Universal Languages of Connection

Abigail Washburn‘s ‘Song of the Traveling Daughter’ has always been one of my favorite folk songs.  She fascinates me with her soul catching melodies and Mandarin lyrics.  But more importantly, she understands and illuminates how music, like most art, is an universal language that has the ability to bridge cultures and connect hearts.  In this TED talk she shares a little bit of her journey…



How have you been touched/inspired/awakened by music and other art forms?

What ways have you used art and music to connect with others?

What other universal languages do you use?


Song of the Traveling Daughter

by Abigail Washburn

(World sits outside the door)
Men wai you ge shijie
(A voice in your heart is calling)
Xinzhong you ge shengyin
(The ends of the world await)
Sifang jiu deng ni lai
(Traveling daughter)
Younu(Feel the sunshine on your face)
Lianshang gandao taiyang
(Starlight guides your feet)
Jiaobu suizhao xingguang
(Earth and Sky will carry you)
Tiandi zai ni zouyou(Journey after journey)
Zoule yi shan you yi shan
(One mountain to the next)
Zhe shan guole ne shan lai
(Voice in your heart is calling)
Xinzhong you ge shengyin
from Songmeaning.com


What are You Doing to Change the Stats?

My partner passed along this inspiring video to me this week.  It carries a great message that needs to be shared.

Please pass it along.



miss representation


                BE HEALTHY

                VALUE YOURSELF

                BE A ROLE MODEL

                 GET INVOLVED

                   BE A LEADER

Big thanks to Miss Representation for putting this together, and to Forest StearnsSara Critchfield for sharing.


Stand up & Speak your Passion

All great ideas start somewhere.  While the seed for my study of personal sustainability & resilience was sown much earlier, this presentation of my work was my first big milestone.  I’m proud of it, but it also makes me laugh when watching…in a ‘puts hand over eyes’ ‘did I really just say that?’ ‘I look so serious’ kind of way…lol.  But that aside, I feel the message is an important one…not just in content, but also to show we all start somewhere.  Sometimes its not perfect, or even pretty, but what is important is that you got up and got out there.  Our voice is valuable.  Every time we speak it adds to a larger chorus that helps to shape the hearts and minds of those around us. 

Never be afraid to stand up and speak your passion.

Public speaking learning point: Recording yourself when giving presentations helps you learn how to delivery your message more effectively for future audiences.

Keep Calm & Carry On

Today’s Inspirational Find:  A short film that tells the story behind the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster.  Its origins at the beginning of WWII and its rediscovery in a bookshop in England in 2000, becoming one of the iconic images of the 21st century.  Film, music, script and narration by Temujin Doran. http://www.studiocanoe.com/index.php?/profile/.  Concept and production by Nation. http://www.wearenation.co.uk/.

This find is from my schoolmate Zack Luby.  As he put it “again, more proof you don’t need a gigantic budget to make something awesome.  You DO need something interesting to share though.”  Thanks Zack!



To find out more about Barter Books visit http://www.barterbooks.co.uk.
To download the ‘Keep Calm’ iphone app visit http://bit.ly/keepcalmapp

Be Positive, Smile & Make it Count

Change and uncertainty are in the air – wafting in & sticking to everything like the damp cold of the bay area fog.  Along with change, as if connected on a string, comes emotional swells, release of old patterns and relationships, and the testing of coping skills.  Sometimes when the fog is too thick, you just have to park your car and take sit for yourself – take a moment to center, refocus, reconnect with your values, your passions, your purpose and all that is truly important in your life.  I love when chaos gets to the point where quiet is the best option…& I actually notice that option.

I have been enamored by Marc & Angel’s blog – Marc & Angel’s Hack Life – ever since my first post about them back in December.  In my own quiet this morning, I pieced together some of my favorite snips from their blogs.  So in the mists of your quiet – here are some of Marc & Angel’s thoughts to ponder on:

Be the best YOU can be. – Give it your all in everything you do, commit to your goals, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. John Wooden once said, “Success and happiness is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Never try to be better than anyone else, but never stop trying to be the best you can be. If you feel called to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

Free yourself from negative people. – Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself of negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the simplest way to live.

Be productive, not just busy. – Start tracking and measuring your progress. Being busy and being productive are two very different things. Results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.

Stop worrying and complaining. – Start focusing on the things you can control and do something about them. Those who complain the most accomplish the least. And when you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want. It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.

Choose a good attitude. – What often screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. And the reason so many of us give up is because we tend to look at how far we still have to go, instead of how far we have come. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. This moment, like every moment, is a priceless gift and an opportunity. Be positive, smile, and make it count. Pretend today is going to be great. Do so, and it will be. Research shows that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences.

Smile more often. – A smile is a choice, not a miracle. Don’t wait for people to smile. Show them how. A genuine smile makes you and everyone around you feel better. The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy. And when you’re happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. This reaction has been studied since the 1980’s and has been proven a number of times. Bottom line: Smiling actually makes you happier.

Let go when you know you should. – Sometimes you have to be strong for yourself. Love is worth fighting for, but you can’t be the only one fighting. People need to fight for you too. If they don’t, you eventually have to move on and realize that what you gave them was more than they were willing to give you. Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed. If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse. Holding on is being brave, but letting go and moving on is often what makes us stronger and happier.

Stop being dramatic. – Start spending less time gossiping about problems and more time helping yourself and others solve them. Stay out of people’s needless drama and don’t create your own.

Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

Work on your relationships. – They don’t just happen, or maintain themselves. They exist and thrive when the parties involved take the risk of sharing what it is that’s going on in their minds and hearts. Open communication and honesty is the key.

Give what you want. – If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. It’s a simple practice that works.

You are in full control of your own happiness. – If your relationship with yourself isn’t working, don’t expect your other relationships to be any different. Nobody else in this world can make you happy. It’s something you have to do on your own. And you have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else. If you feel that it’s your partner’s fault, think again, and look within yourself to find out what piece is missing. Your partner can never ‘complete’ you because you are already whole. The longing for completion that you feel inside comes from being out of touch with who you are.

Show everyone kindness and respect. – Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. – Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning. Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication.