Blog2019-02-12T23:49:29+00:00

Imperfect Serenity

I began this blog in 2005 while I was taking care of two young children and my dying mother, so the title, Imperfect Serenity, referred to my struggle to stay spiritually grounded during a difficult time. Eventually the title came to include my experiences in eco-justice activism, anti-racism work, and book publicity. As I started publishing my writing on Huffington Post and Salon, I stopped posting here often, but many of the topics are still timely, so feel free to poke around.

August15, 2019

Brave Where You Are

By |August 15th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

A prop from an EQAT action pressuring PNC For those of you who have been around here awhile, you may have noticed that I skipped the July issue of this newsletter. That wasn’t so much a conscious choice as the result of burying my mind in the book I’m working on, while having five people and several home improvement projects happening in my house this summer. I just looked up, and it’s mid-August. Still, my head hasn't totally been in the sand. I have noticed that there is a lot going on in our world. A lot that is heartbreaking and calls out for a response. A lot that won't be solved with one election. In fact, I have a growing sense that [...]

June4, 2019

Navigating Fear in Scary Times

By |June 4th, 2019|Categories: Nonviolent Direct Action, Racism|Tags: , |0 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about courage, especially the fact that we need more of it these days. I’ve been paying attention to what makes me feel scared and what makes me feel brave, and trying to do more of the later. As I mentioned in my last blog post, community is key for me. So is focusing on the big picture. This morning, there were several news stories that reminded me of the big picture, the long game, if you will. First was the fact that this is the hundredth anniversary of Congress passing the 19th Amendment. Frankly, I’m still annoyed that neither of my children learned in school about the amazingly brave women that won women the right to vote, some through civil disobedience, [...]

May1, 2019

Crashing Corporate Meetings as a Path to Self-Knowledge

By |May 1st, 2019|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action, Spirituality|Tags: |4 Comments

Shareholder team photo by Rachael Warriner Yesterday morning I put on my nicest business dress, a little bit of mascara and joined Earth Quaker Action Team in Wilmington, DE for the annual shareholder meeting of Exelon, the parent company of our electric utility, PECO. We came to disrupt business as usual with the message that PECO is failing to transition to a just and sustainable energy future, and as the responsible parent, Exelon needed to address PECO’s poor performance. My role was action lead, the person who grounded the group at the beginning and decided when to leave the meeting, since getting arrested out of state was not part of the plan. While a larger group outside rallied and sang, seven of us [...]

April2, 2019

Strategy & Spirit

By |April 2nd, 2019|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action, Spirituality, Uncategorized|0 Comments

“Strategy is so hard,” said a young activist leader I met with recently. She then listed several challenges she thought should be considered when coming up with a campaign strategy, including what her group might be willing to try. It struck me that she was starting with potential limitations instead of where she wanted to go, something I see many activists do. Planning a campaign strategy is like planning a route with a GPS. First, you need to know your destination.  To generate a visual aid, I tried typing “victory” into my iPhone, and it suggested three driving routes to the Victory Beer Hall (which I thought was pretty funny). The fastest goes out of my way, but the most direct route is on a [...]

November7, 2018

The View from the Future

By |November 7th, 2018|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action, Spirituality|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to talk with someone from the future? Last weekend I participated in an amazing exercise during the Earth Quaker Action Team annual board retreat. Our facilitator, BJ Star of Wildfire Project, split us into two groups. Six of us would be ourselves, living in these times. The other six would portray people from 200 years in the future, seven generations from now. They would be people who thought about our era as history and considered us their ancestors. I had tears flowing down my face before BJ was halfway through setting up the exercise. The truth is, I’m not sure humanity will survive two hundred more years. Given the rate at which we are poisoning the [...]

June29, 2018

One thing I’ve learned about protest

By |June 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

It’s been a challenging time for those who value compassion and inclusion. If you're distraught, I understand. On Facebook, I've seen people name coping mechanisms, including: exercise, mac and cheese, time on the beach, therapy, and protest. I suspect others are coping by staying off Facebook altogether, maybe turning to community or prayer. I think all of those strategies have their merits, but want to share what I've learned about one of them: protest. This week concludes my fifth and final year as board clerk of Earth Quaker Action Team. (I'm happily passing the torch to incoming co-clerks, Lina Blount and John Bergen.) So, amid the news of anguished, separated families and calls to protest, I've been reflecting on what I've learned leading this small band of effective and [...]

March28, 2018

Arrested for Telling the Truth

By |March 28th, 2018|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action, Racism, Spirituality|Tags: , , , , , , , |6 Comments

Both photos by Kaytee Ray-Riek, who was also an action lead Yesterday I was put in handcuffs by the Philadelphia police and led, wrists behind my back, out of my local electric utility customer service center and into a waiting police van. My crime? Sharing the truth about solar energy with my fellow PECO customers and refusing to leave when the utility got nervous about it. This wasn’t the original plan, but direct action often doesn’t go according to plan, so I was grateful to be with a group ready to follow where Spirit led us. Intentionally scheduled during a week held sacred by Christians and Jews, the religious tradition of righteous protest was an important part of this direct action. We began [...]

September5, 2017

Spirituality for Troubled Times

By |September 5th, 2017|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action, Racism, Spirituality|Tags: , , , , , , |9 Comments

  After the violence in Charlottesville, an African American friend of mine posted on Facebook that she’d had it with “spiritual white people.” I knew what she meant. As a white woman who has taught classes on spiritual discernment, racism, and social change strategy, I’d been thinking a lot about how to cultivate a spiritual response to hate that goes deeper than clichés about Love or denunciations of all violence, which is what many white people have been offering. In a time when our brothers and sisters of color are calling on us to do more, here are seven practices to help us move beyond good intentions and toward actual transformation: 1. Recognize both Oneness and Difference One of my core beliefs is that we [...]

March24, 2015

Epilogue to Renewable

By |March 24th, 2015|Categories: Climate Change, Writing|0 Comments

Eileen at the People's Climate Marchwith George and Ingrid Lakey Friday morning I did an author interview with religion journalist turned publisher, David Crumm, for his online magazine Read the Spirit. As someone who reads many memoirs, David suggested I write a blog post about what has happened in my life since the end of Renewable, for those who are curious. I thought it was a good idea, so here are some updates on me, Earth Quaker Action Team, and the wider climate justice movement. We are still living in “the house,” and I still have too much e-mail in my in-box, though now I'm interested in more of it. My family has adjusted reasonably well to my life of activism. Tom has [...]

February19, 2015

Intersectionality

By |February 19th, 2015|Categories: Climate Change, Racism|0 Comments

I'll be speaking this Saturday at a gathering on Climate, Race, and Justice. I find that talk has been rewriting itself over and over in my mind, even though I was supposed to be working on something else today, an article to accompany my book publication in less than two weeks. The intersection between Climate, Race, and Justice is something I've been interested in for a while. It's part of what brought me to this work, and I have felt that learning to talk about the intersections is part of what I'm called to do. But this is the first time I've been challenged to make a public statement about it--preferably in less than 30 minutes. It's hard. I believe that people learn best through [...]