A Slice of Covert Racism

On a recent flight back home, I was sitting in my usual choice of an aisle seat mostly because I don’t like to crawl over strange legs when I need to use the restroom.

An older (older than me) woman crawled over me to take the window seat.

A young man was escorted to his seat directly across from me by a flight attendant who commented on his height and asked him how old he was as he was flying as an unaccompanied minor.

He was nine-years-old and about six feet tall.

Just a little boy in a man sized body.

I could feel his embarrassment as he was singled out for his height and I’m sure has had to endure a zillion comments about it.

He was very quiet, but seemed a little scared, so I chatted with him a bit, and he was very sweet. His dad was picking him up and he would be starting school in San Diego. He began to open up and just as I suspected, he was a little boy who didn’t really know how to deal with the fact that he looked like he was in high school.

The older woman next to me said, in a very heavy southern accent, “I should get his autograph now, he’s going to be famous.”

I didn’t respond to her right away because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt or maybe I had misinterpreted what she was alluding to, but she repeated herself loud enough for the young man to hear, and I felt that I needed to do something.

I said, “What are you saying? That because he’s tall, his only life path is basketball?”

She looked at me and said, “Well, he’s tall…” and then her voice and thought faded.

I replied loud enough for anyone to hear, “Maybe he’s going to be a doctor. Or a professor. Or an artist or a writer. Just because someone has a physical trait doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence. He can and should do whatever touches his heart.”

The woman had so much ingrained covert racism built into her that she didn’t really know what to say, but a few minutes later she told me that she thought about it and agreed with me, so then we had a pleasant rest of the flight.

Did I change her?

Probably not, but the grateful smile I received from a nine-year-old made my day.

(And did I really need to mention that he was a six foot tall African American nine-year-old child or did you figure that out for yourselves?)

And then I saw this photo of Trump serving fast food to the Clemson team.
More covert or not so covert racism. Love Reggie Bush’s tweet.

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Best Mantra for 2019: Om So Hum

so humHappy 2019!

I’ve been meditating on a fairly regular basis for a while.

While I love the effects of silently repeating Om Mani Padme Om, the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantra, I find that So Hum or Om So Hum is the mantra that works best for me in the morning, which is my favorite time to start the day with positive intentions.

Regular meditation helps to relieve stress and improve the quality of sleep. The goal of less stress is to achieve a happier and healthier life. It’s believed that meditation improves the immune system and thereby helps in controlling blood pressure and lowering blood cholesterol.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

So Hum

I am.

(Or, I am that.)

From Sanskrit, it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality.

As we meditate on this, we come to realize that we are all one–we have all come from one Infinite Source, and a part of that infinite source is present in all of us.

We are all connected.

Powerful. Peaceful. Grateful.

OM is the sound of universe.

Chanting Om So Hum daily for ten to fifteen minutes can relax the breathing and balance our inner energy flow.

  • Close your eyes and settle in by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Note how you feel in your mind and body.
  • Start to repeat the mantra So Hum or Om So Hum to yourself silently, slowly synching the rhythm of your breath to the mantra.
  • As you inhale, silently repeat the word “Om“
  • As you exhale, silently repeat the words “So Hum
  • Continue breathing slowly and aligning your mantra to your breath, being careful not to rush your breath if you notice your mantra speeding up.
  • Each time you notice your mind start to wander, gently draw your attention back to your silent mantra.

This is really cool…

Mayor, Mayor, on the wall…

Who’s the most intelligent, caring, and forward thinking of them all?

Lolz, THIS is pic speaks a thousand words, doesn’t it?

At the last of three Mayoral candidate debates/forums in Carlsbad, this one hosted by Pacific Ridge School and moderated by Voice of San Diego’s Jesse Marx, we witnessed a tired old sour faced dinosaur listening to the brilliant words spoken by a true visionary.

THIS is what Carlsbad needs.

Present in the moment, alert, thoughtful, intelligent…

Cori Schumacher.

Real. Genuine. Authentic.

Mayor Mall is the embodiment of “liar liar pants of fire“.

He was not truthful when he said he really really really responds to each and every email.

I can only speak for myself BUT I know that is specifically and categorically UNtrue.

He has NEVER responded nor acknowledged any email OR snail mail letter I personally sent to him during the years he’s been mayor of Carlsbad.

He delivered more confusing and obfuscating word salad, but what REALLY spoke to me was the demeaning and misogynistic device he used by consistently referring to Cori Schumacher as “her” or “she”, instead of affording her the respect Cori deserves by speaking her name, and by snarkily laughing while she was responding to questions.

This is a tool in the arsenal of a misogynist who covertly/overtly minimizes, diminishes, and depersonalizes women.

Unacceptable.

We will no longer have our voices silenced.

Vote for Cori Schumacher.

It’s a win-win for Carlsbad.

Ocean Warrior: Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson

Despite suffering from a sinus infection, Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson showed up on Saturday morning to meet and chat with the public when the vessel, M/V Farley Mowat, was docked in San Diego Harbor at the Maritime Museum, offering free tours all weekend.

Tcapt watson me

I took the train downtown and got there just in time to greet Capt. Watson as he arrived, and he kindly set aside time to respond to a couple of questions.

This is a man who walks the walk and talks the talk. He is a man of integrity and I admire him immensely and support his ideals and goals.

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While I’m waiting for the pics and video to download to WordPress, I’ll ask you a question…do you know who Farley Mowat was?

Canadian born, he authored one of the books that inspired me and shaped my existence as a wolf activist: Never Cry Wolf.

He created a body of work staggering in its quality and breadth: Sea of Slaughter, A Whale for the Killing, Grey Seas Under, Lost in the Barrens, Virunga: The Life of Dian Fossey (that became the movie Gorillas in the Mist), and many more.

One of Canada’s most popular and prolific writers, he became a champion of wildlife and native Canadian rights and a sharp critic of environmental abuse.

His writing spoke deep truths about humanity’s responsibility for the planet and the species we share it with. In doing so, he became one of the pioneers of the environmental movement.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat was named in his honor, and he frequently visited it to assist its mission.

The M/V Farley Mowat has been in the Sea of Cortez saving the protected vaquita porpoise from gillnets: 

(https://enchantedseashells.com/2018/04/14/battle-in-the-gulf-of-california-for-the-traffic-of-sea-cocaine-maritime-herald/)

 

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Nothing happens without dedicated volunteers!

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Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian-American marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation and marine conservation activism.

Since WordPress doesn’t allow me to post videos directly to a post (I have a free blog), here’s a link to a couple of videos of Capt. Watson I posted on Facebook. It can’t be embedded, but if you click on “Watch on Facebook”, you’ll be able to watch!

Battle in the Gulf of California for the Traffic of ‘Sea Cocaine’ | Maritime Herald

In a busy street in southern China, a merchant treasures a product as extravagant as clandestine: dissected bladders of totoaba. The frenzy over this delicacy, known as ‘cocaine de mar’, threatens marine species of the Mexican Gulf of California, sparking a feverish battle between authorities and traffickers. The ‘sea cocaine’ is not a drug but its

Source: Battle in the Gulf of California for the Traffic of ‘Sea Cocaine’ | Maritime Herald

The Best Mantra for 2018: Om Mani Padme Hum

I’m pretty new to meditation (dabbled a bit in college but it didn’t stick) and I’m restarting with the basics.

In terms of actually practicing mindfulness and compassion (to self and others) – these are things I’ve sporadically attempted for a few years.

I think it all started during an annual exam when my lady doc suggested something in between my Pap Smear and and the breast exam: every morning, I need to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to myself.

I told her I couldn’t possibly; it was embarrassing, what was the point, and she said in addition to filling my body with healthy foods and wheat grass, turmeric, ginger, and Vitamin D (I was deficient at the time), that loving oneself is another and very important piece of the puzzle needed to attain an optimal level of wellbeing.

When the La Costa Chopra Center used to host one-hour meditations in the afternoon, I attended a few times with friends and it was a good re-introduction, but I’m more of a solitary soul and would rather do my internal discovery not in the company of strangers, no matter how kind…

It’s all about rewiring our brain-using neuroplasticity to change negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive actions and a joyful future.

Meeting the Dalai Lama was a significant experience that opened my eyes (and my heart) and encouraged me to follow an inward searching path.

Om Mani Padme Hum is an ancient mantra related to the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and with the Dalai Lama, who is considered to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. It is believed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that by saying Om Mani Padme Hum out loud or silently to oneself invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast …. The first, OM … symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha…. The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving…. The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom…. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility…. Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

All I know for sure is that when I say or think Om Mani Padme Hum, no matter how sad or anxious or stressed I feel, even when I wake up at 3AM in a panic, a certain calmness and quiet joy washes over me.

As we leave one year and transition to another, I wanted to share this with you and hope you also find solace and wisdom in this mantra.

Happy New Year!

Warning: This is not about happy cows

Cc0kDT8WEAAsZG0NO NO NO NO. Do not turn away or scroll past this. This is US. (well, not me specifically, but collectively as part of the (in)human(e) race.

We need to see this.

YOU need to see this.

It needs to resonate with us to our very core.

STOP EATING MEAT AND drinking the breast milk of other species!

Don’t say you love animals and write “rescue” on your FB profile if you plan to grill a steak tonight or make some cheesy lasagna or buy a pair of Uggs.

Stop contributing to the cruelty of animals. Stop being a hypocrite.

We will never right the wrongs or stop the torture these innocent animals have endured and will continue to endure until our collective conscience changes.

This is disturbing, but what is more disturbing is the lack of compassion for other living things.

It’s hard to live in such a cruel world. It really is. When are we going to rise up and demand the end to needless slaughter of innocent animals?

**These dairy farmers face charges for allegedly torturing cows with weapons, including blowtorches (warning: graphic)

featured image courtesy of https://t.co/cq0NHFIdHM

Holding Sacred Space

Sacred / Scared

Switch one letter and not only is the word changed, but so is the meaning. That opens up a whole new conversation about fear; fear of the known and fear of the unknown. I can admit that I own all of it in every form.

Recently, I was chatting about sacred space and how to define that concept. I wasn’t quite sure I knew enough about it to offer an intelligent explanation that would make sense-I’m still not sure it makes sense for a lot of reasons, but I know that it accurately describes how I’m feeling.

When we hold space, we release control. Yup, that’s about right.

It’s another way to show unconditional love. It’s SCARY.

According to GoodTherapy.org, around the midpoint of life, we start picking up hints that we’re not going to live forever. In Once Upon a Midlife, Allan Chinen describes how shocking this realization can be, accompanied by anxiety and grief.

Especially at such a point, a sense of the sacred can act to ground us. As the fact of “me” begins to lose its apparent guarantee of continuance as well as its centrality (because how central to the universe can I be if I’m not going to be around?), the universe is less and less about me. But perhaps I become more and more about something else, something larger than me.

As above, so below…

Carl Jung notes that, in this way, the ego becomes relativized and the process of individualization—becoming wholly who we were meant to be—is accomplished. We begin to live in a system of meaning where the earth revolves around the sun, the sun rotates through the galaxy, and the galaxy itself follows its own great attractor. Our experience then seems to participate in larger movements, whether those are our family or a cause in which we believe or humanity in general, a spiritual pathway or the life of the universe.

Everyone has trauma.

The only way through trauma is to feel it. If a person doesn’t feel their pain, their anger, their fear—if they instead repress it—it grows and festers, like a sliver that doesn’t get pulled out. But feelings like pain, anger and fear are painful and scary!  Feeling them isn’t fun. It takes a great amount of courage and strength to do so.

Holding space means letting go of judgment, of opening your heart and lending your courage; your strength. It means being there or not being there but communicating a safe environment like a safety net for someone you care for to exorcise the hurt within them.

Allowing that person to cry, to scream, to shudder; witnessing their authentic experience and reacting with love and acceptance to the extent that you are able, is a powerful way to support them in this most important spiritual and emotional work, holding hands physically and/or emotionally to walk through their journey of self discovery.

For me, it’s a little different. It might not make sense to anyone else but I visualize holding space more like a drawer I’ve cleared out in my bedroom or a space I’ve left empty in my heart. Being that resolute and solitary lighthouse, that beacon of shining white light on a dark and stormy night, blinking through the fog.

For me, this is sacred — even though at times it scares me to death.

 

(Featured image by Google/Pinterest)

 

Kesha: Poet and Visionary

It’s SUPER HOT today with a fierce Santa Ana sort of heat where every breath is so tortuous you can feel it bone deep, so I’m drinking tons of water (really), working on a few indoor projects, and listening to music.

Since I never really grew up or adulted successfully, I used to sing along with Ke$ha’s TikTok  or Your Love is My Drug and I Kissed a Girl with Katy Perry–I know, I know, can you imagine how embarrassing it was to be that grown up professorial child of mine as a captive audience on the way home from college when I picked him up from the airport?

Gotta vision of me singing?  Love these lyrics: “Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack–Popo shut us down” lol…

Tee hee. Oh well, like I told him a few dozen times, one of us had to grow up, and he was IT!

Somewhere along the way while I stayed in this perpetual state of adolescence–immobile, stuck in amber like a 40 million-year-old fly…Ke$ha became Kesha and grew up.

This song.

These words.

This real anguish.

Listen hard. Feel her.

I get it. Oh yes, I get it. Way too much. Way too real for this fantasy-dwelling-timid-forest-creature-rose-colored-glasses wearing grandma. Maybe there’s hope for me and one day I’ll grow up too.

Nah. That ain’t never gonna happen.

Check out these lyrics. Poetry and pure angst. Beautifully painful. Painfully beautiful.

Praying
“Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? Why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known? I’ve ever loved? Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point? God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, and after everything you’ve done
I can thank you for how strong I have become

‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come

‘Cause I can make it on my own
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ve been thrown out, I’ve been burned ([Live version:] I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain)
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying

Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Oh, someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life you gonna get what you give
But some things, only God can forgive

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying