Thursday, August 28, 2014

We need new stories...

Last night I was sitting on the cushion at my sangha meditating there for the first time since the beginning of August. In the past few weeks, life put in front of me a rich platter overfull with travels to the East, with insights, experiences, input, output (i.e., work) relationships (some new, some decades old), reunions, homecomings, and the raw vulnerability of accompanying a family member intensely dear to me through a profound medical challenge.

In the background was Gaza, and ISIS, and the Ukraine, and Ebola, and climate change tipping points, and Ferguson, and visceral racism, and on and on. When I came home, it was back into this nasty political culture that is my poor State of Wisconsin in an election year with huge stakes and money corrupting the whole process.

Whew! And I think I appreciate more than ever that the work of culture

Friday, August 1, 2014

Art is Not Optional

Carolyn RaffenspergerBy Carolyn Raffensperger

The first time I realized the impact of the arts on my life as an activist was after a big loss in the Illinois legislature over public lands on Lake Michigan. At the time I was the State Field Representative for the Sierra Club. I had worked hard lobbying to oppose the sale of 26+ acres of Lake bed and shoreline to Loyola University. The legislature sold it out from under the public. I, along with others, had done everything we could to save that land for future generations and prevent the University from building a sports stadium on a landfill in the Lake. We lost big time. That night I went to hear Tom Paxton at the Old Town School of Folk Music. His beautiful familiar music washed over me, taking the anger and sorrow enough so I could get up the next day and go on. During an intermission he wandered among us and I told him what that night of music meant to me. I told him that I knew I was not alone in the struggle. He hugged me.