Marvel at the clouds

I learned that my artistic sense comes from the fact that I love myths and people’s stories, she said. I love telling them, hearing them, learning from them, and re-creating them in pictures. Manjari looked over at the prints tacked across the white walls of her studio–pictures of her mother in a sari on an Indian beach, of the god Vishnu rising from the clouds like Venus from the sea, and of a father holding his newborn child to his chest in the shower. That’s my purpose, she said, to tell a meaningful story that moves people the way I was moved by these stories. Of course, self-knowledge is not enough on its own. Coss knew his strengths from a very young age and used them to achieve his goals as a drug dealer. Manjari took longer to discover her unique gifts and didn’t find her purpose as an artist until she discovered that her work had the capacity to inspire others. For both of them, finding purpose required a critical step beyond self-knowledge: using that knowledge to figure out how they could best contribute to society. Today, they employ their skills to help others live better lives–Coss by helping people stay healthy and Manjari by creating an elevating experience for her audience. Though living with purpose may make us happier and more determined, a purpose-driven person is ultimately concerned not with these personal benefits but with making the world a better place. Take a poetry-writing class Go to workshops–on love, on human potential, on success, on spirituality, on health Take horseback-riding lessons Take a photography class Visit new places Travel to foreign lands Go to museums and art galleries Watch foreign films Go to concerts Relinquish rigid ideas about who you are, and challenge yourself with new experiences and new perspectives.

No pressure now! Remember how I told you that no more is the birth partner a spare part, a third wheel, or whatever other analogy is commonly used, but an essential and imperative cog in the system? If it takes two to make a baby, it takes a team to birth a baby and, indeed, some would say a whole village to raise one. Teamwork really does make the dream work! Or at the very least, makes it a lot easier. Mums-to-be, this is why you need to choose your birth partner (or partners) wisely. The job requirements include the ability to multitask, remain calm under pressure, and have the confidence to advocate for you and, if necessary, challenge authority. Birth partners, if you’re reading this, know that you are well capable of rising to the job! Do not doubt yourself: you have got this! You are a strong and capable human. The yearly calendar is punctuated with holidays that most families acknowledge and celebrate, including New Year’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. For many of these holidays, we take time off from work, prepare food, decorate the house, give gifts, and gather with our friends and family. Some people have established traditions and rituals around these holidays, others simply wing it each year, making up new and spontaneous approaches to celebrate the occasion. Some celebrations are low-key, relaxed events. Others are akin to a three-ring circus with more cooks in the kitchen than can comfortably fit. Some are quiet and reflective to honor the occasion, while others are loud, boisterous, and filled with dance. There is no right or wrong way to bring in the new year, tell your sweetheart you love him or her, welcome spring, honor your mom, celebrate the birth of our country, give thanks, or make the season merry. However, there are ways to take the stress out and to add more meaning, relaxation, joy, and happiness to these events. In these articles, you will find many ideas and inspirational stories of the diverse, unique, creative, playful, artful, and meaningful ways people honor holidays. Allow them to inspire, rekindle, spark, and enhance the ways you celebrate in your home.

Indeed, many great thinkers have argued that in order for individuals to live meaningful lives, they must cultivate the strengths, talents, and capacities that lie within them and use them for the benefit of others. That idea was expressed forcefully by the eighteenth-century German thinker Immanuel Kant. Kant asks us to consider a man–one like so many of us today–who finds in himself a talent that by means of some cultivation could make him a useful human being in all sorts of respects. However, he sees himself in comfortable circumstances and prefers to give himself up to gratification rather than to make the effort to expand and improve his fortunate natural predispositions. What should this man do? Should he abandon the cultivation of his natural talents for a life of enjoyment and ease? Or should he pursue his purpose? These questions are the driving force behind the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting. The story begins with Will, a psychologically troubled twenty-year-old from South Boston. Will drifts purposelessly through life, working as a janitor at MIT and spending most of his free time drinking with his friends, even though he is a genius who can solve math problems that the graduate students at MIT cannot. Expand your vocabulary. Keep abreast of trends in art, science, technology, medicine, politics, music, and fashion. Don’t be afraid to question prevailing beliefs, including your own. Learn something new every day. As you continue stimulating your mind to grow, your brain will continue creating new connections among its billions of cells. Playfulness, Lightheartedness, and Laughter A youthful mind is playful and lighthearted. It laughs easily, genuinely, and with abandon. You can probably recall times from your childhood when you giggled so hard you could barely stand or walk. Playfulness and joy are qualities of Spirit, which is inherently lighthearted.

To help make sense of everything that has been covered thus far, I’m going to go through the stages of labour that we have discussed previously, in chronological order from early labour through to the third and final stage, outlining exactly what you might be doing at each stage and where you might be. I’ll also give you a clear action list so that everyone knows what they’re meant to be doing. By breaking it down in this way, I hope it will feel less overwhelming. Early labour During early labour you’re most likely to be at home, even if you plan on giving birth at a birth centre or hospital. If you travel into a birth centre or hospital whilst still in early labour you’re very likely to be sent home. This can feel frustrating and disappointing and disrupts the progression of natural labour, not to mention that travelling back and forth is annoying and a waste of your time. For all these reasons, settle down at home and wait until things are well established before going anywhere. Early labour can be a really wonderful time because the surges will be mild and irregular, giving you plenty of time to practise all your lovely relaxation exercises. Now is the time to get the oxytocin flowing, because, as you know, oxytocin is the magic that fuels the surges and will help get things more established. Start the new year with a new take on life. Make a list of the things you most wish to accomplish, see, or do this year. Not just the big things, but most important, the little things you want to do more of. Things like: Find and call my best friend from college. Tour a vineyard in Italy. Take a class on Indian cooking. Read more articles. Take a nap on Sunday afternoons. Pick more bouquets of flowers.

When he gets in trouble for assaulting a police officer, Will gets a lucky break: an MIT professor, Gerald Lambeau, intervenes on his behalf. The judge agrees to release Will to Lambeau’s supervision under the condition that he meet with Lambeau regularly to work on math. Lambeau wants Will to put his talent to good use, so he does his best to mentor him and arranges job interviews for him with prestigious employers. But Will is defiant. He is not interested in developing his mathematical genius. He mocks his interviewers during their meetings and insults Lambeau, calling his research a joke. Later, when Will’s best friend, Chuckie, asks him how his interviews are going, Will implies he’s not interested in being a lab rat. He’d rather stay in South Boston and work in construction. But Chuckie, like Lambeau, doesn’t want Will to waste his potential–and he tells his friend that his attitude is selfish. You don’t owe it to yourself. Knowing itself as eternal and unbounded, Spirit does not surrender its magic and enthusiasm for trivial concerns. Play and recreation go hand in hand. Play is literally an opportunity for re-creation–an opportunity to re-create yourself. When you play with abandon, you enter into the present moment. You let go of the past and forget about the future. When you are playing, you lose track of time. The timeless domain of play is the realm of Spirit. Spirit is innately playful. The ego, on the other hand, is serious. It is solely concerned with power, control, and approval.

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