Why should you really care about what happens in Syria? What do you even know about Syria for that matter?
I have come across many individuals in my adult life who prefer to worry about what happens in their own town. Their own country. It’s fairly common actually to find that people feel much more connected to those who are most like them. When we hear about a child dying in our local communities our collective hearts break. I know mine certainly does.
But there is a disconnect and this needs to be addressed.
While there needs to be advocates, activists and empathetic hearts in every community, state, province, country – more of us need to look beyond these geographical boundaries.
One reason is that we live in a globalized world – and that won’t be changing any time soon. When we call our local telephone provider we end up speaking with someone half-way across the world. Our clothing is manufactured in China, Cambodia or Bangladesh. Whether or not you agree with this, it is the new way of the world. And you can fight it all you want, but there would have to be a major shift for this to change at this point. These individuals are making much less than we do here in North America and therefore the CEO’s of major corporations would have to be okay with putting less money in their own pockets. (This is a very complex subject with many issues embedded within it.)
But herein lies the real problem: this resistance to this globalization has created an US vs. THEM mentality.
We need the jobs. We need the economic growth. WE. US. THEM.
THEY are just trying to survive. Just like us. Somehow over time those of us in developed nations have began to believe that we are entitled to certain things that others are not, simply because of their birth place. That we are better than them even.
I know that we have problems within our own countries here in North America. Big problems. HUGE ONES. But that doesn’t give us a free pass to disconnect with what happens throughout the world. I’ve used this JFK quote here many times before, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”
So back to the question; why should you care about what happens in Syria?
Because today in Syria 6.8 million individuals have been affected by the civil war that has been occurring for two years. 3 million of these individuals are children.
We easily get caught up questioning why the citizens of this country are in the position they are in. Is it because of religious beliefs? Corrupted government? Etc…
Forget about the why’s. They don’t matter when we are talking about human lives.
It may sound cliche, but its truth is undeniable – we are all equal and our lives are of equal value. We should all have a fair chance at life.
This may surprise you, but it is actually in our nature to give. A recent study I read in Scientific American Mind proved that it is an innate reaction to give back. It is only when our thinking interferes that we hesitate and often, change our minds.
Right now there is a real humanitarian crisis occurring and the Syrian people are at the forefront. I am a huge fan of the Humanitarian Coalition which is a combination of many charities including the Plan Canada, Oxfam Canada, and Save the Children. To learn more and donate please click the image below.
To learn more about what it is like to experience war, please watch this TED Talk below.
Photo via Beliefnet
It’s been quite some time since I’ve shared what I’ve been up to over on Beliefnet, so today I thought I would do a link round-up to all of my posts there since I began writing back in January! I’m very excited about my May contributions and will be sharing those soon as well!
Many were blindsided by this event, particularly Canadians, many of whom felt deceived by the Joe Fresh brand. Unlike the era of Nike and the Gap being at the forefront of child labour accusations, something still fresh in many of our minds today, Loblaw has nowhere to hide. Within moments, Twitter, Facebook, and texts were flying out spreading the word, and the Joe Fresh Facebook page was booming with responses of shock and dismay from consumers.
Today, the CBC reported that Loblaw will be compensating the families of those who were killed, and the company has met with the Retail Council of Canada to discuss changes. They released a statement saying, “We are committed to finding an approach that ensures safe working conditions, drives lasting change in the industry and [helps prevent] other tragedies.”
From where I am sitting, it seems like Loblaw got the message from its consumers. They know that they are practicing business in a time where any error in judgment large or small can easily come back to hurt them in the long run. I don’t believe for one second that Loblaw as a corporation is concerned about the health and safety of workers in developing nations. Not for one second.
I do however, believe that they understand that we as consumers do care, particularly Gen Y’ers. In fact, corporate social responsibility is near the top of our list when it comes to making purchasing decisions. So really, it doesn’t matter if the shareholders care, it matters that they understand that we care.
This situation with Loblaw is a perfect of example of how powerful our purchase power is collectively, and how a corporation will move toward progress when presented with no other option. With the many obstacles we as a society face in trying to make change, from food laws to changes within the education system, our money is our most powerful asset.
We make the decisions with our money here in North America, and it isn’t enough that companies greenwash, or pinkwash or simply donate to philanthropic causes; these companies need to be truly responsible and held accountable for every aspect of their businesses.
The days leading up to Mother’s Day always seem to serve as a time of reflection for me.
Last year I waxed poetic about how lucky myself and all of the Mother’s in my life are – for being given a fair shot at happy, healthy, and full lives simply because of the country in which we were born. How much we have to be grateful for, and how we need to direct that gratitude into helping other Mother’s throughout the world.
This year is no different.
I’m sitting here on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, pausing an interview with spiritual author Marianne Williamson and business guru Marie Forleo, and thinking Marianne just hit the nail on the head in her talk when she said that women truly have an instinct within us that is a force so great that we could end extreme poverty in the world.
As a witness to the evolution of the “Mommy Wars” over the years, this idea has struck a chord in a way it hasn’t before. Imagine we could redirect all of the judgments we have toward one another and the comparisons we make and put that energy into something greater?
If we could harness all of the energy put out there that is doing no one any good, and instead, band together and focus on one task – ensuring not one more child has to die from starvation – it could be done.
On this note, there are two things I want to share today.
A lovely blogger, Lacy Stroessner of Living on Love has created this gorgeous print and is donating half of the funds to Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland. You may recognize the name if you read the book, Half the Sky.
Here are some details of the hospital:
“The health of the people of Somaliland is among the worst in Africa, with one of the highest Maternal and Infant Mortality rates in the world. Every year, one baby in eight dies in infancy while nearly 4000 Somali women die in childbirth. This tragedy can be attributed in large part to the long civil war which brought about the death or departure of nearly all of the country’s trained health care professionals.”
Please consider buying a print for a Mother in your life! You can order online here.
Lastly, there are many individuals out there who have signed up to participate in the World Food Program’s Living Below the Line challenge. For five days these bloggers will be literally living on $1.50 for food per day – literally living below the line of poverty. This is an intense challenge for those of us who live on much more than that per day, and admire those who are partaking in it. If you’d like to support the cause please consider donating to The Mission List’s team here.
You can follow along with those participating by searching the hashtag #BelowTheLine.
(Editors Note: The following is a contribution from Krishann Briscoe.)
As a mother I am passionate about investing in my babies. I realize that they will grow up become contributing members of society. They might grow up to be leaders, innovators, and philanthropists — agents of change.
The potential I see in them is limitless.
And yet the same potential I see in them can be seen in the faces of children across the globe. Because I know that my children will not grow up and walk the world alone I realize the value in investing in all of our children not just the ones we tuck in bed at night. And by investing in all children I am investing in the future.
April 25 is World Malaria Day 2013. It is a day in which a worldwide effort is made to reflect on the advancements made in the efforts to prevent the spread of malaria and other infectious diseases. And with reflection comes the desire to look ahead to a future, concurrently developing a plan of action so that the time might come when malaria is no longer a threat to the lives of our children.
According to WorldMalariaDay.org, malaria deaths in Africa have been “cut by one third within the last decade” and in numerous countries impacted by malaria there has been a case reduction by 50%. Additionally in countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.
That information is huge and filled with hope and promise much like our world’s children. However, with less financial support for malaria control the advancements made are “under threat.”
That means that there is still so much work to be done in order to ensure that the goal to eradicate Malaria becomes a reality.
When we see that change is being made and statistics seem to be in our favor it is easy to get comfortable and pull out of the fight; however, the threat is till very real and the desire to keep fighting ever present. How you fight, is up to you.
Whether it be raising awareness and/or donating funds there are numerous ways we can unite with the world April 25th and after as we look to the future, a future in which all children have the chance to grow up and carry the torch for the various nations that make up this amazing planet we all call home.
For more on World Malaria Day visit worldmalariaday.org.
I’ve been feeling it lately. The invisible pressure is there and it’s only a few months away.
What am I referring to?
My thirtieth birthday.
The lists are popping up all over the place; 30 things travelers should do before they turn 30, or 25 things to do under 25. It has seemed a bit daunting as I chose to have a family young (or, fill in the blank with your own experience) and didn’t have the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro yet.
Just this morning I came across an article about the Millennial/Gen Y obsession with Youth. So… I’m not alone. What a relief.
My main issue with all of this hype and all of these lists is that they are cementing in this idea that turning thirty is the end of our youth, and that’s bad.
But, I know a lot of thirty-somethings, and they seem pretty content. More free even? Definitely comfortable in their own skin.
So… instead of attaching ourselves to this idea of “lost youth”, I vote for embracing the new decade and welcoming it with open arms. I’ve come up with thirty helpful ideas on how we can make our thirties our best decade yet.
We can make it a decade of nourishment for our minds, bodies and spirits.
1. Question your Beliefs -Wayne Dyer said it best when he said, “A belief system is nothing more than a thought you’ve thought over and over again.” We become so attached to a certain way of thinking we close ourselves off to the wonders of open-mindedness. Start with your strongest beliefs, they may be the most rooted in fear.
2. Listen to Talk Radio – If you don’t already, spend a little time each day tuning in to NPR in the US or CBC Radio 1 in Canada. Empower yourself by learning about interesting people and important situations you may not otherwise hear of.
3 . Start getting regular therapeutic massages – Most of us sit with computers on our laps or in front of us, and spend just as much time looking down at our phones. We need to do ourselves a favor and prevent damage to our bodies now – a good therapeutic massage can help with this. I swear by them.
4. Eat Clean – I don’t have to tell you guys about the terrible food system. I know you’re conscious of it (and McDonald’s is shaking in their boots.) But – make a commitment – eat mostly clean if you can. Whole, fresh foods. (Click here for some suggestions.)
5. Start or Join a book club – Ask your friends and family if they know of one, and if you can’t find one to join, start one yourself. (And think outside the box. I just joined one on Instagram using a specific hashtag that we all follow. Love the medium!)
6. Become a better Listener – I recently shared 4 reasons why we should try to become better listeners. The reasons include raising others self-esteem, and becoming more present. Read them all over on Beliefnet.
7. Say Goodbye to Envy – I just wrote about envy yesterday and its relation to social media. But it doesn’t just end there. Read my friend Michelle’s take on Comparison which I believe is an extension of envy. It’s a “Thief of Joy.”
8. Keep Judgments at Bay – There are many reasons why judging others not only hurts them, but hurts us as well. Read more here about how (and why) you should try to stop judging others.
9. Get to know the Ocean – Nature has healing properties yes, and I’ve never met a problem that the ocean couldn’t help solve. This vast mass of water has an energy field that cleanses and heals. Make an effort to visit it as often as you can (which may be once every few years, but it’s better than nothing).
10. Get your Hands Dirty – A while back I wrote about the idea that when we grow plants, they have the exact nutrients and minerals in them that our specific bodies require, (this idea comes from Dr. Christiane Northrup). So – get your hands dirty and start planting some food. (Kale is one of the most popular veggies these days and so easy to grow!)
11. Act without Motive – When you choose to do something for someone else, NEVER expect anything in return. The same goes for work. It may seem unnatural when it comes to the work side – of course you want that raise, but don’t expect it.
12. Take walks without music – I love listening to music while I walk, but take a couple of days a week to just listen to silence. It’s an easy way to train your mind to quiet down if you are struggling with meditation or just beginning.
13. Read one of these books – Trust me on this.
14. Be the Change – Don’t let the passion you feel for a certain cause or social issue go to waste, turn it into action. Start by researching what is lacking and what is needed and go from there. You don’t have to be a billionaire to change the world.
15. Watch the sunrise once a week - this is a simple act that can help to ground you and serves to remind that we are, as Rumi said, a mighty ocean in a drop.
16. Eat dinner outdoors regularly - Mealtime has become something we “get through” during our otherwise busy lives. Eating outside slows things down and allows us to experience some presence in our day.
17. Take a solo trip - Have you taken a trip alone? If not, be sure to make some time to do so. You learn a lot about yourself when you do.
18. Make a vision board of your dreams – Turn your dreams into something concrete with a vision board. It can help you to become more clear on what you really want. Let your spirit take the lead on this one and you will be pleasantly surprised with how it turns out.
19. Question Your Definition of Success – I wrote about success recently and how you define it. Do you define it by your career? Read on…
20. Learn to Meditate – Or unlearn to think. Here is a great beginners guide… It all starts with a candle.
21. Close Your Eyes & Leap – Take a chance on a business, or relationship. Step out of your comfort zone. This is where the magic happens.
22. Merge Passion with Business – Make decisions in your career to get you to your dream – each move a step closer. The most successful businesses stem from passion. This simple choice will help you live a life of true happiness.
23. Let your Intuition Guide You – If you can become more familiar with the quiet side of life, you will also tap into your intuition. Decisions flow much more easily when they come from this space.
24. Embrace your uniqueness – I know, I know… this sounds like typical Gen Y jargon, but since we are coming of age in an era of narcissism – it’s important to address this. We’ve been masquerading as a group full of self-esteem that is actually quite insecure. Let’s truly embrace what makes us unique and run with it.
25. Put Grudges to Rest – Let the life-long (thus far) grudges fall silently to the wayside. High school, college, first jobs – they are far behind now. The ability to forgive is an important element to overall well-being. Start your thirties with a clean slate.
26. Let Go Of Broken Friendships – The ones that are hanging on by a thread. Just let it go. We are constantly evolving and sometimes those old friendships have served their purpose and are holding us back from our own growth. Silently wish them the best them and move forward.
27. Make Time For Quality Friendships – On the other end of the spectrum, we can get so caught up in our busy lives we often neglect our wonderful friendships. Our time together is precious, and we never know how long we have with this person, so make time.
28. Contemplate Life – If you haven’t already, spend some time reading the great philosophers of our day. Mix in some modern spiritual gurus.
29. Face your fears – I wrote about facing the fear of death at length with some tips on how to address it here. This goes for all fears.