725 days until we take back the Senate & House
1453 days until we take back the Presidency
Friends, yesterday I spoke with some of you about my plan to do one thing every day to make sure that we do not have to spend more than four years with that man “leading” our country. Every morning I will post a call to action. They will range from armchair activism, to volunteer opportunities, to reading materials so that we can become more educated on the issues, etc. I know that your lives may prevent you from participating in all 1453 action items, but do what you can. Or do something totally different from my suggestion. Just do something.
TODAY’S CALL TO ACTION:
Tweet Donald Trump and RESPECTFULLY ask that he demands his supporters stop the terrorization of LGBTQ, Muslims, African Americans, Asians, Mexicans, and Women. He wanted to lead. Well…
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So much goes in and at some point it’s satisfying to see what can come out. Shared knowledge and competing theories bombard our worldly brains daily. All of it is diluted and agitated as is clothing in a washing machine. Some bleed and forever ruin others. Some become dull with each repetition of the wash cycle. Perhaps the real value goes unnoticed as the tainted water drains away from each load. The spin cycle borders on violent – all supporting the intention of keeping things clean, odor and stain free. What if we’ve been scammed into believing half truths about the meaning of beautiful or even clean? What if there is beauty along with shadow in all of us and but we have never been taught how to see it all clearly and how to appreciate it.
Drawn to the Paradox Playground, it’s appropriate to feel both excitement and dread. Will the lessons there hurt too much? What if the fear slams eyes shut and ears fold into themselves? Will it then be dark and completely silent making it impossible for anything of value to break free of the logjam? Or will stepping away from the limitations of human senses open the way towards the complete truth? Will there be relief from the relentless stream of incongruent thoughts and feelings? Will it be lonely there or the opposite?
There’s only one way to find out. We need to go and find out. We’ll be gentle.
Family can be the place of unconditional love and acceptance. The connections between family members are straightforward. This one is the parent and this one is the child. This one is the sibling and this one is the cousin. In the cleanliness of a tidy genealogy chart everyone knows the importance of their spot on their chart. Without filling their charted position , others below them wouldn’t exist. This alone gives some a sense of purpose. It can give meaning to lives.
Family can also be a place of disastrous devastation since our sense of worth is determined by the treatment we receive from adults as infants. No need to list the many ways children are harmed by family. There is only a need to note that it happens.
Paradox of family. It’s not either or. It is what it is. It is all of being. It is the Primary Paradox Playground since it is the first place where what feels good and what hurts must be held at the same time. Paradox’s Potential arrives here first. There are always a wide range of apparent choices when it comes time to react: shame, compassion, revenge, healing, kindness, rage, resentment, guilt, love, victimhood, and empowerment. These choices aren’t either or. Typically it’s a turbulent and jostling journey in and out of every choice and every role. The pile of chips in the rage pile may overtake the pile of chips in the empowerment pile. But maybe that rage can be redirected onto itself and the entire pile tossed into its own funeral pyre leaving primarily healing, kindness and compassion. We all experience all of it and then, if we are open to learning, we can end up farther down the path and into the light. No one is immune from the struggle of paradox.
Hey! Wait! Let’s not let our visit to the Paradox Playground turn into a carnival-like whack-a-mole blame game. Instead, hold out both of your hands palms up. If we can see and feel that we each hold what appear to be opposing truths within ourselves and that we juggle those constantly, maybe we can have more compassion for ourselves and others. Let’s see…
Almost all of us have a mixed up, paradoxical attitude about change. Sometimes we think that change isn’t possible. How many times have you heard, “That’s just the way I am.”? We might feel stuck doing things the way we have always done them. Then, aren’t we also often hoping for change with each sometimes insatiable desire for new things, new experiences, and new opportunities? We can find ourselves sometimes hoping for change and fearing it at the same time. We want to believe that change is possible because that means that our lives can be better. But, we can also resist change, even change for the better because of comfort with the familiar.
Are your hands still held out with palms up? Put desire for change in one hand and resistance to change in the other and then juggle! You got it!
Even our most preciously held values are toys in the Paradox Playground. I’ll use myself as an example but I’m guessing that if you look honestly and closely enough you’ll be able find plenty examples in your own life. Some years ago, I became disillusioned with a group that taught the importance of treating all people with respect and dignity. My disillusionment stemmed from observing some of the group leaders only being comfortable with people of a certain social status. It became clear to me to that many weren’t walking their talk. Filled with disappointment, I left the group for about a decade. Eventually I returned for short visits but it took several years of wrestling with my disillusionment with some of the privileged people there before I could see the paradox I had created within myself. I was judging them for judging others. I was doing to them exactly what I was upset with them for doing to others. Oh drat! Good old self-righteousness blinded me to my own paradoxical conundrum.
Hands out with palms up please… Put your values in one hand and put your self-righteousness in the other and juggle away. You don’t think you’ve ever done anything like this before? Maybe you haven’t yet found a way to remove the blinders. That’s ok. Someday, hopefully they will drop away.
Shall we poke around the Paradox Playground just a little more? Sure, why not!
How about this time we just deal with you and you? It simplifies things when fewer people are involved, right? Have you ever felt a need to stay calm and be relaxed? It seems that it shouldn’t be so hard to just relax. But, have you also noticed that the harder you try to relax, the more tense you get? Straining to find serenity doesn’t make any sense but that’s often exactly what we do.
Hands out with palms up please. You know what to do by now. Juggle away!
So how do we deal with all these internal and external paradoxes? We don’t need to whack-a-mole or juggle them. Once we see them, we can own them. What if there really is something that comes off in the wash after we have isolated our personally owned paradoxes. We have dirty clothes in one hand and clean clothes in the other. On the surface it seems that when we put the dirty, soiled clothes in the washing machine and end up with clothing that seems presentable, that’s good but the paradox remains. Without acknowledging the paradox we find that the constant need to juggle and agitate things in life is incessantly and uncomfortably nipping at our heels. What if holding the paradox in each hand without juggling and without agitating was an option? What if by doing that we found value in what normally is sloughed off and is usually ignored like the washing machine water?
The gift is the awareness of the many paradoxes that we hold. If we bring awareness and acceptance to these many paradoxes, then calm has a lot better chance of arriving naturally. Holding each truth with honesty frees us to calming experience peace without agitation
Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
Sonnez les matines. Sonnez les matines.
Ding ding dong. Ding ding dong.
Breath rising and falling. Blades of the fan slowly journeying round and round in search of a destination. Eyes and ears wide open ready for the next repetition. Lulled and soothed by the familiar words, the same inflections. Comforted with the expectation that the bells will ring and all will be fine. Frere Jacques almost missed the moment of his commitment but the bells still rang. And rang. And rang. Swaying to the reliable sound of the bells felt delicious. Full body bell ringing. Familiar sounds like arms wrapped around sadness, loneliness and bewilderment. Frere Jacques to the rescue!
It’s shameful but not necessarily shocking that a group of high school students in Georgia are struggling for the right to have an integrated prom. Here’s the story about the black girls and white girls who have been friends for a long time but are STILL not allowed to go to the same prom. Obviously it’s very discouraging to know that struggles with wildly racist notions are still happening in 2013. Read More…
An example of empathy and compassion as a man expresses his love for his wife. Very powerful.
“Truth is on the side of the oppresed.”–Malcom X
I am an oppressor. I did not choose this position; it was given to me at birth. Ignorant of my privilege, I have abused this undeserved power throughout my life. Not until one of the oppressed loved and forgave me was I able to see the massive power structure that I inherited with my Y chromosome.
On this Valentine’s Day while a billion people are dancing to end violence against women, I want to call out to all other male oppressors to lay down their weapons and commence dismantling this Patriarchy the empowers us. The dismantling will not be easy because the system is entrenched in everything we know.
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Monday (January 21, 2013) is Martin Luther King Day – a federal holiday (since 1986) in the US, which actually means a vacation day for federal employees.
States have the opportunity to declare a holiday for its employees – and most, if not all, have on this day. In my state of Ohio, local government/public groups have the option of declaring the day a holiday.
Private employers also have an option of exercising the holiday,but only a bit more than a third do. A small percentage of others offer this day as a floating-holiday option.
Whether one chooses or not, and no matter the occasion, holidays provide the opportunity to reflect. In other words, holidays are more than just a day off from work.
Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement was huge news in the 1960s. Today, two factors dominate my mind: Yes, we as a society have…
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