Mood Panda and Happiness (Part One)

About three years ago, Gary Wolf wrote a detailed post on Measuring Mood — some tools are complicated enough to get you grouchy! Gallup goes through a lot of trouble to gauge the US happiness level on a daily basis. Others take a simple approach, such as Eric Kennedy’s recent talk at the Seattle QS meetup on Tracking Happiness.

Ross Larter believes an emphasis on simplicity and community (especially of people who you don’t know elsewhere) has been key to broad acceptance of his happiness-tracking MoodPanda.

Q: How do you describe MoodPanda? What is it?

Larter: MoodPanda.com is a mood tracking website and iphone app. Tracking is very simple: you rate your happiness on a 0-10 scale, and optionally add a brief twitter-like comment on what’s influencing your mood.

MoodPanda is also a large community of friendly people, sharing their moods, celebrating each others’ happiness, and supporting each other when they’re down.

People post many times a day – some tracking their mood from the moment they wake to the point their head hits the pillow at night! We organize people’s posts into their personal mood diary where they can view it many different ways: graphically, as a mood feed, broken down by metrics and even location based on a map.

Q: What’s the back story? What led to it?

Larter: MoodPanda got started in a pub in Bristol, England. A friend was asking people round the table how their day was and somebody replied with a 10/10. My response was if today was the best day ever what happens if tomorrow is the same as today but then something else amazing happens (I think it included the “pussy cat dolls”), and we chatted for a while on this. The next day I started thinking about the question and told Jake (Co-Founder) about the idea and it went from there. We both work in software development so building the site was not an issue.

We are on MoodPanda version 3 at the moment. For the first 2 versions of the site we built it to track just your own mood. It was only once we added commenting and “hugs” to the current version that we realised that people wanted the interaction with each other. This is when our user based really started to grow. (To be continued).

Re-posted from QS Blog.

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Heal With Me

I’d like to tell you about something very special I discovered recently. It is the Gateway – a portal for growth and wellness that organizes the following event: “Heal w/Me” a Free Healing Clinic for the Homeless c/o UnitedSteps & The GATEWAY”

Dec 31, 2011 at the Yahoo Center, Santa Monica, CA
In Grateful Collaboration with Numerous Gracious Practitioners from The GATEWAY and others of their own accord & United Steps and Affiliates we are connecting with the Homeless & Underprivileged on this Shared HoBo (= Homeward Bound) Journey.

10AM to 3PM, Practitioners are offering services at no charge to those without a home or funds to spare on this journey we are all on. Homeless clients have been invited and their transport is being coordinated by United Steps. Please invite any you know or see and greet…
~ Light Snacks and Water Served for Clients as supplies last (seeking sponsors to donate more snacks and drinks) ~
~ Live Vocal Entertainment (seeking folks to fill live entertainment slots) ~

The Roster of Practitioners Rendering Specialties Includes (by the way if you or anyone you know would like to be paired up with a homeless person as a one-to-one friend, we are seeking you as well, give us a contact to book yourself as such):
1) Medical Intuition and Healing with Sarah Larsen MD http://drsarahlarsen.com/, 2) Hands on Healing and Spiritual Counseling with Olivia Bareham, 3) Reflexology with Charles Haywood, 4) Theta Healing with Regine Vavasseur http://www.heartspaceenergyhealing.com/Theta_Healing.html, 5) Acupuncture and Allergy Treatments with Chantaal Lebay L.Ac. http://thegatewayport…, 6) Clear Light Healing with Dianne Rini www.clearlighthealing-drini.com, 7) Massage with Joey Esposito http://www.bioenergist.com/ and LeeAnn Christian, 8) Energy Healing with Nora Delgado http://www.noradelgado.com/, 9) Breathwork with Achaessa James, 10) Mental Health Counseling, Healing and Tarot Cards with Ron Holman, Ph.D., MFT holmangroup.com, 11) Bowen Therapy with Jin Quan, 12) Soul Drawing with Kayla Leung,

13) Sound Healing with Natalie Koltz http://www.nataliekoltz.com/, 14) Reconnection Healing with Danielle Duval, 15) Energy Healing with Ellany http://www.touchingbodynsoul.com/, 16) EFT and NLP with Elaine McBroom, 17) Reiki with Jennifer, 18) Trigger Point Pain Relief with Art San http://www.thepaineraser.net/Meet-Art-San.html, 19) Readings with Psychic Jude http://www.psychicjude.com/, 20) Angel Card Readings with Ellany http://www.touchingbodynsoul.com/, 21) Hand and Angel Readings and Energy Healings with Lisa Martin, 22) Energy Work with Joseph Eng http://lightworkerjoseph.com/sample-page/, 23) Many there to Befriend, All Welcome, 24) Volunteer Help: Heidi, Jack Bowman…

Questions? Call The GATEWAY / a Portal for Growth & Wellness at 310 * 479* 0430 | heart-to-heart@thegatewayportal.com Explain the role you wish to take, while also contact us by phone to finalize. Our official website is http://thegatewayportal.com/
Please enjoy viewing the love and healing on this day and monthly Heal with Me Events on

YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5nzmy0pGgM&feature=pl…

Feedback: I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of organization, practitioners, and volunteers that helped put this event together. I wanted to get a massage myself, but felt that it was more of a day of giving that receiving. I ended up realizing that I do more than just give relaxing Swedish massages. I found out that I can help heal people both mentally, psychologically , and physically by listening to their needs and giving extra attention and care to the parts of them that need healing.

I’m planning to create a resilience workshop and offer it at the next clinic and also at http://www.dwcweb.org/.

Why Volunteer on Your Career Break

Volunteering on your career break is the act of giving your time in order to help others. But have you thought about how it is helping you, your re-entry, and your career? Most career break itineraries include some sort of volunteering. It’s a great feeling to help others around the world build their knowledge, community, or infrastructure. However, volunteering on a career break goes way beyond simply feeling good about yourself; it can be a key element to building your career when you return.

Volunteering on my career break changed the trajectory of my career and life. It was through my volunteering assignment in India that introduced me to Michaela Potter, who worked for the volunteercompany I was volunteering with. Through that friendship we discovered our passion of career break travel and were determined to bring career breaks to American society in the form of Meet, Plan, Go! When seaching for a volunteer opportunity, keep in mind that it is a two way street – don’t forget that you should be getting something out of the experience too.

You need to look for opportunities that are consistent with your skills, interests, and career.When you return, you will need to consider the best way to highlight those experiences to enhance your job search or career. Volunteering can demonstrate a commitment to character, signal your ability to accomplish a goal, or show that you are a well rounded person. It will most definitely make you stand out among other applicants.

A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41 percent of the professionals surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. Twenty percent of the hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience. Over the next two months at casual Meet, Plan, Go! meetups around the country, we will focus discussions around volunteering as part of your career break. In addition, we are providing resources for you to research programs further, prepare for volunteering, and how to account for it on your resume.

We want to make sure you are making good volunteering choices and harnessing that experience back into your career hunt when you return from your break. We kicked off this volunteering meetup theme last night in San Francisco where we heard stories of other career breakers who have volunteered and introduced people to resources such as Groundwork Opportunities, who offers free volunteering opportunities to utilize your skills. Check out our upcoming schedule of free meetups or consider hosting your own Meet, Plan, Go! meetup in your city.

Sherry Ott Meet, Plan, Go! Co-Founder

Has volunteering played an important role in your career re-entry? Share your story over on our Facebook Page“.

Re-posted from Meet, Plan, Go February 8, 2012 Newsletter

‘Failure Week’ to Build Resilience

A top girls’ school is planning a “failure week” to teach pupils to embrace risk, build resilience and learn from their mistakes.

The emphasis will be on the value of having a go, rather than playing it safe and perhaps achieving less.

Pupils at Wimbledon High School will be asked how they feel when they fail.

The headmistress, Heather Hanbury, said she wanted to show “it is completely acceptable and completely normal not to succeed at times in life.”

Ms Hanbury’s pupils achieve some of the highest exam scores – but from Monday they will be invited to focus on failure.

There will be workshops, assemblies, and activities for the girls, with parents and tutors joining in with tales of their own failures.

There will be YouTube clips of famous and successful people who have failed along the way and moved on.

The emphasis will be discussions on the merits of failure and on the negative side of trying too hard not to fail.

‘Courage in the classroom’

Ms Hanbury told BBC News that she had placed a great emphasis on developing resilience and robustness among the girls since she arrived at the school four years ago.

“The girls need to learn how to fail well – and how to get over it and cope with it,” she said.

“Fear of failing can be really crippling and stop the girls doing things they really want to do.”

“The pupils are hugely successful but can sometimes overreact to failure even though it can sometimes be enormously beneficial to them.”

“We want them to be brave – to have courage in the classroom,” she added.

Wimbledon High is an independent school, part of the Girls’ Day School Trust.

GDST chief executive, Helen Fraser, said: “Resilience is so important in working life these days.”

“Wimbledon High School is showing how making mistakes is not necessarily a bad thing, that it is fine to try – and fail – and then pick yourself up and try again – or as Samuel Beckett said, ‘fail better’.”

Re-posted from ‘Failure week’ at top girls’ school to build resilience by By Judith Burns, BBC News

What Do We Owe To Future Generations? (Part Three)

As we continued our discussion three main questions were at its core:

Where is the golden mean? How much to consume vs conserve? Someone mentioned Jeremy Bentham, an advocate of utilitarianism, who argued that we need “to form laws in order to create the greatest good for the greatest number, and that the concept of the individual pursuing his or her own happiness cannot be necessarily declared “right”, because often these individual pursuits can lead to greater pain and less pleasure for the society as a whole. Therefore, the legislation of a society is vital to maintaining a society with optimum pleasure and the minimum degree of pain for the greatest amount of people”.

How do you know what to do? My personal opinion is that we need to raise awareness of what we know and make best decisions now in order to create the best possible society and environment today, no matter what happens tomorrow. So we don’t really owe to future generations but to ourselves and to current generation.

The concept of time is an illusion, everything is happening now. So we should learn about different perspectives to form a realistic opinion of the situation and do the best we can now. No one owns air but we are all responsible for keeping it clean. . That is why NGO s and Intergovernmental policies are important. If one part of the world suffers from pollution other parts of the world need to know that problem and do what they can to help and solve.

How to motivate people to act responsibly? In my group I was told that even when people know what to do, they often will not do it, as no one really wants to sacrifice their privileges and give up their comfort for someone else (whether existing or non-existing). My response is that we need to create incentives and rewards for good behavior and penalties for opposite (on individual, corporate and government levels). They could be monetary or not. One of the example, carbon tax. Beyond extrinsic incentives there are intrinsic ones, like feeling good that you do the right thing (example, recycling) because you live according to your beliefs…

There is an overlap between personal good and common good. Awareness of problems and solutions should help with motivation and building incremental changes in our lives. We should find the balance between being content with what we’ve got and setting goals for what we want to improve. Deep inside we all want inner peace and be a part of this big ecosystem where we reside together with other species whether present, past or future.

We finally got back to our big group of four dozen people and shared our ideas. We voted on whether we think we, humans, are doing well collectively in preserving the Earth for future generation, and the answer was unanimous no.

Someone interjected saying that we should not worry about humans as they are adaptable; they will adjust to new conditions (no matter how dramatic they are). If we run out of natural oil, humans will invent something else. There is no other way to motivate but educate vs hard lessons. Say, if the US goes bankrupt due to its international debt, then it will have to review and restricts its consumerism and credit policy.

Another good point was on religions. Some go on saying that nature is a gift and we can use it up; others warn us to be reasonable and leave resources for other creatures. Several people were against procreating: “If only 1 billion humans could live sustainably on the planet, we should stop multiplying”.

At the very end someone concluded that the question should really be about what motivates us and what we are willing to do not what we owe. And what we should be focusing on and pass on to future generations is not technology, but knowledge of wellness and humanity. Speaking of love for humanity Eric invited all to the theatrical production of “The things we do for love and presidents” at Warszawa Restaurant in Santa Monica today, Feb 16th at 7:30PM.

The most surprising closure came via email I received from one of the attendees several days later:

“My name is Mitch. Just one thought I didn’t share this Sunday, which you reminded me of with your mention of Kabbalah…

Rabbi Hillel famously tried to summarize ethics like this: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

There are three parts, but I have almost always over focused on the middle bit, with the occasional admonishment to myself to remember the last part.

Well, Hillel went to the trouble of putting that first part in there. He even put it, you know, first.

It’s occurred to me that I, and many people I know and like, are inadequately selfish. If life is meant to be good, it’s not just meant to be good for people we don’t know, we’re responsible for making life work for the people we can help most – ourselves.

Which is how I think this ties back in to “What do we owe future generations?” I heard people say, almost apologetically, that it’s okay for us to use some natural resources today … but I never heard anyone say that one of our main jobs is to live well, ourselves, here and now. (Hillel listed it first, and I suppose third too!)

The entire discussion seemed to be variations on “how do we restrict our inherent selfishness,”rather than “what do we owe ourselves, and what do we owe future generations.”

Resources: What a Way to Go Movie, I am Movie, Free Speech Blog Post, Creating a world that works for allBook, Home Free Movie, Intergenerational Justice Article, Is It Wrong To Wreck The Earth Radio Talk.

What Do We Owe To Future Generations? (Part Two)

Brian distributed handouts with basic rules of conversational decency. We split into 5 smaller groups and had very controversial conversations about who owes who and what.

Among 8 people in our group we had a range of opinions – some thought that we owe nothing and are on the path of destruction; others – that we do owe something to future generations and our ecosystem, and should be consuming and polluting less but conserving and cleaning up more. There were also those who thought that our generation is mainly working on building technology and that is good enough to pass on future generations. But is that so? Is it really good to develop technology at odds with the surroundings? Check this out The Power of Technology.

I want to quote Sharif Abdullah again and give you two more analogies from his book “Creating the world that works for all”. Besides the rabbits story, I also like the story about The Keepers, The Breakers and The Menders.

“The Keeper story is the original story of humans. Keepers are people who live interconnected with their local ecologies and all other beings. They keep the ancient ways of living, perfected over eons of coexistence. Their story is based on a thought, “Living in harmony with all I encounter”, and an assumption, “The land is abundant”.

Keepers do not have a concept of the Earth as a whole; they are identified with their local ecologies. Within those ecologies, they have, over the course of a million years or more, achieved a dynamic equilibrium with all beings, including human and non-material beings.

We are Breakers: The Earth and everything in it were created for Man, we have the right and the responsibility to place all of it under our control. Because there is not enough for all, the world must be conquered in order for us to exist. We do not live in the Web of Life; we live on top of it. Our story is simple wilderness is bad, human control is good.

We call ourselves by many names, most of them positive or benign; civilizers, settlers, pioneers, missionaries, explorers, industrialists. We will continue to control and dominate all life forms, including humans who are not like us, because control is good.

We are Menders: We believe the Earth and our fellow humans need to be healed from the excesses of exclusivity and we live our daily lives in accordance with this belief. We used to be Breakers, but are consciously turning away from that dead-end path, away from the glitter and allure of the Breaker society. Our goal is to live as a consciously integral part of a living, conscious and sacred planet, to catalyze a new era, the Mender era.

Our task is simple and profound: to heal the damage caused by the Breakers, those who act as though the Earth and all of her inhabitants were their property. We vow to stop Breaker destruction and begin to restore the balance between the Earth and humanity within this generation.

We Menders are Breakers in recovery. Breaker history is our history. We are not arrogant enough to think that our problems are someone else’s fault. We consciously reject all privileges that have come to us at the expenses of other’s lives, freedom or comfort.

The Mender story is in harmony with an ancient story, one as old as the Earth itself. We honor the Keepers, who show us the way of wisdom. We honor the Breakers, who show us the way of technology. We heal the damage. We are Menders.

Lester Milbrath speaks eloquently about the nature of this change in his book, “Envisioning a Sustainable Society”. He compares the story of our planet to a yearlong movie. If the movie starts in January and ends (at the present) in December, life itself shows up in March. He goes on to state:

“Compared to most other species, humans have lived on planet earth for a very brief time, (only 11 minutes of our year-long movie). During most of that time humans have lived in harmony with nature; their home was that environment in which they evolved. It is only very recently that our species created an unnatural home for itself as it set out to dominate nature. In that brief period (only 2 seconds of our year-long movie), we have built a civilization that cannot sustain itself”. Or can it?

What Do We Owe To Future Generations? (Part One)

“On Christmas Day, 1776, British explorer Captain Cook arrived on Kerguelen Island, a Connecticut –sized land mass covered with grass in the Indian Ocean. One of the things Cook did while he was there was release a few rabbits. He thought that rabbits would provide fresh meat for any sailors who followed. The rabbits, in a favorable climate with not natural predators, multiplied. And grew. And flourished. And overpopulated. In a short span of time, the rabbit population exploded into the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.

Then, after eating every single blade of grass, they died. They died as they lived, by the hundreds of thousands. The old once died, the baby bunnies died, the pregnant mothers died. They died because that is how the Web of Life works. Biologists call it “overshoot and dieback”. No rabbit was immune.

If you go to the island today, you will see that no one rabbit or one blade of grass exists. Both rabbits and grass were rendered extinct by the rabbit’s success. The rabbits were killed by their own story.

Each rabbit had a story that governed its existence and behavior: “Creating a World That Works for Me”. According to this story, each rabbit maximized its position, eating as much as it could and producing as many offspring as possible. This formula for “success”, in the absence of competing owl and coyote success formulas, was fatal. The rabbits were disastrously successful. Exclusivity is death.

Think about how the rabbits must have felt when their population has reached a million and “only” half of their grass was gone. They were in Rabbit Heaven! All the grass you could eat (with no competition), half a million sex partners, and not a coyote in sight! Eat, sleep and screw all day! The only thing they didn’t’ know was that they were just one generation away from annihilation. Assume that, at this time, a more reflective-than-average-bunny wrote a book entitled Creating an Island That Works for All. In it, he said that if they were to continue to thrive, rabbits everywhere on the island would have to change their thinking. No more “maximum food, maximum sex”.

This strange bunny even went so far as to say that rabbits needed eagles, owls and coyotes! Without them, the rabbit population would outstrip the generative capacity of the island and it would die. In order for the island to work for rabbits, it had to work for coyotes also. The bunny writer called his concept “inclusivity”. He believed that if the rabbits consciously reduce their food intake, consciously restricted their sex habits, and invited in a few owls, eagles and coyotes, the rabbits and the grass would continue to flourish. We’ll never know whether or not the book bunny was right. We do know, however, that the others were wrong. Dead wrong.”

This analogy is mentioned in the book “Creating A World That Works For All” by Sharif Abdullah. And I thought of it during the Philosophy Meetup event yesterday. About 44 people gathered on Sunday to talk philosophy and in particular discuss the topic of “What, if anything, do we owe to future generations?” Brian, the organizer, who has been leading this group for 8 years, posed the questions:

“Nearly all of us care about and have moral regard and obligations to people around us (at least to some of them). Does it follow from this, or from any other consideration, that we do or should have regard or obligations to people who live after all people currently alive have died? Normally, we think of our obligations as being to particular individuals who actually exist. How can we be obliged to people who don’t exist and may never exist? How can specific persons who don’t exist have rights and claims upon us?”

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