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Monday, November 25, 2013

LYRICS: The Way I Feel by Asa


Asa - The Way I Feel
Album: Beautiful Imperfection

Lyrics:

I feel like I'm floating through
existence.
I feel like I'm living after time.
I feel like I'm forced to break
the silence, is that a crime?
Is that a crime?
I feel like we all following shadows,
And shadows that don't know where
to go.
I feel like I'm waiting for tomorrow,
But today... waste away.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

I feel like a child without a
father.
And mama tries,
Oh lord knows mama tries.
I feel like the world is on my shoulders.
I wonder why, wonder why.
I feel I'm not the only one who's
frustrated.
I feel that something's going
wrong.
I can't escape it.
I feel that the destiny should
fill the men to be the best are in
the hands of liars.
Now the world is on fire.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

I feel we are not angry enough.
That while we wait, time's ticking
away.
I feel... there's gonna be an explosion.

It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's not like I have notice.
It's driving me insane.
It's not that I don't know,
It's not that I can't see.
It's just the way I feel,
It's just the way I feel.

Monday, November 18, 2013

FYI: How to Be a Better Conversationalist

Originally posted on The Wall Street Journal on August 12, 2013
By Elizabeth Bernstein



For those born without the gift of gab, the art of elegantly starting, sustaining and stopping a discussion takes study and practice. Elizabeth Bernstein joins Lunch Break to explain why experts say small talk is actually a big deal. Photo: Getty Images.

Jason Swett still cringes when he remembers the party in Atlanta 10 years ago, where, drink in hand, he tried "to impress the local Southern belles," he says, by talking—nonstop.

He told the six or so people he'd just met the tale of how once at a grocery store he helped apprehend a thief who'd stuffed steaks down his pants. And the story about the time he spotted a bike at the bottom of a pond in a local park and jumped in to retrieve it. And then the one about how he smoked himself out of his own basement by setting off illegal fireworks.

Eventually, Mr. Swett asked the group, "Wanna hear another one?" The reply was unanimous. "No!" six people shouted in unison.

There is an art to elegantly starting, sustaining and ending a dialogue with strangers or friends. Experts call it conversational intelligence. Others call it the gift of gab. Hard as it may be for chatty people to believe, not everyone is born with it. For many, it takes study and practice.

Some people dismiss small talk as mere chitchat, an unnecessary and annoying waste of time. Many men consider it a female thing. But experts say casual conversation is essential social grease—a ritual that helps us connect with friends, colleagues and people we've just met.

We can use small talk to signal our friendly intent and to get people to like us. It can lead to more-significant conversations that spark friendships and clinch deals. Still, for many it remains a mysterious and challenging art.

Small talk occurs in all cultures but the substance differs. Americans generally have an international reputation for being good at small talk although the content is often seen by other cultures as superficial, says Roger Baumgarte, professor emeritus of psychology at Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, S.C.

Unfortunately, we seem to be getting less good at it. (Been on the Web lately?) So much of our lives have moved online, we've become less adept at in-person interactions. Experts worry that, thanks to videogames and texting, younger generations aren't learning the basics of real conversation.


You can develop your conversational intelligence. It isn't complicated, especially if you keep this rule of thumb in mind: Focus on the other person. "Let it be known that you want to make conversation," says Bernardo J. Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany, Ind. "Make it easy for the other person."

A successful conversation can be divided into five stages, Dr. Carducci says. In the "Getting Started" stage, you signal your desire to talk with a simple opening line based on something both of you are observing or experiencing in your shared surroundings. ("Hot enough for you?")

In the second stage, the "Personal Introduction," you should mention something about yourself, state your name if appropriate and provide hints for topics to talk about. ("It seems like the whole city is on vacation this week.")

"A good personal introduction helps to move the conversation forward," Dr. Carducci says. He encourages people who aren't adept conversationalists to keep a few "go to" topics in their back pocket.

In the third stage, "Pre-Topical Exploration," you and your conversation partner are looking for common ground. This is a good time to ask questions, and to refer back to and build upon things said earlier. ("Did you get a chance to get away this summer?") When the other person introduces a topic, you should respond—or quickly offer an alternative.

Fear of awkward silences is common in people who aren't natural conversationalists. Expert say don't worry when it gets quiet. The other person is probably just thinking of something to say. I could chat with a tree, and even I was stumped recently after I took my seat on a plane and the man next to me responded to my opening line—"I hate to leave Honolulu"—with "I've been married 24 years."

In the "Post-Topical Elaboration" stage, your job is to keep the conversation going. "Good conversation is topic-building," says Dr. Carducci, so you should make links between subjects. ("I took a 'staycation' and saw some excellent movies.")

As in every stage, you should be careful not to talk too much. This means you should avoid your favorite topic, whether it is yoga or your kid's soccer tournament.

But don't let the other person hog all the airtime, either. If this starts to happen, mention something about yourself when he or she takes a breath. "Bad small-talkers are too self-critical, so they shut themselves down," says Dr. Carducci, who wrote "The Pocket Guide to Making Successful Small Talk."

The final stage is the "Wrap Up." Here, you signal that the end is near and show appreciation ("Nice chatting with you.") Demonstrate that you were listening by summarizing highlights of the conversation ("Thanks for those movie recommendations.") Look for a way to stay in touch, if you would like—offer a business card or ask if the person is on Facebook.

Ask a lot of questions. People love to talk about themselves and often will think you are a great conversationalist if you talk about them and not yourself. Don't let the conversation stall after the person has answered—be ready with follow-up questions or build on the topic. And avoid obvious inquiries. Cathy Svacina, a 60-year-old marbles expert and tournament referee from Kansas City, Mo., likes to ask people what they do for fun. "That immediately tells me more about who they are than what they do for work," she says.

Listening is crucial. Dan Nainan, 32, a comedian from Manhattan, has learned to summarize what the other person says. ("So you think that…" or "So what you're saying is…") "A conversation can go on indefinitely if you do this," he says.

Have a line ready for when you want the conversation to end. Ella Rucker, a 40-year-old freelance writer from Bronx, N.Y., smiles and says, "As much as I've enjoyed our conversation, I'll let you continue with your evening."

Mr. Swett's small-talk epiphany came several years ago, after he read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." In 2010, he joined Toastmasters International, a group that helps people with public speaking. "I learned that people are mostly interested in themselves," says the 29-year-old Grand Rapids, Mich., software engineer. "If you talk to the other person about them, they'll be much more responsive and interested than if you talk about you."

Recently, Mr. Swett had a job interview at a telecommunications firm, where, rather than just talking about himself, he began by asking questions and then responded to questions others raised. One of the executives nodded approvingly and asked, "Did someone coach you on this interview?"



Definition List:
  • gift of gab: [idiom] the ability to speak easily
  • to sustain: to make something continue for some time without becoming less
  • big deal: something that is very special or important
  • belle: [not used in modern times, most popular in the southern USA] a beautiful woman
  • to apprehend: to catch somebody and arrest them
  • unanimous: if a decision or an opinion is unanimous, it is agreed or shared by everyone in a group
  • unison: f people do or say something in unison, they all do it at the same time
  • chatty: talking a lot in a friendly way
  • mere: used when you want to emphasize how small, unimportant, etc. somebody/something is
  • chitchat: conversation about things that are not important
  • to spark: an action or event that causes something important to develop
  • to clinch: to succeed in achieving or winning something
  • superficial: not concerned with anything serious or important
  • adept: good at doing something that is quite difficult
  • rule of thumb: [idiom] a practical method of doing or measuring something, usually based on past experience rather than on exact measurement
  • common ground: opinions, interests and aims that you share with somebody, although you may not agree with them about other things
  • awkward: making you feel embarrassed
  • stumped: to ask somebody a question that is too difficult for them to answer or give them a problem that they cannot solve
  • staycation: a holiday/vacation that you spend at or near your home
  • inquiry: a question intended to get information about someone or something
  • crucial: extremely important, because it will affect other things
Pronunciation MP3:
= gab
= sustain
= belle
= apprehend
= unanimous
= unison
= chatty
= mere
= chitchat
= spark
= clinch
= superficial
= adept
= awkward
= stump
= staycation
= inquiry
= crucial

Monday, November 11, 2013

NEWS: Buddhist School for Girls in Thailand

Originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com on July 31, 2013
by Ann Purcell

Something special is happening in Thailand. Over 400 girls are blossoming like beautiful lotuses at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School -- the first Buddhist boarding school for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.


In Thailand, boys who are poor or orphaned can go to a temple as a novice monk and receive an education. This has not been the case for girls. Seeing this inequality, Dhammajarinee Witthaya School was founded by Buddhist nuns as the first Buddhist boarding school for girls in the country. It is also the only free, Buddhist boarding school -- girls come from different provinces all over Thailand, from poor families, broken homes or as orphans.

Girls are the future of every nation. It has been well documented all over the world that when you educate girls, they achieve a higher standard of living and better health. They improve the quality of life in their villages, and their children are healthier and more educated. These girls also go on to impart the importance of respecting others, particularly women.

Unfortunately, in many countries including Thailand, especially in poverty stricken areas, young girls are extremely vulnerable to AIDS, drug abuse, violence and exploitation. The Dhammajarinee Witthaya school provides a safe haven for these girls, as well as a quality education.


By providing a rigorous modern academic curriculum along with Buddhist teachings, the school helps girls to lead better lives, and become the future leaders of their communities. Because many of the students have suffered past trauma, the school also includes yoga and transcendental meditation as part of the daily routine, to reduce stress.


Acharn Yai, a Buddhist nun and principal of the school, says, "The students learn TM at the beginning of the semester when the new students arrive. Coming from different places, their behavior was quite aggressive and they didn't pay attention to their studies that much.

"After learning transcendental meditation, they become more calm and settled. Their aggressive behavior decreases, their grades go up; they pay more attention to whatever we teach them. When they have inner happiness, they soak up whatever knowledge we give, unlike before."

It is beautiful to know that these young precious flowers of Thailand are blossoming into the fullness of who they are, and becoming enlightened leaders for their communities, Thailand, and the world.


For more information about Dhammajarinee Witthaya School, please visit: BuddhistGirls.org




Definition List:
  • inequality: the unfair difference between groups of people in society, when some have more wealth, status or opportunities than others
  • nun: a member of a religious community of women, a female 'monk'
  • boarding school: a school where children can live during the school year
  • to impart: to pass information, knowledge, etc. to other people
  • exploitation: a situation in which somebody treats somebody else in an unfair way, especially in order to make money from their work
  • haven: a place that is safe and peaceful where people or animals are protected
  • rigorous: done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail
  • curriculum: the subjects that are included in a course of study or taught in a school, college, etc
  • trauma: a mental condition caused by severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long time
  • transcendental meditation: a method of making yourself calm by thinking deeply in silence and repeating a special phrase to yourself many times
  • aggressive: angry, and behaving in a threatening way; ready to attack
Pronunciation MP3s:
= inequality
= nun
= boarding school
= impart
= exploitation
= haven
= rigorous
= curriculum
= trauma
= transcendental meditation
= aggressive

Monday, November 4, 2013

FYI: Preserving Kindness in a Busy World: We Are All Connected

Originally posted on TinyBuddha.com
By Kiernan Cressy Anzelc
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest good intention.” ~Oscar Wilde
Three times in the last two months I have nearly been run over by a fellow shopper’s grocery cart. Each time the customer rushing closely behind me had to suddenly swerve and push past, clearly annoyed with the obstacle, which was me.

As unpleasant as this was, I can relate to that shopper’s sense of urgency. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks. I focus on my list, sometimes while talking on the phone, and get done as quickly as possible.

There has always been busyness and stress to distract us from one another. Now with the pervasiveness of smart phones, there are requests for our attention always at our fingertips, pulling us away from the people right in front of us.

When I focus exclusively on my own needs I, too, am oblivious to the people around me.

I used to take my grandmother to the grocery store, when she was still determined to do her own shopping. Long suffering with emphysema, it took a tremendous amount of energy for her to get dressed and go on such an outing.

As she rode around in her scooter while I walked in tandem, she always had a smile for the ladies behind the deli counter who remembered her name. At check out, too, the clerks recognized her and would say how good it was to see her. Once in a while another shopper would look at her and share a friendly greeting.

In those moments I glimpsed my grandmother’s younger, playful self as she bantered back and forth, eager to experience those connections again.

I felt overflowing gratitude for these small acts of kindness. These folks could easily have continued about their day without pausing to acknowledge this frail woman. Such a small effort on their part became a high point that would set the tone for the rest of my grandmother’s day.

The reason she persevered in doing her own shopping was not the independence of getting her own groceries; it was the shared humanity she experienced in these small acts of kindness.

The conversations with the salesclerks and the few shoppers who smiled and greeted her buoyed her spirits beyond anything I alone could provide.

In the produce section recently I was considering my mental shopping list when a woman approached. She paused a moment to gaze at the heads of red leaf lettuce. Then she turned to me and beamed,

“Aren’t they just so pretty?!”

She happily picked one up and continued shopping. As I paused in front of the lettuces I realized they were quite lovely. And I smiled.

In one simple, refreshing comment that woman shared an acknowledgement of me.

She saw me, affirmed our shared experience, and presumed that I, too, would value the beauty laid before us.

My life is full. I am not seeking friendship in the grocery store.

But in that simple exchange I was reminded that we are all connected to one another.

I recently read that “among our most powerful human motive is the desire to form and maintain social bonds.” (Baumerstein & Leary.) We are social beings. No matter how busy or independent we are, our actions affect others.

With that in mind, while I was at the grocery today I made a few changes.

Slow down.

I walked at a steady pace. No speeding down the aisles.

At the freezer aisle a lady in a scooter asked me for help. This never happened when I was racing through the aisles. I gladly reached what she needed.

Observe.

I looked around me and made eye contact with several people. I stayed off my phone.

In the cereal aisle I noticed a woman with two young children, and I smiled at her.

Stay present.

At the check out, an older gentleman ahead of me turned around hesitantly. On making eye contact he initiated a conversation about his wife who passed away. It was a brief exchange that never would have happened had I been checking my email on my smart phone.

I will never know how these small acts of kindness affected anyone else today. But I do know that I respected my connection to these strangers by being fully present in those moments.

Being open to others might take us away briefly from our multitasking, busy lives. But by doing so we honor the inherent value in ourselves and each other. And nobody is left feeling like a speed bump in the grocery aisle of life.



Definition List:
  • to swerve: to change direction suddenly, especially in order to avoid hitting somebody/something
  • obstacle: an object that is in your way and that makes it difficult for you to move forward
  • urgency: that needs to be dealt with or happen immediately
  • pervasiveness: existing in all parts of a place or thing; spreading gradually to affect all parts of a place or thing
  • oblivious: not aware of something
  • emphysema: a condition that affects the lungs, making it difficult to breathe
  • scooter: sometimes called a 'mobility scooter', usually an electric 4-wheel chair for people who have difficulty walking
  • deli: short for delicatessen - a shop/store or part of one that sells cooked meats and cheeses, and special or unusual foods that come from other countries
  • to glimpse: a short experience of something that helps you to understand it
  • to banter: friendly remarks and jokes
  • frail: physically weak and thin
  • to buoy: to make somebody feel cheerful or confident
  • produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming
  • to gaze: to look steadily at somebody/something for a long time, either because you are very interested or surprised, or because you are thinking of something else
  • to affirm: to state firmly or publicly that something is true or that you support something strongly
  • hesitantly: slow to speak or act because you feel uncertain, embarrassed or unwilling
  • multitasking: the ability to do several things at the same time
  • inherent: that is a basic or permanent part of somebody/something and that cannot be removed
Pronunciation MP3s:
= swerve
= obstacle
= urgency
= pervasive
= oblivious
= emphysema
= scooter
= deli
= delicatessen
= glimpse
= banter
= frail
= buoy
= produce
= gaze
= affirm
= hesitantly
= multitasking
= inherent