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.

setback and opportunity

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It took me awhile to finally accept it, but my sewing machine was abandoning me. There was no getting the tension right, stitches were loose or tangled or skipped. I fussed with the tension, changed needles, cleaned the machine. Nothing I did changed anything, in fact, it was getting worse. It got bad enough that I finally realized that the stitches, or the lack of them, simply were completely unacceptable.

This machine is like my right arm. I think in sync with it. We have stitched miles together for years and years. I can’t bear to let it go.

A few years ago, I found one on eBay and bought it as a backup for precisely such a moment. I broke that baby out.

All was well for a little while. Just a little while. Soon, however, it became clear there would be no zig zag stitches. Then, there came an odd noise. Finally, there was a growl and the needle just snapped during straight-and-level stitching. The replacement needle simply slammed into the bobbin. It was done.

It would appear that these machines are just getting old enough, and well-used enough, that they’re ready to retire.

This is a pretty troubling development for me. I need to sew. My old machine knows how I think. I knew what to expect from it, how to work with it. It’s got little pencil marks on it that only the two of us understand.

I thought about taking the machine in for repair, but I have serious doubts that any repair would last long, as old as my machine is.

It would appear that now I am going to have to learn a new machine.

I am trying to digest this. It’s uncomfortable. I also realize that I can’t stew too long, because one day – and I’m sure it won’t be long – I will have need of my machine.

Change. It’s just hard.

Nevertheless, after all these years, I suppose a new machine could be an opportunity. I will have to learn all about my new friend. After a tentative, unbearable glance at new machines, online, it appears likely that it will have tons more stitches than my old machine – so much to explore, right? It might even thread itself. Huh. And, of course, if I take the plunge and invest in a new machine, I will certainly want to justify it by putting it to plenty of use, right?

Change, after all, is a given in life. Sometimes we invite it, and other times, it is foisted upon us. Either way, best to buck up, practice smiling, be curious, and wade in.

I believe it was Einstein who said,

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Still, I’m not quite past my grief just yet. I’m going to open up my backup machine and have a look at the innards. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something fixable in there.

change must be

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I remember it with both joy and melancholy.

I was finally preparing to leave. Everything was just about packed up. The house was already taking on that empty feeling. It was getting down to the wire, just days before saying goodbye to this place that I dearly loved but felt I had to leave.

I don’t know what made me look out just then.

I went deliberately to the window, and gazed out, the field stretching away to the west. And there she was, so close I could almost have touched her.

The fox stood still outside my window. There was a profound aura of peace and magic about this elusive, beautiful animal. I knew she was there on purpose. I knew we were connected somehow. Then, as if satisfied that her work was done, she disappeared.

I lived there for fifteen years, and never saw a fox before that day.

I was simultaneously calmed and distressed by the fox’s visit. I couldn’t help but wonder why the fox came to me. Was this reassurance about the path upon which I was about to embark? Or was this a warning?

It hurts to recall this moment. Stepping back into this particular past always does. Much pain and sadness surrounds the memory.

And yet, there is such beauty and peace and sense of connection in the memory, too. Even joy.

Like so much, I carry the fox in my heart.

Change must be. The fox knows, and she goes with me.

waking up, bit by bit

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I always feel like people are waking up. I seem to see it and feel it around me more and more.

I read about folks living minimalist lifestyles, tiny houses, sustainability, simplicity.

People seem to be more conscious of inequality and injustice – and the roots of those issues.

Things like organic foods, recycling, and mindfulness are mainstream.

It makes me hopeful to sense this burgeoning awakening.

Then, what do you know, something like Black Friday comes along, and Cyber Monday. And we just hop on the bandwagon.

I don’t get it. The days of uber consumerism just seem passé to me now. Is that just me? Is this really the tradition we want to hand along to our kids?

And how many people are actually aware of Small Business Saturday? If there’s buying to be done, wouldn’t you rather help out a neighbor than Jeff Bezos?

Is it just my own illusion that people are waking up?

I see the strangest dichotomies all around me, all the time.

We all know the best gifts have no price, but we’re still driven to buy.

We all diligently recycle, but our recycling bins overflow.

We all become outraged for a time at the notion of children being taken from their parents, but tens of thousands of children dying of starvation remain in our periphery.

We dote lovingly on our cats and dogs while happily chowing down on a cow or a pig or turkey that was raised to be killed.

We have religions professing the belief that it is absolutely wrong to kill, but giving the nod while wars proceed apace.

We know exercise, nutrition, rest, community are the keys to good health, but we look to doctors and pharmacology for a fix instead.

We’re all about renewable energy, but there’s no meaningful effort to reduce overall consumption.

I don’t know. Some of this stuff just doesn’t seem that complicated. So why we keep participating, enthusiastically, is kind of mysterious. And disappointing.

Maybe that is just how change happens, though.  Two steps forward, one step back – that sort of thing.

Most often, it’s a simple matter of not doing. Doing by not doing.

Black Friday, in my mind, falls in that category.  Not doing. It’s one thing, anyway.

Bit by bit.