Joy, public speaking and crafts          

Part 2

Today’s post is also about joy in the broader sense. It also includes two more drawings and a few links of some of the “related to happiness and well being material” I listened to while knitting and drawing, like the podcast: Science of Happiness hosted by psychologist Dacher Keltner, Rick Hanson’s TED talk Hardwiring Happiness, where he mostly discusses his approach HEAL and how to install positive states to turn them into traits, and a TED talk by Steven Pinker, who points out that “there’s no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

One step towards greater happiness or peace and contentment is learning to let go of constricting beliefs. In the book I referred to in the previous post, Awakening Joy for Kids, by James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna, there is a section on teaching children (and adults) to let go of constricting beliefs and wiring the brain for success. In this particular section they discuss how fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias in North America, and I would suspect elsewhere, too, even though most people don’t discuss it nor do they tackle the problem, preferring to cope with the fear of public speaking by avoiding it all together. The authors write that “Throughout their lives people may pass up job opportunities, relationships, and the joy of pure self-expression by succumbing to this fear.” They then suggest that by supporting children at a young age to speak in front of peers in safe ways, rather than closing doors, this capacity could open opportunities.

One of the authors narrates their own early disempowering experience at school during a speech. She writes “The teacher kept saying aloud, if you don’t do this, you will get a D … you will get a D. I was confronted with fear. Freeze, fight, or flight? I froze, then flew, and never forgot. I was not given a moment of compassion by my teacher or classmates, and I certainly didn’t know how to be self-compassionate.” Her own experience inspired her to introduce public speaking at an early age, and also, help her students to develop self-compassion. She suggests that teachers begin with small easy shares to build  safety in the group; encourage older children to model this sharing in front of the younger children to inspire them; allow all children to take leadership roles in the classroom. She also suggests that the teacher demonstrate their own vulnerability by reading a speech in front of the children and talking about their own struggles, while eliciting from the children all the possible times it may be helpful to give a public speech and connecting this idea to things they love to do and how it can serve them in the future. She asks them to prepare very short speeches, teaches them about body language and body stress responses because she believes that by teaching children about the physiology of fear they might be more able to step back and hopefully notice and label the experience as fear and begin to talk themselves through the challenging situation. She also suggests sharing the brain science of how we wire in negative patterns that over time become stronger and more fixed into our neural pathways because what we rest our attention on repeatedly goes from a state to a trait. I will write more about this and about hardwiring happiness in the next post, in which I will draw on Rick Hanson’s book Hardwiring Happiness, which I’m currently reading.

In the book there are also home practices for parents to do with their kids in order to build this capacity early on at home. The basic ideas are to let kids play with their voices from an early age and then maybe capture this on camera to get them used to seeing themselves perform and share in safe ways. Other ideas are to have children put simple and very short plays on for their family or an audience because the joy of sharing aloud will build courage and competence or to ask kids to read books aloud to younger siblings and children to make it easier for them to speak up in class. Singing songs with your children also builds up confidence and ease. From experience I know that singing accelerates learning – of the alphabet, grammar, vocabulary – increases fluency and makes learning more fun. Any activity that encourages children to express themselves safely, in class or at home, is a positive step.

Some of the practices in the book incorporate crafts like sewing and weaving.  Crafts are fun, they help children develop small motor skills, they help increase focused attention and creativity, they can be done alone, in groups or with family. Engaging with crafts and hobbies increases our contentment and can also be soothing and relaxing. Reading through the craft sections brought up the desire in me to knit or crochet something (I hadn’t done this in a long time). I actually knitted myself a scarf this last week (see picture). I knitted both mindfully letting the repetitive motions do whatever they do, and I knitted while listening to and watching things.

I also looked up articles and research on the potential positive effects of knitting. It is generally suggested that knitting can be like mindfulness meditation. The repetitive and rhythmic movements are equated with meditation, and they also, have a calming effect, which can decrease pain, depression, stress and anxiety. Studies also suggest that engaging in activities like crocheting and knitting frequently could reduce the chance of developing cognitive impairments for the elderly, and can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol. One study revealed a connection between knitting and feeling of happiness. It probably also increases patience and the end products give us satisfaction. In a research article by Jill Riley, et al. (2013) on the benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing the results showed a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy and that the more frequent knitters reported higher cognitive functioning. Additionally, more serotonin is released with repetitive movement, which improves mood and sense of calmness. Also, knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact and communication with others.

The authors of Awakening Joy for Kids write “These days fewer people know how to knit, weave, or crochet but all is not lost to past generations. We can bring back this beautiful art in small and big ways and at the same time bring health and well-being into our minds and bodies. You don’t even need to knit. Repetitive movements are common sense: we rock babies in cradles and sit in rocking chairs because rocking has a powerful calming effect.” They quote Dr. Herbert Benson, who recommends the repetition of a sound, a word, a phrase, and muscular activity to elicit our body’s relaxation response, can lower heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.

Links         (Dacher Keltner’s podcast)   (Steven Pinker)     (Rick Hanson TED talk)


‘The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.’ Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899)

‘It’s not enough to be a happy individual; we should also try to think of ways in which others – perhaps everyone – can be happy.’ Michael Rosen & Annemarie Young

“Growing your inner strengths through taking in the good is like deepening the keel of a sailboat so that it’s less jostled by the worldly winds, it recovers more quickly from big storms, and you can now safely head out into deeper waters in pursuit of your dreams. You’ll be turning moments of hedonic well-being into a more fundamental ongoing sense of fulfillment and meaning: what’s called eudaimonic well-being.” Rick Hanson

Today’s post has to do with joy – how to tap into it and how to cultivate it. I have on and off been looking at relevant material and thinking about writing something around  joy and practices of accessing it and cultivating it. Reading James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna’s book, Awakening Joy for Kids, these past two weeks has brought the topic to the forefront again and the result is this first post on joy and contentment. Meanwhile, I’m still working on this recent series of ink drawings. So, I’m accompanying my post with my most recent ones.

From a humanist perspective we should try to create a world in which everyone could have the opportunity to find fulfillment and happiness in the here and now. Of course, there are many different ways to be happy and everyone should have the freedom and opportunity to create the kind of lives that bring them joy and contentment, as long as we respect this right in others and try not to cause harm. Many people around the world do not have the freedom or the basic opportunities to pursue happiness. Actually, I believe freedom is one important contributory factor to our levels of contentment and happiness, but that could be a topic for another post. Finally, there are different ways to define happiness and joy, and each one of us might place emphasis on different experiences and things depending on who we are and where we are in space and time.










In the book mentioned above joy is used to describe healthy states of mind that bring us ease of well-being like contentment, happiness, fulfillment, aliveness, delight, peace, calm, open-heartedness, etc. The authors of the book postulate that cultivating personal joy does not only benefit us, but also, those around us and it produces a ripple effect of bringing more consciousness and well-being to the planet. The book includes many practices designed to strengthen our connections to ourselves and others so that we may live happier and more successful lives. These practices are designed to help children (and adults) develop more self-awareness, empathy, compassion, love and caring for both self and others, and perseverance and resilience in the face of difficulties. I think the book would be great for parents, caregivers, educators, and anyone else working with children. It also includes a guide with instructions on how to integrate these practices into a teaching day while honoring the educational curriculum.

Baraz and Lilyanna have found through their work and experience as school teachers and meditation teachers that the skills that cultivate joy can be taught and that through practice and repetition they can create neural pathways in the brain. They write:  “We can wire the brain and our emotional being toward happiness, and in doing so with our children they can become more resilient in the face of an ever-changing world.” They suggest that by practicing these skills early on with our children, we are building emotional resilience, self-regulation, and well-being before they even enter the school system. These capacities facilitate children’s adaption to the school environment, regulation of emotions, learning and engaging with others, and building a loving and respectful classroom community. They refer to research on well-being that shows that increased mindfulness, which is a key component of awakening joy, positively affects all areas of our lives, including intelligence, creativity, productivity, energy, resilience, satisfaction, while decreasing anxiety and depression. In addition, studies have shown that increased happiness strengthens our immune system, lessens pain of chronic disease, combats stress, lowers blood pressure.

The writers discuss how joy is our natural state and that we come into this world with a natural joy. As babies we have access to this if we are taken care of. They write: “A baby who’s been fed, diapered, rested, often squeals with delight at life on receiving some loving attention. We were all that baby at one time. And an adult in an MRI machine who is free of physical or mental stress exhibits a brain that is conscious, calm, creative, caring, and content.” They suggest that we can access and awaken well-being within ourselves even amidst difficulties and stress. It needs to be remembered and we can help children get in touch with that joy by teaching them simple practices and encouraging them to live from that place more and more.

Their three principles to awakening our joy are: understanding where true happiness lies, taking in the good, and practising.

Children might get in touch feeling true well-being, for instance, while playing with friends, being outside in nature on a lovely day, being read a bed time story or snuggling with a pet, and so on. Taking in the good refers to actually pausing to savor the good experience because too often we miss the delight of pleasant moments. We might know cognitively that we feel good but we don’t take the time to feel it in our bodies, to rest there for a few minutes, to savor it. Rick Hanson says we need to a) look for good facts, and turn them into good experiences, b) really enjoy the experience, c) sense that the good experience is sinking into you. He claims that “Every time you [we] take in the sense of feeling safe, satisfied, or connected, you [we] stimulate responsive circuits in your [our] brain….  and with practice, you’ll [we’ll] learn to light up the neural circuits of positive states even when you’re [we’re] rattled or upset, like reaching through clutter to get the tool you [we] need.” You can read more on taking in the good in Rick Hanson’s article at: Finally, as we practice letting our moments of well-being register, instead of being stuck in the ruts of our mind, we start creating happiness grooves because often, according to the neuroscience axiom: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.

Baraz and Lilyanna claim that the process of awakening joy includes cultivating ten different healthy states of well-being, and being present when they arise so that over time the brain becomes more and more inclined toward happiness. Briefly, these ten healthy states of well being are:

To set the intention to be happy and allow more joy in our lives because this inclines our minds to look for the positive and appreciate joy unfolding

To learn the power of mindfulness and cultivate the capacity to be present and aware, which is a basic tool of a joyful life

To develop a grateful heart because among other things appreciating the good in our lives helps us open to the inevitable difficulties that arise

To learn to be with life challenges in a skillful way

To understand the power of integrity, not doing harm and knowing the joy of being aligned with our values

To cultivate the capacity to let go and learn to restrain ourselves from impulsive behavior that we will later regret

To love ourselves and feel deserving of true happiness

To care and enjoy a healthy connection with others

To express our compassion when we see others around us having a hard time

To know the joy of simply being, where we learn to truly relax and embrace what’s happening right now

There are many, many mindfulness practices and other activities in the book both for doing at home and at school. I will briefly describe two of the school activities that the authors suggest to help children with the first step: to set intentions, which Dan Siegel claims “create an integrated state of priming, a gearing up of our neural system to be in the mode of that specific intention: we can be readying to receive, to sense, to focus, to behave in a certain manner” (cited in Baraz and Lilyanna, 2016).

Children are asked to set an intention around what would bring them a feeling of well-being. They are asked to state, in one or two words, how they are feeling and what they are yearning for. Some children might be yearning for a quiet day and some for a more exuberant experience. The writers suggest that by saying their needs aloud the whole scope and breadth of the human experience can arise and be heard, and also,  when students see that others also experience the ebbs and flows of life, they can relax and just be with their feelings. After the intentions are said aloud, the students write one sentence of intention on a strip of sticky notepaper. Sometimes a student might say that their intention is to play video games. Then the child is asked to recognise the need the video game fulfills. If the student says “to compete or to relax” for instance, the teacher helps the child to see that the video game is just a strategy to meet their need and there are many other ways to meet the same need. After writing their need down, the children hold their papers up and move into the middle of the room. Circulating, each student reads aloud another’s paper and says, “You are _____________ and you are inviting _____________ into your life today. I see you and honor your intention.” The other child thanks them and says the same to them. In some sense they learn to respect and honor each others’ needs. They then stick their intentions to their desks and throughout the day look for evidence of them unfolding, and if they can help others to fulfill their need.

This practice can be taken further in an activity called: Co-creating Our Day.

After sharing their intentions, the children write up the needs that they hope to meet during the day on the board. The teacher reminds them that not all needs will be met, but they will do their best to fit them in. Needs for play, rest, sharing, creative time, and outside time are usually part of the list and the teacher can easily work them into the structure of the day. Meanwhile, the children feel empowered and happy that their needs are being honored by the whole class. Throughout the day, the students are asked to share with the group if their intention is unfolding and at the end of the day children can write in their journals how they had a need honored or how they helped someone else with a need or joy. If their need or joy didn’t fit in, they can look for ways to bring it into their evening plans.

Part six

“The separation of “private speaking” from “public speaking” is a man-made construct. It stripped the emotional from the rational, the heart from the head. It elevated individuality over connectivity instead of honoring both.” Elizabeth Lesser

For this final myth related post I will draw on Elizabeth Lesser’s book, Cassandra Speaks. It also includes a new drawing and some non-myth related resources.

More and more women and people in general are becoming aware of feelings of constriction, grief and oppression and of ways of doing things differently, of a need to change some of the old stories.  Lesser writes at the beginning of her book: “All I know is that in my early thirties I became acutely aware of the feelings of constriction, heartache, and anger that had been brewing in me since I was a girl. Slowly, the desire to do something to change the story became stronger than my fear of speaking up.” She speculates that this waking up was probably the result of the wave of women gathering their strength all around the world, her meditation practice, which was giving her a strong backbone and a way of regarding herself and others with calm curiosity, and her first attempts at being in therapy that were helping her unravel the stories that had shaped her. Through these processes she realised that “just the way it is” was actually just a story with ancient roots; a story that begged to be revisited and revamped.

The book is comprised of three parts: origin stories, power stories and a brave new ending. In the first part of the book Lesser explores the origin tales that have shaped our Western thinking and beyond. She goes back to Adam and Eve and other Bible parables, the Greek and Roman myths, Shakespeare’s tragedies, and other well known stories. Many of these stories have endured and have been passed on from one generation to the next, often unexamined. We’re often oblivious to how these old stories shape us and how entrenched they are in our contemporary cultures.  Lesser describes how she had absorbed those stories as if they were about humankind, but of course, stories created only by men are really stories about men, not the whole human race. She goes on to explore what could have been and what could change now if women are also the story tellers. She points out how becoming familiar with our culture’s origin stories and tracing their influence is a good way to take stock of our own lives and personal narratives and claim our own voice.

In the book Lesser focuses on stories from Western cultures, including Adam and Eve, and Pandora and Cassandra from Greek myths. She describes how when she started tracing their influence she felt their tentacles everywhere. Another thing she realised was that many of the stories impart the same themes of men as superior and morally pure and women as the ones to bring about suffering. If we didn’t know that these stories uphold the status quo, then the blaming of women for all the strife and pain in the world would seem irrational or our desperate attempt to make meaning of our human experience and existential fears through simplistic explanations. Referring to Adam and Eve she writes: “God curses them. He curses the woman with painful childbirth and subservience to her husband. He curses the husband with constant toil. He curses both of them with illness, old age, and death, and he exiles them from the Garden of Eden. Everything after that goes downhill. All because of Eve’s curiosity and defiance, and Adam’s submission to Eve’s sin. The Fall.|”

However, Lesser mentions that other readings of the story suggest that the death God spoke of was not literal death, but rather the death of the child-self, the unconscious self, the fearful self who chooses the safe status quo and never fulfills his or her potential. Lesser writes: “The way I see it, Eve is humankind’s first grown-up. The “temptation” she succumbs to is the most fundamental human yearning— to know oneself, to find one’s own path, and to courageously engage with the big world beyond the garden of childhood. To grow up is to admit that life is challenging and that we are responsible for our own behavior and for the well-being of one another. In psychological terms, the urge to grow up is called individuation, and in mythological terms it is called the hero’s journey— the inner calling to push off from the shore of mother and father, to test limits, to know your worth, to speak your truth, to claim authentic selfhood.”

The origin story from ancient Greece by the poet Hesiod seems to have definitely informed the Adam and Eve story. According to Hesiod, (cited in Lesser) Zeus, the king of the gods, said to Prometheus: “You stole the fire and outwitted my thinking; but it will be a great sorrow to you, and to men who come after. As the price of fire, I will give them an evil, and all men shall fondle this, their evil, close to their hearts, and take delight in it.” This evil was Pandora, the first woman. One of the many gifts she received from the Gods was curiosity. Zeus married Pandora off to Prometheus’s brother and as a wedding gift, gave her a large storage jar with the warning that she must never open it. But like Eve her curiosity got the better of her, and Pandora lifted the lid. Zeus had trapped in the jar the spirit of every kind of suffering that released would plague mankind forever: toil, sickness, famine, jealousy, hatred, war, and the cycle of birth and death. And because of Pandora’s curiosity suffering was humankind’s fate. So, curiosity is viewed as something dangerous that brings about all kinds of bad things. This message is pervasive in our society and often in educational contexts. We are all inquisitive and eager to learn about the world as young children, and then slowly and steadily this is dampened or crushed.

These myths still affect our modern consciousness despite the knowledge we have accumulated and the advances we have made in so many areas. Lesser claims that those who tell the tales are human beings with all sorts of motivations, strong opinions, an ego to stoke, a system to uphold.  Hesiod she writes: “interpreted old myths and folk tales from the oral tradition, changing many of them to reflect the issues of his times and to protect the privilege of the ruling, patriarchal class.” She notes that in versions that predate Hesiod’s storytelling, Pandora was not a punishment but rather a gift. Pandora means “all-giving.” Earlier versions of the spoken myth, pieced together from the artwork on pottery,  paint Pandora as an embodiment of the fertility of the earth, a healer and life giver. Also, there are other versions of the story that suggest that Pandora discovered the opened jar and she held back Elpis, which means hope in Greek, to help humans withstand the trials of mortal existence. Lesser writes: “it’s time to tell stories where no one is to blame for the human predicament and all of us are responsible for forging a hopeful path forward.”

Another Greek myth examined in the book is the story of Cassandra because her story resonates with our times. Cassandra could see clearly, but she was disbelieved, disregarded and gaslighted. Lesser writes: “Gaslight is one of my favorite new verbs to enter the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The word also was one of the winners of the American Dialect Society’s 2016 Word of the Year. I like the simplicity of their definition – “Gaslight: to psychologically manipulate a person into questioning their own sanity….. Cassandra’s curse is an ancient example of gaslighting, and it is relived on a daily basis by women around the world….  You can go all the way back to texts from ancient Egypt, Persia, and Greece for the earliest examples of gaslighting….. Millions of women throughout time have been discredited, ignored, disrespected, and made to suffer for telling uncomfortable, inconvenient truths. But this time, under the words of pain, I could sense a new wind gathering strength.”

In the book there is a chapter about the writer’s trip to France, where she had the opportunity to visit sites with cave paintings. Up until recently it was assumed that the artists were men, but research conducted by Dean Snow, the archaeologist who analyzed the handprints of the Cro-Magnon artists, suggests that many of the handprints in caves belong to women. That means that at least some of the first story tellers were women. Lesser writes that in those caves she got a visceral experience of how history is often a distorted window into the past, the perspective of those with the power to tell it, and was reminded of the opportunity we have to participate in changing the narrative. Snow (cited in Lesser) says that the question he gets most often is why these ancient artists left handprints at all. “a pretty good hypothesis is that this is somebody saying, ‘This is mine, I did this.” Lesser concludes “It is time for women to change that story, to leave our handprints, to say, “This is mine, I did this.”

She also wonders why the fullness of our ancestors’ consciousness stayed behind in the caves and asks questions like:

Why has the focus been on our inherited violent and warlike nature? What about the stories of the earliest human urge to care for each other, to parent, to cook and nurse, to love and create? Why were those so-called soft storylines overlooked and not told alongside the warrior stories? Why were they not held up as critical aspects of the human journey through time? Why have those stories stayed in the caves— and not just those prehistoric caves but in the forgotten rooms of every era?

The second part of the book discusses power and women. Lesser says that as time went by she realised that to change the story of power in her world she had to dredge up her personal power, her inner strength, inherent dignity, and self-worth, but layers of self-doubt, unexplored and unexpressed anger, and a slew of other problems like the problem of likability – being nice, agreeable, and likable all the time – were covering her authentic power. She writes: “Women and power . . . what a conundrum. This is what I was thinking about sitting in the quiet house, bunching together the socks. Somewhere in the back of my mind I sensed the presence of millions of other women who were experiencing similar issues and were equally unsettled by those two words. Women and power. The words were like the socks: mismatched. They were a koan looking for an answer.”

She describes her own Pandora’s moment when she opened a box of books from her sons’ college years while cleaning out. As she read through the box she says she encountered the DNA of patriarchal power. From The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, who championed leadership that shunned morality and empathy and Sun Tzu, who In The Art of War, claims that fear, deception, arrogance, attack, annihilation are the strategies of power to Aristotle, the Selected Essays by Karl Marx; The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Plato, Plutarch, Augustine and Saint Paul, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and many others.  She writes: “Talk about Pandora’s Box, I said to myself. This was the dangerous box! I pulled out another book. It was a big one, with a bold red cover. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene….That was the end of my cleaning project and the beginning of a deep dive into the story of power.…..”

Throughout the book she explores how if women had also been the protagonists and narrators of societies’ teaching tales “swords in stones and bombs bursting in air would have been no more laudatory than educating children and tending the garden. Acts like rape and pillage, violence and brute force would have never been associated with the “hero’s journey.” The culture would not only revere the strong and silent type; it would also be cool to be talkative, brave to cry, noble to feel and relate.” This single story of power and the excess of one value system and the exclusion of others have created a lot of suffering and injustice, and as Lesser says, we do not only need stories empowering all those who have been left out of the story, but also stories with different values and new ways of being and dealing with problems.

Lesser also reminds us that even though women have not being part of this story it doesn’t mean that they have not often colluded with the story line, and also, even though experience and research show that women have honed more caring and collaborative instincts; nurture relationships and connectivity;  are less likely to use violence to deal with conflict, all people harbor within them a full range of human impulses and reactions, urges to manipulate or dominate, to be selfish and unkind, to unfairly blame or shame, to walk over others to get what they want. That’s why she believes it is critical to be self-aware and this brings me to the last part of the book where there is a chapter in which she introduces a term she has come up with –‘innervism’. She defines innervism as “love of oneself. It is the realization that healing the self and healing the world go hand in hand…. Sometimes the very evils we want to fight in the world, the broken behaviors we blame on others, are also alive in us and in need of our attention, our kindness, our understanding, our healing.”

She believes that when examining women and power both innervism and activism need to be taken into account. Innervism because women as a collective carry oppression and pain in their bodies and psyches so healing within is necessary, and activism because there is so much that needs to be addressed out in the world. Lesser explains why she uses these terms: “I use the word activism to describe ….. anything you do to serve a cause greater than yourself. Your activism might look like joining a political campaign, a social-justice movement, the school board, the local fire department. Or being a foster parent, or a therapist, or someone who picks up litter on the side of a road. Activism is “love made visible,” as Kahlil Gibran wrote. Love of people, animals, trees, community, country, land, planet.” She says that what inspires her about Pauli Murray is her insistence that anyone can be a change agent in the sense that one does not have to join an organization or proclaim allegiance to a party or a philosophy because any person with a typewriter constitutes a movement. Lesser writes: “I say that one person with her own voice— written, spoken, cried, yelled, sung— can change the story. Every day, in big and small ways, we can do this….” She also adds that there is not only power in knowing the old stories and becoming aware of what we value and what we don’t, but also offering alternatives and creating new scripts to replace the ones holding us all back.


  1. Two brief TED talks by Steven Hayes, PhD, the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is summarily about acceptance of unwanted experiences that are out of our control and the commitment to live a life according to our values. The purpose of ACT is to increase our psychological flexibility, developing mindfulness, with a full focus on the present and acting according to our value system. It distinguishes six basic processes of psychological inflexibility: cognitive attachment, experiential avoidance, obsession with the past or the future, hyper self-identification as content, loss of contact with our values ​​and lack of action, and six processes of psychological flexibility: acceptance, cognitive detachment, contact with the present moment, self as a framework, values ​​and committed action.     &

  1. A recent episode of the Being Well podcast where Rick and Forest Hanson define scarcity and abundance, the reasons we are predisposed towards scarcity from an evolutionary perspective, and also, scarcity at the cultural level. The fact that they included a critique of promoting an “abundance mindset” was refreshing. They talked about how and when to relax, expand and orient to a sense of abundance, abundance in objectively difficult times, abundance of future time, and the sense of wonder in considering the abundance of the universe and the awe this can arise in us.