breathe with the earth

Breath comes slow and easy as light begins to filter through, gently breaking up the night. Breathing yet with the earth, calm pervades, questions long released to dreams, and now forgotten. The breath comes as sure of purpose as the reaching rays of light, the unclaspable growth of all the tender, green things, the insistent push of the river.

The breath comes so sure of purpose until the myriad of little startles begin and proliferate, the alerts and notifications, the chirping of the self-holding devices somehow always there. The breath catches, its pace changes, as the chirps and tinkling bells and snippets of music begin to fill the day. Ever ready to make life easier, the beeps and vibrations assume the helm, tracking and steering breathlessly.

Breathing into the palm of the hand, eyes fail to scan the treetops, the skidding clouds, the sun pushing brightly through the blossoming catalpa, the other eyes that would speak if they could, life relentlessly unfolding and whispering away on the stream.

Without fail, night comes and pulls toward sleep. The breath falters back toward that slow rhythm, synced once again, breathing with the earth, sure of purpose as the sun reaches above the horizon.

###

compassion, respect, dignity

In these times of fear, worry, and stress, it is really more important than ever that we demonstrate compassion, respect, and dignity. It helps us all if we can do that.

So it makes me sad when I read or hear vehement rhetoric concerning various issues that only serves to alienate and to shut down meaningful dialogue.  Yesterday, once again, I ran into a diatribe in which folks holding minority opinions on vaccines were written off as “anti-vaxxers” and in a very negative way. In the typical step further, too, they were dismissed as stupid.

It’s a pretty basic phenomenon that intolerance does not win hearts and minds. Nor are censorship, thought policing, and shunning markers of a healthy society.

The people being written off this way are just like anyone else finding their way through these difficult times. They have families and friends they deeply care about. 

There are a multitude of reasons why they may hold the position they do.  It’s not outlandish to consider them just because media, government, corporations, and the people around you espouse and promote a single point of view. The skeptics are just as much entitled to their opinions as anyone else, and sometimes well-buttressed with research too.

I can’t help but wonder if the folks doing the dismissing aren’t subconsciously and fearfully questioning the security of their own position. Such a person “doth protest too much, methinks,” borrowing from Shakespeare. Or, perhaps, there is simply a very strong need to put their virtue or their presumed intelligence on display. Or maybe it’s just groupthink.

And if you want to complain that the vaccine hesitant folks (or those with other similarly marginalized opinions) are the ones who are trolls, perhaps give some consideration to the notion that some of them are noisy because they are never given a real hearing. Vaccine skeptics have been vilified for decades with support from corporate media and government.

The skeptic’s position is perfectly legitimate in the context of “science.” Science necessarily involves skepticism, questions, doubts. It drives ever-closer looks at things. Science is not good science without it. The person who insists “the science is settled” especially in the midst of a huge, long-term experiment apparently does not understand science.

Regardless, whatever side of the fence a person is on relative to any issue, let us move past all the righteousness and approach each other with fundamental respect and compassion. We all have to get through this thing, through life indeed, together. We will be a healthier and stronger society if we can do that on this issue and others.

###

just questions

What becomes of children raised in a society laser-focused on fear and separation?

What becomes of people in the context of ever-deepening loss of community, connection, and culture?

What happens when people lose their personal privacy, integrity, and decision-making?

What becomes of a society that loses respect for differing opinions? A society in which debate, discourse, other points of view, and ideas that don’t fit the narrative are not acceptable, but rejected and censored away?

What happens to people’s health as social fabric disintegrates and the true tenets of health are ignored, obfuscated, and not supported?

What happens to a society relying on quick fixes like experimental medical treatments instead of actually taking care of health through true nutrition, exercise, rest, purposeful work, and good social connection and support?

What becomes of a society which tolerates the loss of autonomy and freedom, and the growth of state regulation, propaganda, and tyranny?

What becomes of children raised in a society that is very good at virtue signaling but fundamentally lacks compassion?

Just questions…

we deserve better

Hell, yeah. It was a breath of fresh air to see first Tulsi Gabbard and now, yes, even Donald Trump, call out and expose the supposed Covid relief bill Congress pushed through. If it wasn’t already apparent, the approval of this ‘bill’ demonstrates such open contempt for the American people that no doubt can remain in the mind of any thinking person about the breathtaking, evil corruption in our “representation.” 

The 5,000-plus pages of brazen handouts to an astonishing array of entities, both foreign and domestic, under the guise of Covid relief is beyond insulting, it is criminal. The people we’re paying in Washington need to be fired, yesterday. 

And where, by the way, was incoming Joe Biden while this reprehensible act played out? After the fact, he suggests that he’ll push for more assistance in the next bill. Sorry, Joe, but your “down payment” is a day late and a dollar short. Come on, man.

Failing an overthrow of Congress, I’d settle at this point for a clean Covid Relief Bill, with none of the outright theft and sleight of hand that constitutes the majority of what Congress just passed. This would be a bill that includes actual relief for the people. And that does not amount to any 5,000 pages, mind you. While that’s going down, let’s boot Pelosi, too, and have some real discussion on healthcare for pete’s sake.

The people. That’s us. The ones paying these cretins. The ones paying for all this corruption. Wake up. Step up. We deserve better.

go ahead, change the world

As we all watch our leaders in Washington struggle, yet again, to bring themselves to serve the people instead of, say, defense contractors, who can help but wonder what we can do. 

As we watch even the progressive “squad” demur from forcing Medicare for All to a floor vote during a pandemic, we wonder just what it will take to effect real change. 

Each day, as we see the President-elect prepare to nominate yet another empty-suited crony to a top position in the new administration, we struggle to know how real change, positive change will come. 

We feel powerless, helpless to change this massive system that rolls along and over so many.

And yet, it is we who really do hold the power in our hands. Short of organizing, beyond organizing, there is one simple thing each of us can do that would immediately trigger change towards the world we want to see. 

If we all really want peace on earth and good will to all beings, we will walk away from using and eating animals. It’s that simple. And it’s something any of us – yes, even you – can do.

The uncomplicated act of refusing to participate in our society’s oppression, abuse, and killing of animals on a scale beyond imagination is the beginning and the key to massive, positive societal change. 

If our society really embraces a whole food plant-based diet, we will witness profound changes in everything from much-improved health to a reversal of climate destruction (and just in the nick of time). We will break the grip of the cabal of corporations on government and in our lives.

We will change the world in amazing ways, turning toward a compassion-based way of life instead of the cruel competition that we were taught to believe is inevitable and normal. 

Cruelty, killing, impoverishment, suffering, control is not normal. Nor is it inevitable. We have the power to change it for the animals, and, in so doing, we will change it for ourselves and our culture. We will change it for our children, and theirs.

So simple. It’s something you can do. It’s enjoyable. There’s tons of support and information. Be delighted by what you discover.

YOU have the power. Step up. Go ahead, change the world.

unthinkable

Not gonna lie. This presidential election is a sad commentary on the American people. It is unthinkable that with all the great minds and big hearts in this country of 330 million people, these are the candidates and leaders we allowed to rise to the top. At a time when we really need dedicated leaders working on our behalf, all we have are a bunch of self-serving players in Congress and beyond. We let this happen. And we continue to let it happen. The power lies ultimately with the people. We need a new party. Yesterday.

freedom and fear

So this morning while standing waiting behind another person at a service desk at a big box store, I got yelled at by a store employee for not positioning myself by a red X. I was not too close, mind you. I was actually at a further distance from any one else because no one else was in the vicinity and it didn’t matter. 

I turned around and looked at the man who had yelled at me. I looked him in the eye, both of us masked. I just stayed put.

I fear the mentality with which we are dealing right now. I fear where that mentality is going. 

I see both sides of the freedom versus fear schism we are watching in society right now. 

The fear people are all about following the rules to make sure we are all somehow safe, trusting that masks and distancing and locking down and all will make us safe. 

The freedom people have a heightened alertness to the dangers of those protocols. They are more questioning about the information they are given to justify the extreme measures.

The fear people resent the freedom people for not being considerate about everyone else’s health. The freedom people resent the fear people for not allowing them to make their own decisions and for not questioning the information and spectrum of risks associated with their actions.

And people are digging in their heels, like my store employee this morning feeling so emboldened with a perceived power he has never had before to actually yell at a person for not conforming to the red X. 

Is this how it’s going to be? And where, exactly, does that go?

I confess I left the store feeling very down and very concerned for this path we are on. I don’t feel safer on any level for all the mandates. If anything, I feel far more at risk now than I have ever felt. Worse, I fear for the world we are swiftly creating for our children and theirs.

At the end of the day, we are all just people. We need to find our way together rather than picking sides and doubling down.

speak against censorship

Each morning, after some time of my own quiet reflection, I eventually face up to the news.

Now, more than ever, there is a lot of sorting out to do. Trying to find the truth of things is a job. And it doesn’t help things one little bit when someone somewhere decides for me what information or opinion I can or cannot access.

Censorship is damaging and disempowering – which is the intent. And I am alarmed at how rampant it is becoming.

There is so much we don’t know. Scientists don’t know everything. Doctors don’t know everything. One political party or another does not know everything. The CIA does not know everything. Fact checkers don’t know everything. 

And all of them have biases.

Investigation of both facts and ideas is a healthy thing. Discourse is a healthy thing. Awareness and education are fundamental. Critical thinking is – ahem – critical.

Even without outright censorship, the information made available to us already suffers from a lot of control and manipulation. There are the stories that rise to the front page, and the stories that don’t. 

There’s been plenty of censorship relative to the Coronavirus. This is a situation that should allow more information and viewpoints, not less. Still, viewpoints from certain perspectives, expert or otherwise, are routinely disappeared, suppressed, or disparaged.

As the protesting going on around the country progresses, one has to consider how censorship has played a role in both producing the situation and covering it. We often see in the news the police account of a given incident, with little to no input from individuals involved and with a complete lack of context. At the very least, this can easily create a bias towards certain people, or classes of people. And, as we have seen in far too many instances, it may not even be the truth at all. During the current crisis, we are repeatedly seeing journalists roughed up and arrested. Now, what would be the point of that?

On an entirely different matter, Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore’s documentary, Planet of the Humans, was taken down for an alleged copyright violation. It was available free for viewing until the movie’s criticism culminated in this allegation which apparently concerns 4 seconds of footage that Moore alleges was “fair use.” Rather than pursue the matter through appropriate legal channels, the aggrieved party appealed to YouTube which settled the matter by taking the movie down. So much for legal process. 

I did watch the movie before it went away. It is a disturbing and thought-provoking work which leaves the viewer with questions. That is the point. To ask questions. To wonder about the truth. To evaluate the path we’ve been on and see where we might be headed. I have been very disappointed to see people in the environmental movement just pile on against this film rather than to seize the opportunity for dialogue.

With such a constant barrage of information coming at us 24 hours a day, it is more important than ever to allow free thought and discourse. When we acquiesce to allowing “someone” to control what we are allowed to view or read, this is dangerous and dark. It is counter to a healthy and free society. 

The masks we now routinely see covering people’s mouths are emblematic. It is hard to see them and not think what censorship and control of information is doing to our society. 

Today marks the sad anniversary of the crackdown in Tiananmen Square. In the context of the ongoing protests we are seeing now, coupled with the aggressive stance the president has articulated, it is more important than ever to speak up – to be able to speak up.

Say NO to censorship.

Update 6-6-20: Planet of the Humans is now back up on YouTube, free viewing.

the world we want

veru11_27_18

What would the world look like if it was actually built on compassion and cooperation, instead of greed and competition?

And why isn’t it?

Why are we all bound to a system that serves us so disproportionately, often runs counter to our values, and suppresses some of our best thinking and abilities? Why is so much suffering in this world tolerated, and somehow accepted as normal?

I believe that the human spirit is essentially good, positive, loving, compassionate, creative. How is it that the world runs on a model that is, ultimately, counter to the human spirit?

How we get by in this corporate-run world is a strategy of how and what we sell of ourselves, and how good we are at that, instead of how we creatively engage with our environment and community in a shared effort to survive and thrive.

We find whatever we can about ourselves that can be used as a commodity. The ways we sell ourselves are often at odds, too, with our actual capabilities and dreams and aptitudes.

We are often forced to settle for satisfying the compassionate, creative parts of us – the best parts of us – in side gigs or charities or hobbies or not at all. For others, those best parts are submerged under addiction, depression, crime, or poverty.

Everyone is forced to participate in this system orchestrated by greed. We are forced to fund the misery of wars and give the lives of people over to them for no good reason. Children are starved, tear gassed, warehoused with tax dollars we spent time earning eight to five. We dutifully, unthinkingly serve as corporate bottom lines while those corporations run roughshod over the earth – our earth.

It’s time for a new model.

It’s encouraging to see the gilets jaunes protests in France – An impending fuel hike may be the spark, but the bottom line is oppression – and they’re just not having it.

The Occupy movement here in the US also signaled discontent with a system that’s not working for so, so many.

Around the globe, it is clear there is unrest, dissatisfaction with the way the world is run right now.

It’s time to change how the world works. It’s time to fully become the amazing, compassionate, creative people we are – to finally claim ourselves for ourselves, together. We have to somehow work towards a new model.

I’m not sure I know exactly what the new model looks like, but it’s no reason to wait. We cannot afford it. We need to move toward the world we all want – one filled with good, creative people working together, not for profit dollars and soaring stocks, but towards the highest and best for us and the earth.