Tag Archives: confederate flag

I Really Hate the Fighting.

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Sounds so strange doesn’t it? To feel so strongly about negativity so much that it creates “hate” in my heart.

I wear a kyanite pendant. It’s a beautiful teal-blue crystal that suspends from a thread of gold wire from a leather necklace. My niece gave it to me for Christmas last year. It rests on my chest, just at my sternum.

The kyanite is supposed to repel negativity. It’s supposed to help me speak my truth. It’s supposed to balance my 5th chakra, the throat chakra which is concerned with matters of veracity and voice. I have worn it since it was given to me. Almost six months now. I don’t know if it’s working because I still yell at soccer games and I still argue with my kids. I still have opinions and I still feel hungover after expressing them.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel a profound sense of unease about the world and I think it’s because everyone is fighting. Myself included, I guess.

I just want people to get along.

But see things my way.

Isn’t that funny?

But that’s not how life works.

Speaking of life and all its zigs and zags and the fact that change is the only constant… A yoga student gave me a bracelet about 2 weeks ago, it’s a lovely Alex + Ani wire bangle with a big charm and then these three little guys which also dangle. The entire bracelet is made of recycled metals and infused with positive energy. The charm on it is called “The Path of Life.”

Emblematic of life’s zenith and nadir moments, the PATH OF LIFE is representative of an infinite number of possibilities and expressions of love. Illustrating life’s twists, turns, and unexpected winds, wear the PATH OF LIFE Charm to proudly celebrate your own willingness to travel towards life’s fruitful moments.

She touched my heart when she gave me the gift. She is a beautiful soul and has so much to look forward to in her ongoing years and the fact that she’s entrusted me with her wellbeing has been the most humbling gift of all. I get that women my age-ish want to take better care of themselves and become more calm in this crazy world, but the fact that this kid keeps coming back… it’s so affirming.

She’s one of those pre turn-of-the-century babies. She is like a daughter or a niece to me. If I didn’t adore and love her so much I wouldn’t care as much as I do for her. I hear the bangle more than I see it and its elegant ampersands and infinity symbols remind me to chill. The charm scrapes across my keyboard as I type, or skitters across the counter as I clean, or dances across the placemats as I reach for the salt at my table, or clink-clinks as I put up my hair, go into downward dog and generally exist. Today when I was in the hot tub, I watched it swish like a fishtail as I glided my hand beneath the surface where it’s warm, noise is muted, the world is softer and floating is assured.

I think of her and her world — mine is 47, hers is so much newer, although she is an old soul and she is here to teach me. The charm on the bracelet couldn’t be more timely. It is reminding me to be willing to travel toward “fruitful moments.” In this context, fruitful means:

productiveconstructiveusefulof useworthwhilehelpfulbeneficialvaluablerewardingprofitableadvantageousgainfulsuccessfuleffectiveeffectualwell spentANTONYMS  futile.

“Well spent.” Yes. That’s a wonderful goal. So I will do my best. I also want to be more like Tom:

this isn't my art. i can't remember whose it is. but i can't claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

this isn’t my art. i can’t remember whose it is. but i can’t claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

The world is changing around us.

This student is more like Tom. She is pretty fearless. She has a very open mind about things, sometimes she is strident in her expression. I am open-minded also, but I have learned to be less strident — only recently though, and as long as I’m not on a soccer sideline. On soccer sidelines I’m more like Tom.

I think about that: “open mind.” Because I’m open minded, I’m almost obsessed these days with the concept of “two sides to a very thin coin” and that the “line between my opinion and your opinion” is very thin. Because somewhere, despite the openness, there has to be a limit or a finite end to the open-mindedness… right? Because that’s the mortal aspect of being open-minded, we can’t concern ourselves with everything because then we’ll be overwhelmed, but if we care about nothing, then we’re alone.

I am learning.

Thinness of the coin. Faintness. Vapor. Mirrors. Carl Jung reminds us (paraphrasing): What we don’t dig about others gives us an insight into ourselves… I used to think that meant I had to change. But I don’t think that’s what Jung is saying. He’s just saying, “pay attention” from which I derive: that person is your mirror. If you don’t like her shoes, what makes you so perfect?

I think of America. This gorgeous and screwed-up place. It looks so calm and beautiful from way out in space. We have mountains. We have shorelines. We have forests. We have rivers. We have deserts. We have open skies and crowded cities. We have so much — just in the way of geography, that surely the country, just within its natural boundaries, is big enough for us all.

Our collective birthday is coming up. We are very young, this nation, and we’ve really screwed up along the way, but we’ve also done some amazing things despite our relative age. This will be our 239th (I had to use the calculator) birthday.

We are a nation born of controversy and rebellion and fight.

Maybe this is just who we are –as a nation, as a collective national ego– and I’m the one who’s wrong.

All I know is that it doesn’t feel right to fight so much, and that if I were to live my life as intuitively conscious as possible, I would slow down, cool my jets and try to listen to what my body / energy / stress is telling me and stop trying to win.

So I’m creating a list of things I’m going to try to do consciously for the next year. And maybe just one of them I can do with consistency.

  • Find something admirable about someone I don’t like.
  • Be grateful for my health — I don’t mean just say, “thanks, lungs, you rock.” But to think about what my lungs do, and to let consciously them work and actively hear the sound of my own breath. Put my hand on my heart and feel it beat for ten whole beats. Place my hands on my eyes and thank them for working… ears for hearing…
  • Slow down around anxious people and just let them be.
  • Stop.
  • Listen.
  • Spend a half an hour outside each day, even if it’s raining or horrid out.
  • Make dinner from a cookbook once a week and don’t be chafed if the kids won’t eat it.
  • Appreciate my mother’s memory. The older I get and the more challenging my most important job (mom) gets, I really need to give her past some slack. She is gone from me now, but of late, I get a lot of her struggles. She may have done some irrational stuff, but she was a product of her environment too. I think of her a lot, and that’s impossible to control. She just pops in … like her crazy phone call timing — she would call at The Very Time I Couldn’t Possibly Be More Busy: 5:50-6:30 — and I need to let her pop in. I would love to hear her voice (in a non -terrifying and -creepy way).

I watched The Road again last night. I am going to read it again shortly (as soon as I finish my encore consumption of Atonement, which will be tonight). My husband wanted to see it — he never got to see the last 10 minutes, and I was only happy to oblige. The story is about catastrophe and survival and inhuman conflicts we simply don’t want to ever experience. 

I heard a stream of refrains in my head from the past month in America, “Leave me alone.” “This world is crazy.” “People need to shut up.” “People need to leave each other alone.” “Don’t touch the colors in my Crunchberries.” “Mind your own business.” “We are all doomed.” “Why is there so much anger?”

As I watched “The Road” I saw and felt the desolation depicted in every single frame of that film, and recalled it internally in each syllable of McCarthy’s mastery, “The child is my warrant and he is the word of God. And if he isn’t, then God never spoke” that I started to get a little nervous. 

I started to remember what it’s like to be driving on a road for several hours when no one else is there.

I started to remember what it felt like to be in a mall with no one else around.

I started to remember how it feels to get what you wish for.

I started to worry about anger and its cousin, fear. If left unattended, they can create wars. And  war, as depicted in Atonement, is a horrible thing that NO ONE in my generation, save for the brave service men and service women who have served in war, can possibly comprehend. We think the wreckage after terror attacks is bad… We have no clue. War is what anger, fear, intolerance, hate, greed and ignorance create. 

I have realized that I think America seems to have a case of “no one kicks my brother but me,” because when 9/11 happened, skin color, creed, lifestyle, gender, education, affinity for country music (snort), didn’t matter. We were banded together. It’s not that I want another tragedy, but I don’t like that it takes horror to get us to figure out what’s important. Peace is important. 
Sure, hate the fighting, it’s a waste of energy though. Instead, love the people. Let them sing —

My nation ’tis of thee…

Sweet land of Liberty

Of thee I sing

Land where my fathers died

Land of the pilgrims’ pride

From ev’ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

I wanted to include further verses because I love the song, but I went to wikipedia for the rest of it and discovered verses added for George Washington’s birthday, and then one for abolition and then I just gave up, because … fighting.

I look at my headline (because it’s right there to keep me on track no matter how often I deviate).

like a mirror of a mirror...

like a mirror of a mirror…

And I’m okay with it. I really do hate the fighting. It gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach. It makes me feel parched and unsteady. It reminds me of how confused I would feel when discord would happen in my childhood and I just wanted it to stop.

And the fighting will go on, because people are afraid. And I guess I will fight too, because I don’t like the fighting. I fear what happens when people don’t fight for their rights. We have anything but democracy.

This is the greatest country in the world. I love everything about it. It’s not going to hell — I don’t believe in hell. Hell is already here: in the fighting. Hell is a manmade construct. Just like shame, and guilt, and control… it’s so much easier without the fighting.

Just everyone be cool.

Learn from your friends, and from the people you disagree with: they are your best teachers. Look beyond the headlines, even mine, to learn more. The best thing I can say about the sadness of the murders in Charleston is that I’ve learned so much more about U.S. history and the history of slavery, not just America’s. The maltreatment of other humans is really upsetting to me, and it’s still going on in human sex trafficking. I would like to think that if there’s one thing we can all get behind, its the effort to end exploitation, kidnapping, drugging, theft, and murders of children and adults around the world. But I am out of gas at the moment; that’s a fight for another day.  

I also recognize that I’ve been too focused on the dialogues of late and despite my discussions (authentic) that I’m cool with all the hyperbole, I am sensing now that I’ve personalized a lot of what I’ve read and heard and witnessed and that some of it really scares me — I am fearful of people and their irrationality about topics which really don’t affect them in a truly carbon-based, one-breath-at-a-time way. I don’t think I’m alone in this. It is extremely delicate ground when Americans feel their personal liberties are being trampled and it provokes more thinking and more imagining to me of that very thin two-sided coin and I think that’s why I’m writing so much these days; I am unsettled.

So I think I’m going into hiding for the next week and I’ll read a lot and watch videos about teaching yoga and how to be more centered in an off-kilter world, and I’ll send harmony out to the world because I think people are afraid of instability. We need to give ourselves permission to have off days, and to be unbalanced at times, because no one is 100% sure of anything unless they lived it, and even then there will be fearful people who refuse to believe it.

And speaking of balancing: above all, be OK with yourself when your opinion changes. That’s growth. That’s a good thing.

Love to all.

Thank you.

Red Flags, Jesus was Jewish

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I don’t usually write about controversial stuff, but I find myself unable to not have something to say. It’s not so much an opinion, but an affirmation that I have a voice to share my affirmations and the world has presented itself as good a place as anything in which to vocalize.

I can’t say with any confidence whatsoever that everyone is horrified by the evil which manifested at an historic black church in Charleston. The reason I say this is because there are people out there who share the opinion of that weak-kneed skin sack who murdered nine good people out of nothing but hate, ignorance, fear and fear and fear and oh yeah, fear.

Fear starts wars.

Fear keeps them going.

Fear wins elections.

Fear keeps us home.

Fear keeps us away.

Fear keeps us silent.

When fear wins, the world is a very sad place.

I have seen the Internet.

I have read about those who hold the opinion that the Confederate Flag is not a symbol of hate. It’s just heritage. They cry, “you can’t take our heritage…” and “I’m proud of who I am…” and “This is my heritage…” and I have to say… nothing.

I just take a deep breath and think of fear. How the fear has manifested in that person. And I shake my head as my lips are totally pressed to each other and wonder about what else those people think is ok.

It’s not heritage and pride. Really… it’s not.

So if we operate under the schema that pride is at stake here, and history is at stake and heritage is at stake, let’s drill down…

Watch “12 Years a Slave” and don’t look away, especially during that gut-wrenching, extremely uncomfortable 13-minute scene which depicts just a fraction of an entire afternoon and talk to me about your pride, your heritage and your history.

Because that restriction of freedom in that film or “Amistad,” or “Lincoln” or “Mississippi Burning” or countless COUNTLESS similar films about “inconvenient truths” is what that flag is about.

Then maybe you should watch “Schindler’s List” or “Sophie’s Choice” and talk to me about pride, history and heritage.

I’m not of the ilk that taking down those flags means we are entering a place of revisionist history — there are stains on this map and on our flag that can never be washed away — and they shouldn’t because, like the proponents who argue in favor of the Confederate Flag, it’s a part of our collective history. We dishonor the blood of countless slaves who were torn from Africa and taken to America against their will, and forced to live out an UNIMAGINABLE EXISTENCE. I’m also not of the ilk which says the flag didn’t kill those people. Just like the gun didn’t kill those people. The flag and the gun don’t have thumbs, they can’t kill things. It’s the fearful who hide behind them who kill.

Go ahead, watch “12 Years a Slave” and what that film represents, the Southern heritage you all hold so dearly, is that horror. That place where your heart bleeds. That’s your history. That’s your story. You can have it, but don’t fucking jam it down my throat and tell me you mean no harm by flying that banner of hate. Go ahead and tell me you think the swastika is no big deal either. That it’s misconstrued; that it has been hijacked from a crucifix and became a symbol of hate — that the intention was good.

I am a white person and when I see the Confederate flag, a part of me cries. I can feel it in my stomach, right now, pain from having to share the highway, or a movie theater, or a restaurant, with a person driving or wearing something with that symbol on it. I love people. I really do, but there is no good in that symbol. It represents a time … I am sitting here shaking my head with woe. I don’t hate those people, I just feel sorry for them.

When I moved to Virginia in 1981, I ended up going to a school, Robert E. Lee High School, named after what my northern relatives called a traitor. There are highways here dedicated to Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Another high school is named after JEB Stuart. Lee is a hero around here. I threw up in my mouth a little when I found out the name of my high school. Our mascot was the “Lancer” — which has to do with the Civil War … right: not much. I remember for the longest time after MLK Day was added to the Federal Holiday calendar, that Virginia did the decent thing and named it the “Lee Jackson King Memorial Holiday.” That was mighty white of those good ol’ boys in Richmond.

Anyway, I adore the friends I made in high school, but I will never proudly say I went to RE Lee High School; people have to get it out of me.

I am a northerner at heart. I am from New York state. My blood is thinner after living here for 34 years, but my heart bleeds “yankee” blood. And I’m not even a yankee like some of my New England friends are — those peeps, they’re the real deal. But according to a writer of Alabama’s Musckogee Herald, yankees weren’t fit for the company of a “Southern gentleman’s body servant…” (a what?):

This debate over the Confederate flag is truly American. No where else could we have a dialogue for or against or about an emblem which represents a refusal to conform to decency and humanity after the murder of innocent church goers?

Little minds think in little ways.

Big minds think in big ways.

Stay true to your traditions, Confederate flag lovers. Watch the world change around you at 190 miles per hour. Watch your friends become educated about reality and history regardless of a sentimental and LEARNED attachment to a sensibility which no longer serves. Watch yourself get alienated, still the butt of jokes, such as this one stolen from NPR regarding “heritage”: you mean your surrender as your heritage? 

Just a reminder, if you hate change so much and you like to stick to your traditions, Stuck Southerners, let’s do this:

For the ladies — the female Confederate flag lovers:

  • Reject your right to vote.
  • Reject your right to personal property.
  • Reject your right to healthcare — how do you like that Planned Parenthood? Kiss it goodbye.
  • Reject your right to protection under the law.
  • Reject your right to education.
  • Reject your right to serve on a jury.
  • Reject your right to earn fair wages.
  • Reject your right to drive.
  • Reject your right to attend a four-year college.

Just sit there under your parasol on your 1,200 acre Terra, sipping your mint julep and fanning yourself.

Because all those rights came your way AFTER abolition, after slaves were emancipated and seen as human beings.

I feel sorry for you, Confederate flag lovers. Bless your hearts.

“Leave my flag alone!” You’re like a baby with a wet diaper. You live under a blanket of fear. You want everything the way it was. You hate the fact that you got your ASS HANDED TO YOU during the “War of Northern Aggression.” You were so bitter about it you killed a president.  You even like to debate that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. That’s funny pathetic. I see the most pathetic comments about this debate invoking Christianity and that all civilizations were formed on the backs of slaves. Sure. No one is denying that, but… eww: no one is really asking everyone to be cool with the symbol of wanting to keep slaves enslaved flying over government buildings. If I see a restaurant flying the stars and bars, I’ll eat elsewhere.

I just wish that some of you would just come out with it and admit it: “I’m a little racist, yes. I check my car doors when I see a black person at an intersection… ” or “I have black friends!”

And do you dare to ask me to believe that if the rest of the free world insists that your flag comes down that we’re suddenly all going to forget about slavery? That somehow all the books and videos and historical documentation will be vaporized? What is your argument for keeping the flag? History? Oh! I get it. That’s simple. Leave it in a museum.

That flag is meant as nothing but a code — like the MS-13 gang and their use of tattoos now instead of bandanas and gang colors. It’s meant to intimidate people of color and let other small-minded, stuck-in-the-past fearful people like you know that you’re afraid too.

So do you really want to go back to those days?

Be my guest… prepare to leave behind:

  • electricity (and all its trappings: the internet and cars, airplanes)
  • running water (and all its trappings: toilets that flush, showers, clean water to drink, coca-cola)
  • plastic (and all its trappings: boob jobs, acrylic nails, BiC lighters)
  • oxy-clean

I mean, you’d be worse off than Cuba or North Korea. But you can hang on to candles everywhere, public outhouses, wells and pumps, horses to take you everywhere (that might not be such a bad idea) and trains — you can still have trains! Just not Acela. You get the old coal system. And sailing. You can keep sailing. And golf. You like country clubs. Right? But no slaves, ok? Because, that’s horrid.

You slay me, Flag Lovers. You really do. I sure do miss those days when white men could

  • beat women within an inch of their lives just because,
  • force women to have sex,
  • exploit their children

The great part about this though, and I’ll say again: is that we are all legally allowed to have these opinions. It’s part of our Constitution, you know, that document which frames the freedoms afforded to citizens of the nation from which you wanted to secede, because you wanted to not grant freedoms to slaves because … WHY? That dig about the Constitution was just a little reminder. So know that you’re protected under it.

No part of American history is easy. This country was built on the backs of kidnapped and raped black blood.

One thing I like to remind us all is that the cradle of our human civilization is in Africa. That means we all have African blood in us. And that most black Americans are part white, due to the rampant sexual exploitation and rapes of female slaves by white land owners and overseers and and and …

I also like to remind people that Jesus was definitely not white. He likely resembled people who live in another area of total unrest, war, horror and conflict: the Gaza Strip area of the Middle East. I also like to wonder that if that Jesus were around today, that he might look like the guy who pumped my gas at one of the New Jersey Turnpike rest stops.

I also like to remind people that Jesus was Jewish. His Hebrew name is Yeshua, or Joshua, or Yahushua… ‘Jesus’ is a “shadow” name. Heaven forbid we in America call him “Joshua Christ.” That just won’t do, will it?

And that Mary, his mom, was Jewish too. His dad? He created everyone. All of us.

So… yeah.

People have issues with perspective, heritage, truth and reality.

So your homework, Confederate flag lovers, is to watch “12 Years a Slave” and “Sophie’s Choice.” You can also check out this list of content, if you’re still in denial: http://aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/ and then this, when you’re done with that growing list… http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

And if you hate this blog post, I also suggest you unfollow me because I fart a lot after I eat my Buffalo Wings.

Thank you.