When You’re Gone, Where Will We Bee?

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

nature's sweet gifts

nature’s sweet gifts

If only my words could fully express the luscious taste, smell, texture, experience of fresh, pure honey. Used as an medicine by ancient Egyptians. Used as a fragrant sweetener and immunizer to me and countless others. Breathing in, watching the honey drizzle slowly down upon a piece of bread. Breathing out, tasting an intense blossoming of joy in my mouth. Feeling a rapid rush of energy throughout my body. How can I express gratitude for having enjoyed honey all throughout my life, while sharing to those of you in the future who may not ever have this experience. Honey is a miraculous gift of bees, and sadly, now the bees are disappearing. It’s being called, “colony collapse syndrome.” Mindfulness is always of being aware of something, and this is something that is happening in the here and now.

Since 2007, when beekeeper David Hackenberg first reported the disappearance of his bee colonies, the decline of bees has become more widespread. Often colonies of millions of bees gone overnight, with few dead bees found. Disappearing without even a trace. I am greatly concerned, as I’m sure you are, also. One in 3 bites of food we take comes from fruits and vegetables pollinated by bees. They are now importing bees from Australia and elsewhere to pollinate crops in California, as well as other agricultural states. This is not at all sustainable.

sunflower bees 3

sunflower bees 3

We can learn a lot from bees. They work in harmony and unity. Selfishly they perform their roles diligently, whether they are a worker or a queen. Being a female, matriarchal society helps explain their cooperation and nurturing.

Similar colony collapse was experienced in France. Research suggested that pesticides and other man-made chemicals were at the root cause. After certain pesticides were banned in France and Germany, bee populations began to thrive, again, within a year. In the US many pesticides are sprayed. But use of systemic pesticides is widespread. These chemicals slowly release their toxins throughout the life-cycle of the plants. As bees gentle dance and pollinate they are exposed. A probable theory of colony collapse disorder is the synergy of chemicals used in agriculture. Big agriculture seems to control power over leaders, and thus wise laws and regulations are not implemented. Yet, when our friends, the bees, are exposed to toxins, they die. It is also well known that farm workers have extremely high rates of morbidity and mortality. I hope I am doing enough myself, by not using toxins on plants. Not destroying the delicate balance of nature, intentionally or unintentionally. This is a prayer to those of you in the future.

sunflower bees 2

sunflower bees 2

Caring for the bees is caring for ourselves. I’m encouraged that many young bee keepers and farmers have adopted an ethic to work in harmony with the environment. We are now paying the real price of cheap food. This karma/cost is making the mother of us all sick. Mother Earth is resilient and many are able to hear her calls. In the sounds of birds, bees and climate’s new order of winds and storms.

Dear children, dear friends in the future, have you heard or seen a buzzing honey bee? How can I describe the taste of honey to you?

sunflower bees 1

sunflower bees 1

Go Fly A Kite!

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

watch out 4 the barn ~e macdougall

watch out 4 the barn ~e macdougall

Voice on phone’s other end sounding weak & shaken;
she’d be unable to attend our planned rendezvous.
Efforts at consoling & reassuring
met with pained silence.
Even after decades I recall a feeling
of being told where to go.

When the 10, or so, year old boy
cycled toward me where my bike
was locked at the market, I smiled
until he got off & tossed his bike
right up against mine.
As politely as possible, I ask,
“what’s up with that?”
He unabashedly
told me where to go.

yes strings attached

yes strings attached

Walking to pay the water bill
at the downtown city building
a young woman timidly circles
flowing fountain’s waters, then sits
with her feet in dancing coolness.
Looking embarrassingly shaken
seeing me witness her picking out
meager shiny coinage tossed along its bottom.
I pull out all the change in my backpack
handing it to her, wishing her safety,
misperceiving she’s telling me where to go.

A good tired from my day out
with its realization
that with forgiveness
in my heart for those who
hurt me during this lifetime
& forgiveness for myself
for hurting others,
I became light as a cloud.

I’m now able to hear
where others have been
telling me to go all these years,
wanting me to find freedom
wherever I was.
May they, too,
& may we all

For a little music from Mary Poppins for your flight
click here

We the Jury Find the Defendent…

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ~ Wm Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

blind justice ~ nelson

blind justice ~ d nelson

The Judge states that jury duty is our civic obligation & should be served with pride. That she is there as a judge of the law. That charges are on paper, but not yet proven. The prosecution is required to demonstrate the burden of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. That we sworn-in jurors are to be judges of the facts, the facts based on testimony & evidence presented during the trial. That the accused is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. He is being charged with forgery & second degree burglary, both, felony offenses. A digital beeping is heard in the courtroom. Then a digital voice stating, “low battery, low battery.” It is the radio collar placed upon the defendant’s ankle. The court is recessed for this technical interruption. Hereafter, the names have been changed to protect those involved.



Direct Evidence:
Mr. Accused Citizen, hereafter referred as MAC, entered on the Bank on Sept 1st and handed a check to be cashed made out to him for $1609 along with his ID to the teller. Upon looking at the check and thinking it may have been altered, she took it to her supervisor for approval. The supervisor also thought the amount looked altered, and the written payee name looked suspicious. She came out and told MAC it would take a few minutes to process. Supervisor looked up the phone number & called the customer of whose check was presented. Customer, an older woman, confirmed that the amount and name were not correct and she would come to the bank to confirm. She had made the check out for $69 to the water company, placed it in the mailbox to be picked up. The next day she notice her mail missing before the mail carrier arrived. The police were then called to the bank. When the supervisor came out MAC had fled the bank, leaving the check & his ID behind. After the police arrived the supervisor received a phone call by a younger woman claiming to be the customer; she says it’s ok to cash the check. Upon being asked by the supervisor her date of birth the phone is hung up. This is reported to the police. The bank teller, supervisor & customer testify as eye witnesses to these events.

jury badge

jury badge

Circumstantial Evidence:
Images from Bank’s surveillance camera shows MAC at the teller’s window. There’s the check which was altered; MAC’s first & last name are written around the water companies name. The amount is changed by adding numbers & words, from $69 to $1609. Displayed with the overhead projector, this looks like it was changed by a child.

The officer testifies that she found MAC walking down the street a week after the crime. He approached her and asks if she’s looking for him because of his ID being left in the bank. She reads him his rights, informing him that he is under arrest. She then asks for him to write down his name, the date and a few other words. He gives her the handwriting sample. He tells her the check was being cashed for an acquaintance who made the check out to him. Says he knows he did something stupid. He’s brought to jail and held for a couple of months until a hearing occurs and he is granted bail. At initial hearing the officer testifies that MAC told her that he saw acquaintance writing on & altering the check. This confession is not in her initial or follow-up written reports.

courthouse, upstairs jury room

courthouse, upstairs jury room

Walking peacefully upstairs with others to the jury deliberation room, smilecalm breathes deeply to relax inner anxious energies. Other jurors start speaking out on their views. There’s a general sense that MAC did not “mastermind” this crime, but that evidence implicates MAC’s guilt in the lesser offense of possessing, with the intent to pass on to the Bank, an altered or counterfeit check, knowing that the document is counterfeit. Were this decided, the requirement for burglary would also be met. After many voices speak out loudly, smilecalm remarks that some of us are more quiet, less competitive and would benefit from an orderly and inclusive discussion. To that request there is agreement. Smilecalm asks if we can read the written definition of these charges, which is done. We start to recount from memory & notes what MAC testified on the stand. He seemed angry, he swore, he apologized. He told of his being home that day. That Jen, the acquaintance, came by looking for her closer friend who was not at home. She then asked MAC to help her out by cashing a check. Said she was given this check by her grandmother to whom she had sold a wood chipper. She could have the check made out to MAC, and she would give him $200. She didn’t want to cash it herself because she had a warrant out for her arrest. He said Jen had not caused him any problems in the past, so he was willing to do her a favor and make a little money for the effort. She left, returning about an hour later with the check. MAC has no car, so she drove them both to the Bank & went in together. MAC said that after the supervisor came out and said to wait, he noticed Jen had left. He figured at that moment something was wrong so he left to find her. He knew then it was stupid. He asked “why is my life so much trouble?”



Fellow jurors argued that while there was no evidence that he had stolen the check from the mailbox, or that he had done the altering of words and numbers on the check, he must have known this check was altered. Somehow jurors remembered MAC saying he saw Jen writing on the check. This would create doubt in MAC’s story. Smilecalm said he did not hear him say that, rather, only that was stated by the police officer. The court testimony record needed to be re-read to the jurors. After some time the court recorder arrived and read his words. He indicates she brought the check already filled and he looks at it briefly, sees his name, the amount and that it’s signed, all while on the way to the bank. He never sees Jen writing on it.

Those in the room confide that they would not cash a check for someone that they don’t know well, who states they can’t cash it because they have a warrant out for their arrest, and that they would look carefully at the check scrutinize it. Exhibit 2b is passed around the room. It is a court document that shows that Jen was convicted of check & credit card fraud & possession of an illegal fire arm in this same court one month ago. Expressing what is true in his heart, smilecalm shares about his time with others living in poverty & despair, in urban areas & Indian Reservations. How it is possible to do what MAC had done, without realizing the crime or consequences. That if MAC truly did believe Jen’s story; that a check from her grandmother for an item sold was made out to him to cash, to help her out of warrant’s eyes, to make a couple hundred bucks, then there was reasonable doubt that he committed the crimes, as defined. Other jurors shared their experience with down & out, so called low-life relatives & acquaintances. How low self esteem & unmet economic, social & emotional needs can give rise to ill-advised actions. The energy of empathy and wisdom spread throughout the room. There was no longer any certainly that MAC knew before going into the bank that this check was “not true”, and therefore intended to defraud. With with collective sense of harmony for the sake of justice, Smilecalm offered his gratitude to each of them as they prepared to leave.

enter fearlessly

enter fearlessly

Returning to the courtroom, the judge asked for the verdict. She glanced at the paper, then looked over the 3 pieces of paper, one for each charge, over again. Nodding affirmatively, she handed the papers to the clerk to read. We the Jury Find the Defendant not guilty of forgery, … not guilty of 2nd degree forgery & … not guilty of 2nd degree burglary. Everyone in the courtroom looked surprised, including several bailiffs awaiting, as if expecting this defendant to continue playing out the sad role of a throw away in this society. The judge thanked us for our service and dismissed us. Walking out, I smiled to the prosecutor, to the weary public defender, to MAC, to the women in the gallery weeping, perhaps a mother & sister. A fellow juror commented that he appreciated the compassion conveyed during the deliberations by smilecalm, who smiled humbly in return. May all involved in this dance of justice be well, May we all find fairness, compassion & mercy when our judgment day comes.

court wi-fi access code, with fingerprints :-)

court wi-fi access code, with fingerprints :-)

“The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.” ~Hada Bejar

Thought Energy’s Ripple Out

The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas ~Edward Lorenz, on Chaos Theory

landing waves ~d nelson

landing waves ~d nelson

Outstretched wings elegantly flap
intending gentle water landing.
Initially smooth feet glide
then, this goosey bottom’s bam-slam
breaks the peaceful surface stillness.
Despite best intentions, can’t deny
it was me who created the wave,
as the universe is always looking.

rippling out

rippling out

Cognizant that thoughts, words & actions
always produce the fruit of karma
nudges me to take responsibility
employing the view that
everything is interconnected.
Nurturing thoughts of caring,
love, forgiveness & healing
support words spoken authentically
& actions confirming thought’s purpose.

ripple mosiac

ripple mosaic

Looking around seeing ripples
of anger,fear & delusion
nearly impossible to miss
as they shatter through bedrock
troubling the waters, above & below.
All living things threatened
by subsequent tsunamis & debris
created by mind’s continuation
of ancestral cycles of hurts, insecurities & disconnection.

ripples cross lake

ripples cross lake

Flapping these somewhat awkward
large wings above the water
hoping that their breeze’s energy
will be as gentle as butterfly’s.
Offering calm heart’s
deep, slow breaths
upon mostly still ponds
that their ripples may provide peaceful refuge
to myself & those who meet them
whether near or far
in time & space.

Retreating into Deep Safety

Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

deepening together ~d nelson

Can I share my most sacred secrets with you, dear brown flower?
Inquiring minds want to know that they are safe.
Emotions need to feel they are safe.
Fragile bodies want to feel safe
to relax, to dance with the trees

Tai Chi 4 1 & all

despite inner storms
& weather fluctuations
acknowledging inner flames
& that the first three months of 2015
set new global heat records.

going with the flow ~d nelson

Coming together, deepening together,
flowing, returning, never leaving
year after year, yet somehow
timeless & eternal.

path climbing

There are beautifully blissful moments in the pure land,
as well as depressed-despairing moments in hell
here in this earthling’s tiny vessel
which often rests in equanimity,
experiencing ripples, briefly.

cook’s moment

Thank you for returning
to create this sacred container
made of precious deep safety
in which to be real
in this crazy, beautifully-delicious world.

point of practice

Gratitude for this gift, this moment
embracing with love
& humble high aspirations
of doing no harm
to living & non living beings
even if they have harmed me.
Understanding that actions of body, speech & mind
are my true continuations in the world.

Buddha nature is natural

Heart of the World

“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake.
Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
above the water

above the water

So this sister says to me,
with her heart heavy and eyes sad,
that the big company
plans to drill holes
and inject toxic chemicals
at super high pressure into the ground
corrupting the water supply
& fracturing underground rock
while extracting natural gas.

So we sat together
the drought
here in earthquake country.
Our collective insight is that water
is too sacred to poison
any more.
Helping protect the children
of the future
must be done, now.

a redwood

a redwood ~ d nelson

So I sat down and wrote this song entitled “heart of the world”. The lyrics and recording is below

May we live in harmony with the world so that a future is possible
It’s simple seeing myself
connected to everything else, yes it is
letting my eyes be windows, windows to the heart
heart of the world beating inside me

It’s simple to openly care
protecting life-giving water and air, yes it is
letting my eyes be windows, windows to the heart,
heart of the world beating inside me

It’s simple living with grace
preserving surroundings for all children to embrace, yes it is

the forests and mountains, rivers and seas
shout out show us the love!

It’s simple to love animals & birds
to be truly present, to touch the earth, yes it is
letting my eyes be windows, windows to the heart
heart of the world beating inside me

May we live in harmony with the world so that a future is possible!

Hope you like it!

I’ll be on a retreat in nature, in trees and along a creek.
Will share my experience with blogging friends when I return on-line.

Seeing Inter-being, Now?

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle

webbed drops ~d nelson

webbed drops ~d nelson

“I’m pleasantly surprised”
he said upon arrival, long ago.
Experiencing with warmth
from Water Beings,
a sense of connection,
compassion and love.

“We are water,
surrounded by water
and as long
as there is water
our fundamental conditions
of survival & happiness
are met”, she said.


“It’s so easy being happy
dancing harmoniously
embraced by paradise,
free from notions of selves
separate from our essence.”


Gradually understanding
Water Being’s message,
of his own water-nature,
of  web’s connecting
all as one organism;
tangled & untangled
by perpetual impermanence.

webbed drops 4

webbed drops 4

After unbounded summer sunshine,
so long after each last
of those drops
had vaporized
into clouds of fresh potential,
newly manifest Water Human Beings
contemplate impermanence
& inter-being among the entirety
of nature’s cycles.

webbed drops 2

webbed drops 2

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating on your sheet of paper.
(clouds, rain, sunshine, forest, tree, hard work, paper…) ~Thich Nhat Hanh