January 17th, 2008

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Good Morning!

The sun is shining and I am in a great mood despite so much that surrounds we who inhabit this planet.  I feel like calling out to the ghost of Art Hoppe.  We need your columns now.  Keep Gabriel from blowing the trumpet on we vulnerable, stumbling, goofy, sad, fearful, kind, joyful human beings.

My immediate family all does well though and I just checked out my son's bio on his company website.  I am impressed.   He graduated from UCSD with a major in film and has made some good ones, short, of course, and now, he is "Director of Field Engineering" and fifth on the list of "people who do" at Solar City.  I am trying to be humble in my pride.  It has nothing to do with me, and yet, I know how conscientious he is, how sensitive and it gives me hope for the world.  We WILL counteract this environmental mess, and I know solar power may not be the ultimate answer but it is a step.  

Here is Jon Carroll on the nuttiness of politics, and now I wonder if nuttiness is the right word.   Do these people so want to be president that they shoot themselves and the rest of us in the foot?   Let's have some sanity and let go of greed.   What matters?   What ultimately matters?   Is it really that difficult to figure out?


Enjoy this day.  If you live where I live, it could be spring.

There has been such a churning of chain saw these days since the storm, I am surprised there are any trees left, and yet I look out on trees, wonderfully friendly ones, and one house with a chimney sending up smoke.  It could be a train of the past, chugging and chanting like a horse.   The world is so dear.

I give thanks for life and generosity in all its myriad and enchanting forms.

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Heron Dance!

Here is Rod MacIver again today.   I put in bold the parts I think are most important to ask ourselves each day.

Dear Heron Dancers,

Do you know someone, or maybe more than one person, who goes through life shining a bright light, who touches the lives of others and makes them feel better? Do you know someone who radiates love, understanding, acceptance—who radiates in a quiet way without preaching or condemning? I do. She too has a dark side, but it is obscured by a very bright inner light.

I remember the walk in the woods during which I decided to start Heron Dance. It was snowing, just like it is here today in Vermont. I walked up a hill on an old logging road and about half-way up I got this vision of who the publication would serve. I imagined a woman about 40 years old standing at her kitchen sink doing the dishes. She struggled with a lot of things—bills, keeping her family happy, the day-to-day struggles that we all share—but more than anything she wanted to shine her light. She wanted to live with love in her heart, and be a kind and generous person. She wanted to focus her life around what she thought of as truly important. She got a deep satisfaction from her relationship with nature.

I’ve been thinking back this morning over the roughly fourteen years since I started the publication and how I’ve frequently meandered away from that original vision. It is kind of like trying to walk a straight line by looking at your feet rather than a point off in the distance. If you walk in the snow, then you can look back and see how much you wavered. On the positive side, I’ve never lost my faith in the importance of that distant point, and I’ve known from a feeling deep down inside when I was walking towards it with faith and confidence. That feeling is one of centeredness, of balance, of inner warmth.

If I take five deep, slow breaths, and ask myself whether or not I’m on the right track, I get a crystal clear answer back. A feeling of distress, anger, unease or sadness tells me that I’m on the wrong track. At times like this, I ask myself: What is scaring me that I don’t want to confront? What question am I avoiding? What question am I keeping from myself because I am afraid of what the answer will direct me towards? Is there a change I’m trying to avoid?

In celebration of the Great Dance of Life,

Rod MacIver

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Poem, perhaps, for myself -

Desire to Help a Friend


Mary Oliver begins a poem,


“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.


Make of yourself a light.

Did he mean a lamp with a shade

or modern with glass, incandescent bulbs

or fluorescent, energy-saving,

pink, red, yellow, white,

or did he mean the light of breaking day

and why do we say breaking.

There is no clatter or crash,

or perhaps there is, inside,

and there is you, Dear Friend

who I vow to help

and if I said to make of yourself a light

what would that do

to the pain you feel right now.

Should I become the light

or advise you to become the light

or both?   Two lights.


Where, then, is a place for darkness,

for rest. 


I’ll be the light for now, shining like the sun.

Your work is to be the cloud, wafting gently,

like the paint on a fan.


Beneath the cloud, the earth grows

and falls apart.


Flowers reach their petals and spread,

jewelry cases for dew.


Use your vapor like clay, form hands,

that hug,

and let go.


Open as lace,

grab a tree and attach,

escape the fate of the stream.


Be moss, soft green.

Let fear dry like water pulled from clothes,

into air.


The masses don’t need you right now.

Your ache is bare

and your lair

is cleansed

with dream’s

nubile rings.


Clasp trees, sky, earth and clouds. 

Root there,

in the buttons,

that open and close,

the skin so thin we wear. 


Take care of you,

and in that, the world

we share.



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"those kids today"

2,400 years ago, Plato wrote, 

    “The children now love luxury.  “They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

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easy as Rumi -



Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

- Rumi

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Intentions of kindness -

There is an article in the New Yorker by Lauren Collins on Megan Meier and her suicide at the age of thirteen because of a "hoax" on MySpace. 

We don't say guns are "bad," because some people choose to kill other people with them.  A gun is a tool.  MySpace is also a tool, and one that can also be cruelly and fatally used.   The problem is with the user and I'm not sure where we begin to in addressing that.   One might say schools, yet their job of teaching ethics seems to be slipping down in place.  The church might once have held an ethical hand, and yet, one must ask if it now returns enough benefit to society to explain its non-taxable base, and some do.   Parents should be the teachers, the guides, but in the case of Megan, a parent of another child was involved.  There was no leadership there. 

There is also an article, a book review on a book on the Civil War.  Marketing mourning clothes and objects became a business.  The widow needed fashion even in her grief, or so she was told.  People die in the most bizarre ways in any war and time, and yet, in the Civil War sometimes they just stood on opposite sides and shot at each other.  It is impossible to imagine what leads to that.  Peer pressure, I suppose.  A desire to be part of the group, the tribe, the clan.  We are willing to die for ideals, for family, friends, for way of life.   That is part of our empathy, imagination, our programming to evolve the group, even at the expense of the individual.

How do we feel and honor this connectedness now that there is less need for such a physical fight, at least in this country, in this moment.  The words of the Dalai Lama come to me. "My religion is kindness."   Perhaps, stamping those words on the insides of our foreheads might lead to the change we want to see in the world.  It is to consider each moment what it is to live a religion of kindness, to others and ourselves, to team up for support.
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from The Nation -

One wonders what is up with the New York Times. 

Eyal Press reports this in The Nation:

    The war in Iraq may have cost 3,900 US soldiers their lives, destroyed America's reputation abroad and turned George W. Bush into one of the most unpopular presidents in history, but it has proved curiously beneficial to one group of people: the pundits who promoted it.

    Nobody has been rewarded more generously than William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, neocon extraordinaire and, now, weekly columnist for the New York Times.  Some might imagine that slavishly endorsing the lies of the Bush administration might tarnish the credibility of a commentator on foreign affairs.  But Kristol, who before this had been a columnist at Time magazine (which declined to renew his contract) and who is a regular feature on the TV pundit circuit, is the latest proof to the contrary.  What might have inspired the Times to sign him up?  The paper's owners apparently felt that having one neoconservative op-ed columnist who supported the war, David Brooks, was not enough. And they apparently felt a more forgiving mood than the man they decided to hire.  In 2006 Kristol suggested that the Justice Department should prosecute the Times for reporting on a secret Bush Administration program to monitor international banking.  In 2003 he dismissed the paper of record as "irredeemable," something his own reputation, clearly, is not.