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Showing posts from February, 2008

Object/Subject

I'd like to start out with something I said yesterday in Buhdy's essay.

If we are going to put an end to the MICMC, it means finding another way to structure our lives and our relationships. It means getting rid of greed/power over/hierarchy. And I think we are just in the infancy stages of learning what the alternatives might be. We have a lot of work to do in our own lives to recreate the cultural myths and memes that have predominately served the interests of the MICMC.

To me, one of the "memes" that needs to be identified and challenged is the tendency to "objectify" others. Once we have created distance from someone's humanity and given them a label, its easy to dismiss them. It also leaves the door open for hatred and violence. We've all recognized this use of objectification in a time of war. In order to kill someone up close and personal, its easier if you think of them as a kraut, gook, or raghead.

I'll never forget reading "All Quiet…

Wondering

I've never been able to separate my spiritual quest from the political. And I expect that both will be journeys that will take up my lifetime.

I often find myself at odds with those who seek only a political solution. That usually means playing the same old game in the same old way when I'd rather be learning to fly.



On the other hand, those involved in a spiritual quest can be so inwardly focused that their journey doesn't seem to have any real impact on the world around them. I once heard someone describe his wife's experience at a spiritual retreat this way, "She's fallen in love with humanity, but she doesn't like anyone in particular."

In their book, The Great Cosmic Mother, Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor sum it up this way:

In this world, at this point, no political revolution is sustainable if it is not also a spiritual revolution - a complete ontological birth of new beings out of old. Equally, no spiritual activity deserves respect if it is not at …

Prisoner of Words

It took me over 30 years to learn to speak with my own voice. Before that time, I did what others thought I should do and said what others thought I should say. This poem by Marge Piercy captures what that feels like:

Unlearning to not speak

Blizzards of paper
in slow motion
sift through her.
In nightmares she suddenly recalls
a class she signed up for
but forgot to attend.
Now its too late.
Now it is time for finals;
losers will be shot.
Phrases of men who lectured her
drift and rustle in piles:
Why don't you speak up?
Why are you shouting?
You have the wrong answer,
wrong line, wrong face.
They tell her she is womb-man,
babymachine, mirror image, toy,
earth mother and penis-poor,
a dish of synthetic icecream
rapidly melting.
She grunts to a halt.
She must learn again to speak
starting with I
staring with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

By learning to trust myself, I finally began to speak my own truth, however fumbling it may be at times. And I learned what a fi…

Who are you?

I have often thought that most political disagreements break down along the lines of two slogans:

If you're conservative you believe that everyone lifts themselves up by their own bootstraps.

If you're liberal you believe that a rising tide lifts all boats.

We who are liberal tend to look at our collective responsibility to one another and cannot separate our sorrows, successes, failures and joys from those of others. I'd like to take a deeper look at this notion, something that was prompted by an essay written by Edger this week titled This Is Me in which he quoted Alan Watts:

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique act…

One Good Word

Loaves and Fishes
By David Whyte

This is not
The age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry,
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.



I suppose you can call a poem "great" when it rings in your head asking questions months after you've read it. That's why I think this is a great poem. I can't really be sure that I know exactly what Whyte meant, but these words regularly challenge one of the major struggles going on in my life these days.

Like so many of us, I want to change the world. My problem is, no one elected or appointed me "Queen of the Universe," so I'm having a little trouble getting that done.

But then, there is this quiet and persistent voice inside saying, "Slow down and pay attention to the people right in front of you." I think that one of the things Whyte is saying is that we need each other more than we need inform…