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10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's roundup of joyful finds from around the internet.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Spring is springing here in the Northern Hemisphere, and even though the same thing happens every year, it never gets old. No matter how long and dark and cold the winter gets (for those of us in the northern climes, anyway), the sun always comes out, the greenery always returns and the flowers always blossom.

It's refreshing and beautiful and life-giving, every time—and a metaphorical reminder that growth and renewal are possible. There are rainy days and muddy messes and old, dead stuff to clear out of the way, but it's all in the service of life reasserting itself.

It's the season for celebrating hope, friends. Let's do it.


This week's round-up of internet delights includes humans being excellent to each other, people sharing their amazing talents, animals being hilarious and sweet, and heartwarming examples of support and unconditional love. It's joy and hope in 10 small packages, which when you put them all together, will hopefully give you a little boost in your faith in humanity.

Enjoy:

Epic proof that dance = the great unifier.

I mean, this is literally nothing but pure human joy.

The crowd hushed for this blind basketball player to hear the hoop—then went wild when she made it.

Jules Hoogland is a junior at Zeeland East High School in Michigan, and she plays on the United Sports team, which organizes teams with and without disabilities to play together. Awesome example of meaningful inclusion. Read the full story here.

The musical talents of the Wilson family are just PHEW.

Like, DANG. Even the wee one! So impressive.

Skaters helped an elder ride a skateboard for the first time and she was so stoked. 

@kevperez_

Wholesome Content ❤️ *EXTENTED VERSION*…I filmed this in Washington D.C April 2017 #skateboarding #skate #wholesome

Gotta love a little intergenerational sharing.

Macaw enjoying a bath—and objecting to the human turning off the faucet.

"Did I say I was done?" indeed. Macaws are a species of parrot, and parrots are said to have the approximate intelligence of a human toddler, so this isn't surprising. Still delightful, though.

Bap that fish, kitten!

@catoriess

kitten plays ipad games #fypシ

Ah, what the wonders of the modern world can do.

Doggos playing some good old-fashioned keepy uppy.

This is genuinely impressive. Look at the air some of them get!

And then there's this doggo who just loves on everyone.

Totally in love. Golden retrievers aren't known as one of the friendliest dog breeds for nothing.

Anne Hathaway blows Kelly Clarkson away with her own song in a karaoke competition.

You'd think going up against Kelly Clarkson in a singing competition would be a huge mistake, but Anne Hathaway can hold her own. And Clarkson's reaction to missing her own song is hilarious. Read the full story and watch the full segment here.

The love of Ketanji Brown Jackson's family during her opening statement was so beautiful.

The tears her husband wiped away. The look of knowing admiration on their daughter's face. Her parents were in the crowd, too, their faces beaming with pride. A beautiful highlight in this historic moment. Read the full story here.

Hope that restored a little calm and joy to your heart at the end of a long week. Come back again next Friday for another roundup of smile-worthy finds from around the internet.

Image courtesy of GTUx

In depth conversations held by experts and scholars. All at no cost.

True

We are living in a renaissance of psychedelic research, no doubt about it…particularly when it comes to medical treatment. Psilocybin and MDMA are being used to alleviate depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Ayahuasca retreats continue to become more popular as healing centers. Even my go-to yoga spot now offers a “Microdose Flow Night.” What a time to be alive.

And yet, as plant medicine makes its way back into the mainstream of our modern world, traditional spiritual wisdom often seems to get lost, even dismissed, from the conversation. But what if there were a way to blend new and old ways of thinking?

psychedelics, psychedelics and religion, gtuxAll images courtesy of GTUx

Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is a world leader in the study of religion and theology. Their new virtual learning program, GTUx, is a is a vibrant home for the exploration of spirituality and activism through online learning opportunities, all inspired by experts of spiritual, ethical, cultural and social fields.

GTUx recently launched “Psychedelics and Religion”—a first-of-its-kind online program that explores the inherent (but often overlooked) relationship between spirituality and science in hallucinogens. Plus, it’s completely free to sign up.

Psychedelics and Religion Part I | gtu.edu/xwww.youtube.com

GTUx’s “Psychedelics and Religion, Part 1” has nine easy-to-watch modules offering in-depth conversations from leading scholars in both religious and medical fields, including Michael Pollan, Celina De Leon, Ayize Jama-Everett, and many others.

The content is practical for a general audience, and particularly for those interested in using plant medicine in holistic ways.

Brian Anderson, Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF General Hospital, and one of the GTUx speakers considers it paramount to incorporate spiritual knowledge from ancient practices into the medical use of psychedelics. This is important even if the person taking these substances doesn’t label themselves as religious.

“Survey data suggests that people who identified as atheist or agnostic after having a high dose psychedelic experience might change…having some form of new spiritual beliefs or convictions that they did not have before. This is something I've certainly seen in a number of people,” he shared with Upworthy.

Clinical settings generally lack frameworks to better understand these profound experiences in what many might call the “mystical” realm. It’s sort of like being dropped into a brand new country without a map or translator.

Religious scholars, however, are fluent in mystical language. Dr. Sam Shonkoff, Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU, and panel leader, hopes that their contribution might reinstill a sense of “awe” into our modern view of psychedelics, in the fullest sense of the term.

“There's a really desperate need to slow down and think carefully and critically about what it means to tap into these very powerful substances that are associated with very rich cultural traditions and to not take that lightly,” he explained.


gtux psychedlics and religionDr. Sam Shonkoff, Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU

“I think that people who study the histories and phenomenologies of religion and spirituality are importantly situated to help us think more carefully and critically about where we are and where we're going in relation to psychedelics.”

Participants of “Psychedelics and Religion” will learn about psychedelics in relation to mysticism, mental health, and chaplaincy, and how to better integrate their profound transformational experiences into everyday life. By the end of the program, they might discover that when it comes to plant medicine, science and spirituality actually do complement one another.

Part 1 of this free online offering is already available, which you can check out by clicking here. It's guaranteed to be a good trip.

Mariandrea Villegas dancing with Phil Wright at The Dance Awards.

Humans may not always recognize greatness right away, but sometimes it's so clear it simply can't be denied.

You don't have to be a dancer yourself to see when someone's got moves, and a viral video from choreographer Phil Wright spotlights a kid who's got moves. Like, wow.

Mariandrea Villegas may be tiny, but she packs a mighty amount of energy, skill, coordination and x-factor into her dancing. Oh and joy. Did I mention joy?

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He wants to be just like mommy.

When a 4-year-old wanted tattoos that looked just like his mom’s, mom gave him the full tattoo experience.

People could not get enough of Korrin JB and her son Coleman after seeing Coleman’s decked out kiddie-style “tattoo parlor.” The wholesome video quickly amassed 4.5 million views and got a lot of love online.

JB shared with “Good Morning America” that the idea came as she and Coleman were brainstorming potential summer activities. Coleman pointed at JB’s tattoos and inspiration struck.

Lucky for Coleman, his mom was once a tattoo parlor apprentice, and “a little extra,” as she describes herself in the video. She set up a bona fide tattoo table, threw on some blue rubber gloves and got to work. Don’t fret—no actual ink was involved. Coleman’s “flash sheet” consisted of temporary tattoos.

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Family

Richard Dreyfuss shared intimate photos of the moment he realized his son had a congenital disorder

"The most traumatic and emotional moment of my life was on June 14 1986."

Richard Dreyfuss at the Webby Awards.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss (star of “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) shared intimate photos of the birth of his son Ben that showed the shock and confusion parents experience when realizing their newborn has a birth abnormality.

On June 14, 1986, Dreyfuss and his wife Jeramie Rain had their second child and they could tell something was wrong shortly after his delivery. “Your eyes are not the same,” Ben would later write about his birth. “One is blue, the other is grey. One is hiding under a partially opened eye-lid; the other is extending far beyond it, like a potato exploding out of an egg cup.”

It was the “most traumatic and emotional moment of my life,” Richard wrote on Twitter. “My wife Jeramie gave birth to our second amazing child. And, as these pictures show, we slowly realized there was a problem with our son.”

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