Sunday, October 7, 2018
I hope you've had a pleasant week. It certainly has been a challenging one from the cultural level.
Fair warming my liberal bent may a bit more on display in this post.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you are aware that the recent nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court has been accused of sexual assault. I believe the accusers. This is the latest scandal and atrocity that this political climate has brought to light. We are in the middle of a cultural war. This goes beyond the war on women (which is a real thing guys), it goes beyond the right for same sex couples to marry, it goes beyond race, and it goes beyond religious extremism. At its most basic, it is clash between whether we wish to be an inclusive or exclusive culture.
I look around and I see grown men and women acting like kids do in middle school and high school. We have cliques for adults, they are called political parties, religions, and socio-economic status. In the past few years I have witnessed people say and do heinous things to anyone not in their clique. The fact that rape is terrible shouldn't be a controversial conclusion. Ripping children away from their parents and locking them in cages that look like dog kennels also should be easily recognized as evil. Destroying confidence in the press and 'facts' should also not be something to be applauded. Yet these things have been deemed a great success by those that champion the idea of exclusivity.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the idea of inclusiveness. Rather than trying to keep everyone else who isn't exactly like us out, we welcome them in. The idea that there is space at the table for everyone, oddly enough is not a new one. It is shared by many of the world's religions. Now most of us don't fall on the far end of either side of that spectrum. We also can move one direction or the other throughout our lives depending on our experiences and the company we keep. Exclusivity hoards privilege while inclusivity extends it.
Having been excluded quite a bit growing up I tend to fall in the camp that cheers for inclusivity. I was lucky being excluded as a kid from the social circles didn't affect my access to healthcare, housing, or my family. That same attitude which seeks to continue its cultural dominance is the one that contributes to bullying and violence. History shows us the dark harvest this paradigm reaps: slavery, poverty, and genocide.
Why am I telling you this? Well right now it is tough to remain hopeful as we witness our representatives champion cruelty in the name of exclusivity. Inclusiveness seems to be on the losing end of the argument at the moment. However the fire and noise that the exclusive camp is sending out shows that it feels threatened. It fears losing its dominance. In this time, it is probably the weakest it has been in recorded history. It may not feel like it, but if we keep pushing forward inclusiveness could become the norm. Imagine for a moment a world where people are treated fairly, and where our representatives care about everyone's well being. What could be accomplished if we didn't have one hand fighting to keep some people down? Think on it, keep hope alive, and keep speaking your truth.
Peace and Blessings,
Monday, October 1, 2018
Hope you've enjoyed the first few days of Autumn (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). I started my season with drumming and despacho ceremony. The wheel turns and our lives move in a new pattern.
Autumn for me is a mixed bag. Some of my favorite things happen in this season, at the same time the fading light holds the promise of the dark winter to come. Fall is a time where I remember many friends that aren't with me anymore. It's a time of magic and of thinning veils. It is also the season in which I emerged from a shamanic death fifteen years ago. As the trees lost their leaves, and the animals laid down for the long winter sleep, I had new life racing through my body and spirit. I reclaimed myself from despair. As I've said previously, this summer was very challenging. In fact many of the conditions were a match for that summer that almost claimed my life. This time though I didn't have to fall so far. The wheel turned and hit me in the face, but I wasn't knocked down for the count. I think that means I've grown as a person.
The wheels of our lives turn, and we revisit similar situations throughout our lives. If we've done our work we interact with them from a different perspective. This is true on the personal as well as the collective level. Here in the U.S.A. we've been revisiting a lot of old patterns. In the past two years we've seen racism, sexism, and fascism make an unfortunate return to the mainstream culture. Although to be accurate they were always there, they were simply glossed over with platitudes and code words to sanitize them for the masses. There is a lot of people reacting with the "We've seen this before." They're right we have. I hope that this time we respond from a more mature and inclusive perspective. If we don', have no fear, the wheel will turn again and we'll be right back here.
Why am I telling you this? Well if you're like me, a lot of your old tendencies have been making an encore performance in your life lately. Although it is uncomfortable, it is also an opportunity. We have the option to respond differently. We can maybe even change directions so that this the last time the wheel brings this situation to us.
So how about you? Has the wheel of life brought back challenges you thought you had already tackled? Does the world seem to be stuck on the same song on the playlist? What if you brought to bear all the wisdom you've learned since the first time you heard that tune? What if you worked towards a different future? What if collectively we did the same? It's worth pondering as we wait for the wheel to turn.
Peace and Blessings,