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Did you know that there are approximately 30 high schools located in the U.S. whose mission it is to enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs and working a program of recovery?  These recovery high schools understand that in order to create and sustain long-lasting positive change in these young adults’ lives, their recovery process must be supported by an environment which nurtures those choices and continues to provide ongoing peer mentoring and social acceptance.

Did you know there is an entire educational movement called Unschooling?  According to Allen Ellis, 23, a former Unschooling attendee, “Unschooling is an exciting alternative to contemporary schooling that empowers students to create their own education. Much like homeschooling, families are free to explore opportunities outside of the public school system, and even outside of the curriculums that many homeschoolers use. Unschoolers pursue their interest of the moment, and in the process find their passions of a lifetime.  Conversations with God, Book II talks about a new education system which is based on the values of awareness, honesty, and responsibility; a system that teaches the student to think critically, come to their own conclusions, and gives them a sense of “unlimitedness.” Unschoolers have been doing this for decades in our modern era, and humanity has been doing this in a sense for our entire history. Babies “unschool” themselves in learning how to talk and walk: Unschooling families simply let their children unschool the rest of life, too.”

Did you know that there are approximately 1,000 schools located throughout 60 countries in the world which operate under the Waldorf Education model?   This program is an extraordinarily unique educational experience which, according to their website, “Is based on a profound understanding of human development; provides a detailed, richly artistic curriculum that responds to and enhances the child’s developmental phases, from early childhood through high school; cultivates social and emotional intelligence; connects children to nature; ignites passion for lifelong learning; and is the fastest growing educational movement in the world.  For the Waldorf student, music, dance, and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about, ingested and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate a lifelong love of learning as well as the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.”

Of course, these three examples are only a handful of some of forward-thinking, mold-breaking, sameness-shattering groups of people on our planet who are no longer accepting status quo as good enough for the youth in our world.  It’s not difficult to follow the dotted lines and grasp the idea that each next generation becomes humanity’s next decision-makers.  So if we want to keep seeing more of what we have now, I guess it makes perfect sense to continue siphoning our children through the same narrow educational funnel that we currently filter them through.  But if we are expecting different results, if we are looking to experience some truly significant changes not only in the way our society functions, but in the way it thrives, isn’t it time to at least consider a different approach to our educational system?

But what does that different approach look like?  What kind of educational system will the masses embrace if it doesn’t sustain itself on a platform of students memorizing dates and achieving 4.00 grade point averages and sitting in overcrowded classrooms and filling their heads with arbitrary facts in order to pass “standardized tests” which are taught by underpaid teachers?

The news is saturated with daunting stories of bullying, teen suicide, school shootings, teen pregnancy, rampant drug use, eating disorders, drinking, depression, and social anxiety.  Aren’t these painful symptoms enough for us to collectively stand up and declare that the way we are currently doing this clearly isn’t working?  How many more bricks do we need to hit us in the head before we are finally willing to try something different?

Will there ever be a day when the God of each individual person’s understanding will be allowed in school?  Will discussions about spirituality ever be as commonplace as saying the Pledge of Allegiance?  Will students ever be able to engage in the kinds of conversations we here on The Global Conversation enjoy, conversations about God, about Life, about Who We Really Are?  Could this be the biggest missing piece of the puzzle, the freedom and opportunity for our children to express their deepest thoughts and to hear, really hear, the deepest thoughts of their peers in an environment which creates the space for them to do so?  Can we imagine a framework which operates not in the spirit of obtaining sameness or achieving conformity, but in the spirit of developing spiritual awareness and experiencing love without conditions, a system which creates real choices and true freedom?

Could this ever work?  

Are we willing to even try?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

How many of us have played the “if I had a million dollars” game?  You know the one where you imagine what it would be like to find yourself the lucky beneficiary of a sudden windfall of $1 million and then opine on the ways in which you would spend it?

Well, let’s up the ante a little bit here, shall we?

What if you had a billion dollars?  Or more?  Would that change anything?

Would you invest it?  Buy a big house, or two?  Travel?  Finally own that fleet of luxury sports cars?  Eat at the finest restaurants?

Would you be willing to give the majority of it away to charity?  Just simply give the bulk of it away without receiving anything in return?

That is exactly what billionaires and renowned philanthropists Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are asking the wealthiest people in the world to do by inviting them to take what they’ve called the “Giving Pledge.”

According to the Giving Pledge website, the pledge “is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.  The Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving.

“The idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.

“Initially, the focus was on the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States. Since there have been enthusiastic responses to the Giving Pledge around the world, the pledge now includes people from a mix of countries around the world.”

To date, according to the website, there are 115 people who have publicly taken this pledge since the concept was first introduced in 2010.  See the list here.

So what holds these tycoons’ feet to the fire when it’s time to actually follow through with their hefty promises?  Nothing.  Participation in the program is entirely honor-based.

Sure, it may be less of a fiscal pinch for someone to give away $12 billion when they still have a nice comfy cushion of $8 billion in the bank for them to live luxuriously on.  But I felt compelled to recognize and talk about this handful of extremely wealthy and influential human beings who have chosen to declare themselves as active participants in creating positive change in our world.

Are their altruistic gestures dampened by the fact that, even after their significant contributions, they still remain in the powerful 1%, without any negligible or obvious sacrifice to be had?

Do we need to see some level of personal sacrifice or hardship in order to appreciate the efforts of another?  Or does this type of movement signify a start, a beginning, a step in the direction that so many of us have been yearning to see, the ultra rich letting go of a bulk of their empires to better the lives of someone else?

According to the Forbes website, in the current year, 2013, there are 1,342 billionaires in the world.  115 of them have stepped forward to voluntarily participate in the Giving Pledge.  Not a large number, but definitely something to notice.  What do you think it would take for the remaining 1,227 on this exclusive list of those who have billions, potentially more money than they could spend in one lifetime, to choose to give it away?

What do we have to change in our world to pierce through the illusion of “not enoughness” and to alter harmful ideas of superiority?   Are we demonstrating what we desire to see from others in our own life, through our own actions?   Are we each giving of ourselves financially, energetically, and physically as we move through each moment of our day-to-day affairs?

Perhaps today is the day for us all to make our own “giving pledge.”   What might that look like for you?

Are you willing to say yes to that invitation?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Every day, an estimated 20,864 people die from hunger-related causes in our world, according to statistics provided by The World Bank.

Some 80 million people, around 43% of America’s working-age adults, didn’t go to the doctor or access other medical services last year because of the cost, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

And while it is difficult to pinpoint exact numbers, a study of homelessness in 50 cities found that in virtually every city, the city’s officials estimated the numbers of homeless people greatly exceeded the number of emergency shelter and transitional housing spaces.  And of the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are an estimated 640 million (1 in 3) without adequate shelter.

The average annual income for school teachers around the globe spans anywhere from a meager $10,604 in Egypt to $45,755 in Singapore (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).


At the same time, in Limburg, Germany, Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst was busy renovating his lavish residence to the tune of $43 million dollars, an indulgence that has earned him the nickname “Bishop of Bling” and which also led to his suspension from his Bishop duties by Pope Francis.  By the way, interestingly, the Vatican’s wealth has been valued to be between $10 billion and $15 billion.

On another note, just two years ago, people from around the world excitedly turned on their television sets in order to catch a privileged glimpse of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s extravagant $34 million royal wedding.

And let’s not forget to include in our observations the number of golf fans who continue to be mesmerized by Tiger Woods’ extraordinary ability to sweep the floor with his competitors, which earns him a cool $78 million a year.

In addition, we have billionaire timeshare mogul David Seigel, who is continuing to move forward with construction of what is being touted as the largest home in America, measuring a whopping 90,000 square feet and costing upwards of $65 million upon its completion.

I know, I know.  Don’t judge.  Love what is.   Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.  Suck it up.  Everyone has the same opportunities and choices.  Oh, and I almost forgot the best one of all:  When life gives you lemons, made lemonade.

Well, those spiritual and motivational platitudes are easy to roll off the tongue, but I’m not so sure they are particularly helpful to someone whose last meal was yesterday or perhaps the day before or maybe even the day before that, nor are they soothing to the elementary school teacher who holds down an additional part-time job in order to pay her bills, nor are they useful to the homeless person who has been sleeping on the streets for a longer period of time than most of us could ever possibly imagine doing.

Does everyone truly have the same opportunities in our current system the way we have constructed it?  Are we all afforded the same pool of choices from which to choose?  As we all know, with money comes power.  And with power comes the ability to be the rule-makers.  And the end result is not surprising — those who get to make the rules tend to do so in a fashion that benefits them.

In a world with enough inherent resources to take care of the needs of all of humanity, why is there not enough to go around?   How is it that “enough” is not actually enough?

I guess the answer to the “why” question may be easier to answer than the ensuing question:  What can we do to change that?  Surely, there must be something.  Is there a way to account for and then distribute the planet’s natural commodities in a way that would more evenly benefit all human beings?

How far back do we have to unravel the current paradigm to begin rebuilding a system that works for more than just a few?  What will it take to create a world where grotesquely huge houses and disturbingly overpaid athletes will be a thing of the past because they will no longer represent who we know ourselves to truly be?

When will “enough” actually demonstrate itself to be enough…for everybody?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

In August of this year, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his plan to improve humanity by expanding internet access into the developing world, touting it as “one of the most important things we will do in our lifetimes.”  He published his thoughts and visions in an online document where he asks the question:  “Is connectivity a human right?”

Zuckerberg goes on to say, “I’m focused on this because I believe it is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. The unfair economic reality is that those already on Facebook have way more money than the rest of the world combined, so it may not actually be profitable for us to serve the next few billion people for a very long time, if ever. But we believe everyone deserves to be connected.  The internet not only connects us to our friends, families and communities, but it is also the foundation of the global knowledge economy.”

However, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has reacted publicly with some harsh criticisms about Mark Zuckerberg’s plan, calling the Facebook entrepreneur’s mission “a joke.”

“As a priority? It’s a joke,” Gates told CNBC in an interview. “I certainly love the IT thing. But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.  Take this malaria vaccine, [this] weird thing that I’m thinking of. Hmm, which is more important, connectivity or malaria vaccine? If you think connectivity is the key thing, that’s great. I don’t.”

Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and someone who has been labeled the richest man in the world, has devoted himself to humanitarian causes since stepping down from a full-time role at Microsoft in 2006, personally investing millions of dollars from his own personal fortune into efforts to eradicate illnesses such as polio, HIV, and malaria on a global scale.  His website thoroughly outlines many of the other social issues Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are getting in front of, including extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries and the failures of America’s education system.

At first glance, it is easy to mock Zuckerberg’s “get the world online” plan when contrasted against the sobering perspective offered to us by Bill Gates, who also blasted Google’s dream to bring the internet to the world’s unconnected population by floating hundreds of weather balloons equipped with solar-powered radios in an attempt create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds. “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you,” said Gates.  “When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that.”

But setting aside for a moment the disapproving commentary by Bill Gates, is it quite possible that Mark Zuckerberg is onto something here, too?  He believes that “bringing everyone online will not only improve billions of lives, but we’ll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world.  Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy. It is not the only thing we need to do, but it’s a fundamental and necessary step.”

No stranger to philanthropy himself, Zuckerberg and his wife were the second-biggest charitable donors in the United States last year,  giving roughly half a billion dollars to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a charitable organization whose causes in 2012 ranged from programs to teach immigrants English, to groups providing food and shelter to the needy, to funds for victims of the California wildfires.  In addition, he donated $100 million to help schools in the U.S.

Can the crises humanity is facing right now – hunger, poverty, homelessness, illness, lack of education – be alleviated by both of the innovative ideas of these two powerful men who are more than willing to put their money where it matters?

Are we willing to risk an extraordinary opportunity for significant positive change to occur while we sit back and debate with each other who is right and who is wrong?  Isn’t the biggest obstacle we currently face — the one thing that stands in the way of real, positive, and beneficial change taking place — our inability to embrace each other’s perspectives as “another way,” not a “better way”?

Can the internet be counted as a fundamental and basic necessity for everyone in our world?  Or is it a tool, a resource, a luxury that should be reserved for those who can afford it?  If the latter is true, are we simply playing into the continuing the cycle of “those who have” and “those who do not”?

Do people who have no running or clean water, families with barely enough food to sustain their bodies, and those who struggle with life-threatening illnesses on a daily basis really even care about having internet access?  Is the information superhighway, as Gates contends, just not, “in the hierarchy of human needs, in the first five rungs” and instead we should be placing our intentions and financial wherewithal elsewhere?

According to a senior United Nations official, “Helping developing countries build their citizens’ access to the Internet is akin to giving them a tool that boosts their chances of achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, this or that, yours or mine?  Can you imagine a way these two humanitarian giants can work hand-in-hand, supported by a new framework of understanding, clarity, and wisdom which would give rise to the harmonious implementation of both of their powerful visions and creative ideas?

Personally, the prospect of that level of collaboration and heartfelt cooperation is something I would definitely hit the “like” button for.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Russell Brand’s “Newsnight” interview with Jeremy Paxman has gone viral across social media, attracting over a million YouTube views a day since it first aired on October 23.  The English comedian, actor, radio host, and author who is notorious for incorporating drug use, alcoholism, and promiscuity into his comedic material, was recently appointed as guest editor of this week’s issue of London’s political and cultural magazine, New Statesman.  The interview began with the question:  “Russell Brand, who are you to edit a political magazine?”

See what he had to say about that question and more in this video:

Wow, is he on to something here?

How do you feel about the fact that he has never voted, and encourages others not to?

Brand says, “It’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy, I’m not voting out of absolute indifference, and weariness, and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and has now reached a fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that [is] not being represented by that political system, so voting for it is tacit complicity with that system.”

How many other people feel this way, too, but don’t have the courage to say it?  Do we actually, as a society, have influence or power in the way our current voting system is structured?   Or are we willing to consider the possibility that if we want to see some significant changes in our current paradigm, we may be called upon to take some significant actions?

Do the ideas which Russell Brand shares represent the kind of revolution Humanity is yearning for?  These certainly are the types of radical changes that will rattle powerful cages and cause the status quo to quiver in its tightly laced shoes, but is someone like Russell Brand too unrealistic, too “out there,” too unbelievable, too incredible?   He has been criticized for not offering actual and practical solutions.  But might it be possible that the solutions will unearth themselves in our choice to take the first step, which could be as simple as listening to each other?

For so many, “politics” has become a dirty, ugly word.  The more divisive and complicated our political system gets, the more disenfranchised and disengaged large segments of our population feel.  How do we get to a point collectively where the system we have in place excites and invites?  According to Brand, “Imagining the overthrow of the current political system is the only way I can be enthused about politics.”

Is that what it’s going to take?

Are we ready for that kind of a revolution?

I think it’s just the beginning.  What do you think?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

If we each took some time to dig through the archives of our family’s vacation photos, I would imagine many of us would be able to find pictures of us with our children at the local zoo or perhaps spending the day at an aquarium or enjoying an afternoon at the circus.  Kids and adults alike love to see animals and many are quite fond of watching them perform the unexpected trick or two, and big corporations know this and are more than willing to make those opportunities available to us for a steep price.

But somewhere underneath the giggle-producing spectacle and the collective “oohs” and “aahs” and beyond the neatly pressed pages which hold our treasured family photos lies an uncomfortably nagging question:

Is this the intended purpose for the animals that we share our planet with?

In a recent controversial documentary titled “Blackfish,” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, a mother who once took her own children to Sea World on a regular basis to see the shows, raises some thought-provoking questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer whales in captivity over the past 39 years at the wildly popular theme park.

The events surrounding the death of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, when a 12,000-pound orca whale pulled her underwater during a live performance, became the catalyst to Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film “Blackfish.”

“I remember asking someone why an orca — a highly intelligent animal — would attack its trainer or essentially ‘bite the hand that feeds it.’  We sometimes hear of dogs mauling other people, but in these cases we don’t seem to hear about them attacking their masters. So why would America’s lovable Shamu turn against us? How could our entire collective childhood memories of this delightful water park be so morbidly wrong?”

In an interview with CNN, Cowperthwaite said, “My hope is that we take the “Blackfish” momentum and use it to help evolve us out of animals for entertainment. These silly marine park tricks are of no social, educational or conservational value. We advocate, instead, for captive killer whales to be retired into sea sanctuaries where they can live out the rest of their lives in a dignified, sustainable manner.”

Sea World has been critical of the film and released the following statement:

“Blackfish is billed as a documentary, but instead of a fair and balanced treatment of a complex subject, the film is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau’s family, friends and colleagues. To promote its bias that killer whales should not be maintained in a zoological setting, the film paints a distorted picture that withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld — among them, that SeaWorld is one of the world’s most respected zoological institutions, that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year, and that SeaWorld commits millions of dollars annually to conservation and scientific research. Perhaps most important, the film fails to mention SeaWorld’s commitment to the safety of its team members and guests and to the care and welfare of its animals, as demonstrated by the company’s continual refinement and improvement to its killer whale facilities, equipment and procedures both before and after the death of Dawn Brancheau.”

This story places before us an opportunity to talk about our relationships with these magnificent creatures and consider how we desire and choose to define that relationship.  As I look around and watch humanity cage, maim, sell, slaughter, hunt, train, manipulate, mutilate, exploit, oppress, wear, and eat some of the most extraordinary life forms around us, I can’t help but wonder:  Do we have this all “wrong”?  Are we grossly misunderstanding the purpose of our furry, scaly, finned friends?  And why have we give such names as “killer whale” to these beautifully majestic mammals who are simply doing what comes naturally to them?

Of course, there exists the possibility that the animals and mammals are here as supporting cast members, souls whose agenda is to simply play the role of “sacrificial lambs,” if you will, in the scenes of humanity’s play, existing for the common and highest good of all.  But do animals even have souls? In one conversation I had recently, I was offered the matter-of-fact point of view that animals could not possibly have souls, pointing out that man was created superior to animals and that animals just simply cannot be equal with him, a belief system that some theologies hold to be true.

I suppose it is this level of thinking which creates a desire to capture and possess some of the most exotic and exquisite animals on earth and why we are also more than willing pay money, large sums of money, to people who are capitalizing off of their involuntary loss of freedom.

And while the possibility exists for anything to be true, I continue to return to that same uncomfortably nagging question:

Is this the intended purpose for the animals that we share our planet with?

And now I invite you to share your thoughts, your ideas, and your feelings about what may be one of our most misconstrued, yet most significant, relationships.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Marianne Williamson, best-selling author of some of the world’s most beloved spiritual books, such as “A Return to Love” and “Healing the Soul of America,” announced Sunday that she is running as an independent for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 33rd District.

The theme of her campaign you might be wondering?

“Create Anew.”

Marianne Williamson is no stranger to politics and spiritual activism.  She is the emeritus chair for The Peace Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace; facilitator of Sister Giant seminars, designed to promote “a higher level of contribution among those of us who want to increase our efficacy as activist and/or candidate, in order to uplift the tenor of American politics and in so doing help heal the world”; and a teacher of A Course in Miracles, a course of study that assists people in relinquishing a thought system based on fear and embracing one based on love. (

There are many out there who believe that spirituality and politics don’t mix, that they do not “play nice together.”   Will Marianne Williamson be the person who demonstrates not only the possibility for spirituality and politics to work together, but the one who actually produces the outcomes yearned for — but not yet seen — by the American people, offering to Humanity, as Ms. Williamson said, “a new consciousness regarding our political discourse”?

I feel inspired upon reading this exciting news, and I am wondering what the world thinks about this.  How will her prominence in the new-thought community benefit her campaign?  How might it hinder her?  Is America ready for someone who isn’t functioning from or catering to the ultra-religious voting sector?   How does the fact that she is running as an independent come into play here, if at all?

According to Williamson, “I believe that a wave of independent candidates, all committed to a huge course-correction, is necessary to turn our ship around. I feel my campaign, and most importantly my win, can help inspire such a movement.”

On Ms. Williamson’s website, the question is posed to her:  “Why should I think you’d be a better congressman than Rep. Waxman?” the current representative whose 38 years in Congress has earned him a reputation of being one of its most influential liberal members, to which she replies, “The voters get to decide if they think I’d be better; what I can tell you is that I would be different. And I do not think of Congressman Waxman as my opponent. We’re simply candidates for the same position.”

Is she the person who can breathe new life into our political system?  Does she have the ability to actually implement and demonstrate some of the New Spirituality concepts that many of us have talked about right here on this site?

Marianne Williamson posted this message on her Facebook page:  “Politics shouldn’t be the least heart-filled thing we do; it should be the most heart-filled thing we do. It should be a collective expression of our most enlightened selves.”

Now, that is someone I’m interested in seeing more from.

How about you?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

This past weekend, 17 states across America experienced technical difficulties with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card to its recipients.  The temporary disruption in the electronic debit system caused distraught shoppers to abandon their shopping cards filled with food and other personal necessities in the checkout lanes and leave stores empty-handed because they could not access their benefits.

This same disruption in service also mistakenly removed the set spending limit on EBT cards for some people in a couple Louisiana Walmart stores, creating a situation where law enforcement officers were called into the stores to help maintain order as shoppers took advantage of the windfall and swept through the aisles, buying as much as they could carry, knowingly exceeding the budget that had been established for their personal accounts.

My point for bringing this to the table for discussion is not merely to talk about the fact that it happened, or how it happened, but rather to engage in a conversation about the ensuing public reaction to it.

On a local talk radio show, I heard an angry caller exclaim that “those people” should just get jobs, as he has so commendably done, and that they shouldn’t be receiving free handouts anyway.  He said they deserved this “swift kick in the pants,” referring to those distressed shoppers who left stores without food for their families.

And in my reading of the news stories that have surfaced around this incident, many of the opinions being conveyed in the commentaries seem to mirror his sentiments, which created some nagging questions for me.

How many people feel this way, that we should not have a public assistance program?

If it is a matter of amending or supplementing the one we have, how would that look?

Do we have a responsibility – or at least, at a minimum, a desire – to aid the people in our communities, in our countries, and in our world whose lives are less than easy?

If we don’t consider it our responsibility, what is the alternative?

Do we really want to live in a world where it is “each man for himself”?  Really?  Is that even possible?  What is the purpose of our relationships with each other anyway?

Could the solution be as clear-cut as some people vehemently assert, that those in need should just simply “get a job”?

And what about the people who took advantage of the broken system this past weekend and took more than they were allotted?  Is it possible for any of us to experience a level of compassion that would help us to understand what would cause someone to make that particular choice?   Can we think of a time or times in our own lives where we tricked the system or took more than our fair share?   What is the sponsoring thought or belief that causes us to resort to those types of decisions?  Is there a soul purpose or agenda or desire that might be at play here?

For me, one of the single-most difficult concepts to accept is the fact that there are people in our world who do not have food to eat, that there are people who starve because they do not have even the smallest amount of nourishment to sustain their bodies.  It is unimaginable with the resources that are available to us.  So when I hear someone declare that they deserve this “swift kick in the pants” in describing someone’s inability to buy food, I start having a lot of questions around where we are as a society, how we got here, and how life looks for us all as we move forward together, like it or not, on this planet earth.

Your thoughts?  Your ideas?  Your wisdom?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

As I was driving to work the other day, I heard the local radio personality announce, “And stay tuned for the three things you need to know from the radio station that keeps you up to date with what is important in the world.”

Oh, my goodness, I was going to arrive at my destination well before they told me the three things I need to know.  Should I stay in my car and risk being late for my appointment while I wait for these vital pieces of information?  What will happen to me if I don’t hear these three crucial nuggets of wisdom?  Because if I need to know them, won’t the absence of knowing them surely have dire circumstances for me?

Could it be that I need to know that the American government is continuing to play intramural hardball with each other at the expense of the very people who voted them into office, the very people who they claim to have their best interests in mind?

Could it be that I need to know that former Olympian Bruce Jenner and his wife, Kris Jenner, are now officially separated after 22 years of marriage?

Could it be that I need to know that there are people who reacted sharply with racist comments and harsh accusations in response to Nina Davuluri becoming the most recent Miss America because of her Indian origin?

Could it be that I need to know that a young pregnant woman in Mexico City gave birth on the front lawn of a medical clinic after being denied care from the medical personnel inside the facility who told her she was not ready to deliver?

Or maybe I need to know that the foods I am eating are entirely wrong or what movies I must be watching.  Perhaps I need to know which preschools my children should be going to in order to ensure they will be successful adults or how to Feng Shui the furniture in my living room.  Maybe someone will tell me what car I’m supposed to be driving, what brand of jeans someone “my age” should wear, what length my hair is supposed to be.  And surely I need to know which politician is involved in the latest sex scandal.   And, of course, here is the big one that someone must tell me now:  which version of God I am supposed to be embracing?

Where does the long list of “things I need to know” end?

And how is it that everyone else knows what I need to know, and I don’t?

Of course, I’m being slightly facetious here to make a point.  But how many times and in what kinds of ways are we being told we need something in our lives in order to be, do, or have something else?   In order to be happy?  In order to be abundant?  In order to be in a relationship?  And do we ever stop to consider where we are getting that information?

Buried deep beneath our belief that somehow we are incomplete, insufficient, less-than, it seems we have forgotten the nature of who we really are.  We have caused ourselves to miss entirely the opportunity to experience ourselves as the source of our own joy and happiness by looking to and accepting external sources of information for our answers and our truth, even when that information is not in alignment with our own wisdom.  Can you imagine a more perfectly vulnerable position for someone to be in if and when somebody else wants their truth to also be yours?

For me, it has been my experience that the understanding of what I need to know is most often realized in the space of nothingness, in the stillness of nature, and in the absence of words.  And while the outside world provides us an extraordinary opportunity to apply our consciousness through the process of choosing and creating and recreating, I believe there are not 3 things we need to know, nor are there 100 things or one million things.  There is only one thing we need to know; and that is this:  we already know.

“Life (as you call it) is an opportunity for you to know experientially what you already know conceptually.
You need learn nothing to do this. You need merely remember what you already know, and act on it.”

~ Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Vol. 1

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Perfectly imperfect

If there was one word in our language that I wish we could eliminate, or at least redefine, it would be the word “perfect.”  Actually, not the word itself, but rather the idea that we are somehow inherently less than or in need of being improved upon,  and that the only way to experience a life of happiness, joy, and freedom is to be, do, or have something different than we are already being, doing, or having.

The irony is that in our quest for perfection, as we have largely come to understand it, we are blocking our own ability to see ourselves as who and what we truly are, which is – ironically — perfect.  The expectation bar has been set mighty high by many of us.  And buried deep beneath its many complicated layers of judgment and insufficiency lies the opportunity for each and every one of us to experience our natural state of wholeness and completeness.

For many, life has become a distorted sort of treasure hunt, a mission, a goal-oriented conditional experience:

If only I had more money, then I would be able to buy the big house on the hill and have designer clothes and even that bright red sports car…because that would bring me happiness.

If only I had thinner thighs or larger breasts, then I would attract a partner who would desire me and finally have the relationship of my dreams…because that would bring me love.

If only my house was always clean and organized, then I could finally relax and read those books which are collecting dust on my bookshelf or have the time to take that yoga class…because that would bring me peace.

If only I had a better job, then I would make more money so I would be able to buy the big house on the hill and have the designer clothes and even that bright red sports car…

If I had all these things, finally my life would be perfect.

And the cycle is perpetuated – want, strive, push, want, strive, push, want, strive, push – which still does not produce the outcome we think we are supposed to have, which causes us to push harder and strive more, leaving us utterly exhausted and mentally drained and completely detached from any notion or concept about who we really are.

Does a state of “perfection” exist?

What would it actually look like if it did?

Why do we yearn to be more?  To be better?   And why are we willing to trade in our happiness in exchange for a concept that demonstrates itself over and over and over again to be unrealized?

Is “perfection” something that we are capable of experiencing beyond perhaps the exact moment we are born into this world?   There are some who would say even a newborn baby is not perfect, that they, too, come into this world flawed, in need of fixing or improving upon, to the degree that they are actually in need of forgiveness.  Is that conceivable or even possible?

I sense that there is some level of perfection woven into the universal tapestry within which we find ourselves a part of, some purposeful fluidity that encompasses each and every one of us, even though the collective cognitive grasp of what that might be seems to lies just beyond the boundaries of our understanding.  But I also believe that we are provided momentary glimpses into this realm of deeper understanding, demonstrated by numerous occurrences in my own life where an experience of overwhelming sensation of goodness and joy fills me and reminds me that there is a harmonious energy at play here in the seemingly random happenings in my life.

So today I will celebrate my imperfections, I will laugh at the choices that feel like mistakes, and I will be grateful for all the “wrong” turns I make and awkward or embarrassing things I might say.  I will stop wishing I was that and feel appreciative because I am this.  I will open my heart to extend the same appreciation and kindness to all those who share this life journey with me, knowing that these are the moments that I believe are best described as, well, perfect.

“If a snowflake is utterly perfect in its design, do you not think the same could be said about something as magnificent as your life?”
~ “Conversations with God” 

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at