Do unto others

We are all born free and equal. We have a right to be treated fairly, whoever and wherever we are. And under law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

We all have a right to food, shelter, education, representation and protection.  And to live in a world order if we take personal responsibility to guarantee all the above.

Still, today, even as we tap ourselves on the back, an uncomfortable feeling gnaws at us inside.  Perhaps a look further back will help.

The oldest written codes of conduct of our history contain the same Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” say the Bible, the Hindu Vedas, the Torah, and the Analects of Confucius.

The earliest human societies were egalitarian and fair; pre-agriculture, there was no such thing as a gender divide or social hierarchy to roles.

The ancient Greeks gave each free man a vote. The ancient Egyptians gave it to women too. Gender parity was the legal, economic, social norm; Egyptian women could even become pharaohs.

Love was free for all in ancient Greece and Rome. In pre-Constantine Europe and pre-colonial Africa, whom a man or woman chose to love was their business alone.

The Native Americans believed in sustainability, so that their seventh generation grandsons also could.

Ancient civilizations built temples, statues, shrines, to worship different gods. Today those get blown up because some find their existence threatening. They wrote books and built libraries that have been burned, because some are in favor of ideas so long as they duplicate their own. And as fences and walls get erected, some feel a need to catapult others beliefs, voice their judgment, and demonstrate a glaring racial intolerance for others.

Last November, I was at a party in which it was assumed I was of an ethnic origin; the same as the person who asked. With my revelation came, “Oh no, you’re not.” Now I ask why would someone want to negate another? Because they can’t accept neither truth nor differences. And their consciousness is closed.

So, I ask, are we in a movement of evolution or revolution of man against man? And how can we direct ourselves in a progressive manner?

What are you doing to live in a better world?

Watch Sunset

Yesterday I intended to upload this blog post, but the day got ahead of me with appointments and I spent time seeking the right avenue to create a play list. I found it and it will be posted next time. Then I heard about the disaster in Nice and goose bumps flooded my body in the heat of the day, as it confirmed much emotion. And the world reverberates with calls of prayer for the victims in the attacks.

As I see it, there is a divide between ideas and ideologies with struggles in communication. This gap is between the urge of expansion and the need for consolidating a belief and/or political systems. This is as much of a challenge to humanity whether it is expressed as Islamic fundamentalism underscoring the various conflicts in the Middle East or as the self-righteous rhetoric going on now with the presidential elections in the U.S.

Instead of fighting with anger and more guns, let’s try the Gandhi approach. Let’s align ourselves with the Muslim brethren to dialogue and negotiate offering a peace pipe. There is no peace without prayer. Only through peace do we acknowledge that as humans we share the same basic needs and desires. By bringing in clergy, peace makers and others who understand the Koran, and the sub-religions it has produced can we build an alliance beginning with government, to regional and grass-roots levels. Words may prove helpful to give form, focus, and support observations with a goal of practical implementation of rules, and understanding a particular religious and philosophical perspective.

If we strive to understand the myths and realities of Jihad, education becomes our weapon against the fight. While it may not immediately turn things around, if we allow unconstructive expression to persist, it triggers the attracting of glamour and illusion of martyrdom masquerading as universal truth. Instead let’s embrace our similarities and jointly address God. In the past differences in religion created thorns. Keep in mind even Jesus was seen as a radical in his day. At a time when Muslims are expecting to be ostracized, — expecting to be hated, love them, and create another outcome.

Use the breath, meditation, and prayerful aspiration to stay centered, which means holding steady to a center of inner magnetism that transcends multiplicity and expresses unity. This requires dis-identification with mind and identification with Self. If this process is already known to you, you have already won half the current and near-term battles. Only by working in harmony, with civility and respect is there a possibility for a social order that is administered with love and inclusivity.

France, is our friend, pray not only when she is in trouble, continuously and for world peace.

Now for the post that should have been…

Do you love fireworks? I do. I also love the Eiffel Tower. Every year, France combines the two, and you have Bastille Day, on July 14.

It commemorates the Fête de la Fédération, a huge feast and official event that took place on July 14, 1790, the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

The storming of the Bastille is seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French government. The Bastille was a prison, and a symbol of the absolute power of King Louis XVI. By capturing the Bastille, the French citizens made it clear that the king’s power was no longer absolute, and that they demanded a voice in how they were ruled.

The storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty, and the fight against oppression for all French people. And so began the French Revolution, and a new form of government. Akin to American 4th of July, it represents freedom.all-white-outfit-rainbow-accessories

As I see it, summer also represents freedom; not because of politics or history but because of our natural attunement to water, and the ocean. Nothing screams more than summer than wearing all white. Another one of my loves, especially when it’s teamed up with tan or beige- it looks so clean and polished. I’ve chosen two fashion picks that I’d wear in a heartbeat; one that says let’s play and the other than says I know what I want.

frenchgirl

Now that I have your eyes, let’s turn to your ears…

Are we alone?

Lately I have been hearing about Pluto being a dwarf planet. With my knowledge of astronomy, knowing it was small, I haven’t paid much attention but today I found something that I consider more worthwhile in our vast and fascinating universe.

TwoEarths

For the first time, scientists have found what appears to be a rocky world orbiting a Sun-like star at almost exactly the same distance that Earth orbits our own Sun. While other potentially habitable planets have been found before, this is the first that could plausibly be another Earth. Is it possible that we have a clone?

Kepler 452b, found by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is located 1,400 light-years from us. It orbits a star that is 4% more massive and 10% brighter than our Sun. The planet itself is 1.6 times the size of Earth – making it a super-Earth – but scientists are fairly sure that it is a rocky world, owing to its size and the type of star it orbits.

Its orbit, 384.84 Earth days and 5% more distant than our planet is from the Sun, places it right in its star’s habitable zone, where it is not too hot or cold for liquid water to form: the same region Earth is in around the Sun. This is not the first Earth-sized planet found in last year, when the world was abuzz with the discovery of Kepler 186f.

Although the mass of the planet can’t be directly determined yet, scientists think it may be about five times that of Earth based on models. A rocky planet of this size and mass would likely still have an active volcanic surface.

However, it should be noted that the star it orbits is 1.5 billion years older than our Sun. On the one hand, this increased energy from its star means that any oceans on its surface are likely being evaporated, lowering its chance of being habitable. On the other hand, this planet offers a fascinating opportunity to see what might become of Earth in the future.

Ever since I read the books of Zecharia Sitchen in the early 90’s I have been fascinated by planetary events past, current and future. It lead me into a spiral of questions regarding archaeology and to embrace science fiction and question: are we alone? Now I am certain we are not.

While Kepler 452b suggests that it may be our Earths twin, there is one fact that remains ambiguous – its size, which is 60% greater than Earth. So while NASA is heralding it as the best candidate for a second Earth, the hunt will go on for even more Earth-like planets.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Avalanche

Left to right; Director: Juan Garza, Sound: Bill Hartman, Cinematographer: Tom Taplin, and Producer: Linda Martinez.
Left to right; Director: Juan Garza, Sound: Bill Hartman, Cinematographer: Tom Taplin, and Producer: Linda Martinez.

Last Saturday I read about the Nepal earthquake. The loss of lives was tremendous. Late that afternoon I went to a home in Hastings Ranch. The lovely ranch style home was open and inviting with windows all around. The backyard was a forest with a backdrop of a mountain. One side of the view was the entire San Gabriel valley. The final view was the dramatic swimming pool lined with lovely ficus’ surrounding the water. It was easy amongst natural beauty to forget that all of this is only temporary.

Kirtan (songs) were being performed and when they concluded we were asked to consider those whose lives had been lost and those who were left homeless by the Nepal devastation as a moment of reflection.

The toll has reached over 3,700 from the massive earthquake. It wasn’t until Sunday that I was told that one of the victims was a man I knew and admired that I had worked with on my short-film, The Trouble with Tonia, Tom Taplin, http://heavy.com/news/2015/04/tom-taplin-american-filmmaker-documentary-nepal-mount-mt-everest-dead-killed-avalanche-earthquake-photos-video-family-funeral-memorial-fundraiser-dan-freidenburg-marisa-eve-girawong-quake-deaths-wife/ a filmmaker from Santa Monica. The third American confirmed dead.

Tom was gifted and creative, a gently guy that took his work seriously. He worked with filmmaker Agnes Varda and was respected for his work ethic. Ironically, later that day I found this photo, from our wrap party that I share with you.

So what is death? A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. A Spiritual death, which in my mind is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. Regardless of what we believe in, it’s a jolt when we hear about death.

Let’s keep in mind one thing, our time here is short, and can be gone in a flash, each individual needs to ingrain a mind-set of optimism and happiness regardless of what’s going on in their lives. All of what happens in our outer world can bring us back to the center of our being. Be grateful for life!

Now is the Time

CarmenMirScience has proven gratitude can make you a happier person.  According to a recent study I read, and I don’t remember from where but saved the quote —“materialists are less happy partly because they have difficulty being grateful for what they have. As we amass more and more possessions, we don’t get any happier, we simply raise our reference point.”

I have witnessed many keeping up with the Joneses; only to remind me of what it must have been like for Sisyphus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus) pushing the boulder up the mountain only to have it fall back to the bottom. No matter how hard he tried, it was a meaningless escapade where there was no top. But we do not have to be Sisyphus destined to be cursed to continue struggling for an eternity. We can learn gratitude and focus on what we have instead of longing for what we don’t have.

Being grateful can do many positive things in your life. It keeps you cognizant of everything you have accomplished to be proud of; turning a negative outlook into a positive one. It can help keep your perspective on what is important in your life, and reminds you to be thankful in an affirmative way.

The finding suggests those who feel grateful show more willpower. And it made a connection between gratitude and long-term thinking, which may help people quit smoking, lose weight, and spend money responsibly.

So do your best to be consciously observant of your abundance and remind yourself what a precious (and short-term) gift life is.


Modern Greek tragedy

Tout ce qui brille n’est pas
All that glitters isn’t gold.

Fifty years is a long time. But few events cast such a long shadow such as the shock and intrigue surrounding the death of John F. Kennedy. He will forever be enshrined in mystique by an assassin’s bullet, and because he died young and in office, his presidency has often defied objective appraisal.

American Experience: JFK, was on this week as a two-part series. I couldn’t keep my eyes open past the first twenty minutes on the first night, when the film covered his childhood and clownish antics as the privileged but sickly second son of one of the wealthiest men in America. However, I was alert to part-two when it explored his successful run for the U.S. Senate, and the game-changing presidential campaign that made him the youngest elected president in U.S. History.

The series offered new perspectives on his complicated private life, including his relationship with his wife, his close connection to his younger brother, Robert, and his complex bond with his powerful father.KennedysWatching the film, gave a fresh perspective on the man; his accomplishments and his unfulfilled promise. In less than three years, his presidency set the tone for man walking on moon, the Civil Rights movement, the Peace Corps, the Special Olympics, a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union, the promotion of the Arts, Medicare and more. Both his domestic and foreign plans may not have come into fruition until the next administration but it was his initiation that gave life to their being.

In addition to his achievements, I think he is revered in the hearts of many for his oratory gift. His speeches captivate my attention. They are formal without being stuffy. Intelligent without being elitist. No other President in my life-time even comes close. Listen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLmiOEk59n8

That talent along with his human rights initiatives and charisma enhanced his appeal as the enigmatic man who remains one of our most beloved Presidents, as the myth of Camelot lives on.