According to a study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, 70 percent of Texans accept that global warming is taking place. In fact, only 14 percent believe global warming is not happening. Although fewer than half (44 percent) agree it’s mostly caused by humans, more than 50 percent think now is the time for local and federal government to act on the changing climate.
However, these statistics might be surprising for people who closely follow lawmakers from the state.
Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry proudly proclaimed he is “not afraid” to be considered a climate skeptic. He insisted that the science behind man-made climate change “is still not settled” and that scientists manipulate the data in order to make money. “I do believe the issue of global warming has been politicized,” Perry was quoted as saying in 2011.
This disbelief may be the reason 59 percent of Texans think the governor should be doing more to combat climate change.
Ted Cruz, a controversial senator from the Lone Star State, hasn’t been shy about sharing his anti-climate views. Cruz is a believer in Agenda-21 conspiracy theories, and forced changes to a Women’s Day senate resolution that alluded to a changing climate. “A provision expressing the Senate’s views on such a controversial topic as ‘climate change’ has no place in a supposedly noncontroversial resolution,” said a spokesman for the senator. These are just a few reasons Cruz was bestowed with one of Organization for Action’s unicorn trophies for climate change “deniers”.
Despite what some politicians believe, Texas is already beginning to feel the effects of global warming. Withering drought, sea level rise and soaring temperatures are forcing Texans to find ways to cope. It may be no surprise, then, that 95 percent of those who believe in global warming worry about an increase in heat waves.
Yet even with the crippling drought, Perry refuses to acknowledge the scientific basis for his state’s troubles. “You’re going to have good years, you’re going to have bad years,” the governor once told reporters. “We’ll be fine.”
“Everybody has a flow or a zone in their life. Joseph Campbell called it ‘following your bliss,'” Oprah says.
“And you say each of us needs to pursue our calling with gusto and to live in that zone as often as possible,” she says to Pressfield. “So that’s what we want to figure out how to do. How do we be in that zone as often as possible?”
“Well, I know that you’ve got to get out of your little head,” Pressfield says, pointing to his temple. “And into that larger identity, whatever that is.”
To do that, Pressfield says we need to lose ourselves. “Which is nothing, to me, more fancy than what any kid does when they’re playing. If kids were just playing here on this lawn, they forget time. They forget everything. And they’re just playing. They’re kind of in the moment,” he says.
“Present moment, yeah,” Oprah says.
To live in the moment, Pressfield says he has a simple tip.
“Now, what I found that works for me is just sitting down. Just sit down,” he says. “I have a thing where I say, ‘Put your ass where your heart wants to be.’ And by that I simply mean, if you want to paint, put your body in front of an easel. You know? If you want to write, sit in front of a keyboard. And then just plunge in.”
Michelle Ashford, an Emmy-nominated writer for the HBO miniseries “The Pacific,” does not consider herself successful — at least not according to her definition: “having felt that what you did mattered, that it had meaning.”
“I think my children matter, and they have great meaning. And I have fantastic friends, and I think that has meaning,” Ashford explains. “But in terms of my career, I don’t think that I’m there yet, no. But I have my eye on that.”
Ashford is taking another step toward that goal as creator of the new Showtime series “Masters of Sex,” about famed sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, which premieres on September 29.
Why do you do the work you do?
What I love so much about writing is it’s like you’re a perpetual student. You have 30 books on your desk, and it’s like going back to school. For example, I didn’t really know anything about Masters and Johnson, just vaguely, and then I read Thom Maier’s biography and I thought,“Wow, what a fascinating world.” So now I’m immersed in that. It’a like traveling without having to leave your desk.
Ashford working in her home office.
Did you end up in this profession by design or by accident?
It was not always the plan. I was an economics major, and I had vague notions of “maybe I’ll be a lawyer,” “maybe I’ll be a businesswoman.” It was basically me floating around with no direction. Then my last year of college, I took an elective television class, and I made a documentary on hospice care. I thought, “Well, this is so much more fun than economics.” So I decided I would come to LA. I had no contacts and I had every horrible job imaginable for a long time. And then the people who kept sort of pulling me along with them were people in television. But I had no idea if I could write so I finally quit doing all these assistant jobs, and I tried to write a script.
When you say you had “every horrible job imaginable,” are you talking about the assistant jobs?
I was a page at Channel 5 in Los Angeles, KTLA, where you wore a polyester uniform and sat live audiences for shows. I was paid like $80 every two weeks. Then I was a receptionist. Then I was a PA and had to get everyone lunch. So it was all jobs within the industry, but they were the most bottom-level, menial jobs. But in the process of doing these jobs, I would meet people. I would say, “Please, if you go to another job, will you take me?” And they often would. So that was how I slowly got to understand how the TV business works.
Do women have a responsibility to help other women at work?
It’s a very curious thing, the idea of looking at what I do and separating it by sex. When I first started, I was on the staffs of shows where I was the only girl and yet I didn’t ever have the feeling of being held back or marginalized because I was a female. I know other people have felt that. I haven’t. That being said, I don’t know that I need to make it a mission to cultivate women because they’re women, but I do look for really talented women and try to bring them onboard. This is what happens with hiring minority writers as well. When you’re doing my job, you have to hire the best writers, period. However, when you do find someone that’s really talented that’s a woman or some kind of minority, then it’s thrilling to plant your flag and say, “This is my person.” Oddly enough, on “Masters of Sex,” three of our episodes were directed by women, our staff was half women, my producing partner is a woman. A lot of the people that have interviewed us say, “Wow, this whole show is run by women.” We look at each other and think, “We didn’t design it that way.” And that’s actually pretty great.
Ashford with “Masters of Sex” co-executive producer Sarah Timberman.
Do you have a work persona and a non-work persona?
I’m in charge of a lot of people, so when I go to work, I feel the responsibility to be bit of a cheerleader and to keep everything on track so it’s a very extroverted personality that needs to show up and do my job. But the truth is at heart I’m a writer, and that is an incredibly introverted sort of character. I think I’m an introvert that has to act like an extrovert a lot.
Are you close friends with anyone you work with or have worked with in the past?
Yes, very close. Everyone I’ve ever been with romantically, I met through work. Some of my very, very best friends I met through work. One of the nice things about being on television shows is you are thrown in with people in such an intimate and time-intensive way that you get to know them really well.
Did you meet your husband, Greg Walker, working on a show?
I was his boss actually, although I was very well behaved. I had a previous husband, and I met him through work.
And you have kids?
I have two kids, 9 and 11. It was a lucky coincidence that I happened to pick a career — or a career picked me — that was actually conducive to having children. Had I been a lawyer, I don’t know how I would have done it. The thing about writing is I could write at home. I never stopped working when I had kids at all.
Ashford with husband Greg Walker and sons Ben and Sam before the Emmys.
Have you ever been in the situation where the big meeting at work coincided with the school play or something else involving your kids?
Yes. I decide to go with whatever involves my kids. I work with a lot of people who have kids, and they get it. And I have not found anybody saying, “This is a dealbreaker.” So I just stick with that.
What’s the distribution of work like in your household?
I’m much more in charge of everything that goes on in our household, although he’ll make lunches or he’ll take the kids to school if I can’t. I still think that women do much more of that than men. Luckily, my husband is a great cook. In terms of cleaning up the mess, it’s always me.
Ashford with her family in the costume department of “Masters of Sex.”
Did your mother work?
My mother died about five years ago. When I was growing up, she was a stay-at-home mom. She was a good cook, and she helped us with homework and took us to our music lessons, and she was very present. When we went to college, she got a job working at the Claremont colleges in development.
Did she understand why you work the way you do?
I think my mother was secretly very pleased that I worked and slightly envious. My mother was very smart, an incredible reader, and I think there was a part of her that thought, “The fact that all I’ve done is just raise children is not entirely satisfying.” She was really happy that she raised three kids, but I think part of her felt a little bit restless.
Tell me about an average workday vs. a great workday.
An average workday is one with a million distractions. I’m running around and forget to eat and look up and go, “Oh my god, it’s 5:30 already and this day is not even two-thirds over.” That’s sort of an average day, which is not bad, but feels exhausting and fragmented. A great day for me is a really good writing day, which is just being quiet in my office and getting a lot done and feeling really pleased by what I’ve written.
Ashford with “The Pacific” co-producer Robert Schenkkan at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards.
When was the most recent time you thought about quitting your job?
Oh, I think about quitting it all the time. I do love writing, but writing is different from engaging in the business part of what we do. I get very fatigued with what the marketplace is saying is good material and what is not. I have this fantasy that someday I’ll never have to read Deadline again.
Do you keep your phone next to your bed?
No. I detest my cell phone and forget it about half the day. I understand the need for cell phones, but I think they’re pernicious and I think the idea of being glued to your phone is awful. I still have a landline and I will keep it till the day that I die.
Is your to-do list electronic or paper?
Paper. I still have an address book that’s handwritten. I don’t even have people’s contacts in my computer. That’s how prehistoric I am.
The writers’ room of “Masters of Sex. Each card represents a scene.
Do you get enough sleep?
No, but it’s not because I’m staying up so late. The problem is I have a lot on my mind, and I find that I wake up. So I have a little secret life in the middle of the night, where I sometimes read or just think about what I’m working on. Many times I’ve gotten up and worked. I try not to do that too much because sometimes if you get going, then you’ve been up since 3. I find actually the thinking in the middle of the night can be incredibly helpful for what you have to do the next day. I’ve actually solved a lot of story problems, so while it’s annoying, maybe it happens to me for a reason.
Do you get enough exercise?
I try to at least get to a gym twice a week. I try to go for a walk other times. I don’t get enough exercise, but I don’t see how I can fit any more in than I already am.
Are you paid what you’re worth?
That’s a very tricky question because people in the entertainment business tend to be paid a lot, and if you compare what I do to a woman exactly my age who is teaching in a public school and trying her damnedest to give kids the best shot at a good life, no, I’m overpaid. She should be taking some of my money. But it is what the market will bear, and so I don’t send my checks back and I’m grateful for them. And when you’re in the thick of it, you think, “My god, they should double my salary.” But in the bigger picture, I think people in entertainment and sports are overpaid.
What would you title your autobiography?
Is there a woman you know of who is Making It Work? We’d love to include her in our series. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Psychological pain exists because you are divided, at war within yourself. As a result, life becomes complicated. When you lose touch with your inner truth, and are living from a divided self, pulled this way and that, by your desire to please and be accepted by others, you find yourself lost, isolated and deeply unhappy. You create challenges, adversity, and difficulties to keep yourself distracted and to prove to yourself that you are worthy.
If, however, you are able to live your sadness with total authenticity, the division disappears. For example: you are sad: that is the truth of this moment. But your conditioned mind says: “You have to be happy. Smile! What will people think of you?”
Here is the problem: you pretend, you act, you repress the truth. The phony becomes the ideal.
How can you know, and love yourself, if you don’t accept yourself?
Live your sadness in total authenticity, and you will be surprised. A miraculous door opens in your being, because the division disappears. Sadness is there and there is no question of any ideal to be anything else. There is no effort, no conflict, no war. “I am simply this” and there is relaxation. And in that relaxation is grace and joy.
Psychological pain exists because you are divided. Pain means division, and joy means no division. You might be thinking: How can feeling my sadness bring joy? It looks paradoxical, but it is true. Try it. However, please note: accepting your sadness with an agenda to feel joy, is not going to work. Joy arises through your authentic expression of sadness.
Joy is a byproduct of being authentic.
Joy is a natural consequence of being united with your sadness, because it is your truth, in this moment. In the next moment you may be angry: accept that, too. And the next moment you may be something else: accept that, too.
Live moment to moment, with acceptance, without any division, and self-love, self-worth, self-confidence arise within you, naturally and automatically.
Drop all ideals of how you should be,and accept who you are, in each moment. The journey of self-acceptance starts with becoming aware of your feelings and allowing yourself to feel your feelings. We are human. Feeling is a part of the human experience. Get used to feeling because feeling is to LIVE, feeling is to be ALIVE. When uncomfortable feelings arise: allow, experience and accept.
On the other side of your sadness, hurt and despair is your magnificent, brilliant, luminous spirit, which is not damaged. Your spirit is love, and when aligned with your authenticity, guides your life with grace, and ease.
Accepting yourself, warts and all, helps you become strong and confident from within, so that no matter what other people think or say, you are deeply rooted in your own self-worth. Your feelings are the key. Love is always waiting on the other side. The only thing blocking you from receiving more love is your resistance to feeling your feelings.
Are you thinking: I don’t want to feel because I don’t want to be hurt any more? I understand. I went through this very same experience. As I allowed myself to start feeling, something wonderful happened. I began to feel more love, to laugh and enjoy my life more. I was liberated from a prison of pain and opened up to more self-love, self-worth and self-confidence AND to receiving more love from others.
Inner strength and confidence are an inside job. When you get to the point where you can accept yourself, the need for challenges, adversity and complications just falls away, because you don’t need to prove your worth any more to yourself.
Meditation: Accept Yourself — Four Minutes
Benefits: In the very experiencing of your feelings, a spaciousness is created, and miracles can occur. Trust that, even when you feel miserable, on the other side of the misery, is love. Our natural state is love. All we have to do is accept who we are, in any given moment, and love is there.
Start gently, with compassion for yourself.
Sit,or lie down, whichever is most comfortable for your body. Breathe, relax your body, open your palms upwards, in a receptive posture. Allow your feelings, whatever they are, without judging, condemning or criticizing yourself. Accept what is happening, in each moment, without wanting it to be different. When you fight what is, you make it worse. You are the way you are: accept yourself with joy, with gratitude.
I look forward to your comments.
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Despite living in a state where gay marriage is still prohibited, the longtime foster parents have successfully cleared several legal hurdles on their way to adopting a family that requires a 15-seat van just to go to the park, Today.com reports.
The Hams’ journey began back in 2003, when the Phoenix couple took in Michael, then 5, a victim of abuse who was living in a group home.
But Michael had other relatives in need of parents, and the Hams decided to open their home to the whole family, bringing their total brood to six, reported ABC News. Then the Ham’s added even more children: Logan, Isabel, Cooper, Olivia, Marcus and Ambrose.
In 2010, the couple told a judge they were done adding to their family and closed their foster and adoptive care licenses, according to a July feature published by the Arizona Republic. But helping children in need has always proved an irresistible pull for the Hams, and their judge cautioned that one should “never say never.”
Sure enough, last January the men — who were named among Esquire’s “Fathers of the Year 2012” — were watching the news when they learned about a sad case involving an abused 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother. In a fateful twist, it turned out that the little girl was actually their daughter Ambrose’s half-sibling.
“And we blamed ourselves,” Roger told the Republic. “Why didn’t we get them earlier? Could we have prevented this?”
One month later, the Ham’s had welcomed both Bella and her 2-year-old brother Julian into their home.
“Their hearts are amazing,” Heather Shew-Plummer, the Hams’ adoption case worker, told Today.com. “They will fight all day to get what they need for their kids.”
In the end, it’s all about the children. As Steven told ABC in 2011, “These guys will have each other the rest of their lives.”
Watch ABC’s report in the video below:
Smithsonian magazine reports Oakley discovered a rare image of Lincoln in a famous photo of Gettysburg on the day the former president gave his most famous speech.
(Scroll down to see Oakley’s discovery.)
Oakley was studying an enlargement from wide crowd shot of the ceremony where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, looking for dignitaries who attended the event. Smithsonian magazine reports:
While trying to distinguish them in the right half of Gardner’s first stereo plate, he zoomed in and spotted, in a gray blur, the distinctive hawk-like profile of William H. Steward, Lincoln’s secretary of state. Oakley superimposed a well-known portrait of Seward over the face and toggled it up and down for comparison. “Everything lined up beautifully,” he recalls. “I knew from the one irrefutable photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg that Seward sat near him on the platform.” He figured the president must be in the vicinity.
Oakley downloaded the right side of a follow-up shot Gardner snapped from the same elevated spot, but the image was partly obscured by varnish flaking off the back of the 4- by 10-inch glass-plate negative. “Still, Seward hadn’t budged,” he says. “Though his head was turned slightly away from camera, he was in perfect profile.” To Seward’s left was the vague outline of a bearded figure in a stovepipe hat. Oakley leaned into the flat-screen monitor and murmured, “No way!” Zooming in tight, real tight, he stared, compared and sprang abruptly from his chair. After quickstepping around his studio in disbelief, he exulted, “That’s him!”
See Oakley’s discovery below:
Photo Credit: Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/Courtesy of Christopher Oakley
Below, a larger image of the photo featuring Lincoln:
Photo Credit: Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/Courtesy of Christopher Oakley
Click here for more on Oakley’s discovery from Smithsonian magazine.
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