Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Dalai Lama: Warm-heartedness

The ultimate source of a happy life is warm-heartedness. This means extending to others the kind of concern we have for ourselves. On a simple level we find that if we have a compassionate heart we naturally have more friends. And scientists today are discovering that while anger and hatred eat into our immune system, warm-heartedness and compassion are good for our health.

We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rumi: Be in Love

Wherever you are 
whatever you do
Be in Love.
- Rumi

For My Twin, John Ward Strong, Jr.

 John & Molly, 1953.
 The is the land of our paternal ancestors.
 John and I pose on the property of our grandparents's home, Cherry Hill.
John loved to sail, as did our father. Summer 1966.
The above three photographs were all taken at Orchard Lake, Michigan.
I visit my father's and brother's graves before heading to Orchard Lake to swim.
Pine Lake Cemetery, Bloomfield Township, Michigan. June 2010.

Thirty-five years ago today my twin ended his life. John struggled. Mostly he struggled with love. My brother wrote:

If Only 

I love to be loved. 
I need to be loved.
And I am angry 
when I am not loved.
And when I am angry
I am not loved.
If only I weren't angry
about not being loved,
maybe I could find 
the love that I need.

- John Strong
3/25/51 - 1/30/78


Life brings to all of us deeply painful experiences, enormous challenges, great losses. For John and me, the hardest of all was not being loved by our mother.

Some of us survive the great heartaches that life brings to us and some of us do not. Some - through any combination of not enough resilience, through "help" that harms more than heals, through isolation and lack of true support, through the grip of addictions that won't let go, through living with no glimpses of another world being possible for far too long - do not find a way  through the pain of our deep wounds into the doorway of Life. We get stuck. And few can hang on forever in the darkness of clinging to survival with no end in sight to so much suffering.

Our son Matt's friend tragically died just over two weeks ago and, like my brother, he was also only 26. At Mike's service, the pastor offered each of us who knew Mike questions we can ask ourselves. Included were - how will we love differently due to knowing Mike? And - how will we live differently because Mike has been part of our lives? What gifts these questions are. They light a path of inquiry that has the potential of ultimately transforming so much loss into some form of blessing.

Over the last 35 years since John's death, I have been gradually and increasingly embracing and reflecting the answers to these questions in how I live my life. Today I experience profound gratitude to the Great Mystery, my children, Ron, and the various soulful friends, healers, mentors, therapists, authors, visionaries, and more along the way who have helped illuminate new ways of opening, seeing, risking, loving, healing, awakening. Clarissa Pinkola Estes reflects that the most important psychic decision any of us make is whether or not to be bitter. And I knew I did NOT want to get stuck in bitterness! Or rage, terror, shame, and this haunting feeling of being deeply flawed and separate from myself and all of life.

Although it took me a while to understand, with time I had come to recognize that I had made a decision to Live. To live not just for me, but for John, too. What a powerful intention that is! Because before John died, before I entered this path of healing, discovery, and waking up, I had been disassociated, disconnected, and very much afraid of life. And love. Of course, I didn't know it. Only after I have allowed my heart to break open again and again have I discovered how much there was that had long been neglected and was in such deep need of attending. Wild how it is that through the doorway of my tears I have come to find so much joy. And love.

Miracles happen. Out of so much loss a great passion for love, compassion, and profound caring can be born. Thank you, John.  

May we be at peace.
May our hearts remain open.
May we know the beauty of our true nature.
May we be healed.   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rumi: To Wander in the Fields of Flowers

To wander in the fields of flowers
pull the thorns from your Heart.
- Rumi

David Korten: What Would a Down-to-Earth Economy Look Like?

(Photo: Thomas Hawk)

How did we end up with Wall Street when models 

for a healthy economy are all around us?

by David Korten
With proper care and respect, Earth can provide a high quality of life for all people in perpetuity. Yet we devastate productive lands and waters for a quick profit, a few temporary jobs, or a one-time resource fix.
Our current expansion of tar sands oil extraction, deep-sea oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing natural gas extraction, and mountaintop-removal coal mining are but examples of this insanity. These highly profitable choices deepen our economic dependence on rapidly diminishing, nonrenewable fossil-energy reserves, disrupt the generative capacity of Earth’s living systems, and accelerate climate disruption.
A global economy dependent on this nonsense is already failing and its ultimate collapse is only a matter of time. For a surprisingly long time, we humans have successfully maintained the illusion that we are outside of, superior to, and not subject to the rules of nature. We do so, however, at a huge cost, and payment is coming due.
To secure the health and happiness of future generations, we must embrace life as our defining value, recognize that competition is but a subtext of life’s deeper narrative of cooperation, and restructure our institutions to conform to life’s favored organizing principle of radically decentralized, localized decision making and self-organization. This work begins with recognizing what nature has learned about the organization of complex living systems over billions of years....
For the full article, please go here

Most discussions of issues relating to the environment, justice, peace, poverty, race, gender, immigration, crime, values, education, family, and much else focus on actions to alleviate downstream consequences of upstream system failures. Real, lasting solutions depend on transforming foundational values and institutions in ways rarely discussed in public discourse. We can tolerate the silence no longer. Our future depends on navigating the transition to a New Economy that mimics the structures and dynamics of Earth's biosphere. It begins with a conversation.
- David Korten

Monday, January 28, 2013

David Wagoner: Lost


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~ David Wagoner ~

Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

Vietnam © Tran Bao Hoa

I first learned of this book when I heard an interview with its author tonight on NPR while driving home from work. I was both deeply disturbed and deeply grateful for Nick Turse, its incredibly courageous author. In the past, I have stood in witness to the shared horrors of American veterans at Winter Soldier events - hearing the stories of men and women who served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan - which I could barely make it through, just to witness,  because it was so horrific, so excrutiating... to simply just listen to what had happened. But I needed to be there, I needed to bear witness, to support these veterans, to absorb the truth of war and what human beings are capable of doing to one another when pushed to the edge. What comes from embracing such unbearable and tragic and preventable suffering is that it becomes so clear that there is another way. We can learn new stories to believe and tell one another and live by. Stories that are rooted in true peace and caring, healing and transformation, truth and wisdom. Another world is possible. Humankind can evolve to be both humane and kind. It is my belief that an undeniably necessary part of learning to travel a very different human path on this beautiful Earth is to first clearly embrace where we have been and where we are now. Open to seeing without illusions and lies and glorifications what is in truth the profound and unnecessary suffering that war brings. Only then may we learn to never again call war peace. Namaste... Molly

Two resources:

'Anything That Moves': Civilians And The Vietnam War

The U.S. government has maintained that atrocities like this were isolated incidents in the conflict. Nick Turse says otherwise. In his new book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Turse argues that the intentional killing of civilians was quite common in a war that claimed 2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees. (More:


‘Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War 

in Vietnam’ By Nick Turse

With his urgent but highly readable style, Turse takes us through this landscape of failed policies, government mendacity and Vietnamese anguish, a familiar topography for those steeped in the many histories — the best ones by journalists — of this 1964-75 debacle. But Turse is up to something different and even more provocative: He delves into the secret history of U.S.-led atrocities. He has brought to his book an impressive trove of new research — archives explored and eyewitnesses interviewed in the United States and Vietnam. With superb narrative skill, he spotlights a troubling question: Why, with all the evidence collected by the military at the time of the war, were atrocities not prosecuted? (More:

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, 
but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung 


The Biosphere & Our Impact On Future Generations, Other Species, & Ecosystems

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

It is time to care for our Sacred Earth  Mother.

The Biosphere & Our Impact On Future Generations, 
Other Species, & Ecosystems

Part of the Problem (Barriers to some of the solutions outlined below):1. Apathy 2. Ignorance 3. People who get paid to look the other way 4. The current paradigm based on short-term profits, politics, and power over the long-term health of people and the planet 5. Institutions will try and preserve the problem for which they are the solution – Shirky 6. Corporate owned mass media 7. A dysfunctional education system 8. Not enough people helping to bring truth to power (Little dissent, while conformity is the norm) 9. Abject poverty forces people to have more children to support the family. There standard of living needs to be brought up to a reasonable level. This is often referred to as the 'demographic transition'. The west through its demographic transition during its industrial revolution – A bad example for the rest of the world. Just simply can't afford to spread our unsustainable model around the world like a cancer 10. Our natural environment is just not considered when making decisions. Instead they are viewed as externalities. Short-term profits and political expediency remain the driving forces. 11. Global problems require global solidarity and solutions since air and water transcend political boundaries (Often referred to as the tragedy of the commons)
Political Structure:  Politicians make decisions based on the next election (short-sighted), while  following the lead of the private sector which makes decisions based on the next  economic quarter (even shorter).  Many worked for industry before they came to  power, or as lobbyist afterwards.... 
I think the American people should see that the corporations abandoned them  long ago. “That people will have to build their own economies and rebuild  democracy as a living democracy. The corporations belong to no land, no country,  no people. They have no loyalty to anything apart from… their profits. And the  profits today are on an unimaginable scale; it has become illegitimate, criminal  profit –profits extracted at the cost of life.” – Vandana Shiva
Additional Consequences: According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. If current levels [of destruction] go on we will reach a tipping point...

We are spreading our unsustainable way of life all over the planet like a cancer. The "Cumulative" Effect Over Time (not just climate change) Species Extinction (i.e. bees, frogs, coral reef, critical algae ..), Drought, Forest Fires, Desertification, Soil Erosion, Loss of Habitat, The Poisoning of Lakes, Rivers & Groundwater, Deforestation, Urban Sprawl, Mass Waste, Pollution (Air Quality, Water Quality, Contaminated Land), Dead Zones, Food & Water Shortages, Future Wars over Water (Not Just Oil), Environmental Refugees, Eutrophication, Flooding, Ocean Acidification and Death, Oil spills, Loss of Land, A Decline in Human Health, Unsustainable Development, Over Fishing, The Loss in Green Space in General, Extreme Weather Events i.e. Hurricanes, & Heat waves, Industrial ‘Accidents’ (Crimes i.e. Bhopal, Exxon, BP, The Tar Sands, Chevron, Imperial Oil, Shell, Chernobyl, Monsanto, Enbridge, Keystone, Northern Gateway, Arctic Drilling, Mining, Resource Extraction, Most Industrial processes, &on & on). The result, Social, Economic, & Ecological Decay for Present & Future Generations…

Other Potential Solutions:  We require a complete rethink of our notion of progress, materialism, & unsustainable economic growth at the cost of everything else. A shift in this unsustainable paradigm would help future generations meet their needs. Need to prioritize the long-term health of people and the planet over the short-term interests of profits, politics, and power. (i.e. a descent life for future generations, social, economic, and ecological).


“...the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” 
 Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Billionaires' Secret Funding of Attacks on Climate Science

From - REVEALED: the secret scheme that is funneling millions of dollars from Big Oil to climate denial. This is how democracy gets corrupted. This is how our climate gets changed.

Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science

Audit trail reveals that donors linked to fossil fuel industry are backing global warming skeptics.

by Steve Connor

A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.
 The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.
However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.
Millions of dollars has been paid to Donors through a third-party organisation, called the Knowledge and Progress Fund, with is operated by the Koch family but does not advertise its Koch connections.
Some commentators believe that such convoluted arrangements are becoming increasingly common to shield the identity and backgrounds of the wealthy supporters of climate scepticism – some of whom have vested interests in the fossil-fuel industry.
The Knowledge and Progress Fund, whose directors include Charles Koch and his wife Liz, gave $1.25m to Donors in 2007, a further $1.25m in 2008 and $2m in 2010. It does not appear to have given money to any other group and there is no mention of the fund on the websites of Koch Industries or the Charles Koch Foundation.

For the complete article, please go here:

The Extremist Cult of Capitalism

Our system does not work and the poverty, destruction, suffering created by what we have come for far too long to believe is "normal" is obscene, immoral, unacceptable. New stories to live by become increasingly possible when we illuminate so clearly the darkness of what is not working now... 

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Jung



The Extremist Cult of Capitalism

 A 'cult,' according to Merriam-Webster, can be defined as "Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work..(and)..a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion."

Capitalism has been defined by adherents and detractors: Milton Friedman said, "The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system." John Maynard Keynes said, "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."

Perhaps it's best to turn to someone who actually practiced the art: "Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class." Al Capone said that.

Capitalism is a cult. It is devoted to the ideals of privatization over the common good, profit over social needs, and control by a small group of people who defy the public's will. The tenets of the cult lead to extremes rather than to compromise. Examples are not hard to find.

1. Extremes of Income

By sitting on their growing investments, the richest five Americans made almost $7 billion each in one year. That's $3,500,000.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour.

Our unregulated capitalist financial system allows a few well-positioned individuals to divert billions of dollars from the needs of society. If the 400 richest Americans lumped together their investment profits from last year, the total would pay in-state tuition and fees for EVERY college student in the United States.

2. Extremes of Wealth

The combined net worth of the world's 250 richest individuals is more than the total annual living expenses of almost half the world - three billion people.

Within our own borders the disparity is no less shocking. For every one dollar of assets owned by a single black or Hispanic woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over forty million dollars. That's equivalent to a can of soup versus a mansion, a yacht, and a private jet.Most of the Forbes 400 wealth has accrued from nonproductive capital gains. It's little wonder that with the exception of Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon, the U.S. has the highest degree of wealth inequality in the world.
For the full article, please go here: