Monday, December 11, 2017

A Baker's Dozen Tips for 7 Days of Rest

7 Days of Rest, is a global effort of healing and re-calibrtion:

The basic recommendations for the 7 Days of Rest include:

  • Silent time - alone and together, reconnecting to the sounds of stillness that enable us to recalibrate with the wisdom of our bodies and nature.
  • Minimize all work, consumerism, media and social media activity – (if possible, a full consumerism, television and social media fast). This ideally means connecting to the virtual world only for the purposes of joining focused global meditations or programs relating to human and planetary rest, healing and replenishment.
  • Clearing the body from toxins and eating plant based food – as fresh and organic as possible. Different dietary suggestions will be offered on the website for optimal detox and nourishment.
  • Breath, yoga, sound and movement practices that support the body's rest, healing and replenishment.
  • Meditation, prayer, intention setting and practices that cultivate deep listening, intuition and spontaneous visions.
  • Practicing gentle loving communication with one’s self and those in one’s environment.
  • Rituals dedicated to the healing and replenishment of oneself, the planet and the entire Web of Life.
  • Communing with and honouring nature, animals, the plants and the elements.
  • Journaling insights, dreams and intentions.
  • Connecting consciously to the 7 Day global prayer and meditation field either online or offline.
  • Practicing living in gentle, simple community and extending ones field of compassion to all beings.
  • Envisioning a healed world.
  • Gratitude for all that is healthy and nourishing in one’s own life and in the world. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

7 Days of Rest -- Jan 1 to Jan. 7

7 Days of Rest.  A Global Event to Heal and Re-Calibrate

The first step in our collective healing is to enable deep rest for ourselves and for Mother Earth.
It is from stillness and clarity that together we can begin to restore balance and replenishment for all.

During the 7 Days of Rest, from January 1 to January 7, individuals and communities around the world will create a unified field of intention and action, for the healing of Mother Earth and all Her Children

The “Rest” that is invited also includes a variety of activities that can be integrated into time at work, at school, or at home with family and friends. Our primary objective is to create a sacred collective space and time away from the busyness as usual for us to reflect together, as a species, how we can realign with our hearts, with each other, and with the intrinsic intelligence and order of nature. Through co-creating a coherent field of rest, deep listening and benevolent actions, we amplify the emerging global culture of peace, health, cooperation, wise governance and reverence for all Life.

For 7 Days we join forces across the world to

~  connect in stillness, compassion and peaceful action
~  remove stress, noise and toxins
~  commit together to planetary healing
~  set the intention and foundations for co-creating a thriving world for all

A global community platform will showcase diverse events from across the world, and provide inspirational resources in preparation for and during the 7 days. During the 7 days there will be opportunities to connect to daily meditations, as well as to sessions offered by diverse teachers inviting us to deepen our understanding of the essence of rest and healing.

Click this link for more information from

Friday, December 8, 2017

Empathy Can Build a Kinder, More Connected World

A Q&A with Jamil Zaki, PhD, director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory and assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University.

Thrive Global: What does research tell us about the importance of having empathy for others, both in our work and home lives?

Jamil Zaki: Loads of evidence demonstrates that when people experience empathy, or the ability to share and understand each other’s emotions, it benefits themselves and others around them. For instance, people who score high on empathy tests are happier and attract friends more easily than their less empathic peers. They also excel at work, especially in "people-centric" professions like sales or management. Empathy also helps people navigate important personal relationships. Adolescents who can skillfully decode others' feelings are more likely to survive the slings and arrows of seventh grade without developing mood problems, and empathic individuals' romantic partners tend to be more satisfied with their relationships.

TG: How can we build our empathy muscle?

JZ: One common misconception about empathy is that it's a trait—built into our genes and hard-wired into our brain, such that some people simply have it and others don't. There's some truth to this notion: for instance, identical twins have levels of empathy that are more similar to each other than fraternal twins. But that doesn't mean that we're "stuck" at one level of empathy for life. Some people are naturally better at basketball than others, but by practicing your jump shot you can still vastly improve it. Empathy is like that, too. And even if you don't realize it, you choose whether to practice empathy. Will you cross the street to avoid a homeless person or pay attention to their pain? Will you ignore the opinions of someone you disagree with or hear them out? Making empathic choices, over time, builds empathic habits, and eventually empathic people. For instance, just a few weeks ago, a landmark study examined people who practiced empathy exercises for three months. Not only did they improve at understanding other people, but parts of their brain involved in empathizing became thicker. By practicing empathy, they made changes to the biology underlying it!

Jamil Zaki, PhD, TED Talk about empathy

TG: What’s your advice for those who struggle to empathize with others, particularly during times of stress?

JZ: These are hard times for empathy. In America, especially, we're facing a cultural moment full of tribalism and isolation. The anonymity and echo chambers of social media likely aren't helping either. But I think moments like these make it especially important to challenge ourselves. Part of this is remembering that empathy is a skill, and that in building it we not only protect our own well-being, but can also help others around us. Working at empathy isn't always easy, but many things that are worthwhile take time and effort. In times like these, I think we all need to ask ourselves what type of world we want to live in, and what we will do to bring that world about. And if we wish for a world that is kinder and more connected, our own empathy is a great place to start.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Kindness of St. Nicholas

A 2014 computer generated image of the real St. Nicholas based on earlier detailed x-rays and detailed measurement of the temporarily removed skeletal remains of St. Nicholas.

Today, December 6, honors St. Nicholas, AKA St. Nick, AKA Santa Claus. St. Nicholas' legend appears to be well documented  -- a person born into wealth who "used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering." From the St. Nicholas Center: 

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The California Effect on Climate Change

There is good news out there about people making positive changes in the battle to halt climate change.  The following is excerpted from a magazine piece "The California Effect" published in The Nature Conservancy winter edition.

...California’s government was confronting the state’s substantial role in contributing to climate change. If California were a separate country, it would have ranked as the world’s 12th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, falling between Spain and Poland. In 2006, implementing new state law, California created a cap-and-trade system designed to first freeze and then reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of  power producers, transportation and manufacturers in the state.

That system has had profound effects on climate emissions and conservation in California. “When I started working on this,” says Louis Blumberg, the head of TNC’s California climate program, “California was the eighth-largest economy in the world and the 12th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Today California is the sixth-largest economy and the 19th-largest emitter.” And California’s program is also having a dramatic impact throughout the U.S. and Canada.

...“California recognizes that nature is a powerful tool to address climate change,” says Blumberg. “Their cap-and-trade program is catalyzing forest conservation programs across the United States.” California’s successful comprehensive program makes it one of the leading government entities to tackle climate change in a serious way.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Success of Youth in Leadership Roles

A recent article in Upworthy showcased The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and ways to introduce children to community service. The Daily Prism excerpted the following from the complete article: 

"The key is truly to let them (the youth) lead," says Teresa Welch, vice president of program, training, and youth development services for the national headquarters of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

"A lot of times as adults we sort of forget that. We assume that they need us to lead them," she says. "But when it’s led by youth, that’s when they’re absolutely the most successful."

The Boys & Girls Clubs' mission, through programs like Torch Club is to teach leadership and life skills to young kids, in order to prepare them for the challenges of adult life. But those leadership opportunities have advantages in the present, too.

Leadership gets younger kids engaged because it allows them to decide which issues to address, Welch says, and they can pick issues that impact their own community. She gives an example where kids who liked to skateboard got in trouble for graffiti that went up on buildings near where they skate.

"The kids will start talking about, well, we’re in trouble all the time for having our skateboards because they think we’re the ones doing the graffiti. But that wasn’t us," Welch recalls.

But instead of allowing the kids to grow resentful of the authority with which they had their conflict, Boys & Girls Clubs youth development staff encouraged them to come up with a creative solution.

"So they did a project where they actually painted over the graffiti with these beautiful murals," Welch says. In doing so, the Club both helped beautify the neighborhood and learned how to solve a problem in their community.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Music Impacts Creative Thinking

The Daily Prism has excerpted for space considerations an informative report on "How Music Helps Us Be More Creative"  Click the link to read the entire report.

One new study explores music as a source of creativity. Since music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning and memory in other studies, it makes sense that perhaps it has an impact on creative thinking, too.

In the experiment, participants tried creativity exercises that measured divergent or convergent thinking while being exposed to either silence (the control scenario) or classical music that evoked four distinct emotional states: happy, calm, sad, or anxious.

After comparing participant performance on divergent and convergent thinking in the five scenarios, the researchers found that participants who’d listened to happy music had significantly higher scores on divergent thinking than those who’d performed in silence. In other words, they came up with more total ideas, and more creative and innovative ideas (as rated by people who were unfamiliar with the study’s aim). The other types of music did not have this impact.