I commend to your reading Shakespeare Saved My Life Ten Years In Solitary with the Bard, , Laura Bates, an Indiana State English Professor who taught Shakespeare initially taught a group of prisoners in solitary in the Indiana State prison system. Larry Newton was convicted of murder at 17 and given life with no probation. Studying Shakespeare in prison made huge changes in his life. I communicate with and see a 35 year old prisoner in the Idaho Prison system who was given 20 years at age 17 when the owner of a truck he was stealing while drunk jumped in the back, was later thrown out and died of injuries three months later. He has changed his life through introspection and dog training for the Idaho Humane Society, which is how I met him. He will be eligible for parole 6 months before his 37th birthday. Our prison system is a warehousing system that needs serious reform. These men and women need educating and training to be productive citizens when they get out so they don't just go back to the streets. My experience has taught me that most are able and willing to change if given the chance and real opportunities to grow as human beings.
"Time for reflection and thinking is being squeezed in favor of increasing action." I think that is a comment
that reflects much of current western civilization and for me it is sad. It does take leisure and reflection
to be creative and to look at problems and find solutions. Our need for more "stuff" created by advertising
is an illusory vicious cycle that robs us of real joy and satisfaction and connecting to the land that sustains us.
Read "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn.
We are, at this moment, the best we have ever been because earth is a great big school where we learn lesson after lesson. And I believe those lessons continue after we leave. I took up horse back riding at age 55 because I had an inner nudge to learn more about these wonderful animals. There is an Arab saying, "Heaven is the wind that blows between a horses ears." I later bought an Icelandic horse who I came to love and trust,both for his kindness and his sure-footedness. I rode for miles and hours with friends on deserted logging roads in the mountains of southern Oregon. I felt one with the world, with Spirit and my friends and their horses when we were galloping those beautfiul trails and roads. My friends taught me more about horses and we helped one train for the 100 mile Tevis endurance ride in Ca. My friend, Beth, completed that ride within the alloted 24 hours. Beth died last summer at an endurane ride near Bend. I didn't think that was possibe because she was the best rider I knew. It's easy to forget danger on the back of a horse you love and trust, but it is always there. I had to sell Sporty seven years ago when I moved and he died of a sudden infection two years ago. I dreamed I was on his back just the other night and he was taking me safely through a wild herd. We are all connected. Everything is connected in ways that
we humans can occasionally see if we ask with our hearts.
Someone once told me that the definition of an "expert" is someone who has been doing it (whatever) longer than most others and has learned from his/her mistakes. Now I'm not saying that an expert is a perfectionist; I'm just saying he loves his work and keeps trying to do it better than before. If we truly believe in something, we want to do it better. I believe that wolves enhance our ecosystems and science is proving that. After wolves were re-introduced in the Northwest nearly a generation ago, aspen, cottonwood, willow and other vegetation eaten down by elk are returning. But in the state where I live, the economy and government is dominated by ranchers, outfitters and the like. They consider wolves to be vermin and are trying to kill every last one. I have been working for several years to educate people in my state about the benefits wolves bring. It's a bit like Sisyphous's rolling the rock up the hill,but I will continue to look for better ways to do it because I truly believe we are better off with wolves than without them. However, I am fairly certain this struggle will continue past my life time. I do not know if balance will be achieved. I can only keep working toward it in the best ways I can find.
Fear is part of the illusion of being human. On earth everything splits into positive and negative, and society focuses on the negative. What if this...? What if that...? I have come to believe that there are only two emotions - love and fear. Fear essentially is the absence of love - not trusting. Spirit is within, so if you learn to love and trust yourself you are learning to trust Spirit. If we learn to live in the moment, we can always access Spirit. We have everything we need, we simply need to remember how to access it
My gill is my passion for improving our environment by protecting wolves and other endangered species, which we, in our ignorance keep trying to eliminate. Man is the only animal that keeps taking and depriving other species of their place on the planet. My challenge is to transform my anger and frustration into meaningful actions to educate, inspire and protest the actions of people and organizations that continually push the taking mission at the expense of the higher good. May the sludge pass through my gill and become pure water that all sentient beings can drink without fear of poison and death
One of my blessings is working with animals. Several days a week I walk two dogs for a Dr. who works long hours. As soon as I approach the house they get behind the floor length shade to see me and start barking in anticipation and excitement. They never fail to make me smile or laugh at their antics. Even though our communication is wordless, it's heart to heart, eye to eye, soul to soul. Then I leave a brief note for the Dr. telling about her pets antics and leave the house knowing that the recount may refresh her and make her smile at the end of a long day.
I do not believe that we are "born more or less with an empty vault." I believe we are born again and again and who we are as in this lifetime is the sum total of all our experiences and lessons from previous lifetimes. If you notice little children, at even a fairly young age they have different talents, personalities and fears. Surely these weren't developed or accumulated in a just a few years. I do agree that different memories enter into making the self, and that we come into each existence with lessons to learn. Some are easy and some can be very difficult. Much of our mission is remembering who we really are beyond our physical bodies. How we address those opportunities during our current time on earth will determine how we leave to go Home, and eventually we evolve to the point where we come back to help, or stay to help, or experience even broader opportunities to help in the great scheme of things that is beyond our limited human consciousness - more in the realm of love than of mind.