Express yourself for Peace

Everyone is an artist or person who expresses their soul.  In whatever way is passionate to you, you can use your voice to educate and motivate those around you in a positive way.  If we work actively on the issues in our world, together we can make a difference.  Make a commitment to start using your artistic voice in a positive and proactive way today.

Human Rights, do you really stand up for them?

Who is walking the walk and who is talking the talk?  And by what standard do we measure this?  Did you know how many people are even afraid to start trying because so many others are judging against a false standard?  Judgement.  It is killing the efforts of those of us that are working so hard to turn this country, community, ourselves – around.

Your social skills are paramount in social and environmental change.  Your critical thinking skills are paramount in change.  Your compassion is paramount.  If you can’t change yourself, how will you change those who are afraid?  Angry?  Apathetic?  If you can’t first change yourself, you can’t change anyone.  We need to have more diplomatic conversations with those around us and save our judgement for the corporations, governments, organized religions, and institutions that need that kind of force.  We can do far more powerful things with love and compassion in changing one’s mind than we can trying to beat each over the head with our ideas and who is right.

That’s what is happening in Israel/Palestine now.  That structure of thinking is barbaric and doesn’t work.  If we want to keep our communities intact we must learn to think better, compromise more, and be diplomatic with those around us.  There are far too many other factors out there that make this so important.

Image of child in war torn Gaza

The people of Palestine and Israel want peace, the governments and military don’t.

Although the video (below) left out the Native American’s (Iroquois Confederacy; the 6 Nations) huge influence on our constitution and much history that goes with it, I wanted to share it because it has such a great message.  We’ll talk more about Native American’s in a minute.

Human Rights start with how we treat each other as people. How we treat life. It comes with how we judge others with hate, or compassion.
Human rights are the little decisions and thoughts we make when someone wears something we don’t like, or when people say something we don’t like.
Are we treating each other with Human Rights? For anyone that believes in a better world, it all starts with us! Can you respect people who oppose your views even if you don’t agree with them?  That is the true test of a strong person and a strong community.  Friendship must come first.  How does it hit you when you think of gay people, queer people, women, people of color, children, unruly teenagers, politicians, immigrants, Israelis, Palestinians, the President, someone who has offended you, someone who just cut you off in traffic, your ex-girlfriend that totally f*cked you over, your ex-boyfriend that verbally abused you?  If you abuse back, you’re not practicing Human Rights.  You’re practicing the right to shut another person down.  (However, self-defense is an entirely different subject).

With that said, I would love for you to check out a video below about our freedom to believe whatever we want, which so many (of us) try to take that away from others.  Think about how you practice human rights while watching it.

Now that you’ve watched that film, I want to get back to the Native Americans.  It’s important to note that much of what we’re told about Native American history is only half-true. This is important to remember because we are one of the youngest countries to corrupt this fast. And if you don’t think our country is corrupt, it might be time to start inviting some other perspectives into your mind and just see what you think.  There is a shit ton of information out there.  If your entire life is created on a half-lie, how would that change all the decisions you’ve made?  Do you think if our country is created on the (whole) truth, we’d be making different decisions with our government today?

Comprised of 6 Nations

According to this article, many European settlers were defecting to Native American tribes and their cultural ways because it was so much realistic than Europe’s methods of survival. So this video is understood in the context of (some) European people coming to terms with Human Rights, which never happened here in the States.  Our country was built on blood not peace.  That short video doesn’t go into the different contexts of indigenous cultures, which I find unenlightening.  And this is because it’s not that we’ve tried to evolve all of this time, it is very clear in history (which this video does not mention) that certain groups have a harder time allowing free will than other groups.  And that is the foundation the U.S. is built on.

The Iroquois Confederacy (according to this site) heavily influenced the Constitution, but in reality, the government has tried to stamp them out and their way of living in this world by removing all of their free will, their land, their rights, their weapons, their food, and everything that was important to living this sort of lifestyle.  And in the process of this genocide, they’ve spread messages to all the future generations to do the same.  Even to this day, kids in school are still learning the same crap we did 30-40 years ago.  A history that leaves out the foundations of which it was supposedly built on.

Many people in the United States and other countries believe our problems are an issue between Democrat or Republican, Right or Wrong, Capitalism or Communism or Socialism.  This is not the issue.  Many indigenous tribes made it blatantly obvious that groups, and even large groups of people can live together in harmony, everyone getting what they need without destroying animals and the land.  If you are still thinking of things in terms of this or that, please turn off Facebook and other programming like TV and radio and start looking for factual information and not things created (video, music, movie, writing) without the full truth, such as the video above, and start adopting critical thinking skills so you can check all information on your own.  With the internet, there is no reason we can’t take time to do this and work together spreading truth.

Image of first US constitution

Iroquois Nation

Unplug from the system and think for yourself!

If you are going to spread (share) information, make sure its correct first, or write a warning.  Such as, “This information is awesome because it promotes a good message, but it sucks because it left out the most important part of history.”  That is, people’s rights, human rights, are still being stamped out, and have been all along.  Our country’s government was responsible for the stamping out of human rights with Native Americans, Mexicans, African-Americans, gays, women, disabled persons, more.  Do any of us even realize the conditions Native Americans live in within these reservations?  We don’t even consider them in our minds when we talk about the homeless.  They’ve been homeless and “imprisoned” on their own land.  Why wouldn’t this be included in a video like that?  Regardless of reason, there are things going on around us everyday that we can do to reverse the problems in our country.

Why does this matter?

Right now in Peru, an oil and gas company has set up camp next to indigenous people who have “voluntary no contact.” This means they choose to stay apart from the rest of the world. The oil and gas company and Peru’s government have violated their rights and because of this, they have infected the tribe with disease which is wiping them out. This is exactly how Europeans wiped out 90% of the Native American population when first settling here. This is not only a violation against human rights, but also an environmental rights issue due to the pollution this company will dump into nearby rivers, as well as the forests they will clear away to make room for buildings, roads, and other things needed to run that sort of factory. Oil and gas companies effect the ecosystem in whole.  These dying ecosystems start to affect the rest of the world.

This is exactly what we did in history with the Native Americans of the North American continent.  Our ancestors saw something they wanted, they moved in and took it by force.  This is exactly what is happening in Israel to the Palestinian people.  This is what happens when a career position at a job opens up and people fight each other to get it.  This is what happens when one person sees freedom that another has and moves in to take it, regardless of consent.  This is what rape is.  This is what murder is.  This is what thieving is.  This is what plagiarism is.  This is what road rage is.  It is what we do as a culture.  We are either taking a freedom away or standing by and not standing up for the underdog.  In the end, we all lose.

Image of giant trash heap in the Pacific Ocean

The Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean.

It seems like what we do here in the USA doesn’t matter, but every choice we make matters. Every time we drive our car we support supply and demand. Every time we buy clothes at Old Navy we support sweat shops. Every time we buy a disposable plastic bottle we support oil and gas companies and the Pacific Gyre aka the Great Garbage Patch of the Pacific. Every time we don’t let someone speak we support the loss of freedom of speech.  Every time we support someone verbally attacking another person, we support taking away Human Rights.  Every decision we make is effecting something or someone around us either immediately or in our communities.

You Matter!

Each of us matter very much. Over one person’s lifetime we will meet thousands of people who we will either empower or disempower. We will affect thousands of strangers who we will either empower or disempower. One person will cause the deaths of endless amounts of insects, animals, fish, wildlife and perhaps even domestic pets. One person will be responsible for so many hectares of forest, soil, ocean water, fresh water, and the oxygen we breathe.

With 7 billion people on the planet, each one of us critically matters to this world. Not only do we have a direct impact upon all these issues, but we are also responsible for everyone we influence around us. You are either influencing people to take better care of themselves and their world through love speech, and being compassionate and active about these issues, or you are influencing the world around you toward apathy, to be a bystander, lazy, unaccountable, too busy, or many other excuses we have all thought about at one time or another.

What are you doing to start deciding today? All these decisions affect your soul no matter how much you try to ignore them. And if you feel helpless as ONE person who ‘wants to save the world’ that’s because you ARE helpless as one person saving the world. Its going to take all of us. Its going to take us learning how to work together. Its going to take us agreeing on these rights. Its going to take all of us to help one another, support one another to make these changes in our minds and lives. No one person or group is going to do it alone.  The single most powerful thing you can do today is start thinking for yourself.  Unplug

Mile High Parley Festival this weekend in Denver, CO

Event Flyer

This is where all the fun is at this weekend July 25-27, 2014

This weekend, July 25th, 26th, and 27th come check out the Mile High Parley festival at 2 S. Broadway in Denver, CO, at the Mutiny Cafe.  The event is free, all ages and will have over 50 bands and artists!   You can check out the line-up here.

I interviewed Tindakan organization founder, Jeremy Gregory, to find out the details of this event. Here is what he had to say:

What is the name of the Festival? Mile High Parley

When is it? July 25th, 26th & 27th 2014

Where is it? On Ellsworth Street between Broadway & Lincoln in Denver ( 2 S. Broadway )

Who’s coming? Everyone! We have over 50 bands and artists playing for our event and we are doing it during the UMS (Underground Music Showcase)

Why are you putting this festival on?  MHP is a 3-day altruistic art, film, and music festival July 26th & 27th created as a truly philanthropic endeavor, where the festival organizers along with local musicians, artists, non profits & businesses give back to the community and help to excite attendees to become civically engaged.

How much does it cost to get in? Our event is free and all ages!

Are there proceeds going to good causes? YES

Where are they going? TindakanLove Hope Strength and Planet Pet (check out these awesome organizations!)

What do you believe in when it comes to social and environmental change? That it takes people power and anything is possible to make positive change. This festival is a perfect example of that.

What is your vision for Tindakan?   Tindakan broadcasts the message of sustainable living, conservation and social responsibility through empowering mediums. 

Tindakan finds solutions to fundraising issues for nonprofit organizations through special events planning and by utilizing the music and the creative arts platform. We have extensive experience in helping nonprofits and community organizations through edutainment- events.  Tindakan is an integral part of the movement to educate, inspire, entertain and empower individuals, businesses and communities to live in more direct sustainable harmony with the Earth. We are not only introducing outside ideas, but equally giving individuals and organizations the chance to express their own concerns and solutions. 

Mutiny Cafe

Mutiny Cafe will be hosting the Mile High Parley for 2014. Come down July 25, 26, and 27th to see over 50 bands and artists!

Tindakan believes environmentalism and social justice issues are intertwined. We will bring to the communities we visit; edifying and empowering ethos that people can infuse into their lives; re-instilling a positive, egalitarian world-view.

It is a strategy of Tindakan to inclusively work with diverse grass-roots groups in the communities we will visit from social/political advocacy and activist to environmental & wildlife preservation entities. Taking this approach substantiates our sustainable working model.

What other festival is going on that same weekend?  The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, which isn’t really underground anymore but whatever.

Tell us about the history of the coffee shop and what the owner’s vision of that is? Mutiny Information Café is run by three cool dudes- Jim Norris, Matt Megyesi and Joe Ramirez. They bought the shop about a year ago and transformed it into a very hip bookstore & coffeeshop that sells records and comics as well. It’s a shop that has some amazing things planned and it’s very engaged in the community. It’s being recognized as one of Denver’s top places for music and art. They are very engaged and their events are all ages.

The Power of Friendship

Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. – Woodrow T. Wilson

Valentine’s Day Without Capitalistic Values

To me, being friends and being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t a bad thing. I find out more about people through friendly exchanges or friendships than I ever would otherwise.

Knowing people takes time. We have quirks. We have stress. We are anxious, busy, tired, and sometimes downright depressed. That’s a lot to spring on a person in a relationship after the “honeymoon” is over, which is usually when people start to sense they aren’t with who they thought they were. This ends up becoming a pseudo-happiness not founded in friendship and love.

But with friendship, everybody gets to check each other out, see what matches up and what doesn’t, before hearts get broken. It’s slower, but it’s way kinder than the way most social expectations work and the ways they make us interact with each other, many times unethically.

And if you do your friendships right, you’ll always gain a friend into your life, even if not romantic. And after awhile, that holds so much more weight in a heart than flighty escapades with people you don’t know that well and they don’t know you that well. Those kinds of interactions that make for feeling empty inside because no one knows you at all. We all have to risk a little to be friends!

So this Valentine’s Day, and like many in my past, I make it my own and I make it about Friendship. Capitalism will make you feel like shit for being single, and for some it makes them feel like shit for being in a relationship, but it’s a lie. You’re an amazing person. Get out there and make another person feel amazing just by saying Hi with a big fat smile and recognizing them. Find one person to uplift and encourage today and you’ll know the essence of Love and Friendship (giving through your pain – giving to others what you wish you had) which is a great segue into what kind of romantic relationship you want anyway right?

And if you’re in a relationship, keep the love alive through Friendship!

Happy Valentine’s Day!