Posted in Christianity, Essay, Jamie Dedes, Peace & Justice

THE TIPPING POINT: Good will from and toward women and men everywhere!

Nativité_de_CostaThis is simultaneously blogged on Rev. Terri Stewart’s blog and my own personal blog.

Today begins the first day of our Terri Stewart’s Advent event. There are many bloggers participating in this event. Each day of the Christian celebration of Advent will be sponsored by a different blogger who will post appropriately on his or her site. Their posts will also go up on Terri’s site and the kick-off is on Into the Bardo today.

If you follow Into the Bardo  regularly, you know that we share work here that is not necessarily religious but is reflective of diverse cultures and spiritual paths and representative of universal human values, however differently they might be expressed. This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples.

We acknowledge that there are enormous theological differences and historical resentments that carve wedges among and within the traditions, but we believe that ultimately self-preservation, common sense, and human solidarity will empower connections and collaboration and overcome division and disorder. We work for the tipping point when compromise – an admittedly imperfect peace – will overcome war and respect for life will topple resentment. That may not happen in our time, but it has to start somewhere and sometime and this is our modest contribution toward an end for which diverse people the world over are working.

For those who are not Christian, Advent is the period of time leading up to the Nativity of Christ (Christmas). It is celebrated somewhat differently by different Christian sects and by Roman and Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches. I think the details of the celebrations are less important than the scriptural quote for the day …

James 4:1-3
1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

Indeed, where do the conflicts and disputes originate: in the cravings that make us restless within ourselves, in coveting things or situations we don’t have (and may not really need), and in not using right means for just ends? These are appropriate considerations as we approach the annual celebration of the “Prince of Peace,” a celebration which is in the end a call for compassion and understanding.

May our compassion have legs.

PEACE ON EARTH
The tipping point:
GOOD WILL FROM AND TOWARD WOMEN
AND MEN EVERYWHERE!

… and Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah to those who are celebrating  …

Follow the entire Advent season
with Terri Stewart HERE.

… If you are so inclined, we would be grateful to have this post reblogged. Thank you! …

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ Pramzan via Wikipedia under CC A-SA 3.0 Unported 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, 1.0 Generic license

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ Poetry remains a gift in disability and medical retirement. It’s a compact thing that I can still manage. I am the founder and host of Into the Bardo, a spirited international collaborative of word-play, music, art and photography where our core team members function independently and yet with a remarkable synergy. They do everything. They are the stars. I have simply created a space in which to share.

For the past five years I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day, the journey in poem, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight (hence the url). Poetry is my spiritual practice.

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest, Poets Against War Week

BARDO NEWS: Follow-up on Poets Against War and Call for Contributors

White Doves at Blue Mosque
White Doves at Blue Mosque

POETS AGAINST WAR: Our profound appreciation to all those who read, wrote and contributed poems, links to poems and comments of such quality that they enrich this site for all. We are busy now preparing a summary and compiling the links and later this week everything will be delivered to you in a special post, which will also be loaded in as a page for easy access anytime.  

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS/CONTRIBUTIONS: We are also deeply appreciative of the people and talents offered in response to our most recent outreach. Three volunteers from the Core Team are handling this project and we will get back to everyone shortly. 

– Jamie Dedes

Photo credit ~ Peretz Partensky via Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Generic 2.0 license

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 Naomi Baltuck, Photography/Photographer, Story Telling, Photo Story

Doors

Is a door the way in or the way out?  It depends…are you coming or going?

We find many interesting doors in life.

Sometimes we know just what we need…

Other times the choice is not so clear…

Some doors are lovely…

Others scary…

Some are daunting…

It would be nice if we could sneak a peek…

Some doors are difficult to get to…

Still others can be hard to find…

Or best avoided…

But you never can tell which door…

…will open up onto a new friendship…

 

…or a loving family…

Which is why we must not be afraid to step out into the sunshine, or forget to invite someone in out of the cold.

Reach for the doorknob….

…..and see what you can find.

All words and images Copyright 2012 Naomi Baltuck

All images and words copyright 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 Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer

In Your Hands

My daughter Bea and I were having a little fun with shadows on the grounds of Dover Castle.

It made me think about writing–and life.  Life puts the raw material into our hands, and it’s up to us to mold it into whatever work of art we envision.  Look for the right light and context, and you can do so much with so little, and to great effect.

All images and words copyright 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 Bardo News

Introducing …

It is my pleasure to provide a formal introduction to two of the newer members of Bardo’s core creative team:

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, a psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. Michael tells us that in childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing. He shares his personal, professional, and shamanic experiences and insights at Dreaming the World, as well as here at Into the Bardo.

Michael lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, which is nestled snugly between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. (He says that most days he can see the Adirondack Mountains across the lake.) He teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College, where he was once Dean of Students. Recently he returned home from teaching in India and Hong Kong.

Michael is mixed blood*, which makes his genealogy “confounding at best.” His father’s father was Native American from the Black Hills (most probably Lakota). His mother was Native American from Indiana, possibly Shawnee. Periodically someone on the distaff side of the family “discovers” their grandmother’s actual tribal affiliation, but “those discoveries tend to morph.”

In attempting to discover family roots, Michael says there are many genealogical stone walls, as befits a family in hiding. His mother’s family identified as hailing from the British Isles, although there were rumors of more recent Cherokee ancestry. “My father said our family is Native on both sides. Mom was from Texas, and both families very aware of the racism Natives face in their respective states. Anyway, my family did not speak much about being Indian and we don’t have tribal affiliation. Identity politics are strong in the United States and being mixed blood teaches one much about living in between easily defined categories.”

9709-008In 2002, Michael’s teachers told him he must become more visible and teach. That was not a simple directive to fulfill. He had always been taught that one never calls oneself a shaman or medicine person: only the elders and teachers, and the people one aids, can speak to who is, or is not, a shaman. Traditionally, when asked about being a shaman the appropriate response is, ” My teachers, and my teachers’ teachers, were shamans”. In many native communities, persons who claim to be shamans are highly suspect. “I was taught to always run the other direction when confronted with someone claiming to be a shaman. Yet, the world has changed and I do not live in traditional culture. The time is near when the ancient teachings and healing practices of First Nations people will find their rightful place in the world. My teachers believe it is now important for visionary healers to stand true and straight, to acknowledge our training, and to share the teachings and practices we know.”

in the United States “mixed blood” usually indicates a mix of European and Native American, not Hispanic or Black.

webheadshotKAREN FAYETH (Oh Fair New Mexico)~ Writer, blogger, photographer, visual artist: these are all words that can be used to describe Karen Fayeth and her work. A native of New Mexico, Karen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997 and was immediately inspired and engaged by the vibrant arts community, which is so woven into the local way of life. Karen blends the influences of the cultures where she grew up, including Hispanic, Native American, and the deep rural soul of the American West along with a newer city-sense acquired in places like San Francisco, Brooklyn, Boston, London, Singapore, and San Jose, Costa Rica.

A storyteller at heart, Karen’s main medium is words and writing, but she recognizes that words don’t always tell the tale. Karen expanded her studies to the visual arts including paint, clay, papier-mache and photography. She’s learned to craft stories using a combination of both words and images.

Karen’s been blogging at Oh Fair New Mexico since March of 2007. Her writing is featured in publications including New Mexico Magazine, Wild Violet Literary Magazine, and Foliate Oak. Her photography is regularly displayed as a part of an annual Localvision photography show and she’s received special note for her photographs of well-known baseball players. (She’s an avid baseball fan.) Karen’s won awards for her writing, photography, and crafts. When she is not spinning a tale or clicking her Canon, she works as a senior level executive for a science and research organization. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and her cat, and she can sometimes be found entertaining friends, family, and colleagues with her endearing sense of humor and her San Mateo County Fair blue-ribbon green chile chicken enchiladas. Yes! She even won an award for her cooking.

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, photographs, Michael Watson and Karen Fayeth respectively, All rights reserved

Posted in Essay

Reflections, In Honor of Mother’s Day


Once, when we were running late, I was waiting impatiently to lift my little boy Eli into his car seat, while he studied a bug on the driveway.  “Hurry up!” I said.  “We’re going to be late.”

Puzzled, my little boy looked up at me and said, “Mommy, why are you using that tone of voice?”

Such a grownup expression from the mouth of the babe!  And it took my breath away.

“You’re right, honey,” I told him. “It’s not the end of the world if we’re late to pre-school, and it wouldn’t be your fault, if we were.”

Eli and I had a good look at the bug, while I quietly reflected upon what kind of parent I wanted to be.  Which memory of me would I want my kids to look back on and remember me by?  My mother once told me, “The best friends you’ll ever have are the ones you raise yourself.”  Bless her!  Bless them!  Bless us all!

I love that tee shirt that says, “Please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.”   But I aspire always to be the person my kids think I am.

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppiNAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here 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 Culture/History, mystic, Naomi Baltuck, Spiritual Practice

The Stairway (to Skellig Michael)

When we traveled to Ireland we visited Skellig Michael, a monastery founded by Christian monks in the 7th century.  Life there was remote and harsh, the weather often severe.   The monks collected rainwater to drink, raised a few animals and imported soil from the mainland nine miles away so they could grow vegetables on that barren little island.

If a monk made a rare crossing to the mainland for supplies, rough weather might strand him there for a week or a month.  To return to his spartan life in a cold stone beehive hut, he would have to climb 700 feet up these winding stairs, bearing whatever supplies he had fetched home.

On our life’s journey most of us earn our bread, raise our families, and pursue our passions.  Sometimes, like water flowing down a hillside, we take the path of least resistance.  What in your life do you care enough about to be willing to make this climb?

– Naomi Baltuck

All words and images (including the portrait below) copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck,All rights reserved

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppiNAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here 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 Bardo News

Welcome and Congratulations …

This evening we get to share some wonderful news with you.

  • We have a new and exciting collaborator, our Resident Story Teller, Naomi Baltuck, and
  • We are pleased to announce that our Chaplain and Site Co-Administrator, Terri Stewart, was just awarded a Master’s in Divinity from Seattle University.

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppiNaomi tells us

“I was raised in a family blessed with good stories to tell. Mom told hers over the kitchen table, while Grandma Rose spun her yarns with a kid on each knee. After college I packed my diploma into the saddlebag of my bike and headed west to see what adventures my own story held in store. I taught canoeing in King’s Canyon, worked at the Bar 717 Ranch in the Trinity Alps, and waited tables in the Tetons.

In Seattle, I became a teacher, a professional puppeteer, and a Wet Apple Clogger. It was there that I discovered storytelling, first as a teaching tool, then as a profession. That was almost thirty years ago. I met my husband and raised my family in this silver city by the sea, writing books and telling stories all the while.”

51kAqFGEesL._SY300_31X0wf8BuLL._SL500_Since storytelling is one of Naomi’s major interests and special gifts in life, it’s not surprising to know that she charms us each week with a story in photographs on her blog, Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. There she shares life and travel adventures. Among her published books are: six books including several on the art and practice of storytelling. Her Amazon page is HERE.

Naomi, an award-winning writer and story-teller, has been a contributing writer here in the past. We love her posts:  they are perfectly executed works of art: careful and caring, symmetrical and clear. Lest you think we are her only admirers, here is what others are saying:

Baltuck is a master storyteller.  Story time is a very special time when Baltuck does the telling.  As she talks she is part mime, part actor, part singer… –The Seattle Times

Perhaps the quality that makes Naomi Baltuck such a fine storyteller is her affinity for and ability to communicate the beauty in life. — The Palo Alto Tribune

Storyteller Naomi Baltuck weaves magic with words…Yakima schoolchildren were treated to a taste of virtuoso storytelling as the West Coast’s best tale-spinner visited Yakima. — The Yakima Herald Tribune

Storyteller Naomi Baltuck makes sense of the world. — Pacific Northwest Magazine

With song and pantomime and the lilting cadence of her speech, Baltuck seemed to have no trouble sweeping her audience away to a world where the myths of the Pacific Northwest came alive. — The Bellingham Herald

Please join us in a warm and grateful welcome to Naomi …

…. and a proud “Congratulations” to Terri who says,

Terri Stewart
Terri Stewart

“An MDIV is a four-year general theology degree. I was terrified when I went back to school. I came from a scientific writing background and landed in territory where you are supposed to use personal pronouns in your papers and in your expression! Whoa!

After the first set of classes, I figured it out and also re-discovered my inner poet and artist. I began writing poetry again, doing art, and stepping into contemplative photography. I took to the more spiritual classes with such a passion that I decided to add on a certificate in Spiritual Direction.

34710_4202703680911_185804454_nI finished the two courses in 5 years except for one silly class that I had dropped earlier and had to take this last January-Medieval Church History. Now there’s a fun topic! In fact, it was a blast. My major papers were on the Court Beguines of the Flemish territory and on Christine de Pizan. I learned so much about women, spirituality, and what real community is by spending time with the Beguines and with Christine. It was amazing. I was also struck by the similarities in our current times and the time directly prior to the Renaissance. Polarization. Duality. The big lie. Denigration of education and intellect. Whisper campaigns. I spent half this particular class going, “Holy moley, batman!”

Anyway, my diploma says that I have rights and privileges earned with this degree. I’m not quite sure what those things are other than I have a student loan to pay back! But I am taking the education that I received and using it in two ways. One, working with incarcerated youth. Two, encouraging people to develop diverse spiritual practices.

I am blessed and privileged to have been able to travel this path. I look forward to the next rabbit trail! (Is that a PhD calling?)”

Terri has been fabulous, actively involved in Bardo from day one. She has a fine sense of timing and is a collaborator in every sense. We are more grateful for her presence here than we can say and know everyone is enjoying her wise, wonderful, and often witty posts.

Posted in Wendy Alger

OUR MODEST REOPENING …

photoTODAY WE ARE REBORN.

TOMORROW WE START POSTING AGAIN.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

Check out our front page for an update.

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” Dalai Lama

This lovely Buddha was photographed by our own Wendy Alger. © 2013, All rights reserved