Mini Sunday Sermon, Part III, Stardusted

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .

“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”

Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe.  All is  from the same matter.

We are made of stardust. It’s like a line from a song, but there is some solid science behind this : Almost every element on earth, including you and me, was formed from the heart of a star.

Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.

When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us. 

The explosion disperses these elements across the universe, scattering the stardust through stellar winds which makes up planets including Earth, eventually some of it finds its way into our bodies.

There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses:  The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future. 

I admit I don’t understand science.

How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat?   We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .

Not only are our hearts synchronizing, our brain waves vibrating in unison but the very atoms of our cells are dying, being reborn and quivering in recognition we are all made of stardust.

Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.

     *          *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

Mini Sunday Sermon – Interconnectedness of all Beings, part I

I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics.  Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics.  Thinking is one thing, writing another . . .  and sermonizing? . .  .

My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most.  Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.  

Here’s the first 5 minutes:

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“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “   –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)

Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood.  Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any.  Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.

My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.

I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents)newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.

During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)  

At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school.  There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows.  In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors.  Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole.  It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.

The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.  

I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed.  Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace.  The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe.  Another night I added my younger brother.  I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar.  Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative.  Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them.  It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar.  One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . .  . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.

    *       *       *

To read Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

Read Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

 

“When the waters rise, so do our better angels.”*

“Get busy helping someone else and see — over time — the things you might have in common, instead of only the things that might divide you.”

“Remember what can happen when we love our neighbors as ourselves. There are storms that bring us together and storms that divide us. We have a chance now to choose. Harvey already has reminded us what we’re capable of, when we come together.”

Angelic Meowie from CATNIPblog

“The recovery ahead will be long. Our neighbors need to know they can count on us. The families affected will need our help and our attention as the work of rebuilding unfolds. If we hold our focus on the important matters at hand, we can use the power of the people to create that world we all know exists — if we will simply give it life.”  

*Jimmy Carter

Read entire article by Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.

Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping-stones, just as we make them.

Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

Why I’ve not posted on “Curious” for awhile.

Several months ago my good friend Peggy Arndt, who is also a retired psychotherapist, suggested we collaborate on blogging the tips, tools and techniques for health, happiness and well-being we have accumulated over our combined 60+ years of experience.

As that was my original intent when I started this CURIOUS blog I agreed . . . on the condition that CATNIPblog also amused me.

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Self-help tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile

By now, you know that I post when the mood moves me.  Collaborating with Peggy, who is much more organized than I am, has made me accountable to a regular blogging schedule on Catnipblog.  So I’ve been typing my little fingers to the bone and posting on CATNIP so Peggy will think I’m not as flaky as I actually am.

I’m not abandoning this blog as I started Curious to the Max over 7 years ago and have over 1,500 post (yes, you read that right . . . OVER one-thousand, five-hundred posts!).  I’m just still in the process of figuring out how to do both blogs.

On CATNIPblog most of the posts emphasize current research and the neuroscience of health and happiness (with a bit of our personal experience thrown in).  Once a week we post something inspirational, weird and/or whimsical on Pawsitively Tuesdays.

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 I’d LOVE it if you would check out CATNIPblog, see the proof that I can be disciplined . . . and subscribe.

Click here:

CATNIPblog take a look !

Art & Creativity for Healing – Painting Hope

Art & Creativity for Healing – Painting Hope

Attended a painting workshop today at Art & Creativity for Healing a wonderful non-profit for which I helped facilitate workshops many years ago.  

Laurie Zagon the founder and creator of the Art4Healing® method has created a wonderful vehicle to express feelings using color.  It’s not about making “art” but about processing thoughts, feelings and experiences using paint.  Today’s workshop was “Painting Hope”.

The paintings are done very rapidly so that intuition rather than artistic skill is the focus.  And it’s hard to be skillful when make-up sponges and q-tips are used instead of brushes!

Here’s mine:#CreativeSprint

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14 x 18 acrylic, Prayer of Hope

Please check out Art 4 Healing.orgTheir mission is to support emotional healing through art & creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress.

There are on-line video workshops available to everyone, anywhere.  Proceeds go towards providing free workshops to organizations such as wounded veterans, Children’s Hospital and woman’s shelters.

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

If you want to see my explanation of Prayer of Hope click here The HeART of Spirituality!

Children’s art – the invisible made visible

“Syrian kids who passed through Milan’s Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.”

Scroll down to last drawing to read one of Ardino’s reflections on the drawings.

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. 
Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

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“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

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“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

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“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”

Buddha

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Here’s one of  Vittoria Ardino’s reflections on these drawings:

“There’s so much happening on this piece of paper — which is maybe a reflection of the child’s chaotic inner world, Ardino says. A flying creature is part butterfly, a common symbol of freedom. But it’s also part gun. A plane dropping bombs is covered by a face that’s half-human and half-fish (or actually, a big fish devouring a smaller one). A flower droops over a series of squiggles, which Ardino believes represent human bodies. All of that points to a child feeling powerless — but “trying desperately to find light,” Ardino adds. The face is surrounded by sun, and an oversized ladder or staircase leads away from the houses. Ardino suggests this is the child’s attempt at answering a critical question: “How can I escape?”‘

Click here to read Ardino’s reflections on all 7 drawings.

 

What goes UP will come DOWN

The excitement is contagious.  WATCH!!!!!!


“With this mission, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit for ORBCOMM, a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine communication and Internet of Things solutions. The ORBCOMM launch is targeted for an evening launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.”

The 11 satellites were deployed approximately 20 minutes after liftoff at 17,000 miles an hour!!!!!!!!, completing a 17-satellite, low Earth orbit constellation for ORBCOMM.

 

ORBCOMM-2 Full Launch Webcast

Turn the World Blue

“This small planet is not worthy of division. Is it not one home, one native land? Is not all humanity one race?”

“To mark this anniversary, monuments and buildings across the world are being illuminated in UN blue. As we shine a light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to a better and brighter future for all.” – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Un Headquarters New York

Un Headquarters New York

Every year the U.N. and its member nations observe October 24th as United Nations Day around the world. This year, as the U.N. marks its seventh decade,

“Consider the creation of the infinite universe. This globe of ours is one of the smallest planets. Those stupendous bodies revolving in yonder immeasurable space, the infinite blue canopy of God, are many times greater than our small earth. To our eyes this globe appears spacious; yet when we look upon it with divine eyes, it is reduced to the tiniest atom. This small planet is not worthy of division. Is it not one home, one native land? Is not all humanity one race?” – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

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The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

Great Wildebeest Migration LIVE!

Oh my goodness!!!!!!! Go on Safari in Kenya without leaving home for the next 5 days!!!

“The live broadcast HerdTracker is a web-app that plots the precise location of the great wildebeest migration in real time to a Google Map and in a Twitter-style timeline. “The initiative is the result of collaboration between HerdTracker and the government of Kenya’s makeitkenya.com.
To watch the broadcasts, register your email address on discoverafrica.com/herdtrackerlive. Then on, you will receive reminders for the live broadcasts, which will be hosted on periscope.tv/herdtracker.”

Mara River Crossings – Great Wildebeest Migration by HerdTracker

What to expect:
1 The annual migration consists of wildebeest, zebra, eland and gazelle
2 Spot big cats, like the lion, leopard or cheetah
3 Get a glimpse of elephant herds
4 Keep an eye out for the endangered black rhino
5 Lastly, watch out for the massive crocodiles that wait for the migration to cross the Mara River

Portraits in Faith and Diversity

Portraits in Faith is a fascinating project which celebrates diversity of belief. For nine years, 27 countries and 400 personal spiritual journeys Daniel Epstein interviewed and documented spiritual experiences and the role of faith in people’s lives.   Take a look at the introductory video:

“The main objective was to save my life by helping me understand that there was reason to believe in a Higher Power. That sounds very self-serving, but I needed out of my old way of thinking and my old way of feeling about myself and the world.”

“Now I have a much bigger aim for the project — to help heal the world by bringing people together in humanity’s greater, common spiritual journey. The journey is all we undoubtedly share no matter how much we try to make each other out as different. I have a real love-hate relationship with religion. It really can give people the smallest view of the world when really we are beyond understanding.”  Daniel Epstein

 Read the Daniel Epstein interview on the Baha’i Blog

P.S.  The Bardo Group/Beguine Again is a blog I’ve followed for several years. Their theme for June is diversity  ” . . . in all its manifestations: sexual/gender orientation, race, religion, culture, national origin … even nature. . . .  celebrating respect – as inclusion – as a big step toward peace, understanding, justice … even environmental stewardship.” 

Take a look at the June issue of The BeZine

EXCELLENT presentation on Brain research & Chronic Pain conditions – Stanford University

If you have a brain in your head WATCH this!   Important information for everyone, whether or not you or anyone you know has a chronic pain condition (including – MCS, irritable Bowell, TMJ, Interstitial Cystitis, Back pain etc.).  It’s well worth your time.

Although the focus is fibromyalgia Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D explains how the emotions, the workings of the brain impact our physical well-being.

His presentation is 51 minutes long and then takes questions and answers.

Rosemary Lee, Seeking Equilibrium posted this on her excellent blog Seeking Equilibrium.  Rosemary keeps up with the latest research and I highly recommend her blog

Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking) CHOC it up to Blu

(Dear Human-beings,
I am writing to you and not your canine owners because it’s you human beings who we allow to make the big-picture decisions.
My human-being told me that Blu is going to Disneyland.  I’ve never gone to Disneyland.  
Huge, distorted creatures live there judging  by the pictures Blu sent. 
Blu and Mini

Blubear and Minibear

Blu is taking  his human-beings who sent this announcement): “This adventure is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Please support Blu by walking with us through Disneyland and California Adventure on Sunday morning, Oct. 12th. You can sign up by going to CHOCWalk.org and look for Team Blu.   If you are unable to join us, your sponsorship to either Adele or Bryan Green would be appreciated.”
Blu
Adelbear, Blubear, Ginormousbear & Bryanbear
“Blu and family understands that we all have limited resources.   If you are unable to help, your prayers and thoughts are welcomed. Blu needs all the help he can to be good while walking through Disneyland to remember that he can’t use the park’s fire hydrants for his personal use!”  (Even if  huge, distorted creatures live at Disneyland I would take my chances and go there to check out the fire hydrants.  ALL the fire hydrants around here are already mine).
Sincerely yours,
Freddie Parker Westerfield, philanthropist

 P.S. Blu has his own facebook page for the children at the hospital: 

www.facebook.com/chocblubear

(I don’t have my own Facebook page.  If it’s as good as a fire hydrant I want one too)

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT Philanthropist

Freddie Bear

Sneek Peek into my Sketchy-Book – one (or 2) liners

One liners . . . plus a couple of extra lines.  Watching an introductory video of a Coursera Literature Class hoping to rekindle my love of reading fiction.

Professor of literature from Brown Univ. who shall remain nameless to protect his reputation . . . and mine
Professor of literature from Brown Univ. who shall remain nameless to protect his reputation . . . and mine.

I liked what the professor had to say about the study of literature – essentially it wouldn’t get anyone a “job”, teach a trade but it ultimately was about understanding the human condition and how we relate to one another.  He tells his students who ask him what the “work load” for the semester will be that it should be considered a “pleasure load”.  Reading is a pleasure.

Now the wonderful part about my having a liberal arts education was it prepared me to think analyze and synthesize information.

The horrible part was that the English lit department of the school I attended was so skewed to the analysis of literature it literally killed my enjoyment of reading. Since graduating I can count the number of books of fiction I’ve read on one hand.  I am a voracious reader . . . but it’s all non-fiction.

Perhaps because of what he said, perhaps because of how he looked  . . . . . . the professor captured my imagination.  I “drew”  him as I listened using one continuous line each time (well, I might have thrown in an extra line by lifting my pencil and starting again . . .).

Check out Coursera – FREE on-line courses from MAJOR universities all over the world.

A 45 Second Gift

“Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures. Glory not in love for your country, but in love for all mankind. Let your eye be chaste, your hand faithful, your tongue truthful and your heart enlightened”.  The Baha’i Faith

Can you take 45 seconds a day to contribute to

and support causes in which you may have an interest? 

P1010944My brother Rick sent me this reminder about the Hunger Site. The first thing he does when he turns on his computer is to click on

http://www.thehungersite.com/

The site includes links to donations per FREE click to causes for:

  • Breast cancer
  • Veterans
  • Animal shelters
  • Autism
  • Rain forest preservation
  • Diabetes
  • Literacy
  • and more . . .

“The sites show results (About Us) for donations and clicks on a daily basis. Every “drop”/click helps fill the pool! This could be a part of your daily routine when you turn on your computer or log on to the internet.  Sponsors provide additional support via purchases on the site (some have very cool, interesting gift ideas!.”

In 10 years Rick has  clicked on the links enough times to provide:

  • 2500 cups of food to those in need
  • 1500 bowls of food to animals in shelters
  • preservation of a half-acre of rain forest
  • a half hour of therapy for children with autism
  • 20+ meals to homeless Veterans
  • and more

One click gifting time

love and pride for all mankind

The power is yours

The Fibro-Freddie Fix

After, Informal snap shot

YOUR Freddie dose

Dear all my Humane-Being friends and admirers,

As you already know my human-being has fibromyalgia & heart arrhythmias. (It would be impossible for you not to know because she reminds everyone all the time).  However,  you may not know that:

she has found a CURE !!!

THE BEST  medication she regularly takes is a dose of Freddie.    I’m always available, no prescription needed and I give her as many  refills as she wants, whenever she wants (I’m pretty sure she’s addicted).

 I may be more expensive than her other meds.  She rudely pointed this out today by waving the $162.72 Vet bill – I have a small ear infection – at me.  I promptly gave her another dose of Freddie.

Since I’m in charge of refills it can be exhausting keeping up with her need for a  fix.  (Treats, walks and sleep have to be regularly injected into my “capsule”).

Faithfully yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog

P.S.  Before I forget – check out

THE NATIONAL FIBROMYALGIA ASSN (NFA) Facebook page.

NFA Facebook has a humongous amount of information – lots’a questions & answers, research news, short videos on things that I provide relief from. (I’m not suppose to end a sentence with a proposition but I love propositions – like proposing to go for a rest right now).  Time for my refill.

Me, getting my refill

Me, getting a refill

Free Higher Ed classes from #1 Universities

I can’t say I enjoyed college courses.  It was all work and no play as I was paying my own way through school.  It was academically rigorous and difficult.  When I wasn’t working I was studying.   I love learning but the pressure of academics was hard.

I still love to learn and now I always give myself an A+ . . . even if I drop the course.  When I read about major Universities offering on-line classes for free my jaw dropped.  Here’s the info:

Coursera and Udacity & edX (computer and tech courses), which are set up as for-profits, said they are committed to keeping their classes free and have each raised millions from venture capitalists.  Here’s some of the things currently on-line and planned for the future. http://www.class-central.com/

Here are Universities offering on-line Coursera courses

now . . . FOR FREE!!

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Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up in a $60 million venture to provide classes online for free. The move is the latest by top universities to expand their intellectual reach through the Internet — a trend that is changing higher education.

Last month, Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced that they were working with Coursera, a Silicon Valley startup, to put more than a dozen classes online this year in subjects ranging from computer science to public health to poetry.

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Earlier this year, Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, one of the inventors of Google’s self-driving car, announced he was leaving the school to start a company called Udacity, which would hire world-class professors from leading universities to create free online classes.

Coursera and Udacity, which are set up as for-profits, said they are committed to keeping their classes free and have each raised millions from venture capitalists.

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NPR’s Steve Henn tells All Things Considered host Robert Siegel that the companies grew out of an experiment at Stanford last year that allowed anyone to take computer science classes online — and get graded — for free. The classes attracted hundreds of thousands of students from all over the world.

Harvard and MIT are creating a nonprofit called edX; the universities are investing $30 million each — significantly more than what has been raised by their West Coast for-profit competitors.

Henn says Harvard and MIT also pledged to release their software for free when it’s fully developed, as an open-source product for anyone to use.

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“They’re inviting other universities to use the platform and put their own classes online for free,” he says.

For now, students can get a grade, but the schools won’t count the class toward a degree if a student wants to matriculate.

“None of these universities are offering a degree program unless you pay,” Henn says.

He says interest in online courses has exploded because it’s become much cheaper and easier to put a class online. “That has combined with using technologies in new ways to make these online classes better.”

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Interactive quizzes and other tools have made it possible to deliver a class that really has value to hundreds of thousands of students, Henn says.

“In the early days of online education,” he says, “basically you had a camera in the back of a lecture hall videotaping a lecture. This is really quite different.”

The classes present an opportunity to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take classes — for health, money or geography reasons.

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“Perhaps some day there may be people who never leave their basement,” Henn says. “I think at this point, there are many thousands more people around the world [for whom this provides] a window that opens and allows them to see a bigger, broader piece of the world than they could before.”

Here’s the link that offers all the courses from the Universities on this page. https://www.coursera.org/

Remember to Forget it!

Upon awakening this morning I clearly remembered an incredibly intelligent, scintillating, provocative and engaging post written, edited and spell-checked I wrote to share with you.  But now I can’t remember what I remembered.

Which brings me to an interesting question (well, I think it’s interesting):  What do I really pay attention to  in my waking life?  The hours, the days, the years – a recorded history of “me” somewhere,  largely irretrievable at will.  I only remember bits and pieces of events, stories told and repeated until I too believe  the version of how it happened, pictures in an album that prove I was there . . .

I remember now that this might be  the post I remembered and forgot . . . I think . . .?

Art & Creativity for Healing

I just attended Art & Creativity for Healing HeARTS for Healing Women’s Guild meeting.  Art & Creativity for Healing is a non-profit organization I volunteered for as a facilitator in the early years of my being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Laurie Zagon is a working artist, art teacher and the founder of Art and Creativity for Healing.  I credit Laurie for helping me process the physical, emotional and spiritual upheaval I was experiencing and reconnect with my creativity.
However, I can’t give Laurie all the credit. She has to share it with the local throw-away Penny Saver paper.
Laurie had put an insert ad in the Penny Saver (the first and last time she ever did that) announcing community Art & Creativity Workshops.
I was tossing junk mail out and her insert fell out of the pile, catching my attention. (the first and last time I ever read a Penny Saver insert)  I was VERY skeptical that this was a legitimate organization that really provided free art workshops to help others. Who would advertise such an organization in a PENNY SAVER, on cheap grainy, low resolution paper no less?
I called mostly out of curiosity.  Laurie’s enthusiasm  convinced me to give one of her community classes a try.  The rest is history: I became enthralled, impressed and grateful for the process and program Laurie created; Much of the art work processing my relationship with fibromyalgia I created during that time was done under Laurie’s encouraging and loving  guidance.
This picture is one  I painted at Art & Creativity for Healing.  It is the only one I ever did that is a figure.  I painted it very quickly — maybe 15 minutes — and the figure emerged just as the second head is emerging from her shoulder.  

I didn’t consciously know it at the time but this painting reflected my own emergence from suffering.  The pain was still there but I no longer asked “Why me?”.  I began to focus on what I was capable of instead of what I no longer could or should do.

This painting hung in my office as a reminder for me that whatever my afflictions and limitations we are all capable of creating a better and more meaningful life for ourselves and others.

I probably should take out a “Thank You” ad in the Penny Saver.  Until then, this will have to suffice:  
“Thank you, Laurie!” 

Like all non-profit organizations it relies on contributions and community grants.  100% of  the money earned through community workshops  goes to providing  Creativity for Healing workshops for children and adults suffering from abuse, illness, grief or stress on-site, and at military bases, hospitals and non-profit agencies.

Since 2000, more than 30,000 children and adults throughout Southern California have participated in classes and workshops. The Zagon Method of Art4Healing® was originally developed by Laurie in New York City in 1987, as a workshop designed to help busy Wall Street executives deal with stress.
 
There are also community workshops and opportunities to be trained to work as a facilitator.  Check it out!

Art & Creativity for Healing

www.art4healing.org


Tax Deductible – The Chance to Get a Beautiful Art Piece (check with your accountant!)

Too many women have touched my life that have had breast cancer – relatives, friends and clients.

A few died but many survive to this day.  The survival rate is so much better than years ago and we all owe that to research and organizations like the American Cancer Society that promote education and support the research. I venture to guess that your lives too have all  been touched in someway by breast cancer.

If you’ve not  been following the SketchBook Challenge this was just posted.  This is a great idea and opportunity to get an ORIGINAL collage by donating to the American Cancer Society.  My small contribution is to post this information and ask you to pass it on to anyone you might know who would be interested.

With love, Judy

Information:  http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/NewFiles/ACSFundraiser.html

One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages
One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer.
One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.
Sweet Tea House by Jaime Fingal

On Wednesday, February 16, ONE hundred collages will be offered with a minimum donation for each collage of:

$160 for two hours (10 a.m. – Noon CST)
$80 for two hours (Noon – 2:00 p.m. CST)
$40 for two hours (2:00 – 4:00 p.m. CST)

You can preview the collages at least one day prior to Wednesday, February 16 for a preview and all the details about how to acquire your favorite collages. Collages will be featured periodically on  blog prior to February 16.

One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star team of artists: Natalya Aikens, Pamela Allen, Laura Ann Beehler, Liz Berg, Pokey Bolton, Laura Cater-Woods, Jette Clover, Jane Davila, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Gloria Hansen, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Judy Perez, Wen Redmond, Cynthia St. Charles, Virginia A. Spiegel

Hope by Karen Stiel Osborn

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day. More details and a preview of artwork: http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/ONEFundraiserPreview.html

FiberArt For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

Information:  http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/NewFiles/ACSFundraiser.html

The Sky is my LIMIT


East sky

My mind has been blank so I looked outside for inspiration.

The sky tonight is different in each direction I look.

South sky

Just returned from teaching a 4-day Interactive Guided Imagery(sm) Intensive in Santa Monica, CA.

My colleague and friend Daru and I have been teaching for the Academy for Guided Imagery. http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com, a training academy for health care professionals in the use of guided imagery for health, healing and wellbeing,  since the late 1980’s.   It is just as stimulating and satisfying as it was 20 years ago:  Wonderful people, inspiring insights and gratifying progress seen with each and every student.

North sky

Notice the emphasis on 20 years ago!  I’m poooooooooped.

I continue being surprised that I can teach four 9 am to 6 pm days. And  I continue being surprised that after it’s over I’m pooped.

West sky

I guess it’s a blessing that my mind goes north when my energy goes south and my body goes east while my spirit goes west.

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