I Want to Write

Here it comes again — a new year, a clean slate, a fresh start with new opportunities. No matter how we celebrate the coming of the New Year, with a boom and a bang or a whisper and a shout, with gunshots or fireworks bursting in air, with church bells pealing or drums beating, with sirens or party horns, we do so with the anticipation of a New Year bringing closure to the past and fresh new opportunities to look forward to. The blank pages of the 2018 calendar are waiting to be filled with goals, aspirations and why not, even some dreams.

As a teenager, I recall stepping out onto the balcony of our 6th floor home around 5 minutes before the actual New Year so that I could soak in the last few minutes of the year all to myself and by myself. It was probably my way of self-examining or reviewing the past, or perhaps looking for a miraculous prediction of what the future holds. As though the crisp cold air, the night sky, the drizzle or rain, the ring around the moon, or the clarity of it was going to be any indication of the future outcome of the year ahead. I was young and a dreamer. I dreamed. I wanted to write like the great authors of the past. The romantic writers like Thomas Hardy and the Bronte sisters enticed me beyond my intuitive senses; oh, to write about social and philosophical themes like Charles Dickens; to be more daring like D.H. Lawrence; to write poetry like Robert Frost and Sylva Gaboudigian (in whose honor I was named). The written word had such power over me. Words born of moments. Moments born of solitude, of cherishing love, of adventure and risk, of heroism. I thought I could write intricate novels and I dreamed of publishing books, signing copies, changing the world through my words. At best, I kept a diary. But it was not for all the world to admire and to analyze my words. My diary was my own. Writing became the art of my mind, my breath, my heartbeat. I was a teenager in love with love, and with life. And every year, between dusting off the old year and polishing the new, amid the dreams of putting pen to paper, I’d send out my wishes, hopes, and prayers into the universe asking for whatever it is that a teenager could ask for while growing up in a family that blanketed me with tough love. Then, at the stroke of midnight the sound of the ships horns in the harbor would signal the start of the New Year, and I would rush back indoors to be present in the here and now to embrace family and friends celebrating newness.

The years have rolled by. We’re nearing the end of the second decade of the 21st century. Some of us thought we would never make it this far. Many of us have experienced major changes in our current life situations. We have emigrated and immigrated; we have lost members of our families while welcoming others in the same embrace. We have formed new social circles and perhaps adapted our customs to changing circumstances, yet one thing remains constant in my ritual. I still step outside or find a window to view the night sky, but it is no longer to dream of imagining like Beatrix Potter or the wizardry of J.K. Rowling. I look to the sky to count my blessings. The years have been good to me. People have been good to me. I have been surrounded by family and human connections who remind me that my thoughts in writing bear weight and have merit. I have been given the profound honor to be the 2018 winter commencement speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne. I am also humbled yet proud to present the first edition of my book “Moments in Thought,” a personal journey published by the ULV Press 2017. The presentation will be held Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 7pm at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. It is open to all, and I would be honored to personally greet my readers.

The beginning of the year….and I love to put pen to paper about living every new moment. This year, the blank pages of my 2018 calendar are filling up fast.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Toward Tomorrow

I prepare to leave yesterday behind
And look toward tomorrow;
I know that it may be a repeat of today and the yesterdays,
But I insist
On seeing the value even in the humble, unremarkable repeat of situations.
Because, if I can celebrate yesterday as a victory,
Then I know I have gained more strength today for the triumph of tomorrow.

I believe Life is a mirror that gives back to us the reflection of our own grace.
If I can value the small miracles of my daily life
Without bitterness, with a heart that trusts, with a heart that hopes,
With a heart that loves, then,
May my reflection be the equanimity
That allows me to receive life however it unfolds….
With a heart that is tender with the young, compassionate with the old,
Sympathetic to those struggling, tolerant of the strong and weak,
And empathetic for the joy of others…

That is my goal, my beacon through the fog of life,
For tomorrow…tomorrow I may be all of these things.
Tomorrow will be the reflection of my own heart’s grace.

Continue reading

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Christmas Hope

Christmas is the one time of the year I truly embrace with unashamed childlike excitement. The years may have flown by and brought me children, grandchildren, joy, sadness, successes and failures, big moments, laughter and tears, losses and gains. Yet, nothing has changed my love and excitement for Christmas. I delight in every aspect of the season. The music, the decorations, the food, family, shopping, gift giving, relationships, traditions, love…all in celebration of the good. Christmas for our family wasn’t about how much trouble Christmas was and how little or much we spent. It was about going to the trouble to show others the joy in sharing, caring, and of loving while spreading hope for the New Year. Mom cooked until she was fatigued. We siblings shopped until we dropped preparing gifts for the New Year. I wrapped until my fingers were taped together, and we decorated until the glitter became a permanent feature in our hair. The days were steeped in tradition, soaked in laughter and topped with joy.

This year, my childlike exuberance seems to be struggling with thoughts of an embattled world where virtues and vices, positive and negative are surfacing in conflict. The world seems to have a problem of identifying what is of lasting value – the tested teaching of Christ and all religions – that spells the role of love which can conquer the life threatening challenges facing humankind. The grown woman in me wants to see what the child in me believes…that there can be life without wars and crimes of hatred; that HOPE, that wonderful, beautiful, colorful and shiny HOPE which proclaims “peace on earth,” can become a reality.

At times like these I am reminded of my favorite story told by my grandmother who loved the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In a collection of short stories (A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys in 1852) adapted from Greek Mythology with a lesson to be learned, Hawthorne wrote my favorite of all: Pandora’s Box. In this adaptation, two children (Epimetheus and Pandora) are sent to this world and given a box to keep. The box, contents unknown, is sealed with a golden knot with instructions to never open. One day, in a moment of utter curiosity, Pandora breaks the golden seal and raises the lid. Out fly all the ugly troubles in the world today – envy, greed, sickness, hate, disease, sorrow, afflictions and pain. Pandora slams the lid shut, but it is too late. Except for one tiny, beautiful, colorful rainbow winged formation that hovers around gently and tells them she is made of tears and smiles and packed into the box, to make amends to the human race for that swarm of ugly troubles, which was destined to be let loose among them. She tells the children she will be here as long as there is life in the world. She says that there may come times, now and then, when they will think that she has vanished. But again, and again, when perhaps they least dream of it, they shall see the glimmer of her wings reflected in their hearts. She tells the dear children that something very good and beautiful is to be given to them in the hereafter! Even if it should never happen while they live on this earth they should trust in her promise, because her name is HOPE, and Hope makes all the difference in the world.

I realize that this world will never allow for perfect circumstances. Troubles are still flying about the world, and have increased in multitude, rather than lessened. They are ugly and most venomous. And as I grow and become more sensitive in my wisdom of years, I expect to feel their sting even more. But then that lovely and lightsome little figure of HOPE shines in my heart! What in the world would I do without her? Hope spiritualizes the earth; Hope makes it always new; and, even in the earth’s best and brightest days, Hope shows it to be only the shadow of an infinite bliss hereafter. Hope. It is one of the greatest treasures we can ever find for ourselves. And it is one of the greatest gifts we can ever give to others.

The world was somber before the first Christmas. Life was living without the hope of forgiveness, without the understanding of a loving God and without realizing that miracles can and do happen. Christmas brought us hope, salvation and genuine pure love wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on a bed of straw.

The wonderment of my childhood Christmases and the longing to keep it with me for as long as memory allows is an invitation written in my heart by the delicate hands of HOPE. This Christmas, may that lightsome shining figure of Hope be written in your hearts too.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Thank You

One of the things our parents drummed into our ears as children from the time we learned to talk was to say thank you (and please). We grew up saying Thank You for as many things as I can remember. We said thank you as we were handed our groceries, or change in the store; thank you to someone who held the door for us, and thank you to the person who passed us the salt or bread at dinner. Thank you to the one who drove us home safely be it in a car or bus, to the one who paid for our meal, to the one who cooked, to the one who served, to the one who cleaned. Thank you for the food, for rain for sun, for the people in our lives, for parents, teachers, and for crisp clean sheets as we tucked ourselves into bed at night. We said thank you. It became a spontaneous response to situations or moments at hand for the smallest of things to the big things that in everyday life could be taken for granted.

Many years ago, I happened to be in Jordan as a guest in the home of an acquaintance. The home was in a settlement camp on the outskirts of Amman. There, the houses were made of mud brick. The interior walls and floors were covered with rattan. Some had decorative kilim rugs. Furniture was scant. Seating for family meals was usually on low stools or pillows on the floor surrounding a large tray of food from which all would eat. Mattresses laid side by side sufficed for sleeping accommodations for the many members who shared a household. Electricity was available through a maze of cable wires that drew their energy source from a few main electrical posts. Water, a necessary commodity, was fetched from communal faucets outside the homes where children and adults would gather to carry a supply in buckets. Above these faucets scattered around the “camp” were signs that read “USHKUR,” which meant “Give Thanks.” A child carrying two buckets of water explained to me with a huge smile on his face that because the novelty of having something wears off and eventually is taken for granted, the sign was to remind them to be thankful for what they had. Gratitude. Regardless of their material poverty, their gratitude stemmed from the riches of their hearts. It stemmed from seeing every opportunity offered as a gift and not as an entitlement.

In the Arab world or Armenian culture, gratitude is a language unto itself. “May your hands never feel pain.” “May the next meal you cook be in celebration of your child’s happiness.” “You see me through kind eyes.” “May God extend your life.” “May your prayers be heard.” “May your hands that gave me this gift be blessed.” “May your table always be bountiful.” “May your pockets be blessed,” and so it flows, with an infinite string of prayerful appreciation for deeds done, meals eaten, gifts received, compliments paid and so on.

No matter how we say it, and in whatever language, Thank You goes beyond good manners. It serves as one of the more important ways in which we interact with others, both with those closest to us and those with whom we have contact for the briefest of times. US psychologist Sara Algoe of the University of N. Carolina, published a study in June 2012 based on the Find-Remind-and-Bind Theory of Gratitude. The research specifically looked at how expressions of gratitude among strangers shape social relations. According to this theory, gratitude ‘finds’ new friendships, ‘reminds’ people of existing relationships and ‘binds’ them further in the relationship. For example, the verbal expression of appreciation of kindness in a simple Thank You becomes the survival language in a foreign country that connects us to the social and cultural norms of an unknown people.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I “thank you” my readers. Each time I sit down to write my blog, I try to express ideas and feelings that make a difference in my life, and I hope in yours too. Like the child fetching water in Jordan, may you see all that you have received in and around your lives as gifts given you…nothing bought, nothing earned, nothing traded in, nothing owed, nothing entitled. Pure and simple gratitude for the value of what life and those around you offer. With an immense wealth of gratitude nestled in my heart, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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MEN, Step Forward

October and the color purple, with hashtags #CATURNSPURPLE, #DVAM2017 spread across the Golden State and social media, remind the nation that this is Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month, designed to increase awareness and understanding of a topic not often brought into the open. You would think that domestic violence is a thing of the past, but instead of diminishing, it keeps growing in our societies. Campaigns such as ENOUGH, NO MORE, There’s No Excuse for Violence or Abuse, SPEAK OUT, REAL MEN DON’T HIT, ME TOO, still haven’t Put The Nail In It.

According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women, domestic violence threatens the lives of more young women than cancer, malaria or war. It affects one in three women worldwide who has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her. Studies show that everyday more than three women are fatally killed by their husbands or boyfriends while survivors are left mentally scarred for life.

MEN, you should be outraged that in 2017 you can allow for this escalation in abuse, violence and death to occur at the hands of your gender. We live in a society where violence and disrespect against women—both in action and in speech—is prevalent. Every woman (consider for one moment your sister, your mother or your daughter) is at risk for becoming a victim of domestic violence. DV has no regard for socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, employment status, physical aptness, age, education, marital status, or sexual orientation. Sexist, patriarchal, and/or sexually hostile attitudes are growing because men and women acquiesce to these attitudes and dismiss derogatory comments and behavior to “locker room talk” or machismo culture.

Cultural and social norms are highly influential in shaping individual behavior in the use of violence. They perpetuate the problem. The traditional beliefs that men have a right to control or discipline women through physical means makes women vulnerable to violence by intimate partners and places girls at risk of sexual abuse. The “tradition” of not interfering in matters between family members that occur in private, leads to reluctance for government, the criminal justice system, and other systems to respond to domestic violence, even after it becomes a crime. In many cultures, admission of abuse is to acknowledge the ugly side of one’s humanity, therefore the problem is denied and swept under the rug. One of the biggest challenges today is getting domestic violence laws implemented, such as making sure that women are able to go to the police to report violence, to have the support of their churches, or have access to shelters for protection. Clergy and secular counselors are trained to see only the goal of “saving” the marriage at all costs, rather than the goal of stopping the abuse; police officers do not provide support to women and treat domestic violence as a domestic “dispute” rather than a crime and discourage the victim from pressing charges; prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute cases, and judges rarely impose the maximum sentence upon convicted abusers; the abuser is quickly discharged only to return and repeat the assault/crime.

Legislation is a key tool in changing behavior and perceptions of cultural and social norms. Laws and policies that make violent behavior an offence send a message to society that it is not acceptable. While nearly all countries have laws that criminalize most forms of homicide, only some countries have laws in place to protect women from intimate partner violence. However, even when laws exist, this does not mean they are always compliant with international standards and recommendations or implemented. There is much abuse in the system. Hollywood, New York, Washington are prime examples!  Much progress is still needed and especially in countries such as Algeria, Armenia, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen to name a few that DO NOT HAVE laws in place to identify and criminalize offenders, the solution is to change the mindset of “traditions” of patriarchal culture.

MEN, unless you are willing to see DV and abuse for what it is–a crime and violation of human rights—you put your own mother, sisters and daughters at risk. Do not normalize sexualized violence. Notice it. Be outraged. Share your outrage with others. Do not hide behind closed doors, remain silent, or turn your backs and say “it’s not my problem,” and allow for the abuse and violence to escalate. Become more educated. Like all good prevention, fathers and mothers, teach your sons—not only your daughters—by example that violence, abuse and harassment are unacceptable under any given condition. Education should go beyond what girls can do to prevent being victims, to the attitudes that boys have about women and about masculinity, and the actions that men can take to promote mutual respect and egalitarianism. Teach your boys at home and at school. Athletic coaches, start delivering programs designed to engage young men in questioning and challenging harmful gender norms with the goal of reducing sexual violence and dating/relationship abuse.

MEN, your influence in the global push to stop gender-based violence cannot be underestimated. Step forward. Transform the problem into becoming the solution.   Join forces with women to end violence against women. Break the wall of silence and taboo still surrounding violence against women and the sheer magnitude of this most widespread of human rights issues and become the solution to the problem.

MEN and Women must prioritize ending violence against women in laws, policies, and funding at every level until every woman is safe at home, at school, and at work. There is no amount of justice that can restore the lost lives of countless victims of domestic violence locally and in other countries including Armenia, but we can honor their memory by collaborating to end domestic violence in our communities so that no other family or culture will ever bear this kind of pain.

MEN, it’s time to step forward and earn your purple ribbons. Stand up, speak out, and act. 

 

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Guns, Endemic to America

Number 1 in gun ownership and mass shootings

How many people must be killed to bring about reasonable gun controls in the US? So routine are shootings—homicidal, suicidal, accidental—that only mass shootings like Las Vegas, or Orlando, or San Bernardino, or Newtown, or Aurora, or Blacksburg, or Columbine (to name a few) attract national attention. All these are far from a complete list of the people killed or injured in gun violence in the United States. We cry about it, tut-tut about it, shake our heads, mourn the senseless deaths, send out thoughts and prayers, express sympathies for the families, speculate over what drove the accused evil gunman/men, and then before long, we move on. WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.

The United States loses far more people to gun violence than almost any other country, and there is only one reason: the easy availability of guns. Based on a United Nations Report on Drug and Crime recently published, US civilian gun ownership is the highest worldwide. Gun ownership makes it simple and easy as ready, aim, fire, and with the loose gun laws, everyone becomes vulnerable. Guns make domestic violence situations 12 times more likely to result in violent assault leading to death. Guns contribute to 49% of suicides, and the nation averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence. Gun related violence is endemic in the United States.

It is extremely irresponsible to use the 2nd Amendment as argument against tighter gun control measures when the ready availability of guns leaves little space between murderous impulses and actions that result in death. This isn’t about the 2nd Amendment. It is about doing something to lessen the prevalence of gun violence in the nation. Society is paying a high price for the failure of government and lobbyists to take the necessary measures to protect people from gun violence. We have seat belt laws, helmet laws, driving under the influence laws, murder laws, theft laws, crime laws, and while none of these eliminate possible fatalities, they DO LESSEN THE PREVALENCE of fatalities. WE NEED TIGHTER GUN LAWS. It is irresponsible to find a rational justification that explains the ease with which people can buy firearms, including assault rifles, in spite of prior criminal backgrounds, drug use, histories of domestic violence and mental illness, or direct contact with extremists – both domestic and foreign. Why should any civilian anywhere be able to acquire an assault rifle or other high-powered weapon/s designed to kill throngs of people? How many more mass killings will it take before the United States adopts robust gun regulation?

The raw data of mass shootings* listed below speak for themselves.
*Note: A mass shooting involves four or more people injured or killed in a single event at the same time and location. (Source: Gun Violence Archive).

October 1, 2017: 59 killed, nearly 500 injured: Las Vegas, NV
June 5, 2017: 5 killed: Orange County, FL
Jan. 6, 2017: 5 killed, 6 injured: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sept. 23, 2016: 5 killed: Burlington, WA
June 14, 2017: 3 killed: San Francisco, CA
June 12, 2016: 49 killed, 58 injured in Orlando, FL
Dec. 2, 2015: 14 killed, 22 injured: San Bernardino, CA
Nov. 29, 2015: 3 killed, 9 injured: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct. 1, 2015: 9 killed, 9 injured: Roseburg, OR
July 16, 2015: 5 killed, 3 injured: Chattanooga, TN
June 18, 2015: 9 killed: Charleston, S.C.
May 23, 2014: 6 killed, 7 injured: Isla Vista, CA
April 2, 2014: 3 killed; 16 injured: Ft. Hood, TX
Sept. 16, 2013: 12 killed, 3 injured: Washington, D.C.
June 7, 2013: 5 killed: Santa Monica, CA
Dec. 14, 2012: 27 killed, one injured: Newtown, CT
Oct. 21, 2012: 3 killed, 4 injured: Brookfield, WI
Sept. 28, 2012: 6 killed, 2 injured: Minneapolis, MN
Aug. 5, 2012: 6 killed, 3 injured: Oak Creek, WI
July 20, 2012: 12 killed, 58 injured: Aurora, CO
April 2, 2012: 7 killed, 3 injured: Oakland, CA
Oct. 12, 2011: 8 killed, 1 injured: Seal Beach, CA
Jan. 8, 2011: 6 killed, 11 injured: Tucson, AZ
Aug. 3, 2010: 8 killed, 2 injured: Manchester, CT
Feb. 12, 2010: 3 killed, 3 injured: Huntsville, AL
Nov. 5, 2009: 13 killed, 32 injured: Ft. Hood, TX
April 3, 2009: 13 killed, 4 injured: Binghamton, NY
Feb. 14, 2008: 5 killed, 16 injured: DeKalb, IL
Dec. 5, 2007: 8 killed, 4 injured: Omaha, NE
April 16, 2007: 32 killed, 17 injured: Blacksburg, VA
Feb. 12, 2007: 5 killed, 4 injured: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 2, 2006: 5 killed, 5 injured: Nickel Mines, PA
Jan. 30, 2006: 6 killed: Goleta, CA
March 21, 2005: 9 killed, 7 injured: Red Lake Indian Reservation, MN
July 8, 2003: 5 killed, 9 injured: Meridian, MS
Oct. 28, 2002: 3 killed: Tucson, AZ
March 5, 2001: 2 killed, 13 injured: Santee, CA
Dec. 26, 2000: 7 killed: Wakefield, MA.
Nov. 2, 1999: 7 killed: Honolulu, HI
Sept. 15, 1999: 7 killed, 7 injured: Fort Worth, TX
July 29, 1999: 9 killed, 12 injured: Atlanta, GA
April 20, 1999: 13 killed, 24 injured: Columbine, CO
March 24, 1998: 5 killed, 10 injured: Jonesboro, AR
Dec. 7, 1993: 6 killed, 19 injured: Garden City, NY
July 1, 1993: 8 killed, 6 injured: San Francisco, CA
May 1, 1992: 4 killed, 10 injured: Olive Hurst, CA
Nov. 1, 1991: 4 killed, 2 injured: Iowa City, IA
Oct. 16, 1991: 22 killed, 20 injured: Killeen, TX
June 18, 1990: 10 killed, 4 injured: Jacksonville, FL
Jan. 17, 1989: 5 killed, 29 injured: Stockton, CA
Aug. 20, 1986: 14 killed, 6 injured: Edmond, OK
July 18, 1984: 21 killed, 19 injured: San Ysidro, CA

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Ants Do It, Birds Do It

I found this thought among my collection of writings. I still stand by it.

“The advancement of humans individually and collectively lies not in perpetuating or fighting about differences, but in universal respect, cooperation void of egoism, and a willingness to learn objectively. We fight each other over borders, over doctrines that all strive for peace, over commodities both natural and imaginary; we bicker selfishly over leadership and chairs of hierarchy. Our egocentricity, our megalomania, is distancing ourselves instead of bridging the gaps everywhere. We know how to reach out to our fellow humans in times of crises (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires) tearing down borders and walls built within us by separatist elite ideas. Why then, can we not continue to live without walls and stay connected to the essence of our humanity…to continue to be rooted in humility and selflessness? The selflessness that helps another to survive, to climb and to achieve with the same rights as you or I as part of a chorus of 7.5 billion beating hearts. At times I cannot think of myself as an American, a Caucasian, an Armenian, a Christian, or even as a woman. I am a person among people, and people can achieve the impossible by setting aside egoism, working together as one colony, as one flock.”

I woke up to an impressive form of large, irregularly shaped black mass of ants on my white countertop. They were busy at work having found a few crumbs of apple pie crust left after a late night of friendly entertaining among friends. I followed the trail all the way down the kitchen counter, circled the off-center island, along the long galley, into the dining room and out onto the back patio to find their source. I set to work ridding my home of these little insects that were stocking up for the winter. Undesirable as they are, I admire their collaborative skills. Ants are a shining example of collusion in action. They carry tiny specks of dirt underground to form complex tunnels and living systems, tackle prey as a team, and help each other carry leaves and food back to their colony to use as mulch for raising fungus, which they eat to survive. These tiny creatures carry loads heavier than their body mass and work in unison as a team, understanding that strength lies in collectivity. They work harder than many species just to get through each day, and they do it as a team. No one gets left behind, and no one carries all the weight while others just sit on the sidelines. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we humans could work together as ants do to coexist instead of competing with each other for resources?

There was an unusually cold breeze that morning. It reminded me that Autumn was just around the corner. In a few weeks I’d be fortunate to see the most impressive form of large, irregularly shaped black masses (flocks) of birds in the sky, dancing their way in flight to migrate north and south. Birds that swarm in a murmuration seem to be connected together. They twist and turn and change direction at a moment’s notice, and in a dense group, the space between them may only be a bit more than their body length, yet they can make astonishingly sharp turns conducted entirely in unison. Even pelicans, ducks, geese (and many other) that fly in V formation do so as a team. They form the V to take advantage of the wind from the bird in front of them giving that extra lift that saves energy to those behind. Interestingly, all birds in the V contribute to the leadership (which provides the first wind) almost equally as they rotate leadership relieving each other with grace and ease. Followers become the leaders and leaders become followers. There is a selfless act of altruism among them, being able to set aside differences for the mutual benefit of the flock. What an incredible skill to help each other out regardless of their social hierarchy in the flock. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work together with such altruism among our own multitudes?

People, our strength lies in acceptance, unity, and in the ability to work together harmoniously on teams, sharing common values of helping each other to arrive at our destinations quicker, easier, lifted up by the energy and enthusiasm of one another. Ants do it. Birds do it. Why can’t we who know how to love do it?

 

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