Emotional Intelligence Sets us Apart From Technology

When fresh information is presented to us that contradicts previously held beliefs, it can be hard to accept. This is why people experience “closed-mindedness” that can stand in the way of our personal and collective evolution. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility and ultimately character. We may need to learn to laugh at ourselves a little and delve into our emotions to make room for possibilities beyond our our currently held beliefs. Here’s some research that will inspire you to embrace emotional intelligence for your own well-being, and success!

Research in multiple fields of study show that curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy are skills that will redefine traditional beliefs about intelligence. According to Multiple Intelligences Theory, what we know might not be as important as understanding the ways that we learn. Emotional Intelligence Theory reminds us that possessing lots of knowledge may not lead to success if an individual does not have good interpersonal and social skills. Knowing how to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously is a prerequisite.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology

A Lust for Learning

Emotions motivate or suppress our behaviors. The emotion of depression may make us stay in bed all day and not give a crap about anything, whereas curiosity may cause us to read ten books. By cultivating the needed emotional state for learning through exercise, good diet, meditation, or yoga you will increase your creative muscle. The ability to perceive, use, and manage emotions isn’t at the top of the academic list of priorities but these skills are crucial to working in groups towards problem-solving, collaboration, and other forms of success.

We are not Meant to Work Like Machines…
We are Meant to Live like Humans.

Our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us, but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence.

Mechanized inventions can do manual work for us which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to do other kinds of internal “work” and discovery. Our ancestors had very little time to explore what being human meant beyond survival. This is the invisible hand that not only shapes our thoughts and our culture, it is what gives us character.

Let’s build character!

Tiffany Shlain and Let it Ripple have a series of films that articulate this ongoing inquiry for Character Day which is an international campaign to tackle the human component of intelligence. Let It Ripple uses interactive films, discussion materials, as well as live and virtual events to engage people in conversations around complicated subjects like this. Crowd-sourcing ideas to make films (cloud-filmmaking) on topics that we can all relate to is a beautiful expression of inclusivity and collaboration. The Global Q & A utilizes Google where you can go and watch any number of experts explore what skills are needed to flourish in the 21st century.

(above) The Adaptable Mind by the Moxie Institute

Emotional Self-Awareness

Having an honest relationship, even a friendship with your full emotional spectrum is very important. Though we have social norms that require us to not show certain forms of anger, sorrow, jealousy and other shadow-emotions, it is still very important for us to express these in constructive ways. The ability to tune in to what another person is feeling and reflect that back to them with compassion is a very powerful and deep way to create connection. This can help you at work, and at home with your family.

Our emotional realms are complex and beautiful if we are willing to explore them in a safe space. We have the ability to create that safe space for ourselves and others by listening from the heart, not judging, and allowing stories to be told. This expression can also come in the form of art, music, poetry, it is a way to bring unconscious wounds out into the open. The end result is empowerment, healing, clarity, as well as increased creativity, compassion, and productivity.

What we know is always in flux, as we are constantly being re-informed and evolving. Personal resilience along with humor, compassion and humility will prove to be invaluable moving forward. Dig deep into your own character, embrace the emotional rainbow that is unique to your human condition and loosen up a little! Having an adaptable brain may be more important than having one that is full of knowledge…

Creating Culture: A Village Way of Life

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

― R. Buckminster Fuller ―

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Spring is here, and with it comes plans for summer adventures that are truly transformational! The alternative festival scene often attracts those who resonate with counterculture ways of thinking and being. Yet it is this subversive hotbed that takes the status quo, transmutes it underground, and sets the new trends for its re-emergence in mainstream popular culture. Isis Indriya and Eve Bradford have been vanguards of this movement for over ten years. Both have been guided by personal and community spiritual practice for many years and in every sense these two live what they teach. Their brainchild Living Village Culture aims to influence society through bringing culture back into the heart of community. This project is experimental in nature through seeing what emerges when we create a village way of life in modern, western contexts such as festivals and symposiums.

Their next offering is The Village Symposium, which will be held over five days (April 20th-24th) in Nevada City, California. A journey into community building, education, ritual and social change, this will be a conference exploring the place where science and mysticism meet. It will explore how we as humans can reinstate ourselves back into a harmonious and symbiotic relationship with the web of life. The Village Symposium is a taster of what can be expected from The Village at Lightning in a Bottle festival later this spring (May 25th – 29th).

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Community Creates Culture – The New University

Our generation is one in which individuals have been separated from their lineages and from a community-based way of living. Our interconnectedness with one other and the planet has been denied through linear time systems, hierarchical social structures, centralized politics, capitalistic economies and the false separation of mind, body and spirit. Western education and its institutions propagate these systems, leaving a stark gap between what we are taught and reality.

Conscious gatherings such as festivals are increasingly putting energy and resources into bridging this gap through formalizing the ‘school of life’. No longer just places to listen to music and party, gatherings have become a place where we can learn from each other and professionals at the top of their game through workshops, talks, film screenings, ceremony, symposiums, debates and exhibitions.

Combined with the advance of technology that facilitates mass communication, this new culture has helped forge ‘communities in the sky’ that go beyond borders and do not need permission from any institution to exist – the ultimate E-democracy. We now have the power not just to envision a new world, but to co-create and actually realise it coming into being. This is not about predicting the future, this is about inventing it.

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The Living Village Culture family sits at the core of these changes, through actively seeking to provide an authentic community experience at festivals and gatherings. The curation of their event narratives is based on cultivating skills and practices focused on earth-based wisdom and mystical traditions. Spaces are created that bring the sacred into a contemporary context through an honouring of our ancestors and the spirits of the land in ceremony. This experience fosters collaboration and creativity and makes space for the coming into being of a new culture where knowledge is crowd sourced.

It is through experiences such as these that we can collectively remember who we really are.

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Trail of Tears, Immigration, and Healing of Nations

Author of well-known Medicine Cards and Choctaw Pipe-Carrier, David Carson, shares stories of hope and healing with historical roots and contemporary relevance.

From the Trail of Tears forced relocation of Native Americans to displaced Syrian or African refugees, the stories may differ but the wounds and opportunity to heal remain the same. Native Americans have a unique perspective historically, and a wisdom that can help us inform our current situation. Invasion, displacement, genocide have been with humanity forever. In the culture and in the land that surrounds us, even in our blood, all of history is alive within us. This includes the glory and the trauma of our individual and collective past. Healing this history requires looking within one’s self and perhaps taking a moment to hear the untold stories of our history.

“I wouldn’t be here without this history. So to rage against this history is to rage against myself…”   -David Carson

Today people are more willing to re-examine colonial attitudes and the ways these archaic belief structures are still playing out in the world today. Along with this has come a global discussion about our relationship to the land, and a scrutinizing of current political/economic systems. Indeed, we stand at the crossroads of a great opportunity for healing. In many tribes this time of healing has been spoken of in stories for generations.

 

In 1994 Alison “Tootie” Montana, a prominent Black Indian Chief from New Orleans, had a vision of bringing together many diverse tribes to celebrate their shared history. David Carson, Choctaw author of “Medicine Cards” and Kam Nightchase, a Lakota Pipe-Carrier, also shared a similar vision. Reverend David “Goat” Carson of New Orleans led the organizational effort to make this vision a reality at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. The gathering was called “Sacred Medicine Circle at High Noon” on Aug. 20, 1994, and a White Buffalo was born later that week. This is said to be a good omen of unity and healing between all tribes and nations.

Unity looks like an impossible dream today though with racial division, immigration, and refugee crises continuing to make top headlines. The lines dividing nations are always changing yet there are no borders in our blood or our common humanity.

Is citizenship or identifying with your own culture more important than recognizing the common humanity in other human beings?

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Only through making the inward journey can this story ever be healed. Remembering, honoring, and making peace with our personal and shared history is something that each of us can do to bring peace into the world. As you will see in the video below, David Carson knows this as well as anyone. His stories and understanding are unparalleled because he has lived them his whole life.

What happened to natives in America provides a good window to understand a universal struggle that is playing out all over the world today. After the Trail of Tears, when natives were forcefully marched off their ancestral lands and onto reservations, natives were required to register themselves on the Dawes Roll. This was an “official” government list of “card carrying” natives.

Some bands of Indians refused to be listed on the Dawes Rolls because they considered it an insult to have the government that abused them be the ones to make their heritage/citizenship “official” or not. These people had children and grandchildren who are still with us today, some assimilated and some continuing to keep their culture outside of the official “books”.

“Outside Indian Country most don’t realize that over the past 10 years, several thousand people have had their tribal citizenship status terminated. Most were not dismembered for wrongdoing or adopted by other Native nations. They were simply identified by their elected officials as allegedly no longer meeting revised citizenship criteria.” –Dismembering Natives: The Violence Done by Citizenship Fights

Citizenship is based on a set of man-made, ever-changing rules usually devised to serve a political or economic agenda. The end result can be devastating when these ideologies become internalized and a sense of belonging is lost. Externally this becomes wars, internally it can become self-hatred. We heal when we extend the welcome-mat, and allow ourselves and others to belong. We are connected by the good, bad, and ugly parts of this history. Connected it what’s most important.

David Carson speaks about healing the trauma from within by “taking the bitter with the sweet” and his wisdom is applicable to all of us no matter what culture we come from. Carson speaks of, “Coming into a new world that we don’t know how to describe… It has to do with light,  it has to do with self-understanding, it has to do with inner-dimensions.” He shares about the “snake of energy” that went from the northern to southern tip of the Americas and the heritage of Mound Builders.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” -Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

When we look to knowledgeable elders and explore our own historical struggles, we begin to see similar patterns emerge for every culture. The oppressors and the oppressed have changed roles on many occasions while the triumphs and suffering continue to be present with us today. Together we can resolve these wounds while deepening our sense of respect for other cultures as well as our selves. This is how new stories are created, this is how we can fulfill a dream of peace and unity, but it will take doing some work within. Deepening compassion for yourself will help you be compassionate for the struggles of others. Cast away your fear, ask questions, explore… only you can heal your history.

Seeding Ideas in the Digital Era

How can digital media and social networks mimic natural systems for positive change?

Obviously this is a conversation and an exploration that stretches way beyond a short blog, but just as a flower casts a thousand seeds, ideas have a magical ability to self-replicate in unimaginable ways. People who are talking about sustainable solutions, or pushing for social justice, or organizing yoga and meditation flash-mobs have more in common than they might recognize… They are all experimenting and cross pollinating ideas for creating a better world. A primary canvas for this dialogue is online social media where innovation, networking, and collaboration is blending together like colors on the painters palette. These blossoming movements of thought transcend traditional definitions.

Social

If you have spent any time on Facebook then you have probably seen inspiring posts by pages like Sustainable Human, Unify, The Mind Unleashed, Spirit Science, AJ+, Alternative World News, and UPLIFT. As someone who blogs and works in social media, I have loved watching the ways that pages like this influence each other, follow similar trends, and ultimately enhance a shared ideology of creating a new narrative that is more inclusive, less destructive, more community-sourced, and less corporate. Biomimicry shows us that cooperative relationships are actually the predominant patterns within nature.

“It often appears that humans have a dysfunctional relationship with their environment, but healing this relationship begins simply by being present and aware of it.” -Ending the Conquest of Nature

Having been lucky enough to work with, co-direct, cross-pollinate, and ultimately make lasting friendships with many of the people behind these popular platforms has been an infinite source of inspiration in my life. Blogging, design, and social networking are becoming a collaborative art form that has hints of the magic that was present in the birth of jazz music. Diversely talented people making a new kind of music that is changing the narrative from the bottom-up like roots that anchor a tree that is about to bear fruit.

sustainable_human_question

Founder of the Webby Awards, Tiffany Shlain has been the focus of blogs like Internet Mirrors Human Brain and Global Heart, Global Brain. Her organization, Let it Ripple makes mobile films for  global change. They offered to customize their film, Neurons to Networks with the logo/branding of any organization that wanted to share it with their networks. This kind of win/win allowed a very powerful idea to spread across many networks. UPLIFT modeled this idea in support of the World Water Day Campaign initiated by Unify. By focusing on the idea, clean water, instead of brand ownership the campaign allowed for universal buy-in by some huge networks that share the same values. Perhaps we don’t own the ideas, they own us.

“Opening up to the emergent is a process that is important for creative projects and collaboration. It means that you have to allow for the unknown, that you aren’t working from a set script, and are allowing yourself to be open to whatever emerges.” Why Imagination Matters.

Sustainable Human successfully took a great TED Talk, mixed it with compelling stock footage and music to make the viral sensation, How Wolves Change Rivers, which has been viewed over 18 million times. I riffed on the evolving idea with What Whales Can Teach us About Climate Science, another Sustainable Human initiative. These ideas are self-replicating because the stories that convey them want to be told, they are being shared because they fill people with awe, making us all feel connected within a larger web of life.

Jonah Sachs, Annie Leonard and Free Range Studios brought us The Story of Stuff, and can adequately boast going from a movie to a movement. There are many more successes like this and there are a few things they share in common that make them thrive. Being entertaining, informative and well-produced is part of the equation that is completed when people become engaged with story. The best-produced video is useless if it doesn’t strike a chord that inspires people to talk about it, “like” it, or share it in their networks. In a field of flowers competing to look and smell the prettiest the bee celebrates dancing on all of them to make the sweetest honey.

The social web is where ideas get seeded and shared, creating a new narrative is tilling the soil to grow an abundant garden of solutions. However, the ideas are useless if people don’t act on them in the real world. I have been elated to blog recently about some powerful tools like Reinhabiting the Village, and Nu Mundo that are emerging to help people manifest these ideas into reality within their own community. We have the capacity to dream bigger, hard work really makes a difference and imagination matters.

It is clear that social networks are already mimicking natural systems to create positive change in the world. Let’s take the conversation deeper. How can we use this understanding to increase the cooperation and collaboration to bring about even greater change and influence? I can’t wait to see what this growing community comes up with next!

Does News Media Distract or Inform?

A well-informed public is a powerful force of nature!

We take it for granted that when we turn on the news that we are supposed to get “the news” but generally that is not what we are getting at all. We are getting a crafted narrative that is a mere distraction at best and deliberate misinformation at worst. The mainstream media is corporate and privately owned and does not owe us what we expect and it is detrimental for us to assume otherwise. Private interests with private agendas masquerading as a public service to inform the population. It is indeed Orwellian when you turn on the mainstream media and recognize what most people are being fed. Yes, you are what you eat – so make wise choices about the media you digest.

Luckily we have the internet and access to worlds of information and solutions that are not to be found anywhere on corporate networks.

The inspiration for this story came while I was researching the Trans Pacific Partnership for an article I wrote at Huffington Post. I was wondering why there is barely any mention of it on the mainstream media. This trade deal will effect almost half of the worlds economy as well as the lives of millions of people in 12 Pacific Rim Nations including Australia, United States, Canada, and Peru yet few people even know about it. Then I found a list of the corporate advisors for the TPP.Not surprisingly, supporters of the trade agreement also own the large media conglomerations. The media effects public opinion with the narrative they deliver as well as the information they choose to omit altogether. There is a reason they have been wanting to keep the TPP secret and out of the news, but that is another story.

We humans want to trust, we want to believe that the news media has our best interest at heart. Unfortunately quite the opposite is actually happening. Mainstream media is corrupting peoples minds and systematically confusing, or avoiding altogether many of the public health and environmental news that we need in order to be an informed public. Throughout history oppressors have employed “divide and conquer” techniques to keep people down. We see that in the news also with an emphasis on racism, gay marriage, abortion, and other issues that amplify strong divisions between people.

Though these are important social issues they are also systematically used to distract and divide people while bigger environmental, economic, political injustices continue to be ignored and perpetuated.

There are endless solutions waiting for us if we can free ourselves from the limited world-view that is packaged and delivered to us on the evening news.

We are sensitive beings, we feel deeply, we thrive on inspiration, joy, and beauty. These things make us healthy, active and strong. Yet the overwhelming barrage of murders, riots, scandal, corruption, and gossip on the “news” can make us want to go numb and believe that humanity is horrible. News media has the ability to put these negative aspects of humanity under a magnifying glass. We must embrace the negative because it is real but we must also keep it in perspective and steer clear of overwhelm. We need to be informed enough to act, and do so while staying balanced in a healthy and positive mind-frame.

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Taking an honest look at the problems we face as a species while pointing to solutions

How do we take an honest look at the problems we face as a species while pointing to solutions and embracing a broader dialogue for positive change? No media channel can keep you mentally healthy and balanced that is your job. However, an uplifting, solutions-oriented approach can dissolve the isolation and division created by traditional mainstream media. We are a community of people pulling for each other as a collective, and as individuals to rise to our highest expression. Together we can support a larger vision of healing for the planet, ourselves, and each other rather than be stuck in the mud forever!

So often we see two extremes:

  1. Activists who always seem to be angry and righteous (even if justifiably so, they can be tough to engage with)
  2. Spiritual people who would rather hang out in a cave, meditate and pray on oneness and hope that all the problems will magically go away

Is it possible to bring the activists a little closer to spirituality, and bring the spiritual community a little closer to activism? That would be very potent for all involved parties!

We face many problems but they are all small if we can come together respectfully despite our differences and seek solutions. Media literacy involves asking yourself if you are being distracted or informed. It requires listening to your mind, your intuition, and following the money. Is the person, organization informing you someone who has your best interest in mind, or do they have a private agenda? As you begin to reflect on these things you will be able to see through the clutter and help your friends to do the same. In the information age, ignorance is a choice…

Inspired Contemporary Art by Women

Laura Borealisis

Historically, too few Women Artists were able to attain any level of mastery because lack of access to learn, cultural disapproval during their time period, or the challenge of balancing obligations as mothers and various other gender roles. While some of this still echoes from the past, it is indeed the past! With the internet and social media, our opportunities for connection & sharing are expanded exponentially and we are able to cultivate and change these old patterns that once prevailed.

The soul force and nourishment of the feminine expression is needed in our world so I have compiled a preliminary list of Women Artists for Culture Collective. By no means is this list complete… in fact, we think it will always be a work in progress. This collection does not include some of the often-overlooked old masters, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, nor even more staple names such as Georgia O’keefe or Frida Kahlo. While I actually really love the idea of such a collection, this gallery consists primarily of artists living and creating, Now.

The women are not divided up by professional status here, although in future features there may be more focus on those areas. All that was required was a consistent body of work, easy accessibility to the work, and proper photographs (no weird light, not blurry, and cropped properly when necessary).

With such volume, it was a bit wonky to curate all the imagery, and I’m sure it is ripe for scrutiny. However, it has been cultivated in a spirit of Sisterhood, where women in all different phases of their artistic journey, as well as different styles, have been included. It was crafted in a manner of finding what makes us relate. So, you may see that work is grouped or coupled with similar works in similar styles, mediums, or color schemes.

My hope is that these Artists will find connection with each other, community, mutual growth, and also expansion beyond where we are each currently at in our processes. May the opportunity to see more art from women help the youth find new inspiration and role models for crafting their own creative voice, as well as find the courage to share their unique creative identity alongside their male comrades. And of course, may any artist find beauty and inspiration here, regardless of gender.

My other hope is that this collection will inspire a deeper interest and desire to cultivate knowledge in the culture around Art; to expand our awareness of Art, Artists, and the various ideas, impulses, and belief-systems being put forth through Art. May we know more artists and their works, and may gender no longer be an inhibitor for engagement with Art. I implore you to develop a broader, yet more acute taste and vocabulary with which to engage art and creativity; to see deeper, to feel deeper, to find ourselves more fully resonant  & articulate with that which is known as Art.

Please enjoy this gallery. Contact the artists via social media or personal websites – Most of them provided their art via facebook, so I suggest that specific network for contacting them should you desire to do so. I could not link everyone’s info here, so another wonderfully convenient option is to consult the mighty Oracle of Google ~ And, of course, take some time to see, feel, think about, and enjoy these works from the feminine side of the spectrum.

Many Blessings,

Ashely

Featured Image (top)  Laura Borealisis – “Frida”

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Comics in the Classroom, Environmental Lessons Made Fun

Stories shape us, our beliefs and our culture. Those seeking to create a better world must engage in self-reflection and explore the narratives that guide our lives. As we recently learned from Robin Grille, the time and place where our brains are most susceptible to influence is during youth. Positive and conscious effort put towards the healthy education of children’s developing minds is perhaps one of the best things we can do to create a better future. In an age where technology and media is everywhere, many education models are often boring for students. They want to engage, they want learning to be entertaining, colorful, interactive and some educators are embracing these growing possibilities to enhance education with all sorts of media, including comic books.

Teaching through story is universal across cultures since the beginning of time. Indigenous people sat around the fire through the winter learning stories and oral histories. Sacred texts like The Bhagavad Gita teach moral lessons through parable. Folk music around the world bring wisdom through ballads about love, war, and loss. Today we obsess about heroes and villains through movies, television, novels, and comics.

I wrote a piece called Comics Instead of Textbooks a few years back when I first learned that schools in South Africa were having great success teaching about the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela through comic books. In it I write:

A few years back I read an inspiring book by Valerie Kirschenbaum called Goodbye Gutenberg: How a Bronx Teacher Defied 500 Years of Traditions and Launched an Astonishing Renaissance. Valerie’s students had the worst reading scores in her district, so she began making the text more visually pleasing for her students. Changing the colors and font of text, enlarging important words, using forward and reverse italics and incorporating design flow into the reading assignments. Her students reading scores rose to the top of the district in no time!

Since that time the field of transmedia, which is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, has continued to erupt across the planet. There are endless opportunities to use this technology consciously to shape a new narrative that includes social justice, environmental stewardship, and cross-cultural respect. Graphic artist, Charlie LaGreca is one individual who is leading the charge.

In a recent project in collaboration with the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform (CUER) and the Environmental Protection Agency, a comic book was created called Mayah’s Lot. Written by LaGreca and Rebecca Bratspies this story is about a young girl who plants a garden in a vacant city lot but then learns that they want to use the lot for storing toxic waste. The story follows her on her journey of organizing people to become active in protecting their community. It teaches students the importance of getting involved, and the process of making positive change in their neighborhood. In true transmedia style, the comic book is accompanied with lesson plans for a range of grade levels that work with Core Curriculum and a video (animated by Norman Dillon) which is suitable for classroom adoption. You can download the comic here.

I had the pleasure of working on a similar project with famed illustrators, Bret Blevins and native artist Ryan Huna Smith that teaches the importance of following your dreams and honoring the interconnectedness of all life in nature. The story, called Giggle Bubble Dreams also encourages children to add color to other peoples dreams thus fostering a sense of cooperation and creative expression. Indian Super Hero, Frybread Man, shares historical wisdom about the origin of frybread, the deep cultural resilience of indigenous people in North America, and the importance of eating healthy food.

Stories and creative media are not just for children, but conscious attention should be directed at developing stories that positively influence their psychological and emotional development. What kinds of stories are you drawn to, and what does that say about your own deeply held belief systems? Together we can support each other to develop new stories and dream of a better future for all. The next step is to take action for the things we truly believe are possible and manifest them. We have never had access to so many tools and technology to create a better world, let’s do it!

***This post originally appeared on UPLIFT Connect***

Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder

‘Think of a world without war, a world of social justice,
a world of ecological sustainability.’

This is how Robin Grille starts his talk at TEDX Pittwater. Robin is a psychologist, author, educator and advocate for children who is not alone in his dream for a better world. For those interested, you will find that what he has to share is one of the most crucial keys to creating the future we aspire towards.

How do we unlock the peace code in the human brain and help it to find its’ full expression?

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 3.23.32 PMI had the pleasure of collaborating with Robin many years ago in promoting The Children’s Well-Being Manifesto, and his work continues to inspire great hope. For those in the UPLIFT community, the notion of creating a new story of healing is deeply entrenched and also backed by science as seen in the research of Bruce Lipton, PhD. We literally have the ability to change the world we live in by addressing our core belief systems. This logic can be applied to our deeply held beliefs that human-beings are wired for violence, which the science of epigenetics refutes completely. Human behavior is much more a product of our environment and conditioning than it is dictated by genes. This points directly to child-rearing practices, and the ways that it affects the developing brain.

Harsh, punitive, and cold environments along with chronic stress cause the brain to release a neurotoxin known as cortisol. Cortisol literally destroys brain cells in the area of the brain connected to emotional regulation and impulse control causing the prefrontal lobes to atrophy. Whereas, loving supportive connection in a safe environment causes the brain to secrete oxytocin which develops these centers and cultivates the capacity for empathy, which is the neurological foundation for peace. The conclusion is that Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder.

In his talk (below) Robin Grille also explores the fascinating historical and cultural roots of our story of violence along with a 7-step plan to re-write the code and create a peaceful planet where we are less violent to each other and towards our environment. In a recent uplift blog post titled, How to Stop the 6th Mass Extinction Bruce Lipton states:

…the realization that we can change the whole story right now. We don’t need to try to fight the old story. We simply need to walk outside the old story and build a new story. People will leave the old story when they see a new story working.  Every individual who changes their own story, is changing the vibrational environment within which we live.  We can have the spontaneous remission of the planet’s ills and we can change the environment by just changing who we are.

Clearly we are living in a potent time where science and spirituality give us the tools to change our ways of creating and interacting with the world around us. Please make some time in your day to watch this enlightening talk and share the inspiration with your networks. More importantly, make the effort to help that single-parent in your community and open your heart to embrace the children in your life with love, connection, support, and safety!

***Post Originally Appeared at Uplift Connect***

Eagle and Condor: A Story of Hope

Hopi Eagle Dancer

Emergent stories that create hope, and inspire people to action are of the utmost value at a time when many traditional systems are failing. The Eagle and Condor Prophecy is multi-layered with diverse people from many tribes interpreting and enacting variants of the story. Whether it is the Hopi running with sacred waters to perform an Eagle Dance at the foot of The Pyramid of the Sun, or Aztec retracing migration routes with the Sacred Fire there is an awakening happening of epic proportions. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, a story of hope isn’t complete without delving into the darkness and destruction that is threatening all of life on our planet. The forthcoming film, The Condor and The Eagle does not shy away from the struggles we face in order to reach our goal of healing Mother Earth.

The Condor and The Eagle weaves together the stories of four individuals (2 from the US and 2 from Canada) who in their way take a stand against corporate pollution, organizing communities where they live and as they travel to South America, meeting other Indigenous communities impacted by similar extractive industries. Each person is involved in the #‎TarSands struggles of their community (Northern Gateway, KeystoneXL and other pipelines, Houston-area chemical refineries, and ocean oil tankers).

The film addresses the following issues: – The rise of the environmental movement – The Indian genocide caused by the modern and industrial machinery – Climate change – Intercultural awareness – Women’s leadership – Values of respect for nature – Community organizing strategies.

Author, activist, and economist, John Perkins has helped to popularize the Eagle and Condor Prophecy. Perkins is a co-founder and board member for The Pachamama Alliance which integrates indigenous wisdom with modern knowledge to support personal, and collective, transformation that is the catalyst to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. The Shift of the Ages Film also helped to bring this emerging dream forward.

The Sacred Tree (which is narrated in the trailer below) was written by beloved Chief Phil Lane of The Four Worlds International Institute. The project is called The Take Off and they will be releasing a 15 minute version of the film to launch their crowd funding campaign on the 24th of January in Martinez, CA. Tell your friends and stay tuned as to how you can help make this wonderful film become a reality. The story is growing, it is not only to be told but to be LIVED!

Water Defense Activates Collaborative Power

#lovewater

In conjunction with UPLIFT Festival this weekend in Byron, Australia, Water Defense has released a video and an invitation for your input. Collaboration often takes a back-seat in world focused on competition but it is the best solution to problems that face us all. When organizations and individuals shift from competing with one another to assisting each other towards a common goal, miracles can happen. Our waters are threatened all over the world, we have a common enemy and it is ignorance. We don’t know what is in our water. Due to decades of contamination from both agricultural pesticides and industrial waste, our watersheds are not as healthy as they once were. Since water is one thing that we all share in common, together we can address this problem and learn how to collaborate along the way. Contemporary technology, social networks, and inspiration are the tools we need to ignite this collaborative power. Water Defense is ready to deliver!

The real power of protecting our water is knowing what’s in it, and that’s exactly what we are going to do.” -Mark Ruffalo

This collaboration involves The Herbert W Hoover Foundation, Unify, and Uplift Connect along with Water Defense and many other organizations/individuals who are concerned about the health of our waters. If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions, please tweet them with the hashtag #lovewater and be part of the ongoing conversation. You can learn more about the project here and here.