Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Technology/Social Media

March 22, 2014

In today's day and age technology has become increasingly more apart of our everyday life.  With smartphones we are connected to the whole world right in the palm of our hand.  For today's Peaceful World Conversation at The Red Victorian we discussed our dependence on technology/social media along with the pros and cons.  We all agreed that it is something that many people become addicted to, continually updating our status', posting photos, and keeping up with those around us.  Many people merely use it as a way to stay connected a contact book of sorts and find it to be very practical.  It is an easy way to see what family members have been up to especially when distance comes into play.  Social media sites have reconnected lost lovers, friends, and family members with a simple click.  It has also been an easy way to spread awareness, with the vast range that the internet can reach people can be told about any injustice happening in the world. For example a women in Ukrainian made a video which went viral exposing the riots and struggle her people were going through.  People all over the world saw her video and posted, shared, exposing the truth.  These are all pros of ways that we use technology along with social media, but there are also cons.  The cons being that natural communication between humans is being lost.  The interaction of chatting with someone on the bus, asking for directions, or even sending a letter has almost become obsolete.  With online relationships there has become a shallowness in emotional depth.  We have become more concentrated on how many people like our photo or making in known where we are and with who.  There has become a hollowness in our communication with one another a synthetic cyber life. 

By hosting these weekly conversations we are trying to invoke, spark, ignite, and inspire a higher level of communication than we have become accustomed to.  We want you to take the topics you read about here, or in our conversations and bring them home with you.  Share them with yours friends and family.  Sit down at a table together, print out your photos from your latest trip, send a letter.  Peace starts with us, communication is peace.  START TODAY! :)  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shine on!

March 15, 2014

Spring has arrived to Haight Street although it feels more like summer, the sun was shining on The Red Victorian's Conversation Tables this morning.  When people come for a visit we encourage them to write a thought provoking question and place it in our conversation bowl. 

Today each picked a different slip of paper written by someone for our topics of conversation.  The first was, "how do you define happiness?"  Mike said being at peace with everything, starting with yourself then with others then with all that is around you.  We came up with doing the things you love, and the freedom to do so, having options in life. Making others happy is also a way to make oneself happy.  There is a special feeling you get when you do something that makes someone happy, whether it be making them smile or laugh, charity work, or just unconditional love.  

The second topic we picked was "what is you favorite flower?" 

Mario shared a story of on a walk he say a very large man stopping to smell some flowers, and how he couldn't help but smile by the toughness of the man taking time to notice and smell a delicate flower.  It helps to remind us of the beauty that our world has to offer.  

The third topic from the bowl was "what do you do to look good, and who would you be without it?"
Most of us just spoke about appearance wise, fixing our hair, putting on makeup, or dressing nicely.  Without these things we all concluded that we would just look sloppy, or not well put together.  It is also important to remember that regardless of how you look you will always be you.  Your beauty shine from the inside out and it is your wonderful personality that makes you unique. So shine on beautiful people, shine on!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

International Women's Day!

March 8, 2014

Today is International Women's Day.  This is a day in which we celebrate the appreciation we have for women for their efforts in economics, political, and social achievements.  The strides that woman have made in the world is taken into observance.  This is a time to appreciate the strength, perseverance, and inspiring efforts made for a better life for all.  Today the Conversation Tables were asked who are the inspirational women in your life?  
Mario started us off with the women who run the meditation center he works for.  He expressed how they create a sense of family that he had always been longing for.  They make him feel comfort and proud.
Mike who is visiting us from Hawaii spoke of his mother and grandmother.  He shared how they worked hard to raise himself and his sibling.  He told stories of their strength both physical and mental, and how deeply he looks up to these women in his life.  
Heidi shared with us the women who showed strength during the civil war in El Salvador.  She remembers them cooking and smiling.  They showed no sign of depression, no sadness but perseverance in a time of hate.  They continued to show strength and hope, seeing these women continue to shine gave Heidi the power to keep going.  
Helene shared with us all the strong women she grew up around. They always pushed her to do what ever it is that she wants to do.  Their constant encouragement pushed her seek better education, to seek professors and teachers to inspire her.  

These are the women we look up to.  These are the women who create the next generation.  These are the women that shape our future. Lets hear it from the women!  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Laugh at Yourself!

Feb. 22, 2014

We often take life a little too seriously. We forget to step back and laugh, and most importantly we forget to laugh at ourselves.  Being able to laugh at ones self is an important key to loving and accepting yourself.  It helps us to understand that deep down we are all rather silly. No one is perfect, and everyone is capable of looking foolish.

 Everyone that was at our Conversation Tables was able to come up with a moment in their life when they seemed to be completely foolish but where able to surpass the embarrassment by laughing along with everyone else.   Laughter is a universal language.  We all do it, and we all know what it means.  It is infections and spreads from our inner core bubbling up in an explosion of joy produced by a willingness to be free.  This willingness to be free helps to be non-judgmental, the laughter we have for other people comes from a positive place.  It is also important to remember the moments in which you laughed at yourself.  Being able to look back at moments in your life and laugh is a great gift.  Sometimes it takes time for you to open up to the humor of a past moment,  it becomes a therapeutic sense of relief to let out a chuckle.

Here at The Red Victorian we encourage you to laugh at yourself everyday, and enjoy laughing at yourself.  Everyone is funny. Life is funny.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Value of Love

Feb. 15, 2014

 This is a day dedicated to expressing love.  Throughout the years Valentine's Day has become more and more commercialized, it has become more about buying those special people in our lives expensive gifts.  Today at our Conversation Tables we discussed this notion of the value of love, if there is one.  It was stated that everyone longs for love,  and everyone is capable of love. With love there are no expectations, this leads us to unhappiness with the ones we love. So what is love?  Love is being present.  Love is a subtle deep connection.  Love is listening, really listening.  Often love gets labeled as roses, or chocolate, or expensive jewelry, whereas these all cost money contributing to the value of love as something that can be bought.

We all agreed that love is something that cannot be bought.  Love is when we share a laugh or a moment.  These moments are worth so much more than commercialized gifts.  Although these are nice they do not compare to the deeper moments that we share with one another.  We are often so locked into our own bubble we forget to look to those we love and feel the connection with each other.  Love is a human interaction that cannot be replaced with gifts.  Love is giving, love is kind, love brings us together.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrate Black History Month

Feb. 8, 2014

FINALLY, SOME RAIN!!! It is a wet one here on Haight Street but that could not keep people away from our conversation tables things morning.  We were joined by a couple from France and another couple who have just moved to the city.  Not only is February a month dedicated to love but also a month to pay honor and remembrance to America's Black population who has suffered years of oppression with Black History Month. We all have been affected by the racism our country has dealt with, but more importantly the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement has impacted us all in great and powerful ways.  The conversation tables were asked, 
"What influences in African-American culture has affected you?"

Many of us agreed that the music has had a great impact on the movement in many ways.  All people were moved by the tunes physically and metaphorically.  Not only did the music tells stories of the struggles but also told us of the triumphs.  The birth of jazz and blues inspired all musicians and joy with dance.  Dance allows us to be free and forget about our problems.

We took time to remember those who not only fought for the rights of the Black population but for the rights of all people.  Rosa Parks and her strength to politely say no on the bus, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for all of his moving, inspiring, and powerful speeches and the thousands who marched for equality.  We pay honor to those who lost their lives and we pay honor to those who continue to stand up for our human rights.  This is our Earth and we all deserve the right to be treated equally regardless of race, gender, religion, or status.  

"Peace not war, generosity not greed, empathy not hate, creativity not destruction, everybody not just us."
-Sami Sunchild  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Simple Pleasures

Jan. 25, 2014

Yesterday, The Peaceful World Foundation was joined by the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) for a debriefing with delegates who recently visited Burma.  They shared their stories and future plans in tourism, education for women, and the end of domestic violence as well as sex trafficking.  Listen to these women speak really makes one think about all of the little pleasures in life that we may take for granted, so today at our conversation tables we looked at this quote:

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."

The American Women for International Understanding

We went around the table and shared our simple pleasures, such as walking down the street in the sunshine.  Enjoying the idea that we know where our next meal is coming from, that we have a roof over our head.  There is even the fact that we can freely sit around a table and discuss a wide range of topics without being under suspicion.  The political freedom that we have is something to truly be grateful for.  It is important to take a moment to appreciate all that we have.  Although the world is not perfect we are hear to make it better.