Thursday, January 31, 2008
Twilight's Sights and Sounds
Photo courtesy of my cousin, Larry G. Blackwood of Hawkline Photos who I would credit even if he wasn't my cousin and didn't read this blog. Music courtesy of some talented guy named John Pascuzzi.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
60 Years Ago Today
October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948
then I must dedicate every moment of my life to it.
Labels: Deepest Longing of the Heart
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
What Will The Earth Look Like For Our Grandchildren?
I put myself in the place of someone a hundred years ago and imagine how my breath would be taken away at the sight in front of me. The pristine majesty, the peace, the awe.
There is still so much beauty around us. Many people are working hard to protect it, and I am grateful for that.
(And there are those who are also working hard to rape the earth for profit.)
Now, in addition to the imbalance that we have created in our Rocky Mountains, we are facing a huge change as our mountain forests face their demise. Within the next five years, the pine beetle will have killed off most of our forests. I can't imagine our mountains with only a few trees. The Forest Service states that this deforestation will increase fires and flooding and affect our water supply.
I didn't read any mention of the loss of habitat for animals.
They also don't mention the changes that occur when the forests no longer cool the land or give our souls a place to rest and rejuvenate.
Will we soon only have photos of our beloved forests?
One Day of the Iraq War
Heck, my mind does a good job of only seeing what it wants to without any help. But...
And we need to tell the truth.
Neither one by itself is enough.
Pass it on...
Friday, January 25, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
What's The Opposite Of Writer's Block?
Oh, what to do, what to do...
Women in Black. Our particular vigil has taken place every Saturday since September of 2005. Another woman and I started it after returning from Crawford, TX**. We went to Camp Casey in August of 2005 to support Cindy Sheehan as she sat in the ditch waiting for W to talk with her. Of course, it is now 2008 and W still hasn't spoken with Cindy, but that is another story.
When we got back from Texas, we were motivated to do more about the war and occupation of Iraq. I stood with a downtown Women in Black vigil before the war began and I knew that I preferred a silent vigil to any other kind. So we began a new silent vigil out here in the suburban desert.
In the Denver/Boulder area, there are at least TEN peace vigils each week. Obviously, all of our standing and signs haven't stopped this war and occupation. I know that a reason I stand is so that the hundreds of people that pass us on their way to the mall will be reminded that we are at war despite the comfort that we seem to be living in here. The MSM either glorifies or ignores the war while innocent people are dying - and our debt is paying for it. So I am happy that so many people give an hour of their time to get out on the street and put the war in the faces of those who drive by.
Over the years, the flavor of the responses has varied. Before the war, standing for peace was met mostly with loud approval, but the few that supported the war were just as passionate about their stance. Over time, things got quieter. Where we stand, most people are quiet when they see us (suburban apathy?), but most responses are positive.
Last week, we had our very first counter-protesters. Two loud young men stood across the street from us with a sign that would not make their moms proud.
I look forward to seeing if they return next Saturday. Are they as committed to promoting their violent message as we are to promoting peace?
** Speaking of Crawford, TX, a movie is being made about the town and its experience of a prez hopeful moving in; the spotlight that follows which exacerbates "tensions between freethinking and conformity"; the protesters that caused the population to swell; and the void left as the presidential-/protester-show moved out of town. You can watch the trailer here.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Hey Hey Nancy
Monday, January 21, 2008
A President Matters And So Do We
Chance of snow: 80 per cent
A LOVELY day for a Marade!
Denver's Martin Luther King Marade is one of the largest in the country. Participants have numbered up to 30,000 (or so they say).
Bill Moyers gave an interesting perspective on LBJ and MLK during his show Friday night. You can watch it here.
From the transcript:
BILL MOYERS: Many many years ago, I was a young White House Assistant, when President Johnson at first wanted Martin Luther King to call off the marching, demonstrations, and protests. The civil rights movement had met massive resistance in the south, and the south, because of the seniority system, controlled congress, making it virtually impossible for congress to enact laws giving full citizenship to black Americans, no matter how desperate their lives. LBJ worried that the mounting demonstrations were hardening white resistance.
...As the pressure intensified on each side, Johnson wanted King to wait a little longer and give him a chance to bring Congress around by hook or crook. But Martin Luther King said his people had already waited too long. He talked about the murders and lynchings, the churches set on fire, children brutalized, the law defied, men and women humiliated, their lives exhausted, their hearts broken. LBJ listened, as intently as I ever saw him listen. He listened, and then he put his hand on Martin Luther King's shoulder, and said, in effect: "OK. You go out there Dr. King and keep doing what you're doing, and make it possible for me to do the right thing." Lyndon Johnson was no racist but he had not been a civil rights hero, either. Now, as president, he came down on the side of civil disobedience, believing it might quicken America's conscience until the cry for justice became irresistible, enabling him to turn Congress. So King marched and Johnson maneuvered and Congress folded.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places.
But they weren't done. King kept on marching, this time for the right to vote, and once again Johnson kept his word, and did the right thing.
LYNDON JOHNSON: It's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.
BILL MOYERS: As he finished, Congress stood and thunderous applause shook the chamber. Johnson would soon sign into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and black people were no longer second class citizens. Martin Luther King had marched and preached and witnessed for this day. Countless ordinary people had put their bodies on the line for it, been berated, bullied and beaten, only to rise, organize and struggle on, against the dogs and guns, the bias and burning crosses. Take nothing from them; their courage is their legacy. But take nothing from the president who once had seen the light but dimly, as through a dark glass - and now did the right thing. Lyndon Johnson threw the full weight of his office on the side of justice. Of course the movement had come first, watered by the blood of so many, championed bravely now by the preacher turned prophet who would himself soon be martyred. But there is no inevitability to history, someone has to seize and turn it. With these words at the right moment - "we shall overcome" - Lyndon Johnson transcended race and color, and history, too - reminding us that a president matters, and so do we.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
With a Fine-Toothed Comb
She's not the only person that I know that has died in surgery.
I'm not afraid that that will happen to me. I've also known people who have died in car accidents but I still ride in cars.
Still, I have this strong impulse to go through everything that I own before March. I want to get rid of anything that I don't need and I want to destroy any incriminating evidence. Just in case...
I remember going through my grandmother's house when she was moved into a nursing home.
I don't want anyone to find closets full of old catalogs like we did when we cleaned her house.
I don't have any closets full of old catalogs, but you know what I mean.
(In order to get have everything all cleaned up before March, I've hired this little guy to help me.)
By late afternoon, after many interruptions and after reading much disconcerting but normal news about the world, my body was all IRRITABLE. Dear hubby came home, mentioned my upcoming surgery, and my tears flowed.
So THAT'S what it was!
I was holding together something that didn't want to be held together.
Oh Kurt, there was nothing to clean up! It was only water.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I have to go there more than once a day because this guy posts numerous times almost every day. It's exhausting!
I have to admit that I don't get the Bear Disco Scene he often writes about, and I know nothing of the music that he loves, but his blog is good for honesty, a laugh, a few tears, and for up close crazy views of New York.
Today Joe asked "What are you afraid of?" I was very curious as to what the comments would be on that so I checked them out. And they were touching.
I am not going to de-lurk on Joe's blog today. I may never do that.
But, in all fairness (since I now know the fears of 62 braver souls than I), I will expose myself and answer his question in the safety of my own blog.
Before beginning, though, I have to acknowledge how far I've come in my life. As a kid, I was afraid of people, snowmen, thunder, cats, dogs, the bogeyman, and just about everything else. I got over most of those things before I was very old, but it took me until I was in my 30's before I could walk into a room at night if the curtains were open.
Now I love thunder and have spent most of my adult life with windows that don't even have window coverings. I dance with fear in many ways. On one hand, my mind tells me that I'm afraid of just about everything. On the other hand, when I stop and put a fear under close scrutiny, it usually doesn't survive for long. So this list will be the fears that I find I have the hardest time talking myself out of.
What am I afraid of?
I guess the most obvious fear right now is that of de-lurking on Joe's blog. But his is not the only blog that has this distinction.
Oh, and I'm afraid to posit questions on my blog like "What are you afraid of?" because, unlike Joe's blog, this blog rarely will receive an answer to a question. I'm afraid of looking like I'm all alone in the world if no one answers. (Not really... because I KNOW you're out there.)
I am afraid of speaking in groups of more than two people. Kidding. Really, I can handle groups as large as three or four before my heart tries to beat its way out of my body.
One of my biggest fears is that someone I love deeply will die suddenly and violently. I tell myself that I couldn't handle it. The truth is that I know many people who made it through an experience like that. I could make it through it, also. If I had to.
(Oh, that one was a biggie.)
I worry for our country and our earth. I can't say that I'm afraid, but I am concerned.
(Is "concerned" fear lite?)
And in my weaker moments, I'm afraid of that icky feeling that comes after mainstream medicine gets done with me. The pain, weak, drugged, medicinal feeling. I'm looking at surgery on my left arm near the end of March, and my resistance to the surgery has come from that fear (plus a good dose of denial).
A friend and I were talking about fear and I realized that almost all of our fears are fear of the annihilation of our body, our ego, or life as we know it.
Which is pretty darn funny if you think about it, since we are absolutely guaranteed that all of those things will come about for us no matter what we do.
A smarter person than I spoke of fear so wonderfully:
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Be Melting Snow
Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.
Is someone here? I ask.
The moon. The full moon is inside your house.
My friends and I go running out into the street.
I'm in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren't listening.
We're looking up at the sky.
My pet nightingale sobs like a drunk in the garden.
Ringdoves scatter with small cries, Where, Where.
It's midnight. The whole neighborhood is up and out
in the street thinking, The cat burglar has come back.
The actual thief is there too, saying out loud,
Yes, the cat burglar is somewhere in this crowd.
No one pays attention.
Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There's no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
- Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Actually, after watching our prez over the last too many years, I'd say that W's idea to sell arms to the Saudis is right in alignment with everything else. OF COURSE it makes sense - considering... Of course it's about their OIL and about the fact that they are W's BUDDIES. Still, I'm surprised with the blatant audacity of it and even more shocked at the silence of U.S. citizens. But then, we ARE the biggest weapon supplier in the world and very few speak about that . "Leadership" says we want to eliminate terrorism and create peace in the Middle East. And in order to do that, we want to sell a lot of killing machines - you know, the kind that create peace. Wait a minute...
I was thinking that there would be an upside. Maybe these big sales would help us reduce the gargantuan U.S. debt that is looming over our heads and the heads of our children and their children. But with a debt of $9,203,754,649,124.05 (as of this moment), the $123,000,000 from this Saudi sale is only a drop in the bucket.
Do I laugh at the absurdity of it all or cry at the pain we have caused and will cause by our actions? Maybe a little of both, along with living with as much kindness as possible. Trying to add my little drop into the ocean.
And the National Rifle Association says that, "Guns don't kill people, people do," but I think the gun helps, you know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, "Bang!" That's not going to kill too many people, is it? You'd have to be really dodgy on the heart to have that... - Eddie Izzard
Warmaking doesn't stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago. - Colman McCarthy
Monday, January 14, 2008
A: Saudi Arabia
Q: What nation has W just committed to selling smart bombs and equipment?
A: Saudi Arabia
If you think that this makes sense, please let me know how and why by commenting on this post (And don't give me any stories about Iran.)
Labels: Where should I move?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
We ran into Mr. Fox many times today. I don't really know if we only saw one, or if two of them were in and out of view in the woods and on frozen ponds. In these photos, the daring little guy is walking right toward us on the path while Mr. Buddha dog is sitting at attention, just waiting to see how close this creature would come. At about 30 feet, Mr. Fox figured he was close enough and he took off through the field.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The Yellow Rose
Please take the time to go to the Yellow Rose site and hear Jim speak. There's a podcast on the right side of the site (On the Road). Jim demonstrates the respect and honor that would be good to see more of in this country.
We don't have to agree in order to treat each other with respect.
The bus in this photo, was totaled by fire, around 9:30 pm, Friday night, 1/11/08.
This bus, often mired in controversy since the IVAW "Dirty South" tour that left Philly in June, and had Active Duty BBQ's @ Ft Meade, Ft Jackson, Camp Lejeune, Ft Benning, and other Southern Military Posts ( Including an IVAW benefit by Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, and AudioSlave, in Virginia ) as well as backdrop for many a Demonstration, and Ft Drum, NY, organizing parties, has finally died.
Owner-Operator-Driver ( and Veteran ) Jim Goodnow pulled into a South Jersey Truck Stop, to catch a 3 or 4 hour nap. Jim saw, in retrospect, some suspicious activity outside the bus, and about 20 minutes later, the entire engine compartment, and back of the bus was engulfed in flames.
Mr Goodnow speculates that the cause could have been anything from ARSON, to ATTEMPTED MURDER. He plans to notify the ATF Arson Squad on Saturday morning.
Delaware Valley Veterans For America
Disabled American Veteran, VVAW, VFP, VFW, VVA
If anyone wants to donate
A fund has been set up and is tax deductible
Checks can be made out to:
Veterans For Peace, Chapter 106 (please spell this out) Put in memo line: BUS FUND
1804 Tree LIne Drive
Carrollton, TX 75007
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Can't We Just Get The Facts And Vote?
"Great" American entertainment.
And the story is created by the media.
I guess I have to admit that I have been paying more attention than necessary to my own drama. One moment, I think that I should go ahead and have surgery on my shoulder. The next, I decide that it's not really that bad - I can live with it. I have a lot of resistance to surgeries and other violent acts. AND I'd like to have my arm back.
Writing this, I realize that, while working on a drama-free life, I am pretty caught up in Days of My Shoulder. Funny how these things sneak up on me.
Hmmm... I could hold an election. Citizens could vote for either change or the status quo regarding this shoulder that has been quite the painful limiting factor for the last year. But first, I get to campaign for both sides - dirty ads and all.
OK then. Time to change the channel.
Labels: 2008 elections
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Michael Lerner for Prez
Sunday afternoon, at a large local Islamic Center, I was lucky to be able to hear Rabbi Michael Lerner speak.
Did you hear that???
I heard a RABBI speak at a local ISLAMIC CENTER. It was the first time that a Rabbi had ever spoken there. Seated next to the Rabbi was the Imam of the Center.
As an aside, I know that a prominent local imam is giving a class with a local rabbi on a regular basis.
May the false beliefs and stereotypes die.
Okay, back to our story...
Michael Lerner was beautifully inclusive in his message. As he spoke he was sure to include language that spoke to Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists, agnostics, and those of us who identify with spirituality but claim no religion.
I transcribe his message here from my notes. His article, The Democrats Need a Spiritual Left, tells it much better - I highly recommend it.
There has been a struggle for the last couple of thousand years. A struggle between two views.
One view - The view of fear. Humans have been thrown into the world all by ourselves, surrounded by people out for themselves who will dominate you unless you dominate them. Security = power over others. Skepticism and a sense that people will take advantage of you are the prevailing view. (He called this "the right hand of God consciousness" and you'd have to read his book to find out why.)
Because of the right hand world view, people have a deep hunger for meaning and purpose in life. In the work place, people feel surrounded by others who work from the mindset that they need to be looking out for #1. People come home feeling like they have been used for others to profit. And overall there is much looking at others as "what you can do for ME". Our relationships are about You taking care of MY needs. This creates tremendous insecurity in the family and the workplace.
The second view - Hope consciousness. We're not here alone. And we all came through a mother. Through that, hopefully, we learned about love that is given to give - not given in order to get. In this second view, it's possible to build safety for ourselves by creating loving relationships. (This is the left hand of God view.)
The left hand view sees others as embodiment of the sacred. In this view, we don't look at the universe and only see it as a product to benefit us. And if our country acted from the left hand consciousness, we would be a force of generosity and kindness, not domination.
Almost all of us have both of these voices in our heads and when the social energy around us moves toward fear, we pick up on that. Conversely, when the messages around us are of hope, we confirm that point in our heads. So the fundamental task is to move the social energy toward hope.
We need a change of consciousness toward love, caring, kindness, and generosity, and one of the reasons that this is not happening is because we tell ourselves it won't happen. (I know that I always say that I'd love to see Kucinich as prez, but I know he's too good to be pres - not a very useful thought process there.)
We need to ask our candidates to have a bigger vision.
We need to reject realism and transform reality.
Michael Lerner helped me to realize that my hopes for a culture of kindness and compassion is not a crazy dream. There are many people working toward that vision.
For more info, visit the Network of Spiritual Progressives
Watch a good video of Lerner speaking here.
"The women's movement in its early years, the civil rights movement in its early years, and the environmental movement in its early years were all dismissed as "unrealistic" because they stepped outside the frame of politics as it was then currently understood by the media and the politicians. We are following that same path." - Michael Lerner
Monday, January 07, 2008
Just dreaming of the day FIVE MONTHS from now when we will have something other than WHITE.
I wanted to write about the inspiring talk that I attended last night - Rabbi Michael Lerner spoke - but I have been working on the computer all day and my arm is DOA.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind
The street before us was wet and sandy with some remaining brown snow (funny how all the romantic photos and paintings of snow seem leave out this brown gunk stage). Over and over, cars would pass by us, and a moment later, a fine mist of brown street water would fly into our faces. By the time the wind had deposited its sweet little gift on us, the car that had stirred up all of the muck was half-way around the corner.
And it got me to thinking...
The things we do to the earth, to each other...
We build a nuclear reactor now because we want to maintain our lifestyles. But after we have passed by, what will the wind blow our grandchildren's way?
We tear up the land and destroy the habitats of our furred and feathered friends. Can our children flourish in our wake?
Or we somehow get a certain president with qualities that I will not list here ... How will the generations after us clean up this mess?
In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. - Wilma Mankiller
Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. - Henrik Tikkanen
After all of my philosophizing about this dirty snow and water today, my marketing mind got going, but I see that someone else beat me to the punch - and they're giving it away for FREE!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
What I Saw
(I can't believe that Huckabee won in Iowa.)
(Way to go, Obama!)
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Don't Read This! It's Only Me, Trying To Understand Human Behavior. Good Luck to Me!
So much violence in the world
This is what I find interesting: A revered person is killed and even more killing follows. Election results are disputed and that incites mass killings. (3,000 people die in the World Trade Center and wars justified by revenge cause the deaths of even more Americans plus at least a million Iraqis and Afghanis.)
We watched the DVD, Bobby, last week. I could so empathize with a young man in the film who, upon hearing that RFK was shot, seemed to crumble as though it was his own flesh and blood that was murdered. So many of us felt that knock-you-to-your-knees pain when we heard the news. It seemed that hope died that day. I am thinking that there are people in Pakistan who feel like that now that Bhutto is dead.
But not only did that character in the film fall, sobbing, into the arms of the beautiful woman who had hit upon him a short time before Bobby was shot; he also, in his angst, picked up a chair and threw it at the wall. I find it intriguing that we find it normal to display our sorrow by throwing, burning, killing, or acting in some other damaging way.
If I really feel sorrow, I get pretty vulnerable. Sorrow rips open my heart and gut. I guess a way to avoid that vulnerability would be to lash out at something, anything, and feel anger instead of the pain. Anger seems to be a much more acceptable emotion than sorrow. With anger, I'm right and "they" are wrong.
Sorrow stays with me. Anger brings any victims of my acts along with me. Not great karma.
Maybe it is thought that we need anger in order to take action. If we only feel sorrow, we will become crying messes, incapable of righting what's wrong. Ummm... I think that acting from any strong emotion gets in our way of rational, helpful action.
I have no expectations that violence will die a peaceful death this year. Or next.
So at the beginning of this new year, my wish for all of us is that we will have peace within ourselves while we travel together through these interesting times.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Don't Proclaim It, Live It!
The presidential primary season is about to begin. What should we be looking for in a presidential candidate? What do we need to know about the moral values and religious beliefs of a candidate?
Below is Arun Gandhi's thoughtful answer. I have been in Arun's presence and found him to be a kind, intelligent and inspiring man. If he had been born in the U.S., I would hope he'd run for prez.
I would look for a Presidential Candidate who does not wear his/her religion on their sleeve, but recognizes the fact that the United States is a country with many different religions and that even if all of them are in the minority, they must be respected and treated as equal. People of the United States have the mistaken notion that secularism means rejection of one's own religion. It is not rejection at all. It is a true and sincere respect of all religions. I am reminded of the time in the 1930s when Christian missionaries came from the West to convert the oppressed "low caste" Indians. They stood on street corners denouncing Hinduism and proclaiming the virtues of Christianity.
After several months of this farce some missionaries, who were friends of my grandfather, Mohandas K. Gandhi, asked him why the oppressed were not accepting their offer. Grandfather's response was bitterly truthful. He said: "The day you stop talking about how good Christianity is and start living it, everyone will want to become a Christian." I think this message has relevance today, especially in the United States. The day we stop proclaiming our Christian virtues and start living it people around the world will respect us for what we do. I hope the candidate, and I must confess I don't see anyone on the horizon, will turn the United States into a truly Christian country that will put the Sermon on the Mount where it belongs: front and center of our Constitution.
President and co-founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, named for his grandfather, Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi. Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of India's legendary leader, Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi. He is president and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, now at the University of Rochester in New York.
Labels: Arun Gandhi