Friday, April 28, 2017

Shaquille O’Neal’s Mom Talks Boys & Girls Clubs


Fundraising Event for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
Editor's Note: We have excerpted parts of a story in a recent edition of the Ventura County Star:

She may be the mother of one of the greatest athletes of all time, but Lucille O’Neal is much more than Shaquille O’Neal’s mom.

“She’s endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction and the illness of a child – yet today her faith and passion for others is stronger than ever,” Andrew Firestone said Thursday as he introduced Lucille O’Neal, the keynote speaker at the 15th Annual Great Futures for Kids Breakfast presented by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

Thursday’s event was part of the club’s 2017 campaign goal to raise $100,000 for programs that serve 10,400 children and their families in Oxnard.

... Growing up in the 1960s in New Jersey, she remembers racial tension in her neighborhood. But not at the Boys Clubs of Newark, where all the children were taught to respect and get along with one another.

... After spending decades raising her two sons and two daughters, she went back to school at the Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University, where she graduated cum laude in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Two years later, she completed her master's in organizational management at the University of Phoenix.

“My oldest son that got that good job…he paid for my education because it was a dream I had,” O’Neal said. “He said, ‘I’ll send you – but as long as you keep your grades up.’”

Today, the mother and son continue to support the Boys & Girls Club as their way of giving back. Just like his mom, Shaquille O’Neal credits the club in Newark for making a positive difference in his life when he was growing up.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mothers Campaign for Newborn Baby Supplies




Parents at Rio Grande School in Santa Fe are campaigning for donations of baby supplies as noted from their most recent newsletter:

"Many Mothers has joined with Children Youth Families Division to provide Joy's Baby Boxes. Baby boxes are now available for families living under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Rio Arriba Counties.

"Baby Boxes are a safe place for babies (up to about 15 pounds) to sleep and are easy to move from room to room so your little one is always sleeping close by. In addition to the baby box, parents are provided basic supplies and information on safe sleep."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tips on How to Conquer Fear


FEAR! Nothing stops the brain like fear. We see it implemented in political campaigns. Plus we harbor an assortment of fears from cracks in the sidewalk to monsters under the bed, and worse.  The Greater Good in Action website has posted ways and means of dealing with these fears. The Daily Prism has sampled the page. Follow this link for the complete post: Overcoming Fear


Some types of fear—like the fear that stops you from running into a busy street—are useful and necessary. But other types of fear are less rational and more likely to hold you back in life. Fear of public speaking, fear of flying, fear of heights—these are some of the more common ones.

To cope, you may avoid the situations that elicit these fears, or you may try, often unsuccessfully, to counter your fear with reason—for example, by reminding yourself of the very low likelihood of a plane crash.

Research suggests that a more effective way to combat fear is to do the thing you least want to do—face your fear head on—but do it one step at a time, in a healthy and safe way. This strategy can help retrain your brain to develop a more positive association with whatever has been triggering your fear. Confronting your fears head-on can also increase your self-confidence and show yourself that you’re capable of doing what might once have seemed impossible. Whereas acting based on fear limits you, facing your fears can be liberating and transformative.


HOW TO DO IT
Note: The following guidelines are geared toward addressing mild, everyday fears. Fears related to serious mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder should be addressed with the help of a mental health professional.

Sometimes one or two scary experiences can cause us to fear things that we don’t rationally need to fear; some fears aren’t based on first-hand experience at all. Either way, overcoming these fears often requires that we develop a more positive—or at least less negative—association with the thing that we fear. Here’s how:

Start with small doses. The first step is to expose yourself to small doses of the fear-inducing activity in a safe context. For example, if public speaking makes you nervous, you could start by seeking out a low-pressure speaking opportunity with a small, supportive audience, in a setting where you don’t have to worry about being perfectly articulate—perhaps giving a toast at a friend’s birthday party. Or if you’d like to learn to rock climb but are afraid of heights, you could start by spending time observing and assisting other climbers.

Repeat the activity until you start to feel the fear dissipate. Over time, repeated exposure to a safe, non-harmful version of whatever made you afraid can reduce the negative association and replace it with a neutral or positive association. For example, repeatedly seeing other people climb without falling may begin to overwrite your negative association with heights. And the more you fly and land safely, the less dangerous flying is likely to feel.

Gradually increase the challenge. After you begin to feel more comfortable with small doses, try taking it up a notch. For example, you could go from watching others climb to climbing a short distance yourself. Or you could volunteer to present the results of a team project to co-workers or fellow students. From here, you can continue to incrementally ratchet up the challenge until you reach your goal, whether that’s to scale Mt. Everest, give a talk in front of hundreds of people, or fly to a new continent.

Your fear may never be fully extinguished, but hopefully it will hold less power over you and not prevent you from achieving important goals and enjoying your life. In the words of Mark Twain, “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Imprisoned Charity Worker Released




The Washington Post recently reported:  An Egyptian American charity worker who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt’s brutal crackdown on civil society returned home to the United States late Thursday after the Trump administration quietly negotiated her release.

President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers. Trump dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family to Washington.

Read the complete report here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/freed-egyptian-american-prisoner-returns-home-following-trump-intervention/2017/04/20/d569fe1e-2608-11e7-bb9d-8cd6118e1409_story.html?elq=aba7b135a4e74efa99ba5d51ad11a47e&elqCampaignId=5647&elqTrackId=cd49f30d4bfb4dcb8374094edfa83d7e&elqaid=13615&elqat=1&utm_term=.cc819458ce26

Monday, April 24, 2017

Environmental Prize Winners Stood Against the Odds




The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

The Prize Recipients
Goldman Prize recipients focus on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainability, influencing environmental policies and striving for environmental justice. Prize recipients are often women and men from isolated villages or inner cities who choose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.


Congratulations to the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners!

Mark Lopez, United States: Born and raised in a family of community activists, mark! Lopez persuaded the state of California to provide comprehensive lead testing and cleanup of East Los Angeles homes contaminated by a battery smelter that had polluted the community for over three decades.

UroŇ° Macerl, Slovenia: UroŇ° Macerl, an organic farmer from Slovenia, successfully stopped a cement kiln from co-incinerating petcoke with hazardous industrial waste by rallying legal support from fellow Eko Krog activists and leveraging his status as the only citizen allowed to challenge the plant’s permits.

Prafulla Samantara, India: An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, Prafulla Samantara led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.

Wendy Bowman, Australia: In the midst of an onslaught of coal development in Australia, octogenarian Wendy Bowman stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental destruction.

Rodrigo Tot, Guatemala: An indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, Rodrigo Tot led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people and kept environmentally destructive nickel mining from expanding into his community.

Rodrigue Katembo, Democratic Republic of Congo: Putting his life on the line, Rodrigue Katembo went undercover to document and release information about bribery and corruption in the quest to drill for oil in Virunga National Park, resulting in public outrage that forced the company to withdraw from the project.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Contemplation for Earth Day



Today's Daily Prism, in honor of Earth Day, features a contemplation from a work in progress, "Connection: A Book of 48 Natural Contemplations."

Interconnectedness

“The ocean is impossibly complicated, interconnected, turbulent and nonlinear and it touches every part of life. … Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by plankton,” writes Alanna Mitchell in "Seasick: Ocean Changes and the Extinction of Life on Earth"

Take coral reefs as an example. Sometimes referred to as the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. Coral, a live animal, is complicated, fragile, and sensitive to changes in the sea. 

“Coral reefs are the largest structures of biological origin on Earth, and rival old-growth forests in the longevity of their ecological communities,” explains experts at NOAA.  A coral reef can be compared to a metropolitan city of interdependent species.

Thanks to this symbiosis of the sea, coral benefits humankind by not only producing some of the oxygen that we breathe, but by protecting our shorelines from storm surges, food production, tourism and even medicine.


The contemplation
I wish to understand the puzzle of life from the sea. I wish to understand the puzzle of my own complicated, interconnected, turbulent and nonlinear life. 

As I breathe in the oxygen from the sea that fuels my body, I will exhale the negative from my heart.

Each breath will be like every drop of water that becomes the sea — a vast pool of life worth living. The interconnectedness of water, air and life will help me solve the puzzle.

Enjoy this 2 minute seaside meditation moment






Friday, April 21, 2017

Free E-Book with Earth Day Sensibility




Sometimes it seems as if there is a clear effort by others to discount and revile all that is good on Planet Earth. It can overwhelm one's sensitivity -- until we're reminded of those who diligently work to correct a negative course.  EarthGratitude.org offers a free e-book with uplifting ways toward clean living that benefits the human and the planet. Click this link for the free mini-e-book: Earth Gratitude