Shinrin Yoku 1

Yesterday, I celebrated Shinrin Yoku for the first time.

Traditionally it’s not a holiday, per se, just a Japanese custom/concept I’ve adopted as part of my 2015 adventure in mindful celebrations.

Shinrin Yoku literally translates as “forest bathing” and it’s rooted in the belief that natural spaces have powerful cleansing, restorative, and healing energy.

My inagural forest bath involved a half-mile walk along the river in Boston in (according to my weather app) “feels like” -16 degree temperatures with 21mph winds out of the northwest and several feet of snow.

It was wet. It was COLD. And it was…bafflingly…meditative, restorative, and healing.

Now, let me be perfectly clear, this was not a transcendental experience. There was nothing graceful about my alternate slipping through the slush and stumbling through 3-foot drifts, glasses caked with blowing snow and snot freezing in my nose. But choosing not to distract myself from the intense sensory immersion, the experience took on a kind of harsh beauty–physically, aesthetically, and emotionally.

shinrinyoku1

All in all, not a bad first “bath.”

Something to Celebrate…

A few days ago this collection of cultural ideals and celebrations we Americans are missing out on came across my Facebook feed…I was intrigued by the ideas highlighted in the article, but I was captivated by the author’s foregone conclusion that holidays are a matter of personal preference.

It was a bit of a face-palm moment, to tell you the truth. I mean, of course no one is forcing me to exchange candy hearts on the day some 5th century priest was martyred, but American celebrations are at once deeply ingrained in the culture (to the point that we’re calling on Constitutional freedoms and waging culture wars over how to celebrate them) and laughably meaningless (you mean Labor Day isn’t a commemoration of the barbeque?)

I’ve decided I want the holidays in my life to mean something. The root of the word is, after all, holy day. I want my celebrations to be more mindful, more deliberate, a better reflection of who I am (and, significantly I think, who I want to be) and what matters to me.

So, I’ve unsubscribed from Google’s “US Holidays” calendar and made my own for 2015. Happy Holidays, all.

Biomimicry at the Tower of Babel

Ran across this little gem recently:

“and it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.”

Ether 2:16

Nothing like a bit of antediluvian biomimicry before breakfast, right?

#4 – Check.

Came back to my desk yesterday afternoon to several puzzling emails inquiring about the cardboard box of kittens supposedly available for adoption at my desk. The wha-? A bit of excavation revealed an email sent by a passing oh-so-clever co-worker from the unlocked iPad sitting on my unattended desk.

The next morning, there were two adorable kittens curled up in a cardboard box on said oh-so-clever co-worker’s desk.

I mean, how else could I have responded?

kitten6

Naturally, my first stop had been the interwebs:

Facebook:

“Ok friends–odd request of the month. I need to borrow some kittens. seriously. one will do, but several would be much, much better.  I promise they will be well-treated and promptly returned. anybody? anybody?”

Fail. (though there was some touching concern for my mental health.)

Twitter, same result.

Craigslist, nothin.

Humane Society, no dice.

It simply wasn’t ‘kitten season,’ I was told. Apparently there’s a season. Phone calls to a dozen pet stores, official paperwork transfer and a background check (?!) later and I was finally the proud owner of two adorable Siamese kittens.

They spent the day cavorting across keyboards and conference tables, thoroughly delighting (and distracting) the Domosphere. And I spent the next 48 hours sneezing and wheezing while I placed these two darlings in loving new homes.

It actually didn’t click that’d I’d checked off a particularly problematic bucket-list to-do until I handed over the babies’ paperwork to their new family and saw the full breed listing: Himalayan Colourpoint Persian.

Most satisfying $160 impulse buy I ever made. 😉

Woah.

(hmm…looks like in the insanity that was the last 10 days I forgot to hit publish on this one. Old news now, but still kinda cool.)

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/08/wolfram-alpha-computes-answers-to-factual-questions-this-is-going-to-be-big/

Best Quote of the Day

This one from my Change Management instructor:
“The Navy is pretty obsessed with safety. Incidentally, the guys on the nuclear submarines are pretty obsessed with safety too. ”
Maybe I just needed to laugh, but I thought it was pretty funny.

#45 … Check

Check another one off the to-do list for my life. Perhaps not as charming as last time, but a happy moment nonetheless. Who would have thought I would pet a penguin in Africa!?

penguincollage

Okay, okay, so I didn’t actually pet the penguin. See, there were signs all over providing sound, even compelling, scientific advice against it–from the delicate ecological balance of this single-beach sanctuary to the potentially corrosive effects of my skin oils on the critical secretions coating their feathers. And others relying on more visceral appeals–don’t know what these penguins’ pet parasite might do in my innards … don’t really want to find out. Plus, the little guys were being so tolerant, magnanimous even, I figured I should at least return the courtesy.  But I was close enough to.

Yeah, I’m pretty much just rationalizing. I really wish I knew what those feathers actually felt like. Ethical behaviour can be so…unsatisfying.

Oh well, I’m still checking it off the list.

Today, I Wish…

…that I could just come up with the titles of articles and they would research, analyze and write themselves. I’m pretty good at the title thing. Less so the rest. Currently in various stages of [in]completion in my word processor:

  • “Pipe dreams: What evaluation educators can learn from students’ visions of the ideal evaluation tool”
  • “Evaluators by assignment: Truth and consequences of the mass amateurization of evaluation”
  • “Openness and the information economy: Market share, value propositions and competitive advantage”
  • “Better than free: A capacity-building approach to pro-bono”
  • “Leavening the internet: A latter-day-saint guide to new media”

I’ll let you know when they start writing themselves.

I Have Never…

We played this game (I was going to make that a link, but turns out this clean-fun game is a toned-down adaptation of a popular college drinking game…hmm) at Family Home Evening Monday night and I ended up in the middle a lot…personally, I think it had much more to do with the fact that I was in a skirt and high-heel boots than the breadth of my life experience but just to drive the fact home, here is a list of very common things I have never done:

  • I have never seen Mount Rushmore
  • I have never made a prank call
  • I have never watched “Titanic”
  • I have never scored a point in a basketball game
  • I have never attended a rock concert
  • I have never pulled out my own tooth
  • I have never been to the circus
  • I have never made out at a drive-in
  • And, no, I have never been to Boston in the Fall.

All-You-[Can’t]-Eat Sushi

Went out for sushi with some girls from the department (and a husband :)) last week. Feeling more than justified in my reluctance to take anyone’s word about Utah sushi, let alone Utah County sushi–I mean, let’s face it, “all-you-can-eat” and “sushi” are rarely a good combination, even if you’re not landlocked–I (along with three other skeptics) ordered a single roll and committed to “upgrade” if it made the grade.

One bite had Nicky melting into her chair, head lolled to one side and groaning in an undeniable state of sushi bliss. The rest of us followed suit and soon the table was a happy mass of tangled chopsticks, flying ginger and very full, yet somehow still laughing, mouths.

We must have ordered before the first bites actually made it to our stomachs, because just at the point that most of us were feeling contentedly satiated, the rest of our order arrived–three heaping platters of rolls and ngiri…

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