Posted in 000 Poets, 100, General Interest, Musicians, Spiritual, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart, TheBeZine

Climate Care as Spiritual Practice

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. 

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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’t know 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

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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!

Shalom and Amen!

Terri Stewart

by Terri Stewart

© 2014, words and illustration, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terrisignoffblog

Posted in General Interest, justice, Peace & Justice, Video

A Mote of Dust Suspended in a Sunbeam

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and popularizer of natural and space science

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

Video posted to YouTube by CarlSaganPortal.

Earth as seen from Apollo 17.

“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!

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Posted in General Interest

Creating Sacred Space by Honoring the Earth

Today is the People’s Climate March. All across the globe, people are gathering, praying, chanting, and yes! marching! in the hopes that the world’s leaders will hear the call to create safe and sane policies that will ensure the future of the earth. Protecting the earth/cosmos through concern about the changing climate is sacred. It is my contention that to enter sacred space is to enter healing space

Sacred: late 14c., past participle adjective from obsolete verb sacrento make holy” (c.1200)

Holy: Old English halig “holy, consecrated, sacred, godly,” from Proto-Germanic *hailaga- (cognates: Old Norse heilagr, Old Frisian helich “holy,” Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags “holy”). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.  Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,” and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heilhealth, happiness, good luck

I would like to share a reading from John Cobb, a Process Theologian:

from Is It Too Late?  by John B. Cobb, Jr.
It is the belief in this Spirit, the giver of life and love, that is the basis of hope. In spite of all the destructive forces we let loose against life on this planet, the Spirit of Life is at work in ever new and unforeseeable ways, countering and circumventing the obstacles we put in its path. In spite of my strong tendencies to complacency and despair, I experience the Spirit in myself as calling forth the realistic hope apart from which there is no hope, and I am confident that what I find in myself is occurring in others also.

Since what makes for life and love and hope is not simply the decision of one individual or another, but a Spirit that moves us all, I do not have to suppose that my own efforts are of great consequence in order to believe them to be worthwhile. I can recognize that they may even be futile or misdirected and still persist in them as long as no clearer light is given, for I see what I do as part of something much greater, something in which all persons participate to whatever extent they sensitively respond to the insights and opportunities that come their way. Belief in the Spirit is belief that I am not alone, that in working for life and love in hope, I am working with something much greater than myself, that there are possibilities for the future that cannot be simply projected out of the past, that even my mistakes and failures may be woven into a healing pattern of which I am not now aware.

Belief in the Spirit is no ground for complacency. There is no guarantee that people will respond to the Spirit’s prompting in sufficient numbers and with sufficient sensitivity to begin the healing of the planet. But there is the possibility. The future can be different from the past. Therefore there is hope. Where there is life, there is hope.

Today, my hope for you is that you will have hope. Hope in a sacred, healing space that encompasses not just you. Not just your neighbor. But the entire planet and planets! All beings and non-beings. All life and even non-life — even rocks. And with that thought, I will share this photo of church signs (it is an urban myth thanks to the online church sign maker, but it makes me smile every time!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shalom,

terri

terrisignoffblog

Posted in Art, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

~ Planet MoM ~

"Planet MoM" © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014
“Planet MoM” © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

M is for the multitudes She nurtures.
O is for the only world we have.
T is terrestrial preservation – Hers.
H is for the home we have to save!
E is ecosystems, all connected.
R is for respect that She is due.

E is for environments, protected.
A is for awakened points of view.
R is for the rescue of our parent.
T is teaching all to love Her, too.
H is the Heaven or Hell they will inherit.

For all She gives us, it’s the least that we can do.

 

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Joseph Hesch, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Touching Horizon

I’ve always been one to stare
at the sunrise and sunset, the days
slipping out of and into their
respective bedsteads.
But true horizons are funny things.
They are 360-degree dreams
like Dorothy’s Kansas,
flat and unattainable except
in books or feel-good movies.

Perhaps I stand and scan
those horizons, those reclining
brushstrokes of something
always out of reach,
the encircling collection
of a great artist’s vanishing points,
of all our todays and tomorrows,
because I wish to grasp that
there is a beginning and
there is an end to everything.

And in my life there are things
I can never touch, ever,
until they reach out
to touch me first.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2014, poem, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved

Hesch Profileproduct_thumbnail-3.phpJOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words) is a writer and poet from Albany, New York , an old friend of Bardo and a new core team member. Joe’s work is published in journals and anthologies coast-to-coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words.  An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, Joe was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.” He is also a member of the Grass Roots Poetry Group and featured in their 2013 poetry anthology Petrichor Rising.

Posted in Joseph Hesch, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Where Memory Becomes Forever

Shed
Out the big basement window, the wind
slathers the snow like cake icing
up against the trees as if they were
birthday candles, and smooths it over
the roof of old Cliff’s gingerbread shed,
where the rabbits would hide.

But I don’t see the path we’d carve
in those drifts, from this place to our place.
I can imagine high-stepping through
the knee-high purity of it all, though,
smell that clear and evocative smell,
as chaste as the expanse ahead of me.

If I were to fall, splat face-first into
the stinging reality of it all, I think
I’d roll onto my back and watch those
long trails of flakes and let them
redden my face. They’d be like kisses
from that place where memory becomes
forever.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2014, poem, photograph and portrait, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved

Hesch Profileproduct_thumbnail-3.phpJOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words) is a writer and poet from Albany, New York , an old friend of Bardo and a new core team member. Joe’s work is published in journals and anthologies coast-to-coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words.  An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, Joe was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.” He is also a member of the Grass Roots Poetry Group and featured in their 2013 poetry anthology Petrichor Rising.

Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Paradise Realized-Sacred Space in the Cosmos

flickr photo by Evan Leeson cc licensed (BY NC SA)
flickr photo by Evan Leeson
cc licensed (BY NC SA)

As I pondered “Bloggers in Planet Love” for Valentine’s Day, I thought that there is something to the visions of paradise that seem to permeate religious cultures. I never see paradise populated by buildings towering into the sky! There are always elements of lush green lands, towering trees, and people living as one with nature. That seems to be sacred space.

And sacred space is realized in different cultures almost always in natural spaces. I remember the journeys of Moses up the mountain top, zen mountain monasteries, the sacred Heart Butte of the Blackfeet…and more down to earth, the ordinary everydayness of working in a beautiful garden box. Connecting with the earth and with ancient rhythms.

Just a moment’s digression. Connecting with the earth. I want to change that to cosmos. I am thinking of the ancient Greek word kosmos. Kosmos is typically translated from ancient Greek to the word world or earth. But it really is equivalent to something like, “all the known existence.” Our cosmos is ever expanding. Our understanding of creation is also. Expanding in energy, connectivity, and creativity.

That is Paradise.

I’d like to take a moment to do a short meditation on realizing paradise and loving the cosmos. First, sit down, put your feet flat on the floor or ground. Let your arms rest comfortable. Let your gaze rest gently on the screen. Slow your breathing. Shake your body out, roll your head, roll your shoulders, settle into calmness.

Let us begin.

Breathe in, saying, “Earth”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”
Breathe in, saying, “Cosmos”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”
Breathe in, saying, “Earth”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”

Wiggle your toes. Scooch your feet into the floor a little. Feel the textures. Describe them. It is part of creation. Of paradise. Let your feet feel not only the floor and its coverings, but send your energy downward. Connect to the earth that supports you and all things.

Breathe in, saying, “Hello”
Breathe out, saying “Love”

As your energy goes downward through your feet to the floor, to the earth, ponder what is missing? Can you feel the absence in creation of a necessary energy? Is there something crying out for your attention? Ask the earth, the cosmos, what attention it wants from you.

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your hips, keep breathing, focusing on what you are hearing as an answer, through your feet. What is reverberating through your legs, into the root of your spine? This is the location of security, grounding, and survival. Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your stomach, with your connection to the earth firm through your feet, let your attention travel from the root of your spine upward to the area under your bellybutton.  This is the location of sexuality, creativity, and relationships. How is this part of your body reacting to this connection and question? What are you feeling?

Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your solar plexus or diaphragm, with your feet firmly grounded, feeling the energy reverberating upwards, let your attention travel to the solar plexus. How is this part of your body reacting to this connection and question? Here we find energy, vitality, and personal authority. What are you feeling?

Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your heart, checking in with your feet, your naval, your solar plexus, move onward to your heart–the seat of balance, love and connection. How is your heart reacting to this journey? Is energy gathering here? Or is your heart at peace?

Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your throat, moving onward to your throat, still holding a conscious connection to the earth through your feet and the root of your spine, do you feel anything? Sometimes, our voice feels silenced or choked. Other times, we want to sing out of joy! Can you see both? The beauty of the cosmos calling out in song? And the imbalance of the earth? Is your voice choked and suffering? Or is it singing and witnessing? The throat is the seat of communication and healing. What energy do you feel?

Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Resting your hands lightly on your forehead, check in with the earth at your feet, wiggle your toes just a moment, see that everything is doing fine, move upward to just above your eyes. Here is the seat of your intuition and understanding. You have been listening to the earth. Asking, “What is your desire?” Do you sense an answer? Is the earth noisy today? Or quiet? What energy do you feel?

Keep asking the earth…

Breathe in, saying, “What is”
Breathe out, saying, “Your desire?”

Let your hands almost form over your head as if you are holding a hat in place, staying fully connected through your toes all the way to just above your head, check in with your whole self, with the whole earth, and ask if it is okay to move onward. Focus your thoughts into the space above your head. Here, is transcendental connection to all that is. What is it that you desire? What is it that the cosmos is desiring of you? Do you hear or feel a call?

Breathe in, saying, “Earth”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”
Breathe in, saying, “Cosmos”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”
Breathe in, saying, “Earth”
Breathe out, saying, “Love”

Shake your hands out, letting them drop to your sides. Move your attention from your crown, thanking it for the wisdom it has provided you this down. Move downwards, one by one, thanking your body for listening to you and to the earth.

Breath in, saying, “Dear Eyes”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you for understanding.”

Breath in, saying, “Dear Throat”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you for telling.”

Breath in, saying, “Dear Heart”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you for compassion.”

Breath in, saying, “Dear Diaphragm”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you for desire.”

Breath in, saying, “Dear Stomach”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you for creative answers.”

Breath in, saying, “Dear Spine”
Breath out, saying, “Thank you support.”

Let your attention travel back to your toes, concentrating on a full connection to the earth. Look to the earth and to the cosmos. Bow inwardly, inclining your head and your attention, wishing the earth, “Peace be with you.”

And peace be with you.

Shalom and amen,

~Terri

(c) 2014, post, Terri Stewart

REV. TERRI STEWART is The Bardo Group’s Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.beguineagain.com ,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.

Posted in Bloggers in Planet Love, Corina L. Ravenscraft, General Interest

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE hosted by Corina of “Dragon’s Dream”

Editor’s note: This evening we celebrate Valentine’s Day by demonstrating our love and concern for planet Earth. Directions for linking your post are at the bottom of this evening’s post.

TRASH

How many of you are aware of your carbon footprint?

HERE is a handy-dandy calculator for those of you who don’t know but would like to.

Bizarro comics "The Evolution of Trash" image borrowed from earthisland.org
Bizarro comics “The Evolution of Trash” image borrowed from earthisland.org

How many of you consciously try to make less of an impact on the amount of things you consume and the subsequent amount of trash you generate?

HERE is an easy sheet to fill out to get a general idea. Of course, it takes a bit of work to sort the things you throw out in one day.

Being aware of it is enough to give anyone pause in this day and age. The amount is staggering. Truly. Unfortunately, there is just no getting away from trash. Every person creates some, and those of us fortunate enough to live in non third-world countries (hell-bent on rampant consumerism) produce more of it than others. A LOT more of it. Recycling is great and I encourage anyone and everyone to do what you can! But it’s not enough; there is SO much more that needs to be done!

Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? How about the North Atlantic Garbage Patch? Well, guess what? These aren’t the only ones. There are FIVE of these “islands” between the U.S. and Japan! These are basically gigantic islands of plastic and man-made debris waste that have collected over the years from both land-based and sea-based human pollution. The one in the Pacific alone is estimated as twice the size of Texas with a mass of roughly 100 million tons. Think about that number for a minute: 100 million TONS. And it gets larger every year.

Captain Moore’s Description of the
North Pacific Garbage Patch:

“It was and is a thin plastic soup, a soup lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with ‘dumplings’: buoys, net clumps, floats, crates, and other macro debris.”
– A quote from the book,
Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore

“Remember, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it only gets broken down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic, and if you’re in the Pacific it all ends up getting pushed into this massive floating garbage pile. ” – Planetgreen.discovery.com

Photograph from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Obviously, this happened when the turtle was young and it grew this way. 😦

Are you upset yet? Angry? Are you more aware now?

In June, I will be joining with the Ocean Conservancy to do my best to be “trash free” for 30 days. It won’t be easy and I probably won’t succeed 100%. But I’m going to try. I invite all of you to join with me and take the Trash-Free Challenge. 🙂

Here are some things you can start doing NOW to help keep your trash out of the ocean(s). For those of you already doing your part, THANK YOU!!! 😀 I believe in the power of 1+1 into infinity = anything is possible. Together, we can all make a difference. It’s the only planet we’ve got…there is no “Plan”-et B. It starts with you and me.

From Squidoo.com:

What Can Be Done?

Plastics are so integrated into so many people’s daily lives that this is clearly a global problem. Change needs to happen through awareness and education. Start with yourself. Evaluate your daily routine and assess exactly what you use plastic for, and more critically, what plastics are you throwing out every day? Systematically try to minimize the amount of plastic that you use and throw out. Here are some ideas to help.
  • Buy in bulk, and bring your own cloth or recycled grocery gags to the store.
  • Keep litter, leaves, and debris out of the street gutters and storm drains.
  • Stop drinking plastic bottled water! If you live in an area with safe tap water, drink it! Tap water in the United States is much more strictly regulated than bottled water. If you need bottled water, get a reusable bottle that can be refilled
  • Reuse whenever possible.
  • Choose products which have been packaged in recycled materials.
  • Buy local products whenever possible because this reduces the amount of fuel and plastic packaging used to ship materials to you.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse!

From the Ocean Conservancy site:

Number 1 Reduce your carbon “finprint.” Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change — absorbing half the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Use mass transit, carpool, and find other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Number 2 Take only pictures. Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals. When snorkeling or diving, take pictures and tell stories but never stand on coral reefs or touch the marine life.
Number 3 Be a green boater. Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents, and sewage. Bring your trash back to shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program Good Mate.
Number 4 Ask for sustainable seafood. Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind your fish counter know that sustainable seafood is important to you.
Number 5 Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers remove trash from beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that keep trash out of our ocean in the first place.
Number 6 Reduce. Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they provide a good opportunity for reducing waste. Consider items with less, reusable, or recyclable packaging.
Number 7 Reuse. More than 60 percent of the litter collected during the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup consisted of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs, and food containers.
Number 8 Recycle. If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.
Number 9 Prevent contaminated runoff. No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products, and take proper care of spilled oil.
Number 10 Vote Blue. Urge your elected representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protect our ocean. Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion at facebook.com/oceanconservancy and twitter.com/OurOcean

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE

JOIN US!

We invite you to join your voices with Corina and the other members of The Bardo Group by linking one of your own post’s on nature and its beauties, environmental protection, animal welfare (which is Earth welfare too), global warming and so on. The work can be anything essay, video, music video, poem, photography, photo essay, art or craft. At the bottom of this post you will find Mister Linky. Click on it to paste in the url to your post. It does not have to be a new or recent post, just one that is in the spirit of this event. Jamie will visit and comment and we hope that you will all visit one another to comment and support and connect. Thank you!

Posted in John Anstie, Poems/Poetry

Earth Prayer

[I cannot remember what it was that inspired this poem, but, when all is said and done, I think it and the photo from Max Mitrofanov speak for themselves]

Picture credit: Max Mitrofanov (via triumph.dev1antart.com)
Photo: Max Mitrofanov (via triumph.dev1antart.com)

Dear Earth,
mother of us all,
solar sister,
child of the Universe,
our common blood
was carbon, nitrogen,
oxygen and hydrogen,
in concert with the stars.

Astronomical forces
great voids imploding
then exploding in light
with dust and smell
of a thousand million
godless bombs
driven to extinction
by unlimited energy.

Facing the hideousness
of death at day’s end,
the weight of this life
seems so much lighter,
in the brightness
of our knowledge,
portending reunion
of the atoms we are.

Dear Earth,
mother of us all,
in your patience and
your tolerance of us,
breath a huge sigh
and remind us
who we are and
whence we came.

© 2013 John Anstie

Picture credit: Max Mitrofanov (via tr1umph.deviantart.com)

John_in_Pose_Half_Face351w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer. John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (cover1UK).

John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

* Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in Art, Gretchen Del Rio

sacred buffalo

Here we have Gretchen del Rio’s delightful watercolor painting of Sacred Buffalo. Gretchen created it for a women’s collective – the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers – an organized movement to affirm the human connection to this beautiful Earth of ours and an alliance to protect our resources. You can read more about the painting and the group by following the link to Gretchen’s blog.  J.D.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

‘When one sits in the hoop of the People, one must be responsible because all of creation is related and the hurt of one is the hurt of all and the honor of one is the honor of all.’

‘White Buffalo Calf Woman’

 

I was asked to create this painting for a collective of women coming together to support/embody the energy of white buffalo calf woman. I am very excited about what is happening here. ‘This is a calling of women of peace from all walks of life to join hands and come together as a collective to support a humble movement of the Original People of the world.’

 

THE MOMENT IS NOW

“When the council of original seed issued by the Mother called upon the four elements ~ air, water, earth and fire ~ to Unity ~ life came to be on planet Earth. Now today, the Mother is…

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Posted in Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer, Story Telling, Photo Story

The Irish Coastline

In Ireland, the ocean is everywhere.

Sometimes hiding in the mist…

History hangs heavy in the ocean air, like breath moistened by a story.

In rough weather…

Or calm…

Whether watching intently…

Or only vaguely aware of it…

You can still smell the salt in the air…like a ghost.

You can feel it like a heartbeat…

And hear it like a lullabye…

Copyright 2012 text and photographs Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

Posted in Essay, Michael Watson, Spiritual Practice, teacher

Ceremony and the Raven

Evening, Lake ChamplainThis morning we put aside our frustration and despair and spoke with the land and spirits. The mosquitoes, which had been fierce, quieted their attack, and even the birds calling stopped to listen. We like to open the altar outside whenever the weather allows, but of late have not had the heart to do so. The last time we opened the altar was the only time all summer we have heard the calls of the Hermit Thrush.

We awoke feeling sad and angry. The news on the racial, social, and climate fronts has been heartbreaking. We’ve been feeling overwhelmed, unable to see how we might contribute significantly to much-needed change. We’ve also been asked to aid others who are thinking they should do more than they possibly can. We remind others to do only what they are able. As we do so we remind our many selves to do the same, even as some selves feel frightened and desperate for change.

In the brief ceremony we spoke to the Creator, Pachamama, and the spirits about our gratitude for our lives and our concerns for the present and future. We acknowledged we humans are not caring for the futures of our grandchildren, let alone those of all species who will follow us in seven generations. This is a great sadness.

After the ceremony we came in to respond to e-mail and do other tasks. Online, we discovered a brief video posted to Facebook. In the video, a wild raven, perched on a fence, allows a woman to remove porcupine quills from its face. After each quill is removed, the raven squawks and complains, then allows the woman to soothe it and remove the next quill. How familiar!   (Watch video.)

Watching the video, we were once again reminded that ravens are immensely intelligent creatures, that humans are not the only ones who seek aid from others, and that all life forms are profoundly interconnected, in life as in story. We were also reminded that small things, even removing quills from an injured animal, can be powerful ceremony, and profoundly healing to those in an ever-widening circle.

– Michael Watson, Ph.D.

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes portrait below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL 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.

Posted in Culture/History, Essay, Mental Health, Michael Watson, Nature, Shamanism, Spiritual Practice

Working With the Spirits

Shrine, Chennai, India

Eight years ago we purchased a dilapidated cottage, took it down to studs, and with the aid of a brilliant contractor, built a wonderful home. Since then we have developed much-loved gardens on our small plot of urban land.

As the late effects of Polio have become more challenging for me to manage, Jennie has become the tender of those beds. We both care deeply about the garden’s well-being, but much of my limited energy is needed for our healing and teaching work. I am grateful to Jennie for reminding me that healing and teaching are also forms of gardening, other ways of working with spirit.

In the seven years we have lived in our home we’ve been quietly working with the spirits of the land. This is a tad challenging as we live in a residential neighborhood and all ceremony is public. My teachers always said one should be polite, humble, and do ceremony anyway. This simple advice turns out to be remarkably complex in practice.

The spirits of the land are often profoundly responsive to gratitude and ceremony. One evening during our most recent Asia trip we were asked to do a simple traditional shamanic ceremony for a group of college students. This was to be a simple show-and-tell, yet, as sometimes happens, the ceremony took on a momentum of its own, becoming profoundly moving and healing for all present.

When we returned home to Vermont we told our friend and colleague, Julie Soquet, about the experience. Julie listened to our story, considered it for a moment, then said, “The spirits of the land must be really alive and receptive there.”  I was stunned by her naming of the missed obvious. Local gods and spirits are routinely honored in both India and Hong Kong, and Jennie and I had spoken after the ceremony about how we felt the presence, support, and appreciation of the spirits. (There was an active shrine directly across the street from where we were conducting the ceremony.)

The other night, in dream, I was reminded we are loaned our bodies for our stay here on Pachamama. Our bodies are sacred; they are Medicine bundles. At the end of our lives we give our bodies back to the Earth. Pachamama asks that we grow the spirit and power of these bundles, so that when we return them they benefit Her and all beings. In the dream I was asked simply to keep this in mind as I made my way through what remains of my walk here. There were no other instructions, no “shoulds”, no “musts”. Expressing gratitude to the myriad beings who make our lives possible is part of that way of walking and gardening. I wonder how these simple, profound truths will enter into our work.

Michael Watson, Ph.D.

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes portrait below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL 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.

Posted in Essay, Michael Watson

Troubling the Post-Tribal

On hte BridgeRecently, I found myself in conversation with a diverse group of alternatively oriented, North American,  health care providers, some of whom integrate shamanic practices into their work. As often happens, talk turned to our various efforts to situate ourselves in the broader cultural framework. Inevitably, this proves a thorny conversation.

Identity issues cut deep, exposing the painful questions underlying the increasingly tenuous fabric of Self. When engaged in conversations about our fundamental beliefs about Self we may find ourselves asking: “Who am I? What claims may I make about my experience of Me-ness? In a world that appropriates and commodities everything, how do I understand and situate Self?”

Speaking with my colleagues I was reminded that conversations about traditional modes of living and healing generate additional anxiety. Ethical questions abound: “What constitutes appropriation? Given we learn to be adults through acts of appropriation, what may we respectfully borrow from others? Does our use of another’s knowledge diminish the other? “

My colleagues attempted to circumvent these raw issues by positioning themselves squarely in the “Post Tribal”. At that point I stopped talking and simply listened. While I see myself as situated in the uncomfortable potential space between tribal and urban, I identify strongly with my tribal heritage. From that point of reference it seems to me the idea of Post Tribal is fraught  with problems.  The greatest of these is that it effectively erases the sovereignty and authorship of the world’s thousands of active tribal cultures. In so doing it effectively dismisses any claim to ownership of knowledge, traditions, and practices these cultures may make. The idea of the Post Tribal threatens, once again, to leave tribal people behind and alone. It borrows freely and selectively from Indigenous understanding, and uses these decontextualized bits of knowledge to strengthen the very citadel  of individuality that tribal ways of knowing challenge.  This seems, at best, disrespectful, and at worst genocidal. Either way, such attitudes inflict great harm on the souls of tribal and non-tribal people alike. There must be more heart centered ways for us to negotiate these issues.

Most of my teachers walked the “Soft Path,” the way of the Heart. On this path we are encouraged to balance mind and heart, and to be courageous warriors of the Spirit. We are advised to wrestle lovingly with difficult questions and the challenges of our time. Yet we are also to stand up to tyranny in all its forms. From the place of the Tribal Heart, we can understand that in a world of eight billion people most of us will not live on the land, in tribal communities. That must not stop us from acknowledging and honoring diverse knowledges and ways of living, no matter how easy it would be to do otherwise. Rather, I believe we must, if we are to survive as persons and as a species, tend the garden of diversity, protecting and nurturing the myriad forms of culture and biological life that make Earth home.

As we consider the way onward we may well ask ourselves:”How are we to hold on to the best of the traditions from which we spring? What might we ethically incorporate into our lives from the beliefs and practices of other cultures? What shared knowledge might be of real use in our turbulent times, might aid all of us in moving towards sustainable lifeways?”

The path ahead is challenging and the view is at times bleak. Yet, we do not know how that view, or the terrain, may change around the bend, or on the other side of the mountain. I imagine we are called simply do our best as we walk on. Approaching questions of Self and appropriation with deep thought and great kindness is good to practice  as we journey along together.

– Michael Watson, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes portrait below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL 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.

Posted in Art, Peace & Justice, teacher

From Weaponry to Livingry …

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Note: The origin of this artwork is unkown. If it is yours, please let us know and we will credit or take it down, whichever you’d like.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Teachers

HONORING THE ULTIMATE MOTHER: Falling back in love with Mother …

THICH NHAT HANH (IN BROWN) AT HUE CITY AIRPORT, VIETNAM (2007)

“The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We consme to forget our worries and our anxieties. Tranquilizing ourselves with over-consumption is not the way.”  Thich Nhat Hanh, 2010, Tricycle Magazine

The Guardian UK posted an article in February that was written by Jo Confino and in which the dear Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, discusses his views on current environmental challenges and the need for a spiritual revolution to address them. I hope you will link through and read the article today or watch the interview video below in honor of our ultimate Mother, Earth. In Metta on Mothers Day, J.D.

“Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has been practising meditation and mindfulness for 70 years and radiates an extraordinary sense of calm and peace. This is a man who on a fundamental level walks his talk, and whom Buddhists revere as a Bodhisattva; seeking the highest level of being in order to help others.

Ever since being caught up in the horrors of the Vietnam war, the 86-year-old monk has committed his life to reconciling conflict and in 1967 Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying “his ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”

So it seems only natural that in recent years he has turned his attention towards not only addressing peoples’ disharmonious relationships with each other, but also with the planet on which all our lives depend.” MORE

And here is the video of the interview:

Photo credit ~ courtesy of Lu’u Ly via Wikipedia and generously released into the public domain.

Video ~ uploaded to YouTube by  .

Posted in Film/Documentaries/Reviews

STUNNING, SOBERING, SANE

Video uploaded to YouTube by 

This is a non-commercial attempt to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (www.sanctuaryasia.com). 

Content credit: The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME. The music was by Armand Amar.

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We were introduced to film by Amy Nora Doyle (SoulDipper) and knew we had to share it. The cut is from Call of the Wild Sanctuary Asia. The film, HOME, was produced by French filmmaker, Uann Arthus-Bertrand, with narration by American actor, Glenn Close. The film has reportedly been viewed by 400 million people world-wide.

According to film festival: Green Unplugged (view the entire film on their site):

HOME takes you on a visually stunning, spectacular voyage around the world. It is a unique film that approaches the current debate about climate change from a whole new angle, giving viewers the opportunity to see for themselves how our earth is changing. Going well beyond the scientific reports, charts and graphs, this film is an inspiration that speaks to our hearts and touches our souls. Spanning 54 countries and 120 locations, all seen from the air, the film captures the Earth’s most amazing landscapes, showcasing its incomparable beauty and acknowledging its vulnerability. “Home” is a compelling emotional reminder of what is at stake: Earth, in all its beauty, and the people who live on it. “Home” is the first major film about climate change that has been made using only aerial photography. The film marks artist and activist, Yann Arthus-Betrand’s feature film directorial debut. “Home” is a non-for-profit film project, produced by the French film director and producer Luc Besson (Europacorp), Denis Carot (Elzevir Films) and supported by the PPR group.

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE FOREST, 2011

At the behest of the United Nation, Arthus-Bertrand also produced a short seven-minute film for International Year of Forest, 2011. It can be viewed HERE.

The International Year of Forests 2011 (Forests 2011) … is designed to convey the theme of “Forests for People” celebrating the central role of people in the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of our world’s forests… forests provide shelter to people and habitat to biodiversity; are a source of food, medicine and clean water; and play a vital role in maintaining a stable global climate and environment. All of these elements taken together reinforce the message that forests are vital to the survival and well being of people everywhere, all 7 billion of us. MORE [U.N., International year of Forests, 2011]

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Posted in Uncategorized

OUR WORLD: A Moment in Time

CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPH OF EARTH

TO ACCESS LENS,

A Moment in Time

an

Interactive Feature of the NY Times

“Earth covered by thousands of virtual photographs

corresponding in location to where they were taken by Lens readers

at One Moment in Time, 15:00 UTC May 2″ 

A lovely and rare gift. Enjoy!

R.R., A.E., J.D.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

MOTHER

WHAT OF MOTHER?

by

Jamie Dedes

·

Still living at the edge of forever

in hazy seas of hoary clouds and

from this place we crawled, oh

eons ago, out of her briny womb

·

to sit and sun, warming on rocks

and moving our lives to shores

roaring with sound and surf

casting its wealth of sea shells

·

and seaweed. Onward, inward to

further depths of earth, granite,

lava-flows and flower-decked

valleys, dancing once with bird

·

and bear, sharing an arborous

roof, green, gold, and welcome.

So grateful too and good at our

husbandry. All thrived. Often now

·

crass, careless … soulless,

offending blues-black burdens

of abuse. Maybe too thankless,

some children, de-spirited and

possibly doomed to roiling sea.

What then of this treasure:

Mother Earth.

Photo credit – Peter Griffin, Public Domain Pictures.net.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Teachers

CHERISH HOME

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and popularizer of natural and space science

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. This site is recommended, well worth your time.]

Carl Sagan may not be a teacher in the Buddhist sense, but he is a teacher with a wise and compassionate message. Here Sagan puts things into perspective for all human kind:

Video posted to YouTube by CarlSaganPortal.

Earth as seen from Apollo 17.

“A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam . . . ” Carl Sagan

Let there be peace.

It’s a decision not a prayer.