There's something to be said for Kitchen Table Wisdom - you know, like in the old days when people sat around the kitchen table after a meal and talked about life, the universe and the meaning of it all - as well as the gossip doing the rounds in town...

Well, that's what this place is - a place to share common wisdom, thoughts and feelings about things important and unimportant, that bring us joy, laughter and happiness and that trouble, sadden, confuse and anger us ...

What I write here is what's 'real' for me. It won't always be PC or 'nice'. We're missing out on true connection and chances to grow and change because there's too little authenticity, too little honesty, too much holding back what we really feel and mean.

Welcome to my world...

I used to have a copyright claim here, but I've removed it...

Ideas don't belong to anyone -

they come to those who are receptive and are to be used for the well being of all...

I find images and movies and music all over the web

and I use them to accent/expand on my thoughts and understandings...


If you feel you have experienced or received something of value in reading my posts,

please consider either:

Giving a Koha/Love Offering Here - Donate with WePay

or paying it forward to those who need

material and emotional/spiritual sustenance in this world...


Thank You


As You Think, So It Is - Your Beliefs Create Your Reality

If your Reality isn't Working for You, Create a New One!

Life Unlimited!


Namaste

(the Divine in me, recognises and honours the Divine in you)

Sahila




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Perspective Is A Wonderful Thing...

Humanity, humility and responsibility in the face of vast un-knowingness...


Shooting Myself In The Foot...


On a purely personal note today, I have become increasingly conscious of how often I "shoot myself in the foot" and take actions - or more accurately NOT TAKE ACTIONS - that result in more 'difficulty' in my life than is necessary...

Compared to 4 billion or so other souls on the planet, my son and I are living well; we have somewhere warm and dry to live, clothes, food, transport and people around who care what happens to us...

Compared to others who are similarly or more privileged, there's a lot in my life that could be 'improved'.

We are living day-to-day financially which is stressful and not how it has to be.   And that's because of several factors:
  • Politically and personally, I find it almost impossible now, to participate in the current economic and social paradigm - it's  anti-life, dysfunctional and toxic...
  • Because of that, I'm choosing not to work in the corporate madhouse (though some might say that with 25% unemployment in the US that is not a choice I - as an older, over-qualified, woman - am making necessarily)...
  • The journey here in the US has been completely intense, complicated and difficult, comprised of getting into and then getting out of a situation of domestic violence and experiencing cancer... This has taken much of my focus and a great deal of energy.   And it doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon, as my son's father continues to play power and control games (mostly now around money) and I go back to court tomorrow to ask  for the renewal of a Protection Order for yet another year...
  • Single parenting my son takes time, focus and energy that would otherwise be available for money-making activities.   I don't have the same amount of energy as I did when I was raising my first family, and I choose to give my son first call on the energy I do have - everything and everyone else has to queue up behind him...
BUT.... there are things I can do that would both add to the positive in the world and bring in cash...

I have plans to start the Purple Dove Foundation to raise money for and awareness about (and the eventual eradication of) the horror of domestic violence.
The Foundation would do what the Komen Foundation does in the field of breast cancer - raises billions of dollars and then distributes it to organisations working to cure breast cancer and to individuals living through the experience - basically acting as a clearing house for funds...

The Komen Foundation is successful because many people can't deal with facing their own mortality... fund raising for disease-fighting is quite easy...

But most people don't want to talk about domestic violence - it's the nasty little secret thing that happens to other people, behind closed doors in the house down the street...

And that's just not true... it happens in one-in-five households and is probably happening to your next-door-neighbour as I write and you read this... or it's been happening in your house, or in the house where you grew up...
It happened in my house where I grew up, though I didn't know what it was and that it was not 'normal'... and a form of it happened in my first marriage, though again I didn't recognise it for what it was until much later...

Did you know:
  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. 
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

I've had this in my head for five years now - a fully fledged, perfectly sound, perfectly viable  idea that only needs implementation...

And I have begun taking small steps to make it a reality... 

BUT... something inside holds me back from taking the big strides forward necessary to make this idea really come alive in 3D...

My inner critic says it's because I'm lazy and afraid of failure, all talk and no action...

I know I'm not lazy - I've worked hard all my life...

I know I'm not all talk and no action - I've done things in my life that have changed reality for quite a few people.   I've walked the talk and put my money where my mouth is...

Am I afraid of failure?   I have put myself out there, laid it all on the line in the past and sometimes that has cost me a lot AND I kept going, no matter what, because it was the right thing to do...

Am I afraid of exposing myself, telling the story over and over again, perhaps being pitied or shunned?

When I teach - in the personal growth/spiritual arenas - I always use personal experience as the main teaching tool... after all, I'm the only person/thing I am an expert on... and being prepared to be vulnerable and to take myself down to my students' "level" gives them permission to open up and share... the most amazing learning/shifts happen all around...

I believe in equalising/leveling the playing field...that's what's real and takes the "power over" element out of teaching/sharing/nurturing.    

I tell my students (and my kids and the kids I teach electives to at school) that in some aspects of life, I'm a master, in some I'm a novice, in some an apprentice, and in some a scholar, as are they... And in some areas they're the masters whereas I'm still a novice or an apprentice...
Am I afraid I wasn't really a "victim" because I got out before it got really bad - I didn't end up in the hospital with broken bones, that I'm just a fraud?

Just as  I wasn't really a "victim" of cancer because I  'only' had a mastectomy and reconstruction - I didn't need radiation and chemotherapy, my hair didn't fall out, I didn't spend days huddled over the toilet puking up my guts?  

I know, quite ridiculous really, but that's how the uncontrolled mind works for many of us, especially women...

Am I afraid of success?   What would the world look like with no violence in it?

Maybe I'm just plain mad, mad, mad, having a huge temper tantrum that my life isn't all peaches and cream... a case of sitting on the pity-pot crying "why me, why me?"...  What is it they say?    "Shit, or get off the pot already"!

Maybe I'm just plain mad at my supposedly intelligent self, for having made certain choices that have gotten me/us to this place...

And yet, I know this particular section of my life's journey was 'meant to be'... I don't think any other experience would have led me to recognise what was the pattern of abusive relationships the female line of my family has endured, for generations, and to decide "It Stops With Me"... 

And it has stopped with me... my daughters and sons now have knowledge I didn't when I was young and they need not make the same dysfunctional choices I did, as my mother and grandmothers did before me...

Indigenous people say that what you heal in this life time, heals seven generations into the past and seven generations into the future, so maybe there was a worthwhile point to all this after all!

But there is no complete peace in that; there's still anger, rage even, at the men who carried out this abuse - sexual, physical, emotional. 

To them - dead and alive - I say: "I understand your pain and why you did what you did... You did the best you could with what you had, as we all do... 

BUT - please, accept, own and live with your guilt instead of denying it... live with your guilt as I have to do with mine, for not protecting my children as I should have, just as my mother did not protect me..." 

 
Maybe I (still) want to be rescued - have the proverbial white knight  come galloping in on his charger, solving all my problems, whisking me and my son off to the always sunny land of happiness ever after, flowing with milk and honey, all rainbows and cherubs playing heavenly music!

Maybe I'm just resistant to change in my own life...good at helping others handle/achieve change in their lives, but when it comes to my own little world, Life has to drag me kicking and screaming through the hedge backwards!

Maybe my ambivalence about being in this country is what's getting in the way... If I put in more energy creating something, that means on some level that I'm committing to staying here, in a place I dislike...  I like, love even, many of the people in my life here, but this society gives me the creeps... I want to go home, but where is home now?

Or maybe I'm just tired... too much needs attention in this world and I'd rather just sit back, take care of me and mine and let all the rest go to hell in a handcart...

We shall see...


 

 
 


Monday, November 29, 2010

Next Time You Go To Buy A Bottle Of Water...


Maybe you'll pause and reconsider... or at least, be fully conscious of the ramifications of your choice and actions...


especially when you see what happens to those plastic bottles after you've thrown them away:



Only We Humans Make Waste 
That Nature Can't Digest:




Oh, and it's not just bottled water - its soda, 'energy' drinks, juice, all bottled in plastic...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

What We Don't Know Doesn't Hurt Us?


My mother told me once that for women, it hurts to be beautiful... 

We're poisoning ourselves every day... for our vanity, to catch a man (or woman) and/or under the false belief that we're caring for ourselves and our appearance...


And this is nothing new - we've been poisoning ourselves for millenia... For example, it used to be arsenic in face and hair powder that slowly killed us... 

 
















You'd think we'd know better by now. But the companies making personal care and cosmetic products still use chemicals that are every bit as toxic and dangerous.  And now we use them on our babies and children too... 



Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware



The Broken-hearted Warriors...

This is what colonialism has done all over the world, for thousands of years...



Colonialism has a new name now - globalisation...

And the results are the same - exploitation, cultural genocide, destruction of individuals and communities and social dysfunction...

The only ones who benefit are the colonisers...

What price trade and "prosperity"?


The Whitlams...


My favourite Whitlams song... came out when I was living in Brisbane, Australia...





Hate...



Tahani Salah performs Hate at the 2006 Urban Word NYC Teen Poetry Slam


So - what is your answer to this young woman?   

What will you tell your children you did to stop the hate?



More Paul Kelly...

Enjoy!










In Case You Think I Have A Kiwi Bias...


Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly...











Untouchable, Unstoppable Kiwi Girls


Kiwi comedy, satire, singing and yodelling as only twin lesbians know how to do:







Political and Social Apathy... What's Your Excuse?



When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.




“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

White Privilege & Colour-Blindness


Two intertwined thoughts in this posting...

In 1990, in New Zealand, I was 'forced' to attend cultural sensitivity training when I went back to school (as an adult) to complete a broadcast journalism course...

The course was facilitated by a middle-aged hard core Maori man, who called it for what it was...

At first I was really resistant... my family had only been in New Zealand since the mid 60s, had not hurt anyone, taken their land, enslaved anyone, forced assimilation on anyone, engaged in cultural and ethnic genocide, used racist slurs - hell some of my best friends were Maori, Polynesian, French, Polish, Lebanese  so I wasn't racist blah, blah, blah...

Well, you know what?   My life and all the privileges myself and my family took for granted (including the chance to immigrate to New Zealand, to work damn hard, to buy a small piece of land and build a modest house, to enjoy a social welfare system, free education and health care etc) had been built on the back of land theft and exploitation... 

And yes, I was a part of the problem because I didn't realise/acknowledge that...

If you won't admit you are part of the problem, you cause the problem to persist...

 And no, there's no way for me to turn the clock back and undo what was done... No way for me to "pay back" what I've received in white privilege... 

But I can at least acknowledge it, own it and do my best to ameliorate the effects as they are being felt by those who have been exploited for generations...


Have you acknowledged your white privilege lately?

Or your relative African American privilege that was bought on the back of native land theft and genocide?


And how many of us are in the place where we don't see other people, especially children, from other backgrounds as anything other than American kids rather than First Peoples, or African American or Chinese or Vietnamese or Pacific Islander or Polish or whatever.

That says a lot about what is wrong with our approach... we all think we are not being racist when we are "colour blind", but that is racist in itself:

COLOR-BLIND RACISM IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AMERICA 

Color-blind racism has crystallized as the dominant racial ideology of the United States. Whites no longer need to utter the ugly racial epithets of the past, claim God made whites superior, or argue that minorities are inferior biological beings in order to keep them in a subordinated position. Instead, whites chastise minorities in a color-blind way and, by default, defend their racial privilege in a “now you see it, now you don’t fashion.” Color-blind racism is thus a formidable weapon to maintain white privilege.

Will color-blind racism increase in significance in the twenty-first century, or will Americans realize the continuing impact of racial stratification in their country? The trends, unfortunately, suggest that, if anything, color-blind racism is bound to become even more salient. For one thing, the Supreme Court may eliminate all forms of race-based policies (e.g., Affirmative Action, busing) as “discriminatory in reverse.” Such an outcome will underscore whites’ “we are beyond race” racial common sense. In addition, Congress may stop gathering racial statistics, because gathering them presumably racializes Americans. This will make it all but impossible to document racial gaps in income, education, occupations, and other areas. This would only eliminate racial inequality artificially. Finally, the United States is developing a plural racial order, a development that will further diffuse the salience of race. In the emerging racial order, a middle group of “honorary whites” will buffer racial conflict and become arduous defenders of color-blindness.

Hence, the United States may be on its way to becoming a land of racism without racists, where people formerly known as blacks, Latinos, and Asians will still lag well behind the people formerly known as whites. Yet this inequality, formerly known as racial, will no longer be interpreted as such because Americans will believe, like the character Pangloss in Voltaire’s novel Candide , that they live in the best of all possible worlds.
 

It Happened All Over the World...


Colonialism... it's not dead yet... it's still happening and its disastrous effects will never go away...


I don't know how many of you have actually ever had the opportunity to look at your world with new eyes..

I came here for the first time in August of 2002 and stayed for three months... in the north end of Seattle, spent a lot of time in the U-District and down town in the CBD...

And even there, walking the streets seeing new sights every day, I was struck how down trodden even well dressed African American people looked...

They appeared to be participating in society - nice clothes and shoes, on their way to or from an office or whatever, but they all - without exception - walked with their heads down, not willing/wanting to make eye contact... 

There was absolutely no pride in their stride...

I was shocked... This is what I expected (as an outsider) to find in the south of the US 50 years ago, 100 years ago - not in Seattle in 2002... 

And from what I can tell, nothing has changed 9 years later...

And then, of course, there is the tragedy of genocide carried out on the First Peoples of this land, the repercussions of which are still so obvious today...

So where does this shame and humiliation carried in the body language come from?

Could it at all, even a tiny little bit, have anything to do with having to turn one's back on one's origins, roots, culture and "act white" to get a foothold in this society?

Could it have anything to do with being expected to abandon one's own heritage and conform to and perform in an "alien" environment?

I wish that some of you here could participate in the "blue eye-brown eye" experiment, carried out by Jane Elliott in 1968... (see the link)


And we wonder why there is an achievement gap in American schools, a gap between white student performance and the performance of native, black and latino children...

Walk in someone else's shoes for a mile or two - use your imagination...

I know what it's like to go to school and not be able to speak English...

and to be thought of as less than because of that...

and having to work hard at school because I wanted to be accepted and to meet the family push to use education to get out of poverty/climb the social ladder/achieve acceptance, and at the same time, underachieving (I was quite 'bright') to avoid more of the limelight...

and having a name that no one could pronounce...

and having cultural slurs hurled at me - ones I didn't understand...


and being ambushed on the way to or from school and being hit, kicked, punched and beaten with pieces of wood...

and not having my origins or culture valued, recognised even...

and not feeling at home in my native culture, not knowing my history because not enough of it got transmitted/maintained in the process of meeting the demands of assimilation...

I understand this issue because really, I'm not Dutch, I'm not a Kiwi, I'm not an Australian, I'm not an American...

I think too much like a Dutch person to be called/recognised/accepted as a Kiwi, and too much like a Kiwi to be accepted as Dutch...

My Dutch relatives recognise my Dutch blood but I don't fit into the culture and our conversation can't reach really deep levels because although I "feel" what they are talking about (it's in my blood/DNA and comes out in how I dress/decorate my house/approach problems etc), I don't have enough personal experience within the culture to contribute meaningfully ...

My Kiwi friends say I sound too much like an Australian, my Aussie friends say I sound too much like a Kiwi and my American friends think I'm British...

I like that I have had this diversity in my life - it's given me many opportunities and experiences and understandings I might not have had, but there is a rootedness missing...what the children in trans-racial adoption families talk about...

Many other immigrant children I have talked too have exactly the same experience... and it doesn't change as you become an adult...

For some - when they go back to their native country, they feel like they have come home; for others, they feel even more alienated...

Many people here seem to have no sense of the 'other' and blithely put forward pontifications that have no basis in the realities of those 'other' to them...
 
So many people cannot allow others to be as they are...

It seems to be a case of assimilate or die... "You're in America now, you're in the west.   What's wrong with you?   If you'd just be and live like us, you'd be fine..."

If only those others amongst us would do what good "white" people did, we would all be well and happy and successful at school... 

In fact, we would all be "white" despite our skin colours and cultural heritages...

Yes - kids are adaptable and flexible and capable of learning whatever they need to survive in this world...

But I say the system and society ought to adapt to the needs of the people, not the other way round...

DON'T ASK CHILDREN TO LEAVE BEHIND, ABANDON THEIR NATIVE CULTURE, don't teach them within a racist, eurocentric, standardised curriculum and process...




Hope - Fact or Delusion?

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.  
~Lin Yutang (1895– 1976), Chinese writer, translator and inventor
"Hope never abandons you, you abandon it."
- George Weinberg
 
"When you believe in something, that's when it's real...
We're all dreaming together..."
- Ashmol Williamson in the film Opal Dream

 
 
 
 
 
 
"Hope is patience with the lamp lit." - Tertullian
 
But... can hope become real without action?
 
 

Are You Driven By Altruism Or Self-Interest?

What's true for you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Passive Resistance


I am prepared to die, 
but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill 
- Mohandas Gandhi



Living My Life To My Own Rhythm


It's been a long time coming, but over the past three years, I have decided that I (and my young son) will live our lives to our own rhythm...

We wake when we wake, we eat when we are hungry, I don't make early morning appointments, I work when I feel the internal drive, we get to school when we get to school... 

There is no past and no future - there is only the NOW and I have consciously decided I/we will "spend" or use the now in a manner that is meaningful to me/us...

Part of that outlook comes from my very strong dislike of being "controlled".   

Part of it comes from the realisation that most of us live like mice on the wheel, with the content and quality of our lives dictated by the needs to work for our 'living', by what we have to do in selling our labour or thinking skills to "earn", to prove we deserve, the necessities of life... 

We have agreed to give away our sovereignty to the system.   Our daily lives are dictated by the needs of our employers - managers and businesses.   Our kids are programmed in factory-model schools to comply with and conform to the demands of the workforce, so they'll willingly shape their lives to the requirements of the workplace...

I used to work all hours of the day and night for various jobs. As a radio journalist/news editor I had shifts starting at 4.00am and others finishing at 2.00am... And I'd get home not remembering the route I had driven - had I stopped for that red light?   How did I get around that roundabout?   Freaky, scary to find yourself having travelled 10 miles with no memory of the journey...

I did my whole first marriage and the raising of my first family on "auto-pilot"... head down, bum up... get up at 6am, fed and clothe the kids, get them to school, work, pick them up from school,  take them to music or swimming or art classes,  feed them dinner, bath time, bed time, fold washing, go to bed and get up next morning and do it all over again... work, housework, childcare, kids' activities, social life, volunteering, birthdays, christmas, haircuts, doctors' and dentists' appointments, illnesses, family crises, build houses, renovate houses, move all over the country... don't stop to think, don't stop to feel, don't stop to question, don't stop to breathe, just do what needs to be done...

I watched my second husband (a very brief marriage!), a man of 50 at the time, completely freak out at the possibility of being late, even by a few minutes, for his factory-floor job.   He was reduced to the emotional state of a panic-stricken child if anything came up that might make him late - like a child scared of getting a 'tardy slip' at school and being hauled in front of the principal, or being expelled.   It was horrible to watch - humiliating and dehumanising... 

And lastly, I watched my mother work hard at multiple jobs all her life, only to suffer a stroke at 32, and to drop dead at the age of 60 - still working to pay a mortgage and having never had the time to enjoy the fruits of her labours...

Is that why we are each born?   Is that what life as a fully evolved, fully realised human BEING (rather than a human DOING) looks like?   I say no...

The sky won't fall and the earth won't stop spinning on its axis if we stay home because it's been snowing overnight and the roads are icy.   Winter and its weather are nature's way of saying to all living things - time to slow down, time to go within... 

Most other living things on the planet live in that natural rhythm, natural cycle - they hunker down when the weather becomes inhospitable...

But do we humans?   Oh no - not us, all powerful, all arrogant, lords and masters of all we survey...

We're above having to live by nature's dictates - we try to control nature and when we can't, we simply ignore her and bulldoze our way through, regardless of the consequences.

And what does that bring us?   Nothing really - except more demands from our bosses and society that we operate like robots, like machines and not like living, breathing, conscious flesh and blood.

Had a death in the family?   Three days is plenty of time to deal with the logistics of the funeral and the wake... What, two weeks later and you're still not functioning fully?   Grow a backbone, stop being such a wimp, get over it...
 
 
Indigenous people have a very different concept of time - they live life to a different rhythm...

In many cultures, there is only the eternal NOW... there is no future, so planning for the future is an entirely alien concept...

"In Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, a Quechua Indian told me that everything one does in life involves looking forward while going backward simultaneously. This I didn’t understand. I said, ‘What do you mean, going backward?’ And he said,’Well, it’s very simple. For us, for the Quechua, the past is in front of us. It’s in front of us because we know the past and we can look at it. And the future is behind because we don’t know what it brings so we move into the future, but we move backwards.’ The expression is ñawpaman puni. This idea of moving into the future while looking clearly into the past is something that is lacking in all these considerations about development and alternatives to development, and about what is going to happen and from where we can create an alternative to development. This lack of historical depth is what is going to prevent us from thinking of real alternatives to development. (David Tuchsneider 1992:63-64)"

From: Sense of Place and Indigenous People’s Conservation A Brief Political Ecology of the Seed and Place. From Modernization to Globalization from Above and from Below. Towards the strengthening & re-indigenization of local epistemologies, ontologies and cosmovisions: Tirso Gonzales. UC-Berkeley 04/30/04


In the video below, Professor Philip Zimbardo describes how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.


One of the people who influenced my social activist thinking was Robert Theobald, for whom I helped to create a public forum in Brisbane, Australia in 1999 (The Great Australian Chin Wag).

Robert was an economist and futurist, with a global or planetary perspective. He wrote books, prepared and appeared on broadcasts and lectured around the world to governments, businesses and organizations.
 
Robert questioned and criticized conventional confidence in economic growth, in technology, and in the culture of materialism - all of which he considered to be damaging to the environment while failing to provide opportunity and income for many of the world's people.   He warned against trying to maintain, and to spread or mimic worldwide, the American standard of living of the late 20th century.

Despite his criticism of some aspects and effects of technology, Robert saw tremendous potential in communications technology like on-line, personal computers (which in the 1980s he termed "micro-computers"), seeing these as tools for pooling the thoughts and opinions of very large numbers of individuals spread widely, geographically.   He was an expositor and populariser of such now-accepted concepts as "networking," "win/win," "systemic thinking," and "communications era."

Amongst the things he said was:
"What's startling to me is that when I started talking about ideas like these 30 years ago, they were so new and strange that people looked at me as if I had two heads. In retrospect, I think I was looked on as something of a cultural clown - a "crazy" who was fun to listen to. The reaction I get now worries me a lot more, because what most people say is "Bob, today you're right, but we're not going to do anything about it."'
"My goal is to create a situation of full unemployment--a world in which people do not have to hold a job. And I believe that this kind of world can actually be achieved."
 -Robert Theobald


Think about it - how do you want to spend the TIME OF YOUR LIFE?




 

The Tyranny Of Positive Thinking...


I've been accused of being a "doom-bringer", of being a pessimist, of being crass for calling it as it is...

And I worry that I don't post really optimistic, frivolous, entertaining stuff here...

But really, while life for many of us is still good, looking around at the world, what is there to be positive about?

Being "positive" all the time means we are denying the reality around us, and we are giving ourselves excuses not to take responsibility and DO something to make things better...