Danish Registered Partnership

Only a very few, very brave souls dared make mention of marriage equality back in the 1980s. The first glimmerings of same-sex civil unions or even domestic partnership agreements first came to light around that time.DenmarkPartnership-map

As it was known before the term LGBT, the gay community, had not yet rallied around the domestic relationship issue. Basic civil rights for gays and lesbians were still being hotly debated in the US, and around the world. The current movement for these basic rights was only a few decades old. Within major cities and progressive nations, work towards foundational, elementary protection for committed relationships between two gay people was just gaining traction.

Those of us who had a real stake in such matters tracked the efforts to legalize domestic partnership ordinances in larger cities and statutes in European nations that had more progressive leadership than that in the United States. Where possible, we actively advocated for this new development in the struggle for equal civil rights. The times were both thrilling and disappointing.

Then, in June of 1989, the cold winter of inequality began its very slow thaw. A very basic registered partnership law was enacted in Denmark. Many of the same legal and fiscal responsibilities and rights were granted to same sex couples as were already enjoyed by Danish heterosexual unions. Although the law was a landmark event, the possible partnerships were clearly second-class.

The law stated three exceptions that applied to registered partnerships.

1. Registered partners cannot have joint custody of a child, except by adoption.
2. Laws making explicit reference to the sexes of a married couple do not apply to registered partnerships.
3. Regulations by international treaties do not apply unless all signatories agree.

If we hoped to travel to Denmark to have our relationships officially validated, we were out of luck. At least one of the partners was required to be a Danish citizen and resident. Furthermore, both members of the partnership were required to reside in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, or Norway for at least two years prior to official application.

The Danish statute went into effect on October 1, 1989. The law, recognizing registered partnerships, was the first one in the world that provided for some sort of same-sex union and was enforced by a national government.

The law provided for legal and personal recognition of the committed “marriagelike” partnership of any adult couple.  Registered partnership expanded the usual definition of domestic partnership which is thought of as any committed relationship between unmarried couples irrespective of legal responsibilities and rights. To create or to dissolve a registered partnership, a couple needed the intervention of Danish officialdom.

Even though the law did not apply to everyone else in the world, it was a morale boost for activists and the rest of the global gay community. The law also set religious foes of the gay community on edge. Both camps redoubled their efforts in the overall civil rights struggle.


Where Danish law did not apply, activists scrambled to review their objectives. Gays and lesbians also felt our own oppression more strongly. How could the land of the free and the home of the brave so severely curtail such an important part of human happiness? Why would religions appear to be so dead-set against civil rights, when they hadn’t satisfactorily dealt with the problems of poverty, ignorance, and war?  The debate that lingers today, was fired up, for real, in 1989.

Meantime, the differences between opposite-sex marriages and registered partnerships based on gender distinctions was dissolved two years ago.  In 2012, the government of Denmark legalized marriage equality. Any pair of adults may now wed legally in that nation.

DenmarkPartnership-02The Blue Jay of Happiness knows that friendship can survive some dispute and competition while full partnership provides strength in times of trouble and outside threat.

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Making Room For Rumi

The time had come for me to spiritually explore beyond the religion of Rumi-plate2my childhood. I first encountered the works of Rumi during my middle teens in the bloom of curiosity and eagerness to expand my mind. It was at the time I first also discovered Kahlil Gibran, and Alan Watts. All three thinkers who wrote concise, yet deep literature that soothes yet propels the mind. Gibran, Watts, and Rumi informed much of my life.

“Be empty of worrying…. Why do you stay in prison when the
door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fearful

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was born on September 30th in the year 1207 CE, somewhere in the Khwarazmian imperial provinces.  Experts differ on his exact place of birth. Some place him at Vakhsh, located in modern Tajikistan. Other scholars say his birthplace is Balkh, in modern Afghanistan. He was born into a distinguished family of learned theologians. His poetry utilizes everyday scenarios to describe the spiritual world as he saw it. His popularity among seekers and the general public remains strong.

At the time of the invasion of Central Asia by the Mongols,  between 1215 and 1220 Rumi left home with his family and some of his father’s disciples. The caravan traveled throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Rumi had become a disciple of one of his father’s students, Sayad Burhan ud-Din Muhaqqiq.  It was during this apprenticeship that Rumi first encountered Sufism and its body of literature regarding spiritual matters.  In 1231, when Rumi was 24-years-old, his father died. Rumi inherited his father’s position and began his own legacy as a prominent teacher.

“Love’s secret is always lifting its head out from under the  covers,
‘Here I am!'”

A major turning point in Rumi’s life happened in 1244 when he encountered the wandering Dervish, Shamsuddin of Tabriz. The two Rumi-plate1men became very close, dear friends. Legend says that when the two traveled to Damascus, Shamsuddin was murdered by some of Rumi’s students because they had become resentful of the relationship. Rumi never quite got over his love for Shamsuddin, so he channelled this love into dance, music, and poetry.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to
make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do, and that light becomes this art.”

Rumi’s poetry and teachings were written in the “New Persian” Rumi-plate3language that was utilized by thinkers and scholars from India to Islamic Spain. This enabled easy translation into local languages, and hence his popularity. Because his literature already had a foothold in the Iberian Peninsula, his popularity spread easily into the West.


Another reason for Rumi’s current popularity is because he was tolerant of all religions and people. Love and charity were the aim of his writings. The ultimate goal of his mysticism was unity with the “Beloved” or Allah or God.

“In truth everything and everyone
Is a shadow of the Beloved,
And our seeking is His seeking
And our words are His words…
We search for Him here and there,
while looking right at Him.
Sitting by His side, we ask:
‘O Beloved, where is the Beloved?”

The light of the Moon was one of Rumi’s favorite images.

“At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine. Breathe into me. Close the language-door and open the love-window. The moon won’t use the door, only the window.”

Rumi next met the goldsmith, Salaud-Din-e Zarkub. The two  became close companions. Salaud inspired another round of writing and poetry.

“You sit here for days saying, This is strange business.
You are the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in

you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine.
You’re some weird kind of gold that wants to stay melted in
the furnace, so you won’t have to become coins.”

After the death of Salaud, Rumi deepened his friendship with one of his best disciples, Hussam-e Chalabi. The two spent their twilight years in Anatolla (present day Turkey). This is where he completed six volumes of the Masnavi, his masterpiece of rhyming couplets with profound meaning.

Mathnawi IV: 1856 (excerpt)

“The decrease of the food (allotted) by God carried out for
(the  sake of) the Sufi’s soul and heart.

1856  When a sufi becomes sad and afflicted because of poverty,
the essential substance of poverty becomes his milk-nurse and

Because Paradise has grown from disagreeable things, and
(Divine) Mercy is the (allotted) portion of a helpless and
broken-down one….”

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī died on December 17, 1273 at Konya  (in present day Turkey). He was buried alongside his father. Contemporary admirers of Rumi can visit the Mevlana mausoleum  in Konya, Turkey. It is comprised of a mosque, a dervish dormitory, and dancing place.

خداحافظ (bye)Rumi-icon

The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a Rumi passage. “Love comes with a knife, not some shy question, and not with fears for its reputation!”

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International Coffee Day

I’ve brought out the coffee press today so I can serve up some extra special brew. My stash of Java is ready for the grinder, too. Java strikes my fancy because the blend of Robusta and Arabica types of beans is “playful” on the tongue.

I also noticed their spelling error.

I also noticed their spelling error.

I also appreciate the fact that this Indonesian coffee has such a history behind it. Its past popularity was so great, that the name became the slang word for the drink. When I hear somebody ask for a cup of Java, I know I’m among potential friends.  Another reason I’m drinking Java today is because, in Indonesia, their first coffee day was celebrated on their Independence Day, and my birthday, on August 17th. It’s not difficult to understand why Java has a special place in my heart.

Most coffee days are promoted by commercial interests that encourage coffee consumption. In the US, the title, “International Coffee Day” was referred to in 2009 in a press release for the first New Orleans Coffee Festival. So, aside from a few exceptions, International Coffee Day is celebrated globally.

As you would expect, International Coffee Day is a big deal with growers, wholesalers, and retail merchants. Some stores offer discounts or coupons on September 29th to attract customers. You might even notice mentions on Facebook and Twitter, today. One aspect I’m glad to see, is that coffee day is used to bring public awareness of fair trade coffees, the plight of coffee workers, and the environments where coffee berries are grown.

Most coffee connoisseurs are at least vaguely aware that coffee plants are native to Ethiopia. They may also know that Ethiopian goatherds accidentally discovered the stimulating qualities of the beans when they noticed their goats had become more active after eating the berries of the plants. In the 15th Century, it was discovered that roasting the seeds enhanced the flavor of coffee.

Arabian culture adopted the beverage by the 16th Century as coffeehouses became established in much of the Arab world. In fact, the word “coffee” is derived from the Arabic “qahhwat al-bun” (wine of the coffee-02bean) By the end of the 17th Century, the brew had become wildly famous in Europe.

The crop’s history is a mixed one. Because of its popularity, coffee needed to be grown as a monoculture that utilized slash and burn agriculture in colonized parts of the world.  Alarmingly, slavery was encouraged as a way to expedite the growth and harvesting of coffee berries.

Despite the downsides, coffee encouraged people to socialize and think together. Literature, media, and artists found fertile ground in Europe’s many coffeehouses. Some of the greatest classical music was spawned by coffee lovers J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.

English colonists in North America used coffee as the alternative to tea. Legend has it that following the Boston Tea Party, the colonists converted to drinking coffee. The habit of drinking tea had become an unpatriotic act.coffee-01

Various studies have either condemned coffee consumption as harmful or encouraged its use as beneficial to health. The latest research says that the caffeine in coffee can exasperate certain conditions like anxiety. However, the majority of researchers say that moderate coffee drinking is mildly helpful to healthy adults.

Even if your country celebrates Coffee Day at a different date than today, I’m sure you’ll find an excuse to celebrate International Coffee Day, today, with those of us in places like Britain, Canada, Ethiopia, Malaysia, and the USA. If you’re like me, every day is Coffee Day.

coffee-iconThe Blue Jay of Happiness notes that the first webcam was installed in 1991, at the University of Cambridge to monitor a coffee pot in the Computer Science Department. For ten years, residents of the department could tell whether or not they could get their cuppa from that pot.

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I was in the middle of a dish washing chore when Jorge knocked on my door for a surprise visit. We exchanged pleasantries, then he urged me to finish what I was doing before he arrived.  That’s when he noticed the plastic bottle of “Joy” dishwashing detergent on the kitchen countertop. Jorge laughed that he had never been able to find joy in the act of  washing dishes.

I smiled as I asked if he was absolutely sure that he hasn’t done so. I wondered aloud whether or not he had never found great delight in the act of performing a mundane chore. With a quick glance at my kitchen shrine and a look back at Jorge, I asked, “Really?”

Jorge admitted that he has sometimes felt a surge of satisfaction after he completes the chore and puts the dishes away in his cupboard.

I suggested that he try dishwashing meditation. It brings household chores to a whole new level. We had a good laugh about that. Then I told Jorge that there really is such a meditation. It’s easy to do, too. When you wash dishes, just wash dishes. Don’t listen to music and wash dishes. Don’t think distracting thoughts and wash dishes. Don’t complain about doing the chore. Just wash dishes. It’s an amazing meditation. That’s how you can really add Joy to the kitchen sink. “For what other reason do you think I have a shrine located above the sink?”

It was time for coffee and conversation.

I asked Jorge what he believes joy is.joy-01

“It’s a short, intense feeling of happiness that washes over you.” He said it is an orgasmic state of mind that can only arrive spontaneously. “Joy is like happiness, because chasing after it is a good way to lose sight of it.”

I offered that, “Joy is what happens when you’re making love to the Universe. It’s being fully engaged in my actions, moment to moment, without the goal of seeking happiness.”

Sometimes we mistake the feelings of thrill or elation for joy. We might encounter the sight of the full Moon rising in the East and enjoy the experience so much that we feel a tingle up our spines. While this is a positive experience, this isn’t always true joy.

In the same vein, joy is not gratification. You might feel ecstatic after you purchase something expensive, like a new vehicle or being given something precious, like jewelry. In as much as we get an emotional buzz from such things, that excitement soon turns blase’ because it is superficial. Saying this is not to condemn gratification, I mean only to put it in the proper perspective as a normal part of life.

Jorge and I whittled away the popular definition of joy to try to find the real essence of the state of mind. At the same time, we knew that we couldn’t pursue it without losing it.  As in many of our discussions, we had to dance around the dictionary definition to find out what joy really might mean.

The moment you consciously define your state of mind as joy, the joy is diminished. It’s not in the acquisition of more and more things, money, experiences, or power. Joy is more than mere sensation. Thrills from attainment can be enjoyable, but they are only petty feelings. The sensations leave us only greedy for more. These feelings are mental joy-03addictions. It is like wanting to keep all the sunshine of a happy day all to oneself. Maybe more accurately, we try to use these sensations as a type of ointment to soothe the suffering found in life. Joy is not this superficial.

Maybe we seek joy in belief. However belief is a mental concept. Beliefs must be fed and maintained. Beliefs often require defense. Authority demands that we must establish belief in some sort of institution or some high ideal. It is possible for a belief to bring us a type of ecstasy that seems joyful. For most people, belief is sufficient. However, beliefs have no real stability. A belief finds conflict with beliefs of other people. A belief ultimately leans toward rigidity and conflict.

To discover joy, we must explore the territory of self-knowledge. This is not a self-conscious exploration. I might think we will find joy at the center of who I am. That doesn’t happen, because then, I’m trying to define a belief as to what is at my center. It is better for me to be aware of where I am, right now, in the territory of self-knowledge. We can get
close to joy if we are aware of what the territory looks and sounds like.

When we live life without grasping life, we can live and let live. When we allow others to live life in their own territories of self-knowledge as they discover the landscape on their own, we can get closer to our own joy.


Jorge mentioned that, oftentimes, joy grows from sorrow. The mind can process difficulty into wisdom. It is then possible that joy is realized after the lessons of sorrow are learned.  When a person learns to fully experience his difficulty but not cling to it or become identified with it, he opens himself up to the possibility of joy.

I then picked up my Khalil Gibran anthology to see if he had anything to say about joy. I soon located a selection to read to Jorge.
“Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and
others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your
board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

We decided to end our discussion on that note. We came to understand that joy is not found in belief or analysis. Joy simply comes to us when we allow ourselves to fully live out our lives.

joy-iconThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes this saying from Thich Nhat Hanh: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

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Mars Up Close (Review)

As Autumn settles into Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, I find myself wanting to spend more quality time doing some armchair exploration, but not so much by the glow of a digital screen.   One of the best ways to do that is with a luxurious, beautifully crafted hardcover paper and ink book.Mars_DJ_REL2.indd

My turn for Mars Up Close–Inside The Curiosity Mission, finally came up at the Norfolk (Nebraska) Public Library. I’m glad for the delay, because I was too rushed in August to fully enjoy this book. Like most National Geographic publications, this coffee table size book is sumptuous with its perfectionist’s photographic standards and artful layout.  I found only one glaring quibble with the book; that it was printed in Red China.

After I saw the title, I noted that the author is the seasoned National Geographic writer Marc Kaufman. He’s a well-rounded journalist whose credentials include work for “The Washington Post” and the “Philadelphia Inquirer”. A previous non-fiction book First Contact, has received rave reviews. Kaufman brings out the sense of adventure, suspense, trials and joy of discovery felt by the technicians and scientists involved in the mission.

The book’s forward was written by SpaceX and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk. I couldn’t help wondering how much Tesla coupe technology is in the Mars Rover. Whether or not that technology is in the Rover, Musk is deeply involved in development of private enterprise’s role in Deep Space exploration.

It’s ironic the technology that enables us to capture images and data, then view it in laboratories and personal devices is best exhibited in Mars-NASAJPLCaltechMSSS01paper and ink format. Nearly anybody can view martian images from the Curiosity rover on tablets, phones, and computers. However, if you really want to spend some time actually taking in clear detail, nothing comes close to the carefully developed, enhanced ability of skilled photographic printing on paper to deliver the goods.

The stunning, oversized satellite images and Curiosity Rover photographs are cleaned up and processed for utmost clarity and realism. The photos, alone, are worth the suggested retail price of $40 (or lower prices on the Web). If you take time to enjoy the accompanying text, you will enjoy an extremely satisfying experience.

You will learn about the movers and shakers behind the mission through candid interviews. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many women were crucial to the direction and success of the martian landing operations.


There is apparent visual evidence that Mars once had surface water and an environment that could have potentially supported some sort of life. The ways that Earth and Mars are similar are brought out in some of the side-by-side photographic comparisons.

As if the continuing remote exploration of Mars isn’t enough, technology buffs will like the descriptions of the machinery.  Text and photos explain the various components, from the wheel treads to the sophisticated cameras. The technology is not only analyzed, we can read about why it was used and how it was implemented.

In as much as we are currently seeing and hearing updates from the Curiosity mission on Mars, this book will provide the curious reader with important background knowledge and information. Mars Up Close is important to anyone who wants to know more about Outer Space, science, and the world beyond the mundane. This is a book that will tantalize you with a progressive vision of a very possible future.

Mars Up Close is not a mere coffee table, decorative book.  This is a seriously intense, compelling collaborative work that is meant to deliver the discovery experience to the reader. After looking at the photos and reading the text, I felt closer to the fourth planet from the Sun.

{ Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission by Marc Kaufman with a forward by Elon Musk; Hardcover published August 5, 2014 by National Geographic; 304 pages; ISBN: 978-1-4262-1278-9 }

Mars-iconThe Blue Jay of Happiness gives this book his highest ranking.

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Per la Tabella …Floral Friday


Images are clickable

I happened across an attractive piece of art glass, priced right, a few weeks ago. The style looked familiar, so I brought it home and verified its identity. The vaso ciotola did turn out to be part of the amber glass line from the Italian glass maker Empoli. The “optic style” was manufactured in the 1960s.

I was inspired to bring out the two other amber glass Empoli items from storage. It was time to use the three in a floral grouping for the table. I carefully rewashed all three items then dried them with a microfiber towel. Then stood back and let the creative sparks fly.

I started with the vaso standard piece I’ve had for a few years. Because the glass is dark amber, autumn themed floral elements came to mind. As I assembled the arrangement, I decided to unify the theme by including feathers in all three compositions.


The recently acquired vaso ciotola (bowl vase) was next. Embedded in a layer of glass marbles is a selection of large and small flowers in a decidedly, traditional Autumn color theme.


Finally, for the calice a stelo lungo, I wanted a trio of poppies. The goblet style looks best with a styling that doesn’t appear top-heavy and unstable. I also wanted to emulate a 1960s sensibility.


The glass table was set with a vintage silk scarf and four natural fiber place mats. Two bright orange Viking Glass bowls with pillar candles came next. Some modern chrome accessories were used for contrasting accents. An additional glass jar candle was added, plus some objets d’ art, to finish the table.

The end result comes off as avant garde, yet warm enough to express comfort during the advancing chill of Fall.

moi1988bThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes a saying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

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Self-Improvement Day

The Charles Atlas advertisement appeared in nearly every comic book I owned. I wanted to send a dime to the company for their brochure, but my parents didn’t allow that. Even though I still came across his ads in “Boys Life” and other youth oriented magazines, after awhile, I lost interest in Charles Atlas. This was my introduction to self-improvement courses.

My first actual exploration of self-improvement started when my best friend, in high school, offered to share his Rosicrucian books with me. He had been using their home study program and said that it helped him understand and feel better about himself. Because we had both been bullied frequently in school, he thought we could both learn and benefit from the AMORC books. Both of us did find a little value in the books.  At least, they were a distraction from the craziness of adolescence.selfimprovement-Meslekseimi

I eventually lost interest in Rosicrucianism but retained a hunger for knowledge and techniques about how to improve my life. I poured through the stacks at the public library and borrowed books from friends to learn more. Perhaps a few concepts stayed with me. Mostly, the books had become my genre of choice for casual reading. By my late 20s, I finally got tired of self-improvement books and courses.

Like romance novels, most of them seem to be written around a basic outline that followed a common theme. Presentation of the problem through anecdotal scenarios takes place in the introduction and first chapter. The need for solving the problem comes next. The promise of success if a special technique is followed, or the sales pitch follows that.   Somewhere in the middle the reader finds out the basic steps of the technique. More anecdotes about success follow that.  Often there is bait for more techniques from the writer at the end of the book. Generally, there is some set of questions to be answered by the reader within or at the end of each chapter.Self-help books

A disclaimer is usually presented as an admonition that improvement won’t happen unless the reader writes out the answers to the questions. Sometimes we are given the “opportunity” to purchase special workbooks and journals that can be purchased to enhance the reading experience of the more cleverly marketed programs.

I mention the trap of self-improvement literature, because many of us fall into the allure of thinking that reading a book or taking a course will change our lives for the better.  That said, I think there is some positive value to some of the material out there. A person can find solid advise and actually put it to use, if one keeps the risk of self- improvement literature “addiction” in mind.

The scope of the self-improvement industry is seemingly endless. It’s a gold mine of opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to get on board the latest bandwagon of popular problem solving. Careful consumers can take advantage of the bonanza of information to improve their lives. An important tool to use in mining this information, is skepticism. Investigate before you dig in.

After becoming aware of the nature of self-improvement and self-help, we discover how diverse it can be. If you browse the Web or stroll through a book store, you might encounter many self-improvement categories. You’re probably already aware of the major groupings.

Some of the most popular books and courses involve success, money and careers. This area targets people who wish to improve their financial status and utilize techniques to create monetary wealth. These titles are often found in the self-help and the business sections of a store or the Web.

The topic of Love and Relationships seems infinite. Not only are these writings in stores and the Web, they show up in newspaper advise columns, magazine articles, and broadcast talk shows. We live in an alienating, lonely civilization, so we can expect to encounter plenty of relationship self- improvement literature at our beck and call.

In a similar vein, religion and spirituality have been popular topics for selfimprovement-Buddhapeople looking to find answers to their problems.  The existential aspects of our minds cause us to be thirsty for meaning. If you’re looking for religion, there’s no shortage of people offering it for sale or for free.   Spirituality is abundant in the publishing industry. We find links to spiritual teachers and institutions scattered across the social media. Whichever path you decide to follow, you’ll find plenty of self-help wherever you look. Be careful of where you go.

It seems like a popular sideline of psychologists and psychiatrists is authorship. Like religion and spirituality, self-improvement in the area of mental health needs to be taken with extreme caution. We find the road to mental fitness and health is paved with land-mines that can hurt in their efforts to help. This path forks into many dead ends that may leave us more frustrated than we were before we tried them. Again, use some basic skepticism and investigate carefully before you enter this area.

We don’t want to relax our skeptical minds when we investigate the road to health and fitness. Popular media is jam packed with websites, magazine articles, books and fitness gurus who want us to adopt their pet solutions for optimum health, fitness and maintenance of youth. The remaindered stacks of diet books contain every type of special eating plan a person can imagine. They’re called fad-diets for good reason. Many of us fall for the pitches and adopt them for awhile. Again,  beware. Your health and your life depend upon how much faith we put into these plans. There are some sensible ways to improve your health and physical well-being, check with your health care provider for guidance in this area.

Some self-improvement takes the road of life enhancement.   These books and courses come under the “lifestyle” category.  You can relax your skeptical mind a little bit here.  Hopefully you won’t take lifestyle improvement too seriously because this is an area that shouldn’t be serious. Here is where we indulge ourselves. This is the place we can explore photography, gardening, cooking, and other past times that we can take up for enjoyment and life enhancement. If you want to indulge or improve your life in fun ways, you’ll have no problem finding sources to help you. A little lifestyle enhancement can certainly be an exercise in self-improvement.

I hope you’ve gotten something of value from these meanderings about helping yourself on this self-improvement day.

selfimprovement-iconThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

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