Tag Archives: nelson mandela

Celebrating American History in Words

America is home to inventors, artists, scientists, activists, freedom fighters…
The list could go on forever and it is something we’re very proud of.
We’re celebrating today with words of wisdom from Americans who overcame amazing odds to make history that changed us all.

We are not makers of history.
We are made by history.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader

I freed a thousand slave.
I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.
-Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist Continue reading

The Fight for Freedom (Quotes From the Greats)

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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.

Continue reading

Peace and Love: Quotes About Change

Again the US is buzzing with thoughts on the latest verdict from Ferguson, MO.
What is freedom? What is reality for young men growing up in this country?
What is justice? What honestly needs change?
Speaking up about change is hard work but arguably one of the few kinds of work that really matter. Continue reading

A Moment With Nelson Mandela, Rest in Peace

Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 8.04.33 AMIn 1999, I had the honor to meet Nelson Mandela.  He was attending a state banquet (in South Africa) and a friend scuttled me in for a quick meet and greet.  I was completely in awe, of course, and don’t think I said anything other than put my hands together in respect when we met.

When I heard the news of his passing yesterday, I relived that moment once again.  And while meeting someone as historical and mythical as he was is undoubtedly a moment in my life I will never forget, so was a poignant  visit to Robben Island, the remote prison that held Nelson Mandela for twenty-six years.

I was in South Africa with my classmates from Kellogg Business School – our intent was to learn more about the country, its people, traditions, and, of course, current and future business opportunities.  We were fortunate to be taken to Robben Island by Ahmed Kathrada, a freedom fighter who was sentenced for treason on the same day as President Mandela.  Mr. Kathrada, who at that time of our visit was a gentleman in his late seventies, was 36 years old when he went to prison, the youngest member convicted in the famous Rivonia trial, and the only person of South Asian descent from the group.

Our tour of the prison was somewhat surreal as Kathrada told us firsthand stories about almost three decades in prison, and the shaping of a revolution.  We had all read A Long Walk To Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s prison memoir, which to this day is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.  It was truly remarkable to stroll the grounds of the prison as Mr. Kathrada showed us how they would use scraps of rice paper to write notes for the book in tiny handwriting, and bury the paper in marked holes in rocks, before sneaking them out with release prisoners.  He showed us the cells they shared, and laughed at the habits each of them came to know of their fellow prisoners.

On that sunny day, it was difficult for me to feel the scope of the sacrifice these men made at Robben Island, until Mr. Kathrada talked emotionally about how they missed being around children while in prison.  Can you imagine a world without the cries or playful laughter of children?  He described the wonderful sensation of holding a child after 23 years of being deprived of seeing or hearing them.

The most dramatic moments in our time together came as Mr. Kathrada spoke with conviction and passion about the cause for which he had fought. I got chills down my spine as he talked about the camaraderie between strangers who had united for a cause for which they were willing to sacrifice their entire lives or even to die.  Mr. Kathrada described the evening when his guards announced that they had been released.

“They came and said, “We have received a fax that you are to be released tomorrow.”  Our first question was, “What is a fax? We had only seen a television for the first time in 1986.”

What followed their release was historic and bold and hard.  In one of the quotes being shared today, Mandela says:

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

Some of the most powerful words and scenes in the book, A Long Walk To Freedom, were the ones where Mandela talks about forgiveness.  The NY Times has a beautiful piece written by John Dramani Mahama, the President of Ghana, about how Mandela’s legacy of forgiveness shaped Africa.

As I read quotes and recaps of Nelson Mandela, I decided to see if Ahmed Kathrada had written something today and was moved to find his emotional words posted on  a South African portal.  Mr. Kathrada writes:

Your smile, which lingers still, was always from the heart, never forced, and the great joy you took in the world around you, especially in children, was unmistakeable…

I had the enviable privilege of being alive and walking the earth with you through the bad times and the good. It has been a long walk, with many challenges that at times seemed insurmountable. And yet we never faltered, and the strength of leaders like you and Walter always shone a light on the path and kept our destination and our people’s future in view.

I feel bereft and lonely. To whom do I turn for solace, comfort, and advice?

Farewell my elder brother, my mentor, my leader.

You can read the full text here.

Yesterday the world lost a hero and a true leader. While we mourn the loss of such a great man, we will strive to keep his memory and spirit alive in all the days to come. Thank you Nelson Mandela, may you rest in peace.

(Photos: NelsonMandela.org)

Meditate Your Way Through Anger

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 11.22.16 PMAnger can be an effective expression of passion for justice and fairness, for basic rightness, for what is appropriate and humane. But anger can also be like a single match that can burn an entire forest, causing tremendous damage and hurt. It causes wars, leads to greed and self-deception. The fallout can be huge and, invariably, we have no control over the repercussions.

There is a lot of anger flying around right now with political warring over guns, economic cut backs, and the continuing job crisis. But we needn’t let anger rule our system, as seen in Nelson Mandela’s response to Bill Clinton soon after Mandela’s release. Clinton asked him if he was angry the day he walked away from twenty-seven years in jail. “Surely,” Clinton said, “You must have felt some anger?” Mandela agreed that, yes, alongside the joy of being free, he had also felt great anger. “But,” he said, “I valued my freedom more, and I knew that if I expressed my anger I would still be a prisoner.”

Although we may have a right to be angry, retaliation just gets us into further negativity. For Mandela, as for all of us, getting angry is playing the same game, and results in the catchphrase, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.’

As Michael Beckwith says in our book, Be the Change: “Rev James Lawson, who was a cohort of Dr. Martin Luther King, shared with me an experience when he and Dr. King were sitting in an auditorium and a man came up and said to Dr. King, ‘Are you MLK Jr.?’ When he said yes the man spat on him. Dr. King took a handkerchief, took the spittle off of his suit, and handed it back to the man saying, ‘I think this belongs to you.’ He didn’t hit the man, he didn’t cuss the man out, he didn’t say how dare you, he had this ability to just be in the moment.” Or, psychotherapist Deepesh Faucheaux says, Ducks don’t do anger. Ducks fight over a piece of bread, and then they just swim away.

In its passion, anger pushes away, condemns, and makes everything wrong except itself. Our heart goes out of reach, and we lose touch with our feelings. There’s no compromise, no chance for dialogue, just I am right and you are wrong. And yet we are the ones who suffer the most, particularly from the affects of anger within our own minds, hearts, and bodies.

Trying to eradicate anger is like trying to box with our own shadow: it doesn’t work. Getting rid of it implies either expressing it and creating untold emotional damage, denying its existence, or repressing it until it erupts at a later time. Making friends with anger is essential. This is growing roses out of rotting compost, transforming fire into constructive action, using the passion but without the destruction.

We need to go beneath the anger to see what hurt, longing, or fear is trying to make itself heard. It is often a big cry for love, as we have lost our connectedness with each other and are trying to find a way to reconnect. Or there can be feelings of rejection, grief, or loneliness. So if we repress anger or pretend it isn’t there then all these other feelings get repressed and ignored as well.

By naming and recognizing the many faces of anger, we can stay present with it as it arises, keeping the heart open, breathing, watching emotions come up and pass through. Meditation is the best way to do this as it creates the space to step back from the passion, breathe, and objectively see what is at the root of the feeling. Often we realize it has little to do with another person but more to do with our expectations and needs.

Meditation not only invites us to witness anger, but also to get to know and make friends with ourselves. It gives us a midpoint between expressing anger and repressing it, a place where we can be aware of our feelings and not be swept away by them. Meditation is not going to make all our challenges go away but it does enable us to rest in an inclusive acceptance of who we are.

* * *

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Photo credit: Deiby (Flickr)

You too can be a Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Since the announcement that President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, people have been asking if he deserves and what are our thoughts on the decision.

Why ask the question? The decision has been made. Rather, let us focus our attention on committing ourselves to his initiatives of reducing nuclear arms, stressing diplomacy and cooperation amongst nations, and easing tensions with the Muslim world.

I am inspired by this decision, as we should all be, for what is possible when we decide to take on our dreams full force. Nobel Peace Prizes are possible when we seek to do something that reaches beyond our individual selves and towards work that is transformative for people and the way in which they live their everyday lives.

President Obama said he was surprised and humbled by the honor. When we are committed to our passions, the possibilities are nameless and beyond our expectations. You too can be a Nobel Peace Prize Winner or something equally grand, which confirms that others agree that your dreams are worthwhile.

If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog please feel free to do as long as you include my credit information: Written by Sandra A. Daley, lifestyle and career coach, www.sandradaley.com

Sandra a. Daley is a certified lifestyle and career coach, writer, speaker and the creator of Dream It! Plan It. Claim It™, an extra-preneurial workshop for women. Contact her at : info@sandradaley.com. If you liked this article, you may also enjoy “Do You!”

I have never cared too much for personal prizes. A man does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards, but when I was notified that I had won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Mr. de Klirk, I was deeply moved. The Nobel Peace Prize. Nelson Mandela

 

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born on the 8 Destiny Path.

Day = 18 (9)

Month = 7 (7)

Year = 1918 (1)

9+7+1=17.  1+7 = 8.

8 is the number of power on the material plane through balance & correct understanding, i.e. knowledge is power. When misunderstood or abused, 8 is also the number of the bully; the number of greed and heartlessness. He used the higher aspects of 8 to fight against the heartlessness of apartheid – and he won. Nelson Mandela UNDERSTANDS power.

He is an example of POWER BEING DRIVEN BY LOVING INTENT.

He spent 27 years of his extraordinary life in prison and went on to become the first black president of South Africa. His prison number – 4 6 6 6 4 – is highly symbolic in itself, and also adds up to 8. In fact, it was while he was in prison that his reputation as a genuine and courageous freedom fighter spread throughout South Africa – and the world, expanding his power considerably. He became a global presence – a symbol of conscience everywhere.

Happy birthday Madiba.

You are deeply loved and appreciated.

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