Saturday, December 20, 2008

Changing Quickly

Don't you notice that there are particular moments
when you are naturally inspired to introspection?

Work with them gently, for these are the moments
when you can go through a powerful experience,
and your whole worldview can change quickly.

~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: Change usually takes quite awhile. We expect it to. It is a rare experience to "change overnight." And that's generally good--otherwise we'd never know what to expect in our environment from one day to the next. Rinpoche speaks with reverence of another kind of change so extraordinary as to be immediately transformative. He suggests that we watch for these transcendent moments and use them for they provide a window into the universe that once opened cannot be easily shut.

Today's Weather Report: Up to 10 inches of snow is predicted for the the next 24 hours. The dark clouds are gathering, and we are preparing to hunker down. While four cats are content to curl up in various spots around the house, one of the cats believes the house is his playpen and is bouncing from wall to wall, upstairs and down. Catnip could not explain this behavior because it is now buried below several inches of snow. It's probably the young cat's response to early cabin fever. I've got news for him--we've got many more months of this ahead.

Watch For Change Snippet: Africa has been a mess for years. No one would argue that. How to help has been the perennial issue. For years, the Bush administration and other western nations have pushed human development, including healthcare, education and good governance. China has taken another route in emphasizing infrastructure construction such as buildings, roads and hospitals but it hasn't stopped there. The pragmatic Chinese have also introduced Africans to high-yield rice as a way to help end chronic malnutrition. To get the idea off the ground, the astute developers planted the staple around the private house of the progressive Liberian President. If the trial proves successful, farmers will be encouraged to grow the staple around their own homes. A Chinese official was quoted as saying: "[If] rice can grow around the houses of all farmers, the food problem would be solved in Liberia." The west groused that Chinese loans were only a carrot to gain access to vast African resources and would eventually be an unwieldy burden. The nations themselves feel otherwise and welcome help from many sources, especially help with more immediate results. Many ideas have come and gone in Africa and cynicism runs high. But high-yield rice, now that might an idea worth pursuing in the places it can grow, and I am rooting that this one takes hold.

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