Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Prayer for Peace

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

UAE Seeks to a Sustainable Environment

In the UAE, the government has launched numerous environmental protection initiatives, as part of its UAE Vision 2021, to achieve a sustainable environment. Several policies were also introduced at emirate-level to improve marine environment and protect it from pollution. Over the past decade, companies across the country have stepped up efforts and pulled up their sleeves to take part in clean-up campaigns, a corporate contribution mostly carried out in the frame of public-private partnerships. In a broader effort to keep our cities and beaches clean, environmental authorities, municipalities or civil society volunteers went on clean-up campaigns, pulling tonnes of rubbish from waters along the shores of Mussaffah and Al Mafraq in Abu Dhabi, and from the Dubai Creek, as The National reported.

--Excerpted from The National

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 3 of A Month of Compassion -- Self-Compassion

From the Compassion It Team:

Hello Compassion It Champion,
So far, you’ve learned how to pay attention to what’s happening around you (and within you) by practicing mindfulness. Then you used mindfulness to offer kindness, patience, and compassion for your loved ones.

Now that you know what compassion feels like, it’s time to turn it toward YOU. That’s right…this is a week that gives you permission to tend to yourself. Welcome to the week of self-compassion!

What is self-compassion?

According to the pioneer of self-compassion research, Kristin Neff, Ph.D., self-compassion involves three main elements:

1 – Self-kindness
Instead of berating yourself for making mistakes or not being perfect, try befriending yourself. What would you say to a friend who is facing the same situation? Treat yourself as you would treat your friend.

2 – Common Humanity
Realize that what you’re going through is part of being human, and that many others around the world suffer in the same way. You are not alone.

3 – Mindfulness
Try to bring non-judgmental awareness to your experience. Notice that you’re suffering, and try not to ignore, suppress, or avoid it.

When I learned about self-compassion during my Stanford CCT teacher-training course, my life immediately changed. Our teacher encouraged us to think about how we speak to ourselves, and consider, “Would you have any friends if you spoke to them in the same manner that you speak to yourself?”

When I honestly answered that question, I immediately thought, “Hell to the no!”  I was much more willing to say something like this to my friends, “You did your best, and you’re awesome for even trying.” Whereas I would say to myself, “You are an idiot! How could you make that mistake?”

Self-compassion gives me permission to be human. I can navigate life with much more joy, because I know that we’re all in this together. Self-compassion allows me to tend to myself, which means I am much more capable of offering compassion to those around me. (There's a LOT of useful information about self-compassion on Kristin Neff's website, and I encourage you to check it out.)

Here are some ways you can practice self-compassion this week:

Pause and take inventory.
Stop and notice how you feel. For two minutes, send breath to any tense areas.

Treat yourself.
Enjoy your favorite coffee, tea, fruit, or ice cream.

Rest and restore.
Acknowledge your need for rest. Take a nap, slow down, or take a break.

Be your own friend.
Notice your inner voice. Offer yourself kindness and encouragement.

Celebrate you.
Write down 5 things that you appreciate about yourself, and notice how that makes you feel.

Remember you’re not alone.
Write down one thing that is creating stress for you, and then remember that others are suffering in the same way.

Create joy.
Play your fave song on repeat, dance in the kitchen, pick some flowers, go for a run…whatever makes you smile!

Friday, October 13, 2017

3 Reasons Why Gratitude is Good for Work

From Three Surprising Ways That Gratitude Works at Work
.  Click the above link for the entire story.

1. Gratitude facilitates better sleep

Sleep is the mind and body’s quintessential restorative activity. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 95 percent of people need seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and yet 30 percent of Americans get less than six hours. Preventing sleep deprivation could be a massive cost saver for workplaces: Last year’s Rand Corporation study reported that sleep deprivation cost U.S. companies more than $400 billion a year in lost productivity, more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Similar losses were found around the world, with Japan, Germany, and the U.K. also losing 1.5-3 percent of their GDP to too little sleep. The Rand study estimated that if people who sleep under six hours a night started sleeping between six and seven, this could add over $200 billion to the U.S. economy.

Lost sleep quantity and quality is also linked with poor job satisfaction, worse executive functioning, less innovative thinking, lower occupational performance, more safety errors and work injuries, and even death. Sleep deprivation also negatively affects relationships because sleep-deprived people are less trusting of others and more impatient, frustrated, and hostile.

A number of studies have shown that gratitude promotes physiologically restorative behaviors, chief of which is better sleep. Grateful thinking and grateful moods help us sleep better and longer. In one study, people keeping a gratitude journal slept on average 30 minutes more per night, woke up feeling more refreshed, and had an easier time staying awake during the day compared to those who didn’t practice gratitude.

How does gratitude facilitate better sleep? Research suggests that grateful people have more positive “pre-sleep cognitions” and fewer negative pre-sleep cognitions.  Negative, critical thoughts (e.g., about bad things happening in the world) tend to induce sleeplessness. But grateful people’s minds are awash in pleasant thoughts (e.g., about enjoyable things that happened to them during the day), and this promotes sleepiness.

The connection is clear: Grateful people enjoy more restful, restorative, and refreshing sleep and reap the benefits at work the next day.

2. Gratitude reduces excessive entitlement

Entitlement refers to “attitudes about what a person feels here she has a right to and what a person feels here she can expect from others.” But some people suffer from a condition known as “excessive entitlement”: They feel they deserve more than others, a disproportionately greater amount of a particular good beyond what would be considered appropriate. They are dissatisfied with whatever they receive, whether it is pay, promotions, or praise.

On the job, people with excessive entitlement tend to engage in more counterproductive work behaviors, actions designed to harm an organization or its members. These include theft, aggression, violence, sabotage, withdrawal, deliberate poor performance, and threatening, abusing, and blaming others. Entitlement can show up in toxic workplace cultures alongside gossip, complaining, and negativity. 

How is gratitude relevant here? A person who feels entitled to everything will be grateful for nothing; gratitude is the antidote to entitlement, and to other aspects of toxic workplace culture. Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for. Gratitude produces higher levels of positive emotions that are beneficial in the workplace, such as joy, enthusiasm, and optimism, and lower levels of the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.

Furthermore, recent social psychological research has shown that gratitude is linked to lower levels of hostility and aggression. When people are experiencing gratitude, they are approximately 20-30 percent less likely to be annoyed, irritated, and aggressive. They are less susceptible to having their feelings hurt, and, when their feelings are hurt, they are less likely to strike back. Years ago, a very wise person said that gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.

3. Gratitude allows us to contribute more

Grateful people practice behaviors that fall in the category of being a good citizen. In the workplace, gratitude inspires employees to be helpful and deters them from engaging in behaviors that are harmful.

Considerable research has demonstrated gratitude as a driver of “prosocial” (kind and helpful) behavior. A recent review of over 50 studies found that gratitude is even more strongly linked to prosocial behaviors than happiness or empathy. Not surprisingly, then, grateful people make better organizational citizens. They are more likely to volunteer for extra work assignments, take time to mentor coworkers, be compassionate when someone has problem, and encourage and praise others.

Beyond the social sphere of work, gratitude also drives enhanced performance in the cognitive domain: Grateful people are more likely to be creative at work. Gratitude promotes innovative thinking, flexibility, openness, curiosity, and love of learning. Grateful people have an interest in learning new information and skills, and they seek opportunities to learn and develop. (In fact, a highly publicized 2015 study found that out of 24 strengths of character, love of learning and gratitude were the strongest predictors of overall well-being.)

Willibald Ruch and his colleagues at the University of Zürich recently proposed a new organizational model where team members fall into one of seven roles: idea creator, information gatherer, decision maker, implementer, influencer, energizer, or relationship manager. They found that grateful people were likely to be “idea creators”: successful with developing new and innovative ideas and reaching solutions in unconventional ways.

These early findings are promising, but systematic research on workplace gratitude has only recently begun. Much work remains: Ryan Fehr, a professor of management at the University of Washington, recently proposed 17 testable hypotheses to move research on gratitude in the workplace forward!

But you literally cannot overplay the hand of gratitude; the grateful mind reaps massive benefits in every domain of life that has been examined so far. There are countless ways in which gratitude could pay off in the workplace. As I wrote in The Little Book of Gratitude, gratitude is “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gratitude in the Workplace

"Globoforce is in the global business of thanks, using the power of gratitude to proactively improve a company’s culture. Drawing upon the science of gratitude and their own internally driven set of practices, they have demonstrated that giving and receiving appreciation is both beneficial and vital to a high-functioning organization," according to Robert Emmons in an essay for Greater Good Magazine.  Tomorrow's Daily Prism will list reasons why gratitude in the workplace is good for everyone.

From the Globoforce website:

At Globoforce we think differently. For us, recognition is strategic to your brand and to achieving your company goals. Done right, recognition engages all employees and encourages them to recognize and appreciate co-workers every day. Our unique Social Recognition® provides powerful tools and proven methodology to identify key talent and transform the fundamental nature of your company culture.

At Globoforce, we connect employees with corporate values and cultures. And we do it on a massive scale, globally. Our best practices and technology are at the heart of the world’s most successful worldwide recognition programs – at some of the most well respected companies on the planet, including Intuit, Symantec and Amgen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Kindness of People in the Face of Tragedy

Photo posted by D. Reid on Facebook showing fire devastation in California

Yesterday's Daily Prism featured ways to help relieve heartworn conditions. Today, we've copied and pasted the kindness of people during some of our recent tragedies as posted in social media and newspapers.

  • "If there is any good to come of this tragedy it is I see people just overflowing with kindness, selflessness and concern."
  • "Many of the brave and incredible firefighters battling these beasts, are working double and triple shifts exhaustively. The least we can do is to offer them some delicious food.  Delicious sandwiches in this case. And all of our gratitude and hugs upon delivery. We will be basing our efforts out of Petaluma (hoping we don't get evacuated from the home base.) The plan is to place the sandwiches directly into the hands of the firefighters daily.  Starting small, cooking with a group of chefs, home cooks, friends, volunteers, humans; we will hopefully be able to grow our efforts while these fires continue to burn."
  • "A lot of awesome people are asking how to help."
  • COMCAST has removed all restrictions and opened their wifi for all to communicate. Login as Guest - will be reassessed on Friday!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

3 Contemplation Practices to Cultivate Intention

Cultivating ... intention requires a 24/7 commitment, but you can begin this inquiry by engaging the following exercises on a daily basis. Any of these exercises can be engaged as a silent contemplation, as a journal exercise, or as a dialogue with a trusted spiritual friend.

  1. Every morning, before you do anything else, take fifteen minutes and contemplate what you are really living for. Ask yourself: what is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? And what do I need to do to align with that—to be an expression of that in the world? Don't simply ask these questions with your mind. Ask them with your whole being, as if your life depended on it. 
  2. Then, every evening, take another fifteen minutes, and again ask yourself: What is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? How did I live my day? Did I do everything I could to live in accord with the deepest truth I know? To align with a higher purpose? Where could I have given more? 
  3. Ask yourself: What would I need to give up or let go of to be able to align with the evolutionary impulse? To be a vessel for a greater intelligence and power in this world? What is in the way of me stepping into full surrender to and partnership with the creative force of the Cosmos? When will I be ready to leave that behind?
--By Craig Hamilton

Founder, Integral Enlightenment

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 2 -- Compassion for Friends & Family

A month of compassion awareness and acts began October 1. The Daily Prism will note projects to help each of use become more compassionate, the next five Monday.  Learn more at CompassionIt

Week 2 
Compassion for Friends & Family

Hug someone.

Pick someone special and give him or her at least one big hug.

Text a friend.

Share something you appreciate about him or her.

Offer to help.

Does a friend or family member need help? Ask if you can do something.

Post a picture.

Share a favorite memory of you with someone special.

Pray or meditate.

Take three minutes to send positive wishes to someone in your life.

Practice patience.

Your loved one might have a different agenda, but try patience (instead of frustration).

Join thousands of others from around the world for our third-annual 30-Day Compassion It Challenge!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Prison Inmates Learn Mindfulness for Compassion

At Compassion It, we envision a day where compassion is practiced by every person, for every person, on every day. When we say every person, we mean EVERY person…including inmates.

We gave the inmates paper Compassion It wristbands to remind them to make compassion a priority each day. They voluntarily joined the challenge as a way to cultivate compassion and create a more peaceful environment within themselves, within the prison walls, and beyond. This challenge offers inmates the opportunity to give back and make amend.

From Anonymous Inmate this week:

As I separate the now or present from my projections of the future, I begin to let go of self, ego, and pride. I stop grasping for what I feel I need in this life and focus on how I can make it better for those around me. I’ve created a lot of pain and suffering in the past. Due to this I must do what I can to be mindful of how I affect those around me.

I created a visual while meditating that helps with my mindfulness. I visualize I’m sitting in a room, and in that room is a table with a candle on it. In my mind I still that flame from moving as long as I can. See, when I think of a candle I see the flame flickering, I try to stop the flame from flickering, and in doing this my mind is completely focused. I noticed when my mind is not focused, that the flame begins to flicker.

This flame also represents the fire inside me, the fire that drives me to be a better person and make the world around me a better place to live.

It’s harder to have compassion if you’re not mindful. For example, the other day one of my cellies asked me when I was going back to the cell block if I could grab a medical form off his bunk and bring it on my way back out. See, transportation was waiting for me to get my blue shirt and come back so they could take me to an outside oncologist appointment. So when my cellie asked me to grab the form, I was in a hurry and distracted, therefore I forgot to grab the form. See, if I would have been more mindful, I wouldn’t have forgotten to do what he asked.

--From CompassionIt

Friday, October 6, 2017

5 "Habits of the Heart" for Societal Strength

A piece for our times. The following is slightly edited for space.

Habits Of The Heart

--by Parker Palmer (Oct 02, 2017) 

“Habits of the heart” (a phrase coined by Alexis de Tocqueville) are deeply ingrained ways of seeing, being, and responding to life that involve our minds, our emotions, our self-images, our concepts of meaning and purpose. I believe that these five interlocked habits are critical to sustaining a [society].

1. An understanding that we are all in this together. .. Despite our illusions of individualism and national superiority, we humans are a profoundly interconnected species—entwined with one another and with all forms of life, as the global economic and ecological crises reveal in vivid and frightening detail...

2. An appreciation of the value of “otherness.” It is true that we are all in this together. It is equally true that we spend most of our lives in “tribes” or lifestyle enclaves—and that thinking of the world in terms of “us” and “them” is one of the many limitations of the human mind. The good news is that “us and them” does not have to mean “us versus them.” Instead, it can remind us of the ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger and give us a chance to translate it into twenty-first century terms. ...

3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways.  Our lives are filled with contradictions—from the gap between our aspirations and our behavior, to observations and insights we cannot abide because they run counter to our convictions. If we fail to hold them creatively, these contradictions will shut us down and take us out of the action. But when we allow their tensions to expand our hearts, they can open us to new understandings of ourselves and our world, enhancing our lives and allowing us to enhance the lives of others. ..

4. A sense of personal voice and agency. Insight and energy give rise to new life as we speak out and act out our own version of truth, while checking and correcting it against the truths of others. ...  it remains possible for us, young and old alike, to find our voices, learn how to speak them, and know the satisfaction that comes from contributing to positive change—if we have the support of a community. Which leads to a fifth and final habit of the heart…

5. A capacity to create community. Without a community, it is nearly impossible to achieve voice: it takes a village to raise a Rosa Parks. Without a community, it is nearly impossible to exercise the “power of one” in a way that allows power to multiply: it took a village to translate Parks’s act of personal integrity into social change. In a mass society like ours, community rarely comes ready-made. But creating community in the places where we live and work does not mean abandoning other parts of our lives to become full-time organizers. The steady companionship of two or three kindred spirits can help us find the courage we need to speak and act as citizens. ...


Thursday, October 5, 2017

'Casting for Recovery' -- Fly Fishing & Breast Cancer

The mission of Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The program offers opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR serves women of all ages, in all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants.

Casting for Recovery is proud to hold the highest marks on charity rating sites:

Why fly fishing and breast cancer?

The concept of Casting for Recovery is unique. On a physical level, the gentle, rhythmic motion of fly casting is similar to exercises often prescribed after surgery or radiation to promote soft tissue stretching. On an emotional level, women are given the opportunity to experience a new activity in a safe environment amongst a supportive group of peers. The retreats provide resources to help address quality of life issues after a breast cancer diagnosis, and a new outlet – fly fishing – as a reprieve from the every day stresses and challenges of their cancer.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bring Normalcy to Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses

For twenty plus years, A Kid Again has helped to restore a sense of normal for families thrust into the situation of having to care for a child with a life-threatening illness. Often these families are unprepared and unequipped to deal with what follows. A Kid Again hosts year-round events to support these families and provide them with memories that will last a lifetime.

A Kid Again looks forward to the day that every child with a life-threatening illness in America can be A Kid Again. We include the whole family in every adventure we host year round. Our families say adventures are something positive to look forward to and offer a distraction from routine medical care. Whether a child is battling an all too common disease like cancer, or a rare disease like Hunter Syndrome, they ALL deserve to be a kid again.

12,638 last year
206,460 since our start

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Livestock and Wildlife Extinction Conference

"The Extinction and Livestock international conference is being held on 5th/6th October 2017 at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, and will examine how we can transform our global food and farming systems to work for people, the planet and animals. World-class speakers will outline the big issues and suggest solutions. The conference will bring together diverse interests and act as a catalyst for future collaboration and solution development. 

Livestock production and its use of finite resources is devastating biodiversity and pushing wildlife to the brink of extinction. If nature is to recover we need to move towards sustainable food and farming systems. This landmark conference is a launch pad for action. 

"The Extinction and Livestock Conference is the first step in a consensus-driven process to transform our global food and farming systems. Attendees are invited to express their interest in taking part in a series of follow-up meetings - convened by Compassion in World Farming and WWF - to collaborate to build on appropriate existing initiatives, develop further approaches and ensure their implementation.

"These events, currently envisioned as a series of round-table meetings, will be framed in terms of SDGs; Paris Accord; and WHO targets. Each round-table will be chaired by a world-renowned expert in the topic area, and themed around relevant aspects of UN strategy. The round-tables will take place in key locations around the world, and together will form a multi-year approach to tackling the issues identified by the conference, in an open and pragmatic forum. The ultimate output will be an agreed pathway to achieving a positive change to global food and farming systems. We look forward to working with delegates on the shaping of this programme."
---From the Conference Website

Monday, October 2, 2017

Compassion October. Seven Mindfulness Tips

A month of compassion awareness and acts began October 1. The Daily Prism will note projects to help each of use become more compassionate, the next five Monday.  Learn more at CompassionIt

Week 1  

  • Breathe.
  • Drive mindfully.
  • Eat mindfully.
  • Enjoy a mindful walk.
  • Do one chore mindfully. 
  • Mentally scan your body.
  • Have a mindful conversation.

The following video provides a peaceful and mindful meditation and is good for those who battle a wandering mind. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pop Star's Private Plane Taxis Puerto Rico Cancer Victims to US

Pop star Pitbull found a creative way to help Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico, and he's making a huge difference. The 36-year-old Latin artist lent his very own private plane to the devastated country to help taxi cancer patients to the United States so they could continue getting the chemotherapy treatments that they desperately need.

While other stars like Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, and Marc Anthony have been very public about donating money and helping out (and that's totally cool), Pitbull hasn't said a word on social media about his good deed. Instead, we learned about the selfless act from Puerto Rican congresswoman Jenniffer González. "Thanks to singer @pitbull for lending private plane to transfer cancer patients from Puerto Rico to the United States so that they can take their chemo," she tweeted proudly on Sept. 26.

Pitbull humbly told E! that he was more than happy to do it, and that he's simply grateful to be in a position to support his fellow people. "Thank God we're blessed to help," he said. "Just doing my part."

Friday, September 29, 2017

October's 30-Day Compassion It Challenge

30-Day Challenge Details

Join thousands of others from around the world for our third-annual 30-Day Compassion It Challenge!

Participants have used the challenge to cultivate compassion in their schools, businesses, college campuses and more.

What makes this challenge unique?
We’ll be using a step-by-step approach to cultivating compassion over the span of one month. We’ll offer recommendations of actions that incorporate each of these important steps to cultivating compassion:

Week 1 – Mindfulness
Week 2 – Compassion for Friends & Family
Week 3 – Self-Compassion
Week 4 – Compassion for All
Week 5 – Compassion for Our Planet

Is it difficult to register or time-consuming to participate?
Nope. We are going to make this easy for you. A couple of days prior to the start, we’ll send you two PDFs. One will be a calendar you can use as a guide, and the other will include “cheat sheets” of actions you can take each week. We'll send weekly emails to offer additional instructions for that week's theme.

WHY would I want to do this?
Compassion does a body (and mind) good, and our world needs it now more than ever.

Plus, by creating buzz on social media, we’re inspiring others to incorporate compassionate actions into their daily lives. We’ll all use the hashtag #compassionit in our photos, posts, tweets, and smoke signals to get the word out. Remember, the more people who participate and learn about compassion, the more compassionate the world will be.

Please invite others! This can be an enriching activity for you, your co-workers, your family, and/or your classrooms.

Get ready for an unforgettable month of compassion for ourselves, each other, and our planet.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Find Joy -- 8 Ways to 'Free Your Spirit'

The following is a pared-down version (for space concerns) of an essay "8 Secrets to Free Your Spirit and Find Joy"   by Deepak Chopra.

Joy is a divine quality of our true self, which is inherently lighthearted, playful, and free.  You can see the full expression of this joy in young children who haven’t learned to worry or take themselves too seriously. They play and laugh freely, finding wonder in the smallest things. They are infinitely creative because they haven’t yet built up the layers of conditioning that create limitations and restrictions. They are in touch with their intuition, which is a form of intelligence that goes beyond the rational mind. Far from being superficial or trivial, joy is an experience of our deepest spiritual nature.

The path to joy is a return to wholeness...If you want to cultivate more joy, creativity, and love in your life, the principles that follow will help you shift your internal reference point from the limitations of the ego-mind to the freedom of spirit.

 Laughter Is the Healthiest Response to Life

While we all experience loss and sorrow, in the end, joy and laughter dispel suffering like so much smoke and dust.

There Is Always a Reason to Be Grateful

The purpose of gratitude is to connect yourself to a higher vision of life. You have the power to choose where you focus your attention, and whatever you focus on will grow in your experience. 

Your Soul Cherishes Every Aspect of Your Life

Your worth is absolute, and everything that happens to you—whether it feels good at the time or not—is part of a divine plan unfolding from the level of the soul.

Your Life Has a Purpose

Even when you feel lost or confused, your life has a purpose. You determine that purpose at the soul level, and then that purpose unfolds in daily life as part of the divine plan.

You Are Safe

Many people live in a state of chronic anxiety, feeling isolated and threatened by all the potential threats of modern life. While fear feels very real, our true self can never be hurt or threatened. Tcan truly threaten us ..You can gradually begin to let go of unhealthy fear by questioning your thoughts and opening your awareness.

Obstacles Are Opportunities in Disguise

Obstacles are signals our true self sends us to let us know that we need to change directions or take a new tack. If your mind is open, it will perceive the next opportunity to do so.

You Are a Co-Creator with the Universe

You are a co-creator with the universe and infinite energy is available to you. To claim your creative power, you need only connect with the primal energies that play within you.

On the path to joy, we proceed to subtler and subtler realms of the mind, and with each step, new levels of energy become available. At the highest levels of consciousness, all energy becomes available. At that point, all of your wishes and desires are in alignment with the universe, God, or spirit. You are able to create with effortless ease and you experience the spontaneous fulfillment of your desires.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Retired Teacher Devotes Efforts to Education in Nepal

HANDS photo
"... 50 solar lights were recently distributed to 50 seniors at a senior home in Kathmandu as part of
HANDS (Humanitarian Acts in Nepal Developing Schools) in Nepal's 1000 lights for Nepal Campaign. These seniors use to sit in dark following sundown due to the lack of electricity and resources in Nepal, as a result of the blockade at the India Border and the lingering aftermath of the 2015 Earthquakes," reports the non-profit's website,

HANDS, the project of a Central California retired teacher, has built four schools and two libraries in remote Nepal. The founder has also raised fund to provide women with sewing machines so that they can not only repair clothes, but also create items to sell, according to an October publication of a local magazine.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

$20 Million Earmarked to Strengthen Women's Groups

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give $20 million during the next three years to strengthen women’s groups worldwide ...

While details are still forthcoming, the foundation said the money will support research, training, and groups of other donors already active in the field. It will also be used to bolster grass-roots women’s campaigns in the developing world...

... Ms. Gates made the announcement at an event put on by the foundation to promote the United Nations’ sustainable-development goals, a set of global development targets the international body wants to accomplish by 2030. The U.N. goals include achieving gender equality for women through access to education, health care, and work, among other means.

Directing support to women’s activist groups can be more effective than supporting governments or large international aid organizations, Ms. Gates told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an event the foundation held on Wednesday.

"They know their community," she said. "They know what needs to get done."

The $20 million is part of an $80 million commitment that Ms. Gates first announced in May 2016 to collect data on social issues that women and girls face and advance gender equality worldwide. Until now, the foundation had not provided any information on how the money would be used.

---Read more at Gates Commits $20 million to Women's Groups

Monday, September 25, 2017

Florida Chef Raises Funds for Charity Food Pantry

A well-known Fort Lauderdale chef is joining a grassroots effort to replenish the stocks of The Pantry of Broward, a charity that delivers food to the elderly struggling on low, fixed incomes.

The Pantry, located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, just lost 21,000 pounds of food after its industrial-sized freezers and refrigerators stopped working when Hurricane Irma slammed into South Florida last week.

The non-profit had to discard pound after pound of fruits and vegetables and dairy products, and managed to give away its frozen meats to other food-providing charities.

Now, The Pantry’s stocks are so low its latest delivery to 400-plus elderly residents included only four bottles of water, a couple cans of tuna and a handful of string beans, a far cry from its usual 55-pound packages.

“When I heard about this, I just couldn’t do nothing,” said Lenore Nolan-Ryan, the well-known owner and operator of Lenore Nolan-Ryan Catering and Cooking School. “The Pantry usually ships these big boxes of beautiful vegetables and great meats. It’s so sad a lot of it went to waste.”

Nolan-Ryan is responding with what she does best: She’s throwing a party!

Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Nolan-Ryan will be whipping up dinner and all her fans have to do is pay for the booze they’ll drink until 9 p.m.

“I’ll ask people to donate what they can. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go the Pantry of Broward,” she said.

The school is at 3311 North Ocean Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. Pantry CEO Maureen Luna said Nolan-Ryan’s effort is one of several in the community since word of the losses spread.

“The power was out for three days,” Luna said. “I estimated the losses at about $12,000. We sure could use every donation we can get.”

Read more here:

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:


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:

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,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

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

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.