Showing posts from July 19, 2020

The Daring Tradition of a Very Special Lemon Farmer

There is a remarkable person teetering on cliff edges to get to the fruit of a tree who has something to teach us all.  Gigino the Lemon Man is 80-years-old and may be the best (and last) person to show us why some traditions can add all the sweetness we need to life.

Among the cliff-edge trellises and tumbling tendrils of green on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, you may spy an 80-year-old man climbing high atop heavily laden branches, tending to ancient lemon trees whose roots hold themselves, their caretakers, and the coast itself in place. Without this flying farmer, his giant, special lemons, and the generations that came before him, this beautiful place in our world would cease to exist! Here’s why some traditions are worth the risk.

By Sam Burns

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How Trauma & Resilience Cross Generations

"The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. She has studied the children of Holocaust survivors and of pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks. But her science is a form of power for flourishing beyond the traumas large and small that mark each of our lives and those of our families and communities." More in this interview from On Being.

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Random Acts of Kindness Education Workshops 48 3 4

We often think of kindness as something a person has, or doesn't. But kindness, like all actions and skills, can be taught and has to be practiced. The Random acts of Kindness Foundation has a workshop for doing just that!

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How Stress Could Affect Your Genes

Discrimination is a form of stress—and it may lead to gene expression that puts you at higher risk of disease, explains April D. Thames, Ph.D., director of the Social Neuroscience in Health Psychology Lab at the University of Southern California.

By Jane Park

Can Squirrels Outsmart a NASA Engineer?

These fuzzy backyard bandits are breaking into bird feeders across the globe! But can this former NASA engineer design a squirrel-proof bird feeder? Check out this ingenious course he came up with, meet the contenders, and prepare for the most amazing—and hilarious—look at how our squirrel friends work their magic!

Did you know you have a fearless, tightrope-walking, puzzle solver living next door? In fact, you probably have more than a few multi-talented squirrel friends in your neighborhood! But you’ll appreciate them in an entirely new way when you see how former NASA engineer, Mark Rober, put his backyard pals to a test that has captured the attention of over 32 million people!

By Sam Burns

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Reduced or Realigned?

Right now life is reduced to the essentials: to caring for loved ones, finding food, getting exercise without being with other people, staying well, celebrating those who help and mourning those who have succumbed to illness. But let's think of this as a realignment rather than a reduction. Lucky for us, being reduced to the essentials gives us the opportunity reconnect with who I am beyond the everyday self. Today I am looking for the poise that connects my day-to-day self with my Deeper Being in order to find a place of rest within. Because, in fact, She is always there, waiting for me to turn in her direction.

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Eight Keys to Bridging Our Differences

There are many misconceptions about bridging differences, so we consulted with researchers and practitioners to clarify what it is—and what it isn’t.

Are you a Bridger?

The two of us would like to think we are. After all, over the past two years, we’ve helped to lead the Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences initiative, which has been exploring the keys to positive dialogue and understanding across lines of race, religion, political ideology, and more.

By Scott Shigeoka, Jason Marsh

Yet this work has raised some challenging questions for us. Does “bridging differences” mean that we paper over social injustice in pursuit of social harmony? Does it require us to sacrifice our ideals in order to always find common ground with others? Or to accommodate views or behavior that we find abhorrent?

These questions have taken on even greater urgency over the past several months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a reckoning with systemic racism in this country and all of the inequitie…

The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity

"Leadership demands courage. You have to make good decisions while balancing inevitable tensions and knowing when to take risks. You need to keep your values in sight regardless of the pressures around you. At its core, leadership is a daily ongoing practice, a journey toward becoming your best self and inviting others to do the same. And that's where The Courage Way comes in. It's a guide to leadership that shows how to access and draw upon courage in all that you do. It has its roots in the work of Parker J. Palmer-- who, in fifty years of teaching, speaking, and writing, has explored the human spirit and its role in life and leadership --and in the Center for Courage & Renewal's Circle of Trust approach. Its exploration of the inner life of leadership will equip and inspire leaders in any setting so that they can orient themselves, their lives, and their work toward greater courage, wholeness, and integrity." Here is an excerpt.

Excerpted from

How Does COVID-19 Affect Trust in Government?

A new study from New Zealand finds that a decisive government response to the virus increased patriotism and trust.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s trust in government and their leaders?

By Jill Suttie

In one country, according to a new study, decisive action increased people’s sense of unity, patriotism, and confidence in their government.

Researchers based at the University of Auckland had been gathering information for 11 years on the social, psychological, and physical health of 60,000 New Zealanders as part of a study called “The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS).” When the viral outbreak occurred, they had a ready way to compare pre- and post-lockdown social attitudes.

About 18 days after lockdown orders took effect, the researchers surveyed 1,000 or so NZAVS participants about how they were doing and their levels of trust in their government, in science, and in the police. Then, they compared their answers to those of different NZAVS participants who’d …

The Undergarment that Could Save Your Life!

What if something you already wear on your body every day could actually save your life? Well, it’s not that far off! We’re introducing you to a young man who is reinventing the way we look at our undergarments. Meet Julian Rios Cantu, a loving son who is about to change the world of women’s health as we know it—with a brazier!

What if there was a way to detect cancer, simply by wearing a lightweight piece of clothing? You don’t need to pinch yourself—this daydream is in the works to become reality! Thanks to an innovative young man with endless love for his mother, people all over the world will soon be able to take back control over their health in ways that have never been seen before. Strap in my friends, we’re about to learn how a bra can save your life!

By Renee Laroche-Rheaume

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John Lewis on Love & the Seedbed of Personal Strength

"Once in a generation, if we are lucky, someone comes about who in every aspect of their being models for us how to do that, how to be that how to place love at the center, the center that holds solid as all around it breaks, the solid place that becomes the fort of what is unbreakable in us and the fulcrum of change. Among those rare, miraculous few was John Lewis (February 21, 1940 - July 17, 2020)..."

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Find Purpose by Connecting Across the Generations

Relationships with people of different ages can bring meaning, joy, and a better world.

Vy Higginsen got the nickname “Mama Vy” from one of the first students to show up for Sing Harlem Choir, a program she launched in New York in 2006. She’s been Mama Vy to thousands of teenagers ever since.

By Marci Alboher

After an illustrious career in entertainment and magazines, Higginsen was consumed with the idea of exposing young people to the gospel music she grew up with. But it’s always been about more than music.

Higginsen is helping teenagers “find inspiration and information to survive using the music that helped an earlier generation,” she says. Her after-school program is a way for young people to develop their voice (as singers and leaders) and to find role models who aren’t their parents.

While Higginsen surrounds herself with teens, many older adults don’t even run into teenagers unless they live or work with them. In fact, in American society today, people young and old tend to congreg…

Talking White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo

"I grew up poor and white. While my class oppression has been relatively visible to me, my race privilege has not. In my efforts to uncover how race has shaped my life, I have gained deeper insight by placing race in the center of my analysis and asking how each of my other group locations have socialized me to collude with racism. In so doing, I have been able to address in greater depth my multiple locations and how they function together to hold racism in place. I now make the distinction that I grew up poor and white, for my experience of poverty would have been different had I not been white." 

This transcript of a Zeit Campus interview with Robin DiAngelo, the author of "White Fragility:Why It's So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism" shares more.

So, what is white fragility?

In a nutshell, it’s the defensive reactions so many white people have when our racial worldviews, positions, or advantages are questioned or challenged. For a lot of…