What vaccinating vampire bats can teach us about pandemics | Daniel Streicker

Could we anticipate the next big disease outbreak, stopping a virus like Ebola before it ever strikes? In this talk about frontline scientific research, ecologist Daniel Streicker takes us to the Amazon rainforest in Peru where he tracks the movement of vampire bats in order to forecast and prevent rabies outbreaks. By studying these disease patterns, Streicker shows how we could learn to cut off the next pandemic at its source.
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Parenting Gone Unquestioned

The inspiration behind my new blog came from years of experience as a nanny for many different families and seeing the need for something new in our children’s lives, in our own lives.

Currently, all children learn as a “way of life” is simply what is passed down from generation to generation, without question. The “same old thing” over and over again.

I remember an old story where a grown daughter was having her mom over for dinner one evening. The daughter decided to make her mom’s favorite dinner, pot roast. As the daughter started to make the meal, she placed the slab of meat on a cutting board, proceeded to cut off a big chunk of meat from each of the ends of the roast, and then tossed those ends in the trash. She then placed the pot roast in a casserole dish. Her mom, who was sitting at the table watching her, said “Why did you cut off and waste all that good meat? To which the daughter replied “Well that is what you always used to do when you made pot roast.” The mom sat there for a moment and then responded, “Honey, I did that because I had a small casserole dish that the pot roast rarely fit into, and so I had to cut the ends off in order to cook it.”

The daughter never questioned why her mom did what she did. She just mimicked it without question. We never question why we do the things that we do, or why we say the things we say. We never question things –we just simply live from “borrowed words and actions”.

And as difficult as it may be to believe, that is exactly why you see a world “out there” that never truly changes. There may be what appears to be change, but that change is really just a reconfiguration of the old.

Children, perhaps for millennia, are like photo copy machines – and I mean that wholeheartedly. They mimic our facial expressions, our verbal intonations and phrases, and most importantly, our negative reactions to life’s unwanted events.

They mimic every little thing. They are watching and “recording” us all the time and most of that time, we are not even aware of that fact, because if we were, we wouldn’t do or say the things that we do in their presence.

I was driving in my car recently and I became aware of my right arm on the middle console and my fingers were just moving and feeling themselves. I looked at my arm and realized that that is what my mom used to do when she was driving! I am 58 years old now. It is so stunning to see something like that! Something in me “recorded” that memory and I wasn’t even aware of it.

Now that is something that we might call a “harmless” memory, right? But what about when Terri has anger come up in her because a child doesn’t listen to what is being asked of them? Where did Terri learn to get angry when someone doesn’t do what she wants them to do? Where did my mother and father learn to get angry when someone didn’t do what they wanted them to do? And their parents??

Those are the questions that we need to really dig within ourselves and ask. Because if we don’t, we can only offer our children the old, borrowed stuff to live from which offers them nothing but a “pretense of a life”.

I don’t and never will claim to “know” answers, but I can just offer guidance from what I have learned and observed for myself. The information on this blog won’t be for everyone. It will be for people who truly want something different, something better for their children and for themselves. It will be for the people who want a different relationship with their children and with Life itself.

Even though there are many parenting books out there that claim otherwise, there truly is no parenting recipe that can be predetermined “in advance”, or a “one size” that fits all.

People often ask questions like “If my child throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, what should I do?” The answer differs from child to child. The answer differs from moment to moment based on the need in the moment. And so if I have a predetermined action that I will take (I’ll do this, if my child does that), that action is the perpetuation of the old, borrowed ways where nothing new can be seen, learned and offered in the moment.

The moment is always new. The moment contains answers and the moment guides us. You will hear me refer to it in my blog as “the magical moment.”

There is a part of us that wants easy cookie cutter answers as laid out in most parenting books, but there truly is no such thing. What is required for this new relationship between parent and child entails an immense sacrifice on our part as parental figures.

This world that we have created for ourselves is all about cramming our day full of things that we supposedly need to do, and because we believe we have to live that way, there will always be a part of us that makes an excuse as to why we don’t have the time to make the necessary sacrifices in the moment for our children (or for others, for that matter).

But only true and meaningful things in life happen through great sacrifice. Making the necessary sacrifices is how we will teach our children the true meaning of love that can be taught in no other way.

When we lead by example by showing a child that there is nothing more important in this world than being IN THE MOMENT with them (no matter how many things seem to be pressing upon us), it teaches them to be IN THE MOMENT with you and with LIFE ITSELF. It teaches them a certain right obedience and trust that can be taught in no other way.

I promise that if you listen and implement the ideas that will be expressed here, you will come to know a completely different relationship with not only your child, but with yourself. You will learn so much about yourself…. Your tendencies, inclinations – all the “inherited” beliefs that you weren’t even aware that you inherited because it was the copy machine that was just making copies.

It is important to see these things so we don’t pass them along to our children and maintain that same old status quo.

If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, you can’t help but see and hear what a mess this “hand me down world” is. What I hope to share with you could be called a right “revolution. Not a revolution that is a fight against something, but an individual revolution that occurs in the change of our being, in changing our relationship to life.

But you must be watchful for the part of you that will immediately want to turn away and say “that is not realistic in this world” or “yeah, right – who can do that?” yada yada… I call that part of me “the excuse maker,” an old “hand me down” part that wants nothing to do with change. And if you listen and agree to that part of yourself, there is no hope for anything new and beautiful for you, for your child or for this world.

And so to end, I will just say that…

A true wish to want something new for your child, to know of a relationship with your child (and with life) that stems from true Love, not the love that we’ve been taught by this “hand me down” world – but a higher form of Love that lives in the moment, if that wish comes from your heart, it will not go unanswered. But the wish cannot be answered without effort on your part…without sacrifice. That wish has to be put first in your life always. No right effort goes unrewarded.

And just like any other thing that we work at, we WILL “miss the mark” time and time again. That is part of the process and a very important thing to remember. Missing the mark is a necessary part of the process of learning anything new. The key is to continue to persist with our wish by starting over and over again when we do miss the mark and to not beat ourselves up for doing so.

Our children can then learn to be true warriors because we as parents have become warriors in a right revolution. This new relationship that you will have with Life will inspire them and in the change of their being, it will inspire others around them as well. This new relationship will pay itself forward.

So to all you warriors out there, I hope to be your friend.



Terri Poppins started an on-call nanny business, after a 31-year career as a paralegal and because of her love for children. She has cared for well over 100 families with children of all ages, including doing respite care for special needs children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and attending classes at the Life of Learning Foundation, a center for self-study. You can find more information on her site: www.terri-poppins.com.

Image courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie.

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Lessons from fungi on markets and economics | Toby Kiers

Resource inequality is one of our greatest challenges, but it's not unique to humans. Like us, mycorrhizal fungi that live in plant and tree roots strategically trade, steal and withhold resources, displaying remarkable parallels to humans in their capacity to be opportunistic (and sometimes ruthless) — all in the absence of cognition. In a mind-blowing talk, evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers shares what fungi networks and relationships reveal about human economies, and what they can tell us about inequality.
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7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Start Loving Yourself More

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving,” ~Kim McMillen

I started learning about self-love a long time ago.

In fact, I started learning about self-love so long ago that when, fifteen years later, a shaman in Peru I told me that self-love was the answer to all my questions, I got really pissed off!

I had struggled with depression as a teenager. For about two years, I lived a very sad life. I don’t even remember much to be honest. I felt the pain of existence. I avoided people. Every day felt like yet another obstacle to overcome. I existed rather than lived. Eventually, I overcame it and discovered some tools that I still use to help me with any low moments l might have today. One of them was the practice of self-love.

I found a few helpful books on meditation, the Silva Method, visualization, and the famous book You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.

I wrote affirmations daily. I kept doing my mirror work. I started to be more appreciative and kinder to myself. I meditated regularly and gradually rebuilt myself. I thought I had nailed self-love. I thought I had really understood what self-love was.

I was wrong.

I was in my early thirties—single and not entirely thrilled about it. Not fulfilled in my corporate career. Living in a converted garage in London and wondering what to change in my life to feel happier.

When my friend asked me whether I would be up for travelling to Peru, I didn’t think twice.

It felt like the right adventure at the right time.

We had a magical time for three weeks. We visited many ancient places, took part in spiritual ceremonies, met and worked with shamans, and visited some old communities living a modest life in the middle of the Andes. We experienced everything that Peru had to offer.

One day, my friend and I decided to go for a coca leaf reading. It was mainly out of curiosity but as with previous past readings, I wanted to be reassured that my life was going to change and that I would soon be in a better place.

Now I know better than to turn to a psychic to ease my anxiety. Once during a reading a psychic told me that there are a few future possibilities for us, based on our choices. So, I started to trust my choices more and become comfortable with uncertainty, as there is always a solution to our problems. I also trust that whatever I experience I’m having is for my highest good and the exact lesson I now need.

Back to my story: So, we went to a back room of a very run down massage place that we’d come across a few days earlier.

The shaman came and set himself up. He couldn’t speak English and had a Dutch translator.

My friend went first and asked her questions and got guidance.

When it was my turn, I started to ask the usual questions: When will I meet the love of my life? When will I find a better job? What job would it be? When will I find a better flat? When will I start earning more money?

After I asked the first question, the shaman stirred the leaves in his palms and threw them up. When they fell, he looked at them and said to me, “When you start loving yourself.”

Fair enough, I thought to myself, and asked another question.

The shaman threw the leaves again, contemplated a little, and gave me the same answer, “When you start loving yourself more.”

I thought “okay” and agreed silently with him. I still felt I could love myself more.

I asked another question and got the same answer. And another question and got the same answer.

Doubts began to appear and I started to feel a bit uneasy.

I felt like we were a bit naive going to a shaman we didn’t know and that nobody had recommended him to us.

When I heard the same answer for the fifth time, I lost it.

I snapped at the translator, accusing the shaman of being fake and not knowing what he was doing.

The translator started to calm me down and tried to convince me that the shaman was very popular and he knew his stuff. Apparently, many people kept coming back to him because of his accurate readings.

Somehow it was hard to believe.

We completed the reading and left.

My friend tried to help me make sense of this experience but I completely dismissed it.

I was furious. Not even about the reading but the realization that I thought I had done so much work around self-love and was convinced I knew how to love and respect myself. But here a stranger was pointing out to me that there was yet more work to be done.

I remember asking my friend angrily, “How much work on self-love do I need to do to actually start loving myself? Is fifteen years not enough?”

I felt helpless and discouraged.

It felt like all the work I had done on myself up until that moment in Peru had meant nothing.

I was frustrated because I assumed that after all the inner work I had done, I should have known better. I should have attracted higher quality men. I should have had a better job. I should have earned more money. I should have been happier.

My life had a few more lessons for me before I actually got what self-love really meant.

A few years later, I was even more frustrated in the new job—and still single after dozens of failed dates with men who didn’t even remotely fit the description of my dream man. Not much happier, I had a moment of realization when I was drying my hair.

It just hit me out of nowhere. I felt in my whole body what it was to love myself. I felt flooded with self-appreciation for no reason. I was overcome by kindness and compassion for myself.

In that moment, I saw how unloving I was toward myself. I realized that through my entire life I had been betraying and abandoning myself.

I completely understood what the shaman in Peru really meant!

Until I truly loved and honored myself, I wouldn’t get a better job, find a loving man, or feel happier.

I wouldn’t because I didn’t love myself enough to feel worthy of it all.

It took me a while to integrate my insights and realize how the love I had (or lack of it!) for myself was directly responsible for my unfulfilling love life, draining career, and overall unhappiness with life.

A few years later, I now have my own definition of self-love.

I believed for a long time that self-love was merely a feeling toward myself.

Now I know better. It is way more than just a feeling.

For me, self-love is a practice. It is a practice of choosing myself, putting myself first when I can, making myself important, and being kind and compassionate with myself. Also, self-love is about choosing things, people, and situations that are good for me, feel right, and serve me.

Self-love is an on-going conscious choice!

When I started to practice consciously choosing myself over others, over damaging situations, over unfulfilling friendships and relationships, things changed dramatically.

To illustrate why you need to practice self-love, here are a few examples from my own life.

1. You will start to feel more in charge of your life.

I realized that I had always a choice. I could make poor choices out of fear, guilt, and shame or empowered choices that were aligned with who I was and what felt authentic to me. So, I stopped trying to please people, accommodating men unworthy of my attention, and doing things that didn’t bring me pleasure or satisfaction.

When you start loving yourself more, you too will realize your wants and needs are important, and you have the choice to honor them.

2. You will set stronger boundaries around dating and love.

As a result of honoring my needs, I started to feel more confident and assertive. I became more purposeful with dating. I stopped wasting time on the wrong guys and started making more empowered romantic choices. The final outcome: I found the love of my life after struggling in the love department for years.

When you strengthen your boundaries from a place of self-love, you too will feel more empowered and you’ll stop repeatedly choosing partners who aren’t good for you.

3. You will stop seeking approval.

This was the most liberating thing. As I loved and respected myself more, I stopped worrying about how much others liked or approved of me. I stopped doing things to be liked. This created space for me to be more authentic, less defensive, and more my genuine self.

When you have your own approval and acceptance, you start caring less about other people’s opinion of you and living a life that’s aligned with your own values.

4. You will start to make more courageous and conscious decisions.

I gave up my draining corporate job out of respect to myself.

I moved out of London after fifteen years to have a slower and more peaceful lifestyle.

I fell in love again. (This takes lots of courage if you have been hurt over and over again!)

I got pregnant and had a natural birth. I had no clue how this happened, as I formerly had broadcasted everywhere that if I ever got pregnant, I would be the first to ask for an epidural. But I listened to my body and having an epidural didn’t feel right.

I became a mama to my son. This is probably the bravest thing I have ever done in my life, since I love my freedom so much. But the love for my son helps me forget how important my freedom was to me before.

Self-love will give you the courage to get rid of things that don’t serve you and make space for things that will help you grow. When you truly value yourself, you make decisions that honor you rather than harm you.

5. You will start to enjoy being with yourself.

I stopped filling my days with meetings, dates, and outings, as I did in the past just so I wouldn’t feel alone. I stopped running away from myself into the arms of unsuitable men. I stopped meeting friends just to have some company.

Instead, I started to do more things I loved doing: swimming, yoga, writing, watching movies, meditating. When I reconnected with myself deeply, spending time in my own company didn’t feel scary anymore. I stopped being afraid of being alone.

You too will find that when you become more loving toward yourself, you will start being more comfortable being in your own lovely company.

6. You will develop a stronger relationship with yourself.

As I spent more time with myself I deepened the connection I had with myself. I stopped being desperate for a romantic relationship because I started to have more fun on my own. I became my own friend. I started to feel more secure as a person as I tapped into my true inner being. I started to believe in myself more. I started to trust myself more.

When you deepen your connection with yourself through self-love, you’ll connect on a deeper level with others too. As your relationship with yourself improves, your others get stronger as well.

7. You will stop seeking happiness in relationships.

Loving myself helped me realize that I didn’t need a man to be happy. All the love I needed to be happy was within me already. I took more responsibility for my personal happiness and stopped giving my power away to men.

I understood that happiness was constantly present in my life. It wasn’t somewhere in the future. I just needed to change my focus and learn to appreciate what I had rather than dwelling on what I didn’t have.

When you start to love yourself more and feel happier, you too will likely feel less desperate for a romantic relationship. You’ll realize you don’t need a partner to be happy. You just need to be happy and the right person will show up in time.

So how do you start loving yourself more? Start choosing yourself daily and doing what feels right for you.

Introduce a daily practice of checking in with yourself every time you need to make a decision or a choice.

First you ask yourself: What would feel loving in this situation?

Once you have the answer, ask yourself these thee powerful questions:

Does it feel good/right for me?

Will it serve me?

Will it make me feel energized?

These questions will help you honor yourself and your needs and stay true and loving to yourself.

There is much more I want to say on this subject, but I will leave it for another article.

Let me just say this: Self-love will transform your life—so start practicing!

About Aska Kolton

Aska Kolton is a Get Ready For Love mentor who helps smart, single women love and value themselves so they stop making mistakes in love, start making more empowered romantic choices, and finally attract true love that lasts. Sign up for Aska’s Romancing Yourself Challenge HERE, download her Get Ready For Love With The Dating Detox Guide HERE, and join her Facebook Group.

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