A Night at the Library – A Celebration on Local Authors

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Presented by Friends of the Coronado Library

A CELEBRATION OF LOCAL AUTHORS

On February 6, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Friends of the Coronado Public Library will present a fun and social evening with authors of Coronado at the annual fundraiser. We invite you to meet and mingle with our local authors, who have gathered for the first time ever to meet YOU! Tickets are $50.00 per person and include hosted food, wine and beer, as well as a $10.00 certificate to Second Hand Prose, the Friends’ Gently Used Book Store.

Click here to see more details!

Learn more about Author George Galdorisi

 

Mind-Body Balance

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Most of us are either crunching away on our New Year’s resolutions or have abandoned some, most or all of them. Most of the time we set the bar high – sometimes impossibly high.

 

The one resolution many of us do manage to stick with for a while is healthy eating. With so much information out there on nutrition, many of us finally “get it” and up our game and eat better. And we are all better for it. And combined with that, many of us are using our gym memberships too. So we are on a journey for healthy bodies. But are we ignoring our minds?

Here is some advice I found extremely useful:

Pico Iyer was an externalist — a person who’ll exercise great care over what he puts into his body and never think about what he puts into his mind. Who will dwell at length on everything he can see, in order to distract himself from the fact that it’s everything he can’t see on which his well-being depends. Who will fill his head with so much junk that he can’t remember that wolfing down Buffalo wings is not the problem, but a symptom.

An externalist makes a point — even a habit — of cherishing means over ends, effects over causes and everything that fills him up over everything that truly sustains him. He interprets health in terms of his body weight, wealth in terms of his bank account and success in terms of his business card. He’ll go to the health club, and never think of the mental health club, like someone who imagines the only arteries to be unclogged are the ones that course with blood. Pico has more to say on this – and it’s enriching.

Read more here.

 

She’s Smart, She Has Personality. Who Wins?

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Self-control, curiosity, “grit” — these qualities may seem more personal than academic, but at some schools, they’re now part of the regular curriculum. Some researchers say personality could be even more important than intelligence when it comes to students’ success in school. But critics worry that the increasing focus on qualities like grit will distract policy makers from problems with schools.

If you have no interest in classical music or no interest in starting your business I doubt that you will be very gritty or display a lot of passion and perseverance. But personality assessment could help people find areas where they might be more likely to persevere — it could teach people what they’re naturally like, so they can make better choices. And rather than changing their personalities completely, people might simply learn behaviors to help them better deal with their existing traits. For instance if I know that I’m generally an introverted person and I don’t enjoy social events, I can teach myself four or five simple strategies to relate to other people.

Still on the fence? Read more here:

http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/10/should-schools-teach-personality/

 

Teamwork!

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Nowadays, though we may still idolize the charismatic leader or creative genius, almost every decision of consequence is made by a group. And groups of smart people can make horrible decisions — or great ones. Indeed, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

Read more here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/opinion/sunday/why-some-teams-are-smarter-than-others.html

Need More Time?

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Do you have a New Year’s resolution to have more time for yourself – time to do the things you really love doing? Here’s how to keep it – the easy way.

Checking email less often may reduce stress in part by cutting down on the need to switch between tasks. An unfortunate limitation of the human mind is that it cannot perform two demanding tasks simultaneously, so flipping back and forth between two different tasks saps cognitive resources. As a result, people can become less efficient in each of the tasks they need to accomplish. In addition to providing an unending source of new tasks for our to-do lists, email could also be making us less efficient at accomplishing those tasks.

Taste freedom – leave your e-mail alone!

Read more here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/opinion/sunday/stop-checking-email-so-often.html

New Year! – New Mission?

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Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the year. Some of them are very specific. But it might be worth taking a “strategic pause” and do something business does so well – come up with a mission statement – a personal mission statement that defines why you want to do the things you’ll promise yourself you’ll do. It just might be the key that unlocks a brighter future.

Said another way, forget the New Year’s resolution. This year, try creating a personal mission statement instead.

”To get started on your personal mission statement, ask yourself the following questions used by the Corporate Athlete program:

  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • How do you want people to describe you?
  • Who do you want to be?
  • Who or what matters most to you?
  • What are your deepest values?
  • How would you define success in your life?
  • What makes your life really worth living?

Use your answers to craft a personal mission statement that reveals your ultimate purpose in life. Rather than listing a behavioral change, focus on a set of guiding principles that capture how you want to live your life. Some examples of mission statements from the Corporate Athlete program include:

“I plan to spend more time doing things that I like to do.”
“I want to become more physically active and try new hobbies.”
“My mission is to incorporate a healthy balance of work and personal time.”
“I aspire to transform negative work-related situations and put energy into relationships with family and friends.”

Read more here.

Have Enough?

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Read anything that made you think lately? I mean really think? For me, it was Arthur Brooks’ thoughtful piece called Abundance Without Attachment. I wanted to share it with you. Here is part of what he shared:

On a recent trip to India, I found an opportunity to help sort out this contradiction. I sought guidance from a penniless Hindu swami named Gnanmunidas at the Swaminarayan Akshardham Hindu temple in New Delhi. We had never met before, but he came highly recommended by friends. If Yelp reviewed monks, he would have had five stars.

To my astonishment, Gnanmunidas greeted me with an avuncular, “How ya doin’?” He referred to me as “dude.” And what was that accent — Texas? Sure enough, he had grown up in Houston, the son of Indian petroleum engineers, and had graduated from the University of Texas. Later, he got an M.B.A., and quickly made a lot of money.

But then Gnanmunidas had his awakening. At 26, he asked himself, “Is this all there is?” His grappling with that question led him to India, where he renounced everything and entered a Hindu seminary. Six years later, he emerged a monk. From that moment on, the sum total of his worldly possessions has been two robes, prayer beads and a wooden bowl. He is prohibited from even touching money — a discipline that would obviously be impossible for those of us enmeshed in ordinary economic life.

As an economist, I was more than a little afraid to hear what this capitalist-turned-renunciant had to teach me. But I posed a query nonetheless: “Swami, is economic prosperity a good or bad thing?” I held my breath and waited for his answer.

“It’s good,” he replied. “It has saved millions of people in my country from starvation.”

This was not what I expected. “But you own almost nothing,” I pressed. “I was sure you’d say that money is corrupting.” He laughed at my naïveté. “There is nothing wrong with money, dude. The problem in life is attachment to money.” The formula for a good life, he explained, is simple: abundance without attachment.

Read the entire article here. It will really make you think. I welcome your feedback.

Balancing “Being” and “Doing”

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Recently, the CBS news show, “60 Minutes” featured a segment where reporter Anderson Cooper joined mindfulness practitioner Jon Kabat-Zin on a Northern California mindfulness retreat. Anderson reported that initially he was extremely skeptical – especially when he had to surrender his cell phone – but came to appreciate Kabat-Zin’s approach. You can read about this segment see the video clip here.

But the larger issue for all of us remains; will 2015 be a year of “doing” – often at a frenetic pace – or of being in the moment? I’ve written about mindfulness previously on this blog (see previous posts under This Week) and I invite you to visit those posts. The reach for most of us is to understand mindfulness isn’t just something for people in funny robes or in new age communities in Northern California.

Boiled down to its essentials, mindfulness captures what Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested in a previous century. “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.” Or as Jon Kabat-Zin put it in the Foreword of Search Inside Yourself, “This is the practice of non-dong, of openhearted presencing, of pure awareness, coexistent with and inseparable from compassion.”

At a time when many of us are still making – or already breaking – New Year’s resolutions, ask yourself, is this the year to stop and just “be” for a moment?

Attention! Attention?

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Ever have anyone say to you: “Pay attention?” Is it you – or is it them?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is now the most prevalent psychiatric illness of young people in America, affecting 11 percent of them at some point between the ages of 4 and 17. The rates of both diagnosis and treatment have increased so much in the past decade that you may wonder whether something that affects so many people can really be a disease.

And for a good reason. Recent neuroscience research shows that people with A.D.H.D. are actually hard-wired for novelty-seeking — a trait that had, until relatively recently, a distinct evolutionary advantage. Compared with the rest of us, they have sluggish and underfed brain reward circuits, so much of everyday life feels routine and understimulating.

To compensate, they are drawn to new and exciting experiences and get famously impatient and restless with the regimented structure that characterizes our modern world. In short, people with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture.

From the standpoint of teachers, parents and the world at large, the problem with people with A.D.H.D. looks like a lack of focus and attention and impulsive behavior. But if you have the “illness,” the real problem is that, to your brain, the world that you live in essentially feels not very interesting.

Read more here

Fitness – or Craziness?

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Are you fit, extremely fit, or a couch potato? We all have to find our level of dedication to fitness, but not to put too fine a point on it…many of us may be taking it too far. Consider this from Heather Havrilesky:

A blond woman in a hot pink spandex tank hoists a sledgehammer over her shoulders, then slams it down with a dull thud onto the big tire in front of her. Beside her, another woman swings her sledgehammer even higher, grimacing and groaning with the effort. Their faces are bright red and dripping with sweat. It’s 9:45 a.m. and 85 degrees, and the sun is glinting off the asphalt of the strip-mall parking lot where the women are laboring. “Swing it higher, above your shoulder!” a woman bellows at them, even as they gasp each time they raise their hammers, each time they let them fall.

As one woman pauses to wipe the sweat from her eyes, she spots me studying her. I’ve been trying not to stare, but it’s a strange spectacle, this John Henry workout of theirs, hammering away in front of a women’s fitness center, just a few doors down from a smoke shop and a hair salon. It looks exhausting, and more than a little dangerous. (What if a sledgehammer slips and flies from one woman’s hands, braining her companion?) It also looks fruitless. Why not join a roofing crew for a few hours instead? Surely, there’s a tunnel somewhere that needs digging, or at least some hot tar that needs pouring.

It makes sense that for those segments of humanity who aren’t fighting for survival every day of their lives, the new definition of fulfillment is feeling as if you’re about to die. Maybe that’s the point. If we aren’t lugging five gallons of water back from a well 10 miles away or slamming a hammer into a mountainside, something feels as if it’s missing. Who wants to sit alone at a desk all day, then work out alone on a machine? Why can’t we suffer and sweat together, as a group, in a way that feels meaningful? Why can’t someone yell at us while we do it? For the privileged, maybe the most grueling path seems the most likely to lead to divinity. When I run on Sunday mornings, I pass seven packed, bustling fitness boutiques, and five nearly empty churches.

 

Read more here