Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.


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What is action? | Charles Eisenstein

One thing I love about the present time is how SO many people are aware. So many people have awakened or are in the process of doing so. Those who have been doing this for decades are no longer feeling like lone voices in the wilderness of colonized post industrial dystopian society.

So much that got me labeled as crazy, ignored, mocked, shunned etc for most of my life has now become central to global intellectual discourse. People are coming together to learn, grow and actively solve the truly huge problems facing humanity and our beautiful planet.

I’m so grateful! It’s also a novel but wonderful feeling to be a part of the zeitgeist, thinking about and discussing the same range of issues and ideas.

I bet a lot of you are also feeling this sense of amazement and relief- “I’m not alone!”. We are all facing these big problems together.

I have long appreciated Charles Eisenstein’s perspective and writing. I think his essay today is particularly relevant to the theme of Spirit In Action.

I started this blog to share my perspective that spiritual growth and political activism are both necessary but not sufficient to solve the vast mess our species currently faces.

I hoped others would appreciate the idea. I also hoped I would meet people who share this perspective, which seemed somewhat unpopular with both groups(spiritual seekers and political activists), except for Starhawk, ReClaiming Covens, a lot of Native activists, and a scattering of others from various other groups.

I believe that when enough people act decisively on both sides (ie personal/internal spiritual work along with political activism, collective action) the seemingly intractable problems of our age will rapidly become solvable.

If you search for Charles Eisenstein on this blog there is a link to his book Sacred Economics free to read online, or download. A full internet search on him should provide a veritable feast of interesting stuff.
Blessings,
ohnwentsya

What is Action?It seems that a few people misread my catalog of the “jaded activist’s” dismissals of various tactics as my own personal disapproval of those tactics. That was not my intent. I especially value the tactics that disrupt the governing stories of our society, and unravel the narratives that underlie oppression and ecocide. The point I was trying to make is that for any “action” one proposes, there is always a reason why it won’t work, why it won’t be enough, why it is a drop in the bucket, why it won’t bring deep enough change… why it is all hopeless.

Personally, of all the tactics I enumerated, I tend to favor civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action the most highly, but even petitions and orderly, permitted protest marches can sometimes be useful. Just setting the record straight here: Charles is not telling everyone to sit at home “being the change.”

On the other hand, I also want to expand the scope of what we consider to be “action.” Conditioned by the ideology of instrumental utilitarianism, which values actions according to their calculable, measurable outcomes (and which is the essential mindset of the investor), we tend to value the big visible actions more than the private, invisible ones that actually take just as much courage, or even more. For every big-name climate activist out there, there are a hundred humble people holding society together with their compassion and service. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I refuse to accept a theory of change in which the humble grandmother taking care of a terminally ill little boy is doing something less important for our future than, say, Bill McKibben.

This is one of my core beliefs: that every act sends ripples out through the matrix of causality; that every act has cosmic significance.

Yet I am not offering these small acts as substitutes for political engagement. I believe that a well-rounded person will engage on many levels, and that when the moment comes, the courage cultivated on the intimate level will translate into the courage to step in front of the riot police. Both come from the same place.

According to our personal qualities and life circumstances, different kinds of action call to us at different times. I want to expand our understanding of what “action” is, to support people in trusting this call. Because our deep mythology valorizes certain kinds of actions, we are often left with the feeling that we are not taking significant action. Furthermore, even those who attempt the actions that are most strongly validated by our dominant theory of change often feel like they aren’t doing enough. Is the state of the environment better or worse than it was 40 years ago? Is transnational finance stronger or weaker? How about the military-industrial complex? The agrochemical industry? Many activists are coming to believe that more of the same is not enough; that we need to act from a different place — and that requires inner work and interpersonal work. i think many common tactics used by environmentalists and political progressives are actually counterproductive — not because they are insufficiently clever, but because they encode some of the same deep worldview from which ecocide and oppression arise as well. I won’t go there now though.

When someone focuses on one level of service to the exclusion of the rest for too long, the result will be a growing dissatisfaction and a desire to grow. One way that growth happens is through the broadening of the scope of one’s vision: for example, to learn about the web of economic and political relationships that is driving ecocide, or to become aware of oppression within one’s own organization, or to recognize one’s own self-delusion, sanctimoniousness, or violence. As we grow, the natural object of our care grows too, and there may be a shift in what calls to us. Someone unaware of climate change isn’t going to do anything to stop climate change.

I think the discomfort that some of the commenters have expressed with the idea of sitting in retreat (and believe me, their discomfort echoes my own) comes from two sources. One is the feeling I referred to above, that “I’m not doing enough.” I’m not doing enough and I can’t do enough and perhaps if I make myself uncomfortable enough about it, I can goad myself into greater efforts. The second is the natural discomfort that arises when the time to grow, to move, to expand is upon us. I suspect I am not the only one who is in the Space Between Stories, not the only one who feels the call to deeper and more effective service. Nor am I the only one who doesn’t have a clue what that looks like. The caution I am offering (to myself mostly) is not to temporarily alleviate that discomfort by reflexively adopting familiar or prescribed kinds of action, just so I can assure myself I’m doing something. Maybe something new wants to emerge. Maybe I need to stop all this traveling and speaking. Maybe that’s getting in the way of my next step. Maybe I need to get my hands in the soil more. Maybe I need to drop my knowledge for a while and learn something radically new, which will then integrate with my old knowledge in ways I cannot imagine.


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New Year’s surprise: a comet you can see with the naked eye – CSMonitor.com

New Year’s surprise: a comet you can see with the naked eye

Skywatchers are getting an unexpected treat: Comet Lovejoy, which was discovered in August, has brightened, making it visible without a telescope. By Jan. 7, the comet, which is rising in the northern sky, will be appearing to the right of the bottom half of Orion’s bow.

By Pete Spotts, Staff writer / December 30, 2014

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Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is framed like a cosmic Christmas tree with starry decorations in this colorful telescopic portrait, snapped on December 16th. Its lovely coma is tinted green by diatomic C2 gas fluorescing in sunlight. Discovered in August of this year, this Comet Lovejoy (not to be confused with past Comet Lovejoys) is currently sweeping north through the constellation Columba, heading for Lepus south of Orion and bright enough to offer good binocular views. Not its first time through the inner Solar System, this Comet Lovejoy will pass closest to planet Earth on January 7 and then closest to the sun on January 30. A long period comet, this Comet Lovejoy should return again … in about 8,000 years.

Damian Peach/SEN/NASA

(Please click the link below to read the rest of this article on Christian Science Monitor’s site-

http://m.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/1230/New-Year-s-surprise-a-comet-you-can-see-with-the-naked-eye?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Science_final&utm_campaign=4_Newsletter%3AScience_Sailthru&cmpid=ema%3Anws%3AScience%2520Weekly%2520%2801%2F01%2F2015%29 )


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c̓əsnaʔəm: The City Before The City | Museum of Vancouver

So many bloggers and readers in the blogosphere are here because we want to help build a better world (” a world that works for everyone”). I believe that one of the best ways to do that is to develop an intimate and thorough understanding of the worlds that came before this one, and how this greed driven catastrophic mess came about.

First Nations in Canada and indigenous societies worldwide represent what I call “the elder cultures”. By this I mean the cultures that grew up, that existed in most cases for thousands of years-sometimes for many thousands of years. These people adapted not only to their physical environments but to the spiritual environment and the human temperament. They understood how people are and why so the psychological and moral structures of these elder cultures are very effectively designed to manage humans problems both human problems of behaviour and adaptive problems due to environmental instability and change.

We’ve had all that stolen from us by the insidious process of colonization. Luckily for us, the elder cultures most successful at resistance to colonization are still here-they haven’t been erased and paved over with lies, half truths and disinformation-despite ongoing attempts to do so!

Exhibits like this are a precious resource not only for learning about the people whose land you are living in and on, but for starting to learn how to live successfully. Colonized culture-otherwise known as modern, mainstream or “western culture” does not teach us or even allow us to live successfully. It’s designed to create and perpetuate human dysfunction.

For those who live near Vancouver, and everyone who can travel this should be a really fascinating exhibit. For the rest of us, there is also a blog that can be found at the link below.
Blessings,
ohnwentsya

c̓əsnaʔəm: The City Before The City | Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) connects people with the city, people with ideas, and people with each other. The MOV also explores the continuous transformations of our city. Vancouver has grown up on unceded Coast Salish territory. It is therefore fitting that an exhibition featuring c̓əsnaʔəm, an important ancestral village of the Musqueam First Nation, be the first story of our Vancouver history galleries. c̓əsnaʔəm, known to archaeologists variously as the Eburne Midden, Great Fraser Midden, and Marpole Midden, recently made headlines when ancient burials were uncovered through urban development and the Musqueam strove to protect them. This collaborative project aims to generate public discussions about heritage and Indigenous history, and to raise awareness of the significance of c̓əsnaʔəm for the Musqueam people and for Vancouver.

The curatorial premise of this project is simple: the bone, stone, and shell objects from c̓əsnaʔəm, which have survived thousands of years, are great catalysts for conversations about the relationship between Indigenous and settler societies in Vancouver. They are reminders of the connections between the history of colonialism, and the continuum of Musqueam culture. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver (MOV’s predecessor) undertook excavations at the Marpole Midden and removed over 1,500 “artefacts” for the museum’s displays, discarding others. The presence of these objects or “belongings” as this exhibition calls them since they were, in fact, personal possessions and ancestral remains in the museum’s collections point to an unsettling history. The museum constructed a story about Vancouver’s past that distanced and excluded the Musqueam, viewing the village as an ancient forerunner to Vancouver instead of as a place of ongoing significance to Musqueam. This exhibition re-examines the historical collection and display practices of the museum itself within this context of colonialism.

The exhibition asks, whose home is Vancouver? How have newcomers claimed Vancouver as their own? How do the Musqueam understand their lengthy connection to this place? Generations of families have lived at c̓əsnaʔəm and other areas in the territory for thousands of years. The exhibition evokes this concept of home through design components that reference a Coast Salish longhouse: a site of residence as well as of political, economic, and ceremonial activities. For the Musqueam, home is much more than a physical space; it is what connects individuals to a much broader web of family relationships and territory.

Oral traditions and Indigenous languages are a central vehicle of cultural expression and identity and play an important role in the exhibition. Visitors are invited to pronounce hən’q’əmin’əm’ words, view an animated version of a Musqueam story, and “meet” several community members through a series of recorded interviews. Displays incorporating 3D digital modelling allow visitors to visualize the context in which cultural objects were used. Visitors can also participate in association games and activities designed for families. Throughout this exploration, visitors are invited to reflect upon Vancouver’s history. As Musqueam cultural advisor Larry Grant explains, “c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city aims at ‘righting history’ by creating a space for Musqueam to share their knowledge, culture and history and to highlight the community’s role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”

http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/exhibitions/exhibit/c%CC%93%C9%99sna%CA%94%C9%99m-city-city


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YES! Magazine Highlights 28 November, 2014

The best stories of the week from YES! Magazine: Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions

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Police Violence Is Not Inevitable: Four Ways a California Police Chief Connected Cops With Communities

“A critical look at any institution with as much power and authority invested in it as the police is probably a good thing.” READ MORE »

Chris Magnus in Richmond.
Mentally Ill People Often Face Violence From Police—But These Cities Are Trying to Fix That

Crisis Intervention Teams train police officers to understand mental illness without resorting to violence. READ MORE »

Seattle protesters with hands raised yelling "Hands up! Don't shoot!" “I’m Scared to Be a Black Male Walking Down the Street”: Seattle Teens on Why They Skipped School for a #Ferguson March

“We all just left class. As soon as 11:00 came, we stood up and walked out of class. Together as one.” READ MORE »

Photo by Sarah-Ji #Ferguson Thanksgiving: A Former Slave Proposed the Holiday 55 Years Before Lincoln. Why His Version Matters Today

“For some, racial inequality and fear are raw realities every day, and anything inspiring in American history rings false and remote. For others, the call to reflect on injustice feels like a personal accusation. But we are caught in this history together.” READ MORE »

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Angry cook by Shutterstock. Why It’s OK to Be Angry on Thanksgiving

Quite often it is our darker side that illuminates the best part of us, that brings us to where we need to be. READ MORE »

Half-mile meal by Andy King Photo Essay: At a Half-Mile-Long Table, Chefs, Farmers, and Volunteers Feed a Neighborhood for Free

In St. Paul, Minnesota, artist Seitu Jones wanted to start a community-wide conversation about food access and food justice—and where better to talk than over a good meal? READ MORE »

Palestinian prison library. Undercover University: Palestinians Study Up in Israeli Prisons

More than 40 percent of Palestinian males have spent time in Israeli prisons. The schools that operate within are increasingly important. READ MORE »

Activists, union members, and Detroit residents protest the water shutoffs in Detroit. When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

Grassroots action has backed down the city’s aggressive water shutoffs. READ MORE »

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