Changing Your Mind
Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for negative capability.
We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates.
We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
The Beautiful Project
Beautiful Project is a movement that is transforming the lives of young women across the globe by empowering them to love themselves and speak their truths.
Beautiful Project is a movement dedicated to building self-confidence in adolescent girls and young women.
What We Do
Mentors work one-on-one with participants in continually deepening relationships centered on trust and mutual respect to support positive self-image and personal growth.
We work with educators and mentors in a wide variety of contexts to support healthy engagement with young women, particularly through understanding and awareness of the specific issues that disproportionately affect adolescent girls.
Participants engage in discussions about relevant issues in the context of small groups. Work also includes learning crafts and creative writing as media for self-expression and shared experiences. Young women and girls participating in the project are generally between 11 and 30 years old, divided into peer groups by age. The topics this curriculum covers include, but are not limited to the following:
• adolescence and hormonal changes
• women in the media
• body image
• eating disorders
• meanness and competition
• healthy relationships
• peer pressure
• drugs and alcohol
• sex and sexuality
• women’s health and STDs
• historical representations of women/women of color
Join the Beautiful Project 💟
In Maya Lin’s Library
In My library: Maya Lin
In 1981, Maya Lin was a 21-year-old Yale student when she won a public design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Her conception — a black stone wall carved with the names of more than 57,000 fallen soldiers — suggests that their loss wounded the earth itself. “The common thread that runs through all of my work is the love and respect I have for the natural world,” the mother of two writes in “Maya Lin: Topologies,” a monograph covering more than 30 years of her art and architecture. Here are four books that have become part of the brick and mortar of her life.
In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki
I read this when I was studying architecture. It talks about the nuanced beauty hidden in spaces that are not much seen in bright daylight. It also talks about how, in Japanese culture, there’s beauty to be found in everyday, in often overlooked objects and how things of humble origin can [yield] aesthetic delight.
Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler
Robert Irwin is a conceptual artist who often uses our perception of subtle differences in light to create paintings, installations and sculptures that play with our ability to experience subtle edges of visual experiences. Weschler’s book [shows] the way in which art can bring you to a point of pure empathetic connection.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
A beautiful wander in which Solnit describes the many ways in which one can lose oneself — and in so doing begin to find something you may not know about the world and yourself. The nature of experience should require the art of letting go to find part of yourself you do not know.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
This is about the current mass species extinction this planet is experiencing. Since I’m so focused on this subject as part of my last memorial, What Is Missing?, I found Kolbert’s book a brilliant and moving account both of the nature of extinction and firsthand, specific accounts by scientists about this worldwide biodiversity crisis.
From a piece by Barbara Hoffman : http://nypost.com/2016/04/03/in-my-library-maya-lin/
Code Girl is a movie not to be missed! Join high school-aged girls from around the world as they try to better their community through technology and collaboration in this thrilling, heartfelt documentary.
By 2017, the app market will be valued at $77 Billion. Over 80% of these developers are male. The Technovation Challenge aims to change that by empowering girls worldwide to develop apps for an international competition. From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, CODEGIRL follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry. The winning team gets $10K to complete and release their app, but every girl discovers something valuable along the way.
A Note from Shiva Rose:
How nature reminds us that everything has it’s correct timing. Sometimes we want to rush certain areas in our lives, but then we have to look at the way the natural world is in rhythm with seasons and this is a good way for us to be as well. Also, to constantly remind ourselves that gratitude is the key to happiness. I know days when I start to feel the ‘lack’ in my life, as soon as I start to see the benefits instead, I begin to feel unlimited happiness in where I am. Clouds begin to lift as soon as I start to see the beauty around me. Even if you don’t feel it, start to look for gifts around you, like stepping stones. Like a muscle that needs to be worked out so does our ‘happiness’ factor. ~Shiva Rose, September 2015
I am grateful for…
Life can be challenging at times, for all of us. Sometimes it helps to remind ourselves of all the things to be thankful for in our daily lives.
Walk My Own Way
This poem was written by Leelee Malezan, 12 years old:
Be In the Moment
My name is Sage. I am 15 years old, and first received an iPhone of my own at the age of 13.
After two years of having the iPhone heavily impact my view on myself and my surroundings, I decided to leave it behind, and recently traded my iPhone in for a regular Pantech.
I had been so caught up in Instagram, Snapchat, and random videos on YouTube that I didn’t realize how the little phone in my hand had slowly turned into the huge monkey on my back.
Even after less than a month of being completely off my iPhone, I started to see not only my mental, but serious physical and emotional patterns change.
Yes, the iPhone did make useful and even fun activities accessible in the palm of my hand, but it also changed who I was.
When I got my first iPhone, I was ecstatic. I was just about to graduate the seventh grade, and was ready to take on life as an “adult.” My parents, who had finally warmed up to the idea after my constant begging for years, didn’t realize their mistake until they started to see me change so completely.
It only took me a couple of months with the iPhone to lose touch with nature, gain an attitude, and start to loathe myself. I would spend time admiring others’ lives, wishing I could look like someone else, or be like those “other” girls. I stopped appreciating who I was and became negative and cynical, always comparing my life to others.
Even though social media is meant to make friends, it did quite opposite. Rather than making real interactions and plans with peers, it turned me into more of an introvert, spending more time with friends online than in person. Even if I went out and saw some of my friends, we would all sit next to each other, faces blankly staring at screens. I cannot blame the iPhone for making me download these certain social apps, but as a teen, the pressure from society and fellow peers to be accepted completely shattered any willpower I had.
These apps had become almost like a drug to me, and I was addicted purely to the thought of fitting in, which is basically the whole concept that social media projects.
Of course I have to appreciate what the technology of the iPhone has done for me, but I also had to realize what kind of person it was encouraging me to be. I spent so much time wanting what I didn’t have rather than appreciating the amazing things I did. My mom asked, almost pleaded for me to leave the iPhone behind since basically the beginning, but I had become attached to it, refusing to admit what negativity it had created in my life. Even six months ago, I would’ve never imagined the thought of life without an iPhone.
It took becoming seriously depressed and completely isolating myself from my family and close friends to realize what owning an iPhone had done to me.
After only a few months of being iPhone free, I have done amazing (and real) activities with friends, picked up an instrument, and re-bonded with my fellow family members. I’ve stopped arguing constantly with my mom, who I dearly love, and most of all began to actually explore who I am. Not just writing an Instagram bio for myself, but actually creating memories that will truly shape my identity.
I feel not only more accomplished, but more appreciative of who I am, rather than hating myself because I’m not model skinny or don’t go to huge spectacular parties every weekend. I’ve used the energy I spent moping over what I could look like or what I could be doing, to actually start doing things with my life, like making the damn best muffin recipe I’ve ever tasted.
I stopped wishing, hypothesizing and wanting, and began living, doing and being.
There’s nothing more important than being in the moment, and it’s good to be back in my own moment, rather than spending time wishing I were in others.
Author: Sage Nuessle
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Michele Ursino/Flickr
What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?
Recently, I interviewed Emily about what she would tell her younger self. Thank you Emily for sharing with the LOLA tribe!
What would you tell your younger self?
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
LOLA Girl in the News: Lupita Nyong’o
More than 10,000 women attended the 10th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston on Thursday. The keynote speakers included former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, and entrepreneurs Tory Burch and John Jacobs (cofounder of Life Is Good with his brother Bert Jacobs).
Though Clinton’s speech was the grand finale, Nyong’o charmed the audience by recounting the emotional ups and downs of her career, leading up to her 2013 feature debut in 12 Years a Slave. The first step was realizing she wanted to be an actress–despite the long odds of finding enduring work in the profession. “Without the possibility of being bad at something, you will never be extraordinary,” she told the crowd.
At the Yale School of Drama, she learned to grow comfortable with failure. “It allows you to embrace vulnerability and surprise yourself,” she said. On the set of 12 Years a Slave, she admitted she was nervous throughout the filming. It was her first feature and her fear of failure on the big stage was palpable. “It doesn’t ever get comfortable. But it does get familiar,” she concluded.
In addition, she mentioned two books which had been especially helpful to her career journey. They were:
2. Map 4 Life by Glen Allen McQuirk.
Nyong’o is also a believer in the basic act of writing down your ambitions. If you were in her shoes, you’d believe in it too. On May 4, 2012, she told the crowd, she wrote down the goal of making films that affect change. Nine days later, she got the part in 12 Years a Slave.
Of course, her fulfilment of the ambition was more than nine days in the making. It really began years earlier, with her initial decision to become an actress. She cried when she initially made that decision, and cried again in recounting the moment to the crowd, saying, “I wept just as I am now, because it was so hard to admit that I wanted to be something so improbable.”
Spreading Sunshine All Over The Place
Chances are you could be happier — and it would probably be worth your while, as research shows that happiness breeds health, money, stronger relationships, better marriages and more. But who has time to cultivate joy when there is so much to worry about?
The good news, according to growing evidence, is that there are plenty of small steps you can take to boost well-being in significant ways. “Everyone wants to be happy, and, for the first time, we know what dials to turn to make that happen,” says psychologist Les Parrott, coauthor (with his wife, Leslie) of “Making Happy: The Art and Science of a Happy Marriage.” A commitment to happiness, in other words, doesn’t have to stress you out. For eight minutes a day, forget about global warming and your growing to-do list and try these activities instead.
Practicing gratitude as little as once a week for up to 12 weeks increases happiness by as much as 25%, according to many studies, and participants remain happier for up to six months after experiments end. Just concentrating on what’s good in your life increases positive feelings, studies show, but keeping a gratitude journal may be more effective. Find a time that works for you and write down a few things you appreciate, from the latte a co-worker delivered to the support a sibling has offered over the years. Gratitude letters are another tested strategy. Write down why you appreciate a favorite elementary school teacher or a beloved grandparent. For the biggest boost, deliver the letters in person. “That’s very powerful,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a happiness researcher at UC Riverside and author of “The How of Happiness.” “It reconnects you to that person and makes you think about how your successes are not just due to you. You’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Imagine how you’d like your life to look in a few years: home, work, friends, relationships. Once you’ve identified your goals, you can make choices based on them. “If it’s the end of the day and you’re tired and don’t feel like working out, but you thought recently about how you want to be a famous dancer, you’ll do it anyway because you have that goal in mind,” says Acacia Parks, a psychologist at Hiram College in Ohio and scientific advisor to Happify, a research-based app that uses activities and games to increase happiness.
Dreaming combines optimism and control, two major ingredients in happiness, Les Parrott adds. “Looking at the future and planning something exciting fills people with hope, and hope engenders joy,” he says.
Every year in their Introduction to Psychology course at Seattle Pacific University, the Parrotts assign half of their 200 undergraduate students to do something indulgent for an afternoon. The others do something helpful with the same time slot, like pick up trash on campus or volunteer at a senior center. At the end of the day, the students who practice generosity score higher on happiness scales than those who watch movies or treat themselves to a good meal. Doing good gives people a sense of purpose and enhances the feeling that their lives have meaning, and that makes them feel good. Studies also show that doing five kind acts a day — above and beyond what you normally do — boosts well-being, as does spending just $5 on someone else.
Instead of wolfing down your lunch, consider the flavors and textures of your food. Instead of worrying about running late, appreciate the colors of the sunset and the smell of the evening air. A large body of research, including a major meta-analysis of mindfulness meditation studies published earlier this year, shows that being present in the moment can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, pain and depression. When Parks taught a class on positive psychology, she took her students to a hot-chocolate café in Philadelphia. They sat around their cups of steaming, extra-rich cocoa and discussed details like the interplay between the cool whipped cream and the warm liquid. “It was the best thing we ever tasted because we stopped to savor it,” she says. “We could really break away from whatever we were worrying about because we were focused on what we were doing.”
Social media can bring you down, especially if you start comparing your own life with the selectively glowing posts broadcast by friends. But there’s a way to reclaim happiness both online and off, science suggests: Regularly celebrate the successes of others. Research with married couples shows that when partners respond to positive news with excitement and encouragement, relationships grow stronger and partners become happier. The same can be true for friendships. “If someone tells me they won an award, I go out of my way to remind them of all the ways that achievement is awesome,” Parks says. “Maybe we go out to dinner and I tell the waiter about the award and invite friends. That’s savoring at the social level, and a lot of research suggests that this type of behavior makes relationships closer.”
Source: Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/health/mentalhealth/la-he-happy-20141101-story.html
School of Doodle
Welcome to the free high school online, The School of Doodle, which empowers young women to be creative!
Doodle debuted one month ago with the goal of earning $75,000. But because the campaign was so killer—with major A-list support (Yoko Ono! Alice Waters! Cat Power!) and one seriously cool website—they far exceeded that, racking up a super impressive $107,129 to date.
In the days following the project’s announcement on Kickstarter, money and support poured in (which just goes to show how much of a need there is for this type of thing). Molly says the response has been humbling and amazing. Celebs like Yoko Ono, Ariana Huffington, and the women of Pussy Riot almost immediately got on board. “They’re modern-day superheros,” Molly gushes. “When I kept getting ‘yes’ and didn’t get a single ‘no,’ that’s when I realized how incredible it was.”
Kids Who Are Changing the World
What Will Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Mean For Girls’ Education?
Where are we in the effort to educate the world’s children?
Thanks to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and their emphasis on young children’s rights, there’s been a lot of progress around access to primary education for young children from 6 to 12. The global picture is quite encouraging.
But though there have been big strides in access, there are many questions about quality.
The extent of regular attendance to school is still contested. Also, there is evidence coming out of South Asia, among other places, that just being in school doesn’t deliver literacy, numeracy and the ability to think critically.
Secondly, there is real concern, and I think Malala’s case pinpoints this problem, about secondary education.
Primary education in this day and age is not adequate. In the global economy, you need much more. You don’t just need literacy and numeracy. The emphasis on secondary education has been quite lacking.
In India, for example, access to secondary education is grossly maldistributed. Less than 20 percent of rural girls in India make it to secondary school, and only 6 percent move on to college. Both [secondary school and college] are increasingly critical to get jobs in this skill-based global economy.
There are huge differences dictated by where you live, your caste and your gender. The picture in India is replicated for sure in Pakistan and much of sub-Saharan Africa.
It’s quite clear that secondary education remains a huge black spot in terms of social and economic rights advances.
To read more:
Strike A Winning Pose
Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.
What Do I Desire?
A wonderful comic strip of Alan Watts’ lecture: What If Money Was No Object?
The real secret of long life
Are you interested in adding years to your life? One of the best ways is by having a sense of purpose. “Finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” said Carleton University psychology professor Patrick Hill
What is your mission? Do you have a sense of purpose?
Resource: The Week
Giving is Getting
Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist monk, philosopher and author, likes to remind his readers that the only reliable source of well-being is not what we do for our own pleasure but what we do to make those around us happy. After all, each and every one of us has the innate capacity to reach out to others, even if our motivation is selfish, because making others happy makes us feel good about ourselves.
At Vancouver University in Canada, researcher Elizabeth Dunn gave small sums of money to two groups of students. Members of the first group were told to spend on themselves, paying bills or buying something. Members of the second were to use it for buying gifts or making charitable donations. When the groups came back at the end of their day out, the researchers wrote in the weekly journal Science, the individuals who bought themselves clothes or electronic gadgets had experienced a moment of pleasure but gained no lasting satisfaction. Those in the other group, however, having used their money to make others happy, came back beaming with pleasure.
The next time we’re feeling a bit down, we’d be better off helping someone close to us rather than shopping or tucking into a tub of ice cream. What if we all adopted this model of happiness-through-altruism? It could only brighten the state of the planet.
Adapted from a piece written by David Servan-Schreiber for ODE magazine.
My Life… is about knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.-Gilda Radner
Food For Thought
Author Amy Bloom shares her thoughts about lying: Lying by omission or commission, is a bad idea. I cannot shake my dependency on the white lie, because I was brought up to be nice. And I’ve never figured out the nice way to say, “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than come to your house for dinner.” But the meaningful lie, the kind that involves being untruthful or deceitful about important stuff to those you love, is like poison. Telling the truth hurts, but it doesn’t kill. Lying kills love.
Stumbling Into Happiness
“One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world’s end somewhere, and hold fast to the days…” -WILLA CATHER
Surround Yourself with Love
One of the easiest and nicest gifts you can give to yourself is surrounding yourself with loving and kind people whenever possible.
In our everyday life we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of the people we deal with on a daily basis are a joy to be with, and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others may have the opposite effect, draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted. Our well-being can be easily influenced by those around us, and if we can keep this in mind, we will have greater insights into the quality of our social interactions and their energetic effect on us.
Once we think more deeply about the people we interact with, it becomes easier for us to work toward filling our lives with people who help us cultivate healthy and positive relationships. Even though it might not always seem like we have much control over who we are with, we do. The power to step back from toxicity lies within us. All we have to do is take a few moments to reflect on how another person makes you feel. Assessing the people we spend the most time with allows us to see if they add something constructive to, or subtract from, our lives. Should a friend sap our strength, for example, we can simply set the intention to tell them how we feel or simply spend less time with them. We will find that the moment we are honest with ourselves about our own feelings, the more candid we can be with others about how they make us feel. While this may involve some drastic changes to our social life it can bring about a personal transformation that will truly empower us, since !
the decision to live our truth will infuse our lives with greater happiness.
When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and create more room to welcome nurturing energy. Doing this not only enriches our lives but also envelopes us in a supportive and healing space that fosters greater growth, understanding, and love of ourselves as well as those we care about.
Brought to you by by Madisyn Taylor
Ordinary women doing extraordinary things!
In 2009, Filmmakers Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook started a production company called Heartfelt Productions to create content that inspired and uplifted women. Their first feature film, The Empowerment Project, is about encouraging women to go after their career ambitions — whatever those may be. When Sarah was asked what she felt was the most significant obstacle for most girls and women in this regard she replied:
“Confidence is everything. Women need to know how valuable they are and how valuable their point of view is in any field in order for us to inch toward gender parity in the workforce. It sounds simple, and of course there are so many external factors that play in to the way things are, but I think that would be a huge step in the right direction.”
Happiness isn’t being cheerful all the time; it’s being interested in things–finding out more about something, learning how to appreciate something better, incorporating something new that fits with what you already have.– John Sharp, psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School
click to find out more about the Happy Project.ph: Brad Wrobleski
Being true to yourself may not mean having a LOT of friends, but it will lead you to the RIGHT friends. It’s better to be alone than in company that tears you down, and even better to find a small group of friends with a large degree of mutual respect. Choose great depth over being in great demand. Opt for authenticity and intimacy over popularity.
Wonderful to see so many lovely images of independent women at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in NYC, showing the work of Hassan Hajjaj: Kesh Angels
Today, be grateful. Be grateful for your favorite music, for movies that make you feel good, for your phone that connects you with people, for your computer, and for the electricity that lights up your life. Be grateful for air travel that flies you everywhere. Be grateful for the roads and traffic lights that keep the traffic in order. Be grateful to those who built our bridges. Be grateful for your pet, for your child, for your loved ones, for your eyes that enable you to read this. Be grateful for your imagination. Be grateful that you can think. Be grateful that you can speak. Be grateful that you can laugh and smile. Be grateful that you can breathe. Be grateful that you are alive! Be grateful that you are You!
Be grateful that there are two words that can change your life.
“I’d felt like there wasn’t a publication for teenagers that was respected. Or that I, myself, or my friends could really relate to,” Gevinson says. “One thing I’m very proud of is that Rookie has a lot of legitimacy in publishing and music journalism and fashion. As it’s grown, the goal has become more to make people feel included, that they’re cool enough or smart enough.”
read more about Tavi Gevinson, here.
“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because
by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.” – The Dalai Lama
the power of forgiveness
Ever proudly call yourself a dreamer? An “ideas person?” A planner?
Excellent, we love those wonderful qualities! However unless you
kick your beautiful butt into action, all the dreams and plans in
the world won’t come to fruition.
Achieving success with anything requires two steps:
1. Conceptualize your dream or plan.
2. Take action!
To take action you must now what you are taking action towards,
and then the steps required to get there. If you struggle with taking
action, here are some simple tips to help you get started.
1. Get enthusiastic – If you aren’t excited to reach the goal the
action will brig you to, then naturally you won’t want to put the
effort in to take action. Be certain the goal is what you want and
tweak it until you feel really enthusiastic.
2. Start small – There’s a reason why “biting off more than you
can chew” leads to crumbs falling out of your mouth or indigestion
as you swallow too much at once. You overwhelm yourself and rather
than achieving your goal quickly, you give up or break down before
reaching it. Instead, take small steps that feel progressive but
3. Establish a support system – Taking action is far easier and
more enjoyable when you have the guidance and mentorship of people
who have already achieved what you wish to. Seek out mentors who
can guide and support you to reach your goals.
These tips can be applied to any area of your life you wish to change
or improve. Dream and plan it, then take action immediately.
The bonus reward: you’ll feel great about yourself for doing so!