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Christmas is Not about “love, but …”

It is probably because I’m doing gentle yoga to Christmas music in a candlelit room. These are the kinds of holiday activities you find in my new home town in the mountains of North Carolina. It is true, I’m a long way from Texas. However, I’m having trouble clearing my mind because they’ve decide to use songs with vocalists, which I think is a bad choice.

“Describe in one word how God feels about the world right now.”

The observer in my head has decided to take my mind off of the lyrics about Frosty by springing a pop quiz. This is what happens when you live inside of my brain.

Free Your Mind 1I don’t even hesitate. “Sad.” And then because I don’t like following rules, even my own, I add “very sad.”

There is silence while my memory replays current events. Perhaps I’ve been watching the news too much lately. It has started to disturb even my dreams. At the instructors prompting I move into a modified pigeon pose while a softer song croons “Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s all-gracious King. The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.”

Yes, angels singing. My spiritual notions are vague, and I wonder why I’m asking myself questions about the emotional state of a deity in whom I have at best a non-traditional belief. Then I realize that it’s not God I’m thinking about. He, She or It may in fact be sad.The point is that I think God should be. Because I’m more sad everyday as I listen to the intolerance and fear around me whip itself into ever larger volumes.

Look people.Two thousand years ago, a child was born. He went on to say things that translated roughly as “love one another” and “whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” He even went so far as to suggest that “if anyone wants to take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Yes, your whole coat. Whether you believe he was the Son of God, a great prophet, or just a wise man who was well quoted, his message of generosity, concern and love is quite clear. In my heart of hearts, that message is what I celebrate every Christmas. This is a holiday about love.

The voices answer. “Of course it’s about love, but ……… we’ve got to protect ourselves. But ……. they’re doing horrible things to us. But they started it. But they took it to a whole worse level. But they’re more animals than people. But I can’t have all the things God thinks I deserve if I share with others. But we need to take care of our own first. But God wants us to keep this nation great. But God wants everyone to believe what I believe. But if we pay attention to everyone’s suffering then, then, I don’t know what will happen.”

beautiful life7We’ve moved on to the restful savasana pose that signifies that class is almost over. “Silent Night” is playing softly and it brings back childhood memories of midnight mass out in the country in Western Kansas. “Sleep in heavenly peace,” it says. I have a lavender scented warm cloth draped over my eyes now, which is good because tears are rolling down my cheeks. Not that anyone in this class would be bothered by my emotions.

I remember being a child staring at a sky full of stars as we drove out to the small church my father grew up attending. I remember a feeling of magic as I realized that the whole world was seeing the very same stars that I was, and I remember believing that peace on earth was possible because surely tonight as everyone looked at this sky they understood deep in their hearts what this day was really about.

I wish I had been right. How did we ever get the idea that Christmas celebrates the hundreds of reasons to hold back from caring for each other. This holiday is not about “love, but.”

It is about love.

For other slightly offbeat thoughts about Christmas, see my posts “The Future of Christmas,”Duct Tape and Christmas Cards”and “The Women of Christmas.”

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in empathy, oneness, peace

 

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I live here

not in my nameI’ve watched the news in sorrow. News of deaths, of outpourings of sympathy, of despair that other deaths go relatively unmourned as people of all faiths and backgrounds flee in terror. Mostly they are running from those would kill them if they cannot control them. Sometimes, though, they are fleeing the bombs of those trying to stop the terror. Everyone runs from bombs, no matter what their source. And the hate and the fear and mistrust grows all around.

peace parisI write a blog about world peace. It’s an odd topic for a blog, but it grew out of the premise that if we all understood each other better, if we listened, if we could feel another’s pain and joy as our own, world peace would be achievable. I know how idealistic this is. But I believe it.

We have to harden our hearts, steel our minds against empathy in order to commit the sorts of atrocities that have filled the news. We have to lie to ourselves deep within to justify behavior that we know is wrong. It is easy to argue and point fingers and incite others to be afraid and angry with us. It takes so much more strength to soften and allow understanding. It is far more difficult to admit that, at our core, we are sisters and brothers.

parisYet here we are, throwing rocks at each other on this little playground that we call earth. The teachers and other adults appear to have left, and we seem like a bunch of rambunctious children, often dedicating ourselves to finding ways to make each other miserable. It’s time for us to grow up. The playground gets smaller every day. The calls to hate and hurt grow stronger, made more powerful by the technologies we have invented. Our “rocks” and other ways of harming each other have grown exponentially with our cleverness.

Most of us want better. Yes, the few who prefer chaos, or think they have a right to control others lives or end them if they cannot, must be won over to compassion, and they must be isolated and rendered harmless until they are. But as we do that, we must avoid becoming insensitized to the humanity of others, lest we become the very thing that we are trying to stop.

We need to fix this, not make it worse. It’s important. We are talking about our home here. herelive

 

 

 

 

 

 

(For more on this subject see my post “And the Hate Goes On…“)

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in being better, empathy, peace

 

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Peace Out

I’ve taken a bit of break from blogging for a lot of good reasons. Finishing my fifth novel, d4, turned out to be more of an overwhelming experience than I expected, and the timing overlapped with producing a new version of my first novel x0. This mild rewrite was designed to better use the books interactive links in the electronic version, and to be smoother without them in the paperback version. I’m proud of all my efforts but, as I keep learning the hard way, you can only do so much, and if you try to do more, then your head is likely to be lost in the clouds while you are doing it.

True voice 2In the real world, life moved on. I started a new job and went on a vacation and looked up only to discover that one of my own Texan congressmen was busy likening refuge children from Central America to the Normandy invasion. Fellow Americans were screaming and waving signs at busloads of youngsters, in at least one case too angry to notice that it was a bus full American children on a field trip. Another Malaysian aircraft was missing. This one turned out to have been shot down by mistake, by people too angry to know or care that they had blasted a group of uninvolved innocents out of the sky. Meanwhile teenagers of all faiths seem to have become the latest casualties the ongoing dance of fear and revenge in the Gaza Strip.

In fact, every news channel I turned to was using the word “crisis” although they were applying it left and right to all manner of things. A world in crisis. Great. Do we love our screaming and our shooting and our anger that much?

I’m picking up my pen again and I’ll be starting the last book in my series soon. While I write it, I hope to finish editing d4 and get it published, and also to give y1 the bit of a rewrite that x0 just got. It’s too much to do at once and I know it. I’ll be distracted and lost in my own world. I suspect that is why I will be doing it.

(Please drop by the face book page for Your True Voice and give them a like for the image shown here.)

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in peace

 

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Frustration

fractal 1Momma said that their would be days like this, or so the song goes. We all have them. Not just days, but weeks when both the big and the little annoying things of the world overtake everything.

I’m struggling with writing momentum right now. The plot for my latest book, d4, has spiraled out of control and I’ve spent a whole painful month reigning it back in. That’s way too long and I am so frustrated. Meanwhile my to-do pile is overflowing with real world problems like bills and taxes that I cannot keep ignoring. Breathe. It will all get done. My own job has been unusually demanding these past couple of weeks, so I can add a new chronic right shoulder and neck ache that is clearly computer related to my list of frustrations. Keep breathing.

As is so often the case when I am floundering, my immediate loved ones all have issues in their own lives right now that I cannot fix. There is a downside to having a very empathic nature, and as I turn on the news to relax, I know deep inside that isn’t going to help.I can’t explain why, but war anywhere frightens and depresses me. So does tyranny and repression. My heart goes out to the people of the Ukraine and Venezuela, both of which are now exploding. Breathe. You don’t help anyone by being agitated.

hippiepeace4We just finished a primary here in Texas in which candidates in my area battled each other to prove how each was more conservative than the other. The message was non-stop, delivered via unwanted phone calls and unavoidable fliers in the mail. The spiteful nature of much of the rhetoric was so depressing to a middle-of-the road independent like me. What to do, what to do.

Write? Work? Pay bills? Help my daughter move? Run for office? Go fight oppression in another country?

I think I’ll start by just putting some heat on my shoulder and breathing deeply. Calming down sounds like the best way to begin.

(please drop by and visit the Facebook pages of Fractal Enlightenment and Hippie Peace Freaks and give them a like for the images shown above.)

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in empathy

 

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