Small Changes, Big Gains: The Easy Way to Make Your Dreams Habit-Forming

A Review of Atomic Habits by James Clear

It’s an annoying fact of life that anything worth having requires hard work.  Not only hard work, but usually a lot of endurance and boredom and frustration.  This is problematic, because nature has designed us to be pleasure-seekers, and as a result we often prefer spending time stuffing our faces with Doritos and lying around, sloth-like, checking Facebook. 

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Depression as a Spiritual Journey: Parker J. Palmer on Finding Life-Changing Meaning Within Clinical Depression

Ansel Adams

Conventional wisdom presents us with several different — often contradictory — theories as to the causes of depression.  We may see depression alternately as a genetic predisposition, a faulty neurochemical mechanism in the brain, a response to childhood circumstances, or to current adverse life conditions.  Research has pointed the way to several effective approaches to alleviating depression, including psychotherapy, exercise, mindfulness meditation, and antidepressants (judiciously used).  But it seems as though little attention is paid to the idea of a meaning or a message buried within depression. 

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Pathways Out of Depression: A Book Review of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And Unexpected Solutions

In the book, Lost Connections, journalist Johann Hari takes aim at the antidepressant industry and the story it sells – namely, that depression is a physical ailment, a chemical imbalance in the brain, correctable with medication.  Hari begins by relating how, as a severely depressed teenager, his doctor told him his depression was a physical problem that could be corrected with a pill.  The antidepressant helped at first, despite an array of unpleasant side effects, but a year later, Hari found himself as depressed as he was before.  The writing of Lost Connections became Hari’s quest to come to terms with his own experience, and to investigate why it is our modern understanding of depression is failing to mitigate what has become a societal epidemic.

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An Epic Life

Human beings are story-telling animals. Once our needs for shelter, food, and connection are accounted for, that which we most require is stories. Narratives are so fundamental to humanity they appear to be co-emergent with the origin of the species.   For as long as mankind has existed, there are stories — painted on cave walls, carved into stone, sung in ballads, inscribed on parchment, printed into books, made into movies, and binge-watched on Netflix.

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