To hear or not to hear

So fellow travelers, fair warning, this is long and it is about the recent election here in America.

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Hope, like a late season water lily, waiting to bloom.

Politics is not something I have not written about, at least not directly. It has not been possible to post anything related to this election without becoming a target for anger and hate speech.

Anger, is a heavy burden to bear. It drains life energy and, over time, even righteous anger sucks all joy out of existence. I have stood on that precipice myself and seen this in the lives of too many people I hold dear to ignore its effect. To the best of my ability, anger is a cycle I choose to break  with compassion.

Thus in the spirit of striving for compassion and comprehension, I have been reading posts on various sources from voters who selected the President-elect.

It has been a sobering and eye opening experience.

I will say the prevailing reasoning I have been reading actually is not directly racist or xenophobic and while many reflect conservative Christian beliefs,  most posts are not specifically intolerant of LGBT or Muslims. (I am not saying those attitudes don’t exist, they do and most clearly and dangerously frame the platform of the President-elect’s current council.) I saw a Charlie Rose  interview with Jon Stewart  in which he said the same about the people he knows who supported the President-elect.

What has come through most clearly is a prevailing belief that the current direction of social and economic norms left these voters feeling discounted and forgotten. These were votes cast for change, made from a need to be heard. The feeling of having struggles discounted, of not being heard, of seeking leadership to make a difference is common to the majority of voters regardless of where they stand on any given issue. It’s my observation most Americans want socio-economic stability yet very few are willing to sacrifice to ensure that opportunity is equally accessible for every citizen.

Time will tell if the choice of these voters will bring the kind of socio-economic stability they seek while staving off the change and diversity they fear. Meanwhile we all have to find ways to live with the consequences.

In his interview with Charlie Rose, Jon made a statement I found remarkably comforting, He said, “I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago. The same country with all its grace and flaws and volatility and insecurity and strength and resilience exists today as existed two weeks ago. ”  This was both reassuring and a wake up call for me.

The same country which came close to electing our first woman President also held in it’s ranks a force of repressed anger and fear which has found a voice. Having gained power, this force can no longer be denied.  It is not enough to verbally denounce the principles of discrimination and acts of violence against our fellow citizens, or denounce myopic economics over ecology.  If we wish to make a stand against intolerance and ignorance, we must act in ways which show our committment.

We need to understand those who also reject violence and do not discriminate, yet saw  the President-elect as the only solution. And we also need to find ways to reach the vast numbers of registered voters who felt so little connection to the options, they chose not to vote, because more people chose not to vote at all than voted for the President-elect.

We must go beyond labeling, dig deeper than judgement and in hearing their concerns, listen for the common ground we may have. For there is common ground and no matter how slight or obscured, it must not be discounted.  To seek it is to find a starting point. From there it becomes a focus of taking one step, one opportunity at a time, to move beyond division.

Walk gently on the path my friends. This adventure call us to be ready.

Living with Volcanoes

So fellow travelers,  many of us feel we are living on shaky ground these days.  It’s unnerving because even if we have not yet been directly affected,  I expect the majority of my readers know someone who already has been.

For the past five days I have been working my way through waves of confusion, sadness, fear and anger.  I have pushed myself not to react from those frames of reference, even as I go through the important phases of processing those feelings. Denial only ensures our  feelings weigh us down  and now more than ever we need to travel Light as we navigate the tricky path ahead of us.

As is my way, I have sought the quiet wisdom of my favorite walking trails.  My dog Delilah has been thrilled at the additional opportunites to roust little critters from the leaf beds lining our paths. No worries,please, she is properly leashed and supervised so no woodland nymphs are injured in the course of our wanderings.


This morning I found this excellent piece by artist and writer Rachel Barlow. Her insight has pulled together some important pieces for me. (More on that in future posts) I hope my readers will find seeds for the future in her post as well.

http://rachelbarlow.com/2016/11/12/absence-of-fear/

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready

 

 

 

… on ‘we’, the people

I’m with Dingle.

just ponderin'

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our flag.

More than once in my life, ‘my’ candidate has lost.

And more than once, I was ‘in’ – big time – for my candidate… was certain the country and world was at risk if he or she (well, however they self-identified) lost.

I have been in the boat of being crushed, and in disbelief, and using the phrase “But this time it REALLY matters!” and watching states threaten to secede and and and… seriously. Been there. Done that.

But it has never occurred to me to dismiss the fact that those on the other side felt just as strongly as I did.

Not once, have I felt the pull toward violence against a side that won, want to beat someone up who voted the way I did not.

And it has never occurred to me to rub a victory in an opposing voter’s face, physically hurt or intimidate…

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Aftermath

So fellow travelers, now is when we must reach out, stay strong and hold fast to all we value and believe.

I am heart broken but I will not be silent.

We are better than this outcome. We are stronger than anger, we are smarter than ignorance. We will not give in to darkness. We must commit ourselves to making the changes needed to move forward regardless of the flaws in leadership.

I will stand for acceptance and equality for all people.  I will share the voices of those who have a story  to tell. I will make inclusion and kindness my mission.

Come, walk this long road with me and shine your lights for others to find their way.


Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Gorillas, rhetorical fences and the anesthetic of blame

Insight, balance, well spoken post on the much discussed events of last week from writer, outdoors adventurer and friend Jennifer Bowman

The Trailhead

Unless you live in a sensory deprivation chamber, you know that a few days ago, a little boy slipped into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, prompting zoo officials to shoot and kill one of the gorillas, a 17-year old male named Harambe, in the enclosure. What ensued in the larger society looked something like this:

And so we braced ourselves for the life cycle of these things: internet rage mob, followed by the rage mob against the rage mob. Shortly thereafter, people would start posting on Facebook about how they are tired of hearing about the gorilla, already, and you would know it was running its course, without any real understanding ever taking place.

But I’m hoping this one is shaping up differently than other internet outrages, like the killing of Cecil the lion. The initial anger against the allegedly negligent mother  who let her kid get into the gorilla enclosure, and…

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