The sun takes its time setting behind the mountains, taking the heat of the day with it. Just minutes ago, camp was set up. The donkeys drink from a watering hole. Finally, the nomads can pause and rest. They deserve it.

They are eager to take their shoes off, stretching their feet and wiggling their toes. The cool earth soothes the tired feet of these men. They gather, each sitting on his own towel. They have been waiting for this moment all day. While others prepare food at the campsite, they exchanges stories. Muhammad, everyones senior, stands before them, speaking.

Tonight, he reminisces to his youth, sharing a story. The younger men, listen intently. The older men, having heard the story, absorb the scenery.

"Today reminds me of a day in my childhood, when I was on a journey like this with my father. The sunset was beautiful, as it is tonight, but that day was not as relaxed as today. In the midday heat, as we trekked through the desert, the sun was baking our bodies. The donkeys were stubborn and quickly growing weak. We should have listened to the earth, and sought shelter for the day, but that is not what we did. Pushing on, the heat grew worse, and the winds picked up. A sandstorm was brewing."

All the young men are staring at Muhammad, forgetting to blink.

"We were caught in the middle of the storm, and helpless to escape it. We could not see where we were going. My instant reaction was to cover my face from the sand. The men were frantically searching for cover, eventually finding a lone tree. Digging into the barren earth, they created enough room to protect the group. The storm seemed to rage on for hours, but in reality, it was minutes. Afterwards, we gathered ourselves, only to realize that we had lost our donkeys. A search found the donkeys, but unfortunately, it was too late. They did not survive the storm. Each able bodied man grabbed supplies, and we had to complete that days journey carrying everything. Now I tell you this story for two reason, and I suggest you learn from our misfortune. Listen to the earth, my brothers. She will tell you all that you need to know during your journey. The earth is a mystery, but she leaves you hints. Find them, and read these hints. Lastly, recognize that you may only bring what is essential to your life, and nothing more. We seldom realize the excess that we bring, until we must carry our possessions ourselves."

by...andrew koltsoon

is it too late?....

too late for the fragile oasis of our world to flourish.

What's wrong?

Things are bad in America
it's the recession
the depression
it's the bankers 
it's the 1%
wall street
it's the Republicans
it's the Democrats
it's those damn Progressives
it's healthcare
it's the teachers
the unions
it's high taxes
it's low taxes
it's trickle down and trickle up
it's those lazy hungry folks alway looking for a handout
it's that pregnant girl
it's foreclosures
it's the cost of gas
it's the homeless
it's the illegals 
it's the legals
it's offshore drilling
it's fracking
it's American Idol
it's crime
it's the prison system
it's pot
it's guns
it's greed
it's the war machine
it's the internet 
and 911
it's religion
it's racism
and it's voter fraud
and corporations
it's corruption at the highest levels
it's the Supreme Court
and moral decay
and those damn homosexuals and on and on an on

We have a million reasons why, in this nation with so much wealth, children go to bed hungry.  We have lots of reasons why the United States has the highest first-day infant death rate out of all the industrialized countries in the world.  We have so many reasons our elderly have to choose between food and medicine, and reasons why real people die because they can't afford healthcare.. and why we can afford war after war and our military is asked to go fight again and again and again...and then brought home to no jobs and no mental health care...we have a million reasons why the United States places 17th in the developed world for education  And literacy has gone out the window and our crime rate is soaring. ..Why are there so many homeless when affordable housing is considered a human right?

Where is the hand up we always talk about in this country?  When did we start blaming the less fortunate for being less fortunate?  Has it always been about greed and I've Got Mine?  Is it still  true that a man or woman can work hard...just give it their all, and expect the American Dream? Do we really still believe in liberty and justice for we believe it is every humans right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...or are these things just for some?  And the land of the free and home of the brave?.....are we truly free to pursue happiness, and if we are brave, why are we so afraid?
I am pointing the finger at myself here...
I don't do enough...I sometimes look the other way...
I think someone else will fix it...
There is a movie called I AM....
It asks what is wrong in the world?  
And it asks what is the solution?
and both questions have the same answer

...greed and practice

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone put as much effort 
into peace and a spiritual practice 
as we do into getting stuff....??
I wonder what would it be like if we took 
more of the effort we put into making our exterior lives look good 
and put it into 
making our interior lives a little better?
Wouldn't there be a trickle down?
I wonder.


It was 1968 when my boyfriend and I moved from San Diego, CA. to Houston, Texas.  The Vietnam war was at ti's deadliest, Dr. King had just been assassinated, Bobby Kennedy murdered, gone...there was a presidential election looming.   Segregationist George Wallace was a leading candidate.  There were riots and protests everywhere....for a black man, or a hippie, Houston was not the most welcoming place...but we, my boyfriend and me, were young, dumb, and sort of brave white kids on a mission to make a difference.  
There were flyers up all over the city of a generic hippie couple with the words Wanted Dead or Alive...I watched the Democratic convention in Chicago on TV and felt fear and disbelief...they were beating people who looked just like me.
....Black men were being shot at an alarming rate by the Houston Police and by the Texas Rangers...these men were accused of trying to run, but there would be powder burns on their backs.....there was a lot of fear that because of what happened to Dr. King there would be riots like the one in Watts in 1965. City leaders were trying to keep a lid on things...the city sort of vibrated with tension. And so many sirens all the time...
I got a job as a cocktail waitress a few nights a week......I only had to be 18 to work at a club. I didn't serve alcohol, everyone brought their own and I would bring them ''set ups''. 
The job was mostly easy and my days were free. I decided I wanted to help register black voters and I was able to find a connection to make it possible. I had a meeting with a minister from a black church...he interviewed me and made a point of letting me know that he couldn't promise that everything would be ok...that I would be ok...My duties would be help people fill out the forms correctly. I took the ''job'' and three mornings a week my boyfriend would drive me to Ward 4 or 6, I don't remember which now. We would arrive in our tiny car which was painted with big red, blue, yellow and pink flowers, and looked like a dozen clowns should pile out when the doors conspicuous we were....and he'd leave me there...It was a sort of secret place, the little house...the summer too hot with emotion, too dangerous to put out a sign saying REGISTER HERE!!! .....There were no lines...people would sort slip in and out all small groups or alone.... and we'd do the paper work.... tension was high...we registered a lot of first time voters of all ages in those few weeks.
That summer I also volunteered for Operation Bread Basket. I volunteered to spend time with a child from one of the Wards a few times a week.....My child, and little friend was Oshee...she was four years old and black as the night. She lived with her mother and 5 brothers and sisters in 3 rooms...she had never played in a bubble bath or eaten an egg. She'd never swam in a swimming pool either and when I let her swim at our apartment complex the other renters called black kids allowed.....I was more than a little stunned....our neighbors seemed like nice people. I wondered then, and still do, what they feared from a 4 year old?
One sunny afternoon Oshee and I decided to walk to the store about 3 blocks away. I'd walked it many time, but this time it was different. In a matter of minutes white men in pickup trucks where calling me a nigger lover...whore, slut...screaming these words at us as they drove by...let me tell you, this hippie girl started shaking in her sandals.....I don't think Oshee had any clue what the words meant that were being hurled at us but she felt my fear, and she could feel their hate......and she held my hand a little tighter, and we both walked a little faster...I didn't know rather to turn around and go back, or be brave and move forward. We went forward, I had promised her a coloring book and crayons.....but I was afraid...really afraid....We never took a walk together again...sigh...I had never felt such intense hatred projected onto me......but I imagine she had.
I often wonder if my time with her was good or not, what impact it had, if any......I wonder with racism still alive and well in this country if she was able to leave that Ward and never look back...I wonder if she has a good life...I wonder if she votes.
I heard a blip on youtube from some Fox commentators the other day. They were talking, and laughing, about the 102 year old woman who had to stand in line for hours to vote in our last national election. They joked...and they wondered out loud what the big deal was?...they asked what else a 102 year old woman had to do besides wait? And I wondered when voter suppression will end in this land of the free and equal....
I wonder.....didn't we already fight this battle?


There was a time 
when I believed trees were the highest form of life on this little blue planet....
and maybe I still believe it to be true...
I share this little bit of land I live on with a 300 year old Oak...
She is majestic..
it would take 3 of me to reach my arms around her. 
 I can see her from my studio, from the house, from the hill...
She shades my Cretan Labyrinth. 
 She is what I see when I step into it. 

Her north side is covered in cool thick moss but her bark is cracked and scarred...
The cracks are deep,
 like wrinkles in an old woman's skin...
they show the life She has led, 
what she has seen summer after summer.

Sometimes I walk to her just to touch Her, 

to thank Her. 

Sometimes She leans into me, greeting me......

sometimes while leaning back 

I cry for deep reasons and press my face against Her...

sometimes into the soft, 

and sometimes into the hard.

photo of beautiful  Great Grandmother...


I was feeling a little empty today.  
I'm a hermit and I usually enjoy being alone...
but today, I wanted to be distracted,
so I called a friend to see if she could come out and play...
she said she had friends coming up to hike along the river and I could join them...

I'm not good at small talk...not at all.  
So when I found myself alone with the friend,
of a friend, the silence wasn't the comfortable kind.  
After about 5 min. with no words passing between us since we'd already covered 
the mandatory discussion about the mess the world seems to be in...
I put down the stick I was so busily removing the bark from and looked in his eye and smiled. 

He looked in my eyes and blurted out that he was in CA. to clean out his son's apartment.  
That his son had taken his own life.  
No small talk here.  The ground shifted a little beneath me, 
I looked into this man's eyes while he talked about his loss....
his struggle to take in the fact that his beautiful young son didn't want to live in this world.  
He showed me a photo. 
His son who wanted to be a sports doctor smiled out at us. 
He expressed his deep grief that his son had not talked to him,
how maybe if he had something could have been done to stop him.  
He spoke of his guilt at not knowing that his son was in such deep pain. 
My eyes never left his.

I talked about my mothers death
and how she sometimes comes to me in dreams
and how I can often smell her perfume. 
I talked about the twins and how they were only here on this plane for a month
but had had such a big impact on all of us who knew them,
loved them.  

He wondered how he would ever fill the space his son had left..
how he didn't feel that emptiness yet,
but knew it was coming, 
and he feared it would break his heart.  

We talked about this world we live in, 
this journey, how it might all be an illusion but how the feelings are very real.  
We talked about how to disconnect, unplug from the dream.  
We talked about Oneness. 

And when it was time to say good bye we hugged and he whispered, 
 ''thank you for being so present...''
and I thanked him for being such a gift. 
We had been two strangers who connected.  
We had seen each other. 

I looked in his eyes a last time and remembered something 
I read long ago about how if we truly, truly, look into another's eyes
we can't help but see their soul, and experience unconditional love.

When we parted my heart felt bigger, softer,
even though the topic was death,
I felt a deep joy at being given the opportunity to listen deeply
to a fellow traveler, and have him listen deeply to me..

Soul friendship is a way of kindness, of mercy, of mutual vulnerability. A soul friendship is marked by a kind of deeply respectful intimacy and familiarity that our society has all but forgotten....unknown


I think we need more mother love in this world.
I think we need more tears.
More compassion.
When did tears become a sign of weakness?
I want to see a woman become president and stand at the podium and cry...
cleansing tears..let's start new.
I know it's silliness.

I wish that more women, when gaining power, would not become more like men.
There is room for both the feminine and the masculine ........Yin and Yang.
Right now, there aren't enough tears.


“Words are tears that have been written down. 
Tears are words that need to be shed. 
Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end.”

Paulo Coelho

...38 and still asking

Where does that fear come from that locks us in place?
What if today was a beginning and end?
What if we cut those ties that are so tight we have to remind ourselves to breathe?
What if we silenced those voices from within and without 
when they say, 
can't, won't, shouldn't, couldn't?

What if we release the pain that has become a comfort, and a safe place to hide?
What if stepped away from the judgement and disrespect of others?
What if we no longer let another's vision for us keep us from our authentic selves?
What if we stopped self-sabotaging?
What if we put our toxic waste in a box, blessed it, forgave it, tied it up 
tight with string
 and kicked it down the road? 

What if we practiced compassion, empathy?
What if we weren't afraid of tears?
What if we practiced joy?

What if we made room for the inspired?
What if we turned the noise down?
What if stepped away from the path that no longer calls to us?
What if we painted the picture we want to step into?
and stepped into it barefooted?
What if we took 
our long buried dreams out from their hiding place
 and held them to the light?
What if we danced with them?
What if we embraced the gift of them?

What if we believed?
What if we relaxed?
What if today was the day we pulled up the words 
from deep within
and spoke our truth to one and all?
Or just one?

What if we cared?
What if we honored ourselves?
What if we asked for what we need?
What if we reached out to each other in support?  
What if as a tribe we chased away loneliness, and fear, 
and poverty?
What if we embraced our true and loving hearts?
What if we stopped lying?
What if we asked for forgiveness?
What if we forgave?
Not just them, but ourselves.
What if we loved unconditionally? 
Not just us, but them? 

What if we became pilgrims of peace? 

What if we really stepped into life?
What if we chose to live?
What if I did it today?

And what if we don't?

While we were talking about love...
my friend said to me...

''When I love him unconditionally I will be able to leave him...''

I didn't understand what she meant until just the other day...
at least I didn't understand the message in her words for me..

Unconditional love can only be achieved through forgiveness...
without forgiveness for someone we really can't leave them...
we take all the the pain, hurt and slights, 
and fights and fear with us...

Leaving without forgiveness keeps the ties tight...
we don't really leave..we just turn our backs.

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