Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Put to Purpose (not to work)

Why is "jobs" our single go-to answer for inequality, poverty and the economy?

Every corporation is mandated by law and incented by the demands of the stock exchange to eliminate jobs as quickly as possible. Make no mistake - the day when it's more expensive to employ humans than buy and maintain robots is practically upon us. What happens when the humans become obsolete as the machinery of economic "value" creation, and all the previous buyers of said Human Resources suddenly dump them, en masse, back onto society's shoulders?

The rules, as of now, stand thus: 

1) People: People are not entitled to anything, born naked into a world that's already been divvied up, they are still required to work their way into basic life-sustenance and to earn dignity through paid employment. Finding and keeping this employment remains the sole responsibility of the person, regardless of how many more people are born into the already-divvied-up world, and regardless of how few jobs remain in the processes of commerce. 

2) Corporations: Corporations are entitled to externalize much of their resource costs to society through subsidies and tax breaks, low wages and cheap natural resources. As long as they pay their taxes, they are permitted to exponentially increase the profits of their shareholders, export the value of resources away from the communities where they originate, and have no responsibility to the people who do the work that makes the value that provides the money. Corporations are not responsible to pay a wage that feeds and houses employees, nor to provide a certain number of people with jobs. Quite the opposite - every system supports shedding jobs and lowering wage costs. 

If we leave the rules the same, when the mass dump comes, our fragile little world of peace starts falling apart. Can't we see the bankrupt, ghost towns in the U.S.? Can't we read a history book or the tea leaves?

Jobs are not the answer. Good paying jobs are not the answer. The answer lies in changing the goal of society from "putting people to work" towards "putting people to purpose." If we accept the idea that not all the humans actually need to work (soon) in order for the economy to keep chugging, and we accept the idea that every human brings a unique perspective and, dare I say, purpose, to this Earth, the goal of society shouldn't be to get every person working for the economy. The goal could be to provide every person with the same chance to pursue their purpose in life. It's not so grandiose as to be a new idea - the entire United States of America was founded on it. They just forgot when they let big money get too big.  

We can start by valuing the time of each human more highly, as a society. Valuing our own time, actually, is a good first step. Valuing our every hour as the priceless and only true commodity, treating our time with reverence, selling only as much as we need to for what we deem "enough." If we can do nothing else, that's a place to start. We can create slack in our own lives, slack that lets our purpose breathe and whisper in our ears.

Maybe it's contagious. 

(don't believe me? read Robert Reich )




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What the Trees Know

What the Trees Know 


Am is. Why ask why? Experience matters. Nothing is impossible. Unfairness can be fair. Fairness breeds unfairness. Challenge offers proof.  The lesson finds the learner. Each soul deserves its flint. No one lies beyond redemption. The student’s failure is the teacher’s. The greatest test comes at the weakest moment. Wings catch the wind. Branches sway in the wind. Roots allow dancing. The whole is revealed in the parts. Who can withhold forgiveness from oneself? Where is neither here nor there. Action tethers ideas to now. Coincidence Drives Probability. All is service.

Pass it on.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unions (a "Just Doing My Job" memoire post)

I don't know why this came to me today, but I'll share it. Maybe it will give you something, and give something to me in the sharing.

Early in my career, when I was so green and clueless I had no business talking, I toured facilities across Canada to bring a “face” for head office HR. During a meeting about benefits, an employee asked me, out of the blue,

Why don’t we have a union?

I felt completely blindsided. I had never thought about unions at all. I basically knew what they were, but I’d never worked anywhere that had one. My answer was pretty na├»ve (but I might make the same one today, so maybe not). 

I said, well, unions are meant to stand between the employee and the employer, and the employees pay them for that. So I guess you don’t have a union because you don’t want one.

That’s right, called out another guy. I’ve worked in a union shop. Guys there, it’s all about working the system, not about the work. Here, we don’t make great money but we have benefits, the work’s not too hard, and the big guys take care of us. They bring in business, and let us get the work done. If I want to switch a shift I don’t have some 90 page process I gotta follow.

Well, said a woman, my husband works at a union shop and they make $10 more an hour than I do here, the salary bands are  posted. Four weeks’ vacation after five years.

And no favouritism, called another. Everything’s by seniority.

Seniority? Called a young guy from the back. Yeah, so old guys can sit back and let us do all the work while they get their pick of shifts and twice the pay. At least here, we have a merit pay system.

Whatever, said a disgruntled man. Favouritism’s everywhere, it’s just how it shows up.

I think we’re getting a little off topic, I floundered, completely missing the moment in my panic. Does anyone have questions about the benefits plan?

Then I noticed the manager standing in the doorway. He was pissed. No, he growled, I think it’s time for everyone to get back to work.  The employees scattered.

When we were alone, he closed the door and shook his head.

I don’t know what they’re thinking, sending a fresh-face like you out here. Do you know what a union would do to this place? We give these guys flexibility for their hours, so they can consolidate their shifts and do other things in their lives besides work here. We got a good system, it works for everyone. But business is slow, they’re looking to sell this whole operation or our plant might close. A union run at this point would destroy any chance at a sale. It would get us all tied up in negotiations and contracts and processes and procedures and drag us even further down the toilet.

And you know what, he went on, getting more agitated, they’ve got it good, here. Sure there’s favouritism sometimes, but it’s usually because someone’s doing a better job, not just for no reason. And some guys do get paid more than the housewives taking shifts for pin money or the students just working here til they get through school. Look, these guys have more skin in the game. If this place goes belly up, they lose their jobs, they got families, mortgages, what do those young kids have to worry about but themselves? They’d get another job right away. Some guys have more they gotta do with that money, people counting on them. The whole town gets affected if they can't work. No offense, sweetheart, but you probably make more than most of those guys for pushing paper, just because you’re head office, and you haven’t had time to know shit about life. None of it’s fair. But it’s good here. And if anyone ever asks you why we don’t have a union again, you tell them, because we don’t fucking need one and SHUT. IT. DOWN.

I wondered for a moment if he was going to slap me. He turned abruptly and left the room, slamming the door behind him.


I cried. For about a minute, then I pulled myself together, put on a smile, and headed back out to do my job. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bird Brains

Safe vantage


There's a little flock of sparrows that likes to make the backyard rounds looking for food. In winter it's got to be hard, and our neighbourhood's cats don't make it any easier. I wanted to watch these birds a little more closely, so I put out seed. Lots of seed. I put it in the snow-filled garden, where critter-repelling walls will give them a heads-up if any cats want in. I put it in the centre of the yard, where a cat would have to be in the open so they could fly away before its approach. While I can't guarantee their safety, the seed placement is as safe as it's going to get, given that I don't have a bird feeder.

And I put out lots of seed. Half a bag. Enough they could come back, day after day, for weeks, before they'd eat it all. I focused on the seed as an offering, an invitation, and my energy put out a call to lunch.

Then I waited.

It didn't take long to get their attention. First I heard them in the woods, telling each other they might have found something. Then five swooped over to check it out, landing in the trees at the back of the yard, watching that seed like it might tell them a story. But not one bird ate the seed. They took off. This happened several times over a couple of hours. More chattering. More watching.

Mr. Brave
Eventually, one brave soul was nominated from the group. He swooped down, landed close to the seed for a few seconds, and took off into the trees. He did it again, landing a little closer. The third time, he boldly grabbed a seed before taking flight.

Based on his success, another brave bird tried the same thing, in the same way, with the same success. The two brave souls traded back and forth - swoop in, grab a seed, make for the trees. Swoop in, grab a seed, make for the trees. They had perfect timing, one swooping in, the other landing, like a dance. I could almost hear the music of the rhythm of their wings and the wind. Meanwhile, other birds watched from the trees, while most of the flock stayed well away.

After maybe half an hour of this, Mr. Brave decided to land and chow down. The other birds watched, waiting for him to be eaten, waiting for him to be trapped, killed, taken down for his daring. When he seemed safe enough, the second bird landed, not too close to him, and ate. Before long, the dance of two birds had become a slower dance of 12, then 20 birds. The bravest got the most food.

Even so, they were easily spooked. If even one bird went on alert, the entire flock would take off into the trees like lightening. Then another ten or fifteen minutes to forget and feel safe again. Over and over, the flock flirted with the abundance I'd left for them, taking off, coming back, never quite settling, never trusting what they'd found.

For good reason. This world is a dangerous place. It's hard to tell the abundance from the traps. It's hard to settle in and enjoy what's good in this freezing weather where cats prowl and you never know what those crazy humans might decide to do.

Am I not equally skittish?

Our bird brains don't let us trust or enjoy abundance. They want to keep us safe, and alive. But watching while someone else takes the risk isn't how I want to live. Picking at their leftovers and taking off in fear every few minutes uses more energy that I get from the meager seed I score. I think I'll wait till that cat is ready to pounce before I turn from my feast - after all, I can fly!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Maverick Musings (a diversion at best from reality)

1971 Maverick (origin of pic unknown)


I don’t believe in Maverick. But he’s real.

He says,
You are an observer, an anthropologist, a judge (too harsh), a helper (too soft),
a being apart from within.

He says,
Do not expect understanding from the humans.

He says,
Do not expect them to recognize you. Me, in you. Do not encourage it.

Maverick says:

You are reality tv for the stars
You are the comic relief of existence
You are the most tender thing in the Universe
You are impossible, improbable and unreal
You are a serious joke.
Your earnestness endears you to Helium and Beryllium
You might yet get the votes.
You could clear some substantial soul debt, if you stick to
if you come through, before you’re through.
(so do.)

Maverick tells me that this moment is such an old replay that I am quaint to think I live in it.

He says these things, not so I will understand them (I don’t) but so I will Know them in my molecules, at the mitochondrian level that actually matters. He doesn't much care what I think. Brains are ridiculously inefficient and slow processors of a bygone technology, anyway. 

Maverick prowls in me always, often at rest but vaguely listening, occasionally interested, sometimes (begrudgingly, unkindly) helpful; once in a while, kind. Always with love, yet rarely loving. 

His patience with me wears thin
while he knows I am perfect and All Is as it Is.
I confound him. I infect him. He resents it. He craves it.

We have a complicated relationship.

He wants to speak but does not want to impose. He mistrusts the humans to hear or understand. He prefers stealth. 

(I prefer wealth.)

He also does not know why we are here.

Maverick understands more than I, but what Is cannot be understood.

He asks for patience. It’s not as easy as I think, he tells me, to shepherd What Is to accommodate Favours of the Possible.  

He may seem magical to me, he sighs, but he is no more magic than I. In some ways more free. In others, more limited. In this corporeal world, I have more access than he does, he claims. But I know for a fact he can blow his breath like the wind changes the direction of the flame, and still he holds back, testing me, waiting for a proof I don’t understand and couldn’t provide if I did.

Maverick feels embarrassed by his attachment to me. He would deny it if he could, if it weren’t Apparent. He punishes me for it, then abates, but never really makes it up to me. He has not always been a good friend. He has not always respected my life as an experience I have a right to. He has not always been kind in his teaching moments.

He left me for a time, fed up, done. Left me for dead, or not much better than, but I rallied and came through. I did what I had to do. I soldiered on with others.  I found ways and means.

Am I to celebrate his return? Am I to submit, now, in ways I didn’t before, because he deigns to rejoin the picture more actively?

He tells me he never left and I tell him I know.

His sorry feels too begrudging to believe, but I don’t really care. Because, how can I deny him?


He is me. 

(choice is the illusion of the naive)

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Perfect Storm

Weather the Storm


It's a perfect storm to test me.

A.'s away. So I start with a handicap - it's just me to be responsible, me to own it all, me to be the parent and everything else, too...

in the week my hormones ride me...

on the day my morning client meeting is really important and the afternoon's meeting is several women at my (currently messy) house...

on the day I'm trying to close a somewhat scary real estate deal and arrange the financing out of thin air...

on the morning they close the school for weather...

and the kids are still in pj's
as I surrender to the day and do each thing that needs doing,
in order,
in order to say,
I'm here.

(breathe. move. be.)

And after all, I should have this one mastered by now. I feel confident going in.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

And Yet

Womb


Standing in Is,
While Was
laps around my ankles and
Could Be swirls over my head
Beckoning
Threatening
Enticing
Warning
Promising
nothing

and yet...



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gift

My Heavy Heart


Gift

Love's gift holds built-in asks
tendrils snake into carefully tended stores
of energy and time
guarded mine.

Love lives on attention, reciprocation
Her hunger-cries pluck sympathy's strings
Her groping need brings vague
suspicious obligation.

No wonder love can seem a threat.

A beast approached with caution
A fire quickly doused
Complication best avoided
Does every gift incur its weight in debt?

How, then, will I ever give

my heavy heart?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ether (whole)

(As Finished as I)


Will you meet me in the ether?
Can you find me in our dreams?
will our tethered souls remember what it means to love
sight unseen, what resides within
temporarily divided
except 
when stumbling, sleeping, blind, 
we find a moment, still and perfect to be
whole.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Anything's Possible (or, Free Will)

Anything's Possible


I don't need it to be true
or even possible
to choose to live like I believe it

because none of this is possible.
not the stars nor planets nor grass nor cows
not you and me

we are an improbability factor of infinitesimal odds

and, really,

just because I'm standing here

anything is possible.

So I pick what I believe
the stories I follow and those I support
the ones I live every day
what "truth" holds sway for me, where I put my energy
I pick

And that will have to do for "free will"
for now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Real than Real

Lately,
I walk this world in hyper-feel
Feet stimulated by hard ground and active gravity
Nose aware of the air, the particulates there
Eyes unbelieving what they see
up-close detail more real than real
Somehow less real than CG

bemused, I allow myself overcome
by vaguely unsettled curiosity
descending like fog to soften details
unfocus reality just enough
to really see
to let me be
here

Reach

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Favour (believe it)



I'm not sure anyone understands just how special this is.

This planet of abundant, replicating, now conscious Life moving around freely in three dimensions spinning almost carelessly, slightly off-kilter, around a not-so-big but somehow oh-so-special star-miasma perpetual motion heat emitter.

Or another way, this cooling rock at a random point in all of Isness, the tiniest spec of nothing where lives all known consciousness...but again. Too foo foo. Too abstract despite the absolute concreteness of fact.

That Earth exists, that my consciousness experiences this life, at all, seems unlikely beyond credulity.

This is fucking special.

What's going on here, on this planet, is special. Not just the life - though life is something else! But the consciousness. Awareness at a capability level that can build skyscrapers and housing for everyone. Conscious life with the power and versatility to harness itself towards long-term, large-scale, deliberate strategic activities. Build cities out of materials found only here, on this planet. Build tiny electronics that allow long-distance communication. It's amazing.

The achievement of Earth goes down in Universal History, the Guinness Book of Universal Feats. It rivals much larger nebulas.

My fellow humans, we're so close I can taste it - we are closing in on a general, universal understanding that Life Is Special. That every single life, human and animal, tree and blade of grass, river and mosquito, beats together. That this is the only place in the universe to experience this kind of physical consciousness. That this short time in this fallible body is all the experience any one of us gets.

Where are Humanity's parents? We've been raising ourselves on this island alone, with only our most visible minds to guide us. We're a teenaged species left alone at the house with the car keys, a full liquor cabinet and all the peer pressure of insecurity. But just because we've always acted this way doesn't mean we are not capable of growing, changing, deciding to grow up.

While it's absolutely clear from the evidence of human achievement that this species is capable of assembling itself to good purpose, living in peace and tolerance, with a sense of fair treatment for all, Humanity still receives a failing grade.

Believing we can't change, that the systems of governance will always be increasingly corrupt, that the situation of the common person will always be of no true importance, that work will always require subservience and women will always be judged first by their sex and race differences will always result in bigotry - these beliefs negate any desire to try for something more. They are the whiney, self-absorbed beliefs of a fourteen year old who hates his parents for saying he has to take some responsibility. Holding those beliefs is a betrayal to what is special about life.

So many people deciding that it has to be this way is the reason that it is this way.

I can't look away from the specialness. I can't stop seeing how every single atom of this place rings with absolute uniqueness in the universe. I can't stop wanting to honour life - to take the time to let honour of life seep into the pores of everything I do, every day, all day.

But that time isn't accounted for in how we've set the systems up. The competition game, the game of being first and right and the expert and impressive sets us up to run from the gate and keep a steady pace, like every day is a marathon. The money required to maintain the edge of a middle-class-looking life, at the pay offered, requires a high proportion of our time. The productivity we've decided is needed, to speed the concentration of the wealth at the highest power levels, squeezes the honour out of life. It squeezes the life out of us.

Here's a dream: a society, established and set up to sustainably provide for the dignity of all citizens, honouring each life's talents and contributions in the systems of governance and commerce. Does it sound like a pipedream? You are brainwashed. It didn't always ring like the clanging of a crazy ranter. The idea of setting up society for people, rather than adapting people to a minority's view of society, was once and often thought to be the very role of government and citizen alike. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Wow.

When did we stop believing that humans could be decent and power could be harnessed through just systems?

Can you do me a favour? Can you try to believe it, even just for a few minutes, every day? Believe that humans can be decent, and power can be harnessed through just systems to allow for peaceful co-existence and dignity for all.

I know it sounds grandiose, from the slave-mind they've programmed into us, but I beg you this favour and I rarely ask for much. Try to believe in a future where life is honoured. Even for one minute every day, if that's all you can manage. Suspend your disbelief, or wrestle it to the ground. Do what you must, but please, for a moment each day, believe. Give it 50 years, or 100, or 250, or a thousand, however long you think it could take. And then Believe it's possible for humanity to achieve peace.

Because if we don't believe it, we won't turn the ship at all.


Your Favourite Colour


Monday, November 24, 2014

It hurts to notice (or, The Narrow View)



It hurts to notice.

Jian Ghomeshi. Bill Cosby. Gamergate. I had a longer list in mind but I don't want to name it all. My brain rebels.

It's in the air, out there. All the slights ignored, all the ways it wasn't fair glossed over, all the expectations heaped, all the inclinations stifled, all the costumes donned, all the date rapes accepted, all the harassment tolerated, all the messages mixed for everyone conspiring to silence inconvenient conversations.

We wanted to think we had this problem licked because we all said the right words and outlawed the wrong ones. We wanted to think that wishing made it so. My cohort grew up assured by all around us that equality was our birthright, and that we had it, damn it, even if it didn't feel that way. Look how far we've come, baby. The world is your oyster. You are free and equal.

All the time, our heroes and friends and selves were shoving the dirt under the carpet like bad housewives avoiding judgement.

It's a time for truth to pop the corks. It's a time in society when all the hurt pours out and all the things we didn't notice accidentally on purpose, habitually, suddenly start screaming for attention.

Tangle
All the betrayal people feel, left and right, up and down, heroes and villains corrupted by power into domination and the messy frustration of dichotomies clashing. All this pain and the only way out is through, for all the people who hold it.

These intertwining threads course through the air we breathe and the streams we watch. They wind themselves around our hearts and tangle up our minds.

I want to hole up in my cave home, look out my narrow window at the forest and pretend there are no houses on either side, that the woods go on forever. I want to stand perfectly still and feel the love in this place. I want to believe this is the world. I want to believe this is how the world could be.

The Narrow View







Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Uphill (or, Bad Habits)

Old Habits
(Alban, Ontario, 2014)


Each habit born of need
Enacted thoughtlessly a thousand times needed
a thousand times met
building bridges fortified by each step
drawing pathways in latticework of eventually Me
while other parts overgrow, atrophy
disappear.

Each habit serves me in its way
Tangle-tied with all the"Good" or "Bad" my brain
believes and desperately tries to relay.
But body has no reason to listen.
She knows the way from there to here.

She knows the way.

How can Good and Bad hold sway in face of Need?
she asks
and my answers sound more like pleading than persuasion
although I know we honour different definitions
of all three words.

Need requires service or expulsion
Or maybe gentle pathways to a new life
A new way of needing
A new way of serving.

Sounds nice.

But in truth, it's uphill all the way.








Monday, November 17, 2014

Tired

Dear Universe,

I'm tired. You placed me here on this planet among these creatures, and I have honoured that in my confusion, as they doused my original flame. I've settled for, settled in, settled down in this place and made my peace with obscurity. I've chosen love for what it's worth, and given my heart, body and mind to family.

But I wither. You know I do. My creative spark just an ember, my passions no longer outpouring but dribbling forth when I can squeeze drops from my wrung-dry soul. I long for rest. The work before me lies deep and daunting, demanding and tedious, with few warm comforts glinting amid piles of work and more work in time and less time. The ways I am trained to earn leave me cold - no, worse, they attract me with familiarity, then repulse me with their smell when I try to cuddle up. My time and attention forced one way while my spirit turns her nose in the opposite direction, and my body cries for rest, pushed and pulled, health a carrot dangled but never quite assured.

Who am I to complain from near-perfection? The demands on me are not so much, not like my sisters, tortured and controlled in countries where their personhood is demeaned and denied. Not like my far-flung brothers, forced to brave elements and violence by men with guns and power. Not like my children in the future, inheriting a dying world of chaos and want, impossible problems my parents' generation codified and my generation ignored. Not like those dying from sickness, neglect or violence; not like those imprisoned and humiliated. Not like those who suffer true want, pain and despair.

I am a princess, crying for cake. My suffering is nothing. My fears, my insecurity, my slow-death spirit march is heaven on earth compared with the lives I could have.

Does this not only increase my debt?

I dare whine at you? I dare complain because my "purpose" is demeaned by labour? Because my "creativity" is smothered by drudge? Because my "gifts" lie dormant and frustrated while my body is clothed and fed in shelter and safety and daily embraces of love?

I could be dragged by mobs through the streets. I could be nailed to a cross and left to die (I imagine no miraculous three day revival). I could be tortured, raped and abandoned. I could suffer unspeakable loss that closes my very heart. Do I dare complain? I am ashamed to even want to complain.

And so I say, dear Universe, only that I am tired. And I expect no answer.

With love,
Cheryl
Potential Withered on the Vine

P.S. Though unexpected, an answer wells - what relief from venting a little self-pity.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Honour the depths

Honour the depth
Honouring the depths
May require
Acceptance of things slimy, lumpy and brown
Textures not expected
Colours not embraced
As truth reflects reflection
Not always in best taste.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tougher

Armoured Alien Observes 
I was once a tougher creature
My thick skin crafted carefully
from discarded carcasses grope-gathered in the dark
sewn by bloody fingers with sinews
torn from my heart

Robes so heavy my shoulders bent
under weight while I groaned straight
then danced to obfuscate my muscles' shaking strain
my locked smile feigning comfort
I could never feel

This rotten, useless armour, worn daily away
Until today I stand raw and naked
ashamed and proud to find my own skin thin,
but adequate
to hold my insides in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

8 Things You Don't Know

The trend is definite and proven - if you've got something to say, put it in a numbered list and you've got readers! 10 things you'd never guess, 12 ways to overcome any problem, 6 steps to happiness, 3 things every expert knows...click, click, click, click.

Unfortunately, most of those articles are trotting out lists they read in a magazine at a doctor's office two years ago, but luckily, they tend to reinforce what people already know. Oh, #3, be kind to myself - I knew that already. Phew. I was smarter than I thought. Thanks, list.

Perhaps today I will double my clicks with the snappy headline of 8 Things You Don't Know. People will be intrigued - what 8 things? Why those 8? People will be compelled - I don't know something? I must rectify this situation! People will be impressed - SHE knows what I don't! I must know what she knows!

Oh, did you actually want the list? Okay, here goes.

8 Things You Don't Know

1) Why you are alive
2) Why Earth exists
3) How love works
4) How hate works
5) Whether Karma is real
6) Why bad things happen to good people
7) Whether the groundhog will see his shadow on Groundhog Day
8) When you will die

Do you feel edified? Me, I'm just as confused as ever.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf
I'm impatient with patience.

I was patient. I waited for summer, barely complaining, but now the chill winds are rising and summer barely whispered my name. Did my patience pay off?

I understand that the people around me live with difficulty and fear. I live with difficulty and fear. I agree we need to see each other with honour, compassion and humility, knowing that we can't know how our own spirit would fare in the same body, time and circumstance, and that each of us is doing the best we can with what we have.

At the same time, I'm barely keeping my own head above water. When people beyond my immediate family start grabbing at me like an emotional life jacket, demanding my time and attention on their fears and needs, my survival instinct is swift and precise. I throw them off. Or I don't, and I get pulled under.

It's no way to build relationships.

I need to swim for shore or find debris to ride. If I manage to find a stray lifeboat, of course I'll invite the nearest survivors along with me. But until then, we can only ride the current and help each other in small steps along the way as our paths cross-current-cross.

If community and relationship mean I need to break my stride at the moment it's important I push through to action, maybe I'm more of a lone wolf after all.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Transition Affirmations

Transition


I have one life. Such a cliche to say, but to understand what this means makes most concerns petty.

Transition often involves destruction or disruption. It's rarely comfortable and often we wish it away as fast as possible. In light of the fight or flight, I suggest a few Transition Affirmations.

TRANSITION AFFIRMATIONS:


  • Transition can be a safe place, a chasm between set points, an opening to know myself better. 
  • I can commit this moment of transition to deepening one layer of self-awareness, self-understanding, through my body, spirit, heart, mind and power. 
  • I can use this transition to check my compass, re-evaluate my journey and calibrate my course.
  • This transition is a turning point in my life story.


(pass it on)



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Curious Creature

Shadow of my True Self
Curious creature enthrusted to life
most complex
conglomeration of cells
and what makes up cells
and what makes up what makes up cells
life in the living

Awareness only the show
The Life of life enacted well below

Played out by giant bumblefool
amassed of countless life-drops
dribbled and duplicated up up up to
me
and here I be

as decisive as one might expect
from a committee with more members
than there are stars




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Magnetic Yearn (a little poetic post)

Alone in a Crowd (2013)

Magnetic Yearn

I wrote you a poem you will never read.
Every day, I play your song to the trees
and they share it with the breeze in hopes you'll hear.

Woven in my senses, you are in me
In spite of yourself
In spite of myself

My yearn reaches out and far and wide
sniffing your fragrant micro-fragments in the air
here and there, breath's pollen
carried lightly on worn memory and shy imagination's wings

home

to feed my need into submission
then carry on


(Do you sometimes feel the wind gently stroke a silver sliver of your glow for me?)
(Do you shiver in the moon's light?)

Moonlight Shiver (2014)



Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Earth

On Earth (September, 2014, Chicopee)
I don't really understand why I'm here.

Like, specifically, living in "2014" in a middle class, middle-aged, middle-weight female body standing on the cooling crust of star-spit from Sol where blooms, improbably, Life in abundance at war with its most advanced species, of which I am one. Lost, alone, spinning and rotating on mama's hip with no sign of relevance or Other to lighten the weight of responsibility associated with this singular, rare and unlikely life, entrusted to my confused Spirt's shakey hands.

I look around and I can't help but feel like I'm missing something very important.

(like the moment I know it's a dream, and waken)

(don't pinch me)

*Musical accompaniment from Metric: Help I'm Alive http://grooveshark.com/s/Help+I+m+Alive/4hCmKA?src=5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Last Place

Introspection (2014)

It's always in the last place I look.
Coincidence?
(I think not)

An Open Letter to Jenji Kohan's husband

To: christopher
From: cheryl

Subject: I read your book, Rejuvenile

I'll admit, it started because I want to sell a concept to your wife. When I found out she was married to a writer with an accessible email address, I bought your book, totally hoping to latch on to how your thesis and my life work come together as a clear path to her attention.

But it was never going to work. I think I even knew it before I bought the book, but if I didn't, trying to read the book sealed it. Because I didn't love your book. I wanted to. I expected to. I tried to, but, I didn't. The whole time I had the uncomfortable feeling that you were working very hard, in a concentrated manner, to turn an interesting article into a full-length Gladwellesque edification.

I could almost see you, huddled over your keyboard, wondering how you ever let them talk you into it when you could be writing what you really have passion for, rather than settling on a passing interest turned deep. But now I get too personal, showing you myself through revealing my imagination.

I took the trouble to write you on several occasions as I read. Are you curious what I wrote? Well, I deleted everything and it's just as well. My messages accused you of things like classism, reaching, writing for your friends, and disguising a history book as popular literature.  I wasn't very nice. Week after week, I'd pick up the book, read a bit, get annoyed or bored, and read something else, only to circle back once again. Over time, it started to feel like a relationship of sorts, my one-way conversations with you.

Finally I skimmed through to the end, hoping to see any evidence of the thesis I'd imagined – some serious and playful exploration about how to re-play-ify the workplace and our social structures, with evidence to turn even the most deaf of executive ears and open doors to a future where more than just the rich get to play. But that wasn't the book you were writing and I wasn't fair to expect it.

So then I read it for what it was. And it was sweet. Engaging. Sometimes even charming. Some of the stories were cute, much of the research was thorough. I like the boldness to even engage with the idea of adult play. Valuing the child-like and the experience of inexperience deserves recognition.

That was months ago, and I have long since abandoned my childish ideas about accessing fame through nepotistic flattery, which violated my own sense of “ick” anyway. Or at least I thought I had given it up. But now, here I am, sharing this experience with you, so somewhere deep inside I must still harbour hope that you will see past the criticism and find my abrupt honesty principled and, yes, maybe even charming. I know from experience how silly and mistaken such hope is, and yet, when I look deep, I see its kernel smile up at me to say, “Press Send.”

And maybe it's as simple as that.
With well wishes and good cheer,
Cheryl

Thursday, September 11, 2014

30 Slots

A lifetime only  holds enough space for a limited number of big, important things. Marriage, kids, High School, University, Expertise in an area, important hobby, life-work, commitment to watching every season of a reality show - each undertaking takes up one or more of your "slots." 90% of the opportunities that come your way won't fit.

By the way, if you're diligent and hard-working, energetic and focused, you still only have about 30 slots in a 85-100 year life. If you're over 35, you've probably used or committed at least 2/3 of them already. What will fill the rest? 

(Go.)

Post-writing - in response to DM's asking, "How did you get 30?"

Very roughly - If Malcolm Gladwell is right and it takes 10,000 hours to become world class at something, and that translates to about 10 years when life is considered, then to be just good enough to sell something or be considered serious about it (as opposed to being world class) might take about 1/3 of that, or 3,000 hours or 3 years. If you divide 90 years of life by 3 years, you get 30 slots for 3,000 hours in any given 3 year period. If that makes any sense at all. Anyway, you get the idea ;-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 Shots About Life

Life in Zoom 
Life in Motion


Life in a Moment

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Not so kind

I don't always choose kindness (*as I understand it)

When I do, I'm not kind *just* because I am a nice person. I am kind because it is the path with the highest likelihood of success in my primary goal of living a nice, happy life in 2014 and enjoying what it has to offer with the people I love most. If we all approach social and economic issues valuing kindness, everything will shift. I know, delusional. I've heard it before and I don't feel like arguing it now. I'm interested in kindness.

Kindness breeds peace. Peace breeds understanding. Understanding breeds Ideas. Ideas breed Co-Operation. And more new toys for me to play with.

So I'm down here at the root and doing my best with it, but man, it's hard to pick kindness when kindness is interpreted as weakness. When it is interpreted as being okay with things that are not okay. When it doesn't get noticed or inspire other visible sparks, which of course is the big-picture point of it.

Sometimes there is a big chunk of me that feels justified in protecting myself behind the wall of Not My Responsibility and I Don't Have Time. (I don't)

Kindness asks a lot sometimes. And I'm not sure, anymore, that she's got the answers.

Sure, she's the best pathway in. But after awhile, doesn't she become caretaking? Doesn't she get walked all over and stepped on by lazier people?

But Respect. Respect I will pick. As best I can, seeing as clearly as I can through the fog of the momentary chemical spill in my fear-ridden brain. Respect doesn't always feel kind. But I'm pretty convinced it's the kindest thing we can do for each other.

A few thoughts between emptying the dishwasher and filling the dishwasher before making dinner and cleaning up from that and making soup so I have food this week and...stop. One thing. Then the next.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gardening

Every year I think, I should plant a garden. Sometimes I do.

Here's the thing - it's a lot of work to plant a garden. To rouse myself to it, to buy the stuff, do the muddy digging and sweaty labour of preparing the soil, planning the design, planting the plants and seeds - my mind's executive team needs a lot of convincing to approve that particular project. My spirit and body need a lot of convincing to actually engage it.

But this year, I did. And I found it hard. Digging weeds with sweat pouring down into my eyes and bugs buzzing around my fragrant head. After awhile I cut corners. I got sloppy, cutting down weeds willy nilly, raking their seeds back into the soil. I let the design slip, let my estimates replace a good measuring, planted shallow or deep or too close together. But in the end, there was a garden, and it was pretty good. I felt fairly proud. I looked forward to fresh tomatoes. I promised myself I wouldn't let it get overgrown.

When the first weeds popped up, they looked manageable. I thought, I'll pull them tomorrow. Every day I thought that. But I didn't. Soon they were taller than the plants. I vaguely worried that I wouldn't be able to tell plants from weeds soon. But life gets busy and weeding is never the priority. Or I was tired or I was creating or I just didn't feel like it. After awhile, the weeds ecliplsed the plants.

Potential on the Vine (2014)
Then vacation - 2 weeks away and not one thought of that garden. I come back to a garden of weeds. There must be some tomato and cauliflower in there, some cucumbers? But no. The tomato plants can't get enough nutrients to do more than make the tomato - it rots on the vine before ripening, or splits under bird beak or infests with bugs thriving in this amazing ecosystem. Bugs so happy and surprised to find so much ripeness waiting among the weeds.

Sometimes I spy a little red and pluck a small tomato before the bugs and weeds take its life. The fresh life juices fill my mouth and I remember why I wanted a garden. I feel bad that I didn't care for it. I wish I could have its full bounty. I apologize to the plants that I didn't create an environment for them to thrive. I hunt and peck and pick a random tomato every few days. Nothing else survived.

Isn't this like so many business projects, and in fact, like the very social structures we create? We know we want a good garden. It's a big job to convince the executives and get the team assembled and motivated. But we know it's important, so we do it, and we get going, and we plant the garden as best we can with the resources at our disposal, under the glaring sun, in whatever conditions exist. And it's pretty good. We feel fairly proud.

Overgrown (2014)
But then the project is under-funded. We get pulled in other directions. It loses support from the executive focused on the big picture and the workers on the ground who are pushed with other priorities. The weeds crop up, and we see them, but we fool ourselves into thinking it will be manageable, when we get some time to manage them. The next thing we know, the space we created to grow something amazing is completely overgrown with weeds that suck the life out and use up that nourishing fertilizer we bought to propagate their own agendas. It's unmanageable - we'd be better off to clear the whole thing and try again next year than try to salvage it. And when someone suggests a garden next year, we'll think back and remember that it didn't work, last time.

What's the moral of the story? When we plant a garden, any kind, we pick how productive it is by how we prioritize and resource its maintenance. And if no one loves that garden enough, or cares, or believes enough in the outcome, to deal with the weeds every single day, there's not much point in planting it in the first place. Plucking the scarce fruits of an unkept garden investment feels wasteful.

Ripe Not Ready (2014)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Zen Speaks

Not pretty or edited, in my pj's and I didn't even brush my hair. That's how much I wanted to share this Zen Proverb that I stumbled upon this morning, in answer to a question that's been plaguing me without form.


video



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anger is a Natural Reaction

Anger Looms (Hwy 400, 2013)

Anger is a perfectly natural reaction to finding ourselves here on this planet, and seeing what the humans are up to. It's not the only response, yet without it, we will not act with nature in mind,. 

Anger lets us see what we still hate, what we still despise, what we still resent, what we don't love about life. We can engage with Anger, taking away the power it gets by working in secret and telling us lies that only we can hear. We can listen for Anger's truth and honour it, legitimize it, validate Anger's need for its truth to be heard. When we tell her she's bad and unwelcome, she only cries louder. 

We can express Anger, dance with it, roar like the thunderclouds and strike like the lightening. Using our bodies, in safe ways and safe spaces, we can understand our anger through movement, instead of telling it we don't feel it. Anger gets spent instead of pressurized. My full-size punching bag is the best birthday present I ever got. 

After anger comes fatigue. Fatigue we can cuddle, dancing gently with her, letting her rest. And then, we muster Resolve and take the step that is in front of us, with anger validated and fatigue acknowledged. Hopefully out of our hair. They may weigh us down, but that is as it should be in this place of wonders and horrors. They remind us to pay attention to what is going on here. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fool for You


Hidden in Sight (Alban, Ontario, 2014)

Fool for You

I am such a fool for you
that you will never see me
except by accident, reflected in a side-mirror
after you've already driven by.

I hide mercilessly in plain sight
Peeking around the skirts of what I seem
Afraid the shocking gleam of my longing
might intolerably impose on your good will.

Hold my breath, stifle twitch
try to spare you from all this
foolish
unwelcome
me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The World is Flat: Avoid

Not sure if this can be sized to be readable, but wanted to share.
(Comment or DM if you can't see properly, I'll try posting somewhere else. )


Friday, August 29, 2014

Compatibility

I had to let go of a friendship this week. It's opened me to so many new levels of understanding about myself. I've discovered a few things that are really important when deciding how much to invest in a relationship, and when to move on. I wonder if they might be useful for others to consider?

#1 Compatibility of Core Values
There are certain things so fundamentally true or important for me, that disagreement in those areas ruins my interest in getting to know a person better. It's inevitable that I will clash on these areas. So, if I'm hoping to minimize conflict, the friendships I pursue will be among those who honour my core values, or hold those values themselves. Identifying and understanding my fundamental, core values becomes crucial.

#2 Compatibility of Conflict Style
It's inevitable that any relationship of depth will provide a chance to work through conflict together. There WILL be an argument, about something, sometime. Certain styles of conflict really trigger my animal fight-or-flight. Specifically, passive aggressive ignoring, dismissive/excusing, throwing in irrelevant accusations, bringing up old stuff, and denying the conflict is important enough to deal with. These particular styles drive me CRAZY - they set me off, leaving me too angry to be nice enough to resolve the conflict effectively. If I'm hoping to minimize the stress and negativity of conflict, avoiding people who use these as their primary conflict styles becomes important.

I think I can probably handle a lack of compatibility on core values when our conflict styles mesh well - logic, reason and openness to support each other's needs allows disagreement to resolve into understanding. I think I can probably handle a lack of compatibility on conflict style where core values match up, since conflict will be about things that are not core or fundamental, allowing me to maintain an emotional distance and move through to resolution. But when both core values and conflict style are in opposition, the amount of time and energy required to maintain the friendship may be more than I can spare. It may be more than I choose to spare. The distance to common ground may be further than I am willing to stretch right now. And I might not have the capacity, despite will.

The process of being myself, and investing in relationships and community from that place of "selfness" that will turn off some people while attracting others, this process is hard. And painful. It was easier when I could just be what people expected, and get most people to "like" me by only showing them what they liked. It's harder to admit that aspects of what I am are simply unpalatable to others, and aspects of what they are, are unpalatable to me. There are hurt feelings, maybe anger or resentment. "Unfriending" in real life is not clean or simple.

And, in my quest for balance in my life, there are hard decisions, hard conversations, that depend on my clarity of values. To those values, I cleave. And the people who matter most are right there with me.

I am grateful.


Not my job


People don't like it when I say I'm not nice. Like I'm admitting to murder. It's kind of the same thing, really.

But what I mean is this: I don't see it as my job to make everyone else around me comfortable with what's happening. I'm not comfortable with what's happening. They can damn well be uncomfortable with it, too. Let's be uncomfortable together. To a point. I'd rather be comfortable together, but that's not always possible, and when discomfort and conflict happens, I don't see it as my job to make anyone else safe *(note: except when I'm being paid - when I'm being paid, it is my job, and I've proven very good at it).

I don't see as my job, as a person in conversation with you, to keep you safe. You may be a person uncomfortable with conflicting opinions, preferring the polite cover of niceness to displaying an honest reaction. You may be a person who doesn't like to see honesty displayed with vigor - it feels rude, invasive, threatening. In that case, I imagine we won't talk long or often. I will make you uncomfortable at some point, despite my best efforts.

I don't see as my job, as a person in conflict with you, to keep you safe. I am responsible to choose what I say and control my responses to avoid physical and psychic wounds, but conflict is a messy thing and I am not pleased to find myself in it. I would not choose conflict, so if we are in conflict, it must be important to me, or you must be pushing the point, which I'm irritated by. I will engage to the best of my capacity not to hurt you, but if you become hurtful or disrespectful, I have a sharp blade myself. I can't promise my temper won't make me use it, beyond my best efforts at nice and polite. I can't promise I'll be in control of the anger to keep you feeling safe and appreciated.

And in fact, that's not something I'm even trying for. I'm not trying to be better. I try to stay out of direct conflict (though I'm sometimes a magnet). I engage conversation with people who find me engaging, and leave those who seem intimidated alone. I live out loud for my kids to see and ask me questions, and give them honest answers, giving my family the bulk of my patience and love.

There is so little time, we have no idea.

I don't want to waste it on people who only like my potential, who only want me in the most polite and nicest package I can display. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy to keep that display up, and I've turned that energy inward and funneled it outward through creation. I don't have it to give away for free. I don't even have it to draw on - it's engaged.

Luckily, I don't have to be teacher for every person who needs a lesson. Sometimes, I just need to deliver the message and let them take it in how they do or don't. Sometimes, that's as much as I'm willing to give to someone.

That doesn't give me permission to be mean. I am responsible for at least trying to avoid that. But I'm not very practiced at keeping my passion tamped down, since I don't like conflict - I'm graceless. That's how I am, and that's as good as I'm going to be for awhile. I can't spend my energy feeling ashamed about it. I have lots to do and time is flowing like a river, to the sea...(thank you, Alan Parsons).

We're all here, on this planet in the middle of nowhere, living in a giant socio-economic experiment controlled by Power, while Love tries to shore things up from the bottom. I'm putting my energy where I feel it has the most use, and when it gets diverted into the muddy mires of  polite niceness and my failure to comply, maybe cutting that short with rudeness or a flash of anger is just the ticket to let me move along.

It's hard to be a human body and an eternal spirit and a good person and a good parent and a good student and a good teacher and a good employee and a good citizen and a good everything. I'm in the trenches and I'm not that strong. I'm not that confident. I'm not that good.

Thank god it's not my job to keep you safe.


(musical interlude by They Might Be Giants: Cyclops Rock. feels relevant somehow http://grooveshark.com/s/Cyclops+Rock/2fSZcO?src=5)





Thursday, August 21, 2014

I feel what I feel; I choose what I do

For me, it seems perfectly natural that my body sometimes responds to the billions of factors of life with emotional fear-based responses that feel like what gets diagnosed as anxiety and depression. Just like labour pains don't indicate something is wrong, but instead indicate that the body is working perfectly, so the darkness has its place in healthy emotional experience of life, when it can be kept in balance.

My body sometimes gives me pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, a sense of futility. Given the state of world peace and the hands in which power sits, that's not unreasonable. I may look around and see current circumstances in my life that I can blame, but my body would give me these feelings about whatever negative aspects existed for whatever circumstances I was in. That's how it works. Blaming the present masks the real, underlying system - which, remember, is behaving reasonably given the insanely dangerous proposition of being alive as a human on planet earth, alone in the Universe except for the crazy creatures around us.

The darkness can fuel my curiosity, my burning desire to understand how all this works and why it's allowed. It can force words out of me into this blog, alerting other people to ways of seeing the world's systems, ways that they wouldn't have time to develop themselves. It can force me to give my body time to hold itself and grieve its losses and traumas. It can give my meditation depth, letting me process out gunk that doesn't serve me. It can push me to stretch and pump my heart and lungs with movement, or it can drop me into rest so my organs can regenerate.

When the darkness descends, I call it by name. I remind myself that my brain is seeing just one lens, one way, and it's blocked out all the others. That doesn't mean they aren't there. The sky is clear behind those grey clouds between us and space. It's clear but all we see is the rolling grey; all we feel is the thunderstorm. And then it passes. The sky didn't really change, up there. My body's weather doesn't need to be fixed or overcome or even milked for understanding. It can simply be experienced, while I keep my eye on the things that matter most to me and take a step or two each day to serve those things, to the best of my ability.

When I know what matters to me, everything else is the experience of me living my life, serving those things. Minimizing what doesn't serve. Maximizing what does.

If my brain sees futility in my actions, if my brain predicts failure or humiliation, I may find I can't argue against those points, and get depressed. But that doesn't serve what matters to me. What I know in my mind doesn't always translate to emotion, but I can at least acknowledge that it's only one lens, that I have seen other lenses in the past.


I can decide that this lens in front of my eyes does not control my actions. Thoughts and feelings about futility require no action from me. They require inaction. I can sit with them, in inaction, and say, yeah, so? I can let myself feel them, slow myself down, ask what message they have for me. I can spill their story into language or cry their story with song. I can pet them or feed them. I can create works of art with their universal truths.

If I can make the time.

When I don't have time to process, those feelings can feel like an intruder, an unwanted guest demanding and destroying. I can't always give way to the energy. When the kids need me, when a client needs me, when I am committed to an outcome by a certain time. For those times, I rely on my commitments to myself.

It takes practice to find the personal strength, resilience, stick-to-it-iveness to do something even when it feels too hard and totally futile, too small to matter and not good enough. It takes practice to recognize the difference between giving myself care and caretaking myself as a diversion from hard work. It takes discipline to slow my pace so that I can maintain balance and be effective. It takes honesty and vulnerability to set only expectations that I can meet when the world wants to rush and roll. It takes determination to keep my commitments to the critical when the whole world is calling or nothing is calling at all. It takes humility and pride to hand off commitments I just can't make, and even more to hand off the commitments I made and can't keep. So I commit to myself that I will practice these elements of character and live as though they matter, regardless of whether anything matters at all.

I feel what I feel, and I choose what I do.

Equinox@Solstice

So what if there's never time? If I'm always committed and I run out of all the stores I'm building of strength of character? What if my character muscles start to give under the strain?

If that happens, my darling me, it's once again time for something to change.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Employable (a start)


Austerity


By 2089, most people will be unemployable by the Private Sector. Probably much sooner.

Wait, did you think full employment was some sort of immutable law of nature? It's not.

It's not the Transformers' fault. The Private Sector is regulated to serve its primary function of transforming raw materials from the earth into value useful to humans. Inevitably, removing humans from the transformation chain becomes cheaper than employing them.

Full employment was a lucky co-incidence that happened at particular moments in history. Agriculture, War, Socialization, the Industrial Revolution – these shifts needed labour, and humans were the best machines around. Those days are in their final spasms.

Soon, much sooner than we're ready to face, the cracks and fissures of high unemployment will become a gaping chasm, as the Transformers require fewer humans and the population grows. The Transformers just don't need those human machines anymore. They have computers, and robots, and when they do need humans, humans come cheaper in countries with fewer scruples about human rights than Canada.

Not that the Transformers won't need people. They just won't need the Assembly Line people they were using before the computers and robots took over manual labour and repetitive tasks. They don't need humans raised and educated in the social systems we've created. Those humans can rot on the streets, for all the Private Sector is allowed (through regulation) to care.

While all those useless people rot out the foundations of our cities, and cities go bankrupt trying to stave it off, the Transformers will still whine that they can't find good employees. That's because they don't need Assembly Line employees, they need Custom Built employees.

The only people eligible for Private Sector Employment in the future will be those who can do what robots and computers can't do, an arms race the humans are poised to lose. Right now, most of the population can find some form of employment for money. That won't be the case for long. What will we do with all the Assembly Line humans, when all our systems and social norms require hard work in exchange for basic necessities and the dignity of comfort? What will they be doing, and who will pay them to do it?

When the Information Age gives way to the Age of Understanding, humans may begin frantically trying to fix what is broken beyond repair, turn the ship after the crash. If society wants to flourish when full employment is no longer necessary, with happiness almost close enough to grasp, the humans will need another way to earn.

At the same time, if Society wants to continue to sell its human resources to Transformers, it will grow the social, family and education systems that allow custom-built humans to rise into Private Sector employment. Who will pay the humans to re-make their societies to value the work of nurture and care in the fruition of individual potential? Where does this value get tracked and assessed?

Before we ask who will pay, there are more fundamental questions to answer.

At some point, the current technological and global shifts will push the majority of people below the entire capitalist system. Local, barter-based, gang and guild-based economy will operate below the financial consumption economy, allowing the rich to deal primarily among themselves. Instead of having more consumers, there will be fewer consumers with more money, reducing the breadth and depth of innovation to the tastes of those few, from the perspective of their socio-economic bubble.

What is society? Who is part? And what do we deserve as members when our only means of earning our keep is no longer required, on a wide scale? When the transformers don't need very many humans to advance innovation through the capitalist consumption model,  how will people earn their keep? Should they have to?

Perhaps they can earn their keep in a symbiotic system that feeds the Private Sector Transformers with the only resource that we, as society, have left in abundance – Human Resources. Better Human Resources. Custom Built.

The Unemployable (who will increasingly be most people) can focus their understanding on the problems of society, rather than the problems of commerce. They can focus their efforts on creating the systems – education, family, neighbourhood – that support children in becoming Employable Adults, and Adults in being participatory citizens regardless of their employment.

How is that work valued? Currently, at $0.00. So we get what we get. Assembly Line Humans increasingly unemployed and unable to earn the basics or the dignity of comfort. Kids living in stress-filled environments with limited access to their parents, often skating through a system that was never designed to bring their best forward in the first place.

We get what we pay for, and all the Transformers whining about lack of talent – you get what we pay for, too.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Offering

Offering (2014)


I should be able to stand here
close my eyes
and all the truth of the universe will flow through these sliding fingers
onto screen, ready to be seen
and understood.

And still

I stumble over words obscured
meaning less meaning
stranger and stranger repeated into pure sound of musical jibberish
divorced from meaning, like most reason
logically concluded.

I have nothing to say that you haven't heard before
and who has the patience to hear a thing again?

Certainly not me.