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Quinoa Falling in the Forest

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a noise?

If I eat my lunch alone and no one else sees it, does it truly nourish me?

Aren’t those variations of the same question: “Must a human being be present for something to matter?” Or in the case of the second question: “Must a second human being be present for me to feel significant?”

Everybody is posting food photos… Instagram,

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Saint-Exupéry, War, A Smile and Brain Pickings

For anybody who ever mooned over the quote, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye,” (That would be me!) or for anybody who just loved The Little Prince (or Le Petit Prince), or for anybody who hates war, or knows that simple kindness can thwart disaster, read Maria Popova’s piece entitled, “How a Smile Saved Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Life: A Soul-Lifting Meditation on our Shared Humanity.

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Guest Post by Stacie Marinelli, Spacious Sharing During Cancer Treatment

SPACIOUS is about community and opening up our hearts, so when Cary spoke to me last year about guest blogs, what came to mind was the almost magical sharing that went on between people who surrounded me during the time I was in treatment for oral cancer in 2012 and 2013. With my family far from the DC area and living on my own, in large part I was making treatment decisions and going to radiation, surgeries, and other medical appointments by myself.

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Guest Post: Agam’s Birthday Project

Today’s guest post is from Agam Rafaeli (pictured in the hat), who will introduce himself below. I (Cary) had the chance to meet him at the recent wedding of Joey and Rebecca Katona, when Joey told me that Agam was someone he particularly wanted me to meet. In the spirit of the post below, Agam and I were both eager to make a new friend and connect around our mutual love of Joey. So we slipped away from the band during the reception and spent a little time getting to know each other.

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Best of 2013

Reflecting on a year past is one of my favorite exercises. I spend much of New Year’s Day each year sitting by a fire, poring over the past year’s calendar day-by-day and perusing photos of the year. I try to marinate in gratitude for what has happened and for people I’ve encountered and from whom I’ve learned or benefitted. I map a point of basking in the possibility of what could be if I could learn from mistakes, amplify successes, partner with others,

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Why Are So Many People Pissed Off about Miss America?

An Indian-American woman was crowned Miss America this fall. And her coronation led to a firestorm of angry, cruel venting on social media, the perfect platform for cowardly people to spew venom anonymously without repercussion.

A few points:

  • America’s white majority is diminishing, and we’re richer for the diversity.
  • Fear of losing one’s (perceived) position often motivates hate speech. It seems like we’re all looking for someone whom we can consider inferior to ourselves or our people.

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(Not So) Happily Ever After

Artist Dina Goldstein did a series of photographs depicting what might have actually happened to each of the Disney princesses if “happily ever after” is only in the movies.

She says, “I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.”

I love these — mostly because most of us compare our insides to everyone else’s outsides. We even look at Disney princesses (or princes) and compare ourselves,

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Operating Room Flash Mob

This will likely make you happy, and you may even forget that the woman at the center of this operating room dance party is about to undergo a double mastectomy.

Watch the video of this operating room dance flash mob. 

As a cancer survivor myself (19 years!), I love the idea of being proactive as you go into surgery, not waiting passively on a gurney while getting more and more nervous by the moment. Of course it probably helped that the patient is also an OB/GYN so I imagine she can bend the rules in the OR a bit.

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An Off-Key Addition to the Choir

I can’t sing. Not reliably. Sometimes I have thought it was my imagination… but generally, down deep, I’ve been pretty sure this is right.

I love to sing, and I do it, but when I least expect it an awkward squeak or a loud note that doesn’t blend quite right with those around me comes out.

I was in the church choir back at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia when I was young. And I bow down and kiss the feet of the choir director,

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Touching Strangers

Most photographers capture life as it is, but Richard Renaldi shows us humanity as it could be.

Richard Renaldi is a photographer who puts together “total strangers who were meant to be together, if only for a moment.”

He poses them in pairs, groups or families with body language usually reserved for relationships of comfort and familiarity.

Of course it’s awkward at first for those who choose to participate, but many people react with surprise over how much comfort they feel by being connected with someone,

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