A New Earth

If I Had a Million Dollars…

This tune from the Barenaked Ladies song started going through my head a few minutes ago as I was finishing reading the introduction to the book Healing the Planet – One Patient at a Time, by Dr. Jozef J. Krop (published in 2002, in Canada, & with a Foreword by Dr. Rosalie Bertell of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health).

I have a bunch of books I need to read in the next while.

Disconnect, by Devra Davis (“the truth about cell phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family”), published in 2010 (this book was a National Book Award Finalist).

Dodging the Toxic Bullet – How to Protect Yourself from Everyday Environmental Health Hazards, by David R. Boyd, published in 2010….

Eaarth – Making A Life on a Tough New Planet, by Bill McKibben, published in 2010(how the earth has already changed drastically due to human-induced climate change, & what we must do about it).

Healing the Planet – One Patient at a Time, by Dr. Jozef J. Krop (as mentioned).

There’s Lead in Your Lipstick – Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them, by Gillian Deacon, newly published (2011).

And other titles.

So far, Healing the Planet by Dr. Krop has me mesmerized & wishing I had a million dollars – so I could buy enough copies of his book for my two children, at least 5 or maybe 10 or 15 friends I can think of – my ex-husband, even! (He’s a former educator, & Dr. Krop has soooooo much to say about our children & how they are reeling not just from individual family problems & social conditions but also the utterly ubiquitous environmental contaminants.) Plus at least one sibling, maybe 2 or heck, all 3.

And then, of course, enough copies of the other books on the list for various friends, acquaintances, family members & libraries.

There are other books I’d like to buy & distribute around by the caseload too, of course.

Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser.

A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.

& others too numerous to name…

I guess what all these books have in common is that they make clear, brilliant, heartfelt diagnoses of what is “wrong” with our culture – along with kick-ass, practical suggestions for all of us to get off our butts & fix our lives (& health) & that of the entire planet.

No excuses, no lollygagging, no victim nonsense, no “why is this happening to ME” – just clear communications about the nature of our illusions, & our excuses & our apathy & our reliance on broken systems of all kinds – whether these are political, medical, educational, corporate, monetary, or even mostly our own personal mind system! (And, in the case of Broken Open, greatly compassionate & so poignant about how we are all of us in the same darn leaky boat – all of us, every one of us, just another “bozo on the bus.”)

So much of what is wrong is mind-made, as Joanna Macy reminds us.

And we CAN choose to change our minds!

It takes energy, it takes courage – it takes a village, readers!! A great big global village – that’s us; all of us!!

We might have to turn off the TV (& the cell phone, & the computer, & the I-pod, & the I-phone).

We might need to go for a walk every day to clear our heads of all the invasive noise & nonsense & distraction our culture fills them up with.

We might need to read some challenging & provocative articles & books.

And we might need to get off our butts & commit to changing this crazy old hurting world.

Don’t we owe this to our children & grandchildren???

Of COURSE we do! We definitely, definitely do!!


P.S. Thanks to Dorothy & Mary for lending me the Boyd, Deacon & Krop books!!

P.P.S.The Barenaked Ladies song ends, “If I had a million dollars, I’d be rich!” Well, I’m already wealthy (if not rich) – but I sure could use some cash to buy a whole whack of great books for people!!!!

P.P.S. Can’t resist adding a link to the very fun & clever YouTube from last summer – “If I had a billion dollars” – celebrating our wonderful (not) Canadian Prime Minister & his cronies’ decision to build a fake lake in Toronto for the G20 summit attendees. Apparently having lost sight of the fact that our own lovely (if very polluted) Lake Ontario is within easy seeing & walking distance of the summit activities. Ah, politicians, eh? I guess no one expects them to actually make any sense….

‘Quote of the day’with this post: “Lies are infinite in number, and the truth so small and singular.” – from The Lacuna, a wonderful novel by Barbara Kingsolver (pg. 247).

Runner-up quotes: “A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us.” – Franz Kafka & “A politician is required to listen to humbug, talk humbug, condone humbug. The most we can hope for is that we don’t actually believe it.” – Character in P.D. James’ A Taste for Death

Prison Break!

<written Jan. 24/10>

Woke up feeling pretty much like the proverbial “bag of s-it” this morning. There’s kind of a lot of heavy emotional stuff going on in my life just now. Details not important.

I hauled myself out of bed more or less by the scruff of the neck & forced myself to get out for a walk.

I was pretty deep into negative thoughts as I set out. “Oh poor me,” “How could s/he?” Not to mention a large dollop of self-loathing. “Why am I such a LOSER?” That kind of thing…

I didn’t get more than a block before I saw a man walking his dog along Queen St. (I swear there are more dogs than people in this neighbourhood). I very deliberately avoided looking at either man or dog (normally I’d have smiled at the dog, at the very least), & the thought immediately sprang into my mind that I was choosing to remain miserable. Self-absorbed. Wallowing in misery.

It was immediately crystal-clear to me that this was a choice I was making.

“Hmmph,” I thought. “Fine. I choose to be miserable & wallow in self-pity & self-flagellation & self-loathing. Righty then!”

But on I walked, beside Lake Ontario, enjoying, in spite of myself, the waves, the trees, & all the darn dogs (& their people). Especially the little kids (what is not to like about youthful innocence & exuberance?? I mean…)

Pretty soon a few good thoughts came to me as regards how I might wrestle with the personal emotional storms I’m currently caught up in.

And then I thought, is it not so totally true that we are all prisoners of our own minds? And further, that this is a choice we make?

So, therefore, we can choose to “break out.” Figure out ways to navigate a little more fearlessly out of the messy emotional storms we all get caught up in, in this oh-so-human life we each lead.

Joanna Macy has pointed out in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice & Ecological Renewal that “Choice is so important because it actually constitutes what it means to be a person.”

And also that all of humankind’s problems (& our individual ones) are mind-made. They are not real & immutable & rock-solid. They are really just ideas – thoughts & concepts inside our heads.

So, we simply have to make the choice to change what goes on inside our heads.

(Well, of course we can't make pollution go away just by changing our thoughts about it. But we can change our state of mind about things...)


I don't feel like a bag of s-it anymore. I feel “human” again (although of course being human does admittedly encompass a wide variety of moods).

I feel as though there are some possibilities open to me as regards these all-important relationships in my life – & that's a great relief, since, in my world, anyway, it’s really the relationships that are the whole darn deal.

So, I made a “prison break,” you might say, & stopped myself from feeling miserable. It didn’t take very long at all! 🙂


p.s. Eckhart Tolle & Byron Katie are quite brilliant (& down-to-earth practical) on the subject of how we each choose our thoughts & thus, can change them. I highly recommend Tolle’s book A New Earth & Katie’s Loving What Is Four questions that can change your life. Both these writers have been down inside the pits of deep depression themselves. They are writing about what they know, not some high-falutin’ intellectual exercise or airy-fairy spiritual mumbo-jumbo. They have been there

p.p.s. Paul Dudley White, a physician who lived from 1886-1973, said “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” I’m utterly convinced he was absolutely right. Walking is downright magical


‘Quote of the Day’ with this post: “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” – Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Pain Bodies on Parade (or Oh, To Be a Duck)

<Sept. ‘08>

Have you read Eckhart Tolle?

If not, my most excellent & heartfelt advice to you is, run out as soon as possible and buy (or borrow) his books & read him!!!

Read A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. You’ll find you’ll want to dip into its astonishingly helpful life truths again & again & again. (1)

This is an extraordinary time in human history.

Hmmm. Allow me to re-phrase that.

This is perhaps the most astonishing, beyond devastating and tragic to potentially apocalyptic, time in the history of our species (it certainly isn’t boring, though, is it?)

Only if you have your head planted firmly in the ground, ostrich-style, with ears and eyes firmly closed up with duct tape, can you miss seeing the truth that planetary devastation and the collapse of “civilization” as we know it are staring us squarely in the face.

We’ve waged war on each other and on the planet that sustains us, for between 5 & 10,000 years now.

War, poverty, greed, violence, cruelty, discrimination –  all are major stars on the world stage.

In our personal lives, greed, self-delusion and obsession with the past (our hurts, our pain) and the future (when we will triumph! When we will be rich/thin/admired/retired/“well”…) keep us from “being here now” to see what is really going on in our personal lives, and to the very planet we inhabit. There is also, I’d venture to say, a rather extraordinary epidemic of terminal, blind self-absorption.

Well. To pain bodies, hmm? My own pain body(2) made a big and rather noisy appearance recently. It stunned me – took me completely by surprise – and “got the better of me,” big-time. I thought I was “past” that kind of unconscious being-swallowed-up-by my own “crud,” for lack of a better way of putting it.

Oops! Not quite! Haven’t quite, yet, transmuted all that old … crap.

The specifics are not particularly relevant. I was in a setting where I suppose pain bodies make rather frequent appearances (a hospital), and where family “dramas” probably happen at the drop of a hat; for sure, though, the spectacular appearance of my own PB took me entirely by surprise.

It wasn’t actually until a couple of days later (with the help of Tolle and Oprah) that I actually “got” what had grabbed hold of me.

I do believe what we are seeing around us – in our individual lives and on the societal/world stage – is a spectacular, earth-wide drama of “pain bodies on parade.”

What is a person to do??

Well, I don’t have any simple answers or guarantees, dear Reader.

I can recommend that we all begin by reading Eckhart Tolle (whose views and insights, by the way, are consistent with all or most religious traditions and also with non-belief, actually – he’s an equal opportunity kind of guy!) – grasping that this pivotal time in human history is calling each one of us to heal ourselves (by learning to live in the present moment; sounds easy, huh? Bit more challenging than it sounds, but do-able…) – so that we stand some chance of helping heal “the world.”

And then, I’d say, we all ought to follow the advice of that amazing and inspiring Dalai Lama, who has said, “The most important meditation is critical thinking – followed by action.”

And oh dear me, I’ve gone & forgotten to explain the duck part!

Tune in to “Ducks, Unlimited; Humans? Also Unlimited…”



P.S. Another blog item about Eckhart Tolle, ducks & pain bodies is ‘Flap Your Wings.’



(1) Watch his Webcasts with Oprah, too! They are wonderful and inspiring and definitely have the potential to be life-changing. Catch them here

(2) Tolle has articulated the concept of the “pain body” in both The Power of Now and A New Earth. It’s a concept that illuminates a very great deal, I must say! Google it and watch a short YouTube for an explanation.