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Thought for the Day: Democracy

“The truth is that the fate of America hangs in the balance in every presidential election.  That is the genius of the Constitution.  In creating a nation that transfers power every four years, the Framers charged its citizens with the duty of continually redeeming the gift of democracy or risk losing it.  Democracy is not for the faint-hearted. . .

Let’s prove that our generation is worthy of the gift of democracy” (in a email from R.H.)

Happy July 4th, U.S. Independence Day.

Get informed, verify your sources, support excellent candidates, & Vote.

Banner photo by Roven Images on Unsplash – photo from another year.

Fireworks are illegal here on Maui this year – to discourage crowds.  Instead, we are staying home.  Barry is making chili; I’m making potato salad; we have a big watermelon in the fridge getting cold; John is likely to come to dinner.  And Mary, our wonderful neighbor, has invited a few of us this evening to watch Hamilton; we will be safely distant from each other. Barry and I get to Zoom new Servas friends this afternoon.  We are healthy and safe — but we know many are suffering now.  Who we support in November, both locally and nationally, can make a big difference in how we as a country move forward (or not).


I love this image of how our entrenched systems could be.

May you be grateful wherever you are – and may we each work for positive changes. Stay healthy; stay home.

Aloha, Renée

Thought for the Day: Listen & See

In a editorial to the Los Angeles Times, basketball Hall of Fame great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played from 1969-1989 for the NBA, wrote,

“Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a home-town sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts.  I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn.  But African-Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer.  Racism in America is like dust in the air.  It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in.  Then you see it’s everywhere.  As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands.  But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

From CNN quoting more from Abdul-Jabbar’s editorial:

“The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges …
“So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19,” he wrote.
Pointing to the disproportionate rate at which African Americans are dying from Covid-19compared to whites and President Trump’s recent tweet saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Abdul-Jabbar said that black protesters represent a community “pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.”
Abdul-Jabbar, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2016, closed his op-ed by saying:
So what you see when you see black protesters depends on whether you’re living in that burning building or watching it on TV with a bowl of corn chips in your lap waiting for ‘NCIS’ to start.
“What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice.”
And another knowledgable voice –


Simone Manuel

American Olympic gold medal swimmer Simone Manuel says, “It’s not just about death.  It’s about killing our spirits.  It’s about killing your dreams.  It’s about making us feel less than.  It’s about dismissing and ignoring our pain.  It’s about silencing our voice.  It’s about punishing us when we use our voice and labeling us as ‘angry’ or a ‘threat’ rather than acknowledging we’re exercising our ‘freedom of speech.’ It’s about calling the police and using my skin color against me.  It’s about clinching your purse.  It’s about believing we don’t belong.  It’s about failing to acknowledge and understand my very existence, my pain.  It’s about repeating the sins of the past.  It’s about thinking that ones color affords one’s privileges or denies basic human dignity!  It’s about speaking against instead of with our fight for justice.  It’s about remaining silent.  This needs to be everybody’s fight!”

Did you listen?

From: “Column: Shut up and dribble? No Way.  It’s time to listen.” by Paul Newberry.  The Maui News, June 6-7, 2020 p. B3.

and from:

Do you see?

The least we can do is support good candidates and VOTE.

What more are you (or will you be) doing to make sure we live in better ways for every one?

Aloha, Renée

Banner photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Thought for the Day: Pendulums

With the COVID-19 pandemic in the world continuing, people dying every day, millions having lost their jobs, growing chasms  between rich and poor, global warming, Nationalism, children in cages,  obvious racial injustice in the U.S. with the killing of George Floyd, and much, much more — for centuries of injustices, it is easy to despair.

However, Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself presents profound ways to see and – perhaps to feel hope in change.


In Chapter 18, “The Secret of the Middle Way,” Singer notes, “From science we know that if you pull a pendulum thirty degrees to the right, it will swing back until it’s thirty degrees to the left.  You don’t need Lao-tzu to tell you this.  All the laws are the same –inner laws and outer laws.  The same principles drive everything in this world.  If you pull pendulum out one way, it will swing back just that far the other way.  If you’ve been starving for days, and somebody puts food in front of you, you won’t be polite while you’re eating.  You will shove the food into your mouth . . . [N]either extreme can last.  How long can a pendulum stay at one of its outermost positions?  It can only remain there for a moment. How long can a pendulum stay at rest?  . . . Extremes are good teachers.  When you examine the extremes, it’s easy to see the effects of imbalanced behavior patterns” (167-168).


Participants at the George Floyd Memorial in Wailuku, Maui – June 4, 2020

I’m trying to find hope in that pendulum image.


In this time of “deep pause,” let’s reflect on how the pendulum of injustice, inequity, harm to our Earth, other species, and peoples have resulted in the continuing suffering we have today.


George Floyd Memorial service, June 4, 2020 in Wailuku, Maui. List of those killed recently by U.S. police


thumbnail_Untitled Design

By shining light on where we actually are in this swing that shows disaster in almost every direction, we must work together make changes in our systems and laws.


The raising – for the first time ever – the African-American flag outside the Maui County Building in Wailuku – June 4, 2020

“Where Do We Go From Here?” asked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This excerpt from one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last speeches before he was killed notes:  “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best, power at its best is love, implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. (Speak) And this is what we must see as we move on.

Now what has happened is that we’ve had it wrong and mixed up in our country, and this has led Negro Americans in the past to seek their goals through love and moral suasion devoid of power, and white Americans to seek their goals through power devoid of love and conscience. . . . . It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times. . . “


Let us shine lights on inequity and  suffering everywhere in the world.  Let’s care for one another and act to live in harmony and balance. May our pendulums, wherever we are, swing in new directions – directed by love and respect and care for all.  Imua! [Forward!]

Aloha, Renée

Other photos by RR.


Thought for the Day: Practice . . .

“Life is practice,  I tell my girts this every day.  You are practicing who you are going to be.  Do you want to be dependable?  Then you have to be dependable.  If you want people to trust you, then you have to be trustworthy”

– Michelle Obama

How do you want to be?  Practice!

Aloha, Renée


Michelle, Malia, Barack, and Sasha Obama

Practicing being an artist – Banner Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash-


Thought for the Day: “A Man . . .

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way” – Mark Twain

                                          1907 image from Wikipedia

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, American writer, entrepreneur, humorist, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the “greatest humorist [the United States] has produced”
born: November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri died: April 21, 1910

What is a “cat” teaching you?



Banner Photo by Vinicius Benedit on Unsplash

Thoughts for the Day: "When We Long . . ."

“[W]hen we long for life . . . without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” –

Peter Marshall  (1902-1949), a Scots-American preacher, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, was twice appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate. Wikipedia

Marshall also said:

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

” A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”

Peter Marshall – image from Wikipedia

Aloha, Renée

Banner photo by Rob Mulally on Unsplash

Thought for the Day: "Dried Legumes"

On this day eight of my self-isolation at home, I’ve been rustling around in my kitchen. This quotation from our well-used family Joy of Cooking made me laugh. Might it brighten your day too.

“Dried peas and beans, being rather on the dull side, much like dull people respond readily to the right contacts. Do not scorn them, for they have valu[e]” (p. 259).

Stay healthy. Stay at home. Connect in whatever ways you can — at a safe distance.

Aloha, Renée

Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Thought for the Day: Do we know . . .?

Do we even know where we are – or where we are going?

“By this time tomorrow, we will be more than a million and a half miles from where we are now, thanks to the orbiting of our planet around the sun,” says astronomer Harriet Witt.

From: The Maui News, March 14-15, 2020, p. C1.

Let’s enjoy the ride.

Aloha, Renée

Banner Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Thought for the Day: “To be fully alive, . . .”

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.

To live fully is to be always in no-man’s land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life. Death is wanting to hold and congratulate you and make you feel completely together. So even though we say the yama mara [the karmic quality of destruction gone wild’] is fear of death, it’s actually fear of life” (71).

From: Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

Aloha, Renée

Photos from Sacred Garden, Makawao, Hawaii by RR

Thought for the Day: “Life is-

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others. . . .

On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. . . . [B]ut if we were only wretched. . . we’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple.

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires; the other softens us. They go together,” writes Pema Chödrön.

From: The Sun, Issue 519, March 2019, p. 48.

In Hong Kong in 1981, Pema Chödrön became the first American in the Vajrayana tradition to become a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī. She has written Start Where You Are,  When Things Fall Apart, and No Time to Lose.

Pema Chödrön – from Wikipedia

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

Chödrön says to lean into challenges.

Aloha, Renée

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