Dream Job #2: Knitting with Inmates


A few weeks ago I blogged about making paper and bookbinding with Veterans in their healing spaces. Today I chanced upon another art healing initiative in a Baltimore penitentiary. According to one of the men “Real Men Knit Pink”. I would cherish the opportunity to work with incarcerated women or men to create beautiful things. To create beauty in a place of punishment is to manifest an alternative inner-world that can affect the individual’s experience of place, of self and ideas of possibility.

Blogging to a great future,
Shawndel

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Make your mark on the Earthquake


Click here to Make your mark and write a note and add pics to the map above.

Lets record this moment and connect with others who experienced something similar. Feel free to note your emergency plan in your marker as well. 

Where were you when the earthquake shook the east coast?

I was at work when the floor shook and the building swayed.  A co-worker asked “Do you feel that?” “what the shaking? It feels like we’re having an earthquake.” I replied.  Then I started searching the news outlets: Reuters, AP, NYT, I googled “New York Earthquake” during the tremors. No dice. No news…they were probably waiting for editor’s approval 🙂

However, a little twitter fu revealed many New Yorkers tweeting for corroboration of the the sickening sway. None of us seemed to really believe it. We evacuated to the basement and outside the building, then eventually informed that it was safe to return. Events seemed to unfold in normal time, however my emotions had spiked;  so and I decided that the best way to calm myself was to think of an emergency travel plan.  I did not have a mind to twitpic the evacuation or to capture sound, but I did keep my wits about me and remained calm throughout.

What would you do if the subway tunnels collapsed and buses were unavailable?

Do you live in an outer borough? Do you and your loved ones have a plan in case of major evacuation? A meet-up site in the event that you become separated? Ladies, do you have extra nibbles  in your heavy purse, in case of emergency hunger and thirst? Fellas, do you have a purse? 

Today reminded me of the necessity of a plan. 

No matter how far-fetched, unnerving or unnecessary the rational mind might wish it, our social and economical worlds are changing. It follows logic that the physical world could also shift under our feet.  As the saying goes, prior planning prevents poor performance, so “thank you” @Sal_Castaneda for the reminder about emergency preparedness. Thank you to my other twitter friends and contacts who posted helpful links, the main on being the government preparedness site Ready.gov.

Stay grounded.

Humpback Whales are People too


I found this video from the Great Whale Conservancy and wanted to share it with you because of the pure emotional display of our cousin, a Humpback whale dubbed Valentina. The video is the product of, and is in itself, an earnest display of empathy, a call to action around fishing practices and re-envisioning the modern diet (for more on this one, oh you just wait for my next post!), and proof that our non-human family feels emotion just as potently as we do.

The full story will be aired on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, August 19, 2011.

When you watch it what does it make you feel?

Dalai Lama Mama Jokes


The Dalai Lama has “big jokes”, the best sense of humor of anyone I know of. He carries the hopes of many on his shoulders, his work is unceasing, yet he laughs freely as a child. The Dalai Lama has and offers us the gift of sacred laughter which buffers doses of profound insight.  His Holiness The Dalai Lama had a bucolic childhood in a rural land outside of Tibet; a remarkable difference from his adulthood in exile from his Holy Land. His trials and tribulations would have crushed the resolve of many “religious leaders” and ordinary people who maintain no daily spiritual and physical practice. But a lifetime as a spiritual leader, the figurehead of Tibetan Buddhism, has allowed him the time and opportunity to cultivate daily spiritual, emotional and physical practices that maintain his personal power at peak levels.

This short 2-minute video is of a funny story that His Holiness recounts of himself as a young child; in fact, the youngest child of his parents,  indulged by his “warm-hearted” mother, as he describes her. The image he paints is hilarious, him riding his mother’s shoulders and directing her by the ears like a donkey, yet his story is telling. She indulged his playful side before she knew just how truly Special he was. Her kindness toward him , he says, modeled the warm-heartedness that he has today.

Not everyone has a warm-hearted mother or a warm relationship with their mother, however Mothers with all their blessed imperfections still teach us how to be and how not to be. Those lessons can be acknowledged and appreciated regardless of how the messages are delivered. From my mother,  I learned that I must trust myself to actualize my dreams;  I learned that even those who love me don’t know what is best for me as well as I do, and I learned that “family” is an honorific, not a given. And as a bonus, from the other nurturing women in my life, I learned the art and practice of Sacred Laughter and appreciation for the absurd, for it is through laughter that all pain turns into medicine.

So, I ask you, what have you learned from your Mother?

5,000 Black Birds Fall from the Sky


To My Feeling and Thinking Friends,

“Panic Early to Avoid the Rush!” is the most poignant statement for me in Caroline Casey’s visionary activist Show on the Winter Solstice 2010. I’ve been spreading the word, but people disbelieve me, so here are some domestic headlines that have prompted me to activate own relocation plan. Yes, seriously.

One of 5,000 dead Blackbirds that fell from Beebe, Arkansas skies. Click the image to read more at NYT.com

Click Here to view a video report on the Weather Channel

Many Arkansas birds and fish did not survive into the New Year. Specifically, the 3,000-5,000 Red-Winged Blackbird carcasses that rained down on Beebe Arkansas, and the 500 which died at the same time in Louisiana. You should note that that’s more birds than there are people in this small town. Scientists have yet to uncover their cause of death, however the two competing theories are either weather-related stress or fireworks. You know, either or.

Young Drum fish found dead in Ozark, Arkansas

The second plague-like event is the death of 2,000,000 (that’s 2-million) adult Spot fish in the Chesapeake Bay which faces its own pollution challenges, and 85,000-100,000 dead young drum fish in Ozark, Arkansas. Their carcasses washed up over a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River, this past New Years weekend. Also, cause unknown.

**Listen to the Visionary Activist Show – Winter Solstice 2010**

The Visionary Activist: this is the brilliant weekly show by Caroline Casey, the mytho-poetic astrologer and trickster. The top of your head will pop off as you laugh yourself into a deeper understanding of our challenged society and its impact on the rest of nature. This blog was inspired by Caroline Casey’s remark (in this broadcast) “Panic early to avoid the rush”. It resonated deep within me and I share it with you  along with the information about the sudden deaths of the Red Winged Black Birds, and the Drum and Spot Fish in the hopes that your perception will shift just enough for you to not feel so distant from animal life and death, but to see their fate as linked to ours. If their lives could be snuffed out so easily and seemingly randomly, there are obviously forces at work that challenge their air they breathe and the water they drink. We breathe the same air and drink the same water, so we are just as vulnerable as they are to the dreadful changes that careless manufacturing wreaks on the natural systems that sustain all life, including ours.

Ashe.

I’m Stepping Back a la Sonia Sanchez, Claim another day


Step Back by Sonia Sanchez on Talib Kweli’s album – Blacksmith The Movement

Track # 15 (0:39 seconds) Step Back, by renowned Poet Sonia Sanchez and lyricist Talib Kweli.

Lyrics:

I say, all you young girls waiting to live

I say,  all you young girls taking your pill,

I say all you sistahs tired of standing still,

I say all you sistahs thinking you won’t, but you will…

Don’t let them kill you with their stare,

Don’t let them closet you with no air,

Don’t let them feed you sex piecemeal,

Don’t let them offer you any ordeal

I say step back sistahs, we rising from the dead,

I say step back  ***, we dancing on our heads,

I say step back man, no more hanging by a thread…

I say step back girl,

Can’t let it all go unsaid.

lyrics by Sonia Sanchez

Proof of Rocks exercising Free-will, the Earth IS Alive


Rocks in death valley move of their own free volition. Science has recorded their incremental progress, but their actual means of locomotion has not yet been witnessed by any human nor recorded by our technology. Despite this, science contends that the stones move as fast as human walking speed. Mystery of mysteries.

What sort of Power site is this Valley where trails are left on the baked earth, behind the mysteriously roving rocks…with no destination we can discern and no means of locomotion that we can comprehend…and if you read the article, you’ll see that there is no hypothesis or experiment on the horizon that can begin to reasonably explain this phenomenon… Take a look for yourself.

Pictures: What Drives Death Valley’s Roving Rocks?.