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AWARENOW

ISSUE 10

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 CONTENT WITH A CONSCIENCE KENT SPEAKMAN

(ON THE COVER)

PRODUCING WITH PURPOSE IN HOLLYWOOD & BEYOND

AN AURA OF THANKS LAURA WESTCOTT

NO MOUNTAIN TO HIGH ENDA O’DOHERTY

THIS MISSION HAS HEART MICHAEL HYACINTHE & TYLER WAY

SUSTAINABLE SOVEREIGNTY CORNEIL MONTGOMERY

DELILAH’S DIAGNOSIS CECEILIA BAKER

BEATING THE DRUMS FOR AFRICA ACCF

JUST KEEP MOVING KYLE KRANICH

CREATOR’S CALLING

OGIMAA, CHIEF & KNOWLEDGE KEEPER

THE THANKS EDITION

FINDING GRATITUDE IN GIVING


A WORLD OF CONTENT

FOR THE CAUSES YOU CARE ABOUT

SUBSCRIBE TO KNEKT.TV WITH CODE ‘AWARENESS’

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THE THANKS EDITION AwareNow™ Magazine is a monthly publication produced by Awareness Ties™ featuring exclusive interviews and personal stories to raise awareness for causes. In partnership with Issuu™, AwareNow serves a global audience of over 16 million monthly readers with access to interactive content featuring embedded videos and clickable content. Each issue inspires and informs while raising awareness one story at a time.

O6 TYPE 1 AND TENACIOUS

40 DELILAH’S DIAGNOSIS

72 A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

12 CONTENT WITH A CONSCIENCE

48 BEATING THE DRUMS FOR AFRICA

76 NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH

18 THE AMERICAN DREAM

52 GRATITUDE IN MUSIC

84 JUST KEEP MOVING

22 AN AURA OF THANKS

56 CREATOR’S CALLING

88 FRIENDSGIVING

26 SUSTAINABLE SOVEREIGNTY

60 ALL SHOOK UP?

32 THE FATIGUE IS REAL

64 DEAR DR. JENNY

36 THIS MISSION HAS HEART

68 GLOBAL GOOD

CECEILIA BAKER

MADISON STECHSCHULTE KENT SPEAKMAN

ACCF

NED STRANGER

LORRAINE D'ALESSIO

OGIMAA, CHIEF & KNOWLEDGE KEEPER

LAURA WESTCOTT

CORNEIL MONTGOMERY

JOEL CARTNER

ENDA O'DOHERTY KYLE KRANICH

PROVIDENCE BOWMAN

NICK BOTTINI

DR. JENNY MARTIN

DR. ROBERT PACE

MICHAEL HYACINTHE & TYLER WAY

JAMES HASTINGS/TANITH HARDING

I AM AWARE NOW.

www.IamAwareNow.com

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TO OUR GROWING AWARENESS TIES FAMILY WE SINCERELY THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT. - JACK & ALLIÉ


We all know gratitude is the simplest, most powerful way to acknowledge another person's value. It’s something we all learned as a small child: to say ‘thank you’. What many people might not realize is that these two simple words have an enormous impact on our everyday life, our ability to chart a course of success and most importantly to be happy. Not to mention, there are signi cant health bene ts from embracing gratitude. To each of you who works with us to raise awareness for causes and to every single one of you who supports our work be reading this magazine, thank you. On behalf of Allié and myself, with all sincerity and deep gratitude, thank you be being a part of the change we are working to make in this world.

ALLIÉ McGUIRE Editor In Chief & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties allie@awarenessties.us 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™. JACK McGUIRE Production Manager & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties jack@awarenessties.us 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.

www.IamAwareNow.com @AWARENESSTIES @AWARENESSTIES @AWARENESSTIES

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I have Type 1 Diabetes. MADISON STECHSCHULTE

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TYPE 1 AND TENACIOUS A TESTIMONIAL OF LIVING WITH DIABETES

“Every wonder what a day in the life of a person living with Diabetes looks like? We did. We asked Madison Stechschulte, who cares for our youngest son while we work, if she would share her story… and share she did.” - Jack M. Jack: What type of Diabetes do you have, when were you rst diagnosed and what is a ‘day-in-the-life’ of managing Diabetes look like for you Madison: I have Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder at the age of six. A typical day in the life of managing diabetes for me consists of at least 3/4 nger pricks a day to check my blood sugars and make sure they are stable and not too low or high. I check my blood sugar in the morning when I wake, before breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed, or when i’m feeling ill. If my blood sugar is too high, or I am about to consume carbohydrates from eating, I have to take an insulin injection. I love to eat, so I often sneak away to a private spot away from others, to do all of this. Having diabetes doesn’t consist of a set dosage every day like most illnesses. Basic algebra is incorporated to help diabetics determine how much insulin is needed, based on the level of glucose monitored in our blood, and the amount of carbohydrates we plan to consume. It is different for every diabetic, nobody has the same exact regimen. Once it is time for bed, it’s crucial to remember to take our long acting insulin so our blood sugar levels don’t increase while we are dormant/inactive. This prevents us from going into a diabetic coma or becoming sick with ketones, and being admitted at the nearest hospital.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MADISON STECHSCHULTE


Madison: The biggest challenge I have faced growing up with Type 1 Diabetes has been the constant anxiety from being “the odd one out”. I never liked how kids would react to my illness, or how teachers and coaches treated me “special”. I just wanted to t in and be looked at the same way the other kids were. As a child with Diabetes, I quickly realized how nervous my friends’ parents were to have me stay over at their house. I was looked at with caution, like I would die if I chose to have some ice cream as a bed time snack. I was always provided with “healthy alternatives” or water to drink, instead of pop. I was always so insecure, to the point where I stopped carrying my medication around with me in middle school, when I was out to eat. Or I would discreetly sneak away to the nearest bathroom (not very sanitary). I didn’t like the judgmental looks, or whispering. In high school, it became worse. Kids thought it was funny to say I was “shooting up”, in terms of abusing hard substances. Or they would joke and say it was because I ate too much sugar as a kid. Then the comments about how tiny I was, that the only reason I was so small was because I “didn’t take care of my health”. I always brushed it off, but it always made me feel ashamed to be different. I didn’t ask for Diabetes

“…I believe in spreading awareness. I adore how much con dence it brings to those who are still afraid of accepting their own diseases or illnesses.” Jack: How have you risen above this challenge Madison: As an adult, I can proudly say I have nally risen above this challenge. I wouldn’t say, I am 100% where I want to be in terms of accepting that I have this illness. But I strive to not let it affect me the way it has in the past. I have developed an “I don’t care what others think” mentality. I have a tattoo to show off that I am a Diabetic. I no longer keep it a secret; I openly discuss it with others. Having Diabetes hasn’t always been viewed to me as a negative aspect of my life. I believe it has helped shape me into the person I am today. It has encouraged me to branch out and care about others and their health, the way I have been cared for. I aspire to work in a pediatric endocrinology clinic, to set an example for the other confused and scared kids being diagnosed with Diabetes. I have had a handful of friends I grew up with get diagnosed. That has helped me feel more normal and accepted. We can discuss our struggles together and exchange helpful advice. It’s important to have a support system. That’s why I believe in spreading awareness. I adore how much con dence it brings to those who are still afraid of accepting their own diseases or illnesses. It encourages those that are “special” or “different” to open up and share their stories.

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Jack: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face with Diabetes


One day you’re perfectly healthy… then you’re in the hospital for a week MADISON STECHSCHULTE

DIABETES AWARENESS ADVOCATE AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

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I can proudly say that I have nally risen above this challenge. MADISON STECHSCHULTE

DIABETES AWARENESS ADVOCATE

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Jack: For those of us who don’t live with Diabetes, what is one thing that you would like for us to know Madison: If you do not live with Diabetes or know much about in general, I want you to know that it is a LOT to process. The ways it can impact your life, your personality, your physical and mental health, and especially your long term health, is frightening to think about. One day you’re perfectly healthy, then a friend with a small stomach bug gets you sick, and you’re in the hospital for a week. Simple colds or bugs can affect us in a more severe way, than those without an autoimmune disorder. On top of that, Diabetes is commonly associated or “partnered with” another autoimmune disorder. So if you have Type 1 Diabetes, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re most likely going to be diagnosed with another disease. The best part is, you have no idea when this will happen or what you will be diagnosed with. Scary right? Having Type 1 Diabetes can cause mood swings, random bursts of anxiety or anger, depression, and more. So next time someone you know that was diagnosed with Diabetes is acting out of character (and is sober), politely ask if they feel alright or suggest maybe they should check their sugar to be safe. It’s all about keeping your blood sugar levels stable, in hopes that you can live a healthy and happy life

Jack: While Diabetes is part of who you are, it certainly doesn’t de ne you. Please do ll in the blank with a word or phrase that best de nes you. “Madison is ________. Madison: While Diabetes is a part of who I am, it certainly doesn’t de ne me. “Madison is Tenacious”.

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“Madison is tenacious.”


I was fortunate to nd my calling. KENT SPEAKMAN

FOUNDER OF KNEKT TV www.IamAwareNow.com fi

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CONTENT WITH A CONSCIENCE PRODUCING WITH PURPOSE IN HOLLYWOOD AND BEYOND

“Sometimes you meet a person who changes everything for you. For Awareness Ties, Kent Speakman is one such person. Appropriately on the cover of this edition about gratitude found in giving, Kent has gone above and beyond to support our mission and vision to raise awareness for causes. From important introductions to facilitating productions, Kent is one of the rst members of the Awareness Ties family. We couldn’t be more proud or thankful.” - Allié M.

“Awareness sparks the seed of curiosity, which leads to learning and understanding, which I believe can change the world.” Jack: Hollywood isn’t generally known for ‘content with a conscience’. Yet that is where you are and that is what your focus is. Why? Why is content that supports a cause so important to you Kent:

We are here on this earth that supports creation, life and growth but, there is a lot of pain on this planet.

Corporations and corrupt leadership, lack of food and resources for our fellow human beings, animals that are getting wiped off the planet and going extinct. There are enough resources to feed and provide clean water for every living thing, medical attention for diseases and mental health, and a lot of our planet grows up learning that there is not a better way. Poachers kill to provide for their families, racial and socio-economic divides and the systems in a lot of our communities continues to perpetuate these problems, and the evil involved with human and sex traf cking is happening right under our noses. I was fortunate to nd my calling, as some of our friends in this issue have also. I am here doing my part with leveraging media technology and content to foster conversations, share understandings from the protectors of the planet, and make change and a lasting positive impact aligned with the spirit of the planet earth itself. Awareness sparks the seed of curiosity, which leads to learning and understanding, which I believe can change the world. That's why I choose conscience content.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KENT SPEAKMAN


KNEKT is all about and what it offers to subscribers. Kent: KNEKT.tv is a socially conscious digital tv network on Apple, Roku, iOS, Android and Web platforms. We have dozens of original programs spanning mindfulness, health and wellness, spirituality and of course many amazing causes! There are over 12,000 videos on the web platform along with hundreds of live and video on demand shows, series, shorts, docs and more! For the past 3 years we have been the of cial tv streaming app for the Daytime and Creative Arts Emmys, have streamed hundreds of star studded live charity galas for every cause under the sun, and have some really cool teachings from Shaman Durek to Jay Shetty.

Jack:

You work with both the well known Hollywood elite and the unknown nonpro ts. You are both behind the

camera and in front of it. What is your favorite part of the work that you do Kent:

It's in the instance that you know that you have captured a moment that transcends the talent, camera,

equipment and audience and gives you goosebumps - or ‘truth-bumps’, that an energy bigger than the sum of the parts has happened. It’s something hard to explain, but it's in the knowing that a message in the content stopped someone from ending their life, sparked a donation and made a difference for a child with cancer getting their last wish, a rhino will not be killed, or a 7 year old boy or girl will be pulled out of a wooden crate and is saved from sex traf ckers.

Subscribe to KNEKT.T www.knekt.tv/subscribe

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Allié: We know and love KNEKT. However, there are those who have not yet had the pleasure. Please share what


It's in the instance that you know that you have captured a moment that transcends the talent, camera, equipment and audience and gives you goosebumps - or ‘truth-bumps’. KENT SPEAKMAN

FOUNDER OF KNEKT TV

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www.IamAwareNow.com


Allié: Love to hear your story - a summary of where you began, to where you are now, and where you are headed. Kent: That would take a book (coming soon) to be able to fully articulate, but I'll take a quick stab at it! I grew up in Alberta, Canada where I was in the hospitality industry. From chef to nightclub owner, I ran some of the largest venues and music events. While I was giving people amazing memories and experiences, I felt I could use my skills in a different way. From there, I moved to an agency where I grew to a role of creating global digital strategies for companies spanning publicly traded entertainment to media and entertainment. I won some awards and things and was on a good track. Then the economy tanked in 08/09 and the publicly traded agency let the executive team go. So, I started ENGAGEIA which became an award winning social and digital agency back before most companies had got into social media much less were doing it. I phased out of this and into more content creation and moved to LA, produced some fun things like "Here for You" by Kygo, and some live events streaming Lil Wayne, ASAP Rocky, Maxim Superbowl and other more commercial things. But my rst live show was to bring awareness to Human Traf cking, I was working on a TV series and decided to throw a party at the So tel Beverly Hills, invited everyone I knew and took the social media strategies I'd learned to drive a huge audience to watch this event on a website. This was years before Facebook & Youtube Live existed. This was the start of what would be KNEKT, but I didn't know it yet. I was a partner in another TV startup and we had different views on the "why". So I sold my shares back and started KNEKT, without any investors or partners that were pro t over purpose driven. It's been a long journey, and there were times at the beginning when I had exhausted all my savings when we'd be going to do a little nonpro t show out of town and I didn’t have money for food or the Uber to get from the airport, but eventually things clicked. Fortunately, I haven't had to worry about those things for a while. So I guess that takes us to now. Things are going very well for the business. We are getting to help hundreds of clients, partners and organizations to create and reach massive and record breaking audiences with content that matters, and at a higher production value than anyone can touch at the price, in my opinion. We get to work on great projects, turn down work that isn't aligned with our moral compass, and have a great team of people who are all amazing! As for where we are headed, you’ll have to stay tuned in... One great lesson I learned was don't talk about what you are doing next, until it is already done. Jack: We’d like to thank you, Kent. For the introduction to people we needed to meet but didn’t know it, for serving as an ‘Of cial Advisor’ for Awareness Ties - offering a path to walk and then to show it, for stepping up and stepping in as our ‘Of cial Production Partner’ giving global access to monthly broadcasts addressing relevant social issues... we thank you. Our sincere thanks now expressed and confessed, we’d like to pass the mic. Who is it that you would like to thank for the opportunities you’ve had and shared with others? Kent: Thank you both so much. This is truly an honor, and it's a blessing to be working with other aligned people. Hopefully I won't miss anyone but here we go: My son, Kole, for whom I want the best world possible. Mom & Dad, Jordan and Kelsey, John Durham, Ferlyn Chmelyk, Rob Danard, Bill Bakho, Papa Joe Aviance, Sophie and Adi Jaffe, Kevin Vanegas, David Michaels and David Parks with the DT Emmys, Alex Kushnier & Jay Shetty, James Red eld, Chris Whalley, Jill Konrath, Keith Ferazzi, Patrick Ellison, Jesse Markley, Elizabeth Recheis, Paul Vickers, Dave Urner, Raoul Bhatt, Dan Svedberg, Todd Herman, Marc Belhumor, Jesse Acton, George Caceres and the biggest growth in spiritual understanding of how this all is one and together, Ogimaa (Acha-Kooh-waay), Jim, Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper from Foothills Ojibway on Turtle Island, Shaman Durek and Sheikh Abdul Aziz, better known as the ‘Green Sheikh’. I have a recommended book list for those on this list who are authors: https:// beawarebehere.com/kentsbooks.

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“…I felt I could use my skills in a different way.”


As for where we are headed, you’ll have to stay tuned in... KENT SPEAKMAN

FOUNDER OF KNEKT TV Credit: RDB Shoes

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The more recipes we add to the kitchen, the greater the meal will be for those at the table. LORRAINE D'ALESSIO

FOUNDER OF D’ALESSIO LAW GROUP

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‘CROSSING’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY LORRAINE D'ALESSIO

THE AMERICAN DREAM IS A COLLABORATION

IMMIGRANTS HELP US AT EVERY CORNER OF AMERICAN LIFE

“American exceptionalism is de ned by the lengths at which hard work pays off, and trusting that success will come if you put your head down and put in the time.” To be an American citizen is to interact with the unique and vital contributions of those who have come to this country in pursuit of a better life. Whether it be a local business you depend on, a tech-giant that hosts your creative projects or business endeavors, a neighbor that has introduced you to their culture, or a family member whose journey has inspired your own life and career goals, every day you engage with the spirit and contributions that immigrants bring to this country. Their work and perspectives add a crucial life force to the United States, and helps us better understand what fuels the American dream, while reinforcing our national identity As a Canadian immigrant and U.S. citizen, my perspective on the American identity is informed by my own experiences on the other side of the border. For citizens of countries around the world, America represents freedom and opportunity, an unyielding spirit, and a drive that is as focused as it is inspirational to those who take it on themselves. American exceptionalism is de ned by the lengths at which hard work pays off, and trusting that success will come if you put your head down and put in the time. It is bolstered by collaboration, fostered by creative solutions, and emboldened by revolutionary ideas that in turn inspire the next generation of creators and professionals. All in all, there is no limit to what one can achieve if they are willing to put in the work This idea dates back to the very founding of the country. A nation was born out of the efforts made by immigrants, energized to hold the reins of their own autonomy, wanting a better life and greater chance for opportunity. Even as Thanksgiving approaches, we must always remind ourselves that those who are willing to make the journey to the United States, those eager to go take on the challenging task of maneuvering the immigration system, re ect and channel the best of the American spirit. And that it is our responsibility to not only to encourage this journey, but also support those who are daring enough to take it on.

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“We should not only focus on preparing the feast, but also lengthening the table for more attendees who are eager to share the fruits of their labor.” It is through this fostering that American exceptionalism becomes a tangible theme. This country is the result of hundreds of years of collaboration. It’s not hard to think of where we would be without immigrants and their contributions to this country, or to within every industry that keeps us going: the United States simply would not exist. To borrow from a long-running metaphor I like to use during the holidays: the more recipes we add to the kitchen, the greater the meal will be for those at the table. We should not only focus on preparing the feast, but also lengthening the table for more attendees who are eager to share the fruits of their labor There’s no shortage of things to be thankful for this year, especially given the challenges and tragedies that have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we alter our holiday plans, and pursue strategies for limiting and containing this outbreak, we must also be thankful for those who are keeping us going throughout our country’s most trying time. At every corner of American life that is working hard to ensure our health and safety, from your local grocery store to your county hospital, from agricultural elds to your web services provider, there are immigrants who are giving their all so that you, your friends, family, and career can continue to ourish, even when we’ve hit the pause button on so many other aspects of our lives Let’s not lose sight of the big picture. The American dream is a collaborative one

LORRAINE D’ALESSI Founder of D’Alessio Law Group
 www.awarenessties.us/lorraine-dalessio Founding partner of D’Alessio Law Group, Lorraine was named the 2017 Leader in Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal and is the recipient of the 2018 Enterprising Women Award. A former Ford model turned legal powerhouse, Lorraine is a multi-award-winning, immigration expert who regularly contributes to the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, LA Business Journal, Playback and other leading outlets in the U.S.. Lorraine has provided counsel to hundreds of prominent and award-winning entertainment agencies, unions, private companies, academic institutions, tech startups, entrepreneurs and enterprises, and has worked on highly successful refugee and deportation cases with immigrant communities across Los Angeles.

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NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON


I knew that music was my calling. LAURA WESTCOTT

CAMPAIGNER, CONNECTOR & CLASSICALLY TRAINED SINGER CO-FOUNDER OF PHOENIX RISING, & FOUNDER OF MUSIC FOR MENTAL WEALTH

www.IamAwareNow.com

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LAURA WESTCOTT

AN AURA OF THANKS GRATITUDE FOR A LOVE AND LIFE OF MUSIC

“A classically trained singer with a passion for music and meaningful projects, Laura Westcott uses the value of her voice to support music for mental wealth. In a day and age where mental health problems have reached pandemic proportions, Laura Westcott, aka ‘Aura’, is using her talent to produce music meditation for relaxation and sleep - two commodities we all wish we had more of. Laura is the Co-Founder of Phoenix Rising and Founder of Music for Mental Wealth.” - Allié M. Allié: From creating music to writing about music, you have experienced this industry inside and out. What single experience are you MOST thankful for Laura: I write in a gratitude journal on a daily basis. So, I'm thankful for lots of things. To single out just one thing, it would have to be the moment where I left a very secure job that I was very proud to be working for. It was when I was working for The Times newspaper. I was working with them for seven or eight years. I knew that music was my calling, but I knew that I had this anxiety as a performer so I didn't know how I would personally create a career in the music industry. So what I wanted to do was help other people that were very talented get paid for their music. I had this idea of creating a company called Soundcheque, and I had the courage to start the company. My boss at The Times, her name's Jessica Carsen, she encouraged me to apply for volunteer redundancy which meant I was empowered to be able to have some financial backing to start my first company and that was a very selfless act from her because she loved working with me, but she helped me. I’ll always be thankful for that because I don't know where I'd be without her.

LAURA WESTCOTT AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ALLIÉ & JACK McGUIRE

WWW.AWARENESSTIES.US www.IamAwareNow.com

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MEET THE CREATORS DISCOVER THE MEANING BEHIND LAURA’S NEW SONG ‘TIME TO RISE’

Time to Rise is a call to action for the Phoenix Rising movement: www.PhoenixRising.global

“I didn’t realise I was just in the wrong job and out of alignment with my calling.” Jack: How did you get over your anxiety to perform Laura:

Coaching. A few years ago I discovered that coaching (which isn't counseling or therapy) is all based on

neuroscience. It’s more of a conversation and also mentoring. I received coaching from Stewart Lane and that was how I overcame my own anxiety. I realized that this is something that lots of people would bene t from and that not many people knew about it. When I had anxiety as a young performer, I trained as a classical singer, and for me the anxiety spiraled because in classical singing you have to be on time, in tune, in a certain key pitch, certain dynamic… not much room for your own personal creativity. I didn’t realize I was just in the wrong position - the wrong job. I had the anxiety not realizing why. So, the doctors put me on medication. There were antidepressants from the age of 17. From the age of 17 to 30, I was on them. Then I started having the coaching in my 30s. I feel that if we'd had more knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, having coaching instead of the medication would probably have been a better solution for me.

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“I was on my own recording in my bedroom and I felt free as no one was here to judge me.” Jack: So, your had your ‘a-ha’ moment when you realized that you need to be creative and not just follow a set rule like on stage Laura: Yeah. It's all been organic. I didn't plan any of this, but when my friends bought me a voice recorder for my 40th birthday this year, quite a signi cant one, and it was during lockdown, I was given this gift. It was a gift of empowerment. I was on my own recording in my bedroom and I felt free as no one was here to judge me. I could be whoever I wanted to be and when I sent it to Chris Marshall, who's the composer for Aura that I'm working with (I’d only met him one week before lockdown… it was a complete chance meeting) and I sent him my vocals, I was just messing around in my bedroom… and he didn't edit them. He just kept them in - even the mistakes were kept in. It sounds different, and you know I'm pushing a few boundaries. I would have a slap on the wrists from my choir teachers for some of the techniques I’m doing, but I'm having fun and that's the main thing… purposely putting accents in the wrong place, purposely come in on a swoop and that's always frowned upon… you know, I like to have fun with it. That’s how it came about and now we’ve started The Phoenix Rising Collective so we can collaborate with other amazing creatives to deliver powerful messages.

Find out more about Laura’s campaign work and hear her music: laura-westcott.com Listen to Aura’s relaxing music for sleep and mediation on Spotify: beawarebehere.com/auro-spotify "It has been wonderful seeing the Phoenix Rising movement grow and flourish. Listening to their beautiful call-toaction anthem 'Time To Rise' felt like an early Christmas gift. Their vision for elevating femininity within our society in both men and women will benefit all and I am cheering them on every step of the way." - Joanna Lumley “Beautifully somniferous.” - Stephen Fry

TIME TO RISE WATCH ‘TIME TO RISE’ A CALL TO ACTION FOR MORE FEMININITY IN THE WORLD

www.IamAwareNow.com

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I’m talking about fashion that looks good and at the same time is good for the planet. CORNEIL MONTGOMERY

FOUNDER OF SOVEREIGNTY.CO

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Model: Ricky Lampki Photographer: Samuel J Roberts

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CORNEIL MONTGOMERY

SUSTAINABLE SOVEREIGNTY PURSUIT OF SUSTAINABILITY IN STYLE

“Intrigued by the name, inspired by the vision. Allow me to introduce you to Corneil Montgomery. He’s the Founder and Chief Brand Architect for Sovereignty Co., a brand that believes there is a better way to do fashion” - Allié M. Allié: Style, particularly regarding fashion lines, doesn’t have a reputation for being particularly “sustainable.” Share with us what makes Sovereignty Co. a truly sustainable brand, both in its concept and its clothing Corneil:

First and foremost, sustainability is a core business value and represents the brand’s DNA. This is why

Sovereignty Co. exists. Sovereignty was birthed with the intention to help solve the global climate and fashion crisis shoulder to shoulder with other brands, leaders, in uencers and consumers. I’m talking about fashion that looks good and at the same time is good for the planet. You ask, what makes the brand sustainable? We just soft launched in October, so we are super new and excited about the opportunity to be a sustainable fashion leader. Our business model is all about collaboration, innovation, clean technology, and transparency to drive impact and get there together as an industry. I started this movement to collab with individuals and brands who care about the things that I am passionate about – like climate and fashion. I also knew I was skilled and had deep connections and was ready to live the dream. Plus, I knew I had a fresh perspective and a dope idea based on the feedback I continued to receive from others. I also knew there was little representation of blacks leading sustainability and fashion companies; yet is a race that experiences more environmental disadvantages than others. I wanted to change that. One garment, one collaboration, and one consumer at a time. What better time than now to add color, a new avor, inspiration, and speed to the existing sustainable fashion movement? That was a question I asked myself.

“Ultimately, we want to add value to the industry and help accelerate our collective path to a sustainable fashion future…” Founding this brand was my response. At the core, we plan to collab with black fashion designers and well-known fashion brands that share our values [social and environmental] to upcycle and bring deadstock garments back to life [eliminating textile waste] and create new high quality ready to wear apparel from recycled and sustainable textile fibers and materials – essentially striving to accomplish sustainability from start to finish. For instance, our packaging is biodegradable, compostable, and plant based. We are committed to getting it right from the beginning. A percentage of profit from certain items and future collections will support environment and climate focused nonprofit organizations. We are a sustainable company who cares and gives back. Our soft launch collection, ‘Homecoming’ has a combination of upcycled T-shirts [saving gallons of water] and one made from recycled plastic water bottles. So hype! The Protect our Plant, also known as P.O.P T-shirt shows love and aligns with the United Nations #ActNOW Zero Waste Fashion campaign. I am super proud of that. Ultimately, we want to add value to the industry and help accelerate our collective path to a sustainable fashion future and maintain transparency on progress every step of the way.

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Allié: Corneil, you have the Sovereignty concept de ned in bold, beautiful terms. Love to hear what the collection will include as it evolves and offers more and more with less and less of a carbon footprint. Right now, you have 6 t-shirts to select from. (Personally, I want one of each.) Love to hear about what consumers can expect to welcome and wear Corneil: Yes, let’s get you all the shirts! Here is what you can expect. Expect minimalist, yet luxury. Expect everyday and essential wear. Expect a reimagination of dress for success for the current and next generation. Expect high quality and little to zero waste apparel that you could easily wear multiple occasions on a single day. By Spring 2021 we will release our rst capsule collection either as an independent brand [just Sovereignty.Co] and of course with a dope designer and/or a designer AND brand collab. Regardless of the route for our of cial launch we aim to produce timeless pieces that will last forever - trousers, shorts, shirts, jackets, and accessories that are rooted in black and other diverse cultures and eras. I am eyeing a couple of brands now to say, hey, let us dive into a cool and innovative upcycling collaboration. Any deadstock and surplus material? You want to make progress on your environment and sustainability goals? Diversify your customer base by connecting with a younger and more diverse market with redesign garments and collections that are modern, simple, and culturally relevant? Let’s make it a thing – a win-win for everyone [especially our environment]. Oh, and by the way, let’s tell the story. One about the green jobs we created, the tons of clothes we saved from land lls, and celebrate the garments we brought back to life and black excellence as an example. As an industry, we know this approach is sure to use fewer raw materials, reduces the harmful impacts of the fashion production, less water usage, fewer carbon emissions, and avoids contributing to land lls. It’s a no brainer. We will track and infuse this data into our campaigns. On top of that our customers will be able to track their personal carbon footprint per purchase, recycle and resale their used purchased items directly with us, and know how to properly care for their clothes. So, that gives you an idea of what is in the works and how we plan to show up as a strong sustainable fashion brand. We are inspired by brands like Patagonia, Uniqlo, Fear of God, Off-White, Urban Renewal, and Kith and I personally look forward to working with them one day. We are the fashion outlet and home to the next generation of creatives, entrepreneurs, travelers, changemakers, and conscious consumers. They are demanding that we get it right. I’m committed and on re to do so. Join the movement. Connect with us on social media. Visit our website to shop and get on our mailing list so you are the rst to know about our big Spring 2021 drop. Shameless plug.

Learn more about Sovereignty.C www.sov-er-eign-ty.com

Model: Corneil Montgomer Photographer: Nikita Suldin

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“My soul was looking for its home. I was looking for me. I nally found those things and more.” Allié: I love this statement you make in defining sov-er-eign-ty, "We are obsessively passionate about the importance of sustainability and multiculturalism." Your commitment to your cause is compelling. For those who don't know, can you share the story of where you began to where you've arrived as the Founder and Brand Architect for Sustainability, Co. Corneil: Prior to founding the company, I was a corporate social responsibility [CSR] and sustainability executive and spent nearly a decade championing environmental and social change. Therefore, I legit was aware of the obvious ESG [environmental, social, and government] challenges the world continues to wrestle with and all the players and potential opportunities to drive change. Particularly in the fashion industry, textile waste, carbon emissions, and water preservation are major issues. We will be here all day if I started discussing the labor issues – like unfair wages and poor working conditions to name a few. At the same time, the pandemic intensified my search to discover my piece of the pie – the depth of my purpose. My soul was looking for its home. I was looking for me. I finally found those things and more. Then there was the #BLM movement and an increasing urgency to combat climate change at the forefront. It all began to feel like the perfect storm to get me closer to my dreams. My baby finally arrived. Sovereignty Co., a collective sustainable fashion movement. I read an article from EcoWatch weeks later, sharing that a truckload of clothes is wasted per second, and knew then that my path chose me, my next big thing. Fashion? Yes, fashion. Since I was a young boy growing up in the South, I was always fascinated with clothes and was known for dressing for success or the best dressed at any occasion. My mother would dress my brothers and I in the best from head to toe. That stuck with me for years. Even up to this point. During my high school and college days, I worked at Champs Sports and Express Men fashion retail stores primarily because I wanted the discount. Nothing else. Back then, I did not put fashion and social impact together. Honestly, it was not a part of my world, so I had to find my way. After college I went on to work in education and eventually social impact. For the last 10 years, I have worked for major companies like Habitat for Humanity International, Toyota Motors North America, BNP Paribas and a host of others to drive their social responsibility, philanthropy, and sustainability agenda forward. Overtime, I began to define my personal brand and find my voice expressed mostly in the outfits I wore. The vibes were a bit radical, non-conforming, edgy, vintage, distressed, minimalist as I notice my closet starting to transform. Even through the identity changes, folks still always complimented me on my dress. One friend called me a fashion icon. Still then, the thought of my own brand never emerged. However, I start putting #dressforsuccessredefined on my social media fashion posts to send a message and use my voice. I am having flashbacks because I was sowing the seed for Sovereignty then and didn’t really know. Going back to COVID and assessing my life, I knew eventually I was going to finally leave my corporate executive job and spread my wings. In May of 2020 I gave myself permission to take a break from a startup organization I was building as a part of my exit strategy. I am a serial social entrepreneur. During that break I had to create an idea from start to concept with one task at hand. Do not get stuck Corneil. Fast forward, a sustainable candle company emerged from that exercise. After research and simply having fun I created a collection of 3 candles and named the company Sovereignty. It was another 2-3 weeks before the full picture was revealed. Fashion? Yes. On August 7th, 2020, a day I will never forget. I left my corporate job and celebrated my brother’s 40th birthday. On that day, I decided to commit 110 percent of my time to Sovereignty Co. and my social impact consulting, advising, and coaching agency, Connect Outside the Box: Purpose + Impact Hub. Another shameless plug. Let’s get back to Sovereignty. So, at this point I am super excited and started doing several things right away to get up and going. I got a logo created, did a lot of research, developed a pitch deck, upcycled and purchased deadstock, designed a small collection, recruited some advisors and friends, talked to tons of people in the industry, and many other tasks that landed me to a successful soft launch. I am on a journey to tell this story and begin writing a new one with the world as my canvas. Sovereignty Co. is the seed, the mission, and the movement. I am proud to be the Founder and Chief Brand Architect of a brand that will make and create a better world – Good. Better. Fashion. www.IamAwareNow.com ?

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I am proud to be the Founder and Chief Brand Architect of a brand that will make and create a better world – Good. Better. Fashion. CORNEIL MONTGOMERY

FOUNDER OF SOVEREIGNTY.CO

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Model: Corneil Montgomer Photographer: Nikita Suldin

www.IamAwareNow.com


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Fatigue isn’t something you can measure, nor can it be compared. ROBERT PACE, MD

NEUROLOGIST AND DIRECTOR OF NEUROIMMUNOLOGY, MEMORIAL INSTITUTE FOR NEUROSCIENCES

32 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


THE FATIGUE IS REAL

WHY MS PATIENTS ARE SO DAMN TIRED ALL THE TIME Everyone is tired. We work too much, sleep too little, and allow stress to wreak havoc on our bodies. But to a patient with Multiple Sclerosis, fatigue may be unavoidable and incapacitating. Statistically, fatigue is more commonly seen in MS than cancer. Yet, despite this, it often gets overlooked. Doctors, and payers (like insurance companies) prefer problems that can be quanti ed, for example left hip exion is 4/5 today, right eye vision 20/200, down from 20/100 last year, etc. Easy to compare, easy to see, easy to document But fatigue isn’t something you can measure, nor can it be compared

“Weakness gets weaker, numbness get number, pain more painful.” For a patient, it's easy to minimize, perhaps often not seeming to be urgent enough to bring up in a brief visit with a busy neurologist. You tell your neurologist if your leg starts dragging, but you keep how sleepy you are to yourself. After all, everyone is tired, right But the major problem with fatigue isn’t sleepiness. Well, it's partly that. But it’s more that it ampli es other problems. Weakness gets weaker, numbness gets number, pain more painful All cognitive functions

uctuate from moment to moment. In some instances, we’re more coordinated (or more

creative, or better at remembering song lyrics), in others less. There are many factors that determine these peaks and valleys - our mood, the situation, what we’ve eaten recently, etc. Fatigue is perhaps the biggest force that routinely pushes our function down. Most of the time the variance is relatively subtle, and we don’t really notice the drop-off. But, if there are underlying brain injuries (like those caused by MS), the valleys can become chasms, and the drop-off in function is glaring. Fatigue makes problems worse while robbing you of the ability to be your best So why is fatigue so pervasive in Multiple Sclerosis? Well, like anything in the body, there are many reasons. MS increases risk for sleep apnea, contributes to mood disruption, and can cause disruptions in circadian rhythm. But the biggest reason comes down to energy. All of the activity in your brain requires energy. The cells of your brain, your neurons, communicate with one another via electrical impulses. In order to generate these impulses, energy - a caloric input - is required. In other words: thinking burns calories You just burned calories reading that sentence But how many calories could your brain possibly burn? Actually, quite a few. Your brain accounts for about one- fth of your daily energy consumption – a pretty hefty appetite for a 3-lb grey blob. Some of those calories go to maintenance functions, like regulating blood ow and repairing damage. But most, over 75%, are used to fuel the complex electrical symphony that makes you you.

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


damaged, shouldn’t there be less brain, using up less energy? Not exactly Take any individual action like, say, looking to the left. The command that the brain sends to initiate the movement requires a tiny bit of energy. Over time, your brain has figured out the most efficient way to do this – sending a signal from point A to point B. However, injuries in the brain (say, from a sclerotic lesion of Multiple Sclerosis) can interrupt this pathway. Thus in order to look to the left, the signal now needs to be re-routed - from point A to point Q to point R to point B. This new route works, but its less efficient, thus it requires a slightly higher energy input. This increased cost is minuscule – nowhere near enough to cause any noticeable difference for you. Until you multiply it by the billions of operations that your brain is processing every second. When added up throughout the day, this inefficiency leads to a massive energy cost, just to perform the normal operations that we usually take for granted.

“For a person living with MS, the mental energy required to maintain function can be astronomical.” In medical school, we rotated through different specialties every 6 or 8 weeks or so. On the last Friday of each rotation, there was a massively stressful exam required to pass to the next rotation. After this exam - for two blessed days until the next rotation started - we had absolutely nothing to study for. Needless to say, the plans for the post-exam festivities were always very ambitious. We’d be going out Friday night and staggering home sometime Sunday afternoon, with Grey’s Anatom-esque scenes of debauchery in-between… Except, after every exam, it was always the same story for all of us – on the couch with barely enough stamina to order takeout and watch half a movie before falling asleep with the TV on. Why? Because mental activity is way more fatiguing than physical activity For a person living with MS, the mental energy required to maintain function can be astronomical. This can be true even in the absence of outward symptoms. Ironically, some of the things that help improve fatigue can be incredibly hard to do in the setting of fatigue. Exercise is a great example of this. One of the only surefire ways to improve overall energy is routine exercise. But, when someone is exhausted, exercise becomes incredibly difficult. Usually, this translates into not doing it. And then the fatigue gets worse... Fatigue is a snowball rolling downhill - it makes itself worse as it goes, and at a certain point can become almost unstoppable Of course, it can be stopped (or at least controlled) - but usually not by any single intervention. Improving sleep habits, adjusting diet, and encouraging exercise are the bedrocks of fatigue management. Sometimes medications can help. But perhaps the single most important intervention in the fight against fatigue is creating and sticking to an energy budget. Everything your brain does has some cost, and the best way to stay on budget is to cut out unnecessary spending. Some costs are unavoidable - like meeting a deadline at work, or trying to remember how to divide fractions when helping your kid with virtual homework whilst acting like you know what you're doing. But lots of these costs can be avoided, yet we overpay for them throughout the day. The biggest unnecessary expense for just about all of us? Stress.

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In patients with multiple sclerosis, the net energy cost is higher. This doesn’t make intuitive sense. If parts of the brain are


“Stress is, energetically speaking, an enormous expense.” Imagine if you insisted on paying double every time you bought a coffee or took the subway - eventually you're going to risk overdrafting your account. Stress does the same thing to your energy levels. Stress is, energetically speaking, an enormous expense, and one of the least ef cient ways to utilize precious calories in the brain. It forces the brain to make billions of unnecessary neural connections without changing the overall output. The cost-bene t analysis on this would be, to put it mildly, extremely unfavorable You want your brain to run as ef ciently as possible. Mindfulness (which seems to be all the rage recently) is really all about doing this. Awareness of your inner cognitive state can help your brain do the same amount of work at a substantially lower cost - it's like an energy discount. As MS patients are already paying extra for most of what they do, any cost-cutting measure can make an enormous difference. Of course, just being mindful won't cure fatigue by itself. Neither will exercise, nor adjusting your diet. But when these things are done together, patients with MS can start getting their energy ledgers back into the black. Ok, that was my last nance analogy. Very few things with Multiple Sclerosis are certain. However, if you have MS, it's almost certain that you'll have to do battle with fatigue at some point. When you nd yourself there, just remember - it is a problem, you're not alone, and you can ght back.

ROBERT PACE, M 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.

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It began over a cup of coffee and the future is to inspire positive conversations that can lead to inspiration based on a person's experience. MICHAEL HYACINTHE

CO-FOUNDER OF [HAS HEART]

36 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL HYACINTHE & TYLER WAY

THIS MISSION HAS HEART

BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH ART, DESIGN AND COFFEE “A collaboration between a veteran, Michael Hyacinthe, and an artist, Tyler Way, [HAS HEART] serves as a bridge between the worlds of U.S. Veterans and Civilians built by art, design and fashion.” - Allié M. Allié: The term ‘veteran’ and ‘artist’ are generally not synonymous. Yet, [HAS HEART] has beautifully married the two pairing veterans with artists to empower and elevate so many. Michael, how did this all begin? When and where did this story start Michael: This was started by seeing how ArtPrize brought people together and seeing how awesome it was. This also began during a tough time for my wife’s family as her cousin was killed in Afghanistan. We wanted to keep his memory alive during ArtPrize but also wanted to inspire veterans who did come back but were injured to experience the power of Art

Allié: From designing t-shirts to driving across the country, Tyler, your artistic work to support veterans has been inspiring to say the very least. What has been the most inspiring moment or moments for you as an artist Tyler: The ability to give a Veteran their creative voice, and to be able to go through the entire creative process alongside of them -- from hearing their story rst-hand to beginning to brainstorm their message and then to translate that through loose sketches into a nal design -- is incredible, to say the least. Some of my favorite responses from Veterans is when they see the Post-It Notes and sketches taped up on the wall and they say, "Wow, that is my life story right in front of me." It can be such a powerful and therapeutic process for them to not only relive your life experiences through a different lens, but then to be able to tangibly see it in a design is remarkable. It's always an honor to be in the room when those moments happen.

“It began over a cup of coffee…” Allié: Michael and Tyler, you were rst introduced over a cup of coffee in 2010. Now, you are opening a coffee shop of your own to serve and support veterans and civilians, providing a base for conversations and community to be built. Where did this concept begin and where will it go Michael: It began over a cup of coffee and the future is to inspire positive conversations that can lead to inspiration based on a person's experience. I think too many times we make decisions based on our own experiences. I hope [Has Heart] creates products that have meaning and inspire others to consider people who come from different backgrounds. The future of [Has Heart] will hopefully develop other spaces throughout Michigan where relationships and ideas are formed over a cup of joe.

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Tyler: Michael and I rst met over coffee in 2010 and since then each of our HERO[series] projects has started with the simple act of a Veteran and artist having coffee together, so much so that it's become a big part of our story and an important step in our collaborative process. The HERO[series] process is such an intimate couple of days, that this ritual of sharing coffee together has developed into the opening moments where trust and a relationship with the person sitting across from you can be built. We hope to create similar experiences within the [HAS HEART] Coffee Shop in our home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan, so that all Veterans and civilians can share in these moments together. Think of how different our world could be if more people from different parts of the community sat down and had coffee together

AlliĂŠ: I read that each and every one of your projects has begun with a cup of coffee. Inquiring minds want to know how you take your coffee, Michael? Tyler? Michael: I take my coffee black and one sugar. I also love decaf coffee! Tyler: I'm as simple as can be when it comes to how I take my coffee -- just black. I do enjoy lighter roasts that have some vibrant tasting notes. We're excited to partner with Madcap Coffee Co. because I have yet to have a better cup of coffee anywhere else in the country.

Learn more about [Has Heart] by visiting their website www.hasheart.us

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She is my strength… CECELIA BAKER

DELILAH’S MOTHER

40 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CECEILIA BAKER

DELILAH’S DIAGNOSIS THE REALITY OF RETT SYNDROME

“As fate would have it, when someone reaches out to you for one thing, you have the opportunity to reach right back for another thing. Ceceilia reached out to me on Instagram to connect about Multiple Sclerosis. Upon looking through her posts and seeing pics of her 11-year-old daughter, Delilah with the hashtag ‘rett', I reach back out to her. This is how I learned about Rett Syndrome. This is why I am thankful for the opportunity and honor to now share a powerful story that may change your entire perspective on life and its fragility.” - Allié M.

“I was a 19 year old single mother with a two year old little angel... I was lost and broken.” Allié: Rett Syndrome (RTS) is a rare genetic mutation affecting brain development in girls. Extremely rare, there are fewer than 1,000 cases diagnosed each year in the US. Delilah is one of those cases. Tell us, Ceceilia about when your daughter was rst diagnosed with RTS. When did you receive the diagnosis and how did you respond Ceceilia: Delilah was diagnosed on March 8th, 2011. You never forget D-Day. When we saw the Behavior Specialist two months prior, she told me she was testing for Fragile X Syndrome and Rett - she didn't know much about Rett Syndrome, she had just recently read about it in an email. She told me NOT to google them and to wait for the result of the blood work. Naturally, I went back to work and google them. Everything about Rett described Delilah perfectly. I was terri ed. It was like she had been given a death note. All of the photos, videos and things I was reading were shocking. I was a 19 year old single mother with a two year old little angel... I was lost and broken.

Allié: What does a regular day for Delilah look like Ceceilia: With COVID, Delilah isn't going to school, so we're pretty lazy! Delilah enjoys watching Disney+ and being her sassy little self. She's 100% dependent and wheelchair/bedbound, so I do everything for her. Stretching, bathing, clothing, etc. Delilah is tube fed, so every morning, I hook her up to her feeding pump after I do her medications (I usually do a song and dance around like a dummy while I do this… She loves it!). Delilah had spinal fusion surgery in August 2019 and since then, she has struggled with her weight, she is very fragile - we'd usually go for drives and try to get out of the house but she just doesn't feel up to it. We are hermits, more often than not. Rest assured, we will break her of that! Delialh is also nonverbal, we lovingly refer to her as a pterodactyl-baby. She is usually "talking" by screeching at us in one way or the other, keeping us on our toes.

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“... there is always that worry that when I wake up, she won't. The scariest thing about Rett is that they call it a silent killer for a reason.” Allié: As a parent, what is the hardest thing you’ve had to face with her condition Ceceilia: The "When?, What If? and Maybe?". We've been told a few times that Delilah wasn't going to make it. She's outlived her life expectancy a few times, now. I couldn't be any more proud of my little warrior! But there is always that worry that when I wake up, she won't. The scariest thing about Rett is that they call it a silent killer for a reason.

Allié: Often, it’s the hard parts of life that make us stronger. How has RTS made you stronger? Ceceilia: Holy smokes... I had no REAL strength, patience, drive or will before Delilah. Then you add Rett. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of - I feel like anyone would. So many people say "I don't know how you do what you do" or "I couldn't do what you do"... You would! You absolutely would, Delilah is my entire universe. I feel exhausted and beat and just broken some days, but when I look at her...it is all worth it. There is no love like your child's love. She is my strength, hands down

Allié: You and your husband both have Multiple Sclerosis. Do you feel that common denominator makes you stronger and closer as a couple Ceceilia: Oh man. Yes! My husband and I got together almost nine years ago, a few months later, I gured out he had MS. Over the last eight years, he's had a few issues that have been...well BAD. One put him in a wheelchair for a few months and we weren't sure if he was going to get out of it. He's stubborn, he doesn't give up and I hold him to it. I’ve had symptoms for several years and nally, someone heard me, I was diagnosed in January. It's weird that we both have it. But it is so nice to have my best friend also be my MS buddy. Aaron understands what I am feeling, what I am thinking, what my body is doing or not doing and vice versa. When I break down, he's right here, as he has always been (because I break down FREQUENTLY) but he is here in every sense. He knows all of the feelings. I don't know what I would do without him. As a husband, friend, father of my Delilah, con dant, or my MS buddy.

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I had no REAL strength, patience, drive or will before Delilah. CECELIA BAKER

DELILAH’S MOTHER

43 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


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The African Community & Conservation Foundation (ACCF) supports anti-poaching efforts, combining cutting-edge technology with boots on the ground. Photo Credit: TaraShupe Photography

www.IamAwareNow.com

46 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION


BEATING THE DRUMS FOR AFRICA

SUPPORTING PROSPERITY WITH SUSTAINABILITY 18 years ago, the northwest corridor of the Serengeti was decimated with poverty, excessive hunting and widespread poaching. This area, known as the Grumeti concessions, is a 350,000-acre buffer zone between the 90,000 people living on the boundary of the famous Serengeti National Park. 17 years ago, work began to bring the Grumeti concessions back from the brink and employ sustainable solutions for the people, wildlife and the Serengeti ecosystem in rural Tanzania. Since its inception in 2003, the Grumeti Fund, ACCF’s founding Project, has proven it is possible to transform and empower the communities living alongside these spaces, while protecting the environment and wildlife simultaneously. In this part of Africa, wildlife is under constant threat from poaching associated with the bushmeat trade, habitat encroachment, charcoal extraction and the illegal trade of wildlife contraband such as ivory and rhino horn. To combat these ecosystem threats, the African Community & Conservation Foundation (ACCF) supports antipoaching efforts, combining cutting-edge technology with boots on the ground. Wildlife conservation, job creation and enterprise development, tourism, community prosperity and the health of the ecosystem are dependent upon and essential for the sustainability of the entire area. The Foundation (ACCF), a United States public charity, exists to raise both awareness and funding for wildlife conservation and community programs in and around the Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania, in addition to new ACCF Projects in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe

GRATEFUL The Grumeti team has accomplished some incredible results and it would not have been possible without the many partners, donors, supporters, influencers and world changers who are creating this amazing comeback story. For full details, check out the latest Impact Report for ACCF’s Tanzanian Project: beawarebehere.com/grumeti-imapct-report

SAVING A SPECIES FROM EXTINCTION In the last year, the Grumeti Fund Project has successfully undertaken the largest black rhino translocation ever into Tanzania, adding 10% to the current national rhino population with the introduction of nine more critically endangered eastern black rhino. There are less than 2,500 eastern black rhino left in the world. The first rhino calf was born just a few months ago and is the first to be born in past few decades in the region.

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EXCLUSIVE FEATURE WITH THE AFRICAN COMMUNITY & CONSERVATION FOUNDATION


ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT & EDUCATION More than 99% of those living on the boundary of the protected area survive as subsistence farmers, so enterprise development and job diversi cation is critical to help people in their journey to rise out of poverty. Here are recent program highlights:

96% of Village Learning Participants now have access to power. 64% of Village Learning graduates were women. 355 fth graders participated in English language camps. 162 scholarships awarded with a 96% pass rate for graduates. 42 participants in life skills training. 38 scholarship students participating in a mentorship program. “I was a poacher. I had to poach because I couldn’t ful ll my basic needs. But then I took a loan and opened a shop to sell fabric. Soon after, I received entrepreneurial training from the Grumeti Fund, and I decided to become a seamstress. I learned how to sew. Now I am a good seamstress and I make clothes for people and earn a good living. My message to my fellow women is that we can. We don’t have to wait to be given everything. Now is the time for you to work hard because you can succeed. The time to have things handed to you has passed. Grace Matiko Member of the Rural Enterprise Development (RED) Guiding Program in the Serenget

FORMER POACHER BECOMES BUSINESS OWNER ACCF + GRUMETI FUND

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18 years ago, the northwest corridor of the Serengeti was decimated with poverty, excessive hunting and widespread poaching. Photo Credit: Scott Ramsay

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www.IamAwareNow.com


While none of us are immune to the impact of the pandemic, we remain focused and hopeful on the brighter future. Thank you to all our supporters for your tremendous impact on the people, wildlife and wild places in Africa. It’s because of you we’ve been able create lasting impact in Tanzania and expand to new Projects in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe this year. Alone we can only do so much; together we can make a difference

On December 13, 2020 on KNEKT® TV there will be a COVID-19 relief fundraiser to celebrate the incredible work these teams do on the ground, highlight the communities and anti-poaching programs these men and women are integral to, and to showcase some of the incredible technology that will reverse those ominous timelines. Two amazing organizations, the African Community & Conservation Foundation (ACCF) and Zambezi Partners, an investment and technology solutions provider, along with some recognizable friends, will be sharing stories from these boots on the ground and what it is going to take to help keep these communities in shape through this ordeal. It is overdue to thank these men and women for their tireless work, but it is not too late to keep them healthy, strong, and prepared to protect our animals and planet.

Please visit www.endangeredrangers.com for more information and to see this incredible event.

Photo Credit: Scott Ramsay

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BRADY FORSETH, ACCF CE For more than 27 years, Brady has specialized in delivering transformational, long-standing impact on people’s lives in nearly 80 different countries. He has held numerous leadership roles on the global stage and through service and leadership in these organizations, Brady has helped empower and connect thousands of people to life-giving programs.

His experience and results created the opportunity to launch the African Community & Conservation

Foundation (ACCF) in 2018, which is focused on fueling human impact and sustainable conservation on the continent of Africa PETE MATTSON, ACCF V Pete brings a diversity of international marketing, global partnerships and consulting experience from both nonpro t and commercial organizations. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, in addition to serving as a captain in the Social Media Command Center for Super Bowl LII. As an ACCF co-founder and leader in the African community development and conservation space, Pete is passionate about supporting communities and protecting wildlife and land Together, they lead the philanthropic efforts for the community, conservation and anti-poaching initiatives for ACCF’s Grumeti Fund Project, in addition to new sustainable Projects in Mozambique, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

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MEET THE ACCF C0-FOUNDERS


When a song is played in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? NED STRANGER

SONGWRITER & WRITER

52 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘MUSIC WITH MEANING’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY NED STRANGER

THE UNTAPPED POWER OF GRATITUDE IN MUSIC

WHY GRATITUDE IS IMPORTANT FOR MUSICIANS AND HOW TO SAY 'THANK YOU' PROPERLY THANKS FOR LISTENING OR THANKS FOR PLAYING? The final throes of the last song of the night drift across the concert hall, gently reverberating off the walls while the lights dim above the stage, prompting a round of applause from a captivated audience. Through the microphone, the singer says those four, often spoken words, almost without thinking: ‘Thank you for listening.

“…a relationship of mutual gratitude between musician and listener brings higher levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with social bonding.” It sometimes feels counterintuitive as a musician to ‘thank’ your audience all the time. Especially when you’re still in the early stages of your career and building a fan base, it can feel a little bit like everyone is just ‘doing you a favour’ - by listening to your song, by coming along to your concert, by watching your latest music video The mental health benefits of listening to music are, if not thoroughly documented, then at least more evident than they used to be. In a study first reported in Nature Neuroscience, scientists found that participants who were listening to music had levels of dopamine - the ‘feel-good’ chemical produced by the brain - up to 9% higher than those who weren’t So when you thank your audience members for listening, shouldn’t it be the other way round? And does this mentality - that your audiences are doing you a favour, rather than the other way round - affect your self-esteem as an emerging artist The short answer is no. This is because there are also inherent mental health benefits in feeling grateful - gratitude has not only been shown, as with listening to music, to increase the brain’s production of dopamine, but it’s also linked with higher levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter linked with ‘reward’ And there’s an argument that a relationship of mutual gratitude between musician and listener brings higher levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with social bonding

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“…a song without a listener is not a song at all.” THE POWER OF REFRAMING: WHAT DOES ‘THANK YOU’ ACTUALLY MEAN? The value of gratitude to the musician is broader than simply its chemical effect on the body. It requires a reframing of what it actually means to say ‘thank you’. When you’re just starting out and gathering your rst listeners, it’s easy to see their process of listening as ‘taking a chance’ on you - after all, you’re an unknown artist and there is an agony of choice out in the world when it comes to music, even for some of the more niche genres This, I believe, is where the ‘doing me a favour’ mentality stems from - the imbalance of supply and demand for unproven musicians. To put it another way, I need my listeners more than they need me. But a better way to see your listeners is that, by the very act of listening, they are instilling your music with a purpose. To paraphrase the old philosophical truism, when a song is played in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound Perhaps, as a musician what you’re really thanking your listener for is based on the belief that ‘a song without a listener is not a song at all’.

GENTLE WORDS NED STRANGER (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

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HOW TO SAY ‘THANK YOU’ AS A MUSICIAN We say the word ‘sorry’ a lot. (Probably too much in my native England… And you’ve probably been in a situation where someone said the word ‘sorry’ to you and it didn’t really cut it for you ‘“Sorry?” I don’t want “sorry”, I want you to make sure it doesn’t happen again...’ Or something similar. In the same way that we use the word ‘sorry’ quite liberally, we tend to say ‘thank you’ without a moment’s thought In his seminal work on communicating with empathy, Nonviolent Communication, the late great con ict resolution expert, Marshall Rosenberg, explained what it actually means to say thank you. According to Rosenberg, everything anyone says to someone else is an expression of an underlying need. So each statement, whether a criticism, threat, blame, or expression of thanks, is actually talking about a need that has either been left unful lled (‘please’) or ful lled (‘thank you’) Speci cally, the clearest way to say thank you is the following formulation “You did X [a speci c action], that made me feel Y [a feeling], by ful lling my need for Z [the underlying need]. That need is something fundamental to your existence. For a musician, it could be the need to feel yourself progress, the need for relevance, or the need for human contact. So, when you want to say ‘thank you for listening’, what you can actually say is: “By listening to my new single, you made me feel happy, by ful lling my need to have a positive impact on other people. By explaining why you’re thanking your listener, you’re not only intensifying the experience of gratitude for yourself feeling genuine gratitude rather than trotting out a stock phrase - but also for your listener, for whom the ‘thank you’ is harder to ignore as just ‘something someone says’..

CONCLUSION We know that songwriters and performers are becoming increasingly willing to engage in a more open dialogue with their fans. Just as social media gives fans a richer insight into the daily lives of their favourite musicians, those musicians are realising the power of letting those fans in on the meaning behind their music. This inspired our Music With Meaning campaign, encouraging songwriters to tell the story behind one of their songs, coupled with a performance of the song itself, and to open up on topics around mental health. But whilst narratives about the song itself are ourishing, the true nature of the songwriter-listener relationship is still unchartered territory. Through a clearer understanding of the positive impact they have on each other and a more speci c show of gratitude for that impact, we uncover a wealth of bene ts to mental health and emotional wellbeing.

NED STRANGE Songwriter & Writer
 www.awarenessties.us/ned-stranger Ned is a songwriter, writer and recovering law student.He turned his back on a promising career in the city to focus on his true passions - music and writing - forming indie-folk act August and After with a close friend from university. Several years later, they'd built a loyal London fanbase and toured various European countries, securing millions of online streams across the world and features in The Independent, BBC Radio and numerous of cial Spotify playlists. Ned launched his solo project this year with a series of new singles, exploring the boundaries between indie-folk and electro-pop.

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There are no borders. There was no division. It is all one world. OGIMAA (ACHA-KOOH-WAAY), JIM

ANISHINAABE KNOWLEDGE KEEPER FROM FOOTHILLS OJIBWAY ON TURTLE ISLAND

56 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


CREATOR’S CALLING FROM THE BEGINNING TO NOW: LESSON 1

Can’t miss this in 2020… It is a planet in reset. Ancient wisdom and world views can shape our future by just understanding and believing. The way you see the world changes the way the world sees you. This is a gift for all. We are all connected… ‘All’ includes everything…everything. You are a piece of an intricate and beautiful design that is intended to last forever… but will it? Attention to spirit, soul and deep awareness of energies can let us save our planet and participate in a rich and rewarding mindfulness. Flip the script. Ancient wisdom isn’t about understanding the past… It helps us live fully in the present and step, with wisdom into a positive collective future.

“The world is part of who we are, even though we’re in different parts of this world.” I am Ogimaa (Acha-Kooh-waay), Jim, Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper from Foothills Ojibway on Turtle Island I begin with words from my own language to say ‘hi’ to everybody. I’m introducing myself from here. 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. (Note: includes North America) In this part of the world, Turtle Island, which is where I am today, in our language, is called ‘Kânata’, which became Canada. It is only part of the Turtle. People used to live freely with their own governance, making nation to nation agreements. We recognize the spirit of the world and of the land. There are no borders. There was no division. It is all one world. This is how we believe today. The world is part of who we are, even though we’re in different parts of this world. The Great Spirit decides. We are to depend on the Turtle to take care of us. The area that we are in matters because when it came to visitors from some other island we followed the Creator’s instructions. The Creator told our people, “When they come, you must be kind. You must be honest. You must look after each other; work together with one another, with respect to Spirit, and respect to the environment. This is part of the design of the world. So when they come, some other parts of my creation… to visit… treat them the same way - with respect. You must share with them .” So, the visitors came from different parts of this world. We were already trading with each other nation to nation. Names of places in our language became known as Mississippi, Michigan, Chicago.

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‘FROM THE BEGINNING TO NOW’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY OGIMAA (ACHA-KOOH-WAAY), JIM, ANISHINAABE KNOWLEDGE KEEPER FROM FOOTHILLS OJIBWAY ON TURTLE ISLAND


he gave us natural order of instructions. The Turtle is part of this world. There are different areas, different places, that people have to survive and maintain that connection to be part of this all. They have their own ways of worshiping the world and worshiping God. These are all connected to God himself All of Turtle Island was “Kânata”, clean land, no borders So, we were helping people that came, including Columbus. Back at 1492 and 93 we were recognized as Indians, because Columbus was lost. He was looking for a different Island. But things went wrong and things started happening to us. So, we were taking our beliefs, our instructions from God, the same God as in all different parts of the world… that was what we had. We wanted to protect those… so we ran I wasn’t there but my ancestors were We have our own way of archiving and our own archive… So then we kept running - running all over this Turtle to save the way we believed before anyone came to visit us… before we were in contact, before Columbus or anybody else We know we are part of it all. We still know that today. We respect the spirit of the land, the spirit of the people all over the world. We still respect the environment and the way our people receive instructions from God. So, we continue today. We maintain our culture. We kept running - running with our beliefs… our spiritual ways. It is tied to the environment… tied to the water….water in the air… SPIRIT.

“Recently, we stopped running.” THE MIND HAS A SPIRIT ENVIRONMENT AND ECOSYSTEM HAS SPIRIT, JUST LIKE ANYBODY. AS HUMANS, WE HAVE A SOUL. WE HAVE A SPIRIT. We are all part of creation with the sun. Despite day and night, we are not going to know what to change. Every one of us has spirit and soul. That’s what we wanted to maintain… that education that comes with survival and how to respect the environment, because environment has soul. That is why we look after the water and the spirit in the land. We call it ‘Mother’, because we are part of the land and all of the environment. (Note: every ecosystem So our people ran and ran with Creator’s instructions and education… knowing everything is spirit in our beliefs. It is already connected with science because the spirit is part of science We are here in this part of the world. They call myself … ‘the Runner. Recently, we stopped running. The visitors here said we were not civilized, but that is why they were able to survive When they rst came, we saved that connection. Running and protecting runners meant not to be part of residential schools (Note: Imposition of European Culture). Many things happened to us. I do not want to go into details of what has happened.

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We maintain the instructions from the Great Spirit. Some call him God. Some call him Creator. Whatever his name is,


I’m pretty sure this happened in different parts of this world. So there were runners and we maintained our education. We followed Creator’s instructions. We welcomed our brothers and sisters. We gave them clothing and the natural medicines that we have here Like I said, we were civilized. We were able to survive this Later on we made Treaties. In 1613 with the Dutch, and more with the British in the 1700’s which has became the Royal Proclamation of 1763-64 God has said, “ You respect creation. You must treat each other with respect. You must talk to each other. You must learn from each other. Everything I have created… you are part of that creation. So you must treat each other the same. Share that. Everybody is environment. God is patient, so in this part of the world we shared with our brothers and sisters from different parts of the world. We are all still part of environment. We want all our children, our future generations, our grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to see things that we enjoy ourselves… like the butter ies, the birds, the water and the glaciers we see now. The environment has Spirit, this Spirit of this world, and we are part of environment. Air, water, mind, spirit. They have to be taken care of with the education we saved… We call this land based education, here today We must take care of the spirits of the world. God’s creation was intended to be here forever. We must look after the spirits of the environment, every ecosystem, the people and the world or it will not survive. We need to be aware and take care of the spirit of the glaciers, water, air and natural helpers (Note: all animals and plants). Each has a special and interconnected role. If we do not, there will not be survival. Thank you

Edited by: Shenna Frencheate Recorded and Submitted by: K. Kis Notes have been inserted to provide context and are bracketed. Every effort has been made to transcribe precisely the teaching of this ‘knowledge keeper’. This is based on ancient and protected knowledge. There are knowledge keepers who preserve the knowledge of the rst people, however, this knowledge keeper has the designation as ‘leader’. He is from a linage of runners whose purpose is to preserve and teach ancient understandings without European in uence in the formative years. His education is only through the ways of the rst people’s education structure. “Madawin” (the teaching lodges): His education could only be achieved, after rst contact, by shielding the child from other world views and education delivered in only traditional ways. His knowledge can be seen as critical to life on this planet.

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“Each has a special and interconnected role. If we do not, there will not be survival.”


Is gratitude really a practice? Or is something else going on? NICK BOTTINI

AUTHOR, SPEAKER & COACH

60 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

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ALL SHOOK UP?

FINDING CLARITY IN CLOUDY WATERS A brand-new column in the ‘attitude of gratitude’ edition of AwareNow really must begin with a heartfelt thank you. Against the backdrop of the ongoing global pandemic, and a prolonged period of introspection for many, I feel so grateful to have been invited to contribute to a publication enabling a new kind of conversation about wellbeing and mental health. I am immensely proud to be representing Music For Mental Wealth and the innovative strides they are taking in the music industry. I really do feel that a new, more awakened era is dawning for my industry and I’d love to kick off this month’s article by sharing with you a glimpse into that brighter future… So this week in one of my sessions I was coaching a successful music industry professional, and, as serendipity would have it, the topic of gratitude came up. At rst, clients are often keen to explore new ways to lift their mood, so we began to take a closer look at what it is that actually causes your mood to lift in those moments that it does, and whether gratitude lists can really be used as a ‘tool’ in the way that some people claim they can “But is gratitude really a practice?” I asked. “Or is something else going on? There was a moment of quiet. Now, as a coach I’ve learnt to recognise this kind of moment as the insightful, aware space that you fall into as you question for the rst time a belief that you’ve held for a long time with an honest, clear, completely open mind “I’m not actually sure…” came the reply And I started to share a metaphor that I mentioned in my book, ‘Just Play’ “OK. Let’s investigate further. Imagine you have a muddy pond that you’d really like to be crystal clear. You pick up a big stick and try to clear the water by stirring the pond. At rst, you might notice some kind of small change in the water, but you soon nd that it isn’t really clearing at all. In fact, worse than that, it’s actually getting more and more cloudy as the stirring continues. At this point you stop and say to yourself ‘perhaps I need to stir faster? Or get a bigger stick?’ Now, of course, you’ll already have noticed the misstep. The reason the water doesn’t clear that way is because something simple, yet fundamental, has been overlooked until now. Namely, the innate clarity of the water. Searching for the right stirring technique can’t help create clarity because it’s not truly something that can be created. Why? Because it’s pre-existing. It’s already there, behind the cloudiness. And it’s only through ‘non-doing’ that this underlying truth becomes more obvious.

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MUSIC FOR MENTAL WEALTH EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY NICK BOTTINI


And so it is with the true nature of the mind, as well Instead of them merely being neurophysiological ‘target’ states to be created, peace, love, gratitude, happiness and wellbeing are the innate qualities of a mind at rest in itself. We can get so conditioned into subtly striving to be somewhere else, or even someone else, that we rarely stop to notice the beauty of where (or who) we truly are This is precisely why I’m not telling you to give up your gratitude journal. But neither am I telling you to start one either. Do whatever makes sense to you, because this is a description rather than a prescription. Exploring the wholeness of the present moment and the blessings contained therein can be a beautiful act of self-inquiry. So, instead of stirring the pond in vain, I invite you to get a deeper understanding of the true nature of the system. And in that loving space, gratitude is inevitable

NICK BOTTIN Author, Speaker & Coach
 www.awarenessties.us/nick-bottini Nick Bottini is the author of the number one bestseller Just Play: The Simple Truth Behind Musical Excellence which was endorsed by Grammy winners, music industry professionals and mental health experts. Nick is also a speaker and transformational coach to the music industry and for over ten years has worked with musicians at all levels from competition winners, child prodigies, entrepreneurs, conservatoire students, sports people, to aspiring professional musicians and international rock stars. For more info about Music For Mental Wealth visit: musicformentalwealth.com

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“We can get so conditioned into subtly striving to be somewhere else, or even someone else, that we rarely stop to notice the beauty of where (or who) we truly are.”


We don’t get angry or moody ‘for no reason’. There are reasons, we just aren’t always in touch with them. DR. JENNY MARTIN

LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR MENTAL HEALTH

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY DR. JENNY MARTIN

DEAR DR. JENNY

THE DOCTOR IS IN AND TAKING QUESTIONS Dr. Jenny Martin is a clinical psychologist in Chicago, IL who specializes in culturally sensitive, insight oriented therapy. As our Of cial Ambassador for Mental Health Awareness, she will be featured in this monthly column offering advice to our readers. A special thank you to Jenny for bringing her expertise and insight to AwareNow. Due to past experiences, I tend to keep my emotions to myself, as most don’t understand and/or wonder why I can’t ip it off like a switch and be okay. I think because of that, I get angry or moody for no reason… and take it out on loved ones without meaning to or even knowing until after the damage has been done. Any advice on what I could do to recognize that before it happens? - Heathe Hi, Heather. Thanks for the great question. I think this is something many of us can relate to. First, well done on acknowledging this pattern. You have a level of insight that could be really useful here. First, we don’t get angry or moody ‘for no reason’. There are reasons, we just aren’t always in touch with them. Often, these reasons are buried deep, especially when we tend to internalize how we feel. If emotions don’t have healthy outlets, they will

y out through the seams when we are feeling vulnerable- often onto unsuspecting

company. Therapy is a great place to start exploring what may be going on below the surface. If you’ve been hurt in the past, trust may be a sore subject for you. Therapy can offer a place where trust and warmth can grow, so you can learn about, process, and eventually better control your reactions to your feelings. In the meantime, try to make some room each day to check in with yourself. Ask yourself what kind of emotions you are having that day and what areas feel a bit sensitive. The more you are aware, the more control you will have over how those emotions come out How do we know what is truly causing our stress or anxiety when many things could be the source? - Anonymous, 2 First things rst: acknowledge the win here. The fact that you are aware that there could be any number of stressors is a strength to recognize. This means that at least a part of you validates that there are reasons that you might be stressed and anxious. This is a great starting point. Often, we start judging ourselves with messages such as, “There’s no reason to be anxious right now,” or “Things aren’t even that bad.” These messages are the worst things we can tell ourselves! Judgment like this clouds our ability to foster selfcompassion. Without self-compassion, we have little to no chance of eventually getting to the root of our stress. Start small here. Try to let it be ok that you don’t always know. Allow yourself to acknowledge that there is a reason, or many reasons, and that while you may not know exactly where it comes from, your feelings are just as real and valid as if you did. Then, try to treat yourself like you might treat a friend who is stressed or anxious.

Be gentle, take breaks, listen to what you need rather than try to change it. Our

feelings are telling us what we need to know- learning how to listen is the hard part.

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My son is writing a lot of 'dark' things lately that I've seen him post online. I don't know if it's something to be concerned about. I think he may be depressed, but I'm not sure. I've tried to talk to him, but he won't open up to me. What should I do? - Carin, 4 The fact that you are noticing, Carin, deserves recognition. As a parent, the best thing we can do is to stay aware and engaged. It can be so dif cult when those we love don’t seem to want to respond. Even if your son doesn’t seem interested, he is noticing. I encourage you to approach him with statements rather than questions. Let him know you’ve seen his posts, you think he may be depressed, and that you are here for him whenever he is ready to talk. Let him know that no subject is off limits, and that if he would feel more comfortable talking with someone else you will help to make that happen. Keep listening, keep noticing, keep reassuring that you are available without judgment. You can also call this national helpline for your own support and resources: 1-800-273-TALK Besides going to therapy/specialist, what we can do good for ourselves in a crisis? - Agat Hi Agata. If you or someone you know nd yourself in a true crisis, it is important to go to a hospital for immediate help. If it is not an emergency and you want resources for how to take care of your mental health, there are other things that can be done. First, it is important to stay connected with the people and things you care about. When we struggle, we often pull away from things in our life and attempt to manage our stress ourselves. This rarely works! Learning how to reach out and tell people what’s going on can be hard, but it is a great step in learning to manage our burdens. Additionally, it’s important to remember that stress can make us behave in ways we typically don’t. Practice taking pauses before taking actions. Ask yourself if you are making decisions out of impulse or if that action is truly good for your journey towards wellness. All the best to you!

The doctor is now in (and online). Have a question about mental health for Dr. Jenny? Submit what you'd like to ask: www.awarenessties.us/dear-dr-jenn If your question is selected, you will be noti ed, and it will be featured in AwareNow Magazine. DR. JENNY MARTI Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Awareness Ties Official Ambassador
 www.awarenessties.us/jenny-martin Dr. Jenny Martin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL. Her private practice, Gemstone Wellness, specializes in working with adolescents and adults touched by depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, purposelessness, and issues related to race, sexuality and gender expression. Jenny possesses an extensive background in the arts, speci cally in music, and she enjoys incorporating creative mediums to facilitate emotional expression. Jenny received both her Masters Degree and her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Music and Songwriting at Berklee College of Music.

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It started when I was 10… I entered the world of cinema and I've loved it ever since. JAMES HASTINGS

AWARD WINNING WRITER & DIRECTOR

68 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘GLOBAL GOOD’ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS BY TANITH HARDING

JAMES HASTINGS

YOUNG AWARD WINNING WRITER & DIRECTOR “James Hastings is a writer and director that has spent the last 8 years falling in love with cinema and at 17 years old made his debut at Cannes Film Festival prompting him to be nominated and subsequently win a Global Youth Award in 2017. The experience opened up opportunities that he could never have expected and he joins me for this months AwareNow Thanks Edition to tell us about his experience and why he has an ‘An Attitude for Gratitude’.” -Tanith H. Tanith: James you started your film company 'Hastings infinity Films' at just twelve years old. What was it about cinema that captured your imagination in such a way? James: It started when I was about 10 and I was very interested in card magic, sleight of hand and big illusions. I think it was understanding the secret behind the mechanics of a trick, and then putting on a performance and getting a reaction back from an audience where the root of my passion for storytelling evolved. My interest in moviemaking came when I was in a religious education class at school, up to that point my experience of film-watching was limited to light hearted children’s films. Then all of a sudden, I'm watching Schindler's List in school. I just remember watching that film and being completely immersed in this world - it was more of an experience than a film. That is when I fell in love with cinema. I found out it was made by ‘someone’ called Steven Spielberg, and I rushed home and watched all of his films. Then I discovered the masters of cinema; Hitchcock, Kurosawa and Fellini. I entered the world of cinema and I've loved it ever since.

JAMES HASTINGS A ‘GLOBAL GOOD’ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY TANITH HARTDING

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69 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION


Tanith: Your film debut was at Cannes, an achievement that most 17 year olds would only dream of. What film did you debut and what did it feel like to see your work on the screen at such a prestigious event? James: It was a short film I made in 2016 called 'The Distance'. It was accepted into the Short Film Corner; and it was pretty much an overwhelming experience, to say the least. There's so much to take in and I went with my leading actor who was in the film. It was surreal. I mean, it feels more like a dream than a memory because I was only 17. We both agreed that we would need to go back again to take it all in, because it was weird to be going at such a young age. I was one of the youngest filmmakers there from what I saw and it was a proud moment in my life, but I'm hoping it’s something I can do again. Tanith: 2017 continued to be a great year for you as you went on to win a Global Youth Award and become a Global Youth Ambassador for RoundTable Global. What did you enjoy most about the event aside from winning? James: It’s a bit of a funny story because I was nominated by a family friend but was debating whether I should actually go, because I didn't really think I'd win. So, we decided to make a bit of a day out of it as it was my birthday that weekend and go to the IMAX in London to see Dunkirk, and then we just hopped over to see what happens at the awards, and then I won! It's been the catalyst for so many things in my life with all the people I met and I think the thing I enjoyed most about it was just the unexpectedness of It. It was a lovely day and the venue and the people were amazing, it changed my life so much and now i'm a part of your team as well - so it's great. Tanith: Three years on and you are still very active as an ambassador, what opportunities has It presented you with and what would you say to other young people thinking of applying for next year's awards? James: Straight away from winning the awards, I met so many amazing people. It has given me so many great opportunities to work with them, and we're still working together to this day. I'm currently working on a film with Dana Amma Day, who I met at the awards and also Fiona from Platform inspires who I've worked a lot with. So it was all about meeting so many amazing people and building this network. To anyone thinking of applying I would say just go for it because sometimes you need to recognise that what you're doing needs to be celebrated. And I feel like the awards is a good opportunity for that and you get to be with so many other inspiring young people. So yeah, just go for it! Tanith: I know that you are working on some really exciting projects at the moment as usual! What do you have in the pipeline currently? James: I’m working on a new feature film based on a true story and a book about a British 14 year-old boy called Jim during the Second World War and his phenomenal determination to build and fly his own plane. His sceptical father puts an end to his foolish aspirations. Still undeterred, Jim steals a U.S plane with his younger brother, with the intention of killing Hitler and proving to his village, his father and to himself that anything is possible... even flying! It’s a feel good, inspiring film and it’s going to be a big one! I also do freelance videography work and can be contacted via my website.

You can view James’ inspirational work at: www.hastingsinfinityfilms.com The 2020 Global Youth Awards will be streamed live on the 5th December @ 10am PST via KNEKT TV.

TANITH HARDIN 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.

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10 AM PST / 1 PM EST Be inspired by youth around the world who are have an impact in their communities through leadership, innovation and change. This year, we are virtually honouring young people who are making a difference around one of the following award categories: Educational Innovation, Empowering Everyone, Environmental Rejuvenation, and Music and Creativity.

Pre-register To Attend: roundtable.global/pre-registration

#OneGlobalYouth @RoundTableGl @RoundTableGlobal

5 PM PST / 8 PM EST Experience celebrity guest cameos, keynote remarks and intergenerational fireside chats between influential leaders and young changemakers on the action we need to create a more inclusive, sustainable world. Watch using your preferred popular social streaming platform on any device.

8 PM PST / 11 PM EST Take part in a fully immersive virtual reality experience with a world-first headliner performance and a live DJ! Using avatar mode, interact live with peers, VIP guests and other attendees from around the world like you would at an in-person event.

Save Your Seat: youngaforum.com

#YOUNGA2020 @WeAreBridgingTheGap @btg_ventures


We have all had a peek behind someone(s)’ curtain. JOEL CARTNER

LAWYER, AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL ADVISOR & COLUMNIST

72 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


‘UNYIELDINGLY HUMAN’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY JOEL CARTNER

A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

[1]

THE SOCIAL SCIENCE OF THE ISSUE ATTENTION CYCLE

I was nineteen years old when I wrote my rst letter to an elected of cial. My brother, who worked in a restaurant, had come home angry because his boss had tried to make his employees pay for water. The issue got resolved pretty quickly. However, the brief kerfuf e engendered this protective instinct to learn about employment rights. My deep dive led me to write to the state of cial in charge of the Department of Labor discussing, not what my brother brought home, but rather the general lack of protection for employee breaks and the particular vulnerability for restaurant workers in this regard. The whole thing went nowhere, but in a year that has been as dark as this one has in so many ways, and in a time of year where many of us enter a period of re ection, I think the brief crusade of nineteen year old me could prove useful Setting aside the fact that it was a member of my own family coming to me with a problem, it’s worth examining why I felt a need to do a deep dive. The basic answer is that, for me, it was a problem grounded in a human context. Most people, when confronted with the real human cost of a problem, even if they’re not pushed all the way to want to take action, they are generally more sympathetic. All of this is rooted in something called the “Issue Attention Cycle.” The “Issue Attention Cycle” can affect anything from something as small as a conversation with a friend, small actions like my letter to the DOL, or national movements. We’ve all seen this before. Take gun violence as an example: A shooting happens, there’s a loud public outcry for meaningful change, people get educated on what needs to happen to make said change, and either are or are not willing or able to help facilitate that change. At this point, some form of change (which may or may not be deemed enough change) either does or does not happen, but the reason for why things go one way or another are complicated and vary by movement and are a whole other discussion. So then we skip to a gradual decline in interest, generally, because life moves on. People are only capable of giving their energy to so many things at one time. The work for change then moves to the quieter periphery led by a smaller group of people until the next big wave of public interest comes.[2] If a problem is rooted in a human context, take, for example, the amazing work the survivors of the Parkland school shooting did in its aftermath,[3] then that upsurge of support and sustained change tends to be easier to galvanize So, what does any of this have to do with being thankful, as is the focus of this month’s issue? Well, there are two things I want to highlight First, for as crazy, sad, and scary as this year has been in so many directions, I feel fairly con dent in saying we have all seen two things in action. One, we have all had a peek behind someone(s)’ curtain. We have all seen the extraordinary work of healthcare providers trying to keep us safe and healthy, and it’s given us an unprecedented look at how hard they work. Parents are getting a new perspective on what teachers go through to educate their kids. Teachers have had to nd new ways to work with students, parents, and staff (and all vice versa) to effectively educate their students. All of us have seen some, as yet unseen, facet of someone in our lives this year Two, we have all seen the “Issue Attention Cycle” at work with public attention booming and then waning and then booming again over masks, the pandemic in general, social justice, and a myriad of other issues. As grim as the “Issue Attention Cycle” can seem in its inevitable loop, I think we can use it and the peeks we’ve gotten behind the

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healthcare workers in general, to as speci c as a partner, friend, or colleague who has kept you grounded during dif cult times this year. So, I suggest using this newfound perspective to our advantage to have dialogues with people in our lives about things they want help changing to make their lives or industries better. If we work together even as public interest, or each other’s focus wanes on an issue we can move the work to the periphery and continue to make progress. Maybe together, when that next wave of interest comes, whether that’s for something you were trying to change in your life or the picture stuff, we can have put in the work to incite lasting change the next time around Second, I want to take a minute to highlight loneliness and COVID. As is, probably, unsurprising loneliness has spiked while we’ve all been distancing.[4] Living with chronic conditions has prepared me for this somewhat, in that at times, it can be lonely and scary to know that for as much support as I may have, at the end of the day it’s just me against the disorder. We’ve heard from healthcare providers, patients, and each other that the virus has taken its toll on us all, and that sometimes we all feel lonely. Speaking from experience, the antidote to that loneliness is peeling back the curtain and talking about it. Especially during this time of year when we’d all like to come together to celebrate. It’s easy to get bogged down in that loneliness. Give someone a peek behind the curtain and talk about it. It won’t be the same as sitting around a table with whatever your holiday spread of choice would be, but if we all lean on each other and turn back the hands of the “Issue Attention Cycle” in whatever capacity that may be. We can forge a brighter tomorrow. Finally, I’m going to be mildly sel sh and issue some thankful for(s) on a more personal level. First and foremost, I’m thankful for Allié, Jack, and the entire Awareness Ties family for allowing me to work with you to make the world better. I’m thankful for you, whoever is reading this, I really hope something in these columns has been useful for you. I’m oored that people actually think what I have to say is valuable and I’m beyond honored that you take the time to read these, whoever you are. Also, if ever any of you have questions or want to have a dialogue about something I bring up or want to talk about something else entirely feel free to reach out. Thank you teachers, healthcare workers, other essential workers, and everyone in between for keeping us all going. Last but not least, so many people, many of whom I didn’t know before reaching out or being introduced, have taken time out of their lives to help me with my job search, obviously being under no obligation to do so. I am deeply humbled and grateful for your generosity Thank you all so very much. Here’s to putting in more work for a brighter tomorrow [1] Unfortunately, a lot where I get the social science explanations for things like the Issue Attention Cycle are from notes and textbooks from my time in college that aren’t publicly available. Below are a few, fairly dense, resources, but feel free to ask questions if you have them https://fbaum.unc.edu/teaching/articles/Downs_Public_Interest_1972.pdf https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/ les/kahneman/ les/attention_hi_quality.pdf https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/analyze-community-problems-and-solutions/de ne-analyze-problem/main [2] https://fbaum.unc.edu/teaching/articles/Downs_Public_Interest_1972.pdf [3] https://time.com/longform/never-again-movement/ [4] https://time.com/5833681/loneliness-covid-19/

JOEL CARTNE Lawyer, Awareness Ties Of cial 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.

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curtains in our lives to our advantage. Odds are, this year you’ve felt thankful for someone. It can be as broad as


Just take one step. ENDA O'DOHERTY

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER & AUTHOR

76 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ENDA O'DOHERTY

NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH AN IRISHMAN EMPOWERING BY EXAMPLE

“I connected with Enda only a few days ago. He’s one of those special people you are thankful to meet. After a single conversation, our rst in fact, I felt as though we’d known each other for years with introductions to our spouses and kids, along with dinner invitations exchanged in the same call. Enda’s story is a powerful one that speaks to the core constants of our humanity that can be used to overcome any and all of life’s many variables.” - Allié M.

“I wanted to remind people to put down the heavy load, ask for help, get counseling, seek medical advice but don't suffer on your own.” Allié: For those who have never trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro with a washing machine on their back, can you please tell us what’s that like? Please share exactly what you did and why Enda: In preparation for climbing Kilimanjaro with a washing machine on my back, I completed 9 marathons in eight straight days. I carried my washing machine to highlight that many people carry a hidden load which tragically can end in suicide. I wanted to remind people to put down the heavy load, ask for help, get counseling, seek medical advice but don't suffer on your own. Your mental health matters! Your life is magical and beautiful and matters. The story of the happy Irishman went viral. It did exactly what I hoped it would do. My story has inspired people to speak about mental health in a positive way, to seek help, to be kind, to reach out and care for each other and to support mental health charities in their communities. While the challenge of climbing the world's tallest freestanding mountain with the washing machine on my back or doing 9 marathons in eight days was incredibly physically challenging, the truth is it was my mental strength that allowed me to complete these challenges. When times were tough and I wanted to stop, I was faced with the same decision that faced me on the start line. Just take one step. Sometimes I believe we must simply place one foot in front of the other. Focus on our purpose and be determined. Let our light shine and inspire those around us.

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“Intelligence, positivity and inspiration are all contagious. Make sure you surround yourself with people who are infected.” Allié: Kilimanjaro isn’t the only physical feat you have on your resume. Fill us in on the rest Enda: Being an alcoholic, I lost my happiness and my physical tness. I went from drinking 4 bottles of whiskey a week at the battle of Vodka to completing my rst Ironman. At Ironman UK, I fell over the nish line at 16 hours. Like I often do in life, I made a list of all the things I would like to change and improve for a second Ironman race. I arrived on the start line in Sweden leaner, faster, smarter than I had been two years earlier. I managed to improve my time by three hours. The Iron Man slogan is “anything is possible”. This is what led me to attempt 9 consecutive marathons carrying my wash machine on my back. I had hallucinations, lost my toenails, had extreme nausea and broke both of my feet. Yet on no occasion was I going to stop. As an athlete I discovered I'm not the fastest in the world, but there are very few people who can match me for my mental strength. In preparing for these extreme endurance events, I learned the magic of persistent, consistent effort and surrounding yourself with a brilliant team. Intelligence, positivity and inspiration are all contagious. Just make sure you surround yourself with people who are infected.

Enda O’Doherty An Exclusive Interview w/Allié McGuire of Awareness Ties

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Sometimes I believe we must simply place one foot in front of the other. ENDA O'DOHERTY

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER & AUTHOR

79 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


“Every day I ght a battle to stay sober.” Allié: You’ve faced a lot of challenges physically, what about mentally Enda: Mental challenges are often the most dif cult in life. Being an alcoholic has been so tough. It's not like the u or an upset tummy that passes. It's with you forever. Every day I ght the battle to stay sober. Some days are easier than others. When I set out to inspire people on these epic adventures with the washing machine, I encountered self-doubt, fear and impostor syndrome. I have battled through the dark cloud of depression and overcome the debilitating terror of panic attacks If we listen to the negative voices in our heads, they can constrict our life and take away our happiness. Every time I had a negative thought, I took a positive action. I re ected, planned but most important for my mental health and for the success of my adventures, I took actions! I believe that fear is like cellophane. If you continue to wrap yourself in it, it will immobilize you. Most people fear what other people will think of them. The greatest gift I received from these adventures was the ability to think clearly, take decisive action, not be a prisoner of fear, to take one step forward and enjoy the adventure of life - for the average person that's 28,000 days. I strive to make each of those days positive, happy, and full of purpose and meaning. The fundamental thing that makes us human is our humanity! I've been trying to reach out and change others’ lives. Quite simply, that's why we're here.

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I’m Fine! Thoughts on Life, Addiction, Love and Health Enda O’Doherty

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Enda O’Doherty, an inspirational speaker and endurance athlete who has taken on some of the worlds toughest challenges. His endurance, drive and passion and ability to convey a message have made him a much sought-after speaker. An incredible endurance athlete whose mindset and mental toughness sets him apart, completing 9 marathons in 8 days, an incredible feat while carrying a washing machine on his back makes it an incredible achievement. Constant change, progression and growth have seen him attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, 19,000 feet with a washing machine on his back.


I've been trying to reach out and change others’ lives. Quite simply, that's why we're here. ENDA O'DOHERTY

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER & AUTHOR

81 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


NOW PLAYING

TOO LONG HAS THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE BEEN HELD BEHIND CLOSED DOORS SHROUDED IN STIGMA AND SHAME. TOO LONG HAVE PEOPLE SUFFERED ALONE, UNSURE AND UNCERTAIN OF JUST WHERE TO BEGIN. NOW IS THE TIME TO GIVE MENTAL HEALTH A SPOTLIGHT TO BE CLEARLY SEEN. NOW IS THE TIME FOR SO MANY SILENCED VOICES TO BE LOUDLY HEARD IN DISCUSSIONS DESIGNED TO DISMANTLE THE STIGMA AND BUILD A DIALOGUE WHERE MENTAL HEALTH CAN BE OPENLY DISCUSSED WITH HONESTY. WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS NOT ONLY HEAR IN THE UNITED STATES, BUT BEYOND OUR BORDERS ACROSS THE GLOBE. IN THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES, WE ARE CALLED TO SEEK ANSWERS AND FIND SOLUTIONS. THESE ACTIONS BEGIN AWARENESS, AND AWARENESS STARTS WITH CONVERSATION. IT'S TIME TO TALK. GET EXCLUSIVE ACCESS VIA KNEKT.TV: BEAWAREBEHERE.COM/TALKMENTALHEALTH VISIT WWW.AWARENESSTALKS.COM TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SERIES.

FEATURING

ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS JONNY BOUCHER DR. JENNY MARTIN PRODUCED BY

PRESENTED BY

AWARENESS TIES

KNEKT


I woke up that day numb and tingling all up my left side (that still persists). KYLE KRANICH

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AWARENESS ADVOCATE

84 AWARENOW / THE THANKS EDITION

www.IamAwareNow.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KYLE KRANICH

JUST KEEP MOVING

ONWARD AND UPWARD DESPITE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS “Like many who seek community for comfort with a new diagnosis, I was no different. I met Kyle on Instagram when I was searching for others who have Multiple Sclerosis. I continue to be inspired by what he posts and am thankful for the interview I had the pleasure of conducting and recording with him.” - Allié M. Allié: Everyone who has Multiple Sclerosis has a different story to tell about when it began and how. Love to hear your story, Kyle. What were the symptoms that led to the prognosis, and when were you diagnosed

“I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a train.” Kyle: I had optic neuritis and an uncontrollable bladder for a few months leading up to May 4th, 2011 when the real onset began. I woke up that day numb and tingling all up my left side (that still persists). I had double vision, my legs felt like they each weighed 200 lbs, along with a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms. I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a train.

KYLE KRANICH An Exclusive Interview w/Allié McGuire of Awareness Ties

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“…I feel like the world is conspiring in my favor.” Allié: Multiple Sclerosis is a disease with an endless number of battles, from fatigue to insomnia and vision problems to balance issues. What are the three hardest ghts with MS that you’ve had to face Kyle: Declining mobility has devastated me, the continued optic nerve damage is terrifying, and the uncontrollable bladder is probably the bane of my existence

Allié: In every challenge we face in life, there is always a win to be found. In living with MS, what are the wins that you’ve found? Are you thankful for the challenge Kyle: I tell people that at times this has been a blessing in disguise in so many ways. I truly feel like I can conquer anything that is thrown my way. To paraphrase from that book, ‘The Alchemist’, I feel like the world is conspiring in my favor

Allié: For those newly diagnosed with MS, what advice for their road ahead would you like to share? Kyle: Keep moving. I spent a lot of time not moving, and I think that is when MS can really take hold and do damage

Allié: Tell me about the Kyle you envision 5 years from now. Where will he be? What will he be doing Kyle: In sharing my MS experiences, I’ve been meeting great people all over the world. It is con rming for me that in 5 years I will be growing this community and aiming to help anyone not only dealing with MS, but autoimmune conditions at large

Connect with Kyle on Instagram @gottakeepgoing_

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Keep moving. I spent a lot of time not moving, and I think that is when MS can really take hold and do damage. KYLE KRANICH

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AWARENESS ADVOCATE www.IamAwareNow.com

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It is okay to make traditions that are comfortable for you, and re ect the uniqueness of who you are. PROVIDENCE BOWMAN

AWARENESS TIES PROJECT MANAGER & COLUMNIST

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PERSONAL STORY BY PROVIDENCE BOWMAN

FRIENDSGIVING

NEW TRADITIONS FOR A NEW REALITY When we think of the holiday season, we think of tradition. The turkey grandma always makes, the horrible sweater your uncle insists on wearing in all the photos, and the heaps of leftovers that we are stuck taking home. However, just like we have changed our approach to so many things in 2020, how we approach this holiday season is not exempt from change. Thanksgiving is a time where we think about family gatherings, football, and Black Friday. But truthfully we have been Black Friday shopping all year online to pass the time, half of us cannot remember the last time that we watched a football game and cannot recall the rush of stepping into a stadium, and many of us fear hurting our families by engaging in traditional holiday get-togethers. Social gatherings should be smaller and more intimate, for everyone’s safety. We have created small circles of people that feel like family; people we have grown with through these trying times I am so overly grateful for the friends, opportunities, and change of pace that this year has brought - for the traditions that have been created and the bonds that have solidi ed due to the con nes of this overshadowing pandemic. We have all suffered greatly due to this pandemic and the time that we have had with others has been greatly cherished. We have created virtual interactions, intimate in-person get-togethers, and properly socially distanced engagements. I am 21, and Thanksgiving looks a little different for me. I consider my friends to be family. The relationships we have built over the years, the memories we hold, and the traditions we‘ve established are just as important as the ones that I have made with my family. This is the core group with whom I will create new memories, new traditions, and new stories because we will have the shared experience of 2020. Gathering around our tables this year will look unavoidably and vastly different than years past. It is okay for traditions to change; it is okay to make room for different people at your table. It is okay to make traditions that are comfortable for you, and re ect the uniqueness of who you are. This year it has become inherently important that we make the best out of what we have, the people that are around us, and the blessings we enjoy. Gratitude and giving thanks should abound despite all the challenges we have passed through and that still may be lurking just around the corner. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, what the political climate is, or what is on the table. It is always important to break bread with our community one way or another. Throughout this holiday season we need to take care of ourselves, those around us, and the family and friends that we are yet to meet. Let us embrace this new season of life, this holiday season, and those that we surround ourselves with in our circle of the world. PROVIDENCE BOWMA Awareness Ties Project Manager & Columnist
 www.awarenessties.us/providence-bowman Providence Bowman is a college student attending Grand Valley State University, studying International Relations. She is passionate about using her words for good and is currently piecing stories together in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to spend her free time traveling, with her head in a book, and by the water. She lives everyday by her mantra that we are here to pursue opportunities and “go be awesome”.

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Anxiety is here to stay. Let’s learn how to deal.

Your Therapist is Anxious, Too

AVAILABLE NOW

www.youranxioustherapist.com


SUICIDE IS A PREVENTABLE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. YOU C A N BE TH E O NE TO STA RT TH E CONVERSATI ON . H F T D.O R G


WE’RE ALL TIED TO A CAUSE.

WHAT’S YOURS?

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AwareNow: Issue 10: The Thanks Edition  

In 'The Thanks Edition' of AwareNow Magazine we explore finding gratitude in giving and thanks found in living.

AwareNow: Issue 10: The Thanks Edition  

In 'The Thanks Edition' of AwareNow Magazine we explore finding gratitude in giving and thanks found in living.