28 October 2014

isla del sol

Sometimes, when I'm wading through mountains of crumpled receipts and trying to get all of my bookkeeping organized, I become an angry person. Quickbooks may be good for some things, and doing your own bookkeeping is great for staying on top of everything, but sometimes, I just want to hurl everything over a windy cliff.

Which means it's a good time to remember Isla del Sol, a tiny island in the middle of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It has no cars, no paved roads, and the folklore says it's where the sun came from. (There is a nearby island, Isla de la Luna, where the moon is supposed to have originated.) Whether the legends are true or not doesn't matter too much; the island is covered in Incan ruins and truly has a magical feel to it. There were flowers I'd never seen before that seemed otherworldly.

But let's back up for a second. First, we bought tickets at the edge of Lake Titicaca in Copacabana:

Then, we went off to find the little boat down by the water:

Despite being half-Bolivian, my partner is a lot taller than the average Bolivian:

We waved goodbye to Copacabana:

It was a beautiful ride over, with clouds that looked like feathers:

Shimmering water and two tiny rock islands with one tree each (almost lined up perfectly here):

And a snow-capped mountain, for good measure:

I did a double-take, too, so in case you couldn't make it out, here's a closer shot:

A snow-capped mountain. Next to the island of the sun! It was a lovely surprise—a bit like our boat ride through some of New Zealand's fiords and across Lake Te Anau to see the glow worms in Te Anau.

When we arrived at the actual island, it immediately felt very different from Copacabana.

Copacabana felt like a huge, bustling metropolis in comparison.

Isla del Sol felt lush and peaceful and drenched in sunlight. How appropriate.

This could be their version of Stairway to Heaven:

The ruins were also very impressive.

 The people were pretty small back then.

We didn't get to go on a reed boat, but they're beautiful to behold, even from a distance.

And like our enchanted trip to Nantucket, even the weeds on Isla del Sol are beautiful. This yellow flower looks like the sun... 

Nice one, Isla del Sol.

22 October 2014

bouncy balls

We don't watch TV at home, but my daughter now knows two music videos and loves them. The first is the cello video below, and here is the second one. It's actually a commercial, but I think it's a beautiful work of art, and I love the song ("Hearts" by Jose Gonzalez), too. Enjoy!

13 October 2014


Good morning! Here's a beautiful video to start off your week.

Croatia has been one of my favorite countries for a decade now, and this video shows both the beautiful Plitvice Lakes and the talented Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser playing "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons. Enjoy.

11 October 2014

don't be the big elephant thinking you're the baby elephant

Here's a striking quora story from Dinesh Dharme:
Elephants in captivity are trained, at an early age, not to roam. One leg of a baby elephant is tied with a rope to a wooden post planted in the ground.
The rope confines the baby elephant to an area determined by the length of the rope. Initially the baby elephant tries to break free from the rope, but the rope is too strong.
The baby elephant "learns" that it can't break the rope.
When the elephant grows up and is strong, it could easily break the same rope. But because it "learned" that it couldn't break the rope when it was young, the adult elephant believes that it still can't break the rope, so it doesn't even try!
And here's another parable on quora from Graeme Shimmin:
There is an old story about two Greek islanders vying to become the strongest man on the island. 
One trainee bought a newborn calf. The other laughed at him. How could a calf help his rival train? But every day the wise trainee lifted it. Every day the calf got a little bigger and heavier but he could still lift it because it was only a little bit heavier than the previous day. After a year the wise trainee saw the calf was now a bull but he could still lift it. 
In the meantime the unwise trainee had tried every day to lift a bull. He had failed every time. 
So, don't be the big elephant thinking you're still a baby elephant, and don't worry if your rival laughs at you for lifting a newborn calf and keep on keeping on. :-)

06 October 2014

how to go from dreaming to doing

That last post was pretty floofy, so here is the research-backed counterargument to basically all of it. I especially like the If-Then part.

From Eric Barker:

How To Go From Dreaming To Doing: 4 Steps To Motivation

You have stuff you know you should be doing. But it doesn’t get done. You need to go from dreaming to doing — but it’s hard.
You want to accomplish more at work, hit the gym, get a new job or study harder at school… but it’s not happening.
I’ve talked about strategies to make challenges easier like the 20 second rule. But what if you’re just not starting in the first place?
What gets you going when you’re not motivated to reach those longer term goals?

05 October 2014

spirituality research: ask and it is given

I don't even know where I came across this book title, but I requested it from my library just to see if it would be interesting.

Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks is probably too new agey for many of my intellectual friends, but I'm trying to be open to everything and learning what I can from it all.

So, the basic premise of this book is that your feelings are your compass-- if something feels good, then you are on the right track (because we are designed to be joyous creatures in this world), and if something makes you feel bad, you need to recalibrate (or recalculate, as our GPS always says).

Here is the scale of emotions:

1. Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love/Appreciation
2. Passion
3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4. Positive Expectation/Belief
5. Optimism
6. Hopefulness
7. Contentment
8. Boredom
9. Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. "Overwhelment"
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

01 October 2014

how quickly life happens

This is a beautiful time-lapse of a girl from birth to fourteen in four minutes, and wow, it's such a vivid reminder of how quickly life happens.

It reminds me of a photography exhibit I saw once where a man took a photo of his wife each year, and as you followed the 8x10 shots, you saw her age year by year until she went from her 20s all the way through her 70s. It was amazing. I'd love to see a video like this of an entire life...