Fit to Print
On March 11, I received a letter from Frank G. Sterle, Jr. of White Rock, B.C. that got my attention. We print virtually every letter to the editor that we receive, and generally they consist of responses either to articles weve published or to other letters readers have sent in. Franks letter didnt fit either of those categories, but thats not why I didnt publish it right away. Its because it stirred me to action, the fruits of which you will find in this issue. Heres the letter:
Hope for a
As if in fulfillment of an old Chinese curse, we live in "interesting times." Turbulent times, in fact. Terrorist attacks, ethnic and religious wars, self-reproducing bureaucracies, and technologys powerful juggernaut are threatening to reduce our humanness to mere statistics. To create a sustainable society, clearly we need a fresh approach to our ways of governance, our ways of doing business, our ways of living together.
It often seems that, with all the violence and misery in the world today, our food choices do not matter very much; that, in fact, we are entitled to them without examination precisely because so much else in our world is uncertain. Who really cares whether we eat a cow or a Boca burger, anyway, when we have so many other things to worry about? Especially now, when so many new books and health trends advocate meat eating (Eat Right for Your Type, for instance), its a relief not to have to worry about eating cows or chickens again.
My friend Rick wouldnt have celebrated his sixtieth anniversary this year if it hadnt been for a generous donors family who followed the instructions of their twenty-year-old son. Hed signed up to be an organ donor and shared that wish with his family. With his new heart, my friend is now staring life in the face instead of facing an untimely death.
As a chaplain intern at one of Portlands large hospitals, I see numbers of patients every week who are awaiting organ transplants, or dying from not getting one in time. Its such a waste of human life, especially because the answer is so simple.
By adding the universal year 2002 (2+0+0+2=4) to the 6th month of June, we come up with the vibration of 10/1. The 10/1 month is a time for new beginnings. It is a particularly good month for initiating any new projects that require you to draw on your creative energies. Take some time this month to reflect on how you can bring more joy and meaning to your work. If you have wanted to begin a new project that you are really passionate about, now is the time to tune in to how you can make it happen.
I often ponder the question, "Why do I garden?" It seems as if some unknown wiring in my being drives me to the dirt. It must be sated, and as soon as I see seedlings emerge, it is fed. There is a profound sense of peace that satisfies me fully when I participate in this primordial ritual of planting, tending, harvesting, and saving.
I sense a deep and moving need in people to do something meaningful in these days of chaos and uncertainty, so they garden. To garden is to create, to create beauty, sustenance, order and life. To garden gives us a different sense of time, one that is embedded in our genes but rarely reflected in our fast-paced culture. To garden is to enjoy communion with a "greater power."
How to Be
Happy in Hell:
Anyone can be happy in heaven. It takes skill to be happy in hell. While Im no expert on the subject of being happy in hell, this isnt due to a lack of hardship. Its just that the stakes are always raised whenever I make progress, so I remain a beginner. Its like that mountain climbing allegory: whenever you make it to the top of one mountain, you can see that an even higher peak awaits you.
Since I cant claim mastery of a "happy in hell" attitude, how come Im writing about it? Well, if I wait until I master the subject, I might be waiting for a very long time. Also, people teach what they need to know. If I offer some tips about being happy in hell, Im sure faithful readers will point out my errors or offer additional tips, both of which will help me grow.
Practice absolute simplicity.
These are a few of the words of guidance passed on by don Manuel Quispe to approximately sixty shamanic initiates at a recent workshop. What made these words so important that I felt the need to write an article about my experiences?
Where Is Your
How often have you heard the saying, "You cant take it with you"? If youre like me, youve probably nodded your head in agreement and then moved on to your next thought. Working in a retirement community has forced me to stop and ponder this a little more deeply.
A few years ago, one of our residents with dementia was moving to a nursing home because her needs had become more than could be handled in a retirement community. It was an unusual situation, and I was helping the family pack her things while they had taken her for a drive.
On the Olympic Peninsula, the camper awakens to shrouded bays and river bottoms inundated with weighty fog. Clouds cling to the earth, with the blackness slowly lifting in favor of a glistening gray that seems to contain every color. At first, the river below appears frozen in place, blurred waves laid over rounded boulder and then you see her, a flash of silver arching before the wave, dancing out an annual genetic imperative repeated generation after generation. Her ancestors sought out spawning grounds near steaming hot springs in the path of the glacier's retreat. She is the first salmon of the season, ceremoniously honored by the primal cultures of Scandinavia, Japan, and Great Britain, as well as the coasts of North America.
Open Mind with a Teacher's Heart
We can trace a pattern of development as we journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac, understanding each sign as representing an important stage in the growth cycle. With Aries, we began a process of individuation and self-awareness; in Taurus, we saw a strengthening and stabilizing of values and self-worth. Gemini, as the third sign of the zodiac, adds a third dimension to the visual picture we are creating. With Gemini, we start reaching out into the world around us, communicating with other people, asking questions about life and putting our ideas into words.