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Showing posts from August, 2010

Pieces of an NEYM Mosaic

We have set aside most of our usual business agenda, and are holding instead something we are calling "Meeting to Hear God's Call."

We are hearing a lot of messages about world suffering, economic injustice, environmental destruction.  We hear a lot of despair.

Some of the messages feel rooted in Spirit to me; if others are, it is not in a way that I can discern.  I wrestle with my own anxiety over doing "enough."  I know that I live in a manner that is far more comfortable than 90% of the planet's humans ever will; I know that my lifestyle is unsustainable.  I know that I have not sold all I have and given it to the poor (though I'm also grateful that, as a non-Christian among Friends, that one is not a given for me, but one whose social justice message must prove itself to me on its own terms, not just because Rabbi Yoshua said it back in the wayback.)  (Mind you, it's message is pretty damned compelling.)

I am in the weeds; I am in the tall grass…

Becoming Giants

I'm here at New England Yearly Meeting Sessions, the big annual Quaker business session and gathering for worship.  This year is unusual, in that the agenda-driven business sessions that normally shape the rhythms of our time together have been subsumed, mostly, in a much more open-ended "Meeting to Hear God's Call"--a kind of back-to-basics discernment session about our spiritual condition and where we may be being led by Spirit, as a body.

My attention, however, has been much less on the spiritual condition of my meeting, and much more on myself.  Since I arrived here on Saturday, I have been wrestling with almost overwhelming feelings of self-doubt, excoriating shame, stupidity, and a temptation to be severely critical of others.

This feeling has alternated with moments of extraordinary grace and quiet strength, in which I have found my heart more open and intuitive to the needs and longings of others than I can ever before remember being, and moments so filled wi…

How to Weigh a Dead Car: Weeks Eight, Nine, and Ten Tally (Sort Of)

So this is an overdue tally, and I've realized that I'd probably post here more often, and the posts would probably be more interesting to read, if I didn't have the nagging feeling all the time that I "owe" the blog the latest tally.

The idea of posting the weight of our plastic waste (recyclable or not) has been to provide a kind of focus point, really just to keep me aware and noticing my use of plastic.  Knowing I'm going to be adding that plastic straw I forgot to specify to a waitress not to give me, please, hopefully makes it more likely I'll remember next time... but doesn't make for either thrilling writing or reading.

So I'm going to change the way I post this information.  It still seems like an important thing to have here, a kind of concrete checkpoint for readers that it's not all just a theoretical rant about the environment going on here, but actually an attempt at change.

But it's boring.

So from now on, I'll be posting ou…

Home

It is a breezy summer day today, and I can smell water on the wind, though the air is dry and clear.  The world is full of rustling leaves, and I have set up a recliner underneath a maple tree, where I divide my attention between my novel and the beauty of the undersides of leaves.

Want to know how beautiful my home in summer is?  It's so beautiful that I'm actually reluctant to go to New England Yearly Meeting Sessions.

Oh, I'll go, I'll go.  It is the spiritual cornerstone of my year, these days.  I would even regret it if I didn't.

But I am loathe to leave.  The days are precious here.

What's So 10:10 About Us, Anyway?

The people over at 10:10 are worried--as you and I should be (and as the Senate should be too even though they don't seem to be yet) about global warming.

The 10:10 initiative started as an attempt to get the British to band together and decide to cut our carbon emissions by 10% this year--2010, so 10:10, get it?  The idea was that they were going to encourage everybody to cut emissions by 10%--schools should do it, corporations should do it, local governments should do it, and individuals should do it.  Simple enough notion: if everybody cuts their emissions by 10% this year, that's a 10% cut in emissions for the year.

The idea spread pretty fast, and so many of us in places other than the British Isles wanted in, they went ahead and made it a global initiative.  Just imagine if the whole world cut their emissions by 10% this year?

Unfortunately, even if everyone in the whole world were to cut their emissions by 10%, that wouldn't be enough.  Instead, we know we're go…

Nearly Lammas

Here it is, a little before dawn, at the turning of the Wheel of the Year.  It is nearly Lammas, and I am awake early, listening to birdsong.  The highway rush of traffic outside my house has not yet begun, so early on this Sunday morning, but the birds are in full chorus, and I cannot sleep.

I am awake, and I can feel the turning of the Wheel.  Summer is already beginning the downhill slope toward fall, and my heart and my body are full of the sense of that.

Partly it is simply a matter of there having been a break this past week to the stifling heat waves of July.  Partly it is that fireflies have given way to crickets, that the black raspberries are past, the native corn and tomatoes are in, and the blackberries are beginning.

And partly, for me, a teacher, it is that the rising and falling plot of summer is already past its climax.

July is the unmaking month for teachers; it is the month when we forget our classrooms, forget our students, and forget our armored, dedicated, laser-f…