Archive for the ‘Sense of Humor Perspective’ Category

We’ve Lost a Good One.

24/05/2020

This post is dedicated to the late Maria Figueroa Norabuena, who I consider the heart of my Peruvian Family. The matriarch, she died recently of complications while in Lima getting medical treatment, and is survived by her husband Daniel, (pictured), a large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren mostly in Huaraz, and the surrounding villages, in Peru.  She lived in a small hamlet outside of Huaraz where she and her husband baked bread for many of the townspeople and restaurants in Huaraz. They also grew crops and had farm animals.  My condolences go out to Daniel and his family.

Daniel and Maria

Daniel, and his late wife Maria of Huaraz, Peru

I met Maria through my friend David Sanchez Figueroa, co-owner of the vegetarian Restaurant Salud y Vida, (Health and Life) when I was mountain guiding in Huaraz some years ago. I became godfather to her grandchild Joseph, and have always felt part of the family. It must be a past-life thing but we’ve all been very close over the years of visits.

With the coming of video calling, I was able to keep in close contact with the whole family, and especially with Maria while she was with her daughter in Lima undergoing treatment.  I had the opportunity to spend some screen-time with her before she died and am so grateful for that time. It reminds me, again that life is short.

I have a vivid image, (and a video), in my mind of my wife Amanda, and Maria, playing “Laugh Dancing” in the restaurant’s kitchen. Someone starts a sound track, and the object of the game is partner up with someone, and dance with a straight face. The first one to crack a smile, usually caused by the opponent’s antics, loses. Maria won, hands down. I don’t remember the exact maneuver she pulled, but it had us (all generations of the family) laughing hysterically.

When I first came to Peru as a mountain guide, Maria used to pinch my cheek with her fingers, saying “Que Pena” (“What a pity”) when she learned at my age of 40+, I still had no wife or child. (Since then I’ve been married since 2009 with an eight-year-old son, which made Maria much more happy with me) Every climbing season, when I’d come back into town, she’d give me the pinching, “Que Pena” again, when I was still in the same sorry state.

Becoming a Godfather to her grandchild, Joseph, and seeing what family can really be in Peru, changed me. I grew up as a bit of a narcissist, mountain guiding, single, and although an outdoor educator, still caught up in my seeking the perfect high. A light bulb when off in my heart when I observed what family really means in the indigenous an Latino sense. We had Peru on our short list of destinations of where we were considering having a family, precisely because of that observation.

Maria was a strong woman with a keen sense of self, sense of humour, a huge heart, and a fantastic matriarch who will be missed by her large family, and even… a gringo here in New Zealand.

Since this post, I’ve received this comment from Maria’s grandaughter, Jina (translated from Spanish):

Thank you very much Randall for this publication in tribute to my beloved Grandmother, she was just as you describe her, she left such an imprint on every corner she traveled, she was a woman very loved by all of us who now mourn her sudden departure. You are right, she was in a very delicate treatment that began in January, but on 15.05.2020 her body did not resist.  I still remember every joke she made to me, even one day before her death we joked, and she laughed out loud.  Always her take on life was all joy.
Perhaps you were motivated by her to form your own home, with her phrase, “what a shame”, because she wanted to see everyone with family, family as she had it with my grandfather, who showed that true love exists.
Their advice is recorded in my heart.

I’ll never forget my grandmother. She will always be in my memory and heart.

Huaraz Maria Obit

Near the hamlet in which Maria lived, with the Cordillera Blanca, Peru’s highest mountain range, in the near distance (copyright 2020 Dexter R Richards)

12 REGLAS Para Tocar en una Banda

28/04/2014
Band Chimu Inka,  Cusco, Circa 2003

Banda Chimu Inka, Cusco, Circa 2003

1 . Cada uno debe desempeñar la misma pieza .
2. Observar los signos de repetición sólo si lo que acabas de jugar era interesante.
3. Si toca una nota equivocada , mirar a uno de los otros jugadores.
4. La nota correcta , en el momento equivocado , es una nota falsa . ( Y viceversa ).
5. Una nota equivocada , jugó tímidamente , es una nota falsa .
6. Una nota equivocada , interpretada con autoridad, no es más que tu interpretación de la frase .7. Si todo el mundo se perdió, sino que , seguir los que se pierden .
8. Esfuércese siempre para jugar el máximo notas por segundo. Esto intimidará los jugadores más débiles y que ganar la admiración de los ignorantes.
9. Las marcas de ligaduras , dinámica y alteraciones deben ser completamente ignorados. Ellos están allí sólo para poner el mirar más complicado.
10. Si un pasaje es difícil , más despacio. Si es fácil , acelerar . Todo va a igualar a sí misma en el final.
11. Has logrado una verdadera interpretación cuando , al final, no has jugado una nota de la pieza original.
12. Cuando todo el mundo se detiene la reproducción, usted debe parar también . No juegues las notas que pueden haber dejado de nuevo.

The Pursuit of Happiness

12/12/2013
Read 10 practices to a happier you

Read 10 practices to a happier you

This recent Outside Magazine article shows what many of us already have known, but is confirmed here again – That not only living a healthy lifestyle contributes to happiness, one can literally create new neuro-pathways in the brain, (and you can actually change your DNA) by practice uplifting behavior and exercises.

Launch the new year with these simple, life-improving strategies.
From Outside Magazine,  January 2014
The tendency to be happy or not is an inherited trait, but the good news is that this is less than half the story. According to a 2012 study of identical and fraternal twins conducted by a team of scientists from top universities around the world, only about a third of our happiness level is determined by genes. The rest is up to us.

Destination: Your center

Destination: Your center

Looking for drivers of well-being, the researchers zeroed in on a gene that aids in the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin. In the biochemistry of mood, serotonin plays a role much like the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, bringing brightness and cheer, and regulates stress levels, sleep, and pain, among other things. The study found that those who’d inherited longer variations of -the gene had a slight increase in overall happiness, but surveys of the twins suggested that genes get only a minority vote when it comes to mood.

Other research indicates that how happy you are can influence the ways your genes are expressed. In a 2013 study, researchers at UCLA and the University of North Carolina reported that happiness levels have powerful effects on genes and our health. But there was a catch: the specific kind of happiness mattered a lot. The unselfishly happy, whose feelings of well-being involved a deep sense of purpose in life, had a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

Happy hedonists, meanwhile, wrapped up in materialistic pleasures, had weaker immune systems, resulting in inflammation that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. “Even pleasures that seem virtuous, like looking at a sunset, can be hedonistic, because they involve one’s own emotional gratification,” explains UCLA professor of medicine Steven Cole, the senior author of the study. “The real distinction is whether your happiness is tied into purpose and meaning outside yourself.”

Bottom line: like so many things, how happy you are comes down to how you choose to live your life. We’ve rounded up the latest beta on how to show your DNA who’s boss.

1. Rise with the Sun
Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Less than that and we’re crankier, dumber, sicker, and even fatter. But that’s no excuse to sleep in.
Read the rest of this story…

One of the best resources I’ve used over the years is the audio presentation by C.W. Metcalf, Lighten Up, available at Nightengale-Conant

May 1st, A National Boycott

29/04/2012

A friend just pointed out comedian Lee Camp’s YouTube message calling for a national “buy nothing/strike/call-in-sick” day. This  message is worth considering. Post your comments, let us know what you think. For us, we’ll be doing nothing on May 1st.

Lee Camp: A Call-out for a National Boycott

 

Spider Overtakes Car

10/04/2012

Does Death Exist? New Theory Says ‘No’

16/01/2012

Many of us fear death. We believe in death because we have been told we will die.
Editor’s Note:

Dannion Brinkley

For some reason, death has not been a stranger in my life. Western society is almost totally ignorant of death, it is something to be brushed under the rug, and feared. Stay tuned for a posting on “Death, The Funny Side” a talk by Dannion Brinkley, author of Saved by the Light. I heard Brinkley speak at a Whole-Life Expo in Seattle in the late ’80’s – he was promoting his book. I liked his half-hour talk so much that I bought a copy of it andeventually converted it mp3 format.  I plan on posting it here, once I have Brinkley’s permission of course. It’s a classic, that has changed my understanding of what death is, and what it means to be fully alive.  His sense of humor perspective, depth and compassion, after having died  more than once and come back to talk about it,  is remarkable, especially after having been a hit man for the U.S. government.  Ykes.
At Mountain Spirit Institute, one of our core values is addressing our “ultimate concerns”. We believe that by helping to reconnect people to the natural environment, each other and a deeper connection to one’s self, we can help participants start looking beyond the veil. Eckhart Tolle writes” The secret to death is to die before you die, and realize there is no death.” Hmm. Maybe he’s onto something.  Dannion Brinkley is, as well.
R. Richards

Does Death Exist? New Theory Says ‘No’
From: KipNews (Open your mind, Prepare)

A case for staying no death - Biocentrism

We associate ourselves with the body, and we know that bodies die. But a new scientific theory suggests that death is not the terminal event we think.
One well-known aspect of quantum physics is that certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there is a range of possible observations each with a different probability.  One mainstream explanation, the “many-worlds” interpretation, states that each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe (the ‘multiverse’).

A new scientific theory – called biocentrism – refines these ideas.  There are an infinite number of universes, and everything that could possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death does not exist in any real sense in these scenarios.

All possible universes exist simultaneously, regardless of what happens in any of them. Although individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the alive feeling – the ‘Who am I?’- is just a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain.  But this energy doesn’t go away at death. One of the surest axioms of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed. But does this energy transcend from one world to the other?
Consider an experiment that was recently published in the journal Science showing that scientists could retroactively change something that had happened in the past.

Particles had to decide how to behave when they hit a beam splitter. Later on, the experimenter could turn a second switch on or off. It turns out that what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle did in the past. Regardless of the choice you, the observer, make, it is you who will experience the outcomes that will result. The linkages between these various histories and universes transcend our ordinary classical ideas of space and time. Think of the 20-watts of energy as simply holo-projecting either this or that result onto a screen.  Read the rest of this story…

The Ugly American Turns Beautiful

18/09/2011

Outsourced - A great source for cultural awareness

Outsourced
By R Richards
Says one movie critic about the movie Outsourced, “It does for cultural differences with humor, what ‘Crash’ did with intensity and violence.” I found it to be a wonderful treatise on the Ugly American turned good. Using the metaphor of outsourcing, Yankees are forced, through humor, to reassess the American way of life.  According to United States Government Accountability Office, about 28 percent of the U.S. population has a passport, and the main character in Outsourced is no different. But he eventually awakens with his first trip to India to learn not only about a rich country, but about himself.  See this movie.

Outsourced is a modern day comedy of cross-cultural conflict and romance. Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) spends his days managing a customer call center in Seattle until his job, along with those of the entire office, are outsourced to India. Adding insult to injury, Todd must travel to India to train his new replacement. As he navigates through the chaos of Bombay and an office paralyzed by constant cultural misunderstandings, Todd yearns to return to the comforts of home. But it is through his team of quirky yet likable Indian call center workers, including his friendly and motivated replacement, Puro (Asif Basra), and the charming, opinionated Asha (Ayesha Dharker), that Todd realizes that he too has a lot to learn – not only about India and America, but about himself. He soon discovers that being outsourced may be the best thing that ever happened to him.

See the Trailer

Outsourced debuted with its world premiere at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, and following a successful run at festivals around the world, ShadowCatcher Entertainment, the production company behind Outsourced, has chosen to distribute the film independently in select theaters around the US and on DVD

Maple Syrup Builds Up in Trees

01/04/2011

A downturn in the maple syrup market is having harmful side effects for trees in northern New England. For the first time in decades, the maples are remaining untapped, with sometimes-dangerous results.

At right: Maple-syrup maker Ryan Tilley braves a forest aflame with exploded maple to tap his trees.
Hear the mp3 story here.

America’s World View

07/06/2010

The U.S. citizens’ perspective of the world might not be quite as bad as depicted in this map, but I feel it may be close. While although “we are all one”, and Americans have the best of intentions, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

In a recent NPR interview, a few large truck and SUV drivers were asked if there were any connection to their driving habits and the Gulf oil spill, and, did they feel any remorse. They said “no”, they still needed “to get to work, and deliver the farm goods”.  We’re all part of this problem, even the Amish, most of  who don’t drive. They still need and send deliveries sent by truck.  As Tolle asks, “Are you cleaning up the mess or contributing to the problem?

Back to the American perspective. This map illustrates the longstanding isolation and provincial perspective that seems unique to the USA. Just across the border in Quebec, the world view is, more worldly. The U.S. is  a young country full of many, but not all, who still think we’re on top of the world. It’s understandable. Our continent stands alone, our controlled media* and corporatocracy has perpetuated a tunnel vision for many years that is catching up to us. This narrow vision that has been sold to us,  effects not only our global view, but our environmental abuse, and our imperialistic tendencies.

At Mountain Spirit Institute, our mission is to broaden the American perspective. See our programs on Peru and the USA/Peruvian Music Exchange where a bit of Peru was brought into the schools and communities in the Northern U.S.

What do you think about this map? We invite your comments.
*“Cause when they own the information Oh, they can bend it all they want”. John Mayer
Thanks to Amanda Richards for sending this map my way. She was a little apprehensive about my posting this, but I thought, “Heck, our readers have a good sense of humor”.

Happiness & Science

15/05/2010

By Ryan Foley, AP

Laughter: Good Spiritual Work

MADISON, Wis. – After hearing about his cutting-edge research on the brain and emotions through mutual friends, the Dalai Lama invited Richard Davidson to his home in India in 1992 to pose a question.

Scientists often study depression, anxiety and fear, but why not devote your work to the causes of positive human qualities like happiness and compassion? the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader asked. Read the rest of this story