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..."

"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

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."
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:

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.