At breakfast this morning, my family was reflecting on our summer. “The highlight of summer so far,” my elder daughter, Tara (13 years old), said, “was attending the World Games for the Special Olympics.”
My family is incredibly blessed, and our summer has included concerts, Broadway shows, world travel, lots of good food, relaxation, Disneyland and many other highlights. As my younger daughter, Leela (11 years old), nodded enthusiastically, I was moved by what an extraordinary statement they were making.
We attended the Opening Ceremony of the World Games for Special Olympics last weekend. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities that provides year-round training and competition for 4.4 Million athletes in 170 countries.
A few weeks ago while in Washington D.C. with my father, I attended a private dinner with Tim Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics. Tim was passionate and articulate about the event, as well as dispelling some of the assumptions even we had about people with intellectual disabilities. Tim is truly a humble champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Shriver family must be applauded for taking an event that his mother, Eunice Shriver, started over 40 years ago and making it into a global social movement that it is today. As written about in this NY Times piece, Special Olympics and The Burden of Happiness, there is a long way still to go. The World Games truly felt like a Utopian world, and the stark reality for many of these people is very different and one is reminded of the need to champion human rights for all. Continue reading →
On July 4th, the United States celebrates it’s independence and birth as a new nation more than 200 years ago. Relatively young when it comes to nation, this country has been having a conversation about what freedom means and looks like since it’s inception.
Is freedom the right to do whatever you want?
Is it a home with a white picket fence?
Is it an idea or a philosophy?
We turn to great thinkers of our time and ask what freedom meant to them: Continue reading →
Compassion is a buzz word we’ve heard more and more in recent days. Is it a home run for marketing campaigns, or is it a real, important attribute that is finally getting the limelight it deserves?
These days, we are honestly in need of a deeper understanding of what it means to love, care, even notice one another. This is why it is so encouraging to see things like Deepak Chopra, Gabby Bernstein and friends leading a global meditation for compassion on July 11th. In honor of his 80th birthday, the Dalai Lama is hosting the Global Compassion Summit to inspire compassionate acts in our global community. These are opportunities to join with others asking the question “what about me? how can I help?” Continue reading →
Long have we told stories about, shared our tears with, sought freedom in the sea.
Returning to those waters is simple with 72% of our earth being covered by water, but do we take this massive, silent treasure for granted?
June 8th is recognized as World Oceans Day and the opportunity to remember our responsibility to our oceans and those residents of the sea is one we shouldn’t take lightly.
Some of our greatest minds remind us what the ocean means and represents: Continue reading →
Feeling guilty about climate change hasn’t proved to be a good motivator. The most recent report on greenhouse gas emissions puts March at a record-breaking level of emissions. Presidential urging doesn’t move Congress to take significant steps at solving the issue. The world community passes well-meaning resolutions that don’t lead to major global cooperation.
We are headed on a downward track, and everybody knows it. But we already know that guilt is a poor motivator. Fear is somewhat better, because it implies imminent harm, yet if the Earth is the Titanic and climate change is the iceberg, there’s enough open sea between us and catastrophe to lull the passengers into one more round of champagne and caviar. Continue reading →
The devastation from the earthquake in Nepal is beginning to settle in now that the panic of the momentous quake and aftershocks, the search for loved ones, and the reality that over 4000 lives (and counting) have been lost. In my conversations with Caryl Stern, the President of the US Fund for UNICEF, and reading her book, I Believe In Zero, I began to understand more about the different phases of emergency relief, particularly the critical time frame of the first response systems, and then the long term needs to help people survive disease, hunger, and lack of resources that follow such a tragedy.
Many countries immediately offered aid and relief efforts to Nepal. Similarly, organizations like UNICEF, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and other organizations are set up operationally to get into the country quickly. Here is a list from the NY Times of such organizations:
It seems so many of us are over this internet-addicted phase of human interaction. Everyone is tweeting, gramming, posting, snapchatting themselves to death. Then there are stories like this, where one teacher begins using #IWishMyTeacherKnew as a means to connect with her students and inspires many more to do the same.
The Grammys celebrate a year in music performance and writing. Colorful characters, old favorites and new faces all show up to sing their hearts out and find out who will take home trophies for a variety of categories. Katy Perry is one such artist who has been providing party anthems for several years now. She recently brought her brand of fun to the Superbowl with a stage show that featured dancing sharks, beach balls and palm trees, not to mention a giant robot tiger puppet thing. Continue reading →
It was over this last holiday season that a media giant like Sony had to seriously consider pulling a new film as a result of threats against theaters showing “The Interview” and movie-goers seeing it. Why the threats? Because it depicted the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Many had things to say about the situation- was is wise to safe-guard human life by simply withdrawing a film? Was it an act of cowardice to cave to the demands of terrorists? Strong language either way and you could argue both points. Who would’ve expected that a Seth Rogen and James Franco movie would be something having to be discussed by the President and his cabinet?
Now, only a day ago, it is believed that militant extremists are responsible for entering the French offices belonging to cartoonists of the renown satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo, gunning down 12. The outpouring today has reflected not only grief over the loss of dear human life, but on something even greater- the attack on freedom of human expression. Cartoonists all over the globe released tributes to their fallen artists, one citing humor as a dangerous profession, but it’s more than just humor. It is our words, our freedom to feel and create some to explain what is going on in our heads and our hearts.
Today we share words of freedom and liberty from those who have and are still fighting for it in so many ways in every corner of the globe.