You Can Be a Part of History: Join Divestment Day, Feb 13-14th!

Life is precious. Think of how much you love your parents, siblings, children and friends. What if they were slowly suffocating and there was nothing you could do about it. I feel like my breathing is getting worse, and while I do yoga to improve my endurance, my doctor has said it will never get back to how it was when I was younger….wearing 3 liters at night and “as needed.” Now I’m on constant 5liters. Fortunately, the majority of people I know breathe well… And there IS something we can do to prevent them from facing the same challenges: join me on Feb. 13th and 14th to divest from institutions who have interests that hurt the environment. This will be a transformative event!

Climate Change Reports

YOU CAN ACT
Act Local, Vote Global

OO Obama’s Keystone Veto: Proof That Climate Activism Works says Bill McKibben.

** Let’s make 2015 the year the world vows to leave fossil fuels in the ground for good.
Institutions and individuals have already divested $50 billion from the fossil fuel industry. The US conversation around the future of fossil fuels is changing dramatically A new study confirmed that around 80% of fossil fuels do indeed need to stay underground. Will you help keep them there?

It’s clear that fossil fuels are history – be part of that history:
Join Global Divestment Days, February 13th-14th.

Click here to find an event near you or start your own. It’s going to be beautiful, powerful, and not a moment too soon. Take a look:

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*** Rejecting Climate Change Facts Is Denial, Not Skepticism:Tell the Media

Scientists should practice and promote scientific…

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My Dream Is To Be Free

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“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Barrowed from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm


Eating Crab: A Metaphor For Life!

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“Anytime you get your Chinese, your Brazillians and your Italians all agreeing on something, it’s pretty clear it’s a really good idea. Everybody agrees that this complicated looking creature, with the troublesome shells, is worth the work.

So you tear off the little limbs. (we’ll get to you later my friends ;- )

Rip out the tail….these little lungs, you don’t want them. Now you got all this nice fat in there……oh….yeeeah.

Now we’re getting to the claw. Look at that! Let’s poke it outta there: *crunch*

Oh yea, this is that nubby goodness….like a celestial nibble. Ah!”

(Here comes the patented Bourdain rant! Notice how he elequently turns the process of eating this delicious sea-creature into profound social commentary.)

“When people started demanding boneless stuff…..like chicken without a bone. Or crab-meat without the actual crab. Or lazy lobster. That was the begining of the erosion of our society as we know it.

If you’re not willing to work for a payoff like this:

(cue crab leg) Drunken-Alaska-King-Crab-Legs_03_mini

….how do you expect us to like….fight Al Qaeda if you can’t suck the meat out of a f*ckin Crab?

…….It’s a character builder and delicious.”

— Anthony Bourdain,

Do You Believe In Magic?

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Not to be meladramatic but if we want great things for the world, we must stop telling our kids to “Be Realistic.” What does that even mean? The only thing REAL is the PAST. Why would we want humanity to re-live the past?? Time moves forward and the world changes and grows at the speed of light. We need people who can get ahead of the curve and lead the way, people who conquer illusions and escape chains, the Harry Houdinis of their industry.

Who will be the ones to captivate our hearts and minds and inspire imagination?

In the words of Whitney Houston, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” You never know who may be the next Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Howard Hughes, Marie Curie or Elon Musks.

The bottom line is: It may be too late for us but we can inspire our children. Encourage their curiosity and interests so they can become Innovators. Explorers. Mavericks. Pioneers. Outaws. Trailblazers. Guide them as they learn who they are destined to become, not what others THINK they should become. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. Share with them your wisdom and watch them drive full steam towards their passion!

I believe in that youthful magic and with a little love and compassion, any child can make the impossible REAL.

~ Breathe This Life ~

Achieving Your Dreams: Let Nothing Bring You Down!

In starting this blog, it was my goal to inspire others through my stories of perseverance. I have always believed that I was put on this earth for a special purpose and the pain and suffering I’ve gone through was meant as spiritual, military training. It is my mission to show people with breathing issues that they could stay passionate and joyous about life. But I feel that being open about my personal joys and passions also means being honest about my sadness and tribulaltions. It is not good enough to speak in the abstract, especially if I’m trying to connect on a meaningful level.

One of the toughest challenges to my self esteem occured in jr. high school. During those years, I was bullied by being excluded from recess sporting teams or from sitting with peers at lunch. During lunchtime I’d regularly try to sit with nice guys among a table among bullies, “You have no friends who want you here. Leave” the bullies would say. My so-called friends wouldn’t stick up for me because they feared loosing face amonst the popular crowd. I’d stand alone with my lunch tray, looking around anxiously, hoping for a lifeline. Other bullies were more blatent with their prejudice. They would intentionally seek me out to put me down.

One of the worst experiences came during a jr. high P.E. class. Our usually stern but fair PE teacher Mr. Macgee was absant so we had a substitute, who didn’t wield any authority. Our class was out on the diamond playing baseball. For some reason the “thing to do” that day was pick on me. As a result of spinal surgeries my neck it fused; I can’t turn it. After my initial swing and miss, every player -even the ones on MY team- mimiced my swing, shouting my name.  My best friend tried to stick up for me but was hit by one of the bullies. Where was the substitute? Good question.

In that moment, I felt alone and insecure. I went through a period of frustration because I couldn’t understand why a nice person like me would be excluded?!? The silver lining, and why I can attest that it is the darkest before the dawn, is that those early tribulations forced me to face my fears (being alone; feeling powerless; am I of value?) and realize that I can use them as fuel to strengthen other parts of my life.

The idea of turning anguish into triumph is best summed up by Maya Angelou.

She says:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

As I grow older and trade insecurities for beathing ability, I am quite certain that I still have something to offer the world. I realize that it’s my responsibility to find the courage and take the steps in order to reach my fullest potential.

Here is a list of 5 goals that, no matter your aspiration, if you make them a part of your daily routine, you will feel more energized, passionate and fullfilled in life. So without furthur ado:

1. Jot Down Your Goals
That’s right, pen and paper! I call it a bucket list but you can call it whatever you like. It’s important to write down legitimate, measurable goals. Saying, “A dream career” is not enough, but saying, “A career in travel writing as a blogger/journalist” is a step in the right direction.

2. Focus on Your Dreams Completely
If you are serious about living your dreams, you may have to put a few things on the back burner for awhile or let go of the past. I was a school teacher for eight years but it wasn’t my dream job. I needed to accept that just because I went to school for eight years to be a teacher, doesn’t mean that my life should be confined to that career. Figure out what’s meaningful to you so you can be who you were born to be. Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.  You must follow your intuition and make a decision. While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only a select few of us actually work on it.  Remember, life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Achieving your dreams can be a lot of work.  Be ready for it.

3. Seek Inspiration
Follow those who inspire you. Seeing others achieve their dreams is extremely inspiring. You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you spend your time with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone.

4. Lose the Negative Attitude. Think Positively
Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results. That’s it. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.

5. Measure your Success in Baby Steps
Don’t measure your success by looking at your final goal but instead by each and every baby step you achieve along the way. Sometimes we discourage ourselves by withholding cheering for our accomplishments until we reach our final destination. Cheer, cheer, cheer and build momentum along the way.

As R.Kelly penned, “If I can see it, then I can do it. If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it. I believe I can fly.”

~ Breathe This Life ~