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







Thursday, April 20, 2017

7 Steps to "Steady Ground"


C. Coimbra photo

These 7 steps to finding steady ground come from Finding Steady Ground.  The webpage writes:  To be in shape for the long haul, we have to get our minds and spirits ready, as well as jump into action.

When we’re in bad shape, our power is diminished — we’re less creative, more reactive, and less able to plan strategically. If we intend to stay active and effective in the world, we have a responsibility to tend to our spirits.

Here are 7 behaviors we can use right away to strengthen ourselves, so we can keep taking more and more powerful and strategic actions.

Every day
1. I will make a conscious decision about when and where I'll get news — and what I'll do afterwards.

What you choose to pay attention to during the day has an impact on you. Which news sources help you understand the world more fully, and which ones only leave you fearful and despairing? After getting your news, what works for you: moving your body, talking with friends, hopping onto social media? Make it conscious — and if it doesn’t work, don’t keep doing it. Read More…

Once a week
2. I will get together with some people face-to-face to support each other and make sure we stay in motion.

The goal is accountability, so that we don’t freeze up in the face of overload or despair. Check in to share and reflect on how you are staying in motion (like writing letters, volunteering, creating resistance art, preparing direct action campaigns). This may be in formal settings such as meetings or facilitated spaces, or informal spaces such as cafes, over dinner tables, or at the gym. Read More…

3. I will pray, meditate, or reflect on those I know who are being impacted by oppressive policies, and extend that love to all who may be suffering.

Learn to cultivate love. One starting point may be holding compassionate space for your own pain or the pain of those close to you who are being impacted by the policies and politics of the time. In that reflective space you can give yourself space to be, feel loss, grief, anger, frustration, helplessness, and conviction. Then hold your love and extend it beyond, to others you may not know who are also suffering. And lastly, take time to notice that this is not all of your reality: you also may have joys with your folk around you, be surrounded by beautiful music or nature, and take delight in creation. Joy in the face of hard times is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

4. I will read, listen to, or share a story about how others have resisted injustice.

Millions have faced repression and injustices and we all can learn from them. Stories may be from ancestors, contemporaries in this country, or lessons from those around the globe who have faced more severe and repressive governments. The goal is to become a student of history so that you can take inspiration and deepen your understanding of how to struggle and thrive. Read More…

5. I will be aware of myself as one who creates.


The goal of injustice is to breed passivity — to make us believe that things happen to us, events happen to us, policies happen to us. To counteract this, we need to stay in touch with our sense of personal power. One goal is to see ourselves as people who create, whether it’s cooking a meal, organizing a dazzling dramatic action, knitting a hat, making a sign, or playing the piano. We are more than consumers, and our humanity must be affirmed.

6. I will take a conscious break from social media.

Instead, fill the time with intentional and direct human interaction. You could take a full day a week away from social media as a healthy minimum, but you decide what is right for you. Read More…

7. I will commit to sharing with others what’s helping me.




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

3 Inspirational Films



Public Doman photo by Cristie Guevara



I don't know about you, but I'm done with all the less-than inspiring leaders who appear to have a single interest--them! I did a bit of research about positive persons who are true leaders without all the window dressing. I'm posting a few movie trailers of purchasable movies about such people here. You can visit YouTube or other sights to view the films in their entirety. Let's get inspired and leave anger and frustration behind. Inspiration is energizing.







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Find Common Ground During Debate (4)



Our fourth and final post with excerpted ideas to bringing about a healthy debate, originally posted by the Chopra Center, 4 Tips to Have a Healthy Debate,  is the most obvious, find common ground. Common ground is basic and includes joy, health, and comfort.


Find Common Ground
Many debates, arguments, and protests all come from a good place. Although you may have your own ideas of how to achieve particular goals, these are basic human wants:


  • Safety.
  • Reliable work with fair pay.
  • Clean food and water.
  • Nice environment to raise children.
  • Health care for everyone, young and old.
  • Freedom to live how you desire.

When any group or person feels the above list is threatened, they become upset, depressed, angry, and often blame others. The 'others' that are blamed will more than likely be those of another group or race that they do not understand. Again, this is where the research and questions come into play. You cannot make another person research or even have desire to learn but you can ask questions that make them think while partaking in conversation.

Finding common ground can be found if you practice patience and love. We are here to work together, build each other up, and detach from the programming that has been placed upon us since birth. Whenever you find yourself in any debate, remind yourself of the labels you were given before you even take your first breath: your country, your sexual preferences, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the religion you follow, your name—so many labels that you know as pure truth until you begin to adventure through life.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Research the Truth for a Healthy Debate (3)



The third post in The Daily Prism 4-part sharing of a Chopra Center article, 4 Tips to Having a Healthy Debate,  discusses knowing the truth and facts of your point of view. Becoming mindful of your information's source is extremely important to a healthy debate. You can bet that information from a highly charged one-sided political, ideological, or "news" website, will exclude facts and references that may well be germane to the discussion. For healthy debate with those who see an issue from another point of view, research is the key to a civil and mutually-satisfactory debate.


Research

People tend to be more emotional during the current state of humanity. This is wonderful, but also dangerous. You live in a tech age with information firing at you like a rocket full of confetti. Grabbing one piece and calling it truth or getting upset is not helpful to either side.

When it comes to your stance on any topic, I highly suggest learning as much as possible. Yes, this means you sometimes have to read or watch your counterpart’s favorite shows. For example, in sports one team watches the rival team’s previous games. Countless hours are spent playing back how they move, talk, run, communicate, etc. Anything you intend to change or achieve in life is the same. Here are some tips:


  • Go back into the history of the topic.
  • Ask older generations their perspectives as well as small children. How do humans see differently now vs. then?
  • Ask the tough questions to verify how much the other and yourself believe what is being said and how much is from the fear of being authentic. Authenticity can be a scary place when you are the only one in a particular environment who is on the opposite opinion.
  • What evolution has been made on the situation? Has the other side contributed in a positive way?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Healthy Debate, Ask About Past, Present & Future (2)



Continuing a series on healthy debate as posted by the Chopra Center. The author of the original post, 4 Tips to a Healthy Debate, noted:  Humans continue to evolve, creating a deeper intuition and increased resistance against falsehoods. Generations prior to those alive today chose to be silent more often and stay in their safe zones by not letting neighbors know that they think differently or not talking about sex so that people won't know you engage in it.

Past, Present & Future

You have a past that has molded, programmed, and sculpted you into who you are today. You can only understand as far as your consciousness has been expanded. No, you are not “better” than another person if you have wider expansion—you are just different. Each of us has our moment in time when we are meant to evolve. Taking this into account, be that expansion for each other. Go deeper than the surface with your questions or thoughts.


  • What from our past molded us to these beliefs or opinions? How were our pasts different?
  • Where are we at currently in our separate lives? Do our lives parallel in certain areas?
  • What do we each desire for our future, the future of our planet, and our children?


Friday, April 14, 2017

A Healthy Debate Begins with Passion (1)




One of the most popular posts on The Daily Prism is 7 Steps Toward Thoughtful Speech.  Elaborating on that theme, today will begin an excerpted four-day series recently posted by the Chopra Center on 4 Tips to Have a Healthy Debate.    The complete article begins:  

"... there seems to be a lot more public debates than ever before. From the way our society should be ran or what is morally correct, to how and if politicians are serving our communities, there are more controversial topics than most of us can keep up with.

"Why do you see and hear more open debates now vs. previous years? Obviously, the number one answer is social media. You can now debate all day with people all over the world"

Debate is healthy, and can be a source of new information for one or both of those in the debate. But how do we keep the debate healthy? It is the hope of The Daily Prism that each of the following days will help each of us become better communicators.


Passion
Typically, a debate begins behind some sort of passion. Two people have a large amount of energy and emotion fueling their words. Passion is a powerful force for accomplishing goals in life, but it can also block your window of understanding. If you only look through one side of a window, you only see one view. Take a moment to change your view with the following actions:


  • Ask as many questions as you can about the other person’s feelings and passion behind the topic. What fuels passion the most on each side of the debate?
  • Read the books, articles, and newspapers this person would be interested in.
  • Travel to the areas where the people on the other podium live.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Combatting Hunger in Alexandria, Virginia

C. Coimbra Photo

Across America, 48.8 million live in households that face hunger on a regular basis – 13 million of those people are children. Food insecurity can have a significant impact on the health and general well-being of the families affected by it – especially children, as limited access to nutritional food can stunt growth and critical brain development. Community organizations everywhere are taking action to find solutions to this public health crisis – Volunteer Alexandria, a Points of Light affiliate, is one of these organizations.

A 2014 report conducted by the Alexandria Childhood Obesity Action Network revealed that of the more than 139,000 residents of Alexandria, Virginia, 8.6 percent live below the poverty line. Of those residents, more than 13 percent are below the age of 18. To combat this, the Hunger Free Alexandria Coalition was formed and Volunteer Alexandria, an active member, is putting volunteers at the center of the solution.

“We believe, first of all, that we are better together,” said Marion Brunken, executive director of Volunteer Alexandria. ”We like to make connections that make sense to the community and to the group or individual seeking to get involved. In regards to the hunger issue, we support the fight against hunger by connecting people.”

The organization, positioning itself as the conduit for impassioned volunteers to connect with opportunities to address pressing causes in the Alexandria community, is doing this in a variety of ways.

--Excerpted from Points of Light, "Fighting Hunger by Connecting Do-Gooders with People in Need.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Global Compassionate Efforts Towards Women & Children

C. Coimbra photo


The Charter for Compassion Women and Girls Global Task Force and Ambassadors, suggest the following steps to help bring about compassionate action to help and serve those women and girls facing atrocities:

We recognize that women and girls are disproportionately impacted by all such conditions. We also agree that when women and girls are protected and empowered, all conditions will improve. We stand on the side of love and fierce compassion, committed to protecting and empowering women and girls and advancing solutions for all in need.

As the women of the Charter for Compassion, we request all to remember and hold dear the words of the Charter for Compassion, and know that now is the time to be the compassion we must  see in the world to achieve our goals.

We ask all to join us in upholding the vision where compassion is the driving force of all decision and policy making. We ask that you join us in our compassionate solutions of not only empowering women and girls in political literacy and  ending violence against women and girls, but also in programs that provide tools and models through the Reaction to Response and other campaigns for a world that embodies peace and harmony for all. Please join us as we live the values of the Charter for Compassion and co-create compassionate solutions within your social circles as well as within your local government and community organizations.

As Women and Girls of the Charter for Compassion we stand in our responsibility to work tirelessly to accomplish our vision of a world in which all girls and women reach their fullest potential for global transformation, holding compassion as our driving force, resulting in a compassionate and harmonious world that works for all.

Think Globally, Act Locally

Become Politically Literate In the United States, many organizations provide training to become educated and trained on anywhere from the basics of public policy to how to run for local, state, or national level government. Two are listed below, yet we are most interested in knowing what other such organizations exist around the world. Please contact us at WomenandGirls@CharterforCompassion.org

(The Charter for Compassion Int'l does not endorse any candidate or any party affiliation)

Emerge America http://www.emergeamerica.org/   Emily's List  http://www.emilyslist.org/

Advocate to End Violence Against Women, City by City

CEDAW, a UN Treaty that was signed and ratified by most all UN member states except Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Tonga and the United States. Cities for CEDAW (The Convention on Elimination against all forms of Discrimination and violence Against Women) is a US based initiative. What measures are you taking to insure CEDAW is upheld in your country, or if you are in the US, check out what cities are active in your state.  www.CitiesforCEDAW.org

This reference guide highlights key international human rights provisions found in CEDAW that are relevant to women’s nationality rights and individuals affected by gender discrimination in nationality laws, including stateless persons. It is addressed to all stakeholders who may wish to use this international human rights instrument to advance gender equal nationality rights and improve the enjoyment of human rights by affected persons.
http://equalnationalityrights.org/reports/document/1229-cedaw-nationality-laws-guide

Are you a City of Compassion organizer and want to include CEDAW in your campaign? Contact us. WomenandGirls@CharterforCompassion.org

Compassion in Action

Water is Life Earth Week Compassion Games Join the Team Women and Girls and express your compassion outloud in the upcoming Earth Week coopetition with the Compassion Games!  Make sure to name Compassionate Women and Girls as your Team name!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Inspirational Videos About Volunteers Who Made a Difference



One seed of beauty makes a difference, as does the seed of volunteerism. C. Coimbra photo


The power of one person doing one good thing is as magic as wildflower seeds that bring beautiful blossoms of people making life better for themselves, their neighbors, and the planet. This collection of videos is a joy to watch and inspirational.








Monday, April 10, 2017

Forgiveness -- 7 Steps to Emotional Freedom




Forgiveness is very desirable. For those who receive it, the burden of guilt is lifted. For those who give it, resentment and anger can be released, clearing the slate in a relationship and making room for peace.

Despite this, in everyday life forgiveness is not easy to achieve. Let’s see if there is a way to offer genuine forgiveness, especially to those closest to you, because ironically, they are the ones you should forgive first and yet they are often the hardest to deal with.

Key Steps to Forgiveness
Here are the key steps involved:


  • Feel your emotions and face them directly.
  • Write down your reasons for not forgiving someone.
  • Ask yourself how motivated you are to offer forgiveness.
  • Let go of as much resentment and anger as you can, here and now.
  • Envision what the future would be like if you do forgive the other person.
  • Reconnect at a sincere positive level.
  • Find the place of forgiveness in your own awareness.
  • Each of these steps clears up a specific obstacle to forgiveness that may be inside you. Let’s see how this works, step by step.
To read this entire piece on forgiveness from the Chopra Center, click this link: The 7 Steps of Forgiveness

Monday, April 3, 2017

Connecting



The Daily Prism will rest for a few days while the editor works on her book project.  Daily updates of the good news and ways one might become a better person very soon!