Category Archives: community

Current Mood

black lives matter

I love this cartoon by one of my favorite artists, Elisabeth McNair. It definitely represents my current mood.

For anyone that missed last week’s blog post, you can click here. As a continuation of that blog post, I wanted to add a little information about defunding the police. It’s the latest hot topic, and it’s not as scary or drastic as some people think. I see so many people reacting to the idea negatively that haven’t researched it. They are reacting to something they don’t understand. It simply means shifting some of the police budget into social services.

Below are examples of how New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are already moving in that direction.

The Los Angeles Police Department was set to receive a large increase in its annual budget from $1.189 billion last year to $1.86 billion (most of the budget increases were for new police bonuses) for 2020-2021. Mayor Eric Garcetti has now decided to cut $100-$150 million from that budget to invest in youth jobs and health initiatives that serve the community.

Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco officers will stop responding to non-criminal activities such as disputes between neighbors, reports about homeless people and school discipline interventions as part of a police reform plan. Officers would be replaced by trained, unarmed professionals to limit unnecessary confrontation between the police department and the community.

In New York, more than 40 city council candidates are calling for a $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget over four years to help fund other programs such as the city’s summer youth employment program. New York state Senator Julia Salazar said, “I think we need to consider a divest/invest model. When we look at their resources, and how they’re deploying them violently and recklessly, it makes the case even stronger for reducing their budget, and then using those funds for social services…”

Think about it this way, what are your values? Do you want to invest in youth jobs, community centers, rehabilitation programs and health services? Or more policing, and continuing with what is in place currently that obviously isn’t working? Which plan sounds like a sensible and sustainable approach to you?

(The topic continues in the comment section below.)

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What You Can Do

what you can do

By now I’m sure everyone is aware of the George Floyd protests that have been taking place. As someone that has participated in social justice protests in New York, I can attest to the dedication and courage it takes to participate. You can literally arrive with peace in your heart and the best intentions, and end up with your life on the line.

Please do not confuse looters with protestors. Looting is not protesting. Anyone that was involved in nefarious activities was not a protestor. (*For additional views on on the protest, as well as looting and rioting, please read my other post.)

Many of the protestors that participated will arrive home safely and others will need some form of legal, financial or medical assistance. Please stand in solidarity with these individuals, as well as the organizations that support them. I’ve listed donation links below by city.

If you are not able to make a donation, please post something supportive on your social media accounts or write a letter to congress. Anything that will raise awareness.

And if you feel unsure about what’s happening, these social media accounts might be of interest to you.

NAACP_LDF

Public_Citizen

RepBeatty

JamaalBowmanNY

TahanieNYC

BlkLivesMatter

AOC

Samswey

UntilFreedom

Rachel.Cargle

TheConsciousKid

MsPackyetti

ThePeoplesAction

MNFreedomFund

PrivToProg

LSarsour

You are welcome to post additional social media accounts and organizations in the comments.

I’m just encouraging everyone to take some type of positive action. (If they haven’t already done so.)

The world is a very small place. We are all connected. If we ignore, misuse or abuse each other (or the planet) we are only hurting ourselves. Let’s rise to help one another. You have the freedom to do it in your own way.

A better world depends on a better collective consciousness. And that depends on each one of us taking responsibility for our part in that collective. If we want the world to change, we must change first.

Think of new ways to be and new ways to help. The possibilities are endless. And if nothing comes to mind, just support those on the front lines. That’s always a great place to start.

Sending love and support to everyone during this time. I know we’re all hurting in different ways. Let’s continue to be compassionate and courageous, and calm.

Fear, stress and blame is not where we want to focus. I always remind myself of this quote, “Where your attention goes, it grows.” Keep your mind and energy on what the world needs right now.

Empathy, peace, love, creativity, patience, compassion, ingenuity, encouragement, support, healing, well-being, understanding… Let’s root our actions and thoughts in what we need most.

Donating to protestors in Minnesota:

It’s my understating that Minnesota Freedom Fund is fully funded right now and wants donations sent to the following organizations;

https://www.blackvisionsmn.org

https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home

Donating to protestors in other cities:

Brooklyn

Oakland/San Jose

Richmond

Chapel Hill

Seattle

Portland

Houston

Dallas

Chicago

Philadelphia

Colorado

Massachusetts

Louisville

Atlanta

Columbus

For all the cities I missed, you can check this website and scroll down for a city near you.

https://linktr.ee/transnormativity

And if you need bail support or have questions, you can call the National Lawyers Guild directly 612-444-2654

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Russell Brand: Addiction, Conditions & Community

Russell Brand Addiction

“Why is it, that through my life I felt this sense of irritation? This agitation, this emptiness, this hollowness? This feeling that something is not quite there. The feeling that there is something just beyond my grasp. This sort of loneliness, a hollowness in me always. It nagged away at me. When I found, sort of, every progressive drug; cannabis, LSD, crack, heroin — each of them were greeted as tiny little powdery profits — solutions to the problem of my inner angst. But, you know, none of them worked. The thing is, what I have learned is, that what I was looking for all that time, is a sense of union, a sense of connection. I heard once, that all desire, is an inappropriate desire to be one with God. Who knows that more than we? I think we drug addicts are very religious people. I think we have a yearning for something potent. Life is just not enough. It’s enough for other people to go have a few drinks, a bit of a smoke, even a couple of lines. And they’re alright with it. Why for us must there be more? Why for us is there the subsequent misery? Because for us, these flimsy scraps are never going to be enough. We want the real connection. We want the absolute connection. And the thing is, that kind of connection exists. It’s possible that you in fact could find it now. But first you have to remove the chemicals and substances. You have to get rid of them. I believe in abstinence based recovery. I believe that if you are a drug addict in the nature that I am, you have to remove drugs from your life. Then what I think is, you have to create the conditions for a spiritual experience. You have to create the conditions. I heard a wonderful analogy once, apparently if you live in rural America — and I can’t imagine what that must be like — but if you do, you have to build a post box. You have to put a post up and build the post box to the exact specifications. Otherwise, the U.S. mail ain’t going to deliver your letters! So every morning, if you are thinking, “Eh, I can’t be bothered to build a mailbox. They can just chuck it on the lawn.” You might not get any letters, and you might therefore receive the information in your head that no one loves you, that no one cares about you. But you didn’t build the conditions for the letters to be delivered! I’ve been getting clean from drugs and following 12 step based abstinence programs. It’s creating the conditions for a spiritual experience. We have to create the conditions for the letters to be delivered. Once we create the condition for the spiritual experience — which isn’t easy — it isn’t easy, but it’s easier than being a drug addict in active addiction. Once you create those conditions, it’s possible for the spiritual experience. Then, you will need the support of a community, a community of like minded people. I think this is true for any transcendence, for any spiritual life.” — Russell Brand

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Thank You, Greg Boyle (and Everyone at Homeboy Industries!)

Homeboy-Bakery-Bread-e1381946167538

Father Greg Boyle_g-dog

Homeboy_Industries

homegirl industries

Just in case you haven’t heard of Homeboy Industries and the work of Father Greg Boyle, I thought I would a share it with you. You can read the book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, or watch the documentary G-Dog, or eat at Homegirl Cafe, and much, much, more. There is so much goodness to experience through the work that Father Greg Boyle sparked. And that spark has now turned into Homeboy Industries wildfires. It has helped Los Angeles communities (and people all over the world) in such powerful ways, and it stands as an example of what is possible when love & compassion are unstoppable.

All I have to say is, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Below are a few clips from the G-Dog documentary, and a few other videos that share the philosophy, work, and story of Homeboy Industries.

“Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.” – Greg Boyle

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Filed under change, community, rehabilitation

Happy Thanks-living!

sweet potatoes happy thanks-living

Last week I was emailing with a friend. Before I ended my email, I added this sentence: “Have a super-duper Thanksliving next week. It’s nice to know that neither of us will be eating anyone. ;) It will be a celebration of life & thanks! So much to be grateful for.”

As most of my regular readers know, I don’t eat Turkey on Thanksgiving. I shared my point of view and reasons why in this 2012 blog post titled “Who Me?” If you click on the title, you can view and read the blog post. Please do! You’ll be happy you did.

I’m wishing everyone (in the USA, since it’s an American holiday) a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. But before I go, I would also like to share a video that was sent to me this week. I found it so inspiring. The video if of Jason Brown. He was an NFL player, that had a glamorous life and a 37.5 million dollar contact to play football. All that is behind him now. With awareness and insight, he made the decision to move to North Carolina to start a farm. He decided that living closer to nature & family was what was most important to him. This year, his farm grew 117,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, and he donated almost half of that amount to feed people in need. He is more connected to his environment, community and his family than ever. But more importantly, his more connected to himself on a deeper level, and lives with greater awareness. (His video is embedded below.)

I was talking to my dad on the telephone this morning. I was telling him that with greater awareness comes a deeper listing. It happens naturally as a result of stillness. When people are more aware, there is a stillness within them that allows them to listen intuitively. And it’s those internal messages and cues that guide them. Jason Brown was guided in this way. He knew that money & status wasn’t going to buy him what is most important. He was clear that love & connection is what he valued most. You can read more of his story here.

Whatever it is that we decide to do, in career, family, relationships, diet — it’s always best to choose powerfully. In order to choose powerfully, there needs to be some deep questioning and listening. If we can create a sense of stillness, and quiet the mind chatter or story that runs like a broken record in our minds, we can hear what is most important. For each person the details might be different, but the core of it is the same. Love, honesty, connection, and contribution is paramount. Without that, our lives wouldn’t amount to much.

Everyone defines their core values in their own way, even though we generally share the same values. Which is great, it makes us all unique. But it’s important that we repeatedly ask ourselves if we are living in alignment with our core values. Continuously checking in with ourselves and seeing if our current choices are in alignment with what matters most to us, and if it follows the guidance of our heart. And if we aren’t living in alignment with our highest values, why? What is stopping us? And what actions would it take to make sure that we are? What would our lives feel and look like if we made sure that our lives were based on powerful choices made with awareness, compassion and great love?

 

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Filed under community, holiday, thanksgiving