December 2015


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The New Year at Turtle Rock Farm

Our January 2016 Newsletter

It’s one of those compelling
paradoxes:
this is a time when all that’s
happening
in the world can overwhelm
and the most helpful way through
is counter-intuitive for some of us:
instead of a figuring out how to fix,
to find solutions,
the way through
is to be thoroughly aware
and appreciative of
and engaged in
this moment,
our life as it appears to us
this moment.
And, here’s the paradox,
when we live in this moment
without resistance to it,
we connect
with life,
all life,
and the way through,
even the next steps
into solutions,
make their way through.

So our first retreat
in this next turn around the sun,
2016,
will be a retreat on learning
or beginning again
the practices of Mindfulness,
or, Living in the Moment.
January 9
at Turtle Rock Farm.

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Living Mindfully retreat participants, in 2014

To register,
and to check out the 2016
calendar, as it evolves,
go to our website.

Four two weeks
during the UN Climate Summit
we made a walk meditation
for Earth and all life
each morning. The last morning,
we left the grassy place we had walked
outside Angie Smith Chapel
on the Oklahoma City University campus,
and we drove north,
to The Great Salt Plains State Park
to see the Sand Hill Cranes.
We thought it a fitting place
to be
at the close of the UN Climate Summit talks—
at Salt Plains Bay
watching Sand Hill Cranes
on an unseasonably warm
and beautiful
December day.
We heard them long
before we saw them.
It was a bubbling,
perhaps gurgling,
sound,
loud. They were standing
in the sunlight
along the bay shoreline.
Several hundred of them.
But there were many more—
40,000—out and about,
feeding.
Creamy gray and white,
with black tips on their wings
that we could only see
when they took flight,
which they did,
to our delight.

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Too, we watched two bald eagles
in a tree above the cranes.
And we walked the nature trail,
alongside the marsh,
beside twittering sparrows—
sighing
often,
taking in the warmth
and beauty
and stillness,
letting go the tension
which we hadn’t realized
we’d taken on; the tension
of climate talks,
about the future of life
on this magnificent planet.

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And that day
in the sunlight
and stillness,
amid the gurgling sound of Sand Hill Cranes,
the beauty of life on the planet
healed us
some,
and we made one more prayer
for healing
for all.

Last week,
a 140-seat movie theater
in Oklahoma City sold out
a one-time showing of the documentary
This Changes Everything,”
based on the book by Naomi Klein.
It is climate change
that changes everything. The film’s images
made that painfully clear, as conversations
with friends who saw the film
testify. It became clear to us all
that we’re not doing enough
and that everything we do
and don’t do
matters
and that the more we
come together to do
together,
the better off all life on the planet
will be.

A few of us have been walking
each morning the last eight days
to “hold Earth”
during the UN Climate Summit in Paris.
Emerging for me
during the walking meditation
is a connecting
I haven’t experienced before.
Yes, I notice the frosty grass,
the blue sky,
the birdsong,
oranges, reds, golden in the tree leaves,
sun-glistened strands of spider webs
in the dewy grass,
the beautiful lantern shape of a fallen seed pod,
as well as the steady rush of 23rd street traffic
as Earthlings make their way
into their day.
Too, the focus on left footfall
onto solid Mother Earth:
healing energy flowing up through my heart,
down through my right footfall
and back into Mother Earth’s solidness
beneath me—
through my heart
as part of the entire Earth
community.
This also would seem
not enough
except
that I know there are “Earth Holders”
all over the world.
And activists
all over the world,
local communities in Germany
and India
and Canada
and Paris
coming together,
many footfalls
marching together,
to be “heard:”
for one thing,
“We want renewable
energy.”

This afternoon
a conversation with a young friend
who has many more miles to walk
on this planet
made real for me
that this effort
to respond to climate change
by lowering our fossil fuel use
is going to require much
of us all
working together—
even, or especially,
in Oklahoma (a fossil fuel
Ground Zero)
where the transitions
will be painful.
As we join together
to step up
and step out
of step
for Earth,
may we remember
each step
is grounded in,
part of,
Earth’s lively
life-giving
life.

Early last Monday, opening day
of the UN Climate Summit
in Paris,
we began our climate prayer—
on the frosty grass
outside Angie Smith Chapel
on the campus of Oklahoma City University.
We gathered at 7:30 each nippy morning
and walked reverently,
thoughtfully,
prayerfully
on Earth—one step
with an in breath;
one step
with an out breath;
breathing in and out
with Mother Earth,
mindful of the planet
and all life in her one
organic,
life-sustaining
system; mindful too
of the leaders and negotiators
from 196 nations
in Paris
trying to set limits
on carbon emissions
to curb global warming
and climate change.
As the meditation progressed
each morning
and throughout the week,
we each experienced
the connection
in various ways,
profoundly. And carried
Earth and the Summit
with us throughout the day.
Tomorrow and Sunday,
we will begin at 8 a.m.
and return Monday to 7:30 a.m.,
for about 45 minutes
through Friday, Dec. 11,
the final day of the Summit.
Or maybe
we will continue…
Holding Earth
and all life here
in this morning meditation
seems helpful.
All are welcome
to join us.

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