somnambulism and awakening to our real, gentle selves


I am tired. Tired of all the struggles. Tired of the ongoing injustices, the continually expanding crop of manufactured crises and suffering, the harsh and divisive language that tweets from the top and reverberates through our beleaguered lives.

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of the launch of the ongoing attempted coup in Venezuela. There will be actions around the US to oppose this coup and the US’s hand in it, but media will likely ignore those in favor of Richard Branson’s pro-coup concert and photos of the “aid” the US is sending.

Then there’s Haiti, part of the rippling damage of the Venezuela situation and the malignant sanctions and interference of the US.

Tilt your head a little and look in the direction of Yemen, if you can bear it. And yet, the US government cannot quite bring itself to divorce from the suffering it helps deliver there.

Or, perhaps, turn your gaze close to home, and notice children separated from their parents — a reality that continues.

Maybe the thing you notice is the water you can’t quite trust, or the food laced with pesticides or hormones or antibiotics.

Or how about the national emergency of a national emergency – basically, another kind of attempted coup.

It’s hard to focus, isn’t it? So many crises and more all the time.

There are so many crises for which our tax dollars and lives get put on the line – and for what good reason? As far as I can tell, to line somebody’s pockets. That’s really about it. Don’t waste your breath with the word “humanitarian,” it’s not actually part of this equation.

But it all just carries on, as the average citizen is forced to deal with their own personal reality of securing their small share of the piece of the pie they’ve been allowed to access.

We continue our various sleepwalking grinds. We dutifully pay our taxes. We subject ourselves to more and more personal intrusion and regulation. We silently allow ourselves to be pawns, to pick sides, to be less than ourselves.

I was startled lately to meet a gentle person. Everything about them was gentle – gentle language, gentle gestures, gentle thought, gentleness in the direct, caring gaze. It stood out immediately and alarmingly, because it made me realize how accustomed I am to the flat, harsh behavior our society and its members have adopted – the somnambulist demeanor.

What if we could all awaken from our sleepwalking, notice what’s really going on, and become our real, gentle selves? I believe that’s really who we are — buried underneath the heavy capitalist labels we carry. Those genuine, compassionate selves – the creative, caring, nurturing ones – are struggling for air.

Rather than tolerate the many and terrible injustices, could we not awaken and assert our real, gentle selves? Could we not shirk off the various definitions we have been assigned, and determine to simply be our real, gentle selves?

It would transform our world. It would be radical. It would save us.

sitting out the Super Bowl

veru2_3_19I admit it. I find the Super Bowl disturbing.

It’s a night when seemingly all of America drops everything, comes together, and focuses all of their attention on … football.

At a very basic level, I find the game itself disturbing. It is an undisguised metaphor for battle – for war. It’s an event where the participants suit up with helmets and pads in preparation for physical assaults – which often actually do result in injuries. All of the language of the sport is war jargon. The teams play offense and defense. The crowds participate in fight songs and chants.

Worse, into this war mentality, we interject nationalism and militarism. Football, the flag, and the anthem go hand in hand – by design. And, as we know, woe be to anyone who exercises their right to dissent or simply chooses not to participate in these rituals. The militaristic marching, the flyovers, the honoring of veterans – this is somehow football.

Inequality, too, is so integral to this whole Super Bowl tradition, we see right past it. The game puts a massive rubber stamp on class issues, demonstrated through a spectrum that ranges from inherent sexism and racism to sex trafficking and the fantastic disparities of wealth so blatantly on display.

And then, there’s the famous commercials. Now, the audience doesn’t just sit passively under the onslaught of advertising – they eagerly lap it up.

On the bright side, the Super Bowl is proof positive that United States citizens really can be motivated to act as one, throwing parties across the nation and watching television – everyone at exactly the same time.

Just imagine if we put that kind of synergy toward a truly worthy effort, like, say, peace and justice.

I get it that the Super Bowl is a distraction, that it’s a fun time-out for people, especially during these worrisome times. Sad to say, though, this distraction is an artifact of the bigger worrisome game – and I’m not talking about football.

Call me a party pooper, but, no, thank you, no Super Bowl for me.