Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Faced with outsized stresses, these Baltimore students learn to take a deep breath

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 22, 2017

Serve to relieve human suffering wherever you find it, in any way you can. Whatever your skills or karmic predicament is, there’s always an opportunity to relieve human suffering. The major way you are relieving human suffering is by becoming a conscious being, and then all the rest of your stuff should also be involved in relieving human suffering in other beings. You should have enough money and right livelihood in order to keep your body healthy, in order to allow you to do your sadhana, in order to fulfill your social responsibilities that are existing, your karmic responsibility, and all the rest of the money should be distributed. Simple as that.

The enlightened being, or the person that’s awakened, realizes that the game is to walk through the path and leave no footprint. Leave no footprint because whatever footprint you leave is just more karmic stuff.

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/22/17

“As we continue in our process of purification, we are also freeing ourselves from our fantasies about relationships. We let go of the idea of finding a soul mate or the perfect person that was made especially for us. Gradually, we understand that relationship is about the integration between two complimentary parts that exist within us. This is the deeper meaning of the word love - an internal alchemical fusion. In order for this merging with the other to happen, we need to truly be ready. Often, we think we love, but in reality, we are obstinately trying to make the other an object to fulfill our whims and expectations. This is not love, it’s selfishness.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / What Is Expression?

In painting, as in any art, we can escape the prison of our minds and connect with what transcends ordinary perceptions. And just as a body of water stays still while a wave-form moves through it, consciousness remains stable despite the constant motion and flow of our thoughts.

—Fredericka Foster, "Spotlight On: Fredericka Foster"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

September 7 is Brazilian Independence day...

Soooo... this Trump thing has caused me to rethink my status here as a permanent resident. Brasil has been much more progressive re: GLBTq immigration than WTFistan has been (see my TEDx talk). 

And now that things are schlepping to the evangelical right here as well, it is now or never… So my hubby and I had a long talk and decided it is best for me to be able to vote – since I pay taxes and enjoy all the other rights and responsibilities. And if things really go south (pardon the pun) up in WTFistan, I can sponsor my family down here in Neverland.
So I reacted by the Trump coup, by applying for the Brazilian half of what will be dual citizenship. 

Kinda complicated, but soooooooo much easier for me to become a Brazilian, than the crap my husband has to put up with (again a plug for my TEDx talk way back when). Went on line to the Brazilian Immigration (I am a permanent resident - like a green card), got a list of jobs/things I have to do to organize a file to get a Brazilian passport, etc. I talked to my lawyer bud here in Ouro Preto. 

The worst is the FBI report, I asked around and I met folks who were stranded like I was 6 years ago up there for a month... no can do! So I contacted the US Consul in Rio and we talked/bantered back and forth for a while and he offered to write me a letter to get my fingerprints done here in Brasil, then mail the prints/forms to the FBI.

That letter.

So yesterday I took the letter to the PolĂ­cia Federal (PF) in Belo Horizonte (BH), which is a cross between the FBI and the “migra” in the States. I got in the “foreigner line” strangely short, which faces the Brazilian (abandon the countryside of the waiting area – very full). Showed my letter, and the delegada (officer) was so apologetic, I know it says for you to come here, but you need to go to the office in… (The HEAD office for the PF – of course all the way across town on the top of a hill – think a very 1970’s collection of ugly buildings (Minas Gerais has a talent for building really ugly buildings – my campus is just one example) which forms a fortress/military/ Star Feet base complex next to a hospital… got there, went to the even more imposing gate, and went thru security (picture, badge, chatting up the security folks), all the time the Brazilians are looking at me like a strange flower, or lost puppy “why would you do this, I want to move to Miami” kind of look. I was directed to follow a blue line around a building (Which I did) just “follow the blue brick road” across a green space, a couple of “soldiers” greeted me and I felt even more like I was in Star Fleet, albeit a very “brega” one. I followed the blue line thru another lobby, and then upstairs in another building got lost, more Star Fleet delegados helped me, smiling… found the place, and the guy helping me was so surprised. The rest of the office was so happy to see me, and have something happy to do, just a dumb gringo who isn’t in a crisis. After a minor problem downloading the FBI form to BH Star Feet, I was inked and on my way in no time…

I left base and headed down the hill to a taxi stand, and called a dear friend from UFOP who is off for the semester while she finishes her doctoral thesis. She directed me to go to her house (across town) and we walked to lunch, and everywhere we went she just had to tell everyone, restaurant, museum, and her family… “Daniel is becoming a Brazilian!” Oi such a shunder…

When I got home (Neverland is a good 2 hour bus ride from BH over impossibly green mountains)I put all the docs together, and this morning on my way to campus SEDEX’d (we have our own DHL/UPS/FEDEX here in Neverland) them to West Virginia where you send stuff that allows you to get a criminal report. I walked back to campus all verklempt… and REALLY happy! It helped that a gentle breeze was blowing, the sun was out, the mountains are as green as green can be, and birds were singing… “Vem ti vi! Vem ti vi!”

So step one (of about 20) done… check!

Next step: The report I sent to FBI HQ needs to be “autenticado” in the Brazilian Consulate in San Francisco – a dear amiga in the California State Senate Int’l office will do that for me – she earns extra dharma points. Then it has to be translated and collected with the rest of the documents. This will take a few months at best. Which gives me time to do all sorts of other tasks… copies of the house contract, proof of my work as a federal employee, copies of the marriage certificate, etc. all authenticated and stamped and registered in “cartorios”.

So you can see why I get snarky at folks in WTFistan, who think “I’ll just move to Canada or France”, yeah good luck. I had to tell one guy, start with grad school and marriage… moving abroad ain’t like moving across WTFistan cowboy.

So to make this very long story short, keep me in your prayers and send lotsa love and light to all who I need to facilitate this… I am just so really fortunate and blessed – a great job, in a great little college town, in a funky state, in a more than dysfunctional but wonderful country. Despite all the problems here in Brasil, there are so many really, really fine people here and it will be great to be Brazilian in a few months!

September 7 is Brazilian Independence day... hoping to have it all done by then! Dedos cruzados!

Putin: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Via Daily Dharma / Standing Up

Judgmental criticism is one thing; judicious criticism is actually a gift. That’s why the Buddha never formulated a precept against talking about other people’s faults or errors, because there are times when you have to speak up against harmful behavior.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Gossip"

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/21/17

“I have always been an explorer of consciousness. As a child, I wanted answers to the great questions of life: ‘Where did we come from? Where are we going?’ I started my quest in the field of science, but soon realized that the answers I sought could not be found there. I have passed through various spiritual traditions. I have prayed and called for God in his countless forms and names and these experiences taught me a lot. I learned about divine unity and the true meaning of the word religion that is the reconnection with the universal soul and the eternal source of love that inhabits us. So today, I say my religion is love.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Gratitude and Generosity

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity. I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need.

—Sallie Tisdale, "As If There Is Nothing to Lose"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

This is where I stand. Period.

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This is where I stand. Period.

I make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. I know some are tired of political postings and rants. But apart from posts of recipes, grandchildren, meals, flowers, dogs, travel pictures,and drama, and even beautiful expressions of spiritual beliefs, FB is (until it gets taken away) a vehicle to express our outrage at how far our country has currently fallen on the humanitarian scale.

To me, FB is a useful vehicle for my passion and activism. The fevered Ego currently occupying our White House, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love.

And unless you are worth billions of dollars, they are a threat to you and your life, too.
So I will resist and I will be part of the resistance, and proud of it. If you can join in or hang with it, fine. But if not, then you probably need to unfriend me now. I refuse to "play nice" in the face of what these people are doing. Our country's well-being demands that we stand and resist.

Some people are saying that we should give #45 a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is my response:

•I will not say #45's name.
•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...
•I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid or repeal the ACA.
•I will not "work together" to build a wall.
•I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.
•I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, no matter how bad they might have been, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
•I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1%.
•I will not "work together" to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
•I will not "work together" to help #45 use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies.
•I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
•I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not "work together" to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
•I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not "work together" to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
•I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not "work together" to slash funding for education.
•I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not "work together" to allow torture and "black op" prison sites.
•I will not "work together" to "take their oil."
•I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
•I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that #45 and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not "work together" to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
•I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.
•I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
•I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual "pre-existing condition."
•I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
•I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.
•Iwill not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
•I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not "work together" with #45 or anyone who supports him, because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.
This is the line, and I am drawing it.
•I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN for what's really so dangerous about #45, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world:
That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is anything more than nothing... When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.
PS: If you agree, please copy and re-post (we understand this results in larger numbers of people seeing a post), and if you can, sign your name below ours. Also, if we have left anything out, feel free to add it to this list.
Consider this an opportunity to make a declaration of commitment, in becoming part of The Resistance.


Patricia Rollins Trosclair
Andrea Dora Zysk
George Georgakis
John Christopher
John Bowles
Patrick St.Louis
Carla Patrick
Darnell Bender
Vickie Davis
JMichael Carter
Janice Frazier-Scott
Rev. ELaura James Reid
Jeanette Bouknight
Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey
Gerald Butler
Carolyn McDougle
Vaughn Chatman
Adrienne Brown
Gary Trousdale
Steven E Gordon
Isis Nocturne
Debi Murray
Maureen O. Betita
Mona Enderli
Fernie James Tamblin
Myrna Dodgion
Alan Locklear
Tom Wilmore
Jackie Evans
Donna Endres
Lora Fountain
Roberta Gregory
Heather A Mayhew
Stevo Wehr
Nathan Stivers
Jen RaLee
Joan Holden
Leigh Lutz
Deborah Kirkpatrick
Linda Levy
Tom Rue
Nancy Hoffmann-Allison
Beejay McCabe
Michael James Myers
Edward T. Spire
Rupert Chapman
Dawn R. Dunbar
Robin Wilson
Monique Boutot
Laura Brown 💪🏼
Susan Aptaker
Steve Katz
Bonnie Wolk
Risa Guttman-Kornwitz
Angela Gora
Butch Norman
Sharon Tolman
Sue Zislis
Maurice Hirsch
Satch Dobrey
Jim Krapf
Don Starwalt
Deb Johansen
Daniel Anderson
Tim Roda
Helen o Leary
Kyle Staver
Sharon Clabo
Mary Proenza
Jamie Trachtenberg
Sherry Jo Williams
Julie Chase
Alexa Grace
Dreama Kattenbraker
Deborah G Rogers
Sharon Pierce McCullough
Laura Phillips Dollieslager
Lynnette Fitch Brash
Robin van Tine
Richard Hill
John Paul Jones
Sharon Van Schaik Kale
Anita Jagt
Gail Kent
Suzanne Hershey Ford
Erin Gall
Ezilda Samoville
Daniel Clark Orey

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Via Ram Dass

You gotta remember that the ego is built on fear. It’s not built on love; it’s built on fear. It’s built on the fear of non-survival, and so you build a structure in order to make you safe. And it’s beautiful instrument, but if you’re identified with it, you’re fearful all the time. And because you’re fearful you’re always going to overcompensate and make ego decisions that are a little inappropriate, because they’ll be colored by your looking from inside this place.

When you’re outside of it you see that you use your ego as you need to to make decisions. You come back into sombody-ness. You and I are meeting back here behind this dance that we’re doing which is charming and fascinating. And that’s really the beauty of playing with the ego and the higher consciousness. And it’s only when those two planes work that the ego becomes really functional, okay?

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/19/17

“Life has its mysteries. One of these great mysteries is the way a romantic partner shows up in our lives. The understanding of this mystery can only be understood if we are open to the adventure of knowing ourselves through the other. We need to really get to know the other understanding how they act and function. We also need to be willing to reveal ourselves to the other. This adventure is only possible through love. Love is what opens the doors to this mutual revelation which unveils the great mystery of life.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Graceful Suffering:

There is grace in suffering. Suffering is part of the training program for wisdom.

—Ram Dass, "America’s Guru"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/18/17

“We have enough proof that our chosen model for society in which we live has failed. This model may have been effective at some point in our history, but no longer serves us today. This materialistic model based on the frenetic search for money and social recognition ignores the spiritual dimension of life and feeds competition, falseness and cruelty. As individuals and as a society, we find ourselves frustrated and tired, imprisoned by fear. Based on the belief that happiness comes from outside of ourselves, we stop doing what we really want to do in order to please the other. Thus we move further and further away from our essence and purpose. This is the root of our failure.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Creating Our Own Suffering:

In short, it’s our reactivity that generates dukkha, keeping us agitated and therefore unable to contemplate the actual, direct, here and now experience of it.

—Thanissara, "The Grit That Becomes a Pearl"

Friday, February 17, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/17/17

“The moment arrives in the evolutionary journey when your heart is full of joy and love. You feel so filled that you naturally desire to share this with others. However, this phenomenon can’t be pre-meditated or controlled because it is a flowering. When you are in this state, no effort is needed to share because you are simply overflowing with these qualities.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Making Space

Like a forest fire, anger tends to burn up its own support. If we jump down into the middle of such a fire, we will have little chance of putting it out, but if we create a clearing around the edges, the fire can burn itself out. This is the role of meditation: creating a clearing around the margins of anger.

—Mark Epstein, "I’ve Been Meditating for Ten Years, and I’m Still Angry. What’s the Matter with Me?"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 02/16/17

“You can only give that which you already have. When you are afraid of losing love, you force yourself to give that which you don’t have. This false giving creates a series of psycho-emotional and physical illnesses. True charity or selfless service is putting love in movement that is not manufactured  and has already been illuminated by awareness and comprehension. You can try to pretend to be charitable and in service, but the only one you fool is yourself.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / The Achievement of Altruism:

According to the scriptures, the mere inclination to generate bodhicitta thus shows a certain degree of spiritual evolution and maturity.

—Karma Trinlay Rinpoche, "What We’ve Been All Along"