All posts by Dudley

Water shower

Save Water Shower With A Friend

10 Tips for Conserving Water. United Nations World Water Day is March 22.
Yes, I am a stickler for water conservation but this might be going a bit far even in my open-minded book. Actually, ‘Save Water Shower With A Friend’ was a semi-official campaign in New York City when I first arrived there in 1965 after graduation from college. A lingering drought had resulted in a severe water shortage in the northeast. This was one clever way of calling attention to this issue that affected 20 million people in drought-ridden New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The other ‘big’ water saving policy was for restaurants not to automatically give you water at your table. You could request it though.

In retrospect, I wonder if large industrial water users were required to make concessions and cut back on their water use as well. We have since learned of the enormous amounts of fresh water that are used for operations of manufacturing, refineries, nuclear and other energy production and agriculture.

Many years later, I lived in the Arizona desert and again became acutely aware of water limitations. I learned to respect and conserve water through our family’s many unusual living situations. For much of the ‘70s, Dean Evenson and I lived in a converted school bus with our three young children and had no running water. I even gave birth to our second daughter in that bus. A few years later, we ‘settled down’ in a 21 by 21 foot cinder block former garage where we had to carry water in buckets from the pump down the hill. That was for all our water needs – drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. No toilet flushing though as we had an outhouse.

So we have had to get used to living on less water. In fact, I learned that I could actually wash my dishes in the equivalent of two cups of water. Not my preference but sometimes necessary. Once, I even washed my baby’s cloth diapers in a mud puddle on a high Colorado plateau because that was the only water available at the time. But it was better than not washing the diapers at all if you know what I mean.

Did you hear about the monastery where the monks drank their dishwater? Well it wasn’t really as gross as it sounds. Basically, when they were finished eating their rice, they poured some tea in the bowl and swished it around, cleaning the bowl of any leftover rice, and then drank their tea (infused with rice flavor). Maybe they then wiped the bowl with the sleeve of their robe, and presto, their bowl was clean.

10 Tips for Conserving Water

1. Don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth. Just use it for rinsing your mouth and toothbrush.
2. Don’t let the water run while you are soaping up your dishes. Rinse them all at once in a dishpan to conserve water.
3. Don’t flush the toilet unless necessary (you know what I mean).
4. Install a low flush toilet to conserve water.
5. When possible, use your grey water (water from washing dishes, clothes, people) to water your garden or plants. Two things happen here: you grow more food and you keep water from taxing your septic or sewage system by cleansing it naturally through the ground and plants.
6. Fix leaky plumbing. Even small drips in sinks, toilets and hoses add up and amount to large waste of water.
7. Develop a comprehensive program for reducing your water usage.
8. Get your neighbors involved and make it a community thing. From the one to the many and then it really can make a difference.
9. Support organizations active in solving world water issues.
10. Check out other water saving lists with lots more ideas for conserving water.

4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond

Water everywhere. 4 Earth DVD by Dean Evenson
Water flowing between four different ecosystems.

Speaking of water stories, Dean and I created the DVD ‘4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond’. The video follows the cycle of water among these four eco-systems and shows how they are interconnected. Our aim in creating this beautiful nature video is to inspire people to respect the finite amount of fresh water on the planet and take action to protect it. We invite you to contribute suggestions for solutions to the many issues plaguing water in this era we find ourselves in. It hasn’t always been this way, and it doesn’t need to remain out of balance.

WHEN YOU COMMENT ON OUR BLOG WE’LL SEND YOU A FREE MP3 OF OUR MUSIC.

Also, we are having a super sale on our albums that feature water through April 1. Click here to connect with the sale page.

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Standing Rock

Standing Rock: Learning from Sioux Nation

#waterislife #nodapl #standingwithstandingrock.  Have you seen those hash tags about Standing Rock scrolling past your Facebook feed or Twitter feeds? Their story points to Native American water issues and the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Sometimes we get to have personal experiences with big news events and this is one of those times. We want to share a story with you written by our young Soundings videographer, Jon Carroll. We had heard about the grave situation occurring last year and into this year at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota regarding a pipeline being built across tribal lands. The issue became national news, attracting thousands of people from around the country who traveled to Standing Rock to demonstrate their solidarity with the Native people who were to be negatively affected by the pipeline being built.

In our younger years, Dean and I would have been there with video camera in hand to document this historic event. The saga at Standing Rock builds on and expands the legacy of Wounded Knee (1973) which Dean Evenson did videotape. We believe Standing Rock is an important issue that is much larger than just one tribe’s rights. It involves the vision we have for the future of our planet and how we as a society deal with energy while still protecting drinking water. Fortunately we were able to help support Jon to head out to Standing Rock with a carload of people and his own video camera. Here is his story.

Standing Rock camp
Jon Carroll, Soundings videographer at the Standing Rock camp
My Time at Standing Rock:
Learning from the Sioux Nation
By Jon Carroll, Guest Blogger

A movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) came from a grassroots organizations led by indigenous men and women. Thousands of people from every corner of America, representing every faith, race, and class, heard the call of active citizenship to defend the constitutional rights and treaty rights of the Sioux Nation as an unwavering, peaceful force. Native sovereignty rights, national water security, and renewable energy opportunities are threatened. Meanwhile, if the pipeline is constructed as planned, Sioux Nation Indians would have sacred sites destroyed and drinking water threatened.

In early 2017, under the guise of creating jobs, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to speed up the process of approving Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Unfortunately, as it turns out, by finishing the pipeline’s route under the Missouri River, only 40 permanent jobs would be created while drinking water and tribal rights would be seriously jeopardized.

I heard the same call as those many thousands who wanted to support the tribes so I piled into my grandparents’ old GMC Suburban with five friends and we drove for 24 hours to North Dakota. We arrived into Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota just before sun down on November 12th. The winds were keeping the air crisp and cold even though the sky had been blue all day as we pitched our tents. Then we went up the hill next to camp to view our first North Dakotan sunset. Once atop the hill, we watched the sun fall under the sea of hills that filled the horizon. As the sun sunk to the west, just on the other side of the river to the north, a line of stadium lights flooded our view. There, the line of the pipeline route presented itself to us. It was equally obnoxious to me as it was poignant. Throughout the week, those lights reminded me of my purpose while at camp. All it took was a quick glance up from my camera to see the corporation that loomed over the camp, watching our every move. These lights were, ultimately, one of the many tactics that Energy Transfer Partners used to affect morale at camp. We watched and witnessed these lights to the north, taking one deep breath at a time as we wandered a bit near the hilltop. After a short while, my good friend called for us to get to the top of the hill. In awe of things, I began skipping back to the top of the hill. As we wrapped our arms around each other’s shoulders, we witnessed what he called us up for. To the East, the largest moon I had ever seen was rising. It was beyond our understanding and a most beautiful sight for our first evening at Standing Rock.

As we stared at the rising moon, embracing each other, I pulled a card from my pocket that had been gifted to me by my grandparents before I left. It was a prayer written by a good friend of my grandparents who was for a short time a good friend of mine before his passing in 2000. He was a Lummi Nation spiritual elder by the name of Cha-das-ska-dum Which-ta-lum. The story of the creation of this prayer is a long one, but the shortened version of it is that he wrote it after a journey to San Francisco where he heard a woman recite the prayer of Saint Francis from the opposite side of a tree that he was praying under. He wrote his own version of it on the plane ride back, and that version is what I pulled from my pocket on the hill in North Dakota 1,300 miles from home.

OH GREAT GRANDFATHER!
LET MY HANDS BE AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE.
IF THERE IS HATRED SEND YOUR LOVE.
IF THERE IS INJURY, HEAL.
IF THERE IS DOUBT, SEND FAITH.
IF THERE IS DESPAIR, SEND ON THE WIND HOPE!
IF ONE HAS A QUESTION, THEN THEY ALREADY HAVE THE ANSWER TO KNOW TO EVEN ASK.
TEACH US TO LOVE OURSELVES, SO WE CAN LOVE OTHERS.
WE CANNOT GIVE AWAY WHAT WE DO NOT HAVE!
IF A TEAR FALLS, LET IT NOURISH WHAT IT FALLS ON.
LET THE POWER OF THE FOUR DIRECTIONS CALL YOU!
I AM ON THE WIND, RIDE WITH ME, HOLD ON!
WILL YOU LISTEN TO MY WORDS TODAY, OH GREAT GRANDFATHER?
THANK YOU, MY FRIEND.

Upon finishing the prayer, each of us began to weep. Tears of joy, sorrow, grief, celebration, release. Our tears felt more weighted than ever. I knelt and put my hand on the ground below me. I dug my fingers into the soil. I could feel the pain of the earth. I felt extreme sorrow for what the white man had done to this land for so long. This immense guilt fell upon me as I realized I represent, physically, the white men that have persisted to destroy this land. It was difficult to bear this realization. After much wrestling with that concept, I reminded myself of the purpose that I brought with me to Standing Rock. My purpose was to serve, and with my camera, to elevate the voices of indigenous leaders there to a broader audience. I hoped that with attentive ears, a warm smile, and open heart, the people that my embodiment has traditionally oppressed, would see through that and accept my authentic service.

This hope was affirmed over and over again. The days ahead were filled with love and support from every person at camp. The words of those who knew more than me spoke with a forgiving tone and a kind heart. The rest of my time at Standing Rock was spent asking questions and listening.

The next day, we packed up and moved to the Oceti Sakowin Camp where the majority of the people were. As I began walking around, I found that the main initiative through the camp was to winterize the large structures that could keep people warm through the harsh North Dakota winter. The camp was days away from its first chance of snow and once that snow hit, conditions would be much harder to work in. The task was monumental as multiple groups of a dozen or so people tasked themselves with projects around camp. Traditionally, once winter comes, people would find shelter in the long houses, and so those were first on the priority list. Hay bales were stacked, stoves were installed, food was dried, and wood was chopped. All of this was done as a physical act of Prayer and Ceremony.

Truthfully, waking up every day to work with our hands was easy. We knew our work was in service of a cause far greater than ourselves. Hundreds of people woke up to the sounds of the loud speakers and quickly got ready for a long day’s work. With smiles on our faces, we found joy in community tasks even as the bitter-cold wind chipped at our faces.

My main goal while at Standing Rock was to find elders and representatives of the Sioux Nation and hear them talk about their struggle for the recognition of their rights as a sovereign nation. I wanted to share with the rest of the world what it meant to be sovereign and what actions they were taking to pursue justice in the face of threats by big government and corporations. After a few days of meeting people and following leads, I stumbled upon a man by the name of Wasu Duta who is a sovereign Dakota Sioux and government representative of the Sioux Nation of Indians. I was introduced to his cousin, Manape LaMere, just before being invited into his tipi at the base of the Seven Council Fires. Manape is Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Ho-chunk. He is a headsman of the Oceti Sakowin Camp. As a duo, they are tasked with presenting a number of sovereignty rights claims to the United Nations. They sat me down and taught me as much as they could.


With the new president siding very clearly with Energy Transfer Partners’ construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, it seems our hope for success is futile. The Army Corps of Engineers has reported that they will be releasing the easement to build under the Missouri River. The pipeline could be completed soon, but, with the hard work of the Sioux Nation holding a peaceful front in direct opposition to the pipeline both legally and physically, we could see this project stalled. This could continue the opportunity for cities and citizens alike to continue to defund DAPL by targeting the banks that are funding the pipeline’s construction. The #DefundDAPL movement is creating waves of change in the pocketbooks of the big banks who are funding the pipeline so we may see this pipeline go bankrupt eventually.

If this pipeline is ultimately completed, the movement is not all lost, nor is it all over. Sovereignty rights are a continuing issue that we must stay attuned to. These pushes take time and effort on the ground by individuals like Wasu Duta and Manape Lamere and they need us to stand with them. That vast numbers of people who have woken up to indigenous issues is the true victory for the Standing Rock movement. The smiles on the faces of the thousands of men and women at Oceti Sakowin camp attest to that. The vast number of individuals marching with solidarity signs in the streets of their hometowns attest to that. The vast number of individuals and cities that have chosen to take their money out of banks that invest in damaging projects attest to that. This is the real success of global movements. This movement does not lose because one pipeline is constructed. This is a battle of minds. In this regard, we have already won. And with the next issue that arises in Indian country, we will stand stronger and know that we are capable of immense power.

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successful relationship

Successful Relationship Spiritual Partnership

Are you ready for a successful relationship? People have asked Dean Evenson and myself what is the secret of our long and happy marriage. Although there are no quick and easy answers, I want to try to shed some light on that question here and spiritual partnership is an important component of our successful relationship. When Dean and I first met in 1968, we noticed that we shared similar values and dreams for life. That common bond is probably what drew us together in the first place as we both wanted to use our creativity to help others and heal the many problems of our world. At the very beginning of our relationship, we had the shared values of spiritual service.

From that initial connection of wanting to serve, we have continued to evolve our consciousness and develop our spiritual path. There is no doubt that the success of our relationship has benefited greatly from our common spiritual practice. We pray together, we meditate together, we dream together and we intend our life to be a certain way together. Also in our case, since we are both musicians, we sing, chant and play music together. Now I don’t expect every couple to be able to play music together, but you can consider singing, chanting, toning, drumming, or playing singing bowls together. Those are musical endeavors that don’t necessarily require extensive musical training. Even listening to certain peaceful music or singing along with your favorite sacred songs together can be a spiritual experience.

The other thing we do requiring no special skill is that we bless our food before eating. A lot of people dive right into their meal, but we find that grace occurs when we take a moment to pause and express gratitude for the food that has come to our table. We honor the Earth from which it came, the farmers who grew it, the system that brought it to us, and the cook who prepared it. This may seem like a small thing, but praying to the ‘God or Goddess of your understanding’ can even make the food taste better. Dean and I grew up with that custom so it comes naturally to us. Our kids put up with it as they were growing up when we would all hold hands and pray before dining, even in a restaurant. Pausing for a moment of silence before a meal can be unifying. In fact, expressing gratitude for the blessings of your life and even for the challenges can keep your relationship on a positive track.

Dean and I each have a personal morning yoga and meditation practice. We often take a walk together, another great way to enhance our connection to each other and nature. In the evening after dinner, we enjoy meditating together. We love to tone and chant and that helps deepen our connection. When we confront life’s challenges and changes, we pray together for guidance and understanding. We see ourselves as spiritual beings in physical bodies and we need all the help we can get to maneuver the trials and tribulations of life.

A shared spiritual path and practice is a positive component of a successful relationship. And it can benefit the whole family, workplace, or collaborative group of people trying to accomplish a goal. Notice that watching television is not included in our daily habits. We often watch a movie or documentary, but then when it’s over, we turn off the TV and spend time just being together. We see mainstream media and network news as a huge distraction from the quality life experience we are seeking.

Here are two final thoughts to consider for a successful relationship. Please know that honest and compassionate communication is probably the most important spiritual principle you can employ that will keep your relationship loving and trusting. And finally, don’t take things too seriously. Remember to laugh and enjoy life and each other. Having fun together will bring the greatest happiness to any partnership.

We hope you are finding creative ways of building a successful relationship with your special friend. We would love to hear from you to learn how you and your partner enhance your successful relationship through spiritual practice. Remember, when you comment here on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 track of our meditative music. We send you hugs, peace and big love!

PS You can listen to our music for free on SPOTIFY.  Just search for Dean Evenson or any of our artists.

Setting Intention actually works

Setting Intention Works!

The three main goals I set my intention to accomplish a year ago, I have actually manifested. When I looked back at my Never Too Old To Learn Something New January blog of last year, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that I had achieved my goals in the three new areas I had decided to set my intention on.

It’s never too late to learn new things. My sweet husband, Dean Evenson, had given me a ukulele and I wanted to learn to play it. The process of developing a new skill wasn’t without mishaps like when I fractured my elbow a few months later and had to wait for it to heal before I could practice again. I kept working on it, got a few lessons, watched some YouTube videos and practiced till my fingers had callouses. Now that I have learned a dozen chords, I can play along on the ukulele and enjoy singing the songs I love.

The second new area I wanted to develop was to become a certified life coach. I have been involved in a local life coach group and have always had an inclination to counsel people who had a dream but didn’t know how to bring it to fruition. Since Dean and I have been fortunate to live our dreams, I wanted to be able to help others live their dreams too. An opportunity came up for me to get professional training in the fundamentals of life coaching so I jumped at the chance and took the course. Once the training was completed, I took on some pro bono clients to practice my skills and eventually have been able to add more clients and see them to success in many areas.

The third intention I set was to finally write the book that has been brewing in me for a long time. Dean and I have taught workshops on sound healing and meditation and people have asked me to provide more information so a book was a perfect outlet to share what we know. Now a year later, How to Meditate with Music Guidebook has gone through the preliminary editing process, the images have been selected, and I have even designed the cover. Soon I will turn it over to my graphics designer to perfect the layout and then it will be ready to publish. Before that happens I will be sending out preliminary copies for people to read and give me feedback so let me know if you are interested in reading it before it goes to print.

Oh, and the book writing has a postscript. I am getting to contribute a chapter to a new Jack Canfield book called The Big Secret. You’ve probably heard of Jack Canfield as co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. This new book that I will be a part of is stories from leading entrepreneurs and professionals revealing their big secrets for achieving success in the areas of health, wealth and lifestyle. I will keep you posted when this book is released.

And finally – journal, journal, journal. Write down your thoughts and dreams. What turns you on? What lights you up? What is holding you back? Notice your blockages. Make lists. Clarify your vision. Journaling can be a helpful way to move forward in life and get what is mulling around in your head out and on paper so you can tackle the tasks that are required to manifest your dreams.

Good luck and blessings on your path. What is your intention in the coming year? Write it down. Commit to taking steps, no matter how small, toward your goals. You can do it! We love to hear from you and when you comment here we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music.

 

 

Dean Evenson Dudley Evenson new year

Setting New Year Intention

Consider each day the beginning of a new year! What is your intention for how you want your new year to be? How do you want to feel about your life, your goals, and achievements? In your daily meditation, I encourage you to set your intention for the day and at the same time you will be setting your intention for your new year – whether it’s from January to January or June to June. Typically, when New Year’s Day occurs, people make all sorts of resolutions for the coming year. They may keep some of them for a few weeks but then eventually they fall back into their same old patterns. What if you could stay current with your resolutions by renewing them every day? What if you could actually meditate every day instead of just occasionally?

Courage to Step into the Unknown

We all know about the power of affirmations and visualizations but there are a few other aspects to the process of manifesting our dreams to reflect on. One key element is having the courage to take that first step. Do you let fear hold you back from doing the things you want to do? Where is that fear coming from? Often, we are responding to voices in our head that tell us we can’t do it, we’re not good enough, or some other type of limiting belief. When we look deeply into the source of our inner voices, we often discover that those ideas came from someone else who may not have had our best interests in mind. Watch your language. It is helpful to acknowledge the quality of our inner conversation and change it to meet our vision of how we actually want to move forward in our life.

Write it Down Make a List

Journaling can be a big help in defining how we want our lives to proceed. When you write down your goals, you are creating clarity and taking an important step in identifying your vision and dreams for your life. Talking things over with your partner or a friend and making lists can also be helpful. Dean Evenson and I have tons of journals full of our dreams and projects. Some of them we have accomplished and some are still waiting to be birthed. We keep chipping away at our dreams and when we stay focused on them, they actually happen.

Be Patient with the Process

One of the things I learned years ago when my dreams seemed to be taking too long to come into realization was that the timing wasn’t always up to me. Often, there would be other factors at work and I needed to learn to be patient and keep persevering. Dean and I used to sometimes consult the I Ching (Chinese book of changes) in order to gain confirmation on the next steps on our path. So many times that familiar phrase would show up – ‘Perseverance furthers.’ Keep going. Don’t give up. And sure enough, eventually, what we kept our focus on did ultimately become our reality. The universe has its own timeline and we need to be patient and stay the course by taking one step at a time.

I hope you have the best year ever and may all your dreams come true. They surely will if you stay focused on them and keep taking the necessary actions to make them happen. Be fearless in pursuing your highest vision for your life, each and every day and be patient with yourself. Your perfect life is waiting for you. It’s just a matter of time.

You may want to check out our meditations that all focus on staying tuned into your dreams for a whole year. Sale on both DVD & CD.
A Year of Guided Meditations DVD Cover

• A Year of Guided Meditations Daily OM Course
• A Year of Guided Meditations DVD

Meditation Moment: 52 Weekly Affirmations CD

What are your dreams? What is holding you back from achieving them? When you comment on our blog we will send you a free mp3 of our music.

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Dudley’s Gluten Free Cornbread

Gluten free cornbread will be a hit at potlucks and family meals. By adding vegetables to the recipe, you will create a very moist and delicious dish that quite is different from traditional cornbread that tends to be dryer. It is high protein, low carb and with the vegetables, it is almost a complete meal in itself.

You can modify the recipe and add apples or other fruits instead of the veggies. In that case you may prefer to have less salt (Spike) and add a bit more maple syrup or honey to give it a sweeter taste. As long as you keep the basic flour and baking power ratio consistent, you can play with the ingredients a bit. And if you prefer to use regular flour, that will work too. Just keep the flour/baking powder ratio the same: 2 teaspoons per 1 cup flour.

Preheat oven to 350 F
Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1 ½ cups cornmeal
½ cup flax flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
(Formula is 2 teaspoons per 1 cup flour)
2 teaspoons Spike (or your choice of herbs)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs (free range organic, non GMO, happy chickens)
4  tablespoons olive oil
2 zucchini (minced)
2 carrots (minced)
half an onion (minced) optional
1 red pepper (chopped)
Maple syrup to taste (optional)
Almond milk to cake consistency (or hemp, soy, cow milk)

Mix together dry ingredients (flours, cornmeal, flax flour, baking powder, salt, Spike)
Stir in eggs, olive oil, minced zucchini and carrots, chopped red pepper, maple syrup.
Add almond milk to create a cake like consistency
Pour into baking dish (approx. 9”x13”)
Bake about 45 minutes
Remove from oven and cool
Serves many

Thank you for watching my video. Hope it makes clear the simplicity of this healthy, gluten free recipe. We would love to hear how your cornbread turns out. As always, we appreciate hearing from you. When you comment here we will send you a free mp3 of our music in appreciation.

Peace Through Music

Gift of Music Keeps Giving

Music is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. A CD is a small item, but it fills your whole home with peaceful vibrations. When you purchase a full album for yourself or as a gift for friend or family member, you are directly supporting the artist who created it. We thank you deeply for supporting independent musicians.

As you may know, Dean Evenson and I (Dudley) founded Soundings of the Planet to share our peaceful music almost four decades ago. We have grown with each change of technology. We began in 1979 making cassettes. Then in the late ‘80s, we started making compact discs. Then, file sharing came in and thankfully, Apple founder, Steve Jobs, invented digital downloads so people could pay a small amount to deliver music to their computer.

Now, there are new delivery systems such as streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Spa Channel, etc. There, you can create your own Dean Evenson, Dudley Evenson, Tom Barabas, Scott Huckabay or Soundings Ensemble channel or station. We receive a small fee each time you listen so we do benefit somewhat. But the best way to support the musician is by purchasing an actual CD of the music.

In our case, we spend a lot of time putting together a flow of the music, so there is a much greater benefit to owning a whole album versus just listening to one or two songs in random order. Our music is different from Top 40 songs because people use our music for healing and relaxation. We want you to stay in that mood and have no big surprises in the midst of your listening experience.

We are extremely grateful to you for supporting our mission of Peace Through Music.  May your holidays be filled with joy and peace. Remember, when you comment on our blog at soundings.com we will send you a free mp3 track of our music in appreciation. Seasons blessings to you and yours! Take advantage of holiday special.

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Surviving Politics Through Spiritual Practice

Surviving Elections

Democratic elections are interesting.  We need to figure out how to survive divisive elections. At the end of the day, about half the people are celebrating while the other half are feeling devastated. If you are in the first group – congratulations. For those in the second group, this post is for you. I realize many people are still nursing their disappointment with the recent election results. Now the question is how to move forward without completely giving up hope.

We each have different coping techniques. For me, I’m turning off the ‘news.’ This does not mean I will isolate myself from the world and give up. It simply means I will focus on issues and causes I care about and not be led by the news media fanning the flames of divisiveness and conflict. If you have any money or time to donate, now is a good time to support groups who are working tirelessly to build a better world.

Vulnerable Planet

Our planet is vulnerable because of over population and our dependency on fossil fuels. Pollution of air and water, soil degradation, and poverty are problems that need to be addressed. Issues of discrimination, job equity, women’s rights and food security are more important than ever. Those of us who care need to work extra hard to keep moving forward. *See the list at bottom of this post for non-profit groups.

I put together this graphic about how our faith communities might deal with adjusting their attitudes to keep moving forward. Maybe it will resonate with you!
its-a-good-time

 

 

Helpful words from spiritual leaders

Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön says: “During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in any way we can.”

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center says: “It’s clear we have our work cut out for us. It is the work of love and wisdom in the face of the terrible suffering of war, environmental issues, racism, gender violence, and economic injustice. We have to work together to shift the tide toward what will benefit our children, the natural world, the future. Part of this means that we have to change the mind, move out of harsh negativity, eroding futility and fear, and build toward the good and the wise. We also have to work to shift the mood of the country and of the world through compassionate education, deep practice, and service to others.”

These words from Jan Willis, Professor Emerita of Religion at Wesleyan University also fit – “We must prepare ourselves to defend those hard-won rights and to help to ease the fears of those who now feel threatened. How do we do this? On a national level, by remaining vigilant and by remaining vocal when rights are threatened. On the personal level, by committing to serve as caring and compassionate warriors for those who are experiencing fear.”

Groups Making Our World Better

*In addition to your local food bank, here are just a few groups who will benefit from your tax-deductible donations this season: NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), EarthJustice, Southern Poverty Law Center, Globemed, Doctors without Borders, Planned Parenthood, 350.org, Cornucopia, Friends of the Earth, Nature Conservancy, Organic Seed Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists.

What groups do you support? When you comment on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music as a thank you.

 

 

 

 

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Attitude of Gratitude

For most of us reading this, there is much to be thankful for. For many around the world though, gratitude is a challenge in the face of daily struggles for food, water and shelter. Even today in this country, many fear an uncertain future as we sort through a shifting political landscape. Yet, when we look back in history, we see that past eras have been fraught with much greater issues of injustice, discrimination, and conflict.  We, as a society, have come a long way and despite what may appear on the surface, there is no turning back.

“In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Author Eat, Pray, Love

Fortunately, we do have tools available to us that can help us get through hard times, whether we are dealing with First World problems or Third World problems. Keeping an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is one of the most useful principles that can help us navigate the changing times we live in. Even being thankful for what we do not necessarily like or agree with can be very powerful. Needless to say, this is not an easy task because our natural reaction to any form of suffering is often denial and resistance.

So today, we offer this idea – Gratitude for Everything! The good, the bad, the sad and even the suffering. When we can keep our perspective focused on gratitude, we will be able get through life’s challenges much more easily. Being grateful for what is and not always focusing on what is not, will likely help move us in the direction of our dreams and allow us to manifest the best possible future. No one says it will be easy, but by really learning the lessons in each situation, we can move on much more quickly to a better future.

We wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving and hope you are able to enjoy it with family and friends. We wish the people at Standing Rock, North Dakota a safe time. May they stay warm and protected as they protest to protect their water and land. We thank the Native Americans who graciously welcomed and fed the Pilgrims so long ago. May all beings find peace and support as they go through the experiences and lessons life has to offer.

As always, we appreciate hearing from you. What are you grateful for? How do you cope with challenging situations? When you comment here we will send you a free mp3 of our music in gratitude!

Need for Stillness Greater Now Than Ever

We are pleased to announce STILLNESS, Dean Evenson’s latest album. Official release date is November 18. Preorder on amazon.com. Digital downloads available now on iTunes. Dean’s long, slow keyboard tones and rich atmospheric arrangements blend with the pure sounds of his silver flute and the deep bass flute of Doug Tessler. This deeply soothing music connects with the still, quiet place within creating the perfect mood for meditation and going deep.

We realize it has been a challenging time for many people and emotions are running high and deep. Dealing with grief and loss calls for us to lean in on the tools we know work. Any time we are confronted with situations not to our liking, we are reminded that clearing the mind and letting go of attachment to our position can be a tremendous help. This principle works both ways and applies even if we are ecstatically happy about something.


For some peace of mind, join Dean Evenson as he plays his flute and meditates by mountain lakes

Meditation can support us in letting go of negative emotions such as anger and sadness and make way for a more compassionate, joyful and expansive state of being. We can’t always control what goes on around us but we can learn to control how we react to and internalize what happens in our outer world. Meditation can have immense benefits for our spiritual and physical wellbeing. Through listening to calming music and a regular meditation practice, we strive to reach a state of inner peace and move ourselves much closer to the realization our divine nature.

Michael McGillicuddy, Owner Central Florida School of Massage Therapy, had this to say about Stillness: “I love Dean Evenson’s new Stillness album. It is like listening to soft waves of flute while laying in a peaceful place. Very relaxing, peaceful and perfect for massage and other healing modalities. I received an acupuncture treatment today and listening to the CD was very healing to me.”

We invite you to check out our free download this week to listen to a track from Stillness.

And we love to hear from you. How do you deal with challenges when they come up, whether personal or societal? We always like to know what tools and techniques others have to get through difficult times. When you comment here, we’ll send you a free download in appreciation.