Archive for August, 2007

New School Year and New Beginnings

Monday, August 27th, 2007

For many of us, this week signals the start of a new school year.  Ahhh, summer is over, whether we are students, teachers, administrators, librarians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, parents or just commuters who pass through school zones.

For my part these many years later, I can still recall the smell of new books and old classrooms and almost hear the shrill exultation of that first period bell! I certainly can remember the nervousness and delight of trying new things (phonics, 3 digit numbers, cursive writing, volley ball, geometry proofs, Old English, Chemistry experiments, frog dissection…).

For those of you involved in education, I celebrate your commitment to the sacred task of empowering young hearts and minds. (more…)

Esfaniari Released – Iran Hears Our Combined Voices

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

 When We Raise Our Voices…

Last month, while attending the International Women’s Peace Conference in Dallas, I was reminded of the plight of women around the world. Inspired to be more proactive, I returned home to find an opportunity to do that. The Feminist Majority Foundation, a group I link to at my website, www.InSpiritry.com, was requesting for emails to be sent to the Iranian government regarding an imprisoned Iranian-American scholar, Dr. Haleh Esfandiari. It told how Dr. Esfandiari had traveled from the United States to visit her elderly mother and, while in Iran, was abducted and imprisoned. That evening I saw an Iranian propaganda videotape of the scholar as well as a public television interview with her husband and daughter begging for her release, claiming she had lost weight and seemed dejected. I was compelled to take action. Immediately, I sent an impassioned email to Iranian officials as requested.

That was a month ago. (more…)

The Power of Listening

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

A recent visit from my son, who is particularly insightful about human interactions, reminds me of the power of really listening–something families are often too busy or too bossy to do well. I have long known that family life, as well as spiritual living, calls us to seek to understand others. This past week, my son reminded me that we cannot do that if we are consumed by talking, studying, working, thinking, writing, playing, TV watching or even serving others.

The ability to suspend our personal agenda and offer our attention to someone else is, in fact, in itself a great personal act of service. When we really listen, when we offer our attention, we affirm the importance of the other person and their experiences and values. In that way, the unselfish act of listening is a first step towards of acknowledging the importance of the Greater Good. By listening, we admit, “It’s not just about me!” (more…)

Babies vs. Big Business

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

          Imagine that the world had invented a new “dream product” to feed and immunize everyone born on Earth. Imagine also that it was available everywhere, required no storage or delivery — and helped mothers to plan their families and reduce the risk of cancer.
Then imagine that the world refused to use it.

Towards the end of this century of unprecedented discovery and invention, even as scientists discover the origins of life itself, this scenario is not, alas, a fiction. The “dream product” is human breast milk, available to us all at birth, and yet we are not using it.– UNICEF

With that thought in mind, this past week, there was a happy bit of medical news : (more…)

A Hundred Ways

Monday, August 6th, 2007

There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Jelaluddin Balkhi (Rumi)

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Imagine yourself so filled with gratitude and joy that you feel compelled to kneel–to kneel!–and kiss the very ground on which you stand, to thank God/Nature/Life for the pleasure and priviledge of living! Now imagine a hundred ways to express that joy!

(more…)