~ Asking For A Friend ~

The theme this quarter for The BeZine is "Waging Peace through finding common ground". Any changes that happen for the important issues concerning humanity must come through us finding common ground from which to start the conversations. Empathy is being able to fully place ourselves in another's position. It starts with being able to care enough about other things, people, places, etc. besides yourself. What will it take for global empathy?

If you knew
Your whole family would die tomorrow,
From a senseless war not of your making,
Would you wage peace,
For just one day,
To keep your heart, 
From needlessly breaking?

If I knew
Next week would poison rivers, the air,
Turned toxic by corporate dumping, pollution,
Would I wage peace,
For just one week,
Use my money instead,
For a “Greener” solution?

If we knew
Plants and animals would die next month,
Climate Change pushing them past the brink,
Would we wage peace,
For just one month,
Wage peace for the planet,
Could we do it, you think?

You, I, We, Us,
What will it take to make us care?
A day? A week? A month? A year?
Whole continents burning, unbreathable air,
Fishless oceans, concrete leaving all lands bereft,
Endless bodies, choked rubble from War’s bloody fare,
By the time we wage peace, who and what will be left?

© C.L.R. 2021

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SustainABILITY in turbulent times

The theme for this quarter’s issue of The BeZine is “SustainABILITY in turbulent times”. Everyday life is challenging right now all over the world; things are especially chaotic because of the pandemic, with political unrest and natural disasters only adding to the “turbulence” that is affecting communities and ecosystems around the globe. But the important part of that phrase at the top is the last part of the first word: “ABILITY”. We ALL have the “ability” to do something sustainable, whether it’s for ourselves, our communities or the planet, even if it’s something small.

“Sustainability in Turbulence” © 2021 Corina Ravenscraft all rights reserved

Figure Out How To Sustain Yourself

You won’t be any good to anyone else if you cannot figure out how to sustain yourself. This has been an especially important lesson for so many during the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19. We’re having to learn how to keep going, despite being isolated or cut off from places, activities, and often people that we love. We each have had to come up with things to “sustain” us through this pandemic…sustain us physically, mentally, emotionally. Some of us have done better than others, but it’s something we all have to face and figure out.

How do you know what sustains you? I’m not talking about the basics, like food and shelter, although there are plenty of people who don’t even have those things right now, so their path to personal sustainability is a million times harder. But if you have food and shelter and even a job, what keeps you going? What drives you to awaken each morning and tackle the day ahead? I suggest that you stop, take a moment, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply for a count of ten and ask yourself, “What makes me happy? What brings me joy?”. Really search for and find whatever it is that brings you joy, whether it’s a hobby like painting, knitting, wood-working, gardening, or simply taking ten or twenty minutes each day to get some exercise outdoors or relax with your favorite music and meditate. And if you can’t come up with anything? Now is the perfect time to find and try something new. You have the ability to discover what truly makes you happy and can keep you going, what will sustain you through these hard times and beyond.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meditation-by-h.koppdelaney.jpg
“Meditation” by h.koppdelaney licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Find Ways To Sustain Your Community

As an individual part of your community, you have the ability to make it better. You can help others around you, and by doing so, make where you live a more inviting and sustainable place. Perhaps you can start small, and make a commitment to check on your elderly neighbor every day, to make sure that they can keep going. Maybe you have the ability for something on a larger scale, like getting together with a few people in your neighborhood and starting a sustainable, community vegetable garden that will provide for several families?

Perhaps you have an artistic ability that can be used to paint murals on ugly cement walls in the neighborhood to brighten the space, and you can even invite others to help (socially distanced, of course). If you’re an animal lover, maybe you can help the strays in your area, by TNR-ing and feeding a cat colony, or commit to not using chemicals on your lawn so that the birds, bees and butterflies have a non-toxic place to feed. When people ask you what you’re doing, invite them to participate! Maybe you can prepare and distribute meals or care-packages for the homeless in your area? There are so many ways to help keep the community going, to sustain that sense of “belonging” that has been sorely missing in these days of isolation and loneliness. The challenge is looking for ways to help improve the community with your unique abilities.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pilsen-smart-communities-murals-by-danxoneil.jpg
“Pilsen Smart Communities Murals” by danxoneil licensed under CC BY 2.0

Help Sustain The Planet

This is probably what most people consider the toughest challenge when it comes to sustainability, but it doesn’t have to be. We each have the power, the ability, to make choices that have ripple effects. We can choose to be more sustainable in our lifestyles and follow one or all of the “Five R’s of Sustainability“.

Beyond those five steps, you can research the companies from which you buy things. Here is one list of the top 100 Most Sustainable Companies of 2020. Use the power of your wallet as a consumer and reward companies that are trying to be “green”, “eco-friendly“, or who are committed to helping the planet instead of trashing it. Would you consider using a shampoo that came in a biodegradable bar (like a bar of soap) instead of in a plastic, non-recyclable bottle? How about NOT buying snacks which use an unsustainable source of Palm Oil – instead, find snacks that are committed to only sustainable sources.

“Sustainability poster – Ripples” by kevin dooley licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yes, it takes time to do the research and you have to actually care about it in the first place. But you have the ability to decide to be a part of the human race who either helps the planet or hurts it. In truth, we are all probably a mix of both. As for me, I would rather work towards an Earth where there are still large, green spaces with lots of plants, animals and trees, where the rivers, lakes and oceans aren’t a toxic, plastic and garbage-filled soup and where the air and water are free of so much pollution. How about you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Her Light Continues…

In early November of last year, we lost one of the dearest members of The BeZine Team, our founder and editor, G. Jamie Dedes. Jamie was a huge inspiration to all of us; always a soft, gentle and encouraging voice who gave us the courage to write and the faith to succeed. One of my favorite poems of hers is this one, where she speaks to us about spirit’s immortality. Despite the tears, I know she’s close. I can hear her enthusiastic, “Poem on!” and I know she will always be with us.

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river …

i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings . . .

i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~
you’ll see me sliding happy down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.

~ © 2016 G. Jamie Dedes

Below is my own, small tribute to this unforgettable woman who lifted us all.

© 2020 Corina Ravenscraft All Rights Reserved

~ For Jamie ~

Gracious guide to my muse inside,

Joy lifted me every time we spoke.

Always so humble, yet beatified,

Mentor, mother, how our hearts broke

In two when we learned you’d be leaving.

Ever strong, you gently eased our grieving.

Dauntless, you waged fierce peace for us all.

Encouraged, blessed each effort we penned,

Delivered your maestro’s clarion call,

Even now, your love remains, without end.

Slip peacefully into the Bardo, Dear Friend…

~ © 2020 C.L.R.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

World’s End or World Without End?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)”

~ It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, by R.E.M.

It sure has felt that way for the last few months, hasn’t it? We’ve had plenty of time to “have some time alone” and our routines have been turned upside down (though if I hear the phrase “New Normal” one more time, I think I might scream). Of course it’s been bad here in the U.S.A., but can you imagine how much worse it has been in so many of the other places on the planet? Can you empathize with those people who are already living day-to-day trying to scrape up enough food or water to survive and then to have to deal with this pandemic on TOP of that?

Image credit – credit Anumeha Yadav, Al Jazeera

In many ways, it seems that COVID-19 has been like a giant RESET button by Mother Nature. The real question is: can we, as humans, learn any lessons about how to treat the planet better because of it? Perhaps, more importantly, WILL we take this golden opportunity to at least and at last become more sustainable?

Merriam-Webster defines “Sustainable” as:
1 : capable of being sustained
: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. See sustainable techniques,  sustainable agriculture
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods, sustainable society

Did you know that there are three “pillars” of Sustainability? They are:

  • Environmental (Planet) ——————–\
  • Economic (Profit) —————————- SUSTAINABILITY
  • Social (People) ———————————/

Figure 1.1. Interplay of the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainable development.
Credit: Mark Fedkin. Adopted from the University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment [Rodriguez et al., 2002]

In trying to develop goals towards true sustainability, all three of these pillars must be considered and brought together. Here’s a good video that describes how these definitions fit and work together to create a sustainable future.

In 2015, a group of 193 countries at The United Nations came up with 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). These “17 Goals to Transform Our World” were first  implemented in 2016, with the hopes of meeting all or most of these aims by the year 2030. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State and other top leaders at a summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” he added of the 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.”

So, we’re 4 years into the initiative. How are we doing? Overall, not that great, but where there is room for improvement, there is also the hope and willpower to make it happen. Some countries are making better efforts than others, and some are actually on track to meet their nation’s goals even before 2030. If you want to see the good, the bad and the ugly about how well (or not) we’re doing, this Ted Talk from last year shows specific numbers.

We’re a good species when it comes to adapting, but there are some things we won’t be able to adapt to quickly enough, like rising global temperatures (on land and in the oceans) caused by climate change.

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) recently published an article that suggests “…depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.”

By 2070, they predict that (bolding mine) “…in the absence of migration, one third of the global population is projected to experience a MAT (Mean Annual Temperature) >29 °C currently found in only 0.8% of the Earth’s land surface, mostly concentrated in the Sahara. As the potentially most affected regions are among the poorest in the world, where adaptive capacity is low, enhancing human development in those areas should be a priority alongside climate mitigation.”
~ Source

Rolling Stone did a wonderful article about the coming heat waves due to climate change, asking the important question, Can We Survive Extreme Heat?. “As temperatures soar in the coming years, the real question is not whether super-heated cities are sustainable. With enough money and engineering skill, you can sustain life on Mars. The issue is, sustainable for whom?”

Image borrowed from https://live.staticflickr.com

Humans still aren’t trying hard enough to live sustainably. According to Overshootday.org, we currently consume global resources at a rate where (bolding mine) “…we’d need 1.75 planets to support our demand on Earth’s ecosystem. The calculations include resources such as the amount of water, land, fish and forests we use as well as how much CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere – basically a measure of our ecological footprint. Our carbon footprint specifically is now 60 percent of our total global ecological footprint – with a massive 33 days of our budget overshoot used up due to CO2 emissions alone.” You can learn more about that and see some interesting graphs and pictures about that  here.

For us here in America, the COVID pandemic has meant temporary shortages on things like toilet paper (Here’s a fun history of how we came to have this “necessity”), which requires millions of felled trees per year to create. We’ve also witnessed a break down in the supply chain for foods like dairy, vegetables, and meats. Why? Because we’re not farming sustainably and rely heavily on large, corporate farming aggregates (whose number one concern is not feeding the world, or even the USA, but making as much profit as they possibly can – using the Economic ‘pillar’ to excess and at the expense of the other two pillars) and partly because we are a country who not only resists giving up eating meat, but who leads the world in meat consumption. ~ Source

Despite everything I’ve posted here, it’s not ALL Gloom and Doom. As societies become more conscious and responsible about their own roles in sustainability, and consumers demand that companies and corporations become sustainable, there is hope that we can still come out the other side of this with a “win” for the Earth and its inhabitants. At the very least, maybe now you’re seriously thinking about what you can do as an individual to help save us all, now and in the future.

IF it helps us make meaningful, lasting change, then maybe…the end of the world “as we know it” can turn out to be a good thing, after all.

Image credit – Screenshot/Twitter/Greenpeace India

Posted in Climate Change, Ecology, Environment, Future, Human Rights, Nature, Sustainability | Leave a comment

~ A Christmas Connection ~

This quarter, the BeZine is focusing on “A Life of the Spirit”. Come read and be inspired by others who show us that the word “Spirit” comes in many forms, shapes, sizes and meanings. I chose to write a poem about part of the “Christmas Spirit”, which is spending time with loved ones at Christmas dinner, the connections we have with others we cherish. But what about those who don’t have anyone to enjoy that event with?

The holidays can be extra challenging for the elderly. Often alone, with no one to spend these special days with, they can get depressed and lonely. Please make an effort this season to check in and spend a little time with any seniors you might know who could use a smile or two, whether they’re family, friends, neighbors or even strangers in nursing homes. Give the gift of your time and attention to someone older. It’s one of the greatest presents they can receive. 🙂

~ A Christmas Connection ~

He shuffled softly down the well-lit aisles,

Searching for a Christmas meal just for one.

His wife, God rest her, was gone a long while,

And he knew the kids weren’t able to come.

Of course they were busy, lived far away,

But he missed their smiles, and the grand kids, too.

“We’ll see you next year!” They would no doubt say,

Though their short visits were still far too few.


She came looking for a Christmas repast,

Stopped in front of the frozen t.v. meals.

Her faint breath frosted the door of thick glass,

Of the case which housed the advertised deals.

Her mind caught in times of holidays past,

She recalled the faces and names held dear.

Of all those remembered, she was the last.

Old and lonely, she now found herself here.


The man paused in the frozen dinners aisle,

Drawn to the woman’s soft, sad demeanor.

He wondered if he could coax a small smile,

Ambled closer, picking out a dinner.

As she reached for one, it slipped from the shelf,

Fell to the floor near the elderly man.

“Turkey Pot Pie? Almost got this, myself,”

The man smiled gently, the box in his hand.


Cheeks pink from embarrassment, she smiled too.

“Thank you,” she said. “I don’t cook anymore.

It’s just me now, so no real reason to.”

He nodded agreement, closed the case door.

“Forgive me if this sounds forward,” he said.

“But would you care to have dinner with me?”

Afraid of rejection, he rushed ahead,

“I’m by myself, too, and it’s rough, you see?”


“No one should be lonely on Christmas Eve.”

Her eyes got bright and she nodded assent.

She said, “Nor hungry either, I believe.”

He laughed, “I agree, one hundred percent!”

“I’m Josef,” he smiled, and gave a small bow.

“It’s nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?

I’m Marie,” she answered, less lonesome now.

From there, their friendship continued to grow…

~ C.L.R. © 2019 ~

Posted in Christmas, Family, Food For Thought, Friendship, Giving, Holidays, Loneliness, Love, Poetry, Uncategorized, Winter | 1 Comment

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.


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. 🙂
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? 😊

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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