Whales: Plastic in the gut – it’s a killer

A grey whale comes ashore, dead with plastics in his system.
A grey whale comes ashore, dead with plastics in his system.

Ever since I met Captain Charles Moore a few years ago (he came to San Juan Island for a rousing talk), I’ve had plastics on the brain. If you haven’t seen his here’s-everything-in-a-nutshell TED talk, check it here.

The amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is staggering, and it makes its way into the animals who live there. I’m happy to see that people like Angela Sun are making documentaries about this (here’s her trailer for her film, Plastic Paradise):

Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Trailer from Angela Sun on Vimeo.

This is not isolated to any one part of the world – it is everywhere. The whale in the photo above died because it was filled with plastic waste, and there’s a lesson in its death about the direction it – and we – as a species are headed.

Here’s the rest of the story, from CS Globe.



Thoughts: Gratitude, living in the country….

Webmaster....photo by Peggy Sue McRae
Webmaster….photo by Peggy Sue McRae

My good friend Mary Wondra lives near the village on Lopez Island, and has a keen eye for the subtle & the sublime. She posted this little observation about how the inside of what makes it autumn sometimes shows on the outside:

Had a lovely Lopez moment this morning. Sitting on the porch with my sweetie, drinking coffee, doing the x-word puzzle. It’s spider season, so there are webs EVERYWHERE on the vegetation, catching the early slanting sun on their dewy designs. In the apple tree, a spider drowsing in its web when suddenly, another spider appears and shakes one of the connecting strands.

The sleepy spider awakes and heads out to protect his/her home. Thus ensues spider wrestling, name calling, etc. while the two contend for mastery of the early morning construction. We watched for 20 minutes – no clear winner.

But I thought, wow, if I lived in the city, I would never have noticed this momentous battle going on. I’m grateful to be here this morning.

Thoughts: Exploring vulnerabilty, with Brene Brown

This is one of the more influential TED talks I’ve seen, with more people responding to it when I’ve posted it than any other.

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Writings: (Don’t) be careful what you ask for….

Don't be so careful you can't get close enough to your dreams that you can't get close enough to touch them....
Don’t be so careful you can’t get close enough to your dreams that you can’t get close enough to touch them….

“Be careful what you ask for…..”

Whenever I hear someone say this (is it true for you?) they’re almost always noticing something that turned out…the way it was asked for.

“Hope I get a promotion.”

So you do. With no raise.

“I always catch 4–5 colds every winter.”


OK, so we never really know how things are going to turn out. Cool enough – we can come up with a zillion examples of the surprises life can throw our way, both stuff we expected & things that went the other way. But lately I’ve been noticing how people articulate pretty clearly what they really want, and then just as articulately list the reasons they’re not going to see it happen.

“I want another job!”

So, go after one.

“I can’t. I need the benefits at this one, and the family would have to move, and my parents don’t want me to do that, and I have to feed the dog (someone actually told me that, and let that keep her from finishing updating her resume), and I’m scared and my wife has friends where I work now and my husband doesn’t make enough money and….”

You get the idea.

It’s time to take the leap. Take the risk, take the jump. Sure, be careful enough to not whack yourself or hurt someone or neglect the chance to love someone, but not so careful you pass up the chance to feel how wonderful it feels to do what you truly were born to do.

I met a guy who was conducting a tour at The Future of Flight factory in Seattle (it’s a Boeing operation –  you see planes made), and since I saw him five times (I brough him tour groups), I told him it sure was fun to watch him give tours, because he seemed to be having such a good time, which in turn made it fun for the people.

He said, “My daddy told me, “If you do something you love, you never have to work a day in your life.'”

Wouldn’t that be great?

Be wise, be observant, use discretion…but don’t be so “careful” you can’t taste the thrill of doing what your heart sings for you.

Make it so, Number One.

Brother Ian

Whales: Meet Ken & check in on the orcas, with Carl Safina

Female killer whale, draped in kelp.....photo by Carl Safina.
Female killer whale, draped in kelp…..photo by Carl Safina.

Carl Safina came to San Juan Island in Washington State to see what’s happening with the killer whales, and to hang out with the Center for Whale Research’s Ken Balcomb.

The state of the environment for the orcas: short on food, and decreasing numbers in the resident pods. It doesn’t help that the Navy does sonar testing in these waters, either.

Carl files this report. (click here)

Intuitives: Father Keating & centering prayer

Tonight I’m going to a meeting of folks in Tennessee (wandering monks usually pass this way) who are discussing & sorting out the practice of centering prayer. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Interested in meditation? Check this. Interested in exploring faith with interior silence? Check it.

Here’s a touch of CP, in a nutshell with Father.

– Brother Ian