Is it work if it’s fun?

Anyone on a deeply spiritual journey knows a major part of the journey involves looking deeply into issues, emotional blocks etc. As the U.S. has lurched through four years of crises and scandals it has become ever more clear to me that we as a society have issues and blocks to address — many of which are so pervasive they also show up as our personal and ancestral issues. One of them I’ve contemplated often is our general view of work.

I watched a news piece about a woman with her own business the other day. She picks up and delivers dogs who’ve been adopted from out of state and she loves it. Loves it so much she said “it doesn’t feel like work”. It struck me how often I’ve heard that.

On my own journey I realized long ago that that attitude correlates with a general belief that work is “supposed” to be hard, unpleasant; something you must do to eke out a living that will probably barely support you. When I quit practicing law, which I loathed but made a pretty good living at, and began doing things I loved, I instantly began to fail.

It kept going for a long time, even after recognizing that I held deep beliefs about the impossibility of financially succeeding at something you love to do. For me it also turned out my health issues needed to take precedence, but I haven’t forgotten the import of the belief work must be an unpleasant struggle.

Ever since, I’ve noticed how most people talk about work in this country. Yes, there are people who love their work and speak enthusiastically, but there’s a widespread belief among many that work has to be an unhappy drudge. When I heard this woman sounding guilty about her pleasure in the business she’s created out of her love of dogs, I felt really struck about how deep that strain of thinking goes in our society.

Imagine what a shift in that one set of beliefs would do to change the world. If everyone believed it’s possible and okay to find something you love to do or to find a way to love whatever you do for work, wow, how different things would be.

Growing with Our Founding Documents

So much controversy lately has me thinking deeply about the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Many are dismissing both as products of slaveowners; because the writers were flawed, the documents are no longer valued goes the thinking.  With a lifelong tendency to see both sides — a product of constantly being in the middle wihtin my family’s arguments — I see a path down the middle.

I’m a person of words, so for me, even over the years since I realized our Founders were far more seriously flawed than our history books led us to believe, the brilliance of the words they crafted still shine.  Largely helped by my long-ago Constitutional Law class in law school, I see a Constitution that has been able to grow and evolve over time.

When you read through the landmark cases of generations you see how the carefully honed document left room to interpret broader truths and equities than the men who wrote it lived within.  They were bright enough and good enough at writing, I don’t think it was an accident that, even though they created restrictions about gender and color, many of the actual words of both the Declaration and the Constitution leave room to dream of literal equality for all, though they may not have foreseen where it led.

The stepping stones from one SCOTUS decision to another also reflect both how we have grown as people in our understanding of what “equality” really means and how the interpretation of the Constitution has grown too.  In those broad words about equality Blacks have found the inspiration to press for them to be true for everyone and that history is one every child should be learning in school.

As I reflect on Independence Day, I see room to reject the flaws of the Founders and still celebrate the brilliance of what they created and how they left a foundation with room to evolve.  At this moment we are in a new stage of evolution in making the notions of justice and equality for all, without exception, true.  Sometimes evolution in law drags us forward, sometimes thinkers who are ahead of the time push the law to change. Together we grow.  

Dear young progressives

Twitter is the main place where I get all political (though I do share some things on FB when I know the specific topics are of interest to friends) and I’m following quite a few young progressives. I love that we finally have a whole new crop of excited advocates for change. Seems like us old hippies have been waiting forever for another generation to take up the banner.

But I’m also seeing a lot of the strain of “if I don’t like everything about candidate, I won’t vote”. that has been the bane of Democrats for years. I’m not unsympathetic as I’ve felt like I was holding my nose and voting many times over the years.  I’m just practical and I knew the corporate hold was too strong. And maybe at another time I would say, sure, go ahead and hold out for your ideals.

But now is not the moment. I think many of you are so young you don’t know about how third parties, not voting and (in Reagan’s case) Democrats defecting to Republican brought us Ronald Reagan and the Bushes, all of whom contributed all they could to bringing us to where we are now.  Were their democratic opponents progressive or offering any real change? Nope. But would they have been better and managed to do more to stem this right wing conservative tide Reagan started than the Republicans? Yes they would have. Know how much we all love JImmy Carter now? That’s the guy Dems wouldn’t vote for in 1980.

But this time is worse. This time there is a right wing wave of Republicans who wish to take down democracy. They want an authoritarian dictatorship. And they’re already lining up tools. No one seems to be taking the antifa as terrorists declaration seriously because there is no such group. But that’s the worst part. Having made the declaration, because there is no actual group, they can call any Democrat, liberal, progressive, etc. an antifa — therefore a terrorist — and start rounding us up into camps.

I doubt they’ll be so bold before the election, but trust me, if you let Trump be elected again, you can kiss any chance at any kind of progressive agenda good bye.  Probably for decades. Until there is a revolution to overthrow the dictator. In the meantime, millions will have been thrown in camps or murdered, the Constitution and the U.S. as we know it will be over.

You won’t just not have a progressive president, you’ll watch every progressive in Congress being executed or jailed, every liberal judge , executed or jailed. every leader of a liberal group, executed or jailed. This is no time for playing around with the snowflake bit of refusing to vote or voting for a no-chance-to-win third party. If you want the possiblity of moving to a truly progressive agenda in 2024–or being able to vote at all, you need to just Vote Blue.   And yes, I know, the whole idea stinks. Save us from DJT. Do it anyway.

I love your enthusiasm and that you have seen beyond what most leftists of my era couldn’t see — the power of global corporations and their hold on politics.  I was into studying the Power Elite, so I kind of got it back then but couldn’t get people to listen.  You get it. Hold on to what you know. Plan for 2024 after we get the right wing out of their positions of power. But this time, vote to get them out before it’s too late.

And, as I’ve noted in my People Power posts, you also need to expand your thinking beyond government. The only way to break global corporate power is to destroy their profits. And we do that with how we spend. It means we need more local banks, health centers, manufacturing operations, food markets, etc. to provide the alternatives to Amazon and Walmart and Bank of America, etc. This is possibly more important than getting rid of corporate Democrats.

So I’d suggest, hold your nose, vote for Biden and then every down ballot progressive you can and put your enthusiasm into starting local co-ops and moving consumers to boycott global corporations. Been reading and thinking about this stuff for 50 years. So maybe I”m just over the hill.  Or maybe I know a bit…

Teetering: “Righteous Anger” and Compassion

As mentioned off and on for a while, I’m struggling with anger over so man things that are going on. Periodically I realize I’m back screaming at certain “leaders” every time their faces appear, grinding my teeth as I scan social media and follow links to read more, and, a couple of weeks ago when a station I was watching moved from old shows to airing some kind of evangelical church service, I found myself angrily making up words to the hymn they started with and singing: “My Jesus hates you, and we kill, kill, kill…”

Being self-aware enough to see this is DEFINITELY in conflict with my beliefs about holding a space of love, peace and compassion, I keep circling back to questioning the source of the anger and how to shift it. And one puzzle I constantly come back to, is how to be “righteously” angry and yet hold that space.

Many spiritual leaders and writers feel there is such a thing as righteous anger and that, when great wrongs are being committed, we must all feel that anger and do something toward righting the wrong. None seem to address how such anger impacts the energy of the web nor do they seem to offer much advice about how to feel that angry and still find the love and compassion with which to “do something” but do it with nonviolence.

I have long been unconvinced that “righteous” anger is any different, energetically speaking, than any other. It worries me when I react with anger because I can feel how it takes hold and shoves the loving, peaceful aspect of me out of function. And since I believe the energy space each of us holds adds up to the totality of energy that is All That Is, every time one of us is angry instead of loving, our energetic contribution to the web is the energy of anger.

Most of the spiritual leaders who say it’s fine to be outraged over injustice, etc. but to be nonviolent in what you do about it, seem remarkably silent on the question of how to move from the angry place of the one to the compassionate place of the other. I’d guess the majority of people aren’t well equipped to transition on a dime from place to the other.

I see 3 main arenas we as individuals can work on to help us in recognizing the wrongs that need to be righted but stay compassionate and develop non violent solutions:

  1. Ferreting out repressed anger (or other deeply held negative emotions). I’ve noted the above video before and I really like how deeply it works on transforming anger but there are many other methods, including “process” work like Fischer-Hoffman, the Diamond Heart approach, transpersonal psychology, etc. Just find the mode that works for you.
  2. Being able to stay present in the moment is really important. If you can’t even stay conscious enough to realize anger has grabbed you and it’s time to shift away, how you can move into non violent responses? I include more than just sitting vipassana; chanting (sung or spoken), movement practices like yoga or qi gong, and some guided meditations like yoga nidra are all ways that people of different temperaments can tune into the present.
  3. Long ago I read some spiritual leader saying the key to coping with emotions and events coming at you is to allow them to pass through you without affecting.  One of many teachings that’s easier said than done. I think it takes a lot of practice and dedication to reach a place where you don’t even have to think about staying in the space of lovingkindness and compassion and calm.

There are many ways to work on holding that space.  One factor is how you “feed” yourself in your life.  Are you doing practices like metta or singing chats or meditating (whatever form) regularly? Are you reading books like Tara Brach’s 

Boomers, Revolution, Politics

I’m an old hippie boomer and never really stopped being a hippie. Nor did many of my friends. And everywhere I’ve lived I’ve pretty much wound up with a bunch of friends who were hippies in the day and/or live like hippies now. So many of the slurs the millenials keep tossing about boomers feel like they’re talking about some other group.

From that time forward I’ve been left of democrats in my leanings. Never particularly identified with another party like Socialist or Green, but my political sensibilities were shaped by the protest days and, most especially, Oscar Lange’s On the Economic Theory of Socialism. So my perspective favors the systems places like Denmark and Sweden have created. And I delight that in millenials we finally have a group that gets the political/economic ideas we embraced so long ago.

Voting for me through all these years has been just kind of practical, vote for the least bad kind of thing. My evaluation through all the years has been that corporate influence is too strong to really “revolutionize” the government and too large a portion of the populace has not understood the more liberal viewpoints, so it has long seemed the best we could do was not to have the Republican — and indeed it has proved to be true that Republicans have always made inequality, climate issues, etc. worse and Democrats have always improved those some but never beyond what corporate overlords could accept.

I like the push for Democratic Socialism but I still see too many in government controlled by corporate sponsors (and let’s save discussion of corporate lobbyists controlling way too many watchdog agencies that are supposed to be regulating them for a whole other post). I’m encouraged by the many Democrats running without corporate help and with more Democratic Socialist platforms. This change is heartening and we need to give it momentum. But it’s also time to get outside the box and quit thinking that changing some officeholders will change the fundamentals.

Unlike much of what I read from the millenials, I don’t see it as likely we can shift the government as radically as we need to in the short time frame we have to turn climate change around. For some time I’ve been questioning the degree to which most of us in America have fallen into the habit of expecting government to “save” us and assuming if we just change some people in Congress or change the President, we will be delivered from harm. I think we need to be more rad.

Many years of study and observation lead me to believe that government will not change sufficiently or fast enough to save us. We need People Power. I’ve laid a lot of this out in the People Power series but want to include some thoughts again here.

In much of the world corporations are really running governments like puppet masters. While there’s increasing awareness of this truth, most people still want government to save us from this power. Right now, government works for corporations and throws enough sops to the rest of us to get the votes they need.  GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOING TO SAVE US.  Take that in.  It’s time we understand this truth.

While we also need to work on voting in people who haven’t taken corporate money, the two main things I see as grass roots necessities: (1) massive boycotts and (2) a huge wave of going local; starting co-ops for banking, manufacturing, food production, etc. that are run by the people for the people and employing the people.

Two percent of the people are hoarding vast amounts of wealth and acting as though the other 98% are expendable. It’s a very weird way of looking at us when our buying dollars provide the bulk of their profits. Without us buying their stuff, booking their hotel rooms, eating their food products, etc. they can’t make a profit.  The truth of this is finally hitting now in the Covid-19 pandemic and the government still can’t get it that it’s not the 2 percent they need to save. Without us out there buying, businesses are feeling the pinch (though the super rich owners and CEOs are untouched so far).

I’ve been calling for massive consumer boycotts for a long time and running around talking about how we really vote with our dollars and few have really been listening. I find it kind of funny that the Universe has basically ordered up a massive consumer boycott without anybody actually deciding to have one. Now we need to keep it up when we’re allowed to get out again.

Thirty-four years ago when I started practicing yoga and taking the Yoga Journal, then becoming interested in metaphysics and flipping through magazines like New Age Journal (now Body and Soul), etc. I began to notice a whole secondary economy in their pages.  Health foods, yoga props, meditation retreats, herbal supplements, etc. Companies you never heard about nor, in those days, ever saw on the shelves of a mainstream grocery or drugstore. Companies with healthier products and often a healthier way of doing business.

Over the years those companies have often become more known.  Some went down the dark path — Whole Foods, for instance became a corporate monster long before Amazon took over. And many more companies have been added to the list. For the most part all these places still advertise in magazines and on web sites that cater to those who are into healthy and/or spiritual lifestyles and this other economy is still under the radar.

More recently I’ve been following a more recent and quietly grown trend for forming local co-ops. From neighborhoods taking back an old shuttered business district and supporting small local enterprises, to co-op banks owned by and serving Blacks or women or poor neighborhoods to farming co-ops, etc. across the world a movement of creating local businesses that operate for local people has been spreading.

It’s been going on for long enough there are now studies showing they are making good profits, employing lots of people and paying them better in both wages and benefits. Again, mostly under the radar though if you hunt for it you can find scattered articles. (I’ve listed the People Power posts below — many links to articles and sources there) A Thrive Economy serves better than a Growth Economy.

I see this quiet growth of a whole tier of businesses operating differently, quietly in the background as our best answer and hope. We need more of it. We need the younger progressives who are excited about change to leap on the bandwagon of going local. We need to have so many products, supplies, banking opportunities, supply chains, etc. that are both supplying consumer needs and providing jobs that we can increasingly do business only with local outfits and stop buying from corporations.

We have to be the ones to break corporate power because government is not going to do it.

I love seeing lots of enthusiasm for progressive candidates and causes from the younger generations and I hope they keep working on those things. But I also hope a huge number can be persuaded to launch themselves into a local movement. While I know plenty of older hippies who are participating in local co-op type efforts and pushing for buying local, we’re kind of old for being the founders of banking co-ops and small manufacturing plants, etc.  We need you.  And I know I can speak not only for myself but for so many people I know, we’ll do anything we can to help you.

It’s time for a quiet, under-the-radar revolution in which we seize power by taking our dollars away from the global corporate giants and put them into businesses that serve us and the needs of our communities. It isn’t just getting “them” to pass progressive policies. We have to seize the reins and create the progressive roads.

The People Power posts — in these posts you’ll find many links to articles and studies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ProudResister @davidhogg111 @WilliamMMcKee @OurProgressive @eve_levenson @EdwardJDavey @marwilliamson @ewarren

 

The virus and the rabbit hole

As Mom moved toward the end of her stay in rehab and my hip/psoas issues were hitting a zenith, we started hearing about the coronavirus.  Things were revving up when we got home. But we’d been sent off with Mom having barely moved from diaper changes to being able to get to the bathroom with assistance and no home help coming for days, so I felt too overwhelmed by dealing with the transition to full time caregiver to do more than note it as a rising issue.

Before long, though, I was discovering that with Mom in the house I should be going out as little as possible — some say not at all but I have yet to figure out how to get everything done for her without leaving the house.  As much as possible I get curbside pickup or delivery, mostly curbside pickup, but for a couple of places I have to go in.

Otherwise I’m staying home. I gather this is a huge lifestyle change for many people but, having dealt with health issues for a long time, I’m used to staying home a lot, so I feel like life has prepared me for this moment very well.  Not to mention being an only child means I’ve spent tons of alone time since early childhood…

Not feeling huge fear except for my Dad, alone in Florida and not taking this too seriously.  One silver lining to all the time spent in hospitals, etc. is I had Mom and I taking Aireborne every day to ward off the many things that float around those places so we were more immune boosted than normal.  And I’ve had us keep taking some along with elderberry and preventive doses of ganmaoling. Sent some of all those things to Dad and he’s actually taking stuff! I don’t go quite as far as some about wiping everything down or quarantining the mail, but I’m careful and Mom is not going out at all.

The hardest part is watching our already-dwindling investment account go down and wondering how we survive on the other side.  Otherwise the adjustment to this new normal after adjusting to a life of daily hospital/SNF visits and then adjusting to be the only caregiver 24/7 just seems like part of the ongoing fall down the rabbit hole. Head over heels, down and down, dizzy and disoriented, heading for a new world.

In the meantime, I’m looking at the commentary on what an opportunity this is to decide to change the world and throw off the beliefs about wealth and striving and what drives economies to start anew from a different set.  Now is the chance to work on “people power”, for which I advocated in my recent series. Let’s dream and plan a new world. And I’m excited about that.

People Power: Not Government

Stop waiting for government to fix our problems

Stop imagining that government is capable of fixing our problems

Stop thinking that it’s up to government to fix our problems

IT IS UP TO US

Corruption and Global Corporations

Around the world, global corporations have bought their way into power and so many politicians have been bought and paid for by them that it is pointless to hope governments as they’re now constituted are going to move on a big enough scale or fast enough to save the planet.  That’s not to say we can’t also work on changing government, which will be discussed below, but for the urgent needs of now, they’re not gonna do it.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m puzzled as to why these corporations are hell bent to gather most of the world’s wealth into their hands and leave everyone else bickering and starving since buying power in the hands of the 98% whom they so readily consign to doom is required for them to maintain profits.  Some of the wiser corporate heads have been realizing the only way to keep going is for everyone to benefit but not enough have seen the light.

It is up to us to break their power and we do that buy boycotting their goods and services.  They control so much of our food and products  it is key, as I mentioned in the last post, is to create local markets, manufacturing, etc.  The more I research these topics, the more things land in my path about what’s already happening.  There’s a worldwide network forming of “BuyNothing” groups, which are using local barter, production and trade to avoid buying from any corporate entities.  This group is not alone in such ventures, but a place to start if you want to start opting out of giving corporations the dollars to rule the world.

Governments will only start serving the needs of all the people when they are no longer in thrall to the 2%.

Elections without Corporate Ties

The Democrats have a lot of people running now who are only taking money from crowd source type funding and refusing to take corporate contributions.  We need to start electing ONLY politicians who are free of all corporate ties and obligations.

There will be push back and the 2% has always contained members who are willing to assassinate anyone who threatens their sovereignty.  They’ve interfered in elections by convincing people of false info in order to stop passage of laws they don’t like.  They’ve orchestrated “accidents” for people like Karen Silkwood; and recently there have been 35 mysterious accidental deaths of witnesses who were about to testify against pesticide makers.  So don’t underestimate their power or determination.

Here in Kentucky, the solar power industry has been burgeoning and the utility companies are now trying to get the state legislature (Republican) to pass laws that would devastate the industry.  So far the number of jobs and revenue that would be lost seems to be holding back enough votes to keep this from happening.  Be aware though, that if we start going local and reducing corporate business on a scale big enough to get their attention we can expect them to use their power to try to outlaw co-ops, stop small manufacturing, etc.  See article on the solar story in KY.

We need to make sure our local, state and federal government officials are free of obligations to corporations.  But even that won’t stop them from mounting multi-million dollar disinformation campaigns every time the go-local movement or the climate change remedies interfere with their insatiable quest to own everything.

It’s important for us to pay attention to donors and candidates and to refuse to vote for people who are supported by corporate $$ so that over the next 4-8 (or ?) years we can build a new government that will help foster going small and local and green.

Creating a New Story and a Government to Go With It

As I’ve delved ever further into current issues, the need for change, and how to accomplish it, books and articles providing me with more info and insights are constantly dropping into my lap.  The last 10 days are so have been just the beginning of a lot of time sitting around at a hospital and now a rehab center so I’ve been catching up.  I’m really excited at the moment by Charles Eistenstein’s The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible and Michael Lerner’s Revolutionary Love.

Though there’s much more to them, both make key points about how our cultures and governments are defined by the stories about the world we have developed.  Capitalism, scarcity, wealth gaps, etc. are all considered necessary and inescapable but they’re actually just constructs that have survived because we were convinced to believe in them and now no one questions those beliefs.  Lerner has valid criticisms of both major U.S. political parties, which arise from the degree to which both are mired in a global corporate view.

In order to accomplish real change, we need to shift our structures to reflect a different set of beliefs and values.  To work on a thrive economy instead of a growth one.  To insist that our elected representatives have no ties to corporate power.  To make love and compassion primary forces and the heart of policy and government.

Marianne Williamson was the only candidate who tried to get us to understand the need for this shift and I’m terribly sorry she’s left the race so soon. We need thousands of candidates who understand how dramatically we must change.

Whether our Constitution has sufficient flexibility and enough humanitarianism at its core is a question I’m still contemplating.  Perhaps we need to prepare for something altogether new?

 

People Power: The do-ers

The Three Key Paths: The Do-ers

 

Many in our society snort contemptuously upon hearing people are praying.  They think it’s useless and consider it “doing nothing.”  “You have to DO something,” they tell us.  At this point in history we don’t have time to convert the disbelievers, they just need to have some constructive things to do [though I’ll plant the thought expressed by Charles Eisenstein in The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, that often our rush to “doing” is ill-informed and at best maintains the status quo and at worst actually winds up causing harm].  See previous post on whether praying IS something.

A number of these People Power posts have explored the importance of “going local”.  For that we need increasing numbers of people on the ground who are forming environmental justice groups, creating small-scale local manufacturing, growing organic healthy produce and finding ways to market it, building co-ops for banking, local businesses, health services, etc.

As long as a relatively small number of global corporations hold most of the wealth and mind-boggling amounts of power, environmental and humanitarian crises will become ever more rampant.  To save the planet and to help ALL people to thrive we have to get out from under their control.

Two crucial steps are required to accomplish this.  (1) Quit buying their stuff.  Without profits we provide them, their power disappears.  You vote with every dollar you spend.  Pay attention to how you’re voting.  (2) Since we will still need food, clothing, etc. we need local enterprises to provide us with goods and services and also to replace the jobs that will be lost as big corporations fail.

In Buddhism’s Eightfold Path, I think several branches apply here: Right Livelihood, Right Intent, and Right Action.  The idea is that we do no harm and try to benefit others in everything we do.  Obeying Right Livelihood means making money by only working for or investing in places that are also obeying the rules of Right Action, etc.  Obeying Right Action means you make decisions about buying, selling, and what to do in life based on doing no harm and whenever you can helping others and/or the world.  Right Intent means coming from a place of compassion and heartfulness in every step you take.

To me, there is no way to be in alignment with these paths while working for, investing in, or purchasing from major corporations that harm the environment, treat workers badly, produce harmful items, etc.  A major path of doing therefore involves boycotting those companies and helping to create alternative means of employment and production that operate to bring health, thriving, and sustainability to all.

Another reminder of some new thinking on economics — the idea of a “Thrive Economy” instead of a Growth one, which I think will wind up reflecting the thought that much more needs to be local:

I’ve really been contemplating this and just in my own life I can see it’s very hard to boycott until local alternatives are more prevalent.  I buy a lot from Amazon.  I’d rather not do business with it.  But most of what I buy is only available to me now in other equally yucky corporations.  And to buy from those places I have to drive (environmentally bad as well) to parts of town I loathe, cope with the worst traffic areas, and wander around in overly big stores filled with largely unhappy people.  Right now, Amazon’s free delivery wins.

I shop a fair amount at our local food co-op and also Trader Joe’s, which so far I consider to be a good company, and I need to do more with the local farmer’s market.  But many other things I buy are simply not available as local goods.  Much activity is needed to create viable manufacturing and marketplaces in local areas.

Environmentally speaking there are many actions do-ers can take.  I keep touting Project Drawdown — there are many innovations that individuals or neighborhood groups could adopt and much inspiration for figuring out new ways to help.  If that’s your main interest, plenty of things to do, starting with QUIT BUYING FROM GLOBAL CORPORATIONS.

For do-ers there are also contributions in the land of government and elections but that is for the third post in this concluding (or maybe not 🙂 ) series.

Okay do-ers, there’s your to-do list.  Go forth!

Previous People Power posts;

 

People Power: the three key paths

My People Power series has been dormant for a while, though often in my thoughts,  On one hand I keep feeling there’s perhaps another piece to add to the mix.  And on the other it feels like it’s ready for a conclusion.  The conclusion is at the forefront for me these days as I watch the push and pull between democratic forces and right wing autocratic forces around the world and I’m feeling some urgency on the “what to do” so I’m concluding while holding a door open for more 🙂

I’m seeing three main arenas for our attention, which I’ll summarize here and then give each its own post:

The “be-ers” — going inward

Maybe I should say, “the woo woo crowd”…  I believe so completely in our interconnectedness and how the vibration of each of us impacts the whole, that I actually think our most likely source of salvation will be having enough people consciously clearing their issues and raising their vibrational levels — ’til we lift the consciousness of the world.

The do-ers–going local

The biggest enemy I’ve seen to democracy and equality is global corporatism and the best answer I see for breaking their power is a large-scale movement of local co-ops creating small-scale manufacturing, banking, farming to supply jobs, goods and services at the local level.  The best way to beat them is to stop participating in their businesses but that means we need other buying options and jobs for those who will be displaced.

Many current issues like police brutality and water supply problems are best dealt with on the local level as well and need serious organizing and action.

Everybody change government

Most people in many movements are still looking to the government for change.  I think the government in most countries is too broken and too tied to corporate interests for that to happen.  In the U.S. the most hopeful thing I see is multiple candidates raising their campaign money through crowd funding which will leave them unentangled with corporate interests.

At every level of government we need to concentrate on electing people who are completely free of corporate influence  Both be-ers and do-ers can contribute to campaigns, volunteer to help elect good candidates and GO VOTE!

Previous People Power Posts:

People Power: Climate, Our Part and the Elephants in the Room

As the talk about climate change escalates I keep glancing at plans, suggestions, demands, etc. and making mental notes about what massive change would really entail.  The main things I keep seeing are (1) we the ordinary people have a much bigger role to play than most “change” advocates seem to acknowledge and (2) the massive shift we need will have much greater consequences to the world economy than is generally being discussed.

First, I see a world in which governments for the most part are broken.  Corruption and ties to big money have so infiltrated governments everywhere, I find it odd so many environmental advocates are still calling for governments to do something.  Really, what on earth about how they operate leads anyone to believe they would?

Until we can make sweeping changes in who is elected — keeping corporate money out of the electoral process altogether — democratic governments are not going to pass laws that hamstring global corporations.  And even if we can elect politicians with no such ties, let’s be realistic.  If global corporations are reined in to the necessary degree, massive economic issues, including widespread layoffs and falling profits will result.  No elected politician wants to preside over such a potentially cataclysmic shift.

I’m not saying the process doesn’t also need help from government, but because they’re unlikely to change so radically in the short time frame we need, I think it is going to be regular people working locally along with municipal and maybe state or provincial governments that will create the faster changes we need.

Politicians who discuss “the Green New Deal” or climate change more globally are by and large stepping around the issues of failing corporations and falling GNPs.  They don’t want to say out loud what the real impact of making radical change may have. The youth who are striking often seem to me to be a little naive when it comes to understanding the likely results of the degree of revolutionary change they demand — as did the “radical revolutionaries” of the Viet Nam era; the one sticking point that kept me slightly apart.  I’m not saying they’re wrong that we need it, but I also see you have to face this issue as a probable outcome.

I’m seeing a lot of movement toward more local solutions.  As I’ve mentioned, the world wide co-op movement is very heartening.  It’s been going on long enough I’m seeing studies showing they’re making profits, employing a lot of people and paying them better, etc.  They also allow women and people of color to get a fair shake.

Clearly there are already people who see this is the way to go.  I just think we need a wider-spread consciousness about the need to quickly form local co-ops (or similar) for everything from banking to manufacturing to farming to housing, etc. See previous post for more on co-ops.

What I don’t see is enough individuals advocating on how much WE have to change.  The U.S. is the worst as far as over-consuming.  Our citizens need to step it up more than most pundits are telling them and quit the constant buying.  The assumption that women need a 150 square foot closet and more than enough clothes to fill it needs to stop.  Buying a new computer or cell phone every time a small change in technology comes out needs to stop.  Driving gas-guzzling SUVs needs to stop.  Buying food you don’t need and throwing it away needs to stop.

In my lifetime we’ve moved from a society in which many families had one car and men formed carpools at work so wives and children had the car some days and not others to a society in which every body in the family has at least one vehicle.  We should be demanding expanded public transportation and driving fewer cars instead of more.

No one — especially no politician — wants to tell people they MUST dramatically change their lifestyles especially regarding consuming habits.  Generally speaking the population is resistant to being told big changes must be made .  But this time we have to be agents of change.  Part of that change is also to remake governments to serve the people, but till we do, we’re the best hope we have.

And if we all really start cutting back as much as we must, sales fall, profits decrease, corporations downsize and lay people off, etc.  Some will go out of business.  We should also be using consumer boycotts to express our wrath at their destructive practices and the same consequences are likely.

We need to have a plethora of local opportunities ready to hire displaced workers.  Some places are working on plans where the shift to more sustainable plans and programs includes many new jobs.  We’re talking about a shifting of business and jobs on a scale never seen by the world.

We need to shift to a Thrive Economy instead of one that always grows bigger:

It’s time for us to be poring through Project Drawdown to see which solutions we could support with funding, which solutions we could work on in groups or alone, whether new ideas can be spun from the many offered there.
Paul Hawken_edited
Government as it is constituted right now isn’t going to accomplish this for us.  It’s up to us.  What can we do to shift the mentality from grow to thrive?  How can we start businesses and co-ops operating to thrive while being sustainable?  What are WE going o do to save the world?

People Power and Women

 

 

Finally my series on women’s issues and my people power posts converge as I reach the point of advocating an overthrow.  Time for women to use their power to take charge.  Not just beg for an equal place in the patriarchy.  Overcome the patriarchy.

The last post I wrote in the Women series explored the exploitation of women in the sports world, with a long look at the Larry Nasser disaster at MSU and in U.S. Gymnastics.  The more I examined the shocking degree of sexual abuse happening across the country from early school through college and on into professional sports, the more dismayed I became at the lack of real protest.

When I talked to various women about the enormity of the problem, they were all distressed but also shrugged and assured me nothing would happen “because it’s sports…”  The  attitude from other feminists shocked me even more than realizing we have an epidemic of sexual abuse against women in the sports world (and of course beyond).

It was the first moment I began to understand how deeply immersed in the patriarchy we are.  Men can molest and abuse women starting in middle school and it’s not only covered up but only the parents of those molested protest.  Surprisingly the Moms are not sufficiently outraged by the treatment of girls to withdraw their children from sports activities.

At MSU women students did not immediately transfer in protest.  Parents did not take their daughters out of the school or refuse to allow girls to apply.  Other than some editorial letters and outraged phone calls I could find no sign of any large scale protest at MSU demanding policy changes and assurances of protection for the women who attend the school.

No parents organized a boycott of all MSU sports until action is taken.  Nothing.  Not even the parents of girls think girls count enough compared to male sports figures to stand up for them.  I could find not a single news story in the entire country about parents organizing any kind of major protest or boycott at any level at any school where widespread sexual abuse had been reported.

I haven’t stopped reeling at the comprehension of how very little value we women have in this society, even among women.

In the meantime, I watched the #metoo movement catch on and listened skeptically as various women talked about how we’d never go back now.  Been there, seen that in the ’70’s.  We thought the tide had forever turned.  Until we realized it turned back the other way.  By a year or so after the wave of “Me Too’s” peaked I started hearing about Wall Street firms stopping the hiring of women in order to avoid harassment claims.  T.V. sets where women complained of harassment and producers failed to even report the claims.

Oh boy are we deep in the patriarchy.

Then I read an amazing article, Men are 100% Responsible for Unwanted Pregnancies.  Step by step the author goes through an eye opening litany of the ways in which men are responsible.  Starting with the fact that women are only fertile about 24 days a year compared to a man’s 365 day fertility.  In wanted pregnancies, there is an agreement and both are participating in a decision.  In unwanted pregnancies there is at least a failure to prevent and at worst a cavalier irresponsibility on the part of the man who is inevitably part of the equation. Moving on to the horrible side effects of birth control pills compared to the relative ease of using condoms or getting a (reversible) vasectomy.  Well, please read the article in full.

Again I was left reeling at the depths of the patriarchy.

Even the Women’s Movement has failed us here in my opinion.  The strident insistence on protesting and taking stands about abortion is in itself a patriarchal position.  By fighting about abortion and women’s right to choose after they’re already pregnant, we completely sidestep around the real issue and behave as if women get pregnant by themselves.

If men were held responsible for their “boys will be boys” mentality and held to account for failure to take all precautions to avoid causing a pregnancy, abortion would not even be an issue.  Give men jail time and big fines for causing unwanted pregnancies and there wouldn’t be any.  End of abortion problem.  Should suit both the pro- and anti-abortion factions.  Yet no one even raises the possibility.

Because the patriarchy has such an insidious hold even feminists don’t really see it.

When I look at the years since we first took off our bras and marched around for women’s rights in the 70’s, I see:

  • no Equal Rights Amendment
  • women making less pay than men across the board
  • women being assaulted and raped while men for the most part go unpunished
  • men who truly do not understand why they should be punished
  • women coping with issues of pregnancy as if men have nothing to do with it
  • men getting away with abuse, inhumanity and heartlessness while exercising control over everything to see it doesn’t change

The more I look, the more I’m ready to take a radical leap.  It’s time for women to stop begging for a few more places at the table of patriarchy.  It’s time for us to quit hoping to be taken seriously enough to get paid the same.  It’s time for us to quit letting boys and men off the hook for sexual violence against women.

We need the feminine.  We need humanity and compassion.  When women rule, education, care, kindness ensue.  Men aren’t going to give it to us.  Men will fight for us not to have it.  It’s time to take over.

Yup, it’s time for women to revolt.  It’s time to quit messing around about equality in their world and in terms of what they’re wiling to “let” us have and be.  It’s time for women to take charge.  Question is, how many women are ready?  #WomenRevolt #BurnthePatriarchy #WomensRevolution

The Women posts:

People Power posts:

 

@Alyssa_Milano @marwilliamson @ewarren @GloriaSteinem @TaranaBurke @angelajdavis @scotusginsburg @Oprah @TheGirlMalala @MichelleObama @jameelajamil @justinbaldoni @MargaretAtwood @EmmaWatson @rgay @EverydaySexism

People Power: politics and changing the cultural base line

The deeper I move into this People Power series the more I realize how much we need a shift in our basic thinking on multi-levels and in multi-arenas.  Watching Marianne Williamson’s much-needed voice shaking up the political arena is fueling my sense of “time for change” even more. It’s time for us to take power back from global corporations and unscrupulous politicians and she’s calling out the need for these changes.

Her candidacy has left me doing a lot of deep ruminating.  Starting with the fact I’ve never particularly liked her.  And note I’m NOT saying I DIS-like her.  My instincts for which teacher or which book is for me are spot on and I just never felt drawn to her… for ME.  And I admit I’ve always pick up a frisson of something in her demeanor or energy that leaves me uneasy.

So I’m not an enthusiastic supporter of her as president.  But I’m an enthusiastic supporter of her important voice staying in the race long enough to start moving the conversation in the direction it needs to go. As far as her ultimately being the candidate, still mulling.

There’ve been a few really good articles about the importance of the conversation she keeps inserting into the political arena.  In this article in Harper’s Bazaar by Kerry Pieri, the writer asserts, “Williamson is trying to teach us that our mind-set needs a new baseline, one of true empathy…” And she argues this is so important in these times that people need to stop calling her crazy for trying to talk about love and peace.

And Erica Ariel Fox, in a Forbes article discusses how much we need to re-insert soul and spirit into our politics, telling Democrats they should learn from her.

The switch to moving from fear and war as our base of operations to love and peace is key and crucial but not the only one we need to make.  From our unconscious consuming habits to our reliance on federal government instead of moving to local power to our blindness to the power of corporations over our lives and our world, we need radical change in our base line of thinking.

And I”m thankful Marianne Williamson is standing up there, bravely facing ridicule, and loudly advocating positions we are not used to hearing from politicians.  These conversations need to become part of the cultural base line and consciousness in order for we the people to assert our power.

@MarianneWilliamson @2020Marianne

The People Power Series:

 

In the news: sifting through facts

For a while now, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been pretty excited about a vague path I see for myself which brings together my legal and political background with my long spiritual journey.  And part of that, since “fake news” became a massive problem, has involved a LOT of fact checking.

Between the history major, research when I worked on my PhD and loads of legal research, I have a lot of research experience and I’ve learned to navigate more easily since the internet makes a lot of those tools available without having to go to a library and stand around at the card catalog.

Recently it occurred to me that some of the stuff I’ve been doing might be useful to other folks trying to navigate the world of fact and fiction in the news.  Not suggesting other people don’t know how, just not everyone does and not everyone is aware of all the resources I am.

First up is figuring out which media outlets and fact checkers are trustworthy.  I separate media bias as an issue from media reporting falsified info.  These days you can search the name of a newspaper or website and “Is it legit?” and there are some pretty good sites that come up. Politifact has a good list but it’s old.

Media Bias Fact Check is pretty good but I have found some places that haven’t been updated to reflect a change of ownership that has impacted both bias and veracity (Patheos, for instance, has changed hands so the middle of the road and wide representation in writers has changed to purely evangelical and a biased point of view; no info on truth or fiction).

I’ve memorized some places that come up often for me that don’t measure up when checked, so I automatically am skeptical of anything from Occupy Democrats or Breitbart, to name two.  Fake news and truth stretching happens on both sides, so it’s good to be vigilant whatever your persuasion.

Some of the venerated places like the New York Times or Washington Post  (CNN, CBS, NBC, et al) generally do a pretty good job, but they do have a big liberal bias and sometimes present more of the info that supports the bias.  However, I don’t find they actually make anything up and one nice thing about the better news outlets is they often give you info on sources.

It’s easy to do some fact checking because they often reference studies made by Homeland Security or the Department of State, etc. and I have tracked down enough studies to see if the news story accurately reflected it to feel confident they report real info and are not making stuff up.

Fox, on the other hand, not only makes stuff up but rarely provides a serious study or report — or indeed any evidence at all — so they make it a little harder.  But generally if something is in the news you can use a search engine and some key words from the story to track down whether there is any supporting evidence for their claims. I’ve researched enough of their stories to feel confident they routinely make up news and ignore studies, facts, etc.

I know many on the right have vilified Snopes and Politifact, but I’ve researched facts on both sides of many issues and I find they’re just as willing to debunk Democrats and liberals as the GOP and conservatives.  To the extent I’ve followed some of their source trails, I’ve found both do a good job of fact checking and I trust their results.

All these sources are the ways to get an easy fix.  But if you really feel unsure about what’s true, there are a few places you can go.  As mentioned, there are often studies cited that were carried out by departments of government and use statistics they collect.

For instance, you can look at lots of data collected by the State Department, Homeland Security, the DEA and various state and federal law enforcement agencies to find the following info about the flow of drugs, immigrants in general, and immigrants from Central America and Mexico in particular:

  1. more drugs come in from Canada than Mexico
  2. most drugs enter through ports, not across southern border
  3. immigrants actually commit far fewer crimes than citizens
  4. there are more illegal immigrants who came in on legal visas and stayed after the visa expired than there are immigrants who came across any border illegally
  5. the largest number of those illegally here on expired visas are from Canada

You get the idea.  A huge amount of stuff being floated by the President, the GOP and Fox news is a complete fabrication and there are facts you can check.  There are many topics for which the government collects data and prepares studies, so you can often go straight to the source to find out what’s true.

Another source on line is to check on bills at government sites.  At the federal level the Congressional Record has every bill that’s been proposed and you can follow the stages of it and find out who voted which way.  At the state level, every state I’ve looked in on (by no means all) has had an on line government site where you can track bills and votes.

To find out about court cases, you can order a transcript on line but you have to pay.  If you just want to track proceedings and the basics of what happened, you can get a lot of info on line.  Just look up the court, i.e. federal district court or local county court or a state supreme court, etc. and somewhere in their tabs you’ll find info on court cases.

Most major universities have lots of grants to do studies and publish loads of material on every subject.  When you run a search to find data on many issues, look for studies by, say, Stanford or Northwestern or the University of Michigan, for example, and read some of their research.  Multitudes of studies are available on line for free.  Even universities have crackpots, so you might also do a check on the professor(s) who ran the research 🙂

Those are enough basics you should be able to negotiate sorting fact from fiction in most cases.  Hope it helps.

People Power: Think outside the box

In the last post I examined some issues in which most of us are so buried in cultural beliefs we can’t see past them.  This time I’m taking up a few issues and suggesting possible alternative views that could change the game.  Change the belief, change the thought=change reality.

Health Care — Change it all?

When the GOP first started attacking the ACA, threatening the health insurance of millions, I joined the multitudes in wringing hands.  One day, though, as I contemplated people having no access to health care, I suddenly shifted to thinking about the health care I have known and used for the last 30 years –alternative.

Suddenly light bulbs flashed and I thought about how much better alternative care has served me than western/allopathic ever did.  I could see people going to herbalists and body workers and acupuncturists and actually healing issues instead of covering the symptoms.  And I thought, “could this actually be the way to shift our health care system to one that’s holistic and healthy and really good for people?”

Since I’ve not seen a “western” doctor or participated in any way in allopathic medicine for 30 years, it’s kind of funny it took me a while to make this mental leap.  But I’d dutifully signed up for insurance to obey the law and am sufficiently immersed in the cultural thinking that I felt some measure of relief in having the “safety net” of insurance. When they tried to take it away, I felt the same sense of outrage most people were feeling.

As soon as I saw the path to a complete alternative, I calmed down about the sense we HAVE to have government-provided insurance.  Most people spend so much on premiums and co-pays, if those payments were all removed, far more could afford  the much-less-expensive alternative health care costs and we might become healthier for it.

Do we really need the allopathic health care system at all? Or should we be funding alternatives that treat people holistically and without the use of harmful pharmaceuticals.  (Take that big pharma!!!)  Changes the insurance debate completely.

Put the Burden on the Men

I’ve been seeing some deep and thought-provoking articles exploring men’s role in unwanted pregnancies and pointing out many ways in which making men legally responsible for pregnancy would change everything about the abortion debates.  Others are pointing out that better support for pregnant women and young children would remove another set of reasons for not wanting a baby.

As I ruminated I realized we need to change the whole dynamic of the argument.  It’s time to quit discussing in terms of Pro Choice and Anti-Choice, abortion or not abortion, both of which place the issue entirely on women and both of which lead to legislating women’s rights to their own bodies.  Whichever way the legislation goes, it still suggests women need governments to direct or protect their own decisions and how they choose to deal with their own bodies.

As this terrific article pointed out, men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies.  But no one is discussing legislation to regulate their participation in unprotected sex.  No one is talking about increased penalties for rape.  No one is talking about regulating men as predators.  And yet that is precisely where the discussion should be centered.  Change men’s behavior and most unwanted pregnancies never happen so the need for abortion never arises.

Others point out that if you we put the time and attention into making it easier for women to keep and raise their babies, many abortions would never happen.  Lower birth costs, find ways to help fund those costs, better and cheaper child care, increased wages, increase and expand the WIC program (supplemental nutritional program for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under 5.  If we helped women who choose abortions because they can’t afford to have children, many would choose to keep the baby.

If the Anti-Choice crowd really cared about “Life” they would pursue these regulations for men and work on improving aid for pregnant women and their young children so the need to even consider abortion would drop dramatically.  The fact that they choose to focus only on stopping abortion makes it clear that saving fetuses is not their real concern; regulating women is.

But I want to be clear, as long as liberals in general and the women’s movement in particular continue to accept the right wing framing of this issue as a problem for women instead of insisting on discussing it as what it really is — an issue about men’s irresponsible and arrogant behavior and refusal to own the consequences of their actions — we continue to condone the misinformed viewpoint that it’s women’s problem.

Stop Buying

In the west, and particularly in America, our rampant consuming habits are responsible for (1) a vast portion of the climate change issues we face and (2) for providing the 2% with the profits they need to control us.  It’s such a deep issue but one we really need to face.

I can see it in myself and I’m not even much of a shopper.  But I own too much.  And in the years of illness, as carry out and prepared foods have become ever easier to access, I have realized I waste huge amounts of wrapping, packaging, etc. by taking advantage regularly of the chance to have a decent meal without having to stand around preparing it.  I’m working on re-thinking my buying habits and also how to contribute less to packaging waste.

When I look around I see many people far more immersed in consumerism than I am.  I watch some of the design and house search type shows and have been finding two interesting extremes.  The one that disturbs me involves people feeling they “have” to have the latest, nicest, and the most.

People who don’t cook but upon seeing a perfectly adequate but not recently-renovated kitchen announce, “it would HAVE to be redone”.  And the number of women who, without a shade of embarrassment, inform us they need a 10×10 closet and will barely fit all their clothes in it are turning my stomach regularly.

I smile then at the other side, which is the tiny house movement in which people are reducing their possessions to a couple of trunks full and reducing their living space to incredibly small spaces (to me, claustrophobic!). I’m not sure we need to go to quite that extreme, but certainly a move much more in that direction is needed.

This tendency to buy and buy without worrying about whether things are fixable or recyclable or whether we could get something used runs so deeply in American culture and habits it’s going to be tough to get out of it.  But if we’re really worried about the environment, it’s time for us to own how we contribute by mindless consuming and to find ways to reduce our enormously wasteful buying habits.

At the same time our buying habits contribute to environmental issues by using up resources and creating waste, we also contribute to those issues by keeping the global corporations who love to destroy the environment in profits and power.

If we start drastically changing our buying habits AND work at creating local grass roots movements to grow, produce, manufacture locally and buy as much as possible from local businesses and co-ops, we also can drive the multi-nationals out of business and power.

This isn’t a change that requires government intervention at all.  It’s change that requires us to delve deep and shift our auto-buy behaviors while also creating new vibrant local economies.

***

I’m just trying to provide a few examples of how we need to step outside our ordinary thinking patterns if we want to change the world, so I’m leaving it with these three examples.  I would love it if others who have thoughts about a whole new way to think about a major issue would either comment here, or better yet write a post about it and link it to this post.

The People Power posts:

People Power: Deep in the Cultural Fabric

Many of us (and everyone who regularly reads this blog!) have been delving into the depths of our psyches for a long time now as well as doing practices that raise vibration.  I believe we’ve raised the vibration of the whole to a place where the depths of whole cultures are rising to the surface.  This means it’s time to explore our cultural beliefs and release those which no longer serve us.

I’m just exploring a few of them here that seem particularly relevant now.

Women

Ever since I poked around the world of sports and wrote a piece on the dehumanizing attitude toward women (see post)– which I think reflects the general attitude of our culture in the U.S. — I’ve been thinking about patriarchy and the many ways in which it is insidiously deep in our culture — even in ways many women don’t see.

I’ve watched #MeToo impact men on Wall Street and in corporations by leading them to stop hiring women rather than cope with the possibility of accusations.  Not really the triumphant outcome women were hoping for…  And an indication of how deeply entrenched the patriarchy is.

There are still lots of women dressing like pole dancers and arguing that they’re “expressing themselves” and “feeling sexy”.  I shake my head and wonder why the ONLY way they feel they’re expressing themselves or can feel sexy is to dress like a man’s wet dream.  And it’s always the same Playboy type stuff.

How is that expressing your individual uniqueness to dress to suit someone else’s preferences?  How is there nothing women themselves love that makes them feel sexy? Unique would be wearing an electric blue fedora with an emerald green ’80’s jacket, a yellow feather boa and orange tap pants… Weird, but an outfit that would tell me the woman has a particular sensibility and she’s expressing it.  Dressing like every porn character and Playboy Bunny on the planet… not so much.

We’ve been so trained to define ourselves by our attractiveness to men, many women have no idea how to just be themselves and not care what men think.

Racism

For a long time I’ve worried occasionally about how much racism still existed.  But like most, I was content to complacently assume the Civil Rights legislation took care of it…  Still, a nagging worry that you can’t legislate people’s hearts kept appearing.

Nothing in those periodic doubts prepared me for the degree of racism we’re been confronting the last few years.  And I’m realizing subtle aspects of racism lurk in most of us — including the usual victims of racist attitudes, who often hold their own beliefs about races other than their own.  None of us can really know what it is to be in the skin of someone of another color, so none of us can totally understand.

Along with the overt white supremacy, equally worrying are many studies I’ve read about white people who aren’t overtly racist but who become emotional at training sessions about race.  Corporations have stopped training and sent the instructors home when white people complained about what people of color tried to tell them about insensitivity and subtle racism.

If we can’t even manage to listen when people try to tell us what hurts, what we need to understand, how they need us to change, how can we possibly imagine more overt racism can be addressed?

Media and the Bad News/Good News dichotomy

In this day and age of worldwide media we’re so affected by news.  The corporate-controlled mainstream media likes to focus on problems and negative news.  It serves the powers that be to keep us in fear and, especially, upset with one another.  Otherwise we might figure out our power and take over.

In the meantime positive news is happening every day.  As I saw in a lovely interview with Jack Kornfield,

Each time there is a bad piece of news that gets publicized, there are 100 million acts of goodness that happen in that same hour—people putting a plate of cooked spaghetti in front of their child, people stopping at a red light so you can safely pass on the green, people planting gardens and designing new homes, millions of acts of goodness. Then there’s the beauty of life itself, where even after a rainstorm, we see the lavender reflections of the sunset in the puddles in the street.”

From Greater Good Magazine, “Why We Should Seek Happiness Even in Hard Times”

When our focus is constantly on the few negative things that happen and we ignore the millions of positive events every day, it skews our feelings about the world and then impacts our decisions to vote, participate, etc.

This negative focus mentality is so deeply embedded, it’s going to take a lot of concerted effort, releasing and shifting to move people’s focus to the positives of the world.  See previous post for more on this topic.

Governments have to fix things for us

I’m not sure historically when the general belief that governments run the show and we depend upon them to keep things safe and secure — possibly monarchies and empires? — but I can see in lots of reactions to environmental issues there’s a widespread attitude it’s more up to government than us to save the environment and the world.

The more I observe what’s happening in recent years, the more I think the opposite is true.  When we as individuals carry unresolved issues in our beings, we negatively impact everything, including the environment.  When we as individuals consume mindlessly and do nothing to curtail our personal impact on the environment, we are culpable and governments can only do so much to reverse our thoughtless habits.

A whole movement has been quietly building for some years in which individuals have invented answers to environmental problems, formed co-ops to deal with multiple issues and cities have been in the forefront of government action on climate change and social justice.

So why do we still want to wring our hands and hope for a change in power so the government can save us?

****

These are just a few of the places in which we are so immersed in the beliefs and habits of our culture we can’t even see how we are trapped by them nor how we fail because of them to see other roads.  Consumerism is also a big one but I almost think it would need its own post…

For those of us who know how to dig in the depths of consciousness, it’s time to look at the ways in which we are immersed in cultural norms and release them within ourselves.  For those less familiar with tracking deep issues, it’s time to look at these issues and step outside the norms to create new ideas, programs, and directions.

The People Power posts: