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

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 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

 

Photo a Week Challenge: Just for fun and Spirit Lifters Day 51 of being “Grounded”

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/a-photo-a-week-challenge-just-for-fun/

OK, Nancy Merrill’s challenge to share photos this week that represent “Just for Fun!” reminded me to get back to the Spirit Lifters series I started.

So here are some photos for Nancy, and then, some uplifting things for you to check out for yourself.

(Like how I am always giving you something to do? Pretty clever distraction, eh?)

Here are 3 photos of what we call around here, Spring Snow!

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Next, I write a lot about the beautiful street I get to live on, but don’t say enough about my really FUN neighbors.

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These folks always have something fun for every holiday, including a small tractor that pulls little kid-filled carts behind it, decorated and driven by Santa for Christmas, and someone scary for Halloween.

Apparently, even the city workers are getting bored though. I came across this fun scene yesterday…

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Either confused, or high, or they are closet Graffiti Artists…

And one of the more uplifting, fun (and reassuring) beings in my household is Lucy, the Woodpile Cat. She is, as are many cats, such a creature of habit. I can count on her every  morning, to take a shower in the kitchen sink…

And to demand her exercise time every afternoon…

But do not be fooled. She is not all sweetness and light. The only place I can have fresh flowers in my house is the bathroom as she does not frequent that room.

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growing wild all over the yard this year! Delightful!

And THIS Blog, by my sweet friend Lisa, is really worth a visit! Look what she found for us! It is wonderful!!!

https://dailymusing57.com/2020/04/24/koolulam-coldplay-across-the-globe/

Lastly, here is Episode 3 of John Krasinski’s SGN. It can take your mind of all bad virus-related things!

PS The photo at the top was fun…or funny, at least to me. I had just committed to fewer eggs in my current campaign to keep my cholesterol levels healthy. Cracked open my one egg and….well, you see it….TWINS!!

(mostly) WordlessWednesday on Earth Day, 2020

Earth Day slide show

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Earth Day Entertainment and Inspiration

 

 

 

 

Downhill from Everywhere by Jackson Browne…released today…

Jackson Browne Drops New Song for Earth Day, ‘Downhill From Everywhere’

 

 

 

And best for last, DEFINITELY X Rated, so watch when your kids are at Home School in the other room…

In Honor of……..

Bill Withers, what a loss…

 

And on today, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gone from the planet for so long, but never from our hearts.

 

 

 

I’m going to go deep inside myself to see if I can find what they might say about our current predicament….

I invite you to also.

Please share what you find in “comments” if you wish.

Mlk quote

Love to us all.

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance 3/31/20

I have been watching the world from a distance since March 6th.

It’s OK though. I am used to some of it already.

I am living primarily in 2 large-ish rooms, separated from my family in other parts of the house. I have two windows, one for sunrises, and one for sunsets, so I’m fine.

And I can see 4 different bird feeders, so I’m good.

I can even see surprise guests sometimes.

 

But my most important Windows to the World these days are the ones I look in from the outside. It’s how I see my son and grandson (they won’t let me take photos). We’ve had some good talks this way, divided by such a small distance created by glass. (So close, and yet so far…).

And, it’s how I see Loki, the new Christmas kitten. We had just completely bonded and then I was cruelly isolated from him when my Doc “grounded” me to my rooms 26 days ago. 🙁

 

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Loki, a couple of weeks before the virus hit

 

Now, my only contact is through HIS Window on the World.

Each day he waits for our window-visit

Then we play through the window…his favorite thing is if I hold up the fish video on my phone.

 

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He has grown so much since we started this isolation.   Sigh…

 

Well, that’s my take on distance for today. You really should check out some of the other responses to this particular Lens Artist Challenge. They are lovely, inspirational, touching posts…I’m honored just to be responding to the same challenge!

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2020/03/28/lens-artists-challenge-90-distance/

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #90: Distance

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/distance/

 

And, in keeping with my  commitment to find something uplifting every day, to balance all the frightening news stories, I found this! It’s long, (15 minutes) but delightful (especially if you are an “Office” or “Jack Ryan” fan…)

 

And this:

 

 

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2020/03/28/lens-artists-challenge-90-distance/