Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gregory Wood: A Story of Giving, Gratitude, and Joy


Empathy 14: A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her…. a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you be so fortunate … To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.


 

Dalai Lama: When We Meet Real Tragedy


When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways--
either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, 
or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.

Mahatma Gandhi: Your Beliefs Become Your Thoughts


Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.
 

Jeremy Scahill: Judge, Jury, Executioner


If we're going to kill our own people without even charging them with a crime, well, then we should just say we live in a different country, and stop telling the world that we're the sort of great, shining city on the hill.

 
 

Imperial Agenda


We have a congress that failed, in every way, to ask the right questions, to hold the president to account. Our congress failed us miserably, and that's because many in congress are beholden to the military-industrial complex.

I have two sons and I will allow none of my children to serve in the United States Military. If you join the military now you are not defending the United States of America, you are helping certain policy makers pursue an imperial agenda.

I think we fight because basically not enough people are standing up saying, "I'm not doing this anymore."

  

Chalmers Johnson: Blowback

The term ‘blowback,’ which officials of the Central Intelligence Agency first invented for their own internal use, is starting to circulate among students of international relations. It refers to the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people. What the daily press reports as the malign acts of ‘terrorists’ or ‘drug lords’ or ‘rogue states’ or ‘illegal arms merchants’ often turn out to be blowback from earlier American operations.

- Chalmers Johnson,
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mary Oliver: In the Storm


In the Storm
 
Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing
 
hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,
 
five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs,
 
and settled
in a row
behind the ducks --
whose backs were also
 
covered with snow --
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under
 
the roof of the duck's tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,
 
for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away
 
out over the water
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back
 
and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
crouch there, and live.
 
If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?
 
Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned --
if not enough else --
to live with my eyes open.
 
I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness --
 
as now and again
some rare person has suggested --
is a miracle.
As surely it is.
 
- Mary Oliver 

 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mary Oliver: When Death Comes

Mac in all his glory, a great teacher of living one's life married to amazement

When Death Comes 
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
- Mary Oliver

August 29th: Mac (on left) on the morning of his death surrounded by Matt and Kodi and those who love him so.

Mary Oliver: Wild Greese

Photo by Molly, at the Columbia River on August 8th

 Wild Geese
 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.

 
- Mary Oliver

Photo taken by Matt on 8/08/15 at the river with our beloved Mac, who died 8/29/15.

 

 

Mary Oliver: Morning Poem

Photo by Molly


Every morning 
the world 
is created. 
Under the orange
 
sticks of the sun 
the heaped 
ashes of the night 
turn into leaves again
 
and fasten themselves to the high branches— 
and the ponds appear 
like black cloth 
on which are painted islands
 
of summer lilies. 
If it is your nature 
to be happy 
you will swim away along the soft trails
 
for hours, your imagination 
alighting everywhere. 
And if your spirit 
carries within it
 
the thorn 
that is heavier than lead— 
if it's all you can do 
to keep on trudging—
 
there is still 
somewhere deep within you 
a beast shouting that the earth 
is exactly what it wanted—
 
each pond with its blazing lilies 
is a prayer heard and answered 
lavishly, 
every morning,
 
whether or not 
you have ever dared to be happy, 
whether or not 
you have ever dared to pray.

- Mary Oliver
from Dream Work