Why Do We Choose Servitude in the “Land of the Free?”

It’s a controversial question, I know, but please hear me out.

The most pressing issues of our time have a single common denominator- power. Who has it? How do they use (or, more often, abuse) it? What needs to be done to alleviate the suffering it causes?

Upon reflecting on my own life, I have come to understand that nearly every choice I’ve made has been forced or coerced through power dynamics and I think this is true for nearly all of us. As children, we are dependent on our caregivers for survival and this sets up patterns of power that become internalized. If we are raised by people who have, themselves, internalized unhealthy or abusive conceptions of power, we are most likely going to repeat the patterns we’ve learned unless and until there are countervailing interventions of various kinds.

It is also the case that we are raised not only within families, but within social institutions with cultural norms that are also internalized. Schools, faith communities, media, acquaintances, and other influences exert power in our lives when we are still developing our cognitive and emotional capacities and are vulnerable to all sorts of manipulation. It is no wonder, then, that so many young people experience some form of identity crisis and/or emotional instability as their brains develop greater executive function and are compelled both internally and externally to become more independent. What does it mean, though, to be independent in our culture?

In the United States, freedom and independence are so deeply engrained in our ethos that we often don’t interrogate the meaning of the words or the ideas they represent in any meaningful way- we just assume we have freedom because we are American. We are taught that this is the ‘Land of the Free’ and are expected to glorify the symbols of liberty that our “Founding Fathers” enshrined in the construction of our country- the flag, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and all of the institutions and positions of power that were created out of their ideas. Challenges to these ideas and the constructed reality they produced are typically dismissed or vilified automatically by most of us. The status quo is stubbornly persistent because our entire culture is built around a framework of resistance to change and we are, as a society, in deep denial that there may be flaws in the original design.

We are, collectively, choosing to serve these systems and institutions regardless of the overwhelming evidence that they do not serve us and are, in fact, causing irreparable harm to all life on Earth. Are we capable of thinking bigger?

What do you think?

A Poem for The People

I weep each day

and search for what to say

to soothe the pain

of we, the people

I do my part

by leading with my heart

create more space

for we, the people

I dream of love

within, between, above

to heal the wounds

of we, the people

I speak and sing

of wholeness, interbeing

to join the souls

of we, the people

We have a choice

with our collective voice

to live as one

yes, we the people

An Open Letter to All Educators

I am writing to all educators- not merely to the teachers, administrators, and other institutional personnel- but to all parents, caregivers, adults and older youth who are responsible for sharing knowledge and skills with children. I have an uncomfortable, but necessary, truth to share with you.

The United States’ education system is failing BY DESIGN and ON PURPOSE.

Please allow me to elaborate.

Our public and even private schools are not and have never been built for the benefit of our kids. Schooling was created to train children to be useful within the dominant social structure, particularly “the economy.” In the United States, our economy is one in which the vast majority of people have been working in jobs that are mind-numbing, soul-sucking, thankless, and/or physically debilitating with little to no financial security, recognition of our social-emotional needs, or care for our well-being. As the ultra-wealthy “masters of the universe” have gradually manipulated all of the levers of power at their disposal to eliminate the need for “workers,” it naturally follows that the benefits of employment would become less and less available to the masses. Well prior to the recent global pandemic and environmental disasters, work was not working for most of us!

Schools are increasingly being exposed as tools to perpetuate cycles of poverty, punishment, privilege, and power. Rather than focusing on the lack of resources provided by the government to our society’s most vulnerable and exploited communities of children and families, I’d like to focus instead on contemporary and historical patterns that may (hopefully) lead us to engage in a meaningful re-imagining of the purpose of education.

Wealth inequality and concentration of financial and political power has become so extreme in recent years that the majority of Americans have no personal or institutional “safety net.” This is tragic and undeniable. Treating the Earth and it’s inhabitants as “natural resources” for extraction, production, and consumption has led us to the brink of environmental collapse and spawned wars, famines, fires, floods, and subsequent despair and social unrest. Do we really want to continue training our children to perpetuate this destructive and unsustainable cycle?

It is not surprising to me that some people look back nostalgically to some point in America’s past when a single wage earner- typically a white male- could earn enough to support a family- buy a home in the suburbs or “good” city neighborhood with all the amenities (including quality schools), own and maintain a vehicle, acquire major appliances, go on vacations, remain employed with the same company for 40 years and retire with a decent pension. We know that this idyllic time of middle-class normality was not as “great” as many would like to believe, especially since it deliberately left out most Black and Brown people, unmarried women or women who wanted to work outside of the home, folks with disabilities, recent immigrants, and others who were outside of the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-designed power structure established at the founding of the country. For those who grew up with fathers who were alcoholic, abusive, and/or absent because of the stresses and pressures of being successful providers and mothers who seemed more concerned with impressing the neighbors than being emotionally available to their children, it’s not too hard to see that this lifestyle was not really working for those ostensibly benefiting, either.

Prior to industrialization, education was designed to provide landowners with labor that would be just literate enough in English and math to manage and farm the land efficiently, typically exploiting the bodies of those in the underclasses (determined mainly by constructed racial categories) who had no formal schooling at all- and who were often, in fact, punished for learning. Most students in those days completed their formal schooling by the age of 12 and went to work full-time in the fields, fully dependent on those who “owned” the land and the means of production. Those who pursued higher levels of education were the children of the wealthy, whose “educational achievement” would maintain their social status by preparing them to hold professional or leadership positions in administration and government. The rules they imposed on the country, including those related to education, were created within a framework of class distinction and holding people in their place on the economic and social ladder.

If we go back even further, prior to the colonization of the Americas, we know that there were people living here already who had no formal education system yet had managed to survive for millennia, living in relative harmony with each other within the natural world. Children learned the ways of their people by observing and imitating- through intergenerational continuity. We now call these groups aboriginal, indigenous, or first-nations people: defined as “produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment.”

Recent scholarship in philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history, environmental sciences, and even astronomy and cosmology point to the inherent “workability,” if you will, of indigenous understanding of the world and humanity’s role within it. If we truly hope to address the catastrophic impacts of our civilization’s mythological worldview relative to the purpose of human labor and the educational needs of our children, we must seriously consider abandoning the entire system and creating one that centers the actual needs of people and the planet.

What would this look like? Well, to start, we should interrogate the some of narratives we have learned that have been proven inaccurate. Here are a few that I have recognized and reevaluated, personally:

  1. Formal schooling is necessary for children to be prepared for adult life.

I was taught and once believed that all kids need to go to school in order to have opportunities to be productive members of society. Education is the great equalizer and leads to engagement in civic life, gainful employment, and healthy families- this is the narrative we’re taught, right? I no longer believe this is true because, well, it’s demonstrably untrue. Quantifiable data and the lived experience of most of us show that regardless of educational attainment, most people are likely to stay within the same level of social hierarchy that they are born into or, as is more frequently the case of late, to drop into a lower caste category. The entire premise of equity/equalization is predicated on their being strata of social class and it is impossible, within this framework, for equity to be achieved within any of the systems designed to keep this framework in place.

2. It’s important to measure innate intelligence/acquired learning/achievement through standardized metrics and place students in “tracks” that are determined by the resultant data.

As a child who scored exceptionally well on standardized tests and in-class assessments of my comprehension, retention, and capability for higher order thinking skills, I am living proof that these things do not determine “success” as our society defines it. I was tracked into the “gifted & talented” programs in school and encouraged to pursue the most respected and esteemed professions in our culture- specifically, medicine or law. My aspirations were expected to be aligned with these tracks and the fact that they weren’t was seen as a lack of motivation on my part. I was labeled “disorganized,” “lazy/unmotivated,” and “troubled.”

As a young person, my mental/emotional health and subsequent behavior was impacted by specific, personal trauma from which I have healed through a long process of formal and informal therapeutic relationships. Having resolved my past pain while simultaneously broadening my perspective to understand the ways that the underlying cultural frameworks of our society influenced the behaviors of those who harmed me, I am now able to see the ways that the systems in which we are forced to operate are, themselves, inherently designed to perpetuate harm.

There is no measurement that can adequately describe the power of self-awareness and caring relationships to transform our culture and society in the ways our current situation demands. There have been valiant attempts to collect and communicate data in these areas through social science research, popular books, and various other forms of “thought-leadership” but since they are at odds with the system, they cannot effectively penetrate the structural force-field. I am still troubled- not because of what happened to me anymore but because of what has happened to all of us. We’ve become so invested in keeping the structures we’re used to in place, our imaginations have been collectively limited to think only in terms of ways to “reform” them, rather than dream of entirely different ways to live that are restorative, fulfilling, and future-minded.

3. Students are subordinate to adult authority and require educators to impart knowledge to them through structured, linear rules and processes.

Whether you are a parent or not, you’ve likely had occasion to observe small children at play. At the very least, you must remember some elements of your own childhood when you were just filled with wonder and connection. Remember…? When kids are allowed the space and time to explore the world around them, they learn not what to think but how to think. I remember sitting in the field near my childhood home watching insects and other animals crawl, jump, and fly and being so driven by curiosity I just had to find out more about them. My sisters, friends, and I would spend hours playing together- telling stories, singing songs, dancing, skating, rolling down hills, staring at clouds, making snow-angels, drawing/painting pictures, being silly and laughing at each other and at ourselves. This is the core of how I learned about empathy, compassion, joy, and social connection among peers. My best memories of my parents and other adults are the moments when they let their guard down and just enjoyed being with me- when they saw me, heard me, and showed me their love. Most of these experiences occurred prior to my starting formal schooling and I don’t think that is an accident. Once I became a student of the dominant culture with the subsequent expectations of conformity, competition, and comparison as the primary drivers, my connected, carefree days were effectively over. Internal and external conflicts naturally followed.

As an adult, I have formed and maintained relationships with many young people. In my experience, they have been invariably curious, passionate, creative, engaged, and motivated- NOT BY SCHOOL-but by authentic experiences in relationship with others who care about them. If anything, the imposition of rules and processes that are unnatural and counter to the way we actually learn have been major barriers to their education and fruition of their unique and collective gifts and talents. I believe the only way we will move in the direction of a world that works for all of us is by truly listening to our kids and recognizing the value of their idealistic imaginations in co-creating the world we want- the world our hearts know is possible. Our children and future generations of all species deserve no less.

I’ll close with a quote from Albert Einstein, who is regarded by many as one of the most intelligent and accomplished human beings ever:

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed…”

Thank you for your consideration.

Hierarchy- (nearly) everywhere hierarchy…

I recently listened to Isabel Wilkerson’s latest book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” and I find her thesis extremely compelling- perhaps because it is aligned with my own worldview but I’d like to think the extensive research and cogency of her arguments are the main reason I’m finding it so interesting and important.

There are other scholars, writers, and speakers who have identified hierarchy, itself, as problematic- several of whom I’ve referenced in my own writing. This document, however, is receiving mainstream attention in ways that I haven’t seen before and that gives me tremendous hope that we may find a collective understanding of the foundational and structural origins of oppression and exploitation. Without such understanding, we will continue to treat the symptoms of our social dis-ease, without addressing the root cause.

Wilkerson’s work connects America’s racial caste system, India’s religious caste system, and Nazi Germany’s ethnic caste system in an incredibly effective way and identifies the key characteristics of castes, which she calls the 8 Pillars of Caste:

  1. Divine Will & The Laws of Nature
  2. Heritability (identity determined by parentage, paternally or maternally)
  3. Endogomy and the Control of Marriage & Mating (requiring that marriage and mating only occur within same caste)
  4. Purity Versus Pollution
  5. Occupational Hierarchy
  6. Dehumanization and Stigma
  7. Terror as Enforcement, Cruelty as a Means of Control
  8. Inherent Superiority Versus Inherent Inferiority

I can’t stress enough how very important it is that Ms. Wilkerson has clearly identified these characteristics and explored in her book how they’ve played out in our societies. America’s foundational ethos of individual responsibility has effectively obscured the impact of structures and reinforced the opinion of many that racism and other forms of oppression are a result of individual choices and behaviors. Clarifying the actual foundations and the structures that have been built to maintain the social hierarchy in the United States (and elsewhere) allows us to dismantle these structures and build alternatives.

As I’m writing this, I’m remembering the film, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” This may seem like a weird divergence, I know, but bear with me…

Isabel Wilkerson uses the metaphor of an old house to help folks understand how we may see our own responsibility for resolving the conflicts and consequences of caste, even though we didn’t build the structures she outlines. In “Gilbert Grape,” the home of the family at the center of the story was built in a structurally unsound way and the current occupants, while relatives of the builder but not part of the choices made at the time of the construction, are now responsible for considering how to deal with the resulting instability. No spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, which is worth a watch, in my opinion. I’ll just say that the decision Johnny Depp’s character ultimately makes may be instructive for us as we collectively face the consequences of humanity’s social hierarchies.

It may not be fair that we are individually and collectively responsible for addressing the impacts of structures we had no part in building but, here we are. We’re all suffering to some extent within this caste system and, if we’re thoughtful about it, we may actually find ourselves empowered by taking responsibility for dealing with it. Maybe we’ll be inspired to engage our imaginations and consider building other structures that are rooted in love…? Maybe we’ll release blame and shame and division and recognize our shared humanity…? The possibilities are literally endless once we let go of the notion that these structures aren’t there or that they are inevitable and ‘natural.’ Like all cultural myths, these ideas can and should be debunked, dismantled, and replaced.

I welcome your comments. Peace.

A Conversation with Danielle Morgan of Doppler Effect

Also available on YouTube HERE

A letter to myself

Dear Sara,

You are loving and you are loved. In any moment in which you doubt this Truth, return to your deep knowing that the foundation of your entire life is love and connection.

You are enough and there is enough. Who you are, what you need, and what you do are inextricably bound in authentically sharing yourself and receiving that which your network of LIFE shares with you.

Life is beautiful, though bewilderingly complex- full of wounds in need of healing and harm being done by those who are not healed. Resist judgment of the wounded and seek instead to love your human family in the ways that their wounded-ness requires. Balance may only be restored through love of self, love of life, love of those you perceive as “other.” The Truth is there is no “other” only those you have not let yourself see, know, and acknowledge as fully worthy of knowing and being loving and loved.

There is pain in loving and that’s the nature of things. Remember that the most meaningful moments of your life have demonstrated this undeniable Truth, that pain is inherent to love. In the birth of your child; in your emotionally disruptive journey to loving yourself; in the physical separation from deeply intertwined relationships through break-ups, divorce, illness, and death; and in your struggle to create lasting peace in the world- the pain you feel is a catalyst to drive you forward, not a penance for embodying love.

Grief is an ultimate expression of care and connection but you need not be immobilized by it or forget that joy, fun, laughter, wonder, and creativity are also present and accessible in those moments when pain elicits fear and doubt.

The world you imagine- the whole and balanced expression of loved and loving life- is nearly here. It has been growing in the womb of collective consciousness and imagination. The labor has been long, painful, and fraught with danger but keep breathing. Keep pushing. You’re almost there.

Mama in the Middle- Reflections on Building A Just World

In the past few weeks I’ve seen and read a lot more articles and social media posts and had dozens of new conversations about the concept of antiracism. Having spent my entire adult life learning about and working for peace THROUGH justice, understanding power dynamics is deeply embedded in my approach to building relationships, communicating effectively, and resisting oppression in all of its forms.

Over the last 20+ years, I have formally studied conflict, peace, and justice; participated in countless book groups and restorative circle sessions; organized and facilitated dialogues and workshops about racial and social inequity; designed and managed educational programs promoting cross-cultural relationships and coalition-building; supported dozens of progressive organizations with my time, energy, and money; founded and managed youth leadership and social change organizations; and mentored, taught, and co-created with hundreds of young people from every background and identity group. I have immeasurable love for my Black and Brown students and youth program participants and they have been the primary source of my understanding and commitment to all forms of anti-oppression and pro-justice movements.

When the flash-point events: stories and videos exposing continued anti-Black violence (murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and Amy Cooper’s calling police to threaten Black “birdwatcher,” Christian Cooper) reached a critical mass of people already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic (disproportionately affecting poor Black and Brown people) and decades of cumulative rage and despair from hearing, seeing, knowing, and living the experiences of oppression in our culture, mass demonstrations and civil unrest predictably ensued. What was/is unpredictable is how quickly the coordinated actions that started in Minneapolis (Where police officer, Derek Chauvin, murdered Mr. Floyd) spread around the country and the world and how many white people have become active in the Black Lives Matter movement.

My first thought when rebellion erupted was, “I need to make sure my ‘kids’ are okay.” Of course, they were not and are not okay. I needed to accept their not okay-ness and the discomfort that caused me. I needed to listen and really hear them. I needed to demonstrate my love and stand with them and for them. I needed to continue having a LOT of difficult conversations with my white colleagues, friends, and family members. I needed to reflect, think, and consider the best ways to apply my skills and experience to ongoing resistance to oppression AND demonstrating alternative, pro-justice principles.

Most of the young people I’ve worked with were participants in The Possibility Project-Rochester (formerly City at Peace-Rochester). They are young adults now, aged 22-30, and a lot of them are parents or soon-to-be. Their lives are full of the daily stresses and expectations we all experience and on top of those, Black and Brown alumni are also dealing with the structural and institutional oppression of our racist culture and the long-term impacts of serious childhood neglect, abuse, and community violence.

A significant number of our alumni are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Some are living in homes and neighborhoods where material resources are scarce. Others have more than enough material resources but are still seen by society, at large, as inherently suspect because of the color of their skin and/or their gender, sexuality, religion, IDENTITY. All are dealing with various manifestations of emotional and mental health challenges that are a direct result of their experiences of individual and collective trauma. All are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and other existential effects of global climate disruption.

Our young people are not okay. Our society is not okay. Our planet is not okay.

Initially, there was consensus among our active City at Peace/The Possibility Project-Rochester alumni group that they wanted to take action. We began discussing options for ways we could collaborate and create projects and demonstrations aligned with the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. Through our Facebook group and Messenger threads and a number of Zoom meetings, various ideas emerged and started to develop. Soon, however, conflicts began to erupt- mainly around racial lines. Some of our white alumni were feeling pressured to “show up” more and protest alongside their Black peers, despite very significant health concerns and inability to leave their homes during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Other alumni of all backgrounds were overwhelmed by everything that has happened and dealing with personal and family emotional and mental health crises. Others were just trying to make ends meet and needed to focus on work and home commitments.

I was and am “Mama in the middle,” trying to keep everyone focused on the justice-building and conflict resolution principles of our program, while juggling my full-time job, home, family, and community commitments. Some of our Black alumni felt hurt and angry that I wasn’t demonstrating enough loyalty to them. They perceived my attempts to reinforce constructive communication and acceptance of each member’s unique role in the group as being defensive on behalf of the white people. I felt stuck. I agreed with our most vocal Black members that this moment requires solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and its demands. The means and methods for demonstrating solidarity, however, cannot realistically be homogeneous- we have different roles to play and different perspectives to offer and each has value. This is the heart of the work I’ve committed my life to doing.

I read and listen to a lot of Brene’ Brown’s work. She had this to say about the myth of ‘comparative suffering:’

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past decade, it’s that fear and scarcity immediately trigger comparison, and even pain and hurt are not immune to being assessed and ranked. My husband died and that grief is worse than your grief over an empty nest. I’m not allowed to feel disappointed about being passed over for promotion when my friend just found out that his wife has cancer…The refugee in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and withhold it from your neighbor who’s going through a divorce.”

In much the same way, what we are going through individually and collectively with the conditions of the pandemic, economic/social and environmental crises has created fear and scarcity and we are all triggered in some way. I don’t believe that I am giving any of the young people I love what they deserve from me if I am dismissing any of their very real feelings and concerns in order to demonstrate my solidarity with a particular, identity-based movement and those who are most impacted by structural racism.

To reiterate, I have been and continue to be committed to dismantling all structures of oppression and I accept that I have benefited from systems of cis-gender and white privilege, while experiencing negative impacts of patriarchy and antisemitism as a woman of Jewish heritage. I cannot prioritize my hardships over anyone else’s because we are all subject to the negative impacts of our imbalanced structures of social/political/economic power. There is no doubt in my mind that our collective future is imperiled by the design of our civilization because it is abundantly evident that power is always concentrated, corruption is always rampant, and abuses are pervasive and inevitable wherever hierarchy is the structural framework of our systems.

The way forward may be uncertain for many of us and that’s difficult to accept. I hope we can agree that complex systems can’t be dismantled with simple solutions. It’s going to be messy and very, very difficult. I believe that centering and keeping relationships, empathy, and love at the core of any strategy as we move through our local and global community transformation, however, will lead us to real, lasting, compassionate alternatives for ourselves and future generations of life on this fragile planet.

What do you think? Please comment or send me a message through the contact form on this site.

“Human, We Have a Problem”

Even if you haven’t seen the movie, Apollo 13, most of us know the most famous line from the film, and the situation on which it was based; a NASA mission intended to continue lunar exploration. The ship’s commanding officer, Jim Lovell, (played by beloved actor, Tom Hanks) was reporting to Mission Control about potentially disastrous malfunctions of the spacecraft and (slightly misquoted in the movie) said, “Houston- we have a problem.” A dramatic series of events ensued, culminating in the safe return of the ship and its crew to the Earth. They got home! A perfect Hollywood ending… roll credits.

Friday morning, as I was considering the state of my personal life, the world, and my place in it (all before having even a single sip of coffee, mind you) I heard myself think, “Humanity, we have a problem,” and started composing this post. I decided to change the title to “Human, we have a problem” because it is a more direct play on the original quote but I mean to communicate to the whole of humanity.

We are, collectively, experiencing a critical mass of disastrous malfunctions of our “spacecraft,” Planet Earth, that is- at the same time- similar to and entirely different from those experienced by Lovell and his crew on that fated lunar landing mission in April of 1970. We are, metaphorically, in a “dark side of the moon” moment as we are forced to seriously weigh the consequences of decades of environmental and social degradation and injustice. The global COVID-19 pandemic, real-time catastrophic impacts of industrial processes and global climate disruptions, and massive sociopolitical unrest are cascading and compounding existential threats to our individual and interpersonal well-being. We are, as a species, being overwhelmed with fear and stress. We are breaking down. Our only home is breaking down. Hope is fading.

Can we right this ship, break through, and get our happy ending?

Clearly, the myriad complex and intersectional issues we face as human beings in this time are not as easily resolved as a movie plot. I think there is value in thinking about our lives, circumstances, and the way forward as a narrative, however. This is our story to write. We choose what to do next. What if we choose hope and possibility rather than believing we are doomed? The crew and support team of Apollo 13 chose to create solutions rather than getting stuck in despair. They were, like us, hurtling through space, with limited resources, but rather than focusing on lack and being victims of circumstance, they focused on what truly mattered to them, chose ingenuity & imagination, and adjusted their expectations in order to survive and rejoin their human family on this beautiful, blue planet.

What we face is overwhelming when we perceive ourselves as small, alone, and insignificant. Each of us has immense power that is obscured by all of the false stories we learn as children. We are told we are not enough. We are told we are not worthy of love and belonging. We are told to follow arbitrary rules we had no part in making. We are told what to want. We are told not to feel. We are told there is one right way. We are told to obey. Fit in. Shrink. Forget.

Unlearning all of the lies we have been taught is painful and disruptive and we feel ill-equipped to consider new ways of being within our selves, with others, and in the world.

We have become “addicted” to our hidden shame and isolation- in as much as we know on some deep level it is killing us but we continue to cling to it because it is familiar and we think we need it. As with any addiction, admitting we have a problem is the most important step. The next step is admitting we need support from others to break the attachment to that which is killing us. In connecting with those who have been there too, broken through, and found new paths toward truly being and belonging in the world as healed, whole, thriving, and creative members of our human family, we are able to envision- then enact- new lives based on Truth.

The good news is that there is a significant and growing global movement of people who are writing and living new stories for humanity. This movement is difficult to see when we only recognize small parts of the larger whole. Wherever and however individuals and groups are committing themselves to challenging the status quo and demonstrating alternatives to our political, social, economic, and cultural norms- that is the movement. As the challenges we face accelerate and aggregate, so too our collective shift toward justice, renewal, and regeneration accelerates and grows. Observe. Listen. Feel. Know. Be. Connect.

Human, we have a problem. We are also the solution.

A Proclamation for Mother’s Day 2020

Inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 proclamation, which prompted the official observance of Mother’s Day.

Arise, all parents, caretakers, and nurturers of the planet, whether your children be from your womb or your heart! Say firmly: “We will not have great global questions decided by corporations and politicians. Our loved ones shall not come to us, steeped in greed and avarice, for approval and applause.”

Our babies shall not continue to be convinced that they are flawed, separate, alone. We will teach them instead of their value, connection, and interdependence. We parents of this one Earth shall not forsake the most vulnerable among us in the name of endless growth and boundless comfort.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Be still and listen to your planetary Mother. More possessions do not make you happy. Living in harmony with each other and all of nature does.” Things do not resemble love nor do they replace compassion and community.

As we have forsaken our endless busy-ness and consumption due to this Pandemic Pause, let us now reflect on what truly matters and enact a new Vision of Life. Let us be contemplative and honor the lives and souls lost in the name of “progress.” Let us then solemnly consider the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning in this time, the sacred oneness of all living beings and the unique and bountiful world which we inhabit.

In the name of the entire spectrum of humanity, I earnestly encourage all loving souls to gather your courage and remember your responsibility- to promote the preservation of all the different species, to restore and sustain our fragile ecosystems, and insist that our intention and attention are focused on creating a world at peace.

Indigenous Economic Worldview vs. Western Economic Worldview

This video summarizes the basic philosophy I seek to promote with this site. Watch. Reflect. And consider the ways in which we may take this time of transition to move toward ways of life that have worked for millennia and offer us real opportunities for sustainability, justice, and connection for generations to come.

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