Blog: 2013

Citizen Diplomacy – Knowledge Exchange

Yesterday, at the end of a long day of errands, I received a phone call with an India number appearing on my screen. As one of my Dharma teachers lives in India, and I have several friends living there, I answered it, wondering who it was and what adventure might beckon. A man speaking in a thick Indian accent and claiming to be a doctor asked to come see me and expressed a desire to exchange knowledge. As a small business entrepreneur, and sole proprietor, one of my daily challenges in life is navigating cold calls from strangers and making split second decisions on whether to immediately...

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No Hopes or Fears

Hope. I know, the word has been tarnished through overuse and politicization. But I still like it and hereby reclaim it. And we need it desperately. I have some to offer: In recent months, I’ve seen a large uptick in fear based narratives on social media – reports that many well known scientists, including Stephen Hawking, foresee the breakdown in modern civilization happening soon. And then there’s the constant stream of news out of the nation’s capitol where our so-called leaders are reversing protections for the the working class, immigrants, women, national parks,...

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The Art of the Story

In middle school, I remember acting out in class, shooting rubber bands across the room, telling jokes when the teacher’s back was turned, or engaging in other ignominious behavior. Perhaps I was bored academically, or simply rebelling against authority. In any case, on at least a few occasions, I found myself in the principal’s office, feeling frustration and shame under the stern punishing eyes and frown of Mr. Barker. Thus I begin my self-introduction to a group of young men at the Community Center for Alternative Programs, a jail diversion program in Seattle where I have...

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Volunteerism: Path to Peace and Freedom

Years ago, one of my teachers related an incident when she walked into a New Age bookstore and glanced at a magazine rack. A title called “Self” jumped out and it reminded her of how obsessed our egos are with our perceived separate identities.  (Aside – “Self”magazine could rightly be renamed as “How to Get Flat Abs” as that topic seems to be the focus of every issue). Modern materialistic humans are obsessed with their bodies, stories, desires, experiences, plans, fantasies.  Why though, my teacher asked, why don’t we see a magazine called...

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Elwha River – Bailey Range III – Wilderness as a Mind Space

Our planet is a magical living being with beauty all around. Modern urban living – in a bitterly polarized presidential election year no less – can easily blind us of this truth, driving a wedge of separation between ourselves and the life giving mother which nurtures us all – the ground we stand on, the trees which breathe to us, our animal brothers and sisters who remind us of our larger family, the water which refreshes, cools, and replenishes us.  Do we walk over the earth as a separate being, or move through it as an inseparable part of the landscape, our heart-spirit...

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Break Free

Last week I took a day off work in order to attend a 3-day event called Break Free. Organized by dozens of climate action groups, labor, indigenous people and social justice activists mobilizing simultaneously on six continents around the globe, the intention was to catalyze an urgently needed conversation focused on transitioning from a fossil fuel based economy to a sustainable, renewable energy economy.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, activists converged on Anacortes, Washington, site of the Shell and Tesoro oil refineries, representing the oldest, and largest point source of carbon...

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