Showing posts from June 28, 2020

How Volunteering Can Help Your Mental Health

According to new research, people become happier over time after they start volunteering.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the practice of social distancing, creating feelings of stress and isolation in many of us. Some groups have been hit particularly hard, including the elderly, parents juggling work and child care, and people who have lost their jobs. Against this backdrop, many people have turned to volunteering to help make a difference, even at a distance.

By Elizabeth Hopper

New research suggests that volunteers aren’t just helping the communities they serve. People who volunteer actually experience a boost in their mental health—good news at a time when more than a third of Americans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

In a study published this year in the Journal of Happiness Studies, researchers examined data from nearly 70,000 research participants in the United Kingdom, who received surveys about their volunteering habits and their mental health, including…

Bringing the Wisdom of Mothers to the Racial Divide

How do we pick up the pieces and move forward to a better world, together? Dr. Lynda sat down with the brilliant Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman to talk about how her work turning around some of the most dangerous schools in America can inform how we start the conversations we need to have to create a better future from this moment in history.

What if we could lift ourselves above the fear, anger, and chaos of our times and see it all as a giant jigsaw puzzle? Are all the pieces we need to solve the racial divide sitting there, right before our eyes?

By Dr. Lynda

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The Dynamic Mystery of Relationships

"The more open, present and awake we are, the less objective our relationships become. So-called relationship becomes simple relating. The noun transforms into a verb -- an apparent thing opens up into an alive process. If I no longer take myself as an object, I also cannot make you into one. Nor can I create what is happening between us into something. We may call it friendship but it is really a dynamic mystery, a lively, unfolding, open-ended process of listening, sharing, and discovery."

John Prendergast shares more in this excerpt from his book, "In Touch: How to Tune in to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself".

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What Do Confederate Monuments Reveal About American Psychology?

The fear of death can cause us to cling to things that symbolize our worldview.

As the United States approaches Independence Day 2020, Americans are tearing down monuments.

By Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton

They’re not usually monuments to the history of the United States—almost all of them represent leaders of another country, the Confederate States of America, which rose up against the United States to defend the right to own other human beings. Together with the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the movement against Confederate statues seems to provoke an existential angst among many European Americans.

“We are in midst of an ongoing rampage of nihilism and rank ignorance,” says right-wing commentator Rich Lowry in the National Review. Lowry isn’t alone.

Everywhere we look these days, Americans are confronted with reminders of our own mortality. As coronavirus case counts rise, the monuments of long-dead men to a long-defeated cause are falling—and social conflict and political polarization seem to …

The Most Marvelous Butts of the Ocean!

Make your next trip to the beach even more exciting by discovering the journey that the sand between your toes has gone through! Sometimes, the most important players in our lives are vastly overlooked. So today, we relish in the wonder of the sea cucumber: the most humble, hungry hot dog you’ll ever find saving the world!

Do you love long walks on the beach? The feeling of pressing your toes into the sand or spreading your towel out and enjoying your favorite beach read? Well, if you’ve ever relished in the wonders of sandy shores, you’ve been but one step removed from one of the ocean’s most important (yet vastly overlooked) heroes and their wonderful bums! Wanna meet them?

By Sam Burns

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Hidden Stories: Paintings by Diane Ding

Painter Diane Ding reflects, "Painting this series was a healing practice. I do my art and hope it can spark my imagination in new ways, and only then do I hope the work can spark reactions in others to inspire a love of life and of life's mysteries. Humans are imperfect in many ways, but we are, deep down, one and the same; we share blood from genes from long ago, and we have no true reason to dislike each other because, as we stand before God, we are all the same." More in this interview.

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Why Is COVID-19 Killing So Many Black Americans?

The answer, according to researchers, is racism. But the Black community is fighting back.

COVID-19 threatens the health of Americans in a way that hasn’t happened since the Spanish Flu in 1919. At this writing, it has killed half a million people around the world—a quarter of whom were Americans. The virus brought the economy to its knees, with unemployment rates and business closings that look more like the Great Depression than a mere downturn.

By Andrea Collier

But the suffering inflicted by COVID-19 is not evenly distributed. Black folks (and Latinos) are more likely to contract COVID-19, less likely to be tested and treated, and more likely to die, if they contract the virus. Why? Researchers are identifying many reasons—but most of them come down to a history of racism in the United States.

Researchers say we must not only look at race, but also the disparate conditions that come from living in poverty. They are calling for research that explores social differences in health and th…

The Caveman Leaving Hidden Wonders in New Mexico!

Can a man who digs elaborate caves for a hobby help us all find the work that feeds our soul? By encasing us in awe and wonder with his secret oasis carved throughout the hills of New Mexico, Ra Paulette might just point you down the right path!

Chiseling out expansive tunnels, echoing caverns, and towering trees from the sandstone of New Mexico’s hills isn’t a hobby that most of us would pick up, but that doesn’t stop Ra Paulette! Since 1990, he has been digging out elaborate caves and abandoning them for others to enjoy. Meeting this caveman will surely have you diving into your own favorite activity once again!

By Sam Burns

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A Pandemic Poem-Prayer

Phyllis Cole-Dai is a writer and poet, perhaps best known for 'The Emptiness of Our Hands', a spiritual memoir chronicling the 47 days that she and co-author James Murray practiced "being present" while living by choice on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. On her 58th birthday earlier this year, she wrote 58 one-line pandemic prayers and crafted them into a poem.

May we all survive to another birthday.
May we greet the sun each morning and rejoice in being alive.
May we breathe the miracle of fresh air.
May we honor every moment as a chance to begin anew.
May we root our faith in richer soil than worry.
May we let separation knit us close.
May we see faces besides our own in the mirror.
May we recognize all people as kin.
May we cherish them as much as ourselves.
May we stay home to keep them safe.
May we nurture the body that houses our soul.
May we have adequate shelter, food, water, medicine, and rest.
May we share freely from our abundance.
May we resist the temptation to ho…

How the Pandemic Can Teach Kids About Compassion

What if this crisis became an opportunity for children to deepen their sense of care?

As a home-bound parent with a preschooler, I’ve felt an array of emotions over the past few months during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve felt sadness and worry about how many people are becoming ill, while being confounded by trying to juggle homeschooling and my own work responsibilities.

By Maryam Abdullah

But I’ve also felt a great deal of gratitude for the kindnesses that have punctuated so many of my days lately, like when a neighbor left herbs from her garden at my gate or when a faraway friend whom I haven’t heard from in years sent text messages of love.

These positive experiences have affirmed to me that when times are difficult, our common human response is not to show reckless disregard of others but to show compassion.

We often assume that emergencies automatically lead to panic, but research consistently shows that people tend to act in solidarity and turn toward each other with a sense of t…

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

by Alice Walker

I am the youngest of eight siblings. Five of us have died. I share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition, especially in these times of war, poverty, environmental devastation, and greed that are quite beyond the most creative imagination. Sometimes it all feels a bit too much to bear. Once a person of periodic deep depressions, a sign of mental suffering in my family that affected each sibling differently, I have matured into someone I never dreamed I would become: an unbridled optimist who sees the glass as always full of something. It may be half full of water, precious in itself, but in the other half there’s a rainbow that could exist only in the vacant space.

I have learned to dance.

It isn’t that I didn’t know how to dance before; everyone in my community knew how to dance, even those with several left feet. I just didn’t know how basic it is for maintaining balance. That Africans are always dancing (in their ceremonies and ritu…

What Did Sisyphus Dream Of?

"In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned by Zeus to endlessly try to push a large rock to the top of a hill, an activity Zeus had rigged so that as it neared the top, the rock would roll away from Sisyphus. The story captures the ultimate in frustration and activities that take all of our energy but with no end in sight. The whole exercise was rigged against Sisyphus from the outset. The poor sod was never going to beat gravity. Even though it was Zeus' punishment for Sisyphus' supposed hubris, you have to feel for the guy. Indeed if you've been involved in activism or campaigning or activism on climate change or any of a range of other issues, you're probably finding yourself identifying with him right now." Rob Hopkins is a cofounder of Transition Town Totnes and Transition Network. The Transition Town movement is an international network of grassroots projects that aim to foster local ecological resilience and self-sufficiency. He shares mo…

How to Support Antiracism in Yourself & in the World

"Today, the serious and deadly problems caused by our racism are even more obvious than they were in 2016, and as people in the United States and across the world gather to protest racism and police brutality, I thought it might help to give you good things to read, people to follow, organizations to support, and ideas for creating the kind of serious structural change that's required for an antiracist United States to emerge." Pioneering educator, researcher and author Karla McLaren shares more.

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Discover the Weird and Wonderful World of Cheese!

Is cheese the great unifying force? Travel the world of this dairy delight with us and you may find your answer! Whether from donkeys in Serbia or with maggots in Italy, cheese around the globe is as diverse and exciting as the cultures it has sustained for generations!

Soft, hard, powdered, melted, fried, baked, string, with maggots or without, there’s a cheese out there for everyone! All around the world, people have been transforming milk into life-sustaining packets of goudaness that delight the taste buds. So, let’s go on a global journey to explore some of our most incredible varieties, from the world’s best tasting cheese to cheese made from donkey milk and get a glimpse at how they get made!

By Sam Burns

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