still walking the path

Some years ago, I became vegan. It happened incrementally over a period of many years, until it became a conscious decision. That decision was a way point along a much longer and larger spiritual journey. I did not realize at the time that it was a choice that would facilitate my capacity to continue deeper on that journey, to walk a path of compassion.

Lately, I have been pondering the spiritual metamorphosis that continues to blossom in ever more amazing ways in my life. 

Even as all the church buildings were shuttered last year, I suspect the ensuing months were very spiritual ones for many folks. With so much on our minds, the constant fear peddling, loss, and our limited in-person contacts, who could help but be introspective, reflective about what actually matters? 

Now, as we attempt to reclaim our freedom and ways of life, the spiritual self cannot be ignored. The spiritual self is integral to all facets of the way forward. Rather than be corralled into an ever-smaller world of fear-driven mindsets, protocols, and division, the spiritual self expands and aspires to wisdom in the broadest spectrum.

It seems we are at one of those classic forks in the road. We stand at a moment of opportunity to reach toward a much more whole and healthy kind of society. 

The spiritual self points to the path of compassion, to love not fear. 

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wise one

My eyes open to the soft darkness, instantly aware of the now familiar unease. Closing my eyes again, willing myself back toward rest, I feel the fatigue of this anxiety we are all lugging around. We labor together to haul the uncertainties, the fears stoked to fever pitch and still amply fueled by so much in the gaping absence of trust.

In the quiet, troubled dark, I feel the velvet brush of the cat’s paw on my forehead, so soft and gentle. I can hear his deep, radiant purr. He speaks to me with some other kind of knowing. 

I can find my way back to joy. My heart beats not for my place on this chart, my statistical or economic value, my pool of data. No, my heart beats for the unquantifiable. The ecstatic mysteries of life and love are wholly mine, ours. It is there where all possibility remains. I turn my eyes in that direction.

Slowly, I am lulled back to restful slumber, feeling the cat’s soothing undercurrent of purr close against me.

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this day

as the birds warble me awake
into the yet dark birth of a new day
i slowly pull away from already forgotten dreams
and the mantle of anxieties begins to weave around me

i watch as the light comes
and the birds cease their song, they fly,
as if they, too, know this world’s troubles
but the birds, they know who they are

a decision drifts like haze in the air
then takes form, a rock, left unpainted, in my hand
this day, no,
i will not wear this cloak of human constructs

i loose the creeping fingers
i can remember who i am, i can,
i do remember the air and the blue of the sky
i know the arms of the ever-giving trees

this day, i fly with the birds
this day, i am home, child of earth and stars 

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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…

pulse of truth

you are more than this
beloved
more than this

clinging without thought
desperately clutching
the narrative

even if in your heart
you notice a persistent quiver
the pulse of truth

still you walk the path to which you are pointed
shuffling along with the rest
turning your eyes away as your own heart calls out to you

the one voice you could trust

you have a choice
the path your heart knows looks insurmountable and fearsome
only until the moment your foot alights there

once you are on it
you flow like a waterfall
laughing

then you see all the others still trudging
the appointed path 
you wave and call out to them

you are more than this, beloved

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.

descent into depravity

Yesterday, the United States almost had its first federal execution since 2003. The scheduled execution was halted by a last minute ruling that questioned whether the intended pentobarbital method constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Late yesterday, the Supreme Court expedited things in a whirlwind, handing over a 5-4 decision at 2 a.m. allowing the execution to proceed. The dissenting justices question the constitutionality of capital punishment.

Why, after all these years, and in the midst of a ‘pandemic’ where everyone breathlessly watches daily death counts in manifest fear, is the federal government aggressively pursuing the death penalty? 

It solves nothing in any given case. It can only be designed as a demonstration of the absolute and brutal power the government is prepared to wield against its own citizenry, and serves to engender a climate of fear — as if we don’t have enough of that going around. This, while giving societal ills the brush-off.

There is no man or woman who can properly sit in judgment with the power to dole out death. Aside from the fundamental moral void of such a presumption, we have seen far too many instances in which “justice” has been delivered to the wrong person. It is a revolting hubris that presumes the power to deliver death in judgment. It is depraved. It is all the more barbaric in the hands of a government so assiduously courting the disaffection of the people on so many fronts.

Last night’s ruling paves the way for four executions in the near term death queue, with more on the calendar later this year. Given that there have been three federal executions carried out since 1963, this is a disturbingly enthusiastic leap back into this sickening protocol. According to the Bureau of Prisons, a total of 37 federal executions took place since 1927 — that’s a span of almost 100 years. The administration plans to make up for lost time, apparently.

No. Stop. It is time to absolutely abolish the death penalty, both at the federal and state level. It is time to halt our descent into further depravity.

sanctuary #WritePhoto

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

I topple recklessly down the stairs, hands flailing, no thought of falling in my panic to flee. I sprint to the door, both arms in front of me, only to find it locked.

A fresh cascade of tears falls on my hands as I turn the lock and knob in a frenzy. I fling the door open with a backward glance. I bolt, sobbing and panting, into the night air.

I quickly confront the large stone wall. Like a penned animal, I scamper alongside it, looking for an opening.

Whimpering with frustration, my hand on the cool stones, I feel my way to a small portal. I lift the latch with shaking hands and push through the gate. The sound of a step on gravel snaps somewhere behind me, followed by an angry curse.

I hurtle into the darkness.

By morning, I am disheveled and exhausted, but still moving. I feel the air on my skin where my bodice is torn. I begin to think again. 

As the sun climbs higher, I finally notice the unknown path I somehow find myself traveling. Dreamlike, a sea of lavender heather surrounds me. I glance upward where a hawk soars high in the sky. In the distance, I spot a diminutive spire amidst the green trees of a valley. 

A sudden rush of gratitude flooding through me, I trudge forward. 

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Many thanks to Sue Vincent for this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.

proposed school plans — irresponsible and dangerous

The CDC and state government officials in concert with educators and administrators have developed protocols for back-to-school scenarios. Frankly, what they came up with is deeply troubling. Parents should be rising up.

Schools as they are currently being envisioned will neither be safe places nor healthy ones, all the while shepherding students down a troubling and dangerous path.

Make no mistake about it, this is a curriculum that teaches, normalizes, and prioritizes fear and compliance.

Schools of the near future will involve wearing masks all day, being subjected to screenings, socially distanced, confined to classrooms for meals, confined to classrooms in lieu of assemblies involving other groups, hand sanitizing ad infinitum, etc.

Kids will be psychologically and socially damaged for life even though they are at virtually no risk from the virus. No, apparently, they must suffer for the good of their elders. They might learn their ABCs, but they’ll also get thorough instruction in becoming an automaton.

Where is the outcry? I don’t hear parents rising up to call out the obvious: “This is not a healthy environment for our kids!

I can only assume the reason for that is because schools in large part have been successful in forming generations of people who abide the norm. It is everyone’s loss, even while the power class chuckles.

It may also be that parents feel relieved to hand education duties back to the professional educators, abdicating the responsibility and accommodating employment.

Just because everyone goes along with something, does not make it okay. You would think that is a lesson of which we would all have some grasp by now, but apparently not. Hence, I suspect that critical thinking skills will remain a low priority for future curricula. 

I also really have to wonder how science will be presented as a school subject. Right now, we hear government officials and media bandy the word “science” about quite a bit without actually presenting solid science. We hear theories, hypotheses, scare mongering, biased projections, manipulated data, and even outright lies presented as scientific faits accomplis.

Real science, thank you very much, observes, explores, tests for a proof. It looks at things from multiple angles. It entertains opposing points of view. Real, good science does not present flawed data, announce results, and take action before all of that has happened, either. Somehow I don’t think that subject is going to be taught.

I am truly sorry for what children are experiencing right now, and sorry for those who will be subjected to the new school agenda. I am sorry for the world that will result from it, if it manages to survive the abuse at all. There is still time to stop it.

We are a country of over 325 million people. There’s a lot of potential there for creative, intelligent thinking and problem solving. But out of all that, we allow the substandard, the mediocre, and even the malevolent to make the rules. Btw, that’s also why we have the two mainstream presidential candidates we’ve got.

We can change all that. We need to think about our children. Parents, wake up, please!