Gems 3.1

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤

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Journey Notes

The theme for the month of January is “journey.”  If you have a favorite quote about “journey,” or the journey of life,  please leave a comment! As you may have noticed, we started a new number series.  The Gem today (“3.1.”) begins our third year, and is the first we’ve published.  Happy New Year from all of us!

Your Creations

As always, we would love to feature your creative visions.  When we show each other what we find beautiful, we get a glimpse into each others’ hearts.  If you would like to contribute a photo, poem, story or piece of art for limited use on our website, please send us a note.  You always retain full rights.   Your work will be shared on Instagram with credit, and the link to the page here shared on Twitter and Facebook.

About US

Our About Us page got a update today.  This is our new logo/blurb to explain what we are about in a few words:

under1000skies-logo

May you find joy every day of your journey.

♡. under1000skies

Social Cleansing of the Homeless

Today we shipped our first artist packs! I’m so excited.  May this be the first step of many in uniting creatives all over the world.

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This is how the idea for under1000skies was born.  This is reposted from my Niki Flow blog, written November 14, 2014.

 

It Begins with Me

An Invitation

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Yesterday I found a post from Laurence O’Bryan on Twitter with a link to a blog called, “Social Cleansing of the Homeless,”  by Christopher Taylor.  “Social cleansing” was an unfamiliar phrase, and it made me feel uneasy.  After I read the article, I felt far worse than uneasy. I was horrified.   I “tweeted” in response (writing that still makes me feel silly) and he “tweeted” back.  The result was an invitation to start this blog.

Niki Flow ‏@jazztizz Nov 13
@LPOBryan This is heartbreaking. I was homeless for a short time. Would love a a tweet storm about ideas 4helping w/what we have where we R

Laurence O’Bryan ‏@LPOBryan Nov 14
@jazztizz can you do a blog post and then we spread the word?

Niki Flow ‏@jazztizz Nov 14
@LPOBryan Yes I would be happy to do that. I’ll tag you when it’s finished.

I hope I do this very complex subject justice.


Flourishing Evil

The only thing required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. 

-Edmund Burke

My environment as a child never lacked any of the basic needs.  We had lean times, but I slept in a bed at night. I was sheltered from weather.  At 14, I ran away and learned a little about what it means to be homeless — but only a little.  I was more uncomfortable than I had ever been in my life, but help was everywhere.  After a week, I returned home.

Twenty or so years later, I learned about homelessness again.  I lived in DV shelters with my son for a short time.  When that was no longer an option, I decided we would go anywhere rather than home, ashamed, to family.  I’ll never forget the night my son and I walked around shops to stay warm in an affluent town near where I worked.  When it got late, my son fell asleep on the bench in the pizzeria, and we stayed until it closed.  When we stood outside that shop, when all the lights in that town dimmed and the merchants went home, I felt utterly terrified.  The deepest part of the night had just begun.

Our story had a happy ending.  I looked at my son’s sleepy face, swallowed my pride and asked for help.  I got it. I was lucky to have a good job, and I soon found a home with rooms to rent.  My housemate was a co-worker, and we became lifelong friends.  I began to make choices toward health.  By the time another 20 or so years passed, I was a different person. I had a new, loving husband and a home of our own.  Our life was full of blessings.


Doing Nothing    

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Gandhi

I worked in the city, and I could never pass a homeless man or woman without wanting to help. I kept bills and change in my pockets and dropped those in a cup or an outstretched hand as much as I could.  One day a complete stranger stopped me and scolded me for “aiding their addiction.”

“If you give them money, they’ll spend it all on booze or drugs,” he said.  Contempt made his voice sharp, his gestures cutting. I walked away. I couldn’t form any words in the storm of emotions I felt.  That man spoke about homeless people as if they were some sort of sub-species and all exactly the same.  I knew he was as wrong as a person could possibly be, but I allowed his shaming to make me doubt what I knew. As we so often do, I replayed the encounter with the angry stranger over and over in my mind. I did that for years.  I thought of so many things I could have said, with wisdom and articulation, in that moment.

  • How do you know?  Were you ever homeless?
  • Your generalization only displays your ignorance.
  • Enjoying that label?  Good.  Now go back to sleep.
  • Have you ever slept on the ground in the cold, for days at a time? 
  • Do you have any idea how much pain being outside on hard surfaces causes to anyone, even young people, after just a few days?
  • Did it ever occur to you that drinking and drugs is the only way “these” people have to escape pain, to just get through one more day?
  • Do you honestly think these men and women were dropped here from Homeless Planet and are some sort of plague on our world?
  • Don’t you know that everything you have can be taken in a moment? That this could be any one of us?

All that anguish in my thoughts did nothing but ruin my day.  After that encounter, I felt powerless to help, deeply ashamed and uncomfortable by the homeless people around me.  So I did nothing, and pretended not to see. I could pretend all I wanted.   My soul saw and felt everything.


Doing Something

Do what you can with what you have where you are. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Maslow called Eleanor Roosevelt one of the few self-actualized people in history.  When I learned in Psych 101 what that means, I decided I wanted to be self-actualized too.  I could never quite manage the bottom tier of the pyramid, but that didn’t stop me from trying to climb.

I became very sick seven years ago.  I worked on what I could control and on the most urgent needs in my life. Slowly, I returned to health, and from then on I looked at life differently.  Life was far more precious, and small things mattered less.  It was a very slow process with lots of falls.  There was only incremental progress, but it was there.  A year after I got sick, instead of waiting to die, I decided I wanted to live.  A month or so later a teacher appeared.  I found new and beautiful friends, mentors and guides who expected nothing from me but to keep trying, be kind to myself and to pay it forward.

Today my life is full of blessings.  When my sacred self is in the driver’s seat (rather than my ego), I’m truly grateful for it all. I recently watched a beautiful video with Julio Olalla called Amor la Vida (Love Life).  II loved when he spoke about the beloved quote by Socrates, about how the wisest of us know we have no clue.

“The interesting and fascinating thing with having no clue,” he said, laughing, “is then you fall in love with questions.”

That feeling of powerlessness I felt all those years ago persisted throughout my life.  I’m beginning to learn that that feeling of powerlessness is a lie.  I certainly have the power, right now, to help.  I can do “small things with great love.” Learning is a daily privilege, and I am clueless, still.  So, I “fall in love with questions…” and the question today is this:  What can I do where I am with what I have, right now, to help the homeless?  I don’t have answers yet, but I have a few ideas.  I plan to figure it out, then do it.

I cannot look away any more.

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TGIF | This Week Under1000Skies

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s what’s new ¤ under1000skies ¤

 

 

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THIS WEEK ON UNDER1000SKIES

Every Friday from now on we’ll be highlighting the posts of the week.  This week’s Gems include:  Photo (“Florida Flowers”) from Mike Downs.  photo (“NYC Looking Up”) and an original poem (“My Wish for You Today”) from Niki Flow.  Painting (“Dark Phoenix“)  from Marvel Comics.  The quotes shared are part of the Divine Feminine Series, Nos. 15-18, and are from Frida Kahlo, Louise Hay, Emma Goldman and Melanie Koulouris.

Frida Kahlo de Rivera, born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was a Mexican painter known for her self-portraits. Kahlo’s life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home, which is known as “La Casa Azul,” the Blue House.

Louise Lynn Hay is an American motivational author and the founder of Hay House, she has authored several New Thought self-help books, including the 1984 book, You Can Heal Your Life.

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

Melanie Koulouris. (from her profile) “Wife to an amazing husband who is my soulmate. Stay home mom to my two beautiful babies, Olivia and Luca. Blogger, creative writer, and forever student of life. Writing has always been a passion of mine since I was very young. I have always considered myself a free spirit with a gypsy soul, surrendering to where ever life takes me. I am grateful to be able to share my quotes and sayings with you as well as others that bring me so much inspiration.”

 

TGIF:  What It Really Means

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Photographer unknown.  If you know the name, please let us know so we can credit this wonderful photo.  Thanks!

Every Friday we’ll also be adding something new:  a photo from “TGIF:  What It Really Means.”  This is a board on Pinterest and all are welcome to contribute.  The only criteria is that your description fits the acronym.

 

NEWS

We have a new page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/under1000skies/

And a new account on Twitter:   https://twitter.com/under1000skies

We just purchased the domain, “under1000skies.com” and will be working on getting the website up and running as soon as possible.

To that end, we’ve entered a contest on Instagram held by Bay Area Website Design.  If you share this image (below) and contact Bay Area Website Design, you are automatically entered into the contest.

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