Showing posts from August 4, 2019

A Green Approach to Gun Control

Tajinder Singh, 47, a farmer in the North Indian state of Punjab, applied for a gun license. He told the authorities that he needed a revolver for self-defense. While tending to his 20 acres of land, he often had to walk long hours to reach home after nightfall. He wanted to protect himself from wild animals and bands of armed robbers. Once the background checks were completed in June this year, Singh was told he had to fulfill one more condition to get his gun. He had to submit two photos: One showing him planting 10 saplings on his property, and then another with the thriving trees one month later.

A Young Poet Tells the Story of Darfur

Emtithal "Emi" Mahmoud writes poetry of resilience, confronting her experience of escaping the genocide in Darfur in verse. She shares two stirring original poems about refugees, family, joy and sorrow, asking, "Will you witness me?

How to Nurture Stick-to-itiveness in Kids


Mercy Beyond Borders

Sister Marilyn Lacey is committed to go where the need is great, which, in the case of Mercy Beyond Borders, includes South Sudan and Haiti. The mission of Mercy Beyond Borders is to forge ways for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect and lead by providing educational, economic and empowerment opportunities, bringing hope to areas where there was no hope. This hope is witnessed in the faces of a large group of girls attending school for the first time. And it is seen in the light beaming from an 89 year old woman whose dream was to be able to write her name before she dies, when she fulfills that dream.

How to Renew Your Compassion in the Face of Suffering

Mass suffering can make us feel helpless. Focusing on solutions, rather than emotions, may be the way out.

By Elizabeth Svoboda

If you’re concerned about the humane treatment of migrants arriving at our borders, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Children separated from their families. Disease spreading rampant through detention facilities. People unable to shower for more than a month. A Border Patrol chief joining a racist Facebook group. And we are now also being confronted with anti-immigrant terrorism. No wonder so many of us feel we can’t process all that’s happening.

Emotionally checking out from human rights abuses doesn’t make you morally deficient. It’s a very understandable response, one probably rooted in our evolutionary past. Since we’re wired to help others in a small group context, it makes sense that we’re overwhelmed when confronted with thousands of suffering people. The more people who are in need, the less likely many of us are to want to help—a phenomenon called compas…

Toni Morrison: On Borders and Belonging

"What does home mean and where do we anchor our belonging in a world of violent alienation and alienating violence? I use "alien" here both in the proper etymological sense rooted in the Latin alienus, "belonging to another," and in the astrophysical sense of "from another planet," "not human," for the combined effect of a dehumanizing assault on belonging for those treated and mistreated as alien to a country or a community. That, and some hint of the remedy for it, is what Toni Morrison (February 18, 1931 -- August 5, 2019) -- one of the titanic thinkers and writers of our time, and the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature -- returns to again and again..."

Five Ways for Workplaces to Support Employee Happiness

The latest research on well-being at work can help your organization thrive.

By Elise Proulx

Most of us spend the lion’s share of our waking hours focusing on work. If we’re not at work, we’re thinking about it. We rush off to answer emails after the kids are in bed. Some of us never turn off.

No wonder the workplace loomed large at this summer’s 6th World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association. From fostering purposeful work to encouraging authenticity in the workplace, the Congress offered research and practical tips on the keys to well-being at work.

Here are some of our biggest takeaways that can help your organization support employees and help us all thrive in our professional lives.

1. Character strengths matter in the workplace
We all have our character strengths. Australian organizational psychologist Aylin Dulagil describes them as “innate, malleable, positive characteristics that are enjoyable, come easily, and are energizing.”

Strengths like curiosity, cr…

Jane Baker: An Artist Who Gives It All Away

One day, San Francisco artist Jane Baker realized something. Now she operates from a new place -- new, but also very old: "I don't know art history that well, but it is only in the last few hundred years that art has been a commodity. Before that, most artists were doing it out of their love for, frankly, for God or their church. Most of the art that's been made has not been made for money. So I'm standing with a group that has been around for a lot longer! It's not a weak, touchy-feely place. What I've started feeling is that, yes, they really knew what was right! And it lasted a long time before this particular period we are all in." Baker has a practice of donating one hundred percent of the income from sales of her artwork to charities. She shares more in this engaging interview.

Three Emerging Insights About Happiness

Researchers are exploring how our everyday thoughts and feelings contribute to our well-being.

By Kira M. Newman

Last month, researchers from over 60 countries gathered at the International Positive Psychology Association’s 6th World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, to share cutting-edge insights on the science of well-being.

Their findings added depth and complexity to our understanding of the major keys to a flourishing life. In Melbourne, we heard about when kindness makes us happier—but also when it doesn’t. We learned how the elderly can be meaningfully engaged in helping others. We discovered many concrete ways to boost our sense of meaning in life, and how cultural differences influence the pursuit of happiness. Researchers also addressed modern obstacles to happiness—from the way we’re hooked on technology to a widespread sense of disconnection and loneliness.

However, there were several insights presented at the World Congress that stood out to me as new or surprising. Here are…

Working for Peace in a Violent World

"The work of Joseph Campbell and countless others makes it clear that the destructive aspects of the world, and the knowledge that each of us will die, has forever been a deep challenge to reconcile with a celebration of life. It's not getting easier. There's a web of relationships in a globalized world that make it difficult to live without being destructive. Even when sincerely striving to be peaceful, we may still be violent. When trying to help, we can cause harm. The laptop I use to write about peace runs on Congolese conflict minerals. Even something as simple as a toothbrush has a vast meaning when we explore it." So where do we start? Matthew Legge shares more in this excerpt from his new book, "Are We Done Fighting?"

Gratefulness Embraces Parkinson's

"I was diagnosed with Parkinson's just over three years ago when I was 50. Receiving the diagnosis from a matter-of-fact doctor was a traumatizing experience, and I felt that my life and my family's identity had collapsed. Life was difficult and still is difficult, yet something amazing is beginning to happen. I have slowly started to shift my attitude from the anger, fear, and loneliness brought on by the Parkinson's and the grim predictions of a Parkinson's future to a more body-based feeling of gratefulness for the wholeness of life as I experience it second by second. I have discovered not only profound wonder and indebtedness for the gift of my life and relationships but also a physical softening in the area of my heart and a growing ability to feel with my body joy, awe, and the interconnectedness that is hidden in plain sight all around us." Tim Roberts shares more.