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We Are All Cups

August 25, 2013 1 comment

We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled.

The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. ~ Ray Bradbury

cup

Water Cooperation: No Fighting

March 22, 2013 2 comments

Photo by Toni Tan


“Be formless, shapeless, like water,” said Bruce Lee, echoing the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu.

Written over two thousand years ago, Sun Tzu’s classic treatise Art of War uses water as a metaphor for strategies in managing conflict.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is Water Cooperation.

We are facing growing issues surrounding water, conflict and survival. March 22 is World Water Day, and the start of World Water Week. The focus is to promote peace in transboundary water management through cooperation, not conflict. International waters are key natural resources ensuring our global future. Where they touch on more than one country, or are intercepted by a nation upstream, they are also a source of tension.

Conflicts arise among leaders, as these transboundary issues are deeply rooted in emotions –- water is necessary for survival. And it defines a culture’s opportunity for advancement. The challenge is not only to provide a sustainable clean water system, it is also learning to manage and share resources in an equitable way. Understanding historical water disputes and related treaties provide signposts for conflict resolution and aides in developing strategies for the future. Focusing on cooperation and joint action is essential to vital transboundary waters.

The resolution process requires a tremendous effort, great skill, programs and money. It also calls for awareness. Here’s how you can get involved

Lao Tze said, “The highest good is like water. Water nourishes the ten thousand things.”

Both water and cooperation are precious. Water is life. Communication is the path. No fighting.

World Water Day

International Women’s Day

Speak Truth

March 8, 2013. It is a day to imagine balance. And to celebrate the work of equilibrium. Achievement. Justice.

It is a day of global awareness…celebrating women — past and present, with the courage to make their voices heard. And for the future — the songs and struggles of daughters everywhere in this world, who deserve the human right to live their lives in balance and in peace…

Peace in our lives. Peace in our homes, our streets, our cities and towns, our countries, our world. OUR world.

Equity in our lives. Equity in our homes, our streets, our cities and towns, our countries, our world. OUR world.

Speak the truth even if your voice shakes….

Toni

International Women’s Day

IWD

Words As Weapons

January 22, 2013 4 comments

coffee spill
(image: jerrybaker.com)


Having lunch at a coffee shop, I overheard an angry man raging at the woman he was with, calling her a “Gestapo” because she asked him a question. It seemed that she had caught him in a lie, and was quietly looking to have a conversation with him. She told him she was hurt. His discomfort exploded in a volcano of expletives and insults. He hurled words at her like sticks of dynamite and seemed to delight in lighting the fuse….

Gestapo? The Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, exerted a torturous and murdering force over innocent men, women, and children. Their brutality was devoid of humanity.

If I had to give an account of what I witnessed, he was the oppressor: he shamed and humiliated. He was the one wielding the power and force. Everything he said was loud and menacing, inappropriate, poisonous, contemptuous, controlling. Every time she tried to speak, he’d bully her, and tell her to shut up. There was no empathy, or acknowledgement of her discomfort, only his. Though he was caught in a lie he couldn’t deny, he was “explaining” what was wrong with her, and how “distorted” her thinking was. He told her that he was sick of her behavior, and that he was the one who was hurt. He said he was the “victim”. She wasn’t reactive — she did not fight him or insult him, but she did ask for an apology. He refused.

Her discomfort, in fact, seemed to annoy him, agitate him. He demanded that she apologize to him — and take responsibility for causing his fury: he said it was her fault. Perhaps what was most disturbing was that once he finished his self-absorbed rant, he was composed. He insisted she not ruin another outing with her “negativity”. He insisted she stop pouting, and “let it go”. They were, he reminded her, out for a relaxing lunch together.

Though there was no physical confrontation, or argument, it was one of the ugliest examples of verbal and emotional abuse I’ve witnessed.

What do you think?

Happy New Year

December 31, 2012 1 comment

May 2013 be filled with new perspectives and reasons to smile….

2 feet of snow

Photo courtesy Imgur

Ode To Joy

December 24, 2012 2 comments

MAY YOU FIND A JOYFUL SURPRISE AND PEACE IN THE MOMENT…

Into The Light

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Into The Light

Photo courtesy imgur.com



In astronomy, the seasons move in celestial cycles. As the earth rotates around the sun, it also spins on its own axis, which tilts towards the plane of its rotation (about 23.5 degrees). The northern hemisphere receives less direct sunlight. Days of less and less light, moving towards the birth of winter and a new year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, unmoving on the horizon solstice translates from latin “sun” and “standing still”. The northern hemisphere experiences its annual winter solstice. This marks the shortest day. It is also the longest night. Then, the sun will again ascend in the northern sky as the days begin to grow longer. It is the Earth returning to light.

In the days growing shorter, with darkness falling around us, we enter into our own dark time of sorts. The darkness is considered the space where secrets lurk, and creatures stir –- the vampires and monsters, the underbelly’s destructive and chaotic forces. Our own fears and failings are in that darkness too. It’s a time for assessing who we are, and where we are – in our selves, in our homes, in our community, and in our world. It is a burning and bruising time to examine our collective spirit.

It is an intensified time of natural disasters and man made crisis. In a year of endless suffering – hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, fiscal woes, foreclosures, job loss, war, and violence, it seems that what lurks in the secret, dark corners, at great expense, is being flushed out. Many of us have been knocked down and heart broken in the process.

On the darkest day in the celestial cycle, today is a day of mourning for the loss of lives at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

During the shortest day and the longest night of the year it is a time for illumination. Turn on a lamp, light candles, build a fire: it is a time for rational conversation, compassion and change. The sun, from its lowest point, will follow night and make it way back up into the northern sky. There will be a little more light every day.

The question is: will we use it wisely?

Toni

Shifts, Sounds and Shankar

December 12, 2012 4 comments

Our lives are filled with shifts: seismic, paradigmatic, geographical, sociological, personal, and spiritual shifts. Big and small. And our lives are filled with sound: rhythm, and repetition – music, chant, song, verse, and spoken word.

Endings. Beginnings.

Today is filled with the feeling of a shift. We are aware of the date, and we are in the moment: 12/12/12. Some might note that it is an end…there won’t be another repetitive date for lifetimes, not until January 1, 3001. A door, closing and transformational. Others may say its a number sequence filled with magic and mystery. A portal, open and transformational.

And many of us woke up to the news of Ravi Shankar’s passing.

While Bruce Lee is credited with opening a door to the world of martial arts and to Eastern thought through Chinese philosophy, George Harrison also influenced a cultural shift that would define a generation.

George Harrison was a seeker, looking for a deeper meaning to life beyond the material world and the confusion of fame. He played an instrumental role (pun intended and unintended) in changing how we listen to music, raising our awareness of the global community, opening a door not only to Indian and to world music, but also to Eastern philosophy through Indian thought, practice and meditation. The bridge between East and West was built, note by note, through his friendship, mentorship and collaboration with legendary virtuoso Ravi Shankar.

Pandit Ravi Shankar, from Varnasi, an ancient and holy Indian city, had played with Western artists like John Coltrane prior to his meeting Harrison, though it was his musical collaboration with the Beatles that sent his career soaring, elevating him to cultural ambassador, and introducing classical Indian ragas to the world. He played Woodstock, Monterey and organized the first-ever music fundraiser, held at Madison Square Garden, The Concert for Bangladesh. (The 12/12/12 Benefit Concert for Hurricane Sandy is rightfully part of his legacy, also held at MSG). During his career he played classical Indian music, but also experimented with different genres and collaborated with many artists. His soundtrack for the Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray is as haunting as are films (see them if you can).

He remained, throughout his life, an electrifying force and powerful presence in world music. Sounds and shifts. Endings, beginnings. A door, closing and transformational. A portal, open and transformational.

Ravi Shankar (1920 – 2012)

Toni

Autumn Reflection and The Tao

October 7, 2012 2 comments

Some fall thoughts on the Tao and water over fire…Rest here, breathe.

At The Intersection of Blood and Guts

August 6, 2012 6 comments


Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire Cat: That depends on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t care much where…
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which was you go.
Alice: …So long as I get get somewhere.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if you only walk long enough.

Crossroads

Sometimes the path you walk seems clearly defined, but then, something happens. It looks unfamiliar, and you realize you’ve lost your way.

Maybe you’ve encountered a rift in the earth. One tectonic plate sinks beneath another. It’s not the kind of ground breaking you had in mind.

Or the way might be flooded and you can’t get through. It’s not the image you had of yourself, rising up from the sea foam like Poseidon, or Aphrodite on the half shell.

Or maybe you are trapped, mesmerized by the reflection of your own image in the floodwater. It’s not what others meant by staying fluid. You might be like poor Echo, pining away watching someone else watch their reflection in the water.

Even simpler, maybe the compass rose has lost its petals and you realize you are traveling in the wrong direction.

Have you ever found yourself lost like this? Are you lost, right now, like this? Does it feel like the intersection of blood and guts? Which way do you go?

Go this way, and it’s the blood of the walking wounded, or the sacrificial lamb. Maybe that lost little lamb is you. Or maybe you will be the one to hurt someone else down the road. It’s the easier path to take. No apologies necessary. Losses cut. The escape route.

Or go that way, with guts – it’s taking the long, winding road. Perseverance. Compassion. All options and consequences considered. A harder path to walk.

None of it’s easy. Free will? It’s a bitch.
Maybe the journey takes us along all of the paths. The road is filled with seekers, navigating blood and guts. May the rose ride up to meet you, may the wind be at your back… We are Whitman wanderers walking towards a glowing inner light…