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a daughter’s disclosure

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in life stories, random sparks

I have two fathers. Some of you know that, and some of you do not. Some of my relatives know one, but never heard of the other, at least not that I know. I have two fathers. This challenging fact of my life has been exhausting to carry quietly and manage gracefully. How this came to be is a complicated story which I do not wish to share publicly out of love and respect for all involved and my own need for privacy. But on this 4th of July, I want to claim the freedom to say that I have two fathers, that one gave me his name and the other his...

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my mother’s last spring

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in death and dying, life stories

“And if this isn’t a day when your universe has tilted and something precious you take for granted has not been suddenly irrevocably lost, bow before the mystery and let gratitude wash over you for the miracle of life, health, and this brief walk on our fragile planet.” ~ Carolyn Moore It was a late afternoon in August of 2007 when my mother told me. I was in Western Massachusetts, getting ready for the opening night of a yoga teacher training. She was in Paris where she had been living for the last 25 years. We hadn’t...

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bridging the gap

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in random sparks

It’s Martin Luther King day, and I am sorry to say the racial wealth divide has not gone away. Some researchers say it’s 7 to 1. Others 17 to 1. While we can debate the best measures and exact ratios (see links further below), there is no denying racial inequality remains a revulsive reality. Quoting MLK’s wise words, which I too love to do, will not help bridge that gap, unless that sparks us to face it, rather than skip right over it. So, I want to invite all MLK fans on the privileged side of the divide to be color...

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banking on life

Posted by on Jan 14, 2017 in new economy

Are you inspired by what your bank is doing for your community and the larger world?  What kind of future is it funding with the backing of your deposits? more oil pipelines or more renewable energy? more segregation or more inclusion? more plutocracy or more democracy? Do you know? What are you backing with your banking, and how strongly does that align with your values? When I found out that Chase was amongst the 17 banks funding the Dakota Pipeline, I took it as a call to deal with the uncomfortable fact that my banking had not...

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staying grounded in wild times

Posted by on Dec 17, 2016 in random sparks

What keeps you centered and meaningfully engaged in these wildly challenging times?  As distressing news continually floods our screens, and opportunities for numbness, overwhelm, despair, and fear grow exponentially, I practice re-grounding myself in simple commitments to: (1) build my capacity to engage more skillfully with conflicts and craziness rather than be a complacent or ineffective witness (2) explore and own my part of this multi-dimensional mess rather than join the finger-pointing fest (3) sharpen my discernment and tuning...

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ashes to ashes

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in death and dying

For folks who feel nourished by authentic conversations about the very unpopular topic of death and dying, it’s a relief to stumble upon people who are willing to face their own mortality.  And Jeffrey Piehler, the author of “Ashes to Ashes, but First a Nice Pine Box,” does that beautifully, and in a way that’s unusually brave, tender, and filled with humor.  Reading his words in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times Sunday Review reminded me of what I learned when my mother was dying four years ago: facing death...

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martin luther king’s legacy

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in random sparks

Here is a powerful piece published in 2011 by Hamden Rice, about what his father urged him to see as Dr. King’s greatest legacy: not the big speeches and marches, nor the integration of schools, lunch counters, and buses nor even the fact that he inspired many white folks to play “nicer and fairer.” No, for Hamden Rice and his father, Martin Luther King’s greatest legacy was to “end the terror of living as a black person” in a country where random acts of brutal and sadistic violence (in the form of...

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The dream behind the screen

Posted by on Jun 8, 2013 in interviews | 0 comments

The founder of the Cape Ann Community Cinema, has a big vision.  In this era of big blockbuster movies and corporate theaters buried in busy commercial malls, Robert Newton sees the possibility of cozy community cinemas flourishing on main streets, bringing people together around conversations that matter, and becoming lively hubs for building local community.  His 3-year experiment with the Cape Ann Community Cinema, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, offers plentiful evidence that the idea of a Community Cinema is not only viable but can...

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tragic games of tag

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in all poems, originals

Violence anywhere, born of despotism or despair, begs us to face our own darkness and learn to befriend ourselves: our fears, rage, distress, unmet needs and hopelessness, double standards and numbness, our deep disconnectedness. Who are the peacemakers prepared to pay attention to all we seek to keep hidden behind prison bars, prescriptions, and runaway mass consumption? Who’s brave enough to face and feel the cold-blooded hatred we humans hurl at strangers in Boston and Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan? It’s easy to point...

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jane, the flamingseed

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in kindred spirits

Jane Brunette is a meditation teacher, writer and poet, the publisher of Flamingseed Press, a contributor to the Huffington post, as well as the founder of an international network of “free writers” called Writing from the Soul. She teaches and writes about spiritual practices for turning challenging times into opportunities to develop a more soulful and meaningful approach to life, both individually and collectively. I first met Jane through one of her blog posts which a friend posted on facebook. It was called Blossoming through Shared...

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