Essay on Power (Warning: Political Content) 5/31/2020

(This post is dedicated to my beloved Warriors for Justice, who, of course, went down to Seattle to join in an important protest, or supported those who went by staying in contact all day. Many of the things in this post came from them, even during the chaos of the day.)

Unusual for me to be speaking out like this…I tend to steer clear of politics on my Blog (and actually in my life) but I am a 60’s Flower Child-Peacenik, currently living in the Seattle area so the last two nights of protesting the horrific death of George Floyd, have been rough.

Then seeing that too familiar evolution, from protesting into rioting, well, it all has me flashing back to my youth.

Even back then, during countess Vietnam war protests, and passionate civil rights work in the deep South, I rarely approached things politically. Instead, these were Spiritual events and times in my life.

I find the same is true for me now. Earlier in the week, when I heard the awful news story about George Floyd, the content of the video they showed, on TV and online, shocked and dismayed me. Somehow I selfishly related most closely to this one woman on the sidelines, screaming repeatedly, while she had to see that policeman commit that murder. Her panicked and desperate plea, rising above the crowd noise, was something like “He’s trying to talk to you. He’s trying to tell you something.”

I feel like I have been that woman my whole adult life…just trying to advocate…as loudly and as effectively as I possibly can. In a way, I’ve done it for my living. It is my life’s work.

Probably more than any other teacher, I have tried to live the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so this morning, I am spiritually crumpled…just crushed to have to see where we are right now, as a people. So much tragic, senseless, horrendous violence…

They are trying to tell us something.

THEY ARE TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING!!!

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I don’t however believe, like some, that all the work we all did back in the 1960’s was a waste, or was not successful. As the Dalai Lama says, “If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant”.

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I woke up this morning wondering if it was time to get out the poster board and paints, and find those old marching shoes? Or if it was time to think about how to pass on this baton I have held onto, mostly fiercely, for my whole adult life.

I’m still not sure but here’s how I am deciding.

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I pay very close attention to things that cross my path, no matter their form. If something is in my face, I believe I can learn from it. A song, a dream, a comment from a friend, an event, the squirrel on the bird feeder…again…anything can carry an important message. So when I woke up this morning with the movie (and book) Absolute Power, by David Baldacci on my mind, it stopped me…though it took some work to get at why. If you don’t know the story (spoiler alert) it is about who actually has absolute power over whom? The US President, over everyone? A black mailer over the President? Or a daughter over her father.

Huh? Yeah, that’s what I said too. What does this have to do with right now? What the heck is the lesson here?

But then I remembered my experience of the previous night.

Here’s how it went for me.

I am in our extremely remote Mountain Retreat, 300 miles from our home which is outside Seattle. I am alone here because James is gone, jamming with the guys tonight, some 50 minutes away from here. I know there are protests happening back in Seattle because several wonderful friends (the previously mentioned Warriors) are texting from the rally in downtown. I turn on the TV (we only get one live channel over here) to do my once-a-day check in on the virus, but am instead greeted with Breaking News interrupting the regular news programming.

Between the TV and my friends texting and sending live videos from Seattle, I now see the shit is hitting the fan all over the country. This is upsetting, and I no longer care about the stupid virus at all.

Then, interrupting the “Breaking News” about rioting, which has superseded the regular news, comes an Emergency Broadcast System Weather Warning, “crawling” across my screen, voice drowning out the riot newscaster’s.

I suddenly care a lot less about tear gas, rubber bullets and shots fired 292 miles away. I now have to gather up the cats, and prepare the house and cars for a huge thunder storm with 70 mile an hour winds, hail the size baseballs, oh, and probable TORNADOES, headed my way in a way shorter amount of time than it would take James to get home!

So the shift for me, of absolute power, went from one form of life and death, that is most likely to be present for the coming years, Covid 19 (unless we want to try drinking Lysol)

…to another, that will undoubtedly last at least until the election (“looting will lead to shooting” threatens our president?? “Our most vicious dogs will be sicced on protesters???”)

…and then finally, shifting once again to the most urgent absolute power of all…

Mother Nature.

No contest! Mother Nature (some might even call her God) wins hands down.

She’s just plain bigger and louder!

With her awesome weapons of hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, she wins every time!

So here’s what I’ve decided; I’m in too many high risk health categories to protest in a crowd these days, masks or not. I can’t even walk far enough to get in a good March but I am still with it enough to continue my spiritual journey. And I can still write my thoughts and beliefs and still look for things to inspire those younger (and healthier) than me.

I can pass on the baton but still wear this mantle for a while longer.

 

Here is some inspiration, and even ammunition, for the current battle for Power in our country.

Please listen and watch and do let me know if it is useful. I so want to be contributing!!

 

And an older, Jackson Browne, get-off-my-butt to fight song, that is still frighteningly true!!

 

All of our protesting in the 1960’s may not have made visible, permanent changes, that we get to actually see “in our lifetime”, but I would not trade a single minute of the deep, passion and purpose-filled, spiritual life I have been blessed to live.

And, with that wreath of flowers in my hair,  I still believe we will find our way…

 

 

PS Two more things about Seattle…1) you know you are there when the Police Force is riding their bikes, decked out in their shorts, and RIOT GEAR, and 2) the day after a riot you see this:

 

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Volunteers in Seattle, cleaning up after the riots the night before…

Spirit Lifters; Day 85 of being “grounded” 5/29/2020

To find the Spirit Lifter in this post may require some work.

Dig deep. You’ll see it.

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Being falsely accused of something has been one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. Countless little accusations, misunderstandings that were never quite cleared up.

But there were a couple of huge ones, life changing ones that, had I not heeded my father’s early teaching about having the ability to choose how I look at things, well, those condemnations would have been the end of me.

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And somewhere along the line in my 72 years, I realized there is always, ALWAYS something beautiful to balance out, or even counter-act, life’s repeated icky, dark, mystifying tragedies.

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Of course, retrospect is my best friend, and when I search for light and fail to find it, if I can just wait long enough, it will eventually show up…often reminding me that it was there all along.

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We are all in the middle of the dark right now, but in small, seemingly insignificant ways, if we keep our senses open and awake, we can gather up pieces of light every single day. These discoveries have a cumulative effect, and can eventually outweigh the heaviness of these dark days.

Often, it is not until later that we can see the obvious gifts we have received, in spite of the catastrophe or heartbreak. And sometimes they are miracles that simply could not have happened without that dark time.

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I wrote this on my friend Karuna’s comment section this morning.

Touched My Heart

I just watched and can’t stop crying. Here’s a big thank you, Karuna. I have been teary all morning, because of what’s happening in Minnesota and across the country, after George Floyd was killed. This incident was highlighted for me, following a powerful connection just last week with Milton Grimes, Rodney King’s attorney. And then 2 nights ago, we just happened to watch Rocket Man…

I had been searching desperately for other “perspectives” to choose from today and then I see your post. Thank you so much!

If it’s OK with you, I’m going to write about this today on my blog.

 

Worth the whole watch…

 

I can’t light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I’m growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life
It’s much too late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of life
But you misread my meaning when I met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
I can’t find
Oh, the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way feel
Don’t discard me baby don’t
Just because you think I mean you harm
Just because you think I mean you harm, oh
But these cuts I have, cuts I have
They need love
They need love, they need love to help them heal
Oh, don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I that see, yeah
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free baby, oh
‘Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me

Memorial Day, 5/25/2020

November 21 162

3 PM, this Memorial Day, go outside and listen carefully. Someone might be serenading you, honoring the setting of the sun, thanking you for your service, or mourning losses with you.

If you are a trumpeter, YOU go outside and play TAPS for all the others, right at 3 PM.

 

see more about this here:

On the Road with Steve Hartman

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/veteran-trumpet-and-bugle-players-discuss-the-power-of-playing-taps/#x

 

 

In case that video did not work, here’s another beautiful option:

 

 

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Celebrating Freedom

Spirit Lifters; Day 79 of being “grounded” 5/24/2020

Well, I am still “staying home” but because I am now in our beautiful Mountain Retreat, East of the Mountains (as they say in our state), isolation is the norm here…so I don’t feel quite that same intense longing for contact that was rapidly building up back in the city.

 

Spring is so beautiful here in the mountains…different than the beautiful landscaped yards and gardens in my other neighborhood, which are bursting right now with chosen and planned colors.

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Over here, everything is 50 shades of GREEN, highlighted and intensified as we leave the browns of winter and and head into the burnt yellows and golds of summer.

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I love Spring here. So pleasing to the senses. Birds arriving with their songs, squirrels chattering away, the Wild Turkeys, well, their sounds are personal, having to do with Turkey Foreplay, so I won’t describe that.

 

 

It smells wonderful, clean and fresh, almost as if breathing deeply here could cleanse your lungs of bad air, and even a Virus or two.

And the non-green colors are all a surprise, it seems new each year.

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I’m sure many of you are still experiencing many different changes in your lives, including a lot more time at home. I’m a crafts and hobbies Nutcase, and I NEVER have NOTHING to do in that arena…always a project to finish.

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beginnings of a baby blanket for Great Niece!

I know others can’t even think of what to do to fill empty time so when I spotted this the other day, I thought it might be a good Spirit Lifters video.

 

Ideas for new things, hobbies to try in lock down

 

I’ve been enjoying all the music people are sharing, especially these delightful Covid 19 battling songs that folks are putting together online…so creative.

But today, I’m realizing the benefit of focusing on Spirit Lifters only works if we don’t use it to completely escape the reality of life today. We can’t afford to be tempted by the complacency or denial created if we live only in Happy Land.

So today’s song, an old favorite of mine, is a music video I have posted before. It has some beautiful images and subjects, however, it also contains some haunting ones….especially if applied to our current New Normal. See how many examples you can find that are similar to how so many of us are living these days.

 

 

And last, this wonderful episode of Some Good News, by John Krasinsky.

 

 

Take care and let me know in the Comments section how you are doing, and if any of these Spirit Lifters have been helpful!

Spirit Lifters: Day 75 of being “grounded” 5/20/2020

OK, it’s really getting long now…so it’s time to seriously shift our perspectives and consider instituting new, healthy daily habits into our “new normal” lives. Along with taking care of ourselves physically, we simply must attend to those other parts that are being insidiously drained, even damaged during this pandemic.

Here’s one of my regular self-care habits, a potential, inspirational resource, as well as a couple of new musical treats.

This is an excerpt from the newsletter of one of my favorite people, Karen Drucker. She is a talented musician, comedienne and public speaker.

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for
awhile…including you.
Anne Lamott
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Joseph Goldstein
This is precisely the time when artist go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
 Toni Morrison
I have to admit I have gone through every emotion during this last month of shelter in place: thrilled to be home; deeper connection with my hubby; anxiety about gigs cancelling and how to pay bills; feeling like I need alone time; happy to not have to fly followed almost immediately by wondering if I will ever be on a plane going to a gig again! Back and forth – happy, panic, bliss, fear. Lather, rinse, repeat!
The most positive thing for me, though, during this time has been connecting back to doing music. My friend, Alan Cohen, has a great expression: “Make the main thing be the main thing!”  I realize that with all the gigs and traveling and hyper-busy-ness, I let the joy of creating music get pushed to the back burner. It seemed to me I just didn’t have the time. What has become clear to me as I analyze what really lights me up is how writing and performing healing music helps my soul. When I get emails from people telling me that a certain chant helped them get through cancer treatments, or how singing along with me during this challenging time we are in is easing their anxiety – these messages validate what the main thing is for me – creating music. Right now, what feels like a suspension in time also feels sacred to me to be able to have the space to write and record again.
The greatest gift along this healing path that I have received was delivered this month – a beautiful 64-page booklet produced by Unity Churches featuring my “Heart of Healing” songs. It includes essays written by various writers and Unity ministers, with affirmations around each of the themes that the songs convey. This is a free booklet available to anyone. Even though this project was started last year it seems so perfect for what we are all going through right now. For information on how to receive your booklet contact: The Heart of Healing
So like the quote above from Toni Morrison, I am committed to do my part in helping us all heal by writing songs that, hopefully, will uplift, heal, and connect us as we all get through this challenging time together. I wish you peace during this time and hope that we will meet in person soon!

 

Here is Karen’s calendar (lots of virtual options) and a way to hear her music and to get her newsletter.

Calendar

Or her main website;

https://www.karendrucker.com/

If Karen isn’t your cup of tea, find a person or organization who speaks your language, fires up your brain, and touches your heart.

And really important, keep access to it easy, handy for those days when you need something to balance out the bad news we are be inundated with daily! (I read the Greater Good Science Center articles.)

When all else fails, music can make us think differently, feel deeply, or just smile!!

 

And this really fun one that was around even before this Virus took over our lives!

 

Look up more songs by  Playing for Change ! I bet you’ll find something you like.

That’s it for now. As always, I love comments, any kind, and I’m not getting many, so if you “like” this post, take a minute to write me something, just a sentence will do!!

Thanks so much.

Chosen Perspectives

Spirit Lifters; Day 72 of being “grounded” 5/16/2020

I’ve been kinda distracted by life lately…nothing catastrophic or even Virus related, just regular life. Granted, it has been New Normal life stuff but it was a nice break from thinking about the reality that I have only left my home twice since March 6th, and both of those times were hit and run medical trips…once for the parking lot, giant-cutip-up-the-nose, Covid 19 test on March 26th (false alarm..cleaning products overdose) and once last week for a quick blood test.

I haven’t been as focused on finding Spirit Lifters like before. Time to get back to that

One of my favorites is still Some Good News from John Krasinski, and episode 5 is no exception. I LOVED this one and sent it out to all my “Foodie” friends.

 

 

Then I went to another favorite place.

This weekly magazine was a wonderful resource anyway and they have really been great during the pandemic. This week’s articles are so supportive and helpful, especially the one on finding purpose and connection during this time. A great, inspiring read!

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_im_finding_purpose_and_connection_in_a_pandemic?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=852a0c2414-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_May_14_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-852a0c2414-74625275

There are still so many local stories happening that are inspirational, like this one.

https://www.newsbreak.com/washington/seattle/lifestyle/0OzedBAG/air-force-to-perform-flyover-in-seattle-area-to-thank-healthcare-workers

I was reminded of it while sitting outside yesterday, enjoying the sun, and these flew right over me, amazingly low in the sky!!

 

 

And personally, I have so many things to be grateful for in my life every day…no, not the whole “daily gratitude can change your life..blah, blah, blah…” But seriously wonderful things that I take for granted...until I remember not to.

I am so blessed to be able to get out and walk in Nature (granted, suburban Nature). I see miracles every single day!

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The old rhododendron in my front yard has never been more beautiful!

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And see the red ones on the left above? One of them is growing right out of what’s left of an old Madrona!

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When I leave my own, rustic, and mostly unattended to yard to walk up my street, I find treasures all along the way.

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Can’t wait to see this guy blossom!!!

I feel so badly that my best friends (both athletes), who live in an apartment in Madrid, are unable to get out and go these days. They were just telling us yesterday, all their daily routines are completely stalled…no outdoor exercise allowed, so they run up and down the stairs in their old apartment building. None of the places they sit and write every day (Cafe’s, restaurants, the Plaza) are open and the cops come and send them home if they are caught outside without a very specific purpose. Oh, and the worst for them, they can’t walk together, even to the little market for food…no hand holding, nothing.

 

Apparently, I am more easily entertained than most. It is a highlight for me to walk out my door to see what profound or coded or artistic message the local slug population has left me each day.

(Maybe you’d have to live in the Seattle area to understand this one…🤣)

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And I know how absolutely lucky I am to have a Master Gardener living basically right in my back yard. The Rhubarb is already huge so I knew Mimi would start creating in the kitchen!

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I was a lucky recipient!!!

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Mimi’s Rhubarb jam and cream cheese on a toasted gluten free bagel!!! YUM!!!

 

And if that’s not enough to lift my spirits, there is always one or two of the reliable, dependable furry family members!

 

Let me know how your spirits are in the Comment Section!!

Spirit Lifters-Day 62 of being “grounded” 5/6/2020

Here’s a new collection for you, of feel good, feel deeply, and feel connected things to watch, read and listen to!!!

 

 

 

And if that didn’t delight you and make you laugh, just look up almost anything by Jeanne Roberston…

 

 

And I keep this on in the back ground sometimes or check it out all day long. These baby eagles are hysterical to watch at this age. What a miracle it is that we even can.

Skip ahead to about 55 on the counter. Then if you want, skip ahead to 10:48.

Or this one is amazing also!

 

 

If you need to get up and move, watch this standing. You’ll be bopping around before you know it!

 

 

To connect with deeper meaning and the bigger picture, read this lovely contribution

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/irish-american-teachers-poem-covid19-outbreak

The poem reads…

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

 

 

BEST for LAST!! This is so sweet!!!! 

My favorite thing yet. I have watched it several times and feel moved toward hope again and again.

The Great Realization-a Bedtime Story

 

Day 60 of being “grounded”– 5/4/2020 Lessons Solidified Part Four- Chosen Perspectives

This is the last of a four part series on lessons revisited and solidified during the pandemic.

The first 3 posts on Scarcity, Three Human Hungers and Structuring Time, are issues that for me, have definitely floated to the surface during my confinement.

And here is the fourth.

I started seriously considering the possibility of the existence of Dual Realities way back in the 1980’s. I found my Psychotherapy practice filled with those who were diagnosed as “Borderline Personality Disorder”, an unfortunate label. I mostly didn’t use the suggested DSM whatever-number-it-was back then. I didn’t want to stick my clients with a reputation that might limit them in some way. So when I got a referral called Borderline, I started switching it to Borderline Personality Organization. I also encouraged my therapy community, especially my trainees, to adopt this different perspective.

I bring this up because the clients with this “diagnosis” were most therapists’ worst nightmare. No one wanted to work with them back then, and tried to limit their practices to one Borderline at a time. No surprise. A person whose personality worked that way, could frustrate the most experienced of practitioners! A “Borderline” tended to be quick, smart, combative, testing, and successful at what they do (healthy or not). Typically, they were extremely creative…but mostly at proving their own strongly held mistaken belief that they were unlovable, and that you too, would eventually abandon them….another thing they were successful at…getting a therapist to give up on them.

I never felt that way. I absolutely loved the ingenious ways they could get all of us therapists to fight over them, to disagree about them, to “split” over them. It reminded me of me and my sisters growing up.

Talk about immersing one’s self all the way into a pre-decided reality…all or nothing, black and white, no gray. Brilliant. And a lot of therapists bought right into the reality, compelled to choose a side, or a singular definition of right or wrong.

 (imagine a photo of the yin/yang thingy here)

But see, I was raised by my Dad, a brilliant, but covert, Master Teacher, who from day one, taught me that one thing, two things, even three could be completely true at the very same time.

He had three daughters and out of necessity I suppose, quietly negotiated, and mediated, and helped us see things from each others’ perspectives.

Bessey Girls

It may have been easiest for me though. Not because I was his oldest, but because, though he was my Dad, he was not my father. (He married my mother when I was two-ish.) It took me until well into adolescence to straighten out that conflicting statement.

“You’re my Dad but you’re not my dad? Huh??”

I had lived the proof throughout childhood, that two seemingly opposing things could both be true. I had enough experience with it in other parts of my life, that when I started getting calls from frantic therapists, throwing up their hands wanting to refer a Borderline (remember, labeled with affection by me), that’s what I set out to teach my new clients…exactly what my Dad had taught me…

“You’re Mother left you. AND Your Mother loved you.”

 

The real anchoring for me of the concept of Dual Realities came right after 9-11-2001.

 

9-11 Twin Towers

Immediately following the attacks, in my search for understanding I stumbled across a PBS Special. The program was interviewing religious leaders, teachers and philosophers from all over the world who, in my opinion, were valiantly trying to prevent the next world war…trying to get us to consider the event from other perspectives.

One of my very first Blog posts was about this experience. https://chosenperspectives.com/2015/11/19/absolutely-nothing-is-absolute/

Anyway, what grew for me out of those experiences was an idea…my version of a primary theory, like my mentor’s all-encompassing idea about Scarcity forty years ago.

What if there really is only one single task for every human being to accomplish during their time on the planet? I now believe there is.

We need to learn how to be separate and connected at the very same time.

Talk about conflicting states, or dual realities! How can both of those be true simultaneously?

This is not new. We have each been dealing with this exact issue since our very conception. Think about it…even as we were growing our separate little bodies inside our mother’s womb, we cannot, and will not, ever be any more connected to another human being than that!

baby pushing out from inside belly

It may also be the oldest existential discussion of all. We are whole entities, completely unique, and separate from all others. No one can ever fully be in our shoes, and on our death beds, we will all take that final breath completely alone.

But at the same time, we are completely connected to everyone else. (Hey, all those people at Woodstock would tell you they were ONE with each other!)

Wide-angle overall of huge crowd facing

We are certainly connected as a species, and some would say we are linked, attached, and related to ALL living things on the planet.

Well, as if we needed a reminder of these facts, in case we needed to learn this lesson experientially, along comes Covid 19, throwing us all into the ongoing, daily circumstance of being separate and connected at the same time.

We have had to literally separate ourselves, to socially distance, to hunker down and isolate in order to slow down or stop this virus.

But what is also true is that we are all in this together, finding creative methods for proving and anchoring our connections, all while frantically searching for the way to save our entire species.

In every single moment of our lives, based on our individual and collective stories, we are choosing a perspective, a way of seeing, defining or experiencing the world.

I never thought I would be quoting one of Mr. Trump’s staff, but his Dr. Birx said the following, actually as I was writing this:

“We need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent,”

And an even more surprising resource for me to share is about the video made by former President Bush:

In a three-minute video shared on Twitter on Saturday, Bush urged Americans to remember “how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat.”

“In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of god,” Bush said. “We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.”

 

What the virus is teaching us, shoving in our faces really, is that we have to find a perspective that includes both being separate and connected at the very same time….

And we have to find it soon.

Coronavirus separate but connected

 

As always, I’d love comments. Helps me feel connected even if you disagree with me…

🧡💛💚💙💜💗