Tag Archives: Dimitri Snowden

The Real Measure of Your Wealth

From: Tiny Buddha  

Amazing Skies

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Julie Hoyle

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~Unknown

A wonderful story from the yogic tradition highlighting the true meaning of wealth goes something like this:

There was once a beggar who spent his days sitting under an old banyan tree on the side of a dusty road that led to a bustling town. The man had been begging in that spot for years, rattling an old tin can hoping that passers-by would feel compassion and offer alms.

Yet, at the end of each day he would only have collected one or two rupees, barely enough to buy a dry chapati and a cup of sweet chai.

One day a wise man approached. Witnessing the beggar’s plight he called out, “My man, why are you wasting your days begging in this way? If you dig right where you are, you will discover great treasure!”

Desperate about his impoverished situation and intrigued by this idea, the beggar decided to take the wise man’s advice. Using his bare hands he began digging the earth under where he had been sitting.

To his utter amazement the beggar discovered a huge bag of rare, gold coins.

Dancing with joy he declared, “Had I realized I was sitting on top of great wealth I could have eased my suffering years ago!” 

I was once like the beggar, always seeking ways to fill the empty bowl of my perceived lack, believing that if I worked and saved hard enough I would ensure financial security. However, on October 6th 2008, the bubble of that illusion burst when my husband and I discovered our bank had dramatically collapsed.

Suddenly finding myself looking into the grim face of my worst possible fear, I knew I had to change my understanding of what the energy of money represented and discover the source of true wealth.

As a young adult, I had inherited a strong work ethic from my father along with a subconscious belief that money was “hard to come by.” As a consequence, I had become terrified of lack and even more terrified of loss.

Though I had recognized this unhealthy energy dynamic years ago when starting out on my spiritual path, and grew determined to face and transform ingrained fears, here it was again in a form that could not be ignored.

Committing to pulling the old beliefs out by the roots, I kept drawing strength from entries I had made in my journal a few months earlier. They came in the form a wise man whose “voice” was so strong, powerful, and imbued with equanimity that I was compelled to listen.

The first message was an insistent directive I had heard repeated while waking up early one morning. It was:

“Why are you sitting on your wealth? You have been given everything! What are you waiting for?”

And intriguingly another message had been:

“You are exhausted because you are repressing the energy of your own creative impulse, which is your true wealth.”

Now I became acutely aware of being presented with two choices. One was to descend into contraction, panic, and despair. The other was to accept what was unfolding, view the situation from an elevated perspective, and use the messages like a lifeline.

Choosing an elevated perspective, I knew my soul was urging me to take action and find the courage to share my intuitive gifts rather than continuing to hide out of fear. It was definitely time to start digging in.

With that awareness I formed an intention to heal the financial and creative dynamic, realizing one was simply a reflection of the other:

  • First: I accepted the financial loss as a gift, immediately resolving to turn it into a positive, abundant experience.
  • Second: I wrote a statement in my journal declaring, “Fine! If we have lost everything, let this be a beautiful starting point. I vow to spend the rest of my life living in alignment with my gifts, skills, and talents.”
  • Third: I began to work on the situation energetically. When I sat quietly and asked: “How does this financial situation manifest in terms of a fear-based image?” I saw a dark pit, descending deep into the ground which had the power to suck me in, draining all my energy and resources. The title I gave it was: “Bottomless Pit.”
  • Fourth: On inquiring, “What can be done to transform the fear into expansion and abundance?” I began to feel a sense of empowerment and began directing light to the image, working on reducing the size of the opening.

For weeks after, every time fear began surfacing in response to lack, I would visualize the hole becoming smaller and smaller until it was completely gone.

In its place, rising up and out into the universe, I visualized a strong web of light, like a vast tree, spreading its golden limbs into infinity. This image reflected the belief that we receive limitless resources if we share the abundance of who we are, rather than believing in scarcity and limitation.

The gift of losing everything was amazing. It forced me to face my subconscious fears around lack and take responsibility for transforming them into something creative and beautiful.

Since then, the universe has led me to numerous vehicles for creative expression, which have included articles for Mind-Body-Spirit magazines, two books, and several online courses.

Three years on, our financial situation has also taken a graceful turn for the better with a large percentage of our savings unexpectedly reimbursed. I am also feeling more vibrantly alive, energized, and aligned with purpose as formerly repressed creative energy has been allowed to flow unencumbered.

If like many people worldwide you are facing your own financial challenges, have the courage to dig in and access what is available to you right now, right where you are.

Give yourself the abundant gift of engaging in your own self inquiry by asking the following questions:

  • Am I sitting on hidden gifts, skills, and talents?
  • Is there something I have always wanted to do and have kept putting off?
  • What am I most afraid of in relation to the expression of abundant goals for my life?
  • Starting right now, how can I begin to make my dreams a reality?

If you are willing to engage in this work, you will have access to the unique beauty and vast richness of your own personal treasure. Over time, you will also arrive at a place where you are immensely grateful for any financial challenges you have had to embrace and transform.

Through suffering and loss, we often recognize that when we have the courage to be who we are, rather than procrastinating or hiding in fear, we are the source and embodiment of abundance. 

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You can always close your eyes, but you can’t close your ears…

Heard this song a while back, and revisited it today because I heard a song on Pandora by the same artist (Calle 13).  I thought it was pertinent to share because the dolphin has been continually showing up as a theme in my current life, and because I know the Universe Conspires, I must honor this revelation with a very important message.  Please be warned, viewer discretion is advised.  However, as citizens of this planet, it is our responsibility to HEAR…

 Lyrics below in Spanish and English for your convenience.

Muerte en Hawaii (Spanish)

Yo he peliao con cocodrilos
Me he balanceado sobre un hilo cargando más de 500 kilos
Le he dao la vuelta al mundo en menos de un segundo
He cruzao 100 laberintos y nunca me confundo

Respiro dentro y fuera del agua como las focas
Soy a prueba de fuego, agarro balas con la boca
Mi creatividad vuela como los aviones
Puedo construir un cerebro sin leer las instrucciones

Hablo todos los idiomas de todos los abecedarios
Tengo más vocabulario que cualquier diccionario
Tengo vista de águila, olfato de perro
Puedo caminar descalzo sobre clavos de hierro

Soy inmune a la muerte
No necesito bendiciones porque siempre tengo buena suerte
Ven conmigo a dar un paseo por el parque
Porque tengo más cuentos que contarte que García Marqués

Por ti, todo lo que hago lo hago por ti
Es que tú me sacas lo mejor de mí
Soy todo lo que soy
Porque tú eres todo lo que quiero (x2)

Puedo brincar la cuerda con solo una pierna
Veo en la oscuridad sin usar una linterna
Cocino lo que quieras, yo soy todo un chef
Tengo sexo 24 – 7 todo el mes

Puedo soplar las nubes grises pa que tengas un buen día
También se como comunicarme por telepatía
Por ti, cruzo las fronteras sin visa
Y le saco una buena sonrisa a la “Mona Lisa”

Por ti, respiro antes de morirme
Por ti voy a la Iglesia y escucho toda la misa sin dormirme
Sigo siendo el Rey, aunque no tenga reino
Mi sudor huele a perfume y nunca me despeino

Se pelear todas las artes marciales
También se como comunicarme con los animales
Mientras más pasa el tiempo me veo más joven
Y esta canción la compuse sin escuchar como Beethoven

Por ti, todo lo que hago lo hago por ti
Es que tú me sacas lo mejor de mí
Soy todo lo que soy
Porque tú eres todo lo que quiero (x2)

Death in Hawaii (English)

I have fought with crocodiles
I have balanced on a wire carrying more than 500 kilos
I have traveled around the world in less than a second
I have crossed 100 labyrinths and never once gotten confused.

I breathe both in and out of water like seals
I am fireproof, I catch bullets in my mouth
My creativity flies like airplanes
I can build a brain without reading the instructions

I speak all the languages of all the alphabets
I have more vocabulary than any dictionary
I have the sight of an eagle, the smelling prowess of a dog
I can walk barefoot on iron nails

I am immune to death
I don’t need blessings, because I always have good luck
Come with me for a walk in the park
Because I have more stories to tell than García Marqués

For you, everything I do, I do for you.
It is because you bring out the best in me
I am everything I am
Because you are all I want.

I can jump rope with only one leg
I can see in the dark without using a lantern
I cook what you want, I am a great chef
I have sex 24/7, all month long

I can blow the gray clouds away so you can have a good day
Also, I know how to communicate telepathically
For you, I cross borders without a visa
And I can bring out a smile from even the Mona Lisa

For you, I breathe before I die
For you, I go to church and listen to the whole mass without sleeping
I am still the king, although I don’t have a kingdom
My sweat smells like perfume and my hair is never disheveled

I know how to fight all the martial arts
Also, I know how to communicate with animals
As more time goes by, I look younger
And I composed this song without listening, like Beethoven

For you, everything I do, I do for you.
It is because you bring out the best in me
I am everything I am
Because you are all I want.


Butterflies

This morning as I opened my car door, and pushed my sliding car seat forward to slip my lunch bag behind my seat, I noticed I had a guest.  It was a beautiful butterfly with  it’s wings closed as if it had just landed on a flower.  It baffled me as I thought about how and when the butterfly floated into my car, and without me noticing.   I know it had to have been inside for at least one day, as I hadn’t been in my car since the day before yesterday.  I blew on the butterfly to see if there was a chance that it was still alive, but as I suspected, it was not.  I began to feel a rush of emotions come over me: sadness, pride, compassion, sympathy, longing, and love.  Here I was, unsuspecting, receiving what I now view as a symbol, a gift, message of what’s to come.  This butterfly, for a reason not yet known to me, chose to lay itself to rest in my presence, promising me transformation, everlasting knowledge, and freedom.  I learned that butterflies are associated with death and rebirth, much like their life cycle.  They represent the souls of people who have passed away, as well as a sign of new life.  It could be that the spirit of my great-grandfather, my cousin who was taken away from our family a couple years back, or the soul of someone or something I have not yet met has come to pass a message.  It could be a symbol of life that I am now charged with bringing into this world.  Whatever it’s meaning, I feel honored by the visit, and wanted to share it’s beauty with you.

 



Intro to Chakra Energy

Everyday we stimulate our chakra centers in one way or another, for example, through the different thoughts we have or physically through our senses. Daily we energize our centers, consciously or unconsciously, through various methods. Below is one basic interpretation of the Chakras.
Root or Base Chakra
Colour Association Red
Sanskit Name Muladhara
Location Base of spine, coccyx
Lesson Survival–The right to exist. Deals with tasks related to the material and physical world. Ability to stand up for oneself and security issues.
Imbalances Anemia, fatigue, lower back pain, sciatica, depression. Frequent colds or cold hands and cold feet.
Root Stimulants Physical exercise and restful sleeps, gardening, pottery and clay. Red food & drink. Red gemstones, red clothing, bathing in red, etc. Using red oils such as ylang ylang or sandalwood essential oils.
Spleen Chakra
Colour Association Orange
Sanskit Name Svadisthana
Location Below navel, lower abdomen
Lesson Feelings—The right to feel. Connected to our sensing abilities and issues related to feelings. Ability to be social and intimacy issues.
Imbalances Eating disorders. Alcohol and drug abuse. Depression. Low back pain. Asthma or allergies. Candida & yeast infections. Urinary problems. Sensuality issues as well as impotency and frigidity.
Spleen Stimulants Hot aromatic baths, water aerobics, massage.Embracing sensation (such as different food tastes). Orange food & drink. Orange gemstones and orange clothing. Using orange oils such as melissa or orange essential oils.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Colour Association Yellow
Sanskit Name Manipura
Location Above the navel, stomach area
Lesson Personal power–The right to think. Balance of intellect, self-confidence and ego power. Ability to have self-control and humor.
Imbalances Digestive problems, ulcers, diabetes, hypoglycemia, constipation. Nervousness, toxicity, parasites, colitis, poor memory.
Solar Plexus Stimulants Taking classes, reading informative books, doing mind puzzles. Sunshine. Detoxication programs. Yellow food & drink. Yellow gemstones and yellow clothing. Using yellow oils such as lemon or rosemary essential oils.
Heart Chakra
Colour Association Green
Sanskit Name Anahata
Location Center of chest
Lesson Relationships–The right to love. Love, forgiveness, compassion. Ability to have self-control. Acceptance of oneself.
Imbalances Heart and breathing disorders. Heart and breast cancer. Chest pain. High blood pressure. Passivity. Immune system problems. Muscular tension.
Heart Stimulants Nature walks, time spent with family or friends. Green food & drink. Green gemstones and green clothing. Using green oils such as eucalyptus or pine essential oils.
Throat Chakra
Colour Association Blue
Sanskit Name Visuddha
Location Throat region
Lesson Relationships–The right to speak. Learning to express oneself and one’s beliefs (truthful expression). Ability to trust. Loyalty. Organization and planning.
Imbalances Thyroid imbalances, swollen glands. Fevers and flu. Infections. Mouth, jaw, tongue, neck and shoulders problems. Hyperactivity. Hormonal disorders such as PMS, mood swings, bloating and menopause.
Throat Stimulants Singing (in the shower), poetry, stamp or art collecting. Meaningful conversations. Blue food & drink. Blue gemstones and blue clothing. Using blue oils such as chamomile or geranium essential oils.
Brow or Third Eye Chakra
Colour Association Indigo
Sanskit Name Anja
Location Forehead, in between the eyes.
Lesson Intuition–The right to “see.” Trusting one’s intuition and insights. Developing one’s psychic abilities. Self-realization. Releasing hidden and repressed negative thoughts.
Imbalances Learning disabilities, co-ordination problems, sleep disorders.
Depression Thyroid imbalances, swollen glands. Fevers and flu. Infections. Mouth, jaw, tongue, neck and shoulders problems. Hyperactivity. Hormonal disorders such as PMS, mood swings, bloating and menopause.
Brow Stimulants Star gazing. Mediation Indigo food & drink. Indigo gemstones and indigo clothing. Using indigo oils such as patchouli or frankincense essential oils.
Crown Chakra
Colour Association Violet
Sanskit Name Sahasrara
Location Top of head
Lesson Knowingness–The right to aspire. Dedication to the divine consciousness and trusting the universe. Learning about one’s spirituality. Our connection to the concept of “God” or a higher intelligence. Integrating one’s consciousness and subconsciousness into the superconsciousness.
Imbalances Headaches. Photosensitivity. Mental illness. Neuralgia.Senility. Right/left brain disorders and coordination problems. Epilepsy. Varicose veins and blood vessel problems. Skin Rashes.
Crown Stimulants Focusing on dreams. Writing down one’s visions and inventions. Violet food & drink. Violet gemstones and violet clothing. Using violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils.

Ways to Energize Your Chakras

Everyday we stimulate our chakra centers in one way or another, for example, through the different thoughts we have or physically through our senses. Daily we energize our centers, consciously or unconsciously, through various methods. Following is a list of common ways we charge our chakra centers:

Thoughts
Thought is an energy form. Science has proven a positive thought allows our energy to flow freely and unrestricted. Whereas, negative thoughts decrease energy within our body. Every thought (whether mental or emotional) is connected to a chakra. For example, a passionate thought is a red energy stimulant, but an angry thought decreases one’s positive red energy flow. This means that continual angry thoughts will lower your root chakra’s energy.

The Sun
This is our most important energy source. Through light all the seven color energies flow from the sun’s rays to the earth. People, animals, plants, minerals, water and our chakras receive energy from the sun’s light. (If you are not able to enjoy the sun for a few hours daily, add a quality full spectrum light bulb to alight source in your work area or in a lamp at home.)

Food
When the sun’s rays bless all plant life, it gives the plant life/energy. Once the plant absorbs energy, the color energy that remains is the energy of that fruit, vegetable or flower. Without this energy our body could not assimilate the nutritional value of the food. Balance your chakras daily by eating foods that contain each of the seven color energies (that’s why the doctor always said to eat a plate of different colored foods… for the color value!).

Visualization
Meditation & Breathing (Yoga). Since thought is an energy form you can stimulate your chakra centers through meditation, visualization or breathing energy into your various chakra centers. By adding the color intention adds additional power from a chakra’s vibration.

Gems/Minerals
Gemstones and minerals are also energy forms. For example, crystals contain a similar crystalline structure as the human body. Crystals amplify energy and can be programmed (e.g. computer chips and watches). Wearing gemstone jewelry or placing gemstones and minerals in your environment is a simple way to absorb the stone or mineral’s healing vibrations.

Color Bathing
(One of my favorites!) Water is a conductor of energy and color is an energy. While lying in the colored water your body absorbs the vibrational frequency from the color. Take the time to give back to your body and soul! While bathing, balance that chakra by thinking about what you would like to achieve from that specific energy and maybe add the correlating aromatherapy oil. Do not use chemical food coloring to dye your water. I recommend Colour Bath™ by Colour Energy Corporation, as it is totally organic and therefore safe to use.

Aromatherapy
Essential oils are the pure essence of the plant or flower. Every oil has a vibration that correlates to a color. Oils contain the healing properties of herbs, flowers or plants. Use only therapeutic quality oils (inexpensive oils may contain toxins). Also never apply oils directly on your skin (dilute with a carrier oil or in a bath).

Music & Dance
Music effects us in a positive or negative way. Every musical note corresponds to a color and chakra center. Certain sounds can stimulate an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual response. E.g. Listening or dancing to primal music, such as the beating of drums, can energize your physical body and stimulate your root chakra.

Toning & Sounds
We can vocally make sounds to vibrate at the same frequency as various organs in our body. Regular toning can help keep our body’s organs functioning properly. Noise pollution can be very disturbing to our environment. Surround yourself with sounds, which make you happy and productive!

Color Tonations
By shining of light through various color filters directly onto the body, the vibration of the color will be absorbed through your skin effecting the designated area.

Solarized Water
Charge water by filling a colored glass with water or by placing a colored filter in front of a glass of water and let the sun’s rays kiss the water with color energy. Make sure the glass is not leaded and of a clean color hue.

Syntonics
Is the use of color through the eyes. Via our eyes color stimulates our pituitary gland, which in turn releases hormones connected to the correlating organ of the same frequency. Therapeutic eye glasses that are manufactured with various colored filters can be simply worn whenever you need a boost of a certain color or chakra energy. Make sure the color eyeglasses are 100% UVA & UVB coated if wearing outdoors and again the exact color tint of the lens is very, very important. Note: Unless the color glass manufacturer or distributor is aware of color therapy, chances are their colored lenses are not made for healing purposes.

Decor
Use colors consciously in your home or work environment to give you more positive and productive energy. Paint a room or add different colored pillows, artwork, carpets, etc.

Clothing
What we wear will influence our mood, mind and energy level. Light penetrates through our clothing amplifying the color energy we are wearing. The more vibrant the clothing the better the energy transfer.

Art & Color
Art and color can be used as an outlet to either express or stimulate. Surround yourself with the colors, which are suitable for what you need to accomplish in that area. Use calming colors in your bedroom and mentally stimulating colors in your workspace.


Matthew Lynch: Creating a Gender Responsive Learning Climate for Girls

July 15, 2011

Matthew Lynch says that we need to expose girls to great women in history as we support them in the complex modern world.

matthew_lynch
Matthew Lynch

 

In a responsive model of instruction, teachers seek out and include examples of achievements from both genders. While women and women’s classroom parity has come a long way since the days of Dr. Edward Clarke, it is still difficult to find curriculum texts that reflect an equitable picture of female accomplishments. Progress has been slow to incorporate gender-fair terminology into textbooks. Girls need to read about role models in science and mathematics—not just see pictures of women in lab coats with occasional references to females in the text.

The accomplishments of minority women, women with disabilities, local women from the community, and working class women all are important to help present a complete, realistic and equitable picture of female role models in society. It is valuable for young women to see the variety of ways in which females can impact their communities and their society, regardless of race, ethnic background or financial status. Teachers help overcome the gender inequities and change present perceptions by presenting accomplishments, experiences, and hard work of both men and women.

A balance of the particularistic and the inclusive is required. It is not healthy or productive to promote the historical female experience as completely negative—or to emphasize the struggles and minimize the triumphs—such an approach presents an unrealistic picture and may produce bitterness. Nor is it positive to emphasize men as the “oppressors”—this fosters resentment. Balance promotes equitable, respectful, and cooperative relationships with men in society.

There are many important reasons to emphasize women’s achievements. One of the most important is to build girls’ self-esteem. Blame the magazines, the movies, the models—blame Barbie—pin it on the pin-up girls, but the fact remains: girls struggle with the mixed messages about body image. Particularly impressionable adolescent girls struggle with bulimia, anorexia and the obsession with weight, and sometimes self-inflict injuries and other damage to their bodies.

Many girls who are bulimics and/or cutters have indicated that these actions are the only aspects of their lives over which they have control. Teachers lack the ubiquitous influence of the media to manipulate girls’ self-image. Advertising often pitches to the fundamental needs of the subconscious mind. Sex sells, to be frank—and while we cannot deny it, we do have some means to counter it.

Girls must be guided to see their potential in areas other than the physical. One helpful strategy is to acquaint young girls with the accomplishments of great women, including: Phyllis Wheatley, Marian Wright Edelman, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Mary Shelley, Jane Addams, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Blackwell, Sacagawea,Wilma Mankiller, Isabel Allende, Deborah Sampson GannettDolores HuertaFrida KahloMaya AngelouSonia Sotomayor, Margaret Sanger, Unity Dow, Sally Ride and other women who overcame great odds to be strong and successful.

Each of these women is a standout figure in history or in society because of her hard work, her inner strength and her determination. In a society where supermodels and sex appeal are overvalued, adolescent girls must be reminded of their important inner qualities.

Dr. Lynch is an Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University. Dr. Lynch’s scholarship is intended to make a redoubtable, theoretically and empirically based argument that genuine school reform and the closing of the well-chronicled achievement gap are possible. Dr. Lynch is the author of three forthcoming books; Its Time for Change: School Reform for the Next Decade (Rowman & Littlefield 2012), A Guide to Effective School Leadership Theories (Routledge 2012), and The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching and Learning (Pearson 2013). He is also the editor of the forthcoming 2-volume set, Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians(Praeger 2012).

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South Sudan ‘free at last’


By ALEXANDER DZIADOSZ AND JEREMY CLARKE | REUTERS

Published: Jul 9, 2011 18:00 Updated: Jul 9, 2011 18:16

JUBA: Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty.

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, stood next to his old civil war foe the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, who now leads just the north, at a ceremony to mark the birth of the new nation.

Under-developed, oil-producing South Sudan won its independence in a January referendum — the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of fighting with the north.

Security forces at first tried to control the streets in the south’s dusty capital Juba, but retreated as jubilant crowds moved in overnight and through the day, waving flags, dancing and chanting “South Sudan o-yei, freedom o-yei.”

Some revellers fainted in the blistering heat as South Sudan’s parliamentary speaker, James Wani Igga, read out the formal declaration of independence.

“We, the democratically elected representatives of the people … hereby declare Southern Sudan to be an independent and sovereign state,” said Igga before Sudan’s flag was lowered, the South Sudan flag was raised and the new anthem sung. Kiir took the oath of office.

People threw their hands in the air, embraced and wept. “We got it. We got it,” one man said as he hugged a woman.

The presence of Bashir, who campaigned to keep Africa’s largest state united, was a key gesture of goodwill.

It will also be an embarrassment to some Western diplomats at the event. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

Bashir gave a speech congratulating the new country. “The will of the people of the south has to be respected,” he said, ading that both states had to maintain peace.

North Sudan’s government was the first to recognize South Sudan on Friday, hours before the split took place, a move that smoothed the way to the division.

The United States, China and Britain signalled their recognition of the state on Saturday, according to official statements and government media reports.

“After so much struggle by the people of South Sudan, the United States of America welcomes the birth of a new nation,” said US President Barack Obama, stopping short of announcing any immediate changes in longstanding US sanctions on Sudan that Khartoum has been hoping will be lifted.

Dignitaries including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the leaders of about 30 African nations attended.

In a possible sign of the South’s new allegiances, the crowd included about 200 supporters of Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahed Al-Nur, fighting Khartoum in an eight-year insurgency just over South Sudan’s border in the north.

Earlier, the supporters of Nur’s rebel Sudan Liberation Army faction stood in a line chanting “Welcome, welcome new state,” wearing T-shirts bearing their leader’s image. One carried a banner reading “El Bashir is wanted dead or alive.”

Traditional dance groups drummed and waved shields and staffs in a carnival atmosphere.

The crowd cheered as Kiir unveiled a giant statue of civil war hero John Garang, who signed the peace deal with the north.

Kiir offered an amnesty to armed groups fighting his government and promised to bring peace to troubled border areas.

“I would like to take this opportunity to declare amnesty for all those who have taken up arms against Sudan,” he said.

“I want to assure the people of Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan that we have not forgotten you. When you cry, we cry. When you bleed, we bleed. I pledge to you today that we will find a just peace for all,” he said, adding that he would work with Bashir to achieve those goals.

“Today we raise the flag of South Sudan to join the nations of the world. A day of victory and celebration,” Pagan Amum, the secretary general of the South’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), told Reuters.

Seeds of future tension

Khartoum’s recognition of the South did not dispel fears of future tensions.

Northern and southern leaders have still not agreed on a list of issues, most importantly the line of the border, the ownership of the disputed Abyei region and how they will handle oil revenues, the lifeblood of both economies.

At the stroke of midnight the Republic of Sudan lost almost a third of its territory and about three quarters of its oil reserves, which are sited in the south. It faced the future with insurgencies in its Darfur and Southern Kordofan regions.

Sudan now shrinks to being the third largest state in Africa, with about 1.86 million sq km of territory.

In Khartoum on Saturday, one sign of the new national order was the disappearance of some English-language and SPLM-linked newspapers. The north said it suspended them on Friday as they were published or owned by southerners — an ominous signal for more than 1 million southerners left in the north.

Many northerners see the separation as a loss of face.

Analysts have long feared a return to war if north/south disputes are not resolved.

The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to establish a force of up to 7,000 peacekeepers for South Sudan.

Mostly Muslim Sudan fought rebels in the south, where most follow Christianity and traditional beliefs, for all but a few years from the 1950s in civil wars fueled by ethnicity, religion, oil and ideology.


Live your dreams

But not in the cliché way we often think of that is usually the message for seemingly impossible or incredibly difficult pursuits from our childhoods…

But rather, truly live what you dream.

According to psychologists,  only 5% of our life is controlled by our conscious mind, and 95% of the time controlled by the subconscious.   What this means is that as humans, most of us haven’t even began the mission of living.  I don’t know about you, but to me that is an astonishingly disheartening thought!

But fret not my friends; there is certainly hope!  It starts with a process of deprogramming.  That tiny 5% of our awareness that’s being used is powerful indeed.  Little by little, we can begin to take ownership of our minds and reclaim, percent by percent, what we are most often unaware if.

A great place to start is with a dream.  Ever get the feeling that you had a dream, but you can’t remember any of it?  Or worse yet, you remember a dream when you first awake, but later on in the day you have completely forgotten?  If you simply write down your dream somewhere as it comes to you, something extraordinary will reveal itself.  Our dreams say a lot about the state of our spirit.  Each dream offers a clue as to what’s in our subconscious.  It does not mean, however, that what you dream will manifest itself, but rather that dream could be trying to show you what you are afraid of, capable of, anxious about, procrastinating for, or what you should be doing.  It gives insight into relationships and emotions.  But how will you get the message if you don’t take the time to reflect on it?  Write it down!

Think before you speak.  I must admit I would become annoyed when I heard this phrase because it was usually coming from my mother when I said something she thought was ignorant!  Most of the time she was right…  Too often we are busy saying what comes to us without even considering what it means to other people, and even to ourselves.  Or, we are thinking of what our comeback will be to a person with whom we are conversing, which means we are not even truly listening to what they are saying.  If we take the time  to think each time we wish to say something, there will be less to apologize for in the end.  Additionally, our thoughts will be meaningful and perhaps even received better (not that receipt is a pre-requisite).  The biggest takeaway here is we are capable of governing, assessing, filtering, and mindfully creating (as opposed to simply repeating/regurgitating what others have said at some point) original thoughts.

Face your  fears.   If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within, what you do not bring forth will destroy you (The Gnostic Christ, Dead Sea Scrolls).  Most of us are guilty of keeping our skeletons hidden, for if we do not see them, they are not there.  Except, they really are there, and they are preventing us from being useful to ourselves and to other people.  When you become afraid, really take a look at the reason.  What is it that is causing that fear?  What experiences or people have shaped that perception?  And how can you release yourself from it?  We are only bound to our fears if we do recognize that we possess the key.  Life is full of uncertainties, but it is also full of beauty.  Suffering does not underline our position on Earth.  When we realize this, we then allow ourselves to move about the Universe freely, for we are guided by love and not fear.  Fear makes us do ugly things like kill, steal, and destroy.  Fear is the reason for oppression, discrimination, and hate.  The current state of our planet is because we have allowed fear to rule us, which is why it is more important than ever to face your fear!


 

So, my friends, the time has come for you to live your dreams.  But not in a fantasy way that usually ends with “happily ever after”.

But rather, in a way that will guarantee you, and every other organism on this planet (and potentially the Universe) has the opportunity to experience the true meaning of LIFE.

 

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. 

-Goethe



…with liberty and justice for some.

I don’t remember the exact time I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  I know it was primary school age, because I remember vividly protesting against it at first, by not placing my hand over my heart, then by not saying anything at all, and finally, not standing all together.  It had to be primary age because in middle school, the pledge wasn’t played over the loud speakers, and in high school there was upheaval about the word “God” being a part of the pledge.  So, at an early age, I realized I wasn’t American.  It was if I already knew that “dream” didn’t include me.  No one told me to protest, no one said to me directly that I wasn’t protected by it’s promises.  But somehow I was aware that liberty and justice did not include me…

As I reflect on my life as a citizen of the United States, I would have to be blind to say that I don’t have it relatively better than perhaps most people on the planet.  Even though I struggle financially, and I don’t have healthcare, or even my own place at this very moment in time, I have the basics.  I have hot, running water, I have literally all the food I can eat.  I have an education and even a full-time, decent paying job.  But what I don’t have (and what many others don’t have as well) is a guarantee that tomorrow will be the same.  When my campus job is over, I’m technically homeless.  If I fall ill today, I can’t go to my physician, and if I go to the emergency room, my credit score will plummet even further into the depths.  I can’t go to the movies, or out for ice cream because I’m waiting for a paycheck (after three and a half weeks of work).  These things are all miniscule in the eyes of many people my age across the world.  But what this does represent is a false sense of freedom, and an immeasurable injustice.

Why is it that we celebrate our Independence, anyway?  Yes, we outsmarted the King and found a new home to call our own, but it was never ours to begin with.  So in this case, one man’s (or nation’s) freedom is another man’s bondage?  Our “forefathers” came to this country with fine garb and livestock, while my people came in chains.  Talk about independence!  The indigenous people of the Americas, those to whom this land rightfully belonged, became savages and squatters in their own home.  Talk about independence!  Women, who bore the brunt of population growth, didn’t have much choice in the matter to begin with.  And we talk about independence?

So the way I see it, what we are truly celebrating on this fourth day of July is conquest.  We loot and we pillage for our own self-gain.  We don’t care who we have to step on, spit on, or kill to gain our personal freedom.  And really, our liberty comes at a cost for others.

So today, as I listen to the slap-happy banter about cookouts, fireworks, and freedom, I can only pretend to believe in the American Dream.  It’s the greatest fantasy of all time!  I don’t mean to kill anyone’s dream of one day actually enjoying freedom, but sadly, that day and that time isn’t amongst us.  And to those few that are experiencing the sweet taste of liberty, I hope you paused today, and contemplated the cost…

 


Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.

Why you should listen to her:

In Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun has helped inspire new, cross-generational communication about the Biafran war. In this and in her other works, she seeks to instill dignity into the finest details of each character, whether poor, middle class or rich, exposing along the way the deep scars of colonialism in the African landscape.

Adichie’s newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope with a corrupted context in their home country, and about the Nigerian immigrant experience.

Adichie builds on the literary tradition of Igbo literary giant Chinua Achebe—and when she found out that Achebe liked Half of a Yellow Sun, she says she cried for a whole day. What he said about her rings true: “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.”

“When she turned 10 and read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, about the clash between Igbo tradition and the British colonial way of life, everything changed: ‘I realized that people who looked like me could live in books.’ She has been writing about Africa ever since.”

Washington Post


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