Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why You Should Run The Boston Marathon (Plus 4 Other Races To Put On Your Bucket List)

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Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

Why You Should Run The Boston Marathon (Plus 4 Other Races To Put On Your Bucket List)



The following is an excerpt from The Runner's Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die by Denise Malan



Kacey Faberman wrote this race report in late 2012, before the tragic bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. After the bombing, [Editor Denise Malan] chose to leave the report as it was written, an untarnished tribute to the best race in the world. As runners, the greatest way we can honor the victims is to keep running Boston Strong.



I started running because I wanted to run the Boston Marathon.



Yes, you read that correctly. I didn't start running because I wanted to run a marathon, and I wasn't a marathon runner who set my sights on Boston. I started running because I wanted to participate in the best race in the world -- the Boston Marathon.



It took me six marathons to qualify, but when I did, I was elated and couldn't wait to register for and run the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors.



Training for and completing the 26.2 mile distance is tough, inspiring, challenging, enjoyable, time consuming, fulfilling, tear inducing, smile inducing and so much more. But it was the support, encouragement and sometimes looks of crazy that I've received from my family and closest friends over the years that was crucial in making my running-of-Boston dream come true.



To even enter Boston, runners must already have run a pretty fast marathon to meet the strict qualifying times, something only 10 percent of marathon finishers do. Having always obsessed about time in previous marathons, my Boston goal was to finish with a smile on my face. And I'm happy to say I achieved that goal. That smile came from the incredible organization, exciting but still somewhat nerve-calming Athlete's Village, the diverse towns from Hopkinton to Boston and the spectators who lined the entire course.



The Boston Marathon has been run continuously for well more than 100 years -- and it shows. The organization of this race is unlike any other race I've run. The expo is huge but easy to navigate -- you can find shoes, apparel (including the must-have jacket), last-minute race necessities you may have forgotten at home and nonessentials that celebrate the event (like a hand-embroidered pillow with all the towns you run through stitched in every color on the front). They even have a big-screen viewing of a video of the entire course, with Boston Marathon–associated personalities narrating the miles. This preview helped to set me at ease and prepared me for what to expect.



To get to the start, runners board school buses to the Athlete Village in Hopkinton. Shuttling 25,000 or so runners might sound like a challenge, but if it was for the organizers, I definitely didn't get that impression. Riding the bus from the Common in downtown Boston to the start was a great opportunity to connect with other runners. It's amazing to hear the stories of how people made their way to this famed running event.



After disembarking from the buses at the Athlete's Village, runners have an hour or two to chill before the waves start. The time leading up to a race start can often be tense, but the Athlete's Village had the opposite effect on me, and I found myself not stressing about the race I'd be starting around 10:00 that morning. The Village offered bagels, coffee, a replica of the "Welcome to Hopkinton" sign complete with photographers, a free pre-race massage tent and port-a-potties galore -- it was a runner's paradise!



When my wave was called to head toward the start line, I walked with the thousands of other runners who shared my preassigned wave start. After stepping into the corral that corresponded with the numbers printed on my bib, it wasn't long before I took my first steps along the world-renowned course. Because the course is point-to-point, runners have the opportunity to see many different locales. Before getting to the big city of Boston, I ran through many unique, small towns: Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton. Each town definitely had distinct personalities, but the commonality was that they proudly supported the race and loved to let the runners know it. Whether I was running past a biker bar (fully packed, at 11:00 a.m.) or a university where girls offered kisses, spectators were out in full force. More than 500,000 spectators take to the streets on this state holiday of Patriot's Day, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. I'd say that half a million spectators is a conservative estimate.



I ran Boston in 2012, a year of record heat. The spectators really were fantastic in helping to beat the temperatures in the high 80s. They came out from their homes with extra cups of water, ice cubes and hoses with spray nozzles. The spectators along the course were phenomenal, and certainly a big reason why this big-city race is a success -- whole towns get behind it. They encourage, they cheer and they clang together anything and everything they can find to create enough noise to drown out any negative thoughts that crossed my mind -- whether because of the weather or the hills.



I had high expectations for Boston -- it is the marathon. My expectations were all completely exceeded. The organizers, the expo, the Athlete's Village, the towns, the spectators -- all top notch. No detail is spared in this marathon, and this commitment to excellence made me feel like an elite runner.



It's easy to say that everyone should run this race, though it's not always so easy to get there. But do whatever you can to toe that start line in Hopkinton, because it is completely worth it.



Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Date: third Monday in April

Distance: marathon

Field Size: 25,000

Website: BAA.org

Race Highlights: It's Boston, the most elite marathon in the world.



Not your cup of tea? Try one of these other races from The Runner's Bucket List:





Reprinted with permission of Triumph Books.




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BlackBerry buys minority stake in healthcare IT firm

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Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

BlackBerry buys minority stake in healthcare IT firm

A Blackberry logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in WaterlooBy Euan Rocha TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd said on Tuesday it bought a minority stake in privately held healthcare IT firm NantHealth, a move that offers a glimpse into the type of niche markets the smartphone maker is targeting as it attempts to engineer a turnaround. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, a pioneer in the smartphone industry, has fallen on hard times as its market share has waned in recent years. BlackBerry's Chief Executive John Chen, who took the reins at the company less than six months ago, sees healthcare as one of the sectors in which the company has an advantage, due to a heightened focus on patient privacy and BlackBerry's vast array of networks that can manage and secure data on mobile devices. "BlackBerry's capabilities align closely with NantHealth's," said Chen in a statement on Tuesday.




Time slips quietly by for Austrian nuns' resort

Sister Elisabeth talks to guests at the abbey retreat in MarienkronThey return year after year to Marienkron, an Austrian health resort 3 km (2 miles) from the Hungarian border. The regular guests relish the tranquil yet disciplined atmosphere fostered by the Cistercian nuns who run the Kneipp hydrotherapy centre, look after the visitors and offer opportunities for prayer and life-coaching. But the ethos of Marienkron, a low-profile resort frequented mainly by older guests seeking relief from aches and pains and mobility problems, may not survive once the current generation of nuns is gone. Its dominant figures, 71-year-old Sister Elisabeth and Sister Bernarda - who declines to give her age - have been there for decades.





GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

Reflections: A Work-in-Progress Report of an Unfolding Spiritual Quest

Silence. Pure silence.



That's how I ideally like to respond to queries about my spiritual journey. With sweet, beautiful silence.



There's nothing to say, really. Or rather, the only thing to say is nothing.



It is, after all, to be experienced. To become. And finally -- to be. Just be.



But if I had to choose one word, just that one word to describe it, it would be Shunya (a Sanskrit term with no real equivalent in English, the closest approximation being Zero). Or its noun form, Shunyata -- zero-ness.



For that is the essence of this journey.



It is the process of getting to that state of zero-ness. Of peeling off the layers, of returning to source, to self. And it is from this void -- the null point, which is simultaneously nothing, and everything, that all creativity emerges. The greater the void, the greater the potential for the creation of the 'new.' But to reach that state, you first have to rid yourself of external paraphernalia. The ego-identifications of family, wealth, career, education, intelligence, attractiveness, yada, yada, yada.



Who am I, after all? Am I my business card? Or my residential address? Or any of the vehicles I might own? Am I my relationships? And what happens when these leave my life? What then? What remains after all these leave, or, are taken away?



I am a very fortunate person. For, although I wasn't wise enough to initiate this process on my own, a greater intelligence has, through this entire lifetime, guided and steered my life in a particular direction. For the longest time, through my twenties, I was like an unwilling child kicking his arms and legs, throwing tantrums at this invisible hand that seemed to be pulling my life completely away from the grand plans I had for myself.



But what does one do with the gnawing angst, the unhappiness in the midst of these glamorous milestones? I was supposed to feel on top of the world. Why was the actual experience quite to the contrary?



One of my early adulthood goals was getting into a top-notch business school. And was I in a hurry! I got into the London Business School when I just turned 25. I was amongst the youngest on campus at the time. And then what? I found I had no interest at all in attending the presentations made by the seemingly glittering I-Banks and Management Consulting firms, leave alone applying to them. Sure, I could look the part, and play the part, but that's precisely what it would be -- playing the part.



Definitely not okay.



So, I decided not to apply for a role anywhere and instead set aside (what I thought would be) a six-month period to introspect. What unfolded however was a crazy roller-coaster ride that assumed a life of its own and snowballed into a deep, intense spiritual journey that wouldn't let me quit half-way! My whole life turned topsy-turvy and how! Each and every assumption I had about myself was smashed to smithereens. It was a scene of complete annihilation. I was, very simply, out at sea, experiencing the long, dark night of the soul, with several old ego-based structures in my life literally bombed out of existence. The mind's attachment to form brings in its wake a lot of suffering, and this was, to understate it, a gloomy, depressing time. I no longer knew who or what I was. Everything I had thought I was had been destroyed.



Then, another phase kicked in. The destruction mostly over, this was now a period where everything was suddenly very still and quiet. A period of convalescence, of much-needed rest and calm to heal, after the tumultuous storm had passed. Stillness speaks, they say. And so it did. This has been a time of making sense of the seeming nonsense, of attaining a state of more and more mindfulness, of a steadily increasing meditative quality and tone to my life.



Of course, like all good dramas, where it's no fun knowing the plot before it unfolds, I didn't know (until recently) that this process had been documented in detail by medieval alchemists in Europe, or in more recent times, by Carl Jung. I found out they had a term for it -- spiritual (or esoteric) alchemy -- a process that kicks off when a soul is ripe for a quantum leap in its evolution.



Spiritual metamorphosis. From lead to gold.



So what's next in this journey? A life-long work-in-progress endeavor, to be sure. However, I do think it is now time for the caterpillar to break out of its cocoon, metamorphose into the vibrant butterfly, spread its wings and fly afar, bringing new energy, color and cheer all around.



For too long has there been an imbalance between the yin and the yang -- in each of us, and consequently the world. The spiritual and material worlds have tended to almost exist mutually exclusive of each other. Not so any more. I see the dynamic phase of my spiritual growth as one that will bring me more and more into a state of balance as I contribute, in my own way, to help bring about a greater sense of balance in the world through the work I do. A positive feedback loop.



Exciting times! Bring it on!




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Brooklyn's Smallest Penis Contest Is Back For 2014, Still Nuts

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Weird News - The Huffington Post

Brooklyn's Smallest Penis Contest Is Back For 2014, Still Nuts

It's time, once again, to make the little things count.



The "Smallest Penis Contest," a nutty competition which debuted last year, will return to Brooklyn's Kings County Bar on June 14.



Per a media release, contestants will be judged in multiple categories, including "poise in both evening wear and bathing wear." In addition to a cash prize (which can optionally be donated to charity), a "wee crown and scepter" will be awarded to the less-endowed man best exhibiting "extraordinary heart, talent, and chutzpa."



In an interview with The Huffington Post, last year's winner, Nicholas Gilronan, described the competition as "laid back, fun, casual," comparing it to just another "fun time on a Saturday afternoon."



Here's Gilronan's victory photo:

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Last year, event promoters told HuffPost the pageant is all about empowering the little guys, describing it as a competition "for confident people with a sense of humor." For the 2014 contest, organizers have been chasing after Miley Cyrus as a judge, but as this isn't a twerking contest, we aren't holding our breath.



Those interested in competing or serving as a judge must be over 21, and have been asked to email SPB.Brooklyn@gmail.com for further details.



Health & Science: Science News, Health News, Scientific Developments, Healthcare & Nutrition - The Washington Post

A former astronaut aims to create a rocket engine that allows speedy travel to Mars

Franklin Chang Diaz got hooked on space exploration in 1957, when he was 7 and fascinated by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik. Eleven years later, Steve Nadis writes in Discover magazine, Chang Diaz came from his homeland of Costa Rica to live with relatives in the United States; he had $50 in his pocket and knew barely a word of English.

Read full article >>








Prescription-strength painkillers are linked to increased risk of irregular heartbeat

THE QUESTION Stress, smoking, substance abuse and some medical conditions are among factors that have been linked to an arrhythmic heart, which beats faster or slower than normal or at an irregular pace. Should use of prescription painkillers known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) be added to that list?

Read full article >>










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Snail Turns Flower Into An Umbrella, And Proves He's The Thriftiest Mollusk Out There (PHOTO)

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Weird News - The Huffington Post

Snail Turns Flower Into An Umbrella, And Proves He's The Thriftiest Mollusk Out There (PHOTO)

Nobody likes to get rained on. This includes humans, this tree frog and especially this snail, even though some snails come out of their shells when it rains.



Vyacheslav Mischenko, a photographer from Ukraine, captured this stunning image in a forest near his home. This thrifty snail turned a flower into an umbrella, and sheltered there to protect himself from the rain. Snails aren't known for being the prettiest animals, but this photo definitely sheds light on how unique these creatures really are.



Mischenko said that the image's colors and setting reminded him of Monet's 1886 painting "Woman With A Parasol".



snail umbrella



Good News - The Huffington Post

Pharrell Williams Cries On 'Oprah Prime' Watching People Around The World Dance To 'Happy' (VIDEO)

Before Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" was nominated for an Academy Award, before it reached the top of the Billboard charts, before it garnered 182 million views on YouTube and before it sold more than a million copies, it was just another song that wasn't even getting played on the radio. Then, on Nov. 21, 2013, Pharrell released "Happy" with a music video and everything changed.



"Zero airplay, nothing. And the next thing you know, we put out the video on November 21 -- all of a sudden, boom," Pharrell says. "When I say, 'Boom,' I mean boom."



People around the world responded to "Happy" by uploading videos of themselves dancing to the catchy song, from Malawi to Iceland to Washington, D.C. During Pharrell's interview for "Oprah Prime," Oprah plays a montage of these videos. As Pharrell watches, he becomes overwhelmed and begins to cry.



"Makes me cry too!" Oprah says, grabbing Pharrell's arm. "I know. It's beautiful."



"Why am I crying on Oprah?" Pharrell asks.



Oprah laughs, then offers an explanation for why Pharrell's reaction is so emotional. "You know, it's being used for something greater than yourself," she says. "I get that."



"It's overwhelming because it's like, I love what I do and I just appreciate the fact that people have believed in me for so long, that I could make it to this point, to feel that," Pharrell says through tears.



"I get it," Oprah says. "I so now get why it's so infectious, because it came from such a clear space that the energy was absolutely uninterrupted by anything other than allowing it to flow from heart to heart. And that's what happens when you see it."



"Oprah Prime" airs on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.




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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell taking extended leave after taxi accident

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Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell taking extended leave after taxi accident

Cable news commentator Lawrence O'Donnell is taking a leave of several weeks from his job as host of the MSNBC program "The Last Word" to recuperate from injuries he suffered in a taxi accident while vacationing abroad, the network said on Monday. O'Donnell, 62, and his brother, Michael, were both injured while out of the country on Saturday and have since been brought back to the United States for medical treatment, MSNBC said in a statement. The statement said both men were "under the care of doctors and expected to make a full recovery" -- Lawrence O'Donnell in New York City, his brother in Boston -- but the network gave no details of their condition. The statement also did not clarify whether the two men were in a taxi that crashed or were struck by a taxi, nor did it say where they were vacationing when the mishap occurred.



CNN.com - Health

Can you get addicted to exercise?

Is exercise a potent enough "drug" that it can literally make a person an addict? Do some people really need to work out -- and will they suffer withdrawal symptoms if they don't?





GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

'Shouldn't You Be Over That by Now?' How to Respond to Judgment on Your Grieving Process

A newsletter reader sent me this question:



How can I deal with people who expect me to be "over this" already? My fiancée died almost two years ago.



How can I convince them it's all right that I'm not "over it"?



Though this question was sent by one reader, lots of people struggle with this issue. I bet you've had at least a few run ins with people trying to instruct you on the proper way to grieve.



So many people expect you to be over it, don't they.



They can't possibly understand what it's like to be you, to live inside grief like this. They just want the "old" you back, not understanding that that old you has changed, deeply.



It's so tempting, so easy, to argue your right to your grief. To describe to other people all the things that have changed, all the ways your love is missing, and how that impacts every fiber of your life.



The thing is, no matter how much you say, no matter how much you try to educate them, the truth is, they can't understand. As tempting as it is to give them that verbal smack down (even nicely), your words aren't ever going to get through.



So what can you do?



Sometimes it just makes it easier on you, easier on your heart and mind, if you simply stop trying to explain.



Refusing to explain or defend your grief doesn't mean you let other people go on and on about it, continually telling you how you should live. I'm talking about stepping out of the argument altogether by simply refusing to engage in debates about whether or not your continued grief is valid.



Defending yourself against someone who cannot possibly understand is a waste of your time and your heart.



The important thing to remember is that your grief, like your love, belongs to you. No one has the right to dictate, judge, or dismiss what is yours to live.



That they don't have the right to judge doesn't stop them from doing it, however.




What that means is: If you want to stop hearing their judgment, you'll need to clarify your boundaries. You'll need to make it clear that your grief is not up for debate.



While it's certainly easier said than done, there are steps you can take to remove yourself from the debate:



1. clearly and calmly address their concern.

2. clarify your boundaries.

3. redirect the conversation.







These three steps, when used consistently, can significantly reduce the amount of judgment that actually makes it to your ears.





Here's how this might look in actual practice:




First, acknowledge their concern while presuming friendly intent: "I appreciate your interest in my life."



Second, clarify your boundaries: "I am going to live this the way that feels right to me, and I'm not interested in discussing it."



Steps one and two -- addressing their concerns and clarifying your boundaries -- often get combined in one statement: "I appreciate your interest in my life. I'm going to live this the way that feels right to me, and I'm not interested in discussing it."



This can be especially effective when you follow your statement with step number three, redirecting the conversation, aka changing the subject: "I'm happy to talk about something else, but this is not open for discussion."



It sounds really wooden and strange, I know. But the message here -- including the formal wording -- is that you have a clear boundary, and you will not allow it to be breached in any way.





If there are people in your life who won't take such a clear boundary without further argument, you can stick to a stock phrase -- "That isn't a topic I'll discuss" -- and then move the conversation onto something else.



If they can't do that, you can end the conversation completely -- walk away, say goodbye and hang up.



The important thing is to not allow yourself to be drawn into battle. Your grief is not an argument. It doesn't need to be defended.



It's awkward at first, but clarifying your boundaries and redirecting the conversation will become a lot easier the more you practice it.



Eventually, the people in your life will either get the message -- not that you don't have to be over it, but that you aren't willing to discuss it -- or they will leave.



The thing is, grief will absolutely rearrange your relationships. Some people will make it through, and some will fall away.



If the people in your life can handle, even appreciate, you staying true to your own heart, then they'll make it through with you. If they can't, let them go: gracefully, clearly, and with love.



Megan Devine is a writer, counselor, and grief advocate. You can find her at www.refugeingrief.com, and on facebook. Enrollment in Megan's popular on-line 30 day creative writing course, Writing Your Grief is now open. Come write with us. We'd love to have you. Enroll before April 27, 2014 to get your spot in this session.




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Girl Killed By 5-Year-Old Looking For His Toy Gun

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Weird News - The Huffington Post

Girl Killed By 5-Year-Old Looking For His Toy Gun

A 7-year-old girl was killed at a birthday party in South Carolina Saturday night after a 5-year-old boy accidentally fired a gun while looking for his own "gun"—a toy, authorities say.








'Mushroom Death Suit' Allows Your Body To Break Down Naturally And Dispel Toxins

This story originally appeared on Mother Nature Network:



For those interested in natural cemeteries, but not so fond of being buried, allow me to introduce you to the Mushroom Death Suit.



The concept is the brainchild of artist and MIT research fellow Jae Rhim Lee, who became inspired to research natural methods to assist decomposition after learning more about the modern funeral industry.



"I am interested in cultural death denial, and why we are so distanced from our bodies, and especially how death denial leads to funeral practices that harm the environment - using formaldehyde and pink make-up and all that to make your loved one look vibrant and alive, so that you can imagine they're just sleeping rather than actually dead," she told New Scientist.



Lee's first design as part of her Infinity Burial Project is an organic cotton suit lined with a crocheted netting containing mushroom spores. Lee chose mushrooms because of their ability to not only quickly break down organic matter, but also because they're excellent at cleanning up environment toxins in soil. She's currently developing unique strain(s) of fungi (called Infinity Mushrooms) trained to not only quickly break down our bodies, but also dispel the toxins they contain.



"What also started it was the mycologist Paul Stamets who I studied with. He is kind of the grandfather of people who work with mushrooms," she adds. "He talks about the mushroom as being the interface organism between life and death, that mushrooms are the master decomposers. So what better organism to work with?"



With Lee's current design, here's how the mushroom suit would work:



The fluids of the recently deceased are replaced with an eco-friendly alternative embalming fluid containing a "liquid spore slurry".

The outside of the body is applied with a "Decompiculture Makeup" containing "dry mineral makeup and dried mushroom spores and a separate liquid culture medium."

Combined with the suit, the spores are activated to grow and start breaking down the body.

Lee says she imagines her suit being used above ground, but covered. Presently, she's still conducting tests on meat but already has a few people who have offered to donate their bodies to be consumed by mushrooms.





Check out her TED Talk on the Infinity Burial Project below.





You Can't Unsee These Will Ferrell & Pharrell Williams Face Swaps

Will Ferrell makes us laugh. Pharrell Williams makes us dance. And when you combine their faces into two startling Photoshops, well... That reaction is a little harder to place.



World, meet "Will Williams" and "Pharrell Farrell," courtesy of Imgur's mastercomic:



Which Ferrell is Pharrell?



Pretty freaky, right? We're not exactly sure how to feel about this, but we simply can't look away.


Brooklyn's Smallest Penis Contest Is Back For 2014, Still Nuts

It's time, once again, to make the little things count.



The "Smallest Penis Contest," a nutty competition which debuted last year, will return to Brooklyn's Kings County Bar on June 14.



Per a media release, contestants will be judged in multiple categories, including "poise in both evening wear and bathing wear." In addition to a cash prize (which can optionally be donated to charity), a "wee crown and scepter" will be awarded to the less-endowed man best exhibiting "extraordinary heart, talent, and chutzpa."



In an interview with The Huffington Post, last year's winner, Nicholas Gilronan, described the competition as "laid back, fun, casual," comparing it to just another "fun time on a Saturday afternoon."



Here's Gilronan's victory photo:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));





Last year, event promoters told HuffPost the pageant is all about empowering the little guys, describing it as a competition "for confident people with a sense of humor." For the 2014 contest, organizers have been chasing after Miley Cyrus as a judge, but as this isn't a twerking contest, we aren't holding our breath.



Those interested in competing or serving as a judge must be over 21, and have been asked to email SPB.Brooklyn@gmail.com for further details.



Parenting/Kids News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Study: kids lose 7 minutes of sleep for every hour of TV

Researchers found that each hour spent by a child in front of the TV corresponded with 7 minutes less sleep on average.Researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Harvard School of Public Health have established a link between the time children spend in front of the tube and the duration of their nightly sleep. Their findings suggest that more time spent watching TV corresponds with less time asleep, particularly when there is a TV in the child's room.





Good News - The Huffington Post

Jane Richard Embodies 'Boston Strong' A Year After Marathon Bombing

It's been a year since now-8-year-old Jane Richard lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing.



The young girl, who was watching from the sidelines on Boylston Street at the time the bombs detonated, returned to the site on the anniversary Tuesday morning with her family to honor the member they lost -- 8-year-old Martin Richard.



David Abel of The Boston Globe spent a great deal of time with the Richards and penned a two-part narrative about their return home without Martin, the youngest victim of the bombing. In an interview with Boston's WBZ-TV, the reporter described his time with Jane, who he called an "antidote to all the pain and difficulty they’ve had."



"Anyone who meets Jane will fall in love with her in a minute," he told the local CBS affiliate. "Often after a difficult interview, Jane would bound down the steps and with her adorable smile and great enthusiasm, would puncture the moment and pop the gravity."



After the explosions, which also left Jane's parents, Denise and Bill, injured, the Richard family spent 10 weeks in the hospital. Jane was finally able to go home in August with a prosthetic leg and crutches. In the aftermath, the 8-year-old had to learn to walk, run and dance again.



(Story continues below)

jane richard



It wasn't until March that Jane was fitted with a prosthetic "Cheetah" leg, which is designed for running. Jane initially refused to take it off and wore it to school several times.



Now, days before the 2014 Boston Marathon, the Richards are preparing to participate in the event alongside dozens of athletes on Team MR8, who will be running in Martin's honor. Jane, who has experienced some recent setbacks with her prosthetic, may also run in the last section of the race, but that's ultimately up to her.



"She will only do it if it feels right," Bill Richard told The Boston Globe.



See photos of Jane's road to recovery in the gallery below:









GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

The Legacy of Spring Cleaning

Though by the thermometer it may not feel like spring, by the calendar spring has arrived. The ritual of spring cleaning has a long history. I can still see my mother wearing her 1940's housewifely apron, the symbol for making everything "spick and span" as well as doing the deep cleaning.



Those of us who live in the northern tier of the country change our closets as part of the spring regimen: from winter clothes to spring and summer.



We throw open windows and doors breathing deeply to experience the sun-warmed air of spring, exhaling the dead old winter air. We feel new ourselves as we inhale the soft, fresh air of spring..



Spring cleaning in the Jewish tradition is linked to the holiday of Passover. Every cupboard, every drawer, must be cleaned of "chametz" leavened products) as preparation for the holiday celebrating the exodus and freedom. Understood metaphorically we are preparing ourselves for new life, the promise of spring, emptying ourselves of the accumulated puffiness of leaven, arrogance and pride. We ready ourselves for the new life of spring cleansing our souls as we do our clothes and kitchens. Though I am no expert about the Christian tradition, I think the coming of spring portends rebirth and renewed life, symbolized by the resurrection, and prepared for with the traditions of Lent.



In Your Legacy Matters, Chapter 10, "Cleaning out Your Closet", is about prioritizing our material possessions through the perspective of legacy: "... the stuff we've been given, that we've gathered and collected, and haven't given, recycled, or thrown away." In this context spring cleaning means to differentiate the stuff that has meaning -- things we inherited, mementos, and gifts: our objects infused with meaning that are symbols of our identity, our values, our relationships - from those things that we've accumulated though they have no special meaning.



"To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard

....I throw away what has no dynamic, living use."

-- Anaïs Nin



Spring cleaning time is as good as any to get started. I believe we have a responsibility to clean up our inner and outer stuff. Although the outer stuff may be easier to deal with, they are related, not separate.



Looking through the lens of legacy, this is about respecting the next generation who will have to clean up after us when we're gone. "I've imagined dying suddenly and watching from somewhere as my two children wander through the morass of my things: papers, books, pictures, collections, and accumulated mementos. Not only is it an unfair burden to leave them, but my stuff makes a statement about me."



"I ask myself, 'How will they know the junk from the stuff with meaning? What might they conclude about their mother who held on too long and too much?' I imagine their resentment -- being left to go through my things because I didn't take the responsibility to leave life expressing what 'I say' I value, including simplicity, order, and beauty."



One caveat about the value of our possessions: When elders make the complex transition of moving from independent living to communal housing, their stuff can help maintain coherence and continuity of identity.



"This special stuff is emblematic of belonging, kinship, and relationship, all basic and universal human needs throughout life. Precious objects are reminders of life history, achievements and life roles; they support security and the dignity of each individual's life. Even when memory fades, this special stuff can provide comfort."



So as we spring clean, we can note and make a list of those few things that we would want to accompany us should we have to move from our homes. We don't want to say what my friend's mother did looking around the unfamiliar room that was to be her new home: "I feel like a refugee."



Suggestions for Action:



1. Reflect about your memories of spring cleaning from your childhood. Then think about what spring cleaning might mean to you today as you change closets, clean out cupboards and drawers awake to the metaphors of spring.

2. Meander through the rooms of your home making a list of at least ten things you want to recycle or get rid of this spring. Make a second list of five to ten of your most precious possessions. Write about the meaning of each.

3. Write a legacy letter to those you love explaining what your valuable things mean to you, and your preference to have hem accompany you should you have to move to a smaller living space. (If those are things that you want specific people to inherit when you are gone, make that clear in the letter, too.)

4. Make a commitment to yourself to stay awake to the meaning of your spring cleaning as you do it this year and journal about any insights you have about yourself or your things.



May you be blessed with the courage

to let go of the stuff that has no

meaning

and with the time to share your

stories of stuff and spring cleaning

with those you love,



Rachael Freed



NEW: Webinar Workshop May 20, 6-8:15 CDT "Writing Love Letters to our Children." Contact Rachael for more information and registration rachael@legacy-letters.com. "Your Legacy Matters" is now available everywhere. 2012 editions also available of "Women's Lives, Women's Legacies, Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to Future Generations", "The Legacy Workbook for the Busy Woman," "Heartmates: A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient," and "The Heartmates Journal." (All legacy books are available as pdf's on www.life-legacies.com.) Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, Rachael is a clinical social worker, adult educator. She provides programs, workshops, and training for financial, health, and religious organizations focused on legacy principles and practices. She has seven grandchildren. Her home is Minneapolis, Minn.


Vulnerability as Empowerment

A common view of vulnerability is that it is simply unfortunate and should be avoided. That understanding of vulnerability works only if we pretend we are not on a deeply insecure and unpredictable journey. However, if we get honest about the nature of life, it becomes obvious that we have no choice. If we are to be fully alive, we will feel vulnerable. We can do our best at not being unnecessarily vulnerable, but we remain sojourners on a vulnerable odyssey. Tragedy, disaster and betrayal are ever-present in the drama of life.





An ancient definition of the word vulnerable is to wound. We disempower ourselves when believing we can escape being wounded while traveling a deeply insecure journey. Denial of the inevitability of injury leads to:

*Excessive shock when misfortune reigns down upon us.

*A loss of faith in life accompanied by cynicism.

*An attachment to pretense in order to conceal the impact of the injury.

*Self -deprecation (Blaming ourselves for our misfortune).

*Excessive confusion about the nature of life and how to live fully.

*Unconscious use of defenses which block a capacity to receive love.

*An attachment to medicating with drugs and alcohol in order to demonstrate that we can control how life impacts us.





What does it take to be willing to be vulnerable?

*It takes acceptance that being wounded or injured is inevitable when traveling a deeply insecure journey.

*It means holding the faith that when we fail, get hurt or betrayed, we won't turn against ourselves, deciding that we are somehow defective.

*It means asking the question, "What is this injury asking of me?"

*It means being committed to get the acceptance, understanding and encouragement we need from others when the wounding occurs.

*It means being willing to be risk-willing rather than risk-avoidant.





What does it mean to remain risk-willing? An insecure and unpredictable journey can only be lived by being willing to take risks. However, it does not mean approaching risks in some reckless fashion. It does mean exercising discernment in order to get our best wisdom behind the risk. It does not guarantee glowing results. It only means we do what we can in order to not act in some arbitrary fashion. Our discernment can be guided by asking: What is the predicted likelihood that this risk will generate desired consequences? Have I adequately accessed available resources that would help to understand this risk? Am I prepared to forgive myself if the outcome is discouraging? It is helpful to note that we do not typically fear a risk. We do fear the shame and criticism we might reign down upon ourselves when a risk does not work out according to plan.





When we are attracted to the illusion that we are safer not taking a risk, we can slide into a pattern of being risk-avoidant. However, since life can only be lived fully from taking risks, being risk-avoidant equates to being life-avoidant. And avoiding life moves us toward death-oriented postures reflected by increased passivity, helplessness, inertia, loss of opportunity and collapse of passion.





Being willing to feel vulnerable empowers us by allowing us to:

*Be emotionally touched and moved.

*Be able to open our hearts.

*Be able to accept that being fully alive is dependent upon being willing to take discerning risks.

*Be able to be clear about where there is love attempting to reach us and allow it in.

*Be more able to empathically relate to others who feel vulnerable.

*Be more engaged with life as we understand and accept that feeling vulnerable is simply part of being on an insecure and unpredictable journey.

*Be more self-accepting as we acknowledge the appropriateness of feeling vulnerable on an insecure journey.

*Be more capable of healing as we accept wounding and injury as inevitable occurrences in life.





In order to accept the power of feeling vulnerable, we need to accept that there are no guarantees. We are traveling a risky journey with illness, loss, failure, death, betrayal and desperation woven into the fabric of our experience. Feeling vulnerable is unacceptable when we are pretending that life is essentially secure and predictable. Hence, understanding vulnerability as empowerment does call for confronting idyllic visions of life that are best left in childhood. For example, as fulfilling as love is, its only guarantee is loss. Someone will either die or walk away. Hence, opening our hearts is a bold act and becomes an attractive option when compared to the losses endured when we close our hearts. Once we are willing to get honest about the journey we are on, we can stop protesting life's challenges. Vulnerability becomes a source of power as we accept the journey for what it is.




#mentalhealth #bipolardisorder #bipolar
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Should We Get Tax Deductions For Exercise?

#boisementalhealth Boise Bipolar Center, Charles K. Bunch, Ph.D, Boise Idaho Therapist Mental health photo 2168_zps680c452f.jpg

Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

Should We Get Tax Deductions For Exercise?

April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. We're missing a great opportunity to save money on U.S. health care expenditures and save lives from obesity-related disease: The tax code should be revised to reward preventive health.




#idahomentalhealth Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at Amazon.com, full catalog    http://amzn.to/VGoe0Y photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg

Pharrell Williams Cries On 'Oprah Prime' Watching People Around The World Dance To 'Happy' (VIDEO)

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Boise Bipolar Center, Charles K. Bunch, Ph.D, Boise Idaho Therapist Mental health photo 2168_zps680c452f.jpg

GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

Pharrell Williams Cries On 'Oprah Prime' Watching People Around The World Dance To 'Happy' (VIDEO)

Before Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" was nominated for an Academy Award, before it reached the top of the Billboard charts, before it garnered 182 million views on YouTube and before it sold more than a million copies, it was just another song that wasn't even getting played on the radio. Then, on Nov. 21, 2013, Pharrell released "Happy" with a music video and everything changed.



"Zero airplay, nothing. And the next thing you know, we put out the video on November 21 -- all of a sudden, boom," Pharrell says. "When I say, 'Boom,' I mean boom."



People around the world responded to "Happy" by uploading videos of themselves dancing to the catchy song, from Malawi to Iceland to Washington, D.C. During Pharrell's interview for "Oprah Prime," Oprah plays a montage of these videos. As Pharrell watches, he becomes overwhelmed and begins to cry.



"Makes me cry too!" Oprah says, grabbing Pharrell's arm. "I know. It's beautiful."



"Why am I crying on Oprah?" Pharrell asks.



Oprah laughs, then offers an explanation for why Pharrell's reaction is so emotional. "You know, it's being used for something greater than yourself," she says. "I get that."



"It's overwhelming because it's like, I love what I do and I just appreciate the fact that people have believed in me for so long, that I could make it to this point, to feel that," Pharrell says through tears.



"I get it," Oprah says. "I so now get why it's so infectious, because it came from such a clear space that the energy was absolutely uninterrupted by anything other than allowing it to flow from heart to heart. And that's what happens when you see it."



"Oprah Prime" airs on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.



Parenting/Kids News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Study: kids lose 7 minutes of sleep for every hour of TV

Researchers found that each hour spent by a child in front of the TV corresponded with 7 minutes less sleep on average.Researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Harvard School of Public Health have established a link between the time children spend in front of the tube and the duration of their nightly sleep. Their findings suggest that more time spent watching TV corresponds with less time asleep, particularly when there is a TV in the child's room.






#mentalhealth
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Take The Poo To The Loo: Indian PSA Discourages Public Defecation (VIDEO)

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Weird News - The Huffington Post

Take The Poo To The Loo: Indian PSA Discourages Public Defecation (VIDEO)

In India, public defecation is a serious problem. This public service announcement attempts to combat the issue with a silly song and surreal, animated music video.



It might not be for everyone, but to its credit, the musical PSA, entitled "Poo Party," manages to make an unsavory topic both memorable and entertaining. And that's to say nothing of how catchy its refrain is: "Take the poo to the loo."



WATCH (Contains Adult Language and CGI Poo):







According to UNICEF, the international relief organization behind the "Poo2Loo" campaign, an estimated 620 million Indians poop out in the open every day, dumping more than 143 million pounds of solid human waste and putting the public at risk for "life-threatening infections, diseases and epidemics."



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Health & Science: Science News, Health News, Scientific Developments, Healthcare & Nutrition - The Washington Post

Boston Marathon Bombing: Amputee brothers traveling marathon route as fundraiser

Brothers Paul and J.P. Norden, each of whom lost his right leg in the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago, set out to travel the 26.2 miles of the footrace’s route Tuesday with a group of about 15 to 20 family and friends. The event is a fundraiser for the brothers, who face a lifetime of expenses for the prostheses that have replaced their legs.

Read full article >>









Good News - The Huffington Post

Lessons Learned in Boston: Creative Arts Expression As a Path Toward Recovery and Resilience

It's been a year. Despite four deaths, a few hundred injured, and a merciless attack on our city's sense of safety and security, Boston is stronger now than it was before the bombs went off. The city is united in important ways, resolute and ready to run that race again -- this time with the whole world looking on. Terrorism failed in Boston, and I think there are lessons to be learned from the last year of Boston's recovery about resilience in general.



A month following last year's bombing, I posted something here, sharing my perspective as a public health professional that resilience is fundamental to the public's health, and suggesting a concerted effort be launched to better understand resilience, measure it, and produce it as a sturdy plank in our social platform. Sadly, there is no future scenario in which the threat of community and personal disruption from terrorism and other violent antisocial acts, or weather disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, or even economic disruptions like the 2008 recession, can be excluded, or even becomes less likely. Consequently, we need to be as prepared as possible to withstand these shocks, recover, and move on.



There are many factors that increase resilience: close relationships with family and friends, a sense of confidence in being able to adapt and respond to adversity, good problem solving and communication skills, and an ability to frame negative events within a context that allows the perception of at least a partial positive meaning. Since resilience is vital to survival, it is not surprising that social activities and rituals that support and grow these factors, at both the individual and community level, are all part of how we respond and cope.



Many are aware of the activities in and around Boston and elsewhere that brought people together and provided support by offering a sense of connectedness and meaning. Some of these activities were focused and tactical, like forming teams to run together in this year's marathon, or to support others who will. In other cases, community groups formed to help individuals recover, raise funds for victims, or to honor them in various ways.



There are less well-known stories, of how people turned toward the power of creative arts as a source of healing and hope, employing music, writing, visual arts and more as a means to reflect upon, and find a way to "make sense" of the events last April 15, and to move forward -- and in doing so, gave the rest of us a lift too!



Callie Benjamin: Callie, a student at Berklee College of Music, and a server at Boylston Street's Forum, was at work when the second bomb went off in front of the restaurant. Callie had been serving on the patio, and went to the kitchen moments before the explosion shattered glass, limbs and lives just yards away. She launched into action to help evacuate patrons and assist the injured. Through her song, "April," Callie used her craft to process the complex feelings she experienced in the aftermath.



Ben Johnston: Having endured an IED blast five years before the bombing, and the deaths of two close friends killed in Afghanistan a month earlier, Iraq veteran and Berklee songwriting student Ben Johnston was all too familiar with the shock and fear he witnessed among his fellow students, whose normally safe environment became, for a time, a war zone. "I Don't Have a Song for That," written by Johnston and Berklee alum Jordan Lucero just before the bombings, would help the tight knit student community cope with feelings of anxiety that lingered in the aftermath.



Walter Dunbar: Boston EMT Walter Dunbar was on duty at the marathon, a few blocks from the explosions, and helped to treat the critically wounded and save lives. He returned to painting as a way to reconnect with life, and alleviate the surreal and haunting memories of his experience. He was invited to run the marathon this year. It will be his first.



Dan Blakeslee: Artist and songwriter Dan Blakeslee had been standing at the finish line an hour before the bombs went off, and heard the explosions from his Somerville apartment. He turned to his art to process his emotions, drawing the Hearts for Boston logo that became a symbol of solidarity in the days following the event. His design not only helped him heal -- it was used on posters, t-shirts and pins to raise money for some of the hardest hit victims.



All of these creative-arts based activities shared something important -- the ability to convert a torrent of difficult thoughts and feelings into something that while rooted in memories of the horrific, could construct a bridge to a different set of emotions and perspectives. Creative "bridges" provide a way to move ahead past tragic events, allowing us to ford our rivers of doubt, propelled forward by the conviction that we are "all in this together" and "no one gets left behind."



I believe that this unique and vital ability for creative arts to allow us to withstand the shock of terrible experiences, and still find a path that has meaning and purpose -- to convert our pain and challenges into stories that can be shared with others in a way that inspires, motivates and connects -- is what explains the importance and centrality of art through history. As a public health practitioner, I think that a serious exploration and promotion of creative expression as a way to better put us in touch with ourselves and others -- increasing resilience even as it increases compassion and empathy -- is timely and warranted...not just in Boston, but worldwide.



Visit www.artandhealing.org/blog for these stories, and Callie and Benjamin's songs.



Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

Why You Should Run The Boston Marathon (Plus 4 Other Races To Put On Your Bucket List)



The following is an excerpt from The Runner's Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die by Denise Malan



Kacey Faberman wrote this race report in late 2012, before the tragic bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. After the bombing, [Editor Denise Malan] chose to leave the report as it was written, an untarnished tribute to the best race in the world. As runners, the greatest way we can honor the victims is to keep running Boston Strong.



I started running because I wanted to run the Boston Marathon.



Yes, you read that correctly. I didn't start running because I wanted to run a marathon, and I wasn't a marathon runner who set my sights on Boston. I started running because I wanted to participate in the best race in the world -- the Boston Marathon.



It took me six marathons to qualify, but when I did, I was elated and couldn't wait to register for and run the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors.



Training for and completing the 26.2 mile distance is tough, inspiring, challenging, enjoyable, time consuming, fulfilling, tear inducing, smile inducing and so much more. But it was the support, encouragement and sometimes looks of crazy that I've received from my family and closest friends over the years that was crucial in making my running-of-Boston dream come true.



To even enter Boston, runners must already have run a pretty fast marathon to meet the strict qualifying times, something only 10 percent of marathon finishers do. Having always obsessed about time in previous marathons, my Boston goal was to finish with a smile on my face. And I'm happy to say I achieved that goal. That smile came from the incredible organization, exciting but still somewhat nerve-calming Athlete's Village, the diverse towns from Hopkinton to Boston and the spectators who lined the entire course.



The Boston Marathon has been run continuously for well more than 100 years -- and it shows. The organization of this race is unlike any other race I've run. The expo is huge but easy to navigate -- you can find shoes, apparel (including the must-have jacket), last-minute race necessities you may have forgotten at home and nonessentials that celebrate the event (like a hand-embroidered pillow with all the towns you run through stitched in every color on the front). They even have a big-screen viewing of a video of the entire course, with Boston Marathon–associated personalities narrating the miles. This preview helped to set me at ease and prepared me for what to expect.



To get to the start, runners board school buses to the Athlete Village in Hopkinton. Shuttling 25,000 or so runners might sound like a challenge, but if it was for the organizers, I definitely didn't get that impression. Riding the bus from the Common in downtown Boston to the start was a great opportunity to connect with other runners. It's amazing to hear the stories of how people made their way to this famed running event.



After disembarking from the buses at the Athlete's Village, runners have an hour or two to chill before the waves start. The time leading up to a race start can often be tense, but the Athlete's Village had the opposite effect on me, and I found myself not stressing about the race I'd be starting around 10:00 that morning. The Village offered bagels, coffee, a replica of the "Welcome to Hopkinton" sign complete with photographers, a free pre-race massage tent and port-a-potties galore -- it was a runner's paradise!



When my wave was called to head toward the start line, I walked with the thousands of other runners who shared my preassigned wave start. After stepping into the corral that corresponded with the numbers printed on my bib, it wasn't long before I took my first steps along the world-renowned course. Because the course is point-to-point, runners have the opportunity to see many different locales. Before getting to the big city of Boston, I ran through many unique, small towns: Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton. Each town definitely had distinct personalities, but the commonality was that they proudly supported the race and loved to let the runners know it. Whether I was running past a biker bar (fully packed, at 11:00 a.m.) or a university where girls offered kisses, spectators were out in full force. More than 500,000 spectators take to the streets on this state holiday of Patriot's Day, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. I'd say that half a million spectators is a conservative estimate.



I ran Boston in 2012, a year of record heat. The spectators really were fantastic in helping to beat the temperatures in the high 80s. They came out from their homes with extra cups of water, ice cubes and hoses with spray nozzles. The spectators along the course were phenomenal, and certainly a big reason why this big-city race is a success -- whole towns get behind it. They encourage, they cheer and they clang together anything and everything they can find to create enough noise to drown out any negative thoughts that crossed my mind -- whether because of the weather or the hills.



I had high expectations for Boston -- it is the marathon. My expectations were all completely exceeded. The organizers, the expo, the Athlete's Village, the towns, the spectators -- all top notch. No detail is spared in this marathon, and this commitment to excellence made me feel like an elite runner.



It's easy to say that everyone should run this race, though it's not always so easy to get there. But do whatever you can to toe that start line in Hopkinton, because it is completely worth it.



Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Date: third Monday in April

Distance: marathon

Field Size: 25,000

Website: BAA.org

Race Highlights: It's Boston, the most elite marathon in the world.



Not your cup of tea? Try one of these other races from The Runner's Bucket List:





Reprinted with permission of Triumph Books.



GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

'Shouldn't You Be Over That by Now?' How to Respond to Judgment on Your Grieving Process

A newsletter reader sent me this question:



How can I deal with people who expect me to be "over this" already? My fiancée died almost two years ago.



How can I convince them it's all right that I'm not "over it"?



Though this question was sent by one reader, lots of people struggle with this issue. I bet you've had at least a few run ins with people trying to instruct you on the proper way to grieve.



So many people expect you to be over it, don't they.



They can't possibly understand what it's like to be you, to live inside grief like this. They just want the "old" you back, not understanding that that old you has changed, deeply.



It's so tempting, so easy, to argue your right to your grief. To describe to other people all the things that have changed, all the ways your love is missing, and how that impacts every fiber of your life.



The thing is, no matter how much you say, no matter how much you try to educate them, the truth is, they can't understand. As tempting as it is to give them that verbal smack down (even nicely), your words aren't ever going to get through.



So what can you do?



Sometimes it just makes it easier on you, easier on your heart and mind, if you simply stop trying to explain.



Refusing to explain or defend your grief doesn't mean you let other people go on and on about it, continually telling you how you should live. I'm talking about stepping out of the argument altogether by simply refusing to engage in debates about whether or not your continued grief is valid.



Defending yourself against someone who cannot possibly understand is a waste of your time and your heart.



The important thing to remember is that your grief, like your love, belongs to you. No one has the right to dictate, judge, or dismiss what is yours to live.



That they don't have the right to judge doesn't stop them from doing it, however.




What that means is: If you want to stop hearing their judgment, you'll need to clarify your boundaries. You'll need to make it clear that your grief is not up for debate.



While it's certainly easier said than done, there are steps you can take to remove yourself from the debate:



1. clearly and calmly address their concern.

2. clarify your boundaries.

3. redirect the conversation.







These three steps, when used consistently, can significantly reduce the amount of judgment that actually makes it to your ears.





Here's how this might look in actual practice:




First, acknowledge their concern while presuming friendly intent: "I appreciate your interest in my life."



Second, clarify your boundaries: "I am going to live this the way that feels right to me, and I'm not interested in discussing it."



Steps one and two -- addressing their concerns and clarifying your boundaries -- often get combined in one statement: "I appreciate your interest in my life. I'm going to live this the way that feels right to me, and I'm not interested in discussing it."



This can be especially effective when you follow your statement with step number three, redirecting the conversation, aka changing the subject: "I'm happy to talk about something else, but this is not open for discussion."



It sounds really wooden and strange, I know. But the message here -- including the formal wording -- is that you have a clear boundary, and you will not allow it to be breached in any way.





If there are people in your life who won't take such a clear boundary without further argument, you can stick to a stock phrase -- "That isn't a topic I'll discuss" -- and then move the conversation onto something else.



If they can't do that, you can end the conversation completely -- walk away, say goodbye and hang up.



The important thing is to not allow yourself to be drawn into battle. Your grief is not an argument. It doesn't need to be defended.



It's awkward at first, but clarifying your boundaries and redirecting the conversation will become a lot easier the more you practice it.



Eventually, the people in your life will either get the message -- not that you don't have to be over it, but that you aren't willing to discuss it -- or they will leave.



The thing is, grief will absolutely rearrange your relationships. Some people will make it through, and some will fall away.



If the people in your life can handle, even appreciate, you staying true to your own heart, then they'll make it through with you. If they can't, let them go: gracefully, clearly, and with love.



Megan Devine is a writer, counselor, and grief advocate. You can find her at www.refugeingrief.com, and on facebook. Enrollment in Megan's popular on-line 30 day creative writing course, Writing Your Grief is now open. Come write with us. We'd love to have you. Enroll before April 27, 2014 to get your spot in this session.


8 Steps to Exodus From Your Bondage

Passover is the story of the Hebrew's exodus from the bonds of 400 years of slavery to freedom as a Jewish people. Although today there is no slavery to Pharaoh, bondage remains a metaphor for relinquishing your freedom to the bondage of life.



Modern day bondage takes many forms: food addiction, unhappy relationships, workaholism, over stressed, over anxious, over weight. All represent beliefs we internalize and allow to bind us.



If you feel immobilized, stuck, captive or feel you do not control your life, it doesn't have to be that way. You can live both free and freely. It just requires reframing your beliefs to release the shackles that bind you. Since Passover lasts for eight days, here are eight steps to exodus from your bondage using Passover as an acronym.



P = Permission -- This is the first step and one of the most challenging. If Moses didn't believe freedom was possible, the Hebrews would have stayed in Egypt. What beliefs immobilize you? Why? It is said that people who live in the past feel depressed and those who live in the future feel anxious. What can you do to live in the present -- to experience this moment as a joyous experience? Visualize where you want to be or what you want to happen and move toward that place. Give yourself permission and freedom becomes possible.



A = Associations -- Author Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, found that people who socialize live longer, healthier lives. Whether you are spending time with friends or family or in a connected group such as your congregation or other social experience, doing so regularly helps provide beliefs, behaviors and perspectives that are liberating and that contribute to freedom, happiness and longevity.



S = Stress Reduction -- People have always known stress. A little of it allows you to prepare for a lecture or a sporting event, avert a car accident or run out of a burning building. But chronic stress is responsible for up to 80 percent of primary care visits to the doctor, only 3 percent actually receive stress management counseling. Stress and its sidekick, fear, can bind you in your current situation and prevent you from trying new things. The future can be brighter if you simply move toward the light. As Joseph Campbell said, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." What are you avoiding that could set you free?



S = Sleep More -- 70 million adults don't get the seven or more hours of sleep each night they need. That leads to poor memory, poor performance on the job, poor family dynamics, falling asleep at the wheel, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. If you feel bad and sleepy, you are much less likely to risk doing or seeing things differently. You have to be alert to find and follow the path to new freedom.



O = Organize -- Are you surrounded by piles of work? No time to try things differently? Organizing can change that. Clear the piles that clutter your home and office. You may find the unopened letter offering you a new position or the recipe for the tzimmas you misplaced. Organizing your day with blocks of time to think of and try new things suddenly opens the door to opportunity.



V = Vocalize -- Think of this in two ways: 1) Sing. It frees your spirit to move to a new place and 2) Speak what is on your mind. Saying your fears out loud, verbalizing what you want to achieve or where you want to be makes it real and makes it possible.



E = Exercise -- Poor health and obesity are a type of bondage. You can't do the things you want to do or some of the things that bring you joy. Make exercise a habit, one you do every day. Start with just five minutes daily and work up to 30 or even 60 minutes. Your brain and body will work better and for longer.



R = Resolve -- As Helen Keller once said, "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." This Passover as you sit at the Seder reading about the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, take a moment to reflect on the things that bind you. It's the perfect time to begin the exodus from your bondage.



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http://bit.ly/13Y6UVy Boise Bipolar Center, Charles K. Bunch, Ph.D, Boise Idaho Therapist Mental health photo 2168_zps680c452f.jpg