Monday, March 31, 2014

A Path of Nonviolence

If every eight year old in the world is taught meditation, 
we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.
-Dalai Lama

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mary Oliver: The Fist

The Fist
There are days
when the sun goes down
like a fist,
though of course
if you see anything
in the heavens this way
you had better get
your eyes checked
or, better still,
your diminished spirit.
The heavens
have no fist,
or wouldn't they have been
shaking it
for a thousand years now,
and even
longer than that,
at the dull, brutish
ways of mankind -
heaven's own
Instead: such patience!
Such willingness
to let us continue!
To hear,
little by little,
the voices -
only, so far, in
pockets of the world -
suggesting the possibilities
of peace?
Keep looking.
Behold, how the fist opens
with invitation.
- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shaking the Tree

Shaking the Tree
Vine and branch we’re connected in this world 
of sound and echo, figure and shadow, the leaves 
contingent, roots pushing against earth. An apple 
belongs to itself, to stem and tree, to air 
that claims it, then ground. Connections 
balance, each motion changes another. Precarious, 
hanging together, we don’t know what our lives 
support, and we touch in the least shift of breathing. 
Each holy thing is borrowed.  Everything depends.
~ Jeanne Lohmann ~ 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clarissa Pinkola Estés: The Doors to the World of the Wild Self

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. 
If you have a deep scar, that is a door, 
if you have an old, old story, that is a door. 
If you love the sky and the water so much 
you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. 
If you yearn for a deeper life, 
a full life, a sane life, 
that is a door.

Monday, March 24, 2014

For John - Through the Gateway: Reflections On the Anniversary of Our Birth

John & Molly on the shores of our family beach on Orchard Lake, Michigan

I love and miss my brother. I always will. In a few hours it will be 63 years since we were born. I came first, five minutes before John. Just short of 27 years later, on January 30th, 1978, my brother ended his life and I became a twinless twin. At least in the physical world. Yet, in my heart, John will live on forever. 

In this lifetime, now and for the past many years, I live for both of us. And today I am mindful of how I continue to grow and expand in awareness and appreciation for all that has come through the enormity of this loss. Not that this means the grief is gone or that I would wish great suffering on anyone. Yet, life brings to each of us those experiences that break our hearts open... or shut them down. For me, the sorrow in my heart remains and is today also intertwined with joy, love, tenderness, and a deep gratitude, an inner honoring bow for this awakening that came through - among others - the gateway of my twin's death.

My experience continues to teach me again and again that embracing - rather than running from - life's gateways offers blessings and gifts beyond our wildest imagining.

With love and deep compassion and blessings for us all ~


Through the gateway of feeling your weakness 
lies your strength.
Through the gateway of feeling your pain 
lies your pleasure and joy.
Through the gateway of feeling your fear 
lies your security and safety.
Through the gateway of feeling your loneliness 
lies your capacity to have fulfillment, love and companionship.
Through the gateway of feeling your hopelessness 
lies true and justified hope.
Through the gateway of accepting the lacks in your childhood 
lies your fulfillment now.

- Eva Pierrakos

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rachel Carson: The Preservation of the Earth

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

NASA: Earth Could Warm 20 Percent More Than Earlier Estimates

NASA says we should expect the planet to become even warmer than researchers
thought in the past.

According to new research, Drew Shindell, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says the planet could become 20 percent warmer than previous estimates. The image included in a briefing on the study shows temperature-increase estimates for 2099.

A new NASA study suggests that the Earth will warm by about 20 percent. Graphic credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio/NASA Center for Climate Stimulation
A new NASA study suggests that the Earth will warm by about 20 percent. Graphic credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio/NASA Center for Climate Stimulation

According to a statement on the study from NASA, researchers developing warming estimates by calculating the Earth’s “transient climate response.” This measure determines how much global temperatures will change as carbon dioxide’s atmospheric presence grows at about 1 percent per year until the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has doubled. Transient climate responses have range from near 2.52 degrees in recent research, to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) estimate of 1.8 degrees. Shindell’s study estimates a transient climate response of 3.06 degrees. He says it is unlikely values would cool below 2.34 degrees.

  The global mean temperature change estimates from a new NASA report. The dashed line shows estimates assuming uniform sensitivity to all forcings, while the solid line shows results including the enhanced sensitivity to the inhomogeneous aerosol and ozone forcings. Graphic credit: Nature Climate Change journal 
His study also considers how aerosols, or airborne particles contribute to climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. Aerosols are produced by both natural sources like volcanoes and wildfires, as well as by manufacturing, driving automobiles, producing energy  and more. Some aerosols cause warming, depending on their components, while some create a cooling effect. According to NASA, it is necessary to account for atmospheric aerosols in order to understand the role carbon dioxide emissions have on global warming.

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This Is My Prayer

 To Bring About a World of Nonviolence, Responsibility, 
Caring, and Compassion

I look forward to a day when children, as a result of integrating the principles of nonviolence and peaceful conflict resolution at school, will be more aware of their feelings and emotions and feel a greater sense of responsibility both toward themselves and toward the wider world. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

To bring about this better world, therefore, let us all, old and young - not as members of this nation or that nation, not as members of this faith or that faith, but simply as individual members of this great human family of seven billion - strive together with vision, with courage, and with optimism. This is my humble plea.

Within the scale of the life of the cosmos, a human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a visitor to this planet, a guest, who has only a finite time to stay. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time lonely, unhappy, and in conflict with our fellow visitors? Far better, surely, to use our short time in pursuing a meaningful life, enriched by a sense of connection with and service toward others.

So far, of the twenty-first century, just over a decade has gone; the major part of it is yet to come. It is my hope that this will be a century of peace, a century of dialogue - a century when a more caring, responsible, and compassionate humanity will emerge. This is my prayer as well.
- The Dalai Lama, excerpted from Beyond Religion: 
Ethics for a Whole World

Photo taken in our garden of Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva/Goddess of Compassion

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mary Oliver: Spring

    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
         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 glass cities,

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

all day I think of her—
    her white teeth,
      her wordlessness,
         her perfect love.
- Mary Oliver, 
from New and Selected Poems. © Beacon Press, 1992

Rumi: The Guest House


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
    translation by Coleman Barks

Photo: Austria by Vitalij Seriogin

Friday, March 21, 2014

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)

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