One of The Greatest Gifts You Can Give Yourself Is To Take Time To Meditate

The following lovely explanation of meditation and its benefits for mankind, I found on a website called "Learning Meditation-Learning to Relax

Relaxation through Meditation: My preference would be to call meditation relaxation – conscious relaxation, chosen relaxation. These are words that are more universally understood, more comfortable. Constantly working toward the goal of discovering my own ability to reach a state of serenity, I have learned to meditate.
Meditating is actually easier than you might imagine. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation. Maybe during an exercise class or to manage pain at the dentist or anxiety before a test. We start by paying attention to our breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the "mind clutter" that constantly tries to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the goal of clearing your mind – to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy. The result is, and I guarantee this, peace, serenity, calmne
ss, eventually opening yourself to new insights.

Meditating for Life: Too much stress, stress reduction, chill out, let it go, detach – familiar phrases to all of us. Our world is fast, fun and exciting. It is also challenging, trying, demanding and frightening. These two sides of our lives produce stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and anticipation. Our bodies and minds can tolerate only so much of any of these. After a while, each of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, even unendurable.
No magic pill is available to eliminate these feelings. The reality is, as the wise old man said, the answer is inside all of us. To manage these universal concerns we must go inside ourselves. Among the steps we can take is the learning and practicing of meditation.

What to Expect: With time and faith in the commitment to practice frequently, (daily meditating is ideal), during your meditation time you may "leave the moment." A feeling of separation exists where the mind is clear, clean and blank. You will still hear sounds around you, but they will not interfere with your meditation.
Sometimes you may weep -- you may not even be aware of what is making you weep. It is your own emotions having a voice of their own. Sometimes you may feel a smile across your face -- that is contentment showing itself. Sometimes you may fall asleep and awaken truly refreshed.
There is no right or wrong behavior during your meditation. It is your time for you. Everyone deserves this kind of personal attention. This is a self-care activity; loving oneself! Teach it to your children instead of a time-out in their room or corner. Teach it to your friends, family, anyone who will listen. We can share this gift and get back as we give. We are all better because of each person who meditates. The peace and joy felt by those who meditate enters the world for all of us as positive energy. From it the world is a better place. Imagine if we all practiced meditation!

South Carolina City of Charleston ~ In Memory of Our 9 Fallen Firefighters

"All firefighters are 'Public Servants of the Highest Order'."
They want to serve, they want to help,
they want to save and protect.
They are humble and dedicated
to the vibrant life of their communities.
Firefighters of the 21st century
will go down in history
as one of the top most significant
archetypes for humanity.

If the Earth Isn't Well

photo by Patty Ann Smith

If the whales aren't well
we aren't well.
If the wolves aren't well
we aren't well.
If the birds aren't well
we aren't well.
If the trees aren't well
we aren't well.
If the crickets aren't well
we aren't well.
If Africa isn't well
then we're not well.
If South America isn't well
then we're not well.
If North America isn't well
then we're not well.
If the British Isles aren't well
then we're not well.
If Europe isn't well
then we're not well.
If Asia isn't well
then we're not well.
If the Middle East isn't well
then we're not well.
If the EARTH is not well
......then we are not well.

Patty Ann Smith

Angelina ~ One of Many Great Ladies Making A Difference

UNHCR ~ the UN Refugee Agency

Cool Globes

From now until September, the city of Chicago is hosting "CoolGlobes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet", an innovative project that uses the medium of public art to inspire individuals and organizations to take action against global warming.
Over 100 extraordinary globes, designed by local, national and international artists, are on display along the lakefront using a variety of materials to create awareness and provoke discussion about potential solutions to global warming. Solutions that can be put into practice every home, on the job and in your school. Visit CoolGlobe to view each globe in the exhibit online and learn about the artists and their solution to stop global warming. The CoolGlobe pictured above is exhibit #70 "Heal the World" and the artist is Tamar Hirschl.
The city of Chicago is also one of the leading US cities in "green roofs" and other things that help to pave the way for us to walk more softly on Mother Earth.
Summer Action Tip: Keeping your car tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Saving a gallon of gas will keep 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and more money in your pocket.
This information was passed on to me from Laurie David, Founder of Stop Global Warming

My Home ~ My Heart

We have a chance to grow naturally,
instead of crooked.
To appreciate both the light of day,
and the mysterious dark of night.
To discover what is heaven on earth...
and take care of it.
We need to become like little children again,
and discover nature like it was the first time!
A lot can be learned from
the plants and the animals,
the stars and the seasons.
Learning the ways of nature,
and modifying our lives to be more in tune with nature,
gives us back a freedom we've lost:
The freedom to be in control of our own health and happiness.
Seeing things again as a child
all fresh and new,
means we have to "let go" of what we no longer need,
and be willing to be that innocent child again who is
Spontaneous....Creative....and....filled with Joy!
~ Patty Ann Smith

Something to Think About

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. ~ Carl Sagan

Some of the Rewards of A Simple Life

To find the universal elements enough;

To find the air and the water exhilarating;

To be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter;

To be thrilled by the stars at night;

To be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring.

John Burroughs

"Live simply so that others may simply live."

Every Day, There Are More and More Refugees In The World

The International Rescue Committee serves refugees and communities victimized by oppression or violent conflict worldwide. Founded in 1933, the IRC is committed to freedom, human dignity, and self-reliance. This commitment is expressed in emergency relief, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement assistance, and advocacy.

A glimpse of what The International Rescue Committee was doing in April of this year:

The Displaced in Central African Republic Receive Emergency Supplies from An International Rescue Committee team in northwestern Central African Republic is distributing emergency supplies to some 21,000 people, most of them displaced by ongoing violence and living in dire conditions in the bush.
“So far, we’ve been able to provide critical items to 344 households, about 1,800 people, from six hard-hit villages,” says the IRC’s Baptiste Millet, who is helping to organize the deliveries in volatile Nana Gribizi district.
“We worked with communities to establish committees of six women and four men, who in turn, helped organize the distribution for their fellow villagers,” adds Millet.
The first distribution took place in an area on the frontline of fighting between insurgents and government soldiers.
“The uprooted people in this area are extremely vulnerable and at risk of getting caught in the cross fire if they try to return to their villages,” says Millet. “Their access to aid and services has been especially limited.”
The IRC is distributing items that include insecticide-treated mosquito nets, soap, cooking supplies, water containers and clothing, largely donated by UN agencies. AmeriCares has also contributed more than 1 million water purification sachets that the IRC will be supplying to displaced communities suffering high rates of water-borne diseases.
One of those villages is Ngoumourou, next on the list to receive IRC emergency supplies. Families from Ngoumourou have lost 17 children in recent months from diseases stemming from drinking contaminated water.
“People in the bush need access to clean water, “says Safaa Fakorede, an IRC environmental health engineer. “In the same 45 communities where we’re distributing supplies, we’re also giving training and tools to dig wells and conducting health and hygiene promotion activities.”
For the region's sick, the IRC continues to improve services at Kaga Bandoro Hospital, the only functioning health facility in the area. With IRC’s assistance, the hospital is treating about 180 patients a day, up from an average of six. We’ve also supplied new equipment, mattresses and linens.
The IRC’s health coordinator is training midwives and nurses on specialized care for women who have been sexually assaulted and doctors and other hospital staff on drug management care and improved treatment methods for malaria, diarrhea, measles and meningitis.

You can find this story and others like it by visiting The International Rescue Committee online right here:

"We are free, but not to be evil, not to be indifferent to human suffering, not to profit from the people, from the work created and sustained through their spirit of political association, while refusing to contribute to the political state that we profit from. We must say no once more. Man is not free to watch impassively the enslavement and dishonor of men, nor their struggle for liberty and honor." ~ Jose Marti ( poet and writer 1853-1895)

Will Freed's song "Children of the World"

Will Freed is a MySpace friend of mine "from across the pond":) in Germany. He is an outstanding songwriter, singer, guitar player and humanitarian. And just this week, he put his song "Children of the World" on his MySpace Player. It's truly a song everyone should hear. Please drop by his place to click on and listen to "Children of the World".

Will Freed's MySpace:
Will Freed's Website: