Monday, November 30, 2009

Violence Against Women

Nov 28, 2009
New reports out of the Philippines reveal that most, if not all, of the women killed in a brutal massacre earlier this week were also sexually mutilated and possibly raped.

"International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women"
"25 November 2009" (Too little too late.)

"In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime - with the abuser usually someone known to her.

The resolution passed in 1999 offers a list of reasons why the international community is and should be concerned about violence against women as an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development, and peace:

•Some groups of women, such as women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee women, migrant women, women living in rural or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, the girl child, women with disabilities, elderly women and women in situations of armed conflict, are especially vulnerable to violence.

•To recognize that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of their full advancement, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with men.

•To recognizing also that the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights, and recognizing further the need to promote and protect all human rights of women and girls.

•To raise alarm that women do not fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and concerned about the long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in relation to violence against women.

•To recognizing with satisfaction the cooperation provided by the relevant agencies, bodies, funds and organs of the United Nations system to different countries in the fight to eradicate violence against women, in fulfillment of their respective mandates.

•To recognize the efforts made by civil society and non-governmental organizations that have contributed to creating a worldwide social conscience of the negative impact, both on social and on economic life, of violence against women.

•To reiterate that, according to article 1 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Women's activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. The date commemorates the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, in 1960 on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961)."
© WHO 2009

Indeed what a low and vile creature we have become, to torture rape and murder God's greatest gift, a woman. A treasure intended to be our true love and lifelong companion, and the giver of life. Do we kill because we are men? We even have the effrontery to do so in the holy name of God Himself, under the veil of corrupt religious dogmas that are apposed to the true spirit of Godliness.


"Women play a critical role in the family. The family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. In different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist. The rights, capabilities and responsibilities of family members must be respected. Women make a great contribution to the welfare of the family and to the development of society, which is still not recognized or considered in its full importance. The social significance of maternity, motherhood and the role of parents in the family and in the upbringing of children should be acknowledged. The upbringing of children requires shared responsibility of parents, women and men and society as a whole. Maternity, motherhood, parenting and the role of women in procreation must not be a basis for discrimination nor restrict the full participation of women in society. Recognition should also be given to the important role often played by women in many countries in caring for other members of their family."

"The girl child of today is the woman of tomorrow. The skills, ideas and energy of the girl child are vital for full attainment of the goals of equality, development and peace. For the girl child to develop her full potential she needs to be nurtured in an enabling environment, where her spiritual, intellectual and material needs for survival, protection and development are met and her equal rights safeguarded. If women are to be equal partners with men, in every aspect of life and development, now is the time to recognize the human dignity and worth of the girl child and to ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights assured by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [11] universal ratification of which is strongly urged. Yet there exists world-wide evidence that discrimination and violence against girls begin at the earliest stages of life and continue unabated throughout their lives. They often have less access to nutrition, physical and mental health care and education and enjoy fewer rights, opportunities and benefits of childhood and adolescence than do boys. They are often subjected to various forms of sexual and economic exploitation, paedophilia, forced prostitution and possibly the sale of their organs and tissues, violence and harmful practices such as female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, incest, female genital mutilation and early marriage, including child marriage."
Beijing, China - September 1995
"Action for Equality, Development and Peace"

Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth. I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.
Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Destruction of Native Culture

By Henry Niese


Imagine a society or culture in which most conflict was reconciled by the innate structure of the society. Imagine at the same time a culture in which personal freedom was absolute, yet every member lived within a strict cultural set of laws, or moral code. Imagine a society in which nobody was boss. Or had the power to order people around, and yet every need, every task was accomplished. Imagine a people or culture without prisons, poorhouses, orphanages, insane asylums, banks and bankruptcy, locks on doors, or a ponderous government bureaucracy. This is only part of what was lost when so many Native American cultures were destroyed.

In her book, The Lost Universe, [1] the anthropologist Gene Weltfish wrote about this. George Catlin, the 19th Century artist who lived with Indian tribes along the Missouri, witnessed this, as did others.

From the beginning of European contact with Indian tribes, the Europeans deliberately set out to destroy Indian society and the Indian way of life through the use of several strategies: 1. Devalue and destroy the religion; 2. Destroy the language; 3. Impose Christianity; 4. Destroy the culture. In Central America, great libraries were put to the torch, the Conquistadors saving a few books to be sent back to the Vatican to be deciphered and translated by scholars for the purpose of ensuring greater efficiency of the Conquest.

The libertarian, democratic Indian cultures were doomed for the most part in the face of unbounded greed and technology, although many of them still hang on, barely, to their language, religion and culture.

In this country, at least one of these cultures, The Iroquois Confederacy, has a constitution, called Gayanerokowa, the Law of the Great Peace,[2] which became in part the basis of the United States Constitution. Benjamin Franklin acknowledged this debt, one of the few such acknowledgments ever made. Americans are too busy with the ongoing destruction of the Indian way of life to reflect on how much Native Americans have contributed to their way of life, from chewing gum to many medicinal substances.

The Sacred Hoop was broken. The cultural structures which effected order and reconciliation all but destroyed. Can you imagine the rage and despair many people of all nations feel?

Indian languages - more than 200 of them - continue to disappear slowly, and with them the culture and religions. Language has been lost to all but a few of the Eastern tribes. Most of the tribes East of the Mississippi now have English as their only language. When the language disappears, the culture is gone. All the subtleties of meaning and culture are embedded in language.

Today among Indian peoples, alienation, racism, and divisiveness are commonly seen as the inheritance received from the dominant culture. Alcohol, drugs, and diabetes, another part of the inheritance, contribute to the very high death rate.

In this darkness, the light of traditional wisdom, reconciliation and culture is kept alive by a very few spiritual and political leaders - the medicine men and women. One of these leaders, a man I called Uncle Bill - Chief William Eagle Feather - Sundance chief and medicine man of the Rosebud Sioux, taught me a great deal.

He used to talk about the Sacred Hoop, that reconciliation of hatred was essential to preserving the Sacred Hoop of all people. He told the story of his own personal enlightenment and reconciliation with white people. He used to be a racist, he said. Hated whites. Then one day he had a vision. He saw that if you cut a white person he bled red just like an Indian. Same for black people and yellow people. THIS, he said , was the true Red Power, the gift of life that came from Above. It was then that he began to understand the meaning of Mitakuye oyasin - that we were all relations, & it didn't matter what color we were.

Uncle Bill's personal reconciliation with all his relations led to the development of his personality as one of the kindest, wisest men I have ever known. Kindness and wisdom can never grow from hatred & anger. Hatred and anger can literally blind a person. Here's a story illustrating this.

At the 1976 Sundance on the Rosebud Reservation, I was one of over 100 dancers. I was dancing next to a Navajo guy - maybe 6'4", 250 lbs. Because I looked white the guy hated my guts. You are out there to pray, to put all your strength and focus on your prayer. We dance for 4 days, no food or water from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon. It is very difficult -. "Wiwanyankwacipi - Staring at the Sun they dance." Sometimes I was so focused I didn't see that it was time to move, and this Navajo would take the opportunity to poke me in the ribs as hard as he could.

The second afternoon, we were dancing facing South. The big Navajo really got into praying while staring at the sun. When we broke to rest he was blind and had to be led to the sweat lodge, where Uncle Bill, the Sundance leader, restored his sight. We resumed dancing.

That evening we came out of the dance arbor and went into the sweat lodges. By chance the Navajo and I were sitting side by side. Uncle Bill asked each of us to pray. The Navajo suddenly broke down sobbing, begging the Great Spirit for forgiveness for his acts of anger committed during the sacred dance. He turned to me, tears running down his face, took my hand, asking forgiveness, saying he didn't know what he was doing, and that now he understood why God had made him blind, so that he would understand how blind his hatred was. The reconciliation was accomplished. Harmony was restored. "Was blind but now I see", as in the song Amazing Grace.

This making and restoring of relations is critical to the development of harmonious life for all. The traditional ceremony of making relations, as well as the ceremony called "Give-away" is one of the great expressions of generosity, one of the four Lakota Sioux virtues. These two ceremonies came about through the resolution of an ancient conflict between two powerful Plains tribes - the Sioux and the Omaha.

The reconciliation of these two warring tribes came about when, tired of killing and stealing from each other, they met in council. They exchanged gifts and adopted each other as relatives. So, Wihpeyapi and Hunkapi - Give-away and The Making of Relatives ceremonies have been an integral part of life ever since. These ceremonies always involve the giving of gifts and food. A good feast, where everyone has a full belly, is a great way to promote peace.

In today's world, just as in older times, there has to be a reconciliation of old conflicts so that we can once again establish a living harmony. For years after WWII, I hated anything Japanese, but I no longer have anger in me. Too many Japanese people have shown me their kindness and generosity for me to be angry at a whole nation.

Conflict will always exist among people, not only on a national level but on a personal level, the kind of conflict and hatred you carry in your heart. The resolution or reconciliation of that conflict on a national level leads to the prospering of that nation. Reconciliation of old hatreds and wounds on a personal level leads to a similar prosperity, a psychological and emotional prosperity resulting in a clear and peaceful mind.

Mitakuye Oyasin -All my Relations!

Prayer for Generosity (Cebu City, Philippines)

Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth. I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.
Kahlil Gibran

Friday, November 20, 2009



Paula Khoo is my greatly admired friend on the Internet. Half of Malaysia and I would feel lost without her. She is a brave soul dedicated to freedom and liberty for her country. We think so much alike, that sometimes we steal each other thoughts. Every time I think of something to post; I had better check with Paula first. So here is what Paula posted, while I was still thinking of how to write it up!


"This post is dedicated to all my blog readers and friends who have been with me in this blog. Thank you for showing me the meaning of friendship. You'll always be in my heart."


(A)ccepts you as you are
(B)elieves in "you"
(C)alls you just to say "HI"
(D)oesn't give up on you
(E)nvisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)
(F)orgives your mistakes
(G)ives unconditionally
(H)elps you
(I)nvites you over
(J)ust "be" with you
(K)eeps you close at heart
(L)oves you for who you are
(M)akes a difference in your life
(N)ever Judges
(O)ffer support
(P)icks you up
(Q)uiets your fears
(R)aises your spirits
(S)ays nice things about you
(T)ells you the truth when you need to hear it
(U)nderstands you
(V)alues you
(W)alks beside you
(X)-plains thing you don't understand
(Y)ells when you won't listen and
(Z)aps you back to reality

So there you are! I think she did a good job with my thoughts. : )

Do justice, love loving-kindness, walk humbly with God. Micah 6:8:
The cornerstone of Rabbi Nosson Zvi's service of God was chesed. This to him, meant being careful of anothers honor and dignity, helping others, having one's heart overflow with love and kindness, utilizing every opportunity to benefit others. It neant that older students shoud learn with younger ones... Above all, it meant that one should greet his fellow with a pleasant countence, because it makes the other feel good and binds people together in friendship.

Alan Morinis:

Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth. I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.
Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, November 08, 2009

For The Love of Usen.

I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say. When a child, my mother taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom and protection. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us... and to Usen.

Geronimo {jur-ahn'-i-moh}, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache (grandson of Mahko) by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. His wife, Juh, Geronimo's cousin Ishton, and Asa Daklugie were members of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apache.

He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers, although few agree as to why. As leader of the Apaches at Arispe in Sonora, he performed such daring feats that the Mexicans singled him out with the sobriquet Geronimo (Spanish for "Jerome"). Some attributed his numerous raiding successes to powers conferred by supernatural beings, including a reputed invulnerability to bullets.

("Usen is the Apache word for God")

Before I continue, let me assure you that indeed your God loves you, no matter who or what you are. You are His child, His divine creation. I ask you not to abandon your faith, but to understand it for what it is, and to free yourselves from the fetters and chains of man's vain dogma, and traditions, as you seek the true face of the Most High God. Religion is not all bad, indeed philosophies of our many religions where both a great help, and hindrance in my walk with God. Every religion has the potential for goodness, as well as great evil: And it is to this end that we have long been fooled into committing the most profane of all acts. To kill in the name of God, as if the most powerful entity in the universe was incapable of defend Himself. Using God to make war is one of our oldest deceptions, alas it has worked all to well. We even kill our brothers and sisters. Christians killing Christians, Muslims killing Muslims. How dare we take it on ourselves to play Almighty God, as if we were defending some lifeless pagan idol. If we could only see that every soul belongs to, and is of God; maybe we could stop the madness.

For as I see it there are no false religions, God is not religious. all religions have been born of our primitive attempts to fathom the true nature of the supernatural. Mankind has always had a fear of the unknown, and in his attempts to define the undefinable, man created religion. Unfortunately religion has superseded the Creator to become a god in its self, and has became the greatest industry ever known.The power and wealth of the combined religions cannot be matched by any nation. Do you think the religious industrial complex wants you to know how your God really works? Kingdoms and governments have always manipulated religion as a means to control the hearts and minds of the people. God has no need of religion, He IS GOD!!! And he deals directly with your soul, it matters not to Him what faith you subscribe to. I know that many of you are in morbid fear of the tyrannical power your religions has over your lives, my friends this is how religion gets its power by playing on your devotion and fears, thus building a wall of dogma between you and the Creator, only they have the key to the narrow gate; all others are doomed to damnation.
I only ask you to love God as the Father of all things, and all people. Let us strive to be humble; to open up our hearts, that we may learn to appreciate and love one another, as He loves us.

Tao 59th Verse

Living by Thrift and Moderation

· People whose lives are run by rules, dogma, and fear can only do what they’ve been told to do….nothing more.

· Children raised in families where that blind obedience is demanded have the highest levels of prejudice when they become adults. Why? Because they’ve been taught to “prejudge” what’s acceptable, according to someone in a position to lead them. That’s why it’s so vital to give your kids an example of leadership that encourages them to make choices based on higher standards.

· “if nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.” So practice living without limits by gathering virtue and modeling it.

· Gather as much virtue as you possibly can.

· Practice moderating your ego.

· When you moderate your demands and use only what you and your family require, you’ll gather virtue points by serving rather than accumulating…..this is “the secret of long life and lasting vision.”

"Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth. I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end."
Kahlil Gibran

Carry Allah in your heart wherever you go. Follow an evil deed with a good one to abolish it. And treat people kindly."
Azizah Mirasa.

"What's Good in Your Life?"

When you open yourself to experience the trait of gratitude, you discover with clarity and accuracy how much good there is in your life. Whatever you are lacking will still be missing, of course, and in reaching for gratitude no one is saying you ought to put on rose-colored glasses to obscure those shortcomings. The obstacles to appreciating good can be so very real, especially when life is riven by suffering. But it is worth the effort to practice gratitude,especially since the one who benefits most is the one who is suffering. Recognizing the good affirms life, and more, because when you see good in the world it sets your heart free to soar, to shout, and to sing a song of life. Most of us tend to focus so heavily on the deficiencies in our lives that we barely perceive the good that counterbalances them. This tendency is bolstered by advertisers who attempt to convince us of just how inadequate and lacking we really are, in the hope we will try to plug our wants and needs by buying some product or other. There is no limit to what we don't have, and if that is where we focus, then our lives are inevitably filled with endless dissatisfaction. It is also true thay even if we are aware of our gifts, we tend to grow callous to those fine things that pepper our lives, so that after a while we no longer even see that they are there. We come to take the good for granted. When gratitude is a living reality well established in our hearts, however, we constantly refresh our vision so that we make accurate note of the good that surrounds us. This is the ethos that lies behind the ancient proverb, which ask, "Who is rich?" and then answers, "He who rejoices in his own lot." Live like that and you will suddenly discover that you want to give thanks for anything or anyone who has benefited you, whether they meant it or not. Imagine a prayer of thanks springing to your lips when the driver in the next car lets you merge without protest, or when there is electricity to light your room, or the food is adequate. Giving thanks can become a flow that waters the field of life. When gratitude is well established and flowing, it is a sign of a heart that has been made right and whole. Gratitude can't coexist with arrogance, resentment, and selfishness. As it is written, "Gratitude rejoices with her sister joy and is always ready to light a candele and have a party. Gratitude doesn't much like the old cronies of boredom, despair, and taking life for granted."

By Alan Morinis.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Soul of Kahlil Gibran

A most remarkable sage; has he been living inside of me for all of these years?

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Kahlil Gibran

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

The highest act of generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.

Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration. Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.
Kahlil Gibran

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.
Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wise Robin

“The Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzŭ stated that true empathy requires listening with the whole being: it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.

The sage in harmony with Tao needs no words nor truths, for she accepts emptiness and embraces silence. Like a child in paradise, the enlightened sage in harmony with Tao sees the world untainted by thoughts and concepts, an undefined effervescent kaleidoscope of transient color and form, with herself an inseparable part, indistinguishable from the sentient beings roaming about. Her unity is one of awe and joy.’”

To dive deep into a grieving soul, is a place where only the power of Divine Love fears not to tread. My dear friend Robin Easton has just published a very insightful post about the need for empathy and compassion. I know that some of you sweetfarts do not always fallow the links that I post. So this time I have decided to make sure you cannot avoid the opportunity to read her touching post with a very deep message for all.

"The Silent but Deadly…agreement."

"Most of us have joked about SBDs (Silent but Deadly) when referring to farts, but today I refer to another another type of SBD, which I’ll share through two true stories. The first story is about a woman friend who at sixty lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. I had been traveling prior to her husband’s death and returned several weeks after. When I heard about his death I thought, “Well, at least she’s had a lot of people to help her through the grief. In my mind I pictured her friends and church group gathered around her while she cried, shared stories and slowly adjusted to her loss."

When I arrived home I went to visit my friend. She was pleased to see me, but looked like thin glass about to shatter. I was compelled to open my arms and hold her. While she cried I said, “This has to be the hardest thing you’ve endured. Come sit and tell me about your loss. I’ll listen.” She slumped into a chair and between sobs said, “He has been dead a month and you are the first person to talk to me like this. No one asks what I feel or if I miss him. They even avoid mentioning his name.” Shocked, I stammered, `But what about your friends at the church, your family…someone?` Bewildered she said, "No, no one says anything other than to remind me that I had forty good years with him. Or they say they’re sorry for my loss and then change the subject.

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I knew many of the people she knew and they were all good people, kind people, and most of them much closer to her than I was. She is such a kind soul, so why weren’t they inviting her to share her feelings? It hit me she’d gone a month without sharing what she felt. I reached out a hand and said, “I want to know what it’s like for you to lose him. What was it about him you love most? What kind of man was he? Let’s talk woman to woman.” And we did.

With each story she shared she became more animated. She laughed, cried, and then sobbed great gulping sobs until she calmed to a deep peace. She then told me one key thing, which I never forgot. She said, “Worse than losing my husband is that everyone tiptoes around me. All of a sudden I am more isolated than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve wanted to go to church and scream at my friends, END THE SILENCE. I thought I’d die from losing my husband, but if no one can handle me talking about death, I will die.”

Story Two – The Party is Over

Another friend of mine whom I’d only met a couple of times when he lost his child (for privacy reasons I will not state how). Since I didn’t know this man well and had never met his child I didn’t attended the funeral. But over the days I was unable to get either of them out of my mind. Something begged me to call the dad. However another part of me said, “Who am I to call and see if he’s okay. He has tons of close friends. He is hardly going to need me, let alone want to talk with someone he doesn’t know.

Blessedly I called him…just because my heart told me to. This man was immediately open to me and seemed hugely relieved that I had called. When I asked how he was coping and did he have someone to talk to, he broke down and told me what it was like to lose his child. We talked and cried and I never forgot what he said when I asked about his friends and the people at his church. He said, “Once the funeral was over, that was it. The party was over and everyone went home. Business as usual. Nobody mentions it anymore. I’ve been so alone with my grief. Until you called I didn’t know if I’d make it.” Again, I was stunned. We remained lifelong friends.

What Did I Learn?

When we don’t speak of death we not only isolate the person who has suffered loss, but we isolate ourselves from Life. By asking both these people how they were holding up, by inviting then to share their memories, tears, joy, anger, and laughter, my life was made infinitely richer. In each case I touched the Divine. I was privileged to be part of the mystery of Life and Death. In the end I saw ONLY Life. By letting their experiences flow through me I touched something so profound that it became part of me and changed me forever. I was made more vast and learned to trust my intuition. I touched the great wellspring of human courage, and was brought closer to my own humanity, all of humanity. More surprisingly, I was brought closer to LIFE…not death.

To use her own words, our friend Robin is an author, speaker, environmentalist, musician, nature photographer and adventurer.
The Naked in Eden Blog - Robin Easton is a philosophical and social commentary blog with a touch of humor and a deep love of nature. Posts are drawn from my personal questions, insights and inspirations that arise in response to day-to-day life. I hope to hear from you. Robin.

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
Carl G Jung

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Arnold Fine

I Remember When:
Posted Oct 24 2003

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could close our eyes for just a moment and think about all the things we had when we were kids, before today's generation became hypnotized with staring at computer screens, tv screens, and virtual arcade games?

I keep wondering what today's youngsters would do for fun if Con-Edison ever went out of business. Can't you see our grandchildren years from now asking, "Grandpa, what did you do when you were my age?"

And can't you hear sweet old Grandma's answer, "Oh, darling, Grandpa was a Super Nintendo champ!!"

Och un vay tzu meine yuren!

What ever happened to running around, climbing rocks, shooting marbles, and exploring dark alleyways?

Remember, when the summer came and there were practically no cars in the street? We would sit on the curb or on the stoop with our friends as it got dark outside.

In our day, we didn't have anything that ran on batteries or electricity. True, some rich kids had electric trains, but mostly, we used ingenuity for fun.

You all remember Hide and Seek. One kid was declared "it." He had to hide his eyes with his arm leaning against the wall and count to one hundred. The rest of the kids would run and hide. Then the kid who was "it" had to locate the other kids. If he spotted some kid sticking his head out from behind a garbage can or car, he would shout, "Howie behind the car ..."
and run back to "home base" and say, "Howie one-two-three!"

That meant Howie was out of the game. This went on until the kid who was "it" located all the other kids. Then another kid was chosen to be "it." A good game of Hide-and-Seek could go on for at least an hour - all without batteries! And look at the exercise we got! Who ever heard of fancy gym equipment to run and jump!

And speaking of exercise, I wonder how many can still remember the "Hula Hoop" craze? That was the time we all had waists that we could wiggle, remember? If we tried it today, we
would land up at the physiatrist's office!

I'll bet there are more than a dozen grandmothers out there who, when they were young, "Hula Hooped" with the best of them.

How about "Simon Says"? One kid stood out in front and he was called "Simon." He would say, "Simon says, touch your nose!" He would demonstrate touching his nose. And you had to
touch your nose. But if he simply said, "Touch your foot," and you leaned over to touch your foot without him saying "Simon Says," you were out! Again, it was a simple game. It taught you to listen.

We played so many wonderful games. Everyone remembers "Hop Scotch," "Ringaleeveo," and box ball. And remember how the girls were the champion "Jacks" players? I wrote about that a short time ago, and flooded with letters from readers who told me they still play "Jacks" with their grandchildren!

In our day, they had so many wonderful children's programs. Some of our readers wrote in and reminded me about some of the shows like the Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Kookla, Fran & Ollie. Do you know that for years my kids thought that "Kookla, Fran and Ollie" was a Jewish show. My son kept calling it "Kukla, Fran and Molly"!

Remember the sunflower seeds or Indian Nuts we used to take with us to the movies? We would sit through a double feature, three cartoons, a chapter, and a Charlie Chaplin
comedy - all for 10 cents!

My mother used to tell us when she went to the movies in her day, it was only five cents!

Look, how could you be so lucky?

Remember the standard equipment we had to take to school when we were kids? Remember those little rectangular lunch boxes that came complete with a thermos? During Passover, when Mama didn't want us to buy drinks in school, she would give us a thermos of seltzer. As we unscrewed the lid, it started to fire like a Howitzer, soaking the teacher, our books, and all the plants on the window sill!

Mama never bought chocolate milk for the house. But, shtiller heit (very secretly) we would buy chocolate milk in school. For us, that was forbidden fruit!

Remember when Bobby Pins were the big "cosmetic" item? By the way, you know who invented them? A policeman in London! London police are called Bobbys. Today, the only place you can find them for free is in a shul when somebody is having a Bar Mitzvah. We use them to hold our yarmulkes on our heads when it gets windy outside.

Oh, do you remember what gave us prestige when we were little kids - going to the candy store and standing in front of the display counter where the candy store lady kept all the one
cent candies.

When my sisters went to the candy store, you would swear they were buying real estate. All we had was a penny between the three of us. We stood in front of that counter while the candy store lady, dear Mrs. Berris, patiently waiting for my sister's big order. It was usually something she could share with the rest of us, like a piece of licorice.

Like I just said, we had so many wonderful games that worked without electricity and batteries. Instead of staring at screens, we talked to each other. Instead of running on treadmills, we ran around the block. Instead of exercising our fingers and getting eyestrain, we jumped around with all our might. And you know, with all those newfangled electronic games, those poor kids don't even have a chance to do what we used to do all day.... yell and laugh! Takeh, how can you give a good, healthy holler when you're silently scrunched over a

Listen, it's a new world!

More Articles By Arnold Fine

Arnold Fine, a fine American writer, much of his writing can still be found on the Internet where many of his best works have been floating around the world for years, often to be found as writer unknown; even in the United States, his name may well be unfamiliar to most Americans, though there are thousands of devoted fans to his many stories. He was the senior news editor of The Jewish Press for more than 50 years. At the same time he was coordinator of special education at a high school in Brooklyn, teaching handicapped and brain-injured children. Since his retirement from the city school system, he has worked as an adjunct professor at Kingsborough Community College. He was nominated twice as the "Teacher of the Year" in New York State. It seems, however, Arnold Fine will be remembered more as the excellent writer of nostalgia stories rather than the excellent teacher of special education. His short stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have been attracting some attention in several countries, including the U.S. In fact, I'm sure that many of the Chicken Soup readers have found his literary work quite interesting. three stories from the above-mentioned series: "The High School English Teacher" and "How David and Lily Got Together" from Chicken Soup for the Single's Soul (Florida: Health Communications, 1999) and "The Wallet" from Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul (1998).

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
Carl G Jung

Jefferson And Henry

I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs."
- Thomas Jefferson -

If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775