ALL GOOD QUESTIONS
with even better answers
S E R I O U S L Y
you better watch out
because what we
s e e
isn’t always really what is ever seen. . .
Who Cares - What Matters
ALL GOOD QUESTIONS
with even better answers
S E R I O U S L Y
you better watch out
because what we
s e e
isn’t always really what is ever seen. . .
UK’s John Lewis
is a Master
every year when it comes to
and what makes this even better
is that it’s a mere
a l t e r n a t i v e
and aren’t we humbled beneficiaries
because of it. . .
Of course it doesn’t hurt
to have a most awesome
THIS IS OUR HOME
Ben and Andy. . .
which prompts us to
ARE WE EVER SO BLIND WHEN WE CAN ACTUALLY SEE
(but not exactly sure what we’re looking at)
There’s a reason
we have entered into the
SEASON OF LIGHT
especially since the darkness is getting longer
especially since the ever-so-long-pandemic
is ever so-long-from-ending
especially since the more
we see the less we notice
. . .It’s a question
asked every year when we come to this
S E A S O N:
WILL IT BE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?
The Answer always sways on just one integer
Y O U
It really never matters
You bring Your LIGHT
to any darkened situation. . .
. . .and bring
h o m e
In this era, where a lot of people are becoming more and more indifferent towards one another, kindness is coming at an expensive price. It is not often that you see people showing kindness towards others. BUT. . .I found this video recently where there was a prepared set of different videos to prove that wrong. Throughout the video, you can watch Santa providing warm clothes to homeless people or older woman praising stranger for doing cool tricks with skateboard and many others. As always I hope this afflicts the Caring Catalyst in you that by merely watching the video, you will realize that kindness in humanity hasn’t been lost completely and there are still people out there ready to show acts of kindness not only to their close ones, but also to any random strangers and make them emotional or even cry by their acts of kindness. THAT it’ll inspire you to bring a special warmth to Another’s CHILL. . .Enjoy watching the video. . .
“I SEE YOU!’
‘I AM HERE!’
“For centuries, African Bushmen have greeted each other in this way. When one becomes aware of his brother or sister coming out of the brush, he exclaims, ‘I See You!’ and then the one approaching rejoices, ‘I Am Here!’
“This timeless bearing witness is both simple and profound, and it is telling that much of our modern therapeutic journey is suffered to this end: to have who we are and where we’ve been be seen. For with this simple and direct affirmation, it is possible to claim our own presence, to say, ‘I Am Here.’
“Those people in our lives who have validated our personhood by seeing us and exclaiming so are the foundations of our self-worth. Think of who they are.
“For me, the first to rejoice at my scrambling into the open was my grandmother. If not for her unequivocal love, I might never have the courage to express myself at all. And, after all, isn’t art in all its forms the beautiful trail of our all-too-human attempts to say, again and again, I Am Here.
“It is important to note that being seen enables us to claim our lives, and then it becomes possible to pass the gift on to others. But just as important as bearing witness is the joy with which these Bushmen proclaim what they see. It is the joy of first seeing and first knowing. This is a gift of love.
“In a culture that erases its humanity, that keeps the act of innocence and beginning invisible, we are sorely in need of being seen with joy, so we can proclaim with equal astonishment and innocence that of all the amazing things that could have been or not, We Are Here.
“As far back as we can remember, people of the oldest tribes, unencumbered by civilization, have been rejoicing in being on earth together. Not only can we do this for each other, it is essential.
“For as stars need open space to be seen, as waves need shore to crest, as dew needs grass to soak into, our vitality depends on how we exclaim and rejoice, ‘I See You!’ ‘I Am Here’”
See. . .
There’s always another way to say it
There’s always another way to hear it
There’s always another way to see it
THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER WAY TO BE IT
. . . .Questions, Class?
A R E
A L L
H U M A N. . .
Walking along a busy street in Edinburgh, my eye caught a sign resting at the feet of a man sitting on the pavement outside a posh hotel. It simply read, ‘I am a human being.’ It stopped me dead in my tracks. Kneeling down to take a closer look, I struck up a conversation with Sparky. And what started as a quick chat, turned into a few hours together, while Sparky shared his story with us. We need to remember that every person, regardless of their situation, is a human being with dignity, with a name, a story, a family and a history – like all of us. We’re all human. And if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh, go have a chat with Sparky – you won’t regret it. You can usually find him outside All Bar One, corner of George and Hanover Street. To follow our film making journey – https://www.patreon.com/greenrenaissance Filmed in Edinburgh, Scotland. Who is Green Renaissance? We are a tiny collective of 3 passionate filmmakers (Michael, Justine and Jackie). We live off-grid and dedicate our time to making films that we hope will inspire and share ideas.
IS THERE A MORE POWERFUL
FOUR-WORDED MESSAGE. . .
YOU SO POWERFULLY
L I V E
Jamie Ducharme, a reporter for Time Magazine tells us that Americans’ mental health tanked during the first year of the pandemic. More than 36% of U.S. adults experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression in August 2020, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By January 2021, the number was above 40%.
It’s not hard to see why. A novel and scary virus was spreading without vaccines to slow it. Cities and states were in various degrees of lockdown for much of 2020, with many people forgoing special occasions and visits with friends and family. Isolation and fear were widespread, and people had every reason to feel acutely stressed.
But even as lockdowns lifted, people got vaccinated, and life resumed more of its normal rhythms, many people continued to feel…off. In an American Psychological Association survey published in October 2021, 75% of people said they’d recently experienced consequences of stress, including headaches, sleep issues, fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed.
Now, more than two years into the pandemic, many people still haven’t bounced back. One reason could be “ambient stress”—or “stress that’s running in the background, below the level of consciousness,” says New York-based clinical psychologist Laurie Ferguson, who is director of education development at the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a nonprofit that supports people with chronic illnesses.
“There’s something amiss, but we’re not registering it all the time,” Ferguson says. “We’re always just a little bit off balance. We kind of function at a level like everything’s fine and things are normal, when in fact, they’re not.”
In a 1983 article published in the journal Environment and Behavior, researcher Joan Campbell described ambient stressors as those that are chronic and negative, cannot be substantively changed by an individual, usually do not cause immediate threats to life (but can be damaging over time), and are perceptible but often unnoticed. “Over the long run,” Campbell wrote, these stressors could affect “motivation, emotions, attention, [physical] health, and behavior.”
Campbell cited examples like pollution and traffic noise, but it’s also an apt description of this stage of the pandemic. In March 2020, the pandemic was an in-your-face stressor—one that, at least for many people, felt urgent and all-consuming. Two years later, most people have adapted, to some degree. Most people are vaccinated, the news isn’t broadcasting the latest case counts 24/7, and life looks closer to 2019 than 2020. But, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re still bearing the psychic toll of two years of death, disease, upheaval, and uncertainty, as well as smaller disruptions like changes to our social or work lives, Ferguson says.
Even ambient stress can have health consequences, as Campbell pointed out. Humans evolved to deal with short-term stressors, but we’re not as good at coping with chronic stress, explains Laura Grafe, an assistant professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College. Chronic stress has been linked to conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep issues, and mental health and cognitive disorders.
Constant stress can also compound the effects of other stressors. “Everything else just seems worse with the chronic stress of the pandemic going on in the background,” Grafe says.
Ambient stress doesn’t have to zap all the joy from your life, though. In a 2021 study, Grafe and her co-authors examined how pandemic stress and coping strategies affected sleep. Her team found that a person’s sleep quality wasn’t necessarily dictated by their overall level of pandemic-related stress, but rather by how well they coped with that stress. That suggests stress, itself, isn’t necessarily the problem—it’s unmanaged stress.
When stress becomes so routine that we stop acknowledging it, we’re less likely to manage it effectively. As Cambell wrote in 1983, “coping is most likely to occur when the stressor is still novel.” Halfway through 2022, many people have abandoned soothing hobbies like bread-baking, yoga, and knitting that they adopted in spring 2020.
That’s why it’s important to develop sustainable coping strategies, says Niccole Nelson, a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Notre Dame’s psychology department who has also studied pandemic stress. “There’s no single coping strategy that is inherently good or bad,” Nelson says, but it’s often helpful to mentally reframe a stressor as less threatening. That’s difficult to do with something as serious as the pandemic, but Nelson suggests trying it on a smaller scale: finding ways to appreciate the positive aspects of working from home, for example. (Grafe suggests mindfulness exercises and cognitive behavioral therapy to cope with stress.)
Giving your brain new stimuli can also help during a prolonged period of stress, Ferguson says. Even small changes, like eating something new for breakfast or taking a different route for your daily walk, can introduce some healthy novelty. Physical activity is also a tried-and-true stress reduction tactic, she adds.
Simply noticing and naming your ambient stress can also go a long way, Ferguson says. “Even people who have gone ‘back to normal’ still have that ambient stress running, and they may not realize they’re a little more short-tempered, or they’re a little less hopeful,” she says. “It’s subtle, in many ways, and harder to notice” than full-blown pandemic stress, but just as important to manage.
Have you noticed maybe what you haven’t always recognized. . . ?
Maybe the best way to see the
is just to
S P O T
A N O T H E R. . .
WoodSwimmer is a film collaboration between genius animator Brett Foxwell and Conor Grebel (Bedtimes). The footage was taken through a laborious stop motion process of capturing sections of wood as they are thinly shaved away by a milling machine. For more info on the video visit: http://www.bfophoto.com/ Director: Brett Foxwell Music / Editing: Bedtimes (Conor Grebel)
BIG WHOOP, Right. . .
What are you going to show us next Monday on your film-clip Monday Blog Post, Chuck. . . ?
You know. . .it kind of really is a big deal
especially if you’re a lot like me and continually have to
WHAT I AM LOOKING AT. . .
just take a minimum of
unless you’re really gutsy and what to add another
to do nothing
not one single thing
e x e p t
or any other natural object
that you regularly see
but rarely notice. . .
D A R E
to notice something
you failed to recognize
before. . .
Go ahead, I’ll wait
or better still,
It’s one of my favorite reasons to go the the Mall at Christmas
(Preferably on Christmas Eve)
It’s one of my favorite reasons for going to Vegas
It’s one of my favorite reasons for going to the Beach
It’s one of my favorite reasons for going to the Zoo
It’s one of my favorite reasons for going to Concerts or the Movies
It’s one of my favorite reasons to eat out. . .
People watching is much different than
E S P E C I A L L Y
if you are out to not just don’t look. . .
BUT TO SEE!
I try paying attention to the people coming and going. . .
It’s a useful exercise. . .
Each one of those people
is dealing with hopes and dreams
and pressures and fears
and struggles and successes
and failures and mistakes
just like you are. . .
Each one is at the centre of his or her own story
and you are just passing through those stories,
on the fringe and for the most part
u n n o t i c e d. . .
LITTLE SPEECH BUBBLES OVER OUR HEADS JUST MIGHT BE A VERY DANGEROUS THING IF OTHERS COULD READ THEM AS EASILY AS SEEING THEM. . .
Time Magazine recently came out with an interesting article that TALKS about way more than JUNETEENTH. . .It talks about how we EXPERIENCE such things based on the Language we use and Hear
As the United States celebrates its the second year with Juneteenth as a federal holiday, many articles will be written about race relations. But Cydney broached one topic that often falls under the radar: stereotypes.
From the first instant our eyes alight on a television or phone screen, we are inundated with a curated set of images that (supposedly) depict the world around us. These images often show people of color through a stereotypical lens, and these stereotypes bleed into our everyday lives—our workplaces, our social lives, our politics. As a social psychologist at Yale University, Cydney took a look at figuring out exactly how stereotypes hold us back, and what we can do about it.
She talked about being a young Black girl growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Cydney loved the movies. Each year, she and her brothers would gleefully wait in line to get the best seat in the theater for the latest Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or superhero film.
Even then, she talked how she was struck by the characters she saw. Few looked like her or her family. Those that did were one-dimensional, with limited speaking roles, often playing supporting roles to White characters. They were disproportionately poor and often criminal. They were rarely desired, easily disposed of, and never granted the nuanced and flawed inner worlds granted to White characters.
These stereotypes, rightly so, puzzled her. Prince George’s County, Maryland, is a majority-Black county—home to doctors, lawyers, politicians, and other Black professionals. The Black characters she saw on television didn’t reflect the rich, diverse, and joyful lives she saw around her. Why does the media put people of color into boxes? How do these stereotypes harm us as individuals and a society?
Cydney became a social psychologist to answer these questions. Twenty years later, she now studied stereotypes, determining how they maintain inequality and worm their way into day-to-day interactions. Across dozens of studies featuring thousands of participants, I find that stereotypes influence how we relate to others, leaking into conversations through the very words that people use.
In one test, Cydney focused on White Americans. White people are subject to stereotypes, too. They’re labeled as more competent than Black people and Latina/os, and White people think that other racial groups see them as racist and entitled. She predicted that White Americans, particularly those who want to connect across racial divides—White liberals—try to reverse these stereotypes through the very words that they use.
Cydney asked over two thousand White Americans to introduce themselves to a Black or White person online. As predicted, White liberals used fewer words related to competence (like “competitive” or “powerful”) when speaking to a Black person.
This “competence downshift” isn’t limited to a lab. Cydney analyzed over 20 years of campaign speeches by White Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and found that White Democrats used fewer words related to competence when addressing mostly-minority audiences (e.g., NAACP ) versus mostly-White ones (e.g., American Federation of Teachers). White Republicans didn’t downshift competence, likely because they’re less interested in getting along with people of color. Sure enough, White Democrats were more likely to address audiences of color than Republicans.
For White liberals, this behavior may backfire. Cydney’s and her colleagues are now testing whether White liberals who use less competent language are seen as patronizing by Black observers. If so, they may reduce, rather than improve, their chances of cross-racial connection by downshifting competence.
Do people of color also counter stereotypes using language? To find out, Cydney analyzed 250,000 congressional remarks and one million tweets by Black and Latina/o politicians in Congress and Twitter. She focused on Black Americans and Latina/os because they tend to be stereotyped as lower in status and powerthan White Americans. Cydney focused on those who are more conservative because they tend to have more positive attitudes toward White Americans and negative attitudes toward their own racial group.
She found that Black Americans and Latina/os who were more conservative used more competent language than their more liberal peers in these mostly-White settings. (There was no such effect among White politicians, or when she asked Black people to talk to other Black people.)
T H I S :
These data suggest that people have a profound desire to reverse negative stereotypes, and this desire shows up in everyday conversation. Stereotypes force us into rigid boxes, and we try to break free of them using the most primary tool available to us: our words.
Now an adult, Cydney still loves mainstream television and movies—and she still is largely disappointed by what she sees. Most characters are White, the vast majority of spoken lines go to White characters, and many Black characters are rooted in stereotypes. (The latest season of Netflix’s hit Stranger Things provides a vivid example.) Awareness and research can help us understand what stereotypes are and how they are harmful, but until we enact large-scale, cultural changes that challenge these stereotypes, we will all continue to be shackled by them.
Maybe until the
T E A C H
D E M O N O S T R A T E
S H O W
THAT WE ARE THE DIFFERENCES
word by word
deed by deed
person by person
i n s t a n t l y
by never be