It’s Not Too Late

This quarter’s BeZine, we are joining with 100TPC (100 Thousand Poets (and others) For Change. We’re celebrating in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, the amazing 16-year old climate change activist traveling by ship to attend two important global events: The Climate Action Summit in New York on September 21-23 and the UN Climate Conference in Santiago in December of 2019.  Please join us and enjoy the creations of artists, poets, musicians, writers and all manner of creative activists as we speak up for the planet! 🙂

Natural Splendor

All photos in this image are mine except the smoky mountains at dawn, which is “Silhouette Of Mountains During Dawn” by cmonphotography from the free to use site Pexels.com. Link to photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-mountains-during-dawn-1809644/

I have been awestruck into silence beneath towering, emerald

Tree cathedrals.  In shallow, turquoise, warm waters I’ve dived,

Swimming in shocked delight with giant, graceful, green turtles.

Navigating a steep cliff face with a foot-thick ship’s rope, I’ve

Observed the surf-pounded stones and sea lion caves below.

Thundering waterfalls have temporarily deafened me, as they

Transformed to swollen streams with cold, clear, melted snow.

Oh, fresh breaths of clean, mountain top air, taken away,

Overlooking panoramic views of violet and blue-fogged hills.

Listening to late evening concertos of crickets and frogs,

Awakens gratitude for Nature’s dynamic set of skills.

Tell all that Earth’s destroyers must now be Her demagogues!

Engage with more than platitudes and lukewarm dialogues.

~ © C.L.R. 2019

 

Posted in 100TPC, Acrostic, Awareness, Ecology, Environment, Food For Thought, Future, Inspiration, Nature, Poetry, Resistance, Sustainability, Travel, Trees | 2 Comments

In Infinitum Terrae

Living in the moment, or with awareness of the here and now can be a good thing. It allows us to appreciate what we have at any given time. It comes with a caveat, though — you have to be aware of the reality of both the individual moments which create your lifespan and keep an eye towards the future. You can drift and dream through life, if you’re lucky enough, but that won’t help you when real life problems arise and you hit an iceberg sometime in the nebulous future. It also doesn’t help others connected to you, whether by blood, acquaintance or species-specific commonality (i.e. family, friends or simply fellow human beings). That’s not even counting the plants and animals.

Image borrowed from http://westwoodgrove.org

Image borrowed from http://westwoodgrove.org

In other words, you have to be willing to be aware of not just yourself, and how you fit into the universe, but how connected everyone and everything else is that shares this planet with you. You have to be willing to care about them, too, and look at a future where they can survive, too.  Believe it or not, living in the moment doesn’t mean that you are the center of the universe. And yet…your actions do directly and indirectly affect the planet and all of its inhabitants.

weareallone

Worst case scenario, we completely strip the earth of all valuable resources and damage the atmosphere to a point where the sun’s radiation fries the planet and everything on it because we humans didn’t do enough in the time we had available to stop it. Why wouldn’t we stop it and save the only planet we have? Do you really want to give up
The Mountains…?aerial-shot-backlit-beautiful-2132180

The Forests…?bridge-cascade-environment-358457

The Beaches…?4k-wallpaper-afterglow-beach-2120624

They all go away unless we humans start taking Climate Change seriously. The plants and animals don’t have a voice or a choice. Will humans care enough about the future of their own existence to finally give a damn before it’s too late?

This quarter’s BeZine theme is “Toward a Sustainable Earth” and is a worthy goal for all of us. And, while humans are to blame for a lot of the planet’s woes, they’re also coming up with good ideas all the time to repair the damage we’ve done and be more eco-friendly going forward. Here are a few lists to give you hope (and inspiration?):

Top 13 Sustainable Inventions Shaping the 21st Century

10 Sustainable Inventions Changing the World

The Best Sustainable Inventions

10 Cool Inventions and Innovations Helping to Save the Planet

I hope if you’ve read this far, you’ll decide to join us in being aware of how your own actions (or inaction) are affecting the planet, and maybe look at how you can be more sustainable, too.  🙂 If we all do a little, we really can do a lot!

In Infinitum Terrae

Posted in Acrostic, Animal Rights, Animals, Awareness, Disasters, Ecology, Environment, Food For Thought, Future, Human Rights, Hunger, Inspiration, Nature, Past Present and Future, Politics, Poverty, Science, Sustainability, Trash, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peace Rocks and Peace Roles

No, that’s not a typo in the title. Keep reading and you’ll see why. This quarter’s BeZine issue is dedicated to Waging Peace, and more specifically “Radical” Peace.  It’s an interesting concept, isn’t it? Normally, the words “Waging” and “Radical” are associated with the complete opposites of Peace: War and Violence. They don’t have to be, though. We can choose to be active, radical pacifists. Aside from the wonderful assonance of that description, there are real (and radical) ways that we can wage peace. All it takes is some creativity and the will to carry it out.

Image borrowed from Wikipedia.org

You’ll notice that I said “active”, radical pacifists. Pacifism doesn’t necessarily mean being ‘passive’ or non-action. We can most certainly be active in our resistance to war and violence.

Image borrowed from Wikipedia.org

Look at leaders like the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. All are/were pacifists, and yet their powerful actions have helped to change the world!

Image borrowed from Wikipedia.org

So the key to radical peace lies in the actions we take. What kinds of actions can we take to wage peace?

 

 

When I was writing this, I became inspired by a movement of which you may or may not have heard: “The Kindness Rocks Project“.  The creator of the project, Megan Murphy, explained how the national movement got started, and it’s based on the idea that “One message at just the right moment, can change your entire day…outlook…life!” Kindness and peace go hand in hand, so why couldn’t we incorporate this as a way of waging peace? Check it out, because Peace Rocks, too! 😉

In thinking about actions we can take to wage radical peace, it’s important to look at the roles that we play and the role that peace plays in our everyday lives. How can each of us, as individuals, take a more active role in spreading peace? How about turning weapons of war into art, like the Tree of Life and Throne of Weapons? These amazing sculptures were made by artists who built them from the surrender of more than 600,000 weapons! This article has some excellent photos of both. There’s also the angel sculpture built from over 100,000 knives which were confiscated from police in the UK:

Image borrowed from mymodernnet.com

All of them actively removed weapons that had been used for war and violence and transformed, repurposed them into art meant to challenge people’s views on those things.

Artic Drilling kayaktivists vs Shell Polar Pioneer – Photo by Daniella Beccaria on Flickr.com

How about the “kayak-tivists” from Greenpeace who waged radical peace for the planet, by bravely daring to block an oil rig belonging to Shell Oil and bound for the arctic, keeping it from leaving Puget Sound? The rig did leave the Sound eventually, but Shell ended up cancelling the lease of the oil rig, because (bold emphasis mine): However due to failed attempts to make a commercially viable discovery, mounting pressure from environmental groups and escalating costs, Shell made the decision to stop all further exploration of the US Arctic waters...By the time the decision was made in September 2015, the exploration campaign had set Shell back an eye watering US$7 billion.” ~ Offshorepost.com So those kayakers did make a difference! It’s a great example of individuals coming together to wage radical peace for the environment.

It can be peace for your family, your neighborhood, your city, the country, the world, the environment and planet…it doesn’t matter how big or how small your action is. What matters is that we take action to counter the war and violence with peaceful protests, creating a culture where peace is preferable, making provocative or inspirational art, joining with others who want the same things. What role will you take? What role will peace play in your world? Won’t you join us? 🙂

Posted in Art, Awareness, Environment, Food For Thought, Inspiration, Peace, Uncategorized, War | Leave a comment

Spirit Speaks…

This quarter’s BeZine theme is “A Life of the Spirit”. This issue is full of resonance and some amazing works by both core team members and guest contributors. If you’d like to be inspired, head over and give it a read. I’m sure you won’t regret it. 🙂
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I was recently given a precious, priceless gift: my maternal grandmother’s hand-written journals.  My Gran spent the last 20+ years before she passed chronicling stories about my aunts, uncles and cousins, but also writing about her own life and the changes she witnessed as a child of the early 1900’s. Each year is a thick, red leather bound treasure trove of daily wisdom, life experiences and stories full of human emotions. There are bookmarks, stickers and drawings, doodles and various quotes that make the pages even  richer. She was also a talented writer with beautiful script handwriting and a knack for story-telling that made a person feel as if they were there in the moment.Young Gran

Gran was the matriarch of our family, the “glue” that held us all together. She was often described as a “saint” or an “angel” both in and outside of the family, because of her selfless, giving nature and her willingness to help anyone at any time. She grew up on a large farm and during the Great Depression, they always had enough to eat, so the bounty was shared with neighbors and strangers who had little or nothing. As an adult, she worked full time up until the last couple of years before she passed, helping to find housing for low income, mentally challenged and  homeless people in need. She was a pillar in the church, and later, when walking became difficult, would be found quietly reading scripture and writing countless letters to cheer those who desperately needed some positivity in their lives.

In reading through her journals, I’ve realized that this was a woman who truly lived a spiritual life; her actions reinforced the love she had for God, His son and the Bible, and she let herself be a vessel for that love.  It’s not that I didn’t already know she was spiritual, but because she and I were so close, I wasn’t able to view her spiritual devotion objectively before. To me, she was always just kind, compassionate, soft-spoken  “Gran” – that’s who she was to all of us kids in the family.From Gran's Journal 1

The most important lesson that I am learning as I explore the gift of her journals is that “Spirit” is more than an abstract concept: it is a living thing. It needs to be fed and nourished, exercised and celebrated. It’s more than conscience, personality, a soul, a way of being, and at the same time it’s an amalgamation of all of these and many other things.  What we feed it matters. How we nurture it matters. Our actions in the world are how Spirit manifests itself, exercises and grows in scope.  We can be living examples of what we want to see exist in this world by letting Spirit guide us.

One of the best things about Spirit, is that you don’t necessarily have to be religious in order to help it grow. It can be the Holy Ghost, the Divine Spark of the Universe, Moral Conscience, Core Essence, whatever label you want to give it. That voice inside that urges you to help others, that’s Spirit. Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it shouts. The desire to perform random acts of kindness anonymously, that’s Spirit. It moves us, encourages us to become better human beings. The key to acting in Spirit, is not doing things as virtue-signaling or because you’ll get anything for doing it… if those are your motivations then that’s Ego talking. Ego and Spirit have very different goals and ends by nature. Spirit doesn’t mind being anonymous, because the goal is the goodness of the act itself and what it accomplishes, not recognition.From Gran's Journal 2

My grandmother used to say, “Make where you are better because you are there.”  I plan to improve my attempts to recognize when Spirit is trying to get my attention and do better about maximizing its potential out in the world through my actions. What about you? How will your Spirit make a difference out there? 😊

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Find your balance to “Be the Peace”

This quarter’s BeZine focuses mostly on the 100 TPC (One Hundred Thousand Poets for Change) events going on around the world and Social Justice, but one of the sub sections of this quarter’s ‘Zine is called “Be The Peace”.  Now, I’ve been called a hippie tree-hugging liberal, etc. and one thing’s for certain: I love the idea of Peace. However, it’s a real challenge to preach and practice Peace in a society that seems to be an ever-escalating glorification of hatred, bigotry, xenophobia, racism, violence, disrespect, intolerance and especially war/conflict (under the thinly-veiled guise of nationalism or patriotism).

I started thinking, “How can any, one person try to get others to be peaceful when everything around us, from our leaders to the media, social media and communities and neighborhoods, hell, the whole freaking nation is determined to divide us all and keep us at war with each other and other countries around the globe?” Seriously, how can one person even make a difference?

The answer is both simple and complex (of course). The simplest answer is that it starts with you, from within.
And in order to make peace with ourselves, there has to be a balance. You can’t very well save the world if you’re struggling to function each day, if you’re out of balance physically, mentally and emotionally.  So the first step is to find your own, inner sense of balance. If being on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter is triggering you and making you angry or if watching the news makes you despair, then consider stepping away from those things, even if it’s just temporarily. Step back and really look at how your behavior either serves to better your own well-being or doesn’t. When you find the things that don’t help you (or worse, actively harm you), then either change them or get rid of them. Once you are whole and centered, you’ll be in a much better, stronger position to help the rest of the world.


I get it. I do. For those of us who truly and deeply care about the rest of the world, our SJW (which is not an insult, despite how so many people use it) instincts can blind us to practicing self-care. When we’re so busy keeping others anchored and afloat it often surprises us when we find ourselves sinking! So step back, find your balance and then you can lead by example and “BE the Peace”.

Below is my humble submission in honor of this year’s 100TPC. Enjoy and be sure to check out the rest of the BeZine, as it’s sure to have some wonderful ideas and prove just how powerful we all can be at effecting change when we work together for one goal! 🙂

 

~ © 2018 C.L.R.

Posted in Acrostic, Awareness, Food For Thought, Peace, Philosophical Ponderings, Poetry, Social Media, Spirituality, Uncategorized, War, Writing | Leave a comment

Insatiable =/= Sustainable

((The new quarterly issue of the BeZine is up! This time, the theme is Sustainability, and there are some really good, thoughtful pieces about making this a reality. If you have some free time, come check out how you can be a part of it! 🙂 ))

Lao Tzu - RichHow often do you think about the future? Now, how often do you think about the future, without you in it? Do you ever wonder about the fates of the humans who will be here after you’re gone? How about the plants and animals that share this planet with us? We humans can be insatiable creatures. Unfortunately, insatiable is not sustainable.  When is enough enough? When we have completely exhausted the planet’s natural resources? When there are unending wars over clean, drinkable water and viable food sources?

The bad news is that scientists are saying that we are already in the midst of the Earth’s sixth extinction event, also called the Holocene extinction and guess what? WE humans are the primary cause (due to overpopulation, over-consumption, humans’ overall impact on the environment and human-accelerated climate change) and we’re probably not going to be able to fix it anytime soon.

What’s worse, is that there are many world powers interested in keeping the status-quo of insatiability going; corporations and politicians who are making billions of dollars off of every day consumers who have been convinced/duped that they need the newest i-Phone, or who won’t go without their bottled water or snacks made with palm-oil. Are you contributing to the problem? Be honest.

The good news is that people are becoming aware of their impact on the planet and coming up with clever ways for all of us to be more sustainable. From 100% biodegradable  disposable plates made of leaves and edible cutlery to shopping bags and packaging made of plants instead of plastic, we’re gradually making progress towards a zero-waste world. There are lots of Eco-Friendly inventions being created! For those of us working towards zero-waste, there are what are called the “5 R’s“: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. If you’re interested or thinking about ways in which to do this, here is a great video to help you get started.

It’s not about judgement, but rather, discernment and responsibility for your own actions. It’s about being the change you wish to see in the world. Let’s lead by example. 🙂

In closing, I’d like to share a video by one of my favorite activist-poets, Prince EA.

Posted in Death, Disasters, Ecology, Environment, Famine, Food For Thought, Frustration, Future, Human Rights, Hunger, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Past Present and Future, Present, Resistance, Science, Sustainability, Trees, Uncategorized, War | Leave a comment

Waging Peace

The BeZine has moved to a quarterly format this year and the first issue is now available. This quarter’s ‘theme’ is Waging Peace, about Peace, Immigration and (anti) Gun Violence. There are lots of good reads in this one, with 58 pieces by 30 contributors!

One of my contributions to this quarter’s issue is an older post, but unfortunately still just as relevant today. So, if you’ve got some free time and are in a mood to read some hefty pieces by a stellar group of talented writers, dive in!

~ No Peace Piece ~

Birthed in the minds of power-mad men,
Forged in the mouth of a dark thundercloud,
My sole purpose to kill,
I make murder a thrill;
The cause of many
A burial shroud.

A tool of war-mongers and lovers, alike,
Eat bullets, spit fire, life snatched in a flash.
Life of violence,
Ringing silence,
Endless echoes left,
Bereft and shrieking,
After the crash.

Image borrowed from globalwealthprotection.com

Were I not here, you’d find another way,
To kill each other, one by one,
Each day.
Death-bringer, me.
“Equalizer”, I be.
Men, women, children…
None are safe from The Gun.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2013

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