Pledge of Allegiance to the Earth

It’s Earth Day! Lupines on Park Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National ParkPlease stand and join me in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Earth.

I pledge allegiance to the earth

and to the flora fauna and human life

that it supports,

one planet indivisible

with safe air, water and soil,

economic justice,

equal rights,

and peace for all.

From the Women’ s Environment and Development Organization of the Women’ s Foreign Policy Council


And now let’s sing!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the earth,
the dirt between my toes,
the sun pours down upon my crown,
the mighty river flows.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
of bird song in the trees,
the air is dense with fragrant scents
soft floating on the breeze.

Amazing Grace the ocean swells,
the waves break on the shore,
the moonlight rides upon the tides,
oh, who could ask for more.

Now we’ve been here four million years
sustained at her sweet breast,
let’s sing her praise for all our days,
then in her womb we’ll rest.

                      -lyrics copyright by Elizabeth Cunningham, 1995. For permission to reprint, contact EC through her website.)

Susa gesturing to the French Broad River behind her

Planet Locals, Planet Travelers

San Cristobal de Las CasasToday I am traveling

far from home.

You, a Tsotzil woman,

here in Chiapas

are home.

I greet your beauty,

which belongs here.

Your land, for me

a place to pass through,

depends on passers now.

I long to gaze at your face.

I want to draw you,

smile wide into your eyes.


I turn away so you won´t

think I might buy what you sell.

I cannot connect with you

without misleading.


I draw arches, flowers.

Traveling like this

isn´t the way.

Traveling like this

hurts my heart.


As soon as I say it,Rosa Teresa & parents

something changes.

In Zinacantan,

Rosa Teresa and IIMG_2235[1]

cross the boundary that says:

tourists and locals

move only in our own dimensions,

only in our separate tracks!

At home in Zinacantan,

Rosa Teresa and her family

share laughs and café with me.


As soon as I say it,

that traveling like this

cannot enlarge any of us,

something else changes.

I climb the steps

to the Templo de Guadalupe.

A woman in the first pewClimbing to Connection

bends in grief.

Her black-clad shoulders

heave with silent sobs.

I stay and

from another pew,

bear witness, share kinship.

As I pray for us,

it comes more clear to me:

We each are planet locals, and

we each,

all of us,

are travelers on this earth.

One Billion Rising V-Day

 Today is V-Day, founded by Eve Ensler to stop violence against women. This year V-Day is called One Billion Rising to say, in honor of the one in three women on the planet who during their lives are beaten or raped, ENOUGH! “One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women DANCING is a revolution!”

Listen to poet Alice Walker urging all of us to rise, strike, dance! and please, find an event to attend where you live. I will be at the YWCA in Asheville North Carolina where the One Billion Rising event features poetry (by the incomparable Annelinde Metzner) and dance!

According to a new book by American professor Valerie Hudson, Sex and World Peace:  If a country focuses on reducing its rates of violence against girls and women, it also lowers its own propensity for engaging in military conflict. The author finds a close relationship between rape, domestic violence and all social issues on one side, and the so-called manly national security issues on the other. As war is a manifestation of a state’s sense of insecurity vis-à-vis the “other” — the enemy —, violence against women is the manifestation of a man’s insecurity vis-à-vis the “other”, that is, the woman. It is this perception of the gender equation that demands a change!

Sisters and Brothers, it’s time for the true meaning of security to emerge.





Singing the Body

Today as I look forward to rehearsing with  Sahara Peace Choir for an upcoming concert, I recall the teachings of sound healer Gina Sala. Awhile back, Gina led Kirtan devotional chanting at the Yoga Sky Temple, high above the bay in Yelapa a fishing village south of Puerto Vallarta.  She mentioned that when she feels herself being judge-y about someone, she sings about the person in order to bring herself back to heart. Gina’s practice of singing about a person encourages me to call on that mysterious part of me that can bring me to larger heart.  Gina went on to speak of the Oneness, but in a manner juicier than I had ever heard before in the description of a spiritual path. Her love of God is happiness, she said. It is power! It gives her a refreshment, in the way sleep gives refreshment! Her  happiness overflowed into her voice like a waterfall. I left the Sky Temple longing to be as juicily devoted to the Great Mother as this young teacher/healer was.

Next day, at a voice healing session, she shared a hands-on practice called Greeting the Body, a practice she never omits, even when she might omit every other practice. In Greeting the Body, certain syllables are sung to certain parts of the body; one’s eyes are open, one’s hands are on that body part, stroking, patting —  saying good morning! Gina described the practice as an act of love and affection, an offering to the self. The point is a daily sincere greeting of oneself as Divine.

My recollection of these may not be completely accurate, but here they are as I now sing them:

Hamah, top of head;

Meme, face; (pronounced may-may)

Hahamah, neck; (accent first syllable)

Yaya, heart;

Rera, ribs;

Vava, pelvic bowl;

Lala, tailbone area and legs.

Though Gina grew up in an ashram, her path to the Divine by taking pleasure in body buzz is beautifully Pagan. Let’s all sing. We don’t need to join a choir. Let’s sing our longings and confusions, our offerings and petitions. Let’s sing to keep ourselves aware of the Divine during each passing day of our short lives. Let’s sing to the Beloved within us as we wake, as we walk down the street. We can sing so softly no one else can tell we’re singing. Let’s use this stunning human capacity to craft our lives into a juicy song of love.