Thursday, August 30, 2012

And I'm Off...

Tonight I take a bus down to Virginia for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference.  This is the beginning of my fall adventures.  For details of what I will be up to, see my post A Long, Strange Trip, 6/28/12.  The one change in what I wrote there is that I won't be visiting the Missouri communities this fall.  It got too expensive and is probably just as well, seeing how much I will be doing.

I'm not sure how often I will get to blog--I may not be able to write again until December, or I may be able to put out periodic updates.  Hopefully somewhere along the line I'll be able to write about what I've learned.

At this point it's all a gamble.  I'm going to check out the various Virginia communities as well as keeping an eye out for people who want to create community up in the northeast US--preferably in New England.  Who knows what I'll find.

Have a good fall folks and we'll see what it all brings.

Quote of the Day:  "In a world of possibility for us all, our personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action. ... In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower."  - Audre Lorde

Friday, August 17, 2012

Biology 101: A Premature Wrap

I'll be traveling soon so I'm trying to tie up lots of loose ends.  I'm still reading that Biology book, but I have neither the time nor the energy (at least at this point) to cover any more topics.

In any case, even at this point the most enlightening things I read were the stuff on cellular respiration and photosynthesis and I'm glad I put out detailed posts on them.  (See Biology 101: Cellular Respiration, 5/10/12, and Biology 101: Photosynthesis, 5/17/12.)

I've since studied things like cellular communication, genetics, evolution, plant biology (aka botony), and I'm currently reading through "Animal Structure and Function" (aka anatomy and physiology--with a side trip through nutrition).  I just finished an interesting chapter (and side readings) on the immune system (which is a *lot* more complicated than I thought) and I'm currently reading about temperature regulation, water balance, and the excretory system.  I'm hoping to finish all the animal A&P before I leave, but I know I won't have time to get into the final section of the book which is on ecology, something I'd really like to have a mainstream scientific understanding of.  So I will be keeping this big heavy textbook, both so I can read the ecology section at some point and because this is such a great reference for so many things that I'm interested in.

I would recommend to anyone interested in knowing how life works that they pick up a used (or free, if you can find it) relatively current college Bio textbook.  You may be surprised at what you learn.

Quote of the Day: "Biology, the study of life, is rooted in the human spirit.  ... Biology is the scientific extension of this human tendency to feel connected to and curious about all forms of life.  It is a science for adventurous minds."  - Neil Campbell and Jane Reece

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Pan Poly Path

I have mentioned in this blog that I'm bi and poly (ie, bisexual and polyamorous--see Sex and Squeamishness, 8/9/08).  Part of my reason for identifying as bisexual is my age--that's what I've identified with since high school (forty-five years).  The problem with bisexuality is that it assumes there are only two sexes, but if I were choosing an identity today, I'd probably say I was pansexual since I think I could be as easily involved with someone who identified as trans or genderqueer as I could with someone who identifies as a woman or a man.

All of which seems moot at the moment since I've taken a vow of abstinence while I'm pursuing community.  But as I'm exploring love (see my last post), I'm beginning to see other possibilities.  Sufi dancing (particularly the 'partner' dances where you keep switching partners and you never know who you'll get next) has also helped me see this in a new light.  (Not to mention studying about bonobos, who are truly pan and poly sexual.  For more on bonobos, see Bonobos and Chimpanzees, 7/30/08.)

I think that all love is erotic, in some way.  It doesn't mean I have to have sex with anyone, just acknowledge that there is a sexual/sensual element to all my loving--and this is a good thing.

And the fact that I can love anyone (being pan) and many people (being poly) opens me up to truly loving everyone I meet--regardless of gender, looks, age, race, class, etc, etc.  I can just greet each person I meet (like I try to do when I'm Sufi dancing) with lots of love and joyousness.  I have taken my sexuality and turned it into a spiritual path, opening myself up to loving everyone regardless of who they are.  Because everyone deserves love.  And that starts with me loving them--as much as I possibly can.

Quote of the Day: "Our loving finds a new depth, one that is both personal and impersonal. ...
"... the relationship journey is not about two people becoming one.  It is about realizing that we are all one vast, loving heart."  - Jett Psaris and Marena Lyons

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Great Triple Love

In the middle of all my busyness and worry, I want to write about love.  Love, compassion, kindness, caring, concern, generosity, and forgiveness.  These are central themes in my life and I'd like to devote my next two posts to them.

I see love (etc) as having three focuses.  (Many religious people will want to add a fourth.)

I want to begin with love of self.  This is often disparaged as being selfish, yet it's absolutely essential.  The bible says (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31), "Love your neighbor as yourself."  It sounds good, but how would that work if you didn't love yourself?  At a Sufi dance I went to, someone taught us the song, "I love me so much, That I can love you so much, That you can love you so much, That you can start loving me."  (Attributed in at least one place to James Bevell.)  I think we need to begin by loving ourselves.

This allows us to love others, which is the second focus of love.  I will talk more about this in my next post, but I think we need to focus on loving everyone we possibly can.  The bible says to not only love your neighbor, but to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44), love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19), and, most important, love one another (John 13:34). While I think it's important to love everyone, I think it's most important to love everyone you come in contact with.  (Loving world figures, people in the news, "the oppressed", "the oppressors", politicians, etc, is good but I think it does more good for you then for them--unless you actually see them or email them or otherwise get in contact with them.)  I try to imagine how I can be loving with each person I meet today.

Beyond loving others is loving the world.  This focuses on the natural world, but includes humanity since, really, we are part of the natural world.  We forget how dependent we are on it but gaia/the ecosystem/the earth gives us our life as well as what we need to live.  We wouldn't live a minute without it and it is a beautiful, amazing process that isn't hard to love if we open ourselves up  to it.  And we need to love and care for the world because if it dies we die and everything we love dies.

So we need to love ourselves, others, and the world, and we need to work on ourselves, support each other, and take care of the world.  This is why I talk about personal growth, social change, and ecological awareness.

However, from a whole systems perspective, as well as an ecological perspective, a Buddhist perspective, a Taoist perspective, etc, there really isn't any separation between ourselves, everyone else, and the world.  We are all one giant interconnected system and therefore the Great Triple Love is really only one love. Love all, serve all, be grateful to everyone, be grateful for everything.

Quote of the Day: "If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than yourself, you will not succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person..."  - Meister Eckhart