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Showing posts from November 15, 2020

A War Orphan Who Became a Ballerina

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Michaela DePrince is "the ballerina who flies." Orphaned at age three in war-torn Sierra Leone, DePrince was malnourished and sick when she and her "mat-mate" at the orphanage were adopted by Elaine and Charles DePrince of New Jersey. Inspired by a photograph of a ballerina in a magazine, DePrince trained as a ballet dancer and is now with the Dance Theater of Harlem. "I think no matter where you come from and what you've been through, having a loving family and support is all you need to achieve your goals." Watch Video

What Happens When Grandparents Help Raise Children

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New research reveals how grandparents play a key role as co-caregivers of their grandchildren across the globe. About 1 billion people in the world today are grandparents. Because humans are living longer, we are spending more time in the grandparenting role compared to past generations. What’s more, people are having fewer children overall, which means that grandparents can dedicate more distinct time to each grandchild. By Maryam Abdullah Grandparents have been universally important in families across time and their role continues to evolve, but their involvement in their grandchildren’s lives is different around the world. In the United States, roughly 10% of grandparents lived with a grandchild in 2012. In Africa and Asia, living in a multi-generational household is a common practice. A number of recent studies of families in several Asian countries help to shed light on how grandparents are involved in coparenting, which researchers define as the

Goodbye Green Screen — Here’s the Tech That’s Changing Film Forever!

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Movies have a way of taking us on journeys we could not have gone on without them. Now, those journeys just got a whole lot more real! We’re traveling to a galaxy far far away and discovering an other-worldly way of storytelling for at-home audiences everywhere! What if you could walk through 10 different worlds in a single day? Well, not long ago—and in a galaxy pretty close by —a new filmmaking technology started making this all possible. One minute you can march through desert sands, then moments later, race a speeder bike through ruby-hued salt flats! Step aside, green screens: we’re jumping into hyperdrive and welcoming The Volume to the stage! By Renee Laroche-Rheaume Read Article

Praying for the Earth

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The earth needs our prayers more that we know. It needs us to acknowledge its sacred nature, that it is not just something to use and dispose. Many of us know the effectiveness of prayers for others, how healing and help is given, even in the most unexpected ways. There are many ways to pray for the earth. It can be helpful first to acknowledge that it is not unfeeling matter but a living being that has given us life. And then we can sense its suffering: the physical suffering we see in the dying species and polluted waters, the deeper suffering of our collective disregard for its sacred nature. Would we like to be treated just as a physical object to be used and abused? Would we like our sacred nature, our soul, to be denied? Read Article

How to Feel Like You Have More Time

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A new book suggests people find greater well-being when they value time over money. There’s an old adage, “Time is money.” It implies that being idle is a waste of time and will lead to less success in life. By Jill Suttie But researcher Ashley Whillans of the Harvard Business School suggests that this is the wrong way of thinking. In her new book, Time Smart , she argues that prioritizing making more money over valuing our time has severe consequences that many of us underestimate. By understanding social science research better, she argues, we can start making smarter decisions around our time that will help us lead happier lives. Being “time smart” means not overscheduling ourselves, avoiding things that suck our time but provide little happiness or meaning, and making everyday decisions (and bigger, life-changing decisions) while keeping in mind the costs of lost time—from how we interact with our devices to which jobs we c

Larry Korn: One-Straw Messenger

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Larry Korn was a 26-year-old farmhand from the United States living and working at a communal farm in rural Kyoto in 1974 when he decided to go and see for himself an enigmatic farmer-philosopher he had been hearing about through the grapevine in Japan. Korn was met at the rice fields of the Fukuoka Shizen Noen (Fukuoka Natural Farm) by the farm's middle-aged proprietor, Masanobu Fukuoka. It was a meeting that would change both of their lives and alter the course of small-scale farming the world over. Fukuoka, by that time, had not plowed his rice fields for a quarter of a century, but was still producing healthy rice crops that could compete with or exceed those of other local farmers in both quality and quantity. Nor did he use any pesticides or artificial composting or do any weeding. "Do-nothing" farming, he called it--following nature's lead and leaving a minimal human imprint on the earth. Read Article

How Kindness Spreads in a Community

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A new study finds that when we witness kindness, we're inspired to be kind ourselves. When we see someone being kind or generous, it gives us a warm glow feeling inside. Researchers call this “moral elevation,” and it not only feels good but inspires us to want to do good ourselves. By Jill Suttie   But how much does witnessing good affect us—and why? A new analysis of decades of research aimed to find out the answers. The results suggest that our acts of kindness and generosity, online or offline, can have meaningful ripple effects in our communities. Researchers synthesized results from 88 experimental studies involving over 25,000 participants to measure how much our own altruism increases after witnessing someone acting “prosocially”—for example, comforting someone who is crying, donating to charity, or acting cooperatively in a competitive game. In the studies, people would read about or see someone act in a kind and helpful way, and then have t

How Mindfulness Can Help Bridge Political Divides

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According to Jacob Hess, talking across our political differences is the hardest mindfulness practice of all. I first explored mindfulness intellectually, as an alternative to the predominant make-it-go-away narrative of depression treatment I explored in my dissertation research. But the first time I attended a mindfulness-based health interventions conference at the University of Massachusetts, my life changed forever. I saw mindfulness across the room for the first time, and the people were strangely, beautifully calm. I fell head over heels with the practice.   By Jacob Z. Hess   Later, I had an opportunity to co-facilitate a liberal-conservative dialogue class at the University of Illinois, gathering 10 left-leaning and 10 conservative-leaning students to talk about difficult issues they picked, including foreign policy, race, gay marriage, and abortion. There was plenty of nervousness and awkwardness as the conversations started, but by the

Hope for Koalas after the Devastating Australian Wildfires!

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What happened to the koalas that survived the fires in Australia earlier this year? This is not a story of sadness, but one that highlights the hope and goodwill of hundreds of thousands of people! When things seem at their worst, sometimes the best way to make the world seem right is to know who out there is helping. It may sound simple, but this practice of finding the “helpers” in chaos can help you to rebalance your view on the world. One of the best examples of this came in early 2020 when the world came to the rescue of one of the world’s most beloved creatures: the koala. By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber Read Article

Where Wonder Lives: Daily Practices for Cultivating the Sacred

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Fabiana Fondevila is a storyteller, activist and teacher from Argentina. Her upcoming book, 'Where Wonder Lives' invites readers on a unique journey through inner landscapes, kindling fresh awareness of life's mysteries. In the following excerpt she delves into humanity's age old search for meaning through two seemingly contradictory, yet deeply complementary paths. Read Article

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

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Dr. Elaine Aron is a clinical depth psychologist and the author of the seminal 1997 book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. With Sounds True, she has published The Highly Sensitive Person's Complete Learning Program: Essential Insights and Tools for Navigating Your Work, Relationships, and Life. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Aron about what it means to be a highly sensitive person and recent research into the phenomenon. They consider whether the trait is genetic or adaptive, as well as the various ways sensitive behaviors manifest in day-to-day life. They also discuss how best to approach romantic relationships with highly sensitive people and the possible social advantages of sensitivity. Finally, Dr. Aron shares the connection between extreme sensitivity and intuition, as well as attitudes necessary for embracing the entirety of your unique, sensitive self. Read Article

How to Overcome Your Reluctance to Ask for Help at Work

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People are very generous—if you ask. Here's how to make a thoughtful request. Jessica was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. She is a generous person by nature who had volunteered, as she often does, to help a stressed-out colleague. . . But what started out as a simple favor for a colleague in distress soon grew into a colossal headache for Jessica. By Wayne Baker “The additional workload didn’t seem overwhelming when I agreed to help,” Jessica told me. “But I quickly realized how time-consuming it was.” She began coming into the office early, staying late, and working through lunch to keep up with her existing job duties. She became resentful of the rest of her team for going out to lunch, or leaving work at 5:00 p.m. “I was even resentful when people stopped by my office to catch up!” she said. “A 15-minute conversation with a coworker meant 15 minutes I wouldn’t be able to spend with my family that evening.” Jessica needed some help

What Would You Do If You Stumbled Across This Person on Your Daily Commute?

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Looking to add a bit of joy to your day? Here’s a surprising artist that’ll have you rethinking how you can turn the most ordinary moments into extraordinary ones! Have you ever experienced the joy of stumbling upon a street performer—the color, sound and vibrancy of a musician, acrobat or dancer brightening up an otherwise mundane commute or street corner? Imagine the excitement if these artists created something specifically for you ! By Sam Burns Read Article

Remembering Our Way Forward

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"Perspective has carried me through a year that has been marked by the pandemics of Covid-19 and racism, political strife, and an escalating climate crisis. Ive held close as gently as possible reliable truisms: Change is the only constant . Life tends toward life . I affirm: I'm not alone. In the end, death comes to us all I have only to decide how to live life now. Showing up for myself, for others, and for what I care about with all my human imperfectness makes me more alive. I ask myself: What is the opportunity? What remains true?"  by Rose Zonetti These words certainly don’t solve the ongoing and pervasive strain, grief, and injustice faced around the world… but they keep me going. They reassure me, even give me hope. Nothing is truly unprecedented as the essence of mystery weaves its way into all that is. The wisdom that can guide our way is already there and always has been: It infuses everything; I simply have to find it.

The Soul of the Rose

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A bower of roses creates a special kind of sacred space, filled with a scent that can connect us to the past. Whether freshly cut and placed in a crystal vase with winter greens, or tumbling out of an old watering can, dried for a Victorian potpourri or the center of an herb filled tussie mussie, the rose connects us to our inner selves, to memories of another time, another place, as past and present merge. A dried pressed rose petal, falling out of a precious book, means someone was once deeply loved. Throughout the ages the rose has symbolized love, life, sexuality and passion, death, the sun, the moon, the heart, the soul, perfection itself. Hafiz, a Sufi poet, calls it the "heart enchanting flower."  Lucia Bettler shares more in this lovely meditation on the rose. Read Article