Friday, September 22, 2017

Easy Steps Toward Building Compassion



Train Your Brain to be Compassionate…
in 7 Hours Or Less! 
A NeuroTip by Mark Waldman

A new study at the University of Wisconsin shows that adults can be quickly trained to be more caring toward others by practicing loving kindness meditation.

Participants spent a half hour each day listening to an audio recording in which they envisioned a time when someone has suffered. As they did so, they repeated a phrase like this: "May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease."

Participants then played a money game where people were treated fairly or unfairly. Those who did the compassion training were more likely to give money to people who suffered financial loss. When their brains were scanned, they showed more activity in circuits involving motivation, awareness, and pleasure.

Altruism not only gave these people more satisfaction, they gained more control over their emotions. Compassion can also lower social anxiety and reduce antisocial behavior.

Begin by thinking about a loved one and sending kind thoughts toward them: "May you be happy, may you be well, may you be filled with love and peace." 

Then send kind thoughts toward yourself. Next, send kindness to a stranger. Finally, repeat these phrases as you think about a difficult person – someone you have had a conflict with and who deeply hurt your feelings. This step is difficult, but the emotional release can feel fantastic. If you can't send kindness or forgiveness, that's okay. Perhaps it will be easier on another day. Try it again later.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Global Peace Meditations with Links



Below are two notices of Global Meditations for Peace and activities.

BeThePeace Global Meditation
Thursday September 21, 12noon US Pacific 



Hosted by the Gaiafield Project and the Shift Network
Happy Peace Day! 

Tens of millions of people around the world will engage in peace-building actions of various kinds today.

And over 5,000 people have registered already for our BeThePeace Global Meditation, taking place at 12noon US Pacific.

At this critical time of transition for humanity, please join us to plant seeds of peace deep in your heart and in the higher awareness of humanity itself.

Register here

Note: The meditation will be available by phone, webphone, and audio webcast




Tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 22,  2017) begins World Peace Weekend and so many people and organizations are joining in this Global Peace event. 


Today, we bring you three beautiful and important videos about peace. Check them out below and share them with your friends and colleagues. 

We're honored to be part of this Global Campaign for Peace and partner with so many organizations focusing on peace and compassion. 

Gather your friends, UNIFY, join a local event near you from our World Peace Events Map and build a bridge to others in the name of peace.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Everyday People Show Good Deeds Exist

Volunteer sorts trash collected during a local coastal cleanup
With a spate of news reporting on people with "bad in the heart," the folks with "good in the heart" are alive and showcasing how easy it is to be a force for good.  Over the last weekend, thousands of people around the world joined in an effort to clean beaches and waterways of trash, that would have eventually wound up in the ocean.

Besides my personal moment this week with a good deed (and super-stress relieving good deed) given to me, the local paper reports the following:

BY DAVID CARACCIO
dcaraccio@sacbee.com

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 12:01 PM

Elk Grove resident Melissa Vang is thrilled to see that goodness still lies in the hearts of today’s teens.

She witnessed a good deed right at her own front door when Tyler Opdyke, 18, returned her husband’s wallet that happened to have $1,500 in it.

However, Vang didn’t answer the door when Opdyke came knocking, because like many people she doesn’t open the door to strangers. But she found him later, and thanked him for his kind gesture.

“When I checked the video, he had walked away already,” Vang told ABC 10. “I was like, ‘that’s my husband’s wallet!’ ”

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/state/california/article174171431.html#storylink=cpy

What good deed can you share today?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Food for Peace





On July 10, 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law the legislation that would eventually become known as the Food for Peace Act. As a result, the Food for Peace program has been bringing help and hope to the far reaches of the world for over 60 years - reaching more than 3 billion hungry people since its inception.

FFP predicts, prevents, and responds to hunger overseas. Through its emergency programs, FFP saves lives, reduces suffering, and supports the early recovery of people affected by conflict and natural disaster emergencies through food assistance. FFP’s development programs equip people with the knowledge and tools to feed themselves, address the underlying causes of hunger, and reduces the need for future food assistance. Alleviating global hunger is critical to national security: where hunger persists, instability grows. By supporting the world's most vulnerable, FFP is building a more stable world and ensuring that people have the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives.

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Impact Investing" for Underserved Communities



Unlocking new sources of capital and creating more inclusive markets in a changing global economy.


Since the concept of impact investing was coined in 2007, the impact investing sector has grown to US$77 billion, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development

The following is excerpted from Eco-Business news:

For Durreen Shahnaz, an investment banker turned social entrepreneur from Bangladesh, impact investing seeks to “connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of underserved communities."

... Impact investors mobilise capital to grow local businesses. But these businesses need water, sewers, electricity and roads. They need markets for selling their produce and storage to preserve their goods.

Only when basic infrastructure is in place can injections of new capital enable businesses to thrive and create jobs. ..

... Local savings groups in Durban have mapped their settlements and are using this information to improve houses and infrastructure. These community-led processes can facilitate public and private investment in informal settlements

Across the global South, low-income communities are often coming together themselves to develop their own ways to fund basic infrastructure. Savings schemes are one such way.

The savings groups provide a platform for people to self-organise, enabling them to collectively negotiate with governments to get the services they need: they know their city, they know how to design infrastructure that works and they know where the gaps are in housing, water and sanitation.

In Uganda, the Jinja Municipal Council worked with the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda to establish a community upgrading fund. As of 2014, the community fund had collected $161,949 from daily savings, helping more than 40,000 people. This fund supports community-led initiatives to provide toilets and water tanks and renovate health centres.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Finding Peace When "Great Souls Die"



On finding peace when "great souls die"

“When Great Trees Fall"

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
― Maya Angelou

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLK on Peace, Nonviolence, and Love


 "Don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," Strength to Love, 13 April 1960 


***

"I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war."


***
"Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 2 June 1959


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thomas Merton on Peace



The disruption of peace, like the flowering of peace begins with the seeds planted within. The following quote comes from an essay, The Root of War is Fear, written by the late Father Thomas Merton.


"Instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites of the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed  — but hate these things in yourself not in another."  - Thomas Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Loving the World -- a Meditation




Peace begins with a conscious intention within. While it is not The Daily Prism's intent to make anyone take time in meditation practice, it is surely the intent to introduce the possibility of how a meditation, prayer, or moments of profound silence, can heal the heart and open one to the elements of peace. With this week's theme of peace, this guided mediation video can be worthy of 15 minutes of one's time. 

We simply cannot battle every single injustice that occurs on this planet. But we can become beacons of peace, love and light. Meditations like the one below can be a part of one's spiritual armor. 


Monday, September 11, 2017

The Path of Peace and Contrary Persons



It's true, not every person with whom we cross paths is lovable. There are grumpy and discontent people. There are people emboldened with a shield of negativity. Some persons seek to mock the gentle ones. Others dwell in darkness and hate. And this list continues.  The truth, however, is that we choose the path of our heart's journey. 

When the paths of those who seek peace intersects with those walking a trail of contrary thought, it becomes an opportunity for both sides. The seeker of peace may have to accept the fact that there is nothing that can be said or done to change the one with contrary thought. So, the best that one can do is wish them peace and blessings, and move on. For the one on a trail of contrary thought, it is an opportunity to simply listen without judgement and assumption -- simple human acts that open the road to peace.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Daily Prism Pauses for a Brief Interlude




Time is what one makes of it. There's volunteer time, family time, personal time. For the next few weeks, we will make use of those special moments in time.

We'll return soon.

Meanwhile, keep up the good work and remain a force for good.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Food is Free!





The Food is Free Project(501c3 Nonprofit) grows community and food, while helping gain independence from a broken agricultural system.  The Food is Free Project is a community building and gardening movement that launched in January of 2012. We teach you how to connect with your neighbors and line your street with front yard community gardens which provide free harvests to anyone.

The gardens are built and offered for free using salvaged resources that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. By using drought-tolerant, wicking bed gardens, these low maintenance gardens only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks. This simple tool introduces people to a very easy method of growing organic food with very little work. A wide variety of vegetables along the block promote neighbors to interact and connect, strengthening our communities while empowering them to grow their own food.

It’s time we take back our food and meet our neighbors. Invite your friends to join the mission. Transform your own neighborhood by planting a community garden in your front yard.

The Food is Free Project started with one front yard garden. Less than 3 months later, the majority of neighbors on our pilot block host front yard community gardens.  We are documenting the process as we continue to expand, sharing our mistakes and successes, making the information open-source and available to anyone around the globe. Over 300 cities around the world have started Food is Free Projects and we invite you to start one in your community this season. It all starts with that first front yard garden or shared harvest. Let us know if we can offer any advice or answer questions.

Food is Free provides a platform for community interaction that opens doors to further collaboration and connection. Imagine driving down your street, where the majority of homes host a front yard community garden, neighbors come together for potlucks, establish tool-sharing and community composting programs while creating safer, more beautiful neighborhoods.

The Food is Free Project not only transforms neighborhood blocks, but has installed gardens at elementary schools, community arts spaces, farmers markets, churches and small businesses.

We are creating models for how to grow food in unused public spaces that provide opportunities for people to experience fresh, healthy, organic food, and the power of community when we come together for a cause that’s greater than ourselves. We want to learn what has worked for you so share your experiences and #foodisfree photos with us on social media.

--From the Food is Free Website

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Project on Food and Community





The Project on Food and Community (PFC) is committed to healthy food, healthy people, healthy communities. We study, promote and innovate in service to the food movement, dedicated to relational eating (understanding eating as an act of belonging), rebuilding the living soil, agroecological practices, permaculture principles and preserving and building vibrant food economies such that 50% of our food might come from within 500 miles of home by 2050, a goal that points more to a direction than to numbers.

Local Food Design Lab
We facilitate community conversations and workshops to foster collaborations, partnerships and enterprises to build stronger local food systems. The Local Food Design Lab, a unique workshop with Vicki Robin, has been presented in Brazil, Nelson, BC, Corvallis OR and Whidbey Island.

Local Food Challenge
The PFC also supports the 10-Day Local Food Challenge, a global invitation to eaters everywhere to participate in a shared game: for 10 days eat only food grown within 100 miles of home, allowing 10 exotics, foods from afar you can’t live without.

Everyone Eats
Everyone eats. Everyone, given a real choice, would feed their families beautiful food.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Something Exciting ... Emerging"




The Daily Prism received this email note recently, and it truly struck a chord. How about you? Are you feeling a surge in creativity? Are you feeling a surge to reconnect with the basics?  Does the following note sound familiar?

***

Amidst all the turbulence and craziness playing out in the political sphere worldwide, something fresh and exciting also seems to be emerging on the planet right now. The silver lining of things becoming so unhinged in mainstream society is that it may be forcing many of us to fundamentally rethink our priorities and to commit ourselves to a more radical path of inner and outer transformation.  
The urgency of the crisis is creating an intense evolutionary pressure to transform. 
In my own work, I've been experiencing a shift in vision away from any lingering notions of personal success toward a deeper yearning to be part of a wider global movement of change. We are moving away from the age of the spiritual celebrity to one in which we together spark an organic movement of life to bring renewal to humanity and the Earth. As Charles Eisenstein puts it, we are in transition from the Age of Separation to the Age of We Need Each Other. 
I have also been experiencing the call to liberate even more fully the wild, vital, creative life-force within, associated with the Earth, the body, and Eros. It's as though the irrational energies of destruction playing out in the collective are calling forth a deeper, wilder, more radical upswell of the creative life force in each of us in response. Our crazy times are nudging us to go beyond the realm of reason to dance the path of crazy (yet joyous) wisdom. 
It is my prayer that the resources offered in this month's Gaiafield Times support you in some way to feel connected to this creative life force and the wider movement for change. May we all find the courage to follow the guidance of our deepest creative inspiration - not just for our own satisfaction, but as our contribution to a deeply meaningful global movement whose potentials we cannot yet even grasp. 
Blessings of Peace,
David T. Nicol, for the Gaiafield Council.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The World Wants Your Joy


Joy! Joy to the world. Well, if only, right? The following is from the Chopra Center. We edited
"How to Elevate the World Through Your Own Happiness,"  a bit for space

***

There’s a lot going on in the world right now that can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. It’s tempting to want to retreat into your own little bubble with thoughts like, what could little ol’ me possibly do to shift the political climate, the worldwide hunger epidemic, and seemingly growing divisiveness between people on opposite sides of an imagined fence?

... Is there anything you can do in your daily life that could contribute to a world of more peace, understanding, and love?

Why the World Needs You to Prioritize Your Joy
Imagine you and your friend are walking along in the woods, and your friend falls into a deep ditch. ...The only way to pull a person out of a hole is to stand your elevated ground and pull him up.

...When someone you know is deep in a “ditch” of frustration, anger, grief, or pessimism, it doesn’t truly help him/her if you take on his/her feelings yourself. Be compassionate and understanding, yes, but unless you want to perpetuate and compound that negativity, you must anchor yourself in your own positivity to be of any service.

Refuse to jump into the ditch of negativity no matter what...

When You Make Happiness a Priority, It Gives Others Permission to Do the Same

...Not only is your environment more pleasant when you are happy, but you are giving other people permission to be happy themselves. Become an inspiration for the people around you, and when you do, you will feel great meaning in your daily attention to your well-being...

... Research shows that positive emotions spread up to three degrees of separation, meaning your child, your child’s teacher, and that teacher’s brother can benefit from your own individual happiness. If we all paid attention to our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and aligned them closer with joy, you can easily see how quickly we could change the collective emotional atmosphere.

3 Simple Ways to Turn Your Attention to Joy

1)... Joy is your natural state. Resisting joy is like trying to paddle against the current in a flowing river. When you meditate, practice yoga, or engage in other contemplative activities, you are able to release your unconscious resistance to goodness. In other words, when you regularly quiet and relax yourself, you are able to settle your consciousness down into the deeper parts of your nature that are already happy. You need not force happiness or try to layer it on top of whatever is going on with you. Instead, you must go inside and excavate the joy that is already deep inside. Shedding that which is not joyful will naturally uncover the feelings you seek.

2) Practice gratitude. Gratitude is one of the easiest and most direct routes to happiness. Start and end your day with acknowledging three things you are grateful for, and if possible, share your gratitude with someone else. Try a dinnertime ritual of asking what went well in everyone’s day, or asking each person at the table to say something they are thankful for. When you know you will be sharing your gratitude at the end of a day, you will be more likely to look for things to appreciate. Grateful thoughts resonate at a higher vibration than negative thoughts, so by giving your thanks, you are literally raising the vibration within and around you.

3) Be compassionate. Turning your attention toward joy does not mean turning a blind eye to other people’s suffering; compassion is key. Compassion helps other people to feel understood and socially connected, but also has a positive affect on the person giving the compassion as well. As far as happiness goes, a recent study shows that giving is more valuable than receiving for adults and children alike. While the studies used giving and receiving “treats” to measure happiness levels, gifts in the form of time, compliments, and affection also have a similar impact. So be generous with your love, help other people whenever you can, and at the very least, offer your kindness whenever you are able. Like a boomerang, the compassion you send out will return back to you.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Soccer Helps Ease Refugee Kids' Trauma



Children coming to the United States as refugees have often experienced trauma prior to their arrival. The process of becoming a part of a new country—joining a new community, learning a new language, adapting to a new culture—should not add to that trauma, but it often does. Two programs on opposite sides of the country have found the same answer to the question of how to help these young people adapt and thrive here: soccer.

Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, seems to be the glue that brings young refugees together,

..Soccer is that universal language. When you have a kid that has fled their country, has had a horrible experience, comes to this strange country, the one thing they understand is soccer. It’s always been an escape for them. In the refugee camps, some of them would bundle up plastic bags to make a soccer ball so they could play. You see kids that don’t speak a word of English, who have been struggling for months. And when they come here, their faces light up when they’re on the field. For kids that were robbed of their childhood, this is one place they get to be kids again. They feel comfortable. They feel confident and happy.

...soccer is the tool to engage these young people and build their confidence.

---Click this link to read the entire story, "Acclimating Refugee Children through Soccer."

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Make Friends Across Religions"



This will be a great week, especially when we wake up to this website and video of world religious leaders asking us to be friends:

The World's Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions


Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.


Please share this video #MakeFriends

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"Wisdom in the points of the Scout Law"



Scouting, boy or girl, is a part of the American fabric. The following is an excerpt from an editorial written by an Eagle Scout who defines scouting's goals and ideals:

On a foggy evening in London more than 100 years ago, a disoriented businessman named William Boyce received directions from a young man who expected nothing in return. He was a Scout doing a good turn. Inspired by this simple act of kindness, Boyce brought an organization to America that has been part of its fabric for 107 years.

In a time when our politics divides us, the Scout Law reminds us of our duty to ourselves, to one another and to our country. It extols the virtues of citizenship; it centers our mind on service; and it reminds us of our fundamental duty to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We find wisdom in the points of the Scout Law.

A Scout is trustworthy. He can trust his neighbor; his neighbor can trust him.

A Scout is loyal — not to any one political party or ideology, but to his peers and to his country.

A Scout is helpful. He knows that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. To that end, when he has a hand to lend, he lends it, trusting that the next time he needs a hand, someone will lend him one.

A Scout is friendly, courteous and kind. He doesn’t need a reason to show kindness to someone else, and he doesn’t expect a quid pro quo. He just does what is right.

A Scout is obedient. Whether or not he agrees with a directive, he upholds it, and then later, if he believes it's unwise, he seeks to change it through proper channels. He respects leaders and authorities, realizing that they must make decisions, and he must respect them.

A Scout is cheerful. He maintains a positive attitude even when circumstances appear bleak. When the challenges appear insurmountable, he puts a smile on his face and presses forward because he realizes the only permanent failure is a failure to put forth one’s best effort.

A Scout is thrifty. He uses his time, his energy and his money wisely.

A Scout is brave. He stands up for what he believes is right even if that means he stands alone. Faced with a moral dilemma, he turns inward to confirm what he knows is right rather than looking outward to see what the crowd is doing.

A Scout is clean— in thought, word, and deed.

A Scout is reverent. He puts God ahead of everyone and everything else. He trusts in the divine wisdom of the Lord Almighty to guide him along his path.

In this age of division and incivility, I call upon all Americans to reflect on the values of the Scout Law.

When we’re willing to work as a team, caring more about the job getting done than who gets the credit, we can overcome so many of the self-imposed barriers before us.

When we realize that leadership means putting others before ourselves, remembering the words of the scout’s oath of office (I promise to do my best to be worthy of this office for the sake of my fellow scouts and my troop and the World Brotherhood of Scouting) —which never mention self-interest — we can put ourselves on the path to the more perfect union our nation's founders envisioned some 241 years ago.

For it is in the legacy of one simple good turn by a young man done in 1909 that we are gathered today. With that in mind, go forth and serve your communities and your country one good turn, one service project and one smile at a time, knowing that the impact of your actions will be felt for generations to come.

Benjamin Pontz, a 2015 Eagle Scout from Troop 56 in Strasburg, is a sophomore political science and public policy double major at Gettysburg College. He earned the Bronze Palm, which means he earned five additional merit badges as an Eagle Scout, and remained active in his troop as an Eagle Scout. He’s also a member of LNP’s Generation Next staff.

Friday, July 28, 2017

7 Summer Activities for Spiritual Growth


Many of us first come to spiritual practices in the summer. There is something about the changed pace of our lives during these months that makes it a little easier to dedicate time to growth on our path. Perhaps we have (or recall) moments of heightened sensitivity to the sacred while at camp or on vacation. For some the longer days invite reflection. Others are inspired by being around children on holiday from school; they model play and joy and wonder.

To encourage your exploration of practices this summer, we have designed a month's worth of activities. We've looked for ideas from the world's wisdom traditions as well as in books we've read.

1. GOLDEN DAYS.

Gold is the color of summer. In Tibet, it is known as the color for healing. In the first week of summer, welcome the season by filling your house and your workplace with golden objects, reflecting the color of the summer moons.

2. WALK FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.

"Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility," Gary Snyder writes in The Practice of the Wild. Make an intention that the next walk you take outside in nature will be dedicated to the praise of God. Walk slowly, keeping your senses attuned to the wonders that surround you. In appreciation, say this mantra: "Glory be to God."

3. GO BAREFOOT.

Let the child in you come out to play. Taking off your shoes changes your connection with the world. You relax and let your guard down. Chief Luther Standing Bear in T. C. McLuhan's Touch the Earth reminds us: "It was good for the skin to touch Earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred Earth. . . . The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing."

4. CONNECT WITH YOUR ANCESTORS.

In The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, David Suzuki writes: "Air is a matrix that joins all life together. . . . In everyday life we absorb atoms from the air that were once part of birds and trees and snakes and worms, because all aerobic forms of life share that same air. . . . The longer each of us lives, the greater likelihood that we will absorb atoms that were once part of Joan of Arc and Jesus Christ, of Neanderthal people and wooly mammoths. As we have breathed in our forebears, so our grandchildren and their grandchildren will take us in with their breath." Get out in the open air and breath in the atoms of those who have preceded you. Thank God for these saints and forebears. Try to imagine someone breathing in your atoms after you have departed this life.

5. TEND YOUR GARDEN

In Creating Eden: The Garden as a Healthy Space, Marilyn Barrett writes: "Although weeding, cutting back, and transplanting are activities that may seem repetitive and never-ending, when seen as a necessary and integral part of the overall unfolding of the garden scheme, they become purposeful rather than boring. In fact, what may appear on the surface to be tedious physical work may, in the actual doing, be spiritually liberating. In taking time to contemplate the small — in observing the details of our gardens — we can experience life on a manageable scale." Get in touch with the spiritually liberating disciplines of attention, repetition, and humility while working in your garden. Experience your time there as a spiritual workshop.

6. FIND A NEW ROLE MODEL

Here's a good exercise by Ruth Baetz from Wild Communion: Experiencing Peace in Nature: "Meditate on a rock. Can you become that silent and still inside? Meditate on a cloud or blowing grass. Can you be that flexible and light inside? What personal quality do you want to develop? Find something in nature that has that quality and be it."

7. WASTE SOME TIME

"It does no good to think moralistically about how much time we waste. Wasted time is usually good soul time," Thomas Moore has observed. Summer is just the right season for idleness and just messing around with things. Quit doing and revel in just being.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Girl Scout Dedicated to Bee Education



Elizabeth Klosky was brainstorming ideas with her father on what to do for her Girl Scouts Gold Award project when she had the idea to do something to protect bees. She and her father had just begun to keep bees in the yard, but when she realized how important they were to the environment – and that certain bee populations around the world were struggling – she wanted to help.

Initially, her idea was to go to events focused on nature and environmental issues, reach out to people there and set up a few native bee houses.

She ended up ... setting up eight native bee houses and reaching more than 8,000 people who supported bee-friendly legislation in New York State through change.org.

Once the Gold Award project was complete, Elizabeth saw how big it had become. With the help of her parents and some “worker bees” (her volunteers), she set off on the path toward turning her project into a nonprofit – New York is a Great Place to Bee.

Through the organization, Elizabeth worked with New York Assemblyman James Skoufis in an attempt to secure a grant to help beekeepers start new hives in the city. Though that didn’t pass, it created room for future bee-friendly legislation that finally did go through.

Her organization also promotes environmental education for children. Elizabeth, with the help of her worker bees, holds events with hands-on activities to help kids understand what bees do and how vital they are to the world. While the projects are mainly geared toward younger audiences, Elizabeth says that volunteers of all ages enjoy making wildflower seed bonbons, small candy-like balls that people can plant in their gardens to help regrow wildflowers that bees depend on for food.

Whether it be for bees or another cause, Elizabeth has advice for anyone who is interested in volunteering.

“Do a lot of research and just find out as much as you can about whatever it is you’re interested in. Use that research to find a place to get involved, and then just go for it!”

--edited for space from Points of Light


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "Power of Art as Activism"

Documentary filmmakers Zach Ingrasci (right) and co-director Chris Temple have raised more than $750,000 to directly empower disenfranchised communities through microfinance, education and refugee resettlement.
Photo from Points of Light .org
A filmmaker and a humanitarian, Zach Ingrasci is dedicated to using his talents to help empower disenfranchised communities around the world. From living in a tent in a Syrian refugee camp to working as radish farmers and surviving on $1 a day in Guatemala, Zach and his co-director Chris Temple have cultivated an innovative style of documentary filmmaking that sits at the intersection of storytelling and social justice.

Their first feature documentary, “Living on One Dollar,” helped shine a light on extreme poverty and mobilized audiences to take action. The success of the film opened their eyes to the power of art as activism, and led to the founding of Living on One – a production company dedicated to making “films that matter.”

We sat down with Zach to learn more about his work, and what inspires him to serve.

What inspires you to volunteer?

... Growing up on Bainbridge Island, Washington, I felt physically constrained. My first serious volunteering experience was literally just an excuse to get off the island once a week. That experience was so important because I met people there that inspired me to continue to volunteer.


Now it's easy to find inspiration. I've had the privilege of meeting some of the most radically innovative people on the planet; from women keeping their families afloat on less than one dollar a day to Syrian refugees building cities out of camps in the Jordanian desert.

Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?  

There has never been more responsibility on individuals to create the change they want to see. We like to think about critical social issues like poverty, health, war and global warming as separate things, but they aren't. They are all inextricably intertwined and the more that we give back to solve any of these issues the better they will all get. We are seeing funding for critical programs being threatened at a federal level. Now our only real choice is to radically ramp up what we are doing ourselves.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

I've learned to continually ask, "How can I help?" It seems obvious but the "how" part is often missing. We have to recognize that people are experts in their own lives and we are just partners in helping them achieve success.

Are there any future partnerships, programs, or events that you are excited about?

I'm so excited our new project “Searching for Syria” launched in time for World Refugee Day on June 20. We collaborated with Google and the UN Refugee Agency to create an immersive hub that answers the world's top searched questions about Syria. Definitely check it out, and please share it!

What do you want people to learn from your story?

My career as a filmmaker and activist started with a kind of random volunteer experience. If I had spent too much time worrying what that experience was going to specifically help me achieve in my career path (I was studying economics) I never would have gone ... and that would have been a serious bummer.

Watch the trailer for “Living on One Dollar” and learn more at www.livingonone.org.

--edited for space from Points of Light



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

10 Simple Ways to "Make the World a Better Place"

Just a change in diet to wholesome, local foods can make the world a better place

If you’d like to make the world a better place, but aren’t sure how to fit it into your busy life, these ideas may help:

1. Volunteer.

Volunteering doesn’t have to consume all of your free time. You can volunteer as few hours as you would like! You can find an organization within your community, or you can even volunteer online, through websites that will allow you to help for even a few minutes at a time.

2. Donate blood.

This can be one of the most satisfying ways to make a difference. You can literally save a life with just an hour of your time.

3. Donate used clothing.

There are so many places and ways you can donate your used clothing. Some organizations even offer pick up services, Donate them to a homeless shelter, or an organization that sells them to raise funds.

4. Foster an animal.

This can be such a rewarding experience. If you’re able to part with the foster animals, they leave a hole in your heart, but fostering your next pet helps fill it, and you will be making a difference in the lives of so many animals in need.

5. Spread the word about various causes in your community.

See an interesting fundraiser that an organization is hosting? Share it on Facebook! See an animal that’s up for adoption? Share it. There are so many ways you can help an organization with just the click of a mouse.

6. Donate something you made to an organization that can use it.

I make jewelry, hats, scarves, and other crafty things in my free time. I’ve donated many hats and scarves to homeless shelters, and donate jewelry to a cat rescue organization for them to sell or auction to raise funds. You have talents—use them!

7. Join a bone marrow registry.

It’s incredibly easy to sign up to donate bone marrow, and you never know when you could save a life.

8. Spread some kindness.

Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making the world a better place. Think about a time when someone did something unexpected for you that brightened your day. Weren’t you a nicer person for the rest of the day because of that?

I’m willing to bet that anyone who receives an act of kindness passes it on in some way, even if it’s just by being in a better mood, and therefore treating the people around them with more kindness than usual.

Send someone a kind message. Give a small gift. Make something for someone. Tell someone how much they mean to you. There are so many ways to brighten someone’s day.

9. Change your diet.

Many people will argue with the validity of this strategy to improve the world; however, what you buy reflects what you value.

If you don’t want to become a vegetarian, try having one meat-free day per week. If you don’t want to reduce your meat consumption, how about buying some free range meat or eggs? Or, buy organic food products. There are many ways you can change your diet to reflect your values.

10. Make your purchases support your values.

Every purchase you make supports something. You can either support a large business that exploits people, animals, and the environment, or you can buy items that are local, organic, or fair-trade. It’s hard to change this all at once, especially if you’re used to shopping for bargains, but try changing just a few of your purchases to make them better reflect the things you value.

These are just a handful of the thousands of ways you can make the world a better place! Just remember that every single thing you do makes a difference. Don’t ever let anyone—yourself included—discourage you from trying to be a better person and help others.

---From Tiny Buddha

Monday, July 24, 2017

Heal the Wounds of War in Syria

Former Templeton High School grad working in a refugee camp for Syrians
Several years ago, a then recent high school graduate from a local high school (Templeton, CA), opened my eyes to the tragedy of Syria and other nations undergoing endless war and the subsequent refugee issues.  This young man has no chips in this game of resolving the refugee issue, just inspiration. The issues have grown, and countries like Syria are desperate for good souls to help those caught in the Neanderthal quest for power, conquest and war.

Fortunately, brave people around the world have gathered up their compassion and put it to work every day.  From a recent note from Unify:

Today we invite you to UNIFY with us on a mission of global importance. Our campaign is intended to heal the wounds of war in Syria.  

We begin our efforts with global synchronized prayers and meditations to support the rise of peace and healing within us and all around us. We will transform this unified prayer into concrete "on the ground" assistance for children, mothers and families torn apart by this war.  

We invite you to watch our short film "Hope In Syria" and visit our website with complete details on our campaign efforts and the various ways you can join us, unify with our global partners, participate, and make a difference in the lives of those most in need of help.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Baltimore Program for Students Makes a Difference

Thread photo
Thread engages underperforming high school students confronting significant barriers outside of the classroom by providing each one with a family of committed volunteers and increased access to community resources. We foster students’ academic advancement and personal growth into self-motivated, resilient, and responsible citizens.

Compelling Student Success
Thread engages students in the bottom 25% of their freshman class and radically and permanently reconfigures their social support structure. Each student is matched with a group of volunteers and provided individualized support for ten years while working toward realizing his or her potential.

  • 87% of students who have been in Thread for 5 years have graduated high school
  • 84% of students who have been in Thread for 5 years have been accepted to college
  • 86% of student alumni have completed a 4 or 2 year degree or certificate program
--From the Thread website






Thursday, July 20, 2017

Study Show Connection Between Generosity and Happiness


...a  study published in Nature Communications suggests we should treat others—or just think about being generous—if we want to feel happier.

Researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland told 50 participants they would receive $100 over the course of a few weeks. Half of these people were told to spend the money on themselves while the other half were told to spend it on a friend. Before they received the money, participants were asked to think about who they would spend the money on and how much they’d likely spend. The researchers then scanned regions of participants’ brains associated with “social behavior, generosity, happiness and decision-making” using MRI machines  ... While their brains were being scanned, participants also completed a decision-making task where they could "behave more or less generously," according to the study.

Previous studies have shown that being generous can lead to physical and mental perks, but the goal of this study was to see if simply committing to future generosity could yield similar benefits.

... The researchers found that depending on how they'd been directed to spend the money, participants’ brain activity and decisions changed: those who were told to spend the money on someone else were more likely to make generous decisions on the tasks throughout the experiment compared to the “treat yourself” group. 

The generous group also showed more interaction between the brain regions linked to altruism and happiness ... Plus, generous participants reported being happier once the experiment was over ...

... It's important to note that the researchers aren’t sure if these results hold true if your only motivation is to make yourself happier. Meaning just thinking about doing something nice for another person could make you feel good, but it’s in your best interest to actually follow through on that thought .

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Intentions: A Positive Starting Point


While the original intention of The Daily Prism was/is to focus on the good that occurs daily, helping each other grow in good, advice from leaders in the positive movement does fit into this blog's intention. It's a natural growth as we ride out this cycle of time.

The following is a lightly edited (for space) post by Deepak Chopra, MD, "5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions."

Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.

Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.

In my book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, the Law of Intention and Desire lays out the five steps for harnessing the power of intention to create anything you desire.

1. Slip into the Gap
Most of the time our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is sometimes referred to as “the gap.” One of the most effective tools we have for entering the gap is meditation. Meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant your seeds of intention

2. Release Your Intentions and Desires
Once you’re established in a state of restful awareness, release your intentions and desires. The best time to plant your intentions is during the period after meditation, while your awareness remains centered in the quiet field of all possibilities. After you set an intention, let it go—simply stop thinking about it. Continue this process for a few minutes after your meditation period each day.

3. Remain Centered in a State of Restful Awareness
Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s doubts or criticisms. Your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen.

4. Detach from the Outcome
Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity, while detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way.

5. Let the Universe Handle the Details
Your focused intentions set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. Don’t listen to the voice that says that you have to be in charge, that obsessive vigilance is the only way to get anything done. The outcome that you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and they will bloom when the season is right.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Four Thoughts About the Art of Kindness


With a concerted effort of living with kindness, it is possible that this current flood of discontent would subside.

The following four thoughts of developing and living with more kindness is an edited version (for space) of the original post "A Bouquet of Kindness Practices."

Visualize Loving Kindness

"Practice these two visualization exercises daily. Wake up each morning and stand in front of a mirror, seeing your body as the incarnate Name of God. As you go about your day, see everyone and everything as the Name as well. Listen for your angel announcing your true nature, and listen for the angels of others doing the same. In time you will break up the hard-packed soil of the narrow mind and plant in it the seeds of lovingkindness that will soon grow and awaken in you the spacious mind that is your holy and most true self."

Serve Others with Kindness

"A rabbi I know devotes one day a week to simply being of service. She gets up in the morning and dedicates the day to God. She then leaves her home for the city close by and wanders about looking for ways to be of service to others. 'I have no plan for the day, other than to be present to what needs doing and to do those things I can without pride or prejudice. Sometimes I will find myself helping someone move into or out of an apartment, or sitting with the homeless, or walking tourists to their destination. The idea is to be free of any idea other than to serve, to befriend, to be kind."

Be Kind in Speech

"Avoiding hurtful speech has as much to do with how you say something as it does with what you wish to say: Keep it simple; stick to what you know to be true; and move on."


Preserve Kindness

"How do we preserve kindness? We preserve kindness the way we preserve any other value we cherish — we tell stories about it. Preserving kindness means telling stories of loving kindness from your past, but not only your personal past. Working this attribute means exploring your family history to find stories of loving kindness. Talk with relatives and explore your collective memories to sift out these tales. They may be small incidents of kindness that were largely unnoticed at the time, but which, in hindsight, are the stuff of kindness tales. When you find these stories, share them. The more you tell them, the more kindness will take root.

"One of the best ways to practice preserving kindness is to create a ethical will. Writing an ethical will is a centuries-old Jewish practice that is making a comeback among Jews and others. Originally an oral tradition, with parents passing on their values, blessings, life lessons, and forgiveness to their children, ethical wills have been committed to writing for the past one thousand years."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Loving while Hating Your Partner -- 7 Relationship Survival Steps



It's true, we can't always love the one with are with all the time. Sometimes partners just get on your nerves.  But if we can't always love the one we are with, what steps can we take to make sure those moments of not loving, are pastuerised to remove any lingering toxins?  The following is a severely reduced take of a post from the Greater Good Magazine,  "What to Do When You Hate the One You Love."

Have you ever hated your partner?

You are not alone: It turns out that almost all of us have times when we strongly dislike the people we love the most—although some of us may not even realize it.

In a series of studies, Vivian Zayas and Yuichi Shoda found that people don’t just love or hate significant others. They love and hate them—and that’s normal. The key to getting through the inevitable hard times, as my own research suggests, is to never stop trying to understand where your partner is coming from.

So how do you increase understanding during conflict? Here are seven suggestions for how to think and act to do so.

  1. Instead of asserting your own point of view, try to take your partner’s perspective. Make it your goal to understand why your partner feels the way they do.
  2. Avoid the four horsemen of the apocalypse—criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.
  3. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Assume that their intentions are not malicious.
  4. Take a moment to reflect on your partner’s positive traits. You can even try some gratitude-inducing techniques.
  5. Think of you and your partner as a team, rather than opponents. Your goal is to figure out together why you do not see eye-to-eye and find a solution; it is not to win the fight and prove your partner wrong.
  6. Recognize that it won’t always be easy to follow these suggestions, especially if your partner isn’t playing by the same rules.
  7. Give yourself a mantra to repeat when you start feeling angry to help you remember your goal—even something as simple as “be understanding.”

Friday, July 14, 2017

10 Positive Statements for a Better World


Regardless of one's belief-system, these 10 statements spoken within or aloud, may help lessen the daily challenges and bring a more positive attitude to brighten the world.  The following was written by Jean Houston, Ph.D., a scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities.

Say aloud and in your heart’s mind (and mind’s heart) the following:

  1. I live in the present moment. I will not obsess about the past or worry about the future. I know that with quantum practice I have access to entering and making whatever changes I wish in the worlds of past and future, for I live in the eternal present.
  2.  I cultivate the art of making connections—cosmic connections, local connections. I pay attention to how my life is intimately related to all life. I become the friend of nature and preserve her beauty and harmony wherever and whenever I can.
  3.  I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. I spell out my days with the grammar of gratitude. I speak forth my gratitude: “Thank you for this food and all who worked to bring it forth. Thank you, Grandma, wherever you are, for teaching me how to cook.”
  4. I practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the other is shunned. I see no one as other. I welcome guests and even people with very different ideas from mine with graciousness, with deep seeing of the fullness and wonder of the other.
  5.  I seek liberty and justice for all. I will work for a free and a fair world, a world that works for everyone.
  6.  I add to the planet’s fund of goodwill by practicing little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy.
  7.  I cultivate the skills of deep listening. I will cross the great divide of otherness. I remember that all things in the world want to be heard, as do the many voices inside of me.
  8. I practice reverence for life by seeing the sacred in, with, and under all things of the world. Everything exists within the field of the sacred.
  9.  I give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from my imperfections. I listen to what my shadow side says, but I will not just live there. I know that I am releasing many of these old forms, these old shadows, and I am bringing in light to banish shadow and to bring me into luminous light and life.
  10. I am willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around me, however unlikely or unlike me they may be.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

First Step to Happiness: Gratitude





The following is an excerpt from "Three Things I Learned from Teaching Happiness" by
Emiliana Simon-Thomas 

Whenever I teach the science of happiness, I try to leave people with something they can do right after they walk out of the room. Often the simplest, most accessible message is gratitude. Feeling grateful fosters a more accurate understanding of happiness, strengthening our social connections and motivating us to engage and give back to others. Gratitude is often a theme of mindfulness practices, and is squarely focused on the role that others play in our own life’s goodness. Reflecting upon and expressing gratitude is an exercise in capitalizing on enjoyment, building trust, and softening self-focus; we acknowledge what is good and attribute the source of that goodness to others, and this can help anyone avoid the common pitfalls of pursuing happiness.

How can we get better at expressing gratitude? Try this: when thanking someone,
1) say what they did that you are thankful for,
2) acknowledge the effort it took for them to do this, and
3) describe how it was good for you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Morning Prayer


Cholla Garden Sunrise

Prayer for the Morning

by Audette Fulbright Fulson


Did you rise this morning,
broken and hung over
with weariness and pain
and rage tattered from waiting to lawn in a brutal wind?
Get up, child.
Pull your bones upright
gather your skin and muscle into a patch of sun,
Draw breath deep into your lungs;
you will need it
for another day calls to you.
I know you ache.
I know you wish the work were done
and you
with everyone you have ever loved
were on a distant shore
safe, and unafraid.
But remember this,
tired as you are:
you are not alone.
Here
and here
and here also
there are others weeping
and rising
and gathering their courage.
You belong to them
and they you
and together,
we will break through
and bend the art of justice
ll the way down
into their lives.


By Audette Fulson, an ordained Unitarian minister in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Solace for Sidney. Fighting Childhood Cancer

Sidney, an 11-year-old fighting childhood cancer 


There are days when we are so caught up in the world's hoopla of politics and crazy-humanity, that we don't always capture the moments when humanity takes charge and people walk away from political discourse, name calling, war-zones, and all that stuff that is truly temporary and nothing more than humans behaving badly. Today is one of those days. The news is grim and the players and their puppets take the spotlight when they should be reduced to nothing more than dust.  Today, real people with real world issues have stepped up to ask for help and support for the children and the families of children dealing with childhood cancer.

Let's dump the divisiveness and work for our greater good, which includes our children, as exampled in this recent Go Fund Me project, Solace for Sidney.

From the Go Fund Me page:

Solace means to provide comfort in a time of distress or sadness. Imagine being 11 years old and having to face cancer not once, not twice, but three times in your life? Sidney is an AMAZING 11 year old girl who beat Leukemia twice, but has tragically just learned that she has two inoperable brain tumors. Despite all of her challenges, Sidney has remained a light in the world. As the family is forced to once again make heart wrenching decisions, they want to continue to give Sidney opportunities and experiences that will bring joy to her life. Sidney is legally blind from treatments, but that does not keep her from attending music and theater events and amusement parks. We are hoping that through this fundraising, it can help provide financial relief for the family so they can plan special events that they will treasure and remember forever. 

Sidney was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in June of 2007 and completed treatment in August of 2009. After a great year of getting to be a normal kid, she relapsed in August of 2010.  She had a leukemic tumor in her brain that was wrapping itself around her optic nerve, and small leukemic masses all around the outside of her brain and spine.   After several treatments, her end result was limited vision in her left eye (3/200) and her right eye was totally blind. Anything further than 2-3 feet from her face she cannot see. Sidney was getting adapted to her new life with blindness.  Now after seven years, Sidney is back in the cancer world for the third time with tumors that are high-grade, aggressive gliomas. Radiation will begin after the July 4th holiday and go for 6-7 weeks. After that it will be up to her family to determine next steps.  

Help us relieve the financial burden from Sidney’s family so they can focus on what matters most: providing solace for Sidney during this time of distress.

Please see Sidney's CaringBridge site for updates: 
Sidney's CaringBridge Site Updates 

From the page by Sidney's mother:

From Sidney's CaringBridge: 
I’m sorry I’ve been silent for the past 3 weeks. I don’t know what to say. My thoughts are a constant stream of 
“Is this real?” 
“What are we going to do?” 
“Am I doing right by Sidney?”
“How am I supposed to make these decisions?
“Try to be positive Jackie”
“Screw ‘positive’, this sucks”
“How do I DO this?”
“It’s worse this time than ever before”
“What if…”
But in person I’m a constant stream of
“Sidney is feeling good today!”
“She had some good moments today”
“We’re all good on our end today, thank you!”
“Sid is going to kick cancer’s ass!”
“We’re focusing on the good times!”

Because what am I supposed to say? I know I can say whatever I’m feeling…but what I’m feeling is pretty negative and I just refuse to live my life negatively every day. And I refuse to teach Sidney to live negatively…even though she has every right at this moment to live that way! So…I think fearfully every single day but I live positively each day (well, most days I try to! Just ask my fiancĂ© Jared, I’m not perfect at this but I do try!). Because it’s a choice. And I’m hoping it rubs off on Sid so she can get through as much of this with a smile as she can.

Sidney starts 30 rounds of targeted radiation today. She will go to the hospital every week day for the next 6 weeks for radiation and take an oral chemotherapy at night. Doctors tell us this course of action will slow down the growth of the tumors but will not eradicate them. We are told the tumors will never be eradicated and that more tumor growth is likely. We aren’t just sitting around accepting that diagnosis but it’s still a tough one to hear.

At this moment, Sidney is struggling emotionally more than anything. She is 11-years-old and she isn’t stupid. We’ve told her she has brain tumors and that she had surgery so the doctors could look at the tumors and remove some of it. We’ve told her that she is doing radiation to shrink the tumors. We’ve told her that the tumors are pushing on parts of her brain that cause her vision to get fuzzy, that cause her speech to get slurred, that cause her to run into walls when she walks, that caused the facial seizures, that cause her to feel wonky. We’ve told her that all the medication she is taking is to help the swelling in her brain and to help her not have seizures anymore. She understands all of that.

What she doesn’t understand is why everyone is making such a big deal of it. She says, “Why are people so worried about me? People make such a big deal of me being sick. It’s not a big deal, especially for someone like me. I’ll just get better, I always do.” And she’s right. She always has. This time there is just so much uncertainty and there is just not a reason right now to burden Sidney with that uncertainty. After all, she’s only 11. But she has had so many visitors, so many phone calls, so many gifts that she is confused about why she’s getting all that attention. (I am so thankful and humbled by all that attention, it’s honestly wonderful!) We are just trying to figure out how to balance that line between telling Sidney enough so that she understands, but not so much to scare her. So far we’re just doing the best we can.

So that’s where we are at the moment. I’ll end this by saying thank you to all who are praying. I have been struggling to pray because I just don’t know what to pray for. I want to pray for His will but I get so distracted and I just can’t finish one single prayer. He is a constant in my thoughts, but I continue to struggle to put my thoughts into prayer. So, those of you who are praying, thank you.
Jackie

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sidney/journal