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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Animal Kinship Ministry: An Interview with Rose Tingle

According to the Humane Society of the United States, four million cats and dogs…about one every eight seconds…are put down in U.S. shelters each year. In addition, they estimate that six to eight million cats and dogs enter shelters each year. And that doesn’t even begin to describe the issues many animals in the wild face, and not just in regions experiencing some kind of crisis like the Gulf of Mexico, where so many species are currently suffering in the wake of the oil spill.

An animal lover her entire life, Rose Tingle recently decided there was something she could to help animals in her community. She started an Animal Kinship Ministry at the Center for Spiritual Living, Capistrano Valley (CSLCV), where she has been a member for many years. Her ministry educates people and helps support animals in her area.

In addition, the group has had fundraisers to support several animal rescues, including a horse rescue and a wildlife rescue. In April, they invited the Humane Society University to conduct their workshop on Compassion Fatigue for people in animal care and rescue at CSLCV. And in January, they assembled spiritual leaders from multiple faiths to conduct a group blessing for the animals at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

Shelly Rachanow: What gave you the idea to start an Animal Kinship Ministry?

Rose Tingle: I was inspired by a series of articles which appeared in the magazine published by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S. The series began with an article, “The Kindness Revival: Why don't churches preach compassion for animals?” I approached our minister, Dr. Heather Clark, and she was open to another opportunity to serving our congregation and the community, so I organized a team of volunteers and our Animal Kinship Ministry was created.

Shelly Rachanow: How can people do more to help animals in their community?

Rose Tingle: Spay and neuter their pets. Adopt their pets from shelters or animal rescues. Studies indicate the majority of pets are obtained from family or friends. People need to realize that when they allow their pet to breed, their offspring may eventually wind up in a shelter. Approximately 50% of dogs and 75% of cats that come into a shelter are euthanized. I would never take the chance.

Shelly Rachanow: What's the most important thing you want readers to know?

Rose Tingle: As Marc Bekoff, author of The Animal Manifesto states, “Some people ask, 'Why are you working for animals when there are so many people who need help?' ... Caring for animals doesn't mean caring less for humans. Compassion begets compassion. When we learn to be compassionate to all animals, that includes humanity.”

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the "If Women Ran the World Blog" question for everyone: What would you do if you ran the world?

Rose Tingle: End “factory farming.” Capitalism does not have to allow animal cruelty. And animals at shelters should not have to pay with their lives just because they are homeless. I think most people are compassionate, so it is just a matter of education, awareness and prayer. It does not matter whom you bestow compassion upon, animals or otherwise. We all benefit.

To be added to Rose’s email list so you can learn more about educational elements and issues that affect all animals, contact Rose at roselite@comline.com.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dramatic Adventure Theatre: An Interview with Mary K. Redington

Mary K. Redington co-founded Dramatic Adventure Theatre less than a year after graduating from Concord University in May 2006 with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts where she studied Public Relations and Theatre. While participating in the theatre program at Concord, Mary was an active member and later an officer in her schools chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a National Honors Theatre Fraternity.

She helped her chapter with many community service projects including programs to help raise money for local charities such as victims of domestic violence, aids victims, and sexual assault awareness, as well as programs designed to promote appreciation for the visual and fine arts divisions at her university.

Since DAT's start in 2006, Mary has played a key role in the day-to-day operations as well as holding the position of Production Manager while acting and traveling through Zimbabwe during the workshop process for the original work, "Voices from Zimbabwe" in the summer of 2007 and again for "Flight 360", the first Ecuador Project, in the summer of 2008. She is currently planning/ producing ACTion:Ecuador 2009 – the emerging artist project.

I first met Mary just before she was leaving for Zimbabwe in 2007, and I was immediately impressed with her fearlessness, her commitment to making a difference, and her willingness to help the people in this world who need it most: Our children who often don’t have the voice or the power to speak for themselves. Though I’m more than a decade older than she is, I want to be like Mary when I grow up.

Dramatic Adventure Theatre’s mission is to provide the opportunity for artists to perform around the world, to explore the unknown and the familiar, and to become intimately involved with distant communities in order to build a platform where ideas, talent, and original works can be shared.

Shelly Rachanow: Mary, tell us more about Dramatic Adventure Theatre.

Mary K. Redington: DAT is a theatre company that ACTS!! I co-founded the company in 2006 with my now husband, Jesse Baxter. Long story short, we wanted to figure out a way to make touring theatre less, "Here's our play, bye" and more fulfilling for the audience and actors alike. We realized the missing component was community service.

We strive to empower artists, to be true-story tellers by devising new work, and to engage, making real honest human connection.

Shelly Rachanow: You've done amazing work, both here in the US and overseas. What are some places you've visited?

Mary K. Redington: Our first project was in Zimbabwe, and since then we've worked on three different projects in Ecuador. My husband and I have independently scouted Colombia, and we traveled throughout the United States speaking to colleges and universities and holding auditions. We've also had independent scouts in Australia, Germany and Jordan/ Egypt.

Shelly Rachanow: What kind of impact do you want Dramatic Adventure Theatre to make?

Mary K. Redington: I want DAT to get people thinking outside the box. As a theatre artist, you're trained to reach for two goals, Broadway and Film. We are a part of a movement of people looking at theatre in a new way. The nature of working as an artist creates a narcissistic character: They're MY new headshots, MY updated resume, MY agent, My audition, and it has to be this way. It's the way you survive as an artist. We want artists to have an opportunity to break that cycle, to be able to perform acts of community service and teach their art all over the world.

Shelly Rachanow: What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in your travels?

Mary K. Redington: "There's no reason to worry, unless there's a reason to worry." This is our mantra. I don't always listen, but I strive to. As a business owner, and Executive Director, I'm in control of a lot of stuff. One of the biggest things I've learned is that I can't control everything (again, that doesn't stop me from trying). I can't have everything my way. If I did everything myself, my way, under my control, I wouldn't have the time or space to grow into who I want to be. I have to take things one day at a time, tackle issues as they arrive, and listen to other advice and ideas in order to really enjoy myself in the moment, whether I'm home, or abroad.

Shelly Rachanow: What advice do you have for people who want to make a difference in their communities or around the world?

Mary K. Redington: Think about the work you want to do and ask yourself, "Is there someone else doing this in my area?" If the answer is yes, ask yourself how you can support their work. Don't start a new highway clean up club if there is another one in place, you'll end up cleaning the same stretch of highway twice. Work to support good systems that are already in place, you'll clean up twice as much highway!

Secondly, if you have a new idea, go for it. I can't tell you how many times people say to me, "How are you going to do THAT?" when I tell them about the newest project. I don't know, I never know, I just figure it out. Take your guts out for a spin!

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Mary K. Redington: If I ran the world, I would develop an intricate system of passionate leaders. I would choose to focus on Art and Arts Education – it is more of a priority than our leaders make it. I would create a world where everyone worked on something they were passionate about. This is not to say our current structures would fall, we still need our trash picked up and the windows on skyscrapers washed, but I would design a structure in which people who weren't fulfilled by their job would have time to focus on a passion, too.

Running my start up, young company is hard work. It's like having a four year old, I need to care for it all of the time, but it's because of my passion for the results I am able to work through the night and really rally when I need to. If everyone was allowed this kind of joy and satisfaction from their work, it's my opinion that the world would be a better place.

To learn more about Dramatic Adventure Theater, visit: 



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Open to Inspiration! An interview with author Andrea Hylen.

On her website, www.opentoinspiration.com, author Andrea Hylen says “I am a writer, speaker, minister of spiritual peacemaking, mother, daughter, friend and lover of life. I am here to learn and grow and share. I am here to observe, reflect, participate and wake up. I am here to wake up to the fullness of who I am.”

In the nearly four years that I have known her, she has proven time and again that she is all of those things and more. And as an author, she has made it her mission to help others wake up to the fullness of who they are, too.

In September 2008, the name “Open to Inspiration” came to Andrea in a dream. Those words eventually became the title for her book, which details her summer of self-discovery during a 10,000 mile road trip with her teenage daughter, Hannah, as they went to a series of Jonas Brother’s concerts. The trip began as Andrea’s wish to help Hannah heal after the death of Hannah’s father. It evolved into a trip that healed Andrea’s heart, too.

Late last year, Andrea sold her house and everything in it and moved to California with Hannah. They are currently living in Los Angeles…and they are open to inspiration.

Shelly Rachanow: You're involved in a very exciting writing contest right now! Tell us about it.

Andrea Hylen: James Twyman (an internationally renowned best-selling author, filmmaker and musician) and Robert Evans (from the Messenger Network) came up with an idea to help spiritual authors get their message and books out into the world. The contest is called “The Next Top Spiritual Author” and Hampton Roads Publishing will publish the winner’s book. They winner will also receive a $50,000 promotional package, including things like a website to promote his or her book.

There will also be a prize for three additional people: James Twyman will pitch their book to several other publishing companies, opening the door to other possibilities.

As I watch the unfolding of this journey, I personally think Hampton Roads will publish more than one book.

Over 3,200 authors entered the contest. In Round 1, the authors created a short video or audio pitch to tell people about their book idea. The concept in Round 1 was to test the authors’ ability to promote their book idea. 75% of the score was popular vote. 25% was a review of the author’s video/audio by one of the other authors in the contest.

Round 2 is going on now, and 271 of the 3,200 authors are in Round 2 of the contest. In this round, the authors posted a book proposal, the draft of a chapter from their book and the video/audio from Round 1. The scoring is 50% based on popular vote and 50% from a book committee selected by Hampton Roads Publishing that will score the book and the proposal.

The name of my book is, Open to Inspiration: The summer a woman discovered herself with a teenage daughter and the Jonas Brothers on a 10,000 mile road trip.

Voting for Round 2 ends on June 24. Here is the link to my voting site. http://www.NextTopAuthor.com/?aid=49

Only 50 authors will advance to Round 3.

Shelly Rachanow: That’s so exciting! What inspired your book idea?

Andrea Hylen: The story started with one concert. It was a FREE Jonas Brothers concert in Philadelphia, a two hour drive from our home in Maryland. It was also the 2nd anniversary of the death of my husband. My youngest daughter, Hannah, had requested an afternoon of pop/rock music instead of another sad ceremony to honor the death of her father. As I watched Hannah laugh and dance and connect with people again, I was immediately hooked on the Jonas Brothers.

Eight concerts and eight months later, Hannah asked if we could go to ten concerts during the summer of 2008. I was hesitant until I had an experience in the 8th concert during one of the songs. I discovered that the concerts I was going to, with the hope of helping my daughter heal her heart, were also healing mine. I was beginning to feel alive and in love with life again.

The book is the demonstration of an experience of opening to inspiration. What does it look like when you listen to your heart, step into action, trust and let go and enjoy the adventure? I share stories that happened along the way in my relationship with my daughter, myself and life.

Shelly Rachanow: What are some of the most important things you learned along the way?

Andrea Hylen: I remembered the essence of who I really am. I began a process of peeling away layers of the words I used to define who I am – mother, Girl Scout leader, teacher, Destination Imagination coach, homeowner, 51-year-old woman and more. They were only words I used to give myself value and definition. Without them, who am I? Experiencing who I am without all of the labels, listening to my inner voice, and watching my daughter discover her own uniqueness were the greatest gifts.

Shelly Rachanow: How are you using your experience to help others and make a difference?

Andrea Hylen: My deepest passion is to encourage people to live life and follow an inspiration within them. I do this by living open to inspiration and sharing my passion through speaking and writing about it.

I have created a series of monthly spiritual audios on topics like grieving, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance. I have 4 e-books that will be available this year called An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey series.

I have a blog where I share an ongoing journey of opening to inspiration. My daughter and I sold our house and everything in it to move from Maryland to California in 2010. We have been living in hostels and hotels and sublet apartment space. I share the wide variety of emotions and experiences at http://www.andreahylen.blogspot.com/.

Shelly Rachanow: What's the most important thing you want to share with people to help them feel happier and more fulfilled?

Andrea Hylen: Feel everything. Embrace feelings and let go of the labels of bad and good. When the door is closed to feeling sadness or disappointment or conflict, the door is also closed to more joy, more fun, and more experiences in life. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Let go of figuring it all out before taking a step towards your passion.

Most of the sadness I feel now is when I don’t take a risk and follow the guidance of my heart or when I follow someone else’s path.

Imagine it is the last day of your life. Look back and think about how you have lived and what you have experienced. Are you happy with what you see? Did you take the time to look in the eyes of the people around you? Did you listen to your heart? Did you stop and look at roses, a bird flying, the land and nature around you? Did you listen to the words of a song?

It is the little moments that are the most meaningful. Wake up to what is right in front of you.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Andrea Hylen: I would add classes of inspiration to school curriculums. The classes would teach students to connect with their inner voice. There would be guidance and self-reflection to discover the true calling and purpose of their lives. No matter what job they had for work, they would always know their underlying gifts. Learning how to stay connected from the inside out will help in learning and living. Add 10 minutes onto the first class and spend time in silence connecting to their inner self.

So much time is spent trying to get someplace. It can sound so cliché to say enjoy the journey, but that is the truth. I would teach this to the children. Every day when my husband would go off to work, I would kiss him, look him in the eyes and say, “Enjoy the adventure.” Every day is an adventure in your life. I would like children to remember this throughout their lives.

To connect with Andrea, visit her:

Website is http://www.opentoinspiration.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AHylen
Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrea.hylen
Email: opentoinspiration@gmail.com
Blog: http://www.andreahylen.blogspot.com/

To vote for Andrea’s book, visit http://www.NextTopAuthor.com/?aid=49.