We think these words were found in a Mennonite Church in Canada. This layout is by Janet Brewin – thanks to her “calligraphy” (my description) or her “neat handwriting” (her self-effacing description). They were words my mother treasured and which were used at her funeral.
Well, blow me down. I’ve received a nomination for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award from Ivon from his Teacher as Transformer blog.
Isn’t that lovely? And isn’t the award a great way of building community? Now, I’ve got to nominate 15 other blogs and their authors as “Very Inspiring”, by which I mean that their blogs are inspirational to me. I know it’s not going to change their life, but it’s proof to them that they are making sense – to me, at least. (And it is reassuring to know that we are making sense to others).
And it’s going to get their oxytocin levels going! Dr Love – aka Paul Zak (can I change my name?) has researched the “moral molecule”, the chemical in the blood called oxytocin. It turns out that “being treated decently causes people’s oxytocin levels to go up, which in turn prompts them to behave more decently, while experimental subjects given an artificial oxytocin boost – by means of an inhaler – behave more generously and trustingly. And it’s not solely because of its effects on humans that oxytocin is known as “the cuddle hormone”: for example, male meadow voles, normally roguishly promiscuous in their interactions with female meadow voles, become passionately monogamous when their oxytocin levels are raised in the lab”.
So, let’s hear it for the male voles, and for social networking. Zak recommends, according to Oliver Burkeman writing in the Guardian
we should all be doing more to boost oxytocin in benign ways. He recommends a minimum of eight hugs a day (pets count, too); massage and even soppy movies seem to work: he has done the blood tests. Interactions on Twitter and Facebook seem to lead to oxytocin spikes, offering a powerful retort to the argument that social media is killing real human interaction: in hormonal terms, it appears, the body processes it as an entirely real kind of interaction
Get pressing that like button! William James claimed that “the deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated”, and a Harvard psychologist speaks of the importance of having a praise-criticism ratio of at least 5:1. Does anyone ever complain that they are praised too much?
Award ceremonies contain suspense, appreciation and thanks. Awards are prized and hard to come by – when we think of the Oscars, Olympics and such like. But there are everyday awards that are not so hard to come by, but are equally prized and create community. I had my own New Year ceremony which you can read about here. But there are awards to be made in our everyday world. These awards are not made with fanfares or fine words, but may consist of a “thank you” or simply a smile.
I’m not going to think too hard about the awards I am going to make today, but among them are my nominations for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. (I am only including blogs which have recent posts).
And the nominations are (in no particular order and chosen from those who post regularly):
- Spirit 21 – Shelina Zahra Janmohamed
- Inspired Beeing – Cat Jaffee
- The Painted Prayerbook – jan Richardson
- Growing up with God – Rachael Elizabeth
- Simon Marsh
- shinystuff – Jan Dean
- Beyond the Edge – Viv McWaters
- Another Angle – Stephen Cherry
- Lost in the North – Dave Mock
- Plaza – Oliver Herbert
- People Reading
- Do not dance UK – Jose Campos
- On the plus side – Lynn Walsh
- Christopher Burkett
- The Six Doyles – Katherine Doyle
The rules for accepting the nominations are:
- Link back to the person who nominated you
- Post the award image to your page
- Tell seven facts about yourself
- Nominate 15 other blogs
- Let them know they are nominated
So here’s the award
And here are seven facts about myself:
- I’m part of a lovely family – Jeanette, Adam, Oliver and Leo and their loved ones
- I was ordained in Sheffield in 1974
- I am still listening to Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon after all these years
- I love the beach – Patara and the beaches of Wirral and North Wales
- I’m intrigued by ideas of leadership and ministry (nominating here Dee Hock and Meg Wheatley for Very Inspiring Author awards).
- I follow the ups and downs of the Foxes – Leicester City – my home town team
- I recommended a book by Jay Griffiths to someone yesterday – A Sideways Look at Time
Thank you Ivon for nominating me and for inspiring me to today’s awards and community building. You would have been on that list.