In a very human photography project, Richard Renaldi–the last name makes me think Princess Diaries–asks strangers to pose together as if they were lovers, friends, or family. Afterwards, the video captures a few of the participants’ responses. The short video (2:34) is a great look at the barriers between us and our common humanity.
Not only a remarkable story, Jill Bolte Taylor’s story beautifully captures the dichotomy we know all too well: the rational self versus the spiritual part of a whole. As a neuroscientist, Jill uses her experience of having a stroke to illustrate the powerful differences between our left and right hemispheres. Our left controls our understanding of time, language, planning, and ourselves. Our right includes our senses, our feelings, and our spirituality.
-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Make the Money” from The Heist
I love Macklemore. I love the music. I love the message. I love the honesty. And now I love the blog. While describing the last year, Macklemore touches on gratitude, authenticity, vulnerability, hard work, persistence, and more. In other words, the post is a chronicle of heart work becoming art work.
“We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down — other than our brains.”
My friend’s blog post (Kevin Breel: Confessions of a Depressed Comic) brought this video to my attention. I love it first because Kevin eloquently explains depression. For those who have not experienced it or intimately accompanied a loved one through it, depression is often misunderstood. What I love in addition to this is how forcefully Kevin connects this misunderstanding to our societal stigmas. To the marginalization of those who suffer from depression. To the prejudice we attach to mental health issues but not to physical health issues.
In this article from Slate.com, Jillian Keenan examines how giving money to child beggars fuels a cycle of poverty and violence. It’s a great read for any traveler. And, I think especially poignant for those who have seen Slumdog Millionaire.
I also want to spread information like this that illuminates the need to consider carefully the actions we take. Good intentions only go so far. Investigative journalism, scientific research, and thorough analysis all work to make our world a better place. To reference Schoolhouse Rock, it’s great to learn, because knowledge is power. In this case, it’s the power to make informed choices and affect meaningful change.
As a firm believer in peace and education, I was instantly captivated by Malala Yousafzai. Her clear message of peace, equality, non-violence, and education is all the more remarkable because of her young age. If you haven’t heard her speak, I highly recommend her Daily Show appearance. I think it’s clear she is deserving of the attention she has garnered.
After falling in love with what Malala has to say, I also recommend considering this article detailing the dangers of making her an “exceptional” person. Exceptionalism at first brush sounds benign. However, implicit in the word “exceptional” is the idea of being an exception or an anomaly. Malala is not an anomaly. She is not a solitary voice of reason in an otherwise violent culture. She is in fact the norm. Though more visible to the Western world, Malala is by no means the only girl, the only young person, the only Muslim, nor the only Pakastani to be speaking out against inequality and violence. This is to say that rather than being exceptional, Malala may better be seen as representative, and perhaps even moreso as what she is: a human with a beautiful message.
Malala on The Daily Show (my favorite part starts at 3:45) video
If it’s not broke don’t fix it. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep it either.
Having struggled with good-but-not-great, I love Marie’s newest video. Not only does she talk what keeps people in the good zone (comfort and other people’s expectations), she also recognizes how hard it can be to leave something good for something great. While I am not advocating for the pursuit of perfection (that’s another can of worms), I think the distinct between good and great is equally as important as separating doing one’s best and being the best.
For more on going from good to great, check out Marie’s video here