Five Things To Do Now That Trump Has Been Elected

One: GrieveHalf of the people in our country (maybe slightly less than half?) just said a big f___ you to immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, refugees, minorities, poor people, women, disabled people, LGBT people, the environment - the list goes on and on. Why? I wish I knew, but here's the political outcome I feel most confident about right now: I'm going to be able to keep more of my money for myself. For a beautiful description of our grief, read "Here's Why We Grieve Today" by John Pa … [Read more...]

How to Open Your Eyes but Not Lose Heart

You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a radical thinker to conclude humanity is on a path toward the kind of dystopian world imagined in the bleakest of scifi novels. We can't keep trashing our planet without dire consequences. We can't keep using up our non-renewable resources as if we have an infinite supply. We can't keep acting as if it's each man for himself (or country for itself) without the social fabric of our world completely disintegrating.If we keep on this path, we'll have a … [Read more...]

Practicing within Sickness and Pain

I'm not writing this post because I'm an expert on practicing with sickness and pain. I'm writing it because sickness and pain are the reality of my present moment, and writing is part of my practice.I feel fortunate to have enough energy to sit upright in front of the computer. My head feels bleary and my intelligence greatly dulled, but I feel fortunate to have enough of a brain to get a few words out. There, that's something.I am always struck, on the rare occasions that I feel this … [Read more...]

Not Just Guns and Madmen: Our Whole Society Is Insane

Just about every blogger will have something to say in the wake of the Umpqua Community College shooting. Some will just be sad, others will point out this or that as the primary reason for such a tragedy.I just want to point out how screwed up this is. This is insane. This is a sign of the decline of our society. Seriously, folks.Without excusing anything, I ask you to imagine the mindset of these mass shooters. They are not just crazy. Maybe most have some degree of "mental illness," bu … [Read more...]

What Did Thich Nhat Hanh Mean by “Accepting this Civilization Can Be Destroyed?”

A friend recently sent me a link to an interesting Youtube video featuring a short interview with Thich Nhat Hanh. In it, Canadian environmentalists David Suzuki and Jim Hoggan discuss the ecological emergency we are facing on this planet, and the problem of public apathy about or denial of climate change.Thich Nhat Hanh listens carefully and then responds, “You have to accept that this civilization can be destroyed. Not by something outside, but by ourselves. In fact, many civilizations have … [Read more...]

Dear Emily, My Great-Grand Niece

I have no children of my own, so any descendants of my sister will be my closest relatives in the distant future. My nephew and niece are 10 and 12 years old right now; if they have children about age 30, my grandnieces or grandnephews will be born around 2035; if they in turn have children at about age 30, my great-grandniece - who I am calling Emily because I've always liked the name - will be born around 2065 and come of age around 2085. That's 70 years from now- far enough in the future that … [Read more...]

What Good Is Religion, Anyway?

Written as part of a Patheos symposium in response to the following prompt: "We all know the media mantra, 'What bleeds, leads.' Bad news sells, and there's nothing like a juicy religious scandal to drive traffic. Yet, for every sordid religious story, there are any number of quiet stories of charity, compassion, self-sacrifice, and service. In our obsession with bad news, are we missing of the GOOD of religion? How is your tradition contributing to the flourishing of the world? How has your … [Read more...]

Remembering There’s Nothing We Can Do to Prevent Change

Sometimes I notice stress sneaking into my life. It starts accumulating under the surface of everything, making me irritable and somewhat sad.Usually this has to do with anxiety about the future. It's important to note this anxiety is pretty unspecific and open-ended. It's not that I'm biting my nails because X might happen. It's more a general sense of dread about the myriad ways everything in my life could fall apart and how things could become miserable and unworkable.Feeling anxiety … [Read more...]

We’ve Got to Passionately Love Life Itself

I've heard folks speak in placid tones about suffering and destruction due to climate change, widespread poverty and inequality, and the mass extinctions of species. It's as if they have passed judgment on humankind and decided the degeneration of our societies and the degradation of our environment are fair punishments for our misdeeds. They seem to think we might as well resign ourselves to our universal comeuppance because we deserve it.I understand it can be easier to resign yourself th … [Read more...]

Cognitive Dissonance: Being Culpable for Life’s Destruction

From a very early age I sensed there was something wrong. I remember being around ten years old, cradling the tiny body of a dead bird. It was so small it fit easily in the cup of my child-sized hands. The bird had died after hitting our cabin window, and although I was horrified by its fate and my part in it, however indirect, I also relished the opportunity to view the bird so closely. It was an iridescent yellow-green color, and its feathers looked looked like fine hairs. The coloring over … [Read more...]