Posted by: Laura Carter | September 14, 2014

Cultural Extinction

At any given time, I have about a dozen books on my shelf waiting for the right time to be read. So it was with “The Wayfinders-Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World,” by Wade Davis, which had been waiting patiently for about three years. Once I’d read the first few pages, I gulped this book like it was a life-giving elixir.

way finder book coverDavis begins by sharing his view of the world. And believe me, from his life experiences as a National Geographic explorer, writer and anthropologist, he is well versed in world. “Together the myriad of cultures makes up an intellectual and spiritual web of life that envelopes the planet and is every bit as important to the well being of the planet as is the biological web of life we know as the biosphere.” Davis calls this social web of life an ethnosphere — the “sum total of our thoughts and intuitions, myths and beliefs.” This ethnosphere is the core of our adaptive nature and our legacy.  And, the truth is we are facing the loss of half of humanity’s social, cultural and intellectual legacy, as the extinction of human cultures is picking up pace.

Excellently written and thought provoking, this book is essentially a compilation of Davis’ series of Massey Lectures. Davis shares his extensive knowledge of a good many diverse populations with whom he developed relationships. First, the Polynesians, spreading their cultural realm to hundreds of islands throughout the Pacific with their amazing art of navigation. Who knew Thor Hyderdahl’s “Kon Tiki” was full of bunk! Peoples of the Anaconda is a perfect example of a large and diverse civilization whose existence is woven into the very fabric of its physical location–along the Amazon River. The Aborigines of Australia, with their ritual ‘dreaming,’ evolved a deep, timeless relationship with their world. “What does it mean that though out history “dynamic living people have been driven out of existence by identifiable and overwhelming external forces?” Davis asks.

With a perfect blend of science and human insights, Davis makes  powerful observations. In the chapter on Sacred Geography he states, “…I would like to reflect on this particular attitude of ours, this manner in which we have reduced our planet to a commodity, a raw resource to be consumed at our whim.”  The modern world…”is certainly not the true and only pulse of history. It is merely a constellation, of beliefs, conviction, paradigm, that represent one way of doing things…”

For some reason I thought of this song when I was writing this blog. In the vast oceans, we are but ripples and waves. But, as that, we part of the whole. We are past, present, and the future–if we don’t fuck it up.

“I’m a wave upon the ocean, I’m a little ripple on the sea. Don’t get no crazy notion, you know you’re very much like me.” Shivas Headband

Posted by: Laura Carter | September 2, 2014

Free Justin Carter

Justin Carter

UPDATES:

New September 2, 2014: Family and friends rallied behind Justin as he was in court two days last week. His wonderful lawyers, Don Flanary III and Chad Van Brundt argued two significant motions, one for “no probable cause” regarding the search warrant. The other was dismissal of a ‘confession’ Justin made to two detectives from NB–without his lawyer being present. Yes, that happened. No surprise, the judge denied both.

What’s next? Flanary and Van Brundt continue the quest for justice by appealing the decisions to the 3rd Court of Appeals. That will only take a couple of years. Yes, that the way it happens.

In the meantime, they will ask for the bond restrictions to be eased so at least Justin might be able to work.

Sitting in court, listening to witnesses for the defense define social media, hyperbole, and other aspects of the law was very interesting. As my granddaughter said, “It’s really nothing like they show on TV.” I considered it a real learning experience–however unfortunate the reason we were all there in the first place.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters and our lawyers for whom we have the utmost respect.

I want to add that in no way do we make light of what Justin wrote, only that it was meant to be a sarcastic retort.


 

June 23, 2014: More trial delays. Not sure what’s happening. I trust the lawyers 100% to be doing an excellent job for my grandson. Justin and I laughed all the way home talking about “Game of Thrones” characters. We definitely do not agree on favorites.

May 9, 2014: Justin’s new court date is June 19th. Ironically both Juneteenth, “the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States” (read more), and Justin’s brother Logan’s birthday. Hopefully this auspicious date will translate to a full dismissal of all charges. Please sign the petition page at change.org, where there are usually updates as well.

March 2014:Latest article from the Austin Chronicle. Pretty much sums up what’s been happening. Next court date is March 27, 2014.

December 2013:Justin is still going to court for pre-trial hearings, about once a month. The next pre-trial hearing is on December 16, 2013. It would be a nice Christmas gift if his case was dismissed and he was free to get back to his job and life.

Thanks to an anonymous donor angel, Justin’s $500,000.00 bail was paid in full and he was released to his family on July 11th. It is not over yet, as the charges are still pending. We are grateful he is no longer in jail. Check the news for other updates.

Laura

OK, I’m really diving in now. Since June 25, when my son did his first interview about Justin’s plight, the story has spread across the world. Never in my life did I think my family would be the center of a story that continues to make the airwaves, printed media and rounds on the internet.

I also find rather Kafkaesque Justin’s arrest and subsequent incarceration, the outrageous bond, and the unwillingness of the prosecution to even entertain the fact that they have blown a comment completely out of proportion.

I think one of the reasons this story hits home is because there is a whole generation of citizens out there who understand the propensity of ‘trash talk’ on internet forums and games. Facebook has become a repository of some of the banter. Cruise around the internet and you’ll find comments that certainly make my generation cringe. But, criminal? I think not. It’s also the reality of jailhouse abuse that has us angry and upset. Should it be accepted that every person behind bars is abused and that’s just part of the punishment? To me that’s criminal.

I’ve read so many stories, with so many spins on the facts, though I thank them all for getting the word out. I thought the one from the Christian Science Monitor was the most intelligent.  Plus a video from Sky Williams who also made a fundraising page.

Needless to say, we love everyone of you who has supported Justin in comments, by signing the pledge (86,918 as if post time). Please support the fundraisers for bail. I promise the money will go to getting Justin out of jail. I also thank the most excellent attorney, Donald H. Flanary III for his time and expertise on this case.

I look forward to hugging my grandson in the flesh very soon.

Posted by: Laura Carter | July 8, 2014

Speaker Search Underway for TEDxSANANTONIO 2014

“We heard you, San Antonio!”

SPEAKER SEARCH EXTENDED TO JULY 20 FOR TEDxSANANTONIO

With a theme of “Ideas in Action,” TEDxSanAntonio is now accepting speaker applications for the event that will be held at Rackspace Global Headquarters on Saturday, October 18, 2014. Visit TEDxSA.com/speak/ to complete the online application. See complete news at http://tedxsanantonio.com/media/

Here are just two of my favorite speakers from previous years to give you a taste of the San Antonio flavored TEDx event. I liked these two because they were compelling and inspiring personal stories. Please visit  TEDxSanAntonio to view any or all the speakers from the first four years. You won’t want to miss the 5th annual event!
Linda Perez 2012 TEDxSA

Life is short, build a ranch, and pick your bull wisely! Linda Perez 2012 Photo credit Davis Staedtler

 

Nelson Guda, tedxsanantonio

Nelson Guda 2013 A life photographer with a stunning, visual story. Photo credit C. Mims

Posted by: Laura Carter | June 24, 2014

Nothing is a coincidence

There have been so many cosmic and cool things in my life. And, I don’t care if anyone but me thinks so. But, listen to this one.

The summer I was nineteen, I came back home to San Antonio from my freshman year at Southwest Texas State College. Just for something to keep me occupied, I accompanied my friend, Rosie Gander, to the San Antonio Little Theatre. We signed up to volunteer as stagehands for their big summer show–“Sound of Music”–staged at the old Sunken Gardens outdoor theater.

I met an airman there who was also volunteering as a stagehand. Steve drove a little convertible sports car and was DJ part-time on a local radio station. We spent a lot of time talking and laughing, and smoking cigarettes in the lulls between the our stage duties. He came over to my house for dinner and I think we may have gone to the movies. (I need to ask if he remembers)

At the end of the summer, my family moved, I went back to college and Steve went to Viet Nam. We wrote each other faithfully for about three or fours years. He had quite the way with words, good at sarcasm and funny stories. If you can image any funny stories coming out of Viet Nam. He went back to the states for college when he got out of the Air Force and we lost track of one another.

Forty-four years later he finds me through this very blog site.  I told him I saved all his letters because I thought they were such a piece of history. We began corresponding where we left off. Only this time we’re writing via email. He’s just as eloquent and just as funny as he was those many years ago.

Carole, Steve and me  48 years later

Carole, Steve and me
48 years later

In April this year, Steve and his wife, Carole, came to San Antonio (they live in a small town in Nebraska) for Fiesta (admittedly a mistake as it was hotter than blue blazes this year.) My husband and I spent several days with them when they weren’t doing Fiesta things. We had such a wonderful time. I loved getting to know Carole, and Steve…same great guy, just a little older.

Now, come on, isn’t that cosmic and cool?

 

 

.

Posted by: Laura Carter | June 22, 2014

10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

Laura Carter:

I find these insights so spot-on, I must share. I do some, but not all of these things sometimes. Must stop!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

2. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to…

View original 908 more words

Posted by: Laura Carter | May 26, 2014

With The Sky At My Feet

Laura Carter:

I’m walking on sunshine!

Originally posted on leaf and twig:

DSC00512
in the cool of the woods
at the edge of the clearing
quiet brings clarity of thought

View original

Posted by: Laura Carter | May 11, 2014

It’s all about words

puppies

CUTE!

cute kittens

CUTE!

kitten and puppy

TOO CUTE!

My granddaughter told me the other day, “Grandma, you think everything is ‘cute’.” To me, that indictment was a clear indication I had become word lazy and adjective deficient.  The fact that a 7th grader called me out was embarrassing. So, I did some research and came up with these alternatives to the word ‘cute.’

 lovable     ambrosial     appealing     attractive     captivating     charming
darling     dear     delectable     delicious     delightful     dishy     dreamy     fetching     heavenly   hot     luscious     pleasing     precious     sexy     suave    nice looking   striking

 Now, when I look at this list, I can’t imagine these words were meant to substitute for ‘cute’ in every instance. However it’s a good start.

What I learned from @lettergirl aka Dawn Cole at the #blogitsatx conference was a lesson taken to heart. She encouraged us to find new words, write them down and use them. Get out the Thesaurus and dictionaries and, above all, read.

Next time my granddaughter and I talk, I’ll ‘wow’ her with my new words.

 

 Photo credit fanpop.com and collectionphotos.com

 

 

Posted by: Laura Carter | April 25, 2014

Northern exposure Minnesota style

I just spent a week in Alexandria, Minnesota.  Daughter Maria, son-in-law Jason and baby Theodore Baron–a beautiful, healthy boy weighing in at close to 10 pounds at birth–made three good reasons to brave the frozen north for an inaugural visit. Even in mid-April the lakes are still iced over and a snow storm dumped at least six inches of beautiful white stuff during the week I was there.

Besides playing grandma with the baby, I spent afternoons at the family business, Northland Woolens, Inc. Northland Woolens is a company that produces top quality woolen products made from recycled and all natural materials. Everything is produced in the shop located in Nelson, just down the road from Alexandria. I watched them wash recycled sweaters, make custom hats, cut mitten parts from recycled woolen materials, and pair and sew on cuffs. And, I saw the most amazing antique sock machines.

View pictures on Flickr

antique nordic sock machine

 

 

Posted by: Laura Carter | April 6, 2014

Blessed Sacrament Academy is in for The Big Give SA

Blessed Sacrament Academy is in for The Big Give SA.

Posted by: Laura Carter | March 16, 2014

Little Zen Moments

I wonder, if like me, everyone occasionally experiences moments where the world seems to stand still and the cosmos aligns itself in perfect harmony.  These experiences might last for a few seconds or several minutes.  But, before the gears of chaos engage again, I always have the overwhelming feeling “Woo hoo, life is good!”

I’ve thought perhaps these moments of clarity and tranquility could be a spiritual thing…maybe a split-second glimpse of what heaven would be like.  Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, believed there must be a little bit of Zen in all creative and spiritual experiences.  Not counting any drug induced euphoria, I believe each of us can experience our “little Zen moments” during our lifetime-if we tune in.

Here are some of my little Zen moments:

Sitting in the sun, by the pool. Watching the clouds drift by, listening to the birds, I feel my body and soul warming, the tension washing away, and I experience “the eternal happiness of the spotless mind.”  Although not all Zen moments can be recreated, this works for me almost every time.

Waking up in the morning and walking into the living room where all my grandchildren have flung themselves to sleep in the blankets on the floor.  I look at their beautiful, sleeping faces and think, “Yeah, this is the best moment of their visit.”

Walking downtown during my lunch break, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city, sometimes gives me the feeling of being so completely alive it is a Zen moment.  It is especially meaningful if you just say “howdy” to strangers.

At the Botanical Gardens, I sit on a bench and stare out at the riot of plants and colors and feel in ‘shock and awe’ of nature’s divine creativity of which all our lives are a part.

Listening to a “kick-ass” song on the radio driving home after a great workout at the gym.  Go endorphins!

Having a cup of Oolong tea on the back patio with my hubby.  Sitting in the breeze, watching the bats come out at sunset, I feel the multiple activities of the day moving out of my mind.  This unfortunately does not last as long as I would like, ’cause the evening’s tasks soon take up residence.

If you don’t recognize your Zen moments, I urge you to learn to do so and then, please share.

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