How Naming Can Empower Patients, and Other Mindful News

From cultivating peaceful neighborhoods in Minneapolis to shifting the bias in medical names, here’s what’s new in the world of mindfulness.

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Sit a While

It may take 21 days to adopt a new habit but a group in Minneapolis is looking to do more than that—they’re looking to create change. Community members in a Minneapolis neighborhood got together last spring to “interrupt violence” in the area by opening up lawn chairs and taking a seat in one of the most dangerous spots in the neighborhood, with “intentional activations of prayer, persistence, and presence” as their Facebook page notes, in what they call the 21 Days of Peace project. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, two of the group’s members write: “The people sitting on these corners in chairs are members of the community. We know our young people, and they know us.” As the project continues past the original 21 days, members hope that law enforcement and elected officials will be inspired to pull up a chair and begin to work with the community to meet the needs that, left unmet, can lead to violence.

Coral Support

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Bobbie “Sponge Bobbie” Renfro, a PhD candidate at Florida State University doesn’t, but she does outplant sea sponges to support damaged coral and add natural filtration to reefs in the Florida Keys. “We’re trying to save the entire coral reef ecosystem, which includes so much more than just corals,” Renfro told EcoWatch. The reef will be monitored to gather data for Renfro to continue her research on coral reef sustainability.

Safe and Sound

Yoko Sen was a patient in hospital when she noticed the frequent beeps and jarring alarms of the medical equipment that surrounded her, the other patients, and the healthcare workers who cared for them. “Sound has a way of affecting us, even though we may not be aware,” Sen says. She wondered whether healthcare workers and patients should be exposed to these sounds daily. “Thinking about sound is more than just about fixing noise or [playing] some nice music,” Sen says. She founded SenSound, which collaborates with hospitals and medical device companies to transform and “humanize” hospital soundscapes. “When we are not the actual people who have to hear those sounds day to day, I think it’s very important that we come from a place of humility.”

By Any Other Name

The parenting app Peanut encouraged women to share words they encountered in the reproductive medical system that were hurtful, unhelpful, or offensive using #RenamingRevolution. Hundreds responded, calling out terms like “geriatric pregnancy,” “incompetent cervix,” and “spontaneous abortion.” Inspired by the response, Peanut published the Renaming Revolution, a glossary of alternative terminology that shifts the focus away from shame and blame toward empowerment and education. They send the book out to clinics and classes.

A True Refuge

“Community art for social change” is the message of a collective of artists, writers, and designers called United Painting that leads public art projects around the world. In 2016, they took on painting the inner and outer walls of a disused prison in Amsterdam that had been repurposed as a refugee shelter. To make this “a more humane and liveable situation for refugees,” while providing skills training and bringing community members together, United Painting invited Dutch locals and newcomers alike to join in painting. The result is striking and joyful: Newcomers incorporated a dazzling array of cultural art styles, turning the once-imposing building into an expression of beauty, uniqueness, and multicultural pride.

Acts of Kindness

Labor of Love

The Heighton family of six, plus three pets, lost their home when their rental house in the small town of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, was sold. Due to the area’s housing crisis, the family couldn’t find affordable housing so local people and businesses donated time, labor, and money to build the family a home before the weather got cold.

Heart of Gold

Tijana Kawashima Stojkovic, a volunteer at the Tokyo Olympics paid for a taxi to help track athlete Hansle Parchment get to his event after he took the wrong bus. After Hansle won gold, he thanked Stojkovic in his speech, reconnected with her to repay her, and the Jamaican Minister of Tourism invited Tijana to Jamaica as a gesture of thanks for her generosity.

Play Together

High school stu- dent Nick Priest is bringing video games and human connection to kids in hospitals with cancer and other diseases through his organization Nick’s Power of Play. Nick was six when he lost his dad to cancer, and was inspired by his fond memories of the love his dad had for video games and the time they spent playing together.

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