Friday, April 19, 2013

I'm back!

Hello.  Just a quick post to let you know that I'll posting new material to on my blog.  Thanks for hanging in there and I apologize for the delay.  A lot of things have happened since my last post, so I have a lot to share.  I moved to Seattle, WA in Oct '12 from San Francisco, CA to be nearer my parents.  I love it up here.  I can't wait to share all my experiences with you.  :)

Space Needle

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace

  1. Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.
  2. Remember that all human beings have the same needs.
  3. Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.
  4. When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.
  5. Instead of saying what we DON'T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.
  6. Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we'd like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.
  7. Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone's opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.
  8. Instead of saying "No," say what need of ours prevents us from saying "Yes.
  9. If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what's wrong with others or ourselves.
  10. Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully.

2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted.

Non-Violent Communication

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

LGBT Youth and Teen Suicide

The Trevor Project is a nonprofit endeavor established to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and to aid in suicide prevention among that group.

Ellen Degeneres supports The Trevor Project and is encouraging everyone to donate. You can easily donate $5 simply by texting the word KIND to 85944. Every time you text, $5 will be added to your cell phone bill. Be sure to respond YES to the confirmation text. Read more...

Anderson Cooper was a guest on her show today and he is a strong advocate against bullying and teen suicide. His brother committed suicide and wrote about it in the article below.

My Brother's Suicide

The last paragraph of his story really spoke to me. He talks about not having control, but still holding onto life. If you're going through a dark time right now, talk to your friends and family. If you're uncomfortable with that, find a local support group. Don't take your own life. Reach out and let us help you get through this.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Earth Day is more than planting a tree, picking up trash or carpooling to work. Earth Day is a day to remind us of all the things we should be doing every day in order to preserve the planet for our generation and the generations that follow us. The future of our children and our children's children is being determined this very moment by the choices we make today. The five minutes your setting apart to read this post can effect the choices you make right now and in the future. If your wondering how you can help, start by visiting SEQL (Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life) website to find 100 ways you can make a difference.

Here are some other links to websites where you can find more information on Earth Day and how you can get involved:

Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network at NING
The Green Guide at National Geographic
Earth Day Tips at National Geographic
Local Earth Day Events
Earth Day at Nature.org
2010 Earth Day Events at Care2.org

I would also highly recommend watching the movie, Baraka, which means blessing in Arabic. The movie was filmed at 152 locations in 24 countries over many years and briefly shows the history of our world, our cultures, and the effect we are having on planet earth.

Baraka (1992) Trailer

Baraka [Blu-ray]
Baraka: 2-Disc Special Edition

Monday, April 19, 2010

Warchild - Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal is an ex-child soldier. He was born in Southern Sudan just before the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out in 1983. He doesn't know exactly when he was born, but Emmanuel approximates his date of birth to be around January 1, 1980.

The First Sudanese Civil War began in 1955 and ended with the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972. The Second Sudanese Civil War ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. The Sudanese Civil War is the longest running war in the 20th century leaving 2 million civilians killed and 4 million more civilians displaced over a time span of two decades.

Emmanuel and many other children were recruited by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and taken to military training camps in Ethiopia where they were trained to fight. The SPLA is a predominantly Christian rebel group that was formed in 1983 by rebellious south Sudanese soldiers of the Sudanese Army. These joined remnants of the Anyanya rebels of the First Sudanese Civil War based in Ethiopia. Emmanuel's father was a member of the SPLA. After Emmanuel's first boat to Ethiopia sank, his father never looked for him. Emmanuel became a "lost boy". Emmanuel's mother was killed by loyal government soldiers when he was seven years old.

In 1991, Emmanuel Jal was rescued by Emma McCune, a British aid worker, who adopted and smuggled him to Kenya, where he acquired a love for singing and music. Today, he is using music in the form of African hip-hop as a vehicle to deliver his message to bring to light the corruption of the Sudanese government and to reach the youth. Emmanuel is a spokesman for the Make Poverty History campaign, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the Control Arms campaign.

I was deeply moved by Emmanuel Jal's testimony and by the end of his story, you will be too. I urge you to watch this video in it's entirety.

Related Links:

Wikipedia: Emmanuel Jal
Emmanual Jal: Official Site
Emmanuel's Charity: GUA Africa

Purchase the items below at Amazon.com:

Book: War Child: A Child Soldier's Story
Music: WARchild

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Passion Without Distraction

I met Frankie in the underground Powell Street BART station in San Francisco, CA. Currently, he attends a school for the arts, The Conservatory of Music, but he hopes to play professional in a symphony some day. I was surprised to hear that he had never seen the movie Fame. I'm sure he spends all his time practicing and he's not easily distracted from what he loves most, his love and passion for music. I think he thought I was a little crazy. =)

My Definition of Strength

As my eyes open, I remind myself of all the things that give me the passion to make it through another day. My body's broken, but my spirit doesn't die. I run out the door to catch my bus and then I"m on my way to work again. By Friday, I'm thankful that I made it through another week.

I find inspiration all around me by keeping my eyes wide open. While I sit contemplating about how the day will go, a fragile old woman gets on the bus. I wonder about where she's going. What is she carrying? How much does it weigh? How does she do it?

I thank God and then I'm ready to make it through another day. This is my definition of strength. Dig down deep and remind yourself that we are no different than everyone else, you'll find the strength to go on by watching the ones who do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

All We Need Is Love

I was walking underground at the Powell Street BART terminal and I met Arlene. She was born in Oregon. I felt a little down that day, but Arlene raised my spirits again. This is her rendition of "All You Need Is Love", by the Beatles.