Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Masses

I came across this Google map of worldwide mass animal deaths since December and decided to list them here, not to entertain conspiracy theories but to shine a bit of light on the terrible suffering in the world.

Though I only listed the deaths due to unknown or suspicious causes, the Google map also includes a few events listed with known causes-- the 100 pelicans mutilated and intentionally killed in North Carolina , the 10 tons of fish trapped in a broken fishing net in New Zealand, the 150 tons of farmed fish who died as a result of overcrowding in Cambodia, and the mass die-offs of penguins and sea birds due to climate change in New Zealand.

Whatever the cause of their deaths, it's heartbreaking to see so many precious beings suffer and die.

Too many fish to count: Florida, Dec 15

Thousands of fish: Philippines, Dec 18

Hundreds of starfish and jellyfish: South Carolina, Dec 23

Scores of fish: Haiti, Dec 27

70 Bats: Arizona, Dec 28

Dozens of fish: Texas, Dec 29

5,000+ blackbirds : Arkansas, Dec 31

500+ blackbirds: Louisiana, Jan 3

Dozens of blackbirds: Kentucky, Jan 3

100,000 fish: Arkansas, Jan 3

2 million fish: Maryland, Jan 3

Thousands of fish: Florida, Jan 4

50-100 Jackdaw birds: Sweden, Jan 4

Hundreds of fish: United Kingdom, Jan 4

Scores of fish: United Kingdom, Jan 4

Hundreds of fish: Ontario, Jan 4

300 Doves: Italy, Jan 6

Tons of fish: Brazil, Jan 6

Hundreds of fish: New Zealand, Jan 6

If you are so inclined, please join me in praying that all these creatures have an auspicious rebirth.

Monday, January 3, 2011

For The Babies

It isn't often that you can do big things with just a little effort.

Our dog rescue Tara's Babies is competing in the Pepsi Refresh Project during the month of January to win a $250,000 grant. The Pepsi Refresh Project is an online contest--whoever gets the most votes wins the big bucks. We need people to vote for Tara's Babies every day throughout January, and to vote both online and via text if possible. That's right, each person can vote TWICE each day.

Here's how:

1. Watch this video to see Tara's Babies in action and learn what they will do with the grant.

2. This page tells you how to create an account before voting and also explains how to vote. (Your account info is safe. I voted throughout September for another project and assure you they will not use your email or personal info.)

3. Optional: Go to Tara's Babies website and sign up to receive a daily email reminder to vote.

4. To vote by text: Text 105549 to 73774 (that spells "PEPSI")

5. Vote online AND via text EVERY DAY in January.

Please participate in this project. The Babies need you and deserve every good thing we can provide for them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dragging in the New Year

I won't sugarcoat it-- last night was tough. For the past several weeks the Wegener's has been slowly waking up-- not enough to re-treat yet but enough to make my life increasingly difficult. The pain is back and building. The fatigue is increasing. On top of that, I've been sick with a cold that not only ran amok but sent out last-minute invitations to its bacterial buddies for a year-end party. You know how some plants completely wilt when they need watering? That's how I feel-- no reserves at all. Try as I might to stop the chemical cascade, the energy being siphoned by the physical is taking its toll on me emotionally. It's pure biochemistry. And even though I can describe the endocrine feedback loops, knowing that fire is hot doesn't keep it from burning you.

Still, I love our temple's New Year's Eve tradition and wanted to participate. It meant making a deal with the endocrine devil as it were-- pouring in caffeine all afternoon, aware that I'd feel like a truck hit me the next day for the adrenal stress it would cause. (Dealing with chronic illness is like Sophie's Choice every day. Which child do you favor, the body or the mind, and can you ever restore a sense of wholeness once you've chosen one over the other?)

Unfortunately, the caffeine was enough to keep me awake but not enough to jolt me into a celebratory mood. After discovering-- for the zillionth time-- that my favorite coping mechanism of muscling through was not going to work, I finally gave myself permission to surrender. Well, sort of. Complete surrender would have brought me joy. The partial surrender I embraced was just enough to put the brakes on my thoughts that said, "It's New Year's Eve, why aren't you happy?" Or worse, "There's something wrong with you."

But some surrender is better than nothing. It creates spaciousness in the mind that isn't there otherwise. It was in those moments that I found bits of peace-- where I felt carried by the merit of eons of practitioners accomplishing their practice, and where I remembered that nothing is permanent, especially not an emotional state. As much as I wish those moments would have stretched into the entire night, they didn't. It was a struggle even at the end. But it was one night that doesn't--no matter what the Hallmark commercials want us to think-- seal my fate for the coming year. I'm not the same person who rejoiced in last year's New Year's Eve celebration. I'm the one who thinks that's okay.