Friday, May 31, 2013

Thich Nhat Hanh: Acts of Peace and Compassion

Every time we breathe in and go home to ourselves and bring the element of harmony and peace into ourselves, that is an act of peace. Every time we know how to look at another living being and recognize the suffering that has made her speak or act, and we are able to see that she is the victim of suffering that she cannot handle—that is an act of compassion. When we can look with the eyes of compassion we don’t suffer and we don’t make the other person suffer. These are the actions of peace that can be shared with people.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Khalil Gibran: Out of Suffering

Out of suffering 
have emerged the strongest souls; 
the most massive characters 
are seared with scars.

Sharon Salzberg: Impermanence

To see things as they are, 
to see the changing nature,
 to see the impermanence- that is freedom.
@Sharon Salzberg

Joseph Campbell: To Become Individuated

To become—in Jung’s terms—individuated, to live as a released individual, one has to know how and when to put on and to put off the masks of one’s various life roles. 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do,' and when at home, do not keep on the mask of the role you play in the Senate chamber. But this, finally, is not easy, since some of the masks cut deep. They include judgment and moral values. They include one’s pride, ambition, and achievement. They include one’s infatuations. It is a common thing to be overly impressed by and attached to masks, either some mask of one’s own or the mana-masks of others. The work of individuation, however, demands that one should not be compulsively affected in this way. The aim of individuation requires that one should find and then learn to live out of one’s own center, in control of one’s for and against. And this cannot be achieved by enacting and responding to any general masquerade of fixed roles.

- Joseph Campbell, from “Myths to Live By"

I Am a Wild Woman

I am a wild woman
I know, in spite of myself
and in spite of what I've been told
that there's beauty in every age
no matter how old

I am a wild woman
I've learned what it means to be a life bearer
to bear children
to create art
to plant seeds of love

I am a wild woman
from the depths of the dirt underneath my fingernails
to the height of my very soul
I am one with the Earth
the winds from the four directions whisper through my skin

I am a wild woman
and the spirit of every wild woman coalesces in me
for we are each wild women
and we are all the spirit of the wild woman
I will follow the voice in my heart

I am a wild woman
I sing from my heart
I dance with the stars
I howl at the moon
I love uncontrollably

I am a wild woman
from the deepest, darkest, most sacred part of me
I am fearless
I cry in strength
I open my arms to the sky and welcome the rain

I am a wild woman
I nurture, love and protect
I stand, strongly, silently, sweetly for my brothers
I walk dutifully, prayerfully, joyfully upon the mother
and I will not be stopped

I am a wild woman.

~ Melissa Clary

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pema Chödrön: True Compassion

True compassion does not come from wanting to help out 
those less fortunate than ourselves 
but from realizing our kinship with all beings.
  ~ Pema Chödrön

Powerful Bill McKibben Interview

Stop investing in carbon intense industries

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 23/05/2013
Reporter: Tony Jones
Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben, who is about to tour Australia, discusses his campaign to get organisations to stop investing in companies that make money from industries that have high carbon emissions.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Joining us from our Washington studio is Bill McKibben, the co-founder and chairman of the board at, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world. He's an author and environmental activist. In 1988 he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a general audience about global warming. 

Bill McKibben, thanks for being there. 

BILL MCKIBBEN, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST & AUTHOR: Well, what a pleasure to be with ya.

TONY JONES: Let's start with the statement most frequently used by climate change sceptics: the planet has stopped warming since 1998 and started to cool, actually cool, since 2003. True or false?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Completely false. The data is unfortunately abundantly clear here. Not only is the air temperature continuing to go up, but a whole slew of studies in recent months have shown that in fact the rate of warming in the oceans is accelerating and of course that heat will eventually make its way back out into the atmosphere. As the scientist was quoted in your lead-in there I think very correctly saying even the kind of two-degree targets that governments have set for climate change, including the Australian Government, are much too high. We've barely - we're not even quite raised the temperature a degree so far and look what we've done. I mean, 80 per cent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is now missing, the oceans are 30 per cent more acidic than they were 40 years ago, and because warm air holds more water vapour than cold, we've loaded the dice for drought and for flood which y'all in Australia have seen more than your share of in recent years.

TONY JONES: Let's just look at that figure though. 1998 was pretty much the planet's hottest year, at least some argue that it was, since accurate temperature recordings were done. It appears there was a spike in that year, a spike in the temperature and since then temperatures have actually gone down?

BILL MCKIBBEN: No, temperatures haven't gone down. The last decade was the warmest by far on record. 1998 was a very strong El Nino year and so it set a new record, a record we've now broken twice by small margins, but in general the pace of climate change continues unabated. Were that it were otherwise, we continue to hope that we're gonna catch a break from physics at some point along the way, but so far all ya have to do is look to the Arctic to get some sense of just how out of control things are.

TONY JONES: Is the clear picture that you're painting, was that muddied somewhat by the new research from the team of Global Change researchers published this week in Nature Geoscience that the rate of global warming is actually slowing and that could have a dramatic impact on how hot the planet actually gets in the next 50 to 100 years?

BILL MCKIBBEN: It's hopeful news in that they say the odds of warming at the very upper end of the scale are less than some had feared. Let's hope that's true. It really would be one of the first breaks we've caught from physics, but as they say in the thing - in their paper, it makes no difference to the plight of the planet. Two degrees where we're going to clearly go well past on our current path is utter catastrophe. Really one degree is utter catastrophe. How many more summers do you really want like the one you just had?

TONY JONES: Yeah, I suppose if you say "caught a break from science", does that actually give us more time to get our acts together as a planet and for the countries around the world to actually seek some sort of unified action?

BILL MCKIBBEN: No, it doesn't give us any more time. We're still under the gun. What it does do I think is allow those who are working on these issues some reason for a little bitta hope. Frankly, the level of despair has been enormous and correctly so; we're losing this fight. It's very hopeful to be able to think if we do everything we possibly can then we're not going to avert huge problems, but maybe, maybe, maybe, if we work absolutely all out, we might be able to stay this side of complete civilisation-scale chaos.

TONY JONES: Yeah, I mean, I guess the point is you say yourself "Do the math" and the question arise out this new research is: has the math changed?

BILL MCKIBBEN: No, I don't think the math's really changed at all. What we were saying when we did that - and this is math that's been validated by the World Bank and the International Energy Agency and lots of others - what we were saying was that the fossil fuel companies have in their reserves five times as much carbon as would be necessary to take us past two degrees. So it's not even close. It's not like we're in some place, as we would say in this country, in the same ballpark. These companies, their business plan is by any measure not compatible with a working future for this planet. Once you know that math, and it comes from a team of financial analysts in the UK about a year ago - once you know it then you know that if we don't make big changes soon, the end of this story is essentially written. Our job is to rewrite it, and, you know, we're beginning to build that movement in Australia and around the world that can stand up to the richest industry we've ever seen.

TONY JONES: Let's move on because you - and really it's on that topic - you've been campaigning hard for educational and religious institutions, for city and state governments and other institutions that, as you say, serve the public good, to stop investing in fossil fuel companies. Stop. To disinvest. Take their money out if they are investing in them. How many companies have actually done that, have taken your advice?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, we have a list of 200 companies that we'd like people to divest from, the biggest carbon reserves in the world. So far, early days, but a wide variety of American institutions have begun to divest. Five colleges and universities so far, 10 city governments including Seattle and San Francisco. Yesterday came news that the cemetery of the City of Santa Monica in California had decided to divest its holdings, so even the dead are getting in on this act. In Australia, I was remarkably cheered to see that the Uniting Church in a big part of the country had decided to sell its coal stocks. I think that's a brave move in a country where coal barons are as powerful as they are there.

TONY JONES: What about superannuation funds? I mean, they control vastly greater sums of investment dollars ...


TONY JONES: ... than the kind of institutions you're talking about. I mean, you're coming here. We've got a massive superannuation fund investment in Australia. Are you gonna try and convince superannuation funds, amongst others, to divest?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Absolutely. Absolutely, and for two reasons. One is it makes no sense to pay for your retirement by investing in companies that guarantee you won't have a planet worth retiring on. And two, as we're increasingly finding out, this is a bad bet economically, this industry. Just yesterday, the Associated Press, the world's biggest news-gathering organisation, commissioned an independent study. What it showed was that if 10 years ago with a billion-dollar endowment you'd divested from the 200 companies we're recommending, you would have made $119 million more - these are US figures - $119 million more in the last 10 years. A bet on the fossil fuel industry, an investment in the fossil fuel industry is a bet that the world will do nothing about climate change, that it'll stand idly by and watch events like the summer you've just come through and not take any serious action. If you're comfortable with that bet, both practically and morally, then by all means invest in fossil fuel. But if it makes you queasy, either financially or from the point of view that you're betting on the destruction of the planet, then I think a lot of people are gonna start to move their money.

TONY JONES: The new boss of the Australian Coal Association, Nikki Williams, gave a speech in Sydney last night in which he bitterly complained that some of the country's most successful and profitable businesses, particularly their own coal industry, were being targeted by activists like yourself and that the climate change debate has spawned, as she called it, a new morality of industrial sabotage, extremism hiding behind laudable green goals. Do you think she might have had you in mind?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Perhaps, although I'm afraid I'm not a very confident saboteur. Our only monkey wrench we want to throw in the works is this mathematical one, this scientific one. We want people to understand that, say, if the Australian coal industry goes through with its current expansion plans, the coal that it digs up and burns will fill about a third of the space between us and two degrees. That's not OK. We can't let it happen any more than we can let the huge tar sands of Canada or the coal mines of the United States or in China or all the other places that we work. We simply have to keep that underground.

TONY JONES: OK, but - Bill McKibben, we're nearly out of time. Sorry about this. But you realise you're coming to Australia where the mining industry and the huge boom of exports to China actually kept Australia out of the Global Financial Crisis, kept our economy going for such a long time and what you're basically gonna be arguing is stop investing in those industries which actually saved you during the Global Financial Crisis?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, what I'm gonna be arguing is there is a hell of a lot bigger crisis on the horizon even than the financial one and you got a taste of it this summer and it's a question about how many more tastes of it you want and how much more of it you want to inflict on the rest of the world. Australia's not alone in causing this problem, but it's punching above its weight because of its coal mining industry, so hopefully we can figure out how to keep it from expanding in those ways.

TONY JONES: Bill McKibben, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for taking the time to come and join us on Lateline tonight.

BILL MCKIBBEN: Alright. My pleasure. Take care.

For this article PLUS video, please go here:

Rumi: Healing a Broken Heart

I can heal a broken Heart with a Smile.
~ Rumi

Tenderness of the Heart

There is no charm equal to tenderness of the heart.

~ Jane Austen 

To Light

To Light
At the spring
we hear the great seas traveling
giving themselves up
with tongue of water
that sing the earth open.
They have journeyed through the graveyards
of our loved ones,
turning in their grave
to carry the stories of life to air.
Even the trees with their rings
have kept track
of the crimes that live within
and against us.
We remember it all.
We remember, though we are just skeletons
whose organs and flesh
hold us in.
We have stories
as old as the great seas
breaking through the chest,
flying out the mouth,
noisy tongues that once were silenced,
all the oceans we contain
coming to light.
~ Linda Hogan ~
(Seeing Through the Sun)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rumi: After Despair

After despair, many hopes flourish
just as after darkness,
thousands of suns open and start to shine.
~ Rumi 
from Rumi Quotes 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Will Pitt: A Nation That Does Not Care For Its War Veterans Has No Business Making New Ones

This post is in honor of all veterans. In the midst of so many stories glorifying American soldiers and their experiences, what is often left out in all the rhetoric and flag waving are the hard realities, the horrifying truths, the utter disregard and disrespect that is a common experience of returning veterans. Of course, there is also the unspeakable grief left in the wake of those who never return home, the tragedy of how we send our children to kill the children of others in the first place, the insanity of "defense spending" - that is more than all other nations combined - while thousands of children die needlessly every single day of preventable poverty related causes in our nation and around the world. It is time that we find another way, one which illuminates our humanity, our higher wisdom, and an authentic and passionate caring and courage that stands up to the insanity and says No More! Another world is possible. Peace ~ Molly

US Doesn't Take Care of Its Veterans Now; It Has No Business Making New Ones

asoldierMemorial Day is set aside to honor America's veterans, those who have served and those who have given what Abraham Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion. Indeed, you will not be able to turn your head today without confronting invocations of honor and duty. While it is all well and good to do this, the reality behind what our veterans endure today obscures these pious platitudes with the hard reek of hypocrisy.
Average wait time for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans filing their first claim to receive the benefits they earned: between 316 and 327 days. Those filing for the first time in big cities wait up to twice as long: 642 days in New York, 619 days in Los Angeles, and 542 days in Chicago.
The ranks of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 in December, an increase of more than 2,000%. The VA expected the number of veterans waiting - currently about 900,000 - to continue to increase throughout 2013 and top a million by the end of this past March.
There are, on average, 22 veteran suicides a day. "I'm not surprised at the number of us that kill ourselves," Lincoln Capstick, an unemployed Iraq War veteran in Indiana where the average wait on new claims is 612 days, said to Time Magazine.
So today, as the politicians heap praise upon America's veterans, and as American businesses use veterans as props to boost their sales, remember what their sacrifice has truly meant...and remember that their sacrifice is ongoing, is happening right now, and will continue to happen until this country that so deeply values war finally steps up to care for he and she that has borne the battles.
A nation that does not care for its war veterans has no business making new ones.
(Photo: Will Pitt)