(I almost can’t write this, I still feel intense shame.)
There were two times in my my life when I was poor enough to feel actual physical hunger. The first was when my parents first separated and I was living with my mother in a commune in Berkeley (CA).* I’d been wrested from a typical middle-class (white) suburban lifestyle full of meat and bread in unlimited quantities and thrust willy-nilly into a hippie commune. No sugar. Homemade bread. No meat, except when we killed a chicken or rabbit. Nothing processed.
I hated it.
What a tough year for the world.
I could write a maudlin post about the end of America as we know it or about the many deaths of celebrities we used as role models. It would be easy, and I suspect many better writers than I are doing so even now.
I choose to instead share my plans for the coming year. Particularly how I will be dealing with what I expect will be an overwhelming flood of *NEED* from so many causes and places I believe strongly in: ending racism, women’s equality, gay rights, protecting animals, caring for children, and supporting our civil liberties. Not to mention the periodic outbreaks of violence and natural disasters that will claim my time, energy, and money.
I woke up this morning with some thoughts rumbling around.
Many of us are being called to step away from our boring lives and do something just a little bit more to make our worlds safe again. This is a call to change, one happening on a much larger and more obvious scale than previous occurrences. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in history, rather than reading about it, the time is now. We have LGBT rights to retain, systemic racism revealed that must be dismantled, a climate on the brink of devastation, and a huge number of people in danger of losing what little support they have for staying alive.
Last night I finally witnessed Beyonce’s Lemonade. I use the word witness in full knowledge of its religious meaning: I was given a powerful narrative of the desperate erasure of black women in America that has nonetheless birthed a Queen. When she quoted Malcom X:
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman
“The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.
“The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
It’s a dark time in the world, and I find myself musing on the last time it felt this way to me.
Every since I read T. Thorn Coyle’s profoundly beautiful post, “Opposition is a Prayer,” I have been contemplating whether my spiritual practice needs to be politically charged. Are the two linked?
In discussions I’ve had people tell me that they equate politics with control, and that much of their of spiritual journey has been about giving up control, so for them they need to keep politics out of it. My own HP wisely pointed out that it was a personal choice, not a requirement.
For me, politics was always a dirty word and something to be avoided at all costs, other than voting. But as I grow older and see the same old crap coming around again and again, I’m starting to get irritated, and then (finally) angry.
And maybe because my spiritual life is an intrinsic part of my life, its all wrapped together. I’ve done spell work and magic for political outcomes, and will do so again. I’ve put my money and resources into causes that catch my immediate attention, and the ones that I feel are fundamentally in need of ongoing support.
Mostly, though, I see the AoR class as my longest magickal political act, as I am aiming to create subversives and rebels, free thinkers and radicals. Critical thinking people who will go into the world with just a little more awareness, a tad more questioning, and less acceptance of the status quo. . . and in turn raise the ‘vibration’ of people around them . . . until the influence of the class has spread much further than just I, or us.
That’s my kind of radicalism.
I read this and was touched, deeply, on many levels.
How to live your life: Advice from an American student who was killed in Egypt
Andrew Pochter, a 21-year-old Kenyon College student from Chevy Chase, Md., was stabbed to death on June 28 during anti-government protests in Alexandria, Egypt.
For most of the past five summers, starting when he was 16, he had volunteered as a counselor for a program called Camp Opportunity. It is a week-long sleep away camp for at-risk children, aged 6 to 12, from the Baltimore area. Each camper is assigned his own counselor, and the relationship continues each year. In June, Andrew Pochter’s camper had turned 12, and was moving on from the program. Unable to attend the “graduation” picnic, Pochter sent the child a letter—one that summed up the way he was living his own life, and what he hoped to have passed along. It was read by Andrew’s sister Emily at Pochter’s funeral.
I read this today, and I had to re-blog it.
This, in its exactitude, has not happened to me. BUT things very similar have — especially when I was younger and more conventionally sexually attractive. The men I know would never do this. They would never allow a guy *they* know to act like this.
But for many many MANY women, this is a daily scenario. Yes, I am saying that assault is a daily event.
I’d like to think that I would be more assertive, especially now that I’ve got some Muay Thai training. But it’s more likely I would have done as she did and just waited for it to end. Because if I mis-calculated, I may have been physically assaulted as well as verbally. The only other thing I may have done differently is called the police. Perhaps he would have gotten off the train, perhaps he would have been met by the police. But, yes, perhaps he may have hit her to shut her up, to stop her from telling the police he was assaulting her.
This real. Pass it along.
An August 10 feature story in the Seattle Weekly –“Porn, Piracy, & BitTorrent“–takes a deeper than ‘it’s wrong’ look at illegal file-sharing technology. What I found fascinating was the information on how copyright holders are using mass lawsuits to indict and fine people using such technology, a tactic that I (and other right-thinking people) see as extortion.
This is another group of good people who are looking out for our best interests. If you travel by airplane, ever, you whnt to support what they are doing. This post is a collection of tidbits from their latest alerts.