”…it’s about caring for our shared world, lest we let it sleep away through inattention and neglect. […] The active threats to that world have multiplied many times over. There’s a new urgency about paying attention and responding to what we see. The Powers that Be are intent on ‘disappearing’ so much that million of Americans care about—pristine wilderness, clean air and water, affordable health care for all, the social safety net, and mutual respect in the midst of diversity.”
Parker Palmer/On Being
What can a person do to help bring back the world?
We have to watch it and then look at a each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully save it, like a bubble that can disappear
Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention.
The next time you open up the newspaper or sit down in front of your computer or open an app on your phone to inform yourself about the day’s news, take a moment to set an intention of reading majority non-DT-related news. If you do read a piece related to him, attempt to privilege the information that is about his actions, not his style. When you are in a conversation with someone and it veers down the path of deconstructing something DT has said, intentionally steer it away. Take something you learned while de-prioritizing him and offer it up to your conversation partner. Be part of the solution — highlighting the world around us that has been deeply and poisonously overshadowed by the political climate of the last year and more.
Media obviously has a role to play here, but so do all of us. Our consumption patterns determine what media producers focus on during the next cycle. What we talk about with our friends, neighbors, families all contribute to either feeding or starving this obsession with big politics, as opposed to science, art, our communities, and so much more.
I’m not advocating for disengagement. There’s never been a more important time, at least in my lifespan, for citizens to lean in hard to our duty — to be aware, to be awake, to take action. But obsessing over tweets doesn’t count as civic duty. It’s rubbernecking, not awareness building, and it’s making us feel more disconnected than ever before. Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention, our daily media practices, our everyday conversations.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (age 99) and a chat with the San Francisco Chronicle
Q: What’s the last poem you wrote?
A: It was published in the Nation magazine. It’s called “Trump’s Trojan Horse”: “Homer didn’t live long enough/ To tell of Trump’s Trojan Horse/ From which all the president’s men/ Burst out in the White House to destroy democracy/ And institute absolute rule by corporations/ Bow down, oh Common Man/ Bow down!”
Ferlinghetti’s activist voice has not softened. When speaking about President Trump, he is unequivocal: “Trump is an evil man,” he says. “He’s so dangerous. I think you’ve got to take this man seriously. I think he’s out to destroy democracy.”
Q: Why San Francisco?
A: The first thing I realized, there was no bookstore to become the locus for the literary community. It’s really important if you’re going to have a literary community, it has to have a locus. It just can’t be out there in the air. So, from the very beginning, when we started City Lights in June 1953, the idea was to make it a locus for the new literary community that had developed out of the Berkeley Renaissance, so called, and it proved to be true. People just flocked to it because there had been no locus for the literary life.
“This is the often-quoted phrase engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. For more than a century, the statue with its inscription has been a beacon of hope for immigrants — many without “merit” — who have fled to our shores, seeking a better life in our country.
We would do well to reflect on what this inscription means to us and what the Statue of Liberty represents before we give our assent to building walls, limiting immigration to favored foreigners and kicking Dreamers out of our country.”
The times in which we’re living are dramatic and unstable, yet pregnant with new possibilities for a future released from the shackles of fear.
At a time when fear and hatred have been turned into a political force, is it possible to harness the powers of love and decency for political purposes as well?
Our task is to create a new, whole-person politics, breaking free of a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world and embracing a more enlightened understanding of our relation to the universe. We need a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of our national story: where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go now.
As with other extraordinary times in our history — from our Founding to Abolition to Women’s Suffrage to the Civil Rights era — it is time once again to break free of an old way of being and embrace a new story going forward. As in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “… we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
I will be touring the country this year, discussing how a revolution in consciousness paves the way to both personal and national renewal. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” Let’s embrace the possibility of both.
Full Moon is Sunday, December 3 at 8:46AM Mountain Standard Time (MST).
‘This Super Moon is an opportunity for a good reality check and a time to tell the truth about what you know to be true, not what someone else tells you is true, but what you, yourself know. It is a good day to discuss and share dreams of the future, intentions, solutions to problems, and everything you can imagine for yourself. A full moon is always expansive. Use the expansiveness to fuel your imagination and creativity but do not get scattered.
As the theme for December is UPGRADE, this is also a good time to make an inventory of what you wish to upgrade. The decisions to change something in your life will use this full moon energy to take hold and begin the process. Try not to spend time in frustration or disappointment in self or others as you make your list. Be neutral. Negative feelings about what needs to change are never useful. Think instead about how fabulous the upgrade will be. Spend some time in nature today and begin putting some practices in place to open your senses.
Mercury has gone retrograde and it is best if you are fairly well organized with your schedule for the next three weeks (with room for flexibility of course).’
The theme for this new moon is creating positive change out of challenging circumstances.
Anything that has been a hardship for you, and can be seen as a negative experience, can be used as a powerful agent to shift into something new. This is a new moon and will support anything new. Take the pieces of the old, whether an old dream, an old life, or challenging lesson, and use the power of those experiences to fuel what wants to emerge from the ashes.
It is a time where healing that comes from a shift in attitude and reaction is on the table. We may be triggered again, the same way were were during the time of the eclipse (actual trigger point on November 20). So take advantage of the opportunity to reset what needs it. As you turn the soil of our life, focus more on the gifts and inspiration you are discovering that what you regret or feel bad about. Do a practice every day from now until the solicit on December 21st of dreaming an improved life.
A massive effort is underway to mobilize the potential new voters. Ex-offenders have hit the streets to register others like them to vote, often teaming up with community groups. “There’s a lot of work being done to make sure they’re planning to be a significant part of this election,” says Price, who also directs a voter engagement project with the nonprofit New Virginia Majority that has targeted ex-offenders.
In Richmond, few people have registered as many felons to vote as Muhammad As-saddique Abdul-Rahman. The 54-year-old was himself most recently released from prison in 2002—he went in for the first time as a teenager on felony robbery charges. After getting out, he struggled for years with homelessness and alcoholism. But things changed after he got sober, and again the day McAuliffe announced his rights were restored.
That night he went online to register to vote, and the next day he set out to register others. “I went to Monroe Park, where they have breakfast for the homeless and I knew there were a lot of ex-offenders,” he says. “I went to drug houses, to the neighborhoods I grew up in, the neighborhoods I had lived in. I went to AA meetings, different churches, soup kitchens.” Within a few weeks, he says he had registered some 500 people. Hoping to turn his sudden calling into a career, he searched online for voter registration jobs and stumbled upon a phone number for New Virginia Majority; the group hired him as a full-time staffer. Abdul-Rahman estimates he has now personally registered about 2,000 people.
In a 1933 letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie, F. Scott Fitzgerald produced this poignant and wise list of things to worry, not worry, and think about, found in the altogether excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters:
Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
Notes from Jackson Pollack and Ronald Reagan to their own kids.
“The Vietnam War,” a 10-part, 18-hour documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, premieres on PBS on Sunday, Sept. 17.
There are more Vietnamese voices “The Vietnam War” than Burns at first thought necessary. … It has animated three-dimensional maps and foreign-language interviews. There’s rock music, as well as a score commissioned from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross; Erik Ewers, a longtime editor at Florentine, who has worked on dozens of hours of film chivvied along by ragtime and bluegrass, told me, with feeling, that the opportunity to use “Dazed and Confused,” by Led Zeppelin, was “a dream come true.”
The film includes striking sequences in which well-known black-and-white photographs, always central to Burns’s work, coëxist with color film and color photography. The subject, being recent and contested—and its traumas sometimes evident in the stiffness around the mouths of witnesses—has its own narrative potency. … Still, when the narration begins, its liturgical phrasing, and its reach for a negotiated settlement among viewers, will seem familiar.
[The New Yorker’s Ian Parker]
In “Ken burns Tackles a Different Civil War,” N.Y. Times ideas reporter Jennifer Schuessler says the film “offers an uncannily well-timed reflection of our current societal fractures — a kind of origin story for the culture wars.”
“The $30 million film, more than 10 years in the making, offers an intensely immersive, often head-spinning history lesson, combining grand sweep and archival depth with sometimes devastatingly emotional first-person interviews with people from all sides (including more than two dozen Vietnamese, from both the winning and losing sides).”
“There are scenes covering 25 battles, 10 of which are examined from multiple perspectives.”
“Every word of the script, written by the historian Geoffrey C. Ward, was carefully weighed. And perhaps none were as carefully debated as that opening narration, which describes the war as ending in ‘failure’ (not ‘defeat,’ Mr. Burns noted, though he used the word himself). ‘I think we probably spent six months on the word ‘failure.'”
“As for ‘begun in good faith,’ Mr. Burns said he stands by those words, which he said reflect the intentions of those who fought the war, even if they are perhaps ‘too generous’ to our leaders.”
Worth the click: “Shot by Shot: Building a Scene in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Vietnam Epic.”