Monday, December 1, 2008

My Evening with Deepak Chopra at Unity Village

Stained Glass Window in Unity Chapel

There is a calmness on the expansive grounds of the Unity Village which one would expect to encounter. What is surprisingly interesting is the architecture which is a mix of cottage style structures and Mediterranean architecture. One such cottage style building, evidently used now as a potting shed of sorts, could easily serve to be a model for my dreamy witch’s cottage in the mountains one day.

Easy to find and right off interstate 470 southeast of Kansas City, Unity Village is the complex consisting of chapels, prayer tower, gardens, motels, conference centers, golf course, book store and many buildings associated with the business side of the Unity Church.

Driving onto the grounds I was pleased by the familiarity of several of the buildings which I had often seen in the monthly Unity magazine I received years ago. Always a source of peace and often enlightening, the magazine was my first introduction to the Unity Church’s unique brand of spirituality. At that time Dr. Marcus Bach was still writing a monthly column for the magazine. Dr. Bach, an author and minister, had been a friend of my Father’s for years and had traveled the world, writing of the similarities in the world’s religions as opposed to their differences. He was a fascinating friend and an amazing man.

Unity Tower Dr. Marcus Bach

This evening was to be a first for me: my first time visiting Unity Village and the first (hopefully of many) times I would meet and learn from Deepak Chopra. Dr. Chopra is, arguably I imagine, one of the leading spiritual teachers of our time. As most of you will know he has written many books. At this time he is on a book tour for his most recent book, “Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment.”

I was thrilled ...... nearly overwhelmed, really ....... to be at his private reception prior to the lecture and book signing. The new friends I had made while sitting around the fire in the hotel lobby were first in line with me to meet Dr. Chopra. In person he is as kind and soft spoken as you would expect after seeing him interviewed and lecturing on television. There was one surprise, however. This evening he was wearing bright red, glitter encrusted glasses which prompted me to wonder if he was a distant cousin to Liberace.

Great glasses, eh? Yes, I can be a dork even around Deepak Chopra

The reception afforded an opportunity to meet many people associated with Unity Village. Some who work behind the scenes and others with their own Unity radio programs which you can find online at Once again I was struck by the universe’s ability to link me with people of commonality. This time it was with two sisters who had lived in the city where I had spent most of my adult life previous to moving to the countryside of Missouri.

Wall painting and mosaics in Silent Unity Chapel and Unity Buildings

We moved to the Unity Village Chapel for Dr. Chopra’s two hour lecture. Here I was pleased once again that I had reserved seating so that I could see Dr. Chopra close enough to interpret facial expression. Finding that his red tennis shoes were a perfect compliment to the glittery glasses was an extra added treat.

Brass sculpture in the lobby of the Unity Chapel

Anyone who has listened to Dr. Chopra speak knows that a two hour lecture would be impossible to summarize in one brief article. His lecture centered more around his recent DVD lecture series entitled “Jesus and The Awakening to God Consciousness” which is based on his book “The third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore.”

You may be wondering how all of this information which centers around Jesus Christ has relevance for me, a believer of the "old ways", a person most disinterested in modern organized religion and its hypocricies. However, to listen to Dr. Chopra is to learn that all spirituality is intertwined. As an organization which focuses on spirituality rather than religion, Unity Village is the perfect setting for increasing one’s knowledge of the Godliness within all of us.

One of the thoughts presented by Dr. Chopra was the “fight or flight” level of consciousness. This is our lowest, least spiritual reaction to any event. It is our immediate instinct to either run away or lash out at any perceived injustice. It is the reaction of those who are full of self-importance, not of a more evolved spirit. This is the reactive level which is the basis of fundamental religions. Hence our world is home to terrorists on a global framework, and even those small time terrorists we find lashing out in our personal lives.

There may be drawn certain parallels between politics and this spiritual theory. Do we take the time and effort involved to discover the right path to take, or do we simply react? Do we commence a discussion with our global neighbors, or do we simply strike out? We need to progress from our win-lose alignment to one of win-win mindset not only in global politics but in our own lives as well. It is from our changes within that the global creative leap will occur.

Dr. Chopra went on to explain that evil is not our enemy. Evil is the personal and collective shadow. It is easy to understand how this is our learning experience from which much is gained. We learn not only from experiencing, but hopefully from watching also.

“The universe does not exist unless someone is looking at it.” Now there is a thought provoking statement, is it not? Because I am far too inexperienced at Dr. Chopra’s level of consciousness I can only offer that which I understand of this concept. As Dr. Chopra explains, we are all made up of light. Our universe is formed from that which we see, which is light transmission. If we don’t see it, does it exist? This brings to mind the age old question, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Previous to this lecture I thought, “well, of course it does!” Now I am not so sure.

Dr. Chopra tell us to look within. Look within our mind/body and our egos. For within is our “inner self awareness” which is the co-creator, along with the larger mystery of the universal being. Ultimately we are immortal beings. “Death is quantum creativity.” This and so much more was squeezed into two hours of rather mind boggling ideas which to this day have left me pondering and altered. There is a mood which is created by one who has such intense knowledge to share. When shared in person and kept alive by conscious thought it transforms the listener more quickly than is possible by the written word alone.

Dr. Chopra left the crowd of approximately 350 attendees with a challenge. A challenge of how to change the world as quickly as possible to that of a world of non-violence. He had recently attended an international conference made up of 500 people from 35 countries. As he rose to the lectern a thought occurred to him. He asked this group of esteemed politicians, “movers and shakers”, to stand if they would be willing to take a vow of non-violence. This means non-violence not only in action but in words and thoughts. Not an easy task.

One by one, all 500 people finally stood up. He asked our lecture group to consider doing the same after giving his request the concentration it deserves. He asks all who will take the vow to go to his website at and sign that you, also, will take this vow and then will ask two other people to agree to do the same. Three by three we shall conquer violence and become a peaceful world. Perhaps the new age has begun.

~This article was previously printed in "Ye Olde Witches' Brew" Magazine, which you can find here:

The labyrinth I walked at sunrise ...... not far from my room at the Inn

Wall painting and stained glass window in the tiny 6 person meditation chapel

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Has our country finally entered "the new age"?

It's hard to imagine that anyone could be thinking of anything besides the outcome of the election at this point in time. Historic, moving, enlightened, hopeful, gratifying ....... well, I could go on.

Out walking before sunrise this morning, enjoying a lightness in my steps which wasn't there yesterday (possibly something to do with my new pink Crocs covered in "diamonds" ...... but I think it's more than that), I felt the tired elation of staying up late to hear the hopefulness and wisdom of President-elect Obama's acceptance speech (recording it to listen again today). Of course we have a long way to go but now is the time to revel in this moment in history. Those of us who voted for Obama are the catalysts of this historic moment. I want to feel it, reflect on it, and promote it.

I couldn't help but reflect, also, on McCain's concession speech. Had he chosen to run a campaign with a graciousness similar to that of his acceptance speech, might he have won the election? Definitely a possibility. The fact that he chose to go low-level with fabrications, anger and the usual misleading accusations helped him lose. I'm not complaining. In fact what pleases me is to recognize that it's clearly not the direction most of us wanted to go any longer. We're onto the fear mongering to get votes .... the out of context 6 second soundbites to misconstrue ........ and the pubescent grimacing and rolling of eyes during debates. Level headedness has conquered the right wing's continuing attempts to spread panic in order to gain votes. Isn't it about time.

As for the red eyed Ms. Palin, her return to Wasilla cannot come fast enough, although I pity Alaska for their choice. The Republicans made a stab at appealing to their fringed far right and to women, and women saw through it. Palin and the Republican party's attempt to set women back decades has failed. The fact that they showed us their true agenda is enlightening and powerful.

Our country now needs to take steps to unify and to heal, and President Obama will be the one to lead us in that direction. It's a new chapter in our country's story. So many memories come to mind: Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy. A chapter of hope which began with the horror of slavery. A chapter of change which began with the fear and cynicism of the far right and is ending in the rich ambition of promise.

Here is my hope: that this is the end of apathy. I hope that our country as a whole will now embrace change, grasp the path to a higher road and now truly enter this new age of Aquarius which was promised to us.

Blessings and peace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Huh? What? What happened to my catch phrases ........

Poor John McCain. I know. You didn't expect me to say that. But really. The poor guy keeps forgetting to add in his catch phrases and has to backtrack all the time, throw out his catch phrase, and then start in on his lack of his strategy again.

Barack Obama keeps coming back in his calm, collected, elegant way with a plan in reaction to every question. John McSaim says succinct statements such as, "I will get 'em." Ok then. That's reassuring. Huh.

Now Mr. McCain "has the scars to prove" that he's disagreed with the Bush administration. Isn't it curious that both parties must make a point that they disagree whole heartedly with the current administration. When has that happened before?

Holy crap. I owe my computer an apology. I just spit all over it after hearing John McCain say that Sarah Palin is a "role model to women." Huh? Which women would that be? Yes indeed, John. She is indeed a "fresh of breath air." "She understands that autism is on the rise." Well holy god bless. That surely does make her qualified to be president.

I wonder if John McCain understands that a $5,000 tax credit does not equal $5,000 cash. Do we think he has ever prepared his own taxes? Is this man clueless? That was a rhetorical question.

And finally, the constantly blinking John McCain reassures us that he will "allow Joe the Plumber to keep his wealth." Well now ....... I can sleep peacefully tonight knowing that all Joe the Plumbers whose incomes exceed $250,000 will not have to give up one penny of their wealth.

In essence, this 90 minute debate has finalized the definition between these two presidential candidates. One has eloquently stated his ideas, hopes and plans for leading this country. The other has repeated his lies and platitudes.

PS - I haven't heard Mr. McSaim-Catch-Phrase call himself a "maverick" even once tonight. Generally this word has come into play roughly 86 times per speech in the past. Is it possible that the Maverick family's condemnation of this non-maverick actually registered?

We just can't be too thin or too .......... nuts.

Ok, I cannot be silent about this one minute longer. Being bombarded by these photos of anorexic/death camp appearanced women is just plain astounding. How can we be silent about this?

Here it is, the ad that pushed me over the edge:

I believe that to be Angelina Jolie on the left. Take note of the skeletal look: the bony arms that make her (no doubt) small hands look huge, the wrist and collar bones sticking out. This woman appears as though she has just left a concentration camp and needs sustenance for she may die at any moment! This is what we hold up to our young girls as the epitome of female beauty? Puhleeeeeease!!!!!!!

These bony thin, skeletally frail images of women must cease! What are we teaching here ........ that to be a woman is to be skinny little helpless beings? Gag me!! I've had enough!!!!

Now it is a true statement that I have pounds to lose to be healthy. I do not advocate being overweight. However, latest medical reports show that being slightly overweight is healthier than being underweight. I mean, to look at the above image makes my stomach turn. I think this woman's body is eating itself. Why do we as the women of this country allow men to portray this as our society's standard of beauty?

Ok. I have a theory. As usual. It seems to me that this commenced right about the time that the Women's Movement rocked into full swing in the sixties. Remember Twiggy? Yep. She came around when I was in high school or college. We all made fun of her back then. She looked ridiculous with her bony arms and legs. Her name became synonymous with death camp skinny. Now she would be considered today's perfect weighted woman. What has gone wrong here?!

I'll tell you what. As women's power increases, men's desire to keep us powerless increases. It can't be done in the marketplace anymore ........ at least not legally. So it's accomplished in another way. Now we're supposed to be physically completely helpless. No muscle, no tone, no body.

For Goddess' sake let's start standing up for ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters. Do NOT buy magazines with these anorexic women on the covers ....... or inside. Write to advertisers who portray these itty bitty unhealthy women in their television advertising. Get off our bony or padded butts and do something about this.

Bring back the Goddess. The time is now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who has come a long way?

I got to thinking the other afternoon about Sarah Palin and O.J. Simpson. Not that there is any connection. Well other than societal and political issues o' the day. Let's throw Mr. McCain into this mix now, too. Now that he has given veracity to the shouts of "terrorist" coming from his supporters. That would be aimed at Barack Obama, of course. Barack Obama is a terrorist. That's the Republicans' new chant. And yes, this actually did occur, and John McCain said nothing. NOTHING.

Does it occur to us that these three people are setting us back decades in our race relations, decades back in Feminism and ........... well, about as far back as yesterday where older middle aged white men are concerned. But there you see my own prejudice slipping below my skirt an inch or two.

If there ever was a time for good public manners to reappear it would be now. If there ever was a time for good people to speak out, it is now. Now is the time for all good women (and men) to come to the aid of their country. For the first time since the Revolutionary War we need ....... no we MUST have good people stand up and say this is enough. We've had enough. If you can't speak publicly then do it with your vote. No one of sound mind and heart can vote for someone who allows his opponent to be called a terrorist. No one of sound mind and heart can vote for a woman to be our Vice President who must read from note cards in order to have anything of substance to say, and even then she gets her facts wrong.

O.J. managed to divide the nation by color. The Republicans AND the Democrats had a chance to bring the country together, finally, in support of a woman running for high political office. Instead they threw Sarah Palin into the mix for all the wrong reasons. John McCain could have proven that even white life-long politicians can resist appealing to the lowest common denominator with his campaign ......... but he didn't.

There will always be the Rush Limbaugh fans and Howard Stern fans out there amongst the most insecure of our society. The ones who must lower themselves to a state of prejudice and hatred in order to feel their own "power."

It's time to publicly reject these attitudes. Time to bring back good manners and gentlemanliness. Time to rise above bad language, hateful insinuation, acceptance via omission of people who shout "terrorist" and appealing to the lowest of human nature in order to garner votes for a failing campaign. In fact it's time to raise society to a higher level in general. A higher spiritual plane on which we view each other with a gentility that has been largely left unused for decades.

I hadn't intended this BLOG to morph into a treatise of a spiritual nature. But since I've ended up at this point, please refer to this link to read the BLOGS of Deepak Chopra, who has it way over me where it comes to spiritual issues and most everything else for that matter:

It's time for change and not just political change, although a vote for Barack Obama is a vote for societal change, also. It's time for all good people to step up and demand something better.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Republicans and the Truth

Ok - gotcha with that title, didn't I? You thought it was an oxymoron. It is.

This morning I listened to Bill Bennett (former Secretary of Education and later the "Drug Czar" under the first Bushy) answer a reporter's questions regarding Sarah Palin. He was asked what he thought about her saying she'd been to Iraq (she hasn't), about her saying that most vice presidents have never met with foreign leaders either (they have, with the exception of Spiro Agnew, a Republican), about her saying she said an emphatic "NO" to the bridge to nowhere (she didn't). His response? All that is quite minor, stop talking about it.

Ok .... I want to get straight on the Republican point of view. Clinton lied about getting a blow job and should be impeached. Palin and McCain lie about their own records and their opponents' records and that's minor, stop talking about it.

I think I understand now.

Check it out:

Monday, September 15, 2008

What happened to the notion that "change is in the air"?

"Bobby is seen through the eyes of twenty-two characters. The hope, excitement and notion that a change is in the air, which Kennedy ignited in us all, black and white, rich and poor, young and old was extinguished that evening in June. From young men in their late teens to early twenties, facing the possibility of shipping off to Vietnam, to the retired doorman of the Ambassador, who has greeted the likes of every U.S. President from FDR to Johnson. From the hotel staff to the guests whom occupy the suites, to the "Youth of Kennedy Volunteers", all ages and genders are represented in screenplay."
- From the synopsis of "Bobby", 2006 movie

The movie "Bobby" is on HBO this afternoon and I'm taking a break from my hectic schedule of taking bubble baths and eating bon bons to watch. There's another line in the movie,"Now that Dr. King is gone, no one left but Bobby." The film features many news clips of Bobby Kennedy, including people who were thrilled to just "lay their hands on him."

This got me to thinking about today's political climate. What happened to the audacity of hope we were feeling which now seems to have turned to the repetition of despair? Repetition of the fear and despair felt four years ago and eight years ago. Four years ago we were thinking, "how could this happen again." Eight years ago we were aghast at what was happening directly in front of our eyes: the installation of a President of the United States who was not elected by the people, but by the Supreme Court.

Forty years ago (and I remember this, thank you very much), there WAS change in the air. There was hope in people's voices and energy in their spirits. Where is that now? Perhaps I'll see a tidbit tomorrow night when I go to Obama headquarters to offer my services. To date I haven't seen much of it. In fact lately, Democrats already seem to be ramping up for their next defeat. We're watching the polls and instead of feeling "change in the air" we're saying "how can people be so stupid", "how can the polls be so close", "how can the Republican lies be working again?"

Forty years after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy a black man is in the running for President and we have lost our hope? What has happened to the collective liberal soul? What has turned us to such wimps, so ready to believe the Republicans who tell us we are the establishment and THEY are the mavericks.

Have we become our own self-fulfilling prophecy? We so believe we're not going to take back this election and install the audacity of hope that our collaborative liberal conscience has already shot us down the rabbit hole?

It's a dead heat right now. Watching the political ads for Robert Kennedy, Jr. make me wonder why the Democrats are not putting out similar ads right now. They are talking about war, pollution and social change. Hello? Have I heard that somewhere lately?

Say it with me now: President Obama.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin and Witches

This morning I was reading a news article about Governor Palin's church in Wasilla, Alaska. Seems to be quite the conservative, Pentecostal, "we must convert you in order to save you" kinda place. In fact, as Governor she gave a speech to a class of newly minted missionaries (you know, those who are destined to go forth and convert the rest of the poor world to their one and only TRUE religion) telling them "that our leaders, that our national leaders, are sending [soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for -- that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Well, I suppose it's reassuring to some to think that this unwarranted, illegal mass murder going on in Iraq is God's plan. That then makes it all okie dokie and we can sleep well at night knowing we're only murdering in the name of God ....... oh yes, and to keep us safe from those nasty Iraqis (Muslims, you know .... can't trust 'em).

Now don't get me wrong here ...... I have absolutely nothing against praying, meditating, concentrating or just plain giving life a lot of focused thought. As far as I'm concerned, their God IS my God in a roundabout sort of way ...... even though I see spirituality in a bit of a different light. You see, my Goddess does not tell me to go out and murder people. She doesn't speak in tongues (unless you consider the loving sounds of nature to be tongues) and in fact has never instructed me to go about any type of violence. Given that, perhaps my God is a different Goddess from theirs. At least her attitude is different.

But I digress, as that discussion will be a different BLOG.

What I got to thinking about this morning was the far right wing fervor over this Pentecostal Mrs. who was chosen as the Republican running mate to "the maverick." What makes us in any way assume that her (and her church's) type of thinking is anything but WAY over the line, off the board, and into The Twilight Zone any less than say, the Moonies (remember them?), the Hale-Bopp Comet followers (I hope they're up there somewhere) or our Haitian neighbors who dance with snakes and stick needles in dolls? The difference is that there are more of the Evangelicals ....... many more.

Before you jump to conclusions, know that I believe that there is validity in almost every choice of religion. I believe that there is a high power. For me that power is nature itself. Can you imagine anything which is at the same time much larger than any one of us and yet still reactive to the actions of all mankind?

Mama Nature amazes me every single day. Today I am loving her choice of gentle rain, dark skies and contemplative mood. She tells me what I can do on any given day (if I don't wish to get soaked): work in the garden, stay indoors and read by the fire, sweat like a marathon runner or bundle up in my fuzzy knee boots. On the other hand, we have made her quite angry and she is reacting in response to our overuse of modern day technology by giving us warmer temperatures, increased rain, more tornadoes, flooding and more and harsher hurricanes. Yes, I am willing to take responsibility for our part in this weather transition and think that THIS is what our leaders should be talking about: the reality of the world's climate change and what we can do about it, rather than leaving it to our children and grandchildren to fix once nature's wrath has gone to much higher levels and they are left to suffer the consequences of our actions.

Once again I digress. Here's my point (and thank you, Ellen, I do have one). What if we put a nature-based believer into office. Someone you might call a Pagan or a Wiccan or a Witch. Someone like me who believes that there is a higher force in everything: within every human being, in the animals, plants and every living thing. How would this person be received by the masses? Would we find ourselves with another Pope Gregory IX, burning people at the stake because they did not believe that the Christian God was the ONLY God allowed? Just how enlightened are we today, I'm left wondering, if our separation of church and state is so defunct that we have this Evangelical Christian running for the second highest office in the country and thinking that the Iraq war is "God's war"?

I am scared by this woman. You may laugh, but it's true. I am scared by anyone in a potential leadership position who wants to tell me what God I should believe in, what God is telling us to do, and what choices I need to make with my very own body and soul. THAT is terrifying. THAT is what we came to this country to escape, is it not? Well, that and drinking tea and paying taxes all the time.

We already have the taxes, which will increase substantially in order to pay for this debacle of an Iraq war. Do we want to add a Religious Dictator to the mix, also?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Lesson in Toilet Hubris

Upon returning from Harley Fest in Milwaukee (but that's another BLOG), I discovered that my toilet wasn't flushing properly. After waiting two days to see if my hubby was going to notice this all on his own (he didn't), I ASKED if he had noticed the problem. He hadn't.

Of course I found myself mildly irritated because when things go wrong in our home, shouldn't my husband automatically notice and immediately fix them? I readily admit that my early lessons on what men do came from my Dad, and he was Mr. Fix-It. Mr. Can-Do. Mr. Done-It-Already and Did-It-Right. My brother didn't fall far from that tree, so I figure that all men are like that. And generally when I figure that way I figure wrong.

But I digress. Rather than be mad at my husband for not noticing and fixing, I decided to take the job on myself, plumber that I'm not. So when in town taking my Mother on her errands and out to lunch I stopped at one of those enormous home supply stores and checked out all the new toilet handles available. Zowee - what a nice array of incredibly cheap ($4.29 for cheap plastic just like the one that broke) all the way up to $15.50 for the best.

I decided that since I was going to fix this myself I would get the best, most expensive one. It WAS the nicest looking, after all, and just accidentally happened to match the sink faucet handles rather well. I'll take credit for that happenstance but I hadn't planned it, as I forgot to remind myself what the sink faucets looked like before going into town to get the new parts. Don't you just love it when an accident turns out well?

Upon returning to the ranch that night I started my new toilet job. Figured this would be a piece of cake. After all, I only had to unscrew the current, broken flush handle (which I had completely broken, by the way, trying to fix it in the first place) and screw on the new one. Easy, right?

Nope. The old part was one of those incredibly cheap things made completely from plastic. This would be why it didn't last long in the first place. First it wore to the point of bending and when I straightened it, it broke off entirely.

So I start to unscrew the piece inside the tank that holds the toilet handle on. Nothing. Won't move. I get a pliers. Still nothing. It turns, but does not release. I keep wrangling with the pliers, turning this thing, and it simply will NOT release the toilet handle. Nothing goes anywhere. I get angrier and more frustrated. I call my husband, telling him how frustrated I am and asking if he had replaced this part already at some point (imagining that it MUST be his fault for putting this part on too tightly). I don't say so, but I know he can hear in my voice that somehow, some way, this must all be his fault for not fixing it in the first place or at the very least, doing it wrong sometime in the past.

Finally I decide, after trying a dozen more times to release the dang nut (not my husband ..... the toilet handle), to go to bed and sleep a frustrated sleep over my attempts to complete what should have been an easy task.

So, you know how you have those light bulb moments occasionally just as you're waking up? Must have been bubbling around in your settled down mind overnight and if you're lucky, it bubbles up again during your morning grogginess just before getting out of bed.

So here it comes: my great idea. My light bulb moment. My AHA! I only turned the nut on the toilet handle one way. What if I was supposed to turn it the OTHER way to release the handle? Hmmmm. Obvious. Stupid. Moronic. HUBRIS!

The toilet handle had just taught me a great lesson. The worst part is that I've learned this one before, but obviously it has not stuck with me well enough to cease repetition. One of my life lessons was obviously meant to be to stop assuming. Stop assuming that someone else should do it. Stop assuming that possibly someone else ALREADY did it and must have done it wrong. Stop assuming that it's not my responsibility. Stop assuming that it is someone else's responsibility to fix a toilet which I use as much as they do. Stop assuming that every man is or should be like my Dad; we're all different, with often equally good and negative qualities, just different good and negative qualities. Just plain stop assuming!

To this end I am aware that to assume means making judgments. Making judgments based on our past experiences (sometimes a worthy thing to do, but not always), making judgments biased by our own early life learning experiences (often a rather nastily ingrained and unfortunate trait), making judgments in general as the starting point of our thinking rather than its final resting place. Each single experience often needs to be what brings us to our final judgment of that experience, not some preconceived and often erroneous assumption.

Who knew that a toilet tank could be so instructive?

Just in case you doubt my ability to plumb ...... or to learn ....... here are pics of the finished product:

My kitty bath, full of original black kitty art, is happy once again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Impeach the SOB

Another day of interesting, albeit disheartening, news. Ron Suskind's book, entitled "The Way of the World." Among other things, his basic accusation is that Bush WANTED the war in Iraq and manipulated information in order to make a case for going to war against Saddam Hussein. This is hot news?

Is there still a handful of folks in this country who believe that Bush is a wonderfully upstanding president who has, all along, wished to do the right thing? OK, I'm aware that there is that handful of sorely, sadly misguided soles. I'm even related to some of them. Please don't hate me because I used to be a Republican and had to learn to be a liberal via my life experience.

Just to be fair, the White House (who knew it could speak?!) has called this book "gutter journalism." I'm shocked. Is Tony Snow still with us or is that just a redux of his typical terminology used against facts he wished to refute? Condoleezza Rice has said "no one wants to go to war." Oh really? Has she met her boss? She says that such claims "get under her skin." Well it's good to know that accusations get "under her skin" but 3,000 dead American soldiers, 300,000 dead civilians and 50,000 maimed American soldiers have little effect on her lovely skin.

I'm going to get right to the point here and not go into all the details of the book which are intriguing, in particular the news that Bush cut off intelligence with Habush, one of the highest ranking of Saddam's political entourage, when the information he was getting did not promote his desire to go to war. Most importantly, that Iraq did NOT have WMDs, as we now all know. Also, that the White House ordered the CIA to write a fake letter from the Iraqi intelligence chief, Habush, claiming that Mohammad Atta (9/11 criminal) trained in Iraq prior to 9/11.

I won't lay out the entire book here because I want to make a point, as always. WHY ARE WE NOT IMPEACHING THIS PRESIDENT? We impeached Nixon because he broke into a friggin' office! We spent millions trying to impeach Clinton because he got a blow job!! But we let a president slide who has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people via his wanton abandonment of human empathy and his narcissistic drive to be a "war president."

This man, George W. Bush, was charged with the guardianship of the United States of America when he stole the office of the president. It is not beyond comprehension at this point that he was also behind 9/11. I've not wanted to get to this point of believing conspiracy theories, but the more we go on with this war, the more we hear about Bush's wanton relinquishing of ANY fact which would have kept us from war, the more I am pushed to the belief that yes, this man would do nearly anything to get his way.

Where this idea at one time seemed far fetched to me, one needs only now to watch this man speak, see the irritation in his face when he is questioned on just about anything, watch his isolationist body language and read the facts. Yes, the facts. There actually ARE facts, much to the White House's chagrin. Hey, if the White House can speak, it can also chagrin.

But back to my point. My point is, WHY ARE WE NOT IMPEACHING THIS MAN WHO HAS BROUGHT SUCH DISASTER TO OUR COUNTRY and made hs hated around the world? Are we that apathetic, that wrapped up in our daily myspace and facebook lives, THAT politically stupid, that we just cannot sit ourselves down and figure this out?

Please. Do the right thing for this country and for yourself. I'll make it easy for you. Help to impeach this fraud of a president by going to this site. Read what Dennis Kucinich (a good man) has to say. Write a letter or at least an email. If any of this information touches you ....... write ten letters and ten emails!

Millions of us can do this. We can. I want to be a proud American once again. Right now that's impossible ... but we can fix this. We can.

Don't we need to take this country back?

Check it out:

Friday, August 1, 2008

We Can Fix Our Infrastucture. We can!

We have reached another anniversary in this country. Yep, another reason not to celebrate the state of recent developments in the good ol' USA. It's the anniversary of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis one year ago, where 13 people lost their lives.

According to the news this morning it would cost this country a whopping $140 billion to correct the infrastructure sufficiently enough so that you and I can venture across bridges feeling reasonably safe in the knowledge that we will stay suspended above the water rather than plowing engine down into it.

$140 billion. Pretty steep price to keep our families safe, eh? Oh wait a moment .... we're already keeping our loved ones safe, I forgot! We've spent almost $600 BILLION to date keeping safe from Iraqis. This has also cost 90,000 civilian lives, 4127 US soldiers lives, 4,439 coalition forces, and 53,000 US soldiers maimed . . . . to date. I sure feel safe, don't you?

Heckuva job, Bushie!

The money clock is ticking. Too bad it's the wrong money clock:

Iraq War Cost ... can you keep up?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nuts, anyone?

OK, I admit it. I admit it. I'm confused here. So now, the new "N" word is ..................... NUTS?

Just heard on the news this morning that indeed, Jesse Jackson used the "n" word. Now I ask you, how ridiculous is it to hear a professional, national news anchor saying "the 'N' word". Are we in grade school?

When I watched the Jesse Jackson tape, rerun multi-gillion times in case we missed it the first 2295 showings, I heard him say "nuts." Shocking. Next he's gonna say cashews and the national gasp will be heard on Mars.

I'm not denying that Jackson's sentiments are nasty, uncalled for, out of place and well ...... just plain stupid. I mean ...... in his eyes there's a problem with asking Fathers to step up to the plate and act as Fathers? Bill Cosby has said it, now Barack Obama is saying it. If you don't like what they're saying, step up and be a Father (and a good, non-cheating husband while you're at it) and maybe you won't hear it anymore. Leadership is the stepping stone to change.

But I'm not writing this BLOG to soap box my personal feelings about responsibility. I want to talk about nuts. Really. I do.

I'm wondering if now that the "N" word means nuts ....... will we move on to the "F" word meaning ........ um ....... figs? The "S" word will mean (heaven forbid) ..... squash? CARAMBA!

I'm all over this!!

See you in my next "B" ...... or maybe on "FB".

"LG" all my "F"s out there in "B" land.

PS - I'm really "J"ing here. This "B" was just for "F". I know what the "N" word means.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Zen Way of Life?

I've been thinking about this for quite a few years and it has always bugged me. See ..... I can't quite figure out the rationale here. Maybe you can help me.

There has been this "New Age" attitude going on for quite some time now. Hey, I have no problem at all with New Age, I feel as though I'm fairly New Agey myself, I just consider it "Old Age" because the ideas are not new.

Anyhoo, what I've noticed is something going on with men and their adaptation of the New Age idea of a Zen lifestyle. Again .... nothing new about that. Here's the problem as I see it: it seems to have more to do with a lack of responsibility than a true Zen lifestyle. Zen, from Zen Buddhism, is a school of Mahayana Buddhism which emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition. A valuable addition to anyone's life.

However, the idea of "Zen" has nothing to do with producing children and then not supporting them, either emotionally or financially. It also has nothing to do with dropping out of the responsibilities of life which include but are not limited to supporting oneself, being a positive addition to one's community, and being responsible to the family that one has created.

Speaking here from personal observation over the past 30 years, I've had male friends who feel that they must either "find themselves" or "do their own thing" whenever this thought might occur to them. Interpretation: don't expect them to support the children they've created and left behind with their ex-mates. They have the important work of "finding themselves" on their plates. When these men stop supporting their families both emotionally and financially, they wonder why their children end up wishing to have nothing to do with them. Gee .... must be something wrong with the kids, right? WRONG!

This trend also seems to include men who must move in with others, as they cannot (i.e. refuse) support themselves. Something cosmic brings them to the needy or blindly sympathetic (OK, been there myself, done that twice), and they find a wonderful woman/friend who already owns a home (it's magic!) and takes them in as a roommate. Suddenly life is good! They can do what they want every day, until the mate/roommate catches on. Sleeping all day (it's just SO hard to be conventional), wandering around (I must take my walk), playing on the computer (that new best seller is right around the corner!), taking photographs that never get sold ("Hey, I'm gonna be famooose") all are de rigueur for the New Age Zen Man. Income producing action is not, because that generally insists on at least a modicum of resolute activity.

What you all have found, you irresponsible boys out there, is the bottom of the barrel of your life. If your kids no longer care about you, you're middle aged and don't have your own apartment or own a home, someone else is supporting you, you spend your days commiserating with other men in the same position who have miraculously, finally found their perfect partner" (read: someone who will work her butt off full time to support you so you can be "Zenned"), believe this: you are not enlightened. You are fooling yourselves with your rationalizing. It won't work forever.

Yes, I know there are women out there in our world who abandon their children and depend on others to take care of them. Personally observed statistics say there are far fewer ....... but that's another BLOG, isn't it.

You may be wondering ...... why this subject ... why now? Well, yesterday I got to thinking. I got to thinking about a former friend's current lifestyle and got to wondering what lead him to this unfortunate point in his life. His sad/needy circumstances reminded me of the past 30 years during which time I've had a few male friends (I could count 'em on all my fingers and toes, but that's quite a few to have known who were in this sad and similar lifestyle situation) who managed to turn their irresponsible, self-indulgent, self-righteous attitudes into a rationalized "Zen lifestyle."

Bill Cosby and Barack Obama have spoken recently about the responsibility that Fathers have or should have in the Black community. While at this time there may be more instances of male parental irresponsibility in the Black community (these statistics are not at my fingertips and it doesn't really matter), this trend is certainly not limited to any particular ethnic group.

Here's the bottom line:

- If your kid(s) don't have much to do with you, there's probably a good reason and it's not THEM.

- If you are middle aged and have virtually nothing to show for the past 30-40 years of your life, there's a reason, and it's not someone else's fault. You and your choices are the reason. Being able to sit around all night and sleep all day because some sympathetic roomie has taken you in for the time being is not a fine example of a life well lived.

Oh ya, I know: "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." Two ways of looking at that, right. However, "nothin' left to lose" is not Zen .... it's not good (you've lost it all, get it?) ...... and it's not cool.

Get a job supporting yourself and supporting your family. Your free Zen ride is not really freedom, and you know it. The soul's comfort of knowing you're doing the right thing ...... now THAT is Zen, and that is freedom. Freedom from having to rationalize who you are and the way you live and freedom from those niggling little thoughts around the corners of your mind telling you that you have taken wrong turns in your life and it's time to shape up and ship out into responsibility. That would be daily responsibility. Dang I've been wanting to say that for quite awhile. Thanks, yesterday's catalyst .... and you know who you are.

That's what I think ...... unless someone changes my mind. But I doubt it.


~Dedicated to my Dad, who always tried to do his best in life, and had a helluva lot to show for the way he lived. His spirit and knowledge lives on through the people he taught and all those he helped teach that doing your best and always trying to do the right thing was the way to live one's life.~

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day Will Be a Sad Day

I am stunned, not only to hear of Tim Russert's early death, but to realize how much this has affected me emotionally. There are some people we feel we know even though we've never met or spoken with them. I watched Tim Russert hundreds of times not only on "Meet the Press", but throughout these interesting political times as he was, hands down, my favorite political interviewer.

My third reaction, after being shocked and sad, was to think that this was not a personality that the world can stand to lose right now. Try right now to think of the person you know who epitomizes strength of character, joy of living, integrity, intelligence and knowledge. Quick ...... how many people popped into your mind?

It seems to me that what we need more than anything else right now, particularly in our nation's political arena, is a huge dose of integrity. Yesterday we lost a good person, a prime example of the best of humanity, and a leader.

Everything I hear about Mr. Russert tells me that he was also a fine example of the best of Fatherhood. Gone two days prior to Father's Day while I'm already missing my own Dad, I think how the world has lost two men who seemed always to try to do the right thing in their lives.

My heartfelt condolences go to Mr. Russert's family, friends, colleagues and to the rest of us who felt that via that big screen on our walls he had actually become part of our lives.

My Dad's first skydive at age 72. I miss my Dad. 8/10/14 - 12/23/07

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blog Blast for Peace

Today is the 4th annual "Blog blast for peace." Kind of a cool idea, I thought ...... but then I enjoy thinking. It's something I can do while sitting peacefully in my birthday chair holding my laptop and watching the birdies and clouds roll by. Or while staring at the full moon ..... which is another of my favorite pastimes.

I guess the idea is that if we all start thinking more about peace instead of war we might actually have more peace. This makes quite a bit of sense to me, actually, as I believe that what we think is what we manifest. You know ..... kind of like when I think about getting my butt out of my birthday chair and going out to pull weeds, I often do it. Well, for a little while, at least.

Sometimes it can take awhile to turn these thoughts into action. For instance, it took me 30 years of dreaming that I might some day like to live on 30 acres in the country to actually getting to the point of plunking myself on 30 acres in the country. Not sure why it took so long, but I suppose that life got in the way, as did earning a living and raising children, as did a considerable amount of indecision. I'm trying to not to be so indecisive these days ...... well, I think I'm trying. I'm not sure.

This concentrated thinking thing just works better collectively, don't you think? I mean, if we all concentrated on my garden being completed this summer ...... maybe I'd actually get there. Of course if concrete action is more your style, you're welcome to come on down here and start digging. No problem.

Anyhooo ........ this is what creative visualization and "The Secret" are all about: focus your thoughts, settle your brain, hold the reality of PEACE in your mind, and it will appear!

I'm all for whatever works. Practical is my middle name. So "hello" out there all my friendly, peaceful people. Peace is definitely a cool focus today ..... and every day.