December 1st, 2006

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Good Morning!!

Jane and I are not doing our morning talk today, and will each walk with a friend instead.   It is curious because our 7:00 time was our meditation time.  We spoke, wrote, read, but now, in trying to cohere this book we work hard in a left-brain way to see what works.  I think we are finding that exhausting, so have chosen to give ourselves a week break and I am realizing what a relief that is.  We will still work on the book,  but alone and in our own time.   We have been so diligent about our schedule and that is key, and, as I say, I am looking forward to a walk to Tennessee Valley beach.

Chris sent me a wonderful gift that arrived yesterday.  I had mentioned that I am unable to read like I used to, so this is a book of photographs of wonderful libraries.   If you are looking for a holiday gift for a friend who loves books, this may be it.  It is called Libraries and the photographs are by Candida Hofer, and there is an essay by Umberto Eco.  The book is not light, and it is a delight.

I recommend it, and enjoyment of another incredible day.

"The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are."

- Thomas Dreier,

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A must-read book -

Chris's special friend Frieda's brother has written a book.  I decided to read it for that reason, and now, I say this is a must read for us all.

Aaron Glantz's book How America Lost Iraq is more than fascinating.  I cried this morning as I read his words, because he presents so fairly and kindly.  The whole situation is heart-breaking, as we know, but he brings it to us person by person, and swings opinion, like a pendulum, back and forth.

He was sent to Iraq by Pacifica as a journalist.   He was expected to report back with a certain slant, and he couldn't.  He opened his eyes widely to all sides, and he gives it to us here.    I am only on page 58, and I know there will be a shift, as, at first, the people did have expectations of what the U.S. would do to help, and, as we know, we haven't.  Perhaps, what comes through most strongly to me though is the idea that someone will "rescue" us, whether it is a political leader or a religious one.  We need organization to survive as a society.  We do need leaders, and we do need to feel and fulfill the words of John F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech of 1961.  , "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Kennedy said:

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. 

    My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 

    Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

I realize now Kennedy's words are interesting, because I don't think we questioned his use of the word God, and now, it feels like God has been divided into political parties, and that, too, is sad, though it seems now the Democrats are beginning to claim God for their own.  I don't know what happened to the constitutional separation of church and state.

Anyway, I think this book is key to read, because it shows how complex the situation is, any situation, and I think it also shows what happens when we reach outside of ourselves for relief, and maybe now Iraq is saying, strongly saying, they want to do it themselves, and they should be allowed to do that.  They worry about our influence on their children.  Well, good for them for that.  It seems like we have forgotten, in the pursuit of the "almighty dollar" that our children should come first.  They are all we have.  They are our future, and we should cultivate and nourish these tender, little beings entrusted to our care.

I find it odd that there is so much talk about "morality" in this country, and yet, the toys given to our children may not reflect the most basic level of that.  What values are we offering our children?   What do we want for them?   How do we speak to inspire their souls?

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Celebrate -

It is December 1st, the first day of the last month of the year.  Celebrate!!   

Have you noticed the light?   It is so clear you could cut it.  It is diamond light.  

I am enjoying the clarity and crispness.   It is jacket time.   Hooray!!
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Meister Eckhart radically revises the whole notion of spiritual programs. He says that there is no such thing as a spiritual journey. If a little shocking, this is refreshing. If there were a spiritual journey, it would be only a quarter inch long, though many miles deep. It would be a swerve into rhythm with your deeper nature and presence. The wisdom here is so consoling. You do not have to go way outside yourself to come into real conversation with your soul and with the mysteries of the spiritual world. The eternal is at home — within you

John O'Donohue, from Anam Cara

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Katy -

My niece Katy's email to me today ends like this.

     Don't forget:

            Live your life crazy and love every second ot it.

                         It works for me.  
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Elizabeth Terwilliger -

Elizabeth Terwilliger, or Mrs. T, as she was known by Bay area kids and adults, has died at the age of  97.   She was born in 1909.  Imagine that!

She was instrumental in starting nature programs and field trips for kids that took place in Marin.  I became a Terwilliger nature guide when Chris was five, and now, he is 29.   Some of the guides learned from her as children and came back to study with her as adults.  She led field trips and nature hikes for children for 50 years.  She was dynamic and clear.  No one who met her will ever forget, "Straight out for a hawk, and V for vulture."  Even Ronald Reagan and an entire audience put their arms out in the form of a V to honor Mr. Vulture.   She was enchanting and her work of preservation and honoring plants and animals goes on.   Her death does not affect that, and I am saddened to hear she is gone, and I honor how well her life was lived.