Monday, February 23, 2015

Rising the Flag on Iwo Jima

Seventy years ago, on February 23, 1945, five United States Marines and one United States Navy corpsman planted the American flag on the peak of  Mount Suribachi on the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima. 

Not many people know that the 37-square-foot flag actually came from Pearl Harbor. The flag was discovered in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot only a few months earlier by a young Navy officer, Allan Wood. 

The invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945, after the fall of Philippines. Iwo Jima was used by the Japanese as an early warning station. The island was heavily fortified. The Japanese infantry kept secure positions in their underground bunkers and "pillboxes" that were connected by a myriad of tunnels. The bloody and difficult battle resulted in heavy casualties among the invading US Marines. It lasted until March 26, 1945, but the peak was taken only four days after landing.

The iconic shot was taken by an Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal who received a 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

This image inspired Felix de Weldon to sculpt the United States Marine Corps Memorial that was dedicated to all Marines who lost their lives in wars, past and present. The Monument is located near the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC. It is a constant reminder of an incredible sacrifice and bravery of men who loved their country more than anything else. 

By Dominique Allmon


Image source here

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Year of the Sheep!

February 19, 2015 - February 7, 2016

On February 19, 2015 Chinese people all over the world celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Sheep. In this cycle the sheep is associated with the wood element.

Sheep (Yáng) is the eighth animal in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese ideogram for sheep also stands for goat and ram. This is why the the Year of the Sheep is also called the Year of the Goat or the Year of the Ram.

Chinese astrologers predict a rather quiet and prosperous year since sheep is generally associated with feminine energy, harmony, tranquility, and balance. The number eight is in itself symbol of luck and prosperity. 

Year of the Sheep is a perfect time for love and passion, art and beauty, creativity, abundance and prosperity. This is also the time for introspection and the time to break free from negativity. If you feel stuck, you will be able to finally resolve your problems. You may need the support of others, but be aware of unhealthy dependency. Explore your connections (guanxi), but use your judgment. Get rid of everything that prevents you from growth, happiness and fulfillment.

Since this year is also associated with the wood element, astrologers predict a year of growth and renewal. This is a good news for all people trying to make it in business. Growth and stability are badly needed after a capricious and unpredictable Year of the Horse. Focus on your goal and your hard work will be rewarded. 

The Year of the Sheep is a good year for gardening, for travel and exploration, for creativity and restoration. Use your time wisely.

新 年 快 樂 !
Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Year of the Sheep! - Dominique Allmon


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giordano Bruno

Celestial Proportions IV by Tallmadge Doyle

Giordano Bruno was born in Nola near Naples in 1548. His exceptional intellectual abilities were soon noticed and he entered into the Dominican Monastery in Naples where he studied, among other things, Aristotelian philosophy. When he began to postulate his own ideas of the Universe he came to the attention of the Inquisition in Naples and then in Rome. To avoid persecution he left Italy in 1576 to live in France, England, and Germany where he studied, taught, and published many books. 

During these years abroad Giordano Bruno studied the writings of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and others. He not only adhered to the Copernican view of a central sun but he believed that the stars were also suns lying at a tremendous distance from earth. He wrote, lectured, and passionately argued his ideas of the universe being infinite and vast and the possibility of an infinite number of worlds inhabited by intelligent beings. He spoke of God as being immeasurable and being present in all things. He was outspoken about his ideas of free thought and speech.

Monument to Giordano Bruno at the Campo dei Fiori in Rome

After returning to Italy in1591 he was soon arrested by the Inquisition and sent to Rome for trial. For eight years he was kept imprisoned, periodically interrogated and tortured. 

After receiving his final sentence of death he said: "Perhaps you my judges pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it." Refusing to recant a single word his tongue was pulled out by his executioners and he was burned at the stake in Compo dei Fiori in the middle of Rome on February 17, 1600. 


Images source here and here

To learn more please click here

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Love never dies a natural death. 
It dies because we don't know 
how to replenish its source. 
It dies of blindness 
and errors and 
It dies of illness and wounds; 
it dies of weariness, 
of witherings, 
of tarnishings. 

Anaïs Nin

Wishing everyone a very happy and sensual St. Valentine's Day! 
Keep your love alive! ~ Dominique


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Speak Your Mind!

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret. - Shannon L. Alder

Dear Ms. Alder! I know someone who was put in a situation like this not that long ago. He not only spoke his mind, but also consciously decided that nothing has the power to throw him off the chosen path and I admire him for his strength and determination. 

See, my dear friend joined a group of people who decided to make a major change in their lives. They were working hard for more than twenty weeks: weekly webinars, very long daily reading assignments, weekly blogging and networking with other participants of a program. 

I will not go into details here, but for the sake of clarity I want you to understand that the program was designed to help people discover their hidden potential and to develop a so called Master Mind. 

My friend is a man of exceptional qualities and integrity. He is a former Marine who served in the Vietnam War at a very young age. He worked on B1 Lancer and also in the Space Shuttle Program at the Space Center in Florida, but is very humble about his personal achievements. He joined the above mentioned program out of personal need for change. And for weeks he worked diligently reading, writing and networking.  

The Master Mind program is a very powerful tool and it requires a lot of self-discipline. It addresses personality, character, behavior, physical body and spirituality. Many people embrace the program with hope for grand changes in their lives, while others drop out after first few weeks when they realize that this is not what they expected. There are also people who continue with the program despite inner doubt. And some will not bother to do what they were asked to do by the organizers. They do not write blog posts and do not have much interaction with others. But not my dear friend. He worked hard from the very beginning despite the fact that he works full time, has a long distance relationship and has to take care of three young, demanding pets.

The program required a great dose of introspection and at some point, as participants progress in their self-discovery, they are forced to change their entire life philosophy. The entire framework of habits and beliefs collapses as they look deeper and deeper into their souls. Personal growth and transformation are very painful processes at any age, but I believe that fully formed adults suffer more than younger people. They have to revise and reevaluate everything they have learned and done in their lives, and have to face incredible inner resistance to change that comes from within and from without. They have to overcome the strong temptation to give up and return to the safe zone they cultivated for years if not decades. Only the very strong and determined participants continue despite a genuine emotional pain and they receive very little little support when you consider that some of them become incredibly overwhelmed and may require a therapy.

The inner change is often accompanied by cascading events in Master Mind program participant’s life that make the day-to-day existence even more unbearable and yet, they try to follow the program despite the doubts that surface from time to time. 

This was exactly what happened to my dear friend after one of the last assignments he received. The inner struggle slowed him down and he did not publish his latest blog-post on time as it was required of him. What followed next borders on ridicule and reminds me of a first grade school experience. He was told that he was disturbing the harmony and was punished with exclusion from the program like a first grade pupil who got suspended from school for misbehaving. Rules are rules and you will be punished if you don’t follow them. There was no room for emotional or spiritual support. No tolerance for a man in crisis.

The most interesting thing in the whole situation was, though, that my dear friend did not break down completely. He was so strong and so wise, and so much beyond the framework of the program! I believe that he simply arrived at the crossroads where the program did not work for him anymore. He had the courage to speak his mind and I admire him for that. The “punishment” only precipitated his "liberation" from constraints and a decision to continue walking on his own chosen path. 

I do not intend to make a judgment about the program, but as an objective observer I have an opinion and it is a valid one. The whole program sets inner processes in motion, but the participants are left alone without much psychological support when catharsis occurs unexpectedly. This is quite irresponsible.

Most participants face their pain bravely and try to use help of their support groups. What they need while moving on is empathy and support, not punishment and exclusion. Such actions remind me of dubious gurus who punish and ostracize their pupils at will to exert desire behavior and submission.

Many people face punishment, exclusion and power play in their daily lives. Only the very strong can survive without a scar. Such a casual “mistreatment” in the Master Mind program seems a bit out of place, but it can also be used to some advantage.  It may help strengthen participants who were let go. A few weeks earlier they might have become desperate and even depressed, but now they are strong enough to deal with the situation and maybe even laugh about it. Just like my friend!

 By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2015