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Showing posts from November 8, 2020

How Mullets Saved This Australian Town!

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How can a hairstyle straight out of the 80s save an entire town? Well, just look at what happens when 200 people proudly sporting mullets all come together! This is how some creative thinking brought a town back from the brink. Have you ever been surprised when a huge problem has a super simple fix? After an economic crisis struck their town, the residents of Kurri Kurri, Australia found themselves struggling. But an unlikely superhero came onto the scene to turn it all around; one that was all business in the front and party in the back! Oh yeah, that’s right—this town was saved by the mullet. By Sam Burns Read Article

Friendships Shaped by a Pair of Scissors

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Since 2014, Backalley Barbers has been offering free haircuts in Geylang, Singapore, for impoverished persons in nursing homes, migrant worker shelters, and rental communities. Young volunteers learn basic hair cutting skills from professionals, and then offer these skills to community members who cannot afford a haircut. The conversations that take place in the process lead to lasting friendships and many shared experiences, building community, one haircut at a time. Watch Video

10 Ways Your Brain Reacts to Uncertain Times

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Neuroscientist Amishi Jha explains how the pandemic is hijacking our brain's attention. Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity. In my lab at the University of Miami, these four words (shorthanded to “VUCA”) describe the type of high-stress, high-demand scenarios that can rapidly degrade one of our most powerful and influential brain systems: our attention . By Amishi Jha My research team and I study people who regularly experience VUCA conditions as part of their jobs—soldiers, firefighters, organizational leaders, and more. We investigate the powers and vulnerabilities of the attention system, pinpoint the forces that degrade and weaken attention, and look for ways to protect and strengthen it. Right now, nine months into a grueling and unpredictable global pandemic, we are all living in VUCA conditions. Compounding the constant health and economic concerns, we are facing unprecedented levels of social upheaval, envi

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom for a Time of Pandemic & Beyond

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"A time of crisis and chaos, the kind that a pandemic brings, is, among other things, a time to call on our ancestors for their deep wisdom. Not just knowledge but true wisdom is needed in a time of death and profound change, for at such times we are beckoned not simply to return to the immediate past, that which we remember fondly as the normal, but to reimagine a new future, a renewed humanity, a more just and therefore sustainable culture, and one even filled with joy. Julian of Norwich (1342ca.1429) is one of those ancestors calling to us today. After all, she lived her entire life during the worst pandemic in European history the Bubonic plague that killed 40-50% of the population." Matthew Fox shares more in this excerpt from his new book on Julian of Norwich.   Read Article

For a More Empathic World, People Have to Choose Empathy

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Most people know how to feel others’ pain. But they have to be motivated to do it. In the late 1990s, Najah Bazzy, a nurse in Dearborn, Michigan, made a house call to an Iraqi refugee family to check on their premature baby. When she arrived, she was shocked by how barren their home looked. The family had almost nothing: no stove, no fridge. The adults slept on the carpet. The baby—who’d gone home on a ventilator—was in a laundry basket, wrapped up in a towel. By Elizabeth Svoboda Viscerally feeling the family’s hardship, Bazzy swung into action. She collected her relatives’ extra appliances and household goods and dropped them off that same day. But the impact of her house call lingered much longer. As Bazzy reflected on the widespread poverty in her city, she promised herself she’d work to spare other families the pain she’d witnessed. We tend to think about empathy as an automatic response, like a parachute that deploys when we see someone in distress

Where Do Birds Really Go When They Migrate?

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If you’ve ever watched a mother bird raise a nest of babies, you’ve probably wondered where they all go come fall. One feather has now answered our curiosity! Millions of birds leave our backyards in the fall. Where do they go and come back from twice a year?! This question has been stumping researchers for decades! But with just a single tail feather and the power of DNA sequencing, researchers are uncovering mysteries that could save our favorite flying friends! By Sam Burns Read Article

Re-Inventing Work: An Interview with Matthew Fox

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An Episcopalian priest and theologian, Matthew Fox began his career as a member of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church but was expelled in 1993 by Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI. Among Foxs teachings the Catholic hierarchy found most objectionable was his belief in original blessing, which became the title of one of his most popular books. The concept was in direct contravention of the Roman Catholic doctrine that people are born into original sin. Fox was also criticized for his embrace of the divine feminine and his acceptance of homosexuality. Read Article

Heroines of Health

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This moving documentary by Lisa Russell shares "three of the many untold stories that hold the key to unlocking better health for more people around the world." The three women, one a medical doctor and teacher from India, another a midwife assistant from Indonesia, and the third the director of a community health center in Kenya, though worlds apart, share a common journey to bring hope to women and children in their communities. Their individual commitments to follow their dreams of helping others to live longer and better have involved separation from family members, long travel, countless hours of study and hard work, and many other challenges. The looks on their faces and on the faces of those whose lives they have enriched speak volumes about the value of their sacrifices and of the work of their hearts and hands. Read Article

Is the Way You Breathe Making You Anxious?

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Breathing sets off a cascade of physical changes in the body that promote either stress or relaxation. Scrolling social media, amid frantic election-related posts and news of escalating COVID-19 cases, you may have come across a friend reminding everyone to just breathe . In Greater Good’s advice for Americans post-election, UC Berkeley professor john a. powell first suggested we “take a breath or two; get grounded in body, mind, and spirit.” By Kira M. Newman But can just-breathing really make a difference? In his new book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art , journalist James Nestor argues that modern humans have become pretty bad at this most basic act of living. We breathe through our mouths and into our chests, and we do it way too fast. There’s even a phenomenon called “email apnea,” where multitasking office workers breathe irregularly and shallowly, or even hold their breath, for half a minute or more while glued to their devices. Besides a

The Surprising Ways Your Grandparents’ Experiences Shaped You!

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Did you know you can inherit your ancestors experiences?! New science is emerging that helps us understand ourselves in ways that connect us to the experiences of our parents and grandparents like never before! You know that you get your eyes from your grandmother and your smile from your father, but did you know that you might also be able to inherit your ancestors’ experiences? Researchers are now looking into the unseen ways the major life events our parents and our grandparents lived through could be passed down to us in unexpected ways. And knowing this can help us live better lives now! By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber Read Article

Two Words That Can Change a Life

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"As I walked into the parking lot, I spotted the woman returning her shopping cart, and I remembered something in my purse that could help her in a different but hopefully profound way. It wasn't a handful of cash or a lead on a job for her husband, but maybe -- just maybe -- it would make her life better. My heart pounded as I approached the woman. "Excuse me," I said, my voice trembling a bit. "I couldn't help overhearing what you said to the cashier. It sounds like you're going through a really hard time right now. I'm so sorry. I'd like to give you something." And I handed her a business-sized card. When the woman read the card's only two words, she began to cry. And through her tears, she said, "You have no idea how much this means to me."" Cheryl Rice shares more in this piece about the two simple words that touched her life and then rippled out to touch many others. Read Article

Six Ways to Help Your Students Make Sense of a Divisive Election

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The election is over, but many young people will need help understanding what just happened. By Julie Halterma On the morning after the election, I joined a high school history class that was meeting virtually on Zoom. After a few minutes of quiet journal reflection, the teacher asked students to share any questions or reflections they had about the election. Responses started to pop up in the chat: “What I feel right now is a lot of anxiety.” “I heard that Trump said to stop counting votes. Can he do that? That seems really bad!!” “When are we going to know who our next president is?” Even now that major news outlets are saying Mr. Biden has won, we are facing a period of continued uncertainty and potential unrest, as misinformation about the election spreads and ballot counting (or recounting) continues in several states. Your students are likely feeling a range of emotions about the election and may also need help finding a

Going Batty for Batfish! Your Unusual Guides to Possibility

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When we experience awe, it actually changes our perspective on the world. So, are you ready to see something “awe” some?! We need look no further than the weird and wonderful world below the sea in order to meet a creature that will have us seeing that almost anything is possible! At first glance, this strange creature may look like an angry clown who you just cut in line at the grocery store, but get ready to be amazed and join us for an adventure to the ocean floor. I can’t think of anything better qualified to help us find more wonder and joy in our lives! By Sam Burns Read Article

The Gentle Art of Blessing

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"On awakening, bless this day, for it is already full of unseen good which your blessings will call forth, for to bless is to acknowledge the unlimited good that is embedded in the very texture of the universe and awaiting each and all." Pierre Pradervand is the author of 'The Gentle Art of Blessing: A Simple Practice That Will Transform You and Your World.' He posits that making the conscious choice to bless every person or being in your life can truly make a world of difference. Read Article