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I have returned in recent hours from Standing Rock, North Dakota. My mind is awash in the images, sounds and strong emotions of that journey and it will take some days to constellate them into words. What seems clear is that energies are being activated in this world and coalescing in ways both beautiful and disturbing. It feels we are asked to make choices – and not just on one issue or in one election – but where and how we stand with Life itself.
You are being distracted. We all are. It’s like being in a fun house at the fair with all its illusions, maze of mirrors and menacing clowns, except it’s not much fun. The reality is that Life beckons us with her beauty and grace – Mother Nature, the animals plants and minerals, the waterways, the heavens. To be ‘protectors’, in service to all that is sacred including the highest ideals of humanity, is a true vow each of us must make in our own hearts. Yet, we can’t do it alone. Now more than ever, community is both refuge and path.
The work we do at Kosmos is our expression of service and a reflection of our gratitude for you. We are just now planning some of the very first actions for our new Kosmos Community platform, including an online symposium on Activism in the New Climate, (if you would like to join as a potential panelist, please let me know); our 2017 Seed Grants, ($2500 grants to support member initiatives at the edge of change); a study group to receive Eco-sattva training; a winter weekend retreat, and more. All of that is coming.
Here are six excellent essays from our community of readers and friends. The first is from Thanissara Mary Weinberg who quickly claimed my heart and my respect at Standing Rock. Each essay is a reflection on what it means to stand on the side of Life, as the water protectors at Standing Rock are doing. Each essay is a reminder that together we can transform the energy of ‘wetiko’, cannibalistic greed, into compassionate, informed and loving action.
This is also the third week of our Sacred Season campaign. We have significant direct costs. If you value what we’re offering and what this space represents, we invite your support. Please consider joining Kosmos Community at any level. We have added new gifts and incentives to make it more fun. Thank you for standing with us!
Mni Wiconi (Water is Life),
By Thanissara, on standing prayerfully at the ‘front line’, wherever that may be.
“At the heart of this resistance is commitment to break the cycles of violence born of a colonial mindset, which feels entitled to extract for self-benefit regardless of the impact. This mindset is now the front line everywhere, within and around us all. Increasingly, our choices will be influenced either by a colonizing, psychopathic corporate agenda servicing extortionate amounts of wealth for a minuscule percent of the global population, or they’ll contribute to a necessary resistance upon which our survival now depends.”
By Michael N. Nagler, on rebuilding not just our systems, but our image of ourselves
“The spectacularly successful freedom struggle Gandhi conducted in India had three phases: (1) personal empowerment (shedding fear, for starters), (2) Constructive Programme (CP), where you break your dependence on the oppressive regime, and then (3) direct nonviolent resistance (satyagraha) where still needed. It was a program for the complete renewal of Indian society, and so it could be for ours. While most contemporary movements begin and end with satyagraha (think of Occupy), satyagraha must be built on the other two phases if it is to result in lasting beneficial change. If you think you will renew Indian society simply by gaining independence, Gandhi said, ‘you are dreaming.'”
By Bruna Kadletz, on the profound power of hospitality – published in the Fall | Winter 2016 edition of Kosmos Journal
“Disguised as poor travellers, Zeus and Hermes visited many villages in search of refuge for the night. Residents repeatedly turned the gods away. Everyone regarded them as uninvited guests except a poor elderly couple—Baucis and Philemon. The couple welcomed them as guests in their home and generously served them food and wine. After refilling her guests’ cups many times over, Baucis noticed that the wine jug was still full. “
By Evangeline Elmendorf Greene, on the struggle to teach immigrants in a US culture out-of-balance with Nature.
“Two years ago, one of my students turned in an assignment splattered with blood. I held the paper by one edge and extended it back to him, explaining that I could not accept it in this condition. His eyes remained cast down; in his culture, it is considered disrespectful to look directly into the eyes of anyone in authority. “It’s just pig’s blood, Miss,” he replied.”
Story, photos and flowers by Betsey Crawford, on why no act of goodwill is too small
“Recent political events have reinforced for me once again that not only is progress non-linear, the way is often bewilderingly and heartbreakingly tortuous with far too many backward strides. I am reminded of Wendell Berry’s poem, February 2, 1968. He wrote it three days into the disastrous Tet Offensive of the Vietnam war, in a year that was to include two deeply tragic assassinations, worldwide rebellion, and a bitter election.
In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter,
war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.”
By Marybeth Holleman, on the wisdom of the trees.
“When we bought our home fifteen years ago, we hired an arborist to walk our mostly wooded acre and advise us about the health of our trees. He stopped at a willow in our back yard. “Nice burl,” he said, pointing to the gnarled base. “If you cut this down, I’d love to have it. I could carve a pretty nice bowl from it.” But we weren’t planning on cutting down any trees if we could help it; to the contrary, we were interested in keeping them living, and standing, our own garden of trees.”
Nov 29, 2016 1By Thanissara, on standing prayerfully at the 'front line', wherever that may...
Nov 29, 2016 2By Marybeth Holleman, on the wisdom of the trees. "When we bought our home...
Nov 29, 2016 0By Evangeline Elmendorf Greene, on the struggle to teach immigrants in a US...
Nov 29, 2016 1By Bruna Kadletz, on the profound power of hospitality - published in the Fall...
Nov 29, 2016 0By Michael N. Nagler, on rebuilding not just our systems, but our image of...
Nov 29, 2016 1Story, photos and flowers by Betsey Crawford, on why no act of goodwill is too...