Other Stuff, a cabinet of curiosities, a fusion of science and ancient wisdom about life, happiness and wellbeing by 8 in the Universe including random musings about living life, being happier, fulfilled and all things to nourish our wellbeing.

Other Stuff

Random musings and interesting things we find, research, stumble across and want to share.

Life in the Time of Corona.

 

LIFE IN THE TIME OF CORONA 

A bit of health.

A bit of art. 

A bit of randomness.

BREATH 

‘The Virus’ in its extreme can have a devastating effect on our lungs and inhibit our ability to breath. Breathing is so fundamental to our lives that we usually pay it little or no thought. Perhaps now whilst we are blessed with good health we could benefit from giving our breathing some attention, appreciate how wonderful it is and how we have the ability to use it to encourage relaxation of body and mind whilst calming our stress response. 

I Now Suspect the Vagus Nerve is the Key to Wellbeing by Edith Zimmerman, The Cut.

The Surprising Reason you Feel Awful when You’re Sick by Marco A. Sotomayor, TEDEd

Take a deep breath by Calm.  Thanks to Echo, economy of hours, for sharing this.

How to Stay Sane While Social Distancing by Columbia University.

This 2016 advert from Bose has become a reality.

Although I won’t be dancing in the streets, well not for a little while, methinks, this week I’m going to try The Shim Sham at home, maybe you would like to join me.

Take care.

Stay well. 

Header image by unknown photographer.

By Marian Connor, at 8 in the Universe, March 2020.


We May As Well Dance.

The Human Body
consists of 206
adult bones
& 650 named skeletal muscles.

This fabulous conglomeration work together, to facilitate movement, in all the wonderful ways we choose to live and express ourselves.

The basis of our structure and alignment is the ingenious framework that is our skeleton made up of bones, connected by ligaments overlaid with muscles, tendons, fascia, fat and skin, embedded with networks to deliver nourishment, clear waste and facilitate nerve impulses. These miraculously come together to create the myriad varieties of the human form.

No standard model here we are a smorgasbord of humanity, our stance in life is affected by our cultural heritage, physical and emotional wellbeing.

The wonder that is our skeleton is created from bones that come in a gallimaufry of shapes, sizes and density. They are articulated by many joints, facilitating a vast range of movement which is created by a dazzling array of musculature – if you get the feeling bodies impress me, your right.

We often take our bodies and our movement for granted, sometimes we need a little reminder of the beautiful way they can move, we need to give them more respect and attention.

We cannot all match the achievements of athletes and ballet dancers, but we can all improve our posture and the quality of our movement.

We should allow our bodies to move freely without the constraints of bad habits and bad mood. We want to be upright but not uptight. With some effort to strengthen and stretch muscles and a little attention we can all be stronger and limber.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we may as well dance. Unknown

The limber loveliness of Misty Copeland & Sergei Polunin enjoying the party.

Spend a little time and effort to be informed and treat your body well. I guarantee it will love you right back.

Enjoy.

Photograph: The Art of Correct Posture, 1936, unknown photographer

YouTube: Under Armour – Misty Copeland – I Will What I Want.

YouTube: Sergei Polunin, “Take Me To Church’ by Hozier, Directed by David LeChapelle.

By Marian Connor at 8 in the Universe, March 2020

Not Just a Walk in the Park

Photograph of two boys playing on a oak tree in Hyde Park, London, 1950s by R. S. Magowan

 

“I have been walking about London for thirty years and find something fresh in it every day.”  Sir Walter Besant

Just 20 minutes walking outside each day will boost energy levels, lift your mood and make the rest of your day more productive, a little exploration of your Town or City for open spaces, regardless of size will definitely reap rewards. Here in London we know there is nothing to compare to the beauty of rolling hills, wild beaches, meandering streams and ancient forests but if you’re willing to get out there London has untold opportunities for getting just enough green to make you feel good.

There are pathways beside the Thames, networks of canal towpaths and nature reserves (the London Wildlife Trust manages 40 of these across the capital). Historical pockets of green in the City of London and new pockets planned into recent developments. There are council run parks, city farms, the open spaces of commons, heath, garden squares, the fee paying gardens of Kew and Hampton Court as well as 8 Royal Parks.

There is so much open space, you begin to wonder how 9 million of us squeeze ourselves in.

Whether you are walking the dog or jogging, adding to your 10,000 daily steps or interval training, picnicking or learning how to juggle, practising Tai Chi or Parkour. Viewing Peregrines atop Tate Modern or butterflies in Abney Park Cemetery, taking a speed boat ride or sitting in meditation. Yomping over Hampstead Health or reading seated in a deck chair in St James Park, catching fish in Redbridge or avoiding deer in Richmond – London has a space for you.

Lace up those shoes, point your feet out of the door and go discover some nature on your doorstep.

Enjoy.

Photograph: Hyde Park, London, 1950s by R. S. Magowan

How London Parks got their Names by Matt Brown for the Londonist.

Content by Marian Connor, March 2020

THE GUEST HOUSE

Painting by Qu Leilei 2014 of a pair of hands which symbolise a sense of gratitude, thankfulness, a positive mindset towards wellbeing, an attititude that embraces all the emotions and nurtures happiness.

HAPPY
“Happiness is a habit,
cultivate it.”
Elbert Hubbard

We should to try to appreciate the little things in our lives, the more things we can take pleasure in, the more pleasurable our life becomes and develop strategies, that allow us to acknowledge the transience of all things, good and bad.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi

Translated by Coleman Barks.

Image by Qu Leilei, 2014.

By Marian Connor, March 2020

CONTRIBUTE a Celtic Blessing

P

We are closing February with Contribute and a blessing from John O’Donohue. Dodgy film, beautiful poetry, great delivery.

Enjoy.

BEANNACHT

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

By John O’Donohue. For Josie, my mother from Echoes of Memory (Transworld Publishing, 2010) reproduced by permission of the author’s Estate.

Photograph: So long for this Moment 2012, Boundary Ranges, Alaska by Marc Adamus.

By Marian Connor, February 2020.

GRATITUDE for Pebbles

Photograph of a Pebbles Sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy for short article on Gratitude by 8 in the Universe

 

GRATITUDE

“Find beauty

not only in the thing itself

but in the patterns of shadows,

the light and dark which that provides.”

Junichiro Tanizaki

When people manifest their care for us in tangible ways, it contributes towards our wellbeing. When we acknowledge gratitude for those tokens of caring, we experience the energy once again. Win, Win.

“A man was diagnosed with late stage cancer, his prognosis was not very hopeful. He didn’t lack money or possessions, but he recognised his friends wanted to give him something as a symbol of their love. ‘Find a small pebble, one that touches your heart, send it to me. I know it will touch my heart too. Pebbles came every day. Soon he had a wonderful collection of many shades and sizes, each time he caressed their smooth surfaces he felt calmed and loved. For many years he appreciated the healing love of his friends, symbolised by the potent pebbles.”

Taken from ‘A Year of Creativity’ by Brenda Mallon

Photograph: Pebbles Sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy

Content by MAC, February 2020.

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’. Nourish, Move, Rest, Love, Laugh, Learn, Gratitude, Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards improved Health & Wellbeing.


LOVE Books.

Just like Mary Poppins, at 8 in the Universe, we too are fond of Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens, but perhaps not as much as our penchant for reading and nowhere near as much as our love for books and where they reside, how about you? 

Here are some others who feel the same.

YouTube – Bookstores and Libraries – The Most Wonderful Places on Earth – film montage compiled by Luis Azevedo

By MAC, February 2020

Never Too Young, Never Too Old to LEARN

What Makes it Tick? You are never too young or too old to learn.

LEARN
It’s always
a good time
for learning.

Acquiring knowledge and mastering new skills is achievable throughout our lives. Never be deterred by thinking we are ‘Too Young or Too Old’ learning can and should take place at every stage of our lives.

John Stuart Mill mastered Greek by 7 years of age.
Vicki Van Meter was youngest female pilot to cross America in 1993 aged 11.
Harriette Thompson began running aged 76, she became the oldest woman to run a marathon in 2015 aged 92.
2010 James Collins Warren obtained a pilot’s license aged 87.
2011 Leo Plass received degree from Eastern Oregon University aged 99.

Why not explore a little more of whatever it is that tickles your fancy.
Could open up a whole new world.

Enjoy

Image: What Makes It Tick? (The Watchmaker) by Norman Rockwell 1948.

Content by MAC, February 2020.

REST a while.

Why not pause and take a well deserved 3 minute rest with Deepak Chopra. Oh go on, you know it makes sense.

YouTube – Deepak Chopra’s 3-minute Meditation.

By MAC, February 2020.

MOVE it.

The opportunities we have to move and the variety of activities available to us are endless, here are a few examples of moving as food for thought.

Enjoy.

YouTube –  Pina (2011) – Official Trailer 

YouTube – Tai Chi Chuan Master: Stunning Form on Top of Mountain.

YouTube – Lucky Hofmaier walks on his hands from Rosenberg to Rome.

YouTube  – Victoria Woods – Step Aerobics. 

By MAC, February 2020


Nourish Your Senses

NOURISH

When we see
we are reminded.
When we smell
we are transported
.

We may feel tempted to customise our own body creams and bath oils, but for most of us the abundance of essential oils available, can be a little overwhelming.

Do these oils work together? How many drops do I use? Not to mention base notes and top notes, so we have asked Micha Christmann our advisor on all things complementary, to make some suggestions for those of us just starting out.

Here are two of our favourite oils that just happen to be base notes, a perfect foundation for further experimentation.

Frankincense
Boswellia carterii

“It strengthen the wit and understanding.” Avicenna

Considered precious throughout history used in perfumes and cosmetics as well as being burnt at rituals. It is soothing and centring as well as mood enhancing.

&

Benzoin
Styrax Benzoin

Elizabeth I of England carried a pomander of Ambergris and Benzoin, because, she said it “Comfort the brain by its grateful smell.”

Benzoin can be calming and elevating, creating a feeling of peace, whilst remaining alert.

Whatever your choice of fragrance here are Micha’s guidelines for creating blends for Adults and Children.

Nourish Your Senses with Essential Oils, Guidelines for their use by 8 in the Universe on their website page, Other Stuff.

Why not further explore essential oils, introducing varieties of aroma into your life to add pleasure to everyday living and contribute to our overall wellbeing.

Enjoy.

Content and Image by MAC, February 2020


Contribute

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards improved Health & Wellbeing.

Contribute, the eighth of 8 Elements created by 8 in the Universe that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

CONTRIBUTE
As beneficial
to you
as to the recipient.

The vagus nerve has an effect on many organs within our body, including the heart, lungs and digestive system.

Stimulating the vagus nerve, releases the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which aids relaxation, helps reduce inflammation and stress levels.

The vagus is sometimes referred to as the ‘nerve of compassion’, because when activated it can improve. our mood and create feelings of gratitude.

The Vagus nerve can be activated in numerous ways, among them, keeping a healthy gut microbiome, meditation and humming, but also, it has been shown, through acts of kindness and contribution.

“I choose to live, so that which came to me as a blossom, goes on as a fruit.” Dawna Markova

Image and content by MAC, January 2020.

Everyday Gratitude

If you have 5 minutes to spare, here is a reminder of the plethora of things life presents us with, for which we could feel gratitude for.

YouTube – This Film Shaped Everyone Matters: GRATITUDE by Louie Schwartzberg 

 MAC, January 2020

Gratitude

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards improved Health & Wellbeing.

Gratitude, the seventh of 8 Elements created by 8 in the Universe that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

GRATITUDE
“Sometimes
you will never know the value of a moment
until it becomes a memory.”
Dr Seuss 


Research shows people who are grateful and express that gratitude enjoy a better quality of life.

To be honest some days we can be hard pushed to find something to be grateful for, but many people are still able to see positives in difficult situations, even in the face of great sadness. I remember listening to Jason Manford talking about his admiration for Stephen Sutton, a young man he knew, living with cancer, who was active in raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Stephen had said he wasn’t angry about dying, he was just happy he had been invited to the party.
But had to leave early.
Stephen died in 2014, aged 19.

What can we choose to be grateful for?
Any day could be a fresh invite to your own party.
Enjoy.

 

Content and Image by MAC, January 2020

 

Laugh

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards improved Health & Wellbeing.

Love, the sixth of 8 Elements created by 8 in the Universe that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

LAUGH

Life can be tough, 

a sense of humour 

is a very useful skill.

We know that laughter can be very contagious, it is an entertaining form of communication. With that in mind we thought you might like to take a minute.

Laughter makes us breathe deeper we inhale more oxygen which assists brain function and can lift our mood. 

Blood vessels expand which facilities blood flow and can lower blood pressure.

Boosts endorphin production leading to a decline in stress hormones. 

Laughter implies happiness but in order to be truly happy we need to acknowledge opposite emotions such as sadness. It is important not to deny negative feelings, but to recognise and acknowledge them, allow them to walk alongside us and to inform us, helping to eventually create actions towards more positive feelings and emotions.

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” Charlie Chaplin

YouTube – Buzz and the Dandelions – Tom Fletcher.

Image and content by MAC, January 2020.

Love After Love

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

YouTube video – Derek Walcott tribute: Linton Kwesi Johnson reads Love After Love on BBC Newsnight 2017.

8 in the Universe, January 2020.

Love

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards improved Health & Wellbeing.

Love, the fifth of 8 Elements created by Marian Connor that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

LOVE
exists
in many
forms.

The human experience is created from within. We are continually constructing our reality, which is greatly affected by the conversations we have with ourselves and the language we use, which in turn, affects our psychoneurological system, if we aren’t feeling the love and keep telling ourselves we are inadequate or ‘less than’, sure enough your body will believe you and behave accordingly, physically and psychologically.

If Love is the opposite of fear, it also encompasses Dignity, Honesty, Kindness and Forgiveness for everyone, including ourselves. When we struggle to show these considerations to ourselves it’s not exactly easy to genuinely share them with others.

One way to contribute to that nurturing of ourselves is by identifying some of our strengths, listen to that voice within, reminding you of the things you love to do, be it singing or crafting, gardening or juggling, then spend time with them and wherever possible, do more of it.

“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him and then, choose that way, with all his strength.”  Hasidic saying

Image and content by MAC, January 2020.

 

Learn

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards  improved Health & Wellbeing.

Learn, the fourth of 8 Elements created by Marian Connor that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

LEARN
Life is a learning experience
which means
Its never too late to learn

Staying curious and continuing to discover the world and all those wonders it has to offer, has numerous benefits for our Health and Wellbeing.

Naturally we like to do the things we are practised at and competent in, but we can achieve a level of expertise in many new skills, let’s not forget almost all our skills were a novelty once, we weren’t born speaking and walking, cooking and driving, well at least I wasn’t.

Learning definitely requires effort, but when we focus on complex tasks and specific goals, that effort also creates neural pathways, assisting cognition and recall.

Maybe think about learning a new skill that has been on your ‘To Do’ list.
Or revisit something you enjoyed in the past but have lost along the way.

As a child I yearned for whistling skills, but try as he might, my poor patient Father never quite succeeded in teaching me, if you like me still hanker to whistle up a storm, this might help.

Enjoy.

YouTube – On this video Brett McKay shows you ‘How to Whistle with Your Fingers.’ 

Image and content by MAC, January 2020.

Rest

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards  improved Health & Wellbeing.

Rest, the third of 8 Elements created by Marian Connor that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

REST
The constant
activity
taking place within our bodies
make it extremely important to pause.

When we sleep our bodies repair and regenerate cells, it affects endocrine function and the production of HGH which effects immune function.

Sleep allows us to subconsciously make sense of our day.

Doesn’t have to be long periods of sleep though to reap rewards, Our Mind and Body will benefit from restful interludes in the day, a short afternoon snooze was greatly favoured by Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein and Dali, I see the appeal and I think if it was good enough for them, who am I to argue.

Make space for mindful practises which can include meditation, which slows the heart rate, deepens our breath and increases oxygen uptake.

Mindful rest slows brain wave frequency and promotes Serotonin production which can help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

This is not about turning your brain OFF If anything it allows your mind space to breath, greater opportunity to actually be present, to be ON.

We could all benefit by reminding ourselves to pause in the spaces between.

If you feel you could benefit from better quality REST. Get in contact. 

Content and Image by MAC, January 2020.

 

Move

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards  improved Health & Wellbeing.

Move, the second of 8 Elements created by Marian Connor that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

Move 

Life is movement

a daily requirement for us

Physically and Mentally.

We experience linear movement through time, as we live life from birth to death.

Physically we move through the world, allowing us to function and survive, whilst answering our bodies ongoing need to be active.

Internal movement as our bodies perform a multitude of functions, including, muscular activity, for heart and lung function. Through cellular breakdown and renewal within bone, skin, muscular tissue, lymph and blood cells.

We move psychologically, if we endeavour to embrace the ongoing changes in our life, we can use them as a vehicle to help us through transitions at different stages of life.

Spiritually as life experience requires us to shift perceptions and seek our own truths.

Socially as we move outside our own world to look at other people’s stories and myths to recognise our universal humanity.

If we are going to be moving anyway, may as well discover how you can make it best work for you.

We can help with that. 

Content and Image by MAC, January 2020

 

Nourish

8 in the Universe is created on a foundation of ‘8 Elements’, Nourish, Move, Rest, Learn, Love, Laugh, Gratitude and Contribute. Each stand alone but we believe together they create Alchemy, they become more than the sum of their parts, on which to build strategies for your own unique actions towards  improved Health & Wellbeing.

Nourish, the first of 8 Elements created by Marian Connor that form the foundation upon which 8 in the Universe deliver strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

Nourish

through your senses,

colour, perfume, sound, texture.

Surround yourself with things you consider beautiful.

Enjoy a rich variety of food and liquid refreshments

NOURISH usually brings to mind things we consume, particularly at this time of year, when we often take draconian measures to rectify seasonal indulgences. Unfortunately, they rarely succeed.

January is not the most uplifting time of year to begin with, add to that, depriving yourself of pleasurable foods, feels like a recipe for disaster.

Perhaps it’s better to think about nourishing through addition or alternative choices rather than omission, through foods that nurture wellbeing, because we deserve it, rather than meagre calories to punish ourselves.

Foods that still allow us to socialise rather than creating a sad plate we wouldn’t want to inflict on dining companions.

Perhaps investigate healthier alternatives we might enjoy rather than the things we know can be damaging in excess.

And when we fall off the ‘New year, New you.’ wagon, and we will, be kind, you wouldn’t shout FAILURE at a friend, give yourself a break, you might be pleasantly surprised.

8 in the Universe take a playful approach to the business of life. What we do.

Content and image by MAC, January 2020.


Where have those Christmas posts gone? I hear you say.

We have put them up in the loft with the baubles and unused Christmas cards. 

We might dust them off and use them again but for now they are safely tucked away.