Category: Peace and Justice


A walk at the beach, especially when the heart is heavy and sad, is never a disappointment. There are ALWAYS surprises and messages there for us when we have been cracked open emotionally and in pleading prayer have asked for guidance or a sign of hope that no matter what the issue, in time we will be able to move through the challenge.

We are in a very unsettled time here in the US as we experience the coming apart of our society politically, socially and most recently in the past week, another mass shooting of innocents with a weapon whose sole purpose is to kill as many as possible as fast as possible. Our American psyche has been battered this past year- and- a- half as we come face to face on a daily basis by internal corruption in high places and immoral and self-serving so-called leadership. But THIS issue now of mass killings over and over again has thrust us into a national and personal mixed cauldron of grief and rage as the people fight against a powerful gun lobby that is also determined to fight to the death to protect their own agenda and  profits.

A walk at the beach..with its wide and far horizon and the freshness of wind and consolation of the ever rocking ebb and flow of the tide…cannot solve the situation itself, but it can offer a break in the turbulence of emotion in difficult times, soothing our chaotic feelings and helping us to restore some sort of internal balance as we move through very uncertain and dangerous events requiring new decisions.

But as I said previously, when asking for heartfelt guidance and consolation in difficult times, we always receive an answer if we are aware.

And so for now,  a surprise message of guidance on a walk along the edge where the land meets the sea …the extra surprise when a message of compassion and hope was left in the sand as well… a gifted “communique” from the Universe.  Although created by human hands, the message left for all who might pass by ( even though I took it very personally as if  it were left for me) took on the energy of the Angelic. Which sometimes we humans are for each other, usually unaware that we have been so divinely commissioned.

SOMEone had been by before me …maybe it WAS an actual angel (?)…taking the time to craft this castle of peace. Maybe it was a prayer or meditation experience for them, maybe it was that plus a loving message for others as well to be still and Centered and not lose hope as WE lobby for a society of PEACE, not violence or war.

share Peace Castle COPY(3)

Who knows how long this had remained whole and intact there in the sand before the tide would in time come in and wash it away. As I continued my walk and then sat higher up near the  dues behind this little peace castle,  I watched several other people and couples come by, stopping to look down with surprise at this message. They each and all paused and gazed quietly as if at some holy relic in church, pondering for some long seconds before moving on.

It was comforting to see that no one maliciously attempted to kick or destroy it, but moved on ahead in their walk, leaving this creation to eventually dissolve into the Great Mother She-Sea naturally. In Peace.

There is deepest gratitude to whatever Human (or Angel) left this message.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

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I am on FB/social media daily and interact with a number of creative people who are free-spirited and artsy: craftspersons, lovers of music and dance, writers, poets, painters,photographers,animal lovers,  yoga teachers…. and political activists in this chaotic time of challenging social priorities.

However recently this past year, showing up in my feedback stream are a number of posts (or comments) by persons of fundamentalist religious beliefs who are ardent about particular issues that they feel are dangerous, sinful, against God’s will or threatening to their biblical or dogmatic faith teachings. These passionate concerns include issues around pro-choice vs pro-life legislation, transgenderism, gay relationships, emerging women’s voices with access to public power for change, to name a few.  Let me say that altho we may differ vastly on what we think about these issues, both they and I have a common right to think what we will.

Debate that can often lead to arguments as to who holds the “Truth” are common although I try not to engage in that way, beyond stating what feels right to me…for me. What I ardently resist is the attempted legal imposition of fundamentalist  belief systems upon the rights of others to choose for themselves how to live a sane and hopefully moral life.

And I do not hold that there is only one valid spiritual path that is the one true faith for all and that that one path is a cure for all of societies ills.

As the prophetic priestly Matthew Fox often says of the world’s spiritual Wisdom traditions :  “One River, Many Wells”.

I teach a variety of courses at a local University and one of them, a course I describe as “a retreat in an academic setting” focuses on three words (plus one) from a poem by the Celtic poet John O’Donohue.  The three words are Silence, Stillness, and Solitude. I added the “plus one” as Simplicity. These words are practices that help us to discern a deep ability to access a personal  spiritual conscience leading to right and just decision making personally and in society.

A meditative exercise we do to demonstrate open-ness and respect for the many ways of finding a healthy inner guidance system without judgementalism born of fundamentalist hubris is the artistic creation of our Soul Mandalas.

Each person receives a black and white image of a complex mandala design. Everyone receives the exact same image (ONE RIVER). In quiet meditation to soft music, everyone colors this image. At the end of the exercise we display our creations and are awed at the diversity (MANY WELLS) and all and each one is beautiful, whole and unique. Yet the original pattern is identical. Each of us, given free will (and a set of colored markers) must personally create a life, a spiritual path, a Voice for what we stand for without demanding that everyone else believe as we do or denigrating others for standing up for justice from another angle. We each color in our mandalas without demanding that they are colored in the same way.

Often then a challenge comes back such as “well is MURDER a valid life choice, or GREED or LYING or Terrorism? And should we accept those? ”  Common sense and decency can answer that one. The issue here is about intolerance of diversity in how people make life choices that lead them to whom they were meant to be in the Creator’s plan for service and inspiration for others.

It is vital in today’s complex society filled with so many forceful “opinions”,  judgments and and sometimes “righteous” religious hubris, to craft honorable discernment through personal spiritual work and the humble practices of Silence, Stillness, Periodic Solitude, and Simplicity.

And it is also vital to keep the image of these multi-colored mandalas in our imagination and the wise teaching of One River, Many Wells.

OLLI Class photo

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

OLLI peace

 

 

 

 

Snowface David PICA WINTER WHITE (2)

Doesn’t it seem like Winter is endless this year? Cold, dark, windy, FOREVERRrrrrr!

I think Old Man Winter has fallen asleep in the woods and I hope he has not forgotten in his dreams that Spring is waiting impatiently to bring color back onto Earth’s canvas.

There has not been a lot of snow, but this HAS been a grey Winter in many of our spirits these days, with the intense flu season and especially the political upheavals, disarray and FROZEN icy heartless souls in power at the top in our government  right now who are stealing the lushness that belongs to all of us.

If we who believe in Spring don’t lose hope that all will dark, cold and seemingly life-less forever, if there are enough of us to soon, if not already, stir the soil, clang the pots and bells, sing songs and recount stories of our most colorful and generous dreams, then surely the green-ness, the “veriditas”, the flowers of freedom, as well as the Earth, will return in Spring.

Old Man Winter actually does know this.

As the Celtic poet Priest John O’Donohue has said:

If and when  you are in a bleak time, remember this: The secret work of winter…is..Spring”

May it be so (as it always has been….)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi hat 2

 

 

 

 Crocus minded 2 (2)

  We live in a time that requires speaking out. Speaking out against political rhetoric of hate and the encouragement of violence against others in political speeches pandering to the lowest common denominator of thought and behaviour. Speaking out against injustice, destruction of the environment, racism and xenophobia and lies and spins that fracture truth and throw up smokescreens that cover and excuse them.
  Speaking out takes courage and finding the words that address wrongs and dark-doings often is like breaking through the rocky soil of fear of repercussions or the insecurity of possibly not finding the right words to express justified outrage or grief at physical, emotional or psychological paths of destruction.
  The poem “Crocus-Minded” was read at one of our recent Unitarian Sunday services. Following the spectacles of our present political campaign rallies and “debates” in the USA, many of us are alarmed, dismayed, embarrassed, and full of grief for what seems to be taking hold.
  For me, the arts, poetry, dreams and myth have often inspired me to deal with what is going awry personally or publicly and helped me to find the words to speak out for what is right good and of virtue.
  In so doing, I find that at this time, I am Crocus-Minded. I’d rather it be easier and more pretty like roses full of delicate or heady scent. (But then, still in summer, roses DO have pfeisty thorns….)
  For now…whenever I speak out against the violence, ignorance, hatred in a divided atmosphere….I am Crocus.
CROCUS-MINDED
It takes courage to be crocus-minded._
…I’d rather wait until June,
like wild roses,
when the hazards of winter are
safely behind and I’m expected.
and everything’s ready for roses.
But crocuses?
Highly irregular.
Knifing up through hard-frozen ground
and snow,
Sticking their necks out
because they believe in spring
and have something personal and
emphatic to say about it.
…I am not by nature crocus-minded
even when I have studied the
situation and know there
are wrongs that need righting
affirmations that need stating,
and know that my speaking out may
offend,
for it rocks the boat – –
Well, I’d rather wait until June.
Maybe later things will work
themselves out,
and we won’t have to make an issue
of it.
Forgive me.
Wrongs won’t work themselves out.
 Injustices and inequities and hurt
 don’t just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick their neck out;
somebody who
cares enough to think through
hard ground
because they believe
and they have something personal
and emphatic to say about it.
Me? – – Crocus-minded?
 
Could it be that there are
 things that need to be said
 and I need to say them?
 
I pray for courage.
(This prayer was written by The Rev. Dr. Gordon B. McKeeman, UU Minister and adapted by Reverend Jan Vickery Knost for use at the UUCSC Sunday service.) _
Crocus minded 1
From Christine, The Greening Spirit

							

Burnt Siena

The new box of crayons! Flipping open the top of that collection of 64 colors was always such an exciting deal, as a child, as a mother and as a grandmother watching the eyes of youngsters light up with the dazzling vibrant possibilities.

The Crayola Crayons have been replaced by other forms of coloring tools…pencils, gel pens, markers fine-tipped or thick, with or without sparkles. But none of these offer the variety of hues as that box of crayons.

My favorite crayon was always the Burnt Sienna…and is still. In nature, where there are Autumn oaks, there are lighter and darker shades of this color when the season changes from summer to deep fall…I seek it out amongst this seasons colors that will soon be a limited palette of black, grey, brown and white. A combination of brown/pink/salmon all mixed together, create in Burnt Sienna a warmth and comfort that I find irresistible.

The Celtic Catholic Priest (Druid?) once said that we need to have new names and concept for “God”. He called God the Great Artist.

Works for me.

Thanks for the brushstrokes of Burnt Sienna this season.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 My other colorful blogs:

Comfort food!  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Music! http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Words and Thoughts Magic!  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Dollmakers13 Peartree-001

 

We have just come though mid-term elections here in the United States and the Greening Spirit is not happy.  By whatever forces made it happen… general ignorance in the populace informed by faux news and media sources, sloth, or the influences of billions of dollars and dark money from and for corrupt power structures.. those who have produced rotten fruit…and also NO FRUIT at all from their own lack of greening spirit…have been reinstated or inserted into the governing bodies that shape our national agendas, and our society.

Humans can be awesomely creative, generous, visionary for a better future for all, courageous for the good, humorous and just. Humans can also be self-serving, greedy, manipulative, deceptive and easily deceived, and just plain evil. Societies rise or fall on these noble virtues or “sins” and failures of integrity.

We are in dangerous and disheartening times in this country and it seems that hatred, greed, ignorance and plutocratic interests and money have won the public upper hand. It’s not a new story. The arts through literature, theater and film have portrayed this kind of epochal cultural slide in revealing and prophetic “myths” like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and stunningly, the movie AVATAR. Except “myth” is not make-believe. It is the capturing and revelation of truth.

What are we to do in a culture and society that is withering? That is becoming soul-less and soul-stealing and sterile of spirit and  good fruit?

After un-curling from the momentary fetal-position, let us look around our immediate home environments..the small business community run by local friends,  our gardeners and farmers, our  dogma-free, non-fundamentalist churches, to our artists, musicians, writers of integrity and poets..right where we are. Make art or music or poetry ourselves. Sing, dance, paint, give greetings to strangers, pay something foreward, use good manners and courtesy daily, give thanks for beauty wherever you find it. FIND YOUR VOICE and the courage to speak out for what you believe in with great excitement and enthusiasm rather than (or at least more than) the things you are screaming and raging against. Bear the good FRUIT..the juicy, sweet and tangy fruit of good works, generosity, inspiration and love.

This essay is called “REQUIEM: By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”.  A requiem by definition is a ritual Mass for the DEAD.  It involves grief and then letting go.

Let us grieve over the deaths of virtue, peace, justice and nobility in many areas of our national culture, and with careful but definitive releasing, let go of the institutions of barren or rotten fruit. DISCERNMENT.

In the meantime, let us choose to cultivate and become the Fruit that sustains life…and that is, life that is both nourishing, aesthetic and sweet. Do it somehow, somewhere where you are. Use your imagination. Be green and bear some fruit. NOW. TODAY.

“In the people who were meant to be green…..” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2

 

You are invited to visit my other blogs!

For love of music and music teaching/appreciation: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 FOOD and foodie memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and thoughts in your life experience  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

Fukushima

Fukushima

“Now in the people that were mean to be green, there is no more life of kind. There is only shrivelled barrenness.

The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings on.

Thunderstorms menace.

The air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples.

There pours forth and unnatural loathesome darkness that withers the green and wizens the fruit that was to serve as food for the people.

Sometimes this layer of air is full… full of a fog that is the source of many destructive and barren creatures that destroy and damage the earth, rendering it incapable of sustaining humanity.

God desires that the world be pure in his sight.

The Earth should not be injured!   The Earth should not be destroyed!

As often as the elements of the world are violated by ill-treatment, they will be cleansed. They will be cleansed thru the sufferings, thru the hardships of humankind,

THE HIGH, THE LOW, ALL OF CREATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO HUMANKIND TO USE FOR WELL-BEING.

IF THIS PRIVILEGE IS MISUSED, GOD’S JUSTICE PERMITS CREATION TO PUNISH HUMANITY! .”      ~  Hildegarde of Bingen   (1098-1179)

 

Fukashima4It is not possible to write a blog whose intention is to present Beauty and uplifting thoughts, without periodically addressing the serious and devastating situations we find ourselves in on the planet today that threaten that focus. Issues of environmental pollution and abuse, war and weaponry, out of control power structures and self-serving greed sucking the life out of everything that is blessing and gift to us is running rampant on a scale unprecedented in human history.. unprecedented in fact in the natural ancient history of the earth itself.

Hildegarde of Bingen lived during what is referred to as “The Dark Ages” when myth, superstition, ignorance and power structures had no place for intelligent science. Things were indeed dark back then. There have been many Dark Ages in the earth’s natural evolutionary history, and in the history of human civilizations. Only HUBRIS and denial keep us from acknowledging that WE are in The Dark Ages now despite the assumed sophistication of modern technology and supposed higher intelligence.

People Many are waking up however to this truth of  our times of devastation and suffering, and finding the inspiration and courage to give Voice, like Hildegarde,  to their outrage, their prophetic visions and warnings about what is happening and calls for Justice….not just for people but for Earth itself as the source of our being.

Going online daily to social media sites such as Facebook, despite its irritations and glitches, connects us to those researchers amongst us who are reading and ferreting out true intelligent sources of news or reporting  the inspiring actions of heroic people who are standing up for aspects of Justice and Compassion that are personally important to them.

One of us alone can NOT take ALL of it on by ourselves, getting sick with grief and frustration. Going down with it in its weighty darkness does nothing to fix anything.. Awareness is urgently needed, choosing some area to focus on and speak for is necessary BUT while doing that, also speak and act in the name of Beauty, Art, Creativity, Imagination, and Love right where we are in our own community. Now. Today. This week.  Stand UP for something important and of Beauty.  (Part 2 in the next day or so)

 

***I am deeply and imaginatively inspired by music when I am writing. Jarrod Radnich’s  stunning arrangement of The Lord of the Rings Themes… powerfully dark, foreboding and finally moving towards hope.. accompanied  me as backround music during this writing of this essay. Listening with headphones is the way to appreciate this awesome performance.

LINK:     http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/13963410-lord-rings-virtuosic-piano-solo

****Please note! This is MY imagination upon listening to this music..and not necessarily the intention of Maestro Radnich as arranger/composer. 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Hilde

 

 

 

 

Hildegarde’s World View:

Mandala

My other blogs:

cooking and food memoirs       http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

piano and music teaching         http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

law of attraction/seminars   http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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