Showing posts from March 20, 2016

Rolling Stones Play First Concert In Cuba, and it’s Free For The People

Ladies and gentlemen… the Rolling Stones!

Following several South American tour dates, the iconic British rock band landed in Havana Thursday with a free show for the Cuban people scheduled for today.

The Stones are the most famous band to play in the country since its 1959 revolution. Rebellious rock music was considered anti-patriotic, so fans had to listen to their favorite jams in private.

Ronnie Woods, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards flew to the country’s capital with an entourage of roughly sixty friends, family, and crew members ready for the show which takes place only a days after President Obama’s historic diplomatic visit.

“We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band said in a statement released before the arrival.

Daily Inspirational Quote - March 26, 2016

“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best of things that will ever happen to us.”

This is so true don’t you think? Just for an example, I was married in my early 20’s to a man who turned out to be a thief and an adulterer, who put me through hell and really left me feeling very battered and bruised mentally. However, I met my present husband a few years later and have thanked my lucky stars many times since that my first marriage went the way it did, even though I suffered such misery, as it paved the way for me to meet my lovely husband, who couldn’t be more different from the first. Also, that he is a wonderful father to our two beautiful children. I guess a lot of you can look back to similar situations in your own lives and know exactly what I mean.


Seeking Wholeness

Sometimes it's hard to believe how much more there is to us than the day-to-day solver of our life's problems. While certain parts of ourselves are at work every day, pushing the darker aspects aside whenever they pop up, there are also friends within that we never think to contact. Read further to find what efforts can lead to a greater sense of wholeness.

If my wish is to be more whole—more wholly myself—I will have to include more of the complexities of my nature. Yet my behind-the-scenes hope has often been to get rid of what I don’t like in myself, so I go about my conscious life denying certain disagreeable features or squishing them into more acceptable traits. Yet there are other aspects that I approve of and freely lay claim to.

Costco Raises Minimum Wage For Lowest Paid Workers

Costco is joining the ranks of retail giants recognizing the need for a higher minimum wage.

For the first time in nine years, Costco announced that they are raising the hourly pay of its lowest paid workers from $11.50 and $12, to $13 and $13.50.

“This is a physically challenging job, on your feet, pushing cases, lifting carts so we thought it was time to do it,” the company’s chief financial officer, Richard Galanti, said on a conference call last week.

The move follows in the wake of similar pay raises by large retailers like McDonalds, and Starbucks, and even Walmart, which in 2015 gave a raise to half million workers;

Costco had already offered perks such as closing on major holidays, and health benefits, even to their hourly workers.

Horse Wearing Glasses Inspires Boy To Wear His, Too

Meet Smokey the horse, the gentle giant that thinks he’s a human.

Smokey starts mornings off by knocking on the door, opening it with his mouth, and coming into the kitchen for a piece of toast. Similarly, the equine would throw a fit when everyone else was wearing sunglasses but him, so they bought him some as well.

As it turns out, this strange little act became inspiration for an actual human boy.

While Smokey’s owner, Anna Louise Tayler, was going through school in London, there was a classmate who loathed wearing his spectacles. Anna showed him pictures and clips of the horse and said “If Smokey likes wearing glasses, why don’t you give it a try?”

Well once the boy put the glasses on, they never came off his face again.

The school ended up giving Smokey a special gold star for his encouraging example.

The Four Keys to Well-Being

Dr. Richard Davidson explains that well-being is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened.

Well-being is a skill.

All of the work that my colleagues and I have been doing leads inevitably to this central conclusion. Well-being is fundamentally no different than learning to play the cello. If one practices the skills of well-being, one will get better at it.

Based on our research, well-being has four constituents that have each received serious scientific attention. Each of these four is rooted in neural circuits, and each of these neural circuits exhibits plasticity—so we know that if we exercise these circuits, they will strengthen. Practicing these four skills can provide the substrate for enduring change, which can help to promote higher levels of well-being in our lives.

Daily Inspirational Quote - March 25, 2016

“Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how BLESSED you are.”

In our busy everyday lives it is very easy to get so caught up in it all that we forget or overlook the many blessings we have. We’re usually more taken up by how stressful our lives are and perhaps also the irritations and problems we encounter daily. Often these constantly occupy our every waking thought, and perhaps, if we’re really unlucky, our dreams offer no escape. It’s just how things are in our busy lives and ever-changing world. However, there may be times when we are reminded of the bigger picture; perhaps an embrace or kiss from a loved one, the unexpected kindness of a stranger, the laughter of a child, the illness suffered by another and not us. That’s when we realize how blessed we really are and therefore should acknowledge and give thanks to whatever Higher Being we personally believe in.


Teach Girls Bravery Not Perfection

"[M]any women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they're going to be great in, that they know they're going to be perfect in, and it's no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We're taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A's. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off headfirst. And by the time they're adults, whether they're negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date, they're habituated to take risk after risk. They're rewarded for it.... In other words, we're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave." Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, shares more in this thought-provoking TED talk.

Why Does Happiness Inequality Matter?

By Kira M. Newman

According to a new report, income inequality isn't the only thing we should be concerned about.

According to the World Happiness Report 2016 Update, happiness inequality is on the rise.

What is happiness inequality? It’s the psychological parallel to income inequality: how much individuals in a society differ in their self-reported happiness levels—or subjective well-being, as happiness is sometimes called by researchers.

Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has championed the idea that happiness is a better measure of human welfare than standard indicators like wealth, education, health, or good government. And if that’s the case, it has implications for our conversations about equality, privilege, and fairness in the world.

We know that income inequality can be detrimental to happiness According to a 2011 study, for example, the American population as a whole was less happy over the past several decades in years with greater inequality. The authors of a compan…

Daily Inspirational Quote - March 24, 2016

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?”

We live in a society that seems to put great store by what people have rather than what they actually need. Everything appears to be geared at encouraging us to buy stuff we don’t really need just for the sake of it and to make somebody else very wealthy or even wealthier. We’re very much unaware of the constant bombardment of advertising that we are exposed to every single day because it’s become part of our daily lives so we’ve become accustomed to it. However, step back from it all. Take the time to think about it. Why aren’t we satisfied with what we already have? Should we really believe all the hype we’re being told? Why do we let them convince us to believe we need more “stuff” to make us happy? We don’t, we really don’t.


Camden Sophisticated Sisters

In the former industrial center of Camden, New Jersey, a city with the highest crime rate in the United States, Tawanda Jones drills over 300 children at Camden Sophisticated Sisters. Practice starts at 5pm, but doesn't really get going until 5:30pm, after "Miss Wawa" has hugged and kissed all the kids. Jones sets a tough standard: each team member must complete 200 hours of community service, keep up with homework, maintain at least a C average in school, and come to practice on time. The results? In a city with a 50% high school drop out rate, 100% of Miss Wawa's kids have graduated, with many going on to college and graduate programs.

Three Lessons from Zootopia to Discuss with Kids

By Allison Briscoe-Smith

The new Disney film raises tough questions about prejudice for parents and teachers to explore with children.

I braved opening day of Zootopia with four kids. I had seen the previews and thought it would be a sweet, funny Disney movie about “becoming who we want to be no matter what” or “following our dreams.”

It did meet those expectations, but there was actually more. As I watched, I wondered: Was this Disney movie actually making a political commentary about bias, sexism, racism, and xenophobia? Did they really do that?

Yes, they did. My first hint was a subtle joke in the beginning when the hero—a determined, hard-working bunny named Judy Hopps—shows up for her first day at work as a police officer. She’s called “cute” by the dispatcher—a cheetah named Clawhauser—and Judy replies, “Ooh, you probably didn’t know it, but a bunny can call another bunny cute, but when other animals do it, it’s a little….”

I looked around the theater. Did other folks catch that? Wa…

Daily Inspirational Quote - March 23, 2016

“Those who dance….are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”

This reminds me of the reaction I occasionally still get when I tell people I am a professional Tarot and Angel Card Reader. The roll of the eyes, the backing away ever so slightly, the “hmmm, really?” . Some even look prepared to make the sign of the cross while backing away! They just don’t “get” or hear the “music” that I do when I am working with my beautiful cards. I realize I am very fortunate in being able to use my cards in order to bring answers, guidance or resolution for people in who come to me and, as such, being “tuned in” to the music of the Universe. Such a pity we’re not all able to be “tuned” into the same channel don’t you think?


Seed-Saving Farmers Who Pass Land Down to Their Daughters

In northeastern India's mountainous state of Meghalaya, youngest daughters inherit the land -- and the ancient food heritage of their mothers. Enjoy this article and photo series featuring the beautiful people and ancient food tradition of these matrilineal tribes.

At sunset, Bibiana Ranee sets out to gather wild edibles for dinner from the surrounding forest. She returns with bright bunches of greens. Jarainand jali are washed, sliced, sauteed, and served with a hearty pork stew, with raw tree tomato on the side. Ranee, 54, is proud of her ancestral roots: She’s a member of the Khasi tribe, which nestles high in the mountains of Meghalaya, a state in northeast India. All three major tribes of Meghalaya—Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia—are matrilineal. Children take the surname of the mother’s clan and girls inherit traditional lands—the youngest daughter typically receiving the largest share.…

80% of New England Forests, Once Cleared for Farmland, Have Come Back

Trees have made a stunning comeback across New England, branching out to take over millions of acres of former farmland, and leading to a wildlife resurgence unlike anywhere else in the country.

Throughout the mid-1800s, farmers clear-cut acres of the towering trees to grow crops. Forests were left covering only about 28% of New England. Now, 160 years later, hardwoods and pines cover 80% of the horizon making the Northeast the most heavily wooded region in the U.S.

Farming, as a way to make a living, gave way to the Industrial Age, and families moved to cities and suburbs for better paying jobs. Wandering today deep into the woods, people can see the remains of stone fences that once bordered farm fields.

More woodlands give wildlife a chance at a big comeback, as well. Animals once thought hunted and trapped out of existence in the Northeast U.S. are thriving.

Bears, beavers, seals and birds ranging from woodpeckers to eagles have re-populated the land, as forests have taken over abando…

World’s Most Eco-Friendly Country Hails Newborn Prince in a Perfect Way

In the tiny country of Bhutan bordering Tibet, King Khesar and Queen Jetsun announced the birth of a new baby prince on February 5th.

How did the citizens celebrate? All 82,000 of the nation’s households planted a tree.

Volunteers from the country’s districts planted an additional 26,000 so the total would add up to a whopping 108,000 – a holy number in Buddhism, whose rosary-like malas hold 108 prayer beads).

Each tree was planted with an encapsulated prayer so that as the trees grew strong and tall over time, so would the young Prince.

“In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion,” Tenzin Lekphell, who coordinated the initiative, told the Diplomat. “It wasn’t a coincidence that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a banyan tree.”

Bhutan is known as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. In 2013, it became the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning th…

People Are Hard-Wired To Be Kind And Generous, Says Study

It’s an age-old quandary: Are we born naturally wired to help others or born selfish brutes who need civilization to rein in our basest impulses?

After exploring the areas of the brain that fuel our empathy – and temporarily disabling regions that oppose such impulses – two UCLA neuroscientists are coming down on the optimistic side of human nature.

“Our altruism may be more hard-wired than previously thought,” said Leonardo Christov-Moore, a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

The findings, reported in two recent studies, also point to a possible way to make people behave in less selfish and more altruistic ways, said senior author Marco Iacoboni, a UCLA psychiatry professor.

“This is potentially groundbreaking,” he said.

For the first study, which was published in February in Human Brain Mapping, 20 people were shown a video of a hand being poked with a pin and then asked to imitate photographs of faces displaying a range of emotions — happy,…

Daily Inspirational Quote - March 22, 2016

“A good life is when you assume nothing, need less, do more, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have.”

That certainly sums up the life we should all be leading or striving to lead. How wonderful and blessed are we if it we are already fortunate enough to be living by the words of this quote. I hope I am. I know I do my best to live up to it although, to be honest, it’s easier to do some days than others, but that’s ok, I’ve at least got the message. In our busy, occasionally demanding, day to day lives it is so easy to forget how blessed we are just to be alive, hopefully fit and well, and with love in our lives. We truly are blessed compared to many in this poor, beleaguered world of ours. Make sure you take time out now and again just to be thankful.


Six Ways to Help People Change

"Often in life, you may find yourself trying to help other people change. Whether you're acting as a mentor, a parent, or a well-meaning spouse, you hope to exert a positive influence and assist someone in reaching their goals. What's the best way to do this?" Read on for six scientifically-backed tips.

If you want to influence other people’s behavior, then you need to develop trust. The core of trust in persuasive interactions is authenticity—the degree to which people think that the public face you have adopted fits who you really are inside. When people feel you are telling them things you truly believe, they are less likely to be skeptical of their interactions with you.

Thus you have to see yourself as others see you. What do people perceive your motivations to be? Behavior change is hard enough to accomplish when people are willing to engage in the process. When they have reason to shy away from it because they are concerned about your motives, then you have mad…

When Things Don’t Go According to Plan

An excerpt from Expectation Hangover by Christine Hassler

Have you ever had something turn out far different than you expected it would and felt immensely disappointed? Have you ever been so let down by a person or situation that you thought you’d never get over it? Have you ever not lived up to your own standards and felt a sense of failure?

Let’s face it — life is full of surprises that are not always the kind we would wish for: A job and the financial security that came with it are gone. A relationship with the one we thought was “the one” suddenly ends or becomes the one thing we can’t get right. A career path that was executed with precision becomes lackluster and tainted with doubt. A pregnancy that is wished for isn’t happening. A project we poured our blood, sweat, and tears into doesn’t bring the results we expected. A parent suddenly isn’t there anymore, or a child doesn’t live up to the potential we saw in him. An illness interrupts our life. Or we’ve checked off everything o…

The First Step Out of Disappointment

An excerpt from Expectation Hangover by Christine Hassler

Have you ever practiced martial arts? One of the core principles is that instead of resisting a punch that is thrown at you, you should accept it and follow the energy of the punch because resistance takes more energy than acceptance. A punch hurts more if we resist it. Similarly, when you move into acceptance of your disappointment, there is no resistance of what is, so you have far more energy to treat your Expectation Hangover.

Acceptance does not mean you have to like the circumstances and symptoms of your Expectation Hangover; rather it means being free of judgment about it. What is judgment? Each time something happens and we form an opinion about it, or label it as “good,” “bad,” “right,” or “wrong,” we are judging and resisting what is. There is what happens (reality), and then there is the meaning we make of it (our interpretation of reality). Our judgments feel true to us, but they are really only beliefs we create. The…

7 Ways to Welcome Spring with Crystals and Gems

Margaret Ann Lembo

Spring arrives, and it's that time for awakening to fresh ideas, new beginnings, and innovative growth. Inspiration for new ideas often comes through creative action. Once the ball starts rolling, it's easier to energize your ideas and plans for this next cycle. The elementals of the gemstone kingdom can help you through their vibration and color as you match your intention and positive thoughts to your various crystals, stones, and gemstone jewelry.

1) Gather your stones and have a spring cleaning ceremony As the Sun returns to zero degrees of Aries it signals a time to start anew. One of the best ways to start anew—a new anything—is to clear out the old energy, vibes and space to prepare for the new. Set aside a few hours or an afternoon, depending on how many crystals, minerals, and stones you have, to gather all your collection. Bring them all to your kitchen sink or an area outside near a hose or garden sink. Place a container of a weak sudsy and salty sol…