Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Conversations with James

On warm and sunny days I find myself taking a stroll on Stow Lake at the park. During these walks I began noticing a regular, an older gentleman, with an open and friendly spirit. 
On one of my walks, he smiled my way and said “good morning young lady have a beautiful day.” I returned this kind gesture with a smile. His name is James and he has been walking around Stow Lake for nearly eleven years.

James has a special interaction with the other walking regulars ranging from all ages and all walks of life. On this morning, James and I walked around Stow Lake twice and we were engaged in a rich conversation about life and death.
 Nearly 14 years ago, James had brain surgery and during his surgery they discovered he had a dying heart. After months of searching, they located a heart for him. The heart came from a 29 year old fireman who died during a fire rescue. James’ recovery was one of contemplation and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for life.  
 At 64, James brings a mystical light to the step of every regular walker and the “drop in walker” as he puts it at Stow Lake. I am a witness to this man’s gift. 

He greets from a place of serenity, he tells a joke from the gut, he speaks with an echo of wisdom, and he walks around the lake with purpose. I leave his company with a sense of appreciation and value of the gift of connecting with others in conversation.

“We need each other… to laugh with… to talk with … and to walk with…”                                     -James

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bouquet Club

The sun shined bright and high above the commercial strip on Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights, a tranquil time of day in a community filled neighborhood. The Bernal Heights Library was holding a paper flower making workshop for children as an after-school event; the library holds regular events that you can find on their website, Library Events Calendar.

Heidi and I decided, with our paper flower making history for last year's Dia De Los Muertos celebration, we would participate as the Peaceful World Foundation in this event. Upon arrival we found a handful of ladies ranging from toddler to mother, all focused on their bundle of tissue paper. Across a table near the entrance, we found supplies and a warm welcome from the event coordinator. She offered us a brief tutorial on how to make paper flowers and got our creative juices flowing.

If you are interested in learning how to make your own tissue paper flowers and missed this event, the online tutorials will tell you all you need to know; Online Tutorial.

Soon enough we were trading tips and methods with the young girls and their mothers on how to make different kinds of flowers; cutting, folding, tying and crimping new kinds of paper plants to form beautiful bouquets of color and texture.

  By the end of the workshop, Heidi and I had created bouquets of paper blossoms, filled with color and character. Hopefully with time, the Peaceful World Foundation, can hold its own community building, after-school workshops! This experience left us with a comforting feeling; a bond not only as friends but as members of the Bernal Heights community, connecting with other individuals, young and mature, around the area.

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” 
― Dorothy DayThe Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist

Monday, September 1, 2014

Peace in the Park Festival

Saturday August 23, 2014 marked the beginnings of the Peaceful World Foundation’s new adventures in co-celebration with many others at the Peace in the Park Festival in Golden Gate Park. Our tent decorated by peace signs, bouquets of flowers and an unexpected harpist playing for us within a beautiful landscape of the park elevated our senses. People were indulging on the peaceful activities and swimming through cultural diversity, from the yoga party to the meditation tent all the way down to the live music. Thank you to all of the amazing individuals who helped bring this event to its height and for all the guests that participated in our conversation tent; it was so refreshing to have those meaningful conversations the Peaceful World Foundation is thriving to achieve. 

We had one topic per hour for a 5 hour time span. Our conversation topics included:
"Is Confidence Real?", "What is Friendship?", "Where Do You Call Home?" and more. Participants shared colorful insights and different perspectives related to their life experiences.

I had an enchanting encounter with an agriculturist who had visions. His perspective on the world was so beautiful, he explained that, "the world is like a stage, and we are actors playing our parts in an ongoing drama, and sometimes we need the drama for the less dramatic scenes to really stand out..." His perspective on where you call home is, "home is inside all of us, it is not a structure or a place but rather a feeling of comfort we all hold inside of our bodies. It is the warmth of familiarity."

"What is Friendship" really got everyone’s heart strings vibrating! We had a trio of young women joining the conversation table who are friends and in that particular hour they experienced a deeper connection in friendship as they shared their lessons learned. The more we delve into this topic the stronger their bond of friendship became. Stephanie spoke of a time that she helped a friend through a tough time and how meaningful it was to her friend that she had made time for her, she concluded by saying, "to me it didn't seem like a big deal, but I realized had I not been there that night cracking open a beer with her in my living room we would not have the strong friendship we have today." 

During the conversation topic, "Where do you call home?” one guest surprised me by using words similar to Sami’s words regarding home, "…it must be difficult for refugees and the homeless not to have a structured place to call home. Sometimes I feel silly complaining about my own living situation when I think of all the people out there without one."
You nailed it Dave. 

This festive and harmonious day brought out meaningful conversations which really brought home the Sami Sunchild message, that we are all not so different from one another and peace can persevere. During the conversations as I sat and listened to the participants I could feel Sami's cool, calming, and exciting energy in the breeze and as it touched my cheeks.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Experience San Francisco

June 7, 2014

San Francisco is a stable travel destination for many people.  It is a city full of beautiful history.  A city built with the dreams of art and culture.  Its inhabitants come here seeking a sense of belonging.  This city has a community that strives for a better world. 

Here at The Red Victorian we invite all the worlds travelers to come visit us, to come see what we see about our great city.  We encourage our guests to sit down with us at our conversation tables and tell us of their San Francisco adventures.  Our goal is to inspire visitors to experience the city how we see it, to eat at our local restaurants and hang out with the folks at Dolores Park on a sunny day.  Ride the well known 38-Geary bus to Land's End and feel the cold fog engulf you in another world as you try and see bits of the Golden Gate Bridge without hoards of photo opts.  Spend your day seeking fun and free events that create the community that our city has to offer, the many street fairs that bring out the wackiest of people that we all love.  There are the nudist men strutting their stuff, and Rainbow Man in all of is sparkly glory.  

Our city of San Francisco is a place we want to experience for what it really is.  Eat your weight in burritos and walk it all off with the rolling hills.  Spend the day pretending it is warm.  Talk to the people around you.  Stay with us here at The Red Victorian, and see what San Francisco is all about, we're guaranteed you'll love it.   

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lessons from Traveling

May 31, 2014

The Red Victorian is a place in which many travelers can call a home away from home.  We encourage our guests to sit down with one another for a conversation with us and other travelers.  Today's topic focused on the traveler and the lessons we learn when traveling.  

The group expressed that traveling is traveling no matter how far and you can often learn so much by just taking a walk through your own town.  We sometimes forget what it is like to be inexperienced in with your surroundings.  It is important to remember how useful learning a few phrases of another language can be.  When you apply an effort to engage in someones culture there becomes a feeling of open interaction.  Our perception of the world changes when we travel, we often see how "rich" we actually are.  As a traveler you are vulnerable to new experiences, and this vulnerability should not be something to fear.  You must open yourself to what the world has to offer.  These experiences shape and mold you into someone different than when you set out on your journey.  

Some of the worlds travelers.

When you travel you are able to see the world through sensitive eyes and open heart.  We appreciate the traveler for all that know and all that they have experienced.  These experiences help to build a world of peace and unity.  The more we know about each other the more we can help one another. The more we speak and converse, society will begin to construct itself for the better.   The traveler is someone who has the power to change the world. It all begins with you. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Our Value to Our Planet

We continue to honor Sami with the Peaceful World's Foundation morning conversations.  We continue to use topics that Sami had come up with in a mission to get people talking about important issues.  This weeks topic was, 

"Are human beings of value to the planet?"

-Sami Sunchild               


As we look at how neglected our planet has become it is easy to argue that as human beings we are doing more harm than good.  With the hole in our Ozone and the devastating effects of deforestation, greed has overtaken our society.  We take more from our plant than we give back, polluting our bodies with unnatural extremities.  How can we be of value to a planet that we only see as cash crop?
We discussed that in order for us to be of value to the planet we must value ourselves.  We have an obligation that we must respect in order to keep out planet sustainable.  When we respect ourselves we are able contribute our energies in positive ways.  Protecting our planet is important, she provides us with life.  It was brought up that we are as much value to the planet as we value ourselves.  By respecting the land that has been given to us we can be better as a whole.   This earth has been providing everything we have ever needed, as the years go by we have forgotten where we have come from. We are all beings of exponentiation worth.  We have the ability to be the change that this world deserves.  Change beings with you.  Change begins with a conversation.  Change begins with us coming together.
Join us Saturday mornings at The Red Victorian to join the movement to better the world, one conversation at a time. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Experiencing a Great Change in Yourself

May 17, 2014

Having found a journal of Sami's full of her ideas of conversation topics we use another one of her's today.  This weeks topic was, 

"Times in your life you experienced a great change in yourself?"

We were joined by Steve visiting from Seattle for his son's graduation from USF and Jessie a San Francisco native.  

Steve spoke about how after he himself had graduated from college he accepted a job in Kuwait in the early 90s. He was there when Iraq invaded the country, he remembers this as a time when he felt he really needed to grow up.  He felt a new maturity in himself with a real world event happening all around him, he remembers seeing the tanks drive down the streets and the ever presence of war.  Steve recalls this time in his life so easily, he saw it a moment to grow up and see how the world is but also in ways of how he can change it.  War for some people is a normal everyday thing that they must accept, we as a society have the obligation to put an end to war.  

Jessie shared with the group how little we may no about people and what they are going through before speaking with them.  We often look at our own lives and only see our own suffering until we speak with someone else and learn that are going through something similar.  Speaking with others changes the being inside of us.  We are moved by one another, by conversing change can happen.  It may start out small, but as Sami Sunchild said, "Peace begins with YOU!"