PeerSpirit Newsletter – The Owl and the Tree
February 2017


Dear Friends of PeerSpirit,

In this month’s newsletter, Christina and Ann discuss their activism, and how to carefully and thoughtfully plan our way forward in these tumultuous times.

Finding the Blue Bead

by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea

“The Great Work before us is the task of moving modern, industrialized civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence. We were chosen by some power beyond ourselves for this historic task. The nobility of our lives depends on the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assignment. And we must believe that those powers that assigned us our role have also bestowed upon us the ability to fulfill this role.”   Thomas Berry

Since the US election last November, every viewpoint seems fractured and shifting like a kaleidoscope in constant motion. When the kaleidoscope (a cylindrical tube with internal mirrors and a pocket of plastic or glass pieces at the end) is turned, the pieces shift and shift, and reflected in the mirrors, new patterns emerge.

We are thinking about kaleidoscopes because:

  1. We continue to believe in patterns – even when things are turning very fast, seem chaotic, and when dominant patterns are veering away from our life values.  We are tossed about in the turning, but awake and aware.
  2. Turning the pieces causes the pattern to combine and recombine offering new perspectives and points of action – what is currently called “intersectionality.” All social movements are now dynamically interconnected, interactive, and influencing each other.
  3. The need for deconstruction/reconstruction of many systems is visible, obvious, and unavoidable – from any political, economic, or religious point of view. We have been living in a crash course for decades.

In 1966, at Minnesota’s Macalester College, Christina helped start Clergy and Laity Against the War in Vietnam. In 1970, while Ann was at Iowa State, she participated in the first Earth Day. We have been tracking social and environmental issues all of our adult lives. We have expended our life work and energy designing and supporting alternatives to the corporate takeover of the world. Disruption is necessary – and “the inconvenient truth” compels us to show up. We are all living in an intersection with destiny.

In the midst of this, we are called to live The Circle Way agreement (and the 5th whisper of The Seven Whispers): “Ask for what you need and offer what you can.” The world is asking for what it needs… and we are asked to offer what we can.

This requires that we “find the blue bead in the kaleidoscope” – to define one piece of the whirling puzzle of things that is ours to do. Once identified, we can track our task, fulfill our commitment to focus, and live with trust that millions of others are also finding their blue beads.

Ann brings home her insights from Standing Rock to apply them to the environmental issues of the Salish Sea that surrounds our island home. Christina brings her experience with nonviolent dialogues to bear on the intrusion of the military presence in the Puget Sound basin.

We are “glocal” activists, responding to global issues erupting on a local level. This crisis is not going away. We are in the new era now. Every move counts: and it counts that we stay moving!

One of the recommendations is that people form circles of 5-7 colleagues to explore what their tasks are, support one another, and help sustain momentum. We have ours, focused on effective, daily, weekly engagement. We are linking up. We are not alone.


It is only a few weeks in – it’s important to sort as carefully as we can, to avoid panic, to proceed thoughtfully, with compassion, resolve, and stamina for the long view. (See Ann’s blog on this topic.) Personal life still matters. (See Christina’s blogs on the passing of her mother.)

To the best of our abilities, we are “seeking to fulfill our assignments.”

We invite you to do the same.