A free world needs satire | Patrick Chappatte

We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.
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When Things Go Wrong, I Remember This Day

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” ~Richard Bach

I’d wanted to visit Alaska nearly my entire life. I’d always wanted to see the vast landscape, majestic scenery, and awesome wildlife. So as a single, middle-aged mom with two boys aged fourteen and twelve, we went.

It was going to be an epic trip—travel from our home in the Midwest to Anchorage, a few days to Denali and back, then down to the coast and a cruise all the way to Vancouver. So much to see, and I was finally there! I was thrilled to experience it all with my boys.

The first few days of the trip exceeded my expectations. The train ride to Talkeetna was amazing, the lodge we stayed in was perfect, and one clear morning, we got to see Denali! I could practically hear the angels singing when the clouds parted and the mountain was visible.

After the Denali leg of the trip, we returned to Anchorage to catch a bus to Seward, where we were going to board our cruise ship and head down the coast for the wonders ahead. We had eaten breakfast and were supposed to have lunch at a wildlife rescue center, and then board our ship. It was a lovely sunny day.

But only an hour or so outside Anchorage, all the traffic on the two-lane highway came to a dead stop. Right there in the middle of nowhere, with the Cook Inlet on our right and the mountains on our left, we were stopped along with all the other traffic in both directions on the highway.

The bus driver learned there had been a terrible accident up ahead that had involved seven vehicles. Some people were transported by helicopter back to Anchorage with serious injuries; some died. It was truly horrible.

After the first hour of being stopped, passengers on our bus started getting anxious about how long we’d be stuck and if the cruise boat would leave without us, ruining our vacations.

The driver told us the traffic jam was many miles long. My kids were hungry for lunch and starting to get stressed about missing the boat. I knew they were trying to figure out my reaction, and they’d probably catch my mood. If I was upset, angry, or anxious, they would be too.

I realized at that moment that the universe had sent me a test! I think I actually chuckled to myself.

I’d been interested in spirituality since my youth, reading and studying and pondering a lot. But I hadn’t expected to be tested in front of my kids on my long-awaited dream vacation. I decided in that moment to make some choices in accordance with all that I’d learned, and here’s how they played out.

1. Acceptance of what is

I told my kids that I didn’t know for sure if we’d miss our cruise, but that even if we did, we’d find a way to salvage the vacation. They were hungry and bored—their cell phones didn’t work out here. What should we do, Mom? How are we going to pass the time?

I told them I was going to talk to people, and they should, too. They resisted at first. What will we talk about? We don’t know these people. But we were allowed to get out of the bus and stand beside it with the others, so we did. Wow was it beautiful there—water glimmering with sunlight, green fields in front of gorgeous mountains. And miles of vehicles standing still!

2. Gratitude

After a few hours, the wreckers started coming by on the opposite side of the road carrying the crushed vehicles back to Anchorage. One was flattened; another had its roof missing. Awful. My boys and I said a silent prayer for all the people who had been in the cars, and gave thanks that we weren’t among them. None of those people expected their day would end this way.

3. Calm

As the hours passed, people were getting hungry and thirsty and more anxious. The tour company sent water, and we had a working restroom on the bus, so we were okay. The boys were hungry, but we’d eat again later.

We heard stories about people on the other busses yelling at their drivers, threatening, cursing, and acting badly. No one on our bus was doing that, which was another reason to be grateful.

Before it got dark, our driver told us the cruise line was holding the boat because eleven busses were stuck in the traffic jam. We truly had nothing more to worry about.

It got dark out and the moon was shining when the bus started moving again. We had been stopped for ten hours! The boys fell asleep on the bus, and we finally got to the boat at midnight. They had a big buffet for all who had been stuck and we were on our way.

Sometimes when we anticipate something for a very long time, it turns out much differently that we’d imagined. I’m so glad I recognized a test when it presented itself. Now whenever I find myself being tested, I try to apply the lessons that served me so well in a traffic jam in the most breathtaking spot you could ever be stranded.

Acceptance, gratitude, calm. Embrace the situation for what it is. Find something to appreciate. Keep things in perspective. Things often aren’t as bad as they seem, and even when a lot is beyond our control, we can always control our attitude and how we respond.

About Brenda Hill

Brenda is a tech geek, divorced parent, traveler, and consumer of news and culture. Follow her on Twitter @brenhillspeaks.

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You Are Worthy of Your Desires

…and by that I mean…

Eye contact.

Smiles in the morning.

Food made with good intentions.

Clean drinking water.

Fresh air.

Hello, Please, Thank you.

Time to think about it.

A chance to show them what you’re made of.

A second chance.

Multiple orgasms.

Play before work.

To change your mind.

To say no.

To say yes.

To have your deepest needs met.

To be seen.

To be loved for what is seen.

You are worthy of your desires.

Love,

Danielle

Danielle LaPorte is an invited member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.” She is author of White Hot Truth: Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path—from one seeker to another. The Fire Starter Sessions, and The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul—the book that has been translated into 8 languages, evolved into a yearly day planner system, a top 10 iTunes app, and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators in 15 countries. Named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes, millions of visitors go to DanielleLaPorte.com every month for her daily #Truthbombs and what’s been called “the best place online for kickass spirituality.” A speaker, a poet, a painter, and a former business strategist and Washington-DC think tank exec, Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.” Her charities of choice are Eve Ensler’s VDay: a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and charity: water, setting out to bring safe drinking water to everyone in the world. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her favourite philosopher, her son. You can find her @daniellelaporte and just about everywhere on social media.

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The post You Are Worthy of Your Desires appeared first on Positively Positive.

How to Retrain Your Brain for Positivity (Even When It Feels like Everything in Your Life Is Going Wrong)

No matter who you are or what your life is like, there are probably going to be times when it feels like everything is going wrong.

Maybe you lose your job or your romantic partner leaves you…

Or you injure yourself, a family member falls ill, someone breaks into your car or your new boss turns out to be a total jerk.

And when you turn on the TV to escape from it all, the news is full of horrible and disturbing stories about a world in seemingly never-ending crisis!

But it’s important to remember that you have the power to change your experience at any moment. And that’s because it’s your thoughts that create your own reality. @JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)

And I mean that very literally…

The things you choose to focus on determines how you perceive the world – AND the experiences you have as a result.

If you focus only on the negative things in your world, the world can seem like a terrible place.

But when you focus on the positive things in your world, you see that the world is actually full of love and kindness and beauty and inspiring people doing incredible things.

Here are five powerful tips on how to retrain your brain for positivity, so you can maintain an optimistic, inspired, motivated outlook – no matter what is happening in your life or the world around you.

1. Be Aware of Your Thoughts

Take the time to pay attention to what you spend most of your time imagining and thinking about.

Start paying more attention to the things you tell yourself – and always remember that you have the power to change them.

This is called mindfulness. A technique I teach my students is to set the alarm on your cell phone to go off every 20 minutes. As soon as you hear it, take a moment to reflect on what thoughts you were thinking.

Were they positive or negative?

Were they fear-based or optimistic?

Were they judgmental or unconditionally loving and accepting of what you were perceiving and experiencing?

2. Reframe Negative Thoughts

Whenever you find yourself thinking something like, “People are horrible,” or “I’m so stupid and careless,” or “There’s no point in trying because I’ll probably fail” – catch yourself and take the time to transform that thought into a positive one.

For example, tell yourself: “Most people are actually pretty awesome,” or “I’m actually really clever and do great work when I apply myself,” or “Of course, I should try! It’s the only way I’ll ever succeed — and even if I fail, at least I will have learned something, and I can try again with this new information.”

3. Visualize Positive Outcomes

Another good idea is to spend more time visualizing positive outcomes.

No matter what you’re about to do – go to a party, take on a new challenge at work, enter into a new relationship, make a new sales call, or move to a new town – clearly visualize the outcome you want to experience.

Imagine what that positive outcome will look like and feel like. The more clearly you can see it in your mind, the easier you’ll find it to make that vision a reality.

Making a vision board is an empowering way to represent your goals and dreams and clearly picture your positive outcome.

4. Develop a Daily Gratitude Practice

I also strongly encourage you to develop a daily gratitude practice.

Spend some time every day to think about everything that is good in your life. The friends and family you have in your life.

Your home, your job, your pet, clean water, electricity, the beauty of the natural world around you. The fact that you have clothes to wear and good food to eat.

When you take the time to acknowledge everything that’s good in your life, you will realize that your life is FULL of wonderful things to be thankful for.

Make it a daily practice for a few minutes every day.

A daily gratitude practice—either writing in a journal or just speaking it out loud—will make it so much easier for you to maintain a positive mindset.

You may even want to deepen your practice by incorporating meditation to help clear your mind of negative thoughts.

5. Reduce Your News Consumption

I see so many people constantly checking their phones to catch the latest updates. But how does that really help you?

First, most news is generally negative–news about storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, accidents, robberies, murders, mass shootings, wars, political corruption, jobs lost, congressional gridlock, and so on.

Almost all of which you can’t do anything about, except get upset. Knowing how to be optimistic about the future will go miles for boosting your positivity.

Furthermore, so much of what is called “news” these days is mere conjecture and opinion pieces written to provoke fear and outrage. All it does is make us feel angry and helpless.

You’d be doing yourself a huge favor if you took all the time and energy you normally spend on reading or watching the news and devote it to your own self-improvement and achievement of your goals instead.

Now, I’m not saying never read the news – it’s good to be aware of current events!

But if you only tune in once a week to spend an hour or so catching up on the latest stories, I guarantee you won’t miss out on anything important.

And you will be able to focus so much of your time and energy on what really matters in your life.

Which tip do you plan to first incorporate when retraining your brain for positivity?

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of Ivana Cajina.

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The post How to Retrain Your Brain for Positivity (Even When It Feels like Everything in Your Life Is Going Wrong) appeared first on Positively Positive.