Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this



Someone once said, “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”


By Sharon Courmousis


March 27, 2011 (Boulevard) -- Oops! Ouch! Brushing my teeth with my left, non-dominant, hand requires slowing way down and thinking “Move brush UP, move brush DOWN.” The reason I brushed with the left hand is that my right thumb joint was hurting and I figured it was due to RSI [repetitive strain injury]. The result of ignoring a noticeable but minor pain is arthritis creeping in, and the fix, according to my nonprofessional opinion, is wearing a brace to immobilize the thumb for awhile.


Do you realize how many actions need your dominant thumb? Try turning on a lamp, or zipping your pants and closing the snap or button. What about turning the key in your car ignition? In fact, I’ll toss you a challenge; change hands, just for a day. You will notice something very interesting. You will gain a different perspective. You will laugh often. Your brain will be strengthened. What? Yes, studies have shown that when we change our habits, our brain gets a bit of rewiring, This rewiring supposedly helps stave off age-related issues such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and plain old memory loss.


hat have I been learning over the last six weeks and why? Photography, macrobiotic cooking, race-walking and options trading. What a mix! The funny thing is that I was drawn to these opportunities while exploring ways to self-improve. The idea for this essay came after the fact, unplanned.


The story begins with frustration at my ignorance of understanding my camera, despite having had some lessons here and there. I spent 20 minutes trying to set the camera to get a great shot of the Super Moon on Saturday, March 19th. Here is one of the results; I had to laugh. Never in a million years could I ever duplicate anything about this shot. I just vaguely understand how it happened. Lessons are badly needed!


There was a blurb in a grocery newsletter about macrobiotic cooking [mostly a Japanese way of eating] and because I was curious, went to the intro and took a couple of classes. Hey, this sounds great, I thought as I drove myself to an Asian market, hunted labels for things like wakeme [sea weed for miso soup], miso, daikon, bamboo steamer baskets, grains, greens, and fell into a way of eating that delights my mouth, even at breakfast. Voila--30 days later, ten pounds lighter, better rested, more energetic, I discovered a somewhat new me. Part of the fun is introducing my friends and family to this way of eating, and I feel delighted asS I watch my 15 year old take a bite of the steamed greens; he loves the miso soup.


About a month ago I had a chance to enroll in a race-walking class. It really was not convenient but I have been curious about this way of exercise for a long time. The teacher was fun as she showed us, taught us, and worked with us until we had the ‘swing’ of it. The practice on my own since then has been very rewarding. What I’ve learned is that I am able to cover more ground, and quicker, so my heart beats faster [vital for good heart health]. The side benefit is muscle toning for the entire body, legs, waist, and arms. I have walked this way four times in the seven days since the class; it is great fun!


Earlier this month I attended the Get Motivated seminar. General Colin Powell is a hero of mine, and he spoke of his life. We laughed with Bill Cosby as he shared his enlightened parenthood. Another speaker talked about trading options. I have been curious about this for quite some time, so I committed some time to a further workshop on the technical aspects of options. Not exactly a scintillating day, but I did learn enough to know that I need more education before launching myself and dollars into this technique. I also learned how to be a better public speaker from observing the teacher that we had.


Someone once said, “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” When you think about it, most of us are afraid to try something new. We have many excuses: I’m too tired, It’s too far away, I won’t know anyone there, Someone will laugh at me as I learn, I don’t have time….. These thoughts come to everyone, but they do not stop all of us. Here is an important question for you. How do you become a learner? Let me share what’s worked for me.


Step 1: Find out What’s in it for me?
When I am able to see the benefit for my life, health, happiness, enjoyment of living, and longevity, I am able to step out of my comfort zone.


Step 2: Find out What is the cost to me?
There might be a financial fee, transportation cost, and time away from normal activities. There might even be a cost of NOT learning, or NOT doing. When I know this information I can better evaluate my decision.


Step 3: Decide and Act
Once I have evaluated the information, I make my decision and then act. I first put it on my calendar, and then enroll, or Sdefinitely commit myself. If you find a partner in learning who will go with you to classes or events, you will have even more fun; shared learning really sticks in your brain.


Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”


You are hereby challenged to make your life a daring adventure!


The Purple Mountain Sage welcomes questions from readers! Write to us at:


The Purple Mountain Sage is Sharon Courmousis, co-owner of Sacred Rocks Reserve and RV Park, a 163-acre wilderness preserve and campground in Boulevard, CA, which is also home to Sacred Rocks Artists’ Colony. She leads people on personal journeys that transform their lives. Sharon can be reached by calling: 619-766-4480. Visit the Sacred Rocks Reserve website at:

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.