The F*ck

(Warning: Adult content. Writing poetry is cheaper than therapy. Thanks for listening ;))

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We live in a world where we can say whatever

The F*ck

We want to say whenever

The F*ck

We want to.

Gently,

Harshly,

Politely,

R*dely.

These are MY words.

Yo* can take them,

Or leave them.

Sit on them,

Or fl*sh them.

Yo* choose,

To place meaning,

On what I say.

This is yo*r b*siness.

Yo* choose to follow

The winds of liars,

digging us f*rther into the r*t,

of our thin skinned morality.

 

I will live in world where,

My children are free to be whatever,

The F*ck

They choose.

If you wo*ld like to give me your *nreq*ited opinion

(That means I don’t care what yo* think)

Then we can converse in h*shed intimate tones,

Like lovers who hate one another,

awash with masks and inn*endo,

On the s*perlative cost of Freedom.

We can tell the stories

Long into o*r darkest night

Of times past,

Hard gripped baskets

Flowing with rotten *gly things.

 

I live in a world where I can be,

The best version of whatever

The F*ck

I am today.

It is not p*nishable by death

Or h*miliation

By men

for me to *se these

or any

words.

 

I do not wish to live in a world,

Where we kill one another

For words.

This is not my world.

If this were so,

Then Shakespeare’s heart would have only been pierced by thorns,

His eyes wo*ld have never gazed *pon the rose,

And there wo*ld be no love stories to tell,

At all.

 

 

 

 

 

Jo’s SoapBox – Entry 1

I have been meeting allot of people…I mean ALLOT of people who say

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“I don’t talk politics” like its beneath them or

“I don’t watch that stuff it, just upsets me. ” Seriously? Are you more upset than the mother in the Sudan who just watched her baby die of hunger while you ate a bag of chips in front of the TV?

Another woman told me it makes her angry to talk about current events- and she doesn’t like to be angry.  Is that about what my mother said – that anger will give me wrinkles and make me ugly when I am older?

Wait a minute! Damned right you should be angry, Lady!

Every woman on the planet should be furious!

Pay attention to a few very good reason: (this is not fake news…):

There is a lunatic running the free world!

Men making choices for women’s bodies. Again.

Babies dying of preventable diseases and hunger.

Wars all over the place because of fanatical religions that suppress women.

And yet – we are hesitating to even begin the conversation about how to heal this because – we think it is all bigger than us – when in fact it CAME from us!

Nothing that exists in this world has happened outside of us.

But we don’t like to talk about it.

Why do you think this is?

Partly because we are angry and we don’t know what to do about it. It is anger born in impotence.

Notably, anger is  a weird thing for women in Western cultures.  There are allot of social conventions around our expression of it. It is probably where we most resemble our Muslim and other sisters who live in female suppressing cultures and I think this may be a big part of the problem. Ask yourself: Why Western women aren’t rising up like furious lions in the current climate of injustice and environmental aberrations taking place.

Is it not deeply in our nature to protect our children and the place they live?

Image result for dalai lama on angerThe Dalai Lama says that anger can be a good thing – if it is used consciously and purposefully.  Anger can be a sign that something needs to be changed or fixed within yourself or your environment. Anger can be a fuel – a kind of combustion towards positive action.

He also said it was Western Women who would rise up and protect the earth. Image result for dalai lama on western women

So, where are we?

As a person who is “spiritually focused” –  I tried for a long time to just let the issues of our world, wash off me – I thought THAT was the spiritual thing to do. Knowing what I had power over – which was not the governments of the world, or even the environment, outside of my own little house.  I thought knowing how small I was – was humble and in effect – Spiritual.

It took me a long time to come to the realization that without involvement in the larger construct of our lives, our cultures and society, we are not only not living anything close to a spiritual life.  Image result for spiritual living in society

Indeed, we are not living at all – but merely existing.

The purpose of your life is to know yourselves.

We know ourselves best by finding the “thing” we do, the passion we have for some form of creation or creativity.

Then we teach or we find a way to share that creativity with others and inspire them to do the same.

This is critically important on the search to self discovery.

A spiritual or any living construct is moot if there is no culture or society within which to practice it.

The point of living a life with larger focus, is not to gain security for yourself, but to assume and know that you are best serving your life if you are able to attain this understanding of yourself.

Right now.

Not next week or next month.

This has to happen right now.

Many of us are aware that there is a consciousness movement on the planet. And for those that have been connecting and practicing long enough to be self aware of their self awareness…then now is the time to pull out all the stops.

I do realize it is fine and well to give you the rallying cry and then, leave you hanging as to what exactly to do – I mean really TO DO.

The planets problems seems to all be tied into one central philosophical focus – our morality.  What we believe about life, what is owed to us, and what we need to survive. Our political, social and economic turmoil all reflect a lack of connection to our moral selves.

This is why a spiritual life not only fits in with the chaos of this period in history, but is the only “unified potential” for a solution.

Peace – the peaceful mindset – the idea that LOVE is an actual force that can make change and ensure the survival of our race, is the only solution to the binding crisis we find ourselves in.

Even that idea seems esoteric, so I will give you other more solid ideas, and potential courses of action to take to begin to manifest change in our world. Rea life changes.

The time for thinking, talking and self discovery is coming to an end and we are entering the time to put our practice to work, to walk our talk, and refuse to engage or participate in any form of violence or hatred whatsoever.  Not our actions nor our thoughts.

1- Stillness: Be quiet at least once a day. Meditate, sit, just be still in silence and away form technology. This is the time to refuel your inner manna, raise your vibration and in turn that of every living thing around you.  Image result for spiritual pictures

2- Have the conversation: Don’t back away from local conversations.  share opinions and ideas. Change the way you see the interchange of political ideas.  It was in the beginning that we gathered in discourse to create and build ideas that would result in the societies we inhabit today.  Don’t be afraid to continue and evolve this conversation into new ideas about how to establish deeper peace in our world.

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3- Expand your mind outwards – and include issues outside of your own self interest in your conversations and interchanges.

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4- Monitor your thinking: eliminate any and all negative or fearful thoughts from your mind. each time one is noticed, gently remind yourself to be more kind to your self. Even if the thoughts are not about you, they still have an impact on your perceptions.

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5-Don’t be afraid to speak your mind when you see injustice. don’t be afraid to walk the picket lines, to express outrage and to take peaceful action where it is needed.  Peaceful non-violence does NOT mean powerless and without passion!

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Have a day without violence at all – in your mind, actions thoughts words – only peace. and when you drift off course because of habit – just go back to the middle where peace waits for you. Image result for non violence

Bring that peace everywhere.  And when you see something or someone who needs it, share it, in whatever way you can.

 

 

 

 

This is my soap box.

😉 I hope you can find one of your own and begin to spread your good ideas.

Take action.

Now.

Peace

OUR FATHERS

What would my father say

If he were alive today?

After a lifetime of what he called

“Fighting for our freedom”,

would he look at now

and feel he had succeeded?

Could he walk proudly with head held high

And not see that even he

had helped to destroy the sky?

Would he walk with grounded feet

And not feel his own moral retreat?

What would our fathers say

if they could all gather here today

Is this a good world we are making?

Or should we be ashamed,

at our near perfecting of,

“How to Hate”.

What do you say

being alive today?

Tell me but

Don’t bother to speak with words of relief.

Acting them,

Is the only way to bring true Peace.

 

Death In The West

I was thinking about death. I do that allot lately.  So many people I know in my family and circle of friends have been afflicted by cancer or in other cases by simple misery – causing them to commit suicide. My husband suggested that it was because we were getting older – so of course more people were going to be dying.  But i know in my case that’s not really true. I have known allot more death than others, and with the recent loss of my brother and my friend it got me to thinking about how we see and handle death in our culture and what a mess we are.

Here in the west, we don’t spend allot of time with the idea of death. We ignore it, we institutionalize it, we avoid it and we misrepresent it in a million zillion ways.

Let’s talk a little logical Buddhism now.

Living is all about impermanence.  There is absolutely nothing, not one thing, on this earth that is going to remain for all time. I’m sorry if that is a shock to your system, or perhaps your mind is trying to figure out why I am wrong, but it is true. You’re going to die. Your dog is going to die. Your friends will die. Your parents will die. Your children will die one day too, everyone in their own time.

Impermanence is the first law of the universe. Everything must continue to change, pass through, and evolve. nothing is static. Everything is always evolving.

Sound logical?

Of course. Except that your mind and every cell of your body has been trained to believe otherwise.

Our culture is hyper-geared towards denying the continuity of change and the sureness of death.  We spend our entire lives waking up to fulfill desires that we believe that help us feel better so we can continue to deny the fact that we are going to die.

The average Western life is a travesty of delusion:

 First of all we invest our time on earth in jobs to buy things we can’t afford, like houses with mortgages that we spend our lives repaying. We spend our days buying things to impress our neighbours. We put countless hours and thought and energy into taking care of those things – manicuring the lawns, painting the walls and filling houses with useless things that require dusting.  Finally, if we are “lucky”, we get old and sit amongst the dust and memories of our “things” pining over the past which was fleeting and temporary – never guaranteed of permanence.

Not exactly a live-in-the-moment culture. Meanwhile our media pushes the importance of eternal youth as the solution to lasting happiness, and we imbue ourselves with technology, so we don’t have to have real relationships.

For God’s sake.

You can’t seriously wonder why the Donald trumps of the world are so popular. He epitomizes all I have just said.

Of course, Eastern philosophy is very different than here in the west namely through a significantly lower focus on material, and higher on spiritual goals in daily life; death is not a frightening mystery to most easterners.

I was watching a television show about Varanasi India,  a 3000 year old city in India and a place where many people go to die or be buried. It is believed that if you are cremated in a certain place in Varanasi, you can avoid certain aspects of reincarnation and become an enlightened being more easily.

I watched body after body, draped in colourful cloth and dotted with flowers and other symbolic items be carted to fires to be cremated.

What caught my attention were the children, trailing behind the procession of bodies, laughing and skipping merrily behind. They were not dressed in black made to weep with bowed heads.

“And they’re not traumatized”, i thought to myself. they look happy, and light and unconcerned with the whole thing.

We don’t show children in our culture death in this way, do we?  We don’t represent death as the normal transition – the beautiful life lived – the awesome way nature recreates itself through us, by letting us live the cycle of life.

Instead what do we show them about death?

Video games and movies.

Don’t let this be the first understanding of “death” that your child has!

We show them death in horrible horrendous ways that have nothing to do with reality.

We bring them to Ultimate Fighting Competitions where we let them watch humans beat each other like starving animals.

We hide the dying away in palliative care centers.

My children were surprised at the peacefulness of the experience of my mother dying. Although it is always painful to watch the end of a loved one’s life – it is in no way the dramatic and terrifying experience often portrayed in the media.

But we are so programmed. My mother asked me to die at the farm where I live – I am sorry today that i did not allow this to happen. The idea of it was so foreign and frightening to me at the time, that I simply could not entertain it. The irony is in how much I have learned from her death.

Dying is not a shameful act that needs to be institutionalized.  We are a culture terrified of the inevitable. We create religions that support our fears and cause us to do all manner of harm to one another in this life, for fear of what we don’t know about the next life. And we educate our children about everything under the sun – except who they are, as a creation, being and their own consciousness.

I remember most vividly H.H.the Dalai Lama in Perth saying that if we did nothing else differently after his talk, to go home and meditate or “contemplate” our own death, for ten minutes, every day.

At the time I thought it was the most bizarre suggestion i had ever heard, especially in my state of grief over the death of my mother. But I did it, because he seemed to be the most genuinely happy man I had ever seen, despite some very difficult circumstances, so i figured it was worth a shot.

I pictured myself on my death bed – at the point where the voices of the people I loved were fading around me, and I wondered what i would be thinking of right before “lights out”. I wondered what i would see, if I would see my loved ones, if my kids would be OK…I wondered…

The questions that came up on my “before lights out” tour of imagination, would translate into a focus for the day.  These contemplations had the effect of making me appreciate the moments of my life more. They were not morbid at all and over time this “meditation” has become a habit which has brought me comfort during times of grief.

When I consider every single thing that ails our culture and communities, I am able to bring it back to a fear and denial of our inevitable death.  I believe the Dalai Lama was right when he said that the solution for our planet lies in the individual efforts of everyone to focus on finding out who and what you are.

Something which you already know – but have covered up with what you have been taught.

It’s hard to find out what we have been taught about the world and what is important and not important is completely wrong. Of course we want to deny that and keep going the way we are, because that is easier. And we like easy.

We are all about easy, because we have desires and wants and we get up every morning and do everything we can to fulfill those desires and wants. That’s it.

The irony of our desires and wants is that mostly we don’t know where they come from or what need they are really fulfilling.  We are unconscious of them.

But the world in general is becoming more conscious.

There is no coincidence that there is a surge of interest in meditation and discussion around different forms of Buddhism emerging in western culture. All happening alongside a new interest in Hinduism, and “the Nouveau hippy” culture – (I think they call themselves “hipsters” – a materialistic form of non-materilaist (to be covered another time…it’s too good to pass up 😉) – but whatever form it takes, it is clear that the west is waking up (finally) and expressing a desire to know itself in a fundamentally new way.

 

 

Home – a poem

Meditation walk in the morning sun

letting my mind wander until there are no more thoughts.

geese call wild in the key of D

trying to tell me that it is

ON SURRENDERall about being free.

since not a soul is stirring I sit with the river

at the base of the mountain

and wait for the rocks to tumble all over me.

But nothing moves,

only the steady whir and burr

Of old worn thoughts that I release.

Stretching legs and arms I flow

feeling the ground steady and sure now

beneath the feet thatnot-so-long-ago

could not fly.

The river says

there is no one waiting to tell me

what they think

Or what I think

no one to correct me

Direct me

Protect me.

Cause that gets really old.

“this is all in my imagination”

the river whispers loud enough

So that I can hear.

And frankly speaking I have to believe the river

because he is so old

and has been recycling himself

over and in and through all time

returning always to this place

just waiting for me to come and

Ask the right questions.

The mountain stands behind the river

arms folded across her breast

Appearing calm and pensive as she considers river’s advice

(about the truth of course)

She sends the geese popping out over the ring of trees

that is her crown.

Geese emissaries acting as her voice

which would otherwise be silent

(except for when she really has something to say:

please see: Avalanche)

and frankly speaking

I have to believe the mountain

for she has been waiting for me

through all time

to return to this place

where the geese sing

to remind me that we have always been here

 

And by the river I awaken and see that

I have never left home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MIDDLE PLACE

The Middle Place

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It is in the middle of the place

Where you finally break down

and take the brave journey into your self

Recalling what it was like in vivid detail

Dancing in rhythm to the red hot intensity

of the whole world.

When you could wish for the rain,

To fall down harder,

Knowing it could hear you,

And laughed with you.

Dancing abandoned in warm summer puddles,

It is to this Middle place we must bravely return;

To when one face had two heartbeats,

And we knew all we would need to learn.

When all of the hopes of the world were within us,

flowering within in each cell

we have only reveal it.

Before your skin puckered

and became stained with spots

Before you knew more of what you were

And less of what you are not.

But try you must!

And know that it is not the first thing,

Nor the second or maybe even the fifth thing you try,

That will bring you back from the edge

Of what you believe is your own demise.

Listen to the simple creeping desires

that sounds like the ripping shred

of an old worn out skin,

This is how you will transform

this to that

Here to there,

Then to now.

This is how you will begin again to choose

and move

Past your own freezing point.

As you already know

The Tin Man needed to take one screeching step

Back to himself to recall

How freely his limbs had once moved,

and just knowing this

made him want to run and play

Again.

And although a beloved voice

Can no longer stir the wind,

It is still the music in the rustling of the autumn leaves

And skies of birds chanting in conspiring harmonies

That tell the greater story that you were meant to hear.

It says…

Don’t put the book down before you reach the ending

It has not yet been written!

What Do We Tell Our Children?

A far too personal introduction: I am a white French Canadian mother of seven farmer and musician.   Maybe that gives you an image in your head of someone different from you – maybe someone  who would not necessarily care about what was happening a world away in Ferguson Missouri. But I do care – very much. And I hope my personal information will be relevant only to you at the beginning of this article – and by the end it will no longer matter.

My daughter brought a really interesting blog to my attention – she had been talking about it for a while – written by a beautiful black woman who promoted cultural peace.  She had strong well expressed opinions and my daughter admired her.

AFter Ferguson, it began to change and I saw my daughter’s passions begins to rise. SHe said herself,

“Mom there’s a fire inside of me that I have never felt before”.

I admit to enjoying this.  I like seeing my kids care about something deeply. But she was clearly pissed.

The woman’s blog had apparently turned from being appealing and powerful, to angry and hateful dismissing comments from white readers, calling them “privileged” and discounting their support.  My daughter’s fiery temper rose out of her feet and exploded from her mouth in a diatribe of expletives.

“You’re doing the same thing”, I tried telling her quietly.

But she was angry – angry at being pigeonholed in the box of “all whites”.  Incensed at not having her help and support for the black people protesting in Ferguson accepted and acknowledged I suppose. Then again Maybe she was feeling a little of what black’s in America have felt their whole life?Stereotypes, invisible and unimportant. Out of control.

Which brought me to my question…

what do we tell our children when they come to realization of unfairness and inequality?  What power do they have?

When I was a young girl, my family had a condo in Daytona Beach. I remember it well – a row of fancy white buildings dotting the beach about a mile off of the Daytona main. Across the street was a shopping center with a Publix and beside that an exclusive golf course; all very private – all very white. I didn’t understand what that was – I was young and untouched by the invisible lines that separated us.  Back home my best friend was a Jamaican boy whose father was a renowned biology professor who won the Order of Canada.  My “type” of racism was reversed. I thought ALL black people drove Volvo’s and were academics.  Of course this was untrue for everyone – white or black – but that was also the age that I assumed everyone’s birthday was on the same day as mine. I suppose it’s just the way the young mind processes and groups things trying to understand the world as we are growing up.

 Only a few blocks away from the condo was a suburb of Daytona, a mainly black neighbourhood.  I remember going food shopping with my mother at the Publix the white patron’s annoyance when we were behind a black customer in line because they would take longer with counting their food stamps.  Eventually when I got a bit older, I would get in to a great deal of trouble for stealing all of my mother’s food stamps and going into that neighbourhood to put them into mail boxes anonymously – I was grounded and I didn’t apologize.

 My experiences in Florida and in other Southern states throughout the 1970’s-1990’s showed me clearly that although segregation may have been abolished by law – its roots remained strong and unyielding somehow.  That maybe the right to vote was extended, and the Jim Crow laws were repealed, but white America found other ways of subverting the black population.  Employment and educational inequity, healthcare inequity – keeping the masses at bay.  There was a quiet agreement amongst (especially) southern whites to keep the black population powerless and poor. And the bar that black populations set for themselves was comparatively lower than that which was afforded to the “privileged” white population. Somehow, the roles that people had assumed under segregation were behaviourally ingrained and were being maintained by mutual agreement of both sides.  These rules of behaviour are born of a hundreds of years of mistaken identity, brainwashing and blatant human error.  We have been inundated through every powerful means available – radio, TV, literature and art, previous generational beliefs – that we all have certain roles certain expectations to fulfill as either white or black people.  And in reality we just go about the business of doing what is necessary to become what we believe is expected of us with no conscious recognition that this is what we are doing. We are like robots – walking with blank blinking eyes not ever considering where our actions thoughts and choices are coming from.  Until incidents like Ferguson and Chicago wake us up from our dream-like state.

 In discussions I have with people about cultural differences, I often hear quick defensive statements like –

“I had a black best friend”, they would say. Or “I had a black girlfriend”

We are ALL racist, I would insist. That doesn’t mean we can’t become better. Realizing that is the first step to a more conscious moving forward. My point is that we all have limiting thoughts about beliefs about other cultures. Until you have really lived and been immersed in the way a culture functions and flows, you cannot possibly have the first idea about the motivations behind people’s choices and actions. 

When I was travelled through China the first year it opened its doors to tourists, many of the people, especially children there had never seen a Caucasian person except in a book or the rare TV if any they got to see. My father was especially attractive to the children. They would surround him in droves waiting for him to sing a song or tell a story.  A fat white man = Buddha.  Someone who was not starving and was “full” and happy.   Our perceptions of each other have everything to do with how we have been shown the world. 

I have been very lucky to have been able to travel a great portion of the world in my life, and even to live in places like Guinea, West Africa. I was young, white and clearly a minority when I arrived in Guinea. It was a jarring experience, which for someone else may have been unsettling but for me, the moment my feet hit African soil I felt at home, welcome and happy.  I was often found skipping school to go hang out in the “pig village”, the neighboring village that had the responsibility of keeping a gentle giant pig.  Beside them was the drum village where I learned the most basic and important things. In Guinea I was a minority very often.  However, as opposed to the black experience in America, of being treated as lower and lesser, in Africa I was treated with gentleness and kindness.  As a person of “non-colour”, and maybe because I was young and enthusiastic, I was treated with extraordinary open hearted kindness and welcoming.  They enjoyed my differentness I think. The different way I dressed or spoke or expressed myself with my hands. Even the things I would laugh at or ask questions about.

But in North America – we aren’t “enjoying” each other’s differences. We berate and condemn – we are afraid of differences.  Studying political science I became enthralled by leaders like Martin Luther King and Gandhi. It was starkly apparent that there was a great deal more power and lasting impact in a peaceful change rather than volatile war which only seemed to give us temporary spurts of peace always awaiting the next battle (case in point – the Middle East).The good news for all of us, is that all that it takes to get past this kind of poisonous unconscious living – is to become aware that this is what we are doing.  ASs long as we continue to publicize our opinions and thoughts in terms of “black – white” / “them- Us” we are fulfilling the role of believing that we are separate – that we are different. We are continuing the destructive illusion.

situations like Ferguson are a great opportunity to evolve. 

1-Figure out that we are humans are not separate and 2- then go on the figure out that we are connected to everything that is alive and 3- start treating the planet like we understand our connection.

 Ferguson is critically important – our tipping point.  It is vital because it is creating a necessity in shifting us closer to and understanding that is the ONLY solution to saving our world is to go deeply within our own selves and to stop looking for solutions on the outside. It is our THINKING that has gotten us here – it is only by understand what we are thinking and why we think it, that we can get out. This can only be achieved at an individual level. So, if you ask what it is YOU can do to help in Ferguson,  this is your answer:

KNOW YOURSELF DEEPLY  

This is what i would tell my daughter

– that she should never lose her passion

– always use your powers for good

 – thought is powerful – but it’s not who you are. Find out WHO you are. Don’t be addicted to your thoughts about anything

Maya Angelou – the great poet Laureate and philosopher who spoke on behalf of all people said clearly –

“Do the best you can until you know better – then when you know better DO BETTER”.

 Now that we all know better we can do better.