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Breath of Life

March 22nd, 2017 by Michael Tabor

Image result for breathing

I am a “Nervous Nellie.” That’s just the way I’m made. I worry about everything and my natural state is not that of being loose and relaxed, but rather tense and anxious.  The best way to combat stress and anxiety is through breathing exercises. Trust me – it works, but you have to practice several times a day AND most importantly stick with it. It’s going to take time to retrain your body.

One of the most popular breathing exercises is the 4 fours. Which is simply: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4. And repeat 4 times. The problem is everyone is different and everybody has different breathing patterns and rhythms, so you’re going to have to work it out for yourself – what works for you. I personally – inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 6, and breathe out for a count of 6 and then repeat. I do this for as long as I need to, in order to get relaxed.

Good Luck! So WhaDaYaThink? What do you think? Keep practicing and stay calm. As Bob Marley says, “Be Happy.”

P.S. – I just now wrapped up a breathing session. So, this is what I actually do: inhale through my nose for 4, hold for 6, exhale through my mouth for 6, then pause or breath naturally for 2. Repeat. I feel like a new man! Another thing to keep in mind, is it’s all about gaining control of your physiology; make sure your breathing is smooth, slow, and not choppy.

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Meditation is Not Just Some New Age Thing

May 8th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

Mindfulness, TM (Transcendental Meditation), Movement meditation like Tai – Chi (I have been practicing Tai – Chi for 3 decades), breath – counting … just to mention a few types (hey it’s essentially the same stuff, I’ll elaborate in just a sec…)of meditation practices that are proven methods for peace of mind and good health.

Most people, especially westerners are prodigiously skeptical of , to which the title alludes, this new age thing called – meditation. But, listen up, the facts are the facts: doctors from this country (U.S.) and rigorous clinical studies have clearly shown that meditation of any kind:

· Normalizes blood pressure (not just lowers, in other words)
· Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke
· Minimizes stress
· Cures insomnia (actually, I don’t mean cure here, but it definitely helps. I’ve suffered from insomnia my whole life and I can honestly attest that I’d be a sleepless zombie if it not were for my meditation practices)
· Reduces anxiety and depression
· And leaves you with a sort of sense of calm throughout the day (calm for me anyway, lol). I am and always have been a “Nervous Nellie”meditation2 . I wish this were not the case, but hyperactivity and nervousness is just part of my temperament and genetic make – up. Before I discovered Tai – Chi and meditation in 1983 I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown – I kid you not.

In a nutshell, meditation (any form) is simply the arduous painstakingly practice of paying attention to the most boring and uninteresting thing a human being can possibly imagine e.g. following and counting your breath – inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale. What this practice does, is simple 1. Train you to be in the moment 2. Improve your concentration and put a halt to extraneous distractions other than the task at hand (counting your breaths for example. Oh, incidentally it’s impossible for your mind not to wander about to other matters, but that is all part of the meditation practice… intrusive thoughts pop into your mind, & now your job is to gently bring your attention back to breath – counting) and 3. Permit you to become the “viewer”, “watcher”, “third person” who uncritically and without judgment allows one’s body to do what it wants to. THAT’S IT !!! There is nothing mystical about it. You don’t have to convert to Buddhism and you certainly don’t need a mantra (as TM suggests).

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I know David Lynch (the surrealist Film director) has been proselytizing about TM over the past couple of years. I’m telling you, once you fully grasp and understand it, it truly becomes a part of your everyday life and you quickly realize that it’s something without which you simply cannot live. YEP, it changes your life forever !!! Check out this YouTube clip of Howard Stern (everyone knows I personally hate Stern, but here he is amazingly articulate, passionate…) and Jerry Seinfeld drinking coffee and having a discussion about a simple but profound practice that has been around formeditation1 at least 6000 years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLn1ZgGxos

 

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Self – Help Books Don’t Help At All

April 28th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

When I was in my early twenties, I used to read a lot of glib and facile nonsense authored by people like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Dr.selfhelp1selfhelp2 Wayne Dyer … you know what I’m talking about : “How to become a millionaire in 90 days” type of rubbish (One of my favorite titles is ‘Think and Grow Rich’ – just have a clear image of success in your mind & the $$$ will just start rolling in).

Today there is a whole herd of these self – proclaimed motivational gurus with their rags to riches success stories (Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Richard Carlson … the list is endless) who are just eagerly awaiting you to open up your pocket book and make themselves, not you, rich – how sad. Everyone with an ounce of common sense knows that life is just not that easy. A medical Doctor doesn’t make a dime until he or she is nearly 30 years old; and prior to which they’re eating macaroni and cheese and studying their butt off every waking moment.
I think the reason many people are turning to these so – called messiahs of success in record numbers is because the economy is so god – awful and we’re desperate. What I find most troublesome about the gurus is that they are giving people false hope and preying upon our society’s (especially generation millenial’s) unquenchable thirst for instant gratification. The reality is that very often, even if you have the most incredible work ethic, you still might end up poor and miserable. Lady Luck and coming from an affluent family (the lucky sperm club) is 99% of the game.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I hate to be cynical, and certainly I’m not suggesting that it’s impossible for an individual to come from an impoverished family and end up wealthy and successful, but the odds are stacked up against you. As George Carlin used to say (I’m paraphrasing here) “The American dream is an illusion and the reason they refer to it as a dream, is that you have to be asleep to believe in it.”

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Eastern Wisdom

March 30th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

A LinkedIn friend (Richard Gere – lol … just kidding) just sent me this and I felt compelled to throw this up on our blog. Even dalailamaif you are an out and out atheist, you must admit that the wisdom from the east rings of truth; indeed Sam Harris, one of the so – called “four horsemen of the apocalypse” has publically stated that he has spent many years studying eastern philosophy… for which he still has the utmost respect.

        “The tighter you squeeze the less you have.”

        “Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish (your) opinions.”

        “There’s no meaning to a flower unless it blooms.”

         “If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.”

         “Though the bamboo forest is dense, water flows through it freely.”

 

 

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What About Arts & Letters Daily as a Homepage???

September 14th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

arts&letters2I’ve had Yahoo as my homepage for more than a decade now because it’s light and breezy, it’s indeed a search engine though not as good as Google, right on the mark with timely  breaking news, and basically everything important that’s going on in the world can be found right there on the site. It’s 2013 and there’s essentially not a single piece of information that exists that cannot be found at your fingertips – both classified (WikiLeaks) and certainly all unclassified stuff .

Obviously , today we can find out anything about anything, anywhere – anytime and it basically comes down to what we want thrown in our face, first thing i.e. Justine Bieber and some real news – Yahoo, your basic no- nonsense best search engine that there is in Google, your work address (yuck, don’t bring work home), or something a little different such as a web portal which happens to be in my opinion the greatest place on the net, especially if you’re interested in an absolute treasure trove of scholarly information and beautifully – written essays of everything under the sun including: philosophy, aesthetics, language, literature, trends, breakthroughs, ideas, criticism, culture, history, music, art, disputes, and of course it includes a tad of gossip.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? If you haven’t visited Arts & Letters Daily http://www.aldaily.com/#google yet, take a look and enjoy !!! This morning I read a little something on Thomas Pynchon, Franz Kafka, Picasso, Shakespeare, on & on … life is short, art is monumentally long.

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Tyler Talks Cheese

July 14th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

tylerHaving recently read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr. Spencer Johnson (well, of course I can read, I’m writing. aren’t I?) I have incorporated its findings for use in my present situation. First and foremost, this is not a book just for mice and men, and not to be confused with Of MIce And Men. “Cheese” is just a metaphor for whatever it is you don’t want changed. And we, as cats, detest change.

The change in question came about when they kitnapped me. I was perfectly fine where I was down at the ranch with all the other cow pokes (or is it cat pokes, some of them did poke at me but I poked right back). I did not ask anyone to move my cheese. Who ate all the cheddar anyway? I think it was the Human Beans who moved it in the first place. They will stop at nothing to fulfil their own selfish interests while I must make do with the dried up cereal that’s supposed to serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, they give me some of that wet food too, that looks like vomit, but it’s actually not bad. However, it’s not what they would eat, oh no! They get the finest cuts of turkey and throw me the scraps once in awhile. (Mmmm! It was rather tasty and nice of them to offer.)

The whole point is, my cheese has been moved, like it or not. Ah! Let me repeat, “like it or not”. You are better off pretending to like it just to throw them off guard. You have to adapt. You know, survival of the fittest, and cats have been expert at this for thousands of years. That’s why we’re still around. Well, some of us did shrink in size but evolution saw to it that we could curl ourselves into the coziest of places, all for our own comfort and convenience.

In short, I have sought out several of these comfort zones and am quite at home now, cheese or no cheese. Now where’s that mouse?

So……………….whadayathink? Read this childlike book with adult vision and you too can be a cat. Not just another self-help book but a help-yourself-to-some cheese- book. Who doesn’t like swiss except for all the holes? That stupid mouse has been at it again.

Incidentally, have you noticed the dramatic improvement in my spelling? Just one week around Dad’s books has turned me into something of a scholar. I’m giving him some stiff competition. (Grinning like a cheshire).

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No Rules To Live By

July 4th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

no rules

If we try

And fail at our endeavors

We succeed.

 

A man is not a measure

Of what he has accomplished

But of how much he gains

With as little

As life affords.

 

Be as you are

Not where you think

You should be.

 

Even if your best

Isn’t good enough,

It’s good enough.

 

Don’t suck it up –

Breathe.

 

Making mistakes

Makes you

A perfect human specimen.

 

Your state of affairs

May be part of the Union

But it’s nobody’s business.

 

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This Sentence is a Lie

December 27th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
If I am being truthful, then the fact that I’m telling you “this sentence is a lie” must mean that it’s a lie, so it’s not a lie after all – but how can that be ?  Well maybe I’m not being truthful, so the sentence is indeed a lie, which makes the sentence true – an endless loop.

Instead of  buying a nook  (I am a lover of books and absolutely refuse to give in and buy one of those e-readers – another blog), this Christmas Madelene and I decided to buy each other bookcases in an effort to organize our increasingly unmanageable personal library. Well I couldn’t be happier with our decision, because now I can access every one of my favorite books. About five Christmases ago, my wife bought me a tiny little gem of a book entitled ‘Oxymoronica’  by Dr.Mardy Grothe – a collection of paradoxes or as the title suggests oxymora. Although the book is just over 200 pages, it is packed with 2,548 of the most interesting and thought – provoking witticisms that ought to invariably give you a headache if it were not so much fun.

Some of the paradoxes are impossible to solve, like the title of this blog, and presumably much thought had been put into them as well, however there is plenty of inadvertent off the cuff  oxymora such as Yogi Berra’s “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Here are some more Yogism’s for you: “Some of the things I said, I never said.” Or how about “90% of the game is half – mental” and finally “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
Mickey Rooney  once quipped,” There’s no one more depressed than a happily married man.” Even if Mickey didn’t insert “happily” which is what makes this an oxymoron, statistically Mr. Rooney would be quite wrong – couples live longer than single folks but it’s still funny. Most of the statements in here, however ring of truth – “Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.” In addition, one of my favorites is “less is more.” I have been a student of Eastern philosophy for more than 3 decades, so I see truth in, “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness” written by the Chinese sage, Chuang – Tzu.  Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s own ignorance” and finally, Lao – Tzu stated, “Failure is the foundation of success, success the lurking place of failure.”

What makes a paradox/adage/oxymoron stand out from the rest is if it is clever, funny, true, and ironic. How’s this for those of you out there who are always forced to attend meetings – “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” Here’s one for all you alcoholics, “I don’t drink. I don’t like it. It makes me feel good.” I fairly recently blogged about Woody Allen, so here’s one taken right from one of his movies (I think ‘Annie Hall’)  “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon. ”

Madelene’s father’s words of wisdom to his precious daughter were always, “Life is short, so just be happy.” Though this is not an oxymoron I’ll end this blog with one from Oscar Wilde which always leads to the same thing, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

So  WHADAYATHINK ? What do you Think ? Do you have any of your own oxymorons ?

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Trick or Treaters

October 22nd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
The age old custom of Trick or Treating originated in the British Isles in the 1890’s but was borrowed from what was once called “souling” in the Middle Ages. Needy people, disguised as evil spirits in order to placate them, would go from door to door on November 1st (known as Hallowmas) to ask for food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day. (Personally, I believe this was a creative ruse devised to quell the stabs of hunger in their bellies brought on by starvation). Interestingly, Shakespeare mentions the tradition in The Two Gentlemen of Verona when one accuses the other of “puling” (whining) like a beggar at Hallowmas.
As kids, we all remember the sheer nervous anticipation of participating in this annual event and the delight in receiving as much candy and treats than could conceivably be devoured. All for nothing. Ah! Let me expound on that. In recent years, engaged in the ritual on the other side of the door, I have witnessed such complacency in the practice causing bemusement rather than amusement. The doorbell rings. I get up and six characters of assorted shapes and sizes stand at the door with their bags out. There is no jubilant chorus of “TRICK OR TREAT!” Not a peep. They stand there mute and expect you to dole out the goods without question. Don’t their parents teach them Halloween etiquette? In olden days, not only was this a prerequisite for receiving the expected treat, but the caller would be asked to recite a poem or sing a song as retribution. These days, by the time each child is given candy, they turn and run off to the next house without my seeing whether they were ghost or goblin, Obama or Mitt Romney (or isn’t that the same thing?)  I feel like shouting, “Wait! Let me see your costume!” But there’s no time for chit chat. After awhile I’m inclined to get a bit perturbed when they don’t say the three magic words. I’ve been known to open the door and say, “Yes? May I help you?” which prompts only one of the bunch to utter a half hearted “trick or treat”. The rest stare blankly or look a bit perplexed as though it were I that has two heads and not one of them. In fact, that might be a good costume with which to greet them.  At least I’d get a reaction.
Since so little is received in return for my generosity to appease the souls of ill informed (and ill mannered) ghouls, I’ll begin using the honor system; place a basket by the door and hope one or two greedy beggars don’t spoil it for everyone else. I can watch from the window at my leisure, examine their costumes that would otherwise escape in a tail end blur, and won’t have to control the urge to smack the hand that grabs too much.  It’s either that or dress the part of a Victorian schoolmarm, “Now say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or all you’ll get is a note home to your mother”. For the convenience of parents, the following is a handy dandy introduction on the procedure for your kids:
1. Choose a house decorated for Halloween. (Avoid those with none or be prepared to stand waiting for an indeterminate length of time after the doorbell’s been rung several times in irritating succession).
2. Ring doorbell. (Once is sufficient).
3. When the door opens, say “Trick or Treat”. For added emphasis, put some heart into it. It’s supposed to be fun.
4. Wait, don’t grab for treats. And don’t say “Can I have the Sour Patch Kids instead?” because they’re way down at the bottom of the basket causing treats to spill all over the floor.
5.  Say, “Thank you” or if you ask for more for your invisible kid brother, say “please”, then “thank you”.
6. If you have the time, politely allow the home owner to admire your costume. Look monstrously scary or adorably cute, whichever your character dictates.
7. Run off to the next house and repeat the aforementioned process.
8. Along the way, it is acceptable to indulge in some, not all, of the treats, disposing properly of any wrappings. Scattering to the wind is not proper but it is fun. I’ll allow it this once.
9. Remember to smile behind your mask. You’re a kid that’s supposed to be having a good time.
10. One more thing. Be nice to the old lady who only gives you pennies. She needs to get rid of them and this is the perfect opportunity. You can always throw them around and people will think they’ve found pennies from heaven. It will make their day.
So…………..whadayathink? What’s your beef with Halloween Trick or Treaters? Do you see changes in kids over the years or is cynicism getting the better of me? The best Trick or Treaters don’t expect anything. One year upon answering the door, several older boys were sprawled on the front lawn like corpses. In a few seconds, they all jumped up and ran away. The performance was repeated at the next house. All that was required was a look of surprise and a sense of humor.
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The NY Renaissance Faire

August 2nd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
August summons the NY Renaissance Faire located in Sterling Forest, Tuxedo NY. The Faire runs every weekend from now until the third weekend in September.  For all you Shakespeare buffs and lovers of medieval times, it’s a thoroughly entertaining way to spend the day.
Comprised of twenty stages and more than one hundred shops scattered about on 65 acres, it’s impossible to enjoy the many attractions on one mere visit. Among my favorites is Birds of Prey. The audience is seated around rustic benches in a small open arena while each bird is introduced by the falconer and sent soaring through the crowd. The majestic wing spans will thrill nature lovers young and old alike.
Another interesting performance is staged by a remarkable man who plays a carillon; an ancient French instrument consisting of behemoth sized bells that are struck by pounding the keys on an organ. The sound produced by the carillon is breathtakingly mysterious, and made even more so by the masked man clad in black. He’s rather scary looking but the mystique was shattered when we approached him afterwards. Although he never removed the bird mask, he sounded just like a regular guy. Why couldn’t he keep up the pretense and respond in like fashion? I purchased the DVD anyway because I was so impressed with him. See his act entitled Cast In Bronze. You can get a taste of it on his website by the same name if you Google it but it won’t exude the same charm casting one spellbound. You have to see him for yourself to experience the magic.
Unless you consult your map of the fairgrounds distributed upon entering, you will ultimately become lost and revisit the area from which you departed an hour ago. Don’t make this mistake or you’ll miss out on all the fun. There are so many shows scheduled throughout the day, some of which have you hopping from one end of the fairgrounds to the other. To prevent you from missing any portion of  the ones you’re interested in, I suggest you do your homework by visiting the official NY Renaissance Faire website or studying the list of events handed out at the gate. To save you some additional time, buy your tickets on line so that you don’t have to wait on one when you get there.
Many of the shows involve audience participation, like it or not. You will need to quickly overcome any shyness or inhibitions for the actors will most certainly put you on the spot with no regard for your obvious discomfort. So be a good sport and wear the diaper while loudly proclaiming your manhood in front of complete strangers while everyone laughs at you. And the one you came with is laughing the hardest. Look, I feel for the guy, but it is funny. He shouldn’t have raised his hand to impress his lady friend with those lovely roses they were doling out. Glad they didn’t pick you, huh?
As the trails circle and overlap, you will encounter lords and ladies, peasants and landed gentry alike. Listen to minstrels and storytellers or maybe you’ll run into the Music Box Lady perched on her pedestal singing sweetly as she moves in delightful music box motion. Talent abounds as aspiring actors impress you with their wit and wisdom.  It’s hilarity at its best or at times, worst. Stop at Rotten Revenge; a rather raunchy act involving a face framed in a wooden cut-out who hurls insults as passers by. You get to stop and take your revenge by matching his insults with tomatoes that either hit or miss. If you fail to splatter his nasty little face, his insults will become ever more crude. At one point it became so vulgar, the crowd thinned out to just a couple of people laughing at his tasteless remarks. It’s not for everybody. I’m not sure it’s even for anybody.

One thing is for certain. You will leave the Faire a different person than from when you first arrived, perhaps sporting a jaunty hat; pirate, jester, or wizard’s. Take your pick. You get to be a kid again, no questions asked. No one will give you so much as a sideways glance.
So, whadayathink? Michael reluctantly agreed to go with me one year thinking he wouldn’t enjoy it. He had the best time.
He still has his pirate’s hat! (although he probably wouldn’t want me to tell you that.)
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