Become mindful how your actions affect others? Turn down the music, sweep instead of leaf blow, turn off your car instead of idle, pick up litter, control your dog, follow the driving rules, and wearing an a mask is an act of kindness. Thirty-one actions below for acts of kindness:
During August the idea is to do one or more acts of kindness daily. Let’s spread a wave of kindness all around the world.
June can be the best time of the year for pollinators. In northern Wisconsin and Minnesota it is an awesome time for seeing bees, and butterflies! Within two minutes I observed monarchs, swallowtails, sulphurs, northern crescents, painted ladies, dragon flies, and many skippers and bees on a small patch of hawkweed and daisies.
Everyone comments about the beautiful lupine near Lake Superior, and it is beautiful to human eyes. If you look closely, very few butterflies and bees crave lupine like they crave Canadian anemone, blooming chives, wild geraniums, blooming trees, forget-me-nots or daisies. The blooming plant that has surprised me the most this year is the orange hawkweed. It is not a native plant, but the butterflies love it.
It’s not the best time of the year to see birds, but if you can recognize their songs they bring constant musical joy. The song sparrow, chestnut sided warbler, and a pair of red starts joyfully sing all day.
As long as the sun shines the birds, bees and butterflies seem oblivious to the battle taking place on the big lake. The cold lake ties to dominate the warm tropical winds from the south, and the temperature can fluctuate from 60 degrees to 80 degrees every few minutes. It’s fascinating and refreshing! The days are long in these northern climes with the sun setting past 9pm and twilight lasting beyond 10pm. No matter where you live get outside and enjoy the marvelous butterflies of summer, in a few weeks they will be gone!
This Juneteenth is a rare moment for all of us to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all Black lives.
“I implore all of us to take a breath for justice, to take a breath for peace, to take a breath for our country and to take a breath for George.” Benjamin Crump
I hope we are all indeed breathing deeply, always, but especially now. Breath clears the body of toxins; breath renews. The Israelites under Pharaoh could not hear the words of hope offered by Moses because of “kotzer ruah” — shortness of breath (Exodus 6:9). They could not breathe, so they could not hear, so they could not hope. We have a choice. I hope we are appreciating the miracle of breath — how it sustains life, how it brings calm, how it creates spaciousness of spirit, so that each of us can act with compassion and wisdom, with intention and focus. For all those suffering in this pandemic, and for George Floyd of blessed memory, let us all indeed take a breath for justice, for peace, for our country and for life itself. Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, St. Paul in a letter to the editor, https://www.startribune.com/
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
In memory of George Floyd:
This is my progressive city, and we are heartbroken. As I write this, it is noisy, military helicopters are flying around my neighborhood.
Why?? George Floyd was killed just a few miles from my home. Sadly, a broken law enforcement system has been allowed fester. and like the coronavirus it should have been faced head on instead of taking innocent lives. The injustices faced by our black and brown people should not exist in 2020. We need to start with educational injustice, healthcare injustice, air quality injustice, and living wage injustice. As we give tax breaks to the wealthy, we can invest in the future of an important segment of our community.
From an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is what needs to be said:
“Tears flowed from my eyes this morning, though I am — or was — the type of man who prided himself on not crying. What brought tears? I read that with his last conscious breath, George Floyd cried out in anguish for his mother. Floyd was a large, strong, proud, vibrant and healthy man and yet as death rushed in upon him, he craved only the love of his mother. His cry pierced my heart. In an instant, I knew that if I were in his place, pushed to the ground and choked by another man’s knee, I too would have called out for my mother. Does that make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so was Floyd. As I struggled with his death, I found my heart cracking open and I did the only thing I could think of at the time — I placed Floyd, his family, and his loved ones in my ailing heart and bore witness to his and their pain and suffering. With my next breath, though, I surprised myself — by placing Derek Chauvin in my heart. Does this make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so is Chauvin. I remain outraged that a grown man — an officer of the law no less — could have such a hard and uncaring heart that for seven full minutes he was capable of slowly squeezing the life out of a fellow human being. But the reality is that my heart, as well, has been hard and uncaring for too long. Thousands of similar deaths have occurred over the span of my five-and-a-half decades and I have looked the other way and barely raised a finger on behalf of justice. I don’t have all the answers, but until we all soften our hearts and see both Floyd and Chauvin in ourselves — and as ourselves — little meaningful progress will be made. I can’t bring George Floyd back. And I won’t protect Derek Chauvin from the hard justice that awaits him. I can only begin by changing myself. I intend to do this by taking the pain, anger, fear, hate and contempt I feel, channeling it through my softening heart and working to transform it into love — the kind of love a mother has for her son, be he saint or sinner — and then strive of behalf of real and lasting justice for the disenfranchised and the downtrodden.” Jack Uldrich, Minneapolis.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
I hope you can find peace with the sounds of nature. April is the best time of the year hear singing birds. I have chickadees and cardinals singing outside my window. Ducks are flying overhead, frogs and crickets are singing. Maybe the wind or the sound of waves or running water gives you peace. Listen for an enjoyable sound, or maybe search for complete quiet. What sounds of nature give you peace?
From 2 writers in the Star Tribune see below:
“Whatever it is that gets us thinking “spring” should lift our spirits and nudge us forward in this period of newness. The despair surrounding COVID-19 leaves us numb and sad, but events in nature’s spring tell us of better things to come.
These spring mornings are the best time of year to hear the symphony of bird music. Listen as tree swallows chatter; mourning doves coo; ring-necked pheasants crow; both northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees whistle; common grackles squawk; red-winged blackbirds trill; Canada geese honk; American robins sing “cheer-up, cheer-up;” and woodpeckers drum.” Jim Gilbert
“It’s the start of spring in the north. The birds are returning and in contrast to other years when I step outside, I listen for and enjoy the singing. It’s everywhere I stop. I try to listen to what they say — I could be imagining it, but they are saying it all goes on. We’re here. Nature is here. Despite your stress, relax. There’s nothing you can do about the pandemic other than listen to nature and seek refuge in compassion and the truth.” Bryan Hansel
Nature is not cancelled, pollinators are not cancelled, blooming trees and plants are not cancelled. There is a whole world of beauty outside our homes and from our windows. On this fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, celebrations are going virtual, but as individuals I hope we can each think about what our wonderful world means to us. We are all connected and our collective action against Coronavirus is working. Let the healing of our Earth and our people begin, and lets put our collective action together to make a better world. Because we are all connected let’s come out of this crisis stronger as a people and stronger as a society. Our resilience will get us through this. I have a daily activity for everyday as we celebrate and count down to Earth Day. I hope you will join me. Please have fun, connect to nature, experience the hope of spring, be kind, and be part of a healing world!
Collective action to reduce our meat consumption*** can make a big difference. Monday is a good day to try a new vegetarian dish. Find a recipe for Lentil Cacciatore here. It has been amazing how popular beans have been in this crisis. The grocery store shelves for beans are still empty, and I hope we are cooking and making healthy food choices. Enjoy a meatless day!
Plastic-free/Zero waste Tuesday
Spending the day at home makes it easy to be plastic-free. Always use real dishes, utensils and glasses/cups. Make Tuesday the day to use up food left-overs from the week. Create wraps, soups or a stew from your left overs. Before the Coronavirus 40% of food was wasted in the United States. With so many hanging out at home I suspect that number is now lower. Let’s save water, labor and energy and continue to reduce food waste.
Clean water and water use have become crucial topics. Flooding and droughts are happening everyday, and we all have a right to clean drinking water. Become aware of your water usage and how lucky you are to have inexpensive clean drinking water. Water Wednesday is to concentrate on our water usage. It is a day to pick up litter, sweep our sidewalks, and clean debris from our storm drains. Redirect your drainspouts onto your lawn, and figure where you could plant a raingarden?Is there a place in your yard or porch/balcony you could add some native plants the bees and butterflies love? Collective positive energy works!
Thoughtful Thursday Everyday should be kind and thoughtful, but make a special effort today. Our collective actions for kindness can make a difference. Put water in your bird baths, fill your bird feeders, check-in with someone you haven’t seen or heard from in awhile. Be kind and smile.
Become totally engaged in your surroundings. Create a scavenger hunt: look for sidewalk art, a butterfly, a beautiful tree. Look for blooming flowers, a bird building a nest, something that surprises you or a special cloud. Everyone that finds something new wins!
Singing Saturday What sounds of nature catch your attention? I have birds singing outside my window. Ducks are flying overhead, frogs and crickets will sing soon. Maybe the wind or a rushing creek give you peace. Listen for an enjoyable sound, or maybe listen for complete quiet. Find peace in nature.
What ever your spiritual practice, nature can heal us. Today find beauty and love whether through the gospel, through a poem or picture, time outside or a meditation. Dare to dream. Spend the day focusing on what you love and finding beauty in your day. If the weather permits go for a long walk. What do you love, how can you have more of what you love in your life? Find quiet beauty from your walk or from your window. Wishing you peace.
***”Now is the time to try out any plant-based recipes you’ve saved. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that keep your immune system strong, and they have a lower carbon footprint, too. For example, beef is about 34 times more climate pollution–intensive than beans and lentils, pound for pound. If you’re finding it hard to keep your produce fresh given your newly limited shopping habits, get creative. Whir brown bananas into smoothies, or simmer soft tomatoes into sauce. There are plenty of ways to salvage fruits and veggies slightly past their prime. So boost your repertoire. Share recipes with friends. And come out on the other side of this crisis a climate-friendly chef.” NRDC
“Today is #InternationalWomensDay and we recognize that women are still far from equal to men in today’s societies. We still have a very long way to go. Those who will suffer the most from the climate- and environmental crisis are the ones who are already the most vulnerable, socially and financially. And that tends to be women living in the global south… We can not have climate justice without gender equality. And remember; what we women want today – and every day- is fundamental equal rights, not congratulations or celebrations.” Greta Thunberg
It seems an irony to be celebrating International Women’s Day after the primary elections in the United States turned away Elizabeth Warren, an outstanding candidate, from running for president. I would like to know where the women of this country are? Why would they vote for old white men when they have a better female choice? It is a mystery.
On this day we are celebrate all the women we know and all they do to make the world a better place and make the lives around them better everyday!
Women and girls need education and family planning so they can take control of their own lives.
Time Magazine’s issue this week is about women leaders of the last 100 years. Just imagine a 100 years from now! 100 women
Two years ago I was lucky to be one of the few Americans allowed to visit Iran. We were there for 8 days visiting cultural and historical places as well as meeting many Iranian people. After 40 years of hearing what an awful country Iran is, we were thrilled to find a friendly engaging people. They are interested in, and like the American people. Everywhere we went we were approached by the charming people. The wanted to talk to us and find out how we liked their country and how we liked their food. Many times a day they would approach us offering us candy, asking to take pictures of us, wanting to engage with us. They seemed to find pleasure that we also had unpleasant leaders, and we often heard, “We both have bad governments, butwe the people, we are friends!” Our guide said the Iranian people never chose this government, the Ayatollah was able to take over during the Iranian Revolution.