‘The sun doesn’t stop shining
because some of us are blind.
The birds don’t stop singing
because some of us are deaf.
The heart doesn’t stop loving because some of us are afraid.
What lets the flower in the forest
bloom though no one is watching?’
Only love, with no thought of return,
can soften the point of suffering.
‘Water in its clear softness fills the whatever hole it finds. It is not skeptical or distrusting. It does not say this gully is too deep or that field is too open.
Like water, the miracle of love is that it covers whatever it touches, making the touched thing grow while leaving no trace of its touch.
Most things break instead of transform because they resist. The quiet miracle of love is that without our interference, it, like water, accepts whatever is tossed or dropped or place into it, embracing it completely.
Of course, we are human and are easily hurt if not loved back or if loved poorly. But we waste so much of life’s energy be deliberating who and what shall be worthy of our love when in the deepest elemental sense, these choices are not in our province, anymore that rain can choose what it shall fall upon.
And over a lifetime, the pain of withholding this great and quiet force is more damaging than the pain of being rejected or loved poorly.
For love, like water, can be dammed, but toward what end?’
-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“Don’t tell me a lie
And sell it as a fact
I’ve been down that road before
And I ain’t going back.
Don’t you brag to me
That you never read a book
I never put my faith
In a con man and his crooks.”
-Bruce Springsteen and Joe Grushecky
The Ultimate Megatrend
N.Y. Times Magazine’s forthcoming Climate Issue
How do we live with the fact that the world we knew is going and, in some cases, already gone?” by Jon Mooallem:
The future we’ve been warned about is beginning to saturate the present. We tend to imagine climate change as a destroyer. But it also traffics in disruption, disarray: increasingly frequent and more powerful storms and droughts; heightened flooding; expanded ranges of pests turning forests into fuel for wildfires; stretches of inhospitable heat. So many facets of our existence — agriculture, transportation, cities and the architecture they spawned — were designed to suit specific environments. Now they are being slowly transplanted into different, more volatile ones, without ever actually moving.
And in case that wasn’t enough, from the same issue
Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika,” by Maryn McKenna:
The unpredictable weather patterns stimulated by climate change affect infectious diseases, as well as chronic ones. Warmer weather encourages food-borne organisms like salmonella to multiply more rapidly, and warmer seas foster the growth of bacteria like Vibrio that make oysters unsafe to eat. Spikes in heat and humidity have less visible effects, too, changing the numbers and distribution of the insect intermediaries that carry diseases to people.
Like leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up and turns us ever so slowly toward the light. Our task is only to be rooted and patient.
Mysterious as it is – no matter our pain or excitement, our drama or circumstance – – all that we could hope for is here. We lack nothing.
Act always as if the future of the Universe depends on what you do, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference.
I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary…then I shall be one of those who makes things beautiful.
‘I believe what the self-centered have torn down,
the other-centered will build up.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
To bridge to the chasms of ‘siloed’ ideologies and the echo chambers of polarized media, if we open our hearts to listen, deeply listen, and connect empathy, I believe we will bridge the chasms when we discover shared foundational common values for people and democracy. We the people.
“In this time of dire need for “a revelation in the heart,” when the values of democracy are continually misconstrued and misused, Cohen’s immortal words come to life in a beautiful short film — part tribute to Cohen, part fundraiser for Pen America, part public service to lift the human spirit, narrated by Neil Gaiman, with music by Amanda Palmer and gorgeous watercolor art by David Mack and Olga Nunes.
“In this compelling hybrid of memoir and sociological analysis, Vance digs deep into his upbringing in the hills of Jackson, Ky., and the suburban enclave of Middletown, Ohio. He chronicles with affectionâand raw candorâthe foibles, shortcomings, and virtues of his family and their own attempts to live their lives as working-class people in a middle-class world. […] Vance observes that hillbillies like himself are helped not by government policy but by community that empowers them and extended family who encourages them to take control of their own destinies. Vance’s dynamic memoir takes a serious look at class.”
In the many year Stacy Krantiz has been documenting life in Appalachia—as seen in her ongoing project As it was Give(n) to Me—she has deftly navigated the minefield that comes with photographing in this often misrepresented part of the county. At least since Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the 1941 book by writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans* that chronicled the lives of poverty-stricken sharecroppers in the South, residents have rightfully complained about how outsiders have portrayed them in photographs—nothing short of a kind of visual openmouthed gawking and pointing. By living with her subjects, Krantiz challenges and plays with common stereotypes of the beautiful hill region of southern Ohio, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky. Kranitz’s photos show her living it up with the subjects of her photos, deeply embedded, fully embraced, sometimes even appearing in the images herself. She photographs as a member of the family, showing the good and the beautiful, along with the bad and the ugly. Nothing to hide.
For additional perspective, watch Rory Kennedy’s poignant documentary, “American Hollow”. It is the story of one Appalachian family living in a hallow of Kentucky for seven generations. Kennedy chronicles their lives for one year. 
‘…humility is accepting that your head belongs beneath your heart, with your thinking subordinate to your feeling, with your will subordinate to the higher order. This acceptance is key to receiving grace.’
The intersection of voting, gerrymandering and the 2020 census. Three stories lay out an oncoming train wreck in Trump’s administration.
“In January, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) added the 2020 census to its ‘high risk’ list of programs and agencies. We could be headed for a train wreck if the Census Bureau doesn’t get the resources it needs. The census affects every corner of America, determining where hundreds of billions of federal dollars flow annually, where businesses open new stores and which states gain—or lose—seats in the House of Representatives in 2020 reapportionment.” [Politico]
- HBO TV host John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, condenses the complex issue of gerrymandering in context of democracy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-4dIImaodQ
- Voting Rights and Texas, Alabama, too. And what heavy political right-winger and newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch could undo. https://www.thenation.com/article/a-big-win-for-voting-rights-in-texas-and-a-big-loss-for-trump/
- Trump’s census threat. http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/04/trumps-threat-to-the-2020-census-000404
Easter Island was the home to a thriving community, thousands of people living good lives.
One by one, though, the trees on this isolated island were cut down. They were cut down for fuel, or to make tools, or boats.
And finally, the last tree was gone. And the population went extinct. (Jared Diamond)
My question, though, isn’t really about the last tree. It’s about the second-to-last tree.
When someone cut it down, how did the community react? Were they afraid to speak up? Was it made clear that the social and societal costs of cutting down a tree were severe, so severe that no one would even contemplate cutting down the last tree?
And maybe they could have started this cultural norm with the third-to-last tree. Or even sooner.
Culture is the most powerful tool we have to change behavior. All around us we see people selfishly taking from the commons, eroding our standards, chopping down trees (real and metaphorical) we depend on.
What will we say the next time someone comes with an ax?
‘Let’s be honest
which doesn’t mean
being harsh, but gentle.
Let’s be clear
which doesn’t mean being dispassionate, but
holding each other up
in the face of what is true.’
A full moon intensifies everything and this is especially true this month. It is up to you what gets intensified. Don’t indulge in the negative. Be proactive with your intentions and get fired up about something that inspires you. This is big energy we are dealing with these days. Mark this time of the full moon with some big intentions that you can start following up on with a grounded action plan.
Since it is just after midnight, tomorrow, April 10th, Monday is a good day to begin honoring and celebrating this moon.
The anchor of this time needs to be time out in nature, honoring both the higher emotional center with its beauty and inspiration, and the instinctive center with its link to vitality and raw energy.