January 14th, 2009

Alexander Calder's Kitchen!

Safety -

My sense of war is that a few want power, but that most just want to feel safe.

We live in a structure, permeable, our skin, and then, we put up walls and more walls around that.

If we have a house, we most likely have a fence, and, then, divisions, boundaries, welcomings and pauses upon approach. In the Middle Ages, if we lived in Europe, we may have lived in a walled city, doors closed at night, safety.

I have been reading The Elephant and the Dragon by Robyn Meredith. If you want a place to focus on what needs to be done, read this. What India and China are doing is phenomenal, not good for the environment, but, phenomenal nonetheless. Of course, we buy the products that cost so much in pollution to produce. The threat is economic right now. That is real.

Meanwhile, we are arguing over who is right or wrong in an area so complex that no determination will ever be found. How then do we make it possible for people to thrive and get along after generations and generations of conflict?

There is an article today in the NY Times on how one can take a drug and grow longer eyelashes. Of course, there are some side effects, but what the heck, longer eyelashes to bat at another, another fence.


How can we continue to spend so much money on distraction? We have to face the fear within, fear that is primal and know that walls, boundaries, countries, do not protect us from inner and outer lobs. I think in each of us there is a desire for that safe cave, but the only safety is knowing peace within.

That is the place to focus as we strive to find a way for each country to live in a way that supports its own people and the people of the world.

Book Cover

for those born between 1930 and 1979!

Are we not supposed to eat blue cheese dressing?  Oh, My!


1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!! 

First, we survived being born to mothers who

smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can,

and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma,

we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered

with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles,

locks on doors or cabinets,

and when we rode our bikes,

we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.


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calder mobile miniature

Peace -

My intention in the last years has been to move out beyond the place of duality, of judgment.  I am not always successful, but I do try and balance myself when I swing to one side or another, except with Bush and Palin, two whom I have not been able to reconcile into neutrality. 

I know there are Israeli people working for peace.  The news seems to be one "side" or the other, so we are becoming more and more polarized on the issue of the Middle East.

I offer this:

Hello friends and supporters,
We are mourning the loss of lives and are praying for the safety of our friends who are in danger in both Gaza and southern Israel.  We pray that both peoples come to true compassion and forgiveness toward the other.  
With the only news coming from the from the Holy Land being about the war,  we send some news of another picture from the Holy Land.  Though we Palestinians and Israelis who work together for peace are being tested more than ever, the relationships we have built stay strong.   The Sulha Peace Project continues to aspire to create a new reality and prepare the people in the region for a life of mutual respect and trust. 
Not long ago, over three days last August 26-28, thousands of Israelis and Palestinians met for the seventh annual 'On the Way to Sulha' gathering on the grounds of the Latrun monastery between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Sulha Peace Project worked in full partnership with the Palestinian organization, Al-Tariq, to plan the event.   Israelis and Palestinans came from all over the Holy Land, and including 200 Palestinians from the West Bank cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron. Our partners in Gaza who have been with us at previous events sent messages of blessing and support from the people of Gaza.
Daily activities included: 
- listening circles that brought Israelis and Palestinians together to share with and listen to each others stories.
- the Bereaved Families Forum, with bereaved Israelis and Palestinians sharing their stories and leading discussions
- a children's tent for Israeli and Palestinian children to play and make art together
- workshops in culture and music
- special events each day, such as the men's and women's dialogue circles
- a traditional Bedouin tent, set us to be a space where Arab and Jewish musicians could jam and make music together
- the inter-religious prayer tent with religious Jews praying dialy prayers, followed by religious Muslims praying in same tent
- the Sulhita program, Sulha youth movement worked together  where Israeli and Palestinian teenagerson the final evening performance.
The Kitchen, made fully kosher  brought Israeli and Palestinian volunteers together to chop vegetables and cook side by side to feed hundreds of peace each meal.
Our special guest was Rabbi Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World's Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Rabbi Gopin spoke about his work in Syria for building bridges of dialogue. We had a special corner set up at the Sulha gathering for children and adults to write messages of peace that were then delivered by Gopin to the people of Syria. As Marc Gopin is now in the Holy Land, visit his website for his insightful commentary and postcast about the present war in Gaza and south Israel: 
In the prayer tent, we held inter-religious study sessions, with panels on the themes of 'Forgiveness' and 'Religion and Ecology'. 
In addition to Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders and scholars from the Holy Land, joining us were Geshe-la Thebten Phelgye a Tibetan lama and member of the Tibetan Parliament, Sheikha Khadija, teacher of Sufism from New York and Rabbi Marc Gopin. On the main stage the final day religious leaders spoke about Sulha, reconciiation, in our religious texts and traditions.
 Each evening there were highlights.  Sheikh Abu Falastin from Sakhnin led hundreds of us in a Sufi 'zikr' ceremony together, after which Rabbi Menachem  Froman led us to chant in unison, calling out Allahu Akbar in Arabic and  HaShalom Yinatzeach (Peace will Prevail) in Hebrew. 
 Later, there was a magical performance by "Acharit Hayamim"- an Israeli religious Jewish reggae band, who performed with an ensemble of refugees from the Darfur region in Sudan. On the final evening, Sheikh Abdul Qarim al-Zorba, Imam of the Dome of the Rock chanted songs from the Islamic tradition.
The 'Sulha Family', Israelis and Palestinians continue to meet, planning events events to heal the wounds and re-build trust between our peoples.  After the riots in Acco between Arabs and Jews last Yom Kippur, we organized a peace tent there, with two days of bridge building activities.  The 'Sulha Family' met recently, gathering for Shabbat in Jerusalem to support each other during this time. Israeli 'Sulha Family' members are meeting with friends from Palestinian partner organization Al-Tariq.  The Sulha Peace Project is joining Middle Way for a peace walk in Jaffa January 9th and setting up a dialogue tent in Jaffa.  
Please send a prayer of healing for the children of a Gazan peacemaker who has brought his family to several of our Sulhita youth gatherings.  His son and daughter have been seriously wounded in the violence in Gaza.
View this link to see great pictures from the 'On the Way to Sulha' gathering last August, and from the Acco peace tent: 
 The Sulha Peace Project is in a deep financial crisis. With the global recession, donations have stopped almost completely. We need your support to continue this important work. Please make a donation small or large to the Sulha Peace Project.
For details about how you can offer a donation, please visit this link:  
Shalom, Salaam,
Eliyahu McLean,
Sulha Peace Project, interfaith coordinator
Jerusalem Peacemakers, co-director
Gabriel Meyer, co-founding director, and Ihab Balha, Muslim co-director of the Sulha Peace Project


oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls

Heron Dance -

Dear Heron Dancers,

Spruce and fir trees in Canada are generating few seeds this time of year, and siskins, redpolls, pine grosbeaks, and crossbills are showing up in our woods and at our bird feeders looking for berries and other seeds to eat. I’m looking out the window as I write this. The sun is shining, bouncing off the new snow that fell this last weekend, and birds are hopping from branch to branch, singing.

Easy answers about the “true” nature of life are hard to come by. I often think I should try to get on radio or television shows to promote Heron Dance and its message. Heron Dance could certainly use some umph in its marketing. But what is my message?
When I started Heron Dance fourteen years ago I had a message. My answers are not so clear now. The road has a lot of twists and turns. Many setbacks were associated with my own foibles. Many of my twists and turns have to do with my attraction to complexity and poor people skills. My answers are now more in my art than my words, which is why art now plays a larger role in Heron Dance than it did in the early years.
Life is mysterious. Those who would offer to explain it to us on radio, TV, or in a book need to be considered with caution. If there is a spiritual force in the universe, and I certainly believe there is, it could well be that we are not meant to know its true nature. Perhaps we are meant to struggle with the uncertainty, the mystery that surrounds us, and embark upon a journey in search of our own answers. We grow through the setbacks on that journey. We experience life in a deep way.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.September Sandhill Sunrise IIWhen I think of words that are true—the constellation of stars I use to set my bearings—they are words of a few quiet, reflective people I’ve met over the years. Their words would not make sense shouted from the roof tops. They are words that arise out of living simply and close to the land. Or they are the words of living close to music, or art, or of serving others. The only common denominator that I can think of is that they are the words of people who have a definition of beauty and have built a life around living in close connection with that definition. Yes, they are intelligent, well-read and well-traveled, but out of those diverse experiences have evolved lives that are simple and built around a few carefully considered elements—elements that are to some extent preverbal.

In celebration of the Great Dance of Life,

Rod MacIver


Italy - rome - ara pacis

Peace -

Perhaps the current crisis will bring us to much needed and desired peace.  May this be so!

Jews, Muslims, Christians Agree on Gaza-Israel Crisis
This statement by leaders of the three Abrahamic communities in Boston was issued yesterday and was published in the Boston Globe by a columnist who writes on religion. 
Its thoughtfulness and the breadth and stature of its signers are extraordinary – representing the best version of our religious traditions and communities.  
If in your own community, religious leaders are well on the way to adopting your own statement on the Gaza-Israel war and publicizing it, wonderful!  --
If however you don't have such  a statement ready, the existence of this one  could be a great help. In that case, we strongly recommend that in  your own community, you take this statement with its list of well-known signers to your own congregation for discussion and signing, and to interfaith leaders where you are. Then go to the local media and ask them to do a major news story about the statement's adoption in your locale.

There are three benefits of this work: It could change the policies of the US and perhaps the Israeli and Palestinian governments; it could hearten those Palestinians and Israelis who are struggling for peace; and it could build the crucial long-needed, long-lasting networks of Abrahamic intercommunal work for peace and other deep values of our traditions — social justice and healing of the wounded earth God gave us, which we share.  

With blessings of shalom, salaam, peace – Arthur

Rabbi Arthur Waskow


We, members and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities in Greater Boston --- all having deep and symbolic ties to the land and peoples of the Middle East --- are anguished by the events unfolding in Israel and Gaza. Recognizing the legitimate needs of all peoples, including all those living in the Middle East, for dignity, peace, safety and security –- regardless of religion, race, or national origin -- we issue this joint statement with the hope and belief that our interfaith voices will be heard clearly, above the din of war.
As guiding principles,
•We acknowledge the long, complex, and painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
•We acknowledge the wide range of deeply-held beliefs, and intensely-felt narratives on all sides
•We acknowledge that all sides are capable of assigning blame to others, and asserting justification for their cause
•We observe that violence by any side begets more violence, hatred, and retaliation
•We deplore any invocation of religion as a justification for violence against others, or the deprivation of the rights of others
•We decry any use of inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes the other and is intended, or is likely, to promote hatred and disrespect
•We believe the conflict can be resolved only through a political and diplomatic solution and not a military one.
In the face of many competing narratives, we recognize that the overriding common need of the peoples of the region is the prompt implementation of a just and lasting peace. Toward that end, and particularly in response to the current hostilities,
•We call upon the United States and the international community immediately to intercede to help reestablish a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, toward the goal of a permanent cessation of hostilities
•We call upon Hamas immediately to end all rocket attacks on Israel, and upon Israel immediately to end its military campaign in Gaza
•We call for an immediate end to all strikes on civilian centers and citizens, both Israeli and Palestinian
•We call for lifting of the blockade on Gaza as to all non-military goods, for an immediate and significant increase in humanitarian aid to address the needs of the people of Gaza, and for all parties involved to join in taking responsibility to address those human needs
•We call on all parties involved in the conflict to work sincerely and vigorously toward a just and lasting peace that addresses and promotes the national aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples
•We call on President-elect Obama to make clear that as President he will urgently assert US leadership to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts
Through this joint statement we affirm our commitment to engage with one another, even, and especially, during times of great stress. We also affirm our common humanity and our common belief –-- as Jews, Muslims and Christians --- that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no military or violent solution, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to make the peace –-- a just and lasting peace desperately needed and deserved by all the peoples of the region."
Signed: [Institutions are listed for identification only.]
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