Monday, December 29, 2008

Hope and Integration...

photo by grassrootsmsw
Northern Thailand 2008

“Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

Hal Borland

2008 has been an extraordinary year...

The most significant high light for me being that we, as a country, chose to believe in transformation and revolution. We chose humanity...we chose to believe the impossible was possible. We as a country and people, chose to create a better world through our actions and beliefs as American voters.'

We had the courage and wisdom to choose CHANGE, and to choose HOPE.

We have initiated new future pathways' for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren...

May 2009 bring about the beginnings of long awaited change and rebirth. May we hold close the knowledge and lessons learned over time and maintain endurance as we rebuild and recreate the honor, integrity, and humanity of our nation.

The budding blossoms of hope and change are waiting to burst...Let's not only watch, but nurture and participate in their growth and strength...


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hybrid Holidays...

Chrismukkah Elves 2008

"And if Hanukkah Harry is helping Santa, maybe that means that Christians and Jews, deep down, are pretty much the same. Maybe that's the true meaning of Chrismukkah!"

-SNL Skit 12/16/89-

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Inter-Species' Love

photo by grassrootsmsw

"Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."

-George Eliot-

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A New "Cummer"

M & M's new addition...

“A grand adventure is about to begin.”
Winnie the Pooh

With the pose of the hand, we can already recognize the character and theatrics soon to take the stage!

Congratulations and love to all three of you...

“Making a decision to have a child--it's momentous.

It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Soul Work

photo by grassrootsmsw

“We need more everyday heroes. Heroes are ordinary people who take a stand for what is right.

These heroes act with integrity, look fear in the face, go the distance, stand against oppression and endure the cost of disappointment, betrayal and sometimes, pain.

These everyday heroes experience immeasurable rewards for their journey. We all have the opportunity to be everyday heroes. Certain ones,' show us it is possible.”

Blaine Jackson

When you sign up for soul work, it never really ends.

to a yet unknown wholeness.

Soul work...
a kaleidoscope of ongoing possibility
and hope.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hope from around the World...

photo by grassrootsmsw

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place."

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president.

"This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten. America is re-becoming a New World. ... On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes."

Rama Yade, France's black junior minister for human rights.

"Your election marks a new chapter in the remarkable history of the United States. For long, the ideas of democracy, liberty and freedom espoused by the United States has been a source of inspiration...I hope that under your dynamic leadership, the United States will continue to be a source of global peace and new ideas for humanity."

Manmohan Singh, Indian Prime Minister

"Your extraordinary journey to the White House will inspire people not only in your country but also around the world."

Ali-Al Sadig, Sudanese Foreign Ministry

"With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America's identity, have expressed with force their faith in progress and the future. At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond."

Hamid Karzai, Afghan President

"What we have seen in talks with him, I met with him in person and in a small group, is a man who understands, who listens and who thinks. I estimate that the basis of our common interests will bring to a continuation of a policy of listening and cooperation to deal with the important challenges for us and the United States."

Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister


Thinking of you today and knowing how proud you would have been!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Remembering Madison, aka: "Mad Man."

collage by grassrootsmsw

"Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives."

John Galsworthy

It has now been one year since I had to say goodbye to you, my dearest Madison. I still carry my memories of you with me, and at the most difficult times,' I can vividly recall your scent and presence, and often recall your soulful eyes and wet nose that would nudge and soothe me. We shared and created so many memories and life changes together...I remember and cherish this every day and hold you in the most special place in my heart.

Belly rubs and love always...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Triumph of faith and hope...

photo by grassrootsmsw

“We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”

Barack Obama,

President Elect

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Have the last word...Vote Nov. 4th!

photo by grassrootsmsw

"The country is in deep trouble. We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word."

Cornel West

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seekers of the Mystery...

photo by grassrootsmsw
Chiang Rai, Thailand

“Some people do not have to search -
they find their niche early in life and rest there, seemingly contented and resigned.
They do not seem to ask much of life,
sometimes they do not seem to take it seriously.
At times I envy them,
but usually I do not understand them -
seldom do they understand me.

I am one of the searchers.
There are, I believe, millions of us.
We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life,
hoping to uncover its ultimate secret.
We continue to explore ourselves,
hoping to understand.

We like to walk along the beach -
we are drawn by the ocean,
taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty.
We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well.

Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter.
To share our sadness with the one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know -
unless it is to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself,
for everything beautiful it can provide.
Most of all we want to love and be loved.
We want to live in a relationship that will not impede
our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls.

We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
We are wanderers, dreamers and lovers,
lonely souls who dare ask of life everything good and

James Kavanaugh

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


photo by grassrootsmsw

“October is a symphony of permanence and change.”
Bonaro W. Overstreet

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Practicing with Acceptance...

photo by grassrootsmsw
Chiang Rai:
Buddhist Temple ceremony

"Spiritual practice is the process of coming to see our misknowledge and letting it go, to begin to experience, accept, and live the truth about how we and the world actually are. When we begin to understand and to live this way, there is a great decrease in fear and dread, so common in human experience, caused by the huge gap between our expectations and the way things actually are. With an appreciation of the empty nature of things, there are no more foiled expectations. There is a lot more joy, peace, and love."

-Norman Fischer-

Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Got Hope?"

Obama/Biden 2008

"The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams."

Barack Obama

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"White Fire"



Where the path closed

down and over,

through the scumbled leaves,

fallen branches,

through the knotted catbrier,

I kept going. Finally

I could not

save my arms

from thorns; soon

the mosquitoes

smelled me, hot

and wounded, and came

wheeling and whining.

And that's how I came

to the edge of the pond:

black and empty

except for a spindle

of bleached reeds

at the far shore

which, as I looked,

wrinkled suddenly

into three egrets - - -

a shower

of white fire!

Even half-asleep they had

such faith in the world

that had made them - - -

tilting through the water,

unruffled, sure,

by the laws

of their faith not logic,

they opened their wings

softly and stepped

over every dark thing.

-Mary Oliver-

Thinking of B.M.C. today, and sending strength and love to S.M.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For GMR...

photo by grassrootsmsw
Aloha Party at HSB

“Greater than scene is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”

Eudora Welty


Cheers and thanks to you and your wise teachings of living, being, and practicing outside of the "frame." And, the ripple effects multiply and flourish...


Monday, September 15, 2008


photo by grassrootsmsw

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.


Give your best anyway.”

-Mother Teresa-

Each and every one of us carries our histories and stories. We all honor and celebrate that which has created the joy, love, and happiness in our lives.' We savor each precious moment and person who made us smile and is part of what defines who we are, how far we have come, and how we move forth.

We have countless ingredients that build upon the kaleidocope of what is our life.

Often, what can be more defining and shaping are the painful stories which have created the feelings of loss, grief and sadness within us. These are the stories we tightly hold close, in a secret part of ourselves.' Holding this in isolation, seemingly protects us from judgment, and sometimes from a truth that is too painful to place or voice in the light of day. After all, we live in a world and society that prefers to see strength and resilience. Innately, the human instinct draws us to fit into a world where we belong and are understood and accepted. And, yes, most people want to be surrounded by happy and positive...

But what about those who have experiences and secret demons and can't find their way back to the happy places'? What about those who suffer silently, just because they don't want to be rejected or don't want to burden others' with their troubles'?

What if each of us reached out to someone whose pain was silent but recognizable and just offered presence without questions or solution? Their pain...our may be different in source, but it is still pain.

I am thinking of a special and dear colleague...her pain is real and how she has been secretly coping reminds me that we, as a society, can do better, heal more, and learn to embrace that which is scary or foreign to us. It's about accepting and holding humanity in every form, without judgment, and always with an open mind and heart.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Untangling the roots...

photo by grassrootsmsw
Hendri's Beach

Deepak Chopra: Obama and The Palin Effect

Posted: September 4th, 2008

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin's pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palinʼs message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

--Small town values -- a denial of America's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

--Ignorance of world affairs -- a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad.

--Family values -- a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don't need to be heeded.

--Rigid stands on guns and abortion -- a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

--Patriotism -- the usual fallback in a failed war.

--"Reform" -- an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn't fit your ideology.

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from "us" pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of "I'm all right, Jack," and "Why change? Everything's OK as it is." The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Interpreting Open versus Closed

photo by grassrootsmsw
Casco Viejo, Panama

"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the "closed" mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the "open" mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."

John Cleese

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Path of Common Purpose...

photo by grassrootsmsw

“Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.”

Barack Obama

DNC, 8-28-08

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thanks to D.P.

photo by grassrootsmsw

"We don't accomplish anything in the world alone...whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weaving's of individual threads from one to another that creates something."

Sandra Day O’Connor

For D.P....

Thank you for all that you have shared and given with commitment, truth, and an open heart.

The story and connections are to be continued...

Stay tuned...