Wisdom: I’m with Her

Horicon MarshA vacation and growing involvement in climate change efforts, while enjoyable and fulfilling, have sadly lessened my blog reading and also reduced my writing during these summer months.

Recently I traveled North to Wisconsin for a family re-union.  In addition to escaping  another round of excessive heat and humidity, here in the Ozarks, I relished being able to swim, play, soak in the sun, star gaze, hike, and rest on the earth unencumbered by chiggers and snakes and the demands of employment and other everyday responsibilities.

Sure, I had to give some thought to strategies for the next round of Capture the Flag (kids vs adults), but other than that, I was free to enjoy the good company and let my mind and feelings move where they would.  What a blessing.

Upon returning home I happened to read two op-eds in the weekly local paper, The Independent.  One discussed the hard won power to vote; the other urged a dawning of compassion as essential for precipitating climate change action.

Fresh from my relaxing Nature immersion, I responded with a Letter to the Editor emphasizing that every moment, every thought, every action is an opportunity to vote.  A chance to cast a ballot for the health of the Earth and, thus, for the health of ourselves and future generations.  A chance to say I am with Her, our Planet.  This kind of voting and Earth loving is a simple connection in theory and in heart, but not necessarily easy to put into practice, given our consumerist, fossil fuel past and present.  Still, I like to try.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom: Rumi on the Rocks

naked ladies

Coffee?   Toast?  Kisses?  How to transition from slumber’s sweetness to everyday responsibilities, preserving the wisdom and certainties of Self while activating the personality’s readiness and skills?

On inspiration just after the onset of summer I opted for reading aloud each morning from Coleman Barks’ “A Year with Rumi”.   I began in earnest July 1, settling into a chair on the back deck, book in hand.  Absorbing the morning cool, I started to speak into the forest, hoping I could harmonize with or at least not disturb Her morning melodies.

” . . .Dawn comes; blindness drains away.  Each day is eternity.   Do not avoid your suffering. Plunge it into the  Nile . . . .”

My inspiration on transitions must have been mistaken.    After reading such enticements, why would I want to pull on my collared shirt, clean jeans, and work shoes?   I only wanted to sit and reach deeper, to sink into uninterrupted contemplation and heart dreaming.

I encountered the same on July 2 and 3 and 4.   I considered giving up the project entirely.  But somewhere in the week of July 11, a change occurred.  Instead of sitting on the back deck in a chair, I sought the coolness of a stone overlooking the front garden.

On this rock, against the earth, the poetry lifted yet grounded and prepared me.   Sensual symbols accompanied by wise verse called me to remember the Heart’s values, to engage the risk and bliss of small sacrifices for the sake of healing.  Small gifts to give moment by moment in the everyday world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission: Questions on Being All In

FlagsMusings on Independence Day, July 4, started this post.  What of this closing line in the Declaration of Independence?  ” . . .with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”   Two hundred and forty years ago, these 56 men were all in.

What about today?  Am I all in on the missions and responsibilities I hold most urgent and dear.  With my life, my fortune, and sacred honor?

I play with the notion of this destiny, relying on divine Providence to go all in on climate change solutions and salvaging a livable world.  But truthfully I haven’t had the courage to fully imagine the steps and the elegant possibilities.

I talk to myself of balance.  And financial responsibilities.  And relational ties.  Of my current pleasures.  Am I falsely or correctly assuming their mutual exclusivity with “being all in?”

Is my reluctance a question of historical timing and the relative magnitude of world crises?  Maybe.  Although so many issues: climate, poverty, injustice -scream for full commitment.

What about my personal path?   My personal timing?  Is “all in” what’s meant to be?   I sit in initial conversation with my Soul.

Rare are the people I personally know who have chosen the path of full immersion.    They command my respect.

Meanwhile I take a step in that direction, carrying questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission: Pushing the Envelope with Friends

CCL Washington DCIt was spring, 2016, and I knew I had to transform my grief.  My heart was overwhelmed with daunting climate change reports: bleached coral reefs, melting permafrost, methane monsters, extreme weather events, and climate refugees.  Beyond lightening my own carbon footprint, I felt paralyzed.

Then one fortuitous day, I found Citizens’ Climate Lobby via Facebook.  After reading about CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal at citizensclimatelobby.org, I decided to risk stepping out of my introverted comfort zone to check out my closest active CCL chapter, which is an hour’s drive away in Fayetteville.   That decision and the warm welcome I received from the wonderful folks who make up CCL Fayetteville, changed my life.   Becoming active in CCL has transfigured my heartbreak into hope, pragmatic optimism, and enthusiasm.

I’ve read about many courageous and innovative climate change actions unfolding around the world.  There is so much good work to be celebrated; perhaps you are part of such a group effort or are diligently undertaking your own climate mission.  Certainly both personal and broader public efforts are essential!  I would love to hear about your passion,  your vision, your message, and your efforts.

From June 19th – 21st, eleven of us (students, business people, teachers, retirees) from Arkansas joined with 1000 other CCL’ers in Washington D.C. to hone our knowledge and advocacy skills and to meet with members of Congress.  The energy of togetherness, responsibility, and possibility in the conference gatherings was electrifying!  Still, I was a little nervous. Never in my life had I envisioned myself walking through the Hart Senate Office building or crowding into a conference room in the Longworth House Office Building to speak up for the planet, myself, and my fellow human beings!  Yet there I was (despite the butterflies in my stomach)  with an inspired team of Arkansas CCL’ers  (I can’t emphasize the enjoyable, heart-full, intelligent nature of this team enough) engaging with Congressional representatives and staff in earnest dialogue.

Now here I am back home in the beautiful Ozarks.  The physical, scientific facts of climate change still stand stark.  But I’m energized to go forward, pushing the envelope of my personal comfort zone, in concert with my CCL colleagues, to bring about climate change solution legislation and a measure of healing to our home.  That feels good.

 

 

 

 

Balance: Dealing with that Desire and Aversion Thing

Happy GoatsI’m journeying through the final hours of a 14-day cleanse.    The desire to massage away my daily chocolate cravings and generally reset my body chemistry motivated this attempt.

The last intentional cleanse I undertook was Kris Carr’s 21-day Crazy, Sexy Diet alkalizing regimen, which fundamentally simplified my vegan diet, boosted my self-confidence, and gave me a taste of  what vibrant health can be.

A few years and lots of change have passed since then, and somehow in that gap of time and events, I forgot about the emotional and spiritual re-centering that can accompany physical purification.  It’s an obvious reality, really, and an odd one for me to forget; perhaps a sign of how much I have truly needed to trace what has become an insatiable, distracting chocolate desire to its roots!

The Buddha teaches in his Four Noble Truths (at least as I understand them) that the cause of suffering is craving or thirst, which is expressed in the constant pursuit of external things, ideas, and experiences that appear to bring happiness, contentment and peace.   Frustratingly, the delivered satisfaction and relief are only temporary. This is chocolate’s bittersweetness.

Craving is fed by ignorance of, discomfort with, and distance from who we are.   The Buddha prescribes the Eightfold Path, leading to Enlightenment or Awakening, as the path for healing this dis-ease.

Cleansing, I’ve realized, works along these lines, simultaneously coaxing the body into balance, while providing space for gentle self-observation,  release from extensions and a subsequent re-centering.

What I’ve  found at the center during these two weeks has been me.  And perhaps more importantly me being ok, even happy, with me.   A healing, chocolate-free  enlightenment of sorts.

About the image of the goats, which starts this post:  I snapped their picture while journeying along a winding state highway to a house-warming last Sunday.   They seemed so happy with themselves, balanced on their traffic-watching log ,that I felt inspired to include them.

Spiritual Tribe: A 93 Million Mile Perspective

river view after rainThe question before my two co-workers and myself  was: what music shall we next play via the bluetooth speakers displayed at our technology shop.   We had maxed out “best hits of the 70’s” and “folk instrumentals”.    Classical got six thumbs down.

“Try Jason Mraz,” my 20 something sales rep suggested.  Having no better idea, I found the album “Love is a Four Letter Word” on Amazon Prime and pressed play.   Upbeat.  Pleasant.   The work day went on. The lyrics of progressive songs faded into the background.

Until 93 Million Miles.

93 Million Miles: the distance from the Sun to the Earth.

From that perspective, can the human family appear anything other than a  whole, a single tribe, infused with the Natural colors and tones of our planet?

Walk on Earth, however, and polarizing ideologies and vocal viewpoints (at least here in the United States) can overwhelm the senses, fracturing and isolating us from each other, even if we’re just meters or inches apart from each other.  All this has long left me with questions more difficult to answer than which is the next album to be played.

“Is it possible to talk with a stranger about anything other than the weather without stirring discomfort or igniting a firestorm?”  “What can help a sense of common ground emerge?”   “What type of everyday interactions can nourish, if not a 93 million mile perspective, at least an inkling of togetherness and a feeling of person to person real-ness?”

What answers do you have?

One approach I’ve been trying out on some of my customers is to invite conversation about cherished places, during lulls in the technology sales process (seems like we’re always waiting for some data to back up or download or some email password to be reset). It’s an easy transition from generic weather comments or “how was your weekend” to “On summer evenings after the rain, I love looking out over the river . . . ” which can easily evoke “I know a place like that . . . ”

Seems that nearly everyone has some landscape, vacation spot, back yard, or secret hideaway that stirs the Heart and imagination.   In these memories, I see a coherent mosaic and hear the notes of an earth-love song that I’ll sing and play any day.  Here. 93 million miles from the sun.

 

 

Spiritual Tribe: Water Lovers

forest and lake

Black Bass Lake hides down a steep gravel road, off the beaten tourist track.  Just a few minute “detour” off my usual route home.   The walking paths are well tended and generally easy to navigate, leaving the heart and mind free to wander (except for the usual need to keep up the watch for venomous snakes).

snake note This warning note was left on the entrance picnic table  

Some days the lake sparkles with such intensity and welcoming joy that all that can be contemplated is the water’s beauty and biological imperative.  Not to mention its literal and symbolic linking with Love  – flowing, essential, powerful, quenching, sustaining, sometime seemingly in short supply, unifying, worth sharing and preserving .  sun black bass lakeBlack Bass Lake once served as the primary source of drinking water for the City of Eureka Springs.  Current signage, even at its flowing springs, warns against drinking the water.  I pondered these juxtaposed realities, as I circled the Lake one recent brilliant afternoon, and recalled many of the people and groups I’ve been reading about who are intent on defending  deep aquifers and surface waters.   These Water Lovers are a diverse group, spread out in geography, differentiated by language, and circumstance, but united in their overarching wisdom and commitment to preserving this vital Natural element.

Have you participated in actions to defend waterways near you?   I would love to hear your story.

Your might appreciate this  article highlighting the wisdom and efforts of the women of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band in North Dakota, who chose and fought for clean drinking water over the supposed financial benefits of fracking.    And won.