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Good Life Project
This week, we are thoroughly enjoying a new podcast, called the Good Life Project. Each week, host and award-winning author, media-producer, and entrepreneur, Jonathan Fields, interviews a different person about how to best live a good life. According to Jonathan, “A good life is not a place at which you arrive, it’s a lens through which you see and create your world.” Past guests include world-shakers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Ken Robinson, and Brene Brown, but also everyday people too. The motto? Every story matters.

Listen for inspirational, unfiltered conversations about finding meaning, happiness, purpose, and success in life.

Search Inside Yourself
This week, we are reading and loving Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer. At Google, part of Meng's job was to teach his coworkers how to apply mindfulness techniques inside and outside of the office, in order to foster productivity and emotional intelligence at life and work. Now, he is making his techniques accessible to readers everywhere. This book functions as a crash course in health, happiness and creativity, and we couldn't recommend it more!

 

Color Me Calm
New obligations at work or home? Constant stimulation and high expectations can leave us feeling burnt out or distanced from the present, and the responsibilities of adulthood may be wearing us down. Color Me Calm, a guided coloring book designed specifically for the busy adult, is a small return to simpler times. Coloring allows us to focus on the now, as well as challenging us to also accept imperfections, and encouraging us to take risks and experiment. Art therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter specifically designed 100 coloring templates to help you get coloring and get relaxed. Organized into seven therapeutically-themed chapters including Mandalas, Water Scenes, Spirituality, and more, this book will help you channel your energy into nourishing, creative accomplishment.
The Places That Scare You
From time to time, we like to share the favorite books on our nightstand in Things We Love.  Right now, we can't get enough of The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron, American Buddhist nun and author of the best selling book When Things Fall Apart.  In this book, Pema shares how we all have the ability to let the most challenging circumstances of our lives open and soften us.  We have folded and highlighted and underlined many passages to return to over and over again when we are in need of a gentle reminder for self compassion and acceptance.  For example:

"How are we going to spend this brief lifetime?  Are we going to strengthen our well-perfected ability to struggle against uncertainty, or are we going to train in letting go?... If we start to move in this direction, limitless possibilities will begin to open up."  

Wisdom 2.0 Conference
Shyft had the pleasure of attending the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco, and what didn't we love about it?  The Wisdom 2.0 conference is a fascinating intersection of mindfulness, technology, and entrepreneurship.  Where else can you learn from mindfulness gurus such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzburg, and Jack Kornfeld, all in one place and time?  We enjoyed morning meditations, afternoon yoga sessions, and the delicious ethnic cuisines of San Francisco.  We would recommend this conference to anyone looking to deepen their own sense of calm and discover the wisdom that is inherent within each of us.
Wei of Chocolate
This Valentine’s week, what better way to treat yourself than to indulge in a little chocolate? Thanks to the Wei of Chocolate, you can also use dessert as a daily reminder of mindfulness. Wei of chocolate provides you with vegan, organic fair trade dark chocolate and is good for the body, mind, and soul. There are several varieties infused with different essences (chai or roses anyone?) to enhance different aspects of your well-being, like creativity or focus. Common meditation practices focus on the breath, but wei of chocolate allows for the best type of mindful eating practice. Simply let it melt in your mouth, savor the moment, and reflect on all there is to be grateful for... like chocolate!
Library Full of Humans
Every one has their own story to tell, and the Human Library Organization thinks that sharing these stories could help bring people closer together. Their mission?  To challenge stereotypes and prejudices through open, honest dialogue.  To do this, they're organizing events around the world where people can voluntarily be "loaned out" to others, to engage in thoughtful, positive conversations. Reading diverse voices is one way to challenge your worldview, but this project takes the concept of engaging with new narratives to a whole new, more personal level. Just remember, never judge a book by its cover.
What Happens When We Stop Putting People in Boxes?

 

Now, more than ever, it is important to provide opportunities for individuals to share their hopes, their courage, and their compassion with each other and the world. In this video from Denmark TV, we see what happens when we don't put people in boxes or label them. Instead, we just allow them to simply be themselves, to their fullest extent and without fear or suspicion. This video is a clear reminder that there is more that unites us than divides us.

Gratitude Journal App
Although technology can be stressful or distracting, here's one app you won't want to unplug from: Happy Tapper's Gratitude Journal.  This app is designed to help you rewire your brain in just five minute per day, unleashing positive thoughts into the world and into your life.  The cheerful, bright interface makes it simple to type a few sentences about what you are thankful for, and the result is a reminder to always be grateful and gracious. Additionally, you can upload photos directly from your phone, and the company is also working on a new initiative to provide you with a hardbound version of your journal if you wish. Journaling never looked so good (or easy!).
Year of Wishes Candles
This year, begin your self compassion practice with a Year of Wishes. These beautiful candles come in glass containers with silk-screened words of hope, peace, and encouragement. A small keepsake charm is hidden in the center of each one as a reminder that good things can come in small and unexpected packages. A perfect gift of positive energy for yourself or your loved ones as we start fresh in 2017!

 

 

Zenguin Cups
Who wouldn't love to find these adorable Zenguin cups underneath the tree or tucked away in a stocking somewhere? The perfect daily reminder for reflection, with some humor and cuteness thrown in! These Zenguins offer up some mindful sentiments to help with daily meditation, while the small Japanese-style tea cup size encourages smaller sips and tranquil contemplation. This holiday season, curl up with a good book by the fireplace with a steaming cup of tea in the most charming receptacle.
Buddha Board
Buddha Board is our latest favorite toy, one that is a beautiful and creative reminder to live in the moment. Buddha Board allows you to paint on its surface with water, and then watch as your design magically comes to life. As the water evaporates, your art slowly fades away, leaving you with a reminder of the fleeting moment, as well as a blank slate and a fresh state of mind.  As you paint, you simultaneously practice the art of letting go.  We love that the Buddha Board is environmentally conscious, and comes in a variety of sizes and colors.  The perfect gift for the artist or budding meditator in your life.
Lena Dunham Tries Meditation

In this hilarious and relatable video, Girls star Lena Dunham turns to meditation in order to find a healthy work-life balance. This video perfectly illustrates some of the challenges all meditators face- losing focus, getting distracted, and feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts. All of us struggle to overcome these challenges.  Lena Dunham’s portrayal here is guaranteed to make you laugh in the process. While meditation might help offer us a different outlook on life, laughter can be just as useful when it comes to keeping things in perspective.

 

The Giving Keys
Who wouldn't love this Classic XL Necklace by The Giving Keys? The Giving Keys began with a simple hotel room key that would go on to change lives. Caitlin Crosby, actress and singer/songwriter, started wearing her New York hotel key as a necklace while on tour.  She realized we are all like this key...unique, flawed, scarred, and sometimes discarded by others. Caitlin started engraving old, used keys with inspirational words, giving these keys renewed purpose.  They are now worn everyday and by people all over the world. These keys serve as a physical reminder to pay attention to all that is beautiful and meaningful. We are especially inspired by the fact that the keys are made by employees affected by homelessness.  The Giving Keys isn’t just about giving yourself a  reminder to reflect, but also about giving back to our communities as well.
Life Lessons from a 75-year Harvard Study

We love evidence based data on how we can all seek greater happiness.  In this Ted talk, Robert Waldinger shares what he has learned from one of the longest studies ever conducted on human happiness.  What are the factors that are most relevant to our wellbeing? 

They may not be what you were expecting!  One hint--it ain't got nothing to do with money or fame. 

Watch here to learn more:

Get Outta Your Head
Get Outta Your Head
We don't think there can ever be too much self care.  We loved the story behind "Outta," a Canadian based apparel company.  The founder, Sally, struggled with years for mental health issues, before she realized the need for an active self care practice that included yoga, meditation, and most importantly, starting a dialogue with others about her challenges.  It was then that she started her bamboo based clothing and accessory line, geared towards encouraging individuals to speak up, take care of themselves, share their stories, and support one another on the path to healing.  To learn more about Sally and her mission, visit www.getouttayourhead.com.

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