Five Points – 27

Happiness Check List – 

I have suffered from depression for the entirety of my known life. When I was younger it caused pretty significant fall out, as I didn’t have facility to deal with it.  My only recourse was time…some amount of time would elapse and I would feel better.  This made a lot of things (jobs, relationships, sustained progress, etc.) difficult.

As adulthood began and I became consciously aware of my ‘self’ …and importantly, that I might be able to mitigate feeling poorly, I prepared a list of things that I knew would make me feel better.  It’s noteworthy that I prepared this list when I felt good, too.  As anyone with depression can attest, when in the pit of sorrow, it is often very difficult to come up with even the simplest of ideas on how to course correct.  As such, this list affords me a guide of things I know will make me feel better without having to think about it.

Important – These are things that have worked for me.  Everyone is different and you should consult a professional if you question any of these ideas.

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed – 

  • Listen to music – I love reggae, jazz, and ambient electronic (

  • Meaningful engagement with friends and family – I like to ask questions and let them tell me stories.  Light stuff, but intentional and meaningful.

  • Water – 1+ liter  At least a full glass as soon as I wake up and as often as I think about it during the day.  You can’t overdo this. Pee should be clear.

  • Sleep – 7+ hours.  Get into bed early and wake up when my body wants to wake up.  No alarm clock. I do my very best to stay away from prescription sleep aids – only Sleepy Time Tea and Melatonin.  F.lux to get rid of blue light from computer screen and “night time” mode on the phone for the same reason, if you have the phone in the bedroom at all.

  • Turn the phone off from before dinner to after breakfast.

  • Wash – Take a long shower and scrub everything more than usual.

  • Green food / smoothie – Big!  With peanut butter and protein if its available.  The infusion nutrients will contribute to my feeling better

  • Meditation – I like to focus on my breath in the shower in the morning for 3-5 minutes.  Folks often talk about how the goal is to get the mind ‘quiet’..But, I like to think about it another way.  Regretfully, I do not remember where I heard this idea, but it’s a been a good one for me. For me meditation is not about getting the mind quiet.  It’s about the ability to return to a thing without judgement of having been distracted by something else. The practice for me to is to focus on my breath…the air coming in and out of my body.  And when my mind invariably wanders into space monkey orange ladder bucket land…I smile, acknowledge that I drifted off from my focus, and then return my mind to my breath. This is a practice about returning my focus to something after being distracted, without judgement.  So, when I’m moving through the world outside the security of my meditation spot, and some muppet cuts me off in traffic or says something inappropriate to me…those hours of practice of returning to to a thing after having been distracted by something else are really valuable.

  • Small victory – Cleaning a closet or a cabinet or even a shelf does the trick.  A project that can be done in less than a hour…cleaning is often great, as I can see the progress with my eyes.

  • Help someone – strangers are the best.  Helping with groceries or just opening a door.

  • Free Flow Write – Writing forces me to collect my thoughts.  Privately in my journal or publicly on my blog.

  • Writing 3 things I am grateful for.  Just 3.

  • Say sorry and/or forgive – In an letter that is mailed or not.  On a call to the person or to another person as a proxy. The proxy one is very interesting, as it has proven to be just as effective.

  • Group exercise – Getting a sweat where I can talk to other humans. Basketball/hiking/touch rugby/group fitness class at the gym.  Two important facets 1) group: work out with other people 2) sweat: work out hard. No mall walking.

  • Yoga – close to meditation, given the breath work and mind focus, but adding a physical component.

  • Read fiction – Fiction allows my brain to travel to another place.  Non-fiction tends to make me add things to my work todo list.

  • Hug my dog – He doesn’t care at all about problems and is always eager to show me love.

  • Guard myself from takers – Energy vampires can wait 48 hours until I’m up again.  When I am wounded, sick, and/or vulnerable I’m not interested in interacting with them. I also do not owe them an explanation.

  • Do not ingest depressants – Never drink or smoke to get happy.  Only to get happier.

  • Create art – I love to paint, sculpt, and build stuff (usually with electronics or wood).

  • Send a handwritten letter – There is something magical about writing a thank you or note to let someone know you are thinking of them and then putting that physical record in the post.

  • Hire help – Call for backup to get my house in order – laundry, cleaning, cooking.

  • Intentionally smile and breathe deep – It is very self fulfilling practice.

  • Say good morning to strangers – It’s nice and they almost always say it back.  When they don’t I have a reason to laugh AT them for being so fussy

  • Ask friends for help –  Yeah, they want to know when you need them.  I’m not bothering them. That’s what friends are for.

  • Sex – Lovingly with a partner.  Leave the verbal degradation and BDSM out.  If alone, without p0rn.

  • Reread The Four Agreements – 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take things personally 3) Don’t make assumptions 4) Always do your best

  • Return to the Up folder – When my crazy isn’t acting up I like to save interesting and inspiring tidbits from around the web (articles, posts, videos, pictures).  I save them to my ‘Up’ folder. When I’m in the pit of sorrow I have it right there to help.

  • A counselor – Seeing a professional that is paid to give me objective advice.  I dated around a bit to find a fellow that I found rapport with. When dealing with a major challenge (loss of a loved one, etc.) I saw him twice a week…when everything was on the up and up, I went 6 months between visits.  I just think its good measure.

  • Disney Movies – The hero’s journey is often told, but is engineered on so many facets to make one feel good.  From the musical score to the color shading of the characters – these movies are medicine.

  • Suicide Support – There are good people out there that want to help.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) Veterans press 1 to reach specialized support.
    Online Chat:
    Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741-741
    Youth-Specific services (voice/text/chat/email) from the Boys’ Town National Hotline:
    Spanish: 1-800-SUICIDA

    I was asked to speak about this list for a FRED Talk in January 2014

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed –


Travel Bag – 

I’m a sucker for a cool travel bag.  Part of what I loved about playing rugby was all the amazing kit.

I found my latest travel bag about a year ago and it’s completely awesome.  I’ve gone on multi-week trips with only this bag and it has performed beautifully.  It’s got loads of room inside, has lots of compartments and zipper pockets for organizing gear/paperwork/laptop, and sits low on my back (I’m tall).

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

Snakes + First Aid +++ Sharpie – 

I’m a good clip from the nearest hospital and I’ve seen a few of our slithern friends lately, so I went to Amazon for a snake bite kit.  I found a few products that seemed reasonable – suction apparatus, tourniquet, alcohol swabs…and then went to the trusty reviews – found this – THESE ARE DANGEROUS FOR SNAKEBITES! Only effective for removing botfly larvae…Reviewed by a snakebite specialist

The long and short of it is that these kits are useless.  And to buy a Sharpie.

What is very valuable and should be standard issue in any first aid/survival kit is a Sharpie. To write down on your thigh the time, circle the bite/injury to notate swelling, description of injury, any allergies, phone number of next to kin, and anything else a doctor may need in the event you’re unconscious.  This is gold.

Birds and Bird Hunting –

This article in The Atlantic is a fascinating read on the burgeoning economy that has been created by Bird Scooters to get them charged.

But there is an element of the article that made me turn my head sideways and frown.

If you click through on the Twitter post to watch the video, you’ll hear a fellow singing Hotel California.  I’ll be the first to tell you, this is not his best performance.  But I know him.  In fact, I know him well – his name is Dale Rogers and this was recorded in front of my old house in Venice Beach, California.  And I have recorded Dale’s albums and represent him so as to get him paid.  Now, this song was written by Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and they deserve attribution and payment for any monies generated as a result of their creative work being covered…by Dale or anyone else….in addition to Dale as the artist.

But twitter does not pay royalties to composers or artists.  This isn’t right, as twitter certainly enjoys traffic as a result of music on their platform, on which they sell advertising.   I could have blocked the video.  But I do not believe that is the way forward.  I wish I could have just put some ads on it so a peanut could have been rightfully collected.

If there are any birds our there twittering about and need to know a bit about how to manage music rights at scale, I know a guy..

What I’m Listening To – 

This Is America – Childish Gambino –
Pray For Me – The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar –