Monday, February 15, 2016

Sometimes Compassion Must Be Fierce: Revolution, Renewal and Angela Davis

I have had a secret for all these years that I finally admitted-- I have an unnamed hero. It's been held in the quiet recesses of a heart that kept its own council and kept silent about an admiration that was once controversial and likely to raise eyebrows, questions, or worse yet, ire. 
What happens to women of a certain age is that they can become bold enough to exit whatever closet they may have been hiding in. That courage, with its late arrival leave one wondering "why" does it suddenly seem important to speak your uncensored truth and let the heart step into the vulnerable.

It may be that it's legacy calling. Or it may be that the time comes when not speaking a truth is the same as a lie.
Meet my unlikely hero in this article...
"Sometimes Compassion Must be Fierce: Revolution, Renewal and Angela Davis.


The World Talks Climate Change: An existential conversation

The conversation about Climate Change is existential.

Decisions that are made right now will determine whether human life will continue on the planet. The best argument for human beings to start getting along with one another on this planet is taking place as we speak. We are one. We'd better "get"that, and soon. We're already past a benchmark set by the scientific community to continue life as we know it. Climate change is already underway under your feet.

The glaciers are melting, the ocean is rising, the weather is changing... and humans are engaging in activities that may lead to the extinction of the species. Whether or not humans will  extinguish themselves depends on what we do immediately.

We can't afford to take time to invent a strategy. There is no time. We've talked it to death; we have to stop talking and start doing. The first thing we need to do is a mental adjustment: awaken to the idea that we're all in this together. We are an interconnected and intimate shimmering web of life; the times demand that we stop thinking "I" and start thinking "we." We need an adjustment that opens the heart as wide as the arms and lets everybody in. If we continue this path of "them" and "us" and xenophobia or separation, we will be drafting our own death warrant.

When I talk with people about what they are feeling about the Earth, the environment and planetary stewardship, they all speak to a feeling of sadness, sometimes crushing sadness, sometimes melancholy that is similar to a low grade fever, sometimes a deep grief that lodges as an ache in the region of the chest or rib cage.

I think we all feel it. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we feel a thick sadness. One can freeze in that grief which prevents any movement. What is underneath that bone-aching sadness is love. The love for Earth and all of sentient life is immense. We are, after all, mammals. We feel the connection and we feel the hurt. People will try to avoid the deep heartache that wants to take up residence in the body with distraction, denial, distancing, bravado, avoidance, overwhelm, paralysis, grave sadness, a cavalier indifference, avoiding the subject, becoming and staying angry, disgust, minimizing... Those are all the ways we humans are "whistling past the graveyard" which means creating an illusion of safety so as to deny the danger. Danger motivates. Let it. Love motivates better. Let it.

A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...