Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Have You Had Enough? Raise Your Voice.

Have you seen the bumper sticker that declares, “If you’re not outraged, you are not paying attention?”
I’m lucky enough to be associated with many poets. Glenis Redmond among them. She woke me up this morning with her history lesson of life on a plantation. “Show me your papers,” was a common demand. Of a non-freed slave. Or even a freed slave.
The demand has been made on the President of the United States.How is it that the entire country is not raising their voice? I ask in my own poem, “What IS a voice if it remains silent against leagues of tyranny?”
Dear Fellow Citizens:
Wake up. This is NOT a giant reality show, this IS reality. While the pundits are engaged in the center ring with Donald Trump, now moving to disparaging the education of the President, the deeper message is more insidious. When ever a comic opens a gig with, “Some of my best friends are black,” you know you are preparing for a joke based on the irony of racism.
Fellow Americans, WAKE UP. If you have a message you share on your break, at the coffee counter or with friends, NOW is the time to make that voice heard. Write. Call. Text. Email. One person DOES make a difference and remaining silent in the face of so many offenses and assaults on the health and vitality of our country is silent assent. BE INSPIRED TO ACT – confident that from the many, a message will form.
Dear souls…we each live aspiring for a greater good, a deeper spiritual practice and more harmonious way of placing our feet on the planet. As the nation’s conversation becomes increasingly unkind rational voices must be heard. BE HEARD !
Yesterday my husband paid $99 (read this, ninety – nine dollars) to fill the gas tank on our single, faithful vehicle. The last time I was responsible for taking our tank from empty to full, not that long ago, it cost $64. THIS should be the national conversation.
My good friend, an effervescent soul, has just put her precious, tended-with-care home on the market. She has been jobless for seven months and this is her only alternative to meet the obligations of her life. THIS should be the national conversation.
A subtly racist, discriminating dialogue is being tolerated before the nation’s television-attached beings. And in so many cases, not so subtle (hear Trump saying, “I get along fine with the blacks.”_ Would anyone let me say, without chiding, “I get along fine with everyone in the country that wears hot pink hair bands?” It is equally ridiculous.
Funding educational systems, not building prisons. Supporting the national story, not shutting down NPR. Living up to the reputation that we have built, as a united country, over the last centuries. Let the world see our people engaging in matters of consequence, once again.
Rather than being outraged as the bumper sticker suggests, consider being OUTSPOKEN. Friends – WAKE UP. Put some power behind that peaceful yoga practice, measure your mediation with a heart felt action. With open eyes do not let the parade pass your street and rob your property of its value and joy. This is a message which, at its root, is tied to DAILY JOYS and SIMPLE PLEASURES. The focus of the leadership of our country is being lost to trivialities. “Adjust the dial”– give breath your voice. Please.

President Bullied Into Producing Birth Certificate

Here’s how I know I just had an “AHA” moment while on my errands. Alone, in the car, I exclaimed aloud, “Ah-ha! So THAT’s how ordinarily wonderful and typically kind people tolerate bullying at so many levels.”
I drove past the house we just moved out of. In the midst of packing I noted no longer were there appointments to “show the house.” I asked my landlord if the property had been rented. “Yes.” She happily answered and provided more information than I had asked, “Two gay guys from California.”
I didn’t hear it then. But I heard it today. It would have given me pause if she had said, “Two heterosexual brunettes from New York,” or, “Two obese gals from Gartonville, Alabama.” I would have thought it odd. Or maybe even taken exception to the description.
We don’t feel compelled to say, “Two ordinary white people from two counties over are moving in here,” but it would naturally be offered, “Some black people are going to live here.”
I caught a snippit of a Donald Trump interview the other day. He was talking about the Presidential bid that he hasn’t declared he’s making. In that context he concluded that the only thing positive he could say about our President was that “he got elected.” In a sarcastic aside he said, “I’d like to be able to say he’s the best President since Abraham Lincoln…” Really? Not George Washington, not John Adams? No, he picked the president famed for acknowledging the rights of citizenship of the African American population. Here’s how racism and bigotry slip into conversation. Out of 43 presidents he offhandedly references the one most known for racial emancipation when discussing the first black president.
A compassionate, self-proclaimed, deeply committed Christian wrote a note over a stranger’s blog (which she had to copy and paste) casting extraordinary doubt on the President’s birth place and the authenticity of his social security number. Since it showed up on my Facebook page I asked my kind friend to be more cautious of her sources. Her answer? It didn’t get debunked on SNOPES so it must be real. The commentary contained some of the most racist, vilifying, denigrating assertions I have yet to see about any seated politician. All I could do was write back, “I’m just saying to be careful.”
Be careful. Be careful about those leaks in our souls that let the dirty, contaminated groundwater of Pre-Judging seep, weep and flood in to our experiences.

So a circus huckster starts shouting AGAIN that our President is not a citizen and the leader of the free world has to reduce to saying, “Here. See. I’m telling the truth. Love my country. Here’s my birth certificate, stamped and everything.” So now Donald Trump (previously referenced, rather harshly on my part, as a circus huckster) is suggesting the President was a poor student (yep, every poor student gets to be Editor of the Law Review) (note: sarcasm). Because a man with abashedly weird hair is a celebrity, does his nonsense really command thinking people’s attention? And is this not bullying on a magnificent scale?
I was contemplating releasing a new venue of my work…not my own work but the wise words of others. I was going to put a call out for “Wise Guys” and “Wise Women.” It didn’t set right for me and asked myself, “Why?” Isn’t wisdom simple enough? Words, wise and impacting, have their own merit apart from whether a man or a woman said them. My objection was immediate. “Yes, but so many quotes are attributed to me, just like so much of the art in a museum is created by a man.” As a female writer and artist, I am aware and sensitive to this issue.
What I realized was this: setting up a differential just gives further quarter to the separation of the sexes. Them. Us. Wisdom, as a category, is going to be a “we” in my use. Because to create the boundary is to begin to open the cracks of my soul for accidental, slippery, pre-established judgements.
So here is how “good people” allow bullying to go unchecked. Because bullying occurs in those places of separation. Of distinguishing THEY are not We. Their beliefs aren’t as viable as mine.
When it’s a “We,” or an “Us,” that is being bullied before our very eyes, we are likely to protect, stand up, defend. When it’s a “not us,” or a “them,” it becomes more acceptable to just stand and watch. To justify that “nature is taking its course,” by saying bullying is just part of the childhood experience, or maybe she said something to deserve it, or maybe he is just teasing.
Maybe not. The more we define by what makes us so different the greater the likelihood that we will not grasp that we are one. One of a group of citizens, One human inhabitant of the planet, one breathing creature among the many living things. One of the many. The many of US. Aha.

Storms In Arkanasa

I’ve checked in with my friends in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tales of “just missed” danger, lightning strikes and power failures have me exceptionally thankful for the blue skies outside my windown.

My friends are safe. Many others are not. Harm has come to many and death to others whose loss will long be felt.

Such troubles might seem a world away from you today. Perhaps you know no one in Arkansas. Maybe its even news to you that the storms have been so severe there.

There are storms every where. Raging in many different ways. The cranky stranger whole stole your parking space may be in the midst of a storm so wild and dangerous. The storm that blows them right into unkind actions and unacceptable behavior. Your hIstory kicks up storms: a memory, long dormant, arrives in full gale force and impacts your day.

Little Rock residents are poised for storm watches. They endure them. Most of them live through them, repair their wind-damaged homes and go along until the next time. So it is with all the unbridled forces of nature we encounter in our lives. The storm comes. We check for our own safely and then we reach out to our friends with, “Are you okay?”

Today, out my window, the harbor is calm. The boats sit, still. There are other days out this window when it appears I might be blown right off this rock of an island I live upon. In this window of quiet I know today, my heart goes out to those braving storms of all sorts, all over the world. May you be heartened by these inspiring, uplifting quotes…

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship. Louisa May Alcott

“Not one of us has any impact on the nature of the weather, present or incoming. We only have one front to govern, the weather of our hearts. mary anne radmacher”

“The perspective I choose becomes the anchor for my ship in the midst of a gale. mary anne radmacher”

EARTH DAY – How Far We’ve Come

“REALLY?  One more thing to add to an already crammed day,” the busy mother asks as she reviews

the suggested Earth Day events sent home with her daughter’s homework assignments.

Go gentle into that busy day, dear souls!

 

Earth Day is not an opportunity to pack your day with yet ONE MORE THING to do – but rather to observe and honor all the ways you contribute to the health of the planet.  When I was dubbed “Recycling Queen” many decades ago, RE USE was considered quirky and not all that popular.  And finding 100% recylced paper was an arduous search and journey and cost a great deal more than regular paper.  Three decades ago one had to search for a recycling depot – and now curbside recycling is mandated in many communities.  There are dozens of choices for recycled paper and recycled products.  Including clothing and accessories.

This Earth Day you don’t have to go any where special in order to NOTICE all the ways you contribute to the increasingly “GREEN” attitude toward our planet.  Do you take your own bags to the grocery store?  Do you walk instead of driving?  Do you re-use your lunch bag and pack food in washable containers instead of throw-away bags?  These are all actions that are EARTH DAY celebrations.  See?  Easy. A simple pleasure.

Lifting your vision to the larger picture, there is so much more to do.  Reasonable requirements for safety and planning before off-shore oil drilling permits are released, spot-checks on compliance for trash/transfer stations who are required to be conducting on-site separation and recycling.  What can you DO about such things as these?  Notice.  Observe.  Write your elected officials.  Inquire of your service providers.  Jump start your Green actions by noticing today all they ways you have implemented care for the planet and identifying the measures you have yet to begin.  There’s 364 days before the next celebration – see what simple things you can do toward a greater courtesy toward your Earth.

We’ve come a long way toward GREEN and we have ever so much further to go before our dear planet can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Ah, yes.   They ARE going to care for me, tenderly.”

Loving the planet is a perfect and honorable thing to consider as part of a Holy Week practice.  Walking gently and being GREEN is a holy action of love toward the planet that upholds us.

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