Remembering Robin Williams

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” ~José N. Harris

It’s natural to feel sad when someone close to us dies.
To feel a great sense of loss when someone whom you have never met dies, makes that person very special.

Monday afternoon, I got online to check some news. I can’t explain the shock I felt. I was totally stunned and really hoped it was a hoax.
How could Robin Williams be gone? I got on Twitter in tears. Sadly, it wasn’t a hoax. The world’s most beloved comedian, talented actor and beautiful human being, the genius Robin Williams passed away. I was heartbroken.

Like the rest of the world, I am completely devastated. His gifts to us span four decades. From the stage as a stand up comedian to actor of the big and small screen, he was insightful and brilliant. He was Mork in Mork & Mindy, the Radio Jock in Good Morning Vietnam, the Professor in Good Will Hunting, the Genie in Aladdin, Peter Pan in Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire plus many others. His role as an English teacher in Dead Poets Society still inspires people to become teachers.

I have never seen such an outpouring of love and support from friends, adoring fans and the media. The tributes coming in from family, friends and fans only confirm what we already knew. He was a gentle and generous soul. He was kind to all.

Robin Williams has a special place in our hearts. He was the world’s honorary uncle. His immeasurable talent(s) touched something deep inside of us. That is what true artists do.

My heart aches for his family and friends. I hope the media including the social media will allow them to mourn and grieve in peace.

We hope you have found the peace and laughter you gave to us all.
Gone from this world yet never forgotten.
Farewell, yet not goodbye.
We will miss you, Uncle Robin.

Here are little pearls of wisdom from Robin Williams: 50 great quotes

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world!” ~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society

Bee a Righty

In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give. ~Cory Booker

Today, I read a very interesting article: Honeybees use right antennae to tell friend from foe

Researchers reveal that sensory neuron asymmetry affects how bees navigate social situations. It appears that honeybees use their right antenna to distinguish between friends and intruders.

The new study shows that honeybees with only a right antenna recognize and behave in a heartfelt way toward each other. When honeybees interact solely with their right antennas, they are more sociable, positive and interact with each other more cordially. Yet honeybees with only a left antenna go on the attack, even though they are hive-mates. In other words, when they have only their left antennas, they will more likely respond in an aggressive and negative way.

The same study suggests that the bees’ brains are wired asymmetrically, as are human brains. The right and left sides of the bees’ brains seem to perform different functions, like humans’ brains. This new study implies that brain asymmetry isn’t a uniquely human phenomenon after all.

A honeybee’s brain contains only 960,000 neurons whereas an average human brain contains 86 billion neurons. This just shows how extraordinary honeybees are. They are extremely smart. They use their right antennas to navigate complex social situations.

bee and daisy

PHOTO CREDIT: Bees Hive

We humans have a lot to learn from the honeybees.

I bet honeybees would be more civilized in social media. Some people in social media seem to be always on attack mode, whether they do it in public or behind the scenes. They seem to use their left antennas only. Celebrities and those who are friends with celebrities are prone to some ugly aggressive behaviors by others. Low self-esteem, insecurity and a fear-dominated mind-set must have have damaged their ability to use the right antenna.

I am right-brained. I prefer to use my right antenna and I always did. It has always served me well. Just like honeybees, the right antenna is indeed my caller-ID. I can see the difference between authentic and fake friends (those who pretend to be friends). I can distinguish between someone who is sincere and who isn’t. However, I always treat everyone with respect, no matter what.

I wish everyone could use their right antenna. It will always serve well both in personal and professional relationships. But if you can’t use your right antenna, at least be a good listener.

One way to break out of a negative mind-set is to identify the behaviors linked to your fears and try to find out which fears are motivating your decisions (that are ultimately damaging you).

Our actions are always echoed back to us. Choose kindness. If you can’t help people, at least don’t hurt them.

Utilize your right antenna. It can transform your life.

https://twitter.com/LovinShmay

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom. When a man reaches an absolutely silent state, he roars like a lion.” ~Osho

Cherish Each Day

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” ~Aboriginal Proverb

WELCOME PIC

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

It’s basic human nature that we take things for granted. Wisdom does not come easy. I believe we find wisdom in different ways created by our unique journeys in life. From personal experience, I know that we gain wisdom from hardships. Hardships create awareness and spiritual awakening.

I was profoundly touched by an email that a very dear friend sent me last week. Her loved one is battling a deadly disease. Tears were running down my face as I read her email.

For every living soul, our ultimate destination is the same. We may take different paths in this life yet we will arrive at exactly the same place.  

Our greatest power in life is to be able to see the special things in the present moment. I believe when humans face the reality of death, they’re more able to honor the people that they have taken for granted.

We get so distracted by our everyday routines that we don’t see the special things around us such as spending some quality time with our loved ones. If we go away for a few days, we miss them. It seems to me that as humans we are more capable of appreciating the people in our lives when separated from them or when we’re about to lose them.

Most people know about “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. His last lecture in 2007 was wisdom about the life he wished to leave to his family and students. Since then millions throughout the world have been touched by his wisdom, including me. His lecture wasn’t about leaving this earth, but rather the importance of seizing every day and living in the present moment.

“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.” ~Randy Pausch

As we gain wisdom, I believe we’re also learning not to be afraid of death. This is probably the ultimate wisdom. I believe when we face the prospect of dying, we’re liberated. We see everything more clearly. We don’t take anything for granted anymore. We become selfless and self-improved. We honor the special things of the present moment and people who deserve our attention.

During her eulogy to Steve Jobs, his sister Mona Simpson revealed that his final words were: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW”

Is it possible to embrace the mystery of death?
I certainly believe it is. By embracing death, we die with ease, grace and wisdom.

Somewhere in outer space, the sun shines continuously, as does our soul. The soul will return from where it came and live in eternity.

Life and death are not two, but one.

Cherish each day. Live life fully!

Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. ~Randy Pausch

SUNFLOWER

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Keep it positive

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” ~Bruce Lee

I’ve observed three main character traits that I believe are self-destructive in social networking and building relationships.

1. Cynicism
Cynics are known as suspicious, paranoid and mistrustful of others. Scientists categorize this character trait as hostility. Cynics are not necessarily bad people. They read into people’s behaviors, calling it a gut instinct and being suspicious of even a kind gesture.

Where does all this suspicion stem from? It stems from being paranoid and mistrustful of others and has deep roots in their past experiences. I’ve learned that those with low self-esteem (disguised as confident people) display this character trait.  

2. Lack of self-control:

Some people react to every possible tweet, post and they over-analyze. Some others get angry if they don’t receive a response or if they receive a response that differs from their point of view. Then, they go into the attack mode. They say words that they will regret later, which is unfortunately too late. Most feel ashamed of it but their ego won’t allow them to apologize.

Restraint is very important for online relationships as well as in real life. However, unlike real life, what you say online is forever. Don’t think that those private messages, phone calls, Google hang outs or Skype chats are private.

3. Envy, Jealousy and Gossip

Unfortunately, some people, especially women seem to be driven by envy and jealousy. Some of them go as far as telling lies, gossiping and spreading rumors. Lack of purpose in their lives is perhaps the main reason for such viciousness. It’s self destructive and destroy others who are subjected to bullying. It hurts all parties yet mostly the person who is doing it. Yes, I do believe in Karma.

When you tweet: “Be Kind, Be Real”, extend it outside twitter and apply it in your life. Your words have little meaning if your actions contradict them.

Some friends ask me how I remain positive no matter what happens. I’ve learned that positivity depends vitally how I think. Just like life, positivity is fragile. Take a moment to notice your surroundings in social media and ask yourself: How does social media benefit me and others? What is going right for me here?

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”~Carl Sagan

Think of positivity like a beautiful color palette; love, joy, serenity, hope, inspiration, interest, gratitude and awe.

If your social media experience doesn’t seem to serve you well, maybe you weigh it down with self-doubt and cynicism. Be open. Be sincere. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Thinking in this manner can ignite positivity and puts a smile on your face. Be sure to take a few moments each day, to reply and interact with your friends. Positivity broadens our minds and outlook. Positivity enables us to attract people whom we mutually benefit from and helps us see unlimited possibilities around us. It makes us stronger to cope with adversity.

Positivity can change your life and it can change your communities. It can create a more compassionate and harmonic community.

More than once, I’ve been asked this question: How do I deal with rude and negative people? My mind doesn’t embrace combat and war like tactics. My mind simply thinks of peace. I don’t de-humanize people who wronged me as my enemies. I rather think of them as unfortunate small-minded people with big egos who are suffering and lashing out. In my thoughts I extend them love and compassion. Even though they tried to harm me, I still find qualities about them that I can appreciate. Their negativity belongs to them, not me. Last but not least, I see them as teachers in disguise. I’ve experienced this in the past year. I still came out ahead so can you. You can disarm the negativity.

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” ~Bruce Lee

Kindness and positivity nurture each other. In my experience, kind people are focused on how they can make a difference and how they can lend a hand. By boosting kindness, we also increase our positivity. We are more compassionate towards others even under adverse circumstances. By helping others you will help yourself. I haven’t met anyone who reached his or her potential by themselves. Connect with others. You’ll notice an increased positivity and in turn will attract positivity. So interact with others everyday no matter what. Open your heart and mind.

MaggiePhoto4

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Mayor Cory Booker ~ Food stamp challenge

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker is helping to create the spiritual revolution. Today, Mr. Booker started the food stamp Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, A Movement Toward Food Justice!

For one entire week, he’ll be living on $30 of groceries to raise awareness about how challenging it is to live on food stamps.

This afternoon, the Newark Mayor tweeted his #SNAPchallenge food for the week:


Note: NO Coffee

Mr.Booker who is a vegetarian, continues to inspire us all.

Watch this video to learn the #SNAPchallenge guidelines:

Follow Cory Booker on Twitter
Connect with Cory Booker on Facebook

Kathy Ireland ~ Living Life with Purpose

Achievement doesn’t come from what we do, but from who we are. Our career is an extension of our personality.” ~Marianne Williamson, from A Course in Miracles

I met Kathy Ireland on Twitter in early 2009. I was taken by her kindness and down-to-earth attitude. Since then Kathy’s multi-billion dollar empire has been growing larger each year. Kathy is the CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She empowers others and surrounds herself with talented people who share her passion.

Recently, Kathy Ireland appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine. Last year alone, kathy ireland Worldwide® grossed close to $2 billion dollars in retail sales. And it all started with a line of socks. A mom herself, the mission statement of kathy ireland Worldwide® is “…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.”™

Photo Courtesy of Forbes

kathy ireland Worldwide® founded in 1993, offers designs in Home, Office, Weddings, Fashion, Fine Jewelry, Baby Products, Destination Properties and More. Kathy is also Chief Designer for Window World, America’s largest window replacement company. Fairchild Publications names her one of the 50 Most Influential People in Fashion. Kathy Ireland Skincare products are incredible and affordable. These effective skincare products are from the Dead Sea.

Recent TV appearances include co-hosting “Oscars 2010 Red Carpet.” Prior to the live broadcast, Kathy had recently returned from a humanitarian trip to Haiti. On February 29, 2012, she was guest co-host on ” The View.”

Kathy has also written six books and produced several fitness videos. UCLA acknowledges Kathy as one of the top 10 Women’s Health Advocates in America.

Kathy Ireland recently added bridal fashions to her product line empire with a mission statement “…finding solutions for people in love.”™

Kathy is a dedicated Philanthropist. Her philanthropic work supports several non-profits including the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation, Feed The Children, the Alliance for Christian Education and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Kathy reminds me everyday that one person can make an enormous difference.

One of my favorite quotes of Kathy Ireland is: “Don’t just work for the money; that will bring only limited satisfaction.”

Kathy Ireland is and will always be a special friend to me.
Thank you for leading by example, a life with purpose and inspiring us all, Kathy!

Follow Kathy Ireland on Twitter
Visit kathyireland.com and kathyireland.org for more information

Moms Blog to Save Lives: Ask 5 for 5

Guest blogger: Sarah Lenssen from Ask5for5
photos courtesy of Cate Turton / Dept. for International Development

First, thanks to Shire @ShiCooks; for allowing me to post on her blog today! Today, 25 bloggers, including this one, are standing with me to Ask 5 for 5 for Africa. Here’s why….

I began pursuing a BIG dream two weeks ago. After deciding I could no longer avoid the news about the famine in the horn of Africa, I had that gut feeling that I couldn’t sit this one out. I HAD to do something because I could. Something bigger than I could do alone.

A malnourished child in an MSF treatment tent in Dolo Ado

Two of my children, Ashen and Bereket, were adopted and are from the region affected by the drought in Ethiopia. They would be two of the statistics if they still lived there. I see my son’s and daughter’s faces in the photos of those suffering in the refugee camps. It could have been him. It could have been her. The thought haunts me.

And moms just like us are watching their children go hungry day after day. I can’t imagine what it’s like, but I have to –I have to be there to help them, because it could have been my children. These families have lost their livestock, their crops, food prices are inflated at the market if there any food there, and don’t have any more lifelines to tap into. Many are traveling hundreds of miles through parched land in hope of finding help. Many are dying along the way. It is estimated that 29,000 children have died in the last 90 days in the famine in Somalia alone.

Malnourished children, weakened by hunger

But I KNOW we can do something about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed, we can rally ourselves and our friends to respond! I set up a fundraiser through See Your Impact. 100% of your gift will go to the relief and development organization World Vision, where it will be combined with government grants to multiply up to 5 times in impact!

You’ll receive updates on just how your funding is being used to help save lives affected by famine in East Africa. I’m amazed at how much we’ve raised already — over $7,000 in just four days! We blew through our first 3 goals in just 3 days and are well on our way to $10,000 and beyond!
I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share Ask5for5 on Facebook to stay updated too!

I’m also looking for 100 bloggers to stand with Ask5for5 to spread the word during Social Media week, September 19th – 23rd. If you’re interested, email me, ask5for5@gmail.com.

Extra food for every child under five

Thanks! Please donate and email your friends right now–don’t wait for a calmer moment, because if you’re like me, other demands inevitably crop up and you won’t get to it. A child’s life hangs in the balance, but you can help save her!

Cross-roads

I lost my beloved brother in a very tragic way. It seems like yesterday, but it was almost 20 years ago. Gone too soon. He was intelligent, loving and compassionate. When he died, I worked my way through the most unbearable pain I ever imagined. I vividly remember sleepless nights, cries of pain, long hours at the office and working through weekends. I’ve always managed difficult times by (the distraction) of working hard and keeping busy.

During this period of hardship, I moved from the apartment I shared with my brother. I formed a special friendship with my new neighbor. A very kind, elderly lady who lived alone in her two bedroom apartment. She had the most beautiful curly gray hair with a smile that could make your heart sing. We connected with each other in a miraculous way. I called her Grandma and she treated me as if I was her biological grand daughter. However, my new Grandma was very ill. She gave me a key to her apartment so I could check-in on her. Although she had children and grandchildren living in the same city, she was by herself most of the time. I didn’t know then that my beautiful Grandma was an Angel showing up in my life to ease my pain, the loss of my only brother.

One day I felt an overwhelming urge to go home at 5 pm instead of working overtime. When I entered the hallway of my apartment building, I smelled a strong burning odor. I remember being nervous and opening Grandma’s door with shaky hands. I found her on the kitchen floor. She had turned on the hot plate but fainted shortly thereafter. I called the paramedics and followed her to the ER. She was sent back home the same night. I remember, I didn’t work much overtime after that. I would rather come home and spend my evenings and weekends with Grandma. This special lady with her witty nature enhanced my life profoundly. She would always thank me. My answer would be: “Grandma, I’m sure I will never be able to express my gratitude for how much you helped me to become a stronger and better person.”

Ironically, I never would have met her if not for my brother’s sudden passing.

Years later, I was deeply affected by the loss of my Grandma. I’m grateful for knowing her. We shared so many things. I feel Grandma is my Guardian Angel. I love her with all my heart and I always will.

Your heart tells you who your true “family” is.

The love within us is the source of all good.
The act of giving fulfills a fundamental need.
It’s our spiritual fuel.

If we don’t love ourselves, how can we offer a loving act? My “best friend” could not bear to spend time with me after the tragic loss of my brother. She was not strong enough (emotionally and spiritually). That’s when I began (practicing) being nonjudgmental and compassionate towards others.

When we lend our hand to someone who needs it, the universe rewards us. Even when we don’t, the universe does not judge us. The universe is compassionate. The universe loves us unconditionally. When each of us act the same way as the universe, we form a loving circle. Giving gives back, becoming a “good” habit. A joyful experience enhancing our lives.

Peace on Earth – It’s Only a Breath Away

By Matthew Fry

Jill Bolte Taylor, a 37-year-old Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, had a research opportunity few would wish for, when a blood vessel exploded in her brain causing a massive stroke. In the video below she talks about how she watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one, and about the spiritual and medical metamorphosis she experienced after.

Taylor explains how the brain is split into two hemispheres, and how each processes information differently and thinks and cares about different things, essentially having it’s own personality.

The right hemisphere thinks visually and learns kinesthetically. It is all about the present: “right here, right now,” which is the basic teaching of Zen philosophy; Zen meaning to wake up to the present moment. It is empathetic and sees that “we are energy beings connected through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family.”
The left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically and is all about the past and the future. It thinks in language and creates on-going brain-chatter, being the source of the little voice that says, “I am,” giving the sense of ego and separateness. On the morning of her stroke, Taylor’s left-brain was knocked out of action by a blood clot the size of a golf ball. She lost the ability to speak and read as her left-brain began to shut down. At the same time she stepped into the right-brain world of connectedness and empathy which she affectionately calls “la la land”. When she woke in hospital later that afternoon, she was shocked to still be alive. “I’m still alive, and I have found Nirvana, and if I have found Nirvana and I am still alive, then everyone can find Nirvana! I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time and that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace, and then I realized what a tremendous gift this could be, what a stroke of insight this could be, and it motivated me to recover.”

Fortunately, her left hemisphere was not permanently destroyed, and over the course of eight years, with an angel of a mother by her side, she made an awe-inspiring complete recovery.


Today, she says she is a new person, one who can step into the consciousness of her right hemisphere on command and be “one with all that is.”

I was deeply moved by her astonishing story which brought to tears when watching the video for the first time. Taylor’s drive and enthusiasm is infectious, and the combination of her science expertise and personal stroke of insight was profound and penetrative. It allowed my left-brained way of thinking to be utterly convinced of the reality of something else, something natural, something that was “part of the potential experience of every person.”

Through the process of meditation – a right brain activity – we can each cultivate a greater sense of peace, teaching our right-brains to dominate our left, and thus really harness the power of the left-brain, with the ego being tamed; perhaps converted from a perceived enemy into a friend.

Jill Bolte Taylor believes that “the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

What an amazing insight she has brought to us by means of her own personal, somewhat traumatic experience! I’m tremendously grateful for the blessing and see it as an incredibly important message that really needs to be shared with our world.

I hope one day everyone on our planet will embrace these profound insights and begin to develop their own sense of inner peace, for which meditation is an invaluable key.
Peace on Earth – it’s only a breath away.

About the Author of this Article: Matthew Fry is a Positive Change Agent and Social Activist. His Love and Enthusiasm is contagious.
You can follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lovepeaceunity
You can help him unleash his Best Idea For Humanity by voting here: http://www.bit.ly/votepeace

Are We Spiritual or Physical Beings?

Why do many relationships/friendships not last when they begin with so much promise?

I believe the quality of our relationships with our family, friends and loved ones is influenced by the quality of our lives. How we see ourselves directly effects how we see and treat others.

A true and authentic friendship is formed when nothing is expected in return whether online or in person. It’s the healthiest of relationships. It is pure and simple. No pretense or judgment. Nothing to prove or explain. No one is taken for granted. Both are equal.

A spiritual relationship begins with love, trust and understanding. The bond is pure, and the love unconditional. It warms my heart to have such relationships allowing each other to grow.

When we relate to others on a deeper level, we can maintain a more meaningful relationship. This has nothing to do with our (physical) presence.

My best friend and I have been living far away from each other most of our lives. We respect each others’ individuality. I chose to move away and live in different places whereas she chose to live in the same place. Our friendship is solid. It doesn’t matter the distance or length of the time we have not seen one another. We are always connected. It’s a giving friendship without boundaries. I am privileged to have friends like her. Just knowing that they are on this earth, gives me much joy.

A relationship is a place we go to give, not to receive.
To nurture our soul and spirit.

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