The On Being Project

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Moist England Inspiration, Parenting Is Not “All Good,” and Standing in a Chalk Circle of Happiness

Moist England Inspiration, Parenting Is Not “All Good,” and Standing in a Chalk Circle of Happiness

Just south of Liverpool, England is the town of Wrexham. And from that moist location came the most edifying words from Benji (@benjiw):

Comforting myself at the end of a long day and having damp feet from rain listening to @Beingtweets podcast with @kristatippett.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend here in the States. One of those all-too-rare occasions when families come together to celebrate the women in their lives. It’s also a moment to acknowledge the beautiful messiness of life, of raising children and grandchildren, of being a spouse and a child. As Krista (@KristaTippett) noted on Twitter this week:

So important that we are real about parenting. It’s amazing. But it’s not “all good,” all bliss.

The quoted language comes from Tracy Hahn-Burkett’s blog post, The Fantasy That ‘It’s All Good’ in Parenting”:

“By telling the truth, you just might make some other parents weep with relief when they realize they’re not alone.”

You’re not alone, Tracy. You are so not alone! Which reminds me…

Poet Marie Howe pointed us to the street art of the Mazeking. With a simple idea and chalk, she (he?) welcomes people to stand inside a circle with “Happiness Here” inscribed:

“I wanted to create something interactive, free for all to see and use which provoked thought about what happiness is.”

Take a look at the artist’s video profiling people’s reactions to being “in happiness.” How would you react?

Last week’s show with neuroscientist Rex Jung on creativity sparked plenty of discussion, especially his observations on a cherished method of idea generation:

“Brainstorming is the worst thing you can do. The main reason why is because of this process of trying out strange new ideas versus when you put people together in a room, almost invariably they will try to conform socially. So you will get creative ideas, but you won’t get as creative when people are trying to please each other than when they’re trying to push the envelope. And so the studies invariably show that the quality of the creative ideas that people put out individually are invariably higher in quality than those done in a group format. So another myth bites the dust.”

As you can imagine, Dr. Jung’s words drew a strong response. It was reblogged on Tumblr and shared hundreds of times on Facebook. It also generated dozens of comments. Many let out a big sigh of relief, like Sultan Elam (“I agree!”), and others, like John Ginty, objected to they slaying of a sacred cow:

“I was surprised to hear Jung discount the habit of brainstorming – one of, IMHO, the most beneficial techniques.”

What’s been your experience with brainstorming? Does it combat or encourage creativity?

But one of my favorite responses came from Sujata Krishna. After hearing Rex Jung’s description of how we can actually change the shape of our brains and beef them up with training, he offered this passage from Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“Insight is not a matter of memory, of knowledge and time, which are all thought. Insight is the total absence of the whole movement of thought as time and remembrance. So there is direct perception.”

Read an extended passage on our Tumblr. It’s good.

“How do you know you’re Pagan? How do you know when you’re in love?” ~Raymond Sweeney

Over the past couple of years I’ve been working with Diane Winston’s graduate journalism students at USC. And, this week, I posted an intriguing story from Dublin. Shweta Saraswat (@shwetaspins) and Tricia Tongco (@triciatongco) report on former Catholics who are rediscovering their religious beliefs and Irish heritage in pre-Christian spirituality. Check out “The Snakes are Still in Ireland: Pagans, Shamans, and Modern Druids in a Catholic World.” So interesting.

“The truth about culture lies in the middle; values are transposable, which is why identity is most enthralling when they are tethered the least.”

Much has happened in so-called Muslim-Western relations in the last decade, not the least of which is the Arab Spring. Has the paradigm changed or does it remain same? Guest contributor Michael Young offers this provocative op-ed on the ever-changing nature of culture.
And, finally, from the Twitter desk of Krista Tippett:

“Pondering the relationship between remembering and invention.”

Any thoughts or reflections on this pairing? Weigh in here. I’ll share some of our favorites on Twitter (@beingtweets) and next week’s newsletter.

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