Month: January 2021

Listen Again: Our Relationship With Water

Original broadcast date: August 7, 2020. We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water — water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.

Poetry as Mindfulness

Misty morning - HFF!

by Janice Falls

I want to tell you something.

This morning is bright after all the steady rain, and every iris,
peony, rose, opens its mouth, rejoicing.

I want to say, wake up, open your eyes, there’s a snow-covered road
ahead, a field of blankness, a sheet of paper, an empty screen.

Barbara Crooker, “Listen” (1-5)

There is much to instruct us in the
practice of mindfulness to be found in poetry. Its presence in my life has
deepened my practice in ways I could not have imagined. When I am reading a
poem that touches me, I am immersed in the images, the musicality and beauty of
the language, the felt sense that the words create – I am nowhere else. Not all
poems have this effect of course but those that do are soul medicine.


I have been collecting favourite poems for several years now, posting on my blog Heart Poemswhere I share my thoughts and feelings without any analysis or explanation of the poem’s meaning. For me, a poem that resonates is like my breath, a focal point in the chaos of my day that gently holds me in the here and now. So often I hear from readers of Heart Poems that a particular poem met them at the exact place and time in their life when those words were most needed. How does that happen? This is the magic a certain poem may work when it is true for you.

It’s easy to lose this tenderly unfolding moment.

Look for it as if it were the first green blade
after a long winter.

Listen for it as if it were the first clear tone
in a place where dawn is heralded by bells.

Pat Schneider, “Instructions for the Journey” (8-13)

A quote from the American poet
Muriel Rukeyser says “This moment is real, this moment is what we have, this
moment in which we face each other and if a poem is any damn good at all, it
invites you to bring your whole life to that moment and we are good poets
inasmuch as we bring that invitation to you, and you are good readers inasmuch
as you bring your whole life to the reading of the poem.”

Autumn Mist

To read a poem with full attention
is to be in the present moment without judgement, simply aware of the music of
the words, the effect on me as I hear them. Poetry is best appreciated spoken
aloud, hearing the rhythm and syntax and diction as they come together in this
unique collection of words. Poetry slows us down in a way that prose does not –
shorter lines, white space, succinct words all conspire to bring us into the
moment of reading or listening – until the next distraction interrupts our
attention, after which we can return to the poem, much like the breath. Some
poems ask, even demand, of us attention that excludes the outside world, the
mundane and complex worries of living a life in this century. They invite us
into a world of raw beauty or despair, consoling or challenging through their
carefully chosen language.

All day he works at his cousin’s mill, so when he gets home at night, he always sits at this one window, sees one time of day, twilight.

There should be more time like this, to sit and dream.

It’s as his cousin says:

Living—living takes you away from sitting.

Louise Glück, “Twilight” (1-6)

Poetry is a subjective experience; we each respond to it differently. These excerpts are small tastes of longer poems, available to read in full by clicking on the title. I hope these few words are enough to entice you to explore poetry, especially if you are one who says you don’t like it or don’t understand it. Though you may not understand every line, the whole of it may call to you, may sing your own song. There is a presence in poems that invites us to pay attention, to stop, breathe, focus. It is there that we are mindful of the life we are living, that we can come home to ourselves, if only for a moment.

It’s impossible to be lonely when you’re zesting an orange.

Scrape the soft rind once and the whole room fills with fruit.

Look around: you have more than enough.

Always have.

You just didn’t notice until now.

Amy Schmidt, “Abundance”

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Our aim is to promote mindfulness.


Breathing is essential to life. And lately, the safety of the air we inhale, or the need to pause and take a deep breath, is on our minds a lot. This hour, TED speakers explore the power of breath. Guests include former world champion freediver Tanya Streeter, journalist Beth Gardiner, activist Yvette Arellano, paleontologist Emma Schachner, scent historian Caro Verbeek, and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe.

CIA releases ‘Black Vault’ of UFO documents early: Here’s How to See Them

Federal intelligence on extraterrestrial technology — at your fingertips.

By way of the Freedom of Information Act, thousands of the CIA documents on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) — or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), as the government calls them — are now accessible via download at the Black Vault, a website operated by author and podcaster John Greenwald Jr.

The CIA claims they have now provided all the information on UAP they have, though there is no way to know that’s true.

“Research by The Black Vault will continue to see if there are additional documents still uncovered within the CIA’s holdings,” Greenwald promised in a statement on his website.

The release comes months before the Pentagon was due to brief Congress on all they know about UAP — a date dictated in the most recent COVID-19 relief bill, of all places, which passed in late December.

The demands for alien intel became so many that the CIA eventually compiled it onto a CD-ROM, obtained by Greenwald and uploaded to the Black Vault, divvied into dozens of downloadable .PDFs.

In this CIA UFO document, the Assistant Deputy Director for Science & Technology (A/DDS&T) was shown an exhibit handcarried to his office related to a UFO

Greenwald told Vice’s Motherboard that he believes the documents are made difficult to parse for calculated reasons. “The CIA has made it INCREDIBLY difficult to use their records in a reasonable manner,” he said of the “outdated” file format. “In my opinion, this outdated format makes it very difficult for people to see the documents, and use them, for any research purpose.”

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Greenwald had levied multiple FOIA requests during the past two decades in pursuit of non-confidential findings on UAP collected by the US government since 1996, he said in a Jan. 7 blog post. In a 2020 interview, he told the Columbia Journalism Review that he began to inquire with the CIA as a teenager.

Among the cache’s most intriguing clues is a heavily redacted document that shows that a former CIA assistant deputy director for science and technology “exhibited interest” in one particular unnamed object.

“He decided he would personally look into it, and after, he gave advice on moving forward. That advice is classified,” Greenwald tweeted from the Black Vault Twitter account.

The dump comes at a moment in history when Americans are particularly interested in alien intelligence, indicated by a recent uptick in UFO sightings, and viral popularity of media relating to extraterrestrial life.

Last year, the Defense Department officially declassified shocking video taken by Navy pilots in 2004 and 2015, which made international headlines when it was first leaked by To The Stars Academy, a UFO research group founded by former Blink-182 rocker Tom DeLonge in 2017 and 2018.

At the time, the department asserted that the footage “does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems” and “does not impinge on any subsequent investigations.”

via New York Post

Listen Again: School Of Life

Original broadcast date: October 20, 2020. Right now, many kids aren’t in their classrooms — but there is so much to learn outside of school as well. This hour, TED speakers explore life lessons that teach us far more than any textbook. Guests on the show include politician Stacey Abrams, sailor Tracy Edwards, educator Alvin Irby, and LGBTQ rights advocate Ash Beckham