Friday, February 24, 2017

Lenten fasting

I was looking at my social ‘feed’ the other day 
and it occurred to me that 90% of what was on it was political; 
90% of it had the name of the POTUS 
either in the title or embedded somewhere in the article. 
1 person sucking up 90% of the space on ‘my’ page; 
sucking all the joy out of my world view
and all the emotional oxygen out of the room 
as I sit and read the litanies of horrors 
surrounding him and his minions 
for more frequent
and more prolonged periods of time
than I’d like to admit.

So I had to ask myself – 
is HE really the most important thing in my life?
Is he 90% of what I care about the most?

The answers – NO and Hell NO – came immediately to mind.

It was at that moment that I knew what I’d be giving up for Lent.

This isn’t an opinion piece to advocate being complacent 
or going to back to sleep while Rome burns. 

I intend to stay ‘woke’. 
I have been an engaged citizen of this country since late adolescence 
and will continue to be one. 

But I can no longer deny that I need to re-calibrate my free time.
I need less time staring at a screen – 
and more time observing the world around me -
right here, right now.

I need less sitting inside and reading – 
and more time walking outside, 
reconnecting with 
and myself. 
Lessons painfully learned on the Camino 
and sadly minimized or forgotten over the past 2 years.

I need less clamoring voices in print and news bites 
and more silence and reflection.

I’m giving up Facebook for Lent, 
titrating my intake of news and the sources from which I get it. 

I honestly don’t know how this increased intentionality will play itself out on this blog… 
more images, less words, fewer posts?

I’m willing to give it time to unfold; 
to see where it leads me.

I just know I have to adjust what I consume 
– and ‘fasting’ isn’t only about food – 
although I might be doing some of that as well.

It’s for 40 days.

Taking baby steps back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In difficult times,

you should always carry something
in your mind.

Blaise Pascal

my 'beautiful' 
would be yellow!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hello Rock, meet Hard Place

It’s an odd political position to be in but I have a dilemma about #45.

I’m sure most of you have heard by now about the ‘postcard’ campaign.
It’s part of the Indivisible Resistance movement. 

The plan is to send #45 postcards from all over the country; 
all mailed on March 15th. 

The whole “Beware the Ides of March” reference for our illustrious leader.
The date is significant because it marks the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar. 
The assassination was a turning point in Roman history; 
one of the events that marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
 (BTW, not that this distinction really mattered or did them any good; 
they still crumbled and fell).

I’m not sure how much research folks who came up with this idea did before picking the date, 
but it was interesting to me to discover that the Ides of March 
was also the Feast of Anna Perenna,
a revered Roman deity, 
known as the Goddess of the Eternal Year. 
Her annual festival was enthusiastically celebrated by ‘the common people’
(you know, US) 
with picnics, drinking, and general mischief making. 

Yet another connection to the date was from even further back in antiquity - 
the observance of Mamuralia. 
This observance included a ‘scapegoat ritual’ 
which involved beating an old man dressed in animal skins 
and driving him from the city.
(OK, so I suspect the creators of the postcard movement DID know about that!) 

My point is there are several possible motives for this effort – 
and generally, 
I’m in favor with the symbolism of all of them.

The idea is that with several million postcards flooding the US Postal service,
arriving at the White House in waves, 
there’d be no way for the fake president to continue in his delusion 
that he’s loved and celebrated by the populous writ large – 
a condition his withered parched ego seems to demand.

I have said and written before - 
and entertained privately even more often than that -
that the current occupant of the White House is mentally ill;
not merely suffering from poor filters, 
functional illiteracy, 
short attention span 
or lack of social skills 
but certifiably nuts – 
as in with a diagnosis that has an ICD-10-CM code. 

The picture emerging from the leaks of WH staff would seem to confirm it. 
They paint a picture of an old man, living alone, 
sitting in his bathrobe watching endless hours of cable TV, 
seeking any sign of approval and adulation from complete strangers; 
wandering the halls, sleep deprived 
and untethered from the familiar and known.

The thought of pummeling a mentally ill person with the equivalent of hate mail
and forcing him to face the extent to which he is reviled and despised 
is bothersome to me.

I get that he’s a despot and a bully 
but at what point does our response become bullying as well?

I can’t tell you how often I’ve said 
Do not become the evil you deplore” 
as ER staff was struggling with their visceral response 
to being in the presence of someone capable of inflicting terrible, 
even deadly, 
physical abuse on a child. 

Trust me, I get the reaction
to instinctively hit back.

I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do.

When I decide what to do, I DO know two things: 

I’ve got the postcards. 
My mother was a world traveler and rather than trust her skills with a camera 
that wouldn’t capture what she wanted 
in the manner she wanted to remember it, 
she would simply buy and bring home postcards. 

When she died 5 years ago, I went through her collection and culled the herd. 
I still however have a select 2 dozen or so left – 
brand new, unused postcards, 
depicting scenes from all over the United States.

The other thing I know is that, if I choose to send the postcards, 
I will NOT be repeating the message I placed on a postcard 
during the Watergate scandal. 

In my 20 something naiveté, 
I wrote to a friend 
Where are assassins when you really need them?”

Trust me on this, 
the FBI doesn’t think that’s funny. 
Wouldn’t surprise me if I’m not still on a list somewhere – 
and this time I wouldn’t have naiveté to fall back on as an excuse. 
Senility maybe, but not being naïve!

Lesson learned.

If YOU decide you're comfortable with it and want to join in:
 pick your topic -- 
demand he release his taxes, 
demand Steve Bannon gets kicked out of the NSC, 
if not the White House, 
that the EPA be left alone, 
that he comes clean on Russia, 
that he stops willfully and shamelessly lying about everything 
from voter "fraud" to "unreported" terrorist attacks -- 
so much to choose from.
Two address options:
Pres. Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500

Pres. Steve Bannon
c/o Donald J. Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Now for 'balance' - 

and a reminder that there's still 
so much beauty in the world;
 some of which hasn't even unfolded yet!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

There are no words...

well, there are actually -

 total sh*t show,
word vomit...

#45 held a public stream of consciousness therapy session today
in what passes for a press conference.

He insisted his administration has been run like a fine tuned machine.
Seriously, Donald??
This is a guy who can't let go of 
the election, 
his numbers, 
his opponent
his hatred of those who 'thwart' his plans -
the press,
the courts
those who didn't vote for him.

And the "I inherited a mess" nonsense? 

Repeating lies - or should I say fragments of lies -
over and over again doesn't make them true;
that only works for your base - 
which apparently is all that matters to this delusional narcissist.

This guy couldn't find a complete sentence
in a paper bag
with a flashlight.
The only thing that balanced me today
was gratefulness 
that I'm not employed as a reporter who has to cover this idiot.
How they can listen to this guy without 
throwing something,
getting up and walking out
or becomingly violently ill
is beyond me.

Made my job much more tolerable - 
and here I'd thought it was a pretty bad day.
Now I know
it could have been worse.
I could have been in the room when it happened.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Well, that didn't take long!


This applies to every Republican
that squealed and whined and bitched and moaned
for years 
about Clinton's 'private server' and 'her emails'
during 33 frickin Congressional hearings;

those who now remain silent
while their president,
conducts national security business -
about a nuclear missile crisis with North Korea -
in the dining room of a country club,

 their president who discloses
both the name and identity of the person assigned to carry the Nuclear codes
outside of the White House
a president that doesn't immediately fire his National Security Advisor 
for treason -
even when he's given transcripts of that same Advisor
actively colluding with a hostile foreign government.
 Seriously, you silent wonders;
you have now abdicated your right to speak
about anything the Democratic party does
 ever again!

You weak willed spineless morons!
do you honestly think we believe this career military man woke up one day 
and simply decided to go rogue?

I think #45 didn't have any response or take any action
 when he was briefed about these actions 
months ago
because he was already aware of them ...
because he ordered them.

Flynn isn't the only one who should be investigated 
and, if warranted, tried for treason.
#45 should be right along side him.

One giant step closer to impeachment.
Deep cleansing breath.
 Here's my attempt at balance -

my nursery/guest bedroom had its inaugural event this weekend
 and I had a wonderful time.
I won't presume to speak for my grandson.
He didn't seem too inclined to go to church on Sunday morning, 
so we just hung around at home
 and had fun, 
right Sweet Pea!
Come on,
don't give me that look - 
you know you had a great time too! 
That's better!

Monday, February 13, 2017

too much to say

I can't tell you how many times I've started to write a post... 

God knows there's some outrage from this Republican Administration every day:

*a National Security Advisor actively colluding with the Russians, 
both before AND after a rigged election

*the Muslim ban, detainees, protests at airports, subsequent law suit, 
one brave judges stay,
a ruling from the Appeals courts -
with the Administrations doubling down 
by having immigration agents sweep up migrants 
whose "crime" was wanting a better life and coming here decades ago
without papers

*#45 and his Cabinet of Deplorables 
(some of the least qualified folks that have ever been nominated)
who haven't met a conflict of interest they couldn't justify,
an ethics violation they couldn't worm their way out of 
and a disclosure rule they can't say fast enough doesn't apply to them -
as they get ready to dismantle the very agencies under their control

*a White House that seems to be ruined by a ghastly combination of 
the gang that couldn't shoot straight,
Nazi brown shirts
and creatures from the Walking Dead
*even my outrage
which was considerable
 at a female Senator being censured 
by a male colleague and silenced from the floor -
which tapped into every demeaning and minimizing reaction I've ever at work -
is simply too hard to be sustained.

When there's a daily news feed named 
"WTF just happened today?"
you know things are bad.

The number of words
in an overwhelming number of articles
merely serve to remind me that MY words 
aren't needed.

I've been searching for balance to the noise,
for happiness,
for the best elements of self care;
interspersed, of course, with small acts of advocacy, 
letter writing and calls to legislators.

it feels superficial and 'not connected' to reality 
to post about beautiful sunsets 
and lovely moments of being in the present time.

The struggle is real
and patience is hard to come by. 

Once I figure it out, I'll be back ...
 bear with me.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

'X' marks the spot.

"No one longs for what he or she already has, 
and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life 
suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see 
the red X that marks the spot 
is because we're standing on it.

The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, 
no expensive equipment, 
no superior aptitude 
or special company. 
 All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. 

The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are."
Barbara Brown Taylor

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Another one, gone.

At sixty seven
we are playing
musical chairs 
with death.
We go on tours.
We go to parties.
We 'do' yoga.
But regularly 
the music stops
and we find,
to our sorrow,
one more chair 
has been removed.
 This is hard;
this growing older ...
knowing how the story will ultimately end.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

CA Dreaming

There was a week in northern CA (Marin County) 
and another week at a conference in southern CA
(San Diego).

And even while being immersed in worries about 
the world situation,
prospects for an adult child
or details of child abuse, 
domestic violence, childhood trauma and resiliency,
there was beauty everywhere;
and it helped.
With so many miles of gorgeous coast line,
it's easy to forget that northern CA is mainly farmland.
 I had the good fortune to have access to a farm for a portion of time
and the freedom to wander.
 And it was lambing season!
 but, if that's not your thing,
there was other requisite livestock for additional diversion.
 But, I'm not going to lie,
it's always the sea that holds the biggest claim on my heart -
and the less developed the better.
San Diego has its own beauty
 but what I enjoyed the most was seeing it in so many different lights
All in all, 
it went by too quickly...
and I'm home.
And there's one benefit to home that CA doesn't offer!
Be it ever so humble,
there's no place like home!