Scientists Have Figured out How Life Is Able to Survive


IN BRIEF
  • A new sequencing technique that maps out and analyzes DNA damage demonstrates how bacterial cells function in two critical excision repair proteins.
  • The team’s research and discovery not only heralds the use of this new mapping technique, it could also pave the way for a solution that will help address antibiotic resistance.

DNA-REPAIR SYSTEMS

Every day, the DNA in our cells gets damaged. This might sound scary, but it’s actually a normal occurrence – which makes DNA’s ability to repair itself vital to our survival. Now, scientists are beginning to better understand exactly how these repairs happen. A new sequencing technique that maps out and analyzes DNA damage demonstrates how bacterial cells function in two critical excision repair proteins: Mfd and UvrD.

The process, called nucleotide excision repair, has been used by a team from the UNC School of Medicine to gain a deeper insight into the key molecular functions of these repair systems, including the proteins’ roles in living cells. This repair process is known for fixing a common form of DNA damage called the “bulky adduct,” where a toxin or ultraviolet (UV) radiation chemically modifies the DNA.

The technique, called XR-seq lets the scientists isolate and sequence sections of DNA with the bulky adduct, thus allowing them to identify its actual locations in the genome. It has previously been used to generate a UV repair map of the human genome, as well as a map for the anticancer cisplatin drug.

For this study, scientists used the same method to repair damage caused by E. coli. As co-author of the study, Christopher P. Selby, PhD explained:

When the DNA of a bacterial gene is being transcribed into RNA, and the molecular machinery of transcription gets stuck at a bulky adduct, Mfd appears on the scene, recruits other repair proteins that snip away the damaged section of DNA, and “un-sticks” the transcription machinery so that it can resume its work. This Mfd-guided process is called transcription-coupled repair, and it accounts for a much higher rate of excision repair on strands of DNA that are being actively transcribed.

A POTENTIAL SOLUTION

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Chris Selby, PhD; Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD; and Ogun Adebali, PhD

In further experiments, the researchers defined the role of an accessory excision repair protein in E. coli – UvrD, which helps clear away each excised segment of damaged DNA. Essentially, think of Mfd as the DNA “un-sticker” and UvrD as the “unwinder.” Using the XR-seq method, scientists discovered evidence of transcription-coupled repair in normal cells, but not in cells without Mfd—implying that the protein played a key role in its repair process.

The team’s research and discovery not only heralds the use of this new mapping technique, it could also pave the way for a solution that will help address the pressing, global threat of antibiotic resistance.

“If we fail to address this problem quickly and comprehensively, antimicrobial resistance will make providing high quality universal health coverage more difficult, if not impossible,” the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “[Antibiotic resistance] a fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production and development.”

To support their current research, the team now plans to study XR-seq in bacterial, human and mammalian cells, to better understand the excision repair process.

Source:futurism.com

Viewpoint: Human evolution, from tree to braid


If one human evolution paper published in 2013 sticks in my mind above all others, it has to be the wonderful report in the 18 October issue of the journal Science.

The article in question described the beautiful fifth skull from Dmanisi in Georgia. Most commentators and colleagues were full of praise, but controversy soon reared its ugly head.

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What was, in my view, a logical conclusion reached by the authors was too much for some researchers to take.

The conclusion of the Dmanisi study was that the variation in skull shape and morphology observed in this small sample, derived from a single population of Homo erectus, matched the entire variation observed among African fossils ascribed to three species – H. erectus, H. habilis and H. rudolfensis.

The five highly variable Dmanisi fossils belonged to a single population of H. erectus, so how could we argue any longer that similar variation among spatially and temporally widely distributed fossils in Africa reflected differences between species? They all had to be the same species.

I have been advocating that the morphological differences observed within fossils typically ascribed to Homo sapiens (the so-called modern humans) and the Neanderthals fall within the variation observable in a single species.

It was not surprising to find that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred, a clear expectation of the biological species concept.

But most people were surprised with that particular discovery, as indeed they were with the fifth skull and many other recent discoveries, for example the “Hobbit” from the Indonesian island of Flores.

It seems that almost every other discovery in palaeoanthropology is reported as a surprise. I wonder when the penny will drop: when we have five pieces of a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, every new bit that we add is likely to change the picture.

Did we really think that having just a minuscule residue of our long and diverse past was enough for us to tell humanity’s story?

If the fossils of 1.8 or so million years ago and those of the more recent Neanderthal-modern human era were all part of a single, morphologically diverse, species with a wide geographical range, what is there to suggest that it would have been any different in the intervening periods?

Probably not so different if we take the latest finds from the Altai Mountains in Siberia into account. Denisova Cave has produced yet another surprise, revealing that, not only was there gene flow between Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans, but that a fourth player was also involved in the gene-exchange game.

The identity of the fourth player remains unknown but it was an ancient lineage that had been separate for probably over a million years. H. erectus seems a likely candidate. Whatever the name we choose to give this mystery lineage, what these results show is that gene flow was possible not just among contemporaries but also between ancient and more modern lineages.

Pit of Bones
A femur recovered from the famed “Pit of Bones” site in Spain yielded 400,000-year-old DNA

Just to show how little we really know of the human story, another genetic surprise has confounded palaeoanthropologists. Scientists succeeded in extracting the most ancient mitochondrial DNA so far, from the Sima de los Huesos site in Atapuerca, Spain.

The morphology of these well-known Middle Pleistocene (approximately 400,000 years old) fossils have long been thought to represent a lineage leading to the Neanderthals.

When the results came in they were actually closer to the 40,000 year-old Denisovans from Siberia. We can speculate on the result but others have offered enough alternatives for me to not to have to add to them.

The conclusion that I derive takes me back to Dmanisi: We have built a picture of our evolution based on the morphology of fossils and it was wrong.

We just cannot place so much taxonomic weight on a handful of skulls when we know how plastic – or easily changeable – skull shape is in humans. And our paradigms must also change.

The Panel of Hands at El Castillo Cave, Spain
Old assumptions are being challenged as new thinking emerges

Some time ago we replaced a linear view of our evolution by one represented by a branching tree. It is now time to replace it with that of an interwoven plexus of genetic lineages that branch out and fuse once again with the passage of time.

This means, of course, that we must abandon, once and for all, views of modern human superiority over archaic (ancient) humans. The terms “archaic” and “modern” lose all meaning as do concepts of modern human replacement of all other lineages.

It also releases us from the deep-rooted shackles that have sought to link human evolution with stone tool-making technological stages – the Stone Ages – even when we have known that these have overlapped with each other for half-a-million years in some instances.

The world of our biological and cultural evolution was far too fluid for us to constrain it into a few stages linked by transitions.

The challenge must now be to try and learn as much as we can of the detail. We have to flesh out the genetic information and this is where archaeology comes into the picture. We may never know how the Denisovans earned a living, after all we have mere fragments of their anatomy at our disposal, let alone other populations that we may not even be aware of.

What we can do is try to understand the spectrum of potential responses of human populations to different environmental conditions and how culture has intervened in these relationships. The Neanderthals will be central to our understanding of the possibilities because they have been so well studied.

A recent paper, for example, supports the view that Neanderthals at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in France intentionally buried their dead which contrasts with reports of cannibalistic behaviour not far away at El Sidron in northern Spain.

Here we have two very different behavioural patterns within Neanderthals. Similarly, modern humans in south-western Europe painted in cave walls for a limited period but many contemporaries did not. Some Neanderthals did it in a completely different way it seems, by selecting raptor feathers of particular colours. Rather than focus on differences between modern humans and Neanderthals, what the examples show is the range of possibilities open to humans (Neanderthals included) in different circumstances.

The future of human origins research will need to focus along three axes:

  • further genetic research to clarify the relationship of lineages and the history of humans;
  • research using new technology on old archaeological sites, as at La Chapelle; and
  • research at sites that currently retain huge potential for new discoveries.

Sites in the latter category are few and far between. In Europe at least, many were excavated during the last century but there are some outstanding examples remaining. Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves in Gibraltar, where I work, are among those because they span over 100,000 years of occupation and are veritable repositories of data.

There is another dimension to this story. It seems that the global community is coming round to recognising the value of key sites that document human evolution.

In 2012, the caves on Mount Carmel were inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List and the UK Government will be putting Gorham’s and associated caves on the Rock of Gibraltar forward for similar status in January 2015. It is recognition of the value of these caves as archives of the way of life and the environments of people long gone but who are very much a part of our story.

Prof Clive Finlayson is director of the Gibraltar Museum and author of the book The Improbable Primate.

Gorham's Cave The UK government is to seek World Heritage status for Gorham’s and associated caves on the Rock

Neanderthals Passed Along Diabetes Risk Gene.


Kermanshah Pal Museum-Neanderthal

Scientists have determined that a variation of a gene that increases the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes by 25 percent was likely introduced into human populations by Neanderthals more than 60,000 years ago. Half of people with a recent Native American lineage, including Latin Americans, have the gene, SLC16A11, as do 20 percent of East Asians. The newly seqeuenced, high quality Neanderthal genome, taken from a female toe found in Siberia‘s Denisova Cave, also included the variant, and researchers say that analysis suggests that Neanderthals introduced it into the human genome when they intermixed with modern humans, after the latter left Africa 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. According to the findings from the completed Neanderthal genome, roughly two percent of the genomes of today’s non-African humans are comprised of Neanderthal DNA.

Oldest human DNA found in Spain


 
A drawing shows what the species of Homo heidelbergensis might have looked like 400,000 years ago.
 
A drawing shows what the species of Homo heidelbergensis might have looked like 400,000 years ago.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
 

There were no genetic tests 400,000 years ago, so our ancient relatives didn’t know as much about themselves as we know about them now.

Scientists have reconstructed a nearly complete mitochondrial genome of an ancient human relative, whose remains were found in Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”) in northern Spain. It is the oldest DNA to be recovered from an early humanlike species, authors of a study wrote in the journal Nature.

The ancient species that has revealed some of its genetic secrets, via bone fragments from a femur, is probably not directly linked to your family tree though.

“It’s quite clear that this is not a direct ancestor of people today,” said Svante Paabo, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and senior author of the study.

Instead, he said, this representative of an early humanlike species, called Homo heidelbergensis, could be an ancestor of both Neanderthals and another group called the De nisovans.

The genetic relationship to Denisovans, discovered through this DNA research, is surprising because the Homo heidelbergensis remains found in the cave have many Neanderthal-like features. The only remnants of Denisovans come from Siberia — a long way from Spain.

“It’s sort of an open question really what this means, and I think further research into the nuclear genome of these hominins will address that,” Paabo said.

How they did it

Paabo and colleagues used a new method for sequencing ancient, degraded genetic material to put together the 400,000-year-old specimen’s mitochondrial genome. It is the oldest DNA ever found outside permafrost conditions — in other words, it was not permanently frozen.

“The retrieval of such ancient human DNA is a major technical achievement, and promises further recovery of such material from other fossils in this time range, both in the Sima and elsewhere, where we would not previously have expected it, or looked for it,” said Chris Stringer, researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, who was not involved in the study.

 

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Mitochondria are structures in cells that convert food energy into usable forms. DNA stored in the mitochondria is passed to children through the maternal line only (i.e., only moms can pass it on), so it’s only a small snapshot of inherited genes.

Genetic material in the cell’s nucleus comes from both parents and gives a fuller picture of genetic heritage.

To study genetics of our ancient predecessors, researchers have an easier time studying mitochondrial DNA because there are hundreds of times more copies of it in each cell.

“It’s a much bigger chance to find some fragments of this preserved,” Paabo said.

A skeleton of a Homo heidelbergensis representative from a cave site in Spain.
A skeleton of a Homo heidelbergensis representative from a cave site in Spain.

The method that researchers used involves separating the two strands of the DNA double helix. They then make a “library” from each of the two strands. If part of one strand is damaged, its analogue on the other strand — which is made of complementary genetic partners — may be intact.

“That is sort of the big trick involved,” Paabo said.

After sequencing the mitochondrial DNA, researchers then compared the result with genetic information about Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Since nuclear DNA encompasses more information about a person’s inheritance, a nuclear genome sequence from Homo heidelbergensis may reveal even more clearly how it is connected to other ancient humanlike species, he said.

But retrieving the nuclear DNA sequence will be challenging, study authors wrote. Just to get the mitochondrial DNA sequence, it took about two grams of bone — less than 0.1 ounce — even though hundreds of copies of this DNA are in every cell.

Still, Paabo said, the sequencing technique his group used “opens a possibility to now do this at many other sites, and really begin to understand earlier human evolution.”

Relationship to other species

Researchers thought initially the mitochondrial DNA of the Homo heidelbergensis specimen would share a common ancestor with Neanderthals. Neanderthals lived in Europe beginning as much as 300,000 years ago, Paabo said. (Homo sapiens, our species, first appeared in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.)

Instead, researchers discovered through the DNA that this specimen is closer to the Denisovans, a group related to the Neanderthals.

A likely explanation is that in Eastern Eurasia this species gave rise to Denisovans, and in Western Eurasia they were the ancestors of Neanderthals, Paabo said. But more research needs to be done to verify that theory.

Humans, Neanderthals related to yet another group

Little is known about the Denisovans. Although some of their remains were found in southern Siberia, their genetic signature is only found today on islands in the Pacific.

Paabo was also the senior author on a 2012 study in the journal Science analyzing the Denisovan genome. That research suggested that human ancestors and the Denisovans’ ancestors must have branched off from one another as much as 700,000 years ago — although that number is vague. Still, it seems that the Denisovans must have mated with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea and Australia, Paabo said.

About 3% to 5% of the DNA of people from Melanesia (islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean), Australia and New Guinea as well as aboriginal people from the Philippines comes from the Denisovans.

On the other hand, everyone who lives outside Africa today probably has some Neanderthal DNA in them, Paabo said in 2012.

The bottom line, Paabo said, is that the relationships between these early human relatives — Homo heidelbergensis, Neanderthals and Denisovans — are not clear-cut.

“It’s going to be a more complex history that one will eventually clarify with the help of DNA,” he said.

4 Reasons Why Change Is Good for You.


“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu

I was terrified of Change. Seven years ago I was on the precipice of losing all of those intrinsic qualities that defined me as a unique human being, I was at a loss as what to do.  Eating had become my drug of choice and as the size 44 inch waistline expanded, blood vessels were constricting in unison as I worked myself to a heart attack or a stroke. The only way to save my life was a total commitment to making changes that would affect the total human being. Even knowing this I was still scared of losing all the “good” I perceived that I had. It took a leap of blind faith that the Universe would land me safely before I could make positive gains in my own life. I am a fan of change because this is what saved my life. All I can really attest is o how my life has been enriched since.

Change can be an extremely powerful and at times distressing force.  The harbingers of change may present themselves at those crossroads of our lives where seismic events shake our foundations and all that is comfortable. Be it the divorce, illness, accident, or situation that throws us headlong into circumstances where we have to sink or swim. There are also times when the signs that we are transitioning to a new phase are disguised in such a way that unless we lift those societal blinders that took years to develop, we will not be ready to understand what the Universe wants us to know. Society seems to encourage us to live in what our relative cultural experience defines as the status quo and not necessarily what really lies within the heart.

Change is a process that plays itself out on all levels differently for everyone. This includes the idea that whether a person decides to change where they are in life is an individual decision. We have the absolute right to live our lives in a manner in which we want, as long as we do not cause harm to others. There are a million miles between existing where you are and deciding in your mind to change, there are a million more between deciding in your mind to change and taking concrete steps to make it happen.

So why should we accept this notion of change and what may result?

1. Embrace the Forces of Change

Change is inevitable. It is thrust upon us. Being conceived is the first change in circumstances that we could not control. There was then no option but to leave warmth and security and face blinding light and a cacophony of noises, some of which sounded familiar. Aging in a part of our nature and dying is the ultimate transition. Knowing these inevitable seasons will occur and there no permanence, why not truly live and change those circumstances that do not enhance us by changing those things we can control.

“The only thing that is constant is change.” ~ Heraclitus

2. Inviting Change enhances the relationship with our Self

When we do not change those things that do not enhance us, we stagnate and become complacent. We hit the start button on the treadmill of life and walk in the same place without going anywhere until we hit pause, feel the treadmill come to a slow stop, and just turn off. We get frustrated and at times angry as to where we are in our life. There is nothing outside of your own self that will ever make you happy. Acquisitions, both animate and inanimate, satisfy temporary urges, but cannot substitute for the ongoing, ever blossoming relationship we create with ourselves.

Change is also evident when we recognize and confront those demons that control our actions and decision making based upon past conditioning. When those actions and the reasons for taking them are no longer part of our fabric, we are enhancing ourselves because actions taken are not solely for self-gain or heart protection. We enhance this self-relationship by shedding that which deters the expression of our full true self. Invite into life change that does not harm. This then encourages the mind, body and soul to engage in activity that promulgates their health and well-being. A positive frame of mind affects all those we come into contact.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

3. Positive Change affects our relationship with all those around us

As we change and grow, we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation which then translates to how we see others and the world around us. Ideas such as love and compassion are no longer terms of art, but a way to live. Change brings about the release of relationships that are toxic. Only when we go through this change will we be ready to form healthy relationships with others.  Now that we are beyond an ego self, we see the bigger picture.  As we become citizens of the world around us, we begin to focus on what is really needed by the less fortunate around us and the resources necessary to accomplish any goals. Self-actualization leads to change in all facets of life and a sense of balance.

4. Maintaining a Balanced life through change affect all other aspects of Being

By achieving and keeping a sense of inner harmony, decisions made on all aspects of life are seen through a lens of self-awareness. Change in life is a constant , who we are this instant is not the same person we were yesterday because every experience, no matter how trivial we think it may be shapes and molds our decision making process. Where we live, what we eat, what job we keep are all in a state of flux as we go about living. Life shifts, so it is important to maintain a sense of balance in all we do.

There are aspects of Change in which we have choice. What changes we invite is entirely dependent on where we want to be. I Chose Living Life and am thankful for the doors the Universe has opened for me since.

Since change is the only constant in life, why do you think so many people are afraid of change?

Scientist who mapped human genome says we will be able to ‘print’ alien life from Mars


J. Craig Venter says the next revolution in genetics will come from synthetic biology, as we learn to design and ‘print’ organisms with computers.

Related articles

Scientists will soon be able to design and print simple organisms using biological 3D printers says J. Craig Venter, the scientist who led the private-sector’s mapping of the human genome.

Venter predicts that new methods of digital design and manufacture will provide the next revolution in genetic with synthetic cells and organism tailor-made to tackle humanity’s problems: a toolkit of sequenced genes will be used to create disease-resistant animals; higher yielding crops; and drugs that extend human life and boost our brain power.

These ideas have been outlined in Venter’s latest book ‘Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life’, in which the geneticists asks the age-old question ‘what is life?’ before detailing the history – and future – of creating the stuff from scratch.

For Venter life can be reduced to “protein robots” and “DNA machines” but he also believes that technology will unlock far more exotic opportunities for creating life. The title of the publication refers to the idea that we may be able to transmit DNA sequences found on Mars back to Earth (at the speed of light) to be replicated at home by biological printers.

“I am confident that life once thrived on Mars and may well still exist there today,” writes Venter. “The day is not far off when we will be able to send a robotically controlled genome-sequencing unit in a probe to other planets to read the DNA sequence of any alien microbe life that may be there.”

Venter’s ideas may sound like science fiction but he has achieved comparable feats in the past. Frustrated by what he viewed as slow government-led efforts to sequence the human genome in the 90s, Venter raised private capital to create a rival effort under the company name of Celera

Fears that Venter and his backers would attempt to patent the genome spurred the US-led effort into action and global genes-race was sparked, with both sides eventually agreeing to announce their result one day apart in February 2001.

Venter parted ways with Celera in 2002 and founded the J.Craig Venter institute in 2006. In 2010 he and his colleagues at the institute announced that they had created the world’s first synthetic organism.

The team creating a bacterium genome from scratch and ‘watermarked’ it with custom DNA strings (these included an encoded email address) before transplanting it into another cell. The cell then began to reproduce, making it the first living species created by humanity.

Although such pioneering work frequently raises ethical questions over the danger of humanity ‘playing God’, Venter writes that he is not concerned with such concerns. In ‘Life at the Speed of Light’ he writes: “My greatest fear is not the abuse of technology but that we will not use it at all.”

5 Ways to Make a Meaningful Difference in the World.


If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~Mother Teresa

One question we should all try to have answered before we go to sleep is “What have I done to move humanity forward today?” Opportunities present, even in the most subtle or miniscule manner, whereby we can take an action that makes this world a little better place to live. We have a moral and ethical obligation not only to advance humanity, but to also understand our role in preserving the delicate balance of the natural world that is integral part of us.

diffrence

That is the beauty of our capacity as Human Beings, the realization that there is no limit to what we can accomplish if we really want an end result.  When we take an action, not for selfish recognition, but for the Purity of doing the act simply because it is the “right” thing, the doors that are then magically opened revealing rewards not for individuals, but for all living beings in our Universe.

Start the process by taking 5 steps to get outside of the Self and looking at how to enhance the world around you..

1. Accept who you are and your unlimited capacity

Many of us are confused in what we can offer because we do not recognize who we are and what gifts lie within. The process of making the decision to look outside yourself is a part of your spiritual journey. The realization that there is more than the Ego, the Me, and what I can gain out of this life is a huge step for many of us. We are encouraged to take those actions that enhance the Me, without really considering the Us. Our minds are molded from birth by many forms of media and even our families to think about the self. Under the guise of increasing our self-esteem from the outside, we have forgotten the much bigger picture.

Step outside your comfort zone and use the intuitive side to escape this box and begin to think of others. There is no doubt that you will encounter uncomfortable situations that test your mettle and challenge you to the core of the belief systems which have taken decades to develop. Going to Honduras with a religious group whose form of worship was foreign to me changed the course of my life when I realized how petty my “problems” were compared to people who were trying to just survive. Once you realize that when you look outside of yourself all that happens is growth as a person, you will begin the never ending process which catapults you to achieve your fullest potential.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. ~Buddha

2. Be an agent of change

By saying to the world I am an Agent of change, you have now altered the mindset that has restricted your actions and belief in yourself. By saying I Matter, you recognize your intrinsic worth and translate that to the myriad of interactions with the world as you recognize the value in all that are connected to you.

3. Determine your intention

Major movements in recent human history seem like seismic shifts, but their germination occurred years before and the final action is the culminations of many intertwined circumstances. There is not one act of kindness that is too small, so long as the intention is present. Combining our minds and hearts leads to action. With the right frame of mind, we innately know what to offer in order to better other people’s lives. This may be as simple as smiling at or wishing a total stranger to have a nice day to helping a neighbor with a plumbing issue.

4. Use your talents

Each of us is born with gifts that are unique to us. People can play an instrument that has the same six strings, but how that tool transforms is up to our own innate ability. Share what you have for the simple sake of sharing. Asking nothing in return you will gain everything.

5. Look for places to volunteer

Look at your community and see where your talents are needed. Even if places don’t advertise for help, make the offer. If you are volunteering somewhere outside the norm, cherish the lessons you will learn from the uncomfortable situations you are placed.  By volunteering at a school, the impact on a child’s life by act of kindness is immeasurable. By becoming a part of a community clean up, your labor to enhances and preserves the natural world around you.

We value and are selfish with our time. Thinking outside of the Me and sharing what you have to offer with those around you will change your life and how you look at everything in the world around you. We are all connected to each other and we have to accept that the Universe has weaved a very delicate tapestry that is always in danger of slowly being unraveled. When we finally start to reflect on what is happening, we sometimes doubt our own power and wonder what can one individual do about the human condition.

To quote my partner when others were lukewarm as to what she was trying to accomplish by a humanitarian project, “no one seems excited about things, but it just takes one, and I’m excited.”

Get excited, make a difference!

Source: Purpose Fairy

 

Do What Makes You Happy Before You Are Too Old.


things-to-do

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. ~Lao Tzu

We spend most of our natural lives planning. Planning the day, the evening, the working week, the weekend. After two months most of us plan a vacation. We are so busy doing the things weshould be doing that we often forget to do the things we want to do.

For instance, all my life was planned well before I had a chance to pretty much learn what I wanted. School, then college, a master degree- till here I did exactly as I had planned. Next I wanted to work before I went on to do my PhD. Half of that plan did come to life. I worked for seven years, sometimes even holding four jobs at a time. Because I thought yes that is a way to be ‘successful’.

However, during all those years I put off the things I really wanted to do. Like, I always wanted to read theology and philosophy. I always wanted to paint, not just doodle on bristol paper but actually paint on a fine canvas. I wanted to spend time with my family- quality time.

And not just limit my conversation with them to only saying ‘morning’ and ‘goodnight’. I wanted to be there for my friends when they needed me, and not just give a short call spending 80% of the time explaining how important my work was, and the remaining 20% apologizing why I wasn’t there for them on their big day.

So till about a year ago, I planned my life like this: work, hang out with friends, concentrate on my diet, sometimes workout, and then go home to sleep. I don’t want to brag but yes I was successfully able to balance all the spheres of my life. But that didn’t make me happy, time management to the core, yet there was neither ‘peace’ nor anything called remotely ‘happiness’.

I thought or in fact I had ‘planned’ that when I’ll be done and over with my life, meaning when I had done all that I was expected to do, as many of are conditioned to do so, I will do the things I really like before I die. Things like blogging, writing my book, painting, studying philosophy and mysticism, and including spending quality time with those I love. According to my calculations, this list of things to do fell approximately well after the age 60 years.

Last year, you can say I had an epiphany. And instead of running forward like the human race who wants to do be better and become better all within a tight circle of ‘success’, I started running in the opposite direction.

Why do I have to wait until I am old to do the things I want to do? Running back home felt good. The important things surfaced that I had forgotten about. The cultural conditioning started to thin away too. Mankind was never asked to run a marathon so that they could get a shiny medal around their neck. We were and are required to just ‘be’.

So in my new life I do what I love to do now, at age 29, not waiting to be toothless and blind and then after do the things I enjoy most. My time is now. When is yours?  Share your insights by commenting bellow or by posting your comments on the PurposeFairy Facebook Page.

 

Source: purpose fairy

 

e not eL�hl�ْ �� self out, you’re just taking on extra baggage.

 

Helping or Hindering?

Everyone needs to work out their own journey through life.  It is your responsibility to love and respect them enough to give them space and to only help out when you are asked to.  Get it?

You are disempowering another human being when you try to seize control or mold them into how you want them to fit into your life.

You are not responsible for any other human being but yourself (barring minors under your care, of course).  Focus on yourself and be the best person you can be so that you can be that shining example to others.  That is the only way you will make a positive change in someone’s life.  You can’t go into their space and try to effect change.

The Prime Directive

You are responsible for your life.  Your main responsibility is to be happy — you could even call this your ‘prime directive’or ultimate goal.  If you are not happy it is your responsibility to sniff out the causes as to why you are not living in joy.

So, now say you have found your bliss but it hurts you when you see other people suffer and you want to help.

Keep Your Nose on Your Face

The stark truth is that they need to take responsibility for their life and choices.  You can always help another human being but you should never force yourself or your way of life onto someone else.

To truly love someone is to accept them as they are and respect their life path.  Can you do that?

Can you step into owning your life and taking responsibility for your choices today?  If you do, the weight of the world will be lifted from your shoulders and you will experience a freedom like no other.

It’s okay to be here, it’s okay to be you and it’s okay to let other people be themselves.

You are only responsible for you.  And thanks to the wise words of Gandhi, try to be the change you want to see in the world.

 

Source: purpose fairy

The Human Checklist – What Every Human Being Needs to Know.


cherie

The Weight of the World

Hello Earthling! How nice of you to have dropped by this titillating planet filled with such great diversity and beauty.

What was that you said?  Did you say that you:

Feel burdened by society and all that is wrong with the world?

You feel an overwhelming pressure to change the world?

Did I hear you right?  Did you say that you even feel guilty or responsible for the state of the world?

What an awful burden it is to bear when we decide to take on the weight of the world, or on a lesser degree, the weight of another person’s choices or life.

Are you guilty of this?  Yes…no…perhaps a little?

Are You Suffering From Mad Cow Disease?

Let me get clear on this.  Sit down and make yourself comfortable because I need your undivided attention.

Holy cow!  I only recently realized that I’ve been a complete idiot — a buffoon of the highest degree.

In what textbook did I read that I need to change the world, take over if I saw someone else suffering along their path or put every effort into making people see the world the way I see it?

Nope, can’t think of the name of that book so I must have somehow imagined it.  But how many of you can say you feel the same way?

You may feel responsible for your partner, your grown up children, your friends and other members of your family.  You may even take on the responsibility of complete strangers.

Light Bulbs and Cricket Bats

Let’s get straight to the juicy bit of this article — either you’re going to have an ‘a-ha’ moment or you are going to have to beat yourself over the head a couple of times with a bat to whack the sense home.

You were born here on planet Earth and the global problems were here, social structure (no matter how much you may dislike it) was already in place.  Thanks to our ancestors, the worlds configuration was in place the moment you catapulted into reality — the good, the bad and the ugly.  You are not responsible for what came before you.  However, you ARE responsible for how you affect the world with your presence from this moment onwards.  Every choice you make is part and parcel to your responsibility.  Own it.

You were born on planet Earth and you needed to work out some of your own lessons and you’re doing great.  When you decide to shift your focus onto another person’s lessons and try to tamper with their version of reality — you have made a crucial mistake.  You don’t think the other person is capable of handling their own lives so you intervene.  You may think you need to because your version of reality and what you think is the right way as it is working so well for you.  True?

Nope.  It is YOUR truth but it may not necessarily be another’s.  When you try to control another individual or their path you are basically saying that they are weak and you are strong.   Oops…not very nice.  What’s more is you’re not even helping yourself out, you’re just taking on extra baggage.

Helping or Hindering?

Everyone needs to work out their own journey through life.  It is your responsibility to love and respect them enough to give them space and to only help out when you are asked to.  Get it?

You are disempowering another human being when you try to seize control or mold them into how you want them to fit into your life.

You are not responsible for any other human being but yourself (barring minors under your care, of course).  Focus on yourself and be the best person you can be so that you can be that shining example to others.  That is the only way you will make a positive change in someone’s life.  You can’t go into their space and try to effect change.

The Prime Directive

You are responsible for your life.  Your main responsibility is to be happy — you could even call this your ‘prime directive’or ultimate goal.  If you are not happy it is your responsibility to sniff out the causes as to why you are not living in joy.

So, now say you have found your bliss but it hurts you when you see other people suffer and you want to help.

Keep Your Nose on Your Face

The stark truth is that they need to take responsibility for their life and choices.  You can always help another human being but you should never force yourself or your way of life onto someone else.

To truly love someone is to accept them as they are and respect their life path.  Can you do that?

Can you step into owning your life and taking responsibility for your choices today?  If you do, the weight of the world will be lifted from your shoulders and you will experience a freedom like no other.

It’s okay to be here, it’s okay to be you and it’s okay to let other people be themselves.

You are only responsible for you.  And thanks to the wise words of Gandhi, try to be the change you want to see in the world.

Source: purpose fairy

An Animated Adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.


Thirty-five years ago today, the Voyager 1 launched into space in a quest to explore the outer Solar System and carried with it the Golden Record, an ultimate mixtape of humanity’s sounds that was also a record of how Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan fell in eternal love. There’s hardly a better way to celebrate the Voyager’s legacy than with Sagan’s iconic, timeless, infinitely humbling yet awe-inspiring Pale Blue Dot (public library), based on the photograph of the same title taken by the Voyager 1 in 1990.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.