Love and Courage

Pete Seeger, now deceased celebrated his 100th birthday Friday. His wonderful songs, some his own and many from many cultures like Wimmiway (the Lion Sings) from Africa. Pete got us smiling and singing. Getting people to sing after he left Harvard, seems to be his main desire. He sees singing as a way of bringing us all together. I first encountered Pete at Buck’s Rock Work Camp. He sang to us all seated found him in a circle round, strumming his banjo and teaching us words. Everyone fell in love with him, with each other, with the world. Pete Seeger lived on in my heart.

Then one day a bunch of years later, when I was beginning to be an environmentalist and was discouraged about people in power sacrificing life to make more money, I found myself standing next to him waiting to cross a street. The traffic light was red.

As always, he had a banjo slung across his shoulder. I said, “Hello Pete,” and he said hello to me with a full and wonderful smile. I felt I needed to tell him of my lack of faith in change. I said how can we get anywhere against such powerful and greedy enemies.

He looked at me as the light changed, ready to stride across the street and said, “No Time for That.” I am reminded my whole life of his saying “Do it.” Do what you can and then do some more. Enjoy every minute of it.  Share your intentions.

Thankyou Pete who created “The Clearwater Organization,” to clean the Hudson. How many people joined him then and are doing it still? Thankyou Pete, whose wife Toshi would race to the phone to keep him from getting another invitation to play to a group to which he invariably said yes.

Thankyou Pete, who reminded that love and courage fuel us. To Peete, an enlightened human being, there is nothing else.

Play at Being You

I  have let so many thoughts and feelings go bye that I think I have lost the touch. How do you know when giving up is a good thing or actually on the way to doing a better thing?  It all depends on why.

I learned to give up half-way to some landing place from a family that trampled on my ideas and behavior as soon as they heard or observed them. I learned to avoid their hatred by giving a up first. I maintain my connection to these rejecting folk by doing to myself what they would do.

So getting on with things in my world of doing:  what is my next to do thing after writing this piece. I want to look into how to build a garden on my apartment building roof. Can the place afford it? How much will a large garden cost? How much will it save in electric power for the building to cool itself in summer, heat in winter? Imagine how good it will feel to sit beneath parasols in summer; the pleasure of gardening and selling the vegetables or eating them. Imagine the joy of creating something that lives.

What is first on your list? If you have no list, dive into your imagination and do whatever comes up. No quitting now. We are not caring about whether the idea is bad or good.  Do not be afraid of being a wild youth again or for the first time. Remember how Alice met the Red Queen after eating the magic mushrooms which gave or took away height. We all can grow or shrink that way.

It’s all a game. The game of life.No winners and no losers. Just the need to stretch in all directions. Do what calls you first. Then do what calls you next. Live.



Passionate but Lonely

Dear Citizens,

Am heart driven by the plan to set up green get-togethers in every community small and large in our world, eventually to speak together and become “one.” We will share how to preserve and save and recover from the ways we have been destroying our environment. This includes chopping down all the trees which create the oxygen we breathe as well as the sea plankton which do the same, our unceasing, careless and unnecessary use of fossil fuels, and its myriad of detrimental effects, eating all the fish we don’t throw back dead, releasing foul pollutants into land and sky and water, losing topsoil to the winds of drought and the necessity for everyone to have a royal acre to create a lawn rather than preserve our relationship to Mother Earth while growing only necessary foo, giving wildlife, our brothers and sisters, a place to live.

What I want us to do is bring together people all doing the “green thing” locally and nationally, to get together and show each other our work so that we can share and do and sell and teach. The few people, the very few absorbing the entire riches of the globe, are unimaginably short-sighted since a terrible death awaits them too. No air to breath. No water to drink. No food to eat since nothing grows in such pollution. How can these one-percenters rise above this situation with a mountain of cash?

Please write me at to become part of this wonderful way to share our power and wisdom, to learn and share and teach. It will be a wonderful experience of a growing bunch of friends. I feel my heart warming and expanding awaiting to hear from you.   

Humor Lifts You Out of Acquiesence

Make a joke of it. Laugh yourself right out of being mired in your culture’s negative perspective, your neighbor’s mindless receptivity , your newspaper’s acceptance of the inevitability of something totally bad  happening as if we have no relationship to the cause. We need to reject, to  fight against submitting to the destruction of all things. We have an important device to do it. It is humor. We can laugh at newspapers which try to shade the truth to the benefit of the owning corporation. We can laugh at the advice (not necessarily to their face) given by frightened  and biased Mom and Dad, laugh at the whole damn world telling  you to join them in an unstated suicide pact when you need to opt out.

The insight about the role of humor came to me last night. I was feeling very sad and helpless upon learning about the disappearance of Julian Assange of Wikileaks from the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain. I feared that he had been captured and possibly killed, possibly tortured  to get him to reveal and submit. The subsequent news silence about where he is either damns or supports hope for his survival.

Then I read about the mistaken spraying with a bee-killing spray of bees in 2 US states. The staff wasn’t supposed to spray infected trees by day when bees are out gathering pollen. But whoever was in charge of spray timing did not know,  did not remember or did not bother to tell the workers so they merrily sprayed by day and spread enormous death. How can we as a group be so stupid, killing those animals on which our food source depends?

Is it due to jobs being made automatic, transformed into parts done by strangers who are not plants lovers, farmers, workers who do not know, see, feel the consequences of what they do? We cannot do it right  by Mother Earth after disconnecting from her. We have to be/feel part of the family of life in order to sustain our “right action.”

US companies are using neonicotinoids,  an insect-killing poison known to kill bees. Neonicotinoids are currently forbidden in Europe where natural survival  is honored. But not in the US where the congressional members get money to run for office from neonicotinoid selling corporations and in turn have to do their bidding.  Congress is not part of the family of life.  It is now a business connected to the living world in terms of power and money.

So they/we are killing bees which spread pollen that fertilizes plants which keeps the plant world growing. Does our education deliberately miss understanding pollen as an essential part of our existence?  Or is this oversight due to ignorance? The bee world is dying due to our propensity for using killer chemicals  against whenever we fear “out there.”  We treat nature as our enemy rather than as our Mother. We believe ads which tell us to that the chemical is not dangerous. We make choices without knowing. We  revert to childhood with frightening parents we had to obey or else. We keep ourselves from seeing the result.

When I originally studied psychology, Freud was said to have theorized 2 basic forces in man, a life and a death instinct. The life instinct leads to sex and procreation, to being social and enjoying life. The death instinct leads to harming/killing others as well as to harming self over and over and over again. We call this the “repetition compulsion.” It is a choice of death.  But why would we choose death over life? Why would we choose to be enemies to ourselves? All matter  is vibrating.  We vibrate. Do we need to re-emerge into the whole and abandon the self as a seemingly separate part? Does energy need to leave its temporary fleshly abode? The why of it, so basic to life should be studied.

I was reading a bit of Krishnamurti, who said that the only thing that will keep us alive is love. It is a matter of what moves us, either love or hate; love or death. Our current leaders are in the pockets of the war machine. They make money by selling war toys and by using them. Every invented object, like small nuclear bombs created to “protect  us” will be used. Children play with their toys.

Armaments make money when sold to others and by us when used to steal other countries natural resources. Corporations have a single objective which is to make money. They go for making more  of it even if the consequence is death. They do not weigh consequences. They are a programmed machine for which humans are treated as pawns on the chessboard of life. Unintended death is “collateral damage.” There is no feeling, no flesh and blood reality to a machine.

I was asking myself how to emerge from my emotional paralysis. I had an inspiration, not for the first time. We often discover the same thing over and over, pushed out of our consciousness by our need to fit in. I thought we need to laugh at what plagues us. We need to laugh at our collective and individual life-destroying behavior. Humor creates a needed separation from our frightening objective. Humor is the basis for our saying, “no.”

When you feel down, defeated and isolated, find a humorous way to depict your plight and then  share it.  Another person laughing with you empowers your separation. It is humor that says “No problem.” It is humor says “keep your madness. I’ll have none of that. ” It is humor that says “…calling me names is a baby act that proves nothing.” Humor leads us to new ways to look at and handle problems.  Humor sets us free.

To Love Does Not Mean To Surrender

There is a lot of confusion these days about what constitutes a “good marriage.” The forces of servility  are asserting pressure on” woman” to fall back in time. She is to stand behind her man who makes the  important decisions. It is reminiscent of the Nazi rule for Aryan woman:  “kinder, kuche, kirche” (children, cooking, church.)  She is to follow her husband’s orders and reproduce. There are women today who accept this proposition as good and appropriate.  Humans are an amazingly and sometimes inappropriately adaptive species.

But even those not attempting to reinstate this power disequilibrium do not know how to keep their own opinion and still co-habit. They live in a one wins and one loses “world,” an above and below position in relating. But of course, that cannot be. Partnering like true friendship is between equals. Those who have not surrendered the competitive struggle, cannot imagine happily living together where they do not have to agree yet both are right.  The epitome of happiness is found in a place of anarchy and difference, a mighty coexistence. It is the most long-lived, healthiest kind of bonding, just like the strongest dog is a mixed species mutt.

I once read of an experiment in which people were given a container to sniff the odors of similar and distinctly different people. The odor of those most physically distant from their selves was most attractive. A feeling of pleasure is energized by what creates the strongest offspring. Survival of the species, a condition in our genes knows the difference.

Historically, those who chose to mate with almost identical types as in royalty attempting to retain ownership of their land, often suffer from  hemophilia, a state of uncontrollable bleeding. There are other signs of weakness due to inbreeding, not a good choice at all.

How then is it that despite this we are drawn to similarity? Is it the greed of the land-holding royalty which was passed down to us by identification even though we were their serfs?  Our current US snobbery tells us that white is better than black,  tall better than short,  Straight better than curly, that size breast and nose and mouth….and so on.  In so many ways, the ever-changing but currently favored appearance is dictated by fashion- makers who want to sell you something or by those who use it to establish their superiority, has all kinds of negative consequences. Blind to the consequences of our snobbery, of our greedy consumption, pollution, extraction, we seem to be moving towards non-existence.



Whether We Go Up Or Down

I was thinking out of fear of losing the little we hold onto, we become fearful and aggressive. Fear is a terrible quandary, an impossible way to think your way out of a problem. I should add that those 1 % forces which are scarfing down all available comestibles including our pensions, social security (hoped for), money for schools and hospitals and health care and bridges and roads and forests and …. you get the idea, that these needy gazillionaires need an image to hide behind since the ordinary citizen wonders why they need so much. Incidentally, they need so much because they have an addition to getting. Those with the getting addiction only need one thing. They need more.

But they know better than to advertise this problem which has a hold on them so they use a ruse of terror. We have to be made afraid of this and that, of them and those…. whatever is the boogie man or woman of the day, to take our money and invest it in killer toys for which sale they make a profit. And so violence goes on and on.

But if we recognize that there is no happiness in our terror; if we recognize that only peace brings peace; if we recognize that helping others makes friends who help us back; if we realize that loving, to love and be loved is the best experience of all, then the way to go ahead is clear.

We do the thing we love best. We give and sometimes receive. We are joyous to see another’s pleasure after our being useful. We are astonished and ecstatic when someone gives us the perfect gift, the thing that we (never mentioned) but need most. They know us! Imagine that.

We need to follow the path of love and peace in order to have it. We need to say, forget it when someone or something tries to arouse our rage. One way to know if we are doing it right this time, is to see if we are having fun. Love and fun (even with tears of happiness or relief) are marching hand in hand.

Turtle in My Hair

Me dear friend Ian is visiting. Having him to talk to and then sleeping in my living room, in some way put me in touch with my essential self, what is meaningful to me when not overwhelmed by what I need to do next – I am on vacation.

We dream all the time, perhaps an average of 7 times a night but leap out of bed in the morning so that memory is lost. This time, I lingered with what I consider a psychological joke but now consider a message presented as a joke since little overwhelms the defenses more than humor.

A joke leaps over our fences of non-knowing. It says “look at me (or you or it) and laugh.”  That’s how the truth creeps in. It’s like Alan Cohen’s song that says light enters through cracks in the wall. In my dream, I was at the beauty parlor whose worker engaged in a mighty fight to establish order in the wilderness of my hair. I should add that my family always hated my hair. It did not hang down straight as they thought it should but emerged into the light as if growing towards the sun. I now regard it as a kind of halo. But they turned my hair into an “enemy.” They brushed out the curls which only made the hair stand up straighter. They and then I spent a fortune having it straightened The workers would take a lunch or coffee break when they saw me coming. They saw my hair as a work for two clients but only getting paid for one.

So there in my dream, I am in a beauty parlor and the worker finds a turtle in my hair which seems as wild as ever. I am surprised but not displeased to see it. The turtle reminds me of hiding in a shell away from the forces that want to disrupt my ability to learn what really is going on including in people’s thought and hearts. I tell ask the worker to bring me something to put the turtle in so she finds a white plastic container which is far too small. I want to turtle to come out of its shell, extend its head and look around.

That is when I awaken.

Know and love your dreams. They are telling you something important that you have put aside, that you are ignoring or have managed to toss out of consciousness. My turtle was a symbol of what I need to deal with. My book Unloved Again is my contribution to all of us locked in childhood with unloving parents, an experience we unconsciously seek and repeat without knowing. That is because our adult is insufficiently developed to tell the difference between then and now, and to establish rules which cut the tie.

The turtle reminds me of my love for Mother Earth, of my need to help save her and all her denizens including human from the  corporate agenda  which condemns us to death. Have we gone mad so as not to see what is happening? Do we hide our heads in the corporate paradise of  getting more things…. like a frightened child hiding its head in its mother’s skirt?

A dream tells us to live in the now. It tells us what we value. A dream comes from where our self is. We need to take it seriously in order to grow and celebrate life.

Do Not Tell Your Age

-even to yourself. Drop age from your thinking. The excellent researcher Mario Martinez  deeply impressed me with insight gained from studying centenarians, in Cuba, in Okinawa, elsewhere. Centenarians are people who are at least 100. He spoke of their total disinterest in numbers. The Okinawa’s had friendship established at birth. They ate together, small quantities of fish, seaweed and rice served in a single bowl. They practiced restraint. They enjoyed the pleasure of sharing, thin, up and about, laughing.

The Cuban centenarians live a full life, pretty much doing what they’ve always done. One man rode into the video image on his bike and was greeted with excitement by relatives with whom he sat down at an outside table to share a meal.  All centenarians are appreciated for the wisdom of their experience which makes aging appreciated by all. Martinez asked a 102 years old man for an interview to which he happily agreed but not on Saturday when he had a voice lesson. None of the centenarians knew what middle age was and said that they would know it when they died. Living life to its fullest, losses are mourned and then they return to life. A ridiculously happy group.

What is the reason for not announcing your age to those who are “interested” in it which likely means equally controlled and demeaned by  their age. They want to share their shame by competing with you over your number. They can lord it over you for being a year or two younger. The competition implies acceptance of this negative standard. It is all about accepting the “loss” of possibilities and of value due to aging. Can you imagine taking this on as your life philosophy. Or course, we need to note that Madison Avenue, the world of salespeople constantly nagging us about not looking old by buying their product. You see mostly women who have had so many face lifts that they almost cannot smile. What is more beautiful, a wide and eye wrinkling smile or a wrinkleless face that cannot smile.

But worse then the immobilized appearance is abandoning your spirit to a number. You cannot get into a low slung car. Blame your age for being stiff. Never mind taking yoga. You erroneously take problems as appropriately reflecting your age. Someone said in my elevator two days ago, to a woman who was clearly overweight, that her physical problems, were a natural state of aging. I said, “That is a terrible thing to say. Do you really believe it?” He looked at me incredulously. It was what he believed and what many of us have been taught to believe. Nothing else is possible but serious decay.

Do not answer the request “How old are you?’ so that they can  put you in an age box which you will incredibly believe. The real issue is not their belief. It is yours. Once you accept that getting old is all about giving up which reflects our anti-aging society,  we begin to live this way.

Centenarians do not retire. They may move onto new things which challenge them. There is no rule that you must always do the same thing. What have you not done before that you want to do now? If you want to teach, what stops you from setting up shop or from going to school to get a teaching degree? What part of your mind is saying, “You cannot”? What part of your childhood is putting a block in the way of your taking a new, (possibly difficult)  emotional and experiential road?

it is a job to remove acquired road blocks. It  is like becoming the child you were again to explore and try things out. Unless your parents blocked this way, your child was free to do things poorly or well, and then to do them again or to move onto something new.

Never mind the  “You’re too old for this – too old for walking, riding a horse, hiking  a trail, writing a poem, learning a language, going back to school, sex. Too old for love. For love??? Who says? Who’s listening? I’m on my own way now.

A Dog Is God Joking (Good Humored, Of Course)

Do you notice how dogs stretch your sense of humor, doing something wrong they know full well but enjoy enflaming your passions with few consequences.  I remember Effie, my beloved German Shepherd doing what she always did which got me to shriek at her while remaining stricken in place lest I cause a great disaster. Wow, that really got her off.

I had a huge fake Chinese Wedgewood blue and white vase painted with a mill scene. It was placed close to the living room wall but not against it. This very graceful but big dog which rarely missed her step would walk behind the vase instead of walking past it, clearly and totally unnecessary to get where she wanted to go – let’s face it behind the vase was where she wanted to go and with a purpose.

The vase shook on its base, a little back and forth like a shiver, not falling not standing, that indeterminate phase which causes an immediate heart to stand still in the watcher. Oh no. Can’t stop her, can’t catch it, can only watch. I scream “fuck you” to the dog which seems to grin my way and I mean grin. You know when your dog is smiling.

Then the vase settles in its place and the dog has already marched on. You curse your dog with a smile and even laugh, ”Ha ha ha.”You did it again you rascal. Your dog looks very innocent but you are not fooled. A dog who practically speaks English cannot learn that she is not to walk behind the vase. Nobody’s fool, that dog.

Do you love the dog better or worse for doing it? What a question. Come on, admit it. You love it better. The dog does not have the subservience to the one it loves as you had with your parents. The dog knows I love her but dislikes the part of me which identified with those bullies. It frequently and readily puts us in our disempowered place.

Part of me identifies with the dog. If a dog can do it, so can I. Thanks to Effie my canine alter ego.

What Kind of Family Has the Healthiest Children

Hunter-gatherers have the most emotionally healthy kids. The family does everything together. The kids see how Dad puts together an igloo shaped home from scratch, branches, leaves, and twigs; see Mom gathering and preparing edibles including roots and, berries, fruit and nuts and seeds. The boys get a blow gun and go with Dad to hunt, practice with their blow gun all the time. It is part of being family. The hunter-gatherers leave a very light some say non-existent foot print on their environment. They are part of the living world around them, not above it looking down.

They do not turn its plants and animals, its store of minerals, into commodities, “things” to be harvested and eventually used up. They are not into acquiring wealth. They do not store and save. Meeting basic needs is quite enough. If one place is low on water, if their wildlife numbers are running low, this family will not exhaust them. They will move on, ever grateful for the care that Mother Earth gives them, the mother of us all.

In the evening after eating they sit in their igloo of made of leaf and twig and sing. Their voices are very beautiful as they sing together although sometimes one takes a solo. The baby, who is barely walking sings along. These are songs of joy, of celebration.

Their children are not on the internet or sprawled insensibly in front of a TV which gives them image, sound and action so that their brains can go to sleep. They have their parents within reach so there is no fear of being abandoned or forgotten. When they need direction, the parents are there to give it. The parents are behavioral models who answer questions. There is no empty internal space which happens to a child that lacks loving guidance. Hunter-gatherer children are not forced out of desperation to turn to each other for resources they as children, cannot provide.

Modern children focus attention on FaceBook as do their parents, on I-phones on which they are constantly text-ing. Directly talking on a phone is no longer fashionable. When out on a date, the parties keep looking at their internet devices as if they are not together. In a life filled with externally programmed imagery, they are essentially unrelated. The frantic compulsive to turn it on is a sign of tuning out.

Needing loving adults as models, helpers, educators, as purveyor of love, there are only other children. They have to hold onto one another instead of to caring adults. The internal sense of connection established by adult love, is empty. The empty-feeling child turns to mechanical instruments to deaden feelings; to the TV for endless hours; to texting friends who are empty too. He gets into antisocial behavior to vent the rage he feels over the emptiness of his world.