Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vandana Shiva: Declaration on Seed Freedom

Photo from Seed Freedom
Declaration on Seed Freedom
by Dr. Vandana Shiva

Seed is the source of life, it is the self urge of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity in freedom.
Seed is the embodiment of bio cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.
Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.
Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers get trapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.
Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.

Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.
Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by Biopiracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Biopiracy is not innovation – it is theft.
Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing
the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmer for “stealing their property”.
Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self generative resource to a non renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed. We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve; as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.

To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. and we will stop the patents on seed.


Photo by Molly

Vandana Shiva: Price Is Not Value

Photo by Molly

The art of money making is not the art of living. 
At one time we didn’t measure the value of nature in monetary 
terms but now people are putting a price on nature. 
Price is not value.

- Dr. Vandana Shiva 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Path of Consciousness and Choice

Photo by Molly
The Wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance. It's a path of consciousness and choice. And, to be honest, it's a little counter-culture. The willingness to tell our stories, feel the pain of others, and stay genuinely connected in this disconnected world is not something we can do halfheartedly.

To practice courage, compassion, and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, "I'm all in."

- Brené Brown, 
from The Gifts of Imperfection

Brené Brown & Pema Chödrön: Compassion

Photo by Molly
To prepare for writing my book on shame, I read everything I could find on compassion. I ultimately found a powerful fit between the stories I heard in the interviews and the work of American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. In her book The Places that Scare You, Chödrön writes, "When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience the fear of our pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us."

What I love about Chödrön's definition is her honesty about the vulnerability of practicing compassion. If we take a closer look at the origin of the word compassion, much like we did with courage, we see why compassion is not typically our first response to suffering. The word compassion is derived from the Latin word pati and cum, meaning "to suffer with." I don't believe that compassion is our default response. I think our first response to pain - ours and everyone else's - is to self-protect. We protect ourselves by looking for someone or something to blame. Or sometimes we shield ourselves by turning to judgment or by immediately going into fix-it mode.

Chödrön addresses our tendency to self-protect by teaching that we must be honest and forgiving about when and how we shut down: "In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience - our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity."

- Excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brené Brown

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Praying For All the Children

They are the light of the future, divine light that has just come into this world.

PRAYING for all the CHILDREN in the world.... 
who at many places, in severe conflicts are suffering so much - injured, killed, orphaned, distressed, traumatized and displaced.

We pray from the place in our hearts where we feel the heartbreaking pain that tears our heart apart when we allow to really feel what is happening on this planet. We pray from the place in our hearts where there is love, just love, that takes no sides but embraces the wholeness of life.

May the seeds of divine love, also and particularly manifested in the children, be held in our hearts. And may Grace flow into the world!

 The photo of this happy child embraced by love 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brené Brown: Love and Belonging

Defining Love and Belonging

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbing, and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.
It took me three years to whittle these definitions and concepts from a decade of interviews. Let's take a look.

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them - we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

... If you look at the definition of love and think about what it means in terms of self-love, it's very specific. Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves. This is a tall order given how hard most of us are on ourselves...
It's worth noticing that I use the words innate and primal in the definition of belonging. I'm convinced that belonging is in our DNA, most likely connected to our most primitive survival instinct. Given how difficult it is to cultivate self-acceptance in our perfectionist society and how our need for belonging is hardwired, it's no wonder that we spend our lives trying to fit in and gain approval.

It's so much easier to say, "I'll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I'm part of this." From gangs to gossiping, we'll do wheat it takes to fit in if we believe it will meet our need for belonging. But it doesn't. We can only belong when we offer our most authentic selves and when we're embraced for who we are.

Practicing Love and Belonging

To begin by always  thinking of love as an action rather than a 
feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner
automatically assumes accountability and responsibility.

- Bell Hooks

... When we don't practice love with the people we claim to love, it takes a lot out of us. Incongruent living is exhausting.

... In addition to helping me understand what love looks like between people, these definitions also forced me to acknowledge that cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. They aren't endeavors that I can look into if and when I have some spare time. They are priorities.

... Loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage. In a society that says, "Put yourself last," self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary. 

~ Brené Brown, excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection:
Let Go Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are 

Hafiz: Love Sometimes Wants to Do Us a Great Favor

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor:
hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

- Hafiz

The Way of the Bodhisattva

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
~ the way of the bodhisattva - shantideva - 8th century
from Tara Brach

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brené Brown: The Infinite Power of Our Light

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

 Brené Brown