It is midsummer, azure blue skies, singing birds. These two things alone bring such delight into my day. I revel in the feel of them, the pure bliss of their presence. The Allman Brothers sing “…you’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day…” oh the love love.One gorgeous sunny day connects with every delicious sunny day I have ever known, like beautiful beads on a long strand of life. Some have little birds on them, others flowers or bugs, and some cool crystal water with watermelon colored rims. A sweet bead holds the heart of summer love and another the graceful waves of green grasses waving in cooling breezes. Bead after bead, multi-colored millefiori, a thousand flowers, faceted and plain, bold and soft, prismatic and opaque, to play through my fingers as mala beads with their mantra of scent and sound. They wrap and drape whispering their stories, reminders of continuity and returns. To cherish; to treat and hold as dear; to prize, treasure; to nurture. And as such I cherish these days, these beads of summer and hold them dear; prized, treasures of golden booty, aquamarine lined. And I nurture them with thanks and gratitude in simple appreciation for their bounty rich patina, bead strands layered in color and texture. Sing to these days, harmonize with the birds, flutter as butterflies, adorn in the colors of the summer rose or a field of wildflowers. Don the diamonds of morning dew glistening upon the web of Grandmother Spider, good weavings to herald the days. Feel the sun upon your skin and hair; sweet kisses to make young the love of the mighty heart. Dance fairy light; rompin’ rowdy; move, move your feet upon the grass, sand, earth, clay… but stir it up, gather beads and string them high and low. Gather them as a storyteller; let them burst upon summers tongue and tease the palate for more… more. Nurture up, big, deep and wide. Nurture the summer within and without with delicious light and bright. Hold them cherished; beautiful bountiful beads of lush summery goodness.
Happy Summer Solstice!
Started out the early morning on the back patio surrounded by beautiful flowers and fruit trees with a nice dose of yogic stretching and chanting. The sprinkles started before the mats went down, nice and gentle and of course kicked in to a steady rain. It was perfect even though eventually we had to throw in the towel (or grab the towel) and move indoors. Aromatic yogi tea and cool summer rain is an enticing combo. The morning now sits quiet under a gray sky, the land wet and watered. Birds are beginning to sing and it is time for breakfast.
I am thankful for the length of days, long light in the sky and the rich sun energy. I am thankful for the sounds of the day, the scents and textures, the human-ness through which I experience their tangible qualities. I am thankful for chant music and the beauty of sound current which transcends and elevates. I am thankful for yoga and breath, through which the disciplines of my life are engaged over and over and limitations are challenged and overcome. It doesn’t matter whether I am happy in a day, sad or otherwise, I have the day. I have the day, to make of it what I choose. It is a gift of life. Have a day filled with whatever you choose, from the first full breath of morning to last settled breath taking you into sleep. My your day bring life.
Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.
I HAVE been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.
In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.
The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”
We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.
I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.
Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media
Via: Women’s Press
Divine Mother ~ A Mothers Blessing, Part III of the Divine Feminine Sacred Goddess Series.
Creating these videos are a time consuming labor of love, often taking months to gather and sort through images, including only those which truly express the particular energy I want to have resonate from the piece in alignment with the Sacred. The music is Mothers Blessing from Liberation’s Door by Snatam Kaur. It is very beautiful and invokes a heart essence of love and more love.
It has been quite awhile since I posted a poem. Here is a one I wrote recently after my morning meditation time.