We will have gun control in this country. History, demographics, and the accumulated and accumulating evidence that it works elsewhere make it inevitable. The accumulated evidence that our archaic lack of gun control does not work also makes it inevitable. The political pendulum will swing, as it already is swinging, and courts and legislatures inevitably will follow public sentiment. It is only a matter of time and needlessly lost lives. How far that pendulum swings also is a matter of time and needlessly lost lives. Because the worse things get, the more people are massacred, the more people are killed in the less headline-grabbing daily accumulation of gun-related violent abominations, the farther that pendulum will swing. Those who fight against effective gun control will, in the end, have done more to assure the more severity of gun control, when gun control inevitably happens, than all the consistent gun control advocates put together. Because gun control will happen in this country. It will be effective. It will work as it works in every other developed democracy. It is only a matter of time and needlessly lost lives.
Emperors uphold censorship,
But extreme repression leads to extreme reaction.
Individualists believe in freedom,
But extreme expression leads to extreme reaction.
The emperors of China and Rome punished any expression that displeased them. Whether it was dissent, unpleasant news, or a portrait that disgusted them, they were ready to destroy the perpetrators without hesitation. Today, there are democracies but no less a tendency to punish dissent, manipulate information, or castigate artists. Those in power should be careful: Push the people too far, and they will rebel.
Artists from early on have tried to push the limits of their expression. Driven by the desire to create, they have sought to strike down every boundary. But as long as they do this in a social setting, they should not outpace their audiences. Those who create must be careful: Challenge the people too much, and they will rebel.
So there are two extremes. The desires of the powerful, who feel that censorship is a just tool, and the tendencies of the creative, who feel that they should have no limits to their freedom. Those who follow Tao avoid these extremes. They avoid becoming the ruler, for such a position is fraught with danger, hypocrisy, and disappointment. Neither will the become the grandstanding artist; to arouse others is like wise dangerous. If they must rule, they use compassion as their standard. If they do create, they find satisfaction in self-expression. Above all, they avoid any extreme that will take them from Tao.
Censorship is the systematic use of group power to broadly control freedom of speech and expression, largely in regard to secretive matters. Sanitization (cleaning or decontamination) and whitewashing (from whitewash) are almost interchangeable terms that refer to particular acts or campaigns of censorship or omission which seek to “clean up” the portrayal of particular issues and facts which are already known, but which may conflict with a presented point of view.
In a modern sense, censorship consists of any attempt to suppress information, points of view, or method of expression such as art, or profanity. Censorship is commonly used by social groups, organized religions, corporations and governments. There are also groups which specifically oppose censorship.
Censorship, unlike acts or policies of sanitization, refers to a publicly set standard, not a privately set (or government-enforced but unannounced) standard. Censorship does not attempt to cover up material made by an organization, but rather to restrict or abolish defined types of material produced by private citizens.
As the Internet was taking flight in the early 1990s, John Gilmore, one of the co-founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading online civil liberties group, is credited with having coined the infamous phrase that “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” Gilmore’s view has since been regularly invoked whenever there are failed attempts to limit the dissemination of information.
Beginning with a string of cases dating back to the Paul Bernardo trial in the mid-1990s, the Internet has undermined court-ordered publication bans in Canada with surprising frequency. The latest incident occurred last month when a U.S. website posted evidence from the Gomery inquiry that was subject to a publication ban. The ban was lifted within days, however, as Judge Gomery acknowledged what had become obvious to all – supposedly secret testimony was readily available to anyone with Internet access.
While these events seemingly affirm the notion that the Internet is beyond the reach of governments and courts, my recent trip to China provided a powerful reminder that unfettered Internet access is far more fragile than is commonly perceived. China, which boasts the world’s second largest Internet user base, is currently home to more than 94 million Internet users, yet their Internet is far different from ours.
These differences are not immediately obvious. My hotel in Beijing featured high-speed Internet access much like that offered in hotels throughout North America. Logging onto the network was a snap and I quickly found that bandwidth speeds were comparable to those found at home.
It was once I sought to access common news sites that I found myself face to face with the “Great Firewall of China.” Google News, a popular aggregator of news stories from around the world, would not load into my browser, apparently blocked by a filtering system that employs 30,000 people to regularly monitor Internet traffic and content. Similarly, while the BBC website would load, attempts to access news stories on that site yielded only error messages.
My frustration increased when I attempted to download my own email. While I was able to access my Canadian-based mail server storing my messages, the download was short-circuited midway as I suddenly lost the connection. Although I initially thought that perhaps the error lay at the Canadian end, when the experience repeated itself, it became clear that the Chinese system was filtering my email messages and cutting off the connection. Michael Geist, Face to Face with the Great Wall of China
“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken – unspeakable! – fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse – a little tiny mouse! – of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” — Winston Churchill
We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. — John F. Kennedy
“Senator Smoot (Republican, Ut.)
Is planning a ban on smut
Oh rooti-ti-toot for Smoot of Ut.
And his reverent occiput.
Smite. Smoot, smite for Ut.,
Grit your molars and do your dut.,
Gird up your l–ns,
Smite h-p and th-gh,
We’ll all be Kansas
By and By.”
– Ogden Nash, “Invocation,” 1931
Tell congress to knock it off. No Internet Censorship! No SOPA or PIPA.
We think of Heaven as eternal
And Earth as lasting a very long time.
Why do Heaven and Earth endure?
They don’t exist for themselves,
So they are able to last a long time.
So if we are wise, we will not think of ourselves alone,
But what we want to live beyond us.
We can move beyond self-gratification
And consider what is best for the long term.
By acting beyond our own self-interest,
We can fulfill greater goals
And live on through our actions.
The Tao of the Self — Seven
Anyone can see you are beautiful
If they see others as ugly.
Anyone can see you as good
If they see others as evil.
Therefore having friends and not having friends arise together.
Difficult and easy relationships complement each other.
Long and short friendships contrast each other:
High and low emotions rest upon each other;
Your voice and the sound of others harmonize each other;
Being in front of and behind others follow one another.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing to force relationships,
teaching not gossiping about others.
Thousands of conversations rise and fall without cease,
Creating relationships, yet not forcing them.
Working with others, yet not taking credit for their work.
Great work with others is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.
Tao of the Self. Two
Get up and do something first thing in the day.
Be motivated by love.
Don’t be silent anymore.
Simplify life — remove whatever and whoever does not inspire, inform, add personal value and friendship, or provide a needed service
Clean it up, and make it easy to keep clean.
There will always be more things to learn and do as the day progresses, but you have to start somewhere.
We just got home today from one of the worst travel experiences in my life. We flew through Denver on United, connecting to Colorado Springs in order to visit my brother’s family in Pueblo and attend my niece’s wedding. It was less expensive than flying directly into the Springs or into Pueblo, and we’ve done it many times before with no problems or at worst delays. Going to the Springs on Thursday, we were delayed an extra two hours in Denver, but made it to Springs tired but happy to get in and see family, and enjoyed a wonderful weekend staying at the Pueblo Marriott, with a really good experience there, and visiting with family I hadn’t seen in twenty years in some cases. It was a great trip.
Until we tried to come home. There were several hours between our Springs flight and our Denver connection, so we didn’t anticipate problems. We got out of Springs late with about a half hour to connect. Then the troubles began. We ended up having to run sixty gates to try and make our flight. The airline knew we had just come in, and the gate attendant when we arrived assured us they would hold the flight. United’s policy is to close the doors ten minutes before a flight, but we were told the zone manager has the option to hold the flight for connections.
We got to the gate just as the doors had closed, running as hard as we could. Twelve people were standing there waiting, and United would not let us on the flight. I suppose they had already given our seats to other stranded passengers. And now we were the stranded, for not being able to run sixty gates in ten minutes. Our luggage was on the plane and going to San Diego. But we couldn’t get on the plane, since they had closed the doors.
I understand people miss connections, and airlines have to do what they can. But knowing customers have just come in a flight, and then leaving them stranded at the gate, is pretty inexcusable. Refusing to do anything for them when this happens is the totally unacceptable part. They wouldn’t book us a room, give us a voucher for a meal or anything. And were telling hundreds of other people in the airport the same thing, using the excuses that their United-Continental merger wasn’t complete, so they weren’t responsible for a Continental connection, or that it was our fault for not running sixty gates fast enough. We were all stuck, in dirty underwear in many cases and with no toiletries. But they didn’t care.
So we called Marriott, who booked us a room at the Residence Inn (using the United corporate rate code, which we found amusing.) We had a nice dinner at Applebees, who fed us efficiently and treated us well. We got breakfast the next day at Residence Inn, included with our room, deodorant, at a minimal cost, and free shuttle service to the airport. We got outstanding service — from everyone except the company that created the problem.
We traveled home today with many of the stranded — the mother with a young baby, who they had done nothing for. We had dinner at the Applebee’s the night before next to the man they had stranded from Grand Junction, who had now canceled his San Diego trip for business and now only wanted to go home. They couldn’t get him home that night either. The waitress told us that they heard these stories about United every. single. day.
And now, for want of a nail, the shoe has come off. We will never fly United again. We will never connect through Denver on a trip again. We are looking for a charity to donate our United miles to — all 70,000 of them. We will not use this company again.
I don’t blame the employees. The rules are set by the company, and the employees have little leeway. No wonder they stop caring after a while, and just do the job as best they can. I blame the management, the millionaires and maybe billionaires who run this company, set its policies, and every day, strand hundreds or even thousands of people. And don’t care. Not at all. Not even enough to hand out a package with some underwear, deodorant and a toothbrush, and eat the cost of a hotel room. Would that really be so difficult? Really?
I don’t give this airline long to survive. Others can do better — and do. Or at least care if they don’t.
Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870
by Julia Ward Howe
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
– John Lennon
In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I imagine that yes is the only living thing.
– e. e. cummings
To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all.
– Anatole France
We are what we imagine ourselves to be.
– Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world
– Albert Einstein
An idea is salvation by imagination.
– Frank Lloyd Wright
Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.
– Jules de Gaultier
You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
– Mark Twain
It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope.
–Ursula K. LeGuin
Just do it. Otherwise you lose your right to bitch about it all later.
It’s not a sporting event. It’s not a concert. It’s not a blockbuster movie. It is the constitutional right to vote. It’s not supposed to be exciting. Enthusiasm is not part of voting. How many billions, even trillions of dollars have been spent in wars to spread democracy around the world? How many have given their lives in these wars, both declared and undeclared? How many people have waited in lines for hours, even for days, around the world just for the chance to cast their vote?
You don’t have to be excited about it, just GO VOTE!
A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other’s individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension — seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence. This means recognizing that we both have an important part to play in helping each other become more fully who we are.
Someone who loves us can often see our soul potential more clearly than we can ourselves. When this happens, it has a catalytic effect; it invites and encourages dormant, undeveloped parts of us to come forth and find expression. Indeed, we are often most strongly attracted to those who we sense “will make us live — and die — more intensely… Sister souls recognize each other.”, as the French writer Suzanne Lilar points out. A soul connection not only inspires us to expand, but also forces us to confront whatever stands in the way of that expansion.
– John Welwood, “Love and Awakening”
I’ve known two men who I loved deeply who both told me that they did not have souls. Yet there I sat, watching their souls shining brightly within them while they denied their very presence. It mystified me, that they were unable to even see what shone so brilliantly and obviously before me. Both of these friendships ended badly, with neither one able to acknowledge that they loved me, or at least that they cared for me as anything more than a friend. But both have gone on to have deep loving relationships with others somehow after my experiences with them, after struggling to attain any intensity or intimacy in their lives for many years.
This is a fairly common theme in my life, enabling other people to find their own depths and be able to begin to pull them out and into loving relationships. I’m going through another one of these periods with a good friend now, which is why I haven’t been blogging as much here.
I can only think of a few past boyfriends who didn’t go on in their very next relationship or one shortly after to find a deep love. It seems that even if someone can’t quite connect to my soul, I can often allow them to find their own. I used to think of myself as a sort of mirror, that acknowledges deeply what is within other people, and sometimes allows them to catch a glimpse of themselves. It is something I strive for now in friendships and other relationships, often not caring what they might think of me as a person, but only caring that they are able to, or sometimes forced to, acknowledge what is within themselves.
The more we bring forth and manifest our deeper potentials, the richer our soul — our responsiveness to our own experience, to other people, and to life — becomes. And the more we can serve as a channel for expressing the larger life of the spirit. The evolving soul is like a jewel that is continually shedding its impurities and growing more lustrous as it becomes even more translucent to the sun.
Although a whole range of larger human capacities is potentially available to everyone, each of us has special access to certain qualities, as well as unique aptitudes for combining and expressing them. Every soul has its own individual, jewel-like character, its own “suchness”. And we each have our own unique path of soulwork — how we need to develop in order to manifest this deeper potential. Two lovers with a soul connection recognize that they can help each other move forward along this path.
– John Welwood, “Love and Awakening”
Once you’ve seen the face of god,
You see that same face on everyone you meet.
The true god has no face. The true Tao has no name. But we cannot identify with that until we are of a very high level of insight. Until then, the gods with faces and the Tao with names are still more worthy of veneration and study than the illusions of the world.
With long and sincere training, it is possible to see the face of god. Holiness is not about scientific objectivity. It is about a deep and clear recognition of the true nature of life. Your attitude toward your god will be different than anyone else’s god — divinity is a reflection of your own understanding. If your experience differs from others, that does not invalidate your sense of godliness. You will have no doubts after you have seen.
Knowing god is the source of compassion in our lives. We realize that our separation from others is artificial. We are neither separate from other people not from Tao. It is only our own egotism that leads us to define ourselves as individuals. In fact, a direct experience of god is a direct experience of the utter universality of life. If we allow it to change our ay of thinking, we will understand our essential oneness with all things.
How does god look? Once you see god, you will see that same face on every person you meet.
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. — William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. It is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8
When I strike you,
your blood will certainly flow from my veins.
When you are starving,
your bloated belly is gnawing into my flesh.
The laughter in your eyes
lights up mine.
I can see my face in yours.
Can you see yours in mine?
– The Tao is Tao, 97
to show compassion
the acceptance of
– The Tao is Tao, 15
My greatest problem with becoming truly compassionate is letting go of my own ego. I can be compassionate towards others, but I make the mistake of expecting compassion in return. I need to learn to accept that others are not always compassionate, that they will not show me the same courtesy that I show to them, and be ok with that.I forgive others for their transgressions towards me, but others have not forgiven me, and yet, I must still feel compassion for them. My sadness these days is that they cannot open their own hearts enough to forgive, cannot let go of their prejudices. But, Tao teaches acceptance, and acceptance of others own hardness is one of the most difficult things to feel compassion towards.
It is the problem I see in America today. Those who claim compassion also shout for war, and the death penalty, and intolerance of others actions. How can they be like this? If they believe in compassion, they must feel it towards all others, not just those that agree with them and that they like, or those who they see as thinking the same way they do and believing in the same religion. For the sake of their version of heaven, they are willing to put the rest of us in hell. That is not compassion, that is hypocrisy.
And yet…. I must show compassion for them, and not judge them, and understand them and care about them in spite of how they act. This is difficult, but it must be done. Otherwise, I become the hypocrite that I detest.
Compassion, true compassion, is indeed a difficult thing, until we accept that all are one.
(originally posted in 2005, last posted in 2008. Sadly I feel the need to post it again today, in light of the news.)
There is every possibility your life is destined for something you don’t know anything about at all.
There is every possibility that you aren’t always right.
There is every possibility your ego is completely misleading you as to what you really want in your life, what your heart knows you need.
If you stop fighting the tides of your life, and enjoy whatever happens, life gets a lot easier. This doesn’t mean just giving in to what happens, it means moving with it, maintaining your plans and dreams for the future while recognizing the reality that it may not always go just as you pictured it, or happen right when you want things to happen.
When you decide to move with life, though, rather than fight it, things suddenly become much simpler and you’ll find a flow to your life that is amazing. Stop fighting yourself and your own pace, stop trying to speed up other people or slow them down, stop hurrying your kids to grow up or wanting other people to change. You can no more stop the snow in the winter than you can the blazing heat of summer, you can only change your location or your attitude about snow or heat, or adjust your surroundings and circumstances to deal with them.
If you can accept what is, completely, then you are in the position to change it if you need to, sometimes just simply by changing your attitude towards it. Once you stop seeing someone else or something else as difficult, and realize the difficulty is within you, then you can begin to deal with it and come to terms with it.
When you decide to work with others to accomplish their goals and plans, your own become less important. And suddenly, your ideas become more important to others; since you are cooperating with them, they will cooperate with you, and everyone’s life flows more easily. It is when we fight against other’s desires and plans that we run into trouble. When someone else sees you as a normally cooperative person, then when you do object to something, it is even more powerful. If you always object no matter what, then you’re just seen as difficult, and people won’t listen to you.
But mostly you have to be yourself, you have to be genuine. When others see you as coming from your heart, they will pay attention. If you can give advice out of love, rather than in an attempt to control, it will have a greater impact. If you can lead with your strengths, with your deepest wisdom and your heart rather than from your fears or your ego, people around you will grow and change.
And so will you.
An important piece on the current state of California’s progressive movement and its future. Well worth a read. Go to the link for the full article:
…The 2010 ticket is going to offer defense against the right, but isn’t offering what most California Democrats really want: leadership.
As California enters its third year of the worst, most profound political and economic crisis in the 240 years since Europeans arrived, there remains a lack of hope and optimism that the crisis will be resolved favorably. Efforts to explore solutions to that crisis in 2009 revealed just how deep the problems are and how hard it is to produce the fixes.
Progressives are positioned to provide both the leadership and the agenda to get California out of the crisis. But so far, we haven’t been willing to step into that spotlight. 2008 and 2009 were consumed with the battle to elect Obama and then implement his agenda. The passage of the health care bill marks the end of that first phase.
Importantly, that bill was hailed by most California progressives not because it achieved a great progressive policy victory (it did no such thing) but instead because it confirmed that the concept of using government to guarantee provision of human services is a popular, politically possible goal.
California is at a tipping point. The old ways of the last 30 years – extracting wealth from the middle and working classes to fuel the wealthy, destroying our public institutions and services to achieve the same, justified as a necessity to protect the late 20th century suburban model of the California Dream – those old ways are over. Done. Dead.
But what replaces it? Progressives instinctively know the answer – an urban, sustainable model that is backed by a strong public sector that serves the basic needs of its people. But we do not yet know to get there, and do not have any leadership, whether top-down or bottom-up, that is producing the answer.
So far, at this convention, that animating vision and agenda is lacking. Not out of a lack of faith that we can implement it, but because we’re at a transition point. Progressives no longer have any villains within the Democratic Party, and in any case using villains as a way to motivate action has run its course.
We’ve reached the end of one phase of growth and activity in the California Democratic Party and the progressive movement. We’re about to enter another, one where we have the opportunity to start talking about and implementing our vision, now that many of the obstacles to it have been pushed aside. That vision isn’t on display at this convention. But it is percolating, coalescing, and requires progressives to learn how to deal with a new environment, where we’re no longer fighting against a venal, corrupt Republican president and the Democrats that enable them.
Instead we are in a place where Democrats govern the nation, and though many of us are ambivalent about that governance, it means we have to consider new frames and new ways to achieve our goals. We need not just individual leaders, but a leadership agenda, one no longer focused on tearing down our perceived enemies but on building up new institutions, new ideas, and ultimately, new campaign victories.
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”
What do we have to give, those of us who don’t have a precious stone in our bag? Is it enough if we give what we can? And if we do have that stone and someone asks for it, are we open enough to give it up? How many people would give up their security for a stranger? Not many. How many would give up something of value to us to help a stranger?
We are all travelers on our own paths. We are all hungry and looking for precious stones. But what is most important is what is within us, and what we are willing to share. Don’t hesitate to give what you can, when you can.
I’m glad to finally see the health care bill pass. While it isn’t exactly what the progressive community wants, it’s certainly a big step forward, and will provide health care for millions of people as well as make health care better for the rest of us. So it’s a big win.
And there were a lot of doubts about getting this far. I’ve learned one thing about Obama — he will make every effort to keep his word and do what he says he will do. He has great integrity, and that is certainly what I saw in him when I started working with the political community to get him elected. I’m glad for the work I did over those years, sad for the friends I alienated in doing so, but their lives will be better, too. Even if they don’t appreciate that. But I’m glad for the friends I’ve made, and how deeply those friendships run. I’m glad to have the life I have now, with true, deep friendships and relationships, and I would not have those things if I did not follow my heart and do what I know is the right thing to do.
These days, I’m starting to get kudos for the work I do in pet therapy. The thing is, I don’t do any of the things I do for the ego gratification, for the good feeling of people praising me for what I do. I do what I do because it’s simply the right thing for me to be doing. It’s the Buddhist idea of “right work” — once you know it’s right, you simply do it. There is no ego involved.
I think for many of us who worked so hard on the campaign, on the years of political activism, we don’t feel much except great relief that it is finally showing results and the job is getting done. We know we still have years of struggle ahead to continue making the changes this country needs. Some may feel pride, some are experiencing great joy today, but for those who really understand and believe in change, we know the real work is still ahead, and this is just the first big step. A huge step, and it marks the beginnings of a new age in America, yes — but there is still so much to do.
Yes, we did.
Yes, we will…..
“Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made … And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.” — Barack Obama
Decide to Network
Use every letter you write
Every conversation you have
Every meeting you attend
To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams
Affirm to others the vision of the world you want
Network through thought
Network through action
Network through love
Network through the spirit
You are the center of a network
You are the center of the world
You are a free, immensely powerful source
Of life and goodness
Think day and night about it
And you will see a miracle happen:
The greatness of your own life.
In a world of big powers, media, and monopolies
But of six billion individuals
Network is the new freedom
The new democracy
A new form of happiness.
–Robert Muller, Under Secretary General of the United Nations
(I blogged this three years ago, but Rambling Taoist is posting on this book today, so thought I would repost this here).
Wellspring of energy
Rises in the body’s core
Tap it and be sustained.
Channel it, and it will speak.
The source of all power is within yourself. Although external circumstances may occasionally hamper you, true movement comes solely from within yourself. The source is latent in everyone, but anyone can learn to tap it. When this happens, power rises like a shimmering well through the center of your body.
Physically, it will sustain and nourish you. But it can do many other things as well. It can give you gifts ranging from unusual knowledge to simple tranquility. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energies.
We cannot say that a person will become enlightened solely by virtue of having tapped this source of power; energy is neutral. It requires experience, wisdom, and education to direct it. You may gain power from your meditations, but it is possible for two people with the same valid attainment to use it in two different ways, even to the extremes of good and evil. Finding the source of spiritual power is a great joy; deciding how to direct it is the greatest of responsibilities.
I wrote this in 2005:
I don’t really have a lot to say about spiritual power today. It is a wonderful feeling when you feel it, and when that energy is flowing within you things seem to become effortless. I can’t keep mine flowing consistently but then i don’t tend to spend a lot of time in meditation. My energy source is definitely lying coiled and resting today. Perhaps I’ll push myself along to yoga later and get the juices flowing again… yawn. First maybe a dip in the spa and a long hot shower to get moving…
Five years later, a lot has changed for me. I would say that I flow very well from within my source, my life is fairly effortless these days. But I am beginning to feel the power rising; I do not yet know where and how it will be channeled. I’ve been sustained for a long time now and haven’t felt the need to do much, other than my political efforts, which I’m told have been very powerful at inspiring others, and my pet therapy work, which I hear the same about. I don’t actively try to inspire or create action these days; I mostly move with the Tao and allow myself to be a channel for whatever creative force wants to flow through me. This is hard to explain to people sometimes, but I don’t actually try to force my own will so much as I go along with whatever seems to need to be done at the moment. It is rare that I will tell people no if they ask something of me.
So I don’t always know exactly where I am headed, or even what the day will bring. I prefer not to bring my expectations to the day anymore, but rahter to let myself move along with whatever the day may bring. I’m not always able to do this, of course, and do get out of sorts, but I don’t expect everything to just flow to me either. It’s not about the law of attraction, it’s about the law of following for me. I don’t so much attract what I want — I turn it around to want what is attracted to me. It’s a different attitude, but it leads to a great deal of happiness and fulfillment.
I’ve been watching the healthcare summit this morning, and observing how calmly Obama handles the Republicans. I sure couldn’t do it. I yell at them just listening to them, they are so inane. Same talking points over and over, and it is obvious they don’t really care about anyone. The Sunlight Foundation has been doing a wonderful live coverage with blogging and showing the campaign contributions of each speaker from opensecrets.org, and it’s very revealing. The most adamant speakers against healthcare reform have huge contributions from the healthcare industry. I suppose that’s to be expected, but seeing it live as they are talking is so refreshing. I wish our mainstream media could be this open and honest.
With this kind of coverage available on the Internet, is it any wonder mainstream media is fading? We want to be able to interact with our world, both to share what we know and to learn new things. We want to be able to directly tell our legislators what we think, and not being able to do that real time is so frustrating. Twitter users were twittering CNN to stop talking over the speakers. This is what we want — to get our messages out to the media, to the big corporations and to our government. It comes out from the right wing in stupid ways, but the anger they express is just as real on the left — we all want to be listened to and responded to. I think the healthcare summit, and the kind of coverage and interaction I’m seeing today (also chatting with people on twitter and facebook about this) is the real future of our public interactions. I hope that healthcare reform passes soon, and I know it is not enough — but what I’m seeing today is very encouraging — not just on the political side, but also on the side of those working in the Internet media to really reform how we interact with our government and corporate agencies.
The Big Zero
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Maybe we knew, at some unconscious, instinctive level, that it would be an era best forgotten. Whatever the reason, we got through the first decade of the new millennium without ever agreeing on what to call it. The aughts? The naughties? Whatever. (Yes, I know that strictly speaking the millennium didn’t begin until 2001. Do we really care?)
But from an economic point of view, I’d suggest that we call the decade past the Big Zero. It was a decade in which nothing good happened, and none of the optimistic things we were supposed to believe turned out to be true.
It was a decade with basically zero job creation. O.K., the headline employment number for December 2009 will be slightly higher than that for December 1999, but only slightly. And private-sector employment has actually declined — the first decade on record in which that happened.
It was a decade with zero economic gains for the typical family. Actually, even at the height of the alleged “Bush boom,” in 2007, median household income adjusted for inflation was lower than it had been in 1999. And you know what happened next….