We are Not A Loan

A debt jubilee…Did you know that there is an organization that is seeking donations to buy-up distressed  debts, including student loans and outstanding medical bills, and then wipe the slate clean by writing them off. It is called the Rolling Jubilee. Watch the video; it gave me goosebumps. Goosebumps of recognition. Goosebumps of excitement. Imagine a world free of debt.

David Rees, one of the organisers behind the project, writes on his blog: “This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need – to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy.

“Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program live and nationwide, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.”

A video released to promote the project says: “We shouldn’t be forced into debt to cover basic needs like healthcare, housing and education. We need a jubilee, a clean slate. The math is on our side; a little bit of money goes a long way. If we can raise $50,000 we can buy a million dollars worth of debt and abolish it.

“We bailed-out the banks and in return they turned their backs on us. We don’t owe them anything, we owe each other everything. It’s time for a bail-out of the people, by the people.”

Many thanks to http://www.the2012scenario.com and Matthew Sparks of The Telegraph

May All Beings Be Happy

My friend, Ellen Besso is in Dharamsala right now, teaching English to Tibetans-in-exile. In her blog she writes of the tragedy of self-immolutation occurring in Tibet right now.

“It is now Thursday, October 25th, and 4 people have sacrificed themselves for the Tibetan cause since Saturday: 1 on Saturday, 1 Monday and 2 yesterday, Wednesday.”

I am so grateful to Tibetan Buddhism for the teachings I have received on Loving Kindness, a teaching that helps me touch suffering with compassion: May all beings be happy, May all beings be safe, May all beings be free.

Synchronistically, the same day I read Ellen’s blog, another friend sent me this link to the amazing sound of Jennifer Berezen and a clip on the making of her CD dedicated to Loving Kindess.

May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be free.

Interest Free Debt? Why not.

I’ve been exploring my beliefs about money, abundance and scarcity. Money, and the lack of it, triggers a great deal of anxiety in me. I’ve got good idea of the core beliefs I have about money…I can either have my health, friendships, community, or I can have work and have money, there is only so much to go around, money can separate me from other people, etc.

Now, I’ve started exploring the cultural and collective institutions that have contributed to my experience and beliefs. And one of them is how the government spends money, takes on debt, etc. The main messages I am getting from our governments are that there is only so much to go around, that cuts are needed to ensure future prosperity. Yet, I am bothered by that.My reality is that there is plenty to go around, we can live in a both/and world.  So, I started poking around and found this video. It is  the most succinct description of the collusion between banks and governments to keep us in a scarcity mind set. Twelve-year-old Victoria Grant (Cambridge, Ontario), gave this lecture at a recent Public Banking Institute conference in Philadelphia.

I have learnt that prior to 1974, all three levels of government could borrow money from the Bank of Canada at zero interest. The government could use the  interest free loans  “human capital” expenditures (education health, other social services) and / or infrastructure expenditures.  (For more details http://actionparty.ca/news/monetary-reform/canada-debt-free-is-it-possible-/)

Interest charges on Canada’s public debt – money borrowed by the federal government over the years and not yet repaid – cost $30.9 billion. That’s about 11 cents of every tax dollar spent. (Source Department of Finance Canada 2011). More of our federal income is spent on the debt than on health transfers to the province. How crazy is that?

A huge change can be make to the Canadian financial landscape without a wholesale change of legislation and regulation. How cool is that?

The Healing Sounds of The Bell Chant

Video

I’ve been feeling waves of sadness lately, along with the grittiness of irritability. I also seem to have misplaced what little patience I had been nurturing over the past few years.

I wonder my experience is part of it is the collective sadness that comes with living in a world that doesn’t value the uniqueness of each being, that doesn’t value and honour the beautiful blue-green planet we call home, Pacha Mama.

The inner tension between hope and despair is increasing. At times I look out at our world and see all the wonderful acts of kindness, the indications of economic change, the growth in the local food economy and my heart delights. Other days I hear the rhetoric of our politicians saying how we need to fast track approval processes for resource extraction and I burst into tears, recognizing the model that sees the earth as a commodity to be sold, regardless of the larger impacts on communities, the ecosystem and our souls.

Perhaps it is simply part of the process of evolution – we need to experience the polarization of human consciousness between those who would imprison and those who would free the human spirit.

I’ve been using this beautiful Bell Chant from Buddhist teacher Thich Naht Hahn and Brother  Phap Niem to soothe my soul and heart. To help me water the seeds of compassion, within and without.

I’m curious, are you feeling this tension? If so, how are you meeting it?

http://vimeo.com/6518109

 

Moving from Shame to Vulnerability

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One of my hero’s is Brene Brown. She researches, teaches and talks about the unmentionable emotions: shame and it’s companion, vulnerability. Her work has helped me bring awareness and compassion to the shadowy, sticky, uncomfortable experience of shame. Brene Brown is bringing light to the dark corners of our collective psyches. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Brene Brown’s TED talk on shame and Vulnerability

(image is from Brene Brown’s blog.)