9 02 2016

Today, although a bit late for “class,” I attended a webinar provided by the Center for Earth Jurisprudence and hosted by Sr. Pat Siemen, O.P., J.D., the Director of the Center. It was #2 in a series called “Protecting Our Common Home.” Sr. Pat Siemen’s spoke on the concept of the rights of nature and the history of the movement, including codification of Rights of Nature in the Ecuadorian Constitution in 2008. Then, Shannon Biggs, from Movement Rights, brought us a stronger understanding of how to assert the rights of communities and nature. Up early in Hawaii to participate in an event that took place at noon Florida-time, in less than thirty minutes and in gentle tones, Shannon laid a strong foundation for any movement toward community rights based on respect for all community members. Much of her presentation used the hot topic of fracking to illustrate how grass roots action can become substantially more effective through a set of mindshifts from blaming and attacking the “bad guys” to linking arms for desired outcomes.

Fracking is more than an example for a deep process change in how decisions are made and governance is accomplished. The language used to define this activity also gives us a metaphor for how “we” crack up, break apart, divide and are conquered. Compare the Oxford Dictionaries “American-English” definition of “fracking” with the Merriam-Webster definition. Thus, “The process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil and gas.” (Oxford Dictionaries) versus, “The injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas.)” (Merriam-Webster) In the first definition, something brutal is taking place. In the second, poor, trapped oil and gas are being liberated!

Lesson #1: Pay attention because language matters.

“The people united will never be defeated.” This is a powerful chant as we march our way down the street of history. The truth is “we, the people” are easily defeated by the application of high pressure to “force open existing fissures.” We are easily defeated because the fissures already exist, laid down over many years, subterranean and subconscious, buried, grown over, but ready to fracture when pressure is applied unless deep healing and wholeness come about through everyone’s efforts and daily decisions.

Lesson #2: Focus on healing, not to be “nice,” but to be strong when the big decisions come.

Then, there is the question of what the oil and gas need and want to do, what all the people living above and around the oil and gas need and want to do, what the critters large and microscopic around the oil and gas need and want to do, both in the short-term and in the long-term. Do the oil and gas want to be extracted, freed up or left in peace to continue a millenial process, maybe to become something even richer than oil and gas, something our present selves cannot even imagine?

Lesson #3: The question here is not, “Is fracking (or abortion, or gun-based policing, or whatever divisive issue) good or bad?” The question here is, “In a true democracy, who has the right to choose?”

Time to go outside. Take the children outside, too.


Meditation for a Child

4 02 2016

Today, it came to me to find a few minutes this evening to meditate for a child and to invite others to meditate for the children in their lives. For me, both my husband and our guest will be out this evening, so I hope the moments will present themselves.

Can you find a few minutes this evening to meditate for your child?

Who is your child?

They may be the child of your body. They may be the child of your street space, your work space or your earth space. They may bring you frequent joy, some trouble or great grief. They may come to mind again and again or they may be the child you realize you have overlooked. You may tuck them in at night or they may haunt your dreams and wake you at 2:00 a.m. They may be unborn, newborn, four-and-a-half, seventeen or sixty-three. They are your child.

Hold your child in a Loving Light. Let go of worrying about them, of finding fault with them, of allowing or restricting them, of nurturing and challenging them.

Just breathe with them.

Breathe and breathe and breathe.

Tomorrow is a new day.


Living Provisionally

11 01 2016

Today, I began by breaking our measuring cup. I broke it because I don’t remember things so well any more. I can still tell you the telephone number for the child care center I directed in the 1990s, but I forget that I am in the middle of drying the measuring cup when I turn to stir oatmeal bubbling on the stove. Thus, when I pick up the bundled dish towel moments later, it’s an empty cloth, – until the weight of well-used glass reveals itself in a slow motion, irreversible tumble to crash on the kitchen floor. Now, you see it, now, you don’t; a trick of an indifferent conjuror.

I sweep up the pieces of an old friend to be sure no shards remain to wound our dog’s paws. This measuring cup was sturdy and vintage enough to be permanently scoured and scarred inside. It was a “one cup” measure. It saw me through many USDA food guides, pyramids and plates, as well as the past few months of Medi-vegi-changey lifestyle revamp predicated on a post-retirement health reality check. Now, it rests in a newspaper so old it has an article about Volkswagen family values.

We are rich. We had two measuring cups. Life continues with our newer, less scathed “two cup” measure carrying the full load. We have plenty to measure, too. Even on incomes that have dipped floorward with retirement, we are supplied beyond measure thanks to our time and circumstances and thanks to the endeavors of many beyond our own efforts. Other people, near and far, live much more hand to mouth, scratch for grains in sand, for food in food deserts, measure water in sips and drops, not cups, not kilogallons.

Inexorably, tomorrow, the magician will whisk away more stuff, more friends. Today, is my opportunity to discern how to give freely as needed for someone now living provisionally, getting by on scraps and specks alone.


Time with Topaz

4 01 2016

Today, on page 9 of “Listening Spirituality”, I read the following: “to give over one’s own agenda and be open to the promptings of that mysterious being whose ways are not our ways and whose time is utterly different.”

Sacrilege alert: Patricia Loring is, of course, writing of God, but my thoughts went immediately to our cat, Topaz. She is, indeed, a mysterious being whose ways are not my ways and whose time is utterly different from mine. So, she is a good practice partner for giving oneself over to another’s agenda.

Topaz lives on and about our porches. She has her own list of things to be done and is often active when I sleep. Equally, she’s frequently apparently indifferent when I’m going about my daily business, content to let me get on with it. Still, when I go out to weed the front borders of our garden, she nearly always comes to greet me, to smell the pungent marigolds and receive her rightful ear-rub, marking me as her own.

I don’t go out just to sit with her often enough. Very occasionally, it’s too chilly, more likely, it’s too hot or too buggy. Mostly, it’s my inner condition of busyness that stops me from intentionally spending time with her.

When I do go out to be with her, she may be nowhere in sight. If I sit quietly for a while, I’ll hear a maowl, she’ll appear and leap her weight effortlessly onto my lap. It is always a deep pleasure to sit with her warmth, her fur, her purr; for both of us. When we part, I always know what’s next.

Rabbit Trails

24 09 2015

The wonderful thing about being retired is that you can follow all sorts of rabbit trails. It might be something as simple as e-mailing your sister a “Thought for the Day” that fits with the holiday adventure she just described in an e-mail to you. It might be two-plus weeks of burrowing in the shelves, boxes and closets of the First Day School rooms at your Meeting House to prepare for the Peace Day Garage Sale. It might be getting to bake the Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie recipe from inside the lid of the Quaker Oats tub and discovering that the name is true.

The thing is – there’s time. Like Holly, the dog, on one of her rambles, every now and then a voice will recall you to the main track and you’ll carry on with the pack to your daily destination, but, meanwhile, something smells very interesting over there…Holly rabbit trails


3 01 2013

Today, woke up and wrote this for Ray. There’s a lot wrapped up in it.


Your breath

is my companion

in the still

space of night.

We traverse

dreams and darkness

by faith

not sight.

In the day,

we stall and stumble,

waste precious

air to fight.

Side by side,

it does not matter

who is wrong,

who is right.

Just your steady


helps me hold on

to the light.


What if there were a genuinely scientific faith, – an infinite, replicable, unassuming experimentation of the workings and evolution of love?

Keep right on to the end of the road

19 11 2012

Today, we are packing for a trip to Atlanta. We are traveling on Megabus for the first time to spend Thanksgiving with Ray’s brother, Tom, and our sister-in-law, Mary. It feels important to be with them and for Tom and Ray to be together and hold love for Beverly between them. We are glad to let someone else do the driving and to share our ride with others going back and forth for family and other purposes. A lot of the journey is very samey, sometimes you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, but moment to moment is so very good.


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