Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kindness During Conflict

'During times of conflict and political or religious civil unrest, the power of the human spirit’s capacity for non-violent protest and kindness still shines through.'

'This is the aftermath of a very sweet moment between a General and a protester in Brazil. Upon seeing what looked to be an impending conflict, the general made a simple request. “Do not fight, please. Not on my birthday.” How did the protesters respond? By not fighting, for starters but they went a step further and made the man a cake.'

To see more click, '35 Images of Kindness Found Within Conflict'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Can Money Buy Happiness?

'Six years ago, a landmark study found that money did improve subjective well-being, but only up to a point: Above an annual household income of around $75,000, found the Princeton researchers, more money wouldn’t buy more happiness.
But that doesn’t mean how people (of all income levels) spend their money is irrelevant. 
In fact, a recent wave of research suggests that money can buy happiness—if we spend it in the right ways. Dishing out cash for experiences rather than material goods can give us a boost, as can spending on other people. And we’ll get the biggest happiness bang for our (literal) buck if we indulge in many small treats rather than a few big splurges. 
Now, a new paper published in Psychological Science suggests that money can also buy happiness when we spend it on products that fit our personality.  Across more than 76,000 transactions, the researchers found that participants with a better match between their personality and their purchases were more satisfied with life. This link was even stronger than those between total income or total spending and life satisfaction, and it held even after controlling for income, age, and gender.'
To read more click, 'Money enables us to lead a life we want'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California
A Mindfulness  Practice Does Not Necessarily Equate to Mindful Parenting

'In a recent study, researchers at the University of Vermont surveyed over 600 parents of children ages 3-17 to see how mindfulness related to their children’s well-being. Parents reported on their trait mindfulness (how mindful they are in everyday interactions), mindfulness in parenting (how attentive, non-judging, and non-reacting they are in interactions with their children), and positive versus negative parenting practices (for example, expressing unconditional love and setting limits versus using harsh physical punishments). They also reflected on their kid’s typical coping styles—if they tended to become anxious or depressed or act out in disruptive ways, like hitting or yelling during difficult situations.
'Analyses showed that parents who reported more mindful parenting engaged in more positive and less negative parenting behavior, which was then linked to more positive behavior in their kids—meaning less anxiety, depression, and acting out.' 
But just because you have a practice that has increased your mindfulness and reduced your stress, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can apply these skills in more charged settings.  To read more click, 'Mindful parenting matters'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Empathic Judges?

Being a judge making decisions affecting other people's lives in profound ways is an extraordinary responsibility.  Some judges would hold the idea of allowing emotions to enter into their decision making in the cases they preside over as a violation of their integrity.  But judges are human beings and for human beings, whether we are aware of it or not, emotions are an integral part of our decision making process.  There is no such thing as pure impartiality.  We all have biases.  No fault there.  It's just part of the human condition.  But we do have a responsibility to become aware of them so that they don't run the show unmonitored.

Judges have to be allowed the room to imagine themselves into the shoes of the parties involved in the cases they preside over.  They can't begin to find their way to fair and just decisions without that. Trying to do that job relying only on mental constructs -laws written by people far removed from the situation at hand - is an inherently flawed approach.

We're a long way off from a justice system that really works in a fair and constructive way.  But in the long run what we need are judges who are fully developed human beings able to bring their minds and their hearts together in ways that allow for all the human dimensions involved in a case to be considered together in arriving at a decision that makes sense.

To read more click, 'Any of those experiences are going to make someone a better judge.'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nobody is Broken

William Kenover's son, Sawyer, was diagnosed at age 7 as being on the autism spectrum.  William and his wife, Jen were committed to doing whatever they could to not leave him isolated so when they learned about the practice called 'joining' from Barry Neil Kaufman’s book 'Son-Rise' they were ready to jump in and give it a go.  The results for Sawyer were dramatic and inspiring.  But there was something more for William.  In order to really do the 'joining' he had to let go of the notion that there was anything 'wrong' with anybody.  This led to a transformation of the way he viewed and interacted with life.

To read more click, 'Learning what it's like to be you'  

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Tales of Fantasy Instead of Text Books

Another case of science catching up with ancient wisdom.  New research in Head Start programs is showing that children are better able to take in and assimilate new information if they learn it in the context of fantasy rather than realistic mediums - i.e. fairy tales as opposed to cookbooks.  It's not conclusive from the recent research why this is.  It could simply be that kids find the fantasy stories more interesting and therefore pay greater attention. But a richer possibility is that maybe there is something about the nature of fantasy - thinking about impossible events - that engages a child's deeper processing.  Either way, it appears to be a more effective approach to learning for young children.  That's a break from accepted theories on education and, if we act on it, good news for the kids.

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Group Movement and Social Bonding

Every indigenous culture since the beginning of humanity's time here on the planet has known the importance of people dancing together.  We've lost some of that in today's world but we need the social bonding it brings more than ever.  Who knows, if corporate leaders were to get how it enhances teamwork and productivity we might see it become an integral part of the workday.  At any rate, it absolutely should be a part of every child's education so that we can all grow up knowing the experience of it.

To read more click, collective effervescence

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Friday, July 15, 2016

Infinite Revolution

Making their voices heard through art.

Thank God some people are bringing sanity into our 'correctional' facilities.  What a gift for the young people who find this opening coming into their lives.
"Artistic Noise is a program designed to bring visual arts practice and entrepreneurial skills to young people who are incarcerated, on probation, or somehow involved in the justice system. An exhibition entitled 'Infinite Revolution', on view this summer, will celebrate the immense artistic talent of the individuals involved in the Artistic Noise community, and their bold spirits that refuse to be muffled. 
"So much of what we do and what we’re focused on is give kids who are often silent a way to have their voices heard and their stories told.  Whether they are physically removed from society or just don’t feel like they have a voice, through art they are making this visual noise.”
To read more click, 'The goal was empowerment.'

A Real Education

These two guys know something about real education:

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

"Modern education with its focus on material goals and a disregard for inner values is incomplete. There is a need to know about the workings of our minds and emotions. If we start today and make an effort to educate those who are young now in inner values, they will see a different, peaceful, more compassionate world in the future."

To read more click, Not just a degree