The Power of the Mind
The other day, my daughter said to me: “Mom, do you ever stop thinking? Does your mind ever turn off?”
Trust me, this was not a compliment.
I laughed and explained that, yes, my mind does turn off when I meditate in the morning (or, at least, I try to turn it off). But the rest of the day, I’ve gotta say… it’s thinking. Like, a lot.
This week, I found myself thinking about the tragic earthquake in Mexico City. As I read story after story, they broke my heart and reminded me yet again how fragile our lives can be. (Learn how to help here). So, if you have an outstanding beef with someone—a person you once loved, or who was once your friend—try to resolve it now. Time is precious, and our world is fragile.
I also found myself thinking about Hurricane Maria and its devastating path, as well as all those who are still picking up the pieces after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. I thought about the stories that reported that we are facing an antibiotic crisis. The stories about our health care debate and John McCain (talk about courage in action). I thought about North Korea, the threat of war, and about how our president is in yet another war of words—this week with Kim Jong-un, and now, with top athletes and the NFL. (If you had told me a year ago that the president of the United States would be engaged in this kind of social media back-and-forth, I would have bet against you, for sure.) But, when I’m able to put that noise aside and really quiet my mind, I keep coming back again and again to the story about the people who died in a Florida nursing home after Hurricane Irma. In fact, I read a recent report that said less than 6 percent of all nonprofits in this country focus on the elderly. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, I think we can and must do better.
Which brings me back to thinking. I love the quote in the graphic above from one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. It’s always made me laugh, ‘cause I often feel the same way.
The mind—my own and that of others—has always fascinated me. Trying to better understand the mind underlies my work in the Alzheimer’s space, and it’s the focus of this week’s Sunday Paper.
Do you ever feel like Anne Lamott? Do you find it hard to give your mind a break? Does it frustrate you? Do you know how to keep it moving in a way that is beneficial to you, and to those that you love? Do you empathize with those who suffer from mental health challenges? Do you feed your own mind what it needs to thrive? Do you understand it?
My son spoke to me this week about a video that was going around of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington just days before he took his own life. It’s a video of him laughing with his kids, and his wife shared it as a way to remind us that depression doesn’t always look the way we think it does.
My son was moved by the video, as well as curious about what actually happens in the mind of someone suffering from that kind of depression. It prompted a conversation between us about what happens in the mind. The mind is indeed a fascinating, complex, and beautiful thing.
Understanding the mind—our own and that of others—will lead us to all be better to those with mental health challenges. It will also lead us to be better and kinder to ourselves. Open minds and open hearts are what our world needs more of now. We need healthy, curious minds if we are to solve our most pressing problems: Alzheimer’s, climate change, health care, nuclear proliferation and more.
We need new ways of thinking. New ways of approaching challenges. Every day that the news gives us something to think about, the world also gives us something to do to help our fellow human beings.
May we all focus our minds and dedicate our ourselves to Moving HumanityForward, before the earth erupts yet again.
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NEWS AND VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
NEWS FOR THE HEALTH OF YOUR MIND
If you want to really know what’s going on in your mind, and how to improve it, then pay attention to Architect of Change Dr. Dale Bredesen. Dr. Bredesen is the author of the new NY Times bestselling book “The End of Alzheimer’s” and is a member of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s Scientific Advisory Council. I spoke with him this week about the latest research and the reasons why women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s must start paying attention to this issue of Alzheimer’s now.
FOOD FOR YOUR MIND
I was also so delighted this week to be joined in the kitchen by one of my favorite people: amazing chef and Architect of Change Cristina Ferrare. Cristina and I are working on a new cookbook filled with food that’s good for your mind (stay tuned!). On Tuesday, she taught me about the incredible health benefits of watercress. Did you know it’s healthier than kale? I didn’t. Get her recipe here and
NEWS FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION
I’d be remiss to talk about the mind and not mention the news this week about how children who play tackle football before age 12 show an increase in brain and cognitive issues later in life. One of the NY Times’ top reports this week, it was a story that really made me think. What are we as a society of football lovers going to do to demand change and try to protect the minds of these players? The report also out this week about Aaron Hernandez suffering from a severe form of C.T.E. when he died is another startling reminder of why we must use our minds to solve this issue.
NEWS TO MAKE YOU THINK
What’s more influential? Facts or our emotions? While it seems like facts should hold great weight in an argument, science proves that it’s actually our emotions that empower us to influence others. I have a fascinating TODAY segment on Monday with Architect of Change Tali Sharot, the author of the new book “The Influential Mind.” Today, she shares with you an excerpt from her book all about how our desires in life dictate our beliefs. It’s certainly something to make you think.
ARCHITECTS OF CHANGE OF THE WEEK:
This week, we shine the Architect of Change of the Week spotlight on Byron Katie. I have long admired Katie for her deep wisdom and inspiring insights into the human spirit. She, along with her husband, the poet and author Stephen Mitchell, joined me on Thursday for a moving Architects of Change conversation about the way we can reframe our thoughts to improve our perspective on the world around us. an excerpt from her new book or our conversation.
The Rev. James Martin, an author, prominent Jesuit priest, and friend of mine, has written a powerful new book that encourages the Catholic Church to open a line of dialogue with members of the LGBT community. It’s received praise from many, but it has also stirred controversy amongst others. In my opinion, the God I know is one that is loving and inclusive. That’s why I find Rev. Martin’s words to be so important. I’m grateful to be able to share his thoughts with you today. If you agree with what he has to say, may I encourage you to pass it forward.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
SHOP FOR YOUR MIND
I was so excited this week to announce a new partnership with my dear friend Sean Hayes, one of the stars of NBC’s beloved sitcom “Will & Grace.” From now until October 20, you can donate to the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement using this link and be entered to win a trip to LA to visit the set of “Will & Grace!” You’ll also get to tour the set and meet the cast. Go here to learn more. Enter the contest today!
Get Empowered. Pass It Forward.
From now until September 30, purchase three Rivet Revolution bracelets and receive a 4th bracelet for free (a Women Alzheimer’s Movement Revolution Band) to spread the word about how Alzheimer’s affects women. Rivet Revolution will donate $30 to the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. Give the WAM bracelet to a woman in your life who you want to hear this message. A portion of proceeds benefit the Women Alzheimer’s Movement.