Speaking Truth to Power From a Place of Love and Compassion

With the world on a precipice, love and compassion are needed when speaking truth to power. Love is a necessary condition for positive change but it isn’t, by itself, sufficient.  Love plus truth-to-power is both necessary and sufficient. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love," said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At the link below is a speech that is one of the most ...

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Educating our Hearts and Minds to Bring More Compassion to the World

With our democracy quickly descending into fear and clashing ideologies, I’ve begun to hunt for ways to resolve differences and find common ground among my fellow humans. A possible way forward would be to focus on educating our hearts and minds by integrating compassion, creativity and respectful listening into our actions. I intend to stay alert and question the alternative facts threatening to turn our world upside down over the next few years. I’m more than a little concerned about a regimes leading our country away from democratic ideals like freedom of ...

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Food Justice is Fresh Local Food for All

What is food justice and what does it look like? Montavilla Farmers Market in southeast Portland tries to answer this question in positive ways each year. Food justice ensures that our neighbors with limited incomes also have access to the same high quality foods as those who can afford to buy it. This short video, produced by Montavilla Farmer’s Market last year, sums it up beautifully. “Food justice is the idea that farmers are paid a fair price for their product and that everybody, no matter what their socio-economic status can afford healthy fruits and vegetabl...

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Homelessness – How to Get From Despair to Hope

With dark ringed eyes and look of despair, a shadow of someone’s son crossed my path and stayed there watching me. He must have known that I was someone’s mother and could not refuse a simple request. I was walking home, yoga mat across my shoulder passing McDonalds. He blurted: “Would you buy me a burger?” I nodded and readily agreed (relieved that the question was not: can you spare any change?). I was happy to do something tangible that involved giving this thin frame some sustenance. I wondered how many burgers it would take for his shadow to become solid ...

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Filling Empty Bowls with Fresh Local Foods

I’ve spent a good many years planting perennial jungles and food forests wherever I hang my hat and coat (regardless of whether I own or rent). What’s most important for me is to contribute in areas that I can make a difference in the wellbeing of our community and environment. As a gardener, urban farmer, and dirt advocate I am learning to grow food and live in more sustainable ways. It’s an ongoing process to regenerate land and soil using holistic approaches and permaculture techniques (for example without chemical fertilizers and pesticides). It’s also deeply ...

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An Eye Opening Bike Ride: Changing Perspectives on the Trail

A bike, like a boat or a horse allows one to see the world through a different lens and to reach places that people might not otherwise venture. A bike ride can offer an escape hatch from any daily crisis (or opportunity to get out of Dodge), and it can also offer an eye-opening change in scenery and perspectives. My latest contribution to evolution are adaptations in my style of riding, along with a new change in perspective. I recently adjusted my seat to function more as a perch than a bench and I have added a device that extends the handlebars upward. This has ...

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Unlocking New Forms of Wealth

In this powerful TEDx talk, Nipun Mehta (founder of ServiceSpace) explores new forms of wealth as a way to improve the human experience. Mother Teresa who deals with poverty in its many forms, embraces alternative wealth with acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion. Mehta asserts that we are too skewed towards accumulating financial wealth (money). Yet it hasn't worked out too well for most of us. Today there are 62 people in the world who own more financial wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion (more than half of the worlds population). Th...

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Opening Doors for the Homeless

One cold morning a couple winters ago on my way into work our office door was partially blocked by a homeless person sleeping with a wet blanket, his feet uncovered revealing thin worn socks. For a brief moment I imagined wrapping this stranger in my arms to warm and stop the shivering as if he were one of my own children. Unsure what to do I made a plea to our office manager. New to the job, the office, and on the clock, I learned that homeless people sleeping in doorways was a frequent occurrence in Portland. We let the downtown authorities handle the problem. Unsettl...

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