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In the movie Ikiru, directed by Akira Kurosawa, an aging bureaucrat discovers he has stomach cancer and is propelled into an existential crisis by the realization that he has wasted his life engaged in a meaningless job.  This revelation opens him up, however, to a constructive act:  he sets to work transforming a stagnant pond...
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Mindfulness practices in the schools seem to be thriving, with millions of kids being introduced to it in one form or another.  Along with its popularity, there’s been some push-back from parent groups about whether or not mindfulness violates the separation of church and state.  While it’s true that mindfulness emerged from Buddhism (in particular...
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As part of the kick-off for my new book Mindfulness in the Classroom: Strategies for Promoting Concentration, Compassion, and Calm, I’m going to be producing some videos which get at different aspects of mindfulness, both for adults and for children and adolescents. This first video looks at the three key elements involved in mindfulness: focus,...
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During the Middle Ages, a popular image of the stages of life in Roman Catholicism was of a mandala with Christ in the center and the different ages of man represented as spokes around that hub (see my post on The Stages of Life and the Liturgy of the Hours).  With the dawning of the...
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In Roman Catholicism there exists a daily pattern of prayer, where specific prayers are linked to particular times of the day, a practice which dates from Medieval times. This cycle of prayer is typically undertaken by those in a monastic order. Some adherents believe that this Divine Office, as it is also called, reflects not...
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Hesiod was a Greek poet who lived and wrote during the time of Homer (between 750 and 650 B.C.E).  From his writings we have one of the first developmental theories, not about the individual stages of life, but rather about how humanity develops over time.  He believed there were five ages of humankind, four of...
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Charlotte Bühler (1893-1975), was a German developmental psychologist who was a founder of humanistic psychology, but whose views on the human life cycle are less well known compared to the theories of Piaget, Freud, and Erikson.  She nonetheless made a unique contribution to the study of the life stages with her emphasis on how the...
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To watch a great film is to be fed aesthetically, emotionally, and intellectually.  But there are certain great films that do more:  they serve as time machines, bringing us backwards or forwards into stages of life that we have already traveled or will eventually and hopefully travel in the future.  I call these ”stages of...
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Today is the official publication date for my new book Mindfulness in the Classroom:  Strategies for Promoting Concentration, Compassion, and Calm.  I have been practicing mindfulness for almost thirty years, and with the rise in the need for social and emotional learning in the schools, I thought that a book for educators on this topic...
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