Books, Enlighten Me

The Hidden Life of Trees

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Photo by Jeremy Holden on Unsplash

 

Trees are Socialists.

I’ve only read about 10% of The Hidden Life of Trees, but that’s the gist from someone I suspect is also a socialist…me.

The book discusses one scientific study after another conducted on trees, and one such study was about the rate of photosynthesis and sugar content/per leaf. This is the research that has me convinced trees are socialists…but as I read on, there’s more and more validation for that conclusion.

The Institute for Environmental Research at RWTH Aachen conducted their photosynthesis research in an “undisturbed beech forest” and what they discovered is that whether a tree is thick or thin, weak or strong, the rate of photosynthesis in a stand of trees is equal.

Underground, tree roots are communicating with each other through fungi! When a tree is ill or injured or weak, the other trees help out by lending it sugar to keep the process of photosynthesis active. It amazes me that trees communicate…through their root system…through their leaves…underground…in the canopy…silently…electrically…through sound waves…through silence.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, then you’re not paying attention…or you paid better attention during biology class than I did and this isn’t new to you at all!

So, how did I leap from photosynthesis to socialistic?

Easy…despite common misconceptions, socialism is not about government domination, dictatorships, giving up wealth. Socialism is about ‘equalizing distribution’…in economic terms this doesn’t mean that you can’t be wealthy, it just means that the government makes sure you’re more like Bill and Melinda Gates; less like Ebenezer Scrooge.

You can still live in a big mansion if you’re a socialist. You can still own a business and make tons of money. You just also share your obscene profits with the guys and gals cleaning your toilets and actually doing the jobs that make you the money.

Canada is the most familiar socialist country to Americans. Most of us have been there to look at the falls, gamble, drink wine, or experience The Phantom of the Opera. 

I love that scientists are proving the socialistic nature of nature. It might give socialism a nicer rep.

It’s comforting to think that trees take care of each other the way we might take care of a sick parent. To me, at least. Maybe to Bernie Sanders too.

And Justin Trudeau.

And Merka Angela.

And any American currently on/hoping to someday be on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

And … well…my Dad.

But don’t take my word for the Forest Socialist idea. Directly from the book:

Their enormous networks act as gigantic redistribution mechanisms. It’s a bit like the way social security systems operate to ensure individual members of society don’t fall too far behind. 

3 pages later:

This is because a tree can only be as strong as the forest that surrounds it. 

Yep…the wisdom of Nature!

Comments? I’d love to hear them!

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Books, Enlighten Me

Neil is my Hero

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Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is my hero…today. I love watching him on talk shows, and on documentaries. And now, I love listening to him read his newest book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

He’s my hero of the day because he is passionate about the universe and within that passion, he has honed wisdom about life.

In the final chapter of the book, he explains why it’s so important to have a cosmic perspective of life. It’s a new way of stating what I’ve tried to do for most of my life: look at the bigger picture.

When you do that, you pay attention to more than how your husband irritates you when he interrupts you in mid-sentence and also remember how he put his day on hold to rescue you from a flat tire, built a pottery studio in your basement, supports your dream of being a writer.

When you have a cosmic perspective, you pay attention to more than the construction that has narrowed the highway to one lane and also notice the number of construction workers who can support their families, the potholes that will disappear, the beauty of the flowers in the new median strip or the convenience of that larger water pipe being buried.

When you have a cosmic perspective, you pay attention to more than the political labels and branding and notice how that candidate’s votes impacted our earth, took care of those with mental or physical illnesses, help the less fortunate, protect our young, defuse violence, care about the other people with whom we share this world.

The final chapter had me thinking about connection…in a broader John Donne “No Man is an Island” sort of way, because none of us are an island. Everything I do impacts you in some way…some day…maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in 10 years when you meet my former student who’s now a doctor in the hospital where you are being treated. Will you benefit from the kindnesses I may have shown her or suffer from the harsh way I judged her? What would you rather experience?

Or maybe tomorrow, you’ll ask one of my children for help and they’ll respond out of the lessons they learned in MY home about looking out for number one…or respond out of the lessons they learned about how we’re all connected and all responsible for the way we treat each other.  Which would you prefer?

But don’t just skip to the last chapter of Neil’s book…can I call him Neil? I don’t think he’d mind. 🙂

If you skip to the last chapter, you’ll miss out on the reason he says “Einstein was a badass.”

And you’ll miss the tongue-in-cheek explanation that ends with the idea we may be descendants of Martians! Don’t want to miss that, do you?

If you’ve read the book, or are currently reading the book, leave your comments. Let’s talk about the Cosmos like only those in the “Neil is our Hero” fan club can!

 

 

Enlighten Me, Hard to Label, The Write Life, Write Your Life, Writing Business, Writing life

My Niche is Life

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Someone asked me recently how I would categorize my blog.

This is important:

Niches MAKE a freelance writer’s career! 

I know this from the multiple webinars and classes I’ve attended given by successful freelance writers; writers who make enough to support themselves with their writing; writers who are well-known by editors and get major assignments for feature articles; writers who are paid to ghostwrite books for uber-busy CEO’s, who sell every essay they write for a nice amount; writers who…do I need to go on to convince you? Probably not.

So when asked that question, I began to mini-panic because even though the questioner is not a freelance writer and therefore doesn’t know all this, it’s still important for me AS a freelance writer AND a blogger to have a well-prepared sound byte.

Which I don’t have because I don’t have a niche for my blog.

As a writer, I like to write creative nonfiction pieces about spirituality, self-improvement, travel, and education. These are my passions. I love to write personal essays about those singular seconds in life that snap us awake like alarm clocks blaring in the predawn. Do you know these seconds?

The second you heard your newly born child or grandchild cry, or coo, or say your name.

The second you spotted your soulmate.

The second you got your first big career break.

The second you had your first loss.

The second you heard bad news from your doctor.

The second you shared your darkest secret with a friend and realized she would never judge you for it.

These are the seconds that change our lives and they fascinate me because in that tiny space of time, a pinpoint is poked in the fabric of the universe and light pours in like a laser tattooing a new synapse in the network of your brain. Nothing is ever the same…and it was just a second.

You could have ignored it, missed it. But you didn’t.

That’s what I love to write about. How do I collapse that into a sound byte?

So, when my questioner asked me to describe my blog, I said I like to blog about life, and insights, and enlightenment.

I wasn’t satisfied with the answer and I’ve been trying to edit, rewrite, and re-phrase for a week.

My blog is about those seconds that poke holes in our lives so our universe can expand.

How’s that?

Let me know what you think, so the next time someone asks, I’ll be able to answer with something that sounds at least an iota more writerly.

 

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Tips to Thwart Procrastination

So, see the theme this week? Yeah…all started back there on Monday with that TED Talk by Tim Urban.

Then instead of working on the rewrites of that YA fantasy that’s in its 50,000th reincarnation, I found Coffee Reading Writing on Youtube. 

Hope you enjoy it, Writerly Friends!

And after you watch, let me know what you’re working on!

THEN…GET BACK TO WORK!

PS. If this is a big challenge in your life right now and you would like someone to help you identify and eliminate those blocks to your creativity, contact me for a free  consultation to see if coaching is right for you!

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A TED talk about Procrastination You Probably Shouldn’t Be Watching Right Now

What kind of procrastinator are you?

My answer is that I’m the kind of procrastinator who puts things off till the last minute…and then, if no one else is waiting…decides it wasn’t important to do anyway.

This is a fatal type of procrastination for aspiring writers! So when I googled ‘procrastination’, I found this TED talk by Tim Urban that I think everyone will enjoy!

Share your thoughts after you watch!

Don’t procrastinate about sharing your thoughts! We’re all waiting!

 

 

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Printable Classroom Poster

Welcome to a new school year, Teachers!

When I worked in a public school system as a teacher, or a counselor, I began the school year with a vision for the year. I started doing this my second year of teaching when a very supportive principal shared his habit of setting yearly goals. He would spend his summer reflecting on the gaps in his teaching and then set goals for the following school year to address those. That’s how I began also, but quickly moved into a more affirmative visioning.

I think most of us spend our summers reflecting, taking workshops to grow our skillsets, developing new units of study, so it wasn’t difficult to add a reflective piece. This process may sound familiar to many of you:

  1. It’s easy to reflect on our gaps, but I liked to reflect on those days, units, lessons that went really well because that’s what I want more of in my classroom. What was the overall mood in the room? What caused the students to be so engaged? In other words, what went right?
  2. I bring back those days in my memory during meditations, prayers, daydreams…and I’d really let that soak into my brain cells.
  3. I’d set the new year intention of experiencing every day like those memories.

Easy-peezy, right?

I think we all realize…not quite right. Because what normally came up during my reflection stage were things like this: I brought the attitude that day…I was excited, interested, accepting, and calm when I walked into the building, knowing somehow that this was going to be a great day.

Measure your success in improvement…one more class today than yesterday that was engaging, exciting, and fun.

Don’t aim for perfection…because perfect doesn’t exist, so seeking it takes the fun out of bubbles, let alone school!

Remember to love your students, because until you have their hearts, you can’t possibly engage their minds.

 

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Canceled Blog Post

Today’s witty and inspiring Blog Post will be canceled due to an acute attack of  Listicle Binge Disorder. Be on the look-out for that! It is, in fact, contagious.

My attack began with The 5 Myers-Briggs Personality Types that will Put You First. I learned that I am not one of those, so that may take me out of the dating pool on Match.com. I’ll have to tell my husband. He’ll probably be disappointed.

But the attack didn’t end there. NO! I went on to The 7 Habits That Will Help Me Lose Weight…which I read while eating strawberry mochi ice cream. I suppose I’ll start those habits on Monday.

Don’t feel badly for me, but my attack didn’t stop there. The 7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting a Master’s Degree…  would’ve probably been more helpful before I actually received a Master’s degree, but I was delirious with LBD and wasn’t thinking straight.

The 3 Ways Blogging Can Pay was the LBD just playing itself out…this acute attack was almost over…and with a listicle that doesn’t apply to my blog at all … Unless you want to share this with 3 friends who happen to share with 3 friends who also edit magazines.

Not that I’m asking you to do that… But if you really want to…I mean, since you didn’t send a card.

Anyway. What was my point?

Oh yeah… There will be no blog post today due to an acute case of Listicle Binge Disorder.