Saturday, March 7, 2015

Going To School With Her Great-Great-Granchildren

Ninety-year-old Priscilla Sitienei is believed to be the oldest primary school student in the world. As an active midwife in Kenya, Priscilla helped deliver many of her primary-school classmates, including six of her great-grand children who are in her class. Community members and students affectionately call Priscilla "Gogo," which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language. To them, Gogo is a shining example that it is never too late to pursue a dream. By finally learning to read and write, Gogo hopes to pass on her midwifery and literacy knowledge for future generations.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 6, 2015

Nobody else gets to live your life. You’re the artist. Paint your own picture. Dream your own masterpiece into being.”

Imagine your life as a blank canvas and what happens to you the brush you paint with. Each stroke has relevance and once imprinted on the canvas nothing can be erased or corrected. It is totally your own responsibility for each and every touch the brush makes to the canvas. Much will depend on what you accomplish while you create. The people you encounter, the difficulties and disappointments, the joys and successes, will all make their own mark as you journey through life. The brush is yours alone and nobody else is allowed access to tamper with what is imprinted. Each and every one of us is an artist in the painting of their own life so let’s strive to make it a masterpiece.

Cathi Bew

Why We Love Music

What is our fascination with music? And, why is it that it sometimes invokes such a deeply emotional response? Scientists have been pondering this question for years, and now -- with fMRI technology they are able to visualize the brain's musical connection. "Music affects deep emotional centers in the brain," shares neuroscientist, Valorie Salimpoor. "It's very powerful." How powerful? In one study, research suggests that we may be biologically driven to our tastes in music.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 5, 2015

“The more you are thankful for, the more you attract things to be thankful for.”

I always compare this to a ripple in the great pool of life. What starts as a small pebble (our thanks) thrown into the pool, gradually gets wider and wider the more we throw in and, subsequently, the ripples eventually reach the bank of life where the things we need or want lie and are sucked into the pool. It’s all a matter of state of mind. Believe in being thankful for everything in life and trust that the Universe will hear you and acknowledge your gratitude by giving you even more to be grateful for. A win win situation all round for everybody.

Cathi Bew

Continuous Inspiration

Inspiration is best served on a continuous basis. It’s great to be inspired once, and a whole lot better to stay inspired all the time.

Instead of looking for something that will inspire you in a big, impressive way, set yourself up to be inspired in every small moment. Instead of waiting for the big things to inspire and motivate you, choose to let everything inspire and motivate you.

See inspiration not as something you get, but as something you create. Give yourself a good reason to be positive, to be effective, to be active and involved, and you will be.

Decide that you will be continuously inspired, constantly motivated, and always on the lookout for ways to lift up all of life. Decide to live on the bright, positive, hopeful side of life and enjoy the power it gives you to do great and beneficial things.

Choose to be inspired by the victories and the defeats, the setbacks as well as the successes. Find a little positive particle in every person, every situation and every event, and commit yourself to making that positivity grow.

Life provides you with ample opportunities to be continuously inspired. Seize those opportunities, decide to be inspired again and again, and use that energy to always make this world a better place.

— Ralph Marston

Creating Welcoming Space

Marilyn Lacey, founder and executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders, invites us to consider the power of creating welcoming space for others, even those we consider strangers or enemies. Marilyn explains that hospitality "entails creating not just physical room but emotional spaciousness where the stranger can enter and be himself or herself, where the stranger can become ally instead of threat, friend instead of enemy." This poignant piece causes us to pause and consider the lines we can artificially draw between ourselves and others, and wonder what beautiful things may happen if we are willing to let those lines go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 4, 2015

“Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

Probably most, if not all, of us have been on the receiving end of a kindness from another person when we’ve most needed it. I know I have, many times. Not all of us can help those in financial need with a gift of cash, or those without a home a place to lay their head, etc. However, the one thing can we are all more than capable of giving is a kind word, a loving gesture, or our support. Often, this is just what is needed to reassure and comfort, the mere fact that someone cares enough to reach out to them.

Cathi Bew

No Regrets: Living With Dying

Patti Pansa knew the common regrets of the dying, and with stage-four metastasized breast cancer, she wanted to live her last days without them. "Between radiation treatments, spinal surgery, and a bucket list trip to Alaska, Patti wrote essays, talked with anyone who would listen, dreamed and created...Patti spent the last five months of her life celebrating, sharing, creating, loving, and living." By taking risks, trusting the universe, and operating from a place of gratitude, Patti developed and launched the "No Regrets Project" in her final days in this world, leaving behind five simple, personal practices that helped her live her life to the fullest. She offered these practices as a road map for anyone seeking to create the life they have imagined, with consciousness, wisdom, and authenticity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 3, 2015

Life will knock you down. The real learning starts when you have to get back up.”

Like me, I expect life has knocked you down more than a few times if you’ve been fortunate and a great many times if not. Sometimes, when we feel we’ve had enough, we may be tempted to just stay down there and asking why we should bother to pick ourselves up just to risk being knocked down again? However, here we are up and willing to give it another go. That’s because when we’re “down there” hopefully we’d rather be “up there” again and that’s our good ole survival instinct kicking in. Every time we continue to grit our teeth and do this we’re learning the lesson of being optimistic and hopeful that things will get better, so good for us, eh?

Cathi Bew

Touch as a Form of Nutrition

Is it any coincidence that when a friend or loved one does something nice for us, we feel "touched"? As John Tuite, founder of The Centre for Embodied Wisdom, tells us, "We mistakenly think that touch occurs on the periphery of our self, a skin thing." But as he shares, touch is a crucial piece of our health and development, and one we all too often go without as we get older.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How Your Mind Makes Up Self-Triggering Stories - Susan Campbell and John Grey

When your partner’s behavior triggers one or your deep-seated fears, such as fear of being criticized, your brain’s alarm system initiates a state of fight-flight-freeze in your body. Once your higher brain receives these danger signals, your mind tries to make sense of why your body is in this state. Not realizing how brain chemistry works, most people believe and act according to whatever stories their minds come up with. Under stress, the part of the brain that makes meaning of what is going on seems to formulate worst-case stories. Instead of reassuring us that we are safe — that there is no cause for alarm — this part of the human brain fabricates quite a different story.

We call this our storytelling brain. It is the part of our wiring that concocts meaning. This meaning-making function is generally considered to be located in the brain’s left hemisphere. The explanations provided by our storytelling brain usually justify why our alarms are ringing: “My feelings don’t matter.” “I’m never appreciated.” “I always come last.” “Nothing I do is ever enough.” This kind of self-talk escalates ...

The Alarm That Hijacks Your Love - Susan Campbell and John Grey

“I’ll be home late. Go ahead and have dinner without me.”

After hearing these words from her husband, Donna sat down and began to cry. “Eric’s such a workaholic,” she thought. “So busy all the time. And so tired. He never wants to talk or be intimate. What am I doing in this marriage?”

Donna was having another one of her inner conversations. She knew she should be having this conversation with Eric, but she feared Eric would just tune her out or be too distracted to listen. She thought, “I have to totally blow up if I want his attention. And that doesn’t really get me what I want. I don’t know what to do.”

Two hours later, Eric walked into the house carrying an armful of papers and books. Before he could get to his desk to put his papers down, Donna called out from the kitchen, “Well, it’s about time! What took so long?”

“Oh no,” Eric thought to himself, “I hardly get through the front door, and she starts in on me. I should have ...

Five Minute Relationship Repair - Susan Campbell and John Grey

Falling in love is the easy part. Staying in love is another matter. Some couples seem blessed with everlasting love. Then there’s the rest of us — who start running into trouble once the honeymoon is over. We encounter differences, disagreements, disappointments. Buttons get pushed. We watch helplessly as loving feelings start to fade in the face of misunderstandings, blowups, shutdowns, or vicious communication cycles.

What do couples blessed with ongoing happiness know that we don’t know? In a word, they know how to repair. They are good at quickly attending to the little glitches that every relationship encounters. Those of us who do not naturally know how to do this suffer a buildup over time of unrepaired ruptures. Eventually this buildup leads to feeling unsafe or guarded with each other. And we find ourselves feeling less intimate, less relaxed, and often more alone.

This gradual erosion of loving feelings is extremely common — so common that it could be considered normal. But what if there were another path you could take with your partner? What if you knew how to ...

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 2, 2015

“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.”

Anybody who knows me will tell you I am a big softy. A sad movie, a heart-wrenching story, being unable to offer help or support to someone in need, it’s reach for the tissues time. I used to think this was a sign of weakness and needed to “woman up” as it were but, you know what, I’ve changed my mind. Perhaps my tears are because I feel another’s pain and suffering but that doesn’t mean I’m weak, it just means that I am brave enough to open my heart to another’s pain and suffering. Weakness would be closing the doors of my heart to it and, thank goodness, that’s just not me. Will you be brave too?

Cathi Bew

You Are Ready for Action

You can sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, or you can get busy and let inspiration find you already in action. You can wait until you are ready, or you can simply declare that you are ready and get yourself started.

Being ready for action is really nothing more than a state of mind. And you can change the state of your mind as quickly as you wish, anytime you wish.

So the fact is, you are ready, right now, here in this place, with everything just as it is. You are ready to make things happen, so remind yourself of that and get going.

The satisfaction of solving a difficult problem, or creating something new and valuable, is right there in your foreseeable future. And here you are, ready and eager to go.

This is going to be a truly outstanding day because you are ready to make it so. The future looks bright because you are ready to do whatever it takes to make that future shine.

Yes, you are ready for action, as ready as anyone can possibly be. Take a deep breath, flood your awareness with the possibilities, and go make amazing things happen, now.

— Ralph Marston

Empathy With The Enemy

"If empathy is truly to take its place as a central value in contemporary culture," says author Roman Krznaric, "we need to put it to the test in the most difficult situations...We must extend our empathetic imaginations not just to the dispossessed or disadvantaged, but also to those whose views and actions we might oppose or disdain...That is how empathy can become both a moral guide and a basis for a philosophy of living." Roman Krznaric challenged the limits of his own empathy by visiting and opening his heart to people who he felt were responsible for immense injustices and the suffering of entire communities. What he learned about the humanity in all surprised and challenged him. Read on to learn about his courageous journey.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daily Inspirational Quote – March 1, 2015

“No matter how big your house is, how new your car is, or how big your bank account is….our graves will always be the same size….stay humble….”

No matter how I try I just don’t understand why everything seems to be about how much people have in the way of material possessions, or the obsession people, especially the youngest among us, have with “celebrities” and their latest facelift, romance, scandal etc. What happened to just being interested in the people around us and being happy to be a part of their lives and content with what we have? We are all going to end up the same way and, as the saying goes, “there are no pockets in a shroud.”

Cathi Bew

Bhutan's Living Laboratory For Education

"Camp Rural-Urban Friendship is really a living laboratory for trying something different in education, just as Bhutan, with its philosophy of Gross National Happiness, is a living laboratory for trying something different with development." When youth from urban and rural areas of Bhutan united with visionary volunteers at Camp RUF this past summer, co-created sparks began fly. Volunteer Tim Huang shares his reflections on this remarkable gathering, and what we all can learn when we open our hearts.