Sunday, March 28, 2010

BAN: Another Important Resource

This is another important organization that I had not previously heard of until hearing activist and author Annie Leonard speak this past week in Portland. BAN stands for Basel Action Network. From the website:

What is BAN?
BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade (toxic wastes, products and technologies) and its devastating impacts. Working at the nexus of human rights and environment, we confront the issues of environmental justice at a macro level, preventing disproportionate and unsustainable dumping of the world's toxic waste and pollution on our global village's poorest residents. At the same time we actively promote the sustainable and just solutions to our consumption and waste crises -- banning waste trade, while promoting green, toxic free and democratic design of consumer products.

BAN is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, Washington

Our Mission:
BAN works to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis. We work in opposition to toxic trade in toxic wastes, toxic products and toxic technologies, that are exported from rich to poorer countries. Alternatively, we work to ensure national self-sufficiency in waste management through clean production and toxics use reductions and in support of the principle of global environmental justice -- where no peoples or environments are dispro-portionately poisoned and polluted due to the dictates of unbridled market forces and trade.

Please go here for more information:
* * *

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.
~ Amelia Earhart

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

The Story of Bottled Water

I just learned about "The Story of Bottled Water" when I saw activist and author Annie Leonard speak here in Portland. From the website:

The Story of Bottled Water, releasing March 22, 2010 on, employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over seven minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to ‘take back the tap,’ not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.

Please go here for more information and to view the film:

This is an important film. Please consider sharing with others. Thank you. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.
~ Albert Einstein

The Story of Stuff

Warmest Greetings

On March 22nd I had the privilege of seeing Annie Leonard speak at Powell's here in Portland. I am deeply drawn to those individuals who are making such a huge impact by inspiring more and more of us to become increasingly informed and then to act. Annie Leonard is one such courageous and passionate person who is making a big difference in the world! Her Internet film "The Story of Stuff" has been seen by over 8 million people worldwide and is now available in over 12 languages. Annie Leonard's book The Story of Stuff is also now available. I was definitely moved to purchase this important new book.

I was amazed by Annie Leonard's story and the research she has done over the past 20+ years and all over the world that enables her to look at clothing, cell phones, bottled water, and just about anything and have an idea of what it is made of and where it came from. I had no idea, for instance, the toxic mix that goes into making cell phones.

I did know that the United States comprises 5% of the global population and yet consumes approximately 30% of the world's resources. I hadn't thought of how we also create 30% of the world's waste.

Annie is but one more passionate voice encouraging us to look at the cost of our unsustainable lifestyle, the cost to ourselves and the planet of consumerism run wild. Annie points out that studies of Americans points to parallels of how our happiness has gone down as our addiction to things has gone up. She goes on to define studies which have revealed what actually brings happiness to us as human beings: meaningful relationships, a sense of purpose, coming together with shared goals. Amen.

Annie Leonard contrasted the consumer parts of ourselves with the citizen parts of ourselves. She spoke of how American culture reflects the cost of the corporate driven media which have seized the American Dream and made it into something profoundly distorted and toxic. Annie points to the relentless drive in American culture to feed the consumer part of ourselves communicating that we need this new product to be happy, beautiful, sexy, young, loved, etc. Meanwhile, the citizen part of ourselves has atrophied. Annie emphasizes how we need to be inspired to re-engage and nourish our citizen selves.

Please go here for more information:

I am deeply grateful to Annie Leonard and the information, challenge, and invitation that she offers to each of us to join her in creating a world that will benefit all of us now and generations to come. And as Thom Hartmann would say - Tag, we are all it!

Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Hear me, four quarters of the world - a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.
~ Black Elk, (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good

This is a powerful article. My hope and prayer is that more and more of us will seek to increasingly align our actions with our words, which is certainly a humbling, challenging, but important process for us all. May we grow individually and collectively in caring, courage, and compassionate action... Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Richard T. Hughes
Richard Hughes is Senior Fellow in the Ernest Boyer Center at Messiah College.

This two-part series of articles is based on Hughes' recent book, Christian America and the Kingdom of God (Illinois 2009).

In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians -- people who clearly honor the Bible -- so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor? (Part one is here:

Why Focus on "Conservative Christians"?
Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through "generosity" toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures -- what the Bible calls "the principalities and powers -- that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.

Historically, Christians in the United States -- both liberal and conservative -- have been extraordinarily reluctant to take up that battle. To appreciate this point, one need only consider the American church's long, 350-year complicity in slavery and segregation.

Further, to claim that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with. It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another. Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus' picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board -- liberals and conservatives alike -- fall woefully short.

Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision. First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are "Bible-believing Christians" who take the Bible seriously at every point. It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text -- the biblical vision of the kingdom.

The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists -- those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others -- who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world's elites -- themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.

* * *

Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.
~ Bishop Desmond Tutu

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Prayer

A Prayer

I want to be ever a child
I want to feel an eternal friendship
for the raindrops, the flowers,
the insects, the snowflakes.
I want to be keenly interested in everything,
with mind and muscle ever alert,
forgetting my troubles in the next moment.
The stars and the sea, the ponds and the trees,
the birds and the animals, are my comrades.
Though my muscles may stiffen, though my skin may
wrinkle, may I never find myself yawning
at life.

~Toyohiko Kagawa ~

(Songs from the Slums, trans. by Lois Erickson)

Web version:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring by Mary Oliver


a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(House of Light)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Spring

The Spring

(After Rilke)

Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. ... Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!

Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe." She knows, she knows!

Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!

The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe,"
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.

~ Delmore Schwartz ~

(Last & Lost Poems)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

DMHP - The Diagnostic Manual of Human Potential

Warmest Greetings

I am moved to post this piece which I found in The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield. It is my experience that hardly a soul, whether in the "mental health" field or not, hasn't been touched personally or with someone we know by a diagnosis arising out of the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition . As spoken of here, there are options beyond what we are often familiar with and limited by here in Western culture. We all have much to learn. This is a hopeful reflection of greater possibilities...

Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Even now, the transcendent domain of human experience is virtually absent from the maps of Western psychology except for a small number of phulosophers and religious specialists. In part this is the legacy of the European Enlightenment, with its elevation of reason, its long effort to separate science from religion. While this separation has brought enormous benefit, it has also left science, and much of Western learning, at sea regarding the inner life. Science developed computers and put us on the moon, it gave us antibiotics and antidepressants, but it cannot guide us i matters of virtue, love, inner meaning, or spiritual understanding.

In the last century, a handful of visionary psychologists from Carl Jung to Abraham Maslow and Stanislav Grof reintroduced these realms to Western science. But it is time to go further. When my wife, Liana, a Jungian, was studying for her psychology exams, she was disturbed by the limitations of the DSM-IV, the standard psychiatric reference text. She was inspired to consider a vision of an alternative manual of positive mental health. With Buddhist psychology as our guide, we could do so. We could take the hundreds of pages of psychological problems listed in the DSM-IV and create a positive counterart called the DMHP - the Diagnostic Manual of Human Potential. In counterpart to the 35 forms of depressive and bipolar disorders, there would be 35 positive forms of emotional and mental happiness - states of contentment, joy, rapture, gratitude, and extreme well-being. In place of aggression and paranoia would be highly developed capacities of trust, love, generosity, and selflessness. In place of hallucinations and psychosis would be the many forms of benevolent visions and sounds. These inner awakenings would be catalogued, from the still small voice of the divine to angelic choirs, from inspiring visions of gods and bodhisattvas to access to creative imagination and illuminated inner realms of understanding and light. In place of sleep disorders and amnesia, there would be extensive descriptions of wakefulness and lucid dreaming. Instead of anxiety disorders, there would be multiple categories of fearlessness, equanimity, dignity, and inner strength. Our psychologists don't speak of these possibilities, and we don't have an understanding of how they can be developed....

* * *

The real blessing appears when we can bring the experiences of the transcendental to illuminate the miracle of the ordinary.

~ Jack Kornfield ~

In Honor of My Brother... and You

On January 30th, 1978, my twin brother, John, ended his life. This coming week John would have turned 59 years old. The blessing below is in honor of my brother... and us all. Namaste ~ Molly


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(Echoes of Memory)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Journey

The Journey

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving
you are arriving.

~ David Whyte ~

(House of Belonging) (For my Aunt Barbara on her birthday)

Friday, March 19, 2010



This is now. Now is,
all there is. Don't wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved's table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.

~ Rumi ~

(adapted by Jose Orez from a version by Coleman Barks in The Soul of Rumi)

Web version:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Miracle Fair

Miracle Fair

The commonplace miracle:
that so many common miracles take place.

The usual miracles:
invisible dogs barking
in the dead of night.

One of many miracles:
a small and airy cloud
is able to upstage the massive moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder is reflected in the water
and is reversed from left to right
and grows from crown to root
and never hits bottom
though the water isn't deep.

A run-of-the-mill miracle:
winds mild to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

A miracle in the first place:
cows will be cows.

Next but not least:
just this cherry orchard
from just this cherry pit.

A miracle minus top hat and tails:
fluttering white doves.

A miracle (what else can you call it):
the sun rose today at three fourteen a.m.
and will set tonight at one past eight.
A miracle that's lost on us:
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers

but still it's got more than four.
A miracle, just take a look around:
the inescapable earth.

An extra miracle, extra and ordinary:
the unthinkable
can be a thought.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

(View With a Grain of Sand, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doris Haddock Is Dead at 100; Walked for Campaign Finance Reform

I was so saddened to learn of the passing of Granny D, one of my biggest heroes. I'm also feeling sad because of how many still do not know of this phenomenal woman... and because she lived to see the Supreme Court decision of 1/21/10 officially invoking corporate personhood. But more than all this sadness is my supreme heartfelt gratitude for this amazing woman. She inspires me! Does she inspire you?... Peace & blessings ~ Molly


Doris “Granny D” Haddock
at her home in Dublin, N.H, in 2004.

Doris Haddock was almost 89, stoop-shouldered but stiff-spined, when she laced up her sneakers, threw on a backpack and began trekking 3,200 miles across the country on New Year’s Day in 1999 — a one-woman march for campaign finance reform that started in Pasadena, Calif., and ended on the steps of the Capitol in Washington 14 months later.

Granny D, as she preferred to be called, drew considerable attention to her cause along the way. Cameras captured her strides. Drivers who had seen her banner on TV — “Granny D for Campaign Finance Reform” — honked. Politicians came out to pose for pictures. Reporters scratched her utterances into their notebooks.

In El Paso one Saturday night in April 1999, after passing strip clubs, fireworks stands and a sea of scrub brush along Route 62, Mrs. Haddock sat with a New York Times reporter at a Mexican restaurant.

“It just infuriates me!” she said, balling her hands into fists and striking the table. “I feel we are losing our democracy. The corporations are taking over and deciding who gets elected.”

On Tuesday, at her home in Dublin, N.H., Mrs. Haddock died of complications of emphysema, her longtime friend Maude Salinger said. Mrs. Haddock was 100.


* * *

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. ~ Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ~ Paulo Freire

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

NY Times: "Christians Urged to Boycott Glenn Beck"

It is important to me to have a strong voice that affirms the value of social and economic justice. We can increasingly join hands to work together in ways large and small to create a more humane world that truly cares for all. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

Last week, the conservative Fox television host Glenn Beck called on Christians to leave their churches if they hear any preaching about social or economic justice because, he claimed, those are slogans affiliated with Nazism and Communism.

This week, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a liberal evangelical leader in Washington. D.C., called on Christians to leave Glenn Beck.

"What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show," wrote Mr. Wallis, who heads the anti-poverty group Sojourners, on his "God's Politics" blog. "His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern."

Mr. Beck, in vilifying churches that promote "social justice," managed to insult just about every mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, African American, Hispanic and Asian congregation in the country - not to mention plenty of evangelical ones.

Even Mormon scholars in Mr. Beck's own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in interviews that Mr. Beck seems ignorant of just how central social justice teaching is to Mormonism.

* * *

That only a few, under any circumstances, protest against the injustice of long-established laws and customs, does not disprove the fact of the oppressions, while the satisfaction of the many, if real only proves their apathy and deeper degradation. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Over and Over Tune

Over And Over Tune

You could grow into it,
that sense of living like a dog,
loyal to being on your own in the fur of your skin,
able to exist only for the sake of existing.

Nothing inside your head lasting long enough for you to hold onto,
you watch your own thoughts leap across your own synapses
and disappear --
small boats in a wind,
fliers in all that blue,
the swish of an arm backed with feathers,
a dress talking in a corner,
and then poof,
your mind clean as a dog's,
your body big as the world,
important with accident --
blood or a limp, fur and paws.

You swell into survival,
you take up the whole day,
you're all there is,
everything else is
not you, is every passing glint, is
shadows brought to you by wind,
passing into a bird's cheep, replaced by a
rabbit skittering across a yard,
a void you yourself fall into.

You could make this beautiful,
but you don't need to,
living is this fleshy side of the bone,
going on is this medicinal smell of the sun --
no dog ever tires of seeing his life

keep showing up at the back door
even as a rotting bone with a bad smell;
feet tottering, he dreams of it,
wakes and licks no matter what.
~ Ioanna Carlsen ~

(Poetry, March 2001)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

The Great Affair...

The great affair, the love affair with life,
is to live as variously as possible,
to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day.

Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding,
and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours,
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length.

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery,
but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

~ Diane Ackerman ~

("found poetry" from A Natural History of the Senses)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Avatar: An Eye-Opener About Indigenous Peoples

Thank you to Linda Neale for sharing this article. We have so much to learn from indigenous peoples - about ourselves, our Earth Mother, and indigenous earth-based spirituality which is rooted in honoring the interconnection we share with one another and all life. As more and more of us are recognizing, there has been a profound cost to indigenous peoples and to us all that has resulted from a belief system permeated by violence, righteousness, bigotry, and ignorance of indigenous people and the great gifts they hold. Gratefully, more of us are continuing to awaken. Please consider passing this on. Thank you. All my relations.... Molly

* * * *******************

By Steven Newcomb

Ever since its release this past December, James Cameron’s blockbuster 3D movie “Avatar” has generated a tremendous amount of discussion. Even the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, stepped into the fray, criticizing “Avatar” because of concerns the movie promoted “nature worship” and “neo-paganism.”

Some have been critical of the movie’s plot, saying it’s a not-so-subtle rehash of Kevin Costner’s film “Dances with Wolves,” or Disney’s “Pocahontas.” Still others were turned off by the usual and accustomed story of the white guy as “hero.” In this case, the character Jake Sully, a gung ho paraplegic marine, goes Na’vi and turns against his fellow earthlings who support the corporate razing of the Na’vi’s gigantic, sacred Hometree and forest homeland in their quest for unobtanium, an elusive mineral.

Recently, a number of Indian people from the rainforests of South America went to see “Avatar” in Quito, Ecuador. Afterwards, they said they could relate to the theme of the movie because patterns and elements of the story were analogous to the real life stories of their own peoples. Here’s how I would characterize those real life stories: Indigenous peoples attempting to protect their traditional homelands and territories from being overrun and destroyed by a dominant world society that has an insatiable appetite for more and more “obtanium,” anything and everything that’s obtainable. (In the movie, the hyper-intelligent earthlings have outsmarted themselves by squandering Earth’s bounty to such an extent that they needed the mineral “unobtanium” to prevent Earth and all her inhabitants from dying).

The rainforest Indians’ experience and interpretation of “Avatar” tells us why the movie is important. A fictional and overblown Hollywood story provides a holistic framework and analogy for discussing the real life stories of indigenous peoples. From an indigenous perspective, the figure Greed is a main antagonist or bad guy in all those real life stories.


* * * ************

"Let’s hope “Avatar” can assist the world community to begin to call that conquering worldview and tradition into question, so we may shift out of a lifestyle that squanders ecological health, with no regard for the well-being of future generations. Let us further hope the movie makes people more receptive to the idea that traditional knowledge systems of indigenous peoples contain thousands of years of accumulated wisdom about how to care for and preserve the Earth, and its precious life-giving resources." ~ Steven Newcomb