Stillness

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~ When you are fully present, ….you see that everything you are looking for is already there.

Thich Nhat Hanh (Your True Home)

THE STILL IS THE MASTER OF UNREST. ~ from verse 26 of the Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu

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In this peaceful retreat, I have found a stillness unfound by the ocean~ a calm healing time, a gift of restoration and rejuvenation, a moment to practice breathing, ~along a profound and constant path.

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~ and find “light” in all its varied beauty.

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Grace ~ gratitude ~ and a renewed sense of hope. 

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Flight

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To have faith is to have wings.

-JM Barrie (Peter Pan)

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Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight, –

sings, knowing she has wings.

-Victor Hugo-

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For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward-

and there  you will long to return.

– Leonardo Da Vinci –

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FLIGHT: Freedom, Exploration, Lift, Surrender, Grace, Trust, Faith –

The power of community and individual, of solo and chorus, of one voice amid many, of the mystery and strength, the freedom of faith ~ To have faith in something we on the ground can never achieve…and yet hold onto the wonder of another being in flight! My life moves and soars with eagles, gulls, geese, sanderlings, crows and ravens ~ and hopes for such freedom.

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dawn ~ on the north Pacific shore ~ Feb. 2017

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Note: When I arrived here in 2011 from a traumatic time in the Peace Corps ~( a neighbor’s dog had just taken a huge bite out of my leg, a family had just been murdered down the road, someone had been beheaded while walking through town, numerous random robberies were occurring to colleagues) ~ I needed a sense of safety again ~ something we all too often may take for granted. I walked out onto this long expansive broad-horizoned beach, and sang thanksgiving. Here was a safe place, a foundation of faith, a country where we are freely given land and liberty. I will forever be grateful for the five years on this blessed coast, where I have healed and found resilience.

The Power of Books

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Simple liberation strategy from ignorance and intolerance: Read! I believe: Our first line of defense AND offense is found in reading books. Leaders in the highest office of this land have claimed they do not need to read books ~ they know all. Their loss is my gain, as I claim the power of books.

Cicero, ancient Roman politician and philosopher, said: A room without books is like a body without a soul.

For three glorious years, I was given the chance to share a room full of books, serving  many souls ~ My last day at Cloud & Leaf Bookstore brought the usual wonder and life to my day. I left one copy of my tiny bookshop memoir high on a shelf, watching readers and browsers and dogs wandering through the scent of paper and ink.

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And my last day behind the counter (or searching the stacks with customers) was filled with a singing gratitude and nostalgic satisfaction. Even as I absorbed the essence of those 3 years, saving it for another quiet moment to be remembered, I knew it was time to move on to another learning, reading, giving adventure and purpose. As some leaders have said: “There is still much to be done.” I will miss the peace; the challenge is ahead.

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Most appropriately, and prophetically, the last book I sold, was Ivan Doig’s final novel: The Last Bus To Wisdom. Just as I started to close the shop at 5pm, a friend came rushing in to find the Doig book ~ and blessed my final hour in that living, breathing space of countless reading & writing souls. I love this book: go read it!

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The Power of Books!! My reading and conversations with readers have motivated me to put this power into action. May I suggest my own library, here photographed in part, but now boxed up for the move north, into a liberal college town where questions are explored, studied, read, argued, every minute. YES! Here are new and very old volumes from 60 years of reading…to learn, to understand, to wonder, to laugh, cry, be amazed and just escape. Oh, and to sing……

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So, friends and readers ~ I’m wishing you amazing peace and gratitude, and most importantly, the power we all have as readers to affect positive change. Read to children, teach reading, read everything you can from all sides and positions ~ embracing the power of knowledge to make the most informed choices which will benefit all. Onward!

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no power after the tornado, October 2016, still reading

Thank you, Cloud & Leaf and Jody, my friend and owner of the most inviting, well-curated bookstore ever ~ and thank you everyone who shared, both near and far, my transformative experience of selling (and reading) books!

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in Manzanita by the Sea, on the Oregon Pacific coast…….

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Dona nobis pacem

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January 20, 2017 ~

 Dona nobis pacem. Give us peace.

~ I will Never stop striving for and serving compassion, intelligent awareness, inclusive equity, honor, courageous vision, and a hope born of faith in a miraculous world. In direct contrast with todays inflammatory inaugural speech of “he who shall not be named”, I Know the great gifts of this land, its people, the democracy, the integrity of past leaders and every citizen.  My life’s work will always aspire to serve the human need for peace, for understanding & compassion, for “life, liberty and the pursuit  of happiness.” Oh yes, how trite the old cliche, the national motto ~ but read it again: Isn’t the essence of our conflict found within our Fear of the loss of “life”, the loss of “liberty” and the eternally elusive “pursuit of happiness”?

Dona nobis pacem ~ Give us peace. “Stronger together.” “Yes, we can!”  Never forget.

 

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Ancora imparo ~ I am still learning ~ Michelangelo

Light

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Light.

Insight, clarity, illumination, warmth, health, ~guiding , always returning, constant gift.

We receive the light ~ and then we impart it~ Thus we repair the world. ~ the Kabbalah

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When we truly see, what do we learn? When we know our truth, how do we act? When we live our values, where is our courage? When we offer compassion, yet stand for what is just, who is our guide?

The New Year brings questions, fears and amazing light ~ The challenge is to see, to know, to live with compassion in the midst of challenge, to own this gift of returning, eternal light ~ and find courage to act and “be the change we wish to see in the world” ~always.

The wise take care of everyone and abandon no one. They take care of all things and abandon nothing. This is called ‘following the light.’ ~ verse 27, The Tao Te Ching

Reclaiming Resilience through Gratitude

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Perhaps if we recognize that which we are thankful for, we will realize our resilient nature ~ 

and through our gratitude for being alive, we will stand secure,

~dedicated to what is just, equitable and blessed for ALL living things.

The choice is always ours: to claim resilience and faith, or to lapse into fear and uncertainty.

May this Thanksgiving Day be hopeful. May we all find compassion for each other.

“We MUST be the change we wish to see in the world.”

GANDHI

Compassion ~ or Conflict ~ Our Choice

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WHAT UNITES US AS HUMAN BEINGS IS THE ASPIRATION TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER, MORE COMPASSIONATE, WITH LESS CONFLICT, LESS HATE AND HARDSHIP, AND WITH MORE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING. 

~ ELIE WIESEL (1928-2016)

 

aspiration today: to let go of fear and conflict, to embrace hope and compassion, to see the common unifying principles between all people ~ and to completely live a life based on such a path…..It is all I really have to give and to receive within this life, with gratitude.

In the woods, we return to reason and faith. ~ R.W. Emerson

today: I will walk there, where faith is found and reason is regained, praying for peace and wise leadership within the world.