Sunday, December 21, 2014

Empowerment Plan

An assignment to design something to fill actual needs.

A coat becomes a sleeping bag.

A sleeping bag inspires a reaction.

A reaction makes the sleeping bags into a whole system to help women in shelters become skilled workers to make more coat/sleeping bags to help others who are in a position they know far too well and to help these female workers get a leg up in the world and start anew.


Way to make a difference
not only with your own ingenuity, but also by listening to the needs of others in order to expand that invention into a whole new level of awesome!


For those afraid that children have lost the meaning of the holidays...

...Don't worry:  they haven't.

The folks at IKEA asked a bunch of kids to write letters to Santa asking what they wanted for Christmas.  THEN they asked the same kids to write letters to their parents.  THEN they asked which letter they would send, if they only got to choose one.

This is what happened:

They haven't lost the true meaning of Christmas, have you?

*Family.  Time.  Love.*

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Amidst Tragedy, Peace is Still the Option

There is turmoil in this world.  It has existed, it does exist, and if we do not choose to be positive and take the actions that we can in peaceful ways to bring enlightenment, education, and knowledge to everyone we encounter, then we are abusing the gift we are given every day which allows us to do so and turmoil will continue to exist.

Peace is a smile or a helping hand.  It is a silent protest for human rights.  It is a somber ceremony of light to remember lost lives and to hope for better days to come.  Peace is love.  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your enemy, whomever he or she may be.

Love is the answer for every question.  Why?  Because love is the greatest thing you can give to someone.  It comes in all levels.  It comes from all animals on this Earth in some form or another.  It comes in all shapes and sizes and ways.  It comes in small gestures and in grand designs.  It comes in bits and spurts, and all at once.  Love is peace, because when we show love for others, and when we receive love from others, we have no choice but to love them in return and to wish them well.  Loving others and receiving love from others gives peace to us all.

So..."peace be with you."  "LOVE be with you."  
Share it with the world.  And let there be peace.

Holiday Cartoons Teach the Best Lessons...

"It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  
It came without packages, boxes, or bags.  
Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  
Maybe Christmas, means a little bit more.

-How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Lessons from Rudolph

Have a laugh, but remember the lesson!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy New Beginnings to All!

This post was born from the Google recap of 2014.  Love it or hate it, it is the brief history of 365 days on this planet.  It is the conglomerate of anyone with internet access and a google search bar.  It is what our internet lives have emerged as...

The end of one year brings the beginning of another.  Some would find this monotonous...trivial, maybe.  Some would find it pointless.  Why do we bother marking a rotation of the sun?  Maybe it's to remind us that we aren't the center.  Maybe it's to remind us that we are alive.  Maybe it's to remind us that time is real and fake.  That in the triviality of our lives, we can still find meaning and hope.

I love the end of the year.  It brings excitement.  It brings joy and celebration and happiness for what is coming.  I hope to be able to carry these emotions with me through all days but, when I've reached the point where I almost almost empty of them, I can look forward again, to the coming of another start.  A new year, a new day, a new hour.  There is newness and excitement in every moment, if we choose that perspective.  It's all about perspective really.  The Chinese started the new year months ago...we could choose to "start over" any time we want.

I think there is a great feeling of community and sharing that occurs during the start of the calendar year that we all celebrate together as human beings.  The beauty that comes with a celebration around the globe for 24 hours of "new beginnings" as midnight creeps across the planet is not only fascinating, but also liberating, not only breathtaking, but binding.  We are human.  We are ending and beginning all at once and all at different moments.  We are global.  We are not the center of anything.  We are tiny specks that exist for small moments in the greater existence of the universe, and we celebrate THAT.

Let's celebrate the lists of things that we care about and the lists of things that we hope for and the list of things we've accomplished.  Let's celebrate lists!  I love lists!  I love the lists that come out at the end of the year to review what we've experienced, for better or for worse.  To review what we have come through and enjoyed and survived gives us fuel to go forward.  You can look back and still choose to move forward.  That's the end of the year.  That's the beginning of the year.  THAT is the grand celebration of life!  So celebrate life with all of the fervor you can muster, this year, this month, this week, this moment...because life is precious.  Humanity and our planet are precious.

Our ability to simultaneously stop and start, die and live, end and begin is a miracle that we are privy to whenever we so choose.  So cast aside your worries and your negative experiences as rules, and view them instead as lessons for the future.  Let your love and hopes burst to the front of the pack and let your mind be at ease knowing that you are beginning something fresh and new.

If you let your life be trivial, you've forgotten that the beauty is in the details.

Happy new beginnings to all!

When speech is gone, music speaks.

When speech is gone, music speaks.

Religion is about teachings.  Being religious, is about connecting with people in positivity and hope.

Naomi Feil is a Jewish woman who uses music to communicate with Alzheimer's patients.  In this video, she sings Christian hymns to connect to one of her patients who is an at advanced stage of Alzheimer's that has rendered her mute for years...except when she feels safe and connected with others as you can see in this video.  This is what Naomi calls "the breakthrough."  

What a beautiful light of hope this woman is, not only for families that struggle with Alzheimer's in their own relationships, but also for Alzheimer's patients, who must suffer a great deal as they lose their memories and their physical abilities with the progression of the disease.  She is also a great example of a religious person whom we should seek to emulate, using the positive teachings that we have learned in order to create a better world for ALL people, no matter THEIR religious teachings being different from our own.  

This left me breathless.  Thank you for being the light in the darkness, Naomi.  Just beautiful!

Gratefulness...Pass it on.

A dad was worried about his kids being too spoiled.  He gave them early Christmas gifts after asking what they wanted most.  The gifts are far from what they asked for, but they still had excellent reactions.

A gift, is a gift, no matter how small.
Gratefulness...pass it on!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Amma must read my blog...

"In today’s world, everyone wants others to change first. It is hard to find people who sincerely feel that they themselves have to undergo a change. Instead of thinking others should change first, each individual should strive to change him- or herself. Unless a transformation takes place in the inner world, things will be more or less the same in the outer world." -Amma

Kids say the darndest things take 267...

because laughing is good for you 
(and so is thinking outside of the box)!

-Thank you Tickld for another great one!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Start Off on the Right Foot and Power Through Your Day!

This song ALWAYS empowers me, makes me smile, and gets me going on the right foot.

My Day - Tarrus Riley

Lyrics so you can sing along:

Give thanks for life.
Give thanks for life.
Today mi rise like the sunrise
me bright and me upright;
no one can bruk my vibes.

And me no care who wan' fight
And who wanna' criticize;
I'm on a higher height.

So you can say what you want to
and do what you want to;
It's no concern to me
because me have me own vision
meh deh pon' me own mission
to rule my destiny!

Oh it's my day
to do anything I want to.
It's my time
and I'll use it any way I want to.
It's my life, 
and I'm responsible for every action.
It's all mine:
my day, my time, my life!

I beg you: easy now, gimme some reason now
and don't invade my space.
I'm in a different place, 
a different phase,
moving on my way.

So if you feel like a champion
then nothing can go wrong.
This one is your song.

Put away your troubles.
Put away your worries.
Help me sing along!

Oh it's my day
to do anything I want to.
It's my time
and I'll use it any way I want to.
It's my life, 
and I'm responsible for every action.
It's all mine:
my day, my time, my life!

Oh yes!
Feeling alive!
Feeling a vibe!
And nothing can stop me!
I don't care
what they think
or what they say about me.
Look out world,
Here we come,
Up and running!
And all I'm saying is...

It's my day
to do anything I want to.
It's my time
and I'll use it any way I want to.
It's my life, 
and I'm responsible for every action.
It's all mine:
my day, my time, my life!

Give thanks for life.
Give thanks for life.

Give thanks for life.
Give thanks all my life.

Oh yeah!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kids know what's up!

So...sports are competitive.
Hockey is often about physically beating on each other.  The other team is the enemy.  End of story.

Life, if about working together.  Life is about pushing each other and helping each other along.  Life is about doing the right thing so that EVERYONE is moving forward.

Sometimes, sports reflect life.  Thank goodness :)

Background:  4 year old little tykes hockey player helps up 3-year old opponent who is having a rough time getting back on her feet, literally.

Let's all scale this up; 
Help someone out who needs to get back on their A-game today!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Don't brace yourself for the world...

Every day when we wake up we can never be sure what awaits us. 
Is it our blessings or our challenges that will meet us that day? 

For me, the past few weeks have been a magnified practice of accepting the unknown. 
On any given morning I don't know if I'll be able to stand when I get out of bed, 
if conversely I'll feel so wonderful I can strap my boots on and head to the mountain. 
Can I give a full day's attention and devotion to work? 
Or will I have trouble just breathing if I'm in the throes of an episode. 
Will I walk away from the latest doctor's appointment with more answers 
or more questions? 
Will I be able to nurture my relationships through this confusing, mysterious process, 
and most importantly 
nurture my relationship with myself? 
What will my yoga practice look like today, 
and what will it look like in the future? 

One day 
when this is a memory, 
I will be able to grow as a practitioner and teacher through this experience 
and share with others what beauty can be found shrouded in complete mystery. 
And there's no reason to fear it. 
Wake up and don't brace for the unknown, open up for it.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

If you ever believed that one was not enough...

...then you haven't heard Marie's story.

The last remaining person on Earth (let that sink in) to speak the Native American Wukchumni language was determined not to let it die with her.  She stopped speaking the language when she was a young child at the death of her grandmother.  She re-learned the language when her sister began teaching her children, and when she realized she was the last speaker standing, she dedicated seven years of her life to creating a dictionary of the language.  During that time, Marie began to teach her daughter and her grandson, the latter of which, as you can see in the video, seems to have picked it up quite quickly.  Since the dictionary, the three have spent time doing an audio-catalogue of the dictionary words so that the pronunciation would not be lost and most recently, they began teaching language classes to other members of their community.

One is enough.  Believe.

What are you waiting for?

We are the leaders we have been waiting for.

We are our own worst critics

A recent, beautiful post about two parents that adopted two children and who were having a terrible time buying groceries, sparked the writing of this post:

We are too self-critical.  

I bet this statement is true for nearly all human beings.

We worry about how we look or what other people think of how we look.  We worry about our financial situations or what others think of our financial situations.  We worry about our lives and how we are living them, and how OTHER people see and think of our lives and how we live them.  And you know what?  I think most everyone else is so busy with his or her own life that he or she really isn't even interested in judging the rest of us.

We are our own worst critics.  

When you are feeling low like the world is watching you fail miserably, I hope you remember that you are valuable and you are doing good things.  You are making a positive difference somehow with your existence, even if you don't feel like it in the moment.

Someone is looking at you, yes, but instead of seeing all of the bad hair days and hand-me-down clothes, and screaming tantrum-giving children or jiggly love handles...he or she is looking at your smile, at your attitude, at your power-stride and confidence even when you aren't feeling so great.  They are looking at your charisma and your ability to be calm in moments of crazy going on around you.  They are looking at all of the GOOD that you are sometimes unable to see in yourself.

So when you see someone's great outfit or beautiful smile or sparkling eyes...when you see a parent shushing their toddler to sleep while their family continues dinner without them...when you see someone give change to the man who has no where to go and no family to call home and you see that he still has spirit and hope...remember that the eyes of love that you are looking at THOSE people should use to look at yourself.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

See the human being.

This interview done by university students is really moving and is an absolutely fantastic reminder to us all that we are all someone's child.  We may be someone's sibling, husband, wife, cousin, father, or mother.  We are all human beings and by a stroke of misfortune, each of us could lose everything.  Our transportation, our jobs, even our lives.  It's a good reminder to be a little more humble, to be a little more thankful, and a little more caring and considerate of the people around us.  It's a reminder that it's ok to be sad or angry, but it's never ok to be cruel.  Please be good to one another.  It's the only way for all of us to truly find success in this life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yoga Doesn't Care

I LOVE a post I just saw.  I would title it "Yoga doesn't care."  It's awesome mostly because I think it has a perfectly transferable message if we replace "yoga" with "life."  I might even take that on and expand upon it because I love it that much...but I'm pretty sleepy, so for now, check out the original. It's great, I promise! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's the little coupons

A while back, I posted about my own coupon-angel when I was in the TP a friend shares another coupon angel duo...awesome:

"It was really hard to justify buying anything for myself right before Christmas, even though I needed I joked with the cashier at Macy's that I told myself it was ok because my birthday is so her and the sweet old lady behind me said happy birthday and gave me a BUNCH of coupons and I ended up getting 80% off!?! Freaking amazing   ‪#‎spreadthelove‬"

Thanks NR for sharing!

The little Devonte that could!

You know what is amazing?  

When just ONE person believes in us, we can begin to move mountains.  You are one person.  

Do you believe you can make a difference?  BELIEVE!

We cannot help the hand we are dealt, but we can choose what we do with it.  Some will choose to fold.  They will lay down their gift and be out of the game.  Some will bet and they will lose...but they gained experience that can now be used for the next time.  Some people will bet and win...and what a great prize for taking a risk, even at the chance of losing it all.  I'm a designer, so I would probably use my hand to build a card house...and I'm sure there are plenty more options.

What happens when you're not even dealt a hand?  What happens when you're down and out and under the playing table when you start?  If we all gave a hand to the person who's on the floor, they might not only make it to the table, but beyond a place no one could have imagined.  I saw a great example of this in an article this week, not about a down-and-out adult...but about a young man who did just what I mentioned with the help of his foster parents, some love, and his own integrity and tenacity and courage!  I introduce, Devonte!  Enjoy his story, and remember, it starts with one believer!

Human Rainbow!

In the same way that many brilliant colors come together and are known as "a rainbow," when people of different colors come together, we are a beautiful sight known as "the human race."

Out of many; One.
One race.  One world.  One love!