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Im a Meditation Teacher, and 3 Minutes Is the Perfect Amount of Time To Reap the Benefits of Meditation – Well+Good

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Hustle culture has us working harder and longerand its taking a toll on our health. But research shows that even short breaks during the day can spell big health benefits. So go ahead and give yourself a break (literally); Wellness Recess will provide you with the inspo you need to add more balance and funto your day. See More

If you haven't started a meditation practice, I'm willing to bet one of the reasons is because you don't think you'll be able to sit and be still for a long period of time. Trust me, I get it. Initially, I felt the same way. Ultimately, I was sold on adding it to my well-being routine when I learned you can increase the gray matter volume of your brain, which is associated with self-awareness, emotion, cognition, and aging.

According to Valerie Oula, director of vibrational energy healing at The Well and author of A Little Bit of Reiki: An Introduction to Energy Medicine, you can reap these brain benefits and other mindfulness benefits (like decreased stress, greater emotional regulation, and improved sleep) with a three-minute meditation.

"I really think it's important to start with a bite-size approach," says Oula. "In that three minutes, you actually allow your system to reset." By beginning with three minutes of mediation a day, she says, your body begins to learn that this is the time where you just sit. "But you're not not doing anything," says Oula. "You're just sitting and you're being mindful. And it's that mindfulness that really begins to open up some space for awareness."

You can also draw your energy back in and come back into your body in this three-minute period, says Oula. "I think when we allow ourselves that three minutes to just sit, to get still and just notice without judgment, and just notice sensations in our body, notice our breath, it gets you out of this nonstop, looping 'Oh my God, stress, overwhelm,' all of the things."

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All the emotions and sensations you may be feeling won't magically disappear, but meditation does allow your mindset to shift. And as you become more consistent with three minutes of meditation, Oula says that you might find yourself naturally sitting for longer.

If you're feeling more confident about beginning to meditate, you may be wondering exactly how to do it. "One of the ways that I love to share is for people who are super new and just beginning is to actually count," says Oula.

Start by sitting comfortably in an upright position. ("Your physiology contributes to how you feel," she explains.) You'll also want to sit in a way where you can tune into your core and have your feet grounded, which can be done on a chair or seated on a cushion.

From here, close your eyes and do a simple breath count. For example, say "one" in your head, followed by a slow inhale and a slow exhale (you can also say this in your head to help you control your breathing). And then continue at that pace until your meditation is complete. "The key is to really emphasize the slow breath," explains Oula.

In addition to taking the time to slow down and be present, you're also allowing your body and brain to integrate and process the information you're constantly taking in, says Oula. You're also strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system, one of three divisions of your autonomic nervous system that regulates involuntary physiological processes, which is often referred to as "rest and digest."

Oula says the goal is to spend more time strengthening the restful parasympathetic nervous system and calming the sympathetic nervous systemaka fight-or-flightwhich is responsible for making us feel a heightened state of alertness. "We want to cultivate the resilience of our nervous system [by] moving between sympathetic and parasympathetic."

Meditation helps us to achieve balance because it "gives you the space to step back, versus being fully in the thing and being triggered by whatever you're being triggered by," she explains. It also allows us to strengthen areas in our brain that help us pay attention in different ways and to open up more awareness, in addition to giving our brain the space to clean itself out with synaptic pruning, the removal of connections in the brain that are no longer needed.

At the end of the day, your practice isyours, and you've got to do what is going to help you feel the calmest and present. And one of the best ways to do so, in Oula's opinion, is to begin with an easy three-minute reset. And don't forget, she says: "A little bit is better than nothing at all."

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Im a Meditation Teacher, and 3 Minutes Is the Perfect Amount of Time To Reap the Benefits of Meditation - Well+Good

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Proven to reduce stress through meditation – a healing practice – The Weston Forum

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Long-term stress: Meditation lowers cortisol concentrations

Meditation (from the Latin word meaning to think, to think) includes various methods, often very ancient and religiously based. Meanwhile, several scientific studies have shown that meditation can have positive effects on health. A new study now shows that meditation training reduces stress in the long run.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Neurosciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig and the Max Planck Societys Social Neurosciences Research Group in Berlin found that mental training that enhances skills such as alertness, gratitude or empathy enhances focus and reduces the stress hormone. Cortisol in the hair. The amount of cortisol in the hair indicates how strong a person is by maintaining it Stress laden.

like him in Message From the institute, according to a study by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), 23 percent of people in Germany often experience stress.

Not only does this condition affect peoples well-being, but it is also linked to a number of physiological diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental disorders such as depression, which is one of the major causes of disease burden in the world.

Therefore, effective methods are being sought that will reduce daily stress in the long run. This is a promising option Mindfulness trainingWhere participants train their cognitive and social skills, including attention, gratitude, and compassion, through meditation and various behavioral exercises.

Various studies have already shown that even healthy people feel less stressed after a typical eight-week exercise program. However, it is not yet clear to what extent the training actually contributed to reducing the ongoing exposure to daily stress.

The problem with many previous studies on chronic stress: study participants usually have to assess their own stress level after training. However, this self-assessment using questionnaires can distort the effects and make the results appear more positive than they actually were.

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The reason for this bias: the test subjects knew they were training mindfulness, and lower stress levels was the desired effect of this training. This awareness alone has an effect on the information presented later.

If you are asked if you are nervous after training that has been advertised as reducing stress, even dealing with that question can distort the statements, explains Lara Pullman, an MPI CBS doctoral student and first author of the primary publication. It was recently published in the specialized magazine psychosomatic medicineHe was released.

Factors such as social desirability and placebo effects played a role here. Unlike pharmacological studies, for example, in which study participants do not know whether or not they have actually received the active ingredient, so-called blind checks are not possible during mental training.

Participants know they are taking the antidote, Polman says. In mindfulness research, we are increasingly using more objective methods, that is, physiological methods, in order to be able to more accurately measure the stress-reducing effect.

According to experts, the concentration of cortisol in the hair is a suitable measurement variable for exposure to constant stress. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when, for example, you are faced with a formidable challenge. In each case, the stress hormone helps put the body on alert and mobilize the energy to meet the challenge.

And the longer the stress is, the longer the increased concentration of cortisol circulates in the body and the more it builds up in hair, which grows an inch a month. In order to measure the participants stress level during the nine-month training, the researchers, in collaboration with Clemens Kirschbaums working group at the University of Dresden, analyzed the amount of cortisol every three months in the first three centimeters of the hair, starting on the scalp.

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The mental training program consisted of three modules of three months each, each of which was aimed at training a specific skill area with the help of western and eastern mental exercises. The focus was either on factors of attention and alertness, on social and emotional skills such as empathy and gratitude, or on the so-called social-cognitive skills, in particular the ability to take a perspective on ones thoughts and those of others. .

Three groups of about 80 subjects each completed the training modules in a different order. The training was carried out for up to nine months, 30 minutes a day, six days a week.

In fact, it was found that the amount of cortisol in the participants hair had significantly decreased after six months of training, an average of 25%. According to the information, initially slight effects were observed in the first three months, and intensified in the following three months. In the last third, the concentration remained at a rather low level.

Therefore, researchers hypothesize that only long enough training leads to the desired stress-reducing effects. The effect does not appear to depend on the training content. It is therefore possible that many of the mental approaches examined may be similarly effective in improving dealing with chronic daily stress.

In a previous study, researchers examined the effects of training on dealing with acute stressful situations. Participants were put through a stressful job interview and asked to solve challenging math tasks under observation.

Shown here: Those who completed social-cognitive or socio-emotional training emit up to 51 percent less cortisol than those who did not. In this case, not the amount of cortisol in the hair was measured, but acute cortisol attacks in saliva.

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Overall, the scientists concluded that training can improve handling of particularly acute and stressful social situations and chronic daily stresses.

We hypothesize that different aspects of training are particularly beneficial for these different forms of stress, says Veronica Engert, Head of the Research Group Social Stress and Family Health at MPI CBS.

There are many diseases around the world, including depression, that are directly or indirectly related to long-term stress, Polman says. We have to work to prevent the effects of chronic stress. Our study uses physiological measurements to show that meditation-based training interventions can also reduce general stress levels in healthy people. (Ad)

This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.


important note: This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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Proven to reduce stress through meditation - a healing practice - The Weston Forum

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Guest column: What is meditation and is it good for your health? – Index-Journal

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Meditation is a practice in which an individual focuses his mind on a particular thought, object, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and calm emotional and stable state.

Meditation lowers the heart rate, lowers stress hormones, lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety and depression, reduces pain and improves self-awareness and controlling attention. Meditation is good for your body and your brain and is included in practices like diet and exercise to have overall excellent health based on lifestyle. Long-term benefits include more happiness and peace of mind, greater enjoyment of the present moment and less emotional reactivity with fewer negative emotional and mood swings.

Meditation is easier than you think. A quick taste of meditation can be done by these simple steps:

1) Find a quiet place and sit comfortably with your back relatively straight.

2) Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and relax your body.

3) Choose a word or phrase that has special personal meaning to you.

4) Begin to breathe through your nose and repeat the word or phrase quietly to yourself. An alternative is simply rest your attention on your breath as it comes in and out.

5) Keep the meditation going for five or 10 minutes and then slowly get up and return to your daily routine.

The good part about meditation is the basic practice is quite simple and you dont have to be an expert to receive the benefits.

Meditation practices have spiritual roots, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu and Buddhism. Spiritual meditation practices help obtain higher states of consciousness and ultimately achieve the pinnacle of their particular spiritual paths. Christian meditation is a form of prayer to get in touch with and reflect upon the revelations of God. Christian meditation aims to aid in the personal relationship based on the love of God. The gentle repetition of prayers is a way to move to deeper meditation and open ourselves to Gods word and the Life of Christ.

An excellent aid in meditation is by using an app. I use the app called CALM on my phone and find it helpful. This app encourages you to use a daily calm, which usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes. It welcomes you and encourages you to sit, close you eyes and relax your body and breathe according to instructions. Concentrate on your breaths in and out and keep your attention on this and nothing else. Music or a pleasant sound of nature is used to enhance your focus and attention. It encourages you to focus on how you feel and continue to relax and be peaceful. You are encouraged to have positive thoughts and emotions.

Designing you own practice of meditation is an individual choice and can include many different paths uniquely suited to your needs. You may want to experiment with different forms of meditation and trust your intuition to tell you which ones are best suited for you. Meditation may be done by yourself, with a group or class, or with the internet or app. Motivation, discipline and commitment will help make it a part of daily life. The more you meditate, the more you will receive the benefits, and the more you will want to continue this practice.

Meditation has been labeled advanced technology for the mind and heart. More great reasons to meditate:

1) Awakening the present moment.

2) Making friends with yourself.

3) Connecting deeper with others.

6) Increase gratitude and love.

7) Deeper sense of purpose.

8) Experiencing focus and flow.

9) Feeling more centered and balanced.

10) Enhancing your performance at work and play.

I am trying to make meditation a regular part of my lifestyle like proper diet, exercise, rest, learning and socialization. I believe this practice will make you a healthier and happier person.

Dr. Eichelberger is retired from Greenwood Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Montgomery Family Practice Residency Program. He is is a physician volunteer with Hospice and Palliative Care of the Piedmont. Send comments to: The Doctors Prescription, P.O. Box 36, Ninety Six, SC 29666.

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Guiding Light: The link between meditation and mental health – Free Press Journal

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Mental health is critical. It impacts how we feel, assume and act each day. Our mental fitness also influences decision-making, hassle solving, addressing strain, and connecting to others in our lives. This is why we should usually take care of our mental health. Our mental fitness performs a crucial role each day, encouraging productivity in activities. If you adapt effortlessly to new areas, it means that your mind and heart are wholesome.

Have you ever felt depressed or unhappy? Im certain you all have.

Let me tell you something. It is okay to sense sadness, feeling low, or anger. However, do not permit such feelings to paralyse your capability to grow and live.

This is where the daily practice of meditation can work wonders on your overall well-being. There are numerous meditation practices; however, the foremost force is an experience of relaxation and our internal peace, which may enhance your mental health.

Here are a few things that daily meditation will help you achieve:

Effective communication: Bottling up your emotions can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. However, if you express whats going on in your mind through verbal or written communication, it will automatically lead to your mental peace. Meditation clears up the mind, thus giving us the ability to communicate clearly.

Stay positive: Thanks to meditation, we can look at those things that are the most important. Because it quietens the mind, our focus on life and important matters shifts. It helps us realise that instead of getting stuck in the past and constantly feeling remorse for our mistakes, we can learn from them as they are a part of our lives and teach us a lot.

Practice kindness: It is only when you show kindness towards one another that you will truly blossom. Meditation relaxes the mind, and this wakes us up to the ability to be kind. You will feel a sense of calm in helping others or just by bringing a smile to their face.

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Uncle Ray: David Bolger, Donking Rongavilla and a rich meditation on fathers – The Irish Times

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Uncle Ray: David Bolgers uncle played the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Pavilion Theatre, DnLaoghaire Uncle Ray is a trio for a television set and two dancers, David Bolger and Donking Rongavilla. But it also features the spirits of three deceased men: both dancers fathers and Ray Bolger, the American actor best remembered as the scarecrow in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

Bolger, who also choreographs and directs, reminisces on the world of television in 1970s Ireland. Black-and-white TVs were rented and connected precariously to RTs single channel and HTV, in Wales (if you were on the east coast), usually via a wire coathanger stretched into a diamond.

This monochrome world nightmarish for millennials and Gen Z-ers was emblazoned by the yearly visits of Uncle Ray to Bolgers home through Christmas broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz metaphorically emblazoned, in fact, because the black-and-white screen filtered out MGMs Technicolor glory. But the tall tales and family lore created by Bolgers father, Andy, enrich this childhood and still resonate long into adulthood.

Similarly, it is through television that Rongavilla reflects on his recently deceased father, who, under the stage name Rommel Valdez, was an actor and stuntman in the Philippines. Both dancers lament their fathers, but they are at different stages of that grief: for Bolger it has been 9,843 days, for Rongavilla just 193. At times this is manifested physically, Rongavillas sharp and angular street dance more raw and pained than Bolgers more reflective movements, his soft arms tracing spheres as if embracing the past.

In less than an hour Uncle Ray offers a rich meditation on fathers and father figures. They might create worlds for us as children, but do we believe and accept those stories? Do we choose the imaginative possibilities of a shared surname with an American actor, or cold genealogical facts? Ultimately, the dance suggests ways to reconnect with the past, celebrate its formative magic and grieve those who made it possible. And, like Dorothy following the Yellow Brick Road, to continually search for ways to find home, where everybody loves you.

Runs at the Pavilion Theatre until Saturday, October 9th, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival; it is also available online from Friday, October 15th, until Sunday, October 17th

Uncle Ray moves to the Mac, Belfast, on Wednesday, October 13th, and Thursday, October 14th, as part of Belfast International Arts Festival

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Lucy Neaves compelling meditation on love and its power – Sydney Morning Herald

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FICTION: Believe in Me, Lucy Neave, UQP, $32.99

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, wrote Ludwig Wittgenstein. On the other hand, as Audre Lorde warns, your silence will not protect you. In Believe in Me, Lucy Neave charts a course between these two imperatives, putting the unsaid into words to reflect on the powerful effects of silence. This adroit, elegant novel follows Bet, a young woman living in Sydney in the early 2000s, as she tries to repair decades of miscommunication and reconstruct the story of her mother, Sarah.

Lucy Neaves second novel show how love is sustained over decades Credit:Hilary Wardhaugh

Bet draws on her memories and the fragmented words and images she finds in Sarahs scrapbooks to reveal a dramatic history. Sarah grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, in a devout churchgoing family that shielded her from the sexual revolution of the 1960s. As a teenager, she travelled to Idaho with a missionary. She was sent to Sydney alone after becoming pregnant, staying in a home for unwed mothers, and then raised her daughter as a single mother in Adelaide.

Distance is a fascination of Neaves. Her first novel, Who We Were (shortlisted for ACT Book of the Year in 2013), was also set between America and Australia, and Neave has lived in the US several times, including on a Fulbright grant. The distance between past and present is also a theme. Believe in Mes richest scenes bring to life textured accounts of America and Sydney in the 1970s and Adelaide in the 80s.


Sarahs experiences of predation and neglect, including at the home for unmarried mothers for which Neave drew on research into the Abbotsford Convent, are harrowing. As the book progressively tells the lives of Sarah and her daughter, it shifts between their viewpoints and offers fascinating, detailed scenes as well as lightly sketched fast-forwards through decades.

Believe in Me does not provide the kind of immersion in another time and place of, say, a Kate Morton novel. Published by UQP, known for its literary fiction list, Neaves novel balances storytelling with an explicit intellectual edge, a meta-commentary on the process of imagining. This scaffolding is foregrounded from the beginning, when the reader is told that little is known of Sarah and that Bets memory is unreliable. Like Poppy by Drusilla Modjeska, another mother-daughter story that is also a meditation on biography, the act of trying to understand is as much a focus of the novel as the life story it tells. The conceptual commentary feels somewhat cool, but delivers a satisfying payoff as the ideas in the book come together.

The interplays between silence and words, stasis and action, inner worlds and outer expression run through the novel. Sarah often seems to be a character to whom things are done, rather than one who drives the action. In Neaves hands, this apparent passivity becomes an intriguing trait. Sarahs religiosity means she tries to accept suffering as Gods will, but she also uses passivity strategically, as a form of strength. Neave skilfully creates a character who often refuses to speak or act, but who nonetheless crafts moments of drama, cunning, violence and, ultimately, self-fashioning.

One of the quiet ways both Sarah and Bet express passion is through the care of wounded animals. The novel opens with teenaged Sarah raising an injured fox from the woods outside her home, and Bet becomes a veterinarian (as Neave was for a number of years). This deep, wordless love for animals is a powerful touchstone in the book, a complement to other forms of connection that words cannot express: not only between people, but in how characters relate to themselves.

Believe in Me is a compelling meditation on love and its power to withstand long periods of misunderstanding and disconnection. The broad historical sweep of the novel allows Neave to show how love is sustained over decades. The friends, mothers and daughters in this novel are separated, but find their way back to each other. Imperfect, damaged love endures. As Bet promises, You will be known, Sarah ... I will try to make you known, at least to me.


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2020 in Perspective: List Gallery Offers Reflection, Meditation on Tumultuous Year – The Phoenix – Swarthmore College The Phoenix Online

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Parisa is taking refuge in her home. Its 2020. She is unable to work because of COVID-19 and she cannot afford her rent. She takes a bath twice a day because she is so afraid of COVID-19. At dusk on Dec. 11, 2020 in Ratchaburi, Thailand, a team of researchers catch bats as they fly out of the Khao Chong Pran Cave. The team studied the saliva, excrement, blood, and tissue from the bats, attempting to understand the origins of COVID-19. Brianna Noble, an urban cowgirl, attends a Black Lives Matter movement on horseback on July 26th, 2020. Her strength and values in social justice were magnetic, and she ended up leading the protest. These stories, from photographs entitled In Quarantine by Maryam Saeedpoor, The Virus Hunters by Adam Dean, and Brianna Noble: Urban Cowgirl by Deanne Fitzmauric are not just photos; they are photojournalism, which captures a diverse set of experiences that the public would have otherwise not known of.

The List Gallery, started in 1991 to showcase exhibitions from contemporary artists, in the Lang Center for Performing Arts is currently displaying an exhibit entitled 2020 In Perspective, which includes over 190 images taken during the COVID-19 pandemic by 36 photographers representing nineteen different nationalities. These images act as physical documentation of how people experienced 2020 globally. This exhibit serves as a way to process the year in which race, science, nature came to the forefront and truly tested humanity. The List Gallerys photographs and accompanying website 2020 In Perspective portray primary-source evidence of the year 2020 and how it impacted a diverse population.

Swarthmore Professor Ron Tarver, List Gallery Director Andrea Packard, and Tess Wei, the assistant to the director of the List Gallery and visiting Assistant Professor of Art, selected the award-winning images from the Pictures of the Year international competition. The collection includes photographs displaying how a diverse group of individuals experienced COVID-19. For example, Birthday shows a woman celebrating her 98th birthday surrounded by nurses, having just survived COVID-19. Other images examine racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, the ongoing climate crisis, and everyday people living through a global pandemic. The exhibit is available to Swarthmore students, faculty, and staff members from Sept. 9 to Oct. 19, 2021.

Judging the Picture of the Year contest as Professor Tarver did in the 90s and again in 2020 gives viewers an outlet to discover what photographers focus on, and to create connections based on themes. When asked how the documentary images shaped his understanding of 2020, Professor Tarver discussed how photographers focused on water.

Water seems to be on everybodys mind in all different kinds of ways, you know, pollution or the lack thereof, the challenge of just getting water, Tarver said.

In particular, New Danger to Underwater Life COVID-19 Wastes by ebnem Cokun from the List Gallery raises not only the impending dangers related to water but also COVID-19. The photo depicts a scuba diver in a highly polluted part of the Mediterranean Sea collecting trash, and holding a face mask in hand.

One of the main roles of 2020 In Perspective is to act as a place of reflection and processing for viewers. It encapsulates themes from the entire year, and because of this, acts as an outlet to process the year 2020 as a whole. An image captures a split second that may have otherwise been unnoticed or forgotten in time, but with photography it is possible to reflect on that moment a year after it occurred.

Wei said, [The exhibit] allows us to look in retrospect and try to take in or have a moment and contemplate everything that we either werent aware of or part of.

2020 In Perspective elevates the importance of photojournalism. The photographs in this collection, which deal with difficult situations with compassion and care, came mostly from news publications and articles. Without photojournalists acting as a canary in the coal mine as Tarver described them doing documenting disastrous events alongside first responders this connection and empathy may have otherwise not been fostered.

Because of the List Gallerys position within the college, it is not concerned with selling its artwork, but rather working with students and serving as an educational tool for the community as a whole. As Tess notes, the List Gallery has a certain emphasis on looking, feeling, and learning from work in this space as opposed to other criteria.

Another role of the exhibit is to discover what the photographers valued. One of the goals of the exhibit is to shed light on the perseverance of humanity throughout the years struggles.

There are a few photographs that made particular impacts on Tarver and Packard. For Packard, Eid in Syria by Anas Alkharboutli stood out for its display of persevering humanity and connection through COVID-19 and military destruction. The image displays residents of a destroyed neighborhood (their neighborhood had been destroyed by military operations in Aleppo province) breaking fast together. Packard noted that if this piece had been portrayed as a painting it would have been altered to show more lighting in a particular place to create nuance.

But, Packard noted, This isnt about nuance, this isnt about perfection, and some ideal composition or beauty or color theory. This is reality. So thats what this show is letting us explore: the truth behind these pictures, and the experience and the bravery of the photographers that lets us go places we couldnt otherwise.

Fighting Locust Invasion in East Africa by Luis Tato specifically touched Tarver. This image displays Henry Lenayasa, a Samburu man and chief of the Archers Post settlement, trying to scare off a swarm of locusts next to Archers Post, Samburu County, Kenya on April 24, 2020. This image conveys a humans fight against nature. Henry Lenayasa is fighting a losing battle, according to Tarver. Lenayasa is in the center of the photograph, looking straight ahead, bent over. His raised right hand resembles how Jesuss right hand is often illustrated in portraits.

2020 In Perspective was extended to McCabe Library because there was an abundance of notable photographs that Tarver, Packard, and Wei wanted to display. McCabe offers a more academic setting for the photographs, as well as a more accessible setting for students. At the front of the library, one of the displayed collections includes And In Darkness You Find Colors by Elisabetta Zavoli which includes twenty images, most of them taken at night of her two sons outside. Tarver, Packard, and Wei also selected these photographs from the POY competition. 2020 was the first time photographers were able to digitally alter their photographs in the competition, and Zavolis photos are unique in that they were manipulated. These imaginative photos display a creative, magical innocence, and they were all made with simple materials at home. While it is important to document historical events, Packard argues that these images are also important to view.

She said, Imagination is also real. We live in our heads, why cant that also be captured?

In Professor Tarvers words, the creation of these photographs was just true ingenuity and the voice of wonder, in the midst of this big crisis that the whole world was in, and the pictures were just magical images, but they spoke to the depth of creativity that I think photographers have and just need to get released.

But I think for journalists, they have a different perspective on the world. And so I think they focus on issues that are really difficult. But how do you pull from that humanitarian side, an aspect of the service, the global aspect of the situation, without making the whole thing look like the world is on fire?

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Midnight Mass review: A terrifying meditation on humanity, faith and the afterlife – The Hindu

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Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor) has described Midnight Mass as his most personal work. The unsettling series is an inquiry into the double barrels of faith and addiction both of which Flanagan has struggled with. The setting, a remote island, also draws from Flanagans life as he spent his childhood on a lonely little island.

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The show opens with the arrival of two people to Crockett Island. Riley (Zach Gilford) returns home after serving four years in prison for killing a teenager while driving under the influence. The other arrival is a young priest, Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater), who comes as a temporary replacement for Monsignor Pruitt. The aging parish priest has gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Rileys homecoming is prickly; though his mother Annie (Kristin Lehman) is welcoming, his father Ed (Henry Thomas) is not as forgiving. Having lost his faith in prison, Riley finds it difficult to integrate into deeply Catholic Crockett. Erin (Kate Siegel), who used to date Riley, has also returned to Crockett. She is pregnant and staying in her mothers house and teaching in school like her mum.

Midnight Mass

Rileys teenage brother, Warren (Igby Rigney) like Riley is an altar boy at church. Warren with fellow altar boy, Ooker (Louis Oliver) and Ali (Rahul Abburi), the son of Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) goes to an isolated part of the island to smoke up. That is when they realise something is off with the feral cats and hulking presence.

Bev (Samantha Sloyan) is the overbearing driving force at St Patricks riding roughshod over the more temperate Mayor Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint). Bev bosses everyone around from the handyman Sturge (Matt Biedel) to the sheriff. She is the one who convinces all the townsfolk to agree to a settlement when an oil spill wrecked the coastline and the fishermens livelihood. Meanwhile, the mayors daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone) is wheelchair-bound after a shooting accident at the hands of the town drunk, Joe (Robert Longstreet).

Sarah (Annabeth Gish) is the island doctor caring for her mother Mildred (Alex Essoe), who suffers from dementia. Covering the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, Midnight Mass has used the names of books from the Bible for the episodes, starting with Genesis through Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, Gospels and Acts of The Apostles culminating in Revelation.

Midnight Mass is at its strongest as it meditates on humanity, faith and the afterlife. Sheriff Hasans reasons for coming to the island, Erins coming to terms with her loss, Rileys meditation on mortality, Bevs scary conviction of being right and everyone else being wrong, Eds resentment for his son, and Joes refusal to forgive himself all create characters we care for intimately. The sonorous hymns including Abide with Me (a personal favourite) add texture to these lives lived in quiet desperation.

A lovely-looking and deeply-unsettling show, Midnight Mass draws you in gently and keeps you in a devilish vice. It is towards the end when all is revealed that the show loses its punch moving from disturbing and humanist to a splatter fest. All the cast members are great with Linklater and Sloyan zooming to the top of the class. Linklaters Father Paul sheds three skins revealing a distinct character under each one while Sloyan has nailed zealous Bev perfectly.

If you can forgive the incredibly talky bits (they are admittedly well-written), the distortion of comforting prayers (you will not be calling on the angel of god, guardian dear anytime soon) and the rather silly conclusion, Midnight Mass asks many disruptive questions that would stay with you much after the fire and brimstone ending.

Midnight Mass is currently streaming on Netflix

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Midnight Mass review: A terrifying meditation on humanity, faith and the afterlife - The Hindu

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October 10th, 2021 at 1:52 am

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Jillian Lavender, the meditation guru who helps high-flyers stay calm – The Times

Posted: July 14, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Jillian Lavender teaches celebrities, frazzled financiers and sleepless CEOs her stress-busting techniques, charging up to 2,000 for her time. She tells Bridget Harrison how to tackle anxiety

Jillian Lavender


Friday July 09 2021, 5.00pm, The Times

She wears tailored suits, speaks in no-nonsense Antipodean tones and was formerly an executive for a global publishing company. Meet Jillian Lavender, the go-to meditation teacher for hedge funders, top lawyers and chief executives, who sign up to her classes in London and New York, each paying up to 2,000 for her time.

These high-flyers turn to her to tackle stress, anxiety, insomnia and migraines. Brown rice and sandals this is not, Lavender says. A lot of people come to me because they want to stay at the top of their game but find coping with that pressure unsustainable eventually.

Among the thousands of pupils she has taught to meditate over the past decade are the actress Sienna Miller and the wellness expert Jasmine Hemsley.

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Jillian Lavender, the meditation guru who helps high-flyers stay calm - The Times

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July 14th, 2021 at 1:55 am

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Lifeblood out of balance: Serious Play returns to the stage with a meditation on climate change and water – GazetteNET

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Water is the lifeblood of the planet but in its salty form, it can also be a threat. Even as drought cripples the U.S. West and other parts of the world, rising oceans are lapping at the shores of coastal communities and islands, increasingly exposing natural ecosystems and built-up environments to flooding, storm surges and erosion.

For over two years, the Northampton theatrical ensemble Serious Play has been developing a multi-dimensional production that grapples with the threats climate change poses to water on different levels, and with it life on the planet as well as what Director Sheryl Stoodley calls our own relationships with water.

Now, after the pandemic wiped out any chance for live performances last year, Moving Water is set for a live debut July 22-25 at the Northampton Arts Trust building at 33 Hawley St., and an online screening July 30-Aug. 1. Using sound and music, movement, drama, video, a rain shower tool and rolling scaffolding, its the most ambitious production Serious Play has ever mounted, Stoodley says.

The technical stuff can make me crazy, she said with a laugh during a recent phone interview. But given everything were seeing today with drought, melting glaciersand rising seas, [the production] certainly seems timely.

And though the pandemic has delayed the presentation of Moving Water, Stoodley noted, its also helped foster a collaborative effort with other arts organizations to get the show to the finish line. Moving Water is being co-produced by the Ko Festival, the long-running summer theater festival at Amherst College which this year is offering virtual workshops and performances.

In addition, Northampton Open Media will record the live performances of Moving Water, then edit and caption them for online viewing July 30 through Aug. 1. Those presentations will also include real-time, post-show discussions with the Serious Play ensemble and guest experts; audience members can ask questions via Vimeos chat function.

Im so grateful for the support the Ko Festival and Northampton Open Media have shown us, and for the way art organizations in general have kind of pooled their efforts during this really tough time, Stoodley said. She hopes the videotaped performance can also be used as calling card for finding other venues for Moving Water.

In addition, Ko Festival Artistic Director and Co-Founder Sabrina Hamilton is handling the lighting for Moving Water.

Aside from delaying the plays debut, COVID-19 also took a toll on the cast of Moving Water, which Serious Play members first began researching in 2018. The ensemble held a couple of live workshops in 2019 to showcase parts of the production, but a few initial members of the cast had to drop out during the pandemic for economic reasons,Stoodley said.

Now the story, by playwright Eric Henry Sanders, focuses on three characters, while the pandemic, or an unnamed one, forms a backdrop to the narrative.

In an aging apartment building in acoastal U.S. city, three residents are thrown together amid debate about climate change and a shortage of fresh water. Sergei (Kermit Dunkelberg), the buildings superintendentand a refugee from the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdownin Ukraine, discovers another resident and friend, Pakistani immigrant Zara, is missing. Two other residents, Luna (Ximena Salmern) and Drew (Will Swyers), join the search for Zara.

But there are complications galore. Zara had been working with Sergei, an older man whos been creating da Vinci-like experiments, as Stoodley puts it, to try and save the building from impending flooding. Meantime, Drew, the building owners son, dismisses climate change and is determined to maintain the status quo. And Luna, an oceanographic student from Mexico, may have very different ideas altogether on how to address water problems.

Luna represents the next generation and how they might approach these issues, Stoodleysaid. Im not sure our generation has the answers. Thats one of the questions [the production] asks: Are there other things we should be considering besides science and technology?

To tell this story on multiple levels, the stage will be backed by a screen on which Robin Doty, Stoodleys husband, will project a number of videos he has designed (including an image of Dunkelberg, wearing a snorkel and mask, walking down a street in a coastal New Jersey town that was underwater during Hurricane Sandy in 2012).

Jonny Rodgers, a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Oregon, has created the soundtrack for the production, a combination of electronic music and sounds from tuned wine glasses, also known as the glass harp. Rodgers will play the latter live at the show, Stoodley says, after working with Serious Play both live and virtually over the last few years.

The production also includes a water tank, and characters will get rained on during the performance. Rolling scaffolding represents the structure of the apartment building. The ensemble will also make use of Playtronica, a new electronic sound sensor technology that can make sound emanate from human skin or inanimate objects.

There are a lot of moving parts to this production, Stoodley noted with a laugh.

Moving Water will be staged in the Arts Trusts large, unfinished space (about 3,400 square feet), which provides lots of roomfor maneuvering but also poses additional challenges, such as rigging special lights for the play, as regular lighting is not yet part of the space.

Stoodley says the play is designed to be a really immersive experience, as its based on company members research and their own personal histories and memories of being in contact with water. That research, she notes, involved talking to and reading accounts of people who grew up in areas of chronic water scarcity.

Its really about the beauty and terror of water, she said. Water is a gathering point for the story but we didnt want to do make this just a story of disaster. We wanted it to be about empathy and about finding ways of coming together to try and deal with a crisis.

Tickets for the live performances of Moving Water, which take place July 22-24 at 8 p.m. and July 25 at 4 p.m., must be purchased in advance no walk-in sales will be available at Seating will be limited to 50 people per show.

Tickets for the online version of the play, at 8 p.m. on July 30-31 and 4 p.m. on Aug. 1, can also be purchased at Tickets for both versions of the production range from $32 (patron price), $22 (discounted price), and $10 for those with SNAP/EBT cards, on unemployment or with income affected by COVID-19.

More information is available at

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at


Lifeblood out of balance: Serious Play returns to the stage with a meditation on climate change and water - GazetteNET

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July 14th, 2021 at 1:55 am

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