Monthly Archives: March 2010

Anger and Fear

After reflecting for a while on yesterday’s post, I began to have compassion for the angry protesters who are acting out in such an aggressive and sad way.

They’re afraid.

I learned long ago that anger is fear. And there are only two things to be afraid of: Losing something you have, or not getting something you want.

Angry words all say the same thing. Angry words all say: “But what about me?” (Remember this the next time you fight with your spouse.)

We’re all a little afraid. None of us knows what the future holds. None of us likes change. But I can tell you that those of us who were born white, middle class, intelligent and healthy are pretty damned lucky. And luck is all that it is.

It was an accident of birth that I was born to good genes and limitless opportunity. Capitalizing on those gifts (that’s why they call them gifts!) is my duty, and using the fruits of my labor to help those who whose roll of the genetic dice was not so great is what I’m supposed to be doing. Not hoarding. Helping.

I think if we were a little more focused on the less fortunate instead of our own bank accounts, we might be a little less angry, a little less afraid, and a little more excited about the fact that someone sick is going to finally get the peace of mind that having health insurance offers.

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Filed under peace, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Inclusive vs. Divisive

Two things are happening right now that have me thinking.

The first is The Owl Box. I’ve been watching a wild barn owl, Molly, and her mate McGee, hatch out and raise their owlets in an owl box outfitted with cameras in San Marcos, California. Three owlets and two eggs as of this writing, with three million people worldwide watching and waiting for owlet number four.

I’m not as addicted as some in the chat room, but I am fascinated, and keep her site up as I work at my desk. I’ve learned a lot about the habits of wild owls. This is the internet at its best, and the site is raising money for bird habitat in the San Diego County area by selling t-shirts, mugs and mouse pads. Excellent.

The other thing currently going on that has me thinking is the tea party movement. They’re holding rallies starting in Nevada, and ending, presumably in Washington, D.C. My political leanings are no secret: I’ve been a Libertarian and disappointed. I’ve been a Republican and disappointed. I’m currently leaning a little left and am sure to be disappointed.

However. Never in my memory have I heard of a senator threatened because of a vote he cast, or heard truly hateful, despicable comments thrown at our elected representatives as they walk to work. Really? Is this who we want to be?

The owl box has brought people all over the world, especially school children, together to learn amazing and fascinating things about the world we live in. Grade schools are rerouting their lesson plans to include Molly. Nobody cares who’s Republican or Democrat. Everybody is suddenly excited about wild bird habitat, nature, and watching baby owls eat rodents and grow feathers. We all have this common interest, and I believe some lifelong friendships have been made in the owl box chatroom. I’m certain that future conservationists are watching in their classrooms.

Contrast that with what the tea party is teaching our children.

What kind of a person do you want to be? Inclusive? Or Divisive? Is there room in your life for both rodents and owls, or do you want only owls? Is there room in our democracy for all viewpoints? There should be. We should be able to take any controversial issue, discuss it rationally, agree and agree to disagree and then watch as the experiment continues.

It’s up to us. Each of us, individually, have a responsibility to teach our children–and maybe each other–that there is no right or wrong way. There is only how we react to the process.

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Filed under politics, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

We Vote Every Day

I’m asking each of us to take a moment and consider how much our votes count. I don’t mean the ones on election day, I mean the votes we cast every single day with our dollars, our television remote control, and our mouse clicks.

When we click on the ridiculous stories bandied about by voyeuristic internet sites to ogle the photographs of celebrities when they are trying desperately to live normal lives with their spouses and children, we are putting money in the pockets of the paparazzi that haunt their every waking moment.

When we watch a stupid television series, we are telling the producers and the advertisers and the networks, that we not only approve, but we want to see more, similar  idiocy on our television sets. Don’t you think there is too much idiocy on our television sets and not enough quality? Vote with your remote control.

We vote with our dollars every time we go to a movie at the theater or buy an artery-clogging Big Mac or something cheap from China. If you want Americans to have jobs, buy American goods. If you want quality television, don’t watch trash. Read a book instead. Don’t fall into the trap of feeding the media frenzy on ridiculous stories that invade privacy and promote mindless speculation.

It’s up to us if we want to hold our country to a higher standard of… of everything. When we say “America’s going down the tubes!” Well, guess what? We’re America! You and me.

We can become a more compassionate country by being more compassionate ourselves. We can be more involved parents by not leaving the entirety of our children’s education to the schools. We can demand better television programming by not watching the “least objectionable” show at the time we want to flop on the couch, or politically incendiary rantings. We can become better people by making better, conscious decisions on what we buy, what we wear, what we eat, what we watch, what we view on the internet (and what we pass along), and how we live our lives.

We need to take control of ourselves. We need to live our lives as examples to the next generation. We are role models, each one of us, whether we signed on for that job or not. We can’t just blame our elected officials for leaving a mess for future generations, we’re doing a fair job of it ourselves.

So I ask you today: make a difference. Speak only with great purpose. Act mindfully. Behave as if your vote counted, because it does.

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Filed under Honesty, Learning, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interst me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can hear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day…and if you can source your life from its own presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the shore of a lake and shout to the silver of a full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where, or what, or with whom, you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Native Elder, 5/94

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Filed under Beauty, dreams, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality