Autism Speaks: What Kind of World Do You Want?

Take a moment, just a click, video on children. I received an email:

Autism Speaks, a sponsoring organization for the Autism Awareness campaign created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, “World”, which features images of autistic children and their families. It is a truly moving video and was the work of their Creative Director, Bill Shea.

The band is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

What Kind of World Do You Want?

Pass it on please.

Collective Consciousness: The Impact on Humanity

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CNN

I was feeling dull today. I listened to the news, watched the news, surfed the news, and tonight I saw a tagline: What Would Happen If Everyone Cared?

I felt something shift inside. After all, isn’t that the secret I most cherish, the one I most chase? What would be the impact if everyone cared?

CNN, yes, again CNN, has provided me with something that aligns myself with hope. The quest: What would happen if everyone cared?

 

 

 

I clicked on the link and found Resources on how we, the little people, can help others.

I don’t know about you, but I do wonder about what happens thousands of miles from my home. I also wonder if there is someone I could be helping within a few blocks. That is the aim of Surface Earth. To eventually launch an easy way to help each other within towns and then let the strength of towns spill over. In the meantime, we search to see how others are helping each other, day after day, and today, we were struck by the CNN tagline: Impact Your World.

America’s Children or America’s Parents?

I’m trying to understand the hot news today, both involving three kids, 12, 11 and 10.

The first is two young girls who allegedly decided to kidnap their neighbor’s child. This time CNN is apparently looking inward to America and our depraved society. (This remark stems from a comment on my post: We Do This To Ourselves: India: Mistreating the Elderly and the Young in the name of custom. The comment did get me thinking more about media coverage, but like I said in my reply comment, that would require a host of other posts and I will leave that to other capable bloggers out in virtual earth).

CNN reports: Girl, 11, allegedly driving 100 mph with .02 blood alcohol, says, on way to pick up sister from a concert

I have to admit, when I saw a flash of this on the television this morning, I assumed it was a boy. As I read the article, I kick myself for making any gender assumption. Part of the article reads:

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (AP) — Police who chased a car for miles along a highway at speeds up to 100 mph said the driver was drunk, hardly a rarity in this resort town. But there was more: When they looked inside the flipped vehicle with guns drawn, they found an 11-year-old girl at the wheel.

“You go up there thinking it’s a felon you’re dealing with,” assistant police Chief Greg Duck said.

The girl, who was slightly injured in the crash, is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident. Duck said she sideswiped another vehicle during the roughly 8-mile chase.

I just don’t get it. I’m not sitting here ready to blame the parents or anyone else. How do I know if the parents or guardian went to sleep at a normal hour and the kid pretended to be asleep, etc.? I just don’t know. I know we don’t hide the keys to the car in our house. The point is, what makes a child get behind the wheel of a car and proceed to incite an 8 mile chase?

As if that didn’t stump me enough, I had to see two other children, a girl aged 12 and one aged 10, who allegedly kidnapped their next door neighbor, a toddler boy. Again, the news came compliments of CNN.

I on some level have a need to understand how two kids came up with the idea and carried through on the idea to kidnap the little boy. On the other hand, I am just so grateful to see no one was hurt.

What’s going on? Sometime ago, we posted about the crowd that beat up the passenger in Texas, even though the driver who accidentally hit a young girl, stopped his vehicle to get out and check. The crowd beat up the passenger?

Maybe I don’t need to look any further than what happens with the adults in our country to understand why the kids’ seemingly outlandish behavior barely causes anyone to gasp any longer.

There are a lot of theories out there, calls to prayer, calls to enlightenment, I have got to be frank with you, I wish to heck one of these New Age techniques could work on this world instantaneously.

We do this to ourselves: India: mistreating the elderly and the young in the name of custom?

I am a proponent of collective consciousness thinking. I believe that we are all webbed together and our blinders prevent us from seeing or knowing this on a day to day basis.

I can rarely find an instant, where one action has not somehow affected another. There are simple examples:

I leave work in a rush, angry over some detail. I am striving to get errands done and arrive home timely. I am in traffic and become angry watching cars ahead of me race through the yield sign and shove their way into the traffic, further delaying my journey because of a lack of courtesy. Miles down the road, I sense a car patiently waiting could use a break, needs some considerate motorist to let them into the traffic so they don’t remain in place for the next hour. Do I notice, do I see, do I allow this person in or do I carry over my anger from my earlier frustrations? Do I in turn now punish this motorist for the ones earlier who almost ran people off the road without care? Do I stop and realize, at times, I may have inadvertantly been the one not slowing at the yield sign, perhaps not out of a lack of deliberate inconsideration, but because I was so in my own world, my own perspective, I simply thought it was “my turn”?

Now, this is just a loose description, the point being is that when you become aware, it is hard to divorce any moment, any action, any word from another.

Today, there are two striking news articles that made me again think: We do this to ourselves. The first is the treatment of “elderly” Hindu woman, the second the treatment of female brides and the price of dowrys.

I saw a picture of a young woman standing in traffic. BBC news entitled its piece: Indian Woman Strips in Dowry Row

This young woman, standing with just underclothes on in traffic and what appears to be a baseball bat in her hand. The picture sounds like a scream to me, I feel that I can hear her soul screaming.

The second article that I keep thinking of was posted on CNN, entitled: Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die:

VRINDAVAN, India (CNN) — Ostracized by society, India’s widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets, hunched over with walking canes, their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces.

 

 

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A widow makes her way in Vrindavan, India, where an estimated 15,000 widows live on the streets.

 

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These Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition — and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families.

They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck.

Hindus have long believed that death in Vrindavan will free them from the cycle of life and death. For widows, they hope death will save them from being condemned to such a life again. Video Watch how some widows are rebelling »

“Does it feel good?” says 70-year-old Rada Rani Biswas. “Now I have to loiter just for a bite to eat.”

Biswas speaks with a strong voice, but her spirit is broken. When her husband of 50 years died, she was instantly ostracized by all those she thought loved her, including her son.

“My son tells me: ‘You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away,’ ” she says, her eyes filling with tears. “What do I do? My pain had no limit.”

As she speaks, she squats in front of one of Vrindavan’s temples, her life reduced to begging for scraps of food.

There are an estimated 40 million widows in India, the least fortunate of them shunned and stripped of the life they lived when they were married.

It’s believed that 15,000 widows live on the streets of Vrindavan, a city of about 55,000 in northern India.

“Widows don’t have many social rights within the family,” says Ranjana Kumari with the Center for Social Research, a group that works to empower women.

The situation is much more extreme within India’s rural community. “There, it is much more tradition-bound; in urban areas, there are more chances and possibilities to live a normal life.”

But the majority of India’s 1.1 billion population is rural. “The government recognizes the problem,” Kumari says. “It can do a lot, but it’s not doing enough.”

 

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One woman, a widow herself, is working for change. Dr. Mohini Giri has formed an organization called the Guild of Service, which helps destitute women and children.

Giri’s mother was widowed when Giri was 9 years old, and she saw what a struggle it was. Then, Giri lost her husband when she was 50, enduring the social humiliation that comes with being a widow. At times, she was asked not to attend weddings because her presence was considered bad luck.

“Generally all widows are ostracized,” she says. “An educated woman may have money and independence, but even that is snatched away when she becomes a widow. We live in a patriarchal society. Men say that culturally as a widow you cannot do anything: You cannot grow your hair, you should not look beautiful.”

She adds, “It’s the mind-set of society we need to change — not the women.”

Seven years ago, Giri’s organization set up a refuge called Amar Bari, or “My Home,” in Vrindavan. It has become a refuge for about 120 of India’s widows. Giri’s organization is set to open a second home, one that will house another 500 widows.

But as she says, “Mine is but a drop in the bucket.”

At Amar Bari, most widows reject traditional white outfits and grow out their hair. Along the open air corridors that link the house’s courtyard are green wooden doors, leading to dark tiny rooms, home for each widow. Photo See the widows of Vrindavan »

Bent over by osteoporosis, 85-year-old Promita Das meticulously and slowly sweeps the floor just outside her door and then carefully cleans her dishes.

“I came here when I couldn’t work anymore. I used to clean houses,” she says. “Nobody looked after me, nobody loved me. I survived on my own.”

She married at 12 and was widowed at 15. Seventy years later, she finds herself at Amar Bari. “I used to live in front of a temple, but then I came here,” she says….”.

On one end of the spectrum of life, there is mistreatment for not bringing enough into the marriage and the family. On the other end, there is banishment for not having enough left to give after already have given it to everyone else.

I have posted before about the eternal question: why? And yes, as I read these and other stories, my first impulse is to still ask why, but I no longer am convinced that figuring out the “why” will fix these problems. Whose “why” would I begin with? Through whose eyes would I look through first and with whose eyes would I end in trying to figure out the origin?

Other Sources/Viewpoints:

Shubho introduces another view & different statistics:  Atmaav Blogspot

Uprising Radio: Review of Deepa Mehta’s film: Water

India Together: Land Titles & Widows

Widows Rights Organization

WomensENews: 2004 article

America: Debate on caring for elderly patients: family or professionals?

Trashing Celebrities

A few moments ago, well, more than a few now, I posted a piece wondering about miracles.

I am still brewing over that and hope some others out there have some different perspectives to lend to my thoughts, but my mind has continued to wander, not unlike the clouds against an azure sky, I just keep spinning by.

Right now, I am wondering, why must we trash celebrities?

Here are a few devil advocate guesses:

1. Because they “made it”

2. Because we think they have it better than us

3. Because we pay to increase their fame, through products or movie tickets or DVD rentals, we feel they owe it to us to project a certain image

Now, I have posted about this before, but will do so again, why the attack on Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their growing brood of loved children?

See, in my mind, I choose. I choose to see people with money and status and fame, whether they want it or not, who step outside the box to help others, as inspired human beings. I recognize the arguments out there, blah, blah, they do it to receive even further recognition and fame and money.

But, is there a point in time that a “celebrity” – no matter what they do – can be accused of taking any action simply to obtain more attention and more money?

I think so.

I think it becomes a feeding frenzy, we blame them for our interest and attention.

After all, once in the limelight, isn’t much of what you do exposed, willingly or otherwise? True or not true?

I surfed the net for humanitarian news and receive many hits on Ms. Jolie. Here are a few:

Compliments of PopSugar:

Fri, 06/08/2007 – 7:00am by PopSugar

Angelina is everywhere! Making the Pop 100, supporting her man at Ocean’s premieres, promoting A Mighty Heart, and yesterday she was “honored for her philanthropic work by joining the Council on Foreign Relations.” Does it ever stop for Angelina? With all this work it’s no wonder she wants to take off to enjoy time with her kids. The actress talked pretty candidly about life with Brad and the kids in this month’s issue of Marie Claire. She even gives us a little glimpse into all of her little ones’ big personalities. Here are some adorable and funny quotes about the Jolie-Pitt kids:

  • On Pax:
    “[Pax] Is probably the wildest person in the house right now.””I’m still having trouble convincing Pax that underwear and pants go together – underwear is not pants!
  • On Zahara:
    “Z – you do her hair; she takes it out. It’s like everybody starts to undress once you’ve gotten them dressed!””Zahara is the smart ass personality. The other day Z said to me, ‘I need a cookie.’ I said, ‘You
    need a cookie? You don’t need a cookie.’ She said, ‘Daddy gonna cry.’ Why is Daddy gonna cry? ‘Daddy wants me to have a cookie. She’s just that smart.”
  • On Shiloh:
    “Shiloh is starting to walk, so she’s falling and eating everything in the place.”
  • On Maddox:
    I’m so happy for my children – especially Mad. I didn’t know if he was ever going to have a dad. So when I watch them having real strong father-son time, or even when Mad tells me, “This is a boy thing, Mom’ – it’s just beautiful to see.”

We can only imagine what it’s like trying to keep up with their little clan. She and Brad are obviously having a great time doing it. Although it sounds like they’re really going to have their hands full when the kids are teenagers! Check out the rest of the article on newsstands now in Marie Claire.”

You can’t make this stuff up. Well maybe you can, but come on guys, is it too much to believe there could be a super succesful woman, with an adoring partner and lovely gorgeous children, who still finds time to launch herself into situations that I would not send my worst enemy into?

See also: Team-Jolie. I could have pasted and copied separate resources, but since they comprehensively came up with the most news hits, I bow my head, and cite their site.

Collision of Truth

Suppose, you recognized that in the moments when you first awake from sleep, you have no name?

Suppose you recognized that in those few spare moments in the day there was no list, no bills, no anger, no complaints, no one outside of the limitless mind that you awoke to?

Limitless of course implying that you woke to some collective whole. As if whole could be separated from collective.

Switch………….

I recently read something…what a laugh as I am always reading…but I read something, I believe it was on The Spiritual Oracle…and I was questioning something, suprise, repeating number sightings I think, and someone replied that they had learned to accept what is and was…hmmm.

I think I get it now.

I have this odd occurrence daily, birds sweep and hover in front of my car, my windshield, it used to freak me out and I would duck…recently I shrug it off, knowing it means something, but also knowing I do not know the language of birds and I just better let it go. Now I am talking as if I have really mastered sitting back and nothing could be further from the truth, but I swear, I haven’t ducked so much in the last few days.

What helped me was thinking of children. Children don’t to our knowledge recognize the written language and it takes most years of integration to get them to conform and see it “our” way. Yet, a part of them recognizes the power of the written word, the mystical aspect, the magic, and will hold a book, a piece of paper, a dollar bill…and “pretend” to read. I recently saw this and thought: that is me on a spiritual search, I pretend to know the language.

Orphans & Enslaved Children in India

I was reminded today about the “Little Arrow in the Upper Right Corner”, by Ronnie over at Out of My Head.

For kicks, I started clicking and clicking. I saw some lovely blogs, but it was a blog focused on saving children and stopping child slavery, that caused me to stop and read and then start clicking on the resources/links listed.

I began to read articles written by Shelly Seale.

The information focused upon the plight of children in India. I of course had read many things about the plight of children in India before, but today, it hit me differently and I was overwhelmed by the enormity of how many children live not only without parents or other family, but live under despicable conditions at the behest of people that mistakenly call themselves human.

I came across information on The Miracle Foundation and news articles talking about the founder Caroline Boudreaux. The grace of one open heart with the humble goal to simply help children is beyond inspiring.