Pause

 

“The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon”  Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson talks about resting the mind on pleasant experiences continually for lasting resilience, inner strength and cultivating a positive outlook.

When we are busy at work, taking care of family, achieving goals, we get caught up in getting it all done. Taking a pause is important. Its being mindful of the work being done and the experience being created.

Whether you decide to do a stretch, a breathing exercise, find an image to gaze upon, bring up a joyful memory, pauses of 1 to 3 minutes can replenish you for long periods of time.

 

© May 2017

A Moment of Joy

 

Pauses are not frivolous, instead they are an act of kindness.

Peace,

Shobhna

 

Book Review

20170404_121525

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. points out in a frank and passionate voice of all the ways the “value gap” contributes to racial inequality in America.  He calls for a Revolution in Values where we start viewing the government differently, change how we view black people, and change what matters at the core of being an American. In order to make changes, we have to be able to address concerns and question why things are the way they are currently.  A revolution of values should change what constitutes success and express genuine connectedness that the well being of African Americans is interwoven with the well being of the nation.

 

It is imperative to have open discussions about racial inequalities. These open discussions can shed light on the habits that perpetuate racism and create a shift in cultural and political lives in America.  Glaude says that first steps to undo our racial habits are by changing policies and addressing structural racism.

In his assertions Glaude includes how black leaders too have disappointed African Americans.   In his chapter on President Obama and Black liberals, Glaude emphasizes how lack of effective leadership has led to increased racial inequality. He states that during Obama’s presidency, racial inequality got worse.  He holds Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton equally responsible for the continued deterioration in Black Americans economic, political and social standing.

We simply need to align our practices with our stated principles and values. This view enables us to hold simultaneously that the principles of freedom and liberty are already a part of American life, while we experience, over and over again, habits and practices that suggest otherwise – Eddie Glaude

I chose to read this book to be more informed about the racial divide that exists and seems to be growing and festering. When we ignore something that is deeply rooted in our history and is blossoming in present times, we only make it worse.  We don’t need to accept  inequities as they are, and our democratic principles actually urge us to advocate for all.  I would reccommend the book to anyone interested in gaining more insight into politcal and social aspect of the value gap. Eddie  Glaude invites us to be bold and daring in creating a democracy that truly represents liberty and justice for everyone. I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com and my review is based on my opinion.

 

Peace,

Shobhna

 

Compassionate Choices

Most people, at some point or another have had to revise their personal financial budget. Those who have lived on tight budgets, know how challenging it can be to have nutritious food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare.

Those who have never lived on a tight budget, can learn to have empathy. They can help to create  an economy that supports others in their difficult times.

 

Presently, proposed budget cuts by our current administration look to eliminate funding for meals provided to old adults and young children.  At all levels, be it moral, social or ethical, these actions are inherently misguided.

Reducing and eliminating the budget, of  larger programs that support local agencies, impact the individuals affected, their community, the nation  and the world.  When it comes to eliminating access to nutritious meals, the consequences are dire. We cannot choose to ignore the vulnerable.

Compassionate choices support the wellbeing of others.

 

Peace,

Shobhna

 

When

I can tell you how to hold on

I can tell you how to let go

Its not for me to tell you

Which one is right

And by when you should know

What matters the most

Is you know for sure

What brings you peace

What joy  you feel

Is it for love; is it for fear

That you hold on

Or that you let go

 

Peace,

Shobhna

©2017

 

©Shobhna

 

Book Review

 

Speaking from a pastors point of view, Andy Stanley presents examples, poses questions and reflections on how a person can live a life of purpose.  Andy Stanley provides exercises throughout the book, supporting the process of visioneering. In his introduction he says passion, motivation, direction and purpose are the four things “woven into the fabric of our daily experience.” Along with personal examples he draws upon other peoples experiences and the Bible story of Nehemiah. The story of Nehemiah is the focal point in the book highlighting  “hard work, prayer and divine intervention.”

Everyone, has a purpose in life and fulfilling that purpose is important as each persons purpose fills in a larger picture. Making decisions, renewing purpose, having faith are important to visioneering. Remaining committed to ones vision despite distractions takes sheer courage and vulnerability.

I received this book from blogging for books.com and my review of the book is genuine.   I don’t think one has to be a Christian to read this book or to complete the exercises. I believe, the reflection exercises will resonate for everyone, regardless of religion, depending on their own personal views, strengths and weaknesses, and where they are in life at the present moment.

A reflection at the beginning of the book is to identify  and meet with a person who you respect and who is living their vision.

A question presented later in the book is “In light of your strengths and weaknesses, where is the greatest potential for inconsistency”. Inconsistency here is dependent on what someone says and does in relation to their vision.

At the beginning of some chapters are quotes that too can be used to reflect upon.  One quote that I continue to sit with is from chapter 6 of the book:

If your vision is for a year, plant wheat

If your vision is for ten years, plant trees

If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people

~Chinese Proverb

Mindful living requires us to be engaged in life and so does visioneering. As such, I found that this book has practical suggestions on how to be mindfully engaged in ones life purpose.

Peace,

Shobhna

 

Book Review

Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy

Cathy O’Neil is a data scientist with a Ph.D in mathematics. Based on her experience and research, she describes how we are living in an age where unfairness and inequality are ingrained in the very systems that are supposed to be fair and unprejudiced to everyone.

Data collected from companies, privately or overtly, are used to create algorithms and models that individuals function within. Well intentioned models created for supporting individuals in need of help, can also become the very models that become socially dividing and discriminatory.

Cathy O’Neil, describes how colleges, prisons, online advertising, social media, jobs, insurance companies operate on collected data. Individuals life choices can be impacted by this data and if it works against them, they may have no recourse, because so much value is placed on data. We are impacting the creations of models based on the data we pay attention to and as Ms. O’Neil points out these choices can not just be profit, logistical and efficiency based but also fundamentally moral.

We have to ask questions of the models that exist and whether they are truly serving our society and how can we reduce the inequalities and support the disenfranchised. These types of questions are imperative if we want to live in a true democracy. Being mindful in our choices is important.

I received this book from blogging for books.com and I appreciate the opportunity to post a review. Its a book that has expanded my perception on how social models and our choices are interrelated.

wp-1483727601803.jpg

Peace,

Shobhna

 

Making Choices

In her book, Another Country, Navigating Emotional Terrain of Our Elders, Mary Pipher talks about the 5 R’s. These are, in no particular order, Relaxation, Relationships, Results, Respect, and Realization.

She suggests that as we age we keep the 5 R’s in the forefront of our mind and as we choose to do things, we can ask ourselves if the choice fulfills one of the R’s. The 5 R’s feed into resilience and overtime help us be more resilient in the face of difficulties.

Although, in her book she uses the 5R’s within the context of being elderly and shares stories of amazing individuals living these characteristics…  it seems reasonable to me to incorporate the 5R’s at any age as part of a lifestyle.

As a stress buffer,  integrating activities that foster relaxation in daily life would add quality to life beyond measure. Be it meditation, reading, watching t.v., time with family, working on a project or a hobby.

It has been proven in different ways that from birth we are wired for connection. Building relationships with family and friends, having pets, volunteering, belonging to social groups are all ways to stay connected with others. Time spent daily connecting with others fills a deeper aspect of ourselves and leaves us less vulnerable to physical and emotional illnesses.

At the end of the day, we want to know that however we spent our time…it was worthwhile. For some a day of work fulfills that result, for others it may be lending a helpful hand, sharing a happy moment with someone, starting a project or finishing one.

Feeling respected  and being treated with respect are important to our core sense of self worth and self esteem. Defining self respect and cultivating relationships and a lifestyle that mirrors respect is an ongoing process and requires being reflective as well.

Realization is a lifelong journey and it leads to a sense of wholeness. Mary Pipher calls it “growing of a soul” and for me that phrase sits in a peaceful spot knowing that all of life is a journey and as we make sense of what happens in the chapters of our life story, we are able to integrate self realizations and don’t have to assume a position of stagnation at any time.

Peace,

Shobhna