This is one of my three favorite holidays.
It is a love story in Japan.

If you make a wish on this day, and if it does not rain, then your wish will come true! This year it is especially lucky because it is the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year.

Here’s the story as I wrote about it last year. It is a colorful, wildly fun holiday, and I wish I were in Japan this year for this holiday!
tanabata_tree.jpgtanabata_children.jpg
(Images from here).

THE TWO STARS:
Tanabata means “Festival of the stars.” This is a story about the two stars Altair (the boy) and Vega (the girl) which are the main stars in two constellations, Aquila the eagle and Lyra the musical lyre:

aquila.giflyra.gif


Altair and Vega are also two of the three stars of the Summer Triangle, and appear closest to each other in the summertime. (Images from here and here).

THE LOVE STORY:
There was a girl named Orihime – she was the daughter of the Sky God and she wove beautiful weavings. One day, she looked out of her window and saw the oxen-boy, Hikoboshi, and they fell in love. They spent so much time together that she didn’t have any time to weave, and so the Sky God separated the two, and allowed them to only meet each other on the seventh of the seventh.

Why is the Milky Way involved? “In the Chinese Calender, there is almost always a half moon on July 7th and they believe ORIHIME and [HIKOBOSHI] use that half moon as a boat to meet each other over the great river in the sky, AMANOGAWA [the Milky Way],” reports this site.

YOUR ROLE:

As long as the Milky Way does not overflow, everyone’s wish will come true on this day. So you can put on your bright summer cotton kimono, called the “yukata,” and you can go dancing in the parks, and you can write your wishes on brightly colored paper (as Dave describes here!) and tie them to a plant (in Japan, it would be a bamboo tree). And finally, you make that wish wholly and deliberately, and then you let go….


I tried an absolutely new food yesterday.

I guess it’s always been at the grocery store, but I just never paid attention and never looked for it. It’s crisp and bright and has a very pale sweetness. The clerk at the farmstand was eating a slide, and I asked her what it was, and she said, “JICAMA! It’s delicious, and very low calorie.” And she brought me a slice.

Jicama!

I had never even thought something like this exists. So lightly sweet. I guess you never cook jicama – it tastes somewhat like an apple-pear but much less sweet – just a hint of sweetness, and on the outside, it’s (strangely enough!) the same color as a potato!

Here are some summer jicama recipes:
* Jicama orange salad!!! by Lu Recipes
* Jicama salad by Whole Foods
* Jicama beet salad by the Reluctant Housewife



Today, I was a guest on the FairGame radio program hosted by Faith Salie. Listen to the 6-minute segment of my interview HERE.

The interview was in reaction to this NYTimes article: Russia’s government mandate to broadcast at least 50% good news? You might think that a Positive Psychologist might support something like that, but Faith was fairly surprised at my answer … enjoy the interview.

The program aired tonight at 8pm on about 25 stations nationwide.

This was a fun interview to do, and I wish Faith, her producers, and the whole program huge success. After looking at her name and photo several times, I realized Faith was a year ahead of me at Harvard undergrad. We were in the same house – Leverett House.


This Friday (April 27), 10:30-11:30am EST, I’m speaking at the Business Women’s Growth Summit.

This is a virtual conference. Here are the bios of all the speakers, and here is the list of talks.

My talk is “The Science of Happiness for Business Owners.”
Click here to register.

“The Science of Happiness for Business Owners”
Presented by Senia Maymin

There is a field that is even younger than the Internet – Positive Psychology! Positive Psychology was launched in 1998 as a branch of psychology that focuses on what is right with people. Just as Psychology after World War II studied diseases and illnesses, so now too, Positive Psychology studies optimal human functioning – happiness, success, and productivity. Senia Maymin is a graduate of the first-ever worldwide Masters’ Program in Positive Psychology at UPenn in 2006.

In this workshop, Senia discusses the main findings of Positive Psychology, the so-called “Science of Happiness,” and specific applications for business owners. Further bolstering the research findings by her own experience as a serial entrepreneur and as an Executive Coach to entrepreneurs, Senia creates an interactive workshop that gives participants actual take-away techniques to apply to their lives and their businesses.


Your Material, Emotional Brain

In an article on Brand-bonding driving desire, author Jean Brandolini Lamb writes (bold added):

Recently I heard Don Diforio, senior vice president of research for the Advertising Research Foundation, speak at Columbia University about the new neuropsychology theories that are replacing the old consumer behavior beliefs. No longer is it believed that consumers think, feel, do, or follow AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action) buying patterns. Rather, according to those who look inside the brain to study the connection between physiology and psychological responses, we are all driven first by emotion. This emotional connection leads to brand desire, which ultimately leads to demand. Granted, convenience factors and rational concerns play a part in the decision-making process, but it is a feeling that acts as the initial spark of interest. Given the masses of information that we keep in our brains, we all still act based on primitive, emotional instincts. It seems we’re just cavemen with cars after all.

This is what I believe about Intuition too: there is some emotional trigger that drives the moment of “aha.”

Happiness is Hard Work

In The Science of Lasting Happiness, author Marina Krakovsky describes mainly Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research on happiness to conclude that happiness takes some significant work! This is a worthwhile article, and I highly recommend you see it. It also describes the research of Lyubomirksy, Sheldon, and Schkade on where happiness comes from. Their results: 50% is genetically determined, 10% is caused by the environment, and 40% is about how happy you make your mind up to be, i.e. the specific techniques you use to conjure your happiness.

Especially interesting in this article, and non-expected, is a technique that Lyubomirsky studied: writing down your blessings. It turned out that every night is not the optimal timing for happiness – weekly is the optimal timing. And it turned out that variety in using your techniques is highly important!



We’re all a little like the Tin Man once the winter is ending … uncreaking, derusting, getting moving.

What’s the first thing you’ll do in the warm weather?!

Here are some of mine:

  • Walk around!
  • Breathe
  • Enjoy the morning sun
  • Plan some weekend outdoors things – biking, walking by the water
  • Drive with the sun roof open!

It’s Question Friday. Come on in and chat in the comments!