A Moving Image Part II

Saint Francis and a leper

Good Evening, God

I didn’t want to come and work on this. My overwhelming inability to describe a Different World View depressed me. I mean, it is hard enough to write about significant differences of opinion. But, an opposite Word View? Really! How did a lifelong liberal democrat come to diverge from her dearest friends? How did this happen to me, I ask?

I’m chuckling. The usual way. Slowly at first and then all of a sudden.

First, God, You seem to have given me a funny sort of mind. I collect odd facts. For example, back in grad school while taking a medical reference class I came across the fact that in the late 1800s Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard had a great clash of viewpoints. Pasteur had created a Germ Theory of health. And Claude Bernard held to the Terrain Theory of health. Pasteur believed specific germs caused specific illnesses. So those germs had to be killed. Bernard believed that the body’s  “terrain” or “internal environment” determined our state of health. When the body is functioning in homeostasis, and immunity and detoxification are operating well, he claimed there was a healthy terrain that could handle various pathogenic microorganisms that inevitably are thrown its way.

I remember thinking — Bernard is right!

The discovery decades later that our body is 90% other creatures — probably billions of diverse kinds — and only 10% human — caught my eye. Then there was the case of C. Dif (Clostridium difficile) a bacteria that actually killed the wife of one of Kit’s co-workers. The more antibiotics that were pitted against it the worse it got. So, when I read the news years later that a single infusion of poop from a healthy person actually cured 90% of the sufferers in two or three days I was delighted!

It seemed a clear case of how a healthy body — with bacteria and other creatures in balance — maintains health.

Cut to this pandemic. I saw the news that people with low levels of vitamin D were much more likely to die from COVID 19. I stepped up our vitamin D intake and we got more sunlight. And then the news that folks with more pigment (less able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight) seemed to have higher death rates. Hmm. Why wasn’t the government suggesting vitamin D supplements as something folks could do right away to increase their health and resilience?

Then there were the negative consequences of the methods the government did implement. The lockdowns cost many people on the bottom half to loose jobs and to loose the ability to feed their families. Those of us on the top half really failed to understand that the handouts did not make up the difference. And those who kept on working scorned those who put “money over lives”. But, if you are poor, money is the essence of staying alive. A classic class failure to understand divergent realities.

And the social distance rule? Really? As if we don’t live and move and have our being in a vast soup of OTHER. If a single teaspoon of healthy soil has one billion bacteria and other life forms, what do we think the dust of the earth is doing? And what about our bodies? I imagine we are all Pig Pen’s with clouds of viruses, bacteria, fungi and as yet unnamed creatures floating all around us. That interaction is what gives herd immunity. Not some experimental alteration of our DNA or is it RNA? Whatever!

Creating fear of our fellow human beings seems diabolical to me.

Sigh. . . enough said for tonight! Part III tomorrow.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in connecting, Eating for health, fears, health, web of life

A Moving Image

St. Francis kissing a leper

Good Morning, God

This image came with the comment that it was ironic that Pope Francis — named after this saint — was endorsing the “social distance” idea. That juxtaposition was a shock to me! Lepers? Covid 19 virus? Huh? But, it seems to have released a cascade of responses — a wild mix of other thoughts and images.

My first response was, Hey, THAT is for SAINTS! That was followed by a childhood memory of a song about the various saints of God:

I sing a song of the saints of God,
Patient and brave and true,
Who toiled and fought and lived and died
For the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor,
And one was a queen,
And one was a shepherdess on the green:
They were all of them saints of God – and I mean,
God helping, to be one too
.

Ah, yes . . . I do want to be one, too.

But, still, I thought, I am not an aid worker . . . what are You nudging me about? Oh! FEAR! Saint Francis was NOT AFRAID OF THE LEPERS . . . and I am not to be afraid . . .? Oddly enough, I am not afraid of the virus. It scary was the first month or so. But after the first three horrific weeks the death rate seemed more in line with a normal flu season. And, in comparing it to other pandemics, it seemed only medium size. That stabilized me.Then, too, the news that vitamin D deficiencies were linked to a higher death rate, was a comfort. We do try to get out in the sun and we do take vitamin D3.

But, not fearing the virus, was just the tip of the iceberg. What was under that? Oh! I definitely fear not being part of the mainstream mindset! The desire to fit in is powerful! We are social beings — rather like herd animals in that being cast out is an extreme punishment. So, I hadn’t announced that Kit and I are not getting a vaccine. We are part of the unofficial “control group.” After all, experiments need a control group! And, since these vaccines have just recently been created and not tested over years . . . they are — like it or not — still experimental.

This is just PART ONE with more to follow, as I gather the thoughts that continue to flow from this image.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in A God given diversity, connecting, fears, finding hidden fears, LOVE, small hidden fears

The Health of the Land

He aliʻi ka āina, he kauwā wale ke kanaka When you see to the life of the land,
you are ensuring the life of the people.

Good Day, God

OH MY! PLEASE GOD, HELP US TO SEE TO THE LIFE OF THE LAND! It isn’t just people that we will be helping. It is all creatures, large and small. Creatures in the soil, on the soil, in the water and in the air. All of US.

Industrial agriculture has been telling us how miraculous the Green Revolution is. But, that is a lie. In truth, the artificial fertilizers and herbicides and insecticide are KILLING THE SOIL!!! Oh, but we need it to feed all the people, they say. Again, that is a lie!

Gabe Brown says that he has bigger yields than his industrial farming neighbors. Plus his soil has more than doubled its carbon content! Imagine! What if the farms that are pouring toxins into the waterways — creating an annual Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico — stopped poisoning the land and instead began gobbling up carbon out of the air? What a HUGE difference that would make!

Gabe didn’t change because it was a good idea. Nope. He had four years of hail ruining his crops and he could not afford the industrial pathway. He was forced to rely on nature and a few helpful innovators. It is a wonderful story.

I had learned the facts by reading Vandana Shiva — but reading the actual case study of how it happened to a real live person made it absorbable.

Could it happen quickly? YES! 1) if money was available to help independent farmers make the transition. 2) if the the huge corporations who are doing the industrial farming decided to shift to regenerative farming.

It takes about three years to fully switch over and get the yields up to “better than”. So, just phase it in. It’s so SIMPLE.

But, all those companies profiting from the poison additives would be really unhappy. Where would all that profit go? Easy money makes for easy morals. It is very hard to get a man to understand something if his livelihood depends on his NOT understanding it. (Upton Sinclair)

Posted in a prayer for healing, Abundant Life, adjusting, an invitation to abundant life, connecting, Guardians and Protectors, Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, health, helping farmers, hope, Life vs Death, Regenerative Farming, the essential nature of hope

Life vs Death

six acres of pasture on an Iowa farm

Good Night, God!

Yesterday I read that one teaspoon of healthy soil contains one billion bacteria with 20,000 to 30,000 different species. This is in the book Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web. The soil in this pasture land is alive. Not only that but it is teaming with life! Pheasants and other birds! Assorted mammals, insects, and creatures. A rich biodiversity of life springs back up.

Back to LIFE? Alas, industrial agriculture has basically killed the soil. In fact, all the artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides that are part of the “green revolution” are not just killing the life in the soil, they are creating an annual dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Killing every creature that can not move quickly enough to escape it.

https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/happenowdeadzone/

Sigh, death seems to have the upper hand, God. I’d like to know what YOU are going to do about it? Oh? You have awakened me in the middle of the night to do my tiny part by writing this blog??? Somehow, I had something bigger in mind!

Nonsense! There are billions of you humans! Stand up and Speak up. I gave you a Voice and a Backbone.

Dang, I hate it when I actually hear from You, God. Of course, You are right. I need more backbone. But, I will keep on writing. And maybe share a little, too.

There is HOPE! Just look at all the people who are bringing their land back to life.

Thanks! I am short on HOPE, but there are lots of books on folks doing regenerative agriculture. I will look at those next!

Posted in A God given diversity, a matter of scale, an invitation to abundant life, connecting, gusts of hopelessness, hope, Hope as a gift from God, interactions, Life vs Death, regenerative agriculture, setting my life in context, the essential nature of hope, web of life

The Power of Touch and Hugs

Good Morning, God

I stumbled on this story yesterday and I just wanted to share it. Two twin girls born early were put into incubators. The twin on the right did well. But, her sister did not. Complication with breathing, oxygen level and general distress multiplied. Finally they feared the little one was dying.

At that point, the nurse asked permission from the parents to put the two girls together in the same incubator. Apparently, this was being done in Europe. The result was miraculous! The ill twin relaxed. Her breathing became steady and her oxygen count went up. They were TOGETHER AGAIN as they had been for many months.

Side by side seemed to be enough. But then the healthy twin put her arm around her sister. A hug. Side by side is good. A hug — is even better.

I am thinking about this, God, after a year of lockdowns and keeping to ourselves — or keeping six feet apart. All because of our fear of infecting one another. Fear is a very powerful thing. Perhaps that is why — over and over again — You say FEAR NOT!

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Being a Blessing, Being Together, Being With, connecting, fears, healing, health, LOVE

Another Shift in Perspective

In which I learn that the Easter Island (Rapa Nui) heads have torsos.

Good Evening, God

After decades of seeing photos of the famous heads of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) I discover that they had torsos! Adding a body definitely altered my perspective.

Then I saw an article about one of functions of the heads. Function? These were useful? They seem to be located next to fresh water sources — fresh water that flowed down volcanic lava tubes into the sea. That seemed like a lot of trouble to go to, God, to mark an essential location. But, I was delighted to discover even one practical use!

Next, I noticed the drawings on the back. Complex and powerful — they strike me as full of meaning. But, what? Still, I am totally delighted to have had my perspectives added to. First the hidden torso, next the complex imagining on their BACKS. So much for seeing only the Heads!

Hmm. I am overwhelmed by how true this is for me — in all categories — of what I somehow thought of as my “body of knowledge”! I am humbled . . . and eager to expand. But where to begin, God?

Posted in connecting

A Change of Perspective

snow covering the Acropolis in Athens

Good Evening, God
I was eager to see the image of snow on the Acropolis . . . but when I saw it, I felt disoriented! Of course! This photo was from above — instead of from below. And this photo was from the back side of the Acropolis — instead of the front! And, to be honest, when I thought of the Acropolis, I was really picturing the Parthenon.


The Parthenon is there . . . but it is so much smaller when compared to the Acropolis. And look! There are strong walls holding up the large flat area that the Parthenon is resting on. Hmm. Also there is another smaller temple. And what are those modern looking building doing on the corner closest to me? 


This change of perspective was opening my eyes and my mind. How many of my Mental Maps or Mental Images could benefit from a change of perspective? ALL OF THEM!


But, I can hear Suzanne, our first-born, saying BE SPECIFIC, Mom. So, God here is ONE thought from Sherri Mitchell’s book,  Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for living Spirit-Based Change. She points out that CONQUEST IDEOLOGY is the foundational mindset of Western Civilization. She then links this to our living in a hierarchical structure in which one “advances” by “bettering” someone else. And she uses the “War on Climate Change” as an example of this underlying mindset. 


I want to outgrow my limiting mindsets or maybe I should call them enchantments? That much, I can see. But, I am seeing “through a glass darkly” as St. Paul says. Ah, God! There is so much unlearning to be done! Unlearning just scratches the surface. Perhaps, God, it is Transformation that is needed?

Posted in connecting

A Change of Perspective

snow covering the Acropolis in Athens

Good Evening, God

I was eager to see the image of snow on the Acropolis . . . but when I saw it, I felt disoriented! Of course! This photo was from above — instead of from below. And this photo was from the back side of the Acropolis — instead of the front! And, to be honest, when I thought of the Acropolis, I was really picturing the Parthenon.

The Parthenon is there . . . but it is so much smaller when compared to the Acropolis. And look! There are strong walls holding up the large flat area that the Parthenon is resting on. Hmm. Also there is another smaller temple. And what are those modern looking building doing on the corner closest to me?

This change of perspective was opening my eyes and my mind. How many of my Mental Maps or Mental Images could benefit from a change of perspective? ALL OF THEM!

But, I can hear Suzanne, our first-born, saying BE SPECIFIC, Mom. So, God here is ONE thought from Sherri Mitchell’s book, Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for living Spirit-Based Change. She points out that CONQUEST IDEOLOGY is the foundational mindset of Western Civilization. She then links this to our living in a hierarchical structure in which one “advances” by “bettering” someone else. And she uses the “War on Climate Change” as an example of this underlying mindset.

I want to outgrow my limiting mindsets or maybe I should call them enchantments? That much, I can see. But, I am seeing “through a glass darkly” as St. Paul says. Ah, God! There is so much unlearning to be done! Unlearning just scratches the surface. Perhaps, God, it is Transformation that I need.

Posted in Changing, connecting, Enchantment, Perspective, perspectives, The difficulty of changing

Being Outdoors and Hope?

The second most snow on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea since record keeping started

Good Evening, God

So….I had just started to do my Centering Prayer this afternoon when I realized that I hadn’t put down my Earthing Mat. The idea is that Earthing Mats connect us to the earth — with her negative charge — and help us rebalance our body’s electrical charge. I like the idea. But, I haven’t ever noticed anything when I do this. However, this afternoon, right after I put my feet on the mat, I noticed an upwelling of HOPE!

HOPE? I had never considered that a lack of hope might be partially a result of a deficiency of outdoor time!!! A brand new idea! And a FUN one. What might be related? I considered the idea of Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mother suffered from depression linked to living in low sunlight regions — like the years we lived in the fog bank south of San Francisco. She clearly needed the benefits from sunlight.

Then there is this new idea — about the benefits of Forest Bathing. This practice started in Japan in 1982 and was intended to reduce the stress level in the general population. I haven’t tried it. But, when my wonderful husband, Kit, and I go for a walk up our valley, we do feel better afterwards. And we aren’t even practicing mindful sensory awareness — I just take photos of beautiful flowers, etc.

Another clue? Kit said that when he attended Punahou — from four year old kindergarten on — all the students had to go barefoot until the seventh grade. Hmm. I wonder what the school knew? I alway gave poi the credit for Kit’s wonderfully strong feet, bones, and teeth. But who knows? Maybe going barefoot helped too?

I do have one tiny bit of research. This is from Explore magazine: Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations. Cimone Kamei, who is our acupuncturist, was one of the research participants. And they have photos showing better circulation after earthing.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU, God! I feel that new perspectives are really good for my brain. And why not PLAY with ideas!

Tagged with:
Posted in Centering Prayer, connecting, Earthing, Forest Bathing, hope, Hope as a gift from God, Seasonal Affective Disorder, snow on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, Sunlight explored, the essential nature of hope

Give Sorrow Words . . .

Shakespeare in McBeth

Good Evening, God

Grief, no matter how long unspoken, still longs to be shared. I am experiencing this first hand. Several months ago a dear friend, who had lost her beloved son, asked me to join a Monday’s Mommy’s Mourning Group. I agreed, feeling quite confident that my grief was long past, but wanting to be helpful.

Aaah, yes. Surprise SURPRISE! There were still reservoirs of grief — pain, guilt, regret, sorrow . . . we do not have enough words such pain — waiting to be expressed. And, that Nexus of Grief, wanted ME to hear. Me, that Conscious Mind, that had gone back to work. That me, who had frozen her inner core so as not to wash away all around her with the volume of her tears.

I remember, envisioning myself as having a HUGE inner inland SEA . . . a sea of tears . . . rimmed round with ICE. Sailing ships were moored to the dock — furled sails covered in ice. I saw the ships. But I didn’t understand that they wanted to set sail and carry — a complex cargo of MEMORIES/FEELINGS/EMOTIONS and LOSS — into the outer world.

Mind You, God, I knew this quote from Shakespeare. I just didn’t understand how SOLID the WALL was that protected my Inland Sea. I grasped it cognitively. I was even able to give an historical example. If one was a member of anglo saxon shield wall, you could not scream when wounded Screaming would upset the warriors on either side. Clearly, my culture said, Die QUIETLY. And try not to bleed on others.

I am able to write this NOW, because, I am on the journey of HEARING MYSELF INTO SPEAKING. So many layers, God! So many layers of SLOWLY accepting my small human self. With help, I am beginning to grow in compassion for myself . . . and then, — slowly — the others I formally had judged so harshly. Sheesh!

Tagged with:
Posted in being together in a compassionate presence, Compassion, compassion to care for myself, connecting, going THROUGH the sorrow, Grief, Regret -- acknowledging and releasing it, self care as self compassion and humility, self-compassion, Sorrows of the Deep

Blogs I Follow
Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

chatting and sometimes, listening

A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching

Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

chatting and sometimes, listening

A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching