Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Gift of Giving‏

In this season of giving, the greatest gift anyone can give is the gift of self. No matter what we have or don't have, each of us has the power to make a difference through one small act. Kindness, compassion and generosity are the most precious gifts we can share.

Every day offers opportunities to do something good - walking past a homeless person, lining up for a cup of coffee, sitting in a cafe, riding in a subway or driving through New York's traffic congested streets. 

We only have to open our eyes and our heart to see the stranger standing next to us. Kindness is a gift not just for those less fortunate. A smile of recognition, an acknowledgment that one is not invisible but seen and felt by another human being is an act of empathy and compassion that connects us to one other, a warm reminder that we are not alone in the world. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Finding My Way

Antique Map of El Camino Frances

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is a spiritual journey that pilgrims have traveled for over a thousand years. The Way of Saint James emerged as the most traveled pilgrimage route because it offered medieval pilgrims a safer passage than the perilous trip to Jerusalem or Rome

By the 12th and 13th centuries, half a million pilgrims made their way to and across northern Spain  and back each year. The Kings of AragonNavarre and Castile built hospitals, hostels, roads and bridges to accommodate them.

The city of Santiago became the first major thoroughfare of Christian Europe, a meeting place for people from all nations and different faiths, an intersection for spiritual, economic and cultural growth stimulated by millions of pilgrims. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Empathy and Compassion in Society 2014: Compassion at Work

Here's a short video clip that encapsulates the speakers and talks at the recent 2014 Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Road to Sarria

The Spanish word camino can mean a trail, a path, a road, or a journey. The Way of Saint James invites us to a way of life, an inner journey. Walking the Camino is a pilgrimage through the landscape of our soul.

In medieval times, this pilgrimage was a sacred journey, an opportunity for transformation. Today, walking on the original pilgrim path connects us to the centuries old spiritual tradition. Walking with other pilgrims bound for the same destination makes the Camino a communal journey, uniting us in a pursuit of the sacred.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A New Year Peregrination: Walking The Camino

A year ago, I embarked on a life-changing journey by walking the ancient Spanish pilgrimage route, The Way of St. James, popularly known as the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. 

The experience of walking in preparation for the 100 km stretch to earn the certificate of a pilgrim (credencial) deepened my awareness of life as an inner journey. Letting go, shedding the baggage of daily tasks to free myself in pursuit of the sacred was a spiritual exercise that opened a window into this inner world. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Walking: The Art of Seeing and Being

A year ago, I embarked on a life-changing journey walking the ancient Spanish pilgrimage route, The Way of St. James - popularly known as the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. 

New York City across the Hudson River. [© Angelica Berrie]
The experience of walking in preparation for the 100 kilometer stretch to earn the pilgrim certificate or credencial deepened my awareness of life as an inner journey that leads us toward our better selves.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Air with Steve Adubato of One-On-One

Steve Adubato takes you inside this year's Russell Berrie Awards for Making a Difference with in-depth interviews with Angelica Berrie, President of the Russell Berrie Foundation, and several inspiring awardees.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Power of One to Make A Difference

Giving is a journey that opens our hearts to humanity. We are transformed by encounters with visionaries who inspire us with their ability to transcend obstacles and create miracles.

True philanthropy goes beyond the ability to write a check. The power of one to make a difference, creating positive change by giving from our deepest self, bringing our own experiences to create solutions, is the essence of giving. Each act of generosity is unique because it speaks of who we are.

Bringing the best of our self to create a better world is a priceless gift that everyone has the power to give. In every community, there are everyday heroes who teach us by their example that giving is not about money but is the gift of time, energy and imagination. Time is free and therefore priceless yet in our busy lives it is often easier to just send a check than to participate actively in making change happen.

Every year at the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards I meet the most incredible human beings who bring this gift to life into the work they do.

2014 Russ Berrie Award for Malking a Difference,
top Winners and Semifinalists.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning takes on new meaning as a way to reflect on our lives. 

The accumulation of things we acquire or amass in the past year, the clearing of energy in our homes so we create space for new energy to enter our lives, and the physical act of letting go that allows growth to happen.

Often, we settle into the inertia of passive living and need the awakening energy of Spring to nudge us into action.

May this Passover reflection energize you to engage in Spring cleaning with spiritual conviction.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Luminous Continent

Satellite photo of Antarctica
Inhaling pure oxygen after a long hard climb up a steep and icy slope in Antarctica, I look down at our ship as a sailboat drifts by and kayaks glide in the glacial waters below. 

Imagining myself alone on this frozen planet, I realize how American explorer Admiral Richard Byrd felt when he wrote: This is the way the world will look to the last man when it dies.” 

Picturing the scene as my last view of a world about to be lost, I am struck by the silence. In this world of ice and snow, all is deceptively still, even as the vast ice sheet that is the Antarctic Peninsula I stand on keeps on moving. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trekking Patagonia

Patagonia looks like nature the week after God created it. Land swelling like it had been lifted upward by some great surge, snowy mountains like fortresses, rivers that run as far as the eye can see, vast open skies that make you want to lie on your back and just absorb it all. Breathtaking nature that reduces us to a state of wordlessness. It fills you up inside and there are no words to contain what you see, no pictures to capture the sense of awe that stops you in your tracks and makes your whole body say WOW! 

Awakening to the view of Paine Massif mountain range along the shore of Lake Sarmiento in a dune-shaped hotel and spa was a perfect way to start the year. Clad entirely in bleached lenga wood to blend unobtrusively with the spectacular landscape, the eco-friendly lodging hugs the earth's contours.

You come to Patagonia to walk. It is one long endless walk surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes and skies so full of fluffy clouds you hardly see the blue between. You fill your water bottle from streams, hike for hours to stand in the shadow of majestic mountains, hear the thunder of avalanches up in the peaks and struggle to walk in whipping winds that blow snow sideways.