“Kindness Chronicle” and “Elephant Journal”: Humans Sometimes Do Good

I grow weary of bad news, humans’ behaving atrociously and other direct hits to my ever-decreasing optimism. To counter the effects of the inevitable daily doses of ugly, I subscribe to two great sources of “humans sometimes do good”: The Kindness Chronicle at http://kindnesschronicle.com and
The Elephant Journal at http://elephantjournal.com

Unfortunately, my life is somewhat fast-paced and my priorities are often elsewhere, so instead of actually reading these daily posts and clicking on their links, I stockpile them in a folder. Just knowing they are there gives me comfort, and since I also subscribe/ LIKE their public pages on Facebook, I often see some of the individual link posts, anyway.

However, I mostly had no idea what actual uplifting stories are in this folder…until this week. So glad that I scheduled time to go through them to prepare this post.

From this stuffed inbox of good news (not the Christian “Good News” kind), I share some of these inspiring anecdotes with you all.

Enjoy! Subscribe! Do some good yourselves!

From The Kindness Chronicle:

KC-Logo-150px-Blue-Yellow

Most of the posts are stories describing individuals or organizations who have made considerable (but not necessarily extraordinary, given how many of them there are, now) efforts to demonstrate gratitude, kindness, helpfulness, volunteerism, respect, support, encouragement and other forms of caring to humans, animals and the environment. So many of them are similar, with the main distinction being location rather than activity, I decided not to list them here.

Please visit the above link, or the link below, for plenty of ideas, examples and even some research results on outcomes for “Paying it Forward,” teaching empathy and compassion, and other actions taken in the name of Kindness.

The Write Place: Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness site http://goo.gl/mWZ5nk recommends, among other sites: http://randomactsofkindness.org

Below is one of hundreds of images that heralds this excellent “movement”:

InspireKindnessQuote
image from http://www.cbizschool.com


From The Elephant Journal:

EJ logo

The Elephant Journal is an online ‘zine and site that provides updates, information and opinion articles (warning: most of these are junk science, “New Age” garbage, and “affirmations” that aren’t worth reading) on a variety of topics related to living “a more mindful life.” This open-ended mandate allows The Elephant Journal to surprise me often with their choices of topics, perspectives and data.

TEJ‘s pieces include multimedia formats that can feature humor, health, relationships, nutrition info/recipes, politics and edgy/radical points of view (with the aforementioned exceptions), pulled from a diverse group of commentators. I don’t always agree with or even like what is posted, but I appreciate the range of opinions, which can veer way over to “totally ‘woo-woo,’ New-Age junk science” to well-researched, documented, data-filled info pieces.

I appreciate this compilation enormously and respect the people who work there and write/ create/ collate/ curate for TEJ a lot. TEJ also posts excellent images (photographs, logos, infographics, memes) that are inspiring, beautiful and informative separately or to accompany an article.

Here are some of my favorite recent examples of their offerings, which arrive in emails entitled: “A Daily Gap in the Inbox of Your Mind,” steered by Waylon Lewis, editor-in-chief, host of Walk the Talk Show.

Evan Silverman opens his heart and explores how we can do the same in “Blow The Roof off Your Heart” (a piece that originally appeared in the Shambhala Times) http://goo.gl/ppT30e

—Great resources for businesspeople who wish to incorporate more mindfulness into their work lives are in “Waylon & Blake’s Best Mindful Business Books & Resources for Entrepreneurs,” in which Waylon Lewis wrote:

“This is a list that would have saved me years of my life, made me hundreds of thousands of dollars and spared me (and my team) hundreds of mistakes.” http://goo.gl/z9wbo9

—What about something eminently practical? Shoes that grow! Awesome! http://goo.gl/v5BJst

Waylon Lewis (the editor of TEJ) also bares his soul (sensing a theme, here, of my faves?), in “Thank You for Helping to Break My Heart,” that richly moved and helped me: http://goo.gl/Lj928K

Most tellingly, he starts with this subtitle: “I am sorry I loved you so badly.” I have a list of people I should say this to….Sigh.

The ending is also worth quoting in its entirety, in case you don’t click through:

May our relationships teach us. May we improve, instead of merely defending our confusion. May our intention be to be of benefit, and not merely to “get what we want.”

Life is hard, sometimes. Sometimes it’s rich and dear. If we want to take it easy, we should instead wish to be stronger, and more vulnerable.

May our love life be as full of grace as our spiritual path, our right livelihood, and our friendships and family relationships.

True love is defined by correct intention.

Thank you, Waylon.


My email program just informed me: “Your ‘Kindness and Good Deeds’ folder is now empty.” I’m glad to know it will surely be filling up again.

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Because of Hormesis: When Heartache Doesn’t Wreck You, It Makes You Stronger

Hormesis occurs when a bit of a harmful substance or a life or physical stressor comes into our experience/body in just the right dose or the right intensity. This exposure stimulates our body or spirit to fight back, to get stronger, better, healthier and, therefore, better prepared for any future stronger/larger doses.

Also posted on: http://connectandpost.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/guest-post-because-of-hormesis-when-heartache-doesnt-wreck-you-it-makes-you-stronger/

Hormesis_dose_response_graph

How do We Find Our Level?
Most people understand this concept if we exercise with weights, because hormesis explains the benefit of doing the right number of reps (repetitions) with each machine or free weight. Athletic coaches and trainers urge us on, but only to the point of increasing returns. As soon as we get to accruing diminishing returns, we are to stop. How much fatigue, weakness, pain, burning, failure are “too much”?

This is exactly what we need to learn about ourselves in order to avoid hurting ourselves during a workout (or relationship). Water flows downhill; without a hill, it’s stagnant. With rolling hills, meaning, many different experiences, we/water finds its level at every resting place.

Low-Water

Feast or Famine?
Hormesis also governs the benefits of fasting or reductions in calories. Again, only to the point of increasing returns: relieving our digestion for a period of time, cleaning out our systems, creating a new “set point” for our metabolism and weight are all beneficial, but must occur through some stress on our body by reducing our intake of food.

It’s all right to be isolated (or hungry) for a specified time; the deprivation we experience increases our self-reliance, our independence, our ability to tune in and understand ourselves. We can actually feel pain (enormous pain, sometimes) and still be in the benefit “zone,” but if we continue to be damaged for too long, we risk incurring long-term, even irreparable harm (muscle deterioration, mental fuzziness, weakness, anemia, distorted self-esteem, inappropriate detachment, odd cravings, bizarre relationship choices, etc.).

intermittent fasting

How do We Know When to Jump Out of the Pot?
Most importantly for our understand of ourselves, hormesis shows us that we are not wrong to overcompensate for challenges because that stretching and pushing ourselves beyond our “comfort zone” help us get tougher, smarter, stronger, more confident, more capable for the next encounter with that circumstance. However, if we continually seek or exist in toxic situations, we risk grave harm, even death.

The worst is a situation, an “exposure” to a “toxin” that is gradually getting higher. This is quite dangerous and terrible. Like the frog put into cold water in a pot whose water is slowly heated to boiling, we, too, won’t jump out or even realize we should remove ourselves from the exposure until it’s too late: we get cooked.

We have to know when to exert the effort, when to jump, to jump while we still can. Are you a “glutton for punishment” or an appropriate risk-taker?

frog-heat-beaker

What Risks are “Worth” the Experience?
How much hormesis stimulation (how large a toxic dose) is just right and how much is too much? The key here is that hormesis is a favorable response to low exposures of some toxin or stressor. We are not set up to manage moderate or high exposures, especially over prolonged periods of time, without being damaged. With low doses of the potentially harmful substance, most can get stronger; with high doses, almost all die.

A few bad experiences or relationships are manageable. We learn, we grow, we get stronger from these. However, frequently or chronically occurring destructive circumstances ruin us. We do not have unlimited capacities: we do contract an illness, like cancer; we do get depressed, sometimes to the point of suicide; we do become unable to cope.

mended heart

How do We know When It’s Too Much?
Here is the test. If our response to an “attack” is to become weaker or paralyzed (physically or metaphorically), hormesis is not in effect: we are just being knocked out. When we become exposed again, we will probably not survive intact.

If, when we are physically or emotionally stimulated by low doses of some toxic substance (or person), we develop greater immunity to future exposures, hormesis is working just fine.

HeartBreak Oscar Wilde

How is YOUR heart doing?