clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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Relics, artifacts and books

A new phenomenon has arrived on street corners here and there in the United States and England. You may have seen small, sometimes cleverly decorated boxes, much like an old-fashioned postbox, with a sign offering “Free Books, take one or leave one.” When I first discovered these in England last summer, I was sincerely charmed. What a gracious, lovely idea, to freely share books among the populace. By now, however, I have realized a darker (more sinister?) side to this free book giveaway.

Are book giveaways as innocent as they seem?

Are book giveaways as innocent as they seem?

Perhaps it is obvious to some of you already, dear Readers, that one probable reason for all these free book giveaways is, there are simply millions of books floating around in the hemisphere, and not enough people reading them. Books are starting to enter the classification of relics, artifacts from a time fast disappearing, when people loved and enjoyed them, carried them around, re-read them, passed them on to family and friends.

The age of technology has its merits and its drawbacks. In an extraordinarily short span of human time, computers have entrenched themselves in our collective psyche like a virus infecting a body, deeply and somehow irreversibly. The powers-that-make-technology in our world are working hard to make sure that everyone alive is signed up on the plan. That means every man, woman and child, no matter how young or old, is to be inextricably hooked into the beast of technology forever more. They are pushing to make sure babies are weaned from the breast to the computer screen, that no hand goes without a computerized phone-internet-camera-toaster-oven-what-have-you device, and the list just goes on ad infinitum and ad nauseam.

The death of bound books is nearly inevitable in our lifetimes, I lament. Not only is it a sad commentary on the state of our society, but just a sad thought altogether. When all the written words are available only on virtual screens or in your eyeglasses or whatever, how will that affect us as a people; our thinking, our motor skills, our ideas about life? The implications are truly enormous if one ponders them. What will become of libraries, our esteemed repository of the worlds’ wisdom, literature and knowledge? What will become of us?

The digital age we find ourselves in today has vast implications for our world. One of the most maddening is the inevitable loss of sensory perception and basic motor skills. Young children who most need to develop these skills as their bodies are growing and changing the most are at risk of not learning them, and that affects their brain development and basically their whole physiognomy. Using a keyboard or touch screen does not do the same job for developing bodies and minds as making sure a child can pick up a pencil or scissors and use them effectively. I shudder to think of how tomorrow’s children will manage in the physical world of which they are still a part. What will humans do when they have lost the ability to use their hands, their fingers, their bodies?

Will children in the future still know how to read bound books?

Will children in the future still know how to read bound books?

The world is changing so fast right now, society itself is spinning ever faster on its axis. I am watching it happen, even as I am turning into a relic of the past, along with bound books and dead philosophers. I admit that I do not wish to live in a world without books, sensory stimulus, physicality. I was born into physicality and I will remain within it for the rest of this lifetime. Probably I sound hideously old-fashioned, like those parents who frowned disapprovingly upon early rock and roll music and its proponents. And yet. This new technology age is profoundly disturbing. It seems we have been sold a bill of goods, yet what have we really purchased– if not the death of our souls?


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Heartbreak, Loss and Resilience

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is our indication of sincerity… Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.  — David Whyte, via makebelieveboutique.com/2013/12/20/7881/
Hello again dear Bloggers. It has been long since I have felt like sharing here. Now, on these last days of this eventful year, I wish to share my story, what is in my heart.

The past few months have been difficult and heartbreaking. During this time, I have left my life in Denmark, and returned to the United States. At one point I thought that I was ready for this change, and felt strong in my decision. But, as always, Life has had its way with me. Life has once again brought me to my knees, leaving me begging for mercy. There have been intense lifeshocks during this period, bringing a kind of pain to my heart and soul which I had yet to experience until now.

The end of 2013 is not only the end of this particular year, but also the culmination of the past four years of my life. The relationship with my beloved Danish man is at an end now. These are not easy words to write, and I have even been afraid to write them until today. I realize just how afraid I have been to let go of the life I built with him, and yet it was time to let go for us both. By taking the giant leap of faith across an unfathomable abyss this autumn, I freed us both.

The letting go has been more excruciating than I have words to describe, dear Readers. Some kinds of love are truly a kind of madness that takes over one’s soul utterly. And when it ends, one is left gasping for breath, crumpled in a heap on the floor, the doors to the heart completely opened through searing, white pain. It is as if the Creator himself opened His Great Oven and led me gently inside, to burn away all the dross of my human soul, leaving only the gold and silver behind. Salty streams of tears have flowed and flowed, helping the purification process along.

walking-away-rosesThis heartbreak flu has lasted for three days and nights. It leaves me empty, hollow, feeling half-dead.

Pain has a peculiar way of disciplining a soul; it is impossible to hide from it so all one can really do is give into its strange power. Surely I will recover from this, I tell myself. In time I will regain strength, find courage, and move on with my life. Just now, in the eye of the needle, all feels lost. Yet I trust and have faith that I will come out the other side of this time stronger, more compassionate, and more golden than before.

This world is a terrible, beautiful, terrifying place. There are moments in every life when no matter what you try, Life will lay you low. Life will beat you into submission, it will throw you into the air like a toy, and you will come smashing down to the ground. It is unavoidable, this thrashing of us by the Gods. All for our own good, of course. As much as I have faith in God, in Life, in the angelic realms to help, I also know this to be true. You cannot be a human soul in body without experiencing intense pain in your life sometimes. No matter whose life, no matter what the storyline. No one is immune to heartbreak here.

Today I look back on this year full of experiences, some happy and joyful, some dark and somber. I cannot help but be grateful for it all, for of course I have grown tremendously through all of it. I would not choose to experience such intense pain as have been the past three days, yet my writing to you now proves my resilience. I am still here. The new year is nearly upon us, a blank slate not yet written upon. I have become a bit wiser this year, enough to understand that no matter what we may wish to write into creation, Life will give us all things, people, situations to deal with as best as we can. The most important thing is to be very real with ourselves and with everybody else. To see Reality every day.

Dear Readers, I sincerely wish each one of you a blessed New Year. May you have the strength and courage you need to face your life each day. May you have all that you need for your lives to work well. May you grow in wisdom and compassion in the coming year. And may you find resilience within your soul, as you continue on your journey. Namaste to you all.

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Rock and Roll Heart (Ode to Lou Reed)

Lou Reed is gone. His number was up, and he’s left his body, his partner Laurie Anderson, his family and friends, and all of his listeners, and gone to the spiritual world. Lou was an important figure in my life as a teenager, so I would like to pay tribute to him with this post today.

From age sixteen until nearly twenty, Lou Reed was one of my heroes. His songs affected me on many levels with his intensity, ability to juxtapose the joys and highs of being young, with the depths of darkness and suffering that every human sooner or later must face. Though my record collection was small, it contained half a dozen records by Lou Reed, both with the Velvet Underground and solo albums. I played them continually during those first years of leaving home to live with my wannabe rock star boyfriend, Andy. He and I shared our love and admiration for Lou, along with our love of rock music, getting high, and being young. During the two years we stayed together, Lou Reed’s music was my anthem, his presence like a kind of guardian angel in my world. He epitomized the qualities I admired in a human being at the time: outrageousness, sassiness, arrogance, intelligence, humor, worldliness, sarcasm, wit; as well as compassion, a poet’s heart, a lover’s soul.

Lou Reed, a true American Hero.

Lou Reed, a true American Hero.

Lou was tough, the toughest kind of New Yorker imaginable. There wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen or tried, or so my young mind and heart believed. And strong. He had kicked being a heroin addict cold turkey, and to me then, nothing could be more difficult, more of a triumph of human strength. He had been through heaven and hell and back to tell the tale to the rest of us. Lou was my hero, a kind of god, really, and each time I put on one of his albums, I worshipped him and what he stood for anew.

Lou’s music inspired not just one generation of listeners, but has stood the test of time. Young musicians today are creating beautiful, deeply soulful, sometimes painfully honest music inspired by Lou Reed. His album Berlin was probably his most tortured statement about the shadow sides of humanity, filled with songs about betrayal, sexual debauchery, drug addiction, suicide: the stuff of catharsis. Perhaps because I listened to Berlin every day for nearly a year at one point, I was able to live into those human dramas without acting any out for myself. Those songs were filled with angst, with the searing pain of suffering in a human body, of the tortures of the soul. The melancholy of my own young soul resonated with the stories he told so ingeniously through those songs.

Conversely, the other album I listened to (also every day during that period) was my very favorite: Rock and Roll Heart. Here was a lighter, more joyful Lou, joyfully banging on his drum, singing songs and dancing to the great tunes of the day. At the time, I knew every word to every song on that album.

Lou’s music lifted my soul and also brought my to my knees. He was a master storyteller and consummate musician. He met the world at a particular point in history, when his own hunger met the word’s need. Many musicians knew how to play rock music, but for me, no one could do it quite as well as Lou.

Jenny said when she was just bout’ five years old
Hey you know there’s nothin’ happenin’ at all
Not at all
Every time I put on the radio,
You know there’s nothin’ goin’ down at all,
Not at all
But one fine mornin’ she hears a New York station
She doesn’t believe what she heard at all
Hey, not at all
She started dancin’ to that fine fine music
You know her life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll

 

Lou Reed is no longer here with us among the living, but his music will live on. The threads of hope and despair, of razor sharp honesty and deep compassion that ran throughout his musical life will continue to inspire and inform future generations of young musicians across the world. The raw power and energy of his live versions of Sweet Jane and Heroin will keep Lou in his rightful place as the grandfather of punk, the progenitor of a particular kind of rock music. I honor the light that burned so brightly and so deeply in Lou Reed’s soul, and echo his immortal words to himself and the world today:

“I guess I’m just dumb, cuz I know I ain’t smart, but deep down inside I’ve got a Rock and Roll heart.” Thanks, Lou, for sharing your beautiful heart with the rest of us.


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Singing to the choir, crying in the wilderness

Hello again dear Readers. Today’s post is my personal rant on ‘things as they stand now,’ concerning the world and people’s consciousness. Make of it what you will. Or skip it if you are in a really upbeat mood.

Shortly said, I am pretty discouraged and disgusted about now. For all that I read about humanity’s collective ascension into a higher consciousness (i.e., 5th dimensionality and beyond), as I look out upon the world at large, to be honest, I see only a small fraction of folk who are even interested in raising themselves higher than basic survival, higher than hero and villain, us and them, fear and fearlessness.

Politics aside, I will take a small but significant example: popular literature, especially geared for younger readers. Today I received an email from Amazon, with their ‘best picks of 2013 so far” list I randomly selected a few to find out what they considered “best.” Here is one of their choices, The Fifth Wave  by Rick Yancey.

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

The reviewers wrote,

Yancey’s heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand . . a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike.”

“Breathtakingly fast-paced and original, The 5th Wave is a reading tsunami that grabs hold and won’t let go. A postapocalyptic alien invasion story with a smart, vulnerable heroine.”

 (note: as I was posting this blog, there were 10 different blog posts about this novel, so far. ahem….)

Vulnerable heroines are all well and fine, but what gets to me about this kind of fiction is the push to sell novels on the recommendation that it is a ‘violent and paranoid postapocalyptic alien invasion story.’ I suppose I am a naïve human in many ways, but it is truly beyond me as to what is charming about envisioning this kind of world to live in. Are people really so bored with their regular lives that they feel the need to fill their free time with visions of horror, violence, greed, and fascist supremacist dictators controlling the poor, wretched last humans to survive on the wasted earth? I mean, is that really fun reading? If yes, I want to understand WHY.

Today was my last day with my class of Danish 8th graders before the summer holidays begin. At the request of one of them, we watched the film The Hunger Games together. For those of you who don’t know the story, it takes place in a not-too-distant future where the United States had an uprising, and the result was that it became split into twelve districts. The rebellion was squashed, and as a kind of punishment (forever more, apparently) there are yearly ‘games’ held with one teenager from each district, in a survival of the fittest style, where they kill one another until there is one sole survivor, who ‘wins.’ Yeah, nice story line. To me it was a strange, surrealistic combination of The Olympics, Roman gladiator games and reality TV show with a futuristic slant. Yes, it had good suspense, and it held their attention. The question for me is, why do the kids accept these super-depressing futuristic world stories so easily, and enjoy watching people finding clever ways to kill each other, while working to survive themselves? We talked a little about the film after they watched it. None of them seemed very affected by it, and it was obvious that none felt it could ever be real.

big+brother+watching+you

When I was in high school, one of the novels that was required reading in English literature class was, of course, 1984 by George Orwell. I remember that I did not enjoy reading that book, and how depressing was the world he had created. We joked with each other, even then, that ‘Big Brother is watching YOU!” Well, Orwell might have gotten the date wrong, but not the premise. The latest news bomb about the United States’ NSA spying on, well, anyone and everyone, brings it home very clearly. It makes a good case for ‘creating one’s own reality’ in a mass consciousness way. It is not a very far leap to the next level of this, where the earth becomes a real apocalyptic atrocity. Again I ask you all, WHY would the collective humanity WANT to create this kind of a reality? I am not speaking about the evil cabal, those shadowy rulers who are behind the scenes, running the show. No, I am referring to ALL of us, all those who are spending their cash on this form of ‘entertainment’ and thereby perpetuating it. Don’t people understand that the law of creation is pretty simple: you get what you focus on. Focus on death, destruction, fascist dictatorships, death games long enough, and presto: our brave new world.

No thanks. Dear Readers, those of you who have followed my blog and thoughts and heart for some time now know that I would like to live in a world that is the polar opposite of an apocalyptic hell, and have tried in various ways, to bring you all stories of hope, upliftment and inspiration. But today, I feel I am just singing to the choir. To the handful of you who faithfully read these words, I am very grateful for your virtual friendship and especially for your agreement that we must not give up our efforts to build a world based on Peace, Love, Beauty, Truth, Goodness and Freedom. I will always believe in these as the goal of humanity, until my dying breath. But taking a realistic look around, I can also see that we seem to be not much more than a candle in the wind at this point in time.

Why can't the 'others' be benevolent and good, instead of malicious and evil?

Why can’t the ‘others’ be benevolent and good, instead of malicious and evil?

As to the whole question of Aliens, I simply ask, why must it only be entertaining or interesting to imagine that they exist as malevolent creatures bent on our destruction? When actually, the total opposite is much more likely to be the truth: that there are Beings from other worlds who are utterly and benignly helping us lowly humans to wake up and find out who we actually are: beings of light and love, just like they are, and capable of miracles far greater than we can conceive of at this moment in our evolution. And what if, instead of being afraid and ready to use all of our puny human-made weapons to destroy them once they arrive to our world, we welcomed them with open arms, and felt glad that someone had come to help us out of this self-created mess of a world we now find ourselves in…. why won’t someone write a best-selling novel about that for a change? Why does fear sell so many books and movies and games, instead of love? Dear Readers, have you any theories about this phenomenon? Your ideas are always welcome here.

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Life gives you what you need

“God doesn’t give you the people you want, He gives you the people you NEED, to help you , to hurt you , to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be…”– anonymous

Hello again, Dear Readers. This morning the sun is shining and the sky is blue overhead. There can be no denying that Spring has finally come to Denmark. Thank goodness.

Many thoughts are spinning around in my head today. I wish to try to write something cohesive but please bear with me if it comes out a bit of a mess. Guess my soul is in a process right now (is there ever a time when it isn’t?) If I had a life motto, it would be, Work in Progress.

Last night my husband and I watched a movie by the filmmaker Robert Altman, called Short Cuts. It was made twenty years ago. The story takes place around Los Angeles and Bakersfield, and is filled with many characters who are neurotic, dysfunctional, angry, lustful, bored, frustrated, and just trying to get by in this crazy life. There are stories within the larger story, and they are woven loosely together through their relationships to one another. There is much irony in this film, just as there is in life. It was a long story, three hours running. Within this time, we witness people living in the middle of modern life’s sicknesses and excesses, trying to cope with themselves and each other. All the large themes are present: love, jealousy, avarice, lust, deceit, vengeance, desperation, despair, death. People living lives of not so quiet desperation. We watch, helplessly, as the characters hurt one another, lying to each other and themselves, without much compassion. Few of them are innocent, and the one character who is blameless (the good wife and mother, played by Andie Macdowell) is rewarded by having her just-turning eight year old son get hit by a car, go into a coma, and die during the course of a couple of days. This film takes no prisoners, there is no redemption for these people; only the continuation (for most of them) of this endless, sometimes utterly senseless and absurd theatre we know as Life.

The film did what all good stories ought to do; it showed us ourselves in the rough, without gloss or soft lighting. Whatever else you can say about life in a human body, you can also say that, shortly put, we’ve got issues. We’ve ALL got them, there is no one walking the planet today who is immune. We are in turns small, scared, angry, frustrated, guilty, guilt-ridden, loving, sweet, selfish and selfless. We toil, endure endless drudgery and suffering of many fools, not the least of which is our own self. We suffer, and suffer some more. We make decisions out of need, desperation, and desire for relief. What helps, what heals?

Facing the trouble, whatever it is, is a help. Naming it, speaking it out loud, seeing that we are not, are never alone in it. No matter what the trouble is, no matter how ashamed or filled with pain and remorse we may be, we must remember that we are not alone, not the only one with that heartache. On the contrary, there are many others with that same wound, carrying that same pain as us. Rilke once wrote that ‘perhaps all the dragons of our lives are simply princesses who are waiting for us to see them for who they truly are.’ My interpretation of his words is that even the most dark and terrible secret that a person can hold is something to help us learn how to love, how to become more human. The holes in the heart of one can and are healed by sharing them with another. It is painful to share these, yes. It takes time, maybe many years, for the healing to happen. But it CAN happen, it does happen, the miraculous thing is that by sharing one’s wound with others, instead of hiding it away, the wound can be cleansed, dressed, cared for, attended to, healing balm applied, sunshine and fresh air given it until it becomes smaller and smaller, and finally is gone.

We all want healing. We all have wounds and broken places. We are all of us singing over the lost bones of our lives, singing them alive again, calling them back into being. Yes we have lost our way and forgotten totally who we actually are and where we come from. Anyone looking around at the current state of the world will readily agree with that. The question is, are we lost forever? Will we continue sleepwalking through our lives, unwilling to feel or see that others’ pain is equal or perhaps greater than our own? Will we succumb to our own feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, letting the weight of life’s cares crush our spirits and smash any small sprouts of hope?

sometimes all you can do is laugh....

sometimes all you can do is laugh….

There is no one solution to this problem of living, but there are wise ones who have found some tools to help. I have a slip of paper (one of many) at my desk that states, “Practice looking at each situation in your life and forgiving everyone and everything throughout this lifetime, and most especially, yourself.” This is ongoing, daily practice. And it makes good sense, because if I cannot forgive myself for the messes I have made and the hurts I have given to others, then how can they ever forgive me? We are our own judge and jury in this life, ultimately. As in the Robert Altman film, each of us is walking about trying to keep our heads above the swirling waters of insanity which are all around us. How can we cope, unless we begin with self-forgiveness? And after that, forgiveness of everyone else, as difficult as that may seem, is really essential. We cannot possibly change this world into something kinder, more loving and peaceful, as long as each of us still carries hatred, greed and revenge around in our souls. In the movie, there is a woman blues singer who sings at a jazz club every evening. One of the songs she sings talks about being a ‘prisoner of life.’ You could say that this idea is the main underlying theme of this film. It is so easy to feel this way! I have, a thousand times over, and have felt quite justified in doing so. And yet. I am realizing more and more, that if I am life’s prisoner it is because I myself have been my own jailer. Realizing this makes finding the key to unlock the door much easier.

In the end, it is true that Life gives you what you need to grow and become a better, not a worse, human being. In the kitchen last night, after the intense experience of watching the three-hour long film, my husband and I spoke together. He mused, “I actually suffer much more than you do, however I carry my suffering with a lot of dignity.” I gazed at him a moment, and then replied, “Yes, you certainly do. You really have a lot of dignity, and it is one of your most beautiful qualities.” He was pleased to hear my words, and I meant them sincerely. Carrying one’s suffering with dignity is extremely important. So is the ability to laugh at the craziness of this life.

 


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Awakening from the exhausting dream of duality

Hello again, dear Readers and Friends. The time is drawing very near now, and in just a few short days, the long and torturous age that humanity has been trudging through will be completed. Come Friday, December 21st, we will stand on the threshold of a new cycle for Earth and all of her inhabitants. Stars are moving, planets are shifting, untold beings are lining up all in preparation for this moment. Regardless of how each individual human responds to this event, it is MONUMENTAL. From all I have read and can understand about it, nothing quite like this moment has ever been experienced before on Earth: not Buddha’s enlightenment, not Jesus’s birth, life and death, because THIS MOMENT will be experienced by All of Us, simultaneously. Talk about AHA! Moments…..

After the 21st of December, Earth and Humanity will enter a new phase, cycle, or, yes, age. The simplest way to describe it is simply thus: We will from that moment forward, collectively live from a basis of Love. Fear will no longer have the power over humanity that it has had so much of during the past vast cycle of time. And in fact, our whole relationship to Time itself will shift in yet unknown and radical ways. These are VERY exciting times, Dear Readers!

Obviously the world as we know it now, with its huge problems and suffering, cannot possibly shift into some kind of paradise overnight. Perhaps some people would really like it to, and may even be naively thinking that it somehow will. But no, it has taken many years and a whole lot of effort to create our mess, and consequently it will also take time to clean up our world. But I am optimistic that clean it we shall! The disorder and chaos we find around us simply cannot, nor will not, last forever.

It is time for us all to do the serious work of envisioning the world we WISH to live in. Not simply for the next twelve months, as so many of us modern western folk tend to think about on New Years day. And not simply for our own personal life. No, it is time for every single one of us to start thinking on a GLOBAL level about our lives. We can no longer think, ‘oh the________, it is just so far away, I cannot possibly think about that!” Just fill in the blank with whatever land, place, people and habitat you want. It is time to think, and ponder deeply. I believe that most of the answers to our world’s problems are already here, available to us in seed form. Some amazingly intelligent, compassionate and tireless souls are alive now who have been working on solutions to our problems. THINK FREE ENERGY, folks!! Can you imagine for a moment, how radically and quickly our world would change if suddenly all the energy we used was freely available and clean? This is the kind of thinking I am encouraging us to develop now. What if, after this week, the oil companies were no longer necessary, but were to become obsolete? IT COULD HAPPEN. What if economies were based on the needs of all people, not on corporations’ bottom lines? IT COULD HAPPEN. What if all the guns and bombs were somehow sucked up into some giant vacuum cleaner above the earth, so that NOBODY had any of those horrible things anymore—not regular folk and not governments. IT COULD HAPPEN. What if, within a very short period of time, people (all the people, everywhere) started to feel safe to walk around in their streets, their towns, their countries, and also in other people’s countries? Better yet, what if we all decided that this idea of ‘our country’ and ‘your country’ just went by the wayside altogether, because we finally figured out that GUESS WHAT, we are All One People of Earth! Yup, that’s right: IT COULD HAPPEN!!!!

Tonight I am extremely tired from this work of transformation and holding the light for many others who are still in such darkness. But. I continue in spite of my exhaustion, because I can see that there is a light at the end of this long tunnel of darkness, and it is fast approaching. During these past weeks and days, I have been revisiting many old people and places from my life, and also been going to some quite interesting places during the dreamtime while my body sleeps. I can imagine that many of you are having similar experiences. There has been so much grief buried inside of my soul which I have been shedding. The news of the tragedy in Connecticut last week touched that deep well and I grieve with the ones who have lost their precious loved ones. Yet I also know that somehow there will be a great healing from it, more people will open their hearts because of this, it will somehow free people who are still imprisoned within their frozen hearts. Our hearts must unfreeze and be freed to love, plain and simple. The love that resides in each human heart is the key that unlocks this new cycle for us, and it is absolutely critically important that most everyone, yes all 6 something billion of us humans, are able to freely love each other and recognize the sacredness of each soul.

My own daily work now is to release judgement: release, let go, release some more. This is real work and takes an enormous amount of patience, both with others and with myself. The Buddhists, as it turns out, were right all along: release judgement, release attachment to a particular outcome, and simply be a loving person. That is the crux of the whole thing.

Dear Readers, forgive my lack of eloquence this evening. I wish all of you strength, courage, and blessings of love during these last days of the old world.


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The last free place on Earth

We are living in relentless times. The sheer amount and depth of the problems that humanity has created and are now facing is, at moments, absolutely overwhelming. We are assaulted on every side with stories which outrage and sadden us beyond words, beyond belief, utterly beyond reason. Insanity, it would appear, has taken firm grip of our collective and stubbornly refuses to let go.

Being a sensitive human, I have to be very careful as to how much news of the world I ingest, otherwise I can quickly become overcome with negativity and sorrow. This morning I read some articles posted in Yes! magazine online which have inflamed me. The first was reporting on the latest brutality by the Israeli government as they have sent U.S. made warplanes to assassinate a Hamas leader and destroy key parts of Gaza’s barely-functional infrastructure. The article states,

Israeli military and political leaders have long made clear that regular military attacks to “cleanse” Palestinian territories is part of their long-term strategic plan (the term was used by Israeli soldiers to describe their role in the Israeli assault on Gaza from 2008 to 2009). It is an interesting historical parallel that this escalation—which almost certainly portends a longer-term and even more lethal Israeli assault—takes place almost exactly four years after the last major Israeli war on Gaza that left 1,400 Gazans dead in 2008 to 2009.
This is primarily about Netanyanu shoring up the right-wing of his base. And once again it is Palestinians, this time Gazans, who will pay the price. The question that remains is whether the U.S.-assured impunity that Israel’s leadership has so long counted on will continue, or whether there will be enough pressure on the Obama administration and Congress so that this time, the U.S. will finally be forced to allow the international community to hold Israel accountable for this latest round of violations of international law. (read the full article here, http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/gaza-airstrikes-netanyahu-attempts-appease-israel-hardliners?utm_source=wkly20121116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=titleBennis)

The second article I read concerns the very real threat of oil drilling in the Arctic. It is written by Kumi Naidoo, who is the current leader of Greenpeace, and he describes the situation as follows:

Global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is already driving climate change and extreme weather events. From drought in South Africa to severe flooding in the Philippines to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our planet is sending us warnings that could not be clearer. And the Arctic ice is melting, reaching a record summer low this year.

Scientists see that as evidence that the climate is changing faster than anyone predicted. Big Oil sees it as an opportunity to exploit. International oil companies are hesitating over Arctic drilling because they see the huge technical risks of operating in such an extreme environment, but they also see the massive level of public opposition. Shell put its Alaska drilling program on hold for 2012 after part of its spill response equipment was damaged. International attention on the Arctic helped force this decision, because Shell knew that millions of people were watching their every move.

This battle requires us to value hope and science above pessimism and the relentless greed of Big Oil. While Greenpeace will continue to fight in boardrooms, gas stations, and on the ocean itself, we are part of a broader movement that needs your creativity, ideas, and energy.

You don’t have to climb an oil platform to help. You already know what to do—bike to work or use public transportation, and pressure your local politicians to adopt policies that curb the use of fossil fuels and support renewable energy. Protecting the Arctic is one of the environmental battles that will define humanity’s approach to climate change. Do we allow billionaire corporations to decide for us, or do we draw a line in the ice and say “enough”? (http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-would-nature-do/greenpeaces-kumi-naidoo-time-to-stand-against-big-oil-in-the-arctic?utm_source=wkly20121116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=titleNaidoo)

After reading this article, I went to the Greenpeace website www.savethearctic.org for more information. Here is what I found there:

There are seven billion of us on our planet. Each and every one of us is affected by the health of the Arctic: by reflecting the sun’s rays off its ice, the Arctic shapes our weather patterns and the food we grow and eat.

But the Arctic is the frontline of our warming climate – heating up twice as fast as anywhere else. It’s also the frontline of the oil industry – one of the dirty, dead fuels responsible for the melting in the first place.

By stopping the new oil rush in the Arctic we are creating the conditions for a radical change in how we power our lives, accelerating the clean energy revolution that will fuel the future for our children.

We know we’re going up against the most powerful countries and companies in the world.

But together we have something stronger than any country’s military or any company’s budget. Our shared concern for the planet we leave our children transcends all the borders that divide us and makes us – together – the most powerful force today.

That is why we’re taking your name – and millions of others – to the North Pole with a Flag for the Future designed by the youth of the world. It will show that our shared vision of a green, peaceful, healthy planet depends on an Arctic protected by us all.

But the flag is only a symbol. We’ll be taking your voice to every political leader in the world to ask them where they stand on the Arctic. One by one, as our movement gathers momentum, we’ll turn towards the United Nations, where we’ll demand a global deal to protect the Arctic.

30 years ago we launched a similar campaign to protect the Antarctic. Nobody thought we would succeed, but we did, and we created a world park around the South Pole.

Now the Arctic is calling.

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No country owns the Arctic. It is, in Naidoo’s words, the refrigerator of the earth, and regulates weather patterns across the earth. It is a fragile environment, home of some of the last pristine wilderness on the planet. Think for a moment of what the effects will be if the oil companies bring their oil rigs and equipment up to the top of the world and begin drilling for yet more oil so they can continue to create yet more billions of dollars for themselves in profits. The insanity and greed of this plan is beyond words, it is unspeakable in its intention of pure destruction of all that humanity holds dearest. I ask all of you, dear Readers, how can we allow them to destroy the last free and clean place on Earth?

Look around you this very day, no matter what area of the earth you are living in. Is your lifestyle, and the community in which you live, worth destroying some of the most beautiful, untouched nature left on Earth? Isn’t it FINALLY time to stand up to Shell, Exxon, British Petroleum and all the rest, and simply say, “No Thanks, we are through with this kind of life. We are choosing a new way to live, which is no longer dependent on fossil fuels, we will no longer support your greed and hunger for destruction.” The technology exists right now in the world to move beyond fossil fuels and use free energy instead. It is not a myth, it is REAL. And we, The People, have the power to say No More. Think how much money those guys would lose if the majority (say over 50%) of Americans stopped using their cars for even ONE DAY in America. ONE DAY, 24 hours. Suddenly over 150 million people would not be driving. There is no doubt they would notice.

It is  far too easy to feel powerless in this world. To feel afraid. To feel that the problems are too overwhelming, I am too small, it is too much, and there is nothing I can do. So I will just climb back into my bed and pull the sheets over my head, and go to sleep and drink myself into a stupor and zone out with mindless entertainment of every sort, and try to forget all the problems. Many of us have done exactly this for far too long. The results of this sort of non-action are everywhere to be seen. It is high time for the majority of the western world to wake up, get out of their beds, turn off their mindless entertainments, and start shouting. We need to make a big big noise, big enough to be heard over the roaring of the oil companies’ monstrous equipment. Together, The People are far greater and far stronger than the beings who have been abusing their position of power all these long years.

Dear Readers, I encourage every single one of you to think about it today. Look at the website, read up on the Arctic, find out for yourselves, get angry, talk with your friends and neighbors, educate them, and stop driving your cars at least one day a week. Do anything, but for the Earth’s sake, Do SOMETHING. It is time.

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Secret hopes and wishes

Remember the old story about the genie in the bottle, who gives three wishes to the lucky human who lets it go free? If you found that bottle by the side of the road, uncorked it and Poof, out popped the genie to grant your wishes, what would you do? Do you even know of three genuine wishes you would like to ask him for?

Dear Readers, I realize as I write this what a loaded question it actually is. It’s not even a fair question, because I know that it is more or less impossible to name just three (that magic number) things, out of a whole world full of things you would like to be different in this life! So, to make this little game a bit easier to play, let’s put some limits on what we are wishing for. World peace is out, along with no more war and everybody being happy all the time. After all, most everybody (I know, not everyone!) would want those things. Let’s go back to my original idea, that of secret wishes, something you hope for but wouldn’t dare to tell another for fear of…(fill in the blank here.)

I’ll start, since you are after all reading my blog. One thing I would wish for is to be given the power of time travel, but with the added plus of being able to transcend time altogether, so that I could literally be in more than one place at the same time. Not quite sure how that would work, exactly, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to be enjoying time spent with loved ones in one location on the planet, while simultaneously taking a quiet walk in the woods by yourself somewhere else? In a way it would be similar to when you are asleep and dreaming, except that you would be conscious of everything, and would remember it later on (so difficult to do with dreams, I’m afraid).

Another secret wish I have (well, guess it won’t be so secret after tonight) is to be able to fix things, places, and yes, people, who are broken. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, oh no, she is another one of those super-annoying-wanna-help-everybody types, eek, run away quick!– but really, I think it would be so wonderful to be like the character Amelie in that very charming French film, and go around helping blind people to see, and mend broken hearts, heal crippled people and animals, give sad children their smiles and laughter back, make dumps into beautiful gardens, toxic waste sites into clean, healthy living places again, that sort of thing. And easily, just with a thought and intention, not years of back-breaking labor and huge amounts of cash, but more like having a kind of magic wand power….

Then there’s the very vain wish about wanting to never grow old and look old and become decrepit and die…. yeah, guess a few of us might secretly covet that one…. then of course there are all the ‘wish I could’ve been a (fill-in-the-blank again) wishes….. lots and lots of those milling around in the attic of my memory.

Dear Readers, I think I have backed myself into a corner here on this blog tonight. If I share my deepest secret wishes with you, then they won’t be secret anymore.  I guess I am not quite feeling ready, ascended enough or whatever else, to go quite that far… yet. So I will move on to something else to muse upon, something altogether different.

Today the weather was as changeable as my mood. Because I live up here at the top of Europe, on a big island, the weather can change very quickly. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear morning here, a perfect, chilly late October day. So I went out walking, at first along the motorway, then turned off onto a country road, enjoying the brilliant sunshine, green fields of winter grass, feeling peaceful and calm. Once I entered the forest, I became even quieter, listening to all the creatures who lived there. The woods are also home to a good-sized pheasant flock, and they appeared now and then, running across the path, calling to each other in their strange, gobbly sort of language. The leaves crunched under my feet, the scent of the forest was delightfully damp and alive, the yellows, browns and oranges of leaves and mushrooms filling my sight with beauty. Eventually I found a lovely spot off the lane in a young grove of beech trees, and rested there, meditated, asking the spiritual world for help and guidance. Before too long, however, the clouds came and covered up the beautiful sun, bringing rain, and then sleet to accompany me on my walk home. At one point I looked down to the side of the road and found a pheasant, a male, dead not more than several hours. I stopped and had a closer look. Pheasants are a new phenomenon in my world, having never lived in an area where they were common before now. The pheasant was quite beautiful, with a red and black head, neck and breast covered with gorgeous shades of cobalt, violet and auburn colored feathers, and of course its famous, long, painted tail feathers. Impulsively, I found a stick and worked to pry loose a few of those precious feathers for later use in some creative project, I reasoned. As I worked to loosen them from the body, I saw some of its raw flesh peeking out from beneath the feathers, and couldn’t help but imagine how wonderful that bird would be plucked and roasted for dinner! Thanking the bird for letting me have them, I packed the feathers in a plastic bag, carefully placed it in my rucksack, and went along home in the wet afternoon.

Death is always among us, even though most of us don’t think about this fact too often. When it shows up, like this afternoon on the side of the road, it never fails to shock. And fascinate– the pheasant was so beautiful in its death mask, all of its feathers lying so prettily upon its dead body. Perennial wisdom says that what we call death is simply a change of form, from one state of being to the next; nothing is ever really lost, it only seems that way in this illusion we call Life. It is a powerful illusion, is it not? When I think of dying, I admit I feel sad, and don’t want to do it. As I stood in the forest, inside a ring of beech trees, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the beauty surrounding me on all sides, felt such love and gratitude for this earth which gives all who live upon it so immensely much in every moment. I will hate to leave this planet when my number is up, will miss the forest and the rivers, the sky and the wind, the animals, all of the wonders of this place. I can only hope (my not so secret hope) that the next world that we go on to inhabit, somewhere in another realm among the stars, is at least as beautiful and glorious as this one.


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In the thick of it

Thanks to those of you who liked and commented upon last evening’s blog post about the upcoming election and the general mess that the United States is now in. My blogger friend Visionkeeper went into some details concerning this sorry situation, and told me that she (though I STILL do not know for sure!) has pretty much given up on being with other humans in the area and is simply being a hermit on her land, only communicating with like-minded others through the internet as things unfold, until the world changes dramatically. This comment has given me pause for thought tonight.

Those of you who have read this blog for some time can see that I would never call myself a religious person. Especially given the connotations of the word these days, charged with ideas of fanaticism and extreme right-wing conservative energy. So religious I am not. Yet, I absolutely know that I, along with all the rest of us humans, answer to a higher power. I don’t have a problem with the term ‘God’ although I tend to not use it in my blogs because I know that some people really dislike the term and associate it with old, bad, maybe even traumatic, memories. Same thing with that old book, The Bible. What an abused book that is! At this point in history, it is very difficult to separate the truth from the lies and fabricated stories and meanings surrounding it. And yet. There are some images, and snippets, from the Bible that simply keep popping up these days, out of the clear blue.

One has to do with the idea that ‘during those days” families will be separated, children from parents, brother from sister, and some will follow the light,(may I say it thus,) while others will be left behind. Then there is the imagery which speaks to the famous “last days,” with the sign of the beast, and the prostitute, people throwing their money in the streets because it has become so worthless, etc…. some of you may remember these images also. Remember, I am not by any means, a religious fanatic. But I cannot help but notice that some of these images, prophesied all those many centuries ago, seem to have some relevance about now. Funny, isn’t it?

It does seem to be quite true for many of us, that were we to speak about the things we are aware of and are reading about which are happening in the world with our colleagues, or neighbors, or even other family members, they would very likely look at us as if we are off our rockers. As time goes by during this extraordinary year, I am becoming braver and braver about mentioning certain things to others. Unfortunately, nearly nobody seems to have a clue what I am speaking about, or else they blow me off and come up with all sorts of reasons why ‘that’ is impossible, or even worse, patronize me.

I have a lot of sympathy for Visionkeeper and her strategy of staying out of the mainstream of life in her part of the world. It is frustrating to feel that you see things clearly, yet cannot speak of those things with the people you work and live with each day. I imagine that Visionkeeper lives alone out on her land, which of course makes it easy in many ways. Since I do not, I have developed a different strategy for coping, where I go inside of myself and so no matter who else may be physically present, I can still accomplish a similar end; being by myself in order to be quiet, process my thoughts, and take in the latest information about, well, Things.

Still, it certainly gets lonely around here pretty often. Today I went to the school to do some volunteer English teaching again. When I asked another teacher, a nice Danish woman whom I like quite a lot, how she had been, her answer, AGAIN, was, “tired!”  I smiled and nodded, “me too.” So many are tired, and the children are feeling the changes as well in their own ways; through unnatural fears, a lot of anxiety, tiredness, sadness, anger, and the like. I spent most of one period reading a simple and funny children’s story with one girl, Alberta, who, I was told, was feeling quite bad and scared in the morning before I came. That’s all we did, but she seemed to feel better afterwards. So did I.

Walking home through the field, the wind blowing against me from the north, I didn’t think too much. Not about the election, not about the state of America, not about all the unfairness and corruption, not about pain or suffering, stupidity or sleepwalking. So many difficult and worrisome things I didn’t think about today. And this afternoon I worked some more on a paper mache sculpture that has been languishing for a week. At first I had to make myself sit down and do it, but once I started, I had a blessedly joyous hour of solitude, making art and forgetting about all the troubles.

Dear Readers, by now I think of some of you as dear friends, and comrades in this big work we have taken on of creating a new world from the still-burning embers of the old one. Outside the moon is shining brightly above the wind-tossed trees on this late October evening. The veils are thinning ever-more, it is nearly All Hallows’ Eve, or Day of the Dead. The spirits are all around us, no longer simply in our imaginations, but very much alive and present, talking to us every day in hundreds of ways. Can you not also feel them surrounding you, helping, advising, comforting and encouraging you each day, cheering you on when you are so weary that you feel you cannot take another step of this journey, wondering if it will ever end, will things ever change, will the dark powers ever be vanquished finally and forever more, or will they just keep on going, wreaking havoc and violence and horrors on humanity for god-only-knows-how much longer. I imagine that nearly all the soldiers who fought in wars against evil dictatorships, emperors, cabals and warlords from time immemorial, felt exactly the same, wondered if the bloody war would ever end or if they would be stuck in that hell forever more. And then, miraculously and suddenly, one day: the white flag rose, the white dove flew, the bombs stopped dropping, the guns stopped shooting, the arrows stopped flying, the blood stopped flowing, the suffering ended. All of a sudden the battle was over, and the war was done. Peace. And silence. Prayers. And thanksgiving.


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The beginning, the end, life, death and beyond

It is not often that a work of art comes along which has the ability to encompass the whole range of human experience: beauty, suffering, life, death and the mysterious beyond. Today I have finally finished reading Ben Okri’s epic work, Starbook. This book is such a work of art.

In fact the story itself centers around a tribe of artists who make incredible, magical and mysterious art. Art is their reason for existence, their life’s work, and everything in their lives revolves around it. It is the story of a prince, a maiden with whom he falls in love, and the story of a people, a kingdom, of the past and future, of humans on earth and of beings from the stars. It is a vast metaphor, a fable, an epic, an odyssey, a dream, a version of history and a prayer for the future. Starbook is Okri’s homage to the Christ story and the story of the Buddha, while also being his own uniquely creative vision of his homeland and its vast people in Africa. This is a master’s work.

As so many of us have, I too have been going through a kind of transformation during these last months. Today and this weekend seems to be another pinnacle of time, devoted to inwardly seeking, listening, opening to the voices and whispers of our spirit, a doorway into the beyond which lies above this earthly realm of suffering and pain which we have all lived in and with for so long that many have forgotten that there is another way to be alive. Yet the clear directive coming to us collectively right now, is exactly that: there is another way to experience life in human form, a way beyond all the unendurable suffering we have inflicted upon each other and ourselves all these many centuries. Okri’s insightful retelling of the human story brought me near tears throughout reading it, and yet simultaneously also helped me to somehow distance my heart from the pain of it, as all great cathartic works tend to do. For his story, although set in Africa, is not merely the story of the loss of innocence and the influence of the western world upon that land, bringing slavery and horrific conditions to an entire race of people. It is the story of human bondage, death and redemption, as old as anyone can recall.

As I contemplate life on this special October weekend of 2012, I wish to acknowledge and honor the immense struggle which humans have endured over the course of our known history, sensing that only by honoring and remembering what has come before, can we fully release and forgive our collective memory and thereby move ahead towards a different future that so many of us are waking up to now. Okri says that Africa lives in all of us, and in a very real way he is absolutely right. We are all tribal peoples from somewhere in the world, some distant (or not so distant) past, with many many stories underneath us as we stand upon our piece of Earth right now, today. Time is fast becoming non-linear and some say that the day will soon come when linear time becomes a thing of the past. Our common experience of past, present and future will be vastly different than how we experience it now. All the more reason to honor, remember, and change the past as well as the future.

If I may, dear Readers, I would like to share a tiny glimpse of the future that I would like to live upon this beloved Earth. In this new future, everyone is an artist. There is no longer a differentiation between those who are and those who are not. No matter what one’s interest, the things they spend time doing are their art form. Everyone cares for everything, no matter how small, how inconsequential it may be. From the lowest to the highest in the world, all is made beautiful through love and care. In this future world of Earth, there are only two laws: Love and Kindness. Creativity of every kind flourishes, nature is more abundant and richer than ever before, and humans live in perfect harmony with the natural world, including all the animals. There is no more killing of living beings.

In this new future Earth, the wisest humans are the ones who make the decisions that affect all others. Purity of heart and generosity are the most desirable qualities in a human being. Competition has long ceased to be desirable, and the ancient arts are again understood and practiced. The gods, or beings from other realms than Earth, have again been given their rightful place of respect and reverence by the humans, and they work together to create all sorts of new ways of being and doing things, things we right now cannot even possibly imagine can be. It goes without saying that peace has been utterly restored to all living on the Earth.

One of the most beautiful passages in Starbook refers to a sculpture which the master artist of the tribe creates, his last and most magnificent creation. It is described thus:

“And what was it, this mysterious sculpture? It was more than it seemed. And its mystery was as much in how it created a shimmer of illuminations around itself, against the sky, as it was the spirit-charged nature of the stone, as it was that of which it was an eternal sigh, a question mark without a name, concentrating the magic of the heavens into the illusion of space. It was the figure of a being, a man or woman or god or goddess or dream; and the figure stood with both of its arms stretched out unnaturally wide, embracing the whole universe, in a mighty act of acceptance. Arms outstretched and legs spread out wide, doubly embracing all of life, the universe, all suffering, all joy, the beginning, the end, life, death and beyond……”

Isn’t this precisely what we must all do now, to embrace all of life, the universe, all suffering and joy, the beginning, the end, life, death and what lies beyond? This is such a beautiful summation of our goal, our purpose, our common future of humanity. To stand with arms and legs wide open upon this glorious, magnificent earth, to embrace our humanity, our groundedness, our deep soul, as well as our soaring, dreaming spirit selves among the starry world? We are becoming multi-dimensional beings like never before, whether we understand it or not matters little. It is what is happening to us, right now! How I wish I could just be like a fairy, or an insect, or a dream, and go from one human to the next, waking them from their slumber, their forgetting of the truth of their being, giving them the magic potion to make them all understand who we all of us Really ARE!

I wish to thank Ben Okri for his amazing Starbook, and all the wisdom contained therein. I hope that many more people will find and read this story, and find it as enlightening, illuminating, and enduring as I have. And I hope that all of you will continue to dream into the future that you wish to have, not only for yourselves, your children, your community and country, but for all of us, all the tribes and cultures and species of this incredible, gorgeous, and wonderful planet Earth.

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