Modern philosophy?

philosopherNovember 30, 2015 – Philosophical advice seems to come from everywhere these days.

Cadbury Adams, the makers of Halls, which I’ve been popping since the autumn allergies have kicked in, now wraps their cough drops with inspirational messages that they refer to as a “pep talk in every drop.” Messages like “Keep your chin up”, “You’ve gotten through worse”, “Tough is your middle name”, and “March forward!” adorn each individual cough drop to help keep my attitude positive so I can fight off my allergies. While I find these little messages amusing, the jury is still out on whether this remedy works.

Inspirational messages on consumer products are nothing new. Dove chocolates have been wrapping their sumptuous Promises line in heartfelt messages for years, with gems of wisdom that tout “Temptation is fun … giving in is even better” or “Sometimes a smile can mean more than a dozen roses.” These decadent messages go hand in hand with the chocolate experience, and may even add a little boost to your day.

Similarly, the makers of Snapple communicate to their customers by placing messages on their bottle caps. Of course, you need a good pair of reading glasses to see the fine print on the cap, and Snapple messages tend to gravitate to trivia and interesting facts, rather than philosophy.

Speaking of philosophy, I’ve saved my favorite for last. The brand name Philosophy takes inspirational messages to the next level, and perhaps does the best job of all. If you’re not familiar, Philosophy is a skin care brand that believes in miracles, and names their products accordingly. I use products from their line with names like miracle, grace, hope, purity and joy. Each product comes complete with its own message in a bottle, such as, “When we walk in gratitude for each and every moment, we empower ourselves by empowering our spirits,” or “When it comes to love you need not fall but rather surrender.” A bit mushy perhaps, yet I keep coming back for more.

Are we a generation so starved for inspiration that we’re willing to take it from the consumer products we buy? Or have marketers simply found a smarter way to make us believe we need these products to do whatever it is they promise to do, and to nourish our spirits?

Can’t imagine what Socrates would have thought of that.

Advertisements

Life, the best education I know

June 6, 2012 – Thirty-five years ago this week I graduated from high school.

For me, that is difficult to believe.

Back then, Jimmy Carter was president, the first ever Apple computer was on the market, Elvis had just died at 42, Star Wars was playing in theaters across the country, and a gallon of gas cost 65 cents.

Those gas prices are difficult to believe, too.

I wanted to share just how different my life turned out from what I originally planned, and perhaps offer a few pearls of wisdom to new graduates. However, looking back on what I can remember about my 17-year-old self, and what I expected to accomplish, I’m drawing a blank.

Come to think of it, I don’t recall thinking about my future at all in 1977. There are no memories about what I wanted to be or where I thought my life would go. I hadn’t thought about college yet, or a career and I certainly had no plans to get married and have children. Even though I didn’t make a plan, all of those things simply happened along the way when they were supposed to.

Turns out, like many teenagers and some very fortunate adults according to “The Power of Now” author Elkhart Tolle, I was a “live in the moment” kind of a person. Tolle, whose philosophy states that living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment, believes that to be the ultimate goal.

I’d like to think I’m still that way, but I realize that I missed out on bits and pieces of my life worrying about things that I have no control over. Even though I do my best to live in each moment, I’m not always able to, and I don’t believe many adults can. But I’m OK with that, because I stay in the moment more often than not.

So, if I was to offer any sage advice to new graduates, it would be to live in the moment as often as you can. Tolle’s theory of “The Power of Now” is right on, it’s just not practical for many of us to live that way every second. I believe it’s necessary at times to think about and plan for the future. And it might even be helpful to go a little “off your rocker” once in a while; if anything, it really makes you appreciate the good times.

I read once that a Chinese philosopher said, “When you do the dishes, become the dishes.” In other words, be aware of what you are doing in the moment and do it well. Very wise words.

Life teaches many us many lessons along the way, whether we have a plan in place or not. And even if we have a plan, it doesn’t always let us follow it they way we expect to. A happy compromise is an open mind and expandable plan with plenty of room for change.

Congratulations to the class of 2012!

The Dear Abby of cough drops

November 30, 2011 – Philosophical advice seems to come at us from all angles these days.

Cadbury Adams, the makers of Halls, which I’ve been popping since catching a cold over Thanksgiving weekend, now wraps their cough drops with inspirational messages that they refer to as a “pep talk in every drop.” Messages like “Keep your chin up”, “You’ve gotten through worse”, “Tough is your middle name”, and “March forward!” adorn each individual cough drop to help keep my attitude positive so I can fight off my cold. While I find these little messages amusing, the jury is still out on whether this remedy works.

Inspirational messages on consumer products are nothing new. Dove chocolates have been wrapping their sumptuous Promises line in heartfelt messages for years, with gems of wisdom that tout “Temptation is fun … giving in is even better” or “Sometimes a smile can mean more than a dozen roses.” These decadent messages go hand in hand with the chocolate experience, and may even add a little boost to your day.

Similarly, the makers of Snapple communicate to their customers by placing messages on their bottle caps. Of course, you need a good pair of reading glasses to see the fine print on the cap, and Snapple messages tend to gravitate to trivia and interesting facts, rather than philosophy.

Speaking of philosophy, I’ve saved my favorite for last. The brand name Philosophy takes inspirational messages to the next level, and perhaps does the best job of all. If you’re not familiar, Philosophy is a skin care brand that believes in miracles, and names their products accordingly. I use products from their line with names like miracle, grace, hope, purity and joy. Each product comes complete with its own message in a bottle, such as, “When we walk in gratitude for each and every moment, we empower ourselves by empowering our spirits,” or “When it comes to love you need not fall but rather surrender.” A bit mushy perhaps, yet I keep coming back for more.

Are we a generation so starved for inspiration that we’re willing to take it from the consumer products we buy? Or have marketers simply found a smarter way to make us believe we need these products to do whatever it is they promise to do, and to nourish our spirits?

Can’t imagine what Socrates would have thought of that.

The art of food and lip gloss

October 21, 2011 – Food extraordinaire Paula Deen was on Rachael Ray’s show this week touting her latest recipe.

It’s not Southern fried chicken or creamy macaroni and cheese that she’s cooking up this time. It’s lip balm.

Deen has created a new line of lip balms that come in flavors like butter, peach cobbler, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, key lime pie and banana pudding.

I’m not sure about butter-flavored lips, but the rest sound pretty yummy.

Food flavored lip balms and glosses are nothing new. Philosophy, a skin care company that sells their products on QVC and in higher end department stores, has been selling food flavored lip glosses and shower gels for years. Some of their best-selling flavors include caramel apple, candy corn and apple cider, perfect for this time of year. They also offer other seasonal flavors such as peppermint bark, sugar cookie, gingerbread, cinnamon bun and hot chocolate.

For some, bathing in their favorite food flavors or dabbing it on their lips saves calories and helps with cravings.

Or so the creators claim. While I enjoy showering with the aroma of hot chocolate, it makes me want the real thing when I’m finished.