Hard to stay shiny and bright when Trump just fucks our sense of homeland safety with regularity, when our GOP lead Senate, who left their morals back home, continues to let the NRA cut us down like locust, and when we ALL consume like it’s a privilege to destroy our Earth. Fires are raging once again through homes in the west while hurricane devastated populations struggle to rebuild water lines. Watching the evening roundup of sexual predators requires Xanax and wine. Seriously, everyone I know is standing on shaky ground just getting from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon never mind a full work week. We may hunt for truth from our journalists wisdom from our preachers and understanding from our teachers but still find nothing except Russian bots fueling hatred via every media outlet. Oh world, during these darkest nights, where might we find even a shaft of soft light to sooth our fear and anxiety?
What is happening in Jerusalem? What about Myanmar? Don’t look any further than the drinking water in Flint to fuel your helplessness. The list of injustices are miles long and in review my mind migrates to devastation like water flowing to a low point. But, yet, somehow, religions from Judaism to Christianity to Hinduism to Paganism remind us tis the season to believe in the goodness of mankind despite all the mounting evidence that proves otherwise. Can this be why we should illuminate our homes with renewed passion and earnest dedication each December? From neighborhood to neighborhood we string bulbs we light menorahs we shoot off fireworks we burn candles. Without a doubt this year we may need to light up a bit more. Promise to make hope visible. Garner all the twinkle we can for these dark hours. And rise with renewed dedication to face the sunset. Hold each other. Give each other something extra. Remind ourselves relentlessly. Day will follow night. Always. Dawn will break the black with gold.
In this season of transcendentalism let us believe for a moment that divinity can transform us. Believe in what we can’t see. In the latent goodness that lays dormant far too often. In joy. And love. In cheer. In the laughter of innocence. Scrooge may reside in our frailties, and despite the fact we have chained ourselves to greed and all the sins, we can break free and live an altered life. Yes, we can. Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Do you remember when you first discovered Ram Dass’s 1970’s iconic Be Here Now? When you cracked open that journey? I do… only a teen unsteady on which way was up but I dove in all the same.
Those years revolved round myself. Being here now meant more time with an emphasis on present enjoyment. Chasing the next high until reality drifted out of view. Being present was pure frenzy. What may have started as new-age spirituality for others morphed onto immediacy for me and my crew, and even though there was the notion that we, this new generation, care beyond ourselves, to include all the souls inhabiting this one earth, the real focus was on one’s small private world, frequently spinning out of control, fast, then faster. From my vantage, Ram Dass ignited a wave of self-professed hedonists, of which I was yet another faithful fan, who heralded in reckless totality. By the time I reached my early twenties, the party had consumed too many around me; I was lucky to crawl out of the glitter alive. Continue reading
Today I give thanks for all the wonders of this earth, and my good fortune to be traipsing around among such gifts with my sweetheart. I invite you all to pause, and journey with us into the snowy woods, to hear the stream and continue on to a spectacular waterfall.
Remember the last time you said something, had it taken as far from your intended meaning as possible, succeeded in horrifying and alienating your audience, and was subsequently shamed and humiliated? In a very public forum? Well, if you have, you never forgot it, right? My shinning moment of misspeaking is now seared into my infernal list of wrongs. As much as I wanted to justify my comment, to explain my choice of words, it was for naught. Deaf ears. And I get it. You screw up, you get what you get. For the subsequent hours, I felt like a politician whose latest sound bite got twisted in the hands of the opposing but very savvy wordsmith into a half truth. Ruha Benjamin, the Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, said at a recent conference, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will stay with you for a lifetime. I can attest to that truth. Even your own.
Perhaps it is the sea of fake news we find ourselves drowning in, or perhaps the spew of lies that click so easily off Trump’s digits, whatever the reason, I am drawn more and more to reading the “confessional poets” of yesteryear. Those original ones, who cared little for the moniker but much for “focusing on extreme moments of individual experience, the psyche, and personal trauma, including previously and occasionally still taboo matters” (Confessional poetry). Plath, Lowell, Sexton. They broke repression and oppression. Wove the atrocities of the Nazis into autobiographical poetry. Created verse from what we denied, with the stuff left under the rug. As their ashtrays overflowed and they pounded typewriter keys, their truth loosened onto the page and heralded a revolution of honesty.
We need those crazy fragile ones back on the center shelf. Enough with fiction for a while. Enough with thinking it isn’t the obscene power of the AR-15 that is slaughtering us. Enough with thinking that Trump isn’t motivated solely to further fatten his paunch. Enough with thinking these moral right-wingers have morals, or at least the same ones that you and I share. You know, like caring that babies are murdered at school or church or anywhere a deranged angry white man with an assault weapon cuts them down. If you still read Facebook “news” with conviction or scroll down your Twitter feed believing those 140 or now 280 characters, then wake up, you are being made the fool.
Hate breeds hate, right? Remember that one from kindergarten? We have been lead into a labyrinth of falsehoods from the naked emperor to those scurry to do his bidding. Time to taste the bitter pill. Face the hard facts. We have violated our selves. Our women. Our poor. Our neighbors. Our small towns and big cities. Our planet. Continue reading
Daily last summer, on any of those glorious days, I’d open the front door just to stay closer to green. The sugar maple out front was lush with leaves, and even in the rain I leaned out to drink in that verdant hue. Looking ahead, all I envisioned were more luscious moments, more sweet air, and more bird song.