Kindness Chronicles, Life Lessons, Quotes, Science

QUOTABLE: EINSTEIN REMINDS US TO WATCH OUR PRIORITIES

Albert Einstein's Quote About Success

Albert Einstein’s Quote About Success

When the stress piles on, it can become difficult to stick with your ideals. But if those ideals sustain your love for the world and in turn yourself, then hold them close. You’ll encounter countless cynics, sycophants and critics along the way. But they’ll have no lasting power over you, if your mission is not rooted in ego. Nature—your muse, teacher, provider, and your reflection—needs you. You need you.

You are the cosmos, the air, the plants, the light, the energy. You may sometimes feel divided, but your existence represents a united world. From your DNA, to your proteins, to your organelles, to your tissues, to your organs, you are a walking billboard of unification. You feel apart because your perceptions fool you.

Your mental and anatomical borders are an illusion like the horizon is an illusion. There are no borders or outlines; you flow just like the air and sea around you. When you remember this and hold it close, the manipulative embrace of your ego will loosen its grip and your priorities will become clear once more.

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Illustration, Kindness Chronicles

Illustration Favorite: Norman Rockwell’s ‘Golden Rule’

“The Golden Rule”

ARTIST: Norman Rockwell
COUNTRY: United States
YEAR: 1961

I love the unifying message behind this illustration. Rockwell was a huge advocate of civil rights. Did you know that the models in this piece included Rockwell’s friends, acquaintances and neighbors? Check out more of my favorite illustrators on Pinterest!

Norman Rockwell' "Golden Rule" (1961)

Norman Rockwell’ “Golden Rule” (1961)

Learn more about this illustration here:

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Kindness Chronicles, Photography, Quotes

Today is My 1 Year Anniversary with Olivia the Cat

Today marks one year since I adopted Olivia from an animal shelter. I deliberately chose an adult cat since people usually prefer adopting kittens. I’m happy to have her in my life. She’s really deepened my love and appreciation for animals. I’m also grateful that I can provide her a good home.

Haruki Murakami Cat Quote

The is the first time I saw Olivia at the shelter,  TLC Rescue Inc! She was so chubby and cute.

Olivia-Shelter

Initially she was very skittish and would hide under my bed.  About a week later she felt comfortable enough to lay on my bed. 

Olivia-1st-time-on-bed

Recent photos of Olivia

Olivia-Sleeping

Olivia-Curled-Up-Sleeping

Olivia, Today

Olivia-Year-Anniversary

View more photos here!

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Kindness Chronicles

WATCH: This photographer will make your day

Lately I’ve tried to focus on being kinder and appreciating the limited moments I have on Earth.  Unfortunately, it’s shocking how easy it is to stumble into negative thinking. You have to be vigilant and seek out positive role models, people who aggressively appreciate life.  Meet Brian Nice, a photographer with enviable comedic timing who’s planning to travel across America to inspire survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Garrison Art Center show 1 (Photograph by Brian Nice)

A recent photo from the Garrison Art Center show in August 2012.

“The project will include the production of a gallery exhibition of photographs, a full color coffee-table book, and a documentary film about the journey. Any profits from the project will be donated to an outstanding local facility called the Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Cold Spring NY, which helps others affected by Traumatic Brain Injury.”

A brain disorder may have almost taken Brian’s life 4 years ago, but his spirit appears stronger than ever. If you want to feel inspired today and help survivors of traumatic brain injuries, then please support Brian’s project on Indiegogo.

“I love photography and I want to keep taking pictures. After my first brain bleed and surgery in September 2009, I could not imagine how I would be able to continue doing the art I loved, any physical activity, or even the basic task of living life. It seemed like all had been taken away from me and my goal was to simply survive…”

Garrison Art Center show 3 (Photograph by Brian Nice)

A recent photo from the Garrison Art Center show in August 2012.

“…A friend gave me a point and shoot camera and this was an uplifiting experience. My current work is very different, yet it helps me express and show how I see the world now. It allows me to continue my art and gives me a real sense of myself. I still connect to the world through a camera – I just have a different perspective. ” -Brian Nice

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Illustration, Kindness Chronicles, Life Lessons, Quotes

George Saunders’ speech reminds us to be kind

Last week, George Saunders’ convocation speech to Syracuse University graduates went viral. He didn’t espouse the usual advice (e.g. follow your dreams), instead he focused on an often overlooked trait in the business world: kindness. I’ve been musing about his wise words for the past few days and decided to share some of my thoughts.

"George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates"

George Saunders gave a wonderful convocation speech to the graduates of Syracuse University

Sometimes it’s hard to be kind. It’s hard to endure the shallow insights of an egotistical corporate PowerPoint-bullshit-artist and not tell him to go rehabilitate his soul. Being conscientious isn’t usually compatible with having corporate ambitions. Obviously not every corporate employee lacks a soul; some of the most conscientious people I know work for corporations. What is disturbing though, is that being kind, honest, generous, fair, and introspective may win you love from peers, but won’t lead you to the executive suites. It seems those rungs on the corporate ladder are mostly rewarded to the servile, arrogant, narcissistic, abrasive, selfish, manipulative, and/or shallow characters. Now you may ask, where does competence come into play? Well, it depends on the goal you are competent at achieving.

George Sunder's Quote on regrets, photo by Arlene Ellis

An excerpt from George Saunders wonderful convocation speech to the graduates of Syracuse University (http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates)

If the corporations’ goal is to create profit for profit’s sake, then how an employee helps meet that goal is not that important. Who cares if Bob is known for berating and backstabbing his coworkers? Do the clients love him? Yes. Will the clients give us more business because of Bob? Well, yes. Are we getting richer because of Bob? Yes. Well then, he’s staying! There are those who may argue, “Well, without profits people will have no jobs, be forced to live on the streets, and have to sell their organs to help pay their light bills!” I guess that scenario could happen, so Bob should just keep being a jerk—or more accurately a charitable jerk.

George Sunder's Quote on why we're not kind, photo by Arlene Ellis

An excerpt from George Saunders wonderful convocation speech to the graduates of Syracuse University (http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates)

Here’s something to consider, we have a limited amount of moments on earth, why not try being kinder now? Yes profits are essential for jobs, but can a little be sacrificed for the sake of integrity and compassion? Most of us wouldn’t want our wrath to be the last experience someone endured moments before death; nor would we want to experience someone’s wrath right before dying.

By the way, I’m writing this primarily to my present and future self, but I think lessons are more powerful when shared. I’m certainly not a role model for kindness. I’ve said hurtful things in moments of anger and exhaustion, or during that wonderfully hormonal time of the month. I’ve also felt very guilty about saying hurtful things and I’ve decided to hold myself more accountable. I’m learning how to take preventive measures, how to measure the consequences of my words before releasing them.

Mother Teresa quote about kindness, photo by Arlene Ellis

More and more I am believing in the power of kindness. When I was younger I endured frequent bouts of depression stemming from internalizing traumas. I used to blame some of my abrasive behaviors on those traumas. But we’ve all experienced various degrees of pain and it doesn’t justify being mean. I’ve often rationalized that I was only rude to bullies, but honestly I was sometimes short with loved ones. Yet my loved ones still forgave me and were still kind to me. It was their compassion that rescued me from despair.

Mark Epstein quote about trauma, photo by Arlene Ellis

Excerpt from the Opinion page of the New York Times, “The Trauma of Being Alive.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/opinion/sunday/the-trauma-of-being-alive.html

Several days ago I reconnected with a professor who wrote to me that she cried when she reviewed a Christmas card I made for her ten years ago. I didn’t remember the card and asked her to email me a copy. I was curious to read the voice of my 20-year-old self. After reading it, I realized the archival quality of kind gestures. I discovered that a simple card, made in a  moment of gratefulness, would still be moving someone’s heart ten years later. Try to be kind today.

Handmade Christmas Card from 2002 (Arlene Ellis)

The front and back of a handmade Christmas card I gave my professor in 2002. Apparently I was into quotes back then too!

Handmade Christmas Card from 2002 (Arlene Ellis)

The inside of a handmade Christmas card I gave my professor in 2002. Apparently I was into quotes back then too!

Apparently, I wrote her a poem too. Oh the poetic days of my early twenties 🙂

Poem from 2003 (Written by Arlene Ellis)

It’s cool to see that even back then I was into textiles inspired by biology.

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