PeerSpirit Blog

Sit Spot

The idea is simple, really. Plunk yourself down someplace outdoors and sit still for 15 minutes—no electronic devices, no books, just your eyes, ears, and sense of smell wide open. What do you observe? On Mother’s Day I was making a call to my dear 90-year-old mother while sitting indoors near our front picture window. It was early morning, chilly and overcast. While talking with Mom, I noticed the little junco leave its nest on ...
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Youth—Let’s Talk!

It has been my great privilege and joy to spend much of my time these last weeks immersing myself in youthful spontaneity, curiosity, and creativity. First, there was our marvelous, annual time with our dear grandchildren. Jaden (12) and Sasha (6) are city kids with a willingness to follow their grandmothers most anywhere.    This year we decided to take them to Orcas Island for 5 days of exploration based in a cabin with no ...
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Choose what you most love. Then protect it with your life.

We have just completed our sixth annual “Nature Grannies Camp—“ our version of spring break. Since our grandson, Jaden, now twelve, was six years old we have brought him up to Whidbey for two weeks of island life—a big contrast to his usual city routines living in an apartment in Culver City, CA, part of the megalopolis of Los Angeles. What a brave boy he was that first time, getting on a plane with two ...
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Tiny, Ubiquitous Treasures

Big fast-moving things grab our attention: eagles, wolves, and cougars. But we miss much by overlooking tiny, stationary creatures around us. The creatures I write about are everywhere—all habitats on all seven continents. And they have been with us since life first emerged from the oceans onto land. They can lie dormant for over 40 years waiting for one drop of water and they are capable of that most miraculous of life processes: photosynthesis. They ...
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Where is my mother?

There are several children’s books by this title. Various cartoon animal-children, in search of their animal-mommies, inquire of other cartoon animals, “Have you seen my mommy?” I saw a book like this at the library and it raised the question for me about my own mother, now several months after her death. My mother’s ashes were divided into four equal parts and given to each of her children. Together we threw some ceremoniously off the ...
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Remember Beauty

In this time of fast-moving changes, dire predictions for the earth and ocean’s future, and political infighting that is, at best, unsettling, let us look to nature and poetry for reassurance. William Wordsworth lived from 1770-1850, in far different times from ours. Yet, the first lines of one of his most famous poems is perfect for these times: The World is Too Much With Us The world is too much with us; late and soon, ...
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Take the Long View

Now what do we do? On January 24, 2017 U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order to commence construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. On December 4, 2016 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer ordered a halt to construction until an Environmental Impact Statement could be completed. What will happen now? What do those of us who care about protecting treaty lands of the Standing Rock Sioux nation and water quality for people along the ...
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Conversation Matters

Originally posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 by Ann Linnea It was a privilege to have the resources and skills to go to Standing Rock (Dec. 2-10, 2016). I was able to be there at a moment when the David vs. Goliath battle between a small tribe of Native Americans against a huge corporate entity tipped in favor of the underdog. The seemingly intangible powers of prayer and nonviolence manifested in a tangible order from ...
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The Search for the Lost Chord

This is my remembrance piece for my mother, Connie McGregor, spoken at her Memorial Service 7 January 2017, at the United Church of Canada in Chemainus, BC, her home community. All her life, my mother was looking for “the Lost Chord”—that mystical longing for ultimate harmony. The story of the lost chord comes from a famous Victorian parlor song about an organist playing idly at the keyboard who suddenly comes upon this chord. He is ...
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The Elephant & the Safety Pin

The end of November, we went to Phoenix, Arizona for American Thanksgiving; into a part of the family where we’re pretty sure Clinton voters were a minority. Our hint—well this guy showed up in the backyard! So who are we? Sincere, loving family members, most of us white, with an adopted Asian daughter, two sons-in-law who are Hispanic and African-American, five interracial children racing among the blue-eyed blonds. All of us were coming together to ...
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Home From Standing Rock

I am just back from the Standing Rock protest in south central North Dakota. It was a pivotal time in the ongoing history of this poignant struggle. During the week of December 2-10, three important things happened:
  • thousands of military veterans arrived prepared to stand between police and water protectors;
  • the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for further drilling, effectively halting the project until further study can be completed;
  • and North Dakota ...
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What is dying, Nina?

Cool sunrise over a fake lagoon in Chandler, AZ, oasis in the desert. A November day here will turn hot and we will go jump in the community pool. I have brought my teacup and journal to a little veranda to write and think about my mother who lies dying in the nursing home that has tended her this past year. I am in Arizona. She is in British Columbia. My reverie is sweetly shifted ...
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Breathing on shaky ground

I asked my 96-year old father how he responded when people ask him about the election, he said, “I tell them that we have just been through an earthquake of great magnitude. My house is still standing, but I have no idea what remains firm ground, where I can take a step.” Exactly. The words pouring forth on every conceivable media stream, from Twitter to the NY Times, from blogging to pulpits, are our first ...
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Apologies to the World

To those living outside the borders of the United States, the majority of Americans who voted on Nov. 8 send apologies. Our election results sent the message that we don’t care about you. I and millions and millions of Americans care about you. Please remember that: 231,556,622 registered voters pre-election day 26% voted for Clinton—she won the popular vote 25.9% voted for Trump—he won the electoral college 2.6% voted for "other" 45.4% (105,195,013 registered voters) ...
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Let Us Stand Together

NBC News, Oct. 17, 2016 “The largest gathering of indigenous nations in modern American history has set up camp on land belonging to the Army Corps of Engineers at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers in North Dakota. Tents and teepees, now home to whole families, stretch the plain.  They have come by the hundreds to protest construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline, which would run within a half-mile of the ...
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Seventy-the bridge to somewhere

It’s heartwarming to be welcomed home; to have people notice that Ann and I are more in residence in our community than we were a year ago. However, when well-meaning people inquire, “does this mean you’re retired?” something weird happens inside me that I have been sorting for months. It may be my own outdated stereotypes of the word that are getting stirred up, but my unabridged Random House Dictionary of the English Language informs ...
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Powerful Lessons from the Forest

The North Cascade mountains of Washington state are a testament to the juxtaposition of life and death. They normalize the presence of death, the surprise of death, and the essential nature of death. Like many people who have lost a loved one “before their time”, I must constantly work to make peace with my son’s death at age 33. For me that takes the form of an inner convincing that Brian might not have lived ...
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Shredding & Honoring

This blog entry is dedicated to our magnificent office manager and colleague, Debbie Dix, who has been the third peer spirit in our office for 16 years, fully occupying her leadership chair.  Ann Linnea and I arrived on Whidbey Island in March 1994, with two book manuscripts in progress, her two children, my first corgi, a small amount of savings and child support, and the idea that this circle process we were experimenting with was ...
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Being a Responsible Traveler

Mid-August and I’m back home on Whidbey Island bringing in garden bounty and kayaking in local waters after a 10-day vacation on Kaua’i with family—my partner, my daughter Sally, her partner Joe, our grandchildren, and also my sister Margaret and her family. We were a party of nine, ages ranging from 5 to 70. When she was sixteen, I took Sally to Hawai’i in a special mother/daughter trip. She’s thirty-three now and has been wanting ...
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Half-mast in sunlight

Friday afternoon in my little village by the sea. Second Street is closed for a summer market: flowers, vegetables, crafts, bread, the stalls are lined up and people stroll through. Dogs on leash are everywhere. Two friends have a new puppy they are carrying in arms. Sunshine and a refreshing breeze off the water. My father and I are sitting at a patio table in front of the Commons coffee shop chatting about his upcoming ...
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