Saturday, December 24, 2005

everything is waiting

My friend Bruce said something in an ImagineCascadia (more on that another time) email conversation that reminded me of this favorite poem by Whidbey Island poet David Whyte :

(I first got to hear David recite this in his wonderful and inimitable style during a conversational presentation that was recorded and is available as "A Change for the Better: Poetry & the Reimagination of Midlife"):


EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU
(After Derek Mahon)

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

NJ teasing the Pacific

Friday, December 23, 2005

sugared ice

The hummingbird feeder outside our dining room window had ice in it the other day! But only partially, and only till the afternoon. The hummingbirds who live in our neighborhood are the most audible birds around at this time of year, with their chp chp chp chp chp coming from various high-up places.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An Improbable Prayer

From Phelim McDermott, artistic co-director of Improbable, a theater company in the UK-- an open space manifesto from before he knew about "open space":

An Improbable Prayer.


We will say we don’t know when we don’t know.

We will say we are scared when we are scared.

We will not pretend everything is ok when it isn’t.

We will never ask a performer to do something we wouldn’t be prepared to do ourselves.

We love performers.

We believe they often know more than the director.

We love the audience.

We believe they often know more than either the performers or the director.

Anyone is free to leave at anytime.

It is better to leave than to be there and not really be present.
If someone leaves we will do it.

A comedy store joke in serious theatre is just as valuable as serious theatre at the comedy store.
We will never do something just to be different.

We will be prepared to be obvious.
When things get scary we will stay awake.

When things get scary we will look after each other not ourselves.

We will have a good time.

The audience see everything.

Monday, December 12, 2005

metaphorest walk

With the light and warmth of gathering around glowing embers on a dark winter day: I am grateful to see that Chris Weaver at metaphorest walk is blogging again.
preparing for liftoff

it is the night of la guadalupana
and each one of a trillion brown oak leaves
(now on the ground) turns
his leathered elder face in a light wind
to face the sky, eyelids closed beneath
the endless black branches of his mother
tree as she swings under the clouds,
each old face awaiting a kiss
from a snowflake, spiraling
downward from the unseen stars,
a gift

for a job well done

posted by chris weaver dec 11 2005

Sunday, December 04, 2005

gratitude experiment

My friend Emma sent me the link to Stacey Robyn's very sweet Go Gratitude Experiment, a "journey together into the core of Gratitude," which begins with this brief flash video.

Inspired by Masaru Emoto's photos of water crystals, which he says are evidence of water taking on the shape of the intentions and energies poured into it, Stacey Robyn describes her vision of:
"... a wake of Gratitude rolling across our planet, re-connecting our water bodies to Love . Passed person to person, heartbeat by heartbeat, this wake would roll through our bodies - mostly water - to create a massive tide of change by simply focusing on Gratitude."


gratitude-water-crystal
masaru emoto

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

habitat jam


The government of Canada will be hosting the 3rd session of the United Nations World Urban Forum, in Vancouver from June 19-23, 2006, with the theme of "Our Future: Sustainable Cities -- Turning Ideas into Action.

As part of the preparations for the Forum, the Canadian government, IBM, and UN-HABITAT (the United Nations Human Settlement Programme) are sponsoring what they hope will be the largest internet conversation to date, the "Habitat Jam", beginning tomorrow, Dec. 1, through Dec. 3. Anyone who wants to add their voice is invited to participate, and input will be gathered and analyzed in order to influence the agenda of the Forum in June.

"The Habitat JAM is about adding your ideas into the global conversation about the future of our cities. It's about having your say on important issues that affect you. It's about building new global networks of people who wouldn't have connected before. It's about working together across the globe to find solutions to critical urban problems."

I think registration is still open, till 15:00 GMT (7 am here PST)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

devotional moon


Ready for Silence

The devotional moon looks into
the heart and is in the heart.

When the heart has a Friend like
you, the universe cannot contain

their pleasure. Anyone warmed
by sun feels courage coming in.

If grief arrives, you enjoy it.
Generosity: that's your hand in

my pocket giving your wealth away.
Yet you run from me like one

raised in the wild. Here comes
this strange creature: me, in a

hands-and-feet shape! The formless
tries to satisfy us with forms!

A transparent nakedness wearing
pure light says, Blessed are those

who put on gold brocade! You may
not see him, but Moses is alive,

in this town, and he still has his
staff! And there's water and thirst,

wherever and however water goes, and
the one who brings water. The morning

wind broke off a few branches in the
garden. No matter. When you feel

love inside you, you hear the
invitation to be cooked by God.

It's that creation the heart loves.
For three winter months the ground

keeps quiet. But each piece of earth
knows what's inside waiting: beans,

sugarcane, cypress, wildflowers. Then
the spring sun comes talking plants

into the open. Anyone who feels the
point of prayer bends down like

the first letter of pray. Anyone who
walks with his back to the sun is

following his shadow. Move into your
own quietness. This word-search poem

has found you, ready for silence.
- Jelaluddin Rumi

from the pure and beautiful exploration of mystery at whiskey river

Saturday, November 05, 2005

language of the divine

From Rabbi Marc Gafni of Bayit Chadash("A new home for ancient souls"), in the Dec-Feb issue of What is Enlightenment? magazine:

"...The Zohar says that we are God's name--we're God's verbs, we're God's adjectives, we're even God's dangling modifiers. We're the language of the divine in the world, and in that way, we become the voice of the meshiach--the messiah. Anything less than the realization of that is called, in the inner mystical tradition, heresy. The core liberation teaching of Kabbalah is that to be a heretic is to believe that God does not need me, that I am not required to participate in the evolution of God. But enlightenment means we participate in divinity; we don't just submit to it by responding to the evil and suffering in the world with a traditional theology or a theodicy.The ultimate response to the suffering of the world is, like that of the Hebrew mystic, to cry in protest and to let that protest translate into action. I call this nondual humanism, which means that I participate in God's evolving self, now.

As the great nineteenth-century Hasidic master Nachman of Bratzlav implied, the most important thing in the world is to be willing to give up who you are for who you might become. He calls this process the giving up of pnini, which literally means "what is within." For Nachman, that means the old, familiar thing that comforts even when it no longer serves--and that can include our spirituality and religion, and even the very core way we understand our relationship to the divine ground of being..."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

kaffeeklatsch with god

I Got Kin

Plant
So that your own heart
Will grow.

Love
So God will think,

"Ahhhh,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Rolls.

Sing
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Needs.

Laugh
Because that is the purest
Sound.

~Hafiz
version translated by Daniel Ladinsky, The Gift


macchiato,
the contribution to last week's Photo Friday
(the challenge/theme was
"Delicate")
from Andrea Scher of Superhero Designs

Saturday, October 29, 2005

heavenward

Strive each day to make your life purer, richer, and more luminous.
You will subtly and imperceptibly lead all of creation heavenward.

Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

from: Word for the Day, Gratefulness.org

Friday, October 28, 2005

garments of god

Rabbi Shefa Gold writes about blessings, challenges, and spiritual practices for every weekly Torah portion. This week we begin again at the beginning, with the first word of the first chapter of the first book, B'reishit ("in beginning," "in a beginning," "with beginning")(there's no "the" included in there, by the way). Remembering and reliving the energies of creation.

"Every Shabbat celebrates the Creation and thus the re-creation of our world. Creation begins with Light, which is
another word for consciousness. The Zohar, in describing creation says, "The silkworm wraps itself within and makes itself a palace. This palace is its praise and a benefit to all." God wrapped us within garments of skin (Or) which is Light (Or) made dense. Our journey of consciousness/Light leads us through embodiment, which is the palace of existence...

… The first practice is called, 'Seeing the world without its clothes on.' Sit outside in a place of natural beauty and power. Close your eyes and gently let go of every thought. Return to the knowledge that the world before you consists of the garments of God. With each out-breath, allow the world to undress, with each in-breath, breathe in the light that shines out from within Creation."



Thank you to Thomas for responding to my use of that phrase "garments of god" this morning by sending this beautiful Flickr photo by Willem Velthoven of a boy in Mumbai, glowing in his skin of Light.



Thursday, October 27, 2005

bet alef banner



These photos give just a little fragrant hint of this very beautiful and glowing quilted banner, designed by member Elizabeth Burton of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue, fused and stitched up by Elizabeth and more volunteers, and commissioned by a large proportion of the whole congregation. It was presented to the community last Shabbat. The Hebrew letters spell out the words of a core wisdom of Judaism: the Shema including the V'ahavta (declaration of Oneness and Love). Member families had the opportunity to contribute by "buying" one of the letters for the banner. Parts of the border are made from bits of fabric that have significance to people in our community.

I hope you will have a chance to come see it up close. You will be dazzled!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

every day a good day to help

It is almost the end of this "blog quake day," but there's never a better time than right now to send support to those doing relief work.

This blog-quake-relief-day was organized by Ash at Desipundit (where there is good list of effective relief organizations accepting donations; I also like Mercy Corps), provided with a logo by Sepoy of Chapati Mystery, and orginally inspired by Anna of Sepia Mutiny, who quoted the BBC news article reporting that
People in India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands are yet to recover from last year’s tsunami, but they are now helping South Asia quake victims.…A senior official of the Andaman and Nicobar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mohammed Jadvet, said the first consignment of relief materials included 200 tents, over a 1,000 blankets and three tonnes of biscuits.
and then suggested that "We have no excuse, when those who have so little are giving so much."

Monday, October 24, 2005

one place, one face


If I were you, and I am
I'd let the question take my hand
If you were me, and you are
You'd let the question take your heart

It's all one Place

It's all the Original Face

~Stuart Davis

Saturday, October 22, 2005

microcredit "loans that change lives"

From Worldchanging.com, via NextBillion.net, is the story of Kiva, a charitable organization that lets individuals make small loans (starting at $25) to other individuals in rural areas of the developing world (currently, they are all in Uganda) who have, or are starting, their own businesses. Since it's a loan, the lender receives the money back (without interest) 6-12 months later, as well as receiving e-mail updates on the businesses you choose to sponsor. Kiva was founded by Jessica and Matthew Flannery, who have experience in microcredit development in Africa, and in software engineering.

From their About page:
Kiva is the first and only existing option for you to make a loan to a unique microenterprise. No other organization offers the opportunity to loan - instead of, or in addition to, making a donation - to a real person and then get your money back. Furthermore, when you loan to a Kiva business, every dollar you loan goes to that business. Kiva is a very low-overhead organization that raises money offline to support its small budget. None of the money you loan goes to fund administrative costs.

Direct, real-time, one-to-one connection. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a microloan. They are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money. They will not receive a loan until a Kiva lender provides it. Our data is real, not representative. Once funded, sponsored entrepreneurs are diligently tracked and the real results of their efforts are propagated through email updates and on our website.

I love that you can read about the people whose businesses are being supported, and follow along with how they're doing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the bliss of with

The Bliss Of With

I
You have come to me out of antiquities
We have loved one another for generations
We have loved one another for centuries

You teach me to trust the voice of my voices
You teach me to believe my own believings
You touch the palpability of my possibilities

Together we reflect what our mirrors conceal
Together we upgrade the sun in our meridians
We remain open night and day to transcendence

You are incompletely disguised as a mortal
You are the eternal stranger I have always known
I saw your wings this morning
I saw your wings this morning

by James Broughton (also known as Big Joy)

and who said in an interview:

Most poets, like most people, try hard to be like someone they admire or they are possessed with an image of what they ought to be. Trusting your individual uniqueness challenges you to lay yourself open. Wide open. Some artists shrink from self-awareness, fearing that it will destroy their unique gifts and even their desire to create. The truth of the matter is quite opposite. Consciousness is the glory of creation. And remember Gertrude Stein’s comment, “It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much doing nothing.”

Sunday, October 16, 2005

pandemic flu, earthquakes, and taking care of each other

(cross-posted to Original Medicine)

Last week was Pandemic Flu Awareness Week, organized by the folks who started the Flu Wiki, which is an international collaborative project aimed at collecting useful information and guidelines to share with communities and individuals for planning and preparing in the event of an influenza pandemic. There is excellent information there on influenza history, epidemiology, immunology, etc., as well as suggestions for public health considerations and areas communities and individuals would do well to consider beforehand.


There was indeed much more information in the news about pandemic flu preparedness (or, in most cases, the acute lack of preparedness so far) than there had been before the collective mind had been put on alert by Hurricane Katrina. King County executive Ron Sims convened a Business Forum on Pandemic Flu in the Seattle area, telling the 75 attendees, “This is the one that keeps me up at night,” and "spoke of 'devastating consequences' and 'extraordinary measures' that will follow when – not if – the avian flu virus mutates to allow human-to-human contact and attacks the globe." There was discussion of, and lots of commentary on, the federal government's preparedness plan (still in draft form, not publically released yet) in newspapers and in blogs.

DemFromCT at The Next Hurrah suggests that "We don't all need to turn survivalist today, but educating ourselves about the potential risks and keeping up with the news is a prudent thing to do. Some preparation efforts will serve you in a hurricane, a blizzard, a blackout or an earthquake. The difference with pandemic flu is that everyone is affected, and that's another thing to keep in mind (you can't expect huge amounts of help from a neighbor state)."

and, writing also at The Daily Kos says, " So what's a reasoned approach? In a nutshell, plan for the worst and hope for the best. All this discussion, this hype, if you will, is designed to teach people that the reality of a pandemic is real and that planning is worthwhile and can save lives. it also should teach everyone in Congress and the WH that having an intact public health apparatus (as my Flu Wiki colleagues the reveres at Effect Measure put it) that it's core public health functions (surveillance, vital records, maternal and child health, substance abuse, communicable disease, immunization, etc., etc.) that have been shafted and need to be built up. First responders are part of that. We should have learned that from 9/11, another teachable moment, but instead funds to support them have continued to be cut."

Such an important part of an "intact public health apparatus" is the strength of community relationships and networks. Remembering that "primary care" and "first response" begin with taking care of ourselves and our friends and relations, at the same time or before we turn to "experts" and "authorities". Knowing our neighbors and neighborhood resources, knowing who might need what kind of support if all the schools and stores and pharmacies are closed for a while.

Also see The Emergency Toolshed at global villages for some good ideas (thank you to Lucas Gonzalez, an Open Space friend and a physician in the Canary Islands, for a lot of this information).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

new spaces

In just this past week, three inviting new spirit-infused community on-line spaces have been opened up:

The Easily Amazed Forum, hosted by Ashley, a place to explore, wonder, notice, exclaim
The Open Space Sangha group blog, hosted by Wendy, "A place to grow our community through sharing practices that deepen our experience of Spirit and Being in Open Space"

And the Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue On-line Community wiki web, a place to share experiences and to deepen our being in touch.

The timing of beginning to invite participation this week is very sweet:

This was the week of Rosh HaShanah, the beginning of the Jewish calendar New Year. "Rosh" means "head", or "beginning," and "Shanah" means "year"--but also, like all Hebrew words, "shanah" derives from a root, a combination of letters that has over time given rise to many words. Each word, then, is a mandala of inner meanings all connected to the root, and one of the root cousins of "shanah" is "shinui" which means "change"; one of the inner vibrations of Rosh HaShanah is Beginning of Change. (thank you to Amy and Olivier for this teaching!)

And astrologically, t's a charged-up time. My favorite astrologer, Eric Francis, writes:

WE ARE IN the interval between two eclipses. Think of it as a hidden valley of time; like a waking dream wherein our actions are more influential and symbolically meaningful, and where we are more impressionable. The intensity of the relationship between our individual minds and our environment shifts to a higher level of intensity, and the decisions we make have greater sway over the course of events. (read the rest here and subscribe here)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

wildpeace

From Joe at Panhala, a "bonus track" for subscribers, to note Rosh HaShanah, the birthday of the world, and the beginning of Ramadan, a month of special blessing (these potent holydays coincide this year and for the next couple, and then not again for another 30+ years).


What actions are most excellent?

To gladden the heart of a human being.
To feed the hungry.
To help the afflicted.
To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful.
To remove the wrongs of the injured.
That person is the most beloved of God
who does the most good to God's creatures.

~ Muhammad ~

Wildpeace
Not the peace of a cease-fire
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill, that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds - who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)
Let it come
like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.
~ Yehuda Amichai ~
(The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, translated by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

jerusalem is walking in this world

From Julia Cameron's Walking in This World:
This is a great happiness.
The air is silk.
There is milk in the looks
that come from strangers.
I could not be happier
if I were bread and you could eat me.
Joy is dangerous.
It fills me with secrets.
"Yes" hisses in my veins.
The pains I take to hide myself
Are sheer as glass.
Surely this will pass,
The wind like kisses,
The music in the soup,
The group of trees
Laughing as I say their names.

It is all hosannah.
It is all prayer.
Jerusalem is walking in the world.
Jerusalem is walking in the world.


Monday, September 26, 2005

words, water, plants, the heart, and the breath of god

Slowly reading--well, more like dipping into, being briefly immersed, then emerging and still wet slipping into the next:

Total I Ching: Myths for Change, by Stephen Karcher (thanks to Patrick's mystic scholar friend Steve)
Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism, by Rabbi Gershon Winkler (thanks to Jeff Aitken for this and many other wonderful things to know about)
Nourishing Destiny: The Inner Tradition of Chinese Medicine, by Lonnie Jarrett
my "birth portion" in the Torah, which is Eikev

there is some place where these all touch, and I don't think it's too far under the surface.

Assorted snips:

Karcher: "Perhaps the best way to imagine Change is as a stream, a living stream of images, words, emblems and myths that marks the Way of Water, the fundamental image of the Dao. It is a flow of symbols like the images in dreaming. This flow is described as wang lai, going and coming. It is a river of time on which the seeds and symbols of things flow toward us...This Way of Water began in a kind of divinatory practice known all over the world that links water, plants and words."

Torah: "therefore impress these my words upon your very heart; bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead"

Winkler: "The tree or grasshopper that you pass as you take your daily stroll, is therefore also the Breath of God. All that exists, is being breathed into being or it wouldn't be. If you are being is'd by the same breath by which the tree is being is'd, then you and the tree are one. Not the same, just one, nurtured into being by the same Breath."

Lonny Jarrett: "In health, these three--the heart, mind, and will--are one. The functions of the mind and will are transparent in communicating the nature of the world to the heart and the nature of the heart to the world. In illness, however, these three functions can be seen to act independently as the will initiates action, ignoring the heart in a vain attempt to satisfy the mind's desires."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

the season of earth

what does the fruit feel as it ripens, growing sweet and heavy with the juice of the sun?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

nourishing the fulfillment of destiny

Lonny Jarrett, LAc, will be coming to town next month to teach a continuing education course to acupuncturists. In his book, Nourishing Destiny, The Inner Tradition of Chinese Medicine, he says,

"A basic premise of Chinese medicine is to move stagnation before tonifying and there is no greater stagnation in life than having forgotten one's true self. Thus we recognize that nourishing the fulfillment of destiny is the heart and soul of our medicine."

"...Another hallmark of the inner tradition is that it explicitly serves as an extension of the practitioner's own spiritual quest and path. A foundational princiople of this tradition is that a practitioner may only engender a virtue in a patient to the degree that he or she is able to access that virtue within."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

helping enrich the field

Michelle and Joel Levey, radiant and soulful friends and mentors, will be two of about 60 professional facilitators working to support the interactive conversation portions of the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York Sept. 15-17.

From the statement of mission by President Clinton:
"...This nonpartisan conference will concentrate a diverse and select group of current and former heads of state, business leaders, noteworthy academicians, and key NGO representatives to identify immediate and pragmatic solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The workshops will focus on how to reduce poverty; use religion as a force for reconciliation and conflict resolution; implement new business strategies and technologies to combat climate change; and strengthen governance. Our meeting will emphasize dynamic group interaction to identify an agenda we can actually implement.

By identifying specific ways to address the challenges of our time and asking each participant to make a specific commitment to take action in one of the areas discussed, I believe this Initiative will prove to be a unique and effective forum for leaders and their communities around the world. What we begin during three days this September will continue throughout the year to come with coordinated implementation of our agenda..."

and,
"In my life now, I am obsessed with only two things: I don’t want anybody to die before their time. And I don’t want to see good people spend their energies without making a difference…You can change the reality of human history by systemic action."

The coordinator of the facilitator group, Ruthann Prange, sent this request to subscribers of the Collective Wisdom Initiative listserv:
"If you are drawn to look at the website you'll see the issues being addressed (poverty, religion, climate change, governance) and the invited participants from around the world would certainly be well served by the wisest available collective intelligence. So please send your strongest signals our way on the 16th and 17th, help enrich the field in which the conference participants will be working. And help those of us physically present to BE present, intentional about holding the space, and freed from our personal advocacy positions so that we can support emergent collective intelligence.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

"the beginning of the end?"

Michael Herman writes:
"...If 9-11 made it all too clear that we are actually part of the rest of the world, Katrina (if not already Iraq) will teach us that we are not in control of much of it.

The only solution must be an active cultivation of individual, personal and direct responsibility and contribution. Everybody pays attention. Everybody helps out. Everybody is responsible for getting and keeping themselves out of danger. And everything that the federal government does is gravy.

And to be clear, I don’t see this as a step back, but a step forward for us all, albeit a long and difficult one to make. Or maybe it’s a very short one. What can you do? Who do you know? ...

We’re all in this together. And last I checked, despite the wobbling, we are still a democracy, which means we are the federal government. All of us. Let’s get it in session! …and get it in gear! This end must be our beginning."

From my little viewfinder, I see our clinic's health-care approach as a companion trail to Michael's track forward--we think of "self-care as true primary care," along with taking care of each other, our family and friends and community. As that (when that? if that?) becomes the norm, then our role as health-caring professionals could be much more of a supportive role, much more education-oriented, our strongest interventions needed much less frequently. The kinds of things we so often do now--our diagnostics and treatments of situations that could have been prevented by "paying attention" and "active cultivation of individual, personal and direct responsibility and contribution" --could be gravy, too. (Or dessert) One little piece of the compelling call to learn and practice personal responsiblity and contribution.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

http://www.hurricanehousing.org

My friend Victor shared a story from his colleague, Debra, who lives in Texas:
"We moved to Austin from New Orleans last year so we have many, many ties to the folks there. Some of the poorer inner-city kids that I taught in New Orleans called me and told me that four families pooled their money and their two cars and just drove as far as they could go until their money ran out. Only one person in the two cars had ever been out of New Orleans before. Lost, stranded, no money, scared and no homes to return to. The scope of their pain is more than I can even understand.

I am trying to make my home open to as many as I can. I think that one of the best things that folks can do is to "adopt a family" and share their homes. There will be literally hundreds of thousands of folks who are now homeless, jobless, and isolated from friends, family and all support systems."

MoveOn.org
has organized a housing share connection project:
Tens of thousands of newly homeless families are being bused to a stadium in Houston, where they may wait for weeks or months. At least 80,000 are competing for area shelters, and countless more are in motels, cars, or wherever they can stay out of the elements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are scrambling to find shelter for the displaced.

This morning, we've launched an emergency national housing drive to connect your empty beds with hurricane victims who desperately need a place to wait out the storm. You can post your offer of housing (a spare room, extra bed, even a decent couch) and search for available housing online at:

http://www.hurricanehousing.org

Housing is most urgently needed within reasonable driving distance (about 300 miles) of the affected areas in the Southeast, especially New Orleans.

Please forward this message to anyone you know in the region who might be able to help.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

filling a bowl with water

Today is my day off, and waking early, I feel myself seeping full to overflowing (spilling now into this keyboard and then onto this page) thoughts and questions and things to do, filling any space opened during brief yoga and morning tea: remembering something I want to get for my husband for his birthday which is tomorrow, coordinating picking up and dropping off my sons who are getting together as often as possible with their friends in these last few days before school starts, getting together myself with friends I used to work with at the Bastyr clinic, for "high tea" at the ornate Victorian tea parlor. Planning for a practitioner meeting at my current clinic at lunchtime, and calling in supply orders and a CT scan order that I faxed last night that apparently didn't go through. Catching up on reading, evocative articles and essays , blog and listserv and forum posts, noticing I am not reading every word but skimming and buzzing through (hmm, am I even breathing while I read?). In the background, feeling live wires sizzling and waving and seeking to connect all the thoughts and questions.

And then sitting down with the newspaper and seeing New Orleans under water, a city nestled in a bowl filling with water. Sitting, then; my own small sense of over-brimming in perspective, now. Sending blessings, and money (I like the American Red Cross). More blessings.

Lots of blogging people are gathering resources and connecting and organizing information to help in a variety of ways (these links thanks to Nancy White).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

sacred advertisements and dionysian manifestos

A couple of random selections from my current favorite book, Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, by rock-star-astrologer "aspiring master of curiosity, sacred janitor and macho feminist" Rob Brezsny and the Beauty and Truth Laboratory:
"HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is our birthright. Receptivity is a superpower."

"Dear Gorgeous Genius

While you and I are together here:
Your favorite phrase is flux gusto
The colors of your soul are sable vermilion, ivory and jade

Your magic talisman is a thousand-year-old Joshua tree whose flowers blossom
just one night each year and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth
Your holiest pain comes from your yearning to change yourself in the exact way
you'd like the world around you to change
Your soil of destiny is peat moss
Your mythic symbol is a treasure chest dislodged from its hiding place
in the earth by a flood
Your lucky number is 13 to the 13th power
Your sweet spot is in between the true believers and the scoffing skeptics
A clutch of frog eggs from an unpolluted river is your auspicious hair-care product
The anonymous celebrity with whom you have most in common is the jester
who followed Buddha around and kept him loose
The question that perks you up when your routine becomes too rote is this:
What possesses the bar-tailed godwit to migrate annually from Alaska to New Zealand
by hitching rides on gale-force winds?"

Lots more, of all kinds, here.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday, August 13, 2005

global voices

From one of the originators of the very rich, illuminating, mind & heart-expanding Global Voices, which posts blog entries and photos drawn from dozens and dozens of blogs all over the world in order to "diversify the conversation taking place online by involving speakers from around the world, and developing tools, institutions and relationships to help make those voices heard":
...I come out of my day's worth of research with a sense that Global Voices is working, in a deep, profound way. Two of our major goals when we started the project this past December: create a space for global conversation, and have an influence on the existing blogosphere, ensuring that blogs aren't just about US politics and technology. That blogs from 35+ countries and almost a dozen languages are pointing to us suggests that we're starting to create a global space; that Blogpulse thinks we're one of 200 of the most cited blogs suggests that we're starting to have that influence on the blogosphere. It's not unreasonable to image that we might be one of the hundred most cited blogs by the end of 2005, a goal that would probably have a truly transformative effect on the blogosphere as a whole.

Thanks to everyone who's linked to, read or been influenced by the links Global Voices has posted over the past six months. Please keep tuning in. We really do intend to change the world of blogging to make it more global, more interconnected and more diverse... and so far, we're doing it. --Ethan Zuckerman

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

sufi rock stars

In the latest issue of What Is Enlightenment? magazine there is a short article about a hugely popular Indian-Pakistani-American rock band, Junoon, and one of their guitarists, Salman Ahmad. Ahmad was "the rock star" in a BBC documentary program called The Rock Star and The Mullahs, filmed in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, where public music has been banned and musicians harassed. A Sufi Muslim, Ahmad's question to the radically fundamentalist clerics: "Where in Islam does it say that music is forbidden?"

Here you can listen to some of Junoon's songs
(I especially like "Taara Jala" and "Ghoom Taana") and hear why they were called "the U2 of Asia" by the NY Times.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

knots of silk

This time of the summer is always teeny tiny spider time in my yard. Sometimes we find them in the house and toss them back outside.

Teeny spiders make me think of this breathtaking passage from David Abrams'
The Spell of the Sensuous, as he describes being in a lushly mossy little cave, refuge from a tropical torrential downpour in a valley in Bali:

"Soon I was looking into a solid curtain of water, thin in some places, where the canyon's image flickered unsteadily, and thickly rushing in others. My senses were all but overcome by the wild beauty of the cascade and by the roar of sound, my body trembling inwardly at the weird sense of being sealed into my hiding place.

And then, in the midst of all this tumult, I noticed a small, delicate activity. Just in front of me, and only an inch or two to my side of the torrent, a spider was climbing a thin thread stretched across the mouth of the cave. As I watched, it anchored another thread to the top of the opening, then slipped back along the first thread and joined the two at a point about midway between the roof and the floor. I lost sight of the spider then, and for a while it seemed that it had vanished, thread and all, until my focus rediscovered it...Whenever I lost the correct focus, I waited to catch sight of the spinning arachnid, and then let its dancing form gradually draw each new knot of silk as it moved, weaving my gaze into the ever-deepening pattern.

And then, abruptly, my vision snagged on a strange incongruity: another thread slanted across the web, neither radiating nor spiraling from the central juncture, violating the symmetry. As I followed it with my eyes, pondering its purpose in the overall pattern, I began to realize that it was on a different plane from the rest of the web, for the web slipped out of focus whenever this new line became clearer. I soon saw that it led to its own center, about twelve inches to the right of the first, another nexus of forces from which several threads stretched to the floor and ceiling. And then I saw that there was a different spider spinning this web...The two spiders spun independently of each other, but to my eyes they wove a single intersecting pattern. This widening of my gaze soon disclosed yet another spider spiraling in the cave's mouth, a
nd suddenly I realized that there were many overlapping webs coming into being, radiating out at different rhythms from myriad centers poised--some higher, some lower, some minutely closer to my eyes and some farther--between the stone above and the stone below.

I sat stunned and mesmerized before this ever-complexifying expanse of living patterns upon patterns..."

This is the image that came to my mind also when Dan Leahy and I chatted recently about all the professional + personal networks of conversation and practice and collaboration and collective exploration that we know about or are involved with, and how we might imagine them visually or map them. Of the several models that we have played with--geodesic dome with glowing nodes, living cells in organic or organismic relationship, a fluid territorial map where any two or more spots can be become instantly contiguous, and others--I am drawn to Abrams' powerfully-related experience of the spider world, to see it as a metaphor for all of the many kinds of world-soul restoration work that's being done everywhere I look. I love the sense of incredibly complex beauty and order that arose from the independent spinning of each individual spider, overlapping (and intersecting?), each web originating from its own center and radiating outwards. I enjoy my own anthropomorphic interpretation, as an aspiring web-spinner, that we can relax into trust, and rely on each other to come from our own centers to create an inevitably perfect and "ever-complexifying expanse of living patterns..."

Monday, August 08, 2005

good birthday poem

Another from the wonderful Panhala listserv, poetry matched with photos of nature and a music clip:

There is No Going Back

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

Wendell Berry
A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1993, I

Sunday, August 07, 2005

angel jazz

My friend Brad took me to Dimitriou's Jazz Alley to hear the genius liquid-angel-jazz guitar playing of Stanley Jordan. Stanley uses an old and still relatively unusual technique called "touch" or "tapping," his hands on the neck of the guitar the whole time, touching the guitar strings with his fingers flat, so that his dynamics are as agile and intricate as they could be on a keyboard. His beautiful and lush arrangements incorporated separate melodic lines for right and left hands, making music that sounded like it was being created by two, or three, virtuoso guitarists. Along with his own jazz compositions, he also played pieces by Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, as well as amazing renditions of O Holy Night, and Hava Nagila! His CD "Ragas", which includes musicians on sitar and tablas, playing Indian classical music--improvised within a form, just as jazz is--is gorgeous.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

"useless" praise


Word for the Day from Gratefulness.org
The more alert we become to the blessing that flows into us through everything we touch, the more our own touch will bring blessing.

Brother David Stendl-Rast

Thursday, July 21, 2005

summer in the garden



Some of denizens of the medicinal herb garden at Bastyr University (top is Arctium lappa/Burdock and bottom is Angelica archangelica)

basil for breakfast

Chris W replied to my email this morning, saying,

"i have cooking metaphors coming to me. i think i'll write a poem:

isn't every cook
a culture of her own,
how she knows mushrooms,
how she knows salt,

the lifelong gathering
of living ingredients, each one
its own astounding self, each one
a culture of its own, yet
in her hands
an ingredient

(ingredient is not a beautiful word
until i decide to make it so
by imagining a sprig of seven basil leaves
in your hands)

the other day i met someone
who cooked with many of my ingredients
in a completely different way
because her living had taught her stories
about what comes before and what comes after
the time of cooking, stories
i had not lived or seen or been taught before

and i let myself be a dry sponge
in the curious clear waters of her ways
and, delight of delights,
she experienced me the same way:
(wow, yes, look what you do, look how:
a way that no one ever taught you, your own
accumulation of ways, so precise to yourself)
so we're bartering mentoring time
hanging out in one another's kitchens
not a moment too soon, as we are called
to do our thing at the big ceremonial feast
whose wild glow is visible in the night sky
over the next small ridge"