If you really knew me
to be perfectly transparent, i'm in a quandary. this month, i feel pulled to write about so many things… there is so much to be transparent about! so, instead of focusing on one thing, i decided to make a list of the things (some are long enough to be blogs in themselves, some are just one-liners) that go through my mind and heart on a regular - sometimes even daily - basis, just to let you into my world a little more. so, without further ado, if you really knew me, you would know that…
i'm experimenting with using no capitals when i write - just to see how it feels. kinda fun. i like it, especially using "i" instead of "I" when i write about myself.
i think, cry and rage about tragedies like what happened to Treyvon Martin and the sad truth that we are still a deeply racist country. i often feel confounded that, although it was born out of a deep desire to create freedom for all by escaping the tyranny of oppression in England, our country has repeated history by continuing to allow racism to run rampant within its borders. i remember when i was in junior college, i briefly dated a young man who was African American. he was one of at most a handful of black people on campus and he was one of the most cheerful, outgoing people i had met there. when he told me a story of being run out of my home town at the end of a rifle one day when he was there for a basketball tournament, i felt deeply ashamed of my community and that this kind of appalling behavior was still going on. that was over 30 years ago. sadly, we still have a long way to go.
i love spending time with my extended family, and notice how easily i can still get triggered by others' behaviors (far less than i used to, but still…argh…). someone told me that the Dalai Lama once said something like, "If you want to test your enlightenment, spend a week with your family." ah yes… well, i must not be enlightened yet! what i'm realizing, though, is that the anger i feel is actually awesome because it's connected to a growing fierceness, like a mama bear, that's simply not willing to put up with bullshit anymore. it doesn't mean i have to be angry at my (usually male) relatives forever, but that i can express it honestly and with ferocity as a powerful stand for and with the oppressed feminine. it actually feels good - a bit awkward, but definitely empowering!
an intense gratitude washes over me at least once a week at the beauty of where i live… sometimes followed by a pang of guilt that it's indelibly linked to the privilege i have by virtue of being born into a family that allows me to live here. but mostly i feel really grateful. (here's a photo of our small pond so you can get a sense of it.)
i wish there was a way to encourage every single home owner or person with at least a small plot of soil nearby to wage the most powerful revolution we could ever imagine right from our own backyards by growing our own food, participating in a community garden, or at least shopping as exclusively as possible at local farmers markets (inquiring kindly about their practices, and buying things like grains and beans at locally-owned grocery stores they can trust - hopefully, cooperatively owned, like Rainbow Grocery in SF). i truly believe one of the most patriotic things we could do as individuals, families and communities, is to reclaim the Victory Garden movement (here's a photo of my teeny, tiny attempt at a garden). If we all did it, that would be a real statement, eh?!?!
i don't buy anything packaged hardly at all anymore (it's very, very rare). i make as much of my own stuff as possible (i.e. fermented foods, nutmilks, etc.). it's meant a real commitment to adjusting my eating habits and to being willing to give up eating whatever i want whenever i want, but it's do-able and far more sustainable/ethical in my book. i also store all of my food in glass jars, for the most part, thus avoiding the use of plastic as much as possible. my belief is that the best way to change the big picture is to do so right here at home. if we all changed our purchasing, eating and storage habits in simple ways, Monsanto (for example) would crumble to its knees... and... it will take a real, concerted commitment on each of our parts.
i'm in a constant dilemma about stepping more fully into what i'm here for by being of service to the world "out there," traveling to far away places versus the longing to stay tucked away in the woods and dig in more deeply to this wonderful community.
i just watched Avatar for the third time in less than two weeks (yeah, i know, i'm kind of a movie nerd - i even watched the special features a couple of times). this movie, along with the matrix and a few others, is, in my humble opinion, one of the movies that needs to be seen in every middle- and high school classroom in the U.S. although i've heard (and don't necessarily disagree with) many criticisms of how it's just an alien version of Dances WIth Wolves and perpetuates a lot of stereotypes , Avatar is one of the most powerful platforms for some of the most important conversations students will ever have in their young lives. this message is so profound, i can't help but offer a few lines from Jake Sully as he undergoes a profound and life-changing transformation from an apathetic paraplegic ex-Marine to a caring strong, awakening Avatar:
"This is how it's done. When people are sitting on shit that you want, you make them your enemy. Then you justify the taking."
"If you're there, I need to give you a heads up…. see the world we come from. There's no green there. They killed their mother, and they're going to do the same here…. You chose me for something. I will stand and fight. You know I will, but I need a little help here."
"The Sky People have sent us a message that they can take whatever they want and no one can stop them. But we will send them a message…. We will show the Sky People that they cannot take whatever they want, and that this, this is our land."
"Everything is backwards now… like out there [the Navi world] is the true world and in here [the human world] is the dream."
"They're not going to give up their home. They're not going to make a deal. For what? A light beer? And blue jeans? There's nothing that we have that they want.
i really encourage you to watch it if you haven't lately. with an open mind and an open heart, and see if you don't feel moved to do even one small thing differently in your life.
i wholeheartedly agree with this line from Avatar… "All energy is only borrowed… one day you have to give it back."
i am appalled (to put it very mildly) at the absolute short-sightedness (to put it extremely mildly) of "projects" like the XL pipeline here in North America and the Belo Monte dam in Brazil. sometimes i ask myself, in my moments of despair and exasperation, "When will we f-ing wake up?!?!?!" Then I hear Sigourney Weaver say (in a documentary about James Cameron's trip to Brazil in 2010), "Brazil has a plan for 60 dams all over the Amazon…. It's terrible to sacrifice these people, this river and this country's riches and the rainforest… for a little bit of electricity that's not even efficient," and say to myself, as my friend Shanan coined, "we need to wake up sheeple!"
i will continue to share this quote by Paul Hawken as long as necessary, "If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren't pessimistic, you don't have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren't optimistic, you haven't got a heart." (Blessed Unrest)
i've been doing a lot of deep thinking, writing, meditating, pondering… and, i have to say, something is shifting in this mind and heart. i feel as if i am waking up on a whole new level. i don't feel any less passionate about these things i spoke about above, but i do feel as if there is something fundamentally shifting in how i attach to my ideas of right and wrong. although i feel very strongly about many issues (as you can see- and this is just the tip of the iceberg!), what i'm finding is that a deep peace is growing inside, which, if were perfectly transparent, i would say could border on denial but doesn't because i still feel outraged and grief-stricken by so much of what happens in our world on a regular basis. as Grace said in Avatar, "The wealth of this world isn't in the ground. It's all around us. The Navi know that and they are fighting to defend it. If you want to share this world with them, you need to understand them." maybe that's what's going on - i'm trying to understand this planet and it's inhabitants on a level i never have before.
i hold a weekly (unless i'm out of town) meditation group at my house and nobody has shown up the last 3 times. sometimes i feel sad about it, but mostly i just go with the flow and trust that folks will eventually start showing up… or not. i'm committed to holding this space for my community, and that feels like the most important thing.
this sunday evening i invited everyone in that group to come to our beautiful meadow and meditate with the full moon… it was absolutely gorgeous. and no one showed up. as i sat there feeling quite content and just a smidgen lonely, i realized that i have a really deep longing for someone besides God with whom to watch the moon rise….
so, here's to moonrises, anger, passion, trust, truth and faith, among many other things… here's to you, me and all of us getting that we matter enough to stand up and be a voice for change, for the new world we are birthing right now… and, above all else, here's to Love. to close with a quote from Avatar, "Our great mother does not take sides…. She protects only the balance of life." thank you for indulging me this week.
i'd really love to know… what do you think about on a daily basis? what angers you, inspires you, brings you to tears? what would we know if we really knew you? your turn!