Spanks A.lot

Waking up to the Grateful Flow

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Dear Eckhart Tolle,

Thank you for showing me the kind of love I should celebrate this Valentine’s Day in a quote from A New Earth:

The ego is not only the unobserved mind, the voice in the head which pretends to be you, but also the unobserved emotions that are the body’s reaction to what the voice in the head is saying. […] Positive emotions generated by the ego already contain within themselves their opposite into which they can quickly turn. Here are some examples: What the ego calls love is possessiveness and addictive clinging that can turn into hate within a second. Anticipation about an upcoming event, which is the ego’s overvaluation of future, easily turns into its opposite—letdown or disappointment—when the event is over or doesn’t fulfill the ego’s expectation. […] The deeper emotions are not really emotions at all but states of Being, which do not exist within the realm of opposites. They emanate from from within you as the love, joy, and peace that are aspects of your true nature.

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Haypril.Twenty.Twelve

  • 30th: Dear Derek Sivers, Thank you for your short talk on How to Start a Movement. I hadn’t previously realized that (1) the leader of a movement isn’t all that important [the movement quickly becomes more important than he who started it]. And (2) for reminding me of Margaret Mead’s insight that all we ever need is a small group of individuals to change the world. Best, Cam-o
  • 29th: Dear Windblown Leaves, The sound you produce is utterly mesmerizing, so thank you for giving air’s fluidity a soundtrack.  Love, Cameron
  • 27th: Dear Doppler Effect, Thank you for adding to the uniqueness of waves.  Without you, passing ambulances wouldn’t be as memorable, sonar wouldn’t allow us find the deepest parts of the ocean, weather radar would be obsolete, and we couldn’t use redshift to see that our universe expanding. Sincerely, Cameron
  • 26th: Dear Wray Herbert, While I love all of your writing, my take away from your article on how to approach negative emotions was exceptional. I’d never thought rationally about my approach to something as abstract as negative emotion.  Thanks again, Cammy
  • 25th: Dear Robins with Insomnia, Thanks for making me wonder about why you’re chirping at 3AM.  Do the streetlights look like the sun? Are we too loud? Or is that just normal behavior?  Keep it real, SeePopp
  • 24th: Dear UNL Mysticism Symposium, Prior to this event, I hadn’t realized that lessening suffering involves changing your relationship with it, rather than diminishing it altogether.  Thanks a’bunchie, Ronnie
  • 23rd: Dear Kitchen Counter, Thank you for being the perfect height to stretch my legs after my run.  Much Love, Ron
  • 22nd: Dear Today’s Exercise, Thank you for having happened. Exercise is my silent savior, and I am grateful for every moment I can ably use my body. Love, Cameron
  • 21st: Dear City of Lincoln, Thank you for all your well kept sidewalks! I enjoy thumping on them daily and the accompanying outdoor time.  Cameron James
  • 20th: Dear Chills, Thank you for keeping me in awe by making the ephemeral feel so real, reminding me of Cady and how important right now actually is. Until tomorrow, CamCam
  • 19th: Dear Automatic Toothbrush, Thank you for the supersonic capabilities. I don’t exactly know how you do accomplish this ‘supersonic’ feat, but I can appreciate the unique application of technology. Peace, Ronniekins
  • 18th: Dear 21st Century Mattress, Thank you for not being stuffed with straw, horse hair, or palm leaves. Not only would that be bizarre, but all I would think about as I’m falling asleep is what the hell I could be sleeping on.  Keep it clean and cushy, CJP
  • 17th: Dear One Pacific Place Park, Thank you for being such a terrific Omaha park. My favorite part about you is a tie between your native grasses, metal teepees, crackling power lines, and countless fond memories forged within your bounds. Stay put, Ca-moron
  • 16th: Dear Daniel Kahneman, Thank you for your engaging book, Thinking Fast and Slow.  While I am only forty pages in, I’ve loved every insight you sussed out of me (which hopefully spark some interesting blog posts).  Best, Cameroney
  • 15th: Dear Into The Abyss, Thank you for sparking a string of questions about why it is so difficult to discuss abstract things like g/God and love.  Cam
  • 14th: Dear Weekend Projects, Your expansive possibilities leave me with much to look forward to every week. Thanks for the opportunity, Ron
  • 13th: Dear Sonos Amplifiers, I speak on behalf of my family when I say we love how wonderful our at-home musical experience is now. Your wireless network and internet radio capabilities will surely leave us musically equipped for many years. Thanks again, Da Popps
  • 12th: Dear Brooklyn, Thank you for relocating yourself on my bed when I ask you to (unlike your sister Roxy), it sure makes sleeping with far enjoyable-er… :D, Cammie
  • 11th: Dear Honda Civic, Thanks for providing me with my favorite kind of alone time, complete with momentum, music and flowing fresh air. Much love, Cameron
  • 10th: Dear Snow Tires, Your hybrid rubber has greatly increased my confidence driving in the winter months, so thank you the added safety to back that confidence. CJP
  • 9th: Dear Greg Glenn, Thank you for the many conversations we shared over my time at Creighton Prep. Without you I wouldn’t have realized the importance of conversation in building a strong spiritual/religious life. With Love, Cameron
  • 8th: Dear Lynn Groff, Thank you for showing me Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (and being an awesome ecology teacher) during high school. I’ve continually read, recycled, and relearned Maltz’s insights to the point where I carry them with me on a daily basis and am so grateful for his words you passed onto me.  Best, Cameron James
  • 7th: Dear River Birch, Your bark is so cool! You keep my eyes open for other neat stuff in nature I hope to notice. Thanks for the neatness, Cam
  • 6th: Dear What.CD, I’m pretty damn appreciative for your ever growing music selection, even more grateful for having been invited to such a great site. Thank you for the hours of emotion [as Leo Tolstoy says, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.”]. Until tomorrow, SeeJay
  • 5th: Dear Grandma Bess, Thank you for being such a cool grandma, you give me hope that my weirdness wasn’t some genetic anomaly. Love, Cam-O
  • 4th: Dear Inside of my shirt, Thank you for being my ever-present personal paper-free napkin.
  • 3rd: Dear Oil in my Hair, I appreciate your non-greasy appearance after days of soapy neglect, and for allowing me to style my hair sans gel.  
  • 2nd: Dear Weeds, While you may be a menace to many, I want to thank you for the good you do in fending off erosion and keeping the soil alive. XOXO Ronnie.
  • 1st: Dear Sebaceous Glands, I first want to apologize about the love-hate relationship we got going on.  I like how you help keep my skin freshly moisturized, even though this can sometimes lead to blemishes. Until tomorrow, Cammie

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Marge.Twenty.Twelve

  • 31st: Dear Forearms, Thank you for protecting my bones with your cushy muscle when I’m typing and grinding up homework.  Hearts, Cam
  • 30th: Dear Room, Thank you for serving me well the past 11 months. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed coming home to a comfortable space that doubles as a jungle gym for Brooklyn. Peace, Poppentrop
  • 29th: Dear Roommates, Thank you for teaching me a lesson about relationships—“the relationships you can’t run away from truly teach you things.”  I have found that to love someone is to fully embrace that which cannot be changed about them.  You both have my very best, Cameron
  • 28th: Dear Gardening, I am very glad to have embraced you, few things stick it to the man like growing food for yourself. Thanks for the power, Cammy
  • 27th: Dear Kind Granola, Thank you for finding your way into my life. That is all. Cam Cam

  • 26th: Dear Robert Sapolsky, Thank you for this commencement speech, I have never (1) been told we humans aren’t that unique in comparison to others in the animal kingdom, and (2) heard a contradiction intentionally reframed as a moral imperative in such a succinct way.

  • 25th: Dear Brené Brown, Thank for helping me in many ways with your talk on listening to shame: (1) with public speaking (2) with realizing that vulnerability ≠weakness and how profoundly dangerous that idea is (3) the insight that “vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change.” (4) and the idea that there’s nothing more vulnerable than making something that’s never existed before.  With love, Ronnie

  • 24th: Dear Indoors, Without you, I wouldn’t appreciate the outdoors as much as I ever would so thanks for the stark juxtaposition.  Love, Ron

  • 23rd: Dear Old Friends, Thank you for your blessings. Your memories breathe for me when I feel I have nowhere to turn.  With love, Cameron James

  • 22nd: Dear Grass, Thank you for smelling so good when you’re murdered by our metal blades—your excess length didn’t go in vain. Cam-o

  • 21st: Dear Positive Psychology, Thank you for affording my inquisitive mind a fresh and helpful way of looking at the world.  Sincerely, Cameron

  • 20th: Dear Mechanized Systems Management, Thank you for being saving me from the confines of engineering.  I really can’t wait to start taking classes that open me up instead of feeling always like a math-bot. Best, Cameron

  • 19th: Dear Serenity Prayer, Thank you for succinctly communicating what it is to have a constructive worldview.  Without the power of acceptance, well, I wouldn’t be happy right here right now.  Sincerely, CeeJayPee

  • 18th: Dear Alain de Botton, Thank you for your timeless, insightful words.
We want to be loved for who we are - but part of this means someone who needs and wants to be changed.
It’s the relationships you can’t run away from that truly teach you things.
Hard to know what bit of our conversation sticks in others’ minds: a throwaway remark can become a cornerstone. 
People who readily accept the need for a gym resist that their personalities might need work too.
Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.
  • 17th: Dear Televisions, Thank you for your power button. Cam Jam

  • 16th: Dear Collin, Thank you supplying me with the most adventurous 3-day vacation I’ve had in a while. Meeting your friends, parsing all of 16th street in Denver, and breathing the vibes of our neighboring state was very refreshing.  Love, your brahther Cameron

  • 15th: Dear Gluten Sensitivity, Thank you for giving me a free pass to fitness in helping me refuse pizza, donuts, funnel cakes, most all cookies, and KFC. Cammy

  • 14th: Dear Acne Medicine, Thank you for mitigating the consequences of my occasional egg and dairy consumption, I thoroughly enjoy clear skin. Love, Pam Copp

  • 13th: Dear Brooklyn, Thank you for being my running buddy for over 3 years now.  Without you around I would spend much less time exercising, leading to decreased happiness and an increased resting heart rate.  Love, Cameron
  • 12th: Dear Pollen Allergies, Thank you for maintaining a safe distance from me throughout my life, as I already have plenty of allergies to food. Hearts, Cam-o

  • 11th: Dear Spontaneity, Your cosntant presence in my life has accounted for many hours of serendipity and entertainment. Thanks’a’bunchies! Ron

  • 10th: Dear Spring, Thank you for reintroducing me to the color green every year.  It feels like I’m renewing my spiritual connection to mother earth and I love it. Cameroni N Cheese

  • 9th: Dear Glasses, Without you my legal blindness would alter my day-to-day drastically, so thank you for that. I also wanted to thank you for making me squint less in sunlight than when I’m wearing contacts, because excessive squinting gives me headaches somehow.  Best, Von Poppentrop

  • 8th: Dear Skype, Thank you for allowing me to talk to my closest friend @gracecat15 who is currently in Paris.   Connecting with her put me in a state of technological awe while simultaneously making me feel grateful for a much needed conversation.  Thank you, CamCam

  • 7th: Dear Teeth Whitening Kit, Thank you for reversing the effects of copious coffee consumption by making my whites pearly again.  Cam

  • 6th: Dear Water Pressure, Thank you for pushing water out of my faucets for free, as I would hate to have to pump water into buckets every day as some people must do.  Love, Ron

  • 5th: Dear Birds, Thank you for singing your songs.  Your melody is my soundtrack to the most beautiful time of the year.  CJP

  • 4th: Dear Lake Ventura, Thank you for your part in my childhood memories by serving as my summer escape for 16 years. Thank you for instilling in me a constant desire for adventure and helping embrace my predilection for pyrotechnic displays. Love always, Cameron James

  • 3rd: Dear Train Horns, Thank you for reminding me of my childhood at the Lake. When I first visited UNL, I immediately noticed your abundance around campus and breathe a little bit deeper when you burst through the airwaves.  Love, Camoron

  • 2nd: Dear Buddha Poster in my Room, Thank you for your wise words as they have thoroughly harmonized my day-to-day life. CJP

  • 1st: Dear Pre-Ground Coffee, As someone who doesn’t eat [sliced] bread, you are the next best thing, always saving me time when I want a quick adrenaline boost.  Spanks a lot. Cam

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February.Twenty.Twelve

  • 29th: Dear Gratitude, My spirits are kept higher with you around than with any other activity I partake in..  Going on a nearly month long break from Spanks A.lot has made a difference in my baseline happiness, so thank you for always being there. XOXO, Cameron
  • 28th: Dear Gravity, Thank you for keeping me strong.  While John Mayer may claim you’re working against me, I am thankful for your keeping my muscle mass steady—In space they grow weak hella fast.  Spanks, Ronnie
  • 27th: Dear Jake Reiner, Thank you for showing me speed frisbee golf speed rounds.  Racing to the hole adds a lot of variety to an otherwise leisurely ‘sport’. Best, Cameron James

  • 26th: Dear Frisbee Golf, Thank you for being supa’ cheap while incorporating two of my most favorite activities, frisbee and being outside.  Cam

  • 25th: Dear Skin on my Knuckles, Thank you for keeping my lips busy as I pull at you unkonwingly when I’m driving.  I really enjoy the feeling;).  Hearts, Cameroni’n’Cheesse

  • 24th: Dear Recent Weather, Thank you for the early spring.  It has truly been a blessing to my soul to enjoy the outdoors once again… I’ll never grow tired of the happiness

  • 23rd: Dear Stretching, Thank you for keeping my back pain free, helping me fend off tendonitis, and mosre importantly helping me fall asleep. Love, Cameron
  • 22nd: Dear Legs, Thank you for helping me move.  Without you I wouldn’t be able to see the world on my own two feet, let alone enjoy the feeling of having my feet pound the ground.  Regards, Ron
  • 21st: Dear Finger Nails, Thank you for always being there for me when I need you.  Whether you’re a booger broom, a lego tool, a back scratcher, or dirt specimen collector, I never grow tired of your constant growth.  Cam-o
  • 20th: Dear Parchment Paper, Thanks for not combusting in the oven like your sister Wax Paper.  You save me much work washing pans (aka my least favorite cleaning task).  Until next time, Cameron
  • 19th: Dear Sautéed Brussel Sprouts, Thanks for kicking ass.  Not only do you soak up all the bacon fat, but you also taste WAY better than when you’re steamed.  Keep up the good work. Ronnie
  • 18th: Dear Roommates, Thanks for being a great team.  You make our apartment a home … even though I have to sometimes clean the George Foreman. Hearts, Da Scooter Kid
  • 17th: Dear Brooklyn, Thank you for being so cooperative when I bathe you. You’re not an easy clean, especially amidst the current ‘mushy ground’ season.  Love you, Cam
  • 16th: Dear Cracked Knuckles, Thank you for being my very own constant reminder to throw on some lotion from time to time. Ron
  • 15th: Dear Cookies, Thank you for being like a drug without the chemical imbalance.  You will continue to be my silent savior for years to come.  CJP
  • 14th: Dear Picnics, Thanks for being like the best warm weather activity EVER, along with frisbee golf. I’m SO looking forward to one of you in a few months.  Best, Cameron
  • 13th: Dear Maya Angelou, Thank you for your wonderful quotes/writing. It is a wonder that I can express myself through your words … and in ways I could never imagine. Love, Cameron

The bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

I can be changed by what happens to me, but I cannot be reduced by it.

I’ve learned that ‘making a living’ is not the same as ‘making a life’.

-Maya Angelou

  • 12th: Dear Reading, Thank you for being my brain food. As they say, a brain that doesn’t feed itself eats itself … this couldn’t be more true for me.  Love, Cam-o
  • 11th: Dear Close Friends, Thank you for your strength.  You save me from ruminating about all the friends that pass through my life and focus my gaze ahead.  Much love, Cameron James
  • 10th: Dear Pile of Snow, Thank you for being there for me.  Not only are you fun to climb on, but you’re also a great place for my pup to clean off her paws before she comes inside. Hearts, Cam
  • 9th: Dear Fruit, Thanks for being one of the most healthy and convenient foods I eat. You save me a lot a time to prepare other tasty stuff.  Cameron
  • 8th: Dear Command-Z, Thank you for being such a convenient keystroke.  My computer experience would be much less enjoyable or productive without you around.  Love, Ron
  • 7th: Dear Listerine, Thank you for your convenience and your cunning ability to murder bad breath.  Cam
  • 6th: Dear Dinosaurs, Thank you for opening the imaginations of countless children over the years.  Best, Camo
  • 5th: Dear Friends, Thanks for being there to tether down my restlessness mind/spirit… you help me find all my pieces after I’ve blown up. Love you, Ronnie
  • 4th: Dear Metaphors, Thank you for your ability to make meaning out of all the disconnected ambiguous experiences that make up my life. Few aspects (of life) can be understood directly so I’m grateful for your help. Love, CamCam 
  • 3rd: Dear Intentions, Thank you for your existence. You inform each of us where we are going amid all of our self delusion and confusion.  Thanks a bunch, Cameron.
  • 2nd: Dear Prayer, Thank you for being so ambiguous. I enjoy taking advantage of this and making you into whatever I choose. Cameron
  • 1st: Dear Coffee, Thanks for being the unsung fuel to my [eventual] degree… you get a lot less credit than is deserved.  Thanks, Camoron.

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Gee, Anne Uary.Twenty-Twelve

  • 31st: Dear David McRaney, Your book ”You are Not so Smart” has showed me just how strong my habits of self delusion are.  It has been a humbling experience so far, although pretty unnerving as well. Best, Cameron
  • 30th: Dear Loading Dishes, Thank you for being the only 3D puzzle I do on a daily basis.  I love competing with myself to pack the most dishes into each load.  Cam 
  • 29th: Dear Brian C. Wilson, My first in-depth encounter with the 21st Century Enlightenment was through your writing and I can’t thank you enough for staving off my fears, uncertainties and doubts as a wanna-be future leader. Best, Cameron
  • 28th: Dear Lips, Just wanted to thank you for your tucking abilities. You make bearable Brooklyn’s (my pup) intense, loving licks. XOX, Cam
  • 27th: Dear Gut, Let’s be friends again, k? I never imagined it would take ~14 months to figure out what messes with you, BUT I’ve been getting good signals since late December. Keep up the marvelous chemistry! Cameron 
  • 26th: Dear Scooter, Thank you for helping me go so fast and making every commute adventurous, especially when I have hoards of people to navigate through.  Spanks, Cam-o
  • 25th: Dear Education, Benefits from you: inspiration, fuel for my imagination, a possible future career, meaning, direction, and hope for the future.  Spanks a lot, Cam
  • 24th: Dear Bodily Functions, Thank you for being so enjoyable. As Buddha says, Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Love that quote. Ron
  • 23rd: Dear Collin, Thank you for being such a great friend.  Our enriched relationship has bore great fruit—I trust more in my belief that there are people out there who resonate with me. I also loved how you did my laundry AND folded it today.  Love, your thoroughly mind blown brother, Cameron.
  • 22nd: Dear Lard, Thank you for being my most used cooking lubricant.  Not only do you make my veggies smell like bacon, but you also keep them from scorching on the skillet.  Who know fat could be so dynamic! Spanks, Cam
  • 21st: Dear Jim Wand, Thank you for your show this evening, I have been thoroughly mind-f!cked.  You have reignited an interest in hypnosis, after having read about it on and off for many years. Thank you! Cameron
  • 20th: Dear Elbows, Thank you for being so pointy! You help me massage the insides of my palms and my thighs, almost every day. It really gives my hands a break.  Spanks, Cameron
  • 19th: Dear Albert Einstein, Thank you for your expansive imagination. Your quotes feed my spirit with inspiration, especially with the idea that our minds and spirits are separate entities, which may not always agree/communicate. It has sparked a whole string of insights I would not have stumbled upon this early in life.  Much thanks, Cam
  • 18th: Dear Cady, Thank you for  your strong spirit, I’ll never forget that about you. I am so grateful having the belief that I have strengthened the spirit of others since picking up where your relationships left off five years ago. Love, love, love, Cameron
  • 17th: Dear Cooking, Thank you for providing me with so much meaning. I’m more grateful for what I have to eat more than ever, and you help me be creative in ways that I never knew before. Hearts, Cameron James
  • 16th: Dear Legs, Thank you for allowing me to dance, run, enjoy the horizon. The strain of clipping my toenails is well worth the experiences I get using you daily.  Cameron
  • 15th: Dear SOPA/PIPA, Thank you for reminding us Americans what a beautiful tool the internet is and how vital the share of information is to our future. Ron
  • 14th: Dear eBooks, Thank you for being so light. Best, Cameron.
  • 13th: Dear Nail Trimmers, Thank you for keeping me from gouging myself when I neglect you for too long. I can’t imagine not having you before the industrial revolution. Spanks again, Cam
  • 12th: Dear Sleep, Thank you for your healing capabilities… both physical and mental.  You’re like death without the commitment. Thanks, Cam-o
  • 11th: Dear Portable Music, Thank you for being my portable friend. Walk-men were cool but they don’t fit in pockets so well.  I like the constant distraction. Cam
  • 10th: Dear Adobe, Your control of interactive online content reminds me of how grateful I am to have USB (Universal serial bus). No entity should ever be allowed to control the flow of information, regardless if it’s hardware or software.  Thanks, and go to hell with your monopoly.  Cameron
  • 9th: Dear Cruise Control, Thank you for allowing me to use you at any speed above 25 mph. I love being able to break the law in a controlled manner.  Cameron
  • 8th: Dear College, Thank you for the most engaging, enlightening and mentally nourishing experience up as of yet. You fill me with wonder about the future, and I love that. Thanks again, Cameron
  • 7th: Dear Past Relationships, You’ve show me so much. Thank you for your powers of discovery, for I would have far less empathy if I didn’t believe in you. Hearts, Cam
  • 6th: Dear Belief, Thank you for underscoring every action that I do.  Your implicit existence in my life has been very difficult to understand, indeed I likely will never have a handle on you, but since changing a few personal beliefs around (that I am creative; that thinking differently is fruitful; that balance is a virtue; that equilibrium is dynamic) my mind thoroughly enjoys it’s place in my life.  Love, Cameron
  • 5th: Dear (Each) Moment, Thank you for being the  fuel to my life. You are the common ‘meeting ground’ for all the wonderful experiences I have.  Until recently, you were something worth escaping because I brought fearful and confused thoughts along with me.  Anyway, you are a gift, so thanks.  Cameron
  • 4th: Dear Bruce Lipton, Thank you for your eloquently communicated wisdom in your [audio]book Spontaneous Evolution.  It ‘blew my dad’s mind’ which is a statement I never thought he would utter. Your thoughts have greatly brightened our outlook on the future, which is a gift all people need.  XO, Cameron
  • 3rd: Dear Global Climate Change, Thank you for making people think about their role [in nature]. Our failure to act up to now is [in part] born out of a lack of urgency that a predicament even exists, thank you for waking people up.  Love, Cameron
  • 2nd: Dear Twitter, (again) thank you for creating a much better sense of connectedness to my peers; independence is a cool and everything, but it has failed time and time again at 
  • 1st: Dear Hindsight, You deserve special recognition for your part in creating the wisdom in my life, for without you I would have never connected the pieces to make the beautiful mural that is my character. Love, Cameron

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Decemburr.Twenty.Eleven

  • 31st: Dear 2011, Thank you for an amazingly mentally enriching year.  I wouldn’t know myself as I do without the year behind me…so thanks. Cameron
  • 30th: Dear Patience, Thank you for being the greatest virtue I know yet.  Without you, I would never have discovered the wonder in the world. Thanks, Cameron
  • 29th: Dear Toe Warmers, my skiing experience was superb this afternoon due to your radiant heat. Thanks! Cameron
  • 28th: Dear Twitter, Thank you for connecting me to neat people. Not only has discovering your difference to the dreaded FB been halcyon, but also the fact that many of those I have found seem to sincerely resonate with open-minded harmony.  Love you Twatter, Ronnie
  • 27th: Dear Restlessness, thanks for becoming an integral part of my character. I used to believe you were something inherently bad, the expression of some yet unknown character flaw… But overwhelmingly I am realizing that I’d have grown much less without than with. So thanks. With love, Cameron James
  • 26th: Dear Dad, thank you for helping me sincerely believe in relationships (and their power). Love you, Cam 
  • 25th: Dear Audiobooks, thank you for existing! You help me embrace the well established ideas of authors without the reading stamina needed to fully finish a book.  Love, Cameron
  • 24th: Dear Brooklyn, After reading this wonderful book I found at the bookstore yesterday, I wanted to thank you for keeping me spiritually grounded in the moment.  You just are. And I aspire to be more like you in ways you will never understand, so thank you for being a true serendipitous gift in my life.  Love, Cameron
  • 23rd: Dear Subconscious Mind, Thank you for all the bullshit you guide me through, I’m sorry I haven’t been more grateful for your blessings up to this point… thank you for the insight you bring to my conscious mind for remembering in the future. With Love, Cameron
  • 22nd: Dear Conversation, You may not know it, but you are one of my closest friends. Thank you for all the entertainment and connection you have rewarded me over the years…I can’t wait for the next conversation to begin! Love you, Cameron
  • 21st: Dear Shivers, You continue to be a remind me of the world’s wonder, coming around to remind me of Cady and that awe I feel when I truly know connection, connection I can’t even describe. I will always be speechless, and I love that. Cam
  • 20th: Dear Matthew Mahaffey, Today I am grateful I know you as my teacher for yearbook senior year, in hindsight I find myself wishing I valued creativity more, perhaps I would’ve realize the potential sooner.  Thanks for always bubbling over with the driest excitement, I will always remember that about you. Cameron James.
  • 19th: Dear Highschool Retreats, Today I want to thank you for being real. I truly value those experiences so much so that I am persistent in my desire the reconnect, relive those moments and exchanges. With sentiment, Cam
  • 18th: Dear Jack Johnson, Thank you for your simple songs. They have been integral in my learning guitar and singing while playing.  Thank you so much, Cameron 
  • 17th: Dear Bulk Positive Randomness, my life has grown greatly since I first learned about you here. Since then I have already begun to benefit from embracing the virtue. Keep in touch, Cameron
  • 16th: Dear Check ‘Memo’ Line, Thank you for gifting me with the ability to be creative when conquering the daunting task of paying bills… I really appreciate it.  Love, Cameron
  • 15th: Dear Compression Shorts, I appreciate the excessive pressure you apply to my waistline, for it not only keeps my vas deferens from tangling (resulting in excruciating pain), but also for pushing my food through me faster than it needs to be.  Pressure can be so dynamic! Love, Cameron
  • 14th: Dear Bacon Fat, Thank you for helping my turkey bacon feel better about itself, playing the role of bacon is tough.  XOOXOX, Cameron
  • 13th: Dear Rain, While your excessive presence makes me want to crawl into a foxhole, I enjoy even more the sun’s rays when they reappear.  So thank you for the perspective, but please leave. Now. Loove, Cameron
  • 12th: Dear Etymotic, The custom fit earbuds you have graced me with give me hope for mankind by making my music experience superb, I cannot thank you enough.  XO, Cam
  • 11th: Dear Cottonelle Flushables, My butt would thank you every day if it had the ability so I will go ahead and say that you are FAR superior to toilet paper. THX^3. Cameron
  • 10th: Dear South Winds, Your warmth made it possible for me to run without eating sh!t and bathe myself in the beatiful winter afternoon air.  It was the best part of my week.  With love, Cameron
  • 9th: Dear Edward Harran,  You and your talk on knowmads have resonated with me deeper than any online material I’ve ever seen.  Maybe I am a modern renaissance man… Either way, thank you for the inspiration…Cameron.
  • 8th: Dear Rawness, you are my emotional ‘kick in the ass’ reminding me what it is to feel human.  It’s always bittersweet, but growth is always a product of the experience, and for that I am grateful.  &hearts Cam
  • 7th: Dear Diligence, There are few things I have come to trust 100% of the time, but you are one of those.  I want to thank you for always rewarding me when I live you out… the lessons are always well worth the effort.  With love, Cameron
  • 6th: Dear Back Pain, You are my semi-constant, automatic and free reminder of a slouching back reminding me to make an ‘s’ out of that shitty spine!  Spanks.  XO, Cameron
  • 5th: Dear Lips, You are well worth the winter maintenance of regular application of chap-stick by always providing me with something to bite, something much more sanitary than fingernails. Or boogers.  Sincerely, Cameron
  • 4th: Dear Dan Gilbert, Your talk on natural v. synthetic happiness probably just made my most favorite list but convincing me that I do have the tools to think myself out of the holes, indeed it’s what makes us the humans we are. Thank you again! Sincerely, Cameron
  • 3rd: Dear Mom, Thank you for the tummy-friendly cookies:) I cant wait to come home to eat them.  I can feel your love from many miles away, in fact, I know from Cady that two hearts, once intertwined, know no distance. Love, Cam
  • 2nd: Dear Brooklyn (my dawg), Once again your energy and behavior fill me with joy…watching you frolic through the snow erases every bit of angst I have about braving this season, you remind me that life should be an experience, not a series of learned, automatic reactions.  Love you, Cameron
  • 1st: Dear First Snow, Your presence brings the kind of silence that only comes once a year.  It is my bliss. It is spiritual in every way. Until next year, Cameron

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Be Grateful For Gratitude

Perhaps it’s surprising that some people make their living from studying the effects of gratefulness… either way these people have some nuggets of wisdom.  You should listen to what they have learned.  In this article by John Tierney, he dives into a few specific benefits to ‘creating an atitude of gratitude.’  

Here’s how it went… Subjects were asked to keep a journal of 5 things every week they were grateful for. At the end of two months, after having written only ~40 sentences, the test group reported being more optimistic,  happier, having fewer physical problems and spending more time working out. In another very similar study, grateful test group ”fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.”

Nearly two months into my personal experiment in gratitude, I’ve found myself slower to anger, yet quicker in forgiving myself/others.  It’s left me that much more emotionally poised, something I’ve always strived for but continually fell short.  The benefits of such a simple, sustainable habit like this continue to leave me in a state of awe. I love it.

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Encounters like this make me giddy. I took this photo this spring when he/she and 5 other siblings hitched a ride inside the apartment on my plants.  There was a feisty one that I wanted to photograph, so I gave it freezer time.  The coolest part was watching it adjust it’s joints after warming back up… SO neat.

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Novemburr.Twenty.Eleven

  • 30th: Dear Photography, I know we are long lost friends, but I soon hope to know you as well as an old friend should.  Love you, Cam
  • 29th: Dear Struggle, You are the foot in the boot that kicks my sorry ass onto my feet by showing me that this emotional drought is exactly like all the ones before it. I love/hate you. Cameron
  • 28th: Dear Pinky Toe, I forgive you for the ~20 bloody spots you thought would ‘change up’ my bland carpet Saturday.  You have reminded me that without health, simply wearing shoes is painful.  XO, Cam
  • 27th: Dear Gauze Pad, Your softness provided my ailing pinky toe with enough protection to make it through my run with Brooklyn yesterday.  Thank you for allowing me to exercise! Love, Cam-o
  • 26th: Dear Washed Out, your tracks cast upon me an ephemeral bliss not many artists achieve, especially Within Without.  Thanks for the mental relief, Cameron.
  • 25th: Dear Jenna,  You’re the best 13yr-old sibling a brother could ever ask for.  Your life is a spark I pray I never ignore.  Love, Cameron
  • 24th: Dear Gratitude, Of all the things to be grateful for today, I am most grateful for my ability to be grateful.  In being more grateful I’m humbled by the gifts I find in every moment.
  • 23rd: Dear Silence,  Ahhhh… That’s all.  Lovee, Cam
  • 22nd: Dear Friendship, No greater do I know the existence of true connection and [attainable] peace than when you’re around.  Thank you, Cameron
  • 21st: Dear Creative Thoughts, Thank you for being there to help me with thinking and living differently, without you my mental aether would be exponentially less beautiful.
  • 20th:  Dear Roomie Nick, Thank you for studying with me today.  While we didn’t get a lot done, I sure enjoyed the experience over there on east campus.  Best,  Cameron
  • 19th:  Dear Warm-bloodedness,  I would hate to be an insect or snake frozen to the sidewalk right now, I sure enjoy year round mobility!  XO Cam
  • 18th: Dear Brooklyn, Thank you for getting ridiculously scared when I get angry.  You continue to teach me how to best deal with it.  Love, Cameron
  • 17th:  Dear Bed Loft,  Thank you for putting my cellphone out of sight so that I forgot it today.  I have thoroughly enjoyed temporary mental relief from civilization today.  Love, Cam
  • 16th:  Dear Cal Newport, Thank you for your intellectual, inspiring, nonconformist student study advice.  You instill within me beliefs I never knew I had, backed up by insight I never could’ve thought up by myself.    In Eternal Gratitude, Cam
  • 15th: Dear La Nina, You and your brother Nino are always blamed for messing with the weather this time of year… thank you for gifting me with warm temperatures as winter sets in.    Love, Cam
  • 14th: Dear Potential Energy, Thank you for restoring some of my kinetic energy as I scoot across the only man-made hill in all of Lincoln.  I like to go fast :).    Best wishes, Cam
  • 13th: Dear Consciousness,  I will always be in awe of each moment you give to me.  I strive to be diligent in enjoying each one throughout my life.    Love, Cam
  • 12th: Dear Writing,  Thanks for always being with me.  …Keeping me from my worst [thoughts] by giving me an outlet that I don’t know I had.    Loving care, Cam
  • 11th: Dear Bliss Bakery, Thank you for existing.  Your gluten, dairy and legume free cake has been, by far, the best, I have ever had.  EVER.    Lovee, Cameron
  • 10th: Dear Brooklyn, your energy is contagious.  You make me glad to be an animal.  See you at Home, Cameron
  • 9th: Dear @TheeBuddha, Thanks for defying my view of mondays with one of your tweets.  I love having my mind opened up.  Best, Cameron
  • 8th: Dear Twitter, Thank you for reconnecting my thoughts to my friends & to myself.  I am finding it to be a powerful outlet. Cameron
  • 7th: Dear Cady, I still think about you all the time.  I believe in you [because I can still feel you].  Believing gives me strength than I knew I had.  Thank you^3.  I love you^3.   xoxox Cameron James