1. Life is short. An inspiring, SHINE-worthy video created by a small business in NYC called Holstee. It will brighten your day. Promise.
I love their story. Here, in their own words:
In the months leading up to the summer of 2009, Holstee was just a small side project. We had sold a hundred or so shirts, mostly to family and close friends looking to support us. Having just quit our jobs without a plan or idea of how we would spend our days, we were filled with a ton of raw energy, emotion, and ideas – a feeling that we never wanted to forget. So the first thing Holstee’s three founders – Mike, Fabian and Dave – did was sit together on the steps of Union Square and write down exactly what was on their minds and the tips of their tongues. It wasn’t about shirts and it wasn’t about their old jobs. It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for.
2. In eight days we went from this…
3. I voted. I cast my ballot on Tuesday like many of you in the U.S. Here in NYC we’ve finally caught up with the rest of the country and gone electronic. For the first time I filled in the little bubbles on what reminded me of those scan-tron tests of my high school days, then slid it into the scanner. Et voila! My vote was received.
Even with this “modern” innovation, why don’t we vote online? We bank online. We shop online. We can watch porn online (hypothetically, of course). I don’t mind going to the polling place, which is in the nearby elementary school. There’s a little thrill of being in that room with neighbors all taking part in an important ritual (a right that women didn’t have when my grandmother was born) and it gets me a bit misty-eyed. But maybe if voting was permitted online, even more people would be inclined to vote.
If online voting was an option, would you do it?
4. The world’s happiest man. Happiness is no longer just an amorphous, unquantifiable feeling. No, no. Now it can be measured by science. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin have located the world’s happiest man. He’s former molecular geneticist turned Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard. After testing his brain, neuroscientists discovered that Ricard produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — that have never before been recorded. The secret to his success in achieving bliss? Meditation, he claims.
In fact this research was part of a larger study of the effects of meditation. They found that people who meditate long-term have actually been able to change the way their brain is wired to the “happiness center,” although you don’t need to be a monk meditating hours each day to see results. According to the neuroscientists, they can see improvements in brain function even those who have meditated for just three weeks.
What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
5. 21-day mediation challenge. I bring this up because I am in the middle of a meditation challenge. For three weeks, I’ve committed to meditating about 15 minutes each day. The challenge provides me with guided meditations for each session.
So far, so good. I can’t say that I will be classified as the world’s happiest woman any time soon, but I haven’t yet run screaming from the room. My main issue is the “monkey mind.” This is what practitioners call the busy, random thoughts that hop from thing to thing when the goal is to quiet those thoughts. I’m told it’s common to have your mind jump around: nor’easter, Easter, Easter is early next year, chocolate, chocolate rabbits, Peter Cottontail, cotton balls, I’m out of cotton balls, and tissues, and Reggie’s treats, Reggie needs a bath, bubble bath, candles… Does this ever happen to you?
Sometimes I get a clear patch when my mind is still, and I’m hoping to string more and more of them together. At this point, I’m only 5 days into the challenge, but already I have noticed small changes which I attribute to the meditation. I can get anxious and irritable when I have a long list of things to do, but I’ve been feeling much calmer and less overwhelmed.
And since we’re on the subject, happiness guru Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project is coming to my neighborhood in a few weeks to talk about her new book and I was able to get tickets! That makes me happy. I know many of you follow her blog so I’ll have a full report for you.
Have you tried meditation? Have you seen benefits from it?
Have a great weekend, everyone!