Tender

Tender

Monday, December 2, 2013

Current

Current
Current

I resist the pull of flow
only dip my toe
afraid to be taken
into current
out of time

because it's not mine
this life

not just me to get to shore
anymore

My choice of currents
makes every stone my fault
my default

flow flows regardless

flow's flow can't care
about particulates
particulars
displaced, laid bare

while here in the matter, all matters

flow flows regardless

and me here caring
about particulars
these particulates
gloms of enlivened matter entrusted
ensnared

flow calls my sway
but I can't live day to day
like this

can I?

(Musical Accompaniment: Take the long road and walk it)



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Big D

In my life I've heard stories from many, many humans existing in highly varied circumstances. Each is a unique combination of nature and nurture, resulting in a personality. Each interacts with others using a subset of that personality to filter behaviours.
Emission (July, 2011)

Psychological analysis models compare combinations of certain behaviours to a number of different diagnosis tools, identifying standard and deviant behaviour according to established norms. These diagnostic tools are based on observations by many earnest people over time. They help us to understand patterns of human behaviour and possibly shortcut desired behavioural modification through proven assisted learning techniques. When possible, pharmaceutical experimenters can modify a body's brain chemistry, causing it to fall within acceptable thresholds and make desired behaviours easier to achieve, or undesired easier to avoid. It has its important place, but is not the only way to address life. It is important to note that the accepted norms psychology has chosen are not necessarily inherent to the human animal.

In fact, human animals have always been prone to screaming out loud, having sex in public, attacking each other, picking their noses and eating it, and other behaviours that people consider outside the current norms. It's only in recent centuries that population density has forced many different-thinking people to live in close proximity. World peace is a new concept for this species. People haven't been prone to consistent niceness for that long, in the evolution of things. To me, all these "disorders" are personality and body-chemistry makeup that falls outside what we have recently decided is acceptable.

Be that as it may, the thresholds exist and we must live within them. We want people to live within the thresholds of behaviour that allow for peaceful co-existence, and as rational creatures, we ourselves want to live in ways that make us easy to live with. People need various kinds of help with that at various times, and it should be ready, respectful and effective in response to those needs. That supports society.

So now you know how I see it, I want to share my experience with my own vague diagnosis.

Shadows in the Depth (July, 2013)
Five years ago, I had feelings associated with the diagnostic criteria for Depression (that's a big D, don't mistake it for just plain old depression!). I wasn't sure whether this was in addition to, or because of, my chronic inflammatory condition, or possibly my ongoing "battle" with Anxiety (big A). What I knew was that I wanted help.

I tried the doctor. He gave me a prescription and sent me to a therapist. The therapist explained about what psychology and psychiatry can offer - a recap of my Psych 101 class. But when we talked more deeply, the goals she described for my therapy didn't sound like my goals. When I described my goals, I never felt she understood what I meant. I tried her goals for awhile.

I also tried the drugs. They made me feel flatter and sick. There went five months, worse than before the drugs. Then a few months for detox. On the next drug, I found I didn't care about anything, lower than flat, detached. There went three months. Then a few months for detox. I decided No More Prescriptions for me. I felt more depressed about handling my Depression than I'd ever felt in my worst depressive bout.

Then I had a thought - Depression is not actually a thing, it's a construct. It doesn't have to be mine.

I am what I am. I feel what I feel. It's up to me to find ways to make sure those feelings can stay within my thresholds for behaviour and thought, the ones I choose because they matter most to me, the ones that keep me whole and approaching life from love. The ones that nurture my relationships and my creative spirit.

I started to change things.

I left my job and actively began trying to slow my pace to one my body could handle. I increased my sleep. I took what I learned from psychiatry and psychology, avidly read about many different spiritual practices. I took up meditation and began training in yoga and Kung Fu. I sought out wise women as mentors in critical moments. I contemplated and tried to change one thing at a time.

I blogged out loud through my worst and my angst. I wrote short stories, a novel, a screenplay (in progress!). I took up nature photography and painting. I engaged with an online community of seekers and began reaching out to people and groups in my community who share my values.

I started seeing a Chinese Medicine practitioner and Acupuncturist. I cut out gluten and lactose. I focused on presence, patience and compassion. I took deep breaths and tried to stay curious in the face of judgment. I invested time in friendships and made more time for fun with my kids. I tried to take a lighter note on life.

And a bunch of other things I'm forgetting. Over time. That's the key.

Three years in, I keep doing all that. Because it works for me. It's hard to stay with everything, I fall short more than I'd like, but that is my path. I have strong relationships with my husband, children and in my wider family circle. I am involved in my community and make connections for others whenever I can. I pursue active interests. I vent the sadness with music, movement and mini-cries when I'm alone. When I feel, I feel it, and allow myself to feel it, and accept that's part of me, too, not something to avoid or end fast. Feeling can feed my compassion and my creativity in ways that the flatness never did. I have places to put it. It doesn't hurt me.

I realize it's a rarefied set of circumstances that allows me to build my life this way, and one that might not last. If the drugs had worked without debilitating side effects (or worked at all), or if the therapist had been better, I might not have had to embark on it at all. But I feel richer for it.

I am happier with my life. I even have some ideas about paths forward to be paid for my work in the world, instead of just selling my time for money. I feel hope more than nihilism, and when I check in with myself through the day, every day, I find myself content and happy a lot of the time (with allowance for some bad days here and there). I feel now, as I did not a few years ago, that I have created expression in the world that I am proud of. I even dare to dream a few big dreams again.

I do what I can, every day, and try not to hate myself for what I can't do. I avoid people who hate me for my failings. I try to handle and roll with what comes at me, and when my impatience or the hopelessness barge through, I do my best to notice and quiet them. I get better at that over time, and that makes me smile.

Do I "have" Depression? Do I "battle" it? "Cope" with it? "Struggle" with it? "Manage" it? Have I "beaten" it, or failed to?

What does it matter? I have a life, and a self, and I find ways every day to live fully, to feed my relationships and create in the world. That is my way, for better or worse. And you, by reading this, are part of that life journey. Thank you.

Mindseye



Friday, November 1, 2013

small d democracy


consumption is the last vestige of democracy.
corporations shape policy to public opinion 
expressed through buying 
or not buying. 

every purchase is our vote.

we agree to the conditions that produced our purchase
we click the box and hit next
and thus, we create the world.  

our vote is not a ballot 
it's a receipt.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Expectation



I have walked this planet for 42 years, and I have so little wisdom to share. But some experience, for whatever it's worth to you, now. One thing I want to share today is this:

Deciding to wake up is not a path to bliss.

When you’ve slogged through your anger with everyone and the Universe for the ways their imperfections harm you (slinging mud and throwing stones)

When you’ve crawled through your swamp of guilt and humiliation for all the ways your own imperfection has harmed others and harmed you (always at risk of drowning in the sludge)

When you pull yourself over the edge by your bleeding finger nails

There comes some relief

in knowing that you can never know
in holding the perfection of your imperfection
in learning that what Other People think doesn't trump
what you know and choose with love. 

And there come people who can love you, 
who do love you, 
when you love you, 
regardless of whether they do.

There comes some relief 
in releasing yourself from 

expectation 

and its inevitable disappointing end

(whenever you manage to allow it)


Monday, September 9, 2013

Hand-wringing (because what else can we do?)

These human bodies are precious, impossible things, each one built from scratch using available materials, each one designed to contain one flame, one lick of spirit, caught and held up like a glass jar to be observed and experienced. Each spirit using its exoskeleton to interact with other incarnations and navigate the physical world around it.

Bodies built of cells built of molecules built of atoms built of sub-atomic particles built of energy, designed and assembled by the energy transforming itself over billions of years. To now. To this opportunity for experience. To this chance to be a human, in a body, alive, awake and aware in a word of wonder.

Bodies gassed. Bodies beaten. Bodies raped. Bodies diseased. Bodies starved. Bodies constrained. Bodies in peril. Bodies in fear. Bodies in pain. Bodies discarded in piles.

Bodies jeered at, sneered at, objectified, derided, abused

confused
alone
afraid

Everything it's taken to get to here, and we still can't see the value in each one. We stand by. We let the crazy power-distorted half-humans use the power at the disposal of their bodies to decide what happens to all the rest. How is this possible? You would not allow it. I would not allow it. But we allow it. We cannot see what to do, so we do nothing.

Even if we eliminate the crazy power-distorted half-humans perpetrating the atrocities of the world, more will spring up. The human animal is not capable of governing itself in peace. But why not? At this point in our knowledge of how to manipulate our environment not just for survival, but for ease, we should be equally mature in our social development. But we're like Lord of the Flies with bombs, missiles, chemical weapons, guns. Where are the simple checks and balances, and the ongoing cycle of democratic dialogue that allows them to continue serving their purpose? Where is the basic agreement that peace is desirable and every life has rights?

I don't know how to reconcile myself to this without becoming numb or nihilistic.

We are the only known keepers of the consciousness of the entire universe. And we are fucking it up.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Time Travel

Try to understand this. We are back in time. You and me. We're back. In 2013. We are at the point where we can still make a difference, where we can stop the death-march of profit-based ill-logic and choose a shared, sustainable life on planet Earth.

Can you comprehend the impossibility of our situation? We scratch the surface of a small rock floating in immensity, a dust particle in the eye of existence, at absolute risk every instant of complete annihilation, just the statistical anomoly to let life replicate at an alarming rate.

In 2083, it will be too late. In 2013, there is still a chance to build the world we all aspire to (except the ones crazy with power - they are too damaged to want anything that involves love).

There is still a chance to keep them from owning everything and everyone to the extent that they no longer need to keep us very comfortable to keep us quiet. They will use force and incarceration and make this a world of fear and judgment - that is the inevitable outcome of power without accountability among the human animals. Don't you see it happening all around us, here?

But we have a chance. We aren't in 2083. We're in 2013. We're in the past, at the cusp, in the moment.

What will I do today?

*Musical accompaniment from They Might be Giants "The World Before Later On" and the Flaming Lips "Do You Realize"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Subsidies


We are born in a prison that we call a country. We may not leave without permission from the Government, which owns us and provides us with rights and responsibilities. Our space is defined and our movements controlled and monitored. Within this environment, however, we are left to make our own way. There is no official cafeteria for meals, just a hopscotch of soup kitchens and kindness for those without their own. There is no official bed to sleep in, just whatever housing a person can scrounge, beg or afford.

Before you and I got here, everything was already owned. There was no real chance to make our way - no land to tame and farm, no resources to turn into anything, no space to claim through sheer effort, nowhere to try our own way of living. Whatever an individual could accomplish was already done by three corporations the day they thought of it. Only by participating as a cog can most people participate at all.

There is no longer even a pretense that all this activity is for the betterment of everyone's life quality in a spirit of democracy, equality and pursuit of happiness. Equality? Pursuit of Happiness? This is the language of Entitlement.

I am entitled. So are you. We and our ancestors worked hard to make the Owners wealthy, and they should share at least a modicum of the wealth back through wages, benefits and taxes. They should enable a system that gives people the basics of life as a ration, just for being here, just for playing the game we call Life every day. They should because they can, and Every Life Has Value.

We Humans are the only known keepers of the Consciousness of the Universe. Every one of us is a god in a body. Each of us has a special element that only we can bring to the world. How many of us fail to manifest our best in our lifetime because of how we make money? Now that we can, don't we have a responsibility to start building purpose back in as an entitlement of life? Purpose requires leisure.

We are addicted to cheap things. We've subsidized the cost of Stuff for so long, and to such an extent, that we cannot function as a society without that subsidy. We subsidize it by letting corporations pay too little for resources - human, natural, infrastructure. We subsidize it by buying cheap stuff that breaks and buying another one.

If we took away the subsidies and charged what things were worth, that would be like going cold turkey. Painful. But does that mean we shouldn't try to get clean?

What if we had fewer things, fewer choices, and everything cost more? This is the same choice we give drug addicts when we tell them to "get clean". Life is not better until you've gone through withdrawal, let go of old habits, changed your thinking and behaviour, and worked hard to be something else. Until then, life is much worse, much harder than it was with the crutch and escape of drugs. Cheap stuff is just like that.

What can help reduce our jonesing for cheap stuff? Rich relationships. Pursuing what calls our hearts. If we have more time and less dependence on the system, we won't need the quick, cheap fix of cheap stuff to stuff the holes in our wholeness. We will have a better life together on the planet when we stop expecting people to work for their basic sustenance, focus on relationships at the community level, and at the same time, make the rest of the stuff we spend money on more expensive and less varied, so we all actually have to work for it. Housing, food, water - subsidized. To these, we are entitled as citizens of a country that signed on to provide Human Rights. Stuff, no subsidies. Let the Free Market decide.

To recap -
Basics of Life: Subsidized. Stuff: Not Subsidized.

It's a simple about-face. Cold turkey will give us all the shakes. That doesn't mean we shouldn't get clean.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lazy Lions

Visiting African Lion Safari with my kids produced a new metaphor to save the Earth from humanity's follies, while taking advantage of our nature. We need to be lazy lions.

(Photo by Deb Middleton
borrowed from National Geographic)
The kids had been waiting for the lions the whole visit. Honestly, so had I. Such a creature to behold! At African Lion Safari, the animals have vast stretches of land (well, not vast compared with the Serengeti but vast compared with a zoo enclosure). There's no guarantee you'll even see lions, they could be anywhere. Yet, there they lay, sleeping in the sun, on huge cat-houses made of rocks, right by the road and completely ignoring us. Their huge feet lolled over the sides. Their giant, lion tongues hung from half-open mouths. They didn't move.

"Are they gonna just sleep?" asked my son.

"Well, they're not here to entertain us," I answered (a bit shortly I now realize - sorry!).

Over the loudspeaker, our guide chimed in on the subject.

"Both here and in the wild, lions sleep about 20 hours each day. In the remaining four hours, the females hunt."

"What do the males do?" asked my daughter, but the guide had a script to keep to, so I decided to be helpful.

"Like most species, the females do most of the work and the males fight and enjoy the spoils," I supplied.

"20 hours! That's almost the whole day," noticed my son.

"But why?" asked my daughter.

"Why what?" (this is now an automated response to the question "why")

"Why do lions sleep so much?"

"Well, it takes a lot of energy to be a lion. They're big, they have lots of muscle, so moving that body around means eating a lot. The only way to make muscle is to eat protein, which they get from hunting. If they were awake more, they'd have to eat more." I felt like I was on to something. I continued down the path.

"If lions were awake and busy all the time, then they'd have to hunt more, which is hard work, and who wants to work hard if they can lay in the sun? Anyway, if they hunted more, they would kill off the herds too quickly, then they'd have nothing to eat later. So they might as well sleep all day. It's good for the ecosystem. In fact," I postulated playfully, "being at the top of the food chain, they have a responsibility to sleep all day."

"In fact," I continued, mostly to myself at this point, "humans, being at the top of the food chain, have a responsibility to sleep all day, or bang on the drum. We use too many resources, always doing, making, producing, growing the economy."

No one was listening so I continued in my head. We're reducing the size of the herd (read: resources) too quickly, and for no good reason. What's the rush to convert all our resources into private profit?

Technology has come a long way in reducing the need for humans to work at any repetitive task. But we've decided people need to work at least 40 hours a week in order to earn enough to live on (and they don't earn enough anyway, at the lower end). We've decided we all have to work, whether we like it or not, and we've let every gain in productivity go into more productivity, instead of giving humans some slack, distributing the profit in a way that continually increases quality of life in all layers of the social stratum by decreasing the number of minutes required to earn a dollar.

We could be adding leisure instead of faster, more and bigger production. We could be adding it by increasing wages per hour and reducing hours. We could save our economy by slowing it down, expecting less of it, letting it take up less of our human activity, and making space for other creative ways to be than to work at someone else's goals for their profits, often at work we don't like that a machine could do anyway. We could value the work of caring for children, the disabled and elderly with a wage, just like the work of pushing things through factories or the internet. We could value artistic pursuits.

But what about the economy? What is it, anyway, but the construct our governments create through a rickety framework of regulation that encourages some behaviours and discourages others. The economy is a social decision, not a living entity. What we do know is that doing what we're doing is not a sustainable future.

(start of sidetrack) And anyway, maybe we should make fewer things. We could start by making fewer kinds of gum (see No New Gum). It's expensive to make stuff when you pay true-value pricing for resources (water, energy, human time, etc.). Maybe stuff shouldn't be so cheap, so we'd make less of it. Maybe there are lots of things we shouldn't be doing at all. (eos)

We could use our resources more wisely than producing more cheap, gimicky products. We could sleep all day, or paint, or make music, or write, or help a neighbour, or build a relationship, or read a book, or parent our kids with more time, love and care. We could stop expecting each other to work so hard for so little - we could, instead, support a whole new way to look at contribution in societies.

We could. In fact, we have a responsibility to our ecosystem to be lazy lions, here at the top of the food chain, before we eat everything up. Right now, only a few of us get to be lazy. The rest are hunting all day, so we can eat enough to hunt all day, to the detriment of us all and our planet.

We're close on the technology to permit a lazy lion direction for humanity - it's coming whether we want it or not, and there won't be work for all those human machines to do anyway. But will the manufactured Work Ethic culture allow our transition? Can the human species on this planet ever change its worldview of pride and shame, judgement and division, into one that affords each of us the slack to value contributions beyond paid labour?

(we can choose to entertain possibility)


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Fine Balance

"Take a picture and send it to Dad! Tell him I did it myself!"
My son was just explaining what he's discovered about the concept of a "Fine Balance" in card-house building - too much reinforcement and the heavy roof collapses, not enough, and the foundation doesn't hold. The same is true of...well, probably everything. Not enough is very bad. Too much is very bad. Just the right amount is very good. Let's apply that to our social systems and the ways we are set up to "help" each other. If a seven year old can figure it out in two days of card-house building, surely grown, educated adults can figure it out in the areas they know best. Right?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cheryl to Corporate Power: You've Won

(taken in Vaughn, or somewhere like that)

Hey, Corporate Power. You have won the game.

I declare it. No one wants to say it, but we're all sick of this game now. We've been playing forever. You own Boardwalk. You own Park Place. With stacked hotels. You control the corners and you can pay any of our rents easily. We know our next bad turn is going to make us give up Marvin Gardens or worse, the Railroad, before there's any chance of collecting $200 at Go.

I don't want to play anymore. I want to eat a snack, hang out and share some small talk. Take a nap. Enjoy this Sunday Afternoon that's just within reach. That is, was just within reach until somebody pulled out this stupid game and decided we were all going to play.

So I'm saying:

Corporate Power, you win.

If you're going to be assholes about it and keep making us all play along until you are legitimately the only ones standing, I am just not going to sit at the table and swallow my frustration and roll the dice. I don't want to play this game anymore.

Here's what would be fair, since you won. Step away. Take what you need for a comfortable life, and disperse your monopoly money back into the pool, shuffle your properties and hand them out, so the rest of us can have a good time too. Let's salvage what's left of this family gathering on Earth. Why the rush to use up all the stuff and transform it as fast as possible? Why is every deadline an emergency? To pay your hotel bills. So leave the game. Be a good sport and let someone else have a turn. Or at least give them a break on the rent.

I'm not saying to bankrupt yourselves. I'm simply saying to use your wealth and influence to help dismantle the public trading system and build a new system that favours small and mid-sized buisinesses, sustainable practices, and includes maximums and minimums to establish the controls. There's no harm to you in doing it, and maybe you can still save your soul. Or just buy a ranch and raise chickens. Whatever.

You may ask, "You want us to give away our money and then dismantle the economic system we lovingly built on the robot-inspired fallacy of pareto efficiency?" I know it sounds scary, but listen, you'll be okay.

At any given time, there is a "top of the line." The best performing, highest quality, best available technology to solve any given problem. If you are able to afford to always buy the top of the line or custom, for every problem you want to solve that is solvable using money, you are wealthy. If you have enough money aside that you could reasonably be expected to continue living at that level for another 200 years without ever earning another dime, then you have won the game. You can derive no further benefit from earning. Everything else is just wasting the Earth's resources for your own amusement. And that would make you a jerk. Wouldn't you rather be a good guy?

In your zeal to compete, maybe you didn't notice that we're not having any fun anymore.

For that matter, are you? You seem pretty stressed out.

You owe it to yourself and the rest of us to stop playing, or at least to agree to change the rules so things feel more fair and fun for everyone. You must admit, the current rules favour fake value over real value, and that was never the intention. The intention was innovation to improve the overall quality of life on the planet. We are doing just the opposite, and most of our attention is taken up with your stupid game. So be good sports, back off and play nice, will you?

And yes, people can point to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates - isn't it wonderful what they're doing? Yes, it is. And. And why should they control the majority of the world's resources? Why should they be the ones to decide where resources can best be used to improve the overall quality of life for humanity? Isn't the role of democracy to ensure everyone has some input into how our resources are used? Our governments were foolish, they gave away our resources so they turned the game into a slow-drip of public resources into private hands. They didn't extract enough, and now our resources are running out. Now, we need to rely on private individuals to understand the state of the world and decide whether, how and how quickly to fix what. If they want to. Somehow, that is deemed Not the Role of Government.

I'm glad Mr. Buffett stepped up. It's grand. And.

And most of the Corporate World would have no way to even understand what I'm saying as anything but confused babbling. So I will shout it loud, and maybe someone will shake his head and wonder for a moment.

CORPORATE POWER: YOU HAVE WON THE GAME!

Now, please, can we go for a nice walk in the woods and catch up on how the kids are doing?

Love,
Me.






Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Counter-moves

I love my middle class life and I'm terrified that all my mucking around in the world is taking me into dangerous waters, eroding my tolerance to subjugating my particular, unique and specialized genius to the limited and difficult things that people want to pay to have done.

Because it's not easy to live a simple life in a land of plenty. To send my kids to school and not participate in the birthday parties because we can't afford the gifts, or the extra curriculars because we can't afford the equipment or the bus cost or the uniform or whatever extra cost is tacked on to every activity at school. These little reminders of what you can't afford poking you every week as another obligation comes in the form of a photocopy from school offering something your kids really want to do.

I have heard and collected stories of working families. I know the feeling from the bottom of the soul-moments I shared with other humans who face their kids tears every week over the costs many people just gloss over. Hard working people, caring people, people who make sure their grandmother is cared for and their kids have good dinners and never let anyone down. Women and Men who just want to do the best thing to help their kids and their families be happy, but can never have a moment to think about their own happiness. And despite that, they don't have enough money to participate fully. They just scrape by every day.

I don't want to be there.

There are no longer choices on how to live in North America. We are forced at every turn to participate in the economic system that the Big Owners built around us, by the increasingly regulatory approaches of governments who want to live like kings. Prices are going up because we are realizing the costs  of our resources. That will only increase. But profits must always grow, so that means the cost comes only in price, deepening the gulf between the people who own production and the people who produce. It can't just go on like this. But our governments don't even notice that it's a problem. They see the solution as getting more producers to produce more by giving even more of our resources away even more cheaply. Growing employment thus becomes growing slavery, because people must be employed just to eat, only because the government made bad deals on behalf of the people in the first place.

Our entire political system has become a game of control, not a governing body.

Each side outlines its platform. Then they stand up and fight for it. There is no excited, interested, curious and open probing of each others' position, no seeking of the common ground. When someone tries to stand up, the government uses a rule, or makes one, to slam them down. Then they congratulate themselves on a well-played move. When the government states a goal, opposition parties attack the way they are going about it, rather than finding a way to discredit the unworthy goal itself. Then they congratulate themselves on their cunning attack. It's annoying to watch. These people should go play chess or something and leave the governing to people who want to work for the long-term, common good. Remember that?

There are super-hero politicians out there. There are. Elizabeth May is one in Canada.

I like my local MP, although he is a Conservative. I've met him several times and he seems thoughtful, careful, but willing to pay attention to the reality on the ground. I think he does understand that he is in a game. But how could he affect that? I imagine, from his point of view, he sees his job very differently than I do because he's been told by the people who pay him to see it that way. I imagine he can't see any way to change the game and believes that only by playing it can he achieve the small victories possible for his riding. He's probably right.

Moves and counter-moves, plays and counter-plays. It's not about achieving an outcome. It's about setting a course and forcing it down everyone else's throats by winning at twisting and skirting the rules, or cheating when necessary. It's just a big game with real-life consequences that never touch the players.

We know there are better ways. Occupy is just one umbrella of many movements working away, like viruses in the system, re-writing the codes at the community levels and pioneering approaches to large-scale democracy . The field of community engagement is joining with the field of digital interactive media. Complacency can be eroded, bit by bit. The most important thing is allowing ourselves to believe that it is possible to achieve a good quality of life for everyone.

Because if we don't believe it's possible, we can't ask our politicians to believe it. They don't. They aren't even on track for a better way to engage in wide-spread democracy. They're too focused on their next move. We need to know what we want, know what we deserve, and ask the people we trust with our resources and regulations to give us what we want and deserve. All we can do is teach them and maybe in a few generations, the ship will begin to turn.

First, we need to believe it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Screw affordable childcare


Screw affordable childcare.

Screw affordable childcare and crap made in China that falls apart and all the other ways we are penny wise and pound foolish.

But especially affordable childcare. Childcare should not be affordable. Childcare is priceless to a society. It is the very foundation and framework on which the entire fabric of society rests. The first four years of life predict far too many social cost outcomes to be ignored.

Childcare is critical work. And we value it at Zero.

I commit to take on another human from infancy, raise them as a human resource in the slave-society where access to money is required for participation. I commit to 24-7 life-or-death responsibility for this helpless individual. If that child is mine, it's presumed the value is all mine. But it's certainly not.

Anita works in a child care facility earning $16.50 per hour, no sick time, no benefits. She has a college diploma in early childhood education and 6 months of experience. She is responsible for the social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional, and physiological development of 15 toddlers. And to wipe their noses and change their diapers.

This is what I call Assembly Line resource development. We are building machines for the economy. The economy is asking for expensive machines, but we keep giving them stuff that breaks. Human machines rushed through an assembly-line process of education beginning with wasting valuable development opportunities on babysitting.

The humans break under pressure, the stress in the system. We've leaned it out too far. Like a car engine, when the band tightens and there is no more slack - it breaks. The stress and economic pressure of having to find and keep a good paying full-time job for sustenance and to meet basic life goals has broken the capacity of huge swaths of people.

Adults under stress parent less patiently. Parents with fewer resources parent with less help from outside sources such as clubs, athletics, etc. Parents with no time parent with less information, more on the fly, and with less awareness of what they are teaching in their daily actions.

Children living in stress environments do not grow as well, learn as well, adapt as well or feel as well as children living in low stress environments. They grow up into unhealthy adults under stress.

It means we can't do as much with as many of them. Lots of the human machines lose their capacity to learn the information, skills, etc. that they need to thrive as adults, but more importantly to everyone else, to contribute effectively in the economy. Too many of them can't be used by the private sector and come back to society as "rejects." Unemployed.

Maybe they could have grasped calculus if we'd taught it to them slowly for six years instead of asking them to learn the basics in six months in high school (see here). Maybe they could have become strategic thinkers who solved world problems if they'd been supported, mentored, coached and helped during their formative years. But in reality, only the very bravest, best and most capable will rise above their circumstances to overcome and triumph by being better lubricated machines and critical cogs. There are not enough of them for the future.

It may be worth trying to salvage the current adults. They are probably fully capable machines that just need to be repaired - that is, healed from the stress-inflicted damage on their social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional and physiological development. Maybe the adults can be salvaged for private-sector use at great cost. But it's the small children where we have the most chance to impact.

Which brings us back to Anita and her college diploma, her $16.50/hour, and her her responsibility for the social, cognitive, physical, psychological, emotional, and physiological development of 15 toddlers between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday while their parents work in the economy. Her rent is $700 a month. I wonder how her stress level is?

The work of Care should be valued. It should be trained, it should have standards tied to research, and it should be compensated as professional work. Which means it could never, never be affordable. And it shouldn't be. It should be infrastructure. To build our workforce.

Valuing the work of Care means rethinking everything about how we engage as society, what our goals are. Just the way that building road and wire and plumbing infrastructures required a public commitment, public support and public access, so does the establishment of a private-sector-ready workforce. Caring for small children is not the work of play, though it is playful work. It is critical for everything we want in our society.

Unless we only want shareholder profits this quarter.

(sigh)


Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Pillars

People often ask me how to fix it.

You complain about how bad it is, they say, so what's the answer?

There is no answer. Just different ways to pose and explore new questions.

But there is an answer, one pretty much everyone knows. Three pillars.

Three Pods, A ThousandSeeds
1) Enable people
2) Charge what resources are worth
3) Use taxation to shape private and public behaviour

Enable people with stability - enough to eat, safe shelter, opportunities to learn.

Charge for resources. When corporations come begging for cheap resources, bargain and negotiate so their profits are not at our expense. Price according to the usefulness of use, the cost to produce.

Establish tax rules that significantly and deliberately encourage private sector employers, private citizens and neighbourhoods to adopt community-strengthening behaviours.

The answer is: implement the three pillars. That is the job of government.

Unless you ask our government, in which case they would tell you it most certainly is not.

So, who's job is it?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Being Me

I need my space
It's not easy being me.

It's not that hard, either, as long as I overlook that most humans can only handle me in small doses.

As long as I accept the highs and lows and I told you so's.

I think I must be hard to take in large doses.
I think I must seem confoundingly arbitrary in my whims.
I think I must grate on the nerves of the serious
while making the easy-going uneasy with my uptight pent-uped-ness.
I think I must be hard to follow, hard to swallow.

It's not easy being me
but who else would I rather be?

not a soul. 

(I am perfect.)


Eye See Me (June, 2013)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where the **** are my robots? (or, Aim)

Okay, 2013, I've gotta ask this again: Where the **** are my robots?

We quarks had a grand master plan. We were going to build a world were we can live a combined sentient experience of pleasure. Sure, there would be work along the way, but in the end, every human experience would be heaven on earth. Literally.

What we didn't bargain for is Hell. Hell on Earth. Because it's here, too. There is meaning in having to go through hell to get to heaven.

Every human that's ever lived on this planet has worked hard to survive. And every generation of humans has contributed to the knowledge and capabilities that keep us on the path to widespread heaven. Unfortunately, the sentients in charge got their heaven, and they decided the purpose of all this human work was to keep their heaven getting more heavenly. They used power to decide they had no responsibility to the rest of the humans on the planet. They didn't actively try to make everything better for everyone. They weren't content with having only extravagantly more than the masses. They didn't try to reduce the workload, they piled it on.

If we're doomed by speed of replication, the best we can do is to try to slow down acceleration.

What is wrong with a world where humans are paid a living wage to do exactly what they care about doing, every day, while robots do the work? Why shouldn't that be a more valid goal, in fact, than speeding up the slow-drip of public resources into private hands?

Forget jobs as the means to feed and house a population. Pay people to be alive and contribute their unique gifts. Create environments for them to learn and explore what we know of the world in the context of what calls them.

How can we afford to do that? By focusing our resource use through creative resource pricing and taxation approaches that put power back in the hands of smaller entities. And by getting robots to do what they do best, and humans suck at  - boring, repetitive work.

2013, we are behind the times. We're still letting ourselves be fooled and fueled by old understanding. If we're going to believe in fairy tales, believe in mine - we can each live a happy, fulfilled life on this planet. It's possible. We just have to aim for it and build the ant hill grain by grain, generation by generation. It's aiming that represents our current challenge.

Wait, no. It's believing.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fighting For...?

Warrior's Eye


I can't get behind fighting for beliefs. Beliefs are patterns to organize perceptions into a concept of reality that a person can live within. They can't be foisted on other people with other perceptions.

I can't get behind fighting for truth. Truth is a phantom that appears to have substance until you try to touch it, make it real - then, it dissipates, pops up somewhere else. The human brain is not a fine enough instrument to comprehend truth.

I can't get behind fighting. Fighting implies win/lose, us/them, either/or. 

If not fighting, what is this war about?

This is not a war of ideology. It is not a war of beliefs, or truth. It is a war on people. A war on the animal that is a person. It's a colonization from inside bodies, a colonization of a physical animal, with particular properties, towards particular ends. Does any ant know the secrets of The Hill? Does any ant understand she is on a planet, floating in space? Do we know we are on a galaxy, floating in eternity?

We are animals trying to live like angels. Lately, we are animals trying to live like robots. Machines. We place the needs of Life below the needs of Production. And we put the needs of Production below the needs of Profit. And we put the needs of even Profit below the needs of Power. And thus, Power runs the show.

I vote for Love to run the show. I realize her name is not even on the ballot. But this is a write-in. By popular demand. I want Love to run the show.

Can I fight for Love? That's the kicker - there is no such thing as fighting for Love. I need to love for Love. I need to create pockets and spaces for her reserves, spread her where I can, plow and seed the fields where her roots might get strangled. 

Whatever that means. 

(it doesn't feel nearly as satisfying as a good, clean fight)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Centre of the Universe

The Centre of the Universe

The Centre of the Universe
is everywhere I look
(an embrace to know)
Here
is where I am. 

Missing Something

I always thought it was me. I must be missing something. I think I honestly believed that everyone was coming from a place of good hearted intention. That this whole separation of business and relationship, the politicization and bureacuratization that inevitably accompanies change, was being run by reasonable, educated people with everyone's best interests at heart.

I believed that, and I was not without evidence. But as each shard of evidence was stripped away before my eyes, because it was "good for business," I found myself floundering to understand the context of decision making if everyone had everyone's best interest at heart. So I did what I always do - I studied the environment. I did an MBA. I'm proud to say I graduated with the highest GPA in my graduating class across all MBA programs.

And I came to understand that I hadn't misunderstood at all. Something had gone off kilter and it didn't have everyone's best interest at heart, just some people's. That's exactly how it is, attempts to obfuscate and mitigate aside. We somehow came to think that we are only responsible for our half of the negotiation, when the reality for people on the ground is very, very different from that. We try to run our systems for what we wish humans were or what we want them to be, rather than for what they are. We use humans as machines in a massive-scale machine called The Economy, and we treat them like scrap when we're done with them. The same goes for all the natural resources our governments and large, multi-national corporations collude to exploit.

It's just like that.

When I was a small child, I saw road construction, and noticed some ducks nearby. I remember realizing that the ducks' home was being destroyed. I asked my mother.

"Oh, they'll just move somewhere else," was her reply. Even then, I knew that couldn't always be the answer, that eventually they'd have nowhere to go. Even then I wondered if it wasn't, somehow...wrong, to put human needs so far in first place.

I didn't need an MBA to tell me. I already knew.

Now that I know what I've always known...what do I do now?

Covering

I admit it. I'm bothered when I see Muslim women with their heads covered. It feels like it offends the core of my being. And why should it? Why should their choice make any difference to me, any more than gay marriage should matter to straight people?

Here's the take (however incomplete) that drives me to discomfort.

Men see women's sexuality as a threat. They know that even their strongest resolutions have trouble standing up against the promise of sex, a "woman's wiles". It's how they're built, from a purely "body" perspective. It's their achilles heel, a weakness they share with our ancient ancestors. Men get distracted by thoughts of sex. Biological, beyond reason, beyond will. It's a primal power that many have not even mastered, as displayed through violence, displays of anger, jealousy, and yes, catcalling and harassing women. Seeing women's pretty hair, round breasts, bum cheeks, etc. distracts men from their purpose, whatever that is. If they haven't taught themselves to look beyond it, to find the humanity and connect in a non-sexual space, being asked to do so can be very difficult.

Some men expect women to cover for their weakness. They expect women to keep their own power diminished, their sexuality hidden, so the men won't be offended by the reminder that women hold power over them. They expect women to take responsibility for men's sexuality and lack of control over it by removing the temptation, regardless of how headgear or burkhas affect the woman's human life experience.

Seeing women covered only reminds me of how weak men can be.

It reminds me that entire factions of people regard men's lack of control as women's problem. It reminds me of how far we have to go before a woman's human experience is as important in the world as a man's. How far we are from the social equality that peace demands. It reminds me that power over is not the same as power to.

I wonder if women are doing men a favour by covering themselves. Perhaps they pity the men for their weakness, take pity on them by downplaying their sexuality and reinforcing the men's sense of power. In that case, the practice is condescending at best.

Or maybe women cover because they don't want to be seen in a sexual way. Because they are sick and tired (read: I am sick and tired) of being ogled, of not being taken seriously, of being seen as a woman first and human second, of worrying whether a man's sexuality has been triggered by their very presence. Maybe covering is a way to take back power, to say, you may not look at my body in a sexual way. Look at my eyes, that is all you can see and all you need to see. If this is the case, it's still giving men very little credit.

I have experienced conversations with many, many men who did not let my woman-ness interfere with our discourse. I know they are capable of putting aside the biological imperative. I know they can talk with me, aware that my body is female, and let that awareness sink and fade away by giving attention to the work we are doing together, the conversation we are having as humans together on Earth at the same moment and place. That is their responsibility. I expect it from them, and every day, men deliver. They are masters of themselves. They are not so weak, when they choose.

So then it comes back to a God. Did a God tell women that we have to cover ourselves? Some say yes, some say no. I have trouble believing that anything as immense as a God would get into the details of such things, and if a God did, it was probably in response to the men's weakness more than the women's modesty. In fact, if a God did specifically say women had to cover, I think that God should change Her/His mind, and I'd like the chance to be heard if that God is taking any class action hearings on the matter. I don't choose to obey, even if I believed, because I don't accept that it's my responsibility to diminish my woman-ness in order to achieve equal consideration.

I've talked with several amazing Muslim women, some of whom cover, and some who don't. I've worked to try to understand. Largely, they tell me, the choice is culturally comfortable. It's like if I moved to California and suddenly everyone was pressuring me to wear a bikini. I am not comfortable being that close to naked. They are not comfortable being as close to naked as I am in my everyday clothes and uncovered hair. As a bonus, covering meets their cultural and religious norms. They cover because they choose to. I do understand that.

I just don't like it. And I don't like that I don't like it, but, here I am.




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Serious Business


Life is serious business
It’s dog-eat-dog out there
There’s no time for lallygagging
Tongue wagging
Dancing.

Life is serious business.
But I say, 2013, that it doesn’t need to be.

We can live in a la-di-da paradise world where people cooperate in peace and harmony, mediating their problems with reason and compassion, where every human life pursues its path to glory and all the shit jobs are done by robots.

So now all the serious people are ready to stop reading. Fairy tale worlds are not for grownups. There are harsh realities, tangled complexities, power and human nature to contend with. Global warming, economic recession, unemployment, environmental destruction, religious fundamentalism, vampires…wait, not vampires. Unless you really think about it.

Life’s consumptive nature does pose interesting challenges to the pursuit of a pure heart (the primary goal Hollywood has spelled out for us). Food, water, oxygen, belonging, sunshine – our bodily needs, and the basic insecurity to life they create on an hourly basis, rot away trust, breed fear and enslave us to the powers of evil men.

Evil men. I’ll say it, and I’ll say it again, because this might not be a fairy tale but we are, each and every one of us, bit players in the stories that real human beings are creating. Except when we’re not. But I’ll get to that.

Let’s start again.

Have you noticed how stressed out everyone is? How busy? Do you see the scared-rabbit look in their eyes when you ask them how they are? People are secretly wigging out, all over the place, under the pressure of stress.

Stress comes from the necessity for consumption. We are consuming creatures. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Which breeds mistrust, which…wait, we’re back to the Evil Men. Damn.

Well, there it is. We could spend all day explaining how they got evil, how they are a byproduct of the socio-economic bla bla bla, but here is the truth: some people see their lives as a quest to accumulate private ownership of as much of the earth’s resources as they possibly can, even if it means taking the entire down planet with them.

Many don’t even know they are evil. The reality where they live has its own laws of nature, which disallow any argument that presumes collective responsibility. What makes them dangerous is the limitations on their thinking parameters, and their devotion to a particular gambling ring we call the stock market. No, wait. What makes them dangerous is that they control most of the world’s resources. Right. The stuff of a good apocalypse story.

For whatever reasons, these na├»ve, Evil Men are as blind to inherent collective responsibility as a colour-blind person might be to blue. They cannot see beyond the rules of the game they define. They are disabled, deficient, lacking in the collective sense. Many now realize this and are seeking relief through donation and charity. I believe they can be taught how to value more than they do today. Even the most far gone sufferers. I believe it’s possible, over time, over generations, in 200 years, in a thousand.

By chipping away, throwing pebbles, making little cracks in the armour. Then rushing in with collective will. We win the way all the great fantasy underdogs win, with spirit and valour and fine guerrilla tactics. We open up spaces for love to rehabilitate. First we turn the ship back in the direction that values collective responsibility, then we haggle over the hows and whats. Right now, we’re pointed straight for the waterfall drop.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Deliberation

When governments pass more policy that only enables inequality, I hear some people wonder how they can be so blind. They point to the research that shows all the social ills associated with inequality. They wonder if the government is unaware, or stupid. They expect that governments want to do the right thing but have the wrong ideas about how to go about that.

This expectation has failed the test of experience.

What is becoming increasingly clear to me is that a select few powerful people, none of them anyone any of us think, have made a decision to increase inequality. They have used power and influence to do so through social and economic policy.

Increasing inequality actually makes sense from a long-term perspective. It turns out, people are much more concerned with the little inequalities between us and our neighbours than with the big inequalities that let some fly private jets while others can't afford a bus ticket across town. In fact, the more gradation there is among people - that is, middle and lower economic classes mingling together in town squares, schools and walmarts - the unhappier people are. In the long run, it's probably better for humans to live in two distinct socio-economic classes - rulers and populous. People are happier in poverty if they are all in poverty together.

Increasing inequality makes sense, because it will lead to the larger-scale level of happiness rising. Right?

Except.

Except that we have made every human on this planet a beggar from the moment they are born. No longer can a person choose to leave and make their way. Every square inch is guarded and protected by bullies, with set rules and strong enforcement. We are born slaves to these pre-existing conditions of the Earth. Each birth does not inherit a new chance to make whatever they can of their lives with existing resources. Those resources are owned. So the promise of life becomes a compromise, a lie, from birth, in a way that it was not for our ancestors. And the Owners force this condition on the rest of the planet, claiming its resources and animals as spoils for safely passing them from hand to hand through generations. Different Owners, but one guiding idea of Owership.

So it's basically a matter, at this point, of how we will be kept at the bottom. We are the chattel. That's the tied-up-tight of the world by 2013, and it's only going to get tighter and meaner if we stay on course with current government policies. We are resources like the oil. Except, there's an infinite number of us. We just keep churning more out, until we aren't sure what to do with all of them anymore so we invent a new kind of gum for them to manufacture to give the illusion they are "earning" their keep.

It's ingenious - first, tell the human resources that they are not allowed to hunt, grow or make their own food but must buy it. The same with shelter, water, etc. Then, make it their responsibility to convince an Owner to pay them for some effort on their part, and to pay an Owner for a place to live, food to eat, etc. Make it impossible for any human to live on this planet without the sanction of Owners. Literally. Impossible to be alive without their sanction.

In the past, Owners in North America were able to convince governments to give them public resources for free, by promising to share the profits through paying jobs - "keeping" the population. They maintained a close enough track between available jobs and available labour that governments were fooled into believing that jobs were the appropriate way to feed and house a growing population.  Robots and computers will soon make light work of the heavy burden the Owners have placed on us. Owners will not need these human machines, which are so expensive and unreliable. Luckily for them, Owners have no legal reciprocal responsibility to the people whose resources they used for free. Governments reversed course on that direction decades ago in favour of allowing the quality of life for The Many to drift significantly from what rapid-fire human innovation makes possible for The Few.

What happens when the majority of the population no longer qualify for private sector employment? When only the Elite and their children have the resources to make the grade? (hint: we're already there, all over North America). The Owners say, well, they will just suffer and die, that's not our problem. The Governments say that they are not responsible for babysitting people, and abdicate their responsibility as they abdicated the responsibility to trade our resources for appropriate recompense. It will only take a generation or three before the weak get weeded out and the ones left are so focused on survival that they will do anything for peace.

Great excess is only possible at extremes.

Unfortunately for us, there's nowhere left to go now that the globe is so full of humans. When we don't like the way things are tied up, there's no new world to strive in, no more chances to take except within the web constructed around us. If that web is based on principles of meanness, "everyone for myself-ness," the conditions at the bottom will remain deplorable, and more of us will be there.

The Owners don't care. At the tip you are last to go under.

They probably even believe that increasing inequality will lead to more happiness in future generations. They now know, as you and I do, that the level of decadence we currently enjoy in North America cannot be sustained with current technologies on current resources for every human alive on the planet. In an ideal state, they hope to concentrate resources in a way that promotes innovation to that next disruptive shift (quantum?) that will make it possible. But in the meantime, they need to lower the population's expectations of what their life should be, while dangling the hope of what it could be. It's reached new heights, this campaign.

These long-term visionaries believe what I have not accepted: that every human life cannot matter equally under current conditions on Earth.

Or, quite possibly, no one has thought about any of this, orchestrated anything, decided on any direction. The "natural flow" of human spirit into the technical depth we've achieved just accidentally leads us to increase our population while decreasing its quality of life, rather than using our resources and know-how to make at least basic life sustenance available to all.

Quite possibly, it's all just a big muck of too many selfish people making selfish and/or stupid decisions. Like when the playdough gets mixed up and turns all these ugly shades of grey. There's no untangling that mess.

I'm not sure whether I'm more disturbed imagining deliberation or accident.







Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Job Postings

Against the Grain
Job postings depress me.

We identify a stack of expectations that most people cannot completely fulfill. We want someone who excels at team work and collaboration, but is comfortable working independently. We want a person who shows initiative but understands how to work within the necessary confines of bureaucracy. We want a super-star who won't outshine anyone or step on anyone's toes, while executing with precision and efficiency on limited resources. And we want this amazing person to do these fifty-two hard things that we have identified need doing, precisely in the way we want them done, to the metrics we have established.

Does anything seem off to you here? Maybe it's just me. But we are talking about people, aren't we? People. Human, creative, spiritual, loving, compassionate, playful, mistake-prone, bright, curious, ambitious, flawed and bumble-lovable people. The creatures who dominate this planet Earth. Those people?

The animals who want to live like angels, but enslave themselves to satisfy primitive chemical-based desires.

Is this really the best way for the only-known Keepers of the Consciousness of the Universes to spend their days? Getting ready to be the person we want to hire, then being it? Wouldn't we be better to help people  do what they love and are good at, to serve each other and the planet?

Why have we enslaved the entire human race to a limited, cruel and exacting set of ideas about what human society should be doing?

Just asking.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Particle or Wave (a Maverick post)

I'm trying to read Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time (which, I'm sorry to say, is not particularly brief). I smiled at his pride in the Forward, that he had made this information so accessible. Mr. Hawking is so beyond my complexity that he may not be able to comprehend the simplicity of my mind. I keep thinking I'm following his train of thought, when suddenly, he says "of course..." or "but obviously..." and I realize I'm just seeing the ghost of that train, some steam it left behind.

Maverick tried to explain about particles and waves. He said:

There are no drops in the ocean, just water. Drops get created when the water is temporarily broken up, separated, by an external force, like wind or a whale's tail. Energy is expended, and a drop is isolated. Or energy is expended and a wave is isolated. It’s still water, regardless of the temporary shape taken by isolating a part. It's still ocean.

Um, okay. 

Is the drop more isolated than the wave? 

...I don't know. 

Don't be lazy.

Fine. I guess it's...a less powerful being. It has less chance of causing other exchanges of energy, other actions. It doesn't have the whole ocean under it, pushing it. The wave's not really separate, it's attached, while the drop is not touching any other water, it's just...collected on itself, sitting there, waiting for something to happen to it. 


So, my girl, are you a drop or a wave?

Hey! I thought we were talking about science!

We are. 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Impatient with Despair



I spent years ignoring, fighting, pushing down and hiding my deep despair.

It's not who I am. I am not just that. I have so much love, so much hope, so much joy, so much beauty in my life every single day.

And I have despair. Or sorrow? Whatever. I can be fine, going along just fine, and something will trigger it. A news story (so many lately), a song on the radio...really, almost any of the common signs of the patriarchy, the war machine, the rape culture, the commercial control, the shallow and brutal nature of my species. The human species.

Yesterday, feeling great. This morning, I woke up and I knew SHE was in the room with me.

Over the last few years, I've worked hard to allow myself to process the sadness out, like feces. Like birth, is a nicer analogy. The cramps that my body interprets from the flow of what is. But I have to say, when I felt Despair in my room with me today, I didn't want to. I didn't want to let it flow. I didn't want to let it wash over me. I didn't want to feel it at all.

I felt angry with it for existing. I felt angry with all the legitimate, valid reasons why I could live my entire life feeling despair every second, if I let myself pay attention to that. Yes, there are reasons to hope, to exalt, to celebrate, when you look. But they don't erase the horror of humanity's utter failure to grow up. That's always there too, a wedge. And I'm sick of processing it while so many of my species just harden the casings on their hearts and make themselves bullet-proof to it, instead of trying to change it. I'm sick of it existing and having reasons to exist. I'm sick of it marring my life experience, which otherwise is amazing.

The Positivers will have you just re-focus your mind. But to me that is selfish and self-serving, an emergency measure to keep you on track but ultimately, not a fix. The Change-The-Worlders will have you channel it into largely unappreciated, unsupported and potentially alienating action. I can (and do) take action, sure, to some extent, but once in awhile it's hard to ignore how futile, isolated and up-hill my individual efforts feel. In the end, I often feel more diminished than uplifted when I review how very ineffective I am. Even people who agree with me don't ally with me. I feel alone in a crowd.

I don't want to give Despair this morning of mine, yet it won't let me do anything else. I know it will pass. I tell myself the cliches that hold some truth. I remind myself that a pile of sand is a million individual grains that can be moved one at a time. I remind myself of the progress of the past 200 years and what's possible in 200 more. But really, when she arrives, Despair does an amazing job of cutting these thought exercises to their bones, and building up a far more likely society of increasing human brutality, coldness, cynicism. She takes over my body, mind and spirit until I can process her out with movement, with breath, with tears, with sleep. Like a virus, a parasite, a blood-born disease. She takes all my energy to process her OUT.

I don't want to use the methods I've developed for moving Sorrow through, any more than I want to talk with the telemarketers who interrupt my day. I don't want to engage with her at all. I don't want her to have any reason to exist. I want to believe the world is good, progress is towards compassion, and living my life fully will make a difference. I want that belief to not feel so deluded in light of evidence that stacks up on the opposite side. I want humanity to be better.

I'm bored with despair. I'm sick of it. I've lost my patience for it.

Despair, and anger with despair. Great combo.

But you know what manages anger? Only love.

(I'd better fill myself up)



It's not hard

It's not hard to watch another person fail and dissect why their failure is their fault.

It's not hard to observe another's weakness and decide they are weak.

It's not hard to assume you would do better when you don't see yourself likely to have to prove that.

It's not hard to let your behind-the-scenes words tear down another's being based on shallow evidence.

It's not hard to hate a person who does and says hateful things.

I was taught to take pride only in accomplishments that mean something, pride in doing what's hard. Why do so many humans tie up their pride in judging other people, when nothing could be easier?

We all know what's hard. I don't need to preach compassion. But then, maybe I do. Maybe we all do.


Enough.


When men are in the position of having their lives, social status and the very condition and health of their body compromised, then they can get their say. When the medical community figures out how to produce children without enslaving my body into the process, then men can have some input. Until then, it's really none of their business. When men understand what it means to have something shoved inside their body against their will, perhaps they can decide whether that's still valid humour. Until then, they have no right to their jokes.

Women must have autonomy over our bodies. We are not holes for penises that happen to be attached to bodies. We are not incubators for male seeds. We are full-fledged human spirits who happen to have been born into female bodies, the same way men happen to have been born into male bodies. We deserve the right to control our own bodies and decide who gets to be inside, whether it's a man or a baby, whether we're asleep or awake, whether we're scantily clad or wearing burqas. The men who demand their own freedom would never put up with the level of scrutiny and control that many of those same men want to impose on women.

It seems to me that many of the world's men don't understand that we are even the same kind of creature. They are human. We are the females of their species, somehow less human, there for their use and control like all other resources that the largely male Power Mongers take and abuse. They see our pain as less than their pain, our joy as less than their joy. Some see it as slightly less, other assume it's another experience altogether, not quite as human as their human experience.

Being a woman is not less. In many ways, the female human experience is more - on the whole, women get and give more love, we create life in our bodies, we have the strength to endure our sub-class status and still believe, in our hearts, in our own humanity.

I've had it with meaningless, derogatory debate. I've had it with cultures that insist on patriarchy. I've had it.

Humanity, the jury's still out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

There Must Be A Name For That

Overload

There Must Be A Name For That

A mind well trained to reach for heart
reminders of gratitude and sweet relief
steeped in hope-enlivened acceptance.

Yet still endless dishes confound gratitude
joy dragged through laundry's soiled folds.
Clutter rings my ears raw while
muddy floors grate sand into the open wound that was
my patience.

I long only to chase fluttering moments of spontaneous happiness!

Where are my robots, 2013?



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Syndrome


Life Lessons On the Road

When I find people unfathomable, when they insist on closing off, when they just do dumb things, I try to remind myself that they can't help it. They suffer from Human Corporeal Syndrome (HCS), likely exacerbated by negative environmental stimuli. HCS impacts cognitive and relational abilities, resulting in error-prone judgement, limited perspective and imprecise communication. People with this syndrome are generally capable of loving, thoughtful and generous behaviour, but when symptoms present, they experience difficulty accessing these areas of the brain. Sufferers may sometimes exhibit erratic, unreasonable and even aggressive behaviour. Symptoms may occur at any time without warning, but appear with greater frequency and intensity in the presence of excess stress, anger, frustration, hunger, and especially fatigue. Symptoms may improve or worsen over time, depending primarily on lifestyle changes. Approximately 100% of humans suffer with HCS. A cure has not been found.