Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Purpose of Education

"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." 
 - Sidney J. Harris, journalist and author

Our schools are failing us. They have lost their sense of purpose. T. S. Elliot in The Aims of Education states that education will always reflect the sense of purpose that dominates a culture.

Apparently our purpose for being has become no more than earning money, rather than living a balance life. We create schools that offer little in the way of personal development. The emphasis is on academic skills that can be measured by a test.

How much more successful could our children become if they learned how to be good people. What if we taught life skills with as much emphasis as language and math skills?

Too many students end up hating school because they find no sense of purpose in their studies. For them the curriculum is "a meaningless hodgepodge of subjects." (1)

 All too often the schools are expected to only "teach to the test" because funding is based on test scores. What if, instead, we taught kids how to think. What if we taught problem solving skills, decision making skills, stress management skills, effective communication skills, empathy, conflict resolution, family dynamics, goal-setting, values clarification? We can teach these along with language, math, and science. Help the kids discover a sense of who they are and who they want to become. Make their academic subjects have personal meaning for their lives.

I remember a little girl telling me how much she hated school. She had no sense of why she needed to know fractions or reading. She just wanted to be a wife and mother. Of course, school wouldn't teach her anything about relationship or parenting skills.

When I worked in the prison system, part of the program I worked in taught life skills to some of the adult male offenders.(2) Their poor decisions in the past had landed them in prison. They were unclear about their own values. Their families were fractured. They had no idea how to set and achieve good goals. Problem solving skills were limited by their black and white thinking. They had never been taught how to think critically.

How different would our country/world be if kids learned all this BEFORE they graduated and would see better futures and not just their past. Maybe instead of merely memorizing the dates and places of world conflicts in the past they learned to examined the problems the led to them and explored what possible solutions could have avoided the wars. 

(1)Neil Postman, Technology: The Surrender of Culture to Technology 

(2) Sadly, this program mo longer exists due to funding cuts.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Woman's Place

There is so much happening these days that directly relate to how we value, or devalue, women in our country and our culture. I don't want this to turn into a rant, but I do want to highlight some of the thoughts I've been having about feminism, what it is or isn't.

I'm a feminist. I'm not ashamed to say it. As a feminist I look at all people, male and female, as equal and deserving of the same respect and equal treatment. I don't hate men.

I do see vast inequities, and have seen them for all my life. (And I'm old!) And for much of my youth I didn't know that it didn't have to be that way. I was raised in a male dominated culture with all male, white male I'm afraid, images in positions of power and leadership. Every institution was patriarchal in its structure. And even when it didn't feel right to be treated as "less than" I felt helpless to do anything about it.

And yet I had strong women as mother and grandmother. They made their way in the world by overcoming the hardships created by the men in their lives. They never gave up. And they would not have considered themselves as feminists. But my grandmother marched for the right to vote. And my mother campaigned for better educational opportunities for boys AND girls. Even though they both endured oppressive marriages, they advocated for their children to grow up strong and independent.

But, still, the culture did little to support the independence of girls.Many women around the world are subjected to trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, pornography, educational restrictions, legal challenges, even genital mutilation, all because they were born a girl. More female fetuses are aborted because of their gender. And even if you are thinking that all of this is someplace other than the U.S., you'd be wrong.

And, yes, there is much to be done to free women from these situations around the world. China's one-child policy, while weakened slightly by a few exceptions, includes forced abortions, both surgical and chemical, for those women who conceive "disallowed" children. Genital mutilation may be somewhat rare in the U.S., but there are many countries where it is predominate.

As long as we in the U.S. support the devaluation of women here there won't be a lot of support for helping women elsewhere in the world. Yes, we may think those inhumane practices are bad, if we don't value women we allow ourselves to turn our backs.

The double standard for genders in the U.S. goes from subtle to blatant. High profile women are looked at differently than high profile men. The women are described by how attractive they are or what designer fashion they wear, etc., with little attention to their accomplishments. And the blatant blaming of the female victim of rape for the behavior of the rapist. And, of course, the complaint of Republicans that Hillary Clinton is "playing the woman card".

We need to take a hard look at what message we are sending to our girls. They must be respected for being more than just a body. Raise your awareness by noticing how being female effects how people are perceived. Notice the big deal about being able to recognize if a person is male or female. When someone walks down the street and appears gender neutral, people immediately ask if they are male or female? What makes the difference?

O.K. Enough. I'm done. My hope is that I didn't just rant, that I raised some valid issues. That I gave you something to think about.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How Do We Give?

Compassion is a theme for me. It is what I aspire to, a guideline for living my life. I'm not always good at it. And I'm consciously exploring more and better ways of being compassionate. Recently I was chided for being too easy on haters. I said we need to consider that their hatefulness is a symptom of their inner woundedness and we'd best address that before attacking their behavior.

But I also am aware that some kinds of help are not at all helpful. In fact, in some instances it can create an unhealthy dependency that leaves wounds of its own. So, how we give in ways that are most helpful?

Marvin Olasky, author of The Tragedy of American Compassion. says that for any help to be truly helpful it must have three elements:

  1. It must "challenge and equip people to participate actively in permanently solving their own problems."
  2. It mus recognize that poverty is not fundamentally a financial problem but is rooted in a spiritual brokenness. This is what creates generational poverty. "Effective compassion will address the source, not just the symptom."
  3. The help must be personal, administered so as to recognize the dignity of all people. Personal dignity and relational integrity needs to be restored. People are always in relationship with other. That broken relationship, of one kind or another, is most often a contributing cause of poverty.
Impersonal charity does little to lift a person's dignity. Put a face on the gift so that the recipient knows there is at least that one person who wants to lift them up, who acknowleges their person-hood.

While I do still donate money to some causes, because it costs money to raise awareness of the need. I much prefer funding that is personalized. Perhaps that is why there is currently a surge in sites like GoFundMe that give the donor a personal view of the need.

I, personally, like to donate to KIVA. "Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty." They celebrate and support people to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. They fund people to empower them to support themselves.

What you contribute is a loan, not a donation. It is paid back by the recipient. You can choose what part of the world you want to contribute to and what kind of endeavor you want to support. And "when a Kiva loan enables someone to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves, it creates opportunite for others as well. That ripple effect can shape the future for a family or an entire community.

I also like to contribute to educational opportunities for those who may not have the financial ability to pursue their education. Education is an investment that empowers people to make a better future. We support Native American colleges as a way of empowering American Indian youth to rise above the poverty and dependence created by the reservation system.

Even one of my own small personal gift is to occasionally purchas quilt batting for a handful of women on an Indian Reservation who make quilts to sell to help support themselves and their families. In the past I've enlisted friends to help me buy winter wear for American Indian children on the Rose Bud Reservation to enable them to go to school in the bitter cold winters of S. Dakota. I do these things through personal relationships I have developed with people on the rez. They know that there is someone named Lucinda who cares about them. It is personal.

Of course, there is other giving that is part of being compassionate. Giving good, used clothing to the homeless and unsatisfactorily housed in our city is an easy thing to do. And while it isn't as personal as actually handing the things to the individuals who need them, it is more personal than a check written to an organization. Even so, the checks are necessary to keep the organization running.

And I like to do things for the elderly poor because they cannot be empowered with income to improve their lives financially. I usually enlist friends to help me buy either electric heaters or warm outerwear for the elderly on the Rose Bud Indian Reservation.

It is vital to each of us to find a way to give. Giving to others improves not only our self esteem, but also our health. It has been shown that being charitable greatly improves our health, even produces endorphins that make us feel better!

To whom and how to give is an important decision, however, if we want our help to be truly helpful.

If you are interested in helping with any of the giving I do to the Rose Bud, please let me know. Everything we send is greatly appreciated. If you are interested in giving to KIVA you can check it out at

I'd love to know what your favorite charities or your favorite ways to give help are. Please share them in the comments section below.

A To-do List:

  • Read Marvin Olasky's The Tragedy of American Compassion and When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbet and Brian Fikkert to better understand the causes and solutions for poverty.
  • Be thankful for the opportunities you have to work. Then mentor someone younger in a deeper understanding of work and care for the poor.
  • Consider leading a book discussion group on the above mentioned books.
  • Find a job training program in your area and volunteer there. Or make a financial contribution.
  • Help someone who needs work to prepare a resume, find job skill training or connections with employers.
  • If you are able, provide opportunities for people by providing meaningful employment. Or use part of your business' profits for a program that helps the poor find work.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Listen to Your Heart

It is our hearts rather than our minds that know a more beautiful world is possible. Our minds are awash in the messages of separation that have surrounded us for so long. Our intellectual beliefs have been associated with the wounds, the stories, the institutions that are from our culture of separation. That is why change must occur on all these levels for us to live in a more beautiful world of connectivity and compassion.

When we move into the state of inter-begin, of being connected at our inner being level with otheres, we know that any change in ourselves will coincide with a change in other people. This is because our consciousness is then not separate from theirs.

It is up to each of us, all of us, to make the changes we know will make the world better, more compassionate. It is up to each of us no matter what the other does. As each person steps into the new way of being it tips the world more in that direction.

Each generation that has tried to live this way has helped to strengthen the connection with the world of the future. "It starts a cultural learning process that a new generation is beginning to fulfill." (1) This multiplies with each generation the number of people who are part of the new and beautiful world of connectivity. Those of you coming of age today "can actually create the world the previous generation could only glimpse." (1)

We heal with each change. Where will our healing come from? It comes from the margins:

  • from those excluded from the separation culture, e.g., indigenous cultures;
  • from ideas contrary to dominant beliefs about agriculture, healing, energy, mind, ecological restoration and toxic waste remedies;
  • from consensus -based decision making, non-hierarchical organizations, direct democracy, restorative justice, and nonviolent communications;
  • from people working for less pay doing what they love, using skills and experience as pioneers of a new way of living;
  • from spontaniety, patience, slowness, sensuality, and play.
We can find a glimpse of this future in the "alternative", "holistic", and "counter-cultural". These will become the new normal. Look around to find these growing in popularity today.

Will you choose to move into the new normal? Or will you choose to hang on to the old perspective that you are separate, disconnected from the rest of creation, different, better than or less than others?

How do you choose? Choose what best fits who you really are, who you know yourself to be inside, who you in your your heart you want to be, and who you are becoming with your new perspectives.

AS more of us move into this new perspective of connectivity we will find each other more frequently. We will gain support and strength from each other. And together we will find the way to the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

This and other of my posts have been inspired by Charles Eisentein's book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. If you want to explore more about this journey, I recommend it. It can strengthen you for your own journey to a more beautiful world.

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein

Today's To-do List: 

Listen to your heart.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It''s Close!

That beautiful world is not far away. It is close. We are in it already. Since life is a continuum the web reaches beyond what we experience. It is but a shift of perception away. Remember that nothing is as it seems.

We live in the sky. No? Take this perspective: If the sky starts where the land ends, we need only look at where we are as sky. We can find abundance all around u. We need only look at our needs differently. Most of us have an over-abundance of our basic needs.

However, the journey from the old normal into the new can be very lonely. The new beliefs are still fragile. You need support, especially when you carry your new perspective and beliefs into your old life and relationships. Those old structures try to pull you back into conforming with the old ways.

Rarely can we hold new beliefs without support from folks around us. Beliefs that deviate from social concensus especially require some kind of safe place and affirmation. Finding that place may take time. You may feel alone rejecting the old view.

But there are more and more folks coming into the new perspective. Fewer and fewer believe in the old systems  determining the importance of separation and what you should value, find meaningful, The old ways shout louder, so it may be hard for you to hear the new connectivity. You must listen from your interbeing, where that connection occurs. We need you stepping into this new way of being to swing the balance in the new direction.

Draw on your courage and risk loving, sharing, giving, connecting with compassion. Evolve freely. Become more than you can imagine.

Since so many people are moving into a new way of being, no one person can serve as a guru to help you evolve. We are all different, our paths are different. We find our path with our inter-being, unfettered by the limitations of any "movement" or "system". We may need teachers along the way. But we find the connections through our "inner guru", if you will. For when you know yourself from the inside, your path will become clear.

When our inner being is connected with other's inner beings there is no limit to the insights available to us.

O.K. So I'm sounding pretty mystical, right? Well, why not? The mystical is only a mystery if you don't see it. You don't have to understand it for it to work for you. Open your perspective to draw on all the resources available to you, even those you don't understand!

Today's To-Do List:

  • Experiment with seeing from different perspectives. See something through the eyes of another. How might your pantry look through the eyes of three different people? What might your problems look through the eyes of three different perspectives?
  • Challenge a belief you have about another person. Ask yourself what else may be true. Explore that belief to consider that it may not be totally true.
  • Spend a few minutes experiencing music that touches your spirit in a healing way. Let it work its healing of any old wounds.
  • Be.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

As the World Turns

So, the world is changing. More and more of us are moving into that beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Can you see the chaos it is creating?

The fabric of the world as we have known it is being threatened. What we see is the crumbling systems of doing things according to the culture of separation. The way things have "always been done," All those predictable and practical methods are no longer serving us.

The result is confusion and fear, often leading to violence and hate. Rather than using direct assault head-on to try to help people, and the systems that compromise them, to let go of the old ways, we have to go deeper. Before someone is willing to look at evidence of the shift, we have to address the wounds at the heart of separation.

To be a healer and change agent we have to look below the hurtful, hateful behaviors of people. When we can see these people as wounded we can treat them with greater compassion. When they feel less fear they can begin to open up and live in the wider world.

People need to feel safe to give, create, love and play. When you can be with someone at that depth, offering unconditional acceptance and compassion, people can blossom and become part of the beautiful world.

When you consider this work as healer and change agent, be aware that it takes courage. Surround yourself with others on the same path. Be mindful of how we are all connected and gain strength from that knowledge.

By now you may have recognized that there is a spirituality of connectivity. This is a spirituality that runs through all of life, regardless of religion or lack of it. For it is our spirits that are connected. Our spirits form the web. Nurture your spirit and those of others to keep the web of life strong and supple.

What must we believe and why must we believe it to change the world? Eisenstein says it best.

"To the extent that we ourselves are living in the realization of inter-being, we too are able to become miracle-workers. That doesn't mean that what we do seems miraculous to ourselves. - it fits in with our expanded understanding of the nature of life and causality. For example:

  • When one is aligned with the purpose of service, acts that seem exceptionally courageous to others are a matter of course.
  • When one experiences the world as abundant, then acts of generosity are natural, since there is no doubt about continued supply.
  • When one sees other people as reflections of oneself, forgiveness becomes second nature, as one realizes 'But for the grace of God, go I.'
  • When one appreciates the order, beauty, mystery, and connectedness of the universe, a deep joy and cheerfulness arises that nothing can shake.
  • When one sees time as abundant and life as infinite, one develops superhuman patience.
  • When one lets go of the limitations of reductionism, objectivity, and determinism, technologies become possible that the science of separation cannot countenance.
  • When one lets go of the story of the discrete and separate self, amazing intuitive and perceptual capabilities emerge from lifelong latency.
These and many other miracles are the landmarks of the territory of interbeing." (1)

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible by Charles Eisenstein

Today's Daily Dozen To-do List:

  • Find 5 acts of compassion in the media news. Even in the numerous disasters reported, there are people reaching out with compassion.
  • Look for new ways problems are being solved, creative solutions that protect life. They are most evident in environmental solutions, but they can be seen in other ways as well, holistic medicine, for example.
  • Notice fear-mongering and confront it with compassion. Fear most often come from woundedness. Threats seem bigger, more frightening when one feels vulnerable. Identify your own fears and consider what fuels them. What keeps you from  taking the risk to give, create, love and play ? How real is that threat?
  • Identify the wounds that support your fears. Consider them as parts of your past that can heal and make you strong enough to no longer need those fears.
  • Bring people together for safe and comfortable fun. Share laughter. Spread joy. Be the healing someone needs. Make it safe to be silly with them!
  • Think of all the ways you are connected to not only other people but also to the rest of creation. Consider what changes when you change. Don't ignore the tiniest of changes, for even small changes make some kind of impact. What happens to the air when you breathe?
  • Name three things you have done that took courage to do. Appreciate your courage. From your first steps as an infant to your getting up on a morning you truly didn't think you could, all courage is to be celebrated.
  • Examine your perspective on spirituality, whether it is religious or not. What is it that is more than your body, even more than your brain? How is life itself spiritual? Read something that widens your perspective on spirituality. Can you develop "suspended disbelief" long enough to explore other forms of spirituality, respect the spiritual beliefs of others?
  • When and when in your life has service to someone or something been natural, second nature to you? When did it not feel like you were being particularly courageous but in reality it was in conflict with the "way of the culture of separateness"? Appreciate that about you.
  • Be mindful of abundance in you life. It is truly everywhere. Find a way to give from your abundance.
  • Think about someone you don't really like and identify how many things you have in common. You'd be surprised how many commonalities there are compared to your perceived differences.
  • End every day with gratitude for at least three things. With practice you can get your list so long that you go to sleep before your finish!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


So, how do we disrupt the old way of the world of separation? The best way to disrupt it at its foundation is giving people the experience of non-separation. This means each time we act with true "generosity, forgiveness, attention, truth or unconditional acceptance" (1) we offer the experience of connection and compassion.

This violates the old beliefs that "Everyone is out for themselves." It affirm the desire to give, create, love and play. It makes it o.k. for others to break through those old beliefs. While these acts can't make someone give up their old beliefs, it does invite others to at least consider that those beliefs may not be totally true. The most we can do isopen the door to a different perspective on the world.

We live in a time of self-rejection. How often do we hear someone declare that they, or someone they know, are their own worst critic. Your unconditional acceptance of others shows them a new possibility. This is a transformative power that we all have. This is an important way we can change the world. Don't underestimate the power of compassionate acts.

A way to multiply this power is to stand by those who "do the right thing." Just be silent witness to justice and compassion on the part of others. It is easier to act justly if you have the support of others. This is aother way we disrupt separation.

Consider, also, how the perspective of connectivity spreads compassion. Because we are all connected, everything we do influences everyone and everything else. So your generosity, your non-judgemental acceptance of others has a ripple effect. The "pay it forward" effect is evidence of this. Someone pays for the coffee of the car behind them in the drive-thru and others then do the same.

You smile at a stranger and she smiles back. She's then more likely to smile at someone else, who then also smiles. You forgive someone for some hurt and your healing advances - as does theirs. When one part of the web is mended, the entire web is stronger.

Yes, there will be times when someone is so stuck in the old ways of separation that they will reject your acts of compassion. While that is sad, it need not effect you. Don't let it influence you to fall back into old ways yourself.

And, of course, it begins with having love and compassion for yourself. For you cannot give away what you don't have. Nurture your inner being as you live in the more beautiful world.

Today's Daily Dozen To-do List:

  • Make a list of ten things you like about yourself.
  • Give something to someone - a smile, a hug, a kind word, a poem, a card, etc.
  • Spend time with someone being creative - paint, do needlework, sing, dance, problem-solve.
  • Tell someone you love them, but only if you mean it., Feel the love in your heart.
  • Be silly with someone! Laugh. Play like children. Play with children.
  • Tell a family member something you like/appreciate about them.
  • Tell a friend something you like/appreciate about them.
  • Tell an acquaintance something you like/appreciate about them.
  • Make a list of things in your life that are evidence of abundance.
  • Spend time with someone who is giving and accepting of others. Practice being like them.
  • Think of someone who may have hurt you. Focus on forgiving them in order to heal your wound. Be love.
  • Think of something you feel bad about having done to someone else. Focus on forgiving yourself with unconditional acceptance. Be love.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Do you believe it?

Do you really believe it is possible to change the world, to make it a truly "more beautiful world"? I do.

I believe it is possible. But just because something is possble doesn't mean it will happen. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we will do it.

What would it take to change thew world? Actually, it wouldn't take as much as you think. IF the desire is strong enough and IF enough of us want it badly enough we can do it.

I comes down to challenging and changing beliefs that maintain the status quo. While changing beliefs may be difficult, it is definitely possible.

When we believe we can't do something, we won't really try to do it. But then something happens to weaken that belief and we begin to look at things differently. With a nwe perpsective we can begin to develop a more empowered sense of our ability to make the changes.

There is power in groups - unions, for instance, can bring about changes in working conditions that individuals never thought possible until they joined with others who saw the need for change. And as a group they created circumstances that changed public opionion and gained the support of public opinion to bring pressure on the compaies to create the better working conditions.

By making an injustice visible, activists can create significant emotional experiences that challenge the public to change their perspective in situations. Public opinion then disrupts business as usual. It makes it impossible for people who believe everything is fine a it is to continue to hold onto that belief. (1)

Think about it. Until we had the TV news bringing the horrors of the Viet Nam war into our livingrooms we believed the war was "business as usual". Uniformed soldiers killed the enemy soldiers and somehow that was acceptable. It was done for the "right" reasons. Sending young men, boys really, into another country to fight the enevy was nothing new. But seeing them ordered to destroy civilians, women, children and the elderly each night on the evening news.changed the public opinion. Activists pointing out these injustices disrupted the status quo.

So, to change the world, we are going to have to make waves and change the systems of separateness.

Disrupting the status quo is perilous and insufficient on their own. Even if they come from a place of compassion and non-judgement, they easily trigger the old hatred habits. They create the persception that there are two ides, the good guys and the bad guys, and one must win and the other lose. And even then it only disrupts the status quo on one level - the economy, for instance - leaving untouched the less visible beliefs that sustains the old way of being. (1)

Perhaps another level of change will disrupt the status quo, by simply becoming a living example of a different way of life, of how we deal with technology, farming, money, medicine, schooling, etc. This way we reveal by contrast the narrowness and dysfunction of dominant institutions.

Perhaps if we simply live differently by living simply, with compassion as part of the whole web of life, connection and compassion will disrupt the destructive status quo and create a more beautiful world.

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein

Today's Daily Dozen To-do List:

It is getting harder to come up with new things for this list. Maybe you can contribute a few.
  • Become a tutor/mentor for young people.
  • Identify an injustice and provide information about it to others on FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media, as well as community or religious groups you are a member of. 
  • Volunteer for organizations that confront injustice.
  • Attend community meetings about justice issues. Share what you learn.
  • Feed a parking meter for someone else.
  • Ask your library or bookstore to set up a display of books and resources promoting compassionate acts.
  • Help a neighbor weed his/her garden.
  • Grow herbs, indoors or outdoors, and offer them to your neighbors with recipes that require fresh herbs. Take a sample of the recipe's product!
  • Nurture small blooming plants in pots until they are in full bloom. Then deliver them to shut-ins or recent surgery patients.
  • Visit nursing homes or senior centrs with recordings of songs that bring back memories, such as Mitch Miller.
  • Encourage community leaders and business owners to make their sites mor wheelchair accessible. Help build ramps where needed.
  • Work with schools, businesses, and merchants to rais "Pennies for _(a community beautification project)." Remind people that pennies don't seem to have much value, but when combined, they do make a difference. In the same way, one kind act may seem insignigicant, but many kind acts practiced daily have grat impact.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Doubt, Fear, and Pain

Doubt, fear, and pain have an important role in changing the world. When we act from our authentic inter-being we cannot ignore or deny them. Instead of covering up or denying these feelings, however, we need to experience them and heal their deep wound. To not do so only leads us to create more separation and pain in all we do. Doing this healing generates courage for us to act in gentleness and love.

Granted there will be situations when on-violence will not resolve the conflict. But most situations do not require force or violence, even though we have been conditioned to respond that way. Separation is built ito our language, the language of vioence. Have you ever noticed how many situations are addressed as "war"? For instance, the "war on drugs" does nothing to address the causes of drug abuse or the economic factors that influence the trafficking of drugs. No wonder the "war on drugs" isn't working

What other "wars" do you hear about in the media? Do any of them address the need for society to change the situations that create the problem? Most of the time it is the situation that has caused the conflict. When we address the situation as cause we can begin to resolve the conflict.

How about the 'war on poverty'? What is at the base of this problem? There is no doubt that the world produces enough of everything that all creatures need to thrive. So what, then, is the problem? Why are there parts of the world where children are dying of hunger and/or preventable diseases? Consider how our sense of separation maintains this problem.

There is really no excuse for wide-spread poverty.The earth is rich with all we need. Yet policies of fear and greed keep governments from sharing that wealth. Even on the personal level many people are afraid to share what they have with "the others." That sense of "us against them", this is what separates and makes it possible to greedily hold on to what we have, even though we have more than enough.

Consider this definition of wealth: "the ease and freedom to be generous." (1) In a community where we know we will be taken care of by those around us. If we run out of what we need, those we are connected to, where we have a close connection with the land and a sense of belonging, we are confident that there is enough to share. We can be generous. We never fear not having enough.

Instead, though, most of us, at least in the Western world,, live in a culture of separation. Our inner voice says "if I give,I'll just be taken advantage of." "What if I give and have nothing left and no one takes care of me?" "What if I'm alone in the world?"

It is hard for us to believe that we are truly one with the world. When we know that we are one with the world then we know that what we do to the world we do to ourselves - then generosity is natural. When we give, the world gives back. Generosity creates generosity.

When we experience "lack," when we embrace separateness, we tend to see lack as some malevolent force and we separate even more. Then we mock generosity as foolish naivety. The perspective of lack produces more lack and greed. While the perspective of abundance produces more abundance and generosity.

Examine your own beliefs about lack, your own fears of there not being enough, your own wounds of separation. Knowing that there will always be enough when we are truly connected with all of creation will bring you peace. And this is really the only path to peace in the world.

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein

Today's Daily Dozen To-do List:

  • For a charity, volunteer to distribute or deliver clothes, food, and gifts.
  • Give a donation to a charity that provides food for hungry children and the elderly.
  • Volunteer for Meals on Wheels or a similar meal delivery service. Bring kindness and warmth, as well as food, to the home-bound.
  • Compliment a recovering addict or alcoholic on their recovery progress. Be as specific as you can about the changes you've observed.
  • Collect goods for a food bank or shelter. Look for canned foods with meat/protein that can be eaten without cooking (tuna, chicken, spaghetti with meat, etc.)
  • Keep some ready to eat foods in your car to pass on to homeless folks you see begging. Include travel sized toiletries.
  • Share your perspective of abundance with others, reminding them that generosity is contagious.
  • Post information on FaceBook about charitable organizations that work to reduce poverty and hunger. Encourage folks to support them.
  • Volunteer to work in a garden plot in a depressed area of your city. Help provide fresh produce to families who wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford or shop for them.
  • Deliver a protein-rich casserole to elderly folk in depressed areas.
  • Make fresh fruit available to local summer youth programs.
  • Create a support group for unemployed persons, offering encouragement, information, guidance, appropriate clothing for interviewing.  Invite professionals to speak on relevant topics. Network with the unemployment offices.