The Eloquently and Elegantly stated Truth

Nothing is more important than reading this. And then reading it again.

The most elegant and eloquent presentation of the facts, that anyone who can understand words, must be persuaded to hear and respond to emotionally and intuitively as the truth.

I have merely copied and pasted the text of this writing within the link below (minus the original links within it), feeling it to be the utterly most important statement of vast insight, that everyone must read. And continue to talk.

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http://www.grenzbegriff.com/2017/10/leaving.html

 

these are my words at the time of writing — I am more like tree than rock — as I bend to reach the sunlight

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leaving

Hi friends,

I’m leaving Google at the end of next week.

There’s too much I want to say.¬† ūüôā

I spent the summer away from work, outdoors in Oregon, awash in beauty.¬† I learned a lot.¬† I wept at how we’re treating the earth, as I rode past mile after mile of logged forests, polluted streams, and lifeless monocrop fields.

I got to be part of what I’ll call “alternative culture”, to explore ways of meeting all of our human needs through local community alternatives to basically everything we currently use money for.¬† I wrote some about this time¬†here on this blog.¬† I barely scratched the surface though.¬† More and more people, perhaps millions now even in the West, are devoting their lives to new (and sometimes ancient) ways of living in healthy relationship with each other and with the earth.¬† While they are usually partly within the current system, when all of these new ways of living come together, the current system becomes obsolete.¬† I see joyous glimpses of this everywhere.

Meanwhile our dominant civilization is killing its own foundation: the healthy web of life on earth.¬† Through deforestation and pollution we are destroying the ability of the planet to support all forms of life.¬† We can see this in the oceans where the fish populations are collapsing, the silent fields that were once thriving forests, and the deserts where millions of people go hungry in drought.¬† This ecological crisis can’t be solved simply by swapping oil for solar panels.¬†¬†I’m no longer optimistic that we will soon fix these problems with some new technology.¬† It’s quite possible that climate change is exacerbating the storms and droughts and fires, and that these will continue to become more severe in the next years.

The effects are not evenly distributed.¬† The unhoused breathe wildfire smoke while many of the housed have filtered air.¬† Some of us see our homes flooded or burnt while for others business continues as usual.¬† Most communities in the country and increasingly in the world have lost the ability to sustain themselves from their land, and now must import almost everything they need from elsewhere, which becomes precarious when those importing the goods see no profit in it (food deserts), or when disaster breaks down the supply line like in Puerto Rico.¬† Many communities no longer have access to clean water, or are losing it as I write.¬† On Monday I listened to a man from Guatemala talk about a new silver mine near his home that is polluting and drying up the water supply for many villages there.¬† Almost all silver is used to produce electronics, and demand is rising.¬† In Oregon this summer, ancient trees thousands of years old were cleared for fire breaks. ¬†The entire planet is being saturated with chemicals that we ought never to have created. ¬†These kinds of damage cannot be undone or fixed by technology.¬† The story for other species is even worse, as most wild animal populations have died off and we pack billions of animals in cages in horrific factory farms.¬† The coral reefs, the¬†rhinos, the ancient forests, the whales, and¬†even the insects… who speaks for them?¬† Some people do, and they end up in jail¬†if their actions threaten profits.¬† Profits are made at the expense of Life.

And within our civilization, we have more prisoners and refugees, more drugs and anxiety and depression and stress and addiction than ever.¬† Even in wealthy regions, most people don’t like the work they do all day.¬† It’s also not physically healthy to be indoors or using a computer or riding in vehicles for as many hours as many of us who are “successful” do.¬† What is happening to us?

It seems the leaders of our world are apathetic or powerless, as they fight over the most gaudy deck chairs on this titanic.¬† While it pains me, I don’t hate them for this; their actions are the product of a traumatic history that touches all of us.¬† They don’t know what they’re doing.

I envision a more beautiful world where humans have a healthy part to play, to love and respect the earth, not to dominate and exploit it.¬† I see many people living that vision already, and want to live my life in service to it.¬† I see the extremes of both ugliness and beauty grow more stark.¬† Ugliness as we close down and protect ourselves from the ‘other’, beauty as we come together in community, in love with mother earth.¬† Will “society” as a whole make some kind of transition, or continue the march into dystopia and eventual chaos?¬† I don’t know.¬† It will be both at the same time.¬† Some people are already in an obvious dystopia, some are in a beautiful place yet in the shadow of a collapsing ecosystem.¬† To hope for a peaceful transition would be to ignore the incredible violence on which the current system lives.¬† It will be violent¬†because it already is.¬† May we learn to be kind to each other as these changes unfold.

It’s been said that we need the darkness to see the stars.¬† We can open ourselves to what is happening, feel and honor our pain, grieve what is lost, and revel in our deep gratitude for the beauty of life.¬† I don’t mean to be a downer pointing at all this ugliness.¬† I feel that we have a deep need to see it and acknowledge it.¬† It makes the beauty that much more precious and worth living for.

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?‚ÄĚ
-Mary Oliver

What should we do then?

I don’t know exactly what we should do.¬† I don’t have a rational “here’s what everyone needs to do” that will resolve all of these crises.¬† I want to let go of my need to control what happens, because I’m really not in control.¬† At the same time, even if I let go and accept whatever comes, I am a human being and it is natural for me to care and want to help, to serve what I love.¬† I will not deny that part of me either.¬† So I find myself thinking about how to help, even if it seems “hopeless” overall.¬† I need not stress about the outcomes, but I will still act.¬† What else would I do with my few short years here?

So what might I do to be practical?

I don’t believe our technology is serving us well.¬† We, the wealthy humans near the top of the power hierarchy may see it as indispensable, but if we consider the animals or the fish or the trees or the laborers in the sweatshops and mines and plantations, it’s not working out so well.¬† Yes, our technology relieves some suffering in some places, but at what cost?¬† We simply do not, and probably cannot, count the costs of¬†development.¬† I am not enthusiastic that further technological progress will heal us.

I also don’t believe that our problems are mostly due to money being in the wrong hands.¬† Measuring everything by monetary value seems to me one of the roots of the crises.¬† The mentality that values money over life drives much of the pollution and resource extraction and oppression around the world, since humans first accumulated “property” and enslaved each other.¬† I don’t feel that getting as much money as I can and giving it to the non-profit side of the system is the best way for me to serve what I love.¬† I feel that the money abstraction and the distance it puts between us and the effects of our actions makes us feel disconnected and alone.

I also don’t like our culture’s valuing of measurable¬†impact¬†over everything else.¬† Much of what is precious to me cannot be measured.¬† What’s the measurable value of a 5000 year old yew tree?¬† What’s the measurable value of caring for a disabled child?

“May what I do flow from me like a river
no forcing
and no holding back
the way it is with children.‚ÄĚ
-Rilke

So I don’t know what we all should do exactly, and I don’t know what I will do beyond the short term.¬† I’m skeptical of money and the dominant culture’s value system.¬† I want to¬†trust¬†what makes me feel alive over our culture’s normal stories that usually are rooted in fear.¬† I recognize that I’m one of the most privileged people in the world.¬† I know most people do not have the options that I have.¬† I don’t mean to judge, only to encourage.

Right now what’s happening is I’ve been living in a homeless protest encampment in Berkeley the last couple months, which has given me still another perspective on our society.¬† It got¬†interesting¬†this weekend and we’re fighting eviction, hoping to benefit and inspire homeless communities around the country.¬† With all of the disaster and war refugees today, and housing crises in many places, there are more and more people who can’t have regular housing, and we could learn to live together with more kindness and understanding.¬† I’m also involved with the community here in other ways like¬†Food Not Bombs.¬† I expect soon I’ll be moving on to other places, to learn and to live in service to what I love.¬† To restore soil and help plants grow and be community.

I’ve learned I don’t need much money to live well myself, so I don’t need to earn it for myself.¬† Perhaps my perspective on money and impact will change and I’ll eventually decide that earning money and supporting my many friends who don’t have much money in their various causes is the best way to contribute, and then I might return to a job, but we’ll see.¬† “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Wherever I am, I’ll be with some kind of community learning how to live in healthier relationship with each other and with the earth.¬† There’ll be dark moments and joyous moments, and this is life.¬† Life is good.¬† Whatever comes, I will give¬†attention to the beauty around me, the beauty of¬†community¬†and of¬†nature¬†and of every form.¬† Beauty everywhere begs our attention.

“An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.

A head has one use: For loving a true love.
Feet: To chase after.

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

carol return hitch from Taos, New Mexico

carol the blogger on her return hitch from Taos, New Mexico to Santa Fe. One side of my sign said Santa Fe, the other, Fanta Se

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism

I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother‚Äôs birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‚Äėm still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‚Äėabove‚Äô reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn‚Äôt mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.¬†

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. ‚Äúthe Teachings of Don Juan‚ÄĚ – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of other’s to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments ‚Ķ aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples‚Äô actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness.¬†The ‚Äėtree-hugger/environmental activist side of me‚Äô is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‚Äėus against them‚Äô scenario. So, I‚Äôm as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs to the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‚Äėwe don‚Äôt run the government, the government runs us‚Äô.

Love over Fear – Jim Carrey | Supermoon Hitchabout | Lakota Sioux – Secret Within

I came across this through a FaceBook wall posting, and feel the need to share.

Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life РThe Journey of Purpose

His words paraphrased:

Choose love as the lens to look through, make decisions based out of love rather than fear.

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

We are not only viewers, we are projectors of our reality. Fear can write a lot of this script; when one is leaning back into the past or leaping towards imagined thoughts of the future. Yet, all that is happening, is in this moment, not in the past or in the future. It is your choice to make decisions that are based in either love or fear.

Herman Hesse

There is no reality except the one contained within us…Herman Hesse

Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us. It’s about having faith in one’s vision, and letting the universe know what you want, working towards it and letting go of how it arrives.

You always have two choices, love or fear.

Cape May sunset

Arriving at the Atlantic, as sun was setting.

And on that note, I chose love over fear, to follow through with my desire to watch the Supermoon rise over the Atlantic Ocean. This prompted my “SuperMoon Hitchabout”. Destination, exploring the marine reserves; the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Not having realized just how vast this¬†area I wished¬†to explore is,¬†ridiculously underestimated, I wound up staying at my designated starting point, Cape May, New Jersey, and not venturing any further.¬†My aim was to¬†arrive at¬†the Atlantic ocean to see the Supermoon¬†rise, and I did. My last ride brought me right to the Cape May ‘boardwalk’ (made of cement),¬†as¬†the sun was lowering in the sky.

Turquoise waters of the Atlantic setting sun.

Turquoise waters of the Atlantic setting sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The setting sun.

The setting sun.

Pencil water color of the waters as the glowing orange sun was setting.

Pencil water color of the waters as the glowing orange sun was setting.

Supermoon rising over the Atlantic Ocean

Supermoon rising over the Atlantic Ocean

I left earlier in the day with the necessities: a backpack equipped with a sharpie, tooth brush, bathing suit, sleeping bag, sunscreen, lipstick…digital camera. Didn’t take a credit or debit card, nor had i bothered to look to see if I had ANY money. Turns out I had a 5 dollar bill and change. Packed some baked sweet potatoes, bread, cheese, fruit and a water bottle. I felt like a beer the second night, which is when I discovered I had a five on me.

 

My trip costed $1.57 all inclusive: the PBR ‚Äėtally‚Äô that I bought the second day, travel, accommodations, running water access (rest houses on the boardwalk), ocean-side sleeping. I might add that this included these high-tech beach sweeping vehicles which would have ground me into a pulp, had I not made the rational decision to lay¬†the sleeping bag between the search and rescue life boat and fence at the dunes.

Due to self-imposed lack of finances, I had little choice but to catch a ride with someone. The morning I decided to go, I glanced at the local city‚Äôs craigslist rideshare and responded to a person‚Äôs ‚Äėanonymous email‚Äô asking people to¬†accompany him to Niagara Falls. I suggested that¬†my intent is to go to the ocean and explore the marine wildlife of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays‚ĶMinutes later a text arrived on my phone. Adverse to giving out my address randomly, I told him generally where I live. It turned out that within minutes of my departure, the phone rang. I told him to meet me at a corner.

As I turned to that street, in the distance I saw a vehicle parked and someone walking around¬†it, a vibe of commotion. As I approached, I was certain that this was him. As I got closer through the glaring sun, I saw an array of newspapers lying on the ground at the rear of his nondescript van. I leaned towards the open passenger window and before introducing myself, asked¬†if¬†this stuff,¬†motioning to¬†the ground, was¬†his? He hastily offered to pick it up. He had driven¬†from a neighboring State to offer me this ride. A large round man, archetypal Jewish with his scull cap perched on his thick head. I glanced¬†at the filth in his car, the seemingly glued-on pile of coins on the floor by the passenger seat. I turned and¬†picked up the littered papers¬†from the ground and¬†floated them through his window. I told him that this isn’t a good sign, and basically said, thanks, but no thanks, and¬†walked away.

I¬†ignored his call minutes later as I had grabbed my sharpie¬†and was making a¬†sign for my¬†first destination, the entrance to the PA Turnpike. The first car that¬†stopped was a man even scarier looking than the one I had just walked away from. I declined, “I want to get a ride all the way to this¬†point. thanks anyway”. I rarely turn down rides. This was peculiar. The next ride was a woman who turned out to know my sister and brother, once I had offered more information. She went out of her way to bring me to my first drop-off point. The remaining rides were equally smooth and interesting, during which time I chatted with the drivers’ and listened to their stories.

 

sign so small someone would have to be close to see it

sign so small someone would have to be close to see it

Coast sign

The last ride was a Filipino American man who lives in Cape May. He drove me directly to a central point in town by the boardwalk. He spoke very clear English and had a lot to talk about. We each smiled and laughed as I was leaving his car, knowing that I had just the sleeping bag on my back and no plans.

Dusk before moon rise

Dusk before moon rise

When I arrived the air was still, barely a breeze. I climbed onto the lifeguard chair (vacated at 5:30pm) and sat my stuff down. Two young couples were sitting on a blanket nearby visiting for the day from Philadelphia. The water was smooth, silky, lovely. The air moist, the ocean’s rhythmic breathing muted thunderclaps.

Glowing Supermoon over the Atlantic  Cape May, New Jersey

Glowing Supermoon over the Atlantic
Cape May, New Jersey

What was astounding, was the color of the water as I swam, facing the glowing setting sun. The play of light was incandescent orange on a turquoise blue, mirroring the sky. I was compelled to make this water to remember it, since I couldn’t bring my camera into the water to capture my point of view.

That first night after having played a beach game on the sand for hours with a family of cousins, I then went to the boardwalk to sit down. This parlayed into a bed that first¬†night, after meeting a Bulgarian kid on the ‚Äėboardwalk‚Äô where I sat on a bench. He asked with¬†an obvious accent if I‚Äôd like someone to join me, to which I answered no. Hours later, except for his intermittent phone conversations in Bulgarian with a girl in Wildwood, we were still talking. I wound up crashing at his group house that night. I was wondering why I kept hearing people speaking Russian around me that day, then discovered first-hand, that it was probably Bulgarian I was hearing. huh? Luckily, the next evening I was already familiar with the built-in tent structures on the beach.¬†They came in handy as I slept in a sleeping bag under the stars, when rain drops started falling at 6am. I was near these built-in tent structures (not those below) but smaller and more portable ones, easy to unravel and fasten the tarp, under which I could just listen to the drops along with the driving breath of the ocean. ‘-)

Fixed tent structures that became my makeshift home.

Fixed tent structures that became my makeshift home.

I visited the Cape May Bird Reserve, of which I have some shots too. I visited a concierge of this local Cape May Hall, where I picked up a map and started to make my way first to get information from a local reserve.

Cape May cartoon map

Cape May cartoon map

The map was dramatically off in terms of leaving streets and distances out. Trudging down the street towards the first place in tremendous heat, I wound up turning around, deciding rather to check the reserve. Hitching back to the center of town, an SUV with two plain clothed policeman informed me that “it’s illegal to hitchhike in New Jersey”. I walked the rest of the way. When I got to a traffic light to take the road to the bird reserve, I looked into the distance, and decided to hitch. A guy with his surfboard in the car picked me up. I asked what kind of work he does here, as he had a pretty fancy vehicle. He’s in the navy. The visit to the reserve was quite significant, not so much because of the birds, but because of the people who were there at the same time. We hadn’t seen each other there, yet I had glanced at two couples making their way at the end of the trail. I later recalled that the arm of the one woman was the same as that who was driving the car on my journey back to PA. They wound up leaving and arriving at the Pizza place near the reserve where I chatted briefly with an employee there, at the same time as me. They noticed me, how friendly I was. Later that employee told them that I was going to Pennsylvania, where the couple live as well. The following day the man in the couple was standing at a vendor stand, when I approached to ask if the guy had cardboard. Half an hour later, it was he and his wife who picked me up after my first ride brought me to the edge of town and entrance to the bridge connecting to the major highways.

I had been standing there in the sun and some rain drops with a sign with the letters, PA. I watched as numerous NJ, DE and PA license plates drove by, leaving the beach behind. When they stopped, they announced that they’d seen me twice over the weekend, and that they intended to pick me up if they saw me. I didn’t learn until a little ways in that they were going to within 40 mi. of my town. The three of us communicated animatedly about all sorts of things the entire drive. It was the ensuing rain drops that prompted them to leave as well, and at times there were heavy downpours en route. It was a valuable exchange for each of us, synchronistic for sure.

Orange glowing moonrise night after the Full Moon.

Orange glowing moonrise night after the Full Moon.

As I approached the beach this second night after the sun had set a while earlier, I was stunned to see this deep orange moon rising up into the low clouds. Here are the rest of the pics of the trip.

Cape May

Cape May

On the final day, sitting on the beach as I ate my last food before leaving for my journey home, suddenly something hit me on the back of my head. It was a seagull. He was doing more than just nudging me because he wanted what I had in my hand. I threw up a tiny piece of bread, and within 3 seconds there were 17 seagulls flapping their wings right within feet of my head, some just inches away. It was a little daunting.

I just got these shots.

IMG_0045 IMG_0048

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we got to the eastern outskirts of Lancaster, PA, we passed an Amish buggy with a trailer transporting a baby calf in back. My shot missed the trailer, but wow, amazing to see this juxtaposition of Plain people and their traditional ways intersecting with modern life, where they live in farms scattered around the countryside. They let me off at a convenient place and we said goodbye.

Amish buggy on the road approaching Lancaster PA

Amish buggy on the road approaching Lancaster PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seagull through glass

Seagull through glass

A picture I took in Wildwood, NJ through a glass roof.

A picture I took in Wildwood, NJ through a glass roof.And a Lakota Sioux Indian creation myth to leave you with.

 

 

 

 

Lakota Sioux Creation Myth

The Creator gathered all of Creation and said;

“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.

It is the realization that they create their own reality.‚ÄĚ

The eagle said, ‚ÄúGive it to me. I will take it to the moon.‚ÄĚ The Creator said, ‚ÄúNo. One day they will go there and find it.‚ÄĚ
The salmon said, ‚ÄúI will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.‚ÄĚ
The Creator said, ‚ÄúNo. They will go there, too.‚ÄĚ
The buffalo said, ‚ÄúI will bury it on the Great Plains.‚ÄĚ
The Creator said, ‚ÄúThey will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.‚ÄĚ
Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said ‚ÄúPut it inside of them.‚ÄĚ
And the Creator said, ‚ÄúIt is done.‚ÄĚ

ocean_sunset_framed

blurry selfie

blurry selfie