Monday, February 29, 2016

Paulo Freire: The Act Of Love

Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is a commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause--the cause of liberation.

- Paulo Freire 

Paulo Freire: Coherently Democratic Authority

Coherently democratic authority carries the conviction that true discipline does not exist in the muteness of those who have been silenced but in the stirrings of those who have been challenged, in the doubt of those who have been prodded, and in the hopes of those who have been awakened.

- Paulo Freire

John Muir: In the Heart of the Mountains Is Our Song

The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.

- John Muir

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bell Hooks: The Process That Brings Us Closer

Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.

- Bell Hooks

Aung San Suu Kyi: Every Thought, Every Word, Every Action

Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the 
positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. 
Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution.

- Aung San Suu Kyi

Desmond Tutu: A Fundamental Law

 Quotes by Desmond Tutu

The fundamental law of human beings is interdependence. A person is a person through other persons.

Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language... It is to say, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours."

There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.

We spend billions on banks when we know that a fraction of this money could save all the children in the world. 

There's no way in which you can ever win a war against terror. As long as there are conditions in many parts of the world that make people desperate: poverty, disease, ignorance, etc. I hope that we will discover soon, that we can survive, only together. We can prosper only together. And I think people are beginning to realize this, that you can't have pockets of prosperity in one part of the world and huge deserts of poverty and deprivation and think you can have a stable, secure world.

We must act now and wake up to our moral obligations. The poor and vulnerable are members of God's family and are the most severely affected by droughts, high temperatures, the flooding of coastal cities, and more severe and unpredictable weather events resulting from climate change. We, who should have been responsible stewards preserving our vulnerable, fragile planet home, have been wantonly wasteful through our reckless consumerism, devouring irreplaceable natural resources.

If we could but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another's, that we can be free only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family.

You are either on the side of the oppressed or on the side of the oppressor. You can't be neutral.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reflections on Standing With Our Young People, Standing with Earth

This is for our grandson Oliver on his 1st birthday...

The Imperative of Our Time

These are amazing times that we live in. Wherever we are, whether we are surrounded in breathtaking beauty and love, or struggling with great sorrows and fear and loss, we are all connected. We are all in this together. And we are, I believe, all connected with the thread of the Sacred which weaves its way through each flower and child and each and every one of us and all of life.

A few words on the roots of my passion that is reflected again and again in much of what I share on Facebook and on my blog. There is a great deal at stake in this upcoming presidential election and all that is unfolding here in America. It is imperative that we all are increasingly committed to seeking the truth, including the truth of how it is that we have been impacted by the propaganda that is such an overwhelming reality in our nation. We need to know about the patterns, values, authenticity, activism, truthfulness, connections with Dark Money, alignment with the corporatocracy versus democracy, and what the depths of each candidate's records over time reflect. This is essential. Given the Dark Money that has infiltrated the American media - including the "liberal media" - it takes effort to go there, dig deep, and actually inform ourselves. We truly have to want, in an ongoing way, to know what we do not know.

There is also, of course, a great deal that is at stake that is beyond this election. Regardless of who becomes the next President of the United States, regardless of who we are and what our circumstances are, each of us here in this nation and beyond has a responsibility to do our part - whatever that is - in being the healing and peace, the kindness and caring, the courage and compassion, the consciousness and love and wisdom that our hearts and our world so deeply yearns for and needs. This is especially true for those of us who are not in the midst of struggling to simply survive poverty or abuse or addiction or depression or war or some other form of violence. The Great Change that is unfolding will take the efforts of millions here in America and around the world joining together at a grass roots level connected in the commitment and soulful and courageous work of acting on behalf of a higher good for all.

As a woman who is moving into her elder years, I believe it is increasingly important for Elders - in addition to youth and other adults - to stand in integrity, wisdom, and protection of life with our strong voices and actions. There is so much that moves me to speak and act from my deepest heart and hard earned wisdom again and again and again. I am, of course, a mother and now a grandmother. Our precious Oliver turns one years old today. I love my grandbaby! And I am frightened for him! I also care deeply about the well being of all the children everywhere, of all the species on Earth, of generations yet unborn, and of our Sacred Earth Mother. 

While volumes could be written, and indeed have been, the bottom line is that the impact of the Dark Money that has overtaken our democracy sends out ripples not only infecting our entire country, but also causing great harm worldwide. This is a critical time. 

Many facts are in. What is known is that we are already at 400 ppm (parts per million) of CO2, which has surpassed the 350 ppm that was needed to sustain the climate we have flourished under for millennia. We hear and sense daily the horrific consequences of this new climate we now live with here in America and around the world. This is the "new normal." Yet, in digging deeper, I am also aware that we are just on the edge of what has the potential to become catastrophic and irreversible climate change. We need to act now to preserve life on Earth. 

This is an imperative. 

Ignorance is dangerous. We need to inform ourselves - to learn about climate change, TPP, fracking, following the money, who to trust as resources of information, how to discern integrity and trustworthiness, the patterns and funding of those we seek to elect to political office, Dark Money, etc, etc. - in order that we humans can stop the suicidal path that we are on and instead choose to stand in protection of the children, of all the children everywhere. 

Millions of youth know in their bones what is at stake. They are not ignorant. The young ones are capable of being very brave and actually often know more than those of us who are older and may be stuck in the comfort of the familiar. Or thinking we know it all. These younger ones may be more connected with beginnner's mind, openness, and with questioning, critical thinking, and courage. They are not just overwhelmingly in support of Bernie Sanders because they expect free college, which they deserve and which is the reality of much of the rest of the developed world. Millions understand that there is a much larger picture. Can we older ones listen to them? Can we hear their pleas? Can we act on their behalf and join with them rather than just unquestioningly go along with the corporate story line that this generational gap is happening and inevitable. Because it is not. We have choices. We all do.

Because our young ones, and many older ones, too, know that there is more at stake than college debt and endless war and spiraling poverty and income disparity and environmental destruction and pervasive and growing addiction and violence and the full destruction of democracy and more of what is the gaping and tragically growing shadow side of America. Many know that there is also the reality that if we don't act now to transform our values and the way we live and the stories that we live by that there will come a great die off planet wide. This could happen in our children's or our grandchildren's lifetimes. 

We are already in the midst of the sixth great extinction. Every day there are new stories related to global warming in which homes and habitats are being destroyed and people are dying or falling sick or being killed and whole species are being wiped out. Many youth know this consciously. Or they feel this in their bones. They know that humankind sits upon a precipice. 

They also know that there is still a debate occurring in the United States that is not happening in the rest of the world. Because the rest of the world is often more awakened. They know that there are adults in America still arguing about if global warming exists. And they understand more and more of the cost to them of the denial and ignorance and greed and fear of those adults who refuse to act on their behalf. Even decades later after Exxon first knew that fossil fuels exasperated global warming, and spent millions on the denial and cover up of their research, many adults in the United States continue to debate human influenced global warming. This is immoral and simply not acceptable. Each and every one of us needs to no longer tolerate in ourselves this willful ignorance. We need instead to grow in passion for truth, for wanting to know, even when it's scary and threatening to our reality and the world we thought we have known. We need to be as brave as the young ones. And work to earn back their trust.

Because they know that this is the world that is being handed to them by the adults who have come before them. People like me. And you. They know that toxic global late stage fossil-fueled capitalism is killing us all. And if they don't know it intellectually, they know it in their cells, in their bodies, in their hearts and souls. 

And we wonder why addiction and violence and tuning out is so prevalent in our youth. We have abandoned our children! We have allowed the insidious and polarizing and heart and soul numbing propaganda to infect and influence us and impair our capacity to act in their behalf. Our children must increasingly experience that we adults will no longer abandon them. We stand with them!

So I cannot sit back in silence and shut up or surrender into joining the cult of powerlessness. I refuse to not stand with our youth. I cannot let them down again. The actions any of us take, or don't take, are critical. Each of us matters deeply.

Will we be courageous? Will we stand in integrity and a passionate search for truth and a commitment to transformation of our part in the enormous challenges which face our young ones today? Will we step outside our apathy or the ground of the familiar or whatever the obstacles may be that stand between us and taking that next step, no matter how small, that will make a difference?

Whatever our choices, some day we will be held to account. I want my grandson Oliver and other young ones my life touches to know that this grandmother spoke out, acted out, and put everything I have into giving my strong voice and actions in support of truth, awareness, courage, healing, transformation, Life and Love. Yes, this is very much about our choices in this presidential election. And this is about so much more. Our daily actions, our belief systems, our courage, our capacity to embrace and live out of "beginner's mind" and staying open for more to be revealed, our capacity to be aligned with our values and with acting out of a higher good for all - all this matters deeply. And can make all the difference.

We need to get greed and ignorance and life destroying belief systems out of the cells of our bodies, our nation, and our world. We need to heal ourselves and awaken one heart at a time. And act. Another world is possible. We are truly all in this together. Your suffering is mine. And so is the kindness and courage that we can choose to share and reflect each and every day. May we all join hands to support one another in this birthing that is underway.

With love and deep blessings for Oliver, for all the children everywhere, 
and for each and very one of us ~

The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the
most difficult period of one's life.
The Dalai Lama

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all 
the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

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

Our wounds are often the openings into the best 
and most beautiful part of us.
― David Richo

Action creates its own courage and courage is as contagious 
as fear. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

 Look at what realists have done for us. They have led us to war and climate change, poverty on an unimaginable scale, and wholesale ecological destruction. Half of humanity goes to bed hungry because of all the realistic leaders in the world. I tell people who call me 'unrealistic' to show me what their realism has done. Realism is an outdated, overplayed and wholly exaggerated concept.

  Satish Kumar

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, 
if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.
James A. Baldwin
The more we love, the more real we become.
Stephen Levine