Saturday, November 15, 2014

Prayer and Attention


I do know how to pay attention.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Avoiding Climate Burnout

Climate trauma survival tips from Dr. Lise Van Susteren
The Dos
  • Take care of yourself physically and spiritually, through healthy living and maintaining a balance in your professional and personal life.
  • Physical exercise is essential — endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, are secreted in response to exercise. Endorphins help fight psychic pain, too. Exercise also boosts your immune system. If you are stressed out and getting sick a lot — you need regular exercise. Swimming can be very soothing.
  • Get out of doors as much as possible — connect with the forces that drive you and give yourself up to the beauty of nature in the present. Your energy to continue the battle will be rejuvenated.
  • Remember that you are not alone. There are lots of other people who may be just as traumatized as you are — they just aren’t talking about it. Some people are distracted by jobs that don’t constantly expose them to the realities. Unlike you, they can get away from it for a while.
  • Diversify your work and your life: force yourself to participate in activities not related to climate.
  • Reinforce boundaries between professional work and personal life. It is very hard to switch from the riveting force of apocalyptic predictions at work to home where the problems are petty by comparison. If you haven’t found another solution: Take 10 minutes, close your eyes, shut your brain down. If you don’t know how, Google “How to meditate.”
  • Connect with your fellow climate warriors: Gather — Play games, dance, tell jokes. There is nothing like a laugh. Don’t talk about climate!
  • Your fears are realistic. But what you can do, or what you expect you can do, may not be.
  • Personal therapy can help. You wouldn’t be the first person to conflate some personal problems with what is happening to the planet. Although “we” are working on it, many professionals may not yet “get” the problem with climate.
The don’ts
  • Don't Overwork
  • Don't do climate work at night. Having trouble sleeping? Avoid climate related work at night. Make sure to cut off the computer at least 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted by computers suppresses a hormone that triggers sleep more than light from other parts of the spectrum. Additionally, turning out lights is not only good for the planet — the resulting incremental darkness sets the body up to sleep. Also, did you know that it can take as many as 9 hours for your body to completely break down caffeine?
  • Don't believe that you are invulnerable. In fact, admitting what you are going through makes you more resilient.
  • Don't Ignore signs and symptoms of burnout. Like an overused muscle — without some kind of rest or intervention burnout will only get worse.
  • Don't Forget that understanding the material does not require that you actually experience what is being spoken about.
  • Don't lose focus on the essential tasks.
  • Don't give up! Despite the forecast — we are working together like never before.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anything or anyone/That does not bring you alive/is too small for you

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 -- David Whyte
     from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rumi Wisdom

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you're drunk
and we're at
the edge of the roof.”

― Rumi

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Writing

My New Mantra

you were a writer
you ever
pen to paper.
just because you were not writing
does not mean you were not writing

― Nayyirah Waheed

Sunday, October 19, 2014

you are coming home/to yourself

be easy.
take your time.
you are coming
to yourself.
--the becoming | wing

nayyirah waheed

Sunday, October 5, 2014

To Be Brave

“We have to do something braver than just try to save the world we have known, we must accept the fact that the world we have known is going to change in hideous and damaging ways.”

Bill McKibben

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The moment you may be starting to get it right.

"The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself, 
that's the moment you may be starting to get it right." ~Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Do not try to save/the whole world

by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Interviewing My 7-Year-Old Niece


"If the planet gets sick, we get sick.... If the planet dies, we die. The trees help us breathe."

"Animals being hurt makes me sad. Because they are special and part of this world."

Friday, September 12, 2014

You Finally Knew What You Had to Do

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Friday, September 5, 2014

To Nourish Your Soul

“When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul!”
Rabbi Harold Kushner

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014


Bear Lake, Utah

"There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere." ~Edward Abbey
My goal is to never stop looking.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

knowing there is a chance/our hearts may have only just skinned their knees

Andrea Gibson: "The Madness Vase/The Nutritionist"

(Best part of the poem)

So the next time I tell you how easily I come out of my skin
don't try to put me back in.
Just say, "Here we are" together at the window
aching for it to all get better
but knowing there is a chance
our hearts may have only just skinned their knees,
knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming

let me say right now for the record,
I'm still gonna be here
asking this world to dance,
even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.

You, you stay here with me, okay?

You stay here with me

Monday, June 23, 2014

For a time....(I) am free.

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.
Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things" from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press.

Source: Collected Poems 1957-1982 (Counterpoint Press, 1985)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"I’ve met very few baby boomer liberals who understand what it means to be a young person facing the reality of climate change. It means that we’re never going to have the opportunities that our parents’ and our grandparents’ generations had, and that we’ve got this massive burden weighing on our future."

"There’s an opportunity now to build a society in the ashes of this one that is much more in line with our values. There’s the opportunity for this disruption to be sort of a mass reflection where we realize that basing society on greed and competition was not the best way to go about things.

Maybe we can do better. But that’s not inevitable any more than the ugly path is inevitable, which to me is why our engagement now is really, really critical."

The Boomers "Failed" Us: Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher on Anger, Love, and Sacrifice

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Memorize this Great World

 “Fight like hell. But be a witness, too. Go see the whales, the rainforests. There’s no guarantee we’ll save them all. Memorize this great world, the one we were born into. Tell others in the future. Their mistakes might be fewer if they know the greatness we once saw.”
~Bill McKibben, 2005, speech at Middlebury College

As cited by Mike Tidwell in his "Rites of Passage" piece:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

We love, yet we destroy.

"We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved."

~Unknown Author

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful?

(from) "Flow", Mary Oliver, Long Life

"...on this day as on so many others, a little song runs through my mind. I say a song because it passes musically, but it is really just words, a thought that is neither strange nor complex. In fact, how strange it would be not to think it -- not to have such music inside one's head and body, on such an afternoon. What does it mean, say the words, that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To see the dark side

"Being human, especially being a self-aware human, entails facing bitter truths about existence. The price one pays for self-awareness is to see the dark side - not so much to dwell there, but to penetrate, to somehow get through and actually affirm your destiny. ~ Irvin Yalom

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Collapse," Apocalypse, Suicide Notes, Pain, Meaning

I got caught in a rabbit hole of inspiration, depression, truth, and death on Friday.

It started during the day at work when my co-worker suggested I watch the documentary, "Collapse." I watched it Friday night and then started tweeting about Michael C. Ruppert, the activist/whistle-blower/author, speaking throughout the movie.

The Twitter world told me he was dead. I searched how Michael C. Ruppert died.

The interwebs told me he shot himself only a few weeks ago (13 April 2014). He left two suicide notes. Ruppert's attorney left a comment: "He absorbed the pain of the world on a daily basis until he could not take it any longer."

I also found out Vice Media, Inc made a special series about him, "Apocalypse, Man." The first two minutes highlight the tension and the pain that Ruppert was living with. "I'm tired. I'm ready to die," said Ruppert. Right after that comment, a teary-eyed Ruppert expressed his love for this broken, dying world. Tension. Pain. Grief.

Finally, I listened to the radio show that Michael C. Ruppert recorded shortly before killing himself. Twenty-two minutes into his show, after giving shout outs to those who have been "doing the work," fighting for the world and acknowledging climate change and social collapse, Ruppert shared the song, "Calling All Angels," by Jane Siberry and KD Lang. (Listen to it, you won't be disappointed.) Such weight in the lyrics and sounds.

What hits me hardest is how worn down Ruppert must have been. I caught glimpses of his despair throughout his videos/radio show. There were scenes of him breaking down, of his hopelessness coming through. Ruppert also said that he moved to Colorado "to die or to commit suicide."

I try to imagine 35 years as an activist, whistle-blower, author and truth-seeker. I'm not even 30 yet and feel isolated and tired. In the "Apocalypse, Man" series, Ruppert commented on how he found a community of support. "I'm so not alone anymore," he said. However, we're all ultimately alone. As much as we can grieve for the state of the world in community, we wake up and fall asleep in our heads. If we can't work through our own feelings, a community won't be much help. We have to do our individual grief work to be able to process such heavy, overwhelming feelings.

Ruppert's friend, Carolyn Baker, speaks of the importance of inner work and of finding peace and love. There's no doubt in my mind that Ruppert had to have done serious inner work over his years of activism. What is heart-breaking is that it wasn't enough. Grief and despair wear you down, break you down. How can we learn to sustain ourselves in a world that is constantly compounding bad news?

How can I find meaning in my present life knowing that we're committed to global climate change, to social change, to suffering? This is the question I'm researching and writing about for my thesis. Seems so important, but it requires sitting with tremendous tension and few answers.

My thesis chair tells me to sit with the tension, to find answers in the process.

Wish me luck.

Final thought: "An entirely new level of human consciousness is needed right now, or we're all dead." Michael C. Ruppert

Monday, April 21, 2014

Four Years After BP Oil Spill... Where are we at?

Let Us Not Forget This is (Still) Happening

"There are hundreds of unresolved issues on the Gulf Coast, many of them predating the oil spill. With stories spilling in from all over the place, it’s going to be tough sussing out the true grit from the bullshit. Fortunately the good folks over at the Bridge the Gulf blog got you covered."

"I have lost five friends now who have passed on because they were not able to seek proper treatment to extract the chemicals from their bodies before the exposure killed them."

"BP's oil continues to take its toll on other areas of the Louisiana marsh, where people living in low-lying coastal communities are having to contemplate moving, hence abandoning their culture and way of life, due to the erosion of oiled marsh coupled with rising seas from climate change."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I was born to lose myself inside this soft world.

by Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

"Mindful" by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reconstituting the World

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have cast my lot with those
who, age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How can it ever be boring, at all?

Wise words courtesy of Steve Roggenbuck:

"We are animals on a rock in space. Sometimes we forgot that, because we have jobs, school, political systems, debt, law, clothes, television stations."

"Sometimes, I wanna shake people and say, 'Are you paying attention to what is going on? It's raining. Water is falling from the sky.'"

"And I mean we have the sunrise. And I mean, we have the pink light on the bottom of the clouds during a sunrise. And there used to be dinosaurs, on our planet. Probably in the place you are now."

"I like being around people who are dancing, because it seems like the closest that people usually come to directly celebrating the fact that they're alive."

"What I really want, is that moment when somebody brings it up. When somebody refuses to let pointless filler and formalities use up our time with each other. I just want somebody to say 'Hey, right now is our life. And I'm grateful that this is the one I get. I'm grateful that you are in it. I'm grateful that we get this moment together.' I just want to say that, and sometimes I'm too nervous to say it."

"..These are the moments when I know I'm fully alive. When I'm looking for it, I can find those moments all the time."

"And even when it means being fully sad, crying alone in my apartment after leaving my girlfriend of 6 years. Crying alone on a train after touring for 9 months."

"...I just stop and try not to think anything and just be in the place that I am."

"I don't want be in haze. I don't want to coast through any of it. I don't want to regret later that I didn't pay attention now. I don't want to sit through it like I'm waiting for something better."

"Sometimes, you can forget about the moon but then one day when you're walking out of a building, there it is in the sky.... and it kind of reminds you that you are on a rock in space, too."

"This is our family photo album. We are animals on a rock in space. We are part of this gigantic, confusing, brutal and awe-inspiring world. And it’s not boring to be here. And how can it ever be boring at all."

Monday, April 7, 2014

IPCC Working Group 2

Climate change report: 

five key points

1. Food threat

2. Human security

3. Inequality

4. No-one is safe

5. Hard but not hopeless.

Skeptical of the Guardian? Check out the IPCC Working Group 2 report.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sixth "Great" Extinction

Sixth "Great" Extinction

Before you dream of me tonight,
 you must first know that we named a geologic era after you.
 You mark time by 3's
   -Species per hour, that is.
 The metronome has clicked 24 times since my morning alarm sounded.
 I heard you got the Western Black Rhino.

The dog wags his tail.
 He doesn't know about you.
 His kin are dying.
 My kin are dead.

We build our lives in squares.
 You take lives from circles.
 Lost voices echo off concrete floors
 And invade my dreams.

You're doing this.
 We're doing this.