Meditation Challenge – Day 12


Mission Blue chronicles the life, loves and calling of ocean champion Sylvia Earle

TED Blog

Sylvia Earle is a fearless 78-year-old woman. In the new documentary Mission Blue, we watch her dive with sharks in the deep blue sea and fearlessly dodge fishing nets as she swims through the middle of a major fishing operation. The film offers a bold new view of the famed oceanographer whose relentless pursuit of saving the ocean takes her from the mythical expanse of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the swirling schools of the Chesapeake Bay menhaden fishery to the bustling fish markets of Tokyo.

Mission Blue premieres today on Netflix. Watch it here »

Directed by Fisher Stevens (The Cove) and Bob Nixon (Gorillas in the Mist), Mission Blue serves up visually stunning underwater footage. But beyond that, it weaves an inspiring storyline that focuses on Earle herself. Mission Blue could have easily been a documentary about the devastation of the ocean, but…

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On origami, Alzheimer’s & kindness: Global health expert Alanna Shaikh rethinks preparing for dementia

can one actually prepare for this?

TED Blog

Alanna Shaikh at TED2013, a year after her powerful talk about Alzheimer's disease. Alanna Shaikh at TED2013, about six months after giving a powerful talk about Alzheimer’s disease and the three strategies she was putting in place in case she should ever get it. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Global health expert Alanna Shaikh gave an unexpected and moving talk at TEDGlobal 2012, called “How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s.” In it, she told the story of her father’s struggle with the disease, and outlined some strategies she’d devised in case dementia struck her later in life, too. The TED Blog was curious: How is her experiment going?

While most of Shaikh’s goals haven’t exactly gone as planned, in the process, she’s had a lightbulb moment about how to think about dementia—and learned to be a better person, to boot. Here, a conversation about the relationship between kindness and health, and living an enjoyable life in the present while planning for the future.

What have you been up to since your talk went…

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I am often asked why I became a massage therapist.  Short answer, I went to massage school.  Longer answer, I lost my son and all my knowns.  Depending on the day, and the person’s energy on the table I decide how to answer.  If it is only my expertise that the body on the table wants to confirm, then the short answer plus the brief list of all other trainings is more than sufficient before quiet resumes and muscles relax.  If they actually do want to know the why then I start with, I lost my son.  Even that though requires more background.  To say you lost someone, means what?  A separation, a death, an inexplicable event in which sorrow is an angry god- a loss from whatever cause, is still a loss.  I don’t bother explaining the pull of wanting to be a parent, or the blows to both body and spirit that miscarriages cause, and there is no point in trying to weight the waiting and hoping in any measurable way.  I don’t explain the adoption process, with it’s pricking investigative questions and the feeling that you are only worth a certain amount by some kind of unavailable text.  I don’t explain the actual events of the loss except to those I feel close to.  Those are times gone.  What I say without explaining is that I lost my way and bodywork provided the grounding I so desperately needed at the time.  Not at first as a massage therapist, but as a dancer.  Sometimes, when words are impossible and anger and frustration threatens to bury you, the only thing possible is movement. Latin ballroom with its definite steps and definite responses allowed my mind to stop; pattern was first, thought that could be held gently, later.  When the boundaries of ballroom became too concise and the mind began to again scream, my instructor suggested Argentine Tango.  In Argentine Tango, the patterns become blurred and one is forced to let the mind soften and still and to listen, only listen at first to one’s partner in the dance, and then later to listen to your own inner voice.  Your eyes can close, and you can simplify all of the outer world to just that one moment when movement is speech, and you can trust again.  From that point I felt easier in my sorrow-and in it’s anger- it became endurable, blunted a bit and I became curious about what more my body and mind could say in one sentence versus having the conflict between the two.  Dance led to yoga and to several certifications, and then finally to massage school.  I am still learning, and moving in both dance, yoga and other wordless forms of communications.  In learning to be quiet, I was able to again speak in art, and poetry, and to allow for the possibility of pain from others.  Being a massage therapist allows me to address the pain in others, and in myself and to find a common communication in the healing and relaxation processes. It allows me to hopefully be of some help and to have hope.