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Einstein said it: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

14 Mar 1951, Princeton, New Jersey, USA --- Albert Einstein sticks out his tongue when asked by photographers to smile on the occasion of his 72nd birthday on March 14, 1951. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

14 Mar 1951, Princeton, New Jersey, USA — Albert Einstein sticks out his tongue when asked by photographers to smile on the occasion of his 72nd birthday on March 14, 1951. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”
Facing a tough time at work?  A challenge in your marriage?
What got you there
          is not going to get you out of there. 
                 This isn’t just about changing your mind.
                          This is about a change of consciousness. 
If you do a  Google search for mind you’ll find:
“the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world.”
Be aware. I love that. It’s not just accept this random thought that comes to me. My mind is precious, and I can gear it to be “aware of the world.”  That means being attuned to what is happening in my relationships, the interchanges, the dynamics.  It’s not just going through the motions to be a great coworker, wife or neighbor. It’s about being aware of the world around you, and giving accordingly.
Equally, mind can mean to:
  1. be distressed, annoyed, or worried by.
Wow. All of a sudden our mind becomes our enemy.  We let it get us worried. We react or come from fear.  And it’s not anything that made it be so, it’s just that our mind can become distressed/annoyed/worried, just because.
Yet consciousness is different.  It’s the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.”  And then it goes on to say that it’s “especially something within ourself.”
Now that’s different! That’s not just being aware, but also being awake. It means be alert to what your mind is telling you. And be awake to what is happening within yourself, or in other words, the still small voice.
So our mind can be positive or negative. Consciousness is the state of being awake to ourselves, to our world, and the people we affect.
So as Einstein says, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”
That means in whatever situation we are facing, we need to rise up to a new consciousness. A new way of thinking. A new approach!
And sometimes, that problem you think you have — isn’t even a problem!
Did you know Einstein loved to sail?  Most sailors know how to swim. Not Einstein. Apparently he didn’t swim, and didn’t think it was a problem!
So sometimes we need to take on a different consciousness. Don’t let your mind worry you. Einstein wasn’t letting his mind be worried about not being able to swim. His consciousness was “I am awake to the world! I want to be on the sea and experience the freedom, joy, mystique of nature!
His consciousness ruled, not his mind.  So can yours today.
Now imagine a world…. where our your mind is positive, and for the good. The dictionary of the public mind says it’s a “group  embodying mental qualities,” and consciousness is also “knowledge that is shared by a group of people.
In essence your thoughts don’t just affect you. They affect the world. Each thought contributes to a positive group mentality!  Adopt a positive consciousness today, and your life, and those are around you, will reflect that positivity.

Born on March 14, 1879 in Germany, Albert Einstein grew up in a secular Jewish family. His father, Hermann Einstein, was a salesman and engineer. Einstein attended elementary school in Munich. He felt alienated there and struggled with the rigid teaching style. Einstein had speech challenges, which forced him to find a passion in music. Einstein had a love for classical music and playing the violin, this love stayed with him throughout his entire life.  While attending school in Zurich, Einstein developed lasting friendships and alliances, also meeting his future wife, Mileva Maric, a Serbian physics student.
After graduating from Polytechnic, Einstein faced major challenges in terms of finding academic positions, it took him nine years to eventually find a job at a patent office. While working at the patent office, Einstein had the time to further ideas that had taken hold during his studies at Polytechnic and thus cemented his theorems on what would be known as the principle of relativity/ In 1905—seen by many as a “miracle year” for the theorist—Einstein had four papers published in the Annalen der Physik, one of the best known physics journals of the era. After many years of hard work and incredible scientific discoveries, Einstein suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was taken to the University Medical Center at Princeton for treatment but refused surgery, believing that he had lived his life and was content to accept his fate. “I want to go when I want,” he stated at the time. “It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” Einstein died at the university medical center early the next morning—April 18, 1955—at the age of 76.

FLASHBACK — To the Early VolunteerMatch Days

What it was like to start up a “high-tech nonprofit website”

This piece made my heart smile. It was in 2000 and someone asked me to speak about my role at “a high-tech nonprofit website.”  :)

I’m so an excited about my role in a high-tech nonprofit web site. I have helped start VolunteerMatch nearly 4 years ago. Our mission is to match volunteers with nonprofits nationwide via our web site. To date we have matched more than 100,000 volunteers across the country. We have secured Internet partnership driving traffic to our site with top portals such as Infoseek, Snap! and AOL. Most recently we were announced on the Today Show and Oprah Winfrey Show as an excellent resource regarding volunteer opportunities.

How is your New Year’s Resolution going?

Dear Living and Giving Readers,
We are well through with our first quarter of 2016! How is your New Year’s Resolution going?
Here’s mine. I am going to work on this today!

“My New Year’s Resolution is about Peace and Presence in our days. We move with peacefulness, graciousness, in all that we do. With each activity, each interaction. We might have active days, but let’s match them with an equally active peaceful, present heart. ”


“In Order to Help, We Must First Understand”

    A continuing pattern throughout my life is understanding and entrenching myself in different cultures, specifically low-income communities. It is a life-long desire to understand how people in different, impoverished situations approach and overcome obstacles, in order to better themselves as well as their community collectively. Along with this goal comes the need to understand different languages, political situations, economic structures, and histories which impact a community.

 My first memory of this desire came after a brief family vacation to Mazatlan, Mexico. At age 12, what impressed me was not the inundation of tables of silver, beads, sombreros, bartering voices, the strong smell of tortillas or wave-like, dried heat in the air. What immediately drew me were all the Mexican children, many misshapen and disfigured, most with sweet, dirty faces, pleading for money alongside their parents. It was clear I wanted to understand how community structures and resources, both native and exterior, could ameliorate these conditions.

 My first involvement in a low-income culture was not abroad. It was right across the street in East Palo Alto. I worked with Nevida Butler at the Ecumenical Hunger Program, answering phones, speaking with community members, and learning about the challenges—individually, socially, politically, legally. This type of community involvement continued throughout high school and college, at a time when volunteerism was not in vogue. Volunteerism also continued in my professional life, with a focus on homeless individuals and inner city teens in South-Central, Los-Angeles working with life skills training for alcoholics on Skid Row. When I returned to Palo Alto, I served at JobTrain and Free At Last, two organizations providing support, professional training, and classes.

    In conjunction with community service, I have focused on learning from well-established cultures. In junior high school I visited Germany, Austria and Holland; in high school I visited the UK, Paris, France and Italy. In my International Communications graduate program, I took a “marketing and media tour” through Prague, Geneva, London and Paris. In 1995, Prague was of especial interest due to its economic and political fragility and the resulting impact on the culture.

    During these visits I focused on a series of questions: How did people communicate? What laws and processes needed to be in place? How important was local versus national leadership in the ability to effect change? What type of physical infrastructure was necessary, and what type of support was quickest and most acceptable—government, self funding, private, outside capital? All of this was with the mindset of learning what positive elements could be adapted or replicated in other cultures. Each trip builds upon a long-term vision, learning about each culture, and what works.

    Most recently, I was able to combine the two objectives of service and international culture. In the barrios of Managua, Nicaragua, we focused on working with kids and their families in establishing a shelter and school. As the political situation has stabilized, and the 25 natural volcanoes have become more dormant, the area is beginning to reconstruct itself. This was a pivotal trip allowing me to see a war-ravaged community with unemployment at near 66%, rebuild itself. Instrumental in involving myself in this community was my study of languages, specifically Spanish. Languages allow me to communicate closely with local people, and in addition, teach me different ways to express ideas and concepts.

Before you start serving, really study the community.  What is it’s history? What are it’s past challenges, and strengths? Read about it, but also learn from the people.  Then, you will be able to serve.

We Miss You Lawrence!


This is from our sweet Shanghai intern, Lawrence.  We are so grateful to have him! Lawrence we miss you!  Come back!
I’m so lucky for working with you during the two months. I will never forget this fabulous experience, and miss you guys so much! Thanks again for your help, kindness and everything.
I wish all the best to you and UG, and See you again in someday.

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谢谢! (thank you):)

Who Helped You Get There? Part 1

passion led us here

Team Living and Giving, you may have done something good today.

Maybe you helped someone …. that shows you are a good person.

Uplifted a spirit with an encouraging word

Or motivated another person to finish the 5k (or a walk around the block!)

Picked out weeds from a garden, cleaned the dishes, drove someone to the airport.

Or maybe you even flew across the world to volunteer!

You might have started a company, served as mayor, or fundraised $10,000 for a nonprofit.


But in all the good we do… there is one thing we know for sure…


Stay tuned to find out!


what led you here post

Help A Youth Speak!

I run a website for online giving and volunteering, but there’s nothing like getting in there on the ground!
Youth Speaks is active in helping youth get their voices heard.  They train young people in writing, advocating, speaking out, and competing in poetry slams all over the nation. This is all geared towards making a change in society, all while building their skills and self-esteem.
What a joy to visit with Ashley Smiley and Gabriel Cortez at Youth Speaks. Ashley is the Production Manager and supervises facilitators and keeps the Youth Speaks shows running smoothly. Gabriel is a spoken word poet and teaching artist. There is such devotion by the staff. Gabriel’s pure heart shines through in his work!
Youth Speaks has a wide variety of programs.  What I liked the most is it was not just about creativity, but the program also creates a long-term community, a life network.
They make a commitment to the children through all their chapters in life. While it starts off with training in writing, the children are also exposed to numerous events on living positively and making job connections. As Ashley said, “We create a true family.”
Here are some of the programs with which I was very impressed: First, they have After School Programs all over the U.S. They are in nearly every state and in multiple places across the Bay Area, including San Francisco, The Mission, Berkeley, and Oakland. In these after school programs they focus on writing.
Next, there is Open Mic. Open Mic allows people to practice their poetry and get up on stage. There is no grading system and no pressure. It is an opportunity for one to put forth his voice.  What a great skill for anyone to learn, at anytime in life!
When participants feel ready, they can go into formal competitions. At each stage, one must have new original content, which is graded. With continued progress, one may be chosen to be a part of a team called Brave New Voices. Brave New Voices usually consists of five poetry creators who create three minute and thirty second long poems. There is a coach and the team goes to a national competition.
There is a clear way to express yourself in a low-pressure, supportive community. There is also a way to continue to ascend and become more advanced if you choose. I like this: It doesn’t put pressure on the kids, but shows them that there is a pathway to greater success if they want it.
Then, they really get into life. The annual event Life is Living features dance classes, sustainable foods, a petting zoo, and keynote speakers. The goal is to expose guests to all of the positive things in life; to show how you can live a life that is connected to the earth and doing good. It is an example of how to make choices in your day to day, such as choosing organic foods or composting.
Most impressive is their work with accomplished authors. Last summer Ashley worked with Anna Deavere Smith at some of the poetry competitions. They also work closely with the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
One of the most appealing aspects of Youth Speaks is its incredible balance of informality and elegance. You can simply take a class or you can participate in a celebration at the Opera House with high level authors and speakers. It is essential that our youth experience both of the following: 1) comfort and ease of involvement and 2) access to experiences that they would never have otherwise. If you have the former, then introducing the latter is much easier.
Youth Speaks opens up the children’s minds as to how special they are and what they can accomplish. They should be going to the Opera House just like everyone else.   Let’s support them — go hear their voice!