But the thing is, is sure does feel good. It is immensely satisfying to last out, to burn something, to smash something to smithereens. When you are angry, such outbursts are therapeutic. I personally just LOVE to take the glass recycling somewhere that I can smash it bottle by bottle. I am praying (atheist prayers) that all the angry people of the world are ready to study and get clear about their true objectives. I am praying that the angry people will organize and do something productive, now that catharsis has been achieved at least in some places.
Still, just as before, the world is an amazing place. It is possible to step back from trying to save it for a few minutes and focus on enjoying it. We only have this one life, as far as I know, and we can spend it suffering or celebrating. That is a choice. To focus on gratitude is to wire your brain to enjoy what you have. For most of us in this rich nation, we have plenty. We do not need more. We are not just making do, we are wasting time playing games or being entertained when we could be doing something productive.
I gain solace from backing away from worrying about my nation, or even my species or my planet. The Universe is a big place. Even if this planet experiences nuclear holocaust, something will survive. Life will persist. Beauty will rise with each sun.
There is a certain freedom in admitting powerlessness. I cannot do anything about our new government. Thus I am free from worrying about it. I can do something about what happens in my back yard, I have a little more power there. I will use that power. If each of us uses our small power to foster love, beauty and joy where we can, we will at least not be miserable. Life is short and worrying is wasteful. Act, or don't act. Or like Yoda says, *There is no try; there is do or do not.*
There is one tool that I'd like to bring back into people's consciousness, and that is NonViolent Communication. Marshall Rosenberg wrote a book by that title, after studying the Jewish survivors of the Nazi regime. He discovered that by speaking from a place of our deepest humanity, we can communicate with anyone. Feelings and needs, we all have them, and we can find consensus when we start from that place. If you have not read the book I highly recommend it. If you have read it, I recommend that you refresh your mind on what are Universal feelings and needs, and start using the technique. At the very least, stop saying "I feel like" when really you are expressing a thought. It is a misuse of language that leads down a dangerous track.
Last night we watched just a little bit of an old Adam Sandler movie, which was supposed to be funny. It occurred to me that his style and his movies were a harbinger of what has since come. His dishonesty, manipulativeness, and ignorance as expressed in his movies are too much like the dominant culture now. It is time to partake in inspiring or educational media or none at all.
Lots more thoughts swirling but I must go. Be well, and do good work, as Garrison Keillor used to say.
Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.
So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.
Yes, yes you lawyers out there will have all manner of refinements to put on my headline. I have not read studied on this change, I've absorbed its impact while ignoring the news. It's just not OK anymore for states not to recognize gay marriages. Or something like that. I've heard that a state is still not obligated to PROVIDE gay marriages, but that is another step in a very long series. I've been busy with other things.... but I am noting this vibration through the land that something really has changed... and with it brings a little bit of hope that we might manage other changes.
I'm sure the social conservative media is damning. I need an antenna in that world somehow. (Thinking cult: which cults are most anti-gay?)
That cartoon of the rebel flag setting and rainbow flag rising is everywhere. Show me some fresh art, not so trite already.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
whether or not we ever set foot in it.
We need a refuge
even though we may never need to go there....
We need the possibility of escape
as surely as we need hope.
And in case you care, wilderness in Utah and Wyoming just won a reprieve from development. Oil and gas developers want to extract from public lands there, and were thwarted one more time in court.
At the time this appeal began, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had already issued thousands of leases for energy development in the states with contested leases, including nearly 17,000 leases in Wyoming and more than 4,100 leases in Utah. The oil and gas industry had only developed 33 percent of its leases in Wyoming and 22 percent of its leases in Utah, leaving millions of acres open to energy development where the Interior Department has already issued leases.
--from The Enlargement of Life (1903) by Frederick Henry Lynch
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
-- T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets". It appears in the second poem called "East Coker"