Thursday, October 15, 2020

7 Gifts from the Threaded Gem Adventure



Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

“If you have one true friend, you have more than your share.” ~Thomas Fuller

Rewind four years: Malana Ashlie, my Honduras writing sister and dear friend, wrote The Threaded Gem Adventure: How to Connect the Jewels in Your Life, to celebrate the ONEness of life and friendships.
Malana Ashlie, 2013

From the book's Introduction: “This is an idea and project that brought me joy. I want to spread the joy by sharing it with you. The idea came to me while I was trying to find a way to connect with all the people I care about for my 65th birthday. I was as many miles from them as they were from one another. How to connect with all of them brought the idea that I share with you here. 

Meaningful relationships are the treasures of living, and the people in those relationships are the jewels of our lives.

Although this story is my story, within the personal experience are directions for a craft that can connect or reconnect, rekindle and even lay the way for forgiveness. The basic directions are set apart like stepping stones, blocked in to make them easy to recognize and follow.”

I sent Malana a glowing email. 
I wanted her to know how much her inspiring idea touched me.
I wanted her to know how brilliant she was.
I wanted to experience my own threaded gem adventure!

Always the generous soul, Malana sent me her book as an early birthday present. 
Months later as my 60 birthday approached, I embraced her directions to “connect the jewels in my life.” 

Porch time and the last time I saw Malana, 2017. (L-r Ginny Monroe, Malana & me)
Today's blog post is dedicated to my dear friend, Malana. 

This spring she left her earth suit to meet her heavenly friends and family. My words gratefully go to all my friends and family who joined me on this adventure. I am grateful to celebrate 64 turns-around-the-sun, I AM!

Should you choose to undertake this threaded gem adventure, 
you might encounter these 7 gifts:

Gift #1. Completion:“I’m a big believer in putting things off. In fact, I even put off procrastinating.” ~Lisa Kleypas

Real life showed up despite all of my enthusiastic intentions four years ago to immediately construct my treasure necklace! The many happy detours included my daughter’s wedding; her pregnancy and; grandson Blake’s arrival. Creativity also happily consumed me while designing and delivering 10 online writing courses for the first time.

The beads and their tender birthday messages waited patiently for me until last week. And I imagine friends and family did too—or I hope so! When things are supposed to happen, they happen. Right?

4 am * Yeah! No more waiting! No makeup either.
Gift #2. Gratitude: “Gratitude without expressing is similar to wrapping a gift and not giving it away.” ~Unknown

Finally, I can publicly say THANK YOU AGAIN to the friends and family who joined me in this threaded gem adventure while crafting a new story of our relationship. You are most precious and dear to me! (To the new friends encountered over the past four years, know that there’s a new treasure necklace in the process with a forthcoming invitation.)

Gift #3. Detachment:“Don’t take anything personally.” Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
Each days' snail mail delivery brought this lesson to my doorstep to practice as my October 14 birthday approached. I won't lie. 
It was tough learning that it was mental flagellation to continue asking, “Why hasn’t ___ replied and sent me a bead or told me they’re not participating?” 
In time, I did release the squirrel chatter and found peace. 

Who and what showed up was perfect, and so was everyone who didn’t show up.

Listening for the Whisper to tell me which envelope to open...
Gift #4. Delayed gratification: “What is delayed is not lost…” ~Juliette Drouet
Intentionally, I waited three weeks for my birthday morning to open and read the contents of the padded envelopes. Lovingly sequestered for 4 years, these treasures filled a large shopping bag. I felt more expectancy than waiting for any Christmas morning! Finally, my 60 birthday arrived. While meditating and breathing, I energetically let my hand touch an envelope. Each one was a precious gift to be opened slowly and reverently.

Gift #5. The Ripple. Many influences cause separation. However, just as many things can bring people together. The people of the world are beginning to awaken to the understanding there is no separation. 
This bead idea carries the message of connection. 
We are one. 
May the ripple continue to spread.” ~Malana Ashlie

Each bead and message brought joy and tears over the next two hours of unveilment—this was a process to cherish and slowly savor. Hopefully, Malana’s message and this blog post will inspire you to venture out on a threaded gem adventure.

My mom Clare, treasure necklace co-designer
Gift #6. Co-creation: “When we think with love, we are literally co-creating with God.” ~Marianne Williamson

All parts of the threaded gem adventure contained thoughts of love starting with Malana’s original idea to my invitation to family and friends to share a bead and memory to my mom, Clare, who constructed the three treasure necklaces.

Mom, her bestie Liz, and I collaborated to design each necklace first by colors. I'm certain that God and the angels joined our creative chats.The chakras inspired the length and assemblage of each one: the longest one represented the lower chakras with red, orange, and yellow beads; the second necklace combined the middle chakras with green and blue beads and; the shortest necklace combined the higher chakra colors with white, silver, and gold beads.

Gift #7. ONEness: “The I that is we.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
Malana dedicated The Threaded Gem Adventure to ONEness saying, 
“I hope that the story it contains and the connection of the beads help the people of the world return to the understanding that there is no separation between fellow human beings regardless of color, race or religion.”

Gratefully celebrating the "jewels" in my life!
I feel this ONEness when I see my treasure necklace connecting dozens of different colors, textures, and sizes of beads--symbolic of the diversity of people who bless my life. I feel it through the weight of the three colorful separate strands that appear as one. I remember each bead message and the gentle person who shared it with me. I appreciate this beautiful symbol to remind me of ONEness.

Now: May you also wear the idea and feel ONEness. That's all Malana would want.
It's all I seek today for my extra unwrapped birthday present.

I already have the greatest treasure--my friends and family.

I am blessed with more than one jewel of a true friend.

I am grateful, I am.

Amen

P.S. Interested in crafting your relationships into something memorable and beautiful? Check out Malana's book, the Threaded Gem Adventure: How to Connect The Jewels in Your Life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

RBG: A Brief Homage to a sHero's Supreme Life

 Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions


No words. Just three letters. RBG.
And let's try forming some brief words about this ordinary supersHero.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) wrote many briefs during her 27 years of serving our nation as a Supreme Court Justice (1993 to 2020).

For non-lawyer types like me, “A brief (Old French from Latin “brevis,” short) is a written legal document used in various legal adversarial systems that are presented to a court arguing why one party to a particular case should prevail.”

These briefs helped change and cement the votes of SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) for longer, life-changing issues, especially for women.

There’s no way that the accomplishments of RBG can be contained in one blog. 

So, let me be brief.

Here are highlights that call us to pay homage to an extraordinary woman who left us for a Higher Court on Rosh Hashanah (one of the holiest days in Judaism), the evening of September 18, 2020:

If you are a woman who has, on your own, signed a lease or bought property, thank RBG. (Before, a male co-signer was needed.)

If you are a woman who has been able to keep your job while pregnant or if you are a working mom, thank RBG.

If you are a woman with a credit card in your name only, thank RBG.

If you are a female who has been admitted to a school or college which was once an “all-male” institution, thank RBG.

If you have benefited from Title IX (Protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs), thank RBG.

If you have benefited from the equal pay laws, thank RBG.

If you are a man who has been covered by your wife’s medical benefits, thank RBG.

If you are a man who has been able to receive survivor’s benefits from Social Security, thank RBG.

If you have appointed a woman to be the executor of your estate, thank RBG.

Two wishes.

To all Americans, it’s payback time. Not just those who claim to be “Red” or “Blue.”

It’s time to thank Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It’s time to now honor her dying wish. Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera:

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

This was included in Bader’s obituary written by National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg, likely the best-known Supreme Court reporter in the United States, who had been friends with Ginsburg for five decades. 

Wish #1. May her memory be a revolution. 

Since we are Ruth-less, let us be ruthless in our determination to show resistance to naming a new Supreme Court Justice until January with the new president. 

Take this simple, 10-second step. (No confidential information is needed.)

SNOPES verifies this to be true:

If you text RBG to 50409, Resistbot will send a letter to your Senators, from you, opposing the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice until after the election. 

Women and men owe her a massive debt by expressing gratitude and voting to defend what she lived her life protecting: Freedom, democracy, and the Constitution.

 Wish #2. “May her memory be for blessing.”

Those who die on the Jewish New Year holiday are considered “tzadik,” a title given to the righteous and saintly.

Heartachingly, millions around the nation and the world will sorely miss “The Notorious RBG.”

Amen


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

9 Ways to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote


SPINNING YOUR GOLD: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

"We're not red or blue. We're red, white, and blue. We're Americans." -Govenor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)


DID YOU KNOW? 
IT’S NATIONAL WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY!
Yes, we are all Americans. 
So today, let's act like it and discuss something bigger than a political candidate or a convention. Let's put COVID-19 news on the back burner.

With love and gratitude, let's celelebrate the American suffragettes, their global sister activists, and friends --all who worked (and even died) to give women the precious privilege and sacred duty to vote.

First, start by knowing.
"The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women full and equal voting rights on this day in 1920. Every year on August 26, we commemorate this right with National Women’s Equality Day. 

Birth of a Movement
While in London at the World Anti-Slavery Convention 1840, several women were denied access to the convention floor planting the seeds for a women’s rights movement. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Staton, along with Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt, set in motion plans for the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Held at Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20, 1848, the conference drew 200 women the first day. On the second day, the convention opened to men, and some did attend.
Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. ~ 9th Resolution of the Seneca Falls Convention 1848.

During the convention, leaders presented 12 resolutions. They enumerated in the rights that women should be equal to men socially, economically, legally, and representatively. Of the resolutions, all but the 9th were approved unanimously. The right to vote created concern. Many women felt it would cause large numbers of their backers to withdraw their support. However, after much debate and the support of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the 9th resolution also passed.



The Right to Vote
Woman’s suffrage began in earnest in the United States then. Another advocate, Susan Brownell Anthony, joined Stanton in 1869 to create the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Through nearly ten years of persistence and lobbying, the NWSA introduced an amendment in 1878. Despite years of debate and finally to the floor of Congress in 1886, only to be defeated.

Ultimately, it would take another 34 years before a new amendment made it to Congress. For several years, advocates continued passing the batons. New states entered the union. Their constitutions included rights for women that states before them never had – the right to vote. Civil disobedience ensued. Eventually, with women gaining equality, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.” 

Here’s a list of nine ways how to observe #WomensEqualityDay today and every day until November 3, 2020:

1. Use #WomensEqualityDay to post on social media; comment and share this blog. (Thank you in advance.)

2. Create a Voting Plan.

3. Change your Facebook profile picture to encourage voting or your voting choice.

4. Post positives about your candidate, the election, or voting.

5. Learn more about the women’s civil rights movement and the 19th Amendment. Read to appreciate the suffragettes sHeroes. Say their names like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Brownell Anthony, Alice Paul, Emmeline Pankhurst, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Kean, and Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

6. Know the date when your absentee ballot is arriving if you’re voting this way.
7. Join a political Facebook group for information and inspiration.

8. Delve further into history and learn about the efforts of advocates in your home state. Study Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, or Alice Paul. We’ve done some of the work for you. Read about these 5 Notable Leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement


9. VOTE AND HELP OTHERS DO THE SAME!


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

6 Steps to Become an Ordinary Postal Hero

Spinning Your Gold: Words That Open Hearts and Inspire Actions


The postal carrier’s bag is always heavy because it carries life itself: It carries all the sorrows and all the joys, all the worries and all the hopes! 
Mehmet Murat ildan, Turkish author and playwright 

Ensconced in the U.S. Constitution, the credible threat is real to this institution established in 1639. You’ve seen photos of mailboxes and mail trucks carted away; many mailboxes remain though several are locked up.

Feeling like a pinch now, millions already know the subtle impacts of delayed deliveries or letters and parcels still MIA (missing in action).

Left unchecked, this partisan move meant to harm the Postal Service's vitality and viability will forever cripple the welfare of all American citizens. Millions of once happy faces that you and I will never meet in person need the USPS.

We are all, at some time, dependent on the timely, consistent mail delivery for overseas and stateside voting not to mention the distribution of checks, medicines, food, and supplies. 

Many seniors or COVID-19 quarantined people don’t have computers or friends to deliver these essential items.

Saving the United States Postal System is not just a nostalgic act. 

It’s much more: It’s a heroic, life-saving action we must now take together!

It’s payback time. It's time to support our everyday, ordinary heroes who "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."



Take these six simple steps to become an ordinary postal hero:

1. Say 'thank you' to your postal carrier. Let them know with a note or a face-to-face meeting that you’re concerned for their welfare and livelihood. Let them know how much you appreciate their service and what you’re doing to support them. Feeling generous? Leave a gift card in the thank you note. (Expect tears. My postal carrier cried when I did this weeks ago, and then wrote me a thank you note!)

2. Buy stamps. Some of our nation’s birthing pains came with the 1774 revolt against the Stamp Act from our then-Mother County, the United Kingdom. Seems when it came to taxing the colonist’s daily ritual and luxury of sipping tea, that was too much. We know how the Boston Tea Party ended.

It seems ironic that we’d now buy stamps to help restore (and ensure) the freedom of sending and receiving mail. Did you know that much of the funding for the USPS comes from the purchase of these emblems of communication?

If you can’t order stamps online, you can ask your postal carrier to do this. Don’t use snail mail? Consider changing. Send letters and postcards to your representatives or clients, friends, and family. Buy online here.  

3. Become an armchair activist if you aren’t already. There’s a grassroots group that’s working to save the USPS. They share information about direct actions like signing petitions. You can find more information about their efforts and how to get involved. Get information at Save The Post Office. 



4. Call your members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and put their numbers in your phone.
Demand they take these urgent steps to protect the USPS:
* Fully fund it; right now, it’s subject to partisan whims as a political weapon
* Pass legislation to further to prevent further (and future) sabotage
* Demand Postmaster Louis DeJoy to reverse the damage he’s already done.
* Investigate DeJoy’s conflict of interests; direct action is needed now! 
-Source: Robert Reich

5.Vote Early. If you do plan to vote by mail, voting early can help ensure that the USPS is not overwhelmed at the last minute. The website Vote.org provides a clear summary of early-voting rules by state.


God bless and keep you all safe. Thank you for your service!

6. Pray. This can get you started:
“Quietly now, with a pure perception of wholeness, I pray for our United States Postal Service.

May the men and women of this institution feel valued and on purpose with their work, and may they have a sense of joy in fulfilling their calling. 

May each parcel of mail be delivered timely and with an air of great blessing, and may the awesome responsibility of this wonderful, connecting service be honored and upheld.

May individuals the world over feel connected one to each other.

And may I thrill with the notion that my bits of correspondence are finding their way into the hands of people who matter to me.

Thank you, God, forever.

Amen” 

– Rev. Scott, scott@theartofspiritualliving.org

Please, open your heart and take one inspired action today

What will you do 
to save your United States Postal System? 

Let me know in the comments and what you found helpful.



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Let's Celebrate Kamala Harris Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

SPINNING YOUR GOLD: WORDS THAT OPEN HEARTS AND INSPIRE ACTION

You may recall that at the Vancouver Peace Summit in September 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama declared that “The world will be saved by the Western woman.”

The fallout and op-eds crashed around even this holiest of holy souls for his ‘feminist’ statement as if being a feminist was terrible.

Well, I’ll take a cue from him and boldly declare that she’s arrived to represent --for this slice of time -- all western and eastern women and to help save the world. 

Announced yesterday by Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic candidate for POTUS, she’s the vice-presidential candidate for the November 3 election in the still greatest country on earth.

She is Kamala Devi Harris. 

Say her name.

“My name is pronounced “comma-la,” like the punctuation mark,” Kamala Harris writes in her 2018 autobiography, The Truths We Hold.” It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is the symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flowers rising above the surface while the roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”

Whatever your politics or opinions, it’s a her-storical moment to be celebrated by every woman, of every age, everywhere, and not dissected or dismissed.

Harris now rises like the lotus flower from the mud and muck of our times to help us see and embrace a new American light.

I agree with Isaac Newton, who believed ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.’ Consider and celebrate the shoulders of Giants that have (and will) help Harris see further:


The giants of politics - Harris is the third woman to run as a vice-presidential candidate for a major U.S. party. It’s unimaginable to believe that only four women have found space and recognition on America’s national ballot after 200 years of elections!

In 1984 Geraldine “Gerry” Ferraro (D-NY) became the first female vice-presidential nominee representing an American major political party.  She joined Walter Mondale (D-MN) for a presidential bid losing to Ronald Regan. Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of Alaska, was second as the running mate of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008. 
“Service is the rent your pay for room on this earth.” -Shirley Chisholm (1924 -2005)
Let’s not forget Shirley Chisholm (D-NY). Her-story shows that ‘In the 1972 United States presidential election, she became the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.’

While pondering the lacking representation of female leadership, contrast it with population facts: The populationfemale (% of total) in the United States was reported at 50.52 % in 2019, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources, according to TardingEconomics.com. 

In 2020 numbers, that translates to 162 million males and 169 females—7 million more women!

As Chisholm encouraged, “If you’re not invited to the table, bring a folding chair.”

Parents of Kamala Harris celebrating her election to California’s Senate. Photo (L-r) Donald Harris, Kamala Harris, and the late Shyamala Gopalan Harris.

The giants of ancestors - Born in Oakland, CA, she imminently qualifies as a western and eastern woman. The sacred soil of her beginning originated in diverse parents with an Indian-born mother, and a Jamaican-born father.



The giants of suffragettes - With the global pandemic occupying much, if not all, of our personal and media attention, let’s not forget that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. 

Did you know that on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified into the U.S. Constitution, forever protecting American women’s right to vote? So, it makes sense that August is National Women’s Suffrage Month. 

(Sadly, African-American women didn’t receive this voting right until 1965, and the unjust struggle remains in many states.)

It wasn’t easy to secure a woman’s right to vote. Hard-fought and often bloody battles led by the-then radical American suffragettes won the war for equality with support from global sister activists and other progressives.

Many women (and men) were imprisoned, beaten, and some died while working on getting the white, male-dominated federal government to allow women to vote. Giants of voting equality included names like Susan Brownell Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Emmeline Pankhurst, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Kean, and Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

Say their names. 

Say all their names.

For today, I pray that ...

Poets poet,
Writers write,
Musicians sing
And people everywhere, celebrate Kamala Devi Harris standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Say her name.



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