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My Painful Meeting with Mindfulness

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Handlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenHandlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenBike on ground by Jenifer Joy Madden compressSometimes fate needs to practically knock you upside the head to get you to pay attention. That’s what it took for me to be mindful. Handlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenHandlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy Madden

It was a Saturday morning in the middle of winter. I was getting ready to tackle a long list of home projects when I took a last peek at my email. A town meeting popped up that I didn’t notice before, and suddenly I had to be there. I figured I could also get some exercise if I rode my bike.

The week had been sunny and I was confident that snow covering the trail had melted. I grabbed my foldable bike, filled the tires and quickly assembled the frame. The latch for the handlebars didn’t look quite right, but it felt secure so I was off and rolling.

Finding the meeting less than scintillating, I soon grew antsy and before long was rushing back toward home. By then, the trail was more crowded. Up ahead were a duo of walkers and a small patch of ice. As I tried to pass between them, my handlebars buckled and I crashed to the pavement.

Stunned and embarrassed, a searing pain in my back, I was glad for the help of the pedestrians I had tried to avoid. One gave me a hand up as the other secured the handlebars—carefully this time. Offering a shaky thanks, I winced my way home with only a cracked rib and a bruised ego.

It took a trip to San Francisco to find out why the accident happened.

I was lucky to get a scholarship to Wisdom 2.0, a conference jammed with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and executives from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But they weren’t there to talk tech. This gathering was meant to connect people “in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.” Since I’ve written a book on that subject, I was curious to know what “ways” they were talking about. Continue reading

Kid-Friendly Video All About Walking

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from "Pedestrian Safer Journey"A clever new video is speaking kids’ language about how to walk safely to school, in the neighborhood or on city streets. The stars are cartoon characters just snarky enough for real kids to relate to.

Safe Routes to School posted the 5-minute animation just in time for International Walk to School Day, this year on October 8.

Way back when you might have walked or bike to school.  But do you know today’s rules of the road?

Walk with or against car traffic?

How old is old enough for a kid to walk to school alone?

Those answers and more are here in English or Spanish:

Walking and biking is a fun and easy way for kids to be outdoors, get exercise and learn durable skills they can’t in the classroom, like how to navigate without a GPS.

Even if your school doesn’t have Walk to School Day,  you can always help them out and plan it yourself.

Want inspiration for parenting active, creative kids? Read The Durable Human  Manifesto (it only takes 10 minutes, plus it’s mostly pictures!) 

Learn more about the author on Google+.

 

Helping Young Guys Dissuade Party Predators

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art by Maria Fabrizio

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

I’m trying out a new way to quickly post on my site. I usually take plenty prep of time in order to provide value and good journalism. But sometimes when I see good journalism elsewhere, I want to pass it along right away.

This piece, produced by Laura Starecheski on NPR, delves into the taboo subject of what’s called “date rape” and why it happens. She dug far enough to find a great prevention program that’s been in use at the high school level for a decade. The program has real tools to help the party predator help himself and for bystanders to tactfully help potential date rape targets.

The story echoes the same message that Deb Werrlein gave in her stunning appearance at Listen To Your Mother DC.

Listen to Laura’s report here.

Jenifer Joy Madden  is the author of The Durable Human Manifesto. She is now preparing the full-length sequel, Cover Your Assets: How to be a Durable Human in a Digital World.  Learn more about the author on Google+.

 

Portland, Oregon: Why Being Weird is Good for People

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intersection

Share-it Square in Portland, OR

In Portland, Oregon, they bike naked in the streets, hold laundromat happy hours, and neighbors adopt their intersections. The place is weird – which is a boon for the people who live there.

I learned a lot about the City of Roses, along with planners, politicians and policy makers, at the International Making Cities Livable conference. In his keynote, Portland mayor Charlie Hales ticked off some of the many ways his town makes its people the priority.

  • Spending $1 billion on the Willamette River so it’s clean enough for swimming
  • Giving every high school kid a free transit pass
  • Removing a riverfront highway to make way for a park

Hales says Portland’s land use and transportation policies “render freedom less dangerous.” With less time worrying about being hit by a car, Portlanders appear to be spending more time coming up with new ideas.

One such resident is 26-year-old Morgan Gary. Continue reading

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