Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Day in the Life ....

Is the place you sleep at night physiologically safe?  Pyschologically safe? Emotionally safe?

My wish for you:  May it be so.

One of the circumstances that occurs for those of us without homes is having a place to sleep during the pm hours; and wandering the streets during the am hours.

That's not a diss.  It's merely a statement of fact.

I am very grateful to the shelters (temporary winter shelters, daily one-night line up shelters, emergency short-term shelters and the other shelters that exist) for their offerings of sleeping facilities.

Most days, you'll see many of us (us = myself and others like me without homes) on the streets, in places where there are a lot of people to blend in with (like Hollywood Blvd), on public transportation, at libraries, in malls, in parks ... or wherever it is you see us.

Yesterday (December 25, 2010) was an exceptional day of the year as many places I go for safety, warmth, and electrical plug-ins were closed.

My feets are tired!  ::grin::

It was also an exceptional day, as I had the opportunity to take some photos and movies of where I was on the iPod I was given by www.invisiblepeople.tv / wearevisible.com / @hardlynormal.  Therefore today is an exceptional day for you because you get to see the photos (naw, don't go looking for professional shots -- I can barely hold the equipment still!)

The day started out by locking my trusty steed D'Artagnan (a glorious tricycle I use to get me to metro.net rail stations) at a bike rack big enough to hold it safely all day.  Nope, no shots of D'Artagnan at this time!

Traveling the rails to a well-used bus-stop, Gilda Radner's *fixed* Hollywood star jumped out at me!  How wonderful to see it fixed (shots of what it used to look like a few months ago are on my posterous page--you'll have to scroll down that page to see the original shot).

Imagine my surprise of getting on a random bus (I was heading to 3rd & Fairfax to see what was up in that area) only to find myself face-to-face with an astounding gentleman without a home (David), whom I had met at a Winter Shelter only days before!  I had gone to the Winter Shelter to participate in a memorial ritual for the homeless who have died on the streets in the year 2010.

During the short conversation another gentleman, with a gorgeous eagle bolo tie, on the bus introduced himself to me.  It wasn't hard to ascertain I am homeless as David (my friend using the Winter Shelter) asked me loudly on the bus if I was homeless.

The eagle bolo tie gentleman (whose name I forgot to ask) pointed the way to a place that was offering free Christmas day dinners to the populace of the area.  I have a new-found respect for the Laugh Factory, in Hollywood.  I mean, I knew they had supreme talent there-- I'm new enough to the streets, this time around, that I didn't know they served a meal.  In fact, as the gentleman pointed out to me they served multiple times during the day.  At 1:pm, 3:pm, 5:pm and I think he said 7:pm -- but I could be mistaken on that.

However, it must be well-known to the locals, because that line you see forming (look closely) is at 10:30am and the first dinner was not due to be served until 1:pm.

What a tremendous thing!

The day doesn't end there, however.  I had much more time to wander, until dark-thirty became a reality!

Next was a trip to downtown Los Angeles, to find a public restroom I could use.  So it was off to Patsaouras Transit Plaza, and one of the grandest moments of my day, the fish!  If you look carefully, you'll see the shadow of the child in the reflection of the tank glass.  He was rushing up to get a look at the fish, and his head actually pops into one of the frames for a brief moment.
video

Pausing to sit down for a bit, I found out about the event taking place in Pasadena ... so it was onto the Goldline and over to Central Park.  Wow!  What a scene!  It was HUGE!  The park was overflowing with people, volunteers and attendees.  I like it!

video
Union Station  Homeless Services was producing their Dinner in the Park.  Not only were they serving "wonderful and nutritious holiday meals to those in-need in the community" they were providing a Santa's Village for children to get gifts; resounding music throughout the area; and an unplanned play area for LeafBall throwing.

Now, being the intrepid reporter-on-the-streets ( ::rofl -- I've always wanted to use that phrase, however, I don't think I wanted so much emphasis of  "on-the-streets" ::giggle:: ) I needed to stop, rest my feet and sit-a-spell.  The Coffee Bean close to the park did the trick.  However, trying to get my laptop to function was a half-hour ordeal, and the bless'd little thing apparently was having battery problems as well.  I gave up and moved onto my next destination.

Taking a slow moving bus (as opposed to the faster moving Goldline to the Redline) I dwaddled my way over to Hollywood/Highland again.  This time to meditate with the dragon.  Yes, it is possible to meditate surrounded by myriad folks ... just harder for me than being at Zuma beach at sunrise!

The number of people on the Blvd. area was astounding!  It must have been 4:pm-ish and the sidewalks were jam-packed!  But I did wander into Grauman's Chinese Center Court to a spot where no people were so I could take my last shots for the day.  I adore this dragon.

It grew darker, much colder and it was time to return to the location where I'm sleeping on the floor; giving me the ability to recharge my valiant laptop and put up this diary entry for you to browse through.

May your days be merry and bright ... and may all your dreams come true, each night.

A pleasure to be with you mes amis!

Friday, December 24, 2010

People to Know About in the Homeless Community

I have never listened to Sirius radio.  There are two reasons for that:   1) When I listen to something I devote my full attention to it, or should I say it takes my full attention. Radio, TV, a movie-- if it's not the only thing I'm doing at the time, it's like the static of white noise to me and I have no conscious awareness of it.  I'm a firm believer that the multi-tasking craze that has run rampant in our society for decades is detrimental.    2) Sirius costs, and it's not something I have the coin for.

However, thanks to a free week trial download, I was able to participate as a listener; and as a tweeter annoying the heck out of those that follow me by tweeting my enthusiasm for a few of the important conversations that went down on Zo Williams' "The Voice of Reason" broadcast with The Foxxhole.

The show "Homeless for Christmas" broadcast live from The Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles.  Those whom I share the streets with went in to eat and got to see the broadcast as it was taking place. Now that's class.  We may be the people of the streets because we have no homes, however, that doesn't make us second-, third-, or fourth-rate citizens.

In order of appearance, Zo Williams; Andy Bales; Joel Blau; Mark Horvath; Tony Rock; Jessica Page Morrell; Jeremiah Johnson; Andrea Richardson; Anthony Ortega; A.J. and Mary Goode; Kevin Sessions; Shareema Williams, and a special mention to Kitty Davis-Walker.

Apologies in advance to anyone's name I didn't spell correctly.  ::grin::  It's not intentional.  Between my dyslexia, hearing and the rapid flow of information on the show, I may have caught your name incorrectly.  Please let me know the correct spelling of any names!  (and links for ya!)

Of the myriad topics covered, here are some of the things that stayed with me longest (paraphrased):
What are some of the things that can effect change?
  • heart change
  • get rid of the stereotypical myths
  • regionalize the solutions (housing, bad weather shelters; transitional housing)
  • facilitate life transformation
The impact on individuals and society?
  • The trauma of dealing with homelessness
  • Stats are overwhelming! Single women and families –> homeless numbers are escalating
I feel fortunate to have learned of more service providers during the show, and to have heard some folks who have shared the streets with me.  You hear me talk about Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) all the time, since he's a mentor.  Thanks to his loud-mouth (yes, he takes that as a compliment and it's thoroughly how I mean it) I now have the opportunity to widen my communications circle.

If I could give you all what I consider to be one of the most important gifts of any season, it would be the gift of active listening.  You can give the gift to yourself.  Listening is not agreeing.  It is hearing and acknowledging.

Listen to yourself.  Listen to those around you.  Listen.

And acknowledge those who listen to you, they are giving you a true gift of love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Glendale Homeless Connect Day 2010

Photo from
Homeless in LA blog -- if you don't read the
Homeless in LA blog
you should.
Crisis. Overwhelm. How do you define it? How do you handle it?

Let's leave the can of worms of “what is normal” at the door. We hereby agree to let the definition of “normal” sit in the wings for now, we can attend to it later.

“The mass of men lead quiet lives of desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
Overwhelm. What happens when you are feeling overwhelmed? What happens when others are feeling overwhelmed?

Why should you care? For your health, wealth, and well-being; and for the health, wealth, and well-being of those you choose to care about.

Are you in crisis?

No, it's not a stupid question.

Some people can't tell if they are in a personal crisis.

Go ahead, laugh. Yuk it up. I'll laugh with you, because I've been one of those people who could not verbalize or identify a personal crisis; and most folks who have association with me recognize I am astute and reasonably intelligent.

The inability to define a personal crisis situation can arise from myriad circumstances.

I was responsible in nearly all of my jobs (almost half a decade's worth of work) for identifying and resolving other peoples crises: I did it well.  I've always done things for others well.

Thanks to a supremely talented therapist, utilizing EMDR techniques, along with a panoply of eclectic tools, I'm coming to a point where I can recognize when I'm in  personal crisis, and find a model of reasonable action (for me) to handle it.

For the therapist alone, I can highly recommend PATHAchieve as a resource for the homeless – once a week they have a therapist come in offering a Stress Management group session, a Parenting group session and individual appointments during the rest of the day.

This has been my saving grace. I would not have found this therapist (and I've been in therapy since I was a tween) if I hadn't become homeless at this moment in time.

That PATHAchieve has one of the preeminent advocates for the homeless on their staff, Mark Horvath (the founder of both WeAreVisible and InvisiblePeopleTV) is the second greatest thing about their crisis services to the homeless.

All you need to do to find out more about them is read through their website. I highly advise you contribute to them – inkind, $$, time, decent wearable clothing, toilet paper, shampoo, socks … whatever you are comfortable affording.

Crisis ranges from personal to cosmic.

It helps for you to know how much you can handle; what your methods for coping with crisis are; your awareness of when you are in crisis; your awareness of when others are in crisis; and your awareness of what you can do, including finding/recommending other resources.

The tools you use to handle a crisis can be assistive or detrimental.

If your particular crisis is homelessness (or someone you know – spread the word), and you are in the Los Angeles County area – do yourself a favor and attend the Glendale Homeless Connect Day 2010.

Yes, I'm homeless.  Yes, I'll be there as a person looking at all the services and accepting help from those I connect with.

Yes, I want to see you there and connect with you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15 -- Choice and Awareness

Dreamcatcher by
Dino Manes David
 In everything we have choice.

We always have at least one choice -- "what attitude we want to face our current circumstances with." A second choice we always have is to view each moment in our lives with the perspective of "How do these circumstances help me accomplish my goals?" A third choice is "to live in the moment".

I can hear you grumbling ... but those are not the choices I want. I want love, happiness, health, wealth, good teeth, the purple cloak rather than the beige one, to go to Disneyland, to go to school, to get *this* job, to be healthy ....

Crud happens. The bottom line is:

You are always going to have *something* going on in your life. It may not be something you want. Or, it may be something you want passionately.

*The something* may not be an occasion where you can control the outcome.

Controlling a specific outcome and choice are not the same thing.

Yet, in any instance ... you make choices that affect your life, and in tandem with a ripple effect the lives of all those around you.

Truly heinous episodes can be jarring, emotionally laden, and stultifying.

Is it possible to release the learning we have accrued in viewing a crisis, or being thwarted to being frozen or curtailment? Instead can we use the exigency as a bridge to where we want to be?

By choosing to live in the moment with awareness, yes.

Since this is my birthday, and in the face of all the circumstances I currently have going on (from homelessness, to disability, to general health, on the stultifying side -- to having wonderful mentors and food to eat and the opportunity to write, and a brilliant EMDR therapist, on the joyous side) I choose to use all these things to manifest my goals.

Happy birthday to me and my explorations of what can be. Here at Lost Awareness, I am channeling my focus on Homeless Advocacy. At studio rd I am channeling my focus on what I do well and can do in other areas of advocacy, in providing myself with sources of income, and most importantly, play.

And to you I wish the best of all worlds.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being homeless an opportunity? Are you serious?

Being homeless is a huge opportunity for me.
Look beyond the horrific losses I have sustained.

Look beyond the severe physical threat that is constant in homelessness.

Look beyond the denigration, degradation, and social stigma evident in the eyes and bodily postures of regular people on the street; of my comrades-in-arms on the streets; of myriad people (yes, often even those positioned to assist--not all, but many) in the cities and community.

Look beyond ... or, rather ... look within.

Look within.

Of all the possibilities presented to me during this adventure of homelessness, the opportunity to be self-aware has never been more prevalent in my life.

Being the *good child* that I strove to be all my life, I tried to fit my round pegs into the square holes.

  • "Work hard."
  • "Finish all the work that is expected of you before you go out to play."
  • "If you are sick, ignore it--get in there and get your work done."
  • "Work is not meant to be fun, it's something you have to do to survive."
  • "Just do it and quit whining about it."

  • "That's just your imagination, it's not real."
  • "Quit daydreaming and get something real done."
  • "Stop lollygagging, you're wasting time."
  • "Don't just sit there do something."
  • "Quit being so rambunctious, just shut up and sit down."
  • "Stop being so strange, don't be different--no one will respect you."

I would never have had the courage to walk away from the 40 to 105 hour work weeks I've put in the way I have been.

A good girl works hard and ignores her body, mind, and spirit. She will be rewarded later.

Bulltwinkies.

When I was young -- even before the current trend of working 80+ hour weeks was the norm for mere survival -- I worked 103 hours a week.

Did you do the math?

Did the question of, "Hey! How can you physically work 2 2/3 full-time jobs at once?" surface?

The answer is I couldn't. I only kept it up for about 6 weeks.

In today's vernacular, "Epic Fail"

I had a waitress job from 10pm to 6am. I was a cashier at a parking lot from 6:am to 2:pm and I can't remember what the third part-time position was.

That time is a blur in my mind.

I had it set up so my days off on each full-time job were different. That meant one day I would either leave one job a tiny bit early or arrive at one job a bit late. It also afforded me 2 days when I had the luxury of sleeping 7 hours, the other days I slept 4 hours.

It was a whirlwind.

And there was no money to be saved. I was paying for the apartment my boyfriend and I were living in. I was paying for the food, gas (cooking and heating), the electricity, the water, the taxi and bus to get to job to job and back 'home'.

No, my boyfriend didn't work. I don't remember why.

I worked, ate, slept and did them all disturbed. It was not an affluent time ... I was constantly in fear of how I was going to pay the next bill.

That led to the second episode of street-living in my life. Because I couldn't get all the bills paid.

But, I kept going back and trying again.

In my lifetime I've been a food-service worker (numerous times) and clerical (from filing to executive assistant -- those are the jobs I taught myself typing for and then taught myself about computers and learned computers from others around me).

I've been a tow-truck driver and dispatcher -- in a time when there were very few females in the field.

I've been a tour-guide for a demonstration kids farm.

I've been a fund-raiser and development consultant.

I've organized events and have been a paid storyteller.

With all the paid gigs, I've also volunteered, in animal rescue; as a docent for nature education organizations; and as a face-painter and storyteller.

And through it all, I've continued to try and fit my round pegs into the square holes.

Without this homelessness and concommitant loss of everything I've ever owned, I would never have walked away from trying to fit.

I would have continued denying myself.

I am a dreamer. A creative. A researching wonder. A person who can see and feel energy in ways that are not acknowledged by the metaphysic commodity world view. An adventurer. An explorer. An asker of "why?".

I've called myself a misfit all my life.

Being homeless is a huge opportunity for me ...

I choose to advocate transformation from the metaphysic commodity world view to the metaphysic sacred life world view (yes, there will be a post defining these terms).

I'm not a misfit. I have a voice. I accept myself. I make a difference.

Here's to you ... and the opportunities you have.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What does your awareness mean?

What does your awareness mean?

To you?

To others?

To your community?

To your environment?

You may never have empirical knowledge of what it means.

You can, however, have an inner *knowing* which is equally, if not more valid.

What does just one action of yours accomplish?

Whether you see it or not, it has a ripple effect that touches more than one second of life on planet Earth.

One smile, one word, one gift, one action.

The ripple effect is astounding.

"I am creating this blog entry on the notes application of an iPod touch at 4:53am in the dark of a temporary homeless shelter."

One simple sentence, yet if you examine only a few layers of its meaning you'd have nothing less than a book from sheer volume of words.

You make a difference.

You may not believe it at this moment in time.  In fact, you may even be thinking "Phllbbfftt!  The action I'm taking is such a small thing it's not even worth acknowledging."

You would be wrong.

I'm not going to tell you *what* to act on.

I am going to tell you to trust yourself and to engage.

*Engage* is a buzzword today, so let me give you another phrase from one of my heroes, "Make it so."

Thank you Mark Horvath (aka:  @hardlynormal, invisiblepeople.tv, WeAreVisible.com) and the bevy of communicators with which you bowl.  This blog post is because of you, and your actions.

Everyone reading this ... what does *your* awareness mean?  It means the difference of a lifetime -- it's magic, never believe it's not so.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Are you ready to act -- Now?

One observer calls it draconian (Neil Donovan).

Another observer calls it 'rats in lab experiment'.  (Tina Moore)

A third observer at huffingtonpost.com wrote "New York Study Leaves 200 Struggling Families To Fend For Themselves As Experiment"

I've been able to read tweets from at least 4 of my cohorts who believe in, use and advocate the use of WeAreVisible.com.  Reprehensible was the mildest word amongst us.

If the perpetrators want factual data on a homebase model I can recommend they speak to people already using such models -- people such as Joel John Roberts and all the people at PATH, amongst others.

The last conversation I had on Twitter with folks I've met through WeAreVisible.com, was me asking "Is there something we can do?"

We weren't sure.  

Now, I pro-offer this and take action upon it myself.  It's true, I haven't yet successfully found a home for myself, and I've done all I can at this moment in time.  So for this moment in time, for follow up in future moments I'm planning this, as well -- after all, I'm not the only one in the homeless milieu:

1)  Each one of us who has a blog, please put your opinion and request for action from your readers and followers into a current blog post, prior to the upcoming WorldWide Homeless Day Events on 10/10/10.

1a) Please share the link to your blog post with all your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, digg, -- in short the entire social media milieu)

2) Please share the link to each of the three observational stories I mentioned at the start of this post, at least once today in your Twitterverse with a request to others to do the same, and use the #wearevisible tag in your tweet to join those of us taking action on this in one voice.

3) On 10/10/10 World Homeless Day especially, but any day this month, please post on all your social media your wish and intent to achieve change and make a difference in Homeless Issues.  If you have a Facebook Account, please like and post on the World Homeless Day FB page  (and visit their webpage: www.worldhomelessday.org)

4) Put your creativity caps on and come up with more ways we can act on this!

I have more to say on this issue and will be doing so in another post or three this weekend, and I will have researched more action steps you can take.

You are important.  What you do is important.

You can choose to take an action.

Will you do it now?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So, *who* is it that is homeless?

© Picture Copyright Mick Melvin and licensed for
reuse under this
Creative Commons Licence
Well, boy howdy!  Let me tell ya!

In the temporary shelter that social media helped me find ... and I take the opportunity to say it's one of the best shelters around.  I know this because those in the homeless situation share stories verbally ::nod, nod::  ...

There are approximately 40 people.

One demographical break down is Familes/Individuals:
  • 6 families, (3 head of households are women, 2 head of households are married couples, 1 head of household is a man)  That's 5 women and 3 men and 6 girls and 5 boys.  Total of 19 people.
  • Individuals (who may or may not have families "on the outside") That's 8 women and 13 men.  Total of 21 people
Another demographical bite is Working/Non-Working (now do be aware this is probably a low estimate, because I haven't been rude enough to ask everyone if they work or not, this is from observation and overheard snatches of conversation):
  • Children - not expected to be working:  11
  • Those adults that are already working:  6 to 8
  • Those able to actively look for work and are doing so:  7 or so
  • Those infirm or otherwise on GR: 5
  • Those I'm not certain of:  4 or 5
Not your favorite demographics?  Here try this one:  Cars/No cars
  • 8 to 12 have a vehicle
  • 28-ish are on foot
What cultures do we represent?  Again, I'm not so rude as to enquire, this is from observation only and could be way off.  About an even mixture of:
  • White
  • Black
  • Latino
Ages represented? We run the entire gamut:
  • 1 breast-feeding infant
  • 3 very young toddlers
  • 4 mid-toddlers
  • 2 grade school (young)
  • 5 mid-school to jr. high/high school
  • a host of folks between 21 and 40
  • a handful of folks between 40 and 60
  • an elderly person whose age I cannot determine.
No one is allowed into this particular shelter if they cannot pass a urine drug/alcohol test, which is administered before you're allowed in.

The people in this shelter are offered 2 meals a day:  1) breakfast (usually cheerios or cornflakes and coffee or milk, unless there is something brought in by a guest chef) from 6:am to 6:45am; 2) dinner -- provided only by guest chefs (donors who come in and give their time, money, and food) from 6:pm to 8:pm nightly.

These guest chefs are venerable and deserving of praise and commendation.

Imagine 28 to 31 different organizations/groups a month coming in to provide real food and drink for 40 people -- a different group or organization each night.

Imagine the person and persons who coordinate this huge and imperative operation from the shelter.

Imagine this being the main meal of the day for most of the shelterees.

We have people who love watching sports, and folks who don't like sports at all.  We have religious and non-religious.  We have people who caretake animals and people who don't.  We have people who read, people who use computers, people looking for ways to produce income, people who have passions.  We have two  people who have done computer help desk call-center work, I know, because I've traded war stories with the other person.

Why, we even have people who can still dress well and whom you might have difficulty recognizing as homeless if you saw them on the street.

What do you have in common with each one of us?

  1. You breathe.
  2. You exist.
  3. You have passions.
  4. You eat, drink and sleep.
  5. You are human.
What else do you have in common with us?

Most of you are 2 paychecks (or less) away from being homeless.

I want to change that.  I have some ideas.  I'll see you in my next post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tale ... Take One

Director, Producer, here’s the scene to put on the screen:

An individual, in yesterday’s clothes, teeth unbrushed, and disheveled is now heading toward a bus stop; possibly looking mildly (but not emergency center ) ill.

Watcher, Observer:

What are your first thoughts and reactions to this verbal picture? Be totally honest, because you’re the only one who will know your answers.


Director, Producer:

Pan to the plastic bag the individual has hooked over a brace on the left arm. Slowly track down to the backpack on wheels being drawn along the sidewalk

Tracking back up, bring into focus the material six-pack cooler slung over the individual’s shoulder and resting at about hip height.

It’s Sunday. The scene takes place at 6:55am on an industrial/commercial business corner of the city. It’s not cold, however, the individual seems to have a taken a chill.


Watcher, Observer:

Have your thoughts and reactions changed, remained the same, or zoned out?


Director, Producer:

Fade out on the bags and dissolve to the upper arms and hand of the individual. Very small blistering and skin discoloration are visible on the underneath of the upper arms and on the right hand.

Bring the nose into the picture to catch the chapped, red, and apparent runny-ness of the proboscis. Zoom into the area of the eyes, be sure to pick up the watering, and slight crusting.

Flash the image so it is now from the individual’s eyes to what they are seeing.
Watcher, Observer:

What is the facial expression on your face this individual is now seeing? What are your thoughts and reactions as you observe this individual?

Whatever your thoughts and reactions to the verbal image presented are, you don’t have to share. However, keep them in mind for me for a bit longer.


Backstory:

The individual being described to you is homeless, staying in a temporary shelter during the nights. The items in the backpack include as many things as possible to deal with allergic/sensitivity symptoms that are vacillating from mild to moderately severe.

The symptoms are not severe enough for the individual to go to the emergency room (a huge expense to the tax-payers), yet are distinct enough that the individual needs to lay down, rest, and have access to fresh water and a restroom.

The collapsible cloth-made six-pack cooler is what the individual uses for a lunch bag.

The shelter has to have its clients out of the building, as there is no one at the facility on the weekends during the daytime. So the individual cannot stay there during Sunday in the daylight hours.
Watcher, Observer:

Have your thoughts and reactions changed in any way? Just keep track, your answers are for you, not me, and not the rest of the world.

Backstory [continued]:

Lest you draw the wrong impression, the shelter is a fine one. Filled with caring and humane people. The fact that it has hours when it is closed and no official is in the facility is simply a mix of time, fiscal reality, and human manpower. Every place and every human (including service workers) needs to have respite time.

The individual is marking time looking for a place to be.  To have a restroom nearby (and be safe) until 1:pm when most public libraries open on Sundays, so that the person can then be in a building.  While in that building to have 1 hour computer time and then wend their way back for when the shelter opens.

During the 6 hours that need to be whiled away, the individual, goes to two stores to purchase items that are now needed to combat the allergic/sensitivity physiological symptoms.

Watcher, Observer:
Note any differences in your thoughts and reactions now.

Backstory {final}:

The individual is me.

During my stops today:
  • I have given directions to 3 sets of tourists (at 3 different bus stops) because 2 walked up and asked; one couple looked like they needed them so I offered, offer accepted.
  • I have complimented a bus driver verbally because he is an artist at his job. He took the time to show concern and respect for his patrons as they boarded and exited – the elderly (female and male); the young; those of color; those not of color; those able and those disabled. I also took the time to get his bus id# and his sleeve badge id# and will be sending a huge “atta-boy” to the MTA folks when it’s my turn on the internet computer in a few moments.
  • I have had 6 people, from the physically bedraggled to the possibly mentally bedraggled ilk, speak to me during the day, wanting to be heard. I’ve listened and chosen to respond to them. They smiled or thanked me during our conversation, even if it was not particularly coherent.
  • I have traveled through 5 cities.
  • I’m still as sick as I was this morning, yet I have directly made an impact in the lives of at least 12 people whom I’ll never see, and most probably would not even recognize again.

  
Watcher, Observer:

Have your thoughts and reactions changed any now?
Now, come back to this written blog.

Be not stressed one way or another by your answers.

However, I’ll ask you to keep this in mind as you go throughout your days …

Due to your perceptual filters how you interpret what you observe affects your reactions. Reacting is letting the circumstance act on you.

If you choose to be aware, you can also choose to respond. Responding is you acting on the circumstance.

Make a difference, for yourself. Act on the circumstance.  By doing so, you’ll make a difference for others.

Trust me. It’s so.

Photo by: Andy
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Exercise and rehabilitation -- Paying it forward.

No clue where this photo came from
and I cannot find it on the web
now, if you know, share, so I can
give credit.
Peace Rocks!

I have been told that I run into more than my share of odd/strange people. Par for the course, as I am odd and strange among other things.


One elderly man, with filthy clothes, a difficult gait, and a penchant toward chaotic speech (by that I mean, each sentence he uttered didn’t necessarily follow the other) sat directly next to me on the bus bench a week or three ago.

He talked of a number of things, to someone that wasn’t there, and then he turned his attention to me. Noticing the brace I wear on my left hand/wrist/forearm, he greeted me as if he’d known me forever and was delighted to have come across me again in his life. (No, we have never met that I am aware of.)

Then, squinching up his face, as if making a herculean effort, he began a conversation about my arm. Striking his chest to try and remember what he wanted to tell me, he uttered conversation from which I was able to pick up a few phrases – “go to the website. … I can’t remember … it’s long … what is it … look for University of Ohio … a / and a very long phrase … exercise and rehabilitation …”

Then the bus came that I needed.

With a huge smile, (something I don’t do very often because it shows off the front tooth that I no longer have due to the periodontal distress of extremely aggravated gingivitis. No, public health doesn’t replace teeth, so I’m told by the mental health worker who interviewed me at DPSS) I thanked him and went on my way.

I’ve had occasion to look up the site, and it’s not only valuable for me, I believe it’s valuable for others as well.

So, to you, from one elderly man, with filthy clothes, a difficult gait, and a penchant toward chaotic speech, I met at the bus stop – Pay It Forward:

Ohio University - Exercise and rehabilitation recommendations
http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/patient_education/pages/index.aspx?topic=55

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Permission


Pete Egoscue dedicated a book The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion: "to all those people who knew what was wrong with them, but were told they did not; to all those people who knew what to do about it, but were told they could not; and to all those people who tried to tell someone, but were told they should not."

We've been told through-out our lifetimes we must have permission.

Why?

Permission to go outside, stand, sit, play, work, express, believe, speak, think, create, do, be, exist, ____________ <-- (insert your verb here).

When we were littler, permission came from an outside source.  And in most cases it had a purpose -- to help us survive physiologically until we could develop our own perceptual filter and exercise choice.

As we grew, we learned to ask why.

If those around us had unclouded filters, they answered those whys coherently leading you to your next step of growth -- learning to give ourselves permission.

(Also known as self-responsibility.)

If those around us had clouded filters, or they didn't know the "whys" themselves, they answered incoherently in ways leading you to keep depending on outside sources for permission ... society, groups, institutions, dieties, _________ <-- (insert the noun of your choice).

(Also known as abdication of self-responsibility.)

This is not a concept for sissies.  It takes courage to examine.  And, it takes courage to act on.

"Few people in this world know what their real strength is.  Many see only the part of their power that floats like the visible segment of an iceberg and forget the vastly greater part sunk beneath the surface of the water."  (Thank you Koichi Tohei for verbalizing that in a way I couldn't yet come up with!)

It's okay for you to understand and nurture yourself.  It's okay for you to listen to your body.  It's okay for you to listen to your mind.  It's okay for you to listen to your spirit.

It's okay for you to be responsible for your self and/or Self.

Start asking why.

To everything.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Mission

I am on a mission.. Nope, I'm not Dan Akroyd--Blues Bros--nor am I religious ... nevertheless, hear it with all the fervor and passion as it was said in the flick!

The quest I am on is one of awareness and expression.

Most of us have been taught to stifle our expression. That's one reason, why advocates are in such high demand.

It's not just one "cause" that needs advocacy in our time -- and our time is "Now".

The patterns that are evidenced in one cause (such as homelessness [edit note:  well the homemessness was valid as well, thanks 'typo' on the phone .. but it's changed to the word I actually meant now], or animal rescue, or in health and welfare) are visible in other causes as well.

It's a bold statement, and if it catches your intrigue, or ires you, I recommend you read my next post.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Opportunity is what you deem it to be

Doing things differently, experimenting, exploring and the desire to feel safe and secure--those are core needs of mine. Until this moment in time, I was unable to perceive I could bring them to fruition. It can be done, and in my next posts, I'll be sharing ways touse. Why my next posts? (snort) Because I haven't mastered the methodologies of posting from a tinky cell phone keyboard!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Of MRI's and other ethereal things

This entry is past-dated. {grin}  It takes me longer to write and put an entry in than the 1-hour I have at a public library, and I'm not yet used to writing in small pieces ... I may yet gain a new skill!

For those of you who wanted information on the status of my arm/hand(s) -- the MRI was ... inconclusive.

I quote the doctor interpreting it: "The MRI is inconclusive. However, it's going to take months and months and months to get you neurological testing."

My response? Looking the doctor directly in his eyes I firmly said, "Are you telling me you are not going to order the neurological testing because it's going to take months and months and months for an appointment for me?"

The doctor said, "Well, it's going to take a long time."

I waited for a bit, while we looked at each other.  It may have only been a few seconds, yet it felt like hours.

Finally, with my strong, courageous voice, in even tones, brooking no exception, I replied, "I want the neurological testing done."

The doctor looked at me, shrugged a kind of head nod, which I took to be a yes.

At which point the doctor made a note in my electronic medical records and told me I should watch the mail for the appointment like I had to do for the MRI.

I'm not certain how long months and months and months is ... but we'll find out, eh?

The first thing that occurred to me was -- why do I have to be adamant, extremely assertive and very nearly aggressively forceful to get the danged neurological testing set up? Isn't that something that the doctor would recommend, considering the arm is hindering my life, lifestyle, income and general well-being? Why is "it'll take months and months and months to get the appointment" a factor in whether or not to order the testing?

However, I can share with you, if you are on GR, and using a free clinic, check with them to find out if you can have more than one clinic visit scheduled in a month's time. I was surprised to find out that I'm limited to one visit at the clinic a month.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Do We End Homelessness and Is It Even Possible?

This is a response to HG's blog post on ending Homelessness

That’s going to depend on what someone’s definition of homelessness is.

Homelessness is a global issue. How deep are you and I willing to go to find the “cause” of homelessness?

Is homelessness found predominantly in industrial societies? Is it also happening in tribal societies (which in my mind are usually smaller, and not focused on “money” as the means of income)?

Is homelessness: The street people? The poor? The destitute? The addicted (pick your element of addiction)? The panhandlers? The mentally challenged? The physically challenged? The emotionally challenged? The spirit (no, I’m not talking about religion or religious beliefs) challenged? A mix of any from column A, B, and C?

Does ending homelessness mean: No more people on the street? No more people couch surfing? No more people in socially defined unhabitable places (and if so, which society makes the definition)?

Having a home is a multitude of things … it’s not just having the space to “be”; it’s having the ways and means to find, maintain, and provide the constructive growth of space to “be”.

Having a home is not just having a safe space to sleep; it’s about believing you have a right to be in the world.

I believe homelessness can be ended with educating both the homed and the homeless in awareness, self-esteem, acknowledgment, validation, and self-worth.

More and more people are becoming homeless … whether they fit the stereo-typical image of homelessness or not.

The core beliefs of the society — what we teach each other — is what needs to be changed to end homelessness.

A paradigm shift, if you will.

Elsewise, homelessness will not end, it will merely transform and be represented in differing ways.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing (a TED talk)

Ran across this today ... how do you feel about this perspective?

Sheena Iyengar on The Art of Choosing. 



And if you consider it a good choice -- TED (Ideas worth spreading)


And here's an image that I choose to look at today because it symbolizes choice to me!

Image by Micky.!
Creative Commons - Attribution 2.0

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oh to have creative and artistic talent!

What a joy!  If I had this type of creativity and talent in spoken word storytelling or in frame drumming ... Wowsers!

Adele Enersen and  Milia's Daydreams -- Copyright credit

Friday, July 30, 2010

Choices, always choices

Internet for this moment ... whoo-hoo!  (and internet for the edits near the bottom of the article on the 31st.  Spiffy!)

To be or not to be, that is the question ... {grin}

Well more to the point, to carry or not to carry, that is the question.

We always have choice, sometimes the primary choice and the alternative choices are not particularly to our liking.  But we always have choice.

2000 people had to evacuate their homes due to California Wildfires ... they had to make choices of what to take or not, if they even had time to make the choices.

The guy who loaned me his muscle on the 26th lives in Palmdale.  Hope he's all right.

Question:
If you could only take with you from everything you have in life, one backpack's worth of stuff ... what would it be?

My reason for making those choices is not the same as those who had to evacuate due to the fire -- but it boils down to the same thing.  What would you take with you?


My choices and why I made them:

The sleeping bag?  Nope, not going to fit in the backpack.

Besides, if I cannot get into a 1-night shelter each night, my chances of coming through unscathed by actually putting a sleeping bag down on the street somewhere are not high.  I don't know the streets that well anymore, not even where the safest places may or may not be.

Scratch one sleeping bag, it goes to Out of the Closet.

The notebook that holds all the paperwork I have for SSI and DPSS.  Yeah, that has to go in it.  Hmm, let's see here, will my official acknowledgement of graduation from the local Junior College fit?  Will I need it?  Is it worth saving the money of getting a duplicate, should I need to prove said AA degree?  Let's stuff it in with the SSI and DPSS paperwork in the notebook, if I take it out of it's holder, it's only a small piece of paper.

Toiletries, bandaids, shampoo, camping soap that is supposed to suds up really well with only a little water -- egad!  Look how much room all that stuff takes up!  Phew!  Well, at least it does include a small camping towel and wash cloth.  Okay, we'll stuff it in.  A small box of 3 TravelJohn!'s too.  Gotta be civilized!

The 6 pictures I pulled out of the photo albums and my certified copy of birth ... can I get 'em into the SSI/DPSS notebook?

Bleargh ... that cellphone, it's prepaid with 60 minutes of airtime.  I don't like cellphones, but the only way to reach my DPSS worker is via a telephone call between 10:30 and 12:30 Monday through Friday ... walk-ins are not accepted, the best you can see is a lobby worker.  Okay, stuff and wedge!

Can I fit 3 t-shirts in there?  3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks and a second pair of sneakers?  Doubtful on the sneakers.  Gonna have to stick with the orthotic pair that I've hoarded.  An extra pair of slacks, if you roll 'em up and tuck right ... there!  Okay.  That's a tight fight, but better two pairs of slacks, that way you can hand wash or hopefully the shelter will have a laundry facility.  Can't wash 'em if you don't have anything else to wear.

The laptop someone gave me to use while still in the house (that I still have to pay them $100 for)?  Nope, too heavy, it's an old one and just not gonna be feasible to carry. Maybe I can wipe it in time and give it back and ease off *that* debt!

And badda-bing, badda-bang .. that's it, there's no more room.


I'd rather carry a book that has stories I want to learn to tell, notes on stories I was preparing, and a book that I've read and re-read scores of times because I feel great when I read it.  Because those are my life, not the other paperwork.

My reality is I have no interest in carrying documentation that shows I graduated with an AA, or the copy of my birth certificate or the paperwork that I have to carry to show folks at SSI and DPSS that I am ernest.

After all, the A.A. has never gotten me a job ... on that score, I kept getting told, a B.A. is what's being looked for.  I do often note to myself that I wish I hadn't sacrificed the time and built up debt to get the A.A. because when I was younger I chose to believe the rhetoric that higher education was necessary for a job.  If I'd gotten a B.A. then I would have been told that I needed a Master's.  That too, in my experience is a screening out process..

The fact that I'm even considering choosing to carry paperwork to show SSI and DPSS that I'm ernest?   Pffftt.   What difference is it going to make?  They don't even file my paperwork on time, so I give up what makes my heart sing to lug paperwork onto the street with me?

When it comes down to it on Monday night as I make my final choices about what goes into my backpack, for Tuesday morning to begin my interaction with the first emergency shelter?  Will I go with what is necessary for my heart or what my logic dictates I should carry to try and deal with the people within DPSS and SSI?

If there was a fire threatening your home, what would you take with you and why, other than your breathing body?

I truly do want to read your choices.  Please take a moment to comment on what is important to you and why.

We always have choice.  Don't give your power away.  Your exercise of choice is power.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For Homeless Services, One Size Does Not Fit All - by Mattie Lord

At this unexpected moment of still having internet service I have read an article I wish I wrote.

Please read it. Mattie Lord has written cogently, with heart, and with awareness.

For Homeless Services, One Size Does Not Fit All
http://www.povertyinsights.org/2010/07/27/for-homeless-services-one-size-does-not-fit-all/#more-2099

As a person who is definitely one of the square pegs trying to be stuffed into a round hole; and as a person who has consistently been screened out, I avidly ask you to spread this to everyone you know.

It'll take you 30 seconds to a minute and a half to put it up on your blog, send out e-mails, or post to your fav social networks with the link and a genuine request to those you know to read it.

Whether you or those you know respond with action for homelessness or another issue near and dear to your heart, you will have helped me fulfill my goal ... to get the word out; to rally people to make a difference in their life and world; and, to be actively listened to.

I urge you to urge those you know to consider a paradigm shift.  I cannot tell you how uplifting it was to hear (okay read) another person on the internet use the same term I've been using -- paradigm.  It was like finding a kindred soul..

Peace out mes amis.  I anticipate this to be the last post for at least a week and a half as I move out into the world of 1-night emergency shelters and the "street life"; while still waiting for SSI to take physical action on determining my case.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pay It Forward -- Feel good?

A discussion ensued yesterday, as three of us (myself, a friend offering muscle to help schlepp and a new friend who was the recipient of goods) moved items from my ownership to another home.

Image by manitou2121, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
"What kind of world would it be if everyone actually lived by the concept of pay it forward?" was one of the comments we discussed during the physical work.

The Pay It Forward phrase is often linked with another, "think globally, act locally" or "act locally, impact globally".

As well, there is a third phrase bandied about that is related, "random act of kindness". (472,000 hits on a google search, in case you were wondering).

Each action we take may have only a brief moment of visibility to others.  That does not give it any more or less perceived importance.

So, too, not achieving on the first few attempts gives it neither more nor less significance of import.  As Edison has become well-known for saying ... "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  I like a lot of things Edison is supposed to have said -- not all, but a great many.  So, here's a pay it backward:  Thank you Edison for expressing some things I've felt inept at expressing!

Looking for Pay it Forward concepts alive in today's blogosphere?

Here's a current blog post on paying it forward that I find some sense of kin with:  4 Ways to "Pay it Forward" with Social Media

I personally felt resonance with the chick who operates cheaptherapy.net and her Pay it Forward yearly grant. You have until December 15, 2010 to apply for her 14th Pay It Forward grant.

This tale, too, I liked:  Pay it forward: Kids chip in to help the community.

The gentleman who was offering his muscle to help me schlepp things yesterday knows from past association with me that I don't believe any act is selfless.  We as humans don't do anything without having our self and our reward in mind. You do things for the benefit it gives you, whether that benefit is something you perceive to be monetary, emotional, mental, spirit, physical, or psychological in nature.
Photo by Steve Beger Photography
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

If you get a warm fuzzy feeling, or otherwise feel good about yourself for doing something, you are getting a benefit (i.e., a reward).

I also propose that it's okay for us to be aware that doing something for the reward, and to do things for reward, is not inherently a bad thing.

The things that detract from valuable benefit are greed, other misguided fears, and lack of awareness.

Greed is a fear of not having, or not having enough.  Lack of awareness is a way we try to protect ourselves from the many fears we have.

Is the Pay it Forward, Act of Kindness culture viable?

For me, yes.  The fact that I believe in the concept does not make me a good person or a bad person.  Nor does it give me any change in stature.  Nor will it do those things for you.

Do I benefit from it?  Absolutely.  Is the benefit real?  Tangible?  Intangible?  I felt good getting some of the stuff of my dreams in others hands.  Hands who may be able, in turn, to get them into use in the tangible world.

Did it get me a place to live?  Or an income?  (both urgent physical needs)

Nope.  Those are both valuable benefits as well, and I don't shirk my efforts in obtaining them.

However the moments yesterday had no less significance because my top two priorities were not immediately addressed.

Examine the concepts of Pay it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness.  Whether you choose to agree or disagree, the act of examination elevates your self awareness and I consider that a good thing. 

The point of this post since often times I'm abstruse?  The reward most often sought is to love ourself.  It's okay to love yourself.  It's okay to hold yourself in your own arms.

I feel good.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Exist

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

This quote comes from another's blog.

That's one of the cool things blogs do ... they give you a chance to find things you resonate with.

So .. here's the blog I found the quote at:

Searching for Normalcy (What I Would Tell Her*)

Of course, that's also the link to the post I found most uplifting to read.  There are senses beyond the 5 our society puts forth.  My sense with this post was one of resonance -- I resonate with the phrase "value yourself".

Here's an article from Wikipedia on the artist who made the quote.

Here's another blog moment on the man who made the quote.

And a third blog moment on the man who made the quote.


No, I can't really say I resonate with Mr. Gonzalez-Torres' art .. but I do resonate with what he said -- which in itself is a work of art.

I don't know who to attribute these photos to,
if you do, please let me know
so I can put it here!
Personally, when it comes to art, I love Topo Gigio.  Topo was the first person I ever had a crush on (along with Lamb Chop).

I was little, not even tall enough to have my head over the back of my grandfather's rocker-lounge he sat in to watch tv at night.  So I would sneak behind his chair (it offered excellent cover from being seen) and peek out around the bottom of it at the tv whenever I heard Topo's voice.

I was supposed to be in bed and asleep, but on Sunday nights, at 8:something o'clock I knew there was a possibility of Topo saying, "..... goo'night, Eddy".  I lived for those moments back then.

Of course, other things came into my existence as I grew, all of which had some value.  For me, as I look back, Topo Gigio was a work of art.  I value those moments of laughter when I heard little Topo's voice.  It took a long time for me to realize Topo was a puppet.  Perhaps that explains my affinity for puppets still.

Now ... take a moment to be aware of yourself.

Oh go ahead ... what is the minute -- 60 seconds where you release awareness of everything else other than yourself -- going to cost you?  60 seconds.


What do you value in you?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another DPSS tale

Back with DPSS .... again

In regards to the most recent Notice of Termination I talked about in an earlier post about two days ago...

The Notice of Termination demanded 7 things.  All of which should have been dealt with in my early June meeting with my caseworker.  All of which were part of paperwork we went over in the hour-long face-to-face visit.

I haven't been able to reach my caseworker on the telephone since the day I received the Notice.  So I put together the paperwork for all 7 demands and walked the package into my DPSS office, where I asked to see a lobby worker.

The lobby worker took a look at the items and said, "she should have handled this before."

The *she* being referred to is my caseworker.  This verbally reinforced my own assessment that my caseworker is not handling my situation adequately.  (For whatever reason ... be it her own ideology, her caseload, her work methodology, some other circumstance she may be having ... or something I haven't the foresight to think of ... for whatever reason ... she is handling the case ineptly and I believe her other cases as well.)

Why, you might ask, am I putting this into my blog?  Because I've got no other place to keep it.  You don't carry sheaves of paper around with you when you are dealing with emergency shelters, street people and being on the street.

Some of the homeless people are okay.  Some are not okay and will steal anything not nailed down or carried on your person.  Some will go so far as to try and take things off your person if they think they can get away with it.

That's true for the non-homeless as well.

Living on the streets, being homeless, is by no means "safe".  Not even in a shelter situation; not from what I'm being told and not from what I've seen in the past.

I doubt any good Samaritan is going to make the time to prepare a legal case trying to fight what I see is going on here.

Why not?
The system is huge, it employs a tremendous number of people, and
lawyers are out to make money.
Even lawyers and law firms that take pro bono cases take them based on what winning the case will do for the firm resolving it.  I've sold a lot of things in my time, however, I don't have much faith in my successfully convincing a law team that my observations of the DPSS system could make their bottom line increase.

What will they get out of it publicity wise; how will it enhance their ability to sell themselves to paid clients?  There's always a bottom line at a law office.  I've worked in small, medium and international law firms -- for over 8 years.  For the price that the top law firms charge per-hour, anywhere from $300 (a paralegal) to $950 or more per hour for a principal lawyer -- they are into meeting their bottom line.

Though I doubt that anyone is going to take on the DPSS system and the injustices it is inflicting on the people it's supposed to assist, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop keeping track of what I can ... what I'm seeing them do with me.

I believe that what is done to one person is done to another.  And for now, the only way I can keep track of what happens is to log it into this blog.

So ... this is part of my record for today.

Value

I just threw away my photo album that had any pictures of me (and others) in it.

I can't carry stuff like a photo album with me, much less the books that meant everything to me, or the drums that were spirit inspiring, or the computer that has been attached to my hands since computers hit the scene, or the juicer and other kitchen appliances I use to eat with. Along with that, gone is the ability to get my left hand to actually use some of these things.

Dino Manes David, a dream catcher
The picture gracing this blog entry is of a most wondrous life artist, Dino Manes David -- not someone I knew personally, but someone whose talent I admired. The dream catcher she is holding in her hand (note the teardrop inside as opposed to the usually seen circular ones) is a craft I've tried to duplicate or find a way of duplicating.  However, she took the knowledge of it with her to her spiritual world. Personally, I've always felt a sense of loss at not being able to create such beautiful art/spirit pieces.

The 5 things I kept from the now gone photo album were:

  • a photo of me with my first two teeth;
  • a photo of me with Taffy, the dog that was the love in my life during my formative first 6 years;
  • a certified copy of my birth record;
  • a black and white photo of either Taffy as a puppy or Chinkie, the other pekinese that was my maternal grandmother's, the absolute first dog I ever knew in the world -- since it's a black and white photo of an odd size, I'm guessing it's Chinkie; and,
  • two identical photos of me at birth (one given begrudgingly to me by my maternal grandparents in my teens and one, joyously framed and given to me by my biological father after I met him,for the first time, sometime in my 30's).  Apparently both sides of my biological family were given the same photo.  Interesting.

Everything other picture (proof of some event) is gone.


Some people lose things because of death. Some people lose things because of disasters like fire, flood, earthquake. Some people lose things because of war, strife and violence. Some people lose things because they misplace them. Some people lose things because someone else steals the thing. Some people lose things because they may be unable to function within the parameters of the societal paradigm they are engaged in. Some people feel loss because they feel they can have no effect upon the world or their life.

Loss is everywhere. So what is it really?

Is it the loss that is important, or how we look at it?

Loss is loss. People may try to tell you one loss is more important than another. I don't believe that. It's a judgement value and the importance of a loss depends on where you perceive yourself in relation to what you place value on.

I believe if you've lost something whether it's a beloved person; or a beloved item imbued with the spirit of your life; or a part of your body; or a part of your mind; or a part of your spirit -- it holds importance.

Grieve for it and recognize your grief.

You are important, therefore what you value is important.

When some one or some thing we value is no longer, does that mean other things have no value?

It can be easy to fall into that pattern. When you've lost the most important aspect (person or thing or reason) of your life -- no matter what you conceive that to be, it's very easy to fall into the pattern that nothing else has value.

Where do you go from there?

There's no concrete answer, just like using a computer -- there are many ways of doing the same thing or getting to the goal.

The only advice I have for you, is the same I have for myself --> pick something to value if you don't already have something to value, focus on it, be in the moment, be aware, and take action.

None of us will be able to do the same amount. None of us will move at the same speed. None of us value the same things equally.

Know that you have value. Act on that value.

Act on your dreams.

Value yourself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In life there needs to be fun ... Raymond Crowe

I have admired this man's talent since I first saw his Hand Shadows, I don't know how long ago. If asked what I'd want to be when I grow up ... now 55 years after I could have first been asked the question, I would happily answer ... an unusualist.

Raymond Crowe <-- visit his website -- it's fun.



A Wonderful World



The Christmas Bunny

Look at Poverty Insights

I highly recommend this website for those who want to learn about the Homeless situation.  I just came across it today

Poverty Insights

Those taking action in 100,000 Homes Means 100,000 Stories was uplifting.  In particular read the articles by Joel John Roberts

This is an important link for those drawn to taking action on the homelessness issue: 100,000 Homes

From page 17 of 100khomes Playbook:
it can take as long as 9 months to process a housing application in some communities.  Onerous paperwork requirements, inspection and approval processes to establish eligibility for housing create significant delays
.

Anywhere But Here: Hi

Have time for an interesting read?

Anywhere But Here: Hi

You may note that her blog began in December of 2008 and is still ongoing as of this month (July 2010).

There is a survival strategy some of the homeless are using to obtain monies I've seen it twice now on blogs I come across. You can see it in use on her site (look at the donation button on the blog).

ABC news pointed an article at her blog Campbell teen blogs about homelessness (actually an article and 2 videos, along with a video by NBC, a Mercury News article and a Cypress Times article - as listed in links on the Anywhere But Here website).

What are your thoughts?

I strongly urge you, no matter what "issue" is close to your heart to take 5 minutes and consider taking some small action for whatever that issue is ... it doesn't have to be an earth-shattering action, simply an action.  And then, follow up with another small action the next day, and the next and the .... Well, okay if that seems daunting, stay with one action ... you can make a difference.

In other words, be an activist.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Strawberry

Image by chefranden, Creative Commons Attribution
I find it very difficult to enjoy the strawberry at the moment.

Appreciating the strawberry is a choice and not always the easiest choice for me to make, although I keep practicing it.

The actual zen tale, if you're unfamiliar with it:

A zen monk walks in the wilderness.  Turning a corner the monk encounters a vicious tiger.

Choosing to run and live, the monk comes to the edge of the cliff with the tiger immediately behind.

Choosing to grab a vine with both hands, the monk starts climbing down the face of the cliff.

Halfway down, the monk looks up, seeing the tiger at the top, baring it's teeth and fangs, clawing the earth.  Looking down the monk sees another tiger at the bottom, punctuating its wait with a roar or three.

The monk is caught between the two, dangling in mid-air on the vine, halfway down the cliff.

As if the monk didn't have enough to worry about, two mice, one white and one black, creep out of their den a little ways above, starting to chew on the vine.

At that moment the monk notices a plump, ripe, juicy wild strawberry growing out of the side of the cliff, within reaching distance.

Choosing to hold onto the vine with one hand, the monk's other hand reaches out, plucking the strawberry.

Plop!  The strawberry is put into the monk's mouth.

Ahhhh!  What a sweet, delicious, aromatic strawberry!


The conversation with DPSS today was so unbelievably uninformative and depressing I am having trouble chronicling it here.

The highlights were the gentleman telling me,
"Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do that is preventative.  We can't do anything about the fact that you are going to be homeless in 14 days.  You have to be in a shelter for some time for us to be able to do anything, and even then, we can only help those chronically homeless, those who have been homeless for 13 years or more.  That's all our programs do."

So I asked him, "well then who can help?"

His response was a mumble.  I asked him to speak up.  He said, "Well go to the City of Los Angeles."

I returned, "Who in the city of Los Angeles?  Where in the city of Los Angeles?  Can you give me a name?  An organization name?  A telephone number?  An address?  A website?"

After three minutes of my playing a broken record at him, "Los Angeles is a big city, you're not giving me any information to follow up on, please give me a name, an address, an organization name, something that I can follow up on.  Telling me to go to the City of Los Angeles is akin to not giving me any information at all."

Finally, he said, "Go to the internet and type in The City of Los Angeles, then type in Housing Program, then type in Section 8 Program".

That was the best I could get out of him.

So, I ask you ... what do you get if you follow those instructions? If you google, do you get something definitive? Please share with me if you do, because I'm not infallible, and I may simply not be understanding how to put his instructions together. I'd appreciate your comments.

Am I being a nimnull here?  I've resolved issues for computer users for nearly 3 years at my last job.  In previous jobs, I was always a service provider -- solving problems, getting things done, meeting heavy, hectic deadlines -- I would have been fired for offering such a vague solution to someone who was my client or a user I was assisting.

To top that off, yet another Notice of Action came in the mail this afternoon indicating my caseworker did not have me sign all the right spots of the paperwork when she and I met in her office in early June.

Along with those 5 pieces of paper, she is also asking me to sign and date a form that says I'm being registered for work so I can keep my foodstamps. A little form known as PA 1865 (Rev. 2/01), when I've already given her papers indicating my left arm is unusable that I've applied to SSI for federal disability.

Plus for some reason, even though it wasn't an issue that I had a car that wasn't working when I applied and received GR a year ago, for this annual review, apparently my caseworker has to submit that the same non-working car was stolen from me a few months ago, which I happened to mention to her and now she needs the police report for that.

I'm stymied, astounded, and having the dickens of a time choosing to focus on being in the moment.

Today's tiger at the top of the cliff, being homeless and on the streets with nothing but a bag on my back and health issues in 14 days.

Today's tiger at the bottom of the cliff, nutritional needs for particular foods (and to keep particular foods out of my system so I don't get sicker) and a non-usuable left hand.

The black and white mice -- continual notices of termination action from DPSS that present one trauma after another in trying to maintain food stamps and $221 a month to subsist on, while I attempt to gain some means of income and a place to be.

The strawberry ... hard to discern at the moment.