Inner tranquility takes work and focus. I’m always interested in finding new ways to overcome some of the challenges of living especially in an era when chaos and difficulties are never-ending. A fun way I’ve recently found (thank you Gary McMahon) is to read stories like the ones below to remind me of the positive things that happen by accident, meaning happiness and inspiration can occur anytime or anywhere.
Every item listed has been a part of my life in one way or another, but not in the incredulous way that they should have been. Maybe if I’d had the internet then and read how or why each item came to be, I would have paid more attention. I hope you enjoy discovering the stories behind these happy accidents.
The ancient discovery of fermentation was almost certainly a happy accident – perhaps one of the happiest of all. No one knows who exactly invented the first beer. Humans first began domesticating wild grains around 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia [source: Food Timeline]. The first breads were unleavened, meaning they were flat and tough. When grain gets wet, it becomes food for naturally occurring yeasts in the air, which produce alcohol as a byproduct.
At some point, ancient bakers must have noticed that this fermented grain rose into fluffier loaves of bread. A few adventurous/crazy folks also decided to take a sip of the stinky foam in the grain bin. And beer was born!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
The creation of the chocolate chip cookie is extremely relatable. Ruth Graves Wakefield was making her signature cookies, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. She improvised and broke up a Nestle chocolate bar instead, hoping it would melt. Instead, she accidentally invented chocolate chip cookies. Courtesy of Reader’s Digest
Frank Epperson was 11 years old when he invented the Popsicle. After playing with a mixture of water and powdered soda mix, Epperson left his concoction outside. It froze overnight with his wooden stir stick lodged inside. He tasted it and knew he had something amazing on his hands. Epperson sold his “Epsicles” around the neighborhood and eventually at amusement parks. As an adult, he patented his product. But his kids couldn’t get used to the name, calling them “Pop’sicles.” Unfortunately, Epperson couldn’t afford to keep the business, sold it, and later said he never reaped the financial reward of his creation. Courtesy of Reader’s Digest
Plain lemonade dates back to the arrival of European immigrants in the 17th century. But pink lemonade has a more eclectic background. According to Smithsonian, the earliest mentions of pink lemonade also mention traveling circuses. One theory is that Henry E. Allot invented pink lemonade by accidentally dropping red-colored cinnamon candies into his mix sold at a circus. The other, gross theory is that Pete Conklin ran out of water for his lemonade stand—and used the dirty water that cleaned pink-colored tights as a stand-in.
In 1898, brothers W.K. Kellogg and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg were working in a sanitarium in Michigan. They were trying to find healthy food to serve to their patients and when they accidentally let some boiled wheat go stale, they decided to see what they could do with the product. When they tried rolling the hardened dough it cracked into flakes, which the brothers then toasted. The patients liked the toasted flakes so much that the brothers started experimenting with other grains. Corn was an instant success. Thus corn flakes came into being, changing breakfast forever.
A scientist named Dr. Spencer Silver was working to develop an incredibly strong adhesive in 1968. By accident, he created the exact opposite — an incredibly weak adhesive. Silver relentlessly shared his invention with colleagues, but he couldn’t get traction to make it into a product. One of his colleagues, Arthur Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive on bookmarks. Fed up with little papers falling out of his hymnal at church, he determined that Silver’s invention was the solution. They worked on developing a bookmark and, after notes on them, decided to make the product a new way to communicate. After a successful market test in Idaho, 3M began selling the Post-it Note in 1979, and it rapidly grew in popularity.
George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, examined the pesky burrs that stuck to his clothes when he was walking his dog. He found that the burrs had miniscule hooks that allowed them to easily stick to fabric and fur. God’s design for the burrs inspired de Mestral to develop a fastening system that utilized the same concept. The resulting product came to be known as Velcro.
Dr. Alexander Fleming was a famous Scottish bacteriologist. Returning from vacation, Fleming found cultures of Staphylococcus aureus in the lab, which he meant to throw away before he left. To his surprise, some of the cultures died. Further investigation led Fleming to discover that a fungus, which had grown in the culture, destroyed bacteria. The type of fungus he found was a mold called Penicillium notatum. Howard Walter Florey, an Australian pathologist, and Sir Ernst Boris Chain. A German-born British biochemist, isolated and purified the penicillin for general clinical use. First calling it “mold juice,” Fleming rebranded it as “penicillin.” It was the first antibiotic discovered and is a treatment that has helped save countless lives.
The Microwave Oven
Percy LeBaron Spencer was working on magnetrons—high-powered vacuum tubes that generate short radio waves called microwaves—when he accidentally discovered microwave cooking. The engineer was doing his job as usual when he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted. Quickly Spencer realized that it was the magnetrons that were causing this phenomenon. By 1945, he had filed a patent for his metal cooking box powered by microwaves.
Back in 1942, Harry Coover was looking for materials he could use to build clear plastic gun sights for the war, but what he discovered instead was a chemical formulation that stuck to everything it touched. However, his discovery was rejected because researchers didn’t see a need for such a sticky formula, and it wasn’t until 1951 that the same formula was embraced and repurposed by Coover and fellow Eastman Kodak researcher Fred Joyner as “Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Compositions/Superglue,” as the patent reads.
Happy Accident – 2016, Plastic Eating Enzymes
In 2016, scientists in Japan discovered a bacteria that ate plastic. The organisms they found produced two enzymes that help them break down PET within weeks. Scientists called these enzymes PETase and MHETase, and by 2018, they had tweaked the PETase enzyme to speed up its abilities – by accident.
“The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles,” The Guardian reported. In 2020, they turned it into a super enzyme that destroys plastic six times faster. With the world in a plastic pollution crisis, this accidental discovery couldn’t be more urgent for the future of the planet.
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I live in the present, I truly believe that nothing is guaranteed so we must live like we don’t know if tomorrow will come so appreciate each day and have some fun.
This post is a bit different from what I usually write about because I don’t typically recommend a specific lifestyle practice. But, one morning I was enjoying a glass of iced tea with a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie I made, I relished the deliciousness and I enjoyed the break. I thought what a simple, versatile practice and anyone can enjoy it, so I decided to put it to “paper”.
Cultivating our own happiness is how we become more resilient and self-reliant. No, we don’t walk around with a smile on our face all of the time, but rather than expecting happiness to come from a person, situation or an event, make yourself happy. Happiness is an inside job that evolves by creating practices that bring joy, a smile and a feeling of pleasure, a sweet or two a day should be one way to celebrate yourself and the day and there are benefits.
About Desserts: from Szandra Szabó, Model,Pastry Chef and Business Woman
They elevate your mood Have you ever wondered why your mood goes from drab to fab the moment you sink your teeth into a gooey chocolate cake or a chimney cake straight out of the oven? This is because desserts, specifically the sugar in the desserts, causes your brain to release endorphins such as serotonin. These hormones are responsible for making you feel happy, cheerful and calm.
Sugar reduces stress Sugar is a great stress reliever. So, if you sometimes feel like life, work or school is bogging you down, eating a dessert can surely help you manage some of the stress. How does that happen, you may ask? Well, it has been found that sugar brings down cortisol levels to a certain degree (cortisol is the stress hormone). Although eating desserts or sugar is not a long-term solution for stress, it can give you some momentary respite.
They are a great pick-me-up. A lot of people eat desserts when they want to reward themselves. Sweet treats offer a great pick-me-up. So, if you choose to eat a dessert after a particularly stressful week, it will instantly make you experience a sense of contentment and satisfaction.
Confections are a part of my daily routine, they are satisfying and enjoyable and prompt pleasant memories of childhood. To assure that I have the best experience, all of my sweets are homemade, with the exception of ice cream, because I use healthier ingredients and adjust the sugar. Irrespective if I eat sweets with a meal or sometime during the day, it’s an enjoyable experience that I savor, whether I have something simple like fresh fruit, breakfast sweets, a piece of chocolate or a baked good.
While your brain only accounts for 2 percent of your body weight, it uses 50 percent of the sugar energy in your body. Your brain loves sugar! Why does it love sugar? Because sugar releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the part of your brain linked to reward, novelty and motivation. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling emotional responses. In fact, not only does it help us visualize the rewards, but it also enables us to take the action we need to achieve the reward. In addition to releasing dopamine in the brain, sugar also releases endogenous opioids. These are responsible for the wonderful surge of pleasure you feel when you eat a piece of candy. Warrell Creations
Eat Dessert First: Why It’s a Good Ideafrom David and Carla Hays/Mary’s Fine Dining
Whether it’s cheesecake or coconut pie, most desserts have a fair amount of fat. Too much fat isn’t good for you, but a little fat with a meal serves a useful purpose – it helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamin and nutrients better. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E, and K, can’t do their jobs if they aren’t adequately absorbed from the digestive tract. Other nutrients such as the carotenoids in green, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes also need fat for best absorption.
That’s where eating dessert first comes in. Taking a few bites of dessert before eating your vegetables helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients better – and that’s a good thing when it comes to your health.
I thought I’d share a recipe from one of my mom’s old cookbooks that I’ve enjoyed for years, it can be eaten anytime of the day.
Finnish Pancake: (4-6 servings)
This is a delightful custardy, souffle-like baked pancake that melts in your mouth, topped with honey or confectioners sugar and fresh fruit, it is delicious. Make sure when you remove it from the oven, you eat it immediately as it falls as it cools. (NOTE: If making for yourself, cut the ingredients in half, but must be eaten immediately)
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups of milk or half and half
1/4 cup honey
3/4 tsp. salt
4 Tablespoons of butter
Preheat oven to 425o. Put an oven-proof 10-12 inch high sided frying pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to preheat. Combine the flour with milk, whisk until smooth, add eggs, honey and salt, whisk all together. Remove the pan from the oven, put the butter in the pan, when its melted, carefully pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Thank you for stopping by.
Your purpose isn’t what you do, but who you become, while doing it. ~ Matt Kahn
“Inner peace refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of stress”(Barua, 2014)
I completely and utterly believe that attaining peace of mind will open the door for you to be your authentic self. When we connect with all of the parts that make up who we are through stillness, we hear and feel our inner voice. The one part of us that we’ve been taught to suppress.
Inner peace isn’t easy to accomplish, it takes time, focus and dedication to stop the “monkey-mind” thoughts that are constantly churning through our brain. I am very aware of my constant thoughts, I work at ways to bypass the tendency for my brain to derail my peace of mind. I began working toward stilling my mind about eleven years ago, I am still working at it, the effort toward calm and peace is ongoing. There is no magic wand to whisk those thoughts away, it is up to you to be in control of what your thoughts are about.
Suggested Method to Stop Unwelcome Thoughts:
This is what I do, when you notice unwanted thoughts intruding into your peace of mind, bring yourself into the moment by redirecting your thoughts, I am grateful for (whatever you choose to be grateful for) I am okay, and keep repeating until the thoughts pass.
There are important reasons to attain peace of mind. It is a source for improved health, creativity, a natural state of calm, even in the presence of turmoil you’ll be able to gain control of the direction of your thoughts. We all have a choice as to how we allow our mind to think, it is up to us to make the choice toward a better life.
An important part of a journey toward inner peace and happiness is modifying lifestyle practices. The areas in life that cause a mind to continuously focus on negative and unhealthy thoughts is something that we have control of. We all have the power to choose how we want to feel and how our life should be, it is a matter of going beyond habitual behaviors that we’ve adapted to. Of course it’s not easy, but when something is worthy of our time and commitment the rewards are life changing.
My Continual Journey to Peace of Mind
I am currently faced with a personal predicament, I’ve realized I am distrustful based on past situations and somewhat cynical. In my way of believing distrust and cynical thoughts contribute to cyclical thoughts that disrupt my peace of mind. Up until recently I thought cynicism was wrong, then I discovered the philosophy of cynicism, I find it quite interesting:
Cynicism (Ancient Greek: κυνισμός) is a school of thought of ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics (Ancient Greek: Κυνικοί; Latin: Cynici). For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. … Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.
So, now knowing this I can begin to address my thoughts more productively and instead of struggling, I can agree with the cynic within me.
Several years ago I spent my time worrying, following the media, allowing work and life challenges to control my thoughts, I made myself miserable. When it came time to go to sleep, I would relive my entire day or plan the next; my sleep was interrupted all night. Between the tensions of the day and lack of sleep I was exhausted all of the time, leading to health problems, an inability to focus and I always felt conflicted. There weren’t any specific incidents or events that made me take a step back to modify the path I was on, I just realized I could change the way I thought and feel better. I began with meditation and found other natural ways to stop the frenzy that made my life so difficult. It hasn’t been easy to change old habits but gaining control of my thoughts is vital to my serenity and happiness. Now, I focus on bypassing problem thoughts and habits when they show up, over time I’ve become better at catching myself falling back into old lifestyle practices, bring myself into the current moment and replace unhealthy thoughts.
The mind isn’t going to stop thinking. The goal of mindfulness isn’t to suppress thinking, but to surpass it. Stephanie Vozza
Your Journey to Stillness
I’d like to suggest meditation, I know that this suggestion is a problem for many, but it’s a simple way that can be done almost anywhere. Rather than sit in a room and try to force your mind to go blank, here’s a secret that may help steer you in the right direction. As you begin practicing, don’t try to quiet your mind, instead go outside and concentrate on the sounds of nature or listen to beautiful instrumental music, practice Tai Chi, listen to the movement of water or spend time on a hobby that you enjoy. There are many forms of meditation,there is even a walking meditation.
As the late Wayne Dyer said, “Change your thoughts, change your life”.
Finding inner peace is not enough. The topping is keeping it. Jacqueline T. Hill
Stillness has numerous benefits, it allows more creativity, more ideas, more connection with your soul, reducing drama and unnecessary conflict. Remember, thoughts focused on the past (which you cannot change), worry (which changes nothing), situations out of your control (do what you can to find ways to make a difference instead), your body not only hears everything you think, but the inner workings of your body respond to stress with illness. Stillness and calm can create a level of energy that supports better emotional and physical health, you’ll gain clarity, make wise choices and remain in the present moment.
“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. As soon as you honor the present moment, unhappiness and struggle will dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out of the present moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love – even the most simple action.” – Eckhart Tolle
“When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved—with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea—we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance. —Anne Lamott, author
Since 2020 there have been so many uncommon adversities that we’ve all had to deal with that self-care which was once dismissed as a luxury should now be considered a vital daily practice. It takes effort to feel tranquil, balanced and collected which happens when we create practices to care for ourselves. Self-care is a very personal and intentional practice of improving our physical and mental health.
I believe in leading by example, so I’ll share my recent journey of introducing self-care into my daily practices, hopefully it will inspire you. Since I’ve healed from my self-created back injury, I’ve taken time to reflect on how I was thinking and why I was filling my days with a rigid agenda and unreachable ideals. To change that I knew I had to take some serious steps. So, starting that week I began spending more time doing things I used to consider luxuries. Since then I’ve added an assortment of simple and doable self-care practices and so far I’m more aware, tranquil and really enjoy each day. I can now say without a doubt that I am happier than I’ve been in a very long time. Even though the chaos continues in the outside world, there are ways to soothe and pamper ourselves that I believe can only make us a better person for ourselves and those around us.
If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Jack Kornfield
If you’re ready to begin your journey, start by carving time into each day to indulge your five senses with purposeful self-care. There is no wrong way in doing self-care, the list I created below are my ideas, you can create from this or create your own ways of pampering yourself. Caring for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, this is just about finding simple ways to give attention to yourself. Practicing self-care is about doing something for yourself that evokes positive emotions. I sincerely believe that if we feel good and are at peace, we can bring that into everything we do. And if for no other reason, Adam Feldman says, “Self-care also helps us sharpen our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, stress management, and overall well-being.”
Luxury at Home – Nurture Yourself
Get plenty of sleep, when you can, turn off your alarm
Spend time with your pet(s)
Have a good cry
Take time when eating to enjoy the taste of the food, savor the joy of nourishing your body
Scented or unscented candles and flowers can make any room feel special
Set some time aside to read a funny story, watch videos or shows that make you laugh out loud
Enjoy a midday break, treat yourself to enjoyable refreshments
Make your shower or bath luxurious by using a special soap, scented lotion, include items to slough your skin, play music, use soft lighting, have live plants and super soft towels
Give yourself spa treatments, a manicure or pedicure, a facial treatment, a foot massage, a footbath, or a soothing body massage,
Spend some quiet time reading, meditating or writing
Take a leisurely walk
Read a book
Educate yourself on something you’re interested in
Declutter, add live plants, some pictures or colorful items to lift yourself
Take some time to appreciate yourself, compliment yourself, it’s a healthy and simple thing to do that will lift your spirits
Set time aside to do nothing
Make an indulgent meal, something that you might usually have for a special occasion
Plate your meal for presentation as you’d receive it in a fine dining restaurant
Use linen spray in a scent you love
Enjoy time in nature
Rub CBD oil where you may have aches
Put on comfortable Loungewear
Take a nap
True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. Ashton Kutcher
The following lists are from Alastin Skin Care
The Psychological Benefits of Self-Care
Reduces feelings of anxiety and anger
Reduces instances and feelings of depression
Improves your thought life and direct it to more positive things
Increases your sense of optimism and hopefulness
Reduces negative thoughts and feelings
Changes your mood from bad to good
Helps you build stronger connections with yourself and others
Increases your self-awareness and ability to self-reflect
Helps you respond better to challenges
Increases your patience and tamp down on a short fuse
Increases your focus and productivity (so you can do all the things!
The Wellness Benefits of Self-Care
You’ll sleep better
You’ll strengthen your immune system
Your relationships will improve
You’ll be able to think clearly and refocus
You’ll freely and copiously give more of yourself
“Practicing self-care can help you sleep better, improve focus, and strengthen relationships. That positive daily routine can support a happier, healthier outlook so you can enjoy the good times, too.” findyourwords.com
Thank you for reading my post, I sincerely appreciate your taking the time.