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Go For the Zest

Holi sethThis weekend my son, Gabe, went to Holi, an Indian holiday where
everyone is given bags of colored powder that they throw on everyone
else.  There is also a ton of music, tablas, chanting, and an
outdoor party atmosphere.

Holi is a spring festival also known as the festival of colors and the
festival of love. 

Later that day, after Gabe left, my wife, Laura, and I were discussing
what we were going to do that day: go to Home Depot to buy deck stain,
ant traps, and . . .

We looked at each other while imagining what it’s like to be at Home
Depot on a Saturday afternoon and Laura said, “Let’s go to Holi!

We donned white shirts (better for the color experience) and headed out
the door with our daughter, Ruchi, in tow.

It was a blast! People were splashing each other with electric,
psychedelic colors. There were literally clouds of brightly colored
smoke billowing across the crowd.
Holi family
I read today that our brains are programmed to be favorable toward
negative experiences. That’s why you can have a great day with only one
little thing that went wrong and all you think about when you go to bed
is that one small, bad event.

When we go through a bad situation, it lodges in our brains. We isolate
it, losing context, obsess over its meaning, and generalize to “learn”
from the experience. It seems a hundred thousand years ago, if we
didn’t learn from a positive experience it was no big deal. But, if we
missed the lessons in a negative event, we might not live to see the
next moment. Hence, our brains proclivity, hard wired across the
centuries.

But, these days, when most of our basic needs are met and
life-threatening experiences are few and far between, we are left with
a nagging sense of anxiety and a proclivity to focus on what could go
wrong while most of our life is going right. 

The cure is to live life with zest and relish the good times. You don’t
have to douse yourself with colored pigment, but take advantage of more
of the special opportunities that come your way to help your brain
absorb how wonderful life really is. You will have a lot more fun and
spread joy.

Holi Panorama

Photo credz:
Gabe Kahan
Zest is the secret
of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.

– Christian Dior