Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Weaponry and Livingry

January 25, 2012

I listened to tonight’s State of the Union address while driving in my car. Though I stay away from politics in my blog posts for the most part, I do want to mention something that I heard in this speech which heartened me very much.

Describing Kibera, the largest slum in all of Africa, to a friend recently, I told him that it is very hard to reconcile how we let such situations happen as humans. People get pushed so far into the margins. It is almost impossible to for me to grasp how we let this go on, how people who can do space exploration and invent computer chips can’t seem to solve the problem of our brothers and sisters living in illness, filth and hunger. The friend I was speaking to is also a great fan of Buckminster Fuller. He quoted Bucky. The energy is going toward weaponry rather than livingry.

Bucky spoke about this regularly. If we were to put all of the resources that we invest in war into improving the quality of LIFE – just imagine. What couldn’t we do? I have been turning this around and around in my mind since that conversation.

Tonight I felt a genuine rush of feeling and relief to hear Obama say that a huge chunk of the budget from the Department of Defense for the first time will be put toward finding clean energy in our country. Funds for weaponry now to be invested in livingry! Later in the speech he mentioned rural peoples who need greater broadband equipment so that they can sell their goods internationally just like urban people do. Being a mountain person who suffers constantly with that neglect in the budgets, I felt that! He spoke of our roads and bridges in need of repair. Then came the magic words for me once more – funds that had been put toward war will now used for addressing these needs. My heart jumped. Livingry rather than weaponry.

Please hear our prayers, You Who listens, help us to stop spending on weaponry. Why must it be so? Let us put all of that gorgeous innovation, energy and motivation into solving needs for living well, for all living things to live well. We humans make it seem so complicated, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe it can be simple.

Africa Journal #4, Time out of time

January 5, 2012

We have just completed our 3rd full day on this adventure in Africa. It takes a lot of concentration to figure that out. Three days. It might have been three years. Maybe just a minute. Only a speck of time. All of eternity. I can’t say why or wherefore or what I really mean by this. There couldn’t be a narrative that would even vaguely contain it.

Yet, as it goes in Kenya, we spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting to herd cats to get in the vans to leave. Waiting an hour for the paint store to mix one can of paint. Waiting for the police escort to stand in a long line to check out his weapon so that he can escort us into the slum. Waiting for the kids to put on their little show for us. Nothing is “on time.” What is time? I’ve been waiting for 18 months to get back to Africa to see Esther, the little girl I promised to come back to see. Now waiting to finally get to her orphanage to see her, which will happen tomorrow.

Time is a man-made invention. It doesn’t exist as we know it in nature. And it sure doesn’t exist as we know it in Africa.  I feel its absence like a presence here. This happens where in live in the mountains of Appalachia, I have learned a lot about time and timelessness in the mountains. But this is qualitatively different from that experience too. It is more condensed. More vast. More original.

To live and move and be in the world beyond time, outside of time, released from time, that would be closer to our primordial nature. That way of being is with us all along if we just listen. Time is an illusion anyway. I feel closer to that here, and I like it. It changes you.

Now Go and Do Heartwork

December 27, 2011

Work of the eyes is done, now
go and do heart work
on all the images imprisoned within you; for you
overpowered them: but even now you don’t know them.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

The morning after Christmas I awakened with the words in this title. The holiday with my daughters and their significant others had been perfect, completely delightful, just divine. I feel so fortunate. After that blessing was completed, the words “Now go and do heart work” were strongly imprinted as I awakened.

On January 1st, 2012, I leave on my journey to Kenya. It is clearly the work of the heart that moved me to commit to this trip, details of which I wrote about in my blog entitled Africa: A Promise on November 19th, 2011. Telling the story of why I need to go, the promise I need to keep, I suggested that anyone who might be interested to support the journey could help me with it by contributing donations of any amount. Conversations with my friend, Carter Via, and my daughter, Josi Ward inspired me to make this suggestion.

I had no idea whether the notion would speak to anyone or not; there were no expectations. The response has been truly overwhelming. There has been an outpouring of feeling, love, interest, care, concern and support. With this outcome, I now make the journey not as a private matter but also as a carrier of the love and intentions of many who have involved their hearts and energy in the trip as well. I feel, differently than I ever have, like an ambassador. I want to represent well each one who has entrusted me with such support.

The heart is a fierce organ; mind is weak by comparison. In a recent dream I was doing things with my tiger, an animal who in the dream is bonded to me and goes everywhere with me. I know from some of my most important life dreams that tiger for me is an image of the heart. Now it is time to do work with the tiger.

I can’t say I know yet just what this means. The dream is laying some groundwork, I suppose, readying me. With all my heart, and with the hearts of all who are now coming with me in this energetic way, here I go.