Inspiration, Jr. Day

Ordinary People become Extraordinary Social Change Leaders

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

I’m presenting an act to you, without leaving your desk or chair: Signing a petition.

The following stories are close to my own heart and experiences: childhood poverty, unaffordable insulin costs, and climate change. They may be close to yours too. These petitions and content are from Change.org.

“Today, to honor Martin Luther King Jr., we celebrate all the social justice leaders who followed in his wake. The fight for equality has made tremendous steps forward since the March on Washington in 1963. And there is more work to be done.

Here are a few of their stories:

Fighting for affordable health care is a social justice issue

Richard’s fight for fairness is personal. His son, Trevon, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 4, and it rocked their family. Trevon’s survival now depends on regular doses of insulin. But even with good health insurance, families like theirs struggle to pay for the expensive medication.

Richard’s petition is asking state lawmakers to cap the price of insulin. And he’s a part of an even larger movement of changemakers with the same mission. As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, the fight to fix the health care system is a fight against inequality.

Jerome is a remarkable 17-year-old leader in the youth climate movement. Every Friday, he goes on strike in front of the White House to demand lawmakers act before it’s too late.

Jerome has started multiple petitions related to the climate movement. And he’s signed many, many more. His Friday strikes in D.C. echo the lessons of civil disobedience that Martin Luther King Jr. taught previous generations.

What can a U.S. President do to solve childhood poverty? It’s been 20 years since presidential candidates on the debate stage were asked the question. As we move closer to the 2020 election, Israel thinks it’s time the public gets an answer.

At the core of Israel’s petition: Make sure the United States is committed to ending childhood hunger, poverty, and homelessness. Israel is a true social justice leader fighting to make the world a safer place for all.

These extraordinary leaders are taking social change forward. And each started with one simple first step: they started a petition.

Through collective action, they’re bringing fairness, equity, and justice to their communities. Please sign and share their petitions today to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s lasting impact.”

If you share the petitions on social media, you expand their range. That’s also an act of service.

Thank you for reading and signing.

Creativity, Inspiration, Nature, Self Care

A Surfer’s Haiku

beach
My beach

The title’s a bit misleading. I’m neither a surfer nor did a surfer create this poem.

I am fortunate to live close to several beaches in Southern California. Most coastal Californian’s can tell you that the weather at the beach, especially in the last decade, is unpredictable.

Today, on a January afternoon, the temperature rose to 70 degrees with little wind. The sun shone hot on my patio when I stepped outside, geared up with my gloves and electrical hedger. Perspiration moistened the brim of my hat before I got started trimming. I hesitated.

Born and raised in this area, I can smell the sea air on most days. My thoughts turned to the ocean breeze a mere six miles away. I could cut the last three overgrown bushes, or I could go with the first impression of what I’d rather be doing. I followed my gut and grabbed a beach towel, my journal, and my water bottle shouting ‘back soon’ to my daughter.

Many more people had the same idea by the looks of the beach parking lot, but I found a large patch of cool sand on a knoll. The roar of the ocean waves, punctuated by kid’s delighted screams, were only outdone by equally excited dogs.

The mid-day sun glassed the ocean, making my eyes squint to watch intrepid sailboats and marvel at brave surfers.

surfers
surfing spot

Scientists say the negative ions of the ocean air calm the brain, and walking barefoot grounds us to the earth. This must be so.

Soon, creativity took over, and I thought of a haiku.

The beach beckons,

blazing blue,

oceans roar

an invitation to surf.

I’ll grant you this isn’t a ‘true’ haiku of 5/7/5 syllables per line, but it’s an example of nature inspiring creativity.

Scientists also say that getting outdoors and connecting with the earth will help your mental well-being.

I wrote a few pages in my journal, took a nap on the sand and listened. Nature nurtured me, and don’t we all need that from time to time?

Think about what nurtures you and go out and live it.

The hedges can wait.

Lazy afternoon at the beach

Inspiration, poetry

What are Your Yes’s and No’s for 2020?

Photo by Denise Karis

 

Re-reading my 2018 journal entry, I see that I wrote: “I am content.”

In 2019, I did a lot of stuff, traveled a few places, wrote a whole lot, read 37 books, spent too much time on Netflix, and laughed a lot.

I hope to do more of the same in 2020.

Another entry that I read in my reflection is this, a part of a poem by Esther Cohen, Writer, and Poet in New York City. I loved the intent then, and now. I say ‘YES’ to this:

 

I’ll try instead to hear more music,

to open my arms wider,

to read more

of other people’s beautiful sentences

and write a few myself.

 

For 2020, Ms. Cohen wrote a few verses of what she won’t do, which made me laugh because I’m like-minded. Here’s an excerpt:

I will not sign up for a Tai Chi class

even though more or less everyone

says it’s a Good Idea.  Tried a few times.

No dice.

5

I will not stop eating

gluten, sugar, and everything else white.

 

So, ‘NO’, I will not go on Keto, or take Pilates, or keep up with Facebook or Instagram, or be unkind, or burn myself out, or burn someone else out.

‘YES,’ I will read, I will write most days, I will take a chance, visit abroad, hike a little more, binge Outlander Season 4 and whatever else I love on Netflix/Hulu, and I will partake of dark chocolate and red wine.

I like the simplicity of saying ‘YES’ to ideas/actions and ‘NO’ to others, especially without guilt or anger.

Now go fill a few lines in a notepad with “I’m saying YES to:” and “I’m saying NO to:”

Here’s to the YES’s and to the NO’s. May you be filled with light, love, and laughter!

photo by Jamie Street for unsplash.com

 

 

 

Writing

How to Declutter Your Frightening Writing Space

Albert Einstein

Please excuse my wording, but I have too much crap in my writing area.

My bulletin board is cluttered with post-its, cards, and pins all askew. To make things worse, someone figured my room needed a few empty Amazon boxes, along with the cat’s scratching treehouse, and I haven’t filed bills in six months.

Given that the new year is approaching, and today’s the last Saturday of the year, my thoughts turned to clear out the old to make room for the new. A form of self-care, if your will.

I’m not a clean freak, but even I know when too much stuff is too much. I’d snap a photo of the clutter, but I’m embarrassed.

My daughter gave me a cool “Computer Memo Board.” These are two pieces of acrylic that stick to the left and right side of your laptop or desktop. They are meant as organizational tools. I think this was a hint.

Okay, I’m bypassing the shame so I can show you the memo boards:

My Messy Space. You Get the Picture.

 

This is the second photo because I had to hang a yellow piece of paper up in the right top corner, so the boards are visible.

According to a study, having “multiple visual stimuli present within the range of one’s view will result in those stimuli competing for neural representation.”

In layman’s terms, the more clutter you can see, the more quickly you’ll find yourself distracted. If I’m distracted with the sticky-notes, bills, and pins, that’s what I’ll see instead of a blank screen ready for new opportunities.

Now, I’m itching to clean and declutter but need to finish this first.

I Googled how to begin decluttering, and I promise I will follow my own advice (after I finish this post).

1. Clear out the top of your desk

Get rid of anything broken or unnecessary. Start with the pens/markers that no longer have ink. Move on to computer accessories: cords that used to go to who-knows-what equipment, flash drives, unused or outdated external hard drives. Eliminate duplicate office products—you only need one stapler and one tape dispenser.

2. Sort the books on your desk by their importance

Keep books on your desk, which you refer to more than once a week: a thesaurus, inspirational, or book on craft.

3. Declutter the Bulletin Board. 

What defines your writing space. (Any guesses about mine?) Choose what you want to display and get rid of anything more distracting than helpful.

4. Improve your storage system

Place your most used items within reach for easy access. Less important tools can be placed in a drawer. If you did #1 above, the task is much easier.

5. Create a wide-open desktop.

This will be difficult for me. I need to be bold and get rid of stuff I can do without. Do I need so many pens out? Can I file half of the bills? Do I need to have two vitamin bottles behind my laptop?

6. Focus on clearing the space and set a timer to do it quickly.

When you’re satisfied that what’s on your desktop is only what you really need at hand when you’re working, remove all of the necessary items and dust your desk and laptop. Use a compressed air can to de-crumb your keyboard, unless you have a silicone cover like mine (which is way old). In that case, shake it out and wash the thing.

Right now, I think I can handle twenty minutes of clearing and cleaning. The desk won’t look like this one, but progress, right?

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

 

By clearing and minimizing your writing space, you free up your mind to think more clearly and be more creative.

That alone is worth sorting through some files and tossing out some clutter, don’t you think?

If you have any tips or tricks, share them in the comments!