Washington National Cathedral is hosting a new art exhibit showcasing thousands of paper doves suspended from the Cathedral’s vaulted, 100-foot-high ceiling through May 2021. The “Les Colombes” exhibit is by German artist Michael Pendry, who has created similar works at Cathedrals around the world, and symbolizes the Biblical theme of hope and optimism heading into the new year after a very challenging 2020.
Every moment and every event of every woman’s life on earth plants something in her soul. -Thomas Merton [changes to gender, mine.]
More from Merton:
Prayer is freedom and affirmation growing out of nothingness into love. It is the elevation of our limited freedom into the infinite freedom of the divine spirit and of the divine love. Prayer is an emergence into this area of infinite freedom.
Keep your eyes clean your ears quiet and your mind serene. Breathe Gaia’s air. Work, if you can, under her sky.
I’ve always called myself a lover of language and of the limits of language. But this week I take no pleasure in how tongue-tied I feel, standing before the disarray and fragility of our life together. It’s hard to put words out into the world right now for so many reasons. That they’re not big enough. That they never tell the whole truth. That we live in a moment so on edge and reactive that someone will take offense, or be wounded by my words, and that feels harder than ever before to risk and to bear.
There is an insanity to our life together right now that is directly related to the tenuous hold on sanity so many of us feel after surviving this past year.
That does not justify hatred or violence.
It does mean that we’re called to be as gentle with ourselves and others as we can possibly, reasonably muster. That sounds like such a modest contribution to the tumult all around and on our screens, but it is not.
I keep coming back in memory, and feeling in my body, to my experience of election night 2020. I observed it as someone who sees our political life together as a reflection of the human condition in all its complexity, contradiction, and mess. But I was also watching as a person who grew up in one of the “reddest” states, who now lives in one of the “bluest.” I felt a panicked sadness — this has remained my primary emotion through everything that has followed — as the cameras zoomed in and out on those maps of our country.
I saw visually what I know in life as it is lived: those maps marked up with definitive reds and blues don’t tell the truth of our alienation and its unsustainable intimacy. The fractures that actually define our nation right now do not run state to state or county to county, but neighborhood to neighborhood, family to family. They run through our dreams for our children on every side. They run through our hearts, and through our lives.
I am so grateful to have received, as I was struggling to write this, an email from Whitney Kimball Coe of the Rural Assembly and the Center for Rural Strategies. There is a whole epic story of our time in what is being gathered and created in the world she’s part of. It is in no way described or contained in a red-blue demographic lens of the “urban-rural divide.” She gave me permission to share this part of her email with you:
“I’m at home nursing my youngest, Susannah, who had a scary fall on Monday night and is now recuperating from surgery. She’s going to be fine, but my goodness, 2021 came in hard. Stream of consciousness moment:You know, our hospital experience put us directly in the path of so many wonderful East Tennesseans. Nurses and technicians and doctors, the other parents waiting in the ER, the parking attendant, the security guard. I’m sure many of them didn’t vote as I did in the last election and probably believe the events of Jan 6 were mere protests, but they responded to our trauma with their full humanity. I’d forgotten what it feels like to really see people beyond their tribe/ideology. It broke something open in me. I’ve been living in a castle of isolation these many months and it’s rotted and blotted my insides. I’m aware of contempt, anger, and maybe even paranoia coursing through my veins, and I wonder if that’s just a snippet of where we are as a nation.
Why is our righteous indignation and disgust so much easier to flame than our compassion?
It makes me realize that there is no substitute for coming into the presence of one another. No meme nor Twitter post nor op-ed nor breaking news nor TED talk can soften and strengthen our hearts like actually tending to one another. We don’t have to ignore/excuse the darkness we all carry, but we have to keep showing up so we don’t lose ourselves to bitterness.”
We cannot conjure up something so aspirational as “unity” by wishing it, and we are in fact impoverished when it comes to “common ground” between our societal trenches.
But if I’ve heard one thing most insistently, with an infinite variety of circumstance and struggle, from absolutely every beautiful and wise human I’ve ever met, it is this: We are creatures made, again and again, by what would break us. Yet only if we open to the fullness of the reality of what goes wrong for us, and walk ourselves with and through it, are we able to integrate it into a new kind of wholeness on the other side.
Our collective need for a new kind of wholeness might be the only aspiration we can share across all of our chasms right now.
Longings, too, can be common ground. A shared desire not to be lost to bitterness. A clear-eyed commitment that what divides us now does not have to define what can become possible between us. Questions, honestly asked, about how to make that real.
[Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, a National Humanities Medalist, a New York Times bestselling author, and founder of On Being.]
We need to focus and fix all three.
From Eric Holthaus:
Original art for The Phoenix is by Laila Arêde.
Our time here on this beautiful planet is so temporary.
If there’s anything that 2020 taught us, it’s that while time is fleeting for everyone,
it’s the way society is structured
that determines how fleeting it is, and for whom. The overlapping tragedies of Covid-19, police brutality, and the climate emergency don’t fall equally on everyone, and
it’s up to us to change that system
to ensure everyone here gets the chance to thrive that they deserve.
That’s the heart of climate justice.
Our window for revolutionary repair of our planet’s atmosphere and biosphere – caused by centuries of excesses brought by capitalism, patriarchy, misogyny, imperialism, and racism – is bound by physics. We can (and should!) argue about the best ways to get to a zero-carbon world as quickly as possible, but we can’t argue with the fact that current global policies will deliver a planet that’s incompatible with a safe future for billions of people who did the least to cause the climate emergency.
This is what we’re fighting for: Indigenous sovereignty, regenerative care of the land, shelter, equity, joy. All the basics that people need to live a good life. A vision for a bread and roses future for everyone.
Getting started with that journey isn’t hard.
The point is only that you show up.
We need everyone to be a part of this transformation in their own way.
At the same time, becoming a Climate Person isn’t easy. But it’s some of the most important work in the history of the world. You don’t get to give up, but you do get to ask for help.
If living your best life includes making the world more life-sustaining for every creature we share this beautiful planet with, the rest of this post will help you get started.
Meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus describes himself as “a meteorologist who strives to foster understanding of humanity’s connection to the atmosphere.” Here he delivers a monologue on climate change and his mission to remind everyone that we are all in this fight together. Eric wants to change the narrative of climate change from being “one of inevitable disaster to one of possibility.”
Author Allysha Lavino and a thought for 2021:
And what do we want to bring with us?
This is the year we feather our nests – it’s time to take care of ourSelves, our families, our communities, and our environments.
‘This was the road which Xerxes took, and it was hereabouts that he came across
a plane-tree of
such beauty that he was moved
to decorate it
with golden ornaments and
to appoint a guardian for it
~Herodotus, The Histories
We know poetry to be a critical pillar of public life. It rises up when official language fails us. And it gives voice to what is human and what is true, how we connect and what questions we hold.
Poetry has moved to the heart of what we offer on the radio and in podcasts, which is why we’re excited to have partnered with talented illustrators, animators, and directors to reimagine poetry in visual, dynamic ways.
“This is what was bequeathed us” by Gregory Orr is part of our “Visualizing Poetry” series, which features animated interpretations of beloved poems from our archive.
This poem was originally read in the On Being episode with Gregorry Orr, “Shaping Grief With Language.”
-The Onbeing Project
She is so beautiful. We are we still wounding? We know what we’re doing. We must change our collective behaviors. Now. We can do this. We don’t have much time.
‘Tune into the trees, the waters, the birds flying by … There’s so much more peace, beauty & love than what’s being broadcasted. Real life is where you are.’
‘‘The cosmos is within us, we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself’.
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
Everything is sacred. For at the depths of all is the essence of life that backs all things. Therefore, nothing falls outside the scope of the all-encompassing. There is not a place we go, not a person we talk to, not an event that occurs that is void of this divine energy.
All is sacred, yet as I reflect on my experience I realize how few things I view as sacred: that ignorant statement made by a politician, the destruction of sacred indigenous lands, the clear-cutting of forests, the racial inequities that swirl across the globe, even the person who cut me off in traffic.
Perhaps spiritual understanding is not bypassing these real experiences and covering them with a blanket of oneness. Perhaps instead it’s about seeing and realizing that collectively we can align with something deeper to alleviate the real suffering in the lives of billions of our and sisters and brothers on the planet.
Perhaps it is a deep understand that Mother Earth…GAIA…is the greatest temple there is, our bodies are products of this temple, and how we honor the sacred ground beneath us and the holy temple we move on each day is a gift we bestow to the creator. If Mother Earth…GAIA…connects us and the Sacred Spirit unites us, then what I do to myself, to the Earth or to another, I do unto all.
Maybe it is not about seeing sacredness everywhere but living my life every day in a sacred way.
-Jeffon Seely, author and international speaker
[Seely is committed to dissolving barriers and dedicated to helping individuals break down internal barriers, reaching their potential. -Science of Mind]
“Everywhere is the center of the world. Everything is sacred.
Photo: Oct. 10th, Sun Valley, Idaho
We have to instill dignity and reverence in everyday life. -A. Stoddard
The New Yorker
What are we doing here? When the air is red and the street lights are on at noon, we ask this question. When there are twenty-three major fires burning at once throughout California, and seventeen thousand firefighters battling them, we ask this question. When a firefighter dies in a blaze begun during a gender-reveal party, we ask this question. We ponder these questions on a smoke-tinged Friday, and on Saturday the sky is clear and we’re at the beach again. This is life in 2020 California.
It’s not right, any of this. The fact that it gets harder every year, that fires get more frequent, bigger, deadlier. The fact that we have to count on volunteers, and firefighters from Colorado, Texas, Mexico, Australia. The exorbitant expense.
There aren’t enough people, there aren’t enough planes and bulldozers and trucks.
There’s too much fire. We can’t keep living like this. More than anything, we can’t expect firefighters to live like this.
And if our earth needed to
She could weave us together like roses
And make of us a garland.
Gaia will be fine. She will rejuvenate and make new. Humanity…our species…must decide now if we are to survive. Gaia wants to make us a garland. And we continue destruction…politically, socially, economically.
How many times does a person have to lie before you stop listening to them?
If he is given, or steals, another election, greater karmic forces are at play beyond what we know.
We have so much to atone.
Image credit: Garden of Wish Fulfilment (detail), Arshile Gorki, 1944, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon Portugal.
Fr Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
In times of Disorder and deconstruction, we long for Reorder on a personal level—to be made new and whole again. But the Scriptures tell us that restoration will also happen on a communal, planetary, and even universal level! Jim Antal, a climate justice leader with the United Church of Christ, reminds us of our ability and responsibility to participate with God…Gaia…in the renewal and reordering of the earth.
“How can you know all these facts [about climate change] and still have hope?” For me, faith and hope are rooted in the conviction that, regardless of how bad things may be, a new story is waiting to take hold—something we have not yet seen or felt or experienced. . . . God…Gaia…is calling us—as individuals and congregations—to work with God and others to champion that new story.
For the vast majority in our society, that new story remains unseen. Wresting our future from the grip of fossil fuel seems impossible—our addiction is too strong, affordable options are too few, and the powers that defend the status quo are mighty, indeed. . . . We cannot be freed by chipping away at this millstone.
We must begin to live into a new story by changing the human prospect [of destruction] and restoring creation’s viability.
That’s what the Water Protectors of Standing Rock have done. Their courageous, unflinching discipline inspired thousands to join them and millions to imagine with them the new world that is waiting to be born. They prepared themselves through prayer and ritual to face down sheriffs, paramilitary contractors, attack dogs, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and high-pressure water cannons in subzero temperatures. They were fueled by hope, hope for a revolution rooted in love—love for God’s great gift of creation. . . .
We can’t accept God’s…Gaia’s…invitation to help create a new story unless we are willing to take action. We become partners with God when we act in unfamiliar, untested ways. Those new actions will be guided by a preferred future that embraces:
- resilience in place of growth
- collaboration in place of consumption
- wisdom in place of progress
- balance in place of addiction
- moderation in place of excess
- vision in place of convenience
- accountability in place of disregard
- self-giving love in place of self-centered fear . . .
As broken-hearted as God…Gaia…must be over what we have done to the gift of creation, God still has a dream. . . . God dreams that humans seek spiritual rather than material progress. God’s dream envisions a just world at peace because gratitude has dissolved anxiety and generosity has eclipsed greed. God dreams of a time when love and mutual respect will bind humanity together, and the profound beauty of creation will be treasured. Let us embrace God’s…Gaia’s…dream as our own. Suddenly, the horizon of our hope comes nearer.
Gaia didn’t take long to show us how quickly, how fine, the planet will still be once humans back off…or leave.
Killer Whales Take Advantage Of People’s Social Distance To Visit Quiet Vancouver Shore
The visited the normally bustling industrial area with some of their young.
‘Killer whales aren’t often spotted in the Burrard Inlet because it’s an industrial area that can get quite loud. But social distancing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 seem to have had a side-effect: they’ve made the fjord quiet. People in Vancouver noticed a pod of orcas, which included babies, taking the opportunity to visit the uncharacteristically quiet waters of Indian Arm and marvelled at the sight.’
Coronavirus clears beach for endangered sea turtle hatchlings in Brazil
After Europe ground to a coronavirus-enforced halt, images captured by one of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus satellites showed huge reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Paris, Madrid and Rome from 14 – 25 March, compared to the same week in 2019.
The same is true for China, where the Copernicus satellite recorded a dramatic fall in NO2 released by power stations, factories and vehicles in all major Chinese cities between late January and February. ESA also observed a decrease of around 20 – 30 per cent in fine particulate matter, one of the most important air pollutants, in February 2020 compared to the previous three years.
On an individual level however, the coronavirus lockdown could inspire climate-friendly actions, according to Wouter. “This could be an opportunity to see how we can re-organise our activities to benefit the climate. Home office and teleworking, for example. There are a lot of conferences held every year leading to air traffic and emissions. We can use existing technology to replace these and combat climate change,” he said.
Those campaigning for strong climate policies could also learn from the cooperation seen between experts, politicians and the public in the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s remarkable that you see this union being formed between scientists, policymakers and the public. People are asking for strong policies and, based on scientific evidence, policymakers are taking action,’ said Thiery.
Clear water is seen in Venice’s canals due to less tourists, motorboats and pollution, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues following the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented drop in global air traffic amid government-imposed travel restrictions and airlines reducing or ceasing flight operations. According to flight tracking website flighttrader24, commercial air traffic shrunk 41% below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March.
And, the goats.
Mountain goats roam the streets of Llandudno, north Wales, on 31 March. They normally live on the rocky Great Orme but are occasional visitors to the seaside town, drawn this time, it is thought, by the lack of people and tourists due to Covid-19. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
All has been leveled to equal meaninglessness. But it is not quite the same. It is not that all is “one,” but all is “zero.”
Everything adds up to zero. Indeed, even the state, in the end, is zero.
Freedom is then to live and die for zero. Is that I want: to be beaten, imprisoned, or shot for zero?
But to be shot for zero is not a matter of choice. It is not something one is required either to “want” or “not want.” It is not even something one is able to freeze.
Zero swallow shudders hundreds of thousands of victims every year, and the police take care of the details.
Suddenly, mysteriously, without reason, your time comes, and while you are still desperately trying to make up your own mind what you imagine you might possibly be dying for, you are stalled up by zero.
Perhaps, subjectively, you have tried to convince yourself and have not wasted time convincing others. Nobody else is interested.
What I have said so far concerns execution for a “political crime.” But death in war, in the same way, is a kind of execution for nothing, a meaningless extinction, a swallowing up zero.
The Society of Zero
All will come again into its strength:
the field undivided, the waters undimmed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong
and varied as the land.
And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
From the Book of Hours II, 25
My passion has grown to encompass filmmaking, community storytelling and social media. The West’s mountains, deserts and forests are my office. My goal is to nurture, strengthen and empower connections with the natural world. Simply put, I want people to shut their laptops and turn off their iPhones and go live the life they daydream about.
Everything is sacred.
May our prayers and our altars come together to calm the spirits of the fire in the Amazon – Sacred Temple of mystery and native jungle, lung of mother earth, place of power, home of ancestral tribes!
May our songs call the sacred water of rain, which are heard by the guardians of this place!!
Let human beings open the heart, to wake up and not sleep, to honor mother earth with each of our acts and not allow this to happen more times. Let’s send love, strength and peace to the peoples, to the animals, to the ancient trees…
Let us know in every way possible to listen to us, we need to echo the order of so many indigenous peoples who have already been giving alarm signs on the atrocities that are committed in the name of development.
How many more places have to be devastated for the ” good of humanity “, for the ” well being ” misunderstood of societies? Shattered by the policies of incapable governments! Let’s ask our authorities to act in favor of life and not against it!!
Let us act to the extent of our possibilities!! from our prayer, from our altar, from our sacred matrices that give life..
Let us remember that we are one being… that we are the extension of mother earth and what happens in it, anywhere happens in our body!
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
Nonviolence is the universal ethic at the heart of creation.
This solstice supports family, home, nurturing, and taking care of your container, your body and your self care. The energy is feminine, creative, fertile and supportive to collaboration, honoring of Mother Earth and Mother figures, and feeding the seeds that you are planting for new projects and ideas. We are focused on honoring the sun as well, taking in the energy of that life force and filling ourselves up with it.
Beware of the emotional edge that can either challenge or support you during this time. Think before you speak and act and always consider others. When in doubt, come from a place of kindness and compassion.
´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥
The Solstice is Friday, June 21st, at 9:54 AM Mountain Daylight Time [MDT].
Nature will always wear the colors of the s p i r i t.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
One touch of nature makes thew hole world kin.
Life leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up.
Have you ever walked in nature and felt the presence of something greater than yourself? Did you find yourself being healed by the energy of beauty around you? Me, Too. Life finds lots of ways to remind us that our presence heals the world, just as being in nature heals us. You know who my heroes are? The plants that push through tiny cracks in concrete, pressing upward to be seen, and those trees that seem to be growing out of rock, standing tall, never giving up. Mother Earth teaches me to keep going, that there’s a way out of the darkness into the light. Just like the plants and the trees, I have what it takes to heal, thrive and be seen.Together, we are one heartbeat, breathing in unison. Thank you, Mother Earth, for the gift of life.
-Rev. Jane Beach
Will mankind murder Mother Earth or will he redeem her?
-Arnold Toynbee, ‘Mankind and Mother Earth’
Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed…be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization…will be unavoidable.
-Václav Havel address to U.S. Congress
meditation for healing
God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.
-Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way The lesson was in never closing again.”
‘If God is vast and boundless as the ocean, how can a tiny drop like man imagine what he is?