and now Charlie…

Illustration for Home Digest by Rui Ramalheiro
Illustration by Rui Ramalheiro

Kind of odd and creepy that I’ve been writing about Charlie. One of the main characters in my fiction (work in progress) is named Charlie. He’s a robot repair guy, not a journalist and not intentionally named after Mr. Rose. However, I’ve spent a lot of time with Rose over the past couple of years.  He’s the first person I see every day (on CBS Morning) and I’ve watched his late-night PBS show for at least 20 years.

With current comparison’s to the Pandora’s Box myth, I feel compelled to say that the aBoP (listed on my pinned post, of books and projects) is a reference to that myth.  I’ll  post an excerpt of my intro that explains why, but first I want to say how #SAD I’m feeling to learn of this dark side of Charlie Rose.
We all wrestle with addictions and kleshas (Buddhist term for our habituated tendencies) but so tragic to see a lifetime career in shreds over uncontrolled behavior.

Rose has discussed turning to meditation (over the past year or so.) Let’s hope he continues and that it provides relief and insight.  As I posted on twitter:  “We are definitely at an inflection point. Constant focus on sex and power in movies, TV and social media needs serious analysis and contemplation.”  We must also look at the intense violence that we constantly feed our youth.  These issues are all inter-related and entwined.  A society that favors explicit pornography, horrific violence and rarely focuses on positive values is doomed.

History does repeat, so take a look at the downfall of past great civilizations like Rome and Greece to see where we are headed.

With that, the Pandora story is very apropos so I will share how I explain it in the intro of my in-progress fiction:

“In the famous Greek myth, the god Zeus had a daughter named Pandora. When the time came for her to be wed, the king of fate and thunder gave his daughter, and her husband-to-be, a locked box (actually it was a large clay jar or pithos, but in translation it’s always been called a box.) The important part is the admonition that Zeus gave the couple: to assure your happiness, DO NOT OPEN!  Pandora couldn’t believe that her father would give her a gift she could not enjoy. So sometime after the marriage, while her husband was away, curiosity got the best of Pandora and she opened the gift. The most horrid things came flying out. She had unleashed all the evils of the world.

There are many variations of the story known as Pandora’s Box. I like the one that implies Zeus had locked up all the world’s troubles and entrusted his daughter to keep humanity safe.

What are the consequences of our 21st Century society’s lust, greed, and endless obsession for more (of everything)? How far can we go before everything collapses? Can we change our fate by changing our attitude? and what if we don’t? Perhaps this story will prompt you to ponder these possibilities.

So, why did I choose to call my story “a Box of Pandoras”? One of our favorite New Mexico governors, Bruce King, once warned our state legislators, ‘If you pass that bill you’ll be opening up a whole box of Pandoras.’  It became one of his trademark sayings. Rest his soul, we still laugh about it. But he (and Zeus) were right to warn about unleashing the world’s troubles.”  (c) 2015 – 2017

Now, I better get back to writing…

Seeing Clearly?

happy-new-yearEvery year millions of Americans make resolutions for the New Year, and sadly within a few weeks (or days) many will lose that resolve and revert to old habits and behaviors. This year let’s not see that as failure and throw in the towel.  Instead, see it as an opportunity to actually notice our patterns and work on those.  It’s the best way– maybe the only way–  to make real progress.

It’s been awhile since I discussed my books, thoughts on mindfulness and what it means to See Clearly.  I’m sure many of you who watched me rant on Twitter this past year wonder what  beneficial advice I could offer.  Most of us know what we “should do”, but often we forget or just don’t want to face it — myself included.  So, I wanted to start off this New Year with a post that hopefully can help us all, regardless of politics.

To elaborate on this concept of seeing our patterns, the first and hardest part is to recognize these patterns without a lot of judgement.  NO judgement would be best, but realizing that most of us are our own worst critics helps.  See, you’re not alone.  We all do it.  I was very critical of my snarky tweeting last year, but just couldn’t seem to stop.  I would read another person’s attempt at sarcasm and think, “hell, I can top that”  and then I’d spit out my best zinger.  Sure, some of them racked up a lot of views, but really, who cares.  Is it worth sacrificing my true principles for the momentary pleasure of tweeting? Isn’t that the question for all addictions? Is this drink worth it? Is this “fix” of whatever worth it? We know the consequences… we’ve experienced them many times before. But somehow we find endless ways to magically avoid seeing clearly.  So, that’s the trick. Noticing that we are ruled by our thoughts, desires and aversions.  And, of all things, that’s where meditation comes in 💡  (that’s a light bulb, not praying hands… but either works.)

It took me years to realize the real purpose of meditation.  It’s not to silence our thoughts (which is virtually impossible), but to notice them.  “Oh, now I’m reliving that episode again.”  And, don’t even think “I should stop.”  Simply notice that you’ve thought of that several times now or maybe it’s a new thought. Just notice the thoughts.  It’s quite a revelation in the beginning, like stepping back and seeing yourself in action. Maybe you’ve become aware of your habitual tendencies some other way, or you may be a long-time meditator and know there are many stages to the process, but this is a good one for starters. Just notice. It’s also called Mindfulness.

I would love to get more feedback and exchange thoughts here.  Sorry if I neglected to approve your comment(s) over the holidays.  I really do want more interaction here.  I’m going to post a poll with this on Twitter to see if people would prefer to read more nonfiction material like this, or want another fiction story (aka a novel.)  Maybe I should also ask if you like to listen to audiobooks, read eBooks or still like hard copy.  And, then there’s social media and virtual reality! Whatever way we communicate, here’s to a happier new year for all of us.

#SafetyPinSolidarity

#BerniesBack  #OurRevolution #SafetyPins #AMJoy #inners #PeacePledge @MMFlint @LisaBloom @JaneOSanders

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the public declaration of Trump as President-Elect may be the best thing that’s happened since the @BernieSanders revolution.  Here’s why:
IF Hillary had been declared the Victor November 8 the Repubs were ready to drag us through four more years of Congressional investigations, impeachment hearings, law suits claiming our election was rigged, on and on. Now read carefully because words matter!

safetypinsIt’s not over YET!  The Electoral College meets December 19, 2016. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so this isn’t just any old “rubber stamp” meeting. This one will be a doozy, especially if we can disqualify Trump! (details on that below.)
As Dylan says, “Things have changed.”
Diverse groups, a few listed above, plus the Obama Coalition, Michael Moore’s movement and #OurRevolution (aka “the Bernie Band” back together), have renewed vigor given what’s happened since November 9.  It’s not too late.  Here’s my assessment:

First came #HateCrimes and violence against minorities and women. I actually experienced this myself! On Wednesday (Nov 9) I was driving in a semi-congested area. A huge truck with Trump signs and stickers (behind me) was honking at me. I couldn’t speed up and there was nowhere to go. At some point he pulled out and around, nearly crashing into another car, and yelled, “Move over you F-ing liberal C**t.”
No one has called me anything that offensive since the old FemiNazi label during the heat of the Women’s Lib reactionary days. I forget such hatred of successful women persists! A certain segment of society began “showing their rears” the past few months. Now they feel so empowered they are out and self-identifying with their ugly temperament and actions. Nazi graffiti, KKK signs, bullying and even beatings are on full display against blacks, Muslims, Latinos, Hispanics and other minorities.

At the same time, progressives like Michael Moore (@mmFlint) and Bernie Sanders began speaking out again. Bernie has the long-view of how to reform the Democratic Party with the #OurRevolution movement. That’s great, but with hate crimes and vengeance on the rise EVERYWHERE right now we can’t wait for political action and we can’t let Trump take office.

Immediate action steps unfolded for many of us Saturday morning on #AMJoy (the 2-hour MSNBC show hosted by Joy Reid.) I took 5 pages of notes listening to various speakers like attorney @LisaBloom. The upshot for me is that with so much evidence of hate crimes, violence, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, predatory behavior and foreign collusion we can lobby the upcoming Electoral College to disqualify Trump! I propose the new hash tag of #DisqualifyTrump for listing members of the E.C., how to contact them, and other ideas on how to proceed. I’m sure one of the E.C. experts can help guide us on the most effective way to present our case. There’s plenty to challenge when it comes to the E.C.

Attorney Lisa Bloom said it best Saturday morning:

“Trump is about to bump into the big, beautiful wall of the Justice System!”

She was referring to the 75 pending lawsuits he faces and that will go forward even if he is President-Elect. There is also the Trump University civil case which begins November 28. And, the fake charity called the Trump Foundation is embroiled in legal battles. The so-called Blind Trust that he wants to use is being challenged because if Trump puts his family in charge of his business matters, that’s not a “blind” trust– it’s a conflict of interest!
Ms. Bloom and others discussed the rampant nepotism he is suggesting for his so-called Administration and the many Constitutional violations on the horizon (including attacks on our First Amendment.) So there is a LOT to compile and present to the Electoral College. Constitutional attorneys and elites get busy!! We got work to do!

Also, a great unifying rally-call comes with the #SafetyPins Movement. This apparently began in the U.K. after the Brexit vote. Brits wore safety pins as a silent way to convey their support for refugees and immigrants. Now we have our own #SafetyPinSolidarity Movement in the USA to show we stand with the oppressed groups being bullied and harassed by Trump supporters.
Evangelical Trump supporters say they are worried about losing their “Christian Values” but they don’t show us what that means. Spewing hate, vitriol, and name-calling is far from Christian. Seems that it will take REAL Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, LBGTQ, the disabled and disenfranchised to show that Christian values are about LOVE. ♡

Finally, Michael Moore and many, many more are marching and protesting. GREAT!! Let’s all get out there, but we MUST remain peaceful to carry out this important mission. So, wear a safety pin (or a lot) and let’s all take the #PeacePledge to stay HIGH as they go low. I see a path forward to #DisqualifyTrump before he takes office. It won’t work unless we maintain a peaceful protest and carry signs with messages of #Justice and #Equality for ALL. Let’s use our “elitist” minds, not our brawn, to get this one done!

Don’t panic! The Jedis will prevail. Hillary was right about this…

#LoveTrumpsHate

Note to Millennials

After screaming, crying and going through the various stages of grief (about the 2016 election), here’s the bottom line: it was all over in 2000.

Credit to photographer Michael Shank
Credit to photographer Michael Shank

When America ended up with Halliburtin’s Dick Chaney and “W” Bush over Al Gore (in an election that was “rigged” and stolen, IMHO), we missed our last opportunity to make real progress on climate change.  The “Inconvenient Truth” was more than a movie, it was also a political metaphor. America took the dark path of propping up the “war machine” (the military–industrial complex, an unholy alliance of the U.S. military and defense industry.)

It had been “peace time” under President Clinton and America would have been not only peaceful and prosperous under Al Gore, but climate concerns were at the top of his agenda.

Why this history lesson? Because you can’t really grok what’s at stake until you look in the review mirror and see how we got to this point.  I’m not blaming young or first-time voters (for protest votes or sitting it out) because you have to live through some of the horrors and consequences to really understand what’s at stake. Trust me, if we make it through the current national nightmare, you’ll know what I mean.

It’s not a “coincidence” that the 9/11 attack happened soon after Bush took office. Elections have consequences.  Big Daddy Bush (“41”) wasn’t all points of light and kumbaya, as he’s often portrayed. He was the former CIA director and a Texas oil man.  More importantly he invaded Iraq with our U.S. military and literally “bombed the shit” out of the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) with thousands of rapid air strikes, then left quickly leaving a wake of death and destruction that created tremendous hatred. So when America elected “Son of Bush” President in 2000, vengeance was definitely on the mind of the Middle East.  (I’ll come back to that concept.)

The current refugee crisis and ISIS can be traced directly to our long involvement in Middle East (which of course dates back to the 1950s) and our need for cheap oil, at ANY cost. It’s been an OUTRAGEOUS cost in lives lost and Trillions of tax dollars (taxes that DJT has not participated in, but that’s another topic.) Vengeance is at the root of all our problems, especially war. But, it’s also the reason Trump ran for office.  He wanted to “get even” with President Obama for roasting him during the 2011 White House CorrespondentsDinner.   (Unbelievable, but true!)

Many blame Obama for continuing the wars.  I guess DJT will soon learn if he can end them.  I’m just sick. When I hear that creeps like Jeff Sessions and retired general Flynn (who claims Trump “crushed the debates”) will be in charge of our military operations I’m NOT hopeful. This isn’t a game, our lives are at stake– particularly YOURS. I can retreat to a monastic life and leave Samsara (cyclical life) behind, but you millennials are stuck with war, our dying oceans, lack of water and food, and Donald Trump.  If you survive, you will remember and want to warn others to vote for sanity and reason next time.