Archive for the ‘consciousness’ Category
Love as seen through the Celtic spiritual belief of bonding souls.
Who hasn’t lifted their eyes to the skies above and become lost in themselves? Whether the drama of a turbulent daytime sky or the deep mystery of an endless, clear night, sky? Doesn’t matter who we are or where we have or haven’t been in our lives, experiencing that shift from ‘reality’ to a place of souls is familiar to all.
Right at the front of Richard Bach’s lovestory book The Bridge Across Forever, there’s this quotation from E.E. Cummings:
- how fortunate are you and I, whose home
is timelessness: we who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now
to frolic in such mysteries as birth
and death a day (or maybe even less)
Then on page 9, Richard Bach writes as part of his introduction:
We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.
We think sometimes that ours is an age past frontiers, past adventures. Destiny, it’s way over the horizon; glowing shadows galloped past long ago, and gone.
What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure …. not only are they here-and-now, they’re all that ever lived on earth!
Our century, they’ve changed clothes, of course. Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits. Society’s demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we’ve been told to turn left. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.
Yet masters of reality still meet us in dreams to tell us that we’ve never lost the shield we need against dragons, that blue fire voltage arcs through us now to change our world as we wish. Intuition whispers true: We’re not dust, we’re magic!
Copyright (1984) Richard Bach.
Richard Bach’s hugely popular lovestory is widely summarised, thus:
‘Did you ever feel that you were missing someone you had never met?’.
Haunted by the ghost of the wise, mystical, lovely lady who lives just around the corner in time, Richard Bach begins his quest to find her, to learn of love and immortality not in the here-after, but in the here and now. Yet caught in storms of wealth and success, disaster and betrayal, he abandons the search, and the walls he builds for protection become his prison. Then he meets the one brilliant and beautiful woman who can set him free, and with her begins a transforming journey, a magical discovery of love and joy.
Just pause and listen. Hear your intuition whispering to you: You are not dust, you are magic!
Now let’s turn to another author: John O’Donohue. WikiPedia has an entry that starts:
John O’Donohue (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality.
His death in January 2008 just a few days past his 52nd birthday was a huge and tragic loss. Not just to his family and all who knew him, but to all those in the world who dream the spiritual bonding with another person.
John O’Donohue’s book is no better appreciated than by hugging the meaning of that Celtic phrase anam cara, assuming you aren’t a Celtic speaker! A quick web search finds an explanation typically like this:
In the Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body. What some refer to as an aura. When you connect and become completely open and trusting with another person, your two souls begin to flow together. The forming of that deep bond is described as having found your anam cara or soul friend.
Your anam cara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. Inevitably, to appreciate this relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty. This is not always easy to do! The Celts believed that forming an anam cara friendship would help you awaken to your own inner light and beauty, as a pathway to experiencing the joys of others.
According to John O’Donahue, an accomplished Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest, “…You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home.“
Do you sense how the writings of Richard Bach and John O’Donohue are two hues from the same rainbow?
Take a few minutes and explore the John O’Donohue website that has much to remember about this wonderful man. Embrace such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:
- Light is generous
- The human heart is never completely born
- Love as ancient recognition
- The body is the angel of the soul
- Solitude is luminous
- Beauty likes neglected places
- The passionate heart never ages
- To be natural is to be holy
- Silence is the sister of the divine
- Death as an invitation to freedom
I’m going to offer two videos. They are both of John O’Donohue. One is 51 minutes and one is 5 minutes. Do watch them both but if for whatever reason you cannot do that, then please watch the shorter one.
Now read this quotation from the book.
Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.
and recognising this post is day three of writing about love, here’s another quotation:
If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.
Are Jean and I touched by the spirit of anam cara? Leave you, dear reader, to judge that. In fact, leave you with the sign that is on our front gate!
Reflections on the meaning of love.
Yesterday, I explored love across the species; back to that first encounter between wolf and early man.
Today, I want to revisit what we mean when we use the word ‘love‘ and feel the emotion. I say revisit because it’s not the first time I have dipped my toes into this particular pool. Last August, I wrote a piece What is love? It opened thus:
How the relationship that we have with domesticated animals taught us the meaning of love.
This exploration into the most fundamental emotion of all, love, was stimulated by me just finishing Pat Shipman’s book The Animal Connection. Sturdy followers of Learning from Dogs (what a hardy lot you are!) will recall that about 5 weeks ago I wrote a post entitled The Woof at the Door which included an essay from Pat, republished with her permission, that set out how “Dogs may have been man’s best friend for thousands of years longer than we realized“.
What I want to do is to take a personal journey through love. I should add immediately that I have no specialist or professional background with regard to ‘love’ just, like millions of others, a collection of experiences that have tapped me on the shoulder these last 67 years.
The challenge for us humans is that while we instinctively understand what emotions represent: love, fear, anger, joy, grief, sadness, happiness, et al, we really have no way of knowing precisely what another person is feeling and how that feeling compares to our own awareness and experience of that emotion.
Stay with me as I explore how others offer a meaning of love.
As it happens, this week’s Sabbath Moment from Terry Hershey was much about love.
If you judge people you have not time to love them. Mother Teresa
Where there is great love there are always miracles. Willa Cather
Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness… the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world man will have discovered fire. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Then some further reflections:
Here’s my take: Life is complicated and at times, very, very challenging. And sometimes, overwhelming. Bad things can happen to good people. Decisions can be thorny and disconcerting. However. Even in the midst … where there is great love, there are always miracles.
Here’s the deal:
- Love is not always where I predict it will be.
- Love can grow and blossom even in the face of striving and anguish.
- If we judge we cannot love. Just because I see something one way, doesn’t mean that I am right and you are wrong.
- When we do love, we are present. When we are present, there is always a thread. The good news is that we are in this together. One day you may be that thread for me. And one day, I may be that thread for you.
Powerful words! Words that will have many nodding. Yet still nothing absolute that offers a definition of love that would be universally understood. Because there can be no universal definition. That is the magic of all emotions – they defy the ‘science of life’. So let’s just treasure that magic.
Last night I wrote this poem, its been a while since I posted one, so as my pen flew across the page I was inspired with these words.. Maybe due to the recent Solar flares, but my ears have been ringing ever louder as the energies have intensified.. The Silence space within is a place to reflect and absorb the peacefulness of Oneness with the Universe…. A place I often go, where we can just close our eyes to the constant noise as the Planet cries with yet more pain… Meditation helps centre our minds. If you would like to follow a meditation I often do… You can find it Here on a post I did back in 2008 .
Silence booms in an explosion of sound
Splintering static high pitched and loud
Morse Coded downloads in intermittent bursts
The Cosmos is talking-Do you hear its verse?
I escape to the mountains and I run to the sea
But its chatter surrounds me as I long to be free
I hear cries of children, laments from the old
Each on a journey their stories to be told
The Elephants and Dolphin their cries go unheard
Yet I hear their low rumbles and clicks how absurd
Each voice in the matrix – every thought in the mix
A Planet in Crisis – will it ever be fixed?
So I turn down the volume as I shut the outer door
As I meditate inward finding higher-self law
Here I seek Peace in the stillness I find
The Key to the Cosmos we turn in the mind
All things are great and all things are small
The Mind gives them power and shall overcome all
The Universal Plan- I am part and unique
Each one is searching to fit the pieces they seek
And the answer is simple- but we make is so hard
With the choices we choose as we shuffle life’s cards
It seems we chose greed, possession is King
Forgetting how to love our fellow Human Being
But it’s never too late for we each have a heart
To alter our ways – To care is a start
So clear out your Anger, your hatred and greed
Listen to your heartbeat –Start sowing Love Seeds
© Sue Dreamwalker – 2013 All rights reserved.
Start sowing love seeds! Wonderful.
How to close it for today? Frankly, I’m not sure. So I’m going to ‘cheat’. By which I mean republish something else from last August. A guest essay about the loss of love. Because it seems to me that one way (the only way?) to experience what love truly means is when we lose it. As Eleanore MacDonald describes below in the most heart-rending and beautiful fashion.
one of the seven great dogs
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
A great squall came upon us here on our farmlet a week ago. I saw it first from a distance, in that dawning of the morning when Djuna usually announced the coming day with his gentle, breathy ‘woooof’, his polite plea to join us on the bed. Mysteriously disturbing, it surely was a sign of things to come, but we didn’t know how dangerous it really was until it was upon us.
And when it was suddenly there, a Great Joy was sucked from our world and an overwhelming sadness took its place … a raging stillness, hot and stifling, no breath, no heartbeat.
My springs of Joy are dry … (a sentiment stolen in part from that great old song, Long Time Traveler)
Djuna Cupcake was one of the Seven Great Dogs. If you’ve seen the film ‘Dean Spanley’, you will know what I mean. If you have loved and been loved by a dog of pure heart … one who was a great teacher of presence, of patience, one who was the dispenser of unconditional love and the blessings of an incomparable joy … one who was a great listener, guardian, and the embodiment of Buddha, Coyote, the Goddesses Eleos and Kuan Yin all in one soft coated body … one who was your loving shadow because he or she felt that it was their job to see you safe at all times … you will know what I mean.
He died quite suddenly. Like that squall, his death came with no warning and for days after Paul and I were sucked deep into that great black hole of grief. The dread attacked us at every turn, where we would always see him but now only a glaring emptiness stood. I felt as though my heart and soul had a raw, oozing, gaping, searingly painful wound where he had been torn away from me. Stolen. We cried a lot.
Some people will never understand. I try to feel compassion for them, rather than issuing the big ‘EFF YOU”, but I am only human. What is this BS about a ‘three day’ rule? What? Because he was ‘just a dog’ we should be over it all in 3 days? Djuna was surely a better person than most Humans and I will never stop missing him. I feel so deeply sorry for those people who have overlooked having such grace and beauty bless their lives –– the companionship of a great dog (or cat or horse, or human person) –– so that, when the monumental end comes and they’ve come through the great fires of sorrow, and have been washed by the flush of a million tears, they come through to the other side where they are able to see the remarkable love, joys and lessons they’d been gifted by that companionship. I can only hope now to ‘be’ the person Djuna thought me to be.
3 days and 3 more and 3 million more and even then more just won’t do it.
Paul and I were with Djuna on our bedroom floor when he died. I lay with him next to my heart, whispering love, my arm draped over his neck … and as he was leaving us, I saw him standing just beyond Paul. Alert, ears akimbo, head cocked, eyes bright, a wad of socks in mouth, standing in his particularly great exuberance, as he did each morning when the time for chores presented itself – “Come on! It’s time to go! Get with it you silly humans! There’s work to be done, there’s a barn to clean and a day to sniff, there’s delight to be found!” And then he left.
My ‘joyometer’, my daily dispenser of mirth, and my constant reminder of the importance of presence, has gone missing – his lessons of ‘Be Here Now’ measured in doses of ’Oh, sense the beauty in the music of the wind!’, ‘Let’s just run in circles and laugh’, ‘I love, love, love you!’ … gone. It is wholly up to me now to remember to stay in each moment, to just be a nice person, cry whenever I must, to laugh as much as possible and dance for the sheer joy of it. And when the cacophony of the deafening silence has quieted and the colors of sorrow have muted and gone transparent and I’ve had some time to let the Aegean clean up those bloodied wounds in my heart and soul, there will be room again here for another one of the Seven Great Dogs. And the cycles will continue on.
Almost every evening Djuna and I took an evening stroll down our quiet lane. I loved watching him dance his great joy, nose to the ground scenting all of the news of the day or nose to the sky, sensing what was coming on the breeze. On our walks I watched the seasons change, the rising of the full moon, the greening of the new spring and the evening skies, like snowflakes, no one ever alike … I watched the Canadian geese come and go, the Red Tail hawks courting in the air above me, and let the build up of my day fall away as I tread softly with my gentle friend. It took me several days after Djuna’s death for me to realize that here was yet again another gift he had left for me in his wake, and one I should continue to enjoy. The sky was black to the West, we’d had heavy winds and rain all day, but when there was a break I set off on ‘our’ walk. Wrapped tightly in sadness and hardly breathing with the missing of him, I shuffled along about a 1/2 mile and turned for home before the rains started up and the chill wind began to blow, fierce again, from the south. That wind battered and bashed me until it freed the tears from my eyes, and the freezing rain lashed my face until I grew numb. As though suddenly realizing I was about to drown, I surfaced, taking in great gulps of air as though I’d not been breathing for several days, and began to climb free of the suffocating bonds of my sadness.
My Djuna, my Cupcake … My Heart of Hearts who knew my soul, my every thought; great lover of Paul and I, and of Breelyn; great lover of his mare and his pony, of socks and his furry toys and his GWBush chew doll; great lover of his evening walkies and of riding in the car, and feeding the birds; great lover of sofa naps and sleeping in late with us on the bed and chasing BALL and rolling on the grass and of eating horse poop; bountiful bestower of stealthy kisses; joyful jokester, Greek scholar (he knew about 15 words and understood several phrases spoken to him in Greek; something we did only after he’d begun to understand words and phrases *spelled out* in English! ‘Car’, ‘dinner?’, ‘play with the ball?’, ‘feed the birds’, water, pony, get the goat, etc!); Djuna, beloved Honorary Cat, our timekeeper, our guardian angel, our boss, our playfully dignified friend (thanks for that Marija) and family member, and one of the Seven Great Dogs – we will love and miss you forever.
But now – there’s work to be done, there’s a barn to clean and a new day to sniff, there’s delight to be found!
Copyright (c) 2012 Eleanore MacDonald
Dedicated to MaryAnne G.
A week ago I started the first of what became four day’s writings about passing the 400ppm CO2 level in the planet’s atmosphere. As I said in the penultimate post, “In nearly four years of writing for Learning from Dogs, I can’t recall devoting three days of posts to a single subject.“
Later that week, I had a wonderful telephone conversation with MaryAnne back in Payson. MaryAnne and husband Ed were among a group of people who did so much to ease our transition into our new home in Arizona. As part of the process of obtaining my fiancee visa, I was to and fro between Payson and London which meant having to leave Jeannie alone for a number of weeks at a time. So for Jean having to get used to a change of country as well as home and for me wondering if I would ever get the magic piece of paper allowing me and Jean to be married and settle down, having so many loving friends around us was invaluable.
In last week’s telephone conversation MaryAnne spoke so easily about love that I promised her that I would dedicate a post on Learning from Dogs to her.
In fact, rather than one post, I’m setting myself the challenge of writing about love for the entire week, i.e. Monday to Friday. I will readily admit that over and beyond today’s post, I don’t have more than the vaguest inkling of how the week will pan out. You have been warned!
But how much better that ‘devoting three days to a single subject‘ should be about love rather than climate change.
Love across the species.
A week ago, we had friend Richard and his partner Julie from England staying with us. Richard and I go back 40 years and have been wonderful buddies all that time. Last Monday, I took Richard and Julie across to Wildlife Images just a few miles from the house here in Merlin, Oregon. As their website explains,
Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center was founded as a non-profit corporation in 1981 by renowned wildlife rehabilitator J. David Siddon. The facility was created in order to provide for the care and treatment of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.
and a little later,
The organization’s clinic, animal sanctuary, and education center are located on 24 acres of land adjacent to the wild and scenic section of Oregon’s famous Rogue River. Animals treated at Wildlife Images have included everything from baby squirrels and badgers to American bald eagles.
Wildlife Images release rate of intakes is near 50 percent each year – far above the national average of 33 percent. Animals with permanently disabling injuries that make them unable to live in the wild are integrated into one of Wildlife Images educational programs, either as educational ambassadors, or as permanent residents of the facility.
While we were looking at the animals, along the pathway came a couple of the volunteer staff walking a Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus).
I was utterly captivated by this beautiful animal. Her story was that she was born in captivity and owned by an individual who soon decided he didn’t want her! Not long thereafter Tundra, as she became named, was brought to the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Washington and thence to Wildlife Images when she was just 8 weeks old.
Tundra turned to look at me. I stood perfectly still and quiet. Tundra seemed to want to come closer. As one would with a strange dog, I got down on my knees and turned my eyes away from Tundra’s. I sensed she was coming towards me so quickly held up my camera and took the picture below.
I kept my gaze averted as I felt the warm breath of this magnificent animal inches from my face. Then the magic of love across the species! Tundra licked my face! The tears came to my eyes and were licked away. I stroked her and became lost in thought.
Was this an echo of how thousands and thousands of years ago, a wolf and an early man came together out of trust and love and started the journey of the longest animal-human relationship, by far?
As I write elsewhere on this blog,
Dogs are part of the Canidae, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. There is no hard evidence about when dogs and man came together but dogs were certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago.
Let me close the first day of these musings by coming forward all those thousands of years to the year 2012. To the 6th April, 2012. To the day that we brought puppy Cleo back home. That sweet little creature of less than ten weeks of age starting her own journey of love across the species.
If you can’t feel it, you can’t write it!
This saying was offered in a creative writing class that Jean and I attended when we were living in Payson, Arizona. It came to me spontaneously as I started today’s post. Because feeling what is going on around us is the only way to write it, to share it, to bring it to the attention of all.
These are tough times for so many that love the world around us and having the odd weep is a perfectly rational, and healthy, thing to happen.
So as you listen to the following just feel it. And if a tear comes to your eye … embrace it.
Hopefully, you listened to the full seven minutes before reading on! Because to end the post at this point would be to leave out some great connections.
Put this on in the background and let it creep up on you.
Elizabeth Shepherd performs Live-to-Air with Michael Occipinti’s Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon
Toronto, June 1, 2012 CBC Radio
UPDATE: by popular demand, the original below.
Secondly, a quick dip into WikiPedia reveals that the song was recorded by the Beatles in February 1968 at the famous Abbey Road studios and released on the 12th December, 1969. It was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.
Thirdly, that Wikipedia reference includes the background to the composition of the song, some of which I will share here:
One night in 1967, the phrase “words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup” came to Lennon after hearing his ex-wife Cynthia, according to Lennon, “going on and on about something.” Later, after “she’d gone to sleep—and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream,” Lennon went downstairs and turned it into a song. He began to write the rest of the lyrics and when he was done, he went to bed and forgot about them.
“ I was lying next to my first wife in bed, you know, and I was irritated, and I was thinking. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song, rather than a “Why are you always mouthing off at me?”… [The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom!. I don’t own it you know; it came through like that. ”
The flavour of the song was heavily influenced by Lennon’s and the Beatles’ interest in Transcendental Meditation in late 1967 – early 1968, when the song was composed. Based on this he added the mantra “Jai guru deva om” (Sanskrit: जय गुरुदेव ॐ) to the piece, which became the link to the chorus. The Sanskrit phrase is a sentence fragment whose words could have many meanings. Literally it approximates as “glory to the shining remover of darkness,” and can be paraphrased as “Victory to God divine”, “Hail to the divine guru”, or the phrase commonly invoked by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in referring to his spiritual teacher “All Glory to Guru Dev.”
Finally the lyrics.
“Across The Universe”
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai Guru Deva OM
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Sounds of laughter shades of live are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva [fade out]
The title of the song was given a new dimension when NASA beamed the song into space.
“On 4 February 2008, at 00:00 UTC, NASA transmitted the Interstellar Message “Across the Universe” in the direction of the star Polaris, 431 light years from Earth. The transmission was made using a 70m antenna in the Deep Space Network’s Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex, located outside of Madrid, Spain. It was done with an “X band” transmitter, radiating into the antenna at 18 kW. This was done to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song’s recording, the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network (DSN), and the 50th anniversary of NASA. The idea was hatched by Beatles historian Martin Lewis, who encouraged all Beatles fans to play the track as it was beamed to the distant star. The event marked the first time a song had ever been intentionally transmitted into deep space, and was approved by McCartney, Yoko Ono, and Apple Corps.”
Thus those feelings so beautifully expressed in the song will be echoing around the universe for time immemorial. Now that is a legacy!
Moving on to happiness.
Whatever one’s view is about the significance of CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, this blog is about integrity. As the byline states, “Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.” Regular readers (and thank you for being one) know that this blog ranges far and wide in pursuit of stories, essays and examples of integrity, all the more better when they involve a dog!
All dog owners know that one of the prime things we can learn from our dogs is the ability to remain in the present. No, more than that! To value and cherish the present. Dogs manage this in an effortless manner, in a way that humans can only dream of achieving.
This came to me as a result of a recent post on Damn the Matrix, Mike Stasse’s fascinating blog. The post was about what we humans regret at the end of our days, which I will come to in a moment.
Bronnie Ware is an inspiring and creative soul from Australia.
Through her work Bronnie weaves delightful tales of real life observations and experience. Using gentleness, honesty, and humour, Bronnie celebrates both the strength and vulnerability of human nature. Her message is a positive and inspiring one.
Bronnie is the author of the full-length memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, released worldwide, with translations in 27 languages. She also runs an online personal growth and songwriting course, has released two albums of original songs, and writes a well-loved blog called Inspiration and Chai.
A quick visit to that blog site reveals:
Every challenge brings its own gifts. Sometimes though it is not always easy to see those gifts at first. Suffering and wounds can blind us. We have all been there. It is at times like these that Inspiration and Chai is needed. Inspiration to soothe the heart. Chai to soothe the body.
Even during happier cruising chapters, being inspired is still a beautiful thing. It keeps us going. It reminds us of what we already know.
Inspiration and Chai is an ongoing journey. The aim of this site is to share inspirational stories and motivational thoughts and for it to reach more and more people in need, seekers on their path. It is a positive environment to revisit whenever you feel it calling. It is also somewhere for me to share my love of story telling and to share memories of life.
Jean is no stranger to the death of a dog. Over her many years of rescuing dogs Jean has seen far too many deaths. I have been living with Jean since 2008. In that short time five of our dogs have died.
Of course, we have no idea of what goes through a dog’s mind in those last stages of life. Dogs appear to embrace death in an uncomplicated way but we will never know for sure.
What about humans? On Bronnie’s blogsite there is a post under the title of Regrets of the dying. Whatever age you are, read what Bonnie wrote and ponder:
REGRETS OF THE DYING
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
I hesitated to write anything more because that last sentence should be the one that continues to resonate.
So just a reflection on how easy it is for a dog to wag its tail – dogs so easily choose happiness.
A guest post from John Hurlburt.
The trouble with today’s post title is that while the analogy with the loss of the Titanic is accurate, indeed too bloody accurate, the phrase has dissolved into the depths of the barrel of smart, clever-dick sayings. The brutal consequence of ‘fiddling while Rome burns‘, to use another ‘smart’ saying, is obscured.
So before you read this guest post from regular contributor, John Hurlburt, let me plead for something?
That is that you don’t treat this as just another anecdote in the affairs of man, but a symptom of the blindness of societies right across the world. As my guest essay tomorrow reveals, waiting for leadership on this planet is a wait that you and I and millions of others just can’t afford. Each and every one of us has to do something, however minute, to make a difference. Even just sharing John’s words.
It seems that there’s no escaping politics in daily life.
I recently got together one evening with two friends at our local Elks Club.
They are a couple. Two old friends of about ten years who live across the street and around the corner from me during the summer season. They’ve been together for more than half their lifetimes and spend the fall, winter and early spring in Yuma.
He is a frequent fishing buddy. Sometimes wears a side arm when we fish the beautiful mountain lakes above Payson. Mountain lakes and related campgrounds that are maintained and supervised by the U.S. Forest Service. Rather cheekily, I once asked if the plan was to hook trout or shoot them!
Anyhow, this was our first get together of the season. It was noted that attendance and participation is down in Arizona for such fraternal organizations as the Elks and the Moose. We had a discussion with club management about the nature of the problem.
Fraternal club management tends to be cautious and well paid. However, it seems that placing discomforting restrictions on people is not popular. The case in point was a recent club smoking ban. The logic seemed reasonable enough. Unfortunately, no realistic accommodation was made for the members who chose to smoke. The reaction was emotional.
For many, it was apparently the last straw. There were perhaps four other people at the Payson Elks club at 5:30 p.m. that Friday evening. An evening with a moderately priced dinner buffet on hand that had been advertised online, in a newsletter and by word of mouth.
There was a point when a comment seemed appropriate. I offered the observation that the source of the problem might be political. No one seemed to register the observation.
We talked a bit about aches and pains; the usual organ recital. We spoke about what we’ve been doing. I told them about church and transition town activities. The conversation turned to our illusion of a stable economy. An observation was made that the USA was leveraged over twenty-two times above any material foundation. There was no disagreement.
Despite the clear New York Times warning that morning, climate change never entered the conversation. A remedy was to note that so far Katrina has cost U.S. taxpayers over sixteen Billion dollars and climbing. Sandy is expected to cost American taxpayers as much as sixty Billion dollars.
It was a pleasant evening and we plan to get together again soon.
Take care out there.
The sound of scraping deckchairs is deafening!
Day three of recognising the passing of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2.
In nearly four years of writing for Learning from Dogs, I can’t recall devoting three days of posts to a single subject. To put that into context, today’s post is number 1,683 since the first one was published on July 15th, 2009; not all of them from the brain of yours truly by any means you understand!
Today, I’m going to feature a recent essay written by George Monbiot finishing up three days of ‘reporting’ on the deeply disturbing, but fully anticipated, news that the planet’s atmosphere has reached a concentration of 400 ppm CO2.
Last Monday, I published What legacy do we wish to leave for others?
Then yesterday, a post under the title of 400 ppm, as the BBC reported it. I closed with a reference to a remark made by Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London; the remark being “A greater sense of urgency was needed.“
I wrote that those wishy-washy words were pathetic. That we needed the sort of words that George Monbiot penned a few days ago in the Guardian newspaper. There it was entitled “Climate milestone is a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy“.
But I think the title that Mr. Monbiot chose to use on his own blog was far more apt: Via Dolorosa. (Note that I haven’t formally requested permission to republish the essay but trust that the following is acceptable to both Mr. Monbiot and the Guardian newspaper.)
Here’s how it opened:
May 10, 2013
Corruption and short-termism are pushing us along the path of sorrows.
By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 10th May 2013
The records go back 800,000 years: that’s the age of the oldest fossil air bubbles extracted from Dome C, an ice-bound summit in the high Antarctic. And throughout that time there has been nothing like this. At no point in the pre-industrial record have concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air risen above 300 parts per million. 400 is a figure that belongs to a different era.
The difference between 399 and 400ppm is small, in terms of its impacts on the world’s living systems. But this is a moment of symbolic significance, a station on the Via Dolorosa of environmental destruction. It is symbolic of our collective failure to put the long term prospects of the natural world and the people it supports above immediate self-interest.
The symbolic significance of the planet’s atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passing 400ppm is that, I hope, with all the hope that my heart can summon up, it will bring us back from the brink. Then one ponders about this possibility as Monbiot’s next paragraph unfolds:
The only way forward now is back: to retrace our steps along this road and to seek to return atmospheric concentrations to around 350 parts per million, as the 350.org campaign demands. That requires, above all, that we leave the majority of the fossil fuels which have already been identified in the ground. There is not a government or an energy company which has yet agreed to do so.
“not a government or an energy company … has yet agreed to do so.”
I’m going to repeat that again, with emboldening; “not a government or an energy company … has yet agreed to do so.“
In fact, one could reasonable argue that having any hope for a turning back is utterly naive. Look what the essay goes on to say:
Just before the 400-mark was reached, Shell announced that it will go ahead with its plans to drill deeper than any offshore oil operation has gone before: almost three kilometres below the Gulf of Mexico.
A few hours later, Oxford University opened a new laboratory in its department of earth sciences. The lab is funded by Shell. Oxford says that the partnership “is designed to support more effective development of natural resources to meet fast-growing global demand for energy.” Which translates as finding and extracting even more fossil fuel.
The European Emissions Trading Scheme, which was supposed to have capped our consumption, is now, for practical purposes, dead. International climate talks have stalled; governments such as ours now seem quietly to be unpicking their domestic commitments. Practical measures to prevent the growth of global emissions are, by comparison to the scale of the challenge, almost non-existent.
As an example of the scale of the hypocrisy in which we are all immersed, last week’s The Economist magazine carried a full-age advertisement from Chevron on page 5 under the banner of ‘Protecting The Planet Is Everyone’s Job – We agree‘ and going on to explain:
We go to extraordinary lengths to protect the integrity of the places where we operate. Places all over the world, like Australia’s Barrow Island. It’s home to hundreds of native species of wildlife, including wallabies, ospreys, and perenties.
We’ve been producing energy on the island for more than 40 years, and it remains a Class A Nature Reserve.
Didn’t take me two moments to find this image:
To my mind this advertisement completely misses the point; deliberately or otherwise. Chevron and all other oil producing companies in the world are endangering the future of the entire planet by continuing to ‘produce energy’, aka oil. Period. Full stop.
Or to put it in the words of George Monbiot’s essay:
The problem is simply stated: the power of the fossil fuel companies is too great. Among those who seek and obtain high office are people characterised by a complete absence of empathy or scruples, who will take money or instructions from any corporation or billionaire who offers them, and then defend those interests against the current and future prospects of humanity. This new mark reflects a profound failure of politics, worldwide, in which democracy has quietly been supplanted by plutocracy. Without a widespread reform of campaign finance, lobbying and influence-peddling and the systematic corruption they promote, our chances of preventing climate breakdown are close to zero.
Thus the final sentence in GM’s essay carries a deep sadness.
So here we stand at a waystation along the road of idiocy, apparently determined only to complete our journey.
Why are we not seeing, hearing and reading words of a similar weight and power from just about every ‘opinion maker’ in the world?
Why not? Why not?
What on earth are we all doing!
I started writing this early morning last Friday, 10th May. It was prompted by a post then just in from Christine’s blog 350 or bust. I didn’t have the heart to republish it for a few days.
Then as the news of the atmospheric CO2 concentration passing 400 parts per million (ppm) moved more and more into mainstream news, I found myself morphing from sadness and puzzlement into anger and then into some form of determination to ‘do something‘, however insignificant that might be.
Because if humanity does not turn back from our carbon-based lifestyle pretty damn soon then those who are, say, 20 years or more younger than me (I’m 68), are in for some very tough, very rough times indeed.
So over the next two or three days, I shall focus on this topic simply from the motivation of wanting to join the numerous others around the world who are also recognising this moment in the history of man.
Ergo, for today that post from Christine. But I make no apologies for staying with the theme for much of this week.
Rolling The Dice: CO2 Concentration Hits Record High Amid Global Inaction On Climate Change
Via The Guardian:
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 399.72 parts per million (ppm) and is likely to pass the symbolically important 400ppm level for the first time in the next few days.
Readings at the US government’s Earth Systems Research laboratory in Hawaii, are not expected to reach their 2013 peak until mid May, but were recorded at a daily average of 399.72ppm on 25 April. The weekly average stood at 398.5 on Monday.
Hourly readings above 400ppm have been recorded six times in the last week, and on occasion, at observatories in the high Arctic. But the Mauna Loa station, sited at 3,400m and far away from major pollution sources in the Pacific Ocean, has been monitoring levels for more than 50 years and is considered the gold standard.
“I wish it weren’t true but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400ppm level without losing a beat. At this pace we’ll hit 450ppm within a few decades,” said Ralph Keeling, a geologist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which operates the Hawaiian observatory.
For more on the awful implications of this milestone in human history, check out the links below (hint: it isn’t good news for humans or animals or the ocean).
How the linking of minds offers us vast horizons!
I subscribe to two blogs: Pendantry’s Wibble and Christine’s 350 or bust. But a temporary lack of quiet reading time has meant that recent posts from each of them were initially only briefly skimmed. I made a mental note to read the one from Pendantry, Where oceans meet, because I have always had a love affair with the oceans. When I did read it, I was blown away, to use the modern vernacular. Why? Stay with me.
Where oceans meet opened thus:
I’ve recently been introduced to two things that demonstrate (to my satisfaction, anyway) that the universe is much stranger than I first thought. Mind you, my first thought was quite some time ago, now.
Then after showing a wonderful photograph of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, (this one below) …
…. Pendantry goes on:
The other one of those ‘strange universe’ things is something that I find even more surprising: after decades of eating meat, an hour watching just one film has persuaded me to reconsider the habits of a lifetime.
That really jumped off the page at me because Jeannie has been a vegetarian for most of her life and I have been flirting with the idea.
That ‘one film’ was Vegucated. Here’s the rest of that Wibble post republished with Pendantry’s kind permission.
A TED talk highlighted yesterday over on 350orbust (well worth watching — thanks, Christine) included a reference to the film Vegucated. Intrigued, was I, so I trundled off to watch it, and returned a changed man. Well, maybe that’s a bit ambitious, but I do now feel motivated to think more about what I eat, why I’m eating it, and to actively seek out vegan alternatives — something that I have never considered before.
Vegucated reinforces the betrayal of a society that has sold us all on the idea of having ‘consumer choice’ — but continues to withhold from us the information necessary to make informed choices. And on that point: don’t just take my word for it that this is a film well worth watching: there are many other reviews and quotes about it.
Our world is changing, and, one way or another, we must change with it. I believe that films like Vegucated are essential to help us to choose to move in the direction of a healthier, happier world.
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. “— Paul McCartney.
Naturally I was curious and wandered across to that post. Here are Christine’s own words,
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust, and today’s presenter is Zoe Weil who spoke to the young people who gathered at the TEDx Youth symposium held at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, last December. Ms. Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education. Ms. Weil’s inspiring talk is entitled “How To Be A Solutionary.” Enjoy!
I tell you what! That 11 minute presentation by Zoe Weil was not just inspirational, it was one of the most inspirational speeches I have ever heard! That’s EVER!
Take this quote that comes in less than 2 minutes from the start of the speech, “Never before have we had the capacity to cause the breakdown of so many ecological systems that sustain our life.“
Now if that doesn’t have you gagging for the rest of what Zoe talks about, nothing will. So here it is.
Published on Jan 11, 2013
Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which provides people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Zoe created the first Master of Education and Certificate Program in Humane Education in the U.S. covering the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. She has also created acclaimed online programs and leads workshops and speaks at universities, conferences, and events across the U.S. and Canada. She has taught tens of thousands students through her innovative school presentations, and has trained several thousand teachers through her workshops and programs. Zoe’s most recent book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life, won the 2010 Nautilus silver medal in sustainability and green values. She is the author of several other books including Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times for parents; The Power and Promise of Humane Education for educators; and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, winner of the Moonbeam gold medal in juvenile fiction, which follows the exploits of two seventh graders who become clandestine activists in New York City, righting wrongs where they find them. Zoe received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
So from the meeting of vast oceans to the meeting of minds.