Friday, May 16, 2014

A Kinder, Gentler World

Much Respect and Props to Hershey High students for this bold initiative!  
[See below article for details]

Spreading Awareness and Education are the key to ending Bullying and increasing Sensitivity and Tolerance toward others. Our similarities as human beings are stronger than our superficial differences! Expressing the benefits of "Inclusion" through creativity and art is an effective means to teach others and spread awareness in a non-threatening manner. Often the effects of being "preached to" yield unintended results and resistance, especially in the teenage population who are typically hostile and rebellious toward direct authoritarian methods of [re]direction. This "hands-on" approach is inclusive and experiential as students participate in and focus on a shared activity with a common goal. I hope that more schools and programs will follow suit with similar initiatives to address issues related to social diversity and exclusive thinking such as intolerance, hatred, prejudice, bullying, racism, equal rights, immigration, poverty stigma, socio-economics (class discrimination) and other such forms of discrimination. Because prejudice and discrimination are acquired beliefs and behavior respectively, based on "Us vs Them" thinking and fueled by learned stereotypes, we must begin by addressing the misinformation. We must attack the problem at its source, replacing the underlying Ignorance and Fear that foster an attitude of EXclusion, with Education, Awareness and Tolerance to change core thinking and foster an attitude of INclusion. There is no better way to change negative thoughts to positive, than by creating positive experiences that challenge and counter old thoughts and behaviors. Learning through personal experience, replacing ignorance with hands-on knowledge, paired with Cognitive Restructuring through role-playing and repetition, is our most effective tool to Unlearn fear-based thoughts and assumptions. 

Perhaps a kinder, gentler world, united in peace and our common humanity, is indeed a possibility for future generations. 

~ Lisa Pearlman  5/16/14              

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nothing is Ordinary

I happened to be driving home a few mornings ago, around 5:30am, so I seized a rare opportunity to catch the early sunrise.  I noticed, for the first time, a layer of thick white mist or fog hovering over the grass on the farmlands stretching across both sides of this rural road that I drive almost every day.  Of course, I stopped and took a slew of pictures!  It is amazing how photography has opened my eyes to every day little things that I ordinarily miss because I am too busy or preoccupied with thought to notice. 

We function on autopilot so much of the time, unaware of our surroundings, blind to the beauty that exists all around us.  We drive familiar roads mindlessly, by rote, with our minds on everything but what we are experiencing in the present moment.  We are always hurrying to the next destination, using travel as a means to an end, to get from point A to point B. Our minds are always focused on the next task we have to complete, as if life consisted of a series of endless To-Do lists, with items being continually checked off, yet we never catch up with life.  Then eventually life catches up with you, and there is no time left to complete the most important list, your bucket list, the one listing all the experiences you wanted to enjoy just as soon as you "got caught up" in the race of life. 

Lately, I find myself practicing mindfulness daily, ever since I got my iphone and discovered the art of iphoneography.  It is like seeing for the first time!   I have rediscovered the world around me, and guess what?      

Nothing is Ordinary!                                

If we pay attention to details, to the little things, as well as the connections that exist throughout nature and between nature and humanity, we see the Harmony of the Universe, and our role as co-creators of our life and world.  And it is amazing!   Every moment is a spiritual awakening if you stay mindful. And every moment is an opportunity to find beauty as well as create it! 

Thank you to my cyberworld fam for sharing my journey of discovery. I Love y'all! πŸ’œ Shine on! ☀️ NamastΓ© πŸ™

© Lisa Pearlman 5/4/14