Einstein’s Idea

Einstein is quoted often. One of my favorites is: “I didn’t say most of what people think I said.” Love that. So, he was a genius AND he had a sense of humor, an odd combination, wish there was more of that around.

My fave Einstein quote (which I hope he actually uttered) is about how we can’t hope to solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. Lots of other people like this quote too because I’ve heard it and read it countless times, in books, at seminars, in conversations, etc. Problem is, I don’t see much new thinking occurring.

I’ve wondered if the person saying these words, and then doing nothing about it, imagines that they have already starting thinking differently, just because they care about the world, for instance, about world peace. That’s just an idea… I don’t think it constitutes the fullness of what Einstein was pointing towards. Do you?

In my explorations, I’m finding a few specifics about new thinking.

1. Questions are more important than answers.

2. Humility is stronger and better than arrogance.

3. Peace is a seed, not a result. And, a bunch more.

Number one, though, is the vital importance of restoring my connection with nature. I live in the Oregon woods so that should be easy, but it’s easy to get lost in my screen. Meanwhile, that wild world out there beckons. Daily walks give me the opportunity to commune and gradually, after seven years here now, I feel the forest is accepting me and that I am beginning to hear the forest song I’ve been soaking in these years. The sound of the stream seems more melodic now; the wind in the trees too, it seems intelligent.

A question I like to ask whenever I’m discussing this with friends is: “Who do you think is the most intelligent species on earth?” It always raises eyebrows because the default is “humans.” Of course, who could question that? Well, I do. On what grounds? Results.

I don’t notice any other species wreaking havoc on the natural environment the way humans do. This, we are great at. No other animal has shown such a callous disregard for his home nest, has acted in ways that have hurt so many other species (species extinction is now about 1,000 times faster than the traditional “background” rate). Wow, we really excel at this!

Einstein was right: we need to think different. For me, it begins with realizing that humans, that “I” am not nearly the most intelligent species on the planet. I am part of Gaia, part of a universal intelligence, but I access much less of it than the trees in this forest I am growing to love. What can they teach me about peace, for instance, if I open my ears to really hear? Hmn… wonder if that might lead to some new thinking?

Will Wilkinson is a local author, life coach, and professional speaker. www.willwilkinsoncoach.com

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14th Century Samurai Code

(Wisdom from the ages)

I have no home:
I make the present moment my home
I have no power:
I make the rhythm of nature my power
I have no freedom:
I make awareness my freedom
I have no skills:
I make ceaseless practice my skills
I have no authority:
I make honesty my authority
I have no weapon:
I make the absence of self my weapon
I have no rules:
I make readiness and adaptability my rules
I have no enemies:
I make apathy and carelessness my enemies
I have no friends:
I make the earth and the sky my friends
I have no plan:
I make patience my plan
I have no strategy:
I make unwavering attention my strategy
I have no magic secret:
I make appropriate action my magic secret
I have no ears:
I make stillness my ears
I have no body:
I make unflinching endurance my body
I have no eyes:
I make intuition my eyes
I have no armor:
I make courage and alertness my armor
I have no fortress:
I make quiet-mind my fortress
I have no shield:
I make reverence for life my shield
I have no sword:
I make penetrating insight my sword
I have no honor:
I make gentleness and compassion my honor
I have no victories:
I make harmony and balance my victories
I have no rewards:
I make tears and laughter my rewards
I have no life or death:
I make the tides of breathing my life and death

–from Fourteenth Century Samurai Code
adapted by J.A. Cirie

 Above information from Barbara Casey


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Peace: Me First

Peace: Me First

I still remember a line delivered by 60’s satirist, Tom Lehrer, as he introduced his song National Brotherhood Week:

“There are some people who do not love their fellow man.

I hate people like that!”

The idea of peace, as some global reality not connected to my own personal state, is obviously ridiculous. However, it’s popular to the point of unconscious acceptance by billions who manage to disconnect personal attitudes and behaviors from any sort of realization of peace, starting with themselves.

In a “me first” culture wouldn’t it be nice if the “me first” referred to being peaceful? Yes, many of us have heard about the idea of walking our talk, being the change we wish to see, etc. Nice bromides; what’s the result in my life?

It’s exciting to notice more and more people truth telling like this and getting really humble. Wow, world peace may be a great idea but, honestly, I’ve got my hands full being peaceful myself. Hopefully that makes a difference.

The old argument, “What can one person do?” is invariably made by spectators. Anyone who is personally engaged knows the answer. “Everything.”

I applaud the efforts each of us are making to establish the model for a peaceful world, in the moments of our daily living. What a courageous stance in life!   

Will Wilkinson is a local author, life coach, and professional speaker. www.willwilkinsoncoach.com

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Splendor and Tears


by Joyce Graham

What is the greatest story ever told?

The nail biter-love story-

The falling-from, the falling-into

Your Beloved, Story?


You know it as the back of your hand,

Your hand,

God’s Hand, Almighty Creator.

Fingers of ten.  To soothe, fashion, and birth.

To caress or close.  Our part in the story.


Such a great one at that. Come play all parts!

antagonist, warrior, prostitute, none.

Taste the berry and pit,

Inject sweet into sour,

Blink dew from new eyes.

Shiver and shrink,

Now again…and again.


That’s what makes the story great.

The Never Knowing.

What’s good, bad, ecstatically sad.

No plot. No point.


No end. No start. 

Only One, spectator and play,

Director, Actor, Critic, extra.

Solitary parts. Until Watched

From a heart now devoted.


The thread appears.

So slight at first, one strand, invisible but to the lesser.

Then another to tie, a third to strengthen, then lengthen.

Each year-by-year experience,

Another strand winding ever more soundly, strikingly,

Into the greater line.

Each silvering thread reflecting new light.


Can you see it now?  The fiber? The Grace?

This greatest of stories?


This tale of one champion, where no trace can be found.

Only splendor and tears,

For a life that did weep, did dance, did sing,

All on her way to God. 


Joyce Graham is an instructor at Rogue Community College and author of ‘Eat Cake for Breakfast…And Other Rules to Break to Live Life More Vibrantly’ available on Amazon.  



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The Force is WITHIN you!




Really means:  The Force IS WITHIN you!

As a Star Wars fan and an advocate for peace, it is hard to watch the violence

in the movie.  But after all it is called “wars” so what else could I expect. 

The one characteristic of the Star Wars saga that interests me is the

concept of  the “Force.” 

It is the promise of wisdom and innate goodness of this mystery that

I associate  with a loving, all knowing mystery called God. 

I think most of us believe in a God of some sort even if there is no scientific

 proof.  However if you have been lucky enough to have had a revelation

or a mystical experience, you don’t need proof, you KNOW God is. 

If God is the “force” of love that we share, receive and give then

the Force is within all of us – all of the time – never to be banished.

Perhaps God is that beautiful mysterious unknown energy that was bequeathed 

at birth to each of us, the spark of love and light residing in every soul.  

That is why the greeting “May the Force be with you” really means

“The Force is within you!”  Believe it. 

There are those who have been mistreated and as a result have

hardened themselves believing if evil exists in the world, there must not be a God. 

But buried within is  a love that guides us, that cannot be ignored

because it curiously pulls  and tugs us ever closer to Truth.  

Make 2016 a fearless year!  Whenever a fearful thought comes up, wash it with

the Force of good and light that you are! 

God, the Force, is the Love within you, the eternal “see-er” holding the lamp of truth.

Love cannot be squashed or eliminated since it is eternal, like the Force! 


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Dog Teaches a New Year Attitude

Naughty Dog by Joyce Graham


I’m glad I have a little dog

Who sniffs along the way.

He doesn’t mind

His p’s & q’s

Or listen to what I say.


He tugs when should be sitting,

And sitting when told to come.

He doesn’t care about such stuff,

Only that life is fun!


 Stop here!  He begs.

His little tail

Does wag and point the way.

Did you smell the fallen corn,

And taste the fresh-cut hay?


 Did you watch the laughing jay

Call out to you in jest?

Did you feel each setting ray

Fall warm upon your chest?


 Did you bark ‘Good Morning!’

To the dew upon your nose?

And lose yourself in lavender

In a daisy, in a rose?


 Did you notice? Did you notice?

I am here to show you how!

And if I have been naughty,

Then that’s ok, somehow.


My little dog then looked away,

His nose upon the air,

And that is when I really saw,

To gaze without a care.


I cried to see the laughing jay

Play hide and seek with me.

I saw the depth of every cloud,

The ache of every tree.


 I smelled the newborn acorns,

And breathed in fresh-cut hay.

I laughed and said, ‘Good Morning!’

‘How beautiful this day!’


I lost myself in lavender.

And finally smelled a rose.

I stopped my breath from leaving

When now this day arose.


I did all this and more, you see,

Because my little dog,

Was naughty and so kind to me,

A man in such a fog.


And so I thank you, little friend,

For not coming when I called.

You saw, you felt, you knew what’s right,

Beloved –Teacher-Dog.

Joyce Graham is an instructor at Rogue Community College and author of Eat Cake for Breakfast…And Other Rules to Break to Live Life More Vibrantly and Joy Becoming,  available on Amazon.

Contact her at jgraham1211@gmail.com



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Holiday Worries

Many of us have friends, family or associates who have a drinking

problem.   We don’t want to get wrapped up in the lives and

problems of others,  especially relatives and close friends but still

we worry and wonder what we can do.

How can we be helpful without being nosy or harmful?

It is always a conundrum to know what to say or do when

someone is having personal problems of any kind.

What if we tell them, (when the time seems right) what is on our

heart?  We can let them know we care and ask them to let us know

when and how we can be of help.  That’s what friends are for.

Years ago one of my friends told me she wished she had spoken to

a friend about her severe drinking problem before it was too late.

Speaking up will alleviate the regrets we may feel if we don’t say

what is on our heart.  Recently a friend confided that her daughter

has a drinking problem.

As her Mother she felt she needed to let her daughter know

how much she cares and how she worries.

In her recent book  ’A Woman’s Way Through the Twelve Steps’

by Stephanie Covington Ph.D., speaks of her own journey, recovery and

how she discovered a number of issues unique to woman that are

overlooked in most twelve step programs.

The book is available at:  www.hazeldon.org

We need to do what the love inside our hearts calls us to do.   Why not give

someone the gift of our caring heart and don’t worry if they will be offended.

Maybe they will have a future – isn’t it worth the risk!



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The Christmas Promise

Why is it that Christmas is the cheeriest of Seasons?

It must be the symbolism of hope associated with a young

babe being born into poverty but becoming an awakened being. 

Not only Awakened, but kind and he had plenty of odds against him.

This is the joyful promise of Christmas.  We all can awaken to

the kindness we were born with and let it shine out to heal

the suffering in the world.   And we too have odds against us

but that is no excuse  because light and love overcomes the odds.

 We cannot be exempt from the Light and Love we were born with.

In this way we are all the same.  We all have Light and kindness in our Mind.

You were born with it, as was the babe in the manager. 

Let your kindness and light go forth into the world today. 

Give it to everyone you meet and to those who cross your mind;

friends from the past and even to those who have passed. 

An anonymous man in Philadelphia takes several thousand dollars

In $100 bills and distributes them to people in his community.

You don’t have to do that.  Just distribute your thoughts of good will;

a smile of acceptance; a warm hand; and a genuine “Good to see You” will do.

Be the Love that you are!  It’s not what you get,

but what you give that is the promise of Christmas. 




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Seven Openings to Peace

Seven Openings to Peace by Ed Hirsch

Here are seven basic openings into Peace. They are aspects of your own nature and are always available. Each involves an embodied practice and an intuitive realization that will open you to Peace. It is the Peace of your own being, and the Peace of Being itself. It is the basic sense of the core OKness of Being as such and of just how everything is in any moment. Like now.

Space: Be still and sense deeply in your body. Welcome your physical sensations, and sense deeply into them just as they are. Open to the Stillness and Peace of All-Pervading Space that is unaffected by change and which completely pervades your body.

Time: Slow down and let your breath settle deep in your belly. Follow the breath all the way through its cycles, moment to moment. Slow down to the Ever-Present Peace of Now.

Life: Sense and breathe deeply into your basic aliveness, just as it is each moment.  Directly experience it without overlays of story or beliefs. Keep sensing and breathing, letting it settle and harmonize into the deep Peace of Life.

Love; Sense, breathe, and feel into your heart. Whatever you are feeling, feel deeply into it beyond the story. Open to the Love that holds it unconditionally, and be at Peace.

Mind: Take in everything you are hearing and seeing now, and recognize that it is all arising in awareness. Rest your mind in this open space of awareness, in the Peace of Spacious Mind.

Self: Attend to who is having your experience right now. Experience your core sense of “I” at the heart of this, beyond any story, belief, or judgment. Open to the Peace of the I AM that abides in its own nature.

One: Open to the totality of your present moment experience, all of it together. Recognize that, whatever its condition, it is one whole experience. Rest in the Peace of its essential Oneness, the Oneness of Being.

Whichever opening you take to Peace, you will come to recognize the Peace that was there all along, Always Already your very nature.

 Friends, however busy or activated you get this holiday season, remember these seven companions that are ever with you, as invitations to the Blessing of Peace. For yourself, and for all those with whom you will be. Open to the Peace of Being, and then move out from there.

Ed Hirsch conducts free, drop-in weekly groups in The Practice of Presence at a local Ashland residence. Contact him at presenceofone@yahoo.com for information.


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Happiness for the Holidays

As we go about our lives, especially during this busy Season,

let us stop and appreciate the gift of Love and the light that resides

within every human heart.

Everyone has the spark of love within them.

Everyone is fighting a hard battle; currently; from the past or

perhaps their biggest challenge has yet to come.

We all live with wounds.  Wounds are lessons.  Love heals the lessons.

If we let the love within us surround the wounds, its glorious light will heal.

Love is happiness.  Let the love within heal your life.

That love, by virtue of its mystery will also shine into the lives of

others and help them in ways you may never know.

See A Course In Miracles www.acim.org  – Lesson 103

Go to “On Line Lessons” and then “Workbook table of contents.”

Lesson 103.  God, being Love, is also happiness.

“Happiness is an attribute of love.

Love has no limits being everywhere.

And therefore joy is everywhere as well.”




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