Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blog Moved

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Peace and all good-

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week Four

Moving forward, bit by bit.

22 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
23 FEB 2008 - 0.25 miles
24 FEB 2008 - 3 miles
25 FEB 2008 - 1.5 miles
26 FEB 2008 - 0.25 miles
27 FEB 2008 - 0 miles (baby strike!)
28 FEB 2008 - 0 miles (baby strike!)

5 miles Total this week
18.25 miles Total to date (981.75 to go)

Many things that make sense in a car, do not make sense on foot.

There is so much trash out there. We should bring a trash bag with us.

Some times it is nice to take the long way, but many times, everyone has more fun if we find the path with least resistance.

Sam is a little "different". He always finds the things worth looking at. I've never appreciated the stained glass windows in our church quite so much. I *do* like them, they are not traditional - they are remarkable abstract modern art; but I go there every week, and I've come to take them for granted. Well, for Ash Wednesday, Sam could not be still - he had to walk, and stomp, and march, and stop and touch every piece of stained glass he could touch... and the grout between the glass, and the frames of each individual window. He would rub the windows with his fingers and trace the irregular pieces of glass, and then touch his lips, declaring "mmm, yummy." As I sat and traced the glass with him, I noticed something I had always known, but never noticed. Every piece of glass in this work of art is a broken piece of glass - broken but brought together into this astounding whole. In fact, the whole is beautiful because of the brokenness; the crude shards catch the light, and bend it and refract it along its fault lines. The windows can be absolutely captivating in the evening sun, almost glowing from within.

I need to start walking with a notebook. I had a really neat insight about decentralization, but I forgot it.

Sam went on strike on Friday, and Saturday. He had a runny bottom :o(. He's better now though. We're also going to lay off of the oranges and dried fruit for a while...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Urban Agriculture

Joshua and I went to a *great* city council meeting in Ypsilanti, MI last night. I was there to support the discussion surrounding whether or not to allow chickens in the city. Very exciting conversation, and an engaging (even if slightly rushed) presentation by the ED of Growing Hope. I'm particularly impressed with this organization because of their commitment to vulnerable people.

I'm heartened to hear about things like this. It's like hearing birds in spring. The more conversation about feeding ourselves, increasing food security, and decentralizing systems - the better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Week Three

A little better...

15 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
16 FEB 2008 - 2.25 miles
17 FEB 2008 - 1.25 miles
18 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
19 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
20 FEB 2008 - 2.75 miles
21 FEB 2008 - 1 mile

7.25 miles Total this week
13.25 miles Total to date (986.75 to go)

I reflected a lot this week on what it means to champion the vulnerable, and to walk with them. Literally, I make my walks with the most vulnerable people in my family, and I've noticed that walking with them literally, has shown me some things metaphorically. I will reflect and flesh these ideas out more at another time - it is late, and I want to keep my commitment of posting regularly. So without further ado - here are some of the things that came up for me this week.

Go on their terms

Go at their speed

If *you* need to go faster, you have find a way to carry them

No one gets left behind - even one left behind is too many

The perspective they bring, is as essential to me, as I think my perspective is to them

Vulnerable people have agendas of their own, that do not necessarily overlap with my agenda. Their agendas for their time are more valid than my agendas for their time.

Enjoy Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday if you celebrate! Next time I post, it will be Lent :o) Peace and all good, my friends.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Discipline and Disciple II


With little or no positive feedback, I was thinking maybe this was just vanity talking, and more or less composted the marathon idea. But the idea wouldn't go away. It kept hanging with me; sometimes I'd dream about it, other times I'd daydream about it... and I kept finding marathoning material I thought I'd tossed.

Finally, at Christmas time, I was really feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.(big shock, huh? stressed out and overwhelmed at Christmas time? whoda thunk it?) One day I paused, and said out loud to myself : "What is this?!? This is supposed to be a celebration of the Prince of PEACE!"

After recovering from the holidays, and still feeling overwhelmed, and like there was no other path, but endurance to get through the holiday season - it hit me. I should worship and celebrate Jesus -all the time- by walking in his footsteps. Somehow, when I had this thought, it also occurred to me that Jesus walked (or occasionally rode on a donkey) everywhere. This was an a-ha! moment. What if I walked a marathon? What if I walked, a meditative, prayerful marathon for peace? Now I was cooking with gas.

I soon decided, that 26.2 miles wasn't long enough. I needed serious time and space to let this experience transform me in whatever way I needed to grow. 26.2 miles would be a few weeks of flurried activity; I was being called to a prayer discipline. I settled on a 1000 mile journey, and a year's time. They seemed like round numbers, and it seemed like something I could do. I mean, many of the world's poor and vulnerable people walk six miles - or more - everyday to meet their most basic needs. I could certainly stand to walk about 3 miles a day for a year - in fact, I would actually benefit. To take it a step further, I felt I should try to replace some of my driving altogether, and introduce a bike into the mix.

It was finally at this point, that I didn't feel I needed permission, or outside validation to know what I was being called to do. In fact, my big motivation was to reach out and share the journey- not in a hyped-up mania kinda way- but in a "walk with me" kinda way. The only thing left then was to start walking.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Week Two

Again, nothing remarkable.

08 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
09 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
10 FEB 2008 - 2 miles
11 FEB 2008 - 0.75miles
12 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
13 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
14 FEB 2008 - 0 miles

2.75 miles Total this week
6 miles Total to date (994 to go)

I'm disappointed (and frankly embarrassed) to have walked fewer miles than last week. So I had the idea that I would just walk spontaneously, and that I'd walk more, and more as time went on... Well it worked with saying daily rosary. I'm getting the feeling that this won't work quite that way. In my defense - I did do a fair amount of meditative walking - just not with both of my walking partners.... One or the other, but not both!

Plan B. I've plotted out some distances in my neighborhood, totaling 2.5 miles. If I walk to these locations 6 days each week, that's 15 miles - not the 25 that I'm shooting for - but it's a good start, and they are places I really like going. 1 mile of it is to and from daily Mass, and the other mile and a half is to and from my favorite park.

My meditative time led me to reflect about a certain arrogance in the peace/non-violence community. We have this idea that we just need to change our paradigm to non-violence, and away from the use of military force. So I started to think: has anybody done this? And I mean really done it - no fighting in any wars ever.

The Amish. The Amish, and the historic Peace Churches all practice radical non-violence. What is their experience? Are they realizing a peaceful new world order? After a small bit of research, I discovered that there are significant differences in these faith communities, especially the Amish, and Mennonites who tend to live apart from modern society; however - they haven't been able to avoid the violence bug, simply by embracing a starting paradigm of non-violence. The Amish have experienced some high-profile difficulties with incest, and are completely comfortable with corporal punishment. Former president Nixon was a Quaker.... There is more than the paradigm. I suspect that there has to be a daily and ongoing conversatio morum - conversion of life. You cannot assume the paradigm will make it right - you as an individual have to reflect on your values and align with them constantly. This peacemaking stuff looks like hard work.

In personal peacemaking news, I was triumphant this week. I was meeting my teenager at school to help him with a project he had neglected until it was a crisis... And he wasn't at the meeting spot. Now mind you, I have a lot of tolerance for people being late, because I'm usually late - I have to lie to myself to get to doctor appointments on time. But he was half an hour late for an errand we had an hour to run. To go inside and get him would involve wandering around the school with an infant and a toddler until we got to the office, where I didn't expect to get much in the way of assistance. So I waited. And waited. And I started fuming. I was ready to let into to my son like nobody's business when I saw him next. Then I got an idea. I decided to call a dear friend to chat instead of sitting in the parking lot fuming. So we chatted, and I felt better. Before I knew it, my son arrived; and he was for the first time I can remember in a while, contrite, forthcoming with his mistake (he had forgotten), and truly sorry for the error. This was nothing short of miraculous. So momentous was the experience, I had to buy everybody a round of cocoa and hammenstachen at Zingerman's.

Lessons learned: don't waste time feeding anger (it can find sustenance on it's own). Find positive and constructive ways to spend time. Even if it's a small bit of time, spend it well. Make yourself ready to receive spontaneous acts of contrition :o) Here's a shout out to my Christian fellows: try a little reflection time with Matthew 25.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week One

Nothing stellar, off to a slow and steady start. We also have a neat little set-up where Joshua and Sam can both ride on mommy: bug-a-boo cloth carrier with Joshua on the front, hiking backpack with Sam on the back.

01 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
02 FEB 2008 - 0.75 miles
03 FEB 2008 - 0.75 miles
04 FEB 2008 - 0.25 miles
05 FEB 2008 - 0 miles
06 FEB 2008 - 0.25 miles
07 FEB 2008 - 1.25 miles

3.25 miles Total this week
3.25 miles Total to date (996.75 to go)

I was very surprised at how much anger I discovered within myself during these brief walks. I like to think of myself as being conscious of my anger, and guiding it to constructive rather than destructive ends... but there were all sorts of little pockets lingering about: the neighborhood friend that doesn't write or call anymore (or return calls/notes), never bringing my father to live with us, shame about not tithing fully, I could go on all day with the list. Suffice it to say that I truly shocked myself (and those that know me, know how hard it is to shock me!). For now, I think I'll just walk with this anger, and see if it has anything to say.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fast Reflections

This note is meant to be both a few thoughts about the Zimbabwe solidarity fast I engaged in on Sunday, February 1st; and meant to be done quickly. So in no particular order:

Americans are metaphorically bathing in food. Food is just ubiquitous here.

The hunger problem in the US is not so much not having food as it is not having access to quality food.

Confession: I ate a piece of chocolate I found in my coat pocket without even thinking about it... It was 30 minutes before I even realized what I'd done. How ubiquitous and bathed in food is that?

A dawn to dusk fast from food was a relatively (see confession above) low bar for me. I should do it more often, if only for the spiritual gifts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nuts and Bolts

So what are the rules/boundaries for this journey - work? What are my intentions? What are my tools and supports?

Rules and Boundaries
Rule #1 - This is a journey over a calendar year 01 FEB 2008 until 31 JAN 2010.
Rule #2 - I can count all the miles I walk, and they do not have to be consecutive.
Rule #3 - I may also ride a bike for longer distances - 10+ miles and such.
Rule #4 - Joshua and Samuel will be my companions
Rule #5 - I'll make weekly posts tracking my progress.

I'm taking a year to do this to set the bar low, but still offer a challenge - 1000 miles in a year is only 25 miles a week for 40 weeks, and that's just over 3.5 miles a day. And that's with 12 weeks to spare. Additionally this keeps me to a relatively short time frame for evaluating what I've done and how to move forward. If the weather is uncooperative - I can walk indoors. And if I have to, I can add up a bunch of short distances walked in the same day. I'm including cycling in the hope that I can move some of my driving to riding.

This is a prayer / meditation discipline. Others are welcome to join me! You can walk with me, or where you are; you can pray or meditate in the spirit of finding peace in our world where ever you find yourself, or drop by sometime - just give me a call or send a note. I encourage everyone to contribute to the movement for peace, in what ever way they are able. I should point out that I have a very broad definition of the peace movement, so anything that makes the world more peaceful - find a way to connect.

I mention all these possible connections because I've found that prayer is all about connection and relationship - so I want to share this experience with anyone that resonates with what I'm doing, making this a process of connection, and relationship. Hopefully co-creating, building, and reinforcing relationships that will support whatever this process yields.

Tools and Supports
I'm walking in an older pair of Saucony running sneakers that I inherited from Isaac when he outgrew them to start. I'm assuming that I'll wear these out somewhere around mile 200, and then I'll need something new. I'll be looking for a pair of New Balance 955 women's walking shoes - with the ankle support. I've chosen this particular shoe because it is likely made in the USA

I'm not rushing to the store for one of these; but once spring comes around, I'll be cycling, and need to carry Sam and Joshua safely. I've chosen a Chariot bike trailer. I've heard excellent things about this, and am looking forward to trying one. Not made is the USA; but in Canada by a family owned business. I'll be keeping my old Schwinn suburban, just getting it tuned up.

Lastly, I'm including Joshua and Samuel as teachers and guides - I've found that my children give me insights I simply cannot find on my own - I honestly don't take the time, or pay enough attention to what's happening around me without their intervention, and the structure they demand.

Thanks for reading! Questions welcomed and answered here. Peace and all good to you and yours.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Discipline and Disciple I

So this 1000 miles for peace idea idea has emerged from my prayer life only recently, right around Christmas. But the seed was planted a while ago, just before Sam was born. I had this idea ( I get lots of big ideas) that I would start training for a Team in Training (TnT) Marathon when he was three months old, loose all this weight, be all healthy and fit, and as an added bonus, I would be contributing to cancer research! How exciting!

Well the rubber ultimately didn't hit the road. I discovered that you have to raise _a lot_ of money; and frankly, I'm not the powerhouse money-raising type. I don't mind asking people for money per se; it's more the endless monotony of asking over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and -you get the picture. Then, if my children were going to join me, I would have to buy plane tickets for the _whole family_ (more $$), and it was unclear whether Sam could join me in the race. And to be perfectly honest - my college athletic career was a long time ago- it would be a long (very long) time for an infant to go without nursing, and that was the dealbreaker. So I shelved the idea, and it surfaced again just before Joshua was born... Maybe I should train for a marathon...

This time though, I started thinking about how I could re-imagine the TnT process, and do my own fundraiser for cancer research. I could honor my mother-in-law who died in 2007 from a relapse of breast cancer; and my godson who is currently winning his battle with childhood leukemia, and so many people I've known and loved that have been in the throes of cancer treatment. Perhaps I could run a local marathon, perhaps I could raise money independently, and I could definitely take the children along... The idea was really cooking; until I talked about it. I told my husband. He said "why don't you try a 10K first"? "Well, running a 10K is part of training for a marathon," I responded. "I just don't want to see you set yourself up for failure," he said. "Why don't you just go to the gym?" (because I hate the gym, it's a stupid waste of money, a scam, and vapid, and [replay endless monologue of previous arguments here]) So I told my brother (brother #3), an avid runner, and marathoner, and one of my athletic mentors. He said, "a marathon? in May?... That's not very..." "Should I train longer and run the Detroit Marathon in October?" I asked. "Yeah, that's a better idea..."

You see, never actually an affirmation that this was a _good_ idea.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A physical and spiritual journey

I am walking and riding 1000 miles for peace in my birthday year February 1, 2009 - January 31, 2010. I am taking my two smallest children (2 years and 2 months) along for the ride, because I want them to have early memories of me as both active, and committed to working for peace.

Over the last 20 + years, I have engaged in a very wide range of activism, and have recently - the last four years or so- become increasingly disillusioned with activism. Disillusioned to the point where I'm just not invested in any of it any more - it all seems full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Or rather accomplishing nothing.

I am fed-up with my pro-life friends that cannot imagine protecting children in the womb as peace-making. I am spent on anti-war friends that consider some killing to be a basic human right. The end of the line was the 2008 election. I was heartbroken to see self-described "progressives" whoop and holler over a man that stands solidly to the right of Richard Milhous Nixon; while so-called "conservatives" circled their tents about a pair of lunatics that are unclear on how to balance a budget, and appear not to be aware of the US Constitution (look at their policies, compare your notes). The very fact of my anger was evidence enough that my peacemaking work was not taking me where I needed to go.

It was in the dark night of this disenchantment that I chose to take a sabbatical from my consulting work, and reevaluate things. This time also coincided with the birth of my fourth child; and the "baby-moon" with a newborn child - if fully embraced for what it is - can be a time of great spiritual/physical/emotional renewal for a woman. So I've spent several months, since September, thinking, meditating, and reflecting on what should be next. 1000 miles for peace is the answer.

It could easily be said that walking/biking 1000 miles over the course of a year accomplishes nothing. In fact, I've thought that. But I am engaging in this as a prayer/ meditation/ mindfulness discipline; I do this because of my deep faith that prayer is the most powerful agent of change. I believe that in the still quiet of this discipline, I will be able connect with the source that unites and restores us; and release that which divides. I don't claim to know what results that will produce - but I expect that kind of a connection to bear some fruit.

I invite anyone who is willing, to join me in any way they are able - accompany me for some of my scheduled walks/rides; pray for my endurance, and my children's patience; contribute to the peace movement; follow along on the blog and smile - however you are able, if this journey speaks to you, know that you are welcome and come along.