Friday, July 29, 2011

Building Community Through Dance

Last month, my husband and I took a road trip to visit my sister in Montana.  Luckily for us, the Arlee Pow Wow was in full swing.  If you've never attended a pow wow, I heartily recommended it.  The beauty and uniqueness of the costumes are a joy to see;  the deep drumming and Indian singing are deeply moving; and the sense of community is heartwarming.

I asked a few of the dancers why they dance and what dancing meant to them.  None of them wanted to be directly quoted or to have their picture associated with their quotes - I did, however, receive permission to share some of their thoughts.

Interestingly, they all voiced similar reasons:  " I dance for our tribe", "I dance because I am proud of my heritage", I dance to stay close to my relatives who have passed on".  Once again, I was reminded that community can be created in a variety of ways.  In part, the Arlee Pow Wow is about creating community through dance.

Below are some of the photos we took, be sure to double click the photo for a larger version.  For more photos and for a more detailed account of our trip, click here.

Prior to the start of the pow wow, we saw many scenes like this:  people helping each other get ready for the dance.
The costumes are incredibly colorful and many of them have shells and bells so the rhythmic dancing creates a hypnotic sound.
The women's costumes are equally beautiful.
Children of all ages participate - notice the baby in the mother's arms.  I was told that young babies are brought to pow wows almost from the time they are born so that the sound of the drumming can be imprinted as early as possible.
These little girls were having so much fun.
All ages are represented in the dancing.
Since my sister and I are part Native American Indian - Navajo - we joined in the All Tribes Dance and we were delighted to be a part of this community for an afternoon.


How do you like to create community?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Emerson Speaks

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 18, 2011

Your Were Born For A TIme Such As This

The following is taken from James O'Dea's website.  In the event you are not familiar with him, he is the former President and on the Extended Faculty of the Noetic Sciences and the former Director of Amnesty International.

I was most disappointed to have missed him when he was in Boise earlier this year. Currently he is known for his social healing and peacemaking.  You can read the entire article here.

Here is a portion of his article: 

You were born for such a time as this.

I ask you to look at your world. In fact, I beseech you not to live in denial. Be courageous and face this moment in time consciously and with all the discernment and clarity within your power. With intellect, with heart, with spiritual intelligence, decipher the hour, the moment in evolutionary time that calls you to be a witness. Indeed you are called. Whether you are young or old. Otherwise you wouldn't be here now in this defining epoch of Earth's story and of the human story, itself.

You were born for such a time as this.

I know that you must feel challenged, because we are all challenged. The air we breathe is challenged, the oceans are challenged, the great forests, the birds, the fish, the frogs, the butterflies, and thousands of species of Earth's great masterpiece of life are challenged in every way. The scale of humanity's challenges can seem overwhelming. As I ask you not to live in denial, I also ask you not to become disillusioned, to throw your hands up in despair or to become numbed. For we know that this is the time for an awakened consciousness, for alertness, for a heightened focus and clarity about the nature of our challenges.

An awakened consciousness is fundamentally different than one which is distracted, anxiety-ridden, or preoccupied with blame. An awakened consciousness is radically open to transformation at all levels, from you the individual to the collective. We know that transformation is also more than mental formulas and good ideas. It touches something very deep, something so essential that it affects both heart and mind. Of course there is no single type of transformation, no singular modality where one recipe works for all, nor is it linear-sequential. Transformation... has its own mystery. It can bring a subtle shift which reveals an entirely new perspective, or it can bring a jolt or flash of insight which has the power to reorganize our lives, or it can provide the impetus for a great leap of faith. More than anything, transformation requires courage, the courage to face the truth that your own being has great depth.

In honoring uniqueness and diversity...we have begun to glimpse as never before a world that works for all.  It takes courage to heal. It takes courage to speak on behalf of the whole, to be a voice, a full expression for the Earth and for its diverse species, for all human life, for a consciousness that knows that peace is our inheritance and that our responsibility is to reveal our interdependence. It takes courage for science and spirituality to dialogue and illuminate new possibilities for humankind. It takes courage to reach towards the manifestation of a vision that transforms enemies into allies and disillusionment into hope.

But you were born for such a time as this.

I particularly liked this article because he is encouraging us to step up and be engaged with our planet and in a similar vein, I am too.  I truly believe that it is only by working together that we will ultimately succeed.  My vision of creating a global community of people sharing their stories and offering encouragement and support to each other seems like a natural progression to James O'Dea's ideas.

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diabetes - The Silent Killer

Do you, or anyone you know have diabetes?  The statistics are astounding:  8.3% of the American population has diabetes - that's 25.8 million people! And many of these are children.  
What is even more astounding is that in most cases, it is due to diet.  Diet apparently is one of the strongest factors in developing diabetes. 
Here, in his own words, is Chuck Malloy's story of how he found out he has diabetes and how he is doing today:
There is good reason why diabetes often is referred to as “the silent killer.”
 In its early form, especially, diabetes is not something that people from the outside can see or touch. For me, I didn’t detect diabetes until years after I had it.
 Then on one cold and windy March day in 2000, it hit me square in the eyeballs – literally. I was playing in the “Irish Open” golf event at Plantation Country Club near Boise when, suddenly, I lost my eyesight. During the last few holes, the fairways were a blur and I couldn’t even see the putting greens.
 What was happening? Was I having a stroke? Heck, I didn’t know. I was feeling fine and I was in good humor as I asked my partners to point me in the direction of the green and tell me the distance. Ironically, I hit some of my best shots in my state of blindness. Our team finished third, and all was well.
 Except for one thing. I was as blind as a cave of bats.
 My wife, Vicki, and I went from the golf course to the emergency room. It was determined that I was not having a stroke, but that I should at least see an eye doctor the next day. The doctor suspected I had diabetes and that diagnosis was confirmed by a physician.
 Slow down here … I was told that I had diabetes … which to some people is like being told they have cancer. There are a lot of emotions that go with a diagnosis like that – anxiety, depression and denial being among those. I was no exception, although this diagnosis was a mere warm-up to complications that were to come.
 A year later, I lost a toe. Two years later, I lost my eyesight, essentially ending my 30-year newspaper career and job as an editorial writer with the Statesman. A year after that, I had five-way bypass surgery after a cardiologist looked me in the eye and told me I was a candidate for dropping dead at any time.
 And I thought getting news about diabetes was a shock …
 Putting everything together, you’d think I would be dead by now – or maybe missing a foot or leg as a result of diabetes. The truth is, I am feeling better than I have in decades. My heart is strong, surgeries have fixed my eyes and the missing toe doesn’t hurt my golf game. Moreover, I am doing work with an organization called “Diabetes Support Network,” so much of my “professional” life is devoted to promoting awareness about the disease.
 Baseball historians will recall that day in 1939 when the great Lou Gehrig declared himself as the luckiest man on the face of this earth. Today, I feel that title should go to me.
 One regret I have is not reacting to the symptoms back in the 1990s. All the signs of “pre-diabetes” were there. I lost about 40 pounds while eating anything and everything I wanted. I didn’t think anything about it. I also didn’t think anything about the gallons of Gatorade I was consuming, or the fact I felt coldness and numbness in my feet.
 The only thing I knew was that weight was melting away and looking good. Looks can be deceiving, and in this case they were. The “silent killer” was working its way through my body, and I had no clue.
 Today, I can speak with some authority about the cruelty that diabetes can inflict. I also can speak with some authority about the importance of not giving up in the face of adversity. When I talk about diabetes, I think about words spoken by Jim Valvano, one of the greatest coaches and motivators in the history of college basketball. What Jimmy V. said abut cancer applies to diabetes and I live by these words.
 Diabetes has taken some things from me, and it might take more away from me in the future. But there are three things that diabetes cannot take, and never will take. It cannot take my heart; it cannot take my mind; and it cannot take my soul. 
After Chuck's health stabilized, he helped found the Diabetes Support Network. This network was established as a community outreach resource to provide people who are struggling with diabetes to become better informed about how to live with this disease and just exactly where they can find resources for the supplies and information they need. This site if full of useful information.  Another very informational site is the American Diabetes Association's national website. 
Since this is an ailment that can be much improved and in many cases completely controlled through diet, many easy and delicious diabetic-friendly recipes can be found here.
Chuck's mission is to help others who have just discovered they have diabetes, have been diagnosed and are not sure what to do next, or were diagnosed some time ago but would like some ongoing support. Chuck can be reached at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Pledge

I love this video! Creating community can have many different looks.  In addition to sharing our stories, we can have a community of like minds, shared concepts.  I especially like the concept of honoring and listening to our inner wisdom; those quiet stirrings within us that are often so rich and full of meaning and insight.

What's your favorite part?