February 24th, 2009

alan - lilies in the shade

Good Morning!

Bella hopped on my bed this morning to inform me the sun was out.   She and Tiger have been rather disgruntled about this rain.  The sun is out, though now that seems an odd way to say it.  It sounds like it is extinguished.  The sun is offering light to the trees and there are shadows.    Photosynthesis knows spring is here.

I read the news this morning, trying to find a glimmer.   Oh, my!   It is a heavy weight.

Then, I read this poem in Writer's Digest and decide to put the weight of my thought process there.  The sun is making golden diamonds of the drops on the redwood tree.  There are still some berries on the Pyracantha bush and the sun's light is not held in the clouds. In this moment, it pours on through like blessings and grace.   May we all be well.   May we all pull through a crisis unlike what most of us have seen, and may priorities become clear, turned to gold and diamonds like water in sun on trees.


by Jane Hirshfield

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam returns over and
over to the same shape, but the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the
light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another.
A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers, mitochondria, figs—
all this resinous, unretractable earth.


"Optimism" by Jane Hirshfield, from Given Sugar, Given Salt. © Harper Collins, 2002. 

alan - purple flowers

thought closer to home -

My son called last night.  His company had lay-offs yesterday.   People were called in to an office and came out crying, were escorted out.

What does that do to us, each of us?  It's happening each day around the country.  I wasn't there and don't even know these people and yet tears fill my heart.

I find it overwhelming to read of the projects that must be tackled:  health care, infrastructure, jobs.  The immediacy of the problems are shocking, and in this moment, the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  The last cloud in my view was just carried gently east.  

Carried - that word keeps coming up this morning.  I see things carried.  Perhaps it is the Sufi meditations I've been doing, the trust that we are carried, supported, embraced.   Our eyes curve to hold gently, if we choose,  all that we view.

I like to find a bright side in things.  I read recently that unions were the reason we began to divide life into "work" and "play."  People began to live for the weekends.  TGIF became a popular restaurant-bar chain.  I think we need unions.  Reading recently about the porter's union was uplifting to me, and what I see now is that people are grateful to have a job, thrilled to have the communion, community and reward of work, and there is the obvious financial independence of work.

We are all in this together.  Each one of us is affected.  Decisions need to be made quickly and we have a man and administration who can do it.  Let's gather now in support and see what we can do.

From Panhala this morning:

If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.
If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land –
that sacred earth that is your body.
If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.
Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.
Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and the future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.
Be kind to yourself, dear – to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.
~ Rumi ~

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls


"This business of hozho. The way I understand it ... I’ll use an example. Terrible drought, crops dead, sheep dying. Spring dried out. No water. The Hopi, or the Christian, maybe the Moslem, they pray for rain. The Navajo has the proper ceremony done to restore himself to harmony with the drought. You see what I mean. The system is designed to recognize what’s beyond human power to change, and then to change the human’s attitude to be content with the inevitable."

-- in ‘Sacred Clowns’ by Tony Hillerman

aaron glantz

The War Comes Home!

I sat down with The War Comes Home, Washington's Battle Against American Veterans.  It is by Aaron Glantz.

I am paused on page 10.  I see this book may need to be read a page at a time and it absolutely must be read.

On Saturday I was with two women, one of whom still works at the VA and the other who retired when Bush started this war in Iraq because she knew she couldn't go through it again.  Both are therapists.  Each new war also brings in vets from past wars who are again reminded of the horror.

Linda, my friend working as a therapist at the VA,  spoke on Saturday about TBI, traumatic brain injury, which many, according to Aaron, call the "signature injury" of the Iraq War.  "The most common injury soldiers in Iraq experience is brain damage from blasts from roadside bombs, otherwise known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs."   "A recent Army study found that 18 percent of troops who have been to Iraq likely suffered at least some brain damage from IED's.  That means as many as 320,000 potential TBI patients."

In addition there are those with PTSD, those with lost limbs, those trying to adjust to life here, so foreign to what was experienced there.  Who was damaged in this war?  In any war, who is hurt?  Every single one of us is hurt.

All of this was going on while we were being exploited at home.  I learned yesterday of someone making $14,000 a year as a cherry picker who was approved to buy a $700,000 house.  Where is the logic in this, or even the humanity?  Imagine the hurt and disappointment for this person now.  There was not only no oversight but clearly approval.   The SEC looked at Madoff and found nothing wrong.  Nothing wrong.  How is this even possible?

I am still sobered by the story of John Robbins who did not invest directly with Madoff, who thought he was conservatively invested and yet has now lost 98% of his retirement.  

And see how quickly I go off-subject here, how I can't stay with those who have been in Iraq and return, possibly damaged beyond repair.

Aaron writes of one man, Patrick Resta, who was a combat medic.  Patrick says, "We could not treat Iraqi civilians unless they were about to die and we had done it."  "When I would walk through these cities I had people bringing their children up to me who were ill and had to be treated, and we were threatened with being court-martialed if we took any medicine to treat these Iraqis in the city."

Imagine what that does to someone, to turn away from a child who needs help.  Imagine.   We are programmed for empathy, created to help.  Imagine if instead of going in with bombs, we had gone in with medical and school supplies.  Imagine.   I will make it through this book and I will continue to wonder how Bush could dismiss those of us who protested as a "fringe group," and how we were not able to say more clearly, we are not fringe.  We are the warp and the weft.  We are the fabric.  See now what was done in each of our names.  See now the pain.