23 January, 2017

That was the week that was...

As per Wikipedia, “That Was the Week That Was, informally TWTWTW or TW3, was a satitical television programme on BBC Television in1962 and 1963. An American version by the same name aired on NBC from 1964 to 1965, featuring David Frost.

The programme opened with a song ("That was the week that was, It's over, let it go...") sung by Millicent Martin referring to news of the week just gone. “

It was also my childhood recollection of a very funny news program that “the adults” loved to watch every week. As a kid, I didn’t always understand the news items or the parodies but I could sense the show was witty; and it began my love affair for all things British. I reflected on TW3 as I witnessed the events of the past week in eager anticipation of it all being over soon.
"O' beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie..."
("The End Of The Innocence"by Don Henley)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend this year was particularly poignant as several other significant historical facts happened: The Obamas said farewell to the White House, there was a big spectacle on January 20th that caused dyspepsia for millions of people; and then on Saturday, January 21st, an enormous anthropological and sociological event took place known as the Women’s March on Washington.

The Women's March centered in D.C. but active around the United States and the world was a collective action to ensure parity in civil rights for women and minorities. 

"In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore." -- Women's March on Washington

It is no coincidence that the originating 1893 march was planned to coincide with that inauguration (along with subsequent inaugurations) this year's march is on the heels of the divisive election and what feels like a very different inauguration.  This march may raise fists along with flags. Some attended this as a protest march, a show of solidarity and resistance.    My philosophy also teaches me to endorse and choose to be for something or someone; instead of being against something (or someone).

I happen to be a woman who was raised by a single mom working two and three jobs to survive. Although I am white, neither my ethnic brothers and sisters, nor I have equal rights or equal pay.  I am sure there are some folks shouting, "Hey, at least you have the vote now."   What about civil rights, basic decency and safety for African-Americans, Latinos and my LGBTQ brothers and sisters?  

Yes, I realize that despite “alternative facts” and figures, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are celebrating this new president.  My sadness and emptiness will perhaps seem odd to them. Those who share my grief and concerns may be considered as part of the problem to which the electorate voted to dissolve. Either way, I am weary and eager to get back to figuring out how to live in some semblance of civility.

"So many of us have stood up for the marginalized, but never expected to be here ourselves. It happened to us overnight, not for anything we did wrong but for what we know is right. Our first task is to stop shaming ourselves and claim our agenda. It may feel rude, unprofessional and risky to break the habit of respecting our government; we never wanted to be enemies of the state. But when that animosity mounts against us, everything we do becomes political: speaking up or not speaking up.  Either one will have difficult consequences. That’s the choice we get. With due respect for the colored ribbons we’ve worn for various solidarities, our next step is to wear something on our sleeve that takes actual courage: our hearts."
(Excerpted from The Guardian essay, November 23, 2016 by Barbara Kingsolver)

On the web and throughout social media, along with all the divisive diatribe, available are countless editorial posts and pieces offering words of solace and guidance.  Because of "my day job", I will be called upon to offer my own thoughts of hope and light to my spiritual community. My philosophy and faith reminds me that there is a Divine Order to all of this.  I know that we didn't get here by accident. Yet, I am scrambling to find my balance and clarity to find the deeper understanding I need for healing my head and heart.

Along with many whom I admire and respect, I am baffled, appalled and feeling unsafe because of the elected leader of the free world and the cabinet he has selected. Yet, while walking through my disbelief and uncertainty, I am weary of reading ad nauseam essays, reports and Facebook posts to prove how awful all this is.  I get it. Yet to remedy this we have got to stop preaching to the choir and start looking for how to heal the division that this election unearthed. Angry or violent retaliation is only going to exacerbate the pain and separation.  What we resist persists, and I personally, do not want the tone or the effects of this administration to persist.

Even though I have a personal moratorium in place to not read about Trump, yesterday, my husband sent a Facebook post link with an essay that he knew would help assuage my concerns.  Not only do I share this link here with you, I encourage you to read this editorial by Peter Leyden, as one of the most articulate and inspirational editorials I have seen in print since the election:

Let me quickly add that I don't intend to be passive nor silent. This ‘state of the union’ calls me to action more than any time in my personal history.  However, I prefer pen over placard. Trusting that the Constitution will remain intact, the proverbial pen (or keyboard) is still mightier than the sword. Creative arts and creative spirituality are my weapons of choice. My style is more in keeping with Carrie Fisher's advice that when there's a broken heart --make art.

We didn't get here by accident. There is a collective consciousness that created this administration. How anyone responds to what this administration is or does, is up to us as individuals.  No longer can anyone can rest on their complacent or holier-than-thou laurels---no matter what party allegiance.

Can't we all just get along? 
Apparently not...yet.


08 November, 2016

Calling All Angels

Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
A day that will go down in history no matter who gets elected.

Abraham Lincoln

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

It has been a grueling 18 months for all of us. However, today more than any other day of this campaign, invoke your inner Abraham Lincoln to call forth the better angels of our nature.
Because as eager as I am to see this campaign over, our real work is about what happens after tonight. So we must put our attention on the restoration of our country and our own psyches.

We each have our own work to do about healing the shadow within us that collectively out pictured as the two main candidates. (As a softer reminder, we also have something within many of us that out pictured Bernie Sanders, too).  So, here goes:

Bless you Mr. Trump and your entire entourage.
Bless you Putin, the F.B.I. and even Fox News.
Bless the angry citizens who have been acting out their rage because Mr. Trump, by his repeated examples, made it seem acceptable to be a bully.

Bless Hillary Clinton for her resiliency and willingness to be mother archetype who can step in and help heal our boo-boos (and her own); ease our bellyaches and make it safe to go out and play again.

I really resonated with something I read this morning from Justin at Curious.com:

"If you are a regular Curio reader, it’s probably not hard to guess my political persuasion. But this Daily Curio is pro-learning, no matter your affiliation. I simply hope your votes are based, not on fear, but on optimism. Optimism that we continue to recognize the best in each other. Optimism that we can reasonably change others’ minds, as well as allow reason to change our own. Optimism that nothing can reverse our march towards absolute equality. Optimism that embracing our diversity will produce tomorrow’s bravest citizens, hardest workers and boldest ideas. We aren’t all born of the same experiences, nationality, skin color, sexual identity, economic status or abilities. But we are all born curious."

"May that curious spirit, and the desire for our leaders to be lifelong learners, guide all of us today."

Together, let us invoke Indra's Web to wrap itself around our world, our country and return each and everyone of us to the beauty and wholeness from which we began.

(Image from livelightbeing.com)

And although it is not quite the season, God Bless U.S. everyone.

03 November, 2016

Electionitis - 2016

Along with friends, colleagues and fellow citizens, we have all been inundated with election rhetoric and vitriolic displays of boorish behavior.

Ever since the actual candidates were chosen, it has been a more than mudslinging of base and disrespectful behavior--and in many cases, down right lies. Yet, the media frenzy including Social Media has propagated more than it’s fair share of stories, rumours, accusations and incendiary editorials.    As the months wore on, more and more accusations and slander has risen for each of the two Presidential candidates. 

Throughout this time, I resisted the urge to write or post anything about the election or the candidates.  I longed to offer my personal metaphysical slant to it all but I was being the old-fashioned “good girl” and staying out of it. However, in the last few weeks, so many of my ministerial colleagues have addressed this topic because it is so important to their community members and congregants, that we as supportive spiritual leaders felt compelled to finally offer some insight and hopefully, comfort.

Remember when in the 60s, John Lennon was vilified for saying The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ? This was a powerful and accurate declaration that created havoc and misunderstanding in the United States. Eventually, Mr. Lennon had to apologize to appease the media and fans.  Yet, now in 2016, candidate Donald Trump gets away with a whole lot more incendiary declarations that that.  I don’t need to list the assessments, accusations or even inferences of misdeed, slander, abuse and even blasphemy that Mr. Trump has been allowed to voice.

Trump has even out-trumped himself with all the verifiable slants as to confirm the unctuous, bombastic and misogynistic person that he is.  Yet we cannot fault him for being to true to himself; we can only cease to inflate the current climate by modifying our responses.

I have consciously chosen to not watch any of the debates— barely escaping the circus by seeing sound bytes shown on the news or on T.V. comedy satires or in other media.

Watching the acerbic and biting Saturday Night Live parodies or the scathing, witty and painfully accurate John Oliver editorials, only to fall on deaf ears because it's all preaching to the proverbial choir. These television shows or the copious Facebook posts that run Trump over the deserved hot coals, are moot because the people who need to truly understand and accurately assess the jeopardy Trump represents, are not watching those programs or reading the desperate pleas for sanity to “make America great again” by dumping Trump.

The people who support and most likely vote for him, are not paying attention to expert opinions or the facts.  Early on, Mr. Trump ignited fierce controversy when he said that his fans would still support him if he shot someone in the streets of NY.  And through all the videos, the unpaid taxes, the confirmation of his lies, the lawsuits, his rude and insulting behavior—not only to other humans but also to our democratic system, he has only gotten more popular.

In my humble opinion, the majority of Trump voters are cheering on his every flaw and narcissistic buffoonery because they want and wish they could also say or do what he does; and not only get away with it, but be elevated and celebrated for it.

It doesn’t get scarier than the facts that we are facing a crisis in our democracy. This recent Halloween, I was reminded of one my favorite comedy films, “Ghostbusters.”  At the critical juncture of the film when good and evil are duking it out, Bill Murray cautions his crew to clear their minds of everything so that they can defeat the evil ghosts.  Whoops. Suddenly around the next building looms The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, larger than life who has emerged to destroy them and  the city New York.  I find the parallels alarming.

Donald Trump is our national Mr. Stay Puft.  The usually benign and ignored popular figure suddenly becomes demonic and YUGE and we find ourselves struggling to escape.  Early in the campaign, many of us practiced classic psychological, childhood-like disassociation: if I close my eyes and ignore him, he will go away.

As horrific as this entire election process has been, it won’t matter who wins or loses on November 8th, our country and its citizens are going to have an uphill process towards integrity and wholeness. Our country, our governance, and our current electoral process has been in need of an overhaul for a long time and I guess we had to hit rock bottom (or lower) to begin to look towards salvation and healing. We must turn to a revamping of our entire election process and begin to heal our inner and outer demons.

On November 4, 2016, in Bloomberg (online edition) Deena Shanker addresses it from the bigger picture perspective:

"Americans unnerved by the 2016 campaign may need help dealing with its consequences.  More than half of Americans are experiencing election-related stress comparable to that often attributed to work, money, or the economy, the American Psychological Association has said. And while the good news is the presidential contest will end next week, the bad news is that because of the ferocity of the campaign, the mental damage may linger. And for some groups, it may get even worse—depending on who wins."  Read the full story

This whole process has been a perfect out-picturing of our collective shadow side.  Here’s a guy who is celebrated for speaking his mind and saying some of the things we feel compelled keep in check. Here is a woman who has finally broken the glass ceiling in government but the populace isn’t sure she is trustworthy or honest, and she’s still part of the elite instead of the change the common folk seek.

For those of us who desire to defeat Donald Trump, the only way to defeat or deflate him – – wait for it – – is to love the hell out of him. Literally. At the risk of sounding oh so New Agey, we need to saturate Trump with as much light and love as we can muster till he has no choice but to dissolve into his own bloated nothingness.  This applies win, lose, or draw.

Otherwise, every character assassination we contribute or endorse about Trump only serves to expand and magnify his monstrous presence ala Mr. Stay Puft. But if the Ghostbusters can neutralize Mr. Stay Puft we can at least neutralize our feelings. Otherwise, it will be too lates. You're fired.

We have the option to ignore The Bully, so that he takes his expensive toys home to pout. Lest you think I'm only applying this approach to just Mr. Trump, may I remind you that if you're someone who can't abide Hillary Clinton, I suggest taking the same neutral approach. Either way, it's imperative to vote. Don't let fear elect a president.

There is one additional option along with actually voting, you can join the Elevate the Vote movement. https://elevatethevote.com/home
Meditation Flash Mob on Nov. 8th at polling places around the country.  3pm PST, 4Pm MST, 5pm CST, 6Pm EST

This is a grassroots group that is creating a cosmic Flash Mob if you will, of people committed to staging a meditation sit-in at local polling stations or other selected locations. The Santa Fe Center for Spiritual Living will be participating on Tuesday, November 8th starting at 4:00 p.m. MST, people will gather and meditate to raise the consciousness of this election and our nation.

All this chaos and angst is not happening for naught. We can’t change the people who are running for office, but we sure as hell can change ourselves. Instead of resisting and fighting against the human representations of our own demons, let’s see if we can be for something instead of against it.

I’d close with this wisdom from my dear friend and colleague, Rev. Bonnie Rose:
We elect the truth:  all healing begins with our willingness to heal.
We elect a world where the strength to lift each other up surpasses the weakness of blowing each other up. We elect fairness, health and wholeness.  A clean environment.  Thriving wildlife.  Abiding sacredness for the earth and other rock-stars.
We elect goodwill, friendship, humility and grace.
We make America fall in love again
We’re with Us.
We elect.
We vote.
We use this privilege as a blessing to the world.
But most of all, we become the candidate we wish to see.  We elect ourselves.  We elect one another.  We elect love.  Namaste.”