Do no harm; if possible do some good.

I’m writing to you from 34,000 feet above the earth as we wing our way from Massachusetts to Seattle for a couple weeks of work (and some fun.)   That I’m tethered to all of you by the magic of the internet is astounding to me but, here we are. We just passed an amazing bank of enormous thunderheads – all heading east – as we fly towards clear skies in the west.  Perhaps one of you will be looking skyward as we pass by….hellllooo!

This past weekend we had a small concert in our barn with First Nations storyteller Dovie Thomason. Her stories were deeply powerful, personal and moving – sharing her own experiences growing up amidst wisdom and struggles as well as a traditional story of abuse, redemption and, wolves.  Talking with Dovie as we set up and later cleaned up,  she also shared with me her take on the Lakota teachings of her elders and has given me permission to pass it along to you. For me, they are a gift of insight and wisdom for these dark and tumultuous times.

  • Know the truth of who you are and stay true to it – where and when will you stand your ground?
  • Do no harm. If possible, do some good.
  • Love this life like the deer in the field.

Such beautiful, simple guidance – but – sometimes in the noise and confusion of our lives, simple truths become the most difficult to follow. We forget to pay attention to the beauty that surrounds us, to the gifts and potential within.  While these teachings are profound for anytime – and come from a culture that has a deep connection to and respect for the natural world as well as an understanding of human potential for harm and for good, I can’t help but think of how to apply this wisdom to the current social and political crisis we now face.  For me, they are all connected. Because I love this life (and I do) – it becomes my responsibility to know and stay true to myself – standing my ground as needed in an attempt to do no harm and if possible, some good.

Ideas • Information • Action

A brief but spectacular video from PBS Newshour – this one from attorney and activist Alexander McLean on the power of the law in the hands of the poor… is hosting a Ready to Resist phone call – this coming Sunday – July 23rd at 8pm ET.

Contact your elected officials to request an investigation of Donald Trump Jr. and to support the complaint filed by Common Cause.

Defend Net Neutrality – from One Thing You Can Do – keep the internet a level playing field for all.

Things to be aware of and actions from It’s Time To Fight. (Domestic and International news as well as bills that are coming up this week.) Plus, (if you scroll down) an EXCELLENT analysis of what’s possible with McConnell’s repeal only move for Healthcare and scripts to call Democratic and Republican senators.  This is worth reading.

Hope is Evident

I was very moved by the work of Sentell Harper, a fourth grade teacher in NY – using theater to empower and educate his young black students (boys) about race – worth the 2-3 minutes to check out  CNN’s report and video.


Trumpcare is, at least for now, at a standstill, though McConnell does have his marching orders.  The Oklahoma election flipped two seats to blue (Karen Gaddis and Michael Brooks) in their deep-red legislature and Tony the Democrat started a new postcard campaign in New Hampshire for Kevin Cavanaugh.

And finally,

Perhaps you are familiar with this quote – but if not – here is a little gem.  A reminder that it’s our stories and the sharing of them that makes us human – and our stories that connect us one to the other in a web of care, support and love.  With thanks to Dovie Thomason and all the other storytellers in this wide world for nourishing us.

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them.

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them

away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs

a story more than food to stay alive.

Barry Lopez

Here’s to you, here’s to us – all in it together.