When you look at me, you’d have no idea that I was anything but a relatively young, financially stable, healthy male (even if some who see me in public think I am a "Islamic" terrorist but that's another story for another day). If you talked to me you might think I was intelligent but hardheaded. You might think it rude of me to be so blunt (I've been called "challenging") or not get up for a woman or child on the bus. …


Check out this livestream I made to help you use the whirlwind of emotions they're feeling right now to connect with your superpower!


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Change does not happen at the ballot box or at a protest or with petitions. Change can only happen if we first work on allowing ourselves and others to be imperfect and allow ourselves to need others. Without vulnerability and self-compassion, we cannot expect fundamental change to happen. Waiting on the powerful or even the masses to do the right thing instead of you is like expecting the scorpion not to sting the turtle. (Cultural appropriation alert: In the original Persian story it was a turtle, not a frog.)

Politicians will never do more than throw us a few crumbs. They know they have the power and they know that there is little chance that they will face any consequences for ignoring protests or paying the lip service with no follow-through. In the US, there are, however, significant consequences for ignoring Department of Defense contractors (who use the huge portion of the budget and all of the corporate welfare they receive to back up threats of funding an opponent or of moving jobs out of a politician's state/district) and evangelical Christians (who represent the US’s largest voting bloc because they make up 25% of eligible voters whose voice is amplified by the electoral college and through the many forms of voter suppression that limit the voices of other, usually marginalised, groups). …


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tl;dr It’s usually a personality disorder designed to protect them from abuse whose aversion to trauma is so powerful that they are locked in their harmful behaviour and they should be kept at the very least at arms’ length and in conversations that have very limited scope and rigid boundaries. It’s important not to let them get you doubting yourself or feeling bad for not being able to find a convincing argument to counter theirs. They often start arguments just to make your lose your cool or make you feel powerless and get the upper hand. They’re locked in a vicious circle created by trauma and nothing you do will ever change that or change how they treat you. Labelling them as “bad” does nothing to help you. It’s best to walk away and forget them. …


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Amtrak:

Having travelled coast to coast to coast on both, with a neon Free Hugs sign no less, I have to say that Amtrak has better coach class seats on long- and short-haul trips, their short-haul routes have better food, there is more frequency and more routes, better access to major cities and the prices tend to be lower. Especially their rail passes. Also, it’s hard to beat the views and wildlife you can observe going through the Rockies, along the Pacific coast, in the Southeast AND Southwest, in the Pacific Northwest and along the Hudson River. And I’m mesmerised by all of the places Amtrak crosses the Mississippi River. Of the two, only Amtrak has high-speed trains as well as sections of high-speed rail used by standard trains. …


Why a universal basic income is a band-aid but not a solution.

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As the pandemic continues, and most places still have stay-at-home orders in place, many people have been calling for a Universal Basic Income. Presidential candidates, party leaders, activists and liberals have all demanded a universal basic income for the people. Some have touted it as the logical solution to make things equal and accessible and many love the idea of being able to count on basic necessities being taken care of and some even go as far as to suggest that a universal basic income will solve hunger and homelessness. Most of the aid programs that have been announced in response to the financial hardships the pandemic has caused have been very clearly geared toward workers who lost income due to the pandemic as well as businesses. Apparently the poor, the disabled and the elderly can't be trusted with cash and must go begging at food banks and other NGOs. In light of this, I can understand why people would think that giving everyone the same amount of money is a just and therefore desirable outcome. …


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A friend (Patti Digh) asked her Facebook friends (public post) what kind of society we should build as a result of what we are learning from this pandemic.

This was my response:

For any revolution to be successful we must first start to allow ourselves to be less than perfect and not expect someone else to set the table.

Utopias do not fail because they are utopian. They fail because we expect the utopia to do the work we need to do ourselves. First, self-compassion. Then vulnerability. Accepting that we are designed to need others. Needing help is a feature, not a bug. Simultaneously, we must step into our personal power to make change. …


The significance of celebrating Passover during this pandemic

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I usually love Passover because, despite all of its moving parts and fastidiousness about deep cleaning and minding what we eat, it is a time that I like to call “ego detox”. Consider the difference between matzah and bread. Aside from the leavening agent which fills it with pockets of air, the recipe for both is pretty much the same. However, on Passover, we only eat matzah and are very strict about eliminating bread or things that rise (chametz) or can be confused for flour. In fact, one of the Four Questions that we train the youngest among us to ask is “Why is it that on every other night we eat chametz AND matzah but tonight we only eat matzah? My answer to this question is simple: That leavening agent is the equivalent to the ego. It’s what we use to puff ourselves up and make ourselves look bigger than we are so that others will “respect” us more — but it lacks authenticity. Matza, on the other hand, which lacks a leavening agent, is referred to as “lechem oni” or poor man’s bread. I would argue that it is not poor in a negative sense but rather in one that, like most Jewish practices and rituals, is meant to help us reconnect with our true selves and to recognise, with humility, the outside help we all need by design. It’s time to change up the way we do things and re-evaluate how we lead our lives. And boy, does this Passover come at a time where we are being forced to change up how we do virtually everything! My hope is that we can seize this unique moment in history. Rather than focus on what has been forbidden to us during this time, we can reconnect with our true selves, shed some of the unhealthy ego-driven behaviour we have come to see as desirable, or even just normal. The story of Passover recounts how the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt which in Hebrew is called Mitzrayim. The etymology of Mitzrayim refers to a narrow place and our opportunity in reliving the exodus is to free ourselves from our own personal Mitzrayim. Given that the Israelites relocated to Egypt to reunite with Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers only to rise from the rank of servant to that of viceroy, it follows that Mitzrayim symbolises the self-imposed limitations we have each placed upon ourselves for the sake of our egos and even in pursuit of what we believe to be our best interests. …


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People want to know why it’s so hard for Jewish people to denounce Israel’s human rights violations. Let me try and explain.

First let me say that it baffles and angers me that Israel treats anyone badly given what the Jewish people have been through. To understand what is happening you must first understand that our trauma, which studies has shown is passed on genetically through the generations, is being exploited by the white patriarchy for profit. This is not an excuse and I would NEVER say it was. …


Dear Ms Omar,

You are getting a lot of backlash for what I do not doubt is a well-intentioned tweet calling out AIPAC for their undue influence on US lawmakers. You were right to call out the role of money in politics these days and to include AIPAC. That said, I wish you had done something like your colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did last week and make it clear how easy it is for anyone with money to influence US policy and not gone directly at one of the many special interest groups pushing pro-Israel legislation to the exclusion of many others. Unfortunately, by doing so you have employed a dog whistle that implies that Jewish people are corrupting the world. …

About

Arié Moyal

Founder of HugTrain, a movement (literally!!) focused on empowerment through small actions

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