Thursday, December 14, 2017

Understanding Autoimmune Diseases

Your Creator has given your body an immune system that protects you from disease and infection. Sadly, your immune system may attack itself in the form of autoimmune diseases, which can affect many parts of your body, including your nerves, muscles, endocrine system (the system that controls your body’s hormones and other chemicals), and digestive system.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosistype 1 diabetes mellitusrheumatoid arthritis, and myasthenia gravis, among many others.

Many of these diseases associated with autoimmunity are often chronic, requiring lifelong care and monitoring.

Most of these autoimmune diseases strike women more than they do men, particularly women of working age and during their child-bearing years.

Risk Factors

(1) Stress is a major factor triggering the onset of an autoimmune disease, especially if you already have an over-stressed or a weakened immune system. As you age, your stress may increase with increased limitations on your life. In order to cope with daily living, you need to conquer your stress, which may lead to depression and anxiety, which are commonly associated with aging.

(2) The genes you inherit may predispose your susceptibility to developing an autoimmune disease.

(3) Viruses may also contribute to the development of an autoimmune disease.

Symptoms

Autoimmune disease symptoms may vary according to the types of autoimmune disease. Though they may share some common symptoms, it is often difficult to diagnose which type of autoimmune disease you may be having. Many of them often do not show a clear pattern of autoimmune disease symptoms at first. In addition, these symptoms may come and go (known as remission).

Treatments

Autoimmune disease treatments depend on the type of autoimmune disease you may have, and the severity of the autoimmune disease symptoms. Since autoimmunity takes many forms, autoimmune disease treatments may require different specialists, for example:

A dermatologist to treat alopecia areata, psoriasis (problems of skin, hair, and nails)

An endocrinologist to treat type 1 diabetes mellitus and thyroid disease (problems of glands and hormones)

A gastroenterologist to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (problems of digestive system)

A hematologist to treat pernicious anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (problems of blood)

A nephrologist to treat lupus (problems of kidneys)

A neurologist to treat multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis (problems of nerve)

A rheumatologist to treat lupus and scleroderma (problems of arthritis)

Generally, all conventional medical treatments aim at:

Relieving symptoms through the use of drugs

Preventing further damage to organs affected: e.g. insulin injections to regulate your blood sugar if you have type 1 diabetes mellitus; drugs to control your inflamed kidneys if you have lupus

Suppressing the immune system through immune-suppressing drugs

Your immune system is your body’s most specialized defense mechanism to protect you from any foreign invaders, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. As such, it requires an intricate network of optimum functioning of many different cells in your body.

No Miracle Cures

Conventional autoimmune disease treatments aim at suppressing the immune system in order to prevent further destruction of self-tissues. At best, they may limit some symptoms and even manage pain, but they do not result in a permanent cure. There are no miracle cures for autoimmune diseases.

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system is attacking the tissue because it is the unhealthy tissue that causes the initial attack. Once the tissue is targeted and attacked, the immune system “remembers” it, and continues to attack it. Therefore, using medications, such as prednisone, corticosteroids, or with proteins that block specific parts of the immune system, such as interferons, to suppress the immune system may, at best, slow down the attack by the immune system. But as soon as the medications are reduced, the attack comes back with a vengeance, because the tissue has become further degraded and unhealthy.

Holistic Approach

The immune system is supposed to protect the body from foreign invaders. Therefore, to suppress the immune system so that it will not attack itself is not really the solution to the problem. To address the issue is to strengthen the tissue so that it will not be targeted in the first place, instead of lowering the potency of the immune system as a means to reduce the severity of the attack. In order to cure autoimmune diseases, a holistic approach to healing the body and the mind is necessary. After all, autoimmune diseases evolve from a dysfunctional autoimmune system, which involves the whole body, not just any specific body part or organ. Therefore, the whole body must be healed first, before any healing will begin.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mindfulness in Human Relationships

Happiness is an essential ingredient in the art of living well. Happiness comes from emotional, mental, and physical wellness, which are all interconnected because they align the body, the mind, and the soul to enable living as if everything is a miracle.

Good human relationships play a pivotal role in emotional, mental, and physical fitness of an individual. However, good human relationships are hard to come by. 


Any good relationship always begins with “self” first. Essentially, it is mindfulness.
Here are some advice on maintaining good relationships through mindfulness:
(1) Be ready to be the first one to take the first step to enhance and maintain  good relationships. Have the wisdom of focusing on others rather than self. Deference to mindfulness of others first holds the key to maintaining good relationships.
Always be in mindfulness of others.
(2) Be grateful that you have the generosity of heart. You may be more blessed than others in that you have a greater capacity for mindfulness than others. Cicero, the great Roman orator, once said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but also the mother of all the rest.”
Always be grateful for your blessed gift of mindulness of others in your healthy living.
(3) Be positive of others. The great Chinese philosopher, Mencius,once said: “The feeling of compassion is the beginning of benevolence; the feeling of shame and self-reproach, the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of courtesy and modesty, the beginning of propriety; the feeling of right and wrong, the beginning of wisdom. These four beginnings are like the four limbs of man and to deny oneself any of these potentialities is to cripple oneself.
Always embrace mindfulness of the four beginnings of Mencius in your healthy living.
(4) Be pleasant. Cultivate and develop a cheerful demeanor, a pleasant outlook — the attitude that every problem in life has a solution of some sort.
Always demonstrate mindfulness of positive outlook in your healthy living.
(5) Stop complaining. Keep all complaints to yourself—unless voicing your complaints will improve the situation.
Always resign in mindfulness of contentment in any trying situation.
(6) Try to see the good in others. Wherever possible, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Always be in mindfulness of others’ behavior.
(7) Be mindful of your behavior towards others. According to C.S. Lewis, you may need to “put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are.” In this way, you will be “really friendly than you were.
Always act in mindfulness towards others.
(8) Expect  less of others. Never expect others to reciprocate; if they do, let that be a pleasant surprise.
Always expect no mindfulness from others in your healthy living.

If you follow all the above, you will be a better and happier individual.


Mindfulness begins with awareness of what is happening to and around you, especially your actions, reactions, and interactions with others. Remember, you are living in a world of speed and compulsiveness, which focuses much on the self, instead of others.



Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wisdom in Living



This is a completely updated website on how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

The journey of life is long and unpredictable. We all need wisdom to guide us along the way so that we will not get lost; even if we do, we may still find out way back to where it will eventually lead us to our final destination.

This new website may provide you with wisdom as your compass and roadmap on your life journey.

Wisdom in living comprises seeking God's wisdom through understanding human wisdom in order to live a meaningful and purposeful life, even in the golden years. The ancient wisdom of Tao holds the key to applying these principles of life and living in this modern world.

Stephen Lau

Monday, December 4, 2017

Avoiding a Late Divorce

The rate of divorce is skyrocketing in the United States, and the U.S. Census estimates about half of marriages end in divorce.  According to relationship experts, the number of long-term relationships heading towards separation is becoming more frequent with a longer life span and a growing acceptability of divorce.
What some experts are saying is that people divorce because they have a longer lifespan, and that divorce is no longer a social taboo.
The bottom line is that marriage is not a dress that you throw away when it no longer fits you. If you find that your body has outgrown the dress, you can slim down so that you can fit into the dress again, or you can have it altered so that it can fit into you. In other words, life is about changes, and so is marriage. You just have to adapt yourself to these changes, and that makes it challenging and interesting. You don’t just walk away from a marriage because you don’t like it anymore. A marriage is a lifetime commitment for thick and thin, for better and for worse.
"Staying in exactly the right relationship to one another is a very hard thing to maintain every decade," said Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington. "People think you only get closer over time, but that's not necessarily true."
The breakups of couples married for several decades are "cold divorces," characterized by disengagement, distance and isolation. These kinds of divorces are the products of a gradual buildup. The problems may have festered to the point where no one cares.
Marriage counselors say there are benchmarks in a typical marriage where divorce is more apt to occur.
First, divorces often happen during the initial two years of marriage when the expected honeymoon period is replaced with the reality of getting accustomed to each other's attitudes and living habits. A second point for divorce is around the five to seven year mark, where children are typically born.
And divorce can also happen when the kids leave home. Some empty nesters divorce because they no longer have their children holding them together.
One of the best ways to renew marital affection and interest is to face new challenges together, especially in the golden years when there are many new issues in life. Coping with these problems may renew their cooling and dwindling marital love.
Your Golden Years and Santa Claus: This 252-page book has everything you need to know about physical frailty, vision impairment, breathing problems, memory loss, as well as health, money, death, and bereavement issues. This is a comprehensive book on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the wisdom in successful aging in the golden years. It provides you with a wealth of information on the art of living well, instead of stereotyping yourself as old and decrepit.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Dark Side of Life

The Dark Side of Life

Life is always imperfect, and living is forever a bed of roses with some thorns, if not too many. We are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world. As such, the art of living involves the wisdom of knowing who you really are, and how things happen and work in your life. Without this profound understanding, you will forever be haunted by the awareness of the darker side of life.

The Bible calls the darker side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite. To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at self-deception. Either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish novelist, calls this darker side of human nature the duality of man. In his famous story of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he presents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as both having a dark side within them, where evil is lurking to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.

If the darker of life is deemed as something “evil” as depicted by Robert Louis Stevenson, it may immediately lead to self-denial and downright rejection. The darker side is ideally described as a “not-so-good” quality, or just human flaws and weaknesses that we see in others as well as in ourselves. Whatever the definition may be, the darker of life, ironically enough, makes life wholesome, without which life is incomplete and unreal—at best, a self-delusion. Human darkness is part and parcel of human existence. Denying its existence only leads to more pain, regret, and resignation. But understanding the dualistic human nature offers a way to return to wholeness, which is an important ingredient in the art of living well.

The above is taken from my book: The Book of Life and Living.

Also, find out more about the essentials of Tao wisdom.

Tao wisdom is the essence in the art of living well. It is the profound wisdom of the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, the author of the immortal classic Tao Te Ching, one of the most translated works in world literature. The book has been popular for thousands of years due to its wisdom, which is simple but controversial, profound and yet intriguing. To fully understand it, you need to get all the essentials of Tao wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Get Your Photographic Memory

As you age, your memory may deteriorate. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can still have a sharp memory if you improve your memory skills.

Memory has everything to do with brain health. If you don't have a healthy brain, how can you have a good memory? A good memory is an ingredient of wisdom. Therefore, if you want to be wise, have a good memory, But a good memory requires good basic memory skills. So, improving memory skills goes a long way to improving memory, despite the aging process.

Good memory skills are important to having a good memory, just as a good mechanic also needs good tools. Memory skills are your tools to enhance your brain processing, which is what memory is all about. Memory involves processing of information that you already have, and capability to recall it at will. Such processing requires utilization of your senses: sighttouchsmell, or a combination of some of these senses. The capability to utilize these senses means you are not only being aware of them, but also paying attention to them. As a result, they become memory tools for you, so that you can retrieve your information later without any problem.

All disciplines in the brain have some connection with memory, for example, music, writing, and art, among others.

(1) According to some scientific research, music has the capacity to change your neuron activity. Music therapists believe that different sounds from different instruments have different impact on different body organs in the physical body. Specifically, they are capable of breaking blockages in energy flow (the Chinese call it "qi"), which courses through the meridian channels in the body to bring oxygen and nutrients to different parts of your body. Nowadays, there is "psychoacoustics" which is the study of sound on the conscious mind through the use of music. Scientists have used MP3 music and subliminal messages for hypnosis to awaken the subconscious mind to improve memory, enhance learning, heal sleep problems, increase self-confidence, just to name a few possibilities. Music, of course, has to do with sound. Learn to play a musical instrument to boost your brain power, concentration, and to develop motor skills.

(2) Writing is another discipline which can improve memory skills, and hence memory. Writing a journal, a diary, or even writing a blog, can boost memory power, because in writing, or rather recollecting one thought at a time and word by word, may help you with organization and logic. In addition, as you are jotting down the words, the movements of your hands (as you type or write), as well as the sight of the words in front of you will reinforce your memory. Writing is a good example of using sight to improve memory skills.

(3) Art is another field which extensively uses your extraordinary senses, such as visual in drawing, or touch in sculpture.

As you get older, your brain shrinks a bit, and that is natural. The good news is that your can recoup your losses. As a matter of fact, you have about 100 billion brain cells, and you have used up only five percent of your brain cells. Tap into them to improve your memory. Use it or lose it!

Be wise with a good memory!

Awaken Your Photographic Memory is a state-of-the-art memory system to improve your memory.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Do You Really Know Yourself?

Living well is more than a skill: it is an art in itself. To live well in this day and age is by no means easy, in spite of the advancement of modern technology. Life itself is complicated and challenging; to live well requires the art of manipulating the skills of living a happy and meaningful life.

To live a happy and meaningful life, you need to know yourself well. That is, how well do you know yourself? That might seem a silly question at first glance. The truth of the matter is that many of us do not really know ourselves, although we think we do.

Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, once said: "who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." It is important to look inside in order to discover the ultimate truth of all things, which is the essence of true human wisdom. To truly know yourself, you have to look inside yourself to find out who you really are, not who you wish you were, and what you really need, not what you want.

Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, in the beginning of the book, wrote:
“A beggar has been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. ‘Spare some change?’ mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. ‘I have nothing to give you,’ said the stranger. Then he asked: ‘What’s that you are sitting on?’ ‘Nothing,’ replied the beggar. ‘Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.’ ‘Ever looked inside?’ asked the stranger. ‘No,’ said the beggar. ‘What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.’ ‘Have a look inside,’ insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to prey open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.

Indeed, you need to look inside you to ask all sorts of questions in order to get as many relevant answers as possible to find out who you really are.  Asking questions is introspection, which is a process of self-reflection, without which there is no self-awareness and hence no personal growth and development. A static life is never a life well lived. Therefore, asking questions is self-empowering wisdom—a life-skill tool necessary for the art of living well.

Why is that?


It is because the kind of questions you ask determines the kind of life you are going to live. Your questions trigger a set of mental answers, which may lead to actions or inactions, based on the choices you make from the answers you have obtained. Remember, your life is always the sum of all choices you make in the process.

The bottom line: knowing yourself well holds the key to knowing others, as well as understanding the reality of all things; this mindfulness of self  is true human wisdom.

Visit my site: Wisdom in Living to find out more about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.



Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Save the Face (3)

When it comes to saving the face, just remember the following:

Your face is not you.

Your youthful look is only a part of you, and it is bound to change, no matter what. Learn how to delay, but also to accept, that inevitable change on your look.

Nobody’s face is perfect—let alone yours.

Do what you can, but do it!

Your over-concern for face image will level off at around fifties and sixties, when you would be more concerned with your health than with your youthfulness. This is the reality of life!


Today, the mass media have bombarded us with tons of information about health and wellness, so much so that it may become even stressful and worrisome to some.

One of the objectives of this book is to present relevant information in a readable and easy-to-follow format. You need not read the entire book, though it is recommended that you do. This book is organized in such a way that you can scan the detailed content page with appropriate headings to find the information you need to deal with your own specific problems.

This book is comprehensive in that it covers virtually all aspects of a healthy mind and body—the requisites for becoming younger and healthier for longer. They may be different for men and women in their different stages of their lives.

Life is a myriad of complex problems, which are often inter-related. This book provides you with different choices of solutions. Instead of getting old gracefully, why not mature youthfully?

The ominous reminders of old age and mortality are your more frequent visits to doctors, the wrinkles on your face, and the change of shape and structure of your physique, among others. Overcoming these ravages of aging is what this book is all about.

Stephen Lau

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Saving the Face (2)

 Fat injections

Fat injections are living grafts in which part of the fat from your own body, usually from the buttocks, stays and lives in a new environment.

Fat injections have the following advantages, compared to other non-surgical procedures:

More cost effective, compared to other non-surgical procedures.

The intervals between injections can be up to several months.They are

Fat injections may be the best option for deep smile folds, much more effective than collagen injections.

Restylane

Restylane is a clear gel injected into your skin to soften your facial contours, and to remove lines and wrinkles on your face. It is derived from a product as bio-compatible and bio-degradable as the natural hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in your body. Hyaluronic acid, present mainly in your skin, is a substance that gives your body its structure and volume by attracting and holding on to the water in your skin. As such, it is most ideal for line and wrinkle filler.

Restylane has the following advantages over other similar products to remove wrinkles:

Restylane does not paralyze your facial muscles. It can be injected almost anywhere on your face.

Restylane eliminates any rejection risk by your body because it is naturally found in your own body.

Restylane lasts longer (up to a year) than collagen injections. It is, therefore, more cost effective in the long haul, although it costs 40 to 50 percent more than a collagen injection does.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, every year thousands of individuals opt for cosmetic procedures to save their faces, and of these individual in quest for a youthful look about 88 percent are women and 12 percent are men. However, cosmetic procedures only temporarily fix the problems of skin aging. Having a youthful look is more than just skin deep, and it never comes easy.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saving the Face (1)

SAVING THE FACE

Unfortunately, the skin aging process cannot be reversed.

You can only fix your face through non-surgical procedures, such as Botox and Restylane, and other invasive surgical procedures, such as a face-lift.

Botox

Botox has been hailed as “the new fountain of youth” or the magic potion to aging.

Can Botox really save your face?

The pros of Botox are as follows:

Botox is a purified protein injected into your skin to make your muscles contract, and hence smoothing out your crows’-feet lines around your eyes.

Botox is minimally invasive, much better than invasive plastic surgery.

Botox is an instant fix: you can see the results almost immediately.

Botox gives a more natural look, except for the lines around the mouth. This is the reason why Botox is generally not applied on the smile folds because it weakens the muscle around the mouth, making your smile look “unnatural.”

Botox is a fairly safe and an ideal procedure because the botulimum (a toxic chemical) in Botox is extremely low, and there is little or no buildup of the toxin in your body (often eliminated within 24 to 48 hours—or at least according to Botox) to pose any major health risk.

Botox is relatively inexpensive, compared to other invasive procedures, such as a face-lift.

The cons of Botox are as follows:

Botox paralyzes your facial muscles, and therefore cannot fix your smile folds, making your smile seem “unnatural.”

Botox is still costly long term: the procedure has to be repeated every three to four months.

Botox is a drug with botulimum (a toxic chemical), and you may still have some concern about injecting it into your body.

Collagen injections

Besides Botox, there are other non-surgical procedures for consideration to save your face.

Collagen is a protein substance in the dermis layer of your skin, which is responsible for your skin’s elasticity. Collagen injections use bovine collagen, which is pure collagen obtainable from isolated cows, and which is clinically tested prior to injection.

Collagen injections have the following advantages:

Collagen injections make the lines on the face become less obvious and much smoother, but they do not make the lines disappear completely as Botox does.

Collagen injections are used mainly between the eyebrows and on smile folds, where Botox does not work effectively.



The disadvantages of collagen injections are as follows:

Collagen injections are not for everyone, especially if you are allergic to cows.

Collagen injections only soften your lines: they do not remove them completely.

More next time!

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Let Go of Your Ego-Self

Let Go of Your Ego-Self!

“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” C.S. Lewis

With no exception, we all have an ego, which defines who we are. As soon as a baby begins his or her perceptions through the five senses, that baby begins to develop an identity, such as “this toy is mine” and “I want this.” There is nothing wrong with this initial identification. However, as time progresses, the human ego continues to thrive, grow, and expand to the extent that it may become problematic, leading to the human flaw of attachment.

What your ego-self is

What exactly is the human ego or the ego-self?
Simply look at yourself in front of a mirror. What do you see? A self reflection. Is it for real? Can you touch it? Not really; it is only a reflection of someone real—the you in front of the mirror!

Now, do something slightly different. Place a baby--if there is one immediately available—in front of the mirror. See what happens. The baby may crawl towards the baby in the mirror. Why? It is because the baby in front of the mirror thinks that the baby in the mirror is another baby, and not his or her own reflection.

Likewise, the ego-self looks real, but it is not real To think otherwise is only self-deception.

Your ego-self is unreal

Descartes, the great French philosopher, made his famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” Accordingly, you think and you then become what you think you are—the byproducts of all your thoughts and your own thinking. Unfortunately, this famous statement by Descartes is only partially true: it is true that you identify yourself with your thoughts projected into your thinking mind; but it is not true that your identities thus created by your thoughts and your own thinking truly reflect your true self. The fact of the matter is that you are not your thoughts, and your thoughts are not you.e

The wisdom of letting go

The human ego is unreal: it is only a reflection of your own thoughts; that is, your ego-self is what you think or hope you are.

Let go of your ego-self to become the real you!

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, November 3, 2017

Living in a World of Stress

Stress has become a serious health issue with each passing day. Nearly everyone is suffering from some kind of stress every day, whether it is the short-term stress that triggers the body to reach heightened awareness and preparation for action—what is known as the “fight-or-flight” response—or the devastating long-term chronic stress.

William Shakespeare once said: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” John Milton, the famous English poet, also had this to say: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Both spoke volumes of the perceptions of stress.

Stress may come in different forms. Your experience of stress can be past, current, and future.

Past stress—also known as “residual stress”—is stress from the past that you have not overcome completely despite the passage of time.

Current stress is a current state of arousal caused by an existing situation that requires your immediate attention but that you do not enjoy addressing it.

Future stress is “anticipatory stress” or worry about what might happen in the future. Residual stress can lead to future stress, passed on from unpleasant past experiences.

Perceptions of stress are generally based on the following: the more you care and value about something, the more stress you have; the more choices and options available to you, the less stress you have; the more conscientious you are, the greater is your stress; the more enjoyment you have, the less stress you have; and the more responsibility you have, the greater is your stress.

In short, stress is all in the mind—your thinking mind. The bottom line: empower your mind to live a stress-free life as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

NO EGO NO STRESS  is a 134-page book by Stephen Lau on ancient human wisdom for stress relief. Specifically, it is about Tao wisdom, which originates from the ancient Chinese sage Lao Tzu, the author of “Tao Te Ching”—one of the most translated works in world literature. “Tao Te Ching” is popular due to its profound and unconventional wisdom, which is both intriguing and controversial. Learn how to let go of the ego-self to remove all the stressors in modern living due to finance, careers, relationships, etc. and live as if everything is a miracle.