April 2nd, 2007

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Good Morning!!

Jane and I speak this morning.  We feel the book is done, for the moment.  It went to an editor today and we'll see what she says, and yet, this moment feels so whole and complete.  I lit a candle and am savoring and I will print it out and read it perhaps in a special place to see how it is as a whole.  The work has been in pieces.  I suppose our work is in pieces, and at the end, we see the whole.

As I said, April is Poetry Month, so I receive a poem a day, and then, found myself motivated to check out Ted Kooser's columns from American Life in Poetry.  I choose this one today.

American Life in Poetry: Column 099


My maternal grandparents got their drinking water from a well in the yard, and my disabled uncle carried it sloshing to the house, one bucket of hard red water early every morning. I couldn't resist sharing this lovely little poem by Minnesota poet, Sharon Chmielarz.

New Water

All those years—almost a hundred—
the farm had hard water.
Hard orange. Buckets lined in orange.
Sink and tub and toilet, too,
once they got running water.
And now, in less than a lifetime,
just by changing the well's location,
in the same yard, mind you,
the water's soft, clear, delicious to drink.
All those years to shake your head over.
Look how sweet life has become;
you can see it in the couple who live here,
their calmness as they sit at their table,
the beauty as they offer you new water to drink.

Reprinted by permission of Sharon Chmielarz, whose most recent collection of poems is "The Rhubarb King," Loonfeather Press, 2006. Copyright © 2006 by Sharon Chmielarz. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
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Falcons -

Steve thinks we have a nest of falcons in a tree up behind our house.  I have not yet seen them, but am looking forward to their flight and fledglings.  

New Life!
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Full Moon!

Tonight is the full moon. 

This poem by Hafiz as translated by Daniel Ladinsky seems appropriate.


The moon came to me last night
       With a sweet question.

                She said,

"The sun has been my faithful lover
       For millions of years,

     Whenever I offer my body to him
Brilliant light pours forth from his heart.

Thousands then  notice my happiness
          And delight in pointing
              Toward my beauty.

    Is it our true that our destiny
          Is to turn into Light

             And I replied,

             Dear Moon,
 Now that your love is maturing,
       We need to sit together
      Close like this more often

          So I might instruct you
                How to become
                         Who you

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Hugging -

This is from Ode Magazine this month. 

An all-embracing education


    Students in Delhi hug each other every morning.  The new ritual is Indian officials' response to an increase in student suicides.  Some 4,000 students in Delhi kill themselves every year.  The main reason is fear of failure, a common phenomenon in a country where high value is placed on academic performance.  The daily hugging ritual - for children between 9 and 18 - is aimed at giving young people a greater sense of self-esteem.

    A representative of the local education department told the Times of India (Nov. 30, 2006): " We have observed that there is an increasing sense of worthlessness among kids which forces them to take extreme steps like suicide. And this sense of emptiness has grown manifold over the years as there is no one to give them a good hug, which makes them feel how important they are in someone's life.  We realized that each one of us needs a "jaadu ki jhappi (the Hindi term for "magical hug of love")  to start our day.

    Boys can only hug other boys and girls, other girls.

I am reminded of how in  Sweden teaching massage to juvenile delinquents has dramatically reduced the crime rate.  Imagine school days and work days begun with hugs.  What a difference that might make in our world today.

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Matthieu Ricard -

Matthieu Ricard wrote The Monk and the Philosopher, a book that emerged from conversations with his philosopher father, Jean-Francois Revel.  He has also co-written The Quantum and the Lotus, and Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill.

Ricard comments on how one becomes enlightened.

    "The mechanism with which you free yourself from the illusion of the manifestation of things - is called "freeing your thoughts."  In order to truly free yourself from the tyranny of the mind, it's not enough to identify or recognize your thoughts.  You have to learn to dissociate yourself from the flow of your thoughts so you can observe them from a distance. Then you realize that thoughts don't have any intrinsic existence. They don't have a life of their own. They are not flesh-and blood things that can hurt you.  They only have as much power as you give them."

    Do this often and thoughts and emotions dissolve as quickly as they arise "like a bird passing through the sky without leaving any trace."

    "At that point, you are completely in the freshness of the present moment.  The result is true inner freedom from suffering."

    Quantum physics and Buddhism coincide.  Everything ultimately comes from the same primal source to which it ultimately returns.

    "When the Buddha says: 'Emptiness is form, and form is emptiness,' it is, from a theoretical perspective, no different than the wording 'matter is energy and energy matter.'"

                And so it is!!   Enjoy the play!!

Ricard says, "The best way to improve your well-being is to concern yourself, above all, with the well-being of others."

                Step into the rhythm of that today!!

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Great News!

Justices: EPA Can Control Car Emissions

Monday, April 2, 2007


(04-02) 08:59 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.

Greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the landmark environmental law, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion.

The court's four conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — dissented.

Many scientists believe greenhouse gases, flowing into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate, are leading to a warming of the Earth, rising sea levels and other marked ecological changes.

The politics of global warming have changed dramatically since the court agreed last year to hear its first global warming case.

"In many ways, the debate has moved beyond this," said Chris Miller, director of the global warming campaign for Greenpeace, one of the environmental groups that sued the EPA. "All the front-runners in the 2008 presidential campaign, both Democrats and Republicans, even the business community, are much further along on this than the Bush administration is."

Democrats took control of Congress last November. The world's leading climate scientists reported in February that global warming is "very likely" caused by man and is so severe that it will "continue for centuries." Former Vice President Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth — making the case for quick action on climate change — won an Oscar. Business leaders are saying they are increasingly open to congressional action to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, of which carbon dioxide is the largest.

Carbon dioxide is produced when fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas are burned. One way to reduce those emissions is to have more fuel-efficient cars.

The court had three questions before it.

_Do states have the right to sue the EPA to challenge its decision?

_Does the Clean Air Act give EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases?

_Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?

The court said yes to the first two questions. On the third, it ordered EPA to re-evaluate its contention it has the discretion not to regulate tailpipe emissions. The court said the agency has so far provided a "laundry list" of reasons that include foreign policy considerations.

The majority said the agency must tie its rationale more closely to the Clean Air Act.

"EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change," Stevens said. He was joined by his liberal colleagues, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter, and the court's swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The lawsuit was filed by 12 states and 13 environmental groups that had grown frustrated by the Bush administration's inaction on global warming.

In his dissent, Roberts focused on the issue of standing, whether a party has the right to file a lawsuit.

The court should simply recognize that redress of the kind of grievances spelled out by the state of Massachusetts is the function of Congress and the chief executive, not the federal courts, Roberts said.

His position "involves no judgment on whether global warming exists, what causes it, or the extent of the problem," he said.

The decision also is expected to boost California's prospects for gaining EPA approval of its own program to limit tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. Federal law considers the state a laboratory on environmental issues and gives California the right to seek approval of standards that are stricter than national norms.

The case is Massachusetts v. EPA, 05-1120.

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A treasure of a book -

I just opened The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello.  Oh, my!    To entice you in, I give the first few pages.


A disciple once complained,
    "You tell us stories, but you never reveal their meaning to us."

Said the master,
    "How would you like it if someone offered you fruit and masticated it before giving it to you?"

No one can find your meaning for you.
Not even the master. 


Llwais the Sufi was once asked,
    "What has grace brought you?"

He replied,
    "When I wake in the morning I feel like a man who is not sure he will live till evening."

Said the questioner,
    "But doesn't everyone know this?"

Said Llwais,
    "They certainly do.  But not all of them feel it."

No one ever became drunk on the word wine.  

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Beatrix Potter -

I saw the movie Miss Potter this evening and totally loved it.  I recommend it.  I am still carrying the inspiration of someone fulfilling their dreams.