I first published this blog in 2017, focusing on New Yearâ€™s Resolutions. Upon revisiting it, I still feel it’s relevant. Community involvement and activism are more crucial than ever. I updated it with new goals that are pressing right now.
To honor Dr. King on his birthday, lets focus on service. Maybe we can improve the world around us- even just a little. Warning- this blog expresses my personal feelings about our leadership, which may not be in alignment with yours.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
- Martin Luther King
The world, planet earth, is in dire straits. It is easy to feel hopeless when each and every day we are assaulted with deceptive government that has no bottom to its corruption and depravity.
But we can feel empowered and inspired to make the world better. Seeing the Mr. Rogers movie is reminds us of the power of kindness. Watching Greta Thunberg, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, take on climate change empowers us to transform anxiety into activism.
It is heartening that many of us feel galvanized to be activists. There are many ways, small and large, that we can make the world a better place to live. I frequently focus on my immediate community by donating acupuncture treatments to local schools and charities. By organizing block clean-ups. Last year I donated a thanksgiving dinner to my neighbors at the Bethesda Project.
Here are 20.20 ways to improve yourself in 2020: This list only scratches the surface. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Stand Up for Women: On January 18th, marches are organized in Washington and Philly and probably many other places across the country.
- Stand Up For Reproductive Rights: Donate to Planned Parenthood: they are often a woman’s only source for gynecology services. Our right to choose when we are ready to parent is increasingly more threatened. Consider donating to the Women’s Medical Fund https://www.rhd.org/program/womens-medical-fund/, which provides emergency funds for abortions.
- Stand Up for People with Disabilities: No one should be discriminated against because they have limitations. Now that we have a hydraulic massage table, Six Fishes’ office at Grays Ferry is fully ADA compliant. Even the colors on our website are ADA compliant for those who are color blind.
- Get in Shape and Do Good: Want to get fit and raise money for your favorite charity? Check out this great app: Charity Miles, which tracks your steps and donates money to the charity of your choice based on your mileage. It’s perfectly fine if you feel better about yourself in the process.
- Stand Up for The Transgender Community: Trans and Gender fluid folks make you feel confused? Oh well- show respect anyway and make an effort to use their preferred pronoun. I admit to still stumbling over they, which just sounds plural to me. But I keep working on it. Ask open questions to learn more about peopleâ€™s journeys. Need more help with this? This link might be helpful.
- Stand up to Bullies: And while we’re at it, let’s teach kids to be kind. Here’s some guidance to help defend yourself if you or someone you know is bullied.
- Fight for Gun Control. Our students should not have to practice assault drills. Our worshipers should be safe in their churches and synagogues.
- Care for your neighbors: Shovel someone’s walk if they need help. Water their plants if they are away. Attend community meetings. Host a local potluck. Pick up trash on the street. Practice making your block and neighborhood just a little bit better.
- Fight for the Environment: We only have one body and one earth. Recycle plastic and batteries. Try your hand at composting. Hard to do in the city, but we use Bennet Compost. Also, consider this list of environmental charities. Fight climate change: Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Protect Animals: ASPCA. PAWS. Best Friends. The Humane Society. Here’s a fitness tip: volunteer to take a dog on a walk or a run. Both of you will feel better. We always donate our old sheets and towels to PAWS, which costs us nothing, yet helps to care for the dogs in the shelter.
- Fight hunger. Here’s a list of 10 charities. Philadelphia has Manna and Philabundance. In the past, planned for 2020, Six Fishes held a food and toy drives over the holidays. We are grateful to everyone who donated. I only recently learned that you can adopt a family through the post office and be their secret Santa. This is my plan for next Christmas.
- Fight pollution: Stop buying bottled water. If you have the option, walk, and bike whenever possible. Here’s a list of 10 easy green steps you can take. Protect our waterways; Clean water is a human right.
- Fight Homelessness. I already mentioned The Bethesda Project, which houses homeless men in Philadelphia. But how’s about Habitat for Humanity? Shop and donate at ReStore.
- Defend Human Rights. “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”. Thank you, Hillary. Here’ a PDF of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Fight Suicide and Depression: Many people have lost loved ones to suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death and its preventable. Many of our patients use acupuncture and herbs to help alleviate their depression. Each year I make a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- Fight Ignorance: Be curious. Read and discuss the real news. Explore new ideas. Learn about history. Go to a museum.
- Fight Illiteracy. One of my favorite local groups is Mighty Writers, which teaches children to think and write with clarity. With great pleasure, I’ve donated books to one of their reading groups.
- Support our Veterans. Many soldiers and veterans suffer from the effects of trauma without effective treatment within the military medical system. Acupuncture is a proven treatment. We like supporting Acupuncturists without Border’s Military Stress Recovery Project. We are proud to now be providers for the Veterans Administration.
- Protect our Refugees. We are a country of immigrants. Consider donating to Amnesty International. Fight deportation and help keep families together. In Philadelphia, there were many great marches protesting ICE. Others were demonstrating against families being torn apart and immigrants being held at the border. One organization is Never Again
- Protect freedom of speech. Nothing is more American, more patriotic, or more important than our First Amendment rights.
- VOTE. We still live in a democracy where we can choose who leads our country. ( I know, I know, Russia. Let’s look forward). And I’m looking at everyone who doesn’t feel heard or seen by the government. Make noise with your VOTE.
I thought that it might be challenging to find 21 reasons to give to the world, but once I got started, I could barely limit myself to 21. Rock a baby, help a senior citizen....... Can you add to this list? I'm sure I've missed a lot, and I'd love to know what you think.
I’ll sign off the same way I did last year:
I wish you peace, love, and even more love.
About Cara Frank, L.OM.
Cara Frank, L.OM., was raised in a health food store in Brooklyn, NY. When she was 8, she cartwheeled 5 miles from Greenwich Village through Soho and Chinatown and across the Brooklyn Bridge. For nearly 40 years, she has had the same crazy passion for Chinese medicine. In 1998 she went to China to study where she fell deeply in love with Chinese herbs. Since then, she has devoted her life to studying and teaching the topic.
Cara is the founder of Six Fishes Healing Arts and Six Fishes Neighborhood Acupuncture, in Philadelphia, where she acts as the head fish of two warm and lively offices. She is also the president of China Herb Company.
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