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By Guest Nicole
A sage quote on getting through life's transitions. "Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going." Journalist Carole Radziwill said this to me at a very transitional part of my life. I believe the quote originates from someone else, but her words hit me like a bolt of lighting. If something isn’t working, don’t force it. That applies to love, work, life, everything."
—Katie Sturino, model, body-positivity advocate, and founder of 12-ish Style
Remember your value and your values. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, so I was raised by two women—my mother and my grandmother. They were "wellness people" before "wellness" was a commonly used word. Specifically spirituality, resilience, gratitude (and vegetables!) were things instilled in me from a very early age and have shaped who I am as a father, husband, entrepreneur, and CEO.
—Jason Wachob, mindbodygreen founder and CEO
By Jack Ryan
Governments who support “religious freedom” over the equal human rights and dignity of others condone, and even endorse discrimination.
Tim Rymel, M.Ed., Contributor Author | Educator | Dad
In April, Russia’s Supreme Court labeled Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist religious group. “It effectively means that holding their beliefs and manifesting them is tantamount to a criminal act in Russia. They risk new levels of persecution by the Russian authorities,” said international legal counsel, Lorcan Price.
In America, most of us think of Jehovah’s Witnesses as that occasional Saturday nuisance. They interrupt our morning breakfast or afternoon chores to tell us their version of the Christian faith. They cheerfully drag their families along for quiet strolls through the neighborhoods, and pass out Watchtower Magazines for us to throw away later.
Annoying? Yes. Disruptive? Usually. But extremist? That depends.
Growing up in the Pentecostal faith, I was taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Catholics were not Christians. Anyone who converted to those, or other non-mainstream Christian sects, was deceived by the devil. Though we didn’t use the word “extremist” to define those religions, we certainly saw them as a threat to the true people of God who were susceptible to “false teachings.”
Religion, to paraphrase Merriam-Webster, is generally a belief in the supernatural with a commitment to keep up the attitudes and practices surrounding that belief. In other words, religion is more than just a belief it is an action. For some, that means attending church on Sundays. For others, it means killing people for believing the wrong things, or believing in the wrong way.
The BBC noted that Al Qaeda’s purpose is to avenge “wrongs committed by Christians against Muslims.” The organization wants to implement a “single Islamic political leadership,” and drive away non-Muslims from areas it deems belong to the nation of Islam.
ISIS, on the other hand, is a group of Scriptural fundamentalists who believe all other Muslims are apostates. William McCants, director of the Project on US Relations With the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, says that ISIS wants “to restore the early Islamic empire called the caliphate and eventually take over the whole world.”
Most of us can agree that Al Qaeda and ISIS are extremist groups. After all, they plan and implement terrorist attacks. They kill people, sometimes brutally. But is violence the only indicator of religious extremism?
It could certainly be argued that when a religion becomes violent it becomes extremist. But even Christianity, in it’s many definitions, has a sorted history, which is seldom talked about and often dismissed. From the Spanish inquisition to the convert-or-die tactics used on Native American Indians, Christianity has been used to commit horrific acts of violence throughout the centuries. Judaism, from which Christianity arose, recorded shocking details in the Torah of the slaughter of entire populations, including women, children, and animals.
Any religion, which purports to, alone, have all truth, and to, alone, have a direct line of communication to God, has a propensity toward extremist ideology. As University of Notre Dame Professor, Gary Gutting, points out:
Any religion that denies the value and humanity of others is an extremist religion. Whether those actions lead to direct harm, or simply reduce protections through legislation, extremist ideology seeks to create one class that is believed to be more valued than another.
The grandstanding that fundamentalist Christians have done since marriage equality passed in 2015 has created a growing, and disturbing trend toward extremist Christianity.
The Oath Keepers, a vigilante Christian group, vowed to protect Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis, when she refused issuing a marriage license to a gay couple. They stated the judge in Davis’ case “needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to.” And then, in an ironic twist to the story, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, of “God hates fags” fame, picketed Kim Davis because of her multiple divorces and remarriages.
Since then, dozens of “religious freedom” bills have been introduced across the country with the sole purpose of reducing or eliminating protections for the LGBT community in housing, employment, benefits, and even where they can go to the bathroom.
The problem, of course, is that “religious freedom” is based on nothing more than a belief. Governments who support “religious freedom” over the equal human rights and dignity of others condone, and even endorse discrimination. In any such environment religious extremism is the outcome, threatening the very existence of democracy.
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By The Librarian
“What Is Truth?”
THAT question was cynically posed to Jesus by the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. He was not interested in an answer, and Jesus did not give him one. Perhaps Pilate viewed truth as too elusive to grasp.
Pilate indifferently rejected the opportunity to learn such truth. What about you?
Learn more about Jesus Christ:
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
Dance your heart out
"As a model, it's my job to know my angles and my body for posing for the camera," Lee told Self magazine. "But saying affirmations and dancing in the mirror has become part of my self-care routine. Dancing in general makes me feel present and alive, but adding in positive sayings to myself makes me feel empowered and puts you in the right place mentally and emotionally before you leave your home." —Precious Lee
"The best way I know for sure to stay in steady makeover mode is to take care of yourself," Oprah Winfrey wrote in an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. "To feed yourself with love and loving thoughts. To eat food that's delicious to you and to your body. To engage in loving practices, like giving yourself the gift of stillness at least five minutes a day. To surround yourself with people who bring you light, and to banish all forms of negative energy." —Oprah Winfrey
Make your body happy
"I mostly go for hourlong hikes with friends," Kristen Bell said to Self magazine, "but sometimes, I'll do Pilates or 20 minutes of calisthenics…I go through spurts. Working out for me has nothing to do with body image. I refuse to look in the mirror and hate myself. My goal isn't to change my body—it's to make my body happy." —Kristen Bell
Find joy in the little things
"You can't look to…anything from the outside to fill you up," Jennifer Garner told O, The Oprah Magazine. "You have to find it in the small things in everyday life—which I do a million times a day: a hot cup of tea, a hummingbird. Stop, take that in, receive it, get joy from it." —Jennifer Garner
As Lily Collins explained to Seventeen magazine, "It's important to relate to one another about issues that you're having, because the second you open up and someone else says, 'Oh, me too. I feel the same way,' then all of a sudden, you feel more at peace with yourself and you can feel more confident with who you are." —Lily Collins
Take a hiatus
At the end of last summer, Selena Gomez announced she was taking time off for herself. "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness," she explained in a statement. It was later reported, that she checked into a Tennessee rehab facility to make her mental wellness top priority. Gomez's vocal support for self-care marked a shift in the collective dialogue, homing in on the need to take time for ourselves. —Selena Gomez
Carve quality time with your kids
"If I make my kids something delicious and we sit down to eat it, and I put my phone away and I really listen, that is such money in the bank," 43-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow told Self. Balancing a career with motherhood isn't easy for anyone, but it's a juggling act Paltrow has come to relish. "It's a fantastic age," she says, of being 44. "You can still find yourself at a party at 3 a.m., but you also know enough about who you are and how that informs the choices you make." —Gwyneth Paltrow
Purpose, not perfection
"It's really about changing the conversation. It's not about perfection. It's about purpose," the singing sensation told Elle U.K. "We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself." —Beyoncé
Food is fuel
"Getting busy and realizing that food was fuel and simply getting older," said Lena Dunham in People was the key to body acceptance. "I really feel good with my size now," she said. "I know when I say that people are like, 'mm-hmm,' but I just do! It used to be when I went into a room with all thin women I felt like, what's wrong with me? Now I just feel special." —Lena Dunham
By Guest Nicole
Stuck at your work desk? Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs, according to an instructive new study.
The study, which also found that frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work, could provide the basis for a simple, realistic New Year’s exercise resolution for those of us bound to our desks all day.
There is growing evidence, of course, that long bouts of uninterrupted sitting can have undesirable physical and emotional consequences. Studies have shown that sitting motionlessly reduces blood flow to the legs, increasing the risk for atherosclerosis, the buildup of dangerous plaques in the arteries.
People who sit for more than eight or nine hours daily, which for many of us describes a typical workday, also are at heightened risk for diabetes, depression and obesity compared to people who move more often.
In response, researchers and some bosses have proposed a variety of methods for helping people reduce their sitting time at work, including standing workstations and treadmill desks.
But such options are cumbersome and pricey, making them impractical for many work situations.
Some experts have worried, too, that if people are physically active at the office, they might subsequently become more tired, grumpy, distracted or hungry, any of which could have an undesirable effect on work performance and long-term health.
So for the new study, which was published last month in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, and other institutions decided to test several methods of increasing movement among office workers. (The study was funded largely by Johnson & Johnson, with additional support from the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center.)
To start, the researchers invited 30 sedentary adult office workers to a university clinic to complete a battery of health tests and questionnaires. The researchers measured their heart rates and stress hormone levels and asked them to rank, on a numerical scale, their sense of how energetic or tired they felt, as well as how happy they were, and whether they were feeling peckish and longing for food or had little appetite just then.
The volunteers also completed computerized games designed primarily to test their ability to concentrate and make decisions.
Then, on three subsequent visits to the clinic, each volunteer simulated a six-hour workday.
During one visit, the volunteers sat for the whole time with no interruptions, except for bathroom breaks.
During another, they walked moderately for 30 minutes at the start of their experimental day, and then sat for the next five-and-a-half hours with no additional scheduled breaks.
Finally, during a third visit, the volunteers sat for most of the six hours, but began each hour with five minutes of moderate walking, using treadmills at the clinic.
At the start and end of each session, the researchers drew blood to check levels of stress hormones. And periodically throughout each day, they asked their volunteers to numerically rate their moods, energy, fatigue, and their appetites.
The volunteers also repeated the computerized testing of their thinking skills at the close of each session.
The researchers then analyzed the data.
The numbers showed that on almost all measures, the subject’s ratings of how they were feeling rose when they did not sit for six uninterrupted hours. They said that they felt much more energetic throughout the day if they had been active, whether that activity was bunched into a single, longish walk at the start of the day or distributed into multiple, brief breaks.
On other measures, though, the five-minute walks were more potent than the concentrated 30-minute version. When the workers rose most often, they reported greater happiness, less fatigue and considerably less craving for food than on either of the other days. Their feelings of vigor also tended to increase throughout the day, while they often had plateaued by early afternoon after walking only once in the morning.
There were no differences on the scores on the cognitive tests, whether they sat all day or got up and moved. Stress hormones also remained steady during each visit.
These results suggest that “even a little bit of activity, spread throughout the day, is a practical, easy way to improve well-being,” says Jack Groppel, a study author and co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.
He points out that the walking breaks did not cause people to feel more tired or hungry, but instead had the opposite effect. They also did not alter people’s ability to focus, so, in theory, should not affect productivity (for good or ill).
This study, however, was small in scale, short-term and limited by its dependence on the volunteer’s perceptions of their responses to the experiment.
But even so, “it’s clear that moving matters,” Dr. Groppel says.
So set your 2017 appointment calendar, he suggests, to devote five minutes every hour to physical activity, whether you walk up and down a staircase, along a corridor or just pace around your office.
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By Guest Nicole