Healing Divisions, Both in Ourselves and With Others: The Brittle Weakness Exposed by Not Compromising

There’s the old, oft-repeated story, that if frogs are placed in a pot of water that is gradually heated, they will not realize the danger of eventually being boiled alive until it’s too late. However, says psychologist and science journalist Adam Grant, frogs will leap out as soon as they sense the heat. But we human beings are feeling the increasingly hotter world temperatures caused by climate change but are not leaping out and are not doing all we can to turn the heat off.

 

Maybe frogs are more intelligent than humans. Or maybe we are just too good at imagining reality as being other than it is?  At creating “alternate facts” and diversions? Or are too many of us just afraid of change? Or too traumatized?

 

How do we loosen the boundaries in ourselves? How do we let go of rigid ideas of who we are or must be or of what is real? And how do we help others do the same?

 

One of the biggest obstacles to changing anyone else’s mind, or our own, is realizing not only it can be done but it’s happening all the time. For example, before 2012, the country was opposed to gay marriage. In 2013, the majority supported it. In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same sex marriage.

 

Another science journalist, David McRaney, in his book How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion, argues we evolved to work to consensus, to helpful adaptation. But it can happen in punctuated spurts, times of great argument and division and no clear change, then a sudden burst of change. Hopefully, we’re near such an evolutionary adaptation now.

 

And lately, I’ve found in myself this same resistance to facing people with rigidly held opposing ideas. It seems impossible to reach or even talk with those who disagree with me about climate change, or the “Big Lie,” for example. With the global earth and ocean temperatures rapidly reaching such high levels, the increasing number of dangerous weather events, wildfires, droughts, and floods all make climate change seem so obvious. And I saw the 1/6 attempted coup and the big lie enacted live on national tv. It just feels like what seems so clear to me should not be so hard for others to see.

 

But part of that difficulty comes from the fact that for all of us, our beliefs and even rationally constructed understandings of the world are the ground our lives stand on⎼ or appear to stand on. To question those views can feel like we’re washing away the ground under our feet; it can feel like abandoning our sense of ourselves.

 

In Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know,  Grant points out we often prefer the “comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt.” We resist rethinking, or talking with those with different views, not only because of the time and energy required, but because it would mean questioning ourselves. Such questioning might add more unpredictability to an already unpredictable, often threatening world. We need to recognize that what we believe is not who we are. We’re a universe infinitely larger than our worst opinions. It takes courage, not only to face those with diametrically opposing beliefs, but to unlearn what we believe, or think is true.

 

Especially now, it’s become difficult to change our minds. It can even be dangerous. Politically, acts mislabeled as flip-flopping are considered by many cowardice, or a sin….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

Are We All Just Trying to Figure It Out? Changing Hurtful Habits

In Mary Oliver’s spectacular poem, The Summer Day, she asks,

 

“…What is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life.”

 

Of course, for some, life is more frightening than precious. But her evocation of such a spectacular day is so visceral and truthful.

 

And maybe we’re all always trying to figure this out, in our own ways. It’s certainly a question as old as humanity, as old as self-reflecting awareness. What can or what must we do with our lives?  Who or what are we? How can we or must we respond to a situation, to just waking up or going to work or school⎼ or to the threats that loom over all of us? Like the threat from those who are trying to impose a white nationalist dictatorship on all of us? The threat of the climate emergency, from wars, and who knows what else? Every moment the question of Who are we arises. We create ourselves through our answers to this question. And for most of us, our answers change.

 

Mary Oliver talks about attention, deep attention, as she rolls in the grass. As she feels herself as the grass or the creatures around her. And maybe this is one thing for all of us to do. We might let ourselves simply be with as much of what’s around us as feels right⎼ grass, trees, streams, and other living beings. This is one way to help save it, or them. To get us to care deeply enough to take action to save it, or us.

 

Did you hear that sound? The air disturbed by a moving car? The cough-talking of a raven? That peeper? That sparrow? That raven is cough talking not only the beauty of the day, but the grief it feels over the depleted air. Do you hear that sparrow? It’s not only calling its mate. It’s calling out in grief over the diminishing food resources it can find to feed its children.

 

I notice that when I regret something I did or didn’t do, maybe I misunderstood something, or treated someone unfairly, and I might call myself names. Wonder how I could ever be so mistaken. And this hurts. I might even imagine that mistake is frozen in time⎼ that I’m frozen in time, merely a memorial to a mistake. And that I can’t change or free myself from it. We might even try to blame someone or something else for what we’ve done so we no longer feel the pain.

 

Why do we do this? It’s such a weird way of thinking about ourselves and our lives, isn’t it? So distorted and inaccurate. If instead we listen deeply to this self-talk and imagining and go beyond it, not get stuck in it, so much might be revealed. Recognizing a mistake is the first step in correcting it. It can be a growth of awareness if we just listen mindfully and take it and our response as a lesson.

 

We might do the same anytime we look at ourselves….

 

*To read the whole article, please click on this link to The Good Men Project.

The Immensity of the Moment: Reaching the Other Side of Fear

All events can create unpredictable responses and results. The bigger the event, maybe the more unpredictable is what follows it⎼ the responses, the takeaways, the lessons learned.

 

This week’s eclipse had predictable effects. If we could see it, along with so many others, the moment was startlingly immense. Unavoidably present. But for others, we couldn’t see it at all.

 

My wife and I drove about 25 miles to a park on a lake near the path of totality. Earlier in the day, clouds shared the sky with the sun. But, as the moment drew closer, the cloud cover deepened. The air grew very cold. Several robins started singing loudly and then grew completely silent. And to the north, a darkness rose through the clouds. Although we knew it was coming it still defied expectations. It was black, darker than a heavy storm cloud, but only for a portion of the sky. And in 2 minutes, it was gone. Even such big events can last but a moment.

 

It reminded me, maybe most of us who made the effort to experience it, that the universe is not under human control. It’s impossibly bigger and beyond us. We felt small, maybe some of us felt humbled by it, frightened as well as awed. I imagined the terror our human ancestors must have felt at moments like this, in times before the development of science and maybe before primal people’s had their own ways of anticipating cosmic events.

 

One thing I didn’t predict was an insight into the hyperobjective nature of climate change that I wrote about in my last blog; the fact that the dangers posed by the climate emergency are beyond our comprehension, beyond what evolution has prepared us to deal with.

 

During the daytime, as we look up to the sky at the infinite blue emptiness, or we witness this eclipse ⎼ or on a clear night, when we see the unfathomable array of stars ⎼ we can feel so small, so powerless to affect the universe on this cosmic scale. And maybe one reason we can’t digest the threat posed by the climate crisis is because it entails truly believing, feeling we humans do affect the universe, or this world at least. We do have some control. We are the universe.

 

Maybe our personal effect on the universe is incalculably small, but collectively, here on earth, it’s noticeable. We can dry up or burn down the surface of the earth; we can darken the cloud cover with pollution or shake the heavens with aircraft. This isn’t quite the moon eclipsing the sun. But we can eclipse the sun in other ways, for example by burning fossil fuels we change climate patterns. And these effects last far longer than the eclipse did.

 

And I wondered why we don’t feel this immensity of sky and universe more often. How can we change this, and change our as yet inadequate response to climate change? A total eclipse doesn’t happen every day. But an incomprehensible sky is with us every day. A desire to fully embrace our lives is here every moment. The climate crisis is here every moment.

 

Sometimes, we feel regret, maybe for not getting to see the eclipse or for something we’ve said or done. But the most fortunate regret, one we might experience most often, is the regret over a half-lived or ignored moment. Or maybe any regret is a mirror of this regret. Regret over a lost past is really a realization of a lost now. A lost future. Regret over a future we might never get to see or a dread over what that future might be like for ourselves or our children. Or maybe what I’m describing is regret transmuting into grief or fear. …

 

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

The Power of a New Word: What Deepens and Clarifies Our Readiness to Feel, Hold, and Cherish Our World Can Save Us

Learning a new word can galvanize our thinking and reveal feelings and realities once deeply buried. Of course, the ability to think, speak, and write in an organized language itself does this in extraordinarily complex and diverse ways. Language becomes such an integral part of us it can filter and augment all we experience. Once conceived and developed, human languages revolutionized all of history. Maybe, in a small way, learning certain new words can also be revolutionary.

 

Just recently, I have found this to be so. Susan Murphy, in her new book A Fire Runs Through All Things: Zen Koans For Facing The Climate Crisis, gifts us with important insights and powerful new words. One such word is hyperobject, coined by philosopher Timothy Morton. The term refers to unfolding processes that are beyond the scale to which our human comprehension has evolved. The processes are almost impossible to pin down and block our normal methods for sensing and responding to danger. But are all such processes dangerous? Aren’t many healing and creative?

 

The danger posed by climate change is one such hyperobject. In our new situation today, human life in large scale societies, maybe all life, is endangered by the climate shifts and instability that we’re already experiencing; and it’s getting worse.

 

But I’d argue that the danger posed by DJT, with his cronies and devotees, is a close second. The two are arguably inter-related, as the second increases the depth of the first. And in neither case can we, nor have we as a people comprehended the danger.

 

I don’t think many of us in the U.S., maybe more so for those of us privileged by this culture, have really comprehended what life under DJT would be like. Maybe many people of color, women, LGBTQ+ and others have unfortunately an easier time imagining the oppressive possibility. They might better imagine what life would be like with such a violent person in charge who’s trying to be a dictator, who expounds hate as a political tactic and puts his own cravings and image as more important than anyone else’s life or sanity.

 

Can we imagine a government that considers truth and science as unimportant or a threat? That rips away the rights and constitutionally protected political voice of the people? That destroys the rule of law and robs all of us who are not active supporters of DJT of the legal assumption of innocence unless proved guilty?

 

But at the same time, there’s enough of the “old” world left to provide the entertainments, consumerism, distractions that helped foster the crisis we face. There’s an entire virtual world available to encourage us to hide from reality. We can see, smell, and read about damaging fires, floods, hurricanes, wars, etc., notice the shifting and diminishing animal populations and extinctions. Notice the horrors of DJT threatening judges and their children and displaying manufactured images of President Biden in chains dumped in the back of a pickup truck.

 

And then we watch tv, a movie, or sporting event or get involved in social media and everything feels “normal” again….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

Whole Generations Fearing the Horrors of the Past Might Be Repeated in the Future: Facing What’s Difficult

How do we face what is difficult?

 

My wife greets me with a friendly, “Good morning,” and I can’t help but smile in response. One of my cats rubs against me. Outside, a cardinal sings its spring song, despite it being early March. A raven and blue jay join in.

 

Yet, in my head, not my ears, I hear the latest news. California experiencing winds up to 190 miles an hour with ten feet or more of snow. Texas suffering its biggest wildfire ever, and it could get worse. I realize these are further examples of the threats of the climate emergency.

 

The cruel, devastating wars in Gaza and Ukraine continue. DJT gave another deranged speech, dehumanizing immigrant people of color, lying about them, calling them invading criminals “released from jails and insane asylums,” “from countries nobody heard of,” “having languages nobody ever heard of.” Lying about his great border policy, which was in reality a cruel mess, while, according to a CNN fact-check,  President Biden gave a highly factual, rational speech. His speech was not what I wanted to hear but was probably the best we could expect considering he faces a DJT controlled House.  On the other hand, Biden’s State of the Union address was more what I wanted to hear, comforting in his clear, energetic, fiery defense of democracy and our rights. Some say the “media” exaggerates the threat posed by DJT, or they say it until they hear his words.

 

Under DJT’s leadership, the Maga GOP derailed bipartisan border legislation, legislation they previously thought a necessity, and they continued to threaten our rights and freedoms in so many ways. Some GOP controlled states added to their attacks on women’s health and freedoms with limitations on IVF treatments. And, in the same week or so, the Supreme Court forced delays in the prosecution of DJT for his crimes against the nation, and threatening democracy itself.

 

It can feel like we’re in a race. Will democracy win or authoritarianism? Fascism? Will DJT be tried and convicted for all his indicted crimes before the election, or will he go free?

 

I think about World War II and the Holocaust. I was born just after the war ended, so I didn’t know that time firsthand. But I felt immersed in it nevertheless. I read about it, listened to and attended talks by Jewish people from Germany and Poland who had been rounded up by the Nazis, sent to death camps but somehow survived. For years, I had wondered what I would’ve done if I had lived there then. I wondered how Jewish, LGBTQ+ and people of color could have stayed in Germany while Hitler was happening. While too many Germans and others allowed and embraced the hate, grievance mentality, and delusion, or just closed their eyes and hearts.

 

Why didn’t the Jews leave? Or fight back? Of course, many did fight. Many did leave. But so many stayed⎼ and died.  And now we have whole generations fearing the horrors of the past are being manipulated into the future.

 

Am I learning the answer to that question right now?…

 

*To read the whole article, please click on this link to The Good Men Project.

Noticing the Rhythm of Life: What, if Anything, can we Ever Hold on to?

Breathe in. Notice a pause.

 

Breathe out. Notice.

 

Such a basic rhythm. Ever notice the urge to hold that inbreath? Keep it still? Remember it?

 

When I’m walking or meditating and a crow or mourning dove calls ⎼ or all the voices in my head go silent and I feel rooted where I am, so calm ⎼ sometimes I feel an urge to hold that moment. Stop everything. Or we’re in our car and hear the music we most love, we might try to extend the listening forever. We hear our best friend’s voice or hear the “I love you” we’ve been yearning for ⎼ or we smell the aroma of our favorite food or see a sunrise that shatters the dark, or have an insight ⎼ how do we hold that? Can we hold onto that? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

 

We want something pleasant, good, beautiful to last; but it doesn’t. We can feel so focused as we inhale. So alive. And then we breathe out and it’s gone. The urge to make a moment last ⎼ to turn a disappearing sight, sound, feeling into a permanent one ⎼ is something we all sometimes experience. But before we realize it, the moment has passed.

 

We want to feel young. We want our life to last. Then arthritis breathes us in. Pain breathes us in. Or we breathe in and dislike the feeling, the memory. Or we fear it.

 

Sometimes, we want the exhalation to last. We want to push away the inhale; but what we push away somehow always bounces back. Hate is one form the pushing away can take; denial, fear and pain are others. We can also breathe out and let it go, happily or not.

 

We live moment by moment. But if we try to study any moment by attempting to keep it still, then it’s gone. We can’t even find the moment because as soon as we notice it, it’s already passed. Or we‘ve lost it by trying to hold it. Like picking a flower to keep it always with us, and we thereby kill it. We breathe in; holding it can feel so calming, momentarily. Then we come to a point where we must let it go or we suffocate ourselves.

 

Daniel Kahneman, in his wonderful book Thinking Fast and Slow, talks about experiments showing that people prefer to have a good memory of an event over having the lived experience be wonderful. In one experiment, Kahneman and colleagues asked volunteers to endure three episodes of submerging their hands in freezing cold water. In the first, they put one hand in water that was painfully cold but not intolerable for 60 seconds. In the second, with the other hand, they repeated the experience of 60 seconds of painfully cold water. But this time, for an additional 30 seconds, the experimenter allowed some warmer water into the tub.

 

A few minutes after the two trials, the participants were given a choice of which experience would be repeated. 80% of the participants chose the second, despite it being longer. It was the end they remembered most clearly, which was only slightly less painful.

 

Likewise, he asks us to imagine we face an extremely painful operation during which we are conscious. However, we are promised an amnesia-inducing drug that will completely wipe out any memory of the pain. Most people, he conjectures, are fine with that. They consider what he calls the remembering self as more important than the experiencing self….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to the Good Men Project.

Transformative Moments with Trees: The Limits of Usefulness and the Beauty of Imperfection

My wife and I live in rural America on a dirt road on a sometimes-steep hill. Near our home, rising out of a steep bank, is an old red maple tree whose extensive root structure was torn open years ago when the road department widened the road to accommodate large snowplows. Many of us who live in the neighborhood resisted this move very loudly, because the trees lining the road were beautiful and made the road look so ancient.  A neighbor, inspired by other activists in the news at the time, tied herself to one of the trees.

 

But the resistance was short-lived. The crews with chain saws, excavating machines, backhoes, etc. came up the road cutting trees and carving out the banks. Exposing the roots of this one large tree which remains there even today as a reminder.

 

Sometimes, when I focus on the tree, it looks beyond sad. I feel a vulnerability, a pain constantly renewed, a wound that can never heal.  A wound that we humans caused, we humans with our frequent disregard for the health of the earth we depend on. Other times, the roots look very different, look like a secret layer from underneath the surface of the earth, a mystery that had been exposed. Unseen by us, there’s layers of possibly infinite interconnections all twisted and woven together. This is what we stand on.

 

Or maybe the two viewpoints are really one. Maybe there’s an infinite layer of vulnerability and pain, life and death woven into everything. And the pain is what we feel when we can’t sense the infinite weave.

 

We built our house room by room many years ago, in an old, abandoned apple orchard, fitting it in-between trees so we wouldn’t have to cut any. Outside our front door is one that is probably over 100 years old. It barely holds itself together anymore. Its trunk has a large hole running through its center and only three medium-large branches are left alive. It has some blossoms every spring but no edible fruit. Yet, it persists, and we can’t bear to cut it down.

 

Our cats would object strenuously if we did. They depend on the tree as a ladder to the roof and the second story of the house, where their cat window is placed. They love siting on a limb of the tree and looking down at the wildlife that enters the yard. The tree also provides some shade to the front of the house keeping it cool.

 

One morning years ago, when we had almost completed the first room of the house, and the tree was younger and still bearing fruit, I went out to feed the birds. We had a feeder, but also scattered seeds on the ground. This was before we had any pets. A few birds quickly appeared. The first was a chickadee. Maybe the tree had been feeding it for years, so when I held out a hand open with seeds, one bird flew into it to grab some food and fly off.  I was so excited; I offered my hand again. And the bird, or some bird, returned. Maybe the birds saw us as kin to trees.

 

The tree speaks to us, although at a frequency beyond our hearing, but not beyond our feeling. It speaks of a bond between us. I used to clean old bark off the tree every spring, which exposed new growth. It felt to me that the tree took it as a massage, because afterwards it always looked refreshed, more colorful, and alive. I don’t know if that feeling was in the tree or in me, or maybe there was no difference. Maybe this was what the tree spoke to me about. About silent bonds. About living for relationships. Maybe because of my affection for the tree, it felt like the tree had affection for me….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

What is Personal Strength? One Way to Demonstrate Who We Are

What is strength? Weakness? It’s not just aerobic capacity. It’s not just physical. It’s not how much weight we can physically lift but maybe how much reality we can allow ourselves to feel, consider, and act upon.

 

How would any of us like it if we were mistreated? If our children didn’t respect us and quarreled even with each other? If the schools our children attended were filled with people perpetually angry, constantly looking for revenge, and ready to attack before being attacked? Who held grievances they wouldn’t let go of and wouldn’t listen to anyone that expressed an opinion different from their own?

 

Or imagine a workplace like that, where no fellow worker would compromise or work on solving any problems or disagreements, and then spent their time and energy blaming someone else for the failure to get anything accomplished or a workplace filled with mistrust. And then they used fear and intimidation to get what they wanted⎼ their agenda or no agenda. These are not places filled with people I’d consider strong.

 

This is the US GOP led House of Representatives. They quarrel not only with Democrats but each other. Who could forget that, in a historic situation, it took them four days and 15 rounds of voting to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker? The Hard-Right GOP later removed McCarthy for the sin of working with Democrats to keep the government functioning⎼ and took 22 days to replace him. Too many threaten opponents with violence instead of trying to talk or negotiate.

 

Too many don’t care about governing as much as seizing power, attacking President Biden, and saying no to legislation proposed by Democrats, even if the proposed legislation will help the nation. What have they done besides holding up funding the government? Or starting an impeachment investigation into President Biden with an accusation of fraud, despite the fact that there was no evidence of fraud? Even their own witnesses in their investigation proved nothing except the corruption of the GOP accusers. Or they threaten to remove President Biden from the ballot in GOP states in order to stop or make meaningless Colorado and Maine removing DJT from the ballot for his involvement in the January 6th violent insurrection.

 

Too many accuse others of fraud to distract from the prosecutions of their own leader(s) for fraud and to make the reality of corruption and its destructiveness meaningless⎼ or to make it seem that all leaders, all of us, do it. I don’t know about anyone else, and I’m not always successful, but I do my best to be sincere and honest, not corrupt.

 

Too many use hate and violence as tools of manipulation. But hate is a way we distance ourselves from others, blinding us, or anyone, from what we’re doing to ourselves and others. It is moral weakness and pain masquerading as strength. It deprives these GOP of the character, patience, or ethical system required to work on the substantive issues we face as a nation, or to care about the pain and difficulties our fellow Americans face. Such work requires the strength to listen to and respect other people as being important. The ability to self-reflect, be patient, and feel empathy illustrate what I think is true strength.

 

The world is suffering deeply right now. Many of us in the US have so much compared to others in this country, and world. There is a great concentration of wealth causing immense poverty. Too many people worldwide are suffering from disasters caused by the climate emergency. Too many are suffering in Palestine and Israel, Ukraine, etc. The GOP just try to deny the threat the climate emergency and wars are to us; yet the threats continue. As an article in the Atlantic Monthly put it, we (our environment) can’t afford another DJT Presidency. We, all the people on the earth, can’t afford another DJT presidency. During the DJT administration, they scrubbed data on global warming, undermined the EPA and environmental laws, pulled out of international agreements, etc. etc.

 

We might cry out in anguish, “What can I do? What effect can I, alone, have?” As if, in a democracy of millions one person should have such an effect. As if each of us was an isolated being, uninfluenced by or incapable of affecting others, and independent of the earth….

 

*To read the whole piece, please click on this link to The Good Men Project.

An Illusion None of Us Can Afford: An Opportunity All of Us Can Embrace

We humans have many biases, but one that often asserts itself is the negativity bias, or a propensity to select, or attend to negative instead of positive information. We often expect the worst. We do this so the worst won’t happen, or so we can take steps to avoid it.

 

But often, the bias can do the opposite, and lead us to inaction. It can cause depression, or a sense of powerlessness. We can tell ourselves we can’t do anything to avoid whatever we fear will happen or to stop the dismal future we fear is inevitable⎼ even when the only thing making it inevitable is our inaction. We might hide from feeling the reality of the danger because we fear that even the thought is too much to bear; but the reality would be so much worse to face.

 

This is happening to our nation, and maybe our species, right now⎼ in the US, with the dangers of a DJT administration. We might know intellectually how awful he is but ignore what he’s telling us he will do if he wins, because we can’t believe it. Somewhere inside us, it feels impossible that such a destructive result could occur. We can’t, I can’t, believe that our world could change so drastically and get so much worse⎼ and not just the human world in the US but everywhere. But, of course, it can. If DJT somehow becomes president again, NATO would be undermined, and dictators would have even freer rein than they do now to undermine democratic nations.

 

DJT said he would invoke the Insurrection Act on day one of his imagined new administration, and use the military to make him a dictator. He’d suspend the constitution, suspend the rule of law, round up thousands, and initiate rule by him alone. It’s illegal, unconstitutional, but that has never stopped him before. We must stop him.

 

I’m not making this up. We know this. Read the 2025 Project. Listen to his speeches if you can stand it. He copies Hitler, Mussolini, etc. in his language and emotion, promises to “root out” all the “vermin,” imprison those who oppose him. He might end social freedoms, freedom of speech, voting rights, legal rights, abortion rights, workers’ rights, end legal concepts of gender, racial, and religious equality. He’d give ever more preference economically and otherwise to the rich and diminish or end government programs that serve and help most of us ⎼ he’d end Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, end protections in health care, end the Biden reductions in drug costs, end the EPA, privatize the US Post Office, possibly end public schools, etc. ⎼ and make the poorer 90% of us pay the costs of running his dictatorship.

 

Corruption would flourish. Incompetency. I remember when I was younger and traveling in other nations ruled by dictators. In such nations it was common for people to pay not only fees but bribes to officials to get anything done, to get a license to drive a car, to fish, to build a house, whatever. DJT has already shown a propensity for fraud and corruption. He promises to replace civil service workers, who must show competency for the position in order to get the job, with those whose only noteworthy attribute is being a blind follower of his campaign. Imagine the inefficiency of a whole government bureaucracy controlled and populated by people who’ve shown no competency in their jobs. If DJT somehow gets in office again, whatever restraints on him that were in place before would cease.

 

On Christmas, Rachel Maddow spoke with Chris Hayes about the threat posed by DJT Fascism ⎼ and the need for all of us to act, to vote, and help get out the vote ⎼ and speak to our neighbors. To speak not just to share information, but to get to know them. Create a connection, a community. Because this is our time. Not all generations are called upon to act so significantly….

 

*To read the whole post, please click on this link to The Good Men Project.

I Was Going to Write an Email: To Converse with Truth, Let Silence Speak

I was going to send an email to The Good Men Project about not being able to write a blog this week. For several years, I’ve sent in a piece almost every week. If I couldn’t do so, I informed the editors in advance. This time, I tried several ideas, but none coalesced into a finished piece. And I kept imagining what I could say about why or asking myself if I needed to say anything at all.

 

I started to question any excuses that popped into my head or the need to have any excuses. I started questioning my explanations, my pattern of thinking, my distractions. And suddenly, a realization of what I could write came clear to me. What was going on inside me became clear.

 

Why am I writing blogs? Why do we ever feel a need to justify doing what we need to do, or what is right?

 

It can be so difficult to put life first. When we are not immediately and physically threatened, and I’m so thankful there are no bombs falling here instead of the rain, it can be difficult to put the reality that we can lose all we have first, that we might die.

 

Even now, with two major wars in the world, with a climate emergency ⎼ with the leader of one of the two major political parties threatening that if he becomes President again he will be a dictator. He will take away our constitutional rights, to vote, to the rule of law and to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Or to say anything in opposition to what he says, or get good healthcare or have choices about our healthcare ⎼ it’s so difficult for many of us to feel the reality of this. To believe we might die. To prioritize this. This, now.

 

We have all these things we do, layers upon layers of habits, of patterns of thinking, prioritizing, passing time. We have our normal concerns, communities of concerns. Obligations. We have all the pain, joys, and memories we live with.

 

Yet, this morning, fresh from a long sleep, I woke up questioning so much. And what before was hidden became clear. What do I really feel? What should I write? Why hadn’t I completed a blog? Do I need to explain anything to anyone about how I’ve lived life?

 

And the freshness of just waking up, and questioning, with a willingness to look, and the desire to see what’s real, all the clouds in my mind were pushed apart….

 

*To read the whole piece, please go to this link to The Good Men Project.