January 13th, 2008

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Good Morning!!

Yesterday was lovely.  We have a strong gathering of people committed to deepening our practice of Sensory Awareness.  We watched a DVD of Charlotte Selver.  She died at the age if 102 in 2003.  She was still teaching at 101, and the video is of that time period.   She always said we are our own teachers, and her final statement is that we don't need her, and I know she is here within me.

Our commitment is to practice for twenty minutes a day four times a week.  That means we actually allow ourselves to explore what our being wants and needs.  We live as a child does, a baby, responding, feeling, acknowledging, creating.  It  is difficult to give one's self that time.  It feels self-indulgent and it is key.  Alan Watts called Sensory Awareness, "the living Zen."

We also have a homework assignment.  I share it with you.

When you wake up in the morning, stay in bed and feel how you are waking up.  Allow the time to sense what is happening in you.  Explore if there is one thing you are grateful for before leaving your bed.  Notice how you meet the day.    What is happening in you, now, and now, and now?

Yesterday, we looked at pictures of babies waking up, so I stretched like that this morning,  an arm, an leg.  Oh, I have hands and feet.  How amazing!!   And gratitude.   Well, once begun, one cannot stop.

We walked down for coffee this morning.  The birds are twittering.  The sky was just getting light, tinging the fogs of cloud with pink.   I am grateful for life, my bed, yogurt, and a banana, my plants, wind chimes.  The list went on and on.  I am still tingling with how my whole life is filled with things to be grateful for.  Try it.  It is delight.

It is suggested we subscribe to:  http://www.gratefulness.org.  Check out the Word for the Day,

Brother David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who has created practice centers around gratefulness.  The practice of gratitude can transform you life.

I noticed so much more this morning, as I walked along grateful for the creative cheerfulness of the intelligent organism I am.

It's Sunday, a day of gratitude, pause, reflection, and rest.

Savor.   Pause!!    Rest!

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California State Parks Foundation!

t is time for all of us to either join or renew our membership in the California State Parks Foundation.

It is key to our physical, mental, and spiritual health to have as many accessible parks as possible.

I now know there is an Advocacy Day for State Parks in Sacramento on April 7th.  I am signed up.

Check it out:


There is also something going on March 17.  I need to check that out further.  I am just getting to all this, this morning, but I think the first step is for us all to support the California State Parks Foundation.

Imagine if that little park near you where you go before or after work were closed.  Ack!   Feel the pain of it.  I believe the trees know when I visit them.  What if I couldn't visit my plant friends.  We would both suffer.  I need to touch their leaves.

Check it out and sign up.  The time to speak is now.   Someone said yesterday:   2008 - Activate!!

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Join now!!

So, now you have had time to think about it.  The cost to join is minimal.  


Also, sign up for Advocacy Day on April 7th.   We can go the night before and spend the night.  It will be fun and is important to speak out.  Be sheep no more, not that there is anything wrong with sheep, who are gentle creatures who generously offer their wool each year.  Still, it may time to be a little more forceful and be the dog that keeps the sheep in line.

Happy Day!
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Part of the problem -

On December 21st, the Marin Independent Journal reported that a Belvedere home sold for $65 million.  $65 million for a house.  Imagine that!   I don't think we are talking home here.

But here's the kicker.  They will pay no property tax.  Why?   It is designated historic. 
One can just imagine what is left that is historic.  We just walked by a house in our neighborhood that is supposedly a remodel.   There is not one thing left that is old, but it means their property taxes will not go up in the same way they would if it were proclaimed as it is, a scraper and new house. 

I have lived in this house thirty years.  I am aware my property taxes are ridiculously low.  I am also aware that any dramatic increase would have to be phased in, or some people would lose their homes, and that would make the housing mess even worst than it is.

There are surely solutions, and surely the $650,000 in property taxes that this house should be paying this year and the next, would keep open a few state parks in Marin.  I cannot believe that the jewel of Heart's Desire requires much maintenance a year, but imagine not having the little sweetheart with its dainty little beach resting there awaiting our visits to restore our sanity and peace.

Come on, Governor.  Wake up!!   Right here is $650,000.   This cannot be the only loophole sitting around.

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Enough -

Here is a poem by Louis Jenkins from Just Above Water.

Too Much Snow

Unlike the Eskimos we only have one word for snow but we have a
lot of
modifiers for that word. There is too much snow, which, unlike rain,
does not
immediately run off. It falls and stays for months. Someone wished for
snow. Someone got a deal, five cents on the dollar, and spent the
entire family
fortune. It's the simple solution, it covers everything. We are never
with the arrangement of the snow so we spend hours moving the snow from
place to another. Too much snow. I box it up and send it to family and
I send a big box to my cousin in California. I send a small box to my
She writes "Don't send so much. I'm all alone now. I'll never be able
to use so
much." To you I send a single snowflake, beautiful, complex and
different from all the others.

    - Louis Jenkins

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Awareness -

Joan posted an insightful and well-considered piece today and I believe you can see the posting if you click on "Friends."  It is titled "Here we go - Groundwork for Implementation of Directive 51."    It is important to read and respond.

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poem on change -

The Change by Tony Hoagland from What Narcissism Means to Me.  

The Change

The season turned like the page of a glossy fashion magazine.
In the park the daffodils came up
and in the parking lot, the new car models were on parade.

Sometimes I think that nothing really changes—

The young girls show the latest crop of tummies,
          and the new president proves that he's a dummy.

But remember the tennis match we watched that year?
Right before our eyes

some tough little European blonde
pitted against that big black girl from Alabama,
cornrowed hair and Zulu bangles on her arms,
some outrageous name like Vondella Aphrodite—

We were just walking past the lounge
and got sucked in by the screen above the bar,
and pretty soon
we started to care about who won,

putting ourselves into each whacked return
as the volleys went back and forth and back
like some contest between
the old world and the new,

and you loved her complicated hair
and her to-hell-with-everybody stare,
and I,
I couldn't help wanting
the white girl to come out on top,

because she was one of my kind, my tribe,
with her pale eyes and thin lips

and because the black girl was so big
and so black,
               so unintimidated,

hitting the ball like she was driving the Emancipation Proclamation
down Abraham Lincoln's throat,
like she wasn't asking anyone's permission.

There are moments when history
passes you so close
                you can smell its breath,
you can reach your hand out
                    and touch it on its flank,

and I don't watch all that much Masterpiece Theatre,
but I could feel the end of an era there

in front of those bleachers full of people
in their Sunday tennis-watching clothes

as that black girl wore down her opponent
then kicked her ass good
then thumped her once more for good measure

and stood up on the red clay court
holding her racket over her head like a guitar.

And the little pink judge
               had to climb up on a box
to put the ribbon on her neck,

still managing to smile into the camera flash,
even though everything was changing

and in fact, everything had already changed—

Poof, remember? It was the twentieth century almost gone,
we were there,

and when we went to put it back where it belonged,
it was past us
and we were changed.

    - Tony Hoagland

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Peace -

Here is a definition of peace from Pema Chodrun.

    Peace - Softening what is rigid in our hearts.

    May it be so!!

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Condors -

Daniel Bianchetta takes wonderful photos of the California Condor, and gives information about them on his website. 

They mate for life and adults show their emotions through changes in the skin.

You can check out facts on condors and see some amazing photos at:   http://www.bigsurphoto.com/