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21 February 2007 @ 09:48 am
What's going on here? What happened to the last month,or was it two months? To quote a VERY old favorite movie line, from the Princess Bride: "Let me explain. No, there is too much...let me sum up." For the now, let me just say, it's all very good. And it might even get better yet.

And, I'm headed back to NM in about a week. Here's a very open invitation to anybody there (who reads this) who would like to meet for a cuppa coffee. I'll probably be at Winning Coffee, that is when I'm not at Trinity House, or Casa de Comunidades, or PJ, or AMC, or walking in the Bosque, celebrating my freedom from wage slavery...

If you (or your computer) have the capacity to deal with "YouTube", and you want to see something truly beautiful, do a search there for "Bobby McFerrin" and "Ave Maria". Sounds weird, but wait til you see it. WOW. If you want to be amazed a second time while you're there, look for anything by Jake Shimabukuro.
Current Location: 3 Friends Coffee
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: very mellow keyboard
02 February 2007 @ 07:46 pm
The Oregonian offered this survey a few days ago. Maybe other papers did too, but it's the kind of thing I wish would circulate more, for what it might open up. So here it is again.

Percent of Iranians who say that:
-It is very important for Iran to have the capacity to enrich uranium
-Iran should participate in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Percent of Americans who would support a pact that let Iran enrich uranium to low levels needed for nuclear power if Iran gave U.N. full access to inspect plants

Percent of Iranians and Americans who feel negatively toward:
-The other's government
Iran 93%
U.S. 78%
-The other's people
Iran 49%
U.S. 59%

Percent of Iranians and Americans who support:
-Increase in bilateral trade
Iran 52%
U.S. 65%
-Bilateral talks
Iran 48%
U.S. 79%

Percent of Iranians and Americans who:
-View Osama bin Laden unfavorably
Iran 74%
U.S. 94%
-Say attacks on civilians never justified
Iran 80%
U.S. 46%

Source: WorldPublicOpinion.org interviews with 1,000 Iranians, Oct. 31- Dec. 6, 2006...and online surveys of 1,004 and 1,326 U.S. adults, Dec. 6-11, 2006.
Current Location: Portland Hostel attic
Current Mood: coldcold
01 February 2007 @ 03:57 pm
Here I sit, in a sunny corner of Portland, in a sunny corner of February. In a precious space of stillness in the midst of all the neverending motion. In a NOW where all manner of improbable things seem to be entirely possible. This coffeehouse is playing Cat Stevens, and "Morning Has Broken" just came on. And I remembered reading that when he converted to Islam he disowned all of his music, except for that one song. And I thought, yeah, I could maybe let go of a life's work if I thought I had made one song beautiful, real, true enough to be worth saving. At the same moment, in _The Book of Ammon_, I came to a quote from his current reading: "Hope gives us the confidence that nothing we do is wasted." Here and there bits of Life seem to collide for me like that, in a sweet collaboration of YES's. Maybe it resonates especially today because I'm getting ready to leave this town, after two years here and four or five years dreaming my way here. And hoping that not all of that time and energy was wasted. I certainly don't think it was. There's been community, and culture of every kind, and a little cultivation, and a whole lot of consciousness-raising. Giant red cedars and firs to breathe deeper with. Three otters, a handful of raccoons, and one great blue heron. And I seem to have come here in all good timing to meet my companion for the next stretch of the journey, which is really the journey back into the Life I was seeking anyway, and had maybe forgot....

But for now, New Mexico's where I'm headed in the near future. Plenty of opportunities there - maybe not (yet?) wasted, but hopefully still waiting. Waiting til now for a little Hope to come travelling with me.
Current Location: Star E Rose
Current Music: Cat Stevens
25 January 2007 @ 02:44 am
The online newslist I just got, from my old community in New Mexico, has a few illustrations of why they rate so well in my estimation. And of how Albquerque Mennonite Church has let me keep some hope that while no church is going to be some kind of "perfect" (whatever that may mean), a church can sometimes be the real deal. Engaged with their community and its need for justice; sharing in all ways possible with each other; egalitarian, decentralized, particpatory; extending the challenge to live with awareness, sustainability, humility, humor and wonder. I've missed these guys every single week that I've lived or travelled anywhere else.
I trust somebody will let me know if I incur any copyright infringements by lifting a few excerpts from their bulletin right onto my page here. :)

ADJUNCT CONGREG. MTG: Remember when we used to have quarterly congregational meetings? How lame was that? These next two months, you better get it while it’s hot—two, count them, two heaping spoonfuls of congregational meetings to warm your consensus lovin’ bellies…de-lish-us…so…delicious…oh, I give up. Please just come to our meeting on Jan 21 where we’ll discuss and hopefully ratify (dare I say rubber-stamp?) our new covenant. Then mark your calendar for Feb 25 which will be our full-scale, full-glory plenary meeting. Please note that both meetings will be preceeded by a…
POTLUCK! Bring your tasty tasties and delicious nibblies Sunday January 21st to share with each other before the congregational meeting. Also bring your own plates and utensils so we can preempt mass clean-up. Let's be generous so there is plenty for all of us and any guests who may join us.

IMMIGRATION WORKSHOP: The mission/outreach committee is sponsoring an immigration workshop on Feb 2-3 here at AMC, Friday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00-3:00 p.m....The workshop is free and open to the public...

LOST AND FOUND: The Lost and Found box at AMC is now located under the book table in the café. The book table is located on the west side of the café. The café is located beside the kitchen. The kitchen is beside the sanctuary. The sanctuary is the biggest room at AMC. AMC is located at 1300 Girard, just north of Constitution. Constitution is just north of Lomas. These are both streets in Albuquerque. Albuquerque is in Bernalillo County. Bernalillo County is in the northwest region of New Mexico. If you don’t know where New Mexico is you are truly lost and I can’t help you, and frankly maybe you shouldn’t be wandering around leaving your belongings.

BREAKFAST IN BED MENNO-STYLE: Want to teach your kid culinary skills as well as food/earth awareness? Herald Press has put out a new companion cookbook to Simply in Season called Simply in Season Children’s Cookbook: Fun with Food from Garden to Table. It is described as “an imaginative active way to invite kids of all ages, but especially 6-to-12-year-olds, to get in touch with real food to see where it comes from, to take responsibility for preparing it, and to have fun in the process. Cost is $21.99 (hard cover with spiral interior) To order call 1-800-245-7894 ext 278

NO MORE WARS NATIONWIDE PROTEST: In a primetime televised speech last Wednesday evening, President Bush announced his plans to send more troops into Iraq. The people will respond on Saturday, Jan 27th, by marching on Washington DC and other cities across the country. The march in Albuquerque will begin at 11am at 2nd and Copper and continue to three Congressional offices then Robinson Park at 8th and Central. Please put your body where your heart is and support this event.

PEACE & JUSTICE DAY AT STATE LEGISLATURE: Join folks from around NM and show our solidarity for a peace and justice agenda for NM on Wednesday January 31, from 9-3pm. If you would like to carpool to Santa Fe from the P&J Center call 268-9557.

LEGISLATIVE TRAINING and Information Day for People of Faith on Thursday, February 1, 8-4pm at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, sponsored by Stewards of Creation and Partnership for Earth Spirituality: Learn about the legislative process and how you can affect change by supporting pertinent energy bills that address climate change in New Mexico. The day will include an interfaith prayer, briefing by environmental lobbyist and staff of Conservation Voters, opportunity to sit in on pertinent committee hearings, visit your legislators offices, lunch and debriefing. To register contact info@earthspirituality.org or call Joan at 266-6966.

CLOSING QUOTE: “They chased her out of her little house. They broke her broom and threw out her acorn cups. Then they ate up her whole winter’s supply of nuts.” From Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
Current Location: Black Cat Cafe
22 January 2007 @ 09:59 am
More from Ammon Hennacy:


This doesn't seem to need comment...except that it's interesting to me how well it works on the mind at a personal level as well as a social..."my world" as well as "our world"...since both are the work we're given to do...
Current Location: Black Cat Cafe
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Scissor Sisters
18 January 2007 @ 06:04 pm
from _Desert Notes_, Barry Lopez

I would like to tell you how to get there so that you may see all this for yourself. But first a warning: you may already have come across a set of detailed instructions, a map with every bush and stone clearly marked, the meandering courses of dry rivers and other geographical features noted, with dotted lines put down to represent the very faintest of trails. Perhaps there were also warnings printed in tiny red letters along the margins, about the lack of water, the strength of the wind and the swiftness of the rattlesnakes. Your confidence in these finely etched maps is understandable, for at first glance they seem excellent, the best a man is capable of; but your confidence is misplaced. Throw them out. They are the wrong sort of map. They are too thin. They are not the sort of map that can be followed by a man who knows what he is doing. The coyote, even the crow, would regard them with suspicion.

There is, I should warn you, doubt too about the directions I will give you here, but they are the very best that can be had. They will not be easy to follow. Where it says left you must go right sometimes. Read south for north sometimes. It depends a little on where you are coming from, but not entirely. I am saying you will have doubts. If you do the best you can you will have no trouble.

(When you get there you may wish to make up a map for yourself for future reference. It is the only map you will ever trust. It may consist of only a few lines hastily drawn. You will not have to hide it in your desk, taped to the back of a drawer. That is pointless. But don't leave it out to be seen, thinking no one will know what it is. It will be taken for scribble and thrown in the wastebasket or be carefully folded and idly shredded by a friend one night during a conversation. You might want to write only a set of numbers down in one corner of a piece of paper and underline them. When you try to find a place for it - a place not too obvious, not too well hidden so as to arouse suspicion - you will being to understand the futility of drawing maps. It is best in this case to get along without one, although you wil find your map, once drawn, as difficult to discard as an unfinished poem)...
Current Music: none
14 January 2007 @ 01:19 pm
This is only for the record, for the good-news archive: the event below is in Salem, and I'm not sure who I know who it would interest practically, anyway. But I'm on their mailing list, and they wanted the word out there. And I'm always glad to put the word out there about different groups working together and transcending their differences. Especially if their efforts are directed toward even more important and just work, as this event seems to be. EMO is the same tree of groups that organized the NE Emergency Food Project that I volunteer for. For those reasons, I had to enjoy a laugh at the fact that this event happens on Feb. 5 - some who have known me for a while might also appreciate that my birthday has been declared "Interfaith Advocacy Day"...

WHAT: Interfaith Advocacy Day: Advocate for "Family and Community Stability: A value for all Oregonians" focuses on afforable housing, accessible health care and the elimination of hunger.

WHEN: February 5th, 2007, 8:30-4:30

WHERE: First Congregational Church, 700 Marion St. NE
Salem, Oregon

AGENDA: 8:30-12:00 Worship, advocacy training, keynote addresses and meetings with lawmakers
12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided with registration fee)
1:00-4:00 March to the Capitol for reception and personal visits with lawmakers
4:30 Prayer and Reflection

Cost: $15 (includes lunch and materials)

Sign Up: Look for more information on Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO)
website at www.emoregon.org or call 503-221-1054.

Speakers: Michael Anderson, the Housing Alliance
Rabbi Michael Cahana, Congregation Beth Israel
Lisa Wenzlick, St Luke Lutheran Church
Patti Whitney Wise, Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force
and others

We encourage you to attend this important event. If you need help with transporatation, please let us know and we'll try to arrange ride sharing. We look forward to seeing you there!
13 January 2007 @ 03:43 pm
"Ingratitude reveals ignorance,
and the friends of truth are truly thankful."
- Mahmud Shabistari, Persia, 14th cent.

This lyric, quoted in The Sufi Book of Life, engages me for a couple of reasons, even though it's a challenging one and could be open to misinterpretation. For one, I notice that there is no "the" in front of "truth". Being a friend of truth would translate, for me, in a similar way as did Isabel Allende's wonderful journal-writer who said she was "giving witness to life". It'd be about making known inequity and injustice, and also standing up for unacknowledged beauty, abundance and kindness.

I read "reveals" as "bring to light", more than "expose". It's basically a double negative: if I am unaware of the fact that I have something to be grateful for, then I'm gonna be more than happy if that is pointed out to me.

I, for one, have occasion to be thankful for being thus proved wrong just about every day...
13 January 2007 @ 02:42 pm
Out of a conversation this past week came a welcome remark about dreams deferred and the variability of each life's timing. I sat at a kitchen table with a man who's been giving his life to a beautiful piece of land for over 20 years, and a woman who had known him for much of that time. We were in a lovely earth-embraced passive solar house, looking out over the orchard, pasture, and CSA farm which have been his work, along with others living in community there. The woman asked him how he came to be living his vision, and he replied that his dream was to be a farmer since the age of nine, but that for various reasons he hadn't actually found his way into that life until he was almost 40. This was a very encouraging thought for me, considering the amount of regret I carry about wasted time and opportunity (and I know I'm not the only one). The beauty and productiveness of the scene around us was plentiful proof that his dream hadn't suffered irretrievably for being so postponed.

Here's my sister Amy's excellent response to my account of this conversation. She said I could post this:
I wonder what I meant to do since I was nine........unfortunately, I only considered the possibility, at that age, that I was going to be president, and didn't think about if that's what I wanted to do or not.

She later clarified that there were no delusions of grandeur involved here - just one of those who-can-explain-it assumptions you take on as a kid, from who knows what input about the world and adult life...

Here's a weird thought for me: when I was nine, I was in fact living on the land, in the midst of another back-to-the-lander family's experiment in sustainability. Most of the value of this experience was lost in the constant hard labor, apparent social deprivations, and the unhappiness of my parents' failing marriage. Most of it I couldn't appreciate, or even recognize for what it was, until much later, when I started to meet others with the values that my parents aimed for.

Most of my own visions for life were (and still often are) impossible to see through the haze of childhood pain that I guess most of us have to work through somehow.

I always dreamed of a life of simplicity. I always wanted to live on the land, help things grow, breathe in tune with the seasons. I always envisioned home, if I ever had such a thing, being a place of hospitality, shared joy, and the creation of visions.

When I lived in Santa Fe, someone postulated that linear time is only a human creation - and a modern one, at that. That time is really a spiral, and we come back and back around to the things we're here to do, and be, and learn. It's a Santa Fe kinda thing to say. It's also one that I can almost reach, intuitively, and trust in some way that I didn't have to learn everything, or be ready for every opportunity, the first time. At least, that's an idea that I hope life and its surprising transitions will continue to help me accept.
Current Location: Rexall Pharmacy Coffee Shop
Current Music: cello
11 January 2007 @ 11:42 am
My good friend Gina in Illinois wrote me, not long ago, about the books and music she's enjoyed in the last few months. We've corresponded for 10 years but never met (yeah, there's a great story there), and tuning each other in to new words and sounds has been one theme of the friendship (she's opened me up to a lot more writers than I've done for her). I just sent her back a list of my favorites from the past year. When we first "met", she suggested that books often find us, or are sent to us, at just the time we're ready for them, and often we don't even have to go looking. The more I've opened up to this thought, the more it's been true. I don't know how many times now I've walked into a Goodwill - or even Powell's, here - and been drawn to one, and only one, book on the shelf that had something I really wanted or needed right then. Or a book has sat on the shelf for a year or more, and when I finally pick it up it tells me all about the part of Life I'm working with right then. I'm not the only one this has happened with, right?

So, in light of that, who am I to mess with that perfect timing by recommending? But, as with Gina, Life reaches to us through the people we know if it reaches anywhere. We get to BE that channel of magic and mystery to each other, at one time and another. So here are some of the books that gave me good company this year, in case one of them might be the next gift for somebody else out there.

Bernd Heinrich - Mind of the Raven
(a labor-of-love study of the habits, intelligence and possible consciousness of ravens by a scientist in Maine and Vermont)
Rory Stewart - The Places In Between
(a Scotsman walks across Afghanistan in 2003)
Ron Roth - The Healing Path of Prayer
(a surprising conjunction of holistic, New Thought, and openminded Catholicism - a deep meditation and an engaging set of practices on the healing of body and spirit)
Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
(this woman is a wizard of words and an artisan of images...)
Jim Corbett - Goatwalking
(a founder of the Sanctuary Movement takes on justice, sustainable living, spiritual authenticity and herding goats. This book fed my brain and challenged my vision more than any in a long time. Best book I read all year.)
Neil Peart - The Masked Rider
(the drummer of Rush writes in his usual insightful style about his bicycle travels through West Africa and the lessons travellers learn about themselves)
Yvonne Seng - Men In Black Dresses
(a woman's journey of soul and intellect into Eastern Orthodox spirituality, transitioning Middle Eastern culture, and the realm of synchronicity, timing, and destiny)
Ursula LeGuin - Changing Planes
(or most any of her wonder-full short stories that challenge mind and heart)
Neil Douglas-Klotz - The Sufi Book of Life
(I've praised this one already, and it's still astonishing me)
Current Location: Black Cat Cafe
Current Mood: happyhappy