WWB Announces the Spring 2017 ‘Book Wise’ Pick in the Non-Fiction Category and it’s a Contemporary Throwback Worthwhile Revisiting…

May 12, 2017 by

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BOOK WISE Spring 2017 Pick: Beauty and the Soul–The Extraordinary Power of Everyday Beauty to Heal Your Life

 

CATEGORY: Wellness/Spiritual/Non-Fiction

 

THROW BACK SELECTION: Book was published in 2009

 

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Author From Italy, content is universal

 

AUTHOR: Piero Ferrucci is a psychotherapist and a philosopher. He graduated from the University of Torino in 1970. He was trained by Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, and has written several books including the bestseller The Power of Kindness in 2007.

 

 

WWB OF NOTE:  I wish I had introduced this book earlier in WWB’s history, because it looks at beauty the way I always intended to do with World Wise Beauty, from the inside out and wholistically. This is a beautiful and thoughtful book about appreciating beauty of all  kinds and discovering the healing capacity of beauty not only for ourselves, but for the planet. It’s simple ambition would be to have us all ‘stop and smell the roses’ so we can be fully present and in the moment. On a deeper level, the book offers ways to counteract the ugliness of life with beauty manifesting in all it’s life forms ~Lauroly, Founder of World Wise Beauty

              Author Excerpt: Chapter –Love of Life

‘In a story from the Jewish tradition, the human soul before birth roams about the universe, collects a great deal of knowledge, sees much beauty, and thus is endowed with great wisdom. But just as birth is drawing near, the angel of death approaches and with his sword touches the soul on the forehead. At that moment, when the soul incarnates into the mass of nerves, organs, and muscles which make up what we are, the drama takes place: The baby being born forgets all it knows. Yet an inkling remains, a vague feeling of what is lost. This, the story tells us is why human beings are born crying, and why they seek, everywhere and all their lives, in confusion and desperation a beauty they feel they have lost. Is there really a soul before birth? I cannot say. And I do not know if we have a past life on other planes or in other worlds. But what interests me here is the experience of this life and this world. The Jewish myth seems to allude to a feeling many, perhaps all of us have; the impression of not belonging to this world. The feeling that makes us wonder ‘What am I doing here?”. Like the alien from the film ‘ The Man Who Fell from Earth” , who came to our planet from a faraway star and landed in an amusement park, we find the world around us strange, and bizarre, and sometimes absurd. And perhaps like him, we feel homesick for a cleaner, simpler, brighter world. Luckily we can see the opposite of what the Jewish story tells is also true when we observe children…’
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WWB Passioneer Library: Q&A With Author of: Life On Purpose–How Living For What Matters Most Changes Everything

Aug 26, 2016 by

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The World Wise Beauty ‘Passioneer Series’

Excited to welcome back  one of my favorite experts, Dr. Vic Strecher.  He came to visit World Wise Beauty in 2015 to talk about his book ‘On Purpose’, which is a graphic novel telling a beautiful, fantasy-fueled, story of self-discovery and personal growth. His new book while not a graphic novel, covers the important topics of ‘purpose and meaning’ in more depth, and shows us how ‘purpose’ not only leads to self-fulfillment but to a better society. Not only is Dr. Stecher a professor and author, but he is also an inspiring entrepreneur who has taken his passion for health and well-being, and created new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. See his very impressive bio below and join me for a stimulating Q&A about his new book Life on Purpose, How Living For What Matters Most, Changes Everything.

Vic Strecher PhD MPH is a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. For over two decades Vic Strecher has been a leader and visionary in the fields of health and well-being, creating new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. A noted researcher and successful entrepreneur, Vic has cultivated a passion for connecting academic research to practical applications. In 1998, Vic created Health Media pioneering Web-based “digital health coaching.” The company set a new benchmark for scalable, lifestyle and condition management program delivery. Health Media was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2008. In late 2014, Vic founded JOOL Health Inc. as a major paradigm shift in how individuals engage in the pursuit of well-being while offering organizations a more insightful means to support positive, healthy change. Vic and his work have recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, WIRED, the Chicago Tribute, and at TEDMED and TEDX events. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Jeri.

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Dr. Vic Strecher

 

 

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Lauroly Q-Welcome back Vic! Let’s dig in. Just recently I had a conversation with someone who was feeling very depressed about the world in general. She was feeling disillusioned with not only politics but humanity in general. Giving her time and energy to many causes, she felt like giving up. Rather than lecture people, I always have a book up my sleeve to recommend. Guess what it was Vic? It was ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. That was a book I never forgot reading as a psychology major in college and always reminds me of mankind’s greatest gift which is the ability to choose and select our own meaning. You mention his work a lot and of course it makes sense because your passion is purpose. I love how you took your passion for philosophy and extracted amazing wisdom for us to think about.  I hope more people discover ‘works of philosophy’ who never studied it in college, through your book. Why do you think going back to the great philosophers is so important when it comes to finding our purpose? You admit in the book, that you didn’t have much interest in it as a young man.

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: True, I never felt an affinity with ancient philosophers until I needed them. Then, it felt like they were writing personal letters to me. If you want to read something thoroughly modern and useful, you might start with Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, or better yet, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things. Then read a few of Seneca’s letters and essays. See if you don’t get hooked on these 2,000 year old philosophers as well! These writings were amazing for two reasons: (1) they were written by people who grew up in such different circumstances, yet had such relevant things to say about my own modern life, and (2) they push you to more carefully consider your existence, to not just run on automatic.

Lauroly Q-Thank you for sharing your great book recommendations. I love adding to my wisdom reading list! While you take us on this wonderful tour of philosophy, you also balance things with real world stories and examples of inspiring people finding their purpose. The most important one I feel is your own story. In sharing your touching and personal story, it makes me feel that you have truly connected the dots. Your wisdom was gained not just by research or study but by ‘getting through’ your own challenges and pain, and coming out of it with your own passionate purpose. My favorite quote is from Robert Frost “The Best Way Out is Always Through’. Can you share how you got through losing your nineteen year old daughter to life-long illness?

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: A few months after my daughter died I finally realized that, if I was going to survive, I’d need to think differently. It’s hard to think differently (at least for me) but two books really helped me: Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open. These two books shoved me into a rabbit hole of new words and ideas. Words like, “ego,” “transcendence,” and “purpose.” But being a skeptical scientist, I’m always wondering whether these words and ideas have actually been tested. I was happily surprised to find that these ancient concepts have recently been studied by really good researchers. Over time, they’ve become subjects of my own research.

Lauroly Q- You discuss ‘personal agency’ in Chapter 2, and it’s a very important aspect of ‘finding and living your purpose’. Yet essentially the takeaway in your book is, we are all ultimately fulfilled from being ‘other focused’. I believe that’s why Viktor Frankl’s ideas and creation of ‘logo therapy’ is so profound. In this world, there are a lot of people worldwide experiencing strife and they don’t seem to have a sense of ‘personal agency’. They may find it quite difficult to find their purpose in a way that many self-help practitioners might suggest. Do you think like Maslow suggests, that we must first get past survival modes before we can be altruistic? I can answer my own question when I think of Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Teresa. It’s a great topic to explore with you, because there are many stories and examples of transcendence in your book I loved. Feel free to pick one…

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: I’m particularly drawn to the story of James Arinaitwe, who, as a boy in Uganda, lost his mother and father to AIDS by the time he was ten. He and his mother walked over 300 miles to the residential home of the President of Uganda to ask for an education. He’s now the co-founder and director of Teach for Uganda. He laughed when I suggested what many Westerners believe — that purpose is only a higher-order need. He said that “Families that break down are the ones who have no purpose or vision for the family. Purpose goes hand in hand with hope. In the West, people may not relate to this, but this is how we think. Purpose sustains poor people.”

 

Lauroly Q- I loved that story in your book. While purpose is your focus you really make the connection that wellness is key to our personal development. There are 5 wellness practices and rituals you explore in your book. Sleep, Presence, Activity, Creativity and Eating. How did creativity get on your top 5 list? I might add you really expand on the meaning and expression of creativity in your book.

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: Thank you for noticing! Creativity is one of my favorite subjects. It’s consistently ignored or at least de-emphasized in our schools and in our society as a whole, yet creativity is what will ultimately be needed to maintain our competitive edge in the world. I spent quite a bit of time understanding the way people conceptualize creativity. My favorite view is put forth by the psychologist Rollo May — that creativity requires courage — the courage to say that the status quo isn’t good enough and that there’s a better way. By the way, in our research, creativity and presence are the two leading predictors of energy and willpower, exceeding the impact of more traditional behaviors such as physical activity, eating behavior, or sleep.

Lauroly Closing: I could go on forever chatting with you about the ideas in your book, but this is a blog and most people will be better served reading your fantastic book for themselves. So this is my gift to the person I was recently talking to about hope and purpose. Your book is one I will no doubt recommend to anyone struggling with meaning, purpose and direction. Thank you for writing it Vic, and keep them coming. Your gift for communicating and emotionally connecting has so much to offer, especially in wellness culture.

Dr. Vic Strecher Closing: Thank you, Laura. I’ve so enjoyed your blog and your perspective and greatly appreciate your interest in this work!

 

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WWB’s Weekly Wisdom Wrap: Beautiful New Animated Film ‘The Prophet’ Fuses, Poetry, Art, Music, & Wisdom Together for ‘Deep Thinkers’ of All Ages

Aug 7, 2015 by

 

 

I am really proud that there are so many World Wise Beauties of all ages following World Wise Beauty. With this said, there are some readers that will immediately remember the poetry book ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran, and others who may be just  introduced to it through the new movie ( inspired by the book). The movie is produced by a real World Wise Beauty, Salma Hayek. The book has been translated into well over 40 languages. It has sold more than nine million copies in its American edition alone since its original publication in 1923.  If you have not read it. maybe you might consider it now, before you see the film!

I am not a film critic and certainly not here to review it. You can easily google the reviews and find a mixed review from critics who either love it or hate it. I can tell you however, that I loved the book and still refer to my copy I have for over twenty years! I am planning on seeing the film and I’m very inspired by Salma Hayek’s creative vision to produce  it. I selected the following movie review for you from ‘Variety’ because it gives you a quick sense of what to expect.

” Awe Inspiring, took my soul on a journey! As if it weren’t special enough to hear Neeson recite Gibran’s sentiments amidst such striking visuals, the addition of music further elevates verses that so many have already committed to memory and which a whole new audience can now discover for the first time.” ~Variety Review

Books turned into movies often hold a risk of losing the true character of the book. But this book is totally different and is really a collection of poems. How does one turn poems into a story and movie? Salma Hayek had a creative vision and it began by tapping into the ‘universal’ appeal of the book.

 

Photo Credit: Fropki.com

Salma shared in a Charlie Rose interview last night that she was amazed how one Lebanese ( Arabic) poet could appeal to so many people around the world from so many different religions. This is a ‘passion project’ for Salma and one of the main reasons I wanted to share this movie with you, is because she is so passionate about sharing wisdom to a fresh new audience. Below is the official trailer for the movie. You may recognize Liam Neeson’s voice and Salma herself does voice over for the main character in the film.

 

 

For those just learning about the book. Here is a quick overview from Amazon.

The Prophet” is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

Just to give you a taste of Gibran’s wisdom, below are a few wise quotes from the book to give you a sense of how profound the poems are. The beauty of the book is, you don’t need a PhD in philosophy to understand his words. As Salma puts it “it’s not your brain recognizing it, it’s like your soul is recognizing it, and telling you that this is the truth.” I believe wisdom throughout the ages is exactly like that. It just resonates with us and it feels like a ‘knowing’ within us.

 

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
― Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

At World Wise Beauty we celebrate ‘Passioneers’ and Salma certainly is one, both as an artist and humanitarian. Most importantly WWB is committed to advancing the wisdom of ‘wellness culture’ and there is no doubt that Salma via this creative movie, wanted to encourage the many ‘deep thinkers’ in the world, to keep seeking and sharing enlightening wisdom. Below is an excerpt from an interview she did with Time and she discusses her motivation to produce the film…

TIME EXCERPT:Why did you want to adapt it into a film? I think the reason why people come into the film is because it talks about the simple things in life that bring us all together. I thought there was a great opportunity to make a film about connection. People today, when they think about connection, they think of the Internet. For my work that I do as a humanitarian, I worry about how people are becoming detached from their humanity, and how life in some places and in some ways has lost a lot of value. I think that when people read this book, they recognize in some phrases—they feel like they’ve read it before, or there’s something familiar to it. It’s not because you read it before—it’s not your brain recognizing it, it’s like your soul is recognizing it, and telling you that this is the truth. Through art was the easiest way to get to that place. That’s why the film is a combination of music, many types of visual art, the beauty of the storytelling of cinema, and—of course—poetry. ~Salma Hayek

Bravo to Salma Hayek for taking a creative risk and following her passion for ‘enlightenment and wisdom’. I personally can’t wait to see the movie. Anything that involves wisdom, music and beautiful art is an attraction for me. What really pulls me into creative projects is the ‘mission’. The mission of this film is so beautiful. Ultimately it tells us that no matter where we are from, and what religion we practice, there are universal truths we can all ‘hear’. Amidst all the senseless and violent films out there, this is a film with a positive message that is so needed, and especially for the young citizens of the world. Have a great weekend and hope you see the film!

 

 

 

 

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Lessons in Life and Health from a Frog and a Dung Beetle? Q&A With Vic Strecher PhD & Inspirational Author of the Graphic Novel “On Purpose”

Dec 4, 2013 by

Featured Book: On Purpose, Lessons in Life and Health From the Frog, The Dung Beetle, and Julia

Author and WWB Guru: Vic Strecher, PhD

Vic Strecher, PhD, MPH is a Professor and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. As a teacher and researcher, Vic has spent much of his time studying the science and psychology of healthy personal change for both individuals and large populations. In 1999, Vic founded Health Media, Inc., a groundbreaking health and wellness company that, for the first time, allowed large health plans and employers to cost effectively encourage and support healthy behavior change for the thousands of their members and employees. Health Media was eventually sold to Johnson & Johnson, Inc., the largest healthcare company in the world and, as Wellness & Prevention, Inc., continues to help tens of thousands of individuals live healthier, more fulfilled lives.

 

Lauroly Welcome- Welcome Vic! As a seeker of wisdom I am so excited about presenting your book and mission to World Wise Beauty readers. Your bio is impressive and we can devote a whole other blog to your life’s work and scientific research but today we are here to talk about your new book “On Purpose”.  My mantra at World Wise Beauty is to be “comfortable in your own skin”.  Personal growth begins with a loving relationship with “the self” and if we love ourselves in a healthy way, we ultimately have more to give to the world and our loved ones.  Using the American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s  words “we become fully realized”. 

There is no greater example of this than parenthood and as a father you have taken the journey of loving a child selflessly, losing your child painfully and having to come back to yourself. Your creative book “On Purpose” is a wonderful graphic novel of your personal journey and the profound realizations you came to as you navigated the experience of losing your daughter to a rare heart disease. It’s also an entertaining philosophy course which gets us to think about the meaning of life in a “worldly” fun way. The subtitle of the book tells us we are in for an interesting read “Lessons in Life and Health from The Frog, The Dung Beetle, and Julia”. Let’s start there with this creative title.  How did you come up with this and what you made you decide to do a graphic novel? Kudos to the wonderful artist Kody Chamberlain who illustrated your book and website.

 

Vic Strecher PhD

 

 

Victor Strecher PhD: First, thank you so much for having me on your wonderful site! You’re doing a very cool and important thing here! It’s funny, I wasn’t a comic book reader when I was young. But I’ve always been a visual learner. My lectures at the University of Michigan are VERY visually focused. I really have trouble with the typical bullets points on slides – in my opinion, they’ve taken presentations to a new low. So for this book I thought that a visually-driven story might be an interesting way to propel a rather deep subject matter.

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Q- Your daughter who you lost at the tender age of nineteen lived joyfully and exuberantly despite having a life threatening heart condition beginning in her childhood. She must have been an amazing inspiration to you. What did you learn from Julia that you didn’t find in your scientific research? I have to believe you were a wonderful father and inspiration to her too. Tell us more about lovely Julia…

Victor Strecher PhD: She was indeed lovely… but also funny, quirky, brave, and passionate. Without the trouble she went through and the tentative nature of her existence, I truly would not have lived the life I have. Lucretius, the ancient Roman poet, wrote: “You’re almost dead in life, although you walk and breathe. You fritter away most of your time asleep.” Julia didn’t fritter away most of her time asleep. When she was feeling well, she lived her life to the fullest. She took cooking lessons in northern Thailand, hung out with monkeys on an island off Malaysia, played with koala bears in Australia, and ran around the city of London with her boyfriend. As a nursing student at the University of Michigan, and just before she died, Julia was working with the designer Donna Karan on her Urban Zen project, an amazing initiative to create a more healing environment for nurses. She was even talking with Donna about designing a hipper version of nursing scrubs.

She lived only 19 years but I think she put more into those years than most 80-year-old lives. Julia woke me from my sleep and made me realize that every one of us has a tentative hold on life and that we should live life to the fullest while we’re here on this earth. I fully understand that this is the theme of many vapid greeting cards and posters. But when the message really hits home, it changes the direction of your life.

Lauroly Q- Julia truly was an inspiration and she did live her “gift of life” fully with love and purpose. This must bring great solace to you. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories of her with us. Let’s drill into the central themes of your book “On Purpose”.  While it is about living life to our fullest potential and finding purpose in our lives, it is also about DEATH. Can you tell us why you think we all should think about our own death more rather than avoiding it as most of us do in Western society? 

Victor Strecher PhD: The writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short story entitled The Immortal, where a Roman soldier discovered a city where people lived forever. The people in this city, however, didn’t do anything! A person may fall off a bridge and no one would come to his aid. Eventually, perhaps two hundred years later, someone might get to him. Death, as Steve Jobs pointed out in his Stanford University commencement address, “is life’s change agent.” The philosopher Todd May, as well as some recent scientific research, has pointed out that the consideration of our mortality can actually make us value our lives that much more. As I point out in my book, if you have $5, each dollar is more valuable than each dollar if you have $10,000.

The consideration of death prompts you to realize that you don’t have 10,000 years to live. Our western culture has imbued us with a deep fear of death and dying: to the point that we don’t even want to think about death. We also now have lots of scientists talking about how we may be able to soon extend our lives by hundreds of years. That’s cool if you don’t spend those years watching what the Kardashians are doing with their lives. I just wish more scientists would think about how we can construct better lives with the years we currently have.

Lauroly Q- After delving into the meaning of life myself,  I come across two sometimes conflicting ideologies alot. The old saying “you can never truly love another until you learn to love yourself” is often used in the “personal growth” schools of thought but many religions will encourage you to be selfless, look outward and love others to find happiness and fulfillment. I personally have found that life is a fluid dance of both these things and some of us can get “lost” in either direction. It is important to go “within” but just as important not to get stuck there! Your personal purpose in life is to show us how important it is to find purpose for our health and well-being as well as for a better society. Can you share more on why “having a purpose” is so important to health of a person and a society? I know these are big questions for my humble blog but just give us a tickler of what we can learn from your book. I have included a video from your creative website right here so our readers can learn more about you and your mission. It’s a must view!

 

 

Victor Strecher PhD: I must say that I’m really enjoying your questions. It’s hardly a “humble blog” you’ve created – it’s a “big thinkers blog!” For thousands of years people have considered ways to live a meaningful, purposeful life. Aristotle called it a “eudaimonic” life – living in the spirit of your “daimon” or true self. Now there is a growing science supporting this philosophy. People with a strong purpose in life have been found to be half as likely to develop Alzheimers Disease, less likely to get a heart attack or stroke, have better sex, and even have better repair of their chromosomes. This is a very new area for scientific research and the specific reasons why this is so are not clear. It is, however, likely that self-transcending purpose in life was positively selected for through evolution.

Every society needs people who behave in ways that transcend themselves: altruistic, cooperative, supportive. These are virtues that scientists are finding to be physiologically beneficial! Most of us are not born bad. We’re born with these transcending behaviors. It’s now up to our society to nurture these transcending behaviors and purposes – not beat or bore them out of us.

Both the deeply religious Soren Kierkegaard and the atheist Jean-Paul Sartre believed that having an authentic life purpose would help us as individuals and as a society. My fear is that our world is becoming an increasingly nihilistic – lacking meaning and direction. We’re doing better but feeling worse. It’s my intention to put a dent in this problem as best I am able. One thing I know something about is interactive media – creating websites and apps that help people change their lives. I’m hoping that the book On Purpose, but also the dungbeetle.org website and related apps will help people and help our society. Ultimately, I hope that these efforts become the kernel for a larger movement.

Lauroly Closing: What a wonderful movement! Sign me up Vic! My purpose and mission is to encourage women to be comfortable in their own skin and to celebrate and embrace wellness culture. There is no greater feeling than to be fully self-actualized and comfortable in your own skin but I think the journey of becoming whole is a wonderful state of constant renewal as we grow, age and become wise. Your personal journey illustrates renewal, healing and restoration beautifully. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to feature you. I would love if you would visit WWB again and share your wisdom with us. You are an official and honorary WWB Wise Guru. I know there are so many who will want to join you in your mission and give your book to loved ones who may be needing inspiration and direction. 

Visit www.dungbeetle.org to learn more about Vic’s book “On Purpose” , digital app projects and to follow his blog. 

Truly Herself,
Lauroly

 

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