December 28th, 2008

snow and ashes

Silence -

I look out now on stillness. Even the clouds are still in this moment, and the hill across the way rests in peace. I look out on the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, a great gift, and as is usual with wilderness lands in this country, people step into the tips, but just a wee bit in all is silent and quiet, refuge. This is where I have twice met a mountain lion, once early in the day and once at dusk.

I think it is important for each of us to cultivate silence, to cleanse our ears with peace.

The news today and yesterday is beyond comment for me right now. I keep thinking that my task is to cultivate peace in myself and offer it to the world. I don't believe in war as solution. I think we can meet in a place of forgiveness and it requires a great deal of work. May 2009 be the year of that work, the work of allowing our ears a place to rest, and our throats a place to widen beyond a viewpoint that is only ours, so there is a place for each of us at the table of life.

Many cut down a Christmas tree this time of year and bring it into their home. It is a wonderful tradition of celebrating the evergreen, the return of light, and yet, I wonder if we then honor the recycling of the tree, or toss it into the street without a thought as to its dissolution, knowing the garbage truck will pick it up. I think now of the famous story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Fir Tree. You can read it here:

It is to honor the cycles of life, the seasons, knowing that for each of us there are only a certain number of winters and springs. How do we allow the intensity of silence and peace that silences discord and war?

It is time to be considering resolutions for the New Year. What does each of us want to see? What matters most?

I'm voting for silence, ethics and peace.
alan - morning glory center

Dark Prayer: Courage grows strong at the wound!

There was a summer when I rarely got in a car. I walked or biked everywhere. My sensitivity increased until I could feel the meeting place of pistil and stamen in the flower. I thought why do we assume there is not texture there, touch, attachment, maybe even discord, feeling.

Papananook posted this, this morning. It is a beautiful look at life and how we handle the times right now and how we meet the pain. Sometimes beauty is so intense, it can feel like pain. We fear loss, and yet, all we have to do is gain. The petals let go of the center and float through the air to the ground.

alan - joshua tree bloom

Just in case you didn't click -

Dark prayer: Courage grows strong at the wound
Peace & Justice
by Robert C. Koehler | December 27, 2008 - 11:17am

The water churned and pushed against the ice with a dark seriousness that reminded me of prayer.

Subzero Chicago night at the edge of the year, the edge of change, the edge of what's bearable. I stood on an old breakwater, a long, crumbling construction of concrete and steel that jutted into Lake Michigan -- just stood, feeling the wind scrape my face. Whatever thoughts came to me were honest ones. Or maybe I just needed to grieve.

"Courage grows strong at the wound."

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goldsworthy - before the mirror

governments need an enemy -

Watching the movie Valkyrie, one realizes how many Germans were upset with Hitler and the SS and how many risked and lost their lives to stop him. We, of course, weren't given much of that history because we needed an enemy, so the German people as a whole were an enemy, and then, the Russians and communism. Look what has been done in the name of defeating "communism."

The amount of money spent on this planet on guns, war and hatred is staggering. We might be buying stoves for women in Darfur instead.

We believe the propaganda of our own country as others believe theirs.

When will it stop?

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Peace -

I understand that the issues between the Israeli and Palestinian people are complex, but killing each other is not going to help.  I was stunned when I read the news yesterday and am still assimilating.  A friend of mine was in Israel in the fall on a peace mission, that represented all religions, all sides, and again, as we all know, the issues are complex.  

If this speaks to you, sign and pass it on.   Otherwise, continue with your own personal way of prayer for communication, connection,  and peace.

Dear J Street Member,

Twenty-four hours ago, Israeli Defense Forces struck the Gaza Strip, leaving hundreds dead and wounded - pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence.

I felt immediate pressure from friends and family to pick a side. Did I think that Israel's actions were fully justified or disproportionate? Did Hamas bring this on itself by firing rockets and provoking Israel or are the strikes an act of aggression against a people trapped in misery and poverty? Couldn't I see who's right and who's wrong?


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