You were born with potential
You were born with goodness and trust
You were born with ideals and dreams
You were born with wings
You were not meant for crawling, so don't
You have wings!
Learn to use them and fly!
Hmm. Some day I'll do a workshop on wings!
"A woman who lived a Tao-centered life came upon a precious stone while sitting by the banks of a running stream in the mountains, and she placed this highly valued item in her bag... The next day, a hungry traveler approached the woman and asked for something to eat. As she reached into her bag for a crust of bread, the traveler saw the precious stone and imagined how it would provide him with financial security for the remainder of his life. He asked the woman to give the treasure to him, and she did, along with some food. He left, ecstatic over his good fortune and the knowledge that he was now secure... A few days later the traveler returned and handed back the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he told her. “Although I know how valuable this is, I’m returning it to you in the hopes that you could give me something even more precious...” “What would that be?” the woman inquired... “Please give me what you have within yourself that enabled you to give me that stone.”
- From Living the Wisdom the Tao by Wayne Dyer
When I was on the farm in Indiana, my grandmother had me gather eggs from the hen house, but my favorites were the smaller eggs the "baney" hens would hide under the maple tree, lilac bush, hollyhocks and the four o'clock bush by my grandmother's water pump. I never knew where I'd find them so every day was an Easter egg hunt.
Technically they are Bantams, a smaller version of poultry, The miniatures are usually one fifth to one quarter the size of the larger breeds. Plymouth Rocks, with their black and white stripes, were the other chickens she raised. It wasn't until years later that I expanded my knowledge through some very unusual circumstances, and ended up with a large variety of poultry, including the gorgeous naturally pink, green and blue Araucana eggs. In addition to being beautiful, they are lower in cholesterol.
But we aren't all fortunate to have a place for chickens and to run free. Now that I'm living within the city limits, and I'm fairly certain my neighbors would be unhappy if I began collecting chickens to roam the property, I've turned to nature's next best natural Easter egg dyes - herbs!
Over the next few days, in celebration of Easter, I'll be posting more on the miraculous egg. The symbolism, significance in history, religion and art,
As I'm writing this post, young people all over the country are organizing for March for Our Lives. The Kuwait America Foundation's wish for our young people through Do the Write Thing is an interesting parallel. We knew then that young people had the answers, but it seems like they are finally recognizing and organizing. I am in such awe of the leadership that it emerging. Ok. Here's Justin!
Yesterday, in a very off the cuff comment about Justin Bieber (in reference to what might bring an arts and crafts class of middle school aged girls in Haiti to a 'screaming halt' ), I suggested a snake, a spider, a hurricane, or Justin Bieber. Unlike most people, I don't think of Justin often, but it reminded me of a video my friend Special K, one of the Harlem Globetrotters had sent me years ago.
Kevin "Special K" Daley was a guest speaker at a dinner in Washington D.C., speaking to the young people at the Do the Write Thing (DTWT) conference. I had heard the globetrotters were there and Kevin was in a suit so I wasn't sure, but judging by his height, I thought the odds were good he might be one! I introduced myself as one of the youth chaperones, said I had heard the globetrotters were there, thought he might be one but if not, he was tall enough to look over the crowd and help me find them. He laughed and our friendship began!
DTWT originated from the Kuwait America Foundation as an expression of gratitude. The citizens of Kuwait wanted to extend appreciations to the United States because we made Kuwait a safer place for their children. Their hope was that youth in communities throughout the United States would be safer through the reflection and suggestions initiated by the Do the Write Thing Challenge. The ultimate goal was that young people would be empowered to make the changes that would break the cycle of violence in their homes, schools and communities. This was the first year Harrisburg Area youth participated.
Judge Jeannine Turgeon, from Dauphin County, PA, brought the program to the Harrisburg area. Communities across the country participated in their local communities and each chose two ambassadors to attend the summer event. There was a week long event where students met their representative, attended an event at the Kuwait embassy, and a ceremony at the Library of Congress where their essays were submitted.
Students discussed the problem of youth violence with their teachers in a classroom setting and then wrote their own reflections to three questions:
1) How has youth violence affected my life?
2) What are the causes of youth violence?
3) What can I do to reduce youth violence?
Judge Turgeon's courtroom was filled with students who participated in the Do the Write Thing Challenge. JT feels that acedemic pursuits should be given the same respect as those in sports so she ensures that the students have trophies and certificates. Parents and teachers looked on proudly as middle schools students were honored for their efforts.
The guidelines for 2018 Do the Write Thing are up on their website. i strongly advise anyone who has middle school students to encourage their student's teacher to get involved, These are exciting times as young people discover they do have a voice and what they are saying is important.. http://www.dtwt.org/the-challenge/instructions
“As kids, we don’t always have a voice, so having a person there listening to us, then it would make us feel more important. Since adolescents are the future, we need a positive presence to lead us into a positive future. Learning to help kids would be beneficial tomorrow and in the generations to come.” ~ student from Do the Write Thing
Winter storms remind me of my beloved Beethoven.
It was autumn when we found our 1820s farm house in Hunters Valley in south central Pennsylvania. We had the illusion of owning half a hemisphere. We were surrounded by forests, streams, fields, and state games lands and at the time, couldn't see another house from horizon to horizon. One Christmas, a friend who owned a similar property, convinced me that we needed a little more activity on the vacant acreage.
So on Christmas morning, I prepared two large golden packages. They were wrapped so the lids could be removed immediately for the comfort of the temporary guests inside. The backs of the boxes were completely open to prevent the tails from being crushed, and the girls positioned them so all the feathers were hidden beneath the Christmas tree. Mike’s face lit up when he opened the boxes to discover two peacocks!
It was mid-April when I heard Mike on the phone with Ruth Buck, a reporter for the local newspaper. “Well, we have at least three hundred birds,” Mike stated casually. I stopped and turned. Stunned.
I knew the collection had grown - iridescent white peacocks joined the blues, there were Bourbon Reds, Bronze and Royal Palm turkeys, Golden Pheasants, rheas, Dia Rhea and Gonna Rhea (another story- these two made NPR news!).
When you die to what
You thought was true,
Everything in your life catches fire.
You are the instrument,
Not the music.
If you think you are the music,
You will stop
at the final bar.
If you become an instrument,
not the music,
you will go on playing
no matter where you are
or who's conducting.
The gig is never over.
The heart is always singing
The mind is always shouting
Between the two
we come and go,
safe on the solid shore
~ John Squadra
The Compass of the Rose
A few days ago I traveled to PA to meet with my accountant and have my taxes done. I had several things my list as I don't get to PA very often anymore. As I exited 83, steering my car was very difficult. I stopped at a gas station and checked the power steering fluid, hoping it would be a quick fix. That wasn't the problem.
I decided i should have a mechanic look at it. Lucky, I was very close to the mechanic I used when i lived in that area years ago. He stopped everything, looked at the engine, determined that I had a broken belt that could cause more damage it if wasn't removed, put it on the lift, gave me instructions for what to do next and how to get safely home - and he sent me on my way. No charge.
Years ago I had taken my car into him with a problem. He fixed it for a quarter. "It was a screw. i just replaced it. That'll be a quarter." I had no idea what the problem was and he could have charged me hundreds of dollars, but he didn't. He didn't even charge for the time he took to look at it and determine the problem.
People like Jackson at Jackson's Automotive give me faith in humanity. His knowledge and expertise give him power. He could use it to take advantage of people, but he uses it to help. Over the years, I went to him for everything I needed and recommended him to others. I'm still recommending him, even though I don't live in the area. I have a lot of friends on Facebook who do.
I've seen other less pleasant versions of the use of expertise and knowledge as power recently. There are those who could easily stop for just a minute and answer a question and make someone's day more pleasant, but use their advantage to make others uncomfortable.
It reminds me of the learning curve when computers first came out. Some who were trained held back the information to feel superior, having forgotten that at one time they had to learn something new too. Others enthusiastically shared what they knew, remembering what it was like when they were beginning learners. Teachers, whether through formal education or someone simply giving directions or answer a question, have a wonderful opportunity to give.
One of my most popular training concepts is "Collecting Firsts." It started years ago when I decided, as I approached a signficant birthday, i had already done everything I would ever do. I lived in the same house and town I had for decades, ate the same foods. had the same jobs - paid and volunteer - that I had for years, traveled the same roads to work, read the same books, ate at the same restaurants, ordered the same menu items. Life was dull, all because of my lack of creativity and vision.
Overnight that changed, beginning with a one week grocery shopping trip where I refused to buy anything I had ever purchased before. It had to be a different brand, types, etc. (Guava paste instead of cranberry sauce, papaya instead of mango, a different laundry detergent instead of the Tide I had been getting all my life). You get the idea.
As I collected firsts, I often needed to be a new beginner and found myself asking for help or guidance. I'm so grateful to those who have been patient and shared their knowledge with me over the years. Some were dear friends and relatives, others were strangers who pointed me in the right direction and our paths never crossed again.
Knowledge, skills and expertise shouldn't make us feel superior. They should allow us to share our gifts with non-judgement and a smile. They are our true power - the power of understanding what really matters in this world.
Each exchange we have can be positive, negative or neutral. It's easy to forget when reacting to the day"s events. I'm hoping the lessons over the last few days will remind me to be more aware and thoughtful.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!