Category Archives: Unitarian Universalist

I Want My Maple Syrup! A Story from the People’s Climate March, NYC 2014

I Want My Maple Syrup! A Story from the People’s Climate March, NYC 2014

By RM Allen, author of New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles series

on the busAlthough I am not a fan of the ridiculously early rise, I found myself safely on one of two 5:30 am buses out Portsmouth, NH, chartered by the Sierra Club of Maine. Anyone could go to join what I heard was to be about 50 thousand people who wanted to march in a peaceful protest in Manhattan with the aim of influencing an upcoming climate conference at the UN. The organizers, Bill McKibben’s 350.org, said it was to be a family-friendly day with at least ten marching bands and plenty of creativity.

Somewhere around Connecticut, a microphone was handed around the bus so all could introduce themselves and say why they were there. Riding the bus with me were the very fun Leftist Marching Band, a marine scientist, a guy building a passive solar house in Newbury and his high school daughters, a woman who rehabs turtles, a NH state rep, a 350NH coordinator and her family, and clusters of folks from the UU churches of Exeter and Portsmouth, the Sierra club and the Appalachian Mountain Club and random others. I had my “Exeter NH Transition Town” sign with me on the bus: ready to represent Exeter townsfolk who are trying big and small ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Why were so many diverse folks there? The common theme I heard was they were doing it for their children, grandchildren, and the earth and its animals and plants.

An hour later our bus was greeted by event volunteers and we quickly disembarked and the bus pulled away. Over 5RM Allen, center, at people's climate march 201400 buses were incoming and it was astonishingly well organized. We all headed to different part of the event staging area: people standing shoulder to shoulder on 8th Avenue along the west side of Central Park from 86th Street down to Columbus Circle. The procession was organized in a two mile line that told a climate story: at the front in section one stood famous people and those impacted most by climate change (environmental justice groups, indigenous, Sandy survivors, etc.,) Section two was “We Can Build the Future” (students, elder, families, labor). Three: “We Have the Solutions” (transition groups, renewables, food & water justice, environmental groups). Four: “We Know Who is Responsible” (anti-corporate campaigns, peace & justice, pipelines & fossils). Five: “The Debate is Over” (Scientists, Interfaith, and more). Six: “To Change Everything, We Need Everybody” (LBGTQ, community groups, cities, states, countries, and more). You can only imagine the slice of American pie that was there.

2014 climate march totalsOh and did I mention that instead of 50 thousand people, about 300 thousand came! Everyone from hippies blowing conk shells to suits with ponytails, from Hare Krishnas to Friar monks, from babies dressed like bees to oldsters in wheelchairs, from fusion scientists with graphs to Native American Elders in ceremonial dress. Most had very clever signs, props or costumes. No issue that climate has a finger into was left behind; even the Lorax and his Thneeds were represented. I very slowly wound my way through the shoulder to shoulder crowd, past the vegan contingent, the musicians singing and dancing, other groups chanting “this is what democracy looks like,” and many folks just standing and endlessly scrolling on their cell phones. Finally I stopped with my Exeter NH Transition Town sign at the front of section three “We Have the Solutions,” and waited to begin marching. And waited. Waited over an hour in fact because the line was so long that it took an hour for the motion to get up to where I was standing (at the halfway point) before my crowd even began to move. Oh it was hot and humid and close, down in that valley between the skyscraper on one side and the tall trees that line Central Park on the other, but it was very happy and hopeful and very, very well organized.

We had been pre-instructed to do two ritualistic things: one at the beginning and another at the end of the march. At a certain time at the beginning, all would receive a text to begin a moment of silence to remember all the victims of climate changes and to pray/hope for the future. This was a very digital event. Live stream on Twitter of #peoplesclimate was uploading like mad as well as other sites. People were glued to their phones, especially the younger set. What an advantage over the past. I think of protest via digital means a “civil roar” (play on “civil war”), as it seems to me that today’s social media is a very important factor in peaceful political change. I checked mine only sparingly, preferring to observe first-hand. (Leo DiCatribal elder and rapperprio and Mark Ruffalo were there?  Where??) As I am middle-aged, I typically use my cell phone mostly to snap pictures.

A commotion behind me turned out to be a tribal elder in ceremonial dress being ushered through the throng towards the front of the parade by a very fun and boisterous contingent of African American boys.  The boys had bull horns and were singing climate raps in a conga line of banners and affirming bodacious women that could have been in the choir at a Baptist church. Just then the moment-of-silence text came. An instant hush fell over the crowd and we all raised our arms to the sky and closed our eyes. At that spiritual moment, I felt all the hair on my arms raise as I listened only to the wind blow through the trees of Central Park with over a quarter of a million other people turned out to protect Mother Earth… you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

This silence was to be followed by a raucous cheer… and it was bedlam. What fun! Finally we were off and marched five miles; past Radio City Music Hall, through Time Square, and ending at 34th and 11th street, quite close to the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. The procession was quite slow and took about three hours, but was very, very well organized. There must have been about ten thousand volunteers to pull off this event, from volunteers on the ground to the people who got the permits and politicians and police. Yes, tons and tons of New York’s finest lined the barricades, keeping the march route and crosswalks clear and letting the tourists cross the road in Times Square every so often. TV crews and professional photographers were everywhere, interviewing everybody. At the very front of the parade had been the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Al Gore, Bill McKibben, mayors, senators, and many others. (Leo & Mark? Where??)

times square climate march I found this press coverage very heartening to see as I wearily marched along through Times Square, although notably absent were NBC, ABC, and CNN. It is quite extraordinary when 300 thousand people come to town and it doesn’t get shown on the nightly news. You have to ask yourself why.  I remember when Bill McKibben spoke in Exeter at a the We the People Lecture Series at the beginning of his fossil fuel divestment campaign and I was trying to arrange a small room for him to meet the press in before his speech  – and he told me not to worry about it because the press wouldn’t  cover him anyway. (He was right, no press requested to interview him that night even though 400 citizens packed the church to capacity to hear him.)  I remember later on there was still negligible press when he got thousands to form a human ring around the White House, any many high profile folks to be arrested at a sit-in there. I could only watch it live via Twitter.

fossil divestment at the trump plazaBut now I think the famous “tipping point” has been reached. Why do I say this? Because the very same day of the People’s Climate March the Rockefeller family has announced that it will divest all fossil fuel stocks from their Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  Don’cha know that fossils are the very same thing that made them rich back in the day? According to Reuters on Monday, September 22 between the Rockefellers and other high wealth folks and institutions, 50 billion dollars has been pledged to be divested from fossils over the next five years. Perhaps it is the dawn of a new day.

At the end of the march there was a big party with music, food, water and, thankfully, port-o-potties. I helped a unicorn holding a tambourine get a cup of water at the giant water-monster. I was an early user of the port-o-potties (still ok) and then got in line at a food truck. We in the long food line were heckled by some young vegans who asked us how we could call ourselves environmentalists and still eat meat as it is such a huge contributor to greenhouse gas.  Dang!  What a thing to say to us fellow marchers with our tired feet. In my opinion it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mind-set. It really doesn’t. Everyone has trade-offs: I still enjoy a burger but I have a very large veggie garden now; I drive a car but it is an economical model and I divested fossils from my portfolio two years ago.  My list goes on and I am sure yours does too. We all do the best we can, and then sometimes we try a little harder and make still more incremental gains. Like today’s march in NYC or like what ordinary folks in Exeter are doing every day.  I think it is great fun to write about what big and small steps people in Exeter are taking and post it to the Exeter NH Transition Town facebook page. (Please like me on Facebook, thanks)

maple syrup climate ribbonAt the end of parade party section near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel was the second ritual in which we were asked to participate.  Every marcher was asked to write on a ribbon their name, age, state, and finish this sentence “I don’t want to lose…” and tie it to an art installation that looked like a big banyan tree. The ribbons would form the leaves and roots. After you tied your ribbon you were to then pick off one someone else’s ribbon and take it home. In this way cross-country bonds are formed between marchers. To me it seemed like a virtual “hand binding” ceremony seen at weddings but on a much grander and ethereal scale. The large installation fluttered vibrantly in the fall air, with people milling all around and inside it. If you chose you could come to the microphone in the center and read aloud the ribbon you would take home, then all were to reply “we are with you.” One woman walked to the mike and read her ribbon, written by a woman from New England, which said   “I don’t want to lose… Maple syrup.” The crowd replied…  “we are with you.”

 

 

 

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Is “Occupy” a Cosmic Tremor?

Oct/November 2011

By: RM Allen,

author of The New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles, vol.1. Light Your Torch, 
a fun, easy, green, and sustainable book available on Kindle, Amazon, or
at http://www.nhgoddess.com for only $14.95

I am not an activist.  I try to steer away angry events and people. Perhaps I am a coward?
To me, anger indicates winners versus losers. I don’t even like to use the word win, because it simultaneously implies lose -and both words generate sadness in my heart. I don’t enjoy competition in any form, but what I do enjoy is collaboration. So, not knowing what I would find, I hesitantly went to Occupy Boston last Sunday at my pastor’s invitation to attend the UU worship service.

This is my interpretation of the newborn jumble known globally as the “Occupy” movement:

(see my
video here:

Across from South Station in Boston a quite well-organized tent city has arisen in a park.
On the “main street” of that city are tents labeled: Logistics, Medical, Legal,
Library, Food, Donations, and more. There is even a Generator tent, with a
Gilligan’s island set-up where you pedal a bike to charge up your cell phone.
Each tent has a white-board of sorts in front of it with common daily schedules
and info. This ad-hoc city is self-sustaining. I have a MBA, and understand
that Occupy can be seen as a political or economic protest against Corporate
America by the 99% of Americans that are not millionaires.

But, to me, the self-proclaimed “Green Goddess of New Hampshire”, – I also came to
understand Occupy as a spiritual movement. There are sleeping tents are
clustered in the back “suburbs”, and in central tent-burbia, just past the
giant Gandhi statue,  is a “faith” tent. Since I am the author of a very green, spiritual book, this tent with incense wafting out of it caught my attention.

After a once-around of the whole park, and some free rutabaga salad at the food tent, I
left my shoes at the door of the Faith tent, and sat down to meditate. Can you
imagine trying to meditate in the midst of something so alive and dynamic as a
city of protest? A large number of men close by had formed an African drumming
circle, and their music formed the rhythm of my meditation.  People of all ages came and went in the tent. I stayed, like a content cat, comfortable in my slice of October sunlight.  A yoga class started in the tent. Still I stayed.

This is what I determined while in the tent:

Occupy is a spiritual movement against Greed. Occupy is movement for common sense
Sustainability. Occupy is about closing the fairness gap between the haves and
the have-nots. Occupy is a place where you can find your tribe  -all you have to do is stand there and hold up a sign of concern, or wear that message  on your shirt, and people will come and talk to you about your concern. Occupy is about the 99% of people getting together to Collaborate, because the other 1% is only interested in Competition. And Competition, at its core, is
Unsustainable.

The Mayan Calendar ends in 2012, and it is rumored that there will be a massive shift in
consciousness then. While in the tent I began to wonder if Occupy is the
beginning tremors of that cosmic shift. Occupy is a grassroots movement of the
heart. Visit it, and let it into your heart.

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Did She Say “A-(wo)men”?

Hi bloggers,

Here is the text of a recent testimonial I gave at church…

Testimonial for the UU Haverhill Church, Earth Day Service (run by the Green Sanctuary Cmte) April 2011

Hello,

I am RM, and many of you know me from my work on the green committee here. Rev. Frank gave a call from this pulpit, back in January, for some of us to give testimonials on the subject of some advice by Frederick Beuchner.

(Paraphrased quote: You can find out your purpose in this world by doing two things. 1. what is the thing you like to do most? 2 what is the thing the world needs most?  The place spirit calls you to is the intersection of these two places: “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”)

When Frank asked this, I thought of the Artist’s Way classes I had taken that past summer here at the church. It was lead by Megan Shea and Tom Ellis. The class follows a 12-chapter book by Julia Cameron, which claims to be a “spiritual path to higher creativity.” This class can be used to enhance any type of creative work that you do: painting, beading, weaving, singing, cooking, or even if you just want to get more creative in your job or life.  Turns out that the Artists Way was another important step on my personal journey of the past five years -weeding out useless drama, examining limiting beliefs, and really focusing in on the seed of who I am. It encouraged me to use a spiritual writing project I was working on, and get “audacious” with it, something the class empowers you to do. I am sure this class will run again next year if it is something you are interested in on your journey.

Classes like this are part of a new and ongoing focus of this church to provide more varied types of spiritual adult education. Many of you have recently been watching videos here on Sunday mornings, or participating in other types of small group ministries that may excite you and touch you deeply. As part of this new and dynamic spiritual forum Rev. Frank has created, there will be another type of group offered soon. This one is a UU curriculum, which ran here once several years ago I am told, entitled: “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” and is a study group on female divinity in the form of The Goddess. It will run for five weeks on Monday nights at 7pm, starting on April 25.

This makes me very excited, and even more appreciative of the UU tradition, and this church in particular, because this is the intersection of my deep gladness with the deep hunger of many women. And here is why:

As a woman I very often feel left out of traditional patriarchal religion, and that makes me have a hard time relating, or even believing. I pick and choose what I resonates with me. And sometime I modify to make it fit. When Frank speaks of God, my head automatically says Goddess, when Frank ends with Amen, I say Awomen.

As you can see, I relate much more profoundly with the ancient earth-based spirituality that was in place for eons before the bible. And I know that many, many women feel the same way. There is a “deep hunger.” So, happily, here is where Beuchner’s quote takes root for me. I experience a profound “deep gladness” when I lose myself in exploring the kind of spirituality that is kept track of in the natural rhythms of Farmer’s Almanac.  It makes me come alive. And I like to share that energy.

I love to dig around in Mother Earth, and shop at Farmer’s Markets. I love to live by the guidelines of Voluntary Simplicity and not participate in the man-made cycle of want and consumerism. And I love to write about these things in a funny way.

And I love to learn about ancient goddesses and their alleged powers – no matter what continent they originated from. In each tradition, Native American, Greek, Hindu, Asian they shared similar qualities. Some were goddesses of fertility and crops, others of home and hearth, celebration, the Arts, sacred spaces, wisdom or compassion, and many more. And some were warriors. They had the power. Well, by today’s standards anyway…

But speaking from a modern perspective of balance, is there not also a power in all of the other types of qualities mentioned?  Undeniably, there is great power in fertility. There is also great power in compassion. There is great power in celebration and the Arts.  These more “female” powers have been pushed to the background in today’s societal and family units. And this has created a problem: the Earth is unbalanced on many levels.  Now, I am not trying to blame all of this on men. I love men, oh yes, but yet, there remains something unbalanced. Most of today’s women have given away the power that the ancient women once held. I can tell you that once-upon-a-time I certainly did.

That deep hunger women feel for something more than patriarchal religion crosses over where my deep gladness about moon cycles, the warmth of sisterhood, and the smell of freshly turned soil meets. Through my work being a steward of Mother Earth, and my work of writing to empower other women, I like to think that I am bringing about a more balanced Earth. And I am convinced that the Cakes class is another step on our journey. Quite a fun step actually!

If attending this Cakes class interests you, I invite you to join the fun and sign up on the green paper on the back table at coffee hour. It is open to women only.

**author’s note: 25 women signed up for the class, and it was quite fun! Here is an old postcard of the church, and the website is www.uuhaverhill.org

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)

The Translucent Path 2011

The Translucent Path

by RM Allen, 2011 www.nhgoddess.com

Greetings sister goddesses!

Have you ever sat one full year with a single word and explored every aspect of it? I did, and you can read it here! Below is the text of my article in the Apr/May edition of Inner Tapestry.  The style of writing is very similar to that of my book; The New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles. Later I will post excerpts from the book, but for now, check this out!

Enjoy!

RM Allen

=====================

My poetic friend, Tara Wrobel, wrote an inspiring piece, A Meeting of Opposing Ways, about two paths meeting in the woods. One path was her private self, what gave her joy but she hid from others, and the other her public self. She stood at the point where the two paths met and felt the emergence into her authentic self.

Another path was written about by poet Robert Frost he wrote in his The Road Not Taken: “ two paths diverged the woods, and I – I took the one less traveled by.” Most of us are familiar with Frost’s taking the authentic path, and all the difference it made for him.

Then there is also the long brown path made famous by the poet Walt Whitman, a man who was in touch with his Divine Feminine. This “long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose” is featured in his spectacular Song of the Open Road, which has been a favorite of mine for many years. I like to think of Whitman’s brown path as a metaphor for life. As I progress on my own orgasmagical spiritual journey. I visualize a long brown path, lit only by a goddess torch.

The goddess torch I speak of is a symbolic light, held up high, to light the way on the dark and misty path we journey to become our authentic selves. The torch illuminates hidden truths and treasures and other boom-shaka-lucky things. We are not alone on this path, no not at all. We travel with other women we meet, and sometimes men too. We are all searching for the Divine Feminine, our inner wisdom, our inner goddess. Sound familiar? The more we search on this winding path, the stronger our flickering light becomes, and the more we emerge into our authentic selves. There are many helpful tools and resources and people hidden along the way.

One of my annual tools is to pick a word-of-the-year in early January, and explore it for the next twelve months. By the end of the year I hope to be able to sum up my findings in one short sentence that rings true for my particular essence. Last year I found that Gratefulness produces abundance. The year before I found that modern day Humility is voluntary simplicity. These findings are now part of my DNA, as is anything you sit with for an extended period. My word for 2011 is Translucent. Where will it lead me?

Are you ready to pick your word-of-the-year? First you need to think about possible words for a few days. These words must be in a certain category, which is “things I am deficient in.” Ouch! Who said this was going to be easy?

Allons, let’s go. Are you ready to step onto the winding and shadowy brown path with us? Coming to light will be introspective tools and resources, hidden in the nooks and crannies of the path. Appearing will be things like; labyrinths, meditation, happy places, shamans, wise-women, herbs, books, Artist’s Way morning papers, Zentangles, prayer touchstones, spirit guides and sister goddesses. And much more! You will see what you were meant to see. And sometimes it will be scary.

Scary? Yes, you will have to face your fears head-on. For example, what are my fears if I were to walk a more translucent path, if I were to let the private me and the public me merge into one true self? I can think of a whole list of sucktastic things; fear that I would lose my job and therefore my home, fear that I would disappoint my mother by being a different religion other than that which she prefers. Fear that my boyfriend will see me as a rigid feminist and break up with me. Fear that my kids will think I am a little odd and not love me. Fear of strangers invading my private life at inappropriate moments. The list goes on.

You start by making a list, too. Then we will have the next twelve months, in between fun romps on the path, to sit and stare down these fears. They will end up irrelevant, like they always do, and in the end it will all be for the emergence of our highest and best self. And this will make the world a better place too.

But there is always that self-induced drama in the middle of the process, which is so sucktasticly uncomfortable. Why make ourselves swim through another big bowl of ugly, when things are okay as they are right now? Why? To get to the shore of outrageously-happy, of course! To rest on a driftwood log of peacefully-Zen, and breathe the clean air of at-one-with-the-Universe. To dance drenched with Belovedness and joy around the bonfire of the Divine Spirit.

Allons, ready? Come just a little closer… Whoosh! Your torch is now lit. Watch out for your hair, the sparks are flying all around us in a smiling golden shower. A most excellent characteristic about fire and light is that you can give away all you want, and you never have less for yourself. The flame of my own Divine essence now combines with yours in a celebratory dance. You are now initiated, and you emerge as a goddess of your particular Divine essence. Step boldly onto our long brown path, leading wherever you chose. Welcome! Enjoy your adventure, Beloved.


  http://www.innertapestry.org/articles/april-may-2011/820-the-translucent-path-2011.html 

RM Allen is a green goddess who lives simply in Southern New Hampshire and works in a very traditional church office in a quintessential New England village. She holds a masters degree in business communications and is on orgasmagical spiritual safari. The combination of all of the above contributes to her fun and unique writing style, which is inspiring to her sister goddesses. She is the author of The New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles from Peapod Press. Order the book for $14.95 at www.NHgoddess.com

 

*****

Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi   info@nhgoddess.com  Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)