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March 2012 (121 posts)
What are the things that you do every day? Go on, make a list. Shower, walk the dog, eat an egg, whatever it is. There's something to be said for routine, and I'll go ahead and admit that as I grow older I get more and more fixed in mine. And sometimes, routine is lovely. There's something soothing about the ritual of making a pot of tea. There's a special joy in walking past the same hedge every day and then realizing that one day the unassuming thicket has exploded into pale flower -- particularly because you saw the same plant covered in snow. Of course, routine can also be crazy-making, as when you're so sick of your same two chicken recipes you're about to choose from.
Designer/illustrator Chris Piascik has found a way to make the daily routine into something creative and affirming: He makes a drawing every day. We've all seen lots of "drawing a day" projects, but what I love about Piascik's are the messages he chooses to illustrate, and that he often shares the origin of the idea. "If everybody likes what you are doing, you're doing it wrong," he quotes Jen Bekman (and provides a link to the podcast he got the quote from).
It's 3:00 p.m. You're dragging. You've already had nine cups of coffee. In an unprecedented move your neighborhood Starbucks has cut you off for the day. You tried some breathing exercises your yoga teacher suggested but you started nodding off. You know what would be really energizing? Going home and sleeping for eight hours. But for some reason that's frowned upon. So what do you do? Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest eating kale or anything. All you have to do is watch this video:
Who can resist it? How psyched do these kids look? How much fun are they having? Look at their wild knees and hands! The music, by the way, is Kwela, a traditional, upbeat pennywhistle-based street music from southern Africa, which I totally knew and did not just read on Wikipedia and which I now must go find as much of as possible because it's just so foot-tappy. And I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge Mr. Pink Shirt, who is one of the best dancers I've ever seen. I want to move through my day the way he moves through this dance -- energetic, ecstatic, effortless. Don't you?
Joyful Fun From A Family Band
Your Energy is Infinite and This is Why
You probably know that tonight is the premiere of Oprah's Lifeclass: the Tour. But did you know that this afternoon, March 26, at 3pm/2c, you can watch a behind-the-scenes taping of Lifeclass on the web with Oprah and special guest Bishop T.D. Jakes? And, this evening, tune in to OWN or Oprah.com, when Oprah and Iyanla will be live from St. Louis at 8/7c.
To check out the webcast, click here.
To watch the sneak preview of Oprah's Lifeclass: the Tour!, click here.
Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we've been knocked to our knees by the dazzling inventive novel:
By Heidi Julavits
"This is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you," says Julie Severn, the young narrator of Heidi Julavits's new novel—one in which paranormal powers are taken as (somewhat) normal. The action starts at birthday party for Julia Severn's colllege teacher, a powerful, successful psychic named Madame Ackermann who attacks Julie with a wolf-like ball of energy that leaves her with crippling headaches, insomnia and a variety of other ills that cause her to drop out of school. But when she seeks refuge in a gorgeously imagined nursing home for victims of paranormal attacks and women recovering from plastic surgery (a brilliant parallel by Julavits—both types of patients have holes in their souls), Juile begins to wonder just who is attacking whom. A parade of mysterious characters enter and exit, including an aging paparazzi photographer, a disfigured cosmetic heiress and a ruthless, possibly deranged video artist. The many characters can, at times, bog down the story. All is saved, however by the magnetic power of the author's voice (Can words have charisma? Hers do). It keeps you spellbound, moving across the globe and time, at last weaving the final strands of the plot into an unexpected, insightful finale—one that owes much to regular old life in the present tense. This a fantasical world, yes, but one that's so relevant and moving because it has a point for us all. Psychics in The Vanishers don't predict the future; they regress into the past and often misunderstand what they see. Why? Because that's where the damage lies, and also the answers, providing that the psychic in question uses one other power—self-awareness.
The one memoir O mag editors can't put down!
Longing for adventure? Read one.
"It’s okay for people to have opinions. It’s a discussion. Everyone has an opinion about something. Maybe you don’t agree, but it doesn’t mean it was anything more than that."
-Lucy Liu, on what can happen with strong personalities at work
"And are we only physical forms? Is it wise to focus so much attention on our shell that we lose our connection to the greater source that animates us all?"
-Filmmaker and activist Susan Hess Logeais, on plastic surgery
"I am the person I am today because of the values she instilled in me and the guidance and love she showed me," he said of his mother. "It's definitely unfair and stigmatizing to say a mother and son can't be close."
The tale of Amelia Earheart has all the aspects of a great tragedy: a brave, unlikely heroine; the inkling that anything is possible; and of course, the lasting mystery—we still don't know why Earheart's bid to be the first woman to fly around the world failed, or what happened to her.
This June, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Earheart's flight by relaunching a search for the wreckage of her plane. Of course I hope they learn something about her fate, and I am excited to see the way the search is stirring up interest in a pioneer of women-can-do-anything-ness. But what's so compelling, to me, about Earheart, is the hugeness of her ambition. There's been a lot of talk of failure in the past few years--everyone from neuroscientists to the editors at the Harvard Business Review. As dismal as the consequences of mistakes may be (and, indeed, were for Earheart), those who follow want to know what happened, in their ongoing efforts not just to push beyond old boundaries but to see that outsize ambition eventually fulfilled, possibly even surpassed.
Read the whole article in the Christian Science Monitor to learn what politician is rallying support for the cause (and for an awesome slideshow of Earheart and other wonder women).
How Failure Can Lead to Success
Let a Failure Liberate You
We're so glad it's Friday again! Let's take a minute and look at some of the other things that make us happy, like...
This is what joy looks like.
The cuddliest crime report ever—and it has a hoppy—er, happy—ending
Spontaneous inspiration: How an abandoned storefront became a wall of gratitude
Math meets fashion, and we might all get a better fit
Who knew? It's National Puppy Day.
The answer: her sister. Delle Donne is extremely close with her older sister, who is blind, deaf, and has cerebral palsy. As Delle Donne explained to ABC News, "Skype, cellphone, texting, email — doesn’t work with Liz. We’ve never spoken a word to one another so the only thing we have is our physical contact. So that’s our whole relationship. It’s everything. She knows me by my smell and my feel, so, physically, physical contact is the only thing she knows. So when I did leave, I lost Lizzie basically. Well, she lost me and I wasn’t OK with that when I left.” Delle Donne then took a break from basketball for her first year of college because she was feeling burnt out and wanted to recapture the joy of the game (yet another reason to love her).
And now that Delle Donne is back in the game, leading her team to unprecedented victories, she has her sister to thank. As Delle Donne put it, “She teaches me that you just fight no matter what." (You have to watch the ABC video for the hug between Elena and Lizzy.) And that teaches us all a little something about the power of sisterly love.
12 Drawings a Day
A Writer Learns Forgiveness