Expletives Deleted.

Your fucking stupid if you think that.
Obama is the worst piece of shit for a president we ever had.
Damit you are retarded. (sic)
Russell Carter

It’s ugly. But I had just written about stepping into the unknown so when this site came up on my FB feed I decided to step in. I could have anticipated what I would find there. But now it is known. It’s a site with a huge number of followers. It’s a site filled with meme after meme of nasty comments about President Obama and liberals. And of course comments for each meme posted. The most recent meme was about Obama being the worst president ever.

meditationI decided to offer my perspective that actually I think he’s one of the best presidents in American history. Not surprising that my comment attracted many responses, including the one above from Mr. Carter. OK. I couldn’t resist. So I called on my best active listening skills to acknowledge that he sounds pretty angry, offering prayers that he could move beyond anger. I acknowledged that we hold different opinions and suggested that in America this is fundamental to who we are, adding that discourse is essential and suggesting that respectful discourse is most productive. That garnered the following response.

Not in America today.
If you don’t want to be PC, GLBTQ lover,
and enbrace illegal aliens as legal then today you are wrong.
Come January 20 we will have a new leader who will,
God willing, take us back to being a world leader
and not a wolrd follower. (sic)
Jack Hutchinson

When I deleted any link to this site, FB offered their apologies if I had had a bad experience. Wasn’t really a bad experience. It was ugly, but it was insightful. And I was able to delete the site. Many of our brothers and sisters are experiencing this anger and hatred first hand and they have no delete button. 

The nasty comments are not a challenge. Didn’t at all knock me off center. But what is challenging is stepping back and looking at the similarities between this site and the memes that cascade through my FB feed. Oh, it’s easy to identify the differences. The memes I see on a daily basis are absent the intense anger and expletives. They are generally focused on the ideals of love, joy, peace, light, and enthusiastic abundant life. But there are others. Memes that call out personally and individually the actions of a cast of characters from politicians to pharmaceutical companies. Of course I agree with what is said because what is said agrees with my values and world view. A world view I don’t plan on changing any time soon.

And that is the real challenge. For I have to assume that those on this POTUS (yes, premature, but they are counting down the days) site are not likely to change their world view any time soon either. So where does this leave us? A permanent and perpetual stand off?

Many of us are looking for bridges. Without compromising our core values, we are looking for ways to move beyond these differences to find some common ground to stand on as we create our future – hopefully together. Bernie Sanders is doing a brilliant job at this. When we build these bridges I understand not everyone will walk across – likely not many from the POTUS site. But for those who will I hope we can do so with the expletives deleted. On both sides. On all sides.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Sacrifice Will Be Required

There was a time. When things got ugly for the people they would call on their spiritual leaders, their shaman, to restore harmony and balance. Well, things are ugly. But we can’t delegate this harmonic restoration. We can’t outsource it. Indeed, outsourcing our intrinsic and sacred relationship with each other and the universe is what got us into this mess. A subject for exploration in the next few blog posts.

sacrifice-will-be-requiredFor those of us who are looking at the bleak landscape that seems to be unfolding and considering how we will resist. For those of us who are organizing ourselves and others to step in and step up to create a different landscape based on our fundamental values of respect, love, inclusion, diversity, peace, joy, and honoring all life. For us this is sacred work. And it’s all about sacrifice.

Sacrifice. It’s a word with so much baggage. Yet the original definition is to make sacred. It comes to us from the Latin: sacrificium (combining sacri/sacer holy + facere to make).

So what will we do to make a holy, whole, and holistic future for our children? What will we do to create balance and harmony in our world? Are we willing to change our lifestyles and mindsets? Are we willing to re-prioritize our time and attention? Are we willing to step beyond the known and into the unknown? Are we willing to risk everything we have? Because it seems clear that everything we have is at risk. What will be our sacrifice? For sacrifice will be required.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Enough With The Poison Apples

I am heartened by the number of lists being shared about how to resist and weather the incoming fascist regime. Dan Rather, Michael Moore, and Bill Moyers offer especially compelling advice. StrongerTogether just posted a succinct list: poison-applestay positive, stay informed, stay connected, stay focused, stay disciplined, and stay aligned. I would add one more. Stay away from poison apples. 

That the poison of anger and hatred has been a mainstay diet for many Americans is not new. We just haven’t seen it so clearly. What is new is the degree of open public distribution and consumption. And many would have us believe that a vitriolic consciousness is now as American as…well, apple pie. Sadly, for many it is.

Staying positive becomes difficult. It also becomes essential. Engaging in and with the vitriol is indeed eating poison and hoping others will perish. We have a long journey ahead of us and must keep ourselves nourished. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What we eat matters and poison apples cannot be part of our diet.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Tell Me Why

Resistance and change. We do this for the children. We do this for seven generations to come. We do this for the Earth. We do this so that one day, a young boy like Declan Galbraith won’t be asking this question.

This is not a new video. Declan wrote this song when he was eleven years old. He’s now twenty-five. Fourteen years later it remains a vital question. Will we have the will and the courage to answer?

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Mythic Heroes

After our Solstice Fire celebration last night, he pulled me aside.”But what can I do?” he implored. In the ceremony around the fire I had told the story of the prophecy and promise of the Tuatha Dé. That, when we as a people are ready to claim the Light, they will return to help us purge the darkness. This is a promise written in mythology and it is a true story. I had also suggested now is the time for us to become mythic ourselves.

I look forward to more time with Aaron and our explorations of what he might do. homelessBut the answer is simple. Be mythic. For this is both about doing…and being.

Yes, there are valuable lessons embedded in Ireland’s myth and heritage. Yet Ireland’s mythic heroes are not just a thing of the past. Today. Right now. Heroes are stepping forward and standing up for the people. For the homeless. This is nothing less than heroic. In a video interview published today in The Irish Times, This Is Our Ireland.the question is asked, “What are we prepared to do for the people who need us most?” These Irish mythic heroes are prepared to defy the government and the law. What are we prepared to do? To paraphrase the headline of this video interview, This is our US. Not the government’s. Not the banks’.

Take a moment or 6 to watch this video. It will feed your mythic self.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

Talk About Despair

It seems our nation is on a collision course with moral destruction. Death by a thousand tweets and cabinet appointments. There is good reason for anguish and despair. It’s a place so many of us have been and likely will be again. It’s not a comfortable place and it’s not a place to get stuck, but it is a place of great power.  Power we need right now, each of us and all of us. There are ancient texts that speak of this place and this power.

empty-spiritRipe are you who feel your personal
strength drained away, your real power
lies in the reign of Unity.

In tune with the cosmos are you who
feel completely dissolved, your new form
appears by the vision-power of the One.

Suited for divine purpose are you who are
exhausted, your power to stand then
arises from the First Cause.

In the right time and place are you whose
sense of Self becomes less, to you belongs
the integrity of the divine “I Can!”

So yes. Let’s talk about despair. But let’s move beyond what is causing it to discover the power in it. Let’s join forces with the divine I Can!

Judith – judith@stonefires.com

If these words hold a ring of familiarity, they are Neil Douglas-Klotz’s interpretation of the original Aramaic words of Jesus that have come down to us as Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20-26, King James Version)

See You In The Streets

Black Monday. On October 3rd the women of Poland quit work and took to the streets. They were saying NO to an attempt to impose a near total ban on sisters-in-the-streetsabortion. By Thursday the Polish Parliament had overwhelmingly rejected the proposed ban. The Deputy Prime Minister is quoted as saying, “The Black Monday protest taught us humility.”

On Monday, October 24th, thousands of women across Iceland walked out of work at 2:38 to protest the country’s gender wage gap. This walk-out occurred on the 41st anniversary of Iceland’s famous Women’s Day Off, when 90% of women in Iceland stopped working to raise awareness of women’s issues. For the men, who scrambled to take care of children, cook, and work the lower-paying jobs that women tended to hold, this day would be called ‘the long Friday.’ This protest paved the way for the world’s first democratically elected female president.

On Saturday, January 21st, hundreds of thousands if not millions of women across the United states will take to the streets, marching in Washington DC, Boston, NYC, Portland Oregon, Seattle, Denver, Boise, Spokane, Olympia, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. And this is only a partial list.

Unlike the marches in Poland and Iceland, these marches don’t have a specific legislative objective. Good thing, because anyone who believes that these demonstrations are going to influence the incoming administration is engaged in delusional thinking. But the objective they do have is far greater.

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children
for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities
are the strength of our country.
Because women’s rights are human rights.

We stand together. And on this day we will see each other. We will know on a visceral level that the sisterhood is alive and well and strong. There is power in this. There is empowerment in this. Empowerment for the times ahead.

See you in the streets!

Judith – judith@stonefires.com


We Can Do This!

I am heartened to see a shift in what people are sharing through email and facebook. Yes, the horrors of this incoming administration just keep unfolding and will continue to do so. But I see a shift from paralyzing reaction to action. 

We hold tremendous power. We are in fact the majority. Beyond the 2.8 million more votes for Clinton in the recent election, I know there are many who didn’t vote and many who voted for Trump that are now beginning to realize the we-can-do-thisdevastating truth of what lies ahead. And I believe they will join us. We are not some marginalized minority voice. We are the majority determined to take back our country. And we can do this!

Among the many messages of the past few days, the voice of Opal Tometi rings strong and true. A human rights activist and cofounder of Black Lives Matter, she offers five thoughts on what to do under a Trump presidency. Her first suggestion sings to my soul. “Let’s nourish ourselves with words from our ancestors.” And she offers the following ancestor voices.

Ella Baker: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” Sitting Bull: “Let us put our minds together to see what kind of future we can make for our children.” Grace Lee Boggs: “Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual.”

In a separate post, Gus Speth, co-founder of the New Economy Law Center, writes, “I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy…and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation – and we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

There is much to do and much I don’t know how to do. But there is much I do know and standing in that power, manifesting that power, is my best contribution to this movement. Finding nourishment in the words of our ancestors and fostering spiritual and cultural transformation is my work. What’s yours?

Judith – judith@stonefires.com