Monday, June 28, 2010

Mojo Monday: Let's Play!

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Do you remember when your days as a kid revolved around riding your bike, building forts, making playdough creations, coloring, creating storylines about Barbie and Ken as they cruised through your backyard in the pink corvette? Speaking of Ken check out this fun short video of Ken, who stars in the new Toy Story 3 movie.

Play is fun! But play is also a whole lot more. Humans have played since earliest times, and philosophers and scholars have thought about it for centuries. More than 2,000 years ago, Plato suggested: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Play is essential for learning and human development. Play:

Sharpens our minds
Helps us grow
Keeps us healthy
Boosts our creativity

When children play, they learn to:
Solve problems
Make decisions
Express themselves and communicate with others
Recognize boundaries

Children who play do better in school and become more successful adults.

When we don’t play, we are:
Less creative and productive
More sedentary, more easily fatigued
More likely to encounter social problems and emotional stress

Play also helps us understand history and culture. The way we play shows:
Who we are
What we value
How we regard others
Change over time
Future possibilities

Play can play a role in bringing people together and even be a tool to creating peace. There is an inspiring organization called Ultimate Peace that builds bridges of friendship and understanding for youth from different social and cultural backgrounds around the world. They focus on fun and education using the exhilarating and character building sport of Ultimate Frisbee as their tool. They are raising money for Ultimate Camps in the Middle East that bring together Israeli and Palestinian youth. Here in the USA they are currently partnering with an organization called Emerald City Ultimate in Seattle, WA, in order to provide 15 free Ultimate Frisbee clinics for underserved youth, within the U.S.A., who do not have the opportunity to learn or play the game.

At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play. Right at the beginning he comments how adults can be self-conscious about creating and can be inhibited in expressing ideas and sharing their creations. In contrast he states that most children will happily share their art and their ideas.

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Here is his fascinating and at times serious talk he gave at TED on how play is much more than fun.

What did you love to play as a kid? Do you have special memories of favorite toys? How do you play now as an adult?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mojo Monday: Manifesto

Manifesto ~ a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.

At the Cosmic Cowgirl Bountiful Conference in October 2008 Sark presented a writing workshop on the second day. One of the activities she facilitated was to create our own Writer's Manifesto. Sark shared with us one she had created and that appeared in her book Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It.

Here is the Writer's Manifesto I created that day at the conference.

Several months later I created a second manifesto for myself called my Artist Manifesto while I was facilitating a playshop for some women friends and family. I suggested that each woman create a manifesto that spoke to her specific vision or dream which might be a Therapist manifesto, an Entrepreneur Manifesto or a Mama Manifesto.

The possibilities are endless as to what you want to declare and what intention you wish to focus on at this time in your life. What type of Manifesto would you create? Share with me the topic and if you feel inspired please write it all out and share it in a comment. If you decide to get colorful and add paint and perhaps even some glitter, take a photo and post it on your blog or web site and then share a link in the comment section.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mojo Monday: Celebration!

“Find occasions to celebrate your happiness. There is more to celebrate than anniversaries and birthdays.” ~ unknown

Let’s get this Celebration started right. Here is a video to get you really groovin’ for a minute or two and then we will get this partay started!

Let’s sing a bit together now

Yahoo! This is your celebration
Celebrate good times, come on!
There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you
Come on now Celebration

The word Celebration is defined as all of the following ~
  • a joyful occasion for special festivities to mark some happy event

  • any joyous diversion

  • the public performance of a sacrament or solemn ceremony with all appropriate ritual; "the celebration of marriage"

I love celebrations of all kinds, weddings, holidays, graduations, birthdays… Yet Birthdays have always seemed extra special to me as it is an opportunity to really recognize an individual. It is that one person’s special day. The day that he/she gets cards, presents, a special cake, and everyone sings to him or her.

What celebrations do you like to celebrate? Aside from holidays and the likes is there anything else that you celebrate regularly or even daily? Is there a particular celebration you attended that you would like to share about?

I would like to share a few celebrations that stand out in my memory. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to study overseas in college and also do some world traveling. On one spectacular trip to Morocco I had the chance to experience a wedding and a festive gathering and dinner being held for a couple who were to embark on the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which is required of every Muslim at least once in their life time. In the following photo Hayat Fennich is having henna applied to her hands, which traditionally only occurs in the case of a celebration.

In this photo the Moroccan couple getting married are being carried to the reception by men in traditional costumes.

Last Fall my husband and I had the incredible experience of attending a traditional Sikh wedding. What a feast for the eyes and senses. Here is my husband and I posing with the bride and groom.

Experiencing other cultural ways of celebrating is very enriching and also comforting, in that even though we may have different ways or traditions, most cultures tend to celebrate similar life events such as marriages and births. It all seems to emanate from us wanting to celebrate life and the joys we experience in our life journeys.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Philanthropy Monday

The word philanthropy has its roots in the Greek language meaning “love for mankind.” It was never meant to apply to donors of thousands or millions of dollars. ~ Arthur C. Frantzreb

Inside every woman is a potential major philanthropist waiting to emerge. ~ Joan M. Fisher

Consider this statement fromTim Ferris, author of a book called The Four Hour Work Week:

“Changing the world doesn’t require much money. Again, think in terms of empowerment and not charity. How much were Gandhi’s teachers paid? How much did it cost to give Dr. Martin Luther King the books that catalyzed his mind and actions?
Just imagine that you and your friends make $40,000 per year. Imagine that you convince just 5 of them to join you in building a children’s school in Nepal dedicated to your parents (or your lifelong friendship). The total cost? 5 people x $3,000 each= $15,000. I know that most people, myself included, will put $3,000 of crap on credit cards in the next few months that could instead create a miracle… a miracle that you can visit.

You and your friends could plan the trip of a lifetime in 6-18 months to visit the completed school, teeming with dozens or hundreds of students who greet you with smiles and thank you letters. You’ll know it’s your school because your names will be on the door.”

That statement made me consider on a deeper level what is possible even if one is only able to give modestly in terms of money. I believe the same is true if all you can give is a bit of your time.

I was moved by a documentary I watched within the last couple of months called Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It is about the women in Liberia who stood up, after suffering through 15 years of a brutal war, and proclaimed that they wanted peace in their country. They wanted their children to be safe. They were no longer willing to tolerate the power struggles and positioning of the leader of their country nor of the war lords who were trying to usurp power.

Through visiting the web site for this film I learned of some very inspirational causes. I would like to briefly share with you some information about one in particular called the Strongheart Fellowship.
The Strongheart Fellowship Program is a groundbreaking healing and learning guidance program designed to help bright, resilient young people from extremely challenging circumstances around the globe develop into compassionate, innovative problem-solvers and leaders that can affect significant social change. The criteria they use to select fellows for the program are as follows:
  • Exceptional leadership aptitude - defined as the demonstration of the following traits: compassion, intelligence, drive, moral commitment, maturity, judgment, and charisma. They can be a leader in thought, action or of people.
  • A demonstrated “inner resilience” personality based on current or past reactions and adaptation to extreme circumstances.
  • Inadequate financial resources and/or access to the highest quality of education available in their country.

An inspirational fellow of this program is Loveta Conto from Liberia. She has grown incredibly from being a part of this philanthropic organization that really is about empowering those in the fellowship to be entrepreneurs and make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others as well. One of her fellowship projects led her to create a business that makes jewelry using the casings from spent bullet shells which litter the country after 15 years of war. These lovely pendants that feature the word “Life” are treasured by fans as diverse as kids from her refugee camp and humanitarians like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

She's is currently working on establishing her next business - a teen magazine for African young people that will provide information on health and social issues as well as focus on African and World pop culture. She's already created a first issue, shot the first fashion spread, and is busy recruiting writers to execute her editorial vision.

Is there a Philanthropic group or individual that has inspired you? Is there a certain cause that is dear to your heart?

Philanthropy flows from a loving heart not an overstuffed pocketbook. ~ Douglas M. Lawson