Saturday, October 29, 2005


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,

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, via, 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

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


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 ~

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.