Wondering, Wandering and Waiting

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.

– T. S. Eliot

 

I haven’t posted once in 2015.  A series of events at the end of 2014 (nothing overly dramatic) combined into a froth of busy distraction, blurred intention, deep longing, self-doubt and wandering.  Necessary, I’m sure and utterly not fun.  In this persistent darkness, January through June have included moments of beauty, tenderness and love.

 

*LIVE* music...and a very fun drummer to appreciate

*LIVE* music…and a very fun drummer to appreciate

 

Honoring Gina Rose Halpern, founder of The Chaplaincy Institute

Honoring Gina Rose Halpern, founder of The Chaplaincy Institute

 

Berkeley's 4th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles

Berkeley’s 4th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles

 

The Supreme Court decision fuels the San Francisco PRIDE celebration!

The Supreme Court decision fuels the San Francisco PRIDE celebration!

 

And the Summer Solstice brought with it a Dawning, of sorts.  I am not rushing; the past months have brought no benefit from hurrying.  Instead, I try repeatedly to surrender, watch, and wait.  There is no “doing,” I am finding what’s left is the act of accompanying.  I companion myself and everything this world places in my path.  AND I am hoping that, in the sharing of my past months’ reality with you, that you feel evermore free you to feel and share your full range of feelings and uncertainties with the world as well.  I am trusting that the new voice (thank you, T. S. Eliot) is making its way to me, within me and through me.  And so may it be for you, as well!

The Irrational Season

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

-Rumi

 

But Mary was much perplexed.

– The Gospel of Luke 1:29

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”  “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen.  “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day.  Why sometimes I’d believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  

– Alice in Wonderland

 

I live across the street from the police station, in Berkeley, CA.  Two weeks ago, for a string of nights the, “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations roamed the city.

Google Image: Berkeley Protests, 12/2014

Google Image: Berkeley Protests, 12/2014

 

Google Image: Berkeley High students in a moment of a silence at City Hall, 12/2014

Google Image: Berkeley High students in a moment of a silence at City Hall, 12/2014

Each night, the march began peacefully and each night, despite the determined efforts of the demonstration organizers, fringe groups would loot, raid, and destroy storefronts on the route.  With all of this came a disquieting onslaught of helicopters, sirens, beating drums and riot gear, often until 1 and 2 am.  I immediately understood this was to be my empathy training; my turn to peek into the lives of humans around the world whose nervous systems must endure this and so much more.

Fires and tear gas in Berkeley, 12/2014

Fires and tear gas in Berkeley, 12/2014

Paradoxically, for the same number of days I was attempting to find an emotional steadiness amidst the tension of the protests, my partner was working near Lake Tahoe, and sending me photos from his surroundings.

 

Valentino’s shot of a walk along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe

Valentino’s shot of a walk along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe

 

The juxtaposition of our different realities was stunning!  And it was all happening during the Christian season of Advent, a time of waiting; a time of anticipating; a time created to ready ourselves for the arrival of Christ and…Peace.

Meanwhile, the lyrics of a beloved circle chant repeat,

 

Deep down inside of me, there is a fire going on.   Part of me wants to sing about the light; part of me wants to die, die, die!

 

The human tempest happening on this planet puts me smack in the struggle: sing about the light, or run for cover?  How does God inhabit it all?  War zones to new babies; hurricanes to fields resting fallow; bustling factories and traffic jams to houses of worship filled with prayerful souls…and on, and on the list goes.  The late Madeleine L’Engle called Advent, “the irrational season,” and indeed, it is.

The Solstice and Advent both invite us to pause, to reflect and to wait.  In the cold, frozen dark we are urged to suspend our disbelief, to invite the irrational, to believe that what we most need can come from a source we could never expect if we’re limited by our linear mind.

And so, this season, I invite you to welcome new realities of the most surprising sort.  Entertain the impossible.  Embrace the mystery waiting to be born, from out of the shadows, into the light.  Your light.

Google Image: Winter Solstice

Google Image: Winter Solstice

 

Peace, peace and more peace

 

Enlightenment In the Crowd

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

 

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.

– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

Hope is like a road in the country: there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.

– Lin Yutang

 

Consider a recent moment when the crowd woke you up.  Remember that split second when a sound caught your attention,

people on bus

the smile on another helped you notice your own furrowed brow,

dog cafe

or the movement of a child or dog brought a warmth to your chest?

Where did you come from?

Where did you come from?

And remember how any one of these instant happenings called you into the perfect okay-ness of that moment, the aliveness of you in that fraction of a second.  You alive, awake, capable and present.

Whirling in Konya with Rumi

Whirling in Konya with Rumi

I love these moments.

Their simplicity always catches me by surprise.  The contrast I feel within myself is startling: the before moment (when I was “asleep”) and the now moment, when I’m my being knows it’s alive.

I can spend great chunks of a day in the guise of awakeness (typing at my computer, plowing through a to-do list), only to have a moment like one I’ve mentioned, jar me into a much higher state of appreciation and gratitude.  And here’s the thing: I rarely bring this about by myself.  It happens in the crowd.  It happens because consciously, and inadvertently, we do it for each other.  It’s a team sport, this collective act of calling each other to attention.

It’s a vulnerable thing to admit.  We’re in the age of do-it-yourself, each to her own, and be social (but do it alone, communicating with your hand-held device).  Who wants to make eye contact and risk being ignored, rejected or accused.

And then, that flash of humanity surprises us.  Our simple, fragile, resilient, miraculous humanness is reflected in the same fragile, silly, strong miraculousness of another.  Friends, one another is what we have.  Our togetherness is what will save us.

Remember this?

2014 Vision Board Manifesto

2014 Vision Board Manifesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(It’s the 2014 Sacred Activism manifesto that “appeared” as an addendum on my vision board for this year.)   My posts over the last 10 months have explored certain lines: Express yourself, Begin Again, Build Intimacy.  And now?

Get Cheeky.  Grow a Movement…It takes a Village.

All signs suggest we have done it.  We have created the “Climate Movement.”  At last.  And the Movement, despite opposition, has galvanized enough support, representing enough diversity to actually steer the conversation.  After months of speaking up, sitting in, calling, writing and acting out, the Climate Movement impressed upon the US Senate that, for all sorts of reasons, the Keystone XL pipeline is a very bad idea.

Climate March

Climate March

So many voices were at the table for this conversation…and there are so many conversations happening right now, on so many levels where your voice is needed.  You, me, all of us.  So, the next time you’re in line for your coffee, or sitting on the train, or feeling shy in a conversation with the one who might have a different opinion, invite enlightenment!

Now’s your chance.   Please…

Get Cheeky (optional, but often quite fun),

Grow a Movement.  We are a Village.

Flying Over the Grass, Part II

 

It is now easier to imagine the end of the world, than the end of capitalism.
– Frederic Jameson

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. -Jane Goodall

Will you ever understand how near God is to you?
– Lalla, 14th century C.E.

It is forbidden to walk on the grass. It is not forbidden to fly over the grass.
– Augusto Boal

A hoped-for crowd of 100,000 or more will mark this day, September 21, 2014, as the largest Climate March in history. Those gathering in New York will march as 120 heads of state prepare to meet this week, at the United Nations Climate Summit. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be one of the tens of thousands taking part in the walk through midtown Manhattan. More than environmentalists, Climate Marchers include labor unions, faith leaders, and social justice groups all of whom have stressed the disproportionate economic impact that climate change is already having on poor communities around the globe.

 

photo courtesy: Google images

In Part I of this post, you may recall I was sharing how making the transition from Parvati, my beloved bike-friend and guide, to a new bike had unveiled my feelings of guilt, and a certain attitude I could only attribute to what I’ve seen and learned as a participant in our consumer culture. The Climate March and my unsettled feelings combined make the Frederic Jameson quote above all the more chilling.

 

Photo courtesy: Google images

Photo courtesy: Google images

A few weeks ago, I participated in a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop. The theme was “homeless,” and about thirty of us were enacting various reactions to the word, the phenomenon, homeless.  The interpretations were numerous and the facilitator, with various prompts, took us through an arc of feeling the word, then responding to how the word felt. At first go, many of us assumed the word as a description of the millions of humans forced to live on the streets unwillingly, and readily we went to a place of powerlessness, expressing the hugeness of the problem.
Offering historic context for Theatre of the Oppressed, our facilitator offered examples of the insight and liberation this work has brought to the people of South and Central America and how, with some adaptations, it has also been deeply influential in the West. Very simply he pointed to how quickly and how subtly we humans can give up.

 

Be it through fear (perceived or very real) or worse, commonplace laziness, we question less and conform more to the going thing (“I don’t know what to do about that, but someone else will figure it out”). Some of us question a lot, but do very little, because the solution is arrested in a utopian vision of what should be (“Every human should have a warm, safe place to call home and we need a system that supports this, but I can’t possibly bring this about on my own”). Both of these are a strange form of social and individual anesthesia; a field of poppies that, like in The Wizard of Oz, makes us woozy and distracts us from a more divinely creative response.

 

Photo courtesy: Google images

Photo courtesy: Google images

 

Boal cajoles us, “…it is not forbidden to fly over the grass.” Right! This isn’t about grass or no grass, it’s about how I’m engaging with the grass. I tested my wings last week when I sat with my financial advisor and re-arranged my account to be fossil fuel free. Waking from my unintentional stupor is as simple and as difficult as noticing that I’ve gotten uncomfortably comfortable with the muzac playing in the background.

Photo courtesy: Google images

Standing up, singing a song, shaking myself off, I see more clearly. I have been too busy imagining the end of the world, and not nearly creative enough living in to the economic system I want to be a part of – the one that thrives as a network of services, the one that honors cycles and seasons, the one that reveals the extreme satisfaction of enough.

 

 

Please come with me: we don’t have to cut across it, or walk way around it. Let’s fly over it, and let’s cheer all those Climate Marchers from the sky!

Photo courtesy: Google images

Photo courtesy: Google images

 

 

Flying Over the Grass, Part I

The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
– Stephen Biko


The Sun Never Says

Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that? It lights the whole sky.
-Hafiz

It is forbidden to walk on the grass. It is not forbidden to fly over the grass.
– Augusto Boal

 

I spent the better part of July building a new bike. I love the bike. But we’re not IN love yet…

The bike I’ve been riding for nearly five years, Parvati, has been a faithful companion. Together, we have accomplished many cycling goals, to say nothing of hours (HOURS!) of meditative, communal pedaling through Nature’s wonder, galore! Parvati, named after the Hindu goddess, wife of Lord Shiva, was dubbed so after careful thought and prayerful intention.

 

Divinely named...

Divinely named…

She is red, a color to be reckoned with (and one I’ve never had the confidence to wear). She is made of carbon and came with fancy wheels that are designed to go f-a-s-t. When I first began riding Parvati, I felt out of my league, like a wrangler tasked to train her Hot Rod to, “heel,” and to respect who was the true Alpha in the relationship. Over time, we became friends and team-mates, looking out for one another on each endeavor.

 

Parvati (left) and Friend, Mt Diablo summit

 

Parvati and I, riding up Mt Hamilton

Parvati and I, riding up Mt Hamilton

Earlier this year, after a back injury, it became clear that, despite all our accomplishments, Parvati was a touch too small for me. For the riding I want to do (and hopefully for many years to come), a different bike was necessary. I felt instantly confused and ambivalent. Unlike other negotiations she and I had been forced to work out on the road (mechanical issues, directional challenges, headwinds and long miles when Parvati forged on, nudging her weary traveler), this was something we couldn’t fix. Parvati would need to find a new home.
Parvati stables in a locked shed in my backyard. After any ride, when putting her away, I thank her, often kissing her, but always touching her stem and expressing my gratitude for keeping me safe, for showing me a fun, beautiful ride, and for partnering with me to face new challenges. Now, amidst the immense gratitude I felt for Parvati, I felt guilt.

 
….And then the *new* bike frame arrived (custom measurements, specially-ordered, totally-over-the-top-intimidating). I made a point of leaning Parvati up against the newly-shipped box. I wanted her to get used to the idea.

 

'Gotta admit, It IS a beau-tee!

‘Gotta admit, It IS a beau-tee!

About that time, Valentino came over. Valentino, a fine cyclist, good friend, bike-building mentor and my sweetheart, walked through the door and smiled at the bikes’ configuration, “Great idea! ‘Parvati, tell the new one all your secrets!’”  “OHHHH! Is THAT what’s happening?” I exclaimed. “I was just feeling so sad for Parvati….”

 

Valentino, showing Parvati some love in the transition

Valentino, showing Parvati some love in the transition

“No waaaay,” Valentino corrected. “Right now, she’s passing along her secrets and coaching the new bike, ‘She’s not super confident on technical descents; she’ll want to take those nice and easy. She’s ridiculously strong, but doesn’t tends to forget, so help to remind her…’ etc. etc.”

 

Huh! I hadn’t thought of that. But I wished I had! And I began holding this new reality, empowering Parvati to be the coach she had always been, as the one who would happily bid me Adieu so she could take on her next case. Of course. Why should it be otherwise?

 

And that really IS the question. Why did my mind and heart first go to the place of guilt and sadness? What have I been taught, or where did I subscribe to thinking that moving on equals diminishing what has been? In the musical, Annie, Daddy Warbucks says, “I’ve always believed one thing, you don’t have to be nice to the people you meet on the way up, if you’re not coming back down again.” In Capitalist culture, there is an assumption that when I discard one widget, I am doing so to make room for the next one, bigger and better. As consumers, the marketplace encourages our proud (thankless?) declarations of, “I’m done with this!” Nevermind where it will go, what I’m to do it with it now.

 
Has this ideology insidiously informed the way we approach our non-widget interactions, as well? Granted, in the world of bike consumption, Parvati isn’t Parvati. She is a 2008 Cannondale Synapse. In the relational world, though – the world that is SO much bigger (and sooooooo much better) than the limitations of an economic system – Parvati (widget or not) has been a relationship. She has been teacher and guide. And this is true of so many other life practices, as well, that unconsciously might sneakily, oppressively be subsumed in the practices of consuming.

 

But here’s the thing: we’re not ONLY consumers. Indications all over the place show us that humans feel overwhelmed by the weight and pressure of consuming, especially when there is no affirming plan or process for proper down-cycling or burial. Consumers and widgets go together in transactions (and often really poor discard planning), but I don’t want to bring this mentality to infuse the rest of my one, crazy-miraculous experience of life.
And so, until part two…

 

Me and my beloved teacher, right after our final ride

Me and my beloved teacher, just after our final ride

 

Solstice Soul-check

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.

~ Mary Oliver

In a very little while, the world will see me no more but you will see me,
because I am really alive and you will be alive too. … you are in me, and I am in you.

~ John, 14:20

(S)He to whom you pray is nearer to you than the neck of your camel.

~ The Prophet Muhammed

We, up here in the Northern hemisphere, are presently relishing the long days of Summer.  Midsummer, celebrated in poetry, theatre, and music reminds us to take heed, for with it comes a particular madness.

 

Early morning, Summer Solstice (6/21/14).  My porch altar

Early morning, Summer Solstice (6/21/14). My porch altar

 

Early evening July ride; the fog rolls in blanketing Berkeley below

Early evening bike ride; the fog rolls in blanketing Berkeley below

We see it in Nature – the thunderstorms, the fireflies, the tomatoes and squash and melons that nearly double in size overnight. When I wake up in these pre-dawn, July mornings, I feel the potential of the day, tugging at me with its plethora of ideas. I feel the sun, still beaming brightly at 5pm, making an early evening bike ride irresistible! The reaching expanse of daylight, or the heat – or both – offer an energetic pulse unlike any other time.

In the last 10 days I’ve had stirring conversations with a handful of friends and clients, all of whom have voiced a certain overwhelm regarding life’s possibilities: “I don’t know what I’m here to do,” and, “There are a lot of things I want, but I don’t know which of them I’m supposed to pursue.”

 

Can you relate to this?

 

You may recall my post from the Winter Solstice, when I spoke of my vision board, and the need to, “go in,” to consider what needed to be born. Now in its polar opposite, the Summer season invites an altogether different, yet complementary, invitation. Feeling some flavor of what my friends and clients were describing, I consulted my 2014 vision board to perform a Summer Solstice “soul-check.” Afterall, the year is half-over (I know, I know!) so what better time to undertake a thoughtful assessment? Much to my satisfaction, a number of the areas of my vision board have been fulfilled…or have evolved quite nicely. There are some other areas where, when I created the board, I was not sure what the images were telling me. To my delight, I am now sensing more of what they were calling me to do and to be in this period of my life. And still, there are spots that serve as poignant prompts – cues and reminders – for intentions I still want to become a part of me and my second nature.

 

Unlike the slow, careful laboring quality of Winter’s gestation process, our present moment invites us to stretch, spill over, grow! And here’s the great part…it comes without worry. I don’t mean that it’s impulsive (although Shakespeare and Woody Allen might disagree with me); what I mean is that we can rest into who we are and the movement that’s already alive in us. Different from urgency, there is an immediacy that graces this season…and we can indulge it with a second piece of watermelon as surely as we can respond to it when questions, fears or confusion present distraction.

Embracing what is, May, 2014

Embracing what is, May, 2014

 

Taking clues from the prayers embedded in my vision board, I’m connecting each day with what still feels unfinished. It’s not a problem to be solved, or a to-do list to tackle. It is a hole for me to fill…right now, with myself. In the warm immediacy of this long summer day, I can ask for help, I can rest in what is, I can become more of who I am and who I am becoming.

 

 

 

What is working right now? What is bringing you joy? What do you love? May you relax into what you are becoming!  You are in it, and it is in you. Amen!

Summer Ferry Ride, July, 2014

Summer Ferry Ride, July, 2014

 

CRAN Credits, Lauren’s Wrap-UP & Getting Our Story Straight

One week ago, Parvati and I landed back in Berkeley, safe and sound.  And all week it’s been that fun mental game of, where were we one week ago??

Riding beneath the Big, Big Sky

Riding beneath the Big, Big Sky

 

Oh right!  The giant fields…or the great expression on the cow’s faces….

 

Outta my way, I've been wrestling wind allll day!

Outta my way, I’ve been wrestling wind allll day!

 

 

 

 

 

or the smell of the alfalfa…or the morning air right after the rain in Halsey…

 

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

 

And then two days ago, I smiled remembering those of you I had the great pleasure of actually SEEING at the finish line and celebrations!

After a week of iceberg lettuce, Tom met me with spinach and arugula.  He's dreamy that way

After a week of iceberg lettuce, Tom met me with spinach and arugula. He’s dreamy that way

This message is for all of you.  Your support, offered in many ways, has been a source of encouragement, reassurance, and inspiration. The CRAN Credit reel (below) includes each one of you.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review the list for two reasons:

1) to acknowledge that you played a part in this ride, a carefully, creatively designed action to increase awareness, focus attention and empower humans to act on behalf of life and creation, and

2) to celebrate our success!  In a little over two months, we raised nearly 10k.  It’s true!  The fundraising thermometer on my Climate Ride page is hovering just under $10,000.  This didn’t happen because large funders or private companies stepped-in (not that that would be a bad thing); it happened because so, so many of you gave what you could…which, together, becomes a LOT!

At the end of my Finish Line presentation and Q&A last week, the final question was perhaps the best one, and for me, the most difficult.  It came from the back of the room, from a face I couldn’t see, and the voice asked, “What will you do now?”

P1080039

By Day Four, I’d begun fantasizing about Iowa, then Illinois…Indiana….

For a few days, already, I’d been cogitating on this.  After acting on a dream, planning the ride, raising the funds, executing the logistics and pedaling the 485 miles, what would I do now?   After a long moment of silence I said, “I will keep doing what I’m doing, sometimes not very well, but I will keep doing it…and I hope we can do it together.”  I was referencing the three practices I’d mentioned in my presentation; the same three I’m going to re-cap now, in my final CRAN message, to be sure we’re getting our story straight.

Let’s remember: the story we’ve been hearing, that we need to, “save the planet,” is a flawed story. Our hope now is to tend and tell the NEW story.  The new story is that we need to save LIFE (ours and the miraculous, interdependence we share with all the species and earth’s resources).  Here are three practices that I believe can help us tend our story:

 

Build Intimacy.  Start where it's simple...let it ripple from there

Build Intimacy. Start where it’s simple…let it ripple from there

 

 

Practice One: This is a Love story! 

Build Intimacy.  An age-old human story involves fences and defining each side.  In the saving life story, we’re all living and we need to have conversations about the universality of this.  Perhaps this is best done by talking about the beings we love (pets, land, grandchildren, trees, and so on), and then working to care for and preserve them.

 

Parts of the new story aren't glamorous.  They're necessary, though, and require our patience

Parts of the new story aren’t glamorous. They’re necessary, though, and require our patience

 

 

 

Practice Two: We’re ALL protagonists in this story. 

Begin Again.  Tell it Like it Is.  The familiar story is about an economy built on More, Growth, and Obsilescent.  This story is NOT about recycling.  Driving a Prius is NOT enough, and neither is riding a bike.   The new story needs us to talk about what trying something unfamiliar feels like.  Can we tolerate uncertainty together?  Can we explore a new definition for “growth?” The new story is about implementing safer, saner ways of consuming what we need without hurting ourselves and future generations.

 

 

 

 

Practice Three: Play.  Use your voice.  Express Yourself

Our new story is rooted in Regenerative Humility.  With care and practice, and support from our communities, we can source from a place that’s regenerative — I call it God.  In this place, I put less of my interest on changing the world, and more attention on how the world changes me.

Climate talks while pedaling through the sandhills.  Unforgettable

Climate talks while pedaling through the sandhills. Unforgettable

 

On day three of my CRAN, I had the rare gift of riding 50 miles with another cyclist (I saw 5 total!).  When I told him why I was riding, his words about our situation were, “There is no hope.”  Perhaps he’s right.  The Western Shelf of Antarctica is falling to sea and new fires are burning every day in the Southwest.  Nevertheless, Regenerative Humility keeps me curious.  It frees me to move and act without the guarantee of success.

 

 

 

 

There's No Place Like Home (and I don't mean Kansas)

There’s No Place Like Home  — and I don’t mean Kansas.  That, Silly, would be CRAK!

Friends!  We are mammals, human mammals that create.  Our life depends on it.  WHAT we create is part of the story we’re reconstructing.  I have no clue how this story ends; what I do know is that our next chapter is happening and it needs each one of our co-creative acts to set the story back on course.   Thanks for sharing your voice and support!!!  And speaking of support, this is it!

My Last Call for CRAN donations.  Do I Hear 10k???  You can make a secure online donation NOW by clicking on the ‘Support Me’ button, on my Climate Ride website page. You’ll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Thank you for your help!

 

CRAN CREDITS:

Acupuncture, Massage & Bodywork Miracles

Laura, Gonzalo, Sylvia, Bruce & Barb

Above & Beyond acts of Cheerleading

Amy & Ellie (card & artwork), Cathleen (traveling from Toronto), Heather (faithful FB & blog commenting), Jules & Sukha (text photos), Ed (phone call), CR (good luck bracelet), Phil & Annette (CRAN mala beads), Lane (traveling from KC)

Bike Case & Bike Rack

Kevin W and the Geggs Family

Bike Maintenance & Safety Check

Paul at Polkadot Bicycles

Donations over $150

A surprisingly, wonderful number of you

Donations of every amount, given with appreciation

So, SO many of you

Finish Line Celebration Event

Betsy, Laurel, Kim, Robyn, & the Zanders

Helmet Cam

Margo D

Lodging & Accommodations

Tom P

Pace-setter, Equipment Consult, Bike Fit, & Luvvvv

Valentino P

Prayers and Good Thoughts, Blog Readers & FB followers

More of you than I even know, and thank you so very much

Press Release & CRAN Promotion

D2 Infinity, Kim, Betsy, Robyn & Nick

Route Mapping

Barb B

Support and Gear (SAG) Master & Photography

Laurel VH-P (da mama) & Misty (da car)

 

 

 

Lauren’s CRAN: This Barn. That Thing? (and the Finish is where it Starts)

Since my first or second post, you’ve been hearing about my fascination with BOLD Nebraska’s response to the Keystone XL pipeline. BOLD Nebraska is a grassroots collaboration of ranchers, farmers and Nebraska natives who believe there are other ways to fuel our future than mining the Canadian tar-sands for oil, and transporting it to refineries in Texas.

 

This Barn, Road Rd 22, Nebraska

This Barn, Road Rd 22, Nebraska

Last Fall, in response to proposed pipeline routes and legislation, BOLD Nebraska built This Barn.  I have been looking forward to seeing it for myself and made sure my CRAN route would get us close to the right spot.  Parvati’s thin tires aren’t too friendly with gravel roads, it so happens, so SAG Master (Mom!) played chauffeur for a quick detour. Time was of the essence and to be sure we didn’t drive in circles, we pulled alongside two farmers talking by their tractors.

IMG_2765

This Barn’s roof 🙂

 

“We’re looking for BOLD Nebraska’s Barn,” my Mom said.

“Oh, that thing?” one of them said.

This Barn.  That thing.

 

 

And there it is: the teeter-totter on which so many climate conversations lie.  I’ve had 450 miles to ponder this.  In some moments, it’s “game over.”  I don’t have the courage or energy to be curious.  There are other moments too, however, when Grace descends and the capacity to hang out for a few more sentences appears.

IMG_2755

Build Our Energy sign at This Barn

In a few hours, I’m going to ride from the outskirts of Lincoln, into the City where I grew up.  I will be met by members of the village that raised me.  It marks the “Finish Line” for my CRAN.  For the past two days, I have been pedaling slower, not wanting it to end.  I am savoring these HUGE skies, brimming with cotton-candy clouds, these green, green fields and redwing blackbirds dancing ahead of me on the wide swath of road-meets-horizon.  Out here, pedaling my prayerful pilgrimage, my purpose has been clear, guided, exquisitely simple.  Ironically, the rubber meets the road, when I get off my bike and attempt to talk about why I did this and what I’ve learned.

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Left turn to Lincoln!

I pray for the courage, the clarity, the command of language to share this story in a way that might invite others to share theirs.  I pray that each of us has the patience and perseverance to bring curiosity to the conversations that might initially ring, “game over.”  I pray that, together, we can begin to create a new chapter in our story on this planet…and that we might take delight in the creativity that has been given to us through birth.

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Lauren and Parvati, enjoying a different kind of spin

 

May our capacity to innovate and care for one another and this great spinning home of ours be fueled by great sky, deep ocean, strong mountain, fresh breeze, cool grass, and the spirited animals everywhere.  Amen!  See you at the Finish, where it all Begins….

P.S. If you haven’t made a donation and want to, there’s still time.  Whaddy say?  Finish line together with 10k?  You can make a secure online donation NOW by clicking on the ‘Support Me’ button. You’ll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Thank you for your help!

Lauren’s CRAN: Why Do I Care?

Two days ago, I was on Day Three of my Climate Ride Across Nebraska (CRAN).  Maybe it was the 57 hilly miles of headwind,

Hwy 81 S, Nebraska

Hwy 81 S, Nebraska

 

The Pioneers named this river and the sandy hills surrounding it, "Dismal."

The Pioneers named this river and the sandy hills surrounding it, “Dismal.”

or maybe it was the tepid response I’d received in the North about why I was doing this, or maybe I was feeling the ancestral energy left behind by the pioneers who had attempted, in far worse conditions, with covered wagons (for gosh sake), to trek the sandhill terrain I’d been pedaling across for the past 72 hours.

Whatever the reason, by the time I turned East on Hwy 2, my mind was a tornado and my heart a jumble.  Hwy 2 marks the place where the ranches and rodeos, meet railroad and industry.  The trains barrel by on the tracks nearly every 20 minutes and every second or third one is filled to the brim with coal.

Train, along Hwy 2, Nebraska

Train, along Hwy 2, Nebraska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a few hours that morning, I had the morale boost of a riding companion (I’ve seen a total of 5 cyclists this week!).  It was a gift to share conversation and humor as we both leaned in and howled at the wind.  My new friend, it turns out, is a scientist, with advanced degrees in conservation.  When I shared how much I was looking forward to seeing the Nebraska State Forest (I would be passing it that afternoon), he mentioned that all those trees, hand-planted in the 1920s, were wreaking havoc on Nebraska’s water table.

Oh, Noooooooooooo!!!!!!

I really didn’t want to hear that.  Nor did I want to be reminded of my dependency on coal in a steady train-after-train succession, and NEITHER did I want to puzzle any more over what I could ask or say when I’m talking with others who don’t believe there’s a problem with the way we’re using the remaining resources on this planet.

In that moment, clipping along the highway shoulder at a steady 14 mph, I lost it.  Tears ran down my face, sobs unlocked the knot in my throat and I wailed loudly as another train roared past.  “Why Do I Care So Much?” asked the voice in my heart?  “Hmmmm, Right,” said my head.  “Why do I care?  And, would it really be fair to think that others do NOT care?”

I mean, let’s start with you.  Do YOU care?  And if enough of us care, why isn’t change happening faster?

Flowers in the wind, Sandhills

Flowers in the wind, Sandhills

 

Global warming isn’t going to stop because we reuse our bags and ride bikes (great things, of course – keep doing them, start doing them, don’t stop doing them), AND change is going to be fraught with complexities we don’t want to hear and will find overwhelming.

It takes courage to stick with it.  I shrink away a lot.  It requires vulnerability to feel the grief and of what humans have done to our Earth home.  I look the other way sometimes.  When we vow to do this together, sort of like working with that damn headwind, we set a pace for one another, resisting the seduction of becoming complacent.

I think that’s part of what my CRAN is about.  I’m looking for ways we can ban together, use our voice, and foster change.  One way to do that, is to support others who are organizing this effort grassroots to grand, all around the globe.  Thanks to so, so many of you, we have raised nearly $9000 to divide between my three chosen beneficiaries.  My ride, however, is NOT over.  If you haven’t made a donation and want to, there’s still time.  Whaddy say?  Finish line together with 10k?  You can make a secure online donation NOW by clicking on the ‘Support Me’ button, on my Climate Ride page. You’ll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Thank you for your help!

 

Getting my Kicks

 

 

Lauren’s CRAN: “Flat. Like a waffle.”

Paul and Parvati

Paul and Parvati

 

The afternoon I arrived in Nebraska, I took Parvati (my bike), to Polkadot Bicycles in Lincoln.  Paul, the owner, had generously agreed to give her a once-over and safety check (Thank you, Paul!!!).  Lubing her pedals and adjusting a cable he calmly stated facts, sliding some hints my way for the week ahead,

“Nebraska is flat, like a waffle.  No pancakes.” 

On this ride, I’m ultimately descending (I will lose nearly 2000 ft in elevation, between Chadron & Lincoln), however, it’s Day Two of my CRAN and at 150 miles in, I’ve climbed (beautiful), undulating waffle ridges, climbing more than 1000 feet both days.

 

Please pass the syrup!!!

Rumbles and Waffles

rumbles and waffles

So far, in addition to the stunning scenery and intimate peeks into the small and tough rural towns lining the Northern edge of the state, my Mom and I have had some chance encounters with residents, some of whom are curious about why I’m riding, and others who seem pretty certain they’re not interested.

Oh, Nebraska!

Oh, Nebraska!

 

You, dear readers, have offered so much support, with your interest!!  THANK YOU for following my blog, for “liking” posts on Facebook, and for donating money to this effort.   If you haven’t donated and still want to, there is time!  Here’s a quick reminder of where your generosity will be shared:

1. 350.org  –  believes that a global grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice.

Why I chose them: SO many reasons, but simply put because they’re tell the most important story of our times using people, art and action.

2. Interfaith Power & Light –  is a national organization with over 40 state affiliates and a network of 15,000 congregations advocating for climate awareness and environmental protection as a moral issue.

Why I chose them: Because as of the 2013 census, the estimated population of Nebraska was 1.85 million, and nearly 56% of the population identifies as religious (compared to the national average of 49%).  When communities gather to teach, encourage and celebrate life-affirming values, the ripple effects are powerful, and contagious!  Go, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light!!!

 

Nearing the end of Day Two and Hwy 20

Nearing the end of Day Two and Hwy 20

3. World Bicycle Relief – puts bikes in communities across Africa.  In myriad ways, they demonstrate that bikes are infact, “engines of cultural and economic development.”

Day Three: Hwy 83, here I come!

Day Three: Hwy 83, here I come!

 

Why I chose them: Because World Bicycle Relief is looking at what I will call WHOLE PICTURE Sustainability (economic, environmental, social and cultural).  Visit their website and watch the videos – so inspiring!

YOU are receiving this message because I want to share this week’s events with you.  I’ve committed to do the pedaling, my friends.  You can help me with your prayers and donations.   You can make a secure online donation NOW by clicking on the ‘Support Me’ button, on my Climate Ride page. You’ll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Thank you for your help!