Saturday, December 26, 2009

give take

For 2010

What one thing do you know you should give up?

What one thing do you know you should do?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

I watched It's a Wonderful Life with my kids for the first time.
At first they moaned and groaned at the idea of a black-and-white movie.

But I told them it was my favorite movie and they were going to watch it with me.

There was heavy sighing and eye rolling... they laughed a little at the 'special effects' at the beginning... but then they got into it.
They laughed and cried at all the right parts.

A couple of nights later, H asked me "How do you know someone is bad just by shaking their hand?" ...referencing George Bailey shaking Mr. Potter's hand when he offered him a job

I said that I didn't really know, but you can feel it. Sort of like The Dark Side in Star Wars (I use The Force and The Dark Side to explain a lot).

"Hmmm," he pondered "I haven't met anyone like that yet."

...and, H, I hope you never do!

Monday, December 21, 2009


The poem that saw Nelson Mandela through the darkest days of his 25 year imprisonment:

Invictus by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lost Generation

A palindrome reads the same backward as it does forward.
This video reads the exact opposite backward as forward ... the meaning is the opposite.

This very cool video was submitted in an AARP contest by a 20 year old. The contest was titled: "u @ 50"

It's amazing...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

pencils of promise

Pencils of Promise is a non-profit based in New York that partners with local communities and organizations to build schools for some of the world's most impoverished and undereducated children.

If you are able this giving season, consider a donation to Pencils of Promise. $35 buys shelves for a classroom, $50 provides pencils for one year, $100 provides a teacher's salary for three months ... you get the idea ... a little goes a long way ... and collectively, a little can change the world.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seth Godin - What Matters Now

Seth Godin compiles what we're thinking about in a new free ebook.
It's free and wonderful! Download it from his website.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the decade ... according to those who were born at its beginning

As the decade comes to an end, it is interesting to get a child's point of view.
My kids (9&7) ask me why I keep calling next year "twenty-ten" and not two thousand and ten.
It made me realize that throughout their lives it has always been two thousand and...

After watching the video below I asked my son the same questions...
He said the biggest news stories of the decade were that we bombed the moon and that Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize.

He didn't know what a terrorist was. And his biggest fear is tarantulas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kathy Freston's Top 10 list

Kathy Freston writes about the Top 10 (recent) developments on factory farming and vegetarianism on the Huffington Post. Read it HERE.

I am hopeful that the winds are changing. I can feel the cool breeze of compassion.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Global Good

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown explains the need for Global Institutions and Global Citizenship.

Global ethics and humanity's greater good can be reconciled with patriotism and individualism.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


On Tuesday President Barack Obama will announce his plan for the war in Afghanistan... and I am worried.

I am worried for those who serve in the US Military.
I am worried for the people of Afghanistan.
I am worried for the people of Pakistan.
I am worried about children.
I am worried about peace.

It's a lot to be worried about.

I know that worry is futile. It has no place in the present moment and serves no good.
So I have decided today to let go of worry. I release you.

I am going to do what I can do:

I can vote.
I can support the Acumen Fund.

And most importantly...

I can be peace - every day.
I can bring peace to my world. I can live peace.
I can not push against.
I can make sure that I am not at war with anything or anyone.

I can vow to...
Bring peace today.
Be peace today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks for being here,
for making a difference,
and for doing work that matters.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prayer

A Thanksgiving Prayer
by Alexis C Jolly

(Rhythmically, it's modeled off the Christian "Lord's Prayer," primarily out of laziness, but please modify it to fit your own religious, spiritual, skeptical, or atheistic beliefs.)

Our Universe, which is everywhere:

Man, we are really, really small compared to you.

I hope we learn to stop killing each other and live in peace,

because that would be awesome.

We're so lucky to have this food, and each other,

even though we've all acted like real jerks before--to strangers and, even more inexplicably, to each other.

But I hope we learn to act less crappy

and instead learn to appreciate the gifts and the love that surround us, each and every day.

Dig in.


in the goodness of others.
...that all things are possible. the hope of a new day.
...the best is yet to come.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1st anniversary

For what it's worth...
Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog.

... and so I continue in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's your contribution?


-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


the following is an excerpt from the book
Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

"From our first years in the educational system, society has ways of discouraging
the expansive, questing mode of attention that’s essential to creativity and personal rebirth. In one poignant indication of what happens when young children learn to switch off active focusing and just go through the motions, second-graders from different schools were given a problem to solve: “There are twenty-six sheep and ten goats on a ship. How old is the captain?” Nearly 90 percent of students from traditional classrooms answered “Thirty-six”. Not one pointed out that the problem didn’t make sense, compared to almost a third of the kids from less conventional, more mindful classrooms."
Winifred Gallagher

Yesterday I gave this problem to my kids to solve...
Victoria laughed and laughed.
Harry said, "That's not even a real question."

Later that night Harry asked me if I had any more of those "funny questions". I told him, "No. It's just something I read in a book."

Then he said that he made up a question for me...

"If a man is 82 and a woman is 42 and their cat is the same age as the woman, how old is the cat?" he questioned me.

"42" I said.

"Wrong!" he said with glee. "Cat years are like dog years, each year is 7 years. So, the cat is 6." he explained, as a matter of fact, and then he went to bed.

I have to say, I do love their school.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a happy holiday

"Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson, Mos Def, Mayor Bloomberg, and Barack Obama would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving."
This is, hands-down, my No. 1 favorite Thanksgiving card!

check out more of Michael Pellews pop culture art

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Intention Friday

My intent this weekend is to expand the flow of abundance through the energy of gratitude.

How can we expect more when we don't appreciate what we already have?

What's your intent this weekend?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Sending my thoughts, prayers, and gratitude to all who serve and who have served.

Watch the President's remarks on this Veterans Day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to transform myself in order to transform the world.
Am I living my values?
Be the change...

What is your intention?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the things that are the same

Listen to ... Connecting to a Global Tribe (This I Believe)

"I believe globalization is forcing our brains to evolve.

I’ve had the privilege to see a lot more of the world than anyone my age could reasonably hope to. A few years ago, on a backpacking trip, I made a video of myself dancing terribly in exotic locations. I put it on my web site. Some friends started passing it around, and soon millions of people had watched it. I was offered sponsorship to continue my accidental vocation, and since then I’ve made two more videos that include 70 countries on all seven continents. A lot of people wanted to dance along with me, so I started inviting them to join in everywhere I went, from Toronto to Tokyo to Timbuktu.

Here’s what I can report back: People want to feel connected to each other. They want to be heard and seen, and they’re curious to hear and see others from places far away. I share that impulse. It’s part of what drives me to travel. But it’s constantly at odds with another impulse, which is to reduce and contain my exposure to a world that’s way too big for me to comprehend.

My brain was designed to inhabit a fairly small social network of maybe a few dozen other primates—a tribe. Beyond that size, I start to get overwhelmed.

And yet here I am in a world of over six billion people, all of whom are now inextricably linked together. I don’t need to travel to influence lives on the other side of the globe. All I have to do is buy a cup of coffee or a tank of gas. My tribe has grown into a single, impossibly vast social network, whether I like it or not. The problem, I believe, isn’t that the world has changed, it’s that my primitive caveman brain hasn’t.

I am fantastic at seeing differences. Everybody is. I can quickly pick out those who look or behave differently, and unless I actively override the tendency, I will perceive them as a threat. That instinct may have once been useful for my tribe but when I travel, it’s a liability.

When I dance with people, I see them smile and laugh and act ridiculous. It makes those differences seem smaller. The world seems simpler, and my caveman brain finds that comforting.

I believe my children will have brains ever so slightly better suited to the vast complexity that surrounds us. They will be more curious, more eager to absorb and to connect.

And I believe when they look into eyes of strangers, what they will see before the differences are the things that are the same." - Matt Harding

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To Transform the World, Transform Yourself

Have you heard of Meatless Monday? I first heard the idea from Michael Pollan at PopTech. Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to cut meat out of their diet on Monday.

By removing meat once a week, the average American reduces their saturated fat intake by 15%, diminishing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers.

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization... the meat industry generates nearly one fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. Curbing meat consumption in the U.S. one day a week would have the equivalent effect of taking 20 million mid-size cars off the road.

Current meat production methods cause nearly half of all stream and river pollution. Meat also requires a great deal of fresh water to produce. The production of a pound of beef takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water. By not eating meat on Monday, each individual could save about 1,100 gallons of water a week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eating Animals

I just finished reading the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.


Read what Rabbi David Wolpe, Natalie Portman, CNN, NPR, The New Yorker, and GOOD Magazine have to say about this book.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


november is...
dark evenings
cold mornings
soups, casseroles, sage and squash
hot tea
slower, quieter
cozy sweaters
puffy jackets
crunchy leaves
cranberries, apples and pears

Friday, October 30, 2009

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to be a creator, not a consumer.
At this very moment, am I creating or consuming?

What is your intention?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

My son just did a "Legacy Report" at school. He needed to pick someone who has handed down something that we still see today. He has his top three heroes: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. It's very hard to break into his top three (believe me I've tried). For a while I thought James Madison was going to edge out Thomas Jefferson... but, I know, there's no real way that could happen.

Anyway, he chose Martin Luther King Jr.

But yesterday he told me, "Do you want to know why I didn't pick Barack Obama?" Of course I wanted to know! "I think he's handed us a legacy that we don't appreciate yet. I'm sure that a second grader a long time from now will pick him, though."

So, just for the record, I wanted you to know that there are already some of us who do appreciate your legacy... of breaking down walls, of peace, of respect and tolerance.

Thank you.

ps - just so you know, you are currently #4 on my son's list of heroes. But be warned, Ben Franklin is nipping at your heals at #5!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stephen Wiltshire

Amazing Stephen Wiltshire takes on NYC's skyline
See his Story Here
Watch his live web cast Here

Monday, October 26, 2009


Michael Pollan at PopTech was amazing be sure to read about it here.
Watch the highlights below.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marie Howe

This Marie Howe poem was read at yoga this morning and I've had it in my head ever since:

Even if I don't see it again -- nor ever feel it
I know it is -- and that if once it hailed me
it ever does --

And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn't -- I was blinded like that -- and swam
in what shone at me

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I'd die
from being loved like that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Half The Sky

"Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself." -Abraham Lincoln

I have been reading Half The Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. There are three passages from this book that I want to share with you:
  • The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine "gendercide" in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.
  • As the Journal Foreign Affairs observed: "Whatever the exact number is, it seems almost certain that the modern global slave trade is larger in absolute terms than the Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was."
  • The ultimate reality is that women's issues are marginalized, and in any case sex trafficking and mass rape should no more be seen as women's issues than slavery was a black issue or the Holocaust was a Jewish issue. These are all humanitarian concerns, transcending any one race, gender, or creed.
Read this book.
Begin to take action.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to be grateful.

What is your intention this weekend?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The treasure of a Normal Day

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savour you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Irion

Monday, October 5, 2009


Michael J. Sandel
Hundreds of students pack Harvard's Sanders Theater for Michael Sandel's "Justice" course—an introduction to moral and political philosophy. They come to hear Sandel lecture about great philosophers of the past—from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill—but also to debate contemporary issues that raise philosophical questions—about individual rights and the claims of community, equality and inequality, morality and law.

Despite the size of the course, Sandel engages students in lively discussion on topics including affirmative action, income distribution, and same-sex marriage, showing that even the most hotly contested issues of the day can be the subject of reasoned moral argument. This film, which contains excerpts of several classes, is part of a project to make this legendary course an educational resource that reaches beyond the Harvard classroom.

Be sure to check out

Michael Sandel on PBS.

Read the article in

The New York Times:

Morals Class Is Starting; Please Pass

The Popcorn

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Charter for Compassion

Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion's role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Joshua Bell

Violinist, Joshua Bell, playing in the Washington D.C. Metro Station on a January morning in 2007. This social experiment on people's perception, taste, and priorities was organized by the Washington Post.

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made... how many other things are we missing?

Monday, September 28, 2009

banned book week

In Honor of Banned Book Week
a poem by Ellen Hopkins

To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.

You say you're afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.

You say you're afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
different seas.

You say you're afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary

In Honor of our Anniversary...
friendly tips I've been given for a happy relationship:

  • A super important tip: Make your relationship a priority, especially when you have a family. What your kids need most is to be loved by parents who are happy and productive participants in the world.

  • Find small ways to lighten the other's load. Small tokens of unsolicited support make a big impact - say, 'I love you, I'm proud of you, I think you're doing a great job.' At the end of the day, isn't that all we want to hear anyway?

  • Take a mini-moon. Frequently. Mini-moons are little honeymoons. Find a babysitter and spend a weekend away. Visit a city you've never been to before, check out that B&B you saw online, drive to the next town up the road and pretend you're far from home. It needn't be expensive or elaborate, just a few days to refocus and reconnect.

  • A cup of hot tea in bed is the secret to a happy marriage. (hot tea in bed is the secret to a happy anything actually.)

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to allow people freedom from my judgement.
I intend to "give people a pass".
This weekend I've got a "pocket full of passes".

Who am I to judge?
Who knows how much pain their unconscious behaviors cause them?

What's your intention this weekend?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

internet acts of kindness

Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Boat

I just returned from a wonderful family trip to Disneyland ... and I learned something interesting while I was there:

The kids and I were heading to the dock to ride the paddleboat one day. We were hurrying because we were afraid that we were going to miss the boat. When we arrived at the dock we found that we had, in fact, missed the boat. The kids were disappointed. But the Disney Guide said to them, "Don't be disappointed; there's always another boat. And if you miss that boat, there will be another boat. And if you miss that boat too, guess what there will be?" And the kids cried out, "Another boat!" Again the guide said, "And after that?" Cheerfully the kids yelled, "Another boat!"

'Another Boat' became our mantra for the week's vacation.

If you've ever felt that you've missed your chance, or if you've ever thought that opportunity has passed you by ... just remember another boat, another boat, another boat. The Universe has boats lined up for you. It's a steady stream ... and it doesn't matter how many you've missed up to now because: there's always another boat!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to see a "problem" as a possibility for change.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Adults behaving badly.
First it was Joe Wilson, then Serena Williams, then Kanye West. It seemed as if civility was dead. But then I realized I was focusing on the negative.
A week's worth of bad behavior allowed me to see the grace all around me. I began to notice the compassion and good manners of others.
If we're able to learn anything this week, it's how gracious President Obama, Kim Clisters, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce Knowles handled the negative behavior of others.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Zack Arias


end slavery

The US Department of Labor at the urging of has released their long awaited list of goods produced by child labor and forced labor.

Here are some of the worst offenders for forced labor or slavery specifically:
  • Bolivia: nuts, cattle, corn, and sugar
  • Burma: bamboo, beans, bricks, jade, nuts, rice rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak
  • China: artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, garments, footwear, fireworks, nails, and toys
  • India: bricks, carpets, cottonseed, textiles, and garments
  • Nepal: bricks, carpets, textiles, and stones
  • North Korea: bricks, cement, coal, gold, iron, and textiles
  • Pakistan: bricks, carpet, coal, cotton, sugar, and wheat
Check out the article HERE
Check out the DOL Report in its entirety HERE

Write a quick note of thanks to the DOL at the address below and thank them for allowing you access to the information to choose slave-free products.

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210