Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stumbling on Happiness...YES PLEASE!

I stumbled about this book via a video I watched on TED.com today. From what I have read thus far [see foreward below], my friends, I will BE reading this book from cover to cover.
This book is titled STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS by DANIEL GILBERT and I will be picking up a copy as soon as I possibly can!

"What would you do right now if you learned that you were going to die in ten minutes? Would you race upstairs and light that Marlboro you've been hiding in your sock drawer since the Ford administration? Would you waltz into your boss's office and present him with a detailed description of his personal defects? Would you drive out to that steakhouse near the new mall and order a T-bone, medium rare, with an extra side of the really bad cholesterol? Hard to say, of course, but of all the things you might do in your final ten minutes, it's a pretty safe bet that few of them are things you actually did today.

Now, some people will bemoan this fact, wag their fingers in your direction, and tell you sternly that you should live every minute of your life as though it were your last, which only goes to show that some people would spend their final ten minutes giving other people dumb advice. The things we do when we expect our lives to continue are naturally and properly different than the things we might do if we expected them to end abruptly. We go easy on the lard and tobacco, smile dutifully at yet another of our supervisor's witless jokes, read books like this one when we could be wearing paper hats and eating pistachio macaroons in the bathtub, and we do each of these things in the charitable service of the people we will soon become. We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy. Rather than indulging in whatever strikes our momentary fancy, we take responsibility for the welfare of our future selves, squirreling away portions of our paychecks each month so they can enjoy their retirements on a putting green, jogging and flossing with some regularity so they can avoid coronaries and gum grafts, enduring dirty diapers and mind-numbing repetitions of The Cat in the Hat so that someday they will have fatcheeked grandchildren to bounce on their laps. Even plunking down a dollar at the convenience store is an act of charity intended to ensure that the person we are about to become will enjoy the Twinkie we are paying for now. In fact, just about any time we want something—a promotion, a marriage, an automobile, a cheeseburger—we are expecting that if we get it, then the person who has our fingerprints a second, minute, day, or decade from now will enjoy the world they inherit from us, honoring our sacrifices as they reap the harvest of our shrewd investment decisions and dietary forbearance.

Yeah, yeah. Don't hold your breath. Like the fruits of our loins, our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they'd like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn't work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan. Even that person who takes a bite of the Twinkie we purchased a few minutes earlier may make a sour face and accuse us of having bought the wrong snack. No one likes to be criticized, of course, but if the things we successfully strive for do not make our future selves happy, or if the things we unsuccessfully avoid do, then it seems reasonable (if somewhat ungracious) for them to cast a disparaging glance backward and wonder what the hell we were thinking. They may recognize our good intentions and begrudgingly acknowledge that we did the best we could, but they will inevitably whine to their therapists about how our best just wasn't good enough for them.

How can this happen? Shouldn’t we know the tastes, preferences, needs, and desires of the people we will be next year—or at least later this afternoon? Shouldn't we understand our future selves well enough to shape their lives—to find careers and lovers whom they will cherish, to buy slipcovers for the sofa that they will treasure for years to come? So why do they end up with attics and lives that are full of stuff that we considered indispensable and that they consider painful, embarrassing, or useless? Why do they criticize our choice of romantic partners, second-guess our strategies for professional advancement, and pay good money to remove the tattoos that we paid good money to get? Why do they experience regret and relief when they think about us, rather than pride and appreciation? We might understand all this if we had neglected them, ignored them, mistreated them in some fundamental way—but damn it, we gave them the best years of our lives! How can they be disappointed when we accomplish our coveted goals, and why are they so damned giddy when they end up in precisely the spot that we worked so hard to steer them clear of? Is there something wrong with them?

Or is there something wrong with us?

When I was ten years old, the most magical object in my house was a book on optical illusions. Its pages introduced me to the Müller-Lyer lines whose arrow-tipped ends made them appear as though they were different lengths even though a ruler showed them to be identical, the Necker cube that appeared to have an open side one moment and then an open top the next, the drawing of a chalice that suddenly became a pair of silhouetted faces before flickering back into a chalice again (see figure 1). I would sit on the floor in my father's study and stare at that book for hours, mesmerized by the fact that these simple drawings could force my brain to believe things that it knew with utter certainty to be wrong. This is when I learned that mistakes are interesting and began planning a life that contained several of them. But an optical illusion is not interesting simply because it causes everyone to make a mistake; rather, it is interesting because it causes everyone to make the same mistake. If I saw a chalice, you saw Elvis, and a friend of ours saw a paper carton of moo goo gai pan, then the object we were looking at would be a very fine inkblot but a lousy optical illusion. What is so compelling about optical illusions is that everyone sees the chalice first, the faces next, and then—flicker flicker—there's that chalice again. The errors that optical illusions induce in our perceptions are lawful, regular, and systematic. They are not dumb mistakes but smart mistakes—mistakes that allow those who understand them to glimpse the elegant design and inner workings of the visual system.

The mistakes we make when we try to imagine our personal futures are also lawful, regular, and systematic. They too have a pattern that tells us about the powers and limits of foresight in much the same way that optical illusions tell us about the powers and limits of eyesight. That's what this book is all about. Despite the third word of the title, this is not an instruction manual that will tell you anything useful about how to be happy. Those books are located in the self-help section two aisles over, and once you've bought one, done everything it says to do, and found yourself miserable anyway, you can always come back here to understand why. Instead, this is a book that describes what science has to tell us about how and how well the human brain can imagine its own future, and about how and how well it can predict which of those futures it will most enjoy. This book is about a puzzle that many thinkers have pondered over the last two millennia, and it uses their ideas (and a few of my own) to explain why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become. The story is a bit like a river that crosses borders without benefit of passport because no single science has ever produced a compelling solution to the puzzle. Weaving together facts and theories from psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this book allows an account to emerge that I personally find convincing but whose merits you will have to judge for yourself.


Vingnation Truth

I do...I really really do!!!
V. xo


This thought inspired me today. How about you?


Monday, October 26, 2009

Heavy Hearted

Some people touch our lives in their own unique way. Some people have a way of making an impression and sneaking themselves in our hearts--well at least mine. Peter Kolisnyk (aka Ole Pete) was one of them peeps. It was with great sadness I learned Ole Pete had passed after a battle with cancer, last week. Ole Pete was an amazing artist but truly an amazing person whom left his mark on all of those he ever met. He was a character with some of the bestest stories I have come to hear. It has been over a year and a half since I have seen or spoken to him but even in those days that passed I thought of him. He was a gentle man through and through. He will be missed greatly. My heart and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
He was one and a million and one I shall never ever ever forget. Thank you Ole Pete for all that you were and for leaving your unique mark on everyone whom had the chance to meet you.

Love always, V. xo

Friday, October 9, 2009

oh deary dear life is a funny funny thing! Happy T-giveroos!

Well hello there beautiful people. Can you even believe T-gives is upon us? The last two months of fall have been far from futile!
September came upon me with sass and good times. I can hardly believe we are in the midst of October and on the eve of T-giveroos. Holidays in general are always a bit tough on me. Gone are the days of high expectations and unrealistic presumptions and hello the days of nostalgia and memories. Every big holiday is linked in some way to painful memories or incidences which in someway have shaped who I am today. Ok Ok I know it sounds deep and harsh and even dramatic but it is truth. Christmas is truly the toughest of all and because of that the little things get to me and I can sometimes gut react or get worked up over the sillyest of things. I know what you are thinking--"where the eff is she going with this" or perhaps "what is she even talking about". Well for those of you whom truly know me--you understand Christmas. You understand it from the depths of your hearts and souls. It brings back so much hurt, pain and plain old disastrous change and unknowing. That time of year at one point in my life changed who I am today. Really. No if, ands about it.
T-gives is different. The memories of years past are awesome, some of my very favorite of all times. The nostalgia is painfully real and makes my heart sore. I have changed the way I see days, minutes, seconds even. I use to live too far ahead but now not so much. but at the cusp of such holiday my heart aches for what was and what could have been. It sounds ridiculous with all I have overcome and done but again plain old truth. They say to win you much lose. I have lost a lot the last 16 months but I have also won soooo much. Has it been worth it? But of course. Does it get easier? But of course. But will it always hurt? just a titch. I am real live feeler. I am a sensitive gal with an open heart. To have an open heart, one must feel it all--the today, the yesterday and friends, even the tomorrow. Memories are precious and sometimes they can hurt later. They remind us of all we had and all we have lost. It is funny how the most wonderful times in the minds eye can conjure up sadness. I have truly to begun to learn from my past and from the old me which is barely just a shadow in my minds eye. I am thinking of some very special someones this weekend. I am remembering some very special times, in a very special place. BUT all that being said I am also excited for the memories to be had, to be made in a new special place, with new special someones. Would I have it any other way? Hellz no. Will I take a moment to digest the little bit of pain? but yes. Will anyone even know? No well not unless they read this post I suppose. I revel in the idea of one day having my very own family to share thanksgiving. I also revel in the idea of all to come over the next few days. The inside jokes to be made, the laughs to be had and the stories for future to be made.
So with that thought I want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. Be thanksful for the turkey in your tummy, the wine in your glass and the peeps on either side of you. Perhaps take a moment and remember your fave tgivers memory--does it fill you with happiness that fills you so full you wish for that moment again? embrace it. That my friends is what I will be doing. One moment for me. Then I will laugh so hard tears will stream down my face while I live in the moment with those around me and be thankful for all that I have right now and for all that once was for without those times I could never have become the me I am today. Maybe years from now the happy moments and memories that are about to be will be the ones I look back on and wish for once more. Oh deary dear, life is a funny funny thing.
Enough gobbling on my end...Go! Enjoy! Happy Tgiveroos to you and yours!
V. xo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Here's a HI-5 just because you are awesome! yep...it is truth. Hope it made your day just like when I found this on the net one day and it made mine.

V. xo

Friday, October 2, 2009

My latest on WOMAN.CA--RETHINK PINK & SAVE THE BOOBS--'Tis October afterall!

One of my columns on WOMAN.CA Helps you RETHINK PINK this October-
Revel in all that is October and start thinking PINK! That’s right, we are on the cusp of the month that is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. This October, Rethink Breast Cancer has a line up of amazing pink products that will raise funds to support the nearly 5,000 Canadian women under 50 diagnosed with the disease each year.
To read more go to--RETHINK PINK

And the other talks about the SAVE THE BOOBS Campaign for the BOOBYBALL!-
Sometimes you gots to shake things up or about—literally—to get a little attention! Have you seen the SAVE THE BOOBS viral video created and starring co-chair Aliya Jasmine Sovani of MTV promoting the BOOBYBALL? If not you are one of very few! Once this video hit the web it was viewed by over 1.5 million peeps on you tube! This racy, pool party themed viral has gained not only the attention of the Canadian media but the likes of the lovelies on THE VIEW, the smarties on CNN and was even featured in the pages of the LA TIMES! To Read more go to--SAVE THE BOOBS!

y'all gots to get on the pink-boob saving bandwagon! 'Tis OCTOBER afterall!