A Gift of Healing
Singer-songwriter Umi merged music and meditation in a December tour promoting her new album Forest in the City and donated $2 from every ticket to support WholeSchool Mindfulness, an organization that helps implement and fund the role of Mindfulness Directors in US schools. “Growing up and being able to go to a school where I was taught mindfulness has very much influenced the person I am now,” Umi says, “and I wish for more children to be gifted that healing.”
Pride in Our Stories
The Hadhad family fled war-torn Syria and settled in Nova Scotia in Years earlier, their Damascus chocolate factory had been bombed. The family opened a new chocolate factory in Antigonish, and it succeeded so well that a movie, Peace By Chocolate, was made about their story. Yet the story’s ongoing. Recently on a plane, Tareq Hadhad was chatting with a man who expressed antiimmigrant views. During their flight, however, the man proceeded to watch Peace by Chocolate— and became engrossed in the family’s journey. At the end, he was astonished to recognize Hadhad as one of the “characters” from the film. Tareq related the whole event on Facebook. “Knowing that my new friend left the plane with a different perspective about immigrants and refugees is very rewarding,” he wrote. “Being proud of our stories truly changes the world.”
Inner Presence, Outer Space
Colonel Mark Vande Hai is an astronaut, with two space flights and a total of 523 days in orbit under his belt. He’s also a meditator. Kripalu hosted a fascinating online conversation with Vande Hai, interviewed by Micah Mortali, author of Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature, a book Vande Hai says influenced his practice during his second flight. He recalls how he woke early each morning and sat in the domed window of the space station, gazing into the inconceivable vastness. Meditating, he says, supported his sense of well-being on the demanding journey. “Being present made me less worried about how many days I had left on the space station,” says Vande Hai. “My job was to experience it and soak it all in.”
A Pleasure to Read
When Better Sex Through Mindfulness came out in 2018, Dr. Lori Brotto began hearing from readers. “People were saying, ‘okay, now, how do I do this? Is there a group or online space I can access?’” The answer, Brotto realized, was no. So she created one. The Better Sex Through Mindfulness Workbook walks readers through the same eight-week group intervention Brotto used in her research. While the original book dealt with sexual health and low desire in women, the workbook includes gender diverse folks, men, and those with pain, too. Recorded practices are available for free on loribrotto.com
Gatherings of Care
A new practice community facilitated by mindfulness teachers Rashid Hughes and Caverly Morgan aims to explore practices of individual and collective liberation. The bi-monthly gatherings include guest speakers and learning through meditation, discussion, and journaling—while working directly with Hughes and Morgan. According to Caverly Morgan’s website, the four months of gatherings will be approached as “an opportunity to create a model for the enlightened society we seek, one that hinges on mutual responsibility and collective care.”
Learn About Compassion
The recently formed Global Compassion Coalition, headed by many top compassion experts, seeks to bring compassion into every area of society. For one, they’re compiling a free digital library of compassion research, exploring its origins, cultivation, and transformative power. Matt Hawkins, the GCC’s Chief Communication Officer, notes that the library will offer an up-to-date scientific resource for academics, coaches, and trainers; equally, it will provide knowledge and advice for policy-makers, business leaders, and activists interested in harnessing compassion in their work.
Act of Kindness
By Ava Whitney-Coulter
When Liam Wildish moved to Maidstone, England, he had to build a new customer base from scratch for his window-washing business Clean Scene. After six weeks of successful networking thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations and positive feedback from locals, he began washing the road signs to thank the community and make it safer for residents.
Actions Speak Louder
A deaf couple was happily surprised when they arrived for their reservation at Tatsu Dallas, a high-end sushi restaurant, to find that the head chef had learned ASL to accommodate them. A local food writer and sister to one of the guests explained on Twitter that the restaurant is known for its intimate tasting menu experience where much of the menu is explained vocally by the chef.
Outside the Box
To make her town more accessible and to highlight the barriers faced by wheelchair users, Rita Ebel builds colorful ramps made of Lego. Ebel has used a wheelchair for 25 years, and she and her husband rely on Lego donations for their efforts. For others interested in re-purposing their Lego, the couple will happily send the building instructions.
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