Crones Counsel Newsletter, April 2018

Earth Day, April 22, 2018
By Janet Morrissey, President

Earth is not a platform for human life.
It’s a living being.
We’re not on it but part of it.
It’s health is our health.
-Thomas Moore

Earth day will be 48 years old this year and celebrated in 193 countries, to increase awareness of the importance of our planet and to demonstrate environmental protection measures. This year the theme is to help end plastic pollution. In regard to the theme and some information I have learned about plastic straws, I am telling a restaurant server that I do not wish to have a straw. If they bring a straw encapsulated in a paper sleeve and you choose not to use it, the straw is still thrown away. Therefore, it is essential to tell them as you order your drink, “No Straw”. I was shocked to learn that 500 million straws are used each day in the United States (National Forest Sevice). These straws end up in the waterways, landfills, and oceans, killing marine life.

In January 2018, California assemblyman, Ian Calderon, introduced a bill to Congress to make plastic straws illegal unless requested, and a $1000 fine is being considered if this is not followed. . This would apply to sit-down restaurants only, no bars or fast food locations. Some cities already are asking customers if they want a straw.

About 20 years ago, this concept of giving customers straws began. I am sure many of you remember drinking water and perhaps soda from a glass. Can we do that again to help our environment?

A Gaelic Blessing:
Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you,
Who, herself unmoving, harbours the movements
And facilitates the life of ten thousand creatures,
While resting contented, stable, tranquil.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

See you in Bellingham.
Janet Morrissey, President

Practicing Art
By Maggie Fenton, Mother Board member

“Go into the Arts. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend (even a lousy poem!) Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something!” Kurt Vonnegut

I love watercolor painting and I do it badly but I don’t care. The process makes me see things differently, pay attention to light, shadow and detail and be in awe of this amazing world. I lose time. For me, it is meditation and when our u-pick berry season is in full sway, sketching and doing simple watercolor help me hang on to a slim thread of sanity.

When my mate, Mike, was going through college, he made crafts to help pay the way — mostly musical instruments — bamboo flutes, musical spoons, hammered dulcimers, zithers; he claims he wasn’t an artist but was trying to be a good craftsman. After doing many shows, including a particularly lucrative juried show, he applied again and a member of the jury judged him unfit. Her comments were cruel and unnecessary and this, along with the loss of revenue, brought a halt to his instrument making.

He kept a few pieces, including a flute, and gave the remaining inventory to friends and family. His older brother, Gene, was one of the recipients and said that gift changed his life; playing flute has been his primary form of meditation for over fifty years.

When we were in Arizona last month, we heard a native guide playing a flute in Antelope Canyon, rekindling Mike’s love of flutes. At Cameron’s Trading Post, he tried several and bought one. A couple of days later, we arrived at Zion and learned that the Zion Canyon Native Flute School, held yearly, was in process. With his new flute, Mike joined some students around the fire. The next day, on a trail at Zion, he stopped in a beautiful spot, met another student and played a duet. They attracted an appreciative audience, most thinking they had been playing together for years.

The Universe called; Mike responded and something shifted. Since we’ve been home, he’s once again making flutes. The sound is beautiful. He spends hours in the shop, doing lots of tweaking to get mouthpieces, scales and tone just right. Like many artists, he’s obsessed with his work and there are already five or six new flutes around.

What art have you put aside because the duties of life crept in or someone judged your art inadequate? In our Crone years, it’s time to redeem our art and feed our souls. We will have many amazing artists in Bellingham at the Artist Bazaar. Do you have some art which needs to be appreciated?

The Hidden Benefits of Drumming
By Simone La Drumma

There are some very well-known benefits to drumming – like sharpening the mind, improving coordination, boosting memory, strengthening muscles and reducing high blood pressure. But as a drummer for over 30 years, 27 of them a teacher of Drumming & The Holistic Expression of Rhythm, I have found there are some other, little-known but extremely important benefits as well.

1. Getting out of your head and into your body, and coming more fully alive in the moment.
Recently, I was teaching two women – both around 65-70 years of age and not dyslexic – both of whom were separated from their bodies. How do I know this? Easy. I tell “Linda” to put her right hand into the center of the drum head. Instead, she puts her left hand there. I ask her, “Is that your right hand?” and she nods assent. I need to repeat the request several times before she awakens from her daze. Then I ask Barbara to play a TONE with her strong hand. She uses her “wild” hand instead. (I refuse to use the word, “weak,” in my classes. You either favor your “strong” hand or your “wild” hand.) I say, “Barb, come into your body. Know what your hands are doing. Use your eyes to look at your hands!” This happens all the time. It should be a wake-up call to my students: They are losing awareness of the moment. And of course, this reawakening to the fact of one’s body often reawakens dormant sexual feelings. (But that’s a whole subject in itself…)

2. Being free of those “cares and woes” – for a while, anyway.
Get your mind off your troubles by focusing on learning something new that is totally and completely JOYFUL and ENERGIZING. The world goes away, along with your worries, as the right side of your brain – the rhythm/music/art/non-linear/non-verbal side – wakes up.
I happened to be playing with a group of musicians for an African dance class a few days after 9/11. The drumming gave me comfort and solace. Otherwise, I found it hard to breathe.

3. Music is the connection to the unseen world; sound communicates with Spirit.
For centuries, around the globe, people have used the drum to connect to the ancestors, to the deities, and to our very own souls. They have also used it for praise and to honor, and to “talk” to other beings and life forms, like animals and plants.

4. Mastering rhythmic expression (or just becoming comfortable with it) tends to increase one’s sense of self-confidence!

Why? My own opinion is that the drums connect us more fully to Mother Earth. So maybe it works like a net under the tightrope of life. The rhythm helps us to stay balanced, and even if we stumble and fall, she is always below our feet, ready to catch us every time. Once we understand this, we become more confident in everything we do. (Think about the phrase “He/she is unbalanced,” to mean there is a mental disorder. In some African cultures, this is taken literally and, for “unbalanced” people, a drummer may be called in to find a rhythm for that person which will help them regain their balance and with it greater sanity.) Register for the drumming class or get more information.

Transportation options to Bellingham, WA to attend CC26

  • By plane to Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SeaTac), then Bellair Airport Shuttle to Bellingham with a scheduled stop at our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel and Conference Center; the cost is around $70 round trip for seniors, about a two and a half hour trip each way.
  • By Alaska Airlines directly into Bellingham International Airport, then using the free Hotel shuttle to the Hotel.
  • By car – the distance between Seattle and Bellingham is 89 miles, a little over two hours.

Donations to Crones Counsel to Honor Someone

Kathy Puffer honored her great-grandmother with a $50 donation to Crones Counsel
“Honoring my great-grandmother , Rosetta Taylor Hammond (1824-1903), who told her husband after nine children and at least four homes from Massachusetts to Colorado, “You drug me this far, but I amgoing no farther.” She divorced him two years later.”
Thank you Kathy, we appreciate your donation and honor your great-grandmother! Get complete information on making a donation in honor of someone.