Sunday, November 10, 2019

William Stafford: A Ritual to Read to Each Other

I often speak and write of the darkness I have lived in and my journey through and out of the fog that I had mistaken for reality and into the truth of the beauty of who I am, of who you are, and of the Sacred thread which is woven through all of life. Many of us are lost. And many of us are awakening. This poem by William Stafford speaks deeply to me and to our times. — Molly


 A Ritual to Read to Each Other
 
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
 
— William Stafford
  

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Four Most Important Things To Know Regarding the Upcoming Elections and Beyond


This is a picture of me with our adorable one year old grandson Ethan. It comes to me to begin with the sweetness of this picture because I'm aware that sometimes things that I write and post to Facebook may be seen by greater numbers if there's a photograph included which in some way radiates love. As my blog will reach 375,000 views within a couple of days, I'm also aware that this isn't always true and that cute pictures are not a necessity. In addition, however, there's also a tie in to this picture and my children and grandchildren with the "four most important things," which I'll get to later. And while these things that I list are by far not exhaustive or anywhere close to complete, I find them as embodying some of the connecting dots of what I've been discovering of greatest value and which I am, therefore, moved to share today.

*****

The First Most Important Thing


We need to know in our deepest being what is happening and that all that we love and cherish is at stake. 

It is my belief that these times ask of us to be truth-seekers, to be actively engaged in a process of following the threads of truth which take us deeper and deeper into what we most need to know about ourselves, one another, and this beautiful world that we share. We need to be that brave, that committed to the truth, and that fiercely passionate about giving our children and grandchildren and all species everywhere the potential today and in the future for a habitable planet.

So we need to first roll up our sleeves and pursue in an ongoing way what is truly happening. I have personally discovered that this requires the lifting of the fog of many layers of denial, minimization, misinformation, ignorance, and fear. At least this has certainly been my experience. Along the way, I've also been recognizing how much we are being asked again and again to be truly courageous. It takes great bravery to look wide-eyed and open-hearted into the face of what is threatening life on Earth and causing so much suffering and loss every day.

To assist us in evolving and expanding our understanding of the climate crisis, I have also been recommending the work of Naomi Klein (https://naomiklein.org/), Bill McKibben (http://billmckibben.com/), and Dahr Jamail (https://www.dahrjamail.net/). I have been absorbing the work of these amazing human beings for decades. I know them to be among the best to help us understand where we are, how we got here, and the dramatic actions and changes that are so very long overdue and so urgently needed.  

Given that understanding the problem is often half of the solution, I have found the wisdom, integrity, courage, and truth that Naomi, Bill, and Dahr offer us to be part of what is vital to connecting with the level of consciousness that millions of us in America and worldwide need to embody. This is the consciousness and the courage that is necessary for there to be any possibility of truly meeting this emergency with what is asked of us in this time of our history and human evolution.

But for now, in this moment, there is this warning from 11,000 scientists which was just published this week. So right now, if we already haven't, we can read this: https://www.ecowatch.com/scientists-declare-climate-emergency-2641234117.html.

To sum up what the scientists are saying:

The letter writers warned of "untold suffering" unless measures were taken to address the climate crisis. They proposed six.
  1. Energy: They called for a rapid shift to renewable energy and for leaving fossil fuels in the ground. They also called for negative emissions technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and for wealthy countries to help poorer countries pay for the transition.
  2. Short-lived pollutants: They called for a reduction in shorter-lived pollutants like methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons, which could reduce short-term warming by more than 50 percent and have the added benefit of saving lives from air pollution.
  3. Nature: They called for preserving and restoring ecosystems like forests and coral reefs. They said that as much as one third of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to achieve the Paris agreement goals could be met by preserving and planting natural carbon stores.
  4. Food: They called for a shift towards a mostly plant-based diet and a decrease in meat and dairy consumption, which would decrease emissions and free up agricultural land for human food and ecosystem restoration.
  5. Economy: They called for a carbon-free economy that did not rely on excessive resource extraction. "Our goals need to shift from GDP growth and the pursuit of affluence toward sustaining ecosystems and improving human well-being by prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality," they wrote.
  6. Population: They also wrote of the need to stabilize and, if possible, reduce the world population. They argued that there were ways to do so that also encouraged human rights, such as making access to family planning available to all and achieving gender equality, especially by encouraging education for young women and girls.
*****

The Second Most Important Thing 

Given that the climate crisis is the #1 issue for us to prioritize above all else, we need to be informed as to the positions of each of the candidates for the Presidency regarding this greatest threat to life on Earth. 

It is vital for us to understand why this is true. Bill McKibben, who has been warning us about the coming and now current climate and ecological crises for 30 years, states in his latest book that the number of Americans who are uninformed about the depths of the crisis comprises 70% of our population. And that makes sense given how a corporatized media funded by the likes of the fossil fuel industry has influenced our thinking and hijacked our ability to know what we most need to know. 

This also explains why we Americans may lean towards supporting candidates for the highest office — and other positions of power who are themselves uninformed, who are funded by large corporate and multinational interests, and who don't come anywhere close to the kind of commitment and consciousness of the massive mobilization that we need in order to give ourselves even a shot of averting the extinction of most life on Earth by the end of the century. Many of us won't be alive then. But our children or grandchildren will be.

Given these facts, it's incredibly important for us all to know that Bernie Sanders is the only 2020 candidate proposing anything like a solution on the scale of the problem. We need to know this information AND act on it as if our lives depend on it ... because they do!

The above graph (Climate Issues: Where 2020 Democrats Stand On The Green New Deal And More
https://www.npr.org/2019/09/11/758173003/climate-issues-where-2020-democrats-stand-on-the-green-new-deal-and-more?fbclid=IwAR1_vwQpVk5JqlzRG3Pzc8Z-1vkVlb5zUDHYiGIAiS_INXMz3KvcAL18R7c) illuminates this as it lays out in plain view what each candidate is pledging to spend over ten years to address the climate emergency. Of the top running candidates, Warren pledges $3 trillion, Biden pledges $1.7 trillion, and Buttigieg pledges $2 trillion. None of this begins to be sufficient to avert the catastrophic impact of the planetary emergency we are faced with. 

While none of the other candidates demonstrate consciousness of the depths of what this crisis demands of us, Bernie Sanders and the growing movements and individuals who support him and Not Me, Us pledged spending over the next ten years is $10.9 trillion"We don't have time for more lies," said Sanders. "We must address the climate crisis now." (https://www.ecowatch.com/aoc-sanders-emergency-resolution-2639138944.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1). Unlike all other candidates, the money pledged, the declaration of a climate emergency, the strong backing of the Green New Deal, the fierce commitment to exposing and through the building of the support of millions dismantling the deadly power of the most powerful, and more all illuminate the most crucial difference between Bernie Sanders and every other candidate for the highest office.

While it is true that Senator Sanders' positions on all the large and interwoven issues of our times is strong, it is my belief that his platform and agenda regarding the climate crisis needs to matter above all else. It is absolutely the strongest and most comprehensive plan, far and above any other candidate. It is deeply important that we know this that we know who we are voting for and what they stand for. Otherwise, and despite the best intentions, our not knowing leaves us vulnerable to acting in collusion with what is most threatening all that we most love and cherish.

For anyone doubting this, the link between the planetary crisis and the pledged spending by the candidates for the Presidency makes this truth crystal clear.

*****

The Third Most Important Thing


There is a saying in 12 Step programs:  
Half measures availed us nothing. 

This quote is something I know well given that I have been clean and sober for 35 years. Letting go of half measures and being "all in", as Brené Brown talks about, is hard, hard work. (I've also found that the most painful thing of all is to not be all in.) This quote about half measures also makes clear where we are regarding our addictions to fossil fuels and other belief systems which have led us all to this precipice.

Now we humans are given 10-11 years to engage in radical sweeping changes across the board and across the country and planet if we are to avoid hitting the tipping point of irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption. What we are experiencing now on Earth with its dying coral reefs and melting glaciers, sea level rise and rapid losses of water, droughts and floods, devastating tornadoes and hurricanes, severe winter storms and deadly heatwaves, the sixth major extinction and 200 species dying every day, climate refugees and endless wars and displacement, and on and on — is the result of 1 degree Celsius of warming. Right now, with no dramatic and rapid changes across the planet, we are heading for 3-5 degrees Celsius of warming and 5 feet or more of sea level rise by 2050. This will happen if we don't dramatically change our trajectory NOW.

Bernie Sanders is more accurate than many of us realize when he exclaims that we need a Political Revolution. And, as Riane Eisler wisely states, "In our time, when technology guided by values such as conquest, exploitation, and domination threaten our very survival, we need economics driven by an ethos of caring. We need a Caring Revolution."
 
This information, as we absorb it into our brains and bones and hearts and souls, tells us several things: 
1. We've been a long time a very long time getting to this precipice where we are now. 
2. The first warnings came out in the 1950s about the direction we've been heading in related to the use of fossil fuels. Every president since Kennedy, without exception, has known about the coming/current man-made climate crises, failed to act, and instead added to the crisis rather than alleviate it.
3. We've really, really been handed a lot of deadly misinformation, silence, distraction, lies, and cultural stories and belief systems which have deadened our capacity to act out of our higher wholeness, wisdom, integrity, and truth.
4. This misinformation and these distractions grew exponentially with the takeover of the American mainstream media by powerful financial interests whose goals were to enrich themselves rather than inform us.
5. We've squandered decades on inaction, denial, ignorance, and intentional propaganda which has had no other objective than to hoard and radically shift wealth upwards to a smaller and smaller number of the most wealthy.
6. We're now headed directly towards the cliff of our own extinction within the next several decades, and that of most life on Earth, unless we do what we've been told for decades is needed in order to save ourselves. 
7. This will require radical changes and the mobilization and collaboration of millions in America and worldwide.
8. The status quo will kill us. Half measures will avail us nothing... nothing but a continuation of the death spiral we have long been locked into.
9. We need to let go of our smaller identities which have us stuck in narratives that set us against one another through creating in-groups versus out-groups. One primary example is identifying as a "democrat" or as a "republican" and acting out of the belief system that the ones in that other political party are the ones who are to blame for all the crises we're faced with today.
10. There is great need for us to embrace and own much greater narratives of who we are as human beings and as planetary sisters and brothers. 
11. The time has come for us to evolve and expand our understanding, our belief systems, our values, our authenticity through the creation of a New Story to live by one which holds life, all life, with reverence and protection.
12. The path forward which empowers us to stand in protection of our children today, and the future of all beings, is to grow in the conscious awareness that is required to be on the right side of history.
13. Who we choose for our teachers, healers, visionaries, spiritual leaders, and resources of information, support, and growth is crucial.
14. There is great need to root deeply into our spiritual/religious traditions and into communities of fellow activists and planetary healers, truth-tellers, and visionaries.
15. We have the potential to create a humane society and world.
16. We each have roles to play in our human and planetary evolution. 
17. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
18. We're all connected, all related, all family, all in this together. 

*****

The Fourth Most Important Thing 


This election and what is happening in our hearts
and souls and in our world is about so much
more than any one human being. 

There are a diversity of people who I am connected with in my life today. This range includes some who express anger with me when I refuse to identify as a democrat or republican or support the limiting narratives that keep us stuck in polarities and half measures. Some also reach out and thank me for the part I am doing and for inspiring them to do theirs. 

That said, I do not do what I do because I am looking for adulation or I'm wanting to change anyone. I do what I do because I have to. All I have to do is look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren. And I am reminded of the fierce Love Warrior that I am called on to be for them... and also for all of the children of all of the species everywhere. If I don't, I couldn't live with myself. I have come to know too much. And I cannot turn back.

That's what taking in ever deepening and expanding experiences of the truth will do — it spoils staying drunk on alcohol or propaganda or inaction or pointing my fingers outward onto what everyone else is doing "wrong." The truth has spoiled my endless capacity to judge myself and others and gifted me with empathy, understanding, and compassion in its place. The truth has broken my heart wide open again and again and again so that I can be present to the world and to life as it is rather than how I have mistakenly thought it to be. 

The truth has made it impossible for me to stand by and witness injustice, brutality, and all forms of violence and stay silent and complicit.

It has destroyed worldviews that I was once completely attached to and convinced were the one and only reality. It's humbled me, taken me to places of great joy and great sorrow, and brought me into intimate relationship with the most tender and strong places in my heart and soul. And the truth has set me free to be fierce fierce about healing and wholeness and deep, deep caring for all of life. The truth has gifted me with discernment, responsibility, and awareness of how there are always more veils to lift and truths to embrace. The truth has blessed with with the courage to grieve. The truth has given me the capacity and consciousness of how to love.

Another word for truth may be Grace. Or God, Goddess, Spirit, Creator, or however we are drawn to call that which blesses us most deeply.

It is my belief that Grace/God works through people. I have been incredibly blessed with so many countless, countless wise teachers along the way who absolutely inspire me with their fierce love and courage. Bless them! And bless us all! 

May we all be part of the Revolution 
which is making possible our Human Evolution!  
Molly

With just two of my beloved teachers,
Amy Goodman and Bill McKibben.