Scientists Discover Life’s Common Ancestor, An Ancient Living Ocean » No Unsacred Place

Scientists Discover Life’s Common Ancestor, An Ancient Living Ocean » No Unsacred Place

In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I talk about the exciting discoveries of recent genetic research into LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life on earth, and what parallels we can draw to ancient creation stories about the divine origins of life from cultures all over the world.

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The Tao of #Occupy

The Tao of #Occupy

As we enter the colder winter months, the days grow darker and time seems to slow down, thickening like sleepy sap in the bare-limbed trees. Yet for many of us watching the protests of the #OccupyWallStreet movement unfold over the last two months, the country seems poised on the brink of something revolutionary. A tension hangs in the air — the trembling stillness of hope and excitement, but also trepidation and anxiety. This pervasive mood has me thinking a lot recently about the Eastern spiritual philosophy of Taoism, and the lessons of stillness, receptivity and harmony with nature taught by its founders, Laozi and Zhuangzi. How might the insights of Taoism help us to understand the potency and influence of the #Occupy movement? And what can it tell us about where the movement might be heading in the future?

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Sunday Surfing: #Occupy, #Occupy, #Occupy!

Sunday Surfing: #Occupy, #Occupy, #Occupy!

There’s just too much in the news these days to keep up with here. Every morning I sit down to Twitter and my RSS reader right after breakfast and catch up on the latest updates coming out of the #Occupy movement. Some days, the news fills me with anger and frustration and grief; other days, with hope and gratitude and joy. More often, hope and anger mingle and turn in an intricate dance. It’s hardly possible to separate them. There is something like tragic, sorrowing relief when the violence of an oppressive system finally surfaces, like that moment in a dream when the monster only you could see finally lets its cover slip. There is a kind of horror to that hope, and hope even within the horror. I think maybe this is what it will always be like to be a human animal.

Still, I sit mostly on the sidelines. I have lots of excuses for not getting more deeply involved, and most of them sound pretty lame even to me. I’ve done my best to support the movement by making donations and helping to spread the word — I’d like to think that counts for something. I want to believe that for a movement so profoundly shaped by social media, communication and education have their place alongside direct action. That these acts are themselves a kind of protest.

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Recovery: A Poem

Recovery: A Poem

The flattery bears
down on us, leveled like a weapon
in the shaking hands of frightened and starving
corporate titans groveling like great beasts before us, desperate
and drooling, to convince us that their teeth are brittle and useless and anyway not
smiling makes them cool, and meanwhile, we scrape along the earth as things keep getting worse…

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The Speed of Blood » No Unsacred Place

The Speed of Blood » No Unsacred Place

In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, an illness that leads to a hospital visit has me reflecting on questions about the relationship between health, healing, body and spirit and how we experience moments of transcendence even in the midst of danger:

“If it weren’t for these strange experiences of transcendence, I might be a pure animist. When I feel the wind caress my skin and it seems to me to be living and animate, filled with purpose and awareness — I cannot divide that sense of Presence from the wind itself. …”

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Muse in Media: Disturbing Gentleness

Muse in Media: Disturbing Gentleness

Timothy Morton, author of Ecology Without Nature and The Ecological Thought, is attending the conference on Eastern and Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainability and Conflict Resolution at the University of South Florida this week and has done those of us philosophy-grad-student wanna-bees an amazing service by making the audio recording and slide show of his talk, Disturbing Gentleness, available on his blog.

Morton’s understanding of nonviolence resonates deeply with my own. It is not a passivity or denial of violence and death, but something that arises from and gives rise to existence itself. We are inconsistent beings, and the rift within our very selves is what allows for movement, spaciousness, beauty and death. Nonviolence is simply allowing this inconsistency in ourselves, and others, without trying to reduce it or extrapolate away from it. In this sense, perhaps the deepest expression of nonviolence is acceptance of things as they are — it is in fact the very opposite of denial.

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#Occupy as a Work of Art

#Occupy as a Work of Art

It’s easy to think of the poet as the dreamer and visionary, protected from the noise of common society, fiercely guarding the sacred solitude in which she does her work. It’s easy to imagine the peacemaker and political activist as the motivated mover and shaker, always busy, always at work on a plan to influence those in power and change the world. These ideals have often been at odds in my own heart as I’ve struggled to understand my place in society and how best I can live my life as a member of the world community.

When the poet and peacemaker act together, not as opposites but as allies, the creative work that results can change the world in unexpected ways.

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“Belfast’s Wall” Wins Photography Award!

“Belfast’s Wall” Wins Photography Award!

As someone who’s never even managed to win at Bingo, I’m pretty much over the moon to be able to announce that one of my photographs recently won third prize in the 1000Kalema photography contest!

1000Kalema is a project sponsored by Think Peace and NaYa of the United Religions Initiative, an organization that coordinates grassroots groups all over the world “to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.” The 1000Kalema photography project brings together word and image to tell stories of overcoming violence, fostering social justice, and cultivating sacred relationships with people from religions and cultures all over the world.

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Gods and Spirit

Gods and Spirit

That word for god — the breath, the gleaming — the shining days like great columns bearing up the sky, buttresses, rafters. Beams that in their falling, hold.

I say the names of my deities, I feel the drop of each sound into silence. They gather on the long, bent grasses in the meadow and the field, *dewos-, the many that glisten in the coming dark. Amulets of sky, jewels of the daylight, coalescing in the movement of my breath, the lingering touch of the wind. They draw themselves, wavering, into the weight and gravity of form.

I open the door, and the gods enter the dark interior of my being.

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Mission Accomplished.

Mission Accomplished.

I love when life gives me what I like to call “xkcd Moments.”

See, I’ve been meaning to migrate the archives of my former Meadowsweet & Myrrh site on Blogger over to this domain, but website design is really only something I do with any gusto when the obsession mood strikes me. So there the old girl languishes, attracting the occasional lost traveler and a whole lot of spambots. Which brings me to this morning, when I opened my email inbox to discover that someone had left this comment…

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