The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Peace Pilgrim: Step by Step

posted by Donna Henes

Today is Nagasaki Day. Last Friday was Hiroshima Day. Sixty-five years ago, the United States dropping atomic bombs on these two Japanese cities killing upwards of 245, 000 people. The tragedy of these war bombs — and of all the subsequent bombs, large or small, meticulously manufactured or funkily homemade, that have fallen on soldier and civilian alike — have damaged our human spirit. These bombs leave us feeling impotent to do anything to stop them.

But then along come some exceptional role models, amazing individuals who have actively devoted themselves to creating peace. My favorite Queen of Peace took peace making into her own hands — or in her case, her feet. The remarkable woman known as Peace Pilgrim devoted almost thirty years of her life to walking and talking for peace.

Step by step. . .Mile by mile. . .Walking. . .Marching. . .Dancing
Becoming a moving force for peace.

Born Mildred Norman in 1908, she was in her early forties at the height of the Korean War, the McCarthy Era, and the wholesale international nuclear proliferation with its attendant Ban the Bomb movement.

The turmoil of the world around her, coupled with her own menopausal changes prompted her to spend a period of concentrated inner questioning about the purpose and direction of her life. Specifically, she wondered what she, just one person, could do in the cause of peace.

This midlife meditation culminated in her experiencing an intense spiritual awakening, an undeniable epiphany. She came to understand that it was her destiny to become a pilgrim, walking her talk for peace. She pledged to become “a wanderer until mankind has learned the ways of peace.”

At the age of forty-five, she gave up all of her possessions — including her name and age — and prepared to embark upon the amazing pilgrimage that would consume the rest of her life.

On the morning of January 1, 1953, Peace Pilgrim, as she now called herself, set off alone, penniless, without any organized support system, to walk 10,000 miles for peace. She carried her few belongings — a comb, a toothbrush, a pen, and some postal stamps — in the pockets of her tunic. When she left, she made a private vow that she never violated, “I shall remain a wanderer until mankind learns the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food.”

She gave everyone she met along her way a printed explanation of her mission that bore the simple message:

This is the way to peace — overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.

During her nearly three decades on the road, she far exceeded her original goal (when she passed the 25,000-mile mark in 1964, she stopped counting). By the time of her death in 1981, Peace Pilgrim had walked across the United States seven times, and had visited ten Canadian provinces and parts of Mexico, spreading her hopeful message of peace and inspiration to the countless thousands of folks who crossed her extraordinary path.

Her gentle warrior spirit of wisdom still touches people all over the world through the book of her writings, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words that has been translated into twenty-five languages.

I can only pray for the wisdom and determination to follow in her footsteps.

To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your life,” she wrote, “bringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live — then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace.
- Peace Pilgrim

For more information about Peace Pilgrim and to order books contact:
http://www.peacepilgrim.com/book/index.htm

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers

posted by Donna Henes

We are the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers brings together respected wise women elders from Asia; North, Central and South America; Africa; and the Arctic Circle. The matriarchs range in age from their 50s to their 80s, with many dozens of grandchildren among them.  

They are motivated by a shared prophecy, learned in their visions and dreams, that tells of a holy council of grandmothers that would convene at the Earth’s eleventh hour. Their goal is to heal the Earth and teach ancient indigenous rites that connect people to the land. Their visions indicated that prayer is an answer to the questions contemporary society is grappling with.

The women draw upon and share their individual experiences as healers, midwives, counselors, dancers, spiritual activists, medicine women, tribal elders, shamans, and advocates for sustaining indigenous ways of life. Together, they gather and combine their force to create an indomitable collective of grand maternal spiritual power.   

The grandmothers meet about every six months in each other’s homelands. They gather to talk, pray and share their indigenous spiritual practices in order to strengthen the spiritual fabric of the globe. Through the marriage of spirituality and environmentalism, these women hope to infuse a new generation of inhabitants with the respect they feel the Earth requires to move forward into the new millennium.

The Grandmothers Mission Statement

We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future. We look to further our vision through the realization of projects that protect our diverse cultures: lands, medicines, language and ceremonial ways of prayer and through projects that educate and nurture our children.

Let us follow their glorious example and join our spirit and actions with theirs.

Click here to watch the grandmothers in action.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

Saving Mother Earth

posted by Donna Henes

SAVING MOTHER EARTH
by Mary Saracino

A single day in April isn’t enough
to honor our Mother, save the planet
that is her body, restore her ocean womb,
revitalize the atrophied arms and legs
of her continents, remove the smog
from her pristine lungs, replenish all that’s
depleted by the lust for profit
over prosperity. Human hearts so greedy
for commerce they call deforestation progress,
think cloning is a medical advancement,
see artificial life as the wave of the future,
as if civilization can only advance
by killing or dismemberment,
by acquisition or annihilation.
How to survive a world of paper or plastic,
hybrid or gas-guzzler,
genetically altered seeds,
cloned cows, chemical poisons in the water,
run-off from the mouths of politicians
who think global warming is good for business.
What’s to be gained when
globalization soils our souls,
breeds a false sense of interconnection,
feigns compassion predicated on
corporate exploitation, skimming money
off the backs of underpaid workers,
trafficking in human life, in weapons
of destruction, raping the land of its bounty,
the rivers of their life-sustaining powers,
denying whole nations their dignity and worth.
That’s no way to treat our Mother,
no way to save our planet,
no way to mend our broken spirits,
no way to change the world.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD WOMEN
by Mary Saracino

Howling from the mountaintops
wailing from the riverbanks
scooping the moon into their waning wombs
the old women know that lies kill,
distortions maim, hope isn’t enough to feed starving
babies, school the ignorant, put and end to war.

Like Furies, the old ones rise,
clench their furious fists against the blazing sun;
like Harpies they roar, casting dire warnings
upon the winds of change; soothsaying Sibyls
decipher omens, portend the future, speak in baffling koans.
With dakini wisdom they cut through
illusion, vote in primaries, attend caucuses,
raise their voices against power, shatter
the corrupted ceilings that chafe the crowns
of their wizened heads.

The wandering Maenads cry: “This is no country
for old women.”

Medea calls down her midnight powers,
prays for revolution, strengthens the tired tongues
of memory. Eloquence isn’t enough to heal
a wounded country; sequined celebrities
can’t mend a nation’s odiferous past. Kali avenges
her sisters, the long-patient Queens & Crones,
Maidens & Mothers. The forgotten ones
wait and watch and warn: “Beware the hubris
of ages. Beware the greedy hand that grabs the golden fleece.”

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver,
Colorado. This compassionate and articulate sister Queen calls herself
Queen Mary Immaculata.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

More Eco Sheros

posted by Donna Henes

 
Wherever I travel there is always some sort of local environmental nightmare, be it chemical waste, medical waste, nuclear waste or garbage waste. And wherever I travel there is always a women, usually a woman of a certain age, who has organized her community and fought the good fight for environmental preservation and protection.

These women usually think of themselves as regular people, never before thinking of themselves as environmentalists or feminists, yet they they walk the walk of both. They see that there is a problem and they roll up their sleeves and set out to solve it.
 

Winona LaDuke, United States-Anishinaabeg  (1959-2010)
Activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer 

Winona LaDuke was an ardent representative of indigenous perspectives. At the age of seventeen she spoke at the UN on behalf of Native Americans. She was a founding member of Women of All Red Nations and director of the Land Recovery Project on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. An inspiring speaker, she was the 1996 and 2000 vice-presidential candidate of the Green Party, the first Native American to run for national office. The author of All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life, she was most recently the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an organization she co-founded with the Indigo Girls in 1993.

Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, India, (1960- and 1956-)
Grassroots environmental activists

Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, two illiterate village women took it upon themselves to seek justice for the survivors of the poisonous gas leak from a storage tank at a Union Carbide pesticide factory into the heart of Bhopal city, which killed 8,000 people instantly. More than 20,000 deaths in the years since have been attributed to the disaster. Since 1984, the two women have tirelessly continued their efforts to exact justice from the giant chemical companies responsible. They have inspired support from all over the world.

Erin Brockovich, United States (1960-)
Legal clerk and environmental activist

Erin Brockovich was instrumental in constructing a successful case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993, despite the lack of a formal law school education, The case alleged contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium in the southern California town of Hinkley. Brockovich went on to participate in other anti-pollution lawsuits. After experiencing problems with mold contamination in her own home in the Conejo Valley, Brockovich became a prominent activist and educator in this area as well.

Julia Butterfly Hill, American (Born 1974)
Environmental activist and writer

In December of 1997, Julia Hill climbed into a 1,000-year-old California coast redwood tree to save it from loggers. She lived in a 6′x8′ tree house 180 feet above the ground for 738 days. Julia descended only after Pacific Lumber Co. agreed to let the tree and a 3-acre buffer zone around it stand. She subsequently, wrote  The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods and helped found the Circle of Life Foundation to promote the sustainability, restoration, and preservation of life.

Olya Melen, Ukraine  (1980)  
Environmental attorney

Olya Melen is a firebrand attorney who used legal channels to halt construction of a massive canal that would have cut through the heart of the Danube Delta, one of the world’s most valuable wetlands, a World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve. The organization Environment-People-Law (EPL) filed lawsuits to prevent construction and Melen tried the case. She was denounced by the notoriously corrupt and lawless pre-Orange Revolution government, but the judge ruled that the canal development flouted environmental laws and could adversely affect the Danube Delta’s biodiversity.

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
 - Rachel Carson

There is still a chance. And we are that chance!

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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