Thursday, January 25, 2007
A MILLION Rwandans
How did we let it happen? How could we just stand by? According to Wikipedia, Bill Clinton has stated that the inaction of the U.S. is "the biggest regret of [his] administration". Frontline has a chronology of the U.S./U.N. actions.
AFTER the fact, the U.S. and the U.N. expressed regrets about not acting. During the killings, no one would deem the actions a genocide, thus the U.N. was free to not respond.
For 91 days during the slaughter, the author of the book, Immaculee Ilibagiza, was shut up in a tiny bathroom with seven other women. It is an absolute miracle that they were never discovered during the many times the killers searched the house for Tutsi cockroaches, as they were so inhumanely called.
As I read this book, I am touched by the depth of the spirituality that Immaculee was able to go into and draw upon as she sat in silence, fighting terror, for three months. I am grateful that there are people like the minister who hid these women - an act that could've caused him and his family to die horrible deaths. I am sickened when I read about the actions that humans are capable of doing to each other.
And I wonder... The U.S. didn't act to help the Rwandans, we are not helping the people of Darfur, and we show no compassion for the Palestinians or for the Iraqis whose lives we have destroyed. Isn't humanity about being a good neighbor, lending a hand when it is needed, having compassion and risking your safety to save another? Will someone be there for us if we need a hand?
Today I want to remember to be aware of any act of kindness that I can do for someone whose path I cross.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Did You Watch W Last Night???
I did not watch W.
I would not, could not, in my house.
I would not, could not, with a mouse.
But, so far this morning, I HAVE looked at the headlines. I particularly like this one:
No! We are not allowing you another chance, W. You have lied and screwed up tooooo many times.
Write W, write your congress people, march this weekend, enlighten those around you. Do whatever you are moved to do to stop this man.
Click here to find a rally or march near you this weekend.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Keep Working on Love
"...The spirit cannot be really free without the ability to forgive..." from JLS
I know, most people probably think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull as totally cornball. I was ripe when he came on the scene, and you have to admit (don't you?) that he had some pretty good lessons to teach. Wikipedia mentions "Christian Anarchist" in relation to him. Hmmmm... hadn't thought about that.
You may remember (or not) that I was not too happy with Ken Gordon (click here) back in July. He is majority leader in the Colorado Senate and ran for Secretary of State this past November. He lost the Secretary of State election. After he made his (I thought) inappropriate statement of support for Israel during the invasion of Lebanon, I wrote to him and gave him my thoughts. It is not that I don't support a free Israel, but I don't support it at the expense of Palestine and Lebanon. I don't support Israel's bullying any more than I support the bullying of the U.S. And I don't think that a state senator has any need to make a statement to the press giving support for Israel. What's behind that??? Gordon did respond to my email. I would've liked him to have made a public statement about what motivated him to make such a stand for Israel, but he didn't.
Still, Ken Gordon is co-sponsoring the upcoming rally to bring peace to Iraq. Do I stand behind Ken 100%? No. Do I stand behind any politician 100%? No. Do I stand behind the idea of stopping this killing? Yes.
I truly believe that we all want the same things. We just have different strategies to try to meet our needs. All I know to do is to find the common ground and work from there.
If I don't do that, I am a part of the war.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
For some reason, I can't write right now.
Snow has fallen five weeks in a row. We haven't fully recovered from the first snow that came before Christmas. I need the warm sun on my body. It seems that the earth has changed its tilt, and I am now living in Barrow, Alaska or some other frosty, northern place.
I want to burrow in and come out in the spring.
Soon, though, it will be time to start looking for owl nests. Most years, we find one and watch it until all the babies have flown off - sometime in May. Watching one of the parents sit on the nest is a meditation. Such stillness and patience.
I painted this owl in 2001, when I was in the midst of learning to paint for the first time (haven't painted anything for years now). I had just come back from a hike on a foggy day and seen an owl sitting on a cottonwood branch not far from my head. Owl and human just stood and watched each other for awhile. Owl outlasted human.
Writing this, I am reminded of an experience that I had during my last vision quest.
Aaahhh... writing about owls
then remembering my vision quest in the desert...
I'm starting to warm up.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I Knew 8th Grade Home Ec Would Come in Handy Someday
"When members of Congress say that cutting funds for this war and immediate withdrawal is 'off the table' - they are dead wrong. They don't set the table. We set the damn plates down. We set the damn forks down. And we tell them what is for f'ing dinner. And if thousands of people come to their door, sit down at the table, and tell them that--they will listen."
Find a January 27th protest near you here and TELL CONGRESS WHAT'S FOR DINNER!
If you live in the Denver area, join your community at the capitol at noon. Our rally info will appear on the UFPJ site in a couple of days. Until then, be the first to read the scoop here:
In conjunction with rallies around the country, including a massive national peace march in Washington D. C., a "PEACE IN IRAQ" rally will be held on Saturday, January 27, at 12:00, noon, on the west steps of the Capitol in Denver.
This event is co-sponsored by Ken Gordon, the majority leader in the Colorado Senate; the Public Policy Commission of The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, which supports "a Colorado based on the values and principles of mutual respect, religious diversity, inclusiveness, compassion, and justice"; and the Peace, Liberty, and Justice Task Force at the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden.
There will be opportunities to sign petitions regarding ending the war in Iraq.
More details coming soon.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Besides permanently implanting the words, "Everybody needs to know it's the year of the rat" into my mind, the video inspired me to look up info on the Year of the Rat.
One of the more interesting sites I found explained that the year of the Rat, which will occur in 2008, marks the beginning of the 12-year cycle of the Chinese calendar.
I like cycles.
But that is not what I want to write about. I want to write about the video. It is simple. In it, someone is mad, we hug him or her, and they change. A factory spews toxic clouds. We hug it and it stops spewing and the air clears. If only...
BUT, what if it is really true? Maybe not quite so obviously true.... but what if it's true that changes will occur if we give love to those that spew venom of hate or toxic chemicals (or both)? What if we don't contribute to the cycle of anger and injury?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Elizabeth is a dynamite speaker whose words come from the heart. She is knowledgeable, honest and clear. I could listen to her all day.
In 1965, she was in college when a man came to a class she was in and said that they needed people to come down to Alabama. Elizabeth knew what she had to do.
On March 7, 1965, after receiving training in nonviolence, Elizabeth and others began the march from Selma. After only walking six blocks, they were stopped by lawmen at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. There, the marchers were beaten and tear-gassed. For the first time, Elizabeth GOT what discrimination was.
Coming from white privilege, Elizabeth knew that people got arrested when they did something wrong. On this march, she witnessed people being beaten and arrested without doing anything wrong. THAT is what discrimination looks like.
Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list. ~Dennis Leary
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
What Will You Do With This One Life?
Then and Now
A Timeless Vision
I could go on and on about the event, but I won't. I am very biased. But the truth is that throughout the evening, I was touched many times.
From teen-aged slam poets to a Colorado State Representative, from a white woman who worked with MLK in the 60's to black musicians that never met Dr. King... we were entertained and challenged.
Don't wait for another MLK to lead you in order for you do the work that needs to be done. This is your one life, your one opportunity. Rise up to the occasion. Show up to what is in front of you. That's what Dr. King did. Don't fuss that you can't do it all. Don't waste your energy over the things that you can't do, and don't fuss over W. Just respond to what comes your way and give yourself to it.
And, from my observations, it is a very good thing when we come together to sing and share with one voice.
Monday, January 15, 2007
MLK, What Would You Say Today?
As people all over the country take the day off of work or school, as we celebrate Dr. King's legacy, I think that we should not only look at how far we have to go in order to bring equality to all people, but we need to remember that Martin Luther King would right now be speaking out against this war and our country's policies in the world. The "leaders" of our country will most likely fail to mention that when they acknowledge this holiday. They probably won't mention that Dr. King would also be working on labor issues, immigration issues, and all issues of human rights. They will talk about his contributions to civil rights, but they won't address that those rights were won by people who were brave enough to stand up and face the brutality of the system that was wronging them.
If MLK were alive today, he would be leading us as we marched in the streets. He would lead us as we refused to partake in the wrongs of our government.
At Christmas, we hear that the spirit of love and peace needs to last the whole year, not just during the Christmas season. Martin Luther King's message is not "let's celebrate by taking the day off". It is a message that we must work every day toward justice, not by sitting down and staying comfortable, but by risking our own lives and freedoms so that all may be free.
Friday, January 12, 2007
But 4,000 is the estimated number of birds that suddenly died in Australia last month. The cause? Some think that it is some kind of toxin.
Meanwhile, 63 birds that were found dead are being tested in Austin, TX.
I want my grandchildren to hear the birds singing, to see the stars shining (you know, the ones that my kids have never seen), to see the mountains CLEARLY (instead of through a haze) from the plains of Colorado. I remember seeing those majestic peaks rise up out of the horizon as we drove here from Kansas when I was a child. That view is now only a memory...
Still Alive With Chair
I took this photo on a walk when I was in N.Y. I was out on a WARM January day - the one day that I didn't need a jacket and it didn't rain at all. I think that I heard that that day set a record for warmth. NY got it's first snow of the year (a trace) yesterday. This was the latest winter snow in 129 years. But I'm sure that it has nothing to do with global warming.
The area that I was in (around New Paltz) is gorgeous. I always check out new areas to see if I would enjoy living in them. This part of New York was certainly inviting.
As I walked along the road, enjoying the forest, which was made up of some kind of lacey evergreens that I am not familiar with, I kept seeing different pieces of "stuff" down the hill off of the road. This stuff was not made up of McDonald's wrappers or Starbuck's cups, but things like the chair that you see above, pieces of doll (the eyes of its decapitated head staring up at me), pieces of bike, a washing machine. It looked like people drove along the road, stopped, and dumped out stuff they didn't want. I found that to be a curious thing to do.
I could have judgments about the creatures of which I am a part - about how we soil our nest. But I don't have the energy for that right now. I just find some kind of comfort in the way nature has begun to integrate this chair into its landscape. Weather is softening it and greening it.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
One Winter Day
- Marshall Rosenberg, PhD
"Everyone keeps telling me what they think that I should do."
"They are only being nice so that they can come around and get their mom's money when she dies."
"No one listens to me. Everyone puts their stuff on me."
These are some of the many things that my friend was saying yesterday. It seemed as though everyone in her world was WRONG!
Right now, her very life is hanging tenuously. I can only imagine the fearful thoughts that are running rampant in her mind.
It was hard to keep my heart open when I heard her words. I felt a bit angry. I have driven her to many chemo treatments and doctor appointments, held her hand while she sat on the toilet, and spent days and nights caring for her in the hospital. When I heard her words, I had a need for acknowledgement and appreciation for what I have done. Listening to her, I told myself that no one, including me, will ever be able to be enough for her. Actually, the thought "If everyone is going away, you might want to look at who the common denominator is here" went through my head.
And after listening to the list of people who have said all of the wrong things and are now fired as friends of hers, I did express my concern about whether or not she will cut off friendship with me if I happen to say something she doesn't want to hear.
I gave myself empathy: "When I hear her say these things, I feel angry and afraid, because I'm needing some appreciation for what I have done. And I need to know that I am safe when I express myself." Just hearing that acknowledgment from myself, I feel more grounded.
Then I took a big breath and listened more deeply.
If all of her judgments are expressions of her unmet needs, what are the needs behind her words?
Me: Are you needing empathy for the place where you are now?
Her: Yes, I need to know that I am okay, that I have done good work for others and what I'm doing now is okay.
Me: So you need reassurance that you have contributed to life and that the path you are taking now is worthwhile.
Her: Yes. And I'm scared. Everyone goes away and doesn't want to listen to me when I say that I'm scared.
Me: Yes, I hear that you are very afraid and you would like someone to be present and hear your fears.
Me: Would you like to tell me about your fears?
Her: Yes. But it is nice outside right now and I told myself that I would take a walk while I could. I would like to talk about this tomorrow. Thank you. I feel better.
Marshall is a genius.
Denver to Host 2008 Democratic Convention
I kinda wish it would've been the Republican convention. But I guess they're really all the same.
From the Denver Post: "Locally, city officials are touting the victory as the Mile High City's next stair-step toward becoming a major U.S. city."
I've gotta get out of here.
After I attend the big Convention down the street.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Success That Hasn't Occurred Yet (aka Failure?)
Two Local Events
Thursday, Jan. 11 2007 at 6:00 p.m. - Civic Center Park, Corner of Broadway and 14th
This Coming Monday, January 15th:
Then and Now
A Timeless Vision
Monday, January 15, 2007
Arvada United Methodist Church
6750 Carr Street
Refreshments, Resource Table, MLK Photographic Panels, Slavery Quilts
Celebration - 7:00 p.m.
Speakers, Entertainment & Passing of the "Martin Luther King Torch"
Terrance Carroll Colorado State Representative, Dist. 7
"Up and Coming African-American Leader"
Worked with MLK, Marched to Montgomery
Served on Peace Teams in Nicaragua, Burma, Iraq.
Plus: Gospel Music & Poetry, & More
- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Photo taken during my trip to northern California
I looked at TIME magazine. The face of a soldier, helmet on his head, looked back at me. The big story on the front cover: THE SURGE- Does Sending More Soldiers to Iraq Make Any Sense?
I checked out Newsweek. The face of a beautiful middle aged woman with a faint smile looked back. The cover story was about a different kind of surge called menopause. But up at the top of the cover, the words "The Surge War" glared at me.
Oh, to be W's marketers.
And to think that I am paying taxes so that they can come up with such spiffy words in order to sell their product.
I know what kind of surge we need. We need a swelling and rolling surge of humanity in the streets letting our government know that we will not tolerate what they are doing.
We still have time to wake up. But how much?
It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution
Monday, January 01, 2007
Wanderings and Wonderings
Click on the photo to get a larger view and you will see the little bitty boats in the water. I have never been an ocean-going type of woman, so took this photo from nice, dry land, but I think that floating the sea under skies like this would be heaven - sign me up!
This is my one day at home before leaving tomorrow for N.Y. I am not usually such a travelin' woman. I don't like the effects that all of our traveling has on the environment.
I will be in N.Y. to begin an intensive study with my Sufi teachers. What a great way to begin '07!
This past year has been very full. I have tried to stay upbeat and see the bigger picture, while watching our sick government do its thing. I am intrigued by the question of how we will come through the damage that we are incurring upon the world, environmentally and politically. I try to stay focused on the perfection in all of this imperfection.
I have gained new friends via blogging and email - mostly women, for some reason. And a lot of them are of the Muslim faith. I feel somewhat of an affinity with these women, even though I will never be a true blue Muslim. I envy the sisterhood that they share. I admire their devotion and their intelligence. I have learned a lot from them, and I have laughed at their adventures and great writing.
I hear so many people express judgments about Islam - a Christian saying that the Quran is so violent (hellllooo! Your Bible is not???) and people who believe that Islam dictates that women have no rights and are to be subservient to men. This last one, I think, may have a small fleck of truth, but it appears to me that most of this behavior has to do with culture and rulers, not the religion. And a lot of other religions (Christianity) and cultures (U.S.) have a way to go on the equality scale, too.
Three Muslim women whose blogs I read daily when I can:
Finding Salihah. Muslims just celebrated the holiday, Eid Al-Adha. With all of the Christmas hype and such, I betcha didn't know about that! But you can easily learn about it by following links on Salihah's blog. Salihah has a great sense of humor. If you are of the type to stereotype Muslims, read Salihah and LIGHTEN UP!
Sister Scorpion used to live here in the Denver area, but moved to Tulsa (and I have almost forgiven her for that). She is well read and gives a perspective on Islam that comes from being born in the U.S. in a non-Muslim family. Read about her too-cool community and their Eid celebration here. Sr. Scorpion's blog takes us on too many adventures to tell about here (like major life change through healthy diet and pumping iron), so you will just have to see for yourself.
Masooma has a great description of her trip to Hajj (the spiritual trip to Mecca that every Muslim tries to take at least once in his/her lifetime) on her blog. I can't figure out how to get the link to the exact posting, so you'll just have to go to her December 31, 2006 postings to find it. Keep your Wikipedia window open, though. You'll need it for the Arabic words in her story. Like Sr. Scorpion, Masooma is an American convert (since 1994), and lots of times, I find that it is easier for me to separate the cultural beliefs from the religious beliefs when I read the writings of American converts.
And I wonder... If the glorious sunset lights up the sky for ALL to see, if catastrophe hits with equal opportunity, and if humans existed long before Jesus, Buddha, Abraham, or Mohammed, why don't we all share, before any other belief, a core knowledge that we are all one?
I'll be back in a week...