Monthly Archives: November 2011

THOUGHTS ABOUT "THRIVE"

November 28, 2011


I like Brenda Ueland’s admonition to “keep a slovenly, headlong, impulsive, honest diary” as her solution to the need for writers to write everyday. I too often spend my energy beating myself up for all the days I haven’t done this, or the walk I didn’t take or the cleaning I didn’t do or the meditation I skipped—how silly is this? What is the appeal to this way of living that draws my Ego like a drug? My daily Shame fix. Would I know how to live without it?

Shrugging off the crave, I look around me and I keep my promise to myself. I will focus today on beauty, on what gives me joy, on feeling wonderful. I will smile through my day and radiate love to others. If that is all I achieve, it will be enough. At least for today.

I watched THRIVE last night, a comprehensive documentary on the state of the world and how we got to where we are. It matter-of-factly presents research that confirms all kinds of conspiracy theories that we haven’t wanted to believe. We are shown where we have, and continue to trustingly, gullibley participate in our own destruction. We are confronted with what our world is quickly becoming if nothing is done to stop it. This is one wake-up call that makes it difficult to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. I am stunned and sobered. I realize that anger and rage will not change anything—unless it is the only way I am able to remain awake. Unless it is the only fuel that will propel me to action. But what action? What do we do when we are filled with raging anger? Try to fight a monster equipped with weapons of mass destruction with a paring knife?


Those who have been telling us that the answer lies in this: that we must do the internal work we need to do in order to live from our hearts, from love and kindness and forgiveness, are absolutely correct. We need to move into action led by the most powerful forces in the Universe—Light (knowledge and wisdom) and Love (kindness, forgiveness, compassion) and Joy (creative power). Darkness is displaced only when we cause light to shine, no matter how small the light. Love has always triumphed over fear and hate. Joy allows creative energy to flow.

I watched another film, 2012: A Message of Hope . And, despite the suffering and sorrow and horrors and all that is at stake on our planet, the message was: “Do not fear. Meditate. Be led by your heart. Do what you do from Love.” Love is the opposite of fear. And science has proven that the electro-magnetic field of our heart is much more powerful than that of our brain. The wisdom of the heart and decisions and actions taken based on the heart have more power and generate more creativity and life than those of the brain/mind. Interesting.


Love. Gratitude. Joy. These are my talismans—that which I can activate, focus upon and allow to guide me through each day. I trust that the more I do so, the fear and dread and shame that rule so much of my life will weaken and slowly lose their grip and I will be free like I have never been. I won’t be afraid then to show up where I am needed.


And when I show up, there is one more light dispelling the darkness.


As the host of the film tells us at the end, the power wielded by those who have controlled the world completely depends on us, the people. Without our cooperation, without our collusive behavior, their power will fail. Without the darkness of our ignorance they are exposed. Will we accept the time we were born to and do what must be done to reclaim our Earth Mother and the right of Her children to thrive? Or, like the traitor in the film The Matrix, will we choose to go back to sleep?


I like this quote by George Carlin; “The owners of this country know the truth: It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

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MINNESOTA IS GOING TO WAR

November 3, 2011

Minnesota is going to war. It was declared by a small, noisy group of people who hold very tightly to the belief that their understanding of the Universe, of Life and of how it all came to be is absolutely, unshakably, undeniably, fundamentally the Way that It Is. Because they believe that their knowledge is the only knowledge that is accurate and true, and includes a direct connection with the Creator of All of It, they believe any other opinion or insight, idea or belief is wrong and therefore immaterial and invalid. They therefore have little to no respect for these other positions, perspectives and beliefs. It is not a very big step then to hold little respect for the people who embrace those other positions, perspectives and beliefs. They become The Enemy, even of God Himself.

I wonder what sort of world they think this would be if we all dutifully lined up and lived our lives according to their rules? If all people everywhere abandoned their heritage, culture, their stories and beliefs and embraced the heritage, culture, and rules of this one privileged group—what would it be like? Do they have any idea? Would we all get along then—the way they do among themselves? Would this make their God finally smile and allow only good things to occur upon the Earth? Would this One be willing then to bail us out of our foolish ways that have poisoned the very Earth this One entrusted to us to care for and enjoy? What is it they expect to happen when they take back their state and their country for their God and away from those who follow a different Way…?

Minnesota is going to war. A few of the representatives of this small, noisy group who hold positions of political power have introduced a proposal to amend the Minnesota Constitution to declare that a man absolutely may not enter into legal marriage with another man, nor a woman with another woman. (S.F. No. 1308) This is one legal contract that this group believes is sacred and by divine law may only be entered into by one man and one woman together. They are determined to see this amendment pass next November and are mobilizing their forces to see to it that it does. There will be thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars spent on advertising in order to amplify their angry voices and fill the airwaves with their brand of righteousness. They will be asked why such an amendment must be passed and they will tell us that our state and our country must be protected from the iniquity of such people or the wrath of God will be visited upon us. These people, homosexual people, will be vilified, as will anyone who accepts or supports them. Dung on the soles of our righteous shoes.

Minnesota is going to war. There will be those who will stand firm against this small, noisy group. They will say, “NO…this is not the way of righteousness—which only means to live with honor and integrity.” They will say, “It is not men loving men, or women loving women who have brought Judgment down upon us—if by Judgment you mean sickness, floods, financial collapse, earthquakes, tsunamis and leaking nuclear reactors, polluted waters, hurricanes, foreclosures, droughts, unemployment, tornadoes, homeless and starving, wars and rumors of war.” It is humans not loving one another. It is humans not loving the Earth. It is humans worshipping their chosen Way of Life over loving their neighbors as themselves. It is humans abdicating their personal responsibility to a vague and sinister group of puppeteers.”

And the accusations will fly. Where there might have been a paradise, there will be left only a scorched earth, whether of the heart, or the soil. And the children will be listening; they will watch and they will learn how it must be.

If there Is a God, He will weep.

Once upon a time in my life I was a member of that elite group who believes that they hold the keys to the Kingdom of God—that they alone know and understand the Truth of the Universe. When I was growing up, I had never heard of a homosexual. They lived underground and in dark closets, and the larger society was barely aware of their presence. As a young woman and a new initiate into fundamentalist Christianity, I learned of this strange practice of homosexuality and was shocked and appalled. Sex was tainted by so much shame I could barely wrap my brain around the goodness and beauty of heterosexuality, none-the-less homosexuality. I read the proscribed passages in the Bible that denounced homosexuality and that was it. It was gross, it was wrong, it was an evil thing—and those who engaged in this practice were sick and perverted; lost souls. We had to either save them, or shut them down. They were gaining publicity and fighting for rights the like of which they’d never had and never should have had and if we, the guardians of the spiritual well being of our nation did not stand firm against this latest work of Satan, who would? And so we real Christians focused on the two spawn of Satan that would take our nation down if we didn’t defeat them—the Abortionists and the Homosexuals.

And then in his 19th year, my beloved baby brother came to visit me. My beloved little brother who had always had a tender, loving soul; who was sweet and insightful; who loved God and loved people; who wanted to make the world a better place; who had a charming sense of humor. He told me he was gay. My little brother—one of those people.

I was devastated. I couldn’t believe how accepting my parents were. I railed and threatened and preached. I cried and mourned and feared for his soul. I felt like the brother I had loved had died, leaving this imposter in his place. I am sure I deeply wounded my brother with my judgment and my rejection. But he never retaliated.

It took me several years to find my way through that difficult lesson. The first breakthrough came when I went to buy him a birthday card. I was in a hurry and having shackled my affections for him, it had become difficult to find a suitable card. As I entered the card shop I threw out a silent plea, “Please help me find the right card fast!” I approached the birthday section and looked for Brother. Found it; reached out my hand and grabbed a card. I don’t remember what the outside said, only the message inside: I’m so glad you are my brother!


I stood rooted to the floor, immobilized. A quiet voice inside me asked, “So, are you glad he’s your brother?” And the tears came. I wasn’t glad. I was ashamed. And I was ashamed that I was ashamed. I was confused. My heart longed for him and yet withdrew. I stood crying in the middle of the card shop. I bought the card. And with it hope that somehow I would find my way through this and back again to Love.

Sometime later, I don’t recall now if it was months or a year, my family gathered for an afternoon. My little brother was there. He was sitting in a chair with a wide armrest and I was perched on the armrest facing him, chatting away about something. Some invisible One tapped me on the shoulder. “Notice what you are doing.” Suddenly I realized that I was enjoying this conversation with my brother. It wasn’t awkward. I wasn’t reserved and judging and anguishing. He was just—my brother.

Little by little, year by year, I learned. I grew. I found my way back to my brother. I read about the scientific studies of what causes homosexuality in those children born to it. I read about cultural attitudes and traditions in other places and in other times in history. I realized that this phenomena has always been part of our human experience—sometimes highly respected and valued, sometimes accepted as part of the whole of human experience, and less often, reviled and rejected such as we have done in our time and culture.

As I broadened my understanding and knowledge base about homosexuality, I also began to broaden my understanding and knowledge base about many other spiritual/religious truths and traditions. I think I grew up the day that I realized this One, this God, this Creator Being was just simply too unlike us, well, just too big to foolishly try to recreate in our own image and likeness and then fence into a tiny little sanctuary. I am the one who is too small to ever try to comprehend the vastness of the Universe and how it works.

My redemption came the day I figured out that no matter what else we may think about God and the Universe and who we may argue with about how it all works—what it all boils down to at the end of the day is this: did you love one another?

Love. Every religion, every culture however they may differ, seems to be grounded in and founded upon this one Truth—Love, is the most powerful Force in the Universe. Whatever we may feel we are here to do in this lifetime, all that really matters at the end of it is, did I love? This God of the Christian Right is first of all about Love—or at least that is what their Holy Scriptures say. So, how can it be love to declare war on a minority of people who are no different than themselves save for the fact that they are in love with someone of their own gender? How can it be love to tear apart our state with accusations and judgment, hostility and yes, even lies?

I suppose the Christian Right has the right to say and do what they believe is correct. Including declaring war on their own people. But, that means then that those they are declaring war upon will have to stand up and speak out for what they equally believe is true. And while everyone shouts about who is right and what is wrong—we all will lose.

I wonder what sort of world it would be if we all respected, appreciated, and learned from one another’s heritage and culture, our collective stories, experiences and beliefs? Would that make this God who created such an infinitely diverse Universe and the Earth a jewel amongst the habitable planets, smile? Would we finally then find our way to healing this beautiful Earth that our ignorance and our greed and our divisiveness has poisoned and corrupted? Could it be that taking back our country and our state for God means becoming a nation that loves first—that emulates the Good Samaritan, that is willing to become our brother’s Keeper rather than his Judge? Could it be that to be Pro-Life means not only to be anti-abortion, but pro the babies being bombed by bombs our taxes paid for—pro the homeless children (and men and women) in American cities that outnumber the homeless in all of the rest of the developed nations combined—pro the undereducated youth with no hope for their future—pro the sick who are sick because we’ve lost sight of a balanced and healthy way of being in the world—pro the depleted soil and polluted waterways and suffering creatures of the Earth?

There is certainly one thing that the Religious Right might be right about—and that is that it is all about Love.

But then, we need to see it in action.

Declaring war is never about love. It is never right.

LIKE A SCREEN DOOR BANGING IN A HURRICANE

October 18, 2011

“Sometimes I have to make a simple, straightforward effort to do [the small thing I can do] so I will feel less like a screen door banging in a hurricane.” Barbara Kingsolver—Small Wonder


Too often these days I feel like “a screen door banging in a hurricane”. Some days that storm is raging across the pages in my email as one news source after another reports in on the ways we are tearing apart the world. My eyes, blurry with tears, I look out at the peaceful neighborhood where my house stands and don’t know what I can do. What I am willing to do. What I can afford to do. A screen door banging in the hurricane.


Sucked open by the black and furious winds—slammed back against the wall—leaving the room inside unprotected from the ripping rain and wind. Slammed shut again, trying to stand between that seething rage and the still inside. Blown back again against the wall—slapped and slammed—shaken insensible, of no use to anyone.


How many of us have been shaken insensible by the onslaught of information alerting us to the consequences now upon us of our ignorance and apathy, our self-absorption and our greed. We feel like so many little sticks being carried downstream in a river running wild. Helpless, powerless. Only now is the truth dawning on us that when enough of those small sticks collect in the same place, they create a dam that can hold back even the river.


Others of us cannot take it in, this stark and terrible truth of the crimes of our own government and the destruction of our planet—not just a small corner of it, the whole damn thing—by the insatiable corporate machine. Our filmmakers and writers try desperately to wake us up—but some cannot wake up—it is too frightening a prospect. And so they view these prophecies as interesting entertainment and go like lambs to slaughter, accusing those who would try to wrench them from the wolf’s jaws of being in league with devils.


Others of us are wide awake indeed, but afraid and confused and uncertain how to help. Some of us don’t know how to help—or feel we cannot because our time and energy are consumed trying to just keep the roof over our children’s heads and food on the table. Some of us are so rooted in the lifestyle that contributes to all the destruction, we have no idea how to change things.

Today the storm rages through the life of my child, stripping her of everything she’s hoped and worked for. Relentless, the storm has caught up to her; she can no longer hide from or outrun all that she has feared. She is being called out—to step right into the center and stand firmly in the Truth that she knows. The furious storm will not be denied or it will devour her.

As a mother I can see the lesson playing out in her life. But standing by, just watching, nodding my encouragement—I feel like the screen door banging in the hurricane. Yet, I am comforted by knowing that sometimes the most important contribution we can make to save our child, and the world, is to do our own work first—to do whatever we need to do in order to allow ourselves to show up with hearts and minds filled with love and with joy and with hope and with light. And from this vantage point, we will know what next to do, and we will build the road while walking.