It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Desert Life

A few months ago, I attended the Nine Gates Mystery School graduate reunion, in communion with  the living Mojave Desert.

          Vital Winds
Sun-fed breezes sweep off the hills,
through silent scrubby valleys,
o’er wadi-rutted plains,
moving soils, sowing seeds,
fanning fires of life.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Voyage of Discovery: Entering the Mystery

As Marcel Proust said, "The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Nine Gates Mystery School is a program of self discovery. Discovery of who you are and why you are here; discovery of your energetic connections with Earth and Cosmos; and then, if you so choose (and many do), discovery of what you might feel moved to do about it. No one opens your eyes to these things for you. Rather, Mystery School opens and holds the safe space for you to discover on your own, at whatever pace and to whatever degree you want, need, and dare to go. It is (or can be) a very empowering, and hence fear-reducing, experience.

That is why this signpost on the road to Mystery School brings to mind the following couplet (with apologies to Dante Alighieri):
Abandon all fear
Ye who enter here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Violence - A Decision, Not an Inevitability

Friends Libby and Len Traubman, colleagues in building a world of peace and nonviolence, recently published an article called "Pre-Deciding about Violence".  They cite evidence to make that case that physical violence, ranging from corporal punishment of children to nations going to war, only breeds more violence and has proven itself time and again to be self-defeating and counterproductive. We have a choice, they argue, of whether to continue down that  path or to adopt an attitude, strategy, and way of life of nonviolence, empathy, compassion, and dialogue, which have been shown to be more effective in both the short and long runs.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The President’s Final State of the Union Address

Following President Obama’s final State of the Union address on January 12, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough posted on the White House website a summary of the President’s proposals related to the four questions he posed to guide our thinking about and taking action to shape the future. Included there is an invitation to the public to submit their own thoughts and recommendations regarding each question. The following is what I submitted there.

I applaud the President for choosing in his State of the Union speech to focus above and beyond not only the day-to-day political sniping but also above and beyond the usual laundry list of incremental tweaks to parameters of this or that policy or this or that program. Quite right that it's time (past time) we focused not just on the next generation but the next seven. The world is changing so fast that we can't rely on past experience for lessons about how to face the future. Rather, we must really think creatively, outside the box.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Climate Change: To Adapt or Not to Adapt?

During dinner last week, a friend (let’s call him Steve), who is a climate change economist and consults internationally on the subject, argued against promoting adaptation to the changing climate. He does acknowledge that climate change is already under way and that we need to both adapt and put the brakes on (and possibly even, he says, throw the process into reverse). Yet, he fears that emphasizing adapting to it will be as if we are taking it as a given and won’t make the painful policy and personal efforts required to reduce our carbon footprint.

Steve makes a strong argument. However….