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Stories that Illuminate and Elevate the Art of Living


Gambia-Children-Robert-Brodey.jpgThis website is dedicated to presenting positive stories about the undying human spirit, which overcomes adversity and nurtures a more positive and creative approach to living. We believe these stories should be celebrated as a way of illuminating the power of hope and imagination within all of us.

On December 18, 2017, Human Spirit will celebrate its 14th year online. In the coming months, we hope to bring more stories that inspire the best in all of us.

We encourage you to submit stories and/or links to be posted. Contact:

Human Spirit Stories (HS Archives are Temporarily Unavailable)

The Art of Living
02/09/19  Refugee detained on Manus Island wins $95K literary prize for Book Written on WhatsAppCBC Radio.
12/27/17  Video: Traversing the Island of Gran Canaria on Foot. By Robert Brodey.
05/01/17  To Be a Genius, Think Like a 94-Year Old. By Pagan Kennedy, The New York Times.
04/28/17  (It’s Great to) Suck at Something. By Karen Rinaldi, New York Times.
04/28/17  13 Reasons Why Original Art in the Home is as Important as a Bed. Sight66.
02/09/17  Think Less. Think Better. By Moshe Bar, The New York Times.
02/09/17  A Tribute to Discomfort: Following Photographer/Adventurer Richard Cory. Video by Blue Chalk.
01/25/17  My Idol Turned Out to be My Sister. By Vibeke Venema, BBC.
08/08/16  Bride Gets to Walk Down Aisle by the Man Her Father’s Heart Saved. The Star.
08/02/16 Alberta Mountain Guide Nearly Killed by Falling Boulder Determined to Walk and Climb Again.  By Robson Fletcher, CBC News.
12/17/15  When in Doubt, Help! Link to The Marhaba Committee’s Webpage — Sponsoring the Settlement of a Syrian Family in Canada.
12/01/15   The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter. By Laura Vanderkam, Fast Company.
11/06/15  From Teenage Guerrilla in Nepal to Top Trail Runner. By Chris Haslam, BBC.
08/13/15  A cafe in the Philippines Gives Disabled People Opportunity. By Aurora Almedral, BBC.
08/11/15  Photographer Documenting the Homeless Discovers Her Own Father Among Them. By Jenny Zhang, My Modern Met.
07/05/15  The Tragedy Giving Hope to Syria’s Women. By Krista Lang, BBC.
05/06/15  ‘Hermit of the Jungle’ Guards a Brazilian Ghost City Rich in History. Simon Romero, New York Times.
05/23/15  Homecoming: Cuban Villagers Learn They Descended From Sierra Leone Slaves. By Emma Christopher, The Atlantic.
05/22/15  The Last Jews of Kolkata, India. Aljazeera.
02/20/15   Human Spirit Creator Publishes First Novel, Josef’s Lair (website).
02/13/15  Barefoot Running in Bolivia. By Robert J. Brodey, Outpost Magazine.
04/04/14  ‘The Pied Piper for Sustainable Transportation’ and His Radical Idea: Put People First. By Christine McLaren, The Globe and Mail.
01/02/14  A Message to Young People. By Wade Davis.
01/31/14  Photographer Puts Strangers Together – Magic Happens.
01/23/14  This Photographer Will Do Anything It Takes For A Great Shot.
01/22/14  The Importance of Parents Doing Creative Projects. By Robert J. Brodey, Vicarious-Traveller.
Fisherman Survives the Open Atlantic – Using Brains and Tenacity. By Paul Tough, The New York Times Magazine.
07/19/13  David Bowie Discusses the Birth of Ziggy Stardust. Open Culture.

03/20/13  Becoming the All-Terrain Human – Kilian Jornet. By Christopher Solomon, The New York Times.
03/19/13 Sonali Deraniyagala’s Tsunami Memoir: One of the Saddest Stories a Human Being Could Ever Tell. By John Barber, The Globe and Mail.
05/04/13  Tapping Locals as Expert Tour Guides. By Allie Walker, PSFK.
04/03/13  Richard St. John on the 8 Secrets of Success. Ted Talks Video.
04/03/13 Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work. Ted Talks Video.
02/22/13 Toronto’s Unicycle Guy on a Mission of Freedom and Joy. By Alyshah Hasham. Toronto Star.
02/15/13  Janine Shepherd: A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person. Ted Talks. Video.
12/02/13  Around the World in 1,026 Days. By Nick Neil, Outside Magazine.
01/14/13 Training Insights From Star Athletes.The New York Times.
03/01/13 George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year. By Joel Lovell, The New York Times.
12/22/12 Toronto Nurse Kirsty Robertson Cared for Hundreds in Syria. By Olivia Ward, Toronto Star.
12/20/12  “Before I Die I Want to…” Video of Candy Chang.Ted Talks.
03/12/12  Why the First Time for Everything Still Matters. By Robert Brodey,
11/27/12  It Begins with an Obsession. By Robert Brodey,
05/11/12  An Image Can Change Your Destiny. By Mark Toohey,
10/28/12 Let’s Talk Parenting Taboos.  Great video on some myths of parenting. By Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, Ted Talks.
09/20/12  Do Like Steve Jobs Did: Don’t Follow Your Passion. By Cal Newport, Fast Company.
09/18/12  The Perfect Human – 12 Secrets of an Ultra-Runner’s Success. By Joshua Davis, Wired.
24/08/12  A North Korean Love Story in Toronto: Defectors to Marry in Group Ceremony. By Amy Dempsey, Toronto Star.
01/08/12 30 Indispensable Writing Tips from Famous Authors. by Jack Shepherd,
05/06/12  Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work. TED (Video).
12/05/12  Rethinking the Food Bank: It’s No Longer Just About Handing Out Food to the Hungry. By Laurie Monseraaten, Toronto Star.
09/05/12  15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy. Sikhnet.
08/05/12  Paralyzed Woman Completes London Marathon Wearing Bionic Suit. By Emily Jackson, Toronto Star.
04/13/12  Lost Little Boy Finds his Mother Decades Later Using Google Earth. By Robin Banerji, BBC World Service.
12/04/12  Deaf Rapper Feels the Music and Sings by Signing. By Vinay Menon, Toronto Star.
04/04/12  Death of a Legendary Barefoot Runner. By Christopher McDougall, BBC World Service.
02/19/12  Frank Gehry Interview: ‘Expression’ Still Vital to Architecture. By Rowan Moore, The Guardian.
02/16/12  Photos from a Ginormous Camera to Document America’s Vanishing Cultures. CBC.
01/25/12  Toronto Teens Send Lego Man on a Balloon Odyssey 24 Kilometres High. By Kate Allen, The Toronto Star.
06/01/12  Stunning Photographs From Around The World. At
12/12/11  A Colourful Uprising in Damascus. The Art of Creative Dissent. By Basma Atassi, Aljazeera.
11/12/11  Syria’s Actress-Turned-Revolutionary. Aljazeera.
25/11/11  Former Paralympian Makes Miraculous Recovery to Become Pro Cyclist. By Randy Starkman, The Toronto Star.
06/11/11  Mother Risks Life for Unborn Son. By Megan Ogilvie, The Toronto Star.
14/10/11  Toronto Start-Up Designs Solar-Powered Hybrid Aircraft. By Tyler Hamilton, The Toronto Star.
09/21/11  Allowing Teenage Boys to Love Their Friends. By Jan Hoffman, The New York Times.
09/20/11 5 Things Happy People Do. By Gabrielle LeBlanc, The Oprah Magazine.
08/28/11 ‘The Blade Runner’ Challenges at the World Championships. By Pat Graham, The Toronto Star.
07/30/11  Gift of Blood Ends Pakistani Town’s Bloody History. By Rick Westhead, The Toronto Star.
06/16/11  Want to Have a Great Death? Have a Great Life.  By Valerie Hauch, The Toronto Star.
05/27/11  Shannen’s Dream Website.  Shannen Koostachin, an aborginal youth from Attawapiskat, led a movement to build a new school in her home community and called for equality in education across Canada.  Koostachin was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision in June 2010, before her dream was realized.
04/28/11 SlutWalk marches expand to the U.S. and England. By Jenni Dunning, The Toronto Star.
04/14/11  Under South Africa’s Skin: Contemporary Photography.  Audio Slideshow.
03/19/11  Libyan Citizen Journalist Killed. By Cynthia Vukets, The Toronto Star.
10/03/11  Hours After Soldier Killed in Action, His Faithful Dog Suffers Seizure. By Jill Lawless, The Toronto Star.
06/03/11  Honesty and Humility Best Predictors of Job Performance: Study. By Kenyon Wallace, The Toronto Star.
05/03/11  Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries Companion Granado Dies.
01/17/11  Charlie Rose Interview with Wes Moore — On his Book “The Other Wes Moore.”Two Men with the Same Name and Two Fates.
12/21/10  An Interview with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. By Andy Greenberg, Forbes.
12/20/10  An Inspirational Letter to My Students. By Roger Rosenblatt, The New Yorker.
09/12/10  A Facebook Story: A Mother’s Joy and a Family’s Sorrow. By Ian Shapira. The Washington Post.
11/29/10  The Courage of Jill Costello. By Chris Ballard. Sports Illustrated.
04/11/10  Couple Gives Away $11.2 Million in Lottery Winnings. The Toronto Star.
29/04/10  Local Boy with Cancer Turns into a Superhero for a Day. By Katherine Long, The Seattle Times.
28/04/10  Documentary Trailer: Journey of a Dream. A Heavy Metal Story of a Tibetan Refugee.
17/04/10  Almost Barefoot in Bolivia. By Robert J. Brodey. The Toronto Star.
01/29/10  Strange Pilgrimages in San Juan Argentina. By Robert J. Brodey, The Toronto Star.
01/12/09  Trail Blazing Olympic Sport for the Physically Disabled. By Daniel Girand, The Toronto Star.
26/09/09  From Motown to Hoetown. Transforming Detroit into an Agriculture Centre. By Catherine Porter, The Toronto Star.
09/10/09  Seeing the Beauty and Fragility of Earth from Outer Space. By Nelson Wyatt, CP.
08/07/09  Canadian Bike Rider, Svein Tuft,  Races the Road less Traveled. By Juliet Macur, New York Times.
06/28/09  Iraqi Jew Aids Dispossessed Palestinians: “Right Thing to Do.” By Ethan Bronner, New York Times.
12/06/09  Meet Toronto’s Young Poet. By Daniel Day, The Toronto Star.
11/06/09 The Power of Patagonia. By Robert J. Brodey, The Toronto Star.

The Politics of Hope
02/20/17  Syrian Refugees in Canada’s North: “It’s not Warm Weather, but Warm Emotions.” By Ashifa Kassam and Raya Jalabi, The Guardian.
02/09/17  Appeals Court Rules Against Donald Trump’s Travel Ban. By Ariane de Vogue, CNN.
08/06/15  Germany student aged 102 to be awarded PhD denied by Nazis. By Damien McGuinness, BBC News.
07/07/14  El Salvador Leader Turns Palace into Museum for the Poor. Aljazeera.
03/22/13 Pete Peterson: The Ex-POW teaching Vietnam to Swim. By William Kremer, BBC.
04/06/12  Ithaca Mayor Turns Personal Parking Space into Mini-Park. By Sarah Laskow, Grist.
12/24/11  There’s no Such Thing as Canadian Values. By Andrew Potter, The Ottawa Citizen.
08/29/11  How Jack Layton Brought a Social Vision to the Canadian Political Landscape. By Bruce Campion-Smith. The Toronto Star.
03/15/11  The Rise of Citizen Photojournalism. By Dan Gillmor, Aljazeera.
05/03/11  Argentina ‘Stolen Baby’ Cases Legacy of Dirty War.  By Vladimir Hernandez, BBC Mundo.
08/03/10 Reconciling Quebec and Canada. The Toronto Star.
03/03/10 Islamic Scholar Issues Fatwa Against Terrorism.
03/12/09  Politicians Demand Audit of the Federal Reserve. By Zack Carter, Media Consortium.

Environmental Matters
09/22/15  Caribou Legs Reaches Ottawa in X-Country Water Protection Marathon. By Dali Carmichael, Northern Journal.
02/25/15  The Girl Who Gets Gifts from Birds. By Katy Sewall,
03/12/12 Five Reasons Why Urban Farming is the Most Important Movement of our Time. By Ro Kumar,  
12/06/12  Moral Behaviour in Animals.
02/18/12  Rare Snow Leopards Found in Afghanistan. Aljazeera.
08/02/12 Tiny Primate Uses ‘Private Channel to Talk.’ Aljazeera.
12/21/11  Solar-Powered Boat Sails Around the World. [Video]. Aljazeera.
02/27/11  Audio Slideshow: Beautiful Science. BBC News.
11/26/10  Dinosaur Demise Allowed Mammals to ‘Go Nuts.’ By Neil Bowdler, BBC News.
11/11/10  Mystery of How Cats Lap Revealed. By Rebecca Morelle, BBC News.
11/03/10  The Story of Stuff: An Interesting Website about Consumption and Waste.
09/22/09  Boosting Brain Power. By Stephen Pincock, The Guardian.
10/14/09  New Solar Farm in Ontario can Power 1000 Homes. By Tyler Hamilton, The Toronto Star.

Human Science
04/28/17  Scans Reveals How Teenage Brains Develop. By Pallab Ghosh, BBC.
02/09/17  The Brain’s Way of Healing Itself. By CBC. Great Video Documentary on Brain Plasticity.
02/13/13  Synesthesia Can Be a Blessing. Just Ask Kanye West. By Wency Leung, Toronto Star.
12/22/12  Journalist to Spend the Next 7 Years Walking to Retrace the Footsteps of Humankind’s Origins. By Kate Allen, Toronto Star.
03/12/12 Cuddling Your Kids Matters. By Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times.
04/06/12  Tennis for the Blind: Hitting the Court, With An Ear on the Ball. By Thomas Lin, The New York Times.
04/06/12  You Think What You Eat: The Impact of Sugar on Brain Function. By Charles Q. Choi, National Geographic News.
03/26/12  Computer Unlocks Autistic Teen’s Exceptional Voice. By Valerie Hauch, Toronto Star.
02/20/12  Human’s are Naturally Nice. Aljazeera.
11/17/11  What a Woman’s Brain Looks Like Having Sex. By Debra Black, Toronto Star.
10/20/11  Old American Theory of Settlement is ‘Speared.’ By Jonathan Amos, BBC.
09/23/11  Picture This: Brain Scans Reveal Images from People Viewing Movies. By Macolm Ritter, Associated Press.
08/30/11 Doctors Prescribe the Great Outdoors to Get Patients Moving. By Andrea Gordon, The Toronto Star.
05/27/11  Radar-like ‘inner vision’ helps blind learn to navigate beyond preconceived limits. By Anne McIlroy, Globe and Mail.
05/26/11  Ex-Smokers are Willpower Kings.  By Mark Fenske, Globe and Mail.
11/03/11  Sweet Dreams are Made of Cheese?  By Brendan Kennedy, The Toronto Star.
08/03/11  Study Helps Unlock Key to Long Life. By Nancy J. White, The Toronto Star.
05/03/11  Leeches Making Medical Comback.  By Meridith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun.
18/02/11  Wooden Toe on Egyptian Mummy is First Known Prosthesis. By Elizabeth Haggarty, Toronto Star.
18/01/11  How Meditation May Change the Brain. By Sindya N. Bhanoo, The New York Times.
30/12/10  Out of the Darkness – Proposing a New Field of Human Study. By Joseph Brean, National Post.
20/12/10  The Amazing Thing Music Does to Your Mind. By Oakland Ross, The Toronto Star.
19/12/10  Brain Works More Like Internet Than ‘Top Down’ Company. By Jason Palmer, BBC News.

Random Acts of Hope
02/09/17  Washington Capitals Fan’s Journey from the Middle East to D.C. By Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post.
08/05/16 Ultra-marathoner Adopts Stray Dog that Followed him During Race. By Jenny Sung, Global News.
02/14/15  “Free Hugs” Muslim Man Reaches Out for Love in Video (Toronto).
05/15/12  Man Buys Entire Kmart Store, Donates Everything to Charity. By Lesley Ciarula Taylor, Toronto Star.
10/27/11  Doctor cum Trucker Delivers Baby on a Plane. By Raveena Aulakh, The Toronto Star.
01/18/11  The Slow Photography Movement: How Slowing Down Lets You Experience More.By Tim Wu. Slate.
10/23/09  Rich Germans Demand Higher Taxes.