Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on My Focus for the New Year...

These excerpts from Jack Kornfield's book
The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
(which was written in the summer following 9-11)
reflect my values and where my heart is centered and
what I seek to deepen in myself and our world.
With each year my hope and intention is for greater
remembrance and awakening, love and peace.
I am grateful for these loving gifts from Jack Kornfield
which I am also moved to share with you today...

Hatred never ceases by hatred
but by love alone is healed.
This is an ancient and eternal law.

~ We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who
walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their
last piece of bread... They may have been few in number
but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be
taken from us but the last of human freedoms...
the freedom to choose our spirit in any circumstance.
- Viktor E. Frankl

Forgiveness and compassion are not sentimental or weak.
They demand courage and integrity.
Yet they alone can bring about the peace we long for.

~ True love is not for the faint hearted.
- Meher Baba

In spite of all confusion and fear, you are born with a heart
that knows what is just, loving, and beautiful.
In the words of the Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson:
~ Curiously, people resist the noble aspects of their shadow more
strenuously than they hide their dark sides. It is more
disrupting to find that you have a profound nobility of
character than to find out that you are a bum.

If we look at ourselves truthfully, we can feel the possibility of
being more compassionate, more awake, more free.

~ If it were not possible to free the heart from entanglement
in greed, hate, and fear, I would not teach you to do so.
- Buddha

To sustain love we need to develop practices that cultivate and
strengthen the natural compassion within us.

Forgiveness honors the heart's greatest dignity. Whenever we
are lost, it brings us back to the ground of love.

With forgiveness we become unwilling to attack
or wish harm to another.

Whenever we forgive, in small ways at home, or in great ways
between nations, we free ourselves from the past.

We can meet the tragedies of the world with what
Gandhi called "soul force."
~ If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can love
in return for hatred. If you want to see the brave,
look for those who can forgive.
- Bhagavad Gita

In the end, forgiveness simply means never putting
another person out of our heart.
When we clearly realize that the source of disharmony and
misery in the world is ignorance, we can open the door
of wisdom and compassion.

If only we could help each other build temples of
forgiveness instead of prisons.
We can.
In our hearts.

We need to respect our tears. Without a wise way to grieve,
we can only soldier on, armored and unfeeling, but our
hearts cannot learn and grow from the sorrows of the past.

We can do our part toward the healing of the world...
We can begin to build a bridge of tenderness to those
who have been separated by pain and fear.

The greatest protection in all the world
is lovingkindness.
- Buddha

In the end, when we look at our life,
the questions will be simple:
Did I live fully?
Did I love well?

Without love our creative spirit will dry up.
~ An ulcer is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge
for having been jilted. It is an undanced dance,
an unpainted watercolor, an unwritten poem.
- John Ciardi

Our society has forgotten how to teach love.
In the words of John Gatto, New York City Teacher of the Year:
~ Think of the things that are killing us as a nation:
drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography
of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all --
lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as religion.

Even in terrible times we must learn to love.
~ We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, our ravages.
Our task is not to unleash the on the world; it is to transform them
in ourselves and others.
- Albert Camas

The ground for love is found beyond judgment and blame.
~ If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people
somewhere else insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were
simply necessary to separate them from the rest of us and
destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts
through the heart of every human being.
And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Hate if the first and most obvious enemy of love...
The other great enemy of love is fear. Fear contracts the heart.
Its worries and anxieties stop the flow of love.
Do we really want to live in fear?
As the Persian poet Hafiz kindly puts it:
~ Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I'd like to see you in
better living conditions.

~ An honorable human relationship, that is, one in which two people
have the right to use the word love, is a process of deepening
the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this
because it breaks down human self delusion and isolation.
- Adrienne Rich

With lovingkindness we see with the heart.
Lovingkindness gives birth to a natural compassion.
The compassionate heart holds the pain and sorrow of our life
and of all beings with mercy and tenderness.
~ It is this tender heart that has the power to transform the world.
- Chogyam Trungpa

When we come to rest in the great heart of compassion, we discover
a capacity to bear witness to, suffer with, and hold dear with our own
vulnerable heart the sorrows and beauties of the world.

In every place of suffering around the globe, there are those who
have discovered the good heart's capacity to love, and who
are willing to tend to the sorrows of the world as their own.

~ Compassion is a verb.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Love does not try to fix the whole world. It is enough to plant
seeds of kindness and justice everywhere we can.

Compassion, gratitude, and joy are companions to the work of
lovingkindness. Compassion practice offers a conscious vehicle for
the sorrows of the world. Gratitude and joy balance the sorrows
of compassion and awaken in us a generous and gracious spirit.

The human mind can create conflict. It can also create peace.
To find peace in the world we must find peace in ourselves.

To make peace we cannot ignore war, racism, violence,
greed, the injustice and sufferings of the world.
They must be confronted with courage and compassion.
Unless we seek justice peace will fail.

Yet in whatever we do we must not let war, violence,
and fear take over our own heart.

~ If you expect your life to be up and down,
your mind will be much more peaceful.
- Lama Yeshe

Embracing both joy and sorrow, our heart
can remain tender and wise.

Peace is not an absence of change or difficulty. It should
not be confused with withdrawal or indifference to life.
These are the imitations of peace, ways of closing down
based on fear. We must see them for what they are.

With equanimity we can care for all things
without trying to control them.

With a peaceful heart whatever happens
can be met with wisdom.

Peace is not weak; it is unshakable.

Yet to find peace we have to let go of our struggles,
to stop making war with life.

We can direct our actions but not their fruits.
~ No seed ever sees the flower.
- Zen teaching

~ Sometimes I go about pitying myself and all the while
I am carried by great winds across the sky.
- Ojibway Indian

With equanimity we can see clearly.
~ We can make our minds so like the still water
that beings gather around us, that they may see their
own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer
perhaps even a fiercer life because of our quiet.
- William Butler Yeats

Wisdom comes when we see with a vast perspective. Our life is
unfolding in the timeless galaxies. We turn with the stars in
cycles of light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow.

~ Oh Nobly Born, remember the pure open sky of
your own true nature.
Return to it. Trust it. It is home.
- Tibetan Book of the Dead

Happy, Loving, Peaceful New Year!

Namaste ~ Molly

Trauma Bond: A Personal and Collective Experience

Warmest Greetings

Recently I had two separate but related experiences. I attended a training through my work as a Department of Human Services Child Welfare caseworker on trauma bonding, and I watched the preview films and advertisements in a Regal Cinema as I awaited seeing the movie Avatar. I do not often get out to the large movie theater venues. Yet, each time I do stray beyond the small local theaters, I am struck with how it is getting worse. Dramatically worse. In awaiting Avatar to begin, I grew to increasingly feel like I had walked into a science fiction story. Then I turned to my eldest son who sat to my right and Brian said exactly what I was thinking: "1984".

My one negative experience of the otherwise outstanding Avatar is that the really "bad" guys were too one dimensional and, therefore, lacking in a sense of depth and being real and believable. Yet, this was essentially an amazing film which illuminates a larger perspective with many layered and nuanced deep meanings and profound messages that are very relevant to our times. Paradoxically, the advertising messages leading up to Avatar held a plethora of shadows also reflecting the dark side of our culture, replete with mind, heart, and spirit numbing glitter, glorification of violence, the allure of materialism and the dictate to buy, buy, buy. The people up on the huge screen were consistently one dimensional and noticeably disconnected from anything with any depth of truth, heart, and meaning. The repeated enticements to join the military were especially offensive as our youth were portrayed in ways which used them - used them to glorify fighting, violence, war. There were no images of the horrors that I have been witness to in attending veteran's events over the years where our soldiers share their PTSD and how it feels to kill, and all too often when who they have killed is a mother or child or other innocent civilians. There was also no mention of the deeper reasons why our youth are sent to kill and be killed on foreign soils or who really benefits. Contrary to "supporting the troops", these messages up on the big screen exploited our soldiers and the youth that were being enticed to join the military and, as such, were deeply disrespectful and disturbing.

As we sat together in the movie theater, my two sons and daughter-in-law and I all acknowledged to one another how this violence to one's soul was painful to see and experience. And especially that it has become so "normal" in American culture.

How can this be - what has become so normalized in American culture? . . .

Maile McCluskey is an amazing therapist. She has worked with one of my clients for over a year around this mother's history of generational trauma. The more I have come to know Maile and the work she does, the greater the depth of my appreciation and respect for how she makes possible a depth of healing for her clients. Maile (pronounced like "smile" only without the "s" and with a long "e" sound at the end) isn't just a therapist with different degrees after her name. She is a woman of great wisdom, strength, and heart. Being a trauma survivor myself, there has been a part of me that has wished that I could have found someone like Maile to support me in the early years of my own healing work 25 years ago. Of course, today I also recognize and am grateful for all the pieces of my story, including the most challenging and difficult ones. I know that all of these experiences have blessed me with the depth of compassion, caring, and growing wisdom that I possess today.

With humility and gratitude, I also recognize that there is always more to open to and learn. And now this significant new perspective which weaves it's way through seemingly separate and different experiences. As Maile spoke about trauma bonding, and after years of doing my own personal and professional work, much of what she shared was already familiar to me. But there was also this new depth of insight which I find myself continuing to notice and integrate.

In our training, it was easy to recognize the trauma bonding in our clients - those who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other forms of violence and neglect. Maile talked about Stockholm Syndrome in which victims become aligned with their abuser, and the components of this syndrome, which include: (1) a perceived threat, (2) small acts of kindness, (3) isolation, and (4) a perceived inability to escape. In moving more deeply into discussion of trauma, Maile highlighted that core to trauma bonding is a promise, and how it is that this promise comes to be threaded and woven through any trauma bond. Also important to note is that hidden in this promise is the use of seduction, power, fear, and intimacy.

Understanding the promise inherent to any trauma bond illuminates how it is that something that is experienced as "normal" to some can appear crazy to others. One can wonder why a victim of domestic violence won't leave the perpetrator or how the horrors of the holocaust happened or how the aftermath of 9-11 occurred right here in America. Identifying the promise is key to understanding the traumatic bond. Yet, also key to understanding the craziness of the trance that any of us is capable of in the wake of a trauma is to grasp the awareness that in the process of trauma bonding a severe deadening occurs to one's intuition. As the victimization of the vulnerable individual or even whole society occurs, red flags that go up are minimized, ignored, or denied. No matter the cost, what is right under one's nose cannot be seen. This is the power of the promise. And this is the price of the injury to one's instincts in the aftermath of a trauma.

It is easier to look at trauma bonding as something which occurs to others, such as the children and parents who come into the child welfare system or the followers of a Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler. Even though there is some vicarious traumatization that can occur when we are witness to the trauma of others, there can still be the safety of some detachment when we see it in another individual, another family, another religion, another cult or culture.

It is sometimes much more difficult to look at and, often, to even recognize our own traumas and resulting victimization. Traumatic bonding can be subtle enough to not even penetrate conscious awareness. And this is how it can be both insidious and powerful: we fail to recognize how traumatic bonding doesn't just happen to those other people out there. It can also happen to anyone, including ourselves.

Maile McCluskey began our training on trauma bonding with asking each of us to reflect on our personal experiences when 9-11 happened. Maile reflected how at that horrific time there were groups of people connecting everywhere, often total strangers and from a diversity of backgrounds. There was an instantaneous bond which was emerging from this profound shared trauma. This was a gift, a strong light in the midst of the horror of such darkness. The immediate bonding that arose as the towers came down reflected the positive side of trauma bonding. We came together to support one another.

Individually and collectively, we Americans also had a new depth of vulnerability which was ripe for exploitation. And thus the dark side of our trauma bond. With 9-11 and it's wake came the trauma, the promise of protection, the increased - but for many subtle - victimization, followed by red flags (often hidden behind the American flag) which were ignored or not recognized because, in the midst of our trauma, we had fallen under the trance that comes with injury to our instincts coupled with the power of the promise.

In the time following the fall of the Twin Towers, and while millions of Americans watched in new horror, millions of others endorsed, supported, believed necessary, or did not notice what followed in the aftermath of 9-11: the severe polarization and propaganda of "you're either with us or with the terrorists", color code alert warning systems, other constant reminders of the trauma of 9-11, the Patriot Act, two wars, the introduction of "embedded journalists", the trampling of the Constitution, the end of Habeas Corpus, torture, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo and secret prisons, illegal wire tapping of Americans, the hiding of the return of the military coffins, the "dumbing down" of journalists' questions, a continued focus on terror and "the war on terror", the one-sided pervasive propaganda of the American media, violation of the Geneva Conventions Protocol, destruction of the global environment, the total failure of response to Hurricane Katrina, fixing of the facts of scientific studies to deny global warming, the president's signing of more than 800 Signing Statements which circumvented over 1000 provisions of US laws, the outing of a CIA agent, war crimes, and the list goes on. Looking at just this one example of the impact of trauma bonding illuminates the vulnerability that we can all have and how, without awareness, the catastrophic impact that can unfold.

So, yes, whether reflecting on the aftermath of 9-11 or sitting in a Regal Cinema awaiting a movie to begin, war is peace and other forms of 1984 are in our midst. AND knowledge is power. May we each find the courage and passion to increasingly recognize, embrace, learn from, heal, and transform our own individual and collective trauma and victimization. There is a depth of life lessons, empowerment, and profound blessing to be found in the midst of the darkness which is part of the human experience. May this New Year see more and more of us seizing the moment to individually and collectively further awaken our hearts and work toward creating a world that cares for all beings.

Namaste ~ Molly


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~ Anne Frank

Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change. ~ Harriet Lerner

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. ~ M. Scott Peck

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

This is a short but deeply powerful video about the book Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy. It poses five powerful questions which may be important for each and every one of us to consider:

From the Moral Economy Project website at

What is right relationship? A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the commonwealth of life. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.


Most people have been conditioned to accept the operation of the economy as an article of faith. Unlimited growth and wealth accumulation are seen as the "natural law" of the economy and nothing can be done to alter this fact -- even if it means the integrity of Earth's ecological and social systems are severely damaged in the process. This "inconvenient truth" is now a moral challenge. We are faced with a choice: bring the economy into right relationship with the planet and its inhabitants, or suffer the consequences -- the increasing destruction of Earth's life support systems and social structures. Drawing on the Quaker principle of "right relationship," the book Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy presents a proposal for bringing our economy, our ethics, and our environment into alignment.

May we each work to create an economy and a world which honors and supports life on our Earth Mother.

Peace ~ Molly

* * *

In Right Relationship, Peter G. Brown and Geoffrey Garver use the core Quaker principle of "right relationship"--respecting the integrity, resilience, and beauty of human and natural communities--as the foundation for a new economic model. Right Relationship poses five basic questions: What is an economy for? How does it work? How big is too big? What's fair? And how can it best be governed? Brown and Garver expose the antiquated, shortsighted, and downright dangerous assumptions that underlie our current answers to these questions, as well as the shortcomings of many reform efforts. They propose new answers that combine an acute awareness of ecological limits with a fundamental focus on fairness and a concern with the spiritual, as well as material, well-being of the human race. And they outline what each of us can do to enable life's commonwealth. ~ review from

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Short Story...

Taken from The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness,
and Peace by Jack Kornfield:

We can understand that each of us plays only a small part, and yet each contributes to the whole.

~ "Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

"Nothing more than nothing," was the answer.

"In that case I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal mouse said. "I sat on a branch of fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not in a giant blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch - nothing more than nothing, as you say - the branch broke off."

Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away. The dove, since Noah's time an authority on change, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself: "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come about in the world."

~ Kurt Kauter

* * *

Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace,
to teach peace, to live peace . . .
Peace will be the last word of history.

~ John Paul II


Warmest Greetings

My middle son and daughter-in-law insisted that I see this film they had just seen and that I'd heard some, but little about. Last night I joined Kevin and Kristin (for their second time; next they plan to see it at an IMAX theater) and my oldest son Brian to see Avatar. I don't even have words. To say it is amazing and communicates so much on so many levels is too small. If you already haven't, you'd just have to see it for yourself to understand...

Peace ~ Molly

* * *

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The End of Poverty

** The End of Poverty will play at the Bagdad Theater**
in Portland on January 15th. Thom Hartmann will also be there.
Please go here for more information:

* * *

Warmest Greetings

One of the questions which I find myself asking again and again is how can I truly and with increasing depth live my values? Whether we are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Pagan, walk the Red Road, or practice any other religious or spiritual tradition, how do we each walk our talk? What are the daily, large or small, subtle or overt choices and actions that we each make? Certainly, caring about one another is core to all spiritual teachings. And implicit in this caring, I believe, is actively choosing to learn about and work to end poverty.

I grew up believing that there was nothing I could do to help the starving people of the world. This belief system persisted as an adult until I began to actively explore the roots of poverty and gradually came to learn that poverty is no accident and that something absolutely can be done to work towards ending poverty, here in America and across the planet. Once Americans truly get it - and choose to care - that we are less than 5% of the global population, but consume 25% of it's resources, I believe that we will begin to not just reframe the term "redistribution of wealth", but that we will demand it.

The small actions we take do matter. There is a reason, for instance, why I refuse to shop at Walmart. There is a reason for taking a stand against the WTO, NAFTA, and CAFTA. There is a reason to look at the tags on the products we buy and explore the practices in other countries. There is a reason to look deeply into the way we each choose to vote and to follow and hold accountable those in positions of power. And the list goes on....

Please go here for more information about the powerful documentary film The End of Poverty:


For Why Povery Exists:

Doing research ourselves and helping one another to be informed is crucial - please pass this on. Tag, we are all it!

Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

One of the experts, Serge Latouche, put it in very simple words: Today 20% of the planet uses more than 80% of its resources. Moreover, every year we are consuming 30% more than what the planet can regenerate, therefore digging a giant hole under our feet and making it bigger every year. And of course, these resources come primarily from the countries of the (global) South. And the most condemning part is that in order to maintain our lifestyle in the North, we have to keep these countries at a level of dire poverty. Even worse, because the world's population continues to increase in order to maintain our lifestyle we have to plunge more and more people into poverty every year. Latouche makes the point that if everybody had the same lifestyle as the people in North America, we would need six planets. ~ From The End of Poverty,

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

by on Dec 21, 2009

With nearly now 8 million views, now, this guy seems to have hit it out of the park re: how to talk about the most important question of our time.

Update: followup is here.

Pass it on.

Over 7,500,000 total views.

Now there's a book: What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate (Paperback) by ~ Greg Craven
“…superbly crafted…. A must read.” -Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

“This book trumps most of our accounts of the global warming crisis.” –author Bill McKibben

“Al Gore should share his Nobel peace prize.” -The “New Scientist”

“This is a tremendous book and well worth anyone’s time to read…. You’re in for a treat—Craven is funny as well as exceptionally clear, and wise.” –Kim Stanley Robinson, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Mars Trilogy and Science in the Capital

“This is a terrifically thoughtful book…. Cravens book shines an illuminating floodlight on how we think about global warming.” –Ross Gelbspan, author, “The Heat Is On” and “Boiling Point”

Greg Craven (that’s me!), the creator of “The Most Terrifying Video” never intended to write a book. It just sort of happened. All as a result of the two-year back-and forth I’ve had with the YouTube community about this video and its follow up marathon “How It All Ends.”

So now What’s the Worst That Could Happen? A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate” is available from Amazon and other sellers through the links at, as well as your local bookstore (I hope!).
Check it out if you’re intrigued by the argument in this video.

What the critics are saying:…

Download a 25-page preview:…

The reason the comments are closed on this video is that most of the criticisms of what’s presented here have been addressed by the bruisingly thorough 7-hour How It All Ends video project, the discussion is happening over there. I spent months combing through literally tens of thousands of critical comments to find every single objection, criticism, “Yeah but,” and “You missed a spot” that I could to this video.

You might find the results interesting, and hopefully, helpful:…


Look. Anyway you look at the question of global warming, the stakes seem to be the whole world. ~ Greg Craven

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Prayer On This Holy Day...

Prayer For Unity

You, the One
From whom on different paths
all of us have come.

To Whom on different paths
All of us are going.
Make strong in our hearts what unites us.

Build bridges across all that divides us;
United make us rejoice in our diversity.

At one in our witness to your peace,
A rainbow of your glory.


~ Br. David Steindl-Rast

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010

I heard part of this piece quoted on KPOJ this morning and am moved to share.
Peace ~ Molly

* * *

Drew Westen
Psychologist and neuroscientist; Emory University Professor

As the president's job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent, the Democratic base has become demoralized, and Independents have gone from his source of strength to his Achilles Heel, it's time to reflect on why. The conventional wisdom from the White House is those "pesky leftists" -- those bloggers and Vermont Governors and Senators who keep wanting real health reform, real financial reform, immigration reform not preceded by a year or two of raids that leave children without parents, and all the other changes we were supposed to believe in.

Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. It isn't hard for them to see that the winners seem to be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma, the insurance industry). In fact, the president's leadership style, combined with the Democratic Congress's penchant for making its sausage in public and producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political spectrum.

What's costing the president and courting danger for Democrats in 2010 isn't a question of left or right, because the president has accomplished the remarkable feat of both demoralizing the base and completely turning off voters in the center. If this were an ideological issue, that would not be the case. He would be holding either the middle or the left, not losing both.

What's costing the president are three things: a laissez faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed to everyday Americans, a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.


* * * * * * * * *

Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. ~ John F. Kennedy

The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within. ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

This is how change happens, though. It is a relay race, and we're very conscious of that, that our job really is to do our part of the race, and then we pass it on, and then someone picks it up, and it keeps going. And that is how it is. And we can do this, as a planet, with the consciousness that we may not get it, you know, today, but there's always a tomorrow. (interview broadcast on Nov. 11, 2008) ~ Alice Walker

For Obama, No Opportunity Too Big to Blow

I have a great deal of respect for Naomi Klein. Peace ~ Molly


Naomi Klein
Award-winning journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine

Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault. It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive. Nor was it all was China's fault, or the fault of the hapless UN.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. If Barack Obama had come to Copenhagen with a transformative and inspiring commitment to getting the U.S. economy off fossil fuels, all the other major emitters would have stepped up. The EU, Japan, China and India had all indicated that they were willing to increase their levels of commitment, but only if the U.S. took the lead. Instead of leading, Obama arrived with embarrassingly low targets and the heavy emitters of the world took their cue from him.

(The "deal" that was ultimately rammed through was nothing more than a grubby pact between the world's biggest emitters: I'll pretend that you are doing something about climate change if you pretend that I am too. Deal? Deal.)

I understand all the arguments about not promising what he can't deliver, about the dysfunction of the U.S. Senate, about the art of the possible. But spare me the lecture about how little power poor Obama has. No president since FDR has been handed as many opportunities to transform the U.S. into something that doesn't threaten the stability of life on this planet. He has refused to use each and every one of them. Let's look at the big three.


* * *

Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses. ~ Naomi Klein

If the earth does grow inhospitable toward human presence, it is primarily because we have lost our sense of courtesy toward the earth and its inhabitants. ~ Thomas Berry

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Senator Whitehouse: The Lying Time Is Over

This is an amazing video of an amazing speech!

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spoke courageously and truthfully on the floor of the Senate chamber during a late night fight on 12/20/09 for health care reform. The Senator states: "When it turns out there are no death panels, when there is no bureaucrat between you and your doctor, when the ways your health care changes seem like a good deal to you, and a pretty smart idea, when the American public sees the discrepancy between what really is, and what they were told by the Republicans, there will be a reckoning. There will come a day of judgment about who was telling the truth."



There are still those in the American Senate and other positions of power in our government who have not lost their integrity, courage, and consciousness of the higher purpose of what they are here to do. Peace ~ Molly


There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings. ~ Dorothy Thompson

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world. ~ Margaret Mead

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Amazing Music of Loreena McKennitt

The Mummer's Dance, two versions:

Dante's Prayer

The Mystics Dream


When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. ~ Henry David Thoreau

The Passion of 2012, Christ, and the New Year

I have just returned from Guatemala co-leading a trip with Llyn Roberts of about 2 dozen people. We focused on delving into the Mayan prophecy of 2012. We kept asking the question:

How is this prophecy - and so many others around the world, including the message of Christmas - intended to motivate us to transform ourselves, to move from the adolescent phase of economic development that has been based on exploitation, out of Predatory Capitalism, to a mature recognition that we are a fragile species living on a tiny planet?

Llyn and I have studied the Maya for many years and we have come to understand that their prophecy is about transforming ourselves from human societies characterized by greed and exploitation to ones based on compassion and sustainability. The Maya encourage us to create a world children around the planet will want to inherit.

As we explored these issues, the people on our trip recognized the similarities between the Mayan prophecy, Christ's message, and the teachings of spiritual leaders throughout history. More:

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Passion is powerful. It is infectious. It drives the world. One person's passion quickly spreads. Ordinary people filled with passion accomplish extraordinary tasks. Behind every great hero is an ordinary human being - one who honored his or her passions and talents. ~ John Perkins

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Inspiration, Courage, Caring, and Wisdom of Greg Mortenson

Inspired Greetings!

One week ago tonight on December 14th, 2009 I had an amazing experience. I saw Greg Mortenson. He spoke to a sold out on their feet totally inspired standing ovation crowd. What an honor it was to be among them. As one friend shares, Greg Mortenson should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Please note that Three Cups of Tea has sold over 3 million copies and is required reading for Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan. For anyone who has not heard of Greg Mortenson and the work he does or has not yet read Three Cups of Tea or his latest book, you may want to explore the below resources and others. You may also want to spread the word. Or donate. Or both. On so many levels, this man's work can be an inspiration and pathway for us all.

Namaste ~ Molly

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Greg Mortenson website:

Central Asia Institute:

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time:

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan:

Pennies For Peace:

America's Best Leaders of 2009
Published in 2006, Three Cups of Tea has sold more than 3 million copies in 39 countries. It is also required reading for Special Forces troops deploying to Afghanistan and has garnered praise from Pentagon heavyweights like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary
Robert Gates
. This has made Mortenson a valued unofficial adviser to the U.S. military, a development that surprised him. "I was actually fairly critical of the military at the Pentagon after 9/11," he says. Pennies for Peace, founded by Mortenson in 1994 with schoolchildren who used their spare change to help him raise money for his first school, accepts no federal funds "and never plans to" so that it will not be "perceived as an arm of the U.S. government." Mortenson has, however, hosted commanders at his schools and visited dozens of bases to brief soldiers. "I can say the military in the last two years has gone through a huge learning curve. In many ways, I think the military is far ahead of our State Department and political leaders."

Fighting Terrorism With Schools Five Questions For Author Greg Mortenson
Now we have crossed the border into ground zero of the war against terrorism. In 2004, CAI opened its first school in Afghanistan; this year, our 39th. Including tent schools in refugee camps, we already educate 39,000 Afghan children, mostly girls. Taking our mission into a war zone has proved enormously challenging and dangerous. Yet my commitment to educating girls has only grown stronger. Indeed, we hope soon to complete a 200-mile line of girls’ schools directly through the heart of Taliban country.

Five Questions For Author Greg Mortenson
Explain the African proverb: "If you teach a boy, you educate an individual; if you teach a girl, you educate a community." Women who are educated are much less likely to condone their sons getting into terrorism.

Greg Mortenson Teaches US Military About Waging Peace
Three Cups of Tea has become required reading for US senior military officers, US Special Forces in Afghanistan, and military personnel from several other countries.

Build Relationships, Author Tells Cadets
Education, he says, is the best ammunition against misogynistic terrorist regimes like the Taliban. "We can drop bombs or hand out condoms or build roads," he said, "but if we don't educate the girls, nothing is going to change."


"If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs." Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time)

“Sometimes the acts of one individual can illuminate how to confront a foreign-policy dilemma more clearly than the prattle of politicians. Such is the case with Greg Mortenson, whose work gives insights into an essential element of fighting terrorism.” —Trudy Rubin, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“ What Greg understands better than most—and what he practices more than anyone else I know—is the simple truth that all of us are better off when all of us have the opportunity to learn, especially our children. By helping them learn and grow, he’s shaping the very future of a region and giving hope to an entire generation.” —Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dharma & Politics

This article can be found at:
I see the potential relevance regardless of our spiritual tradition or none at all.
We are all in this together.

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Dharma and Politics by Jack Kornfield

Many Buddhist practitioners have questioned what to do in these turbulent times. More than anything, I believe the world is in need of a spiritual perspective. The Dharma, the teachings of generosity, virtue, loving-kindness and wisdom are non-partisan. The benefits of dharma teachings can be used by Republicans and Democrats, by Green party and Libertarians, by Iraqis and Israelis. The Dharma welcomes everyone and encourages all to awaken together.

But how, as dharma practitioners, do we find our own place in a complex political world, and find a way towards peace? Our first task is to make our own heart a zone of peace. Instead of becoming entangled in an embattled bitterness, or cynicism that exists externally, we need to begin to heal those qualities within ourselves. We have to face our own suffering, our own fear, and transform them into compassion. Only then can we become ready to offer genuine help to the outside world. Albert Camus writes, “We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves.”

A dharma practitioner who wants to act in the sphere of politics must quiet their mind and open their heart. Meditate, turn off the news, turn on Mozart, walk through the trees or the mountains and begin to make yourself peaceful. Make yourself a zone of peace, and allow the sensitivity and compassion that grows from our interconnection to extend to all beings. If we’re not peaceful how can we create harmony in the world? If our own minds are not peaceful, how can we expect peace to come through the actions that we take?

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...If we envision the fulfillment of wisdom and compassion in the United States, it becomes clear that the richest nation on the earth must provide healthcare for its children; that the most productive nation on earth must find ways to combine trade with justice; that a creative society must find ways to grow and to protect the environment and sustainable development for generations ahead A nation founded on democracy must fulfill it at home and then offer the same spirit of international cooperation and respect globally. We are all in this together.
~ Jack Kornfield