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Mindful : June 2017
CRAZE OR CRAZY After decades of internalizing unsolicited remarks from others about her body, British designer Jojo Oldham displayed all the com- mentary—nasty and nice—on a dress, illustrat- ing her challenging journey to self-acceptance. Sometimes you just can’t decide if something’s groundbreaking or totally bonkers. Our jury’s out. What’s your verdict? A MIND CLEANSE Okay, so you start by grabbing some soap and a scalpel, and then...just kidding! “Mind Cleanse” is becoming a popular term to refer to vari- ous activities and pro- grams with the aim of a clearer, calmer mind. Just because it sounds suspiciously similar to “brainwash- ing,” doesn’t make it the same thing, right? WEED YOGA People have been smoking joints and doing stretches for decades, but recently yoga studios have opened up that specialize in yoga “enhanced” with marijuana. MEDITATION TRUCKS Picture a food truck— only for meditation. The latest in por table services, medita- tion trucks have been popping up and wheeling around US cities, including Detroit and Austin. All too often, medical care is dismally short on compassion, even though reports have identified it as an essential ingredient for providing quality care. A major barrier to change is the lack of a valid, reliable way to assess compassion in clinical settings. Recently, Shane Sinclair of the University of Calgary and other Canadian colleagues surveyed the existing methods out there. Scouring through research databases, they turned up nine studies describing seven different compassion mea- surement tools, ranging from a self-report questionnaire for nurses in Korea to a survey of patients’ perceptions of hospital physicians’ caregiving from the Boston-based Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. All seven methods have “significant limitations that warrant careful consideration,” the authors concluded. No single instrument measured compassion in a comprehensive or rigorous enough fashion; for instance, most of the tools didn’t directly evaluate the desire to help ease suffering, a key element disting uishing compassion from empathy. And for most of the methods, there was little evidence of the measurements’ reliability, validity, or interpretability. Taking a Measure of Compassion Awe Yeah! Making Space to Just Bee If It Is Broke, Do Fix It! It’s scary how easily most modern devices fall apart, and how hard (and expensive!) it is to repair them. Yet the financial and environmental cost of replacing our broken stuff is reaching a breaking point. Enter iFixIt, the Wikipedia of repair manuals, which offers a virtual library of manuals for fixing phones, staplers, cars—pretty much anything you can think of— all written and edited by the site’s audience. We’ve all experienced awe in the face of the momen- tous: A moment of stunned awareness, when our bodies are suffused with won- der, vitality, and presence. What’s more, research is finding that the experience of awe produces some pow- erful benefits. In addition to promoting altruism, loving- kindness, and magnanimity, awe may boost the body’s defense systems and help people better cope with stress. Another bit of good news: Awe doesn’t have to be a once-in-a -lifetime experience. Even something as simple as a walk can bring it about. A small Iowa town is doing its bit to reduce the bee-pop- ulation crisis: Cedar Rapids plans to seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Eventually, the city hopes to dedicate 1,000 acres to bee-friendly foodstuffs. To explore the first-ever virtual-reality guided awe walk, go to mindful.org/ awewalk June 2017 mindful 11 PHOTOGRAPHBYJOJOOLDHAM,FREDDIERAMM