How to Be Alone

A poem and video about being alone.

IMPT. Stark and beautiful.  It holds a piece of my heart. (Except I don’t dance.)

Don’t be afraid to be alone!

A video by filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis. Davis wrote the beautiful poem and performed in the video which Dorfman directed, shot, animated by hand and edited. The video was shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was produced by Bravo!FACT.

gratitude

Though I haven’t read her book One Thousand Gifts, I do read Ann Voskamp’s blog.   She so poignantly questions our incapacity to be amazed and grateful.

“Why do I spend so much time struggling to see it?  Do I need to see the world, visit the exquisite, before I face eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”


I so relate to that sentiment.  For me it is a struggle to be positive and grateful; to see the wonder in my life here and now.  And so much that I have is wondrous!

Last week in a group we attend we were asked to express some things that we are grateful for and I was absolutely mute.

I felt so ashamed of myself, but I just couldn’t come up with anything.  I was stuck in a limbo.   I have many blessings and things to feel thankful for but

I
just
sat there.

I was

unable (or unwilling) to express them.  Unwilling to open my mouth.  It all seemed too risky somehow.

I felt a fragile sense that if I opened up my mouth I have no idea what might happen.  What if it wasn’t words of gratitude that came out?

I don’t know about you but sometimes I am just stuck in my head — too heart and head heavy
to let go and allow myself the space —

to b r e a t h e.  Deeply.  (Do it right now.  In and out.  It feels incredible.)

Why is it so difficult to allow my pulse to slow down and feel

(even just a little)

grateful.

“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly – not one.”  — Rumi

Don’t you think that is true?  From hatred to love.  From dissatisfaction to peace.  From fear or anxiety to hope and trust.

I want to fly!   Some days, I do.

b r e a t h e.  Deeply.  (Do it right now.  In and out.  It feels incredible.)

Not To Speak is to Speak: Volume 2

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: GOD will not hold us innocent. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”— Bonhoeffer

NOT TO SPEAK IS TO SPEAK :  VOLUME 2

This is my attempt to consolidate some of the things I find on the web.  Of course this is a drop in the bucket of what I read all week, but you have to focus sometimes.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Several things on the UCLA Student’s recent YouTube Video.

A white student rants about Asians and it goes viral, drawing accusations of racism.

“Sadly, what she expressed isn’t that different from what a lot of Americans think, even if we’re not posting it on YouTube  …  In many ways this blonde-haired, exposed push-up bra wearing college student, embodies the popular and prolific image of entitled, image driven, individualistic “Americanness.””

You can read the rest here and see the video it its entirety there.  You should watch it if you are white.  If you’re not white, you’ve likely seen or heard of it already.  If you are white, I think you have a responsibility to SEE things like this.  Before you go there, thinking I’m “over reacting” I’ll acknowledge that I need to spend some time considering all this and being prayerful before God. But in the meantime, I can call racism what it is — wrong.

My initial thought is this.  Although I feel ashamed of being white, many many times.  Today, more than any day in a long time, while I watched this young lady’s strange, egocentric, racist, stupid and ignorant rant about the “hordes of Asians” at her university I was mortified for all of us.

Ching chong? Hordes of Asians? American manners?” A friend I have made because of the internet responds to the student’s video as a Mom and an American and one of the Asians that the young lady at UCLA refers to in her video.  In A Mother’s Rant About Racism & Reconciliation Kathy Khang shares a personal response.   I love her heart and learn so much from her every time she writes.

And still on the topic, here are some things White People with Power should consider.  That would be me.

“However difficult it is for many White Americans to hear, examples like this video clearly show that many (as in a large number, but certainly not all) Whites implicitly think there’s nothing wrong with invoking cultural stereotypes to portray an entire group of color. I have written about this dynamic many times before, but needless to say, this is certainly not the first time that Whites have tried to “make fun” of Asian Americans or other groups of color on college campuses and elsewhere in society…”

Lastly, an incredible response by the InterVarsity’s Asian Staff director, James Choung.  He is godly, kind and wise.  Once again, I learned a lot.  These are things that privileged white people need to hear.

A glimpse into the heart of an incarcerated father.

Dear Son: A Letter from an Incarcerated Father on how a believer behind bars might pass on his faith.  

Statistical studies tell us that roughly 90 percent of incarcerated parents are fathers. Their offspring, approximately 2 million strong, represent the textbook definition of “at risk” children. According to the Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, the absence of a father—particularly due to incarceration—correlates with a plethora of family dysfunctions, including elevated rates of juvenile crime and incarceration.

Politics.

Congress Making Themselves and Friends Richer, While Everyone Else Struggles to Make Ends MeetIf you don’t read Jim Hightower you are missing out.

The great majority of Americans make about $30K a year. Incoming lawmakers, however? Extensive personal investments in Wall St. banks, oil giants and drug makers.Change is not the same thing as progress. In fact, change can be the exact opposite. It can be regressive, as we’re now learning from — where else? — Congress.

Feminist Reading.

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader . Whether you’re already knee-deep in young adult literature or looking to reacquaint yourself with an old favorite we’ve put together a whopping 100 of our favorite young adult novels, featuring kick-ass teens and inspiring feminist themes. These stories will empower teenage and adult readers alike.

[I’m not recommending all of these books because I haven’t read them all.  Simply passing on the list.  Make your own wise choices.]

The Environment.

You have to watch this video by Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist.

Winner of the Banksia International Award 2003 and winner of the Buckminster Fuller Award 2010.  He is the originator of the Holistic Management concept that turn deserts into thriving grasslands, restores biodiversity, brings streams and rivers back to life, increases food production and security and stores carbon in ever deeper and healthier soils – all of this while reversing global climate change.

He won a TED award and that’s how I found him.  I’m in love. So sweet. So passionate.  So smart!

Next time perhaps.

Rob Bell.  What I’m learning from reading on feminism and women in the church.  And Libya, going to war? … and my current theological thoughts on Justice.

Here’s the last issue of Not to Speak is to Speak in case you missed it.

We are the World

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Image via Wikipedia

I remember We are the World.  It was recorded 25 years ago — can it possibly be that long ago — for the continent of Africa which was experiencing unprecidented famine.  Artists gathered in order to raise awareness and raise  money.  The 63 million raised seems paltry compared to the emmense need and what is being raised today.

LONDON - JULY 24:  Songsheets for the legendar...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

A new recording of the song is being spearheaded by Quincy Jones and others to help those in Haiti. Perhaps it is fitting that the 25th anniversary of We are the World should be marked by a renewed effort to help others. It is appropriate for “We Are The World” to once again be the song that will become a singular vehicle to mobilize artists, people and organizations in a time of need.

This is a beautiful recording, which you can buy from i-tunes. ( Original song.)  Remake for Haiti.  Or you can watch it below and give a donation to the organization of your choice.

Paul Haggis, the filmmaker, worked with a small group of future filmmakers from the Ciné Institute in Jacmel, Haiti.  With cameras of their own they not only captured behind-the-scenes footage of the all-star cast, but provided the images from the wake of the earthquake that lit up the screens behind the musicians.

Haggis celebrated the premiere of the video with his eight-person staff of students. The mix of young men and women, who range in age from late teens to early 30s, shrieked and smiled as the world watched their work. “It’s pretty cool [to watch it with them]. Their excitement is palpable,” Haggis told MTV News from an editing suite in New York, where he finished the video just 12 hours earlier.

“To think a week ago [before we started filming] they were in Jacmel, where their homes and schools were destroyed,” he continued. “They were literally homeless. And to come here and participate in this and do a really good job of pulling this off, we should feel proud that we made this happen in some small way.”

The devastating earthquake in Haiti was a month ago!  That hardly seems possible.  Let’s not forget Haiti with our prayers and financial donations.

There comes a time when we head a certain call, when the world must come together as one.
There are people dying and it’s time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all.

We can’t go on pretending day by day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change.
We are all a part of God’s great big family and the truth, you know love is all we need.

[Chorus]
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free as God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand.

When you’re down and out there seems no hope at all.
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall.
Well, well, well, well, let us realize that a change will only come
When we stand together as one.

Written by Michael Jackson and Quincey Jones, the original We are the World was recorded to help the needy in Africa.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 was the 25th anniversary of the recording of “We Are The World,” the historic event that showed how the world’s desire to help people in need could be harnessed into productive action by the efforts of artists in the United States and around the world.  Harry Belafonte inspired the original effort to unite American artists in an effort to help the victims of the African famine; Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote the song and Quincy Jones produced it; and Ken Kragen to turn what seemed to be impossible into a reality.

During the course of the rest of 2010, USA for Africa will be posting stories, materials and information on their website that relate to the 25 years of USA for Africa’s work and the progress engendered by the more than $63 million it raised which supported more than 500 projects and helped millions of people in 18 countries in Africa along with educating tens of millions of people in the U.S., Canada and Europe about African needs and issues.

In the immediate aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, USA for Africa made a contribution of $10,000 to purchase 750,000 water purification tablets to be distributed in Haiti through Operation USA. Today, we are pleased to make the greatest gift we have to offer: The legacy and goodwill of “We Are The World” to those taking the lead in helping the Haitian victims to rebuild their lives.

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Black History: Commonly known facts? or are they.

Do you ever find yourself thinking we live in a post racial America?  There are some that say this.  Or that black people act white.

There are a lot of things that we all take for granted as being commonly known facts.

A friend sent  this YouTube video, which is mostly entertaining but also makes one think about the generalizations we have about black people.

This Week in Blackness’ host Elon James White wrote a few #BlackFacts in a Twitter Discussion and decided to share it  and in honor of Black History Month I’m sharing it here.

It’s worth the time (3.50) and your respect.

Hope for Haiti

I thoroughly enjoyed watching a Hope For Haiti Now fundraiser the other night.  This collaboration between Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Bono jumped out at me.  I loved it because it was innovative, interesting and original.  Am I being redundant?  I loved it.

Taylor Swift was also incredible.

Just don’t want to forget Haiti.  I heard a report on NPR today that some people STILL have only received water as “aid.”  I do not want to criticize people on the ground doing good work.