Diversity & Attitude: 30 Days of Abundance, Day 15

I am posting a video I made during the time that I was designing and painting little wood panels as templates for my card deck project. It took a little over one year for me to paint and write the content for my 62 piece card deck that I named Magical Mind-shifts… Ignite Your Inner Power and Transform Your Life. I remember that I was so excited when I drew and painted a little white kitty cat who became a Mermaid Cat. Now, who would think this was a work of creativity. When I showed it to a friend she squinted her eyes and said, “This is weird, a cat dressed as Mermaid?” Even after hearing that remark, I still kept the cat in my card deck … I saw the cat as a perfect metaphor for the word DIVERSITY. (At the final stage of finishing my card deck project, I changed the word on this card to ATTITUDE. To me, DIVERSITY and ATTITUDE go hand-in-hand when people discriminate against others who are different than what they consider normal. Watch this video and you will find out why I’m so attached to what this Cat Mermaid stands for.


How do you embrace diversity in your life?

What is the value that diverse groups of people bring to your circle?

What can you learn from people who look, act, and think differently than you?

How can we break down the cultural barriers that separate people?

Another Brown Paper Bag Art

A lot of you liked the gift boxes I made from paper grocery bags. Here is a “Save the Earth” cat I painted on a paper I cut from a grocery bag. I love painting and making things out of brown paper bags. They are very supple and easy to work with. I painted the bag with white gesso and used TomBow Markers to draw and color the cat.

Thank you for sending me your Simple Six Ingredients recipes from yesterday’s post. Keep them coming! Also, if you have ideas for future discussions please send them to me in the comments section below. I really appreciate hearing from you!


Michele Aoki

This one may take more contemplation, but great questions:

How do you embrace diversity in your life?
– I embrace age diversity by spending time with friends and relatives with young children and time with folks older that me at the Seattle Buddhist Temple and at Aegis at Ravenna where my mom lives. In years past I volunteered a lot for youth leadership groups like HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership). I also work with student language programs like https://depts.washington.edu/startalk/student.php.

– I embrace diversity of ability through my volunteerism in LifeSPAN and connections with the disabilities community. https://www.lifespan-wa.org/

– I embrace diversity of language through my work as a World Languages Advocate, and, in particular, through support of WAFLT Testing for very less commonly taught and tested languages so that students can earn the Seal of Biliteracy. http://depts.washington.edu/waflttest/

– I embrace diversity of perspectives by helping youth and teachers develop global competence. Now I’m supporting youth to earn the Global Competence Certificate. http://www.internationaledwa.org/projects/global-competence-certificate/

What is the value that diverse groups of people bring to your circle?
– Where to begin? This diversity enriches my life incredibly. I’ve always traveled a lot and spent time with people from many cultures. I cannot even imagine living in a monochrome setting.

What can you learn from people who look, act, and think differently than you?
– I can learn to see myself in a new way by understanding how people from diverse backgrounds view me. How do my Russian vs. my Chinese vs. my Romanian friends view me? How do they like to interact with me?How am I different or the same when we interact? (Same could be said about my friends with disabilities.)
– I suppose I struggle a bit with diversity of political views. But even there I try hard to listen carefully and compassionately (and respectfully) to my relatives and colleagues who support candidates and policies that I would not support.

How can we break down the cultural barriers that separate people?
– Connection is the most important — which is why this coronavirus quarantining is so hard. It feels like so much of my work of the past decades (esp. with China) is simply going to be put aside. We are in danger of building even bigger cultural barriers than we’ve had. BUT, we also have the possibility of seeing our common interdependence in the world in a new way too. I hope so.


Michelle, I learn so much from your views on different topics. Please keep this wonderful writing to put in your book!!! Yes, Lifespan definitely teaches us that diversity makes our lives richer.