Tag Archive | inspiration

Giving Thnx a try

Image result for thankful

It’s November, at last! Time to talk about things thankful. For a start, I’m going to mention thnx4.org. I love this thing.

If you and your friends are spread across the country or the globe, you can use this as a way to reconnect and see what all the good that is going on in their lives this month.

If you’re planning on going home for Thanksgiving, get your family to participate as a group. Then when you get together, you can talk about all things everyone posted instead of the dry turkey and the game on tv.

You can even do this as a workplace, organization, or school. It’s a great way to keep people connected and fight that trend of downward spiral and loneliness that can set in for some folks during the holidays.

Image result for thankful

Thnx4 is a free, online, shareable (every time you make an entry, you can choose to make that entry public or private) gratitude journal that makes it easier to say thanks, enjoy the benefits of thankfulness, and see what happens when you get into a better habit of experiencing and expressing gratitude.

It was created by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley as a resource. It draws on two decades of research suggesting that people who regularly feel grateful:

  • report better health, reduce their risk of heart disease, and get better sleep
  • strengthen feelings of connection and satisfaction in their relationships
  • feel more satisfied with their lives, more joy and optimism, and less anxiety.

einstien

 

How it works:

  • Register for a 21-Day Gratitude Challenge either individually or as part of a group by clicking on the Get Started Now! button
  • Receive a friendly, informative ping from Thnx4 daily every other day for 3 weeks, inviting you to journal and share your gratitude, and rate your day-to-day feelings.
  • Throughout the challenge, your Thnx4 Insights page shows you how you typically use gratitude, and at the end, the overall impact of your Gratitude Challenge.
  • At your convenience thereafter, continue to enjoy the benefits of strengthening gratitude with Thnx4: better health, closer relationships, and greater happiness.

So, give it a try. I can say scientifically that you’ll be grateful you did!

 

What matters, comes after

Angel of Ohlsdorf

I took a trip to Germany years ago. One of the places we stopped was a cemetery.  The person I was with commented on all the swastikas on the graves of the WWII soldiers. As Americans, standing there looking on these graves, that symbol felt wrong to see anywhere. But in a place of mourning, a place that had always been a place of mourning, these scattered graves of local people, who had died in that horrific time, serving that horrific regime, bearing that hated mark, it made sense.

I doubt anyone will ever want to go back through every graveyard in Germany and elsewhere that nazi soliders and sympathizers died, and chip off every swastika. I suppose it could be done, maybe it should be done, but it would take funding, and family approval, and town approval and . . . really all you feel in that place is sadness already. Sadness that someone, anyone, ever fought and died in such a worthless cause as hate, racism, and national socialist whackjob-ism.

When I think about Confederate symbols in graveyards, I feel the same way about them. Lives lost over such an immoral, obscenely worthless cause. But I don’t feel that way about Confederate symbols in public places. I think those symbols should be removed and replaced with symbols of hope. Emancipation Park shouldn’t have a statue of General Robert E Lee. It should have a symbol of the Great Emancipator, Lincoln. Or of Harriet Tubman, whose emancipated so many.

I speak as someone who loves history and has a degree  in it. I also speak as an artist. Now is the time to remove bronze statues, to give them to artists of today to melt down and create something new to go on those empty plinths. Now is the time to give those cenotaphs to sculptors to chip away at and remake into something new. Now is the time, for today’s artists, and today’s historians, to join up and transform these places and with outdated, prejudiced, oppressive symbols in to symbols of our time, symbols of truth, of hope, of aspirations not yet met.

Why can’t Rosa Parks replace Robert E Lee on that plinth? Why can’t Rebecca Lee Crumpler stand tall on a campus quad? Why can’t we celebrate the achievements and progress of our country, of people of color, where once there was a symbol of intimation and oppression? Why can’t a statue of Former Justice Thurgood Marshall (of Brown v Board of Education) stand where Former Justice Roger Tany (of Dred Scott) did?

Why can’t we start to do this now?

Nature abhors a vacuum. I call on you, artists and historians. Let’s create the future now, by celebrating a past that also actually happened, and was good and inspiring and uplifting, not just for people of color but all people. Let’s not leave an empty plinth, a hole in the ground, or a space for a plaque on a monument to be ceded to a new version of racism and intolerance.

I call on cities and counties, states and communities. I call on people to form committees, to get this important work, in this critical time, accomplished. Let the dead, who buried their Confederate soldier and sympathizer dead, and are now themselves dead, lie. Their time is over. They are dust, as we all must someday be.

But in our public spheres, alive and vibrant, let we the living create new art, alive and vibrant, so that 100 or 150 years from now, those monuments will still stand tall and remind living people of the future, of people who lived  in times past and whose lives deserve to be remembered and celebrated still, not just by Americans of color, but by all Americans who pass by.

To destroy what is bad of the past is good, but what really matters is what you create in it’s place. What really matters, is what comes after.

 

For my writer friends

writers-block

It’s one thing waiting for the Muse, but if you’re at your desk the Muse knows where to find you.

This is why I don’t do inspiration or creative blogs. I just do the work, and hope for the best.

Because the difficult thing is to keep yourself open to the moment.

The trick is to keep yourself vulnerable and true, and this can be really tiring after a while. It can hurt, quite literally.

But if you do it properly — and it’s hard to do it properly — then the book will find its mark.

If it’s a real book, written for the right reasons, and with enough skill, then it will find its time and its readers.

It’ll be its own kind of success.

Anne Enright, Irish author, speaking on BBC4 Radio’s The Value of Failure.