Life is an AND


In life EVERYTHING  is an AND. The world and nature includes everything under the sun.

tall pine tree

tall pine tree

In nature there are tall AND short pine trees.

short pine tree

short pine tree

Trees are old AND young. We humans do not judge a young tree better than a old tree.  So WHY do we judge YOUNG humans BETTER than OLD humans?

old tree

old tree

Aren’t old humans AND young humans equally important to our world and our countries? Or is it that young people we judge look better than old people in our culture? Or have we bought into media images?

young tree

young tree

As people we are tall AND short, heavy AND thin, dark-skinned AND light-skinned, rich AND poor, and all of us logically and legally know we need to be valued equally. But we aren’t and we ALL know this, too! Often those automatic value judgment of good or bad come from our own biases, particularly if we don’t question them. They also come from a society that does not acknowledge the inequities that are a way of “doing business” in this country.

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, AND we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are EQUAL VALUE no matter what their color.”     –    Maya Angelou

All of us humans add something to each other’s lives, if I am open to recognize that. If I don’t let prejudging certain groups, faiths, and nationalities of people, and I don’t make  assumptions, I can learn and connect with others. This requires me to notice my own biased thinking. When I do this, my life is richer and full of AND.

“Men (women) hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they are often separated from each other.”                Martin Luther King Jr.

Helen Turnbull has traveled the world as a thought leader on Unconscious Bias in the field for Global Inclusion for more than 26 years. Her TED talk is on Youtube:

All life and the people in it will continue to be an AND for me, what do you choose?




“An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

Plants normally grow given water, sun, and healthy genetics. This Christmas tree from 2013 looked like this:

christmas tree 2013

Live Christmas tree from 2013

It was barely one foot tall. I planted that tree in a pot and now it has grown to over three feet tall.

Live Christmas tree 2014

Live Christmas tree in 2014

There is growth which is physical as this tree, and there is growth which is spiritual.

2 year old girl

3 year old girl

A three-year old girl has certain behavior, and she has her own spirit.

13 year old Celine

13 year old girl

A thirteen year old girl has different behavior and areas of growth both physically and spiritually.

Spiritual growth requires behavioral changes from most of us and that included me. This kind of growth is about striving to become mature and responsible for my life, and not blaming others; for example: learning the things that trigger me, changing old habits that don’t work for me, making new choices, and letting go of the past. However, first, I have had to learn what that past was for me to grow spiritually. Facing my past has required courage and a willingness to be vulnerable.  In a ongoing process, I am becoming freer and less encumbered by my past.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  – George Santayana

This quote has often been used when speaking about human history, where it is very true. I find it has also been absolutely true about my life before I sought deep personal spiritual growth.

Another thing spiritual growth requires is that we NOT just do it alone. I have reached out for help from various groups and people. We are not weak when we ask for help; we are courageous and honest about what we need, as are all people who have done the same. This, to me, is the best way to heal the planet. One person at a time.

This TED talk by Matthiew Richard, a Buddhist monk and scientist explains a way towards spiritual growth.


Love vs Hate and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must learn to live together as brothers. Or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  …”

from 1968  – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One of my heroes of the twentieth century was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His words and deeds have long outlived him. He lived and spoke words of truth and love, of cooperation, social justice and equality, respect and dignity for all peoples, cultures, and backgrounds. He is one of mankind’s great teachers, thinkers, healers, and uniters.

human fist

Human fist of hatred

It was the fist and gun of hatred that killed King.  In America’s  and the world’s history, there have been others who were hated for speaking or acting for the equality of all people and then gunned down or murdered: Malcolm X, Viola Liuzzo, Steven Biko, Sitting Bull, Mahatma Gandhi, Medgar Evers, and Abraham Lincoln.

“I still believe that LOVE is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. …I have discovered the highest good. It is LOVE. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos.”  from 1956

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I choose love, as did Dr. King. Love feeds the heart and the head blood and can lead us to feel more cooperative, calm, and compassionate towards others.

heart from necklace

The loving heart

To show you how love and hate even said as words can affect objects in nature Dr. Masaru Emoto asked monks to pray over water and then froze that water into crystals. What he discovered shows us humans how even words and intentions about love and hate must affect us humans greatly, too. You can see the crystal for LOVE and one for “You make me sick” or “Hate” at:

In the case of Zak Ebrahim, he was taught to hate, but he learned peace and compassion.  Watch his TED Talk:

I stand with uniters, and those with compassion for all peoples from the past and present. What do you choose?





Sharing And Offering Acceptance

The Natural world shares spaces freely. It offers acceptance generously.  Can we humans learn from it?

As in many of my blogs, I look to nature as a simile to show us humans how to behave with each other.

tree shares branches with lichen

tree sharing branches with lichen

This relationship between the tree and the lichen is called commensalism, which is the case where one organism benefits from the association (the lichen) and the other is neither positively nor adversely affected (the tree).  I think it would be great if more of us humans had commensal relationships. Tolerance and even stronger, acceptance, of all races and cultures of people could be possible then.

moss on a sidewalk

moss on a sidewalk

The sidewalk “allows” the algae, moss, to grow on it in damp climates. We don’t think of sidewalks as being living things, but the moss certainly is. It was interesting to  use “Google” for: What is moss? And find out that most of the “hits” were how to kill moss on sidewalks. I think that says something about us in America. WE sure do NOT want to SHARE  or offer ACCEPTANCE on OUR sidewalks with MOSS! Yet, at times we make moss gardens in our backyards where it is convenient for US!

“Love is cheering and sharing and compassion and giving and receiving….” –   Ziggy Marley

treetop and birds

treetop sharing space with birds

We humans are able to share space with others like the tree top does with the birds. However, while I’m sharing space with people I don’t know, at times I have had to quiet the petty critic in my head who automatically judges others, an old habit!  And I don’t even know these people! It feels good to notice I’m doing this and then to let that one burst like a bubble in the air.  Reflecting about this also helps me to be more accepting of all people including myself!

What I find very interesting is that US businesses are using sharing and collaboration as a way to create new companies.   This  seems very hopeful, and one answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this blog.

This business change is explained very well by Lisa Gansky in a TED talk from 2011.

Do you know of other examples where sharing and offering acceptance by humans is happening?