National Moment of Remembrance

WWII MEMORIAL"  STEPHEN BROWN COLLECTION

Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the United States remembering the people who died while serving in the  armed forces. It began as Decoration Day after the civil war in 1868 in Decatur, Illinois, when an organization of Union veterans decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers.  Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, many commemorative events took place including a more formal practice of decorating graves of soldiers as well as the creation of national military cemeteries., Memorial Day was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people to stop and remember at 3:00 P.M

In March I was in Washington DC. And I took the evening monuments tour. It was the first time I had visited the National World War II Memorial which honors all 16 million people who served as part of the American armed forces, including the more than 400,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The memorial sits along the central vista of the National Mall, at the east end of the Reflecting Pool.

Public memorials and monuments attract millions of visitors each year throughout this country.  Memorials serve many functions such as preserving history, connecting us to those we lost, remembering, aiding in the grieving process, educating visitors.  Indeed, most Americans are familiar with the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Wall, and other tributes in the nation’s capital and numerous memorials throughout the country.  America’s passion for public memorials began with the Washington Monument which was completed in 1885.

My favorite part of the tour was walking through the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. On the National mall, it is the fourth to honor a non-president and the first to honor a man of color. The memorial was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood.                                                                                 ap_mlk_memorial_quote_kb_130723_16x9_992

”The centerpiece of the memorial is a 30-foot statue of Dr. King. His likeness is carved into the Stone of Hope, which emerges powerfully from two large boulders. The two boulders, which started as one, represent the Mountain of Despair. The boulders are split in half to give way to the Stone of Hope, which appears to have been thrust forward toward the horizon in a great monolithic struggle. The Stone of Hope and the Mountain of Despair together represent the soul-stirring words from Dr. King’s history-making “I Have a Dream” speech. On the visible side of the Stone of Hope, the text from King’s famed 1963 speech is cut sharply into the rock: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Every visitor enters through the Mountain of Despair and tours the memorial as if moving through the struggle that Dr. King faced during his life. Visitors end in the open freedom of the plaza. The solitary Stone of Hope stands proudly in the plaza, where the civil rights leader gazes over the Tidal Basin toward the horizon, forever encouraging all citizens to strive for justice and equality.” – See more at: http://washington.org/article/martin-luther-king-jr-memorial#sthash.jQ1dVUT6.dpuf

On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day who resolve their sacrifices were not in vain and that we continue to fight for liberty and justice for all.

As we honor our fallen heroes, consider what do you stand for. What do you want to be known and remembered for?

How Do You Create A Bold Vision For Success in 2015?

oprah vision

 

How do you create a bold vision for success?

 

There are three steps to creating a bold vision for success.

1. Clarify your intentions

Ask yourself a series of questions.  Write the answers in your journal.

What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2015?
What would you like to evolve most about yourself in 2015?
How would you like to make a difference in the world?
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2015?
What would you be most happy completing in 2015?
What advice would you give yourself?
What is the most loving service you can imagine in 2015?
What compliment would you like to receive?
What is the grandest adventure you can imagine?
What would you like to experience more of in 2015?
What would you like to explore or create in 2015?
What makes your heart sing?

2.Imagine  yourself one year from today.

What does your life like look? What does it feel like? Who are you if you have been successful? Imagine you are having coffee with an old friend and you are telling her about your year. Write your vision including as many details, feeling, and experiences as if they all came true.  Oh Mary let me share what an exiting year I had.  I published The Creative Activist in June. What a thrill it was to see the numbers from Amazon each week as they climbed to the top of the charts. I had a number one best seller in Personal Growth and Leadership category.  The launch party was so much fun. The DJ I hired played all my favorite songs, Celebrate, Let it Go, Climb. I got to dance with my granddaughters and Ali brought the baby. We got some great family photos to send to mom.

3. Create a vision board.

What is a Vision Board?

A vision board (also called a Treasure Map or Dream Board) is typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images and words from magazines, cards or Pinterest that inspire you. The theory is that you surround yourself with images of what you want to have in your life or images of who you want to become. They are really simple to do and very powerful.

There are two types of vision boards. The first is for opening and allowing and the other is when you know what you want to manifest. I have been doing both types for many years.

When I went through a deep depression in my mid-thirties I could not see any way out. I did not know what joy and happiness could look like so I collected images of pictures that made me smile. I put them in a book and I spent time every day looking at them and it freed my mind to consider something new and different. I eventually came to the other side. Before I ever thought of interviewing over 120 leaders around the country and becoming a speaker and a radio show host I created a vision board of Oprah and other influential leaders I admired like Eve Ensler who wrote the Vagina Monologue and started a movement. I put this in my office and looked at it all the time.                         vision board

In 2013, I decided it was time to release 50 pounds and get active and I made a specific board that had images of me at a thinner weight that I put on the fridge and one with images and words such as “it is safe to lose weight” in the bathroom where I could see it all the time. Since then I have lost 60 pounds.

Last year I created a vision to write The Creative Activist: One Person Can Make A Difference. I will have the first draft finished by Dec. 31st, 2014. Having a powerful vision, written and visual, keeps me motivated and inspired when I hit “road blocks”. We all have days like that but looking at my vision board on Pinterest just makes me smile. It reminds me who I am serving, my work matters and I can contribute to making the world a better place.

Supplies for Creating a Vision Board:

Poster board

Manila envelopes to collect materials

Scissors

Glue sticks, rubber cement or fabric glue Markers, gel pens, glitter pens

Photographs of you

A big stack of different magazines as well as different kinds of paper: post cards, gift wrap, stamps, maps, calendars

The Seven Steps of Creating a Vision Board:

Step 1: Go through your magazines and pull out pictures, words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Don’t censure yourself. If an image or word appeals just tear it out. I know many people like to use a scissors, but ripping is important to the experience. It increases your creativity, imagination and intuition. You can trim them later.

Step 2: Go through the images and see if any themes emerge. I was working with a client and she was amazed that what began as a general” I don’t know what I want to do with my career”… blossomed into something very specific based on the images she choose. It actually brought her clarity.

Step 3: Eliminate any images that no longer feel right.

Step 4: Glue everything onto the board. You can add writing, stickers, glitter or other materials.

Step 5. Title it

Step 6: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often.

Step 7. Spend time looking at it and journal about your experience. What feelings and thoughts have come to the surface? What action steps or strategies have emerged from the images?

If a traditional vision board does not resonate try these options.

Mandala

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for magic circle. Throughout history it has been part of spiritual and religious practices from Buddhist monks to Native American medicine men. Draw a circle within a circle. In the smaller inner circle put a picture of you as your most happy and radiant self and fill in the images in the larger circle what you want. Sometimes I place a spiritual icon or a peaceful image such as a lotus flower in the center.

Pinterest

Over the last few years I dove deep into Pinterest. I have boards about confidence, success, gratitude and forgiveness.I just finished creating a three year Vision Board. They never fail to inspire me and put a smile on my face. http://www.pinterest.com/dazzlingdivarae/

 

What is your bold vision of success in 2015?actions

 

Tags: vision boards, personal growth, creativity, success

 

 

 

 

TEDx: It’s On Us

TEDx: It’s On Us

A week ago I was at an Engaging Speakers conference and someone mentioned that Naperville was looking for speakers for their TEDx talks. I immediately took action. I looked it up on google. I opened the application and called to ask about a deadline. They said just apply it may be for next year and they still have one or two spots open now.

Then it hit me, are you crazy. It is the wrong time, The Creative Activist isn’t’ done….the fear took over and old coping patterns returned with a vengeance. There is not enough food in my house to numb the feelings of terror and overwhelm. Shopping on HSN and QVC did not alleviate the “not good enough” messages that were looping in my head.

I talked with my coach and she that is good your recognizing your patterns. So I began to write and write and write. I have 39 pages scribbled in in my journal. I keep waking up at three AM with another download. My friend Sarah came over and she did some energy work on me. The lump in my throat, the hairball from hell, needed to move or there was no way I was going to be able to do this three minute video application. The burning in my throat and chest eased but it was still tight so she suggested start talking and I did. I felt better.  Expressing my truth, sharing it with another person is healing. Creative expression in whatever form is powerful medicine.

Then I asked, Kathy Eldon, of Creative Visions http://www.creativevisions.org/ who has given two TED talks what she thought. She said tell your story….they are looking for a heroes’ journey. So more panic, more food, numb myself with television.  I have shared my story of healing from childhood sexual abuse in numerous places but not on a big stage. I worry about how much I divulge. There seem to be two philosophies among speakers; just mention you were abused or paint a picture and experience.  Will my art work distract people or help them understand? It is so much easier to talk about the people I interviewed then myself.002

So I went back to my three year mission and vision statement that I wrote a few months ago.” Last month Hillary Clinton introduced me at the Clinton Foundation and I shared the “best creative expression practices “including Bajalia jewelry http://bajalia.com which employs women in India and Pakistan only if they agree to educate their daughters. One man came up to me afterwards and said I am going to change my business model. I can see the changes that are happening in churches and synagogues. They are creating safe spaces for people to share their stories of abuse or being an abuser. It is a community concern now not just a family problem. I have to tell you I had the biggest grin on my face last October when I saw football players’ wearing purple for domestic violence awareness. We are blessed to be living in a time where it is freely talked about and so many are committed to making a loving, peaceful, respectful and safe world for women and children. This or something better.”

Child abuse and domestic violence are all over the news recently. In a speech yesterday, the president announced “It’s on Us,” a nationwide public service campaign aimed at urging young people to do more to prevent campus sexual assaults. Mr. Obama called for a “fundamental shift in our culture” in the way women are treated and in the response to victims of sexual assault.

Commissioner Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee or player who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

It is time for me to step forward on whatever stage I command (hopefully TEDx: It’s On Us) and talk about the things that matter to me; creative expression and service which nurture self-esteem, resilience and healing.  We need to create more engaging education and awareness campaigns. We need to bring together community leaders, service providers, creatives and business people to create new initiatives that spark conversation.  Develop best practices that encourage safe, loving supporting communities where it is OUR collective problem. It is time for football players to wear blue (child abuse awareness) and purple (domestic violence awareness) and when someone asks what does this mean. What does this have to do with me?  We will have the answers. IT’S ON US.

Here is my first take for the application I would really like your feedback and create a talk that speaks to you where I can really be of service. Thanks so much

 

Creative Activists Change The Future

be the inspiration

Creative Activists Change The Future

We need leaders who can change the future. In these tumultuous times we need new  conversations that shift paradigms. We need new strategies and original ideas that  create  awareness and education about the need for social change and social justice.We are stepping into a new age of creative activism where we lead from a deep well of shared feelings, values and a global perspective. We are all connected.  It is no longer ok to ignore poverty, homelessness,mental illness, domestic violence or child sexual abuse and say it is  their problem. It is our problem. There is a cause and effect for everyone of these issues.

Imagine the cashier at the grocery store is scared her partner is going to kill her. Her mind is not on her work and she takes twice as long to do her job which affects your ability to get to work on time. Now your stressed. Her kids who have witnessed the abuse are in school and interacting with your kids. They may be biting or aggressive. They need counseling which they can’t afford so it costs you the tax payer more money to meet their needs. It is OUR problem.

What does the creative  activist look like?

  1. Center their lives around their passion and purpose
  2. They turn their challenges into opportunities
  3. They are committed to something beyond themselves
  4. They are courageous. They feel the fear and do it anyway.
  5. They are a role model, a mentor and a volunteer
  6. They practice compassionate listening
  7. Resilient and tenacious
  8. Live in integrity where their thoughts and actions are in alignment with their values
  9. They help, motivate and inspire others to reach their dreams
  10. Use their gifts and talents to make a difference, pay it forward, be of service
  11. They tap into their intuition
  12. They are appreciative and grateful
  13. Recognize the need for diversity
  14. They are authentic and honest
  15. They encourage originality, inventiveness and out of the box thinking to nurture self esteem and social change
  16. They build capacity and skills in other people
  17. They ask for help
  18. They clearly articulate their heartfelt vision
  19. They are curious, lifelong learners and ask what if questions                                                       earth-hug
  20.  See failure as a  teachable moment, just feedback
  21. They nurture their body, mind and spirit ( renewal and restoration)
  22. They are compassionate and empathetic
  23. They are optimistic: see things in color, variations and possibilities
  24. They encourage collaborations
  25. They live their legacy now

This is a call to action. Creative activists change the future. What is your big bold dream for change? Mine is to see football players wearing blue and purple for child abuse and domestic violence awareness. Twenty years ago who would have believed they would be sporting pink for breast cancer?  I would love to hear from you.

Creative Leaders Spark Change Around The World

Creative Leaders spark change around the world.

In my last blog I introduced the concept of the creative edge. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge. The  qualities of a  creative leader are:  Courageous, Resourceful, Enthusiastic, Authentic, Tenacious, Inspired, Vibrant, Empowered.

Meet Jonny Imerman

 

  imerman

Jonny Imerman was a typical college graduate, working in real estate during the day and attending classes at night for his MBA. Jonny played basketball, worked out at the gym and hung out with friends. Then at 26 his life changed.

 Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he underwent five months of chemotherapy and was declared clear. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine which required another surgery, an 11-inch incision and three months of recovery.

Jonny has been cancer-free since 2003. He left the business world behind and began Imerman Angels a not-for-profit organization that connects a person fighting with cancer with someone who has survived and beaten the same type of cancer. The mission is to provide a big brother or sister to help inspire, provide tips and knowledge. They have created a global healing community of over 4000 survivors and 1500 caregivers . The service is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer living in 60 countries around the world for free.

Rae: What inspired you to create Imerman Angels?

Jonny: “I had made a vow to myself during the time that I was battling cancer. I had looked at others in the oncology clinic and realized that I was different. Each day, my mom was there.She was there every step of the way.  My room was filled with family and friends. As I walked down the hall with my chemotherapy IV-pole on the way to the bathroom, I saw other people fighting cancer alone. They were lying in bed, motionless, watching television or staring in space.  I knew this was not right. It really upset me. So I started chatting with other cancer patients.I’ d say hi my name is Jonny. We could talk about our emotions, our experiences, things our family couldn’t get like sucking on lemonheads to get the metallic taste out of our mouth.

“I wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor who was uniquely familiar with their experience; who not only had beaten the same type and stage of cancer, but who also was the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel- walking, living proof that the fighter could win, too. What an amazing connection. “

“Let’s say a 19 year old girl at University of Richmond get’s sick, she is alone and afraid. She can go on facebook and talk to an angel  to find out know what is going to happen to her,” how sick will I get, will I be able to have kids?   Also cancer caregivers, family members and friends also benefit from one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors.

 Rae: How would you define courage?

 Jonny:  Courage, when you reach a certain point where you absolutely have no fear of failure.You don’t listen to other people saying others have had that idea. Ultimately courage is listening to your own voice and believing that you can do it.

Rae:     What are the qualities of a great leader?catalyst of change

Johnny:   I think a great leader, number one is focused on a mission. A great leader believes in the service for the product that they’re delivering.  They believe in their soul, every part of their body, everything about them screams that they get it. They’re so fired up to build it and that’s what creates a movement. They have unwavering passion.

Rae: What is your definition of success?

 Jonny:” For me it’s really simply we’re changing lives, we’re improving lives in cancer, we’re making a difference.  I think the most successful people in the world are the people in social enterprise that are building a for-profit company that has a social component that makes the world a better place or nonprofits that simply make the world a better place. 

Rae: What continues to drive you?

Jonny: I love people. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone has been through challenges. I always say that if you talk to somebody for five minutes there’s always something that you don’t know that they do. You can learn from their experiences.

Rae:  What would you say to somebody who said they don’t know how make a difference but would like to?

 Johnny:    I think what you need to do is to dig deep and you think about what your family  has been touched by. It could be diabetes or cancer. Get in touch with one of the groups  that serve people in those arenas and start volunteering.  Be part of the solution.


If you want to be part of the solution visit www.ImermanAngels.org for information on how to support or join the network of cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.

Cancer used to be said in a whisper. Now we have football players marching down the field in pink. How did that happen? We have people sharing their story or their families challenges. We have  creative leaders like Jonny Imerman  who brought to light the problems young adults face with cancer and did something about it .

If you know a Creative Leader who I should feature…please write me.