MORE LIGHT STORIES!

The Panhandler   We're No Different

The Skins we Wear

Not the End, But a New Beginning

A Remarkable Act of Kindness

  The Gift   A Cool Bat

Perfect Love  Watchman 

Christmas  Baby Quail Aya

Hector  Emma  Chris Trapper

Tread Lightly  Dhagé  Mediator

Ripple  Mattie  William  Iqbal

Evacuee  Mountain  Angels

Granny  City Angels  Ro

 

 

PEACE TODAY

 

THE INTUITIVE SELF

 

CREATIVE POWER

 

SPIRIT-SENSE

 

SPECIALS

 

 

 

 

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DOG HEROES

SEP-OCT 2016

Oh the stories I can tell about dog heroes! This one took place in Jersey recently. Two young women out walking were attracted by the sound of a dog barking frantically. This dog had used its paws to break a window pane, and was obviously trying to get their attention. Concerned, they called 911. When the police arrived, they found the owner on the floor unconscious. The ambulance was called and the rescued dog owner was taken to the hospital.

Where would be without our best friends? A couple of years ago, my then 90 year old mother sneaked downstairs onto the driveway, ordinarily off-limits to her, stumbled, fell, and hit her head on the edge of a concrete post. It traumatized our male dog so much that tday, whenever she tries to go downstairs on her own, that dog will bark and bark until he attracts someone's attention. He is our guardian angel.

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A TRULY DELIGHTFUL MOMENT!

JUL-AUG 2016

I breezed into Barnes and Noble after running errands, and headed for the movie section. As I settled in front of the DVD collections, I heard someone at the end of the aisle saying something. Strangely, it was completely unintelligible so I looked up.

I saw a young man with a pleasantly sculpted face who I instantly judged to be different. He was what society would probably call 'special needs'. I was immediately out of my element and out of my comfort zone, for I did not know how to communicate with him. Since I had no clue if he was talking to me or to himself, I quickly averted my gaze and busied myself pretending to choose some DVDs.

In the next moment, however, a clear question came: "Why do you wear that?" I knew for sure that he was addressing me, so I looked at him. Touching my face, I responded: "You mean this mask?" He nodded.

I explained that I was sensitive to perfumes and cigarette smoke and such like, that my body did not like those things so I wore the mask to try to reduce the not-so-good effects. He regarded me candidly and then observed matter-of-factly:

"You know that that is weird!"

I laughed. And to myself I thought: Touché! A perfect lesson from the Universe!

Looking directly into my face, he then made another observation: "You have beautiful eyes."

I was very moved, but so completely flumoxed that I found no words except 'Thank you very much'. My new friend instantly went on his way cheerfully, all the while chatting softly and gesticulating to himself. He settled in front of a kiosk on the other side of the section, and with obvious enjoyment, began browsing through the movies.

What an incredibly delightful moment and a cosmic lesson about judgement!

 

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LETTING GO

MAR 2014-JUNE 2016

Life has so much beauty in it, but we can never hold on to that beauty. We can only fill our hearts with the joy it brings, be transformed by it, and then -- like an exquisite sand mandala -- let go of it. It took me two years and three months of living without my soulmate to understand this. Today, it gives me great joy to recall the words I said to him on our wedding day:

It is for the union of you and me that there is light in the sky.
It is for the union of you and me that the earth is decked in dusky green.
It is for the union of you and me that the night sits motionless with the world in her arms:

Dawn appears, opening the eastern door with sweet murmurs in her voice.
The boat of hope sails along on the currents of eternity towards that union.
Flowers of the ages are being gathered together for its welcoming ritual.

It is for the union of you and me that this heart of mine, in the garb of a bride,
has proceeded from birth to birth Upon the surface of this ever-turning world
to choose the Beloved.

- Rabindranath Tagore, Indian Poet

For more on my recovery, see MMM's Moves

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SUNSHINE FIX

JAN-FEB 2014

A group of Scottish researchers have discovered that sunlight lowers blood pressure. They believe that the compound nitric oxide is released into the blood stream when sunbeams hit the skin, dilating the vessels and causing pressure to drop. I know for myself that the moment I step out my front door into the sun, I instinctively raise my head skywards and something in me begins to expand. For a brief while, I survey life around me benignly, totally at peace—until my overactive mind kicks in and starts telling me, Move along there, you’ve got things to do! So for sunlight to be an effective blood pressure reducer, we must also resolve to quiet the mind for a spell or two whenever we are actively soaking up rays!

It is important that we know this: sunlight is expansive. It acts as a magnet to draw us into the doorway of awareness, lending itself to open interactions with the world at large. It reaches out to excite the cells in our bodies, ordering them into calm alignment, so that a connection with all in the universe can be achieved.

For more on the study, see http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sunshine-may-lower-blood-pressure-and-boost-heart-health-study-suggests/

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THE PANHANDLER

NOV-DEC 2013

A former Canadian food inspector named Scott, who has been battling cancer for 10 years, fell on hard times and could no longer afford to feed himself or his cat. For the first time in his life, he had to make the hard decision to panhandle. He went into an Ottawa shopping mall with a sign that said: Cancer patient. Just need some food & milk, please and thank you.’ What followed brought him to tears. Strangers came up to him and handed him $20 bills—and he was as grateful for them as he was for the nickels others gave him. He cried for almost an hour at the generosity of the people who believed in him unquestionably. Later, he wrote an open letter in the newspaper thanking them. “You have hearts as big as our snowbanks in the city,” he wrote.

For more on the story, visit http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/ottawa-panhandler-thanks-strangers-kindness-163527433.html#more-id

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GREEN EIGG

SEP-OCT 2013

The Scottish Island of Eigg, in the Hebrides, is virtually self-sufficient in renewable power. Solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric stations provide 90% of the residents' energy needs. It works for them because the Eigg residents collectively own the island, and have a say in its development. Amazingly, their bank of batteries is connected to an actual traffic light, which sits in clear view. When demand exceeds supply, the light goes red, and people can see that they're using too much energy. Residents can then volunteer to reduce their energy usage. The isle of Eigg has received a number of prizes for its use of renewable forms of energy.

For more, visit http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/01/greenest-island-world-201412783012455475.html

http://www.islandsgoinggreen.org

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We're No Different

JUL-AUG 2013

This is 'Light-News' indeed! The people of Israel are reaching out to the people of Iran with a simple wish for a return to friendship and an end to fighting. In the video 'One Wish for Iran: Love Israel', Israelis and Palestinians have come together to say to the Iranis: we are no different, we hold the same dreams in our hearts. We are one people. Let us love, not hate. It is a message from ordinary people to ordinary people, one which politicians must heed. The global shift in consciousness is gaining momentum. It is becoming increasingly clear that nobody wins when life cannot be lived to the fullest. The all-or-nothing paradigm has a fatal flaw: the 'all' is an illusion. As the Biblical wisdom goes, 'What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?' And I'll be down-to-earth and add: …forfeit peace of mind, forfeit freedom of movement, forfeit our very place in this precious symbiotically designed biosphere – like the dinosaurs did?

 

To view the 'One Wish' video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sodvz_568c0#at=43

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The 'Skins' We Wear

JAN-FEB 2013

There is a lovely Great Soul, Arturi. She has four coats: a very expensive mink, which she takes along to ritzy parties and sophisticated soirées, a rather affluent-looking fox for classy afternoon events, a stylish but modestly priced lambs wool cape for most everyday occasions, and a cheap Parker for going to ball games, shovelling snow, and walking out on pleasant evenings.

For each of her experiences, Arturi chooses a different coat, and has the greatest time 'dressing for the occasion'. Among our unconscious friends, Arturi is judged by outward appearance and treated accordingly. But for those who live consciousnessly, the only 'article' of importance is Arturi herself. And no matter whether she's in furs or Parkers, to them, she is a lovely Soul, a being worth associating with; one who is living, like them, a fascinating and full life. And to Arturi herself, what matters most are the lessons learnt from each individual experience: pain caused and pain felt, joys shared and love withheld. That is Life in totality—the sum of all the lessons learnt.

We all, like Arturi, don various 'garments, or 'skins', depending on the type of experiences we wish to have: from conqueror to vanquished, from saint to sinner, from lovable to unloved. The challenge for each and every one of us, is to always be that 'Arturi', no matter which 'garment' or 'skin' we don, and the challenge for all those we come into contact with, is to see the real Arturi through the 'garments' or 'skins'. That is also Life.

 

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Not the End, but a New Beginning

NOV-DEC 2012

It's the end of the year, and we have great tidings! We tried to share pieces of this great story over the months and years, but were drowned out most times by doomsayers predicting the end of the world. Now that December 21, 2012 has come and gone without event, we at last have your ear.

What the Mayan Calendar actually predicted was the ending of one long cycle and the beginning of another for the world, and believe it or not, their prediction coincides with changes observed by a number of us who are accustomed to analysing macro cycles in our respective fields.

A shift has been quietly taking place, and now that it has reached critical mass, we can expect it to grow exponentially over the next few years. There is kindness and love in the air, my friends! Let's breathe them in and spread the word. In later days, 2012 will not be known as the year the world did not end, but as the year the shift to a more conscious, holistic world took root! Duane Elgin, author and educator, put it best: in 1997, he co-authored a paper entitled Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm.  In it, he postulated that the Industrial/Materialistic Paradigm, or model, was gradually being replaced by a Reflective/Living Systems Paradigm. He got it right. We can just see its 'outline' as it begins to take shape.

For some 'shifters' it was a natural transition, others needed a little push in the right direction, which dramatic earth changes, the collapse of ethics globally, and the deterioration in our prospects for a healthy life, helped provide. Naysayers are still loudly protesting, but the findings of researchers from diverse backgrounds - scientists, sociologists, spiritualists, cosmologists - have converged to a single point: the very survival of our planet depends on a shift in our consciousness to a more holistic  approach to both our bodies, our communities, and our biosphere. We have begun to remake ourselves. History is being created! Be a part of it!

Discussions on Paradigm Shift

 http://www.swanlight.org/Fall_Rise_Intuitive.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/compassion-games-survival_b_2133146.html

http://www.duaneelgin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/global_consciousness.pdf

http://www.peterrussell.com/SP/ResurgNaturalMind.php

http://www.joannamacy.net/livingsystems.html

 

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A Remarkable Act of Kindness

SEP-OCT 2012

Kristian Doubledee, a bus driver on his usual daily run in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, did a most extraordinary thing on Tuesday September 18, 2012- something that brought his passengers to tears. He was driving along his route when he suddenly pulled the bus over, yelled, "Hey, buddy!" and hopped off the bus to talk to a homeless man.

"Where's your shoes?" he asked.

"I don't have any," the homeless man replied.

"If I give you a pair of shoes will you keep them?" Doubledee asked.

"Yes."

Right before his passengers' very eyes, Doubledee promptly took off his shoes, handed them to the barefooted homeless man, and then got back onto the bus. Why did he commit this extraordinary act of kindness? Doubledee was later asked. Because he had seen the man walking across the street the day before and just knew his feet must be sore. That was his simple reply.

For more, visit www.cbsnews.com/8301-33816_162-57518288/bus-driver-gives-his-shoes-to-homeless-man/

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The Gift

JUL-AUG 2012

She wanted the book so badly. "Go on, ask him," Luce urged. The little girl glanced at her father, then shook her head sadly. "He said he only buying two books and both are for him."

Luce glanced curiously at the man standing in front of the bookstand to the right of hers. His head was buried in a book. Why bring her to the book fair? she wondered. That was like taking a kid to a chocolate shop and then saying, none for you. Potential customers began to drift Luce's way, and the girl wandered off. Immediately, Luce launched into her promotional spiel, the girl's plight forgotten. She had set herself a goal, and intended to reach it.

Much later, when things were quiet again, Luce sat down gratefully, and glanced around, satisfied at how sales were going. She spotted the young girl again, sitting between two bookstands obliquely opposite hers. Her chin was resting on one knee, despondence written all over her face. The thought of giving her the book flashed through Luce's mind. Their eyes met. "Just go and ask him," Luce mouthed encouragingly. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." The girl shook her head adamantly. "Do you want me to ask him then?" Luce said. Immediately, she perked up. Her head bobbed up and down vigorously in a yes, and her eyes sparkled with anticipation.

The moment Luce saw the father circling back and coming her way, she jumped up and said, "Can I interest you in..." and plunged into her spiel animatedly, holding the coveted book up high for him to see. They talked for a long time, but Luce could not budge him. "I'll think about it," the father mumbled, edging away. "I can always buy it from the bookstore."

Moments later, a young man from a couple of stands to Luce's left sidled up and murmured, "He's not going to buy the book for her and she really wants it badly."

"How do you know?" Luce eyed the young man with a mixture of curiosity and puzzlement at his sudden intervention. She had not realized that he was even aware of what was going on. "I just know," the young man replied firmly. "So I want to buy it for her, but I don't have all the money now. I'll have to give you the rest tomorrow." Luce gazed at him in admiration. "That's really sweet of you," she cooed. She was sure he didn't have that much money. Things were bad economically for most people. "You put up what you can, and I'll add the rest," she added impulsively. Her thinking was, the girl must really deserve to have the book if both of them had the same thought. "So how are we going to swing it," she asked, as the young man counted off his money. "Just say it's a gift from you," he replied softly.

Luce approached the little girl's father, who was about 30 feet away, and said to him, "I really want your daughter to read my book, so I would like to give her as a gift. Do you mind?" He muttered something in confusion and in that instant, Luce realized that if he could, he would have granted his daughter her wish. He just didn't have the money, perhaps even to buy the books he wanted for himself. Cutting through his waffling, Luce asked again, "Do you mind?" No, he finally replied warily. Smiling, Luce beckoned to the little girl. "What's your name?"  Sila, the girl replied. Luce wrote in her book, To Sila. Stay beautiful, and enjoy. Sila was beaming from ear to ear, as she walked away. Luce looked around for the young man to share this special moment, but he had left without a backward glance.

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A Cool Bat

MAY-JUN 2012

This morning I went out for my usual walk. On a whim I decided to see if the wash was running because I could hear the creek more loudly than normal through the trees. Just as I was about to turn down the grassy path towards the wash, I saw one of the three lovely teenage boys I met recently coming up the road. Hs was holding his hands in front of him almost awkwardly, so I called out and asked him if he was OK.

"Yes he replied. I'm just taking this bat to the creek."

By then I was right in front of him and he tilted his right hand to reveal, nestled in his gloved left hand a bat, calm and comfortable, patiently allowing this precious youngster to take it to the creek.

"He was hiding under a stone trying to stay out of the heat", the young man explained as he once again shaded the bat from the fierce Arizona sun with his gloved right hand!

"Isn't he cute?", he asked.

I agreed, laughing to myself, because fortunately, having had my own recent experience with a bat, I could now truthfully agree to its 'cuteness'. We bade each other goodbye and he continued down the dusty, gravel road towards the creek. What an interesting young man, I thought, wishing that I could have taken a photo of the teenager with a bat resting on his hand. All is well for the planet with such a caring soul. - Daisy's Journeys

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Perfect Love

MAR-APR 2012

. . . I was tested severely in the beginning of my pilgrimage. Life is a series of tests; but if you pass your tests, you look back upon them as good experiences. I'm glad I had these experiences. If you have a loving and positive attitude toward your fellow human beings, you will not fear them. 'Perfect love casteth out all fear.'

One test happened in the middle of the night in the middle of the California desert. The traffic had just about stopped, and there wasn't a human habitation within many miles. I saw a car parked at the side of the road. The driver called to me saying, "Come on, get in and get warm." I said, "I don't ride." He said, "I'm not going anywhere, I'm just parked here." I got in. I looked at the man. He was a big, burly man--what most people would call a rough looking individual. After we had talked a while he said, "Say, wouldn't you like to get a few winks of sleep?" And I said, "Oh, yes, I certainly would!" And I curled up and went to sleep. When I awoke I could see the man was very puzzled about something, and after we had talked for quite some time he admitted that when he had asked me to get into the car he had certainly meant me no good, adding, "When you curled up so trustingly and went to sleep, I just couldn't touch you!"

I thanked him for the shelter and began walking away. As I looked back I saw him gazing at the heavens, and I hoped he had found God that night.

No one walks so safely as one who walks humbly and harmlessly with great love and great faith. For such a person gets through to the good in others (and there is good in everyone), and therefore cannot be harmed. This works between individuals, it works between groups and it would work between nations if nations had the courage to try it . . . Excerpt from Peace Pilgrim's book, pg. 26

http://www.peacepilgrim.org/book/ppbook.pdf  

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The Watchman

JAN-FEB 2012

We called him The Tailor, because that is what he was before alcohol reduced him to begging on the streets. The carpenters, who were fixing up the neighbour's house, thought he was the worst kind of beggar, because they were pretty sure that whatever he managed to secure by whining his way into some gullible heart, would be promptly sold for a bottle, or a glass, of rum. Granny didn't care.

"He's a human being," she would say vehemently when the carpenters would shout: "Leave Granny alone, stop bothering her!"

The Watchman always sat on the sidelines quietly looking on as Granny fed The Tailor to the taunts of the carpenters.  She fed the Likeable Rogue too, and the Cell Phone Beggar - and probably The Joker at some point in time. And on each occasion the carpenters would call out to the beggars, "Go find work, yuh lazy #@&@#!!", while the watchman watched. It was hard to tell what he was thinking, but his expression seemed to say, "Crazy lady!"

One day I was sitting on Granny's veranda keeping her company, when The Joker passed by in a mishmash outfit, his shirttail flying in the wind. He waved at no-one in particular, and chatted merrily to unseen friends. Before he reached the corner, he turned around and passed back. I didn't think Granny had noticed, since she was changing stations on her shortwave radio, and in any case, she could not see well when dusk loomed, but Granny frowned and said, "Why is that man walking up and down?" Most of the indigent knew that Granny wasn't able to provide help after 5:30 p.m., and it was now 5:44 p.m.

A little way up the road, The Joker turned again and walked back towards us. He stopped at the neighbour's fence, and said something to The Watchman, gesticulating wildly. The Watchman, who had just started eating his box supper, quietly got up from his chair, picked his way through the rubble of old boards and broken stones, and handed The Joker his meal over the fence. The Joker took the box and immediately started shovelling food into his mouth with a plastic spoon. I looked at The Joker scurrying away with his prize, and then at The Watchman. He glanced my way a little sheepishly.

"Another one bites the dust," I said smugly to Granny.

"What do you mean?" she asked, genuinely puzzled.

"I'm pretty sure your helping others had something to do with that. He's been watching you for so long, he probably didn't even know his heart was opening up until now. I notice this is happening all over the neighbourhood."

"Well, I'm glad of that," said Granny, and calmly went on fiddling with her radio.

 

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A Christmas Story

NOV-DEC 2011

Eileen was far away from home and family – 10,000 miles, to be exact. It had never mattered to her before, because she was an adventurer, and exploring exotic corners of Mother Earth was what she loved to do. Based in the Far East, her job allowed her to travel around the globe several times a year. One day she could be in Colombo and the next, in Edinburgh. Eileen was spirited, confident, not really thoughtless, but so focused on fulfilling her own dreams that maintaining connections with family and friends took a backseat.

On one of her trips, she began to notice that something was very wrong with her health. Things were happening that shouldn’t. Her very life force seemed to be draining out of her body. Now, Eileen was a bungatuffy, in Caribbean lingo, as strong as an ox. Sickness was foreign to her. So, as she got weaker and weaker, she pushed herself more and more, daring her body to correct itself. It couldn’t. Instead one horrifying morning, she woke up in a pool of blood.

Desperate, Eileen flipped through the Yellow Pages trying to choose a ‘good’ facility out of the numerous hospitals listed. Suddenly, amidst the jumble of non-English names and addresses, she caught sight of the word, ‘Adventist’. Pouncing on the number, she dialled quickly. Her precious nanny, Aunt B, had been an Adventist, so as far as she was concerned, anything Adventist must be good. She found a doctor and made an appointment.

By the time she got back to her apartment, her spirits were low. The phrases, ‘immediate surgery’, ‘major operation’, and ‘possible blood transfusion’ pounded on the inside of her skull relentlessly. Life was fast-paced in her adopted home city, and like her, her friends were always super busy. She didn’t want to burden any of them. She called her sister, Dee, and then phoned her mother in the Caribbean.

“I wish I could be with you,” Dee said wistfully, but she was a hemisphere away on the east coast of the US. She had just started a new job, and couldn’t leave.

“I want to send you something special to take with you to hospital,” her mother said, the warmth of her love reaching across the miles. “I’ll mail it to you.” Eileen felt like crying. She couldn’t bear to remind her mother that mail took almost two weeks to the Far East from the Caribbean, and she would be under the knife in five days.

Weak, scared, and alone, Eileen got her personal affairs in order, and packed a small bag. On the day of admittance, she gritted her teeth and headed down the stairs that ran along the side of the mountain she lived on.

“Morning,” a cheerful voice said.

Raising her subdued eyes, she saw the postman standing below her on the path that led to the pier. His hand was outstretched. In it was a package and a letter for her. Her heart fluttered as she took them from him. The package was from Dee – and the letter from her mother! Stunned, she turned and stared at the receding back of this bringer of joy, who was whistling as he took the stairs two at a time up to the mid-level blocks. How was this possible? Both package and letter had been sent by regular mail.

Settling into a seat on the hovercraft that would take her across the bay, she stripped open the package. In it was a small cassette tape. Taking out her player from her overnight bag, she slipped it in and put on her headphones. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she listened. Dee had phoned all the members of their extended family spread across the globe and had recorded messages from each and every one of them on her phone tape.

Laying the headphones on her lap, she finally opened the letter from her mother. It was dated four days earlier. No mistaking that. ‘A Prayer for my Little Girl’, 32 year-old Eileen read. Overwhelmed, she burst into tears. A miracle had happened, and she wasn’t even sure she deserved it.

She was smiling from ear to ear when they wheeled her into the operating theatre, and when she came out of anaesthetic, an angelic woman was there in the recovery room to welcome her back to the land of the living. She was a spiritual counsellor from the hospital, who had come to keep Eileen’s company. The following day, Eileen woke up to some unexpected news: a buddy of hers had stopped by and had made arrangements for her to be taken to his home when the hospital released her.

“I don’t want you going through this alone,” said Marc. “You’re going to stay at my place until you’re healed. My maid will look after you.”

The entire experience changed Eileen. It taught her to respect her body. But more importantly, she learned the value of family and friends.

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Saving the Baby Quail

SEP-OCT 2011

One spring day in Arizona, 14 baby quail skittered across a lawn behind their parents - so tiny and so quick, they looked like leaves blowing in the wind. But a few minutes later, they tumbled into a storm drain. Concerned neighbours painstakingly used fishing nets to try to scoop up the chicks. It took them three long hours, but finally all the baby quails were safe. This was a good thing because quail are an integral part of the global system of life that supports our health and well being, and because today, all over the US, quail are disappearing as their habitat is destroyed.

As Dr. Eric Chivian, co-founder of the Center for Health and Global Environment at Harvard University Medical School, said:

"We must protect Biodiversity if we are to protect ourselves. Our job is to educate others, particularly the public, so we can help them to understand that their health ultimately depends on the health of the global environment."

Dr. Chivian edited and co-wrote 'Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity'.

 

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Aya

JUL-AUG 2011

Over 500 times in the past two years, Israeli, Yuval Roth, and his volunteers have helped Aya, a sick Palestinian girl, get life-saving medical treatment. Aya Abu Mouwais, a 3-year-old who lives in the West Bank, can barely walk or talk because of a failing kidney and liver . . . Full Story

 

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Hector

MAY-JUN 2011

Hector Osvaldo Gonzalez rescued more than 60 people from last year's devastating tsunami in Chile. Three times he crossed the roiling Maule River, hauling out people who had . . . Full Story

 

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Emma

MAR-APR 2011

Emma

Clutching her groom, she looked like any beaming bride. But Emma Howard's trip down the aisle Friday almost didn't happen. Just 72 hours earlier she was trapped under a building . . . Full Story

 

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Chris the Trapper

JAN-FEB 2011

Chris lives a magical life, because all he’s ever wanted is to be free and to make people happy. Whatever he needs always comes to him, and he can’t quite explain why. Like the day he came into town from his mountain cabin with just $10 in his pocket, a chainsaw in the back of his pickup, and the feeling that it was time for a change.

He was in the local grocery and beauty/barbershop, when its owner approached him with a suggestion. “That chainsaw would be just the thing to help my friend’s husband get back on his feet,” she said. Her friends had fallen on hard times and she wanted to help. Chris knew what that felt like, so he readily agreed to trade the chainsaw for an old barber chair. He had no idea what he was going to do with the chair, but just when he was wondering how he would get all 300 lbs of it into his pickup, aid came from unexpected quarters: a couple of cowboys came by and helped him get it as far as the curb, then a friend, who happened to be passing by with a backhoe, lifted it into the truck for him.

With his pickup listing to one side, Chris headed for the gas station. The attendant’s eyes lit up when they caught sight of the barber chair. “You know,” he said excitedly, “I’ve always wanted a barber chair so I could start my own business. Would you sell it?” “Sure,” Chris said.

On his way back home, Chris smiled. He’d only intended to buy a little food and gas. Little did he know that change would come in such a strange package. In just two hours, he’d made two people very happy, raised a few hundred dollars, and set his own life on a different course.

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Treading Lightly

NOV-DEC 2010

Many of us wish we could tread lightly through life, but our emotions are always getting the better of us. An ill-spoken phrase in a simple argument, and in a flash, we’re doing and saying things we later regret. Lucy M. learned this the hard way while taking care of her aging mother, and here's what she had to say:

Tips on how to become a light walker:

  • Life is just easier when we aren’t quick to judge. Walking in someone else’s shoes is a great balancer.

  • Let compassion rule! This energy attracts the best side of people. It allows us to acknowledge the worthiness of others without denying our own worthiness.

  • Respect is a two-way street. To get it, we must be willing to give it, even if the favour isn’t immediately returned.

  • The moment you feel a flash of anger or spite, say to yourself, I don’t have to do this. Turn it into a choice, something you can control, and before long, you’ll find it easy to choose to walk away.

A lighter life is a happier life!

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Dhagé the Angel Dog

SEPT-OCT 2010

Dhagé let me know quite early in our relationship that he was no ordinary dog. He could not be made to do anything by intimidation or force, but if you asked him nicely, he would do just about anything for you. He was wildly playful with his brother and other dog friends, always gentle with humans, and fiercely protective of those he loved.

The day I was leaving home to get married for a second time, he did a most peculiar thing: he took up residence in my parents' house. Now like most tropical dogs, Dhagé lived an untrained life: free to roam the yard, pick his own fruit, sleep in his dog house or under a tree, but he knew he must never set foot in the big house. "Are you mad?" I thundered when he stepped through the door for the first time in his life. He ignored me, found his comfort spot, and sat down. Then he gazed at me steadily until I wavered.

Little did I know that he knew something I didn't. Dad was going blind. His heart was shot and his days were numbered, but that had never stopped him from enjoying life. But after years of defying doctor's prognoses, dad was finally about to lose what he treasured most - his freedom. And Dhagé knew this. That dear dog of ours never left dad's side from that moment forward. He guided, comforted and protected him until dad died five months later. Then Dhagé turned his attention to comforting mum, who had to face the end of 52 years of marriage.

When Dhagé himself died four years later, we honoured him for his courage, special wisdom, and unconditional love. To us, he was more than just a dog, he was an angel.

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The Story of a Mediator

JULY-AUG 2010

In 2008, an armed conflict broke out between pastoralists and farmers in a district south of Tabat in Sudan. The dispute over the damage done to a farm by ten camels, and the subsequent killing of these camels by the farmer could have triggered a war, were it not for the wise and timely intervention of an elderly mediator, Abdullah Mohamed Jumaah.

When Jumaah first approached the farmers, they refused to bend. As far as they were concerned they didn’t start the trouble. It was the pastoralists, who refused even to express regret at the damage done by their camels. So Jumaah changed tactics. He visited them as a guest and chatted with them for hours, telling stories that cleverly demonstrated the noble value of forgiveness. He subtly inserted relevant Quranic verses, and before long, the bitterness melted from the farmers’ hearts.

Next he went to the pastoralists. For four days, he hid the real purpose of his visit, because they were too angry. Instead, he simply enjoyed their hospitality, chatting with them for hours. On the fifth day, he broached the subject. He let them vent their feelings of being wronged, and then he showed them the other side of the story – all the farmer’s hard work destroyed in minutes; his family’s livelihood put at risk. Their anger spent, the pastoralists asked Jumaah to mediate. Jumaah got the parties together, and supervised the settling of their differences, arranging each one’s compensation. Since then, the farmers and pastoralists have remained on friendly terms, meeting every now and then for tea with Abdullah the Peacemaker.

http://www.insightonconflict.org/conflicts/sudan/stories/darfur-the-story-of-a-mediator/

 

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Thinking Big: The Ripple Effect

MAY-JUNE 2010

To think big, one must first think big about oneself. Any individual act has an impact of gargantuan proportions because of the ripple effect. Here's how:

Maria runs out into the middle of the road and grabs an old woman, saving her from getting run over. Eternally grateful, the old woman goes back to her nursing home and tells Nurse Benn. It was a tough day, and Nurse Benn needed to hear a good story. She goes home happy and lets her daughter off household chores. Elated, her daughter, Angie, gets on her computer and before you know it, bytes of love-joy particles are whizzing through cyberspace. On and on it goes, travelling by touch, by voice, by pen, by screen - one little love-joy particle sent out by one person multiplying a hundred fold by the next day.

So don't simply say, 'I can have an impact on someone,' say instead, for it is indeed true, 'I do have an impact on everyone!'

www.swanlight.org/SpS_Library.htm.

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Mattie Stepanek, Peace Poet

MAR-APRIL 2010

Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek, known to the world simply as, Mattie, lived a full life for the 14 years he was here on earth. Never for one moment did he let his debilitating illness, Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, stop him from gifting his heartsongs to a world in need of his message of peace and unity. His poetry wrings the truth from our hearts and then gives us permission to be our best selves. He lit up the lives of millions with his engaging smile and artless style.

Since he left us, the ripples of his message have been gathering strength. Now, if we all step into the light he created, and become the change we so desire, Mattie’s dream of a united world would be a reality.

For more on Mattie Stepanek, read Messenger by Jeni Stepanek. http://www.mattieonline.com/

 

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The Boy who Harnessed the Wind

JAN-FEB 2010

From the moment young William Kamkwamba read the book, Using Energy, he dreamed of building machines to bring electricity and water to his drought-plagued village in Malawi. The villagers teased him, called him crazy, but William refused to give up this dream. He’d already had to put on hold his dream of studying science, when famine hit in 2002, decimating his family’s farm and forcing him to drop out of school to forage for food.

Armed with amazing determination and a motley collection of old science textbooks, William contrived to build, out of scrap metal, tree limbs, and bicycle parts, a windmill that provided his home with electricity, and a solar-powered water pump to supply drinking water to his rural community. From village joke to resident genius, William became a global beacon of hope.

To help William, go to http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/.

 

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Iqbal Masih, Freedom Fighter

DEC. 2009

If you have ever thought to yourself: I'm only one person, or I'm only a child, or I'm too young to make a difference, here's a story that will inspire you to step beyond those limits into more powerful possibilities for yourself and others.

At the turn of this century, 150,000 children from all over the world voted for the first ever recipient of the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child.  A young Pakistani boy whose actions had captured minds and hearts worldwide, was chosen.  His name was Iqbal Masih.  His family was poor and when Iqbal was just four years old, he was sent to work for a carpet manufacturer to pay off a debt his family owed.  Iqbal was now part of the bonded labor work force, and the year was 1987.

Iqbal's work day started at 4:00 a.m., and alongside other children like him, he worked for fourteen to fifteen long hours in the carpet factory every day, six days a week.  There at the factory, he and his mother were powerless; Iqbal was often ill-treated and was sometimes chained to his loom.  But ever so often, he and some of the other children managed to run away.  On their return, however, they were always beaten.  On his one day off (which was not always honored), Iqbal liked to play with his friends – he loved cricket.

Over the next several years, the debt Iqbal had to pay off grew from 600 rupees ($12) to 13,000 rupees ($260), too large for him to repay.  And it seemed as though the odds were against him and that he would have to work in the factory all his life.  But in 1993, when he was ten years old, something important happened.  A new law was passed in Pakistan banning bonded labor and canceling all such debts.

Catching wind of the news, Iqbal ran away from the carpet factory to attend one of the village meetings about the new law.  There he met Eshan Ullah Khan, the president of an organization dedicated to educating people about the new law.  To Khan, Iqbal looked like a six-year old, so undernourished was he.  After the meeting, Iqbal insisted on and got from the organization's lawyer, a freedom letter releasing him from bonded servitude.  Courageously, he took the letter back with him to the factory, presented it to the carpet manufacturer, and was freed!

Iqbal then began to attend a school opened for children like him, but he remained concerned about the other children still not free.  So, traveling with Khan, he began speaking out, telling his story in the villages and urging the children there to follow him to freedom.  And thousands did.  By his actions, Iqbal saved not only the children already bonded, but children who would have been enslaved by unscrupulous merchants ignoring the law.

News of Iqbal spread, and he was invited to Sweden and the USA to tell his story to school children there.  He spent a month or so in Lidköping, Sweden, and then in December, 1994, he spent a week in Quince, USA speaking to children his age.  He told them his story and spoke eloquently of his conviction – that the children in his country needed to trade the carpet weaver's tool for the pen, the tool of education.  He told them of his dream to become a lawyer and fight for the rights of children in Pakistan.  But that never did come to pass, for just four months later, while bicycling with his cousin in his home village, Iqbal was shot and killed.  He was 12 years old.

Although the world lost a bright, strong and courageous soul, beautiful things began to happen as Iqbal's dream took wing in unexpected ways, and as he became the inspiration for yet other dreams:

v  President Clinton was able to fulfill a request of Iqbal's, when he signed into law, a bill making it illegal to import goods into the USA from manufacturers using children as bonded labor.

v  In Lidköping, Sweden, the school children started a tradition which continues to this day.  On a very special Saturday in April, we will find the children and the entire city celebrating Iqbal Day to commemorate his life and work.  The city's children and youth also formed two organizations dedicated to the rights of children, and began working to build the Iqbal Masih Freedom Centre for the Rights of the Child.

v  And in Quince, USA, at the Broad Meadows Middle School where Iqbal spoke, each new wave of students daily continue their commitment to support the School for Iqbal that was built in 1997 in Iqbal's honour with funds they raised themselves.  And if you ask them why, they will say: 'Because a bullet cannot kill a dream'.

Children can and are making a difference – a significant difference for good in the world.  They are some of the world's most powerful, persistent and effective change agents on this planet of ours!!

Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery by Susan Kuklin

http://www.katedudding.com/newsletters/mar-2007.shtml

http://www.quincypublicschools.com/schools/broadmeadows/main_page.shtml

 

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An Evacuee's Story

NOV. 2009

When a major hurricane threatened to devastate an US coastal town a few years ago, B was listening concerned, as the evacuation order went out to all those in its path. How do you evacuate so many people from so large a city? She wondered.

While on the phone speaking to an old acquaintance, she learned that his daughter and her family had to evacuate, and that their only option, given the circumstances, was to head clear across the state to some distant town, anywhere that would offer refuge. In that instant, B opened her heart and her home. She offered sanctuary to people she had never met. In her warm and eminently sensible manner, she said simply: "Tell them to come to me. We have space." B lived with her husband C in a quiet Texas town out of harm’s way.

And so, a family of five and a dog, changed plans and started towards the hometown of kind strangers, not knowing what they would find when they returned home after the hurricane. The roads were clogged with evacuees fleeing the city, and the going was tough. A journey which should have taken a couple of hours stretched into almost one full day.

Finally, weary and frazzled, but grateful, the family arrived at B and C’s modest home, with its little herb garden. The house was bursting at the seams, with the number of occupants swelling from 3 people to 8 people and a dog. But it was wonderful pandemonium, for one family was safe, and beautiful new and lasting friendships were formed.

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Mountain Angels

OCT. 2009

Daisy gazed up at the mountainous challenge before her. The thought that her physical limitations might create a problem, or that it was, perhaps, a little too late in the afternoon for such a venture, never crossed her mind. Boldly, she started up. They were no trails, so she picked her way through the bushes, thinking only of the splendour that would lie below her once she got to the top.

At last, she stepped onto the plateau above Sedona and a feeling of utter joy swept over her. The breeze was gentle, the sky cloudless and vast, and the red rock buttes standing guard around the valley, awe-inspiring. Time dissolved as Daisy watched the birds drift in lazy circles above the distant city, and marvelled at the hand of nature that had carved out the shape of a bell in one rock, a cathedral in another, and a coffee pot in yet another. Sunset was spectacular, painting the tips of the buttes an unbelievably brilliant gold.

Then night fell swiftly, jolting Daisy back to reality. She looked around. All the tourists had left, except for four dodgy looking men. It was time to go. A short way down, she got stuck. This was not the way she had come, and the moon offered little light to guide her. Trying not to panic, she called out for help. The four men came to her rescue. Weaving their way through the bushes, always staying within earshot, they talked her down, joking and laughing to put her at ease. Gratefully bidding them goodbye at the foot of the mountain, Daisy realised that angels come in many forms!

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The Mother Theresa of GT

SEPT. 2009

Everyone in sunny GT calls her by the simple endearment, 'Granny', and everyone knows if you’re hungry, it doesn’t matter what you look like or what you’ve done, or even if you are the tenth person for the day to rap on granny’s gate: down the stairs she’ll shuffle with a bag of goodies and a smile, despite the pain in a leg twisted out of shape by arthritis. Her cheese may be running out, her box of crackers almost empty, with a week to go before her next pension check, still granny will almost always have twelve crackers, a square of cheese, and a tumbler of water for you. Chances are you’ll even get some five-finger (carambola) drink, a banana, or a mango, if she can spare them.

Says a well known city con – a likeable rogue: “I want to wuk, but I’s can’t always find a job, so sometimes I’s get hungry bad! But I always know when I come to granny, she gon put somet’ing in me belly. She’s a saint.” This man has stolen from her, and conned her many times, yet she would never let him go hungry. Some people call her the Mother Theresa of Georgetown. Granny just celebrated her 86th birthday. May her light continue to shine for many years to come!

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City Angels

AUG. 2009

After driving several hundred miles from the US to Canada, then parking your car at the airport to fly to another city, the last thing you want to find when you return tired a week later, is a dead car. But that is what happened to a woman at Pearson International recently. Little did she know that she was due for grace that day.

RM had just seen his sister off and was returning with his wife to his car, which was parked two spaces down from the woman. With a desperate look on her face, she appealed to them for help. They were late already for another appointment. Yet RM immediately grabbed the jump cables, which he sensibly keeps in the trunk of his car. He told his wife to bring the car around to the space which had miraculously opened up in front of the dead car, and between them, they got the woman's car started.

It was a particularly satisfying moment for RM’s wife, because three months earlier, while visiting Guyana, the wheel of the car she was driving dropped into a manhole enveloped in grass in a parking area. She wished she could repay the two angels from the Ministry of Lands and Mines who were so cavalier about rescuing her. They had worked in the pouring rain to jack up her car, find a length of board to place under the wheel, and roll it to safety. At Pearson International, she finally got a chance to pay it forward!

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Ro

JULY 2009

Ro, a great young man from Asia who, out of the blue, at the age of 4, began gathering the homeless off the streets, and taking them home for his startled mother to feed, has recently become a doctor! May he continue to light up lives!

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