La ciudad con sólo un árbol / The City with Only One tree

por Thich Nhat Hanh [English below]

Imagine una ciudad que solo le queda un árbol. Las personas que viven en esta ciudad tienen enfermedades mentales porque se han alejado mucho de la naturaleza. Finalmente, un médico que vive en la ciudad se da cuenta de por qué las personas se enferman y le ofrece esta receta a cada uno de sus pacientes. “Estás enferm@ porque estás separad@ de la Madre Naturaleza. Cada mañana, toma un autobús, ve al árbol en el centro de la ciudad y abrázalo por quince minutos. Mira el hermoso árbol verde y huele su fragante corteza

Después de tres meses de practicar esto, l@s pacientes se sienten mucho mejor. Pero debido a que muchas personas padecen la misma enfermedad y el médico siempre da la misma receta, después de un corto tiempo, la fila de personas que esperan su turno para abrazar el árbol se hace muy larga, más de una milla, y la gente comienza a ser impaciente. Quince minutos ahora es demasiado tiempo para que cada persona abrace el árbol, por lo que el Ayuntamiento legisla un máximo de cinco minutos. Luego tienen que acortarlo a un minuto, y luego solo unos segundos. Finalmente, no hay remedio para todas las enfermedades. 

Si no somos conscientes, pronto podremos estar en esa situación. Tenemos que recordar que nuestros cuerpos no se limitan a lo que se encuentra dentro de los límites de nuestra piel. Nuestros cuerpos son mucho más inmensos. Sabemos que si nuestro corazón deja de latir, el flujo de nuestra vida se detendrá, pero no nos tomamos el tiempo para notar las muchas cosas fuera de nuestros cuerpos que son igualmente esenciales para nuestra supervivencia.

… Puedo darme cuenta de que el corazón adentro de mi cuerpo, no es mi único corazón, tengo muchos otros corazones …

Thich Nhat Hanh adaptado de su libro The World We Have

Imagine a city that has only one tree left. The people who live in this city are mentally ill because they have become so alienated from nature. Finally a doctor who lives in the city realizes why people are getting sick, and he offers each of his patients this prescription. “you are sick because you are cut off from Mother Nature. Every morning, take a bus, go to the tree in the center of the city, and hug it for fifteen minutes. Look at the beautiful green tree and smell its fragrant bark.”

After three months of practicing this, the patients feel much better. But because so many people suffer from the same malady and the doctor always gives the same prescription, after a short time the line of people waiting their turn to embrace the tree gets to be very long, more than a mile, and people begin to get impatient. Fifteen minutes is now too long for each person to hug the tree, so the City Council legislates a five-minute maximum. Then they have to shorten it to one minute, and then only a few seconds. Finally, there is no remedy for all the sickness.

If we are not mindful, we may soon be in that situation. We have to remember that our bodies are not limited to what lies within our boundaries of our skin. Our bodies are much more immense. We know that if our heart stops beating, the flow of our life will stop, but we don’t take the time to notice the many things outside of our bodies that are equally essential for our survival.

… I may realize that the heart inside my body is not my only heart – I have many other hearts…

Thich Nhat Hanh adapted from his book  “The World We Have

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Thanks-Giving and Retribution

by Francisco Herrera

If the “Thanks Giving” story goes – that the original peoples helped the newcomer (“illegal immigrant”) survive, it is only fitting that the newcomer Give Thanks: re-tribute; pay tribute to those who saved them. One way to do it is to re-distribute the wealth the newcomer has amassed thanks to the original peoples. 

Then maybe, each year there should be a project – a political project, laws and budgets, orders of business, that follow the directives of First Nation thought and Practices, which respect each other’s ways of living together in this land mass we call the United States. 

The fact is the “Indian” has given and continues to give. From the Original people, Benjamin Franklin took forms of sovereignty which formed the federal system of government we have today. Maslow, Rogers and so many other architects of modern Psychology learned their craft from careful study of indigenous people’s form of healthy living. Even in modern times, it was the Navajo who enabled “allied” victories over the German-Italian-Japanese aggression, which finally lead to the end of World War II. And as a society around the world, people are turning to the healthy practices of the original peoples because of their proven record that sharing is a good thing. 

And the list goes on. 

But instead of gratitude, what we as a nation have developed has been an abusive, genocidal relationship of taking from First Nation people. Instead of Thanks Giving, we continue to see thievery on the side of the newcomer, who thinks this land belongs to him, simply because he has the ability to kill you. 

And now there are borders dividing original peoples and business ventures that extract the goodness of the land and fracture the earth; all against the advice of the original people. 

So in your towns, counties, states, in the nation – let’s make laws and practice Thanks-Giving by recognizing and following the leadership of the communities we have relegated to the apartheid system called reservations (South African apartheid was based on the U.S. reservation system). Let’s listen, learn and respect their correct place of leadership. 

This year we have the first Original Nations leader(Ben Nighthorse Campbell-Cheyenne) in Congress, who elected in Colorado [1993-2005]. Let’s make that a tradition and elect more indigenous leaders every year until they have a truly representative place in Congress, the Senate, the Presidency of this nation where First Nation people belong. 

Let us re-tribute First Nation peoples from the African Continent who were Kidnapped and forced to labor as part of the largest Human Trafficking Scheme the world has truly ever known. Let us abolish these useless borders that prohibit First Nation people from this continent from the ability to Migrate to and from as we have done for millennia, but now (that we are called “immigrants”) are forbidden to do so. Why not erase these fictitious borders – the European Union has done it and they are flourishing. 

See, the current U.S. capitalist plan simply does not work, but for a few, who “hold-up” in a crack house of leisure, at the expense of the many, whose lands are fractured, waters poisoned and health destroyed by extractive powers or military powers or drug powers – all in control of that leisurely group of crack addicts (or gold addicts). 

It will always be up to the rest of us, who are looking for systems that put people and the earth before profits to continue to organize ways of living practiced by those who saved these newcomers from assured death in the first place (well not really the first place, because this invasion is only 526 years young and whose end time has come). 

Be a little thankful this thanks-giving and do more than eating turkey and having a break with your family and friends (which is a good thing). Recognize we owe the “Indian” our very existence and act accordingly. 

All Respect, Relatives

Taken from Francisco Herrera’s Blog. Francisco is a theologian, cultural worker, singer-songwriter who has produced 7 albums (includes 2 children’s music in Spanish), writes scores for film and theater, working with producers like the late great Saul Landau. He can be found in intimate gatherings of women recovering from domestic violence, day laborers organizing for a universal wage, children becoming bilingual (Spanish/English), Interfaith groups shutting down private prisons; always performing uplifting and energizing songs that move, teach and inspire.

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, natural philosophy, noncooperation, nonviolence, satyagraha, Shanti Sena, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Arcoíris / Rainbow

Por Matthieu Ricard [English below]

Un arcoíris se forma por el juego de un rayo de sol que cae sobre una nube de lluvia: aparece, visible pero impalpable. Y en cuanto uno de esos factores deja de actuar, el fenómeno desaparece. Así pues, el «arco iris» no tiene naturaleza propia y no se puede hablar de disolución o aniquilamiento de algo que no existe. Ese «algo» sólo debía su apariencia ilusoria a una conjunción transitoria de elementos que, a su vez, tampoco son entidades intrínsecamente existentes…

Esta es la forma en que los seres iluminad@s se relacionan con todo. Su mundo está hecho de arcoíris. Todo aparece brevemente, luego desaparece gradual o repentinamente.

Imagine cómo cambiaría su relación con el mundo si se diera cuenta de que todo está hecho de arcoíris. Estás sentad@ en un arcoíris. Estás sosteniend@ un arcoíris en tus manos. Te vas a dormir en una cama de arcoíris y te cubres con una manta de arcoíris. Comes y bebes el arcoíris. Pones ropa de arcoíris en un cuerpo de arcoíris y haces el amor con un compañer@ de arcoíris. Cuando tu casa de arcoíris desaparece, no es gran cosa, eso es lo que hacen los arcoíris

A rainbow is formed by the play of a shaft of sunlight falling on a cloud of raindrops. It
appears, but it’s intangible. As soon as one of the factors contributing to it is missing, the phenomenon disappears. So, the ‘rainbow’ has no apparent nature of its own, and you can’t speak of the dissolution, or annihilation of something that didn’t exist in the first place.  That ‘something’ only owed its illusory appearance to a transitory coming together of elements which aren’t intrinsically existing entities themselves, either…

This is the way enlightened beings relate to everything. Their world is made of rainbows. Everything briefly appears, then gradually or suddenly disappears.

Imagine how your relationship to the world would change if you realized it is all made of rainbows. You are sitting on a rainbow. You are holding a rainbow in your hands. You go to sleep on a rainbow bed, and cover yourself with a rainbow blanket. You eat and drink rainbows. You put rainbow clothes on a rainbow body, and you make love to a rainbow mate. When your rainbow house disappears it is no big deal, that’s just what rainbows do

—Extraído del El monje y el filósofo / Excerpt from The Monk and the Philosopher

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La mejor lección de la niñez por Pablo Neruda / Pablo Neruda’s Greatest Lesson from Childhood

por Lewis Hyde [English below]

Jugando en el jardín detrás de la casa, un día cuando todavía era un niño pequeño, Neruda descubrió un agujero en la cerca de madera. “Miré a través del agujero y vi un paisaje como el de detrás de nuestra casa, descuidado y salvaje. Di un par de pasos atrás, porque tuve la sensación de que iba a pasar algo. De repente apareció una mano—- la manita de un niño de más o menos mi edad. Para cuando volví a acercarme, la mano se había ido, y en su lugar había una preciosa oveja blanca de juguete.”

“La lana de la oveja estaba desteñida. Sus ruedas habían desaparecido. Todo esto sólo la hacía más auténtica. Nunca había visto una oveja tan maravillosa. Volví a mirar por el agujero, pero el niño había desaparecido. Me metí en casa y saqué algo equivalente que yo tenía: una piña abierta, llena de olor y resina, la adoraba. La coloqué en el mismo lugar y me fui con la oveja.”

“Nunca volví a ver la mano o al chico. Y nunca he visto una oveja como esa, tampoco. El juguete que acabé perdiendo en un fuego. Pero incluso ahora, cuando paso por una tienda de juguetes, miro furtivamente al escaparate. No tiene sentido. Ya no hacen ovejas como esa.”

Neruda ha comentado este incidente varias veces. “Ese intercambio de regalos—-misteriosos— se instaló profundamente en mi como un depósito de sedimentos,” dijo una vez en una entrevista. Y él asocia el intercambio con su poesía. “He sido un hombre afortunado. Sentir la intimidad de los herman@s es algo maravilloso en la vida. Sentir el amor de la gente que amamos es un fuego que alimenta nuestra vida. Pero sentir el afecto que viene de aquell@s que no conocemos, por esos desconocid@s para nosotros, que cuidan nuestro sueño y nuestra soledad, que vigilan nuestros peligros y nuestras debilidades— eso es algo todavía más grande y más bonito porque amplía las fronteras de nuestro ser, y une todas las cosas vivas.

“Ese intercambio me hizo darme cuenta por primera vez de una idea preciosa: Que toda la humanidad está de alguna forma unida…. No te sorprenderá entonces que yo haya intentado dar algo resinoso, terroso, y fragante a cambio de la hermandad humana…..

“Esta es la gran lección que aprendí en mi infancia, en el patio de atrás de una casa solitaria. Puede que no fuese otra cosa que un juego que jugaron dos niños que no se conocían y que querían pasarle al otro alguna de las cosas buenas de la vida. Incluso puede ser que este pequeño y misterioso intercambio de regalos ser quedase dentro de mí también, profundo e indestructible, dando luz a mi poesía.”

–Lewis Hyde, de “El regalo

Pablo Neruda’s Greatest Lesson from Childhood

Playing in the lot behind the house one day when he was still a little boy, Neruda discovered a hole in a fence board. “I looked through the hole and saw a landscape like that behind our house, uncared for, and wild. I moved back a few steps, because I sensed vaguely that something was about to happen. All of a sudden a hand appeared—a tiny hand of a boy about my own age. By the time I came close again, the hand was gone, and in its place there was a marvellous white toy sheep.

“The sheep’s wool was faded. Its wheels had escaped. All of this only made it more authentic. I had never seen such a wonderful sheep. I looked back through the hole but the boy had disappeared. I went in the house and brought out a measure of my own: a pine cone, opened, full of odor and resin, which I adored. I set it down in the same spot and went off with the sheep.

“I never saw either the hand or the boy again. And I have never seen a sheep like that either. The toy I lost finally in a fire. But even now…whenever I pass a toyshop, I look furtively into the window. It’s no use. They don’t make sheep like that anymore.”

Neruda has commented on this incident several times. “This exchange of gifts—mysterious—settled deep inside me like a sedimentary deposit,” he once remarked in an interview. And he associates the exchange with his poetry. “I have been a lucky man. To feel the intimacy of (sisters and) brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that come from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses—that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.

“That exchange brought home to me for the first time a precious idea: that all humanity is somehow together…It won’t surprise you then that I have attempted to give something resiny, earthlike, and fragrant in exchange for human brotherhood…

“This is the great lesson I learned in my childhood, in the backyard of a lonely house. Maybe it was nothing but a game two boys played who didn’t know each other and wanted to pass to the other some good things of life. Yet maybe this small and mysterious exchange of gifts remained inside me also, deep and indestructible, giving my poetry light.”

–Lewis Hyde, from “The Gift”

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We Will Do Our Best to Hide Them

by Bryan Farrell

Refugees are fleeing, hate groups are rising, the far-right is winning elections around the world. Those who want to do something about it are going to need a model for resistance. And there may be none better than the story of a small French community, Le Chambon in South Central France, that rescued around 5,000 refugees from the Nazis. They sheltered, fed and protected refugees, including 3,500 Jews. Even more incredibly, they did this while openly rejecting Nazism, as well as its collaborators in the French Vichy government.

A group of children who were sheltered in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a town in southern France
August 1942. Source HolocaustEncyclopedia

Led by Pastor André Trocmé and his wife Magda and seeing the rise of Mussolini and then Hitler with their own eyes, they weren’t about to look the other way while fascism spread in France. André immediately spoke out against the Paris roundups from his pulpit.

André Trocmé: It is humiliating to Europe that such things can happen and that we, the French, cannot act against such barbaric deeds that come from a time we once believed was past.

Action was central to André’s faith. To him, being a Christian meant being actively engaged in issues of justice and making peace a reality, which is why he had been working since before the war had even started to prepare for and counter the currents of violence and hatred. His biggest accomplishment had been co-founding a school in Le Chambon with the very unique aims of promoting international unity and nonviolence. When Vichy took power, the school wasted no time teaching the students about Gandhi’s concept of noncooperation.

Magda Trocmé (wife): It was suggested that we put a picture of Marshal Pétain on the wall. We decided not to do it. It was a small disobedience, but then we started to be more disobedient

They refused to do things like salute the flag and ring the church bells on Pétain’s birthday…Eventually, at André’s urging, Le Chambon began sheltering refugee children, who had been released from the camps, thanks to the efforts of various aid groups. Other refugees came on their own.

Magda Trocmé: Why…? Because we were in the mountains… because someone had spoken, perhaps, of a minister who at that time had funny ideas.

By the time of the Vel d’Hiv [a Nazi directed] roundup in Paris in July 1942, word-of-mouth had played a major role in establishing Le Chambon as a safe place for refugees. .. Of course, they couldn’t expect it to remain a secret for long. And the first sign … was a government notice that the village would soon receive an official visit from the Vichy Minister of Youth – Georges Lamirand – who was tasked with building up a French version of the Hitler Youth. André was devastated.

André Trocmé: For two years we had been struggling to steer our youth clear of state domination… We were teaching pacifism and opposing every type of totalitarianism.

André wanted to refuse the visit, but members of the Protestant Church hierarchy said it was out of his hands. What’s more, they were to organize a huge day of activities, showing off the area youth and their dedication to France and Pétain.

André Trocmé: We felt like we were up against a wall. Nonetheless, things went our way rather than Lamirand’s.

When the big day finally arrived, and the Vichy motorcade rolled into Le Chambon, the Vichy Minister of Youth did not see the celebration he expected. Instead, the streets were empty.

André Trocmé: The official procession was a rather sad affair. I was sitting in Lamirand’s car as we drove through the town. There were no flags in the windows, no one lined up on the sidewalks: Everyone had followed our instructions. Lamirand was stunned.

Next, they drove to the sports field, where all the youths were supposed to be assembled to greet the minister. Again, however, the celebration was lacking. Only Prefect Bach and several other local officials were there to shake his hand.

André Trocmé: It seemed that he had planned a long speech but was forced by circumstances to keep his thoughts to himself.

So Minister Lamirand and his entourage processed on to the banquet that had been prepared for him. It was held on the grounds of a YMCA camp with nothing but picnic tables for seating. And the servers were the local girl scouts, one of whom was André’s 13-year-old daughter Nelly. While serving the minister a bowl of soup, she accidentally spilled it on his shoulder. The incident was the perfect encapsulation of how little effort the people of Le Chambon were willing to put in for this guest that had been foisted upon them.

After the banquet, it was time to head to the church, where Minister Lamirand was to join the village in worship. But André and his assistant pastor — a man named Edouard Theis — had refused to preach. So another pastor was brought in from outside the village to conduct the sermon.

André Trocmé: He did a wonderful job, kept his sermon short, and summarized the position of the Church: obedience to the State, on the condition that the State did not obligate one to violate the laws of God.

Finally, the service came to an end. Minister Lamirand must have wanted to cut his losses and head back to Vichy. But the village had one more thing in store for him. A delegation of 12 older students from the international peace school had a message they wanted to read. While it was presented as their own, it was more than likely written by André. 

Students: Mr. Minister, We have learned about the horrifying events that took place in Paris three weeks agoWe want you to know that there are, among us, a certain number of Jews. Now, as far as we are concerned, we do not make any distinction between Jews and non-Jews. That would be contrary to the teaching of the Gospel. If our friends, whose only offense is to have been born in another religion, receive the order to let themselves be deported or even be subject to a census, they will disobey those orders, and we will do our best to hide them in our midst.

According to André, the Minister of Youth turned pale and simply said, “These matters are none of my business; you should speak to the prefect.” Then, he quickly turned and walked away to his car. Prefect Bach was standing right there. And he was enraged. He also had a good guess as to who was behind the letter. Turning to André he said: “Reverend Trocmé, this was supposed to be a day of national harmony. Instead, you have created division!”

André responded: It’s hardly a question of national harmony,  when our friends are threatened with deportation...We do not know any Jews, we only know human beings

The parallels between WWII and today are hard to ignore. After all, we’re in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since that era — with millions of people fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan after years of war and thousands leaving Central America and Africa due to increasing violence, poverty, drought and climate change. And how is the rest of the world responding this time around?

This is an excerpt from Bryan Farrell’s Podcast – Part 1 – City of Refugee

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Amar y Querer/ Love and Want

por José José [English below]

 Casi todos sabemos querer
 Pero pocos sabemos amar
 Y es que amar y querer no es igual
 Amar es sufrir, querer es gozar 

 El que ama pretende servir
 El que ama su vida la da
 Y el que quiere pretende vivir
 Y nunca sufrir, y nunca sufrir 
 El que ama no puede pensar
 A todo lo da, a todo lo da
 El que quiere pretende olvidar
 Y nunca llorar, y nunca llorar 
 El Querer pronto puede acabar
 El Amor no conoce el final
 Es que todos sabemos querer...
 Pero pocos sabemos amar 
 El amar es el cielo y la luz
 El amar es total plenitud
 Es el mar que no tiene final
 Es la gloria y la paz
 Es la gloria y la paz
 El querer es la carne y la flor
 Es buscar el obscuro rincón
 Es morder, arañar y besar
 Es deseo fugaz, es deseo fugaz  
 El que ama no puede pensar
 A todo lo da, a todo lo da
 El que quiere pretende olvidar
 Y nunca llorar, y nunca llorar 

 El querer pronto puede acabar
 El amor no conoce el final
 Es que todos sabemos querer...
 Pero pocos sabemos amar 
 El que ama no puede pensar,
 A todo lo da, a todo lo da
 El que quiere pretende olvidar
 Y nunca llorar, y nunca llorar 
 El querer pronto puede acabar
 El amor no conoce el final
 Es que todos sabemos querer...
 Pero pocos sabemos amar... 

 Love and Want 
 Almost everyone knows how to Want
 But few know how to Love
 It's because Love and Want aren't the same
 Love is to suffer,
 Want is to enjoy 
 The one that Loves strives to serve
 The one that Loves gives his life
 And the one that Wants pretends to live
 And never suffer
 Never suffer
 The one that Loves cannot think
 He gives it all, he gives it all!
 And the one that Wants strives to forget
 And never cry, and never cry!
 The one that Wants can soon finish,
 The one that Loves knows no end
 And it's because we all know how to Want
 But few of us know how to Love
 The Love is the heaven and the light
 The Love is complete fullness
 It's the sea with no end
 It's the glory and peace,
 The glory and peace
 The Want is the flesh and the flower
 It's the search of the dark corner
 It's the bite, the clawing, and the kissing
 It's fleeting desire, fleeting desire
 The one that Loves cannot think,
 He gives it all, he gives it all!
 The one that Wants strives to forget and never cry
 And never cry!
 The one that Wants can soon finish,
 But Love knows no end
 And it's because well know how to Want...
 But few know how to Love
 The one that Loves cannot think, he gives it all
 He gives it all!
 The one that Wants strives to forget
 And never cry, and never cry!
 The one that Wants can soon finish
 But the one that Loves knows no end
 And it's because we all know how to Want...
 ...But few of us know how to Love...
 José José  [José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz 17 de febrero de 1948- 28 de septiembre de 2019) conocido como el Príncipe de La Canción, fue un cantante internacional, cantautor, músico, productor musical y actor mexicano. 
 Letra escrita por  Ana Magdalena (Purificación Casas Romero)
 Melodía producido por su esposo Manuel Alejandro (Manuel Álvarez-Beigbeder Pérez)
 Producida en 1975 para Ruby Marquez, y reproducida por 10 artistas incluyendo José José en 1977.
 Singer José José [ José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz (17 February 1948 – 28 September 2019) known by his nickname the Prince of Song , was an international Mexican singer, musician, producer, and occasional actor. 
 Lyrics written by Ana Magdalena (Purificación Casas Romero)
 Melody produced by her husband Manuel Alejandro – (Manuel Álvarez-Beigbeder Pérez)
 First Release in 1975 by Ruby Marquez, covered by 10 artists including José José in 1977 
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Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age

by Nancy Hill

In a world that daily throws both curiosities and crises at us, it can be difficult to discern what is important. An unexpected event can render what matters today insignificant tomorrow. How do you keep perspective?

I turned to two groups—children under seven and adults over 70—to explore this question: What is important?

Children, I reasoned, have relatively little to clutter their lives, and in that simplicity they might be able to hone in on what really matters. Adults with more than seven decades of experience would have deep insight into what is most worthy of attention.

I expected to find patterns and did. What people left out was as telling as what they included. No one named prestige or individual success, and hardly anyone mentioned money.

And there was this surprise:

When I began the project, I didn’t know enough people over 70 to create a body of work, so I put a notice in a senior newspaper requesting participants. The response was immediate. And amazing. I met two Holocaust survivors, a woman who had been imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp, a community health nurse who had worked with the Black Panthers, a man with an IQ in the genius range who spent his career working with special needs kids. I met a “Jane,” the name given to all women who worked with an abortion clinic in Chicago before Roe v. Wade, and I photographed a former attorney involved in legislation that allowed abortion under some circumstances for the first time. One woman ran her first half marathon at 79. One gentleman created one of Oregon’s first vineyards.

We live among such remarkable people, yet few know their stories. Why do we show such little appreciation for people beyond a certain age? Policy and decision makers rarely seek their advice. Their faces do not grace the cover of magazines. It is unlikely their stories will show up in a Google search.

I came away from this project with my own list of what’s important. At the top of that list is the importance of connecting with others in general, but in particular with those who have lived long lives. Do not let these people disappear quietly into their homes. Draw them out, engage them in conversation, and learn from them.

Below are samples to the question: What three things matter most to you? 

Photograph by Nancy Hill

 Magdaleno Rose-Avila (Leno) Born to immigrant parents, Leno was one of 12 children. He began working in Colorado’s onion fields when he 11 and later became deeply involved in workers’ rights. He worked with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers and in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Together with Sister Helen Prejean, he founded The Moratorium Campaign

* Enjoy meeting people who expand my horizons and give me new insights

 *I enjoy reading books. They help me escape from this world of ours

*It is important for me to write my poetry and stories so that I can share my history and dreams with others

– Luca 6

* Mommy, daddy and Elora. My family

*Food and water because if we didn’t have food and water there wouldn’t be any people

*Games because without games there would be no fun

Starr Farrell A cancer survivor, is a former community health nurse who worked with the Black Panthers.

*Family and friends. Nourishing those relationships as I retain my autonomy

*Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including exercise and nutrition by growing an urban garden

*Seeking information and keeping an open mind

Nia  6

*Family. *Sisters *Bo (dog)

Frank Thompson who spent 30 years as a prison warden. Two Oregon death row inmates were executed during his years at the Oregon State Penitentiary. He is now a board member for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

*A healthy relationship with my family and my fellow human beings

*Spiritual God-centered health

*Physical and mental health

-Orrin 6

*My crazy funny dog Gizmo

*Orrin O. White “Uncle Buddy”

*Soccer since I started playing it when I was 4

Judith Arcana a writer and activist, was a Jane, a member of the Chicago underground service that helped more than 11,000 women get safe illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. She holds a Ph.D. in literature and has taught in high schools, colleges, and libraries. She has authored nine books, and her essays and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications.

*My health *My dear people*My health *My work

-Avayah 4

*Drawing numbers

*To be nice to your friends

*Listen to your teachers and you listen to your mom

Excerpt from YES! Magazine. Nancy is a writer and photographer . In 2016 worked on a photo series involving war veterans. In the fall  2016 she began working with Dr. Kathryn Murphy on a photo series of children of substance-addicted parents. Her work has appeared both in print and in galleries. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Lluvia del Alma/ Rain of the Soul

por Pancho Ramos-Stierle [English below]

en la noche
despierta con el aroma de los soles lejanos
mucho antes de que salpiquen
el techo de tu corazón

quítate las cobijas del saber ahora
y deja que el espíritu corra afuera descalzo
en los campos inconocibles de la Amada
ofrece una reverencia

y antes de que la piel de la mente
pueda sentir la primera gota
la renuencia mojada de la belleza
salpica tu corazónmente
con luces incansables
que nunca se rinden sino que entretejen

amo las estrellas y sus lluvias
cuando besan los ojos
plantan su fragancia en la corazón-mente

lo que te haga amplio el corazón
lo que te ilumine el rostro

si, si bajas la mirada
hay un suelo que nos separa y nos hace diferentes
sigue levantando la mirada
y ve como el cielo nos une y nos asemeja

entonces la Tierra, su humedad, resplandor y vibración
emerge como nuestro amado hogar, sonrisa y celebración
siente la fuerza que nos une
te enamoras con la fuente
sigue siendo testigo dentro y afuera
y ofrece oraciones atrevidas, poemas vírgenes y canciones de amor
a esta inalcanzable
lluvia luminosa del alma

y deja ¡que llueva! ¡que llueva! ¡que llueva!

Rain of the Soul
at night
wake to the scent of distant stars
long before they splatter
the roof of your heart

throw off the blankets of knowing now
and let the spirit run outside barefoot
into the unknowable fields of the Beloved bow

and before the mind’s skin could even feel the first drop
the wet reluctance of beauty
splashes your heartmind
with untiring lights
that never give up but bind

am in-love with the stars and their rain
when she kisses the eyes
plants her fragrance in the heartmind

what makes your heart wide
what makes your face shine

yes, looking down
there’s ground that separates us and makes us different
keep looking up
and see the sky that unites us and makes us the same

then the Earth her moist, radiance and vibration
emerges as our beloved home, smile and celebration
feel the unifying force
falling in-love with the source
keep witnessing in and out
and offer wild prayers, raw poems and love songs
to this unfathomable
luminous rain of the soul

and let it rain! rain! rain!

Follow Pancho’s present Pilgrimage at  with a purpose to dissolve borders (physical, intellectual, cultural, among many others) and to plant seeds of oneness in our planet/communities.  You too can participate: click here to support this pilgrimage

Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, meditation, natural philosophy, nonviolence, poetry, Shanti Sena, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Cosmos in the Tree as seen by Thích Nhất Hạnh


A wonderful quote by Thích Nhất Hạnh in The Art of Mindful Living provides a lovely illustration of agaya which is a new term, intended as an expression of the deep, sacred beauty of the universe.

 “Look at the tree. [It] is a wonderful thing, a tree. A tree is very beautiful. A tree to me is as beautiful as a cathedral, even more beautiful. I look[ed] into the tree and I saw the whole cosmos in it.

I saw the sunshine in the tree. Can you see the sunshine in the tree? Yes, because without the sunshine, no tree can grow.

I see a cloud in the tree. Can you see? Without a cloud, there can be no rain, no tree.

I see the earth in the tree.

I see everything in the tree.

So the tree is where everything in the cosmos comes into, and the cosmos reveals itself to me through a tree. Therefore, a tree to me is a cathedral, and I can take refuge in the tree and I can get nourished by the tree…

I can get in touch with the tree only if I go back to the present moment, because the tree can only be found in the present moment.”

Of course, agaya can take you even deeper. The elemental atoms of the tree came from the heart of an exploding star billions of years ago, so that nova is in the tree (as it is in you). The water, the carbon, everything that the tree has taken in as it grows has been cycling in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere of Earth for about four billion years. Because of the number of atoms, and how well they mix over time, it is likely that any given tree might have taken in some of Cleopatra’s bathwater, some of the calcium from a dinosaur’s bones, some of the nitrogen from the first generation of jellyfish, some of the carbon dioxide you exhaled whenever you walked past. This is how agaya transitions into ubuntu – we are all made of the same things, and as participants in Earth’s biosphere we constantly share matter and energy.

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term (South Africa) is a term meaning a sense of community with others. Is a term that represents the connections between all things and Thích Nhất Hạnh provided a beautiful expression of Ubuntu in the following sentences:

“We are all the leaves of one tree. We are all the waves of one sea; the time has come for all to live as one”

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La vida espiritual comienza en el corazón / Spiritual Life Begins Within the Heart

por Joan Chittister [English below]

La verdad es que pasamos nuestras vidas en la centrifugadora de la paradoja. Lo que parece ciertamente verdadero por un lado, parece igual de falso por otro. La vida está hecha de incongruencias: la vida termina en muerte; Lo que nos trae alegría seguramente nos traerá una cantidad igual y equivalente de dolor; la perfección es un concepto muy imperfecto; Las fidelidades de todo tipo prometen apoyo, pero también a menudo terminan.

¿Cómo podemos justificar estas cosas? ¿Cómo podemos lidiar con ellas? ¿Cómo podemos encontrar tanto consuelo en ellas como confusión? Estas son las preguntas que no desaparecerán, pero a las que los gigantes espirituales de todas las edades sabían que debemos de enfrentarnos si alguna vez nos elevamos por encima de la inquietud que nos provocan. Hay un punto en la vida en el que sus paradojas no solo deben considerarse, sino que deben dejarse reposar.

La gran verdad de la espiritualidad monástica temprana, por ejemplo, reside en la conciencia de que solo cuando la vida se vive en el aura de lo trascendente, en el descubrimiento del Espíritu que se nos presenta en los lugares comunes de la vida, donde se encuentran las paradojas, podemos, posiblemente vivir la vida en toda su plenitud, la vida que cae a plomo hasta sus profundidades. […]

Para la persona promedio cuya vida es ilustrativa sobre todo por su carácter ordinario, por ejemplo, para personas como tú y como yo, lo que sucede dentro de nosotros es lo que importa para la vida sana y la espiritualidad real.

Claramente, la vida espiritual comienza dentro del corazón de una persona. Y cuando las tormentas internas retrocedan, el mundo que nos rodea se detendrá y estabilizará también. O para decirlo de otra manera, fue la codicia lo que hizo quebrar a Wall Street, no la falta de algoritmos financieros. Lo que sea que albergamos en el alma a lo largo de las noches de nuestra vida es lo que viviremos durante las horas del día.

Esta concentración centrada en la esencia y el propósito de la vida, junto con un enfoque en la calma interior y la compostura, hace que la vida se viva con luz blanca y calor profundo en el centro mismo del alma. Centrarnos en los espíritus dentro de nosotr@s, en lugar de estar obsesionad@s con las vicisitudes y las pequeñas imperfecciones de la vida, le da al alma su estabilidad, independientemente de los tipos o grados de turbulencia que haya a su alrededor. […]

Son las paradojas de nuestros tiempos las que merodean dentro de nosotros, que nos confunden, minan nuestra energía y, al final, desafían nuestra fuerza por la cotidianeidad de la vida. Nos llaman a profundizar en nosotros mismos. Nos obligan a ver la vida detrás de la vida. Enfrentando las paradojas de la vida que nos rodea y en nosotros, contemplando el significado que tienen para nosotr@s mism@s, con el tiempo y finalmente, nos llevan a dar espacio al trabajo del Espíritu en nuestras propias vidas.

La hermana Joan Chittister ha sido monja desde su adolescencia, es defensora de la justicia y es autora de más de 50 libros. Extraído de su libro Entre la oscuridad y la luz del día.

Spiritual Life Begins Within The Heart

The truth is that we spend our lives in the centrifuge of paradox. What seems certainly true on the one hand seems just as false on the other. Life is made up of incongruities: Life ends in death; what brings us joy will surely bring us an equal and equivalent amount of sorrow; perfection is a very imperfect concept; fidelities of every ilk promise support but also often end.

How can we account for these things? How can we deal with them? How can we find as much comfort in them as there is confusion? These are the queries that will not go away but which, the spiritual giants of every age knew, need to be faced if we are ever to rise above the agitation of them. There is a point in life when its paradoxes must be not only considered but laid to rest.

The great truth of early monastic spirituality, for instance, lies in the awareness that only when life is lived in the aura of the transcendent, in the discovery of the Spirit present to us in the commonplaces of life, where the paradoxes lie, can we possibly live life to its fullness, plumb life to its depths. […]

To the average person whose life is exemplary most of all for its ordinariness—to people like you and me, for instance—it is what goes on inside of us that matters for the healthy life and real spirituality.

Clearly, the spiritual life begins within the heart of a person. And when the storms within recede, the world around us will still and stabilize as well. Or to put it another way, it was greed that broke Wall Street, not the lack of financial algorithms. Whatever it is that we harbor in the soul throughout the nights of our lives is what we will live out during the hours of the day.

This single-minded concentration on the essence and purpose of life, along with a focus on inner quietude and composure, makes for a life lived in white light and deep heat at the very core of the soul. Centering on the spirits within us, rather than being obsessed with the vicissitudes and petty imperfections of life gives the soul its stability, whatever the kinds or degrees of turbulence to be dealt with around it. […]

It is the paradoxes of our own times that skulk within us, that confuses us, sap our energy, and, in the end, tax our strength for the dailiness of life. They call us to the depth of ourselves. They require us to see Life behind life. Confronting the paradoxes of life around us and in us, contemplating the meaning of them for ourselves, eventually and finally, leads to our giving place to the work of the Spirit in our own lives.

Sister Joan Chittister has been a nun since her teen years, is an advocate for justice, and authored more than 50 books. Excerpted from her book Between the Dark and the Daylight.

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