On belonging                                                                                     Edited 25/08/23

“If you feel like your belonging’s on trial, and you’re wondering if this is a place where you’re regarded favorably … it takes up working memory,” which is “mental energy taken away from learning, focusing, performing, growing.” [Stanford Professor Geoffrey Cohen]

“There are so many threats to belonging in the world today. Failing schools, gaping inequalities, a lack of opportunity — we absolutely need new laws, policies, and institutions. But life is lived down here on the ground, and there are so many things we can all do, right here, right now. Even more so if you’re, say, a manager or a teacher. The scientific research on situation-crafting has shown how small moves teachers and mentors make can sometimes, under the right circumstances, have life-changing effects. It’s surprising how much lasting impact a small gesture, even a timely smile, can have on people’s lives. Multiply that by millions of people, and maybe you can change the world.” [Geoffrey Cohen & Lee Simmons discussion]

“True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”  Brené Brown

In today’s post I have included an extract from more personal writing, which I mostly engaged in from 2016 to 2018, 2019 maybe. It refers to education and belonging and to the beginning of things. I have also included seven new drawings.

“………. Kernberg (1980, cited in Akhtar, 2004) suggests that ‘temporal continuity prevents the encapsulation of identity in a particular time period’ and leaves space and possibility of transformation over time. Some literature suggests that when someone settles in a new country adaptation and integration of the new identity also occur through the acquisition of the new language, which facilitates the emergence of a new reconsolidated identity. Learning a language is a process of not only acquiring the knowledge of new words, but also developing the ability to think and feel using them, which to some level leads to shifts in our worldview and identity. The languages we use hold the various shifts in our identity and sense of self and determine our organization of the world.

In the seventies when I arrived in Greece, an archaizing form of Greek  was still being used in settings like the media, education, public services and politics. It was the language of school books. It was officially abolished in the mid seventies when demotic Greek was introduced at all levels of education and administration. Demotic Greek [δημοτική] was the language that many writers and poets wrote in, and most people used in their daily interactions.  However, it took a while for new school books to be written and distributed to students.

In the home I grew up we mostly talked about matters and subjects concerning our day to day living. My parents were not educated people and all my early extra curriculum reading as a child had been in English. Even so, when we left Australia they had felt confident that I would be okay at school. Other immigrant Greek children we knew were far less fluent in the language. I had also been among those that had attended Greek school in the evenings. I could read, write, spell and speak the language, so everything was going to be fine.

On the first day of high school I was in for a culture shock, which got worse as the days went by. Things were so different that looking back I realize that I must have felt mildly disoriented. I soon understood that my comprehension and capacity to express myself in the language was not at a par with my classmates. I also got teased for my foreign accent, which I was not even conscious of. Worst of all, the fact that this purist version of Greek was completely foreign to me, created difficulties when it came to learning by rote most of the lessons, as was customary at the time.

During the first Ancient Greek lessons I felt completely lost in the woods. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of ancient Greek and I knew nothing about syntax. I was quite fluent and I could spell perfectly from memory, but I was not familiar with a lot of grammar rules or the structure of the language. My Greek lessons in Australia had been basic and had not prepared me for this. The teachers mostly ranged from very distant to highly authoritarian. Once when I had tried to talk about all this to a Maths teacher he had dismissed me commenting that Maths is a universal language.  I had also never written a composition in Greek. The first time I was asked to write an essay about a school trip we had gone on the previous day I just managed to string some sentences together. I felt glued to my seat, ashamed and on the verge of tears. I did not want to hand it in. I had been a very good student and this new reality felt embarrassing and scary.

After everyone had left I finally worked up the nerve to walk up to the teacher and tell her that I had never written a composition in Greek before. She was nicer than the Maths teacher. She suggested private preparatory classes, but I told her that I didn’t think that could be possible. She didn’t say anything else. I stood near her desk for a little while and as I was turning around to leave she had said: “An easy way to pick up the language on your own is to read literature. Just read anything you can get your hands on. It will help you with your writing.” I have always remembered her fondly because she had heard me and gone to the trouble to at least suggest something. It doesn’t take that much to touch a kid’s heart, to plant a seed.

I haphazardly started reading Greek literature, anything I could find or afford.  A list with suggestions might have helped.  I used part of my pocket money to buy cheap editions from the local store of the small town we were living at the time and later from bookshops in other places.  Most teachers seemed to view me as a foreign object and some I soon found out did not approve of my literary explorations. One considered Nikos Kazantzakis, whom I had just discovered, an outcast. She had pointed this out in class and had suggested I would be better off reading  the dictionary and learning by heart lists of words out of context every night, in order to increase my vocabulary and I suppose keep my mind from wandering too far astray. Books contain ideas and uncomfortable truths. She might have knowm something important that I didn’t, but her approach had widened the chasm.  Teachers like all of us come from their place of limitations, blind spots, conditioning, socialization and belief systems.  Seth Godin writes ‘let me be clear. Great teachers are really wonderful. They change lives. We need them. The problem is that most schools don’t like great teachers. They’re organised to stamp them out, bore them, bureaucratize them, and make them average.”

Influenced by peers, I discovered significant writers and poets that were considered radical or belonging to the left. I had always been a curious child, and in any case, I was making my way through this acquisition of books and language, understanding culture and belonging without much support from adults. Everything was new and I was too young and deeply naïve about the political climate in Greece at the time. Some teachers thought it wise and legitimate to go through my school bag and notebooks during the breaks. Too many breaches of trust inevitably create anger and mistrust; however, both fearing authority and struggling against it can make life difficult and can prevent adolescents from learning and receiving guidance from trusted adults; on the other hand, healthy teenage rebellion, fosters independence and helps retain authentic aspects of self. But, there needs to be a balance between questioning and exploring new ideas and receiving adult guidance and support…..

School began to feel oppressive and unsafe, and there seemed to be no room for cultivating a true belonging and a safe dialogue. Unsurprisingly, I became more oriented towards peers, peers older than me. Neufeld Gordon and Gabor Mate claim that peers play a pivotal role in the self-esteem of many children and this is exactly what it means to be peer-oriented. As peers replace adults they become the ones who influence children’s sense of what to value in oneself and in others. They write: “This is not, however, how it always was, how it should be, or how it needs to be. Nor is the kind of self-esteem that is rooted in peer interaction even healthy.”

…. As we are driving along the highway this September morning, four decades later, my mind is already ahead of the rest of me; it has rushed to my destination and is already wandering around my old school, the school yard and the iron railings through which you can see the beach, the overturned fishing boats and the sea, my parents’ house, old classmates’ houses, the old patisserie, catching glimpses of the girl that inhabited these places….It is tracing this particular thread in the tapestry from the beginning to the end, to the current moment. It is discerning the repetitive patterns, from a distance it is always easier to notice…..”












Edited 10/08/2023

“A new day tainted with old ways.”

“Slowly, it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women—that the desecration of women indicated the failure of human beings to honor and protect life” Eve Ensler

Most posts in this site are related, to some extent or other, to art or trauma. Today’s post is no exception, but I will be touching upon the very difficult topic of FGM / C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting), and thus, it could be triggering or overwhelming for people. I have not included descriptions of the variety and types of procedures included in FGM or graphic descriptions, but  the topic itself and some of the videos suggested below might be triggering. This post is mostly an introduction to increase awareness and maybe inspire people to do their own research and reach their own conclusions.

I have since the previous post been diving in and out of a variety of material and sources, reading some, skimming through articles, watching available videos or documentaries,  exploring art like poetry and fiction. My exploration has been focused more on breadth than an in depth analysis because I myself have found it somewhat difficult and I believe that unless someone is very cynical or completely shut down emotionally this type of trauma and reality are not easy to consider. Even the statistics are overwhelming. Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where FGM is practiced widely. Worldwide the number is much higher. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15 although it can take place later and more than once!. During her TEDtalk Leyla Hussein provides some numbers:  24 thousand girls are at risk in Britain every year, half a million women in Europe have undergone the practice…..  [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiTaA0o-7gY].

I will begin with extracts from a poem I found in the UNICEF and United Nations website pages:

A Poem for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

The sun cuts through the morning sky.  //   It’s a new day tainted with old ways.
She sits, quiet, pensive, trying to be brave.  //   She thought she was ready but her beating heart betrays her……..

Hands that once loved and nurtured, now turn hard and cold.
Grandmas, Aunties, Mothers.  //  Carrying on a tradition that maimed them for life.
But still it must be done, the woman’s cross to bear.

PAIN, pain, pain.  //  It shatters her innocence and numbs her dreams.
A pain so deep it lasts a lifetime.  //  It cuts through her future, trimming it down to size.
Until there’s nothing there, just memories of what could have been.

STOP. Rewind. Erase. / / It’s a new dawn.  //  Blades replaced by books and pens.
Fears turned into aspirations.  //   Despair to HOPE.

No more shall she suffer in the name of religion.  // No more will tradition violate her rights.  //  We must defend and protect her childhood.

Arise young girl, a new day has come.











The United Nations (UN) clarifies that female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.  Tragically, millions of women have undergone some type of procedure at least once in their life. It is now well known and proven that girls who undergo FGM face both short-term complications such as excruciating pain, shock, excessive bleeding, anemia, infections, and difficulty in passing urine and walking, post traumatic stress and dissociative trauma responses, as well as, devastating long-term consequences for their overall physical, psychological and reproductive health.

It is known that although it is primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, FGM is a universal problem, practiced widely in some countries in Asia and Latin America, and persists amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. In Victorian societies some of these procedures were routinely carried out to ensure the ‘chasteness’ of women.  So, these practices have taken place in white Western societies as well, at least up until the 60s. The current findings suggest that although there are hot spots and places where it is extensively practiced, it is in fact a global issue. Skimming through the literature and research articles one soon understands that it occurs in European countries and other Western countries for several reasons, one being the fact that when people immigrate to other countries they very often carry their customary practices with them.

Activities, initiatives and research are, to some extent or other, taking place in many European countries.  For instance, the objective of the research work conducted by Ivana Hrvatin and her team in Slovenia was to review literature published the last decade on FGM consequences, describe and assess the theoretical and methodological approaches to treatment options and the different methods that aim to stop or reduce the continuation of FGM. They found that globally the prevalence is declining, as many actions from legal to community based programmes are being proposed. They discerned that the many known consequences, can be divided, as mentioned above, into short and long term. They found that there are treatment options documented in the available literature, but the quality of these studies were poor. Even so, there are both treatment options and guidelines of how to treat women with FGM, but health care professionals need to become both informed and sensitive to treating it, and also, able to inform women about the possible consequences and legal aspects. Finally, efforts need to be made to raise awareness and encourage open communication in society.

Specifically, the UN suggests that over the last 25 years, the prevalence of FGM has declined globally and that it could be eliminated by 2030. The Orchid Project, a British charity, also promotes a message that FGM / C can end within a generation.  Orchid Project have stated that FGC can end through the idea of “organised diffusion”, where change is led by communities, and the process of dialogue between communities leads to social change. They cite similarities between how footbinding ended and FGC and how the right conditions can motivate mass change: “As with footbinding, public declarations of abandonment are vital to solidify any commitment to ending FGC. When a group of people stand up and publicly declare that they will no longer practice FGC, they are held accountable by everyone.”

The eradication of entrenched longstanding practices would require a joint effort by governments, institutions and organizations. Men would need to be informed and convinced of the detrimental effects of these practices deeply rooted in patriarchy, the need to control women and ignorance. Through open communication and raising of public awareness, secrecy, denial or dissociation of the pain and the consequences, but also the fear of being ostracized by their communities if they decide differently, could be overcome. “Their [Men’s] voices and actions can transform deeply rooted social and gender norms, allowing girls and women to realize their rights and potential in terms of health, education, income, and equality.” (United Nations website).  As one can understand breaking the heavy silence around FGM is imperative. One basic factor that upholds it is the imposed silence around it. It is important to remove the fear of death, punishment, stigma and ostracizing. Hibo Wardere author of the book,  Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today writes: “There is an old Somalian proverb which says: ‘You can’t hide a dead body from its grave’. Its meaning? You can’t hide from your problems. Abuse thrives in secrecy, whereas out in the open it wilts and dies. The more we can bring abuse of any kind out into the world, where we can examine it and talk about it, the more likely we are to see the back of it.”

FGM is condemned by a number of international treaties and conventions. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being,” and this statement has been used to argue that FGM violates the right to health and bodily integrity. Defining FGM as a form of torture brings it under the rubric of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Moreover, regarding FGM as a traditional practice prejudicial to the health of children and minors, it violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Fortunately, national legislations against FGM are also in place in many countries, but further coordinated and systematic efforts that would engage whole communities and would focus on human rights, gender equality and the consequences suffered by girls and women, and ultimately families and communities, are required to eradicate FGM.

An important early voice against FGM was that of Fran P. Hosken [born in Austria, 1920-2006], an American designer, writer, feminist, and social activist, who founded the Women’s International Network in 1975, and published a journal on women’s health issues that became known, in particular, for its research into FGM in an attempt to end the practice. Hosken became aware of the problem in the early 70s when she went to Africa as an urban planner. The Hosken Report [1979 / over 400 pages] was the result of extensive research and field work that established that more than 74 million women and female children are mutilated by female genital operations in Africa alone. They found that the operations were also practiced in many parts of the Middle East and Indonesia and Malaysia where they were performed at the time in a less damaging form. This paper lists the countries where instances of FGM had been reported and includes case reports from many countries. The ethical issues posed by genital mutilation are also discussed.

Hosken critiqued patriarchal power and theories of misogyny that underlie many of these practices. She was the first to link domestic violence and FGM. She wrote: “What needs to be examined is what influence such customs have on the character formation of boys who learn such behavior from their fathers.”  She believed that liberty concerns all and she believed in the individual’s rights to health and bodily integrity.  She rejected cultural relativist “tolerance,” and opposed the growing trend to “solve the problem of FGM” through medicalization. Through emphasizing the threat to health rather than gender inequality, some advocates hoped to avoid the aggression or resistance that direct attacks on patriarchy could evoke and believed that pointing out the negative physical consequences of FGM would suffice to bring about change. However, she discerned the fact that even though the medicalization of FGM/C, proposed by some health professionals, could reduce the incidence of its complications and remove the torturous pain during the process, it would not reduce the long term complications of FGM. She also claimed that its performance violated the code of medical ethics, and ultimately, it would result in a setback in the global efforts to eradicate this harmful practice.

Even though I have no doubt in my mind that FGM is a form of violence, a means of control that is detrimental to women’s health and psychological well-being with effects rippling out into the familial and broader social environment, I can understand where the people that perceive FGM as a rite of passage and a practice culturally approved and steeped in tradition may come from and the multiple underlying reasons. It is therefore, important to formulate culturally sensitive plans of action for the total eradication of female genital cuttings because ultimately, when all is said and done, they are forms of mutilation, a violation of basic human rights with severe physical and emotional consequences. As one African survivor and activist for the eradication of FGM noted… culture is music, art, food….. I would add that it definitely is not violence passed down from one generation to another. Additionally, there is no religious book or scripture that proposes FGM. It is a means to control and to keep subjugated.

I also read Greek and Cypriot articles I found online. ΑΓΓΟ is the Greek term for FGM. There was a lot of emphasis on the fact that the medicalization of FGM is not a solution.  According to Dr. Christina Kaili [researcher and program coordinator at the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies and Specialist Scientist at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Cyprus] “there are indications that at least in three European countries, namely the United Kingdom, Italy and Switzerland , doctors or traditional healers have mutilated girls. There are many other countries where doctors may be practicing this practice illegally. The European Parliament and the World Health Organization have condemned the medicalization of the practice. With or without anesthesia, FGM violates the rights of the woman / girl. Doctors do this either out of ignorance or out of fear of interfering with what they misunderstand as “cultural tradition”. European countries must develop guidelines for the training of doctors, midwives and gynaecologists; thus combating the ignorance that characterizes their decisions. Repeating the practice after childbirth cannot be carried out under any circumstances, as it is against Medical Ethics, puts the woman’s health at increased risk and is a criminal act in some EU member states.”

As I mentioned above, FGM does not only hurt girls, from infancy on, and women, but its diverse effects ripple out. For instance, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM exacts a crippling economic as well as human cost. (https://www.who.int/news/item/06-02-2020-female-genital-mutilation-hurts-women-and-economies)  Dr Ian Askew claims that “FGM is not only a catastrophic abuse of human rights that significantly harms the physical and mental health of millions of girls and women; it is also a drain on a country’s vital economic resources.” It has been calculated that the total costs of treating the health impacts of FGM would amount to 1.4 billion US$ globally per year, which for individual countries would near 10% to 30% of their entire yearly expenditure on health on average.

ART: Books, Films, Documentaries

** Two filmmakers, Nabaz Ahmed and Shara Amin, spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society: female genital mutilation. Τhey persuaded people to talk about the effects of FGM and the film they made helped get the practice outlawed in 2011 and decrease the practice by over 60%. The story of their decade-long fight against FGM has been made into a documentary by the Guardian and BBC Arabic (https://www.theguardian.com/society/video/2013/oct/24/fgm-film-changed-the-law-kurdistan-video)

**  The film, A Girl from Mogadishu, is a true story inspired by the life and work of  activist Ifrah Ahmed. The film follows Ifrah from childhood in a refugee camp in Somalia where she was born and subjected to FGM, to Ireland where she is eventually given political asylum. She then goes on to become one of the world’s foremost international activists against gender-based violence.

** The film Efun (Flesh) by Anita Abada from Niigeria was part of the WHO Film Festival and it won the 2021 prize for health educational film for youth

** The documentary CUT: Exposing FGM  by Dr John Chua. In this film we understand that FGM is not an African or non Western country problem only, but since Victorian times it has been practiced in White cultures and societies, too. Dr Renee Bergstrom talks about her experience of FGM in 1947 at the age of three performed by a doctor. We get to learn about famous proponents of these practices like Dr Isaac Baker Brown and Dr John Harvey Kelloggs [19th and 20th century].

** American writer Alice Miller brought the issue of FGM to the attention of the public in 1992 with her novel, Possessing the Secret of Joy.

To conclude, one cannot consider or discuss FGM without touching upon the darkest and deepest wounds of society. One cannot discuss or think about FGM without including gender inequalities, sexism, racism, patriarchy, control and social and economic oppression. FGM is in some sense a means to massively generate post traumatic stress. It does not harm the victims only, but spreads like a virus and compromises the growth and thriving of families and communities.

July 28th, 2023                                                                  The artwork has been posted


“To think in terms of zoe [life], which is borderless, is not to ignore citizenship or its borders, but to enter a contact zone where everything is translation…. If translation suggests a movement between human cultures and an opening into the unknown, the current ecological crisis requires that this unknown also encompasses the non-human.”  Zoe Skoulding

“For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.” Audre Lorde / The Cancer Journals

“He cried all night. In the morning everyone was on the same level. It was easier to talk to the stranger, so the king welcomed him into his kingdom.” Kjell Ringi

Today’s post refers to a variety of things like: Audre Lorde’s book, The Cancer Journals / Τα Περιοδικά / Ημερολόγια του Καρκίνου; a children’s book by Kjell Ringi with the title The Stranger / Ο Ξένος; a podcast in which Dr Judson Brewer talks about how developing the habit of being curious can decrease anxiety, a recent Being Well podcast in which Dr Rick and Forrest Hanson and Dan Harris talk about a lot, including anxiety, mindfulness and (self) compassion meditations; an extract from a post by poet Zoe Skoulding, and finally, four new drawings.

The idea to write about these two particular books came while I was in town a few days ago.  First, a children’s book with a minimalist type of illustration on a book stall outside a bookstore caught my attention, and then, an incident in a shop brought to my mind The Cancer Journals.

“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was a Black writer, speaker, feminist and civil rights activist born in 1934. The Cancer Journals contains entry journals and essays written in 1978, 1979, and 1980.  The book was written over four decades ago and is situated temporarily and spatially, but aspects of it seem universal and elevant today.

Lorde begins by saying that “Each woman responds to the crisis that breast cancer brings to her life out of a whole pattern, which is the design of who she is and how her life has been lived. The weave of her every day existence is the training ground for how she handles crisis.” She argues that some women bury themselves in busyness, others go into denial and numbness, and suggests a different stance believing that our feelings need voice in order to be recognized, respected, and to be of use to others because imposed silence about any area of our lives becomes a tool for separation and powerlessness. She does not want her anger, pain and fear about cancer to fossilize into yet another silence, nor to rob her of whatever strength may lie at the core of this experience when openly acknowledged and examined.

In the book Lorde writes that she has tried to voice her feelings and the pain of amputation, her confrontation with mortality, the power of community, the power and rewards of self-conscious living, and also, state her ideas about the function of cancer in a profit economy. She describes the impact of the anesthesia on her abi;ity to think clearly and remember. She writes:  “Part of this was shock, but part of it was anesthesia, as well as conversations I had probably absorbed in the operating room while I was drugged and vulnerable and only able to record, not react.” She notes both the commonality of women’s experience of breast cancer and mastectomy and the different ways that each women will in the end navigate this journey. But she believes that what is most important to us must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood, and that every woman has “a particular voice to be raised in what must become a female outcry against all preventable cancers, as well as, against the secret fears that allow those cancers to flourish.”

An extract from the book:

“In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly, now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else’s words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength. I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you……  We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and our selves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned, we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we still will be no less afraid.”

The Stranger by Swedish writer and artist Kjell Arne Sorensen Ringi (1936-2010), first published in 1968, is a modern fable for young children and people of all ages around xenophobia, the fear of the Other and the use of different forms of violence.

One day a giant stranger arrives unannounced in a peaceful kingdom and spreads worry and fear. At first the authorities decide to guard the stranger but without any result. Then they sent diplomats and messengers. Again nothing happens. More forceful suppression mechanisms are then activated. The army arrives with weapons, but still nothing happens. Then they use a cannon ball and the giant alien is wounded. He starts weeping and his tears create a sea……

Cultivating curiosity at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCW9lEg8UZ8

In this podcast Dr Brewer talks about how developing the habit of being curious can decrease anxiety, and distinguishes between deprivation curiosity and interest curiosity. The first is when we lack information and it can be linked to feelings of uncertainty, uneasiness, and non safety. When we don’t have information our brain fires like when we don’t have food.  It’s different from the second type of curiosity, which is connected to joy, openness, wonder, learning, interest. He refers to the fact that society has not, thus far, highlighted curiosity as a strength.  He also explains how subjective bias both saves cognitive energy and leads to false conclusions and things like sexism, racism, and ageism, and so on.

Mindfulness, Fear, and Love Without the Cringe at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjKuKl1pM2k

On the Being Well episode this week Dr Rick and Forrest Hanson and Dan Harris talk about Dan’s history with panic attacks mostly arising from public speaking and claustrophobic responses in places like elevators, exposure therapy and meditation practices; compassion and self-compassion and the experiences of mindfulness both in a secular frame and in moving away from a purely secular frame. They also explore concepts and experiences like love, kindness, caring, sharing and wise selfishness, as well as, the importance of marking our virtuous moments when they occ and recognizing personal changes as they happen one step at a time.

Finally, I’d like to share something I read by poet Zoe Skoulding at her website: https://www.zoeskoulding.co.uk/2020/10/10/from-underground-rivers-notes-towards-a-zoepoetics/

from Underground Rivers: Notes Towards a Zoepoetics, posted on 10 /10/2020

“The first word I remember writing was, unsurprisingly, my own name: Zoë. The Greek term zoe, as the widest definition of life itself, has always interested me, and I grew up knowing its Biblical interpretations, ‘eternal life’, or ‘life in all its fullness’ thanks to my clergyman father, who also tried to teach me when I was far too young to write it in Greek, ζωή, the strange forms of the letters escaping into unfathomable loops and scrawls of crayon across the page. …… It was much later that I came to Georgio Agamben’s account, particularly relevant to the current state of exception, of the unstable distinction between the bios, the politically qualified life of the citizen and zoe asthe state of ‘bare life’, a non-human status excluded from the body politic. Zoe, in his account, is life in its most vulnerable form, subject to the sovereign’s power over the embodied subject. More recently, Rosi Braidotti …… [has argued] for an understanding of zoe / life as a generative force, and for a ‘zoe-egalitarian’ politics.”