Transforming our “Sense of Urgency”

Zygmunt Bauman (b. 1925), Polish philosopher

Zygmunt Bauman (b. 1925), Polish philosopher

Contemporary life is often imbibed with a hectic rhythm, rushing at work to be efficient and out of work to run errands, go to the gym, attend family and social events…

I have realized that this “culture of urgency” have defined human relationships in the last few years, too. We want everything fast; we want everything NOW!

However that´s not the way goals are achieved, dreams are realized. If we happen to read the biography of a great person -politician, artist, intellectual, guru-, we will remark all the effort, discipline, determination and hard work involved in “success”.

At the same time, not only career development, but also personal life demands huge doses of generosity and patience. Building a true friendship will take us, at least, some years: getting to know someone, spending time together, loving and accepting…

To me this “timing” is beautiful. I find pleasure in the gradual, “day after day”, “little by little” tempo. It responds to the true nature of things and feelings. I believe the outcome is as well more solid and long-lasting.

Bauman notion of Liquid Post-modernity conveys some of the ideas expressed. I highly recommend to read him. Check out the following Routledge tag


Postmodernity and Liquid Modernity

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bauman was known as a key theorist of postmodernity. While many theorists of the postmodern condition argued that it signified a radical break with modern society, Bauman contended that modernity had always been characterized by an ambivalent, “dual” nature. On the one hand, Bauman saw modern society as being largely characterized by a need for order—a need to domesticate, categorize, and rationalize the world so it would be controllable, predictable, and understandable. It is this ordering, rationalizing tendency that Max Weber saw as the characteristic force of modernization. But, on the other hand, modernity was also always characterized by radical change, by a constant overthrowing of tradition and traditional forms of economy, culture, and relationship—“all that is solid melts into air,” as Marx characterized this aspect of modern society. For Bauman, postmodernity is the result of modernity’s failure to rationalize the world and the amplification of its capacity for constant change.

In later years, Bauman felt that the term “postmodern” was problematic and started using the term liquid modernity to better describe the condition of constant mobility and change he sees in relationships, identities, and global economics within contemporary society. Instead of referring to modernity and postmodernity, Bauman writes of a transition from solid modernity to a more liquid form of social life.

For Bauman, the consequences of this move to a liquid modernity can most easily be seen in contemporary approaches to self-identity. In liquid modernity, constructing a durable identity that coheres over time and space becomes increasingly impossible, according to Bauman. We have moved from a period where we understood ourselves as “pilgrims” in search of deeper meaning to one where we act as “tourists” in search of multiple but fleeting social experiences.


Love yourself… to love the rest of the world


“Love Yourself”

I live close to Tompkins Square Park, very vibrant, and real NY with an admirable variety of people. I bike frequently but on those days I walk, I like to cross the park through the fountain sculpture. I adore that lady in marble and when I have the time I sit on a bench right in front and contemplate her beauty. This summer I was walking across the park. It was a hot day. I felt thirsty and came closer to the fountain to drink some water. As I was approaching my head to the limpid stream, I found a sticker of the “Love Yourself Project”. Since then, I have visited the gallery, got to know Michael and other members, enjoyed events, meetings…

What does it mean to “Love Yourself”? Why?

Certainly, any project involving love, generosity, solidarity needs to start focusing on ourselves, on us first. How shall we be able to give and help out if internally there is imbalance or disorder, either physical, psychical or both? Thus, it is essential to love ourselves first.

Loving ourselves can entail some general tips but these tips should adjust to each of us, who are unique and need particular care and attention.

Firstly, we should try to find some sort of mission and ideal in our daily jobs. For most of us, work often turns after a while into something tedious. Let´s attribute some “higher” purpose to routine tasks. This can make our life meaningful, in doing some good to humanity. And even a small contribution is significant. I work at the University and I am well aware of how important security guards, the staff at the copy store, at the cafeteria, are…

Another key element to acquire a sense of “transcendence” is meditation. Certainly, the food for the soul is spirituality. Each of us should find the best practice, the one that fits us better. And there are no rules: some find inner balance, peace, hope and serenity in yoga; others prefer to surf, jog, walk in the woods, read, music… Moreover, it is of great importance that we keep meditation on a regular basis, not only when we feel fragile. If so, we will become stronger, wiser and better trained to face the hard times!

Finally, spending time with our partner, friends and family is nurturing. We human beings are creatures of love and need to feel and be loved! I recommend as well to devote at least 15 minutes a day to our hobbies or secret dreams: write the first lines of a poem, continue your script or favorite novel, cook a cake, draw, design jewelry, play with your dog, volunteer for a good cause…

I am convinced that if we have the discipline and make the effort to love ourselves this way, soon the people around us will be amazed at the loving energy we irradiate and transmit to the outer world.

Love yourself…

To love the rest of the world! 

* Lea volonteers for the LYS Project

= = The Love Yourself Project was born in 2010 in a Lower Manhattan neighborhood by the name of Loisaida, a spanglish slang term meaning, Lower East Side. Activity, events have taken place beyond NYC, including Paris, Luxembourg, Pakistan, West Africa and Australia. Whether by teaching children about the value of self worth or distributing food to the homeless, the Love Yourself team continues to spread a message of love and acceptance throughout the world. Love Yourself founder Michael Mut opened Michael Mut Gallery on Avenue C in an effort to bring culturally and socially relevant art into the community as a source of empowerment and inspiration.




4 Surprising Ways Yoga Boosts Your Health

Tuesday September 10, 2013

Mark your calendars! September is National Yoga month, set up by the Yoga Health Foundation to educate the public about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. You probably already know some of the more obvious health benefits of yoga, like it improves flexibility and therefore can help prevent injury. You probably also know it has been linked to stress reduction, and also improving muscle tone (hello yoga arms).

However, there are many surprising health benefits of yoga you may not know about. Here are some unexpected reasons to pick up your yoga mat:

1. It helps you fight food cravings

Researchers found that practicing yoga regularly can bring more mindfulness to eating and enhance the mind-body connection, making those who practice yoga more likely think about whether or not they really want the fourth cookie before woofing it down. Part of it could be practicing all that yoga breathing brings more awareness to cravings and helps us slow down before acting. Another factor could be yoga’s stress-fighting properties. Since we’re likely to overeat foods high in sugar and fat when we are stressed and seeking out comfort, the fact that yoga is so effective at reducing stress could make it a secret weapon in the fight against obesity.

2. It prevents migraines

A 2007 study showed that migraine sufferers who participated in the study reported fewer and less painful migraines after three months of yoga practice. Although it’s not fully understood, researchers attribute this to a combination of mental stressors and physical misalignment that create migraines and other head and neck pain. An hour and a half of stretching, especially the neck, shoulders and back can do wonders for those who work hunched at a desk all day.

3. It can boost your memory

Yoga may even boost your brain power. Numerous studies show physical exercise can make people more alert — combine physical exercise with reducing mental stress and you may have the winning combo that can help you clear out your mind and focus on more organized thoughts. “By reducing mental stress and physical tension, we are able to recall easier and have more organized thoughts. Improved cognitive function happens when we are able to clear our minds and refresh,” said Bethany Grace Shaw, founder and president of YogaFit, Inc to Everyday Health.

4. It can lower your blood pressure

Yoga can also have profound positive medical effects: Researchers at the University College of Medical Sciences, in Shahdara, New Delhi found that there was a significant decrease in blood pressure for those with type 1 diabetes who practiced yoga for 40 minutes a day for 40 days, according to the Yoga Health Foundation.