This week Awesome Stories brings you solar beauty, life stories, mindfulness, student-directed learning and the joy of giving.
Watch this awesome time-lapse video of the sun from NASA. It’s a surreal and beautiful video compiled from 1826 days in space, 200 million photos and 2600 terabytes of data! It must be nice to have access to this kind of technology. Enjoy!
Student Directed Learning
This is a great story about a student who felt his learning was lacking, so he decided to do something about it. Sam Levin noticed many gaps in the current system, leaving students unhappy, not engaged and not mastering learning. He created an idea for student-directed learning and presented it to his high school in Massachusets. They decided to let him create a semester trial called The Independent Project in 2010. The students managed their own time and curriculum, picking their own books, topics and processes with a little guidance from advisors who met with the students for one period a day. The project continues to this day with small numbers of highly motivated students who participate for one semester each school year.
New Wealth Tools
I love the question David Korton starts his article on replacing money as the measure of wealth. He asks “What if we measured wealth in terms of life, and how well we serve it?” Indeed! He urges that we need a new story that acknowledges our beautiful planet and the intricate web of life that supports us and many others species. Then we might finally step into our role as stewards of this beautiful place called earth. David has a successful business background, but has come to see the imbalance in our current system that puts money and corporations at the top of the value system while reducing the earth and many species to commodities to be used to create maximum profit. We organize our life with stories. This is why he feels so strongly that we need a new story based on the sacredness of life and the planet as a living being. I agree!
Jill Suttie explores her challenges with mindfulness, balanced by lots of research showing the benefits. I like how meditation and mindfulness boost productivity which is slightly counter-intuitive. Mindfulness also boosts problem-solving and mental flexibility. Just a few minutes of mindful breathing can reduce anxiety and stress, helping to keep us centered in our busy lives. Like any skill, mindfulness and meditation require practice, but they lead to many great benefits. Maybe you and Julie can start your practice today!
The Joy of Giving
Mark and Ismini Svensson embody the joy of giving. They decided to forgo their honeymoon to travel around the US giving to others. They spent the last two years on 50 Acts of Giving Back. With funds from their wedding, they traveled around the country offering random acts of kindness in all 50 U.S states. Their adventure inspired so much support that they started a non-profit called StayUNITED. StayUNITED focuses on improving the quality of life for children and youth by focusing on education, health and wellness.
May you find the joy of giving what is yours to offer the world. Have an Awesome Week!