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Heart to Heart to Win

"I feel like everything is inspired by something else. There is no 100 percent original thought."
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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

Postby Spiritwind » Wed May 08, 2019 2:27 pm

Yes, I love heart warming stories of everyday people helping in ways they can wherever they see the need.

She met women living on the street. She gave them a home — and they built their future.

By Mark Shrayber ... eir-future?

Becca Stevens is no stranger to poverty.

When she was five-years-old, her father was killed by a drunk driver. Impoverished both emotionally and economically, Stevens' family had to work hard to make ends meet. Poverty became a defining aspect of her childhood.
That was a big part of what drove Stevens to help others, especially the women she saw on the streets. So, as she grew into an adult, she started helping women who had been victims of violence, trafficking and prostitution by feeding them and bringing them to shelter.

"I just felt sick for them," Stevens says of the women she worked with on the street.

But there was much more behind why she was so drawn to helping these women: Stevens had been a victim of abuse herself, starting at the age of six.
Many of the women Stevens worked with had never felt safe in their lives. Prostitution, and the experience of being trafficked, was often a progression of the abuse they experienced. For many, it had started in their adolescence — now it was something they didn't feel like they could leave.

As she continued to work and talk with the woman in these shelters and halfway houses she was struck by two huge gaps in trying to help these women: The first glaring note was  the lack of safety and security in shelters for women. Many women spoke about additional traumatic and abusive situations they experienced while inside shelters. Women trying to leave haunting and abusive experiences in their past were launched into subsequent  unsafe and uncertain spaces. The second issue was the  high cost associated with the shelters. If a halfway house charged $125 a week in rent, Stevens remembers asking herself, "what do you expect them to do to get that $125 a week?”
These women saw no way out of the cycle. Stevens wanted to change that.

An image of thistles inspired Stevens to create a social enterprise that has since helped more than 1,100 women break the cycle of poverty.

In Stevens' hometown of Nashville, she noticed that thistles grew everywhere.
“They’re considered a noxious weed, but they can grow through concrete; through chain-link fences," says Stevens. "They are determined and dogged to bloom. They’re just like the women. They’re just like me. They’re survivors.”

She wanted to support women who, like thistles, aren’t deterred by obstacles in their way. She knew the women she saw on the streets could reclaim their lives, but that they needed help beyond a one-night stay at a halfway house.

“I said, ‘Look, some of the skills that kept you alive on the streets and kept you going — we can harness those,” says Stevens.

So she came up with the idea for a "beautiful home" she would create, called Thistle Farms— a place where women could feel safe, start on a new path, and rediscover themselves.

"I wanted to say: 'you never have to go back to the streets; you never have to go back to prison; you never have to go back to an abuser in your life," she says of the mission of Thistle Farms.

At Thistle Farms, women become part of a community. They help each other thrive and empower others who've walked the same path to lead rich, full lives by giving back to the community — all at no cost to them.

In 1997, Rebecca Stevens welcomed five women into the program. Today, it's helping thousands of women worldwide.

But Thistle Farms doesn't just provide women with a home where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met — it helps teach them how to become financially independent using skills they already have.

The women at Thistle Farms make products that promote sustainability and healing, which goes hand-in-hand with what the organization offers them. The first product that the women at Thistle Farms made was a line of therapeutic candles crafted from healing oils. According to Stevens, the women involved in the process felt the healing powers themselves.

"That was the beginning of starting a business that was really not just healing but life-saving," says Stevens. Today, they make everything from candles to body lotions and bath scrubs to essential oils.

Thistle Farms has also created several additional  social enterprises that are thriving, a Global line to support worldwide partners, and a retail space and popular cafe in the heart of Nashville.

Through these ventures, Thistle Farms is able to provide survivors with physical and emotional assistance all while helping them forge a sustainable, financial path forward. The program has created over $1.5 million in income for women survivors in Nashville alone this past year, and Stevens and her crew are only working harder to reach more women survivors each year with services to help them heal.

Thistle Farms is able to persevere by creating opportunities.

And it's through partnerships with nonprofits like Stand Together that the organization is able to uphold and deepen its goal of helping women thrive and succeed in their professional, personal and emotional lives.

Stand Together knows that one of the best ways to end the cycle of poverty — one of America's greatest problems — is by empowering others to believe in themselves. That's why they find, develop and invest in innovative solutions, and social entrepreneurs, like Becca and Thistle Farms, that are removing barriers and successfully empowering people to break the cycle of poverty in their lives and uncover their true potential.

It takes time, but if you ask Stevens, helping people unleash their potential and believe in themselves and rely on their community is the best way to make an impact.

"Create space and time for people to do their own healing work," she says. "If you have time and space, love and trust comes."

(You can go to the link to learn more, donate, or get involved.)
I’m not myself today, maybe I’m you

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Re: Heart to Heart to Win

Postby Spiritwind » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:44 pm

The Telepathic Connection Between Animals and Humans

by Bhavika ... and-humans

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

Cosmos and Mana, our 6-year old Indian dogs, patiently wait for our return at the gate. Its only been an hour since we were away to the market to buy supplies, but the ‘welcoming dance’ (the frantic jumping around and sounds) we received at the gate makes it look like ages have passed since we were gone.

The thrill and the joy, not to mention the innumerable licks we get, no matter whether we reciprocate or not, always makes me wonder how do they do that?

How is it possible to have such unconditional love for someone, and no matter what they are always there to put a smile on your face? A valuable lesson for us to learn from our four-legged friends.

Animals and humans share this deep connection incomparable to any other relationship one might have. In fact dogs were the first species to be domesticated by humans — and vice versa of course, at least 32,000 years ago.

They have this uncanny knack of sensing your vibe whether you are excited, sad, depressed, or angry; they can read your thoughts and mind. Like for example, when its bath time, Cosmos tries his best to run away from us because he hates to bathe, and he just knows when we are coming to leash him.

He knows which stranger to bark at (possibly he can see their aura or sense their intentions) and which ones are our friends. This connection runs much deeper than we think.

Telepathic connection
Rupert Sheldrake in his book, “Dogs That Know Their Owners are Coming Home” talks about the telepathic connection between humans and animals, particularly dogs.

He documented several cases that showed dogs and cats anticipating the return of their owners by waiting at a door or window; anticipation of them going away; the anticipation of being fed; cats disappearing when their owners intend to take them to the vet; dogs knowing when their owners are planning to take them for a walk; and animals that get excited when their owner is on the telephone, even before the telephone is answered.

Sheldrake explained this further, “When a dog is strongly bonded to its owner, this bond persists even when the owner is far away and is, I think, the basis of telepathic communication. I see telepathy as a normal, not paranormal, means of communication between members of animal groups.”

Personally I have experienced some of the unexplained behaviour; like our dogs know when we are going away or traveling for days. They start to look sad and gloomy and won’t respond to us when we call them, or they know when we are going to take them to the fields for a walk, they patiently wait for us to open the gate. These incidents are something which perhaps cannot be justified by science, but was surely felt within.

Sheldrake also documents animals’ abilities to sense an impending catastrophe; he mentioned the devastating tsunami that struck Indonesia, during which animals of every species fled the coastline and desperately raced for higher ground.

The life savers
“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

Dogs are also known to have saved lives of their guardian. Few real life stories show pet dogs being able to detect tumours/cancer in their guardian by alerting them or nuzzling them that something was wrong and required the attention of the guardian. Due to their robust sense of smell, dogs have the ability to sniff out cancer.

Typically, Labradors and Working Spaniels are trained as cancer detection dogs as they have good noses and about 30% of their brain is dedicated to analysing odour, including the minute smells associated with many cancers.

Dogs Can Smell Cancer | Secret Life of Dogs | BBC

Everything is connected to everything else
The relationship we share with our dogs goes beyond just giving commands or taking them for walks, there are moments when a single gaze is enough to communicate in an unspoken language. When your bond with an animal is strong sometimes even the thought of a command is enough for the animal to respond to it.

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~ Martin Buber

When our son was just a toddler and exploring his surroundings, our dog Mana always stayed with him whenever we weren’t around or in the house. She made sure he was doing fine; our son is 5 years old now and shares a very special bond with her.

Its a heart-warming experience to see them play together, a true reflection of purity and innocence, which we, adults have lost with the deeply ingrained layers of conditioning and beliefs.

There was another instance when during my pregnancy I slipped on a mossy step while taking Cosmos for a walk, and he instantly lifted his paw in a way to comfort me, like his way of asking me, “are you ok?”

My husband, Clyde had an intimate moment with an Oriental Garden Lizard. The little fellow had fallen into a dry pool and couldn’t get out. He used a bamboo stick to help him get out, but the lizard kept running away. Finally Clyde spoke to him and said that he was trying to help him and that he just had to sit on the stick.

After another failed attempt, finally the lizard sat on the stick, and the coolest part is after being rescued he sat there for a moment without running away. Clyde asked him for permission to touch him and as soon as his finger felt the lizard’s rough scale, the lizard ran away. An experience like this shows that we have a much larger connection with nature than what we’re aware of.

When you tune in to this space and feel the love for everything around you, you suddenly realise how everything is interconnected and that we are all part of nature.

Dogs are our oldest friends
Dog sniffed out breast cancer
Doberman saved owner’s life
Paddy the dog ‘sniffs out’ owner’s breast cancer
I’m not myself today, maybe I’m you

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