21 December 2016

Solstice Day 2016

Having dreamt through the long night I awoke to the pre-sunrise quiet, and thought about how to not be ruled by the shadowy nature of what's happening in the US, but instead to remain steadfast in favor of love and compassion, even if it means my own demise.  I won't lie, I find it scary that fascism is rising as it is not only in the US but in many countries, and I do have thoughts that involve my use of force against the nazis, but then I'd be like them, and I choose not to be.

Refusing to be a monster is a choice that is always before each of us, every moment.

20 December 2016

Solstice Eve 2016

It's Solstice Eve, and purportedly the longest night in 500 years, certainly the longest night for another turn around the sun.

It's the dark long night and I find myself feeling the shadowy quality of these times.  I read a document that came out of a national Police union describing the new policies that will be put in place when Trump is inaugurated. It chilled me to my marrow.  If Trump and his people have their way this country will become a place where blood flows in the streets on a scale we have not seen here...except...this country was founded upon violence against the people who were already here, and violence against people brought here enslaved. Consider that this shadow nation is finally emerging and showing itself, and we are on the cusp of it's eruption into full manifestation.

21 November 2016

Terrorist governor and sheriff in North Dakota

Last night the terrorist sheriff's department in Morton County North Dakota used water cannons on elders and others in below freezing temperatures. One elder had a heart attack.
The governor of North Dakota is Jack Dalrymple, a corporate whore to the nth degree. He is owned by the oil companies. Sheriff Kirchmeier is another terrorist. He and his department should all be rounded up and imprisoned for committing acts of torture.
If you haven't yet taken a stand, DO SO NOW! Call YOUR senators and let them know this is unacceptable. There is no point trying to call these terrorists themselves, their lines are busy and they don't give a shit, but contact people who can hold them accountable.
This is happening NOW in the US...government thugs in service to oil companies committing acts of violence against peaceful people.
Take a stand!

14 November 2016

Counteract hate, be proactive!

Here is something you can do in YOUR community to counteract the emboldened knuckledraggers...
Whatever Trump believes, his rhetoric over the course of the campaign has given all kinds of permission to haters (racists, sexists, anti LGBTQ, anti immigrant, anti Muslim, anti Indigenous, and more) to act out.
Communities set their own standards of decency. It is through our everyday speech, through what we stand for, what we participate in, what we accept and do not accept, that we set the standards of our community.
Are there folks in YOUR COMMUNITY who would be interested in a weekly vigil that focuses on messages of support FOR indigenous, people of color, lgbtq, women, Muslims, immigrants etc.? Broadcast this very specific message of support, not rage or fear...create a space of support for people who are being targeted.

27 October 2016

US at war within itself right now in North Dakota

Right now militarized police from numerous states are aggressing upon the Water Protectors in North Dakota on Native Treaty Land. All cell phone coverage has been jammed. There is no live video coming out right now, it's all jammed.
This is how a totalitarian state operates. Make no mistake about it, Obama is allowing this. This is an act of eco-cidal insanity. Understand that what we call the US Government is an occupying force representing a financial and fossil fuel elite cartel. The elections are false. The economic system is rigged. The various "law enforcement" agencies serve the elite...not you and me. A racist apartheid system is entrenched in this country, and most white people will deny that because they are insulated from it.
Your high Obamacare premiums and deductibles, your out of control student loans, climate change, police killing people daily...and so many more ills we see in our society, these are all symptoms of the corrupt system that rules this country. It's very clear that the upcoming presidential election is a farce. What will it take for there to be massive non-cooperation? We need a general strike in this country and we need it now.

14 October 2016

Autumnal...and Starhawk!

Paradigms this week features the author Starhawk, talking about the new audiobook version of The Fifth Sacred Thing.  Starhawk and I are old friends so we have an easy rapport, and discuss many things of interest; the Standing Rock action, what "sacredness" is...she gives a great explanation...and more.

It's grey and rainy, there's a chill in the air.  The corporate news is full of election foolishness.  The independent media is full of stories of corruption, impending nuclear war, and just general awfulness.  I find that my best response is to sit quietly and watch the rain and the river, the birds, the dog, and just enjoy being part of this.  

26 June 2016

Brexit and...

What I see in the Brexit vote, as well as in Trump and Sanders supporters, is that people are yearning to live in societies where they feel safe, where their basic needs are met, and then some; where there are opportunities to learn and be productive and to enjoy life.  Some of that is framed in false nostalgia for that which never was,  but all of the xenophobic and racist rants are basically saying that, albeit in a thoroughly ignorant and deluded way.  The Berners are saying that too though, in more altruistic and hospitable ways.  The neocon/neolib establishment is saying NO, only the few can have that, most of you must eat shit.

What no one is saying is that if we continue to trash the biosphere NO ONE will have any of that goodness.  The overcrowding many in Britain feel is going to be everywhere because we continue to grow our population.  The hunger and thirst of the so-called "undeveloped" nations will be everywhere because we are urbanizing  and degrading farmland, and wasting/polluting water, at alarming rates.

Humans are often at their best when things are at their worst, so perhaps we are setting the stage for a magnificent unification of the humans into a great blaze of consciousness that makes living in bodies unnecessary. Maybe we'll come together, remain corporeal, and stop our destructive ways.  Maybe we will make a desert of this whole planet.  There are many possibilities.

28 May 2016

Melody's Archipelago

The last few episodes of Paradigms have been dealing with life and death and strife.  In the upcoming episode we return to our ever-present focus on the creative process conversing with Melody Parker, who has just released her first CD Archipelago.

Asking artists about their process can go any number of ways.  For some it is like asking the centipede how they coordinate all those legs...it's stultifying.  For some it's like diving into the deep end of the pool, or swimming out to the depths.  That's what it was like talking with Melody Parker.  She gave no easy answers, uttered not a cliché, and took long pauses (which I edited out of the podcast) sometimes between thoughts.  This is a person who is actively engaged in plumbing their own depths.  Kudos.

When you listen to the episode you'll hear some of the music from Archipeligo, and you might notice the different qualities of sound and instrumentation and rhythm from song to song.  The water theme is ever present, as is that personal "don't-fit-in-a-box quality that is part of Melody's personality.

Sunday May 29 at 8 PM local time on WBKM in Burlington, Vermont.  The podcast goes live then also at Paradigms.Life.
Wednesday June 1 at 11 AM local time on KWRK-LP in Fairbanks Alaska  
Sunday, June 5 at 9 AM local time on KPOV in Bend Oregon

20 May 2016

What is a revolutionary?

On this week's Paradigms I talk with Ahmed Salah, author of the recently published book You Are Under Arrest for Masterminding the Egyptian Revolution: A Memoir. In his book Ahmed describes how his upbringing in a political family shaped his world view, leading him to become an activist for democracy in Egypt. He recounts his activities as a non-violent activist during the years leading up to and including the protests that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

The book is a good read.  It is engaging and well written.  It is a powerful document for anyone interested in liberation of any kind, whether it's your mind or your country or your world.  The vision and courage it takes to speak out, knowing that the consequences may be dire, is worth acknowledging and appreciating.

Right now in the United States we face a less physically extreme but no less significant possible turning point in our political process, and what is expected and tolerated from leaders. I hope that most of the people have the vision and courage to stand up for ethics, and for the greater good.  It is time for this country to redirect itself towards peace with the rest of the world, including making peace with the planet Earth.

Ahmed is now living in San Francisco.  Among his accomplishments is bringing his experiences in Egypt here, and sharing with us so that we can all learn and be inspired as we effect changes in this country.

08 May 2016

Driving with Zack and Bees

Zack and I just got home from a 7 hour drive...3.5 hours each way...to pick up a box of bees!  As soon as we started back after getting the bees I noticed a few flying around in the car.  They had gotten out of the box.  Zack didn't seem to mind and I just didn't have any fear response.  They seemed troubled and were flying against the rear windshield.  I turned up the A/C and got into relaxed driving mode, and 3.5 hours later we got back home with no stings. I felt a very delicious calm for most of the ride.  No music.  No windows open.  Zack was very attentive to the driving.  Occasionally he'd look back at the bees but then eyes front with a big smile. Zack is a dog, for those who don't know.

When we got home I brought the box out to where the hive is set up, behind a big rock as a windbreak, with a bush on the sunny side so as not to be too hot, and with the river about 20 feet away. I did what I was told, uncorked the box and let the bees out, then put the frames that were in the box into the hive I have set up, put the top on and put  the baggie with sugar syrup on top, with some cuts in it. There were a lot of bees in this box with the 5 frames, and they were all coming out of the box when I uncorked it...then when I took the lid off the box, wow!  Thousands more!  The cool thing is...no fear, and no stings.  Zack is fascinated and wants to check them out.  I suggested he let them get settled into their new home first.

I love the character "The Melissa" from Starhawk's "Fifth Sacred Thing" trilogy.  The Melissa is a priestess who communes with bees, and has become part bee in a way.  She works with bee energy and bee substances in healing, as well as "bee mind."  I am feeling a whole new exploration coming, for me, with bees.

05 May 2016

Cancer, Medicine, Faith and Community

This week's episode of Paradigms, and next week's (it's a two parter!) focus on the experience of Dave and Rebecca.  At 35 weeks pregnant Rebecca was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March of 2015.  Since then she has had a baby, undergone numerous different cancer treatments, been a catalyst for community, and worked with faith and prayer.

I've known Rebecca and Dave for some time, not super well but in the context of permaculture and spiritual community.  I've been following their story, if you will, since the diagnosis.

In these two episodes of Paradigms Dave talks about what happened.  He tells the story from before the diagnosis to the present.  There was too much for just one episode so I decided to make it a two parter.  The first part will air this Sunday, May 8, and explores a lot of the story, what happened when, stuff like that.  The second part will air May 15, and goes into some of the more esoteric and community based aspects of Dave and Rebecca's experience.

Rebecca chose not to be interviewed, but with her consent Dave and I spent some time together via Skype, and he told the story.  We shared funny moments, tearful moments, and joyful moments.  Tune in and let this story of love and commitment inspire you.

14 April 2016

Notes on the April 17 Paradigms

This week's episode will be among many people's favorites!  Sha'an Mouliert, my old friend and fellow GMTI colleague, tells some of her story.  Sha'an started out in Queens, New York, and has been living in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for quite a few decades now.  Listen to the episode and I think you'll enjoy her very much, and of course the music (which Sha'an picked!) is excellent.

This episode follows a theme that Paradigms has been actively exploring for 7 years; Justice.  Whether it's racial, gender, sexuality, economic, ability, environmental...Justice (and I use the capital "J" on purpose) is an elusive goal which, while we may never fully achieve it, as Kinan Azmeh said on last week's show, we must keep striving for.

09 April 2016

Kinan Azmeh on Paradigms April 10, 2016

This week's Paradigms features Kinan Azmeh.  Kinan is a clarinetist and composer.  He's from Damascus, Syria and currently resides in New York City.  I enjoyed our conversation very much.  I found Kinan to be a thoughtful, wise, deep thinking person, whose musical talent is informed by his intelligence and ethics.  His music is not run-of-the-mill and you will probably find yourself exploring some less-traveled territory in your own awareness, while you listen.

Paradigms is now available on 4 venues!  It's very exciting.  I make 4 customized episodes each week. Three get call letters; WBKM, KPOV, and now KWRK-LP, and there's the Podcast. Soon there will be more radio stations broadcasting Paradigms to more people; more inspired inspiring stuff on the airwaves!

Next week's episode will feature guest Sha'an Mouliert who is  long time friend and someone I have done co-work with.  Sha'an will be telling some of her personal story about how she came to live and work in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  Sha'an is African American and the Northeast Kingdom is 99% Euro-American.  Sha'an has been doing racism awareness and healing from racism work for many years and was recently awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont.

If you know people who you think would enjoy Paradigms, please share the link http://Paradigms.Life with them, or this blog post.  The mission is to reach as many people as possible with inspiration!

08 April 2016

North America, North Africa, How do you do?

I've been thinking about how people from North Africa, the area many call "The Middle East" were not in my awareness much when I was growing up.  I knew that Israel existed and that there were other countries that didn't like Israel, I didn't understand why.  I was brought up with virtually no religion, so understanding that other people had religious beliefs that led them to go to war was completely bizarre to me.  It still is. I had no idea that gasoline was made from oil that came from that part of the world.

Now in 2016 people from North Africa are much in my awareness, and many more are here in the US than were in the 1960's when I was a child.  There are people from that part of the world who have moved here to this land, who identify as Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other religions too.

Certainly the advent of air travel has contributed to people moving around the world, but I've been thinking about this in the context of balance.

The various oil and drug cartels based in "The United States" (I put that in quotes because I just can't take it very seriously anymore, nations, when we know that corporations are calling the shots) have invaded, killed, pillaged, and exploited the people and the lands in that part of the world relentlessly for over 100 years now.  It seems fair and just that we should thus experience an influx of people and culture from the area "we" have exploited.  It's karmic justice.

The western propaganda machine has so vilified our brothers and sisters in North Africa, the way this universe seems to work, it makes sense we would now be living the scenario of being with those same people so we can learn who they really are, and they can learn who we really are ("they" and "we" being huge generalizations).  It will take time but, as has happened countless times in human his/herstory, eventually the perceived differences will become less important, and will dissipate, people will intermarry and have children, and the differences that people feel so strongly about now will become memories.  This is generally how humans do it, unless one group rises up and kills the other group, that happens too, but hopefully less and less.

So the upshot of this is...my message to people who talk about "Islamification"... this our western culture has created this situation by warring and oppressing.  Just something to think about, especially when vilifying "the other."

30 March 2016

Republicans imploding!

We are seeing a number of states governed by republicans getting ready to implode.  

Arizona, with it's oh so blatant disenfranchisement of citizens regarding the right to vote...from the governor on down there is obvious culpability.  In Alabama the governor, a family values republican, now caught in an affair with a co-worker...he is about to tumble as his the entire top of Alabama's state government. Kentucky's new governor is accused of election fraud, though nothing seems to be happening with that at the moment. Rick Snyder, who is responsible for the poisoning of thousands of people in Michigan, will be facing some serious reckoning one way or another in the near future (my personal favorite is street justice for a scumbag like Snyder)...the governor of Indiana just signed a law requiring women to pay for the funerals of their aborted fetuses, and it goes on and on.  

The republican party is about to implode nationally. Christofascist laws and policies are being rolled out willy nilly however most of the actual PEOPLE seem NOT to be in favor of laws that enshrine hate and bigotry. The US is on the cusp of actual progress, or of slipping back into some of the worst human nature has to offer. It's tense! Even though Hillary Clinton is intent upon stealing the presidential election no matter what, it's clear already that, if there were an election right now (a fair one) Sanders would be elected by a huge margin.

I believe that the majority of people living in the US want to move forward with protecting the environment, maintaining a secular state, keep jobs here rather than outsourcing abroad, have schools that actually teach young people, have access to medical care not just medical insurance, have access to wholesome food that is not full of poisons; this list could go on and on.

The only thing standing between humanity and living in a wonderful peaceful world are people who wish to control others, whether it's through religion or economics or indoctrination. We know who those people are, we know they are at the top of the economic and religious pyramid schemes that run so many countries including the US. It seems high time to take back our power from these parasites, don't you think?

23 March 2016

We don't have to allow ourselves to be screwed!

Have you ever been overcharged by the bank or credit union you deal with?  Have you ever been overcharged by a doctor? Have you ever been ripped off by what should be an honorable institution like a bank or doctor or utility or any other service that is pretty much a necessity in this society?  I bet you're nodding vigorously!

I am one of those people who just can't stand injustice. I campaign for justice in much of my life, so when I encounter this kind of chicanery it really gets me going.  I am sharing this with the intention of encouraging others to not allow themselves to be screwed.

Recently the credit union I was banking with charged me for overdraft fees that were not legit.  The funds were there, but they charged me anyway.  I made a stink, filed a grievance with the state agency that regulates banking, who forwarded my complaint to the federal agency that regulates credit unions.  It took about 6 weeks but the credit union called me, apologized, and paid me back.  This experience led me to wonder, how many people are charged fees by banks and credit unions...$25 here, $50 there...that are not legitimate? I bet it ends up being millions of dollars a year.  If it happens to you, you have recourse!  Your state has an agency that regulates banking, and you can contact them, file a complaint, and they will have to deal with it.

Currently I am dealing with a situation with a doctor who charged me $500 for a 10 minute consultation that involved looking down my throat with a scope.  The outcome was that I was told to drink more water.  $500 for 10 minutes?  You have got to be kidding.  Whether a person has insurance or not (I do not due to a snafu at Healthcare.gov which is hopefully being resolved) that is wild overcharging.  That is the kind of overcharging that creates hugely inflated medical costs all around.  Why is this tolerated?  I have filed complaints with the Medical Board and the Consumer Protection Agency of the state I am in, Oregon.  The Medical Board replied telling me they did not find any illegal activity, but they keep the complaint and add it to the doctor's file.  I have yet to hear from the Consumer Protection Agency.

If we do not speak up when we are being ripped off, then we are allowing it.  I, for one, am not inclined to just allow this stuff.  These are minuscule issues in the bigger scheme of things, but the ongoing disenfranchisement of regular folks in favor of institutions is not healthy for people and not healthy for society.

I encourage you to notice when you are being ripped off, and to do something about it.  The mechanisms exist for holding institutions accountable, and it's not difficult to access them.  It can be tedious to fill out the forms, so some patience is required.  Outcomes are not fast, so again, patience is required, however when one is vindicated it is a great feeling, and hopefully the offenders learn from the experience and stop ripping people off!

So, if you are being ripped off by any provider of a service, you do not have to just take it.  You have the right to seek and to find justice!

21 March 2016

Depolarizing Campaign 2016

The presidential campaign in the US continues to highlight what is at stake in this election.  On the right hand there is Donald Trump playing the part of the blustering strong man who will say anything, no matter how outrageous, for the cheers and applause.  He goes out of his way to appeal to the lowest common denominators of fear and anger.  It is actually people like Trump who have brought this country to this point of moral and ethical bankruptcy, and who have created this shell game of an economic system with it's periodic bubbles (one is about to burst any day now in fact) that lead to increased concentration of wealth among a few while more and more people are impoverished.

I think Cruz and Kasich are the only other republicans left standing, both hideous christofascists who espouse the most medieval policies to punish the poor for being poor while making it impossible for anyone to get out of poverty.  Lovely. Also on the right is Hillary Clinton.  She's running as a democrat, because the democratic party has embraced a right of center position for many years now.  A Clinton presidency would be as repressive and violent as if any of the republican candidates won.  If Clinton becomes president you can count on more war, more privatization of natural resources like water, more "Free Trade" deals which actually create more poverty and  are environmentally unsound.  You can expect more fossil fuel subsidies, since Clinton herself is an investor in fossil fuels. The surveillance state will grow, education will continue to be expensive and the quality will continue to diminish. Basically, Hillary Clinton is a republican.

Then on the left there are two candidates, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein.  Bernie is running as a democrat though he has been an independent for most of his political career. His proposals all stand in stark contrast to those of the rightist candidates.  He wants less war, better education made available financially, proper taxation of the wealthy, an end to the toxic "Free Trade" treaties that the Clintons started us on in the 1990's, renewable energy, jobs programs to employee youth and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and more.

Jill Stein as even more progressive than Bernie.  She would end the US taxpayer's subsidizing of the Israeli occupation, and make deeper cuts into military spending than any of the other candidates.

This whole "right vs left" paradigm is absurd.  It's a way of simplifying things for people, but it does not serve real critical thinking at all.

Rather than think in terms of right and left, how about just looking at each candidate's stated policy proposals and deciding which ones actually would be good for the people?  If you do that there is no question that either Sanders or Stein would be the best choices. Both place the physical environment high on their priority list.  That's good because...hah...no clean air, no clean water, no humans! They also both recognize the need to de-corporatize the government. The folks on the right want to increase the role that corporations have in running the country.  We have already seen what happens when the profit motive outweighs valuing life, and it's horrific.

Discard your labels; republican, democrat, independent, right, left, center, progressive, liberal, conservative; and just think about what would actually be most healthy.

20 March 2016

Vernal Equinox 2016

I find myself stepping back from the fray, a bit. The emotional hooks, to be angry or afraid, are not interesting anymore. I feel them, but really, in stepping back from it and observing a bit, what I see is that we humans keep reliving the same stories over and over, from civilization to civilization, age to age. Love, pain, treachery, trust, social progress, social regress, round and round, and we are now at this point in the story, again. And each of us is in "our" story living a life, also living out cycles, playing our part, in a personal cycle of evolution, regeneration, karma, if you will.

It seems to me that if we want to change the story, we can. It requires each of us recognizing that we are repeating a story, both as a society and as individuals, and making different choices. It's that simple.

19 March 2016

This week's episode of Paradigms

Just to listen to this upcoming episode of Paradigms, people probably wouldn't think that it took me over a month to process my way through what initially felt like an ethical dilemma; only to rediscover, yet again, the organicity of everything, in order to be able to bring this episode together.

It is gratifying to be continuing to learn from putting together this weekly radio program. Sometimes I learn new technical stuff, new production strategies, and sometimes, when it's really good, I am shaken to my core and have to recognize more parts of myself in order to bring something out to people that has depth, that hopefully will touch people and ask them to recognize more parts of themselves.

Making the upcoming episode of Paradigms has been that experience for me.

The episode airs Sunday March 20 at 8 PM ET on WBKM 107.1 FM Burlington, VT (wild cheering for the new FM signal!) and streaming at WBKM.org, and of course the podcast will be available at Paradigms.Life and in iTunes.

17 January 2016

Welcome to 2016! I haven't been posting regularly here, but this blog is still here and is about to become more active again.

Some exciting news! The book I wrote is now available in Kindle format. Virtual Survival: Staying Healthy on the Internet Check it out! The new publisher is Davis Studio Publishing, who also publish other wonderful books and apps.

Paradigms is doing great at the new website, with lots of fascinating guests and great music.

Stay tuned for more!