Exploring Ways To Make Peace Within
Ourselves & the World

Women In Black Denver, Colorado

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Why Do I Write This Blog???

The easiest (and probably the most honest) answer to that question is: I don't know. It all started in the summer of 2005, when I went to Crawford, Texas ( a.k.a. the home of the prez's ranch, a.k.a. the home of Camp Casey) to support Cindy Sheehan. I wanted the world to know that, contrary to what one could read in the mainstream media, the peace movement was alive and well and large numbers of Americans did not support the war in Iraq. I wanted people to know that thousands of Americans were willing to travel to Texas and tolerate the heat, humidity, and bugs in order to support a grieving mother whose new purpose was to shine a light on the lies that led to the war and to bring home our troops so that no other mother would have to know the pain that she felt.

Over time, this blog has become more of an exploration of who I am, my spirituality, and how life works. I love life's complexities, exploring the shades of gray. I want to, as Rainier Maria Rilke said,

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

Maybe my blog is just one big question about what is needed in order for people to take the time to love and cherish each other and our earth. Maybe someday, I will "live along some distant day into the answer."

In the meantime, thank you for joining me on my journey. I welcome you to share yours with me

 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Petals on the Water




This is one of the photos I like the best from an evening of photography at the Botanic Gardens last Wednesday. That's all. Just thought I'd share it.

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posted by Carol at 10:00 AM 9 comments


Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Party Time!

Reason #1: I graduated from physical therapy today! I have done TWENTY-SIX WEEKS of P.T. over the last 14 months! That place became my second home. For awhile there, I thought I'd miss it so much that it would be hard to leave. But I am done. Over it. Adios. It's been nice. Just got to keep eating my spinach and pumping the weights so that I can play with the big boys again.



Reason #2: Saturday is party day. We're leaving for hot, humid, Kansas tomorrow - going to my aunt and uncle's SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. Barring any strange discoveries in anti-aging, I won't live long enough to see a sixtieth anniversary, considering I got married for the second time when I was almost 41, so I think this is a big deal.

Reason #3: Nick of Nick's Bytes fame will be having a big old party at his place in celebration of his 1,000th post. If you don't visit Nick once in awhile, I swear, you're in the minority because I think that he knows almost everyone that has ever touched a computer.

Reason #4: I'm here. You're here. It's amazing. How did we get here? Thank you for sharing a moment with me in this strange, beautiful world!


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posted by Carol at 1:46 PM 11 comments


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Holes

Day 15

Addiction (from Merriam-Webster):
1: the quality or state of being addicted

2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.
Merriam-Webster doesn't list sugar and refined carbs. I need to write to them and ask them to do a revision.

Compulsive need for and use of habit-forming substance:
I admit that I have a compulsive need for and use of sugar-containing substances, especially chocolate, and substances that are comprised mostly of something starchy.

Withdrawal:
On days 1 - 3 of this no sugar, no grains, no wine, no dairy (which I don't do anyway), no nuthin' except vegetables, nuts, and some chicken and fish diet, if I wasn't experiencing withdrawals, what were those symptoms? No, they weren't as bad as those you experience from drugs and alcohol, but my brain didn't work, my energy was only a memory, and I knew a fix would make life look a whole lot better. Those symptoms still come up sometimes. Especially when I'm having a smoke at the bar with my friends. (KIDDING!)

Substance known by user to be harmful
And don't tell me that sugar and refined carbs aren't harmful - especially in the doses that most of us ingest them! Read about the numbers of Americans who are overweight here. See the statistics for diabetes in the U.S. here. We didn't get there by OD'ing on salads!

And those are only the top two problems that we seem to acknowledge can come from our Standard American Diets (a.k.a. SAD). Our food gives us LIFE, but most of what we eat is devoid of any life. So all kinds of deficiencies can come up in a person "well-fed". And the balance of the foods is important - our SAD eating habits usually create too much acidity in the body. My gut problem is doing an extraordinary turn-around now that I am eating so much better.

(But don't worry, I'm not going to be so Spartan forever. I've already lost my butt somewhere along the way and don't have much else to lose. I just never want to get so out of balance again.)

And this all leads me to the subject of holes.




Yes, the solution to most of our problems is to address these holes that many of us seem to have. A lot of us don't consciously know that we have a vacuity inside, but on some level, we know it's there and we stay very busy trying to fill it up with many things. One of the most common means of filling it is with food. And I'm not sure you can eat enough salads to accomplish that task. Thus, mankind invented white flour and white sugar.

On this eating plan that I'm on, I feel the hole 24/7. Knowing that a plate of steamed cabbage and carrots won't fill it, I think, "Why bother?" So I have to sit with the hole. And I've started looking into what I thought would be an abyss, but come to find out was only a bunch of thought patterns about worthiness and such. Only when I looked at it, could I realize that it wasn't a hole, so NOTHING can fill it. I can quit trying! And thoughts about worthiness are only thoughts - no substance! Whew!

So I"m thinking: if we could just get W and friends to somehow HAVE to give up sugar and refined carbs, they wouldn't have anything with which to fill up their holes, so they'd have an opportunity to see what really makes up that perceived emptiness. AND they wouldn't have the energy to try to fill their holes by destroying other countries and our own young men and women! Whaddaya think???

(And don't tell me that W is any kind of ...hole himself. With a little bit of pruning on his diet - pun intended - we might find a smart, kind guy under that swagger. Well, maybe...)

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posted by Carol at 11:16 AM 17 comments


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Won't You Please Come Up To Denver?

I'm thinking about what I want to do for peace when the DNC comes to town. I think I know, but I haven't committed to it yet. Last night I was reading an article about The Come Up To Denver Coalition so I checked out their song. Pretty neat that Graham Nash gave permission for them to re-do Chicago.

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posted by Carol at 10:03 AM 6 comments


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Self-reflection



To question that things might not be as they seem can shake the very foundation of habitual clinging. This questioning spirit is the starting point for self-reflection. Could it be that this tightly-knit sense of self is not what it seems? Do we really need to hold everything together, and can we? Is there life beyond self-importance? These kinds of questions open the door to investigating the cause of our suffering.

The actual practice of self-reflection requires us to step back, examine our experience, and not succumb to the momentum of habitual mind. This allows us to look without judgment at whatever arises, and this goes directly against the grain of our self-importance.

Self-reflection is the common thread that runs through all traditions and lineages of Buddhist practice. It also takes us beyond the boundaries of formal practice. We can bring the questioning spirit of self-reflection to any situation, at any time. Self-reflection is an attitude, an approach, and a practice. In nutshell, it is a way to make practice come alive for us personally. - Aryadeva (3rd Century CE)

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posted by Carol at 10:12 AM 6 comments


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Will Ya Still Need Me...

...Will ya still feed me

When I'm 54?

(OK, I couldn't wait a decade to start singing it.)

Fifty-four years ago, my mom entered the hospital in the early hours of the morning. Her labor lasted something like 4 hours and culminated in the birth of her firstborn. Lil ol' me.

I had lots of black hair and my parents thought they had mixed up the babies in the nursery, since there is no black hair in the family. It didn't take long for my hair to go blonde, though, and for my face to go round - so round that my uncle called me a Campbell Soup Kid.


Of course, all of this is just a story that I've been told. I don't remember any of it.

All I know is: here I am.

And since I don't have a video camera to record what I'm doing this moment, I'll have to post someone else's video. Just replace any face in the video below with my face (In fact, you can put yours in there, too).

In gratitude to the beauty of this moment, the wonder of 54 years of life, and the fact that, after 18 months of messed up arms, today I can dance :

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posted by Carol at 1:00 PM 12 comments


Friday, June 20, 2008

Pools of Peace

A man of peace is not a pacifist; a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way. His very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy. The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war; he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful. Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will the war disappear.
-OSHO, from: 'Zen: The Path of Paradox, vol. II


(I must also say this is true for a woman of peace!)

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posted by Carol at 4:52 PM 6 comments


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Peas Be With You

Day 8 of no sugar. Life is GREAT! The brain has given up its desires for things it can't have.

I didn't intentionally decide to give up sugars and starches at the same time my garden started producing scrumptious veggies. I decided to do this because of some yeasties that are partying in my insides. Yeasties and I both love sugar and starch. Since we live in the same body, we have to work together on this.

Yesterday, I had a medical test done to be sure that those party animals were the only things going on in my gut. I passed with flying colors. It was fascinating to watch my mind during the days leading up to the test. It is so easy to forget, on a day to day basis, that I am not immune to dying. It's not always going to be someone else who gets the dreaded disease or dies in an accident. At some point, maybe even in the next moment, that person will be me. Or, more accurately, that body will be this body.

But back to the garden.

Peas and the most mouthwatering spinach, arugula and varieties of lettuce are available right now in the CarolForPeace garden. I'm loving it! I know why I usually prefer chocolate over lettuce. It's because lettuce from the store just doesn't taste like the real stuff. This garden lettuce is CANDY! But don't tell the yeast guys in my gut that!


Red leaf lettuce among the pea plants.




Tonight's dinner

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posted by Carol at 8:38 AM 15 comments


Monday, June 16, 2008

4101





Plus so many others...

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posted by Carol at 4:03 PM 7 comments


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Beauty of it All

We took a little hike at sunset tonight. The place we went usually has an amazing display of wildflowers in late spring. It's been particularly dry this year (all of the water is going to the Midwest...) and there aren't quite as many flowers as there can be sometimes, but we still had a gorgeous show.

Nature's garden




I love wild lupine!








Awe


And the meadowlarks, whose songs make me smile through and through, were singing the whole evening.


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posted by Carol at 10:05 PM 11 comments


Saturday, June 14, 2008

This Is My Brain With No Sugar

I haven't had any sugar, anything with any sugar-like substances in it or any starches for FOUR DAYS. No CHOCOLATE, no breads, rice, fruits... Of my five favorite snacks, I've only had the pleasure of one choice. Nuts. Which is maybe what I am right now.

And my brain is mush. I have screwed up a bunch of things today. Example: I went to the grocery store, selected my VEGETABLES (since that's about all I'm eating right now), put everything on the conveyor belt it so it could be
beeped over the noisy scanner, then reached into my pocket to find no $$$, no credit card, nothing but my driver's license and a little lint.

I did stand in the heat out at our Women in Black vigil (I was late because of the above little adventure). We are coming upon three years of standing at this particular vigil.

And the occupation continues.

4,099 U.S. soldiers, many more soldiers from other countries, and countless Iraqis are dead from this atrocity.

I like this quote below (taken from the book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy):


Mark Dubois once asked a friend of his, a city planner in Moscow who worked as an environmentalist in Mikhail Gorbachev's government, how they could get more people involved in saving the environment.

"First," his friend responded, "I think it is important that one fall in love."

That last line is the answer to almost everything. When we fall in love (and I'm not talking about being in love WITH SOMEONE - even though that can be a part of it, too. I'm talking about being in love, being love), we don't want to harm the earth or any of its inhabitants. And it's not about judging that anything or anyone is worthy of our love, it's just about CHOOSING to love.

Maybe I'll think about this differently once I've fed my sugar-deprived brain some chocolate or something.

But I doubt it.


"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
Henry Louis Mencken



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posted by Carol at 2:39 PM 8 comments


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MLK, Jr. Memorial, S.F.

My friend, Liz, had posted a comment on this blog telling me that I might enjoy the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial while in San Francisco. It's located in Yerba Buena Gardens. I had this picture in my mind of a big beautiful wild park outside the city with good herbs as the Spanish name indicates, so while our chauffeur (aka my son-in-law, Ben) was driving us through chaotic downtown S.F., I thought he had to be lost. But then, right in the middle of business-suited, mirrored-windowed skyscraper city, we found the peaceful oasis.


The water flows down so loudly, you can't hear anything else.











"No. No. We are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream."










"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."















"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up."



Columbine in the gardens.

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posted by Carol at 4:14 PM 7 comments


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Goodbye? Really?

One of my favorite bloggers has quit blogging. Just like that!

Thomas of Living Next Door to Alice had his computer zapped by lightning and isn't going to be replacing it.

A VERY BIG part of me says, "Good for you! I'd like to go computerless (if I didn't need my computer for my work)." I used to hike so much more before I started blogging and traveling the netosphere. All of that hiking was good for my body and soul.

Another part of me will really miss Thomas and the way he looks at life. I consider him a blogging friend.

And I didn't get to say goodbye...

I hope he knows how much I enjoyed having him in my life.

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posted by Carol at 8:09 AM 11 comments


Monday, June 09, 2008

Photographs and Memories

Finally trying to get through more of my San Francisco photos. Below, you'll find a few.

Before we get to them, though, I want to thank daffy for my very first blog award. Thank you daffy!



I want to pass this award along to everyone on my blogroll because I wouldn't be reading your blogs if I didn't think that you were such wonderful people. Thank you for being in my life - even if it's only from a (physical) distance!

On with the show!






Alcatraz


We climbed to the top of Telegraph Hill for one main reason: to see the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. And did they show their pretty little faces for us??? Nooooooo! But I did enjoy this sign on the outside wall of the fanciest outdoor toilet I've ever seen (you might need to click on this and embiggen it in order to learn about the wonders of toilet technology).



Window in the old bunker.



See their little faces???



I want to pet him!


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posted by Carol at 5:00 PM 7 comments


Sunday, June 08, 2008

There's Always Room For...

...More Peace.

Mimi's BlogBlast For Peace was last Wednesday but I couldn't get it together in time due to traveling and work. Tonight, my most awesomest son, Paul, helped me to create my it's-never-too-late peace globe for the cause.


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posted by Carol at 10:01 PM 6 comments


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Last Night

Last night we attended a John Adams concert that was a benefit for United with Migrants, Inc.

I'll begin by telling you about United with Migrants, Inc. The mission of this organization of churches is to serve local migrant workers and their families. Do you eat fruit or vegetables? If so, you are benefiting from the work of migrant workers (at least in our country - I don't know how other countries work). (If I ever hear the words "illegal alien" again... don't get me going...)

Members of United with Migrants consistently provide food and other basic necessities to migrant workers along with operating an educational center that offers English classes. A bakery in the area supplies bread each week and a dentist gives free dental care to the workers.

And all of this wouldn't be happening if it weren't for Sister Molly Munoz who is known throughout the southwest as the "Mother Teresa" of the Latinos. She has been providing food, clothing, medical assistance, transportation, counseling, documentation processing, legal aid and education to migrant workers for years. She has developed not only a trusting relationship throughout the migrant community, but also with the federal agencies of ICE and the INS. She's a short little human dynamo, working 7 days a week, on call 24 hours a day.

The performer at last night's concert, John Adams, is a native of the Netherlands who now lives in Colorado. He's been a John Denver tribute singer since 1988 when he won a Dutch national TV competition. Now he sings all over the world.

I know... I know... there are some (that phrase is taken directly from speeches by our prez) There are some who think of John Denver as too sweet and schmaltzy. But I LOVE the man. I love his voice, his words, his passion for life and for our environment, and I have deep respect for the good work that he did.

And John Adams does John Denver almost as well as John Denver did.

The row in front of us at the concert was taken up by a group of special women. By our world's standards, they'd be considered developmentally disabled. I found myself jealous of the whole-being smiles that radiated when they heard a familiar song. (Where did I learn to be so composed?) Then, a song that I particularly love began. I wanted to focus on John, to savor the sounds and the words. But the women in front of me loved it too and started to sing along. WAY off key. WAY off of everything. I was disappointed. I just wanted John Denver to be alive for a few moments. Fortunately, something shifted and all I heard were the voices of angels. It was all perfect.

When the evening was over, we walked out the door and were greeted by a huge sliver of a moon hanging in the western sky.

And the sprinkler system came on and sprayed the sidewalk - and us - with cold water on a cool night. As each person got doused, screams and laughter flew into the night. Funny how we can laugh at these things when we feel life is good, but at a different time and place, like coming out of the office after a long work week, we could have been irritated...

I hadn't heard this song before last night. Of this song, John Denver said, "This song, more than any other that I've written, expresses my greatest longing and my deepest commitment."

AMAZON (Let This Be a Voice)
(John Denver)

There is a river that runs from the mountains
That one river is all rivers
All rivers are that one

There is a tree that stands in the forest
That one tree is all forests
All trees are that one

There is a flower that blooms in the desert
That one blossom is all flowers
All flowers are that one

There is a bird that sings in the jungle
That one song is all music
All songs are that one

It is the song of life
It is the flower of faith
It is the tree of temptation
It is the river of no regret

There is a child that cries in the ghetto
That one child is all children
All children are that one

There is a vision that shines in the darkness
That one vision is all of our dreams
All of our dreams are that one

It is a vision of heaven
It is a child of promise
It is the song of life
It is the river of no regret

Let this be a voice for the mountains
Let this be a voice for the river
Let this be a voice for the forest
Let this be a voice for the flowers
Let this be a voice for the ocean
Let this be a voice for the desert
Let this be a voice for the children
Let this be a voice for the dreamers
Let this be a voice of no regret


Here is a video of a young John Adams singing with John Denver.

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posted by Carol at 7:13 AM 7 comments


Thursday, June 05, 2008

More Power, Less Love

The Independent (UK) has an article today titled


A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

No surprises here, although I TRY to maintain hope that our government will, at some point, take the high road.

How do you cure people of the "Love of Power"?

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posted by Carol at 8:01 AM 8 comments


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mimi and many others are participating in a BlogBlast for Peace today (see Nick's here). I was too busy with traveling stuff to be able to participate, so today I will offer this photo of some graffiti of the words of Jimi Hendrix. This was found in an old bunker outside of San Francisco. I hope someday soon, all tools of war will become shrines to peace.




May all beings know peace...

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posted by Carol at 9:24 AM 9 comments


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Five 5 Five 5 Five

I've been tagged by Nick in this meme of fives, and seeing how I just got back from San Francisco and I'm going through my photos, I decided to put a photo of five ummm.. interesting looking birds.

Now, onward to the meme!

What were you doing 5 years ago?

This is the hardest question of all, because I'm not very good with time. Hmmmm...

I pulled out my day-timer for this day. June 3, 2003 was a VERY good day! I got a massage in the morning and it looks like that was the day that I gave a disabled man his first massage. I ended up giving this man massages every couple of weeks for a year or so until he passed on. He was very sweet.

Oh! Five years ago, my daughter moved to California. There should be a law against moving away from your mother...


Five Snacks I enjoy

1. Chocolate - most any form except ice cream
2. Nuts - but not those huge Brazil nuts
3. Blue corn chips!
4. Popcorn
5. Chocolate


Five things I would do if I were a billionaire

1. Buy up LOTS of land and leave it undeveloped and natural so that all of us and all of our children can enjoy the beauty of wilderness
2. Move to a place where I can live self-sufficiently
3. Invest a little so that I don't have to work for money (I will volunteer at places I enjoy)
4.
I think by now I've probably run out of money - but if not, I'd start a foundation that gives educational scholarships
5. I'm sure I'm out of money now!

THAT was fun!


Five places I have lived

1. Denver, Colorado
2. Garland, Texas
3. Savannah, Georgia
4. Little Rock, Arkansas
5. Hutchinson, Kansas


Five jobs I have had

1. Massage Therapist
2. Companion to a man with Alzheimer's
3. Loan Officer
4. Quality Control Specialist
5. Receptionist at a meat packing plant (shortest stint at a job; it lasted one day - the "ick" factor of dead cow bodies was too much for me.)


Most of my blogging friends have been tagged for this already, so I offer this to anyone who wants to claim some taggedocity. I'm thinking of Thomas at Living Next Door to Alice, Otowi, daffy, and The World According to Indigo. That only makes four recipients, so if you're reading this and your name is not listed here, you're it!

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posted by Carol at 5:42 PM 11 comments