A Tribute to you, Muhammad Ali!

I was never a great fan of boxing, but I grew up in a family with three brothers, so I watched boxing along with the rest of the family. When Muhammad Ali arrived on the scene when I was about thirteen, everything changed. His confidence was unreal. He REALLY did resurrect boxing. I loved his poetry, too. I could hardly wait for what he would say next.

Integrity was one of Muhammad Ali’s greatest character assets. He absolutely stood up for what he believed in. Ali was very REAL, and after he lost his world championship title because he was a conscientious objector and would not fight in Viet Nam, I was awed by his courage. I have rarely ever seen an athlete or and other human being give up so much because of his or her integrity. As a younger person, I did not know what to think back then, but today I get how courageous and what a deep spirit he had and maintained throughout his life.

“The Draft is about White People sending Black People to fight Yellow People to protect the country they stole from the Red People.”
-Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali’s deep character showed up in his fight for civil rights, too. He fearlessly spoke about race during some of the worst racial tension the USA had ever seen. He had suffered personally because of racism. He was not afraid to get all the political backlash that he received. However, because he stood up he became known as a world wide hero in Muslim countries and everywhere else.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
-Muhammad Ali

When Muhammad Ali revealed he had Parkinson’s Disease in 1984 when he was 42 years old, he grew again as a human being and accepted his illness with great dignity. Living with Parkinson’s Disease, for more than 30 years, again Muhammad Ali showed me what an amazing human being he was. I knew this disease because my father-in-law had had it, and Parkinson’s disease contributed to his last fall before my father-in-law died of complications 3 months later. Watching my father-in-law., Bill Briggs’ challenges, I had a small sense of what Ali was up against. Also seeing my aunt, Bunny Becker, with her challenges with Parkinson’s disease, I had an inkling what it took for Muhammad Ali to carry the torch for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I was so proud watching him carry the torch and lighting the Olympic flame. For me that was one of the greatest positive moments of that Olympics.

Here are several other quotes from this poet-athlete-philosopher-life coach:

“What you are thinking about you are becoming.”
-Mohammad Ali

There was one other way that I have been inadvertently affected by Muhammad Ali. He touched the life of my nephew, Reza Izad, who was Muhammad Ali’s agent for a time. When I visit my sister’s home, I see the autographed photo from Mohammad Ali, and I know Ali made a difference in my nephew’s life, and I smile.

I sent a message to Reza after Muhammad Ali died and he messaged me: “It was very special to work with him (Ali). I have been lucky to work with some great people, and he was the BEST.”

NPR has done some great tributes to Muhammad Ali. Take a listen.

http://www.npr.org/programs/weekend-edition-saturday/

Mohammad Ali has been said to have been kind and loving. Some the best testaments about Ali come from his own children. This is a story that Muhammad Ali’s daughter Hana related:

http://www.islamcan.com/islamic-stories/muhammad-alis-advice-to-his-daughters.shtml#.V1npHhQrI1M

And his daughter, Laila Ali, who was a boxer, said:

“My dad lived by example. I lived by watching him. I watched all the great things he did and said. I try to walk that talk with my children.”

These days too often we clamor to watch super heroes in films. For me, Muhammad Ali was a real live super hero. He has been present in my entire life. He has shown me how I can stand up of myself. He has shown me that you will not always be liked when you stand up for what is right. Also by example, I have seen how he grew and changed as he aged. Thank you for being such a positive force and example in my life, Muhammad Ali. I know that you have touched so many people on this planet, as you have touched me and my life.

Rest in Peace, Muhammad Ali, you have helped to make this world a better place.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Being an Ally

For me, Dr.King is one of the greatest men of the Twentieth Century. He was an incredible writer and speaker, and he lived what he spoke in action. King was an exemplary example of a human being. Through him, I have learned a little of the story of many people of color. I was too young and unconscious at the time to understand how important he was while he was alive. For the last 20 or so years, I have been learning what a great human being he was, and also how I could be come an ally to all people of color, being a white lady.

What do I mean by an ally. I am speaking of supporting others who many not be the “group” you belong to. I have close friends who are a African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and know of and have taught people who are Arab background. I can and do NOT live the experiences they have had to deal with, sometimes every day, but I can walk alongside them and can support them in their causes. I can have compassion for them and respect them and their needs.

To understand history and what is so today, I have needed to understand the role that white folk have often played unconsciously, so I can learn what White Privilege is. Learning this helps me be a better ally. This is not about feeling guilty for what happened in the past. It is about waking up to what is so today, and what happened in the past. Here is start.
mic.com/…/7-actual-facts-that-prove-white-privilege-exists-in-america

Another thing you and I can do is pay attention to what is happening in the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is wake up call for all Americans of every color. It is hard being a police officer in the USA now, and it is time some of the rougher parts of the officers and police forces in large and small American cities be called out. We white citizens can play our part here. Our justice system is another huge stumbling block. You and I have plenty of work to do.

I can financially support and participate with groups who support all Americans from all backgrounds and sexual orientations. This is what an ally does. It is NOT a passive role. This is about service- not ego.

On Dr. King’s real birthday, January 15th, A friend shared a YouTube video of a Dr. King speech. What shocked me about it was that so few people had seen it. I want to share it on this blog.

Please watch this.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a humanitarian and was working for all of humanity when he was murdered. He and all the people who were allies in the ’50s and ’60s during the Civil Rights Movement showed us how we can white folk can be allies today, if we choose.

This way of the past in the USA of having two or three countries or even more within its shores, (We women understand this around how we get shorted in wages), instead of one country, where everyone ACTUALLY has the same rights is within our grasp. In the past and today in the USA, we have had a system which leaves out, and even abuses way too many Americans to keep the status quo and business as usual alive.

We can do this work together as allies in action. We can support each other in this work spiritually and financially. Thank you, Dr. King, and all of the allies who supported the Civil Rights Movement for showing us the way!

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Standing Together

I feel really happy when I am a part of something where people are working together and collaborating for the purpose of a common goal. I call that “Standing Together”.

trees connected

trees standing together

For us humans when I have worked together on worthwhile projects to see them come to fruition, it has warmed my heart. I first experienced this years ago working with an organization I volunteered with.  I felt elated when we succeeded in the goal. Even though separately each one of us was not always “perfect” in what we said and did. The goal had a higher purpose and that goal required me to stretch to my better self.

“It is when we start working together that the real healing takes place…it’s when we start spilling our sweat and not our blood.”  David Hume (18th Century English philosopher)

leaning trees

leaning trees standing together

Most recently I was inspired by the  Pluto fly by project. I was blown away that pictures of Pluto were sent from three BILLION miles away back to earth. The fact that frozen Pluto has a “heart” on it says something beautiful to me. That project was accomplished by working together, standing together. If you wish to see more than just a few photos here is a very good brand new NOVA project called “Chasing Pluto”. 1. Go to http://www.pbs.org

2.  Choose NOVA or type in: video.pbs.org/video/2365527017/

The most inspiring  example of humanity working together and collaborating from all backgrounds in my lifetime was the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Since I lived on the west coast at that time, I only experienced blatant racism from TV pictures as a young teenager. However, I also found out that the small town where I lived in California in the 1960s blatantly and legally barred African Americans from living within the city limits.  As I have aged, I have learned how inspiring the Civil Rights Movement was for all of humanity and how brilliant and great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was and still is. I am still inspired by what he wrote, spoke, and how he lived.

“Now we have black and white elected officials working together. Today we have gone beyond just passing laws. Now we have to create a sense that we are one community, one family. Really we are the American family.”   John Lewis

John Lewis would understand this because he was a part of the Civil Rights Movement. The rest of us need to get this, as problems are exposed of institutionalized racism in American police forces everywhere, in our prison system everywhere, and by individuals who have murdered in Charleston, South Carolina. Now we CANNOT be  in denial any more.  All of us of all colors need to understand that you and I still have work to do. Standing together, I believe in us. You and I have to believe in ourselves, care, and be willing to do something positive and life affirming about the racism  that still persists in our beautiful country.

This is how universal the anthem sung during and after the Civil Rights Movement has become on our planet:

more trees standing together

more trees standing together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CONFUSED and CONFUSION

Nature where I live is a bit confused. Daffodils are blooming, crocuses are blooming, and it is just mid February!

Crocuses mid 2/2015

Confused Crocuses mid 2/2015

daffodils 2/2015

Confused Daffodils mid 2/2015

Being confused is not bad.  Even these daffodils are telling us something about our weather which we need to be aware of and act upon.

On a personal level, when I am confused – it doesn’t always feel good, but it is a sign to me that I need to check-into my own well-being, and investigate what is going on in my life and with myself. It also might mean, I need to “lighten up” and let go.

History and experience tell us that moral progress comes not in comfortable and complacent times, but out of trial and CONFUSION.”  – Gerald R. Ford

flowering fruit tree

Confused flowering fruit tree mid 2/2015

The turmoil and confusion of the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, Civil Rights Act, and the Women’s Movement brought us positive change in the past. Now the confusion around Climate Change and the Living Wage Movement are bringing into question scientific evidence, social justice, and equity issues in the USA. Thank you, CONFUSION!

This TED talk  creates a humorous atmosphere of confusion by Reggie Watt; it is called metamodernism:

 

Daphne bush

Confused Daphne bush mid 2/2015

My last thoughts about why confusion can be helpful and useful:

When we humans are open to others and confused, it is harder for us to be arrogant, and we are more likely to surrender control. Thus, we tend to be more open to learning something new, asking for help, and are more willing to work with others. These are some behaviors that this planet could use a lot of.

snowbells

Confused Snowbells mid 2/2015

“I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face.”  

  –   Johnny Depp

 

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