Shifting for good
“Movements for real and lasting change are sustained by the relationships we build with one another.” —Michelle Obama
This quote really struck a chord with me. When I see the problems that we face—whether in small towns or on national and global levels—I agree that the solutions can only be created if we work together rather than in opposition. Humbling building relationships for the common good.
I’m very proud of our community in making good things happen. The packed Thanksgiving Potluck was a great time for sharing. The Winter Plumage show was wonderful. All year we’ve seen greater efforts made toward our youth. The food bank has been helping those in need, and community gardens sprouted up in our neighborhoods. Volunteers—library, emergency services, performance, environmental, civic or private boards—continue to be the glue that holds it all together. I thank them all. They understand “relationship”.
Here we are now at the almost mythical December 2012. I don’t know what this galactic shift really means. A grand cycle is coming to a close, bringing with it a great disruption. The Earth is certainly giving us a big wakeup call. Our relationship with the animals, land, plants and water are seriously out of balance and having huge impacts. Coping with this will be the work of the century. These can be scary times, yet people here and all around the world are pulling hard on the steering wheel to get us to move towards a better way. Now really is the time.
As we spin in closer to the Winter Solstice, I am thankful for where I live and the people I know. I wish you all good health, and a joyful time. For Colorado, may we have a whole lot of snow. And with grand shift optimism—peace on earth and good will to all beings.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is coming ashore on the east coast—predicted to be a “never before” monster storm. Its impact may affect millions of people, cost more in dollars. Yet, global warming or climate change has not even been a topic of debate. This is the #1 crisis in the world, in my opinion, yet it has been ignored. Why? Because then we’d have to have a serious discussion on the causes and possible solutions—and there is just too much big money out there funding this election.
Same goes for GMOs. They scare the hell out me. Smart major countries in the world have banned them. In California, citizens have taken action and will be voting whether to have GMOs labeled in foods.
I won’t be voting Republican since the party still insists that climate change is a hoax and that science doesn’t count. (I’ve already talked about their radical, repressive ideas about women.) With the Democrats I think we at least have a chance of them addressing some of these issues and moving us forward. Remember Al Gore and his inconvenient truths? I give Obama credit for mandating higher fuel efficiency for automobiles and funding wind and solar projects, but I’m not happy about fracking.
I feel strongly that real change comes from the bottom up. Corporations will never do anything that is not in their own economic interest. When all the election shouting has died down, we citizens need to keep pushing for the changes that need to happen, and most hopefully, for people to work peacefully together.
Prayers for those in Sandy’s path on the east coast.
What does it matter?
It is election time again and this month’s Eagle is full of election info. By late October, many people will have already voted. Some won’t vote at all, not wanting to “get involved in politics”, or feeling that it is all corrupt, or that their vote doesn’t matter. Let me emphasize that, especially on the local and state levels, your vote greatly matters.
Our representatives to the Colorado House and Senate have a great amount of power.
How do you feel about fracking or oil & gas development in Colorado? Who should make the rules? Should there be same-sex civil unions? GMO labeling? How about funding for schools, prisons, highways? Should state lands be developed or protected? What laws will affect farmers, ranchers, businesses, water use? What controls will be placed on women’s bodies and by whom?
The list goes on of the decisions that our Colorado elected officials will make and the laws they will pass (or not pass)—right down to whether or not you can legally sell your homemade muffins at the Saturday Market.
Our county commissioners also have lots of local power: industrial development of solar & gas, tourism, land use, services, roads and so much more. The local Baca POA board makes long-term decisions affecting all its members.
Our 3rd Congressional District Congressman takes our region’s voice to Washington, DC. to join the big players in some very high-stakes games.
And our president must take us into a better future, leading with our common dreams and not our personal fears. I will be voting for Obama—he has earned my respect and loyalty. For you, I ask you simply to pay attention during these important times, and vote. You have a right to do so. Your voice really does matter.
Why the women
This year’s election conversation and national debate seems to be exceptionally poor. But what I find most upsetting is the extremists’ push, for some strange reason, to control women’s bodies and thereby their lives on the very most personal level.
We see the plight of women in other countries of the world. Horrible things happen to them. So, I wonder why there is such a push to control women here in the US? Is it to distract the national conversation from things like who will control the nuclear arsenal, food, water and foreign policy? Who will drive the agenda for human rights? For peace?
Or is there rather a very real concern among the current power brokers about what would happen if women should gain more political power?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said at the Vancouver Peace Summit in Sept. 2009 that “The world will be saved by the Western woman,” adding “Some people may call me a feminist … but we need more effort to promote basic human values … human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.”
That quote doesn’t strike terror into my heart, but if the status quo is based on exploitation of the earth, its people and making money via war, then women having more power might not be in its best interest. Because for sure, the women, and the men who truly love, value and protect them, will change things. They already have.
The world is rapidly shifting. There is a movement fueled by young people who are globally connected, pushing against the old. Hopefully embracing the value of peaceful cooperation. Maybe 2012 isn’t the end of time. Maybe it is just the time that things profoundly change.
The other evening as we puttered in the garden, exclaiming over the sheer exuberance and magnitude of the towering snow peas, we were treated to a spectacular sunset light show.
The western sky beamed shafts of colors through the clouds—gold, orange, red, purple— like a giant projector using the mountains as their screen. The Sangre de Cristos, living up to their name, lit up in a series of stunning brilliant colors, finally moving into an indigo twilight.
The day before it was double rainbows. Color so bright and pure it electrified the aura.
And it does this all the time during the summer. And we live here.
Looking for the whole light show? Then stay up late at night and see the stars. On moonless nights the starry array and milky way take your breath away—and on full moon nights the peaks turn silver and actually shine. See a streaking meteor (or maybe mysterious lights you can’t explain).
And then we could talk about dawn for us early risers seeing the peaks first barely silhouetted—to golden rays cascading over the top—or magenta laser light on the tips of the peaks.
During the day clouds pass overhead, casting shadows, making patterns of light, building to giant cumulus towering over the peaks or turning dark and heavy with flashes of lightning and rolling thunder, as if to create their own applause.
As part of every day we watch the sky. I never tire of the show. The tall sunflowers, tracking it all, nod their big heads and agree.
I look forward to seeing the performance the sky will do during the music festival. It always likes to steal the show.
From the top of the Rockies,
Like most everyone, I’ve been watching the reports of the awful fires in Colorado. The scale of these fires are unbelievable. My heart aches as I see the destruction of homes, forests, wildlife and all the beautiful places that we cherish. It will take 50 years or more for those forests to grow back. The long-standing impacts to wildlife are unknown. Many people have lost everything—just escaping with their lives.
As I write this, the fire near Fort Collins has burned over 250 homes. The fire near Colorado Springs has roared down the mountains pushed by 65 mph winds and is burning neighborhoods. Over 32,000 people have been evacuated! Where are they going? Now there is a fire by Boulder. Whole communities are under fire. Many of us have friends and relatives affected by those fires, and, like them, we hope for good news.
As I watch Colorado and the West burning, I am reminded of how this drought was predicted over 30 years ago. When scientists and climatologists were researching global warming, their models said this could happen. I remember how their findings were denied, how opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and to mitigate global warming were ignored. Now, what has it cost? What will it continue to cost?
For now, we pray our monsoon rains come early and are abundant. Our Crestone volunteer fire fighting force is reduced from what is was a couple of years ago, and the State resources are stretched thin.
Help our fire fighters and our communities by being careful, vigilant and prepared. We have been lucky—and very blessed—so far. Thanks to all who are keeping us safe.
We’re enjoying a welcome light rain even as I write. May it soak all of Colorado.
60, in human years
This month, I’ll be celebrating my 60th birthday on the same day that Venus passes directly in front of the sun in what is called a “transit”, a very rare event. Cosmic love fireworks—much better than lighting 60 candles!
It seems that each decade you come to is a bit of a surprise. Each one offers their gifts. This one seems to be one of perspective. I look back over my life and, in the words of the Talking Heads, ask myself “Well, how did I get here?” As a “live for today” teenager and then a young mother, I didn’t think this far ahead (I should have saved more, like my father said). It is amazing, all the world changes since 1952. Technology, global internet, the space program, climate change, civil rights, women’s rights and now even gay rights.
When I heard President Obama say, “I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry,” I cried. It’s been a long road from being the 17-year-old contemplating suicide because of a horrible first attempt of coming out of the closet—to now being in a committed, long-term, generally accepted same-sex relationship. Maybe someday we’ll even be able to get married in Colorado! You’ll all be invited!
At 60, I look in the mirror and am no longer surprised by the gray hair and wrinkles and being called “grandma”—I’ve had the last decade to get over it. What means more is the inner me and my relationships. Making time to play and find joy—and, because of my own mistakes, (there’s been some doozies) having more compassion and maybe a little less judgement. Keeping my joints lubricated, my sense of humor intact and getting the senior discount helps with that.
I’m kinda proud of turning 60, as I didn’t think I’d make 30. Now, seeing how this life thing goes, I’m thinking about making 90 and being full of piss and vinegar. Kinda looking forward to it—and the many wonders more years will bring.
By the time this issue of the Eagle comes out, most people will have voted one way or another on the question of whether or not to fund the Crestone Fire District with a mil levy. Maybe seeing the fire racing along San Isabel Creek, or knowing that residents in Crestone and the rest of the county have for decades had a public district funded by a mil levy, has determined their vote. Or maybe the two big signs in town and flurry of emails saying why the mil levy should be opposed have swayed people to that side of the fence. The May 8 vote will tell.
The issue is far from over. The emergency services district, even if the mil levy passes, will not become operational (and property will not be taxed) until assets are properly secured.
How will the Baca POA be able to transfer emergency service assets into a local public district—or for that matter, sell or transfer any assets for any reason? The POA board says options are being looked into. Opponents say “impossible”. There will be legal challenges—of course—there already are.
Planning any community’s future course seems to be a messy business. People disagree. The new often comes smack up against the old. Old ordinances, laws, covenants etc. which no longer serve may stand in the way of progress, innovation and needed change. Or new ideas may disrupt tradition, locally held values, cost money and may not be welcome—or even allowable unless the rules change. So, we hash it out, picking, choosing and designing the course into out future. It’s not a bad thing.
What is important—whether in a town, or country or even the world, is the HOW of how change comes about. It can be peaceful or painful. It can have long lasting consequences. Maybe because it’s 2012, everything is intensified all over the world. Finding common ground and peaceful process through these difficult, changing times is possibly the most important thing we all can do.
It’s early morning, and I awake in the predawn and put the coffee pot on. We’re finishing up the Eagle to send to the printer today and my task is to write my editor’s notes. Procrastination will get you up early. I do a quiet meditation to see what of the many ideas that often float through this busy mind of mine will take precedence and arise as something I want to say.
Well, the thing about meditation is that it often quiets that mind—even with the coffee. So, instead I found myself just feeling love and appreciation for this special community. Oh yeah, we’re a mixed feisty bag of people. Opinionated, passionate, rebels with a cause. But our heart, our heart, is so very big.
The tragic accident that took the life of one young man, severely injured another and wounded the others, touched everyone here—whether you knew them or not, you felt the pain. People have rallied to support the families, but are also putting in place long-term plans to help and integrate our young people.
We are being faced with a scary changing world and sometimes Crestone is not the happiest place to be when anger wants to lead the way. But I want to remind you that people keep coming together to create a better future—utilizing their knowledge, life skills and desire to be here to do good. There is an effort to take spiritual awareness and translate it into actual conscious living-—walking the talk—whether it is by community gardens, education, green energy, local economics, volunteerism, protecting the water or offering help for youth and seniors.
Many places may be doing similar community-creating things. But this is where WE are. And we each have our reasons for being here now.
This is the most intense place I’ve ever lived. I ride out the occasional acrimony because I know what lies underneath—or soars above. And we do come together when called to do so. It’s something we can count on.
Let’s keep this in mind when we have differences of opinion. Our diversity can be a strength. Know that when we treat each other with respect, we not only honor the other, we also honor ourselves.
With appreciation on a spring morning,
We’re talking about this?
They’re not really serious are they? Is this a subject matter that is designed to keep us from asking the hard questions? Has the lack of funding for education brought us to this point?
The top three Republican candidates have been debating the merits of contraception. Not abortion, but contraception! Santorum is flat out against it—saying it is against the “natural way”. The others, in their rush not to appear too 20th century (forget the 21st) are nodding their heads in agreement about how important it is that zygotes have rights and women shouldn’t.
Maybe there is some truth to “you become like your enemies”. We now have the “American Taliban”, religious fundamentalists trying to take American women back to the 13th century. Are veils next? Should I get measured for a burka?
The right-wingers say that big government should stay out of people’s business, yet they are encouraging, no, demanding, that government become involved with a women’s most intimate matters—with their bodies and their health. Pregnancy is a major health issue for women—women still die from it and many suffer long-lasting health problems because of it. Raising a child is a major life issue—for women and men. How many children a person has, if and when, is not something a government—or insurance company—should decide.
With so many serious problems facing our country, I can’t believe that this is even a topic of debate. This is a distraction. If you don’t have credible solutions, then talk about controlling the women? There’s always a crowd that will cheer for that.
I wish I could laugh about all this as some kind of joke, but I can’t—it’s too dangerous. Instead, while I still have the right to do so, I’m going to vote.
Starry, starry night
Stepped outside at 4am this moonless morning to check the temp and was immediately bowled over by a huge skyscape of brilliant stars. I stood there stunned for a few moments until the ten-degree cold sank in. I was only in my nightgown. I came back in, put on my robe and slippers and went out into the front yard.
I stood there in what felt like a rain of starlight. Zillions of stars. No moon and our high mountain dry air was so crisp and clear and cold that I could see every speck of light in the heavens. The mountains were lit with starlight reflecting off the snow. Touching my soul.
What am I, here in the middle of all this? Standing in the yard, waking from toss & turn dreams? The mind churning concerns that seem so compelling? Wearing fuzzy slippers? Here is this unfanthomable bowl of the universe with depths that go back to the beginning of creation—and I was sleeping through it. Should I call my friends? Wake them up and say, “look out, look up!” No, this is my quiet moment to align, to absorb.
An astronomer friend once said there were 2 million galaxies framed by the bowl of the big dipper. Galaxies! My mind breaks at that thought—at the scale of it all.
Here I am fretting over local news, who thinks what about what, trying to see what is important, falling into the fuss, worrying it like a sore tooth. How small that all is compared to this sky. How momentary.
Just the barest hint of daylight and those faint star clusters I could see an hour ago have disappeared. The ones that, if you live in a city, or down at sea-level, are invisible. As the sun rises they will all go from our vision, and our waking eyes will look at other things, closer things, smaller things that make us and our world seem bigger.
But that universe-scape stays with me as I move into the day. A reminder of both insignificance and vastness. And something more, a reminder of heritage. We are made from the mud of the earth—and of stars.
I give thanks for the crispness of winter nights, the occasional insomnia—and even the crazy dreams that wake me up. Grace.
Here it is. 2012. The long-awaited almost mythical year. The “end of the world as we know it” year. A prophecized time of dissolution, crumbling of old patterns and of major shifts. I have to say this last year was hard enough that I’m looking forward to creating new paradigms. But first there is the breakdown—the turning under of the old, which keeps us from moving forward.
I recently sat in a circle and was invited to let go of things I didn’t want to carry into the next year and imagine what I wanted for the new. Many things came up and I realized just how large a transformation was needed, in myself, and in the world.
There are big things going on and we need to focus our energy on what is important. We must work together for our common good. Division weakens us.
We must learn, as a species, how to deal with conflict. Have TV’s shouting matches and pure disregard for integrity infected the whole world? Personally, we don’t have much influence in the world, but we do in our communites. This year I’ve seen several major conflicts erupt here, important issues yes, but there were times I was disappointed in how we, as a “spiritual” community, dealt with them. I have long believed in the right to dissent and in free speech, but I do not support some of the vitriol I’ve heard. A friend recently said, “we’ve forgotten how to have a good fight” —meaning informed respectful debate. Let’s change that.
In 2012, things are coming to a head. We have to evolve. I struggle with my own perspectives, trying to find a balance, to be present and know what is true and fair. It’s the work at hand, and it’s not always easy. I invite all of us to step forward. We are all needed this year.
May 2012 blossom in unexpected ways, with thanks,