Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Check Out the Weather and the Air!

Alright ya’ll. You know me; I am very critical of Utah air quality; the air that is all too often compared to Hong Kong’s air. The theme is often: “At least we’re not as bad as Hong Kong”.

“Yeah, way to look on the bright side there Howard.”

But today there is a bright side and we managed to make the bright side even a bit brighter.
Go outside and see what a picture perfect air quality day looks like. That my friends is what Utah air should and CAN look like if we all pull together as we have done these past 3 weeks in other ways. Just a side note there. 🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

More Effective

Throughout the day to day of grinding elbows, tension, or mostly annoyance can sometimes run high. Yet when it counts the very most, humanity finds it in them to pull together and help each other more than lashing out about the annoyances.
At a time when the whole world is having to react and respond in some form to the Corona virus, it is more effective and healing for everyone involved do the little positive things. These add up to make the very changes needed at this time. What you do, no matter how small does count; it makes a difference.

When I have to go out and buy groceries it is like something out of a movie. Product on the shelves is sparse; there is that dazed yet receptive air in public places as people everywhere do their best with what they have. I bet you’ve noticed as I have that at times like these I feel more connected to humanity. I think most of us are aware that times like these can bring out the best and the worst in people. I know I’m not in the mood to elaborate much on examples of either the positive or the negative. I will say that through the hardship humanity seems to pull together and recover, and it is nice to see that some people are choosing to pull together and to be considerate at this time instead of the opposite.

It is a time to be thoughtful and considerate. Upon seeing the unexpected friend or acquaintance in public, instead of the traditional handshake, hug or fist bump, maybe a thumb’s up, a nod or hands together gesture is more suited for this current situation. Small things such as letting someone in during traffic,sincere gestures (such as nods and politeness) help to connect and spread the positivity. I know that when I have to go to buy groceries and everyone is feeling that sort of daze, sometimes even what can approach anxiety, strangers seem grateful for acknowledgment in some form; a mild smile, or a nod, or sincere politeness. The other night at the store, people seemed especially grateful for these and I know that I was especially grateful for those returned gestures also. These imply and spread positivity that “we got this” and that we’ll be okay; we’ll make it through.”

I bet you’ll agree that sincerity and positivity are much more effective in times like this rather than reflexing one’s way into the madness and the chaos. Staying calm, being in the present moment, putting things into perspective, having accurate and reliable information, being warm, acknowledging, sincere and confident especially to strangers all add up to working wonders through difficult times.


Just Around The Corner!

I just had to pound out a brief post. It’s the tail end of winter. I hope you are also enjoying the gradual increase of activity and exercise with the returning sunlight. You may notice various things as you exercise and spend a bit more time outside in the sunshine. Notice changes in your mood, and behavior. These are great things to add to your wellness diary. What have you noticed? Laughing more? Having more energy? Feeling spring fever? The latter makes me laugh. Having worked 11 years in the horticulture industry, we learned to laugh about spring fever, not only seeing it first hand but being right smack in the middle of it-all of it! At this time of the year we are all feeling a similar sort of “coming to” as we seem to be emerging from the cave that was the cold and darkness of winter.

I spent 11 years advising people on how to plant trees, shrubs, vegetables and vines. Now I am very much looking forward to taking my turn to do these, and I am trying a few garden plants this year. It is indeed around this time of year that we naturally begin to come out of the half awake state and feel the joy of spring again. You can use the extra energy for accomplishing some spring cleaning and de-clutter or other new pursuits.

Gardening is mother earth therapy. There is nothing like it. I’ve discovered this and I know you will enjoy discovering the multiple benefits of mother earth therapy also. There are a few great ways to tap into this mutually beneficial pasttime; gardening is an excellent one. I submit that you will discover a whole new world that you’ve been missing when you begin the journey, living lightly on the earth, always progressing at your own pace doing what you can as you can.

Do you remember the pattern from Life Is Conscious?
Keep your wellness diary handy while following the pattern as you explore and discover new things about yourself and your own connection to the earth and your own oneness with the universe.

You may try some garden ventures yourself. Each year there are additional options for the eco garden. Some ideas might include natural weed and pest control, planters made of rice fiber or coconut husk. You may see pre-made bat houses for attracting these fascinating natural insect controlling creatures to your own backyard! Never forget that there is a type of bird that eats nearly every insect pest out there! They naturally perform a tremendous service to us in our gardens and yards, so help the birds help you by avoiding the use of toxic chemicals in your yard. Also, spaying/neutering your cats and not letting them roam free will help the birds to help you also. One of the biggest challenges that beneficial, insect controlling birds face is house cats.

For feral cats, our own local Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Adoption has an excellent, humane-live trap, spay/neuter and release program. I have used it myself and they make it very user friendly and smooth.

It is indeed nearly that time. We’re all feeling it as the temperatures increase and the sun is with us longer with each day.

You may want to try one of my favorite places in the world for eco-gardening ideas, orchids, water-wise plants(fitting, since Utah is a desert)-Cactus and Tropicals!
Cactus and Tropicals

London, Paris, Rome, Cactus and Tropicals.

It’s one of those days when the mild breeze stirs up a mystery-very nice; you already know the time and place for fun in the sun, and toil in the soil, the cool water that falls.

Meet you there.

Thought of the Month

During this time of year sometimes the answer is to push through that scheduled workout that you don’t feel like doing, and sometimes the answer is to take that nap that you certainly want but don’t feel like you should take.

“Workout or nap”? Attuning and learning to choose well for each situation comes with time and experience.

Comparison and Competition, One and the Same

We exhale comparison because we inhale competition…

This is the current playing field of society in which we live. Competition and comparison are one and the same-insecurity-based, negative and self-defeating. Comparison to others is part of our conditioning. Daily multiple messages are received in this manner. However, you are not powerless, and you can think, unthink, rethink and accept or reject what you will.

In associating with others, one depressing tendency common to the human condition is comparing oneself to others. You will notice that this bad habit is usually unfair and rarely productive. Still, it is almost second nature and easy to do without realizing. Seeing it and stopping the practice takes rethinking and a conscious effort to view things differently, and to therefore approach situations differently with a different perspective. It’s a great time at the beginning of 2020 to begin work on stopping the process of comparing of self to others.

It is definitely one thing I am continuing to work on.

My job as a health educator is to help you sort through the clutter and steering you toward reliable, accurate information while avoiding the industry-skewed and funded or misinformation. There is a lot of it out there. There is a life to live that is yours with happiness to discover. It is easier to be happy when healthy and it is easier to be healthy when you have reliable health information to go with in your own pursuit of happiness. This is information that the preponderance of evidence supports.

Spiritual health, mental health, physical health. That covers a lot of ground. In some ways we people are very similar, thankfully, such as our 26′ small intestine and small, flat teeth. In other ways, thankfully, we are quite different such as in personality types, in preferences of soul food, or for music, movies, plays, pets and concerts.

I saw The Nutcracker over the holiday and loved it as always. Live music, (or live anything) is almost always the best.

Anyhow, finding clarity is part of wellness, so that you can stir your inner musings and cultivate your creature, and he/she awaits awakening with keen anticipation. When you are filled, I submit that you will naturally give to others.

I learned this lesson at some point during my journey. This is one reason why I limited myself on social media. I discovered that it is not social media, but anti-social media.

So much time on social media causes our creature to lose touch with real interaction, missing social cues, body language, facial expressions and voice tones.
Quite often we bump into somebody that we haven’t seen for a while and it is natural to stop and chat to catch up for a bit. Notice that when this happens, and as we catch up, if we perceive the person to be more successful, lucky, etc than ourselves. As they tell us about their family, their house, or vacations, often our first nature is to think: “Man! I didn’t get a cruise to Mexico!” It is a depressing thought indeed; notice your mood and vibe drop as soon as you have that or similar thoughts. That is why we learn and continue to correct those problematic thought processes.

Instead, simply be happy for them. In doing so, you are already on your own path to joy, fun and happiness.

When you find that you are comparing yourself to others, or are feeling overshadowed by others’ successes, you may find it helpful to try the following:

• First and foremost, be happy for the successes of others, especially if it is in person, (such as bumping into somebody). You can actually say it to validate them such as: “That’s awesome,” “good for you,” or, “I’m happy for you.” Say it sincerely. If it can’t be totally sincere, than be as sincere as you can be. This acknowledges and validates them also. If you really are saddened by it, then you can and should do your own reflective work on it while alone reminding yourself to be happy for them and:

• Know that your turn for success is coming. (Staples, O. 2018. Empower Yourself). Why waste energy on the negative fixation of others’ joys and successes? What is stopping you from finding or doing your thing that brings you joy and happiness?

You are completely unique. (Staples, O, 2013.) You will see as I once did that in many ways, in the constant comparing of apples to oranges there is no comparison! Isn’t it ridiculous then that we all still do it. This was so liberating when I finally discovered and accepted this! Everyone has strengths, weaknesses and gifts. I say embrace your own gifts, let them show, and laugh at the weaker muscles. The laughter alone indicates mindfulness, which is the first step to begin rethinking and ultimately changing the bad habits. There you go; not so bad after all ay? “Ay, do they really say ay in Canada?” Is it ‘eh’, or ‘ay’?”

This takes practice, so be patient and kind to yourself as you work through it.
This concept along with others is discussed in my second book: Life Is Conscious. Live with Purpose. Abandon Fear. Coexist.

This is a gourd! If you slow down enough to use your imagination you can see things in its shape. To me it is a reminder that everything is a matter of perspective.
To you what does this gourd resemble?
It is tempting to tell you what I saw and some others, but I would like you to see for yourself without the influence of anyone else because you are unique.



Staples, O. (2018). Empower Yourself.

Staples, O. (2013). Life Is Conscious

Stress R e l i e f


We all need time to escape and checkout from time to time. Weber State University has an eye-opening and life changing cave in the wall. Okay, it’s not really a cave, but with the relaxed subdued lighting and atmosphere, sometimes it felt like one-in a very good and restful way.

Do you ever feel in life that you are living in a battle? Well, welcome to 2019. This is very common and you are not alone; but that’s not how life is supposed to be; for that is not life. For the most part this is perceived, and you have managed to turn on the stress response. An essential part of health and well-being is understanding the stress response and learning ways of coping with and taking charge of it. I recommend Dr. Michael Olpin’s book: The World Is Not A Stressful-Place-

If you’re local to Utah even if not a student at WSU you are welcome to visit the Stress Relief Center. It is free for students, but community members pay a small fee. It is money well spent, however. You are welcome to have tea, try some essential oils, massage chairs and tools, encouraged to take a power nap and/or just sit and decompress for a bit. We all need this and we’re all learning/journeying. This place accommodates that reality. You can get information, location and hours here:
Stress Relief Center at WSU

Also, I highly recommend the class Stress Management, and Mind, Body Wellness even if you’re not in the health education program. Shoot, even if you’re not a student, find a way to take these classes. They provide tools that can be accessed throughout life, and that everyone will be greatly refreshed by knowing them. Further, this is exciting breakthrough stuff! I hope to see the day where other Stress Relief Centers like this and/or workout centers are set up in the workplace, many, most workplaces… “Worksite Wellness” Just imagine the possibilities… The world would become a better place!

What wellness gift will give yourself today? At some point, I hope that one of your gifts will be treating yourself to a visit to a Stress Relief Center.

Enjoy the journey and happy new year!


Winter Rest


Have you ever noticed how you feel after driving for a few hours?
Tired! Isn’t that right?

Why is that? You have literally done nothing but sat there while operating a motor vehicle, maybe socialized and/or carried a conversation in the car. Yet, for example after finally getting home from a long road trip you feel very spent. Mentally you have actually been doing a whole lot. Driving involves a constant watch and monitoring; if you’re a skilled driver you are practicing defensive driving, and are always thinking ahead to avoid accidents. Well, over a few hours this adds up! Your brain has had to basically remain in constant hover mode. Your brain was not quite relaxing; yet neither was it engaged in quite the same way as it would be during a cross word puzzle, trying to remember the name of your best friend’s new girlfriend, or any form of problem solving. At least that is the case with mine. You have been ‘hovering’ for a few hours! You have naturally grown tired over that time; not to mention the stress and tension that has accumulated during those hours as you have been watching carefully, thinking ahead and staying alert and prepared. If there were any close calls such as having to slam on your brakes or swerve to avoid a pedestrian on a skateboard that didn’t see you and suddenly darted out in front of you, your stress is all the more. This adds up. Combine this with winter weather of short days and long nights and you understand one dimension of chronic tiredness during the winter time.

One thing I have learned that helps with this is to simply accept winter’s dark chill; that is to slow down my general mode and consolidate and simplify my routine during the winter. For example, I may combine trips and do a few things at once while I’m out so that I don’t have to go out again, or shop for groceries only once a week, arrange things so that I can go out only during day light etc. There is something to be said for preparation and getting things dialed and zipped up before the snow flies. While I wrote about this more extensively in my second book Life-Is-Conscious it is a worthwhile pursuit to play around with ideas and your own schedule to see the ways you can come up with to be more home-based cozy and at a slower pace during the winter. You may notice as I did that all the chasing adds up. The chasing is especially tiring during the winter when we are supposed to be winding down with more rest and relaxation, harmonizing with the reduced natural light; but instead we tend to maintain the same pace, or even rev it up for winter during the holidays. You may find it helpful to make this change at a gradual pace that is comfortable for you, such as adding to it each year making and finding your own preferred rhythms. As always, it is helpful to keep a diary about your progress. You’ll be amazed at the things you discover. Part of well-being is attuning somewhat to the seasons, noticing changes in weather and understanding the impact these have on your mood and general health, and adapting somewhat-making any helpful seasonal adjustments.

Consider the animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Not only is this educational and informative but amusing too. You may enjoy some binoculars and a camera to see what you can find:

Muskrat at the bird refuge

And it’s close relative, here is a photo someone shared with me of a nutria from Oregon:

What is a nutria? That of course. Always food for thought.

If you’re new to this blog, welcome! I write largely from experience and observation, but I’ve studied a lot on my own too. Some posts are random and fun and others are of the utmost importance and seriousness such as this one, APA and everything. Here’s to the studies that one day confirm what I write from observation: (That one journal, 2017). 42 1244-1253
(“That still isn’t right.” 1989). (Which one?)
(That one, get it right, damnit! 2004)

Just kidding only one professor said that to me.
Just kidding again. None of them did, of course not.