Archive for the ‘wisdom’ Category

Your deepest self is your home

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I have read some books from Mindell, but never got to any of his trainings in Worldwork, but it seems fascinating. Recently, I got a link to this video from Yuliaya, living and working in Kiev, and organising these trainings there.
I might go there one day…
There are a lot of good, great ideas in this video; worthwhile listening more than once!

Every day do something that won’t compute

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Landschap2


Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
by Wendel Berry
via Chris Corrigan

The Great Turning

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

THE GREAT TURNING*

You’ve asked me to tell you of the Great Turning, of how we saved the world from disaster. The answer is both simple and complex:
We turned.

For hundreds of years we had turned
away as life on earth grew more precarious.
We turned away from the homeless men on the streets, the stench from the river, the children orphaned in Iraq, the mothers dying of AIDS in Africa.

We turned away because that is what we had been taught.
To turn away, from the pain, from the hurt in another’s eyes, from the drunken father or the friend betrayed. Always we were told, in actions louder than words, to turn away, turn away. And so we became a lonely people caught up in a world moving too quickly, too mindlessly toward its own demise.

Until it seemed as if there was no safe place to turn. No place, inside or out, that did not remind us of fear or terror, despair and loss, anger and grief.

Yet on one of those days someone did turn.

Turned to face the pain.
Turned to face the stranger.
Turned to look at the smoldering world
and the hatred seething in too many eyes.
Turned to face himself, herself.

And then another turned.
And another. And another.
And as they wept, they took
each other’s hands.

Until whole groups of people were turning.
Young and old, gay and straight. People
of all colors, all nations, all religions.
Turning not only to the pain and hurt
but to the beauty, gratitude and love.
Turning to one another with
forgiveness and a longing
for peace in their hearts.

At first the turning made people dizzy, even silly. There were people standing to the side gawking, criticizing, trying to knock the turners down.
But the people turning kept getting up, kept helping one another to their feet. Their laughter and kindness brought others into the turning circle until even the naysayers began to smile and sway.

As the people turned, they began to spin, reweaving the web of life, mending the shocking tears, knitting it back together with the colors of the earth, sewing on tiny mirrors so the beauty of each person, each creature, each plant, each life form might be seen and respected.

And as the people turned, as they spun

pinwheel640

like the earth through the universe, the web wrapped around them like a soft baby blanket, making it clear all were loved, nothing separate.

As this love reached into every crack and crevice, the people began to wake and wonder, to breathe and give thanks, to work and celebrate together.

And so the world was saved, but only as long as you, too, sweet one, remember to turn.

–written by Christine Fry (October 19, 2004)
*Thanks to Joanna Macy

Trails instead of highways

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I probably never told you that I hardly ever read a newspaper or that I don’t watch television since at least 25 years. Still it seems that I know a lot about what is happening in the world. Maybe I don’t know all that is happeing in the world, but I do know what is happening on Earth, on our planet.

For my news I don’t follow the highway of mainstream entertainment and news gathering but I follow the little trails of blogs and a little on Facebook. I have my favourites and I follow the links that they provide me, which – of course – lead me to other interesting stuff.

When I recently opened a lot of the pages announced in my Google Reader it struck me how system collapse, the reasons why and what to do about it was one big red thread that showed itself. All of the blog writers that I follow don’t argue about the collapse of the current civilization model we live in in the West. They know it. And I hear more voices that say something like “if we are to save the planet, we have to throw out our economic model.” I go this link via Dave Pollard. His blog, How to Save the World is my best newspaper. He has been announcing the collapse since a long time and is both serious and vulnerable in what he thinks all of us should do about it. The Archdruid Report is another good newspaper to me, with just now an article on the Metaphysics of Money. It explains in a very clear way the difference between money and value.

Dave Pollard provided also the link to “a third alternative to smashing the system or working within it, is working alongside it.” That is what my inner sense has told me since a long time, and that’s why I do what I do. That’s also what a lot of other blogs are about. Ever heard about crowd sourcing gardens? Do you know that more and more people are really living sustainable and sharing their knowledge and experience with us? Casaubon’s Book, a blog from Sharon Astyk and Stony Run Farm are some that I like. Especially Sharon is a real writer – she writes good and a lot! – and combines a knowing of both the world and the planet.

Chris Corrigan’s blog I’m following the longest, as I know him personally through the Art of Hosting community, and I learned a lot reading his musings and afterthoughts of his hosting work. He is a deep thinkier and every week provides the best of his links. Tenneson Woolf, one of his friends, now followed him in this and calls it From the Trail. (He probably doesn’t mind that I used his metaphor.) One of Chris’ recent posts is tittled: Beauty in the midst of Impermanence. He writes about the beauty of community, both in conversations and in making music together.

Along the line of beauty, another dear friend, Amy Lenzo named her blog Beauty Dialogues. She is a real advocate of making online space beautiful and inspiring. More beauty you find in Karen Speerstra’s Kelsy Mountain Hats. They are gorgeous!
Her blog is called Sophia Serve and she just wrote about Sophia or our inner wisdom. She is a fervent reader and writer so in every piece you learn something. She also writes most of the posts on Luminous Ground, a project I am related to, if only by pointing Karen to a person or an idea on the web, which she then turns in a piece of writing right away! Another one that is really, really beautiful all the time: True Nature, a visual blog!

Rest only to point you to Tom Atlee’s inspiring writing in his new blog. He is another one of those folks that always points to what else is possible. He basically says: engage with what is going on, it is not about solving the problem! The last inspiring blogpost from my list was “Four Conversations that Build Community”, by Jack Ricchiuto. Again a message about dreaming and engaging in small and possible actions (alongside the system). This is the second post in a short time from him that I really appreciate, so I probably add him to my feed. Another track to follow.

Generation M Manifesto

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

This is a must read for all of us! A blog post with 256 comments so far!

Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.

You wanted big, fat, lazy “business.” We want small, responsive, micro-scale commerce.

You turned politics into a dirty word . We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.

You wanted financial fundamentalism. We want an economics that makes sense for people — not just banks.

You wanted shareholder value — built by tough-guy CEOs. We want real value, built by people with character, dignity, and courage.

You wanted an invisible hand — it became a digital hand. Today’s markets are those where the majority of trades are done literally robotically. We want a visible handshake: to trust and to be trusted.

You wanted growth — faster. We want to slow down — so we can become better.

You didn’t care which communities were capsized, or which lives were sunk. We want a rising tide that lifts all boats.

You wanted to biggie size life: McMansions Hummers, and McFood. We want to humanize life.

You wanted exurbs, sprawl, and gated anti-communities. We want a society built on authentic community.

You wanted more money, credit and leverage — to consume ravenously. We want to be great at doing stuff that matters.

You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. We’re not for sale: we’re learning to once again do what is meaningful.

There’s a tectonic shift rocking the social, political, and economic landscape. The last two points above are what express it most concisely. I hate labels, but I’m going to employ a flawed, imperfect one: Generation “M.”

What do the “M”s in Generation M stand for? The first is for a movement. It’s a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. Those are the second, third, and fourth “M”s.

Gen M is about passion, responsibility, authenticity, and challenging yesterday’s way of everything. Everywhere I look, I see an explosion of Gen M businesses, NGOs, open-source communities, local initiatives, government. Who’s Gen M? Obama, kind of. Larry and Sergey . The Threadless , Etsy , and Flickr guys . Ev, Biz and the Twitter crew. Tehran 2.0. The folks at Kiva , Talking Points Memo < , and FindtheFarmer . Shigeru Miyamoto , Steve Jobs , Muhammad Yunus , and Jeff Sachs are like the grandpas of Gen M. There are tons where these innovators came from. Gen M isn't just kind of awesome — it's vitally necessary. If you think the "M"s sound idealistic, think again. The great crisis isn’t going away, changing, or “morphing.” It’s the same old crisis — and it’s growing.

You’ve failed to recognize it for what it really is. It is, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, in our institutions: the rules by which our economy is organized.

But they’re your institutions, not ours. You made them — and they’re broken. Here’s what I mean :

“… For example, the auto industry has cut back production so far that inventories have begun to shrink — even in the face of historically weak demand for motor vehicles. As the economy stabilizes, just slowing the pace of this inventory shrinkage will boost gross domestic product, or GDP, which is the nation’s total output of goods and services.”

Clearing the backlog of SUVs built on 30-year-old technology is going to pump up GDP? So what? There couldn’t be a clearer example of why GDP is a totally flawed concept, an obsolete institution. We don’t need more land yachts clogging our roads: we need a 21st Century auto industry.

I was (kind of) kidding about seceding before. Here’s what it looks like to me: every generation has a challenge, and this, I think, is ours: to foot the bill for yesterday’s profligacy — and to create, instead, an authentically, sustainably shared prosperity.

Anyone — young or old — can answer it. Generation M is more about what you do and who you are than when you were born. So the question is this: do you still belong to the 20th century – or the 21st?

Love,

Umair and the Edge Economy Community

It is so easy!

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I am impressed by this article and the simple truth that is in it… I copied it as a whole, because it is important that things like this get spread.
A city in Brazil recruited local farmers to help do something U.S. cities have yet to do: end hunger. by Frances Moore Lappé

“To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer.” CITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL

In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life’s essentials? Does it exist anywhere? Is it possible or a pipe dream? With hunger on the rise here in the United States-one in 10 of us is now turning to food stamps-these questions take on new urgency.To begin to conceive of the possibility of a culture of empowered citizens making democracy work for them, real-life stories help-not models to adopt wholesale, but examples that capture key lessons. For me, the story of Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a rich trove of such lessons. Belo, a city of 2.5 million people, once had 11 percent of its population living in absolute poverty, and almost 20 percent of its children going hungry. Then in 1993, a newly elected administration declared food a right of citizenship. The officials said, in effect: If you are too poor to buy food in the market-you are no less a citizen. I am still accountable to you.

The new mayor, Patrus Ananias-now leader of the federal anti-hunger effort-began by creating a city agency, which included assembling a 20-member council of citizen, labor, business, and church representatives to advise in the design and implementation of a new food system. The city already involved regular citizens directly in allocating municipal resources-the “participatory budgeting” that started in the 1970s and has since spread across Brazil. During the first six years of Belo’s food-as-a-right policy, perhaps in response to the new emphasis on food security, the number of citizens engaging in the city’s participatory budgeting process doubled to more than 31,000.

The city agency developed dozens of innovations to assure everyone the right to food, especially by weaving together the interests of farmers and consumers. It offered local family farmers dozens of choice spots of public space on which to sell to urban consumers, essentially redistributing retailer mark-ups on produce-which often reached 100 percent-to consumers and the farmers. Farmers’ profits grew, since there was no wholesaler taking a cut. And poor people got access to fresh, healthy food.When my daughter Anna and I visited Belo Horizonte to write Hope’s Edge we approached one of these stands. A farmer in a cheerful green smock, emblazoned with “Direct from the Countryside,” grinned as she told us, “I am able to support three children from my five acres now. Since I got this contract with the city, I’ve even been able to buy a truck.”

The improved prospects of these Belo farmers were remarkable considering that, as these programs were getting underway, farmers in the country as a whole saw their incomes drop by almost half.

In addition to the farmer-run stands, the city makes good food available by offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to bid on the right to use well-trafficked plots of city land for “ABC” markets, from the Portuguese acronym for “food at low prices.” Today there are 34 such markets where the city determines a set price-about two-thirds of the market price-of about twenty healthy items, mostly from in-state farmers and chosen by store-owners. Everything else they can sell at the market price.

“For ABC sellers with the best spots, there’s another obligation attached to being able to use the city land,” a former manager within this city agency, Adriana Aranha, explained. “Every weekend they have to drive produce-laden trucks to the poor neighborhoods outside of the city center, so everyone can get good produce.”Another product of food-as-a-right thinking is three large, airy “People’s Restaurants” (Restaurante Popular), plus a few smaller venues, that daily serve 12,000 or more people using mostly locally grown food for the equivalent of less than 50 cents a meal. When Anna and I ate in one, we saw hundreds of diners-grandparents and newborns, young couples, clusters of men, mothers with toddlers. Some were in well-worn street clothes, others in uniform, still others in business suits.

“I’ve been coming here every day for five years and have gained six kilos,” beamed one elderly, energetic man in faded khakis.

“It’s silly to pay more somewhere else for lower quality food,” an athletic-looking young man in a military police uniform told us. “I’ve been eating here every day for two years. It’s a good way to save money to buy a house so I can get married,” he said with a smile.

No one has to prove they’re poor to eat in a People’s Restaurant, although about 85 percent of the diners are. The mixed clientele erases stigma and allows “food with dignity,” say those involved.Belo’s food security initiatives also include extensive community and school gardens as well as nutrition classes. Plus, money the federal government contributes toward school lunches, once spent on processed, corporate food, now buys whole food mostly from local growers.

“We’re fighting the concept that the state is a terrible, incompetent administrator,” Adriana explained. “We’re showing that the state doesn’t have to provide everything, it can facilitate. It can create channels for people to find solutions themselves.”

For instance, the city, in partnership with a local university, is working to “keep the market honest in part simply by providing information,” Adriana told us. They survey the price of 45 basic foods and household items at dozens of supermarkets, then post the results at bus stops, online, on television and radio, and in newspapers so people know where the cheapest prices are.

The shift in frame to food as a right also led the Belo hunger-fighters to look for novel solutions. In one successful experiment, egg shells, manioc leaves, and other material normally thrown away were ground and mixed into flour for school kids’ daily bread. This enriched food also goes to nursery school children, who receive three meals a day courtesy of the city.

“I knew we had so much hunger in the world. But what is so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy. It’s so easy to end it.”

The result of these and other related innovations?

In just a decade Belo Horizonte cut its infant death rate-widely used as evidence of hunger-by more than half, and today these initiatives benefit almost 40 percent of the city’s 2.5 million population. One six-month period in 1999 saw infant malnutrition in a sample group reduced by 50 percent. And between 1993 and 2002 Belo Horizonte was the only locality in which consumption of fruits and vegetables went up.

The cost of these efforts?

Around $10 million annually, or less than 2 percent of the city budget. That’s about a penny a day per Belo resident.

Behind this dramatic, life-saving change is what Adriana calls a “new social mentality”-the realization that “everyone in our city benefits if all of us have access to good food, so-like health care or education-quality food for all is a public good.”

The Belo experience shows that a right to food does not necessarily mean more public handouts (although in emergencies, of course, it does.) It can mean redefining the “free” in “free market” as the freedom of all to participate. It can mean, as in Belo, building citizen-government partnerships driven by values of inclusion and mutual respect.

And when imagining food as a right of citizenship, please note: No change in human nature is required! Through most of human evolution-except for the last few thousand of roughly 200,000 years-Homo sapiens lived in societies where pervasive sharing of food was the norm. As food sharers, “especially among unrelated individuals,” humans are unique, writes Michael Gurven, an authority on hunter-gatherer food transfers. Except in times of extreme privation, when some eat, all eat.

Before leaving Belo, Anna and I had time to reflect a bit with Adriana. We wondered whether she realized that her city may be one of the few in the world taking this approach-food as a right of membership in the human family. So I asked, “When you began, did you realize how important what you are doing was? How much difference it might make? How rare it is in the entire world?”

Listening to her long response in Portuguese without understanding, I tried to be patient. But when her eyes moistened, I nudged our interpreter. I wanted to know what had touched her emotions.

“I knew we had so much hunger in the world,” Adriana said. “But what is so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy. It’s so easy to end it.”

Adriana’s words have stayed with me. They will forever. They hold perhaps Belo’s greatest lesson: that it is easy to end hunger if we are willing to break free of limiting frames and to see with new eyes-if we trust our hard-wired fellow feeling and act, no longer as mere voters or protesters, for or against government, but as problem-solving partners with government accountable to us.

Frances Moore Lappé wrote this article as part of Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Frances is the author of many books including Diet for a Small Planet and Get a Grip, co-founder of Food First and the Small Planet Institute, and a YES! contributing editor.The author thanks Dr. M. Jahi Chappell for his contribution to the article.

Thanks to Dave Pollard for the link!

Unless

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

What you find here below was written by Maria Scordialou, Sarah Whiteley and myself when we had five days of intense learning and living together in May ’08 (Axladitsa Guardians Gathering). It gives a beautiful, and rich description of what is asked from us now.
Unless we engage our authentic selves, we cannot live the future now.
Unless we engage our fullness, we cannot take the leap individually and call in collectively.
Unless we tremble collectively, we cannot presence the new.
Unless we take a leap together, we cannot access and live the next level of our humanity.
Unless we are willing to hold the space open long enough for our collective clarity to emerge, we cannot shift our systems and behaviour for the better.
Unless we fuse the streams of practice and inquiry, we cannot see what else is possible and be prepared to meet our chaos.
Unless we acknowledge our collective identity, we cannot co-create our real work.
Unless we unlearn our complicatedness, we cannot find the simplicity of the next elegant step.
Unless we share our new insights immediately, we cannot not serve evolution.
Unless we live through our collective identity, we cannot become whole.
Unless we engage our authentic selves, we cannot live the future now.
Unless we engage our fullness, we cannot take the leap individually and call in collectively.
Unless we tremble collectively, we cannot presence the new.

Day of Peace

Friday, September 21st, 2007
...het barst open...
Today, September 21, is the time that Summer becomes Autumn. Sunny day though, here in Belgium. And the harvest of apples, pears, nuts and grapes started off three weeks ahead of time…
And it is also the UN International Day of Peace. For me I don’t focus on the big world peace, but on my own personal peace. In this regard this quote is just perfect:
“The art of peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the art of peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.”
Ushiba Sensai, founder of the martial art of Aikido, in “The Art of Peace”

Orion

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

By reading blogs of two friends I came across a beautiful, inspiring magazine with really interesting articles. It is called Orion, and its main theme is agriculture. But not what you think, it is not even about organic farming. It places agriculture where it has been and should be: in the middle of community. I just plunged in tonight to read some more and here is a part of it that inspired me:

Community...“The book of James says, show me your faith without your works and I’ll show you my faith by my work. And I think the idea is that you have to work out your faith. You have to work at being a contribution, at being responsible and showing up to do what you say you’re going to do. That is where any kind of spiritual transformation begins to happen.”

Knowledge management

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Although many times I read and heard about Knowledge Management, I never was sure what it really meant. I give you four lines out of an interesting article about this stuff:

    • A collection of data is not information.
    • A collection of information is not knowledge.
    • A collection of knowledge is not wisdom.
    • A collection of wisdom is not truth.