Shisa: Under The Watchful Eyes Of Okinawan Guardian Dogs…

I’ve been exposed to Japanese culture a great deal throughout my life; a byproduct of studying Okinawan karate for 33 years. And yes, I can easily say that there are important differences between Japanese and Okinawan, but for the sake of this post, we’ll lump them in together. After all, all Okinawans are Japanese but not all Japanese are Okinawans. Moving on… During my youth, I had the opportunity to be exposed to, and study, some of the Okinawan culture long before I actually travelled there. And one of the first things I was exposed to was Shisa dogs.

The year was 1996 and I was about to graduate from high school. It was as tumultuous time for me, since I had no idea what direction my life was taking and no clue as to what I wanted to do with myself. I was starting college in the fall at the insistence of my parents, even though I was being thrust into a program I didn’t want (computer programming). All I knew at the time was that I was at the peak of my martial arts skills and I wanted to continue to study THAT. This is something that would be made difficult by the fact that I would be living an hour away for school. But Sensei and I worked it out and we agreed on a training schedule that would accommodate my needs.

I stopped by his house on graduation night, since his son Guillaume was my best friend and would be graduating as well. While I was waiting for Guillaume to come down the stairs, Sensei approached me with a small bundle and handed it to me. “For you,” was all he said. In his usual custom of keeping things simple, he handed me a small, black trash bag that was knotted at the top. I could tell there were moving parts inside, but little else. I asked him if I cold open it immediately, to which he replied I should. I tore open the bag to find two small porcelain Shisa dogs inside.

I’ve had them ever since, and it allowed me to study their origins and purpose. Bear in mind that dial-up internet was barely a thing at that point, so my research had to be genuine and hands-on. But I managed. I learned some interesting things along the way. For example, some refer to them as lions and some refer to them as dogs. Sensei always called them dogs and by virtue of that, I’ve always referred to them as dogs, as well.

The Shisa dogs I keep at home

The pair fo dogs Sensei gave me for graduation are simple porcelain and semi hollow. I keep those at my office, since they’re smaller 9about the size of tennis balls) and fit on my office’s windowsill. The ones pictured above are the ones I purchased myself in Okinawa and are about the size of candle-pin bowling balls (the ones without the finger holes). The ones above are made of soap-stone and are quite heavy. I foolishly purchased them in a shop in Naha on Okinawa. Sensei nearly lost his mind when he saw them, considering my suitcase was quite full.

These dogs originate from China and actually have Buddhist origins. They usually come in pairs and stand guard on rooftops or at doorways/gateways. They be standing forward or off to the side (as pictured above) but the mouths are always facing outward. The thought is that the open-mouth dog (on the right) is roaring to ward off evil spirits while the closed-mouth dog is inviting the friendly spirits. What’s nice with the ones pictured above, is that there’s no mistaking which dog goes on which side.

Since these dogs were brought in from China before Okinawa became part of mainland Japan, their introduction was separate in the two places. The Okinawans use Shisa dogs in their day-to-day culture and you’ll see them in front of most buildings, including temples, homes and businesses. They’re basically the equivalent of gargoyles. Just an interesting part of the culture I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy during my martial arts journey. ☯️

Bravery And Fear may Not Be Separate

Everyone likes hearing tales and stories of bravery or knowing someone they consider to be brave. In those situations, most people would utter phrases like, “they’re SO brave…” and “I’d never be able to do THAT! I’d be too afraid…” And the latter is particular, because most people seem to associate bravery with the lack of fear and this is about as incorrect a thought as one could have. Being brave or displaying bravery doesn’t mean that one isn’t afraid. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Let’s start with my preferred habit, which is to define what is is I’m talking about. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “bravery” as, “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear or difficulty.” A pretty straightforward definition, but I want to point out a certain aspect of that definition that sticks out and digs to root of what I’m getting at today. The definition by no means indicates the absence of fear. It does, however, define it as being strong enough to confront one’s fears. And THAT is the important difference.

To be brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. fear is a normal and expected response to something that is worrisome, stressful or dangerous. It by no means suggests that if you’re afraid that you can’t be brave. Bravery (or valour) kicks in when you make the decision to confront that danger despite that fear. This can apply to a significant number of aspects of ones life, including work, interpersonal relationships, medical situations… hell, just stepping out the door in the morning. Some folks have something called Agoraphobia, which is the fear of spaces outside the home.

But if one can find it within themselves to do a thing regardless of the fear it incites, this would be bravery. Not the absence of the fear itself but the ability to confront or embrace it. Some good examples I can provide would include in 2015, when I started getting my eye injections. I don’t think I need to explain that the prospect of having someone slide a needle into my eyeball with the intentions of injection a medication into it definitely had my lizard brain saying, “Nope. Not happening. get us the fuck outta here…” Obviously, the prospect of eventually going blind outweighed my fear and I confronted it, and I continue to get these injections every seven to eight weeks.

In the beginning, I had plenty of people commenting and telling me how brave I was for going through that and that they’d never be able to, because they’d be too afraid. Bloody hell, you think I WASN’T afraid??? I sit through something that’s usually reserved as a bad scene out of a horror movie. Of course, I’m afraid. But I confront that fear. The result is that I come out of it with a maintained ability to see clearly, which allows me to do the little everyday things like retain the privilege of operating a motor vehicle and doing my work without special accommodation.

Another good example is testing for black belt. I’ve always trained very hard in karate. I’ve always been confident in my knowledge and abilities in karate. By that logic, testing for black belt shouldn’t have been an issue. But I would be outright lying if I said that I wasn’t scared shitless in the days leading up to the test. But I knew that if I wanted to continue my education in the martial arts that I had to take the added step. The result is that I was able to continue on my martial arts path, start teaching and continue this education, even today.

Granted, the inherent danger associated with those things are passive. Think about a firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save someone trapped inside. Do you think for one second that they aren’t scared? The fear is very real and the danger associated with it is very real, as well. Every time a police officer performs a traffic stop, there’s always a fear that they may be confronting someone violent and dangerous. There’s a CONSTANT fear. But they do it anyway. Now, this is the other end of the stick, of course. But the concept still stands.

Bravery doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It simply means that you find the strength within yourself to confront those fears and do it anyway. That’s where you’ll start to notice that you can accomplish far more in life. And you’ll be happier. No one wants to be controlled by their fears. And everyone can be brave. All it takes is the strength to step out that door the first time. And once you do, taking it one step at a time. ☯️

Be In The Now…

It’s important in life to recognize that life exists only in the immediate moment. That makes it equally important to live in that moment. I found a meme online that got me thinking about all of this and it went a little something like this. Bear with me, as I’m translating indirectly from French…

“If you want to be sad, live in the past.”
“If you want to be worried or anxious, live in the future.”
“If you want to be in peace, live in the present.”

This is not mine and to be honest, it was a meme and I can’t source it. I’m sure I could research it and try to figure out where it came from, but unlike providing information on something Diabetes-related as I often do, I don’t believe it’s necessary for the message I’m trying to convey. And just to be clear, this doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be PREPARED or PLAN for things. It simply means that your thoughts and your essence shouldn’t exist outside fo the immediate moment.

This is where you are. This is where you exist. To allow yourself to live outside of that context brings suffering. And that’s the last thing you need. Take the time to appreciate where you are. Soak in the environment. Take on the scents and sounds of your life. And take note that if any of those aspects don’t make you happy, you have an inherent responsibility to do something about it. ☯️

That’s Not How Doors Work…

All my life, I’ve heard the expression, “When one door closes, another door opens…” It’s meant to lead one to believe that even when an opportunity passes you by or you don’t succeed at something, there will always be something else on the road ahead. Except there isn’t. It’s important to grab opportunity by the horns when it comes knocking on your particular door. I’ve also heard another expression that says, “When one door closes, re-open that bitch. That’s how doors work.”

You shouldn’t let opportunity pass you by based on current circumstances or current world events. No matter what you may be thinking or going through, your future is worth sacrificing a little. If opportunity presents itself to do something that will benefit you, your family and your future, you should take steps towards trying to make things work, even when it doesn’t align perfectly with everything you may hope to see happen in your life. The problem is that you’ll always encounter situations where there will be opposition.

“You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain…”

Harvey Dent (Two-Face), The Dark Knight

Life doesn’t care about your plan. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of reasonable opportunities that may present themselves unexpectedly. We don’t always expect these changes. In fact, they sometimes present themselves in the most unexpected ways imaginable. If you choose to ignore those opportunities, shame on you. One must keep one’s eyes open for such opportunities. It’s one thing if you make the conscious choice to ignore such opportunities. But when said opportunities can benefit your overall life and family, you PROBABLY shouldn’t ignore it.

This is a pretty short post and I’m being a little more reflective than educational this morning. But such is life. Sometimes, certain things just bring it out of me. Don’t stop because of a closed door. Your pride and “rights” aren’t worth a secure future. Make certain that the choices you make are what required for the overall betterment of your life; not what you believe you should be fighting for in the moment. Wish I could be specific about what I’m getting at. It’s just something some folks need to figure out on their own. Food for thought… ☯️

Don’t Push It, Let It Come To You…

Writing is a kept skill. If you don’t write often and consistently, it’s a skill that will dwindle with time and you may find yourself lacking if you have to draft something pertinent. When it comes to authoring a blog, trying to o provide daily content to keep people engaged and reading can be a challenge, especially if inspiration and ideas tend to run dry.

Considering the number of posts I’ve written, I’ve challenged myself to always provide something daily. This has been reasonably easy, considering I try to cover any topic related to Buddhism, Diabetes, Health & Fitness and martial arts as well as generous sprinkling of some opinion pieces that don’t always fall under those categories. And after posting well over 500 daily posts without missing a day, I’ve learned one important lesson: you can’t push ideas. You need to let ideas and inspiration come to you naturally.

As children, imagination and inspiration are the dominant ways that we process and interpret information. This can be proven by taking a quick look at my 6-year old son, who can make a solid box out of plastic LEGO’s and consider it to be a vault, a fortress, some kind of a square spaceship or even a weapon’s array (which was premised by one of his cartoons). On the negative side of it, a brief creak of a floor during a nighttime bathroom trip will suddenly turn into some malevolent presence seeking to do harm, despite logic arguing against this.

As we get older and leave childhood behind, we tend to draw on knowledge, experience and logic for our inspiration and ideas. But some of the world’s best authors have created the best stories and manuscripts based on the free-range imagination they had as children. I think that for the most part, this is because children aren’t trying to force an idea in order to formulate it on paper (or on screen). This is one thing that becomes more difficult as we move forward in life.

Because I like to share credit, I always have an open invitation for people to share their thoughts, ideas and inspiration. And I’m going to go ahead and invite any of my readers to do this, now. If there’s a topic and/or idea that you’d like to see me cover, please indicate it in the comments. If you have something you’ve written that you’d like to collaborate and share on my blog, I’m always willing to share posts with full credit going to the author, provided the material fits with the normal parameters (no racism, hate writing, etc…)

Inspiration can be fleeting, and ideas don’t always come easily. As with all things in life, it never hurts to reach out and ask for some help. And I’m certainly not afraid to do the research if someone suggests something I could be writing about, so don’t be shy. I’ll always do my best to provide daily content. But in order to for that content to be inspired, I can’t allow myself to push. I need to let it come to me, naturally. in the meantime, I invite anyone’s inspiration to pay a visit to mine. ☯️

It’s Hard To Be “Social” When Everyone Focuses On The “Media”

Anyone who’s been following along on my journey will know that I have something of a love/hate relationship with social media. On the one side, participating on social media platforms allows people to connect, communicate and potentially get in touch with some folks they may not have seen or heard from in years. I, myself, recently reconnected with a handful of people from my high school graduating class, which is saying quite a bit although I won’t age myself by saying how long it’s been. But it could be easily argued that this is the intended purpose behind social media: to connect and communicate. To be social, albeit over a digital environment.

Unfortunately for me and many others who seek a peaceful existence, this is rarely the reason behind people’s presence on social media. Most choose to use it as a platform to argue their views and opinions, which often leads to unnecessary conflict, once again albeit on a digital forum. It takes away from the experience of maintaining contact with those we aim to remain friends with and becomes all the more convoluted when some of the involved parties causing this “digital suffering“ happen to be good, close friends.

About three years ago, certain events took place that altered the course of my life. Although I could arguably say that these changes were in my best interest and that I’m happier now than I have been in a LONG time, it doesn’t remove the fact that these changes came at the cost of great, personal suffering. As many of you know, the elimination of suffering is kind my thing. So, it makes life difficult when others who should be understanding and compassionate cause MORE of that suffering instead of trying to eliminate it.

I’m getting slightly off path here, and the point is that a big part of the difficulties I faced years ago were due, in part, to social media. When the world spends its days living in a way that involves sharing what they’ve eaten, where they’re going and where they’ve been, as well as personal details of their everyday lives online, it should come as no surprise to have those who wish to do wrong use that information against you. When I discovered that this was the case, I made the difficult choice to take a step away from social media and permanently closed all my accounts.

This was a difficult step for me since, like most people, my day was filled with frequent checks of my phone and computer, looking at people’s updates, sending messages and getting a laugh at memes and jokes. What made things worse is that I had a handful of people with whom social media was the ONLY form of contact I had. And even though I spent some time posting the ol’ “I’m leaving social media, flip me your phone number,” there are a number of people that never got back to me. A necessary step, thanks to someone else’s negative actions.

In recent months, life has gotten progressively better, despite the current state of the world. So, I tentatively dipped my toes back into social media, which is where I managed to connect with the aforementioned folks from high school. But it’s in FACT the current state of the world that has now begun causing issues for me, through social media. I’m sure I’m not alone in recognizing that the world is currently divided on the key issues involving vaccination, masking, health requirements and the overall state of the world. It’s pretty much THE hot topic and is hotly debated by even the closest of friends and family members.

I’m not having it. By definition, peace cannot be imposed. It’s up to the people to recognize what’s required in order to achieve peace and sustain it. Understanding, compassion and open communication are part of those requirements, to name a few. But these are things that are in short supply in today’s society. And it’s for that reason that I’ve found myself in a compromised position where I am once again considering stepping away from social media. Then I thought to myself, why am I depriving myself of good communication with family and friends for the sake of the few who choose to use this platform to argue their opinions with others? Rather than eliminate social media, why not simply cut out the negative energy?

I’m tired. The daily grind of life is difficult enough without people making it more difficult amongst themselves. The ideal scenario would be for each person to keep to themselves and exercise their choice without broadcasting it to the world. You do you. I’ll take it a step further and won’t even bother saying which side of the line I fall on, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what your choice is, just don’t give me shit if it happens to be different than mine. Vaccinated, not vaccinated, pro-mask, anti-mask, whatever. Do what you gotta do to survive this roller-coaster called life and stop picking on each other. Life’s too short.

For this reason, I’ve made a compromise with myself in order to eliminate some of the negative in my life. Rather than remove social media, I’m removing those who spread negativity, hate and ignorance of the facts. Some people may suddenly be disappearing from my social media. The irony is I started this practice almost two weeks ago and the removed parties have yet to notice. Or at the very least, they’ve yet to reach out and ask why. Maybe they’re too busy arguing “their rights” over “what’s right.” That’s a balance we all have to work on. ☯️

Be Who You Are, You Aren’t Designed To Be Anyone Else…

Here’s the thing, and you may as well buckle up because this one will be a bit of a rant. I am who I am. I spent a good portion of my youth being someone I wasn’t meant to be. And that’s a horrible way to live, even as a child. As we grow into adulthood, there’s always this great expectation that we’ll conform to certain societal norms and kowtow to the masses. But realistically, we don’t live in that kind of world anymore. And with the advent of social media and the internet, it doesn’t take long for anyone who tries to suppress any individual’s thoughts, beliefs or lifestyle to be swiftly and sometimes radically, put in their place.

I take stock of who I was in my youth (my youth includes both childhood and my teens) and I recognize that I had a lot of work to do. Sure, I studied the martial arts and I worked on my health. But there were a lot of hiccups along the way. I was quiet and withdrawn. I didn’t associate with the world very much, which I’ve come to feel has damaged opportunities and taken away certain options I COULD have had in life. I made myself content with staying in my small corner of the world and ignoring the rest of it, all while doing karate and enjoying my few, small pleasures.

It wasn’t until I reached adulthood and took ownership of certain personal choices that I finally began to open up. Most people who know me now would likely be taken aback by the quiet, pliable and compliant individual I was throughout my youth. Considering how loud and larger than life I tend to be now, all thanks to my specific heritage, no doubt, I think it would come as a shock to most people who knew me “back then.”

What got me here? Honestly, I’ve screwed up during my life. A lot. I’ve made mistakes and errors in judgement that I’ll never be able to take back and that have had real and measurable consequences on the way my life has turned out. I’ve made poor and even bad choices. and have lost friends and loved ones due to my inability to say or do the right thing at the right time. Although some of them are dearly missed, their chosen absence tells me that they weren’t meant to be a part of my overall journey.

I’ve done a lot of good in my life. I’ve done charity, made donations and given away possessions and time. I’ve solved crimes and saved lives and tried to make the world a better place in whatever way I could. I have also done some bad in my life. I’ve failed to be there for people who needed me. I’ve ignored the needs of others and have ended friendships because walking away was often easier than fighting it out. Sometimes in the pursuit of eliminating suffering; sometimes not.

Among all of my direct and indirect actions, my words and choices comes one ultimate result: I am me. For better or for worse, here I am. Some people like me. Some people don’t. Hell, some people hate me. And I KNOW that some people love me. And therein lies the secret to life: it doesn’t care about your plan. And by that very fact, it’s important to recognize that one should never live with regret. Regret is insidious and can only lead to suffering. And it gets you absolutely nothing.

Learn to live with the life you have and you’ll never be without happiness. This isn’t to mean that you won’t ever feel sadness. Or loss. It simply means that your life as a whole will be far happier. Once you let go of hate (and the haters), eliminate the suffering in your own life and do what makes you happy, especially with THOSE who make you happy, you’ll always be on the straight and narrow path to a happier, more enlightened life.

I am me. I am who I am. I may be weird, although I prefer to think unique. I’ll always say exactly what I think and what you see will always be what you get. I find myself incapable of ever being otherwise. Those who know me, know this for a fact. I don’t make friends easily and keep them even less easily, especially once folks get to know the real me. But if you happen to be one of the select few in my life who stick around through the good AND the bad, my love and loyalty will be yours. Without question.

The only down side to being open and always saying what I think, is that it works both ways. If I don’t like you or you bring harm to me or my lobbed ones, you’ll discover that little fact quickly. I make no apologies for turning the page on the story that is my life. As the line from hamlet says, “To thine own self be true.” Life will throw you a lot of curve balls. Some good and some bad will always be inevitable. Such is the balance of life. But so long as you remain true to yourself in all aspects of life, you’ll navigate the good and bad without issue. Food for thought…. ☯️

When You Just Can’t…

I recently had a reader comment on one of my posts, where it was mentioned that one of the issues faced with traditional forms of meditation is that staying in a relaxed position with one’s eyes closed will usually result in the body slipping into something akin to a dream/sleep state. At least for one of the posts, I was discussing the use of meditation as a means of refreshing oneself from fatigue, so this wouldn’t be an unexpected result. But the reader made a good point about the importance of experiencing one’s day with open eyes, to live in the moment to experience all the beauty that life can potentially offer.

I remember in my pre-teens when I started toying with the concept of meditation and more often than not, trying to meditate for more than ten minutes would typically result in my falling asleep. At that age, it was entirely a bad thing. But during adulthood, we scarcely have the free time to meditate in any form, much less being available to fall asleep randomly. Imagine taking your lunch hour to meditate at the office and falling asleep? Only to have your boss give your shoulder a shake and ask you what the hell is going on?

I’m not saying this has happened to me, and the fact that some employers not only encourage but provide the resources for lunch-hour naps notwithstanding, that’s a topic for another post. The question is, can one meditate with eyes open? Are there any benefits to such a practice and how does one do it? The answer isn’t as simple or easy as a yes or no. And there are a LOT of conflicting sources. Depending on what definition you read, meditation is simply defined as working towards an enlightened state of focus, concentration and awareness. It’s thought to be a technique capable of changing one’s consciousness, allowing for a number of physical and mental benefits. If you’re a reader of some old classics, you may remember that Marcus Aurelius wrote a book simply called “Meditations.” In this context, meditation is considered someone’s written discourse on a particular subject, weighing heavily on their opinion. The focus of today’s post is obviously the definition as I’ve provided it, above.

Nathan, taking his first crack at meditation

Meditating with your eyes open, or “wakeful meditation,” as I’ve heard it referred to, is a practice where one can go about one’s day and perform daily activities all while maintaining some basic level of awareness towards meditation. In some respects, this can be a handy tool for allowing yourself to be freed from distractions in one’s environment, to increase one’s focus and even in some circumstances, to block out certain forms of pain.

This is not without challenge, and I’d be lying if I said it was something that could be sustained indefinitely. But it’s certainly possible and definitely recommended. The thing about meditation that most people seem to forget, is that you don’t need to be dressed in robes, sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed in order to achieve it. I had a math teacher when I was in high school, who would take the fifteen-minute recess to close his classroom door, sit at his desk and simply close his eyes and perform a simple, deep-breathing meditation. Fifteen minutes. That’s it. And it would leave him refreshed and ready to continue on with his day.

I found an analogy online that would seem to be fitting. The word “meditation” is a bit like the word “sports.” If you tell someone you play sports, they’d likely ask you what sport you play, since there would be hundreds upon hundreds of possibilities. Meditation is very much the dame thing. There are many ways of meditating, different methods, techniques and postures, all with the goal of helping one increase their overall awareness and consciousness. The key thing is to find a method that works for you and suits your purposes. Otherwise, it’s like picking out a car to buy. If you don’t get the model you want with the options you were looking for, it’ll get you from point “A” to point “B,” but there’ll always feel like there’s something missing. Meditation falls very much under the same comparison. A huge shout out to the reader who provided comments that elicited this post. If you’re reading this, inspiration is always appreciated. ☯️

Walk Away And Keep Your Hands To Yourself…

De-escalation. It’s a word one rarely thinks of, when faced with a potential threat against one’s safety and well-being. For the most part, our survival instinct (fight or flight, if you will), will kick in and unless you’re some kind of macho jerk with a point to prove, you’ll do whatever is necessary to bring conflict to an end.

All that being said and without getting into the details of whatever self-defence laws your local jurisdiction may carry, every person has an inherent right to protect and defend themselves. And in most cases, others. But the ability to de-escalate a situation is one of the most effective resources in a properly trained martial artist’s toolbox; one that is usually and widely overlooked. There are tons of quotes and passages from martial arts’ reading that explain how the best victories are from the battles you didn’t have to fight and I would be inclined to agree.

As children, our parents were always very quick to tell us to “just walk away” and to “keep your hands to yourself,” when faced with confrontation. Speaking from experience, that rarely EVER worked during my childhood. Surprisingly, it works a bit better as an adult and it may be because adults are sometimes prone to actually consider another person’s words as opposed to being a kid hopped up on hormones and lack of sense. I say sometimes because I’ve definitely encountered adults who basically act like children. But I digress…

A colleague of mine recently clued me in to a YouTube channel that discusses and covers de-escalation and examines confrontations and what may have caused them. The channel is called Active Self Protection and it’s pretty good. I have to agree with my colleague, once you start watching some of the videos, it can get pretty addicting, especially from a martial arts perspective. It provides the opportunity of examining the question “what if,” without having to get into the actual situation.

The point is, a big part of learning martial arts the proper way is understanding that physical force isn’t always the way. I would personally push it one step further and point out that getting into a fight should ALWAYS be the last resort but I’m realistic enough to know one does not always have the choice. If someone attacks you, you can find yourself on the defensive trying to ward them off and likely answering their attack before you reasonably have time to try any “verbal judo.”

Throughout my personal and professional life, I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve managed to avoid a physical confrontation, simply by using my words to de-escalate the situation. Remember that there’s no shame in preferring not to fight. And it’s always amazing to look at a given situation after the fact and realize that it could have been avoided if the parties involved had tried to talk it out, rather than beat the snot out of each other. Build that verbal judo. It can be a life-saver. Food for thought… ☯️

The Little Things Add Up…

There’s plenty of reading out there that speaks to the fact that your day will play out based on how you start it. For example, if you wake up, walk to the washroom and proceed to throw up, the safe bet is you’ll likely have a rough day. Your stomach may be sore and cramped, you’ll have little to no appetite and you’ll feel like crap, thereby affecting your overall day. This is just one physical example, but the concept is the same for the emotional or mood-related side of things.

Sometimes it’s as simple as having a morning routine. Wake up, stretch, use the washroom and get coffee going. It’s a structured way to ensure that your body awakes and is receptive to the fact that sleep time is over and the day is beginning. But doing a couple of little things at the start of a day can go a long way towards ensuring that the day will have a more positive energy.

One good example is saying good morning. As the decades have passed and people have fallen a bit deeper into the digital frontier, taking a simple moment to say good morning to the people around has taken the wayside. I can guarantee that a good number of people make a point of posting on social media, first thing in the morning. So why not take the moment to actually do that in person? This is one of the first things I do when I get to work, every morning. I stop by every member of staff’s office and simply stick my head in for a quick “Good morning.” Sometimes it evokes a brief conversation about how things are going, sometimes it simply results in a smile and my greeting is returned. But the result is ALWAYS positive.

It may seem like a little thing but as we all know, little things eventually add up. A dripping tap will eventually fill the sink, if left long enough. By the same token, a little touch of positive energy in your day will lead to another and another, until your sink is overflowing with positive energy. And the funny thing about positive energy is that it will influence you. Kind of like being in a horrible mood when that catchy song comes on. You may have been in a funk but then you realize that you’re crooning along with the song and moving your head, while the folks in the car next to you giggle and point at you… But that’s a story for another time. Stay positive, friends! ☯️