Category Archives: Unity

Happy Birthday: Mavis Staples

The gospel & R&B great Mavis Staples was born on this day in Chicago. If you’re not familiar with her work or that of the Staples Singers, you really should give her a listen.




Peace & love,


International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development


2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Travel gives us a chance to expand our experiences and get to know the world around us. The World
Committee on Tourism Ethics offers a number of tips for traveling ethically and responsibly. Geared primarily toward international travel, the principles can also be applied to respecting those closer to home, too.

The first of their tips is to “Honor your hosts and our common heritage.”

Research your destination to learn about local customs, traditions and social
conditions. It’s a great way to build understanding of the local community
and excitement for your adventure ahead.
Learn to speak a few words in the local language. This can help you connect
with the local community and its people in a more meaningful way.
Experience and respect all that makes an international destination different
and unique, from its history, architecture, religion, dress and communication
codes, to its music, art and cuisine.
Always ask before taking photographs of other people as their privacy
matter as much as yours.

Enjoy your summer travels!



Day of Vesak


Day of Vesak is a UN recognized holiday to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Buddha. Buddha lived in present-day India and Nepal between the sixth and fourth century BCE. His teachings focused on messages about compassion, peace and goodwill, lessons we can all observe whether we identify as Buddhist or not.




Global Love Day


May 1st marks Global Love Day, a day established in 2004 by The Love Foundation. It is a day meant to celebrate the wisdom of universal peace and love. It’s a great day to practice unconditional love for yourself as well as others. Be aware of your inner critic. Rather than ignore what the inner critic has to say, look at what it is saying without bias. Accept the truth of your own humanity and the humanity of others around us. Reframe any “negative” thoughts in a more positive way. Practice meeting anger with love. Recognize that although we are all different, we are all part of a greater whole and our diversity makes us stronger. Live and love without fear today.

Victims of Violence Holy Day


April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2009, Victims of Violence Holy Day was established as the 2nd of three Emancipation Days of Respect that honor those who’ve sacrificed to the change the laws of segregation in America as well as supporting those who’ve suffered at the hands of slavery and violence.

While we think of slavery and segregation as something in the distant past, racism and slavery (especially in the form of human trafficking) are all still very real today. It is up to each of us to examine the misguided fear of “others” that we all feel sometimes and remember that we are all more alike than different. We cannot let fear and intolerance overtake us.

In peace and unity,


Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day


The gentle soul that was Fred Rogers was born on this day, March 20, 1928. Although he has been gone since 2003, his message of loving acceptance of ourselves and others continues through the work of the Fred Rogers Center and the Fred Rogers Company.

I was born in 1970, just two years after Mister Rogers Neighborhood and one year after Sesame Street began airing, and both shows deeply influenced me. In particular, I loved Mr. Rogers because he never spoke down to anyone and he never shied away from how challenging life could be. But he made it seem like kindness was possible and everything would work out as it should.

So today, I challenge you in even the most trying situations to demonstrate a little kindness and respect for yourself and for your fellow human beings.

With lovingkindness,


National Freedom of Information Day


National Freedom of Information Day is celebrated on the birth date of President James Madison, known as the father of the U.S. Constitution. Madison was a champion of openness in the U.S. government as well as individual rights. To that end, he was one of the main authors of the Bill of Rights, as the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known.

What can you do to celebrate?

A democracy only works as it should when we all stay informed and take part.

May we all be free,


Susan B. Anthony Day


February 15 is Susan B. Anthony Day, a day to commemorate the birth of Susan B. Anthony and women’s suffrage in the United States. Anthony was an abolitionist, suffragist, writer, speaker, and political leader whose tireless energy and activism led to the passage of the 19th Amendment giving all American women the right to vote.

I could take this opportunity to get into a long discussion of women’s rights and women’s history (which are actually human rights and human history), the nature of equality, and a whole host of topics that can invite controversy. Maybe at some point I will offer up those discussions (full disclosure: I have a B.A. in political science with minors in English and women’s studies), but for now I would like to encourage folks to take a couple of actions: embrace education and get compassionately involved. It’s easy to say, “Be the change,” but it is another thing entirely to do it and to do it with compassion.

Democracy is a wonderful and gloriously messy affair. The U.S. Constitution is a brilliant document. Try your knowledge and see if you can pass a citizenship test. If you want to better understand how government works, find a local citizens government academy like this one, or take a course online or at a nearby college. Get to know who your representatives are and contact them about issues that are important to you. And vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. Vote locally, not just nationally. The only vote that doesn’t count is the one that isn’t cast.

For those wondering how politics can relate to yoga or think I shouldn’t talk about it on my blog, you are certainly entitled to your opinion or can choose to ignore this post. But here’s why I don’t think this is out of place: from my 20 years of doing yoga, I have found that yogis as a group are generally thoughtful, compassionate people. And aren’t those the kind of people we need more of in the world?

Stepping off my soap box for now,



Frederick Douglass Day


Frederick Douglass was born February 1818, as a slave named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He died 77 years later as a abolitionist, suffragist, author, editor, statesman, and a free man.

An adamant believer in the equality of all people regardless of gender, race, or nationality, Douglass was a tireless reformer and activist. He understood that emancipation and equality required persistent and forceful activism. He also understood that activism does not preclude being able to reach across ideological and other divides to establish dialogue saying, “I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong.”

Let’s establish dialogues where we can, keep moving forward, and remember that we are all on the same ship together; we are all one.

In peace,


National Freedom Day

img_20170201_153826_656.jpgFebruary 1 is National Freedom Day, celebrating the day Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution that would become the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The wording is simple:

Section 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

While the Amendment formally ended slavery, it did not end discrimination nor universally change what is in people’s hearts. It did, however, shine a light on injustice.

Each of us has some bias in our hearts — bias that is most often rooted in fear. It is up to us to evaluate our bias to better understand it and deal with it in ways that are not harmful to others. We must do our best not to live in divisive fear but in unifying love.


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