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Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World

The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice

Is The Coronavirus Outbreak Making You Anxious? Here's Why This ...

All too often, I’ve been in the position of either participating in or being a spectator to the following arguments:

  • Addiction is a choice. Why should my tax dollars go toward providing rehab and therapy for someone who chose to get high and party?
  • A lot of people choose to be homeless. I don’t know why, but maybe they’re just lazy and don’t want to work for a living. McDonald’s is always hiring, so I can’t understand why they don’t just get a job instead of holding a cardboard sign and begging all day.
  • I don’t believe in tipping waitstaff, baristas, or delivery drivers. They chose to work in a profession that pays horribly and relies on tips. If they don’t like it, just go find a better job.

Perhaps you have as well.

While each argument has numerous points deserving of debate, there’s a common denominator running through each that arguments fail to address: the illusion of choice. Continue reading “The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice”

Making Room: The Most Profound Lesson 4 Months at Sea Taught Me

I started working on our family’s travel plans for Semester at Sea six months or so before we left the US on the adventure of a lifetime. As I pored over apps like Travelocity, Hopper, and hotels.com to try to find the best (i.e., cheapest) deals and arrange for the two-week excursion scheduled to take place prior to our arrival on the ship, I was dumbfounded by a simple and rather annoying condition to European air travel: maximum bag weight. Perhaps this outs me as a naive and unseasoned world traveler, but I’d never run into such a thing before. Continue reading “Making Room: The Most Profound Lesson 4 Months at Sea Taught Me”

Three in the Morning

A lot has transpired in the last two weeks since I blogged here. We left Poland, had to skip traversing the Kiel Canal in Germany because of technical difficulties (with the canal, not the ship, thankfully), spent about 6 days in Lisbon, Portugal and Cádiz, Spain, and now, we’re crossing the Mediterranean just north of Algiers.

I have some catching up to do on recording our experiences in Lisbon and Cádiz, but for now, I wanted to post a poem I penned a couple of nights ago while battling insomnia. Continue reading “Three in the Morning”

Peeking Behind the Iron Curtain

When I was a kid, living my best parachute pants-clad life in the 1980s, I was a devout fan of Mad Magazine.

My fandom, of course, was fueled primarily by my love of the cartoon, Spy vs. Spy.

Continue reading “Peeking Behind the Iron Curtain”

Survival By Accident: Reflections on Gdansk

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As I sit up in bed on our ship, the MV World Odyssey, Polish food in my belly and a hint of Dubrowka bison grass vodka in my veins, I cannot help but reflect on what an incredibly profound day today has been.

Today was my first field class, meaning that I took one of my three communication courses for Semester at Sea on a “field trip” of sorts, this time my intercultural communication class on an exploration of the impact of the Holocaust on the people of Gdańsk, Poland. Continue reading “Survival By Accident: Reflections on Gdansk”

Berlin: The Character of a City

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I’ve always felt like cities have a character about them. Growing up in Spokane, we all talked about our city’s character; it was the big city with a small town mindset. Even to this day, it has that feel to it, for the most part.

In Reykjavik, it was all about the environment. Iceland is, by far, one of the cleanest countries I’ve ever been to, and their commitment to zero emissions and waste is evident in every single thing they do. In fact, I’d say that’s probably their defining feature and what they seem most proud of.

In Bergen, it was their heritage and way of life. Everywhere we went, everyone we saw, and everything we were surrounded by was decidedly Norwegian. Even the ancient wooden stave we visited, though it had the emblems of Christianity and all the influence that comes with that, those symbols were overpowered by the Viking and Nordic influences of old. Continue reading “Berlin: The Character of a City”

The Power of Kindness in Any Language

I didn’t know what picture to insert, so here’s a pretty sunset over Krakow.

Before our plane landed in Reykjavik, the first stop on our 15-country, 4-continent adventure, I had downloaded language packs for each country we had planned on visiting via Google Translate.

As we sat on the plane, with about 20 minutes before landing, I pulled up the app and immediately looked up a translation for one phrase, which I consider the most important universal symbol of kindness and connection: THANK YOU. Continue reading “The Power of Kindness in Any Language”

Stories of Hope: Balancing the Scales of Morality

WARNING: This post contains Nazi emblems and imagery of graphic violence.

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Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Each time my head hit the pillow and my eyelids fell shut, all I could see were the images from Auschwitz, while my imagination ran roughshod with  nightmarish stories emerging from the shadows of the past.

Moments like this were made for melatonin.

Today’s quest was to continue our exploration of the stories from the Holocaust; however, our agenda remarkably contrasted with that of yesterday’s, for today, our destination was Oskar Schindler’s factory. Continue reading “Stories of Hope: Balancing the Scales of Morality”

Grappling with Grief: A Day at Auschwitz Birkenau

Hubert, our beloved Polish taxi driver who picked us up from the airport and offered to chauffeur us to Auschwitz the following day (despite it being his day off), greeted us this morning with a friendly smile and wave. He kindly drove us to a BP, where I managed to get Stacie the iced coffee she’s been craving since we left the states, and we were then on our way to the one-hour commute to the town of Oświęcim.

Watching the lush green forest whiz past our taxi van, I started spacing off. I thought of this being the very ground our grandfathers and great-grandfathers tread upon, equally unprepared as I to witness the sights waiting for us at this most infamous extermination camp. I thought about their fervor and delight when it came time to volunteer to go to Europe to fight the forces of fascism and oppression, and then I contrasted that with the images I see of today, those of the rising swell of white nationalism and neo-nazism, bearing many of the same symbols as the flags that once flew over this parade of horrors. Continue reading “Grappling with Grief: A Day at Auschwitz Birkenau”

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