25 November 2012

Drawing on Our Inner Mother Bear - A Guest Post (and a Reminder to Women Everywhere)

Joanne Green's mother bear
is a mother bird!
A wonderful friend sent this heartfelt missive to several of us recently. It struck a chord, so I asked if I could print it here and she said yes.

Also, since the 2012 climate change negotiations begin tomorrow in Doha (no one has held out any hope for these talks since the COP held in HopelessnessHagen back in 2009), please visit / forward this link if you're a woman who cares about safeguarding the future for our children: A Request to All Women Attending the Copenhagen Climate Talks. The same beseeching can hold true at any time. 


Over the past few months I've been in a place of deep feeling  triggered by world events, government and environmental issues, elections, proposed pipelines, etc....  Times feel urgent. Consequently, I've been riled up like never before. 

Going to the Defend Our Coast rally sparked something in me. While in the sea of people, the sense of connection I felt to each of them and to the planet, well... at that point I felt called to live my life in true accordance to my deep feelings and to do "something." To take a stand! 

However, the more I learn about issues that I care about, the more anger and fear I experience. I can sink into moments of hopelessness, and despair. Then I can be quickly picked up again by the gratitude and beauty in my life. It's been a roller coaster ride lately.

I would be shy to mention all this, but in talking with many of my friends, this seems to be very common lately. And so we ask, "How do we stay grounded and open in all of the intensity around us?" Maybe we cope by reaching out, connecting with community, and by being inspired! I see so many of you taking a stand in your lives  for your passions, for your creativity, for the environment, for each other. For Love. Thank you, thank you, for this inspiration.

And thank you for making me believe that I, too, can be strong enough to take a stand for these things in my life and taking them to a deeper level. And to do this from a heart-centred place. My friend calls these folk Peaceful Warriors. Whatever you call it, I feel change and momentum in the air.  

— Joanne Green, of Elysium Studio and Crying Bird (scroll down) fame

See also Compassion and Courage: Mother Bears are Strong, Protective, and Not Self-Conscious, and read Joanne's comment attached.

18 November 2012

A New Ultimate Sacrifice?

Last Sunday, I didn't remember (ahem) until after I'd blogged that it was Remembrance Day here in Canada: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. So it wasn't until later that morning, after watching a ceremony on a friend's honkin' huge wide-screen TV, that something struck me. Well, a few things, actually. 

First, what is it that made it so "easy" to go off to war? (Young men were signing up all over the place back in the days of WWI and WWII, it seems.) How did governments and armies make it so enticing to leave home and loved ones to go and fight? Why are we not willing to make similaresque sacrifices today? And why is fighting for freedom so alluring, but fighting for survival a big nothing? 

Next, what would "the ultimate sacrifice" look like today? Is it the loss of peace of mind of parents everywhere, who must now worry that their children don't have a viable future? Is it all the losses already incurred by people in small island states, or the grain belts of America and Russia? Is it the deaths of people in the Caribbean and the eastern US seaboard due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy? Is it the loss of 400,000 people every year due to climate chaos?

And finally, I was quite struck, as the representatives of different "forces" were laying wreaths at the cenotaph, how many hierarchical organizations we have in our culture, apart from the armed forces. Police officers, fire fighters, St. John's Ambulance, even Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. I suppose when you're asking people to put their lives on the line (okay, maybe not the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, but who knows, maybe their original purpose was to prepare boys and girls for war), you have to train them in order to trust them. You have to train them to respect the commands of their superiors so that when fear would normally induce flight, these people stay and fight. 

I'm wondering why we aren't calling on all the people who have no choice (besides insubordination and mutiny), who have to listen to and obey their superiors, to fight climate change? Why aren't their superiors seeing the risks of climate catastrophe? Why aren't we drafting an army to fight this enemy? Ah, Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us." That would explain it. How do we fight ourselves? Perhaps this is where the compassion comes in.

Our Canadian prime minister attended a Remembrance Day ceremony in Hong Kong at the Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery. He said, "By their deaths, they made possible the freedom we enjoy, the democracy by which we govern ourselves, and the justice under which we live." Prime Minister Harper doesn't tend to listen to his own words, but they're a good reminder that everything we now take for granted, everything that our veterans fought for — freedom, democracy, justice — is threatened by the climate change emergency, which is threatening the very survival of our species. 

I guess we could call that the new ultimate sacrifice.

11 November 2012

The Lesson in Aikido? Envelop Your Adversaries

"If your heart is large enough to envelop your adversaries, you can see right through them and avoid their attacks. And once you envelop them, you will be able to guide them along a path indicated to you by heaven and earth." 
— Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei, Founder of Aikido 
What, oh what, do I do with that lovely thought? Sure, it's useful in everyday situations in my small circle. It's helping me help a girlfriend dealing with a greedy landlord. It's good to keep in mind at work sometimes. It's great for when my hubby and I are feeling pissy with each other (envelop = big hug) (the "guiding" part being more difficult with a spouse, however, especially a Taurus ;-). And I'll even be able to use it when I make community presentations about the climate change emergency.   
But I don't think my heart is large enough to envelop our true climate change adversaries. You know them: the ones who keep pushing inaction, delay, "more research," economic development versus environmental protection, and thinly-veiled greed as rationale for not giving a crap about the future.  
Given how little we humans can literally survive on, it's so obscene, mean-spirited and harsh how much some people live on. That they would commit progenycide by deliberately and knowingly killing off the viability of the future ... grrrrr! That these people (and their corporations) would go to such expensive lengths to maintain their obscene wealth ... grrrrr! I just can't get beyond being really freaking angry at them!  
And my little squeak of anger doesn't seem to effect any change other than upsetting friends who "don't want to hear about it"! Alas. So how do I make my Mother Bear anger roar????   
Holding the anger in a safe container (it's righteous anger, so I don't feel the need to get rid of it, though I must be ever vigilant to ensure that I'm transmuting it into action instead of passive, negative energy), what do I do next? 
I feel that my anger is held in balance with my compassion. And my life energy feels strong (even if I am tired of all the struggle). It's the way, or the path, that has me stumped. An online friend has asked what that "next" might look like. But besides carrying on with my Climate Reality presentations (my third one coming up soon; forewarned that there are some "unbelievers" in the group), and my writing and talking and sharing, I honestly don't know what my "next" will be, could be, should be.  
Any ideas? How can we simply (ahem) enlarge this kind of goodness and decency to embrace and envelop the more climate change vulnerable around the world (including our farmers and, soon, ourselves), and all future generations, of all species? 

03 November 2012


A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.
— Elbert Hubbard

To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.
— Ralph Bunche

Paralyze resistance with persistence.
— Woody Hayes

Be isolated, be ignored, be attacked, be in doubt, be frightened … but do not be silenced.
— Bertrand Russell