Patient zero (0)

For those of you who know me (and the mini-me who inhabits this sanctuary of peace with me) know that since November 8, 2016, I (and she too actually) have been wandering.  Wandering in the wastelands of “What Ifs” and “What Might Have Been” and “How Could This Possibly Be Happening?”  These are barren, drought-stricken, depressing, soul-sucking, mind-numbing places to be.  They are not happy.  They are not conducive to healthy living, nor are they beneficial to the mind, body or spirit.

I read about the five stages of grief (see Kubler-Ross).  I sailed through them all a few times, bouncing back and forth, landing on denial one day, anger the next, back to denial, even hanging out on bargaining for a long time.  But I never seemed to get very far in accepting what had happened that night.  Nor accepting the fact that Hillary would not be Madame President.  Nor acknowledging that the pins and the buttons and the patches and the bumper stickers and the magnets and the paper dolls would need to be relegated to either the trash (sacrilege!!) or the keepsake box (why? why preserve the hurt?).

I turned off the news.  We listened to Christmas music four weeks earlier than our normal. We usually wait until after Thanksgiving Day to bring it all out and crank it all up and dream of white Christmases and peppermint hot chocolate and bulging stockings and pretty white lights.  This year we started early.  We needed to dull the pain.

I stopped perusing my news feeds.  As we don’t have television here (a blessing now that I think about it), I rely on the internet and the radio for my daily dose of world happenings.  Some who know me might say I’m addicted to the news.  I would have to reply, “fair point well made.”

When it became necessary to pack up the Christmas music (which in all truth ends up being more “holiday” music here…heavy on Ol’ Blue Eyes, Dean Martin and jazzy renditions of Rudolph) as the damn store-bought trees were long dead (which is a story for another day…due to a teensy, weensy fire on the mountain preventing us from trekking out back to cut down our tree), I found I still couldn’t quite stomach the news.  We switched to jazz and immersed ourselves in Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck.  With a healthy dose of Frank and Dean sprinkled in as well.

I tentatively waded back onto the wide world of ethernet “news” and found I could barely keep it down either.  I limited myself to one site that has a rather comforting daily column, heavy on the snark, full of like-minded readers, gathering from all walks of life to share our  daily travails.  But that was all I could manage.

The inauguration loomed.  It seemed surreal.  We (the mini-me and I) talked about it and decided no way in hell-o would we be caught watching it (on the computer) or listening to it (on the radio).  Total blackout.  Denial.  Pretend it wasn’t happening.  Go on about our business as if the world hadn’t turned upside down. (One million to anyone who can quote that song from our favorite musical.)  Instead, we listened to jazz that day.

I had to work the weekend.  I work at a county hospital in a red city in a red state.  A very western, very red state.  Usually when I walk into a patient’s room, I inwardly cringe as Faux News is blaring on the television.  And the people are always enraptured.  Enthralled.  First thing I do is dive for the remote to hit the “mute” button so we can have a proper conversation.  I very often get the stink eye over this, but they don’t call us “Physical Terrorists” for nothing.  I prefer physical therapist, but whatevs.

That Saturday was difficult.  I was still in sort of a fog that Friday had actually happened.  We actually inaugurated that man.  I couldn’t see a way forward.  I couldn’t square this circle.  And I was having a difficult time finding compassion for my Faux News-loving patients.  I walked through the morning in a blur, putting my best face on and one foot in front of the other.  My heart was hurting though, and my spirits were definitely low.

Until I met Patient Zero.

Patient Zero, because he is the one who ignited my spark of hope.  He is the one who allowed my soul to breathe, to see the possibilities ahead of us, to acknowledge that though the battles before us may be great, we can overcome.

He was propped up in his hospital bed, the head of the bed elevated so he could see the television up on the wall, with a multitude of pillows surrounding him.  Pillows behind his head and neck, pillows under each arm–almost as if he was floating on a cloud.

He was wearing huge, gold-rimmed 80’s style eyeglasses with a floppy, khaki-colored fishing hat.  He seemed to be entranced by the television and I thought to myself “Self, I cannot handle another second of Faux News.  Somehow you must find the strength to carry on.”

I steeled myself, walked in and commented on his hat.  He turned to me with a 100o-watt smile and told me “I like to make a lasting impression.”   He turned back to the television, smiling all the while, almost enigmatically.  I was curious as to what was captivating his attention.  Because, truth be told, he didn’t appear to be the average Faux News viewer.  He was not an older, white male.  He was very distinctly black.  As in not white. African-American.  He was older, I’ll give him that, but not white.

Curious, I turned my head to look at the television screen and saw “MSNBC” scrawled at the bottom.  I turned back to him; he nodded at me and then gestured with his chin at the tv.  I looked again and realized it was live coverage of the Women’s March on Washington. And Chicago.  And Los Angeles.  And Denver.  And New York City.

I again turned back to Patient Zero, who bedazzled me with that mega-watt smile that seemed to light up his eyes, as if to say “see that? That’s for you and for me and for all of us here despairing of anything being right in this world again.”

It was a few minutes, truly, before I could find my voice.  I stood there entranced as well.  I finally shook my head and mumbled something about not knowing, not realizing, not having any idea…my words seemed so pathetic, so not enough.

He just smiled and nodded his head.  I mentioned that all of the other rooms had Faux News playing and what a relief it was to walk in and see this.  He reached down, moved the covers aside, patted the bed and said “Sit down awhile. Watch with me.”

We watched in silence and awe.  He never stopped smiling.  Quietly smiling and nodding his head.  He seemed to be reveling in the moment.  It would be foolish of me to begin to think I knew what was in his mind, his thoughts.  I didn’t ask.  He didn’t say.  We both seemed to just need the silence and the awareness that a fellow traveler was finding some comfort in the images on the screen.

I reluctantly tore myself away from him.  That’s what it felt like.  I’d found a kindred spirit, a soul who shared a moment with me, and I didn’t want to leave.  I didn’t want to walk out the door into the other reality.  I wanted to stay and be the recipient of that beatific smile.  I wanted to revel in his quiet strength and calming presence.

As soon as I left his room, I called home to make sure the mini-me could see the images that I had just seen.  I wanted her to be able to grab some of the hope that I just did, to see there were others like us out there.  I wanted her to be calmed by the realization that we are not alone in this.

I have not seen my Patient Zero again.  He was very sick then.  I do not know if he is still walking the good red road.  I know with every fiber of my being, on that day, he was a beacon of hope for me.  He was the spark that ignited in me the possibilities of meeting this challenge head on.  He was very sick, he was very old, he was a person of color…three strikes right there.  Yet he found a reason to smile.  And to include me in his quiet strength and equanimity.  He exuded peace and calm, and hope and courage and bravery.  All with a knowing smile on his face.  As if to say to me “Don’t you worry about a thing now.  It’s good.  It’s real good.”

That night I joined the ACLU.  I am now a card-carrying member!  We have been to an ACLU People Power meeting.  We have written postcards to the White House inhabitant.  We are no longer hiding from the daily news.  We have our #ScienceNotSilence t-shirts and have made plans to attend a Science March in a close by community.  We will lend our voices to the resistance.

And finally, finally, I was able to listen to Hillary’s song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JMLO07645s

Not without crying mind you.  And I’m not ashamed to admit that the tears are falling now, as I watch and listen, yet one more time.

At what might have been.  At what could have been.  America…what did you do?

I will admit, I haven’t been able to handle the Pantsuit Power video/song that I wrote about several months ago.  That one is simply too much sunshine and light.  I’m not there yet.  Maybe someday.  But not now.  I’m in a fighting mood.  So I need a Fight Song.  A take back my life song.  An I’m alright song.

The above was on my Twitter feed  {from @AltUSFWS} the night of DJT’s address to the Joint Session.  Words from the Fight Song.  Words that I will now live by.

I will walk boldly into the night, the darkness, remembering the serene countenance of Patient Zero.  His blissful, quiet smile as he lay there absorbing the events on the screen.  The battles against him were many that day, and may be still–I do not know.  He met them with grace and equanimity, more interested in making sure my soul was at peace than wanting me to make it better for him.

I dedicate my spark to him, to Patient Zero.  I will raise my voice in protest; I will stand up for what I believe in.  I will teach my mini-me to walk the good red road, to stay true to her beliefs, to advocate for those without a voice.  We will not go quietly.

And finally, because this can not be repeated often enough:

“…the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”     ~Edward M Kennedy

Blessings be.

 

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Inappropriate relationships

I’ve entered into an inappropriate relationship.  And I don’t quite know what to do about it.  I know it’s inappropriate because with the deepest fibers of my being I know I shouldn’t be doing this.  It’s wrong and I know this.  But I can’t seem to stop.  The consequences will likely not be good, for either party involved.  I really don’t see a good ending, for either one of us.  It may be mutually beneficial at the moment, but I just don’t see this ending well.  One or both of us will likely be hurt.  And the fallout, or collateral damage, could be significant.

I just read that paragraph and it’s quite disjointed, I will admit.  But that’s sort of how I’m feeling at the moment.  Disjointed and jumbled up inside.  Knowing what I need to do, but not wanting to do it.  Knowing I need to be “the adult in the room” but truly railing against the dictates of maturity and rationality.

Why must I be the reasonable party?  Why must I step up and call it quits?

What am I getting from this inappropriate relationship?  How is it beneficial to my life?  Is it worth it?  Will the guilt that I will inevitably feel overshadow the pleasure I get now?  Or will the good outweigh the bad?

On a side note (and simply to detract from my current rumination and hesitation on doing what is right) do you think Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions might be wondering about his inappropriate relationships of late?  Do you think he might be worried about the collateral damage that his clandestine carrying-ons might be causing to him, to his loved ones, to his so-called boss, to his country?  Or do you think he might be trying to figure out which lie he told to whom about what regarding his inappropriate relationships?

Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we try to deceive…

(…or something like that.  Shakespeare, no?)

Perhaps Mike Flynn, of recent National Security Council brouhaha fame, might be feeling a bit of angst or regret regarding his inappropriate relationships.

Maybe even the media (I could spend all night listing out specific members of the media who have rankled me to no end in this department…here’s looking at you most specifically @mitchellreports and @VanJones 68) might be finally, FINALLY, reconsidering their inappropriate relationships with our most esteemed Twitler-in-Chief.

But then again, maybe not.  This is the fawning, supposedly-librul-elite-but-all-of-us-liberals-know-better media.  They have done and seem likely to always do the craziest things when it comes to the Dear Leader.

Back to what has been troubling me of late–inappropriate relationships.  When one enters into one, hypothetically speaking of course, one must realize from the outset that it is, for lack of a better word, wrong.  Inappropriate if you will.  This adds an element of derring-do maybe.  The thought that one is doing something on the sly, not mainstream, not sanctioned by rational, ethical, moral adults, seems to up the ante.  Makes the stakes higher.  Makes the risks riskier.  Of being found out.  Of being called out.  Of being ridiculed or shamed.  For doing what one knows, deep down inside, is not the right thing to do and hoping to get a pass.

Feeling these feelings of unease, having the niggling nigglings of self-doubt and hesitation draw attention to the seriousness of the transgression(s).  These uncertainties reflect a conscience I believe.  A conscience being  the ability to delineate right from wrong, to take bold steps to ensure that one walks the straight path, true as an arrow, to speak truth to power.  I cannot figure out that last phrase.  I have been hearing it daily, for a while now, as if it is in the running to be considered the new lexicon of 2017.  Regardless, I’m not quite sure if it is…appropriate…for the above sentence.  But, until I’m told otherwise, it will stay. And as the editor is very tired of late, things are slipping by that just never used to in the good old days of yore.  You know, back in the days of life with the white picket fences and June Cleaver dresses and pearls; and coal jobs abundant, as far as the eye could see.  Not to mention steel factories and textile mills so thick it was like a pea soup of manufacturing.  Ahhh…back when America was America, the land of the free white men and the home of the brave white men.  The days of the shining city on the hill, albeit one that was rarely seen through the black smog from the coal mines and steel factories.

Whew.  That was a wild meandering; a serious digression.  I have no earthly idea, nor one from any other planet either, how that happened.  Or why.  Please ignore and let’s now get back to our regularly scheduled programming:  Inappropriate Relationships.  With a capital “I.”

And Consciences.  With a capital “C.”

If one has a conscience, then theoretically, one shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t have an inappropriate relationship.  One would know better.  One would realize the implications of the clandestine affair, the collateral damages if you will.  One might then realize that acting on impulses to engage in the inappropriate relationship(s) will only bring downfall and ruin.  That may be a bit melodramatic.  I should instead write: engaging in inappropriate relationships might could bring angst, discord, disharmony, confusion and despair.  (Which, in reality, sound a lot like “downfall and ruin.”  But again, lack of an editor and all.)

Being of sound mind and body and conscience, one would then simply not act and not engage in the inappropriate relationship(s).  If one had a conscience that is.

By the Transitive Property of Equality (my absolute fave mathematical equality), one could assume that women (and men) entering into and sustaining inappropriate relationships would not possess an adequate conscience.  A conscience being defined as that little figure sitting on one’s shoulder (doesn’t matter which side) whispering either quietly in encouragement for good deeds or yelling very loudly in opposition to troublesome actions.

Still with me?

In lieu of this evening’s troublesome, tormented, tribulations regarding possible collusion with the big bad mean country across the pond (see above referencing white picket fences and June Cleaver dresses and steel manufacturing and coal, oh glorious coal–back when it was fashionable to be afraid of this boogey man), one has to ask oneself: is there anyone in our government with a conscience?

Because they sure as heck don’t seem to be having any trouble carrying on with a whole host of inappropriate relationships.

It’s late, my editor is on what seems to be a permanent vacation, I’m meeting with the accountant in the morning and I still have not unburdened myself of my own personal angst.

Because you see, I do have a conscience.  And the damn thing niggles at me, all damn day.  Sometimes the noise is incessantly loud and obnoxious, usually when I need to pay attention to something of utmost importance.  At other times, the noise is a dull roar that can sometimes be relegated to the background.  But always, always, it is there.  And I am aware of the damn thing.  All damn day.  And night too for that matter.

I have entered into my own inappropriate relationship.  From the time I initially started writing this treatise, that has now blossomed to multiple inappropriate relationships.  (Life got in the way and this writing was shelved for a day or two or three.)

I have a conscience and thus know it is inappropriate.  And know I must eventually end this, before it is too late.  Before there is too much collateral damage.

The first step is admittance.  Not to make light of addiction, nor the incredibly helpful programs to address this life-shattering problem.  Once that step is taken, one can hopefully move on.

Here is my admittance then, if you will.

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You see, this is a fox.  And actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, just one of the three foxes that are now frequenting the area.  And he is (yes, this is a he as it was anatomically certified) looking in through the front window, presumably wondering where his meal is.  Because, and oh, please don’t be judging on me right now, I have–man, you don’t know how difficult this is for me to write–OK, I’m just going to spit it out–I. Have. Been. Feeding. The. Foxes.

(HUGELY big sigh of relief right there.)  See?  The hardest part is admitting.  Now that it’s finally out there, floating around the ethos, I’m feeling a bit freer.  My conscience is still screaming at me at decibel levels that are headache-inducing, but I think my steps will be a little bit lighter when I finally stand up from this computer.

I have developed an insanely inappropriate relationship with a “trio of trespassers.”  (Grand prize of 1 million besos if you can name that movie.)

It started so innocently.  It was late one evening in early January, in the first of the many snowy nights.  A blinding, blizzarding, snowy night.  The little female was out front, covered with a thick layer of snow, scratching at the snow beneath her feet, valiantly looking for birdseed that had fallen out of the feeders above.  I watched her for the better part of an hour as she got whiter and whiter, intent only on finding random bits of birdseed, seemingly oblivious to the wind and snow.  I couldn’t help but be impressed by her persistence, but felt angst at her possibly hungered state.  She came again the next night, determined as ever to find the last remnants left by the birds.  I dithered and dickered with myself and finally, on the third night, snuck out and left a small portion of dry dog kibble under one of the trees.

I. Know.

Need I remind you of one of my professions?  I know one is not supposed to feed the wildlife.  I get that.  I also know that we had a rather large fire on the mountain this summer.  The wildlife that didn’t perish left the country.  Since January we’ve had a total of approximately 5 feet or more of snow, here at the house.  There are slim pickings out there and my tendency to try to take care of the world beat out the conscience sitting on my shoulder (who at this point was screaming at me) pointing out all of the bad things that could occur as a result of this inappropriate relationship.  These are all excuses, mind you. Justifications.  Rationalizations.  The first steps to becoming fully entrenched in the inappropriate relationship.

The little female took to hanging out up on the hill, right outside our bedroom window, where she had a straight shot down to the front yard.

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Then, she brought who we assume to be her two brothers, littermates we think.  That first night when all three were out front was hilarious to watch…foxes jumping and chasing each other and running each other away from the birdseed.  Too dark for pictures and the action was too mesmerizing to leave.

Since then, I wrestle with my conscience each night.  Should I leave food out there?  Shouldn’t I leave food out there?  What are the downsides to this inappropriate relationship?  Who will be hurt by it?  What kind of consequences will my selfish actions have?  Selfish because I’m thinking of assuaging my guilt and angst at this trio of trespassers maybe not having enough to eat this winter.  Selfish because I am enjoying the antics each night.  Selfish because I feel as if I’m helping out the world a little bit, but in reality, my inappropriate relationship may just be harming another inhabitant of this planet Earth.  Which is truly not my intent.  I seek to do no harm.  I took an oath, many years ago now, and stated those words…”do no harm.”

Am I harming this family of foxes?  I know not the consequences of my actions.  I know only that it feels inappropriate and I must find it in me to step away from this inappropriate relationship.  As I would hope the leaders of our country who are now embroiled in their own inappropriate relationships might first find and then listen to a conscience, telling them to “do no harm.”

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Curled up tight for the night.

Good night.  And good luck.

 

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When it snows, it snows.

I realize that’s a ridiculous title, but I couldn’t necessarily write the hackneyed phrase “when it rains…” as we’re not really in the rainy season here, if there be such a thing in this location.

Rather, it’s January.  And it’s the dead of winter (again, hackneyed phrase meet keyboard) and it’s flipping cold out there.  As in 20 below zero before the windchill. But as an esteemed guest told me, who had been staying here and was able to make it out before the wind started blowing, it really isn’t that cold here because the town down the road was a balmy 40 below, before windchill.  At which point said guest decided the back windshield had needed to be scraped off again and so was able to share in great deal just how flipping cold it was down there.  But that I should be grateful because 20 below is really not that cold compared to 40 below.

Compared to the temperatures noted up at headquarters, while feeding the bovine inhabitants of the place, of 50 below.  Before windchill.

Dang cold.

All of this coupled with three feet of snow over a three-day period.

Which, on any given day, in any given winter, at any given time would have been met with hula dances, huzzahs and hurrahs, and happy, happy, joy, joy.  Because, if any one who reads here knows, the munchikin and I…well…we LIVE for snow.  LOVE the fluffy white stuff.  Dream of it.  Beg for it.  Watch White Christmas over and over and over because it always seems to make it snow.  I guess it’s our equivalent of doing a rain dance.  We pop in the DVD and get to singing and dancing with Bing and Danny and Rosemary and the other one.  I always feel so bad because I simply do not know the name of the actress who plays Judy.  She’s sort of lost in the whole Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney thing.

What evs.  We watch White Christmas a lot.  And it always seems to snow afterwards.  Except this year.  Our magic was haywire and for the entire month of December, we sat at the window and waited, ever so patiently, for the flakes to descend from on high.  We did get some, don’t get me wrong.  Just not an abundance of it.

The irony of the entire last week, in which the three feet of snow dropped from the heavens, is that now, right now, ahora mismo, we don’t really need it.

I know, right?  Really.

You see, the Superman who lives here with the munchikin and I had to have some parts fixed before he can return to doing Superman things and being all Superman-y and such.  I didn’t realize this, but super heroes actually fall apart sometimes.  And need to be put back together, better than before.  Totally going to date myself here, but our  Superman will now be more like the 6 Million Dollar Man.  “We can rebuild him.”  He now has a titanium knee.  Yay!  Yay.  Yay…not so much.  There is simply not a lot of “yaying” going on around here right now.  Ahora mismo, there is A LOT of pain.

Dang pain.  Dang swelling.

And dang if Superman isn’t one of the worst patients I have EVER encountered.  And that’s saying a lot because one time I had a cow in the supplies closet.  She was peeved because I had removed a calf from her uterus and I’m thinking she wasn’t appreciating how pretty the sutures looked in her flank.  Or maybe she was peeved she’d had to stand for the whole thing.  Maybe she was looking for more drugs.  She never said.  And I never asked.  But she was one mean cow.

But she’s got nothing on Superman.  Holy crow but the man can be stubborn.  And irritable.  And just downright a pain in the kister.   Dang men.  Dang superheroes.

Luckily, luckily, Wonder Woman lives here too!!!!

I know, right?  What are the odds?  Because in which comic book did those two EVER get together?

Regardless, Wonder Woman is here and all will be right with the world.  She is handling the dang man just fine…with kid gloves.  And bullet-stopping bracelets.

Only this Wonder Woman has to put on a balaclava, down coat, three pairs of pants, headband and hat with ear flaps before setting out to shovel snow and feed the birds.  Because this Wonder Woman is dang smart and doesn’t parade around in tights and short shorts.   Progress on the feminist front I’d say.

Wish me luck.  The patient needs to be reminded to do his exercises.  Definitely going to need the bullet-stopping bracelets.

Blessings be from this winter wonderland.

 

 

 

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Intentions

Intentions, resolutions, changes, promises.

I stopped “making resolutions” a long time ago.  Mostly because, as with everyone I expect, I couldn’t stay with them.  I’d start out strong, slow down to a walk, eventually be crawling and finally lay, exhausted, on the floor, staring at THE RESOLUTION off in the distance.  Feeling like a worthless person, a loser, an incompetent lout.

Geez, that’s all rather harsh isn’t it?  Maybe not a lout, per se, but definitely not thinking very highly of myself.

And then the beatings would begin.  The banging up of the insides of my cranium as I failed to live up to my other-worldly expectations of my mortal self.  And then I’d just throw them all, THE RESOLUTIONS, to the wayside, walking past as if they were discarded trash and not worth my time.  I wouldn’t even pick them up and throw them away properly.  I’d just walk on past, pretending not to notice them, ignoring my shortcomings so the internal brain-bashing would cease.

Eventually I decided to simply not put anything like a RESOLUTION out there for the Universe to see.  It only ended up causing me more pain.

Fast forward several years to today.  I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about resolutions and intentions and attempts to live a better way.

This last year, 2016, was a complicated one, to be sure.  I have told the dear husband several times lately that I’ll be so glad for 2016 to be done and gone.  Buried under the ash heap of history.  He looks at me quizzically and says “why?”  I don’t think he’s trying to be intentionally obtuse.  I think he generally doesn’t see it the way I do.  I shake my head and say to him, “The Fire.”  He raises his dang eyebrows.  I then say, “The Election.”  He pauses for a moment, and I’m thinking to myself that maybe he’s seeing my light.  And then he raises his dang eyebrows again.  Shrugging as if to say, “meh.”

I stop there.  If those two catastrophic (in my crazy cranium way of looking at things) aren’t enough proof that 2016 needs to be kicked to the curb, then I’m out.  I can’t waste my precious seconds on this earth attempting to change another individual’s mind about…well…anything, truth be told.  We will simply agree to disagree.  I let him go.  Mostly because I was tired of those dang raised eyebrows.  I actually threatened him the other night that if he kept raising those dang eyebrows at me, I was going to get the tube of SuperGlue and make them permanently raised.

That elicited another raise of those dang eyebrows.

I stomped my foot and walked away.

Childish, yes.  But sometimes my only recourse.

Dang men.

I digress.

Intentions.  Resolutions.  Hope. Change.  Equanimity.  Peace.  Calm.  Serenity.

I have decided this year, 2017, that instead of making some grandiose RESOLUTION, I will try to live with better intentions.  I will try to “be the change I want to see in this world.” (M. Ghandi)

I will try to live with a sense of peace and equanimity of spirit.

May I see the rise and fall of things with equanimity.  (attributed to Buddha, I think)

Equanimity.

That’s a big word.  One definition: the ability to see without being caught by what we see.  Or to “see with patience or understanding.”

A second definition:  to stand in the middle of all of this; to remain centered or balanced in the middle of whatever is happening.

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/equanimity/

I am fairly certain I do not need to spell out for anyone the situation this might refer to, the “whatever is happening” that is now happening.  I don’t even really want to write about it because that seems to give it credence or make it more so, more real than it is.  And the reality is so frightening.

It took me about a month, but I finally, blessedly, peacefully and contentedly turned off the news.  Anyone who knows me knows how addicted I am to news, all news, but mostly the political news.  It simply became too much for my peaceful heart.  Each and every day since The Election brought more angst, more trauma, more anguish.  More powerlessness.   I found myself becoming increasingly upset and tied up in knots.  I was consumed.  And I realized this was no way to live.  Luckily for me (and those around me), we have a very large collection of Christmas/Holiday music which, when supplemented with the Jazz station, began to soothe my troubled mind and heart.

Now that the music is packed away until next holiday season, I find I have no desire to turn the news back on.  I like my quieted cranium.  I am learning to live with equanimity of spirit.  We will become jazz afficionados I expect.  Or connoisseurs of silence.

Another intention will be to stick close to a familiar mantra from over the years:

Goddess (Allah/Great Spirit/Universe/Great Mystery/God) grant me

serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

I need to focus on those things in my life, immediately around me right here, right now, that need changing, that I can change and that will benefit from me attempting to change.  Everything else is not my business.

This is something I struggle with; knowing what is and is not my business.  Knowing what to make hay out of and what to leave alone.  Knowing how far to take my involvement in something versus sitting back and staying quiet.  I don’t want to be a wallflower.  Wallflowers never get to dance.

I don’t want to be a hermit living in a bubble, because if we all did that, what kind of society would we have?   I don’t want to shirk my civic duties, my responsibility to help others who may need a hand up.

“To those who have been given much, much is expected in return.”  (Joseph Kennedy to his children)

I may not have material wealth to be doled out to those in need, but I have been given so much already.  I tell my precious daughter how fortunate we are, to have been born into a family that acknowledges the importance of education, service to others, and the need to pass it along.  How fortunate we are to live in this country that was fought for by people in our own family so many generations ago.

We have been given much, and much is expected in return.

Finding out just what the return is becomes the question.  What can I do?  What can my little voice accomplish?  I have no money to give, how can I be a productive member of society giving back some of what has been given to me?

Especially in this time, when the highest office in the land, the sacred office of President will now be occupied by a person who makes a mockery of it each and every single second of each day.  (There, the elephant in the room.)

I can be the change I wish to see in this world.

I can live with good intentions.  I can put good out there into the Universe, not bad.  I can start to see the rise and fall of all things with equanimity of spirit.  I can see without being caught by what I see.  I can cultivate patience of spirit.  I can ask for serenity of mind and acceptance of what I cannot change but courage to go forth and change what is in my power to change.

I read something interesting yesterday:

“If I allow myself to be influenced by what the (fill-in-the-bank) says and does, it will make blots and smears on the pages of my year.  This I will try to avoid at all costs.”  (from One Day at a Time in Al Anon)

I don’t think I need to be explicit in who/what goes in my version of “fill-in-the-blank” above.  Anyone who knows me knows who would be center stage there.

We have but precious few seconds on this earth, in this form we are in, right here, right now.  I cannot let the trifles of others consume me and ruin my precious few seconds.

Instead I choose equanimity.  I choose serenity.  I choose hope.  I choose peace and calm.

And those are my intentions for the next year, living it one day at a time.

Blessings be.

 

 

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

…a little girl sat in a darkened movie theater and watched a beautiful girl in white stand up to the bad guy dressed in black with a respiratory issue, talk back to the skinny-jowled Grand Moff Tarkin, wittily refer to the Wookie as a walking carpet and then go toe-to-toe with the cocky Han Solo.

That little girl then listened, over and over and over, to the cassette tapes of the movie, played the board game and dreamed of being the girl in white–standing up to the bullies in the world, fighting for the little guys, being stronger and smarter than the “rescuing heroes.”

That little girl grew up, went out into the world and made her way, always remembering the beautiful girl in white with the quick tongue and strong character.

The young woman had a loyal Golden Retriever, Sundance, who faithfully sat and watched the movies with her, when they were finally available on VHS tapes, continually marveling at the strengths of the heroine in white.

Along came a new little girl, introduced to the heroine in white by the little girl from long ago, now a mommy.

And the cycle began again.

Today’s little girl is growing up in a world where women are expected to be the heroine, where it’s normal for a woman to cheekily stand up to the bad guy in black and to then figure out how to rescue not just herself, but the band of inept males who came to rescue her in the first place.  Today’s little girl assumes that women are the ones who do the rescuing, lead the Rebellion, command the fleet and save the galaxy.

The world lost a shining light this morning.  The world lost a female heroine who was, yes, so much more than the beautiful woman in white fighting for the Rebellion against the evil Empire, but who will forever be remembered as Princess Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was a force unto herself, who enchanted a generation of youngsters, both girls and boys alike, as the fierce, cheeky, bright, beautiful, strong, brave Princess Leia.  That generation went on to share her with their children, whose girls now grow up assuming women just are Princess Leia…fierce, cheeky, bright, beautiful, strong and brave.

My heart is heavy with sadness this night.  I’ve cried many tears this day because this loss is so much more than the death of an actress.  Princess Leia was, is, a phenomenon in her own right.  Yes, Star Wars and all it entails is, well, I’m not sure how exactly to categorize it.  It is a thing.  A phenomenon I suppose.  But Princess Leia aka Carrie Fisher was a phenomenon within the phenomenon.  Enough of that word.  I suppose I should dig out the thesaurus.  Princess Leia just was.  And Carrie Fisher made her so.

Anyone who knows me knows what a Star Wars fanatic I am.  I am incredibly blessed that my dearest, most precious daughter picked up Sundance’s mantle and now shares this obsession with me.  We have “Star Wars weekends” in which we watch all of the movies, in order.  Quoting as we go.  It drives the dear husband bananas.  He doesn’t get it.

But he’s not a girl.  And the heroine, the beautiful girl in white, wasn’t for him.  Or the rest of the boys.  She was for us, the girls.  She was a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with, a force for good in the galaxy.

And now she is no more, except as captured, forever, on the screen.

May the Force be with you, always, Carrie Fisher.  May you find peace and calm wherever you may be this night.  Thank you for all of the wonderful things you’ve done throughout your much too short life–advocating for those with depression, baring your soul regarding your demons, living with the persona of Princess Leia that was larger than your own life.

May the Force be with us all as we venture forth into the coming days.  The scrappy Rebels fighting against the evil Empire once more.

 

 

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So “that” happened. Way to go America.

WARNING:  Foul language will be encountered, should you choose to proceed.

Wow.  Just wow.  It’s taken me several days now to try to sort the jumble of words in my brain.  And I’m not really sure I’ve accomplished much more than this: WTF America?

Seriously.  WTflippingF.

I’m having such a difficult time squaring this circle.  I’m fairly certain I’m not alone, but I find no solace in that thought.  I find no comfort knowing that others are sharing this pain.

And pain it is.  I’ve seen this compared to grief, loss, anger, disappointment, disbelief that the unimaginable has occurred, etc, etc, etc.  (And all I have running through my brain is the soundtrack from Hamilton, an American musical: “It’s Quiet Uptown.”  “…he’s dealing with the unimaginable…”)

I’m also fairly certain I’ve been through Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief about 27 times.  Up and back down again, over and over and over.  Like a bad record.

I’ve done everything I know how to do when it comes to taking care of myself and self-helping myself through a difficult, to put it mildly, time.

I’ve been lotus-sitting, deep-breathing and mandala-coloring.  There is nothing I haven’t tried in the last several days.  Well, I haven’t smoked any marijuana.  Nor gone sky-diving.

I’ve burned all of my expensive smelly candles in an attempt at aromatherapy.  I’ve been crossword-puzzling, Sudoku-ing and My Little Pony playing.

I’ve been standing next to my table top water fountain trying to get in tune with the trickling water sounds.  I’ve gone outside to feed the birds, talk to the birds, watch the birds.  I’ve loved on the dogs, thrown balls for the dogs, brushed the dogs, fed the dogs, cleaned up after the dogs.

I’ve cleaned the house.  I’ve let the dirt accumulate on the floor.  I’ve looked at the bathrooms, trying to get up the energy to clean them, then said, “WTF” and walked away.

I’ve read articles on how we need to “understand Trump supporters” and promptly threw up in my mouth a little bit.

I’ve read articles on how we must resist.  And stand up and fight.  How?  What?

I’ve read columns on impending doom, global calamity.  I’ve had friends (Trump-supporting friends mind you) text me and tell me that it’s all going to be just fine.  And don’t I know that? And don’t I know that I’m old enough to know that and wise enough to know that?  (I ended the conversation.)

I’ve cried.  I’ve reassured my daughter while she was crying.  I’ve had my husband reassure me.

I’ve read horrendous posts about the violence being perpetrated against all those people deemed “other” by Trump supporters.

I’ve watched our dear, esteemed President Obama sit grimly in the Oval Office and shake the hand of the man who tried to delegitimize his presidency for years (and then denied doing so).  A man who President O knows, in his heart of hearts, is not just temperamentally unfit, but completely, wholly, undeniably unfit to hold the highest office in the land.  And President Obama had to do this for the sake of this nation.  Can you even imagine how that must have felt?  I cannot.

I’ve listened to jazz music, Hamilton the musical, watched White Christmas (because, Bing Crosby).  All in an attempt to distract myself from the searing, white-hot, gut-wrenching, life-upending pain of this week.

Remember the earthquake and tsunami in Japan?  And how it actually caused the earth’s axis to get all wobbly.

Yeah.  We’re bat-shit crazy wobbly here in America.  And that will soon translate to the rest of the world as well.

I’ve read articles ranging from saying that “all will be well, don’t worry” to articles spelling impending global economic collapse.

I’ve read theories stating that Campaign Trump is so much different from President Trump.  And then theories that he’ll be impeached by his own party cause they only ever wanted Mike Pence (which is a whole other story for another day…another nightmare to try to wake up from…that dude is one bad hombre).  And the final consensus?

Who the fuck knows what is going to happen.

WTflippingF America?

I told you to choose well.  I told you to choose light, not dark.  That meant choosing good not evil, happy thoughts not fear.  That meant choosing to love your neighbor, not rip off their hijabs and beat the crap out of them.  That meant not teaching your middle school children how to chant “build that wall” in the cafeteria at a middle school in Michigan.  That meant not scrawling on a wall in Durham, NC “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes.”  (Nice grammar there graffiti dudes.  Learn to speak and write correctly please.)

Choosing well does not mean yelling at someone speaking Spanish, in a personal conversation on her phone, and then when she tells you she speaks four languages, telling her to “fuck off.”

Choosing well does not mean telling a black person they have to sit at the back of the bus because we have a new president now.

All of these things have happened in the few short days since this country elected a racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, bullying, narcissistic megalomaniac.

And do you know what his response has been?

A tweet about the protests being “so unfair” because we had “an open election.”

Yet just three short weeks ago (seems like a lifetime ago) this same demagogue was complaining about rigged elections.

Things that make me bat-shit crazy, off-my-rocker, nuts0-insanely mad.

Way to go America.  Nice fucking job.

(No, I’m not signing off here with my usual “Blessings be” because at this moment, I’m in the anger stage.  I expect I’ll get out of it soon, as I’ve been cycling in and out since Tuesday night.  I’ll be compassionate again soon.  I promise.)

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I had the craziest dream last night.

Then I woke up this morning and see that it wasn’t a bad dream at all.  It really happened.

And all I have to say is: “America, do you realize what you’ve done?”

I wrote yesterday that I hoped America chose well.  I hoped that America would choose to embrace the light.  I hoped America would choose inclusivity and hope and love.

Then I watched video feed of Trump supporters jumping up and down and maniacally shouting “lock her up, lock her up” when another state was called for Trump.

That’s not choosing love, people.  That’s not choosing hope.  That’s not choosing inclusivity or tolerance or the higher ground or selflessness or looking out for others or…I am fast running out of words.

And you know it’s bad when I run out of words.

Gracelyn was inconsolable last night.  She’s seen through Donald Trump from the beginning.  I didn’t even have to say anything.  All she did was listen to his words.  And his voice.  She decided early on what she thought of him.  And she learned early on what his plans (if they could be called that) are for the country.

So when it was almost over last night, she began crying and asked me “what are we going to do?”

I decided then and there I needed to be the adult in the room (because, you know, really, who else was it going to be?  Hobbes the tiger that was also there?) and I wiped away her tears, wrapped my arms around her tightly and told her that “we will all be ok, it will all be ok.”

I lied.  To my dearest, most precious daughter.

Because I do not truly believe it will be ok.  I do not think this will end well for us. I do not think America’s best days are coming.  I think we, and I have to say this collectively, have given the keys to the country to a misogynistic, racist, bullying megalomaniac.  And to any Republicans in the supposed checks and balances part of the government, I would wish you luck.  Any thought that you will be able to control Donald Trump is folderol.  Truly.  Simply that.  He is a loose cannon.  You created this.  You will have to deal with it.

More comforting of the daughter this morning as she woke up and started crying when she realized, as I did, that last night was not a bad dream.  I told her we have two choices:

Choice A would be to wallow in the sadness and despair and embrace the dark and the hate

or

Choice B would be to accept the outcome of last night, pick ourselves up, and head out with our heads held high and putting love out there at every opportunity.  (This being the only real choice.)

I guess I did have some words after all.  Not feeling too much happiness or hopefulness this morning, but we must put the best foot forward and believe that we can carry on, trying to be good examples of all that is right with this country.

Blessings be.

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