Head, Heart, Hands, Spirit

Goals: to Share Stories and Build Understanding

Empire by Invitation: the US in Afghanistan

Friday December 30th 6:00-8:00pm

18th Avenue Peace House

2116 NE 18th Ave Portland, Oregon

Come hear Professor Zaher Wahab discuss the U.S.’s longest war, what Afghans think of the election of Trump and the complex situation in Afghanistan.

Zaher Wahab is the Director of the MA in Education Program at American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. Due to an attack on the university August 24th that left 15 dead, Afghan students are now taking all their classes online. This in a country where just half the population has access to electricity and about 10% have access to the internet.

Professor Zaher Wahab: “Now the University is installing a six meter high concrete T-wall next to the original stone wall…. And building three story high guard towers all around the parameters. When you stand on the ground on campus, you can only see the heavily polluted sky and nothing else around you!…Soon there will be 300 armed security guards crawling all over campus. There are cameras, monitors, snipers, watch towers, scanners, flood lights, listening devices all over, policemen patrolling the campus in Ford Rangers, and plain clothes security men outside the campus. Everyone is checked…all the time.” Professor Wahab and his wife live as if in “a virtual prison.” And that’s not addressing the situation outside of the campus walls!


Attend this special event;

Ask questions;

Access creative ways we in the U.S. might value Afghan lives enough to finally end this futile war; and

Address increasing racism, xenophobia and fascism at home in 2017!

All are welcome! No weapons.

Wheelchair accessible.

Bring a dish to share-Please label ingredients.

RSVP/logistics: Jill Severson  jillms@lclark.edu

Head, Heart, Hands, Spirit


Read Professor Wahab’s blog: http://dispatchesfromafghanistan.tumblr.com/

Tonight, with the New Moon, Reflect: The World We Are

Tonight is the New Moon.

I committed to myself (a month ago) to sit outside overlooking a spot (it was the McCormick and Baxter plant) where we did a Greenpeace action 25 years ago, August 1988, in St. Johns, in Portland, Oregon. A few months later the company declared bankruptcy and abandoned the now Superfund site.

My goals (which I offer to You, to share) Follow in Four Steps:

Reflecting first in Gratitude about my/our relations with nature/all life, (what we humans, here, in Portland, Oregon usually call “the environment”). What do we have to be grateful for? For me: Much water. People to do environmental work with, etc…

Second, Feel deep Emotions, connections, sadness, anger, fear, love, trust, openness, connections with all life. Where do we each have to grow in regards to our Relationship with Our-Selves, and All Life? We are all connected. We Inter-Are!

Third, See with New Eyes, eagle eyes, Oak eyes, new eyes. How Inter-Are we are. Reflect. What meets the Oak, the Superfund site by the water, meets us, too. (Whether we see it, or not! We are all interconnected!)

Fourth, after allowing time for Reflection, Sitting With our fellow creatures, Our Many Selves, Go Forth!

For more info about the Work That Reconnects: http://workthatreconnects.org/ Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: The World We Have inspired this practice.
(I say: The World We Are.)

How does the New Moon Reflect!

Work That Reconnects (WTR) summer 2013 Portland Offerings

The Work That Reconnects (WTR) is a practice in four movements: Gratitude, Sharing our Deep Feelings, Seeing with New Eyes, and Going Forth.

WTR was founded by Joanna Macy a Buddhist eco-philosopher, and author of: Coming Back to Life (with Molly Young Brown) and Active Hope (with Chris Johnstone), and additional titles.

More information can be found: http://www.joannamacy.net/ and http://workthatreconnects.org/

This summer Work That Reconnects (WTR) workshops will be offered at Portland area Multnomah County libraries for FREE, Open to All. Facilitated by Jill Severson.

ACTIVE HOPE: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy.
Saturday June 8th, 1:30-3:30pm, Central library, US Bank meeting room.
801 SW 10th St., Portland, Oregon.
On Trimet Street-car and MAX lines.

COMING BACK TO LIFE: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World.
Monday July 8th, 5:30-7:30pm, St. Johns library meeting room.
7510 North Charleston St., Portland, Oregon.
Trimet bus lines: 4 (Fessenden), 16, 44 (St. Johns) and 75.

ACTIVE HOPE: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy.
Tuesday August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm. Belmont library meeting room.
1038 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd. (formerly SE 39th).
Trimet bus lines: 14, 15 (Belmont) and 75.

Don’t Let Deadly Drones Dominate our World!

Bring your Death-Defying spirit to Portland Oregon’s Pioneer Courthouse Square

12:00pm Friday April 26th-to Educate and Activate against Unlawful Drone Deaths!

At 1pm we may roam outside of the square…as the drones know no limits!

Friday 12-1pm Pioneer Courthouse Square, 1-2pm downtown, roaming

Meet on the East side of the Square/SW 6th at the Milepost marker

(midway North/South, between SW Morrison and SW Yamhill St. at SW 6th)

Called by: Head, Heart, Hands, Spirit; members of CODEPINK PDX;
and members of Portland WILPF.

Contact: HeadHeartHandsSpirit@RiseUp.net

“Silent Know More” 2013 Tour Day 1

Welcome to International Women’s Day 2013, the first day of my “Silent Know More” Tour 2013.

Today I follow my head, my heart, I use my hands and my spirit.
Today I act. My goal: Simply speaking with fellow “Americans” (U.S.ers)- -and any internationals who happen to cross my path.

I feel afraid. I ask myself: What is so scary about that?

We know for a fact that our (U.S.) government infil-traits us, spies on us, surveils us, accuses us of being terrorists and tries to entrap us. I am not going to provide proof here, but I will later. If one doesn’t speak out and stays within the line it’s probably not a problem, but if we question: It can be. And, like violence in the home–where it may be psychologically more troubling for someone watching physical abuse versus the person actually receiving the abuse–Those witnessing the trials where people are entrapped may be more afraid of speaking out than those who have already had that horrendous experience. Just like–once one confronts and accepts death, it may be much less scary than simply fearing the inevitable! (Did I write? I have been confronting my fear of death, recently, which some would say is at the root of most human instances of fear.)

Also, in a post “September 11th” world, my experience tells me that people simply talk to one another much less than we used to. That scares me. So, today I finally listen to my heart–and to the inspiration of my peers, and elder’s actions–and I, too, act.

I act to save my country and my world–from US–the biggest terrorists on the planet as far as I am concerned–the United States government. Yikes! What’s not to be scared about?

And, I want to feel hopeful. Just yesterday I met a new neighbor–who expressed some similar fears as I have–and later I met an elder woman (63 yrs), while waiting for the bus. We had a 45-minute long discussion about U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy on the bus and in front of many neighbors, on the ride home. That was refreshing and energizing. We inspire one another! I will post audio that I acquire today–as I intend to do a “Voice of the People” and ask people questions–about women, U.S. Foreign Policy-and domestic policy, and whatever I feel inspired to ask!

“Silent? Know More!” Question! Research! Be Inspired! Act!

It is a good day when…

It is a good day when…

I hear a bus driver be more herself in the world. She is coming out as a Trans Woman. Hooray! You inspire me, S. to be more myself in the world. Thank you.

I am able to contribute to education in Afghanistan in my own small way. Thank you Z. for doing the work that you are doing, educating U.S.ers (aka “Americans”) and Afghans!

We respect one another and learn to use our words and not new weapons-whether dropped out of a gun or a drone…

The words that we use are honest words, transparent words and not words of propaganda devised to confuse, terrorize or frighten kin.

I can practice the respect that I have for moderate people of many spiritual beliefs: Jews, (even some) Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, Sikhs and traditional people. (Note: Not meant to be an all inclusive list.)

We as a nation, as a planet of people decide not to start another war–whether for murder, resource extraction, world domination…nor to show that my “G-d” is better than your “god”, or “Allah” or atheism…But instead…

We see that as a human species we really are quite similar to one another, even the same across our many differences…

We respect the rule of self-determination for all people–and that means we will stay out of your country, and your country (and leave many other countries too!)

We learn to appreciate what we have[in my case]: safe drinking water, books to read, fresh air, food, a safe place to sleep.

We respect all life!

“I am convinced…

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Source–http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html

Dr. Martin Luther King said these words almost 46 years ago, on April 4th, 1967, exactly one year before his death. When is “America” (the U.S.) going to listen and learn? It will take a true revolution in this nation to make this change. I am willing. Are you?! Let us support an United States total withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, etc. Let’s have compassion and understand that continued occupation of so many nations breeds hatred for us. It also brings us to the spiritual and material death that Dr. King spoke of so many years ago! Wake Up “America”!

Speaking Truth to Power….. What Stops U.S.?

What ways have our Country & Our Leaders (whether they Be Political or otherwise)

betrayed Our Principles and Our Core interests?

What do You want to Do about it?

Speaking Truth to Power; What Stops U.S.?

Lack of: Courage; Role-models; Inspiration; Connection.

Here are links where a few Brave ones Have Spoken Up.

We have: Courage; Role-models; Inspiration; and Connection.

Let U.S. Join Them!

Let them Inspire U.S. Towards furthering Our Own Education, Connection, Real Justice, Mutual Respect and Understanding.



The Ghost of Joe McCarthy Slithers Again | On Democracy | BillMoyers.com.




DailyGood: News That Inspires.


Newly Inspired

Newly Inspired, I am back in Portland, Oregon for less than 24 hours.

It is not that I had really been gone for long–not in body, but my mind, my spirit had left. (Long story!)

Today–early this morning after driving back from Tillamook County (OR)–I was first Repelled by the loudness downtown (at 12:30am; Wondering how a friend, a homeless activist could sleep there); Next I adjusted to a new living situation, finally feeling that Portland was where I Belonged; after waking I was Inspired by a group of formally trained facilitators; in the afternoon I was Reconnected (briefly) with many Buddhists, and later Enjoyed good conversation and Inspiration from my new housemate. Ahh, Re-Connection!

Inspired, I finally looked up Patricia J. Williams–who had written about her involvement with–Anna Deavere Smith’s civic project…(Another long story!) See: art alongside music and civic dialogue…http://www.annadeaveresmithworks.org/history

May it, her work, their work Inspire you and I!


Deep Questions about Oppression, Trust and Harm-doing

I have not written for quite some time.

Here emerges a desire to document what I am thinking, reflecting on my life. How to make sense of a series of experiences of my own and my observations and understanding of my neighbor’s and friend’s experiences.

Topics include:

  • Trying to understand the nature of how and why we oppress and/or harm one another (not to say that these are necessarily equated);
  • Trying to understand, when someone is slighted or feels unsafe or in harm’s way–how do we disengage and figure out what is really going on?;
  • Deconstructing the complexities of our various identities and/or social locations, who’s perceptions and fears are “right” in a given interaction–rather, and possibly more importantly…
  • How do we step back and (I hope) mindfully stop and stop harming one another and/or stop triggering feelings of harm?
  • How do we assess the level of harm being done and…
  • How/Do we see one another’s good intentions? Or…
  • Do we assume bad intentions or maliciousness on behalf of kin/”others”?
  • How do we know when good intentions are present?
  • How do we create a world in which we ourselves would want to live versus a would where we distrust and destruct kin/”others” because their views are different than ours?

These questions may not be the “right” ones….yet they emerged now.

It is acknowledged that I do not address or factor in the effects of very real oppression–i.e. that kills people–whether that death is immediate or over many years…

Instead of editing these questions. I leave them as evidence to some “deep” thinking going on…whether “right” or “wrong”….Ahh.

Towards self-acceptance, kin acceptance and a deeper understanding!

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