June 5th, 2008

alan - joshua tree bloom

Good Morning!!

I sit treasured in my day and thoughts of yesterday even as I read the news, trying to, wanting to stay with the peace I feel inside, the reaching into essence, and balancing that with awareness of the news....

Joan posted the following along with the poem by John Donne - For Whom the Bell Tolls. I place her post here because it is perhaps the most important issue of our time. I want universal health care, but I realize that without free, honest, and open speech we have nothing, and it is more essential at this time to honor all our needs, not just the physical. What is physical health without the ability to speak freely, defend and be a voice for those less fortunate and unjustly treated?

For Whom the Bell Tolls

by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

The article is at: http://www.alternet.org/rights/86810/

Here is the beginning:

Thirty-four Americans arrested at the Supreme Court on January 11, 2008 were found guilty after a three-day trial which began on Tuesday, May 27th in D.C. Superior Court. The defendants represented themselves, mounting a spirited defense of their First Amendment rights to protest the gross injustice of abuse and indefinite detention of men at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.

Charged with "unlawful free speech," the defendants were part of a larger group that appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on January 11 -- the day marking six years of indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo. "I knelt and prayed on the steps of the Supreme Court wearing an orange jumpsuit and black hood to be present for FnuFazaldad," said Tim Nolan, a nurse practitioner from Asheville, NC who provides health care for people with HIV.

Defendants and witnesses argued that they did not expect to be arrested at the Supreme Court, "an internationally known temple to free speech." Ashley Casale, a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, told the court, "I am 19 -- the youngest person in this courtroom--and I come on behalf of all the prisoners at Guantanamo who were younger than I am now when they were detained. According to the U.S. Constitution we have a right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and Guantanamo Bay prison is beyond grievous."

Historian Michael S. Foley, a professor at the City University of New York, teaches the U.S. Constitution to undergraduates. He testified that if "you told me that the defendants would be arrested for 'unlawful free speech' just twenty feet from where the Justices decide First Amendment cases, I'd say you were 'crazy.'"
alan's marigolds


There is an article in the NY Times today on how if you want a garden, you have to do some pest eradication. Killing may be part of the game.  It is difficult to ally our ethics with removal of bunnies, deer, raccoons, and porcupines.

About two weeks ago, as we were cleaning out our basement, Steve was stung five times by wasps or yellow jackets.  I need to google the difference. We realized they had tunneled a nest under one of the steps, and because the step is loose, as it was stepped on, it went down and disturbed our friends.  Angry and frightened, they stung.

I figured I could just step around the step and we could all live in peace.

Then, the water heater went out. I warned the man about our flying friends, but he forgot, and was stung three times.  He was cheerful about it and I gave him my son's now-unused weight set in exchange.  

I suggested to the wasps that this was not how neighbors behave, and they started tunneling out next to the step. Compromise it seemed.

Then, Will came over and said he was not dealing with the wasps.

He walked all the way around the other side of the house each time he needed to go down below.

Then, Tim the painter came and by this time I had forgotten about my flighty friends, just being in the habit of stepping around their home. Tim got stung and, rightfully so, was not a happy camper. We called someone to come out and he came in the night, and now I see there are one or two flying around lost, but probably the problem is, in this moment, solved, and it all feels a little strange. We have a huge yard, and most of it we never enter.

A little compromise on the part of the wasps could have meant a solution more satisfactory to us all and maybe they are content to find a new home, a little off the beaten track, assuming they are coherent and alive enough to move on.

It is a big world, and when we each find and comfortably fit into our niche, there might be a space where each of us lives content and complete.

For now, I am watching the travels of a mole who adds new crumbly castles to my garden each night.

ashes and snow - wings

up-date on critters -

So, I check out wasps and it seems we had, hopefully had, yellow jackets.

Tim, the painter's ankle is so swollen that he can hardly walk and he is resting and painting is delayed two days.

We are grateful he didn't go into shock.  

I should have taken action sooner, been more aware, and it is another lesson in this art of compromise and the honoring that we live in a world of duality that requires awareness and action at times. 

I didn't want to kill them, and in this case, it was a mistake not to have taken an active stance.

Book Cover

Robert F. Kennedy -

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.

- Robert F. Kennedy, in a speech in Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

Today is the 40th anniversary of his assassination.

Book Cover

Contemplating -

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated forty years ago today. I remember it well as a man I was dating worked for Bobby. We shared an astronomy class and the final was the next day. My friend was excused, and I made it shakily through the test.

Last night on the way home, we stopped at the newly renovated Fort Baker. I had read the new conference center, lodge, and restaurant were open. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and savored the views. The feel of the space is completely different than it was, and feels so expanded and perfect for retreat.

I returned again today not to eat, just to walk and feast on the views. I saw a fancy bus emblazoned with www.parklinkshuttle.com. I came home to check it out, but service was discontinued in 2007 in the Santa Monica mountains. I hope the buses are intended for use here. They were sitting quietly alone.

I checked out Battery Cavallo today, built in the 1870's. A hostile shot has never been fired. Today, much of the area is closed to the public for historical reasons but also to preserve the endangered Mission Blue butterfly. I looked but did not see one today.

Here is an area that was set up for defense, now used to educate. The Presidio has been given to GGNRA. This area continues the gift. The Bay Area Discovery Museum is also at Fort Baker, and was overflowing with families. All is peace, in this moment, here. May peace expand and plant more seeds!
alexander calder

Thomas Merton - what a problem -

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sun nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed ... I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.

    - Thomas Merton


A book to buy and keep by your side.

I met Brenda Blackburn at the Writing for Change conference in SF last year. We each had a book to promote.

This year she used her vast knowledge and skills to pop a little one into existence called:

"Breathe - How to Keep Your Cool at Work (or anywhere else.)"

You can check it out at: http://www.brendablackburn.com/breathe-pocketbook.php

My copy arrived today and I read it through, feeling peace, ease, and the simplicity of years of study embraced in a tiny little book to slip into pocket or purse, to keep in glove compartment or under pillow, a book to help with the stresses that arrive, and to allow their proper placement in priority and handling ease.

Breathe your way to peace, step by conscious step!!

laurel and hardy

Always new -

Gertrude Stein -

    The question of repetition is very important. It is important because there is no such thing as repetition.

Savor your moments new!