Putting the “Action” in “Activism”

It’s Wilderness Awareness Week at The Bardo and scillagrace is heading up lots of amazing posts about the planet to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.

Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©
Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.” ~ David Abram

I wanted to write a brilliant piece of poetry for this event, but my efforts kept coming out with a negative bent, so I decided to instead make this post a mish-mash of things. It can be really hard to try and stay positive and find hope in the face of so much apathy in the world, with so many corporations hell-bent on destroying the planet just to make a profit. It can be terribly disheartening as a champion for the environment when you look at the way the odds are stacked against us, and how very much work there is to do.

On the other hand, it means that there are plenty of opportunities for all of us to find something to DO. Find an environmental cause that speaks to you, personally, whether it’s saving the rainforests, trying to keep trash out of our oceans or making sure that more tar sands pipelines don’t get built. The thing about activism is that it requires action. If you can’t be part of a climate march (Like the one coming up in NYC on 9/21/14), if you can’t get out and pick up litter in the parks, there are still lots of things you can do to help. The important thing is “action”. Whether your action is donating time, money, ideas, space, spreading the word via social media or blogging about it, taking pictures…however you choose to do it, just find a way to get involved. The more people we have taking action, the more our efforts can create a ripple effect that can move mountains (or save them from mountain-top strip mining, as the case may be).

Image borrowed from piecefit.com
Image borrowed from piecefit.com

Here’s a list of the Top 100 Environmental Websites to get you started. From animals rights, to deforestation, to environmentally friendly energy solutions, to recycling, to ocean protection to whatever else you can think of regarding the environment and wilderness, your cause is out there…you just have to find it. ;) Speaking of which, here’s a handy, dandy test to help you figure out your Environmental Worldview , which is defined as “collective beliefs and values that give people a sense of how the world works, their role in the environment, and right and wrong behavior toward the environment. Environmental worldviews dictate how we interact with nature and our attitude toward how we use the natural resources it contains.” ~ Source

 

Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com

Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a video by one of my favorite celebrity environmental activists, Woody Harrelson.

Posted in Animal Rights, Ecology, Elements, Environment, Flowers, Food For Thought, Future, Health, Human Rights, Inspiration, Nature, Past Present and Future, Trees, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Willful Ignorance and Food For Thought

Image borrowed from Zappa.com

Image borrowed from Zappa.com

“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
Frank Zappa

 

Rational Wiki defines “Willful Ignorance” (bolding is mine) as: “…the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality.  At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias….Readers should be aware that willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle. An individual can never accept its whole own reality being meaningless or making no sense, as that would make it impossible to act towards any goal. Forcing an individual into such a state has psychologically been found to be comparable to the death of the higher developed parts of the brain from an outside perspective.”

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

I admit it. Life is a lot easier when I choose to ignore the things which make me unhappy or uncomfortable.  I’m not particularly proud of it, but I admit that I do it. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It’s a self defense mechanism which allows us to feel better about ourselves, our behavior, our actions (or in-actions).  The problem is when we spend so much time in willful ignorance that others suffer, whether they’re other people, animals or plants.

Reality can be a cold bitch. Humans can be unimaginably cruel and so many times, we’re willing to look the other way.  Why?  Perhaps we feel helpless to do anything about the situation. Maybe we’re afraid of being ridiculed, ostracized for doing something differently.  It takes  tremendous courage to be the only one to stand up and say, “No. I will not do this because it is wrong.”  It takes conviction and strength of heart.  And sometimes, it takes a willingness to suffer, yourself, in order to make a point.

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

The compassionate soul cannot abide injustice and suffering in the world – it wants to help – in any way it can.  As a compassionate soul, I have to consider certain things about my lifestyle and how they affects others. In recent years, my diet has come under my personal scrutiny because of revelations about where some of my food comes from; specifically, factory farming.  It finally penetrated the veil of willful ignorance I had built so that I could continue to eat what I wanted when I wanted and not have to feel bad about it.

Am I a Vegan? No, but I’m trying to be a more compassionate consumer.  I used to have bacon every week. Now it’s once a month or less. I used to eat eggs and chicken several times a week. Now I eat eggs maybe once a month and chicken once a week. I’ve almost completely stopped eating red meat.  I’m also in the process of working on dairy.  The thing is, you have to be able to live with your conscience and find what works for you. At the same time, I understand that not everyone shares my view. I’m not out to convert or guilt trip anyone. But I do wish that more people would take a long, hard look at how their actions possibly contribute to unnecessary suffering.

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

The video below IS safe for work. It doesn’t show the blood, or violence, in factory farming, but it does show us how we, as consumers, are manipulated into embracing willful ignorance. It’s a very thought-provoking 7 minutes. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think. It’s okay to be upset or disturbed by what the presenter says.  Believe me when I tell you that there are many, many other videos with far more upsetting and disturbing visuals/themes regarding factory farming.  You can Google the phrase and see for yourself. Or not.  Be warned: once you see it, you can’t “un-see” it. That’s how it works.   It’s definitely “Food for thought”.

Posted in Animal Rights, Animals, Food, Food For Thought, Health, Hunger, Life, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

~ The Second Season ~

Late Summer Sun © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

Late Summer Sun © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

The sky stayed a faded, pale gray-blue;
stone washed denim, dried out by the heat
of a late summer sun, whose sick, jaundiced hue
flattened thin clouds and melted the street.

That platinum, mad, metallic, bright disc
that laughed through June, by July, was hissing.
Even the wind, who fought hard to be brisk,
fell victim, and by August was noticeably missing.

The cicadas hatched under that scalding sphere.
The grass, dessicated, finally crunched into brown.
All agreed that summer was sadistic that year,
and we prayed for dusk, when the devil went down.

~ © C.L.R. 2014 ~

Posted in Ecology, Environment, Nature, Poetry, Seasons, Summer, Sun | Leave a comment

The rosebuds are gathered and my captain is gone…

Another bright light has passed from this world today. One of the most beautiful souls to ever grace the world has left this realm to travel others on wings of light and glorious laughter. Robin Williams died today. He was an incredible comedian, caring man, loving soul and gifted us all with the courage and will to face life with a smile, no matter what.

Image courtesy of  The Huffington Post.com

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.com

How is it that someone we have never met in person can have such a profound effect upon us and our lives? I write this with tears streaming and I weep for the world to have lost such an incredible person and force for the Light. I cry because for so long, Mr. Williams battled the demons of depression and addiction…and anyone who has ever fought either one of those (or both) knows exactly how hard it is to even keep your balance, much less win the war. He fought a good fight. I mourn that he who brought so much laughter and wisdom, so much compassion and gentleness to so many people could have been in so much pain that he just wanted it to stop.

Image borrowed from intentblog.com

Image borrowed from intentblog.com

I’ve loved him since Mork & Mindy, but my favorite roles of his were Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society and Parry in The Fisher King.  I’m sure everyone has their favorites, remembers some way he touched their lives and made life better.

Please, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression or battling addiction, reach out.  This is the most important thing you can do for yourself or them. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255.

 *********

 Goodbye, my Captain.  May your soul find peace and keep the angels laughing. Thank you for everything you gave us.

 

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
    The higher he’s a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he’s to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And, while ye may, go marry;
    For, having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry. “

~ Robert Herrick (1648), “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead…”

~ Walt Whitman (1891), excerpt from “O Captain! My Captain!”

Posted in Death, Food For Thought, Gratitude, Grief, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Sympathy, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations.  When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough.  Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art.  Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work.  Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction?  Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that true “perfection” only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are.  Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe “good enough” IS “perfect”. ;)

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

Posted in Art, Creativity, Family, Food For Thought, Frustration, Inspiration, Life, Perfection, Poetry, Prose, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The longest word in the dictionary

It’s not “Floccinaucinihilipilification” (which is “the act or habit of estimating or describing something as worthless, or making something to be worthless by said means.” – Oxford English Dictionary).

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

It’s also not “Supercalifraegilisticexpialidocious“, believe it or not (sorry, Mary Poppins).

 

 

 

Nope, the longest word in the dictionary is SMILES (because there’s a mile between the S’s)…  :D Hahaha…ha?

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Last month, June 15th was listed as “Smile Power Day“. But I say, why can’t it be every day? A smile is one of those things that can change all kinds of things for the better! It can:

  • Add years to your life
  • Make you a happier person
  • Make someone else a happier person
  • It’s a mood change for the giver and the receiver
  • Improves relationships
  • In business, it sends a great customer service message

There is great power in a smile. It’s contagious, too. And it’s an evolutionary trait!  Did you know that your smile can be a predictor of how long you will live? Or that every, single person is born smiling? I bet there are other things you didn’t know about smiling.

In this TED Talk video, Ron Gutman talks about “The Hidden Power of Smiling”.  Laughter may be the best medicine, but it all starts with a smile. ;)

So go out and smile today! Make a conscious effort to do it more today (and every day!). Spread the wealth and do something good for your health and those around you.  I’ll venture to say you won’t regret it. :)

 

 

Posted in Food For Thought, Friendship, Giving, Health, Inspiration, Life, Present, Smiling, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

~ Dragons’ Secret ~

© "Time to Fly" by Corina L. Ravenscraft

© “Time to Fly” by Corina L. Ravenscraft

Far beyond time’s measure and memory,    
Long before the world became as it is,       
The wondrous dawn of Dragons came to be,
And brought with their kind, sun-forged imprimis,    
The sage and noble first seed of life’s truth:  
Protect and guard the world’s balance they knew.
They nurtured this mission to fruit, in their youth,
And in their high, immortal manner, too,
Preserved the knowledge, and kept the way smooth.
They held tireless vigil o’er beasts and land.
Whether newly hatched or long in the tooth,
They instantly knew, and could understand,
Necessity of defending their world:
Ensure the delicate balance survived.
Through Light and Dark, Past and Future unfurled,
Balance made sure that the seed of truth thrived,
Through vast generations of ageless souls.
Dragons’ keen skill kept the world’s balance true.
‘Til certain beasts (men) crept out of their holes,
Watched the dragons, and in their learning grew,
In dire arrogance, thought that they knew best,
With no accord or preservative plan.
They took what they wanted, savaged the rest,
No keepers of truth, these foul beasts called Man.
They spread like disease, infecting the land,
Claiming dominion of all that they saw.
The balance shifted, under Man’s harsh hand,
With no respect for the Dragons’ first law.
The Wyrms began to ponder their choices,
Held Dragon Council and called for a vote.
“Destroy them!” cried almost all the voices.
Then one came forward, soft voice in her throat,
Spoke of another, wiser solution:
“Let us,” she said, “disguise ourselves as men.
Then teach them, ourselves, to stop pollution.
Teach them about balance, as one of them.
But, we must forsake our immortal souls.”

“But we must forsake our immortal souls.”
The words echoed grave round the gathered drakes.
All considered such a dire change to their roles,
And the consequences of Man’s mistakes.
Finally, as one, they reached agreement.
Scales shivered, wings withered, tails disappeared.
They keened a last, great song, in deep lament,
Forfeiting all, for the truth they revered.
Then they dispersed to all of Earth’s corners.
Clothed in many colors of human skin.
They started their set task as foreigners,
But adapted, and quickly learned to fit in.
You may have met one of their disguised kind.
They fight for the Earth, and all its glory.
They’re rare, but if you look hard, you might find,
That you already know the Dragons’ story.
They’ve left the ending to you and me…

They’ve left it to us. So what will it be?

© 2014 C.L.R.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments