Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Don't See Your Feet Moving

When my son Cody was about 20 months old and playing with a toy train on the family room floor, he called repeatedly to invite his dad to come play with him. Dad said yes with his voice .... but stayed in his chair focused on finishing a newspaper article. Cody walked over to look into his dad's eyes and said with genuine confusion "But I don't see your feet moving." No one present at the time will ever forget the power of this simple observation spoken from a place of innocence and truth.

In a week, Cody will celebrate his 15th birthday. While he has grown to be over six feet tall and busy with passions that range from his rock band to bodyboarding to photography, he has maintained his capacity for clear insight packaged in simple questions. Yesterday we were listening together to some music from the late sixties and talking about the activism stirred up by the Vietnam war. He got very quiet for a while and then asked "Why don't people care about this war?"

Why indeed?

Of course, the answer to that question is long and complicated. I know many people who care passionately about the state of our world and who are working creatively to bring about change. I know some people who do stand on a street corner one day every week, holding a sign inviting people to honk if they believe the war is wrong. I know some people who have come to believe that the old paradigm of protest and revolution is no longer the answer and who are exploring new energies of 'subtle activism', self-organizing action, circle dialogue and global resonance. I also know many people who feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of the challenges facing us on the planet. I know many people who have grown cynical about governments that are too corrupt and leaders who are too uninspired and problems that are too complex.

There are no easy answers in these transformational times.... except maybe to have faith that we can find our way back to cooperation, mutuality and unity. And to move your feet in the general direction of that vision in some way every day.

Faith with feet may just get us there.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Reflection on Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.

I want to thank my mom for all that she has been for me in all the different phases of my life, for staying close when I needed her and for allowing me to fly when I needed to spread my wings. She is and has always been beautiful, soft and loving and I love her very much.

One of my recent poems is entitled 'Me and You and Mom' and it is a reflection upon the complex relationships between mother and child ... and between our earthly 'mother' and our divine Mother. That poem says:

To be a woman
and a mother
and a daughter
covers a vast territory
of love and longing,
of self and other,
of my skin and your skin,
and a fragile, fragile space
where the boundaries blend.

It requires vast courage
to live in the ambivalence
of that borderless land.
The dragons do know this
and they smile in their sleep
as they dream of smoke and fire.

On this Mother's Day, I will be taking a moment to stand in silence at 1 p.m. with other women around the world as part of Standing Women, yet another of the millions of brilliant impulses born in a small circle of women which sends out ripples of transformation that we will never be able to fully measure. I hope you will be standing in your community. http://www.standingwomen.org

And I cannot sign off without acknowledging the brilliant words of Julia Ward Howe who called us all to the celebration of Mother's Day with these words in 1870. Julia, I hope you know that this pebble you tossed into the pond over 125 years ago is still sending out ripples ... and that the women of the world are still bringing their creativity and passion to co-create a peaceful, sustainable and loving world.

Mother's Day Proclamation
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God---
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.