Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Osama bin Laden Is Dead

The repercussions of this news will ring throughout the world.

I said to my husband last, “This is so very odd to experience such relief and gratitude at someone’s death.”  Such feelings are outside my experience.  I was trained as an Oregon Safe Hunter when I was eleven.  Hunting with my father at twelve, we both realized I would be a SAFE hunter, but not a successful one.  When faced with living eyes in the scope of my rifle, I could not pull the trigger. My stint as a hunter was a short one.

So to celebrate the death of one, even one so bent as this man, was new in my make up.  I understood the rejoicing, the satisfaction, the sense of justice.  I understood that we were looking at a marking post in our war in terror, not a victory.  I understood that someone, some where, must have loved this man and mourn his passing.  When the light of breath  extinguishes off the planet…repercussions are felt.  I cannot know them all.

But I do know this: cultures can be assessed by the way they treat their children and their animals.  Not considering the atrocities and crimes committed by this man, the accounts of his treatment of his children and his animals are shameful.  Untenable.  Not to be modeled or tolerated.

Yesterday Osama bin Laden was killed.  And our President stood to his nation and delivered the news.  In the delivery he thanked and honored the military persons in service to our country.  I soldier that I am familiar with has adopted a renegade hedge hog – a small creature that he and his platoon now care for.  Sir Paul McCartney has said,  “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”

There are larger issues at play here. Global issues.  To make sense of this matters of great consequence I must break it down into terms I can grasp.  I have to reach for the things that have resonance with my own life experience.     This man whose life was taken asked his own children to commit suicide.  He brought harm to those closest to him.  And that is the inner circle of harm that radiated outward, around the world.

Today I do not ring the bells.  I do not stand among a crowd cheering.  I reflect, quietly, on my own experience of the horrors that this one man wrought.  And the gratitude I feel toward this marking post on our journey toward a different way of being in the global community. The repercussions of this news continue to ring throughout the events of my own day.

WORDS MATTER: USA.gov/contact/Elected.Shtml


Words. Our world’s are built upon the words we choose to use. History is encompassed in Word. The world was created by Word. Lies are perpetrated and wisdom is shared with Words. The impulse to create inhabits the mystical core of an artist and is manifested through form symbols: color, form, line. Words! Language began with form and picture and moved to the sets of characters which humans in various parts of the world, agree to read in the same way. Words. Are. Power.
How will you engage with your precious legacy of words in this tumultuous age? Will you engage? Will you raise your voice above a whisper? Do you ask – “What different would my one voice make?” The famous anthropologist, Margaret Mead has answered that question with, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
This is the web site where you can discover how to connect and raise your voice to your elected officials: USA.gov/contact/Elected.Shtml
NEVER DOUBT…that YOUR voice matters. It does. Oh, indeed it does.
“Errors to be dangerous must have a great deal of truth mingled with them. It is only from this alliance that they can ever obtain an extensive circulation.” Sydney Smith (English Essayist 1771-1845)
“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort. (sic)
“Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.” Soren Kierkegaard
“With too much attention to the voices of fools, we suffer becoming fools ourselves.” Mary Anne Radmacher
“We tell the tale of our lives by the stories we repeat in our days.” Mary Anne Radmacher
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” G.K. Chesterton
“If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.” Arthur Koestler
“The only t hing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke

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.

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