Category Archives: arm wresting

Non-Violent Protests Work

The next time you are feeling helpless in the face of crooked elections and even more crooked politicians, think about employing some non-violent actions to start making the change you want.

The next time you are angry at mega corporations like Monsanto for polluting the food chain and our drinking water, but don’t think you can make a difference, think about boycotting the business.

Those are just 2 of the ways you can make a difference. One of the TED Talk presenters in this week’s newsletter offers 196 other ways to force change where it’s needed.

Those of you who know me, know I love TED Talks for all kinds of reasons. Here’s another one I love. Jamila Raqib , Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution, focuses on how non-violent protests have worked, around the world, and how they might just work for you….for us.

Raqib calls this movement a type of non-violent arms race.  She shares a document created by her mentor, Gene Sharp, that lists 198 methods of non-violent protest. Raqib also points out that a unified strategy helps boycotts to win the fight.

My biggest concern this Father’s Day morning is how to stop big money and big power from stealing the election out of the hands of the very people who really are supposed to be the ones who elect people to office.

Donald Trump may just implode on his own or be helped out the door by his fellow Republicans. It’s unlikely that Hillary Clinton and her mega-donors will as she represents many of the largest donors of political history.

Also, Clinton wants to win at any cost and has proven that by using bully tactics and what, in any other context would be considered bribery, to keep trying to silence those of us who support Bernie Sanders.

Unless we, the people, unite and engage in a unified, strategic and non-violent fight, we will watch Bernie Sanders, his ideals, his ethics and his desire to help his country be washed away in a tidal wave of political maneuvering and back room brokering.

Here’s hoping that Bernie Sander’s team is planning some non-violent protests at the nominating convention in Philadelphia. Let’s join in and make a difference.

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Carl Jung’s Words of Advice for the Depressed – Beyond Meds

Please don’t let Carl Jung’s name put you off reading this. It is an amazing post from Jason E. Smith, founder of Heartsfire Counseling and a Jungian psychotherapist.

In my younger days I suffered from depression. I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone who has not fought the twin demons of rage and depression.

Smith explores Jung’s approach to both and shares some practical advice from Jung, himself, on how to do battle with both.

“From Jung’s point of view there is a hidden intention in depression. It “forces us downwards.” This is not, as it might sound, a punishment for arrogance, but rather a consequence of having become cut off from the human, instinctual part of ourselves.”

Source: Carl Jung’s Words of Advice for the Depressed – Beyond Meds

Also, if you are thinking of sharing this post, please adhere to Smith’s copyright requirements:

All rights to original works reserved. No works may be reproduced without permission. Brief quotes may be used with a link and attribution back to the source.

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Great Advice for Women Over Fifty

About 5 years ago, I wrote a tongue in cheek bit about what it really means to grow older in this bless-ed country!

When you are growing old in the land of nip & tuck, lose weight, dye hair, look young(er), it can be tough to see any humor in the fact that, like it or not, you just tipped over the waterfall of life and are heading towards the end with incredible speed and a few chin hairs.

But there is humor here and I just stumbled on another writer who started my morning with a laugh.

Michele Combs, a blogger (and software programmer tackled this topic about a year ago, on her blog, Rubber Shoes in Hell. She neatly sums up answers to the age-old question of, “..what not to wear when you are over 50.

The article is a rif on all the fashion tips readily available for we aging warriors. Combs does a bang up job of it. If you liked this article, try Part II of what not to wear if you over 50 because I loved it too.

This advice is solid, it makes me laugh and it reinforces my idea that there are some very important items that I really don’t want to wear anymore. I can listen to my own voice, now. I can wear, do, say whatever I want because I answer to no one now. No boss. No societal constraints. No voice in my ear telling me, “no, no, no!

And there never will be, again.  Stand up tall, women of a certain age, and finally, finally, claim your independence. And Michele Combs? Bang on as the Brits would say, bang on!

 

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Amazing Thinking & Amazing Insights from BrainPickings

My Osteopath introduced me to Brain Pickings.

It’s hard to put this eclectic, philosophical, introspective and intriguing site into words but founder, collator, researcher, writer and bottle washer, Maria Popova offers this description:

“Brain Pickings is my one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why. Mostly, it’s a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life.”

Every week, when I click through a link in Popova’s newsletter, I feel like I imagine Alice felt when she fell down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland. But this Wonderland is more of a literary and intellectual salon — a place of good food, good wine, good conversation and always, good insights.

In one of these rabbit holes, I discovered why I did what I did for a living despite the fact that it was mind numbing and simultaneously self important.  I worked in corporations. I know how much there is to do, how good it feels to cross off items on your list of work.

I could never articulate just how intellectually and spiritually deadening my work environment was.  Then Popova shared a passage written almost 70 years ago by writer Willa Cather who was writing in response to her long time companion, Sarah Jewitt:

My Dear, Dear Miss Jewett;

Such a kind and earnest and friendly letter as you sent me! I have read it over many times. I have been in deep perplexity these last few years, and troubles that concern only one’s habits of mind are such personal things that they are hard to talk about. You see I was not made to have to do with affairs — what Mr. McClure calls “men and measures.”

If I get on at that kind of work it is by going at it with the sort of energy most people have to exert only on rare occasions. Consequently I live just about as much during the day as a trapeze performer does when he is on the bars — it’s catch the right bar at the right minute, or into the net you go. I feel all the time so dispossessed and bereft of myself.

My mind is off doing trapeze work all day long and only comes back to me when it is dog tired and wants to creep into my body and sleep. I really do stand and look at it sometimes and threaten not to take it in at all — I get to hating it so for not being any more good to me. Then reading so much poorly written matter as I have to read has a kind of deadening effect on me somehow.

I know that many great and wise people have been able to do that, but I am neither large enough nor wise enough to do it without getting a kind of dread of everything that is made out of words. I feel diluted and weakened by it all the time — relaxed, as if I had lived in a tepid bath until I shrink from either heat or cold.

Popova finishes these observations with this very salient quote from Parker Palmer, “… “the tighter we cling to the norm of effectiveness the smaller the tasks we’ll take on.”

That was my life; don’t let it be yours.

 

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Filed under arm wresting, Death & Dying, Education, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Uncategorized, Work

In Honor of ALL Differences & In Celebration of Black History Month

The poem below focuses on being different because you are black.  I share it in honor of black history month, in honor of all the wonderful women I have met in my life whose skin was a different color than mine but whose soul was my mirror.

I share it for Rosella Clemmons Washington, my soul sister.  She sang like an angel, laughed with her whole body and still makes me smile when I look at her pictures.

Jazz singer Rosella Clemmons Washington.

I share it for  her mother, Mama Rose, who taught me how deep love can be and how long it can last.

I share it because this beautiful poem goes to the heart of what I have said all my life. I cannot imagine how very many lovely souls I would have missed had I stopped at color, or weight, or height, religion, sexual orientation or any of the myriad ways we categorize each other.

We are all so much more than the wrapper we live in.
Please treat people the way you want to be treated.

The Black Prayer

Why Did You Make Me Black Lord
Lord .. Why did you make me black?
Why did you make someone
the world would hold back?
Black is the color of dirty clothes,
of grimy hands and feet.
Black is the color of darkness,
of tired beaten streets.

Why did you give me thick lips,
a broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did you create someone
who receives the hated stare?

Black is the color of the bruised eye
when someone gets hurt.
Black is the color of darkness,
black is the color of dirt.

Why is my bone structure so thick,
my hips and cheeks so high?
Why are my eyes brown,
and not the color of the sky?

Why do people think I’m useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do people see my skin
and think I should be abused?
Lord, I just don’t understand.
What is it about my skin?
Why is it some people want to hate me
and not know the person within?

Black is what people are “Labeled”
when others want to keep them away.
Black is the color of shadows cast.
Black is the end of the day.

Lord you know my own people mistreat me,
and you know this just ain’t right.
They don’t like my hair, they don’t like my
skin, as they say I’m too dark or too light!

Lord, don’t you think
it’s time to make a change?
Why don’t you redo creation
and make everyone the same?

God’s Reply:

Why did I make you black?

I made you in the color of coal
from which beautiful diamonds are formed.
I made you in the color of oil,
the black gold which keeps people warm.

Your color is the same as the rich dark soil
that grows the food you need.
Your color is the same as the black stallion and
panther, Oh what majestic creatures indeed!

All colors of the heavenly rainbow
can be found throughout every nation.
When all these colors are blended,
you become my greatest creation!

Your hair is the texture of lamb’s wool,
such a beautiful creature is he.
I am the shepherd who watches them,
I will ALWAYS watch over thee!

You are the color of the midnight sky,
I put star glitter in your eyes.
There’s a beautiful smile hidden behind your pain.
That’s why your cheeks are so high!

You are the color of dark clouds
from the hurricanes I create in September.
I made your lips so full and thick,
so when you kiss…they will remember!

Your stature is strong,
your bone structure thick to withstand the
burden of time.
The reflection you see in the mirror,
that image that looks back, that is MINE!

So get off your knees,
look in the mirror and tell me what you see.
I didn’t make you in the image of darkness.
I made you in the image of ME!

by RuNett Nia-Ebo

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Silence in the Face of Political Aggression & Abuse

I have been silent here, not wishing to talk about the politics of the United States because, for the most part, our political leaders, Congressmen and Senators disgust me.

No more silence.

Thanks to Robert Reich who I loved when he was in Clinton’s cabinet and who I love still as a Professor, political commentator and author, I will begin to bring issues to the table that need airing. Like many of you, I have been silent, too long.

Here, without edit, is the Facebook post from Robert Reich that opened this door for me, again, and made me walk through it and begin to fight for the rights of all those in this, supposedly the most glorious country in the world, who do not have a voice, the power or the money to fight back.

I’ve been thinking about Martin Luther King Jr.’s admonition that we repent not merely for what the bad people say and do but also for the “appalling silence” of the good people.

We are at a point in American history when candidates for president of the United States are telling voters abominable things – justifying and legitimizing hate. Why aren’t the decent Republican members of Congress and Senate, or former members, or former Republican presidents and vice presidents repudiating this? Where are the news anchors and opinion makers – the Edward R. Murrow’s of today’s national conscience? Where are the priests and rabbis and ministers? The editorial boards? The university presidents? The foundation heads? Why do they remain silent in the face of this untrammeled public bigotry?

Where are they when a Republican candidate says Muslims cannot be trusted to be President, another says the current President is a Muslim and wasn’t born in America, and another that Muslims in America and other Western countries are creating “no-go” zones where Sharia law is practiced?

Why do they remain silent when a Republican candidate calls Mexican immigrants “rapists,” several candidates urge that undocumented workers be rounded up and “expelled,” and another asserts that Mexico intends to “merge” with the U.S. and Canada?

Why do they say nothing when several Republican candidates say women – even those who have been victims of rape or incest — should not be allowed to terminate their pregnancies, and one candidate says women who rely on government-assisted contraceptives “cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government?”

Why are they silent when several Republican candidates assert that public officials don’t have to sign marriage licenses for gay couples if the officials don’t believe gay couples should wed, one says homosexuality is a “choice” because “a lot of people enter prison straight and come out gay,” and another says being gay is like being an alcoholic?

The silence of good people in the face of such brainless intolerance only serves to legitimize it, and ends up debasing our entire society.

Reich asks at the end of this Facebook post, “What do you think?”

I think it’s time that we all get off our buts and start fighting to take back this country from bigots and bullies. I repeat, like many of you, I have been silent too long. No more.

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Dieting? Watch What You Eat – It Can Kill You

Odd title but there is truth to it.   What you eat, even if you think it’s healthy, can kill you.

The information I am about to share ranges from upsetting to frightening to life-changing.  I put this together for two friends who want to lose weight and eat healthier diets.  Although some of it appears to be “off tangent,” all of this information affects your ability to lose weight and keep it off; all of it is about what to avoid (like commercially produced milk or corn) if you want to get healthy.

If you want to change your diet quickly and start to see weight loss and better health, here’s the first step.

Processed Foods
Ditch the processed foods.  I confess that this was the hardest for me and my husband but it is necessary.  Get rid of all processed foods.  That means removing foods like these:

  1. Chips of any kind (yes even and especially corn chips as they contain GMO corn and are actually almost pure sugar to the body).
  2. Potatoes in any shape or variety – not baked, not mashed and really, really not fried or escalloped.
  3. Pasta – that’s a lot to ask but almost ALL pasta on the market is made with refined grains and eating it is a bit like injecting a syringe of “bad carbs” and sugar directly into your vein.
  4. Store-bought canned soup unless it’s organic and low sodium.
  5. Candy – it is sugar.
  6. Cookies – they are sugar, flour and fat (butter or margarine and of the two, margarine is a bit riskier).
  7. Cake – ditto what I said about cookies.
  8. ANYTHING fried – french fries, fried fish, fried chicken and yes, even fried pickles.

Artificially Sweetened Anything
This step starts for most people with getting rid of diet soda.  But, wait, you’re thinking, artificial sweeteners let me cut calories and still drink something sweet. Why should I cut out all artifical sweeteners?

Early research indicates that artificial sweeteners may “trick” the body and cause an increase in eating because the body expects sugar and doesn’t get it (my summary and certainly not all that scientific but Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine explains in more detail).

Meat
Protein from meat is not all bad but it can be if you don’t know where your meat has been before it came to your store or your dinner plate.

In this move to change what you eat, you need to be aware and wary of where your meat comes from.  The only meat I buy is organic and locally raised.  Cows get to graze, chickens get to free-range (literally) and pigs enjoy field time until the day they are picked up.  I visit the farm. I interview the farmer and I specifically ask about hormones, antibiotics and steroids — all not so secret ingredients in commercially produced meat.

Meat whose origins you are unsure of can be dangerous to you and your loved ones. How can I say this?

  1. Chickens, raised commercially, have exactly 6 inches of space to live in.  They are de-beaked because they are so over-crowded that they attack each other. They are fed arsenic to make them “healthier.”  Chickens raised commercially are so stressed that the campylobacter which used to reside in their intestinal tract is now showing up in the flesh of the bird making it necessary for us to raise the internal temp of chicken to a minimum of 160 degrees when baking to kill this bacteria. So I don’t eat commercially raised chicken for reasons of health and humanity.
  2. Breeding female pigs “farmed”by companies like Smithfield in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are held in severely restrictive gestation crates and are forced to stand, literally, for their entire breeding lives.  They cannot turn or lay down in these crates.  I refuse to support this type of cruelty to any animal let alone a pig, which is smarter than the smartest dog (which was a Border Collie with a documented vocabulary of more than 900 words).
  3. On average, 100,000 head of cattle are held in feedlots and fed….cornflakes….to bulk them up prior to slaughter.  Feedlots sound a whole lot nicer than what they really are.   Over-crowding, thigh high mud, and an unnatural diet for a ruminant cause many of the cattle to get bacterial infections.  Antibiotics are standard operating procedure for “managing” the potential for illness but the downside is that the antibiotics get in the beef, in the water and in our bodies.

Cows and pigs are both raised in CAFOs.  CAFOs are not new.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit studying and working for a healthy environment and a safer world. This group published a damning paper in 2008 about CAFOs, which focused not just on the horrendous treatment of the animals held/raised in these operations but in the huge risk due to unsanitary, overcrowded conditions  Also, drone footage of the Smithfield operation , which was recently released, shows just how terrible the conditions are in CAFOs and just how much waste the CAFOs produce.

If that information is not enough to have you looking for a local farmer, you should know that CAFOs have to use significantly larger amounts of antibiotics on their animals to try to overcome the hazardous conditions in which they raise the animals.  Last year, the CDC found a direct link to rising incidents of human infection with so-called super bugs like MRSA but also with the common bacteria like e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter and shigella (which causes shingles)   NOTE:  run off from these CAFOs affect fish, birds, bugs and….our drinking water.

Dairy
Last but not least on the list of foods to eliminate — for both your diet and your health are commercially produced dairy products.

I have been trying to move that way and now, because of a TED talk, I will be trying even harder.  According to the speaker, Robyn O’Brien, in 1994, a hormone was introduced to milk cows to increase milk production.It increased production but also caused mastoiditis and cysts in the cattle which required antibiotics which also ended up in our food.

O’Brien is a former food industry analyst and marketer and now the mother of 4 children. She speaks about what has changed all the foods we still think are healthy for us and why they are not. She’s not advocating an overthrow of the giant food companies; she is advocating that these companies start rethinking their strategies a bit as more people awaken to the fact that their health is on the line.

So, if you want to eat healthy and lose weight you have to put in a bit of work.  Rethink the proposition.  Read labels. Research. Know, for a fact, that many of the grains, milk and meat in our marketplace today are being “manufactured” by industry to get more of the product and more profit while basically sickening the people who use them.

It’s not the foods; it’s what the business has put in them.  But you can stop subsidizing these big comapanies.  And you can fight back by buying organic, buying local and growing some of your own.

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Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind | Talk Video | TED.com

If anyone had asked me if a TED talk on neural imaging of the brain would make me cry…I probably would have laughed.

But this TED talk by Nancy Kanwisher did just that.  In the last 2 or 3 minutes of this fascinating talk, Kanwisher popped some images on the screen and I cried, instantly, spontaneously.

I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to watch this talk but, having lost both of my brothers to brain tumors, I found the information and the imaging absolutely brilliant.

And the final images stunned me.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind | Talk Video | TED.com.

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Life After Working in Education

There is life after work.  Actually there is life after teaching for 30 years in our broken down, politically charged education system….and Ms. D proves it.

How I loved this post!

I’m not sure how she survived 30 years in education except it must have been for the kids.  I’m on my 3rd year (out of retirement) and I am stunned by the amount of energy given over to politics and the pettiness with so little time left for the students.

One of Ms. D’s comments just made me laugh out loud.  She is listing things she will NOT miss about her teaching career and this was my favorite – “Endure being told that I am blunt and intimidating because I have decades of experience and am not afraid to say what I think.”

I got that in corporate America with the added insult that my behavior didn’t go down well because, and I quote, “You are a woman.”  A-bloody-mazing.

I read then re-read this post of a woman who has and is reclaiming her life and herself and I was so impressed that I had to share it.  When I finished I sat in front of my laptop with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face knowing that Ms. D probably saved a whole lot of kids from the trash heap of their parents’ and neighborhoods’ lives, that she endured…despite the odds.

I hope you enjoy this.  The Year in Review « FARMHOUSE BY THE FALLS.

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Defy Gravity with Caroline Myss

I just finished reading Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason  by Caroline Myss but I don’t think I will ever be finished with this book.

Myss is a long-time practitioner of intuitive healing who is, also, well-respected within the traditional medical community.

Myss is also an amazing writer with an extraordinary talent for taking sometimes difficult and obscure teachings on self-healing and translating them into concepts that are clear and concise.

That doesn’t sound like much lot but it is.  In fact, it’s a huge accomplishment because it makes these otherwise arcane approaches and methods readily available to anyone who has 20 minutes a day to read Defy Gravity!

Teresa of Avila, Muhammad, Buddha, and Saint John of the Cross are all woven into this tapestry of intuitive understanding and healing.  Myss doesn’t espouse one spiritual approach over another; she moves through them, finds common ground within them and expands their sometimes parochial meanings into universal truths

Myss may well have found the path that Joseph Campbell spoke of when he said religions in the 20th century would NOT be able to help anyone until all religions found a way to bring their myths into the modern world — the world in which you and I live, work and try to get along.

There was so much to learn and think about and play with while I was reading this book that it’s hard for me to choose what to share but here are some of my favorites:

Forgiveness is NOT releasing the aggressor nor is it telling them that what they did was okay and all is forgiven.  Forgiveness takes place inside where my disappointed, abused, angry ego confronts my soul and releases its hold.  The goal of forgiveness is shattering the myth that maintains that suffering is deserving of recognition, reward and/or righteous vengeance.  Understanding the essence of forgiveness is one of the most deeply healing and liberating gifts you can give yourself.

Working in harmony with the universe influences all life; dominating just one life destroys you.

See clearly. Recognize illusion. You can visit your wounds now and again (like we all do), but you can no longer, mentally or emotionally reside in that place, continually processing wounds that are decades old.

Keep your soul intact at all times.  Look for God or the Universe in the smallest details of your life.

Stay where you belong, in the present moment.

This one is mine – born in the crucible of my own search for joy and peace:

All of the stories of my life – the ones I tell myself, my friends, my loved ones – are ingrained but….when I drop them I can see the beautiful world all around me – right in front of me – in the present moment.  And I can, literally, breathe in joy and peace.

Buy the book; borrow it, read it and just feel yourself opening up to the universe and all the potential for wonder, love and joy that are already inside you!

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