August 2010

Trying to hone in on a lexicon of spirit

By Art Goodtimes

EXPLORING LANGUAGE … The Telluride Institute racheted up the level of think tank innovation last month with an Ideas Fest symposium exploring the mental states of spirit from the secular perspective of Western Science (neurology, psychology, theology) and the religious scan of Tibetan Buddhism … Stanford's Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE), along with the Claremont College's Fetzer Center and the University of Michigan, co-sponsored the private Bohmian dialogues at the Elks Club -- with a free public lecture tossed in for good measure. The Dalai Lama's own translator, the masterful Geshe Dr. Thupten Jinpa Langri led the talks with brilliant co-director Dr. Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin … All in the inner circle were well-versed in their respective disciplines, while those of us on the outside of the conversation were active listeners, as is the way of Bohmian dialogues. We too were engaged (if only in our own minds) in a multi-disciplinary discussion of key spiritual concepts such as compassion and suffering, altruism and joyful kindness. The neurological implications of the latest brain research played a kind of linguistic ping-pong with a deep Buddhist tradition derived from ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts … I scribbled endless notes and only got a very little weaving done attending a morning session. And if it hadn't been for my poor knocked-up spuds that demanded weeding and mounding at Cloud Acre, I'd have attended every one.


While Around Us, Nothing Echoes

All day the wind, the adamant wind
disrupted the outsides of things,
shaking the inner world loose,
and ah, such trembling beneath
the apricot canopy then.
Under the surface, I found no map,
no long list of shoulds, no dictionary,
no plot. No thought. In fact, more
emptiness than not. And no loneliness
either. Some comfort in knowing
that things are further apart than they seem,
more space than matter, more blank
than full. And every bit as holy
as I dreamed.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
San Miguel County Poet Laureate

VACATION … Feeling rested (exhausted?) after a couple weeks up in the far Northwest earlier this summer … One high point was managing to catch Sunday brunch on Father's Day with number two son at my maybe all-time favorite bistro - Foley Station in La Grande (Oregon). Eggs Benedict topped with dollops of Hawaiian barbecued chicken, fresh mango on the side, the house Mocha & a sinful slice of huckleberry cheesecake … The longplanned trip was a redo of last year's backpack to Shi Shi beach (Dolores LaChapelle's favorite) on the Olympic Peninsula's Makah Indian Reservation … My old hiking pard from Sixties-Seventies San Fran (Steve Clark) had set up a poet's hike to Robert Sund's Shi Shi beach refuge on Petroleum Creek with Ish Poets Tim McNulty, Michael Daley & friends. This year most were back, including Gregorio & I. Three nights on the lyric strand. Close up to Point of Arches. Poetizing, campfiring & drinking Isle of Islay scotch to the misted pounding of the wild Pacific surf … We've lots of photos posted on Gorio Oshá's Facebook page, including a grand Goldsworthy-esque 50-foot sand dragon adorned with seaweed green and surf red crab carapaces that the boy and writer M.L. Lyke collaborated on.

MUSHFEST … Stamets is coming! Stamets is coming! … For 20 some years, Fungophile and countercultural icon Dr. Andrew Weil has delighted and charmed Telluride audiences with riveting tales and positive perspectives on mycology, ethnobotany, integrative medicine and entheogens. For most of those years, Paul was Andy's young friend — an outlaw researcher who funded his own lab by selling mushroom grow kits and medicinal fungi. Each year Paul grew more and more comfortable speaking, and his insights and discoveries continued to astound - from petroleumeating oyster shrooms to forest myco-restoration … Like Andy, Paul has gone on to wider audiences — Bioneers, TED, and most recently a panel discussion in New York City after the new film 2012: Time For Change with Sting, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Tiokasin Ghosthorse. Before that a short bit on NPR about shrooms' ability to clean up oil spills. And before that, big-time California events — the Sustainable Brands Conference in Monterey and the Green Festival in Santa Rosa … For several years he's been missing in Telluride. But he's found his way back for three lectures to kick off this year's Telluride Mushroom Festival, Aug. 26-29.

LANDMARK TREES … Been following my dreams more closely, ever since the Jungian Archetype therapy theater session at Ah Haa earlier this year … Not sure what inspired this one, but I dreamt that our Board of County Commissioners had begun designating “Landmark Trees” in different locations around San Miguel County. I don't think there were any regulations or restrictions associated with the new designations. I think, instead, they were adopted merely to draw attention to certain mature old growth giants in our area -- that we all might come to better conserve and appreciate them. And then I woke up … I love that dreams aren't all highly-charged psychic cables to the ace (as Thomas Merton might say), and mary are merely fragments of one's playful interior fantasies.

C S U RETREAT … As a member of the second cohort of research fellows for Colorado State University's Center for Collaborative Conservation (CCC), I got to attend a three-day training session in Fort Collins this past spring … Practitioners like myself and professors, graduate students, trainers and undergrads got to spend full days at The Nature Conservancy's Phantom Ranch Nature Preserve in the Laramie Hills, northwest of Fort Collins, playing cooperative games, being told stories, doing role-play, listening and watching and keeping notes around the issue of conflict resolution and lots of other juicy topics … Dr. Joshua Goldstein, a first cohort CCC fellow, will be working with me as my academic advisor as we begin work on a payment for ecosystem services (PES) pilot project for area landowners.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.