The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.
think how wonderful when all the registries are …..thrown out with the trash
so that the children of the poor come out ahead
some half-pint future president
on the street the man who stopped you with his …..pockets inside out
is loading you with fruits & sweets is kissing you
a hero who can send a message into every little head …..the thought of some enchanted evening
the reciprocal tyranny of fathers & of sons is over
& the need or love grows always stronger makes the …..master builder stretch the promenades into the …..farthest outskirts
which is freedom yes & which is love
excerpt from Tyranny or Love by Vítêzlav Nezval in Atilyrik & Other Poems
Love can be a kind of tyranny but hate tyrannizes the hated and the hateful and everyone around them. My godmother used to say that it is harder to hold onto hate than to let go in love. How do we overcome the hate in ourselves?
Michael Dickel comes to the subject by exploring the biblical story of Yaakov (Jacob) wrestling with himself and God.
“To overcome hate, we must wrestle with our own soul (tendencies toward harsh judgments, anger, hate—that is, wrestle with our own fears and demons) and with God …” Michael Dickel
Naomi explores all the “H” words, some positive and some not so much, including hate and arriving at like-Hearted. She gives us balance. Corina Ravenscraft explores how hate manifests and Priscilla Galasso comes to it from the position of personal growth. She says:
“The more I work with my own feelings and come to understand myself, the more I can begin to understand others. When I see someone who is angry and hateful, I understand that he is suffering.”
The times are challenging us to explore our emotions and how we react to the encroachment by some elements into the domain of compassion, freedom and justice. We see this expressed in Mark Heathcote’s poem, which reminds us that strong emotion needs fuel, and in Michael Dickel’s Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love and my own Time for the Temple Whores To Sleep With Insanity.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
The core issues it turns out are indifference and fear. George Orwell reminds us of what we have to fear if we are not vigilant and proactive. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out fear: only love can do that.” Love is freedom, the absence of tyranny, and the more we love, the more we are able to love.
In the spirit of Peace, Love and Community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines, Jamie Dedes
To read this issue of TheBeZine
Click HERE to scroll through and read the entire magazine.
Or, you can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents below. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell, 1984
“Poetry finds you when you are broken, insists on taking you into its fold, puts your pieces together and then you never leave.” Reena Prasad
Long before we had libraries teeming with medical and psychiatric tomes, we had cave paintings, carved images, storytelling, song, musical instruments and dance. The power of artistic expression to transform both creator and consumer was assumed.
The arts bear witness to sacred space, to the spontaneous dance between the conscious and the unconscious, to the existence of a symbolic realm. It is from these liminal places that our truest art and our healing words, visions, sounds and movement are born. Through art we experience a shamanic-like world that is beyond the consensual one, a world where each spirit is free to find its own core truth.
Hence, this month, we have: a poet (Reena Prasad) finding sanctuary and rebirth by reading and writing poetry: a singer/musician/poet (John Anstie) connecting with his own joy and the people with whom he collaborates; and Corina Ravenscraft’s interview with a soldier suffering from PTSD and finding relief in building and painting hundreds of miniature figurines.
Italian journalist, Mendes Biondo, brings us an interview with and three poems by Poemedic Deborah Alma, who prescribes “emergency poetry.” Our resident storyteller Naomi Baltuck offers us a PhotoStory that suggests just how empowering it is to tell our own stories. It is an excerpt from her book Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers. Michael Watson takes us for an intriguing peek into toy theatre/object theatre performance as therapy.
Our BeAttitude this month is by Priscilla Galasso, who tells it like it is, as she always does, a critical must-read.
You’ll find the poetry ranges from catharsis to confirmation. We feature the work of three emerging poets: M. Zane McClellan, new to our pages; Inger Morgan, who shares her poem, the splendor of blue, in Swedish and English and debuted last month; and Mark Heathcote, whose work has graced several issues. Be sure to encourage them your “Likes” and comments.
The accomplished Reena Prasad who debuted with us last month is back with two poems. Her stunningly beautiful essay Sanctuary is written from the perspective of the poet, but I’m sure other art forms offer the same potential for comfort and transformation to their own devotees.
We’re pleased to treat you to the work of regular favorites: contributing writers Charlie Martin and Lily Negoi and guest writers Renee Espiru and Carolyn O’Connell.
We have a special guest poet this month, Myra Schneider, who has been featured in these pages before. Myra is most well-known in the UK where – on turning 70 this year – she celebrated both her birthday and the publication of her fourteenth collection, Persephone in Finsbury Park. She teaches at Poetry School and is a consultant to Second Light Network.
THE JANUARY ISSUE
In January, our topic is Resist. We are piggy-backing on Michael Rothenberg’s and Alan Kaufman’s call to American poets to resist the incoming president. Our effort is not restricted to poetry or to the United States. We’re doing a global call for submissions that counter policies – no matter what country – which undermine equity, foster poverty, encourage elitism, hate and scapegoating … all those things that pit people against people, putting many people at risk of disease, homelessness, starvation and murder. Please read the submission guidelines first. Send your work to email@example.com. American-Isreali poet and contributing editor to The BeZine, Michael Dickel, and I will collaborate on the production of the January issue.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT THE BeZINE!
We represent the beautiful and great wealth of the world’s wisdom traditions, nationalities, races, disabled and LBGTQ.
The historic experience of our Jewish friends, the plight of our Palestinian friends, the suffering of our Syrian brothers and sisters and others who are or have been victims of social and economic injustice and human rights violations informs our effort. We know that lines must be drawn, that silence is not an option, and that scapegoating can only lead to pain. Having said that, we are “prisoners of hope*,” and our hope is founded on our faith in you and on the foundation of those values we hold in common.
In the spirit of community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines, Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor
* Rev. Doctor William J. Barber Illustration source unknown: if it’s yours, please let me know. I’ll take it down or credit as you prefer.
Link HERE to read The BeZine My apologies: I had some technical challenges and the Zine lays out in reverse order. I know what the problem is and the next issue will be fine. I recommend that you scoot to the end and move forward to read it in the correct order. Thank you! J.D.
THE HEALING POWER OF THE ARTS
Armageddon and The Art of French Cooking, Priscilla Galasso
Sanctuary, Reena Prasad
Power of the Word, Carolyn OConnell
Aftermath, Michael Watson
Piece by Painted Piece, Corina Ravenscraft
The Healing Adventures of Deborah Alma, Poemedic, Mendes Biondo
Singing for the Love of It, John Anstie
Don’t Confuse Hunger for Greed, the poems of Ruth Stone, Jamie Dedes
Telling It To the Walls, Naomi Baltuck
Special Guest Poet
Mahler’s Ninth, Myra Schneider
Dark over Light Earth / Violet and Yellow in Rose,Laura Braverman
Wabi Sabi, Jamie Dedes
More Than a Gift, Renee Espiru
The Artist’s Restorative, Mark Heathcote
a poet’s prescription, Charles W. Martin
Laying on of Hands, M. Zane McClellan
Birthing to Earthing, M. Zane McClellan
Writing to Stay Alive, Reena Prasad
The World in the Cracks, Reena Prasad
Special Guest Poet
The Silence in the Garden, Myra Schneider
the splendor in blue, Inger Morgan
december mail, Liliana Negoi
the was of the will be, Liliana Negoi
water, Liliana Negoi
CONNECT WITH US Daily Spiritual Practice:Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People
I am honored to take the lead for this issue of Rituals for Peace, Healing and Unity. Lately, I have not felt very peaceful. In large part, it is due to the election cycle in the United States. It fills me with incredible anxiety. At the same time, I am actively part of a movement called Peacemaking Circles. Peacemaking Circles came to me via Saroeum Phoung who was taught by the Tagish Tlingit First Nation Peoples. Peacemaking is an ancient process that has been traditionally used in all forms of communal and family decision-making. The first principle of Peacemaking Circles is: The only change you can make is within yourself.
As painful as that reality is, it is true. If you change yourself to become peaceful, to be healed, to be one with the greater cosmic community, that will be enough. Because as you are settled and grounded in peace, it will ripple out towards others.
In some ways, I think that we are seeing the rippling of a great many people that have a cosmic concern for the ways of peace. As it ripples towards others, it does, unfortunately, lead to an increase in violence, intolerance, and ickiness. But it will be overcome. Love will win in the end. But the journey can be an anxious one. Staying grounded in peace while the world loses its collective mind is a challenge. Being a non-anxious listening presence in the midst of overwhelming anxiety is hard. And so, we offer you this issue focusing on expressions of rituals for peace, healing, and unity.
You will find an exploration of the ritual of writing as a spiritual practice from Jamie Dedes, a dharma talk from Gil Fronsdale, a reminder from Ram Dass on how to see others, a beautiful poem on healing from Carolyn O’Connell, a folk tale and illustrative photograph from Naomi Baltuck, a calming video and poem from Bridget Cameron, a poem from Renee Espriu that aligns with Ram Dass and how we see, Michael Watson offers an essay on ritual that is spot on, Corina Ravenscraft offers her daily ritual as does John Anstie, and I am offering five rituals that I have written that focus on gratitude, naming and releasing negative feelings, decision-making, a ritual for touch, and a ritual for release.
I’m sure I’ve missed someone. It is not intentional! We have such a generous community.
So, I offer you this issue. Get your warm cup of tea or coffee or water, take a deep breath, sit back and read. Enter into the spirit of peace, pax, shalom, salaam, and pace.
Table of Contents
Editorial Contributions on Rituals by Terri Stewart
The Environment is a complex array of interconnections and interbeing (as Thich Nhat Hahn would say). Steve & I have various metaphors for this. He likes to refer to “his bowling pins”. He imagines setting up a toy set of pins on a lawn and bowling at them. When they scatter, you set them back up exactly where they landed and bowl again. This takes you all over the neighborhood in endless permutations. I think of “trophic cascades”, changes in an ecosystem that originate at an extinction or other dramatic altering of balance, similar perhaps to “the domino effect” but less linear. However you try to wrap your brain around it, the nature of Life on this planet is intricate and incomprehensible. We are wise to approach it with the utmost humility. Because we are intrinsically involved, however, we must not fear to engage. We are already immersed. We might as well learn to float, swim or drown with awareness. With that understanding, we invited our contributors to share their perspectives from where they are. And there are many other currents besides. Let me just mention a few for further research:
Environmental Law – there are some exciting changes emerging in the championing of the Rights of Nature in legal systems. Corporations have legal protection and rights as individuals in many countries, while communities and natural entities (bodies of water, land, animals, etc.) do not. The ability to stand up against the interests of a Corporation and say, “We don’t care if you want this resource. You can’t have it!” is an idea that can be incorporated into law. Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is working to make that happen. Watch his keynote address to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) HERE.
Deep Ecology/Environmental Philosophy – Deep ecologists are a group of philosophers who question the anthropocentrism embedded in the logic and ethics of Western culture. Arne Naess is the “Father of Deep Ecology”. Peter Singer is another important philosopher who spearheaded the discussion about the ethical treatment of animals in the early 70s. These philosophers are everything from temperate reformers (Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry) to anti-civilizationists (Derrick Jensen).
Habitat/Wildlife/Green Corridors – where human interference has fragmented the landscape, other species suffer huge losses. Establishing connected corridors of undisturbed terrain help to shift the paradigm from domination to coexistence. The American Prairie Reserve has a habitat base of more than 353,000 acres. Read the story of this amazing management project HERE.
Organic Farming – the proliferation of large factory farms that employ pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other chemicals while dumping huge amounts of toxic waste on the land has significantly impacted the health of the planet. Soil health, human health, pollinator health – so many things are involved here. Returning to methods of food production that are more locally-scaled and less dependent on chemicals is a natural remedy, but must be radically and quickly implemented to turn degradation around. Support organic farming in your area!
And now, we proudly introduce our Table of Contents, Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) with Steve Wiencek
If you talk to the animals they will talk to you, and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears, one destroys……Chief Dan George
“Your foot touches the earth mindfully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly you are free – free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, & you are touching the earth.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
In this issue our writers touch on many aspects of hope and its flip-side grief, sometimes head on and sometimes by a thread. In our lead features, Corina Ravenscraft urges us to act without expectation, to take life as it comes and Priscilla Galasso encourages us to do the work so that our hopes and dreams honor our true selves. In “You Just Never Know,” Naomi Baltuck gives us a fable about hope, perseverance and the unexpected.
Life, love, hope and dreams are explored from different perspectives by our poets, often from the perspective of the hopes we cling to despite wars and abuse. For the later see especially the Landays of Pashtun women in “I will die with a heart full of hope” and the poems of Imen Benyoub and Jenean Gilstrap. In “Ashen” k. writes about the quiet desire of a husband to stay connected to his wife who has died. In Hollie McNish’s poem, “Embarrassed,” she hopes – argues for – a society that gets past its nonsensical and puritanical attitudes toward breastfeeding. Renee Espriu speaks simply of hope and family in her poem “Eucalyptus Trees.” With Hélène Cardona’s “Life in Suspension” she trusts “the ripeness of the moment.” No stress. No strain. Luke Prater writes about the sacred moments and …
“When I knew mine was the life needed saving,
however seemingly insurmountable: this
is not an easy fade-to-black halfway home.”
With all our advice and encouragement, it’s never easy and we all need saving.
Jenean Gilstap and Hélène Cardona are new to our pages, and we are proud to introduce their work to you. Please be sure to check out their bios and Renee’s and Luke’s. This is not Renee’s or Luke’s first time here, but its been a while and we are delighted to welcome them back.
Terri Muuss is featured this month with her editorial, “For or Against,” wherein she clarifies the misconceptions and misunderstandings that arise from our communications in social media.
In the spirit of peace, love and community,
for The Bardo Group Beguines, Jamie Dedes
Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine (currently in the process of updating), our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.
Books are a uniquely portable magic.
Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”
Books are a primary way we get to travel, meet new people, and learn about the world and the human condition outside the narrow confines of our personal concerns, our families and communities. They are indeed magic: they inform, heal, spur us to action, offer new perspectives, new ways of being in the world and – perhaps most important – they open us to the joys and suffering of others.
In this month’s lead feature, Algerian poet, writer, university student and frequent contributor to The BeZine, Imen Benyoub, tells how three important books that focus on war and genocide teach us about “courage, tolerance, love and sacrifice” and bear witness to “how generous and resilient a human spirit can be, even in the darkest times.”
Imen’s feature is suggestive of The BeZine‘s raison d’etre:to come together from different parts of the world, different cultures, races and creeds, to show our soft underbelly, our most human side in the interest of peace. We are here to quietly be ourselves, to share and in so doing to recognize one another as sister and brother, not “other.” If one of us bleeds, we all bleed. Let us not be silent in the face of daily brutalities. Pens, not swords, open minds and hearts and heal our world. This month – as always – our writers represent a diversity of nations, religions (or lack of), ethnicities and cultures. While this is an English language publication, not all of our writers have English as a first language.
Lilianna Negoi and Contributing Editor, Priscilla Galasso, get us started at the beginning, our early childhood reading. Lana Phillips tells the touching story of comfort in reading Red Shoes for Nancy about a girl older than she who was also living with disability. Corina Ravenscraft tells us how two books made a substantive difference in her life and way of being in the world. Michael Watson says in his essay:
Being an avid reader, I have developed a suspicion that, like the Great Weathers, almost any book can change one’s life for good or ill, and that timing has a lot to do with the outcome.
James R. Cowles’ essay, Escaping Into Reality, offers a lot to think about (as his essays always do) and Mendes Biondo (new to our pages) tells us of personal growth and changes in perspective fostered by an encounter with The Cannon of 20th Century Greek poet, Costantino Cavafy.
We move on to poetry by several of our core team members: John Anstie’s profound Looking South (looking back) with Frodo Baggins; Joe Hesch’s well-crafted and honest poems Schwund und Reue (Loss and Regret) and Confessions of Light-reading Poet; Naomi Baltuck combines a poem by Alice Lowe with her signature photo-storytelling; Charlie Martin loves too many books; Liliana Negoi writes movingly and vividly of reading.
We have several newcomers to our pages this month. We are delighted to introduce poets Joshua Medsker, whose poem is included with the themed pieces and, under the More Light section, Miki Byrne, Sakshi Chanana and Maggie Mackay. Please be sure to welcome them with “likes” and comments. Read their bios HERE.
Also under More Light are Naomi Baltuck’s always engaging photo-stories. We close with a charming art piece from Marlyn Exconde and her children.
Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.
APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten.
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.…
While Eliot declares the cruelty of April, April also happens to be National Poetry Month in the United States and Canada. In our online, social media world, it has become an international celebration of poetry as well. To join in this celebration, we in the Bardo Group Beguines dedicate the April issue each year to poetry. Many of us who write regularly for The BeZine are poets, and we usually include poetry. So, for us, it is a happy celebration—nothing cruel about it!
And what a wide-ranging celebration we offer in the 2016 National Poetry Month The BeZine issue! W. B. Yeats is oft quoted as saying, “What can be explained is not poetry.” So I won’t explain. I will tell you that Terri Muuss’ poem, “Thirteen Levels of Heaven,” takes you far and wide in a few grains of sand. “The Other Woman,” Imen Benyoub’s heart-wrenching poem, is not who you think—but in the current global storm of conflict and national political climate, indeed, she is Other. Michael Rothenberg’s “Poem for Mitko” personalizes the news we hear by imagining its impact on our mutual friend, Macedonian poet Mitko Gogov.
What these three featured poems have in common is their ability to take the intimate, the personal, the real moments of every day life, and reflect in and from them larger issues of humanity and life. Each describes very specific, personal scenes. According to Joy Harjo, “It’s possible to understand the world from studying a leaf.” And all of these poems open our eyes wide to the world. Sharon Olds tells an interviewer about poets she admires: “Their spirits and their visions are embodied in their craft. And so is mine.” And so are the spirits and visions of the authors gathered here.
“It may also be the case that any genuine work of art generates new work,” Donald Barthelme tells us in a Paris Review interview. As you read the poems, essays, interviews, and reviews in this month’s issue, I imagine that they will generate new art for you. Whether the art of living, the art of knowing others, or “the Arts,” you will want to do more of it after reading what we offer this month.
Last year, the Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN) collaborated with The BeZine during April to present poetry from the SLN. In this year’s issue, you can read more about the network in “SECOND LIGHT NETWORK, showcasing the ambitious poetry of ambitious women.” Jamie Dedes’ essay “POET, TEACHER, INSPIRATION: Dilys Wood and the Latter-day Saphos” also sheds light on Dilys Wood, founder of the SLN. This year, in my dual roles of contributing editor here at The BeZine and associate editor at The Woven Tale Press, I have served as liaison in a new collaboration. The works specifically from the collaboration appear in their own section in the table of contents below.
However, the whole issue represents collaboration—not only between the two publications, but between all of the writers. We work together, as a community. In putting this all together with Jamie Dedes and my Bardo Group Beguines and Woven Tale Press colleagues, I came to realize how many of the poets here I know personally—separately from these two publications. We all come from an organic online writing community. By organic, I mean through no organized effort or special social website.
After years of knowing Michael Rothenberg through email and Facebook, I only finally met him in person this past summer. Terri Muuss and I met at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village, also years ago, where her husband, Matt Pasca (who also has appeared in The BeZine), Adeena Karasick, and I performed one lovely evening. All four of us keep in touch through Facebook now.
I met gary lundy a long time ago and have spent time together, including road trips and as roommates for a few months. However, most of our friendship has been sustained and maintained by email and online connections—dating back to before any of us had heard of Facebook. UK poet Reuven Woolley, Romanian poet Liliana Negoi, Natasha Head, as well as Jamie Dedes and the rest of the Bardo Group Beguines, I only know “virtually.” Until a few months ago, the same was true for The Woven Tale Press publisher and editor-in-chief, Sandra Tyler.
Today, the world of poetry, as with everything else, has transformed under the influences of technology and social media. Last year, I spoke to a graduate-student seminar about social media, poetry, and the latest wave of “democratization of poetry.” That discussion evolved into the foreword of The Art of Being Human, Vol. 14, which you can read in this issue as “(Social) Media(ted) (Democratic) Poetry.”
I won’t try to count how many waves of “democratic” trends in poetry have washed up on the beach. A couple of centuries ago, poets were concerned “just anybody” might write poetry, and they didn’t think that was such a good idea. Some probably still don’t. Free verse and the Beats in the mid-Twentieth Century have been associated with the idea, for better or worse, depending on who made the association.
Today, poetry slams usually involve actual voting, as do many online sites. Self-publishing has become easy and cheap, so anyone could have a book who wants to, now. As a result of all of this, editors—such as those putting together a special poetry issue—serve much more as curators than as the gate-keepers of old. So, we may be in one of the greatest ever waves of “democratic” poetry.
A tidal wave of poetry, perhaps.
Don’t worry. While it will wash over you and change you, you won’t drown. Enjoy the poetry, writing about poetry, and other work presented here for your celebratory pleasure!
“There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school.”
― Sharon Olds
Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.
With this issue, we bring to center stage a relationship in which we are all engaged in one way or another – our relationship to this Place. Call it Nature or Earth or Gaia or Creation, this is where all of us are born, where we will live our lives, and where we will die.
Does this place have a Spirit of its own? Does it have a will? How does it relate to us?
Those are some of the questions behind the pondering, the exploring, the dreaming and the planning that is communicated here in our writing, in our songs, in our art, and in our work.
Taking the lead in preparing this issue has been a great adventure for me. It has challenged me to hold the lens of Place in front of my eyes more intentionally and to listen more closely to the voices of those who look through different spectacles. It is my hope that the contents here will encourage sharper focus on this relationship for all of our readers.
I am delighted to have Michael Watson’s piece “The Gift of Relationship” to launch our journey. The essay “I Love This Place!” follows and establishes the Lead Features. John Anstie offers “An Alternative View of Nature” so that we might ponder not only joy, but also humility and personal cost in this relationship. This piece also ushers in our first Poetry section for this month. Nature provides so many metaphorical images that bloom into greater understanding as we ponder our interaction with the world. We have a marvelous cornucopia of poems from Zen-like to Romantic from our core members and newcomers to our group, a true garden of delights, broken into two sections: shade and full sun. (Can you tell I enjoy running with a theme?!)
So often the weight and depth of a crucial relationship is handled most gracefully in a good story. Naomi Baltuck is one of my favorite storytellers! She makes me feel the magic of my purest attempts to make meaning, the ones I began as a child. And she always includes great pictures! She offers a selection of her tales in our Story Corner.
Art and Photography are natural mediums for portraying this beloved Place. In this section, Michael Dickel will challenge your assumptions about the Holy Land and show you the true Nature of that country in personal photos…and then invite you to examine your perspective further in “Capturing and Interpreting Light”.
Two exceptional Essays put some real heartwood into this issue. “Staying Wild: How the Wilderness Act Changed My Life” by Annick Smith describes living the idea and practice of wilderness and illustrates a real alternative to human ‘trammeling’. “Let’s Hear It For The Bees! (Parts 1-3)” by Tish Farrell provides some important information about a current environmental crisis – a wake-up call to the vulnerability of Nature.
Liliana Negoi next surrounds us with Green Light – two creative non-fiction essays to stimulate luminous musing.
After the Full Sun section of our Poetry garden, we offer some cool Music with tight harmony and a timeless message.
In More Green Light, we gaze on “Life in Ordinary Time”, “Unseen”. Finally, “Who Is She?” introduces our Getting To Know You subject, the poet Joseph Hesch.
Variety, diversity, fecundity, liveliness – yep, this issue looks like Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces. I hope you enjoy exploring and engaging in this small space and that it inspires you to deeper and broader and higher interaction with the larger Place where we all live. –
Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.
We’re getting ready to bring you the March issue of The BeZine on the 15th. Priscilla Galasso is the lead, and the theme is The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces. To whet your appetite, we bring you a repost of Priscilla’s 2014 feature article celebrating the 50th anniversary of the1964 Wilderness Act. J.D.
“It’s a time for celebration! 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations. The 1964 Wilderness Act…created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast. This anniversary is a wonderful chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved for wilderness in the past 50 years and remind Americans of all that we can achieve in the next 50.” (from The Wilderness Society website, http://www.wilderness.org)
I read this call to celebration with great delight. My partner Steve is also turning 50 this fall. We’d been searching for a way to live out the next half of our lives more intentionally embodying all that we’ve come to value. He’s been reading up on ‘Deep Ecology’ lately and examining his own philosophy of land ethic, relationship to the Earth, and living responsibly. It can all be a very thick soup to me, but at the mention of “WILDERNESS”, I began to find a kind of clarity. Images, feelings, an intuitive sense of freedom and sanctity began to emerge from the murky definitions and contradictions. Yes, I value ‘wilderness’. I need it. I know this, deep in my soul. What is this recognition about? What does ‘wilderness’ mean, and what do I learn from it?
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Wilderness Act of 1964
What is our relationship to wilderness – or to Nature, for that matter? Are we visitors? Are we managers, stewards, masters? Conquerors? I hear the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of construction vehicles in reverse and the thud of jack-hammers that are currently tearing down the green space near my home and widening the interstate highway to create a Research Park, and I know that a large part of my culture is dedicated to conquering and altering the land and calling it ‘development’.
I am drawn to the prairie, to the woodlands, to green space wherever I find it, but I don’t want to be a mere visitor. I belong to this planet. My ancestry is here. When I was a little girl, I used to play in the Forest Preserve across the street from my house. I would duck beneath the shady boughs of a bush and sweep out some floor space with a stick. I would set up rooms and fashion utensils of twig and bark. I played House for hours on end, staking my claim, perhaps, to domesticity within that habitat. I want to live on the Earth, with the Earth, not in dominance or enmity, but in peace and harmony. In order to live in peace, however, I have to know when to leave well enough alone. I know this in my relationship with people, and I know this in my relationship with animals. It’s called Respect. Why shouldn’t this be true of my relationship to land and sea and air as well? Let it do what it wants to do. Let it enjoy autonomy, as I do. Let it be “untrammeled by man”.
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” – Lyndon Baynes Johnson, President who signed The Wilderness Act into law.
Is it naive to think that there exists any place on Earth that is truly pristine? Perhaps. And that need not be grounds to dismiss the idea of wilderness with a cynical roll of the eyes. I believe there is merit in creating what I call ‘secondary wilderness’ by allowing areas that have been previously used and even exploited to return to a more natural state. There is much to be learned by observing what time and non-human agents will do in a particular environment. Steve and I found a section of secondary wilderness right here in Wisconsin. Although most of the 110 million acres of federally designated Wilderness is west of the Mississippi in mountains, deserts, and Arctic tundra, there are forests in the North that have been abandoned by logging operations and allowed to return to wildlands. The Headwaters Wilderness in the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is 22,000+ acres of previously logged forest that has been left wild since 1984. There are 2 Forest Service roads that divide the area into three sections, but enough contiguous acreage to qualify still for wilderness status. Backpacker Magazine’s site has given it the distinction of “deepest solitude” within that Forest. We headed there just after Memorial Day.
wilderness:(1)a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2): an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)
We found a dispersed campsite across the road from the designated wilderness on the banks of Scott Lake. As we set up camp, we were greeted by two trumpeter swans on the lake, a raucous chorus of frogs and a host of mosquitoes. That night, we had a bit of rain. In the morning, a bald eagle perched high in a dead tree on the far side of the lake, illuminated by the rising eastern sun. Staring at him through my binoculars, I imagined him enjoying an aerial view like ones I’d seen in pictures of Alaska. Could I really be in the wilderness, finally? My rational brain convinced me of the disparities, but my romantic soul glowed. Even here, in Wisconsin, there can be solitude, common-union with nature, and a wild hope.
“…in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind…I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock, spruce or arbor vitae in our tea…” Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” 1862
We found a hiking trail into the edge of the wilderness, marked by a series of white diamonds on the trees. The trail was maintained, after a fashion, but not with meticulous interference. I preferred it to those wide, paved “trails” in city parks where cyclists, boarders and baby strollers whiz by all weekend.
The inevitable down side of climbing the wilderness mountain is returning to ‘civilization’, re-entering the spaces that humans have altered and asking a million critical questions about our involvement. Was this action necessary? Was this change beneficial and for whom? How is this decision going to effect this environment, this habitat, this life? How do I take responsibility when my ignorance is so vast? How do I do my best to learn and choose and be aware? What do I do when I see individuals or systems causing destruction?
I learned the 4 pillars of Environmental Education while volunteering at a local Nature Center: Awareness, Appreciation, Attitude and Action. My experience in the wilderness took me on a journey past those milestones: being aware of the solitude, of the multitude of interconnected lives as well; being awed by the variety and majesty of all that I saw; feeling a deep desire to protect, to respect, and to serve Life; and finally, deciding to make changes and choices in my own life and lifestyle, to learn to embody the experience, not just as a vacation or a change from habit, but as a daily practice.
Steve & I are planning to attend the National Wilderness Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico this October. We are eager to explore the sacred space of our common ground, the Earth, with like-minded people who are also interested in fostering the understanding of our life in proximity with each other and with the life around us. I look forward to feeling the refreshment of wilderness in my soul and encountering new ways of expressing the spiritual aspect of this quality of life in art, morality and intellectual discourse.
“Ben Jonson exclaims: ‘How near to good is what is fair!’ So I would say, How near to good is what is wild! Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees. Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.” Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” 1862
PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey. Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She works part time for a conservation foundation and runs a home business online (Scholar & Poet Books, via Amazon, eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.
Welcome to our first issue that is focusing on at-risk youth. Our mission today in our topical section is to share stories and poems that cause us to think about youth in a different way. Who are at-risk youth? Where are they?
Often, they seem invisible to the world until they are splashed across the news in dramatic headlines. We can all remember the photos of dead children washing up on the seashore…refugees fleeing Syria. And in the US, just a few days ago, a young boy, age 8, killed a 1 year old. Why? Because he was the babysitter in charge and she would not stop crying. I am often appalled at the reactions we have to children with extreme behaviors. What skills do we expect an 8 year old to have?
And so, we, at The Bardo Group, have written of the children of the world that are marginalized and at-risk for a wide range of disasters. This is a special topic for me. I run the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition which provides chaplaincy and mentoring to incarcerated youth. I have included three pieces in this edition that are close to my heart. One, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. This poem is the first one I wrote in reaction to the stories I heard in detention. I wanted to put the parents, and God, on trial. And so I did. I wasn’t happy with the answer I received! And yet, it gave me so much hope. The second piece, an essay titled Mentoring At-Risk Youth, tells you a little more directly about who I am and what I do. Last, is the poem, A True Story. You may guess that it is a true event and you would be correct! It happened this year and it made me very angry.
St. Augustine says, ““Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
Hope, anger and courage have driven me to move through the pain and challenge of working with these particular youth.
A small collection from people I work with that all explore what it is like to work with incarcerated youth. They are all new to the BeZine so let’s give them a resounding welcome! Justin Almeida offers an essay, Finding Life in Detention. Lisa Ashley, MDIV, has a poem, at risk youth, that names what is really at risk when you work with youth in detention—your heart is at risk! And Natasha Burrowes drops the mic in Untitled.
Closely related to Natasha’s discussion of who is really at risk is Charles Martin’s, at risk…It is a great question. Who is really at risk when we allow our children to be the victims of poverty, crime, and other forces? Is it really just the child? Or is there something larger?
Incarcerated youth, across the board, have increased rates of trauma when compared to other youth. The ACES test (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores incarcerated youth as having a 92 out of 100. I think I would be a bowl of jello if I had that high of a trauma score. Christina Conroy explores living through a traumatic childhood in her autobiographical poem, Legacy. Also writing autobiographically is Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria in Validating Myself. It made my heart grow two more sizes! Also cracking my heart is Jamie Dedes’ Heading Homeautobiographical poem regarding suicide. Sometimes, I wish I knew what that special something is that manages to give children resiliency. Heart breaking. Or I wish I had a magic wand that would right the world’s wrongs.
Also writing from experience is Trace Lara Hentz’s essay, Angel Turned Inside. Lara was introduced to us by Team Member Michael Watson and is new to these pages. Her essay explores the tragedy that was the movement westward in the US and the use of adoption as a weapon against American Indians and First Nations. I am aware of this tragic history because of my knowledge of church history which is horrifyingly replete with church support of taking children from their families and putting them into orphanages.
Knife Notes—a Poem, from Michael Dickel, explores the relationship between the past and the future for Joe. I am especially moved by the truthful reflection of how kids who are hurting treat each other.
“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” That is a quote from Washington state’s constitution. Unfortunately, we simply fail our children. John Antsie’s article, Education, Common Sense … and The Future, explores two simple things regarding education-one thing to change and one thing to hope for.
One thing that the youth I work with almost unanimously face is addiction issues. Jamie Dedes’ piece,scag dancing, explores in vivid, concise imagery the relationship between addiction and poverty.
With “Thinking Continually of Those at Risk,” by Priscilla Galasso, you will be surprised at where she starts and where she finishes! She speaks a truth that resonates, “We can so easily provide food, shelter, and opportunity to our youth with the systems we have devised, but those systems have become mine fields where kids are sabotaged on the journey.”
Sometimes we attempt to sabotage journeys with needless judgment regarding what makes a real parent. John Nooney explores his experience of adoption and the sometimes senseless absorption of people asking, “Have you found your birth-mother?” in his essay, Some Thoughts on Adoption.
In my research of how to interrupt the school to prison pipeline, I have found two interesting statistics. One, children who miss 24+ days of Pre-K or Kindergarten are more likely to become incarcerated. And two, children who personally own five books of their own have better life outcomes than those who do not. I have also recently run across an article pointing towards the importance of librarians in achievement for children. CorinaRavenscraft points out the importance of libraries in “These Hallowed Halls of Hope.” Libraries are, indeed, an oasis of peace in a concrete jungle.
One thing is trite but true, it does indeed, take a village to raise our children.
Thank you for moving through my rambling reflections with me. I hope that your heart is moved to consider how we support and work with those who are at-risk.
Editorial Note: With this piece by Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk) we announce our focus for 100,000 Poets (and others) for Change 2016, environment and environmental justice. We continue our Facebook group discussion page. Let us know if you would like to be included in that.
Terri is also the lead for the upcoming November issue of The BeZine. The theme for that zine issue, which will publish on the 15th of November, is at-risk youth.
Caring for all that is can be an overwhelming job! If I think of the things within my control and trying to do the best I can, maybe I can do it in bite-size chunks. After all, I will never be able to invent some magical thing that converts pollution to life-giving energy. But I can compost!
Call on the animals to teach you; the birds that sail through the air are not afraid to tell you the truth. Engage the earth in conversation; it’s happy to share what it knows. Even the fish of the sea are wise enough to explain it to you. In fact, which part of creation isn’t aware, which doesn’tknow the Eternal’s hand has done this? His hand cradles the life of every creature on the face of the earth; His breath fills the nostrils of humans everywhere. Job 12:7-10, The Voice-A Storyteller’s Bible
Climate-care, earth-care, creation-care, creature-care, caring is a deeply spiritual practice. How we approach the other starts with our interior orientation. If we practice expansive spirituality, we will be filled with gratitude, mindfulness, and joy. If not, we will be led to a diminished experience.
I wonder how we could reconnect, simply, through ritual, to creation? Perhaps a mini-ritual?
1. Set your sacred space
What are you trying to connect to? Earth? Cosmos? Stars? Bunnies? Create an easy environment where you can let your gaze gently rest on a photo, object, or even the real thing!
2. Set your intention
What do you need at this moment? For example, “I am here to connect to the earth in a way that honors the createdness of us all.”
3. The body of the ritual
Combining your intention with a ritualized act. For example, if you were sitting outside on a lawn chair, offering honor to the cosmos during the day, you could gradually look around honoring each creation you see. “Blades of grass, I honor you. Cedar trees, I honor you. Beloved cat, I honor you!”
4. Closing ritual
A signifier that it is finished. Perhaps, if you were outside in the grass, you could bring a handful of grass seeds to add to the growth. Then you could sprinkle the grass seeds in all directions, offering life.
Be creative! This framework for ritual was created by my friend, Deborah Globus. Her avatar is LaPadre. She’s awesome!
Time does indeed fly and – almost unbelievably – here we are publishing our first anniversary edition. It’s been a lot of fun collaborating, batting around ideas, connecting with new contributors and producing a rather remarkable body of work over the course of the last twelve months.
Safe to say we are all grateful to be able to make a contribution – modest as it may be – to peace and understanding. We are grateful too for the readers who make this work worthwhile. We’re especially grateful to those readers who participated in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) this year. Thank you! More on that soon. Meanwhile … for our anniversary issue, the theme is Visual Arts: Shape, Color, Movement and Meaning …
The American graphic designer, Milton Glaser, has said that art is “terribly important” as a survival mechanism, as a means of cultural survival. Good art, he says, “makes us attentive.” It inspires us to re-engage with what we think something or some circumstance is and see it for what it truly is. It seems our poets have decided to comment on art by using it as inspiration for poetry. Not surprising that. In the light of Glaser’s words, I think this “appropriation” of art for poetry helps to make an even stronger statement of culture and values and moves us closer to the truing of our vision. “Why ask art into life at all,” asks poet Jane Hirschfeld, “if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means?”
And so this month we present diverse works of art largely commented upon in poem – ekphrastic or otherwise – or used as a jumping off point and moved into new directions. In some cases the art is the poet’s own photographs or digital art.
New to our pages this month is professional photographer Donatella D’Angello with a set of poems in both Italian and English (translations in collaboration with Michael Dickel) as well as with her photographs, which inspired the poet in Michael. Our wonderful cover photo (the header) is courtesy of Donatella. You can enjoy more of her work HERE. Michael tells me “the photos are as shot in the camera. She borrows techniques the Futurists used for motion-studies of long exposures (and subdued lighting, often) and moves into and within the frame (or has her subjects move, but I used all self-portraits in the post).”
Italy stars in three pieces. Two are by Michael Watson who shares photographs and meditations from a trip to Italy. The third is a piece by Michael Dickel on his trip to Salerno this past June for the 100TPC summit.
We are also pleased to introduce Professor Aprilia Zank. Aprilia is a photographer, poet and literature professor who coordinated the National Beat Festival in Munich this year. We hope to share more of her work here in the future.
We start with the graphics produced around the world to promote 100TPC and move on to Priscilla Galasso’s “Art, Time and Love,” which is as thoughtful and characteristically provocative as her work always is. You’ll find two of Naomi Baltuck’s wonderful photo-stories, artwork by Corina Ravenscraft, and a flash fiction piece by Liliana Negoi … All alongside the aforementioned wealth of poems. Enjoy … Let us know what you think.
Posters are followed by some photographs of Mimes for Change in Egypt and then Michael Rothenberg’s flag to welcome refugees. (These are not the same posters that we displayed in a slideshow on the blog.)
For the past five years, September has been the month of 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC). All over the world, poets (musicians, artists, and, yes, mimes) have organized events on or near a Saturday in September each of those years, this year, on the 26th. For this, the fifth anniversary of 100TPC, there are over 500 events scheduled throughout the world. The readers of, contributors to and publishers of The BeZine have participated with a virtual event in the past and will again this year on the 26th.
Meanwhile, The BeZine’s theme for September also supports the 100TPC call for peace, sustainability, and social justice, with our focus on poverty in general and homelessness in particular. This focus relates to social justice in an obvious way. Yet, how could we speak of sustainability without social justice? If we still have poverty and homelessness, what is sustained other than inequality? And, without social justice could there be peace? For that matter, could peace be sustained without both justice and environmental plus economic sustainability? Our choice is not to put one of these three above the other, but to recognize that all of these three important themes, necessary areas of change, interrelate in complex ways. So we chose one aspect to focus on, and in so doing, this issue clearly points to all three themes through the lens of poverty.
We open by featuring three incredibly powerful poems by Sylvia Merjanian, Refugee, Second Chance, and Collateral Damage. Refugee and Collateral Damage come from her collection, Rumor (Cold River Press—proceeds go to help Syrian refugees). Second Chance debuts here. These poems show the relationship of war to poverty, oppression, and sexual abuse. In reading these, one senses the immense personal costs of war, especially to women and children. They provide an important window into the staggering worldwide refugee crisis, currently the largest human migration since World War II. Refugees are homeless in so many ways, even when they have a house to live in. And, the world seems to conspire to keep them destitute.
That war directly and indirectly causes poverty does not surprise. You might not know, until you read James Cowles’ essay, The Roots of Institutionalized Poverty, that something called The Compromise of 1877, which ended the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, provided the political and economic structures of poverty that continued strong through the Civil Rights Era and, in many ways, still exist today. Certainly we know that poverty is not new in the United States, and neither is homelessness. In this issue you will hear music of the Depression Era that sounds too familiar today. The first time I personally participated in an editorial process and writing publication related to homelessness was in 1989, for the University of Minnesota student paper, the Minnesota Daily. We produced a special finals’ week issue, Ivory Tower, dedicated to the theme.
Poverty and homelessness are evergreen issues historically, but issues also embedded in social and political complexity. They benefit the rich, whose economic system keeps most of the rest of us as, at best, “wage slaves,” and all too many of us in poverty, without enough to provide for basic needs or housing (including the “working poor,” who hold low-paying jobs while CEOs are paid record-breaking salaries and bonuses). Our second feature, Jamie Dedes’ poem, Some Kind of Hell to Pay, cries out against the structures of injustice, where the rich act as demigods and demagogues, and it asks of what use will all their riches be in the Hellish realm of the inevitable backlash from the marginalized and disenfranchised.
The poems, prose, photo essay, and art in the rest of the September BeZine will ask you to feel, to see with empathy, to hope defiantly, and always to resist the status quo. The writers often look beyond the borders of the U.S. or Western Europe to see the injustices of a world-wide economic system of war, greed and injustice that makes it difficult to live outside of its oppressive realities—and for those pushed out, the available choices do not sustain their lives, their dreams, or their spirits.
Yet, people live, they dream, and they hope with spirit—often in defiance, sometimes by dying (see John Anstie’s As if and Sharon Frye’s Jacob’s Ladder in this issue), sometimes by living despite all of the forces lined up against their lives. Victoria C. Slotto’s Homeless Man tells of a “destitute” man whose story reveals that he may in fact have the most rich life of any of us. Always, there is more than what we see.
Read these words. Think about the change that could help to heal creation as Michael Yost’s poem Who Am I to Judge and Michael Watson’s essay The Realm of the Unimaginable speak to. Remember the admonition to think globally but act locally. And, most of all, imagine.
Then, join us on 26 September 2015, on our blog. Add your own thoughts, your own poems, your own essays. Join in our virtual, worldwide 100TPC event from wherever you live. We will post a page with instructions on our blog on the 26th. The posts will go up live. And, after the 26th, we will organize and archive the event (see the 2013 and 2014 pages in the tabs at the top of the page).
—Michael Dickel, Jerusalem
My poem from the 1989 Minnesota Daily Ivory Tower
i The plow cuts, disk or chisel? How much of what lies below to bring up leave exposed to dry in the wind? What residue of last years’ crop to leave upon the soil, cover over to rot, return to the fertile land?
What fetish draws me along this furrow? Street and curb meet here.Step up or down into slime. Dust, trash tossed around and dropped by the blind wind. What fate ties strings to which embedded hooks, Pulls my flesh forward forever forward towards the street?
The Spring fete begins, seeds in muck anticipating dilettante dance of the chosen few. Weed out the hungry whose appetite starves wind-pressed grain shafts; water the rows of the obedient who face slick harvest, brittleness in the searing sun and death with Winter.
I move, farmer in these city streets, man among the chaff, I offer to fetch my elegant plow-tongue, to stop the wind, describe the deep earth and the rotted residue, the dry grasses and newspaper blown by, salvaged for shelter by the quick grasp of an old hand, pulled on top of gray hair to keep rain out.
ii I would pull the plow, but a voice from under the newspaper covers my shoes in mud and mire.
What d’you know ’bout all this? He spit
from mown rye-stubble fields, fetid earthen face Cracked crumbled creased
Caressed once, long ago
All you see’s a bum. Fuck you, you son of a whore.
At home I do not wash the dirt from me,
I scrape it off, place it in a box with a key I open my belly and
secure the box within, sated.
Friday’s post by Terri Stewart on “Begine Again” is timely and thought provoking; hence, we’re sharing it here. The discussion in the comments section is interesting too. Please note the links in the text and the two additional links in the comments section. All are worth your time and attention. And, just a reminder that the next issue of “The BeZine” will be published online on August 15th. The theme is music. We’ve enjoyed the work of putting it together for you and know you’ll appreciate the result … So read on and stay tuned. J.D.
I have been taking a class on racism. The most helpful definition I have heard is that racism is not what or who you are, it is the outcome of your actions. This is great! It puts the conversation into an area of actions that are measurable. There is no speculation about who or what people are with regard to racism. All that matters is outcome.
True, I suppose. Actions matter more than words. And yet, words harm. So perhaps there is a both/and.
Why racism on Sabbath? One of the things that Rabbis encourage us to do on Sabbath is to set aside consumption and do things like read, learn, be joyful! Sabbath is also directly juxtaposed with the justice movement as the command to practice Sabbath comes on the heals of leaving slavery behind and moving towards abundant life. The Ancient Israelites knew a thing or two about diaspora (being forced out…
We post once again one of the more popular features published on this site. It is written by Michael Watson, our resident shaman. It seems a good one to feature given the conflicts that currently abound. We hope you’ll enjoy it, take it to heart … and stay tuned for the next issue of The B Zine, which will publish on February 6, 2015. On behalf of all of us here, many blessings. Jamie Dedes
After a cool, damp week the sun is out! June is in full bloom, our perennial gardens bursting with color. In the the kitchen garden rows of tender plants have appeared in the raised beds, and we are eating mesclun. Lovely!
Here in Vermont the trees are a dense, lush green. Plants need to take full advantage of our four to five months of warm weather, and go about the tasks of reproducing and storing energy with vigor. In just a few weeks, by late July, the foliage will begin to thin, already preparing for the autumn to come.
We have stopped filling the feeders as the birds have other food sources available to them. Now that the feeders are empty we will likely take them down and store them until October. Come the first chilly days of autumn the birds will remind us to bring out the food; we have a good working relationship!
I recently read a post on Australis Incognita, an interview with an Australian Aboriginal elder, Uncle Paul Chapman. The essence of the conversation is that we learn who we are in the world by paying attention to the landscape and Nature. There is an ancient Indigenous knowing that we can’t figure it out by turning totally inward, as that is out of balance. We learn from bridging the worlds of inner an outer, self and landscape.
Reading Uncle Paul’s words reminded me we are of the landscapes we inhabit; we even have our own internal seasons. I often suggest to students that after we watch for a while we may begin to notice that sometimes the inside and outside worlds are in sync, other times not. Lately I have found myself diving deeply into the interior, even as I engage the Natural world as it bursts into furious activity.
Lately, I seem able to stand with a foot in each world, shifting between them as need be, and am rewarded by moments of grace. Grace reminds me to be grateful for my life, family and friends, and the Beauty surrounding me, even as I feel disappointed and angry with much that is unfurling in the world. Grace encourages me to be concerned for my grandchildren, and curious as to how we humans will manage the road ahead.
In dark, difficult, times it is easy to forget that summer invariably follows winter, and life sprouts anew when given any opportunity. This will be so as long as there is life on our precious blue-green planet. May we take refuge and comfort in that.
The sun has broken through and the sky is a brilliant blue. Over the lake a layer of clouds, white and bubbly, hangs. Trees and gardens are abloom, and the scent of lily-of-the-valley and lilac saturates the air. The day is beautiful. May we walk through this day in Beauty, together.
– Michael Watson
MICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.
CARL SAGAN was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the American space program since its inception. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950’s, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on theMariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileoexpeditions to the planets. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules). MORE [The Carl Sagan Portal.
“A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam . . . ” Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan portrait courtesy of the Carl Sagan Planetary Society and in the Public Domain; Earth photo courtesy of NASA
This post is a part of our participation in 100,000 Poets – and Musicians, Artists and Activists – for Change. Details HERE. Our theme is Peace and Justice.We invite you to participate in this global event by linking in your work with ours. We’ll be collecting all the links in a commemorative page shortly after we close this project on October 3. You may use Mister Linky below or include your link in the comments section. Thank you!
Tomorrow, in solidarity with this movement, we’ll present two posts: 1.) in the morning, Terri Stewart’s Creating Sacred Space by Honoring the Earth; and in the early evening, Michael Watson’s Dreaming. Please join us and add your energy to this Global Mobilization.