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 book.

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Goodbye, Mork

Should I be crying?

Why does one celebrity's failure to stay the course on earth affect me so?

People die every day. People engage in cruel, barbarous acts against one another. People slink along the edges of community and drop off into oblivion. Every day.

I didn't know this man. Any connection I felt to him was incidental and one-sided. The way he changed how I looked at grownups. They way his energy leaped and he was admired, the whole time I was shoving my leaping spirit deep because it was not admired. They way he was what he was, out loud, for everyone to see.

Except he wasn't, was he?

He was underground, too.

And I feel like, if our connection had not been incidental and one-sided, maybe he would have made it. He would have known he wasn't alone.

Which is, of course, the most ego-centric response possible.

Should I be crying?

If that bright spirit couldn't see its way to continuing here among the humans, I don't cry for him, I cry for us. For this world and all the blocked and polluted consciousness that is hurtling us towards a cruel, calculated starkness that might not be worth living in, after all. Is that what he saw?

Or did he see nothing at all?

My tears stick in my throat.




Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Nice Death

Sun Sets Daily (May, 2014)

A Nice Death

It could be nice, at the end,
side by side on the porch swing
sipping tea, swapping tales
laughing and sighing and sitting quietly alone
together

while the sun moves and the clouds move and the sky stays perfectly still

and the moment stays perfectly still
sweet, drippy-ripe now

after each and all and everything
after the bustle we call mine
making our own way
after the hey day and the sunshine
of doing
while we're waiting for
release
that will come too soon whenever it comes but never soon enough
to thwart the last moment of finally knowing
what we always knew

split-wide heart releases spirit into moment
free
be
am

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The feminists' mistake

The feminists made a big mistake along the way.

They jumped right into demanding the right to work for money. They could have asked to be paid for the work they were doing already.

Not paid by their husbands, paid by society. Each day I spend with my children, I am contributing an investment into society's future. Whether they are ready to contribute, capable of engaging in the compulsory socio-economic system, depends more on me than any other human.

Further, each hour I spend balancing my family's finances and planning for the future helps keep our social burden low. Every minute I spend keeping a clean kitchen so vermin don't accumulate benefits my neighbours and the planet (providing I use green products). All the countless hours I spend planning and preparing nourishing meals provides society with a healthy set of learners for their barely-adequate education systems, which parents like me prop up with volunteering.

For this, I pay. I pay directly in the difference between our single income and our costs, using investment savings to invest in my ability to do a good job of Managing a Household (instead of in some imaginary retirement). I pay in opportunity costs, the money I'm not making in my profession, which is a substantial loss. I pay for the privilege of doing a job I don't like.

It's not that I don't love my kids, my husband, the moments of joy that sprinkle every day. Those things, I love. But I don't love the rest. The monotonous drudge of doing repetitive labour that results in no long-term creation, but rather, just a churn of the same work again. I don't love being responsible for all the food and nutritional needs of 4 people across all their various tastes and needs, only to be met with groans and pinched noses, or apathy. I don't love doing dishes and laundry in a constant, never-ending churn of wet and dry hands. I don't love the dreaded complaining and fighting that seems to erupt among the children whenever my attention turns away for a few minutes. If this were my job, I would quit.

What we missed, feminists, is that it IS my job. I may not love it, I may pay dearly for the privilege of doing it, I can't quit it, but it is my job. I should damn well be paid to do it. At the very least!

And not by my husband. By Society. By the Government. The work of care, of running a Working Household, benefits society greatly, keeps our social burden low. Doing it well matters to society. Doing it poorly costs society. Society should pay for it to be done well.

We should have asked to be paid. Then asked to be allowed to quit if we wanted.

Now we're stranded in Man's Land where it's cold and harsh and we work twice as hard and get paid half as much when we get paid, which is for only a small portion of the work we do. We're screwed.

But it's not too late. It's not just women's work, anymore. At least not everywhere, for everyone. Men are feeling it, too, now that women have to work because two incomes is what a family is expected to earn, two producers is what a family is expected to provide. All at no cost to society. The cost comes somewhere. It comes from families.

borrowed from http://womeneconomicrights.wordpress.com/
Isn't this whole, big, economic system and governmental orchestration meant to be about helping us all live together in peace, working together to understand the world and improve the overall quality of life for humans? Humans live in family units of various types. These units require maintenance and proper management to allow humans to live together in peace. There is a cost associated with that, and that cost should be born by society as a whole, regardless of who is doing the work.

I wish I could go back in time and convince those early feminists to focus on getting paid before they focused on finding a new job, but what they did, they did in good faith. I can't fault them, exactly. Still, it's time we pay attention to work as a whole - the work of being a human participating fully in the compulsory socio-economic system into which we are born. There is choice, like the choices you get at the hair salon, if you can afford to go to a hair salon. We are born here, and we are expected to stay healthy, be educated, work, live in peace, possibly raise children, contribute to society, grow old gracefully and die, within a defined set of parameters we cannot escape.

The profiteers have convinced government that they don't owe us anything, but they do. They force us to be here with their laws and jails, they force the game on us, and there are minimum overhead costs associated with participation. If we want to live peacefully and have low social burden for most families, families need slack. They need a person with the time to do the job well, without the stress of having to earn in the profiteers' markets. This is the overhead of society. Women were largely doing this work when men were the majority of the profiteers' workforce. Guess who's largely doing this work now? (hint: the more things change, the more they stay the same)

Every company would love to externalize their overhead costs. I'm sure the government has been very happy to operate without the overhead costs of household maintenance. But those costs have been externalized to us, and it prevents us from earning in the profiteers' system, while costing us money every day that we don't. Or, it requires us to participate fully in the profiteers' system, earning and paying others to do the work of our households. Except it's not that simple - there is overhead involved in hiring, managing and paying others, as any company owner will tell you.

A basic income makes a lot of sense from a number of perspectives (see http://biencanada.ca/), but I haven't seen much conversation from the perspective of re-valuing the work of household units, which props up and makes possible all the paid work the profiteers engage. A basic income accounts, somewhat, for the value and costs that are currently hidden in our commerce-heavy GDP. As a society, we fail every day to take proper account of the ROI of all this activity. Accounting for the work of households would be a small but important step to understanding our own systems.

Just a few thoughts to ponder, as I ponder my day...











Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seven Steps

Captured Glow (July, 2014)
Just seven steps from path to depth
Sun flickers strobe lights
Wind rush-rises flexing branch muscles
playing leaf whispers loud in chorus and cacophony
of sound, the only sound
white, like the light
dappling down

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Head Explodes

Tonight my head explodes with it
No breath can still the tremors
No calming waves of thought bring balm

All the stories lose their meaning
All the meanings lose their luster

Not wine, nor chocolate nor backrubs
Touch the aching dread of certainty
That nothing actually matters

That any feeling that isn't despair only marks my delusion
in indelible ink

The anxiety creeping like ants under the surface
of skin
of sanity
of knowing what I know
what I cling to anyway, knowing:
even delusion is better than this.


(Not a problem to be avoided, this. An experience to be in. Water and air are never still unless they are stagnant. The drops of a wave don't seek balance, they seek flow. Flow is not forever still, "okay," even and clear. Flow is messy and turns you upside down with dirt in your mouth sometimes before rising you on a wave of glory. What is, is, perfect regardless. A blessing and gift to experience in full.)


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hop, skip, jump

We all want the same thing. We all want Earth to be a full time vacation resort catering just to me. That’s what every single human dreams of. And we could have it. We could have it if we gave it to ourselves. We don’t choose that because dichotomy fails to build consensus.

On the one hand, I believe that humans do not and will not possess the capacity, as a species, to treat each other decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will over time.

On the other hand, I believe that humans possess the potential to develop the capacity to treat each other decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will over time.

When I believe the first, the logical world view for me leads to actions designed to streamline my own experience to take best advantage of all the world can offer me. This is survival mode. What’s the point of caring what happens to people who fail where I succeed? Isn’t it up to them to figure out this world, just like me? Further, I will support subjugation, force and power-based behaviour control structures for people who threaten my success. It's the only way to control the beasts. 

When I believe in humanity's potential, I may still decide I am not responsible for, nor do I care about, its long-term prospects, since I’m only here a short time. What’s it got to do with me, what all this looks like in 95 years? In 300, or 1000? Maybe I think, the trainwreck is inevitable now, might as well enjoy the ride as best I can.

For many, it’s hard to enjoy success built through the widespread misery and exploitation of human souls. Rationalizing that it’s inevitable and not my problem may suffice for some people, for some time. And then, there’s those of us who just can’t leave it alone. Like picking a scab. The world’s insecurity mars the happiness of my otherwise wonderful life.

And so I stubbornly hold space for the belief that humans possess the potential to develop capacity towards peaceful and pleasant co-existence on this planet. There is ample evidence, considering where we’ve been and the long way to go, to support the idea that our species is evolving increased consciousness and capability for peace. Of course, the process is likely to take 200 years or longer. Perhaps I’m optimistic, or maybe I’m a pessimist in disguise.

Why does it matter to me? If all of this is true, I will be dead and never see the fruits of any labours I commit to encouraging peace among my neighbours and the humans of the planet earth. I am a drop in the bucket, a nothing, compared with the vast systems I am forced to learn and manipulate as best I can to thrive. I want to thrive. Giant vacation resort dedicated to me, remember? Why should I care?

Either I feel it, or I don’t. First I have to notice it, to decide whether I will allow that feeling in. Because once it’s in, the sense of responsibility, it settles itself and takes over the operating system. Feel it, or don’t. Every moment we choose. One day at a time.

When I feel responsible, the logical world view for me leads to actions designed to encourage people to behave decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will, at some point in humanity’s distant or not-so-distant future. Like most achievement, the amount of time or energy I put into supporting humanity varies depending on the strength of my belief (conviction), my security (bravery) and capacity (means).

And a step comes naturally next, from there, to hold both truths together – that humanity is capable of peaceful co-existence, and that humanity is not capable of peaceful co-existence. How the latter holds true becomes the work of the former for those who choose to feel their part.

Feel, not think.

And so a hop, skip and a jump to understanding it doesn't really matter, that pursuing what excites my soul serves to awaken those who know me, those who notice me, regardless of whether I owe or I flow. That more people being noticeable, living in uncertainty as truth, can be the key to maintaining this evolutionary path towards peace, despite our burgeoning population’s influence in the other direction. For the first time in history, we can deliberately harness an evolutionary trend. Cool, huh? (but I digress…or not).

And finally, no more input required, no more thinking or defining or deciding. Read the currents, ply the oars, watch for rocks and rapids, enjoy the scenery when I’m not paddling for my life. And sing to the others on this journey. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earth Update #84

(An update from Earth in Spring of 2014 recovered from dataset BL857386)

I've been detaching.

Netflix to make the housework bearable. Flavour to make the housework bearable. So sick of the grind that all I can see is the grind - make food, clean up, make food, clean up, rest, make food, clean up... I barely left the kitchen yesterday, that gorgeous day of sun and fun and holiday. I relegated myself to the duty and my duty done, spent, I went to bed. Is this how I am best spent?

I feel quite sorry for myself. So I indulge my addictions to flavour and tv because those indulgences overlap the housework, give it texture and a way to keep my mind from noticing the repeating monotone drudge. If I can't have a life, at least I can be entertained. The things I'd rather be doing don't overlap with housework. Housework never ends.

At least, I let that premise lead. It's easy to be petulant when you're run-down and short on time.

Today I cut the carrots for the stew. Without the tv for distraction, I boiled the stock, spiced the meat (sorry, chickens). Calm overtook me. I was cutting carrots. I was cutting potatoes. I was mixing stock. I was just doing that. I was in the doing of it. Quiet and stillness around and inside me. I was the doing, and the doing was me. I stepped outside myself and saw this avatar of Cheryl Making Stew. I knew myself one with Essence, with a Knowing that the perceptive instruments of this human machine can't compute. I don't know how long it's been since I felt that way. Weeks. I felt such longing it almost knocked me down. Oh, yeah, that's why I was detaching. No time for this intensity. No energy left over to devote to life's devotion.

So we're back to pace, back to slack. Not enough slack. Too fast a pace. Even without employer, as soon as I touch other humans, I don't set pace. Staying calibrated in this rapid a current takes discipline, energy, and that's not an answer I want. I want slack to feel more comfortable, not demand so high a price. But we get there together, or we don't get there. And I'm tired.

(Even my purpose distracts me from my purpose. The world conspires against clarity, which terrifies the creatures here more than death.)






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Minutes


We need more time to do nothing.

Last night, driving home from Kung Fu, the pinks and oranges of sunset glinted in my periphery through the trees. You should stop, myself told myself. You should stop and watch.

But I'm driving, I reasoned. And when I get home, I have to empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, make lunches and fold laundry before I can spend time with A and go to bed. There's no time to stop.

Yes there is, myself told myself. Just for a minute. Just for three minutes. What difference will three minutes make?

While she was talking, my body had already turned the car down Beaver Creek Drive where I know there's a good place to stop and see the water. So I said yes, of course.

I pulled over, near the side of the water. I turned off the ignition, silencing the loud music to which I'd been rocking out. It felt like one beat of silence. And then...

the car suddenly filled with a wall of noise - a buzzing, croaking, clacking, singing, calling, solid brick cacophony. Or, another way, an unrelenting ocean of earth's song. I found myself completely and absolutely immersed in sound, filling my ears and nostrils, my lungs and heart and liver and pancreas and kidneys and uterus and all the spaces between the pores of my skin.That sound was me. I was that sound. I walked out on the concrete pier.

Hidden from me, frogs, insects, birds and animals sang loudly to the dusk with my spirit. Flocks of small, dark birds practiced precision aerial maneuvers against the glowing pink-orange sunset, cheered on by geese and warblers below. Fog billowed its smokey effects across the water's surface, as even the clouds joined this earthly celebration. Reflected upon the rippling surface, Sunset smiled a glowing smile of recognition and love to herself. Mosquitoes danced with excitement at the prospect of piercing my fresh flesh.

We humans are not a part of this party. We are not welcome guests. The birds warned each other of my arrival. The little animals scurried away from the harsh sound of my shoes on gravel. Only my stillness allowed them any ease. We have placed ourselves apart from the celebration of life that the rest of the planet is having. More, we have treated all other parts of nature as enemy, now vanquished enemy, devalued and enslaved. No wonder they don't want us around, no matter our intentions.

And yet, in my stillness, they accepted me among them. They did not stop their party for me, and my spirit joined their song to refresh and refuel that essence in my otherwise distracted existence. My heart opened with gratitude.

Three minutes made a difference, after all.

We have established society on top of nature, without regard for nature, even our own human nature. We need time to just be with what is, for our well-being and to begin repairing the rift we have created.



CULTIVATE SLACK.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Goofy (another Bad Mom post...or maybe not)

(before we begin: if you are Ksenia Solo, click here for your letter.)

Goofy

"Mom,  you look goofy."

A dart, straight into my heart from eight years old. I feel embarrassed, maybe a little betrayed.

"Do I?"

I suppose I do. I'm wearing a blue jersey dress with some kind of swoopy neckline, over black yoga pants, with pink and neon green runners, a grey granny-sweater and a knee-length patterned scarf. I have no make up, and my hair dances in chaotic curls. I do look goofy. I smile.

"I'd rather be goofy than uncomfortable, I guess."

And it's true. No point in worrying about whether I look goofy or not. I used to watch my appearance closely, try to control it through the day with brushes and make-up and fussing. I used to take an hour to dry and style my hair in the morning. An hour! Of my only human life! Every day! And all for how I looked. Ridiculous. I'm beautiful to the people who see me, and the rest - why am I making SO MUCH EFFORT?

I'll make a little effort - if it's important, if it's an event or a celebration or a formal kind of thing. But I got myself a nice wash-and-wear style that sometimes is even more beautiful than my fussing ever produced, and I bought a few pairs of yoga pants which pretty much cover most of my leg-covering needs. This is as much attention as I allot to my appearance, of the limited attention I have left in this single life.

Maybe I don't mind looking a bit goofy. It surprises people when they find me such a serious being. Maybe I kinda like it.

Then there's the side benefit. Because I read a "Christian Dad"'s blog a few weeks ago, with all sorts of advice for women on how we should dress so we don't put his brothers at risk of transgression about us (that means, don't trigger their sex noticing). And it turns out, I follow almost all his rules. The jersey dress - it shows my curves, both the stomach I want to hide and the ass that should be hidden, lest it attract undue sexual attention. So I wear yoga pants under and a sweater over, and in case my protruding bosom attracts attention, I cover with the scarf. I'm following all his rules, because the truth is, he's not wrong - if I want to avoid unwanted attention, there are aspects of dress that encourage or detract. Which sucks, of course, but look at me, so obedient.

Since I've adopted my eclectic, wash-and-wear style, the only people who notice I'm beautiful, maybe even sexy , are interesting people. The mundanes don't even notice I exist. And how could I mind that?

Anyway, I think I'm kinda cute, just the way I am.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Dear Ksenia Solo (an open letter)

Ms. Ksenia Solo
c/o The Internet
World Wide Web

Dear Ksenia Solo

I just binge-gorged Lost Girl’s first three seasons, the whole time thinking, this actor might actually be able to carry Mouse.

I’ve been writing Timeless my whole life. I started capturing the story as a novel maybe six years ago, when my son was two and my daughter almost one. If you can imagine. Actually, no one can imagine until they are living it.

While I struggled between my anticipated identity as fast-tracking career mom and the real-life reality of how priorities shift; while I changed jobs, careers and sectors in search of an ever-elusive sense of purpose; while I learned about how the world actually works and got mad; while I gave myself permission to reclaim my agency; throughout, I wrote Timeless. While I learned how badly I’d fooled myself, made friends with my body, faced what lurks inside me, recognized my essence with joy, I wrote Timeless. Of course, Timeless is about none of that. Timeless is about rock and roll.

I wrote Timeless out loud, here. I learned to build a website and put up my writing as I wrote each scene. I cultivated a following of social media readers who commented on my raw words. The interactions began shaping the characters, plot and themes, revealing aspects that I had never understood until I saw through a reader’s eyes. I learned and I wrote, when I could. It’s hard to build momentum that way, but forward is forward as my grandma would say. The years passed.

I finished 2/3 of Timeless, and then, the story closed to me. The characters turned their backs and wouldn’t talk to me. The plot hid around bends. I felt abandoned, rejected by my own story, the world I’d created. I read the story over and over, waiting for something to open, a whisper to tag onto. And then I realized that Timeless wants to be seen. I started over. With no idea how to write a screenplay, I gamely began translating the story to a script with notes, a starting place for people who know the technical ways forward – a community project waiting to happen.

From first-person narrative to script – wow! Suddenly, Mouse became herself. She spoke her thoughts more because she had to, and it changed everything. It gave her the practice she needed to have the strength for her climactic argument with Trix about power and love. It let her ask the questions she needed to, for other characters to reveal themselves. It made her more solid than her first person narrative had managed. It let her become, out loud.

I’d like to say I’m finished, but I think I have at least 300 hours of writing left. I do have a good idea what’s going to happen when I write the next scenes, and I know how it’s all going to end (and I will tell you if you ask). I smile when I write, and I smile when I think about writing. I smile when I think about you, playing Mouse.

So I wrote you this long and heartfelt letter. Can I tell you my secret imagining now?

I imagine a community of people producing Timeless as a series of webisodes, over a period of years, as part of a larger ecosystem – graphic novels, audio scenes, spin-off story-lines by other people, music videos, maybe a clothing line, dance choreography, stage design, art. I imagine a niche of people who totally get Timeless the World, and relate to the characters in a way that inspires them to create. A girl can dream, even in her forties.

I don’t have any money and I have no experience with production. That won’t stop me, though it does keep me very slow. Excruciatingly slow. A turtle will drag itself toward the sea until its last breath. I can be at least as noble to my vision as that wise creature.

In any case, letters should conclude with a specific call to action, because by now you’ve learned all you need to decide if you’re interested in knowing more. As Trix tells Mouse, there's pride in the asking, even if you don't get what you want. And so,

Ksenia Solo, will you read the current draft of Timeless as though you were considering playing Mouse? 

Notice, I’m not asking you to actually consider playing her, but to suspend your disbelief and read as though you were considering taking her on. Take as long as you need, even if it’s years. I’ve learned that Timeless is a life-time project for me.

Letters should never exceed one page and this one does. I seem to break every rule, but that's okay with me. Thanks for reading. Let me know if I should send Timeless to you in pdf. Below, I’ve provided the “back cover” synopsis, since I realize I haven’t given you anything but my own backstory.

Thank you for sharing your talent in the world.
Best wishes,
Cheryl


TIMELESS: 300 WORD SYNOPSIS

A week before her 25th birthday, guitarist Christine runs away to the big city with new-love Chris, leaving behind her small-town existence and long-time boyfriend in search of big dreams and a new life.

Christine soon encounters Trix, the intense, charismatic lead singer and proprietor at Timeless, a converted theatre where society’s outcasts join forces around shared ideals and a dream. Trix beckons Christine toward a whirlwind of music and mystery.

Intrigued and attracted, Christine finds herself drawn into the world of Timeless. Trix holds strict court with the homeless youth who find shelter and purpose in her space, imposing a set of principles she believes will change the world. Together, they are building a digital, social and musical Movement meant to rock the city this Friday night. But who’s paying? And what “means” are really justifying whose ends? Christine begins to suspect there’s something big at stake.

Timeless explores the deepest paradoxes we face as our social worlds close in and inequality raises the stakes for everyone. Christine provides a middle point - not old, not young, not rich, not poor, both educated and street-aware, both straight and gay; at the same time, Christine becomes a hub where worlds intersect. Using the bus system and any ride she can score, Christine navigates social norms of glitz-rich society, street-involved youth, musicians, academics, working stiffs and corporate elites, all while outrunning her past, wrestling her present and trying to believe in a future.

Now that nothing makes sense, how will teflon Christine choose between a life she’s supposed to want and one she can’t even imagine? Pushed and pulled between power and love, bravery and shame, trust and fear, ambiguity and decision, Christine discovers what it means to live out loud, and how to be Her Own Girl after all.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mine not mine

Night Tree Council
I look at stars
Feel cool air on my chest
and face
Smell night
Hear chips and chirps and
wind-rustle in leaves.

then for a moment I am the dreamer before now,
cursed with knowing as the first faded devils came like ants
when we had a chance to protect our ways
and future generations from this future.

behind entitled, shallow eyes I observe plastics and crammed-in-ness and know
this is not what my mothers and grandmothers want for our people.
But I am a woman, my dream will not be heard
so I watch this future world
with despair

this vision not mine, I hold as mine
in this moment, in solidarity and honour


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Honour


Employers should feel honoured.

They should feel honoured to have these amazing creatures, gods-in-bodies, these single points of consciousness holding space for all of Isness, only keepers of the consciousness of the Universe, these miracles of complexity...employers should feel honoured to have even one Person paying attention, of any kind, to their petty problems of commerce. They should bow down before the amazing awesomeness that is each human life and thank them for service, ask how they can make service more pleasant, and give generously back of the bounty created for them by the magnificent creatures they call Employees but I know to be Human Beings.

Instead, Power bulldozes bullshit brainwashing, convincing the humans they are are not amazing, but in fact undeserving, unimportant, uninteresting; insufficient, ignorant and replaceable. As if any person could every truly be replaced! Outrage! Sacrilege! How dare they treat a human spirit to such blatant abuse? To be a human is a high honour; to have a human serve you still higher. As if a human life could ever be commonplace, let alone unimportant. As if any human life could not matter.

Ask all the employee surveys, all the data screaming the same message, across industries, across job titles, across socio-economic circumstances, across countries. They will tell you clearly that what people want, what people need, what people desire, what people feel in their hearts they deserve, is honour. They deserve to be honoured for what is essential in themselves, for their gifts manifested on this plane, for their courage to live a life in 2014 just when the shit is starting to hit the fan.

And by the way,
when you honour what is divine in each person, they will continually amaze you
when you expect people to behave honourably, they often do
when you meet people as honoured helpers rather than chattle,
their gifts can overflow
into abundance.
This seems to me like a tremendous competitive advantage to try for. Does it to you?

Crow and Hawk (April, 2013)


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Message from Power, delivered through Emissary and inadequate Translation

A Message from Power, delivered through Emissary and inadequate Translation:

Okay, Humans, here’s the deal.

This planet exists for a finite time. Some of us have been playing since the start, and we made sure along the way to provide for the next generation of Us. We are not like you. We are better than you. We deserve what we have because we have worked for it since the dawn of time. We hold an uneasy truce among ourselves, some of the time, and engage each other in war, the rest of the time, on many, many battlefields.

The field of The Economy is less bloody than making you fight each other in numbers with weapons. You should thank us for enslaving you in such a kind and benevolent way. But don’t mistake our attempts to improve your lives and include you in decision making as equality. We have never been equal. We will never be equal. We are better than you. We hold the power, and among us, we now own every square inch of the world with the weapons to back that up. You should let go of your delusions that you might own a piece of it. You are not worthy. We give you our scraps.

You are a worker ant, a drone. We keep you busy with our big global game called The Economy, waging our wars as we’ve always done, shifting around the piles of resources which include you. We let some of you have power over others, to keep your systems and your attitudes mean and uncooperative. We love our game. Manipulating your participation is the joy of the play. 

What are you whining about, when some of you suffer, when some of you die? When have you ever had it so good? We give you TV’s, we give you movies, we give you a man on the moon and plastic wrap and microwave ovens and cell phones, trying to keep you busy and entertained enough to play your small role in our armies. But we need to control all the resources to do that well. We can’t have you demanding safety and happiness and fulfilled lives. We can't have you bugging us with all your demands. You're here to work. We're here to play. You need to be in play. So get back to work. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quick, Puff, Gone

Burn Hole
Sometimes, weeks of clarity trick me into tentative self-congratulation
before dissipation 
erodes my small understanding
with alarming efficiency
(sparks on tissue
quick, puff, gone)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coles Notes: Productive Social Dialogue

Section 1. A few simple sentences about increasing the productiveness of our dialogue


  • Housing Stability is a more productive conversation topic than Homelessness.
  • Food Security is a more productive topic than Hunger.
  • Reducing Stress is a more productive topic than Crime.
  • Capacity Building is a more productive topic than Prison. 
  • Increasing Joy is a more productive topic than Depression.
  • Reducing Economic Burden is a more productive topic than Poverty.
  • Increasing Social Value is a more productive topic than Reducing Economic Burden.
  • Peaceful Coexistence is a more productive topic than Protection.

Pass it on. 
Thanks.
Power of Persistence (April, 2014)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Selective Employment, Productive Unemployment

Selective Employment, Productive Unemployment.

Come on guys, we all have the same goals. We all want humans to work less and stay out of our way. The corporations are on a single-minded mission to remove the human element as far as possible from every human system, as quickly as possible and faster than their competitors. And the humans would rather be doing pretty much anything else than working. 

So what are we doing? Why is full employment the goal? If we have full employment, who's going to do all the actual work of making society go? Not the mothers and fathers rushing to drop baby at daycare at 7:30am, and hurrying to avoid late fees at 6:34pm when they pick baby up. Do you think those stressed-out time-poor people can join the PTA and raise money for school trips no one is paying for? Who is nursing our elderly, caring for our disabled, running our households, preparing food(!), raising our children to peace, keeping the infrastructure running, paying attention to society, spirituality, art? Why are these activities given no true economic value? Without them, the economic system grinds to a halt. 

We should be paying people to stay home. It's the inevitable future of automation and robotics. The humans who can't or don't want to contribute to the design and maintenance of systems and tools, for whatever reasons, become redundant in a fast-approaching new economy. The only other option is service, and we don't want to pay for service. So how will the money flow? How will it make that round from the bottom back up to the top again? Will we increasingly just let the bottom fester?

What if we let the humans do exactly what they want. Give every one of them a guaranteed minimum that is just a little less than a person can live on comfortably, and then encourage them to do what we need done, as a society, rather than what some corporate profiteer thinks he can sell. Offer support, offer training, offer connections and mentorship, no strings attached. Profits must be curtailed at the top end to allow society to be funded. 

Productive Unemployment becomes a career option when society chooses to tax its resources appropriately to pay for it. Caring for loved ones, raising and teaching children, supporting people who need support, pursuing our highest, deepest passions. Raising art, voice and spirit. Living happily, in peace. Eating nutritious foods and taking care of our bodies and each other. 

Regardless of whether we think it's possible, it strikes me as a worthy alternative goal to simply spiraling downward past austerity into cynical, violent unrest outside the castle walls. 

Could we talk about how to make it possible? As if it were, actually, possible?

Because, maybe it is.

And on the off chance, I'd like to see us try. 

(I have more to discuss here, over time, but today I need to move!)







Monday, April 7, 2014

Pressure & Release

Pressure builds.

Release and make room.

Pressure builds.

Release and make room.

Pressure builds.

Release and make room.


( Release valves: Short, intense bouts of crying - driving from place to place is a good time. Exercise, preferably involving a punching bag. And/or Dance. Music. Sleep. Cuddles and Love. Writing. Nature. Breath.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another day

What Lies (Sept. 2012)
One day, everything makes sense. Paths seem clear, I can't believe I haven't seen them, acted on them, already. Each step is a step towards, into.

Then another day.

And on that other day, all paths reveal into dead ends and bristle-prickle bushes. Dreams dissolve as delusion. What If turns from possibility to threat.

I shiver and shake in my inadequacy.

And then I take another step.


Friday, March 14, 2014

It's Time

(Provence, France, 2004)


We are like children still running around
begging for someone's approval.

Always will someone know
something we don't.
Always will someone have
constructive criticism to share.
Always will our offerings
fall short of perfection.

Yet they are worth their weight in gold.

What I see and what I know is utterly unique
A gift for the world of my perspective
that no one, no one can match.

This is true of you, as it is of me.

Advice exists in abundance.
We could drink from that fountain endlessly
and never be sated.

Action teaches faster and with more precision.

Plans can be made in abundance.
We can dance for years with our plotting,
the illusion of control it spins.

Action acts faster and with more effect.

Ideas can be explored to endless heights.
We can spark and expand them into wondrous story
Until they fly from our grasp.

Action tethers ideas to now
And asks them to serve.

What I am, now, also tethers me here
and asks me to serve.

One day, ready or not, we just have to decide to climb
or go home and forget the wonder (if we can).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Little Lost Post

I don't write here often
Because writing requires the long and painstaking task
Of overcoming my sense of futility in the effort

Why do I owe the world messages it doesn't want to hear?
Why do I care whether the humans lose their civilization to inequality?

Isn't it all just a game, in the end?
Isn't it all just a hologram?
Isn't it all the imagination of a tree or the dream of a dolphin or the fantasy of quarks?

Does it matter if I write or I don't write? 

Can't the universe hear my heartsong either way?
(maybe not)
(and so)

Us and Them

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Things to do:

Things to do:

1)      Remind people that happiness is the reason for all the work
a.      Remind people that they deserve nature
b.      Remind people that they deserve rest
c.      Remind people that they deserve fun
d.      Remind people that they deserve love
e.      Remind people that they belong
f.        Remind people that they matter
g.      Remind people that they are bodies
h.      Remind people that they are spirits
i.        Remind people that they are unified selves
j.        Remind people that they are not an individual at all
but instead, a cohesion of energy pulses committing to be me
and how these eyes see
how these lungs breathe
how this heart beats
is all the world and nothing much; test tube for this sample
that can’t survive the air on break of glass

Behind Glass (Toronto Zoo)