Five Ways of Refusing to Be a Victim

We might have heard of the recent social media trend #MeToo that encourages women to come out and admit that they have been victims of harassment in the past.

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#MeToo is a laudable effort by Alyssa Milano of Charmed fame to support Rose McGowan who played her witchy sister in TV show, among other Hollywood female stars who have made allegations of rape against a popular producer. Now #MeToo has spread all over the social media showing that rape and sexual harassment are not limited only to celebrities or Hollywood but to almost every woman who has grown up in a masculine dominant environment.

Whether at work or at home, even within their own marriages women have been subject to domination by the male gender, both sexually and otherwise.

But the question that most awakened women are asking is different. How do we now refuse to continue this trend of being victims and emerge as divine creators of our fate instead?

  1. Positive Instead of Negative Affirmations: It should be #MeTooNoMore to show that we might have been victims in the past but from now onwards we refuse to be victims. Our beliefs create our own reality so why not affirm a clear refusal to accept a life of fear and victimisation. Also we must have campaigns to make men understand the meaning of ‘NO’.stop
  2. No Guilt or Shame: Encourage yourself and others to reveal their stories of being victims in the past. The problem of rape and sexual harassment is common but swept under the rugs because of a certain social stigma that keeps women quiet. Instead we need to applaud women who share their stories whether or not with the #MeToo hashtag, simply because it helps remove the guilt or shame that women have been dominated through. At the same time remember that the story was the past and no longer needs to be our present or future. Treat victims with love and encourage them to let go of the pain.people-2561928_960_720.jpg
  3. No Blaming Yourself: Often women are blamed for ‘attracting’ or ‘causing’ their own rape or sexual harassment. While some people blame their clothing, others go as far as blaming their own karma or past lives, both of which are terribly flawed approaches to the issues. Someone else’s negative karma or harmful actions are their own bad karma and the victim is not to be blamed. Instead they should be applauded for bringing a criminal to the law. Similarly clothing or beauty is not what attracts rape because such incidents may be prevalent with innocent children or women in hijabs while women who project confidence and live by their own rules may actually be able to deter attackers to an extent.woman-2113099_960_720
  4. The Root of the Issue: The social root of rape and sexual assault of women has more to do with our collective consciousness or spiritual frequency than meets the eye. In a world where we all are spiritually more content and at peace with ourself, deriving pleasure from dominating others is out of the question. We need to spread more spiritual peace and meditation among all genders. We can encourage men who display kindness and compassion and who are in balance with their inner feminine side instead of focusing on the negative ones.meditation-2717462_960_720
  5. The Divine Feminine and Masculine: In a world where women are not even treated as humans with equal rights in certain countries or cultures, it may seem hard to promote the concept of a feminine power or divinity that is the creator of the universe. Centuries of referring to God as ‘He’ and praying to ‘Him’ are no longer the way to an equal world. Let ‘Her’ be equally praised and worshipped as ‘She’ the creator, because the divine creator is not limited to a single gender. More importantly it is not an external being but our own collective consciousness that creates a collective reality called the universe and each one of us, male, female or otherwise are Divine – God/Goddess.shakti

 

‘Luck Actually?’ by Ankesh Kothari

Is Luck for Real? Or is it only ‘Hard Work’ that matters?

Ankesh Kothari of Zen Strategies has these two stories to add a lucky spin to your day.

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1. The Lucky Dog Statue

Derren Brown the famous illusionist conducted an experiment once. He partnered with Dawn Porter – a journalist to go to Todmorden in Yorkshire, UK – for this experiment.

There was a small nondescript dog statue in a park in Todmorden. Brown enlisted the help of Dawn Porter to spread rumours that the dog statue was lucky. Todmorden is a gossipy town with just about 15,000 residents. So when Porter started asking a lot of people if they’ve heard about the lucky dog, news started spreading a bit.

And then, the local radio station picked the story and soon everyone in the town had a story about how they had found luck after patting the lucky dog statue. Everything from people finding their dream jobs, to getting new business opportunities, to getting well from a disease.

After 3 months of this, Derren Brown held a town hall meeting in Todmorden and revealed how the story of the lucky dog had started.

Did an ordinary dog statue make people feel luckier just because they believed in it?

Derren Brown had followed a few people who had patted the dog statue. And so, on closer inspection, he finds something extraordinary.

People who had patted the lucky dog statue started taking more risks. Started pushing themselves. Started putting in more effort and sticking with tasks longer. They started paying more attention to random cues from the environment. And that’s how they became luckier.

(The dog statue has indeed been lucky for the town because now it’s become a tourist attraction and brings more tourists in every year!)

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2. A Simple Newspaper Experiment

Richard Wiseman is the head of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in UK. He once conducts an experiment. He runs an ad in newspapers looking out for people who feel they are exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky. 400 people answer that ad.

To all these people, Wiseman gives a task: to count the number of photos there are in a particular newspaper.

But here is the twist: on the 3rd page of the newspaper, Wiseman had put up a huge text ad next to a photo. The ad said: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

People who claimed they were lucky would usually spot this ad. Unlucky people would miss it.

Action Summary:

  • Lucky totems are important. Believing in luck is important. Because being open to luck changes your psyche. You become more open to the cues of the environment. You take more chances and risks.
  • The funny thing is luck works like ‘the placebo effect’. It works even when you know about it.
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  • One email per week.
  • With one or two stories.
  • And an action summary.
  • That will help you live a happy meaningful life.

World Peace Award to Mormon Church Elder

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In the spirit of religious harmony and inter-faith understanding, prominent Mormon leader Elder D. Todd Christofferson was presented the 2017 Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize at the at the MIT World Peace University at Pune, India

According to this report Michael Nobel, a great-grandnephew of the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, joined the World Peace Prize Committee  and the president of World Peace University at Pune as they conferred the award. Earlier recipients have included Mata Amritanandmayi, Sri Sri Ravishankar and Mahayogi Mumtaz Ali Khan.

The Mormon community comprises members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They believe that God has not stopped giving us messages after the New Testament of the Bible. The Book of Mormon was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of revelation and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. Mormons also believe in living prophets who continue to receive revelations by God. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, experienced personal visions and dreams himself that he believed to be communications from God. In in 1823 he claimed to be visited by an angel named Moroni who revealed the location of a buried book hidden in a hill at Manchester near his home and therefore published the Book of Mormon.

More about the Mormon philosophy at https://www.lds.org/

 

Malaysian-Born Girl Accepted Into All Eight Ivy League Universities

Image courtesy:  ocregister.com

Guest post by Alex Tann, Malaysian born Solicitor based in London.

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Young Cassandra Hsiao, all of 17, is making headlines for being accepted into all 8 Ivy League schools and additionally to Stanford University, John Hopkins University, New York University and many others in UC circuit. She immigrated at the age of 5 from Malaysia to USA and her essay was about crossing the language barrier by learning English.

When I read her essay (courtesy: http://afterschool.my/news/72793-2/) I remembered having to “re-learn” my English when I first came to England. As a result, I find I am able to understand people with all sorts of accents because I try to understand what they are trying to tell me without finding faults with the way they say it. When clients apologise to me for not being able to speak English as it is spoken here in England I would say, “But I understand what you’re saying to me.” For the universities that accepted that Malaysian girl to be “impressed” with her story of this struggle is novel and admirable. But for me, what stood out in her essay was her mother’s account of her class president who stood up for her against her bullies in class. It was this incident that changed her life and subsequently that of her daughter.

Here is her winning essay:

In our house, English is not English. Not in the phonetic sense, like short a is for apple, but rather in the pronunciation – in our house, snake is snack. Words do not roll off our tongues correctly – yet I, who was pulled out of class to meet with language specialists, and my mother from Malaysia, who pronounces film as flim, understand each other perfectly.

In our house, there is no difference between cast and cash, which was why at a church retreat, people made fun of me for “cashing out demons.” I did not realize the glaring difference between the two Englishes until my teacher corrected my pronunciations of hammock, ladle, and siphon. Classmates laughed because I pronounce accept as except, success as sussess. I was in the Creative Writing conservatory, and yet words failed me when I needed them most.

Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough. I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. Everybody else’s parents spoke with accents smarting of Ph.D.s and university teaching positions. So why couldn’t mine?

My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.

When my mother moved from her village to a town in Malaysia, she had to learn a brand new language in middle school: English. In a time when humiliation was encouraged, my mother was defenseless against the cruel words spewing from the teacher, who criticized her paper in front of the class. When she began to cry, the class president stood up and said, “That’s enough.”

“Be like that class president,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. The class president took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother’s strands of language. “She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back.”

We were both crying now. My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn’t laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy. There is a measure of guilt when I sew her letters together. Long vowels, double consonants — I am still learning myself. Sometimes I let the brokenness slide to spare her pride but perhaps I have hurt her more to spare mine.

As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English. Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored. With my words I fight against jeers pelted at an old Asian street performer on a New York subway. My mother’s eyes are reflected in underprivileged ESL children who have so many stories to tell but do not know how. I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry.

In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. In our house, language is not broken but rather bursting with emotion. We have built a house out of words. There are friendly snakes in the cupboard and snacks in the tank. It is a crooked house. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home.

 

@mediapositivity

Positive Talk – If a story moves you, act on it!

Today information is available at the speed of thought so we can’t help but instantly like or share and move on! In this engaging talk, writer and human rights activist, Sisonke Msimang tells us the value of a story is not in what it says but in what it does…

Here’s an excerpt or simply watch it below (12-13 min).

‘So firstly, the world would be a better place, I think, if audiences were more curious and more skeptical and asked more questions about the social context that created those stories that they love so much. Secondly, the world would be a better place if audiences recognized that storytelling is intellectual work. And I think it would be important for audiences to demand more buttons on their favorite websites, buttons for example that say, “If you liked this story, click here to support a cause your storyteller believes in.” Or “click here to contribute to your storyteller’s next big idea.” Often, we are committed to the platforms, but not necessarily to the storytellers themselves. And then lastly, I think that audiences can make the world a better place by switching off their phones, by stepping away from their screens and stepping out into the real world beyond what feels safe.’

@mediapositivity

Homeless No More

A 44-year old homeless man in Thailand with hardly a penny in his pocket, quietly returns a cash and card stuffed designer wallet to 30-year old business man, who overwhelmed by his honesty offers him a job and house. Cheers to both men! You can read that story here

In a similar vein, this project for fundraising is aimed at helping the homeless, thanks to the creative efforts of photographer, Horia Manolache…who is clicking the homeless not just as they are, but as they may well be in an alternate reality where they are successful and happy. He has helped many in this process with proceeds of his photo book given to changing how the homeless are seen. You can support his project here….

@mediapositivity

Positive People – John Bird, Founder of ‘The Big Issue’

The Big Issue is the world’s most widely circulated magazine that was birthed in UK. Inspired by Street News, a magazine sold by the homeless in US, it offers homeless people in UK, long time unemployed people, people marginalized by society and just about anyone whose life is blighted by poverty, an opportunity to move away from the streets by earning a legit income by selling this magazine and working themselves out of homelessness.

It kvells in the fact, it’s ‘a handup, not a handout’. Vendors BUY copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

Started in 1991, the magazine 25 years later is synonymous with challenging, independent journalism and popular for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies a week.

The Big Issue Vendors are allocated a pitch or location, normally around a tube or train station and first issued with a number of free copies of the magazine. Last year alone more than £5 million was put into the pockets of the vendors, releasing them from dependence on handouts and providing a decent alternative to begging.

And the buck doesn’t stop there. The Big Issue Foundation, charity arm of The Big Issue supports vendors in gaining control of their lives by tackling the many issues that lead to homelessness and offers a smorgasbord of services.

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Created as a business solution to a social problem, The Big Issue has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution. There are 9 Big Issue projects by the same name today in Australia, France, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, South Africa, Taiwan, Zambia.

Meet the man who started it all, John Bird who himself homeless at age of 5, was last year made a life peer at the House of Lords, appointed Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his ‘services to homeless people’ and awarded the Beacon Fellowship Prize for his tireless energy and originality in raising awareness of homelessness and supporting homeless communities worldwide.

In his editorial, John pulls no punches when he says, “I’m trying to invent a philosophy of dismantling poverty, rather than keeping the poor comfortable” and exhorts any buyer to always TAKE the copy of the magazine since “it is a bloody good read and our sellers are working and need your custom”. Ne’er truer said!

@mediapositivity

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Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.

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