Peer to Peer Diplomacy, Open-Sourcing Peace

Across the globe it is becoming clear that nations are failing at creating peaceful solutions to international challenges. More bombing does not create more peace and understanding, but communication does. We are at a cross-roads in history where it has become apparent that the “old” ways of doing things are no longer working in our modern world. The internet allows us to communicate peer-to-peer rather than the traditional top-down model which allows for cooperation in ways that we have never experienced before. This emerging, collectively-driven model is imperative for a peaceful, sustainable future and every one of us has a part to play in this process.

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In January 2015, CODEPINK protesters spoke out during Senate Armed Services Committee attempting a citizens arrest of Henry Kissenger. The publicity stunt drew a lot of international press and attention to a need for change in the way that America (an imperial super powers) conduct foreign policy. CODEPINK National Coordinator Alli McCracken (26 years old) stated:

We need to stop rehashing these tired old war criminals and come up with a new foreign policy based on diplomacy and compassion –– two things Kissinger knows nothing about.

In stark contrast, before the same Senate Armed Services Committee Former Secretary of State George Shultz stated that people, not solely leaders need to be talking to each other. He highlighted the need for non-military solutions and praised the United Religions Initiative in testimony before the United States Congress. You can see the video and learn more at this link.

Responding to Shultz’s testimony United Religions Initiative Founder and President, Bishop Swing stated:

In the space between one religion and another religion, there is often a hard history of grievances, memories of coerced conversions, and competing claims of ultimate truth. So the space between religions is often toxic. This toxicity drags neighborhoods and regions into religious strife that stymies daily life, sometimes leading to intimidation and, in the worst cases, horrific spectacles like beheadings.
URI’s purpose is to fill the space between religions with interfaith bridges so that the grassroots people of all faith traditions, indigenous communities and humanistic groups can cross over, and discover other believers, and take positive actions together. URI is not a religion, nor a United Nations of Religions. URI is grassroots and singularly tries to fill the void between religions with something that the world needs desperately: bridges between cultural, religious and spiritual differences.
Religions are about salvation. URI is about civilization. People around the world have responded to this mission of URI; in a few years, URI has expanded to more than 665 Cooperation Circles in 85 countries, touching the lives of over three million people daily.

There are a number of grassroots efforts that are using social media to undermine the dominant military paradigm by addressing international issues in a de-centralized way. One of them is the Peace Factory, who is building a bridge of communication between the people of the Middle East. Ronny Edry, a graphic designer who started this project by making a simple but profound picture of himself with his young daughter that says, “Iranians we will never bomb your country, we ❤️ you” and posting it on Facebook. The results went viral and people began sharing similar messages across social networks from countries around the world!

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. ~Moshe Dayan


It is as simple as changing the story, creating new images, breaking down stereotypes, and sharing inspiration. Dialogue can happen with an image, a hashtag, a blog, it comes with a willingness to listen, to see the humanity in each other and stop buying in to the continued demonization that is spread through mainstream media. We can no longer wait for leaders to act towards peace, the power is in the hands of the people.

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The top-down diplomacy of nations has failed at bringing peace, it is up to the people to build these bridges. Ronny’s story is only one story, what will you do to create peer-to-peer open-sourced peace? Whatever ideas you have for this must allow for others to contribute with their voice. Combining your efforts with media and distributing these ideas via social media is becoming a viable model for social change.

This is the moment to let love and compassion transcend national, cultural, and religious boundaries to create the peace we all desire. Corporate media and top-down “nation building” is being exposed for the narrow interests that it represents. Individuals now have the capacity to represent themselves, peer-to-peer and change the narrative that is manufactured to benefit the few at the expense of many. What do you want to contribute to this unfolding and how will you present it?

Article first appeared at UPLIFT

(VIDEO) Finding Peace in Nature; Real Life Mermaids

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It is easy to get overwhelmed from the stresses of daily life, not to mention the larger environmental, political and social problems of our world today. It is no wonder that people experience anxiety, depression and feelings of helplessness. I can’t help but wonder why so many people think that finding personal peace is not enough to change the rest of the world. Many spiritual leaders and humanitarians alike have concluded that the only way to achieve world peace is through finding personal peace first. There are many suggestions out there on how to reduce stress and find personal peace, but the truth is you have to find what works for you. For me, I go outside. There is a solace and a sense of wonder to be found in nature and it automatically calms me. I started facilitating transformational photo shoots for women in nature and realized I could help other people reconnect to this beautiful world around us. In doing so, I have found a whole new level of peace within myself.

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My name is Emily Jones and I am the founder of the traveling portrait company, Sonoran Muses out of Tucson, AZ. Unlike many professional photographers out there today, I am also the makeup artist, body painter, hair stylist and costume designer for each client that I work with. What makes my work truly unique is that I create elaborate headdresses from locally harvested plants and flowers from the region I am working in (throughout the US and Mexico) and adorn women from all walks of life. (Read about the Start of Sonoran Muses here.) I am constantly inspired by every new location that I work in and the various growth cycles of each season. While harvesting flowers (or other items) for each headdress that I create, I deepen my sacred connection to the natural world. Nature is always my main design inspiration and my “Las Sirenas” Photoshoot Retreat is no exception. Through my creative vision I am able to help women who come on the retreat to feel beautiful, empowered, and reconnected to their sacred femininity.

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Here is a behind the scenes video that recaps this photoshoot experience!

When I first visited San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico on vacation I was blown away by the Sonoran Desert meeting the ocean and fell in love with the colorful shells I found on the beaches. I immediately had a desire to honor this beautiful place. With my love of reading about female archetypes, goddesses and ethereal creatures in folklore, legends and myths, choosing the “mermaid” theme for a photo shoot came quite naturally. These creatures have always intrigued me. I love the obvious dichotomy present in the very definition of a mermaid’s character. Some stories depicted mermaids as malevolent creatures associated with floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drowning. In other folklore (or sometimes within the same folk tradition) they can be benevolent, bestowing blessings and in some cases, even falling in love with humans. I enjoy this polarity and the idea of attempting to create my own real-life mermaids sounded like an interesting challenge.

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So, in the spring of 2013, I created the “Las Sirenas Photo Shoot Retreat” in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. True to the Sonoran Muses styling, I wanted to recreate my version of a realistic looking mermaid by designing crowns adorned with shells, bones, stones and sea glass collected from the beaches of that region. Although these crowns are created in my studio, once on location in Mexico I always take a few people from our group to go out and harvest additional living plants. The various flowers, leaves, seed pods or branches found are then woven into each model’s hair to complete the headdress styling. Doing the fishy makeup is one of my favorite parts of the whole styling process and in my opinion, the one that truly transforms each woman. I like to play with different textures and makeup color combinations to create the scale patterns. I am always looking ahead to see how I can incorporate new makeup techniques and costume effects for the future and hope to one day have use of full silicone mermaid tails!

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For this most recent retreat, instead of creating the shell crowns myself like I usually do, I decided to do an artistic collaboration with Organic Armor, a husband and wife costume design company out of North Carolina. They custom-designed four sea-inspired headdresses and two armbands just for this retreat. I was in awe of how each headdress was created and how light the foam-covered latex headdresses were, despite the fact that they look like heavy metal. There is something so fulfilling about being able to join forces with another artist and come up with a completely different take on what I normally do. I love doing collaborations with all varieties of artists ranging from hair stylists to costume designers and I look forward to featuring more artists in the future! In addition to these collaborations, I also like for each client that I work with to be a part of the styling and design process too!

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A week before every retreat I host a mermaid costume-making party in Tucson where each woman creates their own shell bra! This is such a great time for the group to get to know each other before the retreat and gives each woman time out from her busy schedule to get creative! Of course, I am always around if someone is not especially crafty and needs my help! Every party is a fun night filled with jokes, delicious home cooked food and a table entirely covered with shells, ribbon, glitter, coins, netting, fabric, beads, bras and beers. There is something I love about the chaos of the creative process and this is always the champion of messes.

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The house that I found to rent for this retreat was a dream. It was appropriately named the “shell castle” and was one of the most interesting houses I have ever stayed in. Not only was the entire building constructed from rocks harvested from a nearby canyon, but also thousands upon thousands of shells had been glued in intricate patterns all over the bathroom walls, mirrors and support columns in the house. There was a large fountain in the center of the living room and a spiral staircase that led up to the rooftop cabana. Showing the house to the women on the retreat for the first time is always so exciting and the house lends itself to having great shared experiences.

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I want each person who works with me to take away something meaningful from this retreat. Getting your portrait captured can be a very vulnerable experience, so I facilitate activities that help women voice what is on their mind to help them feel more comfortable during their photo shoot. The very first night of the retreat, I gift each model a Chinese flying lantern.  I then suggest that each person writes what they would like to let go of, or what they would like to change about themselves onto the thin white paper of each lantern. I ask them to think about what they would like this photo shoot experience to do for them. Once everyone is done writing, we take the lanterns up to the rooftop cabana and light them. Once the lanterns fill up with warm air, we carefully release them into the night sky in a sort of cathartic celebration, sometimes accompanied by fire spinning.

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These retreats are always such a fun, communal experience. Not only do we all caravan down to San Carlos together, but we shop for food together and take turns cooking amazing meals. We eat like kings shopping from the fresh fish markets! There are always plenty of opportunities to branch off from the group to have some one-on-one time with someone else too! There are a ton of activities to do in and around San Carlos including hiking, fishing, snorkeling and rock hounding or beach combing. Each time I go down there I am amazed at the new places I discover! I always strive to show people something they have never seen before and perhaps provide them with an opportunity to do something they have never done before. It is exciting and refreshing for me to see the relaxation and joy on people’s faces when jumping into the ocean for the first time when we arrive. However, these photo shoots are not all fun and games.

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Modeling outdoors like this is a lot of work and it can often be uncomfortable. There are also critters in the ocean like sting rays, jelly fish and sea urchins that need to be avoided. But with a bit of precaution and awareness these guys can be easily detected and are actually pretty fun to observe. When people look at my photographs they are often convinced that I hire professional models. They are usually surprised to learn that these images feature everyday women who have hired me. Although it’s nice to work with professional models, it doesn’t feed my soul the same way. Many people have also asked why I don’t photograph in the city. The truth is, I have a distaste for man-made objects. You will never see a building, a road, or even a trail in any of my image backgrounds for Sonoran Muses. I want to transport people to a time and place that seem foreign to human development… just unbridled landscapes with no trace of man, other than the beautiful women featured as the subject. I have always felt it was strange that we refer to nature as something outside of us, something separate and foreign. However, it is my understanding that WE ARE NATURE and it is my desire and goal to portray this in my images.

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I have had the honor of meeting so many amazing women during each mermaid retreat and I feel blessed to be able to do these portraits for a living. Every time I hear a new story about why a client has chosen to work with me and what it does for them I am blown away. Through facilitating this retreat, I realized that I not only offer women a chance to see themselves in a new light, but I am also gifting them time to relax and recharge from their busy lives. We all need this. We all need to decompress. Setting time aside for ourselves where we can go on an adventure, honor nature and hopefully discover what it means to develop a sense of self-love, is a lovely start to finding inner peace. To be able to share this experience with others gives me boundless amounts of joy and peace in my life, because I have found a sense of purpose in helping others regain their self confidence. Each one of us has our own unique way to create peace and share inspiration, what is yours? How do you find inner peace with yourself and what are some things you do frequently in your daily routine to help keep you grounded in this chaotic world?

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For more information please visit Sonoran Muses on facebook and Instagram, along with Emily’s website, eajonesphoto.com for her complete portfolio of work.

-Written by Emily Jones

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…

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***

Eagle and Condor: A Story of Hope

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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!

Global Meditation Celebrates World Spirit Day on December 21

It’s as if humanity has fallen into a great amnesia, forgetting our connection to the land, to each other, to the future and to the past. Organizers of The Unify Global Meditation at 3:03 pm PST on December 21 invite everyone to remember. Filmmaker, Frank Darier Baziere, has created a powerful short video (below) that inspires a beautiful vision of something that is often overlooked and hard to describe, spirit.

The Global Coherence Initiative along with The Heartmath Institute, and The Global Consciousness Project at Princeton have been studying the effects of synchronized meditation and social harmony for many years. Is it possible that A Moment Shared Around the World can actually cause lasting changes in our society? Many people seem to believe so.

Even though we have abused and harmed our environment, nature has kept this essence alive in order for us to one day remember. Join the spirit of the wind, the spirit of the water, the spirit of the earth, the spirit of the infinite energy of the universe. Today you can take action in your life and become the living example of spirit. Remember who you are. Remember where you came from. On December 21, 2014, remember  WE are SPIRIT.

The solstice reminds us of our connection to the dance of the planets and seasons it is a time for family and gathering to to celebrate and give thanks. Across the planet people are waking from this Forgotten Chapter to create a reality that honors our shared connection with all of life. Learn more about World Spirit Day and this growing global community by visiting Unify online.

 

Spontaneous Acts of Joy in Public Places

Flash mobs are magical spontaneous experiences for those participating and for those unsuspecting onlookers caught in the midst of them. It is a revolutionary act to dance, laugh, and celebrate in the face of all the worlds’ troubles. Peace is not the absence of war it is a creative, joyous expression of gratitude for the gift of life and a desire to share the love. This kind of inspiration is contagious as Peter Sharp and the people of Good Vibrations Barcelona are fully aware of the untapped resource called social joy. On their youtube channel you can see all sorts of beautiful, heart-warming, and playful videos that easily remind you that humanity is full of kindness and love. What creative and unabashed silliness might you dream up in order to break the chaotic cries of gloom with a giggle? Peaceful actions speak louder than words…

Is humanity ready for more acts of peace, love and kindness? This experiment tests the idea by giving peaceful acts to strangers to find out! Share this message if you want the world to live in peace. Much love to The Liberators, Sustainable Human, Unify & MasterPeace for inspiring the work. Music; 1. Let Me Clear My Throat – Dj Kool, 2. The Relate – The Friend Within, 3. Forever (Extended Mix) – Snakehips

Internet Mirrors Human Brain

When technology enables a truly global connected intelligence, the kind of insights we’re going to be able to have we cannot even imagine yet.” -Tiffany Shlain

You have probably heard of Connected the Filmor The Future Starts Here, or The Webby Awards by Tiffany Shlain by now and if you haven’t then you are in for a real treat. I first wrote about Tiffany in Huffington Post during the fall of 2012 when I reviewed her TED Book Neurons to Networks and I have been tickled to watch her creative reach grow ever since then. An updated version of the popular article is available on Culture Collective by visiting Global Brain, Global Heart.

DrewDellingerSo what’s the fuss now? The Future of Storytelling is all the rage. Why? Because ever since our ancestors left the council fire where our elders told elaborate prophecies and folk tales, our world views have been shaped by the stories we ingest. Though we may not sit in front of the council fires anymore, all of us spend many dark nights huddled by the warm glow of our laptops reading or watching videos and constructing our world-view with stories. As we know, there are plenty of bad, and downright depressing stories out there, and that’s why I always love the opportunity to see what Tiffany is up to!

In the short video below called Connecting Our Global Brain you will see just how powerful the metaphor of comparing the human brain with the world-wide-web really is. It is also a great inspiration for the kind of stories we might create along our journey of developing a global culture for humanity that embraces all of our diversity while honoring the many things we share in common!

 

 

A Gathering of The Tribes

From the Cowboy Indian Alliance (CIA) to Neil Young touring with a message to Honor the Treaties we have witnessed an unprecedented wave of indigenous activism. With good reason, First Nations Peoples are building alliances with environmentalists, celebrities, and artists in solidarity with people everywhere to protect sacred land from exploitation by industry. Inspired by the Idle No More Movement and traditional teachings, The International Treaty to Protect the Sacred signed January 25, 2013 between the Pawnee Nation, the Ponca Nation, the Ihanktonwan Dakota and the Oglala Lakota planted the seeds for the flowering of tribal solidarity. Unify supported the call from Chief Arvol Lookinghorse on World Peace and Prayer Day to honor sacred sites (#reclaimthesacred) and thousands of people in countries around the world joined in synchronized prayer and ceremony for the June 21 Solstice Celebration.

Why you might ask? Because native issues are all of our issues. Their ancient love, reverence, and commitment to honoring the land is an example to everyone around the world during a time when industry has threatened the very fabric of life on the planet. Fracking recklessly threatens watersheds, tar sands threatens to unleash a tidal wave of carbon into the atmosphere, and toxic spills are more frequent than we can keep up with. Humans everywhere are realizing that a large-scale change in the way we do business is in order.

Recognizing the importance of hosting gatherings for people of all backgrounds to converge, network and celebrate, Uplift Connect is hosting a free Unity Concert in The Black Hills this weekend Sept 13 and 14. In addition to the local event there will be a live broadcast with interviews and music from luminaries and artists gathered in the sacred Black Hills. There is also a Facebook group for added networking.

The Sioux have refused to take money for their ancestral lands from The US Government making the important statement that sacred land is not for sale. In a capitalist society it is so important for the world to remember that there are things that money can not buy. The value of life itself can not be measured in dollars.

Enjoy the video below and share this important message with your friends!

The Unity Concert from Uplift Festival on Vimeo.

 

A Technology for World Peace

Fire is technology and a resource. We can use it to warm our food and our home or it can burn down our neighborhood. It’s all a matter of how we choose to use technology and resources, or abuse them. If you are reading this now then you are engaging with some of the most complex technology in the history of the planet, the internet. You are literally reading light as it is interpreted through complex networks and computer chips to relay ideas and feelings around the world. That is why it is so exciting to see a digital technology recently launched with the purpose of connecting people around the world for the sake of creating peace. It is the Global Peace Map powered by Unify in collaboration with many organizations and individuals around the planet who are collaborating for September 21 International Day of Peace and beyond.

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This platform serves as a central place for people to connect into the global web of peacemakers and is embeddable simply by copying and pasting the Iframe Code below into any blog or website page.

<iframe width=”850px” height=”800px” scrolling=”no” id=”rails_iframe” src=”http://unifypeace.herokuapp.com//”></iframe>

This emergent dream has been created through contributions of intelligence and funds from many peace organizations and individuals. Together, everyone, everywhere is empowered to populate the map by creating a local event. Never before has there been such a globally crowd-sourced, unified, interactive tool for peace.
The United Nations has declared the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, also the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly’s declaration of the day’s intention, as the “Right of Peoples to Peace.” The UN has recognized that peace is a prerequisite of realizing human rights around the world, and it is within our potential as human beings to build positive peace.

The Global Map is one way technology is helping us harness this potential. Social media is, as well. Participants are also encouraged to take pictures of their local events and share them to social media networks with the hashtag #bethepeace. There is also a Facebook Event Page for the globally synchronized meditation with over 20,000 participants. In addition to The International Day of Peace events planned for Sept 21, there is The Peoples Climate March.

The link between environmental stewardship, social justice, community celebration, and peace must be strengthened if our dreams of healing a planet in crisis are to be realized.

The Global Peace Map translates to your timezone, wherever you are and allows you to zoom in, and scroll across the planet to see that people are waking up and calling for peace everywhere. International Day of Peace is a United nations Resolution and overwhelming support of civil society for this particular event has helped to focus world leaders attention on it as well.

At the bottom of this article you will find a list with links to the many organizations who are to thank for this wonderful project. Give them a visit and get involved, every person is here for a reason and together we have an unprecedented potential to create real change.

All of the technology in the world of humans was born from within us and is a reflection of our potential. We use finite resources from our planet that come at a cost. Will we use our resources to create technology for the betterment of all or for the destruction of everything that we cherish? I suppose that it is a choice in the way we want to use or abuse them. On this small planet, anything we do to others or to nature we are ultimately doing to ourselves. Choose peace!

Visit some of the great organizations below who believe that we should be using our technology and creative gifts for the sake of creating peace, healing, and unity in our global community!