Good News!

It can sometimes be a struggle to hear and see all the violent images and bad news in today’s world. In fact, one of the topics in our men’s group meetings was “How do you cope with the constant barrage of depressing and deeply disturbing information routinely disseminated in almost every newscast or news article.” One answer was to limit your exposure to such news/broadcasts, be they TV, radio, phone applications, etc. Unplugging ourselves periodically from our electronic and media saturated world is now considered a VERY healthy practice. Happily, there are alternative news sources that can uplift us instead of dragging us down and depressing us. These are two of my favorites:

It’s like a tonic or an ice-cold drink on a hot day. Your psyche and soul will thank you for bringing a bit of joy and optimism to your day. There IS good happening out there – it’s just not as dramatic and, for many, as alluring as the bad news. Some might argue that bad news sells copy more than good news but how can we know that since the ratio of bad to good news is nothing short of staggering?

Goodnews (the application)

This wonderful journalistic collection is available on Android (what I use) and I suspect is also available on iPhones as well. The application comes to us from Germany but is available in English. I did a search just now on Microsoft Store for Goodnews and I didn’t see this application there. If you know of others, please pass them along. I suspect we can always use a bit more joy in our lives.

A Meditation Plug

There are so many worthy traditions that practice meditation. They have a lot in common like ditching the past and future and living in the present moment – now. Among my favorites are Pema Chödrön’s “How to Meditate”, Deepak Chopra’s “Total Meditation”, Eknath Easwaran’s “Conquest of Mind”, and Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. I am so thankful to have enjoyed each of these tomes. Each brings a different yet shared beauty and joy to the reader. For me, some of the chapters are better than others in each of these books, but these resonate deeply and help guide me on my path.

Consumer Alert!

This is being repeated because it’s too important not to do so. My wife and I do a lot of our shopping at our local Safeway grocery stores.  They’ve been working hard, as do many grocers these days, in trying to provide products that are sustainable and organic.  That said, they recently took a WRONG TURN in the plastic packaging of many of their O Organics product line and it’s up to us to remind them.

Please note the following statement from O Organics, one of Safeway’s premier product lines:

Why Organics® ?

 With O Organics®, you know that what you feed your family is actually good for them. Because all O Organics® products are USDA Certified Organic. They are made responsibly, sustainably and safely (my highlighting). They are always non-GMO, and grown without synthetic pesticides.

Dear fellow consumers: feeding your family microplastics is NOT good for them and pumping MORE plastics into our environment is NOT helpful. is the home of O Organics.  Please write to them and express your disdain for switching from paper containers to PLASTIC containers in many of their dairy products, e.g. Half and Half, Heavy Whipping Cream, etc.  This switch happened recently in 2021!  They also have countless other products that are being sold in plastic that could be packaged in a more sustainable manner.  We, as consumers, need to fight back or we will truly be even more awash in plastic.

Safeway is trying to do the right thing by going to a product line like O Organics.  We LAUD their efforts to bring us higher quality products.  Unfortunately, they’ve become distracted from their mission and it’s up to us to remind them that we DO care about our environment and the products we consume.  Please go to and at the bottom of the page, under Quick Links, click on “Contact Us”.  Scroll down to the lower part of the next screen to the header ‘Contact Us’ and the right most of three boxes is a box “Other Ways To Contact Us“.  Click on “Comments and Questions” and explain to them that their sustainable practices are going BACKWARDS instead of forwards in their packaging.  This page also has addresses for Customer Support Center and Media Inquiries.  ANYTHING you can do to help mitigate this senseless INCREASE in plastics will help.   Your planet and your body THANK YOU!!!

DARIGOLD switching from paper packaging to PLASTIC!

I wrote to this morning:  they’ve switched from paper packaging for decades of their Half & Half dairy product to PLASTIC!  (Barcode is 264002760) I sent the following to their contact URL:

“Good day!!  Your website talks about Sustainability & Stewardship, the Environment, and then you switch from paper packaging to PLASTIC for your dairy products, e.g., Half & Half?  Are you kidding me?  For your reference that’s Barcode 2640022760.  I am OUTRAGED!!  Talk about hypocritical!  You have such a wonderful product and then you put it in PLASTIC?  WAKE UP!!!!  Not only will I not buy your product now, but I’ll do everything in my power to spread the word of your hypocrisy, including reporting you to Green Peace, Ocean Conservancy,,, my own church, and”

I urge you to PLEASE go to and click on the Contact button and beg them to stop adding PLASTIC to our environment. Thank you!

In case you haven’t watched “Eating Our Way To Extinction”

This can still be viewed for free on YouTube and I believe it’s also available on Prime Video. While it may have a depressive effect, it does a good job of driving home the impact of our eating habits on our planet. Then this morning I found the following article on one of my newsfeeds. It seems wells are running dry in drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas:

I had just finished an article for our UU weekly bulletin “Making Healthy Food Choices” in which I extolled the virtues of vegetarian and vegan diets and how they’re good for our bodies, the animals, and the planet. However, for those that struggle with these diets, we are blessed to have reminding us that you don’t have to be a strict anything. They remind us that any reduction in eating meat helps move us in the right direction and away from the torture of factory farmed animals. My wife and I still eat meat occasionally, but we make sure that the meat is sourced from farms that are dedicated to grass-fed/grass-finished, pastured raised, and humanely raised animals. That’s the least we can do.

A Meditation Prayer

I would like to share with you a joy that was given me by a friend and one of the men in our Men’s Group recently.  I was hosting this particular week and got to choose what our topic for discussion would be (our meetings are comprised of checking-in during the first hour (no crosstalk) followed by a short break, then whoever is hosting can pose a question for the group).  I asked the question “What methods do you use to turn off your monkey mind when meditating?”  This gentleman was kind enough to send me an email later in the week recommending a book by one of the premier Hindu writers of our time, one Eknath Easwaran, entitled “Conquest of Mind”.[1]   In this book (he has written many, drawing from all major religions and sages), this famous Hindu spiritual leader asks his readers to adopt a special prayer to help them with their meditations.  The prayer he most commonly recommends is, surprisingly, from St. Francis of Assisi.  I’d like to share this short prayer with you. Please note Mr. Easwaran's comments that follow the prayer as he explains to whom this prayer is addressed:

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

In memorizing the prayer, it may be helpful to remind yourself that you are not addressing some extraterrestrial being outside you.  The kingdom of heaven is within us, and the Lord is enshrined in the depths of our own consciousness.  In this prayer we are calling deep into ourselves, appealing to the spark of the divine that is our real nature.”[2] 

"Christian mystics call this center of personality 'the Christ within.'  In Sanskrit it is called simply Atman, 'Self'.[3]   Mr. Easwaran suggests that the Buddha would not even go this far in trying to identify the nature of nirvana, to use the Buddha's term.  "This is the great paradox of mysticism:  until you enter nirvana... you will not be able to understand what nirvana is."[4] 

1.  Eknath Easwaran (2018).  Conquest of Mind: Take Charge of Your Thoughts & Reshape Your Life Through Meditation.  Nilgiri Press.

2.  Ibid, From “An Eight=Point Program”, section 1 – “Meditation on a Passage”. 

3.  Ibid, From Chapter 5 “Learning to Swim”.

4.  Ibid.

And Four to Go…

This is the follow-up to “One for the Money”, “Two for the Show”, “Three to get Ready”, and, as this saying goes, “And Four to Go”.  I thought I had already posted this but couldn’t find it on the website and it begs to be read:

All We Can Save:  Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis was written by no less than dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States – scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race – and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis.”[1]

“…Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future.  We must summon truth, courage, and solutions to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility.  Curated by two climate leaders, the book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.”[2]

[1] Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson, “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis”, Random House, LLC, New York, 2020.  From Information Foreword in Kindle edition.

[2] Ibid.

Victory! Canada bans single-use plastics!

This just in from OCEANA.ORG:

On Monday, June 20, Canada banned six common single-use plastics! Canada is now one of the only countries in the world to ban a list of single-use plastics, including plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, straws, and takeout containers made from problematic plastics, and is the second country ever to ban exporting these items. This announcement marks a victory for our oceans and the marine life that call them home, and positions Canada as a global leader in efforts to reduce single-use plastics. This victory would not have been possible without the support of ocean advocates like you. Check out the Oceana Canada blog to learn more about the national plastic ban and what comes next!

This news was just too awesome not to share with you. Cheers!!!

Three to Get Ready…

(or standing on the shoulders of giants)

My readings have turned up some books that I simply have to share with you because they’re that good:

  • Under the Sky We Make by Kimberly Nicholas, PHD, Putnam, 2021.
  • The Story of More by Hope Jahren, Vintage, 2020.
  • Draw Down by Paul Hawken, Penguin Books, 2017.
  • Regeneration by Paul Hawken, Penguin Books, 2021.

Each of these authors, especially the first two, bring so much more than ugly data to the conversation on environmental issues.  We CAN make a difference.  They spell out in a VERY readable manner, the ways we can help.  What we do and don’t do in the next decade have such far reaching impact on this planet as to make it difficult to fully comprehend.  These authors put it into perspective for us in easy-to-understand analogies and anecdotes. 

Perhaps most important is to not let our circumstances overwhelm us.  Yes, we need to wake up and do our part!  But we can only do what we can and encourage/be kind to ourselves and each other along the way.