempting to create accurate theories about the world; and any theory in science is always provisional and always an abstraction.

Language influences our perceptions

So what can you do with these insights? Well, Korzybski pointed out that there are certain forms of abstracting that our language and our culture encourage that are not accurate and lead to un-sane or neurotic behaviour. Language influences our perceptions. By becoming aware of how your language influences your brain, your thinking and decisions, your motivations and inevitably your actions, you can begin to consciously choose more accurate and sane languaging and abstracting.

You’ve already been introduced in this blog to some of the ideas from General Semantics and the tools developed by the fields it inspired and informed such as NLP and REBT. These tools, skills and concepts are life enhancing and can be used to generate life enhancing models or maps of your world that are more sane and more rational. Continue coming back to this blog and reading the coming entries and you’ll experience and learn many more. In coming blog entries I'll be sharing ideas and insights on two linguistic/cognitive techniques called E-prime and O-prime that are very powerful and life enhancing.

Until then, keep enhancing your map of the world :-)

best wishes and kind thoughts,
Grant


For those who are interested to learn more... Here's Korzybski's seminal book: Science and Sanity








And here's some other excellent books on General Semantics that I recommend as life and mind changing:










Monday, September 21, 2009

Appreciating your World

I received an email containing the following life enhancing story a couple of days ago, and thought it so impactful and fascinating that it was worth sharing with you!

Something To Consider...
----------------------------------
Washington, DC, Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007. A man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes, a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried to meet his schedule.......

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, and continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was
Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each.


This is a true story.

Joshua Bell play
ing incognito in the Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

Consider this:
if we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made... how many other things are we missing in life?!!


An Amazing Story!

What an amazing story! I checked it out by googling it, and yes, every word is true. In fact, the experiment was written up in an article 'Pearls Before Breakfast' in the Washington Post, and its author Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for his outstanding and thought provoking analysis of the experiment. The article and experiment asked "In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?" And the results, which you can view in the video clip below and hear the awesome beauty of the performance, speak for themselves... Very few people stopped to enjoy and appreciate their world!



Savoring and Appreciating your World

Are you savoring and appreciating your life, your world and as many moments of each day as possible? The research from Positive Psychology shows that savoring, appreciation and gratitude all measurably increase levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Taking the time to notice and focus on the positive events in life really is life enhancing.

And the best thing is... with practice, the skills and strategies of savoring and appreciating form deep unconscious competencies that start to operate without the need for constant reminders. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more your unconscious mind finds and brings to your conscious awareness the wonderful, serendipitous, beautiful and joyful experiences that occur all around you.

Beginner's Mind

Let me share with you some of the techniques I use to appreciate my world...

To begin with, every time I walk to work at any of the Organisations I consult to, I always take the time to look at the sky, enjoy the ambience of the city-scape and notice the colours, sights and sounds around me. I play with and pretend that I'm a visitor from another country, or from outer-space, and look at the City with fresh eyes. It's amazing how much beauty and newness I find every single time.

In Zen Buddhism this technique is known as 'Beginner's Mind'. It's an attitude and way of thinking that evokes what in NLP is likened as 'the wide-eyed curiosity of a child'. We all know and can recapture that sense of wonderment. So play with it every single day, and you'll build it up like a well-exercised muscle. You'll easily find yourself savoring and appreciating your world anew and in wonderful and fascinating ways.

So here's the question: Do you think that through the eye's of a child, or the filter of a 'beginner's mind' you would have walked past Joshua Bell? Take a look at the description of the article above, you'll see that it was the children that noticed and tried to stop and listen. It was the time-bound, serious and focused adults that dragged them away and failed to notice the exquisite beauty and enchantment of Joshua's virtuoso playing.

My Tunnel of Happiness'ing

Another technique I use every time I walk to work, is to create a 'tunnel of happiness' that I walk through as I traverse the City. This 'tunneling' is done by looking for, noticing and amplifying every bright light, glint, and reflection that I can see high around me.

I use my peripheral vision to see these and I fantasize/visualise these bright, happy, glinting lights as a delightful tunnel encircling high around me. As I walk through my tunnel, I build strong and uplifting feelings of happiness inside my torso, chest, face and head. In this way I truly appreciate and notice the beauty of the buildings, the sky, the windows and reflections, the lights and all the shiny wonderful surfaces that make up our Cities.

If you are tracking the NLP concepts and strategies behind my 'Tunnel of Happinessing' technique then you'll notice the use of visual submodalities that pay homage to the pragmatic wisdom of the designers of great churches and cathedrals. In such places, for the last two thousand years, stained glass, high windows and candles have been used to imbue and stimulate a sense of awe and the numinous. Sparkle and glinting high in the peripheral visual field is associated with the experience of fascination, delight and awe.

Self-fullfilling Prophecy

I also look for happy people and try my best to connect with and get people to smile with me during my commuting. It's a natural effect of mirror neurons and the process of rapport that if you are exuding positive energy and happiness, you'll attract the attention of like-minded people and their response to you will amplify your own state. There's nothing quite as delightful and refreshing as a beautiful smile from a happy person acknowledging your existence. So make sure you include people in your daily search for positivity and happiness.

How are you Appreciating your World?

So how are you savoring and appreciating your world? Have you been rushing past and missing the moments of beauty in your world? Or are you now truly taking the time and attention to value and appreciate your world in new and life enhancing ways!


happiness, peace and joy,
Grant


And here's some Joshua Bell music you might enjoy: