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Showing posts from October 18, 2020

Shelter for the Heart and Mind

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"How can we keep walking forward, and even find renewal along the way, in this year of things blown apart? How can we hold to our sense of what is whole and true and undamaged, even in the face of loss? These are some of the questions Sharon Salzberg, a renowned teacher of meditation and Buddhist practices, has been taking up in virtual retreats this year, which have helped ground many on hard days. She teaches how to stay present to the world while learning kindness toward yourself." Read Krista Tippett's interview with Sharon Salzberg here. Read Article

The Lost Greek Word That Explains Our Pandemic Emotions

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The boredom, fear, uncertainty, and exhaustion we feel has a name. With some communities in rebooted lockdown conditions and movement restricted everywhere else, no one is posting pictures of their sourdough. Zoom cocktail parties have lost their novelty; Netflix can only release so many new series. The news seems worse every day, yet we compulsively scroll through it. By Jonathan L. Zecher We get distracted by social media, yet have a pile of books unread. We keep meaning to go outside but somehow never find the time. We’re bored, listless, afraid, and uncertain. What is this feeling? John Cassian, a monk and theologian, wrote in the early 5th century about an ancient Greek emotion called acedia. A mind “seized” by this emotion is “horrified at where he is, disgusted with his room. . . . It does not allow him to stay still in his cell or to devote any effort to reading.” He feels: such bodily listlessness and yawning hunger as though he were worn by

Meet the Unexpected Monster of the Ancient Americas

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They were once the size of elephants and others lived at sea, so what happened to the massive number of fantastical sloths that once dotted the landscapes of the Americas?! Once upon a time, a massive creature roamed the Americas. With gigantic claws and confusingly large limbs, its enormous size puzzled and even struck fear into the hearts of American explorers. What was this giant creature? And what does it have to do today with, of all things, avocados ? This, my friends, isn’t some fairy tale, but a mystery you’ll want to come along with! By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber Read Article

Life in the Time of Cholera: Lessons on a Pandemic

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As sirens fill the streets of London, George Prochnik recalls a revolutionary poets account of the 1832 cholera pandemic that unfolded in Paris. While watching history repeat itself in devastating refrain, George wonders: What is hysteria? What is necessary passion and courage? How can we respond both lucidly and compassionately? Read Article

How to Build a More Inclusive Dinner Table

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How we eat, and who we eat with matters much more than we realize. For generations Muslims and Jews have often had to eat at separate tables, simply for lack of foods that are both Halal and Kosher. Mohammad Modarres was determined to change that. In creating interfaith foods that observe the dietary laws of both faiths, and making them more accessible, he hopes food can serve as a medium for cultivating peace and building greater cultural awareness and understanding. He shares more about his intriguing vision here. Watch Video

Can America Make a Course Correction? We’ve Done It Before

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A new book looks to the last century to understand how Americans can overcome the challenges they face today. The United States is facing a pandemic, civil unrest, climate devastation, and a damaged economy, all in the midst of rising social divisions and political polarization. How can we possibly turn things around and work toward a better future together? By Jill Suttie In their new book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again , Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett argue that, though the U.S. suffered a similar litany of political, economic, cultural, and social upheaval in the past, Americans were able to come together and form coalitions, creating the right ingredients for change. And, they believe, we can do it again. Garrett is a social entrepreneur and writer. Her coauthor, the political scientist Robert Putnam, is best known as the author of the 2000 book Bowling Alone , which influentially argued that

Find Calm at the Tip of Your Fingers!

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In the last few challenging months, have you noticed any activities that bring a sense of delight and wonder to your day? Something that quiets your mind and brings you joy? Here’s a little inspiration to get you started from one artist and her unique craft! What if we allow ourselves to explore the things that delight us more often? We often find ourselves busy, running from one thing to the next, or exhausted by the stress in our lives. But what if we paused, got curious about what brought us delight, and gave ourselves a moment to explore that feeling? Could we find ourselves happier, more refreshed? By Sam Burns Read Article

A Thank-You to Librarians Who Make Everyone Feel Welcome

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Children’s book author Yuyi Morales writes a gratitude letter to the librarian who had a big impact on her. By Jane Park

How Teachers Can Help Students With Special Needs Navigate Distance Learning

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Kids with disabilities are often shortchanged by pandemic classroom conditions. Here are three tips for educators to boost their engagement and connection. On day four of the second round of distance learning this fall, I saw something on my first-grade daughter’s Zoom meeting that broke my heart—both as a parent and as a school psychologist who supports students with special needs. By Rebecca Branstetter In a sea of happy little faces in a Brady Bunch–style gallery, I saw a white board with a message on it, propped up on a desk. I strained my eyes to see it, and it read: “I can’t learn like this. I have special needs.” The kid was nowhere in sight. A parent had given up trying to get their child to engage on Zoom. On day four. Distance learning is challenging for many learners, but can be even more challenging for students with learning, attention, or social-emotional needs. As educators and parents, we are tasked with an unprecedented cha

Gabriel Meyer: Stretching Identity

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"It's simple. The deepest stuff is the simplest stuff. You don't have to be complicated to be deep. You have to be simple to be deep. That's when you really connect. There are no intermediates in the neural reality. There's nobody. There's not like an agent between you and God. There are no booking agents for that. That's direct, you know?" Through his music, storytelling and more, sacred activist Gabriel Meyer Halevy conjures cross-cultural bridges across the world. He shares more from his one-of-a-kind journey in this interview. Read Article

Here’s Why We Should All Consider the Wonder of the Fig

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Can we learn a new life-hack from how figs have managed to survive for millions of years? These inside-out-flowers (that’s right), have had to forge a unique relationship with tiny wasps to help species thrive! Inside this delicious, jammy, culinary delight is a wild world you would never expect! Millions of years ago, when dinosaurs walked the Earth, a wasp and a fig tree teamed up for survival. But this isn’t your typical pollination story. No, no, no; these wasps—smaller than a gnat—embark on extraordinary quests in order to fulfill their life’s work! They have something to show us all about how to find success in our own lives. By Sam Burns Read Article

Bruce Lee's Never-Before-Seen Affirmations

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"Although Bruce Lee is best known for his legendary legacy in martial arts and film, he was also one of the most underappreciated philosophers of the twentieth century, instrumental in introducing Eastern traditions to Western audiences. A philosophy major in college, he fused ancient ideas with his own singular ethos informed by the intersection of physical and psychological discipline, the most famous manifestation of which is his water metaphor for resilience." Maria Popova shares more in this post. Read Article

The View From Here

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Barb Abelhauser worked in an office for 14 years. Then one day she quit, and decided to become a bridgetender on the Ortega River Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida. She planned to work there for a year. Eight years later, she shares the moments of beauty and intimacy of her job, and why she decided to stay. View Video