liveonearth: (Default)
It's so much darker
when a light goes out
than it would have been
if it had never shone.
--John Steinbeck
liveonearth: (moon)
Suicidality is directly linked to a feeling of powerlessness.  When there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it, it's easy to lose hope, get angry, place blame, become resentful or even violent.  Arson is violence, like rape.  The fires in Israel and Palestine, set by both individuals with both alliegances, reflect the same spirit seen in Brexit, and the election of Trump, and the fires that have been burning in the southeastern US.  I think there's some sour grapes in there too.  If I can't have my fair share, you can't have any either.  Arson is a quick and dirty way of gaining some power.   People of planet earth are angry and frustrated, and rattling the bars of their cages.  Unfortunately the actions taken are usually more emotional than rational, and the end result is a worsening of the situation that caused the loss of power in the first place.  Don't like being poor?  Electing a millionaire won't do you any good.  Don't like living in a depressed place?  Burning down the forests probably won't help.

But the thing is, is sure does feel good.  It is immensely satisfying to last out, to burn something, to smash something to smithereens.  When you are angry, such outbursts are therapeutic.  I personally just LOVE to take the glass recycling somewhere that I can smash it bottle by bottle.  I am praying (atheist prayers) that all the angry people of the world are ready to study and get clear about their true objectives.  I am praying that the angry people will organize and do something productive, now that catharsis has been achieved at least in some places.
liveonearth: (stone arch doorway)
For elitist liberals, the times got so interesting last week that folks are sunk in depression.  The changes that our incoming presidential administration will implement look to be the undoing of generations of work in environmentalism and human rights.  Militant authoritarian nationalism is on the rise world wide.  We have reason to be troubled.

Still, just as before, the world is an amazing place.  It is possible to step back from trying to save it for a few minutes and focus on enjoying it.  We only have this one life, as far as I know, and we can spend it suffering or celebrating.  That is a choice.  To focus on gratitude is to wire your brain to enjoy what you have.  For most of us in this rich nation, we have plenty.  We do not need more.  We are not just making do, we are wasting time playing games or being entertained when we could be doing something productive.

I gain solace from backing away from worrying about my nation, or even my species or my planet.  The Universe is a big place.  Even if this planet experiences nuclear holocaust, something will survive.  Life will persist.  Beauty will rise with each sun.

There is a certain freedom in admitting powerlessness.  I cannot do anything about our new government.  Thus I am free from worrying about it.  I can do something about what happens in my back yard, I have a little more power there.  I will use that power.  If each of us uses our small power to foster love, beauty and joy where we can, we will at least not be miserable.  Life is short and worrying is wasteful.  Act, or don't act.  Or like Yoda says, *There is no try; there is do or do not.*

There is one tool that I'd like to bring back into people's consciousness, and that is NonViolent Communication.  Marshall Rosenberg wrote a book by that title, after studying the Jewish survivors of the Nazi regime.  He discovered that by speaking from a place of our deepest humanity, we can communicate with anyone.  Feelings and needs, we all have them, and we can find consensus when we start from that place.  If you have not read the book I highly recommend it.  If you have read it, I recommend that you refresh your mind on what are Universal feelings and needs, and start using the technique.  At the very least, stop saying "I feel like" when really you are expressing a thought.  It is a misuse of language that leads down a dangerous track.

Last night we watched just a little bit of an old Adam Sandler movie, which was supposed to be funny.  It occurred to me that his style and his movies were a harbinger of what has since come.  His dishonesty, manipulativeness, and ignorance as expressed in his movies are too much like the dominant culture now. It is time to partake in inspiring or educational media or none at all.

Lots more thoughts swirling but I must go.  Be well, and do good work, as Garrison Keillor used to say.
liveonearth: (flower and bird)

Action and reaction, ebb and flow,

trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living.

Out of our over-confidence, fear;

out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope.

And out of hope, progress.

~ Bruce Fairchild Barton

liveonearth: (critter 2)

Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.

So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.

--Keegan Blackler

liveonearth: (moon)

He who has health, has hope;

he who has hope, has everything.

--Thomas Carlysle

liveonearth: (Gay_batman_n_robin)
I must mark this moment when my LGBT friends are truly heartened by the change in US law. It brings a tear to my eye. My half-aunt in North Carolina is going to marry her longtime partner on Halloween day. Successful gay parents are gloating. My friends from all walks are sporting rainbows. The culture shift is generational as all large shifts must be.

Yes, yes you lawyers out there will have all manner of refinements to put on my headline. I have not read studied on this change, I've absorbed its impact while ignoring the news. It's just not OK anymore for states not to recognize gay marriages. Or something like that. I've heard that a state is still not obligated to PROVIDE gay marriages, but that is another step in a very long series. I've been busy with other things.... but I am noting this vibration through the land that something really has changed... and with it brings a little bit of hope that we might manage other changes.

I'm sure the social conservative media is damning. I need an antenna in that world somehow. (Thinking cult: which cults are most anti-gay?)

That cartoon of the rebel flag setting and rainbow flag rising is everywhere. Show me some fresh art, not so trite already.
liveonearth: (dancer romani)
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

--Howard Zinn
liveonearth: (blue mountain painting)
You can cut
all the flowers
but you cannot
keep Spring from coming.

~Pablo Neruda
liveonearth: (arched back)
If we don’t slow aging,
what’s the point of curing one disease
—we’ll just get another.

--Nir Barzilai
liveonearth: (hand)
Incantation used to bring the Geni from the bottle
in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad:

From the land beyond, beyond
From the world past hope and fear
I bid you Geni, now appear..

--Ray Harryhausen ?
(thanks to ML)
liveonearth: (flower and bird)
The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
liveonearth: (Montana Mountains)
‎We need wilderness
whether or not we ever set foot in it.
We need a refuge
even though we may never need to go there....
We need the possibility of escape
as surely as we need hope.

--Edward Abbey

And in case you care, wilderness in Utah and Wyoming just won a reprieve from development. Oil and gas developers want to extract from public lands there, and were thwarted one more time in court.

At the time this appeal began, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had already issued thousands of leases for energy development in the states with contested leases, including nearly 17,000 leases in Wyoming and more than 4,100 leases in Utah. The oil and gas industry had only developed 33 percent of its leases in Wyoming and 22 percent of its leases in Utah, leaving millions of acres open to energy development where the Interior Department has already issued leases.
liveonearth: (flower and bird)
Idle words are characterless and die upon utterance. Evil words rankle for a while, make contentions, and then die. But the hopeful, kind, cheering word sinks into a man’s heart and goes on bearing fruit forever. How many beautiful written words—words in book and song and story—are still inspiring men and making the world fragrant with their beauty! It is just so with the words you write, not on paper, but on the hearts of men. I wish there were room to mention here the testimonies of great men to the power of some hopeful, encouraging word they had spoken to them in youth and in the days of struggle. But every autobiography records this thing. Booker T. Washington tells how the encouragement of General Armstrong saved the future for him. I know a young man who is to-day filling a large and useful place in the world, who was kept to his high purpose in a time of discouragement by just an encouraging word from a man he greatly admired. That man’s word will live and grow in the increasing influence of the younger man. This world is full of men bearing in their minds deathless words of inspiration heard in youth from lips now still forever. Speak hopeful words every chance you get. Always send your young friends from you bearing a word that they will take into the years and fulfill for you.
--from The Enlargement of Life (1903) by Frederick Henry Lynch
liveonearth: (daisies)
"The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph."
The Butterfly Circus
22:35 long and well worth the time invested
liveonearth: (raven triad)
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

-- T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets". It appears in the second poem called "East Coker"


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