Unconscious Lessons Call for Mindful Education

Children learn, listen and reflect who we are.

While waiting for his mother to finish talking to a saleswoman, a 3-year-old boy puts his hands on his hips, grunts, and boldly barks, “This woman drives me crazy!” Shocked, the adults laugh. Perhaps this behavior seems cute. Yet, subtle messages of gender disrespect cause harm to individuals and can manifest havoc in the world. Gender, race or any other factor that suppresses a group contributes to dysfunction in society. Continue reading

Re-thinking Education: What Are We Teaching?

“The opposite of war is not peace; it’s creation.” — Jonathan Larson, composer and playwright most known for writing the musical Rent

Reading the headline news in The Huffington Post recently, I was struck by the marked contrast between two articles: The Impact section featured a story about seven-year-old Zora Ball, the youngest person to create a mobile app, while the front page featured a story about governmental leaders sabotaging peace agreements and maneuvering to instigate war. A child, new to our formal education system, is exercising creative power; while adults, graduates of our most esteemed universities, are exercising destructive power. Continue reading

5 Tips to Turn Holiday Stress Into Peace and Joy

During the holiday time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, we tend to experience more activities, responsibilities and the corresponding stresses than usual. We can easily wear ourselves out with the stress, or we can discover the peace that the season offers. Peace comes from creating balance between activity and rest, socializing and meditation, or making changes and keeping things the same. The story of the first Holy Night reminds of how we turn stress into peace and joy. Continue reading

Valuable Life Lessons to Gain From Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving offers opportunities to learn and bequeath meaningful life lessons for peace, joy and happiness.

November can be a gray, cold and difficult month. Holidays can also make us sorrowful for what we have lost — loved ones, the warmth of summer, and/or activities. Lights and festivities can contradict the melancholic environment. Yet, you can manifest inner joy through the insight we get from understanding thanksgiving. Continue reading

Transform Your Life

Everyone gets stuck sometimes and needs a little help. Some help moves you forward. Some just moves you into different surrounding without real change. Some “help” can even move you backwards. From psychotherapist to life transformation facilitator, I have worked with many people over the past 20 years. Some people experienced disappointments and setbacks from the help they sought earlier creating trepidation about looking for guidance. When trust is broken through a bad “therapeutic” experience, become objective and use some logical tools to find the right assistance. Life is about working with each other — both giving and receiving support. We need to learn to trust — with discernment — again.
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Inner State Crumbles United States

America is striving to build a more peacefully prosperous society by digging into the foundation of our ground structure. Health care is a part of that soil, along with economics, education and other areas. Individuals who we elected to be legislators and leaders are spearheading the new structure. As in the renovation of a home, the outcome becomes an expression of the individual designers. The government shutdown is an expression of the inner constipation, conflict and imbalance in the individuals involved. Individual leaders need inner peace to bring the external compromise and harmony required to build the new flourishing America.

As Congress and the presidency are reforming the establishment, hidden boulders, underground streams and other surprises are revealed. Public policy is personal in that the political structures are built of the bricks of individuals with their inner world manifesting outwardly. The group shift of establishing new policy reveals inner flexibility (or the current inflexibility.) Personal responsibility is the underpinning of public authority. “Forgive yourself to have peace with yourself. Then forgive others,” advises Joy Ogwa, Nigerian UN representative and moderator of the UN High level forum on the Cultural of Peace Panel Discussion II in September. All citizens of the earth are responsible for the state of humanity including leaders and individuals, like Miriam Carey, the deceased young mother who allegedly tried to charge onto the White House property. As we excavate the ground of our current state, one spade at a time, we find hardened concepts, streams of beliefs and “gifts” of other people’s attitudes that drive our daily life condition. A peaceful society begins when we let go of the obstacles to both inner and outer balance.

Political reconstruction begins with internal unearthing. Each person behooves conscious proactive searching through practices such as meditation, prayer or coaching.

“Prayer impacts our spiritual practice at three levels: action, thought and attitude” reports the Spiritual Science Research Foundation.

“Coaching helps people build a much broader perspective so they get to understand where someone else is coming from,” life coach Chrissy Carew, author of Insightful Playerexplains. Often times, daily life uncovers blocks to inner peace. Conflicts such as the standoff leading to the US government shutdown on Oct. 1, 2013, bring hardened misconceptions to the surface. Elements such as: placing the desires of a few over the needs of the whole, grasping for personal power, feeling “right” and regarding others as “wrong” all act like boulders in groundbreaking for peace, the harmonious flow of growth.

“Pride can lead to grudge-holding and selfishness, making the relationship about ‘me,’ instead of ‘us,'” says perceptive comedian, Lawrence Owens as he explains common human conflict. Each person involved in the face-off, including each one of us who has an opinion on the situation, has the opportunity and responsibility to find our personal blocks that contribute to the dysfunctional circumstances. Perhaps we need to take our “pride temperature” when conflicts get hot.

Sometimes a stream of thought, like a political concept, can interfere with the construction of peace. Streams flowing through the foundation of a building will eventually bring the building down. A contractor, understanding the power of a constant water flow, constructs an alternate path for the stream, and then protects his foundation with a waterproof barrier. Our nation’s leader should engineer a path for the far right political stream with respect for the thoughts to flow while protecting the growth of a peacefully prospering society. The conflict between water flow, earth and concrete requires each side to adjust. Thoughts can be seen as water; earth, as the current situation; and concrete, representing the desired future state. They work together to create a new shape. “We need to redefine community and find a variety of ways of coming together and helping each other,” guides leading Buddhist meditation teacher and New York Times best-selling author Sharon Salzberg. Constructing a better society begins within individuals, as they expand their true human expression, and then assembles to shape a community.

The new millennium world requests an evolution of old configurations. Each individual plays his or her part to bring inner peace outward into the society at large. Currently, inner turmoil is oozing into the world through the bitter fight by individuals in leadership positions such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate leader Mitch McConnell and President Barack Obama. A genuine peacemaker lives peace now, opposed to “fighting” for future peace, because peace is an active current choice. The active choice is to respect one another, value the opinion of others as you value your own, and use conflict to create the better outcome from the collective than what individuals or small groups could do alone. US leadership is currently modeling their love of fight over their hope for the prosperity of peace.

Each player in the US government shutdown needs to take his or her “pride temperature” and take an aspirin of inner reflection on core values. Especially as a leader, your inner state impacts the global state. Everything begins with the responsibility that you take as an individual. Verbal promises to create a better society are negated with this backward behavior until you can demonstrate peace in action through mutual respect.

Peace in Action, Part 2 — 'Feeding' Peace

Sitting on a little piece of valuable Manhattan property, midtown on the East River, the United Nations buildings provide a home for world peace efforts. While down the street and across the world violence and war is the most talked about topic, this little piece of the earth is devoted to discuss peace. The shooting that happened in the Navy Yard is a terror that many people around the globe live with frequently. A culture of violence thrives in our world, perhaps because it is fed with so much attention. Fortunately, there is a space for activity to nourish humanity’s potential for peace. During September 2013, in the midst of worries over potential global war, a dose of peace building efforts finds sunlight through the shadows of threats. Continue reading