Living Medicine

Living Medicine:

Prayer

for life’s well-being

held in reverence

NOW!

In this time of great divisiveness and uncertainty, I try to think of the most inspiring people I know and their stories as a bulwark against depression.

One of such people is a medical doctor; still amazingly active in her ninth decade of life, and considered the founder of holistic medicine, Dr. Gladys McGarey of Phoenix, AZ. Raised in India by medical missionary parents, she is a gracious and knowledgeable healer and teacher of “living medicine,”

In an interview with her she explained:

“Living medicine is a concept, the focus of which is on life and living, not on death and disease. The focus is on the patient, not the disease. The idea is the physician within heals the patient.

Too often a physician clears a disease or simply its symptoms, and not necessarily the patient.

As people are taking personal responsibility for their well being, the doctors are becoming more as support people within a healing process.

My hope is that the feminine face of medicine emerges again activating the art of medicine as the healing process.

In other words, the right hand and left hand need to work together.

The right hand is the art of medicine, the feminine intuitive side of medicine; focused on healing while using all tools available, alternative or conventional.

The right hand and the left hand must communicate, this is not about modalities but exercising the art of medicine with the focus on the patients wellness.”

*Quoted from my forth-coming book: “Pegasus With Wings on Fire in Education.”

“What can I do?”

After the excitement and surging outcry of the Women’s March, many of us have been wondering, “What can I do?” How can I keep the joyful momentum going, really seeing and listening to what s happening today and being willing to, and knowing we can change things for the better – how? (For me poetry is the first step…)

Let me start again

Now.

Look to tomorrow’s child!

He or she stands as embodiment

Of life’s hope

For Earth’s healing.

 

Some immediate ways of helping today’s children are portrayed in this story of the Orchard School in Vermont. In the summer of 2016 its Principle, Mark Trifilio, discussed with his 40 educator’s whether they could lighten the burden of homework for their K-5 grade students by an experiment “stopping all homework in every grade and asking students to read on their own at school – or, if they were not ready to read on their own, to do it with a parent or guardian.” To his surprise all 40 of his teachers voted yes! These were the new daily assignments to his pupils:

 

 

 

Read books you really like every night

Go outside and play – games and hikes, fishing and swimming – have adventures

Sit down and eat with your family, discuss things and help with the cleaning and washing dishes.

Get a good night’s sleep.

 

This experiment gave the children time to dream and think and follow their curiosity.

Read more about this experiment and its success here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/02/26/what-happened-when-one-school-banned-homework-and-asked-kids-to-read-and-play-instead/?utm_term=.329c0ac76c1c

World-Changing.com (Jan 21, 17)

 

What happened today

is incomparable:

the largest human gathering the earth

has ever known.

Or seen.

Or felt.

But who could weigh its heart?

Only God.

God, by whatever name

or presence revealed-is manifest.

is here.

he, who inhabits Cosmos

in our stars, our soils, our heart,

invades out lives

insinuates into our inner ears

of long deaf-mutes

a living song-imbuing hate with joy

as deep into our lungs

as breathing.

he lives in our awakening limbs

as awareness

that unites all distraught, divisive fear

into one fragrant flowering

of love.

What happened today gives us positive hope that we can now talk to each other as friends, as Americans who can share ideas, problems, and actions to help heal ourselves and our Earth.

Education in America

Well-nourished education

allows citizens

ample space to grow.

 

Nurtured citizens

demand

good education.

Democracy thrives.

 

Education and Politics

feed-or starve-

each other.

Which do we?

 

 

How could our forefathers have conceived of our constitution- which guarantees our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness –without a full and resourceful education? An education that includes literatures, extensive readings and oratory, civics, ethics, histories and sciences, vocational training, languages and mathematics, arts, medicine and law? An education that cultivates responsible citizens and compassionate human beings? That teaches us to fall in love with learning?

Our Schools Need Changing

Whatever happens in this next year, as I’m sure we’ll get a fore-taste on January 20, our schools still need changing. Not changing from public to charter, but changing in quality. They need new attitudes, thoughtful goals.

Our children need safety at school: From physical danger, from hunger, from bullying.

They need to have inspiration at school: Freedom to develop curiosity about things that interest them, and ability to follow their curiosity to make discoveries.   They need to be surprised or awed by beauty, by adventures.

Children need space and time at school: Space to move, the change position, to exercise. They need time, time to think or dream, time to finish up a project or problem.

They also need discipline: Not obsolete rules or punishment, or time out but hard work, work that demands attention and real effort, which when successfully done, gives the pride and happiness.

 

Most of all children need support: love from parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, communities.

 

Invisible Threads

We are held together

With invisible threads

In love’s tapestry

Doree at Four by Adele Seronde, Sedona, ArizonaWhether we recognize it or not, we Americans are still united – as human beings – by those invisible threads. Even in a divided country we have in common one central adhesive – our children.

So let’s make them our primary beloved.

What do they need?

That are they thinking?

If we are old or middle aged how do we communicate with them in these electronic languages which are contributing to social and spiritual divisions?

Most of all, can we create together a common vision which can inspire us all?

 

I would appreciate any poster which seriously addresses these questions as they may help us understand what kind of education is necessary to prepare us for the future.

Education With a Vision

In this time of holidays many people feel as if we’re going into the dark ages – not only our usual chaos of traffic, shopping, gifts, etc. but also our political crisis.

Education, which reflects the national divisions, will soon realize the full extent of its own battleground. President Elect Trump is proposing a full out war to close public education. To turn whatever schools are left into charter or private schools funded by profit, driven by corporations. Since the country is losing growing numbers of trained good teachers, they would be replaced with untrained, lower priced teachers.   We would surely be rewarded with more of the kind of complacent ignorance that is dominating our education now.

But…take heart!

Catastrophe always breeds new opportunities for courage, new ideas of how to change, new methods of training and acting. There is a huge opportunity now that we are waking up to what is needed, to plan a vision of the kind of education we need to enable us to encourage learning based on the wisdom of Lincoln’s, of Shakespeare’s, of the Dali Lama’s – of the best in America.

 

 

 

Thoughts on the recent election…

Why do we carry rancor?

Such bitter leaves to fall

In love’s forest?

 

Haikus sometimes say

What journalists do not  –

Wake up – The world’s on fire!

We live in stories 

In Stars

In every living being 

Requiring

Love

 

 

The whole world now knows America is a divided nation and speaks with two opposing voices.  The protagonists of each side have now finally paid respect to the other.  So all of us have an opportunity to start anew, to rebuild our country’s goals and actions.

We Americans have many voices.  We speak from our professions, our races and genders, from our individual minds and hearts.  We need to find a vision so intense, so filled with a beauty we can all share, that we can reunite ourselves and sing with one common voice., the notes of spirit by whatever title.

 

Needing Time

This is the last blog I’ll be writing until the end of summer, as I need to make uninterrupted time for finishing my new book: “Pegasus: With Wings On Fire in Education”. Basically, I’m hoping to show ways we Americans can become a giving, caring society.  How can we manifest a vital, spiritual force that can transform our lives? I mean by spiritual: a force that creates a web of kindness, beauty and love. Pegasus is simply a metaphor for such a fire of love. He has wings. You can ride him, fly with him over the whole world to find opportunities for doing some act of kindness for someone or something, for seeing beauty in someone’s expression or action, for seeing it in living creatures and plants, for feeling an overwhelming love and gratitude for being alive!

 

Pegasus can be the flame of desire to learn new things, for curiosity about your family, friends, your neighborhood, your potential dreams. Your education should support the dreams of your heart. Learning can be catalyzed by music, dancing or painting, in fact all the arts. We can become inspired by learning how things work or are put together, by memorizing poetry or by playing with numbers or ideas, by mastering the Internet or working with one’s hands to make things.

 

Education can become a moving, physical force which manifests as an adventure, as a sport, as a challenge to harness all one’s energies to rescue or save someone in danger. It can teach us how to ask questions, how to think for ourselves and not be influenced by cruelty or jealousy or anger or false propaganda. We can learn to use technology as a valuable tool, but not become dependent on it. We can seek an education of sharing ideas and passions, a “lateral” education where we learn to work with each other to jointly solve problems, share compassion and ways of serving, of becoming “sacred activists”. Andrew Harvey, the author of “Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism” describes in compelling detail ways we can find our own sacred innate ability to serve each other, to realize our love of and responsibility to all living creatures, to the living Earth.

 

Thanks to all of you who have become my friends on Facebook or have tried to communicate through blogs on my website. Please forgive me for not actively responding—I feel I need what time I have left to finish this book.

How to Learn With Joy

aims test junglegym

                Zoos

Many schools are zoos

ringed around with bars.

The wild mind, whose

tendrils reach into the universe

         of stars

 

is hampered, curtailed

by merciless rules.

That study has failed

to generate wisdom

         in numerous schools

 

is proverbial. Our need

is for dreams of living mind

to be freed

to range the wise-spreading globe

         and find

 

knowledge as desire

as pure pleasure, as attraction

to inner deep fire.

For creation as mind-winged

         action

 

is multifaceted Love, at last

Logos shown as Word.

When will the heart’s trumpet blast

Awaken in zoo-cages to be heard?

 

I am writing to unknown friends who are already helping to transform things that are crying out for change. I am inviting you to help free our children from the zoos.

 

My two major concerns are the environment and education. I wrote my first book about creating gardens—in the soil and in our minds—(“Our Sacred Garden: Awakening the Visionary in Us”). Now I am working on a second book, “Pegasus ,New Wings in Education”.

 

I am hoping together we can speak out against injustices, support teachers and public schools, pool our resources of ideas on the Internet and actually help to change exploitation and greed in both the environment and in our schools. If we tackle each problem in depth we can succeed.

 

The major problem right now is over-testing for “accountability” under the government-inspired laws of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. These were passed with good intentions: to train students to fill America’s economic consumer market goals, but not for the curiosity or love of learning.

 

The constant “kill-drill” testing, now starting with the 3rd and progressing up to the 12th grades—and even threatening kindergartners—is leaving such a wake of distress, distrust and disrespect among students, teachers, parents and many educators that they are up in arms across the country. It causes teachers to “teach to the test” (with rote answers rather than real understanding of the subject), tempts cheating with false scores rather than failed results, because failure means loss of jobs for the teachers and potential closures of schools.

 

The immediate answer is to urge our school administrators and state politicians not to use these tests but to find other and fairer ways of measuring accountability. Many states across the country, including California and Texas, are considering stopping the testing, to name a couple of states that are taking active steps for change.

 

I envision three ways to bring love into the classroom which would then help our children learn with joy:

 

1)   Realize that kids have different kinds of intelligences and learning styles—therefore each contributes in a different way. By finding out what each child loves to do, and therefore does well, teachers can encourage their students unique talents, provide loving support and thus help students develop self-assurance. Teachers can engage their students’ curiosity by asking them questions that engage their imagination such as “What stories do I hear that I like? What poems do I want to hear or sing or tell? How can I write down what I like? Why do I have to learn numbers? What do they do?” This approach allow for students to feel more included and passionate about their learning experience.

2)   Give each child enough time to absorb and really understand what he or she is learning—the way Salman Khan does for mathematics. Let them discuss the content and ask questions about the subject. By slowing down and creating more space for ideas the concepts sink in and learning is applied more deeply and holistically.

3)   Have teachers use oral questions to assess what the student has learned.  Use more comprehensive writing examinations where students can do an essay, story, or some kind of action or activity that tells them if the child understands the subject. By engaging students on multiple levels it will be a more in-depth and enjoyable learning experience that results in more accurate assessment of what they have learned.

 

The long-range answer is to teach for curiosity’s sake, love of each subject, for self-knowledge and creative action for principles of democracy.