Friday, May 29, 2009

"Never stop building your body of work"

Below is President Obama's commencement address to the recent graduates of Arizona State University. In it, Obama calls the graduates to rise to the challenges of our current situation, and to do it in a way apart from the old norms of yesterday. He urges them (and anyone listening) to focus less on status and wealth and to instead focus on community and the less fortunate through acts of altruism.

He also makes the brilliant point that many of the greats of history didn't make their mark until later in their lives and after weathering some failed attempts and grim defeats. His message: "Never stop adding to your body of work." and "Your work is never really done." spoke to my life for sure. Life is a journey and an adventure. If you can help others along the way, that journey will be a great one :)




"That is what building a body of work is all about - it's about the daily labor, the many individual acts, the choices large and small that add up to a lasting legacy. It's about not being satisfied with the latest achievement, the latest gold star - because one thing I know about a body of work is that it's never finished. It's cumulative; it deepens and expands with each day that you give your best, and give back, and contribute to the life of this nation. You may have set-backs, and you may have failures, but you're not done - not by a longshot.

...it is moments like these that force us to try harder, to dig deeper, to discover gifts we never knew we had - to find the greatness that lies within each of us. So don't ever shy away from that endeavor. Don't ever stop adding to your body of work. I can promise that you will be the better for that continued effort, as will this nation that we all love."

(Read the FULL Text here)

****************

Keep on friends!

~ashli

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Step 1: Don't Follow the Dollar---

7 Steps to Finding Happiness

Great tips from Prevention.com

Excerpt:

Steps on the True Path to Happiness


Be with the ones you love So there I was at Andrei and Nadia's wedding, visiting with relatives I hadn't seen in years. Such a rare pleasure, because they live thousands of miles away. But research shows time with loved ones is a primary source of fulfillment.

Care about your work Finding your work meaningful and having a sense of commitment to it not only makes you less prone to feeling stress on the job, but also promotes success--and happiness. That's true whether you're searching for a cure for cancer or building cars on an assembly line--you can look at it as just a paycheck, or as your life's work. Cultivating a sense of purpose can increase your satisfaction with your job and your life.

Maintain your health It's easy to take health for granted until you don't have it anymore. But it turns out that the healthier you are, the more likely you are to be happy. The obvious moral is that you'll be happier if you eat right, exercise, get preventive care, and reduce your stress level.

Have regular sex Physical intimacy is a key contributor to happiness, found a study by Dartmouth economist David Blanchflower, PhD, and Andrew Oswald, PhD, of England's University of Warwick. Married people report 30% more sex than singles, which may be one reason they also report being happier.

Ask about other people's experience Will that vacation in Huatulco, that used Audi, or that cute guy who you just found out is thrice divorced make you happy? Sometimes the answer is right under your nose, but you're just too proud (or convinced of your own uniqueness) to ask. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, PhD, and his research partner Timothy Wilson, PhD, at the University of Virginia, call our imaginative jaunts into future feelings "affective forecasting." They've discovered that asking people who have been there and done that a question like, "What was it like being married to Max?" or "How is it working in an ER?" leads to more accurate forecasting.

Practice altruism
Helping other people is one of the most effective ways to boost your self-esteem, research shows. That, in turn, uncorks a whole bottle of brain hormones and can lead to happiness, health, and well-being. His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks of altruism as enlightened selfishness, because it ultimately serves your own happiness.

Become part of a community Whether you're deeply involved with a religious group, a civic organization, or an athletic team, a feeling of strong community is one of the most important paths to happiness. One of the perks of living in my small town is that simply taking a walk is a community experience. I know my neighbors care about me, and they know that I care about them.

At the end of the day, joy comes from experiencing ourselves as part of a larger, meaningful whole. Accumulating material things won't get you there. Living the life of the heart is the authentic way to pursue happiness.
Tips to up your happiness quotient
Volunteer your time and energy. The upcoming holiday season means that there's an increased need for people to serve meals, raise funds, and visit the sick or needy.

Think of three people you love and haven't connected with lately. Get in touch and, if at all possible, make plans to see them.

Feeling lonely? Find a group to join, whether it's a book club, a religious organization, or a community chorus.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Remembering one of the Earliest Voices of Feminism

"This is the woman's century, the first chance for the mother of the world to rise to her full place... and the world waits while she powders her nose."



Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and non fiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper", which she wrote after a severe bout of post-partum depression. (More of the Wiki Article)

What I like most about Gilman is her avocation for EQUALITY between the sexes. This is the goal and the true way to a better way of life for all. I am currently reading her prophetic ;) novel Herland (1915). In Herland, three male explorers stumble into a 2,000 year old Utopian society made up entirely of women. They find it to be a peaceful, progressive environmentally conscious place, but no men allowed. They are captured and held as prisoners. Its a must read for men and women alike. :)

POETRY


Gilman was very much a diamond formed in the rough ways of late 19th century life. Her writings reflect this and give us the opportunity to see that world through her strong female eyes. She fought oppression and the painful shackles of conventional female life with the strength and grace only a woman can posses throughout her very interesting life. And we are all grateful indeed.

The Artist

Here one of us is born, made as a lens,
Or else to lens-shape cruelly smooth-ground,
To gather light, the light that shines on all,
In concentrated flame it glows, pure fire,
With light a hundredfold, more light for all.

Come and receive, take with the eye or ear,
Take and be filled, illumined, overflowed;
Then go and shine again, your whole work lit,
Your whole heart warm and luminous and glad;
Go shine again-and spread the gladness wide;

Happy the lens! To gather skies of light
And focus it, making the splendor there!
Happy all we who are enriched therewith,
And redistribute ever, swift and far.

The artist is the intermediate lens
Of God, an so best give Him to the world,
Intensified, interpreted, to us.

Locked Inside

She beats upon her bolted door,
She beats upon her bolted door,
With faint weak hands;
Drearily walks the narrow floor;
Sullenly sits, blank walls before;
Despairing stands.

Life calls her, Duty, Pleasure, Gain–
Her dreams respond;
But the blank daylights wax and wane,
Dull peace, sharp agony, slow pain–
No hope beyond.

Till she comes a thought! She lifts her head,
The world grows wide!
A voice–as if clear words were said–
"Your door, O long imprisoned,
Is locked inside!"

Matriatism

Small is thought of "Fatherland,"
With all its pride and worth;
With all its history of death;
Of fire and sword and wasted breath-
By the great new thought which quickeneth-
The thought of "Mother Earth."
Man fights for wealth and rule and price,
For the "name" that is his alone;
Comes woman, wakening to her power,
Comes woman, opening the hour
That see life as one growing flower,
All children as her own.

Fathers have fought for their Fatherland
With slaughter and death and dearth,
But mothers, in service and love's increase,
Will labor together for our release,
From a war-stained past to a world at peace,
Our fair, sweet Mother Earth.

Read More about Charlotte Perkins Gilman

(Blog dedicated to Meganne Rosen O'Neil who first introduced me to Gilman's work, the beautiful poet Lauryl Wagoner, and to the always inspiring Jessica Brothers.)



In closing, I would like to say- Women everywhere must reconnect to themselves and each other. They must remember the goddesses they are and must never forget the most sacred bond of all- Sisterhood. :)

With Love and Respect
~Ashli

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rad House Sitting Site!


MindMyHouse.com
House sit anywhere around the globe. Its fun to just pretend too. :)

View Map

Tuesday, May 5, 2009