Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happiness, awaring, improving, loving

marlie arch
blah, blah
fancy words

and if i'm not
my life

and if i'm not
why am i alive

and it's thicker than

if i'm not happy
i'm probably in
as in:
this is not the way
i would command the world
to be
if I were God

and so
to get out of that

the work of Byron Katie


being honest

coming back to now


coming to my possibilities:
i can be aware
and improve
and enjoy:

the way i move
and am
in my body

i can be
and improve
and enjoy

the way i exist
and churn
and light up
or forget to light up

in my emotions

good stuff


loving this moment
and let
the next take care of itself

and improvement:
from being curious:
how do i really do this

and what would change
if something else changed

as in:
feeling bad
and then starting the Katie work
and asking
"Is it true?"
and what change happens,
just with the first of four questions

what will happen

not greedy:
to rid of unhappiness

same with body stuff:
sore back say:

the old greed, make it go away thing:
drugs or do this this and this

try the tilt of your pelvis
as you sit there,
tilt forward on pelvis, lift sternum
what difference does that make

tilt back on pelvis,
lower and come in with sternum,
what difference does that make


being curious

hanging out in real information
in the real present

a path to bliss
a path to happiness
a path to enlightenment
a path to everyday improvement
and enjoyment


sounds good

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Friday, March 28, 2008

asleep awake asleep awake, rain

rain is sweet
the gardens

which for me
is a circle
of dirt
waiting to transform
a garden

all getting


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is that necessary?

marlie just asked me that

i got all huffy

i woke back up

it was a good question

i just wasn't there
to answer
first time

i'm back home

and yeah,
what i was doing,
wasn't necessary


the advantages
of being awake

can change
can laugh at
and notice
the silliness
of asleep


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Love is waiting


let's say this:
God is waiting for us
to love

God is Reality
what for us to love

Reality is God
waiting for us
to love
our breathing
our toes
our discoveries
made in moments of not trying
too hard,
but awake to the possibilities
that there is something to

and anyway
Love is waiting
for us
to Come Home
to her
of us
the World
Loving us

that sounds
too good to be
doesn't it?

oh, well

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life is good, harmonious relationship, Easter

marlie yoga

Easter came
Easter went

what does:
rising from the dead

can it mean waking up
from habitual
asleep behavior

into awake
and spontaneous

i think so

and so go about
that waking

this is happening with you,

one way
is to enjoy the
Work of Byron Katie
when thoughts come along
that snag me from
being present

another way
is to put a radar out
for whether or not
i am right here
in my body
as i do
whatever else i am doing

another way
is to keep checking in
for a silence
that can guide
a connection to
who or what i am
without my story

possible uses for this:
peaceful sweetness of life

harmonious relationships

better business functioning
via an ability to be present
and listen to one's fellow companions
in whatever work is at hand

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

waking up and Feldenkrais


Feldenkrais is a name
and it's a shorthand for a method
and it's a way of exploring how
to improve

improving is an improbable thing:
most people don't want to change
unless things are really horrible

this is good
it's not so good

we all know those few people
who are running themselves raggedy trying
everything under the sun to cure this and that
and the other

most people
however could improve
their connection to their
and the grace
and ease of their movement
by taking advantage of the Feldenkrais Method®
which is what the simple word "Feldenkrais" implies.

Feldenkrais is
really a man's last name ( Moshe Feldenkrais,
physicist, judo teacher, inventor, 1904-1984)

So , how could someone get a taste of the Feldenkrais Method?
Come to one of my classes.
but quicker than that:
Try to link to the right
that says this:

FREE intro lesson:
Desk Trainer

you can link right here)

That's the quickest way.

Another way might be this

1: Notice that you are sitting on two sit bones, Sitz bones,
the part of your pelvis that is for sitting

2: Lean to the left enough so that you can feel
really feel
that the weight is mainly on your left side

3: When your weight is over there on your left side,
breathe easily,
and after your breath is easy, rotate your head to the left
and to the right.

4: Notice which way seems to be easiest to rotate your head
when you have your weight to the left

5: Come back to the center. See if you notice anything different
from side to side

6: Shift most of your weight now
to the right side
to your right Sitz bone
and become comfortable with your breathing here

7: And in this position rotate your head
right and left
and notice which was seems easier.

8: That is a beginning exploration:
what is our pelvis
where is our weight
how does our head move in space
how can we try something new and be at ease
what is there to learn in some new configuration

And if you want to go further,
there is more:

9: Sitting upright
rotate your head right and left, gently
and notice how your nose moves from pointing to the front
to pointing to the side.
This is rotating your head.

Now: slightly tilt your head to the right
and the left
which means this:
when you tilt to the right, your right ear
goes closer to the floor
when you tilt to the left, your left ear
goes closer to the floor.
In both tilts your nose stays
pointing forward.

10: Practice the difference:
rotate your head right and left
tilt your head right and left

Go slowly and be gentle with your neck
and your nervous system

11: Now:
shift your weight to your left hip,
to the left side of your pelvis

and come back to the middle

and now
as you shift your weight to the left
alternate between tilting your head to the left
and tilting your head to the right

See if when you tilt your head to the right
as you shift your weight to the left side of your pelvis
if you can let your shoulders help a little
as the left shoulder comes up a little
and the right shoulder comes down

This is easier with pictures
and my digital camera is broken

desk trainer
above mentioned has a little cartoon guy to follow
oh well

so anyway

12. Now try the other side:
weight to the right side of your pelvis
and tilting your head
right and left,
letting your shoulders
and maybe even your ribs
help out with this

If confusing,
try desk trainer
or go slower
or give me a call
or buy the book:
Awareness Heals

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

barack's speech on race

me, with no t.v.
not much newspaper reading
heard about this from 74 year old
fireball client,

it's pretty amazing
and inspiring

and having done some time
back in the days,
working the "black" neighborhoods of
as part of youthful idealism/ staying out of Vietnam,
it's nice to hear race
is finely being met in the realm
of truth

maybe this will interest (some of)
you, too.

Philadelphia, PA | March 18, 2008
As Prepared for Delivery
(and slightly updated, as I listened)

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our stories, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a meaning to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, and clapping, and screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Now some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have not yet made perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist between the African-American community and the rest of the American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between blacks and whites, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up, building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or the beauty palor around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons, simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity within the African-
American community in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice, we have no choice, if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – these things are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document right here in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

soil and soul

garden start
start of a new circle garden. different now, but camera's broken. alas, or la, la, depends on awake on not, eh?

Sometimes we are walking down a sidewalk, lost in our thoughts or daydreams, our plans, our regrets, rehearsing some future conversation or rewriting a past one in our head to our advantage, and a dog rushes a fence, barks, and suddenly a surge of adrenaline pumps through us and we wake up from our lostness. Not exactly enlightenment, but we do yank our attention to what seems really important all of a sudden: is that a fence there and is the dog really safely restrained on the other side.?

We might feel a little giggle of awareness. As, in, oh my, was I lost in some other place. And from that giggle we might look around and enjoy the trees, or flowers, or sky, or the feeling of our feet pressing into the sidewalk as we walk, the swinging of our arms in the opposite pattern of our thighs, the freshness of the air, the quality of the light.

And this, this waking to our natural world, and our own moving and alive bodies in that world, we could call a little bit of enlightenment after all. Shocked into the present by Mr. Mean Barking Dog, we sail forth into trees and footsteps and sky and the feelings of being a walking being on this planet earth.

It’s a pretty amazing thing, this planet Earth, and as we live in our Sonoma spring, and are either about to have or just have had both Easter and the Equinox, we have all sorts of springing into life images and feelings and maybe even thoughts in us. The plants all around are blossoming, the pears and jasmine and daffodils and tulips and Ribes and even some California poppies are shouting out their glory. But winter this year has been such a strange blend of intense storms and then warm spring-like days (or, sometimes fooling my system, Indian Summer like days), that sometimes I can forget it’s spring and how amazing and beautiful it is.

It’s as if we are spoiled here is this part of California, getting a pretend spring in the fall, especially if the first rains are followed by the “real” Indian summer. And then between the winter storms, more spring weather. And now, by spring, except for the blossoms, maybe we are becoming a bit too nonchalant about our “perfect” days, with their sunny warmth and 70 degree comfortableness.

Of course, come mid summer, we’ll wish we had appreciated the cool clear warmth when we had it, but that’s human nature, isn’t it?

Still, no matter how many “false” springs, this one now is the time of the garden, the time to harvest the weeds of winter and turn them somehow into soil. The soil calls out for a turning fork, as the hills call our for walks. Walking, the blue sky reminds us, like Andre, struck down in battle in War and Peace ( the new translation is fantastic), that something infinite exists, within and without us.

Soil down, rich, deep, call us to plant some seeds, start some roots down into its nutrition. Soul up there, in here, who knows exactly what or where, but that feeling is nice, isn’t it? And to actually look into the vastness of the blue is always some kind of reminder for me.

That feeling of something infinite and beyond words and deeply worth experiencing. As if we are being kissed by life. Or are kissing it.

Or both.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Waking Up, Saving the Earth: Non-Dummies


Waking up, Saving the Earth, Being Happy, and More, for Non-Dummies
How dare I set out to write a series for non-dummies?

Well, for one thing, I don’t have to get approved to join the fabulously successful “for dummies” school, a sweet and kind approach to everything from computers (windows, Excel, web pages, OS-Dos, and more) to the Bible/Catholicism to yoga/Pilates/golf to pregnancy to music to languages. And more. The Dummy kindness is in making the steps easy, trying to get to the basics, making the learning accessible and fun.

Sometimes they succeed in this, sometimes not quite so much, and still, much as I wish and plan for these writing to be composed of many small and delightful and easy to achieve steps, I do not want to join the Dummies club.

Sorry: this Earth is in too dire of straits for the Dummies to rescue it.

Sorry: humanity is committing too much mayhem for the Dummies to wake up and stop messing up the lives of those around them.

Sorry: relationships between husband and wife, between parents and their children, between ex-mates and the other ex-mate, between religion and religion, nation and nation, are all in all in such a shambles that the Dummy approach is not going to turn around the suffering.

Sorry: centuries of mindlessness have proven this: occasional technological progress, even of the most amazing sort (accomplished by a “scientific method” designed to undermine Dummy-ness, at least in the laboratory) is not enough to bring peace of mind, real happiness, cooperation among nations, cooperation between humans and the Earth, or ongoing health, happiness and harmony.

So: am I saying that things are a mess?


Am I claiming that the way out is only through some sort of “waking up” out of some sort of “ongoing trance?” Yes.

Am I saying that we need to deny our happiness as part of this “waking up?”


Am I saying that most of what passes for “happiness” is some sort of numbing out or escape and distraction from a life lived in the present moment?


Am I say that this is bad?


Am I calling on the human race to wake up and shift its age old embedded sloth and misdirection?


Am I offering a path for anyone who wants to wake up to a more happy and useful and aware and creative and Earth healing life?

I hope so.

Is this path about being good?


Is this path about waking up?


Are most people awake when they think they are awake?


Do people go through their days, dress themselves, eat, talk to their family, get in their cars, go to their jobs, more or less perform their duties, come home, eat, watch television, talk on the phone, do computer stuff, do this and that, read books, and go to bed, all in a state of sleep?


Can I prove this?

I don’t want to.

Can you discover this for yourself?


Will this be humiliating?

Maybe. Or humorous along with being humbling. Or exciting.

Next time: Is the Earth in a hurry?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

what is good




being of use to other people

healing and communing with the Earth

slowing down

speeding up

being aware










so on ing


Sunday, March 09, 2008

body and soul

this will be more longly celebrated
at The WakeUp-Feldenkrais Blog,
but for now, let's have a short,


some say: it's not really real
and then, if they get a stomach ache
they fall to pieces

or not,
what is real is how we move this "body"
from computer to bed to garden
to love making to walking
to gardening
to loving
our selves and others

of course
or course
the heart loves
the body just plays
along and gives the skirts
and the sizzles
and the lost moment
the orgasm
of forgetting the cares
of the world
the ecstasy of working up to the orgasm:
all reminding us:

now is

is remembering
who we really are

and what part does the "body"
have in our possible reawaking to
our "soul"

who knows

are we smiling now
we happy with our breathing
we happy
with the shifting
to awareness
or simply happy
dwelling in

who know?
is that what a body is for?
to bring us to some place
where we can quietly
this is me,


more at the above mentioned
WakeUp-Feldenkrais Blog


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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Rumi and the soul

Yesterday at the yoga/ health and "whatnot" blog
I was musing about soil and soul,
and mentioned the possibility of
further musings
on the
"soul" part of that pair.

(Nice pair,
and soul.
and so on.)

So, let's start with some soul
possibilities and immediate associations:

it sounds like a big deal, doesn't it?

it sounds like a fertile field for all sorts
of random and metaphysical nonsense,

of the sort:
"My soul yearns for connection
to the truth,"

"i am lost without my soul

"the soul yearns for the Infinite."

all these statements
could be true,
and could be the sort of pseudo truth
that can drive anyone crazy

it could be a way of paying
attention to something more
important than we usually pay attention to,
"What profit a person
to gain the world
and lose
their soul,"

though these days,
most people will
take the world
or even a big chunk of it
(even a little chunk)
in a minute
over something vague
and possibly wonderful
like the soul

it's a nice concept
to consider
as a concept

it's a nice concept
to imagine
without any concept


and let's let a little Rumi
speak to this yearning
which may be from our "soul,"
or our deepest self
our self
or ??????

Here's Rumi:

"a craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
and cut holes in it,
and called it a human being

Since then, it has been wailing
a tender agony of parting,
never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute."

from a Coleman Barks translation,
of course

So Rumi
takes us
to a place of vague remembrance,
or forgetting
of some greater

and maybe that remembrance
is through the/ our soul
and maybe what we (almost)
is our soul

and maybe our little soul
remembers the Big Soul
that crafted it

and maybe....

in the quiet moments
we do sense a connection
to something vast
and amazing

something vast
and small
and everything

(covering all the bases here)
maybe that has something to do
with what we try to do
with the word
(it's just a word,
a concept)

the soul
as that within us
that recognizes
this simplicity
and this immensity

and others
might say
the soul
is this immensity

actually, just occurs to me
if you want to have a sweet experience
and get bambozzled by a lot of Deep Soul
truth/ nonsense
read the Alchemist,
by Paulo Cueho,
either great wise one,
or con man,
or a bit of both

i have to admit
the book is sweet
and ......

you find out

if you want

we'll talk about body
and soul

or brain
and soul

who knows
is another day

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the glory and sweetness of life

marlie in room
windows of life, on life,
in life

Life is long and hard.
Life is short and simple.
Life is long and simple.
Life is long and hard.

All of these could be true, all could be false.

What is this moment?

Here’s a clue, to me and you: it is neither hard, nor soft.
It= life.
And, as living being we are either,
breathing in or
breathing out,
or pausing,
or (and this happens a bit more than
we might wish) tensing between breaths.

Life is knowing this,
or not knowing this.

Life is knowing
or not knowing
about our arms and legs, and spine,
the ribs,
our pelvis,
our ribs,
the pelvis,
the sound of whatever is
right now.

for me
click click of keyboard,
for you,

what is your music now?
what does your heart wish for?

can we have a wish
and make is sweet
not pretending that it is already here
not desparing that it is not yet here
just sweet
to be now
and sweet to be in a possibility
of some sweeter unfolding
in life

and sometimes that unfolding
comes most
when we wish so little
that it doesn't even seem like
a wish
except it is,
the wish to be connected


la, la

And this is sweet.

Seems so simple, so maybe life is simple, and yet
we make it so complicated, we have so many requirements before we’ll let ourselves come to the simple nowness of each moment:
• we have a lot of stuff to do
• we have clocks that are telling us to hurry
• we have minds that are telling us to hurry because the clocks says whatever it says
• we have other people’s expectations we are worried about
• we have our own expectations that we are worried about
• we have obligations, some quiet worthy and noble, some added on for reasons that we all know aren’t so entirely noble
• we have our habits, our routines, our ruts
• and so on

And so what?

In any moment, we can be here with our breathing, with our connection to gravity, with our awareness of light and sound.

We can feel at ease inside, our minds and our bodies.
And if not as at ease as we wish, we can
just what
or sort of what
is stopping us.

And in our looking
in the moment,
will always find
a sweetness we may or
may not
have been expecting.

This is amazing.
Maybe I’ll remember this today. Maybe you will too.
Good sweet luck to us all.

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