Years ago, I was asked by a young man if he could take my picture. I was on the corner of Divisadero and Page in San Francisco, dressed in my steam punk best (complete with top hat and eye makeup), and on my way to provide Heroic Tarot readings for an event. I was rather focused on getting downtown to the corporate party, but the sparkle in the man’s eyes convinced me to pause for a moment and let him take the picture. Little did I know that I was taking part in something that would become a movement. Starting out as a form of photographic storytelling, then evolving into a community, Dijon Bowden’s Souls of San Francisco project now has a documentary chronicling its rise and effect. Film Hero describes it best:
Category: Inspiration Page 1 of 3
Today I begin my diet to prepare my body for my trip to Peru to engage in ayahuasca ceremony in the Shipibo peoples tradition. I will be undergoing six ceremonies in ten days. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular plant medicine, retreat center Caya Shobo provides this explanation:
I’ve begun a new spiritual practice this year inspired by Abraham-Hicks. The practice consists of four aspects: meditation, talking with nature, writing, and speaking to a higher power. The meditation takes fifteen minutes, the speaking with nature involves getting outside and appreciating the wonders of Mother Earth, the writing consists of five pages of positive aspects in one’s life (much like a gratitude journal), and speaking to a higher power is like writing a letter to whatever you consider Divine. This letter can be considered a prayer or a mantra and it sounds like this:
This summer I found a way to love my family without needing their acceptance.
A year ago this week, my grandmother died on her birthday. In the weeks following her funeral, I had recurring moments in which I heard her voice, telling me to reach out to my relatives on my father’s side of the family. “I’m gone,” she said, “but you have people who love you and want to see you. Let them.” I heard her words, but I didn’t act on them.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Our mindset can shape the objective world around us,” writes Shawn Achor in his bestselling book The Happiness Advantage. He writes,
We can cultivate a positive mindset–and capitalize on this positivity to move ever upward. We want to push the limits of possibility as far as they can go, not limit them in the way too many discouraging bosses, parents, teachers, or media stories tell us they should be limited.
Many of us have been conditioned to scan for the things that are wrong in our environments at work, home and in the world at large. Doing this all the time reduces our ability to create, increases anxiety, and diminishes our ambitions and energy. However, instead of constructing a mental process that looks for negatives and obstructs success, we can train our brains to search for possibilities and concepts that foster success. It
Today I attended a Writing for Comics class taught by the amazing writer Devin Grayson. The class was offered by The Isotope Comic Book Lounge as part of its Isotope University project which offers curriculum that “focuses on practical, real world comics industry knowledge to equip students for success in creating and selling comics.” Grayson’s work includes writing for titles such as Gotham Knights, Catwoman, The Titans, and Black Widow. Her five year run on Nightwing is especially well regarded and is often credited for creating the fan base for the popular character. She is also a novelist, video game scripter, short story and essay writer.
“Some days it’s your turn to ask. Some days it’s your turn to be asked.” ~Amanda Palmer
I spotted musician singer-songwriter Amanda Conner on the cover of her new book last week. She was nude with the title painted on her upper chest. I was intrigued but I couldn’t justify spending $27.00 on someone I wasn’t sure I liked. I didn’t get the book.
When I got home, I was haunted by Amanda Palmer’s wide-eyed face. I weighed my nostalgia for her old band The Dresden Dolls versus articles I’d read about her online. I knew Neil Gaiman thought the world of her and I thought the world of him. Shouldn’t I at least investigate her side of things? I capitulated and ordered the book from the library.
In The Art of Asking: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Amanda Palmer’s voice is raw, direct, and unabashed. She alternates between stubborn and fragile, fearless and vulnerable, yet finds the spaces between. My judgments slid away with each confessional chapter. I read the book in one sitting.
“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” ~William James
I’m excited to share a fantastic book with you by psychologist Shawn Achor about changing our approach to success and happiness. In the appropriately titled The Happiness Advantage, Achor explores how “conventional wisdom” states that if we work hard, we will succeed and then find happiness. If I can just get that promotion, find the perfect mate, gain the muscle mass, then I will be happy. Achor says, no, it’s the other away around. This principle reminds me of an anonymous quote I was told recently, “Be happy as you await happiness.” The message is that we must accept where we are, and find enjoyment in the process as we work toward the desired goal. The means must be as rewarding as the result because “happiness is the center around which success orbits” (61).
For over a decade, Achor researched and taught positive psychology techniques to maximize happiness and improve potential. His focus is primarily about how we can raise our effectiveness at work in a corporate setting, but his concepts are applicable to all aspects of our lives. In this passage, he explains we have a choice about how we look at the world:
“As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that…That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.” ~Anthony de Mello
“Good government obtains, when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted.” ~Confucius
This morning a wonderful friend texted me, wishing me “lots of happiness on this International Day of Happiness” and I totally rolled my eyes into the back of my head. I was like, “Really? That’s a thing? We get just one day to focus on happiness? What’s that about?” Well, I did a little research and it just so happens that the International Day of Happiness is kind of a big deal (and originates from a place where the residents refer to themselves as “Dragon people”).