domingo, 30 de agosto de 2009

About happiness

Flow, explained
Csikszentmihalyi is a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, who has been studying human enjoyment since 1963. The question he posed himself was simple: What is fun? What makes some experiences enjoyable, and other experiences not?
Over the years, I came up with the expression “flow”: a term to describe the common denominator among those people who deemed themselves happy. The most obvious component of happiness, I found out, is intense concentration, which is the main reason that activities such as music, art, literature, sports and other forms of leisure have survived. The essential ingredient for concentration — whether it happens when reading a poem or building a sand castle — is that it involves a challenge that matches one’s ability. The only solution to achieve enduring happiness, therefore, is to keep finding new opportunities to refine one’s skills: do one’s job better or faster, or expand the tasks that comprise it; find a new set of challenges more appropriate to your stage of life. Paradoxically, the feeling of happiness is only realised after the event. To acknowledge it at the time would only serve as distraction — the rock climber would lose his footing, the chess player his game. Out of all the moments pinpointed by people I have interviewed, their best are with hindsight. Just as a smell might evoke a memory, happiness is realised in its aftermath. As I look back at a life devoted to happiness, I often wonder whether I have achieved it. Overall, I think I have and my belief that I held the keys to its secret has helped immeasurably.
Ironically, my unhappiest moment was when I achieved what most would consider success. When my book Flow: The Classic Work On How To Achieve Happiness took off, I had to fight complacency and reclaim serenity. As I get older, I find myself reinventing challenges. I gave a lecture to businessmen during the recession of the 1990s. What affected them most, they said, was an inability to nurture the young talent they believed would be their legacy. When I asked Dr Jonas E. Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, his main aim in life, he answered “to become a good ancestor”. The ultimate challenge, perhaps, and one to which, in old age, I rise willingly.

sábado, 29 de agosto de 2009


Clutter makes chaos. Susan Levitt defines clutter as items that are not stored properly (so either you can’t find them when you need them or you’re constantly tripping over them), items you don’t need or use that still take up space, and items you dislike that you feel obligated to keep. But you can conquer your clutter!

Here are six steps to rid your home and your life of clutter forever:

First, categorize your stuff.
You can do this room by room, since most of us are overwhelmed by the thought of doing the whole house all at once. Here are the five categories:

Essential: The things you need and use regularly.

Favorites: Your treasured mementos and favorite pieces of art.

Other people’s stuff: Things that you have borrowed, including rented videos and library books, and items that just don’t feel like they should belong to you anymore.

Annoying: Dirty laundry, junk mail, old magazines. It all piles up quickly.

Disgusting: Moldy food, junk food wrappers, that kind of thing. Eww.

Now you’re ready to conquer your clutter.

Ditch the disgusting stuff. This is the most obvious and easy place to start. Wash, dump, compost, or otherwise get rid of it.

Deal with the annoying stuff. Recycle magazines and junk mail, collect and wash the laundry, file, box, and store the things you think you might need, but get all of it out of sight and out of your space.

Donate. Give borrowed items back to their owners. Donate unwanted stuff to a local charity. Be honest with yourself: if you really detest something, even though it was a gift, get rid of it. You will find this to be remarkable cathartic and freeing.

Display. Your favorite things deserve special places where they can go. Honor your jewelry with a beautiful box, place loose photos in an album, make a shelf to show off your collections.

Devise. Your essential things need to be accessed easily, so devise a system so you’re not always fruitlessly searching for them. Keys can go on a hook by the door, bills in a basket on the desk, dirty laundry in a hamper in your closet, borrowed items in a box that you check every time you’re getting ready to visit someone.

viernes, 28 de agosto de 2009

Memorias bajo la nieve

Dos discretísimos homenajes a los primeros resistentes al nacionalsocialismo en Munich. En una de las placas figuran los nombres de los héroes pero en las huellas doradas que se ven en el pavimento de una pequeña calle antes de llenar a la plaza de Odeón hay un recuerdo a los que evitaron pasar por la calle Residenz para no tener que hacer el saludo nazi y fueron enviados a uno de los primeros campos. Casi siempre están cubiertas por la nieve del largo invierno alemán y no hay ninguna placa que cuente la historia ni la encontramos en ninguna de nuestras guías.

jueves, 27 de agosto de 2009

Sí, todos tenemos uno (por lo menos)

Es una de las películas que más me ha gustado últimamente. Me ha recordado a Manual d´amore porque también va contando la historia de varias parejas durante unas semanas y es divertida pero también es tierna y optimista. No se puede pedir más para una noche de verano cuando todavía quedan unos días de vacaciones...

miércoles, 26 de agosto de 2009

El lujo

Del escaparate de una tienda de cosmética natural en la calle de los Teatinos de Munich

Sí que existen cosas gratis

Nos hablaron de un tour gratuito de Munich (se queda en la Marientzplatz, antes de que suene el carillón de las 11). Había un grupo numerosísimo de españoles y otro menos numeroso de angloparlantes. Nuestra guia, una estudiante chilena, Lu, fue magnífica ya que transmitía su pasión por la ciudad y su historia, con sus luces y sus sombras. La visita duró tres horas (con una parada técnica en el mercado callejero para tomar algo) y terminamos absolutamente encantados. Fue un buen principio para unos días de descanso y cambio de chip.

A berry a day...

Los desayunos de estos días en Munich han sido diferentes a los habituales: salmón ahumado, todo tipo de bayas (fresa, mora, frambuesa, grosella, arándanos...), frutos secos (anacardos y almendras sin tostar...), zumos naturales, panes de semillas de todo tipo, quesos... Ahora cuesta levantarse para hacer las tostadas y el café.

martes, 25 de agosto de 2009

All the president´s zombies (Paul Krugman)

The debate over the “public option” in health care has been dismaying in many ways. Perhaps the most depressing aspect for progressives, however, has been the extent to which opponents of greater choice in health care have gained traction — in Congress, if not with the broader public — simply by repeating, over and over again, that the public option would be, horrors, a government program.

Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.

Call me naïve, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming.

Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over.

First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen.

To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years.

Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years. President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains.

And then there’s the small matter of the worst recession since the 1930s.

There’s a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937. “We know now that it is bad economics.” And last year we learned that lesson all over again.

Or did we? The astonishing thing about the current political scene is the extent to which nothing has changed.

The debate over the public option has, as I said, been depressing in its inanity. Opponents of the option — not just Republicans, but Democrats like Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Ben Nelson — have offered no coherent arguments against it. Mr. Nelson has warned ominously that if the option were available, Americans would choose it over private insurance — which he treats as a self-evidently bad thing, rather than as what should happen if the government plan was, in fact, better than what private insurers offer.

But it’s much the same on other fronts. Efforts to strengthen bank regulation appear to be losing steam, as opponents of reform declare that more regulation would lead to less financial innovation — this just months after the wonders of innovation brought our financial system to the edge of collapse, a collapse that was averted only with huge infusions of taxpayer funds.

So why won’t these zombie ideas die?

Part of the answer is that there’s a lot of money behind them. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” said Upton Sinclair, “when his salary” — or, I would add, his campaign contributions — “depend upon his not understanding it.” In particular, vast amounts of insurance industry money have been flowing to obstructionist Democrats like Mr. Nelson and Senator Max Baucus, whose Gang of Six negotiations have been a crucial roadblock to legislation.

But some of the blame also must rest with President Obama, who famously praised Reagan during the Democratic primary, and hasn’t used the bully pulpit to confront government-is-bad fundamentalism. That’s ironic, in a way, since a large part of what made Reagan so effective, for better or for worse, was the fact that he sought to change America’s thinking as well as its tax code.

How will this all work out? I don’t know. But it’s hard to avoid the sense that a crucial opportunity is being missed, that we’re at what should be a turning point but are failing to make the turn.

Un artículo del New York Times (cortesía de Lufthansa volviendo de la escapada a Munich) sobre el sistema de salud americano.

martes, 18 de agosto de 2009

From Mike´s page

Dalai Lama's Rules for Living

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good and honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

- Dalai Lama, 2000, Source?

sábado, 15 de agosto de 2009

Kavafis: las murallas

[Poema: Texto completo]

Constantino Cavafis

Sin consideración, sin piedad, sin recato
grandes y altas murallas en torno mío construyeron.
Y ahora estoy aquí y me desespero.
Otra cosa no pienso: mi espíritu devora este destino;
porque afuera muchas cosas tenia yo que hacer.
Ah cuando los muros construían cómo no estuve atento.
Pero nunca escuché ruido ni rumor de constructores.
Imperceptiblemente fuera del mundo me encerraron.

Y esto pasa todos los días Juan Gelman

la sociedad de clases divide al hombre en grupos que se
combaten entre sí
separa al uno del otro levanta
paredes entre uno y otro achica
la vida espiritual el sentimiento el pensamiento
no perfecciona al individuo sino
el egoísmo de cada individuo
le corta un ala al corazón enferma
el corazón

esto pasa todos los días

así que algunos sueñan con la justicia
con tirar abajo las paredes que separan al uno del otro
la vida espiritual el sentimiento el pensamiento/no
perfeccionan al individuo sino el egoísmo de cada individuo
le cortan
un ala al corazón enferman el corazón
con la victoria sobre el dolor y la amargura sueñan
combaten caen vuelven a combatir
por una valerosa verdad

esto pasa todos los días

así trabaja la esperanza:
la torturan y no habla
no habla con la policía
no habla con el juez
no habla con almirantes
no habla con la muerte señora
con nada que chupe seque vuelva pobre o triste habla
con ellos no habla

esto pasa todos los días

Juan Gelman, SUCESOS.

Colección Visor de Poesía, número 310. Juan Gelman, de palabra.

viernes, 14 de agosto de 2009

pasado y presente

En Xian este era el símbolo de la antigua y la nueva China...(creo recordar)

miércoles, 12 de agosto de 2009

Júpiter más cerca

Anoche antes de acostarme me asomé por la ventana con los prismáticos a ver qué se veía. Llevaba semanas sin hacerlo.
Lo que me llamó la atención fue una luz muy brillante que se podía ver a simple vista, al Este (mi ventana da al Sur).
Pensé que era Marte pero ahora he comprobado en (que descubrí gracias a Artea, del blog "compartiendo el camino", que es un buen aficionado a la astronomía") que era Júpiter que durante esta semana está más cerca de la Tierra-
Al ser el planeta de mayor tamaño es muy llamativo y muy fácil de ver ahora.
Creo que voy a volver a las vieja costumbres de mirar el cielo de vez en cuando...

lunes, 10 de agosto de 2009

Lonely place

Entrando a escondidas al jardín...

lunes, 3 de agosto de 2009

Caballitos chinos de cerámica

El Museo de Shangai tiene una colección de esculturas en cerámica que es admirable. Además se pueden hacer fotos, y siempre hay cerca algún empleado/a que vuelve a limpiar las vitrinas de cristal después de que los curiosos/as se hayan acercado todo lo que han querido, han apoyado los dedos en el cristal y han hecho su foto con el móvil... Me recuerda la colección del Guimet de París, que también tiene caballitos chinos de hace casi 2000 años.

domingo, 2 de agosto de 2009

Sea of million faces

La ofrenda del melón y la sandía tiene su miga porque en dos semanas no probamos otra fruta (bueno, en los sitios de zumos callejeros tomamos lo que quisimos pero echamos mucho de menos la variedad a la que estamos acostumbrados aquí)

La grulla

Nos contaron que la grulla es un símbolo de la longevidad femenino. El caso es que me gusta verla allí arriba.

Bridge of the nine turnings

Aquí al lado había un salón de té en el que hicimos tiempo mientras un artesano grababa nuestros nombres en unos sellos de piedra verde con los que se firma en las pinturas chinas.

sábado, 1 de agosto de 2009

Cerámica de autora

María Asperilla es una joven ceramista madrileña que desde la página presenta varias propuestas en torno a la azulejería artesana tradicional.