On an unusually warm spring day, the Dam-Free Fest was held alongside the raging river at the site of the recent dam removal. Children, bubbles, flowers, and colorful art filled the park. Early on, folks participated in yoga by the river, poster and button-making, and just chatting with friends they hadn’t seen all winter. FUUSE Artivists used the river fence as a gallery to hang their Clean Energy Vision mural, photos of the dam removal project, and large banners that were part of their art-installation in support of clean energy (spinning wind turbines and all), and created lots of boldly-colored sidewalk art. T.E.A.M., who promotes the local art and music scene, had a very active table with info on upcoming shows and festivals. Much of the day was filmed by Exeter TV 98, as part of a documentary about the dam.
Think globally, act locally it is said. 375 similar marches were held around the globe that same day, including 200,000 people in Washington, DC, who formed a circle around the White House in support of a healthy climate. Our small town rally was the first time many folks had marched, or witnessed a climate march. Our mini-march was peaceful and fun, and perhaps helps to open a discussion among neighbors of differing minds.
Local folks are now encouraged to interrogate their own life this summer and see where they need to divest from some things, and invest in others – from lightbulbs, to cars, to food, to energy, to portfolios: the Butterfly Effect.
(Science March at NH Statehouse the previous weekend)
The dark horizon glows dusky pink as I walk barefoot across the soft sand. The full moon has just emerged out of the calm sea, shining bright gold against deep blue, beckoning me to approach. Mesmerized, I walk towards my sister the moon until I am ankle-deep in the warm water. Time slows. How many full moons have I…my mother…my grandmother… my ancient ancestors gazed upon? Time drops away.
Resting my hands in my pockets, my fingers curl absent-mindedly around the contents. In one pocket is a crumpled tissue, in the other, some coins. One a symbol of kindness and care, the other a symbol of wealth and power. Overhead I hear the rumble of yet another small jet coming from the south and flying up the coast. Since Palm Beach is about a 30 minute flight from here, my mind jumps to the assumption that the passengers are our new billionaire “public servants”. Kindness and care or wealth and power? I can’t tell yet, but I think the worst.
I stare at the moon some more, water playing at my ankles. My fingers slide across the contents of my pockets again. Care and power. Liberal and Conservative, Alt-Left and Alt-Right, what exactly motivates each? What exactly divides them? If anyone of them weep or are wounded, will I not share my kind tissue to wipe the tears or blood? If anyone of them are homeless or fleeing persecution, will I not share my powerful coins so that they may be safe once again? Care or power? It seems we have become disconnected and have been falsely told that we have only one choice. I want both.
The moon cares not if the Byzantine, Roman, or American empires are rising or falling, she keeps a scientific schedule.
I have been still for so long that it is fully dark and the birds no longer notice me. Ten tiny white sandpipers come running maniacally along the glistening edge of the inky waves, feeding when the wave draws back, then running on in a gang to catch the next wave’s gifts. They are at the waves’ behest. I watch them pass very close in front of me on their way up the beach. Many friends (and my inbox) say “resist”. I hear that. I want to resist the power overload, yet something in that word rankles me. My nature is to collaborate in the middle way. I want to “cohere”: to come together and stick together. I want to PERSIST. In the end “they” are us too. What is the common ground? What actions would be considered and durable?
We women are sisters of the moon: her cycles work on the cycles of our wombs. The moon beams shining wide across the ocean and me tonight were just hours before shining on women in the Middle East who were denied educational opportunities. Hours from now these beams will shine upon women in Japan who have extraordinary educational opportunities. When I wear my pink fleece hat, I wear it for me, for you and for those denied women in the Middle East too, whose wombs are at the mercy of a patriarchal power overload. Staring straight into the shining face of the moon, I silently call for all women in the world to cohere, invest in themselves, and strike that tricky balance between care and power.
The action of the waves has pulled the sand from under my feet. I am no longer standing firmly in the surf, so I reposition. That is life – things change and flexibility is needed to keep balanced. Adjusting my stance suddenly grounds me in reality and reminds me where I am: on vacation, taking a break from the cold, the routine, and the dismay/despair of patriarchal executive order power overload. Repositioning for the considered and durable work ahead.
Persist, my purr-sistas! Care and power must strike a balance now – because the moon cares not if average temperatures or human populations are rising or falling, she keeps a scientific schedule.
Election: November, 2016: It was so dark, so why couldn’t I sleep? It was simply too dark to sleep. The darkness had dredged up my past rage about men who grope, men who demean, men who lie. Thankfully I now enjoy and adore wonderful and caring men who inspire me daily. I want to avoid knee-jerk-reaction to the past rage suddenly returned, but am confused as to how to thoughtfully proceed. Suddenly it strikes me to search for wisdom inside one of my favorite books “Women Who Run with the Wolves” (by C. Pinkola-Estes). And there it is, a chapter on rage and forgiveness. The Japanese story of The Crescent Bear, followed by dissection and explanation, is like a magical balm. As I read it from a new perspective, truth illuminates and disinfects the moldering corners of my post-election mind. There is work to do.
. Solstice: December 21, 2016: The darkest days pass and the light begins to return now. As Pinkola-Estes writes, rage is good and serves a purpose. Consuming rage burns all to ash, but appropriate rage lights a transformative fire and directs your path to “right action.” These days there is a collective rage directing a lot of right actions. Almost four million women are connecting through crowd-source storytelling on Pantsuit Nation. Their stories enrage, sadden, give hope, inspire; The flight attendant calling out the unwanted touch, the feminist dismayed, the caring man on the subway, the female soldier in Iraq, the black mother with tiny son on her breast, the middle-schooler with her Malala report, the singer who lives near the old KKK house and her soulful version of Lennon’s “Imagine”, the nasty woman scientist, the newlywed lesbians, the wild woman and her pre-teen daughter in the hockey game bleachers. Today I read in The Guardian that the ACLU website had crashed from activity and that “Planned Parenthood has received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks since the election, 40 times its normal rate. Around half the donors were millennials and 70% had never given to the family planning organization before.” Rage is being directed into right action. This is good.
New Year: January 2017: The light grows stronger. Three reasons for hope: (1.) Michelle Obama’s recent “exit” interview with Oprah was a model of how to be simultaneously strong and gracious at this time. (2.) Carefully in the mushroom cloud of fake-news, I am researching and watching the young Ivanka, as she seems to have a bit of the she-wolf in her. Can it be? There is some cause for hope, but I am unsure. Let us see what her reaction is to The Women’s March on January 21st. Which brings me to (3.) Hundreds of thousands of women, families, and church groups will travel with their personal wolf-packs to either the US capital or their own state capital on January 21 to creatively express their insistence on women’s and human rights.
My husband will join me, as well as many friends and family as we gather at the Boston Women’s March, and in the years ahead, to continue our work to create a more gracious world for future generations. With a hopeful heart, I will carry with me an ultrasound photo of my unborn grandson. My personal wolf-pack will be there to “make our voice heard” …will yours?
Greetings Goddesses! If you are like me, the thoughts of giving piles of tangible holidays gifts causes some discomfort. This year our family is trying something new and gifting local charities instead of ourselves. We will use this “Choose-A-Charity” graphic to coordinate our charitable donations. How? Easy! Here are the directions:
Print and pass this poster around your family & friends
Each person chooses a charity by penciling in their name below
Return to the owner
Instead of a Christmas gift, owner donates in your name
Completed poster is hung in a special place for the season
You can work on it before, during, or after the big day. It makes for meaningful discussions with your family in this post-election season! Then hang the completed poster with your other holiday greeting cards or post it on the fridge for the rest of the season.You can even make copies of the completed poster and mail it to the family members for them to display too. The above poster is made to show local charities in Exeter, NH. Scroll way down for a blank customizable poster for yourself.
“We have so much and we don’t need more, instead let’s help to even the score.”
Dont forget the backside /or page 2, so folks can understand and discuss the “Mission” of each possible charity!! This is where you can get into the true “reason for the season”…….. or if you are more of a believer in eco-spirituality like me you can get a warm and fuzzy glow from knowing you are helping folks to become kinder to the earth and all its creatures in the “web of life”…… However you look at it, you are creating a Sustainable-Christmas for yourself and others 🙂
(PS. customizable version at very bottom, keep scrolling down)
Would you like to customize the poster?
Download this blank one (below) to your computer (by clicking on it and choosing SAVE IMAGE AS),
then open the picture, “copy” it,… then open a WORD doc and past it in,
then add six text boxes over the gifts (using command”wrap= in front of”) and type in white font 11pt.
Or if that seems too complicated…. just print the picture then use a Sharpie to write on the gifts!
(Then also don’t forget to type your own “legend” for the backside/ or page 2!)
When I let myself dwell on the volcanic eruption of hatred towards women and “others” that just spewed from this election, I get the blues. Just as the first Black US presidency highlighted simmering racial issues, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy highlighted the simmering misogyny, now out in the open for all to see. She was subjected to a witch-hunt not seen since the 1600’s.
Although things may get worse before they get better, and true equality may not happen in my lifetime, we are clearly on the path to a “more perfect union.” The combination of crowd-sourced internet transparency and synergistic actions by empowered women and caring men around the globe has and will continue to expose and eventually dissolve systemic bias and hatred towards women and the dreaded “others.”
What is encouraging is that today’s various oppressed groups (aka those who are non-white and/or non-male) have made a common cause of attaining equality and found a larger shared identity through “multi-solving.” Crowd-sourced social media has allowed this by exposing misconduct, unfairness and much worse… and the people are demanding accountability. Around the world, power is slowly being siphoned from white supremists: dispossession and inequality is a Ponzi scheme built on the backs of the oppressed that is imploding around the globe right before our eyes via the Internet. It is an ugly sight to behold.
What is encouraging is that women know what it is to be a minority group, thus are more attuned to inclusivity. Studies show (most but not all) women tend to work in a collaborative manner and have an enhanced sense of the interconnectedness of all life. Family life, good health and relationships are seen as, or more, important than personal advantage. Women are more likely to recognize sooner that the current “continuous growth” economic mode puts too much pressure on workers, families and our only planet. (Upcoming planetary issues include; food and water security, climate destabilization, climate refugees, and transition to the Smart Grid.) It is time to strengthen communities and families of all stripes.
What is also encouraging is that new legal language has been given and many middle-age women will finally admit or suddenly realize (because of this most foul presidential campaign) that they have been sexually assaulted in the past. It was the era of victim-blaming so women just kept silent and drove the rage inside themselves then, but that rage is exploding right now. However, the good news is many of the groper (and worse) victims are at the height of their careers now and have the power to change attitudes in schools and workplaces AND to legally enact new protections, rules and laws now. Women, we stand at a historic crossroad: the struggle just got fast-tracked. It is time for you to ask yourself “what can I offer, how can I help?” Take a few moments to grieve/rage, take a deep breath, release, and then put on your pantsuit and let’s get started.
Let us be an interconnected web of women who use our hearts and hands and brains and smart phones and laptops to turn those tired old swords of hate into plowshares of harmony. Our journey will lead us to live in gratitude of the abundance that we, in partnership with caring males, shall birth for all.
“Return of the Monarchs aka The Reign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren”
by RM Allen, author of NH Goddess Chronicles series
September 25, 2016
The orange and black monarch butterfly was the most prolific of my youth. Recent years have seen petitions filed to add them to the endangered species list. Why? 1.Their food, milkweed, has been sprayed with chemicals and 2. unstable weather/climate has killed off tens of millions. In the summer of 2014 I saw only one butterfly at the farm, in 2015 I saw only two. Caring, everyday people are now making both tiny and tremendous efforts to save them from extinction and I am happy to report that I saw a dozen this year! While this is far under what is normal, at least it is headed in the right direction and is cause for optimism that the monarchs will find balance in this new world.
I draw a parallel to another monarchy of sorts: the leadership of peoples, in which the tide is turning in favor of women. To wit – Angela Merkel leads Germany, Teresa May leads the UK, and Hillary Clinton has a fantastic chance to become our next President. And there is a rising star who may become the best monarch of them all: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (Democrat). I had the good fortune to see her speak today at a “Stronger Together” campaign event at the University of New Hampshire in support of NH politicians Maggie Hassan, Carol Shea-Porter and of course Hillary Clinton.
You don’t know who she is? Quickie background; Elizabeth Warren grew up in a very modest family, she was a stay-at-home mom early on, going for a law degree when her children were tiny, and then snagging a teaching job at Harvard University. She became expert in her field, and people came knocking on her door asking her to run for office. She is the spunky girl next door who found her passion and ran with it.
As a lawmaker, Elizabeth Warren is electrifying while being apple-pie-warm. How this can be, I don’t know – but she was terrifically fun to watch at the podium today speaking in support of her colleagues, her slight frame dancing all about and laughing. She is like the fun and sassy aunt that you love.
On the other hand, I have seen her (on television) at the congressional podium speaking forcefully about the financial fraud perpetrated by Wall Street and greedy CEO’s that took down our economy and caused recession. She is a whip-smart lawyer, a financial expert, and she takes no prisoners. She is a terrifying Amazon. She is Pele, Kali, Hecate… call her what goddess you will. Senator Elizabeth Warren models for women, young and old, a new way to be in this new world.
Now, just like I see the tide turning in favor of the monarch butterfly, I also see the tide turning in favor of women. Leaders like Senator Warren are at the front of our beautiful flock, undertaking inordinately long journeys on strong yet so very delicate wings. Caring, everyday people have been making both tiny and tremendous efforts on this inordinately long journey; from the Suffragettes, through the two waves of Women’s Lib, to today’s Millennials and Gender-Benders. Ancient matriarchal societies gave way to patriarchies for a long, long time, but slowly the pendulum is swinging back.
While today’s status-quo is far under what is normal (many girls around the world still are denied education to name one abomination) at least it is headed in the right direction and is cause for optimism that the monarchs (male and female leaders equally this time) will find balance in this new world.
We are “stronger together” my friends, so keep doing both the tiny and the tremendous on our inordinately long journey!
This summer solstice weekend we had guests and they brought their two active dogs. This is nothing new, every one brings their dogs when they come to visit us at our summer farmhouse. As the car pulled into our driveway and the family all spilled out, suddenly a red flag went up: protect the nest!
For the past few weeks we had been keeping an eye on a small mud and moss nest a pair of Phoebes had built under the back porch. I quietly excused myself and went around the back of the house. The pile of eyes in the nest looked on in silent alarm as a poster-sized chunk of chicken wire was slowly and strategically secured to obstruct possible sniffing canine snouts. I had not been so close to the nest before, and now I noticed those babies were just about big enough to leave the nest. I hoped the chicken wire would hold through the weekend so the babies could begin their flying lessons in a few days. I would remove the chicken wire as soon as the visitors left.
However, the next day while washing the dishes, I looked out the window at some kind of fluttering and chirping sky-ruckus near the nest. Darn it – the dogs! As I ran out the door, my dripping hands grabbed a dish towel to shoo the dogs away from the nest. Only when I got outside, no dogs were in sight. I peeked under the porch. The nest was empty. I looked on the ground fearing the worst. No dead birds. I looked around in the nearby peach tree: no nervous parents, in fact no birds at all. All was quiet in the dappled sunshine. My pessimism turned to optimism. Every bird had successfully fledged and I had seen it through the window! Although I didn’t know it at the time……
This is also what I think about the Paris Climate Summit. We witnessed history, but don’t really know it at this time (as a people).
This climate tipping point had been coming on for years through the work of global-warming harbingers like Bill McKibben. And then one year ago (at summer solstice as I recall) Pope Francis issued his climate change encyclical, which set the stage for global cooperation at a two-week conference scheduled for December 2015 in Paris, France. The 2015 Paris conference coordinator, Christiana Figueres, worked tirelessly (for years) and succeeded in getting 195 countries to show up and submit their plan of action. The “Paris Agreement” was signed by all at the end of the two weeks. This was pretty much a shocker after the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit. It has taken a while to settle in, but I keep reading news articles about smart new initiatives world leaders are embracing as they enact their plans of action. It is exciting.
In her recent TED Talk, Ms. Figueres tells the inside story of the Paris Agreement. She speaks on injecting “relentless optimism” into the system. Her slides show exactly how optimism spread in advance of and then at the conference, and how that optimism was transformational. I submit to you, on this shimmering summer solstice day 2016, that on a global scale this optimism has fledged just like my little Phoebes. We (as a people) may not be expert flyers yet, but at least we have finally left the nest – and just in time.
Whether we were once ignorant of climate change, or understood and felt hopeless despair, or even were once a climate-denier, I propose that optimism has carried the day. I don’t say this naively: there is still much work to do and things will never quite be the same. But the bottom line is this: climate optimism has fledged.
by: RM Allen, author of NH Goddess Chronicles series
Did you ever give thought to what you would do if you lived in the days of the Suffragettes or Abolishionists? You don’t have to ponder anymore, because we are in the midst of the social struggle of our time, and it is called Climate Change.
As I see it, the seeds of the great social justice movement of “our times” have sprouted in the incubators of places like 350.org, and this Earth Day will see those seedlings being set outside to harden off and set deep roots.
The moral issue here is one of asking ourselves that, despite what is legal or not legal at this time, can we as a people go on with business as usual knowing that many daily actions we take for granted are condemning other peoples, as well as our children and grandchildren, to lives of lack?
Wen Stephenson, in his new book “What We’re Fighting for Now is Each Other,” traces the beginnings of the climate movement up through today. Then he talks about tomorrow; humanity’s moral compass finds True North and civil disobedience is enacted on a larger scale. Training is underway all over the globe, and it is trickling into the coffee shops in my town. Two ladies I know are training with a local chapter of the Climate Disobedience Center so that they may intelligently participate in peaceful “direct actions” coordinated by 350.org and others on May 14th, 2016. That day may or may not result in their police arrest.
What is direct action for climate? It is when you chain yourself to a strip-mining tractor, or take your boat out in front of a coal ship, or bid on oil/ gas land leases that you cannot afford. In short, it is disruption – disrupting something that is currently legal but should not be, things like denying opportunity and voting rights to women and before that, freedom to blacks. This time it is Mother Nature that is being disrespected and oppressed. She is far from being powerless though, she has the power to turn tables and condemn us all to a “life of lack.”
The good news is that many are waking up to this fact. The “dark money” supported climate-denier era is over. Direct action is afoot. Perhaps this Earth Day you may want to seek out Gandhi-like training from the Climate Disobedience Center. I thought long and hard about getting arrested on May 14th, but found I would rather not …at this time. I advance the struggle in small ways by slashing my own carbon footprint, as well as creating a ripple effect in others. I continue to strive.
Wen Stephenson will speak in Exeter, NH on May 17th at 7pm at Christ Episcopal Church (43 Pine Street) as part of the We The People Lecture Series (WTPexeter.weebly.com). His talk will take place three days after the global day of direct action. Please come hear what he has to say.
by RM Allen, author of NH Goddess Chronicles series
I watched Cowspiracy the other day and was disturbed on many levels. But not in the way you may think. Cowspiracy is a documentary about how the current methods of producing meat and dairy for the world are unsustainable, not to mention the very poor treatment of the animals. These things I knew. What I did not know was the extent to which it is an unfair use of resources, especially regarding water and land, and the tremendous impact of methane. The film gives many excellent statistics and easy to understand graphics.
Too many! They came at me like hard spray from a garden hose, I could not keep up. I had to watch the movie again another day, and still came away with the same overwhelmed-by-stats feeling. This was disturbing to me, as a woman who likes to think she is fairly knowledgeable about global warming. (The stats are on their website www.cowspiracy.com/facts Whew! Glad for that!)
What was most disturbing to me was the conspiracy part of the movie. As Kip, the co-producer/star (environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is executive producer), tries to do good for the earth by informing the public about the many adverse impacts of the meat industry (too many to list here) he keeps drilling away on Green Peace, Sierra Club, 350.org and the like for ignoring this subject. As a supporter of these hard-working non-profits I take exception to that. I find that almost as divisive and offensive as the incendiary Trump presidential campaign. The drama is not needed, we are intelligent people capable of collaboration. It may be, though, that those environmental groups are reluctant to tackle the methane issue for fear of being accused of dictating our personal food choices.
Overall it is a great film and very informative, please watch it on Netflix at your next chance. Kip really put the Methane-Hoofprint on my radar. I was astonished that I did not understand how powerful a greenhouse gas methane is. Unlike the film, I do not blame anyone for my lack of knowledge on this matter. I thank Kip for having the courage to buck the cattle lobby and spread the word about a topic that is still taboo, but rapidly losing that status. Surely methane needs to be addressed as a major contributor to reducing global warming. I am all for that.
The second time I watched the film I had my chemist husband watch with me to explain. In a nutshell: methane is significantly more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Wow! The good news is that while carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for generations, methane dissipates comparatively quickly and flies off into outer space. So, actions to reduce atmospheric methane will have a relatively rapid impact on global warming. However we need to be aware that any attempt to diminish the meat industry must take into account the inter-relationship of population, water supplies, energy needs and emerging economies. Not to mention that family size and food choices are extremely personal decisions.
All that being said, Kip has convinced me that the Methane-Hoofprint is just as important as the Carbon-Footprint when it comes to environments and eco-systems. Will I become a vegetarian? No. Will I reduce my already low-ish meat consumption by 50% or more? You bet. Thomas Jefferson used meat as a condiment, and that sounds about right to me. In addition to being kinder to Mother Earth, I can save money at the market… and fit back in to my high school jeans.
I am thrilled to announce a “soft launch” for the newest volume of the New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles series! Volume three is entitled Meditation Matters. It is available just in time to give you inspiration for Earth Day 2016.
Traditional printed books will be available next week at Amazon and Water Street Bookstore in Exeter ( $10.95 ). If you would like to pre-order a hard copy please mail me a check for $13 (includes shipping – USA only.) I thank you in advance for your interest!
Well, what is the book about you ask? The official blurb and comments are below…
New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles, Vol. 3: Meditation Matters
Let’s spend a golden summer meditating at the Winsome-Lusome Farm in Coastal Maine as we ponder life changes via the Maiden-Mother-Crone archetypes. One phase seems to be missing there – enter the Queen! The pope joins us too with his environmental encyclical as tipping points are reached on various fronts. The Third-Eye opens. A fun read for women looking to gracefully navigate life while riding the menopause merry-go-round!
This book uses Caryn Sangster’s Chakra Insight Oracle cards in discussions of the Asian chakra energy system, and how you can use it in your own life.
“A fun, light-hearted yet thought provoking story of Ms. Allen’s journey into herself and the world. The reader is invited to travel along, exploring their own inner and outer world using the chakra system as a guide. This book is sure to motivate and inspire the reader to live a more conscious, collective and passionate life!” ~Caryn Sangster, Author of Chakra Insight Oracle Cards
“If you are feeling called to a deeper connection with not only your own Goddess, but sisterhood with other Goddesses, this is a wonderful and fun guide, written beautifully and simply by Ms. Allen. This gifted author shows us how the marriage of ancient and modern ways leads to a vision of a family-friendly society, where men and women work together with respect and love for the planet. Within these pages you may catch a glimpse of your unique calling in an environmentally sustainable future.” ~Karen Jones, Relationship coach and author of Men are Great www.TheHeartMatters.com