* note: when you link to a posting that originated on my old site, you’ll find, when you’re inside the old posting, the links don’t work. Yeah, pain in the neck. Links to external sites still work … but not the ones to old internal stuff. Sorry! :(
This is sort of a posting about everything …‘cos lately everything seems to be running through my mind.
I’m too distracted to write anything really coherent.
Please forgive, then, this incoherent jumble of thoughts about … well, this, that & the other thing.
Oblivious, Opinionated & Authorities: This came to me on a walk the other day. Lotta people seem pretty much oblivious to most of what’s really going on here on good old Planet Earth these daze. But some, who seem oblivious to so many things, are also very opinionated. They know what they know! After all, they heard it on the 6 o’clock news. So it’s gotta be the gospel! Some of these half-oblivious, very opinionated folk spout firm opinions regarding subjects about which they know little or nothing. They trust “the authorities” when it is convenient to do so (that way, they don’t have to do too much thinking for themselves, hmmmm?). And not. When it isn’t. Me? I think I lost my trust in “authorities” (to a great extent anyway) when I was a kid growing up in a pretty dysfunctional family (“dysfunctional” families, eh? It’s all relative. Heh heh). I learned not to trust adults/parents/the police … the culture, essentially. At the age of 14, I figured out that unearned white privilege sucked. By 17 or so, that capitalism sucked. This lack of trust in authorities has served me rather well, on the whole, I’d have to say.
Masks: We all wear ‘em. Me? Maybe a little less than most. I’m an Aries person. We have this tendency to impulsively blurt out the truth when least expected … or appropriate. (Just ask anyone who knows me.) I’ve dressed up as a kangaroo at nuclear hearings. (Everyone knows it’s me in the suit; too long a story to go into here), & I’ve worn an elephant outfit to make a point about nuclear “elephants in the room” - & since I pushed the face part of the costume up over my head ‘cos it made me feel claustrophobic & as though I couldn’t breathe properly, there was sure no “mask” on those occasions. In my little Aries, activist world, masks just take too much energy - & also basically cut off the oxygen supply. A person has to be able to breathe!
Pride: Things I’m proudest of? Being a semi-decent mother. Some of the time. (Only semi, I’m afraid. Some of the time. Not all the time, goddess knows. Not Mother of the Year, that’s for sure. Sigh. If only.) My kids. My volunteer work over the years, & my environmental work. Sitting on a logging road in Temagami. Being arrested a couple times for climate actions. Wearing a kangaroo suit on a # of occasions. Speaking truth to power many, many times over the years (even though power almost always has duct tape over its eyes & ears & only pretends to listen). Still picking up plastic garbage on walks along the boardwalk, though I’m 500% convinced our species is
Why are we here? Hell if I know. But it’s a privilege, this life. Life. And, as John O’Donohue, Irish poet, philosopher & former priest said, “We are privileged, and the duty of privilege is absolute integrity.” I think we owe the world more than a little gratitude … & some work, dammit – some elbow grease, you know?? “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” (It was Alice Walker who said that.)
Making it Personal: Maybe the point of being here is to “make it personal.” To deeply experience life – ecstasy – joy – suffering – gratitude – community – generosity – love - compassion. (How I wish we’d kept it simple, & stayed living in tribes. That detour we took with “settled agriculture” 10,000 years ago – abandoning the gatherer-hunter culture that eventually led to this one of “Everything is all about ME”? Ugh. Talk about unintended consequences!?) I think we all need to work on doing a very delicate balancing act between the “me” & the “we.” Putting our unique gifts & energy & talents to work in the service of the whole. (& if that sounds to you like socialism or communism, so be it. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, the idea of socialism is what the Sermon on the Mount was all about. Not that I’m the sort of person who goes around citing the Sermon on the Mount, believe me. Not a fan of organized religion at all, at all, at all, actually. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'll stop talking now.)
Flowers: I think we’re a bit like flowers … except, of course, that we have “mind” … or “consciousness.” (Or, well, some of us do. Some of us seem to have the brain or consciousness or intelligence … or heart & soul… of a bag of hammers. Not to disparage hammers, mind you. They can be quite useful!) We reach up to the light (assuming we do), & we bloom. Unless of course, we are from a gender or race or family or culture or country or … fill-in-the-blanks here … in which we get no opportunity to bloom. (There is kind of lot of that on the planet … you know?) Flowers bloom. They have their day. They don’t expect to live “forever.” They don’t (I presume) feel a need to have an “afterlife.” They push up out of the ground. They do rely on earth, soil, worms, sun & rain … hmmm? They can’t be what they are, do what they gotta do – all this life/Life stuff – without the right conditions – the appropriate support – from their environment. Like us, right? Only we chose 10,000 or so years ago to go in for a massive, disastrous divorce from the Earth – each other – the natural state of things– & look how that’s played out, hmmmm? Now that it’s pretty much mostly gone to shit, let’s “make it personal” – in the service of all that is dying & that which is still living. Our species, 1000s of other species … the air, the water, the sky, the Earth.
Grief: I’ve written a lot about grief, & it’s all still true, & I don’t have time to go into it here, but if you check out this post, you can hear some of my musings about it, &, better still, find some great resources from some pretty brilliant thinkers with their insights about dealing with grief at this sadly unique time in our (yours, mine, our) species’ history. Btw, for the record, grief is messy, not neat. I’d say this pretty much sums it up…
Final parting shots: Men are “team players.” Many (most??) will do pretty much anything to get “on the team.” Stay on the team. Tell the rest of the team what to do … &/or get laid. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Rape. Kill. Go to war. Not all men, of course … but far too many of them. (Geez; just look around!) Most never apologize, either. Women seem to be (for the most part) the keepers of the “moral compass.” Some readers may be offended to hear me say these things… & yes, I’m definitely painting with a broad brush here. (A few other observations about men here & here. Patriarchy, eh? Whoa. Lotta damage. LOTTA damage...**) Women? We talk too much. We’re too damn petty a lot of the time. Too damn bitchy a lot of it too. A lot of us, anyway. Some of us are simply wicked control freaks (ugh!). Never satisfied, as Prince said in that song (When Doves Cry). We’re also pretty damn awesome a lot of the time. Yay, team!
What now? Know that we don’t know what the hell is really going on, most of the time. We jump to conclusions – make too many assumptions – misjudge things & situations & people. We’re all like icebergs – most of what’s really going on with us is way beneath the surface. We’re all wearing a mask. Or 3. (Often we don’t even understand ourselves, let alone each other – or, as I said, what the heck is really going on, big-picture-wise.)
It’s a mess. A great big messy shitshow.
- Be kind.
- Smile at strangers.
- Enjoy the beauty that remains.
- Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud, as Maya Angelou has suggested.
(& don’t eat seafood from the Pacific Ocean! The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident & its ever-ongoing aftermath have poisoned the crap out of it. Actually, probably don’t eat seafood of any kind, from anywhere. There’s this plastics problem, you see.)
p.s. I almost forgot to mention this:
Anger: You can probably hear the anger that underlies all this incoherent rambling. Yeah, I’m pretty pissed too much of the time. The anger comes & goes. It’s like riding a roller coaster. It alternates with grief. & horror. & resignation. & despair.
There’s also a ton of love (& joy … & definitely a lot of gratitude) underlying the anger & the grief & the heartbrokenness.
When you’re really paying attention to what’s going on (aware that you really only understand a fraction of it)
& when you realize that everything is very definitively not “all about me”
- or about money
- or power
- or status
- or looking good
- or who “dies with the most toys”
- the biggest nuclear arsenal
- ... or the biggest penis
It’s a pretty excruciating time to be alive.
Excruciating. Exhilarating. Sobering.
Challenging as hell, that’s for darn sure.
** lots of musings about patriarchy on the old blog site
Quotations that spring to mind:
“The accepted, official version of anything is most likely false. All authority is based on fraud.” – Kenneth Rexroth
“It’s antithetical to the definition of power in this culture that a person might derive power by service rather than control, but that’s the essence of midwifery.” – Elizabeth Davis, Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, quoted in Brezsny’s Pronoia
“Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the Universe. You open the door through gratitude.” – Deepak Chopra
“The power within – the more you give, the more you have to give – will still be our source when coal and oil are long gone, and atoms are left to spin in peace.” – Gary Snyder, “Turtle Island”
“But you were saying men – ” “Right. They’re like egos on legs. Monsters. It’s almost pathetic. They just honestly don’t know other people exist. Specially if those people are women. You have to keep on reminding them. Then the nicer ones snap their fingers and say, ‘By golly, yes! – sorry – you’re quite right. My, my. Those things out there are people.’ But then they always forget again. Every time.” – the character Lally in the novel Prospero’s Daughter, by Constance Beresford-Howe
“What’s important is not what’s gone, but what remains.” ~ from the film ‘Home’
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” – Viktor Frankl
Thomas Merton said it best: “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.” (quoted by Carolyn Baker in her book review of the Guy McPherson book Going Dark)
“When asked why the cellist is risking his life every day to play his cello on the street in the spot where 22 people were killed while waiting at a bakery to buy bread, the character Dragan says to Emina, ‘Maybe he’s playing for himself. Maybe it’s all he knows how to do, and he’s not doing it to make something happen.’ And he thinks this is true. What the cellist wants isn’t a change, or to set things right again, but to stop things from getting worse. Because, as the optimist in Emina’s mother’s joke said, it can always get worse. But perhaps the only thing that will stop it from getting worse is people doing the things they know how to do.” – from The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway
“The dominant thinking on the left, I suppose, is some variety of a “false consciousness” argument, that the elite have pulled the wool over the eyes of the vast majority of the population, and once the latter realizes that they’ve been had, they’ll rebel, they’ll move the country in a populist or democratic socialist direction. The problem I have with this is the evident fact that most Americans want the American Dream, not a different way of life. Endless material wealth based on individual striving is the American ideal, and the desire to change that paradigm is practically nonexistent. Even the poor buy into this, which is why John Steinbeck once remarked that they regard themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – Morris Berman on the End of the American Dream (Nomi Prins)
“It is good to realize that falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is as essential to evolutionary and psychological transformation as the cracking of outgrown shells.” – Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice & Ecological Renewal
"4 Rules for Life
- Show up.
- Pay attention.
- Tell the truth.
- Don’t be attached to the results." – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 – )
“Hoard each joyous moment that comes to you. No one knows how it will all end.” Háfiz
** tons more other inspiring quotations in many different categories, here