Five Ways to Cultivate Pronoia

July 13, 2015

Um…cultivate what?

I just came across the term pronoia recently. Have you heard it before? According to Rob Brezsny’s book Pronoia: The Antidote for Paranoia, “It’s the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It’s a mode of training your senses and intellect so you’re able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.” Wikipedia has this to add: “A person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good.”

We often don’t have much control over what happens to us, but we do have the ability to choose how we see the world. If we find what we look for, and we get what we expect, why not expect the best?

Here are five ways to cultivate pronoia:

As corny and simple as it seems, count your blessings. Health, family, friends, home, comfort in all its forms—your most basic blessings are the most precious…and often the most overlooked.

Choose your input carefully. With what kind of images, stories, and news do you feed your mind? The frightening, sad, ugly, and negative? Or the beautiful, uplifting, joyful, and positive?

On a related note, actively search for beauty. Look for it in nature, music, art, architecture, food, literature, and so on. What do you find beautiful and uplifting? (For more about the importance of beauty in our daily lives, click here.)

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If you want the world to be a nicer place, do something nice—for yourself and for someone else. In this way, you’re an active part of the conspiracy to do good.

Let go of judgment when seemingly bad things happen. Life may conspire to give you what you need, when you need it, but it doesn’t always give you what you want, when you want it. (And sometimes it gives you what you definitely don’t want.) You can waste a lot of time bemoaning circumstances you don’t like, or you can listen to some widsom from Captain Jack Sparrow: “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Author Susan Jeffers said, “We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic, and positive equals unrealistic.” But we don’t have to continue to believe that or live it. Let’s cultivate pronoia instead.


First Change Inner Beliefs

July 08, 2015

“There is little sense in attempting to change external conditions, you must first change inner beliefs, then outer conditions will change accordingly.”
—Brian Adams

Refilling the well

I Got Nuthin'

July 06, 2015

Nuthin’ to say this morning, that is. It’s summer. It’s hot. And it’s time to relax. For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a little less, and Summer Reruns will reappear later this month. I have been working on freelance writing projects, and finished up an essay for a travel writing contest over the weekend (link to come).

Summertime in Florida, with its draining temperatures and wild thunderstorms, is the perfect time for me to let go of my strict schedule, refill the well, and reevaluate where I want to be in a few months’ time. I’m giving myself permission to take time to do all those things.

How about you? Do you have any fun plans this summer? Will your schedule change?

4th of July

Link Love, Independence Day Edition

July 03, 2015

Photo courtesy Edgar Olivera

Tomorrow is Independence Day for us in the U.S., and many people will celebrate with barbecues, parades, and fireworks. My family and I will be celebrating by trying to stay cool, as July 4th is typically one of the hottest days of the year here in Florida. While I know the U.S. is not perfect, I am grateful to have been born here. I know I have many opportunities and privileges others do not have, simply by the accident of my birth. So with that in mind, I’ve compiled an Independence Day edition of Link Love. Whether or not you celebrate this holiday, I hope your July 4th is happy and safe!

Click here for 15 ways to celebrate Independence Day. 

When we went to Washington D.C. a few years ago, one of my favorite experiences was seeing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives Museum. After all, the Declaration of Independence includes these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” You can learn more about the Charters of Freedom here.

Since it’s our unalienable right to pursue happiness, here are some suggestions from Dani DiPirro from Positively Present on creating happy moments.

Here are some (mostly) free ways to spark creativity and fun. 

Since many have died for freedom, not just for the U.S. but all over the world, we can honor their sacrifice by living a meaningful life. This post asks, “If you died right now, what would you regret?” It goes on to list the top five regrets of those who are dying, and some principles for living a meaningful life.

I loved this short video of a horse playing in a wading pool. Even horses like to cool off!

Happy 4th!



July 01, 2015

Photo courtesy Michal Kubicek

Introduction by Ted Kooser: I recognize the couple who are introduced in this poem by Patricia Frolander, of Sundance, Wyoming, and perhaps you’ll recognize them, too.


He called it “his ranch,”
yet each winter day found her beside him
feeding hay to hungry cows.

In summer heat
you would find her in the hayfield—
cutting, raking, baling, stacking.

In between she kept the books,
cooked, cleaned laundered,
fed bum lambs.

Garden rows straight,
canned jars of food
lined cellar walls.

Then she died.
I asked him how he would manage.
“Just like I always have,” he said.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Patricia Frolander, and reprinted from her most recent book of poems, “Grassland Genealogy,” Finishing Line Press, 2009, by permission of Pat Frolander and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2010 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004- 2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.