The Original Mother’s Day

I wrote this post a few years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Happy Mother’s Day to all women who embrace the peace-making power of their womanhood!

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Something amazing and inspiring was brought to my attention yesterday. I wanted to write about it today though to remind myself that Mother’s Day started out not just as a day for flowers and kissy face emoticons but as a response to war…a call to protest and proclamation. I didn’t know that! It’s troubling to me that Mother’s Day has been diminuated until all that remains is the sentimentality and a big hug for mom. We have lost touch with the roots of this celebration. Today there is a dialogue regarding the “war on women,” there is controversy surrounding contraception, there remains blatant wage inequality as well as the insidious ideological gender inequalities that reverberate in everyday conversations, and there is ongoing use of sexual malfeasances (to put it gently) that are still being used internationally as wartime strategies. I think now is a perfect age to restore some of the original tenants of Mother’s Day…

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation to call for the gathering of women together “without limit of nationality” in order to seek counsel from one another regarding the loss of sons and husbands in wars and to proclaim that, “From the bosum of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: ‘Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.'”

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As well-intentioned as we all are on Mother’s Day, our Hallmark-frenzied tradition in America is a far paler expression of honor than was conceptualized by the foremothers of this holiday. I would like to see my mother, grandmothers, step-mothers, sister, cousins, friends, and aunts and alllll the other wise women out there to all get something different for Mother’s Day next year. For Mother’s Day 2013, I want them to “leave all that may be left at home,” come together to counsel with one another about human rights, war, family, and future of this this country and this world.

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Then once they’ve come to an agreement about “the promotion of the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace” I want the rest of the world to sit and listen with the attentive ears of an child which, after all, we all are. I don’t know… for some reason I feel like this “congress of women” might be more productive than the one we have now. You?

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Here is the inspirational full story (borrowed from a reading I heard on Sunday) including Ms. Howe’s proclamation:

The first person to fight for an official Mother’s Day celebration in the United States was Julia Ward Howe. You may be more familiar with her name as the writer who wrote the words to the Civil War song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Howe was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. Her family was well respected and wealthy. She was a published poet and abolitionist. She and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, co-published the anti-slavery newspaper The Commonwealth. She was active in the peace movement and the women’s suffrage movement. In 1870 she penned the Mother’s Day Proclamation. In 1872 the Mothers’ Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June was held and the meetings continued for several years. Her idea was widely accepted, but she was never able to get the day recognized as an official holiday. The Mothers’ Peace Day was the beginning of the Mothers’ Day holiday in the United States now celebrated in May.

The modern commercialized celebration of gifts, flowers and candy bears little resemblance to Howe’s original idea. Here is the Proclamation that explains, in her own powerful words, the goals of the original Mother’s Day in the United States…

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosum of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

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Travel Tuesday: Iceland

My wanderlust continues to grow and so I continue the Travel Tuesday series which is fast becoming a wish list for me!

This week, I Google-searched “happiest places to live,” because given some of the recent news and my short-lived season of disillusionment (see Saturday’s less-than-hopeful post about the California Drought) I was wondering:

Where are the places where citizens live in harmony and peace with one another? Do they exist? Do they exist in places where I can still get a cup of coffee and a cozy cafe? Or do I have to visit a tribe in the middle of the Amazon or sign up for a hipster barter-system commune in the Carolinas somewhere?

Much to my surprise, there actually exists measurement called the Global Peace Index (GPI) that is presented every year by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Apparently the GPI is applauded by important, peaceful people like the Dali Lama and probably Oprah, so let’s see what it has to say.

In 2014, the country with the highest score on the GPI was….

!! ICELAND !!

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In fact, Iceland has scored in first place every year since the GPI began in 2007! Either somebody on the GPI board has a soft spot for Iceland, or it is a pretty special place. And why is it so special?

The GPI is based on factors like crime rate, incarceration rate, weapon accessibility, and war involvement that are combined to make three subcategories: Militarization, Society and Security, and Domestic and International Conflict. There are lots in interesting statistics on the site, including the national cost of violence, which for Iceland was US$105,000,000. Compare that to the U.S. cost which was $1,713,095,000,000. (By the way, in case some of you were wondering, the USA scored at number 101 out of 162 countries. :/)

Photo credit: Giulia Cimarosti

Photo credit: Giulia Cimarosti

Other than the economics, here are some other candidates for explaining Iceland’s happiness that I came across searching the web:

  • Nine months paid child leave
  • Air purity
  • Highest male life expectancy and almost highest female life expectancy
  • It-takes-a-village mentality to meet priority of rearing happy, healthy children
  • Björk 😉 — no really though, a vibrant artistic culture
  • Only country in Nato with no armed forces
  • Thriving economic system
  • Low sexism, low homophobia
  • (Necessary) respect for nature
  • Geothermal energy heating

 

Photo Credit: Giulia Cimarosti

Photo Credit: Giulia Cimarosti

The verdict?

Fá mér til Íslands !

Happy travel planning!

~~~Simone~~~

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11 images that capture the incredible vastness of space

I couldn’t stop looking at these!

I think this might give me the hope I was asking for after this morning’s post about the California drought.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective, am I right?

With galactic love,
~~~S Wave~~~

FIGHT BOREDOM, SPREAD HAPPINESS

1) The sun is incomprehensibly huge

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We all know the sun is big. But this image, part of a great series on the size of astronomical objects by John Brady, underscores that it’s vast on a scale that’s simply impossible for our puny human minds to understand. We think of the Earth as a big place: flying around the equator on a 747 at top speed would take about 42 hours. Flying around the sun at the same speed, by contrast, would take about six months.

2) Even the moon is really far away

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Compared with the overall vastness of space, the moon is very close to us: it’s just 238,900 or so miles away. But compared with our daily experience, absolutely everything in space is absurdly far apart. In the gap between us and the moon, you could neatly slide in all seven of the other planets —…

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Weekend To-Do (Good) List: California Drought

Hi all. Welcome to your weekend. As you might know, I’ve been digging the themes for our To-Do (Good) lists recently. Today I present a list dedicated to….(drumroll!!!!)….the California drought!

That’s right. Those of us in California are officially in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record. In response, and for the first time ever, California is under mandatory water restriction, enacted by Brown and aimed to reduce the state’s water usage by 25%. The way the mandates will work is that different cities are assigned different reduction requirements. For example, Beverly Hills must reduce their usage by 35% while Compton has to reduce theirs by 10%. This is all based on a city’s per capita usage.

I’ve liked Jerry Brown for the most part since he became governor, but dear readers, I am frustrated. It seems like he is missing a huge opportunity right now. In fact, no, I don’t think it’s an opportunity…I think it is an obligation that he is missing. This whole plan is not equitable, it is not sustainable, and it is cowardly.

It begins here. The group that uses 80% of our water is big agriculture and they are EXEMPT from the mandates. Exempt!! I’m not talking about the little family farms, which, by the way, are under the same water mandates as other citizens according to their cities and are going to suffer for it. No, I’m talking about the big farms. These “farms:”

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

How can this exemption possibly be justified? How could turning off your sprinkler possibly be the best way to tackle the behemoth of climate change that is giving California a front-row show right now all while letting the user of 80% of the water go on with business as usual? You need 7.7 cubic meters of water to produce 1 pound of beef. That’s equivalent to around 77 baths. Any 5-year-old could tell you this just doesn’t make sense.

Plus, it is no secret to anyone paying attention that these types of facilities, CAFO’s, 1) are detrimental to the environment and our indigenous ecosystems, 2) are producing meat and dairy that is full of antibiotics, at-risk for contamination and processed through unnatural, inhumane methods, and 3) are ultimately unsustainable.

Haven’t scientists been telling us for years that restoration agriculture, sustainable food practices, and local economies are CRITICAL for the survival of our Earth? California is facing a new future of extreme weather not in abstractions but right now, today. I would hope that we would have bravery enough to realize that big changes have to take place in our way of living as a society, not just as single households. The impact isn’t going to made by the Jones’ decision to let yellow mellow. It’s going to come from severely cutting down our use of resources for these types of agricultures. It’s going to come from committing to a return to natural biogeographies. It’s going to come from listening to the science and economics condoning locally-sourced, vegetable-rich diets.

I don’t know all the complexities of this argument and I’m not claiming to. I am quite confident though that there are significant shifts in lifestyle that we are all going to have to adopt to keep this planet. And I believe that Brown has an obligation to not just slap a bandaid on this drought but to begin the stitching of the wound. He has a chance to sound an alarm and lead in a new way and instead I feel like it’s politics as usual. And why wouldn’t it be? The little guy suffers, the big business wins. Who will be the first to get their water shut off?–the already disenfranchised, of course. The head is in the sand.

We cannot use land and resource like this:

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

and try to live like this:

Beverly Hills Mansion

Beverly Hills Mansion

and still hold onto this:

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Our only home

And so, without further ado and with more than a slight sense of defeat as I step off my soapbox, there is just one item on your Weekend To-Do (Good) List. It is this:

Cut your shower time in half and safe the world.

No really. It’s going to work.

~~~S Wave~~~

p.s. If you want a second assignment, it is to remind me why things are still, always hopeful. I know why, but sometimes it’s good to hear it from the lips of others. *sigh* ❤

Weekend To-Do (Good) List

You know how it works. Life As a Wave is focused on recognizing our connection with each other, our inner selves, Source, the animal kingdom, and the natural world around us. Our relationships with these elements of life require our personal responsibility to make more positive connection.  In short, we all have the chance and the calling to DO GOOD. God knows the world needs more of it.

It’s not always easy, but this list makes it easier. This weekend, take some time to nurture your connections and make them more positive. Have fun with it and spread the word!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Autism Awareness Day

April is Autism Awareness Day and the 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. By now you probably know that the growing rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is startling. It is the fastest growing developmental disability. In March, the CDC released new statistics for autism prevalence, 1 in 68 children. It was 1 in 88 just a few years ago.

This is a life-long disability with varying degrees of impairments. There isn’t a cure for ASD, much less a known cause. While the scientific world scrambles for understanding amidst competing possible factors, the therapeutic services such as speech and language pathology, occupational therapy and behavior interventions continue to bring support and skill development to individuals with ASD and their families at the average annual family cost of $60,000.

Logo_WAAD

Whether or not you personally know someone with ASD, your life will be impacted by this disorder, if in no other way than by the growing percentage of individuals with ASD that will be in our shared communities in years to come. Families raising a child with autism need support. They need understanding and community. This mother, a parent of 3 girls with autism, explains why and how she would like to see Autism Awareness Month become Autism Action Month in :

My three daughters are autistic. I despise Autism Awareness Month.

Her suggestions in the last paragraph are worth directly quoting. They are:

1. Give to an organization that provides service dogs for autistic children.

2. Serve as a volunteer as an autism buddy.

3. If your child has a classmate on the spectrum, invite that classmate to your child’s next birthday party.

4. You know that cashier at the grocery store who doesn’t look at you as she takes care of your order? Smile at her, even if she does not smile back.

Will you begin to transform your awareness into action?

2. Cosmetic Testing

This is Easter weekend and you can’t help but think of cute, fuzzy bunnies. Last week we warned against buying a rabbit for a gift for this holiday. There is, however, a way that you can honor and celebrate the long-eared cotton-tailed cutie patooties this weekend. Make an effort to stop the use of rabbits in cosmetic product testing!

I know that the questions of animal testing for scientific advancement is whole separate complicated issue. But, can we agree that testing on rabbits to develop better face soaps and eyeliners is a barbaric practice with no real value? Even for household products, shouldn’t we all be trying to use natural ingredients anyway that don’t require testing of all kinds of chemicals and toxins??

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If you agree, here are some things you can do:

First, look for the Leaping Bunny symbol on cosmetic and household products before you purchase. No bunny, no money!

Second, commit to a fresh, cruelty-free start. Take a look in for medicine cabinet and under your sink. Do you have products with these brands on them:

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If so, are you willing to throw them out and find a more animal-friendly replacement? This is one I’m going to do for sure. I know I have some of these brands hiding out in my house. Time for spring cleaning!

Third, talk talk talk! Spread the word, especially on Easter. You can’t walk your talk if you don’t have any talk to begin with. Tell people how you feel about this kind of testing and make a pact with them to make a change.

 3. Gratitude Practice

Today is Good Friday, a Christian remembrance day of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is also the first day of Passover, the Jewish remembrance of the Israelite’s divinely-guided escape from Egyptian enslavement. It is a day of gratitude, a virtue celebrated by leading religions and faiths worldwide. A virtue also that has been shown to be good for a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

passoverToday, no matter what you personally celebrate, I think we can take this divine energy of gratitude that is so strong in our hearts today and share it with people around us. Doing so honors God, honors yourself, and honors others. Here are some ways:

Happy-Good-Friday-2015-Quotes1First, think of one person (at least!) who has done something for you recently without a “thank you.” Maybe you forgot to say it…maybe you were in a hurry…maybe you were withholding a bit?  Now go give them a genuine “thank you.” Look them in the eye when you say it, touch their hand or give them a hug.

Second, think of one person (at least!) who has wronged you without saying, “I’m sorry.” Maybe they forgot to say it…maybe they were in a hurry…maybe they were withholding a bit.  In your heart, forgive them. Try thinking of all the reasons you can be thankful for having them in your life. Even the most challenging person can be seen as someone who has helped us grow and strengthen so there is at least ONE reason to be grateful for everyone.

Third, resolve to embark on a Gratitude Month…or Week…or Year…whatever you feel works best for you! Every day, start the morning with a statement of gratitude for something. Share it with others and carry it with you throughout your day. For a great guide on doing a 21-day gratitude challenge click here.

I’ll kick us off by telling you all that I appreciate every single moment that you have taken out of your days to read these words that I write with love. Writing Life As a Wave is one of the most treasured tasks I have ever taken on. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of if.

Have a beautiful weekend. If you are celebrating a holy holiday, may it be a blessed time with family and friends.

With gratitude,

~~~S Wave~~~

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Weekend To-Do (Good) List: Shopping Edition!

Last month we brought you the Weekend To-Do (Good) List: Circus Edition, and I rather enjoyed using a theme. This week, the stars aligned again and a theme emerged…shopping! No, I’m not going to tell you to spend Palm Sunday at the mall. That might be my worst nightmare. I will however make the following shopping suggestions for bringing some good works into your busy weekend: Have a good one and may your dollars make some change!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Look Good While You Do Good

If you haven’t heard of Sevenly.org yet, it is time. This company produces very cool clothes with proceeds going to various charity organizations. The organization changes every week so it’s an exciting challenge to make your purchase before the clock runs out! No, I mean there really is a clock on their site counting down the time left. Pressure’s on!

This week, they’ve come up with trendy, comfy tees and jackets to support The Gentle Barn and especially its work with special needs and at-risk children. Check these styles out: Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 4.28.24 PM They always have great designs and artsy images. Obviously these would make great gifts too, for those of you who don’t want to spend money on yourselves. Find out more at www.sevenly.org!

2. Smart Easter Shopping

Easter is around the corner and though it is always tempting buy a real, live bunny for your little bundle of joy, please keep in mind the facts about cuniculture (yes, that is a word.) Cuniculture, or raising rabbits, is no joke and is just as much of a commitment as owning a dog or a cat. Maybe even harder! Rabbits aren’t generally the cuddly buddy you hope they will be. They tend to be more sensitive to noises, don’t usually like to be held, need a lot of quiet time and special housing, and they spray urine right on ya sometimes!

Now, of course there are exceptions to the rules, but unless you are ready to give your rabbit the time and energy it takes to bond with them, they will be facing a pretty sad life indeed–a life which, by the way, can last 10 years. Are you sure you want a pet rabbit until your child goes off to college??

In addition to all of that, breeding practices for rabbits are often cruel. Plus, post-Easter shoppers’ remorse results in abandoned, homeless rabbits and chicks every spring. So if you’re ABSOLUTELY sure you want to bring a rabbit into your family, raise it well no matter the cost, and give it the love it deserves, then please adopt, don’t shop.

Copy and share one of these Easter messages with your friends to spread this important information:EasterBunnyInfo

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3. Speaking of Palm Sunday…

Sunday is a special holiday as Christians celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is a day typically celebrated with special worship services and family gatherings. For those of you celebrating this holy day, may it be a beautiful time of communion between you and the Divine.

The reason it is called Palm Sunday is because the scripture says that Jesus’ followers laid palm fronds across his path and waved them as he passed.  What a different symbolism palm leaves have in our current times! As we’ve written about before in past Life As a Wave posts, the rapid demand for and production of palm oil has been devastating to our earth’s rich biodiversity, especially in areas of South America, Africa, and southeast Asia.

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The campaigns to end the heartbreaking deforestation have been iconicized by the beautiful ape, the orangutan, which is facing the loss of massive amounts of its natural habitats.

laststand What can you do though, right? Once again, your money speaks. Palm oil can be tricky to spot since it’s derivatives go by so many names, but it’s likely that many of the items in your grocery cart contain palm oil. Now it’s easier than ever to find out for sure because the El Paso Zoo and SGB Solutions have designed the Palm Oil Guide and Scanner. This free app allows you to scan UPC codes to find out if your purchase contains palm oil or not. I downloaded the app yesterday and made some wiser shopping decisions for the future after scanning some items in my fridge.

There are palm oil alternatives flooding the market, and with our purchasing patterns plus our social media voice, change is possible.

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That’s all, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you have a beautiful weekend and remember to let your dollars make some change!

~~~S Wave~~~

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Life As a Wave Learns to Hashtag

I’m excited to announce that it’s now easier than ever to connect with Life As a Wave! Not only are we alive and well on Facebook, but I’ve added us on Pinterest and Instagram as well.

On Pinterest, look for us at Healing Life Insights where I’ll be sharing boards for our 5 best-loved areas of connection: Interconnection, Innerconnection, Ecoconnection, Animal Connection, and Divine Connection

Follow us on Instagram, too, at @lifeasawave. I can’t wait to meet you there and follow your adventures!

With all these great developments, let’s give a quick bow to all the “old fashioned” ways of staying in touch with each other, ourselves and larger world.

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 See you on your device!!

Cheers,

~~~S Wave~~~