Teachings and practices from the world's great faith traditions and humanistic philosophy to help us stay sane and remain courageous during the Transition time.

We need a map out of the nightmare of consumerism

nightmare of consumerism

One of the most harrowing challenges of modern American life is navigating through the massive desert of our mindless, materialistic consumerism. It is within this landscape that a soul can become lost and drenched in despair. From the endless stream of vacant-eyed wraiths who glide down catwalks, to the pervasive advertising that never ceases to demean the values of empathy and compassion and … [Read more...]

‘They’ won’t let the planet fry, right?

"Numbitol"/Sleep photo art

Did you ever wonder who they were? The “they.” The “they” that tell us that low levels of radiation and E.coli are safe. Or that extraction industries boost the economy. Or that fracking and tar sands are the only way to solve the energy crisis. They tell us that we don’t need labeling on our food. They tell us that the upswing in adult diabetes is normal. Sometimes they are much more … [Read more...]

American kids in the Age of Oil: ‘Economically worthless but emotionally priceless’

Children by the Campfire Mircea Flickr

In colonial America, kids died young. No matter how unwelcome, Death was a frequent visitor at family firesides from Boston to Savannah, where parents could expect to lose, on average, up to half of their brood before they reached adulthood. According to 17th-century Puritan minister Cotton Mather, "a dead child [was] a sight no more surprising than a broken pitcher.” Things didn't get much … [Read more...]

How to think and live for yourself


When you get out of bed in the morning, what gets your motor running? Are you full of creative good ideas about what you hope to experience that day? Or, are you more focused on what you need to do in order to fulfill the day’s obligations? The question confronts the issue of motivation — that which energizes, directs and sustains our behaviors. Psychologists remind us that there are two … [Read more...]

Jesus, pioneer of voluntary poverty

Picture of the Holy Family

Note: This article is an excerpt reprinted with permission of the publisher from Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future, a collection of essays profiling key historical figures whose lives served as examples of living simply. Bible references are to the New International Version (NIV) -- Ed. A clear theme throughout Jesus’ ministry was the conflict between seeking God and … [Read more...]

Month of heartbreak

Graffiti of pierced bleeding heart with dark spot

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” “You’ve caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business, how can I sell sorrow when you know it’s a blessing?” -- Rumi Valentines Day will may be a distant memory but the entire month of February has been designated American Heart Month. This means that for twenty-eight days we have permission … [Read more...]

Staying on the train

time flies sign

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end. -- Rabindranath Tagore Nearly every day I speak with people who are confused, bewildered, disoriented, or conversely, extraordinarily clear about what is happening to them. A few years, months, or weeks earlier, they began waking up to the … [Read more...]

A walk in January

walking in snow

The only sounds are crows and wind. The winds resemble distant trains without the reassuring rhythm. They persist too strongly, and while I can't say that the trees object and are complaining, many have retreated to their shelters for the winter. No, this is not a pulse of power; it seems a determined, endless current, though it really is only a wave, the rhythm of which is not obvious yet. … [Read more...]

Not enough time to hurry

hurry or take your time

In his classic existentialist novel, The Stranger, Camus wrote, “I’d read, of course, that in jail one ends up losing track of time.” He then has his protagonist reflect upon how worrying about time had governed his life before he had become incarcerated. This is interesting — and relatively recent as the whole concept of linear time is a construct of modernity. Before the 1870’s the … [Read more...]

Without a spiritual dimension, activism will fail

Sister Helen Prejean

I realize that I cannot stand by silently as my government executes its citizens. If I do not speak out and resist, I am an accomplice. -- Helen Prejean, Activist Nun and author of Dead Man Walking For decades Sister Helen Prejean has resisted the death penalty and devoted her life to educating citizens regarding its economic, social, and spiritual costs to a society. She is one of myriad … [Read more...]