Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little Something Guaranteed to Make You Smile.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world. Not even our troubles.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

A friend stopped by to chat today. He had noticed over these past few days that I hadn’t quite been my usual, cheery-chirpy self.

And truth be told, though I try very hard to live each day fully and completely within every moment, there are times when this can feel a bit of a challenge.

I had been ‘locked away’ in my thoughts, playing over the words my doctor had said, “We just have to rule out—that there’s not something much bigger at play.”

It’s amazing how quickly our minds can get stuck inside of one small little sentence, and one simple moment in time.

“Oh, I guess you’re right,” I offered, hoping quickly to ‘make right’, “I suppose it is that we all have days just like these.”

You know, I have always believed that there are those special souls among us—who have this gift of finding ‘just the right words.’ And, as if by some divine higher purpose—these bright spirits find their way to us, and even on the darkest of nights, when it is that their words are needed the most.
Do you believe in angels? I think, perhaps, now I do.

Because, only and angel can see straight into our heart—and help us to make sense of it all.
And, as my friend leaned in with the softest of smiles in his eyes, he said,
“Just remember, Tara…the mind, is much like the moon at night; shining equally upon everything, yet clinging to nothing, at all.”
And so, there is was my most beautiful message–and an important reminder for days ‘just like these.’ I had allowed my mind to grip tightly to a thought, and in that ‘gripping’ I had forgotten how to let go.

Sometimes our minds can be quite tricky this way—in an effort to gain just a bit of our attention, these thoughts can end up stealing the show.

And when our thoughts succeed in pulling us so completely away—we end up blocking out the rest of this most amazing world.

And, in doing so, we end up missing the beauty of the moments that are still here and intended to lift our very spirits—like this one, from a friend who stopped to say, ‘hello.’

There’s a great power, and peace, in letting all of your thoughts just go.

It opens your heart and brings the mind back again to those things that matter most of all.

Like your son spending hours in the snow to create the most perfect Valentine’s day card ever, and on a day when everyone else had forgotten

Or the sound of your daughter strumming your favorite song on her guitar, as she quietly hums and sings along.

Or, that most dearest friend, who upon hearing your greatest memory in life—used all of his gifts to bring that moment right back here to you.

And, even that pup, with all the mischief he may bring, even he finds a way to lighten the soul.

And, if we close off our hearts—rest assured, we might just end up missing it all.

So, tonight and instead of carrying the weight of these thoughts—I’ll be ‘letting go’ and smiling back at the moon.

I suggest that you let go, and smile, too.
“Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Bonus Video Guaranteed to Make You Smile:


"Actually, I Can." Said the Little Boy Who Wouldn't Take "No".

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

“Impossible dreams don’t know they are impossible.” – Walt Disney

Ronald McNair grew up in Lake City, South Carolina—and at a time in which our Nation was suffering from its greatest civil unrest.

All Ronald ever wanted to be growing up, was an astronaut—which was probably the basis for many a school boy dream.

He spent hours looking over the photos and articles of his greatest heroes, and dreamed in a way that no one else dare.

But sadly, it seemed—and in spite of his endless enthusiasm and hope, there was no one around him who would believe.

Well, in 1984, he realized this impossible school boy dream when, as a physicist, he became a crew member for the Challenger STS-41-B mission.

On January 28, 1986 (a day I will never forget), Ronald and the entire crew of a later Challenger mission (STS-51-L) perished when the shuttle exploded just seconds after take off.

This is a one of the many stories shared to us by Ronald’s brother, Carl. He laughs as he retells a story of a 9 year old boy who refused to leave a “Whites Only” Library until it was that he would be able to check out his books.

Those were Ronald’s very first science books—and spoiler alert, he got everything that he ever dreamed of, and more.

Enjoy, and let us always be reminded how even the tiniest of hearts can effect the greatest changes of all.

Bonus Poem on Rising Above it All:

“….watch me rise like smoke from fire.
Watch me fly above your hate.
Watch me dance upon your meanness
like a ballerina with posture; grace.
Watch me laugh over your hatred;
watch me soar above your sea of grief.
And know that I am out there somewhere…
C R U S H I N G.” ― Coco J. Ginger

Monday, February 25, 2013

Everyone Seems Afraid to Say it, but The Onion is Just a Bunch of Bloated, Balding, Star Wars Fanatics with Nothing Better to do Between Comic-Cons. (elephant journal 2/25)

Source: via Humphrey on Pinterest

Sure, the Oscars dragged on (and on and on and on).

And sure, we all got a little bored with the droning on of the endless acceptance speeches and canned comedy shticks.

And, oh my God—do I even really still give a shit?

But yet, here we all are engaging in our own post-Oscar ‘reviews.’ And, in a dialogue that should be dominated by the movies and the awards and the ‘didn’t you just love what such and such said’s,’ sadly, there’s just one thing that seems to have gotten stuck in our collective minds.

That offensive little tweet straight from the Onion’s ‘brilliant’ writer minds.


Seriously, guys?

I mean, I know that there’s this edge in satire—the one that gets pushed and nudged all the time. But, for God’s sake—she’s nine years old, and carrying a puppy purse. And this was her big night.

And sadly, it was spoiled by an urge from one of your pot-bellied writers, who, in an effort to grab just a little bit more of that uber-competitive ratings space, distilled all of this young gal’s accomplishments into one vulgar ‘c-word.’

If that were my daughter, someone would be here the ‘clicky-click’ of a shotgun making ready to fire.

But, I digress.

I guess, the question I have is two-fold: how low do we stoop in our efforts to boost readership? And do you really think calling someone a c*nt sells?

Steve Hannah, CEO, The Onion offered the following ‘apology’ to Ms. Wallis:
“No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.”
Uhm…wait, I’m confused…isn’t that the basis for the majority of Onion articles?

He continues,

“We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.”

Thanks, Steve, but as my Mom used to say, “You just can’t ‘unring’ a bell.”

Perhaps, now would be a great time to quote one of your earlier Onion article’s, Steve,
“Upon reviewing the impromptu remarks I made Sunday afternoon, I can now see that I used the wrong words in the wrong way. I would now like to set the record straight with the American people and clear up some confusion about what it was I intended to convey. But what I meant to say was,
“I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”
I have to admit, I used to like reading The Onion—but after this? No way in hell.

Ethically, I could never stoop to such obvious ‘click pandering’ by referring to the Onion’s writing staff as a group of bloated, balding, geeky Star Wars fanatics with nothing better to do between Comic-Cons…than to suck down Doritos whilst arguing whether or not one photon torpedo could screw up your entire day….

Or likewise, whether or not a Federation ships ever made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs…
No, no, that would be wrong (and not at all in line with elephant journals strict standards for satire.)

Hey, come to think of it, that felt kind of good.

Shame on you Onion staff and writers… this time you went too far.

Friday, February 22, 2013

We Could All Use a Pep Talk Today – Mindful Musings from the Mini-Commander in Chief.


“The World needs to stop being so boring.” – Kid President

Life is not a game, people—but, if it is, aren’t we all on the very same team? Exactly, aren’t we all on the very same team?

 Isn’t that what life is all about?

What hugely insightful thoughts, coming from such a very small ‘package.’ It’s just too bad he’s not quite old enough to run for office.

Perhaps, Mr. Obama might extend an advisory position? One that is quite mindful in nature.

Enjoy this most wonderful 3-minute “pep talk” from the mini-Commander in Chief. He’s really shaking things up around this mindful world.

Proof positive, that even the littlest of hearts have the capacity for creating the greatest of change.

This little guy will completely transform your day—and give this whole world, a reason to dance! So, go now and create something that will make this world awesome.

ps – Not cool, Robert Frostnot cool.

Keep Your Eyes on the Stars.

Ronald McNair grew up in Lake City, South Carolina - and at a time in which are Nation was suffering from its greatest civil unrest.

All Ronald ever wanted to be growing up, was an astronaut—which was probably the basis for many a school boy dream.

In 1984, he realized that school boy dream when, as a physicist, he became a crew member for the Challenger STS-41-B mission.

On January 28, 1986 (a day I will never forget), Ronald and the entire crew of a later Challenger mission (STS-51-L) perished when the shuttle exploded just seconds after take off.

This is a one of the many stories shared to us by Ronald's brother, Carl. He laughs as he retells a story of a 9 year old boy who refused to leave a "Whites Only" Library until it was that he could check out his books.

Those were Ronald's very first science books—and spoiler alert, he got everything that he ever dreamed of, and more.

Enjoy, and let us always be reminded how even the tiniest of hearts can effect the greatest changes of all. 

A Much Needed Dose of Elephant Compassion.

A Much Needed Dose of Elephant Compassion.

A little dose of elephant compassion. via Tara on Pinterest.
A little dose of elephant compassion. via Tara on Pinterest.

“You can keep your face glued to the screen of what is…or, stand up. Stretch. Breathe…and hammer down toward what could be.” – Kristopher Carter, This Epic Life

Recently one of our brilliant writers here at elephant journal wrote a most compelling piece, The Pistorius Case: Why do We Thirst for Blood?  For those, who haven’t yet read or have successfully kept their head tucked in the sand, it’s about Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee Olympian, and the tragic killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Specifically, asking the question why are we so drawn to stories of bloodshed and gore?

Coincidentally, and a little earlier in the week, I had also written an article on an equally tragic event—the case of Joseph Hall, a 10 year old boy recently convicted of murdering his abusive father.  This story of this young boy, stopped me dead in my tracks as I struggled to find some shred of inner peace in all of it.

And yet, in both of these cases, the spike in readership and thoughtful comments was duly and very much noted.

Maybe, there was something to this? Why is it that we are so drawn to these stories of much violence and bloodshed?

Each night, our television channels are strewn with tragic news events and reality shows. And, each moment of the broadcast day is filled with the most careful executive decisions intended to maximize profits and viewership. All of which, has a most profound effect for me personally, as I often feel this slight tightening in my chest. On some evening, and even worse still, I find that these stories and shows cause me to lose a little of my much needed sleep.

But, mostly these stories have me struggling to find inner peace.

And, yet as I sit here typing just this—the sound of a 600 pound. Sasquatch-hunting, Moonshiner is jumping out at me from just beyond my TV screen.

Dear, God—when did this happen to me?

It can be hard sometimes to live a mindful life…when it is, that this world seems to be filled with such misery. We tend to fall into a trance of old habits, of flipping through life’s “channels” without much regard for the realness of what is there. Perhaps, in some way we have sadly grown accustomed to this mess of this misery, in such a way that we have also acclimated our response to it.

thichnhathanhlrgHow sad would it be that we are all gripping tightly to suffering, for fear of the not knowing what else is out there?
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
All fears aside, I have always believed, and always will—that when it is that we find ourselves clinging on the most, that is probably the time we most need to let our grip go. It’s in these moments, of letting go, that I believe we are most able to be the peace.

And, still, some of us choose (perhaps from the smallest space of a much bigger fear) to metaphorically ‘look away’ from these things—perhaps, rationalizing at a much deeper spiritual level…if we don’t ‘see’ it, it doesn’t ‘exist.’

But, as our most fabulous elephant journal Managing Editor, Kate Bartolotta, so eloquently pointed out, you simply can not sugar coat your way through this world.

So, then what do we do when life makes us feel like hiding our heads in the sand? Such that we completely wish to disregard how these stories make us really feel?

For some of us, it can be seemingly impossible—to look past the initial shock and awe.

But perhaps that is what we most need to do.

Today, as I was meditating I was thinking over these very questions, pondering back and forth in my own mind—and I was reminded of a few of my most favorite words shared through the spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh,
“It’s not enough to suffer, we must find peace, too.”
And, that’s when it occurred to me—that maybe it’s not just about finding the peace within me, but also helping the world find its peace, as well.

But how do you begin to find peace in a world that is seemingly strewn with these such stories? That simple thought can make even the strongest gal feel powerless.

But, we are never powerless… because, we always have a choice.

Why is it that we are drawn to these such stories? Perhaps, down deep in our collective spiritual human core—our instinct is telling us we should. Maybe, we are so very drawn to stories just like these because these are the ones that we need to discuss the most. Because, when it is that we take a moment to really talk about how we feel—that’s when we are compelled to action.

And, I see this also evidence in small ways, every day. I see it when I read an article about a good Samaritan who helped a man reunite with his dog in which one woman’s simple action, caused a rippling effect of good. In a much bigger way, we all experienced this as our Nation pulled together in those days and weeks following 9/11.

It’s that raging flood of emotions in our heart that can bring about the greatest good.

So, perhaps the question to be asked  isn’t so much a “why are we drawn to this bloodshed and violence?” but rather, “what is it that separates those who view, from those who do?”

What is it that keeps us from examining these events in their most heart-wrenching fullness? And what is it that prompts a much needed conversation beyond just the headlines? Such that we may all, collectively, pause and reflect…and find a better way? Or, better yet—motivate us to become that change we most wish to see in this world?

We are all so very guilty of it, including myself. Of seeing those most shocking headlines stories, and not allowing ourselves the time and space and presence to go just a little bit deeper into our thoughts—and ask, perhaps, those much harder questions…including, what can I do to help?

Why is this? In our world that needs our compassion so very desperately, why are we stopping ourselves from this much needed thinking and doing?

Is it because, in this process of looking just a bit deeper, that we fear we might just begin to feel helpless?
Or, do we simply convince ourselves that it is not our place to get involved…that someone better equipped to handle it will (eventually) come along?

What is it that is keeping us from lending a hand in moments where it is needed the most? Of really effecting change, and providing compassion and hope—instead of turning life’s blind eye to those things which are very real in this increasingly weary world.

heartIn times such as these, it’s not enough to simply feel the peace within—rather, we must learn to allow our peace to radiate outwards and light up the great big world
Not to ever presume, but perhaps that is what Thich Nhat Hanh may have been eluding to?

Yes, this world can be so very painful—at any single moment, we can feel completely crushed by the weight of our day. There are tragedies surrounding us, both near and far. And yes, there is violence and hunger and death all around.

But, in this same world—each day, there is also a magnificent sunrise…and 24 brand new hours for us to use just as we wish and may.

And, even in those moments that seem most devastating—there is still, and will always and forever be, a capacity for things to change.

It’s up to us to create a space for compassion and love and understanding to exist. And that’s not done through some grand sweeping global change—this is a much smaller change that can only begin within you.
So, let me ask this just once more again—what is it that moves us from ‘view’ to ‘do’? Is it just a simple matter of choice? That one, split-second decision to make things better or simply walk away?

I see you, trying to hide your eyes—thinking that none of this applies to you, and yet here you are reading over so many beautifully written articles of living a mindful life. But, guess what? This is our world, and yours, too. And before you start thinking that you are just so very small, let me just add that you are a big part of all of this, too.

Everything you think, everything you say…and all that you do. It all counts. Everything matters.
“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
So, instead of just sifting quickly over and through these most horrific events, why not just once get off of your pondering ass, and do. (authors note: this comment is meant for me, too)

You can even start small, with that person at work—the one who seems to be having such a bad day. Or, you can brighten up the heart of someone who at times might lose hope…by just sending a little chocolate her way.

Or, perhaps there is something much bigger still that has captured your heart—and in that process, made you feel so very small. But, the depths and reaches of human kindness is endless. So, you see, you are not so very small, at all.

Do something…anything…but, just don’t turn and walk away. Because, right now…right here, in this moment someone, somewhere in this world most needs you.

So what are you going to do?

Look, I’m just one writer and I have only been on this Earth long enough to know that I have made some pretty big mistakes. But today, as I look through all of these news stories and reader comments—I don’t feel overwhelmed with sadness and sorrow; instead, today, I feel completely empowered. Sure, I’m just one person—but, I am that one person who had decided to make a change. And, I’m not going to let my fear or worry blindly convince me that something is too big for me to do.

And, how wonderful is it that elephant journal has opened a space right here for us all to gather, and share of our hearts and our spirits? To share with us a small corner of this much bigger world, so that we may all have a voice to realize and empower change? To reach out to wonderful readers, like yourself, and ask the questions that bring us deeper than just the headline?

And, even though, we have not yet formally ‘met’—trust me when I say, I can feel this in your heart, too. You are here because, like me, you wish to find a way to infuse more love, compassion, and peace into your day—to make a much more mindful impact on your world.

I think when all the headlines are stripped away, we all want the very same thing.

So, take my ‘hand’ as we walk together down this path. Let your heart be the final arbiter of all that you think, and then do. Fill all of your actions with love and compassion, even when your fear tries to steer you the other way.

So with respect to all of these stories and headlines, the ones that quickly glance across our ‘life screens’ each day, let me just ask this one simple question…what’s stopping you, my friend?

Because, the question isn’t so much why are we drawn, but rather, what are we going to do when we get there?

In closing, just a few more words to help inspire you. From the poem, The World Has Need of You, by Ellen Bass.
“It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little. Does the breeze need us?
The cliffs? The gulls?
If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly,
fell toward the apple as well.”

Bonus Video: Thich Nhat Hanh and his thoughts on suffering and compassion.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You are the Universe. (elephant journal)

“To a mind that is still, the whole Universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu

I came across this most wonderful image this morning, a comparison of the Universe and our brains.
And, as is the case with most things in my life and world, this one single image seemed to come at ‘just the very right moment.’

And as I looked it over, and thought for just the shortest of whiles—I felt my whole heart begin to smile.

I had felt just the smallest bit shut off from this world, in an awfully ‘disconnected’ sort of way—the result of losing myself in a panic filled, and life altering moment that had occurred a little earlier last week.

My body one night decided it had most certainly had enough—and in just the span of a few short breaths, my whole world went black as I fell nearly lifeless to a most unwelcoming floor.

It was just right then…that I felt much as if my body had been ripped from my soul.

I spent the next few days in this state of feeling ‘off’—as if my whole world was sitting just right there beyond a smudged-up lens. It seems, in that momentary lapse of consciousness, I felt my body break free from this world.

Sometimes life has this way of shocking us out of our ‘presence’—of causing us, at times, to feel most separate from self.

And then it happens, that something comes forward clearly to remind us that the only thing that has changed is our mind.

My Universe hasn’t changed location—it’s always been just right here (points to heart).

And now, I can’t help but to smile as I think over this irony—that in this daze of thinking my connection to this great big magnificent Universe had all but slipped away, that it had actually always been there all along.

And, it only took a moment of my body being completely still, to bring this awareness right back to me where it belonged.

So, whenever it is that you feel most separate from ‘self,’ try to be still, just long enough to remember, that..

“Everything in the universe is within you”—and all you have to do it look within.

In fact, “you are the universe—expressing itself as a human” for a little bit.

                                                           Source: via Tara on Pinterest

Bonus: Some Completely Random Thoughts about the Universe.

“What makes the universe so hard to comprehend is that there’s nothing to compare it with.”  ~ Scott Adams

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.” ~ Stephen Hawking

“Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel on through the world, like smiling images pushed from behind.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.  ~ Wayne Dyer

“The size of the universe depresses many people, but not me, I’m delighted at it” ~ Alan Watts

“Last night, I lost the world and gained the Universe.” ~C. JoyBell C.
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit – this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ~ Johann Von Goethe
“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Eden Phillpotts

and, finally

“The greatest miracle is this: That stillness and vastness that enables the universe to be is not just out there in space—it is also within you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, February 14, 2013

When Children Kill, Who Do We Blame?

I know that you are all probably expecting something sweet on this Valentine's Day... and, I did have something very wonderfully inspiring in queue... and then, as I sat down for my first morning decaf...

I read a story, about a boy. Today, I wish to share this with you.

(reprinted from elephant journal)

I read the most disturbing article this morning—and one that has physically turned my stomach, and left me feeling most certainly drained.

It’s not often that I have this type of gut wrenching reactions to things. Even less frequent, is when this type of ‘breaking news’ has the capacity to ‘break’ me.

With my illness, I suppose have become just a bit more patient with this world, and all of the things within it. And, I suppose, through this—I have learned the true meaning of faith and understanding, as well.

As a Mother, my instinct is to protect—to be that proverbial ‘Mama Bear,”  stepping in where needed and in order to ensure that all of the children of this world are cared for…loved…and protected.

As a Buddhist, I try to view this world through a lens of gentle loving kindness and ‘oneness’—to recognize, each day, that we are all part of the same cloth of inter-connectedness, beautifully spun into the rich fabric of this Universe. And, with each passing moment, I try to infuse just a bit more of myself…of my spirit…and, of my understanding into this great big beautiful Earth that surrounds me…that surrounds us all.

But this, I simply can not understand.

And, yet, perhaps this is that one story that most needs our understanding.

But, sadly, understanding escapes me now—as my mind is flooded with the very many ways this story should have ended.

And, as my eyes fill with tears, I realize that not all stories can be blessed with a happy ending—for some, there can never be a ‘happily ever after.’

But, that doesn’t change my longing for ‘that which might have been.’

And, as I read further, this story pulls my heart deeper still.

On the morning of May 1, 2011, Police were called to the residence of a modest two-story home in Riverside, California. They were called there to investigate a murder.

In the living room, and laying slumped over in a chair, was the body of Jeffrey Hall—a father of five, and Southwest Regional Director of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), a neo-Nazi organization responsible for the promotion of racism and violence in these, our ‘United’ States. His body, ironically, lay lifeless under this organization’s banner and flag.

The killer?

A young boy named Joseph, just barely 10 years old, and the eldest son of this now dead man.
He had crept from the ‘comfort’ of his small bed in the earliest hours of this May morning, holding in his hand a loaded .357 magnum. And, as he made his way through the piled-high filth of the ‘night before’—this young boy, with just 10 short years of life and living under his belt, had just one thought on his mind…

He wanted ‘it’ to end.

And so, on the morning of May 1, 2011—Joseph did the only thing he knew he could do—he pulled the trigger, and shot his father in the head.
Joseph: “It’s all my fault.”
Officer: “No it’s not.”
Joseph: “Then whose fault is it?”
In an article filled with statistics and facts and psychological ponderings on…these were the words that leapt most from the page.

I guess, that is the bigger question to this story here. Whose fault is it?

For, as with any story just as tragic as this—I know there must be a much earlier beginning. And, as the detectives began their process of ‘unfolding’ these facts, and just as I had assumed, a much more gruesome picture emerged.

The conditions of this home, though appalling, were simply masking a much more disturbing history.
With just a little digging, these detectives learned, that Child Protective Services (CPS) had investigated this family not once…not twice…and not even several times in these past few years…but rather, and more shockingly, they learned that CPS had investigated this family on at least 23 separate occasions.

These investigations began when Joseph was just 3-months old, when he was taken to the ER for treatment of an eye infection. A hospital worker watched as Joseph’s father brutally shoved the mother and infant son into a waiting room wall.

But that was just the beginning.

In the years to come these reports would become filled with horrifying details of neglect and abuse, of toddlers wandering the streets alone at night, and maggot-filled diapers…of bruises, and bumps, and busted lips…and of sexual abuse and gross neglect.

But what was ever done? As, with each investigation, CPS would continue to record these details—and yet, in each and every single one of these cases, CPS failed to substantiate the claims.

I believe Deputy District Attorney Mike Soccio summed it up rather cleanly when he said,
“Joseph didn’t fall through the cracks; there was no crack that fit Joseph.”
But, the signs were still there. In retrospect, it seems the signs are always there…when it is that we are finally able to take a moment to pause, to look and to finally see this suffering as it really is.

So, whose fault is it when all the signs are there but missed, and cries for help fall to a system overburdened by ‘deaf’ ears?

And more importantly, how do we find a way to make the cracks ‘fit’ so that something like this may not ever happen again? So that each and every single one of the young hearts of this world may always and forever have a voice which may be heard?

Sadly, on January 14, 2013, Superior Court Judge Jean P. Leonard ruled that young Joseph was indeed ‘responsible’ for his actions, and therefore, convicted him of second-degree murder. And on February 15th, Joseph will be sentenced for a crime I am still struggling to understand.

At a time when our Nation is most focused on this topic of gun violence and control, I’m just curious to know what the other elephant readers might think? Perhaps, it might help me to better understand.

As, I guess, in this story I am left most wondering—what does ‘responsible’ mean?

And, who is it that is really to blame?

Because, as a Buddhist and practicing ‘Mama Bear’—it seems, I don’t yet quite know how this story should end.

Like enlightened society on Facebook.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Did This 15-Year-Old Boy Just Find a Cure for Pancreatic Cancer? (elephant journal 2/7)


Did this 15-year-old schoolboy from Crownsville, MD just find a cure for pancreatic cancer?

Not quite, but his new invention promises to bring survival rates up to nearly 100 percent.

Jack Andraka has invented a new, low-cost test to detect for the earliest stages of the deadly disease. This brilliant young mind was inspired to take action following the death of his uncle to this most dreaded disease.

A simple ‘dip test’ looks for levels of mesothelin, a biomarker for this disease, in both the blood and urine. This innovative test will potentially revolutionize treatment for pancreatic cancer—a disease which currently kills 19 of the 20 patients diagnosed within the first five years.

The test, in its earliest phase of review, is already over 90 percent accurate for detecting pancreatic cancer at it’s earliest state; where once previously this diagnosis was a near certain ‘death sentence,’now there is hope.
And the cost of this test? Only three cents per strip.

I’ll bet that will turn the pharmaceutical heads and lobbyists right straight onto their collective ears.

Watch this video to learn a little more:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A You're Welcome to Fill Up Your Soul.

“How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on…" ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I woke up extra early this morning, and just to watch this most magnificent sunrise.
The morning air was crisp and icy cold against my cheek, as I closed my eyes and breathed in that first full breath of day.
And as, I whispered the softest of inner ‘thank yous’—the sweetest ‘you’re welcome’ returned to my soul.
We are all part of something much greater than just our own simple selves, even on those days when we feel much like just one drop in this ‘sea.’
It’s in these little moments, the ones that we most must never forget—that it takes just one ‘drop’ to fill up a soul.
Enjoy this most wonder-filled and gracious day—as there won’t ever be another one just like it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Little Something on Faith.

A little something on believing in those things we know to be there, even when we sometimes can't always see them.

This was found scratched on a cellar wall in Cologne Germany... and placed there at the hand and heart of a young Jew tucked hidden away from the atrocities of the Holocaust. This is true faith, and I think it says it all.