Archives for posts with tag: vote

When I think it over with great care, that’s really all we’ve ever got; an outsider’s perspective on each other. We’re each having our own experience. We’re still all in this together… and somehow… still looking at each from the perspective of being “someone else”. It’s fairly ludicrous to be so frankly similar, and also behaving like we’re each so very different from each other. “Us” versus “them” is much easier if you really do believe there’s a difference. (Isn’t there?!) (Is there?)

This morning I take a moment – before I scroll through any feeds, or check any news sources – I take time to be aware how very similar we each other, even to our pettiness, our small heartbreaks, our fears and doubts and insecurities, our sense of glorious triumph over… trivia. So human. Our hate is as human as our ability to love – and much easier to tap into, by the time we are “adult”. I shrug off the moment of bitterness that tries to gain a foothold. Breathe. Relax. Exist. There will be time later to look at the news. Right now, I just want to feel that feeling of connection and shared experience… without connecting right now, or sharing this one. 🙂

Today I’ll make a point to be open, and to listen – really listen, not just wait for my turn to talk – and to put some verbs behind understanding a speaker’s point of view, instead of just fighting a battle of words, based on my assumptions – and my outsider’s perspective. I’ll use questions to find my way to a real understanding – and seek that understanding authentically. Understanding each other matters more than sharing each other’s opinions. Once we understand, our own position becomes more clear without undermining the opinions we don’t share. It’s not about being right.

Having said that – there’s no amount of being agreeable that remains appropriate if someone is specifically bent on doing me harm. Or Nazis. No point seeking agreement with Nazis. It’s not necessary to worry about having a greater understanding of hate – once you recognize it, get the fuck out of harm’s way, or do battle. Don’t feed the online trolls. Don’t promote fascism. Don’t nurture Nazis. Fucking vote. (Did you?)

I’ll look at the election results later. Right now, I’m enjoying my own company quietly, feeling content, and ready to begin again. 🙂 It’s enough.

It’s the Monday after Daylight Savings Time ends. I woke up an hour earlier than my alarm was set, because, of course I did. It’ll be weeks of it before I adjust. I got ahead and get up though, and take advantage of the opportunity to more gradually delay my morning medication. It’s the sort of thing I should take at the same time each day, so I’m sure it’s helpful that I am making that change gradually.

Seated on my meditation cushion, enjoying that quiet time soaked in contentment, my mind strayed ever-so-briefly to the recent work project consuming my consciousness for so many weeks. Well, shit; my blood pressure increased, and now I have this knot in my stomach radiating tension through the rest of my body. Oh yeah. Probably gonna be weeks of that, too. Fucking hell. I breathe. Relax. Repeat. Bring my mind back to meditation, and do that again, repeating the whole sequence a number of times. Working to steady myself in this moment right here, instead of allowing my consciousness to creep forward in time, preventing it from creating a new reality of disaster that doesn’t exist. Halting the process the terrorizing myself using my own insecurities and anxiety and stress about change.

I begin again. Actually, I begin again a couple times, in a very short period of time, before I am really back to meditating.

Weird morning. There’s no real way to determine how much of my anxiety this morning is truly about the completed work project, and how much is actually the literal physical experience of the end of DST. Quite probably a mix of the two, with some extras thrown in. Sitting here at my desk, I’m forced to consider more of the minutiae of what is driving my anxiety when I get a polite automated reminder from my healthcare provider to schedule some routine maintenance. This, too, causes my anxiety to flare up in the back ground. So much adulting to do! Fuck.

Did you vote? Will you? Please? Fucking hell, please don’t let’s have to go over, again, why it matters (so much). I know, I know, it’s a rigged system – but if you don’t at least vote, you get literally no opportunity to participate in the most basic of processes that is useful to change it! Just vote. Then do all sorts of other stuff, too: write letters, emails, make phone calls, protest, vote with your dollar by supporting the merchants who also support the candidates and changes you do – right now even fucking businesses count as people, so support only those that truly support you.

Another Monday. Another moment. Another chance to begin again. 🙂

I went to bed knowing the likely outcome of the election, already feeling tense and stressed out. I slept. I even slept deeply. I woke early. I checked the news briefly, long enough to know that we’ve made our choice. Huh. America’s first openly out “rapist-in-chief”. It’s vile, although he’s certainly not the first narcissistic racist misogynist homophobic wealthy white man of privilege to hold the office (not even the only one in my lifetime). I sigh. I close the news.

I wonder if I can go four years without checking the news again… Four years seems an eternity, although I know better than that; four years is a fraction of the years I’ve been alive, and a smaller fraction still of human kind’s history on earth. It’s just four years. It seems horrifying to give this particular human being so much “power” over so many vulnerable people… and I think about “checks and balances” and high school lectures about American government, and also the challenges our first African-American president had getting fuck all done because some insecure bigots couldn’t bear the idea of a brown president, and were so easily able to stop him in his tracks with obstructionist bullshit. Four years will pass. If we don’t destroy the world in a misuse of nuclear armament, someone new will move into the office in just four years.

I’ve been around for 14 presidential elections. Social media stoked emotion to magnitudes of intensity I associate with mental illness for this one, and we all more or less survived with our sanity intact. Mostly. It’s the first election I recall where there were fatalities at polling places. I take a deep breath. I feel myself relax. I think about past presidents, in my own lifetime. They haven’t all been what I would consider “good people”, but clearly they had the followers to become president. Being a good human being has not seemed to be an American criteria for holding office. Ever. Our “democracy” is available for purchase, which is… grotesque. It’s also not actually democratic. I find myself wondering who really owns the new guy – someone does. Someone always does. If not going into it, then on the way out the door. It’s a profitable gig, and not because of the paycheck that goes with it. We’ve known it for a while. We tolerate it, although I don’t know why we do.

Bernie’s right; we’ve got to keep pushing. There is work to be done. We’ve got to keep insisting on clean air, clean water, better consumer protections, rational healthcare and prescription drug prices, laws that are fairly applied, and real equality for all our citizens, real democracy, justice for victims of violence, for victims of bias and hate, and continued forward momentum as human beings – and there are verbs involved. If we want to change the world, we have to choose change. The loudest voices, the angriest voices, don’t have to be the voices that make the rules, even within our own hearts… but yeah, there are verbs involved. We’ll have to begin again.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Today is a good day to begin again. Today I will do my best to set aside my own fear – terror, really – of what comes of this choice America has made. I’ll take a deep breath and begin again each time my fear and anxiety rise up. Most things, day-to-day, in most moments of my experience are not directly affected by who is president. I take a deep breath. I relax. I begin again.

I am groggy this morning. As I scrolled through my feeds, skimming headlines, I felt a sad tug on my heart to see so much violence and hate. It’s hard to watch. Fear and anger escalating with the excessive media use of buzzwords and sensationalism to gain readers (and dollars), and more or less mostly innocent citizen bystanders (consumers) caught in that sticky web of emotion and salesmanship. I found myself actually feeling physically ill, and surprised by the intensity of my reaction – then realized I was probably nauseous from my medication this morning.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

I heard footsteps run past my front door, which is unusual at any hour in this neighborhood, and somewhat alarming at 5:45 am. Combined with the negative headlines, I feel my anxiety creeping up, and ‘home defense’ drifts across my thought-scape. I recognize the trend, and pause for a few deep breaths, taking time to re-engage in ‘now‘; I am okay right now, and there is nothing in my real experience of the  morning to cause me fear or hurt me. It’s pouring rain outside, and a stranger running by is likely just trying to get from the parking lot to the front door without being drenched. Fear doesn’t care about reason, and I find more often than not that taking time to be present in this moment right here, and awake, aware, and mindful there is nothing for fear to build on. There are plenty of terrifying ‘what-if’ scenarios I could run in my head, and even make life decisions on, but it seems a foolish waste of limited mortal lifetime, when there is also so much joy in which I could invest, and partake.

Violence does exist. Choosing not to live minute-to-minute defending myself from fear of violence is one of many possible choices. I have friends who choose differently, and live prepared for violence with an ample arsenal of firearms, open carry permits, and weekend visits to the range for target practice just in case violence ever visits them at home. I have other friends who choose to live with the fear of violence, and without taking any particular steps to secure their own safety, just taking on the fear itself, deepening and investing in it, and letting their fear drive their decisions and rhetoric. I have friends who do neither; they are not convinced that violence exists in any real sense, they have experienced little of it themselves and for them it is very far away and abstract. I know people, they are not those I would call ‘friend’, who live differently with violence; they are violent. People who lash out in anger, seeking to do harm, to injure, to be avenged, to punish – they see themselves as righteous and justified, doing what is ‘right’ or ‘necessary’, and don’t recognize the damage done as being in any way wrong. I see them out in the world, snarling at their loved ones on cell phones, or on the bus, spewing righteous anger and vexation in interactions with strangers – people they couldn’t possibly know well enough to hate – and treating their loved ones even worse. The headlines tell the tale of each of the many sorts of human beings interacting with each other. Violence added to the mix generates sales headlines. Scary sort of world we’ve built, isn’t it? We’ve chosen this. You and I – all of us together – this is the world we have made.

How will I make the world better, myself, in some small way? How will you? If enough of us just keep at it, can we turn this thing around? It probably begins with small simple things, like not yelling at your partner in a moment of anger, or like really listening when a woman is talking about the challenges in her experience of being female, or like taking a deep breath and not freaking out when something goes wrong, and maybe also putting down the handheld devices and making eye contact – and conversation. Setting aside the inflammatory news articles might also be a good start, and maybe sharing positive news more often than negative news could be helpful, too. We could cast our vote with great care, really thinking about the consequences of our choice, by thinking ahead to ‘our’ candidate winning, and imagining the reality of every one of their stated policies becoming real – what would that be like for us? For those people over there? For someone else? We could fact check our fears, too, that might be useful, and refrain from getting into emotionally driven arguments with people when neither involved party has an educated insight into the issues, rather than just spewing emotional garbage at each other until someone gets hurt. We could approach every interaction with another human being as though that other human being is (they are) every bit as human as we are, ourselves – and fully due the same consideration and courtesy we would enjoy experiencing, and then behave that way. We could each simply not kill someone today, or tomorrow, and also refrain from voting for – or hiring – people who seem to favor violence, killing, or incarceration as a solution to the world’s problems. We could invest more of our global resources in human life, than in ending it – both right here and home, and over there on foreign shores.

Domestic violence is not a separate thing from war. Child abuse is not a separate thing from terrorism. Hate is hate. Fear is fear. Abuse of power isn’t less abusive when it is between a parent and a child than it is between an elected leader and the constituency, or between law enforcement and a citizen – but we’ve trained ourselves to excuse so much violence in the day-to-day social landscape that we are ill-equipped to reject it at all. Enraged screaming, slamming things, and breaking stuff at home is not a far distance to travel to murder – and tolerating it socially by making excuses for domestic violence is not a far distance to travel to sending strangers children to die in foreign wars by voting for fear-mongering xenophobic extremists. Seriously. We are each so very human… Fear is easy. Anger is easy. Hate is easy. We have the potential to offer each other so much more. Choose. You can, and so can I – and we do.

This seems glum this morning. I don’t mean it to, honestly. I feel rather hopeful – the very power to choose that finds us here with the world in the state it is,  is so profoundly powerful that we have each moment, this moment, every moment, to choose differently. I guess that while that is indeed incredibly hopeful and promising, it’s a tad glum too, because the people who could benefit the world by choosing differently than they do are not likely to be the people who read the words I write – and I am just one voice. I am regularly cautioned that I am ‘not being realistic’ or that I ‘don’t understand violence’ – often based on the assumption that I have little experience with it. It’s frustrating – sometimes frustrating enough to evoke actual anger, a powerful reminder of how easily we could be tempted to stray into the realm of violence ourselves, in a moment of emotion.

Be love.

Be love.

Here’s the thing though, the hopeful bit, we really do have the power to choose change. It’s a good day to change the world.

It’s the Monday before mid-term elections. I’m not sure what is the more important observation, that it is Monday, or that mid-term elections are tomorrow. Mondays are what they are, and the parents of the 50’s and 60’s dragging their hung over butts out of bed too early each Monday morning to drag themselves to jobs surrounded by chain-smoking coworkers, no doubt faced some nasty feeling Mondays back in the day. Considering the cultural changes – and there have been many, when I take a moment to look closely – result in the high likelihood that few Mondays these days are actually ‘that bad’ for most working adults; we still bitch about Mondays. It’s the first day back after the weekend for many folks, although not all, and I think if people were honest with themselves, Mondays are not really that big a deal – unless we’re making choices to make them suck, ourselves. I even know, first hand, a whole bunch of people who not only claim to enjoy their work – but actually no kidding seem to really dig what they do to earn a living, and approach it with great enthusiasm and a sense of fun. That’s pretty amazing – and certainly undercuts the whole ‘Mondays suck’ notion.

I work for a living. It’s a good job. I don’t mind it, generally, but in  principle I could take or leave ‘gainful’ employment. I’m a fan of the idea of ‘basic income‘, personally. Technology has come so far that it makes sense that there may be fewer ‘jobs’ – great! Ideally, couldn’t that mean that more people don’t have to work? More human beings could invest their time and effort in creative endeavors, in socially meaningful work that is often considered the sort of thing that ‘doesn’t pay the bills’, and even more thoughtful pursuits like research, philosophy, and writing could be undertaken by people who could not easily have dreamed so large before… a basic income socio-economic model could free humanity from the tyranny of struggling on minimum wage. Minimum wage jobs would become the ‘upgrade’ someone could take on – part-time, even – to improve their lot enough to be sufficient for them, personally, while writing that great American novel, or filming their movie, or getting their degree. Human beings would have a more level playing field in which to create, and grow, and thrive. It would make Mondays irrelevant, certainly. I’d love to see our culture mature to a point that it isn’t a loss of personal value to society to be without employment; to value people based on what they choose to do, themselves, with their time, and not put such high value on indentured servitude to the agenda of others.

Autumn raindrops

Autumn raindrops

Sorry. I’ll put the soapbox away now; it is, after all, a Monday. It’s also the day before election day. I hope you voted; it makes a difference, and although the difference you make with your one vote may be small (as small as one vote), it is significant beyond measure when you raise your voice, and make the effort. 🙂

Winners and losers abound in the discussion of the election drama unfolding this week. I’m bored with it already, not because I don’t value my role, and not because the measures up for consideration are without meaning or worth, themselves, but more because individual people so often tend to view elections through a lens of winners and losers. When a vote has a successful outcome – win or lose – the result is that life is better for more people than it was before. That’s it. Doesn’t matter if it is a ‘yes’ vote, or a ‘no’ vote, and it doesn’t matter whether a change is made – when it comes time to evaluate the win/lose of an election, only one things really matters to make that determination; is life better for more people? If not, I consider the election lost. Just my way of viewing it. I don’t find value in being emotionally invested in the specific yes/no outcome of an individual measure, much of the time. I definitely vote my values, and what matters to me – but I consider with great care the outcome for all. It matters.  Our laws ‘write the code’ for our social experience.

Patterns in nature and life

Patterns in nature and life

So much serious stuff. It’s Monday. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a hater. Why invest the minutes of your precious mortal life in misery? Do you enjoy those feelings that much? It seems unlikely that you do. 😉

Yesterday was lovely. The travelers returned home much earlier than planned, and I welcomed them happily. We had a great time over an early supper, and watched a favorite movie. It was a chill fun evening, and a great homecoming experience. I love homecomings…they feel exciting, and connected, and joyful.

The occasional autumn flower

The occasional autumn flower

Today is a good day to relish a Monday. Today is a good day for perspective on what matters most, and that we are each having our own experience. Today is a good day for smiles, hope, and positive intentions. Today is a good day to feast our hearts on joy and delight, and to recognize the fundamental humanity of others around us. Today is a good day to change the world.