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This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): Prosperity    Inequality    Safety    Energy    Peace    Consciousness    Sufficiency    Mystery    Meaning    Imagination    Passion    Compassion    Love    Intimacy    Empowering Women    Forgiveness    Kindness    Singularity    Friendship    Order    Rumi    Topics & Links for Rumi    Sufi    Topics & Links for Sufi    Natural Environment    Topics & Links for Natural Environment    Oneness    Buddhism    Perfection    Dance    Howl    Story    Happiness    Vigor    War    Social Media    Faith    Turtle    Prayer    Creativity    Radical    Namaste    Politics    Success    Systems    Postcards    Crayola Bomb    Mother    Curiosity    In The Desert    Sandcastles    Wilderness    Becoming Prayer    Candles    Grownup    Earth    One    Pursuit    Cost Of War    Joy    Mindfulness    Alone    Breath    Healing    Music    System    Our Future    Beauty    Delight    Belief System    Science    Wise Woman    Tenderness    Diversity    Leadership    Gratitude    Life    Ingenuity    The Gaia Hypothesis    Purposefulness    Unreasonableness    Listening    Sympathy    Present    Love Your Neighbor    Hospitality    Flow    Reality    Divine Spark    Original Blessing    Beloved Community    Women    Stillness    Boldness    Journey    Aging    Smile    Dolphins    urbanization    Making Contact    Violence    Community    Anxiety    Connectedness    Eternity    Admonishment    Moral Ecology    Nuggets without an illustration (179)   .

"Nuggets" are words or ideas with which we can build new ideas. These are given life as we connect them. imagination , delight , joy and energy — melded with mindfulness. And, if healing is needed, this is a good path. If someone were to ask what this webpage is, a good answer would be that it is an attempt to cope with mystery through a "belief system"". Our belief system is less focussed on truths and more focussed on qualities and pursuits that enhance our chances survival, sufficiency and happiness. And the thread that ties all this together is the thread of "meaning". Every April 16 this page is dedicated to our friend and teacher Betsy Farrar. (216 nuggets) (updated 1/ 3/20 20:49)


“True prosperity depends on life-serving economies that satisfy our basic material needs, maintain a sustainable balance with Earth's natural resources, strengthen the bonds of caring communities, and support all persons in the full realization of their humanity. This requires the localization and distribution of power within a framework of responsible citizenship and international cooperation. It is wholly within our means- and consistent with human nature - to create such economies.” (from David C. Korten, “The Great Turning: From Empire To Earth Community”, 2006, p.303)


~A short Guide to Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century~ by Matthew Yglesias

Who is Thomas Piketty?

Thomas Piketty is a French economist who rose to prominence over the past decade thanks to his collaborations with Emmanuel Saez on income inequality. The duo was the first to carefully exploit American income tax data to show how highly concentrated income was in the hands not just of the top 10 or 20 percent of households but the top 1, 0.1, or even 0.01 percent.

What does Capital in the 21st Century argue?

The provocative argument of Capital in the 21st Century is that market capitalism, including the kind of welfare state capitalism practiced in continental Europe, will eventually lead to an economy dominated by those lucky enough to be born into a position of inherited wealth. Piketty argues that this is how the economy of early 20th century Europe worked, that the tyranny of inherited wealth was destroyed only by the devastation of two world wars, and that in the 21st Century the United States and Canada will suffer from the same affliction. weblinks


In each one of us there is such a deep wound, such an urgent cry to be held, appreciated and seen as unique and valuable. The heart of each one is broken and bleeding…. An experience of being loved and accepted in community, which has become a safe place for us, allows us gradually to accept ourselves as we are, with our wounds and all the monsters. We are broken, but we are loved.



"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." - Albert Schweitzer weblinks peace


Whether we consider the individual, family, local, national or international level, peace must arise from inner peace. For example, making prayers for peace while continuing to harbor anger is futile. Training the mind and overcoming your anger is much more effective than mere prayer. Anger, hatred and jealousy never solve problems, only affection, concern and respect can do that. (Dalai Lama) weblinks


"A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty."

~ Albert Einstein~ tulips-panop


Collaboration, not competition, is the royal road to the wholeness that hallmarks healthy systems in the world. Collaboration calls for empathy and solidarity, and ultimately for love. We are part of the same whole and so are part of each other. ~ (Ervin Laszlo) weblinks mystery


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, his eyes are closed. (by Albert Einstein, from: "What I Believe")

“Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme. Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reverence everywhere to the mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine → to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.” ~ Abraham Heschel: “I Asked for Wonder”

Perhaps "mystery" is the only "absolute truth" for us, that the "systems" within which we live and function have complexity and reality beyond our capacity to understand (C.S.Lewis). There are some "unmistakable truths", like gravity which we learned about as children, but that is less than an "absolute truth". To function we need a "belief system", a set of beliefs with which to shape our behavior and our choices. weblinks ubunto


For Abraham Heschel, man experiences his life as meaningful when he lives in God's presence - not simply by encountering God in the world, but primarily by serving God in everyday life, infusing every moment with the spirit of God, and by dedicating himself to ends outside himself.

For Viktor Frankl, meaning is experiencing by responding to the demands of the situation at hand, discovering and committing oneself to one's own unique task in life, and by allowing oneself to experience or trust in an ultimate meaning - which one may or may not call God.

(source: Tracy Marks: The Meaning of Life and Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (quotes)) weblinks Imagination


“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” ~ Robert Fulghum


“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.” ~ Joss Whedon (by way of Melanie)

“There should be a passion flowing between you and your work. When really you have found your vocation, it is a love affair. It is not that you have to do it. It is not that you have to force yourself to do it. Suddenly you do it in a totally different way you had not known before. Your steps have a difference dance, your heart goes on humming. Your whole system functions for the first time at the optimum. It is a fulfillment. Through it you will find your being --it will become a mirror; it will reflect you. Whatsoever it is -- a small thing. It is not a question that only great things become vocations no. A small thing. You may be making toys for children, or making shoes, or weaving cloth -- or whatsoever. It doesn't matter what it is, but if you love it, if you have fallen in love with it; if you are flowing with no reservation, if you are not withholding yourself, if you are not dragging -- dancingly moving into it -- it will cleanse you, it will purify you. Your thinking by and by will disappear. It will be a silent music, and by and by you will feel that it is not only work, it is your being. Each step fulfilled, something in you flowers. And richest is the man who has found his vocation. And richest is the man who starts feeling a fulfillment through his work.” ~ Osho compassion


The "Charter for Compassion" is a 300 word statement urging that we learn and teach peace. Over 90,000 people have signed it and over 78,000 people have "liked" it's Facebook page. Please check it out and sign it: webpage: or Facebook!/CharterforCompassion and let's live it every day. weblinks


"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source..." ~ Leo Tolstoy

"In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr ~ Montgomery, Nov. 1957

"When there’s someone, one someone, who makes your days brighter, makes your joys greater, makes your heart lighter.. Someone, one someone, you want to share with, do everything with, go everywhere with.. Someone, one someone you want to live for You have something called love." ~ Kahlil Gibran

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon


Intimacy weblinks

Empowering Women


Forgiveness and Love, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one's enemies without the prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us. Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Source: Strength to Love

Set Free, Lewis Smedes
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

Spiritual and Political, Archbishop Desmond Tutu
One of the things about forgiveness you have to remember is that it is not only spiritual. It is part of real politics. In forgiving, people are not being asked to forget. On the contrary, it is important to remember, so that we should not let such atrocities happen again. Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously...drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens our entire existence.


My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. (The Dalai Lama) — kindness as expressed in




"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Above all the other necessities of human nature, above the satisfaction of any other need, above hunger, love, pleasure, fame — even life itself — what a man most needs is the conviction that he is contained within the discipline of an ordered existence." (recalled by David Brooks in "The Culture of Nations")



Natural Environment


Mystic Oneness

Forrest Church

The great religious prophets have all recognized that beyond the intellectual realm lies a numinous oneness that transcends all differences, call it the Holy, the divine Spirit, God---it doesn't matter. The mystic oneness of person to person, of mother to child and then brother to sister, is but a simple expression of the greater mystical oneness of all existence in the great chain of being.

Theologians may reason their way to oneness, but mothers know it by heart. Extended from hearth to altar, this sense of cosmic kinship cannot help but uplift and transform our personal lives. Such religion exalts self and other alike by placing us together in divine kinship as children of one great mystery, children of God the mother, creator, consoler and comforter, God of love and compassion, to whom we owe all due and reverent praise.

Source: Sermon, May 13, 2007


The reason Buddhism rejects the existence of God is not an atheistic reason - that many things exist but God isn't one of them. The Budddhist position is rather a rejection of everything's existence. Budddhists believe that nothing really exists, including God ...

This Buddhist belief in the illusion of existence is called sunyata in the Pali language. The main idea is that nothing has any existence on its own (anatta) because everyything is connected. Everything is dependent on everything else and so has no existence of its own. This is called dependent co-origination (pratityasamutpada). What it all comes down to is that nothing is really real. However, in our illuusions about the world, we think that things are real Sb we get attached tothem (tanha), and then when they die or are gone and we lose them, we suffer (dukka).

All this is very philosophical and psychological but not particularly religious. This is why some people don't consider Buddhism a religion but rather a philosophy. I think Buddhism is indeed a religion beecause it moves beyond its obscure metaphysics to a very practical salvation system characteristic of all religions. Salvation in Buddhism is called enlightenment (bodht), and the state of being enlightened is nirvana (nibana).

The Buddha, a prince named Siddhartha Gotama, taught about a way to end the suffering we feel in life (having a founding spiritual teacher is also typical of a religion). He taught about a path to enlightenment that includes, as all religions do, both rituals and ethical teachings.

To me, the main difference beetween Buddhism and the Abrahammic faiths is its teachings about how to change the world.

All religions want to heal the world of its suffering. (Not all philosophies have such a goal and this is another way to know that Buddhism is a religion.) In the West, we seek to change the world directly, but in Buddhism, the change in the world comes about by first changing ourselves, then bringing our enlightened, changed souls into the world as examples of peace and harmony.

Buddhism is divided, like Roman Catholicism, into a priestthood (the sangha) and a laity. The Buddhist priesthood ismade up of Buddhist monks (bikkhu) and nuns (bikkunz). They lead celibate lives and are committed to ascetiicism and long hours of meditation and prayer.

In fact, Buddhism is a good model for the kind of religious ecumenism I've believed in all my life. Here's a religion that never knew of the Bible, yet generated its own ethical teachings identical to those of the Abrahamic faiths. Could this be proof that God speaks to each of us in ways our culture can translate?

The Buddha was once asked if he was a god and he answered, "I am not a god. I am merely awake." May we all be awake to the many ways compassion sweeps us up into love and hope.

November 14, 2008; Palm Beach Post; Faith and Values: Buddhism, a model for religious ecumenism; by Rabbi Marc Gellman (God Squad). The God Squad c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or e-mail them to


Make a Mess, Discover Your Life

By Anne Lamott

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

Besides, perfectionism will block inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California). Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground—you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation.

When I was 21, I had my tonsils removed. I was one of those people who got strep throat every few minutes, and my doctor finally decided that I needed to have my tonsils taken out. For the entire week afterward, swallowing hurt so much that I could barely open my mouth for a straw. I had a prescription for painkillers, though, and when they ran out but the pain hadn’t, I called the nurse and said she would need to send another prescription over, and maybe a little mixed grill of drugs because I was also feeling somewhat anxious. But she wouldn’t.

I asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me her supervisor was at lunch and that I needed to buy some gum, of all things, and to chew it vigorously—the thought of which made me clutch at my throat. She explained that when we have a wound in our body, the nearby muscles cramp around it to protect it from any more violation and from infection, and that I would need to use these muscles if I wanted them to relax again. So finally my best friend Pammy went out and bought me some gum, and I began to chew it, with great hostility and skepticism. The first bites caused a ripping sensation in the back of my throat, but within minutes all the pain was gone, permanently.

I think that something similar happens with our psychic muscles. They cramp around our wounds—the pain from our childhood, the losses and disappointments of adulthood, the humiliations suffered in both—to keep us from getting hurt in the same place again, to keep foreign substances out. So those wounds never have a chance to heal. Perfectionism is one way our muscles cramp. In some cases we don’t even know that the wounds and the cramping are there, but both limit us. They keep us moving in tight, worried ways. They keep us standing back or backing away from life, keep us from experiencing life in a naked and immediate way.

So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.

Anne Lamott is a writer of books and essays. This piece is an excerpt from her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.



I want to expand the concept of conversation.

The Latin and Indo-European roots of "con" and "vers" connote "turning together".

This deeper understanding opens up new meanings.

When we speak our truths and hear each other deeply, letting each other's voices and ideas and stories and passions shift us, we turn together.

When we dance or listen to music, and our bodies and attention resonate with its shifting vibrations and emotional resonances, we turn together.

When we all share the same perspectives, hopes or horrors within the vibrational embrace of mass media and the webs of telecommunications -- 911, elections, earth from space -- we turn together.

When we respond adaptively to the situations we face -- individually or collectively -- we are turning together with the energies and realities that reside within those situations.

When we as a community come together in times of crisis, rather than splitting apart into adversarial or self-aggrandizing camps, we are turning together.

As all plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, and all animals breath in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, we turn together in and as one great cycling flow of oxygen and carbon, releasing the energies of Life.

As our one small and beautiful planet spins out its days and nights, and circles the sun into seasons, and glides with our whole solar family on one vast arcing arm of our spiral Milky Way galaxy, we turn together.

We are in conversation -- all of us, all the time, at more levels than we know -- turning together.

Waking up is our emerging realization that we can converse more consciously, learn to do it more knowledgeably and heartfully, inspired and inspiring, and thereby evolve together with -- and into -- greater wisdom, wholesomeness, and grace... turning, together.

Tom Atlee ΠThe Co-Intelligence Institute ΠPO Box 493 ΠEugene, OR 97440 Π Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY Π Tom Atlee's blog




We’re all born late. We’re born into history that is well under way. We’re born into cultures, nations and languages that we didn’t choose. On top of that, we’re born with certain brain chemicals and genetic predispositions that we can’t control. We’re thrust into social conditions that we detest. Often, we react in ways we regret even while we’re doing them. But unlike the other animals, people do have a drive to seek coherence and meaning. We have a need to tell ourselves stories that explain it all. We use these stories to supply the metaphysics, without which life seems pointless and empty. Among all the things we don’t control, we do have some control over our stories. We do have a conscious say in selecting the narrative we will use to make sense of the world. Individual responsibility is contained in the act of selecting and constantly revising the master narrative we tell about ourselves. The stories we select help us, in turn, to interpret the world. They guide us to pay attention to certain things and ignore other things. They lead us to see certain things as sacred and other things as disgusting. They are the frameworks that shape our desires and goals. So while story selection may seem vague and intellectual, it’s actually very powerful. The most important power we have is the power to help select the lens through which we see reality. (by David Brooks, November 10, 2009, New York Times)


In an essay in the Sunday Book Review on January 29, 2010, Amy Bloom considers the studies and books that have been published in recent years about the pursuit of happiness, as well as the cynicism about it. She then offers this list:
the Fundamentally Sound, Sure-Fire Top Five Components of Happiness: (1) Be in possession of the basics — food, shelter, good health, safety. (2) Get enough sleep. (3) Have relationships that matter to you. (4) Take compassionate care of others and of yourself. (5) Have work or an interest that engages you.
“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson


The essence of America is energy — the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs. This vibrancy grew up accidentally, out of a cocktail of religious fervor and material abundance, but it was nurtured by choice. It was nurtured by our founders, who created national capital markets to disrupt the ossifying grip of the agricultural landholders. It was nurtured by 19th-century Republicans who built the railroads and the land-grant colleges to weave free markets across great distances. It was nurtured by Progressives who broke the stultifying grip of the trusts. (David Brooks, New York Times, March 22, 2010)


I think war is part of a much bigger subject that might be called non-violence or peace. It may be that The Status of Women belongs with this subject. And certainly our tendency to respect domination and our hegemony of believing in the importance of our nation being a super-power belong with this subject. The writing of Fareed Zakaria will be important. I think this will be where our continuing work will most focus.

Social Media

Social media are today the most important phenomena transforming the Internet. The term includes social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media tools include Twitter, LinkedIn (60 million users), Facebook (200 million users), Flickr, Wikipedia (which has eclipsed Britannica as the encyclopedia most used), Orkut and YouTube.

In the context of internet marketing, social media refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is primarily published by users, not direct employees of the property (e.g., the vast majority of video on YouTube is published by non-YouTube employees). This presents a splendid new marketing opportunity for those who learn how to use it. (this text is adapted from Wikipedia and Social Media Marketing for Dummies).


What we mean by faith is well stated in Wikipedia.
Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The word "faith" can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general. As with "trust", faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes, and is used conversely for a belief "not resting on logical proof or material evidence." Informal usage of the word "faith" can be quite broad, and may be used in place of "trust" or "belief." For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation).

“What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket when, of course, it is the cross.” ~ Flannery O'Connor: Source: Flannery O'Connor's Library: Resources of Being by Arthur Kinney


A great deal of mythology exists in regard to the turtle. In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth. The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth. With a profile resembling a mountain and the turning motion of its toes, it seemed to be a depiction of heaven and earth changing constantly through the seasons.

In the West, early Christians didn't like turtles, and they viewed them as symbolizing evil forces during war. In Greece, turtles were once believed to be citizens of hell. But like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that "the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle."

After hearing a Western scientist clearly give a scientific explanation for the formation of the world, one old Indian woman said that he was wholly mistaken, that the world was being supported by a giant turtle. When the scientist asked what was under the turtle, she said, "Of course there is an endless pile of turtles, one on top of another."

Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination. Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana. The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle. On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe. After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which support the planet.

According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth. The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.

A Japanese Fairy Tale about Urashima tells of a man who protects a turtle from some boys who were bothering it. As a reward, the turtle takes the man to meet the King of the Ocean. As a reward for his good deed, Urashima marries the King's beautiful water sprite daughter. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.

The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.

To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera. They are worshipped in temples. Flour turtles used to be used as offerings at temple festivals or big family events. However, the term turtle is also used as a curse word, and the Taiwanese expression for gamblers "losing your shirt" translates as "knocking turtles". Apart from gamblers' fears that eating a flour turtle will turn their luck sour, turtles have many other bad connotations in modern Chinese society. In fact, when people curse each other these days, the first thing to come out is often "turtle egg" or " grandson of a turtle".

Even so, the image of the turtle as a spiritual beast has become deeply implanted in people's minds. One ancient text warns its readers not to act rashly when catching turtles and always to carry out the proper ceremony to worship them first. There are also many legends about how those who killed turtles eventually met with misfortune. Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.

Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth. prayer


It is not we alone who pray; all things pray. All things pour forth their souls. The heavens pray; the earth prays, every creature and every living thing prays. In all life, there is longing. Creation itself is but a longing, a prayer to the Almighty. ... What are the clouds, the rising and the setting of the sun, the soft radiance of the moon, and the gentleness of the night? What are the flashes of the human mind and the storms of the human heart? They are all prayers – the outpouring of the boundless longing for God. (Mishkan T’filah – Reformed Jewish Prayer Book, p. 287)

To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live.... Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers wiser than all alphabets--clouds that die constantly for the sake of God's glory--we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. (Abraham Joshua Heschel: Quest for God


Creativity is a voice that calls us from dreams, that peeks out of the corner of our eyes when we think no one is looking, the longing that breaks our hearts even when we think we should be happiest, and to which we cannot give a name. When I was young, I heard the voice, the ticking, had the dream, but I didn't know what it was and only felt the pain, the longing that the voice inside brought me. (Judy Collins)


Being Radical Saul Alinsky

The radical is that unique person who actually believes what he says. He is that person to whom the common good is the greatest personal value. He is that person who genuinely and completely believes in humankind. The radical is so completely identified with humankind that he personally shares the pain, the injustices, and the sufferings of all his fellow humans. For the radical, the bell tolls unceasingly, and every man's struggle is his fight. Source: Rules for Radicals


"I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." (Mahatma Gandhi)


The work of politics is the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts. There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don’t get politics right, everything else risks extinction. We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it. Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history. It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard one day. Out there. By them, the few — the only — who got it right. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, December 29, 2011)


"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded." ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

"If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal...that is your success." ~ Henry David Thoreau


"If you look around yourself carefully, you may notice that our Universe consists of a unified network of systems nestled within systems. Your physical body is composed of various organ systems, each maintained by groups of cells, molecules and atoms. Our families and social communities are embedded in ecosystems, the biosphere, the solar system, our galaxy and the universe.

From this perspective, human beings are as much a part of nature as the oceans, trees, and stars. What's more, there seem to be certain patterns and processes which occur in natural systems everywhere, guiding the development of individuals and galaxies alike.

The ideas in systems theory are based on careful observations of natural phenomena. They tell us how nature works, how all things fit together into larger systems and communities. Its concepts refer as much to cells and solar systems as to nations, corporations and basketball teams.

While many of the words and concepts of systems theory are new, systems thinking is not. Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world ecologically and holistically, where one focuses on patterns and processes, and how seemingly separate things form coherent wholes.

Systems thinkers have been with us since ancient times, providing wisdom and guidance in all cultures and every area of human activity. Some of the ideas presented here have their roots in ancient Greece, or in Eastern systems of thought, such as Taoism or Zen.

Many indigenous communities have long had an awareness of the way nature's systems worked. They observed their environments carefully, watching the ways animals lived, how the natural world moved in cycles and patterns. Elaborate myths and rituals have helped native people to align themselves with the rhythms and processes of nature, to feel a part of their local worlds.

On the other hand, many civilized societies have moved away from a feeling of connectedness with nature, and an understanding of nature's ways. In the West, we have developed more dualistic ways of thinking, classifying and categorizing everything in the world. Our cities and communities both reflect and influence this thinking. Ours is a world of walls, boxes, and roads, of separation and specialization. Our social institutions are organized by a more mechanistic and linear paradigm, a less organic beat.

As the industrial revolution took hold in communities across the globe we have used this paradigm to organize all areas of our lives. In our educational institutions we have removed children from their families and natural surroundings. We have put them together in rooms and then asked a single adult to provide them with disconnected facsimiles of the world, to divide external reality into separate fields such as art, science, language, and history. What is often ignored in this approach is the way these different phenomena are related, how things often flow together and influence one another.

In a field like science the natural world has been further divided into pieces. When we were young we studied biology, chemistry, physics, and geology-- as if each field existed separately from the others. We never received a coherent picture of the world that reflected the way nature actually organizes things, how these phenomena are related to one another and play a role in each individual's life.

Lacking a unified understanding of nature, our scientists and educators have often used very misleading metaphorical language in order to describe the world. Over the last few hundred years, leading Western scientists have talked about nature as if she were a woman to be dominated, a mindless machine, a struggle for survival, or (at best) a "glorious accident." These metaphors have influenced the way modern nations have dealt with internal social problems, other communities, and the natural world.

Our beliefs and metaphors for reality are conceptual tools. They help us create images and representations in our mind that we hope will reflect the way the world is actually organized. While these metaphors help to focus our attention on certain things they can also screen out and ignore a lot of information that is important. Over time our thinking has become increasingly rigid and reductionistic, frequently separating phenomena into fixed categories such as "us and them," or "smart and dumb."

In the United States, social or physical problems have often been viewed as adversaries people must struggle with or declare war upon. This dualistic thinking underlies the approaches we've taken toward poverty, drug abuse, cancer, and crime. It has sent missles firing into Viet Nam, Lebanon, Panama, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In most cases our wars have been ineffective, created new problems, or simply ignored the resulting violence and suffering caused.

Yet, while this hard-edged thinking may be out of touch with the organic complexities of natural phenomena, it has provided the key to the development of sophisticated tools, mathematics, and machines. New inventions (like the microscope, the camera, the steam engine and the computer) pushed change and shaped the unfolding patterns of mechanistic civilizations. They also allowed scientists to observe the rhythmic functioning of atoms, organs, and cells; to glimpse the history of our planets and the stars.

It is in this careful and methodical examination of the natural world that modern systems theory developed. Today we have detailed information about almost everything in the observable universe. We also have a large body of words, concepts and theories that describe how all these things fit together, how these systems provide evidence of certain recurring processes and patterns in the natural world. Setting out initially to classify and categorize nature, science has now brought us full circle, rediscovering nature's paradigm.

~ Christopher:: Systems Theory: Rediscovering Nature's Paradigm


Our friend Melanie has vivid memories and a rich imagination and she enjoys them. She finds images are a profound way to play with them and she writes or finds nuggets of text to add flesh to the images. All this is made easy for her because she does it in her computer and in Facebook and her friends enjoy what she does. I'm thinking that we can do the same thing with you but instead of the computer we'll do it with postcards. So we have lots of images from which we can make postcards and we'll write or find nuggets of text like Melanie does and we hope you'll enjoy them as much as Melanie's friends enjoy hers. This is the first postcard and this little message is our first nugget. Love from Bob and Carl and myriads of grands and cousins (and ancestors if your mind can reach there). Love also from the ever expanding circle of friends who teach us about love and it's expression.

Crayola Bomb

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.

~Robert Fulghum


".....but the soul of a woman emits an energy men will never comprehend. We (women) are the magnets that pull existence together, from the core of the family, to the network of acquaintances you'll make. We all exchange the flow of love on what we call Mother earth, with her gravitational pull keeping us all grounded. You'll notice all encapsulating existences, and even vessels, are given a feminine gender. The earth and her land masses, the oceans and the seas, and ships, for instance. All are referred to as female entities." ~ Darren Hogarth


“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” ~Albert Einstein~

In The Desert

In the desert the most urgent thing is--to wait. The desert does not take kindly to those who tackle it at breakneck speed, subjecting it to their plans and deadlines. Instead, the desert welcomes those who shed their sandals of speed and walk slowly in their bare feet, letting them be caressed and burnt by the sand. If you have no ambition to conquer the desert, if you do not think you are in charge, if you can calmly wait for things to be done, then the desert will not consider you an intruder and will reveal its secrets to you. Source: Alessandro Pronzato, Meditations on the Sand


“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won't really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we'll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.” ~ Anne Lamott


The wilderness is not just a desert through which we wandered for forty years. It is a way of being. A place that demands being open to the flow of life around you. A place that demands being honest with yourself without regard to the cost in personal anxiety. A place that demands being present with all of yourself. By: Lawrence Kushner; Source: Eyes Remade for Wonder

Becoming Prayer

When we have prayed prayers long enough, all the words drop away and we begin to live in the presence of God. Then prayer is finally real. When we find ourselves sinking into the world around us with a sense of purpose, an inner light and deep and total trust that whatever happens is right for us, then we have become prayer. When we kneel down, we admit the magnitude of God in the universe and our own smallness in the face of it. When we stand with hands raised, we recognize the presence of God in life and our own inner glory because of it. All life is in the hands of God. Even the desire to pray is the grace to pray. The movement to pray is the movement of God in our souls. Our ability to pray depends on the power and place of God in our life. We pray because God attracts us and we pray only because God is attracting us. We are not, in other words, even the author of our own prayer life. It is the goodness of God, not any virtue that we have developed on our own, that brings us to the heart of God. And it is with God's help that we seek to go there. Source: Becoming Prayer, by Joan Chittister, OSB; The Monastic Way, In My Own Words


"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." ~ Gautama Buddha


A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.? (Eleanor Roosevelt) Earth


'“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” (John Paul II)'

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." (Chief Seattle)

"In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand on the ground and explain; ”We sit in the lap of our Mother. From her we, and all other living things come. We shall soon pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever.” One


"The traditionally presented Christian model is of a God who created everything (likely a grey haired and bearded man), and that we are separate from that God→ made by him, but not of him. Over there is God, and over here is everything he made, like vessels in a potters workshop. But there are often ignored or glossed-over hints hidden within Christianity that point to God being within each and every one of us, in each and every thing. Yet many still believe themselves to be separate beings, disconnected from the “other” and disconnected from the “source” (or God if we want to call it that). Aliens anxiously living in a scary seperate world.

Taoist thought doesn’t see a concrete separation between magnetic polarities, black & white, good & bad, everything and nothing. Each simultaneously implies the other, and cannot exist without the other. From emptiness comes everything. From darkness comes light. We are a playful dance happening somewhere between opposing polarities. Only opposing polarities because we call it that→ really just one thing.

Buddhism in much the same way, sees & feels not just the waves on the surface, but the vast ocean from which they arise. The prime motivation is to rid ourselves from suffering caused by delusional egocentric thought. One of the main places to start is to see that you are not the autonomous wave that you think you are. To fully realize your true-nature or “Buddhanature” is awakening. There is no “God” in Buddhism, but if there must be, then you are it→ so is your cat, and that cup on your desk too. Reality is “God” and we are activities of reality.

Science is very compatible with the above notions. Rather than using the loaded word “God,” science might use the words cosmos or universe. The important part in the word universe is “uni” meaning one. What some might call Karma, science would call ’cause and effect’ – relationships between all things.

These are all different fingers pointing to the same moon. Different doors to the same big house.

Whoever lets go of himself finds God.

Perhaps this video comes close to expressing what I was trying to express..."

~Words and Art by Doug Seidl (aka, bluefuze)~

I made a “making-of” step-by-step walkthrough here.

Text source and homepage:

~One, by Doug Seidl~

"Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation." ~ Robert F. Kennedy

"No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood→. Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood, and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.


“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Cost Of War

A new study has put the total cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars at between $4 and $6 trillion. By my calculation that's more than $40,000 per American household. And of course that's just the financial cost, not including the toll in American or Iraqi lives. To put that sum in perspective, the mid-range figure of $5 trillion is enough (by UNESCO numbers) to get all the remaining unschooled kids in the world through primary school for the next 312 years. In other words, for the first time in the history of the world, we would have had universal literacy--and education often fights extremism more effectively than bombs. (Nicholas Kristof)


Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is our elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness of abundance. It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune. Source: Spirituality & Practice


"The last time Martin Luther King and I met was in Geneva during the peace conference called Paix sur Terre — "Peace on Earth." I was able to tell him that the people in Vietnam were very grateful for him because he had come out against the violence in Vietnam. They considered him to be a great bodhisattva, working for his own people and supporting us. Unfortunately, three months later he was assassinated. People were very compassionate and willing to support us in ending the war in Vietnam during the sixties. But the peace movement in America did not have enough patience. People became angry very quickly because what they were doing wasn't bringing about what they wanted. So there was a lot of anger and violence in the peace movement. Nonviolence and compassion are the foundations of a peace movement. If you don't have enough peace and understanding and loving-kindness within yourself, your actions will not truly be for peace. Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do it. Engaged Buddhism is just Buddhism. When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time. Meditation is about the awareness of what is going on- not only in your body and in your feelings, but all around you. When I was a novice in Vietnam, we young monks witnessed the suffering caused by the war. So we were very eager to practice Buddhism in such a way that we could bring it into society. That was not easy because the tradition does not directly offer Engaged Buddhism. So we had to do it by ourselves. That was the birth of Engaged Buddhism. Buddhism has to do with your daily life, with your suffering and with the suffering of the people around you. You have to learn how to help a wounded child while still practicing mindful breathing. You should not allow yourself to get lost in action. Action should be meditation at the same time." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~ Shambhala Sun, 2008 Interview


"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." - Wayne Dyer


Breath is the doorway between realms. It is breath that keeps us grounded and connected to our inner core. It is breath that, in deep meditation, breathes us. Every breath a prayer.


Wise old Jung insists that it is good and salutory - even necessary for growth - to face one's shadow and to confront one's inner demons. No one is exempt. Who is without fears, neuroses, anxieties? There is darkness in all of us. Don't avoid your demons! Go through them. Bring them into the light and face them fairly and squarely. Only then will you be able to handle them.

The mystical life can be described as a journey into the depths of one's being, a journey to the true self and through the true self to God, who is the Center. Down, down I go through alternate layers of light and darkness, meeting all the slimy monsters and frightening demons that inhabit the subliminal world. And if I progress enough, I meet not only my own little monsters. I meet the monsters of the human race. I meet the root causes of war, oppression, torture, hunger, terrorism. I meet hatred, despair, injustice, atheism, darkness. I meet archetypical evil. I meet it in myself.... We are all responsible.

God is present in all these hurts. He is more present in darkness than in light. He is nearer in a time of desolation than in a time of consolation. Stay with the darkness. Go through it. Don't run away. And through all of this you will expand, making you more and more capable of receiving those sublime communications which come from the darkness of God. (from Christian Mysticism Today by Johnston)


“Music is the mediator between the spiritual life and the sensual life. ” ~ Beethoven “Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart..” ~ Pablo Casals “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” ~ Maya Angelou


"Each system, from atom to galaxy, is a whole. That means that it is not reducible to its components. Its distinctive nature and capacities derive from the interactive relationships between its parts.

This interplay is synergistic, generating "emergent properties" and new possibilities, which are not predictable from the character of the separate parts--just as the wetness of water could not be predicted from oxygen and hydrogen before they combined.

Every system is a "holon"-- that is, it is both a whole in its own right, comprised of subsystems, and simultaneously an integral part of a larger system. Thus holons form "nested hierarchies," systems within systems, circuits within circuits, fields within fields.

Each new holonic level-- say from atom to molecule, cell to organ, person to family-- generates emergent properties that are nonreducible to the capacities of the separate components."

~ Joanna Macy ~

Click here for the Wikipedia definition of a system

Our Future

"If we were logical the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we have work." (Costeau) And we are making progress. In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever. Since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to to suffer excrutiating and disfiguring disease. Historically, almost half of all humans died in childhood. As recently as 1950, 27% of all children still died by age 15. Now that figure has dropped to about 4%. As recently as 1981, 42% of the planet's population endured "extreme poverty", defined by the United Nations as living on less than about $2 a day. That portion has plunged to less than 10% of the world's population now. (Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes, 1/1/2020)


“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.” ~Omar Pamuk in My Name is Red, Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature


Cris left a gift alongside a path and Claudia and Carl discovered it and learned a lesson. The gift didn't have intrinsic value and our "reality based" friends weren't impressed by it, but it was lovely and it gave us delight. We decided the gift we stumbled upon was a bag of diamonds from the Amazon river basin, and since Claudia is from Brazil she was able to give certain authentication. This is where we discovered one of our "truths". We saw this chain of links: imagination , delight , joy and energy — melded with mindfulness. And, if healing is needed, this is a good path. If someone were to ask what this webpage is, a good answer would be that it is an attempt to cope with mystery through a "belief system"". Our belief system is less focussed on truths and more focussed on qualities and pursuits that enhance our chances survival, sufficiency and happiness. And the thread that ties all this together is the thread of "meaning". Every April 16 this page is dedicated to our friend and teacher Betsy Farrar.

Belief System

A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological or a combination of these. Spirituality and describes some belief systems, and further discussion is available by Carl based on the work of Karen Armstrong, The Dalai Lama, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Carl is basically a scientist, but believes that thus far science has only begun to deliver understanding of our universe and the system dynamics of our planet and its various species. So, mystery remains our ultimate realm.

Science WiseWoman

Wise Woman

"I knew a Wise Woman And she said to me That the river would mold me And the wild wind would cool me That the trickster the coyote He would fool me That father Sun would warm me Mother Earth would clothe me Grandmother Moon would greet me And of the old ways she would teach me Wise woman, she told me To always walk lightly Tread the earth ever gently Lovingly so preciously And take from her sparingly She said, to share with others What you have learned from me Be still and breathe, ever patiently For the web of life Has woven what is to be But you must still chose Your own path, you will see And lastly, the wise woman said to me To listen to the wise one That dwells within me To walk my path in balance Is too be free More than just words So mote it be"...


“In our culture, we leave the feeling of tenderness in a small pot in the mudroom. To feel tenderly is to feel vulnerable and vulnerability is not a favorite American dish. When it comes to the humanizing sentiments, we Americans place placards in public schools and in general harp on the significance of respect. While I have all the respect in the world for respect, it is a chilly sort of feeling — if it is a feeling at all. Respect is a fence that prevents us from harming one another. But strengthening the ties that bind and make us human requires something more pliant, more intimate. We need to be visited by that weird and neglected angel that is the feeling of tenderness.

In moments of tenderness it is as though the ego and all its machinations momentarily melt away so that our feelings are heightened and we are perhaps moved by the impulse to reach out with a comforting hand.” ~ Try a Little Tenderness, by Gordon Marino.

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” ~ Plato

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen


We come from God and return to God, and in the 'interim' we live in the presence of God--even when we do not know or acknowledge it. We are created in the image of God (the entire universe reflects God's glory, each and every creature and thing in its particular, concrete, unique way). Creation is a panoply of mind-boggling diversity, a myriad of outrageously extravagant species and individuals who all together make up the body of God.... Each creature praises God by simply being itself, by being fully alive. (Source: Sallie McFague, Life Abundant)


"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea..." ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

"Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation." - William Arthur Wood


"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder..." ~ G.K. Chesterton life


I think we grow the lens (or lenses) by which we perceive and experience life. I think for Melanie it is a flow. Poetry and images flow from her mind and thru her fingers like a river. While her created work looks like art, she doesn't think in terms of accumulating it or rearranging it. The image of a river doesn't work for Carl. His work is discrete, is accumulated, and does get rearranged. So this little presentation of "nuggets" is a wonderful sandbox for him. And the pieces of his experience show up as words & ideas, images and for special delight they show up as "acrylic diamonds" or "diamonds from the Amazon river valley" (depending on who is playing with them).


"If we were logical the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we have work." (Jacques Yves Cousteau) TheGaiaHypothesis

The Gaia Hypothesis

The Gaia Hypothesis, also known as the Gaia Theory or Gaia Principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on the planet to form a complex, self-regulating system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on Earth.

The idea of the Earth as an integrated whole, a living being, has a long tradition. The mythical Gaia was the primal Greek goddess personifying the Earth, the Greek version of "Mother Nature" or the Earth Mother.

The Gaia Hypothesis encompasses how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables, which affect Earth's habitability. The hypothesis was formulated by James Lovelock, a scientist, and co-developed by Lynn Margulis, a microbiologist, in the 1970s. Early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection. Later refinements have resulted in concepts highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in disciplines such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology and climate science.

[Pictured: Gaia by Robert Donaghey found at] — with Clinton Brooks.


"This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." ~ George Bernard Shaw Unreasonableness


Here’s to the crazy ones, the rebels, the troublemakers, the ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do... ~Steve Jobs


Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else.

We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. If we can do that, we create moments in which real healing is available. Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell our story to someone who listens, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances.

~Margaret J. Wheatley


It is a man's sympathy with all creatures that truly makes him a man. Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man himself will not find peace.

~ Albert Schweitzer (January 14, 1875 – September 4, 1965) was a German—and later French—theologian, musician, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa


"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Love Your Neighbor

The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self–to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.

Add your thoughts at inward/outward


This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of it's furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. - Rumi


"Flow" (a state of being articulated by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is an optimal state in which you feel totally engaged in an activity -- whether long-distance swimming or songwriting, sumo-wrestling or sex. In a state of flow, you're neither bored nor anxious, and you don't question your own adequacy. Hours pass without your noticing. The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards in brings. Although flow does not depend on being an introvert or an extrovert, many of the flow experiences that Cskiszentmihalyi writes about are solitary pursuits that have nothing to do with reward-seeking: reading, tending an orchard, solo ocean cruising. Flow often occurs, he writes, in conditions in which people "become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself.' In a sense, Csikszentmihalyi transcends Aristotle; he is telling us that there are some activities that are not about approach or avoidance, but about something deeper: the fulfillment that comes from absorption in an activity outside yoursef. "Psychological theories usually assume that we are motivated either by the need to eliminate an unpleasant condition like hunger or fear," Csikszentmihalyi writes, "or by the expectation of some future reward such as money, status, or prestige." But in flow, "a person could work around the clock for days on end, for no better reason than to keep on working." (from "Quiet" by Susan Cain, page 172)


You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new reality that makes the existing reality obsolete. (R. Buckminster Fuller)

Divine Spark

“The idea, most common to Gnosticism but also present in most Western Mystical Traditions such as Kabbalah and Sufism that all of mankind contains within itself the Divine Spark of God which is contained or imprisoned in the body. In these cosmologies the purpose of life is to enable the Divine Spark to be released from its captivity in matter and reestablish its connection with or simply return to God who is perceived as being the source of the Divine Light. In the Gnostic Christian tradition (e.g. the Valentinian Church, the Cathars, the modern Lectorium Rosicrucianum etc.) Christ is seen as an Avatar of the Light which has taken human form in order to lead humanity back to the Light. The Cathars in particular saw this idea expressed most powerfully in the opening words of the Gospel of St John” ~ (Wikipedia)

Original Blessing

Original Blessing makes available to the Christian World and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated. ~ Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story --- Original Blessing

Beloved Community

“Dr. Martin Luther King's Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.” ~ July 13, 1966, The King Center) women


We have a growing awareness that whereever the world is growing more peaceful, whereever it is healing, women are playing an important role. Some of us are concluding that the empowerment and protection of women in places that are hurting should be a very high priority. We haven't been able to stop violence and abuse in Darfur, in Rwanda, in the Congo, in Somalia, in Zimbabwe, in Haiti, in Syria, in Nigeria; maybe our effort should go to ensure that those who are likely to have the will for rebuilding can do so.


The one journey that ultimately matters is the journey into the place of stillness deep within one’s self. To reach that place is to be at home; to fail to reach it is to be forever restless. At the place of ‘central silence’ one’s own life and spirit are united with the life and Spirit of God. There the fire of God’s presence is experienced. The soul is immersed in love. The divine birth happens. We hear at last the living Word. ~ N. Gordon Cosby, Source: Foreword to Search for Silence by Elizabeth O'Connor


“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The one journey that ultimately matters is the journey into the place of stillness deep within one’s self. To reach that place is to be at home; to fail to reach it is to be forever restless. At the place of ‘central silence’ one’s own life and spirit are united with the life and Spirit of God. There the fire of God’s presence is experienced. The soul is immersed in love. The divine birth happens. We hear at last the living Word. N. Gordon Cosby Source: Foreword to Search for Silence by Elizabeth O'Connor


“Aging happens to the best of us. Aging is beautiful if the emotions that feed into our wrinkles are true and unobstructed by self-deception. Pain, sadness, joy, a humor about oneself→honest wrinkles tell true stories that perfect plastic hides. For our task here is to practice loving our wrinkles, loving our hair loss→ Love our aging→ We must be among those who do not fight death but who still embrace life, and do not give in to it easily→and then our life and wisdom may unfurl like an epic, and we may become more beautiful, with age.” -Meryl Streep



“I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.” ~ Mother Teresa with more by Ron Gutman text at and audio at


"And when the day comes that we can communicate intelligently with dolphins, they may introduce us to the concept of survival without aggression, and the true joy of living, which at present eludes us. In that circumstance what they have to teach us would be infinitely more valuable than anything we could offer them in exchange." ~ Horace Dobbs


We had a billion citizens living in urban areas on our planet in 1960. In the 50 years since then we've added 2.5 billion urban citizens and in the next 40 years we will add nearly 3 billion more. Urbanization is not bad, it is just reality. In fact, "cities (and villages) magnify humanity's strengths. They spur innovation by facilitating face-to-face interaction, they attract talent and sharpen it through competition, they encourage entrepreneurship, and they allow for social and economic mobility." (Edward Glaeser)

Making Contact

“Making Contact I believe The greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person. When this is done I feel contact has been made.” ~ Virginia Satir


“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


In community we work out our connectedness to God, to one another, and to ourselves. It is in community where we find out who we really are. It is life with another that shows my impatience and life with another that demonstrates my possessiveness and life with another that gives notice to my nagging devotion to the self. Life with someone else, in other words, doesn’t show me nearly as much about his or her shortcomings as it does about my own…. In human relationships I learn that theory is no substitute for love. It is easy to talk about the love of God; it is another thing to practice it.



To live fully in the world is to frequently suffer the bouts of anxiety that are our lot as a sentient species. We should never deride ourselves for such anxiety. It becomes a psychological problem only when we are prevented by that anxiety from living our lives as fully as possible→. Anxiety is the price of a ticket on the journey of life; no ticket-no journey; no journey-no life. James Hollis Source: Swamplands of the Soul---New Life in Dismal Places


"I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself.. Each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does. The individual and the universe are inseparable." ~Alan Watts


"Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life."

~Joseph Campbell~


Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6)

Moral Ecology

We're the inheritors of an array of moral traditions. There's the Greek tradition emphasizing honor, glory and courage, the Jewish tradition emphasizing justice and law, the Christian tradition emphasizing surrender and grace, the scientific tradition emphasizing reason and logic, and so on. (The Big University, David Brooks, October 6, 2015)

Nuggets without an illustration (179)

Absolute TruthCommunity FacilitiesGovernanceLand UseReconciliationSubstitution
AdaptabilityConformityGravityLonelinessRemedySustainable Living
AfricaConsequenceHabitLossRenewable EnergyTechnology
AgreementsConservationHard WorkMachismoResilienceTenure
AgricultureCopingHealth CareMechanismResolvingThe Human Condition
AngerCoralReefsHierarchy Of NeedsMegacitiesRestraintThe Limits Of Our Intelligence
AntonymDespairHousehold StructureMemoryResultThe Natural World
ArroganceDesperationHousingMind AlteringRewardTouch
AsiaDominationHuman BehaviorMitigationRussiaTouching
addictionEconomic DevelopmentHuman CapitalMomentumSanitationTouching The Divine
BalanceEconomyHuman ConditionMotivationSatisfactionTransport
BandwidthEducationHuman DignityMountainsSea Level RiseTransportation
Being RightElectronicsHuman PotentialMwalimuSelf AwarenessTraps
BiodiversityEmerging EconomiesHumorNewSelf ControlTrust
BRICEmploymentImpactNurtureSelf DeceptionUnknowing
BrazilEmpowermentImpulseNurturingSelf DestructionUnmistakable Truth
CalmEnlightenmentIncome DistributionNutritionSelf DisciplineUrban Form
CausationEntitlementIndiaOceansSeven50Urban Growth
CetaceansEnvironmentIndividuationOpen DoorsSexualityUrban Redevelopment
ChinaExcellenceInfrastructureOur PossibilitiesSocial ContractUtilities
ChoiceExuberanceInnocenceParadoxSocial JusticeVengeance
CitiesField TheoryInsightPeacefulSociobiologyVillages
Civil RightsFinanceIntegratingPollutionSolitudeWater
ClichesFollow ThruInvestmentQuietSourceWorldview
Climate ChangeForestsJobsReal Estate PropertyStatus Of WomenYearning
Cognitive DissonanceGood IntentLabor Force ParticipationReasonStereotypes 

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