He is the Robin to his Batman

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A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.

"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here, Dolly!" he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.

"How much?" asked the little boy... "No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."

Source: Spiritual Stories

If Wishes Were Horses and Envy Complete

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There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

 Source: Spiritual Stories

Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias
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Come Play the Color Game

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Chrycka Harper, Poet & Literary CriticLast Modified: 23:13 p.m. DST, 11 February 2014

Silhouette of Man Against Wall, Photo by Bell YanzDear Jo,

We have known each other for quite some time. I think this is the perfect opportunity to tell you how I feel about you. However, I want to make this interesting. Instead of me revealing to you my physical identity, you must guess who I am based on the following description that I provide you.

The catch: you must correctly identify my ethnicity.

When Toni is done reading this letter, you must tell her your answer. If you guess correctly, she will tell you who I am. If you don't guess correctly, then you will wander the Earth for the rest of your life never knowing the identity of your secret crush (just kidding). I wish you the best of luck in this game of “Guess Who” and I hope your mind possesses the necessary skills, such as inductive and deductive reasoning, to choose the best answer.

I am 5'5'' with a chestnut-almond complexion. Fashion magazines would declare that my figure is pear shaped and my feet are actually on the small side. If you were to browse through my music library, you will discover Pitbull, Baby Bash, and Mellow Man.

In my free time, you usually see me playing fútbol on the yard or basketball on the court. Many students can identify me just through my thick Southern accent, since I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.

At this point, I trust that you already know the identity of this author. However, I will drop a couple of more clues on ya.

My fashion statement screams Harajuku style. I have an uncle that lives in Japan, so every summer; I visit him and buy my clothes from there. My favorite snack is sushi and my favorite meal is macaroni and cheese.

Lastly, my hair is naturally straight; it touches the middle of my back. My nose is narrow and my lips are medium-sized.

So.... who am I? Or rather, what is my ethnicity?

Sincerely,

Your “Not so Secret” Admirer ; )

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"All human beings tend to judge people based upon a set of criteria, though the oft said and most abused aphorism is "to never judge a book by its cover."

In America, we often judge a person by his color, and with that ascribe an entire litany of characteristics and assumptions about the person without ever taking the time to know them.

This latest literary submission by Ms. Harper provides an excellent illustration of our tendency to assign ethnicity based upon characteristics and qualities that are universal, but have been neatly packaged by the media and force fed to the public so that if a person likes a particular kind of music, wears a certain type of clothing, speaks with a dialect or in colloquialisms, has a certain texture of hair, etc. - then they are this, or they are that, they are in fact anything other than just a human being.

I took the color test and failed. Not because I guessed the person's ethnicity correctly or incorrectly, but because I tried. Did you do the same? Be honest with yourself if not with others." ~ Ayanna Nahmias

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AcroYoga - A Language of Perfect Union

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 13:43 p.m. EDT, 3 February 2014

Acro Yoga, Partner Yoga, Photo by Greg RobertsThe mission and focus of this website informs the presentation and dialogue about stories on gender relations with a particular emphasis on women’s’ rights. Consequently, we report on stories from around the world in which women are not allowed to realize their full potential either through force or circumstance.

Unfortunately, most of this aberrant and abusive behavior is perpetrated at the hands of men, though in some cases, like Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) or Leblouh, women also participate in abusing their daughters in an effort to make them conform to inhuman societal norms.

But, not every man is bad, nor every woman abused. In fact, the state of mankind is not as dire as it seems despite all our bad behavior, and millions of men and women across the globe experience healthy and loving relationships.

Balance in reporting is as important as it is in life, and the video below featuring a husband and wife practicing AcroYoga or partner yoga is a beautiful illustration of the best in us as humans. Though this is demonstrated through yoga, one need not be a practitioner to achieve the highest ideals of harmony and peace between all people as there are many paths to this destination.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL4kfGpa5E8] For some people, the path toward peace and enlightenment is achieved through religious observance and a belief in a higher power. For others it is meditation or actively living consciously by being aware of our impact on the world and other people so that we don’t accumulate negative Karma.

For others, it is a combination of all of the above and yoga. I fall into this category as I regularly practice yoga. In Western societies, most practitioners use yoga as a form of health and fitness similar to pilates which is an exercise created by Joseph Pilates to strengthen and stretch the body to achieve a strong core.

However "the traditional purpose of Yoga, has always been to bring about a profound transformation in the person through the transcendence of the ego," (Feuerstein, Georg. The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice. Boston: Shambhala, 2003)

According to the Levy, “Yoga in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism means "spiritual discipline”…..It is an activity that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is something that has evolved and changed overtime…..the exact history and origins of yoga is uncertain; however……the earliest signs of yoga appear in ancient Shamanism. Evidence of yoga postures were found on artifacts that date back to 3000 B.C.

Evidence of Yoga is found in the oldest-existing text, Rig-Veda. Rig-Veda is a composition of hymns. Topics of the Rig-Veda include prayer, divine harmony, and greater being. Yoga originally focused on applying and understanding the world. Its focus later changed to the self. Self-enlightenment became the ultimate goal.”

Though many may take umbrage, at the end of the day “When all's said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it's not so much which road you take, as how you take it.” ~ Charles de Lint

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xECiTdgy9nE#t=93]

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How to Achieve Peace in a Storm

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There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?

"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
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Pop Quiz

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1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five World Cup champions.

3. Name fifteen famous historical figures.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name five Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress from the 1950's.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They're the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Name three teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who care.

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
LinkedIn: Ayanna Nahmias

Dying to Walk Fashion Week Catwalks

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 18:03 PM EDT, 7 September 2012

Skeletal ModelNEW YORK CITY, New York - Once again attention is being focused on professional models and their struggles with body dysmorphia, bulimia, and anorexia. To be fair the initial push for models to strive to become ever thinner was driven by an industry that desired to use them in the truest sense as mannequins versus actual human beings.

The women in the modeling industry are no longer emblematic of anything that most American women, indeed most women globally, could hope or want to achieve. The industry has strayed so far from functional fashion as to inhabit the milieu of performance art. The complicit victims of this macabre dance are the girls and women who model in a fiercely competitive industry which demands that they achieve a size “0” in order to grace the runways of the fashions centers of the world.

Unfortunately, the diet methods used by women who are 5’8” to 6’0” ft. (176 cm to 183 cm) tall is appalling and extreme by any measure. Diet regimes include excessive use of laxatives; self-induced vomiting (bulimia), extreme caloric restrictive diets including those that eliminate all forms of carbohydrates which sometimes leads to (anorexia), and using medication prescribed for ADD/ADHD because it is an amphetamine that also suppresses the appetite.

Then, there are some who try more drastic measures such as consuming illegal street drugs such as speed and cocaine, and more recently hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. This product has not been approved by the FDA which has issued warning to manufacturers against its sale and use.

There have been a number of high-profile deaths over the years. In 2006, Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, 21, died of anorexia on the eve of a Paris photo shoot after existing on a diet of apples and tomatoes.’ (Source: Daily Mail UK).  In 2007 ‘Uruguanian model Luisel Ramos, 20, died of complications from anorexia. ‘Her sister Eliana Ramos, 18, also an anorexic model, died three months later from malnutrition.

All three had a  Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18, which is severely underweight, though this has been set by the industry as a minimum threshold. The World Health Organization considers a BMI of 16 to be starvation. Most recently, British model Bethany Wallace, 19, suffered heart failure in May 2012 after succumbing to anorexia and bulimia. (Source: The Sun UK)

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Published: 7 September 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

In an effort toward self-governance and to manage public relations, the industry established guidelines to ensure that models stay healthy during Fashion Week. This includes “models showing ID on the day of show to affirm they are at least 16 years old, supplying healthy meals and snacks backstage, educating the industry to identify the early warning signs in an individual at risk of developing an eating disorder, and encouraging models who may have an eating disorder to seek professional help while prohibiting any model from continuing in the profession without first being approved by a medical professional.” (Source: Fox News)

However, these guidelines are not enforced as designers strive to achieve the ultimate presentation of their designs at unimaginable cost to the models. Once someone develops an eating disorder and is body dysmorphic, the only way to treat the condition is with serious psychological intervention that includes overseeing food intake and supplements. This is definitely not occurring or enforced despite the fact that the girls present healthy meals and snacks to gain admittance.

And unfortunately in the case of the deaths of the models above, the designers callously absolved themselves of any culpability by claiming that the women had preexisting eating disorders. However, there are some signs in the industry that designers who target their clothing to average women are attracting models that have been scouted because they are healthy and more representative of the population.

It remains to be seen how long it will take for the industry to reverse this unhealthy trend, but it can only occur if there is a concerted effort by the female models to reassert their power and desire to control their bodies and their health. Let’s hope that no more models or the young girls who aspire to look like them die before this is achieved.

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