Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Peace on Earth?

"We need a more peaceful world, growing out of more peaceful families and neighborhoods and communities. To secure and cultivate such peace, we must love others, even our enemies as well as our friends."
--Howard W. Hunter

Where do we begin to create a more peaceful world? The task seems overwhelming, if even possible. With television and the internet military conflicts are in our homes daily. War has become normal. We find it difficult to imagine a war-free world. Where is there peace? 

So, we are looking for peace. Do we know what to look for? What does peace look like? If we look for something that we don't know how to recognize, will we see it if it is there?

Help me. Tell me in the comments below what you think peace will look like. Maybe together we can find it, or at least have a better idea of how to create it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be the Gift the World Is Waiting For

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanuka. Spend some time today recalling what you did in the past year that helped make the world a better place. And consider what you might do in the coming weeks for a more beautiful and peaceful world.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

An Ancient Method for Creating World Peace From a Wisdom Master

This is taken from

Ancient Method for World Peace 

 Recreating Balance on Our Planet
Maticintin, Wisdom Master

The method is simple…

Instead of dwelling on desire & wishful thinking,

begin living for the good of the whole. 

Arise each morning with a prayer that says, 

"I live this day for the good of the whole."

Then…remember your vow throughout the day. 

Very subtle but profoundly uplifting changes will come to pass around you. 

You are a part of the whole,

so you will naturally reap the benefits

of living in this way,

and all of life and its life forms will benefit. 

Out of such UNITY with life

a better world will emerge. 

Maticintin, Wisdom Master

©2016, Maticintin

2120 University Ave
Berkeley CA 94703

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What If War Was Declared

and no one showed up? Would be the only way we could create real peace? But the likelihood of citizens rejecting the orders to go to war is pretty slim because they have been convinced war is necessary to protect their country. War has become patriotic.

But is refusal to fight the ONLY way to peace? What if instead we addressed the needs of those that are so discontented that they are willing to fight and die? What if we address unrealistic fears? What if we conversed non-violently to resolve differences, anger?

I admit, it is hard to imagine a world like that, a world where people reasoned together and worked together to meet everyone's needs. And without the faith in that possibility it is just so easy to throw up our hands and not even try to make our own neighborhoods and communities like that.

We should think about ending war anywhere in the world, of course. But without beginning where we are we cannot develop faith that peace is possible.

War does not bring security, as is often the reason for war. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond has been an utter failure to create security for the people in that area. Instead it has spread destruction and death to millions. Cities are destroyed and civilians slain by war. What has that war done to the security of the U.S.?

It has spawned terrorism and continues to fuel the fear and hatred that motivates acts of terrorism. The hateful rhetoric about America is used to recruit young fighters for terrorist organizations.

The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. It has increased the number of its enemies in Hezbollah and Hamas, among Arabs in these groups. The struggle continues.

War is terrorism because it is a hundred times more deadly for innocent people that the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are. The killing of innocents during a "war" by bombs dropped on areas where people live is considered accidental or collateral damage. The people are just as dead or injured or traumatized as those caused by terrorists on 9/11 or other attacks. And neither really solve the problems used as excuse for the violence.

While dropping bombs on places that women and children are gathered, where "suspected terrorists" are said to be, inevitably kill innocent people. If such an act will inevitably kill innocent people is that not as immoral as the attacks by terrorists? War, defined as the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people, must be resisted.

It is necessary that the brutality of war be exposed in the media. We must not be protected from violence and dishonor in places like Turkey and Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and . . . For when the general population understands that war's death and disgrace is so intense then the people of the U.S. will be able to listen to a message that the rest of world, sobered by the wars without end, can also understand that war itself is the enemy of the human race.

And we must remember that the power of the government is dependent on the obedience of the citizenry. When we withdraw our obedience, the government is helpless. If we refuse to partake of war, the planet may be saved.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

About Those Indians

I often forget that most people don't know much about Native Americans, their culture, their values, their history. And even fewer people know what reservation life is like for many Native nations in the U.S. So what they see in the media has less meaning for those with so little background information.

 The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been actively opposing the permitting and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline since the tribe first learned of the proposal in 2014. The tribe has voiced its strong opposition ot the company, the federal government, to Congress and to the state.

How many of you know that the Native Americans at the Standing Rock Reservation have been physically blocking the building of an oil pipeline through their land since April of this year? They are protecting the water source of their people and millions more from the possible, even probable, intrusion of oil from a pipeline leak. There are often such leaks occurring that the general public never hear of. Just a few days ago, about 150 miles from where thousands have protested for months that the Dakota Access pipeline could threaten the Sioux tribe’s water supply. A few days ago a pipeline in the western part of North Dakota has spilled more than 130,000 gallons of oil into a creek, This could easily happen under the Missouri River on reservation land.

The Native Americans have always been the protectors of the earth, Mother Earth. They know that all things are connected, that what we do to the earth ultimately effects everything else. They know that all things are related: Miatuye Oyasin. They live very close to Mother Earth and are her protectors. So when someone wants to do that which can harm her, they act to defend her.

Their "protest" at Standing Rock in N. Dakota has been supported by more and more people as the months have progressed. Thousands of people, including members of some 280 tribal nations, have gathered at the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., to protest the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) that they refer to as the Black Snake. The Water Protectors, as they have been called, are armed with only prayer and their physical presence blocking the heavy machinery. In response the State has confronted them with military style police and private security personnel in riot gear, armed with guns, water canons, and tear gas.

Activists are protesting the project's potential destruction of sacred sites, as well as the potential contamination of the Missouri River from a pipeline leak. The Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners plan to lay pipe underneath the river, their main water source. The Missouri River also traverses many other areas that draw water from it and it's tributaries.

The State of N. Dakota has colluded with the Energy Transfer Partners to do everything possible to disperse the protesters. They have closed the main road that gives access to the area in an effort to cut off resources. They have assaulted them with rubber bullets, tear gas, and water canons in freezing weather. They have attempted to physically remove individuals by arresting them by the hundreds and taking them to jail. They have intimidated them with attack dogs. Many people have been wounded and requiring medical treatment. Emergency services are blocked by the roadblocks, putting an even greater risk for those wounded by the police and security personnel.

Remember, this is happening here in the United States. And are you aware that Native Americans are natural citizens and supposedly protected by the Constitution? The land they are on was given to them in treaties that are nearly two hundred years old, treaties that have been broken by the Federal Government, letting corporations destroy the earth, destroy their sacred places, take the resources from the earth.

And now the people of Standing Rock have stood up to protect the water source for millions of people, native and non-native people. They do it for all of us, because what damages the earth eventually damages us all. They are resisters with courage and determination. They vow to stay through the bitter plains winter in the face of daily assault by armed police in riot gear. And they daily train all people staying in the camps in nonviolent resistance. They train daily so that they are acting peacefully, even in the face of those who come against them who are not peaceful.

The media has portrayed the Indians as rioter, even though there is ample evidence to the contrary. The Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier has ordered his men to do atrocious acts of intimidation. Protesters have been arrested under false pretenses, taken to jail, strip searched elderly and young women, held them without the benefit of hearings. This is not some "heathen" country off somewhere across the globe. This is the U. S. A., home of the brave and the no longer free.

Learn more about what is happening at Standing Rock, support the water defenders, contact your legislators and tell them to respect the treaties and the American citizens on that land. Don't just be a bystander whose silence give permission for this to continue. Yes, the Corps of Engineers have been ordered to refuse permission for the pipeline. AND the Energy Transfer Partners have publicly stated that they will ignore that an continue working on the pipeline. And President Elect Trump has stated that he is in favor of the pipeline. So the likelihood of the order to the Corps of Engineers being continued is small.

Where will you stand when that happens? When the government refuses to protect the most marginalized population it is no longer the government that we have fought and died for over the years. It becomes too much like those foreign oligarchies we hear about on the news .

So what will you do about those Indians? They are us.

“Still, someday, I hope we look back to Standing Rock as the place where we came to our senses. Where new coalitions formed. Where we became powerful together as we realized that we have to preserve land, water, the precious democracy that is our pride, the freedoms that make up our joy. Louise Erdrich 
How to Stop a Black Snake:

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Where Is the Government's Power?

It is easy to get overwhelmed, intimidated by the perceived power of our government. They can spend our country"s wealth however it wishes. It can sen our military personnel anywhere in the world. It can threaten deportation and indefinite detention of 20 million immigrant Americans who do not yet have green cards and have no constitutional rights. It can deploy troops to the US Mexican border. It can round up Muslim men from certain countries. It can secretly listen in on our conversations. It can open our email. It can examine our bank transactions. And it can try to intimidate us into silence.

It can control information when the mass media timidly collaborates. However, this control is not absolute. There are always those courageous enough to provide truth to the public. And it is this that will keep Americans engaged. 

"There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers  and teachers and artists. When the citizens begin to suspect they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power."*

Right now we are learning about the role of the media in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. We are learning about the totally false claims made during the campaign and since. It is what citizens will decide to do with those truths that will determine the true outcome of the election. 

"Change in public consciousness starts with low-level discontent, at first vague, with no connection being made between the discontent and the policies of the government. And then the dots begin to connect, indignation increases, and people begin to speak out, organize, and act"*

I see building discontent in the USA. Some groups are beginning to connect the dots and are increasingly indignant. More people are becoming politically active, organizing, and acting. My hope is that we can avoid a violent revolution, that we can act responsibly, peacefully, and thoughtfully.

"Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson -- that everything we do matters -- is the meaning of the people's struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A power can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress."*

We must return to the values that made us the great nation that we are: respect for human life, freedom, and justice. It is up to us. All of us. What will you do?

*A Power Governments Cannot Suppress. by Howard Zinn, published in 2007 [and more true now than ever.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Backlash From the Campaign Trail

Everyone acknowledges that the recent presidential campaign was the nastiest in recent history. Lots of antagonistic and hateful rhetoric bombarded us via all kinds of media. Hate was spewed at many different groups of people. America is till reeling.

The Southern Law Center reports a dramatic rise in incidents of violence and threats of violence against blacks, immigrants, Jews, LGBTQ, and other minority groups. They note 892 hate groups in the United States. They even have a map that locates those groups [] They report significant rise in school harrassment and bullying related to the hate speech during the campaign and since.

This is all very troubling. And if all we know comes from the media and the internet, we can easily believe that the whole nation has become a hate-filled society.

But if we look closely there is a growing backlash of LOVE rising in the country. The nation's awareness has been raised at how much hurtful words and behaviors are filling our television, social media, newspapers, etc. And good people are feeling empowered. They are getting involved in what is happening in their communities and in Washington.

More people are stepping out of their comfort zone to be helpful, to stand up for anyone being intimidated, to share good news, to bring hope. On FaceBook there is more and more examples of goodness, of acts of kindness, of good news. The group Pantsuit Nation and the Safety Pin project are examples.

And look at the number of people who have shown up at Standing Rock to support the Native American people protecting the water and demanding justice. More people are volunteering to work on projects to help immigrants and to protect Muslim mosques and black churches. People are protesting the KKK demonstrations in greater numbers. Sexual assaults are being spotlighted and victims are getting heard. And women are organizing to march on Washington in January.

Mosques are holding open house programs to educate non Muslims about Islam. I attended one in our city last week and the number of people who attended was overwhelming. The Imam stated that they had rented one hundred chairs thinking that would be more than enough. Twice that many people showed up. They were all respectful and asked good, thoughtful questions. I gave me hope that there can be healing and peace among people of all different backgrounds.

So, while the campaign was very difficult and had some very negative consequences. There is also a growing backlash of love. Let's keep it going. Share some examples you see of people coming together in peace, people caring for those who have been maligned in the campaign, and of emotional healing and growth. Share ideas for acts of kindness.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Who Do You Hate?

I've been examining my own issues during these challenging times. Do I hate? Are there people I hate? What is hate, really?

The word is defined as "an intense or passionate dislike for (someone)." Well, I admit I have an intense dislike for people who are dangerously hateful. Does that mean I hate? I always thought to hate someone meant you dislike them so much that you wish them harm. I don't wish anyone harm. Does that mean I don't hate? Kind of tangled, isn't it? I think I fear those kinds of people, but do I hate them?

I hate behaviors. Do I then hate people who behave in ways I hate? My religion taught me to hate the sin but love the sinner. And I do that. I worked as a Sex Offender Therapist. I never hated my clients, in spite of the fact that they did terrible things to others, did things I hate.

I wonder if we don't confuse anger with hate. We get very angry and think that we hate the one we are angry with. But anger and hate are the same. I can get angry with someone I love. In fact, the more we care about someone the greater the chance for intense anger when they hurt us. Anger is a secondary emotion. It results from pain or fear. We feel angry when we are hurt - emotionally or physically. Thus, the cursing when someone hits their thumb with the hammer! It is fleeting, though, in that case. We feel angry when someone hurts us emotionally, resulting in name calling when you are insulted or betrayed. This, too, CAN be fleeting, if we don't hang onto the anger as a defense.

And we tend to be angry at what we fear. Not always, of course, but it does happen. And this kind of anger often looks like or becomes hate. Consider the fear of losing what you value when change occurs. For instance, the fear of immigrants taking jobs or getting violent, fear of that which we don't understand. It all gets very tangled, indeed.

So, how much of "hate speak" is really "fear speak"? The dictionary defines hate speech as "speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability." We've heard a lot of it lately. And when I think about it, it is often based on lack of knowledge about the person or group or on a fear planted by someone else that folks buy into. Like the anti-Muslim hate speech that tries to paint all people of that faith with the terrorist brush. 

We seem to refuse to acknowledge that the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S. over the years have been by people who identify themselves as Christian. When violence is done in the name of religion in our country the perpetrators are churched folk. Consider the KKK, the neo-Nazi, and anti-gay activists. Then there are the people who shoot doctors who perform abortions and those who burn black churches.  And how much of that behavior is based on misplaced fear? 

Are you as tangled as I am about hate these days? What are your thoughts? Are you able to identify who you hate? I don't even want to hate. But do I?