10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal

I’ve always liked Goldie Hawn. When I was younger I watched her on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, “Private Benjamin”, “Protocol” (No, dear, I’m not a chicken; I’m an emu.), “Wildcats”, “Death Becomes Her”, and “First Wives Club”. I like that her and Kurt Russell are still together after all these years. I’m not saying I’m an expert on all things “Goldie”, I’m just saying it came as quite a surprise to find out that she’s kind of a well-known figure in the mindfulness movement.

It turns out that Goldie Hawn is an author! She has written an autobiography, “A Lotus Grows in the Mud”, and “10 Mindful Minutes”. Both books ended up on New York Time’s bestselling author’s list! This was all news to me when I was approached to review “10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal”. As you may already have guessed, I never read “10 Mindful Minutes”, so the good news is the journal is effective whether you’ve read the previous book or not. No more talk about the past then, let’s focus on the here and now and “10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal”.

Goldie Hawn at a book event.

The Journal is authored by Goldie Hawn with Jennifer Repo. I’m not sure how much of whose voice we’re hearing when reading the entries but there is a welcoming warmth in the tone of the writing. The book isn’t focusing on deep, obscure meditation practices. You’re reminded of the basics: sitting comfortably and focusing on your breath. The chapters are divided into specific areas of reflection, such as Discovering Empathy, Transforming Anger, and Cultivating Optimism. In the sections you’ll find meditation exercises, and most important to the book, space to journal your reflections after you finish them.

“10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal” works at guiding readers towards a daily reflective meditation practice so that after all the pages are filled, hopefully the practice still remains.

Women. Aren’t. Funny.

Midway through Goldie Hawn and Michael Eisner’s on-stage conversation at the Aspen Ideas Festival at the beginning of July, the former Disney CEO proposed a theory for what made Hawn stand out in Hollywood over the years.

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman,” he said. “By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.” – The Atlantic 07/03/15

He of course thought Goldie Hawn was beautiful and funny, and she is, but this whole “women aren’t funny” and now upping the ante with a “woman can’t be beautiful and funny” really gets my goat. Hopefully it bothers you too.

I don’t understand why people think women aren’t funny, and seriously, why can’t they be beautiful and funny? Obviously humor, and beauty, are in the funny bone, and eye of the beholder, but I can easily show you a bunch of beautiful women with quite the knack for comedy.

Sandra Bullock
Aisha Tyler
Lucille Ball
Mila Kunis
Joan Cusack
Salma Hayek
Tina Fey
Sarah Silverman
Kathy Griffin
Wanda Sykes
Rita Rudner
Madeline Kahn

And I just can’t resist with Madeline Kahn…..

There you go, a dozen beautiful, funny women just like that. BAM! And I could easily go on. I bet you guys know other hot and humorous ladies, and yet this idea persists that women aren’t funny. There’s even a documentary exploring the idea.

Now Streaming on Netflix!

Now unfortunately comments are still broken on the website, but if you know some other seriously funny and attractive ladies to share, feel free to share them on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page. And let’s tell the world beautiful women can be funny!

Geek Month in Review: June 2015

By JB Sanders

Summer!

The 20-year-old Cleaning Up the Oceans
That’s not hyperbole, either. Boyan Slat has two major projects underway right now to do just that. The first one starting in August will collect more data in three weeks on the plastic floating in our oceans “than anyone has in 40 years”. In 2016, he’s deploying a device to collect plastic out of the ocean which will be the longest floating structure around (2,000 meters). I think he’s giving Elon Musk a run for his money. The guy’s only 20!

Flying Tricycle in Prototype
Technically, it’s a “coaxial, Y6-layout tricopter”, but if that confounds you — no worries. If you’ve seen Return of the Jedi, you’ve seen a flying motorcycle much like this. Yes, there’s video.

James Bond Cars Through the Years
Cool website that shows all the James Bond cars. Nice effects and cool art. Plus hot cars.

Magic, Light, and Quadracopters
Art and science meet, produce a wonderful dance. Done only with lights, lampshades, and some well-programmed quadracopters.

3D Printed Bridge
These crazy Dutch engineers/programmers/scientists have created prototype robots that are going to 3D print a bridge in place and kind of mid-air. Scifi in Action folks!

Gustav Eiffel’s Secret Tower Apartment
Built into the 3rd level of the Eiffel Tower is a secret apartment that the builder had put in over 100 years ago. See pictures of (more or less) how it looked back in the day.

Lexus Makes a Hoverboard — For Real!
It is 2015 after all, the year Marty McFly DeLoren’s to in Back to the Future. It had to happen sometime. Even if the hoverboard in question requires a metal surface to work.

3D Color Images of 1850’s Japan
No, it’s not the result of time travel, it’s stereoscopic photography during the time it was invented. It’s been converted for your convenience into animated GIFs.

Tactile Tablet
It’s like an iPad, only it creates a raised surface for braille, contour maps, or whatever.

Creepy Writing Doll
What is even creepier is that the doll in question is over 240 years old. Nothing quite like 18th century clockwork automatons.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog:http://www.glenandtyler.com/

What if the U.S. Disappeared?

By Dr. Saqib Qureshi

Of course that’s not happening, unless somebody knows how to use the Force in ways which George Lucas hasn’t envisioned, but let’s just imagine a world in which the US government completely withdraws from the rest of the world. Let us just imagine. This is not a bizarre idea. After all, hundreds of millions of people world over accuse the US of failing to mind its own business, of interfering and poking its nose where it’s not wanted. And there is also the non-interventionist tradition within American foreign policy, a position that ironically enough emanates from Robert Walpole, Britain’s prime minister from 1721 to 1742, and was later shaped by presidents Jefferson and Monroe.

So what will happen? What will a disengaged world look like? Well, for a start, there’d be a big economic problem…. and I am not referring to the elimination of the US$50bn in foreign aid which DC doles out every year through the State and Defense Departments, as well as via multi-lateral organizations. Mind you, some countries would be the up the wall … Afghanistan and Israel each receive from the US about hundred times the aid per capita which Bangladesh and South Africa receive. It’s fair to say that Afghanistan would be ‘game over’, that is assuming it wasn’t already, while Israel would need to reduce its military spending and seek a fair peace with the Palestinians.

The real big economic problem is that US federal government needs loans (largely from China via bonds) for funding. An America that cuts itself off from the rest of the world will rapidly realize that it can’t function. It won’t be able to pay civil service salaries, infrastructure development and all the other things that the government currently covers. To cut to the chase, the US would go through a massive recession… since not only would the government have to rapidly reduce its spending, but exports would take a hit too. After all, with the US in recession, there’s a good chance that the world will enter a recession. Where is everything ‘Made in China’ going to go? For that matter, where is everything ‘Made in America’ or ‘Designed in California’ going to go?

World politics would also be affected, maybe not … but maybe as badly as world economics. NATO countries, Japan, Israel, the Gulf countries, South Korea and Taiwan would feel the loss of America’s shield. Since they and their neighbours will struggle to raise military spending in a recession, resolving regional tensions would take on a greater sense of urgency. NATO and Russia would listen more carefully to each other, as would America’s Asian allies to China, the GCC to Iran and Israel to the Palestinians and Arabs. There is though a real risk that economic frustrations are politically channeled through war, even if most of these countries have nuclear deterrents. This credible counter-scenario to my proposed scenario is nuclear war… and that partly comes down to domestic politics and society.

With a sharp economic recession and the collapse of various UN agencies which get their funding from the (withdrawn) US and other countries which can’t afford the to keep up their dues, countries will have tougher societal issues to deal with than in a world with an engaged US. Poverty rates would explode. Law and order, as well as political stability could be up for grabs. Full term parliaments would become rarer than they already are. Institutions of civil society would be starved … fewer people would donate to charities and non-profits, or even to pay for the news. Hospitals and other societal infrastructure would be severely strained. And the nastier end of the human spectrum, the xenophobes and racists, would get a wonderful kick in the arm much like Hitler got in the early 1930s. That would have an interesting impact on inter-state politics.

So, what do I conclude as we ponder the meaning of 4th of July? I’m fasting – it’s Ramadan but I can still somewhat think. Yes, there’s a fair chunk that the US does which it should be ashamed of and needs to fix (do I need to mention Guantanamo, black church-burnings, poverty levels, Islamophobia etc?) …. but we are probably ALL better off with an engaged US than an isolated one.

About Dr. Saqib Qureshi:
Dr. Saqib Qureshi is a divergent strategist who looks at things a little differently. He writes intellectual and thought provoking articles on Reconstructing Strategy and received his PhD from the London School of Economics. Dr. Q has lived in Europe, Asia and North America and has worked for McKinsey & Co., HSBC Investment Bank and several governments. He was the first person to appear on British television to raise concerns about Muslim extremists in the West and the failure of western culture to properly understand the Muslim community. His new book, “Reconstructing Strategy: Dancing with the God of Objectivity” is available now.

In a World of Gods and Goddesses

You may not have heard of Indra Sharma, but it is unlikely, regardless of where you live, that you haven’t seen his work. Sharma is one of India’s most well-known artists. He came from a long line of traditional painters and studied in multiple traditional painting styles. As such, his work reflects Hindu spirituality, and that is highlighted to great effect by “In a World of Gods and Goddesses: The Mystic Art of Indra Sharma” by James H. Bae.

What I was expecting was an art book; lots of pictures and a bit of text about the artist and his art. What I got was so much more! “In a World of Gods and Goddesses” is loaded with full color images of Sharma’s art, but it is also a wonderful biography of the artist. It offers a detailed explanation of traditional painting styles in India, and covers the sacred mythology of India and the stories of Hinduism’s deities. You can see why it’s a book to get excited about!

Just a Few of Sharma’s Gods & Goddesses

Thanks to the use of his art as posters, in calendars, and as greeting cards, Sharma’s work has made its way around the globe. I’ve personally found it in some new age/metaphysical gift shops on posters. Maybe you have too. “In a World of Gods and Goddesses” is a great way to learn about the artist, enjoy his work, and learn more about a whole artistic culture.

Rewilding Our Hearts: Ecocide is Suicide

By Marc Bekoff

We’re killing a very tired and less resilient planet at alarming rates.

It’s common knowledge that we’re losing species and habitats at an unprecedented rate in a geological epoch known as the “anthropocene” — the age of humanity, which is hardly a humane time. We humans are the cause of massive and egregious ecocide because as big-brained, big-footed, overproducing, overconsuming, arrogant and selfish mammals we freely move all over the place recklessly, wantonly and mindlessly trumping the interests of countless nonhuman animals (animals). Every second of every day we decide who lives and who dies; we are that powerful. Of course, we also do many wonderful things for our magnificent planet and its fascinating inhabitants, but right now, rather than pat ourselves on the back for all the good things we do, we need to take action to right the many wrongs before it’s too late for other animals and ourselves.

My new book titled “Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence” lays out the details for a much-needed social movement and paradigm shift that also can help extricate us from our ecocidal ways and help to maintain our hopes and dreams for a more peaceful world for all beings in very trying times. We live in a world in which “unwilding” is the norm rather than the exception. It begins with early education. If we didn’t unwild we wouldn’t have to rewild.

Conservation biologists and others who write about rewilding or work on rewilding projects see it as a large-scale process involving projects of different sizes, such as the ambitious, courageous and forward-looking Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, well known as the Y2Y project.

The core words associated with large-scale rewilding projects are connection and connectivity, the establishment of links among geographical areas so that animals can roam as freely as possible with few if any disruptions to their movements. For this to happen ecosystems must be connected so that their integrity and wholeness are maintained or reestablished.

Regardless of scale, ranging from huge areas encompassing a wide variety of habitats that need to be reconnected or that need to be protected to personal interactions with animals and habitats, the need to rewild and reconnect centers on the fact that there has been extensive isolation and fragmentation “out there” in nature, between ourselves and (M)other nature and within ourselves. Many, perhaps most, humans, are isolated and fragmented internally concerning their relationships with nonhuman animals, so much that we’re alienated from them. We don’t connect with other animals, including other humans, because we can’t or don’t empathize with them. The same goes for our lack of connection with various landscapes. We don’t understand they’re alive, vibrant, dynamic, magical and magnificent. Alienation often results in different forms of domination and destruction, but domination is not what it means “to be human.” Power does not mean license to do whatever we want to do because we can.

Rewilding projects often involve building wildlife bridges and underpasses so that animals can freely move about. These corridors, as they’re called, can also be more personalized. I see rewilding our heart as a dynamic process that will not only foster the development of corridors of coexistence and compassion for wild animals but also facilitate the formation of corridors within our bodies that connect our heart and head. In turn, these connections, or reconnections, will result in positive feelings that will facilitate heartfelt actions to make the lives of animals better. To want to help others in need is natural so that glow is to be expected.

Rewilding is an attitude. It’s also a guide for action. As a social movement, it needs to be proactive, positive, persistent, patient, peaceful, practical, powerful and passionate — which I call the eight Ps of rewilding.

We can all make more humane and compassionate choices to expand our compassion footprint. We must all try as hard as we can to keep thinking positively and proactively. Never say never, ever. We can and must keep our hopes and dreams alive.

The time is right for an inspirational, revolutionary and personal social movement that can save us from doom and keep us positive while we pursue our hopes and dreams. Our planet is tired and dying and not as resilient as some claim it to be.

Ecocide is suicide. Let’s make personal rewilding all the rage. When “they” (other animals) lose, we all lose. We suffer the indignities to which we subject other animals. We can feel their pains and suffering if we allow ourselves to do so.
Compassion begets compassion and violence begets violence.

There really is hope if we change our ways. We owe it to ourselves and especially to future generations — our children and theirs — who will inherit the world we leave them long after we’re gone.

About Marc Bekoff:
Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has worked alongside leading writers and activists including Jane Goodall, Peter Singer, and PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk. He lives in Boulder, CO.

Based on the book, “Rewilding Our Hearts” © Copyright 2014 by Marc Bekoff. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com