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jerryking : soul-enriching   16

The Zen of Weight Lifting
Nov. 22, 2019 | The New York Times | By Brad Stulberg.

There’s an old Eastern adage: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” It’s great training advice too.......A favorite movements at the gym is called a farmer’s carry. You hold a heavy weight in each hand and attempt to walk with a solid, upright posture for between 30 and 60 seconds...... the farmer’s carries work your grip, core, arms, legs and even cardiovascular system — an utterly elegant full-body exercise. .......The physical and mental health benefits of weight lifting are well documented. Weight training can help us to maintain muscle mass and strength as we age, as well as better mobility and metabolic and cardiovascular health. It may help ease or prevent depression and anxiety, and promote mental sharpness.......lifting weights becomes a transformative practice to be undertaken primarily for its own sake, the byproduct of which is a nourishing effect on the soul.....Weight lifting offers participants a chance to pursue clear and measurable goals with outcomes that can be traced directly back to oneself.....In the weight room, however, it’s just you and the bar. You either make the lift or you don’t. If you make it, great. If not, you train more, and try again. Some days it goes well, other days it doesn’t. But over time, it becomes clear that what you get out of yourself is proportionate to the effort you put in. It’s as simple and as hard as that. A kind of straightforwardness and self-reliance that gives rise to an immense satisfaction, a satiating feeling that makes it easier to fall asleep at night because you know you did something real, something concrete, in the world. This doesn’t mean that progress happens fast or is always linear. Consistency and patience are key. If you try to rush the process or force heroic efforts, you invariably wind up getting hurt. Weight lifting, like so much in life, demands showing up day in and day out, taking small and incremental steps that, compounded over time, lead to big gains.
Whether you like it or not, there will be plateaus, which in my experience tend to occur right before a breakthrough. Weight lifting teaches you to embrace them, or at the very least accept them.....For most, the plateau is a form of purgatory. But to advance beyond the low-hanging fruit in any meaningful discipline — from weight lifting, to writing, to meditation, to marriage — you must get comfortable spending time there. Weight lifting shoves this reality in your face since progress, or in this case, lack thereof, is so objective.......
you don’t keep showing up and pounding the stone.

But here’s a paradox: Pound too hard or too often, and you’ll run into problems. The only way to make a muscle stronger is to stress it and then let it recover. In other words, you’ve got to balance stress and rest. Exercise scientists call this “progressive overload.” Too much stress, not enough rest, and the result is illness, injury or burnout. Too much rest, not enough stress, and the result is complacency or stagnation. It’s only when yin and yang are in harmony that you grow — another lesson that applies to a lot more than lifting weights.

It is true that from the outside, weight lifting can seem dull or boring — same movements, same barbells, same people at the same gym. 
Weight lifting fulfills three basic needs:
Autonomy: The ability to exert oneself independently and have control over one’s actions.
Mastery: A clear and ongoing path of progress that can be traced back to one’s efforts.
Belonging: Being part of a community, lineage or tradition that is working toward similar goals.
 
The Zen of weight lifting — the joy, fulfillment, hard-earned calluses and growth — lives in the process, in the journey. 
cardiovascular  compounded  consistency  core_stability  efforts  exercise  fitness  functional_strength  incrementalism  metabolism  movement-based  objective_reality  paradoxes  patience  plateauing  small_wins  soul-enriching  strength_training 
november 2019 by jerryking
Toni Morrison Taught Me How to Think
Aug. 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Wesley Morris.

You need to be able to read to be able to read. Especially if Toni Morrison did the writing. [because Toni Morrison's writings demanded much of the reader as her evocative words painted a rich context and vivid imagery.......She was going to make us [you, the reader] work, not as a task, not for medicine, but because writing is an art and a reader should have a little art of his own.....Reading a Toni Morrison novel was group therapy. My aunts, my mother and her friends would tackle “Beloved” in sections then get on the phone to run things by one another......They admired the stew of a Morrison novel, the elegant density of its language — the tapestry of a hundred-word sentence, the finger snap of a lone word followed by a period, the staggering depictions of lust, death, hair care, lost limbs, baking and ghosts. Morrison made her audiences conversant in her — the metaphors of trauma, the melodramas of psychology. She made them hungry for more stew: ornate, disobedient, eerie literary inventions about black women, often with nary a white person of any significance in sight. The women in my family were reading a black woman imagining black women, their wants, their warts, how the omnipresence of this country’s history can make itself known on any old Thursday.....A life spent savoring Toni Morrison, both as a novelist and a scalding, scaldingly moral literary critic, makes clear that almost no one has better opening sentences......This is all to say that Toni Morrison didn’t teach me how to read. But she did teach me how to read. Hers is the kind of writing that makes you rewind and slow down and ruminate. It’s the kind of writing that makes you rewind because, god, what you just read was that titanic, that perception-altering, that true, a spice on the tongue. .......Morrison is dead now, her legend long secure. But what comedy to think how the writers and critics who loved her labored to get her mastery treated as majesty when she’s so evidently supreme. .....She did for generations of writers what Martin Scorsese did for generations of filmmakers — jolt them, for better and worse, into purpose. Morrison didn’t make me a writer, exactly. What she made me was a thinker. She made the thinking seem uniquely crucial to the matter of being alive......I have now by my bed is some novel by Toni Morrison, whether or not I’m reading it. A night light for my soul. And, in every way, a Good Book.
African-Americans  authors  books  craftsmanship  critical_thinking  howto  novelists  novels  obituaries  purpose  reading  Slow_Movement  soul-enriching  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers  writing 
august 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Useless Knowledge Begets New Horizons
Jan. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist.

Fundamental discoveries don’t always have practical uses, but they have soul-saving applications......In October 1939, as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were plunging the world into war, an American educational reformer named Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s magazine under the marvelous title, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.”

Noting the way in which the concerns of modern education increasingly turned toward worldly problems and practical vocations, Flexner made a plea for “the cultivation of curiosity” for its own sake.....The marriage of disinterested science and technological wizardry on the farthest-flung adventures of the human race is what John Adams had in mind when he wrote that he had to “study Politicks and War that my sons may have the liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.” It is among the greatest fulfillments of the American dream.....Typically, we think of the American dream in materialistic terms — a well-paid job; a half-acre lot; children with better opportunities than our own. Or we think of it in political terms, as an ever-expanding domain of ever-greater freedom and equality.

But prosperity, freedom, equality for what? The deep critique of the liberal society is that it refuses on principle to supply an answer: Each of us lives in pursuit of a notion of happiness that is utterly subjective, generally acquisitive and almost inevitably out of reach — what psychologists call the “hedonic treadmill.” Religious cults and authoritarian systems work differently: Purposes are given, answers supplied, questions discouraged or forbidden, and the burdens of individual choice and moral agency are largely lifted. They are dictatorships of meaning.....Flexner’s case for such untrammeled freedom isn’t that it’s a good unto itself. Freedom also produces a lot of garbage. His case is that freedom is the license the roving mind requires to go down any path it chooses and go as far as the paths may lead. This is how fundamental discoveries — a.k.a., “useless knowledge” — are usually made: not so much by hunting for something specific, but by wandering with an interested eye amid the unknown. It’s also how countries attract and cultivate genius — by protecting a space of unlimited intellectual permission, regardless of outcome....All of this, of course, has its ultimate uses — hence the “usefulness” of Flexner’s title. Newton’s third law of motion begets, after 250 years, the age of the rocket; the discovery of the double helix delivers, several decades later, Crispr. It’s also how nations gain or lose greatness. The “reorganized” universities of fascist Italy and Germany had no place for Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi or Albert Einstein. They became the Allies’ ultimate weapon in World War II.

Which brings us back to New Horizons, Osiris-Rex, InSight and every other piece of gear flying through the heavens at taxpayer expense and piling up data atop our already vast stores of useless knowledge. What are they doing to reduce poverty? Nothing. Environmental degradation? Zippo. The opioid crisis? Still less.

And yet, in being the kind of society that does this kind of thing — that is, the kind that sends probes to the edge of the solar system; underwrites the scientific establishment that knows how to design and deploy these probes; believes in the value of knowledge for its own sake; cultivates habits of truthfulness, openness, collaboration and risk-taking; enlists the public in the experience, and shares the findings with the rest of the world — we also discover the highest use for useless knowledge: Not that it may someday have some life-saving application on earth, though it might, but that it has a soul-saving application in the here and now, reminding us that the human race is not a slave to questions of utility alone.
breakthroughs  Bret_Stephens  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  Colleges_&_Universities  Crispr  curiosity  exploration  expeditions  free_speech  free_will  freedom  fundamental_discoveries  Joseph_Stalin  knowledge  op-ed  serendipity  soul-enriching  space_exploration  the_American_dream 
january 2019 by jerryking
Thinking BIG: Danish architects have a radical vision to build a distinct condo community in Toronto - The Globe and Mail
ALEX BOZIKOVIC ARCHITECTURE CRITIC
COPENHAGEN
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 12, 2018

The new condo will be hard to miss. It could be the strangest residential building ever constructed in Canada. Certainly, it will set an interesting example for new housing. While new condos and apartments are often faulted for being soulless, this promises to be a carefully detailed building, a distinctive place, and a village that contributes to the larger city.......the King Street project, by Westbank in partnership with Toronto office developers Allied Properties REIT. It was inspired by Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, the legendary assemblage of prefab boxes on Montreal’s harbour.......Like Habitat, the King Street building is configured as a series of “mountains,” irregular stacks of boxes that each contain a home or a piece of one. The residences rise up, over and around four century-old brick buildings, which will all be retained entirely or in large part......They are eminently livable. This is typical of BIG’s work, which tends to juxtapose fantastic ambition with business savvy and technical expertise.......BIG, and their clients, were ready to do something more thoughtful, but had no interest in blending in. After much back-and-forth, they’ve settled on glass block as the building’s main cladding material.....The King Street project is also an ambitious experiment with urban design. There are basically two species of tower in Toronto: a mid-rise slab of six to 10 storeys, which steps back at the top; and a “tower-and-podium,” a model borrowed from Vancouver that combines a fat, squared-off base (or “podium”) with a tall, skinny residential tower.
architecture  Danish  heritage  King_Street  livability  property_development  thinking_big  Toronto  condominiums  soul-enriching  housing 
september 2018 by jerryking
Charlie Parker and the Meaning of Freedom
AUG. 29, 2017 | The New York Times | By ARTHUR C. BROOKS.

The jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, also known as Bird, was born on Aug. 29, 1920.

Freedom in Parker’s music was the freedom to work within the melody and chords to make beautiful, life-affirming music. That meant the self-mastery to dominate his craft through years of careful practice, and the humble discipline to live within the rules of the music itself.

Many artists have known this truth. Leonardo da Vinci said, “You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.” But the lesson goes far beyond art. Indeed, this is one of life’s great lessons for all of us......The lesson: To be truly free to enjoy the best things in life, set proper moral standards for yourself and live within them as undeviatingly as Charlie Parker did in his music.
art  Arthur_Brooks  boundaries  constraints  jazz  Leonardo_da_Vinci  musicians  practice  restraint  self-discipline  self-mastery  self-restraint  soul-enriching 
august 2017 by jerryking
Martha’s Vineyard Has a Nourishing Magic for Black Americans
AUG. 22, 2017 | The New York Times | By NICOLE TAYLOR.

At least five generations of the African-American creative and professional classes have spent summer breaks on this island off Cape Cod, from 19th-century whaling captains to the filmmaker Spike Lee. Every August, Barack Obama and his family sign the imaginary visitor log and devour New England’s casual pace, long bike rides and ice cream pit stops.

An African-American resort area that’s more than 125 years old, Oak Bluffs has earned its seat at history’s table. Black families stay all over the island now, huddling over lobster rolls or fried clams from Chilmark to Edgartown, but that was not always the case. “Oak Bluffs,” Dr. Harris said, “was the hub of the island’s black life.”
African-Americans  Martha's_Vineyard  hospitality  summertime  soul-enriching 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Money Letter That Every Parent Should Write - The New York Times
By RON LIEBER JUNE 17, 2016

"....consider the old-fashioned letter. It’s long enough to tell some tales to bolster your advice, and if it’s written with enough soul, there’s a good chance the recipient will keep it for a long time. Plus, it’s a literal conversation piece, since the good letters will inspire more curiosity about how the writers oversee their own financial affairs....A good letter, according to Ms. Palmer, should include at least one story about a large financial challenge and another one about a big money triumph. Then, include a list of crucial habits and the tangible things they have helped the family achieve.

HEED YOUR IGNORANCE Quite often, the best stories and takeaways come from the biggest mistakes.
BEWARE OF GENIUS: Don’t trust the person who claims to be omniscient either.
STICK TO YOUR SELLING PLANS We can be blinded by flattery from the seats of power,” “Be aware of this in your business lives.” Selling something that is still valuable is the hardest part of any trade, he added. So if you can’t name three good reasons to continue owning something, then it’s time to sell.
BUDGETS ARE ABOUT VALUES. What you spend says a lot about what you stand for, and if you don’t like what your own notebook says about you, try to make it look different next month.
personal_finance  parenting  Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  investing  investors  mentoring  values  budgets  advice  self-discipline  lessons_learned  wisdom  habits  financial_planning  ownership  ignorance  origin_story  takeaways  family  storytelling  financial_challenges  family_office  generational_wealth  soul-enriching  coverletters  unsentimental 
june 2016 by jerryking
Five traits of smart risk takers
March 13, 2013 | G&M | Harvey Schachter.

Review of Taking Smart Risks by Doug Sundheim. Sundheim lists five common dangers of playing it safe for too long:

• You don’t win.
• You don’t grow.
• You don’t create.
• You lose confidence as you lose momentum and start to freeze up.
• You don’t feel alive, because you aren't challenging yourself.
Harvey_Schachter  risks  risk-taking  books  book_reviews  soul-enriching  personality_types/traits  growth  cost_of_inaction  character_traits  complacency  risk-aversion  risk-avoidance  playing_it_safe 
march 2013 by jerryking
New urban design plays a heady game of risk
Mar 12, 2005 | The Globe and Mail pg. F.3|
Doug Saunders.

The slogan of the new movement that is overtaking Europe's cities: "To make it safe, you need to make it dangerous." Iain Borden, director of the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and a leader of this new movement. Its members recently published an intriguing report titled "What Are We Scared of: The Value of Risk in Designing Public Space."

In recent months, a school of architects and urban planners has picked up disparate cues from the urban experiments taking place in northern Europe and given them a name -- risk. Our cities, they believe, are now designed predominantly to minimize risk, and this has made them dull, homogeneous, repetitious and, paradoxically, often quite dangerous.

(Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it invokes a profoundly physical experience. A small amount of danger surrounding the use of public spaces might act much like a vaccine immunizing the population against complacency).
Doug_Saunders  urban  design  risks  safety  public_spaces  counterintuitive  urban_planning  uncertainty  complacency  biology  psychology  dangers  life_skills  coming-of-age  risk-assessment  high-risk  low-risk  soul-enriching  physical_experiences 
october 2011 by jerryking
Building a Culture of Risk
26 Nov. 2010 | The Agenda | by Stavros Rougas . Canada doesn't
have the same risk-loving culture as our more entreprenurial neighbours
south of the border. In the 3rd segment of the prgrm we ask Glen Murray,
Ontario’s Min. of R & D& Innovation, how to encourage
innovation in a place that is proud of its risk intolerance in the fin.
sector. While the context of tonight’s program risk is about economics,
we'll end with a poem by the late Leo Buscaglia that speaks to the
underlying values of risk:
To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure.
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to
risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and is
nothing.
He may avoid suffering & sorrow, but he simply cannot learn,
feel, change, grow, live, or love.
Chained by his addictions, he's a slave.
He has forfeited his greatest trait, & that is his individual
freedom.
Only the person who risks is free.

- Leo Buscaglia
risks  risk-taking  organizational_culture  entrepreneurship  start_ups  inspiration  e-commerce  uWaterloo  innovation  poems  poetry  poets  soul-enriching  risk-tolerance 
november 2010 by jerryking
Judging the risks in the backcountry
Feb 4, 2003 | The Globe & Mail pg. A.18 | editorial.
Becoming independent requires some assumption of risk. That is the
process of growing up. Toronto's school board, failing to understand
this, demolished its playground equipment in 170 schoolyards three years
ago without any statistical evidence of dangerousness. Hockey, Canada's
game, exposes boys and girls to the risk of serious spinal-cord
injuries, yet the game goes on.
backcountry  risks  life_and_death  life_skills  TDSB  editorials  coming-of-age  risk-assessment  playgrounds  dangers  soul-enriching  children 
december 2009 by jerryking
In praise of risk
Sep 14, 2000 | The Globe & Mail. pg. A.16 | Why expose
children to even the slightest risk if we can avoid it?

First, because it costs money. The $700,000 it cost to tear down those
Toronto playgrounds, and the $30-million it will cost to replace them,
could have been spent on something indisputably worthwhile: books, or
teachers or safe-driving programs for teenagers.

Second, some level of risk is unavoidable. Life, as they say, is a fatal
disease. If we wanted to eliminate all danger to our children, we would
keep them indoors all day and tell them to hide under the bed. We don't
do that because childhood is supposed to be fun, and part of having fun
is taking risks.

Sensible risks.

A responsible society, like a responsible parent, will do everything it
reasonably can to protect the young from real, demonstrable dangers.
What it will not do is fly into a frenzy at the slightest hint of peril.
If we don't raise our children to act that way, why on earth would we?
children  schools  playgrounds  editorials  dangers  soul-enriching  risks  childhood 
october 2009 by jerryking
Take Smart Risks
09.21.09 | Wired Magazine | by By William Gurstelle. "Done
artfully and wisely, living dangerously engages our intellect, advances
society, and even makes us happier. It is possible to work consciously
toward joining the "golden Third": Just get in there and start pitching.
As with knife-throwing, unicycle-riding, and whip-handling, one gets
better mainly by practice. Make your choices smart ones. It's not
difficult to discriminate between a good, soul-enriching risk and one
that's just plain nuts."

A comment:

That study of risk takers vs. non risk takers is probably
biased. The random sample of people interviewed most likely didn't
include people that were dead or in prison as a result of the risks they
took.

And it is very true, but sometimes risks are compounding and other times
they are isolated. It's important to distinguish when something that
appears to be isolated is really starting to compound.
category_errors  risk-taking  risks  self-actualization  isolation  compounded  discernment  risk-assessment  dangers  psychology  soul-enriching  practice  dedication  multiplicative  survivor_bias  cumulative 
october 2009 by jerryking

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