We wish to inspire you to appreciate life, people and everything around you. "Stop and smell
the roses" of this wonderful life. We have each been
freely given to explore our world and all the different people, cultures and places on this
livingbreathing planet we live on.
When everything "seems" to be looking bad or crazy, we have found that just taking a few moments in our day to stop and smell the roses
to take an inventory of all the positive things and blessings we have in our lives
can make a world of difference. Clearly, the more we do that,
the more we can benefit from truly appreciating life.
There is always someone else in this world of now nearly 7 billion people who have it worse than us. There are over 2 billion people who
live on less than 2 dollars a day. 25,000 children starve to death each and every day. I have been to some of the poorest countries on earth
and found to our absolute amazement that more of those people have learned a secret that we in our modern "civilized" world seem to so easily to
take for granted and forget.
That secret is simply to learn to appreciate all of the blessings we have in our lives.
I will never forget the spirit of joy I saw in the eyes of the
poorest man I have ever seen in a wheelchair with no legs going from car to car at a stop light in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, giving everyone
a high 5 and a blast of happiness that I had never known before. That was my first
trip outside of the United States in my early 20's and marked a major turning point in my life that opened my eyes to the amazing world of discovery
and adventure that we have been given the opportunity to explore and learn so much from. I truly hope that you, the readers of this site, can close your
eyes and imagine what a deep lesson I learned from that man of just how much of a difference the simple choice we each have of appreciating life
can make. I thought to myself, if a man living in such absolute poverty who doesn't even have any legs can be so ecstatically happy, why can't you and I?
Since then I have seen far more smiles on the faces of the poorest of the poor in the world than those of us in the so called "civilized world" have.
There are so many people and experiences we each have encounters with that hold hidden
opportunities to learn as much as we can from every person we meet and every experience we have.
Every cloud has a silver lining
and this site is dedicated to reminding ourselves, us included, of the wonderous benefits of appreciating life.
It is said in many ancient texts that the highest vibration man can reach is through the deepest [illuminated] realization of complete
appreciation of all we have. There is always some lemonade in the lemons of life or the opportunity in the challenges that life brings our way.
Let's try more to stop for a moment and take inventory of all the blessings we have in our lives. Let's stop and smell the roses of this
wonderful life. It is all about choice! We have each been given the freedom to decide what parallel universe of
emotions to live within. Will that choice be to live within a
universe of "doom and gloom" that in a way the media, hollywood and others seem to have entrapped us within, or will we choose to find and/or
create a universe of happiness and appreciation for all the wonderous beauty this world has to offer? This site is intended to help encourage all of us
to make that positive conscious choice of appreciating life.
Appreciation is a term used in accounting relating to the increase in value of an asset. In this sense it is the reverse of depreciation, which measures the fall in value of assets over their normal life-time.
Appreciation is a rise of a currency in a floating exchange rate.
In times of high inflation, appreciation will be common to all balance sheet assets. Generally, the term is reserved for property or, more specifically, land and buildings. In any viable modern economy, such property tends to increase in value over the years - if only because of the scarcity of usable land forces its price in a competitive situation. However, this belief has often caused speculative bubbles to arise.
There are considerable difficulties in assessing the increase in value of any particular asset. This is principally because of the variety of interpretations that can be attached to the word value itself and due to the various instruments and methods used in the valuation process.
Appreciation is also a term meaning an expression of gratitude.
In a religious context, gratitude can also refer to a feeling of indebtedness
towards a deity. Most religions prescribe rituals of thanksgiving towards their higher powers; the expression
of gratitude to God is a central theme of Christianity and
In contrast to the positive feeling of gratitude, the feeling of indebtedness is a negative reaction to a favor (Tsang, 2006a; Watkins, Scheer,
Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude
often. In a 1998 Gallup poll, the majority of Americans said they express gratitude to God (54%) and others (67%) "all the time."
Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely
to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, costly to the benefactor,
given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously (rather than out of role-based obligations) (e.g.,
Bar-Tal, Bar-Zohar, Greenberg, & Hermon, 1977; Graham, 1988; Lane & Anderson, 1976; Tesser, Gatewood, & Driver, 1968). Individuals who
are induced to feel grateful are more likely to behave prosocially toward their benefactor (Tsang, 2006b) or toward unrelated others (Bartlett &
Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, &
Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison,
customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an
increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.
Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
For example, Watkins and colleagues (Watkins et al., 2003) had participants test a number of different gratitude exercises, such as thinking about
a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom
they were grateful. Participants in the control condition were asked to describe their living room. Participant who engaged in a gratitude exercise
showed increases in their experiences of positive emotion immediately after the exercise, and this effect was strongest for participants who were
asked to think about a person for whom they were grateful. Participants who had grateful personalities to begin with showed the greatest benefit
from these gratitude exercises. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude (McCullough,
Tsang & Emmons, 2004).
Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others. People who tend to experience
gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts
(Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)
From a Buddhist point of view, the Pali word which we translate in English as gratitude is katannuta. The word katannuta consists of two parts:
kata which means that which has been done, especially that which has been done to one, to oneself, and annuta which means knowing or recognising.
So katannuta means knowing or recognizing what has been done to one, that is to say knowing and recognising what has been done to one for one's
benefit. Hence the connotation of the Pali word is rather different from its English equivalent. The connotation of the English gratitude is rather
more emotional (we feel gratitude, feel grateful, etc.) but the connotation of katannuta is rather more intellectual, more cognitive. It makes it
clear that what we call gratitude involves an element of knowledge - knowledge of what has been done to us or for us for our benefit. If we do not
know that something has benefited us, we will not feel gratitude. Yet, interesting enough many people regard gratitude as a part of life not part
of the human body or soul which many buddhists related to on their way to find enlightenment, not only of the body but also of the mind.
Life is a condition that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects, such as non-life,
and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism and reproduction. Some living things can communicate and many can adapt to
their environment through changes originating internally. A physical characteristic of life is that it feeds on negative entropy. In more detail,
according to physicists such as John Bernal, Erwin Schrödinger, Eugene Wigner, and John Avery, life is a member of the class of phenomena which
are open or continuous systems able to decrease their internal entropy at the expense of substances or free energy taken in from the environment
and subsequently rejected in a degraded form (see: entropy and life).
A diverse array of living organisms can be found in the biosphere on Earth. Properties common to these organisms—plants, animals, fungi,
protists, archaea and bacteria—are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information.
They undergo metabolism, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment
in successive generations.
An entity with the above properties is considered to be a living organism, that is an organism that is alive hence can be called a life form.
However, not every definition of life considers all of these properties to be essential. For example, the capacity for descent with modification
is often taken as the only essential property of life. This definition notably includes viruses, which do not qualify under narrower definitions
as they are acellular and do not metabolize.
There is no universal definition of life; there are a variety of definitions proposed by different scientists. To define life in unequivocal
terms is still a challenge for scientists.
Conventional definition: Often scientists say that life is a characteristic of organisms that exhibit the following phenomena:
Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature.
Organization: Being composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
Metabolism: Consumption of energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter
(catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of synthesis than catalysis. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply
accumulating matter. The particular species begins to multiply and expand as the evolution continues to flourish.
Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution
and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.
Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism when touched to complex reactions
involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the
sun or an animal chasing its prey.
Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms. Reproduction can be the division of one cell to form two new cells. Usually the term is
applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from at least two differing
parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.
However, others cite several limitations of this definition. Thus, many members of several species do not reproduce,
possibly because they belong to specialized sterile castes (such as ant workers), these are still considered forms of life. One could say
that the property of life is inherited; hence, sterile or hybrid organisms such as mules, ligers, and eunuchs are alive although they are
not capable of self-reproduction. However, (a) The species as a whole does reproduce, (b) There are no cases of species where 100% of the
individuals reproduce, and (c) specialized non-reproducing individuals of the species may still partially propagate their DNA or other master
pattern through mechanisms such as kin selection.
Viruses and aberrant prion proteins are often considered replicators rather than forms of life, a distinction warranted because they cannot
reproduce without very specialized substrates such as host cells or proteins, respectively. Also, the Rickettsia and Chlamydia are examples
of bacteria that cannot independently fulfill many vital biochemical processes, and depend on entry, growth, and replication within the
cytoplasm of eukaryotic host cells. However, most forms of life rely on foods produced by other species, or at least the specific chemistry of
The systemic definition of life is that living things are self-organizing and autopoietic (self-producing). These objects are not to be
confused with dissipative structures (e.g. fire).
Variations of this definition include Stuart Kauffman's definition of life as an autonomous agent or a multi-agent system capable of
reproducing itself or themselves, and of completing at least one thermodynamic work cycle.
Proposed definitions of life include:
Living things are systems that tend to respond to changes in their environment, and inside themselves, in such a way as to promote their own
Life (a living individual) is defined as a network of inferior negative feedbacks (regulatory mechanisms) subordinated to a superior positive
feedback (potential of expansion, reproduction)
Life is a characteristic of self-organizing, self-recycling systems consisting of populations of replicators that are capable of mutation,
around most of which homeostatic, metabolizing organisms evolve.
Type of organization of matter producing various interacting forms of variable complexity, whose main property is to replicate almost
perfectly by using matter and energy available in their environment to which they may adapt. In this definition "almost perfectly" relates
to mutations happening during replication of organisms that may have adaptive benefits.
Life is a potentially self-perpetuating open system of linked organic reactions, catalyzed simultaneously and almost isothermally by complex
chemicals (enzymes) that are themselves produced by the open system.
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Bar-Tal, D., Bar-Zohar, Y., Greenberg, M. S., & Hermon, M. (1977). Reciprocity behavior in the relationship between donor and recipient and between harm-doer and victim. Sociometry, 40, 293-298.
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subjective well-being in daily life. 377-389.
Gallup, G. H., Jr. (1998 May). Thankfulness: America's saving grace. Paper presented at the National Day of Prayer
Breakfast, Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas.
Graham, S. (1988). Children’s developing understanding of the motivational role of affect: An attributional analysis.
Cognitive Development, 3, 71-88.
Kashdan, T.B., Uswatte, G., & Julian, T. (2006). Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in Vietnam War veterans.
Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 177-199.
Lane, J., & Anderson, N.H. (1976). Integration of intention and outcome in moral judgment. Memory and Cognition, 4,
McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.
McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J. & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods
to individual differences and daily emotional experience.
Rind, B., & Bordia, P. (1995). Effect of server's "Thank you" and personalization on restaurant tipping.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 745-751.
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Tsang, J. (2006a). The effects of helper intention on gratitude and indebtedness. Motivation and Emotion, 30, 198-204.
Tsang, J. (2006b). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: An experimental test of gratitude. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 138-148.
Watkins, P. C., Scheer, J., Ovnicek, M., & Kolts, R. (2006). The debt of gratitude: Dissociating gratitude and indebtedness. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 217-241.
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