My First….

I have owned a car since 1969. At that time I borrowed money from my parents in order to purchase a little white Datsun. I needed the car so I could make home visits during my public health nursing course.

The cars I have had since then have usually lasted seven years. In 2001, I bought the Toyota Corolla I still drive. It has been a great car and I expect, or at least hope, it will be the car I drive until the end of my driving years.

In my 49 years of owning cars, I have never put a bumper sticker on my car. Earlier this year, I was at a Green Seattle Partnership event where there were many displays. On one table there was a stack of bumper stickers. I picked up one even though I didn’t expect to use it, at least not as a bumper sticker.

I have looked at it many times since then. The message on it reflects my values and I believe it will continue to reflect my values throughout the rest of my life. One day last week, I decided to put the sticker on the car.

After I applied it, I realized I had put it in the middle of the back of the car, not on the bumper! That makes sense though. The high visibility placement reflects the value I place on the message.

No Matter Time Nor Place

Sreejit, as always, picked an interesting Dungeon Prompt for this week; one worthy of considerable contemplation. His instructions:

Which truth do you hold no matter the time or place? This isn’t a prompt about whether you believe in God or not, or in science or not. This is a morality question. For example, most of us can say that we believe in the commandment, thou shalt not kill, regardless of religion, but would you be able to stick with that even while witnessing your mother or sister being raped? Would you feel that it was wrong if another person, in that kind of situation, killed an attacker to save someone else? So the question here is, which of your values do you hold so strongly that it wouldn’t matter the time or place? Explain.

I did my personal therapy with therapists who used a process known as corrective parenting psychotherapy. When I finished my therapy, I decided I wanted to become a therapist. After obtaining the necessary education, I chose to do the same kind of therapy with my clients.

All corrective parenting therapists and their clients use a set of six self-care contracts as guiding principles in their lives.  The contracts are:

  • I will not hurt myself or others nor provoke/allow others to harm me. I will stay safe and honor the safety of others
  • I will not run away. I will stay and work through my problems.
  • I will not be sneaky or lie. I will be honest with myself and others.
  • I will not make myself sick or go crazy. I will stay sane and healthy.
  • I will not be passive. I will be proactive.
  • I am responsible for my feelings, thoughts, actions and attitudes.

There is no expectation that anyone will keep these contracts perfectly. In fact, if we look closely, we probably break one or more of them every day. By using them as guiding principles, however, we learn to become conscious of our actions. When we break one of the contracts, we look at how and why we broke it and determine what we will do to prevent ourselves from breaking it again.

I still place great value on these principles, but since I have no expectation that I will keep them perfectly it would not fit into the “no matter time nor place” criteria.

Since Sreejit mentioned the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses, I decided to take a look at those. They are:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
  2. Thou shalt not make any graven idols.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. Thou shalt not covet.

I found it interesting to reflect on the list. Some I have broken at some point in my life either overtly or subtly, intentionally or unintentionally (3, 5, 8, 9, 10). I know there are people who would believe I have broken two others, although I would disagree with that opinion (1,2). One of the ten I have broken because it is not part of my belief system (4). There are two I have not broken and can’t imagine ever breaking (6, 7). When I ask myself if I would I kill in self defense or to save someone else,  I conclude that I can’t answer the question without being in the situation. I don’t see myself as someone who would ever commit adultery, but I am always leary of saying “never” about anything. All in all, I see that I cannot give “no matter time nor place” status to the ten commandments either.

I place very high value on my path with my spiritual teacher Amma. However, I don’t do many of the spiritual practices that she instructs us to do and even though I may ask her questions about my individual practice or my life, I don’t ask her for advice unless I am willing to do what she suggests I do. I clearly am not committed at the level of “no matter time nor place” even though my process with Amma, in many ways, is the center of my life.

I place great value on my relationship with my children, Sreejit and Chaitanya. For the purposes of this prompt, I reflected on whether I would give my life if it would save theirs. I would like to think so, and I think in almost any circumstance I would, but after recently rereading the book 1984, I recognize that when tortured, a person can be made to betray even those whom they love the most. So, while I think that this would be the value I would most likely hold on to “no matter time nor place” I cannot even be sure of that.

So after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there is no value I hold that I can say, without a shred of doubt, that I would be 100% committed to regardless of the time or place. I wonder if it is possible for any human being to stay that committed to anything.

The Ideals To Which We Are Beholden

Sreejit from The Seekers Dungeon just wrote and published a new song. It is called The Ideals To Which We Are Beholden. The song is sobering and I believe it is a good reflection of the time in which we live. There is much in it that is worthy of contemplation.

Lyrics

When some are hailed as chosen it means others will be outcast – when greed defines our self-worth, we tighten poverty’s grasp – we’re all looking for happiness while pretending we’re not heartbroken – are you at peace with the ideals to which you are beholden?

The backs of others don’t make for a steady road – no one looks up to the boot against their throat – but our status is the one thing to which we have devotion– are you at peace with the ideals to which you are beholden?

We defend the words we know we have misspoken, we seek to teach before we truly have awoken, we soldier on though our beliefs are corroding – are you at peace with the ideals to which you are beholden?

We close the borders to keep our freedom safe, we close our hearts because rejection we cannot take – with love little more than a token notion,  are you at peace with the ideals to which you are beholden?

The innocent, who never had a chance because they were pawns in a power brokers dance, lay scattered, collateral is the word that’s softly spoken – are you at peace with the ideas to which you are beholden?

We defend the words we know we have misspoken, we seek to teach before we truly have awoken, we soldier on though our beliefs are corroding – are you at peace with the ideals to which you are beholden?

Oh mother, won’t you take your truth from me, and sing me back to sleep, just sing me back to sleep. I know the world is longing to be free, but sing me back to sleep, just sing me back to sleep. It takes so much good to destroy a little bit of evil so sing me back to sleep, just sing me back to sleep. But now you’ve destroyed my peace and I cannot sleep, so bring the fight to me, just bring the fight to me.

Food Waste: More Information to Ponder

https://livinglearningandlettinggo.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/1024px-gi_market_food_waste.jpg
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I included some food waste facts in my Challenge for Growth Prompt #10: Ending Food Waste post. Below you will find a quote from Gandhi, an abundance continuum from Jean I. Clarke, and some more relevant facts.

1)  Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

2)  Jean I. Clarke created an abundance continuum.  It looks like this:  “too little … enough …   abundance …  too much”

3)  “As of 2013, half of all food is wasted worldwide, according to the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME)”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_waste.

4)  “Food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.” (Environmental Protection Agency) from End Food Waste Now

5)  “Every ton of food wasted results in 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)” End Food Waste Now

6)  “A single restaurant in the U.S. can produce approximately 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste in a year, according to the Green Restaurant Association.” End Food Waste Now

7)  “Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons).” Food and Agriculture Organization

8)  “Hunger is still one of the most urgent development challenges, yet the world is producing more than enough food. Recovering just half of what is lost or wasted could feed the world alone.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

9)  “Around 100 million tonnes  in the EU. If nothing is done, food waste could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020.” Another source Reported: “Each year, 22 million tonnes of food is wasted in the European Union, according to a new study, of which 80 per cent is avoidable.”   (Both studies are reported.  I do not know how to account for the discrepancy in numbers.)

10)  “With an estimated 70 billion pounds (~32 million tons) of food waste in America each year, we must work together to capture more of this valuable resource for the nearly 48 million people in the United States who feel the effects of food insecurity.” Feeding America

Personal reflections:

Not wasting food has long been a value of mine but I am far from perfect about it.  It will be a life goal I think.

I am lucky to live in a city, Seattle, where recycling and composting of food and yard waste has been available for years.  Nowadays, if city residents put food or recyclables in their trash cans, they may be fined.  The city’s food and yard waste is sent to Cedar Groves where it is turned into garden compost.

I also compost some of my food waste in two worm bins.  One is a big outdoor wooden bin, and the other is a Worm Factory bin that can stay inside my house or on my back deck.  Vermi-composting creates high quality fertilizer.

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Worm composting

I LOVE MY WORMS!

Quote of the Week: Wayne Muller

Wayne Muller

When discussing the importance of brevity and simplicity of speech when one is trying to create inner silence, Muller  provided information that I have recalled time and time again.  He said:

Someone once noted that the Lord’s Prayer contained 56 words, the Twenty-third Psalm 118 words,and the entire Gettysburg address only 226 words– while the U.S. Department of Agriculture directive on pricing cabbage contained 15,629 words.  One could easily conclude that we place a higher value on pricing cabbage than on liberty, prayer, or serenity.

 

 

From Legacy of the Heart:  The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood by Wayne Muller, Simon and Schuster, 1992, page 104-105.