#25 OF 52 GIRLS

skywalkerstoryteller:

This week’s collaboration of art and haiku. Enjoy.

Originally posted on ZINCCOMICS:

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Five Reasons Grateful for M. L. King, Jr. Day

King Haiku

Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., saw that still in the second half of the 20th century the descendants of slaves, on whose backs this country’s wealth was built, were still unable to enjoy the promised freedoms, equality, and pursuit of happiness written into the American constitution and law. He accepted the charge to work for the achievement of those promises for everyone. Doctor King is one of the few national American leaders to knowingly place his life in jeopardy for freedom, justice, and peace.

But, he did not begin the Civil Rights Movement. The courage and commitment to non-violence of thousands of black men, women, and children, and hundreds of people from other races and backgrounds, empowered Dr. King to emerge as the spokesperson and symbol of the movement. 

Sadly, we have not achieved Doctor King’s ultimate goals – a country free from racism and bigotry and a world at peace. The lives of young black men still remain of less value than other citizens. But, we cannot deny that racial and social progress has been made. So here are five reasons to be grateful to observe M.L. King, Jr. Day.

  1. Personal – Our rainbow families are the realization of Dr. King’s words. I have a dream . . .that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as brothers and sisters. His dream led to the ending of laws against inter-racial marriage. That legal legacy continues with the Supreme Court now facing the question for the right of people of the same sex to marry.
  1. Spiritual – Without the sea-change in racial relations, caused by the civil rights movement, many black people would not have the opportunity to explore a world of different spiritual traditions, once only available to white people. In these words, Dr. King speaks the universal wisdom of spiritual teachers throughout time. But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends.
  1. Political – We would not have a black president and black first lady and thousands of elected black representatives in school boards, state and federal government, Cabinet members, and judges without the forces that Doctor King galvanized. Yet, again, the battle continues to protect black people’s right to vote and to energize more black people to enter public office.
  1. Social Change – People born after 1970 have no idea of the pervasiveness and limitations imposed on black Americans due to segregation. Every aspect of life from birth, education, employment, travel, housing, and health were limited and below standard. Black people were disrespected, threatened, harassed, and killed without any justice or outcry. Although problems continue, now not only black people, but others here and around the world write, speak out, demonstrate for continued change and justice for black Americans.
  1. Peace – Unfortunately, this is the one area, we have yet to heed the words of Dr. King. I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. Yet, individuals and organizations opposed to ongoing wars and violence follow in his footsteps.

The above reasons are just a snapshot of what the leadership of Dr. King and the courage of the civil rights movement achieved. Yet, just as this country’s democracy is still a work in progress, so we are still engaged in achieving full equality, justice, and rights for all black people in this country. To keep everyone aware of the continued racism and bigotry in this country and to press for some type of national racial reconciliation are other reasons to observe the Doctor King holiday.

I am grateful to be a black woman in the 21st century able to observe this holiday. As a minister, Doctor King often expressed gratitude in his own poetic way. One of his most well-known statement of thanks, though also a sad prophecy, reminds us to be grateful for what has been accomplished and like a beacon lights the way to carry on his charge.

Because I’ve been to the mountain top. And I don’t mind. Like any man, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

So, today, in honor of the work Dr. King began and to continue his legacy, I offer, a free gift to you, Gratitude 100, A Simple Practice for Fulfillment, Balance, and Happiness. To join me in this gratitude journey, Click Here.

Original King photo from www.biography.com, background phot and haiku by Skywalker Storyteller

Resources: 10 Famous QuotesThe Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute

Practice Gratitude with the Avaaz Community

risetohope4Avaaz Photo

I have participated in Avaaz internet actions for years. For those who do not know, in the words of the Avaaz team, Avaaz is an extraordinary community of hopeful, practically idealistic people who choose to sign a petition or donate money when no one is looking.

This organization has successfully delivered petitions, with millions of  signatures on issues from political prisoners to environmental issues, to decision makers. Many of these petitions have succeeded in achieving the change sought. This year Avaaz invited members to vote on values to focus on for themselves.

We’ve come together as a community hundreds of times in campaigns, and created magic. At this most reflective time of a new year, let’s come together around this, most important campaign of all – the campaign for ourselves, to “be the change we wish to see” – for us, and for all the people we love and the planet we call home. 

The three principles receiving 97% of the community support are:

Show Kindness and Respect

Strive for Wisdom

Practice Gratitude

The synchronicity of the third value with my declaration of this as my year of gratitude, Gratitude the Ubiquitous Key, lets me know I am on the right path.

So, why don’t we all begin this year, and join Avaaz, by committing to live these values. Because when 500,000 people make the pledge, Avaaz will personally invite world leaders to make the same pledge.

Signing this pledge not only helps us to individually move toward personal fulfillment, balance, and happiness. It is also another step, simple and symbolic, that leads to the creation of a world of peace, justice, and compassion.

To sign up, click this link – Avaaz – Three Principles

The Real Cost of Fossil Fuels.

skywalkerstoryteller:

This is a two minute video that clearly explains the literally deadly effects of approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

Originally posted on Aware & Fair:

Here’s but one example of the real costs of fossil fuel pipelines. It hurts people, right where they live.

The battleground for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline may be in Congress, but it’s Canada’s First Nations who are going to get hurt.

– NRDCflix

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#24 OF 52 GIRLS

skywalkerstoryteller:

Art and poetry from the Paynes. Enjoy.

Originally posted on ZINCCOMICS:

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Gratitude – The Ubiquitous Key

Ubiquitous Haiku (1)Want career success? Practice gratitude.

Desire happy relationships? Practice gratitude.

Striving for health and fitness? Practice gratitude.

Seeking spiritual enlightenment? Practice gratitude.

This is my year of gratitude. And as any astute 21st century writer, I turned to Google to get the facts. Gratitude is a virtue, a practice, a reward, a measure of a person, the source of wealth and abundance, the foundation of all that is good.

The values and philosophies of the East and the West often seem at odds, but they meet at the intersection of gratitude. The Buddha, the source of wisdom, virtue, and enlightenment arising from the East said, Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

From the West, we find Epictetus, a Greek philosopher of the Stoic school. He taught that, He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

We would not think a king of capitalism and a talk-show queen have much in common but they share the throne of gratitude. Charles Schwab, grew up in Californian affluence and founded a leading banking and brokerage firm. His advice shows the importance gratitude plays in creating a successful business, The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.

Although her life began with poverty, abuse, and struggles, Oprah Winfrey used gratitude not only to amass wealth but also to become a personality admired world-wide. Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. 

But, it is from those who understand that gratitude sweetens every moment do we see how gratitude is the key to open doors to a fulfilling life.

Gilbert Keith (G. K.) Chesterton was an English writer born in the late 1800s. In his lifetime he became known for his books, particularly a detective priest series. He also was a leader of the Distributist movement that supported the idea of providing small amounts of private property to all citizens.

But in his twenties he experienced a deep period of depression which he eventually overcame. His understanding of gratitude was key to his later accomplishments. I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

Injustice, oppression, racism and war shape a person’s life in unplanned ways. Dietrich Bonhoeffer grew up in the large family of a leading psychologist in Germany. In 1931, he was ordained a Lutheran minister. Three years later he joined other Lutheran pastors to form the Confessing Church, a free church not controlled by the Nazi party. But in 1937, the Nazis outlawed the Confessing Church.

Bonhoeffer’s writings, eventually compiled in a book called “Ethics,” reflected his opposition to the Nazi government. That opposition culminated in his decision to participate in an effort to overthrow the government and assassinate Hitler. The plot failed and the conspirators were caught. Unfortunately Bonhoeffer was executed 21 days before Hitler committed suicide.

His life experiences and spiritual beliefs, grounded in compassion and courage, led Bonhoeffer to acknowledge the value of gratitude. In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

Kidnap, abandonment, sexual abuse, and addiction were traumas Melody Beattie survived in her childhood and youth. During a drug treatment program, a spiritual experience turned her life around and she never returned to addiction.

But her troubles were not over. She overcame the betrayal of her husband, who continued his alcoholism secretly and left her in debt, and later the death of her 12 year old son. Beattie wrote about her experiences, defining codependency, and has inspired millions to find the means to overcome troubled pasts and grief.

Gratitude was vital to helping her attain a life of balance and happiness. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

So, we see that from the spiritual to the financial worlds and all in-between, gratitude provides a foundation for fulfillment, balance, and happiness in life.

If you want to explore the benefits of creating a simple gratitude practice, Click Here.

Sources for quotes:

Motivational Quotes About Gratitude, Jeff Haden, inc. com

Wisdom Quotes

Be Thankful.com

 

 

 

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