Saturday, November 06, 2010
I shared the video of Birke Baehr with various friends yesterday, and decided that it needs a wider audience! Birke is an extraordinary home-schooled child, 11 years old, ranting about what's wrong with our food system on TEDx(*) in Asheville, NC. It's a MUST-WATCH!
I just found a blog, OUR NATURAL LIFE: Provocative Discussions About Leading A Holistic, Sustainable, and Healthy Life, that featured Birke and how he inspired his own family:
I also think this sweet comment from Birke's mom to someone who had criticized him on the YouTube site was worth sharing here:
"As this 11 yr. old's mother I can assure you Birke plays outside more than most kids and he doesn't sit in front a computer 24/7. He also reads more than just about organic foods -- he is quite the historian, knows a lot about geography, sports and other subjects. His 'soul' is quite intact and isn't lost or pitiful. He has a mind of his own and is curious about the world around him and is allowed the freedom to follow his interests. He is also much better at spelling than you are."
(*) BTW, for those of you who are familiar with TED, here's the scoop on TEDx:
Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, "ideas worth spreading," the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.
(TED: www.ted.com/ )
Friday, November 05, 2010
...for your gift, that keeps on giving!
Square Top Mountain and Green River, Wyoming
When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.
Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.
Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.
A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.
Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem)
Friday, November 05, 2010
Thomas à Kempis on Mount Saint Agnes, where the monastery he was invested with was located (painting from 1569)
One that is not prepared to suffer all things, and to stand to the will of the Beloved, is not worthy to be called a lover of God. A lover ought to embrace willingly all that is hard and distasteful, for the sake of the Beloved; and not to turn away for any contrary accidents.
-- Thomas a Kempis
Love is a sacred skill that we must work to maintain. And learning to bear up under changes in attitude and circumstance with an inner toughness is the best practice for loving. If we do not develop this kind of toughness, our love will not be strong enough to support the weight of close relationships.
One of my quarrels with contemporary civilization is the way it trivializes life. We have very little left that is sacred. In a scientifically advanced era, with the benefit of culture and education, we should grieve to discover that our love barely scratches the surface of life -- no wonder, then, that it fails to nourish us. Loving is already something of a lost art.
When we finally realize we are missing out on something sacred, we may no longer know where to turn. Love is so exquisitely elusive. It cannot be bought, cannot be badgered, cannot be hijacked. It is available only in one rare form: as the natural response of a healthy mind and healthy heart.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Eknath Easwaran, originally from Kerala, India, came to the USA as a Fulbright Scholar. He founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Tomales Bay, CA. He is a favorite teacher of mine. A Sanskrit scholar, he also earned a Ph.D. in English Literature. He is a gifted writer and translator and I would recommend any of his books:
I subscribe to Sri Easwaran's daily commentary on a spiritual text, Thought for the Day. www.easwaran.org/Thoughts Today's is just so relevant to the journey of our hearts, our communities, our country, our world, that I feel compelled to share it.
The last paragraph of his commentary so very powerfully sums it up: "When we finally realize we are missing out on something sacred, we may no longer know where to turn. LOVE IS so exquisitely elusive. It cannot be bought, cannot be badgered, cannot be hijacked. It is available only in one rare form: as THE NATURAL RESPONSE OF A HEALTHY MIND AND HEALTHY HEART."
Easwaran comments on a text by Thomas a Kempis, a great Christian mystic, who wrote among other works, The Imitation of Christ, one of the best known Christian books on devotion. His name means "Thomas of Kempen", his home town in Germany. He was born at the Lower Rhine region in 1380 and died in 1471. I highly recommend learning more about this amazing soul:
Eknath Easwaran, 1910-1999, teaching what is thought to be the first credit course on meditation offered at a major university in the U.S. at University of California, Berkeley in 1968.
Easwaran comments on a text by Thomas a Kempis, a great Christian mystic, who wrote among other works, The Imitation of Christ, one of the best known Christian books on devotion. His name means "Thomas of Kempen", his home town in Germany. He was born in the Lower Rhine region in 1380 and died in 1471. I highly recommend learning more about this amazing soul:
Thursday, November 04, 2010
It's like pulling a Tarot card from the deck that speaks precisely to my dilemma...or opening a sacred text to exactly the verse that I so desperately needed to consider...coming in the morning to this poetry of Stanley Kunitz that speaks so plainly and deeply to my heart and soul.
This process of moving toward optimal wellness that we participate together in here at SparkPeople feels to me like a peeling of layers...of what doesn't work to uncover what does, looking for our highest good, our wisest inner teacher, the Knower. This is the process for me anyway. How about you?
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
~ Stanley Kunitz ~
Stanley Jasspon Kunitz was born July 29, 1905 in Worcester, MA to dressmaker, Solomon Z. Kunitz and Lithuanian-Jewish mother, Yetta Helen Jasspon. His father committed suicide six weeks before he was born, and Kunitz was raised by his mother and stepfather, Mark Dine, who died when Kunitz was fourteen.
Kunitz graduated summa cum laude in 1926 from Harvard College and earned a master's degree in English from Harvard the following year. Kunitz's first collection of poems, "Intellectual Things," was published in 1930. His second volume of poems, "Passport to the War," was published fourteen years later when the author was serving on the European front in World War II. Although it featured some of Kunitz's best-known poems, the book went largely unnoticed and soon fell out of print.
Kunitz's confidence was not in the best of shape when, in 1959, he had trouble finding a publisher for his third book, "Selected Poems: 1928-1958." Despite this unflattering experience, the book, eventually published by Little Brown, received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
His next volume of poems would not appear until 1971, with "The Testing Tree." Kunitz's style was radically transformed from the highly intellectual and philosophical musings to more deeply personal yet disciplined narratives; moreover, his lines shifted from iambic pentameter to a freer prosody based on instinct and breath -- usually resulting in shorter, three-four stressed lines.
Asked to comment on this stylistic shift in Publishers Weekly, Kunitz noted that his early poems "were very intricate, dense and formal. . . . They were written in conventional metrics and had a very strong beat to the line. . . . In my late poems I've learned to depend on a simplicity that seems almost nonpoetic on the surface, but has reverberations within that keep it intense and alive. . . . I think that as a young poet I looked for what Keats called 'a fine excess,' but as an old poet I look for spareness and rigor and a world of compassion." If Kunitz's earlier poems were often intricately woven, intellectual, lyricized allegories about the transcendence of physical limitations, his later work can be seen as an emotive acceptance of those limitations.
Throughout the 70s and 80s he became one of the most treasured and distinctive voices in American poetry. His collection "Passing Through: The Later Poems" won the National Book Award in 1995. Kunitz received many other honors, including a National Medal of Arts, the Bollingen Prize for a lifetime achievement in poetry, the Robert Frost Medal, and Harvard's Centennial Medal.
Kunitz's 100th birthday on July 29, 2005, was marked by celebrations in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts, along with W. W. Norton's publication of "The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden," co-written with Genine Lentine.
He was considered by many observers to be the most distinguished and accomplished poet in the United States at the time of his death in 2006.
Get An Email Alert Each Time VALERIEMAHA Posts