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Parks, Plants, and Peace

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Parks, Plants, and Peace

“Landscapes move us in a manner more analogous to the action of music than to anything else. Gradually and silently the charm carries over us: the beauty has entered our souls we know not exactly when and how.” Frederick Law Olmstead

It was in the 1860s that America’s pioneer landscape architect brought calming, pastoral public areas to urban dwellers with his design of New York’s Central Park. Throughout his life, Frederick Law Olmstead, designed 100 public parks and recreation grounds and his successor firm has seen the development of over 1090 parkway systems over the last 100 years. With all his parks, he planted peace and tranquility for posterity.

Post Thanksgiving, it is finally feeling like autumn with cooler and crisper air, turning leaves, and stressless strolls through bucolic parks. Our climate is changing and as gardeners we struggle to keep pace.

November is the best time to begin planting spring-blooming bulbs. I picked my first bouquet of narcissi of the season on November 1st before I had even begun planting any other bulbs. Once the ground chills to about 55 degrees, start the process of planting naturalizing narcissi as well as other bulbs in well-drained sandy loam where they’ll receive at least six hours of sunlight daily.

With our dense, nutrition-lacking California clay soil, we need to amend it with sand, peat moss, and compost before digging the holes. All flower bulbs require neutral PH soil around 7.0 to develop a strong root system that supports flowers. Mother Nature is busy spreading her wild seeds via the wind, birds, animal fur, and even our stocking feet. Most flowers need the next few colder months to rest and germinate. Before the geese head south, walk around your yard to ponder what you’ll want to improve, include, edit, or change for the spring. Our year of outdoor work is winding down as our celebration of gratitude approaches. Work off the calories of the holiday season with garden chores in preparation for a respite this coming winter. Head to the park to unwind, encounter stillness, and appreciate beauty. Listen to the music of nature.

ü  PROTECT plant roots by mulching your garden.

ü  TURN the soil in your vegetable garden, pull out any unwanted growers such as mint, add buckets of compost, and plant a nitrogen-rich cover crop like fava beans or clover. Blanket the ground with straw and continue mulching until planting time in spring.

ü  SUPPRESS weeds while enriching the soil by laying newspaper (three or four sheets) on your bare earth. The newspaper will biodegrade and the zinc in the ink adds nutrients to the mulch. Cover with straw, leaves, or wood chips to continue adding nutrients.

ü  GRIND fallen leaves with a mower to reduce particle size and increase decomposition time.

ü  DIG up bulblets of mother bulbs with numerous offshoots. Separate and replant in other areas.

ü  SOAK ranunculus and anemone tubers in tepid water overnight or for at least three or four hours before planting three inches deep and six inches apart in well-draining soil in full sunlight.

ü  PLANT spring bulbs beginning this month. Make sure you have refrigerated your tulips and crocus for at least four weeks before being dug. The best bulbs to plant for spring radiance include:

Daffodil: Hardy in cold or warm climates. Daffodils grow great in pots, too!

Tulip: Also great in containers. Group like colors together for the greatest impact.

Freesia: Magnificently scented in a rainbow of colors.

Ranunculus: Cottage-style flowers with peony-like blooms.

Hyacinth: Tough, fragrant, growing in sun or shade.

Iris: Purple, blue, white, yellow, and mauve Dutch iris make great cut flowers.

Anemone: Single or double colorful tubers prefer light shade.

Crocus: Only a few inches high, you’ll know winter is waning when they sprout.

ü  FORCE hardy flower bulbs of amaryllis, freesias, and paperwhites for Christmas blooming by potting them in sterile, neutral PH potting soil in an area where they will enjoy a temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit with good air circulation and low humidity. Give them a big drink of warm water, tamp down the soil, and do not water again until green sprouts. Amaryllis will sprout spectacular shows within eight weeks.

ü  CUT stalks of peonies to ground level and discard the cuttings as they are not good for compost. If your peonies didn’t bloom, they may be planted too deep. Dig them up this month, rework the soil, and replant ½ inch higher than the soil level.

ü  COOK a pan of cubed winter squash with rosemary for a healthy and satisfying autumn inspired side dish.

ü  TURN OFF sprinkler systems. Water by hand when necessary.

ü  LOWER mower height as lawn growth slows. If you didn’t fertilize in October or earlier in November, fertilize now with an organic fall blend.

ü  GUARD against an unexpected frost by watering deeply and covering susceptible shrubs with burlap, fabric, or blankets the afternoon before the cold arrives.

ü  REDUCE your garden work out by seeking out plants that are identified as “compact”. Look for tags that say dwarf, patio, knee-high, tiny, or baby in the variety name. If a plant tag says “perfect for cut flowers” it will grow to be too large for a small space.

ü  PICK pomegranates as they ripen or split. Harvest persimmons on trees that are being ravaged by birds and squirrels even before they are ripe. Leave on the countertop to ripen as needed.

ü  VISIT our local parks to inhale autumn aromas and savor the sensational fall foliage.

2022 marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmstead. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we can add his legacy to our thankfulness list for introducing America to the beauty, tranquility, and necessity of experiencing nature through the development of idyllic parks in towns and cities.


Let us also give our thanks to the hard-working volunteers of local garden clubs who have planted a multitude of bulbs that will blanket our roadways and hillsides with glorious blooms come spring!

My gratitude to YOU for reading my garden musings. Savor the peace of parks this season with friends and family and celebrate the melodic beauty of our rural landscapes.


Pace, plant, pick, and protect!


Saturday December 10th is Santa Day at 5 A in collaboration with Be the Star You Are!® charity. Come get your photo taken with Santa and his elf plus book signing of the children’s book, No Barnyard Bullies, the perfect holiday gift delivering kindness. Thanks to Mark Hoogs of State Farm Insurance (www.TeamHoogs.com) for sponsoring BTSYA. Info: www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events


Happy gardening and happy growing.  Happy Final Days of Fall!

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.


For holiday gifts, buy copies of her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures along with her garden books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul atwww.cynthiabrian.com/online-store 

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Cynthia is available for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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Seeds or Starts?

Posted by rstapholz on
Seeds or Starts?

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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

No matter how many springs I’ve encountered, I am forever awed and amazed at the bursting of blossoms and the beauty of the lush landscapes. Every year I find myself reiterating how much I adore this wondrous season. A fever warms the air, one that encourages me to weed, seed, feed, plan, and plant. Are you feeling this same urge to indulge in outdoor projects?

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Before you go to your local nursery or garden center to shop, take photos of your yard and patio. Make a tentative plan of what projects you’d like to tackle. Peruse a catalog to find photos and descriptions of plants that you think will shine in your garden. Do you want to buy seed packets or are you planning on buying starts? It pays to know what plants grow best when seeds are scattered and what plants will do better when they are purchased either in six-packs, flats, gallons, or larger.

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It is possible to buy seeds for almost any plant, however, not all seeds will sprout successfully. Over the years, I have found the following flowers, herbs, and vegetables do well when planted by seed.










Bachelor’s Button       

Four O’clock


California Poppy

Shasta Daisy



Vegetables and Herbs




Swiss Chard



















Lemon Balm

Herb Robert Geranium Weed.jpeg

Other than cherry tomatoes, I have never had success growing tomatoes from seed. Cucumber and zucchini have done better in my potagers by sowing starts. Most weeds are spread by seeds including the pretty when small, Herb Robert geranium. The aroma of this lime green weed with the tiny pink petal flowers is pleasing, but it needs to be pulled as soon as possible as it is invasive. A cover crop that I seed in fall is vetch. Vetch fixes nitrogen in the soil and is good in both sunny and shady locations, however, if not managed properly, you’ll spend many hours untangling to dig it into the soil.


Before you depart for the nursery, write a list of what you are seeking, and know that once you arrive, your shopping dreams may take a deep detour. You’ll be tempted by the magnificent selections the nursery offers. It’s up to you to know the conditions of your landscape…where it is sunny, shady, rocky, moist, dry, flat, or hilly. Will you be planting in containers or planting directly in the ground? Pay careful attention to the tags on the plants you are considering. They provide an enormous amount of useful information that can help you determine if this plant is correct for your garden. If there is a Q code, scan it to find out additional instructions. Buy only what you can put in the ground within two or three days. You don’t want your new purchases to remain in pots longer than necessary. I am very guilty of buying too much at one time instead of making multiple trips. 

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Another important tip is to determine the container size of each flower, herb, vegetable, shrub, or tree that you will purchase. If you are a person that demands instant gratification and you don’t want to wait for a specimen to grow to its full potential, or you don’t have the time to let the plant grow, buy the largest container. You will pay a premium, but perhaps this purchase could be worth the extra cost to you to have immediate coverage. On the other hand, if you are the patient type as I am and time is not of the essence, purchase the smallest container. It will be less expensive and with time, your plant will be as large or larger than ones available in larger sizes. With annuals, it may behoove you to buy larger sizes, although I am a big fan of buying six-packs and flats. When buying a shrub of any size, look for full and dense leaf formation. Plant health is important. The pot should not be root bound. Healthy roots are white, not gray, or mushy.


I learned an important lesson in planting trees many years ago when I was designing my backyard. As my central focal point, I wanted a magnolia tree that boasts beautiful white blooms attractive to pollinators. I bought the biggest tree that I could find. It was approximately ten feet tall in a huge container that was so heavy it took three people to manage it.  I paid a fortune, but at the time, felt the cost assured me my desired outcome. That same week, my mother gave me a six-inch tall sapling in a quart pot. I planted it at the back of my garden, believing that it would never become a large tree. Within three years, both trees were the exact same size, and now, three decades later, my mother’s magnolia gift is double the size of my purchase. Both are beautiful, but the free sapling is dramatic!

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Easter and Passover arrive with spectacular spring showers of flowers highlighted by tulips, wisteria, bluebells, azaleas, flowering trees, and the fruity fragrances of lilac, hyacinth, and jasmine. Pick a bouquet from your garden to celebrate these sacred holidays.

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No matter whether you spring into spring with seeds or starts, just do it!



Honor Mother Earth on Friday, April 22 by tuning in to the Earth Gratitude Virtual Festival live-streamed at https://www.unify.org. Two of my Be the Star You Are!® volunteers who are reporters on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio as well as myself have featured videos. Esteemed contributors include the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Prince Charles, Elon Musk, Deepak Chopra, and others. Together we will celebrate our planet.


On Saturday, April 23 at noon, enjoy a FREE Virtual Wonders Magic Show crafted for the entire family with a renowned Irish magician. Although the interactive show is FREE, you do have to register to receive the ZOOM link. More info at https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org. Or email thestarsworkshop@gmail.com 



Wishing you a hippity hoppity Easter and a peaceful Passover. Enjoy an amazing April with your family.

Cynthia Brian EASTER bunny.jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Stand in Solidarity with Ukraine.

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1604/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Spring-shopping-Seeds-or-starts.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.



Spring into Solidarity

Posted by rstapholz on
Spring into Solidarity

Ceononthus-california lilac.jpeg

By Cynthia Brian 

“Lose yourself in nature and find peace.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Between the pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian war, and, for me, a frightening family medical emergency, 2022 has been tumultuous and tough. Everyone is feeling the pain regardless of any city, county, or country residence. Anxiety and stress mount daily as news of the world become ever desperate, depressing, and diabolical.

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Increased research indicates that nature-based activities are an excellent therapeutic intervention to ease our mental and physical stress. Whether it is a walk in the park, forest-bathing, hugging a tree, smelling the jasmine, or weeding your garden, taking a break with the beauty of the natural environment is an essential element in keeping us well. Listening to bird songs, the croaking of frogs, the lapping of waves, or the trickling of a fountain all have positive effects on our health. We’ll lower our blood pressure and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol as we awaken our senses outdoors.

Blue Star Grass.jpeg

Standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, I continue to embrace the colors of blue and yellow. Perhaps because I’m looking for those colors, they seem to be everywhere, and I am shooting photos. This week I’m enjoying the tiny, starred cerulean of Blue-Eyed grass as well as the ubiquitous buttery blooms on freesia. Marsh rosemary (Limonium, sea lavender), nasturtiums, and sedum carpet hillsides and paths reminding me of the courage of the Ukrainians. I hiked a trail around an Emeryville harbor to soak in the water views and inhale the fresh sea air, while marveling at the spectacular cobalt plumes of Pride of Madeira (echium fastuosom) and the sky blues of California lilac (ceanothus). My mood instantly improved. 

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Being in nature fosters resilience as well as encourages awe and wonder. Nature is restorative to body, mind, and spirit. Spring is here and the ground is bursting with new life. Trees unfurl luxuriant leaves, bulbs bloom in a kaleidoscope of colors, and fruit trees, including apple, pear, crabapple, and cherry are bursting with buds. This is the perfect season to plant peace.

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I’ve planted three avocado trees that have been nurtured from a pit. A dwarf navel orange has been added to my citrus grove which is buzzing with bees sucking on the sweet nectar. Since I added new nutrient soil last season to my garden, there are numerous weeds. Pulling those weeds is time-consuming, yet it allows me to let my mind wander, relaxing enough to assist in solving challenges. Once my hillside is free of unwanted plants, I will begin to sow seeds of “pretties”, flowering annuals that will bring me joy and tranquility.


If you are looking for seeds that will grow in our region, visit the Moraga Library where the Moraga Garden Club has installed a FREE seed library. The public is invited to take up to five packs of seeds and if you want to donate seeds to this marvelous outreach project, you are invited to do so.

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It’s not too late to plant roses and since peace is what everyone wants and deserves, consider planting the beautiful Peace Rose. It will brighten your garden and your heart.

As I lose myself in nature to find peace, I recall the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

“One day the people of the world will want peace

so much that the governments will have to get out

of their way and give it to them.”

Pride of Madeira (echium fastuosum).jpeg

I think that time is now! 

Peace be with you.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April


ü  EMPTY vessels of standing water as mosquitoes are already breeding. For fountains and birdbaths, clean the water regularly or add drops of bleach or mosquito dunks.

ü  REMOVE deep-rooted weeds such as dandelions from your garden by hand. 

ü  DECREASE the spread of crabgrass by applying a pre-emergent that keeps seeds from germinating.

ü  HARVEST the tender leaves of wild mustard, arugula, purslane, and dandelion. Add to salads and sandwiches for a surprising snap.

ü  AERATE your lawn to improve the absorption of moisture and fertilizer before reseeding.

ü  PICK UP dropped camellia blooms to deter petal blight.

ü  REFRAIN from cutting back daffodils until they are as crisp as a cracker. They need to replenish the nutrients to the bulb for next year’s floral explosion.

ü  CUT small branches of crabapple or redbud to bloom in a vase on your nightstand. 

western redbud in bloom.jpeg

Research indicates that individuals with the brightest outlook and happiest attitudes keep blooms bedside. 

ü  FERTILIZE lawns and shrubs.

ü  SCATTER snail bait to protect new shoots from the crawlers. 

ü  VISIT your local nursery to buy intriguing plants that will increase the attractiveness of your landscape and improve your temperament.

ü  LOSE yourself in nature and find peace.

ü  SUPPORT Ukraine.

yellow sedum, cheery trees, Lank bansia roses blooming.jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Spring!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1603/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Plant-for-Peace.html


Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.



Rest! You’ll be More Productive By Ariel & Shya Kane

Posted by Editor on
Rest! You’ll be More Productive By Ariel & Shya Kane

Do you ever think that resting is an indulgence? We’re all so driven to get somewhere we think if we take a break, we’ll fall behind. Take that break. Join Ariel & Shya Kane for this rejuvenating episode – disengage from your “projects” and discover the magic of Being Here!

Listen Live this Wednesday, August 30th at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel: http://www.transformationmadeeasy.com/being-here-radio-show/

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 500 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here: http://www.transformationmadeeasy.com/being-here-radio-show-archives/

You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:

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Our Collective Well-Being: Beyond Borders By Cheryl Esposito

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Our Collective Well-Being: Beyond Borders By Cheryl Esposito

Cheryl Esposito welcomes Kimberly Weichel, social change entrepreneur, leader of global peace initiatives, advisor to NGO’s and author. Her latest book is Beyond Borders: One Woman’s Journey of Courage, Passion and Inspiration. As CEO of Peace x Peace she supported and mentored a global network of 30,000 peacebuilders in 125 countries to raise women’s voices as catalysts for social change. Under apartheid in South Africa, Kim did grassroots peacebuilding, advocacy-cross cultural training. She managed int’l peacebuilding education and development projects with the UN: and co-founded the Institute for Peacebuilding, training teachers, parents, community and organizations. In every situation, success required partnership, collaboration, intuition, nurturing and long-term thinking. These skills are essential for our collective wellbeing. Together, we can influence the trajectory of our global village. Are you in? Join Cheryl Esposito and Kimberly Weichel exploring the power of our collective wellbeing.

More Here!


Posted by Editor on

Fitness coach and personal trainer Maria DiGiuseppe describes her book, “Fit and Faithful,” as “a personal testimony of faith with professional fitness and nutrition guidance.” Identifying Christianity as a major influence in her life, she shares scriptures that provide universal direction for good health, regardless of your cultural affiliations.

Maria suggests, “we need the same principles, commitment and endurance with regard to our physical body as we do to our spiritual body in order to have good health and peace of mind. Living your life honestly and being mindful of how you influence others is one of the greatest contributions you can make.” She further advises:

“Repentance or metanoia means, “to turn away from.” What modifications do you need to make to create a healthier lifestyle, such as “turning away” from overeating, excessive drinking, and a lack of discipline? Make these changes and write them down. Practically speaking, we can replace old habits with new ones. For example, instead of watching TV at night for two hours, take a one-hour walk around the neighborhood.  How many days a week can you commit to exercising? Make a pledge to yourself to stick to that plan. Beyond changing habits, commitment is about staying on the healthy lifestyle path! When you are steadfast, even if you lose the weight you want, or are in the best shape of your life, in the face of an upsetting experience or difficult challenge you’ll persevere! There is not a quitting option. If you’re going through a stressful event, the progress you’ve already made may help you to handle it better.

“If your life has taken a turn and you have to define a new sense of “normal,” that’s okay. Over time, you may be able to do something that you couldn’t do last year. If someone suggests that something you want to do is out of your reach, that you’re too old, or that it’s too late to accomplish your goals, keep in mind: If you can see it and plan it, you can achieve it!

While we live in a world in which so much is permissible, for some even one glass of wine is not a good idea. Addiction doesn’t mean that you do it daily or can’t live without it. It means that you’re doing something that causes you to suffer adverse consequences and yet you continue to do it. I believe this applies to relationships too. If a relationship only causes pain and stress, it’s probably best to put boundaries in place or get away from it all together. Try not to let the world dictate how you choose to live.

Romans 12:2 guides, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Once you change your patterns and think differently about things, you will start becoming the best version of yourself and live an amazing life!  Pray for direction.”

Health is also being able to handle stress. Since some things are out of your control, I’m an advocate of trusting in something bigger than what you can understand. I believed the Bible had all the answers and knew that one day I would get around to reading it, but didn’t realize that I shouldn’t take time for granted. Define your standard today while you have the opportunity. Delineate what you believe. A strong foundation sets norms for how you live spiritually and with regard to good health. As the standard for Christians, the bible offers hope and answers to life’s questions. Matthew 7:7 says, “ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  

I think people can get caught in a vicious cycle. When one bad situation occurs after another, you might feel that your life is spiraling out of control. This is why I think it’s so important to have faith. It’s the umbrella over everything else. Faith according to Hebrews 11:1 is being certain of what you hope for, and confident of what you cannot see. Look for ways no matter how small, to pick yourself up. Suffering without seeking support can lead to disability and depression. Doctors may not have the answers but there may be other resources available to you, such as counseling or family support.  Don’t give up! Eventually you will see the light that is shining in the dark. Psalm 119:105 states: “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  

Maria suggests that following the standard of a “higher power” makes for a disciplined life, much like how athletes train to be their best. She offers the guidance of Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

As you construct a foundation through which you can uphold your commitment, a mindset of perseverance, and discipline, Maria urges: “When you lack motivation, you can rely on the purpose that God gives you for your life, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).”

Listen to my conversation with Maria on “Turn the Page” to learn about the four concepts that she sees as essential for physical and spiritual health.

How do Identity and Cultural Difference Impact Leadership? By Maureen Metcalf

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How do Identity and Cultural Difference Impact Leadership? By Maureen Metcalf

This blog is a companion to an interview with Professor Mike Hardy on VoiceAmerica “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations” on December 27, 2016 focusing on the importance of understanding how we address vulnerability and build trust when interacting with people who appear different.

Mike was an academic economist before changing course and working for the foreign service in the UK. He was interested in the Islamic world and the global issues facing us in that part of the world and our part of the world. He is now the Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. It is the largest peace studies center in Europe with a focus on mobilizing scholarship and academic work to help policy makers understand the issues of vulnerability and the importance of trust in creating peace.
We began by discussing how the study of peace is a leadership issue. Leadership changes the world, and presently we are in a mess in part because the quality of our leaders is, in many cases, lacking. By helping leaders understand their own views and behaviors when facing diversity, we enhance our leadership capacity. When we eliminate segments of the population because they appear different, we remove valuable insights and perspectives.

The ILA is interested in mobilizing leaders at all levels, and it empowers everyone to be leaders who address the compelling challenges we face in our families, communities and organizations.  Mike is a true leader and role model in his field demonstrating leadership evolution and impact through his action. All of us, whether you consider yourself to be a leader, need to take stock of how we follow as well as how we lead.  

The power of leaders is limited by how worthy they are of following and by whether their followers follow. The best leaders create other leaders and give them the space to lead. The expectation of leaders and followers is also dependent on the culture and systems in organizations. We recognize, as an example, government organizations often differ vastly from academics therefore the expectations of leaders and followers is different.  

The twenty-first century is a relationship age and the inner-connectedness of everything. We discussed the forces of prejudice versus the forces of pluralism—Mike wants to promote living peacefully in complex diverse communities. If people are not comfortable living and working among diverse people, then leaders need to spend their time policing and setting rules and guidelines to keep us safe. The alternative is a scenario in which the group creates norms and finds ways to move through situations based on its agreements without the boss intervening. If we learn to be comfortable in the space difference creates, we discover opportunity for everyone and diversity becomes a true differentiator in solving the greatest problems. When we limit diversity, we limit perspectives and are at a disadvantage.

Now let’s shift from diversity to the crisis of migration and again how we manage the flood of people into Europe and the US who look and act differently than the prevailing culture. Millions of people are fleeing the conflict in Syria and other parts of the world in which appalling atrocities are taking place. The consequences of this flood of people who are different and without resources create a dilemma. How do countries deal with this when there is such a strong reaction of prejudice and fear? So, the real crisis is: How do countries and communities cope, finding a path forward to accommodate people yet maintaining social norms and function, when flooded with people who are different in significant ways? Are the refugees coming as migrants who are choosing to stay, or staying because they can’t go home? How do we as citizens and compassionate people deal with the drivers of the movement rather than the movement itself? The real driver of the threat is not the refugees, but the plight of refugees. How do we as a global community deal with this underlying problem?

Mike is researching identity. People present themselves in the way they want to be seen. His campaign asks: Can people move from a focus on who I am to how I behave? The literature suggests that identity creates problems for us. We see immigrants as different from those living in the communities they are joining. If we need to belong and if we need also to be different, how do we integrate these two drivers into peaceful relationships?
If my identity conflicts with your identity, does this mean we will be at odds because our groups are at odds? As humans, we see ourselves as a group of identities (soccer fans, Gen X, work focus, partner/family, nationality), how do we hold that complex set of identities? Our identities are like the many ingredients in a good stew; really tasty stew is comprised of many ingredients, including spices cooked over an extended time. In some cases, however, we behave as if people with different identities (or a few different ingredients in the stew) are wrong or distasteful. Because we focus on identity, we are conditioned to look at the barriers and differences rather than commonalities. This programming can create a significant challenge in how we interact with people who appear different. How can we shift from this focus on identity to a focus on behavior irrespective of identity?

Mike has built a university center to focus on how we deal with identity and cultural difference. He believes that after issues of poverty and climate change, this is the biggest issue facing us as global citizens. Learning to deal with differences may be the single biggest driver to reduce global and local conflict. Over the course of history, conflict was often about resources. Now we are finding that conflict is about changing people to be like us. If, in a global world, we are to live with increased levels of peace and prosperity, we need to change our mindset and behaviors.  

What can we do in behavioral terms to change our current trajectory?
1. We need to step up and be inclusive rather than exclusive wherever and whenever we can.
2. Where we are excluding others, and how do we embrace differences in ways that make us feel safe?
3. Ask the questions: How am I excluding others? Why am I excluding?
4. We need to accept differences and learn to respect others (we don’t need to assimilate or change them, but rather respect their rights and differences).

About the Author
Professor Hardy was appointed as Executive Director of the Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations in 2014. From 1995, Mike was a senior leader with the British Council responsible for the Council’s global programme for Intercultural Dialogue, youth engagement, and global strategic partnerships.

Mike is an applied economist by training and was Head of Economics and Public Policy at Leeds Metropolitan University before moving to a Chair in International Business at the University of Central Lancashire. His policy and research work in economics focused on local jobs plans and skills for development in local labour markets. In 1995, following work with the UK Government, British Council, and European Commission, Mike moved full time to British Council to develop international work in intercultural relations. Following overseas postings in the Arab world and Asia, he was appointed to frame and lead British Council’s global programme in intercultural dialogue.

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Pace Be with You! By Cynthia Brian

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Pace Be with You! By Cynthia Brian

By Cynthia Brian

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

No, the title “Pace Be With You!” is a not a typo.  

Halloween was a few weeks away when retail stores began showcasing Christmas goods. The day after Thanksgiving, Christmas carols were ubiquitous with garlands, wreaths, Santa statues, and twinkling lights adorning every space.  As much as I love the holidays, I detest the commercialization.  My sanctuary during this chaotic period is to spend quality time in a garden where the flora and fauna abide by the terms of Mother Nature. Here, there is a natural rhythm to life.  When we adopt an attitude of patience and pace ourselves, peace is the result.  Being in nature will help you achieve these secrets of living mindfully.

I recently rested and rejuvenated on the verdant Caribbean island of St. Lucia where life operates at slower pace. The lush rainforests surrounded by sparking aqua seas envelope this tiny oasis providing a prescription for mindful meditation focused on nature.  The wonders of marine life with reefs vibrant and alive with coral and fish compliment the rich tropical jungles filled with the sounds and sights of birds, reptiles, and exotic creatures.  Walking through the botanical gardens is a sensory experience, definitely a sublime forest-bathing experience in the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. Everywhere I looked I witnessed what we refer to as “houseplants” growing naturally in the rain forest and on the Pitons.  Peace lilies, anthuriums, poinsettias, pothos, ferns, tillansia air plants, gingers, philodendrons, palms-all happily communing in this natural setting.  To see the symbiotic relationship between vines, trees, shrubs, and other plants assured me that planet Earth has a will to survive. Whether the weather was monsoon raining or brilliant sunshine, being in such a pristine environment far removed from the maddening crowd gave me reason to pause, pace, and peace out!

Now that the chilly days and colder nights have halted any successful outdoor planting project, it’s time to bring a festive and healthy touch to your indoor décor with living tropicals. The plants from the rain forest will remove toxins, improve the air quality, and add beauty as colorful accents since during winter months when more time is spent inside.  On the larger specimens like the fiddle leaf fig, you can wrap Christmas lights and sprinkle ornaments, pinecones, garlands, or toppers to celebrate the season.

Staying healthy this season:
Gearing up for holiday meals may cause you to think of your waistline, but by considering the nutritional values of the foods, you’ll be able to devour with delight.  

Roasting butternut squash brings out its natural sweetness. It can be paired with garlic, rosemary, cumin, coriander seeds, and peppers for a healthy savory dish or for a sweeter rendition, add nutmeg and cinnamon. (In St. Lucia, every time I asked a waiter what made a particular dish so delicious, the answer would be “the secret ingredient is nutmeg!” I came home with the nuts to grate) Squash is a no-cholesterol fruit packed with fiber and is a major source of vitamin A providing benefits for your heart, eyes, and skin.

If you grew garlic, leeks, and onions this year, you are enjoying the cancer-fighting properties of the chopping, smashing, and dicing.  These tasty alliums contain prebiotics (not to be confused with probiotics) that keep friendly bacteria in your intestines, help you absorb calcium, ward off colds, flu, and heart disease, while lowering blood pressure.  Add fresh garlic to your salads and sides for an extra health boost.

Beans are nutritional powerhouses loaded with vitamin K for bone health, fiber for digestion, folate for energy, and magnesium for brains. Eat fresh green beans (never canned, unless you canned your fresh produce) and you’ll be fired up with antioxidants.

Sweet Potatoes are very easy to grow and just one cup fulfills your daily ration of vitamin A necessary for vision and bone growth. If you are concerned about combating wrinkles, the vitamins in sweet potatoes decrease creases while hydrating and repairing your skin.

Eat your spuds cold because when potatoes are cooked and cooled, they release “resistant starch”, a fiber that actually aids in burning fat.  

The antioxidants in red wine decrease heart disease and protect against cancer. Share a bottle of Lamorinda wine at your holiday feast to extend your life and your relationships!

Pumpkin pie is not only delicious. It is good for your complexion with its commanding antioxidants. One slice delivers four grams of fiber.  Go ahead and have a second slice!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips

BUY bulbs on sale. Many nurseries and garden centers are selling bulbs 50-75% off retail because it is generally accepted that the planting is over. However, I plant bulbs through the end of January because our Mediterranean climate seems to keep the soil a bit warmer. Tulips are always a special treat, although we usually only get one to two years from a bulb. Alliums are a great choice because the deer won’t eat them and the blooms are terrific as a cut flower. For the fragrant scent, nothing beats hyacinth, however always wear gloves when planting these bulbs as many people exhibit skin allergies to hyacinth.

MOW your lawn only every two weeks in the winter with the mower at 3.5”.
SPREAD seeds of a cover crop to add nitrogen and nutrients to a vegetable plot.
DECORATE with tropical plants in varying sizes to dazzle and sparkle. The great thing about tropicals is how easy they are to grow and how long the blooms last. Read the instructions and enjoy the rainforest benefits.
SPRAY paint end of season gourds and pumpkins with gold, silver, or bronze for an entry arrangement with pinecones and evergreen branches.
DONATE to your favorite non-profit for an end of year tax deduction while making the life of someone else more pleasant. Please consider our local youth 5o01 c3 charity, Be the Star You Are!®, www.BetheStarYouAre.org.
STAY healthy by eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season such as pomegranate, persimmon, oranges, tangerines, lemons, winter squash, kale, potatoes, and lots of lettuces and herbs.
PACE yourself. Nature is slowly sleeping and this gives gardeners a chance to revitalize, refresh, restore, and renew. You’ve worked hard all year. Give yourself the gift of peace.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and hallowed holiday month.  Patience and peace be with you!

Happy growing! Happy Gardening!
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Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
StarStyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Elections and Peace By Cynthia Brian

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Elections and Peace By Cynthia Brian

Every Tuesday at NOON PT, the talented teens of Be the Star You Are!® bring you an exciting, informative, mind-boggling program with fresh ideas from youthful minds. Join the fun!
Zahra Hasanianbrigitte-jiajoven-hundal
Hosts Brigitte Jia and Zahra Hassanian as well as reporter Joven Hundal offer a full hour of youthful insights on today’s national election and how peace can be attained in the world.  Joven provides an historical perspective on the political mudslinging of campaigns. Polls of millennials indicate disillusion with this “R-rated election.”  An avid student of Latin, Zahra digs into the ancient wisdom of peace, providing correlations between the past and present. Artist Brigitte paints a picture of peace through the visuals of art,  cartoons, and the Impressionist movement. It’s a lively, peaceful discussion with very bright and informed teens who care deeply about who is in power and how peace can be attained.

Listen at Voice America Network :  https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/95668/peace-and-election-coverage
View Photos, Descriptions, & More at Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio: http://www.starstyleradio.com/expressyourselfteenradio


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Distance Healing: Alternative Energy Healing That Delivers the Same Results as In-Person Healing By Rebekah and Boyd Campbell

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7th Wave
Distance Healing: Alternative Energy Healing That Delivers the Same Results as In-Person Healing By Rebekah and Boyd Campbell

In case you missed it on September 5, 2016, listen to the recorded archive!
This type of healing is equally effective as an in person healing because in alternative energy healing and holistic medicine therapies, we are working with the physical, emotional and mental aspects of an individual by accessing the individual’s energy body. The energy body can be accessed easily from anywhere and at any time and does not require you to be physically present with the practitioner.

Join us as Rebekah and Boyd share how Distance Healing works and why it could be exactly what you and your loved ones need.

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