The Independent Life

28
Feb

Disability Dojo: Humility

On today’s dojo, Tony talks about what he considers to be one of the highest virtues and values that we as humans, can embrace: humility. What is humility, what is it not? The Oxford Dictionary defines humility as a modest or low view of one’s own self importance. Another definition of humility that Tony has found to be more fitting for himself personally, is that humility is freedom from pride and arrogance.

On this episode, Tony talks through the life lessons he’s learn, especially in regards to disability through the lens of humility and providing services. He shares that often times, his entryway into humility is going through an experience where he feels vulnerable, when he’s needing to ask for help- and in doing so, he’s leaning into his fears and insecurities. When he is then in a position where others are asking him for help, it provides him a life experience to draw upon and have empathy for others that he recognizes are coming from a place of vulnerability and perhaps just needing some assistance. A valuable lesson he’s learned is how humility provides an opportunity to be grateful for the things you have and to be of service.

 

If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know!

For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida

  • 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office)
  • 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
24
Feb

Legislative Update with Jane Johnson

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” -H.L. Mencken

We are back with Jane Johnson this week, as she provides us with an update for the current legislative session. 'Tis the season of legislators positioning themselves for future re-elections! So, what does this mean? This means we are in a legislative season where we can expect a lot of red meat issues that really pander to the base and can be very divisive. The issues that Jane and Tony cover on this episode, however, aren't those red meat issues that typically get overblown in the media. Instead, the issues we’re advocating for as a Florida Association For Centers For Independent Living are real issues that affect real people. Some of these issues are related to funding that will allow people to stay in their homes, to provide home modifications, durable medical equipment, and assistive technologies, to name a few. One of the most fruitful parts of today's conversation is to help us, the residents of the state of Florida and for anyone who follows politics, to not be bamboozled by issues that are meant to distract us. They also talk about what we can do to not buy into the issues that are intentionally meant to be illusive in order to create fear, division, and keep us polarized.

 

For helpful general information and links to the House and Senate websites, statutes, the Florida Constitution and a directory of Florida lobbyists visit: Online Sunshine

You can also visit:

 

 

 

21
Feb

Disability Dojo: Salvation Through Suffering

Salvation comes from finding purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in life. In our previous two long form interviews, we had the privilege of having Jacob Atem, who shared his story of survival, resiliency, and adovacy. In this dojo, Tony takes the opportunity to reflect upon the lessons and takeways he’s received from knowing and talking to Jacob:

  • Perspective
  • Resilience
  • Overcoming Inequities
  • Unity
  • Love wins

 

Listen to our Interview with Jacob:

 

Resources:

17
Feb

Resilience In The Face Of Adversity With Jacob Atem

Jacob was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on southern Sudan. The militia entered his village, killed men, kidnapped women and children and burned homes to the ground. Jacob was in a nearby cattle field during the attack. He ran to the forest with his older cousin to escape danger when he saw the smoke rising from the village. That day was the beginning of a thousand-mile journey for Jacob as he searched for protection amidst war.

During their journey, with northern forces closely behind, they often hid during the day and walked all night. With lion attacks a constant danger, they made timetables to decide who would sleep while the other stood watch. They ran from lion attacks and swam through alligator-infested waters, and eventually they made it to safety in Kenya.

Listen to Part 1 of our conversation with Jacob: Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Jacob Atem

 

Resources:

Jacob stayed in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya until he came to the United States when he was 15. He was sent to Michigan, where he lived with a foster family and received his high school and college education. Jacob traveled to the University of Florida to get his Ph.D. after he received his bachelors and master’s degree in Michigan. He currently lives in Florida with his wife, Linda, and his two kids, Samuel Dut and Theodore Yai. He graduated in December 2017 with his Ph.D. in environmental and global health, and he plans to use his education to help people around the world.

14
Feb

Disability Dojo: How to Beat the Resistance

On this dojo, we continue the dialogue on how we are all called to live our life’s purpose and it is our job to find what that purpose is. Unfortunately, many of us have an un-lived life because the of the resistance, an invisible force that can felt and heard, preventing us from living our calling. On this episode, Tony shares some strategies on how to beat the resistance, which aims to bring us down:

  1. Understanding and having faith that resistance is something that’s real
  2. Awareness and observing the resistance; being aware of the resistance and it’s negative voices and redirecting your awareness to more positive thoughts
  3. Be a professional; show up to do the work that’s necessary to not allow resistance to bring us down
  4. Having order and routine in our life to keep us on track and protect us against the resistance that will show up in our day to day lives
  5. Asking daily questions to set your mindset and intentions for the day: What can I look forward to, what do I need to look out for, and where can I bring the joy?
  6. Building a wall of virtue; what wall of virtue do we need to build to fortify ourselves against the resistance
  7. Patience; being able to have the patience with ourselves as we journey on this path of always having to face that resistance
  8. Self-love; loving ourselves enough to go live our calling
  9. Treating success and failure the same
  10. Be free from the opinions of other people
  11. Be inspired and not passionate; to be inspired is to be within our spirit
  12. Specific skill based strategies on how we can beat the resistance
  13. Memento Mori: Realizing our own mortality and living our life like this is our last day and living it to the best of our capabilities

 

Resources:

 

10
Feb

Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Jacob Atem

Jacob was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on southern Sudan. The militia entered his village, killed men, kidnapped women and children and burned homes to the ground. Jacob was in a nearby cattle field during the attack. He ran to the forest with his older cousin to escape danger when he saw the smoke rising from the village. That day was the beginning of a thousand-mile journey for Jacob as he searched for protection amidst war.

During their journey, with northern forces closely behind, they often hid during the day and walked all night. With lion attacks a constant danger, they made timetables to decide who would sleep while the other stood watch. They ran from lion attacks and swam through alligator-infested waters, and eventually they made it to safety in Kenya.

Jacob stayed in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya until he came to the United States when he was 15. He was sent to Michigan, where he lived with a foster family and received his high school and college education. Jacob traveled to the University of Florida to get his Ph.D. after he received his bachelors and master’s degree in Michigan. He currently lives in Florida with his wife, Linda, and his two kids, Samuel Dut and Theodore Yai. He graduated in December 2017 with his Ph.D. in environmental and global health, and he plans to use his education to help people around the world.

 

Resources:

7
Feb

Disability Dojo: How the Resistance Manifests in Our Lives

In this dojo, we continue the conversation on the resistance and talk specifically about how it shows up and how it manifests in our every day lives. Tony walks us through the different ways that resistance can manifest itself in our lives to prevent and distract us from being who we really are and from living our highest value:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Anything that would be addicting
  3. Self-help and healing used as distractions
  4. Consumer culture and shopping
  5. Ego
  6. Self-dramatization
  7. Unhappiness
  8. Self-Doubt
  9. Loneliness
  10. Resentment and grievances
  11. Guilt and shame
  12. Sorrow
  13. Victimhood
  14. Hypocrisy in others
  15. Fundamentalism
  16. Cruelty to others

In today’s dojo, we discuss specific examples so we can learn how to beat this force that can kill our dreams and kill our calling. We are all capable of doing it but we have to first realize that it’s real and be able to define and describe it. Resistance doesn’t care about us, it cares about shutting down who we are called to be.

 

Resources:

3
Feb

Critical Thinking and Communicating Science with Dr. Vincent Venditto

We welcome Dr. Vincent Venditto back onto the podcast to talk about the recent updates regarding the COVID pandemic, vaccinations, and looking ahead to adapting to a brave new world. On this episode, Tony and Dr. Venditto dive into the importance of communicating science and understanding the scientific process. This conversation dives into understanding how science is a method- that there is no such thing as a perfect experiment when it comes to collecting data because there are things that we can’t predict or miss when originally designing experiments. This is why the peer-reviewed process is so important, as it serves to help authors identify the potential things that may have been missed when designing their experiment. Together, Tony and Dr. Venditto discuss how science can be communicated better, how we could start teaching critical thinking in early education and build that foundation at an early age, and how to have healthy skepticism about the information being given to us.

 

Dr. Vincent J. Venditto is an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. He received training in organic synthesis and vaccine development. He obtained a BS in chemistry from Gettysburg College and then worked for two years at the NCI, NIH as a cancer research trainee before attending graduate school. He obtained a PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M University and worked on vaccine development as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco. Students and fellows in his lab come from diverse backgrounds with interests in chemistry, biology, drug delivery and experimental therapeutics, but a common goal of exploring novel methods to modulate the immune system. Students and fellows in his lab are encouraged to utilize their skills to advance projects while learning new skills to better appreciate the various aspects of designing novel immunotherapies.

 

Resources:

 

31
Jan

Disability Dojo: The Resistance Behind Behavior Change

On today’s dojo, Tony gets into what he considers to be the biggest reason why many of us don’t live the life we’re meant to live. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about The Resistance, as described by Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art. In the subsequent dojo episodes, we’ll then talk about how it manifests in our lives and how we can go about beating this resistance.

Why is this relevant to people with disabilities? People with disabilities face an even greater resistance in their lives and have more reasons and excuses to not live the life they’re meant to live. As we dive into the characteristics and identifying the resistance, Tony’s hope is that we’ll be able to see how it truly is a force that impacts everyone. The problem is most of us don’t even see it, acknowledge it, or realize that we’ve already or are currently being affected by it.

 

Resources:

 

27
Jan

Transitioning Into The Real World and Cultivating Human Connection with Drew Dees

As someone who has a disability, Drew has 23 plus years of lived experience and 7 years of experience working with and advocating for people with disabilities. Since 2014, he has worked as a freelance motivational speaker and advocate giving talks to various organizations throughout the state of Florida. During that time, he has also served as the Media Relations Coordinator for the Gainesville “Night to Shine” Prom for people with disabilities sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. He recently graduated this past summer from the University of Florida with his Bachelors of Science in Telecommunication-News. During his time at UF he was heavily involved in advocating for disability rights through UF organizations, such as, Disability Ambassadors and serving as a student advocate for the Disability Resource Center on campus.

Since graduation from the University of Florida, Drew has joined the wonderful CIL team serving as the High School High Tech program coordinator for Alachua Rural and Levy counties. In his role, he assist high school students with disabilities take their next life adventure after high school, with a focus on employment for people with disabilities. High School High Tech was created to empower young adults to pursue their dreams in areas including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through job shadowing, internships, and workshops. Being able to guide other people with disabilities like himself on their journeys to becoming productive members of society has been such a rewarding experience for Drew.

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” -Franklin D Roosevelt

 

Resources:

 

If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com!

For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida

  • 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office)
  • 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office) 
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