clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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The Cruelest Holiday

There is a waning crescent moon outside my window tonight, reminding me that there is still a sliver of light within even the darkest night. Tonight is the eve of the rather ubiquitous Valentine’s day, a holiday that, more than any other which falls within the calendar year, serves to remind one of the folly and pain of love for those who are not currently in a hot relationship or happy with their partner.

Working inside my local and very mainstream American grocery store today, everywhere was decorated with products emblazoned with pink and red, while roses, chocolate covered strawberries, hearts, flowers, and every other kind of kitch imaginable to sell shoppers this holiday of love is on offer. Ugh. The whole thing made me want to run screaming away (as I do so often while working, but especially so today.) Another marketing extravaganza for the great American consumer society to lap up. And lap they do. In the cheese shop section of the store where I work, many slices of creamy, sexy (?) brie cheese were bought by couples, as well as many other delicacies for their lovemaking weekend of bliss. Now, before you, dear Readers, think I am just an old sourpuss for not thinking it is sweet or fun, please know that I understand all too well just how sensual and wonderous food and wine can be, especially in concert with other kinds of sex and romance on just such an occasion. Back to my original point, which is the pain and folly of romantic love for some of us humans walking around the planet this weekend.

For the handful of you who read this blog, a few may remember that when I started writing, I was living with my Danish love in the country of Denmark, a bit lonely for my homeland and friends, but in love nevertheless. That was back in 2012, which feels like ancient history by now. Fast forward four years, and here I am on Valentine’s day eve, with no lover to dip strawberries into whipped cream and drink champagne with, among other delights that I won’t go into but instead will leave up to your imagination. It has been a long time since I have written honestly about my personal life on this blog, since I decided that it seems more important to write about what is happening in the larger picture of Earth and humanity than my own small life and problems. But. Tonight I am indulging myself in a bit of emotional processing for my own sanity, and you are invited to either read along, or delete this blog post. Your choice, as always.

Love Day, once a year?

This evening at work, I heard a couple of co-workers’ stories in short form. One, a woman about my age and a New Yorker through and through, described her life as a series of interesting jobs, a failed marriage, leading to her life completely coming apart, a brief stay with her father in southern Florida, meeting a nice man, working with, then moving in with him, and one day about a year ago, getting on a plane with him and coming here to Denver, where they remain to this day. There was a lot in between the lines of her story that I intuited, which involved pain and suffering. Then I heard another story, by a man who started the same week as I, who told me that ten years ago he was on track to finish his degree for becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), when suddenly out of nowhere, the financial aid woman told him he’d borrowed his limit of money for school, and cut him off. He had only 4 courses to go to finish his degree. Zap, just like that, there he was with a big debt, no degree and no CNA career ahead.

I am guessing that, were I to interview others who work at that big, highly corporate grocery store, I would find many more variations of the same theme: people who have gambled with their lives and mostly lost. It is a kind of land of broken dreams that I now find myself in, and I admit that I fit right in with the other lost and broken dreamers. I too have gambled with my life and lost, many times. In fact, I could make the case that I have mostly lost everything that mattered to me at one time or other. Sometimes I get very down about this fact, and feel like a real loser in this game we call Western Contemporary Society. I see others who look like they are winners, and I feel badly in comparison. Now, some of you, dear Readers, may want to tell me to just change my attitude and raise my self esteem and everything will be just fine. Well, maybe. On the other hand, when I look around and hear fellow travelers’ stories, I have to shake my head. There are many of us who have not ‘won’ in this game we are forced to play. Very often I have only wanted to escape, and somehow find another way to live that doesn’t involve winning and success in order to be happy. I have had glimpses into these other worlds, alternative lifestyles, or ‘off-the-grid” living situations. They seem nearly ideal to me, and I have wanted to be able to stay there for the duration. But never was I able to do that, something or someone always pulled me back into mainstream life again. So here I am, summoning my will strongly each day I have to go into that job, putting a smile on and asking folks if they want to sample some cheese. I am a cheese pusher now.

Tonight before I left work, I caught the last five minutes of the Republican debate in South Carolina. I heard three of the candidate hopefuls give their last pitch to the good old conservatives of that state, to try to convince them to vote for him in the primary election. Each one of those men said very similar things, and the gist of it was as follows: “I will be the man to help get our great country back to being great again, to having its values restored of one man and one woman marriage, of having God be our authority and not the government, to getting rid of Obamacare, to abolishing the IRS (granted this is not a bad idea), to keeping our enemies afraid of us, and most of all, to once again being the most successful country in the world.” After each candidate spoke, there was a burst of applause as the audience obviously agreed and liked each man’s words. What I realized from hearing these speeches tonight, is that we are still very divided in the United States between the folks who want to keep things as they remember them being for much of their lives, and don’t like the idea of anything changing (this is obviously a very large topic), and the folks who are at the completely other end of the spectrum, like me, who are very much wanting things to change radically for the betterment of humankind, starting with better laws, much greater equality between classes, races and economic divides, more honest and progressive people making decisions for the rest of us, and of course, a lot greater protection for our environment and all the beings living here. For folks like me, the concept of “winning against our enemies” does not exist, it is about quite other issues entirely.

How can we humans possibly resolve the gaping split that divides us? How can we meet and agree upon the most pressing issues of our times, when half the population simply wants to pretend that we can keep doing business as usual, and even return to pre-catastrophic times here on planet Earth, just denying and not even being willing to see the state that the planet, the country, and many many many of the people are actually in? Just right now, on this rather depressing evening before Love Fest 2016, it is feeling slightly impossible. Then again, I recall my dear friend’s admonition to me: “We’ll do the possible today, and the Impossible tomorrow.” Tonight I can only say, We’ll see.


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Change, awe, disgust and disillusionment

(Warning: this post will be a rant, so if you are feeling light and happy and wish to stay that way, don’t bother reading this one. Thanks for your understanding, Leigh)

In the space of the past twelve hours, my emotional soulstate has run the gamut from peaceful, strong and grounded, to disappointed, bored, anxious, resentful, sad, angry, doubtful, curious, frustrated, and even nauseated, and now simply grounded and resigned. Quite a boatload for one day in the life. Are you feeling alright?

If I had a magic wand or superpowers to change this world, I would not hesitate. Everybody would be in for quite a surprise after my rework of this third dimensional world was complete. The first thing I would do, I think, is to obliterate television and all the industry that feeds it while being fed by it. What a disgusting monster it is. It works to portray the absolute basest and worst of human nature while also drawing people into its poison trap. But no, that is only a small sidebar of what I need to rant on tonight, dear Readers.

Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian guru who came to the United States during the early 20th century to help raise human consciousness, once said (I am paraphrasing), “This world is like a terrible horror movie. All the people sitting in the audience don’t know that it is only a movie, and so as they watch it they are believing it is real. But the best thing to do is to get to the beam. Get to the light, for it is only a play. What is Real is the light of God.” His words are absolutely true, and more important than ever.

What is real, and where is the beam in 2016? Nearly everywhere I look I see disillusionment, despair, disappointment, disaster and people trying in various ways to cope. Self medication is popular through the use of tobacco, recreational drugs and alcohol, gluttony, and caffeine. Many use electronic devices to distract. There are hundreds and thousands of ways to check out of this world for a minute or a lifetime. Yet for most of us, sooner or later we once again must come back to the basic nature of our life, and we find what? One of the great mysteries, ourselves.

It takes real audacity to live on this planet now, and to do it well, yes, superpowers. I mean this not metaphorically as much as literally. To stay sane and sober in the middle of it all takes creating some super powerful energy from within to develop ways to cope and smile and be compassionate.

Four weeks into my job as a cheese clerk at my local supermarket and I can barely stomach being there. It’s a Great American supermarket, full of just about every kind of food imaginable that’s available in this country. It’s bright, shiny, colorful and packed with foods and merchandise of every description. And it’s all on offer, every single day and night for one’s shopping convenience. All you need is money, honey.

Each shift that I work provides me with yet another opportunity to see how much food gets thrown out for the flimsiest of reasons. To be fair, my store donates a considerable amount of unsellable food to the food pantries, and so helps people to get a myriad of free groceries when they go for their allotment. But. So much more perfectly good food gets tossed into the garbage compactor or industrial compost bin even as people are sleeping on the streets of this town, cold, hungry and about as low as one can get in their station in life. Why can’t any of this food be given to the homeless?

As I am sure many of you know, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is gathering a lot of momentum now. Following the trail on facebook each day, it is obvious that the Occupy Wall Street movement has devoted itself to getting Bernie into the White House this autumn. He is the Everyman’s Hero, a regular guy who is honest, cannot be bought, has been playing the game of Washington politics for a very long time, and he’s rallying the troops big time. He’s calling out Wall Street and the “billionaire class” for their crimes against humanity, he’s taking names and he’s intent upon dealing with the criminals in the way that so many of us would like: throwing them the hell out of their cushy seats of power and sending them to jail with no bond. Bernie is making all kinds of promises about what he will do to right all the wrongs done to Americans by those evil billionaires when elected. And it sounds so good, and I want to believe it could happen so very much.

Then I catch myself. Our American political system is at the point of being so corrupted, so full of arrogance, greed, self-interest, blasphemy and idiocy, that I honestly do not know how it can really be fixed. It really needs a complete and real dismantling and starting over again. Ben Franklin said it: About every 200 years, governments need a revolution and a new plan. That is where we are now.

Thomas Jefferson engraving after painting by Rembrandt Peale.

Today I saw a video made by a couple of scientists who were in the Arctic in November and filmed a gigantic chunk of glacier ice calving, or splitting apart and crashing into the sea. They said the size of the piece that broke off was around the size of lower Manhattan, except the walls of ice were more than twice as high as the skyscrapers. Watching the short clip was utterly awe-inspiring. Before my eyes, the ice that has made up the top of our earth for thousands of years was deconstructing itself. I do not doubt that it won’t be too much longer before all of the Arctic has melted completely. Then our world will look considerably different than it does today.

http://www.upworthy.com/the-longest-and-probably-largest-proof-of-our-current-climate-catastrophe-ever-caught-on-camera

The buds on some of the big trees in the park near my home are getting fat. It is the last day of January, I am writing from Denver, Colorado. What we used to think was normal, for example, trees budding in late April and blooming beginning of May, is quickly becoming a history lesson for the young. So much of nature is having to adapt to new patterns of growth and decay, or else will probably not make it into the earth’s future. Animals and humans as well. I envision a future where it will be virtually impossible to tell if the creature next to you on the street or in the commuter train is natural or a human constructed android of some kind or other. The science fiction authors are closer to the truth than we can really know.

I admit it freely: this future is not one that I want to live in. Not At All. I know I am an old-fashioned person with peculiar ideas, but living on a world that no longer differentiates between what is natural (meaning not messed with by man) and what has been created in a laboratory somewhere, where no one understands much of anything about the substances they ingest, including what passes for food, and where people are so disconnected from each other and themselves that they can no longer acknowledge another’s presence, is a world that I refuse to be a part of any longer. Sorry, but the game is over for me at that point. And it seems like it is fast approaching, already here.

Send me the map, give me the plan, help me to find the way. The way out of this madness that passes for our world, our common life, and into some nice bubble world where the people are kind, where society doesn’t undermine one’s efforts to simply live in peace, and where things are still Real. Does such a place exist in time and space? I don’t know the answer to that. But I surely want to believe that it does. Over the rainbow, perhaps. On another world. Maybe in another universe even. Tonight, I am ready to have them beam me aboard.

Here’s a quote I found by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Thanks for the encouragement! Pinkola_Estes_discouragequote

 


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Tell It Like It Is

At the start of this new year, 2016, the world is looking messier and more chaotic than ever before.

In nearly every arena, from political to economic to cultural to environmental, people are behaving badly, with cruel and barbaric actions the norm for far too many humans on Earth. How much longer will we collectively tolerate such inhumanity on this planet? Why do we keep allowing it to play out this way? What can we do to turn this boat around, if anything?

As I look around at the industrialized world (both in the larger world via various internet sites and my own small, personal world), a few things feel crystal clear. One, the vast majority of people remain committed first and foremost to their own small world of themselves, their families, friends, pets, and work. This accounts for (I am guessing) about 90% of their thoughts, feelings and actions in the world. The other 9% seems to be divided into leisure activities such as drinking and eating, sex, shopping, and entertainment. For those few humans who have 1% of their thoughts, feelings and time free, the ideas of charity, do-gooding and saving the world belong here. Hence the state of our planet currently.

Perhaps this completely unscientific analysis seems rather harsh or unfair to you, dear Readers. After all, the people who read this blog are those few and rare individuals who probably spend considerably more than the average person’s amount of time and resources on doing good in and for this world. For that, I can only simply say, Thank You. But tonight, after seeing too much news, mainstream television (about 5 minutes is too much for me), and listening to ‘regular folks’ talking during the past week at my new job (as cheesemonger for my local grocery store), this is what I have surmised: few, if any, care about anything other than themselves and their own lives.

This is not the first time I have felt discouraged about the state of humanity, obviously. But at this moment at the beginning of this new year, this knowledge saddens me more than I can express. Even the simplest actions, such as recycling metal cans or glass bottles, fails to register as even mildly possible to do for far, far too many people. Sometimes I feel pretty hopeful about the future of this planet and its humans, even contemplating the idea that one fine day we will wake up as a collective and realize that killing each other and destroying our home, Gaia, is senseless and an utter waste, and we will stop it. Then I remember. People can’t even figure out how to set a can in a recycle bin, how are they possibly going to find out how to live with each other and the planet in a non-harmful way?

My big fascination right now is following all the folks who are grassroots organizing for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. In the past month, thousands of people across the United States have sprung into action to help get him the Democratic nomination. It has been very inspiring for me to see what seems like many people actually rally around this humble man, as he bravely and tirelessly tells us all where it is really at in this country, and why it seriously needs changing. The word he and his followers is using is one that is at the heart of what the United States was founded upon: REVOLUTION. It is a word that some people (the ones who have had an iron grip on this country for far too long) are deathly afraid of, and will probably stop at nothing to prevent from happening. And yet:

Stop it they cannot, for the time has come, things have coalesced to the point in time and space where The People (at least some of them) are standing up and shouting, with Bernie Sanders as their leader: NO MORE BULLSHIT. WE WANT CHANGE IN OUR GOVERNMENT THIS YEAR. EQUALITY. LIBERTY. JUSTICE. INTEGRITY. HONESTY. WE WANT OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT TO WORK FOR US, HERE AND NOW. WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.

SANDERS_Bostonrally

Americans are pinning their hopes on Bernie for president in this year’s election.

Words and rants similar to these were used during the American Revolutionary War. Those were also some dark and painful days in the history of the United States, and hope seemed dim against huge, nearly insurmountable odds. Yet the Americans eventually won that war against the English king and government. Some of the most beautiful words ever written were used as the foundation of the new constitution. And now, 240 years later, it is time to declare them again, just as vehemently: Give Us Liberty or Give Us Death!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, Bernie-WEderiving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” The United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

 


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Looking back, envisioning ahead

Here we are again, at the end of yet another tumultuous year on Gaia, our beloved planet Earth. Would you not agree that a whole lot happened for us humans this year? 2015 has been a year of action, and incredible energy by humanity. Many of us have awakened in a whole new way this year, and realized that the only way through the catastrophic mess we currently find ourselves in is by standing up, standing with, raising our voices, our fists, carrying signs and taking ourselves to the streets.

We are speaking out and fighting back against the powers that have kept humanity enslaved like never before in human memory.

To everyone who helped take a stand for Earth, for Nature, and for Humanity, I congratulate and thank you. We fought the Good Fight this year, and we will be continuing with even greater intensity in the year to come.

The following is an excerpt from a beautiful letter written by Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace. He is stepping down as director after holding that position for the past six years. He writes,

Greenpeace had me stepping out of my comfort zone many times. And that, of course, is the place where you learn the most about yourself, when you stand at that line between courage and fear, weighing personal risk against what you believe to be right. I’ve spoken to so many of you who have had the same experience. People who spoke out, or stood up, who volunteered or took some small step or giant leap for the sake of a better future. So often those steps and leaps take us beyond what we thought we’d ever do – either because we were inspired, or angered, or feeling a bond of unity with others. If anything Greenpeace has ever done has catalysed one of those moments, we’re doing our job. We’re setting off a chain reaction of contagious courage.

For me, a series of ever escalating life choices eventually led me to a moment I will always cherish from my time at Greenpeace: the boarding of an oil rig in the Arctic, having an icy water cannon trained on me as I struggled to climb a ladder to oppose the absurdity of Arctic oil drilling. Experiences like that change you. And by “like that” I don’t necessarily mean that extreme form of activism: I mean any action that disrupts your sense of self or your idea of who you are and puts it in a larger context of the human journey and the future of our world. It resets your notion of what you’re capable of. And in so doing resets your notion of what humanity is capable of. And in so doing redefines your sense of what’s possible.

I came to Greenpeace wanting to break the dichotomy between the environment and development. I knew, rationally, that there is a link between addressing poverty and human rights and addressing environmental injustice and climate injustice. But my time with Greenpeace drove this awareness deeper into my heart. Once you see it, you can’t stop seeing it. From the woman who can no longer fish the African coasts for her family because European factory trawlers have emptied her seas, to the child in India choking on ash and coal dust in a village pillaged by the coal industry, to the infant breathing in toxic fumes in an electronic waste dump in China while his mother sets fire to a circuit board to scavenge components, to the devastated family living in a cardboard box after their home was destroyed by typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines: the people who pay the highest price for overconsumption and pollution are those who see the least benefit.

Greenpeace strengthened my belief in the power of nonviolent direct action and my conviction that civil disobedience is essential to addressing this core injustice, to bringing about a truly transformational change not only in the way we feed and fuel our world, but in how we think about wealth, growth, and value – how we reinvent the future in the face of what Naomi Klein has described as an incredible opportunity disguised as a crisis.

In the six years I’ve been with Greenpeace, we’ve secured so many victories – from Shell’s decision to abandon Arctic Drilling to Italian energy giant ENEL’s turning its back on fossil fuels. From dozens of major retailers agreeing to Detox their clothing lines to agreements with major deforesters to end peatland destruction in Indonesia. From Facebook’s agreement to friend renewable energy to new Marine Reserves that have increased the size of our protected waters. But these are but small contributions to the vast changes that a far wider movement is driving – from the unprecedented court decision in the Netherlands that the government is negligent of its duty to protect its people if it doesn’t cut CO2 by 25% by 2020 – driven by tiny NGO Urgenda – to Elon Musk’s decision to open source the design of the Tesla electric car and the PowerWall smart battery, to crowdfunding campaigns for oceans plastic cleanup and prototype solar roadways to new models in the sharing economy to The Guardian’s coal divestment campaign. I have found myself on podium after podium speaking from the same agenda of climate urgency as Sharan Burrow, the head of the global trade union movement. I leapt from my chair in celebration after reading the Pope’s recent encyclical on stewardship over the Earth. From every category of human endeavour, from every continent, we’re witnessing an awakening – an unprecedented conspiracy of courage and commitment to change.

My friends, I leave you with a final thought. As you look around you, remember what the history of the human journey teaches us. The greatest struggle we face is not inventing clean technologies or fundamentally changing the way we produce value or measure growth: these are small challenges compared with how we have changed the world and our own civilization over the course of the few centuries that we’ve risen up. I refuse to believe that the pace of change for survival will be slower than the pace of change for profit. In times of war, in times of threat to our families or nations we’ve found unforeseen strength, and we’ve done impossible things.

But there’s an essential ingredient. Without it, the burst of efforts and evidence of change that we see today will remain too little, too late.

That ingredient is hope. It’s the belief that change is possible.

I saw with my own eyes what happened to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa once people in large numbers came to believe change was possible. I look around today, and I see more and more evidence that we can beat the worst ravages of climate change. It will take fast action. It will take courage like we have never witnessed on a global scale before – from banks, from corporations, from artists, governments, religious and labour leaders, the charity sector, the billionaires, and from every one of us. Every time the world takes a step forward, be it Apple powering all of its data centres on renewable energy, be it Obama saying no to Arctic oil, be it your university’s decision to divest from coal, your neighbor’s decision to grow their own vegetables, your parent’s decision to volunteer for a cause, or your colleague’s decision to eat less meat – whenever anyone makes a contribution to building that better world we know in our hearts it is possible, we have a duty. A duty to share. To tell the world. To make that courage contagious. Make it a norm. Make it an expectation that this is how the world works. Belief requires evidence, and the stories we tell one another evidence our beliefs: some stories propel us forward. Others hold us back. We can believe that change is impossible, or too expensive, or naive, and consign the fate of this earth to death by business as usual. Or we can fight back. We can stand up and say that a better world is not only possible, it’s being built right now, by the individual and collective acts of courage of every one of us.

http://m.greenpeace.org/international/en/High/news/Blogs/makingwaves/Kumi-Naidoo-departure/blog/55151/?platform=hootsuite#.VnwaEgZ8xRQ.mailto

You_are_here

Dear Readers and Friends, I know there have been many moments during this past year when things looked very bleak, when it seemed that the Dark Forces (Star Wars aside) have had the upper hand in our world, and I am keenly aware as I write these words, on this Christmas eve, of the many millions of suffering humans on Earth right now. The needs of humanity are greater than ever, and the task of working towards ending war, extreme poverty, violence and strife feels overwhelming. And yet. Progress is happening all across our planet, by many thousands of us in a vast and dazzling array of human kindness, compassion, innovation, inspiration, and acts of will for what is True, Good and Beautiful. The Light that we carry can no longer be squelched by those who would keep us forever in darkness. The tide is turning, at this very moment. We are reaching critical mass for a clean, peaceful and hopeful future for humankind. Every time you give a positive thought, word, emotion or deed out, it reverberates into the human collective and gains momentum. Your words matter. Your thoughts matter. Your kindness matters, more than you can even imagine.

One of my great heroes, John Lennon, penned the following song lyrics as something for humanity to aspire towards. They are simple words, with profound meaning underneath. The more we can cast aside our cynicism and pessimism, embracing instead the power of imagining a world without border guards, guns, greed, wars, violence and lies, the sooner “We can stand up and say that a better world is not only possible, it’s being built right now, by the individual and collective acts of courage of every one of us.”

You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


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Replacing darkness with Light

Today is December 12th, and there is a lot going on here on Earth. You could say that it is a day when humanity is rewriting our common future, with an enormous amount of help from the spiritual realms.

On this day in Paris, many thousands of humans are standing up and shouting, for the world’s leaders and everyone else to hear. They have created a red line in that city, symbolizing This far and No Further on the path to Earth’s destruction. They have been telling, showing, dancing, singing and shouting during the entire climate summit over the past twelve days, in order that the most powerful leaders of our world will finally stop ignoring all of the science, the results of climate change all around us, and begin in earnest, the critically important work of turning around the machine of fossil fuel wreckage and destruction, embracing instead a Clean Energy Future for Earth.

There is no issue more important than this in our times. The activists in Paris are speaking for everyone and all sentient beings as they implore the world’s puppeteers to see the reality of our common situation and make the necessary changes, in order to save our world from sure destruction during the 21st century.

Climate_Justice_Peace

How we used geolocation to spell out a giant message in Paris http://mashable.com/2015/12/12/climate-justice-geolocation-paris/#vDMPmYpis05Q

Over the past twelve days of the climate summit, many positive and important steps have been taken towards this goal. Coalitions have formed, agreements have been made, conversations have taken place for new partnerships and promises of financial assistance for countries who are now and will continue to struggle with the effects of climate change on their land and people. Yet, with all the steps forward and good will shown, they are keenly aware that much more needs to be done, and that the Earth cannot afford to wait any longer for real change to occur on a global scale. The red line that has been drawn there is also a huge warning signal: the time for switching from fossil fuel consumption to clean energy is NOW.

From today, December 12th, through the beginning of January, we have a great opportunity to help our world move into a future that is peaceful, safe and clean for all. The way to do this is to carefully monitor our thoughts and feelings throughout the day and night as we go about our lives. Taking extra time to simply be quiet and undisturbed is a wonderful way to do this. As you go within, notice how your body feels, and what your mind is telling you. The goal is to catch any thoughts based in fear and negativity, and release them immediately. Replace all thoughts based in fear or negativity with a positive thought, for example, “I can’t” becomes “Yes of course I can and I will!” Please remember that pessimism and cynicism are very unhelpful emotions for healing the world. If you are feeling fearful or angry about the world, others or yourself, find compassion and empathy inside your heart and work with those feelings instead. The Number One most important thing each of us can do now is to replace fear with Love, and darkness with Light. We, along with everything upon planet Earth, is made from Light, literally. By increasing the Light quotient on Earth, we are creating a future based upon principles of Light, and eradicating the darkness that has had a death grip upon this planet for eons.

To the humans who would keep perpetuating darkness in all of its guises, including war, terror, famine, torture, brutality, rape of the earth and accumulation of vast wealth for the very few while the majority live in utter poverty and without even the most basic necessities of life, we have a strong message today: Your Days Are Numbered. Humanity is shouting for Freedom, for Justice, for Health, for Equality, for Peace, for Abundance, for Love, for Light…. for ALL.

 

From May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org, 12-12-2015

“This marks the end of the era of fossil fuels. There is no way to meet the targets laid out in this agreement without keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground. The text should send a clear signal to fossil fuel investors: divest now.

Our job now is to hold countries to their word and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy. Over ten thousand of us took to the streets of Paris today to demonstrate our commitment to keep up the fight for climate justice, while many more demonstrated around the world. Our message is simple: a livable climate is a red line we’re prepared to defend.

The final text still has some serious gaps. We’re very concerned about the exclusion of the rights of indigenous peoples, the lack of finance for loss and damage, and that while the text recognizes the importance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees C, the current commitments from countries still add up to well over 3 degrees of warming. These are red lines we cannot cross. After Paris, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to deliver the real solutions that science and justice demand.”

Payal Parekh, 350.org Global Managing Director said: “Our communities, our climate, our survival: those are our red lines, and we’re mobilizing to defend them. Paris has never been an end point for us, but a chance to get an agreement that will help us continue with our fight for climate justice, If politicians won’t keep fossil fuels in the ground, we will. Our survival depends on it.”

The red line symbolically pointed from the victims to the perpetrators of the climate crisis: the fossil fuel industry. It stretched from the site of the iconic Arc de Triomphe, a monument of militarism that houses a memorial to the unidentified dead from both world wars, along the major boulevard Avenue de la Grande Armée towards the business district La Défense, where the headquarters of several fossil fuel corporations such as Total and Engie and their financial backers are located.

The ‘Red Lines’ action marked one of the first major demonstrations since the tragic attacks of 13th November, which were followed by a ban on public demonstrations under a state of emergency.

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Compassion and sanity in the face of merciless tragedy

Like so many others, I have read and tried to understand the horrific events in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad last week. Many wrote words of eloquence, as they grappled with yet another situation of insanity and brutality against humanity.

Of the articles I read, nearly everyone echoed a similar sentiment: We must not let fear and intimidation, even in the form of extreme violence, stop us from our ultimate goal: Unity of humankind, as the people of Earth stand up and say NO MORE VIOLENCE, NO POLICE STATE, NO MORE SENSELESS WAR AND KILLING.

The People Want Peace and Climate Change

We want Peace, NOW. Whoever is the puppeteer behind the curtains of the world stage, orchestrating these senseless acts of violence in order to create chaos, terror and fear, The People of Earth have a message for you: You cannot win. You can send in your henchmen to terrorize, wreak havoc and harm, but you have, in fact, already lost. The Light is stronger than any darkness you can attempt to spread. The earth has entered a new era of Light and of Love. Millions of people are awakening and realizing that separation is the Great Lie. We sink or swim together, because in reality, We Are One. And more and more of us are realizing this each day now.

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All eyes are on Paris, as the Global Climate summit is about to begin at the end of November. As the leaders of France enact Marshall law, closing borders, and arrests without just cause, some may think that the summit will not be held, or at the least held without the massive protests that have been planned for many months. But The People’s voices for REAL policy change in the face of the global climate crisis will not be silenced. Divestment from fossil fuels is happening. Millions around the globe have said no to drilling in the Arctic. Clean energy is gaining momentum, and it will continue in the years to come. The People of Earth are speaking. We will not be stopped.

My heart and prayers are with the families and friends of all those who gave their lives or were harmed by the attacks last week. Justice will be served. My greatest hope is that in time, the puppeteers will be prosecuted and removed from power so they can pull these horrific strings of terror no more.

I encourage everyone who can, to pull together in solidarity with each other and seek compassion and understanding, not separation, not judgement, not yet more warmongering. Let us now move into our true power as Masters of Love, of Light, of Peace. We are all in this life together. Let sanity prevail.

“We need global solidarity more than ever right now, and that is, really, what this movement is all about. Even as climate change fans the flames of conflict in many parts of the world — through drought, displacement, and other compounding factors — a global movement that transcends borders and cultural differences is rising up to confront this common existential threat.

Let’s hang on to that solidarity and love. Let’s learn from it. Especially at a time like this.

This movement for climate justice has always also been movement for peace – a way for people around the world to come together, no matter their background or religion, and fight to protect our common home. We can think of few better responses to violence and terror than this movement’s push for peace and hope.”  –Nicolas Haeringer, 350.org

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/11/16/news/paris-attacks-only-strengthened-our-resolve-activists-push-massive-climate-march


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Going to summer camp

Tomorrow I leave the city for summer camp in the Rockies. Excited I am, and also a little scared. The image of The Fool, that one who, white rose in hand, bundle of belongings upon one shoulder, is blissfully about to step off the precipice into the Unknown, is my symbol tonight: About to leap, in utter trust, and hoping for a soft landing.fool

The camp I am going to is indeed for kids, from ages 7 through 12 years old. It’s in a beautiful spot, high in the mountains at nine thousand feet elevation. There is a private lake, horses, archery, canoeing, and all the usual summer camp activities. My role will be in the kitchen, as assistant Chef. This means I will be cooking a whole lot of food for hungry kids for the next ten weeks.   I have the feeling we will have a good time together, with all sorts of forest creatures nearby, cooler, clean air and water, and millions of stars for company at night.

Dear Readers, what will you do with your summertime this year? It is such a brief and lovely season, the mornings so fresh and soft, the heat radiating everything and everyone by afternoon, and the evenings so wonderfully long and warm. It is the luxurious time of year, when humans can shed outerwear and sensible shoes, women wrap themselves in sheer and flowing dresses, men wear little more than a pair of shorts and perhaps a tee shirt, everybody wears flip flops or sandals, and as the song goes, The living is easy. Generous, easy and a little bit lazy…… like floating down a slow-moving river in a row boat, swinging in a tree swing, hiking up a gorgeous mountainside full of flowers, or any of the hundreds of wonderous occupations and diversions that one can think of to enjoy himself on a sunny afternoon in summer.

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I would like to suggest to everyone reading this post, don’t be in a hurry this summer, or so set on DOING….. rather, focus more of your energy on simply BEING….. enjoying each moment as it arrives, flashes like a koi in a calm pond, and disappears again. No other time of year affords such luxury of time to simply Be. Enjoy it while it lasts, love and appreciate the people around you as much as you possibly can, and most of all, love yourself. You have been working so hard at this game of being human, it is time to reward yourself in many ways this summer. Celebrate being alive, your ability to laugh, hug and breathe the air, feel water on your skin, smell the flowers, see the beauty of our amazing planet, hear the birdsong, taste wonderful, fresh fruit and vegetables from a garden, touch another being. We are all so blessed to be alive, I hope you love it all!!


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Negotiating the Rapids of Our Times

Today is a holiday in the United States, a day for remembrance of those who have gone before those of us who walk the Earth now. Some remember the soldiers who fought in wars, others remember people they have loved who have passed back to the spiritual world. Remembrance is a two-edged sword; it brings up many feelings that can bring us pain and sorrow, as well as joy and warmth.

Today I walked along the river again. The water level is high, due to all the rain we have been receiving this month. It is gorgeous there now, as green as it ever gets in the prairielands of Colorado. I stood and watched the water gracefully flowing around a group of old willow trees, taking in the simple, wild beauty of nature all around me. A little ways above where I stood, there is a waterfall that flows under a foot-bicycle bridge. As has been the case for many weeks, the water was mightily and majestically falling from the higher to lower section of the river. Above it, the water was smoothly and calmly flowing, then suddenly rapids, with foam and spray and swirling, and then the river again became calm and smoothly flowing downstream to where I stood.

How do you navigate the rapids when they appear?

How do you navigate the rapids when they appear?

This spectacle seems like a perfect metaphor for our lives now! There is so much energy flowing and swirling all around us throughout the course of a day or a year, it often feels that we get caught up in the rapids and must do whatever we can to simply negotiate them until we can again find a calm place to flow. No matter who we are, our station in life, or where we happen to be standing upon Earth, there are cycles of smoothly flowing and periods of rapid change. It seems completely unavoidable.

Franz Kafka reminds us, “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
( http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/franzkafka134853.html#E5CZPUs2jwwHbPQf.99)

Given this unavoidable conundrum, the question then becomes, How do we navigate the rapids when we arrive at them? Again, there are no simple answers for this (although some may feel they have THE answer to it), but there are certainly choices we can make that will determine the kind of experience we will have there. If we take the metaphor of the river, then it becomes clear that there are a few ways to traverse the rapids. One, if you see or know that they are coming up soon, you can try to  get to shore, and simply walk or climb alongside the rapids until you pass them and return to a calmer place to get back into the water. Two, you can make sure your life jacket is strapped on tight, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and go screaming down the rapids. Or three, you can just get out of the water before they hit, and sit on the shore indefinitely, refusing to continue. Are there other choices to navigate the waters of our life? Probably many, but you get the idea. Perhaps a key to navigation is reflection and planning ahead for what you will choose to do when the time comes. Or perhaps you are the sort of person who just takes it all as it comes, and can strategize on the fly. In any case, what we know for sure is that you will face those moments, with varying degrees of grace.

As I was watching the water falling over the rocks a few days ago, I was delighted to observe a friend on the other side. Mister Heron was standing on the edge of a large rock, watching the cascading water with his keen eyes, contemplating the fish he was sure to catch. I sat on my side of the river and watched him for a long time as he patiently watched the water, and waited. Sure enough, eventually he stretched out his neck very far and peered closely into the white water, then in one sure and quick movement, snapped his needle-like beak around a silvery fish. He stood erect and quickly swallowed the fish whole. He seemed very happy then, and after a few moments, flew up to a nearby cottonwood tree to rest and digest. Delighted for him, I stood up and clapped my hands, congratulating him on his expert fisher prowess. It was an inspiring moment.

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If I could choose what creature to be on Earth, it would surely be a heron. I have long admired these beautiful and graceful water birds, that can stand for so long, waiting so patiently for the perfect opportunity to catch their fish dinner. They are magnificent to watch flying low over rivers, and have such a spirit of grace and harmony about them. And they love to stand near white water, enjoying the rush of the spray and the force of water around them, utterly fearless. To me, the heron represents a kind of ultimate freedom while living on Earth, a creature of air and water and land: The best of all worlds.

Dear Readers, I wish you all a peaceful and happy time as you find your own ways of traversing both the calm and the rapids of your individual journeys. I honor each one of you for your contribution to the whole of humanity’s slow but sure rise in evolution. Each one of you is precious and important, and I thank you for being here. I see the Light and Love within you, and I honor it.


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Beyond unbelievably bad news for Earth

It is nearly the middle of the year 2015. In fact, today’s number date, written in European style, is 15-05-15. An auspicious date. In a telling year, in the early years of the 21st century, planet Earth.

The news across the world is bad. There seems to be no other way to express it: the news is bad and getting worse by the day. For anyone who is even vaguely following the reports about the environment, things really seem to be going from one unbelievably bad idea to the next. Today I read this article, regarding plans for a giganticly huge coal mining operation to begin in Queensland, Australia in 2017. The article, which ran in the Guardian, states,

“Massive mining operations are looking to plunder a gigantic new coal frontier in the Galilee Basin. There are 247,000 sq km (95,400 sq miles) of coal: a land mass the size of Britain….if the complex is fully developed, greenhouse gas emissions from the burned coal would top 700m tonnes a year, bringing irreversible climate change ever closer.

Were the Galilee Basin a country, it would be the seventh largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world, just behind Germany.

“”This level of mining would devastate this land beyond recognition. It would destroy any sense of connection to the land. We are afraid of being wiped out completely.” Adrian Burragubba (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/may/15/carbon-bomb-australia-the-new-coal-frontier)

And this story is just the latest in a huge series of connected stories from around the planet; connected in their common denominator of yet more, huger, uglier and more devastating environmental pillage. The Obama administration approved Shell Oil’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer, with utter disregard for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of human beings’ absolute opposition to this atrocity. Tonight I barely have words to describe the degree of incredulousness I feel regarding what is happening to our precious home, Earth. It is inconceivable that human beings living here could be so very eager and willing to destroy our planet. Completely. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, once these plans by the fossil fuel companies are in full swing, will simply destroy life on Earth, and probably sooner than later.

 

How can we, The People of Earth, allow this to happen? I ask myself this question frequently. And yet. Looking around me on any given day, anywhere that people are gathered, (say on the bus or at the botanic gardens or walking downtown, or sitting in a restaurant, or…) I get the distinct impression that the vast majority of humans in modern, urban society simply do not really even consider what is actually happening to their world, nor, sadly, do most of them care enough to do most anything to stop it. Many people more eloquent than me have written extensively on this subject, and the reasons why people seemingly do not care. This is from a short article from The Guardian, where the writer states,

“They seem to think there is some critical mass that, through the weight of belief alone, will get us where we want to go. As if when the numbers aren’t high enough, we can’t achieve anything. As if when the numbers are high enough, beautiful transformation will magically happen all by itself or people will vote for wonderful politicians who do the right thing. Too many of us seem far too fond of narratives of our powerlessness, maybe because powerlessness lets us off the hook. As we head into that most dismal of situations, another unbearably long electoral cycle, many who care about climate change will say that we need an elected official who will represent us or a great majority who agree with us. But we don’t need everyone on board; we don’t need one magic person in office; we need ourselves. To act.” –Rebecca Solnit, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/15/one-magical-politician-wont-stop-climate-change-its-up-us?CMP=share_btn_fb
Act-Now-Guardian-15may2015

I remember distinctly how I felt after I watched, with horror and fascination, Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth in the movie theatre years ago. The movie ended, and all of us in the audience filed out silently, in shock and awe at what we had just seen: Gore had essentially spelled out for all of us non-scientist citizens, what would be occuring during the years ahead if we stayed collectively asleep and did nothing to stop global warming. That was in 2007. Now it is eight years later, and it is coming to pass. Sadly, most of us are still doing very little or less to affect any positive change, i.e., raising our voices as often and loudly as possible to anyone and everyone who might hear.

Honestly, I just feel so incredibly SAD about the fact that the humans of the not-very-distant future (people like our children and their children) are going to have problems we cannot even fathom, to deal with on a daily basis. Right now we are shaking our heads at the crazy weather this spring, or feeling sorry for the people of Nepal….. then getting into our gasoline-burning cars and forgetting about it. People think they are just one little person, and their actions don’t matter so much to the whole…. but that is the whole point!!! Each little individual person, combined into a city, a region, a state, a country, adds up exponentially into a power, a HUGE power for good, positive change, or else for stagnation, decay, entropy and eventually destruction. The choice is ALWAYS ours, each one of us, every minute of every day. Not choosing to change or to speak up or to act is also a choice, it’s a choice to condemn the Earth to devastation.

Guilty-of-complicity

Dear Readers, I know you are each just one small human in a huge ocean of billiions of humans. But you matter, your voice matters, what you think about in a day MATTERS, and especially who you talk to and what you talk about, matters. We can choose to deliberately and consciously think about what is actually going on in our world, learn as much as possible so we are educated on the issues, and then speak about these things with people we know and people we don’t yet know, thereby educating them. Sometimes I fantasize about standing up in the middle of the commuter bus in the morning, and just yelling, “Hey, Denver!! Wake Up!! Do you know that Shell Oil is about to ruin the most pristine and fragile place on Earth this summer? And here’s why you should care.” I would probably get carted off to the city jail if I were to become so bold. But the way things are going, that may not be such a bad thing in the long run.

 

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