Whole Brain Health Presentation AT SL13B June 22, 2016

Several members of the Whole Brain Health community did a presentation at the SL Auditorium for SL13B.   Below I have included a transcript of what was said during the event.

Wisdomseeker (Lissena):
I’m Lissena – aka Wisdomseeker – the owner of Inspiration Island, the home of the 501c3 nonprofit Ageless Mind Project. I’m here today to do a show-and-tell with some members of a team of gifted collaborators who offer their programs on my sim.

Inspiration Island is the home of our groups Whole-Brain Health, Community of Creative Elders, and Adventures in Lifelong Learning, all dedicated to helping visitors
actively explore an evidence-based lifestyle approach to wellness, especially for people over age 50.

Our project is multi-dimensional. We focus on 5 major components of well-being that research shows produce a higher quality of life when they are balanced. These are:  social connection …creativity…cognitive stimulation…self-care (diet, exercise, sleep)…and a sense of purpose. So our programs and activities are designed to give participants opportunities to experience the beneficial results of balancing ALL 5 of these components, as you will hear from the team.

We are also committed to promoting human flourishing by helping people identify and develop their signature, or top, character strengths. Doing this will deepen their sense of purpose. The Grove of Wisdom challenges visitors to identify their personal strengths and use them in new ways. And they can earn Linden dollars too, by playing this game with us!

We have labyrinths and mazes. The big labyrinth here is one of the many places where we provide cognitive challenges. It’s also another place where visitors can try out the different components of well-being…and earn Lindens while having fun.

Our latest project is an orientation program, or pathway, for newcomers — especially for older ones who are looking for ways to stay healthy, happy and engaged in life wherever they are located, whatever the day or time. Isn’t that one of the best things about Second Life? Here you see the basic Orientation Center, which can be accessed from our central landing point or the website http://agelessmindproject.org.  The blue Buddy Board is manned by volunteers who are ready to respond to calls for help.

The second stage of orientation takes place on the Multiple Intelligences Experience parcel. Newcomers – and longtime residents of SL – will find fascinating challenges at different levels of difficulty here that also earn them Lindens. These are the first two parts of a four part professional development course called “New Frontiers in Aging that I will be offering this summer in Second Life, through Rockcliffe University.” It’s a simple training program for anyone who wants to help mature newcomers come into SL and discover how easy and natural it can be to increase their own well-being here.

Here is a rare moment when most of our wonderful team got together for a picture. They are the heart of Inspiration Island. Take a look also at the lists on the pillars on each side of this stage. And now l will pass the baton to Bhelanna.

Bhelanna:
As it has been said before, WBH on Inspiration Island is about all kinds of interactive activities to stimulate and challenge us, at all ages.

As I have understood them in the three years I have been a part of the WBH family, the 5 Ingredients of the Whole-Brain Health Approach are:

CREATIVITY
SOCIAL CONNECTION
SELF-CARE
SENSE OF PURPOSE
COGNITIVE CHALLENGE

From my own best practices, I would add these sub-ingredients:

*Variety*
To stimulate multiple functional areas of the brain with a holistic approach.

*Effort*
To take on increasing levels of demand, so the task does not get too easy or mundane.

*Novelty*
To try new activities to exercise the prefrontal cortex, which is a key area for learning to master new challenges.

So my hosted events, where I apply these principles, are Cold Shot Play Readings, Cold Shot Flash & Dash, Study Buddies.

COLD SHOT

1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month for Flash & Dash for Writers and Playwrights, 11 am SLT

2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month for Cold Shot for Play Readers, for Voice actors and Voice Actor Wannabees, 11am SLT

At Cold Shot for Play Readers we do cold readings of plays and scenes as a group, in OPEN MIC, because we like the spontaneity, improvisation, and group interaction. People who attend like to read or write, or they like to perform at open mic events. They might be amateur actors in SL or RL, or might be even professional actors in SL or RL. They might be people who have never read aloud in SL before, but have thought about doing it. People drawn to the Cold Shot play readings are lovers of all things dramatic, theatrical, and artistic

Cold Shot Flash & Dash for Writers and Playwrights gives writers an opportunity to compose and/or work on short scenes and stage plays. We work exclusively with the Flash play format, also known as the 10-minute play. This play form is usually a one act play, most often one scene, and runs approximately 10 minutes. We are presently working on making available some of these audio recordings of very original flash plays in the WBH Library, with a companion intellibook of the scripts.

Many of the attendees at the Flash & Dash started out with ZERO experience writing plays, and some with Zero experience writing their own literary work.  As Maya Angelou would say, “They found their path by walking their path.”

A few more points about Cold Shot and Wellness:

-Creativity and appreciation of artistic works is a mind-body-spirit activity

-Reading aloud coordinates mental processes, key functional areas of the brain, and physical behavior

-When we create, we visualize worlds, and people, and situations, internally

-We scan, we interpret on the fly, we express ideas and emotions in voice

-We use courage to learn by doing and manage our fear of  making mIstTak3s

-We never master the art of cold reading or flash writing, but we get progressively better and better–tapping into life long learning, improving ~
self efficacy, mental focus, and mental flexibility

Study Buddies

Get back in step with Study Buddies!!!  11:00 am – 12:30 pm  SLT, Mondays, and Fridays

It is so easy to get behind in RL when we are in SL. In the spirit of a local group that I belong to in RL, this group is about getting together in SL for study hours.  It is a method for writers, readers, students, & professionals to work in the COMPANY of other writers, readers, students, & professionals on a regular basis to support our efforts to be productive with our RL projects or our SL projects. Some people even park their avatars at Study Buddies to get the routine things done – laundry, housecleaning, bill paying, or even cleaning that pesky SL inventory.

Reading, studying, or writing can be an isolating activity. The Study Buddies group creates a community of creative people to motivate each other through companionship and co-location.

Think about how you feel when you walk into a Starbucks or a local coffee place and see people working! **Productivity can be contagious.**

I want to thank you for your time and attention. And many thanks to Wisdomseeker for all that she inspires and makes possible.

Namaste _/_

Wisdomseeker (Lissena), speaking as Tooyaa:
Hello. Thanks for joining us today. I’m Tooyaa Hynes. I am Associate Director of Whole Brain Health, and I lead a number of activities here as well.

My pet project is Simply Impossible, where I build and teach how to build fun and useful machines, such as the Carousel you see pictured here.

All these machines use only native physics, with no scripts. Second Life employs a Physics Engine which generates what I call “chaos energy.”

This can be harnessed to power motors, swings, robots, and I don’t even know all the cool applications for it.

Simply Impossible is a good fit for Whole-Brain Health, because it encourages scientific experimentation and problem solving, blending form and function, and collaboration.

Part of my responsibilities at WBH includes developing Waypoints, one of which is shown here.

These are stations around the sim which give brief courses on esoteric subjects, such as Astrocytes, Aspen Trees, and Nutrition.

Waypoints illustrate one our chief goals for Inspiration Island: that its diverse projects and brilliant collaborators develop into a sort of Neural Network, stimulating, responding, reinforcing, questing for health, beauty, truth and meaning both individually and collectively.

In 2014 I was promoted to the rank of Prime Maven, to lead the Heroes Walk, pictured here.

In this group, we invent and refine techniques for practicing tolerance, courage, self-improvement, and transcendence.

Heroes Walk was created by Ludo Merit over the course of many years. It is based upon the research and writings of Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero’s Journey, and others.

Together, we continue to develop rites and activities which encourage diversity and surpassing habitual mindsets. The rewards are tangible, immediate, and shared by all.

We meet Tuesdays at 4:30pm SLT, all are welcome.

Francisco Koolhoven:
Hi, I’m Francisco Koolhoven, and I am an associate director for Whole Brain Health.   I have been in SL since 2007, and because of my background ~
in computer programming, my favorite activity here is scripting.  I am here to help out as needed.

Pictured behind me is the Lotus, an organically designed building resembling a Lotus flower.  It was designed by Tooyaa, our other associate director.   It highlights many of the activities going on at Inspiration Island.  Also pictured here is the Rainbow Bridge, gifted to us by Hannah Bluemood.  There are clouds along the pathway that contain waypoints, a feature that Tooyaa mentioned earlier.

Keko Heckroth comes to the Music Cafe each Wednesday to perform with his Native American wooden flutes.   Then on the last Tuesday of each month, he hosts a two and a half hour live event involving different performers.

Arisia Vita, also known as Ari, is a regular contributor of great music here on Inspiration Island.  Each Monday at 9am SLT, he streams in his favorite piano pieces at the Gazebo, where everyone is welcome to come and dance, or just sit and relax.

The 3D Maze is another exciting activity at Inspiration Island.  It is a very difficult challenge created by AlmostThere Inventor, and he changes the puzzle every Sunday night.

As for projects that I have contributed, I have created a Navigation HUD that is available from our welcome sign at our landing point.  I also made an elevator that can be used to transport yourself to different points on the sim.  Currently I am helping out with developing our new orientation area.

Now I will turn it back over to Lissena, who will talk about other activities.

Wisdomseeker (Lissena):
Daneah Ballinger leads Meditation at Inspiration Island, Sundays at 9:30am SLT. Here is what she says in her blog, https://slmeditation.wordpress.com..

This is our practice – to rest in our innermost awareness as the Dalai Lama calls it, our source and true nature, and let the mind of affliction dissolve on it’s own, as our teachers assure us will happen.
The historical Buddha urged us to test such teachings for ourselves, and it’s not too difficult to experience this.
Of course as beginners, we need more detailed practice guidelines, and providing these is the purpose of our group.
We seek to learn these simple but powerful meditations through our group meetings in SecondLife.
We also study the writings and online teachings of Tenzin Wangyal, Anam Thubten, and other masters.
They can truly change our lives. As another teacher we’ve studied, Loch Kelly, says: “Awakening is not too difficult if you’re interested and motivated. It’s like learning to read and write: we all have the capacity to awaken.”

Marly Milena:
Hi, I am Marly Milena known as Niela Miller “Out There.”
I combine a background in many arts, education and training, group facilitation and humanistic psychology, particularly Gestalt and Jungian modalities.

My passions are creative process, community and interactive education. All of  them are important for optimum health and well-being.

I have been in SL since 2007 and have developed a novel approach to using the technology available here which makes use of building or drawing symbolic representations of feeling states and ideas.

I have three levels on my parcel  here.  On the first level, the Butterfly Gallery, I exhibit my art in one wing focused on Visions of Self which is also an occasional workshop I do inviting others to create digital self-portraits.  The other wing is for exhibiting other people’s art work.  On the roof, we do Collaborative Sculptures and sometimes create stories from our structures.

The second level is my Octagon.  My group is called Octagon: Creative Exploration.  I have periodic salons where people come to share stories about people, places and cultural artifacts that have had a profound effect on them. I also teach classes based on creative processes of various kinds. And I run groups in personal growth.

The third level is a skybox devoted to the subject area of Climate Change.  We did a big program a few months ago where people made builds representing different feeling and ideological positions along the Climate Change spectrum in order to better understand the field that makes up this so-called Social Mess. Two guests, one an information mapmaker and expert on sustainability and other social messes, and the other, a psychologist and writer about skill sets needed for the future and dealing with these complex areas. Five Avatars did builds which you can still see on that platform.

In July, I will be doing a workshop called Visions of Self. Please contact my admin, Francisco Koolhoven, for notecard.

Thank you!

Sunshine (Szavanna):

Hi Everyone, my name is Szavanna, warm greetings to all from South Africa.

The Sunvibes project started in April 2013 – it is all about openness, creativity and music.

The Sunvibes project has two main angles – music club and our workshop

1. Our music club – Sunvibes planetary jive sessions –  explores world cultures through jiving to tunes from around the world ( with a focus on Africa and India. )
2. Second is our workshop – Sunvibes workshop @ Inspiration island – that encourages everyone to start building, putting their dreams and ideas into prim form here in SL ( and hopefully this help to turn ideas into RL forms with time )

Our club : Sunvibes – Planetary Jive sessions

Our Jives are dedicated to exploring world cultures through music – enjoying tunes from all over our planet.

Through the tunes – we learn about stories from different parts of the world, learn about different traditions, dances, musical instruments, musical styles of all kinds. From African desert blues, ~
to Bollywood tunes, traditional Indian ragas, zulu guitar styles, or the mbalax tunes of Senegal – we jive to so many different kinds of music, in different languages, created by talented artists from all over the world.

We also watch as these tunes all mingle, mix together in so many ways noticing how each culture influences the other and how we all influence, teach and learn from each other everyday.

Music has always been the great healer of the world – the tunes open the minds, and sooth the soul – unite and relax us. Come check out one of our planetary jives by visiting our site and online calendar of events at :
http://sunvibes.blogspot.com.

Sunvibes workshop – a building resource center with full perm materials and tutorials ( classes on request )

> Free full perm textures, free full perm scripts, full perm objects, and freely available building tutorials
> Links to online resources and building tutorials
> Free Fractal images and information on creating your own digital fractal images

Sunvibes has always been more than just a music project – it aims to promote creativity in any form.

The idea is to encourage people to learn new things daily – improve in as many ways as possible – regardless of age or background.

The Sunvibes workshop is using building as a tool or a starting point.

Sunvibes doesn’t only teach you building…

> Learning about different cultures while you build
> Learning about the importance of sharing
> Learning how to DJ in SL and beyond
> Learning about fractals

To find out more about the workshop – please visit : http://sunvibes-workshop.blogspot.com.

Thank you for listening and enjoy exploring the projects here at Inspiration Island!

Francisco Koolhoven:
Dancers Yao created a space on Inspiration Island called “The Galaxy Language”
The goal of this project is to explore how people might share their personal values and beliefs without violence and discrimination.
Dancers’ nonprofit organization, Elder Voices, Inc, is working with Whole Brain Health to bring a science fiction adventure to the global community.
Magic Drums are the means to communicate across borders imposed by social, national, gender, age and other differences.
People can add their own images to the Magic Drum, to answer universal questions.
The Quest For The Galaxy Language encourages the expression of personal and community values in real life situations.
Come visit the Galaxy Language Community Drum and share your images and ideas.

Ewan Bonham:
Hello, and Welcome to WBH. My name is Ewan Bonham. In RL I am on the faculty in the Dept. of Social Work at a State University in the SW US.

It was my work with students that lead to the inspiration for the Community Cultural Hub (CCH). The CCH is a central teleportation center which allows for easy navigation to a portion of the many community sims in SL.

This helps students to simplify the use of basic navigation in SL. Of course, the CCH can be used by anyone at no cost. The simple and basic instructions for how to use it are also available in notecards, ~
and an instructive video I made. I am happy to work with groups who would like better to learn how to use it.

When you enter the CCH, you will feel somewhat like you are in a library except the items you can use are in the form of simple posters on the walls under the simple categories of:
–    History
–    Spirituality
–    Arts
–    Countries and Cities
–    Education
–    Other
–    We hope to have family communities added in the near future.

The visitor can simply left click on a poster of their choice. This will give them a note card.

The contents of the note card consists of a very short description of the sim and a few of its educational highlights. There is also an embedded landmark.  This note card, like all others goes directly into the person’s Inventory for further use as needed.

If the person wishes to have more information from an interview we did with a representative of the sim, they can click on the bookshelf at the end of the category area. There they can select a verbatim interview or a detailed description following a short survey given to the representative.

We hope all of the above would help the students to make an informed decision as to whether they wish to select the exploration of this sim for their assignments or just for their own personal learning.

The expansion of the CCH has happened over the course of approximately 3 years with the kind assistance of all of the sim representatives who took time out to complete the interviews, give tours, and allow themselves to be vetted for inclusion in the CCH. In addition we have been blessed to have a number of volunteers who have discovered and explored several of the sims showcased in the CCH.

We now have over 100 communities represented in the CCH. To us a community is a collection of persons who share a common purpose and who are developing a continual linear tradition.

This includes:
–    An ambience of surrounding such as architecture, nature, animals, flora etc.
–    A system of practice including gatherings, traditions and celebrations
–    A specific representation of the members to each other and to others who come to visit
–    An expressed set of values and beliefs which are the cornerstone for how the sim is built and run
–    Very often there is a ‘product’ which may be a tangible product or intangible such as a bonding network which  result in lasting relationships. This may include friendships, intimacies, comradeship, collegiality, and fun activities.

It should be kept in mind that these communities are an expression of the collective conscious mind of those persons who have created them, the origination of those creations, ~
and the desire to evolve and uphold them. This is important for an exploration and study of these communities.

This form of study is called Netnography, a very rich way of opening up the minds and hearts of students who wish to be involved in the study of human behavior. This is the counterpart to RL Ethnography.

In this way students and other interested parties learn skills of exploration in the minds, hearts, and lifestyles of persons in SL and RL. This is a skill that can be transferred to understanding RL people and communities and therefore of formal and personal educational value.

The CCH makes such travel and exploration simple so students do not have to spend excessive time in learning the basics of navigation. This gives them more time to learn. And also makes for an opportunity to have fun in SL.

If you are interested in helping in the expansion of the CCH, please do visit the CCH and then we can chat. SL is a very large place. ~
I have taught  inworld a college level course in Netnography in the Fall 2015 and am currently teaching a class open to any interested persons through Rockliffe University.  The CCH is an important part of these courses. If you are interested, please see me.

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