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Blog Entries tagged 'peace'

The Art of Memoir on Maui

Happy Sunday!

Just a few spots left for the writing retreat. 

Come write your heart out...and then go wade in the ocean blue.

Register. 

May 24th, 2009

Black in America, Pt One

 
 
 Black in America
 
As we approach the airing of Black in America Pt 2, I thought I'd pull out my post from the Root that ricocheted across the web last year in response to Pt 1, and was then erased entirely when the Root did their site re-design.
 
Black in America: Ain't I Woman?

It's not pretty, but I'm going to tell you what I think.

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May 21st, 2009

Today: Nothing

May 16th, 2009

Celebrate the Happiness of Another

I like to visit the Campaign for Love and Forgiveness from time to time. This piece especially spoke to me today. The online ritual of forgiveness is a favorite aspect of this ongoing project. 

From their site:

Love

Image of men forgivingCelebrate the Happiness of Another
In The Kabbalah of Envy, Rabbi Nilton Bonder explains a practice that will reinforce love in any situation. "Yiddish has a very special verb, unknown to most other languages: farginen. It means to open space, to share pleasure; it is the exact opposite of the verb to envy. While envy means disliking or resenting the happiness of others, farginen means making a pact with another individual's pleasure or happiness."

The next time you hear about someone else's good fortune, notice your reaction. Do you find yourself having to force a smile and giving rather insincere congratulations? Do you ask, "Why didn't this happen to me?" It is in such moments that many relationships start to deteriorate, so it is important to be able to practice farginen with another person instead.

"To develop the ability to farginen," Bonder advises, "we must first recall from our own experience those moments when we were able to do it. And if this feeling was sincere, it will certainly have been felt with great happiness, a kind of catharsis. Every time we are able to celebrate someone else's happiness, we will, by definition, have greater reason to celebrate ourselves. In this way, we can widen our chances for enjoying life, freeing ourselves from the imprisonment of our own luck. Farginen sets up networks of confidence that enrich life."

Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama hugging Show Simple Affection
Do you shy away from hugging family or friends? From putting an arm around someone's shoulder or showing affection to your husband, wife or partner in front of your children? Many of us like to receive affection. A pat on the back, a smile and squeeze of a hand can generate good feelings. Still, social conventions and fear of what people may think can stop us from expressing our feelings in simple physical gestures. Perhaps we need more of that. Over the next week, try showing more affection to your family and friends. Note how it makes you feel and whether you detect any shifts in your relationships because of it.

May 3rd, 2009

Vogue India

Lakshmi Menon’s editorial in Vogue India’s March 2009 issue inspires. Shot by one of my favorite contemporary photographers Prabuddha Das Gupta and styled by Edward Lalrempuia.

April 29th, 2009

Empire

April 26th, 2009

Dr. Realist interview, from Newsweek

Excerpt from a nice, concise interview in Newsweek on the economy with the man who predicted the current state of affairs, Nouriel Roubinin:

What is going to fuel the next growth cycle?
That is a difficult question. The periods of high growth in the United States in the last 25 years have been characterized by an asset and credit bubble. Whatever the future growth is going to be, this time around it needs to be sustainable and not bubble-prone because we are running out of bubbles to create. We had the real-estate [bubble], tech bubble, housing bubble, hedge-fund bubble, private-equity bubble, commodities bubble, even the art bubble—and they are all bursting.

What makes you different from the other economists?
We think usually that crowds—on average—can be wiser than individuals. In this case, most people got it wrong because whenever we are in an irrational, exuberant bubble, people fail to think correctly.

Do you believe this is a bear-market rally or do you think it is the market anticipating an economic recovery?
As we reach newer lows, we may be closer to a level of the market that is fundamentally right. A year ago we were not as close to a true bottom. Today we are closer to it. As we become closer to the bottom of the economy, the stock market looks ahead and sees the light at the end of the tunnel and rallies. In spite of these caveats, I would argue that even the latest market rally is a bear-market rally.

Do you worry about China getting tired of holding our bonds?
In the short run, China has no option but to accumulate more reserves and dollar reserves. Why? Because if they stop doing that, their currency would appreciate sharply while their exports are plunging. So in the short run, they are going to keep on accumulating. But I have seen a huge number of new initiatives in the last month that suggest [the Chinese] are pushing for the yuan to become an international currency and a reserve currency. They are doing bilateral deals with countries like Argentina and half a dozen others in yuan, not in dollars.

They are moving away from the dollar?
Yes, slowly they will. First they have to establish their own currency as an international currency. That will take years, but already in a month they have done more than in the last 10 years.

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April 25th, 2009

Michael Pollan on food, the environment and the economy, from the Rumpus

I like this interview with Michael Pollan on the whether the Green Economy can save the planet. 

Rumpus: I don’t want to ask you about an article you haven’t read, but maybe the idea of “economy vs. environment” is provocative enough to address. Owen argues, in so many words, that economy has to be sacrificed to some extent to save the environment. How do you feel about that?

Pollan: Well, I mean, that’s a good question. There is a real effort to align economic growth with becoming green. It’s the Thomas Friedman school of things, this idea that you can unleash these powers that will drive certain change, that you can align economic interests and the environment. It would be wonderful if it’s true. But I think we need to make changes whether it’s true or not. The fact is that there are fundamental tensions between the biological reality of the planet right now and the economic reality. To some extent you can adapt the economy, create a new set of rules and incentives to send it down a better track, but finally people in the first world are going to have to consume a whole lot less. Green stuff or black stuff, whatever it is.

Rumpus: The idea of a “green economy” is really palatable, though.

Pollan: I think it’s very politically comfortable to suggest that you can have a non-zero-sum solution to both the global economic crisis and our environmental problems, but my guess is that the non-zero-sum solution is wishful thinking. We could have a greener economy, even a greener consumer economy by changing the rules—whether it’s by taxing carbon or trading carbon, I’m not sure what—but in the end there’s just a fundamental problem with the sheer amount we’re consuming. Fossil fuel is a very special thing. There is no other fossil fuel out there. Yes, there’s solar energy, but whether it can underwrite the kind of lifestyle we’ve had remains to be seen. So if you’re a politician it’s very useful to say that we can have economic growth and at the same time green the economy, but writers just have to face up to the fact, whether it sells or not, that there are some fundamental tensions between the economic order and the biological order.

Rumpus: I was re-reading some passages from Botany of Desire and a particular sentence grabbed me. You were talking about our Nature Narratives, and you said, “There’s the old heroic story, where Man is at war with Nature; the romantic version, where Man merges spiritually with Nature (usually with some help from the pathetic fallacy); and, more recently, the environmental morality tale, in which Nature pays man back for his transgressions, usually in the coin of disaster.” If someone told you that our current problems—the food crisis, the energy crisis, the health care crisis—somehow epitomized the environmental morality tale, how would you respond?

Pollan: I think that’s the narrative in which a lot of things fit. Look at industrial agriculture. You use too many antibiotics on your cattle to get cheap meat, and suddenly you have antibiotic-resistant staph infections popping up all over the Midwest. But that’s evolution. I mean, you could put a moral spin on it and say, oh, we got what we deserved. But it’s just the feedback loop inherent to evolution. You spray too much pesticide and a resistant bug emerges. Now if you have a moral cast of mind, you’ll say, well, oh, boy, Nature is paying us back, getting even with us for using all that pesticide. The situation certainly conforms to the environmental morality narrative. But that doesn’t make the narrative true.

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April 22nd, 2009

Auntie

Today at the pool, about ten kids I didn't know called me "Auntie." Here in Hawaii it happens every day.

"Auntie! Watch me put my head underwater!"

"Auntie! My sister can jump, you want to see her?"

"Auntie! Will you help me get my towel?"

 "Auntie! Can you show me how to kick my legs while I hold onto the edge of the pool?"

I'm always taken aback by the fearlessness of the kids. They trust me immediately. I'm an Auntie--an elder-- and their sense is that I will take care of them. 

It reminds of something very old. And something very new. Something many of us have lost and are looking to regain. 

Innocence. Trust. Ease.

In Hawai'i it's called O'hana-- Family. 

Now each time a child calls me "Auntie" I feel so proud. That they've chosen me, that they trust me. They ask. I give. It's so easy. I haven't forgotten. 

 

April 16th, 2009

Still human after all these years.

April 15th, 2009