I was sitting in a circle discussion on the Sunday morning of a recent Buddhist retreat when the word 'aggression' came up and was decried as a thing that ought to be scoured out of our minds if we want to create an enlightened society. I disagreed and reclaimed the word 'aggression' with a liberal dose of straightforward humor, whereupon it was suggested to me that (1) 'aggression' was the wrong word for what I was describing, and (2) I'd 'get it' eventually if I just kept working on myself. This while one of the men in the circle tittered and exchanged sidelong glances with another man as I spoke. Of course these responses were problematic, especially since much of the conversation was about the aggression, assertiveness and strength of women. But I understood them, coming as they did from basically good people at a Buddhist retreat who were working toward peace. Still, they reminded me of the reasons why I'm not a Buddhist.
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This morning I started a pot of soup. The beef shanks came from a farm where the cows live on grass or hay and, during the summer at least, they spend their days outside in broad fields. The family that runs the farm has been raising and selling meat for a long time. They are all business in their farm store, perhaps even taciturn. But they are efficient, and their prices make up for any perceived grumpiness. But back to the soup…
The shanks get roasted in the oven and then left in the crock pot for a few hours to make stock (damn, I forgot to put in some onions! But there’s time for that.) Then the meat is picked off the bones, and set aside while veggies cook in the stock, and finally the meat goes back in. It’s a slow process. While I do have the capacity to whip up a quick meal – I keep organic frozen veggies handy and often take a day to make frozen entrees ahead of time – soup is just best if one takes some time.
The lush smell of it, the warmth on a single digit day, and the balance of flavors are all important, but the care that went into the making brings just at much to the table. It takes time and attention not just to make the soup, but to choose the ingredients. I’m picky about food. I want my food to be clean and grown by people who care. Some of it I grow myself because I love my garden and I do some canning and other food preservation because it saves us money. The soup is not just ingredients, it is time and labor, not just the act of making, but the labor that paid for the ingredients. How we spend our time and labor shows what we love.
And this is where it gets complicated.
Welcome back to Faithful Friday! This week we've done something a bit unusual and have gathered several stories about the irreligious, rather than the faithful. Follow below to read about the rising number of atheist politicians, the blow dealt to lawmakers concerned with religious law by Obergefell v. Hodges, and the impact of "nones" (the religiously unaffiliated) on the modern Republican Party of the United States. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
“Moontime opens up our intuition.
By allowing ourselves to honour this time,
we can eliminate premenstrual tendencies…
Moontime is a sacred passage leading
to a greater awareness of self.”
–Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon (p. 142)
One evening as I prepared for a Red Tent Circle, a package arrived for me from the UK. In it was the beautiful book by Veronika Robinson: Cycle to the Moon.
Cycle to the Moon is a quick read and an inspiring one. The line illustrations are beautiful and the combination of journal pages/prompts and text is nice.
The breeze blew down from the top of the mountain pushing its way through the heat and humidity. It rushed through her kitchen window filling the small room with the smell of crisp cool air. Blowing her hair back off the tackiness of her face and neck as she stood there washing dishes. The room had a slight relief from the heaviness of the air.
She looked out the window and up thought the trees. There she saw the storm taking shape....
It's that time of week again, when we bring you science and Earth-related stories to read and consider. This week for Earthy Thursday we bring you a number of articles relating to the ongoing California drought, which continues to threaten the state's agricultural industry. Read where and how the drought is hitting hardest and what you might be doing to help aggravate it (and what you can do to stop). Additionally, we've gathered a few other stories, including one about how best to weather a heat wave (no pun intended). All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
The stories we tell have power. They teach. They influence the opinions and behaviors of ourselves and others. They influence how we experience our lives and the world.
Vivian Gornik wrote a great book for creative nonfiction writers called The Situation and the Story. It’s short, entertaining, educational, and I highly recommend it....