"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.




Monday, 28 February 2011

Let’s all do one extra compassionate act today.



I have written over the last week of the dangers of remoteness – not linking our behaviour with the effects of our actions. This remoteness is seen at a global and human level, when we do not always associate the extreme manifestations of climate change happening in other parts of the world with our own excessive and consumer lifestyles.
10% of the world’s population is consuming 50% of its resources. 20% of the world’s population has no safe water supply. Observing our speed limits can save a liter of fuel or more per 100 miles. Are we going to slow down, stop using that pressure hose, cut our consumption?

The IPCC said in 2007 ‘that by 2050 up to 2 billion people worldwide could be facing major water shortages. The U.S. used more than 148 trillion gallons of water in 2000, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That includes residential, commercial, agriculture, manufacturing and every other use — almost 500,000 gallons per person.’ Serious water shortages in the US are predicted sooner than 2050, caused by ‘rising temperatures and evaporation rates, lack of rain, urban sprawl, waste and overuse.’
We usually take our potable water supply totally for granted, because we have not experienced for ourselves and cannot begin to imagine having to walk miles each day to carry back pitchers of water that is possibly dirty and harmful to drink. The chronic water shortages that hit parts of the South of England in the summer drought of 2006 provoked a positive response from customers to the requests to save water. This was almost certainly because the threat of water standpipes in the roads was seen as a real possibility that would affect us all directly and make our lives quite difficult.

The same principles could equally apply to any of the other resources that we hold dear to us or take totally for granted, such as food, fuel, power. I feel sure that we would be far more interested in being frugal with such commodities if we could only fully comprehend the real risk of us losing them by our inappropriate actions.
In the UK shock tactics have been used to change public opinion. Celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver have both used powerful documentaries on prime time TV to drive home the message about unacceptable and cruel farming practices.
Do we need celebrities to make television programs or videos with shock tactics about every aspect of our lives before we will act responsibly as individuals? I hope not! Change needs to come from a change of heart, a sense of love and compassion and empathy, rather than by the use of shock tactics.



Someone said to me yesterday: “we cannot do anything at all about atrocities happening in other parts of the world except pray.” I was horrified! At the very least we can find out more about the many wonderful charities and other organizations that are working tirelessly in so many places to improve the lot of humankind, to relieve hunger and suffering and to provide education and support wherever needed. So many of us are very privileged. So many of us don’t really have to worry about where our next meal will come from, and we can take for granted our relative safety in our own secure homes and neighbourhoods. We may not be able to become directly involved with the work of aid agencies etc., but we can at least support them financially as well as in our prayers.

Let’s all do one extra compassionate act today.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Wounded Healer, The King’s Speech and President Barack Obama

I am one of the 75% in Britain who havn’t seen The King’s Speech movie. Our local cinema has been showing it several times a day to meet the demand. I really must go.

But I would not have thought of any link with the Wounded Healer until I read Pythia Peay’s interview for the Huffington Post Academy Awards 2011: Which Myth Will America Choose? with Jungian analyst and psychiatrist John Beebe, lifelong moviegoer as well as psychological teacher, who in his lectures often draws on movies as a way to illuminate Jung's theory of psychological types and to discuss the drama of therapy.

And I would not have linked this immediately with President Barack Obama either.

Now I know President Obama understands empathy. In his superb book, The Audacity of Hope, writing on the difficulties he sometimes experienced in his relationship with his grandfather, he observed ‘that sometimes he really did have a point, and that in insisting on getting my own way all the time, without regard to his feelings or needs, I was in some way diminishing myself.’ He goes on to say: ‘I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves.” He reaffirmed this message later on the campaign trail, when he spoke of those he had met ‘whose dreams and struggles become my own; they will stay with me in the White House.’
This is the message of a Wounded Healer.

John Beebe takes this further. He does not think it's accidental that "The King's Speech" film came out at a time when a lot of people were worried that Obama was not speaking out enough.
“Obama, who is not interested in resurrecting the hero myth, is post-heroic. He's interested in the archetype of the good parent. He wants us to be better parents, and he wants to protect the infrastructure and take responsibility for the country. But at the same time, Obama has had a reluctance to be assertive in the bully pulpit. Some have felt that he was being too cautious, and that he needed to come forward. He finally came through in the beautiful speech he gave in Tucson and in his State of the Union 2011 address. After hearing from their president, the public brought his ratings up.
King George VI of England needed to master his fear of public speaking,” Beebe continues, “in order to help his people deal with their fears at the terrifying moment that World War II began. By combining courage to lead with the humility needed to face his speech problem, he became a "wounded healer" who helped his country -- the right king for his people at their most trying time. So "The King's Speech" drew on the historical precedent to the situation Obama faced of someone who worked on his reluctance to speak out in order to become an effective father figure for his country -- an example of a collective issue being mirrored and resolved in a brilliant film.”

It’s really worth going to read the full interview between Beebe and Peay, and catching up on Obama’s speeches. Obama at his oratorical best.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Metalwork bee and flower, with sheep

On a walk in the country I was attracted to this splendid ironwork over a gate into a field of grazing sheep!
It was photographed at Wakehurst Place, in Surrey.

Friday, 25 February 2011

A Call for empathy with all farm animals

A couple of days ago I wrote about the dangers of remoteness – how if we saw the results of our actions we may think twice about some of our behavior.
I may have said this before – forgive me if so, but it is such an important topic, it bears repeating. And some readers of my blog are just passing through for the day, so to speak, so will have missed previous posts on this.
1 in every 30 Americans, that is 10 million people, back the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals and is America’s ‘mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect.’ This means that 29 out of every 30 or 290 million Americans may not care very much about animal cruelty. That is a huge number of people. OK I appreciate that many will not be able to afford belonging to every cause that takes their fancy. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore the plight of farm animals. We can vote with how we spend our money on meat. Many farm animals are subjected to the most appallingly cruel conditions in factory farms. Would those who love their own family pets be happy for them to be treated to the same kind of cruelty? By our inactions we appear to condone miserable birthing cages or farrowing crates for female pigs, where they are held for months and can hardly move let alone turn around or socialize with other pigs; we eat and apparently enjoy the French delicacy pate de foie gras which requires that ducks and geese are force-fed unnaturally large quantities of food through a metal tube that is shoved down their throats and into their stomachs two or three times each day. This barbaric treatment produces a liver that is fatty, diseased and ten times the normal size. It sounds disgusting and it is; goodness knows how those birds must suffer. We prefer not to know about the calves separated from their mothers within the first few days of birth and crammed into individual crates or stalls, tethered by their necks, so they can hardly move, for the duration of their dreadful short lives; and we ignore the plight of the 280 million laying hens in the United States which spend their lives cooped up in tiny cages with no more than the space of an A4 piece of paper that they can (hardly) call their own.
This is not only about cruelty to animals, although that is reason enough to do something to stop these dreadful practices. Organic humanely reared food is better for our health, and usually tastes a whole lot better as well. We could all pledge to eat quality not quantity, cut back on portion sizes but really savour the taste of what we eat. These factory farms are pushing the small family farmers, on farms that have practiced small-scale humane husbandry sometimes through generations, to the brink of bankruptcy. It is said that every new factory farm forces 10 family farmers out of business. With every small family farmer that has to leave the farm, communities lose access to fresh, healthy food and local economies are weakened. And a sustainable environment is threatened with abnormal pollution patterns and disease.

So let’s try to think a little more about the effects of what we do, how we behave, as we go about our daily living. Let's use our imagination and help stop animal cruelty.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Raping nature or finding empathy with nature?


 Every year at this time I get upset by the rape of our hedgerows, as tractors with massive scythes attached drive down the verges hacking at the hedges, reducing their height and/or depth, and causing goodness knows how much carnage at the same time. 

I think of all those animals and birds and even smaller wildlife whose habitats are so brutally and suddenly destroyed with no warning.
 And I think back to when I was a child and the winters on the farm were spent "hedging and ditching." This was the process of clearing the ditches of debris so that the flow of drainage water was maintained away from the fields, and layering the hedges in the old craftsman's way, bending the thin live twigs over horizontally, nicking them at the bend to encourage shooting, and weaving them along the top of the hedge. This over time created hedges that were thick and more than capable of keeping animals in.
 This old skill is still practised on some more enlightened farms, but of course "time is money" these days, and few have the patience and skills required any longer.
 
The two pictures below show examples of some layering of a young hedge. Not only will the hedge become thick and strong, it will become an excellent home for our nesting song birds, and small mammals.

And the craftsman (or woman) will feel an empathy for nature, impossible to feel by any tractor driver dragging a massive scythe through his hedges.

So very very sad!








Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Beware the danger of remoteness

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,’ 
 (attributed to Aldous Huxley)


Perhaps one of the greatest enemies of responsible behavior is to be found in the remoteness that often exists between cause and effect. It is so much easier not to have a conscience about our behavior where the consequences of our actions are not directly experienced.

Much has been made in the media of late about the supply by the UK of tear gas to the Middle East and whether it has been used in the latest people uprisings. How ethical is this? It seems that as long as the weapons, security equipment, training, etc. are not used by the purchasers for people oppression, then that is OK? Come on now, why else would some of these countries want to buy our war related goods and services? Let’s get real.
What, I wonder, does it feel like to manufacture riot control products like tear gas and know how these are being used? I could not be involved in such a thing. Or could I? Perhaps some of the shares in my pension plan support unethical companies? It seems that money rules our hearts as well as our heads. And it doesn’t stop there. Someone designs these things, someone else will pack them up, then there is the shipping, the transport, the office back up, invoicing, sales, etc etc. Do those of us who are involved in any way, however small, have no imagination, no compassion, no empathy for fellow human beings?

People use the expression ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ to mean that something is easily forgotten or dismissed as soon as it is beyond our range of vision. It can be used in everyday conversation for quite trivial incidents. The problem is that whether we realize it or not, we often live our lives by the same principle, and some incidents may be far from trivial. I will come back to this over the next week. Let’s all meanwhile think about what we are doing and imagine the cycle of events across the globe which are triggered by that action. It has been said that many of the problems of the world are exacerbated by our lack of imagination. Let’s hone that imagination up a bit!!

There is a good article in the Guardian, by John Kampfner, When tyrants want tear gas, the UK has always been happy to oblige.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Nature defying the weather - spring is around the corner

 The weather may be bleak and grey and cold - and has been for several days with more to come, but nature is fighting back!

I love these willow sheep!




Monday, 21 February 2011

Hope in healing - How understanding and healing trauma could solve the planetary crisis.

“…(O)ur first responsibility … to ourselves, our families and community, and to humanity, is to heal ourselves of whatever traumas we may be carrying…work to heal our relationships…treat every person…with respect, warmth and dignity…treat the Earth with the care our home deserves. If everyone did the same, humanity and the planet would be healed.”

This is taken from an absolutely fascinating book just out in the UK, (mid March in the USA), Hope for Humanity. The thesis behind this substantial book by Malcolm Hollick and Christine Connelly is that our present global crises are the result of unhealed traumas, both collective and individual. Traumas from the last 6000 or so years are embedded in our culture, inherent in our make up today, and these need healing on a grand scale. As far as modern sources of trauma go, it is clear that nurture of our offspring from “in utero” onwards has a profound effect on our development, on our level of traumatisation and how we develop as humans, with huge implications for the future of humankind. All these traumas, left unhealed, affect the ways we behave, creating more trauma, in a self perpetuating cycle. Trauma begets trauma. Preventing and healing trauma would go a long way towards resolving the crises of our civilisation. We could then start to heal our world and find hope for the future of humanity. Meanwhile the malaise of the human spirit is undermining our intelligence, creativity and mental health.

Read more about this on Malcolm's own blog.

Here we have one of a collection of books currently appearing that in their various ways, sometimes writing from differing perspectives but all with the same underlying message, call for more healing, compassion and empathy in healing the world. They are all essential reading for those who want to understand how they can do something practical towards saving mankind.

A wonderful message of hope.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Empathy threatened by social networking

“By the middle of this century, our minds might have become infantilised - characterised by short attention spans, an inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity.” 
Susan Greenfield

Listening to BBC Radio 4's current affairs programme, Any Questions, last Friday, I was curious to know more about one of the panel, SUSAN GREENFIELD. So I went to the BBC website to find out. She is an eminent neuroscientist, a CBE, now Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. "Her research concentrates on understanding brain functions and disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as the physical basis of consciousness." So she knows what she is talking about. And she has spoken out, as quoted above, about "the impact of social networking sites and the amount of time children and young people spend in front of computer screens."


Now that is really frightening stuff, especially if one reads the books around at the moment telling us just how important the nurturing of empathy will be for the future of humankind on planet earth.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Bluebell Woods

Someone said yesterday they had seen bluebells in bud. Incredible for February. Reminded me of the bluebell woods last year - perhaps spring really is just around the corner. The daffodils are showing, and there are lots of beautiful snowdrops in flower.

Friday, 18 February 2011

How to build a culture of empathy with nature

Connection with nature is one of our most effective healing activities. And if we heal ourselves, we start to heal the world.
So how to build a culture of empathy with nature?

Here is a lovely extract from Aldous Huxley's Island:

‘For example, how early do you start your science teaching?’
‘We start it at the same time we start multiplication and division. First lessons in ecology.’
‘Ecology? Isn't that a bit complicated?’


‘That's precisely the reason why we begin with it. Never give children a chance of imagining that anything exists in isolation. Make it plain from the very first that all living is relationship. Show them relationships in the woods, in the fields, in the ponds and streams, in the village and the country around it. Rub it in.’
‘And let me add,’ said the Principal, ‘that we always teach the science of relationship in conjunction with the ethics of relationship. Balance, give and take, no excesses - it's the rule of nature and, translated out of fact into morality, it ought to be the rule among people.’

And as James Lovelock reminds us, we need ‘to renew that love and empathy for nature that we lost when we began our love affair with city life.’

Here are some ideas to build on. Comments welcomed.

The Big Picture

1. Build a truly holistic education – one that helps us understand that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves – the whole universe. Teach basic ecology from a very early age – to learn to value biodiversity in all species. Don’t teach our different subjects in isolation – The Hindus draw no clear division between the economic or political and the religious or cultural facets of life. The body and mind are in the service of the heart. In the same way Hinduism teaches that politics and economics are rooted in and guided by religion and culture, and ultimately by spiritual experience.

2. Alastair McIntosh holds a vision for a spiritually rich and holistic education. In his book Soil and Soul he imagines a life-long curriculum of organic food and biodiversity, energy alternatives and respect for all, healing skills incorporating not only the most advanced scientific advances but also the spiritual healing principles, of poetry and story. There would be the study of conflict resolution and how to eliminate the causes of war. And the kids would have fun and play in tree houses. McIntosh’s wish list is long but the spiritual message is clear. Such an education is about ‘building of community as right relationship between soil, soul and society, powered by the passion of the heart, steered by the reason of the head, and then applied by the skilled technique of the hand.’ (Soil and Soul)


3. Promote and support Green political parties and encourage a more holistic political agenda – our politics needs to build a wider vision, where humanity is seen not as simply inhabiting an environment there for our own use, but as being interconnected with the rest of the natural world, and in a spiritual as well as material sense. (see Jean Hardy: A Wiser Politics)

4. Question modern farming practices – and encourage minimum eating of fish and meat – promote vegetarianism.

5. Promote films that inspire us with the wonders of nature.

6. Support organisations working for the protection of nature – Friends of the Earth, Woodland Trust, etc.

The Small Picture

1. Feed the birds – learn all their names, listen to their songs. Join bird organisations (in UK The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)

2. Grow plants – anything - however small the patio or yard or garden. Make this a family activity - take on an allotment or join a community garden. Grow vegetables for the dinner plate – they taste so much better, and are healthier. Always buy organic.

3. Be outside in the open whenever possible – encourage outdoor play and recreation in safe spaces.

4. Walk in the countryside – in all its forms – woodland and forest, mountain and river, allow plenty of time to be still, to look and to listen and to just “be” a part of the wonderful natural world around us. Feel the sacred and the spirit in all living creatures. Hold or watch and contemplate the “life” in inanimate objects such as stones, water.

5. For those many of us in towns, take a daytrip by train or bus to the countryside beyond, and use the local parks.

6. Visit the seashore and cliff tops, – rock pools and sand dunes – watch birds at the edge of the shore – walk barefoot in the sand.

7. In fact walk barefoot wherever possible – because as Alastair McIntosh has said, we ‘tread on the earth so much more gently barefoot.’

8. Read and study the English Romantic poets, who understand their own place within nature.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Why we need the Sabbath

The Sabbath is a Quiet Antidote to Web Chatter.
This was the title of Jonathan Sacks’ column in last Saturday’s Times.

“The soul needs its silences,” he wrote, “in the midst of the web chatter and the electronic noise.” He was writing of the Jewish Sabbath, a time for putting technology aside, a time to spend with family, to focus on the important things in life, on relationships, building communities, strengthening marriages, giving parents and children, he writes, undistracted time with one another. Time that we tend to call “quality time.” And this time is becoming ever more precious, as we all become slaves to Twitter, Facebook, E Mails, and all the other distractions we face every day.


But it is not just technology we need a break from. Mass consumerism is equally insidious, with its effects on our planet, our pockets, our sanity.



Last Sunday we went to have lunch with some of our family in London. We would have gone by train, but we drove because we needed to pick up some heavy and bulky essential DIY materials at one of those huge stores in a shopping mall on the way.
We had started the day by going to our early Eucharist service in the local church: essential nourishment for the soul. But my peaceful state of mind was soon shattered by the sheer awfulness of the frenetic shopping we experienced all around us when we entered the store. And I was reminded of another weekend, a half term weekend many years ago when our boys were still young.
It was a rain soaked Sunday, and we had the misfortune to visit another large shopping mall outside town to return some goods and get our money back.
All those years ago the elder of our two boys was in a religious studies lesson at school. They were discussing Sunday Trading. “It is just wrong,” he said. No reason was needed – it was simply wrong!
Ever since it was introduced I have abhorred Sunday trading, and actually I also loathe those big soulless monuments or temples to consumerism and materialism we call superstores and shopping malls. But as I said we needed to change something and thought we could save gas by calling in on our way to visit a local house and garden of historic interest with the kids. Again, I had completed my morning duties at the Sunday service in our local parish church. This trip to the shop was meant to be incidental only, en route to our traditional Sunday afternoon family excursion, this time to Down House, the country home of Charles Darwin for the last 40 years of his life until he died in 1882.
Now I realize that for many Christians who like me abhor Sunday trading the mention of Darwin and his views on evolution may itself open up a fairly passionate discussion about The Origin of the Species and his theories of Natural Selection. I’ll take that risk, but that isn’t the point of this story.
The car parks around the superstore were practically gridlocked, cars jostling for the scarce, almost nonexistent empty parking spaces, tempers were frayed, and families with their children were pouring into and out of the store, those on the outward home bound journey pushing trolleys loaded high with consumable goods. There were several thousand cars there, with perhaps 3 or 4 or more in each car. The arithmetic is simple and the disquieting effect on my previous feeling of spiritual calm was very real!
The damage to the environment inflicted through our collective behaviours around that one store on that one day must have been colossal. It doesn’t bear contemplation to multiply the effect by the number of other similar stores around the country presumably displaying the same patterns of greed and consumerism! These places have become for many the new religion, shopping malls replacing the church as the Sunday venue of first choice.
At least I was trying to economise that day and avoid two car trips where one could suffice; and our shopping trip was intended to be fleeting! And my sense of spiritual uplift and sustenance nourished by the liturgy and Christian fellowship of the morning’s church service, was in no real danger of being permanently destroyed by that retail experience. But let’s consider the shoppers themselves. For how many was this outing their main Sunday family entertainment? Next weekend how many of those same families will be burdening our already overflowing landfill sites with the goods displaced by their latest retail bonanza? What sort of long term satisfaction do they obtain from their shopping frenzy, from their obsessive accumulation of material goods? Such behaviour is simply not healthy or sustainable and certainly does not make for any lasting and real happiness. On the other hand, as soon as we could we escaped the gridlock and the obvious tempers and aggressions of many of the trapped drivers, and the onward drive to Down House, not more than a few miles away, took us through some of the most beautiful autumnal colours in the Kent country lanes, a spiritual joy to behold, and food for the soul. How sad therefore that during that whole day, a half term weekend, we were informed by the staff that Darwin’s house, with all its interest and artefacts, its gardens and greenhouses, and brilliant exhibits of his life and work, with plenty of child friendly diversions and so close to the conurbation that is Greater London, had been visited by only an estimated 150 people! Yes, 150 people in the whole day!
I have been reading again the book by Jim Wallis, Rediscovering Values – on Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street. Part Two, How We Got Here, writes of our culture of greed, not need, of self- interest without the restraint of ethics, of it being “all about me,” of mass consumption and consumerism being a part of the American identity (and it is no different in Britain I can assure you). He explains how such behaviour has brought us to where we now find ourselves, struggling out of the Great Recession.
He writes of the loss of values within our modern economy and suggests that the financial Market, with a capital M, is our “idol of ultimate allegiance,” the modern day equivalent of the Golden Calf that Moses found being worshipped when he came down from Mt Sinai with his Tablets. He argues that the market, without the capital letter, must serve us, not the other way around. The first commandment of The Market, he writes, is “There is never enough.” This, he emphasizes, must be replaced by “the dictum of God’s economy; namely, there is enough if we share it.”
This book is a call to us all to rediscover values in our lives, as individuals and together, to work for an economy that is for the “common good,” not just for Me. This book has a strong and sound message for us all.

Whatever our faith, or none, how about we all set aside one day of "quality time" at the weekend with our families as a quiet antidote to the chatter and noise of technology and consumerism.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Belgrade Churches





Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Irrational behavior, Number 5

I have been writing quite a bit lately about our irrational behavior in the face of the many problems we need to solve in the world. The last irrational behavior, on 5 February, referred to the Hi -Tech weapons we continue to develop that are more dangerous than the conflicts they could possibly resolve. Why do we stock-pile these at vast investment of money and resources?
Here is Irrational Behaviour Number 5:

"The problems we face call for the commitment and participation of every able-bodied human being, but we put millions put of work to save the cost of labour." 
 
Nearly 10% of the USA labor force are currently unemployed at a huge social cost. In the UK it's not much better at nearly 8% What alarms me even more is that the number of 15- to 24-year-olds classed as Neet (not in education, employment or training)in the UK is around the one million mark, and one of the worst levels amongst the G7 countries.
What a dreadful waste of resource, and no wonder there are so many youngsters involved in crime, both petty and serious, yobbish behaviour, etc.
As Stephanie Sorrell explains in her latest book Nature as Mirror, we all need aspiration. We all need visions and goals, to aspire to the highest we can reach. Our unlived life has a powerful hold on us and feeling unfulfilled can have devastating effects on mental health. This all links neatly with another Irrational behaviour:
"The problems we face call for long-term solutions, but our criterion of success is the bottom line in annual or semi-annual corporate profit-and-loss statements."
We have let money rule our hearts as well as our heads.

In the early 1900s, the American capitalist of that time, Benjamin Ferdinand, wrote: "Remember that time is money.He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides."

So we "cannot afford" to employ our youngsters, to give them fulfilling and worthwhile jobs, give them some self esteem and a promising future?

(all these Irrational Behaviors are being taken from the essay by Ervin Laszlo on “The World’s Health Problem: an Integral Diagnosis” in A New Renaissance – Transforming Science, Spirit and Society. I keep referring back to this book as it is such an important initiative from the Scientific and Medical Network. I have posted a review for this book on Amazon).


A New Renaissance: Transforming Science, Spirit and Society

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Tree Blessing

May you be like a tree whose roots quarry deep
Into the earth’s wisdom,
so that your mind is filled with vision and inspiration.
May you grow strong like a tree knowing your growth,
however slow and painful, is not just for yourself.
but for this lovely planet.
May you pause like the tree to feel the gentle winds of heaven upon you, 
    and the heart of the Creator warm and golden within you.
May you be wise as the tree who taps the centre of its
being for truth,

so that amidst every storm that shakes your roots
you will know that all is well.
Within your still centre may you know the magic
of love that opens all doors and heals all pain.
May you always be strong and firm and beautiful as a tree.

Stephanie Sorrell

I think that is so beautiful. It is in Stephanie's lovely new book, Nature as Mirror: an Ecology of Body, Mind and Soul.
Nature is a mirror, she explains, reflecting back at us the fractures and chasms within our own psyche. Because of this, nature can also be used as a powerful healing tool, and this book explains how to use nature’s own natural cycles and patterns to heal our own souls. Also, and importantly, until we develop an intimate sense of our union with nature, we will continue to work against the natural environment, with all that this implies in environmental destruction. If we do not heal our relationship with nature it will destroy us. Here are her links to Amazon, and do check out her poetry whilst you are there.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

Many reasons to love La Gomera

Madeira

Sunset

Sunset
with vapor trails

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