Ten for Tuesday... Featuring One and Only One Link

Normally my Ten for Tuesday post includes a list of links that have inspired, delighted or challenged me.

Not today.

Today I only have one link to share, because I want everyone to listen to it. It’s that important.

Johann Hari

Johann Hari

It’s an interview with Johann Hari by Dan Harris on the Ten Percent Happier podcast.

Hari is the author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions.

Three minutes into the episode, I had already bought Hari’s book.
Sixteen minutes in, I knew the book (which I still haven’t read) would change my life in some pretty profound ways.
After the interview ended, I immediately went back to the beginning and listened to it a second time.

From the episode description:

Suffering from his own long battle with depression, social scientist and author Johann Hari yearned for a greater understanding of what caused it and what might help combat it. Hari set out on a journey to not only meet the leading experts on depression, but to observe how other parts of the world treat it. He breaks down his research into the biological, psychological and social causes of depression and presents several fascinating studies from around the world.

If that sounds dry, it’s not. Hari is a great storyteller, and several of his findings brought me to tears.

If this episode seems like it’s not for you because depression doesn’t touch your life or community, well a.) I don’t believe you—it does, you just don’t know it, and b.) the factors that Hari talks about are endemic in our culture, whether it leads one to fall into depression or not. Every pastor I know would benefit from giving this episode a listen.

Obviously this topic is a very salient and personal one for me right now. Very true. The interview makes clear that antidepressants are (or can be) a very important tool in living with depression… but that there are many others, some of which have societal implications. That’s both heartening (listen to the bit about Cambodian antidepressants) and discouraging (the amount of cultural shift that would need to happen in the U.S. is huge in order to take his findings to heart).

I will say this though. My kid has received unmitigated support from her community, from doctors to friends to family to insurance to teachers and school personnel. It’s overwhelming to all of us… even as I ponder the immense privileges at work in many of those things.

Anyway, several months ago I attended a workshop put on by the school district about parenting kids with anxiety. The workshop was free and the place was packed with parents. (You know the stats on anxiety and depression are ghastly, right?) We were introduced to brain research, received coping tools, and learned how to support our kids and build resilience. Part of me was appreciative, part of me was angry—not at them specifically, but at all of us. It was as if our kids all had really bad respiratory problems, and we were there getting the gas masks and learning how to use them, and feeling the comfort of being in a room with other parents whose kids aren’t breathing well either… meanwhile nobody’s talking about why there’s so damn much poison in the air.

If you, like I, want to know why there’s so damn much poison in the air, check out the podcast, and let me know what you think.

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And there’s still time to help us get to 50 donors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Read my blog post or donate here.

Ten for Tuesday

Cheers!

See #10 below…

See #10 below…

Been a long while since I did a link-ariffic post… so I’ve got quite the backlog. Here’s a quick list of stuff that has interested/challenged/delighted me recently:

  1. The website Buy Me Once only stocks items that have a lifetime guarantee. What a nice way to make a small impact in our disposable society.

  2. Did you catch the recent comments from Bill Maher about how we need to bring back fat shaming? (James Corden had a response that was complicated but thoughtful. Also funny.) This article suggests that fat stigma has become a bigger problem than fat itself. (And the former contributes to the latter.)

  3. I see trigger warnings everywhere these days, but studies suggest they may not help.

  4. My friend and colleague Jan Edmiston contemplates the racist bones in her body. (Mine too…)

  5. I’m late to Anthony Bourdain’s work, but recently listened to Kitchen Confidential. Audiobook is the right mechanism for his stuff, methinks. His voice is singular. Here’s a lovely tribute to the late genius of food and humanity.

  6. Here’s one on the politics of carrying purses… and who ends up cleaning up messes as a result.

  7. But the real enemy of women is not the purse. It’s the lack of time for ourselves.

  8. Art Spiegelman reminds us that the golden age of superheroes corresponded with the rise of fascism. FYI.

  9. So many of us read children’s books as adults. It’s a wistful thing.

  10. And on a whimsical note: this runner uses his GPS maps to construct elaborate art with his running routes.

Ten for Tuesday

Greetings! I’m writing from Lakeside Chautauqua, Ohio, where I’m speaking all week as part of their Faith for Living series. It’s a serene, restful place, where I’ll be reading, writing, and running when I’m not in session.

Here’s some stuff that’s been interesting me lately:

1. Your daily dose of #WorldsOkayest: living a mediocre life.

2. Millenials rooming with Catholic nuns. Love the ways community and family get formed. Nuns and nones!

3. Our brains really, really need silence. (I’m working on it.)

4. If you haven’t read Kate Bowler’s book Everything Happens for a Reason—And Other Lies I’ve Loved, or even if you have, here’s her TED Talk. Kate is a priceless treasure.

5. A reflection on depression, despair, loss, and hope, a year after Anthony Bourdain’s death.

6. What do you do when you don’t know something? The comic ‘strip’ XKCD has a proposal.

7. Your professional decline is coming much sooner than you think. This inspired much discussion in a writers’ group I’m in.

8. How to parent like an improv actor. Yep!

9. I wrote a review for Englewood Review of Books, of a fine book on reading the Old Testament as a Christian, by friend Melissa Florer-Bixler.

10. And finally, this man dresses up as mannequins while his wife shops. Brilliant:

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Ten for Tuesday

A compendium of stuff that’s been interesting/inspiring/challenging lately:

DO LESS STUFF

The Case for Doing Nothing

The Atlanta Nap Ministry preaches the liberating power of rest

I’m working on both of these things! Or should I say… I’m playing with them.

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BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Music Therapy In NICUs Can Help Babies Get Home Sooner

My eldest is considering a music therapy major in college. This story made us happy.

'A Song For Any Struggle': Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down' Is An Anthem Of Resolve

Not a big Petty fan, but I have a new appreciation for this song after reading this article.

Garbage collectors open library with abandoned books

#Improv!

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HARD STUFF

Angry? Depressed? You Could Be Grieving Over World Events

Be gentle with yourself.

Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got “Greedy.”

How America’s obsession with long hours has widened the gender gap.

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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU THINK

Congratulations on Your Opinion

On opinions v. reactions. I’m not sure I fully agree, but I can’t stop thinking about this article. I’m connecting it with Brene Brown’s work on courage and being in the arena, and how we all need to figure out whose opinions (reactions?) should matter to us.

Why No One Cares about Your Travels

Or, one of the reasons I haven’t posted much about my trip to Israel/Palestine. Do you agree with this article? I kinda do. I like seeing pics of places I might go, or places I’ve been. Otherwise it’s hard to find a foothold.

Borough mayor is knitting to prove men speak too much at meetings

A scarf that changes color depending on who’s talking. If you don’t knit but would like to be mindful of gender dynamics in meetings, here’s an easy webpage to use.

Ten for Tuesday

Away we go!

This Guy Noticed Jigsaw Puzzle Companies Use The Same Patterns, So He Made Some Mashups

I remember having some Sesame Street puzzles as a child and doing the same thing! Fun. My favorite, the church carnival:

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The Rewatchables

I am obsessed with this podcast, in which the panel discusses a rewatchable movie and lovingly dissects it. The Field of Dreams episode made me cry a few times…

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Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain

Working on it. So glad Apple has introduced Sreen Time—it has helped me rein in the dumb-dumb time I was spending on my phone.

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The Bible does not condemn “homosexuality.” Seriously, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t.

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As I worship on Easter, I'll wrestle with the same question: How do I keep believing this?

How indeed? Great reflection (and hey, Easter is over but we’re still in Eastertide…)

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Intuition is the Highest Form of Intelligence

“If all you do is sit in a chair and trust your intuition, you are not exercising much intelligence. But if you take a deep dive into a subject and study numerous possibilities, you are exercising intelligence when your gut instinct tells you what is - and isn't - important.” Good stuff in a complex world.

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The Uninhabitable Earth

UGH this was a tough read.

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The War Photo No One Would Publish

When Kenneth Jarecke photographed an Iraqi man burned alive, he thought it would change the way Americans saw the Gulf War. But the media wouldn’t run the picture.

Gut-dropping image. War is hell.

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Why We Spend Our Brief Lives Indoors, Alone, and Typing: Or, how I justify teaching my students the dying art of writing

I hope writing isn’t dying, but… yes.

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You’re not getting enough sleep—and it’s killing you

This is something I’m really working on… and it’s So Hard. I can’t wait to watch this TED talk!

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Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

A wonderful article about Yes-And in business.

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What are you reading lately?

Ten for Tuesday

Lots of links to clear out today.

But first, a bonus: Have you checked out my Living Improv conversations on YouTube lately? Two new short videos every two weeks! The latest deal with improvising through illness, and listening for what people really want and need, rather than what you think they do. Watch ‘em! Use the discussion questions with friends! Etc.!

And away we go!

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1. I had an improv teacher who would send a weekly email, prefaced by a link to a song with the note, “Please listen to the following as you read to enhance your email experience.” In that spirit, here’s New Order’s “Blue Monday” played on 1930s instruments. *chef’s kiss*

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2. Speaking of improv, I love how empowering it can be. Read about this recent administrative mistake that turned into a gift, courtesy of Washington Improv Theater. Kudos to that courageous improv student!

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3-4. We have a high school sophomore, which means we’re just at the beginning of the college conversation. These two Reddit threads, written by young people in college, have been very instructive.

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5. On the topic of young people, the Washington Post reports on a Maryland school in which Teen boys rated their female classmates based on looks, and the girls fought back… In a really great, empowering way, it should be said.

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6-7. In the What Really Matters category, these two are deep reads but worth it: The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore (Jenny Anderson, Quartz) and Three Magical Phrases to Comfort a Dying Person (Jenny Harrington, Medium).

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8-9. How about a few badass ladies? This article made the rounds recently, about two sisters who would seduce Nazis in bars and lure them to the woods where they would summarily execute them. I’m not a fan of vigilante justice, but I make an exception for bona fide Nazis.

And I love this amazing photo of two Scottish women, rock climbing in the 1900s in blouses and ankle-length skirts:

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10. And finally, a linguist who argues why we all need to start using y’all. Way ahead of ya, dude!

Onward.

Ten for Tuesday... Including Free Stuff

Away we go!

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1. What’s going on in this picture? Click the link to find out.

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As Trevor Noah put it, “I only cried twice watching this video.”

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2. The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies into Hustles (Man Repeller) This was an interesting article, as someone who’s cobbled together full-time work with a series of side hustles. But the real gem was the paragraph that began, “Whenever I have some time to myself, I panic. Unstructured time — especially spent alone — is phenomenally rare in my life and I feel an overwhelming obligation to make good use of it.” Ahem…

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3. And on that note, The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable (Derek Thompson, Atlantic)

The rich have always worked less than the poor, because they could afford to. The landed gentry of preindustrial Europe dined, danced, and gossiped, while serfs toiled without end. In the early 20th century, rich Americans used their ample downtime to buy weekly movie tickets and dabble in sports. Today’s rich American men can afford vastly more downtime. But they have used their wealth to buy the strangest of prizes: more work!

…Workism offers a perilous trade-off. On the one hand, Americans’ high regard for hard work may be responsible for its special place in world history and its reputation as the global capital of start-up success. A culture that worships the pursuit of extreme success will likely produce some of it. But extreme success is a falsifiable god, which rejects the vast majority of its worshippers. Our jobs were never meant to shoulder the burdens of a faith, and they are buckling under the weight. A staggering 87 percent of employees are not engaged at their job, according to Gallup. That number is rising by the year.

One solution to this epidemic of disengagement would be to make work less awful. But maybe the better prescription is to make work less central.

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4. Everyone Around You Is Grieving. Go Easy (John Pavlovitz) A gentle reminder.

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5. The Latest Diet Trend is Not Dieting (Amanda Mull, Atlantic) On “intuitive eating,” in which people learn to listen to their bodies and eat what they want. When it comes to nutrition, when I’m at my best, I am some combination of intuitive eating, Michael Pollan’s seven words, and Carter Good’s entire Instagram feed (left).

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6. The Minimum Wage Saves Lives (New York Times) A living wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.

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7. Patriarchy Chicken (Charlotte Riley, New Statesman) In which a woman experiments with not getting out of the way of men on the street. I don’t officially condone colliding with people, but I’ve done a milder version of this game and kept a mental tally, and it is amazing how effectively I’ve been socialized to get out of men’s way, and how few men get out of mine.

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8. A Sermon on Depression (Michael Gerson) I hate depression. I really do. I will say “f*** cancer” with the best of them, but depression gets my biggest F-U every time. This was just fantastic. “In our right minds, we know that life is not a farce but a pilgrimage – or maybe a farce and a pilgrimage, depending on the day.”

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9. Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking (PDF, The Feeling Good Handbook) I heard this list recommended on the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast (a show that should be a recommended link all its own) and have been pondering this wise rationality ever since.

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10. And a final recommendation: don’t forget that the Living Improv videos debut this week via my newsletter! Be sure to subscribe. To sweeten the deal, new and returning subscribers will be entered in a drawing to receive one of three signed copies of God, Improv, and the Art of Living.

Ten for Tuesday

Some of this stuff is a few years old, but it came to me recently, right when I needed or was ready for it. Sharing in the hopes it will be such for you as well. Whoosh! Away we go:

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Reality Bites at 25 (Studio 360)

This movie about recent college grads in Houston came out when I was a college grad in Houston. How could I not love it? I’ll fight anyone who argues against its charms. That said, listen to the segment and tell me whether starting the piece with a reference to the Big Chill is not the most aggressively Boomer thing evah. News flash: not everything is about you, behemoth generation… which is one of the subtext of the film.

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Free beyond Wires

Been pondering this piece of art since a friend posted it… what do you think?

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Climate Wars: The End of the Beginning? (Washington Post, Capital Weather Gang)

A word of cautious optimism about a story that seems to have very little.

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Equal-Opportunity Evil (Slate)

A new history reveals that for female slaveholders, the business of human exploitation was just as profitable—and brutal—as it was for men.

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Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing (Brain Pickings)

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More at the link. Like most writing advice, it’s good advice for life too.

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Ft. Myer Construction Stories

A Facebook friend shared this page—a construction company whose employees share stories of what they do in their pursuit of the American dream. They are as diverse and infused with everyday strength as you’d expect. This site reminds me of a workshop I took many years ago about helping organizations find their purpose and mission. The trainer once worked with a group of city employees who helped fill potholes. He helped them move from “I fill potholes” to statements like “I help people get home from work safely to their families.” A lovely reminder for all of us of the power of framing and finding that deeper Yes that animates us.

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Why I Hope to Die at 75 (Atlantic)

Written by a doctor, who makes a very compelling argument… which I say with trepidation, given that I have several family members in their 70s and I’d like them to stick around for a few more healthy decades.

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“Closeness Lines” Visualizations of Relationships Over Time (Olivia de Recat)

Sweet and thought-provoking:

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An Illustrated Talk with Maurice Sendak (The New York Times)

An illustrated segment of a four minute snippet of a 2012 interview with Maurice Sendak:

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The Delicate Cages of a Stranger’s Hands, Robert Bly (Improvised Life)

In a jewelry studio at the legendary 92nd Street Y, an instructor stopped in to chat with a colleague. Her hands were adorned with more rings than I’d ever seen anyone wear. When I asked her if I could photograph them, I learned she was Honey Jeanne Laber, who had been teaching jewelry-making at the Y for 30 years. Of her 40 or so rings, only one had not been made by her — of wonderfully incongruous-but-right-at-home emeralds and diamonds that was her grandmother’s. When I asked which was the oldest, she pointed out the first ring she ever made.

But more astonishing than the rings were her hands. They were to me a surprising symbol of how very beautiful we can become as we move deeply through life — the big gift of my day.

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Onward, friends. You are all beautiful!










Ten for Tuesday

It’s Monday night. Middle child has asked to be tucked in 20 minutes from now. Can I pull all these links together in that time? Let us find out. Here is a quick and dirty list of some wacky wonderful stuff I’ve accumulated to entertain and edify:

  1. A meditation by Sharon Salzburg on the power of making a difference right where we are.

  2. Zeynep Tufecki argues in Wired that It’s the “democracy-poisoning golden age of free speech.

  3. But if it is, we have at least a partial remedy, according to Ephrat Livni of Quartz: to act like a 19th-century Parisian.

  4. The remembrances of poet Mary Oliver continue with this reflection from the Improvised Life website about failure.

  5. Speaking of poets, Matthew Rohrer talks about shaking up his creative process.

  6. The beloved cringe-com The Office saves lives.

  7. For those of you who are writers, or other creative types, here are 25 highly recommended books by writer and speaker Chad Allen.

  8. I’m low-level obsessed with the MAYA principle for design and technology… and maybe life in general: “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable.” Sounds like World’s Okayest, no?

  9. This Baltimore Sun story puts a heartbreaking face to the migrant caravan that so many in leadership want to paint as dangerous or sinister.

  10. And finally, this gorgeous tale of real love and hard commitment, from Humans of New York:

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Click the link above for the whole lovely story.

No go be awesome yourselves. I’ve gotta say goodnight to a 13 year old who still likes being tucked in.