In Vesper Flights, Naturalist Helen Macdonald’s Imagination Takes Wing
Ableism Strikes Again!:
This deaf-blind Paralympian was told to navigate Tokyo alone. So she quit Team USA.
Sleep Hygiene Remains a Huge Problem for So Many:
Here’s What the Longest-Living People in the World Always Eat (and Drink) Before Bed For Restful Sleep
Returning to the Office Hybrid or Otherwise? Things to consider as you take care of your most important asset, your PEOPLE
Tips from the National Conflict Resource Center for Leaders in Organizations as We Foster our Teams
Your employees aren’t underperforming. They’re dealing with post-pandemic trauma
You’re still dealing with burnout the wrong way. Here are 3 tactics that will actually help
Hybrid Work Could Make You Really, Really Hate Wednesdays
Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week. The results…
+ Care to Support Soul Food Friday?
“7%” Written by a 90 year old…
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.”
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7 Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.
16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19.. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21 Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33 Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41 Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
Its estimated 93% won’t forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title ‘7%’.
I’m in the 7%. Friends are the family that we choose.
Communing with Nature
And we make fun of having bird brains!
Nature is Magical…
In Vesper Flights, Naturalist Helen Macdonald’s Imagination Takes Wing:
From observing a songbird migration atop the Empire State Building to marveling at the alien-like quality of European swifts, Macdonald says her new collection is like a Wunderkammer — a cabinet of wonders.
On why she describes swifts as the closest things to aliens on Earth–
“Well, they’re a bit like angels, too. I’m all over swifts. They’re just magical. So they’re incredibly aerial birds.
They very rarely land. European swifts, once the youngsters leave the nest, they don’t touch down at all for maybe two or three years. They live in the air as a fish would live in the ocean.
And because they’re so inaccessible to, you know, you can’t really see them up close, I was always astounded by them.
And I have an essay about this phenomenon called ‘A Vesper Flight,’ and it’s something that science has discovered quite recently.
One of the things I try and do in this book, you know, we so often think that science subtracts beauty from the world, but actually I think it just shows us more and more how astonishing everything is.
“So what these swifts do, they’ve discovered, is every morning and every evening the birds will climb up higher and higher into the sky and they’ll reach these impossible heights, thousands and thousands of feet up, and they reach the apex of these flights at nautical twilight.
And it turns out that one of the reasons they might be doing this is to find out exactly where they are. So they use the stars. They use polarization patterns in the sky. They can look out across the horizon and they can see oncoming weather systems and they can feel the wind from those clouds coming toward them. And then they decide what they’re going to do next, where they’re going to go. And they do that communally.
And this image of swifts communally deciding where they are and what they are going to do next is a really important theme for me in the sense that it seems that they’re a kind of fable of community.
Now we are all, you know, with the pandemic, with what’s happening, it’s a year where we haven’t been looking out to see our futures. And I don’t know, the swifts just seem like a really important symbol for me about how we can do that better.”
Your employees aren’t underperforming. They’re dealing with post-pandemic trauma For many employees, the pandemic was worse than any scary movie they could imagine and, by the American Psychological Association’s definition, traumatic. In layman’s terms, trauma is an emotional response to terrible, shocking, and/or life-changing events. Many of the direct effects of the pandemic, such as economic loss, prolonged social isolation or uncertainty, or death of a loved one all add to an employee’s psychological distress and could fall within this category.
You’re still dealing with burnout the wrong way. Here are 3 tactics that will actually help As companies grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic and try to make a way forward, work from home has emerged as a go-to strategy to minimizing burnout within organizations. While increasing workplace flexibilities is crucial to battling burnout in your organization, there are three vital elements often left out of the discussion. To create a workplace ready to tackle burnout, consider these three steps.
Your Soul Food for Friday July 16 2021: Want to Raise Successful Kids? Good Parenting, Pieces of Advice & Honoring Your Parents
Happy Soul Food Friday
On Good Parenting- MEsponsible:
Pieces of Advice I’d Like to Offer My Kids (And Yours) & Should Probably Take Myself:
Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most:
Man Honors His Farmworker Parents in Special Way After Graduating Medical School: ‘Victory Lap’
On Good Parenting- MEsponsible:
One day my dad said to her:
My mom did not sleep. She felt exhausted. She was irritable, grumpy, and bitter. She was always sick until one day, suddenly, she changed.
– I’ve been looking for a job for three months and I haven’t found anything, I’m going to have a few beers with friends.
My mom replied:
– It’s okay.
My brother said to her:
– Mom, I’m doing poorly in all subjects at the University.
My mom replied:
– Okay, you will recover, and if you don’t, well, you repeat the semester, but you pay the tuition.
My sister said to her:
– Mom, I smashed the car.
My mom replied:
– Okay daughter, take it to the car shop & find how to pay and while they fix it, get around by bus or subway.
Her daughter-in-law said to her:
– Mother-in-law, I came to spend a few months with you.
My mom replied:
– Okay, settle in the living room couch and look for some blankets in the closet.
All of us gathered worried to see these reactions coming from Mom.
We suspected that she had gone to the doctor and that she was prescribed some pills called “I don’t give a damn”… Perhaps she was overdosing on these!
We then proposed to do an “intervention” w/my mother to remove her from any possible addiction she had towards some anti-tantrum medication.
But then … she gathered us around her and my mom explained:
“It took me a long time to realize that each person is responsible for their life. It took me years to discover that my anguish, anxiety, my depression, my courage, my insomnia & my stress, does not solve your problems but aggravates mine.
I am not responsible for the actions of anyone & it’s not my job to provide happiness but I am responsible for the reactions I express to that.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that my duty to myself is to remain calm and let each one of you solve what corresponds to you.
I have taken courses in yoga, meditation, miracles, human development, mental hygiene, vibration and neurolinguistic programming and in all of them, I found a common denominator in them all…
I can only control myself, you have all the necessary resources to solve your own problems despite how hard they may be. My job is to pray for you, love on you, encourage you but it’s up to YOU to solve them & find your happiness.
I can only give you my advice if you ask me & it depends on you to follow it or not. There are consequences, good or bad, to your decisions and YOU have to live them.
So from now on, I cease to be the receptacle of your responsibilities, the sack of your guilt, the laundress of your remorse, the advocate of your faults, the wall of your lamentations, the depositary of your duties, who should solve your problems or spare a tire every time to fulfill your responsibilities.
From now on, I declare all independent and self-sufficient adults.
Everyone at my mom’s house was speechless.
From that day on, the family began to function better because everyone in the house knew exactly what it is that they needed to do.
For some of us this is hard because we’ve grown up being the caregivers feeling responsible for others. As moms & wives we are fixers off all things. We never want our loved ones to go through difficult things or to struggle. We want everyone to be happy.
But, the sooner we take that responsibility off of our shoulders & on to each loved one, the better we are preparing them to be MEsponsible.
We are not here on earth to be everything to everyone. Stop putting that pressure on yourself.
(shared from a friend on Facebook)
Pieces of Advice I’d Like to Offer My Kids (And Yours) & Should Probably Take Myself:
In my experience youth isn’t wasted on the young, but youth don’t seem to have the context, experience and perspective on a few of these topics so I raise them, not because I have any “delusions of brandeur” that they will be instantly considered, adopted and internalized, but because they remain important and by putting them out there, I reinforce their importance for me (and those that agree with me).
The digital age of distraction where the virtual world of bits and bytes has overtaken the real world of atoms and connection has been further exacerbated with the Covid pandemic. I find myself falling prey to the same things I have cautioned my kids and other young people about. Overextending ourselves as if we are ever-ready batteries that will run forever. On virtual calls all day and not taking time for the fundamentals like exercise, brain breaks, building fundamental habits like good diet & sleep and allowing these to “slip” in deference to the false prophets of achievement and “always on” cultural abnormalities, not to mention getting sold a bill of goods about what is normal, appropriate, humane and ethical just because purported leaders get away with it. Being digitally connected, but in truth finding ourselves totally disconnected from our own self and our higher purpose, from others and without authentic connection. Becoming so self-absorbed that we lose sight of the importance of faith (however we choose to believe), buying into a modern educational construct and in the process losing sight of the promise and possibility that real education portends. And cultivating an identity that God forbid, recognizes our vulnerabilities, and allows to show up with courage and consideration.
Here are the top ten, not necessarily in order with a bonus #11 if you read that far…
Rest does not lead to Rust!
Oscillation and recovery are key to good and sustained performance. Everyone focuses on the activity. Few of us attend to the rest required for optimum performance. Your recovery rate is a strong indicator of your overall performance, and investing in recovery is a smart strategy if you are in a marathon and not a sprint, which is true for most of life’s most significant journeys. Life is a marathon that lasts decades if we are lucky and live well.
Getting up tired is not healthy so sleep hygiene matters.
Baking downtime into any prolonged activity is wise as we were not designed to be in any singular condition for extended lengths of time.
Ironically, in other times, leisure time was a sign of success and status.
Today success and status are measured by how busy your calendar suggests you are, or how many zoom calls you are on every day.
This is social conditioning, “keeping up with the Joneses” and an achievement orientation taken to a very un-natural conclusion. Make conscious choices about your “habits of time”.
In the same vein, youth attempts to “trade” health for wealth, only to realize in later years that you cannot trade back, and all the wealth in the world can’t buy back your health.
Health of body, mind, emotions, and spirit are integral for your wellbeing.
Take a breath occasionally and recognize that the yogic breath begins with the exhalation and emptying out, before refilling and “inspiring life into oneself……
Daily exercise is a must. It activates your whole being and provides energy to meet your demands.
(When demands exceed resources = stress!)
Stress remains one of the largest contributors to dis-ease, and exercise can offset that. Stress over time results in burnout.
Choose varied activities that you enjoy and, if possible, incorporate social and relational factors as we all know the power and impact of good relationships and authentic connection, not to mention a buddy system to make sure you stay the course.
One step up from purely physical exercise is exercise with spiritual intention as we find embodied in the wisdom traditions. This will build more than just killer abs or bodacious buns, and you can get a two-fer in the time you invest in your exercise regimen.
Integrated exercise builds other meta-competencies and character (see next item) with qualities such as:
Awareness (of self, not-self and beyond)
This allows for a lifetime of practice towards self-mastery
Leverage game theory to help you get exercise to work for you, rather than just grind it out (What are the rules? How do I win? Who can I play with?)
Integrity of our soul not just gratification of our ego is the spirit warrior’s way. Ego fulfillment is transient. Your investment in Soul-work is permanent. Ego cares about “winning” but winning at all costs is most costly on yourself.
Honorable losses are better than dishonorable wins
If you are competing to grow (win/learn v. win/lose) this is how to measure real success:
I will say it again, Honorable losses are better than dishonorable wins.
How we treat ourselves and others when no one is watching is a hallmark of character.
To this end, if as a democratic society, we don’t equip our current and future global citizens with the tools and resources of civility, we are destined for unending conflict, increased violence and even death, as part of man’s inhumanity to man. (Note: this is one of the few times I don’t have to pause to see if I wanted to phrase this in more gender-neutral language, but no this is man’s undoing that could be remedied by woman’s rectifying)
Emile Durkheim, the founder of modern-day sociology said, “Ethics is the adherence to the unenforceable”.
Similarly, the wisdom traditions are a timeless and universal way to build character, not just ego-gratification…
Diet and what you consume, consumes you.
Food is energy. Food is life
Today we seem more meticulous about our phone chargers than our own energy body charger.
Create routines around your meals.
Stay regular (Ask those with digestive challenges, what a pain in the a$$ not being regular can be…)
Commune with Nature
Our modern lives have us largely disassociated from the natural rhythms, seasons and connection with our planet and our environment.
When we are in right relationship with nature, we find ourselves in a state of GRACE
Invest some time in nature every day. It helps the drop of water recognizes its intrinsic connection to the wave and the larger ocean. Disconnection and fragmentation of self are underlying conditions that we must recognize and address for our own wellbeing…
Seek, Find and Live Your Purpose
Maslow was not the only thinker who placed significance and purpose at the top of the human growth pyramid.
Whether we have no idea what our purpose is, purpose is emerging, we are clear on our purpose and working on operationalizing it in all aspects of ourselves, or we feel like we have clarity and mastery of our purpose and now our privilege and opportunity is to help others find theirs, purpose matters. A life without purpose is an unexamined and incomplete life.
Work born of productive human endeavor with the sense it gives you that you are earning your success AND serving others in alignment with your greatest gifts is noble work and nobility based on merit not genetics.
Tap the Un-Imaginable Power of Connection
As social beings, it is just not human contact and connection that feeds our soul, but rightly applied, the collective wisdom of community could be the breeding ground for our survival.
In Buddhist philosophy (not necessarily religion) they talk about the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (the teaching) and the Sangha (the community)
What if the next Buddha IS the Sangha? Could our collective wisdom be our salvation?
Individual achievement must take a back seat to the power and promise of collective intelligence and wisdom for our highest aspirations to manifest.
We > me.
Attend to the Wisdom Traditions of Yesteryear, as well as the Modern Science of Today
When modern science of the last 2,500 milliseconds, aligns with the wisdom traditions of the last 2,500 years, you know you are on to something.
In our quest to advance, let us not lose sight of the giants on whose shoulders, experiential learning, authentic embodied experiences, and timeless, universal lessons we arrived at today.
As Yogi Berra famously reminds us, “some of us are born on third base, and think we hit a triple!”
Know thy traditions, classics, history, and bring these timeless principles to your life, whatever your belief systems might be.
We need wise not smart, empathetic,compassionate, and courageous citizens to tackle the seemingly intractable long-term challenges we are facing societally and globally today
Head- Wisdom not just smarts
Gut- Courage and a bias towards (right) action
Find Your Own Personal Path to God, Light, Truth, Spirit or Whatever You Choose to Believe/Conceive and Call it
Try not to inoculate children with “religion” when they are too young. It will prevent them from catching the real thing when they grow up! (Anthony DeMello)
As more wars have been fought over the centuries in the name of religion, let us make sure that fighting for peace does not become like f’ing for virginity.
Again, the wisdom traditions provide sage council for cultivating and applying this discernment
“What I say goes, but only for me and those that agree with me.” (The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment)
Difference IS the only thing we have in common, so make room for tolerance, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Equity- giving everyone what they need, not giving the same thing to all
Diversity- who is in the room and do they reflect and refract all of us?
Inclusion- does everyone in the room feel valued and know they belong? Do they feel that their voice counts and can be heard?
The Earth’s Prayer 2009: A Complement to the Lord’s Prayer that I composed over a decade ago:
Our Mother, who is here on Earth,
Timeless may you reign, and may we never take your compassion for granted.
The time is now, your spirit be served, with our full intention and energy to create a Planet Earth as abundant and blessed as Heaven.
Give each person today their daily grain so no one goes hungry, and affirm our inherent goodness to care for one another, as we give thanks for those who today in their actions put the collective good ahead of personal self-interest and remind us to do the same.
Inspire us in all things to maximize our potential for the greatest good as we preserve and protect the legacy we leave for future generations.
For this is our planet, with problems and possibilities, to do with, what we can, in the time we have got.
Now is forever.
Aum, Peace, Amen
The Primordial Power of Education
If you think education is difficult or expensive, try ignorance!
With student debt in the trillions and the largest source of debt on the planet, it is time to stand up new models of teaching, learning and co-creation.
The one thing that matters most to the student is relevance.
It is not about degrees. It is about skills.
Cultivating a lifelong learning, growth mindset (Dweck) and infinite mindset (Sinek) is now more critical than ever.
Invest in your own learning.
Invest in the learning of others. It is in your best interest…
Any educational construct without an equity design or social justice lens is half a loaf and unidimensional, like physical exercise is to total wellness. In 2020 we once again saw the consequences of not learning well.
If You Mess Up, ‘Fess Up!
Our perfectionist expectations are building a generation unwilling to risk, experiment, fail and self-reflect.
If while attempting to learn a foreign language, we only spoke it when we had it down perfectly, we would never learn the language in the first place!
We must stop creating learning environments that reinforce only the right answer, and reward always getting it right.
We must stop holding ourselves accountable to being perfect as this paralyzes us from learning what we need to learn most…
Owning our mistakes and admitting it when we are wrong are hallmarks of growth. Getting it right all the time is not. It just means you have not yet, extended yourself into areas worthy of exploration, so we might never know what was truly possible.
Those are my reflections. What are yours?
“Teach your parents well…” Crosby, Stills Nash & Young
“Change a (hu)man against their will, they will be of the same opinion still”
Unsolicited advice rarely is taken. Those for whom this resonates most, will probably need it the least…
Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most:
Your Soul Food for the week of July 4th 2021: When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
Happy Soul Food Friday for the Week of Independence Day!
When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
Two Twice-Weekly Healing Steps for Independence Day
Inspiring Independence Day Quotes:
When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
We asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test. It turns out they have much more in common with other nationalities than they thought … It’s easy to think there are more things dividing us than uniting us. But we actually have much more in common with other nationalities than you’d think. At momondo we believe that everybody should be able to travel the world, to meet other people, and experience other cultures and religions. Travel opens our minds: when we experience something different, we begin to see things differently. Share this video, and help us spread the word – and open our world.
EDITOR’S PICK SONDERMANN | Two Twice-Weekly Healing Steps for Independence Day
On this 244th celebration of Independence Day, those on both sides of our country’s divide can agree on the depth of the split and the pervasive animus and ill will it has generated. There will be little concurrence on who is in the right and who lobbed the first grenade. But at least there is a shared recognition of the magnitude of the schism, long in its acceleration and showing few signs of slowing down.
Of course, there are plenty among us occupying shades of the political center and less invested in the polarized enmity while reserving disdain for the noisemakers on both extremes. Though those on the hard poles are ever louder and more dominant in shaping what passes for public discourse. Sadly, we live in a tribal era. That is true in many places around the globe and certainly in our republic approaching a quarter of a millennium in precious longevity. Over those years, there have been only a few times when the political fracture was so pronounced and disabling. One of those episodes produced an actual Civil War.
The inescapable irony is that our nation is far more integrated and accepting in so many ways while it grows ever more politically alienated. Our neighborhoods and workplaces have never been more welcoming to people of all skin tones, ethnic origins, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, you name it. Gay marriage is now fully legal with widespread, rapidly growing cultural acceptance. Interracial and interreligious marriage long ago ceased to be controversial except in the most close-minded quarters. But a lifelong, commitment between someone from the left and their beloved from the right? Whoa there. Sixty years ago, a mere 4% of Americans approved of a marital union across racial lines. Today, that number is around 87%. Twenty years ago, a sizeable majority of Americans opposed gay marriage. Now, that approval number is above 60% and climbing quickly. Meanwhile, depending on the survey and how the question is worded, between 50% and 60% of both Democrats and Republicans oppose the notion of their son or daughter marrying someone from the dreaded other party.
So what is to be done beyond treating Fourth of July fireworks as ordnance to direct at your neighbor with the objectionable yard sign? The suggestion here is to own the problem and, each of us, our part in it, some with more role than others, and to focus on small, modest steps. This state of affairs did not come to pass overnight and it will not dissipate suddenly. Incremental understanding will go far. What better time to start than on the celebration of America’s Declaration of Independence? New Year’s Day can have its resolutions often centered on personal improvement. For the Fourth, a personal intention can lead to civic healing.
With that in mind, and again starting small, let me offer two steps to commit to over this patriotic holiday. Both share a common denominator, that being to consciously poke a few holes in the bubbles in which most of us live. Up first, declare an aim and make a plan to bring into your circle two new friends or associates of a significantly different political mindset than your own. Or reconnect with someone you disowned in a political uproar. Seek these people out and find opportunities for interaction. Break bread; go for a walk; catch a ballgame. Most importantly, dial your ears up and your vocal chords down. Otherwise put, go into these conversations with the idea of listening far more than talking. And listen to hear and learn, not to rebut and argue.
Next, get started on a plan to do something very similar with your media consumption. Find two news or opinion outlets coming from a viewpoint alien to your own and make them a part of your media diet. If you’re a regular viewer of Fox News, change the channel twice a week to MSNBC or CNN or even PBS. (Well, maybe not CNN. There are limits. But you get the idea.) Do the inverse if your comfort zone is one of the liberal cable channels or the major broadcast networks. In this case, breathe deeply and twice weekly take in a dose of Fox News – again with a premium on listening.
For extra credit, consciously dial back on the television provocateurs on both poles. Turn off Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson on one end, and Rachel Maddow and Chris Cuomo on the other, in favor of shows with at least a pretense of balance and a lot less righteous smarminess. Ditto for print journalism and commentary. If your home base is the editorial page of The New York Times, change it up a couple of times each week in reading publications and writers coming from a more conservative angle. Similarly, if your normal fare is the Wall Street Journal editorial page or right-leaning online publications, challenge yourself to regularly incorporate columns from the left.
Media bubbles are every bit as confining as personal bubbles. If your rooting interest is with writers like David French and Thomas Sowell, read more by E.J. Dionne and Nicholas Kristof. Or vice versa. And make a point to read intelligent writers lacking a fixed ideological axis. Megan McArdle and Matt Taibbi are two worthwhile places to start.
That is a two-step program – two willful acts to begin to puncture our isolating, alternative-resistant bubbles. There is no expectation that anyone change their mind or their loyalty. But maybe some will gain an openness, perhaps even an appreciation, for those who think differently along with an understanding of how they came to their opinions and worldview.
What a leap forward it would be if we simply recognized that those on the other side of the divide do not wear horns. (Except for the shirtless guy with the furry hat who was part of the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol. That outfit definitely came with horns.)
All of this just might feel good in beginning to release the political blinders and partisan dependency that entrap us individually and poison our nation.
Eric Sondermann is a Colorado-based independent political commentator.
Inspiring Independence Day Quotes:
America isn’t perfect. We’ll always have work to do. But the freedoms we have here have made America a top destination for those seeking a better life, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. In celebration of Independence Day, here are 10 quotes on freedom and liberty that help us understand some of the reasons we fought so hard for our independence 245 years ago…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” – Woodrow Wilson
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams
“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.” – Malcolm X
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” – William Faulkner
“I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” – Rosa Parks
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
“We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something, for liberty and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.” – Ronald Reagan
“In America, change is possible. It’s in our hands. Together, I know we’ll get there. Look how far we’ve already come.” – Barack Obama
Hope you all had a fantastic 4th and that we all appreciate and enjoy our freedoms, now more than ever!
Your Soul Food for Friday July 2 2021: 50 Pictures That Prove That Humanity Isn’t Always The Absolute Worst and More…
Happy Soul Food Friday!
A Fork in the Road
Weak leaders blame the messenger. They see problems as threats to their ego. Strong leaders thank the messenger. They see problems as threats to their mission. Great leaders promote the messenger. They see recognizing and raising problems as acts of vision and courage.
10 Leadership Habits of Highly Effective Leaders:
While it is hard for two experts to agree on one definition of leadership, this article will not give you a single skill or formula to be a better leader. Instead, it provides something better, 10 habits that you need to gain influence with the courage to develop your team’s potential.
For me, it’s not “do what you feel like doing,” because that’s unlikely to be useful.
You might feel like hanging out on the beach, telling off your boss or generally making nothing much of value. Authenticity as an impulse is hardly something to aspire to.
It’s not, “say whatever is on your mind,” either.
Instead, I define it as, “consistent emotional labor.”
We call a brand or a person authentic when they’re consistent, when they act the same way whether or not someone is looking. Someone is authentic when their actions are in alignment with what they promise.
Showing up as a pro.
Even when you don’t feel like it.
Especially when you don’t.
Less Brainstorming, More Daydreaming?
This Creative Facilitator Says Yes In 1920s London, Queen Mary, the formidable wife of King George V, made a visit to the Royal St. Mary’s Hospital in London. On her tour was a display of “microbial art,” the hobby of one of the doctors, including a Union Jack created in a petri dish by the meticulous use of different species of fungus. The Queen sped past dismissively. What on earth could such nonsense have to do with the urgent work of such a prestigious hospital?
Why Some Biologists and Ecologists Think Social Media is a Risk to Humanity:
Social media has drastically restructured the way we communicate in an incredibly short period of time. We can discover, “Like,” click on, and share information faster than ever before, guided by algorithms most of us don’t quite understand. And while some social scientists, journalists, and activists have been raising concerns about how this is affecting our democracy, mental health, and relationships, we haven’t seen biologists and ecologists weighing in as much. That’s changed with a new paper published in the prestigious science journal PNAS earlier this month, titled “Stewardship of global collective behavior.”
William Blake: Biography Offers Glimpse into Artist and Poet’s Visionary Mind:
His divine and mind-bending experiences informed Blake’s world view and inspired his deeply philosophical illustrated texts like Jerusalem and Milton. As a result, though, he was deemed mad by much of 18th and 19th Century England, and died penniless and largely unheralded. Nowadays, he is widely considered one of UK’s most influential and respected artists and poets. And in a new biography, William Blake vs the World, author John Higgs argues we are now far better placed to understand what was going on inside his head.
A few weeks ago, in a message headlined “The End of Soul Food Friday?” I shared with all of you that Soul Food Friday needed a new home and some help, including underwriting part of the expense of hosting the site and the monthly subscription fees to maintain the site after 13 years.
An anonymous donor and dear friend of mine offered to match the first $100 as a way to support this ongoing effort.
Heartfelt thanks to Ricardo & Laurie R, Vicente R, Matt N, Genevieve T, Louis L, Killu S, Jaime M, Lee B, Jason M, Malcolm A, Frank M, Linda P, James W, Sean C, John R and Francisco E for stepping up with your kind contributions to keeping Soul Food Friday going!
If you would choose to make a contribution of any size to keep this labor of love alive, simply click below.
It is strictly a pay what you want model predicated on the Law of Reciprocity, where “largesse begets largess”
This episode is an interview with me by Ron and Galina, the creators and curators of In the Art Scene, about how to be an artist of life to become a happier person, to help heal our community and even the world.
This episode covers:
Education as a Key to Communal Wellbeing
Bridging the West and the East
How I Became a Martial Artist in the First Place
A Different Kind of Dojo Where It Is NOT About Fighting But About Living Well
Transcendent Leadership- Follow Your Heart’s Wisdom:
We’re mutually traversing some of the most perplexing times in recent history and some leaders’ response to this has been to harden themselves. If we choose to do this, we cut ourselves off from each other, because after all, connection is the heart of our humanity. Being vulnerable, heart-opened and heart-led has never been more essential…
Healing Reimagined: Reconnecting Traditional Healing with Modern Medicine:
In a world coming of age in the shadows of social media giants, we are in the midst of a losing battle to train empathetic and situationally aware doctors, nurses, and health care professionals.
Making contact and connection with people who seek healing has never been more difficult. Our technology driven approach to medicine often leaves much to be desired at the juncture of the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, the generational tendency to avoid or limit physical social interaction has stunted our greatest asset in our struggle for progress in compassionate patient care.
Healing Reimagined follows the author’s lifetime quest for the meaning of healing, intricately bridging underlying fundamental themes of traditional medicine and the communication deficiencies of modern medicine. Linking modern neurology and psychology with cross-cultural ancient healing traditions, we trace the thread that leads from the wisdom of traditional healing practices to the forefront of leading-edge research.
“Keep your sense of proportion by regularly, preferably daily, visiting the natural world.” — Caitlin Matthews
Magical Pictures of Nature
These Breathtaking Natural Wonders No Longer Exist:
Natural and Human-Caused Forces Constantly Reshape Earth’s Landscape
Landscapes shape our sense of place, yet Earth is constantly changing. The forces of volcanism, wind, water, sun, and, yes, people, relentlessly conspire to transform what we consider familiar terrain—pummeling cliffs into beaches, eroding vast canyons, forming new land with bubbling lava, and shifting the course of mighty rivers.
As we return to travel, we shouldn’t be surprised to find some things have changed. After all, change is the only constant—an idea seeded by Greek philosopher Heraclitus back in the fifth century B.C. and echoed by philosophers since. But people often forget that Heraclitus believed fear of change is also a constant. Perhaps it’s this sense of looming impermanence that compels travelers to see natural wonders before they’re forever changed.
Thanks this week go to Ron & Galina M, Arthur B, Elaine T, Marcy M, Mehrad N, and another big shout out to Ricardo & Laurie R, Vicente R, Matt N, Genevieve T, Louis L, Killu S, Jaime M, Lee B, Jason M, Malcolm A, Frank M, Linda P, James W, Sean C, John R and Francisco E for making this mission possible!
Please pay it forward, live soul-filled, and do subscribe to Soul Food Friday if you dig it!
“There are no strangers, there are only friends we haven’t met yet”…
This week: Juneteenth
This week is a good time to reflect on our country, its treatment of Black people, and to consider how our collective commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion can help unite our diverse society to explore and find solutions to end systemic racism
Congress Passes Legislation to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday
It’s the first federal holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983
June 19 marks a pivotal event in our country’s history. While the Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, many enslaved Africans lived in states where slavery continued or where they did not know that they were free. On June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger informed more than 250,000 slaves in Texas that they were legally freed. The annual celebration of Juneteenth began a year later on June 19, 1866.
Also known as “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day” or “Jubilee,” Juneteenth is one of our country’s oldest celebrations of the abolition of slavery, but not every American is familiar with the observance. This year, we are hopeful that many more people in our UC San Diego community will take the opportunity to learn more about Juneteenth and explore the history and meaning of this annual event. Although Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, most states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation recognizing it as a holiday or observance. California recognizes the third Saturday of June in each year as Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance.
This is a good time to reflect on our country, its treatment of Black people, and to consider how our collective commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion can help unite our diverse society to explore and find solutions to end systemic racism.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
— Dr Martin Luther King Jr
The Danger of Silence with Clint Smith: (4 mins)
“We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t,” says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.
Stages of Multicultural Curriculum Transformation and Leveraging the Promise and Possibility of Education:
Just as there are several conceptualizations for multicultural education there are several perceptions as to what constitutes multicultural curriculum transformation. Approaches for multicultural curriculum transformation range from slight curricular changes to a fully-revised social awareness and action conceptualizations. James Banks (1993), Peggy McIntosh (2000) and others have formulated continuums for curricular reform that help move transformation efforts from the former toward the latter. An informed and educated society is our way forward to equity and inclusion.
Your Soul Food for Friday June 11th 2021 The Week of World’s Oceans Day with Twenty Predictions for the Transformative 2020’s
Happy Soul Food Friday!
A Penny for My Thoughts?
“The End of Soul Food Friday?”
A few weeks ago, I shared with all of you that Soul Food Friday needs a new home and some support in various ways, one of which includes underwriting part of the expense of hosting the site and the monthly subscription fees to sustain this labor of love after more than 13 years of posting every week.
An anonymous donor and dear friend of mine has offered to match the first $100 as a way to support this ongoing effort.
Would you be willing to contribute any amount to keep Soul Food coming to your email box?
It is a pay what you choose/can afford model, and if yes, here’s how you can help:
Please click on this link below and any contribution up to $100 will be matched:
Staying in Tune with Our Inner and Outer Nature as we Celebrate World’s Oceans Day
Sir David Attenborough Explains What He Thinks Needs to Happen to Save The Planet
Twenty Predictions for the Transformative 2020’s with Yanik Silver
Elephant Pays Respects to Its Trainer with Heartbreaking Trunk Salute!
The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods
The ocean covers over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
The ocean is now in need of our support.
With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it. We must build a connection to the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by lessons from the past.
“The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2021, as well as a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to get the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, by 2030.
Twenty Predictions for the Transformative 2020’s with Yanik Silver:
We are on the verge of a new age. Everything is accelerating faster and faster, and nearly every system is ready to be rebuilt to truly serve our world.
We stand at the threshold of a great potential. This decade will see more exponential growth, accelerated change and transformation than we have witnessed over the last 50—or maybe even 100—years (or more). And the good news is we get to consciously co-create our next stage.
The year 2020 is truly a landmark year. Just as 20/20 equals perfect vision, these enlightening predictions are a preview of what is on the horizon and what will happen in tandem with an increased awakening of consciousness.
This growing consciousness then becomes the true bedrock for all our decisions, actions, thoughts, and intentions, impacting everything spanning our communities, culture, commerce, and even a greater cosmic story, all unfolding here this decade. Buckle up….
Your Soul Food for Friday June 4th 2021: National Gun Violence Awareness Day #WearOrange on June 4, How We Tell Time, & Positive Forces of Nature
Happy Soul Food Friday!
The 7th National Gun Violence Awareness Day is June 4
June 4th is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, when we start Wear Orange Weekend to honor the people shot and killed or wounded by gun violence, and the survivors of gun violence. We honor them and renew our commitment to ending gun violence in America by taking action and taking part in Wear Orange.
The Hands of Time are Frozen at 7:39—Whether A.M. or P.M., I’ll Never Know:By Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison
Over the past year, staring at me on my desk has been a pocket watch on a chain—the one that had been passed down from my grandfather to my father to me. My grandfather carried it to work every day—first at the railroad and later at a wheat mill.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve frequently held this watch in my hand, a tangible connection to my past. And it occurred to me—it will never tell time in the present again. Sure, I could probably get it fixed. But this heirloom is more poignant to me as a reminder to savor the past—while not trying to stay there. After all, time is the most precious of all commodities—we can’t make more of it.
This realization seemed particularly meaningful given the conversations we’ve been having recently. Just the other day, while speaking to a client’s leadership team, I was asked, “When are things going to get back to the way they were?” My answer was instantaneous: “They’re not—there’s no going back.”
Time has not stood still for any of us. Nor can we simply turn the clock back to 2019 and start again. That moment is gone forever.
It’s like a saying shared with me recently by an executive who had been in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for 33 years: “These things are irrelevant to fighter pilots: the runway behind them, the altitude above them, and three seconds ago.”
This is our “telling time.” Given what we know now—about ourselves and each other—we no longer contemplate when we will move forward. The only question is how. We have three choices: procrastinate, pause, or push.
The starting point is to accurately perceive the reality of today—an unbiased picture of where we are—personally and organizationally. Anticipation comes next. It’s future-focused, projecting beyond the horizon—Plan C for Plan B for Plan A. Navigation is the companion to anticipation—course correcting in real time. Together, they keep the wind at our back.
If anticipation is the course we chart, and navigation is the ship’s mast—then agility is the rudder. Indeed, these times take world-class agility that stretches our intellectual and strategic abilities to navigate in the moment.
As we anticipate and navigate, we keep making our way. After all, the path of progress is never linear. But that’s how we develop agility—from our experiences, both positive and negative.
Not that long ago, my daughter, Emily, and I were out riding our bicycles. The street was busy, so we rode on the sidewalk. Suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, a dog raced toward us and sank his teeth into my leg, just above the ankle. Fortunately, the dog had its shots and didn’t do any real damage. Afterwards, I had plenty of time to reflect on exactly what happened.
First of all, we were riding on the sidewalk, which was not where we were supposed to be. And, second, we failed to notice the dog on the lawn, which no doubt got scared as we “invaded” its space. Wrong place, wrong time. The fault was ours, not the dog’s—lesson learned.
Now with summer coming, I anticipate long bike rides on the weekends. But I won’t be riding on the sidewalk—agility ensures learning never ends. Here are some thoughts:
Connecting time and space. When I spoke with Nathan Blain, an organizational expert in our firm, this week, I asked him about the top concern he’s hearing from clients these days. He didn’t hesitate in his response: “Connectivity.” He shared a conversation he had the other day with a senior leader who expressed concern that, while her teams were productive, continued isolation is creating a culture of verticality—working only for their managers instead of working horizontally as part of cross-functional teams. “This organization had committed so much time and effort to collaboration, they can’t get caught up in silos again,” he told me. Regardless of where or how we work, we need a horizontal mindset—taking the time to connect across our organizational space, even as scattered as it might be right now.
Survival of the agile. Amid great uncertainty and ambiguity for more than a year—when change has been the only constant—agility was our survival. There was no other option. Although our firm’s research reveals there are many types of agility, learning agility tops them all. All of us have had to become increasingly learning agile—synthesizing and applying our past experiences in real time to fluid, changing conditions. Or, as I like to say—knowing what to do when we don’t know what to do. So, why learning agility and why now? The ability to navigate ever-present ambiguity with agility separates those who are merely effective from those who are truly exceptional. Agility transmutes loss into learning in first-time situations; the new world belongs to the most agile. Learning agile people are insatiably curious and engaged with the world around them. They don’t just rely on the same old solutions and status quo problem-solving tactics that worked in the past. They’re willing to go against the grain of what they know how to do and prefer to do.
Tempus fugit. Time flies. It’s wisdom as old as time itself, captured by the poet Virgil in 29 B.C.—and it’s as true today as it ever was. If we become stuck in the past, unable to keep pace, we will be left behind. As Ken Blanchard, the management expert and co-author of The One Minute Manager, described in a conversation we had a few years ago, we all must be the “president of the present” and the “president of the future”— both at the same time. If the past 15 months have taught us anything, it’s the importance of adaptability. This is the equivalent of surfing: paddling out and choosing the right wave. While you ride that wave, you decide whether to take it all the way to shore—or bail out and find a better one. We make our path as we walk it, with agility and learning in the moment—while elevating our horizon. Just like that old watch, nostalgia has its attraction—but all that remains are shadows of what was. In the words of Spanish poet Antonio Machado:
“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road—Only wakes upon the sea.” Look up, look out, look forward. Indeed, a new world is right in front of us—waiting for us to discover. That’s how we tell time.
Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza: Stars praise Madison Keys for heartfelt campaign: The tennis stars took to social media to express their support for the initiative
The Story of an Adopted Pet Dog Who Adopted His Own Pet Dog Whoobie loved his owner so much, he thought it might be fun to have a little pet of his own. Whoobie was the smartest dog I have ever known. He was quick to learn tricks: all the typical ones like sit, lay down, roll over, and stay. Then he learned to shut doors and drawers. He danced on request. He could find any toy by name. If I said “run,” he would. If I told him we were having a visitor soon, he would sit at the window and wait, then howl with excitement when he heard the vehicle pull up…
This week: Mental Health Awareness Month- You Are Not Alone!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month:
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.
Why ‘getting back to normal’ may actually feel terrifying: (Nat Geo)
After a year of anxiety, anger, and burnout, many people are struggling with returning to pre-pandemic behaviors. Experts weigh in on ways to work through the trauma. Doctors are forecasting what some experts are now calling “the fourth wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say the mental health impacts will be “profound and far-reaching,” likely outlasting the physical health impacts, and straining already-stretched mental health systems in the United States and worldwide.
Some 15 months of lockdowns, loneliness, Zoom calls, grief, illness, monotony, job loss, and economic hardship has caused “an extraordinary rise in anxiety and depression,” says Boston College developmental psychologist Rebekah Levine Coley. “The level of these disorders … are unprecedented.”
Shift Happens- A Prospective Response for All Communities:
The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement (Medium.com)
Healing centered engagement is asset driven and focuses on the well-being we want, rather than symptoms we want to suppress…
During the early 1990s experts promoted the term “resiliency,” which is the capacity to adapt, navigate and bounce back from adverse and challenging life experiences. Trauma informed care encourages support and treatment to the whole person, rather than focusing on only treating individual symptoms or specific behaviors.
The term healing-centered engagement expands how we think about responses to trauma and offers more holistic approach to fostering well-being.
A healing centered approach to addressing trauma requires a different question that moves beyond “what happened to you” to “what’s right with you” and views those exposed to trauma as agents in the creation of their own well-being, rather than victims of traumatic events. Healing centered engagement is akin to the South African term “Ubuntu” meaning that humanness is found through our interdependence, collective engagement and service to others…
Meet Eddie Jaku, a 101-year-old Auschwitz survivor who describes himself as “the happiest man in the world.” He recently opened up to NBC’s Harry Smith about the secrets of living a life with kindness and gratitude. “Where there is life, there is hope,” he said.