Saturday, June 28, 2008

Now Showing: Dalai Lama Renaissance

Warmest Greetings!

Please go here for more information about a documentary called Dalai Lama Renaissance: After taking several years to complete, this film is now on tour in different cities across the country. The director and producer, who is touring with the documentary, states that the film will also be available for purchase in November. Dalai Lama Renaissance is playing in Portland at the Hollywood Theater on the weekends of June 28-29 and July 5-6. Please check listings for other cities where this film will be shown.

I just had the great pleasure of seeing Dalai Lama Renaissance and highly recommend this film to others. On the outside and at first glance, it can appear to "simply" be about 40 people - including Thom Hartmann - who gathered together with the Dalai Lama to discuss issues deeply important to humanity and the planet. Upon looking a bit deeper, it can appear to be more of an expose of the egos and humanness of some great American thinkers as they gather together with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Yet, upon truly going deeper yet, this documentary powerfully highlights a process that is perhaps important to us all - how to recognize and embrace our egos with sufficient awareness and understanding that we then become empowered to move beyond our more surface selves and into our deeper hearts. And it is from that place that we are empowered to ACT in ways that truly make a difference.

I found this film powerful, moving, beautiful, and illuminating. Yes, I deeply love the Dalai Lama for his wisdom, his profoundly deep and loving heart, his absolutely delightful laughter and sense humor, his humility, and the role model he is for us all. Yet, this documentary is much bigger than even His Holiness. The Dalai Lama's invitation and encouragement is not to worship him, but rather he speaks to all of us as individuals and what it is that we are all capable of. The Dalai Lama asks that we each do the work of opening our own hearts and from there - from this open-hearted place in which we have moved beyond the smallness of our limited thinking - that we then learn to care about all of humanity. It feels very timely that this documentary is finding its way to screens across this country and in other countries across the world at this time. Dalai Lama Renaissance is an important film that deeply touched and opened my heart. It may do the same for you...



From Dalai Lama Renaissance:
There is always that question of the people who watched the trains going by with the Jews inside. And we all think that we wouldn't have done that, we would have done something. But what trains are going by - Right Now - that we are just watching go by? ~ Fran Korten, wife of David Korten

Each human being has the moral responsibility to think about humanity.
~ the Dalai Lama

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Courage to be Patriotic

This post is dedicated to Dustin, Joel, and the many other soldiers

I know and don't know who have gone off to war.

And for all those in the countries we send them to.

Bless us all.

KPOJ did an interview today with Chris Hedges which has inspired me to do this post. What moved me in particular to give voice to Chris Hedges and his latest book was when the author spoke of his intimate interviews with our soldiers finding their way to front page headlines splashed across European newspapers - but here in America the same voices of our soldiers were met with rigid walls of resistance and deafening silence. Shame on the American media! And shame on our tolerance of today's largely shallow, superficial, limited, and misleading reporting that we call "news". There is a reason why so much of the rest of the world knows more about our foreign policies, for instance, than we do here in America. Ours is a media that all too often simply leaves out what we most need to know.Tragically, too, Chris Hedges spoke in this interview of his belief that Americans do not want to know the truth about our soldiers and the truth about the wars that they fight and the occupations that they uphold. Chris stated his opinion that maybe in twenty years we Americans will collectively be wanting to know the truth of what is happening today. This saddens me! It is not okay to wait twenty years - not when there is so much suffering happening in the hearts of our soldiers today. We need to stop the collusion of covertly promoting the unspoken rules of not talking, feeling, knowing, and seeing the greater truths of war and its impact on our children and on all children. We need to stop promoting the "glory" of war. Or its necessity.

There is such a high cost, whether consciously or unconsciously, in choosing to remain ignorant. I say this with great humility as someone who prior to 9/11 did not care enough to want to know any depth about America or the world. I did not really know why our country chose to attack Iraq the first time. I did not know why all those people were protesting or what they were protesting (the WTO) in Seattle in 1999. And I didn't care to know. I was a deeply uninformed and apathetic American. I say this with compassion today for where I was then. And I say this with the deep understanding that I can no longer justify maintaining that ignorance. 9/11 was the life-changing event for me that moved me to go deeper, ... that moved me to want to know...

Without looking, it is easy to turn a blind eye and take on the arrogance of a superficial patriotism that is anything but courageous. It is easy for so many of us as Americans to bite onto those media soundbites and take for truth and fact that patriotism can be measured by sporting bumper stickers of support, praying, wearing lapel pins, putting one's hand over one's heart during patriotic songs, hanging American flags, and just being damn sure that America is the best nation on Earth and the most worthy of God's blessing. We all too often also unquestioningly believe that our soldiers only do the right thing and only fight to protect and promote democracy. Our veterans know that these are our expectations of them. This is what we have all been taught. Too many of our children return from war and occupation and choose to end their lives rather than speak the truth. They believe we don't want to know. Or that we haven't the courage to know. And so they suffer their horrific truths in silence.

In one week millions of Americans will drink and set off fireworks for the 4th of July, not having a clue of the veterans in our midst whose PTSD is being triggered by all the sounds that mimic those of war. Yet how many of us even know that this great day of patriotic fervor may be experienced as adding to the trauma of our veterans rather than celebrating their service? What does supporting our troops really mean? What does it truly look like?

It takes incredible courage, as I see it, to be patriotic. It takes courage to listen to the stories of our soldiers. It takes courage to understand why 1 in 5 or 1 in 3 (depending on which study you read) soldiers are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It takes courage to know why there is a suicide epidemic among our veterans. (

I have long held the highest respect Chris Hedges for his courage and truthtelling. I have seen Chris Hedges before, have read many of his articles and heard him interviewed on the radio and television, and I have one of his books and have also heard of his most recent one, Collateral Damage. A review of this latest book at states:

Pulitzer Prize-winning former war reporter Chris Hedges, along with Laila al-Arian, has produced a remarkable new book,
Collateral Damage, America's War Against Iraqi Civilians. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the Iraq war and occupation, it lays out graphically indeed and in their own words the American system of patrols, convoys, home raids, detentions, and military checkpoints that became a living nightmare for civilians in Iraq. Think of their book as a two-person version of the Vietnam-era Winter Soldier Investigation, this time for a war in which Americans have seemed especially uneager to know much about what their troops, many thousands of miles from home, are really doing to the "hajis."

This is one review of Chris Hedge's latest book:
This book really shows how true evil masks itself behind such high sounding words as `honor,' `glory,' `dignity', `patriotism', `for god and country', 'victory', and so on; words that may have inspired a young man or woman to join the military (although many others may do so for other reasons such as economic necessity) only for many of them to later find that they have been duped and diabolically deceived by those so called `responsible' politicians who had sent them over there along with those other cowardly politicians who only pretend that they want them to come back home. It's only too late when these young soldiers realize that they are simply the tools of a greedy power elite who only seek profit from human butchery, slaughter and misery and these people could care less about the Iraqi people or for that matter, they could care less about the American soldiers who are used as sacrificial cannon fodder to serve some sick pathological agenda to `occupy' (read: conquer and rape) another culture. In fact, it's even beyond sick as to what goes on in Iraq. It's just plain evil. By reading the personal testimonial accounts of those soldiers who have been deeply traumatized from their experiences in Iraq, this book really gives the reader a feel for the reality of the horrors of war. The accounts given by the soldiers regarding their experiences traveling in the moving convoys is simply horrific and it's clearly a living nightmarish hell for not only the unfortunate innocent Iraqi's who are butchered from these convoys but for the American soldiers themselves who actually think that they are fighting for some greater `cause.' Any politician that can read about the things that go on over in Iraq and not be so deeply affected as to immediately put an end to this campaign of terror is simply not human. This is an excellent book and it does what it's supposed to do, which is to bring awareness to the reader; mentally, emotionally and physically, of the pathology of war.

What I know about Chris Hedges is that he has been reporting about "what it really means when America goes to war" for decades. He is no embedded reporter - he is in bed with no political party and no moneyed corporate interests - but rather is a journalist whose integrity and commitment to presenting the facts is impeccable. The author's classic and best known work is War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Here is an article first printed in Amnesty International Now magazine that describes Chris' experience with war as outlined in this previous book: Chris Hedges understands the truth about what is going on in past wars and occupations and what is happening today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

May we support one another in stepping up our own commitment as individuals and collectively as Americans and planetary beings to truly support our troops - and all those impacted by war. May we commit to increasingly growing in courage, increasingly opening our hearts, and increasingly caring enough to want to know what it means, truly means, when America goes to war. May we have the courage to clarify and redefine what it is to be patriotic in America.



War makes the world understandable, a black-and-white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one. Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good; for human beings seek not only happiness but also meaning. And tragically, war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning. ~ Chris Hedges

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This Brave Nation

Inspired Greetings!

I just learned of this new remarkable documentary film series that can be viewed on line called This Brave Nation. On May 30th of this year, The Nation magazine writes this about This Brave Nation: "A kind of 'living history' project composed of short videotaped conversations, This Brave Nation brings together the most intelligent, passionate and creative voices of one generation with the activists, journalists and artists of the next to dialogue on loves, lives, politics and history. Each discussion will be produced as both a five-minute video and a thirty-minute mini-documentary, which will be collected in a DVD box set. Starting today, June 1, a new video will be released each Sunday for four weeks leading up to a live event in Los Angeles on July 13."

Another reviewer and activist writes: "Permit me a personal moment. Like you, I often wonder why I do what I do. And because I've done it for so long, I sometimes wonder whether it all was worth it. Well, make no mistake. It was and is. Especially when the reasons are so graphically and emotionally recorded on film. Let me explain. Last night I watched - online - the second episode in a remarkable series co-produced by The Nation magazine and Brave New Foundation. ...Print married with film. Film and print married with the internet. Internet married with text, audio and video. Text, audio and video married with ACTION. You don't need a user's manual to get the beauty of all this integration."

This is a truly extraordinary, powerful, and amazing documentary series. See for yourselves: And then consider spreading the word. Thank you!

Tag, we are all it...


"At the end of the day, it's not about left vs right. It's about right versus wrong." ~ Human rights activist Van Jones speaking in This Brave Nation

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Green Festival Radio!

Warmest Greetings

It has been over two months now since I had the extraordinary experience of traveling to Seattle to attend my first Green Festival. I can hardly describe what it was like to join approximately 30,000 other people who came to explore the excitement of hundreds of Earth friendly booths and listen to some of the most amazing authors, journalists, truthtellers, peacemakers, and visionaries in America today. And it is difficult to imagine how many more would have attended this first ever event to Seattle if the Dalai Lama had not also been in town that very same weekend. From little babies to Elders in their 80's, smiles abounded amidst this unmistakably sweet nourishing energy of shared happiness and warmth, caring and connection, and commitment to creating a better world for us all. It was simply an overwhelmingly wonderful delight, honor and gift to be there. I cannot recommend these annual events more!

I would like to share a link to listen to some of what I heard and saw at the 2008 Seattle Green Festival. I know that we are all so busy and that sitting down to listen to one or more of these presentations may seem too difficult to do. Yet, what I found is that simply turning on my computer and going about doing chores, preparing a dinner, etc. while listening has made it easy for me to relive some of my experiences of this extraordinary weekend plus hear speeches that I missed. At some point, videos of speakers from the 2008 events in Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco should also become available. For videos of Green Festival presentations from previous years, please go here:

Please go here for Seattle's mainstage festival speakers from 2008: While there were so many speakers on so many stages and so many boothes to check out, there were several mainstage speakers I had the privilege of hearing who were especially amazing; I would also like to include their websites:
- Jim Hightower --
- John Perkins --
- Thom Hartmann --
- Frances Moore Lappe --
The overflow crowd wanting to see Amy Goodman in particular was so overwhelmingly beyond capacity that, following a bathroom break I took after the previous speaker, for five minutes I was blocked by security from returning to my nearly front row seat or even getting back into the huge auditorium. It is so encouraging that so many know Amy for the extraordinary and heroic journalist that she is. And I know these numbers are growing - which is good news for us all!



"The media denigrates activists, but what could be a more noble cause than to dedicate your life to making the world a better place." ~ Amy Goodman

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Help Us Build a School!

Warmest greetings!

I am wanting to pass on the below message from my friend Wendy as a reminder about the "Art From Our Hearts" fundraiser that will be happening on Saturday, June 28th. If you feel so moved, please feel free to request a poster to help spread the word, to purchase on line if you are unable to come, and/or to share about this event with others. Helping to build this school is so exciting!! And if you are able to come, we look forward to seeing you there! Brightest blessings ~ Molly

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:38 PM
Subject: Help us build a school!

Dear Friends,

Next Saturday, June 28th, we are holding our first 'Art From Our Hearts' art show and fundraiser. It will be at Awakenings Wellness Center, 1016 SE 12th Avenue from 10:00 - 4:00. We will be offering cards and card sets along with laser and giclee prints of art by Olivia Oso, Marsha Donner, and myself. You can preview our art at For this art show, our community has also contributed photography by Julie Doll, gourd art by Kat Cunningham, jewelry from the Manifesting Divas and Molly Strong, and more.

For those of you who don't know "Art From Our Hearts," it is a humanitarian project that uses art we have created together to communicate a deep vision of a more open-hearted world. All the proceeds from our art go to support humanitarian projects in developing countries. We especially want to support projects that help strengthen communities and help bring more hope and opportunity into their lives. In the face of daily news that tells us all that is wrong in the world, we want to help expand the 'global heart' and be part of what is right in the world.

This year, proceeds from our sales are going to the Central Asia Institute ( to help build a school for girls in an impoverished mountain community in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The CAI was founded by Greg Mortensen - you can read his story in the best selling book 'Three Cups of Tea' - after encountering a tremendous need and desire in these remote communities for schools where none exist. The goal of the CAI is to empower local people in all of their projects to help educate their children and develop their communities. Described as the 'front line' of terrorism because desperate people are recruited from these impoverished villages, the schools become a crucial turning point for a more peaceful and stable development.

I know you all to be generous, open-hearted, and concerned about making a difference in the world. For only about $12,000, this is one way that our community can directly help another community that is struggling in the heart of this troubled part of the world.

Please come and help us build a school! If you can't come on the 28th but would like to help, you will be able to order Art From Our Hearts cards and prints online beginning June 25th or you can call or email me anytime (503-245-3485).

PLEASE ALSO HELP US SPREAD THE WORD. Please forward this email to your lists. I have attached two pdf files - one is a poster for the Art Show and the other is some information about the Central Asia Institute for you to distribute to those you think would be interested.

Thank you for your big hearts and all you do to make a difference. I hope to see you on the 28th!

Wendy Bjornson
(503) 245-3485

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Courage, Healing, Truth and Transformation In America

Warm greetings

Over the last week and a half there have been several developments that once again speak to hope and a shift in direction in our country. I feel great gratitude.

At the same time, there is also this sense of disbelief and grief that America has come to this place where my gratitude is for a President of the United States being accused by increasing numbers of people in high places of war crimes, disbelief and grief that Habeas Corpus is given value by only 5 out of the 9 Supreme Court Justices, and disbelief and grief that there are 35 - thirty-five! - Articles of Impeachment that have been presented in the House of Representatives. In the wake of watching each of these 35 emerge over the past few years, I have felt as though I have entered the Twilight Zone. How can it be that we have become a nation that justifies pre-emptive war and torture and flushing Habeas Corpus down the toilet? This has been shocking to me.

And this experience has left me asking how it is that we have fallen this far? What has happened to our nation? To us as citizens? To our sense of what patriotism means and truly looks like? What has happened to us in America that our integrity and values have become so deeply compromised? Where has truth, connectedness, and a genuine sense of mutual caring, compassion, interest, and respect for one another gone? Where has all the kindness gone - for one another as Americans and for all our brothers and sisters everywhere and for the Earth herself? Where is the American patriotism that lives and breathes the courage and humanity of our true ideals? AND - of crucial importance - what has happened to journalism and the American media? What does the truth of these issues say about this place we have found ourselves in today that is of such deep, deep concern?

These questions are not about red states vs blue states, left vs right, progressive vs conservative, religious vs secular. Haven't these divisions played their part in distracting us from remembering that we are all Americans? In an even larger picture, these questions for me are human questions. No matter our politics, religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, and all the other many faces of our diversity -- we are all connected, all sisters and brothers, all in this together. These questions have inspired me, and with increasing urgency, to look at myself and to explore and face both my part in these profound issues and their making AND to actively seek solutions. What is it that I - and each of us - can learn from all this? Wouldn't it be extraordinary if we Americans could have a national discussion - without any blame or judgment or finger pointing - with the intention to work together for the common welfare of us all? Wouldn't it be such an exquisite blessing to all if we could each, in our own ways, open even more deeply to the lessons that are so deeply pulling at our lives, our hearts, and our minds for attention -- and truly surrender to what it is that is seeking to be discovered, known, and birthed into being?

Every day, I believe that more and more of us are coming together, supporting one another to have the courage to look at where we are, where we have been, and where it is that we need to go. These questions, to me, offer the opportunity to grow, expand, and become more of what we are capable of and more of who we truly are. At least this is my experience, and the alchemist in me sees great opportunity in what may otherwise simply appear bleak. As the Dalai Lama has said, "The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period of one's life." I believe that the wisdom in these words not only applies to us as individuals, but also to us today as a nation and as a planetary family.

Here are the links, including a glimpse into 35 ways in which America has deeply lost her way:

US General Accuses Bush Administration of War Crimes
Truthout's Matt Renner and Maya Schenwar report: "Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (now retired) served as the deputy commanding general for support for the Third Army for ten months in Kuwait during the early days of the Iraq occupation. In a statement released today, he bluntly accuses the Bush administration of war crimes and lays down a challenge for prosecution."


Supreme Court: Guantánamo Detainees Have Constitutional Right to Habeas Corpus
Washington, DC — In one of the most important human rights cases of the decade, the Supreme Court of the United States held today, in a 5-4 decision, that the men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay have the constitutional right to habeas corpus.

Dennis Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush
Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.

Article I Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
Article II
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Article III
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.
Article IV
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.
Article V
Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.
Article VI
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.
Article VII
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Article VIII
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.
Article IX
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor.
Article X
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes.
Article XI
Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq.
Article XII
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources.
Article XIIII
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries.
Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq.
Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors.
Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives.
Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.
Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.
Article XX
Imprisoning Children.
Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government.
Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws.
Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.
Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.
Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements.
Article XXVII
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply.
Article XXVIII
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice.
Article XXIX
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.
Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency.
Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.
Article XXXIII
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001.
Article XXXV
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.

May we all continue to discover new ways to open our hearts and minds even more deeply. May we each find new ways that work and fit for us to act on what we find as we go deeper. May we use our increasing knowledge and consciousness on behalf of the highest interests of our children, all the children yet to come, and our Earth Mother...

Thank each and every one of you, too, for what you already do and all that you are. There is much beauty in the world. It is everywhere.

Peace & blessings,


"There's a lot of smoke everywhere, but nobody's looking to see if there's a fire." ~ my Michigan friend, Keith, quoting someone on NPR today

Humankind. Let's Be Both. ~ a bumper sticker I saw today

It is not our differences that divide us. It's our inability to recognize, accept, & celebrate our differences that divide us. ~ One of my 18 bumper stickers

Monday, June 16, 2008

Global Warming and Extreme Weather

Gratitude and blessings to all life...

The Environmental Defense Fund states that: "Studies show that global warming will increase the frequency or intensity of many kinds of extreme weather. While we can't attribute a particular heat wave or hurricane to global warming, the trends are clear: Global warming loads the atmospheric dice to roll 'heat wave' or 'intense storm' more often." Please go here for the complete article and related resources:

Democracy Now! reports: "The words 'extreme weather' are rarely associated in the mainstream media with another two words: "global warming." But scientists argue that these extreme weather events are consistent with changes they have long predicted would accompany global warming. Amy Goodman speaks to Joseph Romm of and Perry Beeman of the Des Moines Register." Please go here to join Amy Goodman and Listen/Watch/Read:

It has been amazing to me that there are still those who debate the existence of global warming. It is like debating that the Earth is flat. Gratefully, most recognize that it is greed which mobilizes behind this debate rather than fact. And there is, in my perspective, both a frightening and a hopeful side of this enormous issue we call global warming -- and that is exactly that global warming does threaten us all. No matter where we live and who we are - no matter what our nationality or religion, our gender or age, our race or ethnicity, our politics or sexual orientation or socio-economic class - all of humankind is threatened. Global warming knows no red states or blue states, no national borders, no Us or Them.

While presenting profound danger to life on Earth, there is also indeed this great potential opportunity and blessing to recognize that we are all in this together. The illusion of separateness disintegrates as this awareness and knowledge is experienced ... in our hearts. My vision is that generations to come will look back upon This Time as the Great Turning in which the crises of our day pushed humanity to a tipping point, a place in our evolution as a species in which we united behind the knowing that we all matter, we are all sacred, we are all connected, and we are capable of joining together to act on the behalf of all our brothers and sisters on Earth.

And once this tipping point is achieved, and indeed it is - I believe - right now Today, all things will be possible.

Peace and blessing,


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Creating an Economics That Cares and Works!

Inspired greetings

Will the growing national and worldwide economic crisis make 1929 look like "a walk in the park"? Some think it may: Incredibly, but predictably, while the corporate media evades the truth of this crisis by only minimal mention and a plethora of distractions, Americans and other human beings around the planet are increasingly drowning in a sea of loss and lack.

Yet there is the executive with the Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, who describes our current situation as, "A CRISIS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS." The exec elaborates: "I'm not talking New Testament biblical; I'm talking Old Testament hellfire and brimstone. This is the worst credit crisis we've ever seen." And there is this fact that "thirty-six and a half million Americans - one in eight Americans, one in six children - that we KNOW of, because there are no good ways to really measure - live below the official federal poverty level, $20,000 a year for a family of four. Half of us - half! - will have gone through a year or more of poverty by the time we turn 60." (See: We are like the frog in the pan slowly being brought to a boil while being uninformed and unable to see a larger picture of our predicament or any depth of real solution.

While in Mexico I recently completed reading Riane Eisler's book - The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. And it has been a life-changing experience. It is so difficult to imagine a different world, one in which there are changes that have never happened before. Riane Eisler is among the great visionaries of our time. Her book The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future is now printed in 23 languages and has been read by people worldwide. "The Chalice and The Blade has been the catalyst for new books, art, music, and the spread of Partnership Education around the world." (See: L.A. Weekly states that "The Chalice and The Blade may be the most significant work published in all our lifetimes. Read The Chalice and The Blade. . .it may make the future possible." (See: This earlier book was also a deeply life changing experience for me.

In her latest book, The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler offers a detailed vision of a profoundly new and different - a caring - economics that transcends and goes beyond traditional and limiting categories like "capitalist" and "socialist". Her perspective of a Caring Family Policy, for instance, includes three interacting components: A Declaration of Children's Rights, A Strong American Family Partnership, and A Family-friendly American Economy. (See: As someone who works as a permanency worker for Child Welfare, and who has worked with abused and neglected children and with families for twenty years, it is my perspective that these kinds of foundational changes - to our culture, our values, and the stories that we live by both as Americans and as global citizens - are critical, absolutely critical, to affecting real and lasting change for children and families in this nation and beyond.

Please go here for a video of Riane Eisler speaking about the "Human Yearning for Caring Connection": Please go here to see Riane speak about a "Caring Economics": What Riane is giving voice to is deep cultural change. I recently heard Riane Eilser speak for the fourth time, this occasion being at the Green Festival in Seattle. Here is a peak of Riane at the Washington D.C. Green Festival sharing about the passion that is reflected in her new book, The Real Wealth of Nations, and her invitation to us all to become a part of a "caring revolution":

It is sometimes said that it isn't as much what happens to us as what our responses are to the events and circumstances of our lives. I love and have been deeply drawn to Riane Eisler for many years now because of both the work she does in the world and because of who she is. I know of her courageous spirit, her profoundly caring heart, and the great wisdom she carries. I know her story and the incredible role model she has been to me in illuminating the gifts of the alchemist - someone who responded to the events of her life by turning great darkness into illuminating and powerful action, light, and love.

Riane Eisler's biography states that her "story begins in Vienna, Austria, where as a small child she and her family had to flee from the Nazis. They emigrated to Cuba and eventually to the U.S. Riane has said that this trauma could have destroyed her, but instead, it led to her life-long quest to understand why horrible things like the Holocaust can happen – and what we can do so they do not happen again. Riane has become an eminent social scientist, attorney, author, and social activist. She is best known for her international bestseller The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 23 languages, including Chinese, Russian, Korean, Hebrew, Japanese, and Arabic." (See:

I want to offer others who haven't yet discovered Riane Eisler the opportunity to fall in love with this woman and the gifts of wisdom, vision, love, and expansive and passionate hope and opportunity that I have found in the work she does in the world. She embraces an amazing vision and concrete steps we can begin to learn about as we seek to bring positive change to ourselves and others. I know that so many of us are already doing more and more to help create a world that works for all. I have found in Riane a potential role model for us all as she shines the light on new possibilities that are so deeply needed. It is my belief that God/Goddess/Spirit/Creator speaks through others and certainly I strongly sense and experience this greater Presence in Riane Eisler through the profound impact she is having on the world. I love and feel this incredible gratitude for this woman and all the ways that she walks and models the path of the leader, alchemist, and visionary. Here is someone who truly embodies great courage and a heart that loves and cares deeply.

In The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler "shows that the great problems of our time - such as poverty, inequality, war, terrorism, and environmental degradation - are due largely to flawed economic systems that set the wrong priorities and misallocate resources. Conventional economic models fail to value and support the most essential human work: caring and caregiving. So basic human needs are increasingly neglected, despair and ecological destruction escalate, and the resulting social tensions fuel many of the conflicts we face today." (See: Yet, another world is possible. Jeffrey Hollender, President of Seventh Generation, Inc. writes, "This book should be mandatory reading for every CEO, every economist, every government official, every student, and every citizen of Nations." The Real Wealth of Nations is a book that I will send to Barack Obama. That said, it is my belief that change from the bottom up - something Obama speaks of - is what will bring about the real change that is needed here in America and all over this beautiful interconnected world that we all share. Tag, we are all it...

Peace & Blessings,


"The Real Wealth of Nations is a call to action. I wholeheartedly agree that it is not only politicians, businesses and financial institutions that must change, but rather each one of us must play a role in developing a more caring society. This book is an important tool that can help us make that happen."
~ Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE, Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Heartfelt greetings!

I am very excited to announce the first Art From Our Hearts Art Show and Fundraiser:
* When: Saturday, June 28th from 10am to 4pm
* Where: Awakenings Wellness Center, 1016 SE 12th Ave. (between Belmont & Hawthorne)
* Website:
* Contact: Wendy Bjornson -- (503) 245-3485 or

There will be original art for sale along with a large assortment of cards, enlargements and giclee prints. Please visit the new website at for a preview of the art itself and more about the fundraising. If you are interested in obtaining a flyer(s) for this event to post, please contact Wendy at or myself at

There are many who are inspired to step forward to offer their art for this occasion and to help make this event a success; it is my intention to contribute some of my jewelry and photography. But it is my sisters Wendy Bjornson, Olivia Oso, and Marsha Donner who are the ones who have given birth to this idea and who are gathering their beautiful art and bountiful hearts to make this important first time event a great success. Wendy, Olivia, and Marsha share that "Art From Our Hearts emerged from our desire to create art together and to share what we create to help change the world." For more about my friends and "Art From Our Hearts", please go here:

This year the funds raised will go to the building of a school for girls in Afghanistan or Pakistan through the Central Asia Institute. Please go here for more information on the Central Asia Institute and their work that is connected to the work of Greg Mortensen and his book Three Cups of Tea: It is very exciting to me that the proceeds from the art sales of this local fundraiser on June 28th "will to go to help young girls in these remote, impoverished villages become educated and help build their communities."

To learn more about the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin, please go here: For Greg Mortensen's website, please go here:

However, you don't need to have read the book or know the story to come to the art show and contribute to an important cause. So, please come and bring your friends. Please also circulate this information to your networks to help more people find out about the art show. And, if you have some art you would like to show and contribute the proceeds to the school building fund, please let Wendy know.

In addition, for those not in this area or unable to attend this event, some of the original art will be coming available for purchase on-line. Please continue to check out the website as it develops.

It is said that as the girls and women of the world become empowered, unimaginable healing and positive planetary change will become possible. And as the related Penny's For Peace Program (which seeks to provide increased education for American children - states: "Our best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages American children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace." Education for all the children is key. Thank you for considering how you might help in this cause.

Brightest blessings,


"Former Taliban fighters renounced violence and the oppression of women after meeting Mortensen and went to work with him peacefully building schools for girls. He has drawn volunteers from every stratum of Pakistan's society and from all warring sects of Islam...Though he would never say to himself, he has single-handedly changed the lives of tens of thousands of children, and independently won more hearts and minds than all the official American propaganda flooding the region... - David Oliver Relin, from the Introduction to Three Cups of Tea

Making Peace Heroic

Inspired greetings

There are now available countless and powerful websites, articles, speeches, books, documentaries, and more which promote peace. This is one that has just recently come to my attention:

"Making Peace Heroic"
Address by Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue
to the National Council of Churches in Australia
Launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence
March 21st 2003, Sydney

The author speaks of the many issues underlying violence:
* Racism
* Much of what passes as entertainment
* The treatment of people in poverty
* The treatment of many women by men
* The treatment of the environment
* The treatment of asylum seekers
* And the treatment of people who are seen as unacceptable for whatever reason, for example, because of their mental health, a disability, or their sexual orientation.

Professor O'Donoghue goes on to say -- "It seems to me, that there is little point in talking about peace as an abstract ideal, in a world such as this, unless we actively respond to the values that support and maintain violence as the norm. This, for me, is the linchpin of my commitment to the mission of Overcoming Violence. I believe that violence is not a given. It is a choice. And we have to learn to choose differently."

He encourages Churches and people to connect globally in support of peace. In doing so, these areas are acknowledged as important to address:
* Advocating and working for social justice
* Advancing understanding and tolerance
* Supporting disenfranchised groups
* Supporting the movement for reconciliation
* Transforming attitudes and behaviours
* Contributing to education programs
* Helping people in need
* Demanding ethical codes in the public sphere
* Involving Church leaders in all levels of public debate on matters of justice and peace
* Being brave enough to speak out in the interests of truth
* Resisting the use of God's name to justify and glorify violence

You can go here to see the full article:



"The only way to abolish war is to make peace heroic." ~ John Dewey

The Propaganda, Costs, and Impact of War, Occupation, and Empire Building

Warm greetings

This has been a more difficult post to put together. In doing so, I am aware that most of you will already be very aware and knowledgeable about the propaganda, costs, and impact of war, occupation, and empire building. That said, several things moved me to do this post. As soon as I was home from work several days ago, my son Matt pulled me over to the computer to watch a Frontline episode that he had found in doing research for a paper for one of his college courses on the impact of war. (See the below Frontline: "The Soldiers Heart".) This also coincided with Matt's friend Dustin's return to Iraq following being home on an 18 day leave. My son has several friends who are in Iraq as I write this. Another experience that I had which motivated me to do this piece occurred at work as I met a man who works for a different agency who proudly shared with another co-worker and myself a framed photograph of his 19 year old son in Marine's uniform standing in front of an American flag; this man went on to share with pride that this son would soon be leaving for Iraq. And my heart sank as I stood there thinking that I would rather die than have any of my children participate in the war and occupation of Iraq. Quietly, in my heart, I wept for this man and his son.

Even though a vast majority of Americans now believe that we were misled into war and that the on-going occupation of Iraq needs to end, there still continues to remain millions of Americans who are uninformed about even basic information regarding these issues. This is not, from my perspective, at all related to any polarity of left/right, conservative/progressive, Republican/Democrat, etc. For these are human issues which affect us all, both here in America and around the world: the treason committed by a president who knowingly misled us into war, the American and Iraqi deaths and injuries, the destruction of a country and the profound refugee crisis created in its wake, the destabilization of the Middle East, the fueling of terrorism worldwide, the profound loss of positive regard created worldwide toward the American government, the destruction of the Earth, the depletion of resources, the costs to the American and global economies, the distraction from the true threats to our country and the planet, and on and on. The total costs of the war and occupation of Iraq is inconceivable to me. And tragic beyond description.

It is my experience that it takes both knowledge and courage to look at these things. It is my belief that part of the solution to these issues of profound importance is being able to name the problem, to clearly outline facts and present the faces of war, occupation, empire building -- AND describe the propaganda that has propelled us all to this national and planetary crisis. Of course, the below links are but a tiny glimpse into a much larger picture that I do not pretend to describe in detail here. But some of these facts and faces can be empowering to the shift toward peace that is at the heart of this message I share with you today. It is important to spread the word that approximately 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer PTSD or major depression. That's one of every five military men and women who have served over there. It is important to know that suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans who are seen in medical facilities. Author storyteller Michael Meade ( recently told me that he is seeing an even more traumatic impact than the Vietnam War with the Iraq War vets he is working with due to the high civilian deaths caused by our soldiers in missions that require them to do things such as kick down doors and invade people's homes. As the word continues to spread about the profound costs of war, occupation, and empire building, it is my belief that fewer parents will support their children going off to war and fewer messages promoting war and occupation will continue to circulate. It is my belief that, in the larger picture, we will increasingly be empowered to recognize propaganda as it chronically fed to us here in America and demand a government and a media who tells us the truth and supports the ideals we profess to live by.

Here are a few of the links which you may want to check out, if you already haven't, or pass on to others:

The National Priorities Project
Includes on-going war clock and gives more information on the cost of the war/occupation of Iraq: $4,681 per household, $1,721 per person, $341.4 million per day.

Cost of War and Nation Building

The Center For Public Integrity: The War Card - Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War
False Pretenses: Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Bush misused Iraq intelligence: Senate report
"The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (9/11) attacks to use the war against al-Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein ... Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises." - Jay Rockefeller

Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled US on Iraq

McClellan and His Media Collaborators

Critical Voices on Scott McClellan
"In taking us to war in Iraq, not only were George Bush's allegation that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of this country and his unmistakable allegation by implication that Hussein was involved in 9/11, false, but also and much more importantly, Bush knew that both allegations were untrue."

Frontline: "The Soldier's Heart"
Profiles veterans in a four areas -
Homecoming, The Psychological Impact of Combat, Needing Help, A Need for Change.

"Invisible Wounds of War Study"
Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq. Early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of these deployments — many involving prolonged exposure to combat-related stress over multiple rotations — may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries of combat. Concerns have been most recently centered on two combat-related injuries in particular: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. With the increasing concern about the incidence of suicide and suicide attempts among returning veterans, concern about depression is also on the rise.

"Wartime PTSD cases jumped nearly 50 pct. in 2007"
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of troops diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007, the most violent year so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon records show.

FOCUS Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: Memorial Day
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, writing for Truthout, say: "We honor our war dead this Memorial Day weekend. The greatest respect we could pay them would be to pledge no more wars for erroneous and misleading reasons; no more killing and wounding except for the defense of our country and our freedoms."

FOCUS Camillo "Mac" Bica: On This Memorial Day
Camillo "Mac" Bica, writing for Truthout, says:
"For many of us who have known war, it has been years since we faced the insanity of man's inhumanity to man. Yet, it haunts us still. Not a day goes by, I think, that we do not recall the devastating screams of a comrade who died in our arms while taking and then giving back a useless and desolate hill top in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, or wake up screaming as we relive the horror of the bloodstained streets of Fallujah."

John Cory No Room on the Wall
John Cory, writing for Truthout, says:
"Memorial Day is here, and with it the cheap carnival sales pitch of patriotism and sacrifice and paying the price for freedom. The sideshow of this holiday weekend will be the primary campaign pre-election blather and speeches about honoring the men and women who serve our nation. Nickel-and-dime phrase and praise, sleight of hand and tongue, to divert our eyes from the real issue of supporting our troops and veterans."

Memories of Iraq Haunted Soldier Until Suicide
Halimah Abdullah, reporting for McClatchy Newspapers, writes: "According to family members and police reports, on February 20, 2007, just a few months after being discharged from his second tour of duty in Iraq, Sgt. Brian Rand smoked half of a cigarette as he wrote a suicide note, grabbed a gun and went to the Cumberland River Center Pavilion in Clarksville, Tennessee. As the predawn dark pressed in, he breathed in the wintry air and stared out at the park where he and his wife, Dena, had married."

From IAVA - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America -
"RAND Releases Ground-Breaking Study on Veterans' Health" :,com_/Itemid,105/option,content/task,view/id,2729/

VA Watchdog:

IVAW - Iraq Veterans Against the War:

West Point Graduates Against the War: (I believe that my grandfather - who graduated from West Point in 1911, was a Brigadier General who fought in both World Wars, and who we buried at West Point on his 99th birthday - would be proud of these graduates and their commitment to honor and truth.)

No More Victims:
No More Victims works to obtain medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. - "We believe one of the most effective means of combating militarism is to focus on direct relief to its victims. "

Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control
Patrick Cockburn, of The Independent UK: "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."

Dahr Jamail: Winter Soldiers Hit the Streets
SEATTLE - In a clear change of strategy to energise public anti-
war sentiment, Iraq veterans led a determined demonstration of hundreds through the streets of downtown Seattle last Saturday, following regional Winter Soldier hearings at the Seattle Town Hall.

Chris Hedges: Collateral Damage -- What It Really Means When America Goes to War
Troops, when they battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in "atrocity producing situations." Being surrounded by a hostile population makes simple acts, such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke, dangerous. The fear and stress push troops to view everyone around them as the enemy. The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find. The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed, over time, to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents.



"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.