Archive for Useful Tools


Being Young

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A lot has been written about keeping your brain active and learning new things to activate your ‘little grey cells’ as we add more and more Birthdays. All of this is an important part of keeping the brain vital and young. New circuits are formed and old synapses are rejuvenated. This is all very well and good as far as it goes. For continued all around youthfulness all the rest of our body systems also need to be gently challenged as well.

What does this look like? Well, staying physically active is a part of this, of course. However there are some specific attitudes and intentions that are of particular importance. You don’t have to do hard physical labor to keep limber and fit. Yoga, T’ai Chi, and other forms of movement will achieve the same result without the wear and tear of hard labor. There is also a practice of body awareness that only takes your attention. It is one of the most beneficial additions to overall youthful well being and doesn’t cost a penny. You can practice it anywhere, at anytime as well!

Very simply you need to put your awareness on your body frequently and then pay close attention to what information you ‘hear’. Let me give you some examples of this practice. When I am drying myself after a bath or shower I am also appreciating every part of my body. I pay close attention to each part as I dry it off, thanking my arms for working, my legs for carrying me forward, my back for holding me together, and my skin for covering everything so well. It’s all about noticing me as my body and appreciating every cell. It’s about exuding gratitude as I notice each part, being thankful and grateful I have a body to get around in on this earth.

I also regularly listen to my body when it requests movement. This takes a little more attention since it is not in words at all. When my arm feels stiff, it is asking me to move it, loosen it up. When I am stiff getting up, my body is asking me to limber up. When I am stressed and weary at night, I put on some good dance music and move to the music. This is not always the same as dancing because when I feel a limit in my movement, a hitch in my back, I stop and move just that part slowly and gently until there is more freedom.It may look very odd however it feels very good.

As I move through my day I have made a practice of thanking my legs for carrying me, thanking my hands for opening and closing things, and thanking my whole body for putting up with so much from me! I’ll have sympathy for the parts that need that and praise for the rest. The more I do this, the more grateful I become, which makes me joyful. The more care and attention my body receives from me, the better I feel all over.

I also regularly see a very good ‘body mechanic’ (Osteopath, chiropractor, etc) and also get massages. These are not luxuries to me and my body, these are the very bare bones of being young!


Simple Tools

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In a world full of technology and complex equipment it is easy to forget about the simplicity of the machines and tools we used during most of our history. I was reminded of this recently at a friends home. She had a bolt on her sliding door that went up into the door frame to keep it secure. I had a hard time figuring it out because I was looking for a button to push, a spring to release, and it was a simple push it up, pull it down mechanism! This started me thinking of all the gadgets and gizmos we now find ordinary that have replaced many of the simple mechanical tools we used to use. This could be trouble if we need to go back to a simpler world.

When I lived in various country settings where the power regularly went out for a week or two in winter, the phone was not connected to electrical power. It still worked as long as the phone lines were up, even if the power lines were down. Those folks that were without a wood stove or fireplace could use a barbecue grill to cook on and everyone had an outhouse just in case. I’m not suggesting going to that extent here as many of us are on central water and sewer service which will still work without power.

However these thoughts lead me to consider some very basic ideas. We typically have a first aid kit somewhere in the house and car; what about a mechanical, simple tool kit as well? Could this be as simple as a screwdriver, a hammer, some rope and string, wire, a sharp utility knife and waterproof matches? I would add a hatchet, a shovel, and pliers; someone else would have other things that were important. The key to this kit is simple basic tools that lend themselves to many uses.

We were taught the basics of physics in elementary school – levers, pulleys, inclined planes, screws, and the strength and utility of basic geometric shapes. This is really useful information upon which the rest of the mechanics we use today is founded. I’m glad to be grounded in these basic ways to get work done. Maybe the old game of what you would want to have on a deserted island is a great place to start, only make it a backpack!

So here’s the game for the winter: What would you want in a backpack that you can carry with you? Nothing can be dependent on batteries, electricity, or external service. And a question: Is a solar powered backpack a ‘simple’ tool? What other things that are new technology fit into this model? Have fun and enjoy!