A tag cloud/Wordle of the bios of those following me on twitter, via twittersheep. Thanks to Dave Snowden for the link. “Love” (in blue at the bottom) is way too small. Compare it to Patti Digh’s followers. Hmmm.
Wrapping up loose ends, but this will take awhile yet. This is going to be a year of fundamental change, though, for me and, I suspect, most of us. But I plan to keep blogging, no matter what — this strange public writing of private thoughts, and all of you, are now in my blood. Thank you, for the nudges, the encouragement, and for what you do in the world. Keep practicing, and stay close — we’re going to need each other.
You. Here. Now.: Colleen is blogging furiously and daily and turning out huge volumes of stuff. She reminds me of that study of the two groups of apprentice potters. The first group was told there would be an award for the single best pot produced by someone in the group in a week. The second group was told there would be an award for the person in the group who produced the most pots in the week. At the end of the week, it turned out that all the best works were produced by members of the second group. Well, Colleen’s best work of a prolific week is this one, which contains this wise and remarkable advice:
If you desire a change to something new, do everything in your power to make your peace with where you are now… So I sit in my place, and I work on my stuff, pulling on a thread of an idea, decluttering and cleaning surface by surface, mending and patching and making better rather than making do…
I like to think that with each circle around the mountain, I run into the same problem at a slightly higher elevation, as Julia Cameron talks about in The Artist’s Way. But through all of it, no matter how bad it gets sometimes—and it does, even in between great days, and sometimes smack in the middle of the best of all days—I stay here, now, or if I wander, I put the puppy on the mat and start again.
Where are you now? Where do you want to go? And how can you be here now to get yourself somewhere else?
Your job as a parent… is to believe in the goodness and the talent of this person under your care. You must be the one who sees what she could become. You may not like some of the choices she will make along the way. Even so, you are the one best qualified to see her potential and reflect it back to her. So I am trying to practice this art, and in doing so, I am coming to believe that it is a useful attitude not just for the nurturing of a child but also for changing the world. In both endeavors seeing possibilities is part of the work of realizing them.
I’ve found that it is not hard to see and believe in the potential of my own children, but believing in the potential of human beings in general requires letting go of layers and layers of cynicism and despair. Educated, sophisticated people don’t talk this way. We don’t take the evidence of wisdom or skill or courage in one place or one person as proof that those abilities could reside in every one of us. It’s much easier to assume that the great peacemakers – and the ordinary ones in our families and neighborhoods – are different from the rest of us. It is easier to assume that something sets us apart from the likes of Aldo Leopold or Rachel Carson than it is to try to speak up for people and nature with our own voices.
But, whenever I let go of my learned sophistication and really open myself to look I find evidence all around me that people are capable of great wisdom – loving wisdom – and so much creativity. We create soaring music and artwork full of color. At our wisest we work with nature, on organic farms, or with “Living Machines” that assemble plants and microbes to purify polluted water. We pursue justice, we create cooperatives, fair trade programs, and soup kitchens.
We Have All Been Here Before: List of the 19 recessions in the last two centuries. Several of them were true depressions. The one that looks the most like today, the Long Depression, started in 1873 and lasted 23 years, punctuated briefly by the scourge of the robber barons. This time around we have robber brokers and robber bankers. The Russians have recently been through all this, and Dmitri Orlov tells us how bad it will get here – see especially the last 2 slides. Thanks to Martin-Éric Racine for the links.
The Other Half of the Job of the Blogosphere: In recent years I have largely given up on the mainstream media, because they are simply not doing their job. I still look at the NYT (at least the article headers and editorials), and I rely on aggregators like Common Dreams to pick out the best of the indymedia. And I will acknowledge that the indymedia and the blogosphere do a vastly better job of analyzing the reported news than the mainstream media. But what’s missing, the other half of our job, is reporting what the mainstream media are not reporting — what’s happening locally (and is therefore actually actionable, unlike most of what the mainstream media report), what’s happening behind closed doors, what’s important that isn’t characterized by an ‘event’ (chronic suffering, environmental and attitudinal changes, observations about the national and global psyche), what isn’t happening that should be. The reason I don’t read many political blogs is that I find they mostly simply analyze and challenge what the mainstream media report (or more accurately mis-report), and that is rarely useful or actionable, and leaves all the important news out. Although my blogroll is large, I still wish I could find more blogs that described what’s really going on in the world, at a higher level, stuff that connects us all and that we can do something about, if only we were more aware of it. End of rant.
I Can Lend You That: The Gift Economy made virtual. Lend books, music, films to people you love, in your Natural Community.
Underground Civilization: Scientists study a huge leaf-cutter ant colony’s staggeringly complex excavations, including sophisticated ventilation, farming, housing and waste management ecosystems. Thanks to Eric Lilius for the link.
Davos Risks 2009: The Swiss gnomes take their annual shot at listing the biggest threats to the global economy, this time while it’s in the midst of falling apart. Visually intriguing, but rife with imaginative poverty and rear-view vision.
Major Shift in Global Economic Power Imminent?: The UK and German governments are proposing an economic superpower/New World Order that would take over global control of economic policy from national governments. Meanwhile, Russia’s Putin wants to end the role of the $US as the world’s reserve currency. Mike Ruppert says this is further along than it appears, and we should see mega-announcements soon. Thanks to Tree for the link.
Snow Leopard: Pete takes a stunning picture of a snow leopard in a zoo, and then ponders on the reality of a life in captivity.
Just for Fun:
Welcome To, by Ani Di Franco – amazing lyrics: “Welcome to the precipice between groundlessness and flight”. Thanks to Tuzz for the link.
From William Tozier: “I do work, I create stuff, to better understand the path from idealized goal to realized value.” Think about this in the context of the work you do. This is why ideas are cheap, and ideologies dangerous. It’s all about the journey, the connections, the learning.
From Dave Bonta:
FROM WHERE I SIT
right beneath where i’m sitting
once when i was in my teens,
i didn’t plan it this way, but it so happens
i gaze out through the storm door