Monday, June 30, 2014

Who's Tending the Garden?

I have dedicated my life to seeking, practicing, and advocating wholeness ethics. I've done so for several reasons. Chief among them is my conviction that our knowledge of how to live well on earth is being far outstripped by our manipulative knowledge. Knowledge is power, so we are, in effect, trading our power to be good human beings for the power to manipulate our world. We're trading wisdom for wizardry.

The ability to be good human beings alone and in groups is a power that must be consciously built, maintained, and distributed in human culture.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself if this is true. Is the ability to be good a thing that grows wild in us or is it a thing that must be cultivated?

If you believe it grows wild (or that the wild strain is hardy enough to balance out the technological power we've accrued in modern times) then by all means close this page and don't trouble yourself any further with this pointless question. 

But if you believe it is, in fact, a thing that must be cultivated, ask yourself who's doing the cultivating in our time? Has this job been given to the right people and are they doing it well? Is this a thing that should be specialized and turned over to a few select individuals while the rest of us lose the knowledge altogether? If not, then what is our job in this community garden? And are we doing it well?

Saturday, June 21, 2014


So, these past two days have been busy. The warden put in to have me moved to a unit set aside for programming because she's interested in my ethics program. I got most of my property ready for the move the night before, thinking I'd get up in the morning and have a cup of coffee and finish packing.

Six a.m. on the day of the move the officer showed up at my door and told me I needed to be over at the transport desk at 7:10 for a road trip to the prison next door. The doctor had put me in for x-rays and Fate picked move day to send me there.

Fortunately, it was a relatively quick trip — about an hour and a half — and when I got back to the unit the officer told me the call had come to move. So it was rush rush rush but I got to my new unit  yesterday and all is well. A decent new bunkie, good room, and a good (quiet) unit.

Maryann once sent me a picture from an airport of a big sign that pointed the way to, among other things, a "Recombobulation Room." Moving makes me feel like I could use a recombobulation room for a day or two, but things eventually settle back in.

I will miss the sparrows that used to come to my window every morning. Although I did get a nice good bye from them. I received a call to go pick up my laundry from the other building. Walking into the building I saw, huddled deep into the corner by the door, a baby sparrow.

We'd just had several hours of thunderstorms and it had probably gotten blown in by the wind and lost its way. I knew others wouldn't come this close to the building to pick it up so I picked it up, expecting it to be docile and sleepy.

The tiny bird had other ideas. It squawked and bit my fingers and fought back with all its minuscule might. I went on into the unit to pick up my laundry and thought maybe if I put it in my pocket the little guy would calm down.

It didn't. Instead it clawed and fought and climbed up out of my pocket under my shirt. I reached up under there and put the little guy back into my pocket and got my finger bitten in thanks.

Finally, with laundry in hand, I headed back outside and looked for some adult sparrows, which I found almost immediately at the base of one of the big oaks we have here. I put little Mike Tyson down and he took another bite of my hand before waggling his tail up under a bushy flower. When I walked off, the adults were flying in to investigate the racket coming from beneath the flower.

I told the friend I was walking with, "With all that fight, he'll be all right." I hope so.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mother Maya

Maya Angelou, a giant in the blessing business, died at the end of May. Her spirit was true and she left behind her a field of words that will continue to bloom and bear fruit on earth.

"I've learned," she said, "that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


"Here on the pulse of this new day
Have the grace to look up and out
and into your sister's eyes
Your brother's face, your country
and say simply
very simply
with hope — Good Morning."


"I have found among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."

And lastly,

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."

So, let's give thanks for her steward's soul and honor her by touching someone or something today with our full heart and thinking of the courage to bless life unconditionally in all its flawed beauty. Goodbye, Mother Maya, for now.