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Mara Rose
Worked at enjoying life
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Mara Rose

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It has a sound, a fullness.
It's heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It's ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf.
It's golden they say.
But no one tells us it's addictive.

Angela Long


Photo by Joe Parks
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Wild looking branches...
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John Oliver on a serious problem ~ Big Pharma marketing to doctors.

Thanks +Brad Esau 
Big Pharma marketing to doctors. 

I've kind of lightened up on writing about this sort of thing (but am hoping to get back to it soon). 

Last Week Tonight's John Oliver uses his brand of humour to expose a serious subject. 

via +Nina Anthonijsz 

#bigpharma   #pharmaceutical   #doctor   #corruption
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Profound ~

I shared this post yesterday, and somehow accidentally deleted it :(.  My apologies to those who commented and plussed, as well as for re-posting.

Thank you so much +Gina Fiedel.

Being A Fox- The Tangles In Our Lives
A Zen Koan For You: Baizhang's Fox

As many of you know I am involved with the practice of Zen koan meditation.

I've been haunted by the koan we kept company with this past week and I want to share it with you. It's considered to be one of the more difficult koans to pass through but one of the beauties of koans is that it doesn't matter. There is something there for each of us.

This is a compelling story. Our conversation about it touched on the places we encounter in our lives that we experience as difficulties. The ones we want to get away from, have stop so we can go on living. Thing is, life is already here. This is it.

The koan invites reflection [and conversation] about what it's like to be stuck in the tangles of living that we find ourselves in, the difficulties and trials of being human. Life as a fox. Meeting life where we are, not turning from it in the effort to make the hard things go away, waiting for them to vanish before we think we can start living. We are living now. With whatever is happening.

In ancient China, foxes were reviled creatures and so to be stuck in the body and existence of a fox would be a terrible thing.

Baizhang's Fox

Whenever Baizhang gave a talk, an old man was there listening. He would stand at the back of the hall, quietly keeping himself apart from the assembly. When the people left he left too. One day he stayed behind.

“Who are you?” asked the teacher.

The old man said, “It's true I'm not a human being. In a previous universe, in the time of a different Buddha, I was the abbot on this mountain. A student asked me, 'Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect?' 'No,' I said, someone like that doesn't fall under the law of cause and effect.' Because of this, I've been reborn 500 times as a fox. Please will you say a turning word for me?”
Baizahang said, “You don't cut the chains of cause and effect.”

At these words the old man had a great awakening.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

+John Tarrant, Roshi and Founder of The Pacific Zen Institute, wrote a beautiful short piece about this koan. I hope he won't mind my putting it here:

”Once in the Australian alps, I did surgery on a red fox using a Swiss army knife. The fox was in a dingo trap, her front paw cut almost through below the elbow. I threw my shirt over her and opened the trap but it was clear that the leg couldn't be saved, and the fox waited while I cut it off. The fox had such an air of desperation, anguish and loss, her fur was stuck to itself, she smelt of fear and brokenness. She had little likelihood of survival and was anyway an alien, a non-native creature, considered a pest by biologists. Nonetheless this was a true meeting, she is someone I really met. She is certainly gone now, the people in my life then are gone, the snow at the tree line, and even the climate of that time is gone."

"The mind is built on brokenness and mutilation, and the way I see it the whole thing is a continuous flow. Each moment is also full of reasons and brightness. The fox's shaking, matted beauty touched me, an enlightenment inside the life we both have. It wasn't a trick of the light, the brokenness itself is complete, there are whole worlds inside the brokenness."

"When I keep company with a koan, whatever comes to me, is the koan, it doesn't have to be the tame version, have four whole legs or even belong to the same universe. It's alive.”
John Tarrant,

The Painting

Our dear longtime friend, Allison Atwill, who has, during the course of our long friendship, founded our local Sangha (Zen koan meditation group), become a sensei (teacher) and recently, a Roshi (full teacher, leader) having received transmission from her teacher (mine as well), founder of the Pacific Zen Institute), guides us in our experience of Zen koan meditation each week when we meet.

Allison is also a very gifted artist and this is a video of her discussing her koan paintings and the photo of the one I've included below.

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You are so welcome, +Becky Coleman ~
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Gorgeous Avian Images, thanks +Bill McGarvey ~

Eight Award-Winning Avian Images

In association with Nature’s Best Photography.
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Beautiful, isn't +deborah rabbit white :)
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Beautiful #nightsky photography ~

h/t +Bored Panda 
15+ Breathtaking Photos Of Starry Skies Will Inspire You To Look Up (15+ pics):

#astronomy   #astronomyday   #stars   #nightphotography  
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Genial composición
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I love owls ~ This post brought a smile :)

h/t +Bored Panda

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That's one way to lose a toupee :)
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Truth :)
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Yeeeee - hawwwwww!
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Jon Stewart recently purchased a farm in New Jersey with the intention of providing sanctuary for farm animals rescued form cruelty.

#JonStewart is awesome :)
Jon Stewart recently purchased a farm in New Jersey with the intention of providing a sanctuary for farm animals rescued from cruelty.
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It's Time for a Conversation ~

Breaking the communication barrier between dolphins and humans.

When one of Earth's smartest creatures vocalizes, it fuels a heated debate among scientists: Are dolphins actually speaking a complex language?
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Today, we’re going to talk about a man and his wish . . . a wish that was anything but greedy, a wish that absolutely, positively came true. I’m talking about a man named Dayton O. Hyde and his dream of opening The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Hyde made a wish back in the 1980s and set about the business of making it come true . . . and he did it, out of sheer grit and determination.

His Kingdom for a Horse... #wildhorses   #northdakota  
Free At Last: The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
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You are so welcome, +Ramona Benton ~ I will!
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Great horned owlets ~

I love the hooting of great horned owls.  The link below is to recordings of owl sounds.  Some nights, when I am in the countryside, I can hear three owls calling back and forth.

Regular weekend readers may recall this image of a just-born Great Horned Owl poking its beak out of the nest. Well! Almost exactly month later, look how big that little guy/gal has gotten — and hey, look at all those siblings, too!
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Emma is one tough, brave cat!  Nine lives for sure.
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Those big brown eyes gaze at you, deeply. Your heart leaps. You caress, murmuring sweet nothings. And as those big browns remain fixed on you, the tail wags.
Devoted dog. Besotted owner. That continuous loop of loving reinforcement may begin with the dog’s gaze, according to a new report in Science.
Japanese researchers found that dogs who trained a long gaze on their owners had elevated levels of oxytocin, a hormone produced in the brain that is associated with nurturing and attachment, similar to the feel-good feedback that bolsters bonding between parent and child.
After receiving those long gazes, the owners’ levels of oxytocin increased, too.
The dog’s gaze cues connection and response in the owner, who will reward the dog by gazing, talking and touching, all of which helps solder the two, the researchers said. They suggest that dogs became domesticated in part by adapting to a primary human means of contact: eye-to-eye communication.
And when researchers gave dogs extra oxytocin through a nasal spray, the female dogs (though not the males) gazed at their owners even longer, which in turn boosted the owners’ oxytocin levels.
“What’s unique about this study is that it demonstrates that oxytocin can boost social gaze interaction between two very different species,” said Steve Chang, an assistant professor of psychology and neurobiology at Yale who was not involved in this latest research.
Dr. Chang, who studies oxytocin in animals, noted that through domestication, dogs came to regard humans as their “key social partners,” while humans also came to view dogs as social partners.
“In a way, domesticated dogs could hijack our social circuits, and we can hijack their social circuits,” he said in an email, as each species learned how to raise the other’s oxytocin levels, facilitating connection.
The researchers also tested wolves raised by humans to see whether a wolf-to-owner gaze would raise oxytocin levels in either or both. But compared with dogs, the wolves scarcely gazed at their owners, and the owners’ oxytocin levels barely budged.
Unlike dogs, wolves “tend to use eye contact as a threat” and are inclined to “avoid human eye contact,” wrote Miho Nagasawa, a study author and research fellow at Jichi Medical University.
In an email, Dr. Takefumi Kikusui, a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Azabu University, wrote that he believes that the differences in gaze between dogs and wolves means “that dogs have acquired this superior ability during the evolutionary and domestication process of living with humans.”
He continued: “There is a possibility that dogs cleverly and unknowingly utilized a natural system meant for bonding a parent with his or her child.”
In the first experiment, researchers measured oxytocin levels in the urine of 30 owners and dogs before and after they interacted for 30 minutes. The dogs were males and females, spayed, neutered and intact. The breeds included Golden retrievers, standard poodles, miniature Dachshunds, miniature Schnauzers, a Jack Russell Terrier, and two mixed breed. They also measured oxytocin in five wolves and their owners.
The changes in oxytocin were most pronounced in dogs who fixed longer gazes on their owners, which researchers defined as 100 seconds in the first five minutes of the encounter. They saw no significant difference in oxytocin levels among the breeds or sex of the dogs.
In the second experiment, researchers administered nasal sprays of either saline or oxytocin to dogs. This time, each dog entered a room with three humans: its owner and two strangers. But now, only the female dogs who were given the oxytocin displayed an even longer gaze at their owners, who in turn had spikes in their oxytocin levels. Researchers could not say why the sex of the dog mattered. But they speculated that vigilance in male dogs, set off by the presence of the two strangers, may have moderated the effects of oxytocin.
Other experts on canine behavior expressed caution about overstating the implications of this study.
Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, director of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, called the study “a fascinating direction of research, because it looks at connections between behavioral measures and hormonal components.” She noted that it raised many intriguing questions: about long and short gazes; why only female dogs reacted to the oxytocin dose; whether other breeds would yield different results. But pointing to the small size of the sample, she added, “I don’t know how it proves the domestication thesis.”
And then there is the meaning of a dog’s “gaze.” The human gaze is layered with nuance. Dog owners may ascribe similar complexity to their dog’s gaze, certain that they, like parents, can interpret it. (A view endorsed by this owner of a Havanese, whose eager, soulful gaze is both long and expressive, punctuated by cocking his head, and fluttering his ears forward. Speaks volumes.) “If your dog’s gaze helps you think your dog understands you,” said Dr. Horowitz, “that produces bonding.”
But Evan L. MacLean, co-director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center and a co-author of a commentary accompanying the study, said, “We don’t know what the dog’s gaze means. When you look at a human baby, it feels good. Maybe dogs gaze at you because it feels good. Maybe the dogs are hugging you with their eyes?”
But Dr. MacLean, an evolutionary anthropologist, said that fundamentally, for dogs, human behavior is “the telltale of everything that is about to happen.” Are we going to stand or sit? Leave the room? Bring food?
And so they stare at us, fixedly.
“If I was dropped on Mars,” Dr. MacLean said, “and everyone was speaking a language I didn’t understand, and I knew I could never acquire their language, I’d just give up. But dogs don’t. They’re not reluctant to tune in to us at every moment.”

Article in Science:

I do think it's important to recognize the difference between gazing, which is loving, and exchanged between the dog and his person, and staring, which to dogs, is aggressive.

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Living From the Inside Out
"There's a crack in everything.  That's where the Light gets in."

"The light is the capacity to reconcile your experience, your sorrow, with every day that dawns.  It is that understanding, which is beyond significance or meaning, that allows you to live a life and embrace the disasters and sorrows and joys that are our common lot.  But it's with the recognition there is a crack in everything.  I think all other visions are doomed to irretrievable gloom."

~ Leonard Cohen, From Anthem

Reference for Cohen's interpretation presented to Oregonian found here:

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