Nature’s Beauty

The tree was awe-inspiring even with all of the power lines running through it

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Greenbelt Restoration Work Party: October 14, 2017

Last weekend’s Greenbelt work party was our biggest ever. Thirty-four people participated. That included 4 GreenFriends members, 4 neighbors, 22 students from the University of Washington’s Introduction to Environmental Science class, 4 friends and a Forest Steward.

Our goal for this work party was to finish preparing the land for the 35+ trees that we are going to plant on October 22. We created a  bucket brigade and then carried 10 cubic yards of wood chips from 25th Avenue S into the Greenbelt and dumped them in piles around the site,

We also removed blackberry root balls that were located close to the planting areas and placed burlap around each section where a tree will be planted.

The work party may have only lasted three hours, but as you can see from the photos above and below, we have lots of memories!

And last, but not least, thanks to my neighbor Marine who took most of these photos.

(You can enlarge any of the photos by clicking on the galleries.)

Guest Post by Evan Smith: Speaking Up About #MeToo

(Note from Karuna: I was looking at my nephew’s Facebook Page yesterday and found an entry on October 16 that touched me. In the post, Evan shared his reaction to the #metoo movement. I asked for and received permission to share his reflection as a guest post on my blog. Thank you Evan.)

I am reading about the #metoo movement today and I saw someone comment on the fact that while all the women are posting about it the men are staying silent. As the father to a future young woman, I don’t want to be one of the ones staying silent.

What I want to say is this: I don’t understand this problem. I don’t understand it because I’m not one of these men and can’t even begin to relate to the idea of forcing yourself either physically or verbally on a woman. I don’t feel like I was raised all that differently from most men in this country.

It’s not like I’m special in any way. When I see an attractive woman, I think to myself “she is great looking” but there isn’t any part of me that wants to do or say any more than that. Is it because I’m married? Is it because I have no intention of ever sleeping with anyone other than my wife? Does this problem exist because the slightest possibility of sex exists between these assholes and every woman with 2 legs?

So I want help understanding this. Guys, message me privately. If you are a guy that shouts at girls on the street in ways that you think is none threatening or you think you’re not hurting anyone, please message me. I want to understand what you don’t understand about this. Because this is about you. And I won’t assume that I don’t have any friends who do this. It won’t be the first time I learned a close friend has a surprising lack of respect for women.

My little girl will be a woman some day. If I ever witness her being attacked the way I have read about today, there will be no level of understanding or calm rationalism that will hold me back. And you can be sure I will raise her (along with my don’t-take-shit-from-anybody wife) to stand up for herself. But I would really like it if she got to mature in a world where this didn’t happen. We are supposedly the most civilized country on earth so how is this still happening? HOW are we not all on the same page here?

Guys, read the Me Too posts your friends are putting up and make sure you are NOT a part of this problem. Because I am positive most men don’t even realize they are doing it and think they are just giving compliments. Understand that you are bigger and stronger than these people because nature decided that was a good idea and when you do this you SCARE them. When you act like an ass you are ONE STEP away from raping them or worse and that is all they can think about when you do it. And it doesn’t matter if you get that or if it makes sense to you- JUST STOP.

Or maybe just stop because being a man grants you absolutely zero dominion over women and if you don’t 100% agree with that you have serious problems.

Assyrian Greek Orthodox Choir Sings in Aramaic to Pope Francis

Today, a friend sent me a link to a video of an Assyrian Greek Orthodox choir singing in Aramaic to Pope Francis. Listening to it gave me goosebumps so I wanted to share it with you.

The performance took place in Georgia, a country in Eurasia. The video has been uploaded onto YouTube by different groups. Some say the song is “Our Father,” others say it is Psalm 53 and yet another says it is Psalm 16. In looking at the translations I think it may be Psalm 16, but I don’t know. What I do know is that it is beautiful.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I Am Not a Sightseer

I am not a sightseer. I haven’t liked sightseeing for as long as I can remember. That attitude was firmly entrenched by the time I was in 10th grade and we lived in Hawaii. There, my brothers and I were expected to go sightseeing with my parents every Sunday. I’m sure I moaned and groaned and pouted.

During our year in Hawaii, I remember resenting that I couldn’t run away from home.  I knew if I made it past the guard at the gate of the army base where we lived, it wouldn’t do me any good because we were living on an island. I’d never be able to find a way off the island.  Continue reading “I Am Not a Sightseer”

Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: September 12, 2017

When I planned my trip to Amritapuri this year, I made a priority of being there during Krishna Jayanthi, the day Krishna’s birth is celebrated each year. In my early days with Amma, I found myself crying deeply whenever I sang or listened to some bhajans (devotional songs). When I checked out those bhajans later, I discovered that almost all of them were Krishna songs. I didn’t know anything about Krishna from my conscious mind, but clearly some part of me did.

I have been at Amritapuri on Krishna Jayanthi twice before. An important part of the celebration is a procession that goes from the ashram to a nearby Krishna temple. The group sings all the way to the temple. When I participated in that procession in 2003, I was in bliss the whole time. The second time I was at the ashram on Krishna Jayanthi, my back went out just prior to the celebration and I wasn’t able to walk in the procession.

This year, for me, Krishna’s birthday was a time of bliss, a time of sadness, and a time of challenges. Prior to booking my trip, I had done an internet search for the 2017 date of Krishna Jayanthi in Kerala. August 14 was the date that came up. I booked my trip for August 9 so that I would have time to get over some of the jet lag before the big day. Continue reading “Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: September 12, 2017”

Needing Some Inspiration

Sreejit’s directions for this week’s Dungeon Prompt is:

When you’re feeling down or just need a push forward with your day, where do you look for inspiration? What drives you, or keeps you smiling? Or when you’re really down, what keeps you alive, and getting out of bed each morning? You don’t have to write about a major presence or source of inspiration in your life, but can just tell us about one of the little things that elevate you in some way.

I could create a long list of things that inspire me and can’t imagine pairing it down to one. Therefore, I will compromise and settle for sharing two of them with you!  Continue reading “Needing Some Inspiration”

Living and Learning in Amritapuri: September 1-10, 2017

For various reasons, I got behind in sharing the experiences I was having in Amritapuri. I am still going to do that even though I’ve been back in Seattle for almost a month.

Karthika

There are special programs each month on Karthika, Amma’s birth star. In September, Karthika was on September 9. What I like best about Karthika  is the sight below.

This time, I attended the chanting and singing that was occurring that evening in the Kalari. I really enjoyed doing that and the sweets that were handed out at the end of the program were a nice treat too.

Challenges

I’ve mentioned before that when we are around Amma, it is common for our weaknesses and negative tendencies to come up so that we can see them and work on them. A negativity that was in my face numerous times on this trip was feeling incompetent. One of the times I felt that way was when I attempted to take orders in the cafe. At that time, I was still having difficulty writing because my broken wrist wasn’t completely healed. Even more of a problem was the fact that I hadn’t done that job for years. I didn’t know the current prices and as a result I was really slow.

Another place I felt incompetent when I was doing the prasad line seva. My job was to see that the two lines of people who were going to hand Amma prasad (the packets of ash and candy that she gives people who come to her for a hug) was always full and that all prasad givers had been trained to do the job. One of those lines is on the stage, the other is down on the auditorium floor. Doing all components of the job became even more complicated if there were times I had to wander the auditorium, and even outside the auditorium, looking for people to fill the line.

About the time I was beginning to feel reasonably competent in doing the job, there was a day when the darshan location was changed to the temple. That building is much smaller than the auditorium and had a different system for the prasad lines. Some things went badly and I couldn’t figure out why. Back to feeling incompetent. I was relieved that my next shift would be in the big auditorium. WRONG. The day before my next shift, I learned that the auditorium was going to be used for Amrita University’s graduation ceremony and darshan would once again be in the temple. Continue reading “Living and Learning in Amritapuri: September 1-10, 2017”