Observing the effects

Drew pauses to take in the landscape during our Kilauea Crater hike, 1992

Drew takes in the landscape during our Kilauea Crater hike, Hawaii (the big island) 1992

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.”Bertrand Russell

What we see and experience changes us forever.  This is one reason it’s so important to feed our minds and senses with a healthy diet.  How often do we focus on what we are viewing, tasting or hearing without examining the effects of these stimuli on our minds and bodies?  Do we feed our minds and spirits haphazardly, taking in whatever presents itself– or even worse, what advertisers choose to show us? Or do we plan our leisure hours with purpose, making sure to include the beautiful, good or uplifting choices that are often drowned out by the demanding chaos of noise?  Let’s prioritize feeding our senses with a steady diet of excellence in music, art, nature, reading and all other forms of spiritual nourishment, to counteract the disruptive or destructive messages that assault us from many directions.


  1. What a great thought. So often we are rushed that we don’t give a thought to what the tv is playing or what is on the radio. I will try to fill my life with what is wholesome starting today.

    • Thanks Amy. I find it’s a continual challenge as most of what shows up in the newspapers is negative and depressing. As you know, I never watch TV at all, mostly because there are so many other things I’d rather be doing. Lately especially I have been intentionally limiting my exposure to anything negative and it is helping a lot with getting through the bad stuff we can’t avoid.

  2. Thinking of you…hugs.

    • Thanks so much, and the same to you from me! 🙂

  3. Isn’t that what this blog is all about?! Our minds need good healthy nourishment just like our bodies. Thanks!!

    • Yes Carla, this blog is my attempt to do just that. I was telling Jeff yesterday that doing the blog gives me an excuse to read through wonderful literature and look at our photos, both of which I normally don’t make time to do because of all the urgent (but not necessarily important) stuff that always seems to be demanding my attention. It’s my version of the “perfect picture” game Ellis described in her book. It makes me happy that others are visiting here and hopefully my attempts to defeat my own despair will help others too.

      • I can already tell that it is helping MANY others,of whom I am one!..again Thanks!

        • Thank you Carla!

  4. Nelda Huie

    Julia, we are all blessed by your profound insite and observations during this most difficult time for you and your family. You are a great example for all of us. Hugs… and prayers.

    • Thanks Nelda, keep those prayers coming! Give our love to your family and anyone else from Lompoc you are still in touch with!

  5. It’s a challenge isn’t it. It’s easy to get sucked in if you let it. It’s one reason I never watch daytime talk TV, with the exception of Ellen. She’s joyful and upbeat and never presents comedy at others expense. All those other daytime talk shows have women all talking over each other rudely, it’s just negative noise.

    • Yes, I am always amazed at how many people on TV and radio constantly interrupt and talk over each other. Not that most of us aren’t guilty of that in real life, but at one time, TV was not that way. After Jeff’s diagnosis I had to quit reading newspapers as much, because so often it was depressing and I could not afford to be affected that way with all that we had going on. It’s much easier to survive tough times if one keeps focus on all that is still good, right and beautiful…and a lot still is.

  6. Mike Bertoglio

    What is the Ellis book you mentioned earlier? Perfect Picture.

    • Hi Mike, the book is called Under Surge, Under Siege and you can read more about it here. Disclaimer: Ellis is a friend of mind whose work I have read and admired since our college days. She’s a remarkably talented artist and musician as well as being a great writer. She has a comment here (which will appear in a few minutes) that has nothing to do with what I’m writing you since she sent it before I posted this response.

  7. Ellis Anderson

    I am so proud of you.

    • Ellis, thank you! I will always be grateful to you for seeing the best in me ever since you met me almost 38 years ago. I always appreciated your loyalty and confidence in me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I just got a comment from a reader asking about your book – of course I had to tell him what a totally exceptional person you are, so I hope it doesn’t embarass you to have a comment appearing in the same place 🙂 but hopefully people will realize you had no way to know about it.

  8. Sheila

    Julia, my evening thoughts are of you, hoping this has been a good day. I have a feeling that you “make it happen”. Your daily gift to us is just that… A GIFT. Thank you so much.

    • Thanks, Sheila. Today has been a good day. Hope yours has been good too! I’m so happy you like the blog.

  9. Kathy

    Julia, Thanks so much for your truly uplifting words…reading what you wrote today, I am again reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “Never let anyone walk through your mind with their dirty feet.” Gandhi

    • Hi Kathy, thanks so much for that great quote! I had never heard it before. Maybe it will show up here sometime 🙂

  10. Kathy Yaccino

    I appreciate this reminder to “Live Intentionally”. It’s what makes the most sense to me and gives me an ongoing sense of purpose. A lot happens “to” us in life but when we feed our minds and souls in a purposeful way most of the time then I think we respond to the “to” stuff with more of the peace that passes understanding….

    • It’s so important for me to remember that, because I tend to be way too reactive emotionally. I’m trying to be proactive about minimizing the damage done by bad stuff that happens, by maximizing my awareness of all the good things that often go unnoticed.


  1. Distance lends enchantment | Defeat Despair
  2. Observing the effects | Defeat Despair

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