War Zones and Cultural Disconnects

PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION COVER FACE 3Our book, “Perception and Deception: A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures,” is getting incredible reviews and selling like hotcakes (or roti, sushi, tacos…)! Quite a few successful, internationally renowned professionals leading multicultural lives—a famous news anchor, an ambassador, journalists, professors—have written on Amazon to tell us how much they’ve learned from the book. Check out the reviews for yourself. As Joe tells us:

I wrote the book because I think that in this age of globalization, more and more cultures are coming together in ways for which we are not prepared. We don’t understand the real intent behind behaviors, behind images, gestures, and how we use our voices.

Perception and Deception‘s author, Joe Lurie, is born a storyteller. Most of his speaking engagements to promote the book have been sold out, including the one in the video below, taken at the Commonwealth Club of California.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll share excerpts of Joe’s talk there. This first clip, below, is four minutes long, and in it Joe discusses the cultural disconnects in modern war zones.

Perception and Deception is a great gift for anyone who would benefit from taking some time to reflect on what is really involved in communication across cultures, even or especially those who live and breathe it on a daily basis. Copies are available through Amazon.com or your local bookstore. Through more effective intercultural communication we can build justice, equity, respect, and collaboration in our world!

“Those who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
—F. Nietzche

Venezuela: We Want to be Heard!


Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

One of my oldest and dearest friends is Venezolana, a teacher who loves her country, fights for the future of children, and hates what’s been happening there—15 years of runaway inflation, shortages, insecurity, lack of opportunities. She write me, “Ay, comadrita, all of this is so sad. They are killing the students. We are very scared. Please pray for us.”

Yesterday we received this very disturbing report, which we immediately passed on via our social media: The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch, by Franciso Toro. The lack of power, lack of voice, lack of justice, finally met a breaking point. People protested. And the reaction from Maduro’s government was swift and violent. Caracas, Valencia, Mérida and San Cristobál have become like war zones.

Protests began innocently enough, with traditional cacerolazos (beating of pots and pans) lead by upstanding citizens. Our friend’s sister is a choir leader at her church; she was attacked by colectivos—state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles—in front of her church while beating a pan. Her glasses were stolen, her photo was taken, and she was threatened with death.

I am repeatedly told that people in Venezuela feel cut off from the international community. Twitter is their only way to really communicate. They desperately want everyone to know what’s going on and how we can help them trying to make change with people power. The Venezuelan diaspora is organizing, called “SOS Venezuela.”

Please do what you can to raise awareness and get help their way. We can transform our world. There is power in each of us, some small step we can take, towards justice and peace.

Check out these additional photos.

Spiritual Traditions, Passover and Easter Greetings

Throughout my life I have felt strongly that most of the world’s spiritual traditions, paths and practices share a great deal in common. Of course they have significant differences, and in understanding those differences we come to appreciate the true beauty of each. At their core are perhaps some messages hugely important to all of us and the well-being of our world.

Please allow me to wish those of you who practice a blessed Easter and a blessed Passover, Pesach Same’ach. I would like to take this opportunity to share with everyone a prayer and hymn which I sing in my heart frequently during my travels, whether I’m journeying through daily life or through the world at large. While it is a Christian hymn, I believe it carries a message that resonates with many of us who embrace interculturalism and diversity.

First in Spanish, as I most often hear it and think it living here in Mexico, then in English. The words are from Saint Francis of Asisi.

Hazme instrumento de tu paz,
donde haya odio lleve yo tu amor,
donde haya injuria tu perdón Señor,
donde haya duda fe en ti.

Hazme instrumento de tu paz,
que lleve tu esperanza por doquier,
donde haya oscuridad lleve tu luz,
donde haya pena tu gozo Señor.

Maestro, ayúdame a nunca buscar
querer ser consolado sino consolar,
ser comprendido sino comprender,
ser amado sino yo amar.

Hazme instrumento de tu paz,
es perdonando que nos das perdón,
es dando a todos que tú nos das,
y muriendo es que volvemos a nacer.

O Maestro hazme un instrumento de tu paz.

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring you love,
Where there is injury your healing power,
Where there is doubt true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness only light,
Where there is sadness ever joy.

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consolded as to  console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

O Master… Make me a channel of your peace.

Please, share with some of your favorite prayers, meditations and blessings, with a bit of context so that we might learn, won’t you? Another of my childhood favorites comes from the Navajo tradition, but I will save that for another time.