A beautifully written and performed song - "1000 candles, 1000 cranes." As one reviewer put it, in a time of "political amnesia," this song is a lovely painful lesson. Please...if you have a few minutes, listen to this song...carefully. I can't remember how long ago I heard it played on a local radio station (never to be heard again, sadly), but it touched me deeply with the irony of it and how pain can be reconciled by chance meetings. A lovely song which I find I rarely listen to without tears coming to my eyes.
Well, I put the pictures of my parents and me here because #8 on the list I'm about to post has to do with parents. Besides, I like showing them off! I'm doing my best to spend as much time (and quality time that is) as I can these days. Life is short and I really feel it's important to spend this time with people you love. And...I love my parents!
Now, getting to my post. Years ago, while going through some difficult times in my life, I came upon a book by Geri Larkin called "Stumbling Toward Enlightenment." I was always drawn to the Buddhist way of life but had such a difficult time grasping the tenets of that way of life. So, one day in the bookstore while desperately seeking some book which would give me solace, I saw the title of this book and I just knew I had to buy it. I was stumbling...big time! Well, it got read, and re-read and marked up and dog-eared over that summer and, to this day, I still go back and read through sections of it.
This evening I opened the book to the chapter on Fear, Worry and Shame and it began with a list of Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery (I had A LOT of underlinings and notes in that chapter!).
So, here are the Twelve Steps for Dealing with Misery according to Geri Larkin:
Now, these may seem a bit harsh to some of you but, I assure you, at the time I bought this book (and I was VERY miserable), I worked on...well at least 11 of those steps (Don't think I'd have the courage to do step 7 quite yet.)
Although Larkin wrote these steps for dealing with misery, they are really good steps to help you lead a more peaceful life. Really.
My parents just got home from Hungary a couple of weeks ago. Yay! I've spent the last two weekends with them and one topic which came up several times was how much BETTER food tastes in Hungary. The meat. The vegetables. The fruit. I have to agree. When you go to the local supermarket in Szombathely, there are vendors outside the store selling local fruits and vegetables. We always end up buying from them before buying in the store (although the produce in the stores I would take over US produce in big chains).
My parents' comments got me thinking about the food practices we use here in the United States and so, I started searching the Internet. I came across a wonderful chart in one of my favorite magazines (http://www.yesmagazine.org) which shows how the United States stacks up against the European Union on food safety issues like GMOs, hormones, questionable chemicals, and other food additives.
A great chart indeed...Check out the magazine. Subscribe if you like it and want them to survive. If you would rather just read the articles online, you can donate to them (which I did). If we don't support the media which represents us, we have a great chance of losing them and all we're left with is NY Times, CNN, People, US Weekly, etc. etc. I think you get my point.
One of my favorite sites on the Internet is "The Good Human" run by David Quilty (http://thegoodhuman.com/). He write on topics which help us to become more aware of ways in which we can become "good humans." I've "Liked" him on my Facebook. Check him out here (https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodHuman).
Last year, about this time, David wrote about how profits won't matter if our drinking water, air and soil become contaminated rendering us helpless keeping our children and children's children and so on from becoming sicker and sicker.
You can read the entire article here http://thegoodhuman.com/2012/01/03/profits-wont-matter-post-climate-change/). Below are sections of the longer article. The bold, italicized words are my own comments.
...We are in a lot of trouble...because we as a nation refuse to slow down our consumption habits, limit our greenhouse gas emissions, and sign on to international climate treaties. Destructive weather is going to be the norm for the foreseeable future (remember Hurricanes Katrina, Irene, Sandy?), until we finally finish ourselves off. Remember, the planet will be fine — it's us that's screwed.
According to NASA and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the next 100 years we can expect the following:
All the recycling and buying “greener” gifts at Christmas in the world is not going to save us anymore. We need new people in charge around the globe who care more about people than corporations, and every last one of us needs to make drastic changes in our behavior and lifestyles. Switching out light bulbs makes us feel good, but it’s not really going to do much in the big picture. It’s time to get tough, get honest with ourselves, and take a hard look in the mirror and see that the way most of us currently live needs to change if we want to have any chance of long-term survival. We need to take responsibility for our own actions! Voting politicians into office who are in bed with polluting corporations and investing in companies because they will make us more money, build up our nest egg and the like, only FEED the problem.
New Year's is a time for resolutions. Why not make a few of your own which help our planet and the inhabitants on it.
One of the tenets of Buddhism is Right Speech. In his book on the subject, Bhikkhu Bodhi writes, “Speech can break lives, create enemies, and start wars, or it can give wisdom, heal divisions, and create peace.”
I believe the first tenet of peacespeak is silence.
Getting to silence within promotes inner peace.
Offering our inner silence to others we stand a chance of speaking peace when we open our mouths.
What is the consistency of peacespeak?
Words like …
I’m sorry …
I hear you …
That’s right …
Peacespeak is affirming of the other to the best of our ability.
Even if we disagree.
Even if we have to say no.
Even if there’s emergency.
To make the effort to use peacespeak is to choose to soothe over incite, to affirm over deny, to accept over reject.
It is to hold the pretense that Divinity itself speaks through one.
Then it is to let our speech “give wisdom, heal divisions, and create peace.”