I read somewhere that summer 2017 is the “summer of resistance.”
Resisting, persisting, insisting; it is pretty much a spectrum and I am on it – trying to find balance in the middle somewhere. Trying to adapt to the changing political climate and find common ground.
Listening to the news is still a perplexing activity which breaks my heart, so I continue to avoid the drama and persist along my green path. It is summertime, and the living should be easy, but drama keeps floating in on the breezes like the perfume of a skunk. I often imagine how disheartening it must have been for Suffragettes and Freedom Riders, yet they persisted in doing the right thing anyway and that fact hardens my resolve.
Many other women (and men) are growing in resolve too. Like pretty little summer wildflowers that pop up surprisingly in unexpected places, I am heartened by the groups I see popping up all over in this summer of 2017. The Women’s March this spring woke people up, got them on the street for a day, and then told them to gather locally and regularly in any fashion. So we did. We have quietly gathered and we are sowing seeds, sometimes silently but sometimes not.
Now we pass the halfway mark of summer, a day called Lammas in some traditions. As this summer wanes, there will be a full solar eclipse on August 21 that crosses the entire US. (Excellent viewing in the south, limited viewing in the north.) This is a very special eclipse for Americans: Not only is it the first eclipse to cross the entire USA since 1918, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively with the US, making it the first eclipse to do so since the country’s independence in 1776!
I take this as a very good omen. Perhaps someday history will mark this eclipse as a tipping point, a flashpoint, a revelation, a revolution, or the beginning of a new era of balance — whose seeds were sown over the last 9 months of darkness. After the moon passes fully by the sun and the new light shines on the fecund earth in the USA, may those seeds grow sturdily and bear bountiful and luscious fruit for all.
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.
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
by RM Allen, author of the NH Goddess Chronicles series, 2015
If you are a very green-minded person like me then perhaps you have spent some time thinking about the lungs of our planet, the rainforest. Recently I had an opportunity to visit Costa Rica and see the rainforest up close. It teems with life, which sometimes gets so close that you get the heebie-geebies! Is that giant grasshopper/frog/iguana real… or a statue? Yikes – it just moved.
Some family members were going to spend the summer there and invited us to visit. What luck! We had a fantastic time checking out the local flora and fauna and swimming in the 85 degree Pacific Ocean waters. 85!!!! I never considered that ocean water could be so warm. Those huge warm waves crashed over me again and again and thawed my chilly New Hampshire bones.
Costa Rica borders Panama and is only the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined, but amazingly accounts for 5% of the ecological diversity on the planet! Interestingly, they have no military (abolished in 1949) but over 20% of their land is protected via national parks and protected areas. They have 26 national parks which are grouped by habitat; like cloud forest, dry forest, rainforest, and let’s not forget the volcanoes! We stayed on the fringe of the rainforest, on the outskirts of a tiny beach town located on the Nicoya Peninsula. Montezuma is a hippy and surfer paradise if there ever was one. It took us four hours to drive our rental SUV there from the airport, the last hour being on bumpy dirt roads. Thank goddess for the GPS.
Now you may be thinking – if she thinks she is so dang green then why is she burning so much fossil fuel on a vacation? Well yes, that is a quandary. But in the end this is why after all my conservation efforts at home, this fossil splurge works: I fly to places on vacations that increase my global understanding and compassion and then try to translate that vibe into some positive action upon my return. Also, tourist dollars spent on an eco-vacation support the conservation efforts of that country and rewards their citizens for doing the right thing. It is working for Costa Rica. It is not a poverty-stricken, unsafe country – their economy is based not only on eco-tourism but also on technology and agriculture (great coffee!). They enjoy one of the highest happiness indexes of any Latin country which seems to be reflected in their common greeting, response, and general attitude: “Pura Vida” -which translates loosely to Pure Life. Isn’t that great!? I salute Costa Ricans for role-modeling sustainable, simple, happy and healthy lifestyles. Namaste.
The best place to get your goddess groove on is at Ylang Ylang Beach & Yoga Resort, which is reasonably priced, safe, very clean and includes two meals per day. The yoga classes I took always included a little something special for the mind like Kundalini Breath of Fire, guided meditation Shavasana, or crystal bowl sound meditations. The yoga room is under a huge tiki roof and is practically on the beach; during class you focus on waves crashing on black lava rocks and white sands, while the warm breeze blows all around you and tickles the palm trees too. There is no road to get to the resort, you have to walk ten minutes up the beach from the center of town. This is the real “off the beaten path” place. The English- speaking concierge was very informative and helpful. The food was fantastic. The massage rooms are up in the jungle and mischievous white-faced capuchin monkeys were having a jolly old time throwing papaya pits at the roof during the end of my massage. Browse www.ylangylangbeachresort.com and you will be transported. I can’t think of the right word to describe this place….oh wait, yes I can….orgasmagical!
One bit of oddity – even though the beaches are remote and spectacular, surprisingly they are not pristine. The amount of plastic bits at the tidal line is dismaying. I am pretty sure it is not the fault of the Costa Ricans, who live a very simple lifestyle. I read there is an annual national beach cleanup day but it seems more could be done. It would be wonderful if more receptacles were onsite so tourists would help clean the beach while they are sitting there for hours under a palm tree. If I had known I would have put a box of Hefty trash bags in my suitcase.
Listen my friends, having been to Costa Rica once this is how I would do it again (in a more green and relaxed manner). Get Costa Rican money at my local bank, have international cell phone plan, skip very expensive rental SUV and take private transfer van directly to Ylang Ylang, stay in “glamping”-style accommodations, take yoga twice a day, meditate, read, swim, clean the beach, do some short eco-tours (which leave from center of town), and hardly ever wear shoes.
Who would ever think that a pope would be the savior of Mother Earth? After all the centuries of the church trying to squelch the earth-based religions which hold nature at their core, it is hard to fathom. Personally I am thrilled that spirituality, religion, and science seem to be tentatively rejoining on this summer solstice 2015. Have you read Pope Francis’ newly released encyclical #PraisedBe ? It is the document of the decade and I suggest you do a search and download the 182 pages. (Don’t worry, the font and margins are huge.)
Pope Francis draws a line between world poverty and irresponsible progress, he says we need to “redefine our notion of progress”. He reasons that “business is a noble venture” but what is currently missing is giving both Mother Nature and the dignity of the local folks an automatic seat at the table when drawing up business plans. This he basically says to powerful one-percenters, bankers, multinational corporations and wealthy countries who degrade others for profit. This he says repeatedly, as he makes the case for environmental problems being the complex outcome of a humanity lacking in both ethics and spirituality, driven only by money. He claims there should be an “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, and commitment to society” and believes that these values will lead to restoring dignity to all, thus inner peace, thus world peace. Go Pope Francis!
Pope Francis views the globe as the home of one big family, just like his namesake St. Francis of Assisi. He has decided to unequivocally call out the rich and greedy who are wrecking the health of our planet and earth-family. This family is me, you, Eskimos, Ethiopians, polar bears, honey bees, coral reefs, rain-forests and more. He says we need to find the “the honesty needed to question certain models of development, production and consumption. It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected.” For the past twenty years he has witnessed a “weak international response” and what he deems the “failure of global summits”. The politicians have not managed to say no to the power brokers causing devastation and pollution (and denying it). So he has courageously decided to call it out. Loudly and honestly he is essentially saying: the emperor hasn’t any clothes on!
Along with calling out the environmental offenders in his big papal voice, he also thanks and encourages those who have been trying to say the same thing, but their voices have gone unheard or even mocked. The pope urges everyone to act now, saying “…while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instill a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren. … Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls.”
If you are already doing your bit, I thank you deeply. Namaste. If you have been considering going a bit more green but don’t know where to start, I suggest you read his paper and get inspired to find where your talents lie in regard to any one of these topics he mentions: small farms, alternative energy, efficiency, pollution, recycling, clean water, genetics, rising sea-level, local banks and business. (Note: there are chapters and statements that are very Catholic and with which I disagree, but he is the pope after all.) So to all my goddess sisters, may you be inspired by the pope this summer solstice.
RM Allen, Author of New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles series
What a winter, even by New England standards! Relief melts into me, like Chapstick on dry and burning lips, now that the spring equinox has finally arrived. Yay! And that means that now the fun of April’s Earth Day is just around the corner!
So this Earth Day let’s talk about the filmy plastic bag that is everywhere like so many toilet paper shreds on the floor in a public restroom stall. What is a goddess who loves Mother Earth to do about this? Imagine Mother Earth comes out of the ladies room with toilet paper stuck to her strappy sandals. Awkward. Do you say something? Of course you do! Just like you can say “no thanks” to the drug store cashier who drops your single tube of toothpaste purchase into the bottom of a too-big-bag. Instead, you put the lonely toothpaste in your purse or pocket after you pay for it. (Tip: Clean out some junk from your purse and use the extra space to tote small goods from the cash register to your home.) REDUCE: Bag-free, that’s how a goddess rolls….
So say despite your best efforts you still have filmy bags lurking about your house, flitting and flying everywhere like the spooks in the Haunted Mansion. You forgot your cloth bags (dang!) and you lug home a week’s worth of groceries – which could fit in five bags but the baggers loosely packed them into about fifty. The static of fifty freshly unpacked bags on a kitchen floor creates a virtual haunting. Cats love it! Grab one of those ghouls and stuff the other forty-nine inside and bring the whole gaggle over to your neighborhood non-profit pantry or thrift shop to get a second and third chance at a useful life. (Tip: A plastic bag has a life span of hundreds of years, try to see that it is used many times before it goes to its final resting place in the landfill.) REUSE: Bags for non-profits, that’s how a goddess rolls….
Did you know….
You can drive your car one mile on the energy it costs to make fourteen plastic bags from petroleum? What a waste of a fossil fuel.
Recycling plants do not accept plastic bags: the $4K to recycle 1 ton of bags is not cost-effective (and they clog the machinery and have to be frequently cut off the jammed tires/gears). EPA states only 5% of bags get recycled. Recycling is basically a non-option.
Plastic bags do not decompose for hundreds of years. All oceans now have trash gyres. Sunlight causes plastic to break into ever-smaller bits and get in digestive tracts of land and sea animals, which humans may then eat. That is food for thought! Watch the movie “Bag It” for details.
Plastic bags were introduced in US by Mobil Oil in 1976. Banned in: Nantucket 1990, San Francisco 2007, California 2015. US ban totals: 132 cities and towns in 18 States. Pending legislation in many more. Banned in many places in EU/UK. The writing is on the wall.
So this Earth Day and beyond, I propose that all goddess-types shine a light on filmy one-time use plastic bags.
RETHINK: Tell the cashier/bagger… “Bag-free, that’s how I roll.”