Monday, May 26, 2008

Healing Our Warriors

In Sierra Leone, traditional purification rituals using ash soap have been an integral aspect of psychosocial healing and reintegration for girls forced to serve as child soldiers. [Photo by Lindsay Stark]

War poisons the spirit, and warriors return tainted. That is why, among Native American, Zulu, Buddhist, ancient Israeli, and other traditional cultures, returning warriors were put through significant rituals of purification before re-entering their families and communities. Traditional cultures recognized that unpurified warriors could, in fact, be dangerous. The absence of these rituals in modern society helps explain why suicide, homicide, and other destructive acts are common among veterans.

Scholars count over 14,600 wars in the last 5,600 years of recorded history.

If we are to return war to its proper place as a last defense when absolutely necessary, we must heal the wounds of our soldiers and communities. We cannot achieve peace-making without first achieving true and comprehensive war-healing.

Excerpted from the article Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country, by Edward Tick.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Evening with the Gypsies

Well, not exactly gypsies, but their music. Thanks to Sergei Trofanov and his accompanist, a roomfull of us had the opportunity to hear a pretty amazing performance last night at le Centre culturel Pauline-Julien here in Cap-de-le-Madeleine.

What is it about gypsy music? Maybe because some of my ancesters came from Eastern Europe, it's somehow in my blood. This kind of music awakens something in me, like a forgotten memory.

The violinist is incredibly talented. This piece in particular seems especially difficult to perform but he does it with such ease--The Skylark. [Click here to listen]

An evening with the gypsies, and when I walked home, the sky was full of stars.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tibetans Speaking Out

When I was in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, I happened upon a quiet demonstration at the Pit in Harvard Square. (If you're from there, you'll know where that is.)

I recognized some old friends from more than a decade ago when I had stood with them a few blocks from here in yet another silent protest against China's treatment of Tibetans--the Chinese burned their monasteries, imprisoned and tortured their monks and have taken over their country. All month long, every single night, this little group has been gathering here to remind people of what is happening.

And other matters:

It's been a difficult spring: thousands and thousands dead in the earthquake in China; tens of thousands dead and missing from the cyclone in Myanmar, not to mention the continuing wars, poverty and disease claiming lives worldwide. But for chance and circumstance, I might be one of them. I can't even imagine having to deal with such loss and tragedy.

It's a beautiful Sunday morning. Blue skies overhead, sunshine, a gentle breeze. The lemon balm (melisse) has inched its way out of the soil and is in full bloom; the chives, mint and rhubarb, as well as the garlic I planted last fall, are likewise making their appearance. Yesterday I spent two hours just working the soil, preparing it for planting. A tiny piece of land where you can grow your own herbs and vegetables. By what stroke of fate did I come to have this, while so many others have so little? It is always there--this awareness of the absolute unfairness of life.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Le régime de Montignac

Back from my trip, and after a nasty, week-long bout of sinus and right-ear infection, back to work again, as they say.

Okay, Monsieur Montignac, let's give it a try. No more white bread, refined flour, potatoes, sodas or patisseries. Nix the white rice, pasta made with refined flour, alcohol, strong coffee, or liquid with meals. No honey or fruit juice. And above all--no sugar. Supprimer totalement le sucre!! Red wine and dark chocolate, however, are allowed, woo hoo!

Am also following the Hay food-combining principles and suggestions from other readings, coupled with daily Falun Gong exercises --I figure this time it's going to actually work. I give myself till the end of October to reach my goal.

Daily walk, eat consciously, check the Glycemic Index, abstain from ice cream. Oufffff!!! (Cooked carrots are 85 on the glycemic index; tofu is a mere 15.)

Anybody out there currently following this particular regime? I would be interesed in your feedback.