18 December 2010

The actions of the US government continue to be distressing, as the millionaires in Congress voted themselves another tax cut and will vote themselves a raise in January, and the repeal of DADT while hailed as a civil rights advance also represents a cultural expansion of the military. Thanks Congress for throwing us that progressive bone as you add nearly a trillion dollars to the deficit to pay for your tax cuts. President Obama continues to disappoint as he capitulates on the big issues while doing lots of good little things. This is an interesting website that tracks his actions in terms of promises kept, promises broken, and compromises, as well as accuracy in his speeches. As I write that I do have to say, jeez it would suck to be under that much scrutiny.

Then I go outside and feel the thousands of acres of forest that I live adjacent to. There is all this life which we don’t see but it’s there nonetheless. Bears, moose, deer, fox, beavers, probably catamounts, birds, snakes...and so many trees and bushes and other plants and it’s all connected through the network of mycelium. There is also a whole network of water in the land, springs, underground aquifer, ponds, all alive. The birds in the chicken house have all reached full size and while I went through a desire to reduce the number of roosters, I haven’t. This flock works as it is, and truthfully I have always wanted to be closer to birds, and now I get to interact with them multiple times a day. they are all used to me and most of them now let me handle them, under protest but without being so freaked out.

And it is solstice. I work with this part of the wheel of the year for about a week. It’s not optional. The moment of the solstice is a few days away but we are in that time of the shortest days and longest nights. I was just recollecting solstices past, where I was and what I was doing. I have always nested at this time of year. It’s my most inward period. I like to sleep a lot and dream. I usually gain some weight and don’t like to travel or see a lot of people. I was invited to spend time with a dear friend and her family, who are all family to me at this point, and I just kept arguing with myself about whether or not to go, and I finally decided not to. This is my first solstice time here on this land, in this place. I’m enjoying watching the light snow floating down from the sky. There is a little patch of sunlight at the edge of the sky just over Burnt Mountain. The rest is a light grey. The light is already waning and it’s just past 3 PM. There’s a fire in the stove, there’s good water and food, and the two black cats who live next door have moved in over here, so I have feline company. There are waves of joy and sadness. This time of year I find myself evaluating, looking back at the past year and even further back. I go through this every year. I remember people who are not in my life anymore through death or estrangement or just the dissipation of relationship. I think about the people I feel connection with and how amazingly blessed I am to know them. I think about things I would do differently, or hope to, and things I would handle as I did should a similar situation present itself.

Facebook has an app that allows you to see what the top 10 words were in your status updates for the year. All of mine were related to my radio show Paradigms. That surprised me. It’s true, though, that I have put more energy into it than into any other one project. I am pretty focused and intent on putting these shows together. I know that they are heard, and occasionally I get feedback, but for the most part I have no idea how many people are listening, how many keep coming back, and how the show affects them. Maybe it’s best that way? The show does not generate income, and maybe it’s best that way too. I don’t know. It sure is interesting to me though, to have this one project be so significant and to have this mysterious aspect to it. I like it.

The snow is still drifting down, and I continue reflecting and feeling the life that is in me and around me.

The solstice this year also coincides with a full moon and a lunar eclipse.


07 December 2010

This is the speech Obama SHOULD make.

"My fellow Americans, these are tough times. We all know it, we all feel it, we are all affected. It is in times like these that we need to pull together, each doing our best to live up to the ideals this country was founded on. To that end I am asking Congress to immediately implement a number of measures in order to raise revenues and lift our country out of the mire of debt and unemployment, and in order to protect the natural environment. I propose a new tax on all incomes over $250,000 a year. This tax will be progressive, so that the more a person made the higher the percentage of that income will be paid in taxes. I know that the idea of new taxes is onerous to many but right now we need to do what's best for the most. The good of the many outweighs the good of the few. This tax will not impoverish anyone, it will only be levied on those who already have more than they need to get by. Likewise corporations with over 100 employees will also see their taxes raised, and loopholes that have allowed multinational corporations to evade paying taxes must immediately be closed. We estimate that these measures will raise over $1 trillion in the next 10 years. A portion of that money is to be set aside for retooling factories for the manufacture of solar panels, windmills, and other green technologies. This will create jobs, lower our carbon footprint as a nation, and help us get on the right track with regards to global warming. These are just a few parts of the plan I will be presenting to Congress this week. When the new Congress convenes in January I will call upon each and every member to put aside their personal feelings and to work for the good of the nation. I ask you to let your congressional representatives and senators know what you want them to do, whether you want them to focus on their election campaign fund raising or to do the work of governance. I am also asking Congress to support an immediate drawdown in troop deployments abroad. My goal is to start closing US bases around the world, and to recall our forces. This will save over $5 billion per week! Last but not least I have set up a task force whose job it will be to collect ideas from you, the American people. No idea is too small for us to consider. What are your ideas for deficit reduction, for environmental protection, for economic recovery?
Thank you for the opportunity to serve."

This is the speech I wish Obama would make. I wrote it imagining I was writing from his point of view.

19 November 2010

I feel myself in the stream of life. The river. The ocean. Always in motion, bringing life and death and everything in between.

I wonder what is the effect on the human being of encountering the incomprehensible time and time again? Surely we each do this. Every human comes face to face with the mystery of life and death, the enormity of existence, the fact that we all die. And each death has it’s own uniqueness, just as each birth does, and each lifetime.

If I let myself feel it, this stream, this dream, flowing over and around and through me, that is some kind of awareness. And on it goes until it’s my turn, and then...

01 November 2010

Hi readers:

I am looking to do a number of short interviews with people post election to air on my show November 7. Anyone who is willing, please email me your phone number and a few times that will work for you. I will confirm a time and call you and we can go from there. I am hoping to hear from people all over the place! Thank you!


30 October 2010

The attention finally being given to the issue of gay kids and bullying is blowing my mind. I never thought I would live to see this. I stayed in the closet until I was in my mid 20’s. My family was pretty gay positive. My parents had gay friends. But I internalized the hate and loathing my peers expressed when they called me a faggot. I didn’t even know I was one until other kids bullied me and called me names. I lived through the hateful Civil Union debate in Vermont 10 years ago, which was really something, and now we have marriage equality. I never imagined I would live to see the day.

I watched Clint McCance apologize in an interview with Anderson Cooper. It is impossible to know if he is sincere or just a coward, but it seems that he learned something about how ignorant he had been...and isn't that what we want? Let the ignorant speak out and be educated and recant their ignorant statements.

Perhaps I am being too generous and McCance is just saying what he thinks people want to hear. Perhaps I am a fool for believing him even a little. He is clearly homophobic. You can see it when he talks about the issue. However, due to his cruel statements, has himself become the focus of hatred. He has received hateful email, threats, etc. That seems to have shocked him some.

When we choose to hate the hateful, we become hateful ourselves.

I am glad that there is now the It Gets Better Project on YouTube so people can speak out and so people can see that in fact, it does get better.

It’s been years since I went to a Gay Pride event, or did anything overtly political related to gay rights. I marched in DC in the 80’s, and in Burlington and Montpelier Vermont. I wrote letters to the editor, volunteered with a couple of gay positive non profit agencies. I am not “coming to terms” with my sexual orientation anymore, I just am who I am and pretty comfortably so. With all this attention being paid to these issues in the mainstream media I find myself revisiting my past as an observer now. I hear about gay and lesbian kids killing themselves because of the pain they cannot bear, and I remember well how it felt to perceive myself as not part of the world of people. Sure I had friends, but in my teens and early 20’s I felt separated from everyone by my secret, which I felt ashamed of. It wasn’t until I was 25 that someone said to me for the first time “Being gay is a good thing.” That was an amazing powerful experience which was a catalyst for me. I am grateful to that person.

In many western industrialized countries being gay or lesbian is mostly accepted. In the US there is always this writhing religious extremism trying to remake the country in it’s own image, so we see right wing evangelical christians mainly promoting hate and intolerance of GLBT people. Modern Judaism doesn’t really address the issue. There certainly are no jews out there ranting against gay people as there are christians. Islam also is not presenting any uber message in this country as regards to sexual orientation. Of course Muslims have other problems to deal with in this country and in the world.

There have always been people who were not heterosexual, and there always will be. Maybe Clint McCance has had a real wake-up call. Maybe others will too. I hope that whoever is out there preaching intolerance, hate, nonacceptance; I hope and wish that you would understand how much you are hurting people, and knock it the fuck off. You have no right.

Gee I guess I still have some angry feelings about all this.

This week’s radio show is for Hallowe’en. My guests talk about earth energy and connectedness; about ancestors and our relationship with death, and about the love which earth based spirituality focuses on. I’m very happy about the episode, I think it’s good. I also think it’s about the same core issue I’ve been discussing, which is, how we can choose connection over disaffection, be it earth connection, human connection, or something else. Hate is not part of the solution, no matter what. It just isn’t. Anger that one uses to propel sound action is great. Dwelling in a space of anger and putrid fear of “other” is just not healthy. Fear of death, fear of other, fear of truly liberating oneself and being free; these drive so many to such lengths, and yet it is not necessary.

All of us have our triggers and times when we get angry, sometimes mean, even hateful. The solution is to see it, name it, and then to touch the Earth and acknowledge the reality of life on this planet, however you perceive it, and move on from the ick to your real work.

28 September 2010

Last night as I lay in that place between sleep and being awake, I had a vision.

I saw the earth becoming more and more overrun with humans until we were everywhere, on every mountain and in every field, and there was no space left for anything else. And the people grew hungry, and afraid, and some of them preyed upon others. And all the infrastructure of centuries collapsed, and there was disease and death and most of the people died.

There were people who lived, mostly in less populated places, and they made their lives and activities sustainable by joining with the Earth, and they thrived, in spite of the pollution left behind. The previous civilization turned to dust pretty quickly, and was buried, and as the generations of humans came and went, the memories became stories became legends became myths. And the Earth repaired herself. And some of the animals came back.

There are also, in this vision, humans who lived through the time of overcrowding and death by virtue of high technology. And they learned how to sustain themselves as well. And eventually, as the population subsided, there was intercourse between the techy folks and the folks who allied themselves with the Earth.

Beyond that my vision did not extend.

I have no children and am unlikely to. I am 50 and my knowledge of my own mortality is that it is a certainty. I find myself aware of wanting to leave something behind. This community, Neruda, is part of my legacy. I am part of Neruda, and this community is growing and moving towards energy and food self sufficiency at a pretty amazing pace. I see Neruda existing after my life is over. Beyond the time when all our lives are over there will be people living here, growing food, eating from the fruit trees we have yet to plant. This will be one of the places where life survives and thrives again, and from whence life will spread again.

10 September 2010

I have a vision of this farm. I see the inside of the earthship finished on both sides. This side is all wood and stone and cob and adobe; dry, warm, with lots of earthy textures and colors, the soapstone hearth and a soapstone stove on it, earthen floor with rugs, bedrooms finished, kitchen fixed up a bit, finished bathroom...and outside the gardens in full fertility growing food, happy chickens, gardens growing up the hillside. I see a micro-hydro system powering the earthship and another duplex on the driveway with gardens growing up the hill from it and all around it, and the farmhouse also amidst productive beautiful lush gardens. I see animals on the hillside and in the lower field. I see fruit trees and nut trees and birds nesting all over. I see beehives and...I see so much life and fertility. I see food to share with lots of people. I see people gardening and sitting in the garden and enjoying the peace.

So mote it be.

Addendum: I just got 3 bales of straw and some more chicken wire. On site we have lumber, cement, paper, and nails. Tomorrow with help from friends I will build one wall of the new chicken house which will be stickbuilt with light straw papercrete, providing insulation and a waterproof surface on both sides of the wall so the chickens will be warm and dry in the winter. We will frame the wall, put chicken wire on one side, flip it over and fill with straw, then put chicken wire over that. Then in the manner of light straw clay we will use cement and papercrete to seal up the surface. When that dries we will flip the wall over and cement/papercrete that side. Why do it with the wall horizontal you ask? It will make for a much easier time, I theorize, in applying the papercrete. The wall will not be too heavy when it comes time to stand it up and attach it to the other walls and the deck, especially with a few people to help. Heck I was one of three people that stood up a 10x16 wall when I built my house in 1990. That was way heavier than this will be. I'll post photos in the new Earthship photo album linked on the right side of this page.

01 September 2010

I'm grateful that I live out in the country because I do not have the patience or the filters to deal with people much. I can't seem to get past this hair trigger rage that has been with me since August 2004. It's a problem, and the only respite, the only recourse, seems to be no people except those I trust and know well.

I was doing pretty well, and then EAT happened here and the stress of trying to make this thing happen perfectly, which it did not in part due to my mistakes and also to things beyond anyone's control, along with some of the stuff I experienced with some of the people attending the class, has put me on edge and I am still feeling it. The course was great as usual, but some of the interpersonal stuff really challenged me. My ability to be patient or resilient in the face of what I experience as rudeness, self absorption, and a host of other annoying behaviors, is vastly diminished.

I do my best to stand for a lot of things in the world; kindness and compassion and love and nature and all that good stuff. As a somewhat public person, to whatever extent I am, I think some people expect me to behave in the ways they expect a public person to behave, i.e. an acquaintance recently was very offended by the comments I made about the abrahamics in my previous post. I have had a friend take me to task once when I shared some of my personal feelings about my first visit to Germany and some of my personal familial cultural baggage about that country.

I don't always make it pretty. I know that. I do my best to keep it real.

In the spirit of keeping it real I want to share here, again, how changed I feel since my mother was murdered 6 years ago. It's not that I think a lot about the event itself, or her, or her death. It's that I mark that event as a pivot point in my life. Something in me changed. I feel like an instrument that just can't stay in tune, and the discordant note is more often than not one of rage, also grief. Nameless rage and grief because, when you come right down to it, they are feelings that aren't hooked onto anything specific. In moments they are, but there is this just this endless well of ambient rage and grief that I draw from, or that pushes itself through me.

Yes there are plenty of things to be angry about in this world. I mean...look around. Listen to people. Rome is burning and there are billions of Neros fiddling away. It's beyond weird. Similarly there is plenty about which to feel grieved. We all know it. I can't readily escape it these days.

I am posting this because I know there are people who read this blog who love me, who I love, and this is one way to communicate with them. Also because I imagine there are plenty of others who can identify with some part of what I'm sharing, and that seems somehow useful.

14 August 2010

It is nearly a week since EAT ended. I am exhausted. I am tired to my bones. I am also peopled out. Anyone who knows me well knows that my tolerance for lots of people has it's limits. I am there. I'll recharge and be up for more people again, but for now I need down time, a few friends at a time, solitude,, NO rushing, NO deadlines, just time and space to get back to my native pace so my intrinsic motivations can resume.

I have visited some news sites in the last 24 hours. I am better off not doing so. All this drama and violence, and so much attention paid to the abrahamic religions. The old synagogue in Berlin has been refurbished, with gold and beauty. The muslims are celebrating Ramadan. The christians are doing their usual repression and preaching hate of gays. It's all business as usual for these sects which have enslaved much of the world.

Judaism, christianity and islam are all based on belief in this one god who proclaims loudly that he is jealous, must come first before all others, and who instructs his followers to kill and maim, to defile the land, to treat women like possessions...the list goes on. This god resembles nothing so much as a sociopath.

I long for the day when earth is peopled by those who revere nature, who treat each other with kindness or at least without bloodthirsty cruelty. I long for the day when the abrahamics do not wield the power of the gun, the sword, the bomb.

It is not only the abrahamics who indulge the murderous aspect of their human nature, to be sure, but here in "the west" it is the abrahamics who authorize the hate and violence of nations, the racism against indigenous people, and the war against the Earth. I wish they would stop.

Today I will do some more around this place with my roommate, maybe go for a swim in Molly's Pond, and relax.

01 August 2010

Today is a day off. The Earth Activist Training is at it's mid-point. The first week has come and gone. In the yard outside the earthship there are newly sheetmulched beds, a new fire pit area, an herb spiral, and the base for a cob oven. Last night we held a public Lammas ritual in Montpelier. Over 300 people came! It was really fun and energizing. I knew a small fraction of the folks who showed up, which was particularly wonderful; to have offered something to the community and to have so many people show up really affirms the value of the endeavor. Maybe I'll host more public rituals.

It is sunny and promises to be hot today. I think I will find a place to go for a swim.

17 July 2010

Wow. I am really exhausted. I haven't worked this yard in years. It's great! We are getting so much done here in the earthship at Neruda. I don't use names in my blog as a general practice so this could sound confusing, but it isn't really. There is a couple that already live here. They built the earthship. They are both involved in preparing for EAT. One of them is doing a lot of wiring, plumbing, and other construction, on the kitchen in I daresay our side of the earthship. He set up the gas stoves yesterday, and worked on the sink today, and built a platform for the two refrigerators. I built a counter space with shelves for some countertops from Freecycle. Later we cooked dinner in the new kitchen.

EAT work exchange folks are arriving. More are expected tomorrow night. The teachers arrive next week and then on July 25 we kick it off for 2 weeks of permaculture, activism, and magic. It will be a blast. Along with the course, and with valued help, I am also coordinating a sneak preview on July 24 of Starhawk and Donna Read's new film, Permaculture - The Growing Edge, and on July 31 a public Lammas ritual in Montpelier, VT. Lots of people are putting out lots of energy so these events can happen. It's very exciting to be part of so many people working together to make good things available.

Preparing the earthship for EAT is also preparing the earthship for me to live in after EAT. The way it is now, with some winterizing, will be ok for this winter. Next spring we will build the three bedroms; one for me, one for a friend who lives 1/2 time in Jamaica, and one for another friend. Next year we will build those and also get to some mad gardening all over this hillside, as well as raising some animals like sheep, a bullock, chickens (which we already have!) and more. It's what I have always wanted, all my life; to live in the country and grow food and share space and work hard and also relax a lot. It's an interesting time of the world for this to be happening in my life. Feels like just in the nick of time.

Another aspect of doing all this work and focusing on these events is I don't have time to read the news. I barely have time to keep up with my scrabble games on facebook. No news is a relief. It's like I plugged an energy leak. The amount of energy it takes to worry and be pissed off or whatever one feels after ingesting "news" is better spent planting a garden or feeding chickens.

I'm taking a hiatus from Paradigms for the rest of the summer. I did 53 episodes in 56 weeks. I am due for a break so I can recharge that part of my brain with new experiences and ideas. I will start it up again in September.

What's going on with you? Whoever you are reading this, how about leaving a comment about what's going on in your life? I'd love that. Be well.


11 July 2010

Summer 2010 will be remembered as pivotal in the war on the environment. With the help of British Petroleum, the current administrator of the corporation of the USA, Barack Obama, has killed the Gulf of Mexico to make an oil sea. This will allow for oil extraction from water, simpler than all those expensive wells and pipelines.

The corporation of the USA is now exposed fully. We know they target and murder people around the world. We know the players are owned by corporations; banks, oil companies, big pharma, etc. We know the elections are bought and paid for. And we feel the sizzling heat of global warming while corporate government agencies pretend to take action, all the while maximizing profit for the few while creating policies that destroy the Earth and kill indigenous and "poor" people globally.

Still we allow sociopaths to be in power, to tell us what to do, from the psychopaths in government to the thugs called "police." This is what we have created, and we are the ones who can uncreate it. You can help. Question authority. Use less, much less! Eschew money, instead trade barter gift! Every little thing we do, and we all do, that connects with oil or money, helps keep the monstrous machine in motion. The way to stop it is to refuse to feed it. Become downwardly mobile financially (most of us are already anyhow) grow food, buy local if you must buy, build soil, and demand accountability from local, state, and federal representatives of the corporate government. You won't get accountability, but you will piss them off and use their time, and that's worth a lot.

27 June 2010

We seem to be having one of those wet summers. Hmm. I have high hopes that it will rain less in July and August. Of course all this rain means that the seasonal jungle which is Vermont in the summer is in full growing madness. It's not even July and there are squash on the plants in the garden I planted in Northfield. There are no-see-ems out already.

I am fully engaged in the preparations for EAT. Yesterday my friend from Jamaica and I picked up our first truckload of compost from the incredibly beautiful organic dairy farm of some friends in Barre. This farm is so gorgeous and so well kept, it should be a heritage farm or something. The cows are so healthy and happy, the barn clean and organized, the fields lush, the views extraordinary. Blew me away. Today we will sheet mulch with that compost and get the EAT kitchen garden started finally!

17 June 2010

I'm in the next step of the transition to living outside this summer. The last two nights I've slept in my tent up by the beaver pond on the land in Marshfield. My friend from Jamaica is here, and we're making out campsite. We have the start of a kitchen. Another friend loaned me a blowtorch and I tell you, you can make a cup of coffee really fast with a blowtorch. I wish I'd known about blowtorch cooking years ago!

It rained yesterday and last night so it has been a soppy campsite. I'm very happy to say that I can go up the hill to the campsite with no leg pain! I was in agonizing pain doing that walk a few weeks ago but I've been riding my bike and stretching and getting stronger.

Living outside changes everything. It reorders my psyche. There is no urgency at all, no electrical hum vibrating through me, no feeling of schedule or time. There is just...the lilies, the mountain, the pond, the wild strawberries, the symphony of birdsong, and on and on. I love it. It is such a gift and a privilege to be able to be surrounded by such beauty.

Now, though, I am back in Northfield. I have three days of stuff to do that require me to shower and wear clean dry nice clothes. I am performing a wedding on Saturday for a dear friend, so tomorrow is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, then the ceremony Saturday, then Sunday I have the radio show. My friend from Jamaica is also doing other stuff for the weekend, visiting her kids and friends etc. Monday we'll go back and resume. Next week's task is to get some vegetables planted and keep working on the campsite, and probably other stuff as well because we are preparing to host EAT in July!

The Earth Activist Training is a great permaculture course and we are hosting it for 2 weeks July - August. People are coming from as far as Australia and Brazil. It's very exciting and fun, and of course the EAT family grows and people go off and do amazing things in far flung places, so it's all about offering and helping and service. There is a lot to do in preparation, so that is happening.

The more time I spend in Marshfield the more I like being there. The folks who own the land are pretty amazing; smart, kind, ethical, generous, etc. They have invited people to form community with them in this place, and really opened their lives to people, and they do it with so much grace, showing a kind of commitment and communion with life that I find inspiring.

Another aspect of this living is that I have no idea what the most recent catastrophes are, or about whatever is the latest corruption scandal. That's very nice.



11 June 2010

I love the little garden I planted on the lawn. Last year I sheetmulched a roughly 6 x 15 piece of the front lawn and grew my summer veggies there. This spring the garden came back with a volunteer bumper crop of mustard greens. It's been such a warm spring that I planted my regular stuff in mid May and it all survived; potatoes, garlic, 2 summer squashes, red kale, green chard, more mustard, 3 kinds of bush beans, arugula, dill, sage, basil. I've been eating mustard greens for weeks and just started on the arugula.

I was outside weeding today. In fact I can't keep myself from it. I go out and weed many times a day. I've never been into weeding but I am really enjoying pulling out the grass sprouts and making room for the kale babies and the chard.

This morning started with an email from my Aunt telling me that my Uncle had died yesterday. He was in his late 80's. He had a peaceful passing. He was the last of the 5 Zeichner brothers of which my father was the eldest. This uncle was the middle son, the one who would have been a pro baseball player in New York where they lived but his mother wouldn't allow him to practice or play on the sabbath. They were orthodox Jews from Austro-Hungary and Romania.

I haven't spoken with my Uncle in a while, maybe a year or two? My Aunt had emailed just a week or two ago to say that he was in a convalescent home and that his lucidity was starting to fade.

me today
in the garden
a middle aged man with a paunch
talking to the plants
eating them
enjoying the aliveness of the garden
the magic of seeds
that grow
bear fruit
and grow again.

Blessings on your journey Uncle, until next time if there is one.


31 May 2010

I've spent most of my life in Vermont. I'm 50 and have lived here for 30 or so of those years. Never have I seen what I am seeing today. The air is filled with smoke. I can barely see the mountain 2 miles away. The forests of Quebec are burning.

This spring has been very dry and I've been aware of the fire danger. Having spent some time out west in the last few years I learned to be cautious about fire. I saw a forest fire in British Columbia in 2005. This is so rare here in the verdant moist northeast, I have never seen it before.

Now do you believe in climate change?

Deer ticks had not made it this far north when I went traveling in 2005. Winters were too cold. Now they are here.

Now do you believe in climate change?

The Gulf of Mexico is being poisoned by oil and the toxic chemicals BP is using to try to appear effective.

Humanity is getting it's wake up calls and some people are still in denial.

BUT never fear! Life will win out! Earth can and will heal from our many insults. I am not worried about Earth.

Humanity, though, appears to be committed to reducing its numbers. We are killing ourselves fast with war and violence, and more slowly by poisoning the surface of Earth. As in any ecosystem, when one life form overpopulates, nature culls it. We are part of nature so we are actually doing a lot of our own culling. The other life forms on Earth need us to reduce our numbers and to stop taking taking taking. If we won't do these things by choice it will be done to/for us by the rest of nature.

Life is sacred. By sacred I mean that life is immeasurably magnificent as part of the cosmos. Life will continue, forms change.

23 May 2010

It’s another beautiful May day in Vermont. It’s the 23rd which is my mother’s birthday. She’d be 82! My father’s birthday was 5 days ago and he’d be 89.

Life is somewhat idyllic for me right now. The weather is nice. The little garden I planted in Northfield is growing. I’m eating mustard greens already, volunteers that self seeded last fall. I’m teaching another term at BVU. The class is about globalism and what’s happening to/on the Earth, which is pretty timely, and the students are very engaged which is satisfying for me as a teacher.

I have been watching as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to unfold, or should I say to grease the surface of the gulf. The scope and scale of this is hard to fathom. The amount of death and destruction will be imeasureable. It’s only just starting. This will trouble the region for years, possibly decades and beyond. I’ve been watching and feeling this weird calm about it all. If I got as upset as I could over this it would make me ill, so I haven’t let myself go there. If I believed that my own upset would heal this then I’d do it in a heartbeat, but that is not the case.

Now there are conspiracy theories surfacing about this event. Did Haliburton sabotage the drilling rig in order to keep Royal Dutch Shell from winning the franchise to drill in the region? Is the creation of a dead zone and the eventual human depopulation of the region a goal for someone? It seems insane, but then we know that most of the people “at the top” are insane because they keep authorizing murder and destruction of Earth so, why should this situation be any different? I do not have the answers. In a way, it doesn’t matter. This is all part of our collective dream, our collective nightmare.

Much of what’s happening on Earth is the result of human activity. We have polluted the air, the water, and the soil. We have polluted ourselves. We have set in motion gradual release of poisons into the environment, i.e. nuclear reactors dumped in the seas, slowly leaking plutonium into the waterways of the Earth. We have changed so many things through imbalanced use of the gifts the Earth offers. There are too many of us, and we don’t seem to be getting any smarter as a group.

I am watching it unfold, as you are. I am working with friends to make community, to grow and eat healthy food, to laugh and cry, to love and support. I continue to experience my own emotional spiritual journey with the specifics that are unique to me, and to be part of the journey we are all on together.

Much love to us all.

28 April 2010

Three weeks since my last entry. In that time I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my birth. Yay! There have been a few small gatherings, much cake eaten, some wonderful heartfelt talks, and I’m not done yet.

I started doing a written inventory, which was interesting, but then I dropped it. It isn’t necessary to create a detailed list of where I am at this point in my life, but it has been wonderful to do some assessing. Suffice to say that, at 50 years old, with many joys and sorrows behind me, within me, I am inspired enough, interested enough, to want to experience more life.

Today I am in what is essentially a human made cave; an earth-ship dug into the south-facing side of a hill, rammed-earth filled tires for retaining walls, glass facing south, wood stove, with a snow storm outside. It was springtime weather 2 days ago, I was naked in the sun, and now there are 20” of snow on the ground and it’s still falling.

I love the cozy snug feeling of a fire in the stove, snow falling outside, cats lounging about the place.

Full moon, Beltaine nearly upon us, the quiet of this place...I am nourished.

07 April 2010

Today I see in the news that Barack Obama has requested an additional $33 BILLION for his war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It made me wonder about the children of presidents. US presidents all leave office covered with the blood of innocent people. It's been thus for quite some time. How do their children deal with this? Malia and Sasha are young, but in the not too distant future they will understand that their father has ordered the murders of thousands of women, children, and men whose only crime was that they lived in an area coveted by the US government and the corporations that run it.

When Sasha and Malia have children, will they give a thought as to whether or not they should leave their kids with Grandpa Barack? The depravity that has settled in his heart and soul will not just disappear. He will live the rest of his life knowing he is a murderer. His wife knows it. His friends know it. Of course no one will say it to his face, but they know. I know. You know. Like Bush before him, and Clinton before him, and Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, and back and back. That is, after all, the american way. This country, founded on slavery and genocide, has proceeded to kill, rape, and steal, on a global scale.

Some people might call me anti-american for saying such things. If being pro-american means justifying all this killing, then I am anti-american. If being pro-american means reveling in the blood of innocents, then I am anti-american. If being pro-american means agreeing with bankrupting the country, consigning the poor to more poverty and enriching the wealthy 1% that owns 99% of the wealth, then I am anti-american.

Love my country right or wrong? That is a position taken by unevolved immature foolish ignorant people. How can anyone condone what this country has become?

The US isn't the only nation state to exist on the blood of innocents. Many countries on Earth embrace the same immorality, lack of ethics, boldfaced greed and cruelty. But I live here, and so I am commenting about this country.

28 March 2010

Here are some of my thoughts relative to Paradigms Episode#43:

Humans have always had a relationship with the sky. From the time when some critter first looked up until this moment, the sky has held mystery, sustenance, danger, beauty; we created sky gods to explain the mysteries; we created religions with sky gods loving and harsh, reflecting different parts of human nature.

Now we look to the sky again, but in a different way. We look to the sky the way a sailor looks to the sea. We are on earth, floating traveling in “the sky” the cosmos, in a state of constant intercourse with existence, literally exchanging particles from “out there” and particles from “below.” Any magician, witch, shaman, or other such practitioner as well as any physicist will tell you that we are conduits for earth and sky energy to travel through. We are each a cauldron where those energies mix. We bring earth to sky and sky to earth.

That's all very esoteric. It isn't a big stretch, though, to reframe those metaphysical concepts as physical ones when discussing development of solar and wind generated electricity. This is just another new way to relate with the sky.

Solar generated electricity is inspired by plants; by photosynthesis, where plants use chlorophyll to turn sunlight into sugar. They capture the energy of the sun and make it tangible through photosynthesis. We haven't yet learned to be as benign as plants. We use materials from the Earth to make solar panels, inverters, etc. There is research into how we can learn more from the process of photosynthesis. However we have learned how to gather sunlight and turn it into electricity. The use of a variety of devices that do this is becoming more and more widespread. The sun that warms us and makes our food grow also powers our various tools and toys; amazing, and yet how natural it seems.

Wind has always been a part of the natural cycles. Who doesn't love a breeze on a hot summer afternoon, or fear a tornado? More than just providing comfort and danger, wind pollinates all manner of growing things, and carries the moisture growing things need. Consider for a moment wind blowing all around this planet carrying water and seeds. That is an enormous part of the life cycle on earth. Humans have been harnessing wind to turn wheels for a relatively short amount of time, and we are getting better at it. Of course the devices we use are also made from earthly materials. We now have the ability to make a wheel that turns in the wind thus generating electricity. How elegant. Watching a windmill is entrancing and relaxing.

Both solar and wind power applications embody the confluence of Earth and Sky. Permaculture teaches us that the path to sustainability is the path of nature. By imitating nature as much as possible in our technologies, we will damage the Earth less while we provide for our needs. We have learned to generate electricity with wind and sunlight, and it's happening more and more all around the planet.

It is now possible to put solar panels on any building, given that the orientation of the building and the climate are within the parameters needed. It is possible to have a wind generator from small to large depending on site and need. Micro- and Nano-Hydro turbines are available and can turn any stream or river into a generator of electricity without hurting the stream or river.

Taking efficiency even further, these devices can be made with recycled materials. There are millions of tons of metal in the US alone that are not in use. There is an enormous supply of plastics which can be reused. There is also a huge supply of people who need jobs. I see the potential for a win/win scenario that gives people jobs, cleans up some of our mess, and generates clean electricity.

If you like these ideas and wonder how you can contribute to this transition, here are a few ideas. If you own a building, install solar and/or wind power generation. If you listened to Episode #43 of Paradigms you heard about some of the ways this can be paid for, or can cost you nothing. If you don't own a building you can contact your local utility and encourage them to go with renewables. Be in touch with your legislators at the state and federal levels. If you're a renter, talk with your landlord about installing wind and/or solar; talk with people about these possibilities, generate your own ideas. Imagine a society where there are solar panels and windmills and small hydro installations. The air would be cleaner, more people would have jobs, the destructive practices associated with coal and nuclear would have stopped; no more mountaintop removal, no more uranium mining. We can get there but only if enough of us are committed.

14 March 2010

Tonight Derrik Jordan is on Paradigms. He's a kind person, an amazing musician, and we are fortunate to have access to a rare recording of a piece he composed for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Odzihozo And The Lake. Tune in for 90 minutes of music and interview with Derrik Jordan at 8 PM EST on WBKM.org or http://paradigms.bz.

07 March 2010

I am writing this in response to Episode #40 of Paradigms, which aired Sunday, March 7, 2010.

I decided to do a show on the issue of nuclear power and whether or not it is a viable solution for electrical power generation. I found two people to interview on opposing sides of the issue. I did not disclose to either of them my own opinions until after the interview. I have a bias to be sure, but I have done my best to keep it out of the radio episode. The show has aired, and now I am exploring and sharing my thoughts and feelings.

At first, after conducting the interview with Mr. Comby, I thought of nuclear power as a wedge issue between two fundamentally different worldviews; one seeing the world as essentially mechanical, with western culture at the apex of human achievement, and one which views Earth as a living being with humanity as one of many parts of that life. In the first example nuclear power is seen as essential for the preservation and continuation of the overarching western cultural paradigm. Its cons are seen as manageable within the mechanistic framework, while its pros are seen as essential. At the root of this set of beliefs is fear of “reverting back” to a more “primitive” way of living. Once having eaten the proverbial “ fruit of the tree of knowledge,” electrically powered technology, it is believed that one cannot go back. The other world view sees nuclear power with it's environmentally destructive mining and the accompanying displacement of indigenous people, previously subterranean radioactivity released upon the surface of the Earth, and exaltation of technology, as anathema to the life of the Earth. These two worldviews, which I have oversimplified for brevity, certainly seem on the surface to be mutually exclusive.

After the second interview, with Mr. Riccio I realized that my “two worldviews” scenario was wrong. Of course there are as many worldviews as there are people. Neither Mssrs Comby or Riccio discussed aspects of nuclear power that have to do with the aforementioned mining and cultural destruction. Neither of them discussed the fundamental problems with the economic structure within which corporations and governments advocate nuclear power. And neither of them discussed the many behaviors we can change in order to live within our (energy) means. It is no accident that technological cultures on Earth are all finding themselves in debt with failing economies. The debt is what we have borrowed from the Earth by way of exploitation of “resources.”

It is clear to me, from these two interviews, that while I believe there are villains involved in the nuclear power industry, there are also people involved who are not villains. Mr. Comby was a pleasure to talk with, and clearly cares about the future of humanity. I would have to say that there are probably villains in the anti nuclear camp as well, but Mr. Riccio was not one of them. He came across as earnest and passionate and caring about the future of humanity.

What I found lacking in both interviews were statements of caring about the life of the Earth, humanity aside. Both interviewees were focused on the plight of humanity, not of life on Earth as a whole. I say this having spent 15 to 30 minutes with each of them. I imagine, with more time and deeper conversation, both Comby and Riccio would have much more to say about the life of the Earth.

Earth has been here for a while, and we are a relatively recent development. Whatever damage we may do, in geological time, it is a blip. Maybe we cannot really injure the planet. Maybe we can. I don't think anyone can know for sure.

In terms of nuclear power, if we want to continue with the mechanization of humanity, with “mind” as ruler of all, with disregard to the integrated nature of life on Earth, nuclear is the way to go. One can ignore, to a point, problems with radiation and disease, destruction of Earth to mine for uranium, and the confluence of business and government that the nuclear power industry requires in order to function. I think this solution will actually ring the death knell for civilization as we know it because it is part of a paradigm that is ever and increasingly destructive, and is clearly unsustainable. The anti nuclear power position as represented by Jim Riccio also has gaps in it. It’s not enough for us to simply say no to nuclear power. We need to critically assess the entire paradigm that allows for the kind of compartmentalization the nuclear power model calls for. In fact, there is no “environment” separate from us, to protect. There is simply Life on Earth and we are part of that life.

My vision involves some fundamental changes to how humanity operates.

1) We need to reduce the global human population to somewhere between 1 and 2 billion. The current strategy for population control involves war, manufactured diseases, and the maintenance of poverty with its accompanying short life span. We need, instead, for birth control to be available along with information about the plight of the world, to give people good reason to have less children. There are still cultures on Earth where the people depend on their children to do physical work like growing food and tending animals, and those peoples, the few left, are NOT the ones whose large families are literally eating the planet. It's the consumer societies whose disproportionate use of “resources,” gifts from the earth, that are problematic.

2) We have the knowledge and the experience within our common humanity to live in ways that demand less of the Earth. If we use what we know, we can reuse much of what we have discarded, and reduce with an aim to eventually stopping, all mining. When I refer to mining I mean digging drilling and otherwise taking from the Earth minerals and substances that we are currently extracting to form into all kinds of things.

3) It is time to end war. Besides the obvious loss of human life involved, war is one of the biggest polluters. Modern warfare involves the toxin-producing manufatcure and use of devices which cause explosions, burning, release of dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, and radioactive munitions which damage all life forms in proximity. We already see how the use of depleted uranium munitions in the “first gulf war” has created a catastrophe in Iraq. The rate of childhood leukemia is off the charts. The use of DU during the invasion of Iraq has also caused a huge increase in birth defects.

The upshot of my vision is that it is time for humanity to grow up, to learn to live in peace, to respect the Earth, to stop greedily gobbling up everything in sight. Humanity is still, by and large, behaving like a child for whom nothing matters but it's own gratification. That is a normal developmental stage, and one that children navigate and outgrow. It is time for humanity to do the same. Nuclear power, to return to the original topic, is part of the “gimme gimme” stage of development, the narcissistic, where one believes one is entitled to whatever one wants and will take it no matter the consequences. There are clearly consequences with nuclear power. We must weigh our desires against what is viable in nature, for after all, nature was here first, we are part of nature, and the laws of nature govern humanity no matter how hard we may try to escape them. Clearly, we cannot escape the ways of nature, and in my view should not, since we are part of nature. Why try to control nature? That brings us back to narcissism.

In conclusion I would like to say that I learned a lot putting together Episode #40 of Paradigms. The main things I learned are that 1) Not all advocates of nuclear power are villains. 2) Nuclear power is symbolic of an immature humanity, one which will either grow up or not; a humanity faced with taking responsibility for our actions and their consequences, past present and future. We'll see what happens.

22 February 2010

Wow! I am definitely still feeling high from last night's Paradigms. If you haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, check it out.
Live radio is amazing. I've been doing it for some time now and I am still always a little nervous when I first go live on the air, then settle in and find my groove with whatever the show is. Last night's show was no exception but once we got going it felt good, and I think the result is a show that really has a gestalt to it. If you listen to the whole thing you get something more than if you listen to pieces of it. I listened to it in it's entirety this morning and, even though I did all the interviews, I learned a lot just listening. I am left with a lot of good feeling from the experience, and the belief that this show mattered to people near and far, and the hope that it offers something good.

18 February 2010

This coming Sunday's episode of Paradigms has been in the works for over 7000 years! We will meet Bejawi people, learn a bit about their history and their present day existence, and hear some great music from the Bejawi lands in the northeastern part of Africa. Paradigms Sunday Feb 21 8 PM EST on WBKM.org


10 February 2010

I am very happy to announce the launch of the new Paradigms website! Check it out. This is the brilliant creative work of Greg and Leah at PictMedia.

So, drumroll, if you have or haven't visited the old site, please check out the new site! http://paradigms.bz/

29 January 2010

So so much gratitude to all my sisters! On this full moon, which is close to perigee, Wolf Moon, Imbolc Moon, Moon in Leo.

It’s been a rough couple of days. I’ve had a couple of melt downs, wept and raged. I’ve ingested too much media a few times. I hit financial zero, literally coughing into the gas station, running on fumes when I finally had money to buy gas with.

Tonight the moon is full and huge and shining and I am filled with gratitude.

I wasn’t born with sisters from my mother and father. I have always connected well with women. The two women who knew me longest are both dead,my friend Madelin who knew me from ages 9 to 41, with whom I acknowledged the bond of brother and sister, and my mother who I got along with best when we were friends. The mother son thing wasn’t so great. I’ve grieved them both. I am still working through a lot of feelings about my mother’s murder.

Driving home tonight it became clear to me that these two women, sisters to me really, were the first of many. I am blessed with many sisters in the world, all over the world, and I am so grateful for those people, those relationships, what I learn and share with and from them. Thank you all my sisters!

Tonight I will be going out under the moon, sometime around 11, to make an offering and marvel at the cosmos. Maybe some of the people who read this will join me, wherever they are.

Blessed be.

16 January 2010

Midwinter is always a time of introspection for me. I sleep a lot, I dream a lot, I don't do a lot of external stuff. Anyone watching me for the last few weeks would see someone who eats and sleeps, takes care of the living space, talks with the cat, does some visiting; nothing big in terms of externals. I am still teaching and producing Paradigms, but I've also been watching movies and making applejack and really being pretty low key.

I find myself arriving in a new place as far as grieving for my mother goes. It's been 5 and a half years since she was murdered. I've been missing her a lot lately. I've also been peeling back layers during these years, and am now encountering another layer of anger. It's been hard for me to get to the anger at whoever killed her. I've felt angry, but I've stayed away from the big rage. I can speculate as to why, but bottom line is my psyche wasn't ready so I didn't go there. Today I felt like I could take a baseball bat to the person and hurt them. Badly.

I have not been violent towards other living creatures many times in my life. Maybe a couple of times I've struck out at another human, and I'm ashamed to say I have smacked my dog a few times. I don't think of myself generally as a violent person. In fact I reject violence as acceptable behavior. I don't want to be a violent person. This anger brings me into contact with feelings I don't like or want to feel; the kind of feelings that lead people to behave in ways I find unacceptable. So now I am facing a contradiction in myself.

I haven't focused on Haiti a lot. I just didn't feel it. Today I closed my eyes and visited Haiti astrally, or in my imagination, however one wants to see that. I heard the moaning and crying of those who are still buried alive. I could feel them under the rubble. There are thousands. I felt the current, the force of awareness, like electricity moving through my body. I saw spirits whose bodies had just died leaving Earth, floating up, flying up. It reminds me of Sept 11, 12, 13 2001 when I had similar experiences. I know that the shock of such a death can take some getting used to. I also know that these people, these beings, these energies, freed from their broken bodies, and for many their very hard lives, are now released from the physicality of life on Earth. They are their truest selves, unencumbered with the baggage of human life.

Welcome to 2010.