This is just stunning: BBC has released 50 hours of video from Earth II which they’re calling a “visual soundscape” as part of their Real Happiness Project. Nature — even nature video — has been proven to increase happiness, so they’ve put together five 10 hour videos of nature and posted them on YouTube! You can click through to all videos from this Treehugger article and add the videos to your playlists (or create a massive 50 hr playlist)! As the heat of summer increases, actually spending any significant amount of time in nature becomes more difficult—but you can now pour a cold beverage and sink into breathtaking landscapes anywhere you may be. Enjoy!!!
Today is International Calm Day, so the Calm app which I’ve been using free for the past month, has unlocked ALL it’s staggering amount of content for meditation for today only. I’ve been pretty pleased with the regular unlocked free content (breathing bubble, unguided meditation, and the wide assortment of beautiful scenes and sounds to meditate to.) I got up early this morning so I’d have plenty of time to try out the premium material. I did the Daily Calm, then the first few days of the 7 Days of Calm, then I listened to some other types of “7 Days of Calm”, specifically for Stress and Anxiety, as well as “Emergency Calm”, the first of the Winnie the Pooh Daily Calm series, Walking Meditation (which I tried out in the backyard because I generaly don’t like walking around with earbuds), and a lovely selection of John Muir’s writings about Yosemite which was one of their “Sleep Stories”. My family is going through a very stressful time right now, so I was not only evaluating how useful the paid features would be to me, but also trying to evaluate how useful they would be to someone who hasn’t practiced meditation before. It seems to me that the paid features would be very good for people who are new to meditation. The approach is secular and the technique is good and well-grounded. There are a lot of options besides the ones I “test-drove” this morning: guided meditations focusing on things like Happiness, Self-Esteem, Sleep, Lovingkindness, Forgiveness, and Commuting (one of the other meditations I listened to also touched on handling the frustrations and tensions of traffic). There’s even meditation for Kids, and Sleep Stories for Kids. Like I said, lots of options. Additionally they have a new “Daily Calm” guided meditation every day for subscribers. I’ve been very pleased with the free options and I think that the stunning amount of material available to subscribers (which is very well-done) would surely be more than worth it for some people. Check out all the goodies free today, April 5th!
I’m doing something a bit different over on Wattpad; in addition to occasionally posting short fiction there, I’ve also begun a sort of nature journal, Green Mind Seeing. Short pieces with observations and thoughts on the natural world. Some pieces are fanciful, some natural history, some gardening. If you, too, enjoy green things, give it a look. This week I delved into my archive for “Orchid Reverie”, which provided the inspirations (after sitting in my mind for many years) for the “Cha Buddhism” mentioned in my most recent book, If Wishes Were Spaceships, and explored in more depth in the sequel I’m currently working on. If that’s a bit too mystical for you, last week I wrote about radishes. 🙂 If you’re only interested in sci-fi and fantasy, never fear, I’ll be posting more of that in the coming weeks as well. Unlike last year, I haven’t set a schedule to release material there. My writing schedule is taking some hits this year; sometimes real life has to take precedence over imaginary worlds. I’m still writing, mostly working on books, but I’ll be doing a bit of shorter stuff, both fiction and non-fiction, for immediate consumption. I’ve got three pieces currently in Green Mind Seeing, and will be adding more to that ongoing work, as well as adding new short fiction to Wattpad. The best way to keep up is to follow me on Wattpad.
This is an interesting unusual album: The Sleeping Tapes, made by Jeff Bridges (best known as The Dude in The Big Lebowski). The ambient album is available for download, pay whatever you want (or nothing at all). All of your donation goes to No Kid Hungry. I don’t know if this is really a good tape for falling asleep. It’s more like a relaxation tape or guided meditation. It has a few rough edges, unexpected moments or phrases, but that’s part of the charm. It really is Jeff Bridges, just talking off the cuff, and sounding a bit like The Dude, or at least like someone The Dude would really dig. I put the album on last night, but fell asleep instantly, so I don’t know if that means I would’ve fallen asleep soon anyway, or if the album was instantly soporific. LOL 😆 The Dude Abides.