narrative of fear

Some days I wake up scared. I wake up not having a clue what’s going to happen next. Or worse, maybe I do. Everything feels a little out of control like I need to hold onto something. 

Seems like things come out of left field almost every day now and it’s hard to process. Everyone I meet feels the same way. We are just holding onto our various pieces of flotsam while these giant waves carry us along. We look at each other behind our masks from our six-foot stations imprinted on the floor with the question in our eyes where are we going? 

The sun comes up and I listen to the birds singing it’s as if everything is normal but I know it’s not. Maybe for the first time ever I find myself fearing for our fundamental freedom as human beings on this earth and I wonder how to fight for that. I fear the actions of our species far more than what nature may bring. But fear is how it all works isn’t it? And we are going mach 5. 

I have to make myself stop and listen awhile to what’s true and beautiful outside my window in the trees in the sky in the air in my soul and then I am not scared but my heart still rends for what is happening.

It doesn’t make me feel safe to be masked to be distanced to be tracked to be left to die alone in the hands of masked strangers to be tested to be medicated to be genetically altered to be fed gibberish data to suckle a debilitating narrative merely masquerading as science to be cut off from community culture the very rhythm of life no this, this is not the way.

I finally let go of that piece of flotsam only to discover I am the leviathan. The fear dissipates in a poof of anger that just as quickly transforms into power. I claim that.

fear culture: not a marker for good health

As we go back to ‘normal’, whatever that was (scratching head), it turns out there’s nothing normal at all. 

Everyone is skittish and leery of each other. All of our cultural activities, aside from protesting, are gone. It’s no fun to eat out with all the crazy protocols, even if you’re brave enough to go. There’s no singing together, no music events, even outdoors. No hugs, no pats on the back except at home. I can’t imagine who’s going to theaters and how that’s going to be done. Schools – I cannot fathom what we are thinking about doing to kids by placing them in what will be such unnatural environments. Doing anything where other people are around is a production. 

And the masks, everywhere the masks.

I can’t help but ask, what exactly is healthy about all this? I think more and more that what we’ve done is to actually create a very unhealthy environment. The constant drumming of fear along with the lack of community and culture are health detractors. For some people, it can be a killer. 

The people most at risk for COVID-19, we are told, are folks with underlying conditions. Just yesterday, I noticed articles mentioning that obesity is a big risk factor. Certain commonly prescribed drugs also seem to play a role. Heart disease, diabetes, the list goes on. Wouldn’t it make sense, rather than enforcing mask rules, strange protocols, and surveillance on everyone, to instead focus on getting and living healthy in the first place?

When I go to the grocery store, I can’t help but notice what’s promoted in the aisles and what people are putting in their carts. And it’s. not. healthy. How can we be surprised when it turns out there’s lots of people with underlying problems?

I don’t blame people. We have been rigorously trained via education and media to adopt unhealthy lifestyles. People are also victims of class problems that create unhealthy ways of living. Our health industry compounds the problems by pushing us toward drugs and procedures rather than working to create actual good health. No, the culpability rests at the door of government and the corporations making bank on all of our ‘normal’ woes. We do, however, have individual responsibility to ask questions, seek truth, and demand peace and justice at every level including our physical health.

If we’re going to rise above this crazy time, as we seek better lives for everyone, we can make the simple choice to live healthy and to help other people live healthy. 

The obvious first step is to go vegan, or at least to head in that direction. I know it’s a bitter pill for some people, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Moving away from an animal-centric diet not only directly impacts one’s individual health in a positive way, it also supports the elimination of one of the biggest potential disease-spreading industries out there. Plus, it’s good for the animals and the earth, big time.

Pesticides. Herbicides. GMO. Antibiotics. Water contamination. That’s before you even get to excess fat. It’s kind of a no-brainer when you think about underlying conditions, isn’t it?

There may be a scary illness going around, but what we’ve done in response to it is terrifying and unnatural. Let’s back out of the fear culture. Let’s take responsibility for ourselves and get healthy. Going vegan is a great first step. 

go ahead and ask

At this point, we all have a lot of questions. We have all heard conflicting stories. Fear may keep someone in a strident mask-bound stance, but even they cannot help but have doubts.

And that’s as it should be. 

There has been enough conflicting, dubious information, that you’re not awake if you haven’t noticed. You should have doubts and questions.

Based on a narrative, we have turned our culture on its head. We are reduced to anonymous, hidden entities. We are uncomfortable in what used to be normal spaces for us. We are largely separated from community. The looming agenda for our children’s schools should frighten any thinking parent. Our livelihoods, our food supply are threatened. Trackers are hired, and apps developed for the purpose of knowing even better who we know and where we go. Discourse is censored. Medicine and our control over our own bodies are becoming even further not matters of choice but submission to state decisions.

We are citizens of the earth first. We have every right to question the narrative as well as what government seeks to decree. 

We need to look with open minds and compassion at each other as we find our way through this. We need to look at each other with respect instead of being driven apart by fear. 

The people who stridently support everything they are told are trying their best to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. 

The people who question and resist also have everyone’s best interests at heart — they are no less invested in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

This is a time for people to come together – in the midst of our enforced alienation – to find the true answers and discover the truly healthy path we should follow. We must come out of the trenches of fear and move towards love to find the truth.

We must allow the questions. We must be willing to listen and to learn. We must be willing to confront the narrative and to take a loving stand. With no time to spare.

storm warnings

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After our balmy weekend temperatures in the 40’s, the snow had all but disappeared.

Mother Nature has taken care of that overnight, laying a blanket of snow on everything. Still, as I peer out into the early morning darkness, it doesn’t quite amount to what I would call a full-blown winter storm – at least not right where I am.

I thought about that yesterday, when I started noticing all the warnings about the impending weather. I wondered if there would really be any snow at all in my neck of the woods. Experience has shown there’s a heckuva lot of hand-wringing hype when it comes to weather. 

Same thing used to happen when I was in Florida – all the ballyhoo around the developing storms out in the Atlantic and all their various possible tracks, and, oh my, what they might become and do.

All the fearful advance reporting treats weather as a mythic, angry god before whom we cower and fight.

Weather is certainly important, much to be respected, and requires response, but the type of hype to which we are subjected mainly works to maintain the stress, worry, and fear that is so characteristic of our society.

It’s not as if people for thousands of years did not manage without weather reports ad infinitum.

I’m guessing the ancients were better about weather than we are. They would have been much more tuned into Nature, and would have noticed subtle signs and changes, and respected them. They would have planned ahead for winter based on experience, and without benefit of plows or snow blowers.

And they weren’t exactly pillaging the planet, either.

Even with all of our technology and science and advance warnings, we still have power outages, blocked roads, closings, flight delays, and plenty of destruction whether it’s snow or hurricanes, floods or fires. In fact, there’s more and more of them all the time.

And despite the avalanche of advance warnings, we basically do nothing anyway to take the steps we can to, say, ease climate change.

Just in the last few days, the US government released its Fourth National Climate Assessment. Now, there’s a storm warning! Among its dire findings, it reached this rather understated conclusion:

While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.

Hmm. Substantial damages. 

There is another approach. Maybe we could try trust and respect when it comes to earth and its atmosphere. Maybe we could be amazed by Nature, amazed by our interdependence – and try working with that. Maybe instead of wringing our hands, we could finally join hands with our planet. Maybe instead of hype, we could take heart.

And somehow weather the storm.

step into the light

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Who is not weary with the state of our world these days?

Another week passes in which violent acts and the rhetoric of violence, hate, and fear ratchet up yet further. My heart breaks for the victims and their friends and families.

This senselessness is not visited on our society by accident.

We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by this steady diet of fear and foment. We cannot shrink in fear, take cover, or button up in self-censorship before the emboldened bullying and horrific cowardly acts.

This is a time to walk, always and obviously, in love and respect. We need to show our true colors, love and respect.

It was just a week ago that the Women’s March on the Pentagon happened and received pretty much zero coverage in mainstream media. This was a demonstration and launch of a movement in support of peace in this world.

Could it be that there are those who just don’t really want us to be aware of our strength? To be aware that our values of love, respect, justice, and peace are met in each other and shared by so many? To realize our power in those shared values?

We need to force that hand with ongoing, persistent displays, both individual and collective, of what most of us are really about and what we really support – love and respect, peace and justice.

I remember a time not so many years ago that I planted a sign in my yard that simply said, “Peace.” This was so infuriating to certain elements in the area, that the sign was repeatedly ripped out or stolen in the dead of night. The word “Peace” was somehow a threat to those elements.

What if everyone who seeks and supports peace, love, and respect in this world simply showed it?

Although it’s most of us, we’re a pretty quiet bunch – and certainly in terms of media coverage.

Fact is, though, it is most of us, by far. And if we can just wake up, stand together, raise our non-violent voices, and use our unique gifts to express the message of love and respect, we will find we are stronger and more powerful than the dark forces that have seized the stage.

The oft-quoted thought by John Stuart Mill remains as true as ever: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

And Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observation remains sadly relevant: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

We all share this space on our planet. “Every man for himself” is not a productive strategy.

Let’s change the discourse. Let’s move away from the steady stream of vile rhetoric and behaviors to which we have become all too much accustomed and somehow tolerant. Let’s just not stand for it.

We need to speak in the light. Our words should reflect the intelligence and wisdom of the ages. We have the benefit of thousands of years of human history, after all. Violence and the language of violence solve nothing. They never have.

Let us go out of our way to step proudly and openly into the light for peace, love, respect, justice.

Stand firmly there. You won’t be alone.

stand in compassion

When we are not standing in compassion, we are standing in shadow. And sadly, I see a lot of darkness around me at the moment.

So many of our problems can be traced back to matters of compassion, whether personal or collective. When compassion goes missing, problems arise or fester. And in compassion, we find solutions and solace.

Gary Zukav reminds us, “Love liberates. Fear imprisons.”

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If we allow ourselves to feel our compassion, it changes how we live – because compassion is not a passive thing. It acts. It is interactive. It always occurs in relation.

The lack of compassion constitutes an action as well, sometimes expressing as a failure to act. All too often, of late, it also translates to adult bullying, hostility, and cruelty.

If we allow ourselves to feel our compassion, it compels us to change the things we can, not simply to wait for the powers that be to solve things for us. They’re not planning on solving them anyway.

When one person acts with compassion, it is powerful. When many act with compassion, it changes the world.

Compassion does not simply look on as injustice is carried out, as children sit in tents without their parents, as bombs rain down, as voices are silenced, as poverty exists, as harsh words demean and distort. It does not quietly make room for suffering.

We make a choice to be compassionate – to honor the best of ourselves.

This is a time to be radical in our compassion, to fully feel it, and to be fueled by it.

a gift from the labyrinth

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For what seemed like the very first time in my entire remembered life, I felt completely free of fear. I let that realization flow through me. Elation, gratitude, amazement, love, joy rushed in to fill the space left by fear’s retreat. Oh, to capture and keep the treasured moment alive!

The labyrinth never fails to surprise. It never fails to gift me with experience, or insight, or a restful acceptance.

veru8_10_17aThis day, my mindful steps in the labyrinth allowed me to finally learn what it feels like to carry no fear, and to see the possibility of living joyfully without the abiding fear.

I paused in the moment of discovery, smiling. Then, inevitably, my steps resumed. Concerned solely with each step I was taking, only aware of the short distance directly beyond my feet, I followed the path that presented itself.

As my steps wound slowly, seemingly meaninglessly around, I could see that the footfalls of my past traced a path. The future, too, would be forged by my steps. And then there was simply the step I took that very moment.

Looking back, and looking ahead, and standing silently in the center of that labyrinth, I knew I walked the path of love. I had always walked the path of love. No matter how convoluted or nonsensical it may have seemed, the path led unerringly. Step by step.

Today, I awoke with the familiar anxiety and fear. I thought of my path. I don’t know the path. I don’t know where it goes. I can only see just where my foot is about to land, and that’s a little blurry.

I know, however, that this is the path of love I walk. There is trust in each step. There is trust in the path.