Here's to a NEW YEAR filled with PEACE and LOVE for ALL!

Pine Forest, Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico
Photograph by William Stark, March 2000

"Softly the breeze whispers among the pines, asking us not only to stop and smell the flowers but also to stretch our souls to touch the essence of our existence." ~ author unknown

The Four Immeasurables:

Immeasurable Loving Kindness,
Joy, and

Wishing all of you a Wonderful Holiday Season in all of The Immeasurables!

With much Love and Peace

photo by Craig Smith
"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution." ~ Kahlil Gibran

Guest Writer ~ Bill Johns ~ US Air Force Veteran

Bill Johns entered the United States Air Force in 1986 and got out in 2007. He was in Aircraft maintenance and retired as a Master Sergeant. He served in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during the first Gulf war (1990-1991). He was deployed to Italy several times in 1994 and 1995 in support of the Bosnian war. For Iraq/Afghanistan, he was in Qatar 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, close to 5 months each time....By the way, Bill also writes songs about the important issues he thinks about, and you can hear his songs at MySpace


In 1981 I was going to college in eastern New Mexico, not far from the Texas border. At that time, the oil bomb was in full swing. I knew people who were high school drop outs that were making as much as $1000 per week doing the unskilled jobs on the oil rigs. Soon, most of the oil wells were capped, and that industry dried up in the US. The common explanation for this was that the US was running out of oil and the "50 year reserve" story.
In 1990, I went to Saudi Arabia for the first of several trips. While there, I got to know many people that they called Third Country Nationals (TCN). They are what make the oil rich countries run in the Middle East. They are brought in from places like the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other developing countries. I met a couple of guys who were working as rough necks on oil rigs and they were making $350 a month for doing a job that paid $800 to $1000 a week in the States 10 years before.
What’s worse is that every US military installation in the Middle East is operating from the sweat of these people. On my last couple trips to Qatar, I got to be friends with a couple people from Nepal that worked in our dinning halls. The first thing that disturbed me was the hours they worked. I would eat breakfast at 5:30 am before work and supper at 7:30 pm after I got off work, worked out and showered. Many times, the same crew was working at the dining facility. I asked my friend what their hours were, and he said 12 hours a day. I looked at a clock and informed him that I saw him 14 hours ago. So then he explained that they had two crews: one 5am to 5pm and the other 5pm to 5am (and that they were bused in from 45 minutes away). When their bus arrived at the base, they had to clear security, which takes anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. So their day was about 16 to 18 hours long. As far as time off; they got one day a month to take care of personal needs such as laundry. Their compensation was the equivalent of $380 US dollars a month. While these people are happy to have a way to survive, it does not make it right. They are not fairly treated or paid by any kind of reasonable standard. When I brought this up with some base leadership, they said they pay contractors so they have nothing to do with how the TCN’s are paid or treated. That is, of course, a cop out.
Now back to the US oil industry and their reasons for the shift from producing domestic oil to producing foreign oil. In my opinion, it boils down to profit margin. Why cut into your profit with labor cost when you can go somewhere else and use slave labor. However, it has cost us as tax payers a sinful percentage of our tax dollars to secure the oil in the Middle East. Right now it seems it is costing around $2,000,000 a minute to secure the American oil billionaire’s investments in the Middle East. So the next time you are terrified about the price of gas at the pump, think of the real cost. We are paying for it, not only with our tax dollars, but, also, with young American lives.
I don’t believe the old adage that oil is a resource we need so, therefore, we have to secure it. I think we are only protecting our richest citizen’s investments in the commodity. Carbon emissions are destroying our planet, and we have been and still are fighting for the right to destroy it.... (continue reading more below)

continue reading Bill Johns entire article (click here)

"Protecting nature. Preserving Life."

The Nature Conservancy in Africa

Partners in Africa: The Green Belt Movement (Nurturing people by planting trees.)

Nature Conservancy Magazine: Spring 2007

The life of Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai evokes the fable of Jack and the beanstalk: She planted some trees, and they magically grew into a social revolution. The Green Belt Movement—the Kenyan group she started in 1977—has planted more than 30 million trees. Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her reforestation work and its role in reshaping the political future of Kenya.
In the 1960s, a scholarship program took her to America for college and graduate school. She returned home to earn her Ph.D. and become a professor at the University of Nairobi. Slowly she became aware of the side effects of prolonged deforestation: massive erosion, rivers running brown with silt, firewood shortages, too much farmland given over to logging and cash crops like tea.
A simple solution occurred to her: Organize small groups of people to plant seedlings and rejuvenate stripped forests. The Green Belt Movement was born.
For each seedling each person planted and nurtured, Maathai offered a token payment of a few cents. The army of Green Belt volunteers has now swollen to 100,000—most of them women.
Beyond planting millions of trees, the movement morphed into a pro-democracy, pro-environment alliance that rattled Kenya’s de facto dictator, President Daniel arap Moi. Maathai was harassed, beaten and eventually jailed. But democracy took root. In 2002, Moi relinquished power to a popularly elected president. Wangari Maathai was elected to parliament and later made assistant environment minister. Then came the Nobel prize.
Julius Githaiga celebrated that news by planting trees. "That’s our happiness," he says. Githaiga is 43, built tall and thin. He works a multigeneration family farm in Kenya’s Aberdare highlands and has become an avid Green Belt Movement disciple. "It has uplifted our lives so much," he says. "I never knew that conservation was my right."
A section of his farm serves as a Green Belt nursery. He, his brothers and some neighbors tend several thousand seedlings germinating in neat rows. Githaiga estimates he himself has planted 5,000 trees in nearby Tumutumu Forest.
Before we came and planted, it was bare," he says proudly, standing atop a hill in Tumutumu. "My kids will come here when the forest is back. This is food for their future."
The Green Belt Movement has around 70 employees and aspires to become a larger, more mainstream organization. To that end, The Nature Conservancy has provided information system software that makes possible sophisticated project tracking. The data might be used to determine what tree species grow best in certain soil conditions or to generate before-and-after maps of reforested plots.
"The Nature Conservancy has developed skills to work in a big way. We will benefit a lot from their experience," says Maathai. "The Conservancy can increase our capacity, especially in areas of monitoring, evaluating and reporting. People want to know: ‘What have you done?’" Through the Conservancy’s Adopt-an-Acre partnership, Green Belt plans to expand its operations to plant more trees and promote sustainable-livelihood projects like beekeeping.
In the meantime, Maathai wants to export her green-democracy "campaign" to other countries. "What we need to do is involve the African people to help themselves," she says, "not do things for them." —T.D.
Nature picture credits : Photo © Martin Rowe (Wangari Maathai); Henner Frankenfeld/Redux (Green Belt Movement)

The Green Belt Movement of Africa

One Woman's Remarkable Journey to Save Africa
One Tree at a Time
photo art by Craig Smith
"A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence.
He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song.
He lives in a totally new way; his very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer,
that of compassion.
Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy.
The man of peace is creative. He is not against war because to be against anything
is to be at war.
He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists.
And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful.
Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding,
will the war disappear."
Osho: Zen ~ The Path of Paradox


In India, this is the highest form of respect one can pay to another human being. Translated, it means:

"I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells; I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace."

Over 25% of the Homeless in America are Veterans

"....on Veterans Day we must reflect and realize that we are not taking care of the people who we sent to war to the extent they need. Recent reports have shown damning evidence on the results of years of neglect of the Veterans Administration. It has been estimated that over 25% of the homeless are veterans....For a lot of our homeless veterans they have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are unemployable. In the meantime because of the neglect of the veterans administration there is a backlog for claims which can take up to 6 months to fix. So what is an unemployable veteran supposed to do for 6 months? The answer, of course, is end up on the streets. Let's resolve this Veterans Day to remember our veterans 365 days a year....Everyday you can make a difference in a veteran's life. May I suggest a fantastic organization which gets vets off the streets and rehabilitates them?
You can help today at:
Do what you can to help veterans 365 days a year. If not at the link above, find out where you can make a difference for veterans in your neighborhood and take action....." ~ Elliot Anderson, Afghanistan Veteran

Today is A Day for Universal Peace and Love

This information came to me from one of my MySpace friends and it seemed so uplifting, I'm passing it on to you here:

Starting at 11:11 am everyone's local time on 11/11, you are invited to participate in a global wave that will continue through the time zones. Whether you have just a minute or can tune in for a full hour, you are invited to be a part of this wave. If this idea intrigues you, I invite you to read on. And, if you are so inclined, please share this message.

Wave 11/11 is all about practicing the recognition that we are all One, connecting with each other communally with the intent of creating inner and outer worlds of peace, presence and Love. During these times of great change, it is the belief of this writer that the world culture will be served to more and more frequently recognize its Oneness and its capacity for giving and receiving Love. Here is your opportunity to join in such a practice and then be aware of how it feels for you.

Gentle reminder: this is all offered to you in a humble way for your consideration. Please take what serves you now and leave behind what does not.

This event is all about uniting in song, prayer and meditation. And then paying attention to what your heart and soul are telling you about the experience.

Please observe the uniting time of 11:11 in your own way. If you can devote the full hour between 11:11 am and 12:11 pm in your own local time zone, that is wonderful. Or if you only have a few minutes, that is fine, too. The wave will circle the world.

The idea is that during that time, you focus your intent on doing and being what serves you spiritually. This might include playing with your children, singing uplifting songs, running with your dog, petting your cat, drumming with a group at the local park, or sitting alone or in group meditation. Please do (or be) what brings you joy. As you live your joy, you give it to the world. As you empower yourself, you empower the world. Be aware of any feeling of deep connection, not only with those in your immediate presence, but of people who are tuning in with you.

Together, we have the power to change our world. That power is not based in war, aggression, manipulation or in provoking the fears of others. It is based in loving consciousness and our realization and practice of the true power of Love.

You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. ~ Woodrow Wilson

Center for Ecoliteracy

The Free-Flowing Stream

We see quite clearly that what happens to the nonhuman happens to the human.
What happens to the outer world happens to the inner world.
If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur then the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished.
Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of the clouds by day and the stars at night,
we become impoverished in all that makes us human. ~ Thomas Berry

from Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do... ~ Rumi

THE PRICE - Patty Ann Smith (click here)

song THE PRICE written by Bill Johns

Bill Johns, a passionate songwriter who also served 20 years in the United States Air Force, gave me the honor of singing and recording his song THE PRICE. He was at an Air Base in the middle east in 2004 when he wrote this song inspired by a personal experience he had. In Bill's words, "Our aircraft supported operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The base was the biggest hub for the US, British and Australian everything coming and going came through there." Here are a few of Bill's powerful lines in THE PRICE:

The year may have changed but it’s oil still the game
and plain to see who’s getting’ paid
They send him everywhere never knowing when or where
or if he’ll see his family again
In an unarmored hummvee when the roadside IED
rips him from this world
Yea he knew the story
knew his blood they call glory
it’s his life they sacrifice
yea this man he paid the price

Bill Johns's dream is to perform his songs at peace benefits and charity fundraisers. He wants to spend the rest of his life (peacefully and non-violently) working for peace, the environment and any other social programs or issues.

The Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute Website

Tonight....CNN....9pm updates from Anderson Cooper and others....Regarding our "Planet in Peril"....Be There with me, Aloha ~ Patty:)

"In the beginning, our original faith was in nature, because we had a natural relationship with the earth. Now, our personal and planetary recovery depends on getting back to basics and renewing that relationship with the earth." ~ Patty Ann Smith
Hope 4 America
"A giant leap in consciousness"

Al Gore Wins Nobel Prize for "Peace"

OSLO, Norway (AP)—Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change jointly won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for fighting it.
In his statement today, Gore said: "I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change--the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis--a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level. "

"I am a very proud member of the Alliance for Climate Protection . We cannot have a Live Earth without Peace. Wars are not ecologically-friendly and are crimes against the earth and humanity. War must stop being part of human life .... if we truly want to save the earth and ourselves." ~ Patty Ann Smith
Imagine Peace

The biggest online peace event.On October 9th 2007, John Lennon's birthday.IMAGINE PEACE as Yoko Ono unveils the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER.

Dennis Kucinich about the Imagine Peace Tower

Kern River Plateau

Ashok Khosla has "photographed 379 American bird species in the wild, mostly in California." His photographs have been published by: American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Wildilfe Rescue...and many more magazines and organizations.
It is an enjoyable experience to visit his website and see so many of his wonderful pictures of all kinds of birds. You'd have to come back several times to see them all. But since birds represent "the soaring of our spirits" :) ~ You might want to bookmark it!:)
and, Be there!:)

Pacific Biodiesel

"Renewable fuel for a cleaner tomorrow!"
"We must demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature."

from Middleton Place Plantation

Organic Gardening

To instill a sense of belonging and environmental stewardship, the garden is a tool to increase understanding of nature and as a guide for gardening and living.
Companion Planting
Companion planting is the practice of planting two or more plant species in close proximity in order to achieve natural methods of pest control and higher yield crops. An example of this, is repelling pests with smell. Planting marigolds and herbs in the vegetable garden can confuse or repel plant pests by masking the odors of the primary garden crop. The smell of sweet basil planted in your garden will repel aphids, mosquitoes and mites. Basil will also act as a fungicide and slows the growth of milkweed bugs. The Three Sisters is the name given by Native Americans to the practice of growing corn, beans and squash together. Corn offers structure for the beans to climb. The beans, in turn, help to replenish the soil with nutrients. The large leaves of the squash act as living mulch, conserving water and providing the even moisture needed for the corn and beans to fully develop.
Attracting Beneficial Insects
The idea of attracting insects to your garden may seem bewildering, but there are beneficial insects that can actually control populations of the nuisance bugs we don’t want in our gardens. Nectar and pollen are needed during the life cycle of many of these insects, thus a variety of flowering plants will help attract and maintain their populations. Since most of the beneficial insects have short mouthparts, plants with numerous small flowers will allow these insects easier access to pollen.
Carrot family herbs such as fennel, dill, anise and coriander produce broad clusters of small flowers attractive to beneficials. Sunflowers, zinnias, asters, yarrow and goldenrod attract a variety of these helpful bugs.

One of the basic principles of gardening is to feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants. Composting is nature’s way for gardeners to create a source of high-quality nutrition for their garden and eliminate the need to buy commercial fertilizers.
The key to good composting is to provide the best possible conditions for the proliferation of composting organisms. These organism’s needs are simple: a balanced diet, water, air and warmth. Compost should be kept as damp as a moist sponge.
The balanced diet requires a correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for forming protein. The ideal C/N ratio is 30:1. Materials high in carbon are brown, yellow and dry, like leaves or straw. High nitrogen materials are green and moist, like grass clippings and vegetative kitchen waste.

To live a life filled with joy and purpose
and bring revolutionary healing
to everyone's heart
everywhere you go.

From the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

Click on headline above to read a post Amy Nelson sent in to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute about elephants being beaten. All of our hearts should ache after learning about this. The elephants, as is all of the animal kingdom, are our teachers and fellow travelers on this planet. "The Golden Rule" applies to ALL.

The Elephants and Human Survival

I thought it might be interesting for people to know how important the elephants are to human survival. (click on the headline above)

All Creatures Great and Small

photo by Craig Smith
Two good sites to visit online:
Animal Welfare Institute
Endangered Species Handbook
Just Added:
Animal Rescue New Orleans

High Schoolers Bring Hope 4 Peace

photo art by Craig Smith

Fifty high school students came from as far away as Indonesia to interact in a project to explore avenues for peace at the University of Texas at Austin. Watch their "Peaceful Moments" video and read their "Peaceful Moments" magazine online. Click on the headline above and learn all about the great work they are doing.

The Iroquois Museum ~ Nature Park

photo: courtesy of the Iroquois Museum Website
excerpts from the Iroquois Museum Website:

The Iroquois Museum Nature Park has a Stream and a River, Shagbark hickory stands, Fields of wildflowers, deer, raccoon, occasional beaver, woodchucks, squirrels, birds. All nature as kin -- alive, possible medicines, a realm of the spirit co-existing with humans.

This Nature Park of forty-five acres introduces you to the Iroquois view of nature -- Our Mother the Earth, our Elder Brother the Sun, our Grandfathers the Thunderers, our Three Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash), the earth as Turtle Island, the nine clan animals, the four beings who are the winds, our Grandmother Moon, Morning Star, the Seven Dancers, and the Little People who control the medicine and herbs given by the Creator. The Nature Park is literally an island that time forgot, but the living beings in the park are involved with a struggle to survive in the modern world. The Museum also tells that story.
The Park consists of fields and woods, with a feeder stream winding its way down to a creek, which flows along the entire southeast corner of the park. Sometime in the last century, a huge stone dam was built across the stream, but one of those "once in a century" storms took out the center of the dam, leaving mute but dramatic testimony to the power of the surrounding watershed. Today the stream is classified as a trout stream by DEC, but trout have yet to be discovered. Other fish, frogs, crayfish, green heron, kingfisher, and a rare visiting beaver have been noted.

Deer and racoon are plentiful, as though the site has become an island of safety for them. The woods has a strong group of shagbark hickory trees, with many venerable and stately hemlocks. A few dignified maples are engaged in their silent struggle against "Maple Decline", and the Park's many ash trees are trying desperately to survive what is called locally a "Die Off", caused by some mysterious virus. We believe acid rain is making survival difficult for all these trees.
There is particular interest in the Park’s ecology, of which some points of focus have been the bird population, the life in the stream, the watershed, the floriculture, wild flowers, and plants growing in the Park that have special uses for the Iroquois, particularly as medicines.
"These are our living kin, sharing with us a spiritual universe in which the common language is thankfulness."
The Iroquois Museum

"Tolerance: The capacity for the practice of

recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others."

the Dayton Peace Museum


Click on the Headline ABOVE
to see more of this beautiful creature!

We Can Change

"We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate ~ thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising." ~ Maya Angelou

We Are At The Crossroads

excerpts from a recent post by Jay at Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute:

People created families...People created tribes...People created nations...

People flourished. Now nations fight other nations. This is the normal way of life.

When nations unite under global leadership the global human family becomes strong. People can change...Those people who do not change will not be able to survive. They will be eliminated by the forces of nature as countless species and individuals have gone before them.

The planet will survive. The planet will survive because nature changes. The changes people now forced upon nature will create conditions that will become more or less devastating to the human species. We can decide how devastating these conditions will become.

It all depends on how soon people change. The people who change will survive. Soon, those who do not accept the changes demanded by the global human family will find it ever more difficult to continue. It has always been so.

There is no refuge in old patterns of thought and behavior. Everything changes and people must change to survive. There are many who understand this history, recognize the implications and are changing right now. You have a choice.

Click on the headline above to read Jay's entire story about this at Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute website. You will find this and more at Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

Conservation International (click here)

Measure Your Eco-Footprint (click here)

Sometimes, so much confusion abounds in a single day
that I tend to cover my heart with "mind" things ~
thinking that my heart is not enough to give!
But, that is an illusion...the truth is:
The heart is the most we can give!

To Take A Few Simple Actions That Can Help Our Earth (click here)

"Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."

the Tao

Learn About the Campaign for a U.S. Department of PEACE

The Campaign for a U.S. Department of PEACE

The Peace Alliance

The Story of The Bulldozer and The Meandering River

The meandering river cannot get out of the way of the bulldozer. But the bulldozer can be directed to get out of the way of the meandering river.
Unfortunately, the way of the world is that the meandering river is more likely to get "severely" damaged than the bulldozer.
The lucky rivers are the ones in locations the bulldozers have not yet touched.
The unfortunate rivers that have frequently been disturbed by bulldozers, continually struggle to survive the damages.
The river doesn’t know when the bulldozer is coming. The mighty machine just suddenly arrives and destroys the flow of everything that was there in that moment of time ~ forever.
~ Patty Ann Smith

(photos by Craig Smith)

Thirty seven Million Americans live in poverty.....One out of every 8 of us. This is a national disgrace. ~ John Edwards

"A Peaceful Solution" - Patty Ann Smith's version of a song written by Willie & Amy Nelson

A New Era ~ "The Age of Creativity"

As of 7-7-07, the day that THE LIVE EARTH CONCERTS resonated around the world, we are embarking on a New Era ~ which I call "The Age of Creativity". The time has come to give a creative new life to as many things that are already here as possible by reducing, reusing and recycling. Artists and Musicians can be the ones that lead us into the future.
We are moving away from the idea of "Art for Art’s sake" and into the idea of Meaningful and Purposeful Art. We have opportunities to be co-creators in helping the growth, well-being and survival of the planet.
This is "The Beginning of History’s Most Compelling Story of Hope"....Responding to an SOS ....Saving Our Environment and Saving Our Selves. What is absolutely essential for man is Peace and A Live Earth.
A Live Earth and Peace are "creative acts" and require "creative acts" from all of us, as well.
The world cannot afford anymore deadly childish games. Wars are not ecologically-friendly and are crimes against the earth and, therefore, would also be crimes against humanity.
Wars are barbaric, archaic, and unacceptable for man to still be creating at this stage of human evolution. War must stop being part of human life, because "We Cannot Have A Live Earth Without Peace".


Patty Ann Smih

A Rainbow of Hope

graphic art by Craig Smith

A Rainbow of Hope

This is the Beginning of a Great Journey for Peace and Hope 4 America...And The Whole World. Right Now, There's a Rainbow of Hope around our endangered Earth, and That Rainbow Is Us!


Treasure it and keep it Sacred!

And We Have Willie!

Willie Nelson

Just like everything else, PEACE AND THE ENVIRONMENT are intricately connected.
This Saturday, 7-7-07, for 24 hours, musicians will be performing all around the world to raise awareness for us "Saving Our Selves"(SOS) on this LIVE EARTH.
Be There
Be Peace
for Broadcast information, click here

We...The Human Species...

A statement from Al Gore:

WE -- the human species -- have arrived at a moment of decision. It is unprecedented and even laughable for us to imagine that we could actually make a conscious choice as a species, but that is nevertheless the challenge that is before us.
Our home -- Earth -- is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.
Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between Earth and the Sun. If we don’t stop doing this pretty quickly, the average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known and put an end to the favorable climate balance on which our civilization depends.

to read this in its entirety, click here

Unconditional Love

We cannot have a Live Earth without Peace.

Unconditional Love

Unyielding Hope

Unlimited Compassion

The Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

One of The Greatest Gifts You Can Give Yourself Is To Take Time To Meditate

The following lovely explanation of meditation and its benefits for mankind, I found on a website called "Learning Meditation-Learning to Relax

Relaxation through Meditation: My preference would be to call meditation relaxation – conscious relaxation, chosen relaxation. These are words that are more universally understood, more comfortable. Constantly working toward the goal of discovering my own ability to reach a state of serenity, I have learned to meditate.
Meditating is actually easier than you might imagine. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation. Maybe during an exercise class or to manage pain at the dentist or anxiety before a test. We start by paying attention to our breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the "mind clutter" that constantly tries to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the goal of clearing your mind – to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy. The result is, and I guarantee this, peace, serenity, calmne
ss, eventually opening yourself to new insights.

Meditating for Life: Too much stress, stress reduction, chill out, let it go, detach – familiar phrases to all of us. Our world is fast, fun and exciting. It is also challenging, trying, demanding and frightening. These two sides of our lives produce stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and anticipation. Our bodies and minds can tolerate only so much of any of these. After a while, each of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, even unendurable.
No magic pill is available to eliminate these feelings. The reality is, as the wise old man said, the answer is inside all of us. To manage these universal concerns we must go inside ourselves. Among the steps we can take is the learning and practicing of meditation.

What to Expect: With time and faith in the commitment to practice frequently, (daily meditating is ideal), during your meditation time you may "leave the moment." A feeling of separation exists where the mind is clear, clean and blank. You will still hear sounds around you, but they will not interfere with your meditation.
Sometimes you may weep -- you may not even be aware of what is making you weep. It is your own emotions having a voice of their own. Sometimes you may feel a smile across your face -- that is contentment showing itself. Sometimes you may fall asleep and awaken truly refreshed.
There is no right or wrong behavior during your meditation. It is your time for you. Everyone deserves this kind of personal attention. This is a self-care activity; loving oneself! Teach it to your children instead of a time-out in their room or corner. Teach it to your friends, family, anyone who will listen. We can share this gift and get back as we give. We are all better because of each person who meditates. The peace and joy felt by those who meditate enters the world for all of us as positive energy. From it the world is a better place. Imagine if we all practiced meditation!

South Carolina City of Charleston ~ In Memory of Our 9 Fallen Firefighters

"All firefighters are 'Public Servants of the Highest Order'."
They want to serve, they want to help,
they want to save and protect.
They are humble and dedicated
to the vibrant life of their communities.
Firefighters of the 21st century
will go down in history
as one of the top most significant
archetypes for humanity.

If the Earth Isn't Well

photo by Patty Ann Smith

If the whales aren't well
we aren't well.
If the wolves aren't well
we aren't well.
If the birds aren't well
we aren't well.
If the trees aren't well
we aren't well.
If the crickets aren't well
we aren't well.
If Africa isn't well
then we're not well.
If South America isn't well
then we're not well.
If North America isn't well
then we're not well.
If the British Isles aren't well
then we're not well.
If Europe isn't well
then we're not well.
If Asia isn't well
then we're not well.
If the Middle East isn't well
then we're not well.
If the EARTH is not well
......then we are not well.

Patty Ann Smith

Angelina ~ One of Many Great Ladies Making A Difference

UNHCR ~ the UN Refugee Agency

Cool Globes

From now until September, the city of Chicago is hosting "CoolGlobes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet", an innovative project that uses the medium of public art to inspire individuals and organizations to take action against global warming.
Over 100 extraordinary globes, designed by local, national and international artists, are on display along the lakefront using a variety of materials to create awareness and provoke discussion about potential solutions to global warming. Solutions that can be put into practice every home, on the job and in your school. Visit CoolGlobe to view each globe in the exhibit online and learn about the artists and their solution to stop global warming. The CoolGlobe pictured above is exhibit #70 "Heal the World" and the artist is Tamar Hirschl.
The city of Chicago is also one of the leading US cities in "green roofs" and other things that help to pave the way for us to walk more softly on Mother Earth.
Summer Action Tip: Keeping your car tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Saving a gallon of gas will keep 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and more money in your pocket.
This information was passed on to me from Laurie David, Founder of Stop Global Warming

My Home ~ My Heart

We have a chance to grow naturally,
instead of crooked.
To appreciate both the light of day,
and the mysterious dark of night.
To discover what is heaven on earth...
and take care of it.
We need to become like little children again,
and discover nature like it was the first time!
A lot can be learned from
the plants and the animals,
the stars and the seasons.
Learning the ways of nature,
and modifying our lives to be more in tune with nature,
gives us back a freedom we've lost:
The freedom to be in control of our own health and happiness.
Seeing things again as a child
all fresh and new,
means we have to "let go" of what we no longer need,
and be willing to be that innocent child again who is
Spontaneous....Creative....and....filled with Joy!
~ Patty Ann Smith

Something to Think About

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. ~ Carl Sagan

Some of the Rewards of A Simple Life

To find the universal elements enough;

To find the air and the water exhilarating;

To be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter;

To be thrilled by the stars at night;

To be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring.

John Burroughs