Reconsider the Logic

“Now hold On, Let’s Think About This.” A good boss once said those words to me. She meant for us all to stop and put our heads together to look closely at the details to maximize productiveness and effectiveness. Her example was excellent. The gist could have been to work smarter, not harder, and to consider all people and angles. It would be excellent if this were the case and the standard throughout America, and the globe for that matter. Unfortunately, it is not; thankfully, I have had many great bosses. This one’s words in their simplicity represent an area that I have tried to make a focal point throughout my life.

Some public health policies have been excellent examples of steps in the right direction. Others, not so much. The banning of smoking from restaurants and airports in the 90’s is one that you may recall. Just rewind for a minute back to the 80’s. You would walk into a restaurant and the host/hostess would ask: “Dinner for five? Smoking or non-smoking?”

Now, looking back as we reconsider the logic that question seems ridiculous; what, as though all people in the same room breathe different air??? Now considering the preponderance of evidence about the dangers of secondhand smoke, regarding this benchmark of progress thanks to public health we can now say “good call ref, good call. Way to stay out of the game ref.” That’s just what refs are supposed to do.

Now for most states there is an air quality standard that allows people to eat out, travel, attend a movie or any public event without having to jeopardize their health by continuously breathing secondhand smoke. This was not so in the 80’s.
Yet, there are designated areas for people who still smoke. People who smoke have rights too. The 90’s ban was a win-win situation where everyone got a piece of the fairness. I think it’s fair to say that few would back up to the way it was prior to the 90’s where the inhalation of smoke on a plane, train, in a restaurant or bowling alley was a given for everyone in the building.

“Yep, good call ref; good call.”

There can also be too much of a good thing. Some believe and are trying to banish designated public smoking stations altogether. This is too far in my opinion. People who smoke have rights too. Outside in the fresh air and weather, away from main areas of traffic, I don’t believe that a person’s health who doesn’t smoke will be at risk when the occasional breeze carries the distant draft of outdoor smoke as they pass nearby.

Instead, it is my submission and hope that free will be restored, not further withdrawn. This will also get my vote. Smokers are people who also have the right to make a choice. The middle path, people meeting each other halfway, a little fairness for everyone if it reduces harm. I believe this philosophy is the ideal standpoint to begin the steps of necessary change.
How about looking at some other health policies that affect everyone in America. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) is one. Personally, I still don’t like to use them. I tend to dislike the unnatural, mass tinkering with the essentials (such as food; {yep that’s a biggie}). But here they are, and we apparently voted for it.

“Just add it to improve the food.”

Well shoot, with that logic many people in Utah are depressed and addicted to opioids, so let’s just add Prozac to the water just like fluoride was added in the early 2000’s. I’m saying this to make a point. Please don’t use the cerebral and finger calories to email me with the scientific evidence for or against fluoride, or GMO’s or Prozac for that matter. I’m asking us to reconsider the logic. What is the current logic? Majority rules? It certainly seems like it. What about the rest of us though? I think you’ll see that these blanket rules, proposed monoculture and only dichotomous options for the masses don’t work.

Reconsider the logic. Take the middle path. Avoid the extreme polarity. Reinstate freedom to choose. Let people choose and have some say in their world and their lives. Share the abundance and the power; distribute them more evenly. Remember and consider the earth as we do these things. I see these as reasonable requests.

Another benchmark was made to improve security, but ironically it was at the expense of our own privacy. This sounded good at first. After all, it’s fair for everyone to want safety and security. But now here we are. It has gone too far. It happened too fast before we knew the details. They count on this. That loaded gadget you carry with you can hear everything you say and watches everything you do. We’ve all experienced it-the relentless pop-up about something you were searching for or even discussing with a friend last week.

“Whoa dude…That’s weird.”
Yep, I second that. I don’t like it either.

Regarding privacy, you may realize that since you have nothing to hide, they have nothing to watch. You may want to consider online options that respect your privacy, security and encourage the continuation of freedom to choose-just the thing that America wanted when it was founded.

Here are some:
Duckduckgo, the search engine that won’t track you to search, and for privacy and security Proton email Secure Email Based in Switzerland

{Onward, the ref overhears one particularly loud fan}:

“Yeah, not so much ref; not so much. Whose side are you on anyway? Yeah, that’s the problem. As the ref you aren’t supposed to pick sides. You’re gum chewing is obnoxious too. C’mon!”

The flip side of this coin is that both heads and tails, (to act or not) bring results.
Government regulation is controversial and for many is probably a source of skepticism and distrust. This is a valid concern. Still, I think you will see that not all government regulation is bad and that some is even necessary. Remembering what a good call was the smoking regulation and ban in restaurants and public travel and that very few would go back to the 80’s there.

How about the air breathed while outside? Like many folks, I like to ride my bike, walk my dog and be outside too. If you are local here to Utah, you will know that the air is often measured “yellow.” Sadly, it is yellow more than “green.” While this is a combination of factors, (including Utah’s location, and the mountains, valley and high pressure) and not necessarily because Utahn’s drive that much more than the rest of the U.S. The funds and technology exist to reduce air pollution. I wish it were made a higher priority. There should be financial incentives for it, and to give credit where credit is due, I hear that there are now incentives that encourage hybrid, natural gas and electric cars in Utah. Consider small engines such as lawn mowers, and the requirement that a catalytic converter be placed on them to reduce emissions. It is a small and easy step with little hassle that everyone doing it would make a difference.

The little things do add up to making a big difference; but the truth is, many people don’t care and don’t want to be bothered with these small things that done (or not) in mass quantity adds up to affecting all of us, especially if it is made a requirement.

What, were we (humanity) going to regulate ourselves? Well, sure, there is always hope, and true, there is always a bright side, but that too is a scary proposition with the current state of things. HIstorically how has that worked for us? I agree and have hope that that is a possibility for the future, but right now, greed (whether individual, corporate or industry) still carries the day and destroys the earth. This is exactly why I have referred to greed as a disease throughout my writings. It is a disease because it is fear-based, and it is never satisfied. It always demands more, bigger, better and it is always highly competitive by default. So now here we are, seeing the reasons for government regulation being controversial.

Here’s to the air that you breathe too: Let’s make it cleaner. Many hands make light work and if we were all to pitch in some, there would be less need for government regulation. At the time of this writing: The air is horrendously bad due to several wildfires burning. That also is another topic for another time.

Regarding reducing emissions we’ve all heard them before:

*Don’t idle your car at the drive-thru, or while parked, etc. (It’s the air you breathe also and you like to be outside too).

*Demand and buy more efficient vehicles, and small engines

*Eat less meat. This is an interesting one because I recently heard that Kamala Harris, during the Democratic convention stated that our food choices need to change to save the planet. This is bold and telling to hear a presidential candidate say just what plant-based advocates have been saying for years, even decades. In it, is part of the problematic cycle. Government hasn’t been specific or proactive about “changing food choices to save the planet.” That’s left up to people and industry. Each have free reign and little accountability.

I’m all about live and let live and I dislike force, exclusion, and elitism. I also dislike greed to the point of it being at the expense of everyone and everything else and the destruction of the planet. This is the dilemma. Reinstate freedom to choose for all people, encourage the health of humans and the earth, preserve earth’s resources, share the abundance and the power and yet, keep greed in check. It is a daunting task indeed. Here we only discussed air, smoking and meat, not to mention infectious diseases, which is another topic for another day since we have been dealing with an ongoing example of it for months now.

The modern world is complicated. With knowledge, progress and growth come the continuation of further challenges. Usually our knowledge surpasses our understanding. You can’t do just one thing. Diversity is one of the keys, one of the answers. Some government regulation (if the ref can regulate and stay out of the games) is also necessary, at least for now.

In the meantime, here’s to healthy people and planet and the air (both indoor and outdoor) that you breathe too. I hope to see some more good calls from the ref.

Thank you for reading and studying the world for yourself,

You can order my memoir here: The Wellness Diaries


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!