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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Labyrinth’s Prayer

Our Labyrinth, which is on earth
Elliptic is your name Your hospitality come Your turning be done  on earth As it is in the universe. Give us this day our contemplation. And forgive us our missteps As we forgive others their missteps against us. And lead us not into apathy But deliver us from hasty judgement. For yours is the journey The purpose and the story For ever and ever. Ah women And men.

(Infinite Power, Ekstasis 2016)

David Brooks, Abbie Hoffman & Culture

The meritocratic establishment, who overtook the Protestant values of America before the 60's ...  "created an economy that benefits itself and leaves everybody else out. It led America into war in Iraq and sent the working class off to fight it. It has developed its own brand of cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected." David Brooks, The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump, The New York Times.

How do we connect these different cultures in a way that enables people to talk to one another so we can learn how and where to move forward? How do we include all views in a way that makes sense? Does it need to make sense?

Feeding Big Man

Once upon a time, there was a village near the river like other villages, but in this village was a man - taller than everyone else. Jolly and bright, an optimist who could build huts, plough fields, catch fish too.
With each passing day the man grew more confident and villagers  more adoring and complacent forgetting their skills they focused on worship invested in hope, their eyes looking up.
So in awe of Big Man they planned how and when to feed, wash and clothe him,  elected chairmen who instructed the villagers of their duty
to keep Big Man strong and beefy.
Soon got so big he couldn't leave his house stuck behind the door, fearful chairmen marched up and down the streets in a solemn search for answers now that folk were retired, poor
keeping Big Man in style and manner to which he'd become accustomed, his appetite large and rich too big for his humble home, he demanded more – a castle or a mansion, while the villagers bore
the cost with their labour, health, and their v…

The Begat of Gratitude

To those who gave birth to my ancestors who told me stories of the world who showed me how to love it.
To all those who by accident and brief encounter brought me to some truth I did not want to know.
To those who, not knowing my name helped when I needed help and who received mine when they needed it.
To those who by commitment of their will have learned to write, sing, dance or paint the message we most need to learn.
To all those who have the courage to put their skill on the public stage to serve as doctor, lawyer, minister, teacher, publisher, scientist or social worker.
To those whose names I may never learn who clean the office, drive the bus, do the laundry pick the fruit and stack the shelves.
To those who have listened to another  when they needed to be heard.
To all who embrace their vulnerability and who enter into compassion.
For you are the names and the faces of my gratitude. <

Ground it firmly in reality.

This is the fifth action.

The reality is yours to own. You are the owner of your life and your truth. You are free to express your beliefs but not to dictate or control the response you receive.

If you call out to a stranger "Merry Christmas" and they say they don't celebrate Christmas, you can feel offended or hurt, but it doesn't mean you are being criticized for celebrating Christmas.  It doesn't mean that everyone should be Christian so you don't have to feel bad for not knowing that other people might not share your experiences.

Also if you live in a country that worships and celebrates consumerism you can feel annoyed because that is not what Christmas means to you. You are free to not participate in the shopping orgy and you can even mention that to one who does, but this doesn't mean you are being forced to give up your religious beliefs.

If you live in North America and you have a high standard of living because you are white, male and able-bodie…

Explain the mess we are in and means by which we might escape it

George Monbiot expressed it so well.

Is it reasonable to hope for a better world? Study the cruelty and indifference of governments, the disarray of opposition parties, the apparently inexorable slide towards climate breakdown, the renewed threat of nuclear war, and the answer appears to be no. Our problems look intractable, our leaders dangerous, while voters are cowed and baffled. Despair looks like the only rational response.

The mess is the outcome of a long social and political fantasy - that dictates man must be in control of nature. This false assertion has disabled his ability to reflect on his relationship to the world. He cannot allow himself the vulnerability of feelings beyond the will to power. 

Every decade he invents more gadgets, weapons, and things to believe in, to possess, to give his life meaning, and every decade he creates new problems, new crises, wars, inequality, prisons, punishments and propaganda - to avoid the realization that he is not in control.

This torture…

Create the story to resonate with deep needs and desires

This is number three of the five actions:

Once upon a time there was an old woman.  She had a home, a family, good friends, considerate neighbours, clean air and water. She had nutritious food. 

There were trees, birds, insects and small animals around her. 

She was well and happy most of the time, but when she wasn't she could see a doctor. If she felt threatened or insecure there were police officers and lawyers. 

To stimulate her interests there were art groups, there was theatre and there was music, shared interest groups for conversation.

As wonderful as all this was, it wasn't enough.  She wanted more. She wanted conversations on how to deal with emergencies, how to protect the shores and mountains from pollution, how to address climate change. She wanted to learn how to be an effective socially responsible citizen. She wanted to defend nature against greed and careless abuse.

She wanted to love and be loved. She wanted truth and beauty. And she wanted to do whatever she could…

Appeal to as many people as possible, crossing traditional political lines

This is number 2 of the five actions.

I have grandchildren. Actually I do not "have" them. They have come into the world, and they are young and vulnerable to so many things.  What I want is for them is to express the fully human and to explore their unique gifts in a society where life is revered and creativity enjoyed.

To that end I will give to the world what it has given me - an opportunity to thrive. My politics wants all life to thrive as much as possible.

My politics arises out of nature within my self and within the world. I want to applaud and encourage whatever expresses nourishment, whatever is good, inspiring, and supportive of good health.

I don't want an ideology for this - I just want to live it.

I trust the next generation will strive to learn and live to the best of their ability in a world that is beyond my imagination. I want to witness the development of the creative human spirit.

Fire fighters, medical professionals, political leaders, military perso…

Politics is about Humanity Not Just Economics

The previous post arose out of two articles, one by Chris Hedges "The Great Flood", and the other by George Monbiot "How do we get out of this mess".

From this, I isolated five "actions": 

1. transform our politics to include humanity and not just economics
2. appeal to as many people as possible, crossing traditional political lines
3. create the story to resonate with deep needs and desires
4. explain the mess we are in and means by which we might escape it
5. ground it firmly in reality.

This post is about the first one as you can see in the title. I plan to do the same for each of the five.

Instead of using grandiloquent language, Naomi Klein writes (in everyday words) from her latest book (No is Not Enough), and her "instructions" arise out of her commitment to facts. 

"Here is what we need to understand in a hurry: Climate change, especially at this late date, can only be dealt with through collective action that sharply curtails the behavior …

The Great Flood

How can we clean up a flood or restore our community after a fire? These questions are great metaphors for the survival of civilizations. 

We are flooded with all the reminders of our mortality in these crises, even if we are not directly affected by them. 

When fires burn our homes, farms, flow charts and plans, how will democracy or capitalism rebuild our world? 

The future requires more than a lego set or blueprint. It requires  a Restoration story we can all relate to, says George Monbiot.

Chris Hedges notes in his article "The Great Flood"  that civilizations in fits of despair and anger  "have unfailingly squandered their futures through acts of colossal stupidity and hubris." 

The ruins of great empires litter the earth, says Hedges, as corrupt leaders  "driven by greed and hedonism, retreated into privileged compounds ... and hoarded wealth as their populations endured mounting misery and poverty."

Channeling anger into wars, the people are without know…

Community Film Screening: Trick or Treaty?

Date & Time: 09/13/2017 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm Join members of Gabriola’s local chapter of Amnesty International to mark the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This feature documentary profiles Indigenous leaders in their quest for justice as they seek to establish dialogue with the Canadian government. By tracing the history of their ancestors since the signing of Treaty No. 9, these leaders aim to raise awareness about issues vital to First Nations in Canada: respect for and protection of their lands and natural resources, and the right to hunt and fish so their societies can prosper. A 2014 documentary by Alanis Obomsawin. Free, drop in.
Gabriola Island Branch of VIRL #5 - 575 North Road Gabriola
Gabriola Island #5 - 575 North Rd, Gabriola Island V0R 1X3 Phone: (250) 247-7878 Fax: (250) 247-7892 E-mail: GabriolaIsland@virl.bc.c

Climate Self Censorship

Beloved Community

On first hearing these two words together, I thought ‘beloved’ seemed too intimate for my ‘community’.  Later I realized the power of these words even as the word ‘community’  implies something too complex to be ‘loved’.
What is love anyway? Eros, the romantic exclusive love is what we are most familiar with, but there are other expressions of love.  ‘Philia’, the love of family and friends, and ‘agape’ the inclusive love for humanity. Beloved refers to that which is greatly loved.
The phrase “Beloved Community” was popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King who envisioned a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one's fellow human beings. (Ritterman, The Huffington Post. January 19, 2014). I heard it from a UU minister.
While capitalism exploits love for the sale of diamonds, chocolates and roses, and politics corrupts tribal love for war, King managed to address what he hoped might bring us back to a reverence for life itself. 
Different reasons have brought people …

Social Justice Made Easy

Do you wince, feel queasy if you see someone getting hurt, or worse, beaten up? Not in TV programs or movies but in real life.

Do you feel for another being if they are publicly shamed and you can see the pain their eyes?

Do you get angry when you hear  a loved one retell an incident that caused them suffering because of someone else?

Are you filled with rage after listening to endless headlines about accidents, wars, flood and fires, with thousand to millions dying because of the ambitions of a few?

If you answered yes to more than one of these - remember this is empathy. This is a part of your human nature that implodes in your mind and heart.

You were born with compassion. It is your birthright and the reason you have lived long enough to read this - because those who cared for you mostly had compassion and empathy, and because those who cared for you were cared for by others.

Social justice is a complex and complicated subject, and unlike car mechanics, changes as we become more…