Dreams seem to be naturally rhizomic. A hat becomes a person becomes a sky
becomes a light. Image links to image in fast memory connections. An endless
On the Bridge our central interests are peace and dreams. All of our ideas
flow into and through these two principles. But what we link up to these
concerns is sometimes truly amazing.
This month and a bit review traces just some of the major rhizomic
connections we have been making: the war on Lebanon and continued
destruction of Iraq; weeds and flowers; dealing with awareness of the
sadnesses of others; dreams and peace events.
Of the invasion of Lebanon and continued destruction in Iraq
The barbarous and senseless Israeli invasion of Lebanon shocked many of us
on the Bridge. The worst moment was the massacre in Qana. Thirty seven young
children and some elderly people killed as they tried to shelter from the
Israeli bombing of their village: too afraid to leave as others had been
killed doing just that. But it was not just Qana that shocked: it was the
merciless Israeli bombing of ambulances; of citizens, of attacks on
hospitals and on the bombing of the capital of Beirut; it was the 1 million
refugees (1/4 of the country’s population); it was the disastrous
environmental destruction as Israel bombed a power plant and flooded the
Mediterranean with oil; it was the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure
of roads and airports and water and electricity; it was the silence or even
active support given to Israel by particularly the US and the UK.
The invasion tested us on the Bridge too. Some were horrified, sending
message after message of information; some remained silent; some expressed
afterwards that it took them some time to realize that the horror expressed
in email after email was not anti-semitic – just horror at war and what the
Israeli government was doing.
In the midst of this we found out that the young Iraqi woman raped and
murdered along with her family by US soldiers was Abeer Qasim Hamza. She was
just 14 years old. Ilkin said her name is "Fehriye" in Turkish and added
with such sadness: "meaning 'honorary'. But they took her honour by the
Ilkin asked that this month’s DaFuMu be for "Lebanon Children/ Civilians and
And Kotaro from Japan (gently remembering and older war, and an older
destruction: unconditional surrender in World War II in August of 1945)
reached into his heart of compassion at the horror of Qana in Lebanon now
and found a blue dragon. He wrote:
The bombing at Quana damaged my heart so much. Last night, all the way in
the train to my home, I was chanting the Heart Sutra in my mind as I could
sit down on. Then, suddenly an odd image appeared clearly in my heart. It
was a horrible darkness, at the bottom were the fires, and I could see a
blue transparent pipe was climbing up to the dark sky. This image was
fullfilled with my heart sutra chant. I could not recognize what it was but
as it was so clear.
And Anna replied reminding us again how it is balance that is needed:
Yes, the Blue Dragon - Water IN Fire - not just after.
I keep thinking & feeling that we NEED the Fire - it is not to eliminate it,
but to use it well - and that can only be done when it is balance. Our human
way -to always try to go to extremes, not respecting the natural balance of
all things...we try to draw a straight line renting the spiral of life, and
it damages. We in the US seem to want all for ourselves at time (I write
with shame and confusion) - not seeing how, as in the yin/yang image, that
leads right to nothing for us or anyone. where if we'd only surrender to
balance- some for all - ALL (us too) might prosper more...
I can't see images sent to the list - I can well imagine the Blue Dragon,
though, the Beast of Fire in Water, our ally.
And Victoria, our archivist, finds one of her earlier dreams of a dragon. It
too has the dragon in a place of respect, though fear accompanies the dream:
During some of this dream I had a sense of fear; of being out on a limb
without obvious support from anyone. I was in very dark woods and something
with a big dragon's eye that sometimes looked like a cat's eye or the eye of
another animal as looking at me. This thing was tremendously powerful and
worthy of respect. When I made myself look beyond my fear I could see that
it wasn't trying to attack me; that perhaps it was new. Just because
something seems big, doesn't mean it can't feel shy too.
Our dreams and images of balance meet up with the growing instability in the
Middle East. Ilkin reports the terror she feels at the escalation in
violence in Turkey as the PKK (Kurdish "terrorist" group) uses the summer
tourist season to attack Turkey and as the Turkish government discusses both
sending Turkish troops to Lebanon (as part of the UN "peace" keeping force)
and as it prepares to enter northern Iraq to attack PKK camps.
The occupation in Iraq and the instability in the Middle East was increasing.
Ilkin begs us to try to understand what is happening. She writes:
I was telling about my worries for a long time (I was telling about the gathering
of troops at the border)...I can only repeat what I wrote to Jean and some
other friends several times, again and again; "please, please follow what is
happening at this area of the world closely"...
Today as I write this month's review, Mary sent in the latest news from
Turkey of a bomb blast in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish-majority city in
Turkey's southeast, with 7 of the dead being children.
Of course some of our dreams link directly to the terrors we hear about
daily. One dream was from Mary:
It was something about terrorists trying to
blow up something (I hear an explosion and see smokey-cloudy-gray color all
around me) at the Michigan and Canadian border.
Is it a precognitive dream? For Mary it was very specific and had a clear
link to previous dream:
My guess is this is coming from my last dream about
seeing the red Canadian logo on the plane that "almost" crashed into a very
Joy was our dreamer for the DaFuMu this month – and a very appropriate
dreamer too as she is from Lebanese background. Her first dream is stark:
I dreamed a child took me by the hand to show me something that he had
found disturbing. It was indeed terribly disturbing: an animated diagram of
a child who had been playing alone in the tall grass outside his town,
smashed by a helicopter's circle of destruction so that only his upper half
remained. I wished I hadn't seen it and I was glad it was a line drawing
rather than a graphically realistic horrifying bloody image. But there was
no escaping it. It was on the Internet; it was on a bag of bread. It was a
reminder of what really happens to the children of war and the imagination
can do the rest.
Later as I woke, that anonymous dream-voice that speaks sometimes on waking
said cynically, if I remember right now: "There are one thousand one hundred
eleven of them - but the one doesn't matter." I thought the point must be
that of 1,111 every one is ONE and every one matters.
Another dream from Joy:
When I hoped to dream something more healing post-DaFuMu, the most vivid
dream I had was that someone had picked the two green lemons that I'd been
watching slowly grow on my little lemon tree. I recognized them immediately
- one almost full-grown, one small, both still very green -and I was so
angry. Why would someone do this? Couldn't they see these were nowhere near
ripe yet, and now they'd never ripen?
I always wanted a lemon tree especially for flavoring
Lebanese food - almost every meal has a lemon in it - and just this year
finally got a dwarf lemon tree that I can move indoors in my
non-Mediterranean winter. Pulling my cherished first new lemons from the
tree before they have a chance to grow and ripen is surely an overly-gentle
symbol for killing the children of Lebanon. Where does the healing come in?
Which Joy answers immediately herself with the memory of a book called The
Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy
Tolan. The book concludes with an “account of how Jewish and Arab children
have together planted seeds salvaged from one desiccated lemon tree planted
long ago behind one stone house.” Here is a review of the book:
Sonia gives us her first dream: a very appropriate one. The memory of her
German ancestors; their involvement in the holocaust helping where they
could; their dream state now (opening to happiness):
I always wanted a lemon tree especially for flavoring
In the first dream I was in a big mansion as the other dreamer stated she
was however, my time period was the present except in the attic of the
house. I have been in this mansion in previous dreams, but the attic was
always old and had no life to it. This time I went upstairs and I heard lots
of talking and laughing behind the door. I opened the door and the first
thing that came to my mind that these were people that had lived in Germany
during the holocaust. There clothing matched the time period and both my
grandparents (that are now deceased and Germans) were there. Everyone looked
nice and healthy and were gathering for a big meal. Besides my grandparents
I had never seen any of these people before.
The second dream I am not sure was even a dream because it happened so fast.
The shape of Christ (made with pure white light) appeared with a black
background. It was hard for me to see, but I had no doubt who the shape
represented. The shape moved closer and closer and then disappeared and I
And Rita sends us a chapter of her book detailing her own "dreams and
experiences of healing [her] ancestral war wounds". The book is beautifully
titled: Following my dreamlines - living from the inside out.
Where does our discussion of weeds begin? It is hard to say. “Seeds” as a
symbol of peace (and conflict) weave throughout our discussions. Jean
reminded us that one of the very first dreams was from Jody: "The New Age
But weeds specifically: where did the discussion start? Probably
unconsciously we made a link to an article that Jennifer sent us from
Starhawk (environmentalists and peace keeper) in which she links the idea of
exterminating weeds to the use of force in war as a means of stopping
something we don’t like. Interestingly, that unconscious link came through
in a conscious request from Kathy to our two great flower photo senders
(Kotaro and Jennifer) for some pictures of weeds.
We received beautiful images of weeds from Japan from Kotaro and wonderful
native flowers from Joy in the US. More, we entered a whole discussion where
the question of weeds and invasion wove together.
Joy sent us her thoughts in which she weaves her love of native American
plants with stories of hollyhocks in China and Tibet and a mediation on how
to roam and not be invasive.
People tip the balance to where Mother Nature, who has to work with what
she's got, takes it from there. To name examples near my home, people
scarcely know what the hills of coastal California used to look like before
oat grass arrived (with cattle, in the historic past); and much of eastern
Nevada will never be sagebrush again since cheatgrass took over (all within
about the last 5 years).
I don't want to take the analogy TOO far as there are things I'll do to a
plant or plant community that I'd never advocate for a human or human
community! - but it goes back to what I remarked about the world scene a
week or two ago: we have to start where we are. If we apply more awareness
and a different set of values, we may be able to influence future change to
be less catastrophic and devastating.... in whatever realm we can influence.
I'm pretty dedicated to defending an all-native flower garden. Almost
all-native. I might plant some hollyhocks.
Now this is important to me: I don't want anyone to run with my analogy and
say that people who go where they're not native become weeds. People are
people; we belong to the whole world; we wander and people new places; it's
our nature. We also cling tenaciously to ancestral homelands. We also, alas,
invade and conquer. The extraordinary thing about people is our capacity as
individuals to choose to behave like cheatgrass or hollyhocks.
Cheatgrass cheats by getting a head start: it sprouts in the fall while the
native plants are dormant, so by spring it's robbed their water and
nutrients. By summer lightning season, it's dropped its seeds and dried to a
fine tinder. Flash! - a fire rages across the landscape, killing everything.
Next spring, the cheatgrass seeds germinate unharmed – and miles and miles
of sagebrush country (with all its native wildflowers and birds and lizards
and voles) have been converted forever into rolling golden hills of
beautiful waving cheatgrass growing so densely that nothing else can ever
again take hold. That's called a cheatgrass invasion.
Hollyhocks were my dad's favorite flower; I used to plant them for him. They
grow as well here in the high desert as they do in an English country
garden. When I went to China this summer I was delighted to see them
flourishing among brown rock walls in the mountain villages of Sichuan. When
I tell people back home, they wonder, "How did they get there from England?"
- before it occurs to them that it might have been the other way around! So
far my searching turns up equally-authoritative claims that they're native
to China and they're native to the Middle East. Trade between China and the
Middle East is ancient indeed. This woman of Middle Eastern descent and her
partner of Chinese descent rode a bus onto the Tibetan plateau marvelling at
all the hollyhocks along the way without knowing which of our ancestors
first carried a pocketful of seeds which way along the Silk Road.
I've never heard of a hollyhock invasion. I choose to be a hollyhock, big
and adaptable and colorful and slightly goofy-looking. I'd like to thrive
and be loved anywhere, gently without crowding anyone, and make a few seeds
of brightness that the future can take or leave.
And Diana takes the point to a longing: "I wish life was as elegant as our
ideals. But it always gets so complicated".
Of relating to the sadnesses of others
This month Sonia asked a question that must arise for anyone who
deliberately opens his/her mind to the pain of others. She asked:
How do you deal with the pain of knowing how others are suffering? The more that I
try to do for peace and make an effort to help others the more intense the
pain seems to get. I become aware. By pain I mean like an emotional sadness.
A sense of helplessness.
Joy found her answer in the Buddhist practice of Tonglen quoting from Pema
"The essence of tonglen practice is that on the in-breath you are willing to
feel pain; you're willing to acknowledge the suffering of the world. The
essence of the out-breath is the other part of the human condition. With
every out-breath, you open. You connect with the feeling of joy, well-being,
satisfaction, tender heartedness, anything that feels fresh and clean,
wholesome and good. That's the aspect of the human condition that we wish
were the whole show.... You connect with that and you breathe it out so that
it can be experienced by everyone."
Olivia (just spinning in) has her own methods that are remarkably similar.
How do I deal with the feelings? I just let them wash through
me, go and blow my nose if I must, and if it's something that makes me feel
angry and helpless I send up a prayer, often in the form of light enveloping
the victim, if it's related to pain, or death.
Rita has gentle methods too for dealing with our awareness of pain:
I allow whatever I feel to move through me, whether it is pain, sorrow, joy or
happiness. It is rather simple in a way if I don't get my head in the way
labelling it or doing something with it.
Kotaro sent a "small opinion" making the difference between understanding
and "feeling" the pain of others:
To understand the pains of others is
completely different from to "feel" them or at least to try feeling them. So
in this meaning, our imagination and creative efforts will be needed at
Of dancing and action
And finally, one last rhizome. Some of those on the Bridge have been
involved in peace activities this month:
Sonia organized An EarthDance International Festival, held on Saturday,
Some of the proceeds are to be donated to the World Dreams Peace Bridge
project: Aid for Traumatized Children
Jean and Stephen
were there, adding to the fund raising by distributing soft toys (a gift
from Mary) to children for a small donation.
Jean and others are working on the Tidewater Peace Alliance Celebration of
UN International Day of Peace on September 21st.
The World Dreams Peace Bridge is a group that uses personal dreams for public world peace. You can find out more about the WDPB at: