Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's your net worth?! A green question....

Tonight's (very late) blog is about worth: self-worth, worthiness, value....whatever you want to label it, we as a society are obsessed with it. At least it seems this way to me lately. As I finish my degree in a couple of days, many pressures seem to be setting in. The pressure to find a job. The pressure to land a job that pays well. The pressure to secure a job that makes years of school and university "worth it". I feel like I have lost grasp of what worth me.

I think I have always struggled with the idea of worth. Isn't worth like beauty -in the eye of the beholder? Something that may be worthy to me, may have no value or worthiness to my neighbour. Also, how does one measure another person's worth? By how many zeros their bank statement shows? This is what I have been led to believe unfortunately. When I think about it, money is just a means to an end....a way to make processes in the world flow....we might as well use crops or other goods to trade.....but then my question to myself is what is my end? And why have I been led to believe that if I don't make millions and hold a status job, that I am somehow worth less???!!!

This is so false and yet I cannot dispel the annoying construct. In a sense I feel like I have been brainwashed into thinking that if you're not "in the green" you're wasting your life and your time. So so wrong. Life is temporary anyway and who decides what is to be your mission while on this planet? Who decides what and who is worthy? The answer should be 'everyone for him/herself'. Alas, this is my I go for the gold or do I go for the goal?

Something to think about for everyone.... In the mean time, I think for me only a lobotomy will reverse years of false information. Conversely, time usually resolves everything. Therefore, I will take the words of my sister-in-law to heart and just "enjoy the ride" that is life.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can you tell what I am thinking?

It’s been some time since last I blogged. This is because I have been very busy finishing my degree and making arrangements for my immediate and distant future. During this time I read a book on reading and controlling body language. I am hooked! I am becoming an expert at reading people’s gestures and motions. Faced with the likelihood that I will have to submit myself to interviews very soon, I have identified some habits I have adopted over the years that may be working against me as I interact with the outside world.
In an age where a lot of our interpersonal interactions are conducted via computer or phone, I believe that we have become desensitized to reading body language. Therefore, I thought I’d share some of the most thought-provoking body language cues:

-       Palms facing up= non-threatening; “I am telling the truth”, “I trust you”
-       Palms down= authority
-       Pointing finger= “do it or else”; creates negative feelings in most listeners (we all know people who possess this nasty habit….)
-       Men who hold their hands in front of their crotch (the broken zipper position)= points out areas they think are their weakest or more vulnerable

Did you know? That if you’re German or British, you’re an easier touch than everyone else! This is due to the fact that in these cultures interpersonal touch is rarer and therefore a touch has an even greater effect.

-       Hands clenched together, elbows on the table= reveals frustration, even when smiling
-       Five finger tips touching each other= confident he/she has the right answer (think Mr. Burns in the Simpsons “excellent”….)
-       Face resting on folded hands= presenting the face for someone to admire (I realized I do this a lot…lol)

Lie to me!!
These are eight of the most common lying gestures according to the book I read:
  1. The mouth cover
  2. The nose touch (I do both 1 and 2 all the time and I don’t lie….not a good thing I suppose)
  3. The nose itch
  4. The eye rub “see no evil”
  5. The ear grab “hear no evil”
  6. The neck scratch: 5 times using the index finger of the hand used to write with
  7. The collar pull “it’s getting hot in here”
  8. Fingers in the mouth (think Dr. Evil) reassurance is needed here

Evaluation and procrastination gestures:
-       The hand supporting the head
-       Interested evaluation: the hand resting on the cheek

Food for thought:
Most liars look you in the eye. Contrary to popular belief, liars hold eye contact. “When a person’s gaze meets yours for more than 2/3 of the time, it can mean one of two things: first he finds you interesting, in which case his eyes will also be dilated, or second he’s hostile towards you and will be issuing a challenge, in which case the pupils will be constricted”.
Apparently women can sense the pupil changes better than men can, which according to this book is the reason why some men can’t tell if a woman is about to kiss them or slap them in the face!

Look me in the eyes!
-       looking up and left= recalling a picture;
-       looking left to the side= recalling a sound;
-       looking right and down= recalling a feeling;
-       looking left and down= talking to oneself…

I encourage you to put your gestures and expressions under the microscope and determine if they are revealing what you want them to or not. Similarly, take a look at others' faces and bodies: can you tell what they are thinking??

Until next time....

Friday, February 18, 2011


It's 10pm on a Friday night and I can't bring myself to continue working on my thesis...

Instead I started thinking about a new job I've recently taken on: I am writing for a fitness website and local newspaper! The first article will appear next week. Now, I have been tasked with finding more topics to write about. While I have several topics in mind, I thought I'd extend the question to the public: what would you want to know about health and fitness??? What is something you have always wanted to know about?

The question(s) can range from diet, to exercise, to general lifestyle....I'm hoping to hear back from one of you! :-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just a short one...

For those of you who know me, know that I like to hang from ceilings....literally. I have engaged in circus arts off and on since I was little. In the past couple of years, I have started to train more and perform. I believe it is the ultimate form of meditation. When you are 20, 30 feet up in the air, relying on nothing else but your own strength, the mind becomes free and focused. I am addicted!

The circus artist community is very small and what I have come to realize is that artists are very appreciative of each others' work. I thought for today's blog, I'd share some videos of amazing acts I have come across in my exploration of the wonderful world of circus arts.

Stephanie Gasparoli, aerial silks

Darkan, aerial straps

Meaghan Wegg, aerial hoop

Duo Iroshnikov, hand-to-hand


Monday, February 14, 2011

"I smell with my little nose, something that is...."

I thought I’d breathe life back into a blog that I started last October and never revisited. Initially I wanted to write about study- and work-related issues, such as personal training, English literature, and instructional design. However, as I sit at my desk writing my Master’s thesis, I come to realize that I don’t see the world in black and white or in logically delineated events…. I see the grey-spaces, I see details, and sometimes I see things that my imagination turns into something else (no, I’m not schizophrenic, just the host of a creative mind I suppose). Consequently, I decided not to “theme” my blog in any particular way, and to write from the heart and in this particular blog post – from the nose!

As I trace back into my formative years, I believe my affinity for the written and spoken word originated when Herr Wagener (my German teacher) introduced our class to Patrick Süsskind’s “Das Parfüm”. I recall the reaction I had to reading his novel as disgust. This is not to state that I did not enjoy the book. On the contrary, it caused a rather intense response to the description of smells and scents. I could smell each scent that Süsskind describes in his novel, by reading it! Needless to say, for those of you who have read the book will know that I felt sick to my stomach upon completing the book. If you are one of my family/friends in Germany, take a look at his description smells in this passage (I have included it in only German since I do not own an English version – if I find a translation, I will post it asap).

“Zu der Zeit, von der wir reden, herrschte in den Städten ein für uns moderne Menschen kaum vorstellbarer Gestank. Es stanken die Straßen nach Mist, es stanken die Hinterhöfe nach Urin, es stanken die Treppenhäuser nach fauligem Holz und nach Rattendreck, die Küchen nach verdorbenem Kohl und Hammelfett die ungelüfteten Stuben stanken nach muffigem Staub, die Schlafzimmer nach fettigen Laken, nach feuchten Federbetten und nach dem stechend süßen Duft der Nachttöpfe. Aus den Kaminen stank der Schwefel, aus den Gerbereien stanken die ätzenden Laugen, aus den Schlachthöfen stank das geronnene Blut. Die Menschen stanken nach Schweiß und nach ungewaschenen Kleidern; aus dem Mund stanken sie nach verrotteten Zähnen, aus ihren Mägen nach Zwiebelsaft und an den Körpern, wenn sie nicht mehr ganz jung waren, nach altem Käse und nach saurer Milch und nach Geschwulstkrankheiten. Es stanken die Flüsse, es stanken die Plätze, es stanken die Kirchen, es stank unter den Brücken und in den Palästen. Der Bauer stank wie der Priester, der Handwerksgeselle wie die Meistersfrau, es stank der gesamte Adel, ja sogar der König stank, wie ein Raubtier stank er, und die Königin wie eine alte Ziege, sommers wie winters. Denn der zersetzenden Aktivität der Bakterien war im achtzehnten Jahrhundert noch keine Grenze gesetzt, und so gab es keine menschliche Tätigkeit, keine aufbauende und keine zerstörende, keine Äußerung des aufkeimenden oder verfallenden Lebens, die nicht von Gestank begleitet gewesen wäre. Und natürlich war in Paris der Gestank am größten, denn Paris war die größte Stadt Frankreichs.”

I am uncertain why I am reminded of this book in a moment where I should be writing my thesis. However, it inspired thoughts about my odd relationship to smells in our environment. I believe that I remember more about my past and my experiences by reliving a certain smell or scent. Despite my allergic tendencies and frequent congestions, my sense of smell has made me subject to sudden cases of ‘deja-senti’. I proceeded to think about particular smells that stand out to me, and what they remind me of.

Ø    On runs during the winter, the sweet smell of burning wood coming from chimneys…reminds me of being a young girl sitting in front of the fire on a cold day, cheeks flushed, watching my father crack walnuts.
Ø    I currently work in a building that is also a printing bureau. On my way to and from my car everyday, I breathe in the smell of old, cold, stale books. It is intoxicating! If I could move my office outside where the scent is most intense, I would do it in a heartbeat! I love the smell of old books.
Ø    The smell of alcohol and ‘nothingness’ reminds me of my father’s hospital room when he had heart surgery last year…
Ø    The smell of my daycare/kindergarten. This is a distinct smell that is sweet and instantly causes me to experience separation anxiety…lol.
Ø    The smell of the mountains. I spent some time in BC last year and recall the first time I stepped out of the airport and breathed in the wet, pure smell of mountains. This is an intense one – this smell makes me think of eternity. I feel that the smell of the mountains is overwhelming (in a good sense) because it envelops you and tells you that you are overpowered by nature. I like this feeling.
Ø    The smell of Berlin’s U-Bahn. I am unsure why, but the industrial smell of Berlin’s underground metro causes excitement. Perhaps I am reminded of outings with my grandmother that left a positive memory in my mind.
Ø    The smell of my bunny, Henry. I think I loved smelling him because of the woodchips in his cage. I love all scents that originate from trees –paper, woodchips, burning wood…..
Ø    The smell of woodchips and lilacs in spring time. I can’t get enough of this one. I believe this one reminds me of a time when I was in a good relationship and would go for early morning runs where I came across this scent combination and then made breakfast all before the world was awake. This smell reminds me of the feeling that time can seem to stand still sometimes.
Ø    The smell of my grandmother’s fur coat. Whenever she would come to visit from Germany during wintertime, she’d arrive in a heavy dark coat that I would nestle my nose in when I hugged her ‘hello’. Now, I realize that this stuffy smell was a combination of cigarettes and Estee Lauder perfume. Nevertheless, the scent stands in my mind as a wonderful one.
Ø    (Mama, you can skip this one…) The smell of a man’s cologne. I have one in my mind, but I have yet to find the name…. I will keep you posted on this one – it’s worth it! Haha
Ø    My beloved little brother loves to have the women in his life (wives, mothers, sisters) give him head massages. Before he got married this year, he would come to me with this task and as much as I complained at the request, the smell of my brother’s hair remains in my memory. I feel love and a sisterly protection...
Ø    The smell of my father’s discontinued Halston cologne – it is just “Papa”.
Ø    The smell of my mum’s first car (that I can remember) and her perfume mixed together with the old leather and diesel smell of the car – it is “comfort”.

There are so many more….What are your favorite smells? Do you also experience ‘deja-senti’?

I understand that it may be strange to commence a blog with a discussion of smells, yet I figure, what better way to celebrate the one feature in my face that I give the most criticism?!

Before I conclude for today, I invite you to do the following: the next time you step outside, close your eyes, block your ears and take a deep breath. What do smell? What do you feel or remember?

Oh, and P.S. I hope not all my posts will be this long - I guess I am in the writing-mood! :-)

Until next time. Smell ya later (I had to…)