What is Cognitively-Based Compassion Training?

The root of compassion lies in realizing the interconnected nature of all beings on Earth. Cognitively-based Compassion Training (CBCT), a secular alternative to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of lojong, trains practitioners to cultivate compassion through straightforward contemplative practices.

In addition to realizing greater compassion, practitioners also find an improvement in their health and well-being.

Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, senior lecturer in Emory University’s Department of Religion, developed CBCT and has since initiated research studies into the effects of compassion meditation. UB Hawthorn spoke with him about how CBCT works, the health benefits of this type of meditation and the different kinds of compassion.

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How I Create: Q&A with Writer Nicole Gulotta

I don’t remember how I found the blog Eat This Poem by Nicole Gulotta. But I’m so happy I did. It provides a steady stream of inspiration for my writing and my palate. Gulotta’s blog combines two of her passions: food and poetry.

She shares delicious recipes -- everything from blueberry buckwheat pancakes to mushroom quesadillas with brie and honey. She also features her favorite poems and sometimes posts a poem of her own (like this beauty).

Plus, Gulotta regularly writes about creativity, including pieces on curing creative roadblocks, keeping journals and setting up a creative space.

In our monthly series, she reveals her personal creative process and solutions for stubborn obstacles, and shares inspiring, helpful advice for readers.

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How I Create: Q&A With Novelist & Writer Justine Musk

There are some people whose work you’re instantly drawn to. You’re curious about everything from their take on the world to their tips on improving your craft.

And when you read them, you’re itching to create. You want to pick up a pen, a paintbrush, a camera or whatever your tool of choice, and make something. They inspire you to raise your hand, and speak up, to contribute your voice to the conversation. And they remind you just how important expressing yourself really is.

For me, Justine Musk is one of those people.

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How I Create: Q&A With Playwright & Creativity Coach Zohar Tirosh-Polk

Every month we chat with a different person about their creative process, hopefully gleaning an insight or two about creativity. Specifically, we delve into the activities that spark their imagination and how they overcome creativity-crushing obstacles. We also ask for their advice on how readers can cultivate their creativity.

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Zohar Tirosh-Polk, an award-winning playwright and creativity coach. Through her company, Grow Creative Coaching, Tirosh-Polk supports creative women and moms on their artistic journeys.

What's her creative process, her inspirations, and how does she get over those creativity distractions?

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How I Create: Q&A with Creativity Coach Miranda Hersey

In our monthly series, we take a sneak peek into the creative processes of everyone from photographers to authors to artists to creativity coaches.

This month I’m excited to share my interview with Miranda Hersey. Hersey wears many creative hats. She’s a writer and editor, creativity coach, and host of the blog Studio Mothers. And she’s a mom of five!

I’ve already interviewed Hersey for several creativity pieces, and I love her interesting insights and valuable tips. Her e-book on creativity and motherhood is excellent. (I shared a few of her tips here.)

And her mission is powerful: to help others live deeply satisfying, creative lives.

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How I Create: Q&A with Photographer Vivienne McMaster

Every month in our interview series we take a peek into a different person’s creative process. We learn what inspires and fuels their beautiful work and how they navigate the obstacles that can potentially hinder their creative practice. Plus, we get tips that can be applied to our own creativity.

This month we’re honored to share our interview with Vivienne McMaster, a Vancouver-based photographer with a big heart and a spirit of playfulness. McMaster leads workshops and online classes that invite individuals to tell their stories using photography.

Her prime tool is self-portraiture. After experiencing a rough patch in her own life, it was photography, and self-portraiture in particular, that helped her heal and find her way back to herself.

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Can We Stamp Out Thinspiration on Twitter? Torri Singer Thinks We Can

Pro-anorexia (or "pro-ana") groups have been around online for over a decade, and we first discussed them here five years ago. More recently, with the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, these groups have found a new life. Often associated with the label "thinspiration," these groups elevate the idea of being thin to a virtual religion.

People who are all about thinspiration engage in disordered eating in order to be as thin as possible -- a common symptom of anorexia. But they don't see it as a disorder or a problem, making this an insidious problem.

Nonetheless, such eating and self-image problems can result in health problems, even putting the individual's life at risk.

Some people have sought to get common words or terms that people engaged in thinspiration use banned from social networking websites. One such woman is Torri Singer, a broadcast journalism major who has recently begun a petition to get such terms banned from Twitter.

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The Wisdom of Failure: An Interview with Laurence Weinzimmer & Jim McConoughey

For their book, "The Wisdom of Failure," authors Laurence Weinzimmer and Jim McConoughey interviewed 1,000 managers and leaders on one of my favorite topics: failure. The results comprise a fascinating volume on the benefits of blunders.

Here are some insights from their book.

What can understanding failure teach both seasoned and aspiring leaders that they can't learn only by modeling success?

While studying success provides valuable lessons during good times, often these lessons aren’t applicable in hard times. The road isn’t always smooth and the sky isn’t always blue. When challenges present themselves, lessons gleaned from previous failures can help leaders avoid making the same mistake twice or making the wrong decisions.

Making mistakes -- or failing -- are part of taking healthy risk. They provide us with new ways of thinking and give us new insights into how we can improve as leaders.

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Christina Gombar: An Interview About Childless Women & Infertility

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing writer Christina Gombar on the topic of infertility.

Chistina is an an accomplished writer whose commentary on women's issues appeared in The London Review of Books, The New York Times, Working Woman, Scholastic, and the Providence Journal. She is also the author of "Great Women Writers," and has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow.

Click through to read the full interview.

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How I Create: Q&A with Illustrator & Author Elizabeth Patch

This month for our creativity series I’m thrilled to present my interview with illustrator Elizabeth Patch. I’ve been a big fan of her work ever since I discovered it several years ago. In fact, in 2010, I interviewed Patch for my body image blog Weightless. (Here's parts one and two.)

Patch is a high school art teacher and author of More to Love, a beautiful book of illustrations that features uplifting and inspiring messages about body diversity and self-acceptance. With her unique artwork Patch celebrates the human form. And she promotes a very important message: to accept, respect and take great care of ourselves at any and every size.

Below, Patch shares what inspires her, how unstructured “sabbaths” help her slow down and create and the quick way she ignites her imagination. She also reveals how we can incorporate creativity into all areas of our lives.

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How I Create: Q&A With Artist & Author Carla Sonheim

When I first saw Carla Sonheim’s artwork, I instantly fell in love with her playful and unique creatures (like the one above). Sonheim’s paintings and illustrations are what creativity is all about: giving birth to novel, stirring ideas that surpass the predictable.

Sonheim uses her boundless, innovative approach in her classes and books, such as her latest The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone. I love that she makes art accessible, surprising and fun for everyone.

I’m incredibly honored to share my interview with Sonheim for our monthly series. Below, she offers her wise and fascinating thoughts on the creative process. She shares how she connects to her own creativity and how we, too, can ignite our imagination.

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How Can You Not Feel Better After Walking for 20 Minutes?

Happiness interview: Cheryl Strayed.

I wanted to do a happiness interview with Cheryl Strayed after I read her fascinating memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. In her twenties, at a time when she felt as though she had nothing more to lose, Cheryl hiked solo along the Pacific Crest Trail for 1,100 miles. She was inexperienced and ill-prepared, but determined to set herself on this adventure.

I love all accounts of happiness projects; Cheryl’s undertaking had nothing in common with the kind of things I did for my happiness project, yet I gained a lot from reading about her experiences.

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