A week ago I got into an argument on Facebook regarding a politician I REALLY don’t like..I had made a few comments mentioning that this person seemed to lack compassion, warmth etc and a woman who read my comments got VERY offended and wrote back some sarcastic words, saying “Well you must be a VERY compassionate person!” so I responded by sending her my Gofundme site, not for a contribution but because it’s my story and some of the best of my work and people I had worked with over the past 28 years had written letters and stories which I combined with some great film clips and photos. So then the woman wrote back another sarcastic comment telling me that I was a self promoter. Horrors a self promoter…imagine that!

Feeling really irritated, I thought that’s  funny……isn’t that what Facebook is mostly about and certainly nearly all the politicians and almost everyone in the government are self promoters to the max.

But the thing is, I’m not a self promoter and never have been until recently when I’ve been in dire straits and been forced to be. In fact, it’s because I have always put other people first that I’m in such trouble financially. I had  always thought this what you were supposed to do-put others first- but I found out, it gets you in trouble and not many of those people you put first are going to be there for you when you need help.

Years ago I was in a workshop with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in Kamloops, British Columbia..there were about 75 people in the workshop, many suffering from great loss: death of a child, terminal illness etc.File_01 ekr:khamalaEveryone worked with Elisabeth individually but in front of the group…..Elisabeth never used a formula when working with people which is why her work was life-changing for so many.

Anyway when my turn came, she told me that I would have to go up to each person in the group and ask for a hug.File_06 ekr wkshop singAnd to the 75 people in the group, she said “Don’t do it unless she asks.” I HATED doing this but I did it and when I finished, Elisabeth said “Did you learn your lesson, did you learn that you have to ask for what you need?”

So now after all these years, this lesson has come back to me and I’ve been asking for what I need and actually I’m kind of enjoying being a self promoter…as my main teacher now is Eckhart Tolle, I work toward detaching myself from form/ego so this is all just sort of a funny kind of exercise, something I’m not taking seriously..

It’s another lesson for me, maybe in finding a balance so while I’m finding the balance [the balance between being of service and taking care of myself]  please help me out by going to my  GOFUNDME

site and making a contribution. If you read my story, I’m pretty sure that you’ll see that I’ve done far more service work and significant good deeds than the woman I read about who raised $23,000 on gofundme so she could pay off her student loans and become a nun and I have nothing against nuns.

Several people have told me they were praying for me or keeping me in their thoughts. I appreciate that but so much of what people say to someone in distress are just empty words..when someone offers their condolences…does that really mean anything or would it be better to say “Is there some way I can help…like maybe just listening to what you’re going through.”

giraffe heroesA little more Self Promotion: you can go to The Giraffe Heroes Facebook page and ‘like’ my story. It’s 10 or stories down, immediately after the George Burns poster. The Giraffe Heroes Project honors people who stick their necks out for the common good and I’m proud to be one of  the 1300 Giraffes that have been recognized in the past 3 decades.

So I’ll keep on promoting myself for fun…..for a while….see if it works..find the balance.


Two Teachers and a Story/ Some much needed Inspiration in these Dark Times

“We pass each other on the streets and if we do speak, it’s meaningless, robotic, communication…Pride is at an all time high, humility at an all time low…not many human beings left anymore..

So what can we do..

-Prince Ea

Rather than writing anything today,  I’m just posting 2 video/film clips from teachers I recently discovered…and a story that actually made the news this morning.

I guess the theme is the world today: how horrible it has become and what we can do about it, are meant to do..the reason we’re here. We, each of us, not the corrupt politicians who don’t know lies from  truth, and who will never change anything, at least not for the better….. the change is up to each of us.

people will neverThe following story was written by Lauren Levy and it appeared on this morning.

*This is something I’ve experienced a lot lately in trying to communicate with people as I’ve been forced to ask for help:  “They all ignored me. Not even a no. [They] just acted like I didn’t exist.” When you have to beg for help, it’s so often the most unexpected people who respond and restore your faith..the rest just drive on by. Thank you to those who have restored my faith in human nature!

After Tawny Nelson’s car broke down at night in the pouring rain with her four young daughters crying in the back, countless people just drove by as she begged for help.

The single mother of four explained that things had been rough since her partner left — her vehicle was in such bad shape that she only drove if absolutely necessary and her cell phone was disconnected. She and her children desperately needed groceries so they made a quick trip to the store. However, one of her girls accidentally left a light on in the car and they returned to a completely drained battery. “I must have asked more than twenty people in the course of two hours for a jump,” she wrote to Frank Somerville, which he shared on his Facebook page. “They all ignored me. Not even a no. [They] just acted like I didn’t exist.

As her newborn screamed, her 2-year-old cried from hunger, and her 9-year-old desperately tried to help, Tawny described that she started to break down herself. “I was bawling and felt like the worst Mom ever,” she recalled.

At that moment, a 74-year-old man with a bad limp knocked on the window. He handed her a plate of food and bottles of water for her family and let her know that a tow truck was on its way and that his wife was going to drive them home. The next day, the gentleman returned to her house with a mechanic and they made multiple repairs to her car.

After the kind stranger left, Tawny asked the mechanic if she could set up a payment plan, but he informed her that the man had already taken care of the bill.

“He said that the only payment the older man wanted was for me to never give up and keep being an amazing mom,” Tawny wrote. “I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Things had been absolutely awful, more so than I care to explain, and without knowing us or our situation this kind man helped us in ways he will never know.”

Tawny is grateful to the man for restoring her faith in humanity when she says she was falling apart. And while she knows that she can never repay him — he wouldn’t even take a hug — she hopes to one day do for another what he did for her.



Giraffes, the Holy Fool & Finding the Rainbow

foolThe Holy Fool is the most dangerous person on earth, Joseph Campbell explained , the most threatening to all hierarchical institutions, because he ignores their power. He has no concern for naysayers. He’s unfazed by risk. He’s not limited by his limitations, not listening to reason, not stoppable, not controllable. He knows what he has to do and he’s doing it, no matter what.

~Ann Medlock, Founder and Director of The Giraffe Heroes Project

So if someone calls you a Fool, take it as a compliment.  Let it be a reminder that you’re walking a Sacred Path, even if it looks as if the road ahead is actually a drop off the cliff face.

~Kimberly Schneider, M.Ed, J.D., LPC

It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross MD.

Never lose hope in the human spirit; we all go through things in life not knowing if we are capable of getting through them. But those who choose to face their fears and walk through the storms will see the rainbows on the other side.

~Gerri Briggs [Gerri Briggs has AIDS. In a period of 3 years, she lost her 2 year old son, her 34 year old husband and her 29 year old brother..all of them died of AIDS.]


I haven’t written anything in quite a while.. too discouraged. I’ve counted on inspiration ever since I started writing this blog last November but any and all inspiration left completely and I’ve quit writing as I’ve entered into another dark night of the soul*

Still in the midst of darkness, I want to write today about a few things that have helped me hold on and keep going.  I want to write about The Giraffe Heroes Project. and The Holy Fool and as I write I’m also going to talk about the gofundme campaign that I’ve started and the reasons why.


Every where I turn comes advice, mostly unasked for, sometimes condescending. “You’re coming out of lack” wrote one person, implying this situation I’m in* is my fault. “Maybe” I wrote back “but what about all the AIDS patients we took care of back in the 80s…proud, talented, successful people who suddenly lost everything because of their disease and so often had to depend on the kindness of strangers. Were they coming out of lack?”

*[No need to go into the details but just to say that  this past year EVERY single thing I tried to do and nearly every part of my life fell apart, crashed, didn’t work. RITES OF PASSAGE/AIDS Care and Assistance,the non profit I founded 28 years ago lost all its funding 15 months ago..believing the funding was coming back, I used all my savings to keep things going..until I lost everything. Over and over I’ve been knocked flat and I mean really flat. Over and over I’ve picked myself up only to be flattened again. A terrible depression has come over me ..I don’t sleep..I’ve mostly lost my faith which had kept me going for so many years. I’ve felt like a fool..making all the wrong decisions..questioning all that I’ve done]

jason breathing tube 2I’ve spent the last 28 years of my life working with and caring for people who some might say were “coming out of lack”: Native Americans,little boy-camp-1 people coming out of prison,prison interior people who were dying…..and from them I’ve learned the most valuable lessons one could ever learn.  My work with people with AIDS…File_01 joe:aids …was the reason I became a Giraffe Hero which is what I’m writing about today-The Giraffe Heroes Project.

Pickard, Cindyme:ot:hospice art

Occupational therapist Cindy Pickard of Austin, Texas, gave up her regular work to start AIDS Care and Assistance, a program that trains and places caregivers for people with AIDS so they can continue to live at home.

  • health/public health/disabilities

Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Texas
Home when commended: North America, US, Texas
Home now: North America, US, Texas
Gender: F (female)

The Giraffe Heroes Project is  a bright light in a dark world

You can read about THE GIRAFFE HEROES PROJECT here but in a nutshell The Giraffe Heroes Project “honors compassionate risk-takers, people who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the US and around the world.”





 Years ago, I visited the office international headquarters The Giraffe Heroes Project in Langley, Washington. It was during another difficult time in my life, the early days of providing home care for people with AIDS, and I followed the giraffe hoof prints leading up to the office to meet with the founder and director, Ann Medlock. When I began to tell Ann what I was going through, she gave me this story to read, her story about starting The Giraffe Project.

[The following story is adapted from the words of Ann Medlock, Founder and Director of The Giraffe Heroes Project]

“In those days of getting the Project started, friends and family were asking Ann why she was putting so much into something that could well be a lost cause. Flying off to Paris to write a speech for the Aga Khan hadn’t been a bad way to make a living. Why was she going on and on with this Giraffe thing? She wasn’t sure herself.

She got the answer on a trip west, at a seminar Joseph Campbell was giving at Esalen. Ann had attended Campbell’s classes whenever he taught in New York City: She couldn’t pass up this chance to hear Campbell talk for a full weekend on the story of Parsifal.

fool 3Campbell showed Parsifal as a recurring theme in mythology, the story of the Holy Fool. This Fool is always considered a dummy by the smart, hip people who really know the score. In Parsifal’s case, there’s a mysterious blight on the land, nothing will grow and no one knows how to break the spell. Parsifal, the Holy Fool, sets out to find the cause, right the wrong, and save the people. He’s told he can’t do it, that he’s too dumb, too weak, too everything. But he goes ahead anyway, breaking the curse on the land and bringing life back to the people.

The Holy Fool is the most dangerous person on earth, Campbell explained, the most threatening to all hierarchical institutions, because he ignores their power. He has no concern for naysayers. He’s unfazed by risk. He’s not limited by his limitations, not listening to reason, not stoppable, not controllable. He knows what he has to do and he’s doing it, no matter what.

Driving up the California coast after the seminar, Ann had what later seemed to her an obvious revelation—the reason she had been so obsessed with finding Giraffes and telling their stories was that these individuals were our time’s Holy Fools; she had locked into an archetype that had her in thrall, one that was desperately needed in the spiritual blight of the 1980’s. No matter what it took, she would go on.

Back in New York, she had lunch with Campbell and told him what she was doing, what his seminar had made clear to her, how grateful she was that he’d shown her the reason for her obsession. She was amazed to see his eyes well up, and delighted to have his endorsement of her quest.”

stick your neck out

Ann Medlock, Founder and Director of THE GIRAFFE HEROES PROJECT

This story about the Holy Fool gave me the courage that I needed then to go on. Being a Giraffe gives me the courage to keep on keeping on.

A few days ago, I emailed Ann to tell her I was going through another difficult time and wanted to ask her advice. I told her that after trying everything I could think of, I had started a gofundme campaign . People I had worked with over the past 28 years had written letters and stories and these I combined with photos and film clips. I thought it was a good story and some good friends had donated but I thought it needed some publicity/media coverage.

I had just read a story about a woman who wanted to become a nun but in order to do so, she had to pay off her student loans. In a two week period she had raised $23,000 and gotten a lot of national publicity. Surely my story, which is a giraffe story would be worthy of some publicity?

Ann suggested linking this blog to the Giraffe Facebook page and that’s the reason I’m writing today. It’s very hard for me to try to raise money for myself. I never have’s always been for the nonprofit, RITES OF PASSAGE AIDS Care and Assistance..or for someone else.

Several people have suggested recently that it was time for me to put myself first, to take care of myself. You’ve done enough they say but I don’t really think that’s true. With some help and support, the phoenix can rise from the ashes and create again. I don’t think Giraffes ever give up!giraffe_john's book

So here’s my gofundme campaign site. It’s some of the best of my work and I WILL continue on with some help and support. Financial support doesn’t just mean money. It means someone believes in you, cares and understands.It’s a kind of humility that says “As I’m helping you now, I understand that a time may well come, when I too, will have to ask for help.”

 If you’re reading this and you’re saying to yourself “that would never happen to me, I’ve made all the right choices and decisions. I’m protected.”, you may be surprised. As the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says “If you’re not being challenged by life right now, just wait a little, it’ll come.”

PS You can check out our award winning FILMS here….these documentaries, a record of our work over the last 28 years, are on a variety of subjects: Hospice, AIDS, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Dannion Brinkley/Near Death Experience, Loss and Grief, Native American teachings, Sustainable Living, Aging etc. and many are used by nursing schools, hospices, hospitals, libraries and universities throughout the US and Canada. In fact just a few minutes ago, I got an order from a nursing supervisor at MD Anderson in Houston for our award winning film on the loss oF a child, TURNING TOWARD THE MORNING

Below are 2 GREAT film clips about THE GIRAFFE HEROES PROJECT and how it began..very worth watching! I’m also posting a clip from Gabor Mate, MD…I just discovered this clip a few nights ago and it meant a lot to me..the last statements in particular are very relevant to Giraffes and what the world needs now