‘I have finally isolated the problem: that we were born at all. That we have bodies, and minds. Also, parents. Who made us go to school. Where a third of the children were absolute beasts, especially on the blacktop, when teachers weren’t looking. At about the time a grandparent or cat died, and we began to realize everything and everyone was going to die. Even Mom! Who was insane, who either had to be highly medicated, or who cleaned between the piano keys with Q-tips, or hated Dad, or adored Dad, who hated her.
This is all by five years old, before most children can even read, i.e. begin to learn about the full nightmare of life in one’s own bizarre family, let alone slums, Stalin, alcoholism, manic-depression, JFK, cancer, acne, and what eventually happens to most animals at the pound.
This advance is not available to most children until they are at least six years old.
Right? I mean, let’s put aside the fact that our hearts get broken–everyone’s hearts get badly broken here, trust me; shattered–and maybe we have children and they have awful problems, and their hearts get shattered, and you want to die, but eventually maybe they find a great husband, say, whom you adore, who, when the twins are ten, they divorce. Then your best women friends gets breast cancer. Plus your cat, who is the main reason you can even stand being here at all some days, is on his last legs.
So yeah, maybe we’re a bit more tense than the average bear.
Yeah, maybe we’ve shut down a little. Maybe at six years old (see above) we’ve developed armor, like very articulate, high-achieving armadillos. We’re obsessed with what other people think of us. Some of us drink or eat a little more than would be ideal. We know we are a little off balance, a little out of whack, because we binge on this or that, or starve, or have developed tiny, tiny control issues, and maybe struggle EVERY so often with judgment, hardly worth mentioning; or cannot turn the TV; and the cell phone is destroying our lives, our chance to be spiritually awake and present, and makes us hate the worst offenders. Plus, you know, the little death thing.
I promise, if I were in charge of more, if I were God’s West Coast representative, I would have a much better system. Ix-nay on eth-day, for instance. But I’m not.
So what is the plan? I’m so glad you asked, because while I have some heartbreaking and highly stressful things going on even as we speak, as everyone does, and it is Halloween, which I hate on every level, not just because I have eaten all the fugging Mounds, which I thought I could keep around because I don’t love them, I am in a dangerously good mood.
Why? Because I have community. I have several friends who are so On Beyond Zebra in terms of greatness and loyalty, that we will never be alone in our struggles and suffering guns craziness. Because I got a second chance at life. Because God has to love me-that’s His or Her job.
Because the day is young, and only I can wreck it. I’ve done my prayers, meditation and been to the Church of the New York Times. I am in my own home, where there are pets, autumn apples, unread books, clean sheets on the bed (!!!!!), not all that many more Mounds bars to shovel in. I get to go for an hour’s hike. And then, OMG, a hot shower. I get to put lotion of my beautifully, ripply, sturdy, work-horse thigh; the laying on of hands.
And then all of these sober people who love me more than life itself–and I them–are going to meet and roar with laughter, or cry, and listen intently to one another, and remember that most of our problems are mental–our minds are for entertainment purposes only. So we will change channels. We will turn off K-Fucked Radio, and be where our feet and hearts are, with each other, sticking together, sharing our water and gum. We remind each other to eat, that we get even worse when we don’t. Like Jesus telling his disciples, “You are all driving me a bit crazy here today, but there is a fish roast going on at the beach. So everyone go eat, share, savor; breathe. And we’ll meet back here later. Deal?”
Then I am going to flirt with every old lonely person I see. And I am going to walk with my dogs through the ‘Hood, even though Bodhi is old and aches, and I will pick up litter, even though there will be more tomorrow, because that is not my business. Love and service are my business. Walking the dogs is my business. Radical self-care is my business: hence the autumn apple as and clean sheets, and remembering to look up. Asking myself if I want to be right or kind is my business. Law of the American Jungle: Remain Calm, and Share Your Bananas. Period.
I have to get up tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. and fly to Alabama, but that is tomorrow. Not my problem. Just today. I have you, you have me. The friends, the changing leaves,the unread books. The dogs. The cat, who is perhaps the tiniest bit bitter, about the dogs. The Mounds, which are actually damn good. Our hearts. Cool water. Wow.’
Jan is completing her Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
‘When we believe without question that the Bible is the word of God, directly from God, and without error, we remove ourselves from the responsibility of trying to understand God speaking to us today. Martin Luther translated the Bible into German precisely so that we wouldn’t rely solely on “authorities” for meaning. Divinely inspired scripture does not mean it was divinely dictated. Accepting it word for word is to believe someone else’s interpretation. This handwritten draft (and the article below) illustrates that man always has a hand in the shaping of God’s message. Man’s creative license is wonderful in many ways (again, as the article shows). As Karen Armstrong said at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, “Scripture is a human artifact. God works through our creativity.”
‘More interesting than you realize.
An interesting person is interesting to us because she combines two things: Truth and surprise.
The truth: Not necessarily a law of physics, not necessarily a measurable truth in nature, but merely the truth of experience. “I believe this,” or “I see that.”
And surprise. Note that surprise is always local. Surprising to me, the audience. That’s one reason that it’s said that interesting people are interested—they are empathetic enough to realize about what might be surprising to the person in the room, and they care enough to deliver on that insight.
Everyone is capable of telling the truth. And everyone has been surprising at least once.
Which means that being an interesting person is a choice. We can choose to show up, to care enough to contribute our humanity to the next interaction.
It’s a choice, but a difficult one, because being interesting feels risky. People are afraid to be interesting, not unable to be interesting.
You’re not born uninteresting. But it’s entirely possible you’ve persuaded yourself to be so frightened of the consequences that you no longer have the passion, the generosity or the guts to be interesting any longer.
Without a doubt, we need your interesting.’
“No, Mass Shootings Are Not A Mental Health Issue.”
By Emily Chambers/Think Pieces/Pajiba
“So, attention, anti-gun control advocates: You’ve won. This isn’t an article about changing gun laws. I’m not going to fight you about that. But you’re going to start leaving mental health issues out of it. That I will fight you on.
Because claiming that this very specific type of gun violence is the result of mental illness both misses the overall point about gun violence and intentionally demonizes an already marginalized group of people who have nothing to do with this. It’s complete bullshit, and you’re going to knock it the f*#* off.”
Bravery is for the people who have no choice, people like Chesley Sullenberger and Audie Murphy.
Bravery is for the people who are gifted, people like Ralph Abernathy, Sarah Kay and Miles Davis.
Bravery is for the people who are called, people like Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa.
Bravery is for other people.
When you see it that way, it’s so clearly and patently absurd that it’s pretty clear that bravery is merely a choice.
At least once in your life (maybe this week, maybe today) you did something that was brave and generous and important. The only question is one of degree… when will we care enough to be brave again?
These are the real time emission amounts. (Thanks, Jess, for sharing.) Very scary. And very real. Just click on the link:
From the Independent:
‘Some 150 countries representing around 90 percent of the world’s carbon emissions have now filed pledges to curb them, dramatically increasing the chances of a deal at the Paris climate summit in December.’
Also from the Independent, by 2100, humans won’t be able to go outside in some countries.
And this. Exxon knew.
I teacher’s morning pledge with her students in one school that started over again after the Bush Administrations’ failed NCLB policies. ‘I will do my best today.’
The classroom’s are multi-aged, with no textbooks, or desks, and re-trained teachers.
Here’s a case study from NPR:
Community Discussion Oct. 26 – Proposed Grocery Store
“What’s your opinion on a grocery store and small number of housing units in the light industrial area? This is the topic of a community discussion on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. CenterCal Properties, LLC is considering this project on the former Stock Building Supply property at 1000 Warm Springs Rd. No applications have been filed. Discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. Show up or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
‘Look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Then ask yourself, and yourself alone…
Does this path have a heart? If it does, the
path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.’
And here, the very wise and tender words of Mark Nepo:
‘It takes six million grains of pollen to seed one peony, and salmon need a lifetime of swimming to find their way home, so we mustn’t be alarmed or discouraged when it takes us years to find love or years to understand our calling in life.
Everything in nature is given some form of resilience by which it can rehearse finding its way, so that when it does, it is practiced and ready to seize its moment. This includes us.
When things don’t work out – – when loves unexpectedly end or careers stop unfolding – – it can be painful and sad, but refusing this larger picture keeps us from finding our resilience. Then, sadness can turn into discouragement, and pain can spoil into despair.
As the many grains of pollen birth the one flower and the many eggs spawned birth the one fish, each person we love and each dream we try to give life to brings us closer to the mystery of being alive.
So we must try as many times as necessary until our many loves become the one love, until our many dreams become the one dream, until heart and path feel the same.’
“Social media is a notoriously difficult place to express any of the hard, nuanced stuff in life…”
On Being with Courtney E. Martin
“I think it’s about the way that we so often shroud the creation of things — books, businesses, babies — in mystery. We go public when the website looks perfect, when the book has its endorsements and its authoritative author photo, when the baby has arrived, safe and sound and wrinkly. But that’s not life. That’s respectability.”
“What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
The Power Path
“(There) are enormously complex questions and there are no simple answers. However the more we know about soul age and people’s needs at the different stages of development the better we can serve their needs and support good decision making that will provide for each in turn.
…we find ourselves in world where discoveries are being made fast and furiously to the degree that our entire view of history and what has happened on this planet is being called into question in a serious way. This is further undermining a sense of stability for so many people. Populations are shifting, political parties are unpredictable, economies are on the move, and technologies are changing our lives faster than at any time before.”
On Being and Parker Palmer
“There is in all visible things…a hidden wholeness.”
‘In retrospect, I can see in my own life what I could not see at the time: how the job I lost helped me find work I needed to do, how the “road closed” sign turned me toward terrain I needed to travel, how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know. On the surface it seemed that life was lessening, but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sown.”
‘The intersection of propaganda and creative culture has always been a centerpiece of political communication…’
When the leadership we’ve elected can’t/won’t govern, give it to the people.
ABOUT THE NO LABELS MOVEMENT
No Labels is a growing citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and Independents dedicated to ushering in a new era of focused problem solving in American politics.
We are not a centrist or a moderate group, and we are not pushing for bipartisanship for its own sake. This is a growing national network of liberals, conservatives and everyone in between who believes having principled and deeply held political beliefs does not require an all-or-nothing approach to governance. In fact, it is this all-or-nothing attitude that is dividing our country and leading to the crippling gridlock and dysfunction in Washington.
In 2015 and beyond, No Labels is focusing its energies on creating a new goal-oriented model of governance for the country.
We are calling for the creation of a new National Strategic Agenda focused on four goals chosen with direct input from the American people:
- Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years
- Secure Social Security and Medicare for another 75 years
- Balance the federal budget by 2030
- Make America energy secure by 2024
No Labels is asking 2016 presidential candidates to embrace the National Strategic Agenda and to commit, if elected, to begin working with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders on at least one of these four goals within the first 30 days of the new administration. Presidential candidates who publicly make this commitment will receive the No Labels Problem Solver Seal of Approval.
Q&A with former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is co-chair of No Labels on NPR’s All Things Considered:
“This is a group that in one sense is not unlike a lot of other Americans, which is we’re disappointed, we’re fed up, we’re angry about the gridlock in Washington. But we are different from a lot of the others in that we have a program of response. And the way we’ve chosen is to put forward an agenda with four big national goals broadly stated which we’re asking the presidential candidates to commit to – and the goals have to do with creating 25 million new jobs in the country, security – Social Security and Medicare, balancing the budget and making America energy secure.”
University of Texas Austin professor:
“I don’t want to bear the increased risk of facing a student in my office that gets disgruntled and pulls a gun out on me.”
“A lot of people, especially in the Humanities department, are terribly concerned — why express something that might be controversial [and may make] a student really, really upset when there’s an increased of having a student pull a gun on you?” he says. “It makes it a less desirable place for learning and it makes it less of a learning environment.”
“I worry about the feeling of tension this would engender because somebody might do something, and you’re always going to be on alert. I don’t need to put up with that. Life is short, I don’t need the money that much, so I’d rather do other things.”
Canadians want to build a wall; to keep American’s out.
“Imagine the flood of political refugees in the case of a Donald Trump victory in the U.S. presidential election. Millions of shocked American Democrats and other Trump-dodgers fleeing across our Canadian border, seeking political refugee status here in the land of the free(ze).”
“There’s a lot about guns in these letters and columns. Susan Sacks of suburban Toronto wrote in a letter to the Toronto Star, “If a wall will keep American guns and other American bad habits out of Canada, I’m all for it.”
The number of families that have contributed to nearly half of early money efforts to capture the Whitehouse. They are ‘white, rich, and older male.’
“The final thing I want to add is that I and everybody else should get from this is that any day could be your last. You don’t want anybody’s last memory of you to be a bad one so everybody needs to take it upon themselves to just be a lot nicer to people.”