The Book Is Out!

Happy December!  Happy Christmas!  Happy Hanukah!  Happy Solstice!  Happy Holidays of Light!  I wish you all a New Year filled with peace and joy!

The new book, The Voice from the Back Row:  Off the Bandwagon, is finally published.  It is available at Balboa Press, and on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It is available in both hardback and softback and e-book format.

Those of you who have faithfully followed the blog as this book was created will understand when I share that my belief is that this book is meant to be read as widely as possible, in any of the formats.  It is what I have poured both monetary resources and time, effort, and love to make available.  If you are not familiar with the blog, below is a quote from the forward of the book, written by the broadly knowledgeable Dr. Aditi Guha.

“Diane began writing The Voice from the Back Row in 2015. The book captures the philosophy that we can all hold different perspectives and beliefs and yet work together for a better world. In this book, she shares with her readers the issues of our times and the processes of personal growth that she has found to be applicable universally. Each chapter stands on its own with a central message; our thoughts are more than just a dream. When we work together the dream can become real. The Voice from the Back Row; Off the Bandwagon is a book that no one will want to miss. It is a deep commentary on our times; it stays positive while detailing what needs to be done. It offers comfort and hopes to those of us who have been through the chaos of a very tumultuous time in history. It is an enriching factor to the lives of everyone who reads it. The content is timeless and will continue to offer a unique perspective for years to come. Dr. Aditi Guha”

Here is an excerpt from the epilogue.  “The chapters in this book are a collection of five years of reflection, stories, personal experiences and essays centered around the values and visions of the changes we are in the midst of experiencing. The first two-thirds of the book precede the epic event of our times, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the resulting chaos. Nevertheless, they foreshadow the pandemic and the issues with which we are now dealing. The last third of the book was written after the lockdowns of the pandemic gripped our country and the world. They offer descriptions of what has occurred, and ideas about the attitudes and actions that may be taken to move forward into the unknown. I have a sense now that these messages and vignettes are complete, at least for the moment. It is time now to publish what has been written, in the hope that they may be useful or of comfort as we face the future.”

I hope that each of you will gift yourself with a copy of the book in whichever of its formats encourages you to not only keep it, but to read it over and over, focusing on whatever chapter responds to your need or interest of the moment.  It will also be a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, another holiday, or birthday gift for someone you love.    I wish you all well on your journey forward.

In peace and joy, Diane

Book Upcoming

Dear Readers,

I haven’t posted for several weeks, and this posting is short.  I have missed the postings, and do want to keep in touch.  During this time, I have been working on having the postings of this blog published in book form.  This has involved transcribing posts into manuscript form, correcting proofreading errors I found in the blog posts (sorry), and creating several additional items required by the publishing process.  It will probably be several more months before the book is published, but I will post to let you know when it is ready.

I do intend to keep posting on the blog.  However, I haven’t yet quite figured out how the posts may change, or the frequency with which I may be posting.  I ask your patience.  I, too, am undergoing transition.  I hold all of you, my readers, in affection.

Peace, Diane

It is Always Now

Mommy, they’re not growing yet!”  protested the child about the seeds he had planted with his mother three days ago.  “We put them in the dirt, and gave them water and light, and they’re not growing.  I need them to grow!”

His mother left the computer and joined her son at the planter they had set in a sunny window.  “They will grow,” she reassured him. “It just takes time.  We need to wait until they are ready.”

“Why do we need to wait, Mommy?  I don’t like waiting.  I want them to grow now!”

“We all need to wait sometimes,” she replied.  “I have to wait for you to finish getting dressed in the morning, and sometimes for you to put your coat on before we go out.  You need to wait for your friend to finish his lunch before he can play.  Waiting is OK.”

“I still don’t like it,” he grumbled.

“May I tell you a secret?” the mother queried.  “It’s about now.”

“What is it?” the boy asked curiously.

“In this minute,” she explained, “it is now, and you are saying the seeds are not growing now. Yesterday, you asked me if we could plant seeds now, and we did.  If the seeds grow tomorrow, you will look at them and say, ‘Now they are growing!'”

“So?” her son asked.

“I think,” remarked his mother, “that it is always now.  There isn’t any other time than now.  Whenever you are, it is now.  So, the seeds do grow now, even if we don’t see them right away.”

“Oh,” he replied, not quite understanding. “So, they are going to grow now?”

“Whenever they grow, it will be now,” she explained again.  “There is a big word that says what we do to help it be always now.  The word is patience.  Sometimes patience is hard, but as we grow, it gets easier.   Do you think we can practice having patience now?”

“OK, Mommy,” he answered.  Agreeing was easier than more complaining.

Giving his mom a big hug, he ran outside to ride his trike.

How can it be that whatever time it is, it is always now?  First, time is a mental construct.  It is a component of physical life and is so familiar to us that it is hard to conceive of a way things could be different from linear time, the past merging into the present and leading to the future.  In the world beyond, called heaven, the creative matrix, the Void, the pre or afterlife, there is no concept of time as we know it.  It is not only always now, but is always now with the past, present and future as we know them existing at the same time.  In that overarching aspect, it is truly always now; there is nothing else but now.

Our physical world, with which we are familiar, also reflects this.  It is said that the past is gone forever, and the future never comes.  The only thing real is now, and it is on now that our attention needs to be. In other words, it is always now.  We may remember what we call past, and imagine what we call future, but we do that remembering and imagining in the now.

Most of us equate patience with waiting.  We either wait as someone recounts or processes through their memories, or we wait for something anticipated in the future to appear in a form that our physical senses can perceive.  Sometimes it is a long wait.  Yet, if all that exists is now, then it follows that what we have wished for, hoped for, imagined is not something in that future that never comes, but in that “future” that is part of now, and that what we have wished for is now.  We have already received, and it is appropriate to give thanks for what we receive.

Patience, then, is the sister of gratitude.  Patience tells us that whatever we have conceived, wished for or imagined is already there.  If we maintain awareness of it through our gratitude, and do not cancel out the gift by changing our minds or hold it away by failing to understand the now and averring that what we have perceived with our minds is always in a future that never comes, then through grateful patience we will assuredly perceive what we have intended through our senses, so long as we are in this world.  Patience allows us to firmly center ourselves in the now.  Patience, like her sister Gratitude, is powerful.

The child’s seeds will grow, and the mother has correctly observed that when they do it will still be now.  The child is keeping patience by no longer probing the issue, insisting that the seeds are not growing, and by doing something else during the linear time of the world that Is elapsing for the child.  Not understanding the concepts, but still holding faith in the seeds and their growth, he quits worrying about it and occupies himself with something else until he is able to perceive the growth of the seeds with his senses.  He practices patience.

It is the same for us.  What we envision and hold in the now manifests.   In groups, the coalescing of the visions held by members of the group manifests.  The mechanism is the same.  It is always now.  We are free to cancel our visons by changing our minds, or to hold them away by placing them in a future that doesn’t arrive.  We need to keep focus without strain or worry; we need to practice patience.

We need also be mindful of what we envision.  It is a fallacy to imagine that our good can exist independently of the good of all, or especially contrary to the good of all.  The visions must first embrace the well-being of the Earth and its denizens, of the human species, of the various groups that inhabit the Earth, of our communities, of our families, and then ourselves.  By so doing, our visions provide multiple blessings, all of which we enjoy, as we are part of the whole.  What we nurture, nurtures us.  That vision, too, exists in the now.

Let us take heart as we develop our ongoing skill at practicing patience.  Let us also be aware as we use our minds to birth what is called “a new normal” that to create an order which is viable for ourselves, we must first create one that embraces the well-being of all.  Patience is, after all, a virtue well worth increasing.

Peace, Diane

Everything Counts

Everything Counts


The Conference

The conference room was sunny.  One complete wall was a window, linking those in the room with the intricacies of the temperate rainforest just beyond the conference building’s grounds.  Most impressive was the way the sunshine appeared to flicker among the leaves as they moved gently in the breeze.  The effect was peaceful.  Possibly that was the intent of the room’s situation and design – to create a feeling of peace among those who consulted or sometimes debated there.

The participants in this conference slowly entered the room and quietly found seats around the central table, which was supplied with small snacks and cups for coffee or tea, should a participant wish that.  On one side of the table, the environmentalists arranged themselves; the other side was occupied by those who wished to end war.  The groups were not enemies; neither were they yet comrades in an effort to achieve both their goals.   The leader/main spokesperson for the environmentalists was a tall woman who looked to be at least part indigenous.  Her face was strong and vibrant, but not what one might interpret as exceptionally beautiful.  She had long, dark-brown hair, and a generally friendly mien, but one which also seemed to brook no nonsense.  Chief among the delegation of those who advocated abandoning war was a quite handsome black man of medium build.  His stance seemed to say that he had survived many struggles and come through with an exceptional balance.  Those wishing to abandon war had called the conference, hoping to join forces with those who wished to save the Earth.

The woman spoke.  “Now that we have gathered here,” she challenged, “please do explain to us what is to be gained by our adding to our focus the abolition of war.  It is difficult enough to make an effect on those who seem determined, on purpose or through neglect, to destroy our Earth.”

“First,” Martin (for that was the man’s name) replied, “I thank you for taking the time to come here to confer with us.  We understand how busy you are; we ourselves are similarly occupied.  It is my sincere belief that this time will prove productive for us both.  There are many reasons that cooperation with each other will strengthen both the efforts for peace and the efforts to renew the Earth.  I will let my colleagues present them to you, after which, I will request that you and your people also offer suggestions and ask questions.”

Robin, the woman, graciously offered, “We are ready to hear you.”

Martin gestured to the woman sitting on his right.

“With respect,” she began, “we both have the same ultimate goal.  You desire peace between people and nature so that the Earth and its denizens and humanity as well can flourish.  We desire peace between people, so that the destruction of civilization and the despoiling of our living spaces will cease.  These goals are two sides of the same coin; people who are not at peace cannot be at peace with either nature or each other.  People who are not at peace cannot stop destroying the Earth or each other.”

She nodded to Robin and Martin and turned her gaze to the delegate who sat beside her, a mildly stocky older gentleman with glasses.  Clearing his throat, he began.

“I think we can engage in projects which at once fulfill both our goals,” he asserted.  “Fort Strong, a major military base in the deep south of our country, has been holding intensive air and land military drills supposedly in the name of defensive readiness, but, we believe, in preparation for a major overseas attack.  We wish to decommission this military base.   Fort Strong is also one of the worst polluters in its area; it is a Superfund for nuclear waste, debris from its artillery ranges is often dumped into the surrounding rivers, and the noise from the target practices has driven most of the wildlife from the area.  It has cut down the forested areas surrounding it for a security barrier, and is also conducting research into new diseases, endangering the people in the base and in the surrounding area.  Its commander is known for having no respect for either nature or anyone promoting peace.    We believe that in joining forces to develop strategical protests and governmental lobbying, we can either dismantle or diminish this base.”

On the gentleman’s right sat a small lady, about four and a half feet in height, but who was in no way invisible.  Her posture and her vivid eyes gave evidence of her passion and attention. The gentleman invited her to speak.

Bowing to the environmentalists courteously, she expanded upon the topic of mutual interest.  “It is not only forts, honorable people, but also the survival of the denizens of the sea.  The ships of our navy routinely use sonar echoes to navigate and discover what might be hiding in the sea around them.  These sounds deafen and ultimately kill many of the species who live in the sea.   For example, we recently discovered a dead whale calf washed up on the beach.  In this case, the calf was killed by a boat’s propeller, which it could not navigate around because its sonar, its hearing, had been destroyed by the sounds from the ships.   The ships also pollute the sea, discharging their untreated waste into it.  We know that the health of our oceans and their denizens is also of great concern to you.  Here, too, we have converging interests, which will be far better addressed if we educate and cooperate with each other.”

Martin spoke again.  “My friends,” he urged, “as I sincerely hope you are, it is time we joined to prevent the destruction of both the Earth and the extinction of our species.   It is now your turn to speak.”

The reader is left to imagine Robin’s response.

This vignette was written in response to a prompt from a course created by World Beyond War, which course I have been pursuing.  Besides responding to the prompt, which was to write a dialogue between an activist for the environment and an activist for eliminating wars, in which dialogue the environmentalist asked why the groups should cooperate, this vignette serves another purpose.  We are currently engaged in massive struggle for the planet, for the survival of our species, for social and economic justice, and for right relationship to each other, to the Earth, to all the denizens of the Earth, and to the creative matrix (intelligent energy, God, the Whole – many names).  We are surrounded by the struggle, the chaos, which precedes change, and we do have some choice in the nature of that change.

What is evident is that the entire situation is in itself a whole, each part related to another.  Similarly, in the vignette, one can see that the struggle for the environment and the struggle for ending war are related.  What is also evident is that passivity or apathy is counted as a negative.  Not being active or at least vocal is the equivalent of allowing change which is not desired to proceed.  We are called upon to take a stand; no stand is in itself a stand.

To effectively choose among options and take a stand is not a quick and easy matter.  One must first pursue and understand the depths of the chaos – to discover and digest what is going on beyond the surface.  What is actually happening?  There is more than what is apparent on the surface.  What direction is it taking?  What is the logical result of this step or that action?  Is a given direction one which we perceive to be consistent with life, with the values we hold?  What are those values?   What steps would need to be taken to lead to implementing the values we wish to see?  (I do believe the first steps lie in healing ourselves to act with integrity, according to the values we profess.) For example, we may believe in cooperation, the well-being of the group.  Have we been given a chance to discuss cooperation, competition, individual and group good?  Can they coexist in balance?  Are they out of balance, or going in a direction that may lead to more destruction?  Are we given a chance to evaluate differing options, to decide what is true cooperation, or are we told to do this and that because it is said that the group benefits thereby?  That is not cooperation, it is obedience.   Do we believe in blind obedience to earthly authority?  Making distinctions is important.

Each of us has a role to play, and each role affects the outcome. No one is less important than anyone else. We are not same, but we are equal in value, and we each have the gift and effect of sovereignty, of choice.   We are free to ignore all this and take a “whatever” stance and just go with whatever flow is in the moment and not really think much about it.  We are free to choose the victim stance.  We are also free to choose the stance of one who co-creates.

There is so much to be done.  Healing the Earth and midwifing peace are only two.  Each of us has a large or a small part to play.  What is your part?  Are you a healer in any way?  Do you work with the wounds of the psyche?  Do you care for the soil, plant trees, or grow herbs?    Do you teach (pick your topic)?   Are you the glue that keeps a family going?  Are you one who can relate science and technology to nature itself, and heal the dichotomy?  Are you in love with nature, or do you think the world is better off governed by technology and AI?  Are you a being who radiates love and positivity around you?  Are you an expert at visualization and prayer?  an artist?  a musician?  Whatever your talent or calling, it can integrate into a healing whole or resist that whole.

Try thinking about it.  See how many areas you can find in which work needs to be done to create a sustainable, nurturing, compassionate, just, and respectful outcome to the present chaos.  See what might be working against that.  Notice what your part might be.  How, while continuing to give yourself the nurture you need, can you activate the contribution of your part?  We are in the midst of chaos.  The time is now.  What will we create?


Peace, Diane