Tuesday, September 30, 2014

C. JoyBell C.: The Only Way We Can Live

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.


C. JoyBell C.: The Miracle

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Mary Oliver: Sleeping In the Forest

Sleeping In the Forest
I thought the earth remembered me, she 
took me back so tenderly, arranging 
her dark skirts, her pockets 
full of lichens and seeds. I slept 
as never before, a stone 
on the riverbed, nothing 
between me and the white fire of the stars 
but my thoughts, and they floated 
light as moths among the branches 
of the perfect trees. All night 
I heard the small kingdoms breathing 
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night 
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling 
with a luminous doom. By morning 
I had vanished at least a dozen times 
into something better.

Pema Chödrön: Our Capacity For Bravery, Openmindedness, Tenderness

Deep down in the human spirit there is a reservoir of courage. It is always available, always waiting to be discovered.

In the last years of his life, Chögyam Trungpa taught unceasingly on the very real possibility of creating enlightened society - society where individuals cultivated unconditional friendliness for themselves and unconditional caring for others. It is true that when we try to do either of these things, we find that it is not so easy. The resistance to accepting ourselves and to putting others' welfare first is surprisingly strong. Nevertheless, he spoke with enthusiasm and confidence about our remarkable capacity for bravery, for open-mindedness, for tenderness - our remarkable capacity to be spiritual warriors, fearless men and women who can help to heal the sorrows of the world.

 Pema Chödrön, Taking the Leap:
 Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears 

Riane Eisler: Human Evolution

Many cultural stories worldwide present the domination system as the only human alternative. Fairy tales romanticize the rule of kings and queens over “common people.” Classics such as Homers Illiad and Shakespeare’s kings trilogy romanticize “Heroic violence.” Many religious stories present men’s control, even ownership, of women as normal and moral.

These stories came out of the times that oriented much more closely to a “pure” domination system. Along with newer stories that perpetuate these limited beliefs about human nature, they play a major role in how we view our world and how we live in it. But precisely because stories are so important in shaping values, new narratives can help change unhealthy values.

Of particular importance are new stories about human nature. We need new narratives that give us a more complete and accurate picture of who we are and who we can be - stories that show that our enormous capacities for consciousness, creativity and caring are integral to human evolution, that these capacities are what make us distinctively human.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gavin Harrison: The Song of the Child

Through whatever path we take - whether mediation or any other practice that
empowers us to grow in self-understanding, mindfulness, consciousness, 
and compassion - may we each awaken to our song, the beautiful song 
we came here to embody and share with the world.
Blessings ~ Molly


Among one of the tribes of West Africa, when a woman decides that she wishes to have a child, she walks out alone from the village. Perhaps she finds a tree and sits down beneath it. Then she listens. She listens for the song of the child that she has decided to bear. The day she hears that song clearly is considered to be the birthday of the child. She teaches the song to her husband, and it then becomes a part of the mating ritual between the woman and the man. They sing the song during her pregnancy and again when the child is born. It is the song of that child, and it will be sung on each birthday and at each important passage of the child's life. On any wedding day, the song of the groom and the song of the bride are sung together. The last time that song is sung is when that child's body is lowered into its grave.

The path of meditation is like remembering or rediscovering our original song. Through the deepening of self-understanding, we reconnect with ourselves and remember all that has been forgotten. Perhaps we have never known ourselves at all, but if we listen inwardly, we may hear again the beautiful strains of our long-lost melody.
When we hear the song clearly, when we discover our true spirit, we stop blaming or praising others for making us feel bad or good. We no longer feel like victims of circumstance. Rooted in truth, we bend within the winds of circumstance, like fir trees. We engage with the forces in our lives instead of running away from who we are and from all that is painful. In that moment when we are willing to open to the ten thousand joys and the ten thousand sorrows of life, the gateway to our real selves opens. The is the gateway through the palace walls that have kept us isolated and limited for so long. Walking through the gates, we access the possibility of a profound happiness and peace that is not dependent on the conditions of our life.
- Gavin Harrison, In the Lap of the Buddha
Also found in The Buddha is Still Teaching, Selected and edited by Jack Kornfield

Mozambique © Kimberly Flowers/USAID

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pema Chödrön: Opening Our Hearts and Minds


The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes. 


Dear Matafele Peinem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

On September 23rd. 2014, 26 year old poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, native of the Marshall Islands, addressed the Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit. Kathy performed her poem entitled "Dear Matafele Peinem", written to her daughter. After her recitation in front of 120 heads of state, her daughter and husband joined her on stage, to a standing ovation. An official U.N. Twitter account said many world leaders were moved to tears.

 Dear Matafele Peinem

you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles
you are bald as an egg and bald as the buddha
you are thighs that are thunder, shrieks that are lightning
so excited for bananas, hugs and
our morning walks along the lagoon
dear matafele peinam,
i want to tell you about that lagoon
that lazy, lounging lagoon lounging against the sunrise
men say that one day
that lagoon will devour you
they say it will gnaw at the shoreline
chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees
gulp down rows of seawalls
and crunch through your island’s shattered bones
they say you, your daughter
and your granddaughter, too
will wander rootless
with only a passport to call home
dear matafele peinam,
don’t cry
mommy promises you
no one will come and devour you
no greedy whale of a company sharking through political seas
no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals no blindfolded
bureaucracies gonna push
this mother ocean over
the edge
no one’s drowning, baby
no one’s moving
no one’s losing their homeland
no one’s becoming a climate change refugee
or should i say
no one else
to the carteret islanders of papua new guinea
and to the taro islanders of fiji
i take this moment
to apologize to you
we are drawing the line here
because we baby are going to fight
your mommy daddy
bubu jimma your country and your president too
we will all fight
and even though there are those
hidden behind platinum titles
who like to pretend that we don’t exist
who like to pretend that the marshall islands
typhoon haiyan in the philippines
floods of algeria, colombia, pakistan
and all the hurricanes, earthquakes and tidalwaves
didn’t exist
there are those
who see us
hands reaching out
fists raising up
banners unfurling
megaphones booming
and we are canoes blocking coal ships
we are the radiance of solar villages
we are the fresh clean soil of the farmer’s past
we are teenagers blooming petitions
we are families biking, recycling, reusing
engineers building, dreaming, designing
artists painting, dancing, writing
and we are spreading the word
and there are thousands out on the streets
hand in hand
chanting for change NOW
and they’re marching for you, baby
they’re marching for us
because we deserve to do more than just
we deserve
to thrive
dear matafele peinam,
you are eyes heavy
with drowsy weight
so just close those eyes
and sleep in peace
because we won’t let you down
you’ll see
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Please go here for an exceptionally powerful video of the poem

"Dear Matafele Peinem":



Please also go here for more:


My Chicken Became a Cat—And Taught Me to Imagine a Happier, Healthier World

If there is one key to making it in a family farm—or in any business that thwarts the trend toward relentless greed and destruction of the planet—it is the ability to believe.
Tayla and Strawberry. Photo by the author.
On Thursday, Mom and Dad sit down on the back porch to listen to the chorus of afternoon crickets. Mom’s cat, Tayla, hops into her lap. Dad’s cat, Strawberry, hops into his. Tayla has long, calico fur. Strawberry has feathers.
Many creatures pass in and out of our lives, and a few always prove noteworthy in some way. 
When Strawberry first came to us, we mistook her for a chicken. Most people do. Her beak, comb, and scaly feet could fool anyone. But Strawberry knew her true identity and patiently corrected us over her years at Sap Bush Hollow. Eventually, we came to understand that she had no place in the chicken coop and no place out in the fenced-in pasture with the other birds.
Strawberry roams the farm freely, but like any cat prefers to keep to the back porch. Like a chicken, she ovulates almost daily, leaving eggs in unlikely places—in Dad’s feed buckets, in the kindling box, beneath the brake pedal of the truck. She never acknowledges these eggs. They are forgotten symptoms of a former identity. Like a true cat, she denies any part of her reality with which she does not agree. Mom has learned to look out for them, to gather them up without chastising Strawberry; just as she patiently cleans up the droppings Strawberry periodically leaves by the back door (she has not learned to use a litter box).
Photo of Strawberry by Shannon Hayes.
She is, however, our best mouser.
Strawberry is not the only creature on our farm who created a new reality for herself. Confit looked like a mallard duck, but she mated with Foie Gras, a goose. Like geese, they were a pair for life, and Foie Gras never questioned her identity—at least not as far as we know. She laid eggs every spring, and he guarded her while she sat on them, waiting for them to hatch. They never did, but neither Confit nor Foie Gras allowed that to come between them.
Isabelle was born to one of our breeding ewes one May, but recognized her true identity as a dog after the death of her mother. She does not run away when we try to herd her. She follows us, just like the border collies, through gates and across fields. She has never been much of a breeding ewe, but, like a good dog, she helps us move the flock.
And let’s not get started on the dogs, who believe they are people….
Please continue this lovely article here: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/my-chicken-became-a-cat-imagine-happier-healthier-world?utm_source=YTW&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20140926

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Ron and I are newly returned from an amazing, full-of-grace trip 
to Michigan, the home of my ancestors and my childhood.
My heart overflows with gratitude.
May each day find us in remembrance of gratitude.

 With Heartfelt Blessings  ~


“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My 45th High School Class Reunion and More...

GPHS Class of '69 yearbook pictures of my twin John and myself
Grosse Pointe High School South, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
John and Molly on the shores of Orchard Lake, Michigan, 1953

Sunset over Orchard Lake, Michigan, 2009
Going Home

Thursday morning, early, Ron and I board a plane for Michigan. We will be attending my 45th high school class reunion. My mom also attended Grosse Pointe High school - this would have been the year of her 70th reunion! I am excited and grateful about this and so much more. 

When I reflect on "going home" what I am experiencing is a bone deep connection to the land of my childhood and my ancestors. This is different than my experience of the Pacific Northwest, which has been home to my heart, spirit, and soul since 1975. Oregon, and now Washington, is where awakening took root for me, where my heart opened to healing and love, where amazing people came into my life, where I gave birth to three extraordinary sons and now await the birth of my first grandchild, where I am graced increasingly with awakening to the preciousness of each day and each moment and all that I love. Life is such a miracle.

Michigan is where I have memories of much pain, trauma, and loss. And also much beauty. I remember thunder storms, wild thunder storms. And lakes that I felt like a fish swimming in, free and wild and at peace. Especially Orchard Lake, which was the same lake my dad had also grown up swimming in, as had his siblings and my grandparents. These are different roots, ones which live on in my heart.

My first trip back to Michigan in recovery was in 1989. I remember how my throat ached at that first reunion I attended as I stood up for a huge group picture with our 20th high school class reunion alumni. The loss of my twin was with me. Deeply. Painfully. And I was overcome with what felt like tsunami size waves of grief when I first drove by that home on Thorn Tree Road where I had lived from 6 to 18. And how stunning - what a miracle! - when I went to the first home my parents built on Harcourt where John and I spent our first 6 years. I rang the doorbell and the woman who opened the door was the same person who my parents had sold the home to 32 years earlier. I had not been back since. But she remembered me and welcomed me and encouraged me to wander the home of my earliest years. And in 1989 it was hard to leave Pine Lake Cemetery, where my dad and brother are buried. I wanted to stay there, sitting on the Earth between the graves, weeping. I had to pull myself away. And there was more, much more, that felt overwhelmingly sad...and also somehow profoundly blessed.

Today, in many ways, is different. Since I began walking this heart-path, each trip back has brought to me greater healing, clarity, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, wisdom. And I am changed. Stronger, kinder, more whole, more loving. And now I know I will return to the home of my childhood to laugh and cry, to dance and celebrate, to play and explore, to share with Ron and other loving family and friends, and to embrace and integrate just that much more deeply the experiences of my life. 

Although I didn't know it, there was a time - my first 30+ years - that I was very fragmented. I stayed busy, addicted, pretending to myself and everyone else something other than the truth. There was so much that was within me that was not embraced, befriended, held, healed, understood, accepted, integrated, transformed. This is not my truth today. Today I experience that everything - everything - has changed. And continues to change and be deepened, understood, learned from, enjoyed, treasured. It is great to be alive! 

And now I get to return to Grosse Pointe and Orchard Lake and more, and this time with my beloved husband. And we get to see family and friends and open to whatever it is that emerges from this excellent adventure. And an excellent adventure it will surely be.

I am ready! I am grateful! And I say YES to Life! And to hopefully soon dancing to some great old rock 'n roll with a bunch of other "old hippies"! Blessed be!

And bless us all....


My dad (far left), his parents and siblings, at their home on Orchard Lake, 1925


Monday, September 15, 2014

Pema Chödrön: A Loving Relationship With the World

When we see difficult circumstances as a chance to grow in bravery and wisdom, in patience and kindness, when we become more conscious of being hooked and we don't escalate, then our personal distress can connect us with the discomfort and unhappiness of others. What we usually consider a problem becomes the source of empathy...

This can be the value of our personal suffering. We can understand firsthand that we are all in the same boat and that the only thing that makes any sense is to care for one another...

Whatever pleasure or discomfort, happiness or misery you are experiencing, you can look at other people and say to yourself, "Just like me they don't want to feel this kind of pain." Or, "Just like me they appreciate feeling  this kind of contentment."

When things fall apart and we can't get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don't know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone. This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us. Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.

Pema Chödrön, Taking the Leap:
Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears 

I Bow To the Divine In You

Just Imagine
Several years into my awakening I began quite spontaneously 
to clasp my palms together and bow to people when 
my heart was especially touched in some way.
Just Imagine a world in which this is what we do
and what we teach our children
and what we remember.
Just imagine.

Namaste ~