- The Farm
- The Alliance
This is upcoming events, especially Dharma talks.
Two talks are coming up, both are available online.
Sunday, November 5, 10:00 am Central Time, in Northfield and online. Here’s the information: Dharma Talk November 5 – Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center – online and in person
Saturday, November 11, 11-12 Central Time, online only. https://mountainsandwatersalliance.org/event/dharma-talk-nov-11-2023-heartland-zen/
I’ve mentioned Rohatsu sesshin, Dec 1-7 all day, so won’t say more here.
Next class begins in January and will be announced when we have details.
There is no official online zazen, but we are always supporting each other. Please pray or chant for peace and justice, especially in the Middle East.
At the farm, Saturday afternoons are work events in the spirit of Earth Apprenticeship, which I’ve mentioned before. Be sure to check in, to make sure it’s happening. Usually 1-5 pm, with possibility of potluck and evening gathering, and indoor practice if weather is difficult.
Now I invite you to join me in learning from the land. We’ll start with three Saturday afternoons, 1-5 pm, here at the farm, and bring meditative awareness to the beings who live here. On the first Saturday, we’ll explore a space between house and creek, mixed garden and wild, and do practices of listening and opening, returning to the human circle, returning to the wild beings, supporting each other in finding the way, and do some small project requested by the land spirits. We’ll listen for where to work next, and on the second and third Saturdays, we’ll do the same. At the end of the third Saturday we’ll consider next steps for those who will continue. Saturdays: October 7-21, 1-5 pm. Details here.
Saturday afternoons (1-5) will be occasions for seasonal work together, including sowing wild rice (September 30), harvesting hazelnuts, walnuts, acorns, grapes, and whatever is ready in garden or woods; possibly processing the same, or indoor work such as food processing. If you want to bring children, we can work it out.
The wild rice came from a rice camp September 8-10, at Honor the Earth’s camp in northern Minnesota. They were a center for resisting the dangerous and unneeded pipeline (Line 3), and now that is lost they are doing cultural work, remembering and teaching traditional ways, welcoming all people to learn. At this camp we were taught (“let the rice be your teacher”) to gather, parch, and winnow wild rice, and to return an offering of rice to the flowage where it was harvested. They gave away rice to some who wanted it, intending that it spread around the state, healing and returning balance to communities of life everywhere. They answered my questions and assured me that it would grow here. Besides, this is Rice County. So this planting is not only my own wish, but in relationship to my teachers, and to the land which longs for its traditional plants.
Monday mornings 9-1 are project time. Perry and I (the current residents) do things that may involve construction, digging, or whatever is most needed. Your labor is welcome, and your skills too. Chain saws and power tools happen here rather than Saturdays. No small children, for safety.
Potlucks and conversations sometimes happen at the end of these events; meditation instruction is always an option on request.
December 1-7, Rohatsu sesshin, here at the farm, in-person only – details here. (arrive evening of November 30; part-time participation welcome)
We’ve gotten some work done in the gardens; I have just a few photos. We did build an outhouse (composting toilet) and it’s functional though not cosmetically finished. Perry did a lot of work on the gardens, and planted things, but we underestimated the critters, so we’ve gotten less food than expected. Before next planting season, we’ll have better protection in place.
We’ve been working with abundance, and putting food by. To date we have canned plum butter, applesauce, apple butter, and frozen a great many food things. The local food shelves are amazing; we never know what they’ll have, but it’s almost certain that if I buy onions at the coop, two days later there will be a load of free onions.
There are lots of ideas about how to engage with the land – growing mushrooms, where to move the raspberry bushes, contouring the land for water collection and so forth – but I won’t start to describe because we intend to move forward in harmony with the land, listening to what it welcomes rather than imposing our convenience and our will. The Earth Apprenticeship program will help with this. It will still be a gradual process.
Mountains and Waters Alliance currently exists by the grace of a few regular donors, and occasional gifts or speaking fees. This is possible because it owns nothing, and has no expenses except the occasional book, training, or conference. The farm is mine personally, though its whole purpose is to serve the work called MWA; MWA rents a bit of space. Covid interrupted the income from retreats, which I trust will return. I went ahead anyway and made improvements to make a better space for community and retreats, and I’m sure that helped attract a housemate – with room now for two more. Some day we’ll look for foundation funding, but there’s work we have to do first.
If you would like me to put more time into practice and teaching, Perry to put more time into plants, sustainability, and caring for the land, and other activities that move this work forward, you could help us by going to the donation page and making a one-time or ongoing donation, or by signing up to iGive with us as the recipient. All the details are on that page.
Otherwise, my paid work is rewarding and I have half my time for the work called MWA, including Zen practice and teaching.
Blessings to you all,
For Mountains and Waters Alliance
As the disasters roll on, moderated by occasional happy surprises, I’ve wondered what to say here. Finally I saw it.
How do we do spiritual practice with the things that are happening too fast and too frightening? Including, how do we avoid blaming others?
Tuesday, August 8
Maui: A huge fire destroys traditional native center Lahaina, kills over a hundred people and displaces hundreds.
Thursday, August 10: Florida requires school history teachers to include “benefits” to slaves.
Friday, August 11: The Marion County Record, small town newspaper in Kansas, has its offices and the owners’ home searched and computers seized; warrant appears to be petty and nonsensical. The co-owner, 98 years old and a retired journalist, died the next day, possibly due to stress. Fear of losing a free press rises. Lawsuits are flying in all directions.
Monday, August 14: A Montana youth group won their lawsuit for climate protection, based on a clause in the Montana constitution: “The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.” (Six other states and 150 countries have similar constitutional provisions.) Both ridicule and celebration abound. A Federal case started in 2015 is based on the Fifth Amendment “nor shall any person…. be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” They’re still struggling for the right to appear in court. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliana_v._United_States
Tuesday, August 15:
Wednesday, August 16: Multiple wildfires in Canada’s Northwest Territories lead to evacuation of Yellowknife.
Always: around the world wars, refugee disasters, corruption revelations, deaths, climate disasters, poverty, hunger, discrimination, and so forth. And this Facebook meme: To feed everyone in the world would cost $34 billion a year. The United States military spends over $71 billion a month.
Going tentatively here, thoughts as they arise and then what follows:
Which are the most useful in your particular life? Is it the practice of compassion, for instance, or the specifics of the precepts?
I will not start a list of tangible activities that seem to me like “right action;” that list would go on forever. But I will invite you to notice such actions in your own life.
a request on behalf of a friend: Cory Clemetson is a long-time friend of Mountains and Waters Alliance and a serious dharma practitioner. He’s a member of Common Ground Meditation Center, and has given time and energy to justice movements both at home. Cory is recovering from surgery for an infection in his spine, and will be unable to work for several months. There is a GoFundMe with more information, here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/cory-as-he-recovers-from-spinal-surgery.
upcoming study group: This is a repeat of my mention from last newsletter: We’re studying Ayo Yetunde’s Casting Indra’s Net, Wednesday evenings starting September 6, and registrations are required (free).
Free fundraising: We’re listed on iGive, which uses your online shopping to support us at no cost to you. Right now they have a special deal: Sign up by September 30, make any purchase within a month, and we get an extra $5 in addition to the percentage. (It’s easy to use.) If a dozen people signed up and used iGive just for air travel, we would really notice the addition.
Love to all. Please be in touch.
for Mountains and Waters Alliance
This post is about the August 12 day/night at the farm, involving afternoon work, potluck, ceremony, and stargazing/meteor shower. Here’s the full description. Starts mid-afternoon, goes into the night, come and go as you like.
This is my first time to offer the actual work of Mountains and Waters Alliance: a ceremony connecting humans with plants, earth, water, sky, all beings – for the well-being of the earth. It’s embedded in a day of things we do often, potluck and land care, and something new, the meteor shower, an opportunity worth sharing.
In a way this is a response to the climate crisis, to the wildfires and heat domes and all of that frightening and uncomfortable news. In another way, it’s just finding a way to live in harmony within our family, all beings.
I hope you can come, if you’re near. Many people have come and gone here. This summer we’ve been quiet – no retreats or workdays, just one party at my birthday. The next few events will be online, and then some retreats this fall and winter.
Soon I’ll post the other things that are coming up. And I hope your summer is being as beautiful as the one we’re having here.
Hello and welcome. Here’s catching up with a little of everything.
With new resident Perry Post, there’s lots of activity in the garden. Perry is a permaculturist and experienced gardener and landscaper, and he welcomes help.
The best way to get involved is to let me know so we can get in touch when there’s an appropriate opportunity. After conversation so we know what you’re up for.
I’m holding the schedule until after I return from the Kincentric Leadership Training (late May) because I expect to have new ideas. But there will be land care retreats, ceremonies, work days and work retreats, and sesshin.
I’m noticing anniversaries.
This is for the many people who’ve supported Mountains and Waters Alliance through the years; I won’t name them individually for reluctance to miss someone, but we have these groups:
May it continue.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Kincentric Leadership Training, which will begin next week. I know just these things about this:
The book is nearing completion. Working title is Being Earth: Unleashing the power of the natural world.
It’s going like this: donations support the land and facilities. I’ve never been paid, but MWA rents space at the farm, and covers some of my retreat and study travel. Working half time makes that harder but supports the whole thing. In 2022 I borrowed money to upgrade the house to have space for four residents. Four would pay the loan down fast, but there’s one plus me. So I’m working extra, and doing less study and teaching.
Warm and cold, sunny, rainy, blossoms everywhere, spring ephemerals; the fiddleheads have come and gone, the nettles are offering themselves for eating, and when the rain stops we should find morel mushrooms in the woods.
Looking at the violence and polarization all around, I think societal collapse is well along the way. That thought helps me forgive the individuals involved. At the same time I see a thousand – no, a million signs of renewal. Reasons to be Cheerful is a pleasant place to hang out to see encouraging news. One of these days I’ll write about world issues again. Maybe.
What else is there to say? Life is good. Even when it isn’t.
Next weekend is the Land Care Retreat: arrive Friday evening, leave Sunday afternoon. About half meditation and discussion, generous time outdoors in the warm weather (predicted 50’s and 60’s, some showers but not steady rain) including garden work Saturday afternoon, expecting a small group. (You might want rubber boots.) I’ll be in touch with people who register.
If the fee is an issue, email me and we’ll work something out. I’d love to have you if possible.
This is the last practice-related event for a couple of months, due to commitments I have elsewhere.
I puzzle over what to say about the news. Sometimes I’m encouraged, sometimes outraged. Today I have more hope about fascism, because of public response to some outrages.
I’m less encouraged about climate change. It’s still true that we have the technology (mostly biological) that we need, and it’s still true that we need to completely change our expectations about “standard of living” and we need fewer people on the planet. The resistance to both is fierce. Still, there are a few hopeful notes:
The Vatican repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, which had been used to excuse genocide and destruction around the globe for centuries. (no link)
by Rabindranath Tagore
Let all the strains of joy mingle in my last song —
the joy that makes the earth flow over in the riotous excess of the grass,
the joy that sets the twin brothers, life and death,
dancing over the wide world,
the joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking and waking
all life with laughter,
the joy that sits still with its tears on the open red lotus of pain, and
the joy that throws everything it has upon the dust,
and knows not a word.
Blessed spring. I hope to see you soon.
Here’s a quick note to share some opportunities coming up.
Sunday, March 5, 12-5: coppicing black locusts.
We planted black locust trees in 2015, and it’s time to manage them – cutting back and trimming. Black locust wood is highly valuable as firewood and fence posts; it’s also an invasive species and we’ll probably be managing it forever.
Two or three helpers would be good. The trees have thorns, so heavy leather gloves are a good plan, but I can lend. Skilled or unskilled volunteers are both welcome.
Saturday, March 11, 10-4, maple sugaring.
We’ll gather sap and cook it, from trees already engaged, and tap some additional trees. There will be some tromping in the woods, and there’s a fire to build; dress accordingly. Lunch provided.
For both of these, register by email, and I’ll send a reminder with directions and parking information. Leather gloves and good boots are recommended (ask me about loaners), dress in layers, and there will be hot soup at the end or at a break. Weather looks good.
A note: When we do these projects, we’re asking for gifts from the land. I’ll be talking with the trees in advance, asking their understanding and consent, and we may open our day with such a conversation as well.
April 14-16, weekend. There will be meditation, dharma talks, and discussions, with afternoons spent in work-as-spiritual-practice projects. Work details are unknown, but likely may include garden prep work and/or more tree work, coppicing or whatever. There’s a fee, and please register through the website.
We’re inviting people to join us to work in garden, farm, and land care, living here for two weeks or more, spring to fall. Meals and housing are provided, private or semi-private room. No money changes hands. If interested, email or call Shodo for more information.
We have two spaces for longer-term residents; one opening is now, the other probably October 1. There’s a process for joining that includes discussion and a two-week trial period; you’ll need a part-time job; and I’m hoping for people interested in both Buddhist practice and farm/outdoor work. The website tells you what it’s like. Currently we have three residents, looking to have four.
Dear Folks, this is embarrassing. The date is February 11, not February 4th. Forgive any confusion. This is correct!
February 11 at 10 am. This two-hour program includes meditation instruction, meditation (zazen), a talk about Zen, and discussion. You need to register; directions and more information will be sent.
1-5 pm February 11. If you come for the morning, we’ll provide lunch and you can spend the day. Or just arrive by 1 pm. Be sure to register by email in advance. We have extra warm things, but dress for being outside in the weather and ask for help if you need extras.
(If weather is completely impossible, we’ll do indoor projects instead. But the forecast suggests weather in the 20’s, and sap will be flowing very soon.)
February 17-19. Just sitting meditation. Probably just a few of us, but you’re welcome to come for part or all. It’s okay to register by email.
It’s likely that the next event will be a workday on March 11, but we’ll see about that.
Blessings and love,
I greet you from the land of cold and snow, entering the next winter storm, knowing that the erratic weather is from climate change. Imagining Mother Earth shaking us off, freeing herself – and dreaming that we can still make peace, become friends, live in the hands of the gods again, in the hands of all beings.
I asked for a poem for the time, and here is what came.
After writing, I went down to the altar at the creek, and asked for my health to improve. I could feel an answer. Still a mystery.
The river has two names, Dakota and English. Inyan Bosndata (Standing Rock River) and Cannon River (from the French for canoes).
The creeks have no names. People ask their names. But I honor their wildness and their changing, and don’t want to burden them with a fixed name. The state DNR calls them “intermittent streams,” which seems to acknowledge their wildness.
Perhaps some day they will tell me their names; until then I leave them to themselves.
There are now three residents, with space for one more now, probably an additional space this fall. Pleae write if you’re interested in joining us.
One of us will be focusing on the land; we expect more activities, more workdays. Watch here for announcements.
The Facebook page for Mountains and Waters Alliance is now closed, and will be shut down. There are two ways to stay connected. You can subscribe to the blog at the website, and receive emails. Or you can follow my personal Facebook page (Shodo Spring), where the blogs are always posted.
If there are additions, we’ll announce them here.
This is the season of fundraising appeals. I’ve been invisible, underground, working on the book, occasional talks, and leading one study group and one discussion group. With nothing to see, I make no claim to your dollars. Still, if you would like to support this work here is a window. Gifts make it possible to give more time to teaching and writing, and ultimately to center my life on our mission. https://mountainsandwatersalliance.org/donate-support/
Currently I work more than half time as a psychotherapist. It’s good work and also demanding, and helps me repay the loan I took out to expand the house and make space for a beginning community. (There will be three of us here by January, with one space open for an additional resident.)
An online study group will begin Wednesday, January 4, 6:30-8 pm, on Dogen’s writing “Being Time” through Dainin Katagiri’s Each Moment is the Universe. Registration is necessary, preferably by December 15; donations are requested but not required. More information here.
There will be an in-person “Introduction to Zen” on a January Saturday morning, not yet scheduled. If interested, you’re encouraged to contact me; it will help planning.
The general monthly pattern is a retreat on the third weekend, a workday on the second weekend. Retreats are either sesshin, an intensive meditation retreat, up to five days long, or “land care retreat” including meditation, dharma talk and discussion, and mindful work on the land. There’s a flexible fee, registration required, and I love doing these.
Workdays are usually informal and involve whatever is needed, mostly farm and land work. Lunch and snacks are provided, and no money changes hands. Sometimes people stay after for dharma conversation.
Speculative schedule (that’s even less than tentative, and none of these are event listings yes.)
November 27, this Sunday, I’m giving a dharma talk online for Hokyoji Zen Practice Community in southern Minnesota. The talk starts at 9:30am Central Time; zazen begins at 8:30 and you can join at any time.Here’s the link: https://www.hokyoji.org/sunday-talks/
December 10, Saturday, I’ll talk online with Heartland Zen about the text Sansuikyo (Mountains and Waters Sutra) and the book I edited for Okumura Roshi. 11:00 am, meditation 10:30. Link is at https://www.heartlandzen.org/
At the end of this year I will discontinue the Facebook page for Mountains and Waters Alliance. If you have been following there, you might sign up for blog posts (bottom of this page), or switch to my personal page (Shodo Spring) if it’s not too crowded for you. The reason is that organizational pages keep becoming more and more difficult to use, and I don’t think the page is that useful.)
On this day in 1963, an assassination took the life of John F Kennedy, a courageous leader in many ways. It’s 59 years, and the world has changed incalculably. Or perhaps just its appearance has changed, except that now we face climate disaster and open fascism and so much else. We also have great upwellings of humanity, love, and creativity. I imagine a great event at the 60th anniversary, a celebration of life and humanity. My part in that celebration will be to honor the gifts of trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, prairies, meadows, mycelia, all of life – and to ask for their continuing participation.
I’ll follow that with acknowledgment of how it goes in our world today. I’ve given too much attention for too long to external events. December’s post will look outward at it all, hopefully from a calm place.
Voting is an exercise of political power. Self-expression has nothing to do with it. We vote all the time for people we don’t prefer, in order to avoid potential disasters. If you’re worried about possible disasters of any kind, please vote in addition to your other actions.
To make sure you’re still registered correctly: https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration. It also has information on how to register in each state, and whether you need ID.
Quoting an email from my friend Bob Ciernia:
“In Mein Kampf, Hitler said what he would do if his party came to power. People didn’t believe him. Let’s not make the same mistake …. Despite losing the popular vote by over 7 million votes (and losing the Electoral College vote 306 to 232), a majority of Republicans believe they won the 2020 Presidential election. What does it say about your view of the world if you think the only way you could ever lose an election is if it is rigged? Again, please take them at their word ….
“If you want to do something… there is still time to affect the outcome of the 2022 election. I [Bob] am a member of this group: https://www.fridayaction.org/projects/#current [They identify critical races and send postcards, sometimes increasing voter turnout by 10%. Of course there are many options for action.]
“Please remember the words of Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a Lutheran minister who spent eight years in prisons and concentration camps between 1937 and 1945.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Remember that local candidates matter, Secretaries of State control voting, and school boards make a difference for our children.
From Edna St. Vincent Millay, over a hundred years ago.
September sesshin had 3 participants, and was a gift. Even though I spent my free time protecting the garden plants from the first frost, as well as building fires to warm the zendo, at the end my heart was lighter and I was able to engage wholeheartedly with daily life having released some kind of burden.
Next summer when the garage gets hot, it will be like our own kiln. (This lumber was milled from our own trees. There’s more of that to come.)
For upcoming events, see last month’s post. Except this update: the Wednesday night Zen group is on hiatus, and will begin January 4 with an organized class on Dogen’s writing “Being Time” using Dainin Katagiri’s Each Moment is the Universe: Zen and the way of being time. We’ll meet at 6:30 pm on the first three Wednesdays of each month January through April. It will be more formal than our past reading/discussion, and a donation is requested at a level that works for you.
And there will be at least one introduction to Zen event – a day or a half-day – probably January 21.
I wrote last month; now I’m keeping it simple. Please email me if you have interest in either a short-term visit or a long-term stay.
The book is nearly done and has a working title: Being Earth: What to Do With the Time that is Given Us. The initial description: “A Buddhist response to the crisis of our times, Being Earth draws on history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, and psychology to invite new perspectives and possibilities.”
because of the construction, inflation, medical expenses, and life in general. I’m working more hours, but also encouraging donations, tax-deductible, either on the website or by mailing a check.
There’s also a free way to support through www.iGive.com. You set things up with them, then automatically a small percentage comes to MWA when you buy online from one of their sellers. Most airlines and many major companies are on it.
If you’re experiencing problems with wildfire, flood, drought, storm, covid, or social crisis, my heart is with you. Ask if you would like us to chant for your well-being.
for Mountains and Waters Alliance
Please forgive the long silence. I’m back and will try to be more regular.
(arrive Thursday night, end Tuesday noon)
The term sesshin means “to settle the mind.” We sit quietly together, 6 am to 9 pm with breaks for walking meditation and for meals. It’s a gentle time, and if you haven’t done it before please call and talk with us first. I love this way of just sitting together, but for most people it’s best to explore gradually. Partial participation can be arranged.
Details are here, registration is required. There is no extra charge for staying here.
followed by a potluck supper. (There is not an event post for this.) Work is 9-4, break and socializing 4-6, potluck about 6.
Most likely projects involve garden and land care. If there are enough of us, moving wood and other heavy projects are offered. Lunch is provided.
Register by email; say whether you will come for work, potluck, or both.
Stands alone or leads into land care retreat. Includes instruction in sitting and walking meditation, brief discussion of chanting and ceremonies, and questions and answers. By donation. If you would like to come just to this and not the land care retreat, please email.
This weekend begins with introduction to Zen, then combines meditation, dharma talks, and outdoor work in the spirit of being one with the earth. Registration is required, there is a fee, and more information is here. You may also begin Saturday morning after breakfast, at 9 am.
These are all coordinated by email rather than website. If you are interested in joining any, email me.
Having finished major construction, upgraded to four bedrooms, and long work with volunteers outdoors in garden and woods, I find myself talking with several potential residents. If you are tempted to come and practice here, please
contact me soon. Here are a few basics:
Tuesday I had a lovely interview with Siddhesh Mukerji, who is writing a book about Buddhism and activism. His questions brought out my thoughts beautifully. Here is a recording of our conversation, unedited.
Last Monday, I learned of an opportunity to support Lakota-led prayer action protecting the Black Hills, He Sapa. My friend Karen Little Thunder and others gathered for prayer outside a Federal courthouse where there was a hearing on violations of the laws regarding new lithium mining. I emailed and used social media to reach whoever I could, and spent an hour at the Central Altar on this land, offering chanting, meditation, and energy. The Black Hills Clean Water Alliance will know what happened.
Blessings in the fall. Please remember to breathe.
for Mountains and Waters Alliance
Please forgive me for not commenting on the conditions of the world today. Sometimes writing is more than I can manage. But if you wish to send support to Ukraine, there is a Zen community in Poland that has taken on this work, and are known to people that I know. (You may have to use Google Translate.)
So this was “spring cleanup day” and now we know more.
The house renovation is not finished, so we can’t move furniture back, but visits will be offered. The big task will be planting tiny plants and generally putting in the garden. People who want to use carpentry skills or big muscles will be invited to do things like building the outhouse or moving dirt and wood. Plenty of choices.
The day: early people 9-1, lunch at 1, afternoon crew 1-5, and a leisurely supper and bonfire afterward – as we like. Lunch looks like nettle soup with cornbread and black bean salad; dinner is uncertain; there’s a dessert involving rhubarb. Potluck contributions are welcome but not required.
If you’d like to come, please let me know your plans so I can do food. If you want to come Friday or even another day, email me and we’ll see what we can do.
COVID: Things seem a little tenuous these days. Tell me if you are in one of these two groups:
We’ll keep these two groups separated. We’ll be outdoors, and we’ll have a contact tracing sign-in sheet.
Other upcoming events appear on the right of this post, so I won’t repeat them here.
I’ll be visiting Bloomington, Indiana a couple of times, and Atlanta in late July/early August. Feel free to reach out about either a visit or a ride share.
About two days ago, a shooting war began between Russia and Ukraine. Everyone knows who is right and wrong, except me. People have sent essays and speeches, and I can add a few bits of information or links. Here is just one source of many: a talk by Vladimir Pozner. There are some common themes in these alternative voices: that Western powers promised that NATO wouldn’t expand eastward, and then it did; that Putin once wanted to join NATO and was turned down. I do not support Putin or the invasion, but the media has gotten into that cheerleading mode that I cannot join.
War is never good. Claims of innocence are always suspect, though innocence does exist in the world. What to do? Praying for peace is always a good thing; meditating for justice is also safe. That’s all I’m going to say. You’re invited to add a comment with your favorite information source.
Meanwhile, life goes on here, far from the war. It’s a little disconcerting, being aware that all our lives are in the balance and not quite sure what to do. But really, not so different from dealing with global warming, or violent racism, or most things: what can we do? Joanna Macy describes three kinds of action: holding actions, building the new future, and spiritual work. I’m mostly involved in the latter two, living in a present and working for a future spiritually based and connected with all of life.
It would be great if people who are doing things add a link or a short comment – especially about these very immediate events including the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
A local reporter came to do a story, and did this beautiful and wise description of what we’re doing here:
There seems to be a paywall. They told me people could generally access the article once or twice before the paywall came up, but some people are having difficulty. I am trying to arrange access.
In response to this welcome, I will offer some introductory afternoons later this year, summer or fall.
Spring 2022 Events:
We expect to have construction in April, dates unknown, and there will be a chance for volunteers to help – especially with moving furniture, possibly with painting and other work.
Last, I want to leave you with this poem by Wendell Berry. It’s from 1977; I can’t say it’s still true 45 years later. I still offer it.
Sending blessings to you. Inviting you to pray for peace, love, and joy, for justice and freedom. Inviting you to stop by the nearest old tree, or meadow, or creek, to greet them warmly, bring an offering of any kind (a song? A cookie?) and speak to them the same prayers, share with them, consider them as friends and allies.
If you would like to come and spend some time with the land this weekend (Oct 9 and/or 10) here is the information and registration link. It’s a work weekend and there is no charge; the schedule is loose and you can come for part of it.
The real reason for this note is to share a beautiful interview with Tenzin Palmo, about practice and emptiness. She is the nun who spent 12 years in a cave in Tibetan Buddhist practice; she is also an absolute delight to meet. She is talking (at this moment) about the importance of foundational practice, which would be calming or mindfulness practice. And about practice in daily life as well.
I recommend this interview very highly. It’s about an hour, and you could listen to it in small pieces if you like.