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Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Turn Suffering into Joy

By Judy Kinney, Lesbian Life Coach

I have said it a zillion times- joy is our natural state of being. Still, I understand that joy can seem illusive or disrespectful at times. Recently, people have asked me,

How can I be happy when there is so much suffering happening in my own life and in the world?

How do I create my own life, be sensitive to those around me, AND help create this world of ours?

Central to this question is our ability to be sovereign beings in relationship with others. I believe that joy may be our conduit to developing this essential skill. Feeling good is a very personal experience, yet I believe it may be impossible to feel joy and feel isolated from life and all its glory.

Feel joy and be connected or be connected, and feel joy.

This idea may be easy enough to understand, but now, let's reconnect to this issue of suffering and distress.

First, let me say that I believe that it is our reaction to the event, not the event itself that creates our suffering. I sometimes struggle with this belief, but it still guides me.

You may have seen this for yourself when two people experience the same event and have completely different reactions. I am seeing this a lot these days. Some people lose their job and are happy, others are miserable. I have read that some people in Japan are experiencing an increased sense of connection, community and power since the recent tsunami. I am sure that you have read of people facing incurable diseases who are happier than they have ever been in their life.

Still, while suffering is a part of our common human experience, it never feels good. You know as well as I do-feeling bad because someone else feels bad only creates more bad feelings. Within each of us there is the desire to connect and be apart of something bigger than our self AND a fundamental desire to feel good.

A lot of people are feeling lost in a chasm between joy and distress these days. Intellectually, joy may sound good, but how do any of us make a discernible difference?

I have developed a practice called iJoin, that helps people turn sorrow into joy. This practice helps heal the sorrow and the distress you are experiencing or perceiving in the world.

iJoin is an adaptation of the Buddhist idea of sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy, or mudita, is joy in the fundamental goodness of all beings, especially the pleasure that comes from delighting in rather than begrudging others’ well being

There are a couple ways to work with the practice of iJoin. You can use iJoin when you want relief from your own despair, frustration, or hopelessness. You can also use this practice as a form of prayer for others who are suffering.

How it works.
  1. Identify the related joy
  2. Join or align with the joy.
For example, rather than ranting, feeling powerless or ignoring the US entering into yet another war, I find the joy that I am seeking-peace. Rather than praying for others to change, I say this statement of prayer before going to bed or as I come across war-related news.

I join with ALL those who are committed to peace.

This statement aligns my energy with the millions of people who also value peace. Note that I am not engaging in a conversation about the right or wrong way to obtain peace. Instead, I am tapping into and feeding a common human desire for peace. As I express my iJoin statement, I feel connected to MILLIONS of people. I am directing my energy to expand peace in my life and in the world.

When I get nervous about my coaching business, I say,
I join with ALL those who are thriving while courageously creating their life.

And suddenly I feel a surge of confidence. As I think about other people's suffering, I also imagine their joy.

For my friend who has a lot of job worry and despair, I say,
I join with Sara in her desire to have a vibrant, welcoming, and well-paying job this year.

For those living in Japan, I say,
I join with ALL those who are creating an ever more vibrant Japan.

For those who are afraid of change and take it out on others, I say,
I join with all those who find their powerful heart even in the midst of fear.

iJoin is a form of prayer, but instead of fixing something or feeling hopeless, you tap into the goodness, joy, and power that already exists in your heart and in each of us.

I will be exploring this topic further on my
Facebook page. Stop by with questions and let me know what you're experiencing through your iJoin practice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 GLAAD Media Award Winners

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives in the media.

GLAAD Media Award recipients were announced in 25 of this year's 32 media categories at the Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented in New York by ROKK Vodka at the Marriott Marquis on Saturday, March 19. The remaining awards will be presented at ceremonies to be held in Los Angeles and San Francisco in April and May.


Vito Russo Award
Ricky Martin

Excellence in
Media Award
Russell Simmons


Outstanding Drama Series
True Blood

Outstanding Digital Journalism - Multimedia
"Bridal Bliss: Aisha and Danielle" by Bobbi Misick

Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)
"Klaus & Greta"
30 Rock (NBC)

Outstanding Talk Show Episode
"Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)

Outstanding TV Journalism - Newsmagazine
"Gay Teen Suicides" (series) Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)

Outstanding Newspaper Article
"Rutgers Student Tyler Clementi's Suicide Spurs Action Across U.S." by Judy Peet (The Star-Ledger Newark, N.J.)

Outstanding Newspaper Columnist
Frank Rich (The New York Times)

Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage
Denver Post

Outstanding Magazine Article
"What Happens When You Find the One...And He's Nothing – Nothing – Like You Expected?" by Allison Cooper (O, The Oprah Magazine)

Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage
The Advocate/Out

Outstanding Digital Journalism Article
"View From Washington" (series) by Kerry Eleveld (

Outstanding Digital Journalism - Multimedia
"Bridal Bliss: Aisha and Danielle" by Bobbi Misick (

Outstanding Blog
Joe. My. God.

Outstanding Comic Book
X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)

Outstanding Los Angeles Theater
Something Happened by L. Trey Wilson

Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off-Broadway
When Last We Flew by Harrison David Rivers

For more info, check out their website at

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Senator Feinstein and the Courage Campaign Repeal DOMA

Today, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) once and for all. She was joined by her colleagues Sens. Leahy, Gillibrand, Blumenthal and Coons. She has opposed DOMA since 1996 and she believes it’s time to erase this stain from our history books once and for all.

Last month, President Obama and Attorney General Holder announce that DOMA is unconstitutional and indefensible. But with Speaker Boehner moving to intervene in the courts, it’s high time we begin our fight in Congress.

While the Prop 8 case winds its way through the courts and DOMA remains on the books, same-sex couples will continue to be denied the right to marry. In California, home to one of the largest populations of same-sex couples, Senator Feinstein believes that we can do something about it.

As a member of the Judiciary Committee, she is going to step up to represent her constituents and fill that role. But it will still be a long, hard slog.

Sign up for her campaign to repeal DOMA. Then, ask 5 friends to do the same. We don't take these efforts lightly, and know that we need to build a mass movement that can make calls, write letters, and mobilize your fellow citizens at a moment’s notice if we’re going to win this battle.

Click here to add your name to the list and stay informed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Falling in Love in Six Acts...As True Today as it Was Then?

I recently came across this Nike ad from the late 90's. I remember reading it years ago and when I read it again today, I found it just as interesting as I did then...

A passion play
(Or what happens when you fall down that long well of passion
over a person, a place, a sport, a game, a belief, and your heart goes boom and your mind leaves town.)


(I think I love you. Who are you anyway?)
Here it is, the big "Wow," the big "Gee," the big "YesYesYes" you've been waiting for. This is where you find something or someone and believe they are better, greater, cuter, wiser, more wonderful than anything you have ever known. Lust isn't a sin, it's a necessity, for with lust as our guide we imagine our bodies moving the way our bodies were meant to move: we can do marathons with our feet, lift pounds with our arms, have stars in our eyes and do a nifty tango. And you think: I have no need of food, I have no need of sleep, I have no needs other than occasionally chewing a breath mint. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me, probably because you haven't happened to me yet. Now I can pass into the next Act, so poetically called:


(Or: Oh Yippee, you're mine.)
You feel funny inside. You feel funny outside. You feel you could do anything and no one would dare laugh at you. This love, you will treasure. You will not put it in the basement next to your rowing machine, treadmill, and thermal body sweat wrap. And you will not take this love for granted, because that is the biggest sin of all. And you say: I feel so good, I feel so strong, I feel actually attractive and I could learn to live with that feeling. Oh let us sing and dance and eat brown mushy foods low in fat! Oh joy! Oh rapture! ----- Oh but what if I'm no good at this? Oh I am no good at this. I am a dingy speck on the wall of humanity and look how badly painted that wall is! I am becoming very, very afraid. That must be because I'm passing into the Third Act, called:


(Also known as: Uh-oh.)
This is where the doubt begins, where the mind comes back from shopping, yells at the heart, binds and gags it to a nice lounge chair and allows guilt, failure, and remembrances of things past to sit in for a nice game of bridge. This is where you fear what you need most. If it's a person you love, you fear appearing foolish in front of them. If it's a sport, you fear being foolish in front of many, many people at the same time. And you begin to think: oh no. What if I'm wrong? What if this stinks? What if my heart has blinders on, it's had blinders on before, in fact it had dark heavy patches taped all over it. How can anyone love me if I don't love myself? I mean, I love myself, there are just parts between the top of my head and the bottom of my feet that could use some improvement. I'm not demeaning myself, I have relatives who do that.


(And the strange desire to eat everything in sight,
hide in your room, and watch old Gidget movies with friends from high school.)
Now comes that unavoidable time when you say to anyone who will listen: what the heck am I doing, anyway? If it's a person you love, first you hate only their foulest inadequacies, then you start hating their good points as well. If it's running you love, you start to hate hills, sidewalks, and bad weather, and soon anything that slightly resembles a bump, concrete, or a small breeze. I can't believe I ever said I felt this way, I must have been dreaming! Wait, THIS IS NO DREAM, THIS IS A FILM NOIR MOVIE, and one of those really dark ones, too. I mean, this is love? This is what they tell you about when you're 11 and naive? Or 32 and more naive?


(Love is hard work. And, sometimes, hard work can really hurt.)
Love is a game. If they didn't tell you before, we will tell you now. Love is a game and if you play you either win, lose, or get ejected before the game is over. There are no ties. Maybe you'll lose and learn some great meaningful answer from it all (like if it looks too good to be true, it is). It's easy to love something when you don't have to work at it. It's harder when it asks something of you, you just might be afraid to give. GIVE IT ANYWAY. The heart is the most resilient muscle. It is also the stupidest. So if this love you've found is good to you, hold it, keep it, shout about it. If it isn't, then maybe you should just become very good friends.

(Also known as the big whopperdoodle, or,
the most important part of this whole darn thing.)
So this is love, as demanding and nourishing and difficult as it can be, and as strong and wise as it makes you become. There is something to be gained from commitment. There are rewards for staying when you would rather leave. And there is something to be said for running up that hill when you would rather slide down it. And so you let love come perch upon your shoulder. And you do not turn it away. You do the tango.
Just do it.

Check out the original ad here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Independent Lesbian Films on Demand

Most of us have had the experience of using a video-on-demand site to watch a movie online. And although many of the on-demand companies offer a variety of films, most of them are very limited when it comes to independent lesbian films.

BuskFilms is a new video-on-demand site showcasing the best in Independent Lesbian short films, full length features and documentaries from around the world.

Buskfilms founder and CEO, Andrea Wing, recently stated in a online interview that she hopes independent lesbian and queer films, which often disappear after gay film festivals, will be available on demand through Buskfilms.

“A few years ago I was online looking for quality lesbian content and there wasn’t anything available that was easy to find,” Wing said.

“I was on YouTube a lot of the time and that is quite limiting in what it offers. As a filmmaker and also a film festival-goer, I knew there was a lot more indie film out there I couldn’t find access to."

“Thus began a process of figuring out how to build a platform to find this and to cost effectively deliver it as well.”

Buskfilms prides itself on the way it is designed to give a proportion of it's download revenue directly back to the film maker.

“Coming from a filmmaking background myself, the point is to put money back into pockets of the filmmakers and by doing that we hope, or we know, that once filmmakers make money off projects, more projects are made and that’s the point of it all,” says Wing.

“The good thing about the lesbian filmmaking community is that it’s such a tight-knit community, so if one filmmaker has their film on the site and realises some benefits from this, often they’ll speak to their friends and colleagues. We’re hoping it will bring in more films and attract more filmmakers.”

Buskfilms works like most on-demand movie sites. It is divided into several categories: Action/Adventure, Busk Picks, Cmedy, Documentary, Drama, and Sci fi/Fantasy. You simply click on a movie that looks interesting, then you can read a short synopsis, or watch a trailer. If you decide to watch the film, you can download it for a minimal fee, with most films costing about $1.99 to $3.99 US dollars.

While Wing and her business partners are presently focusing on lesbian films, there is plenty of room for expansion to include gay films at a later date. “We really wanted to specialise coming out of the gate, but we deliberately chose an androgynous name, so we can bring in the boys later.”

To check out the site for yourself, visit


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