AwareNow: Issue 18: The Outside Edition

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AWARENOW

ISSUE 18

T H E AWA R E N E S S T I E S ™ O F F I C I A L M A G A Z I N E F O R C A U S E S

SOUL MATES

FLORA CASH

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

JUST JUMP

LEX GILLETTE

ON THE RUN

SHAN RIGGS

OUTSIDE & WITHIN

EMILIE GOLDBLUM

ALT MOVEMENT

CRAIG GRAHAM

TRAGIC HILARITY

OLIVA CADE

THE SCIENCE OF STRESS

ROBERT PACE, MD

A MISCONCEPTION MISSION

CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

IT’S TIME TO TALK - PERIOD

NADYA OKAMOTO

THE OUTSIDE EDITION

F R O M

T H E

I N S I D E

L O O K I N G

O U T


SUICIDE IS A PREVENTABLE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. YO U C A N BE T H E O N E TO START THE CO N V ERSAT IO N . H F T D.O R G


THE OUTSIDE EDITION

AwareNow™ is a monthly publication produced by Awareness Ties™ in partnership with Issuu™. Awareness Ties™ is the ‘Official Symbol of Support for Causes’. Our mission is to support causes by elevating awareness and providing sustainable resources for positive social impact. Through our AwareNow Magazine, Podcast & Talk Show, we raise awareness for causes and support for nonprofits one story at a time.

06 DISPOSE SAFELY

ZEESHAN KHAN

52 CREATOR’S CALLING

CHIEF OGIMAA

92 AIDED BY ACTIVISM

10 TRAGIC HILARITY

OLIVA CADE

56 US

96 GROW WITH THE FLOW

AALIA LANIUA

14 SOUL MATES

60 A MISCONCEPTION MISSION

100 THE SCIENCE OF STRESS

20 THE SHORTCUT

64 FINDING COMFORT

104 HIV, MY UNCLE & ME

22 ON THE RUN

SHAN RIGGS

68 INTERNAL BEFORE EXTERNAL

DESMOND CLARK

108 COMING FULL CIRCLE

26 IT’S TIME TO TALK - PERIOD

NADYA OKAMOTO

70 GET LOST

THI NGUYEN

112 WHAT TREES TEACH US

JACQUELINE WAY

32 ALMOST HEAVEN

76 OUR LIFE AS A PENCIL

118 CHANGEMAKING FOR CHILDREN

36 ALT MOVEMENT

CRAIG GRAHAM

80 GOVLEARN 101

LUKE GIALANELLA

122 HEART LIKE A MIRROR

AJAY DAHIYA

40 JUST JUMP

LEX GILLETTE

84 MORE TIME IN THE WILD

124 UNPLUGGED

44 OUTSIDE & WITHIN

88 BEACH LIFE

126 AWARENOW OFFICIAL SELECTIONS

KATHY KISS

FLORA CASH

CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

ARIYA

JOEL CARTNER

DIANA PASTORA CARSON

PAUL S. ROGERS

TANITH HARDING W/ABBIE BARNES

EMILIE GOLDBLUM

JONATHAN KOHANSKI

BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION/S. GOODY

ROBERT PACE, MD

LORI BUTIERRIES

TANITH HARDING W/TIM MOLONY

ALEXANDER WAY W/PETRIDER PAUL

PAUL ROGERS W/JACK MCGUIRE

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE Get the monthly digital edition of AwareNow delivered to your inbox.

Always aware. Always free.

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AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


From the outside looking in,

you can never understand it.

From the inside looking out,

you can never explain it.

- Author Unknown


In exploring the world outside, the world within and where they intersect, we are honored to bring you ‘The Outside Edition’ with stories shared from the inside looking out.

We are all influenced by outside forces. When growing up, these outside factors shape us into who we are and who we will become. By becoming aware of these factors and their effect you can set into motion a powerful shift, in self-awareness and self-actualization. Great change begins with awareness then shifts to action that can change the course of everything.

With this issue, we welcome you to sit back, relax and read each story with an open heart and an open mind. Be informed about a variety of causes. Be inspired by the power of choice shared in each voice. Welcome to AwareNow.

ALLIÉ McGUIRE

Editor In Chief & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

Allié is a Taurus. She started her career in performance poetry, then switched gears to wine where she made a name for herself as an online wine personality and content producer. She then focused on original content production under her own label The Allié Way™ before marrying the love of her life (Jack) and switching gears yet again to a pursue a higher calling to raise awareness and funds for causes with Awareness Ties™.

Connect with Allié on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alliemerrick JACK McGUIRE

Production Manager & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

Jack is a Gemini. He got his start in the Navy before his acting and modeling career. Jack then got into hospitality, focusing on excellence in service and efficiency in operations and management. After establishing himself with years of experience in the F&B industry, he sought to establish something different… something that would allow him to serve others in a greater way. With his wife (Allié), Awareness Ties™ was born.

Connect with Jack on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jack-mcguire-609339186

www.IamAwareNow.com

@AWARENESSTIES

@AWARENESSTIES

@AWARENESSTIES 5

AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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We arrive at a complete picture of what has now become not only a health emergency,

but an ecological one as well. ZEESHAN KHAN

ENVIRONMENTALIST, CEO OF BEYOND SMART GROUP & CO-FOUNDER OF RELIVE ECO FOUNDATION 6

AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ZEESHAN KHAN

DISPOSE SAFELY

A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC POLLUTION Every minute of the day we throw away 3 million face masks. Recent studies estimate that we use an astounding 129 billion face masks globally every month. In the wake of COVID, are waves of masks, shields and gloves. While the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been required for us to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, what has also been needed is the safe disposal of PPE. This need, however, has not been met. This is where our Awareness Ties Official Ambassador for the Environment Awareness, Zeeshan Khan comes in with a response and a solution.

Allié: One step ahead, Zeeshan. This is how you’ve built your career and work as an activist and advocate for the protection of the environment. When it comes to COVID, it seems that the solution found in terms of PPE has created an issue that needs to be addressed before it becomes a new problem of pandemic proportions. Please tell us about when you first noticed a need for an initiative to address pandemic pollution and why it's important to act now.

Zeeshan: Disposable masks, the highly-regarded weapon against COVID around the world, are becoming an enormous environmental problem. We use heaps of them. You only have to look around you to see how many escape the incinerator and end up on the street, in parks and in the oceans. If we want to make more calculations, multiply everything by the 450 years that a mask needs to decompose (they are mostly made of polypropylene), and we arrive at a complete picture of what has now become not only a health emergency, but an ecological one as well.

I first realised the importance of mask disposal when COVID hit India back in March 2020 and since then the mask has become an important part of everyday life. Me and my team were distributing food packets to the needy people in my city. It was a crowded place so we requested people to maintain distance and announced that we will only distribute food packets to the ones whose face is covered with masks. So a guy ran, picked up and put on the used mask from the street and joined the line. I saw him doing that and realised how dangerous it could have been if it would have contained viruses.

That was the time I realised that discarded masks may risk spreading coronavirus to waste collectors, litter pickers or members of the public who first come across the litter. We know that in certain conditions, the virus can survive on a plastic surgical mask for seven days. Dispose of them appropriately and perform hand hygiene immediately afterwards. If medical masks are worn, appropriate use and safe disposal is essential to ensure they are effective and to avoid any increase in risk of transmission associated with the incorrect use and disposal of masks.

Allié: #DisposeSafely is the campaign you created to raise awareness about the safe disposal of PPE. It began in Bhopal, India and has spread to 10 other countries. Tell us about the campaign and its conversion from a grassroots campaign to a global initiative’.

Zeeshan: #DisposeSafely campaign was started on 22 April 2020 (Earth Day) to spread awareness about the safe disposal of Masks, Gloves & other PPE in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection. Since then we are dedicatedly working towards this mission. Environmentalists from over 10 countries supported the campaign by using the hashtag to raise awareness through Instagram and other social media platforms. The campaign was first started by me and my team and then it went viral on social media. Youth has actively contributed in spreading the awareness along with Bollywood celebrities who have joined the campaign. As mask disposal is a global problem, we are continuously working and trying to come up with innovative solutions and possible alternatives to curb this threat. 7

AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“It is estimated that as many as 3.5 billion improperly disposed masks could end up in our world’s oceans this year.”

Allié: A man on a mission to create a ‘Zero-Waste India’, you are not unfamiliar with big tasks. Responding to pandemic pollution is an incredibly large task. What is it going to take to ensure success?

Zeeshan: The Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also reported concerns about incorrect disposal, saying: “If even only 1 percent of the masks were disposed of incorrectly…this would result in 10 million masks per month dispersed in the environment. Considering that the weight of each mask is about 4 grams this would entail the dispersion of over 40 thousand kilograms of plastic in nature.” Environmental experts say even if we put them in bins they could still end up finding their way to rivers, oceans, into the environment – or end up filling up more landfill sites – so we should just avoid single-use plastic masks where possible. You can get ahold of reusable masks quite easily, we don’t want single-use plastic to become the new norm again. Different germs can survive on a used mask for different durations. Experts feel that viruses, when left exposed, can survive between a few hours and a few days. My earnest request to all of you is not to throw the used mask indiscriminately in lifts, parks, workplaces, homes, or open dustbins as it can pose a potential health hazard to people who come in contact with such masks. Also, some people are picking them up for re-use and hence putting their life in danger. The infected masks have respiratory secretions on them and can be dispersed and transmitted through the air. So, please be sensitive. Always wash your hands before and after taking off the mask. Manage your mask responsibly:

Cloth Mask 
 Wash properly and frequently. Hang and air dry.

Surgical Mask
 Fold, tie and wrap. It should be removed chin upwards and please take care to remove it from the strings and be careful not to touch the front portion while taking off the mask. After taking the mask off, please fold it half inwards, such that droplets from mouth and nose are not exposed. Then, fold the mask into another half, until it looks like a roll. The mask can also be wrapped with its ear loops so that it will not unravel. Then wrap the mask in a tissue paper or polythene bag and immediately discard it in the yellow waste bag. Keep the things handy before disposing of them.

N95 Respirator
 When removing the mask, hold the edge of the straps attached to take off the N95 mask. Don’t touch the inside part of the respirator. Wash hands before and after it. Gently remove the mask so as not to disseminate contaminants on the mask. Place the mask in a plastic bag or zip-lock bag. You can also store them in a breathable container such as a paper bag between uses. Secure the bag tightly. Place the plastic bag into a garbage can or biomedical waste disposal unit. Never put on a new mask until you have properly washed your hands.

Allié: The work you are doing is vital to our planet and to us all, Zeeshan. Please tell us about the Relive Eco Foundation and your plans moving forward.

Zeeshan: Through my organisation Relive Eco Foundation I am introducing the World's First Mask Disposal Reward Program under the Dispose Safely Campaign. We are committed to limiting our environmental footprint by promoting the safe disposal of mask waste. Through the Covid19 pandemic masks are vital in keeping our people safe and our healthcare systems functioning, but we feel obligated to address the waste that is a byproduct of the increased need for disposable face masks. We estimate that over 2.5 million tons of Covid-19 related single-use masks will be used over the next year in India itself. Furthermore, it is estimated that as many as 3.5 billion improperly disposed masks could end up in our world’s oceans this year. Our Mask Disposal Reward Program keeps masks out of landfills by providing rewards in the form of discount coupons for the safe disposal in the mask bins. Contributors can avail the rewards by scanning the QR code at the bins. These masks are collected then sterilized, broken down and repelletized, and given a second life (such as building materials, concrete reinforcements, textiles, etc). ∎ Learn more about Zeeshan & his work: www.awarenessties.us/zeeshankhan

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AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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I swear my head only shuts up when I’m performing. It’s the only peace I get. OLIVIA CADE

ACTOR, COMEDIAN & IBS WARRIOR 10 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA CADE

TRAGIC HILARITY

COMEDIC COPING BETWEEN THE LINES Olivia Cade (she/hers) is a recent New York-defector and current LA-based performer and writer. Mentally ill and no longer shy about it, Olivia is an actor, comedian and IBS warrior. As an artist, she is interested in work that straddles the line between tragedy and absolute hilarity: the place where life mostly exists.

Allié: You write. You act. While brilliant both on stage and off stage with pen in hand, if you could do only one for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

Olivia: Oh, easy: on stage. 100%. I feel most myself in front of the camera or on stage in front of strangers. Writing is incredibly cerebral and sometimes I can work myself into a tizzy. But acting is incredibly physical, it’s in the body and it works best when you just stop thinking. I swear my head only shuts up when I’m performing. It’s the only peace I get. I go between the two though. To be honest, writing helps me when I’m in a depressive episode and need to feel in control. I get to improvise with myself on the page and that’s amazing. I spend days just cackling to myself over scripts that’ll never be shot or shown to anyone. I am finding a way to merge the two, trying to find a balance between control and chaos. That should be the tagline for my life. But I am shooting a semi-scripted pilot called “I’m Having a Great Time” in October. And that’s been a blast to write plot points and character arcs, but leaving sections blank to just mess around with other actors and see what comes out. Best of both worlds!

TRAGIC HILARITY

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA CADE

11 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Allié: As an actor, you understand and perform the art of improvisation. You’ve used your talent to address mental illness. At the end of the day, what do you want people to understand about mental illness?

Olivia: That it’s normal. It’s totally normal. It’s nothing to be scared of or ashamed of. The brain is an incredibly silly and finicky thing. Mental illness can be a totally natural chemical imbalance or an incredible adaptation to traumatic events or environments. That’s what it is. It’s incredible. Our brains think they’re trying to help us with these maladaptive thoughts and coping mechanisms. And it’s funny because we get older and realize “oh hey, that actually isn’t helping me anymore brain, could you chill?” And it takes a lot of practice and sometimes medication, but it’s normal. If you heard people’s stories, understood their traumas, you’d see that their behavior, coping mechanisms, and mental illness is completely rational and understable. Our brains are amazing, they just want to keep us alive and they sometimes (often times in my case) get it wrong. And life ends up just finding ways to redirect, readapt and work with our scared brains.

Allié: I love how you flip the stigma of mental illness upside down by sensationalizing it. Using your art to address the issue, you make it easier for the subject to be addressed. Have you always dealt with your personal mental illness this way? How much has it helped you?

Olivia: ‘Funny' has saved my life more times than I can count. It’s the only way for me to cope at times. It’s the way I communicate. It’s the way I understand what’s happening inside my head. It’s the way I get others to listen and laugh with me. Trauma sucks. Talking about trauma sucks. A lot of the time I hate talking about mental illness seriously because you see that look of pity in people’s eyes and it’s horrible. Because I don’t pity myself. I can’t. It would take up so much space in my life. I have to laugh. Because life is so hilariously horrible sometimes and you need that release or it’ll crush you. The content I’m making does that for me and for the people watching it. Mental illness isn’t just the sad girl in the movie who can’t get out of bed or cook a meal or needs vodka in the morning to get through the day. Of course, that is what it is sometimes. But it’s also drinking 12 shots of espresso and laugh crying in a Target over the price of sheets. It’s realizing you haven’t brushed your teeth or hair in a week. It’s tripping over months worth of laundry and laughing about the fact you can’t clean your room at 25. It’s the absurdity of how incredibly horrible some days are and how absolutely hysterical other days are. The extremes are funny to me. They have to be. The inability to form sentences: funny.

I’ve spent a lot of my life moving out of shame. A lot of my teens and early 20’s were spent hating my brain and hating myself, hating that I couldn’t be like other people no matter how hard I tried. That I was always somehow “lacking”. And now, with the help of lots of therapy and medication, I can look at myself and my life and say “this is just who I am and it’s tragic and miserable, but it’s absolutely hilarious”. And that’s what keeps me alive. ∎ Follow Olivia on Instagram: 
 @oliviaaacade

12 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


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(Music) is intimately involved in the details of our lives. SHPRESA LLESHAJ

FLORA CASH

14 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FLORA CASH

SOUL MATES

MAKING A LIFE AND MUSIC THAT MATTERS From the outside looking in, Flora Cash is a Swedish–American pop duo consisting of Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall. From the inside looking out, Shpresa and Cole believe ‘perspective’ is the duct tape holding sanity together. With their music, perspective is artistically presented in a way that explores our humanity a layer at a time right down to our core. Married with a mission to make a life and make music with authenticity and integrity, they are doing just that.

Allié: From connecting online to meeting in Minneapolis to marrying and living in Sweden, the story of Flora Cash began and continues with connecting through music. It was music that brought you together. When did you know that you wanted not only to make music together but to make a life together as well?

Shpresa: I think it really started to click for us that we wanted to make a life together after a few weeks of exchanging direct messages. It really didn’t take us long to realize we had so much in common and just a really strong connection in terms of how we think and what our values are.

Jack: I remember when I first shared, ‘You’re Somebody Else’ with Allié and she started crying before putting it on repeat for the next few days. That song, your music, is so honest. Is it ever difficult to get so personal? Or is that why you make the music that you do?

“…we’re writing and creating to express ourselves and make something we want to listen to and we try our best not to think too much about whether it’s too personal for someone else to hear or see.”

Shpresa: For us, music is something we do mostly just because we love doing it. And it’s intimately involved in the details of our lives. So it would actually be tough for us not to be so personal in our music. We write and make our projects from the principle that we’re writing and creating to express ourselves and make something we want to listen to and we try our best not to think too much about whether it’s too personal for someone else to hear or see. We do what we do and then at the very end of the process we just make that decision to let it go and let it live out in the world to be either appreciated or not.

15 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Love is deathless. COLE RANDALL

FLORA CASH

16 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“…I think most of us want to see a world where we really are beyond the pettiness and small mindedness of racism and all the other terrible –isms.”

Allié: I shared your video, ‘Soul Mate’ with Jack the other morning. In tears I texted him the link. We had already listened to and loved the song prior to watching the video. But the narrative introduced in the video moved us even more. Being a biracial couple, lyrics gained more weight as an entirely new and powerful perspective was presented. In your own words, please share the story told in the official video for ‘Soul Mate’ and why you decided to tell it.

Cole: Well firstly, we’re so touched that you guys have such a strong connection to that video. It’s a tough subject. I think it’s hard for any decent human to grapple with the history of prejudice, racism and the just, general ignorance perpetuated by humans toward other humans. But it’s a reality that we need to face and that I think we really are facing collectively. I think most of us want to see a world where we really are beyond the pettiness and small mindedness of racism and all the other terrible –isms.

For us the intent with the Soul Mate video primarily centers on the idea that love is deathless. That even though there are people out there with hate in their hearts who will try and ruin something truly beautiful – love transcends time and even our physical presence on earth.

SOUL MATE

FLORA CASH (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

17 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


THE BRIGHT LIGHTS

FLORA CASH (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Jack: Being married isn’t easy. Being an artist isn’t easy. Being ‘married artists’ is definitely not easy. What have been the hardest moments? What have been the best?

Cole: To be fair, a lot of the things most worth doing are difficult. In a world with things that aren’t easy being able to do what we love with the person we love is a pretty huge blessing. The main thing we’ve always tried to be throughout any struggle is just grateful. It’s hard and we lose our way a lot but we try to always come to gratitude when the going gets tough. We’re lucky.

“We share in all the ups and downs…"

Shpresa: In terms of what has been hard – it can be hard to “shut it off” sometimes. Like, we don’t have a place we go work or co workers we go work with and then have that as a separate part of our lives where coming home can just be turning it all off and relaxing. We’re always “on the clock” so to speak. So there can be a feeling that we should also be productive even when what we really need is a break simply because we’re always together so it’s always technically possible to be writing or producing or even just answering emails. But we usually wind up finding that balance. And the best thing of course is that we get to be together. We share in all the ups and downs, we’re always on the same team and we always know we have each other’s back.

Allié: Musicians, then spouses, you’ve now become parents, with your beautiful daughter, Rocker Peggy Lleshaj Randall. Shpresa and Cole, as your roles in life evolve, what is the constant for each of you that will never change.

Shpresa: She’s the absolute best. We’re so grateful Rocker came into our lives. Cliché as it might sound, I hope the constant that never changes for us is our love for each other; all three of us. I hope we never lose sight of what really matters. Cole: I agree. And I also hope that our love for music remains a constant. That we always have that shared passion that we can come back to and use that to keep evolving.

18 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Jack: When it comes to our children who we hand the future to, what is it that we need to instill most? From the work you are doing, what do you want your daughter and for the sons and daughters of others to take away from it.

Cole: We want Rocker to understand what it really means to live a life guided by high moral standards. We want her to recognize that all people deserve the right to live free of oppression.

Shpresa: Yes. And I think we need the next generations to really appreciate that everyone is fighting their own battle. We all have more in common than we do differences. We share the same fears and insecurities and we share the same desire for a happy and healthy life. We need them to aim for a world where our common humanity is honored.

Allié: From the outside in, you use your music as a means to move the needle on social issues. ‘You’re Somebody Else’ made it okay to speak up about identity and mental health issues. ‘The Bright Lights’ shined a light on domestic violence and homelessness. It was ‘Soul Mate’ that tapped into racism in a way never before attempted with your unforgettable video that I still can’t watch without tears. What is it about music that makes it an ideal instrument to inspire change?

Cole: Music is so much about what’s happening at “the gut level.” We might think about what the lyrics mean and there can be a ton of intellectual stimulation but ultimately a song is not a book nor a poem. A song is mostly about feeling and often in a visceral way; we’re moved by the bass, we can feel the high notes ringing in our ears. And a lot of what plagues humanity is taking place below the intellectual level, at gut levels. We think music is a powerful tool for reaching people at a gut level no matter who they are or where they come from. Music has the potential to move even the most hardened heart toward love and goodwill. It’s a lofty notion and music on its own often falls short but it can at least let a little light in through the cracks and move hearts in the right direction. ∎

Get to know more about Flora Cash:

www.floracash.com

Follow on Instagram: @floracash Listen on Spotify: awarenow.us/music/floracash

19 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…our light illuminates our surroundings. ARIYA

ARTIST & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR LGBTQ+ AWARENESS 20 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘DIRECTION DECODED’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY ARIYA

THE SHORTCUT

NAVIGATION WITH THE INNER VOICE In this journey of life, we always have different choices, the path always continues and we have no choice but to continue… but where are we going? Where is the end of this road?

We will never know where this road ends, and maybe we should not know at all.
 Guidance and support will always be found on our way.

We always receive the signs. We always have the power to choose this path.

We can listen to outside voices and continue on the same path in hope of reaching the destination we think is right… or we can listen to and trust our inner voice.

Different voices can guide us on different paths, but there is always a shortcut, the moment you trust, the moment you start to see… a shortcut appears. There is a shortcut that can take you somewhere closer to your soul, somewhere that is aligned with who you are.

Taking steps on this path can be experienced by trust in the inner voice and love of being in this world - the path that not knowing the end of the journey becomes the sweetest feeling of the presence.

The moment we step into that unknowing level, our light illuminates our surroundings. Our voice pervades our whole being, then we see how things are always working for us… to take us to another level of awareness.

When we follow it, our inner voice becomes our reason and purpose in this life. While we no longer see where we are going, we are sure of every step, knowing the end of the path is no longer our purpose. Enjoying the path becomes our purpose. We see how with every step the whole universe thanks us, for our presence, for our trust, for hearing the voice within - the voice of peace, truth, and love.

This world is full of other noises that direct our choices and divert us from our journey. The voice within us always speaks to us in different ways.

Make sure the voice inside you is the only voice you choose to hear and follow. ∎

ARIYA

Artist & Awareness Ties Official Ambassador for LGBTQ+ Awareness
 www.awarenessties.us/ariya I am a creative intuitive artist sharing the universe I see and experience beyond the boundaries of our planet. My creations come from inner awareness that is heart centered and does not rely on analysis or head-based questions. It is a way of creating that reflects the connection into your emotions and responding to what feels right. This intuitive space is a place of trust that opens doors to my imagination that I would never find by reason and sensory perception.

21 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


When doing things this big, you can’t think too much about the finish… SHAN RIGGS

ULTRAMARATHON RUNNER, PHILANTHROPIST & SPONSORSHIP MARKETING PROFESSIONAL 22 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SHAN RIGGS

ON THE RUN

TAKING ON COVID & HUNGER IN STRIDE There are some who like a good challenge, and then there are some who LOVE a good challenge. The latter describes Shan Riggs who fulfilled his lifelong dream of running across the country. Running from California to Connecticut, he logged 3,255 miles (which is the equivalent of 124 marathons), getting in more steps than some take in their lifetime. In addition to the racking up miles, he raked in funds. Shan raised over $45,000 for Foodshare that secures food for the food insecure.

Allié: While some run from others, you run for others. Please share the story of your decision to run across the country and how you used that to support others in need.

Shan: I have been working and volunteering with Foodshare since 2019. When the pandemic hit, food insecurity skyrocketed, and they really need as much awareness and money raised as possible. I had done some other expedition style runs before and knew it could be a way to do my part during the pandemic.

Allié: You started in San Francisco. You ended in Hammonasset Beach, Connecticut. You literally ran from sea to shining sea. What was the most beautiful place that you saw?

Shan: It’s really hard to choose but I loved running through the deserts in Nevada and Utah. It can get extremely remote, there were times where the next gas station was over 160 miles away, let alone a town. Those places are beautiful at night because you can finally see the stars of the Milky Way.

ON THE RUN

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SHAN RIGGS

23 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Allié: There are so many causes to support. You chose ‘hunger’. What made this your cause of choice?

Shan: Hunger because after the direct medical need from the pandemic, the next most important thing people need is food, which shot up dramatically through 2020. Foodshare is my local Connecticut member of Feeding America.

Allié: It’s hard enough to drive across the country, let alone run across it. What was the hardest part of your journey?

Shan: Overall, the big logistics of getting everything done from day to day between me and my crew chief. Where to stay, how to keep the van in shape, where to get food, clean clothes, a shower etc. From that perspective, running is only one part of each day. From a runners perspective the hardest day was the day after I got food poisoning while running through Indiana. It’s hard to run when you haven’t been able to keep food or water down for over 24 hours.

Allié: Run across the country to raise awareness and funds to end hunger. Check. What box do you plan to check next with your running?

Shan: I am part of Team USA for a race in Australia: 1,000 Miles to Light (www.1000milestolight.com/about) which is a 1,000 mile relay race between Team Australia and Team U.S.A. across New South Wales to highlight the area and raise money and awareness for Reach Out, an organization that supports youth through mental health issues, another important cause in the last year and a half.

Allié: For others inspired by your story who would love to use what they have to do more for others but don’t know where to begin, what advice would you give? How do people find their starting line?

Shan: When doing things this big, you can’t think too much about the finish, it is too overwhelming. It is important to think about the next step, then the next one, then the next. Pretty soon you will be over the horizon. ∎

Follow Shan & Alt Movement on Instagram: 
 @shanriggs2100

24 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



This is a ‘human’ issue, and it affects us all. NADYA OKAMOTO

FOUNDER OF PERIOD.ORG & CO-FOUNDER OF AUGUST 26 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NADYA OKAMOTO

IT’S TIME TO TALK - PERIOD

MENSTRUATION: A STIGMA SILENCED BY SHAME NO MORE Nadya Okamoto is also the Founder of PERIOD (period.org), an organization fighting to end period poverty and stigma that she founded at the age of 16. Under her leadership as Executive Director for five years, PERIOD addressed over 1.5 million periods and registered over 800 campus chapters in all 50 states and 50 other countries. In 2017, Nadya ran for public office in Cambridge, MA at age 19 — at the time, becoming the youngest Asian American to run. In 2018, Nadya published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. Recognized on the lists of Forbes 30 Under 30, Bloomberg 50 “Ones to Watch” and People Magazine's Women Changing the World, Nadya is cultivating conversation to create needed change.

Allié: I remember when I got my period at the age of 13. I was embarrassed, uncomfortable and instantly unsure of myself. Luckily, I had a mother to guide me and provide needed supplies. However, there are those without mothers to guide them and/or without supplies that are needed. For those unfamiliar with ‘period poverty’, please share.

Nadya: Period poverty is the inability to afford access to period products to maintain menstrual hygiene. Lack of access, research, and education are all components that play a role in period poverty. Period stigma is also a huge factor — because our society doesn't currently consider period products a necessity. The tampon tax and the inaccessibility of period products is further proof that our society views them as, moreso, luxuries. This is a human issue and it affects us all.

NADYA OKAMOTO @ 2019 MAKERS CONFERENCE

NADYA OKAMOTO, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PERIOD.ORG, AND VINCENT FORAND, CO-FOUNDER & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, PERIOD., INC., TALK ABOUT TAKING THE TABOO OUT OF TAMPONS FROM THE 2019 #MAKERSCONFERENCE AT MONARCH BEACH RESORT.

27 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


So much of this work to end period poverty begins with starting conversations… NADYA OKAMOTO

FOUNDER OF PERIOD.ORG & CO-FOUNDER OF AUGUST 28 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“We need more opportunities to highlight and amplify this work, eliminate the unfair stigma, and demand real change towards menstrual equity.”

Allié: When I look back at the uncomfortable and unsure state that set in with my period as a girl, I realize that I found myself in the same state as a woman. For me, it wasn’t until just recently that I lost that ‘uncomfortable’ feeling and found comfort in the natural cycle I was blessed with as a woman. How do we change this, Nadya? How do we help women feel comfortable in their own skin… in their own cycle? How do we change the narrative?

Nadya: So much of this work to end period poverty begins with starting conversations about the issue and about menstruation in the first place because it has been such a taboo topic throughout history. We need more opportunities to highlight and amplify this work, eliminate the unfair stigma, and demand real change towards menstrual equity. At August, we are also on a mission to de-gender periods. Gender does not dictate whether or not someone experiences menstruation. There is a saying that goes, "not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women." And what that refers to is that some people who might identify as women may not be of menstruating age, or might choose not to get a period by using something like birth control. And others who may menstruate may not identify as women, but may have been assigned female at birth and identify as nonbinary or transgender. Gender and sex are two separate things, and since menstruation is more directly linked to sex (eg. having a uterus), someone's gender identity is not equated to whether or not they get a period. We must center gender inclusivity in the menstrual movement. Learn more with this guide for gender inclusion period talk developed by August: 
 awarenow.us/august-gender-inclusive-period-talk

29 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Allié: Beyond creating a product, you created a platform, Nadya. You drew back the curtain and brought menstruation to centerstage, giving women the spotlight to be seen and the mic to be heard about a topic that should be ‘sacred’ not taboo. There are a number of subjects you could have dedicated yourself to. Why this? Why now?

Nadya: I learned about period poverty in 2014 from hearing stories directly from homeless women about their experience of not being able to afford period products. I had never heard of period poverty before, but learning about that and the fact that the tampon tax existed in 40 states at the time ignited a fire in me — I knew I had to take action. I was so passionate about period equity that I was just constantly thinking about it, even when I was trying to fall asleep! So that year, I started what is now known as PERIOD.org, a nonprofit. I led it as executive director until January 2020 before I began my journey as a social entrepreneur and focusing on August.

Allié: You saw a problem and created a solution. You named it ‘August’. Please share the story behind August, its name and its mission.

Nadya: The word “August” means dignified, and our company August is a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods to be dignified! The period product industry sold us one narrative that has kept us silent and ashamed of our bodies, and our mission is to put an end to that!

Allié: I, personally, can’t thank you enough for your voice and your vision. For those unfamiliar with ‘The Menstrual Movement’ please define it in words of your own and share how both women and men can support it.

Nadya: The menstrual movement is the fight for equitable access to period products and the effort to break down the stigma and taboo around periods. When working to destigmatize menstruation, we must center inclusivity and ensure that no one is left out, discriminated against, or marginalized. Start with simple conversations with your friends, families, and normalize talking about periods as something that is natural and powerful! Then you can advance into hosting period product drives, changing local/state policy, and grassroots organizing! ∎

Learn more about Nadya Okamoto:

www.nadyaokamoto.com

Follow her on Instagram: 
 @nadyaokamoto

Follow the PERIOD Movement
 @periodmovement

Visit/Shop at August:

www.itsaugust.co

30 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



When Joaquin felt loved, appreciated, and free,

he could relax. DIANA PASTORA CARSON

EDUCATOR, AUTHOR & SPEAKER 32 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


PERSONAL STORY BY DIANA PASTORA CARSON

ALMOST HEAVEN

FREEDOM FOUND IN COUNTRY ROADS John Denver’s “Country Roads” may hold deep meaning for many people, but for my brother and me, it symbolizes a childhood bond, the comforts of nature, a triumphant exodus from institutionalization, and return to home and family.

At a time when autism was considered a rare childhood disorder, and was thought to be the result of a “refrigerator mother,” my parents did everything they could do to be good parents to Joaquin. There was no internet or Facebook support group to turn to. So they teetered between bewilderment and exhaustion, and extraordinary creativity and affection. For years, Mom and Dad slept with one eye open; had several varieties of locks on each door of the house that lead to the outside world; mortgaged their house to buy him a swimming pool; and showered Joaquin with love and laughter.

Due to public stares and intolerance, there weren’t many places our family could go for entertainment. We sometimes dared to test our luck at McDonald’s Playland. Depending on who else was there, we might all enjoy an evening of fine dining. And we always had success throwing on our footie pajamas, throwing our blankets and pillows into the back of our station wagon, and taking Dad’s homemade buttered popcorn in a brown paper bag to the drive-in movie theater. Joaquin was always down for a ride in the car, and for rolling himself up into a tight blanket like a rolled taco.

Although drive-in movies were a close runner up, the all-time favorite, and the safest bet in entertainment for our family was a drive to the country. Joaquin, who was perpetually wound up and in motion, could unwind there. On weekends, we’d drive miles and miles out of our suburban neighborhood, and onto winding dirt roads lined with aged oak trees, brush, and wildflowers. We’d venture into ranches where barbed wire fences were the only barriers between us and herds of cattle. Mom packed sandwiches, potato salad, fruit, and drinks in a large cooler. We had everything we needed and nowhere else that we had to be. We just let the spirit move us from one spot to the next. We flowed with nature, and with Joaquin’s bliss. Whatever brought him joy brought us joy.

On these rural adventures, Joaquin could breathe out all his anxieties founded in the energies of societal gawkers and judgers. And he could breathe in complete freedom and peace. He could breathe out tornados of pent-up emotion, and breathe in fresh springs of self-love. Joaquin could be Joaquin. Pure Joaquin energy, one with nature.

“When out in the country, he wasn’t subject to abuse where the sole “educational” goal was control.”

People have sometimes asked me if I thought it was the smells or sights or sounds of the country that Joaquin found mesmerizing. And maybe he did love any one or all of those features. But I think the spatial and personal freedom he experienced there was his “almost heaven.” When out in the country, he wasn’t subject to abuse where the sole “educational” goal was control. On those country roads, Joaquin didn’t have to worry about being squirted in the face with a water bottle at school for not being focused on tasks. He didn’t have to endure vinegar being squirted into his mouth if he tried to bite in retaliation for their abuse. He didn’t have to fight against the time out room or the physical restraints that turned his bright smile into contorted cries of rage. In the country, Joaquin could communicate with the wind, and the wind would respond gently, lovingly, to his every whim. He could share his babbled stories with the sun, and it would warm him with reassurance that he was worthy of that warmth. He could chirp in unison with the birds, spread open his wings, and let his soul soar to a place where he belonged.

33 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


We promised Joaquin that we would take him home again. And this time, we would protect him. DIANA PASTORA CARSON

EDUCATOR, AUTHOR & SPEAKER 34 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


When Joaquin felt loved, appreciated, and free, he could relax. Everyone in the family could relax.

At home, Mom mostly played flamenco records and Dad played oldies but goodies from the 1950’s. But in elementary school, one of my teachers played the guitar and taught our class to sing “Country Roads.” I learned the lyrics in one day. And for years, each night at bedtime, I sang Joaquin to sleep with that song.

Fast forward to 17 years old, 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds of rage. Joaquin was forced by his “special” school to take psychotropic medications to control HIS behaviors. He had severe allergic reactions to those medications, causing extreme aggression, and rendering him and our family hostage to a system not equipped for, nor interested in, humanely supporting behavioral crises. Joaquin was taken to a state institution 2 hours away from home, where human degradation was also the norm.

Our family was devastated and in mourning over this great loss. However, every weekend, we took that 2-hour drive to the institution and back, to visit Joaquin, and take him out to be with nature. For 15 years, we did this.

We promised Joaquin that we would take him home again. And this time, we would protect him. He would never again be subject to restraint, seclusion, and abuse. We would create a place where he belonged, built around his strengths, wants, and needs. And we knew, it had to be on a country road.

After 3 years in court, we finally won our case. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Joaquin living in his own home at the end of our beautiful and peaceful dirt road, where the breeze embraces his every whim, the sun warms his heart, and the birds greet him each morning. Almost heaven. ∎

Diana Carson works to support educators and families in building inclusive communities through respectful disability awareness. You can get her free e-book resource entitled 5 Keys to Going Beyond Awareness: www.GoBeyondAwareness.com/keys

COUNTRY ROADS

JOAQUIN WITH HIS SISTER, DIANA, SINGING THEIR SONG.

35 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Working with those with disabilities has completely changed my perspective on life… CRAIG GRAHAM

PERSONAL TRAINER, COACH & FOUNDER OF ALT MOVEMENT 36 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG GRAHAM

ALT MOVEMENT

TRAINING ALTERNATIVES FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES Personal Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach, Craig Graham, seeks to provide accessibility for new and fresh ways to train specifically for those with a disability. Based in Essex, Craig developed Alt Movement (Alternative Movement/ Exercise for Individuals with Disabilities). On Instagram you can follow Craig and some of the individuals he works with to see their progression through training in an alternative way.

Allié: How long have you been a personal trainer, Craig? Please share the story about what got you into it.

Craig: I’ve been working within the fitness industry for over 10 years now. I started back in 2011 but I don’t think I took the natural path to get there.

As a kid I was never really into sports, I didn’t really play on any teams or particularly enjoy competing in athletics at school. When I was about 18 though I started training with my uncle in his home gym, where he introduced me to weightlifting, bodybuilding and those types of training that you don’t really get exposed to at school, and I loved it. I was very tall and, because of that, quite gangly but I found that training in this way, instead of making me feel like Bambi on ice, it made me feel strong and powerful, it gave me confidence and made me realised that just because I didn’t enjoy sport it didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy or wasn’t good at exercising. From there, I decided that this was what I wanted to do, not only as a hobby, but also as my career.

ALT MOVEMENT

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG GRAHAM

37 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“I was really disappointed to see the lack of inclusivity in programmes available and how unsuitable a lot of standard equipment was.”

Allié: What was it that motivated you to create Alt Movement? When did it begin?

Craig: About four years ago I was asked to run some fitness classes for children with disabilities. I hadn’t done anything like this before, so naturally I was quite nervous and wondered whether it was something that I would be any good at doing. The moment that I stepped into the class though, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. Seeing these tiny kids with the world against them throwing themselves into the activities and everything that they were asked to do, not complaining or hesitating, but embracing life with such zest! It was so humbling and refreshing.

After this, deciding that I wanted to move into this area, I went away and did a bit of research. I was really disappointed to see the lack of inclusivity in programmes available and how unsuitable a lot of standard equipment was. I came across a lot of carers who just didn't know where to start with exercise for the person they were caring for and because of that and the lack of movement, their disabilities were becoming worse.

I created Alt Movement because I want to show people with disabilities and those that care for them, there are so many options available for exercise, it just has to be done in an alternative way.

Allié: What has been the most rewarding part of work with Alt Movement?

Craig: Working with those with disabilities has completely changed my perspective on life in general. It makes me stop and reassess all the small things that I take for granted and I really have a much better perspective on life. It’s so rewarding just to see my clients smile, doing something they thought they couldn't and seeing progression where they’ve only been seeing regression. The appreciation from their families and support team too, is just overwhelming sometimes.

Allié: Where do you hope Alt Movement leads?

Craig: I don’t really have a specific end goal, I think ultimately I just want to be able to help as many people with disabilities and without as I can. I’d like to create a space that people can easily go to and discover alternative movements that mean they are able to exercise independently and know that they are capable of so much and they shouldn't feel restricted. 38 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Allié: What is it that you hope to inspire in those with disabilities? And in those without?

Craig: My hope is that I will inspire those with disabilities to realise that they can still be active and that their bodies are capable of so much. I think it's equally important for those without disabilities to know this too, to not limit them in the gym and feel that they are in any way less capable. We all train in different ways, some prefer to do body building, while others do powerlifting, well those with disabilities will use Alt Movement. ∎

Follow Craig & Alt Movement on Instagram: 
 @alt_movement

39 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


I want you to find that courage… it’s inside of you. I know it is. LEX GILLETTE

4X PARALYMPIC MEDALIST, 4X WORLD CHAMPION & KEYNOTE SPEAKER 40 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘NO NEED FOR SIGHT WHEN YOU HAVE VISION’ BY LEX GILLETTE

JUST JUMP

DESPITE DISCOMFORT JUST DO IT It was a Saturday morning when my roommate Brandon walked in.

“Hey Lex, let’s go sky diving.” He’s really asking me this, again? Each time he asked me, I declined.

“No Brandon, not doing it.”

“Brandon, I would never!”

“Brandon, black people don’t sky dive.”

“Nah man, there’s no way I’m doing that.”

But, on this Saturday, he continued. “Come on Lex, let’s go sky diving. This is the day!”

Brandon and I have been good friends for a while now. We roomed together in the lead up to the 2012 Paralympic Games. He was injured overseas fighting for our country, but he found Paralympic sport and decided to train full time for London. There was never a dull moment between the two of us.

“So, are we going to do this?” he asked. I could mentally see a huge smile on his face from ear to ear.

For some strange reason I said yes. “Alright, let’s do it.” We were going to jump out of a plane at 13,000 feet.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

Brandon and I hopped into his F-150 and we traveled to Sky Dive San Diego.

It’s literally about 5-10 minutes away from the Olympic training Center, the facility where we spend most of our days.

I sat in the passenger’s seat thinking to myself, what in the world am I getting myself into?

There’s no turning back now.

The F150 pulled into the Sky Dive San Diego parking lot.

“You ready for this?” Brandon asked.

“No, but let’s hurry in before I come back to my senses and change my mind.”

The two of us walked inside and began the process. We first pretty much signed our lives away. If anything happened, Sky Dive San Diego was not liable. What can go wrong at 13,000 feet in the air, right?

We watched a video outlining other pertinent pieces of information for the big jump. I am accustomed to jumping into sand, but there wouldn’t be any of that involved. This was a big jump into the sky. Brandon and I were introduced to a trainer who gave us hands-on guidance on our position when jumping out of the plane. Just to clarify, we would be jumping tandem with a qualified specialist so that was a relief. I love Brandon and all, but this was his first time too - I definitely wasn’t going to jump tandem with him. 41 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


We were introduced to our jumping partners. I was paired with T, a woman who had been jumping out of planes for many years. She explained how the two of us would be connected, what would happen when we leave the plane, but most importantly, she ensured me that everything would be okay.

As we were standing there, I heard the plane slowly creep up. By this point, I think my heart was in my throat. I wanted to be the first person into the plane so that I could be the first person to jump. T and I filed in and everyone else followed.

Once everyone was inside, the plane engines revved up and we began moving forward. Once on the runway, we accelerated. I felt the front of the plane tilt upward, and next thing you know, we’re airborne.

“Wow, I cannot believe I let Brandon talk me into this. God, just let me live to be able to tell this story.”

The plane continued to ascend higher and higher. After a few minutes, we started to level out and T prompted me to get ready. I slowly crept towards her so we could attach to each other via a harness.

Once we were all set, I prepped my mind for the jump, but we had to wait. Dang! I thought that since I was the first person inside of the plane, I would be the first person to jump. Turns out we had to jump from the same door that we entered, which meant that I wouldn’t be the first, I would be the last. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I waited for 15-20 minutes, listening to the sounds of screams as others jumped from the plane and descended toward earth. It was finally my turn.

“You ready to do this?” T asked.

I wasn’t, but at that point, there was only one way I was going to get to the ground.

T and I shimmied down the small aisle together heading toward the door. I didn’t need her to tell me when we reached it. I heard the plane engine and felt the wind growing stronger. We crept a few inches forward until she was able to grab the door frame.

“Alright, we’re here. Let’s go on my count. When I say three, let’s do it! Ready! One. Two. Three!”

I committed to the jump and we were off. I felt that feeling that you get when you’re on a roller coaster at the top of the hill and it drops. That feeling when your stomach is wondering, what is happening right now? That feeling lasted for a second or two, and from there, it felt as if we were in a Porsche with the top down. The wind smacked me in my face as we plummeted toward the ground. I couldn’t hear a thing. Just a lot of wind.

It seemed like an eternity, but finally the parachute opened, and I felt our momentum slow down. I sighed in relief. T held onto two handles attached to the parachute. She even let me grip the handles and taught me a couple things. We could turn 360 degrees in the air, which was controlled by your hands and how you gripped the handles. She even taught me how to increase speed while descending and how to slow down as well. We floated in the air for about five minutes or so.

T let me know that the ground would be approaching soon. We would need to lift both our legs in the air, kind of like we were created an L shape. I lifted both legs toward the sky, we continued descending, and I could even hear voices below coming closer.

42 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“We’re approaching the ground in three, two, one…” And bam!

There was a little bit of an abrupt stop there, but I was fine. Most importantly, I was alive! Brandon quickly found me and we said our thanks to our jumping partners, then we headed toward the truck.

“How was it?” He laughed.

“Not bad. Not bad at all.” I replied.

That is one day I’ll never forget. There are so many amazing things that we can experience on this earth. I’m glad that I have friends like Brandon who nudge me, well push me, to discover these new things. Whether it’s sky diving, bungie jumping, scaling the Grand Canyon, there are so many activities to enjoy.

Brandon would ask me weekly, and then daily, want to go sky diving? I would decline, but he was persistent. I felt the discomfort and the fear of doing something I had never done before. We all get that feeling at times.

Guess what? Discomfort. Uncertainty. Fear. Those are normal emotions, but instead of being frightened by those emotions, we need confidence in knowing that when those emotions are present, there is something special waiting on the other side. There’s achievement on the other side of discomfort. There’s success on the opposite side of fear.

We have the courage inside of us. Once we discover that strength inside, we’re able to take big, BIG jumps in life. I found the courage to take a big jump that day. I want you to find that courage as well because it’s there, it’s inside of you. I know it is.

And when you find it, guess what happens next? You’ll have the confidence to take that leap, that jump.

And you’ll land into more achievement, more progress, more success.

Just jump! ∎

LEX GILLETTE

4x Paralympic Medalist, 4x World Champion & Keynote Speaker
 www.awarenessties.us/lex-gillette Lex Gillette has quickly become one of the most sought after keynote speakers on the market. Losing his sight at the age of eight was painful to say the least, but life happens. Things don’t always go your way. You can either stay stuck in frustration because the old way doesn’t work anymore, or you can create a new vision for your life, even if you can’t see how it will happen just yet. His sight was lost, but Lex acquired a renewed vision, a vision that has seen him become the best totally blind long and triple jumper Team USA has ever witnessed.

43 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


The world outside is us. EMILIE GOLDBLUM

OLYMPIAN, MAISON GOLDBLUM STRETCH MOVEMENT COACH & MOTHER Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 44 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘MOVED’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY EMILIE GOLDBLUM

OUTSIDE & WITHIN

THE WORLD OUTSIDE, THE WORLD WITHIN AND WHERE THEY INTERSECT This past week my family and I lost my cousin to the clutches of drug addiction and I continually wonder - what was going on inside Elan genetically, psychologically, socially and environmentally? No longer having the control to regulate desire, judgement, or impulse can seem strange and foreign but the truth is we never know what is truly going on inside a person’s head.

Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 45 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 46 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“The real task is to shift our priorities…”

The world outside is us. There’s something in our being that is as big as the entire cosmos and as ancient as the 14.7 billion year old universe. And what applied to my poor cousin is a hop, skip and a jump away from so many of our lives (perhaps succumbing to the seemingly trivial temptations of excessive cake or compulsive shopping). The real task is to shift our priorities, possibly intentionally slow down a bit, upgrade our awareness and enhance our effectiveness at meeting the smallest and largest challenges in all of our lives without needing the triggers of loss, a global pandemic or the threat of extinction. It's making the most of our precious time here and, with love improving the experience for everyone around us. Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 47 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


There’s something in our being that is as big as the entire cosmos… EMILIE GOLDBLUM

OLYMPIAN, MAISON GOLDBLUM STRETCH MOVEMENT COACH & MOTHER Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 48 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


This week as I grieve his prematurely ended life, I turn to the world that seems to be outside and I know I feel thisthat a smiling face in the street, the maple trees that I see on my way to the market, the part of the East River near the ferry that we’ve been taking, and the sudden cool breeze on this particularly hot summer night bring comfort and solace to my saddened heart. ∎

Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 49 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…the sudden cool breeze on this particularly hot summer night brings comfort and solace to my saddened heart. EMILIE GOLDBLUM

OLYMPIAN, MAISON GOLDBLUM STRETCH MOVEMENT COACH & MOTHER Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 50 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Outside & Within’, written and narrated by Emilie Goldblum:

https://awarenow.us/podcast/outsidewithin

Learn more about Emilie and read more of her work:

www.awarenessties.us/emilie-goldblum

Follow Emilie on Instagram:

@emiliegoldblum

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EMILIE GOLDBLUM

Olympian, Maison Goldblum Stretch Movement Coach & Mother
 www.awarenessties.us/emilie-goldblum My life has been dedicated to mastering my skills in stretch fitness even before I knew it. Since competing at the 2000 Olympic Games in Rhythmic Gymnastics I always focused on intuitively creating warm-up and strength training routines for my own body that focused on stretching our big muscle groups while strengthening our micro muscles for healthy joints and long and supple muscles that kept me injury free. Now I've taken all my years of training to create classes for every BODY that are offered online.

Photo Credit: Machete Bang Bang 51 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


We're not taking care of the land the way it's supposed to be taken care of. It is scary. CHEIF OGIMAA

ANISHINAABE KNOWLEDGE KEEPER, CHIEF OF FOOTHILLS OJIBWAY ON TURTLE ISLAND 52 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘FROM THE BEGINNING TO NOW’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY CHIEF OGIMAA

CREATOR’S CALLING

FROM THE BEGINNING TO NOW: LESSON 8 Once again, I’m talking to you from here on what we used to call Kânata, it became Canada. It was one part of this world we call Turtle Island (this includes North America) the Anishinaabe people always maintain the connection to Turtle Island, in spirit. What I mean by that is there are spiritual ties, spiritual connection, in my leadership. People call me Ogimaa (Acha-Kooh-waay)…. which means ‘leader of the sky’. I maintain that, because it has to do with the Spirit. That’s how we had our connection to the beginning of the creation, for this part of the world, Turtle Island.

I am just introducing myself as a hereditary leader. This is how I understand the whole connection to everything. It is about the world, it is about US. There's different countries in this world, and there’s people…. children, women, men, elders, mothers, and grandparents. The world is about people, all one race, all one world. We are all in this world together, which makes us who we are, as humans of this world. Humans were given a responsibility to take care of the world because they are part of the world.

When we talk about safety, it’s not-only about putting a seatbelt on in that vehicle, it is about the whole world, which is why we need to look out, because we're part of the world. It is all about US. We're part of everything. We all need to be safe.

There is drinking water that's not safe. That's not right. This is a safety issue. It's not about putting the seatbelt on, so you're safe in your vehicle. It's about the whole world. Whatever happens in this world is a safety issue, because we're not taking care of the land the way it's supposed to be taken care of. It is scary.

That's what a safety issue is for all of US…

What are we doing to the world?

What are we doing to the water?

What are we doing to future generations?

What are we leaving?

What kind of legacy are we leaving for the future generations?

I know I'm not going to be here forever.

I have children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great great grandchildren to come….

Will they be safe with the water?

Are you gonna be safe in this world?

I think we need to look at this to address what has happened, with….COVID-19 and now variants. It used to be smallpox and used to be measles, and whooping cough but it was about US and it is still about US .

We need to take care of the land. It has taken care of us for thousands, if not millions of years. Not only in any one place but everybody around the world even the animals. The animals of the Amazon and the animals here in what is now called Canada….all animals drink water that is probably not safe to drink.

So when we talk about the ‘safety’ we need to talk about the ‘safety of the world’, because it is about US. It is about children. US is about grandchildren, our own grandchildren, our own great grandkids, and those yet to be born.

Look at what happened with Covid. It happened all over the world…. not only some parts of this world. We're still dealing with it today. Today, July 13, 2021, we're still worried about how we're going to be safe.

We tell each other… ”be safe”. 53 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


The world has a spirit life and a soul. We are alive in the same way. CHEIF OGIMAA

ANISHINAABE KNOWLEDGE KEEPER, CHIEF OF FOOTHILLS OJIBWAY ON TURTLE ISLAND 54 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


That’s good because it is all about safety. But I wish we could look at everything like that to ‘be safe’… even the water. Animals that are drinking the water out there, is it safe?… The foods I'm going to be eating… are they safe? Even the safety of some of the plants that we use.

As we know, we need to take care of the land.

We need to take care of the environment, and that's about the world… and that's about US.

God, or the Creator, gave US this world to be in, so the environment and the land will take care of US. That it has done, and has taken care of us for hundreds or thousands of years. If you walk in the forest, the food is there whether it is berries or mushrooms, or anything that Creator gives you there….. but it comes from the land. It comes from the world we live in.

The world, the land, has taken care of us for thousands of years.

We must take care of it because it is the safety of the world and those animals can be safe. We can be safe and drink the water from anywhere. We can be safe to eat fish or lobsters from anywhere. Right now, we don't know, while we're drinking water that's been put in treatment plants. Those animals and the fish don't have that luxury to drink from the water treatment plants. They drink some water that’s not safe, and that's in the whole world, not only here in Canada.

You know the world, the land, is alive. That is why the flowers and foods can grow, The food source that God has given us, we must appreciate. The world has a spirit life and a soul. We are alive in the same way.

Everything that we need is here in this in these different islands, that we may be in.

We can come together in parts from this world to provide the things we need because it is for US.

We must appreciate that. We must take care of the environment to work and heal…. because if we don't it means we're not being safe.

We put that seatbelt on so we can be safe. We must think about the spirit. We must think about not only different races. There is only one race, the human race. And we are all humans. And our mothers were given that right, from God Himself to create a human. Every one of us…..we come through our mothers. This is human rights to me. So we have to decide for the future generations. Because it is about US… We must take care of US (all life that we are part of—everything). We must think about the next generations because it is about them to become a part of us. I mean, the whole world. It's about taking care of it. We are here because it took care of us. I don't think anybody can say this world hasn't taken of care of them somewhere in some way or another. We're all being taken care of by this world because it is living. That's why things can grow. Water is life and alive so is all the environment. Just like everything that we see is growing. It is alive.

I mean, it has a spirit… because anything that grows has a spirit.

So, I like to thank all of you for listening or reading this magazine.

“Stay safe…”

Thank you.

Mii’gwetch ∎ (This lesson by Chief Ogimaa was recorded and submitted by Kathy Kiss and edited by Sheena Frencheater.)

OGIMAA (ACHA-KOOH-WAAY), JIM

Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper, Chief of Foothills Ojibway on Turtle Island
 www.awarenessties.us/ogimaa I am Ogimaa (Acha-Kooh-waay), I begin with words from my own language to say hi to everybody. My identity… which is… because God put me in this part of the world is my Annishinaabe language and name. That means “leader” for people and environment here. So I am not saying I am the leader of Turtle Island but that’s what that means. It is an individual’s name, which is a spirit name that we carry on from our traditional culture and lineage in this part of the world. We were put here on this Turtle. This Turtle Island is massive.

55 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


It is all about ‘us’… KATHY KISS

EDUCATOR, AUTHOR & TRANSLATOR 56 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


PERSONAL STORY BY KATHY KISS

US

FINDING OURSELVES & OUR PLACE WITH A SINGLE WORD I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my reflection on the learning that I've had in the privilege of recording Ogimma’s wisdom and teachings to submit to this magazine. Each month, he gives teachings that relate to the world now, but they are ancient and timeless. I record very carefully. Each word is transcribed and reviewed with him. Next it is edited, also by his niece, Sheena Frencheater, who speaks the language. We are recording teachings that originally were done in another language and doing the best that we can to present them as accurately to you in an English, written format.

In the last few months, as I recorded Ogimma’s words there was one word that stood out because of its frequency and importance. People frequently ask me, “What are the most important teachings?” After responding, “they are all important”, with continued press I list some…

All things are alive and have a physical, spiritual self and soul.

All are equally important.

In the natural order as determined by Creator God, everything fits together. Like an interlocking puzzle and works together to support each piece with the unity and flow of spirit and energy, as determined by God.

We are successful in this planet by working with this force and natural order and in relationship with God Himself.

This is a quick summary of some basics. However, It is so much more than that…

There is one English word, that seems to encapsulate this concept in the repetition which is found in his words and teachings. Ogimma uses the word “us” to refer to everything.

Now when I hear that word and I look at the world, I know that…“it is all about us”, as he says. We are physically and spiritually and energetically bound to and alive with the water, the sun, the soil, the plants, the animals…Everything… and all in relationship with Creator.

The more I look at and feel for the world around me, I know that it is truly all about us, the responsibility we have to honor and balance this with the way we treat all of us, and honor and pay respect to Creator and the natural order. That gives us everything we need for all of us.

The theme for the magazine this month is “exploring the world outside, the world within and where they intersect”. I've been walking around thinking about this theme for some time. Ogimma has a beautiful teaching here and I am privileged to share my reflection on this intersection. I am so grateful to be learning from these teachings, and to have the opportunity to reflect on other world views that I need to step away from.

57 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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“We, all of ‘us’, are part of a beautiful creation, that we have a responsibility to balance and nurture…”

Since we are ‘us’ with everything; everything we see gives ‘us’ joy, peace, and comfortable belonging or what we see on that outside world disturbs our inner world. Our spiritual self is giving us warning. I've come to an understanding that inner well being is dependent on our perception of the outer world as safe and orderly… welcoming for all. Perhaps this is why we, the human race, struggle with inner health. Even when our physical needs are met, our spiritual self may perceive dangers and imbalance in the ‘us’ of the outer world. We must be feeding our spiritual self and nurturing that relationship with the ‘all of us’ - that includes creator. This isn't easy, because the world has evolved with a very ‘me first’ system with winners and losers. Ogimma and his teachings challenge us to be fully ‘us’.

The more I learn to understand the world in this way, I feel the world sees me differently. I'm learning to understand that it provides what I need and signals me with the loss of balance in the whole of creation. We, all of ‘us’, are part of a beautiful creation, that we have a responsibility to balance and nurture in Creators natural order where all aspects of ‘us’ are important, equally, and we are interdependent in our continuity.

Remember, ’us’ includes everything as Ogimma has taught.

It is all about ‘us’. We must be attentive to the unity of the outer and inner worlds of ourselves. There are no boundaries. And we must make decisions understanding the timeless nature of ‘us’. ∎

58 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



I am on a mission to discover the truth behind some of the world's biggest cultural misconceptions. CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

FOUNDER & CEO OF CULTUROSITY Photo Credit: Selina De Maeyer 60 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘FEARLESS’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

A MISCONCEPTION MISSION

ALWAYS LET YOUR CURIOSITY BE YOUR GUIDE

What do we really know about the world we live in? Usually we just walk within the lines, confined by narrow minded narratives we see in the media withholding us from stepping off the beaten track. But when we truly open our eyes and embrace our curiosity, suddenly we can change our view and unexpected paths appear showing us new ways to literally broaden our horizons.

We live in a world where we have all the resources to be connected, but at the same time we couldn’t be more disconnected from each other, from ourselves, and especially from the truth. My name is Charlotte Alexandra. I’m a producer and journalist with an immense love for traveling and an even bigger passion for discovering the truth. I am on a mission to discover the truth behind some of the world's biggest cultural misconceptions.

By exploring the unknown and diving into the deep, with every step I get closer to gaining a deeper understanding of myself, of others and about world around us. There are so many places, people, and cultures to discover. Yet sometimes we feel confined by an illusion of fear that holds us back from trusting our inner compass. It’s when we do allow ourselves to break free from that fear of the unknown, change our perceptions and wander the world with an open mind and an open heart that we are ready to embrace whatever lies ahead.

It’s then that we realise it’s not only about the destination. It’s about the journey - a journey where curiosity is our guide on a pathway to creating worldwide cultural connections. This is Culturosity.

CULTUROSITY

OFFICIAL TRIALER

61 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


After six months of confinement, the Maldives government was the first country in the world that announced they had reopened for globally safe and sustainable tourism. As a passionate traveller, I couldn’t wait to set off on another adventure, but the question was did I actually want to go to the Maldives? I mean, as beautiful as it is, I always thought of going there on my honeymoon (that till this day still seems to be a far away dream). White sandy beaches, cocktails, beautiful sunsets, and nothing to see besides the sea? Sounds amazing… but as a solo traveller? Was there anything for me to do there as a party of 1? What if I became confined there with a lock down on an island of isolation surrounded by loved up couples?!

According to various sources, there are some great misconceptions about the Maldives such as... it’s just for honeymooners, it’s only for the rich and famous, and it lacks cultural activities.

I decided to conduct my own market research by interviewing people from various cultures, ages and backgrounds on the streets of my hometown in Antwerp, Belgium. Would the misconceptions be acknowledged? And if they were truly misconceptions, where did they come from? It was time to put on my investigation heels and embark on a real life mission to discover the truth.

Stay tuned to the upcoming episode of Culturosity that answers these questions and more. ∎

CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

Founder & CEO of Culturosity
 www.awarenessties.us/charlotte-alexandra Charlotte Alexandra, founder & CEO of Culturosity is a business mentor, empowerment coach & serial entrepreneur with a passion for Media. She is on a mission to help You unlock your fullest potential! Helping people around the globe expand, grow, connect and to build a business they are proud of, a life they love and a mindset that will take them places. After kickstarting her career in Marketing + Advertising following a journalism & communications degree, she decided to launch Eleven11 Media Networks. Creating a platform for likeminded creatives to collaborate on spreading a positive message through media. Her work as both an entrepreneur and a media coach has provided her with an international network of inspirational and influential associates ranging from entrepreneurs, business leaders, public speakers & celebrities - uniting and combining their talents to make to world a better place.

62 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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It was time to put on my investigation heels and embark on a real life mission to discover the truth. CHARLOTTE ALEXANDRA

FOUNDER & CEO OF CULTUROSITY 63 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…I should lean into the discomfort again. JOEL CARTNER

LAWYER, AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL ADVISOR & COLUMNIST 64 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘UNYIELDINGLY HUMAN’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY JOEL CARTNER

FINDING COMFORT

LEANING INTO THE UNCOMFORTABLE

People that know me well know that one of my all-time favorite lines from The West Wing (possibly my favorite show) is; "Nature is to be protected from. Nature, like a woman, will seduce you with its sights and its smells… and then it'll break your ankle." Now, before you all freak out, nature is essential (see below). But it does present certain challenges.

Despite having grown up on a farm in the South, and having been kicked, unceremoniously, out of the house and told to "go play" throughout my youth, I've never really been much of an "outdoors person." There are many reasons for this, most of them are physical, and the most cogent of them is that I'm simply less comfortable outside. The world outside is so much more likely to contain trip hazards, climate hazards, and all manner of other sneaky circumstances that someone with the combination of a lack of balance from CP, and the lack of visual acuity and depth perception that comes with a lack of peripheral vision, would find trying to navigate. Even in my most leisurely strolls out in the world, there's some part of me focused on not injuring myself. Outside is where discomfort lives. But over the last several years, and particularly since joining Awareness Ties, I've gotten more comfortable with leaning into the uncomfortable moments.

“From the very first article I wrote, I pointed out that it doesn't always feel great to bare some of the deepest parts of my soul to the public in full view of the people that care about me.”

To some extent, every one of these articles is an exercise in leaning into the uncomfortable. From the very first article I wrote, I pointed out that it doesn't always feel great to bare some of the deepest parts of my soul to the public in full view of the people that care about me. Even writing this article, when I found out the theme of the Issue was going to be the outdoors, a facially innocuous subject, I drew up short. Sure, I could write some light policy brief on why rainforest deforestation is incredibly bad for literally everyone. Yet, short of some specified view as to why that's particularly bad for some as yet unnoticed population, that sort of analysis isn't particularly useful. It was in that discomfort of "what on earth am I going to write about here" that I realized I should lean into the discomfort again.

So, yes, I am not a particularly outdoorsy person for many reasons, somewhat in contrast to this month's Issue. In a twist of fate, however, I also find myself leaning into the outdoors sometimes. When I am at my most scared, most anxious, most sad, etc. I as often as not find myself outside. I cannot tell you how many times during law school, when the world was shredding me to pieces, I would end up on the greenway behind my apartment, making my way to the coffee shop a little way down the road. I would turn on my music and just let it all flow out of me on the trip. Countless people saw me cry, grin like an idiot, or stand totally still on that greenway. That greenway is a decent part of the reason I made it through law school. 65 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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“Lean into the uncomfortable.”

Similarly, as scary as I find writing these articles, I also know they make a difference. If for no other reason than because of the number of meaningful conversations these articles, whether directly or indirectly, have forced me to have with the people in my life.

Am I going to suddenly take up hiking? No. The outdoors still present problems, but it doesn't mean that there's no use to that space either. If there's one thing I've learned from the outdoors, it’s this: Lean into the uncomfortable. It lets things that need out, out. ∎

JOEL CARTNER

Lawyer, Awareness Ties Official Advisor & Columnist
 www.awarenessties.us/joelcartner Joel Cartner is a lawyer and public policy professional with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and Retinopathy of Prematurity. Cartner has a background in public health, disability, and education law and policy. He received his J.D. from Quinnipiac University School of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Cartner currently lives in Washington D.C. where he works as a Document Review Attorney while seeking legislative employment.

66 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



We all want to (be great), but who’s going to be willing to do the work that’s required? DESMOND CLARK

SPEAKER, AUTHOR & FORMER NFL PLAYER 68 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘PRINCIPLES OF WINNING’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY DESMOND CLARK

INTERNAL BEFORE EXTERNAL

THE WILL TO DO THE WORK

Author James Allen (As A Man Thinketh) wrote, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” Commonly I find, initially, this statement to be accurate when speaking and coaching professionals. We often want our exterior experience to show better than our internal excellence (or lack of) can or sometimes, is willing to produce.

When I became better internally, my external experience was enhanced.

I was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2003 and paid top 10 salary for a starting tight end in the NFL. 2003, ok year. 2004 and 2005, subpar. Only 24 catches in each off those seasons. Then, I started hearing the whispers - maybe the Bears should look for a better tight end. Maybe one who can stretch the field more. One who can make more of an impact for our pedestrian offense.

I heard it, the talk. It pissed me off really.

I wanted my stats to be better. Of course, who wouldn’t.

The offseason of 2006, I dedicated myself to my training, diet, and becoming a better tight end.

Going into the season I achieved my lowest best body fat percentage in my career. I was in the best shape of my career. I was focused. I studied more, trained different, internally I was better. My mental and physical approach to my craft was better and different.

And, that’s point. Because I became different by becoming better internally, my external experience was enhanced. In 2006, I had my best year as a pro.

In my Michael Jackson singing voice - “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look in the mirror and make the change.”

Let’s be great.

We all want to but who’s going to be willing to do the work that’s required? ∎

DESMOND CLARK

Speaker, Author & Former NFL Player
 www.awarenessties.us/desmondclark Empowering sales professionals and leaders with ‘Principles of Winning’ to create a standard of excellence, Desmond Clark is a former star NFL Tight End, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author, Speaker, and Inspirational Business Coach. During his 12 year tenure in the NFL, he played with the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and 8 years with the Chicago Bears, retiring as the second leading Tight End in Bears history for catches, yards, and touchdowns behind only Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. Before entering into the NFL, Desmond set Wake Forest University receiving records and finished his college career as all-time leading receiver in Atlantic Coast Conference history and a degree in communications. For more information about the ‘Principles of Winning’ group coaching course call 863.581.5161 or email desmond@dezclarkspeaks.com.

69 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…getting lost will help you find yourself. THI NGUYEN

NONPROFIT CONSULTANT, ENTREPRENEUR & PHILANTHROPIST 70 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘GO GREEN DRESS’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY THI NGUYEN

GET LOST

HOW TO FIND YOURSELF IN NATURE Going outside for me means carrying a pack and spending time in nature. Being able to explore where one can access only by foot while discovering the hidden waterfalls, wildflowers and natural habitats of these grounds brings me great joy. It is when the sound of traffic and chatter cease to exist, replaced with nature's musical notes. It is the smell of fresh foliage from

leaves dancing in the wind, while trees sway side to side. The great outdoors truly is a magical place. Life here seems to stop and start spontaneously with every second. Thunderstorms roll in, hail comes crashing down and within minutes the sun is out in full force. You can be in the desert one day and stand on top of the tallest peak the next. Going outside is a time for me to explore inward. It is a time for me to process life, work through the troubles and rediscover my Zen.

There is something special when you spend some time trekking through the wilderness. Packing only what you will need for the next few days, weeks or even months and hitting the unpaved road. Learning the route as you go, mapping your journey and meal planning; all are necessary for survival in the wild. Soon you will realize what you are capable of, what you can endure and how long you are able to continue this trek of exploration and self discovery.

Through my travels, I tend to wonder what life would be like from above, imagining myself as an eagle flying around. I think about the fish swimming in the streams, the goats climbing the mountains and the bears sleeping in their caves. I wonder how life is like for them season after season. Would we treat the wild with more love, more care if we too saw it as our ‘home’? Would we appreciate and enjoy it more if we could see the complete canvas from above? I sometimes think…

71 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


If I could be but a bird,

Soaring above these lands.

I'll spread my wings,

And travel as far as I can.

Dipping down to touch,

The streaming water below.

Twisting and turning,

Through the canals I'll go.

I'll survey the lush greens,

Looking for my friends.

Exploring the forest,

Below, beneath and within.

I'll perch myself,

Above the mountain top.

Enjoying the view,

As I take my rest stop.

Imagining the colors,

Hidden in plane sight.

I'll see the landscape

As I take flight.

Enjoying Mother Nature's,

Exquisite work of art.

If only I could be,

A bird from the start.

I'll take more care,

Of the place I call home.

In this vast open land,

Where I'm free to roam.

I'll clean up the area,

Where I sleep and eat.

And tidy up where,

My friends and I meet.

Til then I'll stand,

Amazed at this sight.

And rejoice in my adventures,

From morning till night.

Through my exploration,

It fuels my soul.

Reminding me to be thankful

For the life I hold.

72 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


73 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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74 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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"With each adventure I crave for more…”

I really can't complain. I have been fortunate to trek the Inca Trails to Machu Picchu, summit Mt. Whitney, backpack Patagonia, explored the Swiss Alps, climb half dome, hike the back country of the Grand Tetons, and camp at the base of the Grand Canyon just to name a few. With each adventure I crave for more and look forward to the next journey. Wandering my way through the wilderness of this grand planet, I've seen such spectacular lush landscapes

untouched by mankind.

Being in nature truly heals you, calms you and helps you view life from a completely different perspective. Each time I return from these adventures, I feel lighter, refreshed and ready to take on any challenge. Here in the wilderness, getting lost will help you find yourself. At least this is true for me. If you would like any guidance for your next adventure feel free to contact me @GoGreenDress on Instagram. There you can also find some inspiration for your next exploration.

Be Bold. Stay Beautiful. Explore. ∎

“Adventure begins the moment you let go.” - Thi-ism THI NGUYEN

Nonprofit Consultant, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
 www.awarenessties.us/thi Thi Nguyen brings with her over 2 decades of non profit experience as a participant, advisor, board member, consultant, volunteer and research and development specialist. Her expertise combining technology to further advance the vision and mission for philanthropic causes has allowed her to serve as a trusted partner with many notable organizations large and small. Thi has experience working with organizations focusing on combating various global issues such as: human sex trafficking, homelessness, poverty, fair wages, global warming, malnutrition, gender equality, humanitarian assistance and human rights. She's currently developing an app to connect individuals and corporations to assist nonprofits in furthering their vision and mission.

75 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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It is this painful event of being sharpened that allows us to write and draw even more clearly than before. PAUL S. ROGERS

TRANSFORMATION EXPERT, AWARENESS HELLRAISER & PUBLIC SPEAKER 76 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘RELEASE THE GENIE’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY PAUL S. ROGERS

OUR LIFE AS A PENCIL

A METAPHOR FOR PURPOSE SCRIPTED & SKETCHED Genie Fact: ‘A Genie can win a game of Connect Four in 3 moves.’

When we were created, we started life as a full Pencil; eager to write out our story on life's page and leave our mark upon the world and all of those in it. We are all unique with different colours, shades and strengths.

The origins of a Pencil come from nature. The wood of a tree, which itself was once a seed. Lead from the earth, as a raw mix of minerals and metals.

The lead in the Pencil is then enclosed by a layer of wood and given a polished final finish. This covering serves as our outside interface between the inside and outside worlds.

What the world doesn’t see, beneath the protective cover, is the invisible core: our creativity and magic. This magic inside can only be shown to the outside world through our actions and acts on the paper of life. It is not the wood that creates the story but what lies beneath the wood.

From my own personal point of view, when I am brainstorming, I always write in pencil. Somehow it feels freer and allows my best and most creative ideas to come through me. I then use a pen as a means to solidify and clarify my ideas and goals so that they cannot be easily erased.

As we become older, we tend to stop using pencils and transition to using pens instead. Hence the well-known phrase “written in ink”, which proclaims some sort of binding commitment to the outside world. If a mistake is made written in ink, it is considerably harder to erase.

“The Pencil is able to write the story of how it was sharpened or broken, and the lessons learned in the process.”

As we go through life, we face many painful challenges. It is this painful event of being sharpened that allows us to write and draw even more clearly than before. The Pencil is able to write the story of how it was sharpened or broken, and the lessons learned in the process. These lessons are a gift to share with the rest of us.

77 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Our Life As A Pencil’, written and narrated by Paul S. Rogers:

https://awarenow.us/podcast/as-a-pencil

Learn more about Paul and read more of her work:

www.awarenessties.us/paulrogers

Follow Paul on Instagram:

@paulrogers

When somebody doesn't get the point, or asks what's the point of it all, what they are really asking and saying is what should I write next. The powerful thing is that you can write anything you want, as it all starts from the inside.

As we go through life, we look for and then find a combination with another pencil who we are drawn to and compliments our own unique Pencil. Together a masterpiece is created. Sometimes we find the wrong combination and the picture created does not end up as we first imagined. You can always find a fresh page and continue writing.

Some Pencils lead with the eraser, by first removing any marks of sadness before writing, to raise awareness and create magic and happiness. In the outside world, there is a growing number of these Pencils who, when they come together, have a huge power to write (and right) the wrongs and injustices.

Things to ponder…

If we are the pencil, and life is a page, when we reach the end of that page, what remains?

How and when are the rest of our pages and chapters written?

We know and feel but cannot see the greater invisible hand at work, that uses and guides the Pencil in creating each individual masterpiece. Will we ever get to see the complete tapestry, and the body and hand behind this? ∎

PAUL S. ROGERS

Transformation Expert, Awareness Hellraiser & Public Speaker
 www.awarenessties.us/paul-rogers Keynote public speaking coach, “Adversity to hope, opportunity and prosperity. “ Transformation expert, awareness Hellraiser, life coach, Trauma TBI, CPTSD mentor, train crash and cancer survivor, public speaking coach, Podcast host “Release the Genie”, Director at Core Mentors Association (Not for profit) & Best-selling author. His journey from corporate to Kitesurfer to teacher on first nations reserve to today. Paul’s goal is to inspire others to find their true purpose and passion.

78 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



If young people are uneducated about civic measures, they will be unprepared to be active members of society… LUKE GIALANELLA

FOUNDER & PRESIDENT OF GOVLEARN 80 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘GOVLEARN’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY LUKE GIALANELLA

GOVLEARN 101

RAISING AWARENESS ON HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS My name is Luke Gialanella, and I am proud to introduce myself as a new ambassador & columnist for Awareness Ties! I am 15 years old and live in Los Angeles, CA. While I am young, this has not limited my ability to be an active member of society and engage in activities to benefit my community and humanity as a whole.

My foremost passion is engaging young people (my age and younger) about government and politics through education and awareness. This is best represented through my 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization, GOVLEARN Education, which seeks to provide civic education to elementary and middle school students, and encourage education departments across the country to add civics as a required class in core curriculums, in addition to English, math, science, and history.

So, how did my passion bloom? As a young child, I was always fascinated by studying the humanities; history, geography, literature, and philosophy. However, it wasn’t until a visit to Washington, DC when I was about 10 years old when government and politics became my foremost passion. I was enthralled by the way the U.S. government operated. Even with all of its bureaucratic measures, I found the basic operations and procedures conducted by government officials to be works of art in themselves; the result of hundreds of years of reform and progression in order to form a more perfect union.

After the 2016 presidential election, I was struck by how my peers were not educated or knowledgable about the structures and procedures of American elections and lawmaking, even blanking on the branches of government. I took it upon myself to do more research on civic education in the United States. I found that my local middle school offered 0 civics classes, 1 history class, and 17 various math classes. I have nothing against math, but I found this ratio to be absurd and unnerving for many reasons. As the 2011 Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools report highlights, students who receive high quality civic education are more likely to “understand public issues, view political engagement as a means of addressing communal challenges, and participate in civic activities.”

“I am of the opinion that earlier is better when it comes to learning about politics…”

If young people are uneducated about civic measures, they will be unprepared to be active members of society, and even struggle at the voting booth. I am of the opinion that earlier is better when it comes to learning about politics, and that schools should start teaching students about government as early as elementary school. As opposed to simply a semester-long civics course in high school, if students take civic classes throughout elementary, middle, and high school, they will develop a fuller understanding of both their government and their places in it.

GOVLEARN Education has posted online slideshows, blog posts, and videos about U.S. politics, as well as teaching live in-person and online classes with young students. In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, we hosted Q&As on Zoom for young students to ask questions about the election and its processes, including the Electoral College, battleground states, and presidential transitions. 81 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


GOVLEARN ON CBS NEWS

INTERVIEW WITH LUKE GIALANELLA

“One student in a class I taught, probably less than 10 years old, told me that he couldn’t wait to be old enough to vote.”

Part of the joy of what I do is being able to see young people be truly excited and engaged about civics. While many believe that children should be kept from learning about government and politics, I believe that exposing them to these topics when they are young can truly make them excited about becoming active members of society. One student in a class I taught, probably less than 10 years old, told me that he couldn’t wait to be old enough to vote. This is the kind of passion and excitement about politics that we so desperately need, and I believe that the next generation will truly empower our country and the world to new heights.

GOVLEARN Education is currently pursuing the development of a movement to persuade state governments to add civics to core curriculums across the country, and I believe that with my new partnership with Awareness Ties, we can work together to raise awareness for this key issue. I am extremely pleased to join Awareness Ties in the fight for basic human needs such as education and many more, and can’t wait for what comes next. ∎ LUKE GIALANELLA

Founder & President of GOVLEARN
 www.awarenessties.us/luke-gialanella Luke Gialanella Founder & President of GOVLEARN Luke Gialanella founded GOVLEARN when he was 11 years old, in the summer after the 2016 presidential election. Finding that there was a lack of substantive civics education for elementary and middle schoolers, he went on a mission to correct that. Creating a website and YouTube channel, Luke is obviously extremely passionate about government and politics and has participated in many mock governments, Model UN, and debate programs outside of school.

82 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



To put it very simply WILD has kept me alive over and over again… ABBIE BARNES

FILMMAKER & MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE 84 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘GLOBAL GOOD’ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY TANITH HARDING

MORE TIME IN THE WILD

ABBIE’S MISSION TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE

Abbie Barnes has been producing films since the age of 13 with her first short film, about the devastating effects of palm oil production, opening up opportunities such as speaking in the European Parliament to MEPs about the importance of ingredient labels on products. Since then her work has gained national and international recognition including a Global Youth Award in 2018 and opportunities to produce films for companies and events including United Nations and Jurassic Coast UNESCO team. Her brand continues to grow with a range of products and podcast and she joins us today to share her journey.

Tanith: Abbie you’ve been making films raising environmental awareness and encouraging people to step outside since the age of 13, what made you decide that filming was the avenue you wanted to take?

Abbie: I started filming at a young age because I was passionate about nature. I wanted to be a wildlife filmmaker but gradually, my passion fell into environmental conservation, I started to learn about different issues across the planet and felt fire within me to do something about it. I started by talking to the camera about palm oil and that won the film competition which got me to the European Parliament to talk about the issue.

MORE TIME IN THE WILD

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ABBIE BARNES

85 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“…community, nature and quality time is something that we all need.”

Abbie: (continued) Following that I went on to marine debris. We live near the coast so I filmed marine debris on the beaches - my mission was to highlight these issues, coupled with actionable steps that we can take to make a difference. During this time I was running my own production company making short films for businesses but struggling with my mental health, so gradually my mission statement morphed from encouraging people to protect the natural environment to now working to inspire and empower individuals to get outside for the benefit of mental and physical health, whilst building meaningful connections with the natural world and with each other. It's been a long journey, starting with that environmental aspect and now really helping people to access the outdoors. Film is the medium through which I communicate my story, natures story and other people’s stories; I’m a big believer that stories bring people together and create meaningful communities.

Tanith: You have received lots of recognition and awards since you began but which of your projects means the most to you and why?

Abbie: This month we were at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and won an award for our short film ‘Rise Above The Fear’. That's something I'm really proud of because me and my partner produced it together, documenting my fear of water which stems from my mental health journey. It’s hard to pick what I'm proudest of because it doesn't come down to the production, it comes down to the experience I've gone through and the journey that the film was documenting.

I'll never forget my climb on Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014. I’d just finished A Level exams and a week or so later was on a plane flying across Nairobi. It was incredible and something that’s shaped me as who I am. I approach every trip with an open heart and mind. I wouldn’t be who I am without each journey. To give you an example, there's a Coast to Coast Trail across the UK, and I call it ‘Embrace the Journey’ because that’s what I learned, another ‘Choosing Joy in the Ordinary’ and another 'Learning to Thrive’. One was called ‘Alive’ which was my journey around Tour du Mont Blanc. I love the Alps and the Lake District is a very special place. It’s a bit of everything. I'm very proud of it all, those moments are the absolute solid foundation of this journey and I'm grateful for every opportunity I've been able to take.

Tanith: Spend More Time In The WILD was established in 2016 to inspire and empower people to enjoy time outside for the benefit of improving mental and physical health. How has this impacted your own mental health and wellbeing?

Abbie: To put it very simply WILD has kept me alive over and over again. It was forged out of my deepest darkest place. I’m a trained personal trainer and very passionate about physical well being but I found that working in a gym environment wasn't coupling well with my mental wellbeing. I needed something that gave me reasons to stay alive. So that was how WILD was born. The first project I undertook in 2016 was to walk all of the UK’s National Trails. They’re designated long distance footpaths across the country, over 2,500 miles in total, I did the first three trails, but then crashed and burned and didn't leave the house for three months because of my mental health, but somehow, that was the beginning of WILD.

WILD is what gets me out of bed when nothing else does. It's everything to me. It's all consuming and really exciting, the greatest blessing of it is that I can steer it wherever I feel. I’m not following a conventional business plan, it's faith led. It's very intuitive, we listen to what our community is asking for and that's where we tend to go next. Before COVID-19 one in four individuals were said to be struggling with their mental health, but throughout COVID-19 The Mental Health Foundation released statistics that one in two of us have had a serious mental health challenge. That’s half the population and that's just in the UK. That's why we really believe in our message and want to reach every household because community, nature and quality time is something that we all need. The design of modern life its that it doesn't create enough space for these essentials. We are hoping to encourage a National mind-shift through our work. 86 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Tanith: In your recent film ‘Rise Above the Fear’ you talk about how mental illness doesn’t have to hold you back. What’s your advice to other young people battling with this and how can they get involved with Spend More Time In The WILD?

Abbie: There’s a quote on our mirror that says, ‘Hold the vision, trust the process’ and I come back to that all the time, because dealing with mental health on a day to day basis is exhausting and there are days where you just don't want to. But you have to because out of the deepest darkest depths of depression, anxiety and mental illness great things can still be born. So much of mental illness comes from the fact that we are suppressed and disconnected. Healing and breakthrough can come when we say ‘Im worth more, I am enough and I don't need to fit in or conform’. After you get through the initial struggle there's a much deeper visceral place in you that feels like everything's gonna be okay. Just keep showing up on a day to day basis, be kind, compassionate and treat yourself as you treat others.

That's where WILD comes in because we are looking to build safe communities both on the ground and online that people can access as a starting place to take off their masks and be who they truly are. We also have an online community where people are welcomed with open arms and loved unconditionally - having that safe place of belonging is transformational. It’s coming back to all of these basic fundamentals of what it is to be a pure, beautiful, messy human being. That’s what we're doing with WILD. Get involved with walking groups - we are restarting our WILD Walks soon. Check out our videos, listen to the stories we tell and create space to explore yours. There are many different ways to get involved and if you can't find something, drop us a message and we'll figure something out!

Tanith: You have already extended the Spend More Time In The WILD brand to include a range of products and have a podcast, what’s next for you on your journey?

Abbie: Something that excites and terrifies me all at once because WILD is going very quickly. The ultimate goal is to create a physical space on the ground where people can find safety and support; where we can help people to retrain and rebuild their lives through meaningful connections with nature and people. When I have been in the depths of my mental health this is what I've yearned for,. so I want to create this space in real life for others. Right now we're working on a huge project called ‘Abbie Bikes Britain’. I will be cycling 2000 miles from John O’Groats to Land's End in 50 days. Rather than the conventional route I'm going to zigzag across the country to each of the UK’s National Parks, hike to the highest point and then get back on the bike to keep cycling. We’re doing school talks along the way and shooting a documentary series to raise awareness about the access to green spaces and why we need to protect them for mental health and the environment. Stewardship is something that is lacking within a lot of communities and we want to remind people of the significance of their existence and how much they are needed!

If people want to get involved they can join a walk, jump on their bike, or head online and follow our progress. We are looking for partners and sponsors, and this this is a community funded project, so if anyone can spare a penny of two, this would be a huge help. This is the biggest thing by far that we've undertaken within WILD. It is so exciting and we really believe we can inspire meaningful conversations and initiate lasting change across the country, and indeed, the world, since our message is transferable no matter where you live. ∎

Support Abbie on her mission: www.spendmoretimeinthewild.co.uk/abbiebikesbritain

Follow her on Instagram: @abbiebarneswild TANITH HARDING

Director of International Development, The Legacy Project, RoundTable Global
 www.awarenessties.us/tanith-harding Tanith is leading change management through commitment to the RoundTable Global Three Global Goals of: Educational Reform, Environmental Rejuvenation & Empowerment for All. She delivers innovative and transformational leadership and development programmes in over 30 different countries and is also lead on the international development of philanthropic programmes and projects. This includes working with a growing team of extraordinary Global Change Ambassadors and putting together the Global Youth Awards which celebrate the amazing things our young people are doing to change the world.

87 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


In the ocean, I forget about everything… JONATHAN KOHANSKI

OPEN WATER SWIMMER, PHOTOGRAPHER & MS WARRIOR 88 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


PERSONAL STORY BY JONATHAN KOHANSKI

BEACH LIFE

IN MY HEAD

I spend so much time bobbing around in the waves. Waves that set the stage for beautiful scenes and captures of friends smiling, having fun surfing or swimming. For those handful of hours in the water, I get to temporarily forget everything that’s back on dry land, my crappy balance, my bum leg, the heat and fatigue, numb hands, etc.

The beach and the ocean have been playing a special and integral part of my life for the past few years, but even more so recently. It serves as a short refuge from some of my physical issues as well as helping me to balance out my thoughts. Spending time weightless in the water, the taste of salt on my lips and at times the cold biting at my skin feels like a completely different world. It reminds me of how much the body can endure and keep going, and how suffering can be more mental than physical at times. Just like the waves, I continually bob my head in and out of the rabbit hole of self-defeating thoughts, the thoughts I know I should avoid, but never seem to manage to. In a way, I’m the proverbial squirrel crossing the road, unable to decide which way to go, sometimes it’s the right direction, but other times clearly not.

“It’s hidden under smiles and jokes, behind an outward appearance that looks like everybody else…”

I can capture the beauty of the outside world with a camera, even the ugliness of it. The radiating orange glow of the sunrise, the soft beauty of crashing waves frozen in time, the happiness of friends engaged in hobbies they love. What I can’t capture is what resides within me, and words are no better at conveying those feelings and emotions. I can’t hand out a picture that would allow anyone to understand what goes on in my head or how it affects me. That’s why mental health can be so hard to comprehend. The outward appearance a lot of times looks like everyone else. It’s hidden under smiles and jokes, behind an outward appearance that looks like everybody else…going to work, going out with friends, and pursuing hobbies. There are shadows that lurk behind us, even in the darkness, there are deeper holes.

There’s an almost constant battle, light and dark, highs and lows, chaos, and calm. You can wake up one day not wanting to get out of bed, dreading the day, to feeling completely unstoppable the next. Feeling peace seems to come in the form of isolation away from the noise of the world, away from the distraction of people, of energy, away from the reminders of the conflict within and the triggers that lie in wait. Having people in my life is both a blessing and a curse, feeling at times happily overwhelmed by the support and kindness of friends and family and at other times confused by the amount of interaction and complete sensory overload from being around too much. I don't let too many people close enough to understand what it is that follows me and can be so difficult.

89 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Beach Life’, written and narrated by Jonathan Kohanski:

https://awarenow.us/podcast/beach-life

Learn more about Jonathan and read more of his work:

www.awarenessties.us/jonathan-kohanski

Follow Jonathan on Instagram:

@swimtheswell

“I’m a part of the ebbs and flows of the tides, the crashing waves, the calm, and the chaos.”

I’m plagued with an uncertainty that feels more like a burden that everybody else can avoid except myself. Who wants a complicated life? Chronic conditions don’t change a person's fundamental need to feel loved. It doesn’t change the desire to wake up next to someone, to have someone there who cares and is willing to understand the struggle, that’ll walk next to you, no matter how slow that may be. Someone that at times is willing to sacrifice what they want to instead do what you’re able to do because they know the smile it’ll put on your face.

In the ocean, I forget about everything. I forget about my past and the anxiety of the future, the only time that exists in the water is now. I’m a part of the ebbs and flows of the tides, the crashing waves, the calm, and the chaos. The ocean represents something in all of us. An almost endless expanse of possibility, tranquility, storms, and that we all have much more hidden below the surface.

As much a part of the ocean as I feel and as much as I have seen what I’m capable of, I wonder why I can’t deny the power of the ocean, but can so easily deny my own? ∎ JONATHAN KOHANSKI

Open Water Swimmer, Photographer & MS Warrior

www.awarenessties.us/jonathan-kohanski Hi. I'm Jonathan. I'm a wanderer of sorts, looking to further enrich lives and share experiences that show we are all capable of truly amazing feats that push my own boundaries and can many times turn heads. I'm a sucker for raw and real stories and attempt to share my own, with all the good and bad through that same lens. I'm always open to finding my next adventure that will help me to continue writing the stories that can help others overcome their own demons. I'm a lover of the water and spend a lot of my free time in it, whether it be swimming, body-boarding, or taking photographs while in it. I was diagnosed with MS at the age of 25 and it has changed the course of my life, not just in a physical sense, but also in my perspective of life, what is valuable to me and worthy of my time. We all have our struggles and triumphs, I'm here to share mine and maybe, help others through theirs.

90 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…so much below the surface that has yet to be explored and understood. JONATHAN KOHANSKI

OPEN WATER SWIMMER, PHOTOGRAPHER & MS WARRIOR 91 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


…I felt motivated to prove to myself I was so much more than my battle with mental health. SARAH GOODY

16-YEAR-OLD CLIMATE ACTIVIST & FOUNDER OF CLIMATE NOW 92 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘CHANNELING KINDNESS’ COLUMN BY BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION (FEAT. SARAH GOODY)

AIDED BY ACTIVISM

HOW ACTIVISM HELPED MY MENTAL HEALTH Content Warning: The following story contains descriptions and information about depression and suicidal ideation, which may be triggering to survivors or to the family and/or friends of people who have died by suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 for assistance.

I was 12 when I tried to take my own life.

At the time, I felt like I was falling down a rabbit hole and unlike Alice, would never find my way out. I was mad at the world for making me feel this way and took those feelings out on the people around me. I became unrecognizable to my friends and family. To me, it seemed like only a matter of time before death became my reality. 800,000 people die by suicide every year and if it hadn’t been for activism, I would have been a part of that statistic.

My name is Sarah Goody, I am a 16-year-old climate activist, and today I will share my story of how activism helped me cope with depression.

Activism Gave Me a Purpose

In 6th grade, my science teacher presented a week-long unit on climate change and the impact rising carbon emissions were having on my community, society, and future. For the first time, I felt passionate about a social justice issue and began researching climate change by watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, and reading articles. I began to feel a force within me propelling me into the world of climate justice. The newfound knowledge I gained and the desire to let others know about the challenges our planet faced gave me a purpose. I decided to give living a shot, because – what did I have to lose?

Activism Gave Me a Community

After spending a year taking action in my own community, I felt it was time to share my knowledge with even more people. At this point, I was graduating 7th grade and feeling a newfound sense of purpose in my life. Although things were far from perfect, they were on a MUCH better track.

In the summer of 2018, I attended Youth Empowered Action Camp (YEA Camp), a summer camp geared towards providing young people with the skills and knowledge to create social change.

To call YEA Camp life-changing is an understatement. At YEA Camp I finally found a community. I met other young people who, just like me, cared about our planet and changing the world. At school, I could never discuss my mental health or the challenges I had overcome, but at YEA Camp it was socially acceptable and totally normal to talk about taboo topics like mental health. I was able to connect with others who had similarly struggled with depression and realized I wasn’t going through it alone. I no longer felt afraid of my depression, instead, I felt motivated to prove to myself I was so much more than my battle with mental health. I realized that just because I wasn’t ‘normal’ didn’t mean I was strange or bad. I later discovered that almost every other activist space I entered would be met with the same standards of acceptance, approval, empathy, and kindness.

93 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“…activism reminds us not to take everything for granted.”

Activism Taught Me to Appreciate the Little Things

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the big picture of things, but activism reminds us not to take everything for granted. Once I started learning more about climate change, I grasped a bigger picture of the issues so many people are facing. I was able to immerse myself in the lives of others instead of hyper-focusing on my own self-perceived problems. I began noticing the things that were ok or good in my life and started to really appreciate them.

Although my sadness and frustration will never disappear completely, I am proud to say with the help of activism, I have defeated depression. Today I share my story with the hopes that it will inspire you to reach out to the people in your life and remind them that they matter. After all, if activism helped me conquer depression, maybe it can help someone else? ∎

SARAH GOODY

Born This Way Foundation/Channel Kindness Contributor
 www.channelkindness.org/author/sarah-goody Sarah Goody (she/her/hers) is a 16-year-old climate activist and founder of Climate NOW. Climate NOW is an international youth-led organization focused on educating and empowering young people to take climate action. Climate NOW was founded in 2019, and has since worked with over 10,000 youth and presented to over 70 K-12 schools from around the world. Outside of Climate NOW, Sarah volunteers as the Chair of her town’s Climate Action Committee and works to draw attention to the parallels between mental health and advocacy work. 
 Learn more about Climate NOW at www.climatenow.solutions.

To learn more about the power of activism visit www.sarah-goody.com.

Follow Sarah on Instagram: @sarah.goody4

94 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


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…even after the darkest night, comes the light. AALIA LANIUS

NOVELIST, SPEAKER, PODCAST HOST & SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR 96 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘UNSUGARCOATED’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY AALIA LANIUS

GROW WITH THE FLOW

MAGICAL MOMENTS IN MAUI

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” -Nikola Telsa

One of Earth’s great chakra points, Maui, is full of sacred places that are both healing and magical. I’ve only recently begun traveling again and I am grateful to be getting out in the world. I’ve experienced and recovered from multiple traumas in my life, and when March 2020 hit, my reactive thought was, “I’m ready for this!” And I was. But as we continue to move through the COVID pandemic, my resilience limits have been tested and a work trip to Maui couldn’t have had better timing.

Normally, on a tropical trip to paradise, I might be irritated if I have to wake up early. In this case, I was thankful that because of the time difference between Hawaii and Los Angeles, my work as a daily radio co-host for World Wide Radio on Clubhouse had me up to do my segment at 3:30 AM via phone. It was all that I could do to contain myself as I walked down to the beach in the dark, threw my shoes off, and firmly planted my feet on the ground beneath me.

“As I felt the charge move through my body, my lips turned into a smile, hearing the waves crash against the shore and then watching the light creep its way into the dawn, reminding me of what I love most about being outdoors - it’s healing power.”

Once the show was done, I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath, and I focused on the therapeutic technique called “grounding”, an activity intended to electrically reconnect you to the earth. As I felt the charge move through my body, my lips turned into a smile, hearing the waves crash against the shore and then watching the light creep its way into the dawn, reminding me of what I love most about being outdoors—it’s healing power.

Considering our relation to Earth, I imagine it to be like leaves on a tree. And like a tree, Earth is our source of existence. If you don’t accept this, consider that we cannot decide to stop consuming food and water provided by the world we live in—we will perish. I say this only to emphasize our connection and why an exercise like grounding has the effect it does. Grounding exercises are especially important for people who stay in their heads too much. I find as a creative, I need to find ways to relax and stay connected with the vital energy source of the earth. A modality like grounding, can elicit physical healing through a sense of connection, inspiration and gratitude. 97 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


One of Earth’s great chakra points, Maui, is full of sacred places that are both healing and magical. AALIA LANIUS

NOVELIST, SPEAKER, PODCAST HOST & SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR 98 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“For me, it made me feel positive standing barefoot in Maui and in truth…"

There is science involved and one reason for Maui’s healing energy is that the rocks are full of iron oxide, a highly magnetic element. This creates a magnetic energy that we can tap into. I was reminded, as I stood there, of the collective trauma we have endured since 2020, and I allowed for the possibility that the magnetic energy could not only stir my blood, reacting to the iron running through my body, but spiritually, what mental blocks could this energy help me break through. The result for me was an extremely deep sense of gratitude as I felt my vibrations rise higher bringing me to a state of flow, fully immersed in my activity. In that state, my mind’s eye saw a surfer riding a wave. His skill at balance is key and though at times he is thrown from his board, he knows how to go with the flow, and fall in such a way that the skilled surfer is not deterred, but grows with the challenge, bringing himself back to the board, looking for the next wave because he knows that he’d rather be riding one, than getting dragged with it.

So, as we emerge from our corners of the world, I encourage us to seek out therapeutic ways that involve reconnecting not only with the people we miss, but the beauty of the outdoors and nature to collectively raise our vibration. Doing so enables us to feel happier, mentally, and emotionally. For me, it made me feel positive standing barefoot in Maui and in truth, I could do this anywhere, but for the moment I was thankful to be present in a magical moment in an inspiring place, if only to once again be reminded that even after the darkest night, comes the light. ∎

AALIA LANIUS

Novelist, Speaker, Podcast Host & Social Entrepreneur
 www.awarenessties.us/aalialanius Aalia Lanius is the Founder and President of Unsugarcoated Media, a 501(c)(3) media organization. Dedicated to helping survivors of trauma lead mentally healthier lives, Lanius' focus is creating media and events that empower, educate, heal, and inspire another the way it has for her. Lanius is also a multiple award-winning American novelist, social entrepreneur, and advocate with over 20 years of sharing her personal experiences with audiences of all age groups and diverse backgrounds. Executive Producer and host of the awardnominated seasonal podcast show, “Unsugarcoated with Aalia”, a visual and audio experience that features conversations intended to bring value and amplify voices that create more empathy and understanding of one another.

99 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Stress is one of our greatest existential threats. ROBERT PACE, MD

NEUROLOGIST AND DIRECTOR OF NEUROIMMUNOLOGY, MEMORIAL INSTITUTE FOR NEUROSCIENCES 100 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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‘KEEPING PACE WITH MS’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY DR. ROBERT PACE

THE SCIENCE OF STRESS

HOW THE BRAIN DEALS WITH STRESS

Recently, the world has started to realize the importance that our day-to-day habits have on our health. I’m reminded just how recently when I look at the various organic, low carb, non-gmo snacks that my kids have to choose from in the pantry. These things didn’t exist when I was growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s – I’d guess that somewhere around 60% of my diet back then consisted of high-fructose corn syrup. The only time I ever heard the word “yoga” was from that stretchy-guy in the Street-Fighter video game, and the magazines in line at the grocery store didn’t list ketofriendly recipes or promise to teach mindfulness (back then, they covered only important topics, like Bat-Boy and the Loch Ness Monster).

Thankfully, things are changing. Kids are no longer getting most of their daily water intake from Pepsi products, and only a few weeks ago I overheard two tweens discussing the differences between their respective meditation apps. These signs point to a brighter future for all of our health.

Yet, despite these societal revelations, we still stubbornly cling to our most dangerous addiction: chronic stress. It should surprise nobody that countless studies have shown a vast array of health benefits associated with reducing chronic stress. Pick a thing that you don’t want to have happen to you - heart attack, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s – you name it, and a study has shown either an increased risk with chronic stress, a decrease risk when stress-reduction techniques are routinely employed, or both.

Science has compiled a mountain of evidence showing the connection between stress and disease since the 1930s. Hungarian physician Hans Selye first used the term “stress” to describe what he called the “non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. But humanity has known for millennia before modern scientists got out their beakers that stress is one of our greatest existential threats. Confucius stated in ~500 B.C.E. that “the superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress”, and “quieting the mind” has formed a central part of nearly all of the world’s religions and traditions.

And yet, despite the massive body of scientific research and thousands of years of passed-down wisdom, no unified definition of what “stress” is even exists. Stress has been described as “any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain”, “the body’s response to anything that requires attention or action”, and “anything that causes feelings of worry or anxiety”. And while these descriptions may be accurate, they all imply a rather robotic, cause-and-effect event. Something happens to me ➔ I experience stress. But something about that just doesn’t feel quite right to me.

As a neurologist, my instinct is to answer the question “what is stress?” by looking at what happens with stress in the brain. This can be done in a variety of ways, including functional MRI which allows for real-time imaging of brain activity with millimeter precision.

The majority of acute stress responses seem to originate in the hypothalamus, which you can think of as the master switchboard for your endocrine system – it controls all your hormones. The hypothalamus then directs the pituitary gland, which in turn activates the adrenal glands (from which we get adrenaline) in what is known as the HPA Axis. This is a very useful circuit for us when we need to run from bears – it increases blood pressure, shunts blood away from vital organs to our muscles, and shuts down unnecessary brain circuits that would otherwise confuse us from our relatively simple tasks of fighting or flighting. However, when we are sitting in traffic, arguing with our spouse, or crafting a furious response on your arch enemy’s Facebook post, those effects are rather less helpful.

101 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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“Stress is the psychological response to resistance to one’s goals.”

With chronic stress, we experience more sinister effects, like facilitation of the neurocircuitry of the HPA axis and pruning of extraneous pathways. Basically – your brain is built to learn. And it does just that, and does it really well. The HPA axis connections learn, becoming stronger and easier to activate, while your “luxury” brain circuits – such as the hippocampus (adorable little brain-fold that looks like a seahorse and is necessary to create memories), parietal lobes (comprehension and creativity), and frontal lobes (behavioral inhibition and complex planning) – all start to atrophy, just like an unused muscle.

However, these chronic changes do not occur with all types of stress. In fact, certain types of stress cause nearly the exact opposite effects, including downregulation of the HPA axis. This is what Selye called “eustress”, but we can simply think of as “good stress”. An example of this is exercise. Even when exercising that causes a transient negative emotions (like when you’re jogging up that one cartoonishly steep hill), it causes dampening of the HPA axis via reduction of cortisol receptors. This is also true of religious and ritual fasting, cold-temperature conditioning, and certain “detox” programs (like the ones where people only drink bathwater for 10 days straight or whatever the hell they do). Despite all these things being somewhat unpleasant stimuli that cause certain brain regions to behave like stress, they all end up protecting us from the long-term stress-mediated effects.

So, what makes one stress different from another to the brain? All of the things that produce the beneficial response – down regulation of the HPA axis – have one thing in common that is necessary to produce this particular response: The person experiencing them perceives a net benefit from the stress. Said another way – how one chooses to experience a stress determines if your brain will respond positively or negatively. If you exercise, or fast, or jump into a freezing lake in your skivvies because you think it is good for you, it ends up being good for you. Similarly, if you experience a negative emotion in response to a stressor, it will end up increasing HPA activation and all the awful downstream cancer/heart attack/stroke/Alzheimer’s risk that comes with it.

Here’s my definition of stress. Stress is the psychological response to resistance to one’s goals. I like that definition because it implies some degree of control - we control our goals. We can reframe them and shape them consciously. In doing so, we have the power to turn down the volume dials on our internal suffering. Next time you are in the checkout aisle, consider leafing through one of those mindfulness magazines, or ask a Millennial how to download a meditation app. ∎

ROBERT PACE, MD

Neurologist and Director of Neuroimmunology, Memorial Institute for Neurosciences
 www.awarenessties.us/robert-pace Dr. Pace cares for and has expertise in a variety of neurologic conditions. He is passionate about demyelinating conditions of the central nervous system and holds a fellowship from the University of Michigan in clinical neuroimmunology and MS. Along with Dr. Aburashed and Dr. Cote, they make up the provider care team in the MS center at Memorial Healthcare Institute for Neuroscience. He has experience using a variety of immunomodulating and suppressing agents and also lectures nationally regarding treatment options in Multiple Sclerosis.

102 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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I don't care that my uncle was gay or that he died from AIDS. I'm just sad that he's gone… LORI BUTIERRIES

AUTHOR, NAVY VETERAN & MOTHER OF 2 WITH SPECIAL NEEDS 104 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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‘SCARRED NOT BROKEN’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY LORI BUTIERRIES

HIV, MY UNCLE & ME

A MAN (AND A MOMENT) GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN I barely remember my Uncle Dennis.

When he passed away in the early '90s at the height of the AIDS epidemic, I was a young child. Not only that, but his death didn't feel like it was a topic that I could ask about or bring up in casual conversation with anyone, ever.

There is so much mystery surrounding my Uncle's illness that even today, in 2021, I still don't know the chain of events regarding how my Uncle contracted HIV or how the last days of his life played out.

Sure, I have vague memories of my Dad, my Uncle Dennis' fraternal twin brother, driving my Mom, siblings, and me from Illinois to Wisconsin to visit our Uncle regularly to take care of him once he got sick. But my siblings and I were always sent off to entertain ourselves once we arrived at my Uncle's house, so the significance of those visits never really hit home until it was too late to appreciate them.

The last time I saw my Uncle Dennis alive was when my Dad brought the whole family to the hospital to see him when he got admitted. One by one, my siblings and I took turns going into my Uncle's hospital room to say hello. At the time, at least as I recall events, I didn't know it was really for us to say goodbye.

I was completely oblivious to what was happening. In my childish ignorance, I remember looking at my Uncle's skeletal face and bony body and thinking to myself, "I hope that he will get better soon." The seriousness of my Uncle's condition finally sunk in when I found myself sitting in my Sunday best surrounded by grieving family members at his funeral service soon after that last visit. My Uncle's death felt surreal.

“My heart still clenches with pain when I think about Mr. Dave and all the unspoken hostility he endured at that moment that day.”

Likewise, the angry faces in the surrounding pews share an equally blurry and dreamlike quality in my mind's eye too. Still, I remember all that anger being directed at my Uncle Dennis' partner, Mr. Dave, when he got up to perform some non-Catholic song, ritual, ceremony, etc., in remembrance of my Uncle.

After Mr. Dave brokenly uttered the last sound to his chant, the silence filling the room was deafening. My heart still clenches with pain when I think about Mr. Dave and all the unspoken hostility he endured at that moment that day.

I also distinctly remember feeling relieved when my siblings, cousins, and I were instructed to "go play somewhere" once the service finally ended. All that sadness felt too overwhelming and hard to process at the time. So, I allowed myself to escape from what was happening around me mentally - which is a coping technique I continue to use today whenever life's troubles get to be too much to bear. 105 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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“It's like my Uncle vanished from the hearts and minds of everyone that used to know him.”

I think that everyone else must have done something similar to what I did to deal with my Uncle's loss. Because other than the handful of times my Dad has brought my Uncle Dennis' name up over the years, I have never heard his name mentioned by anyone else ever again, without initiation.

It would be easy to doubt my Uncle's existence entirely if it wasn't for the few happy but fragmented & disjointed memories that I've retained of our sporadic interactions during my childhood. Like when my Uncle used to let me brush his hair and decorate it with barrettes and bowties when he babysat my siblings and me. Or if it wasn't for the one underexposed & water-damaged photo of my Uncle that I stole from my parent's cardboard box of old pictures buried in the back of their closet when I got older.

It's like my Uncle vanished from the hearts and minds of everyone that used to know him. I KNOW that's probably not true, but it feels that way, and I can't help but wonder why?

Is the memory of my Uncle too painful to discuss? Or are the circumstances regarding my Uncle's death considered shameful? I don't know. It was a different time back then.

As in, the world wasn't as accepting of the LGBTQ + community or lifestyle as it is now, especially when HIV/AIDS became the number one cause of death among men between the ages 25-44 yrs. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1996) and was also considered a "gay plague" (Fitzsimons, 2018).

Whatever the reasons, I'm not here to judge. Life is ever-changing, and I'd like to think that people are too. Very few things in life are set in stone.

So, during National HIV Awareness Month, I'd like to do my part to try to win some hearts and minds by continuing to humanize the victims of this terrible virus by sharing my Uncle's name and story. In addition to that, I pray that it will remind people how far society has come regarding accepting and interacting with those infected with HIV.

I know that I barely remember my Uncle Dennis, but I also know that I loved him. That feeling has never subsided, even after all these years. Nor is my love conditional. I don't care that my Uncle was gay or that he died from AIDS. I'm just sad that he's gone, but I hope his memory will always live on in my words. ∎ LORI BUTIERRIES

Author, Navy Veteran & Mother of 2 with Special Needs
 www.awarenessties.us/lori-butierries Lori Butierries is a full-time caregiver to two children with special needs, one child being terminally ill and physically disabled. Lori uses her life experiences and the medical knowledge she gained while serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy to help others facing similar hardships. Lori focuses primarily on advocating for and educating others about the special needs, mental health, and veterans communities. Her long-term goal is to reduce the stigma associated with disability by talking about it with people of all ages, thus minimizing the fear and the mystery attributed to the unknown in this regard.

106 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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With our pack there is no need for water so huge benefits to the festival goer, the festival and the environment. TIM MOLONY

CO-FOUNDER OF FULL CIRCLE 108 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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‘GLOBAL GOOD’ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY TANITH HARDING

COMING FULL CIRCLE

A COMPANY CREATING ECO-FRIENDLY FESTIVAL SOLUTIONS Tim Molony is the Co-Founder of Full Circle, a company on a mission to make festivals cleaner and more sustainable by supplying eco-friendly survival and hygiene kits containing everything you need for a waterless festival camp. All of the products are sustainably sourced, natural, non animal tested and vegan friendly. With festivals firmly back on the cards post Covid-19, Tim takes time out of his busy day to talk to us about the importance of sustainability whilst having fun this summer.

Tanith: We love the Full Circle waterless festival kit! What inspired you to come up with the idea and bring it to life?

Tim: I used to attend a lot of festivals when I was younger and would never take my home toiletries. I’d always buy cheap single-use plastic throw away bits that I’d use and leave at the festival and I would more often than not forget something in the rush which is pretty annoying. So I had the idea to create a pack like ours but never got round to doing it. Fast forward 15 years and the whole eco/sustainability movement really gathered pace, there were those shocking pictures of the carnage left behind at Reading and Leeds festivals, so my wife and I started to do some research into festival hygiene packs and the only ones available were cheap single use plastic which festivals don’t want and are trying to discourage, so Full Circle was born!

The reason we went waterless is so our customers can wash from the comfort of their tent without the need to visit the showers which is something I always hated doing at festivals. Also the reality is with most festivals they are held in fields that most of the year house cows and sheep so all water is transported in and disposed of at huge financial and environmental cost to the festival and surrounding area. With our pack there is no need for water so huge benefits to the festival goer, the festival and the environment.

109 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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Tanith: Your kits are not only waterless but also sustainably sourced, natural, non animal tested and vegan friendly. How important was it to you to source products that fulfilled that criteria and why?

Tim: We wanted our kits to be as eco-friendly as possible whilst actually being able to do the job they were made for in the best possible way, which is keeping our customers clean and feeling fresh in whatever outdoor pursuit they are doing. We researched so many different products, and continue to do so to fit the bill, and ended up with what we have. As you state all our products are non-animal tested, made in the UK (apart from the bamboo toothbrush) to cut on emissions, either reusable, compostable, biodegradable or recyclable all with the aim of having a positive environmental impact on wherever the customer is using it.

We did a customer survey following our first season to truly see how customers were using the pack and if it was being used as we’d hoped, thus having the positive impact on the environment. I’m pleased to say that it was a resounding yes with:

• 100% of customers saying they felt it reduced their festival waste

• 88% of customers felt it reduced their water consumption

• 99% said they would buy again or recommend to a friend

• 97% rated the pack 5*

Tanith: We all love a great festival but it is heartbreaking to see the mess that gets left behind - what more should festivals be doing to promote sustainability and create cleaner campsites?

Tim: The reality is there’s always going to be waste at festivals, we will never rid that. It’s thousands of people consuming food and drink for several days in a field that’s normally home to cows and sheep. For me it’s about reducing needless waste and the type of waste by introducing mandatory green initiatives, working with eco-friendly companies that can help achieve that, then educating the festival goers on why these are in place and setting the agenda from the start so the festival goer knows what they can and can’t bring to the festival. If these green initiatives carry cost implications to implement, then pass that on to the festival goer and explain why. I believe the public are now fully aware and bought in to sustainability so that if the price of a ticket went up due to the cost of the various green initiatives the vast majority would pay it. It needs all festivals to collaborate so their ticket prices are in line as those not involved are cheaper so therefore more appealing! 110 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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Tanith: Not only have you created a brand that is going beyond sustainable you also donate profits from every kit to charity - tell us about your charity partner and what they are doing to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries

Tim: Charity: water (www.charitywater.org) is an amazingly forward-thinking organisation founded in 2006 by Scott Harrison an ex-night club promoter in New York, interesting guy, he’s written a book called ‘Thirst’ which I highly recommend reading. They have funded water projects in 29 countries serving water to over 12.7m people.

A big barrier to charity is transparency, actually how much of my donation ends up with the people that really need it and how much goes on the organisations running costs, expensive buildings in central London, CEO’s wages etc. With charity: water they totally got this and have split their organisation up in to two area’s; The running costs which they call ‘The Well’ which is funded by private wealthy donors and gift aid which allows 100% of public donations to go in to their field and help make a difference. They track and report every penny raised and show the projects that donors help fund with photos and GPS coordinates so you can see the positive impact you’re having.

The team are great, I’ve met them a few times, very personable, open to collaborations and very supportive of us so couldn’t ask for a better charity partner.

Tanith: The kits are undoubtedly flying out especially with festivals now happening again, but what is next for you and the team at Full Circle?

Tim: As with many businesses Covid has hit us hard, we’d only had one full season before it struck. Last year’s festival season didn’t happen and I think only a handful will happen this year so we lost a lot of momentum but we’ve made it through. The future is looking positive so for now we’re focussing on getting the core product established which is the hygiene pack for festivals and any outdoor pursuits then we’ll see what other opportunities arise. ∎

Want your own festival pack, get it here: 
 www.beyondbamboo.life/store/fullcircle TANITH HARDING

Director of International Development, The Legacy Project, RoundTable Global
 www.awarenessties.us/tanith-harding Tanith is leading change management through commitment to the RoundTable Global Three Global Goals of: Educational Reform, Environmental Rejuvenation & Empowerment for All. She delivers innovative and transformational leadership and development programmes in over 30 different countries and is also lead on the international development of philanthropic programmes and projects. This includes working with a growing team of extraordinary Global Change Ambassadors and putting together the Global Youth Awards which celebrate the amazing things our young people are doing to change the world.

111 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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Painting by: Melissa Graves Brown 112 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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‘THE WAY TO HAPPINESS’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY JACQUELINE WAY

WHAT TREES TEACH US

LESSONS IN HAPPINESS LEARNED

“Your life is not an individual existence. What you exhale, the trees are inhaling; what the trees exhale, you are inhaling.” - Sadhguru

Breathe in. Breathe out. Each breath we take is the gift of life we receive.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Each breath is our interconnectedness with our planet.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Each breath grounds us in the roots of who we truly are.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

We are connected with every breath we take to the planet and each other.

“Forests are the lifeline of our world. Without them, we lose extraordinary and essential functions for life on Earth.” - Meg Lowman, The Tree Foundation

When was the last time you just stopped and looked at a tree? I mean really looked at it. Their majestic beauty. The detailed colour and veins that run through every leaf. The texture and variety of every trunk. Like humans, no two trees are the same. Each bring unique gifts to our world that we cannot live without. Yet most days we walk past them never seeing them, never noticing the life-giving force they are for our planet. Never knowing the happiness and wellbeing they can bring to our lives.

What if the trees in your own back yard became part of your own daily happiness habit?

Let’s start with basic facts about trees and why we can’t live on this planet without them.

It starts with every breath we take…

Trees make oxygen we need to survive.

Trees use the carbon dioxide we breathe out keeping our air clean.

Tree roots support soil conservation so we aren’t swept away every time it rains.

Trees support water cycle regulation, so our planet doesn’t become a dessert.

Trees provide shade to cool the planet and us.

Trees are homes for countless species.

Trees support biodiversity.

I could stop right here and those facts alone should be enough to help you understand that basically we – human beings – can’t live without trees. We won’t need to fly to Mars – without trees, we will be living on it. 113 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Painting by: Melissa Graves Brown 114 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“Even if we could live in a world without trees, who would want to? This planet is unique from everything else we currently know in the universe because of this unexplainable thing called life, and without trees, almost all of it would just be screwed.” Thomas Crowther

We logically know we can’t live without trees on our planet, but the question is what can we learn from trees that teach us about human connection and happiness? Spoiler alert! You may never look at trees the same way again.

“Wherever there are trees, we are healthier and happier” - Qing Li

Trees Have an Internet Connection

Trees can 'talk' to each other, and they even share resources. They manage to do this through an incredible underground root system that sends messages to the entire forest. A special mycorrhizal type of fungi live on the roots of many trees. They help trees to absorb water and nutrients from the soil – but they also work on a much larger scale, like an underground internet to connect everything. Sound familiar? Essentially, the fungi help the trees to create a huge, intricately connected platform to both communicate and share resources to survive. It means that older, larger trees (known as ‘mother trees’) can be connected to hundreds of younger trees around them. They can send nutrients, water and even whatever carbon they don’t use through the network to smaller seedlings – which can boost seedling survival by as much as 4 times. It’s Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and ClubHouse all wrapped together with one big difference - all for the good of the world.

The Happy Chemical

Trees release chemicals called phytoncides. Research has shown that when we breathe them in, it can have amazing effects, reducing blood pressure, lowering anxiety levels and increasing pain threshold and increasing our happiness – and they can even boost our levels of anti-cancer proteins! We can all reap these benefits by bringing trees into our daily lives.

Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing is one way to create a daily tree happiness habit. Japanese medical doctor and researcher Qing Li promotes research on the therapeutic effects of forests on human health and educates people on the practice of forest bathing. Li began researching the benefits of forests on human health and well-being after suffering from anxiety himself. After years of careful study, Li has found that spending time in a forest can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and anger; strengthen the immune system; improve cardiovascular and metabolic health; and boost overall wellbeing. It involves slowly walking through a forest and taking in the atmosphere through all your senses. Being in the present moment and becoming consciously aware of the gift trees are to the world. It’s that easy!

The Spiritual Side of Trees

There is a whole lot of folklore, myth and religion surrounding trees. Ancient pagan cultures believed that “kindly spirits” lived in trees. They are considered sacred in the major religions of the East and West, but also in other traditions where belief in the sacred is combined with beliefs in the power of ancestors. These beliefs include the creation of life in birth, about death and the after world, and about health and illness. Science is just now catching up with this ancient wisdom that has been part of our history for centuries. Knocking on tree trunks was thought to awaken the spirit for protection – and this led to the saying ‘knock on wood’, which we still use today! No matter what your beliefs, or religion you practice, I think we can all agree that tress give to us so much more than we give to them. 115 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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Painting by: Melissa Graves Brown 116 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


We Could Learn from Trees

What if we reflect on what trees teach us? A deep root connection, knowing that our differences bring what is needed for survival, sharing food, resources, positivity, and elevating happiness for all. What if human beings treated each other in this way? Always looking out for those who need a little extra to help to thrive. It’s actually very simple. We just need to talk to each other, accept each other for our individuality, share the “forest” – our planet – and treat it as the precious resource it is for us all. We could live in a more peaceful, happy world. So, the next time you pass a tree. Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out. Say thank you. It’s giving you life, love and happiness with each breath. Take these lessons and apply them in your life. The seeds you plant will grow happiness in everyone you touch. ∎

MELISSA GRAVES BROWN

Artist

www.melissagravesbrown.com “This body of work I have created on landscapes is with a focus on imagination and attention to nature. I paint mostly from the mind's eye, however, I am inspired by Idaho's great landscape and my home. I have been painting with a freshness that is emotionally and intuitively driven. I hope to capture the interest of the viewer with nuances and subtle layering of paint. Colour remains my subject only pushed into the shape of the landscape. Eventually, the painting takes on a life of its own.”

JACQUELINE WAY

Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Philanthropist & Founder of 365give
 www.awarenessties.us/jacqueline-way Jacqueline Way is a dedicated world changer. Her soul purpose is to inspire and educate the hearts and minds of people globally to create a happy, meaningful life. She expresses her purpose through her charitable organization 365give created and inspired by her son with a simple vision to “Change the World 1 give, 1 day at time.” She is a world-renowned keynote speaker with one of the most watch TEDx Talks “How to Be Happy Every Day – It Will Change the World” Every day she is committed to living the highest expression of who she is as a human being through her work and by touching the lives of others.

Painting by: Melissa Graves Brown 117 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the world's attention where issues of gender-based violence have been less prioritized, while they are equally important. PETRIDER PAUL

UNICEF CHANGEMAKER & ARTEM NEXGEN AMBASSADOR 118 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY ALEXANDER TAYLOR

CHANGEMAKING FOR CHILDREN

A CONVERSATION WITH PETRIDER PAUL

Named on list of ‘100 Most Influential Young Africans Leadership in 2019’, Petrider Paul serves the youth of Africa in the beautiful land of Tanzania. Petrider is passionate about building a generation of young leaders who are action oriented towards developing our communities, inspired by the current generation of change makers, and moved by the passion and commitment of pace setters from Tanzania to the world.

Alex: Tell us about yourself and your work.

Petrider: My name is Petrider Paul. I am an Artem NextGen (ANG) Ambassador passionate about youth, gender and health issues and former African Union Youth Advisory Council member appointed by His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat Chairperson of the African Union Commission. I also received an honor to be a 2018 Commonwealth Point of Light Award recipient from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for my voluntary work to campaign to end child marriage and gender-based violence in the Commonwealth. I serve as a UNICEF Changemaker for children in Tanzania. I hold a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from the University of Dodoma and a Post-Graduate in Economic Diplomacy from the Center for Foreign Relations in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Alex: What is AU and how are you empowering youth with it?

Petrider: The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999). The African Union (AU) was established in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, following a decision in September 1999 by its predecessor, to create a new continental organisation to build on its work. The initiative to relaunch the pan-African organisation to refocus attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid. This had been the original focus of the OAU, towards increased cooperation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development. The AU is guided by its vision of “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

The African Union Commission works to promote the youth agenda as a key priority of the AUC , through the Youth Division which is responsible for Africa's Youth Agenda at the African Union Commission (AUC). The Division is in charge of addressing issues concerning:

• Youth policy development: the African Youth Charter

• Legal frameworks for Youth development

• Programmatic framework: African Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (2019-2023)

• Youth capacity building and enhancing employability skills through the African Union Youth Volunteers Corps

• Partnership building and resource mobilization

• Promoting Youth participation through activities such as organizing Youth Forums & Celebrating the African Youth Day

119 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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Alex: What is a day in the life of a pandemic?

Petrider: My day life in a pandemic has been to the use of virtual spaces and platforms to my work and foster collaboration and partnerships since COVID-19 outbreak majority of young people, girls and women have been highly hit, there is less grassroots advocacy and majority of them do not have access to online platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the world's attention where issues of gender-based violence have been less prioritized, while they are equally important.

Alex: How do you facilitate collaboration among youth?

Petrider: I facilitate collaboration among young people through in-person and virtual engagements forming partnerships and movement of youth initiatives by fostering collaboration towards achieving a common agenda working from grassroots level. I have delivered workshops to over 1000 young people directly since 2014 to date from Tanzania and across the world. ∎

Learn more about Petrider and her work: 
 www.petriderpaul.com ALEXANDER TAYLOR

Founder & President of Artem NexGen
 www.awarenessties.us/alexander-taylor Alexander Taylor is the Founder of Artem NextGen, a 2019 Global Citizen Year Senegal Graduate, and a 2019 1M2030 spotlight speaker at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva. After spending 7 months overseas in Senegal after High School, he developed Artem NextGen, an strategic advisory group for social entrepreneurs, to empower the rising generation of youth to address UN Sustainable Development Goals. ​He has been featured and quoted on a UN website in honor of his efforts. His story is about to be delved into by a New York Times bestselling author and he has several international summit invitations on his itinerary. Outside of his efforts, Alex enjoys running outdoors during his own time as a rising junior at Morehouse College. He is an avid writer and chess player.

120 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com



Treating others as we want to be treated is also a foundational tenet of ‘heartivism’… AJAY DAHIYA

CHIEF VISION OFFICER OF THE POLLINATION PROJECT

122 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘POLLINATING WITH PURPOSE’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY AJAY DAHIYA

HEART LIKE A MIRROR

PRACTICING THE GOLDEN RULE

“The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form.”- Shinto proverb

Most of the world’s great faith traditions teach the centrality of loving your neighbor as yourself. Iterations of the “Golden Rule” have been spoken in temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, and even kindergarten classrooms, such is the universality of this profoundly simple truth.

Treating others as we want to be treated is also a foundational tenet of ‘heartivism’, which is the intersection of activism and heart underlying the philosophy of The Pollination Project. Yet for activists in particular, how and why should we extend grace and understanding to those we perceive are working against us? If injustice has broken our hearts and called us to act, what duty do we have to those who allow that injustice to perpetuate?

The answers to that question are many, but here is one I offer: The impact your activism has on your own life, wellbeing, and sense of interconnection is a meaningful outcome.

Activism is about positive action. But if acting on your deepest held convictions consumes you with anger, disconnects you from anyone who does not share your beliefs, or seals you in an ideological echo chamber, is the world made better by your walk in it? How long can you hold the vitriol inside before it becomes corrosive? Remembering that we cannot offer that which we do not have, how can we work for peace while full of hate?

Wishing ease, peace, and wellbeing for “others” — practicing the “Golden Rule” — is not antithetical to your values; if you are to be someone who devotes your life to compassion consciousness, it is the only way you can sustain these values and your own beautiful spirit for the long journey ahead. ∎

AJAY DAHIYA

Chief Vision Officer of The Pollination Project

thepollinationproject.org Ajay was born in the outskirts of London to a working-class immigrant family. Growing up in a diverse and disparate environment his childhood was immersed in a variety of cultures. From early on in his life, Ajay felt a great spiritual calling. While in pursuit of this deep calling Ajay became ordained as a monastic in his late teens.

As a monk for close to a decade, Ajay had the honor of serving diverse communities across the globe. After transitioning out of monastic life would go on to hold executive leadership positions in a variety of missiondriven organizations

123 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


Yes is always a choice.

It’s always an option. JACK MCGUIRE

FOUNDER OF AWARENESS TIES 124 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY PAUL ROGERS

UNPLUGGED

MIC DROPPED WITH JACK MCGUIRE Created and hosted by Awareness Ties Official Ambassador and Columnist, Paul S. Rogers, AwareNow Unplugged reverse engineers the ‘typical interview’ with a game of random questions selected by chance to guide the conversation. With Unplugged, we tap into truths about ourselves through unexpected questions and unscripted answers. Our first episode is with one of the Founders of Awareness Ties, the one and only Jack (of all trades) McGuire.

Truly, a ‘jack of all trades’, Jack McGuire, has done it all but feels called to do more. From serving in the Navy to acting in Spanish soap operas, to modeling by day and bartending by night then building brands later on in his career with his own agency, J & A Productions, doing work in Hollywood with the film industry, he’s done a lot.

However, at the age of 5, he had a dream to change the world. It was this dream that he has dedicated his life to making a reality. Now, with his wife Allié, he is doing just that. With Awareness Ties, Jack and Allié, along with their ambassadors and columnists are raising awareness for causes one story at a time.

Personally and professionally dedicated to creating positive social change, jack believes all things are possible and isn’t willing to wait for needed change to come. His is a statement that he hopes others will adopt as their own: “We will no longer ask for permission to change the world.”

FEATURED GUEST: JACK MCGUIRE

W/CREATOR & HOST PAUL S. ROGERS

125 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


AwareNow Official Selections

are a collection of FILMS, MUSIC, BOOKS and ART

that raise awareness for causes with authenticity and integrity.

Nominated by the public

and selected by the AwareNow Selection Committee,

this content is recognized for excellence

in both its positive social impact and production value.

Recognized as 'cause conscious',

all selections are also officially rated 'O'

for original & organic content to raise awareness.

Visit www.awarenowawards.com to submit a nomination and view official selections.


SOUL MATE A song that embodies the sanctity of human connection and the sacred bond that is untouchable even by death,

Soul Mate, by Flora Cash, is a song that is felt, not merely heard.

The official video presents another layer and level of our humanity

in an unforgettable story that illustrates love at its best and hate at its worst.

Despite lived tragedies, there remains hope in our realities sustained by love.

Allié McGuire

Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

127 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


SEXABILITY Can art inspire the redefinition of ‘sexy’ to include disability? Absolutely.

With ‘Sexibility’ and so many other pieces by Kam Redlawsk, definitions of beauty and desire are being refined.

Bravely and boldly, Kam’s work speaks to the many issues that come with being disabled,

while sharing the intrinsic beauty of the individual despite the disability.

Allié McGuire

Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

128 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


FEAR OF RAIN Film is a powerful medium not only to entertain but to educate and empower. In ‘Fear of Rain’, director Castille Landon does all three through the specific mental health lens of schizophrenia. In this film, a girl living with schizophrenia struggles with terrifying hallucinations as she begins to suspect her neighbor has kidnapped a child. The only person who believes her is Caleb - a boy she isn't even sure exists.

To be trapped in your mind unsure of what’s real and what’s not is a nightmares for some.

For others, it’s a reality that this film brilliantly portrays.

Allié McGuire

Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

129 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


JUGEND It’s interesting how lessons in fiction can produce empathy in reality.

Through two paralleled stories told in the multi-cultural fiction novel, Jugend,

author Aalia Lanius seeks to shatter stereotypes.

Blinders off with a novel that challenges stereotypes and champions unity.

Allié McGuire

Co-Founder of Awareness Ties

130 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


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THROUGH THESE STORIES WE SHARED

I AM AWARE NOW.

www.IamAwareNow.com

R E A D , L I S T E N & WAT C H

T h e M a g a z i n e , T h e P o d c a s t & T h e Ta l k S h o w