Tag Archives: commitment

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Before You Can Give Yourself Away, You Must Have a Self to Give.”

 

“Before you can give yourself away, you must have a self to give.”

Isabel Hickey

 

 

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Similar to George Gurdjieff’s commitment to self and spirit before serving others, Isabel Hickey realized that we must put ourselves first.  In so doing, we become strong and committed to giving ourselves the best, and then we can give our best selves unto others…

 

 

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Isabel Hickey was an American astrologer and writer who practiced Humanist Astrology with a psychological approach. If Evangeline Adams was the Mother of Astrology in the first half of the Twentieth Century, Isabel Hickey filled that role in the Sixties and the Seventies.  She wrote “Astrology, A Cosmic Science,” “It Is All Right” and “Minerva or Pluto, The Choice Is Yours.”

The Classic Pamela Positive: Don’t Ever Give This Up: Humble Will

 

Don’t ever give this up. Your Humble Will.  It’s your commitment to persevere.

 

 

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Business models will change and do change. Systems change, marketplaces change, technology changes.

 

But your Humble Will to persevere cannot. Your organization relies on it; your team must know it. And you must found this commitment to persevere deeply within your soul and daily execution.

 

 

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Please note I add “humble will.” It’s a listening commitment, a listening perseverance. You can’t just bulldoze ahead….. You have to be in touch with your marketplace, sector, clients, board, partners, team in order to know the best way to go, each moment, each day. And that takes humble listening.

 

 

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Don’t ever give up your Humble Will to persevere.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Before You Can Give Yourself Away, You Must Have a Self to Give.”

 

“Before you can give yourself away, you must have a self to give.”

Isabel Hickey

 

moon-65957_1920.jpg

Similar to George Gurdjieff’s commitment to self and spirit before serving others, Isabel Hickey realized that we must put ourselves first.  In so doing, we become strong and committed to giving ourselves the best, and then we can give our best selves unto others…

 

isabel hickey.jpg

 

****

Isabel Hickey was an American astrologer and writer who practiced Humanist Astrology with a psychological approach. If Evangeline Adams was the Mother of Astrology in the first half of the Twentieth Century, Isabel Hickey filled that role in the Sixties and the Seventies.  She wrote “Astrology, A Cosmic Science,” “It Is All Right” and “Minerva or Pluto, The Choice Is Yours.”

What’s it like to be a CASA: You Don’t Give Up and You Keep Trying (Part 2 of 2)

In this two-post series I describe my experience working with foster youth as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Read my first post for an introduction to CASA.

I have a high-paced job, what if I can’t fulfill the requirements of being a CASA?

I have never found this to be a challenge. My supervisors are very understanding. I would make sure that you are focusing on the substance of the relationship that you are creating, and not about the amount of time you are spending. While it is important to put in about one hour a week, I find myself putting in much more because it is natural. You don’t limit your relationships to one hour.

Some weeks it can be up to six or seven hours, and other weeks thirty minutes.Your foster youth also has different needs which will necessitate different types of communication such as in-person meeting, phone, text, etc.

I do encourage you to submit your log every month. This is important for CASA to show and demonstrate the important work that you are doing and also, for your court reports. When you look back at your log, it is much easier to read them. Finally, it is most important to keep your supervisor informed of what is going on.

Have I ever felt uncomfortable with any type of inappropriate sexual situations?

Never. I don’t think, at least in my case. My youth is not thinking about that. He is thinking about how to survive.

What was one of my high points with your youth?

I have to say one of my high points (my youth is 20, so on the older end) was taking a risk. He and I have set up a weekly dinner, and it came to me for our next dinner that I should give him a teddy bear.

I thought to myself “Is this crazy? Giving a 20-year-old a teddy bear?”

It turned out to be the most heartfelt and fruitful dinner. It brought back childhood memories of his teddy bear and what it meant to him. And also how it got destroyed by him and his older brother. The teddy bear ended up becoming headless and eyeless…! (And we didn’t really get more into this).

But I encourage you to follow your gut instinct. Even if it feels strange to give a 20-year-old a teddy bear, you may be helping them reconnect with their childhood, reconnect with positive thoughts or open up unresolved issues that need to be discussed. It was a moment where I felt I was able to give him back a part of his childhood, something that we should all have. A place where we are cared for, safe and are given things that make us feel comforted and loved.

What surprised me about being a CASA?

I was surprised by how many life skills these youths need to learn and how much it relates to mental health. My entire view of mental health has been completely changed. Before I thought about mental health in very drastic terms such as depression or suicide — major things.

Now I view mental health as the ability to take responsibility in life. Not having models; not being able to take action and show up to a job training; not being able to communicate clearly; not being able to return phone calls; getting overwhelmed by setting up an appointment; fear of attaining an ID because it means responsibility… all of these things wrap up to me of mental health and primarily stem back to not having a beneficial role model. This has led to an incredible level of insecurity and lack of feeling safe in the world which prevents them, often, from being responsible citizens. That’s why you’re there, to help them navigate life, in essence.

Is there anything else I would like to share?

Sometimes, I think you have to realize that it doesn’t always feel like your efforts have made a difference — but you don’t know that.  

For example, my youth started off on the streets. We have gotten him into housing but he is not fulfilling the requirements and it looks like he is on the pathway to being kicked out. It took us ten times for us to get his ID, but now he has it. He is starting to set up appointments for job training, but then he doesn’t show up to them. He is starting to get assistance from the state, but then he trades his food cards for marijuana. So you see, a lot of back and forth. Don’t let that get you down.

The important thing is that you show up and you provide love and consistency for them that they may have never had in their lives. Even if their external circumstances don’t seem to change, you can know that somewhere deep in their soul they have felt your love. It is not just about being an American “doer” and seeing the results within a six month period because often that won’t happen.

What do I do if my youth does not show up when I contact them?

You just put in your log

Didn’t show up

Didn’t show up

Didn’t show up

You’re just honest about it. In my case, it was six months before my youth really engaged with me, but you just don’t give up. That is one of the most important things, otherwise, they think you’re “yet another person who gave up on them”. If you’re a CASA you need to stick with what you’re doing and be super committed to it.

What really helped me?

I think for me, my mindset is: this person is not my family member, but I want to work with them and advocate for them as I would for one my nephews. I am very close with my nephews and I want the best for them. They really are great people and great friends of mine, so with my youth, I thought the same thing: “I really want to help them achieve the best in life”.

When you come out with this kind of standard, that sets the tone for all your other interactions.

You don’t give up and you keep trying.

Would you want someone to give up on you?

Read my first post in this two-part series here.

Support CASA

If you want to give to CASA, please donate here.

If you would like to train to become a CASA, please contact the National Association here.

If you want to train in San Francisco, click here.

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!
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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!

“Be obsessed” – Pat Riley, former basketball coach and current President of the Miami Heat

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“To have a long-term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” -Pat Riley Continue reading

Classic Pamela Positive: Keep Your Balance

rock-balancingI think one key point in life is to maintain balance–balance between time for work, time for loved ones, time for oneself, time for interests outside of one’s business. It’s so important to keep that balance, or we’ll simply burn-out. Continue reading