Monday, February 20, 2017

The Long Black Veil

I wore all black today, Presidents’ Day, to keep me minded of Resistance.

Wearing mourning is something we all know about our culture (in fact many cultures) without really thinking about it. Less practiced today than in our recent pasts, it is still understood as a sobering demeanor, a visible lack of interest in the colors of the world.

Dressing for ritual is not new to me; I have enjoyed costuming to a purpose for many years.  Usually these are happy occasions when I bring out the symbolic jewelry and tie dye. But the principle is the same: to support a particular mood or emotional state. To send a message to those around us of what we are all about.

And about now, I am furious and fearful, outraged and obsessed with doing everything I can to alter reality for the better – MY definition of “better!” And so the clothes.

And in fact, because they are not my usual statement, I am more conscious of them as the role I play, and I have learned a few things:

Because the comfort of my trainers has been sacrificed to the boot god of color, I walk in this role differently than every other day.  My changed posture in fact straightens my spine a little, and that is good because I need it.

Because all I can see is black, I have contemplated that black is the absence of color, and what a tragic thing that is.  I yearn for a splash of orange or some expanse of purple, and now I can see why, and that mourning is defined by giving up something important.

Because I am not as comfortable in this skin, I know that I need practice so that I can step up to the plate here and use those boots to kick some ass.  I need to wear the intention, if not the actual clothes, more often, and I will just have to get used to it. 

So in spite of feeling a little silly for dressing up this morning, I have learned once again that attention to my own details helps me explain, understand, and support my self; a little of the oh-so-important perspective that we all need to keep ourselves sane.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reform until You Believe It

I went to my first local town meeting last weekend. Very big turnout, lots of newbies like me. In my lucky case, my neighbors are as progressive as our state legislators, so a good time was had by all. Very good explanations of several bills of great interest, like prohibiting states and cities from making labor regulations and charging protesters for the cost of police actions – bills that make my skin crawl.

But mostly I came away with a new feeling of momentum. I resonate with the reports of packed town meetings everywhere, with the upward political force of our interest, sniffing an awful interruption in our personal freedoms, forced to our attention by arrogant outrageousness.

I want to see so much pressure from the bottom that the top will explode; burst apart and scatter in pieces, for us, with a changed heart, to pick up and build into a new shape. A civilized shape. A shape we recognize from our Sunday School lessons, where we do good unto others as we would have them to do unto us.  

We could see this happen.  We could be the generation of change. We could evolve.

Fissures and cracks in a system that has kept local pressure under control for decades make it clear that there is chaos at the top, that this center is not holding. For christ’s sake, some state is messing with the police and fireman’s union. What are they thinking??? This Trump-supporting union organizes the brotherhood of police in every city in the country!  Who do they think is going to enforce their increasingly legislated crowd control directives? Someone up there is making a big, big mistake. Now this morning they have thrown their military minion Flynn under the bus. Sorry Dude. 

A good sign for us, a visible reassurance that our unrelenting and constantly increasing pressure will travel right up those cracks to explode a new vision of governance into our futures.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Listnin' for the New Told Lies

I got a note from an old friend yesterday asking me if I am okay. Seems that my volume input on Facebook has gone up enough to make her wonder. Oh yeah, watching for news like a hawk, reposting anything I feel is important and true. I didn’t realize there was so much of it.

The danger, as she and I know, is of obsession. We have not seen political theater to match this in forty years, and in fact it may now be even more anarchistic, a dividing line in time between BTD (before The Donald) and ATD. People are filling up their pantries with provisions and buying water filters – no one knows what is to come.

She is right about stepping back, away from the edge. I am no longer young enough to watch without fear. Back then, I was just as outraged at midnight political firings and secret bombings as I am with today's incredible coup, but we were fearless then with youthful expectations. The danger in my current outrage is that it is surrounded with fear – fear learned from a lifetime of watching things get worse. Fear that my family will suffer. Fear that there will be blood in the streets. It cramps my face and clamps my soul, rigid and SO missing the point. 

To the fearless, resistance is the secret of joy. To the fearful, resistance is terrifying.

I appreciated her reminder, but I had in fact already remembered that I know how to back off;  that creative activity carries me away from the rant and so, relieves my anxieties.  I designed a new mandala last weekend (see the above), and, much to my delight, I have learned again what I already knew, that coloring is just plain good for me.

The new mandala is meant to stimulate thoughts of harmony; each of the petals can be seen as individuals making up a whole, such as skin colors or ethnic groups (perhaps a rainbow palette?), all the plants and animals of the earth working together (greens, blues, and browns?), or even all the pieces of your own soul coming together to be you (only you know the color of your own pieces). You can just fill in color, overlay patterns, or draw inside the petals. Whatever you do, it will take your mind to a positive place where you can consider harmony while producing something beautiful. It will calm you down. 

If you would like to color the Harmony Mandala, click here to go to a downloadable PDF that you can print to color or open in a graphics program should you be into electronic art.  Use a heavier paper to print for wet media, a rougher paper to print for colored pencils. In fact, if you send me a scan of your finished piece with a little explication, I will publish it here.  Certainly I will publish my own after I choose my own tools of personal construction. Time to get out my colors and play:)

And I took my friend’s advice . Instead of reading news (and fake news), I listened to music on my ride to work. Masters of War today, Let the Sun Shine In tomorrow:)

Politial junkie that I am, I still must find out what is happening, just not so often, and not so desperately. Looks like we will have time enough to choose wisely where we can get involved. They have locked up the White House and thrown away the key. It will be up to us to find a duplicate.