My brother Phil, with his arm around Wayne. Wayne died this week ending their 60 years of togetherness.

Life, Death, Luck, Love

My elder brother Phil was born 70 years ago in Detroit, Michigan with a tiny bit of a tag on one chromosome. That, plus a difficult forceps delivery, caused him to have cognitive brain damage and a slight case of cerebral palsy. He has never been able to develop an intellectual capacity beyond second grade level. …

How an 11 year old’s gift comes back to her when she’s 23.

I just got off the phone with my daughter Andra who is 23, living in LA, making $9 an hour as a production assistant, trying to break into the writing business. As do all artistic hopefuls, she has gathered a community of like-strivers who have blended their talents to write and produce a web-series called “Under The Table.” It’s a dark comedy about making hooch to make a living, but it’s infused with underlying themes of struggle, feminism, social justice, being human and being noble — as is her personal story: Will she make it trying to bring her unique…

“Where was the peace when we were getting shot? Where’s the peace when we were getting laid out? Where is the peace when we are in the back of ambulances? Where is the peace then? They don’t want to call for peace then. But you know when people really want peace? When the white people have to get out of bed, when cops have to wear riot gear, when the cops start talking about, oh we got broken arms. Then they want peace. … Peace? It’s too late for peace.” — Alexander, Baltimore resident

Riots and me go way back.

The above quote is from an…

We are both the hero and creator of our own lives… and our courage does not exist without creativity.

I just read a fantastic article called “The Confidence Gap,” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. In their first sentence I recognize what has been my unconscious strategy for decades:

For years, we women have kept our heads down and played by the rules. We’ve been certain that with enough hard work, our natural talents would be recognized and rewarded.

Kay and Shipman spend the rest of the article proving their point that “confidence matters as much as competence” and while women are competent, they aren’t making the leap in business due to The Confidence Gap. I agree – if…

I’m at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio with my elder brother Phil who was born with a cognitive disability. I’ve spent more than half a century plumbing the depths of how differently we are abled, and how to push past barriers that hold us both back. …

Why making meaning means more than feeling good.

So many first-world people like me are consumed with the pursuit of happiness, where many other-world people are consumed with just staying alive. I’ve often thought if I were a woman in a refugee camp, I would be so upset to know there are folks in the world with SO MUCH and they aren’t even happy with it. But the more I think about it, people who are disempowered don’t need us to be happy. They need us to evolve.

The happiness thing is an easy sell, so believe me, it gets sold. The spiritual ideal of happiness may come…

Gail Whipple

Spark Studio: Shine a light, power a change.

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