Caught By Waves, Some Day I Shall Be Released

In Woolf’s The Waves, Rhoda concludes the first bit, saying, ‘Let me pull myself out of these waters. But they heap themselves on me; they sweep me between their great shoulders; I am turned; I am tumbled; I am stretched, among these long lights, these long waves, these endless paths, with people pursuing, pursuing.’ Easwaran writes, ‘Because [most people] do not know how to enter the deeper levels of consciousness, they are exposed to all the storms that life can bring.’ However, Pollan and Llinas each suggest that consciousness is no more than an evolutionary gambit: Pollan, that nature has other, non-nervous gambits, such as biochemistry, and Llinas, that consciousness is just part of ‘motricity’, or movement. image from wikipedia.

natalie-goldberg-from-same-comOthers, such as Goldberg, say it’s the mind’s job to think involuntarily (as it is the heart’s to beat). Goldberg cautions us not to identify with the mind. But how do you think about not thinking? How do you strive for non-striving? What’s the sound of one hand clapping? How do you enter the deeper levels of consciousness? wwhether involuntary or not, like the heart, we need to feed the mind good food and exercise it as we journey through life. Vanier writes, ‘The journey of each of us is a journey towards the integration of our deep self with our qualities and weakness, our riches and our poverty, our light and our darkness.’ This journey, every day, all lifelong, has its ups and downs, its ebb and flow. However, though caught by waves, some day I shall be released. image from nataliegoldberg.com.

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sumi_and_kalpona--from-sumofus-orgRemember Sumi Abedin and Kalpona Akter? Sumi is a survivor of the Walmart-contracted Tazreen garment factory fire and Kalpona is a former garment worker who became an organizer and a leader in the fight for safer factories. It was her investigations that proved that Walmart was sourcing some of its clothes from Tazreen. Sumi and Kalpona are on the End Death Traps Tour, to confront the big corporations, like Walmart and Gap, that treat Bangladeshi lives as just another cost of doing business, to force executives to see the human consequences of their pursuit of low prices. Sumofus writes that Walmart is ‘scrambling to prove it “cares” about Bangladeshi workers, but instead of compensating victims or getting serious about fire safety, it’s trying to duck its responsibilities with publicity stunts. On Tuesday — the day after Bangladeshi leaders Kalpona and Sumi arrived in the US to challenge Walmart to address workers’ concerns –Walmart announced it would fund a fire safety training center in Bangladesh. Of course, this announcement is just a cheap PR move. Bangladeshi workers don’t need lectures about fire safety — they need workplaces with safe electrical wiring, working fire extinguishers, and unobstructed emergency exits. And the people who have lost loved ones still need to see compensation. But the timing of this announcement proves that Walmart’s scared that its image is suffering from the controversy.’ image from leadnow.

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vanier-and-gulls-from-larche-caVanier says, ‘My vision is that belonging should be at the heart of a fundamental discovery: that we all belong to a common humanity, the human race. We may be rooted in a specific family and culture but we come to this earth to open up to others, to serve them and receive the gifts they bring to us, as well as to all of humanity…. We wait for something which we believe will bring us happiness, and it does not arrive…. Human wisdom means … not closing ourselves up in a beautiful ideal which we must attain, but welcoming reality just as it is; discovering God present in reality; not struggling against reality, but working with it; discovering the seed of life, the possibilities hidden in it. Of course we must have a vision for the future and focus on it, we must have a plan, and be aware of and responsible for the future, but our hope and vision must be rooted in the present. This is Buddhist wisdom, but also Christian – to discover God in the present moment, to be a friend of time and of reality.’

And…

‘We are all so impatient. We want everything and we want it now! We want happiness, fulfilment and life. It is normal to want such things. But we have to learn to respect the rhythm of our being. Look at the plants and animals, look at the vegetables and the fruit trees. It takes time to grow and to bear fruit. There are the summers of rich harvests, the autumns with rain and falling leaves, the grey and cold winters where life seems to have stopped and then there are springtimes when life is reborn. It is the same with human life. We are like the fruit trees. We have been planted in the earth of our mother’s being and we have grown. We are born, we developed in the sometimes rugged earth of our families. During our life, just as in the cycle of nature, seasons follow one another.’

image from l’arche.ca.

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The Paper Bag Princess was a right-on woman! From Wikipedia: ‘Research by Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Mykol Hamilton has documented the under-representation of female characters in 200 top-selling children’s books from 2001 and a seven-year sample of Caldecott award-winning books. There were nearly twice as many male main characters as female main characters, and male characters appeared in illustrations 53 percent more than female characters. Most of the plot-lines centered around the male characters and their experiences of life.’ The article goes on to say the same thing occurs (not surprisingly) in TV and film.

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