Saturday, August 27, 2016

More on the Value of Self-Compassion

Research indicates that cultivating self-compassion can contribute to beneficial physical, emotional-mental, and interpersonal changes, such as:

  • Modulates hormonal functioning, especially of oxytocin and cortisol
  • Reduces the intensity and frequency of negative and chronic stress reactions
  • Copes with difficult emotional experiences
  • Moderates depression and anxiety
  • Increases emotional well being
  • Mitigates negative thinking, including rumination
  • Improves interpersonal relationships
  • Enhances patience, generosity, gratitude, acceptance, humility, openness, and gentleness
--From the Chopra Center

Excerpted and edited from "A Fearless Heart" by Thupten Jinpa, PhD:

1) ... self-compassion is totally different from narcissistic self-absorption. Truly self-compassionate people take care of themselves while being attentive to the feelings and needs of those around them.

2)  Self-compassion should not be confused with self-pity, either. ... Self-pity is a form of self-absorption, whereas self-compassion allows us to see our difficulties within the larger context of shared human experience.

3) Self-compassion is not self-gratification. ... Self-compassion is not an impulse to "treat ourselves," though sometimes, mindfully and upon reflection, we may decide to have a treat.

4) ...self-compassion is not the same as self-esteem.  With self compassion, we relate to ourselves, especially our struggles and failures, with understanding, kindness, and acceptance. ... Self-esteem is self-regard based on self-evaluation.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hospital Pays it Forward in Florida

Public Doman photo by Paul Brennan
Nonprofit hospitals in Orlando, Fla., that treated victims of Pulse nightclub massacre said Wednesday that no survivors of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history will pay out of pocket for their care, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Orlando Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital will write off an estimated $5.5 million for treatment related to the June 12 attack that killed 49 people.

Orlando Regional Medical Center, which is located a few blocks from the nightclub and treated most of the victims, will bill health insurers where applicable and absorb all costs that aren’t covered by outside providers, said its parent company, Orlando Health. Families of patients who died at the hospital also will not be charged. Florida Hospital said it will bill neither insurers nor patients for Pulse-related care, including any necessary follow-up surgeries for victims.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Link Into High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace. Register by 8/26/16

On 1 September 2016, the President of the UN General Assembly convenes a one-day high-level forum at the UN Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption of  the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

... the General Assembly high-level Forum is intended to be open and public. UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society including NGO’s, media, private sector, and all others interested, have the opportunity to exchange of ideas and suggestions on the ways to build and promote the Culture of Peace and to highlight emerging trends that impact the implementation process.

Featured Speakers include:

H.E. Ban-Ki-Moon - Secretary General of the United Nations
H.E. Mogens Lykketoft - President of the 70th session of the General Assembly
H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury - Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN
Ms. Barbara Marx Hubbard - Director of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution
Mr. Federico Mayor - Former Director-General of UNESCO

Registration Required by Friday, August 26, 2016
for this valuable and free event!

Or watch the Live Webcast September 1st worldwide at

--a compilation of news from the General Assembly of the United Nations, and We, The World

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Paddling for Clean Water Awareness

Photo from Paddle4Blue blog

"This adventure for our water, our rivers, our ocean, our bays/estuaries has begun, It certainly won't be an earth shattering movement, won't rock the world, but it's very much another drop in the ocean of worker bees striving to make our watery world a better place. It's what I can do, so with the help of many many hands along the way, prayers from friends and family, I'm doing it," Blue Frontier Ocean Explorer Margo Pellegrino to Eco Watch about if 927 mile Mississippi River paddle to New Orleans from Chicago.

From Eco Watch:

Incredibly, Pellegrino's current trip is actually the second leg of her two-year "The Big Apple to The Big Easy" journey. For the past three summers in a row, Pellegrino has paddled extreme distances from one city to another. In 2015, she paddled from New York City to Chicago via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. In 2014, she paddled from Trenton to Newark.

To date, the ocean activist has paddled more than 5,000 miles of the nation's coast. For her current campaign, she has helped Blue Frontier raise roughly $11,500 towards a $30,000 target to go towards conservation efforts.

According to Blue Frontier, Pellegrino and her logistics and communications crew are hoping to raise public awareness to problems affecting our waterways. Along the way to her destination, Pellegrino and her team will be holding a number of community events so people can learn why clean water, and the people whose jobs and health depend on it, should be a nationwide issue. You can see tentative landing dates here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grow Compassion by Holding Space for Yourself

The following is excerpted and edited from Uplift Connect:

Holding space* for yourself gives you a place to check your direction, to see who or what is in the driver seat of your life, and to adjust your course when you need to. It brings space and awareness into your life, ensuring your life reflects your soul and your longings, so you don’t have to wake up at age 45 and realise you don’t like who you’ve become.

If you truly want to help others, and make a positive impact on the world, then learning to hold space for yourself, to befriend and love yourself, is the greatest impact you could make on the planet. You can’t hold space for someone else if you can’t be with your own pain and hold space for yourself.  If there’s no room for you in your life, there isn’t really any room for others. When you’re kind to yourself you impact the lives of others by being less reactive, more responsive, more available, empathic, compassionate, kind, present, balanced and at peace.

But how do we hold space for ourselves? Here are some simple steps to ensure there is room in your life for you.

1. Embracing your imperfection

Your “imperfections” are what make you unique and can often be the gateway to your greatest gifts. If you try and be like everyone else, you rob the world of your special talents and the rare contribution that only you can make. The more you can accept and learn to love your individuality, the more you will express it and the happier you will be. Some of the world’s most uncompromisingly brazen individuals have made enormous impacts.... Self-acceptance is key to holding space for yourself. The more you accept and love yourself, the more you will look after yourself and value your own needs.

2. Saying no

When you say ‘no’ to others, you very often say ‘yes’ to yourself. If you’re doing something for others at the expense of yourself, it is not beneficial for anyone...

...Honouring yourself always works out well. It’s unkind to put yourself last, and agreeing to do things through obligation always breeds resentment. This is not to say you shouldn’t do things for others, but there’s a way to do it that also supports your own wellbeing. When you say ‘no’ to others, you strengthen your self-esteem, you show yourself that you are important and valuable. And you give others permission to do the same.

3. Developing boundaries.

When you have good boundaries, are assertive and can say ‘no’ without feeling guilty, then obligatory relationships end and you can enter the realm of the undefended heart – a place where you are able to love freely and generously. Much of loving is defended loving. When you know you have the strength to stand up for yourself and stand in your own corner, you can actually love more freely. Boundaries don’t need to shut out, they can actually strengthen bonds.

4. Communing with yourself

Making time to truly connect with yourself supports your overall health and wellbeing. I have a practice each morning and evening where I place my hands over my heart, and drop into my inner world, to visit my deepest self. I tune in to my heart and feel where I’m at, observing how my body is feeling, and noticing my emotions and thoughts. I recall all those fragments of myself, the energy that has been scattered between situations, people and places, and put myself back together like a puzzle. I also take this time to connect with my spiritual nature, to remember I am spirit, and to pray for guidance and support. However, you can do this in whatever way feels right for you. Creative practices like music, art, journalling, or just being in nature, are deeply healing for the spirit that has been left out in the cold.

5. Listening

In stillness we get to know who we are. Taking time to be still, alone, to simply be, supports you in getting to know yourself and your dreams, and gives you space to correct your course if you have lost your way. It helps you to shine a light onto negative cycles and habitual patterns. Simply noticing what you ‘do’ is the first step to healing. Observing with kindness, acceptance and humour is key to disrupting the cycle, as criticism keeps us locked into these negative patterns.

6. Reaching for support

In order to hold space for yourself, you must be able to reach out for support when you need it. This strengthens your ability to be there for yourself. Knowing your own limits and knowing you can get support if you need it, makes your power to be there for yourself grounded and deeper.

7. Being authentic

This is you! You know the truth. You know who you are. Don’t hide it from yourself. Have the courage to see all of you; your gifts and your less than perfect bits. When you see yourself with kindness and compassion, you have the power to change aspects of your self or your life that you dislike.

8. Being a good parent to yourself

A creative parent holds space for a child to explore, be creative, test boundaries, let their imagination run wild, experience different personalities, ideas and roles. A great parent doesn’t control or shut down. This is the same when dealing with your inner-child. Allow yourself explore and experience life, empower yourself to make the right choices and live life in your own way. Be an innovative parent to your inner child: loving yourself when you’re sick, being encouraging when you fall over, and always cheering yourself on.

9. Developing supportive rituals

Take a stand for yourself. Do at least one nurturing thing for yourself every day and make a promise to yourself that you will check in with you every day. Just as you would invest time in a friendship, making time to call your friend and find out how she’s doing, or give extra love and support during a rough time, you can do the same with yourself. Truly, you are your own best friend.

*When we hold the space for someone we are just present, listening, and validating. We aren't judging, giving advice or offering a solution. We are just there holding their pain, their anguish, their joy, their space.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Joshua Tree Bhakti Fest to Benefit India Charities

Bhakti Fest is a conscious gathering of yoga and sacred music in Joshua Tree, CA!  The 4-day event (September 8-11, 2016) offers non-stop music on two stages, 108 workshops and 72 yoga classes.  Bhakti Fest features world-renowned teachers and artists, including Krishna das Jai Uttal, MC Yoga, Shiva Rea, and many more!  

Bhakti Fest is the premier yoga, sacred music, and personal growth festival in the United States. Since 2009, for six days each September, we have featured the best yoga teachers, Kirtan musicians, and workshop leaders in the world. We are part of the Center for Spiritual Studies, a 501c3 nonprofit that supports charities across the globe, mainly in India. Proceeds generated each year, after we cover our costs, go to our chosen causes. We accept donations to help us provide extraordinary festivals and give support to those less fortunate than us. 

Bhakti Fest celebrates the devotional paths of yoga, Kirtan (sacred music), and meditation. Our festival is a drug and alcohol free vehicle for evolution of human consciousness through a heart-centered revolution. Bring your yoga mats this September to the idyllic Joshua Tree Retreat Center, located in the beautiful region east of Los Angeles. Practice with the best yoga teachers in the world, dance to sacred music by world-renown Kirtan artists, and take workshops with leaders in the field of personal growth. Camp out beneath the stars or stay at one of our many accommodations on and offsite; enjoy the swimming pool and free filtered drinking water; stop in at The Bhakti Family Village and expose your children to other enlightened youth and families; enjoy the best vegetarian food at any festival. We offer student, senior, military and local resident discounts. We are building community—please join us!

New in 2016: A women’s dome and men’s lodge have gender specific workshops, plus sound baths will extend into the evening under the stars! Bhakti Fest is a vegetarian/vegan family friendly event that is alcohol and drug free! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

People Generously Giving During Floods & Fires

Clips from Facebook and news stories about all the good things people are doing for each other during the fires in the West, and floods in the South:

""Cambria spirit under pressure? You bet. When North Coast residents and visitors were dining today at Redwood Cafe in Cambria, a company of 20 firefighters came in from the Chimney Fire. One by one, the other customers told restaurant owner Rick Pfannkuche that they wanted to buy a meal for a firefighter. One customer wanted to pay for four of them. Not one of those firefighters had to pay for his or her own meal. Later, 10 more firefighters came in, and Pfannkuche's employees combined their tips and other donations to pay for the meals (with some financial assistance from their boss). That, my friends, is Cambria spirit.


Friday, August 19, 2016 04:59PM
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Although Chad McIntyre, owner of Eco-Tech Draft Systems, calls Raleigh home now, he is worried about his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has been watching the flooding in his hometown, and has decided to do something about it.

McIntyre took to Facebook and asked his followers to donate much needed supplies, including:

Work gloves
Disposable dust masks
Box knives (box cutters)
Large trash bags
Medium to large plastic bins (to store what didn't get wet)
Socks - men's, women's, children's sizes
Diapers - all sizes
Toilet paper
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Bug spray
Home Depot gift cards

McIntyre has also partnered with a few Baton Rouge churches that will accept donations for flood victims.

Taylor Swift is donating $1 million to Louisiana flood relief after torrential rains caused massive flooding in the state and killed at least 11 people.


D and K Transport located in Bristolville Ohio will be in Louisiana Wednesday August 24th,2016 to Sunday August 28th,2016 helping out with the transportation and supplies for the flood victims and animals. Many of you have asked us to take items such as lead ropes, hay, water, halters and basic general horse supplies along with clothing and personal items for the flood victims. Also some of you have asked us to create a Go Fund Me so you may donate money; so we have created this Go Fund Me Account for the Louisiana flood victims so that you may contribute to the cause. Any extra money will be donated to the relief victims in Louisiana. Thank you all for your support and kind words!!


A horse rescue in San Bernardino County asked for trucks, trailers and other supplies as it helped the community evacuate the fast-moving Blue Cut Fire that erupted Tuesday morning, charring 23 square miles.

Mea Ola's Place, a nonprofit horse rescue and rehabilitation center in Phelan, posted several videos to its Facebook page Tuesday asking for additional resources.

Mea Ola's Place houses 41 horses and 100 other animals including turkeys, chickens and dogs. Kline is asking for people with trucks and trailers to be on standby in case the rescue needs to evacuate and relocate the animals.