clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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WTF is going on?!?

Clearly there is a whole lot of chaos happening in our world at the moment. For whatever reasons (you can come to your own conclusions), the shock and awe value of our current moment in history cannot be overestimated. But. Today I received an email that I simply must share with whoever might be reading this blog post (see https://popularresistance.org/blog/):

“As you know from what we have been writing and posting recently, the United States has been escalating its aggression towards North Korea. This week, President Trump has taken serious steps towards an attack on North Korea and we are very concerned that it will happen unless we intervene now. Today he had lunch with members of the United Nations Security Council where he urged stronger sanctions against North Korea. This Wednesday, he is bringing all one hundred senators, without their staff, to meet with generals at the White House. The USS Vinson, a nuclear-armed aircraft carrier, is on its way to North Korea with a strike force and two Japanese destroyers.
We urge you to take action now to tell your Senators to oppose an attack on North Korea:
Click here to sign an email petition to your senators.

  • Use the Capitol Switchboard at 202 224 3121 to call your senators today and tell them that we want peace with North Korea. Negotiate with President Kim Jong-un. Stop US military exercises on the North Korean border.
  • Join us to protest at the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 26 at 2 pm while the senators are there. Click here for more information. 3.
  • If you can’t make it to Washington, DC, please organize an action at your senate offices this week and let us know about it so we can share the details. Contact info@popularresistance.org.
  • President Trump has already demonstrated through the Tomahawk Missile attack on Syria and the bomb dropped in Afghanistan that he is more than willing to use force. His recent rhetoric towards North Korea has been very inflammatory, calling it a problem that has to be dealt with. And it is possible that the war hawks want to create instability in the Koreas prior to the May election in South Korea to replace the recently-impeached President who was a close ally of the US. The current front runner in South Korea is less supportive of the US’ missile defense system (THAAD) that we are building against the people’s will. The President of North Korea has been acting in response to US military exercises on its border that simulate nuclear attacks and assassination campaigns. President Kim Jong-un has said that he is willing to stop testing missiles if the US stops its military exercises. We urge the US and North Korea to negotiate, not escalate. Take action now. ”

Dear Readers, I am sure I am not alone in feeling the strain of the past months since the United States government changed leadership, that is proving more dangerous and disastrous than we could have imagined. The assaults on citizens’ rights, human services, the environment, science itself and ultimately Humanity worldwide, have left many of us dumbfounded and outraged. I seriously wonder if a greater lunatic has ever been unleashed upon the planet than is happening right now (although he has had some serious competition for the title, I will admit).

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How far is too far? Will we collectively allow this lunatic-sociopath and his cohorts to commit nuclear war on our Earth, after we have already learned those horrific lessons 72 years ago? Are we so collectively brainwashed and amnesiafied that we cannot raise our voices loudly enough to get through to the power elite to STOP THIS MADNESS NOW?

I am trying, truly I am, to stay calm and to breathe through each day’s concerning, troubling, and increasingly worrisome news. I am doing everything in my power to add love and peace into the energy quotient of our sleepy and distracted world. But the news of the past couple of weeks, and now this imminent threat to not only the civilians of North Korea, but to the world itself, is simply too much. This lunatic must be stopped. Reason must be restored. Love and compassion must become the standards by which political action is judged. It is high time for some serious consciousness-raising, worldwide.

So please, everyone, speak up!! Call your senators and your congresspeople. Add your name to petitions, carry signs and march in the rain, talk about what is going on in the United States with your friends, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers. We can no longer afford the luxury of being uninvolved in creating peace on Earth. Yes, be loving, be kind, be joyful, meditate and hug trees. AND, speak up about the issues. Let your voice be loud and wide. If ever there was a time to take action, Now is it.

 

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The Revolution has begun

Saturday, January 22, heralded the beginning of a new era in the United States. Within 24 hours of a new figurehead ensconced in the White House, millions of citizens took to the streets of major cities and small towns in nearly every state, to show an incredible solidarity and strength in numbers as they marched, sang, shouted, carried signs, and gave impassioned speeches. Not since the era of Civil Rights and the Vietnam war have so many people joined together in the streets to protest their government’s abuses of power and rhetoric. Welcome to the era of Love.

The Women’s March on Washington, accompanied by hundreds of Sister Marches worldwide, brought out everyone who cares about humanity, equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic class, educational level, or any other factor by which the US government creates statistics. Although it was organized and focused on Women and in large part was created as a response to the disgusting, disrespectful attitude of the new president during the election cycle, the marches and rallies were much more. Combined, it was a major show of support for the vast majority of humans who live, work, raise families, receive education, and contribute in myriad ways to our society.

Here in Denver, Colorado, the march and rally brought together a hundred thousand people, according to organizers. Denver is not known as a protest town, and the sheer numbers of people who showed up was extraordinary. Only Broncos football games bring huge throngs of people out into downtown Denver, so I am extremely proud of this community, joined by many from all along the Front Range area, for showing up to be a part of this movement.

For indeed an authentic, organized and strong movement has now begun in earnest within the United States. The past years have seen the beginnings of it with the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, NoDAPL, the Keystone Pipeline protests, and the supporters of Bernie Sanders, among many other justice movements. All of these together have worked to raise our collective consciousness and awareness of the extreme injustices being carried out daily by the heads of our government system, backed by powerful corporate interests, for their own benefit at the expense of most of us. No more, folks. With Trump now in office, the movement for a complete renovation of the system is on the menu.

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Americans during the Women’s Protest March: The New Normal?
Actress America Ferrera told the Washington crowd, “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to stay.”

What changed it so dramatically to bring millions of Americans into the streets during Saturday’s march, is that people have begun to understand that it’s no longer about isolated groups, causes or incidents, but that it’s about ALL of us. The new “president” (he’s not my president, no es mi presidente was a popular slogan at the marches) has succeeded in angering, disrespecting and inciting the majority of people from all walks of life, before even entering the White House. We are in for an interesting time to come.

In my view, the presence of Trump in the White House marks a turning point for America, from decades of apathy and ignorance, which only worsened and grew over the Obama administration, to this moment. People may still be addicted to their smartphones, but at least more and more are reading and watching stories about their new supposed leaders, and seeking out what is true, rather than continued reliance on corporate-controlled media outlets. They will continue to lose support and audiences as more people wake up to the lies being fed to them. The numbers of those protesting prove it: the People are waking up and they are finally paying attention.

The civil liberties and many laws designed to protect American freedoms are at greater risk of being lost than ever before. At this moment, it feels like there is smoke in the forest, and it could break out into massive fire. No one knows what will happen within the next hundred days, let alone the coming years. But it is clear from the protest marches across America and the world, that people are no longer content to let the status quo continue unabated. Many of the speechmakers spoke of the great need for continuous action on the part of all of us. That means Everyone, Every day, Doing Something. Putting our energy into thinking, talking, writing, and showing up to participate. Democracy is a verb, after all, as well as a noun. It is a living, breathing organism, made up of all of us. The only way to change a corrupt system is to clean it out, get rid of what has become diseased, and open it up to the clean air, water and life forces that will create a new, healthy system.

Dear Readers, if you attended a Women’s’ March and rally on Saturday, I applaud and thank you. If you supported them through your attention and prayers and energy, thank you. And if you weren’t there, weren’t aware of it, and would like to learn more, you have a great opportunity and journey ahead of you. These are the times we came here for. We are the ones we have been waiting for. The time is now: Step up. Show up. Speak up. Tell others. Together, we are changing our world.

 

 


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On Judgement and Gratitude

Here it is, Thanksgiving Day in America again. This holiday, more than any other, has the beautiful quality of going beyond all borders, ethnicities, polarization and ideology, if one embraces the core of what this day represents. Giving Thanks. Put another way, it is the epitome of Gratitude. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful to? When do you feel gratitude? And, most importantly, why?

These are difficult, confusing times to be alive on Earth. At this moment, after all that has taken place over the past year in regards to world events, it is so tempting to fall into despair, anger, and judgement. Not many are feeling truly and deeply satisfied with Life-On-Earth at the moment. And for good reason, anyone who isn’t living in a cave must be aware of what a bloody mess we have created for ourselves.

And yet. What strikes me as the very most basic, important and useful thing that each of us can do, is to resist the strong temptation to judge, blame and shame another (or all the others) for our current state of the world. It is the easiest thing to do, and actually the most harmful. Blaming another, no matter WHO it is or how much you may dislike or revile them, only perpetuates the cycle of hatred, anger and fear that humanity has been living in for millennia. Judgement, like anger and all its associated mental and emotional states, stems from Fear. Fear is the Big Hook for us humans: it keeps us on an endlessly painful and imprisoned state of consciousness, from which we can be manipulated, coerced and otherwise made to follow others’ ideology and morally corrupt strategic plans. You who are reading this blog know what I am saying: the fascist regimes and authoritarian schemes created by small minded, even smaller hearted beings who rise to power do so through these tactics.

What can be done, you may ask? How can we turn this monstrous machine of human misery and suffering around? What will the next four years and beyond look like, for America and for the world? How can we cope? Who is to blame? What will happen?

Dear Readers, from where I stand, it seems obvious that the only way forward towards a world that is peaceful, healthy, joyful and abundant for all, is by moving from a state of judgement based on fear, to a state of grace based on gratitude. It is so easy, so ridiculously easy to scoff at these words and blow them off as some kind of airy fluff, to blow them off and instead hold onto skepticism, pessimism, the idea of separation, and moral indignation. That is what has been going on here on this planet for centuries. And we can see the effects of this kind of thinking all around us. Is it working for you? For your neighbors, including the ones without homes, who are taking up space in your alleys, sidewalks, and parks?  I ask each one of you to take a hard, long look inside of yourselves, and ask: Is your way of thinking, feeling and acting helping to further the goal of health, peace, and justice in the world, or helping to keep this old, ugly and worn-out paradigm in place?

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If you say it cannot be done, then get out of the way and let those who are changing the world’s paradigm do their work unencumbered. Do you really think one more human and his or her new administration is going to magically fix all that is broken in our country or in our world for the rest of us?

It is high time to stop believing that someone (anyone) else is going to save the world for us. No government anywhere can or will do that. What is needed now, and going forward, is “the kind of transformative social movement that has altered the course of history in the past.”(Wen Stephensen)  All huge, world-changing social movements throughout time worked because everyday people got so tired of what they were living in that they banded together and gained people power, then they went ahead and changed their cities, states, countries and yes, their world, for the better.

We are past the tipping point. We are now on course to change our world, the whole of humanity in the days ahead. This is no longer an isolated fight here or there, it is about ALL of Us Humans awakening to the realization that there is no savior, no ship coming down from the heavens, and no being great enough to save us all and our planet from ourselves. There is only us, each and all, every single day living and breathing upon this fragile and utterly strong planet that is our home. So what remains, on this day of Thanksgiving, is a choice: Will we continue to support fear and aggression towards each other? Or will we finally see ALL others as simply another small but powerful bit of the Whole, nothing to be afraid of, and find compassion, both for others and for ourselves?

Happy Thanksgiving to All.


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Election Eve musings

As I write this tonight, the United States presidential election is only a few short hours from being decided. By the time most of you read this post, we will know who will be taking the reins of this country’s government for the next four to eight years. This election cycle, begun by presidential hopefuls over a year ago, has been particularly painful to watch unfold. Painful for its lack of authenticity, and for the lack of any human whom could be considered a true leader to the end. It has been bitterly contentious to the extreme, and very tiresome.

Whoever wins the coveted title of Supreme Leader of the United States of America come 2017, I wish them much inner strength, fortitude and integrity for the difficult road ahead. Our country has seen bitter opposing sides on issues before, but never before have the problems that we face been so enormous and global in scope. Never before have the People of Earth been facing the possibility of world-wide catastrophe on the scale that we are now going forward into the future. The problems that we face, as Americans and as world citizens, are in fact so large and dangerous, that no one single human could possibly have the skill, courage, heart and intelligence to navigate them. So in essence, the person who next sits in the Oval office, although with considerable power, will not have the last say in regards to most of the situations they will be facing very soon.

Which leaves the rest of us, dear Readers. If you haven’t come to it quite yet, I am confident that you eventually will realize that the fate of Earth, our beloved home planet, and everything upon Her, including the humans, rests quite literally in our hands. All and each of us. Every single day, the decisions that we make, the thoughts we think, and the feelings in our hearts and souls determine what goes on in our world. This has always been true, but never more so than now. You don’t like what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world? Tired of people destroying the environment, of killing and hating one another? Tired of seeing people sleeping on the sidewalk as you pass by, like so much rubbish? Sick of animals being abused and slaughterd by the millions so humans can buy cheap hamburgers? Fed up with people lying, cheating, torturing, abusing and violating each other? The list goes on and on.

What can we do about it? First, it should be obvious to all but the most naïve, that electing yet another political pundit is NOT going to change the world for the better. That said, what can you do to change this world, to make it friendlier, cleaner, more sustainable, more safe? To reduce hatred, greed, power-grabbing, ignorance, ugliness? How can we make this world more equitable and fair for all people who live here, not just the ones with money and supposed power?

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The answers are perennial wisdom of the ages. We end hunger by feeding those who need to be fed. We end lying and greed with truth and generosity. We end war by becoming peaceful. We end disparity and smallness with equity and largess of spirit. We end hatred and fear, by finding love and peace inside ourselves, and sharing it with everyone we meet during the day. We recognize our common humanity rather than turning away in fear, shame, or disgust. We open our hearts in all the thousands of ways we can, and we embrace the simple fact that we are very fortunate to be alive, to simply breathe in air, to feel the sun. We become grateful for every single good thing in our lives, without exception.  This is how we change this world. We take full responsibility for our part in creating it, every single day. We care. We are kind.

The world will go on, without a doubt. Whether Clinton, Trump or Tinkerbell is sitting in the White House matters not nearly as much as what you, yes small, insignificant you, are thinking, feeling, and doing each day that you live. As you realize your true worth, your actual significance, and how much each and every human being matters, you will begin to grow up and become the person whom you aspire to be, no matter how old you are. It isn’t and never was, outside of you. The others are merely reflections of your soul. I am you and you are me and we really are all together, as John Lennon once wrote. We are in this together, and it is time to really, deeply understand this fact.

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So no matter who wins the presidential election on November 8th, rest assured that our work continues. Becoming truly Human is the real work of being alive. I see the Light that you are, whether you can see it or not, and I honor it.


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Why embracing idealism is being a realist now

It is the end of September, 2016. Here in the United States, the presidential elections loom before us in about six weeks. As I am sure you are aware, the ostensible choices for the next president (POTUS) are leaving the majority of us quite disgusted, to say the least. Never before have the American people had such absurdly unpopular humans running from the two main political parties. Never before have so many had the quandary of feeling they are not being represented by their political leaders. In short, this election is a fiasco.

But: We, The People, in fact DO have choices that many simply do not, or cannot yet see. The old and extremely tired argument that we MUST vote the lesser of two evils is simply one of the biggest lies ever fed to Americans by the power-elite. It is simply not true that we must vote for one or the other party, or else we throw our vote away. If only people would wake up to realize this, our votes would have infinitely more power than they do. There is no law stating that an American must vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats. It is not mandated by the laws. In other words, we have the ability to change our system by voting for a third, fourth or fifth party.

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Look, most of us realize by now that the American system is grossly corrupted, that there is no actual democracy (if there ever was) and that the power-elite are running this world. The United States is a major, though not the only, decider of what goes on in our world. Folks, when you look around you, what do you see? Obviously we are in a tremendous crisis moment here on Earth. However, within crisis is opportunity, as Taoism reminds us. And right now, this election, is one of those opportunities to actually change our trajectory from disaster towards a world that is healthy.

When I look around and listen to what others are saying and feeling, I observe great cynicism, denial, resignation, anger and fear. All of these are the tools of the power-elite, to keep us ‘in our place’. What is that place? One word sums it up: Powerlessness. The solution? Take our power back.

When Bernie Sanders ran his presidential campaign, millions of people in America, and also the world, heard him. Millions of people got behind him, because he was speaking Truth to power.

Speaking Truth to power.  Isn’t this what we really need to do? Where is your power, where does it live? We are a country made up of 320 million humans, and we are astoundingly diverse. And, we are simultaneously similar. I firmly believe that the vast majority of us desire to be free to live our lives and raise our kids in peaceful and healthy ways. We desperately want to save our planet from further destruction. And yet, we give our power away to idiots and blackhearts every single day. Why? Because we are living from a place of deeply rooted fear. Fear blocks us at every turn, and paralyzes us from standing up and speaking out for what we deeply believe in. As long as we do not raise our voices and our fists to the elite power structure (read: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and all of their supporters and money-backers) NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

Tragically, Bernie Sanders stepped down from his fight for the presidency. The real reasons for his decision are still unknown, but I can imagine he had good ones. But, Jill Stein is still in this race as the Green party candidate. If you haven’t yet heard her platform, please look her up and hear what she is standing up for: it is for the human beings, the animals, the land, for the Earth and for peace. These values are at the very heart of what the whole mess we call Life is about. If you don’t think so, then I implore you to look inside your heart and find out what is inside it. Where do you stand? Why are you taking up space on this planet, if you are not here to help the Earth, the animals, the land, and the people?

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The times of ‘it’s all about me’ are done. This is a new time and the time is now to stand up for what you truly believe in, to awaken to the realization that we are the ones we came here for. Our first nation tribes are fighting for the Earth, for the Water, Land, Animals and People in North Dakota. They are putting their bodies on the line, they are opening their mouths, they are shouting, dancing, singing, standing up and praying: Save our Earth. It’s really so simple. Save our Earth, save ourselves.

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Will you vote with your fear voice in November? Or will you finally allow your heart’s voice to sing out loud and clear across this country, across this world? Our future is being created now. What do you choose?


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Rejecting the lesser evil, embracing the greater good

Today is a pivotal day in my political life, an Aha! Moment kind of day. Today I have gone to the mountain, and seen the proverbial Light.  I gained inspiration today, and also some sorely needed encouragement from a community of like-minded others. Today I went to a Jill Stein- Green Party rally.

Now some of you may be groaning, and ready to delete this post from your trigger-happy finger. Please don’t.  The last post I put up on facebook of a political nature (yes it mentioned Hillary Clinton in not the most glowing terms) landed a long and rather heated debate on my wall for a couple of days. That’s okay, at least people were reading and thinking and offering their opinions. Politics is one of the most emotionally charged subjects that we humans can address. I’d vastly prefer strong opinions, even anger, than apathy and denial.

Back to today’s rally. As some of you already know, I have been an ardent Bernie Sanders’ supporter this year. After the democratic convention and Bernie’s concession speech to Hillary, I (along with millions of other Berners) became despondent about the whole mess. I couldn’t go near the subject for the past month. And when I did speak with a trusted friend about the matter of what to do come November, his advice was to put aside the presidential nominee and rather focus on the issues at stake. The dems obviously have a better track record concerning matters of social justice, the environment, and then there’s the little matter of the future Supreme court appointees.  As I listened to his patient explanations, that made perfect sense, my heart and gut simply refused to listen. As logical as his argument was for voting ‘the lesser of two evils’, I went home feeling uneasy and anxious. No matter how plausible, I simply could not fathom myself actually ticking the box next to that woman’s name. Everything she stands for screams Status Quo. She is the Powers-that-Be’s gal, their latest puppet, and a vote for her is a vote for Business-As-Usual. Honestly, who really wants more of that?

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The crowd at Mercury Cafe’s Green Party-Jill Stein rally.

A friend told me about the Green Party rally to support Jill Stein happening today at a favorite café and meeting place for all things alternative here in Denver. I decided I’d go out of curiosity, since I really didn’t know much about her or her platform. As I sat and watched the event unfold, it became more and more interesting. Arn Menconi, a candidate for US Senate from Colorado, spoke and did his best to rile up the crowd. He’s a very progressive candidate who is needing many thousands of signatures to get on the ballet this November. Then there was a funk band who did a great job of raising the collective energy in anticipation of Jill Stein. Finally she arrived, to thunderous applause. Stein spoke for about 45 minutes, and by about halfway through, I was won over. My cynicism, which began with the thought, ‘this woman doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning this or any election,’ was overtaken more and more with head nodding, agreement, then clapping and WoohHoohing. Jill Stein is no slouch, folks.

She told it like it is to the crowd, in plain and eloquent language. There was no hedging nor skirting issues. The Green Party’s platform is calling for a “Green New Deal” as a 2016 version of FDR’s famous New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s. She called for the creation of 20 million new jobs in the clean energy sector, a $15 minimum wage nationally, an end to fracking and a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure. They want to cut the military budget in half, thereby using all those trillions of dollars on social programs and green energy. Their goal is 100% renewable energy by 2030 (admittedly  a lofty, if important goal).  She spoke at length about racial injustice, and the need to create a Truth and Reconciliation commission that would engage in dialogs around racism and slavery that have existed for the past three hundred years, creating pathways for healing of those very deep wounds. She also spoke passionately about immigration, reminding us all of the fact that, other than the first nation tribes, all of us are immigrants in the United States. Their platform includes a roadmap for gaining Medicare for All at a national level, using a single payer system. She mentioned wanting to create a system for reparation to those who have (and continue to be) oppressed in this country. She came back to the goal of ending the United States’ role as warmongers in the name of peace repeatedly. She spoke about our Common Humanity on a world-wide level. She talked of forming a new Foreign Policy based on international law, human rights and diplomacy. She spoke of creating a Peace Offensive, and mandating a weapons embargo.

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Jill Stein telling it like it is and how she’d like it to be.

In short, Jill Stein’s speech embodied all the ethics, moral values and ideals of social and political justice, along with the creation of new ways of being a country for the greater good of everyone, not just those who are in power and want to remain so. She is a feisty, highly intelligent and non-corrupt human being who happens to be a white woman, and she is running for presidential office this November. She and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, are working hard to gain enough support to be able to be included in the presidential debates next month. If enough people supported them, they could be a part of the conversation, so sorely in need of intelligent and compassionate voices for us all.

Jill Stein put it plainly today: the idea of ‘voting for the lesser of two evils’ is simply propaganda that is promoted by the Power Elite through their arm of disinformation, The Media. She urged us to not buy into it any longer. It simply isn’t true that you must vote for one of the two corporate party candidates. You can, and indeed absolutely should, vote your conscience. Vote for what you most believe in, dear Readers. Are your beliefs based in fear, or in strength, in your own human power?  Stein urges us to take our power back, to choose to go from feeling powerless, to claiming the truth of our powerfulness. And this year proves that fact:  Millions of people turned out to vote for Bernie Sanders, enough to have voted him into the White House. Why he chose to concede to Clinton, and in fact support her efforts to become president, is frankly beyond me. But nevertheless, now Jill Stein is standing up to continue this fight for the future of not only the United States, but actually the Earth. What happens in America has huge implications for the rest of the globe. Do we really want to acquiesce to Business-As-Usual, the warmongers, fossil fuel execs and banking corporations that have done a fine job of utterly devasting large swaths of our land, water, wildlife, people and societies?  Think about it. If you give up and do nothing, then you simply give your power away. And if you choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ well you are still choosing evil, aren’t you?

I am telling you, it is NOT a pipe dream to change how things are, how they have been. We are powerless as long as we believe that we are, that They are too strong and We are too weak and our voices don’t matter. Our voices DO matter, every single one. If every disenfranchised person living in the United States woke up and decided to be powerless no more, to raise their collective voices for themselves, their families, their communities, their land, their waterways and foodways: in other words, if we collectively stood up and spoke our truth to power, well it’s pretty obvious what would happen.

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the bravest and strongest humans to walk this Earth in recent history, gave one of the most powerful speeches in the history of the United States in 1963, on behalf of Blacks in their struggle for Civil Rights. I feel that his words apply today, not only to people of color, but for all of us who are oppressed and have lives of hardship and injustice here in America in 2016.  Therefore I am changing his speech to reflect all the people who feel this sense of urgency. He said:
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of The People’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 2016 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that The People of the United States needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until all The People are granted their citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

Dear Readers, I implore all of you who are feeling even the tiniest bit uneasy with your political choices for the upcoming presidential election, to consider looking further into the Green Party’s platform and what Jill Stein is standing up for. Especially those of you who wanted Bernie Sanders for president. Look them up online at www.Jill2016.com or just google her, Ajumu Baraka, or the US Green Party. Find out more and really learn about the choices and issues at stake. Take the time to do some research on your own and ignore the naysayers. As the old Zen saying goes, ‘The people who say it cannot be done should not get in the way of the people who are doing it.’

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Cruelest Holiday

There is a waning crescent moon outside my window tonight, reminding me that there is still a sliver of light within even the darkest night. Tonight is the eve of the rather ubiquitous Valentine’s day, a holiday that, more than any other which falls within the calendar year, serves to remind one of the folly and pain of love for those who are not currently in a hot relationship or happy with their partner.

Working inside my local and very mainstream American grocery store today, everywhere was decorated with products emblazoned with pink and red, while roses, chocolate covered strawberries, hearts, flowers, and every other kind of kitch imaginable to sell shoppers this holiday of love is on offer. Ugh. The whole thing made me want to run screaming away (as I do so often while working, but especially so today.) Another marketing extravaganza for the great American consumer society to lap up. And lap they do. In the cheese shop section of the store where I work, many slices of creamy, sexy (?) brie cheese were bought by couples, as well as many other delicacies for their lovemaking weekend of bliss. Now, before you, dear Readers, think I am just an old sourpuss for not thinking it is sweet or fun, please know that I understand all too well just how sensual and wonderous food and wine can be, especially in concert with other kinds of sex and romance on just such an occasion. Back to my original point, which is the pain and folly of romantic love for some of us humans walking around the planet this weekend.

For the handful of you who read this blog, a few may remember that when I started writing, I was living with my Danish love in the country of Denmark, a bit lonely for my homeland and friends, but in love nevertheless. That was back in 2012, which feels like ancient history by now. Fast forward four years, and here I am on Valentine’s day eve, with no lover to dip strawberries into whipped cream and drink champagne with, among other delights that I won’t go into but instead will leave up to your imagination. It has been a long time since I have written honestly about my personal life on this blog, since I decided that it seems more important to write about what is happening in the larger picture of Earth and humanity than my own small life and problems. But. Tonight I am indulging myself in a bit of emotional processing for my own sanity, and you are invited to either read along, or delete this blog post. Your choice, as always.

Love Day, once a year?

This evening at work, I heard a couple of co-workers’ stories in short form. One, a woman about my age and a New Yorker through and through, described her life as a series of interesting jobs, a failed marriage, leading to her life completely coming apart, a brief stay with her father in southern Florida, meeting a nice man, working with, then moving in with him, and one day about a year ago, getting on a plane with him and coming here to Denver, where they remain to this day. There was a lot in between the lines of her story that I intuited, which involved pain and suffering. Then I heard another story, by a man who started the same week as I, who told me that ten years ago he was on track to finish his degree for becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), when suddenly out of nowhere, the financial aid woman told him he’d borrowed his limit of money for school, and cut him off. He had only 4 courses to go to finish his degree. Zap, just like that, there he was with a big debt, no degree and no CNA career ahead.

I am guessing that, were I to interview others who work at that big, highly corporate grocery store, I would find many more variations of the same theme: people who have gambled with their lives and mostly lost. It is a kind of land of broken dreams that I now find myself in, and I admit that I fit right in with the other lost and broken dreamers. I too have gambled with my life and lost, many times. In fact, I could make the case that I have mostly lost everything that mattered to me at one time or other. Sometimes I get very down about this fact, and feel like a real loser in this game we call Western Contemporary Society. I see others who look like they are winners, and I feel badly in comparison. Now, some of you, dear Readers, may want to tell me to just change my attitude and raise my self esteem and everything will be just fine. Well, maybe. On the other hand, when I look around and hear fellow travelers’ stories, I have to shake my head. There are many of us who have not ‘won’ in this game we are forced to play. Very often I have only wanted to escape, and somehow find another way to live that doesn’t involve winning and success in order to be happy. I have had glimpses into these other worlds, alternative lifestyles, or ‘off-the-grid” living situations. They seem nearly ideal to me, and I have wanted to be able to stay there for the duration. But never was I able to do that, something or someone always pulled me back into mainstream life again. So here I am, summoning my will strongly each day I have to go into that job, putting a smile on and asking folks if they want to sample some cheese. I am a cheese pusher now.

Tonight before I left work, I caught the last five minutes of the Republican debate in South Carolina. I heard three of the candidate hopefuls give their last pitch to the good old conservatives of that state, to try to convince them to vote for him in the primary election. Each one of those men said very similar things, and the gist of it was as follows: “I will be the man to help get our great country back to being great again, to having its values restored of one man and one woman marriage, of having God be our authority and not the government, to getting rid of Obamacare, to abolishing the IRS (granted this is not a bad idea), to keeping our enemies afraid of us, and most of all, to once again being the most successful country in the world.” After each candidate spoke, there was a burst of applause as the audience obviously agreed and liked each man’s words. What I realized from hearing these speeches tonight, is that we are still very divided in the United States between the folks who want to keep things as they remember them being for much of their lives, and don’t like the idea of anything changing (this is obviously a very large topic), and the folks who are at the completely other end of the spectrum, like me, who are very much wanting things to change radically for the betterment of humankind, starting with better laws, much greater equality between classes, races and economic divides, more honest and progressive people making decisions for the rest of us, and of course, a lot greater protection for our environment and all the beings living here. For folks like me, the concept of “winning against our enemies” does not exist, it is about quite other issues entirely.

How can we humans possibly resolve the gaping split that divides us? How can we meet and agree upon the most pressing issues of our times, when half the population simply wants to pretend that we can keep doing business as usual, and even return to pre-catastrophic times here on planet Earth, just denying and not even being willing to see the state that the planet, the country, and many many many of the people are actually in? Just right now, on this rather depressing evening before Love Fest 2016, it is feeling slightly impossible. Then again, I recall my dear friend’s admonition to me: “We’ll do the possible today, and the Impossible tomorrow.” Tonight I can only say, We’ll see.


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Change, awe, disgust and disillusionment

(Warning: this post will be a rant, so if you are feeling light and happy and wish to stay that way, don’t bother reading this one. Thanks for your understanding, Leigh)

In the space of the past twelve hours, my emotional soulstate has run the gamut from peaceful, strong and grounded, to disappointed, bored, anxious, resentful, sad, angry, doubtful, curious, frustrated, and even nauseated, and now simply grounded and resigned. Quite a boatload for one day in the life. Are you feeling alright?

If I had a magic wand or superpowers to change this world, I would not hesitate. Everybody would be in for quite a surprise after my rework of this third dimensional world was complete. The first thing I would do, I think, is to obliterate television and all the industry that feeds it while being fed by it. What a disgusting monster it is. It works to portray the absolute basest and worst of human nature while also drawing people into its poison trap. But no, that is only a small sidebar of what I need to rant on tonight, dear Readers.

Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian guru who came to the United States during the early 20th century to help raise human consciousness, once said (I am paraphrasing), “This world is like a terrible horror movie. All the people sitting in the audience don’t know that it is only a movie, and so as they watch it they are believing it is real. But the best thing to do is to get to the beam. Get to the light, for it is only a play. What is Real is the light of God.” His words are absolutely true, and more important than ever.

What is real, and where is the beam in 2016? Nearly everywhere I look I see disillusionment, despair, disappointment, disaster and people trying in various ways to cope. Self medication is popular through the use of tobacco, recreational drugs and alcohol, gluttony, and caffeine. Many use electronic devices to distract. There are hundreds and thousands of ways to check out of this world for a minute or a lifetime. Yet for most of us, sooner or later we once again must come back to the basic nature of our life, and we find what? One of the great mysteries, ourselves.

It takes real audacity to live on this planet now, and to do it well, yes, superpowers. I mean this not metaphorically as much as literally. To stay sane and sober in the middle of it all takes creating some super powerful energy from within to develop ways to cope and smile and be compassionate.

Four weeks into my job as a cheese clerk at my local supermarket and I can barely stomach being there. It’s a Great American supermarket, full of just about every kind of food imaginable that’s available in this country. It’s bright, shiny, colorful and packed with foods and merchandise of every description. And it’s all on offer, every single day and night for one’s shopping convenience. All you need is money, honey.

Each shift that I work provides me with yet another opportunity to see how much food gets thrown out for the flimsiest of reasons. To be fair, my store donates a considerable amount of unsellable food to the food pantries, and so helps people to get a myriad of free groceries when they go for their allotment. But. So much more perfectly good food gets tossed into the garbage compactor or industrial compost bin even as people are sleeping on the streets of this town, cold, hungry and about as low as one can get in their station in life. Why can’t any of this food be given to the homeless?

As I am sure many of you know, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is gathering a lot of momentum now. Following the trail on facebook each day, it is obvious that the Occupy Wall Street movement has devoted itself to getting Bernie into the White House this autumn. He is the Everyman’s Hero, a regular guy who is honest, cannot be bought, has been playing the game of Washington politics for a very long time, and he’s rallying the troops big time. He’s calling out Wall Street and the “billionaire class” for their crimes against humanity, he’s taking names and he’s intent upon dealing with the criminals in the way that so many of us would like: throwing them the hell out of their cushy seats of power and sending them to jail with no bond. Bernie is making all kinds of promises about what he will do to right all the wrongs done to Americans by those evil billionaires when elected. And it sounds so good, and I want to believe it could happen so very much.

Then I catch myself. Our American political system is at the point of being so corrupted, so full of arrogance, greed, self-interest, blasphemy and idiocy, that I honestly do not know how it can really be fixed. It really needs a complete and real dismantling and starting over again. Ben Franklin said it: About every 200 years, governments need a revolution and a new plan. That is where we are now.

Thomas Jefferson engraving after painting by Rembrandt Peale.

Today I saw a video made by a couple of scientists who were in the Arctic in November and filmed a gigantic chunk of glacier ice calving, or splitting apart and crashing into the sea. They said the size of the piece that broke off was around the size of lower Manhattan, except the walls of ice were more than twice as high as the skyscrapers. Watching the short clip was utterly awe-inspiring. Before my eyes, the ice that has made up the top of our earth for thousands of years was deconstructing itself. I do not doubt that it won’t be too much longer before all of the Arctic has melted completely. Then our world will look considerably different than it does today.

http://www.upworthy.com/the-longest-and-probably-largest-proof-of-our-current-climate-catastrophe-ever-caught-on-camera

The buds on some of the big trees in the park near my home are getting fat. It is the last day of January, I am writing from Denver, Colorado. What we used to think was normal, for example, trees budding in late April and blooming beginning of May, is quickly becoming a history lesson for the young. So much of nature is having to adapt to new patterns of growth and decay, or else will probably not make it into the earth’s future. Animals and humans as well. I envision a future where it will be virtually impossible to tell if the creature next to you on the street or in the commuter train is natural or a human constructed android of some kind or other. The science fiction authors are closer to the truth than we can really know.

I admit it freely: this future is not one that I want to live in. Not At All. I know I am an old-fashioned person with peculiar ideas, but living on a world that no longer differentiates between what is natural (meaning not messed with by man) and what has been created in a laboratory somewhere, where no one understands much of anything about the substances they ingest, including what passes for food, and where people are so disconnected from each other and themselves that they can no longer acknowledge another’s presence, is a world that I refuse to be a part of any longer. Sorry, but the game is over for me at that point. And it seems like it is fast approaching, already here.

Send me the map, give me the plan, help me to find the way. The way out of this madness that passes for our world, our common life, and into some nice bubble world where the people are kind, where society doesn’t undermine one’s efforts to simply live in peace, and where things are still Real. Does such a place exist in time and space? I don’t know the answer to that. But I surely want to believe that it does. Over the rainbow, perhaps. On another world. Maybe in another universe even. Tonight, I am ready to have them beam me aboard.

Here’s a quote I found by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Thanks for the encouragement! Pinkola_Estes_discouragequote

 


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Tell It Like It Is

At the start of this new year, 2016, the world is looking messier and more chaotic than ever before.

In nearly every arena, from political to economic to cultural to environmental, people are behaving badly, with cruel and barbaric actions the norm for far too many humans on Earth. How much longer will we collectively tolerate such inhumanity on this planet? Why do we keep allowing it to play out this way? What can we do to turn this boat around, if anything?

As I look around at the industrialized world (both in the larger world via various internet sites and my own small, personal world), a few things feel crystal clear. One, the vast majority of people remain committed first and foremost to their own small world of themselves, their families, friends, pets, and work. This accounts for (I am guessing) about 90% of their thoughts, feelings and actions in the world. The other 9% seems to be divided into leisure activities such as drinking and eating, sex, shopping, and entertainment. For those few humans who have 1% of their thoughts, feelings and time free, the ideas of charity, do-gooding and saving the world belong here. Hence the state of our planet currently.

Perhaps this completely unscientific analysis seems rather harsh or unfair to you, dear Readers. After all, the people who read this blog are those few and rare individuals who probably spend considerably more than the average person’s amount of time and resources on doing good in and for this world. For that, I can only simply say, Thank You. But tonight, after seeing too much news, mainstream television (about 5 minutes is too much for me), and listening to ‘regular folks’ talking during the past week at my new job (as cheesemonger for my local grocery store), this is what I have surmised: few, if any, care about anything other than themselves and their own lives.

This is not the first time I have felt discouraged about the state of humanity, obviously. But at this moment at the beginning of this new year, this knowledge saddens me more than I can express. Even the simplest actions, such as recycling metal cans or glass bottles, fails to register as even mildly possible to do for far, far too many people. Sometimes I feel pretty hopeful about the future of this planet and its humans, even contemplating the idea that one fine day we will wake up as a collective and realize that killing each other and destroying our home, Gaia, is senseless and an utter waste, and we will stop it. Then I remember. People can’t even figure out how to set a can in a recycle bin, how are they possibly going to find out how to live with each other and the planet in a non-harmful way?

My big fascination right now is following all the folks who are grassroots organizing for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. In the past month, thousands of people across the United States have sprung into action to help get him the Democratic nomination. It has been very inspiring for me to see what seems like many people actually rally around this humble man, as he bravely and tirelessly tells us all where it is really at in this country, and why it seriously needs changing. The word he and his followers is using is one that is at the heart of what the United States was founded upon: REVOLUTION. It is a word that some people (the ones who have had an iron grip on this country for far too long) are deathly afraid of, and will probably stop at nothing to prevent from happening. And yet:

Stop it they cannot, for the time has come, things have coalesced to the point in time and space where The People (at least some of them) are standing up and shouting, with Bernie Sanders as their leader: NO MORE BULLSHIT. WE WANT CHANGE IN OUR GOVERNMENT THIS YEAR. EQUALITY. LIBERTY. JUSTICE. INTEGRITY. HONESTY. WE WANT OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT TO WORK FOR US, HERE AND NOW. WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.

SANDERS_Bostonrally

Americans are pinning their hopes on Bernie for president in this year’s election.

Words and rants similar to these were used during the American Revolutionary War. Those were also some dark and painful days in the history of the United States, and hope seemed dim against huge, nearly insurmountable odds. Yet the Americans eventually won that war against the English king and government. Some of the most beautiful words ever written were used as the foundation of the new constitution. And now, 240 years later, it is time to declare them again, just as vehemently: Give Us Liberty or Give Us Death!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, Bernie-WEderiving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” The United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

 


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Beyond unbelievably bad news for Earth

It is nearly the middle of the year 2015. In fact, today’s number date, written in European style, is 15-05-15. An auspicious date. In a telling year, in the early years of the 21st century, planet Earth.

The news across the world is bad. There seems to be no other way to express it: the news is bad and getting worse by the day. For anyone who is even vaguely following the reports about the environment, things really seem to be going from one unbelievably bad idea to the next. Today I read this article, regarding plans for a giganticly huge coal mining operation to begin in Queensland, Australia in 2017. The article, which ran in the Guardian, states,

“Massive mining operations are looking to plunder a gigantic new coal frontier in the Galilee Basin. There are 247,000 sq km (95,400 sq miles) of coal: a land mass the size of Britain….if the complex is fully developed, greenhouse gas emissions from the burned coal would top 700m tonnes a year, bringing irreversible climate change ever closer.

Were the Galilee Basin a country, it would be the seventh largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world, just behind Germany.

“”This level of mining would devastate this land beyond recognition. It would destroy any sense of connection to the land. We are afraid of being wiped out completely.” Adrian Burragubba (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/may/15/carbon-bomb-australia-the-new-coal-frontier)

And this story is just the latest in a huge series of connected stories from around the planet; connected in their common denominator of yet more, huger, uglier and more devastating environmental pillage. The Obama administration approved Shell Oil’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer, with utter disregard for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of human beings’ absolute opposition to this atrocity. Tonight I barely have words to describe the degree of incredulousness I feel regarding what is happening to our precious home, Earth. It is inconceivable that human beings living here could be so very eager and willing to destroy our planet. Completely. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, once these plans by the fossil fuel companies are in full swing, will simply destroy life on Earth, and probably sooner than later.

 

How can we, The People of Earth, allow this to happen? I ask myself this question frequently. And yet. Looking around me on any given day, anywhere that people are gathered, (say on the bus or at the botanic gardens or walking downtown, or sitting in a restaurant, or…) I get the distinct impression that the vast majority of humans in modern, urban society simply do not really even consider what is actually happening to their world, nor, sadly, do most of them care enough to do most anything to stop it. Many people more eloquent than me have written extensively on this subject, and the reasons why people seemingly do not care. This is from a short article from The Guardian, where the writer states,

“They seem to think there is some critical mass that, through the weight of belief alone, will get us where we want to go. As if when the numbers aren’t high enough, we can’t achieve anything. As if when the numbers are high enough, beautiful transformation will magically happen all by itself or people will vote for wonderful politicians who do the right thing. Too many of us seem far too fond of narratives of our powerlessness, maybe because powerlessness lets us off the hook. As we head into that most dismal of situations, another unbearably long electoral cycle, many who care about climate change will say that we need an elected official who will represent us or a great majority who agree with us. But we don’t need everyone on board; we don’t need one magic person in office; we need ourselves. To act.” –Rebecca Solnit, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/15/one-magical-politician-wont-stop-climate-change-its-up-us?CMP=share_btn_fb
Act-Now-Guardian-15may2015

I remember distinctly how I felt after I watched, with horror and fascination, Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth in the movie theatre years ago. The movie ended, and all of us in the audience filed out silently, in shock and awe at what we had just seen: Gore had essentially spelled out for all of us non-scientist citizens, what would be occuring during the years ahead if we stayed collectively asleep and did nothing to stop global warming. That was in 2007. Now it is eight years later, and it is coming to pass. Sadly, most of us are still doing very little or less to affect any positive change, i.e., raising our voices as often and loudly as possible to anyone and everyone who might hear.

Honestly, I just feel so incredibly SAD about the fact that the humans of the not-very-distant future (people like our children and their children) are going to have problems we cannot even fathom, to deal with on a daily basis. Right now we are shaking our heads at the crazy weather this spring, or feeling sorry for the people of Nepal….. then getting into our gasoline-burning cars and forgetting about it. People think they are just one little person, and their actions don’t matter so much to the whole…. but that is the whole point!!! Each little individual person, combined into a city, a region, a state, a country, adds up exponentially into a power, a HUGE power for good, positive change, or else for stagnation, decay, entropy and eventually destruction. The choice is ALWAYS ours, each one of us, every minute of every day. Not choosing to change or to speak up or to act is also a choice, it’s a choice to condemn the Earth to devastation.

Guilty-of-complicity

Dear Readers, I know you are each just one small human in a huge ocean of billiions of humans. But you matter, your voice matters, what you think about in a day MATTERS, and especially who you talk to and what you talk about, matters. We can choose to deliberately and consciously think about what is actually going on in our world, learn as much as possible so we are educated on the issues, and then speak about these things with people we know and people we don’t yet know, thereby educating them. Sometimes I fantasize about standing up in the middle of the commuter bus in the morning, and just yelling, “Hey, Denver!! Wake Up!! Do you know that Shell Oil is about to ruin the most pristine and fragile place on Earth this summer? And here’s why you should care.” I would probably get carted off to the city jail if I were to become so bold. But the way things are going, that may not be such a bad thing in the long run.