Monthly Archives: April 2015

Thoughts, Prayers, and Donation Ideas for Nepal Earthquake Victims

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Sending my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the Nepal Earthquake.

Dalai Lama reminds us how to react in the face of tragedy:

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.” – Dalai Lama

Should you be interested in donating to the earthquake victims, I found this insightful article, What You Need To Know Before Donating To Earthquake Relief For Nepal. CNN provides a list of charities that are seeking support.

Source: Baylor Lariat

Source: Baylor Lariat

10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability

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In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share with you the importance of sustainable thinking throughout the world. When I first entered the world of sustainable business, I wrote an article, 10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability. Years later, the same reasons apply for businesses, but I wanted to update you on additional reasons that inspirNational readers should become fluent in sustainability.

Sustainability Defined

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty (noun): the capacity to endure; the successful meeting of present social, economic, and environmental needs without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs (derived from the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development); a universal language that successful people speak; the way of the future

Source: EcoWorldReactor

Source: EcoWorldReactor

10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability

1. Prepare for the future: A sustainable mindset is a long-term mindset. It broadens your perspective to think about how you impact the community and the environment now and into the future, through your career, your purchasing decisions, and your daily behavior. It encourages you to plan ahead and take the necessary steps to create a sustainable future for yourself and society.

2. Become aware that the world’s resources are limited. We are already seeing the impacts of unsustainable actions of previous generations, such as unusual weather patterns, shifts in the distribution of wealth, and increased pollution that is harming public health. It is important for us to be aware so that we can change our behavior today and protect resources for future generations.

3. Protect your health: By purchasing sustainable products, such as organic food and goods without toxic chemicals, you will prevent illness, ensure the longevity of your immune system, and promote personal and community wellbeing.

4. Be active in the community: Sustainable behavior encourages you to get involved and volunteer in the community. By giving back, you will be contributing to society and your own wellbeing.

5. Cut costs: Energy and waste create costs. By purchasing products that rely on renewable energy or produce less waste, such as electric cars or recycled paper, you will help reduce waste and emissions and therefore reduce costs in the long-term.

6. Be hip: Socially responsible investing is in style (both from a consumer and a business standpoint). It is not a fad, but rather as timeless as a little black dress. The “cool kids” are sustainable; you should be too.

7. Earn tax incentives: Environmentally and socially-responsible activities give individuals and companies income tax credits for investment, production, or consumption, accelerated depreciation for some capital expenses, exemptions from state or local sales taxes, and cash grants (Learn more from Business Insider).

8. Make your mark on the world. Every dollar you spend is your vote for consumerism. By purchasing unsustainable products, you are encouraging the continuation of their production. By purchasing sustainable products, you are making the statement that you value sustainability, such as labor rights, environmental protection, animal welfare, and community development. Dollars are like words, as they communicate to companies and communities where you would like the world to go now and into the future.

9. Collaborate with your peers, favorite companies, local politicians, and community organizations. Sustainabilty is a global language and fosters collaboration across sectors. Sustainable solutions are cross-sector in nature, and need to include the ideas and opinions of several individuals and organizations in order to have a lasting impact.

10. Find your purpose. Sustainability engages people’s roots, what they truly value and how they want to change the world. We all have a cause that matters to us, so the broad, sustainable mindset enables us to prioritize that cause and make a difference.

Do you have other reasons that you think with a sustainable mindset? If so, please share them in the comments below. I hope that Earth Day reminds us all to appreciate and care for all that our planet offers.

Learning About Culture Through Urban Art

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Through moving and traveling over the past several years, I have noticed a common theme in each new city I have visited or lived: I can learn about local culture through urban art. Urban art, whether funded by the community or not, helps the community express ideas, demonstrate societal trends or challenges, and sometimes enhance the aesthetic appeal of the surroundings. Below I have captured a few personal favorites of many examples of urban art:

Spanish Graffiti: While studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain and traveling throughout the country, I noticed a significant amount of graffiti. I learned in my Spanish political history class that since Francisco Franco’s leadership in 1939, graffiti was and continues to be significant form of political expression in Spain. It often demonstrates political movements over the past several decades, such as fascism, marxism, anarchy, regional independence within Spain, gay rights, and world peace. Since 2008, cities like Madrid have funded graffiti artists to paint unattractive buildings to improve the cities’ appearance and influence the community with their messages.

Graffiti in Madrid

Graffiti in Madrid

Ann Arbor Graffiti Alley: Originally a mural created by artist Katherine Cost in 1999, titled “Infinite Possibilities,” the graffiti alley in Ann Arbor, Michigan has turned into a haven for graffiti artists and musicians. Visitors can get a taste of recent Ann Arbor and University of Michigan history and current hot topics expressed on the walls. At the same time, they will also hear tunes played by local artists, as the alley is known for good acoustics.

AlleyEntrance

Before I Die: A global public art project created by New Orleans artist Candy Chang, I first saw a Before I Die wall in Asheville, North Carolina. As a simple mural with chalk, anyone and everyone can write their wishes and “bucket list” items on the wall. Chang created this concept after she lost someone she loved. Her intention was to create a daily reminder about what was important to the people around her. Her idea has sparked the building of 550 walls in over 70 countries in 35 languages. While in Asheville, it was inspiring to learn about the priorities and dreams of the community expressed on the wall.

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Here's what I wrote in Asheville!

Here’s what I wrote in Asheville!

Next time you are exploring your local community or are traveling, I recommend that you seek out the urban art to learn more about the destination’s past, present, and future. You may be surprised to learn new insights about the unique heritage and character of the destination!

The Gift of Instinct

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trusting_your_intuition

Source: YMC

In the most recent newsletter from Susie Frazier, an artist in Cleveland, I could not help but pause and think about the significance of instinct. I wanted to share Susie Frazier’s wisdom with you:

“I can’t tell you how many times in my career I’ve been questioned about my training. What can you possibly create in the way of art, if you didn’t study it in college? What do you know about promoting a band, if you come from outside the industry? What business do you have being a radio personality, if you’ve never worked at a radio station?

Maybe you’ve had this kind of second-guessing happen to you. Maybe you’ve even used this doubtful tone with yourself. Pay no mind. What matters more than knowledge or experience is instinct.

Instinct is that inner voice that tells you to go left when all your competitors are going right. It’s that urge to take on something new despite the hesitation of those around you. It’s that inner flame that sparks ideas not because you saw the model work somewhere else, but because you felt the synergy of all the important elements, right here. Instinct is a sixth sense that can’t be taught — it’s only cultivated after falling on one’s face so many times that the wipeout actually becomes a welcome part of the discovery process.

Don’t be swayed by the critics in your head or elsewhere. Simply by the bold act of trying, you’ve begun the only relevant training you need.”

Any time I have felt uncertainty about an idea or a decision, I have tried to think about it logically and seek advice from others. As Susie describes, I am reminded to go beyond logic and external opinions, and instead focus on my gut instinct, which transcends time and global boundaries. Our instinct is what makes us unique as individuals and should be our guiding force in life. No one can see, hear, or feel the instinct we have that comes from within. It makes us powerful and should give us the confidence to go forward with our ideas and decisions. Our instinct is a gift. We should trust that it will lead us to our individual paths of success and happiness!

Below are a few other powerful quotes about instinct:

“It is by logic we prove, but by intuition we discover.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

“Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.” -Anonymous

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” -Jonas Salk

“Intuition is the whisper of the soul.” -J. Krishnamurti

“Intuition makes sense after you follow it, not before. You don’t get to know the beauty unless you take the risk.” -McCall Erikson

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” -Albert Einstein

“Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect.” -Steve Jobs

You can read more inspiring messages from Susie Frazier in my inspirNational Quotes II post.

Spring Transitions

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Spring is in the air! I am finding that life in my 20’s seems to be a series of springs, with new beginnings and transitions occurring all the time. Those of us in our 20’s are constantly adapting to change as we are developing ourselves, our careers, and our relationships as we locate our place and determine our fit in the world. Watching myself and my friends in many transition phases, I have been dreaming about the wonders of stability. How comforting it seems to be older, established, stable, and settled in life. Just as people older than me often say “I wish as young again,” I often think “I wish I was stable.” I have been seeking inspiration for how to best respond to life’s many transitions.

In this month’s Oprah Magazine, Oprah features inspiring anecdotes of how women have reacted to change. She connects to those of us who struggle as we face change, and provides an interesting alternative:

“We understand that when change has its way with you, you can lose a lot – like the people and things you hold dear, or sight of who you are. But picture an even more painful scenario: You wake up day after day, and nothing is ever different, and so you have no opportunity to grow, to expand your humanity and the capacity of your heart. You miss out on the essential point of being alive, which is to experience experiences and feel feelings, to partake of the messy and marvelous things occurring all around you, to watch the powerful play go on and contribute your verse. And, at the end of it all, to look back and say that you lived.”

After first reading this, I paused and was in awe. I was reminded about the importance of change and how it helps us grow as people. It is comforting to know that we all face change, and it is the essence of life. With each change I face in the transitional lifestyle of the 20’s, I am creating the established woman I aspire to be in the future.

Source: Times Union

Source: Times Union

The Oprah Magazine also features a Transition Tool Kit, which I found especially helpful to understand the stages we face in transition and how we can respond to them.The logical approach to facing transitions makes them seem more manageable and relatable to those around us.

Like the predictability of spring arriving every year, we can anticipate that we will face transitions. With every spring, and every transition, we have the opportunity to renew ourselves and our surroundings. Along with nature, we begin a new season of our lives. I am inspired to have this mindset with each transition I face now and in the future.

InspirNational Insights from Senior Citizens

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Holidays bring families together and are one of the unique times that we spend with multiple generations. As I go through transitions in my life, I seek insights from those older than me based on their life experiences. With Easter weekend behind us, I focused on the senior generations (my grandparents and their friends) for some wisdom. When I think about how many changes I’ve faced in my quarter-century life, I can only imagine how many changes the senior generations have faced, in terms of their families, friends, careers, health, technology, and societal trends. I find it interesting that my generation, the one preparing to climb the corporate ladder, the future leaders of business, government, and healthcare, are so focused on the climb and comparing ourselves to others. While I am equally guilty of this, I think it’s time to take a step back and think like the senior generations. Over the weekend, I was reminded of the priorities and mindset of many senior citizens, which I describe below:

  1. Protect and be grateful for your health. Health is the only aspect of life that guarantees we can live. I find when I ask my grandparents how they are doing, they first discuss their health and say some variation of “I am grateful to be alive.”
  2. Put your relationships (family, friends, significant others) above all else. The people in your life are who will share your happy moments and your challenges with you and will be there for you when you are in need. Visiting two nursing homes this weekend reminded me that what brightens the seniors’ days is not how successful they were or how wealthy they were, but how many family members and friends they have to enjoy the adventure of life.
  3. Take each day as it comes. There is only so much planning and anticipating we can do. While planning for the future is a good idea, dwelling on fears about the future is a waste of energy and instead we should focus on finding joy today.
  4. Do what makes you happy. Only you know what that means and only you can control your mindset about what each day brings you. As the old saying says, money doesn’t buy you happiness. It may be your family or friends, your hobbies, your career, your faith, etc. Regardless of what brings you happiness, make sure it is part of your daily life no matter what life stage you are in.
Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

I hope we all can appreciate these thoughts and seek wisdom from the generations older than us, who have interesting stories and important life insights to share. Interested to learn more? Check out this Daily Mail article.