Mindfulness Soothes Students’ Anxiety and Depression?

The Pilot Light

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By Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University

When neuroscience graduate student James Holmes was convicted on 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder for the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, he had previously sought counseling support from a psychiatrist at his graduate school campus. The day of the rampage, Holmes mailed a notebook to his campus psychiatrist, detailing his attack plan. What the media attention did not consider is how this young man may be more typical in his generation than was previously thought.

On a recent lecture trip to the campus of a top-tier private university, the director of the counseling center lamented to me that, in spite of his love of counseling, he and his psychologist colleagues can no longer do therapy. They can only triage acute crises of students with acute anxiety, depression or suicidal…

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Handouts and Archive from #NCTE15 Session B.34: “Crafting the Truth”

Thanks to everyone who came out to our “Crafting the Truth” NCTE session in Minneapolis! We hope you had as much fun as we did and that you also took away some ideas, strategies, and resources for incorporating narrative into research, argument, and creative nonfiction into your secondary English classrooms.

Here is the link to the Storify archive of tweets from participants and presenters using #craftingtruth: CLICK HERE FOR #CRAFTINGTRUTH STORIFY

And here is the handout and PPT from the “Me to We” creative nonfiction portion of the session:Jason Presentation NCTE Handout 2

Also, I participated in an Ignite session called “Reading Real to Write True” which featured 11 Tips for Reading and Writing Narrative Nonfiction in Secondary ELA classrooms. If you’re interested in that presentation or handout, you can find them here: Jason Griffith Ignite   NCTE Handout 1

 

Selznick’s Secret Doorways by Jason Griffith

Nerdy Book Club

The neat thing about seeing Van Gogh’s paintings live and in-person is that you can clearly see the brush strokes in the texture of the paint. It only takes a little imagination to picture Van Gogh madly dashing and dabbing his way across the canvas.

marvelsIn June, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time, and one of their featured exhibitions was Van Gogh’s Irises and Roses. It was the first time the four paintings in the set had been reunited since Van Gogh painted them 125 years ago. An exciting event for sure, but I had come for a different reason. Brian Selznick was taking part in a lecture called “Showing to Tell,” part of Julie Burstein’s “Spark” series of cultural conversations at the museum.

The neat thing about examining a Brian Selznick illustration is that you can clearly see the ghosts of pencil…

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Be the Grandma You Wish to See in the World

“I just didn’t like the way he was looking at your stuff. I told him you’d be coming back.” She peeked over her cracked window, her chin barely above the steering wheel. Everything was gray: hair, wrinkles, even the thick glasses she squinted through.

Upon discovering that I’d left my keys in the hotel room when I arrived at my car, I’d risked abandoning a pile of bags in the parking lot as I went back for the rest. My golden-girl turned guardian angel informed me that “some guy” had taken interest in my gear and that she’d “told him it was none of his business,” which chased him off.

“I figured you forgot your car keys, so I just stuck around,” she said. I thanked her and wished her a nice day. “Maybe I’ll get a job in security,” I heard her mutter as she rolled away.

At first, I was miffed that someone would have contemplated swiping my stuff. I was gone for less than five minutes, and even though he would have mostly made off with dirty laundry, it still would have ruined my morning.

Then, I couldn’t help but chuckle at picturing my old friend dressed as a security guard and shaking her fist at folks far taller than her as she lectured them about what was and wasn’t their business.

We always have choice in how we view the world. It’s not all good; it’s not all bad; and, in a singular moment, there are both potential thieves as well as grandmas idling in station wagons, ready to cruise in for the save.

It’s an especially good personal reminder this week as the universe delivered two bits of tough news. First, my mom announced that she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, my furnace, a newer model, crapped out just as the first big snowstorm of the season hit.

Regarding my mom, I could moan about how unfair it is for such horrible news to befall a good person; or, I could be thankful that the cancer was detected early, that she’s got good healthcare, a family support system, and is working with one of the best local surgeons around.

About my furnace, I could lament the two grand I’m out and lambaste the company that made the faulty model; or, I could remember that it’s just an appliance, and I could applaud the company that gave a fair quote to quickly install a new furnace during a holiday week.

There’s a memorable quote from the otherwise underwhelming recent Zach Braff film; “We move forward. That’s the only direction God gave us.” But besides recognizing our silver linings, we can also pay forward our good fortunes.

We can be the grandmas we wish to see in the world: a revolution of kind souls looking out for each others’ bags. I call on you to join us.