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Overflowing with joy to share — and seven new parks

OVER-FLOWING-WITH-JOY-TO-SHOverflowing with joy to share — and seven new parks

Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle.

 Overflowing with joy to share — and seven new parks  — Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle. I embraced this bit of wisdom when I read it in “Creating a Bug Free Mind,” the book I am currently studying in an effort to gain control of my mind. Author Andy Shaw posits that the majority of us do not use our minds and in fact, it uses us.  An efficient way of regaining control, he suggests, is to examine your thoughts frequently and ask, “Does this thought take me toward my goal, or away from it?” Depending on the answer, you can easily choose to pursue it or discard it in favor of a positive thought aligned with your goals. Besides the fun I’m having practicing this conscious way of living, a host of positive things are occurring simultaneously that are amazingly aligned with my goals. I would not argue cause and effect, but if cascading wonderment flowing into life is the result of holding a consistently positive outlook and expectation, I’m all for it. My overarching goal is to be a fully evolved human being living in a world of justice and brotherhood. Outdoor Afros in action  (Pictured) (WSJ photo). (Read full story on www.thewestsidegazette.com or visit www.legacyontheland.com)

I embraced this bit of wisdom when I read it in “Creating a Bug Free Mind,” the book I am currently studying in an effort to gain control of my mind. Author Andy Shaw posits that the majority of us do not use our minds and in fact, it uses us.

An efficient way of regaining control, he suggests, is to examine your thoughts frequently and ask, “Does this thought take me toward my goal, or away from it?” Depending on the answer, you can easily choose to pursue it or discard it in favor of a positive thought aligned with your goals.

Besides the fun I’m having practicing this conscious way of living, a host of positive things are occurring simultaneously that are amazingly aligned with my goals. I would not argue cause and effect, but if cascading wonderment flowing into life is the result of holding a consistently positive outlook and expectation, I’m all for it.

My overarching goal is to be a fully evolved human being living in a world of justice and brotherhood. A signpost along the way will be to see our publicly owned lands system fully reflective of the diversity of humanity that makes up our country, with equal access and opportunity for all.

So In the midst of the upheaval in our country focused on redressing the disparate negative effects that policing has on black life, the following developments make me feel that we are getting closer to the achievement of my first goal:

Rue Mapp and Outdoor Afro organized “Healing Hikes” around the country promoting a counterpoint to the cry for help that has become the focus of outrage, “I Can’t Breathe.” The hike emphasized that we need nature now more than ever. Simultaneously, Rue’s dedicated efforts to reconnect African Americans with nature are richly extolled in this Wall Street Journal story, thereby stimulating greater awareness of this issue around the country.

At the same time, our DEL Speaker Carolyn Hartfield’ OPALS (Older People with Active Life Styles) hiking group is being featured on CNN around the country, with a longer feature scheduled to play in a gazillion doctor’s offices in the month of January.

Closer to home in Fort Lauderdale, Frank and I had the privilege to visit the Big Cypress National Preserve last Saturday and speak about the contributions of the African American logging workforce that felled the big cypress trees in the middle of the 20th century, providing the lumber that fueled American progress.

The Swamp Festival featured more than a score of presenters and hundreds of participants, including Joe Browder who was instrumental in the creation of the preserve and the widow of conservation pioneer Johnny Jones. Members of the community who’ve been invested in the area even before it became part of the National Park System including Captain Franklin Adams and Mrs. Adams were in attendance and added their first-person experiences.

And, this week the South Florida Times published the first of a series of article they’ve asked us to write about the environment, and it began with the delicious story of Frank’s boyhood in nearby Dania.

The absolute icing on the cake is this message from our friends at the National Parks Conservation Association, which invites us to take a hand in creating seven new parks and expanding nine others! WHO wouldn’t want to do that?

“Congress is on the verge of making history—lawmakers will introduce a bipartisan package of more than two dozen national park bills on the floor of the Senate for passage this week. The package, already passed by the House, represents the largest expansion of our National Park System in more than three decades and includes:

  • the creation of seven new national park units
  • the expansion of nine national park units
  • the approval of resource studies for eight possible park sites
  • and the funding authorization extension of 15 Heritage Areas

“These new sites will deepen our knowledge of America’s history and tell American stories of innovation, science, and nature-strengthening our country’s best idea, the National Park System.

“Many of these bills have been years in the making, including the designation of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York and Maryland, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in Nevada, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park with sites in Washington, Tennessee, and New Mexico. These places deserve to be preserved for all Americans to experience and enjoy.

“This bill package is the result of true bipartisan leadership shown by members in the House and Senate, and it breaks a five-year stalemate on public lands measures in Congress. National parks continue to bring together people across the political spectrum to benefit all Americans…”

In my last message I shared the growing focus on removing lands from the federal system, so this is truly our chance to counter that by being pro-active and getting more lands put into the public domain to benefit the citizens of our country. Take action to support that by contacting your senators here.

The passing of a recreation giant

December 5 marked the passing of a giant in the outdoors/environmental field, and thankfully, Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi raised up a generation of outdoor lovers and nature stewards to take his place. As part of Richard Louv’s Children & Nature Network and the creator of New York programs that connected young people with the outdoors, Brother Yusuf inspired thoughts such as this from our beloved Juan Martinez, National Geographic Explorer:

“He showed me the patience and love of a servant warrior even when I could not hear it. I will forever cherish our times together. A light and flag of a proud legacy is rising to the sky.” God speed, dear brother!

Misidentified photographer

In my last message I misidentified the gorgeous photo of the Golden Arch in Arches National Park as being an NPS photo. The photo was actually taken by our friend DEL speaker, author and adventurer James Edward Mills, to whom I heartily apologize for the error.

Here’s the ultimate point of  this  message: If maintaining a spirit of happiness and positive expectation are keys to attaining a fulfilling life, how are you doing? Just knowing we  have that choice makes a difference to me.

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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