November 19th, 2007

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Good Morning!!

Elaine sends me information on Tibetan Buddhism and their view of death.  I combine her words with mine.  


We, in this society, see the body as a shell, so that when the breath stops, the person is “gone,” but in Tibetan Buddhism, the body dies in five stages as the elements of earth, water, metal, air, and fire, depart.  Then, there are three stages where the spirit and mind leave the body.  It is important during the three days after physical death that there is a meditative relationship with the body and that someone is there with the body at all times.  Then for 49 days after death, the mind/spirit are still around and not yet reincarnated, so there is access to the person who died.  It is important to encourage them to move on, as they may not want to leave.


There is something refreshing for me about this view of death and I feel it to be true.  This morning I woke with a whole new relationship with Mitchell as though he has been assuring me all is okay and giving me a peek into his new world, and now, he is adjusting there and moving along in the ways that make sense for him, though sense may be an odd term in the new state in which he is in.


I feel peaceful around it all this morning, blessed to be sharing in his passing.  Of course, it is easy for me to say.  I am not his family, and I find reassurance in it for my own time when it comes.  We do have time to say good-bye.


My home is filled with the smell of Narcissus.  I planted the bulbs wanting full fragrance for Thanksgiving and it is here.  


I sit now in my own little hut of blessings, a castle really, but I am visualizing it as a hut filled with all my needs.  In reading the book on rivers, I am more aware of the streams within.  I also want to visit these “Blue Springs” in Missouri.  It feels important to know there is such rich color in the near center of the country.  The blue comes from the dolomite in the limestone.


Frieda has invited me to be included with her mother and bridesmaids to go up to Wildwood to check out the wedding site and begin planning colors and set-up.  I am thrilled to be included.  We will also check out some wineries along the way.  We will do that the weekend of January 5th.   Today, feels like the beginning of the holiday season as I begin the grocery shopping and settle into Thanksgiving preparation which leads to Chanukah, Solstice and Christmas.   It is a lovely time of year, as are they all.


Alan Watts said Charlotte Selver actually did what he talked about.


“She can take anything, the floor, a ball, a rock, a bamboo pole, a glass of water, or a piece of bread – and get you to relate to it in such a way that the harsh dualism of what you do and what happens to you is transcended.  She puts you in love with the simple fact of physical existence.”


Charlotte spoke of the full range of our potential, much of which often escapes our notice.   She was clear that there are no “ungifted” people.  “If we believe we are ungifted, we will find on closer examination that we are only hindered, and hindrances can gradually be shed, when we get insight into what has held us back and give ourselves new chances.”


We respond to our environment through “Four Dignities of Man.”   They are standing, walking, sitting, lying down.   Charlotte would invite people to lie down, and then, ask “Do you have enough room to lie comfortably?” “Can you allow the body to rest on the floor?”   Explore.


In this moment, we sit.  Feel your sit bones on the chair.  Is there room between them for air?   Does breath explore even there?   Does your head rise toward the ceiling like a tree and breathe?


Enjoy this special day of aliveness on the planet Earth.   Enjoy the birds and trees.






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Paul Krugman on race -

Op-Ed Columnist

Republicans and Race

Published: November 19, 2007

Over the past few weeks there have been a number of commentaries about Ronald Reagan’s legacy, specifically about whether he exploited the white backlash against the civil rights movement.

The controversy unfortunately obscures the larger point, which should be undeniable: the central role of this backlash in the rise of the modern conservative movement.

The centrality of race — and, in particular, of the switch of Southern whites from overwhelming support of Democrats to overwhelming support of Republicans — is obvious from voting data.

For example, everyone knows that white men have turned away from the Democrats over God, guns, national security and so on. But what everyone knows isn’t true once you exclude the South from the picture. As the political scientist Larry Bartels points out, in the 1952 presidential election 40 percent of non-Southern white men voted Democratic; in 2004, that figure was virtually unchanged, at 39 percent.

More than 40 years have passed since the Voting Rights Act, which Reagan described in 1980 as “humiliating to the South.” Yet Southern white voting behavior remains distinctive. Democrats decisively won the popular vote in last year’s House elections, but Southern whites voted Republican by almost two to one.

The G.O.P.’s own leaders admit that the great Southern white shift was the result of a deliberate political strategy. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization.” So declared Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking in 2005.

And Ronald Reagan was among the “some” who tried to benefit from racial polarization.

True, he never used explicit racial rhetoric. Neither did Richard Nixon. As Thomas and Mary Edsall put it in their classic 1991 book, “Chain Reaction: The impact of race, rights and taxes on American politics,” “Reagan paralleled Nixon’s success in constructing a politics and a strategy of governing that attacked policies targeted toward blacks and other minorities without reference to race — a conservative politics that had the effect of polarizing the electorate along racial lines.”

Thus, Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.

There are many other examples of Reagan’s tacit race-baiting in the historical record. My colleague Bob Herbert described some of these examples in a recent column. Here’s one he didn’t mention: During the 1976 campaign Reagan often talked about how upset workers must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps at the grocery store. In the South — but not in the North — the food-stamp user became a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks.

Now, about the Philadelphia story: in December 1979 the Republican national committeeman from Mississippi wrote a letter urging that the party’s nominee speak at the Neshoba Country Fair, just outside the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. It would, he wrote, help win over “George Wallace inclined voters.”

Sure enough, Reagan appeared, and declared his support for states’ rights — which everyone took to be a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.

Reagan’s defenders protest furiously that he wasn’t personally bigoted. So what? We’re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.

Why does this history matter now? Because it tells why the vision of a permanent conservative majority, so widely accepted a few years ago, is wrong.

The point is that we have become a more diverse and less racist country over time. The “macaca” incident, in which Senator George Allen’s use of a racial insult led to his election defeat, epitomized the way in which America has changed for the better.

And because conservative ascendancy has depended so crucially on the racial backlash — a close look at voting data shows that religion and “values” issues have been far less important — I believe that the declining power of that backlash changes everything.

Can anti-immigrant rhetoric replace old-fashioned racial politics? No, because it mobilizes the same shrinking pool of whites — and alienates the growing number of Latino voters.

Now, maybe I’m wrong about all of this. But we should be able to discuss the role of race in American politics honestly. We shouldn’t avert our gaze because we’re unwilling to tarnish Ronald Reagan’s image.


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Thomas Merton -

Go out from yourself with all that one is, which is nothing, and pour out that nothingness in gratitude that God is who He is.

Thomas Merton. Dancing in the Water of Life. Journals, Volume 5. Rebert E. Daggy, editor. San Francisco: HarperSanFranciso, 1997: 178
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Life -

Death is not the end
Death can never be the end.

Death is the road.
Life is the traveller.
The Soul is the Guide


Our mind thinks of death.
Our heart thinks of life
Our soul thinks of Immortality. 

- By:  Sri Chinmoy



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When ....

    When the power of Love

       Replaces the love of power,
             Man will have a new name:  


                         Sri Chinmoy

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William Stafford -

I was looking for a poem by Mary Oliver and one had been attributed to her which was really by William Stafford which brought me to him, and this website.   Check it out for more of his poems.

Here is one of his poems to reflect on, on this day of mist.

  You Reading This, Be Ready


               Starting here, what do you want to remember?
               How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
               What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
               sound from outside fills the air?

               Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
               than the breathing respect that you carry
               wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
               for time to show you some better thoughts?

               When you turn around, starting here, lift this
               new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
               all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
               reading or hearing this, keep it for life ~

               What can anyone give you greater than now,
               starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

                            - William Stafford



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William Stafford

Sayings of the Blind


Feeling is believing.


Mountains don't exist. But their slopes do.


Little people have low voices.


All things, even the rocks, make a little noise.


The silence back of all sound is called "the sky."


There is a big stranger in town called the sun.
He doesn't speak to us but puts out a hand.


Night opens a door into a cellar ~
you can smell it coming.


On Sundays everyone stands farther apart.


Velvet feels black.


Meeting cement is never easy.


What do they mean when they say night is gloomy?


Edison didn't invent much.


Whenever you wake up it's morning.


Names have a flavor.



            - William Stafford



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more William Stafford -


My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.

More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.

My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.


    - William Stafford



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one more - the one I was looking for -

Who could have known that when I woke up this morning, today would be William Stafford Day?   Life is like that, a continual play.

An Afternoon in the Stacks


Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.


          - William Stafford



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Hand-writing letters -

When I took in that the letters to Nancy Pelosi were to be hand-written, I was surprised and wondered if my hand could remember how to write, I do it so rarely anymore, and then, the experience turned out to be most pleasurable, and I realize there is no "record" of it.

It is what it is.  I carefully chose the card on which to write, and actually wrote different words than I expected to.  There was something about the pen in my hand and the picture on the card that shifted something in me.  I was clear, gentle, calm. 

I think it is important that we hand-write at times.  It is so easy to spill out copies on the computer, and print, and store and file, and this was much more  pleasurable than that.  I liked placing a stamp on the envelope, a stamp of love.

Let us continue to write hand-written letters to our representatives, rather than just quickly signing with Move On, or whoever it is requesting our name in the moment.

On that note, you can mail your hand-written letter directly to Nancy Pelosi.  Cindy Sheehan is making a statement that does not need to be yours.

Happy holding a pen in your hand, as I obviously am not doing in this moment.