Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One World

'Two months ago, Brazilian graffiti artist Kobra, 40, who lives in Sao Paulo, began working on a mural which was recently determined to be the world's largest mural completed by a single man.

To create the masterpiece for the Rio Olympics Kobrda used 100 gallons of white paint, 400 gallons of colored paint, and 3,500 cans of spray paint to transform normal walls into visions of color and beauty.

The mural, titled Las Etnias (Ethnicities) depicts the cultural diversity of the games.  50 feet (15 meters) tall and 30,000 square feet (2,782 square meters) wide, it features five faces from five different continents that represent the Olympic rings.

"These are the indigenous people of the worl," says Kobra on the Rio 2016 official website.  "The idea behind it is that we are all one.  We're living through a very confusing time with a lot of conflict.  I wanted to show that everyone is united, we are all connected."

Too bad there isn't a medal for masterfully painting murals, for Kobra would undoubtedly receive the gold.' 

To see more beautiful photos of the mural click, 'We are all one.'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Six All Time Inspiring Olympic Events

‘The Olympics are a time for athletic greatness - and also a time for truly inspiring feats. Sit back and take a look at some of the most inspiring moments from the past 90 years of Olympic Games.
One of them was Jessie Owens.  He was an Afro-American and was competing in track and field in 1936 Berlin.  Because of the color of his skin, Hitler’s Germany viewed Owens as a lesser athlete.  Owens took the prejudice against him as motivation and would go on to win four gold medals (in the 100 meters, long jump, and 4x100 relay.)'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

All Life is Sacred

‘John Malloy’s father was in Army Intelligence and assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Shanghai when Malloy was an infant. When Chiang Kai-shek fled China three years later, in 1949, Malloy’s family was the last one out of Shanghai on a plane. From there they went to the Philippines during the Huk rebellion. And then there was Java and Borneo and jungle living. By the time Malloy was seventeen, he had moved forty-four times. In his young life as a rolling stone, Malloy learned to rely on himself. Whatever allies and friends he might have begun to cultivate in one place were always torn away by his constant displacement. In schools in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Oakland, as the new kid, he learned to fight. Every day was a trial. While living in San Francisco he ended up in juvenile hall. Later, he did time for assaulting the perpetrators of a rape. Being unprotected from bullies in school wasn’t so different from how it was in jail. The big eat the little. But Malloy was a warrior. It was during his time in jail that something crystallized for him. “I knew that I was going to clean up my mess and spend the rest of my life working in institutions to help take care of the people who no one else was taking care of.”
His resolve led to the creation of a school for young people who had been incarcerated, the Foundry School. Intuitively at first, and later in a more conscious way, he arrived at highly effective ways of helping young people whose lives had spiraled down into violence and crime. Word of Malloy’s integrity, courage, and effectiveness spread. It’s how he began to meet Native Americans who entrusted their at-risk children into his care. For Malloy, it was a pivotal event. In Native American spirituality he found a way of looking at the world that resonated most deeply with his own experience.’

The Librarian Heroes of Timbuktu

'On Friday morning, January 25, 2013, 15 jihadis entered the restoration and conservation rooms on the ground floor of the Ahmed Baba Institute in Sankoré, a government library in Mali. The men swept 4,202 manuscripts off lab tables and shelves and carried them into the tiled courtyard. They doused the manuscripts—including 14th- and 15th-century works of physics, chemistry, and mathematics, their fragile pages covered with algebraic formulas, charts of the heavens, and molecular diagrams—in gasoline. Then they tossed in a lit match. The brittle pages and their dry leather covers ignited in a flash.
In minutes, the work of Timbuktu’s greatest savants and scientists, preserved for centuries, hidden from the 19th-century jihadis and French conquerors, survivors of floods, bacteria, water, and insects, were consumed by the inferno.
In the capital city of Bamako 800 miles away, the founder of Timbuktu’s Mamma Haidara Library, a scholar and community leader named Abdel Kader Haidara, saw the burning of the manuscripts as a tragedy—and a vindication of a remarkable plan he’d undertaken. Starting with no money besides the meager sum in his savings account, the librarian had recruited a loyal circle of volunteers, badgered and shamed the international community into funding the scheme, raised $1 million, and hired hundreds of amateur smugglers in Timbuktu and beyond. Their goal? Save books.' 

To read more click, 'They all made it.'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Transgender God?

‘Religious arguments are often brought in to defend social prejudices – as in the discussion about transgender rights.  In fact, the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender.  The God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong, was understood by its earliest worshippers to be a dual-gendered deity.’
To read more click, 'Not a matter of either/or'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California 

Wonderful Short Film of the Dalai Lama 'at Home:'

From Alive Mind Apr. 21,2016 - 'The daily life of the Dalai Lama is brought home with remarkable intimacy in Sunrise/Sunset. Granted total access to His Holiness for 24 hours, this is a day in the life of the Dalai Lama from when he wakes up at 3AM until his bedtime at dusk.'

To view click, 'Sunrise, Sunset'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Are We Missing Something?

'In 18th-century America, colonial society and Native American society sat side by side.  The former was buddingly commercial; the latter was communal and tribal.  As time went by, the settlers from Europe noticed something:  No Indians were defecting to join colonial society, but many whites were defecting to live in the Native American one.'

'Benjamin Franklin observed the phenomenon in 1753, writing, “When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return.”
At the same time, many European settlers were taken prisoner and held within Indian tribes.  After a while, they had plenty of chances to escape and return, and yet they did not.  In fact, when they were “rescued”, they fled and hid from their rescuers.
As Hector Crevecoeur wrote, “Thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one those aborigines having from choice become European.” '
Are we missing something?  To read more click, 'The American Indian Leap'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paying It Forward

'A waitress who did a good deed for a pair of firefighters was overwhelmed when they returned the favor—for her father.'

To read more click, 'Your breakfast is on me today.'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Singing South African Firefighters in Canada

'Nearly 300 South African firefighters landed at the airport in Canada to inspire hope for a nation fighting against a massive wildfire, not only by their presence but with their voices as they broke into song before joining their Canadian brothers on the front lines.'

To read and see more click, 'Musical dance line helps them bond'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

The Wakhan Corridor

Beautiful, poignant photos from another world.

To see more click, 'Wakhan, An Other Afghanistan'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

A Zulu Drum and a Rugby Ball

From Lynne McTaggart, a mind/heart expanding story of South Africa:
'During his sixty-three trips to South Africa in the 1980s, Beck, a former professor of social psychology at University of North Texas, became known as a bridge builder between the country’s black and white populations; as a consequence, he played a behind-the-scenes role in helping to smooth the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

In his dealings with the business community, he began to realize that many of the pro-apartheid Afrikaners, the dominant white group, were unable to differentiate between various black tribes, while members of the African National Congress, the party led by Nelson Mandela, also had difficulty distinguishing between different types of Afrikaners.
Beck began delivering presentations all over South Africa to educate whites and blacks in the fine distinctions between the many different Zulu tribes and white groups.

“I was able to break up,” he says, “the definitional systems that fueled prejudice.”
It was Beck who first came up with the idea of using South Africa’s entry into the World Cup rugby play-offs in 1995, depicted in the film Invictus, as a means of creating nation-building euphoria, in order to unify a country emerging from apartheid. Beck had a special fascination with the psychology of premier-league games, and through his experiences working with the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints, he had developed a belief in the power of sports as a peacemaker.

This was a bold idea, given that the Springboks, the South African rugby team, were the very symbol of apartheid. Rugby was considered a white man’s sport. Virtually all players were Afrikaners, the white pro-apartheid minority; rugby coaches even shouted out plays in Afrikaans. English-speaking or black players seldom made the team, and consequently, the black population in South Africa actively boycotted the sport.
In 1995, Beck presented Kitch Christie, the Springboks coach, with a paper entitled Six Games to Glory, which detailed a series of psychological strategies that would help transform the team from underdog to world-class contender in the games leading up to the World Cup. Besides the strategies for winning the game, Beck’s paper included ways that the Springboks could stand as a focal point of pride for the fledgling country and connect the township blacks with the Afrikaners.
He suggested that the Springboks adopt a collaborative or common identity — the green and gold colors of the team shirts, and a sports crowd song, with a Zulu drum to lead the team and arouse the crowd.

Beck arranged for the team to visit Mandela’s tiny prison cell at Robben Island, in order to emphasize their larger role in their country’s destiny. Above all, his exercises were to help develop a sense that each member of the team faced a life-defining moment requiring that they pull together as one.
As the games progressed, Beck’s superordinate goal began to infect the country; young blacks from the township tore down anti-rugby signs and hung photos of their Springbok heroes. During the World Cup, which the Springboks went on to win, Mandela was persuaded to appear in a Springbok green and gold shirt — the colors that had always symbolized his oppressors — as a tangible sign of unity and forgiveness.

To Beck, creating a superordinate goal is one of the best ways to achieve peace in areas of political conflict. In his work, Beck often meets with both sides in an area of conflict and shows them a positive vision of future possibility, but one that requires that both sides work together and use their common geography and resources to create a solution for all who live there.'
To read more click, 'A Zulu drum'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California

Monday, August 1, 2016

Seeing a Need and Meeting It

                              To read more click, 'It May Seem Like an Ordinary Overpass'

Pope Francis: Believe in a New Humanity

'Pope Francis encouraged hundreds of thousands of young people at a global gathering of the faithful in Poland on Sunday to “believe in a new humanity” that is stronger than evil and refuses to see borders as barriers.  "God," said Francis in his final homily of the pilgrimage, “demands of us real courage, the courage to be more powerful than evil, by loving everyone, even our enemies.”
“People may judge you to be dreamers, because you believe in a new humanity, one that rejects hatred between peoples, one that refuses to see borders as barriers and can cherish its own traditions without being self-centered or small-minded,” Francis told his flock, many of them in their late teens, 20s or 30s.'
To read more click, 'The courage to be more powerful than evil'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California