Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grains Of Sand

There were so many different grains of sand that fell this year. Each one very precious. Each one with significant purpose and meaning. I learned so much, this year, more than I have in a very long time. Listening affords one the opportunity to hear and then change, if one is open to that.

This was the year that seemed to ride on shifting sands all the way through... everything I thought would go one way, went another, so many plans were changed or let go of, and things I didn't expect presented themselves from seemingly nowhere.

Fine grains~
     There was forgiveness between people I love, and I forgave, and I was graciously forgiven.  It emphasized compassion, understanding, patience, devotion and love, and it strengthened bonds.
     There was discovery and adventure in small and huge ways, in new places and in old, hand in hand with friends, which only serves to enrich those kind of experiences even more.  These excursions included the procurement of a red satin fringed flapper dress, Tony Bennett, King Tut, incredible moments in Muir Woods, tigers & leopards, ocean waves, orca whales, beautiful cities, a champagne birthday on a beach before an ocean sunset, a random cow, tangible history in Westminster Abbey, new friends in London, old and new hidden treasured places along the Thames, midnight under Big Ben, a movie set & some incredible actors, dolphins in SF Bay (?!), the best breakfast cafe in SF, the best sushi in the world in V.BC, a girl and her horse make beautiful subjects before a lens, mountain lakes don't last for eternity, there are faerie glens in woods & secret mountain places, I went halfway up the Eiffel Tower... again, the umbrella salesman has a stand at the end of the rainy road, I already met the only accordion player who knows La Vie En Rose and he's not in Vegas, art comes in every form and when it's water, it's beautiful, there's no rush or thrill like standing on a stage in a theatre singing your heart out to strangers, and it is equally thrilling to see dear friends do the same.
Medium grains-
     Friendships mean different things to different people and when they are lost, it isn't always a bad thing.  In the face of lost friendships, the loyalty and devotion of good friends is truly shown for its priceless worth. 
     When times are very difficult, in loss, in fright, in pain, in anger, in confusion, there isn't anything so good or precious as the warm steady strength of a friends hand or loving arms to make it through the darkness.
     We have control over our environments, most of the time, and we have absolute control over how we choose to react to our environments and our experiences.  I quote Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, “...The last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” as he explains how he made it through his unthinkable ordeal.  I repeated lessons in learning to adapt and grow in different environments... learning to make choices that would benefit others as well as myself.
     Humbleness is found in honesty with self and when spoken with love by others, and it is the essential nutrient a soul needs to grow strong and upright. 
     Allowing shame and guilt to dictate behavior and thought is an unnecessary self-inflicted binding that hinders recovery and growth and should be left alone entirely.

Coarse grains- 
     One of the biggest lessons of the year, and one I am still working through, is that love is all encompassing... real love knows no bounds, it is not ruled by organization... by trying to force it into categories and definitive segments... compartmentalized until it is nicely and neatly controlled. It is fluid, powerful, endless, as the oceans I love so much. Learning how to love like that is a work in progress for me.  It is astounding what I've held back from others because I did not understand the way that love is.  I raged against the wall only to discover that I'd built the dam with my own two hands, all by myself.  There's a confounding revelation.
      Another lesson is learning to deal with everything as it comes, instead of pretending it does not exist, as has been my modus operandi for a long while.  This behavior has excluded me from the very world at large... known, unknown, wanted, unwanted, and I've missed more than I could ever express. I have a passion for life that is boundless within certain bounds.  That paradox cuts off so much possibility. I want boundless passion for life... period. I don't want to miss anything. Ever.      

I hope that this year has found you well and successful in every way. Healthy, strong, and happy. I hope you've realized dreams and goals, and I hope you have new ones shining in the distance of days to come.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nobel Peace Price

Our most sincere and delighted congratulations to
Liu Xiaobo for winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year!

Our most sincere and heartsick sorrow to Liu Xiaobo that the Chinese government has charged him with 'inciting subversion' and imprisoned him for 11 years. This stems from his work to change China's communist ideals.

The price of freedom is high, but there is nothing that those who want it won't sacrifice to get it; history has shown us this time and time again.

The Chinese government has called Xiaobo's Nobel win "an attack on its political and legal system" and a "political farce", as they view the (massive world wide) support of Xiaobo in an extremely negative light. His wife, Liu Xia has been under house arrest since the Nobel committee announced Xiaobo's win.  No one will be allowed to accept his prize for him, unfortunately. 

The Nobel committee will honor this imprisoned hero by representing him with an empty chair at the presentation of the awards.  He may not be there to accept it physically, but his absence will make him more powerfully present than anyone else who is there.  It will speak volumes to the world, and hopefully, to the leaders of China.    

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said,
"The Nobel committee has to admit they are in the minority, the Chinese people and the overwhelming majority of people in the world are against this.  The decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee does not represent the wish of the majority of the people in the world, particularly that of the developing countries... This is not an issue of human rights; it is an issue of interference of internal affairs...  Liu Xiaobo broke Article 105, a crime of instigating the subversion of state power. He went beyond general criticism of the state..."
I believe that she is wrong, and I am not alone in that opinion.
Almost 100 protesters marched on the Chinese Embassy in Oslo with a petition containing more than 100,000 signatures demanding Liu Xiaobo be released from prison, crying "Freedom to Liu! Freedom for China!". 

Leaders from many nations all over the world including President Barack Obama and his wife have called for his release as well, and China's leaders in Beijing have only grown more furious over the requests and demands for Xiaobo's freedom.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry has blocked all media and internet coverage and all information about the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Liu Xiaobo. 

President Obama stated,
"Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible."

The chair is only empty of a physical body... it is filled beyond measure with faith, with ideals, with dreams, with the support of those who have freedom and of those who believe in it and dream of it every day.

These are the struggles that bring us to freedom in the days to come. Liu Xiaobo, we believe in you, and in what you stand for. Keep the faith. Peace be with you.

Chris Andrews Photography http://www.cja-images.org.uk/index.html

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Rhyme of the Dream-Maker Man

The Rhyme of the Dream-Maker Man

Down near the end of a wandering lane,
That runs 'round the cares of a day,
Where Conscience and Memory meet and explain
Their quaint little quarrels away.

A mist air-castle sits back in the dusk
where brownies and hobgoblins dwell
And this is the home
Of a busy old gnome
who is making up dream-things to sell,
My dear,
The daintiest dreams to sell.

He makes golden dreams of wicked men's sighs.
He weaves on the thread of a hope
The airiest fancies of pretty brown eyes,
And patterns his work with a trope.

The breath of a rose and the blush of a wish
Boiled down to the ghost of a bliss,
He wraps in a smile
Every once in a while
And calls it the dream of a kiss,
Dear heart,
The dream of an unborn kiss.

Last night when I walked thro` the portals of sleep
And came to the weird little den,
I looked in the place where the elf-man should keep
A dream that I buy now and then.

`Tis only the sweet happy dream of a day-
Yet one that I wish may come true-
But I learned from the elf
That you'd been there yourself
And he'd given my dear dream to you,
He'd given our dream to you.

~William Allen White