Stayin’ Alive

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This July Paris is opening it’s first “Live Water” swimming area on the canal in my neighborhood, the result of decades of work by city governments and local activists who’ve brought the river water that feeds the canal back to life. Particularly relevant as summer returns and I’m coming back to life myself after terror episodes and two exhausting presidential elections…also  inspiring and galvanizing, as Trump withdraws the US from the Paris Climate Accords. Many of us are dedicated to keeping the planet alive and imagining a better future. He can’t stop us! xxxxx Aliss

My Interview with Gail Straub @ The Trump Antidote: Methodology for Resilient Resistance

(Some people have had a problem with the links on this page. Please excuse the inconvenience. They should be working now. Don’t hesitate to contact me!)

A New Era of Creative Change

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My interview with Gail Straub, co-founder and Executive Director of Empowerment Institute and the Imagine Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women

The election aftermath: existential disorientation, radical creativity, fierce unstoppable action, the Beloved Community, grass roots activism, climate change, compassionate engagement, her article “John Lennon Lends Me His Glasses,”… and where we go from here.

www.thetrumpantidote.com/interview

Gail Straub: John Lennon Lends Me His Glasses

www.empowermentinstitute.net

www.imagineprogram.net

Easter

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(Église Saint Roch, near the Tuileries, on a recent afternoon)

“…this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire… What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world…” Hamlet (Act II, scene 2, p. 13)

Woke up Wednesday morning, realizing Brussels explosions were not a bad dream and I still didn’t have news of friends there. From the kitchen, I heard my husband’s voice saying, “3rd century BC, Rome wins the Punic Wars…” Right, he’s helping our son study for a history test. I hear the word “Carthage”…My semi-conscious brain forms pictures of Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants to invade what is now Italy. My God, elephants in the Alps! Then I jolt awake. Carthage! That’s in North Africa, but where?  My thoughts start spinning back to an article I read after the Paris attacks, “What  Isis Really Wants..”* Wasn’t there something about “destroying the Army of Rome in Dabiq (Syria), to bring on the Apocalypse?” At the time, I dismissed it as fanatical delirium. Run to the computer: Carthage, present day Tunisia… Didn’t the Roman army raze the city and plough salt into the land so no crops would ever grow there? When I was my son’s age, that sounded so cruel, my mind couldn’t fathom it… “Roman Army”… Is this some kind of indelible ancestral memory North Africans still carry 2300 years later? Are these the roots of the conflict with Daesh today? If so the struggle for economic and military power predates Islam and Christianity… Centuries later religion became the rallying cry for both sides: Charles Martel at Poitiers, The Crusades, The Janissaries, the Moguls…More recently, the war in Yugoslavia began with an anit-Muslim speech by Slobodan Milosevic on the exact date of the 600th anniversary of Serbia’s conquest by Ottoman Turks.  If all of this is buried so deeply in our collective unconscious but still activates revenge strategies, how long will it go on? How will we ever get beyond it?

The complete quote from Hamlet is much darker than what I selected above:

“I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air—look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me.”

And yet… there are signs of hope, people protecting themselves, but responding to barbarity with love. All three Abrahamic religions teach us that forgiveness opens the way to grace. Some say grace can break the chains of karma (call it the weight of history if you prefer). Tomorrow is Easter for Christians. Renewal. Can we believe in noble reason, infinite faculties, expressiveness, angelic actions, divine understanding, for the beauty of the earth, this goodly frame, under this brave firmament?

I hope so.

Much more to say about this week….xxxx Aliss

*Article in the Atlantic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

Dreaming on the Sky

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Looking up, projecting inner visions on the sky, our infinite screen, opens imagination.  What do we want to take with us into the New Year?  What do we want to leave behind?  What bridges do we want to cross?  What do we love so much that we can’t not do it?  When we put our hearts fully into a dream, it changes us and our “reality.” Most people hate the word commitment, but here’s another way to look at it:

“As long as we are not committed, doubt reigns, the ability to withdraw remains and inefficiency always prevails. Concerning all acts of initiative and creativity, there is an elementary truth,the ignorance of which has countless consequences and aborts splendid projects. At the moment we fully commit, Providence also goes into motion. To help us, all sorts of things take shape, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. An entire chain of events, of situations and decisions create in our favor all manner of unplanned incidents, meetings, and material support that we would never have dreamed of encountering on our path…Everything you can do or dream of doing, you can venture. Audacity contains genius, power, and magic.”  Goethe, The Power of Commitment

Let’s throw our big dreams for ourselves and the world into the sky: health, happiness, creativity, abundance. No dream too big to come true.

Happy New Year! xxxx Aliss

 

Love Forever True

DSC02401I’m inspired by these two creatures living on the canal around the corner from my building. Year in year out I see them swimming together, cob and pen, raising their cygnets, feeding, flying over the water.

If there’s one thing I wish everyone for the New Year, it’s love.

xxxx Aliss

 

Yet In Thy Dark Street Shineth

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Joyeuses Fêtes=Merry Christmas and Happy New Year=Happy Holidays

The waters of life continue to flow in tears of sorrow and tears of joy. My friend Marilyn lost her young daughter this week and yet in darkness she was a source of light, giving thanks for the years they had together and allowing her child’s life to give life to others. Thank you to everyone in distant countries holding her in their thoughts. I believe the love we send out is never lost and maybe even saves the world. As we start another trip around our sun, our moon reflecting its light, I’m grateful for my family, friends, and home. Wishing you all radiance….

Christmas Countdown

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This is our advent calendar, one of my favorite Christmas rituals 🙂
Every night from December 1st to 24th, I put a china figurine
(collected from years of Epiphany king cakes) into one of the little drawers with a tiny chocolate. I start out with toys and animals and gradually
switch to the Nativity theme so that a tiny baby Jesus in the manger is in
the last drawer. It’s pretty intense, like being the Tooth Fairy every night for three and a half weeks, but my son loves it, of course. Sometimes I forget to do it before I fall asleep and have to run frantically to my secret figurine and chocolate hiding places, and sneak them into the calendar before he sees me! When my daughter was at home, I was doing double
duty with her calendar, a big felt hanging Christmas tree
with numbered pockets. Traditionally, the treat is just a piece of chocolate, but one year in a commercial calendar I bought, there were little plastic
gumball machine toys in the windows as well. I could never find one of
those again but saved the toys and put them in the next year’s
calendar compartments with a chocolate. It was always really fun seeing
how the kids reacted to a tiny plastic hotdog, a roulette wheel, or a pair of
dice. Then I got the idea to use the king cake “fèves” (“beans”) 🙂
Trying to keep journaling, something I’ve done since childhood. Unstructured-blowing-off-steam-not-meant-for-prime-time, it helps me stay focused and make sense of non-stop barrages of information we all get every day. When I look back over the last month’s notes, I see changes, more fear, but also more love. If you have thoughts, please let me know.
Thank you everyone for checking in and liking or following my blog! It’s really carried me these past few weeks since November 13th. I love doing it and love your feedback!