Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mary Oliver: What Would the World Be Like?

Son Matt with our 11 year old lab, Mac
Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. 
It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor 
as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, 
and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like 
without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? 
What would this world be like without dogs?
- Mary Oliver
Kodi and Mac take Ron and me hiking in the Gorge

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Velveteen Rabbit: Once You Are Real

He said, "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” 

 Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Monday, December 28, 2015

Derrick Jensen: We Must Learn How To Think Like the Planet

So many indigenous people have said to me that the fundamental difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that even the most open-minded westerners generally view listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to the way the world really is. Trees and rocks and rivers really do have things to say to us.
A culture that values production over life values the wrong things, because it will produce things at the expense of living beings, human or otherwise.

All we want, whether we are honeybees, salmon, trash-collecting ants, ponderosa pines, coyotes, human beings, or stars, is to love and be loved, to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated simply for being who we are. Is that so very difficult?

We must learn how to think like the planet.

- Derrick Jensen 

Derrick Jensen: Where Will You Choose To Make Your Stand?

In order to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.

It's no wonder we don't defend the land where we live. We don't live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.

The global industrial economy is the engine for massive environmental degradation and massive human (and nonhuman) impoverishment.

Within this culture wealth is measured by one's ability to consume and destroy.

You can rarely prove something to someone who does not want to see it proven, and even more to the point, you can almost never prove something to someone who has financial or ideological reasons to not see it proven.

No matter what we call it, poison is still poison, death is still death, and industrial civilization is still causing the greatest mass extinction in the history of the planet.

There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists...

We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.

Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back.

Stand with me. Stand and fight. I am one, and we would be two. Two more might join and we would be four. When four more join we will be eight. We will be eight people fighting whom others will join. And then more people. And more. Stand and fight.

Derrick Jensen
Read more at:

Richard Heinberg: When We Decline To Talk About What Is Real

As political theorist Michael Parenti points out, historians often overlook Fascism's economic agenda--the partnership between Big Capital and Big Government--in their analysis of its authoritarian social program. Indeed, according to Bertram Gross in his startlingly prescient Friendly Fascism (1980), it is possible to achieve fascist goals within an ostensibly democratic society.
When we decline to talk about what is real simply because it's uncomfortable to do so, we seal our own fate.

Oil depletion and climate change will create an entirely new context in which political struggles will be played out. Within that context, it is not just freedom, democracy, and equality that are at stake, but the survival of billions of humans and of whole ecosystems. If we do nothing, we still get to a post-carbon future, but it will be bleak. However, if we plan the transition, we can have a world that supports robust communities of healthy, creative people and ecosystems with millions of other species.

- Richard Heinberg

Jerry Mander: The Role of Globalization

It is no accident that television has been dominated by a handful of corporate powers. Neither is it accidental that television has been used to re-create human beings into a new form that matches the artificial, commercial environment. A conspiracy of technological and economic factors made this inevitable and continue to.

Scientists who study brain-wave activity found that the longer one watches television, the more likely the brain will slip into "alpha" level: a slow, steady brain-wave pattern in which the mind is in its most receptive mode. It is noncognitive mode; i.e., information can be placed into the mind directly, without viewer participation.

The role of globalization is to homogenize all cultures, and to turn them into commodified markets, and therefore, to make them easier for global corporations to control. Global corporations are even now trying to commodify all remaining aspects of national cultures, not to mention indigenous cultures.

Thích Nhất Hạnh: The Voice Of a Wild Flower

The entire cosmos can sing to us with 
the voice of a wild flower.
-Thích Nhất Hạnh
"Inside the Now: Meditations on time" (2015)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Malala Yousafzai: What My Soul Tells Me

I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad- the Prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Gi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.

Desmond Tutu: If We Have Loved Well

If we have loved well while we were alive, 
there is life after death here -
our love will go on for generations.


Desmond Tutu: We Are Living In an Historic Moment

We truly are living in an historic moment. The choices that each and every one of us are making, consciously or otherwise, matter. May we choose wisely and with deep, deep caring for us all. May we be brave enough to not turn away with distractions and projections and fear, and to choose instead to listen to the heart of suffering and of love within ourselves and others. May this be our individual and collective intention for the coming New Year - to care ever more deeply and courageously. Peace & blessings ~ Molly

We are living in an historic moment. We are each called to take part in a great transformation. Our survival as a species is threatened by global warming, economic meltdown, and an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor. Yet these threats offer an opportunity to awaken as an interconnected and beloved community.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sogyal Rinpoche: To Be a Spiritual Warrior

We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don't know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.
We must never forget that it is through our actions, words, and thoughts that we have a choice.
To be a spiritual warrior means to develop a special kind of courage, one that is innately intelligent, gentle, and fearless. Spiritual warriors can still be frightened, but even so they are courageous enough to taste suffering, to relate clearly to their fundamental fear, and to draw out without evasion the lessons from difficulties.

Sogyal Rinpoche: Light Must Come From Inside

Light must come from inside.
You cannot ask the darkness to leave;
you must turn on the light. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

For Christmas - John O'Donohue: Beannacht/Blessing

On this Christmas Day my heart is filled with gratitude. My life is blessed with an abundance of beauty, joy, and love. There have also been many challenges and losses. Coming to know and embrace both my joys and my sorrows has helped me to see the joy and the suffering of others and the many forms it takes. At Christmas there is often this message of joy in all it's radiance and beauty, kindness and love, generosity and caring. While intimately knowing this joy I also am conscious of the pain, fear, loss, struggle, uncertainty, and violence that is the great reality for so many. And this experience of both joy and suffering moves me to share this beautiful poem by John O'Donohue, "Beannacht" or Blessing. May each of us find, know, and travel the beautiful bridge of empathic awareness which connects us with both life's losses and sorrows and also with life's deep love, beauty, and peace. May we each do our part to be the kindness and peace that is deeply needed in our world, in our nation, in our communities, in our families, and in our own hearts.
Warmest blessings ~ Molly

Beannacht / Blessing

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 into 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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Michael Meade: Become A Friend Of the World

This is beautifully and powerfully and wisely said. I am profoundly grateful to Michael Meade and to each and every soulful mentor, teacher, healer who has graced my life, helping me to remember who I am and why I am here. May we all increasingly know the soulful sacred being we are. Then we are able to recognize the Sacred in one another. And everything changes. May we all become a Friend to the World and make more soul.
Peace &  blessings ~ Molly

A recent interview on the state of the world began with the question of whether individual humans had a role to play or even matter given massive problems like climate change, religious and political terrorism, economic disparity and institutionalized injustice. The answer came quickly - humans matter because of soul; each person matters precisely because each soul is a unique presence in the world. Imagination is the deepest power of the human soul that alone can find creative ways out of the otherwise overwhelming problems of the world.
An old idea suggests that each person comes to life at a time when they have something to give to the world. That sense of soulful giving and healing may be more needed now than ever before. Healing is a revolutionary act and we have chosen to live at a time when culture needs to be reimagined and nature needs to be healed. We are here to awaken to the true nature of our own souls and to make more soul in the world.
In a world gone wrong, where any issue can polarize people and divide religions as well as nations, soul is the missing ingredient. For, soul is the glue of the world, the unity in any community and the divine connection hidden in the heart of each individual. In the depth of our souls each person is secretly connected to the Soul of the World. When a person, regardless of age, education or background, acts from the depths of their soul they add imagination and beauty, love and unique presence to the world.
There is no time better than the darkest time of the year, no period better than the troubled times we find ourselves in for making more soul in the world. Soul is the light inside dark times. In the midst of all the fear and resentment, in the face of all the cynicism and nihilism, make more soul. When it comes to soul, mistakes are acceptable and can even become a new style or way of being. So, start a foolish project, commit to making places sacred again, find ways to risk life and love more. Become a Friend of the World and make more soul.
- Michael Meade

Satish Kumar: Peace Will Come From the People

The force and the strength for peace will come from people. And that will happen when people start to realize that all the diversity and differences we see of nationalities, of religions, of cultures, of languages, are all beautiful diversities, for they are only on the surface. And deep down we share the same humanity, the global humanity.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tara Brach: A Deep Healing

When someone says to us, 
as Thích Nhất Hạnh suggests, 
"Darling, I care about your suffering," 
a deep healing begins.

- Tara Brach

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Satish Kumar: A Delicate Balance

Economy without ecology means managing the human nature 
relationship without knowing the delicate balance 
between humankind and the natural world.
- Satish Kumar

John Trudell: What Is Sustainable

On the night of January 3, 1994, I was sitting in my kitchen while a Lake Superior blizzard howled outside. A program on the radio was broadcasting a talk recently given at Michigan Tech by John Trudell, a Santee Dakota artist, activist, and visionary.  This man had an extra-ordinary mind, and it seized my complete attention.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  It’s so rare and precious to experience powerfully clear thinking.  Last week, 19 years later, I finally saw him in person, at the University of Oregon.  It was good.
Trudell comes from a culture with an oral tradition, and he prefers the energy of live performances to sitting alone writing.  He once carefully summarized his core philosophy in a five-page introduction he wrote for the book Of Earth and Elders.  The documentary film Trudelldoes a memorable job of presenting the story of his life. He has created a number of CDs of spoken word poetry, and he is the venerated subject of many webpages and videos.  The following paragraphs provide a sampler of his ideas.
John often introduces himself to an audience by announcing that he is crazy.  The form of reality that our society considers “sane” and “normal” is way too weird, and he refuses to jump on that wacky bandwagon.  He’s the opposite of normal, and he’s proud of it.  If you don’t agree with him, it’s OK, he’s crazy.
All human beings are descendants of tribal people who were spiritually alive, intimately in love with the natural world, children of Mother Earth.  When we were tribal people, we knew who we were, we knew where we were, and we knew our purpose.  This sacred perception of reality remains alive and well in our genetic memory. We carry it inside of us, usually in a dusty box in the mind’s attic, but it is accessible.
Like every other region on Earth, the vast ancient forests of Europe were once home to many tribal peoples, folks who loved eating salmon and buffalo. They had a spiritual connection to their past and to their land.  Unfortunately, the tribes of Europe were blindsided when hordes of Indo-European farmers invaded from the east, unleashing a tsunami of genocide. 
The process of erasing their tribal memories began about 3,000 years ago.  During the 500 years of the Inquisition (1250-1750), much of what had survived of the indigenous culture of old Europe was eliminated, as countless traditional people were tortured and burned alive (at least 100,000 to 2 million).
The perpetrators of this mass murder were predators who were deranged by a highly contagious spiritual disease that had nothing to do with race or culture. This malady lived in the mind, and it altered their perception of reality.  As the Inquisition was winding down, many of these infected predators boarded ships and sailed to colonies in the Americas, where theyterrorized the indigenous people for centuries.  They were incredibly brutal people, because they were the offspring of a brutal, disease-ravaged civilization.
Trudell doesn’t hate Europeans for what they have done — you can’t be mad at people because they are infected with a disease.  The invaders didn’t understand what they were doing, but they were spiritually responsible for their acts of genocide.  They were pathologically paranoid, and could not tolerate the existence of people who thought in a different way.  They were empty, lost, and afraid.  They had forgotten what it meant to be human beings. 
We are all human beings.  “Human” is our physical form, the bones, flesh, and blood which are made from the minerals, fluids, and gases of the living world. “Being” is our spiritual component, our link to the power of the universe.  All things on Earth, animate and inanimate, are spiritually alive.
The disease of technological society has damaged our perception of reality, and pulled us away from our power.  We are constantly bombarded by inputs that insist that we are inadequate, undesirable, and unlovable.  They grind away our self-respect, and reduce us to weak domesticated organisms — things to be controlled and exploited like livestock.
The disease poisons our spirits with feelings of sin, guilt, and shame.  We don’t trust ourselves, or respect ourselves.  We have no spiritual relationship to the future, and that’s insane.  We are robbing our children to satisfy frivolous wants and needs.  Each person is responsible for the violence perpetuated by the consequences of their purchases. 
Our power resides in our connection to the Earth, our ability to think clearly, and our refusal to believe the illusions and deceptions of the oppressors.  The foundation of our power is caring, respect, and responsibility.  Learning is the path to healing, and learning begins with clear and coherent thinking.  No medicine is more powerful than intelligence — if intelligence is used intelligently. 
The environmental movement has had little success, because they tend to remain chained to the consumer mindset, riding in different coaches on the same train as the corporate folks.  Progressives often spin their wheels because they tend to focus on the redistribution of wealth, not the protection of the Earth.  Their complaints present no real threat to the industrial ruling class.  
Trudell has zero respect for the political system of the industrial predators.  Their government is a tool that’s useless for the pursuit of liberation and healing.  He feels that the most effective way of expressing our truths is via culture and art, which is why he focuses on spoken word poetry.  “All we can do is speak our truths.  We can’t go and try to change people.  We have to speak our truths.” 
Trudell is not a fan of revolution — kill the killers.  The root of the word “revolution” is revolve.  If you begin with hatred for an oppressor, revolution will bring you around to a new oppressor, and nothing is gained. Instead of revolution, we should seek liberation from a sick value system.  He has no quick and simple solutions to offer, because our problems are anything but simple.
Whites can’t heal themselves by imitating Native American spirituality.  They need to explore their ancestry, and learn about their tribal origins.  They need to remember who they are, and reconnect with their ancestral culture, and this is a lifelong learning process.  But most of them don’t want to know about their past.  Most of them know nothing about their great grandparents.  They prefer to pursue spiritual shortcuts, because shortcuts take far less effort than walking the long and difficult path to genuine understanding, to remembering, to healing.
Protecting the Earth is at the core of what we must do. We are what power is truly about.  “We have to assume our responsibilities as power, as individuals, as spirit, as people.”  But first, we’ve got to like ourselves, accept ourselves.  “We are the Human Beings.  We are the land.” 

Trudell, John, “Crazy Horse, We Hear What You Say,” the Introduction for Of Earth and Elders by Serle L. Chapman, Mountain Press, Missoula, Montana, 2002.
Trudell, Appaloosa Pictures, 2005, directed by Heather Rae, starring John Trudell.