Wildfires sweep the Pacific Northwest, sending clouds of toxic smoke into the air. Oslo construct a special "highway" just for bees. And FiveThirtyEight's
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"I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world."
What a Wonderful World ~ Thiele and Weiss
The whole-hearted optimism and idealism of this wildly popular song that Louis Armstrong pretty much owned would probably cause it to fall flat on its face were it released today. Cynicism, deep pessimism and hypocrisy are rampant. Just reading the news is an exercise in developing emotional resilience — assuming you can manage to avoid getting depressed. But as we try to pull back from the edge of causing our own extinction, as we try to figure out how to deal with the obvious insanity of our culture (did you read the one about how they just restarted a nuclear reactor located two miles away from a highly active volcano that is close to erupting?), as we try to keep our own lives on track, it is important to remember that the simple joys, the sacred moments, the acts of blessing and being blessed are experiences inherent to our human consciousness, experiences that connect us with Spirit and bring healing. Nurturing those experiences is the work of the healers of the world -- and we are all healers, if we choose to be.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl (neurologist, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor)
It is only by changing our consciousness as individuals that we can change the world we live in. This month’s Full Moon reminds us that we are being called to a level of transformation that requires leaving cynicism, pessimism and hypocrisy behind as we become more and more aware of the effects of consciousness on physical reality. The ramifications of the choices we make every day about how we use our minds, thoughts and emotions reverberate through our lives in the same way a plucked string on a guitar sets the other strings vibrating, even though they are untouched.
Unless you are a complete materialist, and believe that there is no existence or awareness separate from what your brain generates, and that brain is no more than the result of a process that began with the entirely random knocking together of atoms in a primordial soup, then you know that consciousness extends not only within and throughout physical reality, but in a reality that exists beyond the borders of time and space. (I am not questioning the mechanisms of the evolutionary process here, BTW, just the “entirely random” part.)
We have considerable and accumulating evidence that consciousness does continue to exist after death, and between lives, and that consciousness — or perhaps I should refer to it as Consciousness — not only exists outside time and space, but is responsible for the creation of it. If you have experienced this reality — whether you believe in creator gods or a single God or simply the non-theistic existence of the Tao — then you realize that Consciousness is primary, the Source. From there, it is an easy step to conclude that your own consciousness must also be creative and influential, since it is part of the greater Consciousness that is the force behind all creation.
[Every writer has her favorite stories. One of mine is "Sophie and Zoe at the End of the World," which I was honored to have published in The Future Fire. I was even more surprised, and pleased, when I saw that the story had been illustrated -- complete with cover art! -- by Robin Kaplan.
[As part of the tenth anniversary celebration of The Future Fire, plans are under way to release an anthology of the zine's best stories. Contributors have been invited to participate in interviews and contests, write flash fiction sequels to their stories, and so on. There's even a micro fiction contest centered around the theme of "ten."...
Warm water bubbles beneath my knees. I feel weightless. The pool is just deep enough that I can't sit, so I let my feet touch the sandy bottom while the rest of my body floats. The water must be the same temperature as my blood for I feel neither warm nor cool, as if heat and cold were a foreign concept. In these hot springs it is easy to forget where my body ends and the water begins. I run my hands up and down my legs. I expect little bubbles to rise to the surface, the way they do in the hot tub, but instead I feel a thin slimy film upon my skin. I wonder about the mineral content of the water. The smell of rotten eggs announces sulfur and I wrinkle my nose, then quickly re-frame my association from disgusting-gaseous-anomalies to miraculous-healing-waters and manage to enjoy the odor.
Recently Mei Xiang, the resident Giant Panda, at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. gave birth to twins. What does the Giant Panda has to teach us? And why are Pandas important?
A survivor of the last Ice Age, Giant Panda belongs to the oldest family of the most primitive bears (Ailuropodinae). Although He has a digestive system of a meat eater, Giant Panda feeds exclusively on bamboo. Until DNA testing became available, scientists could not identify what Mammal Family Giant Panda belonged to.
Sitting on his rump, this ancient Bear grasps bamboo shoots and calmly munches away at them. His “thumb” makes Giant Panda unique among animals. This elongated wrist bone gives Him an extra opposable digit on his paw. Giant Panda uses this as a “hand” when He eats.