Three Vessels

Today, I’m going to tell you a story.

Not long from today, there was a small group of people on a planet called Earth. They were the lone survivors in what had been a series of unleashed devastation like no other witnessed before. Some of the signs had been there to foresee some tragedies. Others crept in slowly or unexpectedly.

The small group of people were those who had proven stronger than the ones who died of disease and injuries.

The ground was razed. Structures were ruble. Drought took care of everything else and though their leader was wise in the ways of nature there was little she could do to go beyond the natural world.

She had led them to a small structure still standing, miraculously. It was only four masonry walls, three really, but it provided some shelter from the elements, proven wildly unknown now.

Their supplies, of what little they had recovered, were now exhausted. They sat on the ground, mostly dirt swept indoors by past winds and floods. Some leaves crunched underfoot. Only she stood. The rest sat on the ground. The walls helped to keep them erect. No one spoke.

She prayed often or sat cross-legged on the ground with her eyes closed. Her breathing changed. Then, in stillness, her eyes moved rapidly and the expression on her face would changed. She appeared almost happy. To see her you would not expect much. She was small and not particularly fit or attractive. She did possess a certain calm that in these circumstances gave them all a reason to follow her as her instincts led them to better environments. Not that there was was much to be reaped for miles and miles.

Now, exhausted of everything, as they sat and hid from the sun with ongoing hope for clouds, she stood and walked towards the opening. She stopped and appeared to listen.

This is what she heard:

“…and in that vault there are three vessels. You can only have one of the three. The rest are rendered useless and cannot be removed. The other you can lift and return to your people. One vessel contains liquid energy as you know it, the other contains water in its purest form, and the third contains seeded fruits that are fresh.”

She was to make a two-day journey, and with that she walked out. The others waited.

—– o —–

What vessel would you choose? Why?

The Ocean

I recently saw Sylvia Earle. Every time I hear her talk I am transported back to my days in California. I used to wait for the day when a water-to-oxygen device was invented so I could freely enjoy the ocean’s beauty, force and comfort all around me.

The talk raised a point that is close to my heart regarding sustainability: Cost. Sylvia asked, “What is the cost of our Ocean?”

Lilibeth André, Shore Rocks, oil, 12x9.

Lilibeth André, Shore Rocks, oil, 12×9.

We believe we are entitled to the riches the ocean has. We believe it is our possession. By extracting these riches we bring imbalance to the ocean. As it works to readjust and rebalance itself, the continued taxing load causes more imbalance and many organisms suffer damage or perish in the process, and in itself, the ocean begins to die.

It is time to reassess how we value the ocean when it is alive.

The ocean is a giant ecosystem for many life forms. It is the other half of the earth–land and water. It is the source of a fun day at the beach, it provides us many foods, it is the source of the clouds that bring us rain, and the balance of the clean air we breath.

We should identify a factor to value the ocean. Maybe we can asses it’s value to one person and extrapolate. Perhaps we may want to compare its worth to the value of our circulatory system, or the value of a beating heart, or the value of our breathe.

Valentines Day Poem – En Español

The “Alianza Poetica Intercultural” is celebrating Valentines Day with poetry readings broadcast on Cadena Teloloapan. My poem, “Amor y Paz”, was accepted and will be broadcast on February 14, 2013.

You can also hear the reading on my new video, Amor y Paz.

Happy Valentines Day! Felíz día del amor!

My Road to Love is Empathy

When we speak of love, the first image that is typically conjured is that of Eros love. We imagine love between two with all that couple-hood entails. But the love I am referring to is more of the Philos love and Agape love. The love we have for someone dear to us outside of a love relationship, and the love we have for everyone else.

Agape love is what we struggle with the most. How can we love someone, anyone, just for the sake of loving another human being? Someone that may not provide anything back to us, someone that may not even know who we are.

How can we love someone that is not only a stranger to us but perhaps hurt us or whom we judge to be a bad person? It’s not an easy task. Some people are very protective and some are not but loving someone who may have nothing to do with us is not something we normally consider. Yet Agape love is what Maslow would probably rank on the level of self-actualization. What those seeking higher spirituality may place on the path to enlightenment.

Agape love is indeed a challenging mission. It is not measuring and judging.

So how do we love unconditionally? Those instructions were certainly not in those things they taught is in kindergarten, although we could say the premise is there.

Perhaps Robert Fulghum was on the right path.

When I learned those things in kindergarten I also learned to see. It is easy to see the beauty and good but what I also learned was that when I see someone, I don’t see the big, ugly or mean. I learned to see past the stranger. When I do, I see the little child. I can feel empathy for who they where, what they have had to endure, and who they remain inside. I can see past those layers of brick walls, armor and swords. I can see who they have been along their travels through life as they share what has brought them to be who they are today. And from that moment on, they are always that child that encases the purest form of Agape love.

The best part on this road to love is when we allow ourselves to truly be that child. When we allow ourselves to live as we once were.






Feather Capes and Aztec Royalty

In my book, “The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant“, I include an illustration of King Topiltzin wearing three capes. The social custom dictated that the higher ranked the individual, the more capes he wore. And the finest of these garments were the feather capes.

Lilibeth André, King Topiltzin, Oil, 24x18

Lilibeth André, King Topiltzin, Oil, 24×18

These capes were woven of various fabrics and feathers from the most colorful birds in the empire. These feathers were collected and brought to create the finery fit for the most well-to-do or those of the highest stature.

In a recent visit to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Houston, I toured the Pre-Colombian collection and to my amazement, I saw several feathered garments.

Imagine my excitement when looking at the various objects such as nose rings, lip and ear plugs, I noticed down the hall a textured fabric that looked like…feathers! I was drawn to it like a kid seeing something I had only imagined. It was not easy painting feather capes on my King, and seeing the real garment was fantastic affirmation to my imagination.

But don’t take my word for how fantastic these garments look in real life. Visit the MFA-H and check out the Pre-Colombian Collection where you will find at least three of these garments. Remember that Thursday is free museum day.

Sun Dried Diapers

Yesterday I heard about a diaper shortage in Sweden. Then I was part of an innovation competition in the Design Kitchen, at Rice University.  Among other odd objects, they included diapers among the elements of the competition. Diapers were in the air!

So the mental image transported me to a memory of diapers in the air.

When my first bouncing baby was in diaper age we lived in Phoenix, Arizona, land of much, much sunshine. I chose to begin my motherhood career the natural way and that included cloth diapers.

After learning about diapering during the ‘nine-month’ learning stage, when I focused on learning not only what I could about baby-handling but also what was happening inside my body system, I decided that cloth diapers would be the best option for me and my baby.

One of the tremendous benefits was that I lived in Phoenix! How so? Well, Phoenix was my diaper ally. In return, I was a Phoenix ally by not dumping disposable diapers into the waste stream.

So the job was easy. I got diaper detergent, a bucket and a week’s worth of cloth diapers. A week’s worth because diapers can be used for many things when you have a baby.

The process for handling dirty diapers was five easy steps:

1. Dispose of the evidence in the commode.

2. Rinse the diaper.

3. Soak the diaper in the bucket with a bit of diaper detergent and water until you can wash the diaper (you probably have the baby waiting for your return).

4. Return to wash the diaper as best as you can. Do not bleach.

5. Hang it to dry in an outdoor clothes line and let the Phoenix sunshine do it’s magic.

I had extra perks because there was a nice fig tree by my clothes line and I could eat fresh figs after hanging my diapers and I think figs are yummy.

In a short while, even shorter in the summer months, I had wonderfully fresh and sun-bleached, brilliant diapers ready for a new round.

Baby loved the feel of cotton cloth next to his skin and he only used a diaper cover when we went out. Of course that meant keeping a close eye on baby all day to make the diaper changes promptly, as needed but it worked out beautifully.



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