Appreciating Contrast – The Daily, July 22, 2020

Still waters run deep

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” 
― Lewis Carroll

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” 
― Mark Twain

The world is like a big buffet. There are so many different choices and the contrast between what we like and don’t like allows us to clarify what we decide to allow into our lives. But just because we don’t like something, that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with it. It just means that we don’t like it. More than likely, many other people do. Declaring a thing as good and something else as bad is a personal judgment. Those are always better kept to yourself.

Music, food, movies, weather, clothes, colours – all of these are abundant in many forms, and we can have strong opinions about which ones we prefer. Surround yourself with what you enjoy and allow the rest of the world to do the same. We aren’t meant to be cookie-cutter versions of each other, and diversity is what makes life interesting. Allow yourself to exist in a place of non-judgment and you will feel lighter as you move through your time in this incarnation. Stop resisting what doesn’t even have anything to do with you.

New Sign – The Sun moves into Leo today, the place that it calls home. The Leo Sun is about individuality and not being content with following along with the team. It’s our time to shine, perform, and add a touch of colour to our lives. But at the same time, guard against becoming too self-centred and vain right now.

Meanwhile, the Moon will be void of course until this evening when it enters the intelligent sign of Virgo. This morning, it is a good idea not to take on too much. Sometimes it can be difficult to contain our enthusiasm, but proceed with the big picture in mind and think about what you are doing before you do it. All in all, it’s a wonderful time for self-expression and moving projects forward.

Droplet Spread – Because it’s important to understand these things, here is the latest research on how droplets from a cough or sneeze spread. A study showed that respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze travel farther and last longer in humid, cold climates than in hot, dry ones. Abhishek Saha, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California San Diego, said, “Droplet physics are significantly dependent on the weather. If you’re in a colder, humid climate, droplets from a sneeze or cough are going to last longer and spread farther than if you’re in a hot dry climate, where they’ll get evaporated faster.” They found that at 35C (95F) and 40 percent relative humidity, a droplet can travel about 8 feet, but, at 5C (41F) and 80 percent humidity, a droplet can travel up to 12 feet.

It’s another reason to get used to wearing a mask for the next couple of years. It’s just the way it is.

Thought of the Day – Do what makes you happy. Don’t do what doesn’t make you happy. That is pretty much the secret to living a happy life. Have a beautiful Wednesday.

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.” 
― Charlotte Brontë

Doubts and Uncertainty – The Daily, July 21, 2020

There is nothing more certain than the ability of nature to soothe and heal

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

Starting something new can be challenging, and it is natural to feel doubt in the beginning. Doubt and uncertainty can be used to refine the actions you take until you strike upon the right balance and the project gains momentum. Stopping and starting is natural. That is why, in the early stages of an idea, it is best to keep it to yourself and not look for too much advice. Other people may mean well, but they could be able to quickly turn you away from what originally excited you about the project. Make the adjustments that you feel need to be made and let the idea grow into something more concrete before sharing it with others.

Visualize the end result and see how it feels. Is this something you want to get done quickly and move on from, or is it something you can see yourself still doing ten years from now? That’s always a consideration too, because a task like writing a novel will take time but won’t be a forever project. Studying to be a lawyer and practicing law is a years-long commitment. Determine the size and scope of your idea and see if it still feels like something you want to do.

We Cause Our Own Problems – In new research from The University of California, the link between pesticide use and the dangerous proliferation of pathogens was explored. What you need to know: “Environmental pollutants can increase our exposure and susceptibility to infectious diseases,” said Justin Remais, chair of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and senior author of the study. “From dioxins decreasing resistance to influenza virus, to air pollutants increasing COVID-19 mortality, to arsenic impacting lower respiratory tract and enteric infections — research has shown that reducing pollution is an important way to protect populations from infectious diseases.”

This particular study found that the widespread use of pesticides and other agrochemicals can speed the transmission of the debilitating disease schistosomiasis, while at the same time upsetting the ecological balance in aquatic environments that prevents infections. The infection can trigger lifelong liver and kidney damage. It affects hundreds of millions of people every year, second only to malaria among parasitic diseases in terms of its global impact on human health.

Thought of the Day – It’s the middle of the summer. Don’t forget to enjoy the long days and the warm weather. It’s good for the mind and the soul for us to get out at least once a day and breathe some fresh air, so find some trees or a park and get away from the concrete jungle. It’s a mini-vacation you can indulge in with lasting benefits. Have a wonderful Tuesday.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

New Moon of July – The Daily, July 20, 2020

From out of still waters comes action. An idea in your mind wants to be born

“I want to grow. I want to be better. You Grow. We all grow. We’re made to grow. You either evolve or you disappear.” 
― Tupac Shakur

“Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory.” 
― Les Brown

The New Moon of July is today, so look around and see where you are. Really see it as though looking at it for the first time. If you aren’t seeing what you want, then imagine it the way you would like it to be. Then live from the end, and begin to make the changes necessary to get to that vision in your imagination. Hold onto it like it is the most real thing to you and start to do what needs to be done. Waiting for a situation to improve without taking any action will be the longest wait of your life.

All the New Moon You Need to Know – The New Moon occurs in the sign of Cancer today at 1:33 PM EDT, and is the second New Moon in Cancer this year. This is the first New Moon in Cancer that hasn’t been an eclipse since 2017. A New Moon brings a fresh start, and there can be a sense of urgency to make a decision or to end something so you can move forward. Look at the foundation around you, the structure in your life, and decide what needs to change. It’s also a good time to recognize the support system you have around you in your circle of family and friends. Find the stability and then you will feel confident to jump forward into uncharted territory as you explore your dreams.

It’s time to make some plans and set the stage for reaping the rewards from new beginnings, as little or big as they may be. In about two weeks, the Full Moon occurs. Take the two weeks to make giant strides towards accomplishing what you have only been thinking about. These could be the most exciting days of your life.

Moonwalking – On July 20, 1969, at 10:56 PM EDT, Neil Armstrong famously spoke the line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” As he stepped off the lunar landing module ‘Eagle’, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon. “Buzz” Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 PM, and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, and ran a few simple scientific tests. Two hours later, at 1:11 AM, they got back on the bus and then left after a few hours of sleep. What a wonderful trip that would have been.

Thought of the Day – Everything begins with a dream, a thought, and then action. There is nothing you can’t achieve when you declare it a reality in your mind. The world will bend to your will, and the result of massive action will be the thing you dreamed turning into reality. What’s in your dream today? Have a superb Monday.

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
― Rumi

Sunday Silence – The Daily, July 19, 2020

Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Surround yourself in serenity if only for one day

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 
― Norman Vincent Peale

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

It’s another day to thrive, or just to exist. A chance to live your life, or to do the same thing today as yesterday. What are you inspired to achieve before you are gone? If you want to do something, then formulate a plan and prepare to begin, because now is all we ever have.

Reflection – The Moon is in Cancer today, a comfortable place for it to be. On this day before a New Moon, wind things down rather than start something up. Reflection is favored over innovation. It’s a time of completion, and not the best day to begin something new. Make plans today and think about what has happened in the last four weeks since the New Moon of June. It will be time for action in the week ahead.

Seeking Silence – Look for the quiet moments today, the pauses in conversation, the little spaces in the daily hum of activity. Turn off the noise and allow the silence to permeate your world. Through this silence can come clarity and revelations, or it can bring peace and a restful feeling. Either way, just allow the day to be and don’t fight against it. Acceptance is one of the most precious gifts you can welcome into your life.

Thought of the Day – It is better to spend a day looking at everything around you as being a miracle than to spend the same day wishing it were different that it is. Breathe, slow down and prepare for what is to come. But mostly breathe and appreciate. Let the rest of life carry on without your eternal judgment weighing it down. Have a quiet and restorative Sunday.

“There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

Success is an Inside Job – The Daily, July 18, 2020

That is truly a successful flower – I wonder if it knows?

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” 
― Robert Collier

“Nothing comes from without; all things come from within – from the subconscious” 
― Neville Goddard

Success is a feeling. So is happiness, contentment, bliss, and joy. These feelings are comfortable, peaceful and supportive. Feelings of jealousy, anger, bitterness, resentment, and distrust are darker emotions, and they don’t feel good.

If thoughts precede feelings, and feelings determine how you see and function in the world, then doesn’t it seem wise to pay close attention to the thoughts you think? Thoughts are unseen and yet for us they exist as the engines in our vehicles that steer us through life. Everything that has happened to us goes into the pantry of our minds, and from there we create the formulas that we choose to filter the world through. It is all a choice.

If you feel for one moment that you are helpless to control your thoughts, then you have put yourself at a big disadvantage in life. That means that you have relinquished the ability to steer your own boat down the river of life. But if your thoughts aren’t generated by you, then where do they come from? And if they are generated by you, then why do you feel you can’t control them?

Think on these things, and then take back the control of your own mind. At least have that going for you in this life.

Eat Your Way to Brain HealthThis study from April of this year didn’t garner much fanfare, but it is interesting to consider. From The American Academy of Neurology, they wanted to study how combinations of food can affect longterm brain health. They concluded that “people whose diets consisted mostly of highly processed meats, starchy foods like potatoes, and snacks like cookies and cakes were more likely to have dementia years later compared to people who ate a wider variety of healthy foods.”

Study author Cécilia Samieri, PhD, of the University of Bordeaux in France, said this: “A number of studies have shown that eating a healthier diet, for example a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains and fish, may lower a person’s risk of dementia. People who developed dementia were more likely to combine highly processed meats such as sausages, cured meats and patés with starchy foods like potatoes, alcohol, and snacks like cookies and cakes. This may suggest that frequency with which processed meat is combined with other unhealthy foods, rather than average quantity, may be important for dementia risk. For example, people with dementia were more likely, when they ate processed meat, to accompany it with potatoes and people without dementia were more likely to accompany meat with more diverse foods, including fruit and vegetables and seafood.” Takeaway – eat better, live better.

Thought of the Day – Eat well, live well, be happy. What more is there? We aren’t here forever, so it’s probably best not to act like we are. Delaying happiness for some future reality seems quite pointless. All that there is and all that matters exists right now, and that is always the way it will be. Be happy in this moment. Have a special day.

“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.” 
― Rabindranath Tagore

Malevolence – The Daily, July 17, 2020

Destruction from nature’s fury knows no boundaries, holy or otherwise

“Man is the cruelest animal.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” 
― Maya Angelou

Scams are everywhere these days, more so than ever. Any request for your personal information should always be regarded with the utmost scepticism, and anything that requires you to click on a link on the internet is probably up to no good. Be careful and think before you take any action.

If you are offered something that seems too good to be true, don’t allow a desire to get something for nothing cloud your better judgment and allow you to fall for a scam. These are professionals who have studied human psychology and are good at presenting their offer in a way that will ensnare many an unsuspecting victim. If you are offered a chance to get money or a product or anything for free, or for a small fee, recognize the desire that may rise within you to accept it. It is your own naïveté that will put you where your intellect knows you don’t belong.

Breathing – As we all adjust to life wearing masks, and are aware that respiratory disease is not something to fool around with, we are confronted with an issue that continues to be a widespread problem. Carbon emissions are temporarily down because of reduced air and vehicle transportation, but methane levels continue to rise. From Science Daily; “Global emissions of methane have reached the highest levels on record. Increases are being driven primarily by growth of emissions from coal mining, oil and natural gas production, cattle and sheep ranching, and landfills.”

Why does this matter? “Between 2000 and 2017, levels of the potent greenhouse gas barreled up toward pathways that climate models suggest will lead to 3-4 degrees Celsius of warming before the end of this century. This is a dangerous temperature threshold at which scientists warn that natural disasters, including wildfires, droughts and floods, and social disruptions such as famines and mass migrations become almost commonplace.”

At the same time, a new study suggests that with the current trend towards fewer people having children, the world’s population will likely peak in 2064 at around 9.7 billion, and then decline to about 8.8 billion by 2100, or about 2 billion lower than some previous estimates. It’s still a lot of people who will have to deal with a more hostile planet.

One of the biggest contributors to methane gas? Globally, fossil fuel sources and cows are twin engines powering methane’s upward climb. “Emissions from cattle and other ruminants are almost as large as those from the fossil fuel industry for methane,” Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth system science in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences said. “People joke about burping cows without realizing how big the source really is.”

Just food for thought as you reach for that hamburger.

Thought of the Day – The New Moon is almost here, so get the plans ready for the next two weeks of activity. The rest of July could bring untold rewards to you if you lay the groundwork now. The Moon’s square to Neptune this afternoon can point to some listlessness or a temporary dip in inspiration, so go with the flow. It’s a day to honour your desires and take steps towards fulfilling them. Have a blissful day.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon…. If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.” 
― Gautama Buddha

Have More Fun – July 16, 2020

Embrace with your eyes, taste the fragrance as you inhale, and be humbled in the presence of beauty

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
― Howard Thurman

“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.” 
― William Blake

Is it okay to have fun anymore? When I pass by families on the street, the mothers scold the children to stay to one side and not get too close. The playgrounds had yellow caution tape on the swings until just recently, and they were empty. Now, cautiously, they are beginning to open up. Children haven’t missed a beat, laughing and climbing and enjoying the company of other children. The adults stand by, closely monitoring the activity and speaking in hushed tones to each other about the heavy matters of a world under siege. It is a reflection of where we are.

It seems like having fun isn’t appropriate anymore.

Amusement parks attempt to open, but then some have had to shutter again. Sports are trying to get back on track but that is tentative and full of stops and starts. We lurch along, not knowing when this will end and beginning to feel like it never will.

Is there any room for fun? It is during this time that nature offers her sanctuary to embrace us and make us feel that it will all be okay. The sunrises are magnificent; the sunsets equally so. Birds and squirrels continue to thrive, and there is a comet gracing us with the beauty of creation in the night sky in a rare visit. It’s good to remember that in the grand scheme of things, we are so very small and our problems always come and go. This is but one moment in time, so allow it to be. Go out and have fun as much as possible. There is enough heaviness already.

Big Change – On this day in 1995, Amazon opened for business. Now it’s difficult to remember what the world was like without the retail giant there for all of the little things you need delivered quickly right to your doorstep. in 25 years the way we shop has changed, and with the pandemic some would say it is a blessing. It would have been more challenging to keep people in their homes if they couldn’t keep buying things they don’t need.

Thought of the Day – Continue the theme from yesterday. The thought today is to expand the moments of nonthinking that you experience. Call it meditation, call it a mental break, it doesn’t matter. Just know that it can be the most important exercise you engage in today. Have a beautiful Wednesday.

“Silence is the language of god, 
all else is poor translation.” 
― Rumi

Figuring Out Why – The Daily, July 15, 2020

Grow still and pay close attention – there is magic waiting to be discovered behind every tree

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” 
― Oscar Wilde

“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” 
― Alan Watts

When the why is powerful enough, the how becomes simple. We can stop ourselves from moving forward because we get paralyzed with planning, thinking and worrying instead of just doing. Figure out why you want to do something first, and then begin. If your desire isn’t strong enough, the most gentle of breezes will blow you off course. If there is no doubt in your mind that you will achieve something before you begin, the details become irrelevant. The conclusion is foregone.

Counting the Days – There are 170 days left in the year. That means 170 more opportunities to wake up in the morning and work on something that you want to see accomplished. It could be anything – starting a business, painting the kitchen, or writing your novel. If you worked diligently for 15 minutes every day for the rest of the year on one task, where would you be when you turned the calendar over to 2021? That 2550 minutes of focused action, or 42.5 hours, could become anything. We can all focus for 15 minutes, so why not set the timer right now and do the thing you keep thinking about but never starting?

Get Healthy – Try eating more raw foods. Big salads and fresh fruit snacks are easy to consume during the hot summer months, and they can help you lose weight and feel more motivated to be active. Heavy, cooked foods can weigh you down. Dedicate one day a week to eating only living food and see how you feel. No, you won’t starve. You might be amazed at how quickly the body and mind respond to having less digestive work to do. Digesting food takes a lot of energy and by lightening the load, you free up the body’s ability to turn its attention to healing. You have nothing to lose except for weight, sluggishness and that tired feeling that never goes away.

Thought of the Day – See how long you can go without thinking. For many people, this seems impossible and they can’t last for more than a few seconds. To exist in a state of mental alertness without the endless parade of thoughts is to live in a state of joy and bliss. By not thinking, your full awareness is engaged and the silence is both restorative and healing. Try it, but don’t be surprised if you don’t make it more than a few seconds. It’s a good exercise to do while engaged in a mindless activity, like chopping up the fresh fruits and vegetables you are eating on raw day.

Have a bliss-filled day.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace you are living in the present.” 
― Lao Tzu

Freeing Yourself – The Daily, July 14, 2020

You can’t see the blue sky if you don’t take the time to look

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” 
― Rabindranath Tagore

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” 
― Joseph Campbell

It’s truly amazing to see how much can be accomplished simply by working steadily and consistently towards an end result. By breaking big projects into manageable steps, the mini-goals come and go and everything begins to take shape. There is still another week before the New Moon, and another day before the middle of the month. Is there anything you want to get done before tomorrow? Take care of it today and then new energy will be free for you to use going forward.

Taurus Moon – Spend some time with things that are familiar and comfortable today. That has been a challenge for many of us with the way the world has changed so much in such a short time, but it’s important to find a feeling of normalcy amidst the upheaval. Read a book you enjoy, look through some old pictures, or call up someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Know that you can always find an island of stability within yourself even when the turbulence of uncertainty swirls around you.

Consider the Source – In interesting new research, scientists are trying to figure out if we can replicate the immune systems of bats in humans and thus increase our ability to fight off deadly viruses. In this study from the University of Rochester, they wanted to understand both the bats’ ability to live with viruses and also live so long. From the study: “Bats are thought to be ancestral hosts to many deadly viruses affecting humans including Ebola, rabies, and most recently SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. However, bats themselves tolerate these viruses without ill effects. The second power that bats have is their longevity. Bats live much longer than similar-sized land mammals. Here we review how bats’ ability to control inflammation may be contributing to their longevity. The underlying mechanisms may hold clues to developing new treatments for age-related diseases.”

Stop the inflammation, stop the damage of viruses. An interesting theory that could be a major breakthrough in many ways.

Thought of the Day – As long as you are still here, you can still do something that you have always wanted to do. Don’t put anything off this week. Get it done and then move on to the next project. By finishing things, it sets up a positive habit and releases energy to move on to bigger and better. Never underestimate how good it feels to get things wrapped up. Have a positive Tuesday.

“Success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are—not what other people want you to be.” 
― Mark Cuban

A New Week – The Daily, July 13, 2020

Nature is exploding in beauty all around you. At least appreciate her effort by noticing

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week contains the middle of the month. It’s July, the summer has settled in, and new life is everywhere. The days are long, although beginning to shorten more noticeably. Nature is at her best, with flowers everywhere, the trees thick with leaves and the songs of birds flowing endlessly as they go about the business of living.

Are you able to see any of it, or is your head down while you look for the weeds?

Life always presents multiple opportunities to experience appreciation, gratitude and love. But because we live in a world where there are laws, the law of gravity, law of attraction, and so on, there is also the law of opposing forces. Duality is the nature of our existence. Light and dark, up and down, female and male, good and bad – for every one thing there is an opposite. So, in every moment there is the choice to look at one thing or another.

Where some see pain, I see strength. Where there is oppression, there is also humanity. Disaster exists with relief, and destruction mingles with creation. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. Be in the world today, but not of it. Know that your journey here is temporary. Appreciate each moment as it comes, no matter what form it takes. Life is happening right now. Are you awake enough to notice it?

Virus Mutations – Viruses mutate. It’s something they are very good at doing, and it’s why you can get a flu shot that would have kept you safe two years ago but is completely ineffective now. It is also why Covid-19 is going to be a challenge.

In a recently published study from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was shown that strains of a common subtype of influenza virus, H3N2, have almost universally acquired a mutation that blocks antibodies from binding to a key viral protein. “These findings tell us that flu vaccines focusing on the hemagglutinin protein are leaving the virus openings to evolve and evade other types of immunity,” says study senior author Andrew Pekosz, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School.

According to Pekosz, this highlights the potential for flu viruses to evade therapies, seasonal vaccines, and the ordinary immune response, showing the need for targeting multiple sites on the virus and reducing the chance that single mutations can develop such resistance. It’s a challenge to hit a target that keeps moving.

What’s in the Sky? – The Sun and Jupiter are heading into opposition, exact early tomorrow, and recent excesses can be exposed, demanding a change or shuffling in priorities. There may be a conflict between what you think you should do and what you want to do. With the Moon entering Taurus this afternoon, take a slower, more deliberate approach to everything, including making decisions. The urge to grow and expand is strong, but make sure not to overreach. With a methodical approach, all things will come together as you intended.

Thought of the Day – Try not thinking today. Be in the moment. If you are eating, then eat. Do only that and nothing else. Experience life as a unique event from one moment to the next, becoming fully immersed in the now. It is a peaceful way to exist. Have a fabulous Monday.

“If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again.” 
― Wayne Dyer