Posted in Awards, Concepts, Culture, Nature, Quotes, Social Justice

Spreading Peace with the GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD I (GAMBA I)

Kamal’s Blogging Café: To learn more about the award and its rules, here is the link. https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/great-achiever-mahasiddhi-blogger-award-gamba/

Hello everyone!

A few weeks ago, I met a new blogger named Kamal who has introduced a new initiative with her new Great Achiever Blogger Award to spread peace among the blogging community. She is an ambitious visionary, and the award itself has such a beautiful origin story!

It has given me an extreme happiness and immense pleasure that I am here to introduce a ‘GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD‘ to expand peace in our global village- WordPress. This award goes to a real achiever and successor who has been giving their creative feelings and thoughts exquisitely presenting a good perfection of work of art in WordPress Writing.

I am from a birthplace of Gautam Buddha who enlightened many parts of the world in his lifetime by his wisdom and knowledge of equanimity, or peace of mind which is achieved by detaching oneself from the cycle of craving that produces trouble. And, from a lap of Mount Everest, giving an adventurous taste of mountain climbing to the people around the world. The most important thing is purity from the Himalayas, everyone get tastes of pure water flowing from mountain to the hills and then Terai region spreading tranquility in spring.

“महासिद्धी” is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the “Siddhi of perfection”. A Siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.

We are a member of a global village “WordPress” to help shape the world peacefully through our continuous effort to dedicate and invest our valuable time for writing giving a perfection, i.e. “महासिद्धी”.

What an introduction! Thank you, Kamal. ❤ I’m truly honored and humbled by such serendipity. Throughout my journey in blogging, earning a badge for reaching particular criteria is a fascinating concept. I apologize for replying sooner as I have many other obligations outside of my blog.

However, spreading peace is a wonderful cause I can easily rally behind during these times. Unlike a peacekeeper, a peacemaker is neither passive nor fearful. Throughout history, society has a myriad of approaches for maintaining peace. The complexities of human nature, being what it is, has demonstrated conflicting ideas of how peace will transpire.

It takes diligence to remain calm within your heart in the midst of chaos. I have known many bloggers who have done this well but are award-free. Thus, I will open this nomination to any of my readers who would like to contemplate and explore these ideas.

Rules & Regulations

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, with a link to their blog.
  2. Make a Post of the Award with a Statement of PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT as above. Tag your post with the #greatachiever.
  3. Mention the rules and regulations.
  4. Ask 7 questions of your choice. One of the questions must include “PEACE” and one for “SAVE Environment”.
  5. Nominate at least 7 fellow bloggers or more to 21 bloggers and notify them.
  6. Follow @kamalsbloggingcafe (https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com) to secure certification as a badge to get a chance of collecting badge of GAMBA WORDPRESS SHINING STAR AWARD for PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT. For more details, visit https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/award/.

Musings

I like to imagine climbing Mount Everest one day, but I think I’m content watching the incredible views in a documentary while I condition myself. 😉 If you are not familiar with the Terai region, these flatlands stretch along the border between Nepal and India. They can be quite beautiful in the spring time.

Image Credit: Knowledge @ Wharton

With such sweeping, natural beauty, it’s unfortunate to know that the country is struggling with many challenges such as natural disasters, cycles of extreme poverty, and political instability, to name a few.

Image Credit: Sagarmatha Dispatch-Gazette
http://sceenius.com/2015/07/27/flatlands-of-nepal-the-terai/

Some of my readers are aware that I was raised with mixed religious traditions. Sometimes, my hybrid, eclectic upbringing has led to some friendly tension with my “pure” friends, but c’est la vie! (That’s life!) 🙂

Years ago, one of my classmates once called me a “Bodhisattva“. I had no clue what that was, so I looked it up.

A person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.

Oxford Dictionary
Image Credit: Stephen Lucas
Kuan Yin (also known as Avalokitesvara), Bodhisattva of compassion

My father’s brother was a Buddhist monk. When I was a young girl, I attended various beautiful temples with some lovely gardens and fountains. My dad said Buddha’s birthday was near my own which I thought was a fun piece of trivia. There I spent time with and learned from other monks and more devout Buddhists.

Image Credit: Dan Pancamo
This photo contains an example of some of the colorful, architectural elements that I remember most

Kamal’s Questions

  • How can you be a good blogger as a member of WordPress Global Village?

If by “good”, you mean integrity: I pay it forward and recognize other bloggers whenever I can or when time permits. I help others enjoy the blogging process and encourage them to keep growing in their craft if they’re new. If they’re veterans, I participate in their challenges. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers, and I learn new things everyday.

  • Could you please define a word “PEACE” from your point of view?

I’ve experienced many peaceful moments singing with groups of people in harmony. I also enjoy digging my toes in the sand and feel the ocean wash over my feet as I see the sun rise.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave

A picture is worth a thousand words.

American adage coined by Henrik Ibsen

For the past few years I’ve been following photography entries for the Global Peace Photo Award inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Alfred Hermann Fried and Tobias Michael Carel Asser. The photos are quite compelling. Here’s one I absolutely love!

Image Credit: Maria Turchanova, Russia
The World as a Manifestation of Love
  • How can we save a tree?

Sadly, I’m trying to save a weak crepe myrtle tree that has developed some lichens. It’s been fighting to stay alive for a very long time. I need to apply some herbicidal soaps and add more mulch. I feel like I have to accept the inevitability of the cycle of life on this one, but I will keep trying so long that it’s showing signs of life and sprouting new leaves.

  • Do you think human trafficking is still a crosscutting issue? 

Yes, human trafficking is one of the largest crimes in the world and intersects with a variety of studies. “This Power and Control wheel outlines the different types of abuse that can occur in labor and sex trafficking situations.” -Polaris Project

Image Credit: Polaris Project
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project’s Duluth Model

It’s even in my own backyard! A few years ago, the store where I worked at made national headline news. A trucker was smuggling illegal immigrants across the border in a large 18-wheeler truck. One of my coworkers reported suspicious activity in the parking lot and heard yelling inside the truck. The individuals in the truck bed were suffocating in summer weather, had no water, and no restrooms. Some died due to asphyxiation, and many were treated at the hospital.

Infographic Credit: Department of Homeland Security (Blue Campaign)
  • What thing do you sacrifice to make a happy family environment?

One thing we sacrifice is our pride and need to be right. We apologize when situations warrant it.

Pride is the longest distance between two people.

Kushandwizoom
  • Which animal do you like most? Why? 
Image Credit: Pixabay

The panda is one of my favorite animals. The symbolism behind the panda as a spirit animal really resonates with me.

  • What do you think about the journalist or Youtubers? 

Youtubers and journalists have a platform to share news, photographs, and information that they have gathered and researched with the public. They share their opinions, their truths, and sometimes deliver a new angle on an existing topic. Journalists expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations everyday. Youtubers also deal with their particular trolls. I feel that those who move forward in such situations are courageous and resolute.

Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy.

MSNBC
  • Is a movie-star play a vital role to aware most of the people around the world or just they present their performance to earn money?

There is a wide spectrum of the type of movie stars out there. Some movie stars try to raise awareness about many pressing issues. They play a role in the movie to enact change or shift the public’s mindset about a topic. Sometimes, they raise money to donate to a charitable cause. Audrey Hepburn danced in underground concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance during World War II for instance.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

There are also movie stars who have done a movie purely for the money. I feel that there is no shame in this sort of honesty as money is a necessity. Acting is a profession, and they don’t call it “show business” for nothing. Do I feel that some are overly paid exorbitant amounts of money? Sometimes, but it’s peanuts in relation to an underground network of elite individuals who the public doesn’t see or know about.

Sometimes, actors would just like the cash and openly admitted it like Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Paul Bettany, Richard Dreyfess, Eddie Murphy, Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Michael Caine, Marlo Brando, Betsy Palmer.

Image Credit: Fanpop
Ben Affleck in the movie, “Paycheck”:

My Questions

  • What does peace mean to you?
  • How do you resolve conflict?
  • What is one thing you do to help the environment?
  • How does security play a role in maintaining peace?
  • What kind of food makes you feel at peace with the world?
  • If you won the Nobel Peace Prize, what would you want the award recognize you for?
  • If you were sign up for the Peace Corps, what kind of work would you consider?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time! 🙂

Featured Nighttime Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Posted in awareness, Culture, Events, flashback, Quotes, Social Justice

Stepping Outside My Comfort Bubble

Good afternoon everyone, I hope you’ve been well!

I delayed this post for a while, but now, I figure it might be a cathartic experience to share a few my feelings behind the scenes. Sometimes, I hold things privately inside too long with nowhere to turn. Even my own family doesn’t want to chat about it too long, because they have things to do and lives to live.

Back in May, Shenequa Golding, a writer on Medium, wrote an article, “Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot

I just witnessed the lynching of a black man, but don’t worry Ted, I’ll have those deliverables to you end of the day.

Shenequa Golding.

A friend shared that article with me, and I concurred. Remaining composed at work without feeling exasperated in the midst of current events took a lot of effort.

Last year, I was sitting in the school cafeteria chatting to a friend about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. I told him how interesting that it was raising awareness about various instances of systemic racism and how people were quickly mobilizing.

He responded, “What started off as a well-meaning cause turned into an anti-white sentiment.” He continues to explain about the New Black Panthers Party and goes on to describe certain parallels.

As I listened to his story, I realized that my current knowledge-base regarding various societal issues seemed out of date.

What Does It Mean to Live in a Bubble?

Image by Lars_Nissen from Pixabay

When I was a teenager, I had a classmate who jokingly asked another girl, his crush, sitting in front of me, “Did I just pop your bubble?” He was pretending to sprinkle fairy dust on everyone. (Imagination was prized in my circles. 😉 )

It was the first time I heard of that phrase. I was curious as people in my life frequently peppered their conversations with this phrase. But, what does it actually mean? This morning I look to the members of Quora to see what they have to say:

To live in a bubble means you’re refusing to update your information pipelines for a changing world and your changing role in it, which lowers your chances of success in life, and likely annoys everyone you interact with. You have a particular information network. That’s what you know and trust. You’ve settled into it over the last few years because you genuinely feel it’s the best route to balanced, quality information like literally everyone else thinks.” – John Kyle Varley

“The saying “living in a bubble” is similar to that of “living under a rock.” Both sayings imply that you are separated from society. Bubbles for the most part are translucent. So, someone who lives in a bubble can see what goes on in society but is completely sheltered. However, it is very easy to pop someone’s bubble, or break the barrier that separates them from the rest of the world.” – Ruth Ipince

Used during political discourse it means surrounding yourself with only opinions similar to your own and unwillingness to even listen to contrary opinions or evidence.” – J. J. Grey

To me, living in a bubble means, I am attending my basic needs. Until those are satisfied, my interest is largely focused there. Until peoples’ basic needs are met, access to non-toxic food, access to unadulterated and clean drinking water, access to health care, and safe living conditions, keeping up with the latest news and events that don’t directly affect them, is not a priority.” – Barb Kueber

Shielding My Mental Health

A few months earlier, I was resting for the sake of my mental health and took a break from blogging. I even requested a leave of absence from school for a period of time because my concentration was broken by things I could not ignore.

I started to set boundaries about how much news I was going to consume. I just needed enough to know what was going on, but some days I wanted to follow a trail on a particular topic. Avoiding the temptation to click and read proved to be difficult. Before I knew it, minutes turned into hours and hours turned into days.

I started writing fragments of my thoughts back in May thinking I could share what I was experiencing in real-time, but I put it aside because I was too upset. I felt like I had to keep up with my peers by raising awareness otherwise, it would seem like I didn’t care, but it was difficult.

While some of my friends were protesting, there were some on the other side of the spectrum who didn’t care at all or at least care for the riots anyway. I felt like some kind of change could be brought about afterward despite the violence and destruction, as it did for the LGBT+ community post-Stonewall. I wanted time to process and think and return to it later.

I’ve been consumed with grief and anger concerning current events in the United States. Transforming this anger to some form of compassion takes time. Even now, I just seem to be shaking as I type. Friends and neighbors have protested, fought for justice, and created activist groups in the midst of a COVID-19 surge.

Personal thoughts back in May

Processing the Deluge

My friends’ timelines and social feeds were suddenly packed with resources, books, ideas, art shows, and gatherings. Then, the protesters and riots began to organize. My mother called me informing me that some protesters destroyed several businesses around town.

It was sad to see the aftermath of the destruction before our eyes. Though this was a fact, I felt like she said some careless things afterward, and I attempted to stay calm and explain how emotionally upset people were at various injustices that she might not be completely aware of.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

One of the leaders in my service organization gave an impassioned speech about interrupting your happy bubble for just a moment to consider the various things that blacks in America experience on a daily basis. He listed various things in his day-to-day life, experiences surrounding racial profiling, and shielding his one year son from these topics until he was older.

I don’t think defunding the police is a wise course of action, as there are good officers who help protect and lay down their life for their community. However, police brutality is a serious issue to address.

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash

When news broke out about Ahmaud Arbery, I cried when I found out about the story. Earnestly, I decided to run for justice out of support of a fellow runner. I couldn’t jog downtown with the other advocates with the pandemic going on, so I jogged 2.23 miles around the field by myself. I posted #IRunForMaud hashtags wherever I could. My idle mind asked, “What else can I do in the middle of the pandemic?”

Stay informed, for one thing. I’m currently reading “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, an attorney who founded the Equal Justice Initiative. It was dedicated to “defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system.”

The Indignity of Microaggressions

One day, on my way to the Spanish club, I noticed that the Black Student Union at my school posted about various graphics briefly describing “microaggressions” to their social media pages. At the time, I was unaware that there was even a term for things I noticed in my daily life.

Andrew Limbong, a reporter for National Public Radio, interviewed Kevin Nadal, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who spent years researching and writing books on the effects of microaggressions. As these big structural issues play out, he says it’s important to confront the small stuff.

To be clear, the “micro” in microaggression doesn’t mean that these acts can’t have big, life-changing impacts. They can, which is all the more reason to address them when you see them.

Andrew Limbong, NPR article – “Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away

Kevin Nadal: Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups.

The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microaggressions might not even be aware of them.

Someone commenting on how well an Asian American speaks English, which presumes the Asian American was not born here, is one example of a microaggression. 

Building a Bridge When You Don’t Feel Like It

Solemnly smiling, Kevin described an experience that I’ve encountered before. At the time, I was very surprised, but not necessarily hurt. Then, my mother’s thoughts trail in my mind. “When people first look at you, they’re going to see an Asian first, then American later.”

I was more hurt when that same elderly woman thought I had a fifth-grade education and called me a fraud. She proceeded to “teach” me as I was serving her as a cashier in the checkout lane. The peculiar thing was that, in the midst of this unnerving interaction, I took a deep breath and was nice and patient with her.

I wanted to overcome these tenuous bonds. I felt like I walking in a dark forest with thick, heavy brush, and if I never addressed these issues I would start to wander in grim areas if I didn’t build a bridge to cross to new destinations. The question I asked myself was, “If I choose to build this bridge, will it lead me into danger?”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

She was delighted that someone was listening. I wasn’t sure if it was against my better judgment, but providing excellent service is my nature in spite of who I was dealing with. I could always call a manager if things got out of hand. So, I bit my tongue multiple times and wrote several personal letters of frustration and diary entries to myself.

If I was going to learn from her, she will certainly learn from me. We learn from every personal interaction, and every experience shapes us.

My thought rationale

I understood that she grew up in a particular time where many minority groups didn’t have access to certain levels of education. She had a preconceived notion of various members of society, not just Asians. We developed an extended relationship where I knew her name, her background, and her profession.

I was sympathetic when she told me someone poisoned her dog. She got to know me and my goals in life. When I told her I was moving, she took a smiling picture of me for her memory. She thanked me for being very nice to her all this time, and that she wasn’t going to forget me. Likewise, I will not forget this snarky lady with a caring heart buried underneath several cynical layers of life experiences.

The Calm After a Storm

Some of my close friends from my childhood are black. They just delivered baby boys, and I can’t imagine what they might be feeling as they hold onto their babies a little tighter. To think their lives might be more in danger due to recent events caused me some stress.

In the past, I remembered a situation where my coworker pulled out a race card just because I looked at him a little funny when he told me he was dating five women at the same time. I got really frustrated when he used this card to guilt-trip others to get out of certain responsibilities or to get away with certain behavior. However, there were times I felt sorry for him. He slept with a gun nearby at all times.

When I was a young adult, I remembered writing a paper about how I was against affirmative action policies because I wanted people to be recognized for their merit first. What I failed to realize at the time was that there are a variety of environmental factors that could be holding people back from achieving their goals.

I wonder why I feel this way. If I were raised in a completely different country with different values, would I still feel the same? Would my daily concerns be very different? Yet, a quote by Martin Luther King leaves an impact in my mind:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King

I grew up reading stories of tragic injustices surrounding American Black history: the Little Rock 9, Trayvon Martin, Breona Taylor, and multitudes of others. My parents did not and were raised learning a completely different history and narrative. I wonder if that played such a huge part in them being detached from certain issues.

It touched a nerve differently this time. It was one thing to study it in history books. It’s another to live through history in the making.

Thanks again for following along. Until next time! ❤

Posted in awareness, Concepts, Culture, Events, flashback, Quotes, Social Justice

Part 1: Reflections on “The Drowning Child”

This morning I was intrigued by a blogger’s article called “The Drowning Child“. At 15 years old, Saania is wise beyond her years and constantly looking for ways to expand her thinking. Her comment feed is a hub of lively discussion and a time of personal reflection.

Saania explores Peter’s stance in this particular scenario:

Peter Singer is an Australian philosopher who created a thought experiment called The Drowning Child, in 2009.

In this thought experiment, we imagine ourselves walking down the street. Suddenly, we notice a girl drowning in a lake. We have the ability to swim, and we are also close enough to save her life if we take action immediately. However, doing so will ruin our expensive shoes. Do we still have an obligation to save her?

Edmond Allen

Peter’s answer to this question is yes. We do have a responsibility to save the life of a drowning child and price is no object. If we agree with him on this statement, it leads us to a salient thought-provoking question: If we are obligated to save the life of a child in need, is there a fundamental difference between saving one who is right in front of us and one on the other side of the world?”

I couldn’t help but read the various responses. I’ve read comments along the lines of “Let me take off my shoes, and then dive in to save the girl!” or how there are many charitable organizations whose donations go to other costs rather than the cause itself. There’s many aspects to explore in Peter’s statement.

Summer Flashback

When I was a young girl, I almost drowned in a lake one summer.

We were celebrating a family reunion with a BBQ by a gorgeous lake nestled between a heavily forested area that provided lots of shade. Many other families were also enjoying their time and the whole area was packed.

My cousins wanted to cool down and decided to take me to the deep part of the lake. We were splashing each other and having fun.

They were supporting me until one of our parents called us to let us know that the BBQ is ready. Hungry, they started to swim back to shore and left me hanging without a life jacket.

I didn’t know how to swim at the time, but I was trying to learn as quickly as possible. I was sinking fast. I choked on a lot of water I swallowed and slowly couldn’t breathe.

Even with so many people around me, no one was coming to my rescue, and I was unable to call out for help. I couldn’t blame them, they weren’t life guards and were focused on enjoying their time.

I paddled my hands and arms to push myself to the surface, and focused on a point at the shore that I wanted to reach. I kicked my legs in that direction and crawled over there.

Eventually, just as I was getting closer to shore, my cousin spotted me unaware of the ordeal I went through and pulled me the rest of the way.

Whose Responsibility?

Thinking back to that fateful day, I wonder. Hundreds of people were there. Did anyone at the lake that day have an obligation to save me? Even if they knew I was drowning, would they?

I’m reminded of a psychology concept I read years ago in class called “Theory of Diffusion of Responsibility” by John Darley and Bibb Latane.

The more spectators there are, the less likely it is any one of them will actually help. When someone needs help, the spectators assume someone else will step in. Someone else will “do something.” But, the outcome of this individual way of thinking is that in the end none of the spectators will bother to step in. And the responsibility will end up spreading thin among the whole group. This means no one will take responsibility.

Kitty Genovese, the Girl who Screamed and Nobody Helped

My mother once described a situation where a young man dived in to save her sister from drowning in the ocean. The current was pulling her downward, and the young man risked his own life to save her sister.

She will never forget his heroism. I’m grateful for the people who take initiative.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who won’t do anything about it”

Albert Einstein

Charity & Social Conscience

Finally, I want to explore this last thought-provoking question:

If we are obligated to save the life of a child in need, is there a fundamental difference between saving one who is right in front of us and one on the other side of the world?”

I will be exploring this question more in Part 2 of my reflections in this philosophical question, but I’m immediately reminded of a quote:

Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world: yet is every man his greatest enemy.

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1642

Some people have interpreted this to mean take care of your own family first before being kind and generous to others. Others take it to mean children should first learn what it means to be charitable in their home.

Often times, I wonder if people decide to help those who are immediately closest to them because they see an immediate effect from their actions.

Being in close proximity allows for the opportunity to develop a relationship with the person you’re helping. Increased exposure may help the two parties develop familiarity.

I also think of the differences between generous acts vs. generous people. Corporate responsibility vs a genuine desire to help as well.

There are so many facets to think about. Thanks for tagging along my thoughts today. I will be posting Part 2 tomorrow! 🙂

Posted in awareness, Books, Culture, Events, Quotes, Social Justice, Technology

Aspen Ideas Festival

No Idea Is So Outlandish That It Should Not Be Considered With A Searching But At The Same Time A Steady Eye

– Winston Churchill

Enjoyed this year’s invigorating Aspen Ideas Festival these past few days. Various leaders around the world engaged in a deep discussion of the ideas and issues across many disciplines that both shape our lives and challenge our times. It’s virtual and free to attend. Past videos from this weekend have been archived and ready for the public to view. For more information: https://www.aspenideas.org/attend/festival

Posted in awareness, Books, Quotes, Social Justice

Book Recommendations that Speak Out Against Injustice

Hello everyone, the moderator of our alumni book club wrote me an email a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share with everyone who may be interested apropos of current events.

Hi Sa,

“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.” -Toni Morrison

In light of the current moment, many resources and books have been circulating that may promote understanding and facilitate meaningful conversations about injustice. As such, we understand that your reading priorities may be shifting directions. We support book club members in reading whatever literature speaks to them at this time. We will continue to send information and questions related to our summer reading period. Feel free to jump in to the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru) whenever you’d like to engage with the group or to share and discuss some of the books you are reading independently this summer. 

Additionally, we imagine our book club members are seeking books and other resources that speak to the preexisting and immediate conditions from which many communities suffer. Such topics might include justice, equity, equality, diversity, the systems that built, support, block and/or degrade these principles, how we got here, and ways in which we can be agents of change in working to build a better world. In line with this goal, we think you may find the following works to be of interest and of value on that journey:

Recommended Resources

A list of book recommendations to get started:

When considering where to buy books, you may be interested in checking out this list put together by Lithub of black-owned independent bookstores that offer ordering/shipping options.

Similarly, we welcome members to share book recommendations in our Book Recommendations thread within the Introductions and General Topics category in the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru). Please know that we believe in the importance of this community reading books from a range of voices and perspectives, and we sincerely welcome your input.

Be well,
Tessa
Texas A&M-San Antonio Alumni Book Club
Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru)

Posted in Awards, awareness, Books, Concepts, Crafts, Culture, Dance, Dreams, Events, exercise, fiction, flashback, Food/Recipes, Freedom of Expression, Makeup, Music, Nature, Photography, poetry, Quotes, Social Justice, Technology, Volunteer Experiences

Twenty-Four Seven | Daily Inkling #7

Daily Inkling

Just when I think I’m going to be doing haikus for the rest of the year due to my tight schedule…

Blogger “Normal Happenings” has tagged me in an interesting challenge that seems to coincide with a random daily horoscope I received a few days ago from a free Vedic astrology app called Yodha. (By the way, I like your new branding! It’s bold and glowing like a neon sign. 🙂 )

Happy new year! For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following my blog, and I will be swinging by to read yours as well. I see a lot of new faces out there, and I just want to say hi! This is my fun, personal blog where I typically write about all sorts of subjects in a variety of formats: poetry, story, photo-story, music. I’m about to start another blog for school related stuff, but that’ll be shared on another post!

Image from Shivashakti

You may wonder how did I encounter Vedic astrology? Well! One day, I was chatting with a young lady about the staggering synchronicity in both our lives, and she told me about how she regularly talks to her Vedic astrologist for all sorts of decisions. She said that she made some of the best business decisions of her life with his guidance and that it is a lot more accurate than western astrology. I was skeptical because there are a lot of quacks out there as you well know, but intrigued nevertheless.

So, I downloaded the free Yodha Daily Horoscope app where authentic Vedic astrologists from Nepal share with you their insights. I started learning more about it. Apparently there are Indian universities that offer advanced courses in Vedic astrology despite scientists protesting about it being a pseudoscience. Jyotisha is the traditional system of Hindu astrology. Its etymology is from the Sanskrit term, “jyoti” meaning “light heavenly body”. The term Vedic astrology came about later around the 70s.

Below are the sort of messages I get. This is one I received this morning:

“Due to your nature, you are a rather positive person. You are someone who can find a silver lining in most of the situations. Perhaps you are aware of this gift and know how to implement it. At times, you can put a smile on your face even when the circumstances don’t naturally warrant it and in doing so you can spread good vibrations to others. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not everyone has that gift and you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t. The planets are encouraging you to show how it’s done.”

Astrologer P. Bhattarai

Anyway, back to the horoscope that inspired this post! She mentioned how when time and money permits, I enjoy traveling to an exotic locale and experiencing new things. However, lately, I may be seeking a more spiritual experience which may not be a physical location: a journey to understand myself better, gain a deeper understanding of myself, be more conscious and aware. I thought Daily Inkling’s prompt might help me explore this arena!

Write 24 talking points between current you and you from seven years ago. Consider teaching yourself something you’ve picked up since then.

Twenty-four Seven

Seven years ago was the year 2013. A pivotal point in my life: the beginning of a lot of new things, drastic changes to my lifestyle. This is a rare occasion when all of my category boxes on my blog have been checked! I’ve chosen 24 random topics to discuss in no particular order: then vs. now!

1) Career

2013: Grocery store cashier – Served a lot of people from all walks of life! I love to meet new people and listening to their stories.

Image by Charles Thompson from Pixabay

2020: Technical writer for a cybersecurity firm & vacation business manager – nice balance between the two!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2) Books

I read a lot of books during both years, but I’ll just mention two for now:

2013: Shantaram, an epic, philosophical tale of an Australian convict opening up clinics in the slums of India

“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”

― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
Image by billy cedeno from Pixabay 

2020: The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy – People worldwide share unique testimonials of what made them happy

Optimism isn’t frivolous: it’s necessary. If we feel hopeless all the time, if we’re always in crisis, the natural response is to give up and stop trying altogether. But we can’t let snark win. Problems are there to be solved. Challenges, to be met. We can be aware of the bad while also being mindful of how we can make it better. … Empathy is essential, and learning what matters to people on the other side of the world helps us all. Understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.

Helen Russell
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay 

3) Friendships

2013: Friends were there to lift my spirits, give me warm cup of tea when going through a new challenge, have fun in the cosplay contests at school. Really enjoyed checking out the Ghostbusters!

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

2020: All of the above still applies, but my friendships seem to have more depth and honesty. Also, true friendship has a way of helping me see things in myself that I didn’t think was capable.

5) Nature

2013: I took my family and friends to check out the Arboretum gardens in Dallas, TX during special holidays like Mother’s Day

Image by: Dallas Arboretum

2020: I hope to visit Vanderpool, TX sometime and bask in the warm glow of the “lost maple trees” during autumn

4) Love

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

2013: Infatuated by a gentle young man I met one beautiful autumn day while feeding the birds at the pier down by the lake. A rather electrifying meeting, though the relationship never developed due to my fear of commitment.

Image by philpace from Pixabay

2020: Enjoying a long term relationship of 4 years. Its been a dream come true filled fun adventures, humor, and passion with the normal ups and downs of life.

6) School

2013: Attended community college on a digital forensics academic track. The most memorable project was where I developed a website for a hypothetical geologist living in Colorado. He was studying various types of gemstones he found during his excavations. I researched stories of legends surrounding their origin.

Image by Robert Ramsay from Pixabay

2020: Currently working on an online masters program for technology and innovation management track. The most memorable project so far involved a hypothetical four million dollars granted to me to develop a civil engineering software application from start to finish.

Image by dewikinanthi from Pixabay

7) Volunteer Cause

2013: I worked with a group of friends with Habitat for Humanity. Learned a lot about house building and painting!

Glendale

2020: Currently helping a school teacher collect cans and plastics with the Rotary Club for a contest with Pepsi Co.

Novyy Urengoy, Russia – June 17, 2018: Bunch of different empty soda aluminium cans.

8) Music

2013
2020
2020

9) Recreation

2013: Had a thing for barre workouts!

Image from Haute Living

2020: About to do Hot Yoga with my cowokers!

Image by Sofie Zbořilová from Pixabay

10) Sustainability

2013: Back when Google+ was around, I heavily got involved with a sustainability discussion group for many hours. The discussions intrigued me. I wanted to learn how to be eco-friendly and be up to date with all of it.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2020: I’m itching to get plugged into community initiatives regarding sustainability issues. They’re looking for ideas, and I hope to contribute in someway!

Image by 95C from Pixabay

11) Blogging

2013: I fancied the idea of being a student blogger on campus. I applied, but was turned down for the position. It may have been because the writing sample I sent was about the sound of a lovely bell ringing off in the distance as I was walking around the campus lake to class. Maybe they want more samples about student life? 🙂

Below is the walkway of the lovely campus I used to walk by often.

2020: Didn’t matter! Here I am blogging my heart out on my own without anyone else’s approval! I don’t know why I thought of it sooner! 😉

Blogging my thoughts has been a freeing, exciting experience. Thank you to my readers for making the experience so worthwhile!

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

12) Fashion Interests

2013: Bold floral-print Sunday dresses

Image from Popsugar

2020: Bandage skirts, Currently love them! Sorry no picture of me in them, but I love to wear them with leggings

Wheretogetit.com

13) Television

2013: 30 Rock, CSI Miami, Supernatural, Glee

Image by CW

2020: Meteor Garden, Witcher, Miraculous Lady Bug

Image by Otakucart

14) Movies

2013: Frozen, Iron Man III, Man of Steel, The Croods, Monsters University

Image by PixarPost

2020: Star Wars (2019), want to see Mulan, Artemis Fowl, Sonic

15) News

There were a lot of news stories that deeply affected me and my path trajectory.

2013: Nelson Mandela’s death, Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden

Nelson Mandela was a leader whom I was captivated by. Boston Marathon and Edward Snowden prompted my interests in security.

2020: Hospital Janitor Forges Lasting Friendship Between Two Boys in Isolation After Noticing a Love of LEGOS

The news story above impacts me because it deals with one of my favorite childhood pastimes. My first major Lego project was a pirate ship. Always fascinated by adventure even then! Will be going to a Lego Brick Fiesta event with some friends this year to indulge in this interest!

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

16) Sports

2013: Followed Maria Sharapova tennis matches quite a bit since I practiced developing my forearm swing at the tennis courts!

The Guardian

2020: I might go check out some Spurs basketball players play! Matt Bonner signed my basketball. He was so down-to-earth and friendly!

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 25: Matt Bonner #15 of the San Antonio Spurs drives the ball against Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at the Staples Center on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 99-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

17) Technology

2013: I was really curious about consumer drones. Always felt tempted to buy one to take awesome aerial photos and videos from the sky!

Phantom Quadcoptor

2020: Right now, I’m super curious about the Click and Grow smart garden!

Image from Click and Grow

18) Favorite Hang-out spots

2013: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX

I enjoyed walking sections around this park almost every day. Seeing the scenery change with the seasons is a great beauty. I once walked around the whole park which took four hours! There are some incredibly beautiful views, expansive hiking trails, fishing spots. There’s also a well known ghost story as well about the Lady of White Rock Lake! One of my favorite memories is sitting on a wooden bench on top of a hill and seeing the sunset as the breeze is blowing the tall grasses.

Image from Applespice

2020: Riverwalk & Pearsall Park in San Antonio, TX

I enjoy walking downtown and checking out the riverboats with curious spectators gliding by in this river. At night, it’s bustling with tourist activity. Families and couples are dining in the restaurants. Some of my favorite memories here was when my brother visited me and we got to listen to a beautiful mariachi band singing a lovely serenade and when my boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas slow dancing in the island platform.

Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX
Image by: Thrillist

I love to go jogging here with my exercise buddy early mornings! The fields and the hills are incredible. Breathing in the fresh cold air is refreshing.

Pearsall Park, San Antonio, TX

19) Languages

2013: I was trying to continue my Spanish studies on Babbel

Image by Babbel

2020: Duolingo’s mascot, a little owl, has been guiding me in learning Spanish and Vietnamese basics. It’s been fun learning from their podcasts too!

Image by Duolingo

20) Theatre

2013: For an English literature assignment, I had the opportunity to watch a live Shakespearean comedic play, Taming of the Shrew.

2020: Curious about the Miss Saigon musical in town!

21) Environment

2013: Fascinated by Google’s chart that compiled deforestation rates by country

2020: Currently checking out Mongobay’s environmental snippet summary

Image by Mongobay – Lemurs!

22) Health

2013: Learned about Healthcare.gov’s crashing website as millions of Americans tried to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Stress is relative though!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

2020: Everyone around me is getting the flu! Got my flu shot. Learning about personalized AI medical care innovations

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

23) Games

2013: Played Juice Cubes a bit!

2020: Curious about Smash Hit and Megaman Zero!

24) Quote I lived by

2013: Eleanor Roosevelt impacted me from an early age.

Do the thing you think you cannot do. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

2020: Right now, these below! More to come later!

Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction

Germany Kent

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Socrates
Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

 That was fun! See you soon everyone! Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂

Posted in Awards, Books, Dance, fiction, flashback, Music, Nature, Quotes, Social Justice

A Sunshine Odyssey

Good evening everyone! There’s a lot for me to celebrate in life today! I just love to do the best I can with what is given to me. It’s a thrilling feeling to partake in such a creative adventure! When I receive a gift of an award, it’s a confirmation of appreciation from the giver. Someone out there has appreciated something I wrote and shared. If I left the world a more inspired, compassionate, and hopeful place, an award to me serves as a catalyst for me to continue reaching for better horizons.

I’ve been nominated at least 15 times this past year for Sunshine, Mystery, Solidarity, Kindness, Liebster blogger awards. I’m grateful for your friendship and support via your comments. It gives me great joy to consistently be recognized for these qualities here on WordPress. Moreover, I’m glad I don’t actually receive any real trophies because I don’t have space for that. 😉

Many thanks and kudos to these hardworking bloggers! Rory @ A Guy Called Bloke, Sadje @ Keep it Alive, Mr. A @ Barbarian in Gentleman’s Clothing, Irene @ My Slice of Mexico, Mel @ Crushed Caramel, Kiwi @ Kiwi Katastrophes, Laura Bailey @ All the Shoes I Wear, Jenna @ The Sunshine Artist, Myexpressionofthoughts @ Beauty lies within yourself

I have taken a different approach with my award nominations today and wrote a story from their questions about myself in third point of view. Pictures are from Pixabay. It will be a blend of fantasy and truth! 🙂

I was inspired by Word of the Day – Odyssey

“HOW DARE YOU DEFY ME?” Ciar, god of darkness, gradually began to suck the remaining light in the galaxy into his mouth which resembled a terrifying black hole.

Sa, space warrior princess from the kingdom of Texas, was temporarily distracted by his impeccable rock hard abdominals, but she was more preoccupied with his black hole. One non-negotiable, unalterable term in this life, is that Sa will survive.

“Sorry? What’s that? I can’t hear you!!!” Sa just used her most commonly spoken phrase against the god of darkness. Will you look at that? 🙂

“Golly, whatever did I do to him?” She unhappily fought against the immense forces that threatened to kill her. What does Sa do to cheer herself up when she is unhappy? She hums a tune of an electrifying song. In this case, the theme song of Ghostbusters galvanized her and became her saving grace.

Ghostbusters 2016 Theme Remastered (Walk the Moon Version)

She pulled a glittering lever, and was not prepared for the recoil. Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket thrusters propelled her out of Ciar’s influence. Elon Musk gave her a parting gift, his most powerful rocket, and wished her good luck on her odyssey. Commandeering a rocket ship is one talent Sa would love to improve upon! Sa thought back to when she read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy scanning her memory for any clues. “YEE-HAW!” Ciar’s bad breath is the least of her worries.

Ciar’s army has besieged her beloved hometown. Ciar’s rhetoric was powerful, and he has swayed the minds of various citizens to commit heinous acts and convinced them they are doing right by the kingdom by terminating who they felt to be the enemy. Who was the enemy? A neighboring community whose was seeking asylum from the ravages of their own war-stricken home? It’s an event that has changed Sa’s perspective on how we live in society.

In the next twelve months, Sa looked forward to the day when the migrants would be settled into their new homes with the help of RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. One of her friends told her how hard she has been working around the clock to help furnish their new homes. Sa shared a value with her friend: caring for those who have difficulty defending for themselves. If she won a lottery, she would love to get each of the boys she met while visiting her friend a pair of printed Oxford leather shoes and help them feel fabulous.

One great thing about being in outer space is that Sa isn’t like the dwarf, Sneezy. Her seasonal allergies don’t act up! Drenched in sweat, Sa glanced outside the window and marveled at the moonglade against Earth’s ocean surface. “Now this is something to write home about on my blog!” Filled with nostalgia, she missed swimming in the sea with the dolphins and her friend, a marine biologist.

Sharing an oceanography and geology course together, Sa admired her friend’s determination. The marine biologist was studying and documenting how the threat of global warming was affecting the dolphin population. The dolphins were having a difficult time adapting to the changes to their habitat, changes to their migration schedules, and it’s even affected their ability to reproduce.

Sa opened up her laptop and began typing a post so that her family can read her latest adventure! Sa was grateful for her parents for teaching her how to be brave in the midst of adversity. She once studied her family tree in the genealogy department held in the third floor of the public library. Even though her roots were derived from diverse backgrounds in monasticism, education, art, aquaculture, one quality was clear: bravery was the connecting link to Sa’s ancestry line.

One of her fondest memories was with her father when he taught her how to play basketball despite her not being too athletic. He pushed her to the edge of what she may have thought her limitation was, but he showed her that she isn’t as fragile as some people made her feel. He nurtured her bravery every step of the way.

She pondered on what they were doing now. She missed washing dishes side-by-side with them. A single tear floated in zero gravity. It’s the little things that seem to get to her. Before Sa left Earth to fight a galactic battle, she filled out a Texas Tree Survey from the Arbor Day Foundation. She felt so proud of herself for taking the time out to complete this survey. She received a gift for 10 free flowering trees (5 American Redbuds and 5 Dogwoods).

Despite being a space cadet, she remained hopeful for a better future for Earth and all its creatures. She knew that there were other people out there who would be wiling to plant trees, rebuild habitats, and help nurture the planet back to health. Her only regret is she might not see the delicate trees grow into the royal beings that they are. Its blooms are startlingly attractive to her when cloistered together.

Her penpal, Cassandra, would get a kick out of this blog post! Although Cassandra chose the monastic life in the convent as a nun, she loved reading about her childhood friend’s adventures in the world. The last time Sa connected with her was by passing her in while shopping in a mall outlet. It felt so good to see an old friend!

If Sa died in outer space today, she would want the world to know that she loved Earth so much. She is a caring, adventurous gal with a sense of humor who would do anything including fighting the god of darkness to protect her loved ones! ❤ 🙂

Posted in awareness, Concepts, Culture, Events, flashback, Freedom of Expression, Photography, Social Justice

Freedom of Expression – Revival!

Hamsa Hand

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20190702_1100085419560629203168971.jpg
Home decor at Big Lots store

Good morning everyone! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I looked up a Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of revival to refresh my understanding and this is what popped up:

  • a new presentation or publication of something old
  • renewed attention to or interest in something
  • a return of strength and importance

When I visited my niece, I noticed reoccurring symbol in her artwork that captivated me. An eye in the palm of a hand. She herself didn’t knew what it meant but I was surprised because I’ve suddenly encountered the symbol a lot in my environment. Following my curiosity, I learned that it is known as the “Hand of God” (or Hand of Fatima), an spiritual symbol of protection from the evil eye to bring health, wealth, good fortune, happiness, good luck, and fertility. Ooo la-la!

Hamsa’s earliest origins were in the middle east. Several celebrities (Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna) have been spotted wearing it. To learn more about the symbolic significance in various religions, you can visit this website! https://aromantly.com/blogs/spirituality/hamsa-meaning

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20190718_1453346230710039855445266.jpg
Saw this pretty necklace in the jewelry store and got it for my niece

A Visit Back to Yesteryear

Richa shared some wonderful quotes which made me reflect on my past life a bit. I was browsing through LinkedIn today and came across an article about burnout and this section prompted a flashback:

Ten years ago, I had my first experience with burnout in my early years of college. I was in need of delimiting my responsibilities. I was studying many things that I was passionate about in combination with subject matter that I was not interested in. I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I should have and lost weight from not eating properly because I was trying to keep up with my peers and stay on top of my scholarly workload.

One day, a childhood friend once noted and said to me, “You don’t pray often, do you?” I felt a little irked and thought to myself, “How would she know if I prayed in my private time? Can she really assume?” A nagging question suddenly dawned on me though. I wondered if an individual’s interior life of prayer can affect one’s external life.

Despite me conducting so much research on my assignments and looking for answers, I was cognizant of the fact that there are some things that cannot be answered via research database. One night, I lied in my bed and stared at the ceiling. Though I loved what I was doing in college, paradoxically, I also prayed for some way of escape…at least temporarily.

During my time on campus, I became aware of a religious awakening spreading throughout the student body. Many people described it as a “revival”. Speakers shared stories with a sort of fervor that I was unaccustomed to. Many students from a variety of faith backgrounds mingled, sincerely listened to each other, studied together, prayed for one another through their troubles, and offered assistance where needed.

Quenching the thirst of my curiosity, I also read academic books on the history of prayer and the power of intercessory prayer. I also poured over various religious books of wisdom while hanging out in prayer houses. I suddenly became very intrigued by these ancient books. My mom was entertained by my fascination with these dead authors. 😉

After years of the frost of cynicism covering these student lives, I witnessed dramatic transformations and strengthened relationships. Admittedly, it felt unreal to me to experience a beautiful scene of an integrated diverse community where people didn’t just tolerate differences in one another, but wholeheartedly embraced all the quirks within each other. Some developed a fresh zeal to tackle on local problems in society like hunger, diabetes, homelessness, trafficking, etc.

So! That’s what revival has meant to me in my life. What about you? 🙂

Posted in Concepts, Culture, Dance, Music, Quotes, Social Justice

A-to-Z Challenge: Justice


Hello everyone! Lady Justice wants to say hello as well. This morning I read an article from opendemocracy.net :

Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice

I’ve been meaning to explore a concept that caught my attention a few years ago. My former ethics professor once told us there was a Fulbright scholar in town where one of his research interests is in “restorative justice“.

In this article, six young men between the ages of 10 and 13 committed a felony and broke into a chemical processing plant. Officer Greg Ruprecht who was on the night duty, was shocked at how young they were, arrests them, and prepares to enter them into the US criminal justice system. Here is what he initially believed about justice:

Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk.

But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.

The next morning, Officer Greg Ruprecht finds out that this case is redirected into a restorative justice process where in his skeptical mind was “an easy way out for offenders… some sort of hippie gathering where everyone would hug. ” The road to getting these boys’ lives back on track was different than he imagined.

Representatives from the boys’ families and the chemical plant discussed with the boys the consequences of their actions, possible life stressors that influenced their decision to break in, what they would do differently. Apologies were made, and contracts were created which involved a hundred hours of sweat equity and alcohol awareness classes. The boys would write about what they learned and it would be published in the newspaper.

Here’s what the officer learned from this experience:

  1. Money and time was saved going this route than the judicial process
  2. Face-to-face accountability where offenders directly listen to the victims
  3. The brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 22 and fear-inciting prisons had a bigger impact on young adults.
  4. Recidivism dropped to ten per cent, and surveys showed high rates of satisfaction with the process among everyone involved
  5. Usual suspects weren’t cycling through the police department anymore

In conclusion, while this particular story worked out well, I do feel that there are a variety of cases that are more complex than this one. The article concludes with the following:

“The role of justice, as portrayed by Lady Justice’s scales, is to bring back balance, to make things right again. Punishment and the warehousing of human beings in prisons destroys vast amounts of human potential. By contrast, restorative justice meets the needs of everyone involved in the most humane ways possible – those who commit crimes, and those who suffer from them. In so doing, it brings humanity back into the justice system.

It converts a limited worldview based around isolation and individualism into a much more positive vision that is rooted in honesty, accountability, and the visible connection of causes with effects. And it works in concrete terms by cutting recidivism and costs. Most important of all, it nurtures new relationships and a strong sense of human unity. In this sense, the root power of restorative justice is love expressed in action. “

In the end, I think about a variety of rehabilitation programs such as this one in the video below.

Filipino, Philippines “Dancing Inmates” from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a maximum security prison, were treated to a visit by Michael Jacksons long-time choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid to learn performances from THIS IS IT.

Justice Quotes

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In response to:

  • FOWC with Fandango: track
Posted in awareness, Books, Culture, Events, Quotes, Social Justice

A-to-Z Challenge: Becoming

“My hope is that this book will inspire everyone to tap into their own journeys of becoming and to share those stories with one another.”

Michelle Obama

Who will you become? I recently finished Michelle Obama’s fascinating book, “Becoming”, for our alumni book club. The Washington Post does a good job covering key scenes in her memoir in their article, “For eight years, Michelle Obama watched every word. In her memoir, she’s done with that.” For me, the title “becoming” reflects a desire to constantly grow, evolve, and learn . She urges all of us to take action on our “becoming” by concluding:

There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there is grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 13: ” Becoming”, a book by former first lady Michelle Obama, is displayed at the 57th Street Books bookstore on November 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. In the book, which went on sale today, Obama describes her journey from Chicago’s South Side to the White House. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I want to share a few quotes by Michelle with you and reflect on them because they really hit home. It’s going to get a bit “real” as her penetrating stories have got me riled about one story in particular…

A few days ago, I was upset as I was listening to my coworker’s story. She had severe bruises on her arm. Her boyfriend was drunk one night and punched her to demonstrate just how strong he was. He said some of the most awful things to put her down. Marriage is definitely off the table and she moved back home with her mom. Through her tears, she tried to reassure me that she was alright. I gently hugged her.

My hands involuntarily clenched into a fist as I was doing my best to control my anger. I absolutely don’t condone this violence towards her. I ponder on the sort of culture we currently live in for her to tell me she’s alright. Her tears tell me, “No, I’m miserable. Help me.” It was very difficult for me to find a shred of sympathy for this weak, insecure guy. I knew he was going through his own problems. His parents divorced and he felt trapped in his life, so he took it out on her. No excuse. I wonder if he will feel any regret for what he has done, but I feel like he’s desensitized to many things.

It is so important to find people to lift you up, who believe in you, and who will support you. As I read her book, I felt inspired by how she defined what power meant.

After my previous post, I thought these quote resonated with me. The “what-ifs” could stop you from taking action and making any sort of progress. There will always be people who don’t know anything about you who will say all sorts of things.

Previous Posts in 2019 A to Z Challenge
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In response to:

  • Fandango’s One-Word Challenge: Condone