Archive for world

Make a Difference Day!

Hey! I’m posting this on October 24th, in the hope that you’ll read this post by October 25th, just in time to catch the wave of…

Make a Difference Day!

I know that a lot of these “special” days are often just for fun, but this one’s for real.  Surprisingly, Make a Difference Day has been around for over 20 years. It was started by USA Weekend along with Points of Light. It’s the nation’s largest day of service, and it always falls on the fourth Saturday of the October.

I wonder if that has something to do with the weather. But I digress!

It’s kind of sad that we need a day named Make a Difference Day to get us out there helping each other en masse. But what’s even sadder is that most of us, myself included until very recently, don’t even know about it!

So that’s my mission with this blog post. No philosophizing, no life story, no spiritual concept to ponder, although I could certainly do any of those here. Nope! Just a public service announcement about this truly special day, an opportunity to do something that improves the life of a neighbor – a neighbor you know or one you just haven’t met yet.

Not sure what to do?

Just go to the Make a Difference Day website, and you can find something fun and close to home. No matter where you live, I feel pretty sure that there’s some project you can join in on. Just go to USA Weekend’s website, or the Points of Light website and do a quick search.

Been wanting to get a project started? Gather some people in your community, and get it going!

I’ll be spending most of my day driving to and then performing a wedding, so I won’t be able to do one of the official Make a Difference Day projects here in the Atlanta area. But I’m making a commitment to you right here and now, that I’ll do my darnedest to make a difference everywhere I go. For one, I certainly hope I make a difference for the couple I’m marrying, but I’m getting paid for that, so I can’t count it as a volunteer project. But, I could pay for the coffee of the person behind me in line. I could offer my neighbor who doesn’t drive a lift to the grocery store and back. And/or I could simply give a smile to all those whose paths I cross.

So, regardless of your plans for Saturday, October 25th, I hope you’ll join in. If you have children and you live in the Atlanta area, there’s a group just for you. It’s called Pebble Tossers (I love that name), and you can check it out here. If you’re sans kids, just check out main website. And I think I read that they even have a Facebook page!

Who knows?

Maybe doing these things, big or small, will feel so good to us, we’ll start making a difference for our neighbors (two-legged and four-legged) on other days, too. 🙂

And please, do share this post widely so we can also spread the word! My Sun Deck Kwan Yin would greatly appreciate your pitching in. Thank you from both of us.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Bright Lights and Barred Owls, an Elegy

Today, on September 11th of all days, I present a poem for you. It is in loving memory of my client turned friend, Tayyibah Taylor. She was a brave and beloved ambassador of – and dedicated activist for – world peace.

“A Bright Light, A Barred Owl: An Elegy”

Our bright light has moved on.Tayyibah Taylor in hot pink
And we have moved
From Shock and Disbelief
To broken-heartedness
For ourselves, for all – and at the
Loss of her song, and her being
That mellifluously brought a potent, loving message.

Our bright light has moved on.
Clothed in vibrant wisdom, and with
Exquisite engagement,
Her worldwide heart and
Her other worldly delight,
No longer embrace us –
Not in this realm.

Tayyibah Taylor w/sparkler

Sparkling Tayyibah and her Sparkler

Our bright light has moved on.
We know not to where –
Perhaps Allah as she believed.
We do know
As she lost her battle,
We lost a champion and one
Of the highest magnitude.

Our bright light has moved on.
And she visited me, on the way to her
Soul’s next evolution, by embodying a barred owl.
Cloaked in the song of “Who cooks for you?” she spoke
As in unison with Quan Yin. “I hear your cry.
Compassion and Mercy to all,
Including you.”

Our bright light has moved on
Though her message lingers – an invitation
To be a woman with wings, migrating as necessary,
Leading us all heartlong with her love lantern
So that we see the divine, invisible and
See beyond the human, visible
In the faces of our families and our enemies.

Tayyibah Taylor

Tayyibah Taylor, in the Colors of our Planet

Our bright light has moved on.
She now beckons us to pick up our purposes,
Travel across borders created by mankind,
And through veils created by a power
Greater than we, and surrender,
Finally, to building and then crossing countless
Bridges to peace.

II.
For your life, Sister Tayyibah Taylor, bright and
Guiding light, we give thanks.
And for the gifts you brought us,
The gift that you were,
We will know you, in the call of the barred owl,
The eyes of the gentle doe, and the magnificence of the flamingo,
If we will but listen, if we will but see.

III.
Our bright light has moved on
And so must we –
Not soon, but eventually –
When we are ready.
We must get ready.
But first, we must grieve.
Our bright light has moved on.

Laura Overstreet Biering, Clarkston, GA
©2014 All rights reserved

PS To learn more about Tayyibah and her legacy, click on her name in the opening paragraph, and/or visit these links:

PPS To learn more about the Barred Owl and the “medicine” it is believed to bring, visit one of these links:

PPPS  And finally, just to be clear… As you know, the majority of photographs on this blog are ones I’ve taken. The ones included in this post, however, are not. If and when I find out whose they are, I will certainly post that here.

Throw Forward Thursday

It’s Throw Back Thursday on Facebook.  I feel sure you’ve enjoyed, as have I, seeing the pictures of your friends as adorable newborns, as toddlers trying to walk, teenagers striving to find themselves, couples getting married, and more.

Today, however, I want to offer you something different: Throw Forward Thursday.

You see, I’ve just watched an incredible video, one that I hope you’ll stop right now and watch along with me, as I watch again and again. It’s aimed at women, but I do believe the brave men who watch it will be just as inspired by it as I’ve been.

Please – whoever you are, no matter your gender, your age, or any other circumstance or situation you find yourself in –  please, give yourself the gift of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds it takes to watch this short, powerful film.

I wholeheartedly invite you do so, and then comment with your feedback. I’d love to hear how it affected you – what you thought, what you felt, what you are re-inspired to do, or what you are now inspired to do and/or be for the very first time. In other words, as a result of watching this motivating movie, how will you now Be You Out Loud as never before?

Here’s the video: Your Calling?

PS A favor: If you are willing, I ask you to please share this – specifically the post, and in general, my website and blog, too. You may not get a prize, but you will get my deep appreciation.

PPS Some shameless self-promotion: If you know others who could benefit from a conversation with me, about their callings or  anything else on their minds and hearts, please ask them to email me for an appointment.them to me. It would be my pleasure to offer this to them, as my gift. Why? Because it would mean I’d get t0 be myself out loud, while helping them get clear on how to do that for themselves! And if this person is you, and you’re not a current client, you’re just as welcome to contact me for a chat! Come on in, the water’s fine!

Are You Accepting The World’s Invitation?

It was February 19th. I glanced up from my desk and my eyes rested on the lovely rose that my partner gave me for Valentine’s Day. “One more day, and I’ll have to throw it out,” I thought to myself. Then, I continued the one-way conversation in my head, “That’s how it is with fresh flowers. I have to make sure I really enjoy them while I can, because the window of opportunity is very slim.” I was referring to the fact that I had waited several days after receiving this exquisite gift before I realized that I needed to put in my office. Given that my office is where I spend the majority of my working hours, having the rose there, and sooner, would have allowed me to enjoy it even more of the time, before I could enjoy it no longer.

That’s how it is with life, too. It brings us lots of presents, and not just on the designated present days, but every day. Inherent in those gifts are myriad opportunities to experience life more abundantly. That’s only if we fully receive them, however. Otherwise, we miss out on all the richness they, and life, have to offer.

In a sense, the world is inviting us, always, to take in what it has to give us. And I don’t mean physical things. Goodness knows, most of us have enough stuff. (I know I do.) No, by saying “take in” what the world gives us, I am suggesting that we see past the stuff, and/or the circumstances, and glean the meaning from what we have been given. And, I’m suggesting that we do this no matter how we label the new item or occurrence.

Of course, when we experience something we perceive as  “bad,” meaning unpleasant or painful, we must first acknowledge those feelings. No amount of glossing over them will make them actually go away. In fact, quite the reverse will happen: If we don’t allow ourselves the emotions that immediately follow such experiences, then those emotions will begin to cloud everything that we do, even while we are trying to avoid or deny them.

Then, once we have fully owned the truth of our feelings, we can respond with a wholehearted yes to the invitation  and  ask ourselves the following questions (in addition to any of your own):

  • What, if anything, is there for me to learn ?
  • What might I have done differently?
  • Is there a metaphor that could apply here that would enable me to see a different, deeper meaning what I first supposed to be true?
  • Is there an action that is appropriate for me to take now, given this new knowledge?

The most important thing for us to remember when engaging in this process is not to judge ourselves! This only serves to keep us stuck in the muck and will not only not allow us to move forward, but it will inhibit any kind of real learning and/or change going forward.

So, the next time the world outside you offers you an invitation to go inside, I hope you’ll take it.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  In fact, I believe that we must go within or go without all the rich beauty and meaning there is – all around and deep inside us.

 

Poetry and the Olympics: History, Then and Now

Back at the beginning of this series, I talked about the history of the relationship between the arts and the Olympics.  In fact, it was learning about this that inspired me to write the series in the first place.  And recently, I was forwarded a great link by a loyal reader to even more details about the period during the modern Olympics when the arts were included in the competition.  It details several winners of medals in the Arts portion of the games, including one man, Alfred Hajos, who also won two medals for Hungary in swimming, and the only woman to ever win a gold medal in Olympic Arts.  She was a Finnish poet, and her name was Aale Tynni.

Again, the link for learning more and seeing examples of the winning work is here.  Feel free to go there now and enjoy!

PS  Wasn’t that a great USA v USA match in Beach Volleyball between Misty May-Treanor /Kerri Walsh and Jen Kessy /April Ross?  Talk about making history!

Poetry and the Olympics: A Bonus from Carol Ann Duffy

Want to read some poems that have something directly to do with the Olympics?  Well, Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy thought you might, and has posted several here at this link.  Enjoy today’s bonus – thanks, Ms Duffy!

Again, here’s the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/10/sporting-poems-carol-ann-duffy

 

Poetry and the Olympics: Oh, the Stories!

I know that some people are watching the Olympics coverage to see who wins, which country gets the most medals, etc.  My favorite parts, though, are the stories of the athletes.  They are so inspiring!

Today’s poem is also a story, and also meant to be inspiring – sickening, if need be, but in the end, inspiring.  I hope you can see it that way.

It’s by Tony Hoagland, and from his book, Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty.” Go here to read this amazing poem.

Who Do You Think You Are – God’s Gift to the World?

Hello, my lovely,

Have you ever thought, “God’s Gift to the World? Who? Me?”

Well, I am here to tell you that the answer to that question is “Yes!”

I am the only me that’s ever been and the only me that will ever be.  I have a unique combination of beliefs, talents, quirks and qualities that no one else has ever had or will ever have.  So again, I say, yes – I am God’s Gift to the World!

Now, lest you think I am some sort of ego maniac, let me also say that I believe that you, too, are God’s Gift to the this glorious planet of ours!  We are each one-of-a-kind masterpieces.  And regardless of whether or not I agree with what you believe, or what you do and say, I am still glad you’re here, because it’s only when each of us is being who we’re here to be that our world can function at its best.

I look at our globe as one big puzzle, one in which each of us has our own unique space to fill.  And I know that if you will allow yourself to learn about what truly makes you tick, and love yourself enough to live in integrity with what’s at the core of you, then we’ll all be better off.  Not only will you be living and enjoying life to the fullest, but in the meantime, by example, you’ll be leading others to do the same.  And what might be the result of that?  World Peace, of course!

As outrageous as it sounds, I am actually quite serious about this, and believe in it wholeheartedly.  So I do hope you’ll join me on my crusade.  Take some time to learn about yourself – who you are, deep down inside.  Then love that person you discover yourself to be. Allow yourself to live that unique person’s life, yours, and in that way, truly lead to the world.

Won’t you please, help me “peace” our world together and make it whole?

Be Afraid

 

Really – it’s ok. We’re built for it. Facing up to fear takes courage, and most of us probably have more than we think.  The word courage comes from the French “coeur” or the Latin “cor,” meaning heart.  So there it is – our heart is our “courage muscle.”  We all have it and to make it stronger, we need to exercise it.

Just like putting in regular time at the gym keeps many of our other muscles strong, we can build our courage muscle too – by taking risks.  This doesn’t mean you have to climb a mountain or jump from an airplane (but if you’re moved to do so, by all means, do).  Risks can be large or small, and what might be a risk for me isn’t necessarily one for you.  But deciding and planning to take “risks of the heart” and then taking note of the outcome can help you to Learn about yourself, Love who and what you find in the learning, Live the life that only you can live, and then Lead the world, by joyful example, to do the same. Read more about how others are doing this at my RiskADay blog.

Notice that I didn’t say that you have to be “successful.”  In taking risks, we don’t always get the result that we want.  But trust me, rewards do come regardless of the outcome of taking the risk.  If we truly follow our hearts, there’s value simply in that.  “Cor” is also the root of the English word core.  Isn’t that fitting?  The desires of our heart are truly at the core of who we are.  Perhaps that’s why this can be difficult.

We live in an extremely risk-averse society, and we don’t like disappointment.  Making the conscious decision to take a risk isn’t easy.  We worry:  What if I fail?  What if I look foolish? What if I do get the result I want, and then find I don’t really want it?  This is where a strong courage muscle makes the difference.  The practice of risk-taking helps us to recognize that there will always be reward, rather than allowing ourselves to be stalled in worry and regret.  If we are open to the lesson to be learned simply from taking the risk, we learn more about ourselves, our desires, our limits, our dreams.  We exercise our courage muscle and it grows stronger.  We grow stronger.  The world grows stronger.  But that’s for another post, so stay tuned!

Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway. – Robert Anthony