Rituals, it turns out, can play an important role in changing our habits, attitudes and thoughts. In fact, that might be what they're designed for.
At least according to Michael Puett, Professor of Chinese History at Harvard, and co-author of Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity.
Ritual, Puett points out, gives us an opportunity for a moment to be a different person. We enter a ritual space, connect with someone, then break the space and move on. But that ritual space interrupts our default thinking or behavior, and calls us out to be different.
Oftentimes we think of rituals - big and small - as lacking in authenticity: we're playing a role, acting artificially, faking it for others. And sometimes we are - maybe all the time. But maybe that's the point.
Rituals give us a chance to stop being our mundane selves and step for a moment into a different mode of being:...
There is a video making rounds on the internet of a Japanese social movement that focuses (in part) on reducing the number of possessions as a way of freeing the mind, body, spirit and emotions. It springs from Zen philosophy, in which simplicity is a key value.
It is a short clip, and is captivating (and inspiring) because of the extreme simplicity achieved. Not many of us are in a place where we can (or want to) make this kind of intentional life-shaping. But it is an inspiration to me to reconsider and recommit myself to streamlining my possessions, schedule and focus in order to give me more room for clarity of thought and purpose.
They've been with us as long as we've had stable agriculture. Humans seem hardwired to want to look healthy, wealthy or wise - however that "look" is conveyed in a given culture. (Remember than sun-tans, for instance, for most of human history have signaled poverty, linked with toiling in the sun. Only recently have tans been associated with leisure time away from desk work. Or Renaissance paintings and sculptures depicting full-figured women who clearly enjoyed more-than-sufficient food security as the ideal of health and beauty, before empty calories and sedentary work made a trim figure the object of desire.)
And we always want the quick fix, the easy solution, the miracle pill or one-week regimen. All the while, really, deep down, we all know they aren't healthy. And they aren't really a solution at all.
At any given time, there are hundreds (thousands?) of fad diets on the market, on bookstore shelves, in the news and...
Fad diets and quick-weight-loss schemes are most often more trouble than they're worth - heading toward yo-yo weight gain, malnutrition and dehydration. (More on that in another post.) Needless to say, the most reliable and safest way to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is changing your eating habits.
There is a lot of really valuable information in the field of nutrition, and the science is fascinating, and sometimes complex. Even with a degree in nutrition or with the help of personalized nutrition coaching, it can seem daunting. Especially starting out. (These six steps don't take the place of professional, science-based nutritional advice!)
These are my six guideposts to healthy eating. They aren't hard-and-fast rules or formulas. They don't require specialized knowledge or any specific measuring equipment. These are just my light-bulb moments: nuggets that stick with me and seemed "do-able" in my often-crazy life. H...
A good article piqued my attention recently. It might be the "mindfulness" part of me, maybe the "parent" in me. Probably because so much of my day is spent trying to do both at once.
A key takeaway for me is that we teach our children most about how to deal with others when we disagree with them. How we treat our children when we disagree is where they learn how to treat others when times get stressful or tense.
I am enthralled by the look at the historic mind, and am amazed by the ability of science to both confirm and quantify some of our best intuitions.
We've known for a long time that how we say something matters just as much as what we are actually saying. Turns out, we are at the technological level now that we can electronically quantify how someone is feeling based on their word choice in social media. More importantly, though, we need to pay attention to the words our companions are using, and listen to what they are communicating with their word choices.
The biggest takeaway for me is that I can affect the way I feel, affect my outlook and attitude and interpretation of reality, by intentionally selecting different language. I shape my own reality - to one degree or another, one way or another.