Never Ever Give Up

One would think with all that we face, the politics of division would run its course, but splintering continues and divide and conquer maneuvers are at an all time high. 

It’s as if we thoroughly enjoy seeing the human race fail. We don’t have to hate one another. We don’t have to fear one another. As far as I can tell our needs  – not our wants – are the same and we would get a lot further with just a bit more respect and a touch of compassion.

People are dying. People are missing their loved ones and people are wondering if they will have a roof over their heads as winter looms. Some are not sure if they can continue to feed their children. And as the covid numbers surge, some will not be able to receive the care they need regardless of the disease that stalks them. 

We are succumbing to addiction and domestic violence and for too many suicide is the final solution. We have opened the door to madness and it seems we are unwilling to try and close it again.

But through all of the ugliness and all of the loss I choose to believe we can turn this around. The tears that come so easily these days are reminders of a heart still capable of loving. The efforts to create and to discover new paths are a testament to the resilience that we all share.

Our foundation is being cracked and that is as it should be. It was a house of cards. The winds have come to tear it down and for those who are ready to see there will be new growth, new life and new ways.

Love one another through this horrible nightmare, and never, ever give up.

Only If You Let It

The fall colors have been exceptional this year. It’s as if Nature is trying every trick to make us pay attention to what is important, to why we are alive.

I live in a sea of color. I also live in a sea of Trump signs. Where I live the predominant thinking is that covid is at best a hoax or at worst a political tool. The state mandate to wear masks is routinely ignored as we watch the number of infected rise. 

The majority of people here speak loudly about their religion, but seldom of their humanity. They are quick to point out their fear of Sharia law, but ignore the fact that they are ushering in their own brand of control.

Yet the colors of autumn are extraordinary, breathtakingly so.  

With very little effort you can understand the cycles of life, the withering of age and the preciousness of each moment. Ironically, most of the leaves will be gone by November 3rd along with much of the political hype. Then winter will set in and the echo chambers of beliefs will continue to be passed in churches, at gas stations, in bars and on and on.

Winter holds it’s own unique embrace. The silence can caress your weariness and the beauty of the snow can wash away your pain. But only if you let it, and only if you notice.

There’s so much we have forgotten to notice. We have forgotten the power of love and our interconnectedness with it and with all life. We have forgotten how to honor relationship; we have forgotten how to dream.

We live in the time of the dying. But death is nothing more than the beginning of rebirth. And now the leaves are teaching us. Pay attention.

Inequitable Justice

When a president cannot condemn white supremacy we have arrived at a pivotal moment. When he attempts to whitewash our history by sidestepping the Doctrine of Discovery and governmental acts of racism, we must demand truth.  

When his Supreme Court pick proclaims to be a strict constructionist and pledges allegiance to Constitutional Law, many will find patriotism in her words. But the founding fathers were fallible. Their constructs were laced with racism and misogyny inevitably creating an inequitable system of justice.

When Trump uses the rallying cry of “law and order” we must recognize that the judicial system in this country has always favored property over humanity. It’s not a broken system. It’s a system working as it was designed to work. It protects wealth and maintains control over individuals of lessor means through unjust sentences, impossible fees and physical might.

Change will come when the majority of us understand that we cannot fix this system. It’s stacked against us. Instead we must continue to create new ways of restoring justice. We need to develop better means towards rehabilitation and reconciliation. We need to take the leap towards what has been called “beloved community”.  We need to seek out and conspire with others in this human effort. And we must be willing to let the old system die.

This is why activists proclaim, “Defund the police”. Defunding the police is only one piece of dismantling a corrupt system, which must undergo transformation, if we are to survive as a people.

The farce of an election will play out. Lobbyists and other power brokers wait in the wings to have their say. But it’s not too late; it will never be too late, for we the people to co-create a better day. 

It is time to end the division cultivated by racism. We are and have always been one people.

The poster of the movie, “Birth of a Nation” is public domain. The Birth of a Nation is a silent film from 1915. It is three hours of racist propaganda.

Something’s Happening

There’s something much greater happening right now than an election, and no, it is not the selection of a Supreme Court Justice, and no, it is not the ongoing crisis of a pandemic that never had to be this out of control…

There is something much greater, and much more immediate that’s happening. The intense polarizations are leaving us with a choice. Will we continue to participate in the downward spiral of separation and hatred or will we reclaim our connectedness and our humanity?

The choice is always there. 

I found a young rooster who had been beaten up by the others of his flock. His jaw is broken and it appears that his spine is broken as well, but still he stood and wobbled as he walked. I gave him some water and put food into his broken beak. He responded in a positive way and we have worked out systems that keep him safe and well fed. I bathe him with dust and he grooms himself with it. I am amazed at how much I love him and how my love has grown. His desire to live is a great teacher to me. And I will assist him as long as he needs. 

Our hearts have the capacity to love deeply and without restriction. And love itself is the reward.

That is the choice before us. We can maintain foolish divides or we can allow ourselves to love and to heal.

The status quo is full of contradictions and hypocrisy. The beliefs that we have inherited have made us very sick. But the remedy has always been at hand. Love. Love foolishly, love graciously. And appreciate the fact that you can love. It is a gift. 

Love is our greatest ally and our greatest weapon.

Love lavishly. 

Time to Say “Uncle”

I found a young evergreen we had given up for dead. I wondered what tripped me and turned around to see this young sapling waving or so it seemed. It had been mowed, driven over and walked on, yet still it stood. I was impressed with its resilience and promised to return. 

An all day rain seemed to give it more life as I pounded a few stakes and fenced it for protection. One never knows the outcome when love and attention are given, but the very act of kindness offers immediate reward for the giver. 

The destruction of Hurricane Laura and the seemingly endless wildfires out west on top of a pandemic and an exceptionally dysfunctional leadership are testing the resiliency of many. As the numbers of homeless rise and I hear the sadness and fear in the voices of my friends, I know we have come to the time of saying “Uncle”. 

Saying “Uncle” dates back to the Romans and was uttered by children being bullied into submission. I don’t believe anyone deserves being bullied, nor do I believe in submission. But I do believe we have come to the end of a road. Climate change has intensified due to our energy choices and our inability to care. And while some are enjoying the high life, the truth is that a majority of us are being forced into poverty. We have come to the end of the road. The signs that pointed to prosperity neglected to tell us of the hazards along the way. Greed and indifference have taken their toll. 

But as my young sapling reminded me today, it’s never over ‘til it’s over and a little care goes a long way. So here we are friends, with the opportunity to help one another. Let’s step up.

The Dilemma of the Status Quo

The rock and the hard place have us. Some are treading water; some are content to be sunk. Our love of reality TV has come to life as vigilantes are given thumbs up by those sworn to protect and serve. Yet all that is getting protected is the right to remain racist. 

Change is inevitable. Change is natural. Anyone who has lived through four seasons will attest to that, yet somehow we cling to the way we were as if it were not dysfunctional, as if it were superior in someway, as if it deserves to be the only thing that does not change. And that is the dilemma of the status quo. White knuckling and holding on at all costs. These last gasps of white supremacy can be horrifying, but they loose their grasp when I realize why they roar and thunder.

They roar because the end is near. Not the apocalyptic end that churches use to control people, but the end of an age of ignorance that allowed dominant cultures to enslave people either by chains or credit cards. They thunder because they have been pitched the idea that they are the last bastions of civilization and they are finally being given their due as important players in this game. They are being played.

And if we fear them, we are being played. Because the best way out of this nightmare remains our love and devotion to the earth and to one another. And Love cannot reign where fear is king. 

Yes this election is important, but far more important is how we proceed now and after, regardless of outcome. Put anger and fear aside and fight with determination and clarity. The history of hatred will not hold a candle to what Love can create.

photo compliments of wikimedia commons

Take a Breath

The unrest continues in response to the police brutality used in the attempted homicide of Jacob Blake. White vigilantes fan the flames of racism on the streets of Kenosha. Too many on social media are applauding the seventeen year old who killed two protestors and far too many are defending the police who held a man by the shirt and shot seven bullets directly into his back.

And then there are the white commentaries bashing protestors for destroying property while omitting to comment on systemic and brutal racism.

Take a breath people. Jacob Blake’s mother asked that of us and I think it is a good starting point.  And once you catch your breath, I think we should defect. To defect: to leave, without consent or permission, allegiances that we have espoused or participated in.

In this moment when insanity is breaking loose; we need to defect from our allegiance to inhumanity. We need to defect from the thinking that tells us there are many races and we need to embrace the single race of being human. We need to defect from the position that might is right and restorative justice is impossible. And most of all we need to stop judging one another and listen.

Over the years I have taken time to be with people different than myself. I have an Indigenous Grandmother, a Black Daughter, Sovereign Sisters and a Muslim Brother, not by blood or marraige, but by choice. And I choose to listen.

Our stories are different. Our hearts are the same.

So I’m defecting from ignorance and hate and I suggest you do the same. Peace is possible. Love is real and as we move towards that understanding, the world will change.

It’s up to us. It’s always been.

 

photo: wikimedia

Assert Our Humanity

For nearly four years we have watched a man upend human decency while far too many of us have cheered. Faith leaders have excused and even exalted him. Men have envied his power and women have given their power to him. We have heard him brag of sexual exploits and even boast that he could kill someone and get away with it. Well, from what I can see he has done far worse.

What could be worse? Fueled by our tolerance and by our loathing he has worked to dismantle human empathy, respect, and compassion for personal gain. But worse than breaking our dignity, he has modeled that behavior for imitators and children to emulate.

He has totally unleashed the “me, not us” attitude and has invited everyone to participate in the madness. He has turned a blind eye to those who are most likely to suffer from the pandemic. “It is what it is”, was what he offered. His bashing of anyone and everyone who is different should have ended his career in public office before it began. But Donald Trump is a master manipulator and we were ripe for the picking.

We have a long climb ahead of us to pull out of this gutter. But I believe we can do it. How we do it is key. We cannot keep throwing gasoline on the fire. We must find ways to mend the divide. His defeat in November needs to be a resounding thumping as we signal our return to “us, not me” and reject this era’s selfishness.

Let us keep walking into that “good trouble” as John Lewis invited.  And remain vigilant. The time to assert our humanity has come. Let the richness of our spirit lead us. Let us not be fooled again.

An Election Won’t Save Us

It’s time for a do over. The bloody struggle with King George’s men did not give us independence. The king of corporate and wealth driven greed now enslaves us.

Every four years we get our hopes up that someone might in fact be listening and we engage in the destructive battle of joining sides. The pendulum swings and little changes.  The two parties count on that.

We are an oligarchy*. Our leaders have always been chosen by power and money.  Doubt it? Look up the letters to George Washington begging him to come to the Constitutional Convention. Apparently a Massachusetts farmer named Shay was tired of paying more taxes than even the King had asked. He formed a militia and demanded change. Fearing this mood of disharmony would catch on in other states, a convention was called.  The Constitution was constructed to create and to strengthen the federal side of the union. It was deliberately designed to protect the wealth and the property of the wealthy. A representative republic was formed, not a one-man vote democracy.

It was not merely a slight of the era that Blacks, Natives and Women were ignored. It was a conscious and purposeful choice. Maintaining power is intentional.

Let’s be clear, I will vote against the puppet currently holding the presidency, but I am not jumping for joy at the alternative puppet.

I am also not advocating violent overthrow. I am advocating the most radical change of all: that each of us take the position of being human first; that respect and care for one another and for the earth becomes paramount; and that we live as if we are the recipients of a great gift and are choosing to leave a great legacy.

We have the means. Do we have the will?

 

ol·i·gar·chy
/ˈäləˌɡärkē/
noun

Through the Eye of a Needle

There is a lovely canopy of green that blankets my world this time of year. From May through October my cabin sits in the midst of it. My closest neighbors are deer, coyote and a variety of birds, small animals and insects. Through these months as I sit in the silence of an Internet and television free environment, I have the opportunity to think and to feel.

During the days, I catch glimpses of the news, and from social media I learn what many are thinking. For the most part we think about and are driven by what we believe. We have an allegiance to what we believe and so we seek the company of people and of the ideas that uphold those beliefs. This is the beginning of the isolation and the division we are witnessing today. We have become more invested in our beliefs than in our humanity.

Today I took a moment to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and was a bit surprised that I remembered it. When I got to “with liberty and justice for all” I was jolted by the memory of why I stopped saying it. For me, it simply wasn’t true.

The sentiment is lovely, the ideal is honorable but I couldn’t pledge allegiance to something that did not exist. It brought me to that incredible moment when belief and knowing collide and you must choose which you will follow.

To leave beliefs behind is not easy. It’s like passing a camel through the eye of a needle. But I have found a simple solution. I follow my knowing. And I am honing my knowing to some very basic things: our humanity is what we share and kindness is our greatest strength. “Liberty and justice for all” will be born of this.

 

 

Photo is a Czech movie poster to Czech film Velbloud uchem jehly (1936). A comedy film with an allusion to the “eye of a needle” aphorism.