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Marianne Williamson recently posted in Facebook:

“Enlightenment doesn’t mean we were never wounded; it means we’ve found a way to evolve beyond our wounds. Enlightenment isn’t idealistic; it’s practical. What’s idealistic is thinking we can live from our wounds, stay in our weakness, and ever transform the world.”

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With the greatest and most sincere respect to the expert here (that would not be me), I must disagree.  I just didn’t feel this rang quite true, or at least in conflict with itself in its articulation.  Sadly I’m not terribly concise, so my explanation may beg your patience.

I differ with Marianne on the idea that being wounded and weak are necessarily separate in the individual state from Enlightenment. I would suggest that they are all parts of all of us, and do not travel separately in our lifelines. To me, that is far too generalized, tidy a package to put upon a real human life, and is itself an idealized perspective on life. In fact what is idealistic is thinking that one is ever completely free of weakness, wounds, or failure, and if this were a condition of Enlightenment, then no one could ever transform the human experience of the world. Since people have done and are doing that, then they are accessing Enlightenment from their actively imperfect existence, which is always in flux, in degrees, and sometimes weaker than striping, or vice versa. Weakness and wounds are integrated into our being and integral to balance and action, none of which are static or distinct from potential. Living from wounds and weakness, sitting with that for as long as you’re not done with it, can be the impetus to develop means to transform the world. Acting on it may or may not best come from having already emerged stronger for it. In fact, sometimes it may be the better place to begin the bridge from one place to another.

I would say that Enlightenment is not only found in those who “have been” wounded and weak, hopeless and stuck in the past. Enlightenment is not a distinct state that waits out there beyond one’s wounds snd weakness, sitting apart for some point beyond one’s pain, suffering, despair, weakness, or feelings of the futility of it all that things–we–the world can’t change, or there’s nothing we can do, or wanting to just give up.

I speak only from the experience of just my own myriad experiences, when I say that at the very the darkest of dark points of one’s existence, in the worst imaginable Hell, with no possible chance of change perceivable, to experience life when one is the most helpless, abandoned and perpetually wounded and weak and diseased, inside and out, to be the most despised, attacked, trapped, and as yet fixated on bitterness and impossibility of change, Enlightenment is quite present somewhere already within us all. It is there from the first spark of life until the last spark is done with us. It persists in us, even in that worst of quagmires.

Though we are not healed, though we are weak and wounded, yet there is a part of us, whether we acknowledge it yet or not, that is thinking and acting, and holding us to life, and to something possible beyond weakness. And even if we aren’t consciously thinking it, the fact that we are yet alive at all, is the proof of it, though it may be all that we sense of it, it still acts, in that moment, and this is realistic and therefore must be enough for the moment, and enough to start building change. It may be the only sign to remind us that within us Enlightenment is in fact actively part of us, alive, and holding us yet.

If we can think any thought, even those that are keeping us weak and wounded, and stuck looking back, not yet moving beyond to healing, Enlightenment is also inextricably a part of that active process, somewhere in one’s being, even as the faintest whisper that “possible” can come to us in the next breath, or that there are important places that our minds are just not looking, cant yet see, or has yet to ripen.

Enlightenment persists despite everything, I believe, for reasons that I cannot yet, or may never totally fathom, reminding me like a beacon that has the power to cut through the cacophony screaming that all is pointless. Yet no matter how much one’s frailty, wounds, weakness and fear are pulling us down, back, or holding us where we don’t want to be, or that our paralysis, depression, and fear seem more like prophesy that we will remain imprisoned forever, looking only at all of our “had nots, have losts, will never haves, should haves or could have dones, if only”.still this tenacious even annoying, unrelenting thread of a whisper may yet pull us somewhere different and better.

Our souls know whether we listen or not in this moment, that somehow we can yet discover, either alone, or with unseen hands, that a quiet belief in “possible”, is in us somewhere, though weak. We may not imagine it yet, but if there is life, it already exists in us–there it is, in the core of our life, moment by moment, Enlightenment is a living process, not an after state, so long as life exists in us or even after us,, a tiny flame of “possible yet to happen”. The awareness of this is woven into our conscious path, just as much as a certitudevthat if nothingnchanges for the better, that we may surely perish–perhaps waxing and waning twixt them, like life’s currents tend to do, as we move through each moment. But they flow in life inseparably, just as surely as the fact that from birth, we also begin the process of death in an active sense. The processes are inseparable, whether we perceive both together or focuus on that or not.

The mind is a lazy kind of muscle, arguably to conserve resources and energy and effort, and when facing the hardest or new things, it defaults to ingrained patterns, hard-wired in us. Past is the source of hard wiring; new ways have yet to take root, and require effort to act on new things. What my short 53 years of life have shown me–the one singular inseparable consistency–and what always has persisted when everything and everyone left me alone, helpless, wounded, weak, afraid, without comfort or protection or shred of security, and the only alternatives at the time were usually worse than what came before, and when I also lacked vision, skills, resources to effectively change things for the better, something always held onto me, though I struggled and denied it, and looked back, not forward, when to me there seemed to be no forward, and didn’t want to look ahead, believing it was just going o be even worse. This unseen force always held fast to me, though I screamed, inside and out, to just “Let me go! You’re not real! Go away, and let me let go!”

When one can see no other lifeline, no respite, yet there is still a kind of faith that you can’t explain, is too unbelievable to be true and you hate it, but forces periodically a listen, maybe in dreams, that, despite being wounded, weak, and subject to all the frailties of one’s human existence, past and potential future, and all that has happened or may happen, that whether it gets easier or not, whatever may come, despite all that has and may be shredded within us by our hand or others, or burdens borne or yet to be laid upon us, there are yet important possible paths ahead of us, known or unknown, seen or yet to be seen, doors, windows, footholds almost imperceptible yet sufficient, partings in life’s forest of brambles, yet to be discovered or even made by our own hands, our chin, a single toe, a single thought, and that can change much more than even what you think you want or need. Just not there yet. Though we cannot see it yet, and however dire things may seem, or pointless, or unjust, or seemingly at some unwanted end, an unmovable mountain or in-vanquishable and seen to be the most evil of evils we can imagine, those things seem to stand between us and a moment of Life worth living, worth trying, and doing, even just a glimmer that there is a chance to heal, to rise and move past the weakness, wounds, and being stuck bitterly looking always back, someday, whether the actual effort succeeds or not, as we intended, we experience Enlightenment in those fleeting moments that tipped us to choose to imagine, to try, and that alone is success. That is Enlightenment, not in an ideal world or life, but in the reality of one’s own imperfect, broken, wounded actively real state of life. It exists despite our lazy brains; we choose it one moment at a time.

I know life as moments this way because I am autistic, brain-injured and altered early in life, and everything I’ve acquired of life, in knowledge of my universe, of people, things, ideas, feelings, beliefs, potentials, systems, is a compilation of all of them in my life systems, “from the ground up” detailed, a multitude of moments, much like giant jigsaw puzzles, and patterns woven into an ever changing landscape of perspective, in all of my ongoing olearning.

Conversely, top down, quick grab, big picture perspectives have their efficiencies, to be sure, but they make people vulnerable to generalizations, distortions, cognitive biases of all kinds, personality “dis-orders”, lead to fixed and fixated thinking that is more often wrong than right, and to throwing things away in life before we are ready to appreciate, learn and grow stronger and better from them. Too much running, rejecting, blaming, regretting, shaming, knee-jerk journeys through life this way. And apathy. It is a lot of labeling and shorthand, broad brushstroke acceptance or rejection of things and people superficially.

Maybe this is why it is so hard for some people to see their own Enlightenment in whatever their state internally, to imagine there will be something they cannot imagine yet but maybe later, to maje possible their way from life that is wounding to a winding one–that theirs is a spark cannot be perceived or experienced through extrinsic means or generalized recipes from diy cookbooks. It comes from within, a process intrinsic to each person individually, and its form and connection evolves within and interconnected in our unique existence. When one is stuck and blocked from it, very often, they are stuck in top down generalization mode. In the stillness of moments –and moments –and more moments, that is where one can begin to see, in themselves, with more clarity, a way to connect with that spark that only they can really know, as it inseparably is a most personal facet of their own self-made mirror, and it can only be perceived by them in their own way and in their own time when one is ready, in that moment, to see.

That’s my understanding of Enlightenment anyway, for what it’s worth.

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When people don’t want to discuss past events, or allow others to discuss or focus on the past, very often, their motivation is a desire to avoid facing their own void or, to barricade and insulate themselves from inconvenient truths.

Fearing consequences from these truths, in an attempt to deflect or discredit what threatens them, or if they are simply opting for “ignorance as bliss”, hoping and believing that the cliché is true because they want it to be true, they claim to what feel safe to them, whether it is or not.

They may say, let’s not dredge up the past, or what’s done is done and can’t be changed. In the psych world, they would blame the patient for ruminating, or worse, when confronted with an inconvenient truth, they more often would stick some pejorative diagnosis on the speaker, so as to discredit them and after that, no one would listen to them or believe them.

Now this is a situation that is motivated purely by self-interest, not from care or concern for a patient, or a desire to discover the truth, or to help anyone except themselves. Also called a conflict of interest. I’m that can be a very inconvenient truth. The particulars may, in some cases, be that they have taken possession of an innocent victim’s person in the first place–a kidnapping under the guise of protective treatment.

Even when the crime is known, very often most involved will fall back on a preference that the victim accept, silently, that what’s done is done. Well that may be convenient for the sensibilities of the general population and those involved in the crime, yes only intensifies the harm done to the victim, and could very well determine their very futures forever.

From this, there will be no lessons learned, no action will be taken, to change to prevent future similar outcomes. These individuals in these situations who are in power are are therefore virtually bulletproof.

Temple Grandin, like myself, has lived her entire life, with most formative choices motivated by primarily fear, that formed the foundations of her life efforts and growth. When the world is constantly bombarding you from birth with its millions and quadrillions of the details of truths that you cannot block out, and your gifts render you so different from others, (a la Ghost Whisperer, trying to conceal the truth of what she sees and experiences that the rest of the world does not), trying to pass for being like everyone else you are not bombarded this way, the human world can be a dangerous place, left unprotected from childhood.

Being smart enough to see all the outcome potentials, yet forced to watch the disaster scenarios play out, not only as potential outcomes modeled in your head long before the event, but now come to fruition disastrously, while being powerless to prevent it–can be agonizing, and you can either go crazy a hundred times or endlessly, or you can really learn to get your zen on, buckle up, and prepare yourself for another roller coaster ride, and ride on.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the ability or could dumb it down on command. I get tired. I get impatient and frustrated. I just want to withdraw from all the noise. But at the end of the day I know that I am what I need to be, and it’s a good thing even if I don’t always like it, and even if others don’t always get it. So whatever the ride has in store for me next I guess I just got to ride that train, see where it takes me, and discover what I can learn from it.

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Apocalyptic Conformism

Clones, stones, monotone drones.
Busted saxophones.
Infestations of militant catatonic uniformistic Lilliputians.

Drag their own salvation
behind themselves
Locked away in tiny secure cages.
Mindlessly staggering toward annihilation,
Blinders uniformly in place,

The caged ones,
forced to silence
forced to bear,
forced to witness
the entire apocalyptic procession
to its conclusion.

The asylums, now standing empty,
their former residents,
their pretty houses,
their perfect masks
just nameless, ever faceless masks,
never real to have been known, ,
never known to now be forgotten
just shells dissolving under harsh gaze of a reality of which they knew nothing.

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journal page 080610 So much has been happening, and I’ve been happening to so much, as well!   Change and transition and uncertainty and obstacles/threats, and both anger and fear, triggered by the present, but often with fuel from the past, leaves me somedays feeling positively beaten about the head and neck!  But it passes.  That’s the cool thing, and also the not cool thing.  It’s cool, because I know that even in the throes of pain, confusion, anxiety, depression at times, not knowing what exactly to do/how to cope, I also know that I am experiencing this pain right NOW, and the time of suffering will pass, the fog will clear, the mood will lift, and I will emerge from those moments with something more than I had before—more insight, more relief, more control over the experience (not so much restrictive, as experiencing it intentionally, mindfully, as the process unfolds).  I am keenly aware, as I never have been before, of how I have been shaped by experiences that I didn’t even remember, that telling the story of what I learn along the way, including detailed scrutiny of processes at work, both passive and active/proactively, is itself a multitude of lessons.  It gives me insight into how my own thought processes work—very differently from most of the world, I might add, and why it’s always been so difficult for me to fully connect with others effectively. 

The image is of me, approximately in my 20’s, but connected to me is this elephant.  The elephant represents the fact, unbekownst to myself or my family, that I was, since birth, the “elephant-in-the-room” born autistic (Aspergers), with all the cognitive, functional, and medical potential that Aspies are shaped by, even before they are born.  And this little Aspie “elephant” spent the better part of the first two years of her life, being forcefed toxic pollutants while living next door to a coal burning power plant, years before the Clean Air Act even existed, and decades before they managed to effectively enforce restrictions on coal-fueled electricity.  The damage was already done to this autistic girl who already had a compromised immune system to begin with.

I was constantly sick, and had even been hospitalized once in 1963 with severe dehydration.  I got every virus that came my way, and, as my father later reported to a pediatric neurologist in 1971, “allergic to everything.” 

The third major developmental “insult” occurred when I fell from the upper floor fire landing of a local gymnasium, head first onto solid concrete. It was a very bad head injury, 3” skull fracture, intracranial hypertension and secondary brain injury, also referred to as “diffuse axonal injury.”  The secondary injury, caused by swelling and increased pressures on the brain, caused a lot of the connections between nerves to “shear” or tear apart, while at the same time the brain has trying to heal itself and keep me alive.  This went on for so long, that how it healed, and the rewiring to do it, took the hard wiring in my brain another huge step further away from “normal”.  From the outside, one could observe that the swelling and bruising finally went down, I did not die, and about 9 months after I came home, I was able to sit up in bed without head pressure problems. 

But there was not only no understanding whatsoever of Aspergers Syndrome back then, but also doctors had no idea what such an injury might do to a brain that survived such a fall.  No therapies or medications were administered, no tests for functional damage was done, and I, being only 5 years old at the time, had no idea that I had even less in common with neurotypical humans in how I would interact with my world going forward.  I had a strong sense that I was different from other children as early as 3 years old, but I had no idea why, nor any ability to understand the minds of others. 

Bridging the communication gap has been a lifelong struggle for me, both to understand and to be understood.   I want to be able to relate to other people, to connect with them in ways that are valuable and mutually beneficial.   It’s been agonizingly difficult, cumbersome, time consuming, and exhausting for all parties when I am trying to explain, to clarify my thoughts, feelings, overall perspective on a thing, yet know that I have failed, based on the reaction of those on the receiving end.  I fail for a number of reasons. I have gotten quite expert at being able to profile others, to analyze their behaviors, provided that I am not interacting with them at the time, or at least interacting where I have to be concerned about their perception of me.  This became a huge strength for me in my former job, and as it turns out, is a manifestation of one of many savant abilties.  The way that I journal now helps me really give glimpses into my own mind.  While I do my journaling totally for myself (as I do all of my art these days), I’m open to sharing parts that may be  of interest or benefit to others, or where it illuminates where my head and heart were, on some past event that may have gone totally awry. 

It’s interesting to me how varied my self-portraits are—the images are relative to time, heavily symbolic, even iconic at times.  This was done in my cheap standard lined lab-type notebook, in whic the pages are stitched into a cheap cardboard cover, typically imprinted with some sort of marbled effect, in various covers.  My thoughts that day are about my present situation, but the connections to past events…looking back and experiencing the connections more than the details, how I am represented depends upon what I am experiencing as the most important aspects of the connections in that moment.  Here, I am in my early 20’s.  The elephant part of me, has existed and endured the onslaught of many “insults” that have altered my brain to render me something almost other-humanly in how I think and process input from the world.  With the exception of autism, which I was born with, most of it was caused by the decisions by others act or fail to act—some were family, others including teachers, judges, police, school official, and it developed its own momentum after a while, with the blind following the blind, being slapped with labels/definitions that came to be accepted because the path was well worn, and, neuro-typical humans of all ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds, being naturally susceptible to their own attributional and cognitive biases, unique creatures like myself more often will not be able to sustain acceptance when I come up against those biases.  They used to think people like me were schizophrenic, and often spent their whole lives in institutions.  I was kept in one as a child for 2.5 years, records show that I was orderly, compliant, a good student, and remained there only because there was no stable place for me to live who would accept me.  No one.

The filters are a kind of lazy rule-based system that assumes that I should think and act in a certain way because I look like I belong to a certain group, and when I violate the social rules—spoken and unspoken, the belief is that I knew, or should have known about the rule, and that the violated social rule is something that I can and should conform to, without question.   What

I don’t feel invested in the “blame and shame” game, at least when it comes to my own family’s roles in that damage.  I am less forgiving of societal institutions that participated or turned a blind eye, when they could have taken some simple steps to help.  I understand the things that motivated their choices, their biases at the time as society existed.  That does not mean that I am prepared to forgive.  I still feel that I am owed a debt, at a minimum for the many intentional harms (ie., rapes), looking the other way when abuse was staring them in the face and I was complaining of being molested and raped (which they chose not to even report), noticing, documenting irregularities provided them in reports that they never questioned, never investigated, and never told me about, and leaving it for this brain-damaged woman who happened to have certain gifts, to discover from their own records, piece together the connections, and discover the truth, and even then, only after becoming totally disabled by the ravages of all the mistakes and abuses that had accumulated.  No one is willing to take responsibility.  That is wrong.  I am accustomed to that, but that doesn’t mean that it is right to just accept that nothing should be done to right the wrongs that can be righted, and at least recognize these human-made perfect storms. 

Is it any wonder that I feel safer far away from civilization?  Disasters happen in nature, as well, but nature operates by rules, at least, and they may have undesirable outcomes, but at least they make sense.  That is something I can live with.  I can accept death by tsunami, however tragic.  I’m not yet prepared to accept “that’s just the way things are” when the way things are is entirely constructed by humans motivated by personal agendae, that may or may not have anything to do with justice or even equity.  That is my issue.  And if it can happen to me then, and still happens to me now (except that I fight back), it can happen to others, so it’s not just in the past.  I feel a deep sense of personal responsibility to do something before I die to prevent similar harm from befalling others.  I need to become an advocate.

But first, I need to become an effective advocate for myself, and that means going through this right now.  My art enables me to communicate with others, and to get them to be more open through the way I approach presenting the principles, getting acceptance of possible situations like mine, and only then, telling them my story.  It is becoming easier to have dialogues that are more receptive to understanding my perspective, suspending disbelief long enough to consider the reality, and build bridges of understanding. 

I think in pictures, not words.  I learned many languages, trying to discover the key to communicate with others, but it was woefully inadequate.  Now that I can draw, can do art (since almost one year ago for the first time), I am finding ways to bridge the gaps and find opportunities to improve things.  I hope I can live long enough to do something with it that will help others.  Then it will have been worthwhile.

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unicorn1.0 

I’m adding these themes to my working list of the sketchbook project that I have in process right now: 

  • you don’t have to be a tree hugger to talk to trees, and it can save the world
  • how an extraordinary little girl used every day magic to save the world (series of pages tell the story)
  • how “childish dreams” can save the world
  • can we be polite and still save the world?
  • what unicorns can teach us about saving the world (It’s a secret-this picture is a teaser page!  You’ll have to keep following the story to learn the secret!)
  • How what you believe could save the world

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Page 2 to go into my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.  My assigned topic:  How to Save the World.

 

sketchbook Project #2.0-1

A little background about the symbolism on this page: 

The symbolism here is tied to the religious paradigm of the mythical hero off to slay evil demons out in the wilderness so as to protect kith and kin. 

This paradigm was articulated by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), a native of Romania, who was “a well-known historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day. His theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, has proved influential.[1] 

“Eliade argues that religious thought in general rests on a sharp distinction between the Sacred and the profane;[83] whether it takes the form of God, gods, or mythical Ancestors, the Sacred contains all "reality", or value, and other things acquire "reality" only to the extent that they participate in the sacred.[84] suggests that in traditional societies, people tended to view the world as being one of opposing realms, of the known world, and the unknown world.  The known world was “the realm of established order; and beyond the known world is a chaotic and dangerous realm, "peopled by ghosts, demons, [and] ‘foreigners’ (who are [identified with] demons and the souls of the dead).[116] ….According to Eliade, traditional societies place their known world at the Center because (from their perspective) their known world is the realm that obeys a recognizable order, and it therefore must be the realm in which the Sacred manifests itself; the regions beyond the known world, which seem strange and foreign, must lie far from the Center, outside the order established by the Sacred.”  Full Wikipedia Article on Eliade’s life and work

Eliade’ argued passionately for the universality of these paradigms, probably the most controversial aspect of his work to others.  But I would argue that one doesn’t have to look very hard at contemporary cultures, to at least see the pervasiveness of the paradigm of the mythical hero as a recurrent theme today across most cultural groups, in religious stories, as well as popular drama and other entertainment.  It continues to be held up as a value throughout enculturation processes in some form.  The details may vary, but it is a powerful motivator to act, even today. Though the paradigm has its roots in traditional societies, it clearly persists in modern culture and shapes values on a primal level.   

It is a romantic notion that lies at the heart of the decisions of world leaders to take up arms, though how those leaders have formed their perception of who is included in the sacred or in the profane derives from how they, as individuals, have come to see who is “in” and who is “out”.  Whether you are looking at individuals who take extreme measures to strike through hostage taking, genocide, and mass murder, or the knight who fights on his home soil to defend against invaders, all can be seen to be acting on a sorting process.  This process of sorting the universe of being “one/part of us” or “in” and being “not part of us” or “out” begins in early social development.  How we learn to sort and how we act on that sorting is shaped by how we our personal biases are formed.  It is how we judge the behavior of others. 

If we view and judge others around us as being the profane, “outsiders”, “others”, we make them “dragons” in our minds, or the “chaos monster”, as Eliade would describe them.  We believe that it is a hero’s duty to slay dragons that threaten us.  The problem here, is that they are probably not dragons at all, and the facts are likely not that we are good and they are evil and must be defeated.  In fact, they may just be afraid of us, as we are of them, and by our perceptions and acting through fear, we cannot build empathy or understanding.  What is required to avoid the outcome that we are afraid of, is learn to see one another without judgment, to foster trust and acceptance through mutual respect of our common humanity and unique qualities.

When we are looking over at someone that we are perceiving as a “dragon”, we should question our perception, and the assumptions that form that perception.  We should investigate before we behave with prejudice toward another, and try our best to understand them, to see them as they are, not just as we “fear” they might be.  We should set aside our fear and loathing for what is unfamiliar and try to build empathy with others, not try to force them to be “us”, or to force us to be “them”, but to appreciate the differences and how the uncomfortable feelings arose, and then find the common ground to address respective concerns.   We can’t control what other people do, but we can do our part to attempt to bridge the gap.  This is how we can each be a “hero”, and save the world.

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So I’m participating in The Sketchbook Project, which means that I will complete an art journal that will be a part of a traveling exhibit before moving to a permanent collection next year.  It’s very exciting, but also a little bit daunting.  I’ve been assigned the theme:  “How to Save the World".”  So I am going to be posting to this blog and updating it with thoughts about my pages, and looking for ideas/inspiration on the theme.  I have thought of a few topic ideas for my pages already, and would do pages around any of these ideas from the list below, that reflect my vision of what we all could do, to save the world:

  • Organize a WORLD COLOR DAY: set up network & internet coverage that can be captured and sent by anyone via camera phones, email, live webcam feeds, and global news organizations.   Anyone in the world who is willing and able should color pages, and people in leadership positions should be obligated to participate, especially political/government leaders:  everyone can choose from a collection of various coloring pages (can be shapes/designs like patterned mandalas or still life pictures, or line art illustrations). Embellishment of the pages is entirely at the user’s discretion.  This enables us to “see” one another through use of color, rather than the color of our skin, hair,etc. It is a common language, regardless of the language that we speak, and does not require special skill or elaborate materials.  Color may be applied with anything from crayons, paint, pencils, to grass, food, soil, makeup.  Anything goes, as long as the paper can hold it.  Coloring is very calming, enhances health, and problem-solving abilities.  It would help the human race, to build bridges through individual expression–without judgment or criticism–and enable people to not be burdened and divided by cultural differences.  
  • Raise children to see differences among people as “interesting,” not bad.  Role models: “walk the walk” 
  • Be mindful that every choice that you make has consequences somewhere, somehow, and/or to someone or something.  Doing nothing is a choice, too.
  • Stand for something that demonstrates the best aspects of your character.  The way you live reveals what it is that you stand for.
  • Forgiving others relieves YOU of the burden of YOUR anger.  Save yourself and the world at the same time.
  • Treat all humans with dignity, respect, and compassion.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Permit the innocent to speak of harm done to them by others without inflicting a sense of personal shame on them.  However unpleasant it may be to hear about their abuse and pain, they were victims, and the first-hand experience was undoubtedly at least as unpleasant for them.
  • With power comes responsibility—do your very best to take responsibility
  • Challenge negative assumptions about others and ourselves; acting on negative assumptions generally yields negative results
  • Hope is not a strategy—start from where you are, and act according to your ability.
  • Don’t waste or destroy, just because you can.
  • Always question the source and validity of strong feelings of judgment, anger, sweeping generalizations and prejudice.
  • The value of a gift is not measured in quantity or money or scope, but in the true generosity of spirit, purity of intention, and ability to give of oneself

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