Apr 29, 2024

Light, Love, and Healing for Our World

The writer and activist Joanna Macy says: "Work with your passion. Work with your pain. Work with what is at hand." And to that, my own heart responds.

For now, more than ever, spiritual warriors are needed to feel the light and love within them and radiate that love to the darkest corners of hearts and souls everywhere.

There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Chinese philosopher
6th century bce

Still your hearts from anger, fear, or hatred. Fill them up with love and peace. Our spirits know who we are, why we chose to be here during these incredibly challenging times.

With life's many challenges ever increasing, how do we find peace in this horribly troubled world, this universal psyche that chooses the negative over the positive, the masculine over the feminine, the warring over the peace making and bridge building? 

It must be personal as well as national, universal as well as international. We must care, and care deeply about one another in any and all life forms and we must use our hearts, our energies, and our time to do good, say good, and be good to the best of each moment's ability.

"There are those who give little of the much which they have and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

~On Giving by Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet~

The fires, the floods, the earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and tornadoes are not only the change and transition that Mother Earth, herself is expressing--as hard for us as it might be to understand.

They can be seen as our planet's release buttons for survival. If there is too much pressure within the Earth, it erupts in volcanoes or crack opens in earthquakes.

If there is too much pressure within us, we may erupt as well. And the damage we may do to others may be just as great emotionally as volcanoes and earthquakes are physically.

If we see Mother Earth as Gaia--a living breathing entity with her trees and plants as her lungs, her incredible beauty as her heart--then Gaia is losing her breath, her natural sustainable growth and energetic flow from decay just as so many of us are losing ours.

Natural connections of mind, body, and spirit through the destructive energies of anxiety, fear, anger, hatred and dis-ease have caused cracks and many of us are stuck in the unhealthy patterns of those cracks. Everything makes us fearful or angry or hating the other.

We are all connected and when we hate the other we increase our own weaknesses of self judgment, low self esteem or low energies of illness, pain, or depression.

But in this process of death and destruction there is still an opening up in our world and our world view. The chance to learn and grow and to transition our world and our hearts and spirits into unity once again.

We are all connected. We are all part of one another. My microscopic atoms are merged with yours like stars in the cosmos. The pain that i feel is my pain, your pain, all pain. The fouled air that I am breathing will become the fouled air and the foul breathing of yours.

When we set off a bomb in one country, its repercussions and loss of awareness and love are felt by all of ours. We are perpetrators and we are victims. The winds of time and change merge into
one and so do we.

There is a purpose onto heaven for all of this. It doesn't have to be ours to understand but there it is. And part of that is the destruction of the old to make space for the new. As challenging and as awful even unbelievable as this may seem.

As someone who is old, this gives me pause. But, I am more than willing to go through whatever I have to in hopes that someday, a heaven on earth can become possible and a newer kinder, more caring and loving world might exist.

"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. 

Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. 

The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”

L. R. Knost

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it,a little more poetry to it,a little more dance to it.


How do we choose to feel peace, make peace, be peace in our own hearts? It starts with each of us as individuals, each moment of every single day.

Life is truly challenging for many, many people in this world now.
My own beloved oldest daughter was diagnosed with an already advanced, very aggressive, and unusually challenging form of cancer.

She is a remarkable and fierce spiritual warrior and she has withstood non-stop treatments without respite for a year and a half since diagnosis. She fills up my heart with her steadfast determination and fortitude amidst unbelievably challenging conditions.

I hold her always in my highest heart and spirit and I pray for deep inner and outer healing and strength, with all the love and light and healing powers of all of the highest angels of the most divine powers of God by any holy name.

"Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
the blueprint of your life would begin to glow on earth,
illuminating all the faces and voices
that would arrive to invite your soul to growth.

Praised be your father and mother,who loved you before you were,
and trusted to call you here with no idea who you would be.

Blessed be those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be,
blessed be those who have crossed your life
with dark gifts of hurt and loss that have helped to school your mind in the art of disappointment.

When desolation surrounded you,
blessed be those who looked for you
and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window
in the gray wall formed around you.

Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
your health, eyes to behold the world,
thoughts to counte-nance the unknown,
memory to harvest vanished days, your heart to feel the world’s waves,your breath to breathe the nourishment of distance made intimate by earth.

On this echoing-day of your birth,
may you open the gift of solitude in order to receive your soul;
enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart; know the serenity of  still-ness to be enfolded anew by the miracle of your being.'

John O'Donohue,
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

I am active in my own unique ways of trying to work with this incredibly challenging time in our lives, our changing country, nation, and world.

I focus on doing all I can to make it through them with spiritual thoughts, prayers, and deeds to create a place where we can not only survive turbulent times but prepare ourselves for the many challenging days and years ahead.

I focus on staying centered, filling my heart with gratitude for the gift of every day with my family--my three children, their partners, and my five beloved grandchildren.

I know in my heart of hearts that I have been waiting for this time to come.

We Were Made For These Times

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

"Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.

If you cannot refuse to stay down
lift your heart toward heaven
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.

You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven —
only you.

It is in the midst of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
refuse to fall down"

~Clarissa Pinkola Estés~
Excerpted from The Faithful Gardener: A
Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

Peace in our hearts creates peace in our world. And that is our soul's purpose..to create this peace by doing and being what we are called to do, and to be.

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about."


Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting from my heart and with my hands.

Apr 16, 2024

Earth Day Past, Present, Future

The 1960's were a decade of great change and intense social upheaval. It was marked by the untimely and violent deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. It was an era filled with exciting new musical groups, strange yet exciting clothing, big hair, bigger earrings, taller shoes, shorter skirts and unforgettably wide bell bottom pants. It was the era of "Flower Power, Far Out and Feelin' Groovy" and there was someone, and something to watch every where you looked.

I spent my school years from kindergarten through high school on Douglas Island/ Juneau, Alaska and then traveled "south to the States" and college in Corvallis, Oregon after high school graduation in 1968. I remember well the intense and dynamic activism and social awareness many of us experienced during that time.

 My college classes included categories like "Black Lit" and "Poetry of War". It was a strange and intensely exciting new world filled with dynamic changes and my first experiences with social activism and loud protests in my once quiet college campus against 'the war'.

The "war" meant Vietnam and the topic of the 'draft' struck terror in all of our hearts. I'd just met my future husband, Larry Bilyeu, at Oregon State University and he'd already received his official U.S draft card. Classmates from our hometowns--mine in Juneau, Alaska, his from Stayton, Oregon were already looking at a rapidly changing world and uncertain futures.

"What's your number?" was just as common as "What's your sign?" Your number meant your draft number and could signal the end to your college career, your hopes for the future, or even the end of your life.

Our "sign" was always the peace sign, above all else. You saw it everywhere, on everything. It was what we all wanted and what we prayed and lit candles for. Just as much as we cared for our rights, for human rights and for rights to either 'choice or life', we also cared ardently about environmental issues.

It was during the mid 1960s that Congress passed the Wilderness Act, and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas asked, "Who speaks for the trees?" I remember reading in college Rachel Carsons, shocking bestseller Silent Spring (1962). I didn't read it 'just' to learn about environmental issues. It was assigned and mandatory classroom reading!

I remember how much it pained me to think of all of the environmental damage we were so unwittingly creating not only for ourselves, but our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

In was during the sixties, that Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental 'teach-in', or 'Earth Day' to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people responding to increasing interest in environmental issues, participated that year, alone.

Thursday April 22, is one of several recognized 'Earth Day's' and is celebrated by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Nelson, an avid environmental activist, may have taken a leading role in organizing that first celebration, but it is one that is taken up, on many levels, by many ages and groups, today.

Eco-Ball at Riverfront Park, Salem Oregon
A grassroots community advocated project

Seen as more of a 'grassroots' celebration by many, and even protested and disapproved of by others, it is still the the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people every year. Many cities extend the Earth Day celebration to an entire week, usually beginning on April 16th and ending on April 22nd.

The unofficial Earth Day flag is the photo taken by NASA and submitted by John McConnell.

But according to 'Flags of the World' it is this ecology flag created by cartoonist Ron Cobb, published on Oct. 25, 1969 that is the Ecology Flag.

It was patterned after the U.S. flag with 13 stripes in alternating green and white. Its canton is green with a yellow Theta symbol.

While originally sporting a symbol which combine an 'E' for environment and an 'O' for organism, it 'evolved' into the Greek alphabet letter for Theta. (Theta is historically used as a warning symbol.)

Whatever the symbol, the meaning or the intent, Earth Day remains a day of continued awareness, social and environmental responsibility and a continuing commitment to the stewardship of Earth as our home.

“This is for young and old who care about the Earth, its air, water, land and living things. We must change the attitudes and actions now destroying the Earth into those that will heal and build our planet.”

John McConnell, Speech (1974)

“Earth Day is Nature's Day. A day of drama, dreams and dedication to the restoration, renewal and improvement of Earth's natural beauty and bounty."

John McConnell, "Celebrate Earth Day" speech at United Nations (20 March 1991)


And now:

Past posts:

Bilyeu Homes Inc. Cottage Home Awarded LEED Platinum. First in the Pacific Northwest.

I wore and passed out my quickly made Earth Day eco-pins featuring a version of that eco-flag (made with felt with safety pins ) to family and friends. 

One person even walked up to with with an "Oh my gosh! I haven't seen one of those in years!" It made my day!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands sharing an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, from "my heart and with my hands"