President Jimmy Carter – Upcoming Class in Northern California

I am pleased to announce a six week online course, hosted by Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California, to discuss and debate whether President Jimmy Carter ultimately won the 1980 presidential election 40 years later. Join us for a vibrant reflection on Carter’s lifetime legacy focusing on energy, environmental, peace, health, human rights and housing initiatives.

A special guest from The Carter Center will join us
one evening to answer questions.

This class is the first of its kind in our nation. Let’s make history!
Link to register

Join our class at Santa Rosa Junior College, Northern California – ONLINE.

My Friend Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev & The Gift He Gave to Me, An American Teacher

As we view Putin’s assault on The Ukraine and take stock in where we are in the world today with countries possessing unspeakable arsons of nuclear warheads, DEWs and other psychopathic tools to kill, maim and torture men, women and children, it’s opportunity to turn back the page forty years ago when we watched two leaders pivot the course of nuclear doom.

Those leaders, of course, were Reagan and Gorbachev, for those of us who can remember. As children of that time we practiced drills at school in case of a Soviet invasion or nuclear war. We believed the USSR to be evil because we were told they were bad. And yet, there was a Russian president we can look back on today with absolute respect. His name was Mikhail Gorbachev, who was born a farmer and rose in the ranks of the communist party to ultimately lead the Soviet people, as well as the world, during a critical time, ultimately being awarded The Nobel Peace Prize.

As we review those years and speeches by Gorbachev, we can uncover a level of propaganda we were fed in The United States, as we can see today he was a man of peace and vision. Like President Jimmy Carter who created The Carter Center to build on ideas of democracy, health and other global issues important to us all, Gorbachev created The International Foundation For Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation). His words:


“The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us – all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all faiths – must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance. – Mikhail Gorbachev

These are words of a true leader. And as we refocus our lens of 40 years ago, we can see that Gorbachev had the courage and the will to listen to “the people”, opening the doors for his people to choose who they want to be, instead of aggressive controlling, building more military or launching a nuclear arsenal in order to achieve domination. He was and remains a true leader for the people, by the people and of the people.

In Wernor Herzog’s film Meeting Gorbachev we get to pull back the proverbial curtain of 40 years of US political propaganda to actually learn about Gorbachev, as a man, and his dreams. During one interview he said “There are those who don’t understand the importance of cooperation. Such people don’t belong in politics.”

“There are those who don’t understand the importance of cooperation. Such people don’t belong in politics.” – Mikhail Gorbachev

In the book Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future, there is an entry that described a flight that Gorbachev and his wife took with the Reagans across the United States. Reagan proudly looked down at the landscape of small homes and said “one day everyone will have a swimming pool,” as an example that no one will be poor. This idea is nothing less that a promotion of utter capitalism, an idea that big money and luxury leads to happiness, security and health. Apparently these words jolted Gorbachev’s wife. And in her eyes perhaps she saw the materialistic path the United States was paving by this president, ideals very counter to their approach to helping their own country simply be healthy with what they need – food, shelter and support.

In Albania – A leader led with fear and domination, ruining the people, the land and the spirit.

I traveled through former Soviet Union in the year 2003, visiting Romania, Bulgaria and Albania, recognizing a lingering hunger as many struggled just to have food, health and a future. I stood on the concrete huts that the fear driven leader Enver Hoxca built to fight off Americans, littering their countryside into a wasteland. In Romania and Bulgaria and a few from Eastern Germany I learned of a different story than the one I was told. “We had what we needed,” I heard, as now many face other forms of corruption from a new oligarchy, as we do the same in The United States. After the fall of The Berlin Wall, the people lost everything that they had – medical care, dental care and other government support that are similar to the very services we are asking for in our country – The United States. And as we look around our own country, The US, today, we see the horror of poverty, lack of education and horrific health, including diabetes, obesity and more. We are The Soviet Union of the 1980s, ruled by elites, corrupt politicans and propaganda under the guise of capitalism instead of communism. And we don’t even have a wall locking us in these injustices. We choose to be locked into these injustices.

Five years ago, as I learned more about the failures of Reagan’s policies including his tax restructuring that have led to the power of the elites/American oligarchy and collapse of the middle class, knock down of President Jimmy Carter’s visionary environmental policies and knock down of labor (my family stood in the 1981 National Strike against Reagan, as I’ve written in my memoir documenting the journey of a working class family standing up to a president), I wanted Carter to be recognized for his leadership and visions instead of his failings, which too many people are quick to note without recognizing his speeches of “Crisis of Confidence,” which resonates boldly today, and his energy policies that could have thwarted not only our US economic and moral stability but could have mitigated the climate crisis today. So, as a teacher,

Bob Dylan, President Jimmy Carter and President of Musicares

I reached out to my community to do what Carter said during the Bob Dylan award ceremony with Musicares: “Musicians have far greater power than any President of the United States.” In short, local musicians came together to simply play music on Carter’s birthday on October 1 and before long we were awarded Proclamations of support by two cities, Novato and Fairfax, along with the Supervisors of Marin County, all of which is documented here as part of The Jimmy Carter Jamboree.

I also reached out to Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, seeking his support, given he is a leader of peace. As a former farmer, too, his age and experience could offer a perspective on humanity and give us a glimmer of hope too, in his words, to “transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.” To my surprise, he responded and wrote a letter to President Jimmy Carter, in my care, to deliver it, which I did, with a frame and a California Resolution honoring Carter, the first of its kind, supported by State Senator Mike McGuire and State Assembly Member Marc Levine.

An image Gorbachev sent to me to give to The Carters for 2019 Celebration of The Jimmy Carter Jamboree, supported by The California Legislation.

In my final note, why do I call Gorbachev “my friend”? It’s simple: He trusted me, a humble citizen and one of “the people”. I am not a fancy politician, business owner or tech guru. He supported me with a message and a project that had the intention of creating good will and peace. He never even met me other than to acknowledge my written words to his foundation with my request to support a celebration by the people to honor President Jimmy Carter. And this amazed me, when even my own government leaders rejected me and refused to support an intention “by the people”. Those politicans were Al Gore, Governor Jerry Brown and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who had rejected while a Russian President stepped forward.

It taught me something about leadership – trust in “the people”.

Thank you President Mikhail Gorbachev. I do believe your inspiration will cultivate the will of a new renaissance by the people one day.

Time for Resilience Not Resistance

Resilience. We need to rise. We have everything we need to create who we are and ensure our government officials see who we are.

Like you, I demand an end to the absurd mandates that have been nothing less than comical, if you can laugh at the fact that officials were clever enough to convince the American people to literally and voluntarily cut off our own oxygen supply. . . sometimes with double masking. Our children walk around with snot filled, bacteria laden rags on their faces that drop, get stepped on in the school yard and then back on their faces they go. One silver lining? Comedians will have fodder for the next 1000 years after we are done with this episode of insanity.

What’s even more maniacal? As we face an obesity epidemic with one out of three adults obese and facing horrific chronic health ailments and now one out of five children face the same fate, we can recognize that with 80% of the covid dead being such victims, we have an entirely OTHER conversation that is immediate and life threatening to us all given we see that when you have a hugely vulnerable society with a large elderly population (the baby boomers) plus a huge obese population facing life threatening status (dietary diseases are the number two killer in our country, second to smoking), we will face pandemics for years to come, just as the US Surgeon General called out in 2001 – “Obesity is becoming an epidemic and it’s a pandemic in the making.”

So, this is the time to think radically different. Here are a sampling of my ideas as Governor of California:

1) Time To End War: If leaders have a conflict, they can get into a boxing ring themselves with the other leader they have a problem with and “we, the people” will buy popcorn and watch them duke it out and see who really wants peace.

2) Transportation: Time to mandate all elected officials to take public transportation ONLY. They must get rid of their own cars and participate in our public system given they are public servants. Watch how quickly our public transportation system improves.

3) Economy: Time for cooperatives to rise. Nonprofits have served as a very good example of how to run an organization while providing a service to the people. If you want to start a cooperative grocery store, cafe or business. . . our government should support you instead of singular individuals who make grand profits while pitting their workers into poverty.

4) Infrastructure: Who really needs a huge garage to fill with junk? Let’s reimagine our neighborhoods that lack cafes and grocery stores and support homeowners to take charge of their neighborhoods to fill these needs from their own garages. Our government should provide grants and more to support such needs while also providing a seed stipend to all homeowners with a yard to start a micro farm to grow food and share with the community.

5) Health: High time to recognize we have an obesity problem in our country that is hurting us all. Let’s regenerate our schools to become working farms to help grow food for the entire community, while empowering our students to understand good food, healthy soil and the value of nurturing. We need to tackle the childhood obesity rates so the entire society can thrive and live healthy.

6) Animal Rights: End animal experiments that create harm, trauma and pain to sentient creatures. Most experiments are no longer necessary. Let’s put them out of business!

7) Food Forests: Let’s create food forests in our community. Plant a fruit tree instead of meaningless decorative trees, so everyone can eat without worry. We can harvest trees that have been forgotten – such as the oak and bay trees, which provide wonderful nutrition, helps to mitigate fires and provides a local food resource.

8) Death: Nobody should have to pay huge sums to put a loved one to rest. We can create a program to help regrow our forests while honoring our dead. Instead of expensive caskets, land and tombstones, trees can serve to honor our legacies. Given the state already has a budget for our forest lands, people can augment to initiatives into one – honoring our dead and creating national sanctuaries for us to preserve. This is already being done by private companies that charge heavy prices. We don’t to make this an elite option for the few – we need to make sure everyone has a chance to provide a respectful and thoughtful end of life act for their loved ones.

9) Elderly: We have an emerging crisis, a heavy burden on our younger generation who will be carrying the load of taking care of a large elderly society – the baby boomers. While they age and need more care in a culture that has never respected the caregiver with either proper compensation or support, now is the time to raise the level of pay and recognition. To care for others, whether you are a teacher or a care provider, is a heart filled yet demanding work. Our society must recognize that we need reshape incentives and financial compensation for these incredible people, and that work should first start with our own families, as more often than not, families will care for their elders on a much higher level if they have the support. We ought to have tax incentives, just like childcare incentives, and provide a network of home care professionals who can support the home caregivers.

Housing: We have the answers to affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity. Instead of big investors profiting off the people, we, the people can build our own houses for one another. The structure is already in place, it just takes the right energy and commitment. What’s more is it’s time to rethink housing structures and needs. Is small apartment living so bad? Could a percentage of rent be used as secure investments for future housing to help those who do not have the large initial resources and who are being stripped of their financial worth by greedy corporate landlords? Could we rethink resources used by homebuilders? Cob and adobe homes are tried and true methods for long lasting structures, reducing our need for valuable wood and transportation.

Time to think different . . . WE, THE PEOPLE, HAVE THE ANSWERS. Don’t give away our power to those who exploit us.

Time for Resilience NOT Resistance


OBESITY = COVID: WE DO HAVE A HEALTH CRISIS

Despite so many published articles, people still do not make the connection between ill healthy/obesity and covid deaths. We do have a health crisis, but it’s not Covid.

In 2001 we were warned by the US Surgeon General that “obesity is becoming an epidemic and it’s a pandemic in the making.”

Such a statement does not require a fancy degree to understand. If you have a large society who is unhealthy due to dietary issues, any strong bug will take them down. And that is what has happened.

Today, in Ameria, one out of three Americans are obese. One out of five CHILDREN are obese. As a school teacher, I witness five year olds so obese that they can’t even sit criss cross apple sauce on the rug for morning circle. Parents can be put in prison for starving their children. What is the difference with setting up your child for a lifetime of health issue related to obesity, which includes diabetes, heart conditions, hypertension and diabetes.

80% of the people who died/hospitalized with Covid were obese. . . many with four comorbidities, but health officials are not talking about this. Why should they? It’s called power and having the power over the people, which includes billions of dollars for vaccines, high doctor’s salaries, psychiatrists and more. It’s a system and it’s a high paying con game.

What has happened to our teachers who can teach children how to eat and how to live a healthy life? Such requires time and money. And given our teachers are making pathetic wages, have little time to even take care of themselves, we need to pull back and reshape who and what we are as a society.

Let’s start with accountability and this happens with fingers pointing straight to Fauci and the medical industry of the last 20 years. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN AS YOU’VE BANKED ON THE RISING EPIDEMIC OF OBESITY? Even Target plays the game now. Go look at their models on the walls – obese. It’s a system to normalize a body that is unhealthy and that is wrong. Dead wrong.

And don’t even TRY to tell me I’m fat shaming. NO, I’m sticking up for those 80% of Covid deaths who did not need to die had we a proper system these last 20 years, heeding the warning of the US Surgeon General in 2001.

Given what we now know, there is no room for argument: Fauci and the entire medical system should be put on trial for the Covid deaths of those who were obese. They are murderers.

OBESITY: from the WHO – It’s a wake up call.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2021/03/04/covid-19-deaths-link-obesity/

CDC US SURGEON GENERAL: https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/pdf/CalltoAction.pdf

The End of Individualism and Rise of Family Collectivism

The 1960s brought in an idea of fierce individualism. As we reflect today, we can bare witness a youthful generation had ideas of standing up to their parents and their society to recreate what they valued as justice, including civil rights and unity. While we cannot shame them for those ideals, we can begin to see another narrative grow and a lesson to be learned – be careful about shaming others without providing the proper respect because what you put out will come full circle.

That’s where we are now – full circle, taking a look at the baby boomers who brought into society, 40 years worth of wars, exploitation, greed and civil unrest, exactly that they had shamed their parents generation in the 1960s.

As we look back at images of the 1960’s Woodstock and the youth singing songs of ideals, we fail to see that same generation heralding and respecting their own parents and grandparents who faced two world wars and an era of depression. The family began to break apart and the 60s youth, boldly with music, literature and art, sought to seek out and create the ideals of fierce independence, as they did.

Think about it. During WW2 when brothers, fathers and sons were being slaughtered in Europe, the following generation, the baby boomers, slammed these same families calling them out with all sorts of blaming and shaming without the respect they deserved, while they played their music, smoked pot and drank their Jack Daniels, hailing it all in the name of peace and good vibes.

And then this:

These last 40 years which have been under their political, economic and social watch, after they became adults, have served their generation. But, in fact, it has ruined them today.


In fact, in the 1980s Reagan, whom they elected with a landslide election, began taxation on social security benefits – the baby boomers literally began taxing their own parents (the ones who served in WW2 and dealt with The Depression!), in order to benefit their large baby boomer generation! Talk about throwing your own elderly parents under the bus! During this same age, never mind the lessons learned from Vietnam, US military expanded hugely which today proves a risk to us as we hear rumblings of a possible military coup, in our own country. What’s more? The taxation of trickle down economics, when the boomers did not hold accountable those who exploit others, essentially providing the nuts and bolts of building us into a society of billionaires who are upsetting our democracy and the power of the people. The baby boomers’ president Ronald Reagan also killed the Fairness Doctrine Ruling which monitored and ensured fairness in media and not propaganda, which we can see we are immersed in corporate propaganda.

Their Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi – the Speaker of the House – who has served as a generational congresswoman even put a statue of Ronald Reagan in Washington in Washington DC to represent California. Reagan should serve as nothing more than a symbol of the gross mentality of exploitation, greed and attack on the people these last 40 years.

Today it is full circle as the baby boomers wind down into their elderly years recognizing the family is gone and what a mess they have left for my generation and all future generations at a time they are asking themselves “Who will take care of me?”

It will be my generation – the X Generation, as we call ourselves who will be responsible taking care of the elderly. We not only have a generation of youth following us seeded in extraordinary college debt but we also have the burden of caring for a huge elderly population who soon will be facing issues of health, dementia and poverty. We have an incredible challenge ahead of us.

We need an immediate shift with policies to address this before our generation, and likely all of American society, literally falls apart due to poverty, loss of democracy and civil rights.

This is one of my proposals. It is a calling for families to reconcile differences and to come together recognizing that family matters deeply. It can serve as our healing process, a connection to blood and the sacred values of home and community. We need to rebuild from the place of the hearth, where good food around a table shared together in the evenings is as valued as a stock market trade. And we need policies that cater to these needs, starting with tax breaks and incentives.

We have tax breaks and incentives to help raise our children, understanding that the future resides in our dedication to them. We want the best for our children. And how we can show our children the best of us is how we take care of each other, including our aging parents. The government should issue tax breaks for those families caring for their aging parents, whether it’s in their own homes or in nearby facilities. Caregivers need better pay and not the slave wages and lack of support they have suffered with. Illegal immigrants have been abused over the years with under the table pay and with minimal wages, another example of the gross injustices and exploitation driven these last 40 years.

Germany set an example of caring for the older people, understanding connection and health are vital for a well groomed society. Senior citizens had benefits for saunas and hot springs locations that soothed them and kept them happy with social gatherings and connection.

California has a tradition of hot springs and more. Let’s us reshape these iconic and sacred locations to help benefit the older people, helping them stay healthy and happy, which will make all of us happy. Such will help heal our land, build community, jobs and a vibrant industry of healing and taking care of our bodies and each other.

And finally, death care. The funeral and burial institutions are exploitative and nobody should have to worry about burials. Let’s create a new system that benefits us all, as green cemeteries rise. For a fee, much less than fanciful and soulless cemetaries of the past, let’s reinvigerate our forests and areas that have burned into afterlife sanctuaries. For a smaller fee, than a typical burial, the state can help fund a tree to be buried in the forest, a full circle economic, environmental and financial benefit to us all, including our forests and the future of our children.

As Governor of California, these are some of the ideas I will create. It’s time for era of peace, humility and the sacred. We have learned so much and now it’s time to put all our lessons to practice as we take care of each other and show our children what a beautiful world we can create.

“You’re Not Welcome in Marin County” Strikes a Nerve. . . End The Charade

In stark contrast to the recent article “Unvaccinated? You’re Not Welcome in Marin County” in the Marin IJ by Vicky Larson, I recall a homeless woman I had met last year living under the freeway in San Rafael. She had prepared a bed complete with clean sheets, pillow and blankets next to her bed that laid on the dirt next to her stack of wet cardboard boxes containing her meager belongings.

“Anyone who ever comes here in need will at least have a clean bed to sleep on,” she had told me.

So, there is hope for humanity in elite Marin County, found in the homeless community under the freeway, but surely not in the written pages of The Marin IJ. It is time to end the segregated, self riotious bigotry of Marin County, starting with the likes of Vicky Larson who feel she can sweep away any unwanted miscreants who stand for their own body. She has hooked up with none other than what appears to be the drug cartel that likens itself to drug pushers in the alley filling their own pockets without accountability.

Let’s be clear, the evidence is overwhelming, with just pure common sense. No euphemism can fix it. The vaccines are NOT working. We have been misguided, tricked and conned. Suck it up like a big boy and it’s time to move on before we lose all our civil liberties.

What has shown up is this. . . a complete disregard for health. Again, let’s call it out when we recognize nearly 80% of those who died, according to the CDC statistics were obese/diabetic and had major comorbidities. So, there is a health crisis, one that’s been running for 20 years since the US Surgeon called it out in 2001 that obesity is becoming an epidemic, and it’s a pandemic in the making. The 80% dead could have been lives that could been saved had the 2001 warning been heeded.

Sorry, I am not responsible for other people’s health. And when they try to make ME responsible, while big pharma pocket billions of dollars, I’m going to shoot an email straight to Vicky Larson and tell her to pull her head out of her **** and use her brain. We’ve been conned and articles like hers that drive division and segregation will surely make the homeless woman under the ramp be that inspiration we could all use today.

So, all you unvaxxed heathens, come join us in Marin County and show the rest of the nation what unity and love are all about.

You are welcome ANYTIME. And come to think of it, let’s end the economic and racial segregation in Marin County at the same time. So, those of you hungry, poor, unheard and unvaxxed, you’ll always find a home right here.

Come visit Marin County anytime!

And, I’m always positive!

The art of healing – story telling

In January, 2020, I was invited to the Alwar International Film Festival in India to share our documentary film The Man Behind The White Guitar, the Life and Music of Brazilian Guitarist José Neto. Here I talk about the film journey in making this international project by artists who gave generously and why. I also share the magic of starting a project and what that can look like for anyone stepping out of their comfort zone to create art, writing or a film project . . . LINK HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj9jY-oXbdAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj9jY-oXbdA

US: Come Clean with genocide in Guatemala

We don’t have to look at Indigenous genocide 100 years ago in our country, acts that were not committed by us. We can look at a mere 35 years ago when we supported a US President who joined forces with Guatemala President Rioss Monte and slaughtered men, women and children, Indigenous Mayan, in Guatemala. The years were the 1980s.

President Ronald Reagan called these Indigenous people, the Ancient Mayans, communists, a good trigger word to get support by those afraid of Soviets during the Cold War. But, nothing could be further from the truth. The Mayans have dealt with 400 years of oppression. They tried their best to uprise and say no more to nothing less than slavery these last 60 years. President Rios Montt of Guatemala ruled with an iron fist, gathering support from Reagan and literally wiped out Mayan villages.


What makes the story almost surreal is that Mayan Indigenous workers live amongst us in my community of Marin County, a wealth suburb of San Francisco. The Mayans surrendered to the oligharchy in Guatemala and started a slow stream of immigration to the United States, mainly to work and support their impoverished families back in Guatemala. The family ties are paramount and go deep. The level of respect for the elderly is a value westerners could learn.

Many “illegal” Mayan indigenous are the housecleaners, gardeners, nannies and roofers for the wealthy in Marin, raising an entire generation and adding valuable to what is considered a very wealthy community.

I was one of those people who paid “under the table” to housecleaners. And I would do it again. Because I understand their story. I will support the people before government policies that have destroyed families, communities and countries. I also will be outspoken about President Ronald Reagan and a generation that has chosen not to acknowledge the atrocities of the 1980s and how those unjust policies have contributed to more trauma 35 years later as the Mayan and other Guatemalans struggle to survive.

It’s time for truth, reparation and apologies. It’s time to support Central America as the Bridge Between The Americas. . . the friendship bridge to our brothers and sisters of South America.

Nobel Winner Rigoberto Menchu and her book When The Mountains Tremble, is an account of the genocide. She has been an outspoken leader for over 30 years.

Journey With The Sacred Oak, A Spiritual Walk Towards Druidry

by Barbara McVeigh

Seasonal Basket from Invasive French Broom

The wise ones, I have been told, ask you to be open to what is given to you, the gifts that come your way. Listen to your heart, as it is more true than the head. I would not have believed this, unless I relinquished all that was previously taught to me and decided to take a step onto this path of openness, curiosity and wonder. And it all came full circle when I was asked to join an Acorn Ceremony, in the spirit of the previous land dwellers, the Indigenous Miwok of Northern California, to recognize my spiritual journey into Druidry was my newfound landscape. The Indigenous Native American ways lead me right back to my own heritage of Irish Indigenous practice.

Acorns Being Prepared

Each year the Miwok would harvest the acorns from the Black Oaks, Live Oaks and Valley Oaks, each acorn having a different characteristic and value. It was a celebration that lasted for weeks, bringing everyone together, as grudges and differences would be set aside. Children climbed trees, strong men hit branches with large sticks. Women gathered the rich brown nuts from the ground. The harvest would be a staple for the full year, with the average family consuming 3000 pounds of acorns. Some Miwok families held rights to a particular tree, and as historians have written, the tree would be cared for, stewarded and honored. The acorn harvest season also marked the beginning of a new year. 

I was invited to join an acorn ceremony on November 1 by my employer. I’m a nature educator for children and our school strives to share knowledge of Indigenous people of California. I hold my classes in the meadows, on grassy hills and under the oaks and redwoods of Mount Tamalpais, a California State Park that borders Point Reyes National Seashore, with the Pacific Ocean to the west. The land includes coyotes, bob cats, mountain lions, raccoons, deer and other native life and flora.

Different types of oak – Black Oak, Live Oak and Valley Oaks, are just a few.

We met for the acorn ceremony late morning in a park filled with oak trees. The ceremony was a bit awkward at first, in a way that we really didn’t know what we were doing except for one noble act – our intention was to recreate a ceremony to honor the oak trees and new season, in the spirit of the Miwok who had lived on the land. So, as a collective group, we decided to first share with each other knowledge we had of oak trees, recognizing the many different kinds of oaks, witnessing their unique leaf shapes and acorn varieties and discussing the areas where they grow in California and beyond. We shared acorn recipes – acorn pancakes, mush or bread. We discussed best ideas to leach tannins of the grounded nuts to make into edible flour. We each stood by an oak tree, resting our hands on a trunk to feel the energy from our arms into the trunk, down to the roots and than back up into our feet and into our bodies, creating a visual energy cycle of connection that we ultimately have with all of nature. We brought acorns to process together, and the music of the pestle against the stone mortar created a rhythm of sound much like that of what would have been heard in a Miwok village, knowing we were near an old village where today only a wooden sign marks its history. We stood in circle together recanting gratitude for the season, giving tribute to the gifts of the day – a blue sky, a soft warm wind, a child’s nearby laughter.

The following day I reflected on this Acorn ceremony, and a thought suddenly came to me about the connection of Oak Trees, Miwok and Druids. The ceremony was conducted the same day as Samhain! It was in that moment I gained an appreciation for the connection between the two cultures, the Druids and Miwok Native Americans, as they both honor nature and spirit. The Gaelic year began in November following the festival of An Samhain. “The cold was considered necessary to cleanse the land and prepare it for the new bountiful year ahead.” writes Celtic Life International. And the moon cycles are respected and used to mark time thoughout the year.

The landscape of my journey into Druidry was now no longer just found in books or podcasts, but it was physical around me. It was no longer just an oak tree, but it proved to be a deeply rooted connection into my heritage, my blood and my physical realm opening me up to everything around me in a new way.

The following week I pondered this sitting in a field with my students. We were stewarding the land and pulling up what has been labeled as invasive nonnative broom that is choking the native plants. Piles of it had been stacked ready for the chipper. I had just cut a stalk and flexed it as it’s easily bendable, creating a ring and putting it on a child’s head like a crown. The child ran off laughing and climbed an oak tree. And suddenly a new thought came to me again. How easy one could weave baskets from this plant!Native American baskets are sacred and the best ones were always gifted to others, as generosity was valued as has been written in the well known book by Malcolm Margolis The Ohlone Way. The Ohlone of the San Francisco Bay live just south of the Miwok and share many of the same values and traditions. Margolis writes in the book that when a hunter brought home the food, the best meat always went to the most vulnerable. Respect was valued. Not greed.

I took home the broom stalk and began weaving a basket, or attempted to weave, to more aptly describe. How strange it was to be in California weaving an invasive plant, which, as I learned, is the same plant my ancestors used in Ireland to weave potato baskets! I had just read up on Irish baskets to learn about the revered “potato basket” used to wash and serve potatoes in traditional households. Potatoes are not native to Ireland, they come from The Americas. Was this a symbolic cleansing? A cleansing of the native land here by creating Indigenous art of my native Ireland! I couldn’t help but think otherwise. As I continued to weave a basket, I was doing more – I was weaving a story to connect indigenous ideas, a reverence, and ultimately a basket to honor these indigenous and almost forgotten ideals and craft. I ultimately completed the basket into the shape of a cornucopia for each of the children and their families filled them with nuts, apples, persimmons and leaves, symbolic of abundance, sharing and gratitude.I think of landscape differently now, both externally and internally.

The gifts are all around us, if we stop and look . . . and to feel. I am complete with the oak tree symbolizing my temples and a woven basket symbolizing a cleansing and a creation to honor the value of the heart, a vessel to give. I’m reminded of the words of Navajo Nation Tom B.K. Goldtooth whom I once met. He said to me that those in the Western world are upside down. Information isn’t important, that which is stored in your head and is always changing. The heart comes first. Good relations. Start there.

HUnger strike. civil disobedience. EnOUGH.

December 27-January 1

ACTION ENDORSED BY:
Professor/Activist Noam Chomsky,
Actor/Activist Peter Coyote,
Vietnam Veteran/Activist S Brian Willson:

“I support Barbara McVeigh’s hunger strike to bring attention to the imperative of finally ending the era of Reagan’s austerity and neoliberal economic policies that continue to hurt so many people, and for focus on new policies to strengthen unions and to embark upon a new path of radical ecological consciousness. -S Brian Willson

It’s high time to be inspired by S Brian Willson who stood with a Hunger Strike in 1986 and 1987 against the US war machine heading toward Central America, an act that has continued to this day and has upset the democracy of the people of Central America, leading to hunger, poverty and corruption.

I stand in protest of multiple issues that must come clean in the next administration so we can see who and what we’ve been. In addition, it’s time to end the Reagan Era, that of trickle down economics, and give rise to unions and power of the people. Billionaires and politicians must be held accountable for today’s corruption and climate change crisis.

The US MUST pay war reparations to the people of Central America to begin a new relationship with our southern neighbors, one of peace, prosperity and respect.

It’s time the people take back power, PEACEFULLY.