Sampson napping on his favorite rug

Sampson napping on  his favorite rug
happy, happy, happy

Friday, December 28, 2007

On The Threshold Of A New Year ~

What We Bring, What We Take ...

Of course New Year’s Day brings resolutions, hangovers, and football – I’m not endorsing those things, but they are part of the reality :) A new year always ushers in a feeling of new hope, even (as I mention in a previous post) in the absence of optimism. I've read that economic experts are forecasting continued difficulties in the economy and all its ripple effects, increasing personal debt and credit problems, and out-of-reach health care. Someone told me this morning that "the struggle to survive is difficult, worse, not better" (than it was previously). Personally, I’m trying to renew and rediscover a balance. It’s a balance that will, hopefully, include hope, realism, effort, reason, resourcefulness, activism, compassion, music (always) and moments of inner peace.

Today ...

Rain, rain (don’t ) go away (yet). Today it is raining galore here in Knoxville. Sweet, sweet rain, better late than never. The local creeks again have water in them, thankfully. It’s a cold rain, as the temps are in the low 40s. I’m snug here in the loft of my house – this is where I come to write, think, read, ponder. The rain sounds nice on the metal roof!

One More Year Of Bush & Cheney ...

It is outrageous that they are still in office and that their power base is so pervasive that they are completely insulated, as they blunder and plunder on. I’d prefer to be wrong, but I think they’d like to enlarge the war (Iran) as sort of a last-ditch political fun adventure "feather in their cap" (I’m quite serious). I think these guys are playing the country and the world like a crazy-style chess board.

Forgiveness ...

I’m able to forgive people who personally hurt me, even if they do it deliberately – maybe especially if they do it deliberately; it then becomes more important to forgive them and reclaim my power. "There is power in forgiveness" (it’s not a lame old phrase). The forgiver benefits much more than the forgivee. The New Year is a good time for that. I’d put it right up there with the resolve to begin or renew an exercise program or a health quest or the search for/receptivity to a love partner.

While we’re at it, let’s forgive ourselves, too, for whatever goof-ups, shortcomings, and/or serious mistakes for which we feel responsible. Letting go of the past is essential, especially if there is any residual "victim" status. Clinging to past hurts only impedes growth and healing. I’m not saying "forgive and forget" (I think that’s an unwise cliche); there are some things we need to remember in order to be vigilant. But forgive ... and be empowered in the new year.

Older Posts ...

If you’re visiting my blog for the first time, I invite you to scroll down and click on "older posts"; they go back to August 2007. I’ve recently edited and deleted some, but the posts I consider my best are still there. You’ll need to scroll and click a couple of times to access all of them.

Raise Your Glass ...

To all of us, to each of my readers, I wish a new year of happiness, compassion, justice, progress, material comfort, spiritual seeking, good health, understanding, love, and – above all – peace!

And now I’m joining Buddy, my piano, and we’re going to write a blues tune ... it'll be slow blues, the way we like it – nice!

Do You Like Horses?

A paragraph from the website of Equine Advocates at www.equineadvocates.com reads: "THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL. The US Senate failed America’s horses and the American people by not allowing S.1915 to come to the floor for a vote last year. If that had happened, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would have taken effect this year and horse slaughter would have been banned." The same legislation was reintroduced in the Senate as S.311 the following January.

Do you like horses? I hope you do, so here is info regarding the plight of many American horses and how they can be helped. A couple or so years ago, citizens were successful in convincing Congress to outlaw American-run horse slaughtering plants and these terrible places were closed down. That’s good. Now, though, American horses are being shipped by truckload (under horrendous conditions) across US borders into Mexico and Canada, where they are slaughtered in torturous ways, to accommodate a foreign market that considers horsemeat a luxury. That's bad. There are organizations that rescue horses, but rescue alone cannot fix this greed-based situation. The federal legislation needed to stop the international horse shipments was approved in the House of Representatives during 2006, but the Senate refused to allow a vote in the Senate and so the bill was forced to just die without a vote. Now the legislation needs to be re-started ... in the House of Representatives and proceed again to the Senate. If you care about these intelligent and beautiful animals, please contact your federal congressmen and senators, asking them to honor the wishes of American people by supporting this legislation and giving it a favorable vote. The government websites at
www.senate.gov and www.house.gov list all US senators and congressman and their contact information. The bill numbers are H.R. 503 and S. 311 and the name of the bill is The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. There is very comprehensive background information at www.equineadvocates.com, the website of Equine Advocates; the organization’s address is P.O. Box 354, Chatham, NY 12037; telephone 518-245-1599.

I urge you to write your letters, send your e-mails, and/or make your phone calls now, as every day counts when it involves suffering that can be remedied by positive action.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Symphony --

On Thursdays, I usually take my dog, Dixie Lee, to one or the other of two parks in different parts of town. Yesterday was a balmy, overcast day here in east Tennessee. We drove across town, parked the truck, and leisurely strolled all the walkways of the park. I visited the little pine tree whose growth I monitor and cheer on (I’d placed pretty rocks around it to protect it when it was a small seedling). We acknowledged a blackened bull thistle that we’d photographed in late summer when it was in bloom. We retrieved an over-the-fence tennis ball for two cheerful men who were on the tennis court. After a while, we got to ‘the place’. ‘The place’ is the park bench swing, upon which I’d first sat six years ago and had a memorable conversation (while two groups of men, costumed in old-fashioned garb and armor, ran across the grass in a mock battle – I don’t know the name of this sport, but it has a name). Yesterday, the place was quiet, as it usually is, and very welcoming. I sat on the swing and Dixie walked around investigating this and that. I became so aware of the combination of immediate stillness and distant sounds and sights. It was mystical and musical.

Overhead, a single hawk circled and circled. Far off I could see yellow buses parked and waiting for kids to come out of the barely visible YMCA building. The swing was so relaxing; towering over it was a young oak tree, still holding onto its brown leaves, as oaks do. Also there were junipers. The wind swirled and occasionally whistled. It felt good and refreshing, as it was a warm wind. I could hear little broken parts of the voices of the two men on the distant tennis court ... the wind was carrying the sound in my direction. Dixie’s hair and ears rippled as she stood, face into the current, as if she fancied she was poised, in the wild. We were mesmerized, transfixed.

So we were startled but didn’t really mind when a couple of little raindrops that I chose to ignore suddenly were punctuated by sheets of rain being thrown about by howling wind. We ran and ran, as the elements escalated. It was an exciting jog back to the truck and we were both soaked ... but happy!

"Blues For Peace"

As a musical genre, Blues is the most sincere, uplifting, genuine, and soul-cleansing music that any genre could be. If you visit the warmly inspiring website you’ll find at www.bluesforpeace.com, there’s a downloadable blues tune called "Blues For Peace", so named for the effort being put forth by Eli Marcus and Johnny Mayer (both live in Israel). They’re working hard to promote peace, reminding us that people of all nations, all cultures, all paths, have their share of ‘the blues’... (and, therefore, need Blues), especially for the cause of ending war. One of the links on their website is called "Unsung Heroes", on which I was thrilled to read an article about me!

I recently wrote a song called "One Woman’s Blues"... it’s eclectic blues – because the character of the song requires an integrated format of minor and major keys; it’s a peace and activist song. I’ll be mailing a copy of it to Eli.

Two Books & One Deck ~

My most recently-acquired book is "10 Secrets For Success And Inner Peace" by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I bought it here in Knoxville at Carpe Librum, the independently-owned bookstore, where it is always fun to browse. If you are on a consciously-chosen life path (or would like to be), I think you will love and benefit from this book. This author is very sincere, wise, and committed to the principles of spiritual peace, strength, and transformation.

Also from Dr. Dyer, and purchased at the same time and place, is the deck I mention, entitled "The Power of Intention". It consists of 50 double-sided (very high quality) cards, each a tool to tap into the energy (I should type that with an upper-case "E" ... Energy) of which each of us is a part – particularly in terms of creating that which we want in life. I love these cards and it’s so easy to pick one up, read it, and reaffirm intent.

The other book I speak of is called "The Emperor Wears No Clothes"; it’s authored by Jack Herer. I came across this single copy of it huddled in a scrunchy corner of a shelf at Border’s about a year ago. It’s an 8 ½ x 11" book – a thoughtful book – full of documentation, photographs, and timetables tracing centuries of use of the cannabis plant and the process by which it was politically exploited, given a new name, demonized and criminalized in the US during relatively recent years, beginning in the late 1930s. The book is in its 11th edition. Mr. Herer’s website address is www.jackherer.com.

The History Channel, during 2007, aired a documentary on cannabis and the documentary’s content matches what is chronicled in the book.

Memory of a long-ago time comes to mind: When I was a child of about 7 or 8, my father and I were walking to the neighborhood store one day (our town was small at that time, with plenty of "wild" and open land). As we often did, we took a well-used shortcut that started at the end of the pavement of a dead-end street. It coursed down some hilly turf that wound through what’s called "red rock" in Connecticut, along with mixed types of soils that resembled smallish dunes, so formed by erosion. My father pointed to what must have been an acre or more of large, billowy plants (to me they looked like trees) along the sides of the dunes ... they were holding the way-faring dunes in place. He explained to me that all that greenery was cannabis. No one bothered it – it grew there every year, until developers’ bulldozers plowed up the land, to build houses and a connecting through-street.