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

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A New Fishin' Hole

Will the Carol For Peace blog continue to exist?

Only the Shadow knows.

For now, I've picked up my pole and tackle and moved to a new pond.


Today, you can find me at my simple and new fishin' hole here: A Peace Carol

posted by Carol at 12:23 PM 15 comments


Monday, January 26, 2009

A Million Days or a Million Dollars

Sign in front of a church near my parents' house:




What WERE they thinking?

Maybe they weren't.

A million days equals 2,739.7 years. The odds are very good that at some point during those years - say at around the 80 year mark, if not before - you might get Alzheimer's, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, or cancer. You'll only have to live another 2,659.7 years with that problem. You might be lucky and live 100 years before anything major happened to your body, but still... Generation after generation of people would have to take care of you. How would you support yourself and all of your elderly medical needs?

Nope! Not for me!

I'll take the million dollars, thank you, and I'll live my short little life here. A million dollars isn't much in the U.S. nowadays, but it could sure buy a lot of mosquito nets for people in Africa. I could sponsor a lot of women in the Women for Women, International program. I could help out a few friends. Yep, my million dollars would do more good than adding 2,000+ years to my old age would.

Maybe there should be an 11th commandment: Thou shalt not covet more years or wealth than needed, but thou shalt instead make the best of each moment.

Amen.



(Am I back from my blogiday? I don't know. I just couldn't resist writing about this church sign.)

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posted by Carol at 9:53 AM 12 comments


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gone Fishin'

I have thought about it and thought about it, and last night I knew for sure. It's time for me to take a blogation. Or is it a blogacation? Anyway, it's time to go away and do other things. I don't know when I'll be back.

Maybe in a week?



Maybe when the spring flowers make their appearance?



I don't know.




You can always contact me through my little contact form over there on the LEFT. And, if you're ever out my way on a Saturday, you can find me on the corner.


This Monday, our Women in Black group will be marching in the Denver Martin Luther King Day Marade.

"The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.



If you're a blogger, I will still be visiting you (You can't get rid of me that easy!).

Thank you to all of the friends that I've made through Bloggerville. Thank you for visiting and for your support. You are in my heart.



Much peace. Much love.

AND

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

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posted by Carol at 9:07 AM 18 comments


Thursday, January 15, 2009

It Looked Better With Obama's Face

I've been Obamiconned.



I found the Obamicon site on Joe.My.God's blog. You can Obamicon yourself at Obamicon.Me

posted by Carol at 6:25 PM 3 comments


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Right Moment



A man sat quietly on earth waiting for his right moment.

He made all the noise that others expected but that none would really hear.

And then he passed away. Suddenly. Along with his right moment. Which had been hiding in every moment.

- Nic Askew, Soul Biographies


(Thomas introduced me to Soul Biographies awhile back and I've been a fan ever since. Thanks, Thomas!)

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posted by Carol at 12:01 PM 7 comments


Monday, January 12, 2009

Elder Practice


We finally got a snowstorm that brought more than an inch or two. I think that we got about 8 inches last night into this morning. A pretty, perfect blanket of white fluff.

It's very kind of the climate to change like it is at this time of my life. When I was a teenager, we got a lot more snow than we do now. I loved it! We had a huge hill across the street and we lived for snowy days - and there were many - when we would "tube" down the hill on giant inner-tubes. That hill is now covered in homes, there is rarely enough snow to tube on nowadays, and I'm too old to do it without breaking into pieces. Now I'm just trying to stay strong enough to shovel the little snow that we get.

I'm still in the process of letting my hair grow out again in preparation for my old age. The photo above was taken today. I've mentioned before that my plan, ever since I was a little kid, has been to emulate my grandmother so that when I get older, I'll have very long hair which I'll put up on my head. I just can't figure out at what point I'll be an elder. When I'm 80? Tomorrow? (Today?)

At the point of "elderness", do I get a free pass out of snow shoveling?

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posted by Carol at 2:24 PM 10 comments


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fierce Grace

Last night we watched the movie, Ram Dass: Fierce Grace. If Ram Dass has touched your life in any way; if you are aging; or if you haven't seen this film yet (OK. Have I left anyone out?), I strongly recommend it.

What a heart-opening movie!
Named by NEWSWEEK as one of the Top Five Non-Fiction Films of 2002, RAM DASS FIERCE GRACE is an engrossing, poignant meditation on spirituality, consciousness, healing and the unexpected grace of aging.
We borrowed the DVD from the library and I loved it so much that I'm buying a copy for myself, knowing that I want to see it many more times. A few parts of the film are on YouTube, but you really need to see the entire film in order to witness and imbibe the love and wisdom of it.

You may know of Ram Dass by his book, Be Here Now, or through stories of his experiments with mind-altering drugs.

You may know that he had a stroke in 1997 - or, as he says, he "got stroked". His right side is paralyzed and he has expressive aphasia, making it so his words don't always come out easily. He works with all of this with strength, patience, authenticity and with... - what word goes beyond humility? I know - selflessness. There is no "Ram Dass, victim of a stroke". There is just the same light and love AND there is a body that works differently than it did at one time.

I have almost every book that Ram Dass has written. I have many tape series that he's done and I've listened to them over and over. I've seen him speak in person. Watching Fierce Grace, I finally allowed the love and service that Ram Dass embodies to enter my heart and change the way I see life. It's absolutely beautiful. (crying as I write this...)

This video is a tiny part of Fierce Grace. I am carried away by Ram Dass' ecstasy. Even though his body is not dancing, his soul is.


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posted by Carol at 8:03 AM 12 comments


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thoughts on a Spring Day in January

As the darkness of the night,
even were it to last a thousand years,
could not conceal the rising sun,
so countless ages of conflict and suffering
cannot conceal the innate radiance of Mind.*


- Tilopa (10th Century), Song to Naropa (From the book, Mother of the Buddhas)


Last weekend we went hiking and, at one point, the Buddha dog and I were standing still and waiting for Mr. Carol For Peace to catch up to us (Mr. CFP can be SO slow sometimes!) (Truthfully, he was running to a trash barrel to dispose of some of the Buddha dog's ummmmm... stuff). Anyway, Buddha and I were silently standing among the trees and sun and birds, and I suddenly SENSED THE SPRING THAT EXISTS IN THE WINTER. That can be done easily in late winter as springtime dances in and out, trying to take possession of its place in the changing of seasons. But sensing spring beneath the winter in January... that was a first for me. I really got that while green grass and flowers and wildlife aren't showing their faces, things are brewing beneath the scenes. I could feel it. As I've known all along - but sometimes forget - dormancy doesn't mean vacant, dead, nothing is happening.

As it is so easy to think that winter is just winter, I can find myself focusing on the "countless ages of suffering" and neglecting the "innate radiance of Mind". I never again want to forget to sense the spring of compassion that lies under and within the winter of our hardened ways against the earth and each other.

as my eyes
search
the prairie
I feel the summer
in the spring

- Chippewa song



Lirun at East Med Sea Peace posted a video of some of the light that's shining in the midst of the darkness of the Israeli/Gazan violence. You can see it here.


*Mind (with a capital M) is sometimes also called unconditioned awareness, enlightenment, egolessness, pure awareness, or perfect wisdom.

posted by Carol at 8:41 AM 5 comments


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Habits

The threat to our salvation is the clash of peoples:
Jews and Arabs,
offspring of a single father,
separated in youth by jealo
usy,
in adolescence by fear,
in adulthood by power,
in old age by habit.
It is time to break these habits of hate
and create new habits:
habits of the heart

that will awake within us
the causeless love of redemption and peace.
- Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro






May it be so.

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posted by Carol at 8:54 PM 6 comments


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who I Am

On Christmas morning, I found a strange bug-type thing on my bathroom wall. I got a glass jar and captured him because a) I usually escort small foreign visitors outside, but it was too cold for him to survive out there and I certainly didn't want him living freely in my house, and b) I hadn't seen a bug like him before so I wanted to check him out.

I became quite entranced by this little creature, even deciding that he was now my newest pet (though I never got to the point of naming him). I pondered over just what kind of food he might be interested in and ended up putting in some oats and lettuce, along with a few drops of water for good measure. I also gave him some tissue to climb on and/or eat. He was a fascinating and spunky little guy who could climb to the top of the jar in no time.

I observed the actions of my bug friend frequently until he appeared to die a couple of days later. I figured that bugs don't live for very long, and since I didn't know how old he was when I discovered him, I guessed that he most likely lived a long, full bug life.

Second bug pet

Two days ago, I found another bug just like the first. I found this one on my bedroom wall. I caught it in a jar, just like I did with the first creature, but I figured that one bug was interesting; a second one indicated a pattern that I wasn't sure I liked.

Let me back up and tell you why this bug was so interesting. It looked like this:


The long, skinny part was like a worm, about the thickness of a thread, and it could poke in and out of the tube thing, which was kind of fibrous-looking and about a half an inch long. If I disturbed the bug, the thread-like part would pull back in. It appeared that the long, thread thing was what would cling to and inch up the wall, carrying the tube along with it. Isn't that fascinating??? And weird???

With this second bug, I was more intent on figuring out what kind of animal I was befriending. I did my research and this is what I found:
Clothes moths are major pests of fabric and other items made of natural fibers. Clothes moth larvae commonly feed on wool, feathers, fur, hair, upholstered furniture, animal and fish meals, milk powders, and most animal products, such as bristles, dried hair, and leather. Larvae will also infest or feed on lint, dust, paper, and materials soiled with oil. Clothes moths can feed on mixtures of natural and synthetic fabrics. However, they cannot feed on materials made of synthetic fibers.

...The larvae spin a silken tube or case to protect them from the environment and natural enemies.
I had me a clothes moth larva!!!

Suddenly, I didn't find pet #2 to be any fun at all. I didn't put any food in his jar. I didn't give him any tissue. I didn't watch him. He's in that jar still just because I didn't want him to freely roam in my house. And I don't know if he's alive or dead.

I can't stand to kill him.

But, for some reason, I'm okay with letting him starve to death in that jar.

The eeewwwwwww factor is high and I am wondering how many more of these I'll find and what fabrics in my house are being eaten as I type this.

What's even more fascinating than this bug is the process that I go through that lets me decide which life is worth supporting and which life I am willing to let die.

Me = Ms. God

We do give ourselves the power to support life or take it away - with bugs and with all of life. We can decide that we don't like someone's behavior so we put him on death row. We don't like the government or actions of a country - or the fact that they have something that we want - so we starve the people through blockades or trade embargoes. Or we just bomb them to smithereens. Or both!

You may say, Ah, but Carol, this was only a bug and it could be harming your extravagantly expensive designer wool sweater (if I had one). And I'd reply, Ah but Reader, some say, as they justify war, that those are only people with a weird religion and government and they could be harming our extravagantly expensive superior lifestyle.

At what point would I be willing to justify the death of someone else in order to preserve my life or my way of life?

Obviously, eating my clothes is a line you'd better not cross over...

posted by Carol at 7:44 AM 12 comments


Monday, January 05, 2009

99 Things

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.

2. Slept under the stars. - I love it and want to do it more often.

3. Played in a band. - OK. How about violin in a 5th grade orchestra?

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/World - Disneyland in the '70s.

8. Climbed a mountain - a few, including 8 or 9 that are over 14,000 feet.

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo. - No way and NO WAY!

11. Bungee jumped. - ditto above

12. Visited Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill. - Not sure, but most likely, when I was a single parent and exhausted.

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb.

26. Gone skinny dipping. - The last time was about 14 years ago - in hot springs in New Mexico.

27. Run a marathon. - I've only run a half-marathon

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run - I think that you have to play baseball for this to happen, don't you?

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language

37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing. - Won't be doing that again...

40. Seen Michaelangelo's David in person.

41. Sung Karaoke.

42. Seen Old Faithful Geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance. - but I wasn't the patient; I rode with my 18 month-old-son who had had a febrile seizure

47. Had your portrait painted. - And I'd do this why?

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving

52. Kissed in the rain. - Probably

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. - almost every date with my high school boyfriend was at a drive-in theater... ;-)

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.

65. Gone sky diving - Never!

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a cheque.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the changing of the guard in London.

77. Broken a bone - I never went to the doctor with it, but I think that I broke my nose when I was 15.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House. - never been IN it, but I protested outside it

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone's life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.

92. Joined a Book Club.

93. Lost a loved one. - who hasn't?

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake - does standing in it count?

97. Been involved in a law suit. - only as a witness

98. Owned a cell phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.

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posted by Carol at 1:59 PM 11 comments


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Love IS Having to Say You're Sorry

Oh, it's so good to be back! Blogger has managed to stop me from posting for a few days. I hope to soon ditch them for something more reliable. I am sooooooo over them!

It's cold and gray today, and I'm staying inside to catch up on reading and writing. Here's the view outside my front door as I write this:



The latest issue of Tikkun (te-kun - to mend, repair, and transform the world) is made up of "Memos to Obama", written by various activists, spiritual leaders, educators, mental health professionals, and probably people from other categories as well.

Reading these memos, I was struck by the eloquent expressions of concern. Some of the subjects addressed were: climate crisis, the economy, education, health care, the Middle East, media reform, and peace.

One memo, in particular, meant a lot to me. It not only hit an emotional nerve, but I realized that, unlike addressing climate change or world peace, this article spoke of a healing action that could be done relatively easy, giving immediate results.

In the memo, Fred Morris makes a plea to Obama:

"Please apologize to and compensate every individual who has been tortured by the United States government, even those found guilty of illegal acts."


Whew! A simple act that we seem to find so hard to do!

Fred Morris was a missionary in Brazil in 1974 when he was kidnapped and tortured. His torturers used the same techniques that we have used at Abu Ghraib and they bragged that they were graduates of our School of the Americas - the combat training school for Latin American soldiers that we have in Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Fortunately, because of political pressure, Morris was released after seventeen days. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS later, he was called to return to Brazil where he, along with twelve others who had also gone through similar experiences, were asked by the Brazilian government for forgiveness. They were also given a lump sum of money and a lifetime pension as compensation for what was done to them.

To date, the Brazilian government has asked for the forgiveness of hundreds of people.

Imagine the U.S. government asking for the forgiveness of each person that we have put through torture. Imagine the goodwill created by that act. As an individual, when I acknowledge my mistakes and make amends, I'm better able to sleep at night. Would our whole country breathe a collective sigh of relief if our government did the same? What would happen if the "grown-ups" of our government modeled the behavior that we try to teach our young people!

Fred Morris requests that Obama create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and begin the task of asking forgiveness of those we've tortured. I second that. (You can tell Obama about the changes you would like to see by clicking here.)

"Torture brutalizes and dehumanizes not only those who are tortured but also those who torture, those who are intimidated by the torture of others, and those who try to ignore the fact that torture exists."
- Fred Morris testifying before a congressional committee about his experiences in Brazil

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posted by Carol at 10:24 AM 8 comments