Honoring Tomb-time

With Easter and stories of new life and resurrection on our minds, I wanted to explore a side of Easter that I’ve never heard discussed before.

I saw a comment on facebook from a friend of mine that said:

“Sick. Depressed. More than I can handle”.

Without having context to that comment, it got me to thinking.  How many of us have felt that way at one time or another? It sucks. Sometimes life gets sucked out and so it just sucks. Lack of health sucks. Trying to keep a smile on sucks. Having a person/pet you love die sucks. Getting out of bed sucks. Watching people just not ‘get it’ sucks. Not being able to do anything about it sucks. Not having energy sucks. About the only things that don’t suck at times might include:

1. the love and kindness of a spouse who cares/close family who will listen and not judge

2. soft organic flannel sheets

3. Hyberbole and a half dark humor

I wonder if sometimes ‘hitting bottom’ might possibly be compared to a place like Christ in the tomb: cold, dark, quiet, a suspended life. And that’s OK. It’s OK to be buried for awhile. In fact, maybe that’s part of the Easter Story? Maybe instead of rushing to the resurrection, maybe it’s OK to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s not a ‘fault’ to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s just part of a – can I say it – healthy life to be in the tomb?  Even if we don’t know how long it will last?  Especially if we don’t know how long it will last?

Yes, resurrection does come, and we celebrate that, but maybe there is also a place to respect the times in our lives that represent tombs?  Why do we fear the cold, dark, quiet, suspended times?  Is it because in American culture those are seen as ‘weak’, or ‘useless’, or ‘bad’, or ‘unproductive’…and we feel shamed for them?  What would happen if those times of depression/grief, or “tomb-time”, had a different, purposeful meaning in our culture?  Do other cultures have a place of respect for those times in a person’s life?

How can we incorporate a safe, honorable, and healthy place for those -including ourselves – who are experiencing tomb-time?  If we had a different perspective, maybe we wouldn’t feel the cultural need to deny, try to cheer-lead it away, or shame it?  Maybe tomb-time is an important part of a healthy life?

Some possible resources: the book Tear Soup , online helps from Tear Soup.

Barb

Four Steps To Economic Recovery

The news is full of articles trying to figure out a way to save America:  how to bring back the middle class, create jobs, help stop the disparity between the few rich at the top and the majority falling (or fearful of falling) toward poverty, and what to do about increasing homelessness and food insecurity.  American society seems gripped in fear, as many young people wrestle with college debt and little or no living wage work prospects.  Middle managers in their 40’s/50’s/60’s have been downsized/laid off, and haunt monthly job fairs featuring door-t0-door commission sales work (to try to reach those who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and/or don’t have money/need to purchase their products anyway).  An undergirding of fear is sweeping our nation just under the surface for those of wealth (and those hanging on by their fingernails to their wealth), a daily reality for many more.

The conversation is here.  People are awake and aware that this growing soup of problems are encroaching on us as a society, not just ‘the fringe others’.  This involves all of us.  Some of us who have not yet lost our job/home/health respond with self-protective denial.  Some of us in frustration and fear blame the ‘other’.  Some of us become clinically depressed and use pain medication/drink/drugs to hide.

I believe there is a practical way to turn this poverty of economy and spirit around. Here’s my idea outline for a Four Step Plan To Economic Recovery:

  1.  Living wage jobs provided by the very corporations and businesses that have taken living wage jobs away, as well as innovative business models such as B-Corporations and worker cooperatives that balance wages, community building, and benefits with profits.
  2. Mortgage companies/banks/developers et all to sell/rent housing that is affordable to wages earned in area said housing/businesses reside.  Seed Seattle is an example of an organization creating partnerships and inspiring investments in affordable housing, arts, and economic development.
  3. Medical health care that actually provides health benefit – not high priced/high deductible insurance that doesn’t cover any type of actual care.
  4. Education tied with industry jobs, so instead of graduating with a 4 year degree and $30,000-$200,000 of debt and no income/job in sight, the education/training is included in most businesses/jobs as part of the training package of said business/job. This would also be helpful for those re-entering the workforce and those who’s jobs have changed/no longer exist.

These four steps would in practical ways help turn the economy around with innovative business and industry leading the way by creating living wage jobs and incorporating training and benefits back into the business model.  Add to that affordable housing, fanning innovation, creating community building opportunities, rebuilding a middle class and giving tangible tools to bring disenfranchised into the middle class, and the result would be uplifting all of American society for a better future.

Barb Hughes 2013    Barb Hughes

Gravity Light – free energy source powered by gravity

This light source powered by gravity produces clean, free energy for lighting. No sun or batteries needed. No breathing kerosene fumes, no danger of damage by fires, only safe, clean, off-grid energy.

Tiny Banks – A return to traditional banking (Plus, how to start your own bank!)

Tired of the hassles of big banks? Dave Fishwick brought banking back to its roots:  local banks for local people, by the community for the community.

If you’re interested in making a positive difference in your community, Dave Fishwick shows you how to open your own bank:

One photographer is changing the world

imgresHumans of New York is a facebook site started as a photography project by Brandon in 2010, shortly after being fired from his finance job.  Brandon started HONY to create a catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, setting out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. Somewhere along the way, he began to interview his subjects in addition to photographing them, and alongside their portraits, would include quotes and short stories from their lives.

The facebook site now has over 11 million followers, and has recently turned a corner from an art site to creating social impact in a major way, with the photo and story of a boy named Vidal, from the HONY facebook page:

“Who’s influenced you the most in your life?”
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

Vidal’s simple comment sent photographer Brandon to Mott Hall Bridges Academy to meet Ms. Lopez.  Which then led to learning more about the school, and what they needed from Ms. Lopez and her team.  Which led to an indiegogo campaign to send the 6th grade class to visit Harvard.  Which led to thousands of people in the comments sections of these posts and follow up posts offering to help not only the kids in this school, but the kids in neighboring schools and kids in schools around the world.

And the story isn’t done yet.  Brandon keeps taking photos of kids, teachers, administrators – hearing their stories, giving them names and voices and a platform for positive change.  And people all over the world are responding with strength and encouragement and resources and networking.  See a video here.

One photographer is changing the world.  One face, one story at a time.

Transport and purify water at the same time

The Midomo Water Purifier transports and purifies water at the same time.

A Rational Response to Homelessness

Utah is tackling the homeless problem.  Their plan is already saving taxpayer money AND is improving the economy, plus they are on track to eliminate homelessness by 2015.

Jerry the Bear helps kids with type 1 diabetes

Jerry the Bear is an interactive teaching tool for kids with type 1 diabetes. The bear needs the same thing a child does:  checking blood sugar levels, choices on what to eat, and even helping kids master their medical procedures through play.

To learn more about Jerry the Bear, click here.  If you don’t know a child with type 1 diabetes, you can still play a part in helping those who do here.

Utopia for those with Dementia

The Netherlands has a unique eldercare community built specifically for dementia patients, called Dementia Village.  Dementia Village is a safe 4 acre indoor/outdoor community where residents can enjoy the seasons, visit a restaurant, drink a cup of tea, get their hair done, go shopping, and are free to go wherever they want (within the save indoor/outdoor village with a ratio of 2 staff per resident).

This 4 acre complex is home to 23 housing units with 7 different ‘lifestyle themes’, the goal being to create a space where each resident can enjoy life and feel welcome.  On a physical level people here require fewer medications, eat better, live longer.  On a mental level they also seem to experience more joy.

Thanks to CNN’s World’s Untold Stories for this video.

Medicine and Science Using Origami Algorithms

Origami algorithms are being used to create medical implants and space telescopes. I wonder if origami algorithms might be used to create the build-a-building, using plastic, wood, and mesh sheets that can be folded differently to create different shaped useful small buildings?  Learn more about this amazing new technology that combines art, science, and history in this Ted Talk.

Indoor forts just got a whole lot more fun

Indoor forts for kids (and adults) just got a whole lot easier – and more fun. Made from recycled cardboard, these lay flat for storage, but can be folded into lego-like blocks for easy stacking.  But the genius is the ‘mortar’ that holds the blocks together, and the easy-on roofs.  Take a look – and be a part of the kick starter program if you like what you see.

This is a possible step towards an outdoor building system for reusable small buildings as well.

Solar Roadways Are A Reality

Solar roadways do more than just create abundant electricity and green jobs – they also can:

1. Melt snow in the northern climates so you can drive cars and ride bikes safely year ’round

2.  Be programmed with signage  – so as traffic patterns change you don’t have to repaint the roadway stripes – just reprogram the configuration

3.  Help keep the air and water shed cleaner

4. And a whole bunch of other amazing things.

The technology prototype has already been proven, and the technology is ready to launch commercially  –  starting with parking lots and private driveways and eventually leading to roads worldwide (if we cover the roads in America, we’ll have 3 times more energy than we need).  If you’re a business or an eco friendly early adapter check out the indiegogo campaign.

Ikea leads the way in system to stabilize refugee families

Ikea is developing a prototype of refugee shelter that is easy to put together, is insulated, has a solar light so people can cook/sew/do homework when it gets dark, and other simple yet practical features.

Ikea is getting feedback from refugees to improve upon the concept before they roll out the final design.  They also plan to include a system of health care, education, and more so refugee families can not only get stabilized physically, but get all members of a family back on their feet in body/mind/spirit as quickly and respectfully as possible.

Good News Network gets a fantastic make-over

The Good News Network was started by Geri Weis-Corbley in 1997, and I’ve enjoyed the little encouraging stories sent to my email inbox for many years.  Recently the Good News Network went through a transformation, and is now a free and easily navigated news service. The insight and direction of Geri’s work and attitude are cutting edge cultural creative.  Check out more information about what she’s doing, why, the history, how you can get involved by sending in your own stories, and more here.  Now you can start and end your day with GOOD news from the Good News Network  – rated #1 on Google.

Start a Free Store for the Homeless

Wanna start a free pop-up store for the homeless?  Check out this video, which gives how-to information including downloadable posters!

Introducing The Street Store. The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free ‘pop-up clothing store’ for the homeless, found entirely on the street and curated by you.

Download open-source files and host your own Street Store on www.thestreetstore.org

Follow on Twitter @TheStreetStore and on Facebook.com/thestreetstoreorg 

Accessible Adventures for those with limited mobility

Vacations are fun!  Even if  you’re in a wheelchair or have limited mobility.  Accessible Adventures is a new video series, hosted by former radio host John Williams, that SHOWS accessible vacation spots featuring wheelchair and limited mobility people having fun in the Northwest!  Also check out the blog to see Jim Martinson skiing Crystal Mountain on a mono ski. Here’s a video with John Williams telling more about this timely idea:

High School Students Work To Clean The Air

 

April2014Final(1)Be blown away by youth that demonstrate a passion for restoring the health of the environment! The April 26th Sharing Ideas event, features the Roosevelt High School Science Club, a group of students determined to counteract pollution in Portland, Oregon. These local youth are experimenting with planters that recycle polluted air into clean air and testing of air quality surrounding Roosevelt High School. They have been invited to Washington, D.C. later this year to present their findings.

Sharing Ideas events raise awareness of local grassroots efforts throughout Portland Oregon that strengthen community. Project presenters share the inspiration that launched their idea, how it moved into action, where they are today, and their hope for the future.

Everyone is invited. RSVP suggested online or by phone at 503.546.7499. Refreshments will be provided. Childcare (9 and under), transportation, and interpretation are provided upon request, with 48 hours advanced notice.

When: Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM

Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.

Who: You! Bring your friends and family to this free event and discover pathways to new possibilities!

 

Book: Journey of Souls: Case Studies Of Life Between Lives

journeyofsoulsWhether religious or not, this is a fascinating look into an unexplored possibility of what happens after death. I enjoyed the example of the creator/source being an active and living presence in our lives – here and in the hereafter- as opposed to the current working definition that tends to separate the creator as the big judge outside that has created a hierarchy of painful separation through rules, rewards, and punishments.

Author Michael Newton PH.D has a background as a counseling psychologist, master hypnotherapist, teacher, and researcher. This book covers such topics as How it feels to die, What you see and feel right after death, When and where you learn to recognize soul mates on earth, Different levels of souls- beginning/intermediate/and advanced, What happens to “disturbed” souls, and The purpose of life and manifestation of a Creator.

If you’re able and willing to stretch your mind and imagination, enjoy this fresh look at the age old idea of ‘what happens after we die?’.

What if our healthcare system kept us healthy?

Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? Here’s a Ted Talk that gives concrete information to create a healthcare system that actually keeps us healthy.

Tennessee considers funding free community college for all High School Grads

Tennessee is considering using lottery money to fully fund community college and technical school for all high school grads. Since cost is the biggest hurdle to getting a higher education, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is on the right track to make higher education truly attainable – without all the hoops. Read more here.