May 29 2009
A True and Recent Tale
Earlier in the afternoon, my four year old grand daughter Ivy Rose and I finished reading “The Velveteen Rabbit”, just before her nap. She was especially captivated by the part when the Nursery Fairy gathered the Velveteen Rabbit up from the trash pile, and turned him into a real live rabbit, at last. But at first, he didn’t realize he was alive, and he didn’t know he had back legs, till something tickled his nose, and he saw his hind leg come up and scratch it!
Later, we were outside waiting for her Mom to come and pick her up, running around on my electric scooter, going over the speed bumps and generally having a silly good time, when we spotted a little brown bunny sitting under the pine trees. I drove us close, very slowly, so as to not startle it. Ivy stared and stared at it, then said in a whisper, “Gramma! Look! It’s got SPOTS, JUST LIKE THE VELVETEEN RABBIT!”
Sure enough, it did have spots, and yes, it was the exact same color as the Velveteen Rabbit in the book! Just then, the bunny turned toward us and grew very still, looking straight at us.
Then, up came his hind leg , he scratched his nose, and then went a-leaping away! Exactly like in the book:
“He might have sat there a long time, too shy to move, if just then something hadn’t tickled his nose, and before he thought of what he was doing, he lifted his hind toe to scratch it. And he found he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen, he had soft brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long they brushed the grass. He gave one leap, and the joy of those hind legs was so great that he went springing about on the turf…..”
Well. Both of us were speechless, and just sat looking at each other for a long moment. Her eyes were as round as saucers, and mine were too!
Finally, I asked her, “Ivy, do you suppose that might have been the real Velveteen Rabbit?! ”
And she replied, matter of factly …”Yeah, Gramma..it’s magic! Now can we do the speed bumps again?”
So we did, and then we talked about magic some more. I asked her what other kinds of magic she’s seen. She said: “One time, I wanted my Mommy to come and pick me up outside, and..SHE DID!”
And so it was that on a warm spring day in the fall of my life, a little child did lead me, once again, to the realm of magic that is real.
May 24 2009
Warning to All Pony Lovers: this may upset you, a LOT!
It may make you want to tar, feather,and banish me forever.
But I cannot pretend any longer.
I don’t like Ponys.
They scare the HELL outa me.
I have Pony PTDS.
And very time I post a comment, someone gives me (shudder) MORE ponies.
I don’t know what to do.
I am also scared to death of HORSES, and the mere thought of running into a (cringe) UNICORN, makes my teeth chatter, even if they’re not in my mouth at the time.
I wasn’t born this way. Once upon a time, I even asked Santa to BRING me a Pony.
I was really pissed when he didn’t.
I wasn’t born scared of ponies. Or horses.
But that was before I met one of each in person.
My kids wanted a pony. I bought one for them and that’s how I met “Puffin”, the Pony from Hell.
He was one of those pretty miniature ponies. I’d seen some dogs as big as that pony , so I wasn’t a bit scared of him, besides I probably weighed more than HE did. The guy showed me how to put a bridle and saddle on him. Puffin stood there so patient and docile, such a sweet, gentle boy. With his owner leading, he gave both of my little girls their very first pony ride around our yard. I was so happy! I never got my own pony, but I got one for them and it felt like some long awaited victory!
Then the guy turned him loose in my small fenced in pasture, and left. They were moving out of state the next day. Later that day, sugar cubes and apples in hand, I went out to get acquainted with Puffin by myself. Being a city girl, I wondered how you call a pony: do you whistle? Say “Here, Pony! Here, Pony?” What?
Puffin finally wandered over to the fence where I was. I held out the sugar cubes. He just looked at them and snorted. The apple, then? Same thing. He sniffed it, snorted, shook his head then went right back to standing stock still, staring me right in the eye with a distinctly UNFRIENDLY stare. I gingerly offered the apple again..at which time he dropped his head, knocked the apple to the ground, BIT MY HAND ,then walked a few steps off,turned his back and took a big crap.
Now I am not stupid. I can read non verbal cues. This pony definitely did NOT like me.
To make a long story short, over the next month I must have run ten thousand miles around that pasture trying to catch that damned pony, to no avail. More than once he turned the tables and chased ME with those big teeth bared! Nothing worked. I made sure he was well fed, well watered, had good shelter and endless treats, all of which he rejected in favor of another bite of my hand. I spent countless hours sitting by the fence, using my most persuasive communication skills to win his trust, but he’d just stand there munching grass and pooping as if I didn’t exist. Meanwhile, I’m trying to explain to two tearful little girls that Mommy just can’t CATCH their pony, so they could ride it. Having to look at a pony they could not ride became just too much, SO I found another good home for Puffin, who, it eventually turned out, simply hated women, but not men.
As for HORSES, meet Diamond, a Tennesee Walker, about 16 hands high. I rented the pasture to his owner, who was flat out determined to teach me to ride a horse. Diamond was gentle, he said, no reason to be afraid of good ol Diamond! Oh, hell no! The minute I climbed up onto his back, he reared up, took off like a bat outa hell, and threw me hard into the creek! Dislocated shoulder. Nice horse, that ol Diamond.
So there, now I’ve done it.
I have outed my self as non-pony-lover.
I am aware this may be grounds for banning.
Just please don’t give me any more ponies.
give them to each other instead.
Sep 22 2008
Last night I had a very bad dream in which my October Social Security Retirement Check did not come. The rent was due, the cupboards nearly empty, and prescriptions needed filling at full price, because of the dounut hole. My phone calls went in useless circles, and the penalties for late rent payment began to pile up.
Then, still caught in this nightmare of a dream, came a letter in the mail that informed me that due to the need to help the market stay afloat, there would be no further SS checks for an undermined length of time. The second letter I opened was from HUD, notifying that all Project based Section 8 housing funds were also needed for the bailout and would end effective immediately.
I need that housing subsidy in order to afford a place to live.
I need that SS check to survive: it is my only income.
It is my only income, because I had to use all my savings long ago while waiting for Social Security Disability to be approved, and then to pay for medical expenses while waiting out the two year period before Medicare would kick in. Disability caused by a back injury that could only get worse as I aged, and did, until I could no longer work at all anymore by age 55, after 40 years in the work force. I didn’t have a lot of savings anyway, because as a single mother widowed at age 29 and raising two kids alone, you just can’t save up a whole lot of money.
It was a tremendous challenge, learning how survive and enjoy life on such a small income in these times. If forced me to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about what is truly the important in life. And I managed it. I managed to create a brand new, extremely fulfilling life.
The dream wouldn’t stop. In it, I sat frozen in disbelief, facing the end of the road. After all those years of working so damned hard, raising my kids on my own, paying taxes and being a productive citizen, this is how it will end?
Oh I know my kids wouldn’t allow me to end up on the streets. Somehow, one of them would carve out some small space for me in their very small houses, if it came to that. They wouldn’t let me starve. But oh my gawd: they don’t want me to live with them one bit more than I want to live with either of them! No matter how much we love each other, it would be certain disaster. And who knows how long either of THEM will have jobs houses TO share, as much debt as they are both carrying and with their own savings now at such risk, also.
Am I really still in America?
Is this really happening?
Please let me wake up.
Please let this all be a very bad dream.
I woke up. Yes, thankfully, it was a bad dream.
But after spending an hour on the internet reading about the bailout and the sick, terminally corrupted political system in charge of things, there is no way NOT to know it is very possible that my very bad dream could well be a premonition of what could yet come.
I’ve faced potential homelessness before, but I was still young, fit, and able to protect myself. Now I am old and disabled. Still, I could probably last on the streets for while, because I know where the homeless vets hang out, and I’d go to them with full confidence that they would help protect me as best they could.
If I am destined to be left to die on the streets by this wonderful country of mine, this land of the free and home of the brave, who better to die along side, than these old forgotten soldiers who gave their lives for this country, but just haven’t died yet.
May the force be with us all.
Aug 30 2008
VP pick Sara Palin frightens me.
She frightens me because I fully understand the power of ultra conservative, fundamentalist women and I know how many of them there still are. All I have to do is go sit in a diner in any small town in Minnesota, and listen to nearby conversations for a half hour to know that things are not than much different today than they were in the 60’s, for women born and raised there.
Or I can simply stay home and spend time in the Lobby of this large senior apartment complex, and listen to my “good christian neighbors” bemoaning the lack of morals, those “godless gays”, and how “The blacks are everywhere now!”
Jul 24 2008
Why am I drawn back over here whenever what appears to be conflicts arise? Because I am absolutely fascinated by the process of human communication and always have been, more on an intuitive level, than an intellectual level. It works much better when I am an observer, not a part or participant in the group experiencing the “conflict”.
Somehow, even as a kid, when listening to adults fight, the actual words they uttered sort of floated past my attention: instead, I’d be drawn to how the feelings, or how the “energies” between them seemed to dart at each other, like arrows that could
pierce..weapons that or had to be shielded against, or even shot back. I’d see that this created so much chaos and static, pretty soon no one could really hear WHAT anyone else was saying, not really, or even really discern good intent from bad intent anymore.
I started to notice that the more the people involved CARED about each other, and the shared structure built together, the more painful and upsetting it seemed to be to all concerned when “conflicts” couldn’t be resolved, and threatened the shared structure or mission, and relationships that had already formed with each other. No one wants to lose a place that feels like a “home” or the “like spirits” with whom they have found some sense of “belongingess”. Everyone is so alone now, in so many ways: to feel this threatened adds loads of fear, whether identified and admitted or not. Fear makes us much more vulnerable, especially when NOT acknowledged or owned.
That fear can make us more vulnerable, as tensions rise and we try even harder to be heard and understood by each other, and thus, we get much more defensive. Someone may say something the same way the alway have, for example, but suddenly it seems to have a grown a sharp point and looks like an arrow aimed at me! Twice as scary and shocking, when fired by someone we thought we knew and trusted.
If we am vulnerable, that “arrow” can pierce, and we bleed, whether the other person intended it as a lethal weapon or not. We feel attacked, and when humans feel attacked, most of us we “REACT” emotionally, if we have an investment in each other.
Many times it’s a reflexive defensive response, because anger, which not always easy to deal with well, often feel safer and more protective, and in a way “stronger” than admitting the so called “weaker feelings” like hurt or pain, in the presence of a perceived “attacker”! (whether that is their intent or not.) Because by now, in close knit group in the middle of painful conflict..no one involved is able to really “hear each other” very well by now, because of the (normal!) emotional static and chaos. Misinterpretations, misunderstandings, distortion of communicative intent..become inevitable..the harder people try to hang onto each other and to the shared “mission and place.”
Some folks, however, have reached a point within themselves, where they can admit openly that these things “hurt” and cause them pain, and dare to do so. Others, who still (subconsciously) view see these as “weaker” or self serving or attention getting, or in any case not useful, may misinterpret this reaction also. Round and round it goes, with the principles and involved onlookers each feeling more and more misunderstood, misinterpreted, dismissed, angry, hurt, rejected, unwanted, stressed out, frustrated, exhausted, sad,even hopeless, about being able to “save” what was precious to all.
Some know they have to leave: that this process is costing them way too much to continue. Sometimes this feels like a very real death , and we grieve it hard. It IS a death of sorts, for some of us. (I still feel sadness over having to leave the “pond”, as it was once, for me. It felt like my online “home-place and family” for so long.)
I think this is ALL about learning how to be being fully human.. together.
As we ARE right now, right WHERE we each are each are right now, in our individual personal/intellectual/emotional/spiritual maturation and evolution.
I think the rise of these kinds of “Community Blogs” are one NEW way we’ve been given to work on this TOGETHER.
Think about it.
Until the internet, most of us who post here would never have even known the others even existed, much less have come to know each other, or to CHOOSE each other, in places like this!
Ok..so here we all come, each a still imperfect “work in process”, at all different stages and ages, with ALL our similarities…AND ALL OF OUR GLORIOUS DIFFERENCES!
For me, discovering Community Blogs..signaled the FIRST TIME EVER where in time, I discovered I honestly could be…ALL OF WHO I REALLY AM, and that people DID actually exist in this world, who COULD accept me and like me ANYWAY!
(What do you think my chances WERE of being accepted here in this place full of older generation hard core ultra conservative religious fundies, being this whistle-blowing loud mouthed liberal activist oddly gendered lesbian grandmother who has a beautiful red headed three yr old grand daughter with..TWO MOMMIES? And an elder who absolutely will NOT go to church, wear polyester, dye my hair blue OR play freakin’ BINGO on Fridays??!!)
Oops, back to the topic at hand. Come play some “What IF” with me? It’s my favorite game.
What if..what clearly is being viewed by many good people here, here as a very disturbing “CONFLICT”, that seems to be threatening this space you have all built, is really NOT A CONFLICT at all, BUT AN OPPORTUNITY that everyone invested here CHOOSE, on one level or another.
What if it’s really some kind of GRADUATE SCHOOL for those who READY TO LEARN NEW WAYS to come together and STAY TOGETHER, long enough TO CREATE CHANGE?
(Because it can’t BE any clearer, that we as humans, have yet to LEARN THIS!)
What if this REQUIRES chaos, as a REVIEW of what IS NOT WORKING, (FOR EACH of us, individually) so we can see it more clearly, become more willing to LET GO OF WHAT DOESN’T WORK (individually, first!) ..so we can each, and then together, get free enough to try NEW AND DIFFERENT ways of staying together?
What if.. it’s not ONLY absolutely, perfectly OK to have different perspective on things in this world..but totally ESSENTIAL that there BE these different perspectives??
What if the different perspectives ARE NOT EVEN THE PROBLEM AT ALL, and the real lesson being presented is “HOW can we LIVE TOGETHER WITH OUR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES..AND STILL GET ON WITH THE WORK?
Wow. One hell of a tall order, for me, anyway!
It meant I had to figure out how to stop focusing on and reacting to how everyone ELSE is communicating with ME, (and how it AFFECTS ME)…and START focusing on on how I communicate with OTHERS, by listening to how it is affecting THEM, via their reactions to me!
Could I figure out a better method of communicating my AUTHENTIC intentions and meanings, in ways that WERE clearer to those I want to communicate with?
Oops, there I ran into ANOTHER internal barrier. I began to realize that I didn’t always KNOW what my own authentic intentions and meanings even WERE, before I hit the comment or publish button! Much of my work was coming mostly from my head and the thoughts in it at that moment, without me even pausing to ask myself THIS ONE ESSENTIAL QUESTION:
.”What IS MY AUTHENTIC INTENTION for this piece of communication I’m about to send, that is of use to the greater good of all concerned?
Once at this point in my own “internal investigation”, I felt really “sobered”, by seeing more fully the full scope of the responsibility I held, as a committed “Online Community Blog Member” , if I wanted to add as positive a contribution as possible,to the overall greater good of the community I wanted to be a part of, and whatever shared mission we had.
I am finding this whole business of placing the “common good of all concerned” on an equal priority basis (inside of me I mean) with “serving my own needs”.. to be a fascinating challenge in all my relationships. There’s no way to DO this, unless I know what the hell my OWN AUTHENTIC needs and intentions ARE, as best I can, and geezus..does this take some real time and effort and intensely HONEST COMMUNUICATION with my own “higher and lower selves!”
As an Uninvolved Observer with no horses in this race, I’ve read most of the comments of the past few days..and you know..I nod my head in equal understanding of ALL the perspectives shared, no matter HOW they appear to “conflict” in meaning..because I CAN SENSE THE AUTHENTIC SHARED INTENTIONS…even if you can’t! Tell me if I’m wrong.
I see a bunch of very special highly intelligent people who all signed on here, to build a online place where you could join hearts, minds and spirits and to seek and find ways together,to make this world a better place for all of us. (how am I doin?)
I see communication lines getting tangled up simply because we are all merely human, and can only operate with what we know and are aware of about ourselves and about each other, at the moments of communication. I see people interpreting this as an overall “NEGATIVE” EVENT here, that could threaten the well being of this Community.
And of course it could! We’ve all seen these things “implode”. But they did exist awhile, didn’t they? Someone knew they were needed and created it and others “came” and stayed as long as they could.
That in itself..to me..is solid progress, towards learning new ways to come together in common cause for the greater global good.
Now comes the next phase for this new form of coming together.
Once we finally find each other, and get the place built,
HOW CAN STAY WE STAY TOGETHER?
That’s when, I think, those truly invested in the cause (who are ready to do this) will be guided INWARD for a time, to come to see what each needs to learn about the self, that might possibly need to be seen, tweaked or changed in order for us to be ABLE to see past our own needs, fears and confusions, at least far enough to keep the common good up there where it has to be, as a priority for any authentic community to thrive.
If I am right about this, then the next question for each of us really is this.
Am I ready to enter this advanced stage of self reflection, flexibility and personal growth it will take for me to stay here and be an effective part of designing NEW WAYS TO STAY TOGETHER WITH LIKE OTHERS?, given as challenging and hard as this is clearly going to BE?!
Me, I know how much energy this takes, and I know mine is now limited, so I will probable continue this more comfy role as some sort of “Itinerant Blogger” who drops by here and there, now and then in friendly places where I feel welcome. And I do feel welcome here to share what are really ONLY my own observations and interpretations of things from my current perch in life, no more, no less. And I find what’s going on here absolutely fascinating.
Jul 04 2008
This is my 67th Fourth of July and this is a Eulogy.
I need to lay to final rest, once and for all, the last tattered shreds of my love for and blind faith in this land of mine.
To lose a long beloved one, is very hard. Even harder, is having to admit that that long beloved one never truly existed in the first place.
As if only yesterday, the memories of being literally filled to overflowing with a such deep and abiding love of America I could hardly contain it are still fresh for me.
Every soldier I saw on the street was a part of my very own child’s heart: I loved them all so much, I embarrassed my mother terribly by inviting every soldier I met home for dinner. I had to do “something” for them at age six..anything..to show them how much I loved them all.
I remember that I cried off and on all day on the 4th of July, as I watched the Parade, hearing the Parade Drums, seeing the crisp formations of soldiers pass by, simply overwhelmed with pride and yearning to be a part of them someday. I’d find a way, even if I was “just a girl”.
Memorial Day and the Fourth of July were the most important days in the year to me, much more special than Christmas. The whole world stopped back then, to honor these days of gratitude for those who sacrificed their lives for our beloved America, and to celebrate her with all we had, on Independence Day.
Some of those memories are permanently etched in my brain.
Memorial Day at Evergreen Cemetery, the whole town present, the crisply uniformed ranks, the solemn boom of the 21 gun salute, the planes flying over in missing man formation…and oh, all of the flags proudly flying against the verdant green, on the graves of all those who sacrificed their lives for us….
Then came the 4th of July. Independence Day. Time to truly celebrate the birth of this Great Nation: the Home of the Free and the Brave. I am feeling frustrated as I write, because I sense there are no words I could use, to bring anyone back there with me who has never once experienced this kind of Patriotism, the kind that seemed programmed into ones very DNA.
Another memory is also etched permanently and so vivid it can still bring tears. Standing at full attention, saluting, as the crisp, perfect formations of Soldiers marched by, my own heartbeat in total synch with the Parade Drums. Every cell of my six year old body yearning to be a part of this, filled with determination to BE a part of it, someday, even if I was “just a girl”.
So odd it seems, that memories like that not only refuse to die, but refuse to even fade, after all these long hard years of discovering that nearly all of it was a bald face lie.
This discovery took forever..and was, in a word, simply excruciating, every damned bit of it. It was like getting my heart torn out of my body, one small bloody bit at a time. (Except during Viet Nam, when half of it got butchered and buried along side my brother in a very short time)
And it has meant giving up the very foundations my life was built on. The love of a land where I “belonged” to something so vast, so grand, something that would always be there for me, take care of me, something so good, … to spend the rest of my life without that foundation at ALL. I am now a “person without a country” because the country I thought I belonged to simply never existed
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee..” I sang out so proudly, for so long, along with everyone else..”Sweet Land Of Liberty…of Thee I Sing!”
There is, I don’t think, any safer more wonderful feeling a human can ever have, than to feel THAT much belonging; THAT much love for ones country.
So when I run into older right wing patriotic types now, the ones who WILL NOT SEE…and WILL NOT CHANGE, yes, I understand them. To expect them to change, is to expect them to willing cut out their own hearts. Not all of us can do that and still survive, or are willing to even try. Then factor in the effects of right wing fundamentalist religion, ..and it’s easy to see why maintaining the status quo is their life’s work.
I don’t believe most of todays (ah hem) “leaders” who have systematically torn down even the illusion of what America was and is, are old “cellular level” Patriots like this.
I think most of THEM are greedy, power mad, souless, sociopathic BASTARDS who are smart enough to have learned how to exploit and harness up all us old patriots, and exploit the hell out of us for personal power and gain.
And until “WE” ALL DIE OFF…(everyone who was raised with that almost cellular level of patriotic programming, about the history of this country, and those so well programmed by war-like religious fundamentalism,) and are replaced by enough of you, who were born into lifetimes where you had a damned chance to form your own beliefs..not a hell of a lot is going to go in any direction other than the one we’re heading in right now, big picture. That’s just how it looks to me from here.
So now must say my final good by to that America I once believed was my very own Heart-Land. It was but an beautiful illusion, inserted into my soul.
I can no longer sing “My County, ‘Tis of thee, Sweet Land of Liberty, of Thee I Sing!”
But I can still sing, in a softer, sadder voice,
“My Country, Yet To Be…Sweet Land Of liberty…of Thee I Sing..”
And I am singing it, to all of you.
Take her. She’s yours now, such as she is.
Don’t hate us too much please.
Most of us did the best we could, with what we believed was true.
Remember that America, as she could be, and as I believe she is intended to be, is still in the womb gestating. She has not yet truly been “born” yet: the labor is long and it is hard, and it is going to take all of you to get this baby delivered.
It won’t be an easy birthing and I don’t think it can be done with old methods and systems long in place, either. Those belong to an era that is passing by. If every there was a time for innovation, for blazing new pathways… it’s now.
Me, well, I’m fine now. Us humans are remarkable in how much we can adapt to “whatever is”, given time enough to get past all the phases of shock, denial, depression, bargaining and finally, to acceptance and peace.
I trust you. I can make my exit knowing you will do your part in this birthing process.
(Not perfectly, however. You will bumble and stumble and get lost and try to kill each other off..just as we did!)
I still can hear the fetal heartbeat of this land yet to be born and I believe she is still viable.
And somehow, I just know I will get to see it, wherever the hell I end up..even if only as dust on the wind.. 🙂
Jan 21 2008
Yep. I’m “Over The Hill.”
And happy as hell about it.
I think it’s hilarious (now, that is!) to walk the Birthday aisles full of black banners and black balloons with screaming white letters shouting “Over the Hill”, as if that’s as close to hell as one can GET while still on earth. On my 50th birthday, my staff literally FILLED my office with black balloons!
But think about it: we spend all our time and energy for decades, laboring to climb our hills and mountains. We all know time marches on, so did we really think there was some hilltop or mountain top we’d finally reach, * and then get to STAY THERE FOREVER? And would we’d even WANT to stay there forever? We’re creatures of great curiosity. We like to keep moving to see what’s next. Even mountain tops get boring.
Jan 18 2008
Let’s say ALL the dire warnings about an economic collapse come true and a DRASTIC change in lifestyle will no longer be a choice, but a mandate, for all but the richest among us.
I believe all but the most vulnerable would not only survive it, but would emerge from it incredibly richer than they were going in. Richer in what really counts: the intangible, immeasurable richness of learning how to actually “live together” again. I think the long lost spirit of collaboration and concern for the “common good” would get resurrected from it’s premature grave, and rise up to take it’s rightful place among us.
While I long ago saw the futility of maintaining faith in any of the man made systems and political structures that make up the foundation of this country, the only thing I have never lost faith in is the awesome power of the individual human spirit that is present in all of us, that when called upon, can and does rise from ANY pile of ashes. Always has, and always will.
But sometimes, it takes chaos. Catastrophe. Disaster. Some force outside our control that is more powerful than all our imbedded illusions and all the perceived security we have accumulated. We seldom chose to make any drastic or difficult change, unless our present realities become uncomfortable enough.
I do not expect the family with the 4 bedroom suburban home and three car garage full of expensive vehicles to ever let that go voluntarily. I know that very few who are used to stopping in for four dollar lattes are going to suddenly start carrying thermos jugs of coffee made at home, while riding public transit to work. Ain’t gonna ever happen. Not in America, where so many honestly believe being able to have all these material comforts is their rightful destiny.
My heart goes out to people like this, if this house of cards does come tumbling down. Especially those who have only known material abundance as a way of life, from childhood on: those who have been taught “entitlement” to all the best, as a way of life. Their learning curve will be very steep and hard.
At the same time, my heart rejoices for them, for when this does happen, they will have a chance to grow into authentic human beings, with access to human values they may not have even been exposed to before: the kind no market forces can ever touch. The kind no one can ever again take away.
Ask any American who once “had it all”, (or at least had way more than “enough”) and lost it all through forces beyond their control. I mean those of us who have not only survived it, but who DID harness the authentic power of the human spirit, and chose to learn from it all, and then to change whatever needed to BE changed, inside themselves, to create a new and wonderful life outside the “American Dream”.
Yeah, I know. We’re kind of hard to find, aren’t we? Understandable, because most of us are considered part of the “lower class poor”, thus have been rendered completely invisible and voiceless by the powers that control all public information sources.
Those powers TELL you who we are, rather than let US tell you who we are, because then they get to control the color palate of our lives. Of course they choose the darkest, ugliest shades, as they want you all to believe that ending up like US is a fate far, far worse that DEATH! They love to lump us together in boxes with labels written on in big black print: mine has lots of labels! “Poor.” “Old.” “Disabled.” “Woman.” These are among the biggest ones now, and they completely cover up all the other labels that once made me quite “acceptable,” such as “young,” “beautiful,” “health care professional,” “tax paying, productive citizen”..etc etc. Gone, all gone. As if they never existed, to most of the world I walk in now.
So it stands to reason then, in a culture with values like this, that Americans who were born poor, not white, or otherwise “disadvantaged”, are stuffed into boxes from the second they GET here, and piled in stacks far outside the public eye, where what happens to them can’t disturb those busily chasing their American Dream.
That, friends, is the outcome of a society build on false values. It is the outcome of a society that has embraced competition and greed and acquisition of material status and wealth as it’s primary human values. It is a society clearly based on achieving power over others, at whatever the cost,by whatever means necessary,and then calls this “success”.
So I present you with this question to ponder. If this truly is “success”, and so many of us have “failed” to achieve it, or had it and lost it, how come so many of us are so damned happy? How come so many of us feel like our lives are rich and full and free at last?
Granted, there are multitudes of us who are suffering terribly from deprivation of basic survival needs, oppression, violence, homelessness, addiction, lack of health care, decent education..all of those things and more. There are multitudes of us who will die from this, way before our time.
But mixed in with those suffering multitudes are a growing number of Americans like me, and our numbers are increasing every single day. It may not have been our chosen destiny, but it’s the one we got, and somehow, we survived it, and in that process, we’ve rediscovered each OTHER. And a hell of a lot of other things this country seems to have abandoned as “not profitable enough” to bother with.
Like the need (and the immense shared rewards), of taking care of the common good, not just ourselves.
Like meeting the essential human need to feel a sense of “belonging” with others,joined in the shared challenges of life.
Like honestly learning at long last, how to “use what we have”, because when all is said and done, we DO have all we “really need”, once we realize it, and tap into it fully. And then learning how to share these things with each other, rather than hoarding them, or just trying to “sell them” to the highest bidder for more money.
It has always been in the best interests of the power elite in this country, to DIS-EMPOWER the masses. Gotta hand it to them, they’re done a bang up job of it,too, and have done a helluva good job of collecting all the marbles for themselves.
But when this ship finally sinks under it’s own bloat, guess who will sink, and who will survive? Those marbles are damned heavy. And there are multitudes of Americans like me, without that ballast, who have learned the long distance swim.
It’s an invisible revolution: a very quiet one, but it is very, very real and the current conditions are recruiting new members every single day.
I love sitting here contemplating the deep satisfaction I know will come, in time, to those who one day look around their simplified lives, and know again, the incredible relief of finally understanding the concept of “enough”. That is, in my view, the beginning phase of reaching for authentic “freedom”.
I love contemplating Americans, at younger and younger ages, questioning, then rejecting the mass hypnosis of the market place and political propaganda, in favor of investing in relationships with others across class, gender, race and age barriers, to see, and then to claim for themselves, incredible and permanent riches this is certain to give them, that simply can never be lost or taken away from them, ever.
It me over 60 years to understand what FREEDOM really is, and this is it.
It’s being able to wake up in the morning, and know I OWN the choice of how I spend my precious life energies on this day. No. One. Else. Just me.
It’s the absolute freedom to choose, as I did a few hours ago, to suspend my original plans for this morning, to allow myself the time to write this diary (that seemed to arrive from nowhere,) and know I do not have to account to ANYONE for doing so.
It’s looking around this small and humble abode I share with another, because it makes really good sense to do so, financially and companionship-wise, knowing I have all that I need, and feeling richer than ever, yes, even on this very tiny fixed income.
It’s knowing that when I go out to get groceries today, most people I meet won’t even see me, because lil old ladies with white hair and walkers are pretty much invisable here, unless we slow people down too much in check out lines, but being able to handle this better now, because “I” finally KNOW who I am. (And it’s one hell of a good “undercover” disguise” it’s really fun to put to very good use!)
Don’t let “them” scare you. Don’t bite the bait. Spit out the crap.
(I know I am preaching to the choir again, but hell, no one else will listen to me!)
Just please trust in your own potential to “become” whoever and however you need to become, to have a REALLY good life. Create your OWN life. As early on as you possibly can. Sure you’ll make mistakes and that’s just fine: mistakes make for a stronger weave in the fabric of each unique life. (Perfection is an over rated piece of dung.)
This is really an incredibly exciting time to be alive, because the biggest paradigm shifts don’t come along all that often. I am no longer worried about the future of my daughters or my grand daughters, because I know what powerful swimmers they are.
The sky isn’t falling at all.
What’s falling is the man made cloud cover.
Jan 15 2008
I just made my first donation to a political candidate in my entire life, (and I am pushing 70.) I just sent 25.00 of my very small income to John Edwards.
Not because I am an Edwards groupie. Not because I think he’s the answer to all our wishes.
I did it because I am DAMNED if I can sit idly by and watched the freaking corporate owned media, (or any other corporate owned political machinery) to decide FOR US, who the Democratic Candidate ought to be! And because Edwards stands ALONE in NOT running his campaign on dirty money.
It just couldn’t GET more transparent than it now is,that the Repugs want nothing more than to fan the flames of racisim, sexism and ageism to five alarm level between Obama and Clinton! The fact that one is the first black to get this close, and the other the first women to get this close, is being mercilessly exploited to their advantage, and people are falling for it.
FRACTURE THE OPPOSITION and WIN, while withdrawing ALL ATTENTION away from the ONE candidate they all fear the most: the one candidate they COULDN’T BUY OFF!
The media is totally invested in getting us all to choose between their pre-selected TWO: the two candidates MOST beholden to the Powers That Be: the ones least likely to kill their golden goose, if elected.
And don’t think those made up,jaw flapping talking heads don’t know what side of their bread is buttered. The chances that my TV will survive this campaign grow smaller every day, I am so DAMNED DISGUSTED with all of this!
My measly 25 bucks won’t say much…but it is my fervent hope that a whole lot of folks with a whole lot more money than I have, will donate to the Edwards Campaign and SOON, even if he’s not your chosen candidate.
Because it’s worth a few bucks,in MY world anyway, to at least TRY to insure that this election is NOT completely bought off by the power elite of both parties, in this sham of a democracy. If nothing else, it might help me sleep a bit better knowing I did…”something”, however small.
Oct 08 2007
For years now, I’ve been watching people who post on blogs try to maim and kill each other with words. I’ve done the same thing, more often that I care to admit.
Many times, I’ve been flat out astonished at the depth of the viciousness: the no holds barred attempts to truly cause each other serious harm, in every way harm CAN be caused via the written word. And I’ve been more than appalled to feel it within myself, on more than one occasion.
It happens so lighting fast sometimes: depending on my own stress levels, I can log on, read one comment from a total stranger, and feel an explosion of anger so huge it demands immediate release, and finds
it in ten angry fingers pounding on a keyboard, and in that satisfying moment of hitting “Enter” to launch that word bomb at what I HOPE is the most vulnerable part of my target.
Other times, I am much more controlled about it, and instead of exploding, I bide my time, and choose what is usually a more effective weapon: biting sarcasm designed to make my target look, and hopefully feel, like a fool, knowing full well that public humiliation is a deadly weapon. This has the added advantage of course, of having others who read it applaud my brilliance. Two birds, one stone.
Sometimes, this ends up being a totally satisfying experience for me: I come away feeling pretty powerful, even righteous. I did not silently comply with a wrong: I spoke up and I spoke out. Good for me. Yet, under that, was discomfort I like to ignore.
But sometimes, I end up with a strong urge to go take a shower. On the inside, I mean. And a curious sense of sadness: an emptiness of some sort.
It was time once again, for me to go weed my own garden. To see what was growing there that I did not plant, and do not wish to feed.