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HOLLEY'S HOLLOW

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December, 1, 2012
I have taken leave from my Health Department job due to health issues that have affected my ability to work.  While on leave, trying to figure out what to do about my medical challenges, the Occupy Wall Street Movement broke out and I have found myself supporting our local Occupy Fort Myers group in the little ways I can, while still getting some much needed medical/healing and grieving time for myself.  I lost three dear women friends in the last few months and our circles of women and friends are reeling from the loss. We were recently blessed to have Starhawk lead a weekend retreat at our local Unitarian Universalist Church.  She also met with our local Occupy encampment and while here we had lively discussion about the movement, permaculture, spirit and politics.  Please see my blog page to read the Open Letter Starhawk wrote while here about WHY WE NEED AGREEMENTS in our movements. 


My job at the Health Department has been a challenging very fulfilling opportunity to work within the systems of our local agencies, churches and coalitions.  I work to link people with diminishing health care services. I teach health literacy and chronic disease prevention and of course, women’s health and childbirth preparation, always my passion. I have been teaching women's health and childbirth classes in Spanish and it is great to keep up my language skills and also work with the diverse cultures here.  



Before going into Public Health, I took a two year break from working, and in 2008, my life partner, Liz and I had the blessed fortune to travel to many amazing places on the planet.  We visited South America, New Zealand,  Australia, Canada and many parts of the US, including our beloved sanctuary in the Santa Cruz Mountains, WindTree. 

Spring 2009 brought a near disaster to WindTree, but by what seemed to be a miracle, most of our cabins and the council lodge there were spared from the raging Loma Prieta fires.  In the fall equinox of 2007 we planted a 10 foot high redwood Peacepole at our highest lookout on the land.  It has "May Peace Prevail On Earth"  engraved on it n eight languages on each side. All the trees around it burned down in the fire, but the Peacepole survived! I posted more about that on my blog page and you can read about it there. (Holleyblogs)

This website is dedicated to my father Patrick Thomas Rauen, who passed away Feb 7, 2005.  I miss him dearly and am erecting a memorial site in his honor.  I am so grateful that in the last years of his life we had the opportunity to grow close and begin to understand each other. The links to his page and my mother's art pages are posted below.

My first version of this website still exists, but I cannot edit it.  There are links to it here, but bit by bit, I will be bringing it to this site and shutting it down.


Thanks for stopping in and visiting. 

Bright Blessings,

Holley


Hollyblog 

11/9/11:


We were blessed to have activist, visionary, author and wise woman Starhawk come to Fort Myers last weekend to lead our UU church and community in a weekend retreat called "Holding Power Well"  We also did a training at our local Occupy emcampment, yes right here in little ole Fort Myers!  


This is an open letter from Alliance of Community Trainers, Starhawk's training collective, about issues of nonviolence and tactics.  Please spread it around widely.  To comment or endorse, go to http://trainersalliance.org/ 

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?

‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions.

The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.

Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.

Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:

We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.

In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.

We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.

Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.

Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.

Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.

Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.

Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”

But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.

We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.

There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power.

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

Starhawk
Lisa Fithian
Lauren Ross (or Juniper)

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Waging Peace With Our Lives
Sunday, March 15, 2009

”An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” MLK

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  MLK

I want to thank those of you who asked me to speak today; it is an honor to stand up here in front of all of you.  Today, I want to talk about speaking truth to power and taking risks for standing up for what is right. I want to tell you my experiences of non-violent activism and how I have dedicated my life to waging Peace.  I will try to be brief, although my story is long and I could really talk for hours.  I also want to talk a little about the sixth anniversary of the War in Iraq, which is this coming week, March 19th.

When I was in the 7th grade, my teacher, Ms Wanlan went to march with Dr King in Selma Alabama and came back and told her story.  She told us all about the civil rights movement and the power of non-violence. I was on fire with a passion for justice that stayed with me my whole life.

In 1968, I was expelled from Marlborough, an all girls’ Episcopal prep school in Los Angeles, for organizing a Viet Nam moratorium at school and other acts of resistance to authority.  I was sent to boarding school at Marymount High School in West Los Angeles – Out of the frying pan and into the fire! There was such change in the air – the nuns opposed the Vietnam war and were marching for peace and to bring the troops home, I felt so validated for my convictions and marched with them at UCLA across the street.

In 1972 I married Richard…a Chicano activist who also opposed the war in Vietnam. My parents “disowned” me for marrying someone that was not “white”.  He burned his draft card and the FBI hassled his parents.  When we realized that they were looking for him, we left the country and became expatriates in Mexico. There I met my first midwife, learned of the struggles of the indigenous people in Chiapas and Guerrero and learned to speak Spanish.  My son Gabriel was conceived there, and I returned to the US and had him at home in New Mexico.

I returned back to the US and had my son at home and co-founded an intentional community in New Mexico.  A few years later, I returned to California and took a break from the peace movement, concentrating on my own spiritual quest and the practice of midwifery. That’s another long story about how I was called to the women’s movement in 70s and became a part of the home birth and midwifery movement in California.

In 1986 I saw a film about refugees from El Salvador escaping to Nicaragua and Honduras fleeing persecution and the dire situation there.  I learned about the atrocities of the US backed Contras in Nicaragua, and was re-awakened to the call to activism.  My heart broke to realize the suffering caused by US intervention in the region.  I immediately signed up and booked trip to Managua with CHRICA (Committee for Health Rights in Central America) to help with the health brigades and cooperatives that the women had formed during those revolutionary years.

I had heard about the Veterans Fast For Life in Sept 1986- four US veterans had fasted for 40 days on the steps of the capitol in protest of arms shipments to Central America and the US support for the Contras.  The sanctuary movement and awareness of US intervention in Central America was growing and I just had to be a part of it.

My life changed when I went to Nicaragua. The land mines, were a frightening threat on all the roads, and civilians were being ambushed, targeted and killed with US made weapons. I connected there with midwives, doctors and health workers…and then I met some Vietnam Veterans from the US there - including the vets from Veterans Fast for Life.

I met Brian Willson, one of the four fasters when I was at a health conference in Managua and immediately teamed up with him (ended up being married a year later by a UU Minister) and other vets, with a vision of forming a peace force- a team of veterans to visibly walk and accompany civilians along the mined roads in the mountains of Nicaragua. 
When we returned to the US we co-founded the Veterans Peace Action Teams and in February of 1987 I accompanied the team on a Peace walk from Matagalpa to Wiwili on the Honduran Boarder.  We walked (8 vets, two Vietnamese Buddhist Monks and 1 woman) in protest of the US backed Contras and the US made land mines that were planted along all the roads.  I gave everyone on the team training on how to give first aid to someone who has lost a leg as that was the biggest risk and the majority of casualties from the war on the Nicaraguan people, folks movement fighting to protect their land and families.  HOW IRONIC!

When we returned from Nicaragua to report back the horrors we saw, we began to work to awaken more folks to the situation in Central America. We worked with a wonderful man, Dave Hartsough of the American Friends Service Committee, who helped us with training in nonviolent communication and the creation of ongoing peacekeeping teams in Central America.  We also planned a visible and dramatic direct action here in the US to stop the flow of arms shipments, (White phosphorous rockets and mines) to Central America. We founded Nuremberg Actions, and created a vigil and blockade at the Concord Navel Weapons Station at Port Chicago in Northern California.

(I mention David’s name because just a few weeks ago, over 20 years later, I found out, that the Non-violent Peaceforce that we first envisioned back in those days, has now become a real tangible force with over 100 trained peacekeepers in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.  Erika Shatz, their spokeswomen, just was here last week to tell some of us about it, and I will be inviting her back for a Wholly Wednesday or Sunday Service to tell you about this awesome and brave undertaking and how we can support it.  There are fliers available in the Narthex)

Some of you know what happened next.  We planned another 40 day fast, this time on the train tracks where arms shipments were being sent from the Concord naval Weapons Station to Port Charlotte, in Contra Costa, CA.  The weapons were being loaded onto ships and sent to Central America.  We prepared for this action for months, expecting arrests to be made removing the blockading protestors from the tracks.  That did not happen. Brian was run over by that train, when it sped up over 3 times the speed limit and ran him over severing both of his legs.  40 of us, including my son, clergy and the media watched this in horror-and then over and over again on television for many months afterwards.

We found out that there was a conspiracy that the drivers were given an order to run the weapons train through the group of protesters on the tracks.  We sued the navy and they ended up settling with us after 3 years of litigation.  I won’t try to answer for Brian any more about why sat on the tracks that day.  It’s an emotional issue for me - so I printed up his own words about what happened there and you can get a copy on our “Peace Table” in the Narthex and find out yourselves.  Brian is walking on what he calls his” third world legs” and living a quiet life on the west coast writing and speaking his truth.

After the train incident we received tens of thousands of letters, mostly fan mail and invitations to visit countries where there were struggles for justice and democracy.  We traveled to N Korea, Northern Ireland, Cuba, Canada and all over the US speaking and participating in events concerning peace and justice seeking.  The peace movement was galvanized and the protests against US intervention in Central America stepped up until Congress finally had to stop funding the Contras and the US backed armies in El Salvador.

We also got death threats and hate mail; we found out that we were under CIA surveillance and that we had been put on a “Domestic Terrorist” list created by Oliver North and his cronies.

I have participated in many acts of civil disobedience since then, including being arrested for defending women's-rights to choose and also for demonstrating at Livermore Laboratories and against nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site and for protesting against arms shipments to Central America at the Concord Navel Weapons Station.

I have been a part of the Pagan Cluster, co-founded by activist and Reclaiming Community founder, Starhawk in many actions around the country.  The Cluster is part of the anti-globalization movement bringing songs, dances, theatre and magical presence to street actions. They have been non-violently standing up for fair trade, peace and earth justice in the US and around the globe for the last decade.

I am presently the local coordinator of CODEPINK - Women for Peace and also on the board of directors of the Environmental and Peace Education Center and have been actively involved in actions, online campaigns and speaking gigs opposing the war in Iraq since I moved here to Ft Myers over 6 years ago.

In 2003 I decided to join in the anti Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) 3 day protest in Miami.  (The FTAA is the expansion of NFTA) and attended a non-violent training with my friend and mentor, Starhawk, in preparation for the big action in Miami. 

The war was revving up and the fair trade, environmental, labor unions and peace movements all joined forces and united for a mass rally united against “Free Trade”.  We were addressing the dangers of “Free Trade” including issues of slavery, exploitation, environmental destruction and peace.  I joined up with the Pagan Cluster, as part of a huge contingent called the “Green Bloc” marching peacefully as a “Living River”.  (Photos are posted on my old website, I will add the link below)

At the end of our march, police in full riot gear surrounded us, with helicopters buzzing overhead and mounted police all around us armed with tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray.  We were not breaking any laws and had permits to be there.  But I was shot in the breast with a lead shot filled beanbag bullet. And now, for the second time, I am engaged in litigation against those who have blatantly assaulted my first amendment rights. I am now, as once before in the train assault case, a plaintiff in a lawsuit for the violation of my rights.  I am litigating because of the PTSD that I have suffered from the trauma of police brutality and government violations against non-violent peace activists and me.  This lawsuit has dragged on for years now, but I will get my day in court and hope that you, my beloved community will support me when that day comes.

Before closing, I want to talk about Iraq for a bit:

Since the U.S. invasion in March 2003, over 5 million Iraqis have been forced from their homes by violence and insecurity. Roughly half of these are displaced throughout Iraq. Others have fled across international borders to Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring countries. Because the vast majorities of these international refugees do not have official refugee status, they could be deported back to Iraq at any time. There have been between 91,077 – 99,452 documented civilian deaths from violence directly related to the war, and (at least) 4,865 American troops have died.

Millions of Iraqis are unemployed and school-aged children are unable to attend classes. Whether in Iraq or in host countries, families face enormous challenges in finding housing and employment, obtaining food, and accessing health care and education systems. The international community has yet to implement a comprehensive humanitarian program to assist them.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee supports legislation to assist Iraqi civilians and calls on Congress to increase funding for programs authorized under the Torture Victims Relief Act. UUSC also advocate assistance for internally displaced Iraqis, Iraqi refugees in the region, and Iraqi refugees settling in the United States.

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of people to participate in peaceful demonstrations, and the freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances.

However, since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration aggressively introduced laws and policies that infringe on the First Amendment rights of Americans and foreign nationals, violating our civil liberties. HOMELAND SECURITY….

What happened to me at the FTAA is a clear example of the human rights abuses sanctioned and funded by Homeland Security. The tear gassing, herding and shooting of peaceful protestors, the creation of “free speech zones” and the harassment of many law-abiding Americans who oppose the Iraq war, the rights to freedom of speech and assembly have been threatened and in many cases, like mine have been egregiously violated. New U.S. security measures allow secret wiretapping, illegal surveillance of phone calls and e-mails through spy programs, and the review of financial and other records by the federal government.

So what does it mean for us as members of the UU?  Does it mean we all need to get out in the streets?  Block weapons trains?  Join a peacekeeping force and walk on mined roads?  I would not begin to tell anyone else how to work for peace, there are so many ways and each of us must find our own.  But if we cannot take direct action ourselves, we can at least support others who do.

For me, waging peace is part of the goals of Unitarian Universalism.  Working for justice and striving for equality and diversity are at the center of the lives of many Unitarian Universalists. As we seek to live lives that are justice-filled and that affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person, we can gain strength from one another, and I gain strength from you, my comrades!

There is such Joy and exhilaration of marching in a group – a great feeling of solidarity, which is such a gift in itself.  I believe in the power of the people – that when a critical mass is eventually reached we become effective in catalyzing change. Just look what happened with the election of President Obama, thanks to grass roots organizing, and a change of heart about the war.  But we cannot stop here.  Obama needs a mandate for peace and for the change we all want to see. He needs us to keep the fire under his feet and to be reminded of his promise for peace, not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and the entire region.  We can continue this movement each in our OWN ways.  Whether it is online activism, marching and vigiling for peace to raise awareness or taking a more radical step for civil disobedience, let us ask the question of ourselves.  What is one extra step I can take to be an agent for change- How Can we wage peace with our lives?

March 19th is the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq, There will be a vigil called ‘Eyes Wide Open” and a memorial service in Centennial Park this Thursday starting at noon with a candle light vigil at 6:30 PM.  Please join me and EPEC and other activists and families this coming Thursday in Centennial Park in this vigil for peace and remembrance of all the civilians and combatants that have suffered and died in the six years of this tragic war in Iraq.  Please stop by the “Peace Table” in the Narthex for information about “Eyes Wide Open” and the Non-violent Peace-force.

Thank you again for having me speak today.  I look forward to joining with you on the path to peace making and justice seeking as we wage peace with our lives in all the little and big ways that we can find.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom

And Blessed Be!

FTAA Protest Photos


 
 Nov 17, 2008
Greetings friends and family.  What a tremendous time of change, hope and danger.... and oppertunity. Let us come together as never before and re-dedicate ourselves to working for peace and sustainability.  I will write more soon.  It's great to be up and blogging again.

Holley


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May 22, 2008
Miracle in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Many thanks to all all who called and emailed me and held my sister and our Sacred Land, Windtree in the light and protection of the Goddess.  

 Julian, my nephew, my sister Elena's son called late last night with good news.  Our good friend Janet  Planet had been with my sister all day on the mountain called and left a message:  Elena, Janet and a fire fighter went back up to the property and were calling him from the Council Lodge.  Critter, (two story two bedroom cabin),  Windows, a smaller one full of stored building materials and glass, the big  dance deck , outhouses by the Sacred Medicine Wheel and a large trailer did burn down but skipped the rest.   Of all the structures on the property those four were the ones less used and not full of all of my mom's paintings, our library, our newly built handicapped bathroom and healing room, and family heirlooms were all spared.  The other four cabins and the counsel lodge were miraculously spared.  My sisters and I held the thought and vision of the fires skipping over our Retreat Center. We thought all was lost from  earlier reports, but kept our prayers going.  More land was cleared where we are building our labyrinth. I do not know if our ten foot redwood Peace Pole survived or not.  

We feel so grateful to the Goddess and know that this is a major cleansing of the land, ourselves,(and the whole area.)  It is amazing that the Counsel Lodge and the Medicine Wheel area were spared.    Native Americans built them and the other buildings there in the early eighties and much much ritual and magic has happened there.  Ancestors have been invoked over and over and sacred rituals have been performed there over the last two decades.  Thank You Gaia, Spirits and Angels of the Elements. 

 All our relations.
Holley

This website is a draft of Windtree website that has not yet been published.  To see the different pages use the links at the top of the page.



Dear family, friends, and friends of friends,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of my sister, Elena Rauen. Please take a few minutes to read her story.

Several years ago, Elena purchased “WindTree” along the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Monterey Bay in Northern California. WindTree is a private retreat center where Elena began manifesting her dream to create a secluded, natural space for community gatherings, workshops, retreats and events. For the last several years, Elena has tirelessly worked on the land, restoring the guest cabins, clearing brush, maintaining walking paths, gardens and sacred healing spaces in order to provide a unique and nurturing sanctuary for people committed to world peace, ecology and sustainability, health and well being, and personal growth.  

As many of you may or may not be aware, the wild fires that broke out in the Santa Cruz mountains at the beginning of summer destroyed her beautiful WindTree property. Although fire crews managed to save Elena’s main residence along with several other cabins, seven structures were lost, in addition to leaving 95% of her 64 acres of land severely burned. What was once a breathtaking setting comprised of meandering paths amongst Madrone, Pine, Oak and Manzanita with sweeping views of Monterey Bay, is now a charred and devastated wasteland.




Those of you who know Elena are aware that she has dedicated her entire life to helping others, often at consequential sacrifices to herself. And on the morning of the Summit Fire, watching her land and cabins engulfed in flames, she didn’t run in to gather valuables or precious photos. True to her nature, she left her property to come to the immediate aid of other fire victims, getting her neighbor’s child and pets to safety. At first, she was told she had lost everything. Later that evening she was filled with immense gratitude for the firefighters who risked their lives to save all they could of her property. She is incredibly blessed and grateful to have a home to go back to, but no longer any means to support her in the coming months, even years, before WindTree can be a thriving retreat center again. And yet, in the face of her personal loss, Elena continues to outpour her magnanimous generosity to her community. Since the fire, she has continuously provided shelter, food, water and clothing to her neighbors on a daily bases. WindTree has become a staging area for family groups, churches and outreach workers who are coordinating relief efforts along with Elena for the numerous fire victims in the area.

Elena’s passion and vision for WindTree and her single source of livelihood has come to a virtual halt and she urgently needs our help.

Some years ago, Elena was severely injured in two separate accidents that resulted in excruciating and chronic neck, back and nerve damage that at times has been debilitating to the point that she could not even walk and often needed the assistance of a wheelchair, walker or cane. Recently, she had a long overdue and much needed emergency surgery on her lower back which was hugely successful but has left her deep in medical debt in the tens of thousands of dollars. As a single mother, struggling to make ends meet and pay down her exorbitant medical bills while supporting her son, Julian, through college, this recent turn of events has been crushing.

Consider that Elena is the personification of charity and selflessness, an extraordinary human being who time after time puts the needs of others before her own. Please join us in giving back to Elena in her extreme time of hardship.

What you may not know about Elena is that for over 30 years, she has been an active and vital member of Los Niños in Tijuana, Mexico helping to create opportunities for children and their families to realize their human potential through participation in the development of their communities. She began her work with Los Niños early in high school raising money by walking from Santa Barbara to the Mexican boarder for 25 years up until her first accident when she could no longer walk the distance but continues to participate in other valuable ways. Elena also served for several years as the Executive Director of Amigos de El Salvador, a non-profit outreach organization for Salvadorian refugees. In addition to the incredible volunteer work she has done for Los Niños and Amigos de El Salvador, Elena lived and worked on Skid Row in her late teens in downtown Los Angeles serving the daily needs of the homeless. Throughout her life she has continually given refuge to friends, family, even strangers, in times of despair and need. She has lovingly cared for the disabled, the elderly, the sick, the poor and victims of violence and domestic abuse.

Prior to her accidents which ultimately left her unable to work, Elena was a bilingual kindergarten teacher in Santa Cruz. Her amazing ability to connect with and teach children is awe inspiring. Children are drawn to Elena for she is a beacon of caring, compassion and gentleness. Although no longer working in the school system, Elena continues to reach out to children, teaching them about peace and sustainability, recognizing that they are the future guardians of our precious earth. For many years, Elena has participated in the Jane Addams Peace Camp, a one-week summer day camp where, through games, crafts, music, and drama, children learn about community building, peace keeping skills, and care for the environment.

Clearly, Elena is a true humanitarian, an activist for social justice, human rights and equality, world peace, and the environment. It doesn’t seem fair that someone who does so much for the good of the human race and the well being of our planet would have to suffer such overwhelming physical pain and disabilities, severe financial hardship and then lose the one thing that brings her the greatest joy, inspiration and purpose in life.

Your tax deductible donation to assist Elena in putting the pieces of her life back together, rebuilding WindTree and replanting her surrounding forest will make a tremendous difference, not only in Elena and Julian’s life, but in the lives of everyone Elena continues to reach out to. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and for giving back to my dear sister who has touched the lives and hearts of so many others. We are grateful for any amount you feel inspired to give and your donation is forever and greatly appreciated.

With hope, love and enormous gratitude,

Tricia Rauen Evenson

                    Please make checks out to:
                   The Sanctuary of Gaia 
                    
                    Mail to:
                   Elena Rauen
                    31440 Loma Prieta Way
                    Los Gatos, CA  95033
                    
                    Reference on bottom of check:
                   WindTree Fire Relief Fund 

PS.  
We appreciate you forwarding this letter on to others you may feel can additionally help. Thank you.
















Feb 14, 2007


Welcome to my blog page!  It has been a whole year since I have posted here- so this is a major breakthrough for me.  Today is Valentine's Day 2007 and I am very excited becaues my life is turning around in a major way.  It is my dad's birthday and I feel like he has given my family a great gift.  Today my sister, another partner and I closed a sweet deal on 58 acers of land next to her magical mountaintop retreat - WindTree.  I gave notice at my job and retired from my nursing management positlion at the local hospital here and plan to participate with Elena in building her dream.

We are creating a most wonderful healing and teaching center in California.  Do check out the website I am just beginning to create about WindTree.  We will also be assuming Stewardship of the Non-Profit organization Sancturay of Gaia.  WindTree wil be the Sanctuary's new home.  This is all in infancy stage right now, so stay tuned for  ways you can participate !

I am also very excited about taking personal time for my own healing of body and soul.  I am moving forward in my lawsuit against the "Miami Model" and the Miami police for brutally shooting me and other peaceful activists three years ago.  I made the decision to take this time off and to move forward with helping to manifest the WindTree dream and to take a leap on faith and get out of the corporate medical world after seeing two films that deeply touched my at just the right moment.  These were "The Secret" and "An Inconvient Truth" .  Do check both of these out!

I plan to spend more time writing, painting and traveling over the next six months and hope to post regularly here.  To read my blogs from the last few years click on the links below.  If any of you have something great or inspiring you think I should post here, please let me know!  I will be on the road in California the end of March and beginning of April and then will be in New York.  I will keep you all posted and maybe we will see you on the trail!

Thanks for stopping by!

Holley

Click here to learn more about WindTree!

Holleyblogs 2005

Holleyblogs 2004