Keeping the FAITH

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Last week about midweek, I was tormented during the night thinking I needed to fix the world and this country, in particular. I kept waking up feeling like I should do more to somehow prevent what was happening in this country I love. By the next day or two, I had the great opportunity to learn to have faith.

I have always loved learning about history, and I learned to love history in high school from a great teacher, Mr. Garfield. Now I live in a town where many of the streets are named after the presidents of the USA. I always feel great when I drive passed "Madison" Ave. I love President Madison for what he did to fix our US Constitution- he added the "Bill of Rights" to our U.S. Constitution. If you don't remember it, that is what is protecting all of us Americans right now. So now, I have faith that the US Constitution is going to protect us. And it is because we have a government with three branches of government, including a judicial branch, which came through for refugees and people who were trying to return to the USA with valid green cards and found out that they were from the wrong country last week. Because I live in a country which tends to follow the law (although with certain groups, justice has not always worked well and still needs to improve), I can sigh relief and let go of worry. I can have faith that I live in a country where not just one person can be a dictator.

I can have faith, too, that most people tend to try to do the right thing. This week I heard an old “Radio Lab” show called “The Good Show” about the goodness in most people. Try to listen to the entire show. I found this an uplifting show about the nature of most people. I needed the reminder.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/103951-the-good-show/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=treatment&utm_campaign=daMost&utm_content=damostviewed

I also have faith because I have a source that I go to. For me, that source has many names: God, the universe, a higher power, the great mystery, the energy that connects all of us (even if we are not aware of it), the God particle. All those names are one thing to me. When I can humble myself and surrender that I do not have answers or control hardly anything, I give my concerns and go to my source. Then I am free and much happier. When I look back on my whole life, I have always been connected and protected by my source, even if I was not aware of that protection at that time. Now I can see the connection and protection that happened at the times when I was in challenging situations. It was when I did NOT have FAITH, I made choices for my life that were detrimental. Even in making those unhealthy choices, at the time, often something very good and wonderful came into my life. Even the unhealthy choices when I was willing and humble to LEARN about myself and my part helped me to reflect on what I did, so that I now live with more gratitude, joy, and happiness most of the time.

I found this TED talk about FAITH that I can support. It is by Tom Honey “Why Would GOD Create a Tsunami?”

Another lesson in faith came in late October of 2016, when my mother died. After she had passed, my siblings, daughter, and nieces and grand nieces found in her books as we sorted through them scriptures that my mother had read that most of us were not aware of. Even though my mother’s twin sister had died 13 years earlier in a different state than my mother, and my mother had not gone to her sister’s service because my father was wheelchair bound (they were both 85 years old), my mother requested that the same scriptures that her twin sister had had read at her memorial service be read at my own mother’s service. This, to me, is God at work. My own mother’s connection to this scripture and the beauty and comfort that this scripture provides has now been passed on to me. I am finally aware of this scripture, and read it when I need it and so does my daughter.

Today, I read about some of my fellow Americans online. I am so proud of and have FAITH in you and us because so many people were calling the White House this week. We clogged the phone lines like never before. This is citizen activism at its best. Yeah!

I have borrowed the title of this blog somewhat from talk show host, Tavis Smiley, who is on PBS. This is a youtube video of him explaining why he says “Keep the Faith” at the end of every show he makes. I love the explanation and find it relates to this blog. Thank You, Tavis Smiley.

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What is Courage?

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“Without COURAGE, we cannot practice any other virtue consistently.”
– Maya Angelou

Courage as a root word come from the Latin root “cor” which means heart. It evolved to mean bravery. I think its original root tells the true source and nature of courage in humanity. I believe it takes heart or caring to act courageously.

I have three examples of what I would call courageous behavior. These are examples of people who have taken bold steps in their lives and made some big and invaluable changes to our past, present, and even for my, our, and their own futures.

One is from the past and goes into the present. The person I would call courageous is Dame Stephanie Shirley also known as Steve Shirley who founded Freelance Programers in 1962, an all woman computer company. Her story is well told in a TED talk and, particularly, from TED talks on NPR.org.

This is the link: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/?showDate=2016-10-14
The show about Steve Shirley, as she is known in the business world, is:
“Dame Stephanie Shirley: How Do You Break Into an Industry While Breaking ALL the rules?”

Another example is a continuation of a story about the courage of the 21 children who are part of Our Children’s Trust who are suing the U.S. Federal Government about climate change and its impact on all of their futures and its impact on all children on the planet. You can see the other climate actions taking place around the world because of these kids when you go to their website:
http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org

These children and young adults appeared in court again in Eugene, OR along with their lawyers to continue the fight on September 7. No decision has been reached, yet. The fact that they are from all over the USA and are fighting for all American children and children world wide is very inspiring and courageous to me. They are legally fighting oil companies, and some of the biggest industries in this country. In my previous blog, I spoke about the youngest person, Levi Draheim, who is a plaintiff and who you can see in the corner of the photo in this story about Our Children’s Trust from that September 7, 2016.

Generational injustice: Inside the legal movement suing for climate action now

These young people are influencing other youths to step up and courageously join this law suit. From Maine, here is another story.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/571d109b04426270152febe0/t/57ebec5f579fb318fd174fac/1475079264424/2016.09.28+Maine+Press+Release.pdf

The final group where I have witnessed great courage, is Black Lives Matter movement. The first protests took great courage. Our “justice” system is broken for people of color. This truth has been hidden all over the USA for years. Exposing the lack of justice, particularly for African Americans, has taken great courage. Incarceration in the USA was becoming another “business”, that was destroying the lives of so many Americans of color. Our police forces have become more militarized. Not to mention the great number of innocent black people, women and men, who have died at the hands of some of our police officers.

This is not an easy or simple problem to solve. We cannot blame the entire problem on our police officers. I taught one summer at an inner city school. The school where I taught was only in a medium-size city. What I saw and the hopeless I saw in the 10 year-old children as assistant in the classroom, was deeply depressing and baffling. These kinds of neighborhoods are all across this country. This level of hopelessness exacerbates healing in these communities. This is a major problem to tackle and REAL CARE, not just window dressing, will “fix” it. I do not have the answers here. What I do know is that we have to work together in a respectful way of all people and face this together because whether we like it or not, we ALL created these neighborhoods with the history of race and racism that this country has had.

This is the story of the founding of the Black Lives Matter Movement:
https://emergingus.com/my-conversation-with-the-co-creators-of-blacklivesmatter-b7a44745b8ce#.q3wxuv072

It is people and children such as these that give me hope about our future. So often in the past and now, we are waiting for our political leaders to tackle what we need to change. We citizens and individuals working together, can be courageous together, just as Stephanie Shirley was and Our Children’s Trust and Black Lives Matter are already changing our world now for the better for each and every one of us.

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Bumper Sticker Philosophers

When I have to sit in traffic behind someone or am in a parking lot and I see a bumper sticker I like, it can change my mood and give me pause to think. I like bumper stickers like that, and I thank the philosophers who put them on their cars.

Bumper sticker 1

Bumper Sticker 1

I “loved” these two bumper stickers because they state basic values that make sense. Living them in our daily lives is a greater challenge. It is always good to have a reminder to be our better selves.

Where I live there are farmers and farmer’s markets close by. I am very fortunate to have access to high quality food. Therefore, these two bumper stickers say it all.

bumper sticker 2

Bumper Sticker 2

bumper sticker 3

Bumper Sticker 3

This bumper sticker is referring to the GMOs that Monsanto Corporation puts in the seeds they sell. Several states in the USA are trying to require labeling of GMOs because we still do not know for sure if they make humans sick or not.  Seeds that have been genetically modified do require more toxic spraying-yuck!

bumper sticker 4

Bumper Sticker 4

I liked this one because it is mysterious and astronomical with a touch of spirituality. This one makes me scratch my head and wonder.

bumper sticker 5

Bumper Sticker 5
Question the Answers

This bumper sticker is a little out of focus and says “Question the Answers”. When I googled “Bumper stickers and TED talks” I got this AMAZING TEDX talk that made me question whether I ever want to use another TED talk for this blog. It is also a good example of “Question the Answers”. Check it out. Benjamin Bratton  is a philosopher and designer who has questioned what we are doing with TED!  TEDX talk appears at the end of the article.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shana-ting-lipton/benjamin-bratton-ted_b_4531802.html

bumper sticker 6

Bumper Sticker 6

I love the song “Imagine” from John Lennon. I sang it with the first Japanese students in the USA that I ever taught before I became a teacher professionally. I love the words of the song anyway. I chose this to be the one “peace” bumper sticker in this blog.

bumper sticker 7

Bumper Sticker 7

This is was the last bumper sticker I took a photo of. The car was in a parking lot. I talked to the owner of the truck that it was on and thanked her. This is one of my favorite messages- if we could only get it and live it!

My thanks to all of the bumper sticker philosophers! I’ll be happy to continue driving behind all of you!

 

 

 

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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:

http://www.whatthebleep.com/water-crystals/

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?

 

 

 

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Pigs Have Flown?

When Have Pigs Flown?

The idiomatic expression: “When pigs fly” has been around since the 1600s and implies sarcastically that something is NOT possible. I want to turn that expression on its head and suggest that there have been times when pigs have flown.

flying pig on key chain

Flying Pig

Certain events in American history since the 1800s have had  profound effects on beginning to transform many of us humans to become more humane and respectful towards each other. We still have a ways to go.

1. When slavery ended in 1865 in the USA

2. When women suffrage made it possible for women to vote in 1919

3. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed

flying pig on key chain 2

another flying pig

It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like air: we all have it or none of us has it. This is the truth of it.”    – Maya Angelou

4. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and then was renewed in  2013.

5. When in 1969 man landed on the moon and all of us humans could see the earth as one planet with NO boundaries.

6. When in 1967 interracial marriage was legalized everywhere in the USA.

7. The beginning of this millennium there was conclusive DNA evidence that ALL humans originated in Africa and that we are ONE human family.

One of the important geneticists who worked on establishing this evidence was Dr. Spencer Wells, who gave a TED talk on this subject:

www.ted.com/talks/spencer_wells_is_building_a_family_tree_for_all_humanity

Optimism about these bills and this knowledge we’ve gain when “pigs have flown”  is all good and are nice concepts in our heads. However,  it is up to you and me to search my own and your own heart to fully manifest these “when pigs have flown” events in my own and your own daily actions towards all people. Our government  and all the laws we pass won’t save us or make us behave better towards each other.

“A little less complaint and whining and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.” 

W. E. B. Dubois

What is your pigs have flown list?

 

 

 

 

 

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WE ARE ONE

Are we REALLY  one? 

My simile for us humans is we are like a pile of leaves that have fallen from trees. On the ground we all mix together and look like one mass.

piles of leaves fall 2014

piles of leaves at night

If we look closer, we will see the individual leaves, as we will also see individual people.

From the science of quantum physics and one of  its major thinkers:

Quantum physics, thus, reveals a basic ONENESS of the  universe.”  

Ervin Schrodinger

leaves  on ground fall 2014

leaf piles in day light

Since the universe is one, so are we. Even though we humans see ourselves as separate and not connected; this is a delusion that we learned when we learned to focus our eyes as babies.

The neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Taylor Bolte, has added to our understanding about ONENESS with her first TED talk, when she experienced a stroke herself.  Consider watching her TED talk:

Our human challenge now, is how do we begin to live what we are finding out to be our human truth. Even if we embrace the fact that we are one, our even bigger challenge is to learn how we can live together with our differences. How do we become kinder, and more respectful of others while we maintain our own honesty about who we are? 

A major way I have learned for myself to become kinder, is I have had to learn to love and accept and myself and what has happened in my own life before I have become able to be kinder to others.  For my part I have learned this ongoing journey within to know myself better has helped me to become more open and accept and care about others. It is freeing to not judge others or myself as harshly as I used to.

What are your ideas about how we can be both ONE and celebrate our individuality, too?

 

 

 

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