Showing posts from 2019

A Gathering of Men with Robert Bly

In this interview between Bill Moyers and poet Robert Bly, they explore the confusion men feel about their roles in society and in their inner lives. In retreats like A Gathering of Men, their sense of loss is met with a sense of hope. Men learn from one another through sharing and listening to the wisdom, writings, and poetry of men like Bly. A father figure at these gatherings, Bly is an essayist, activist, and leader of the mythopoetic men's movement: workshops, retreats, and rituals with the intended purpose of connecting spiritually with a lost deep masculine identity.

How Doctors Use Poetry

While doctors are educated to focus primarily on medical science, some are beginning to expand their outlook and focus on something greater: language, in particular, poetry. While the Hippocratic Oath many physicians take requires them to "remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug", these words are all too rare in hospitals, doctors' offices, and outpatient clinics. In this article, medical student Danny W. Linggonegoro explores the breakthrough science that is finding that the power of words is sometimes more potent than the power of medicine. Read on to learn how poetry can boost mood, reduce pain, and help patients better connect with what it means to be human.

Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson

"For years I have been not so much envisioning Emily Dickinson as trying to visit, to enter her mind, through her poems and letters, and through my own intimations of what it could have meant to be one of the two mid-19th-century American geniuses, and a woman, living in Amherst, Massachusetts. Of the other genius, Walt Whitman, Dickinson wrote that she had heard his poems were "disgraceful." She knew her own were unacceptable by her world's standards of poetic convention, and of what was appropriate, in particular, for a woman poet. Seven were published in her lifetime, all edited by other hands; more than a thousand were laid away in her bedroom chest, to be discovered after her death.[...]I have a notion that genius knows itself; that Dickinson chose her seclusion, knowing she was exceptional and knowing what she needed. It was, moreover, no hermetic retreat, but a seclusion which included a wide range of people, of reading and correspondence." …

How to Have Difficult Conversations

What if collective introspection would help us to better persuade, to better advocate for a more beautiful world? What are the tools we need to disagree better? How can we improve our ability to listen and learn - especially from those we disagree with? Marcela Lopez Levy asks powerful questions to inspire us and perhaps even entice us in having more difficult conversations. Join her on this journey into open space, non-violent communication and leading forums like the Campaigning forum - where long-term community building is based on cooperation, openness, and not knowing.

Your Political Opponents Aren’t as Radical as You Think They Are

Democrats and Republicans misjudge each other's beliefs, a new report suggests.

By Zaid Jilani

Our country is increasingly polarized along political lines, with political differences now shaping everything from where we live to whom we want our children to marry.

But what if we actually disagree less than we think we do? What if the real problem is that we don’t know how much we agree? That’s the perhaps counterintuitive conclusion of a recent report from the bridge-building group More in Common. The organization conducted broad surveys of Democrats and Republicans, asking them to describe both their own viewpoints and the viewpoints they imagine that their opponents on the other side of the aisle have.

“We wanted to find questions that related to things that mattered to each side,” says Tim Dixon, a cofounder of More in Common.

Democrats were, for instance, asked to estimate what percentage of Republicans agree with the statement that “many Muslims are good Americans.” Meanwhile, Repu…

Soft Power: A Magnetic Approach to Practice

"The desire to be in control is a normal survival response, but what I love about the art of aikido is that we can move beyond survival to a vast and universal perspective in which all life is connected and interwoven. Such an orientation is not self-conscious. Since it relates to the connecting aspect -- that of the space and energy -- rather than individuals, there is no thing that needs to be observed. All awareness can be involved with the movement of energy through space, organized and contained by the form. The result is soft fluid power enjoying the beauty and purity of the form. This kind of feeling is not only beautiful and fluid, it is difficult to resist or counter which makes it effective from a martial perspective." Founder of Leadership Embodiment, and sixth-degree black belt Aikido practitioner Wendy Palmer shares more.

How Cultural Differences Shape Your Gratitude

Americans say thanks a lot, but other cultures may have a deeper understanding of gratitude.

By Kira M. Newman

If you’re trying to become happier, you’ve probably heard the advice to practice gratitude. “Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives,” writes pioneering researcher Robert Emmons in his book Thanks! His studies suggest that gratitude can improve our health and relationships—making it one of the most well-studied and effective ways to increase our well-being in life.

But there’s a problem with prescribing gratitude to everyone: Most of what we know about it comes from studying Americans—and, specifically, the mainly white American college students from the campuses where researchers work. That creates a cultural bias in the science, and that’s why more and more researchers are exploring what gratitude looks and feels like in a range of cultures.

They are studying how children and adults worldwide naturally say thank you, and whether w…

5 Scientists on the Heroes Who Changed Their Lives

Every hero and innovator stands on the shoulders of the giants who came before. But sometimes the power of influence one has on another is subtle or indirect. Perhaps it is a life spirit shared by Helen Keller in her autobiography that inspires a scientist to fully engage in her study of plants. Perhaps it is a shy physicist who plants the seed in a student that he, too, can aspire to something great. In this article from Nautilus Magazine, five scientists share the somewhat surprising stories about who inspired them in their work.

When Old and Young Connect

"Forty years ago, the eminent Cornell University professor and child psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner famously concluded, Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her. The benefits of a caring adult mentor on childrens well-being have been reinforced in study after study, as well as reports from youth themselves--including research I was engaged with early in my career." The following excerpt delves into the benefits that arise when young and old connect.

The Work that Reconnects

In this hour-long tribute to "The Work the Reconnects," Pat van Boeckel explores the stories of activists who have used Joanna Macys writings to enhance and support their service and their lives. Van Boeckel does not flinch in describing the devastation now facing the world or equivocate on the justification for despair. Despite the trauma inflicted on the earth and ourselves, she gently leads us through Macys words and toward embracing hope.

Creating Welcoming Space

"Hospitality means creating welcoming space for the other. Henri J. Nouwen notes that the Dutch word for hospitality, gastvrijheid, means 'the freedom of the guest.' It entails creating not just physical room but emotional spaciousness where the stranger can enter and be himself or herself, where the stranger can become ally instead of threat, friend instead of enemy." In a time when it is more crucial than ever for humanity to revisit its relationship to strangers, this passage from Sr. Marilyn Lacey shines like a beacon.

How to Talk with Kids about Gratitude

Parents can have conversations with kids to help them experience all four parts of gratitude.

By Susan Harris, Maryam Abdullah, Kelly Whalen

Shekinah Elmore: From Hospital Gown to White Coat

"Shekinah Elmore was not yet a physician when she gave her own second opinion. After a year of cancer treatment -- including lung surgery, chemotherapy, and a double mastectomy --she was hell-bent on starting medical school. Her doctors tried to dissuade her, recommending that she take more time to recover from her third stint with cancer. But two weeks after finishing the therapies that left her bald and unable to walk without getting winded, Elmore took an oath to do no harm." Read more about her inspiring journey as patient and provider here.

How Happy Are People at Work?

Results from the newest Greater Good quiz reveal where there's room for improvement in happiness at work.

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Kira M. Newman

Most of us would like to be happier at work—to be able to say that the hours and effort that we dedicate to it truly contribute to how happy we are in life.

How do we get there? Like happiness overall, happiness at work does not mean trying to be cheerful and enthusiastic all the time. According to research, workplace happiness is much deeper. In the Greater Good Science Center’s series of courses on the Science of Happiness at Work, we offer an organizing framework—called PERK—that distills happiness at work into key constructs that can be strengthened:

Purpose: Feeling that your work aligns with core values and meaningfully contributes to something beyond yourself.Engagement: Feeling curious, interested, and inspired; experiencing flow; and being dedicated to making progress at work. Resilience: Being able to handle setbacks and diff…

Unexpected Art in Unexpected Places

What happens when we look more closely, whether with the naked eye or equipment? Incredible details come into focus, bringing with them the possibility of beauty and interest we might never have conceived of. Imagine what would occur if you suddenly zoomed in on all those things you have lying around your house and studio or rusting outside. What new art might be inspired by such "stuff"? Mirka Knaster shares more in this piece.

Why Should You Go to Therapy?

Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains what therapy does for you and what it reveals about the trials of being human.

By Jill Suttie

If you’ve never been to a therapist, you might wonder what people get out of talking once a week to a near stranger about their struggles in life.

Plenty, it turns out.

Therapists guide people through some of the most personal and painful experiences of their lives, helping them overcome depression, live with loss, and stop self-destructive behavior (among other issues). But, while the results of therapy are often impressive, the process can seem mysterious—even miraculous—when you don’t understand what’s happening in the room.

Enter Lori Gottlieb’s new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Gottlieb, an experienced psychotherapist and author of The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column, gives readers front-row access to what goes on in therapy by following the narratives of four of her clients. We see how she approaches her interactions with them…

Uncomfortable Place of Uncertainty

"We weren't trained to admit we don't know. Most of us were taught to sound certain and confident, to state our opinion as if it were true. We haven't been rewarded for being confused. Or for asking more questions rather than giving quick answers. We've also spent many years listening to others mainly to determine whether we agree with them or not. We don't have time or interest to sit and listen to those who think differently than we do." Margaret Wheatley shares more in this excerpt.