Spirituality and Politics

The Old Growth Brown Locust, Along The River Bank.

Those who have been or are engaged in spiritual community are not traditionally into politics. Those who are engaged in politics are not likely to call themselves spiritual. This is a broad generalization, but something I’ve observed over the years.

People are often given the advice to drop the news altogether, and I am likely to agree, if by news they mean mainstream media, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN.

As mentioned previously, I get my news from independent media, which by any account, lacks a spiritual perspective, perhaps because the news itself is devoid of empathy of compassion.

As I was growing up, our household was into spiritual studies, while also engaging in left wing political activism. These two activities rarely merged. They were mutually exclusive.

We have reached a spiritual crisis in America. The rate of heart disease has skyrocketed in part because people have shut down their ability to accept and love one another, or themselves.

The high fat American diet plays a major role in heart disease, as well as a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise.

I just resurrected my old blog Prayer Prescriptions. As much as I am able, I will post on both blogs and link them heart to heart. Politics and matters of the spirit benefit from prayer, meditation and a contemplative daily life.

Each day is an opportunity to begin anew: to laugh, love and grasp the beauty that everywhere surrounds us. 

Throughout the day, let us remember to say special prayers for the people affected by the chemical poisoning in Syria. Their pain is our pain. Their liberation is also ours.

May the benevolent spirits make the journey between worlds a fearless one.

On Peace Amen

Politics of Homelessness and Poverty part 2

Although the adventures in this book happened nearly forty-four years ago, they serve as record and reminder of the Baby Boomer legacy to American history.

When I and my gang of traveling vagabonds left the hometown with just the clothing we wore plus a few other apparel choices, our 5-10 dogs, and panel truck to live in, plus enough weed and LSD to sink a military ship, we didn’t consider the Politics of our actions. We knew the US government had gone mad and the social norms based on accepted ways to live no longer meant anything to us, as if they ever did.

This was the end of the 1960’s, after all, and the Vietnam war was raging and all our beloved leaders had been shot down.

We were forced to live in the present moment.

No one wanted to put us up, so that winter, we lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved on to Velaca Lake in upper state New York, (strangely, I can’t find this lake in my google searches) and further on to the woods near Williams College in Massachusetts.

I remember when my down sleeping bag got wet and in attempting to dry it by an open fire, went up in flames. My only security–gone.

We picked up most of the down feathers, stuffed them back in the sleeping bag, and I sewed it up. Not quite as fluffy as before, but it worked. 

A sewing kit is indispensable in the war chest of a homeless person.

My favorite memories were around a campfire at night telling stories, making each other laugh, staring into the hot coals,  imagining dream shapes. 

We didn’t drink alcohol in those days, but weed heightened our sensory perspectives.

I wrote a book on those days of homelessness. I am sure Nathan Monk whom I wrote about yesterday, would say we chose our homelessness experience. He was born into it. Because of his resilient spirit, he did not fall prey to the forces that could have destroyed him. 

When I entered nursing school in 1980, I viewed that experience as a rehabilitation for my mind, body and spirit.

Here is the link to my book on kindle. You can buy it for 99 cents.

The Politics of Homelessness

This picture accompanied an article on homelessness in the New York Times.

Father Nathan Monk, author of Chasing The Mouse, describes in his memoir what it was like growing up in poverty. Most of his childhood was spent living in cars, abandoned homes, or rundown motels.

He went on to become a Roman Catholic Priest whose ministry is homelessness, saving people from the streets and prison. I just finished his book and highly recommend it.

Here is his interview with Max Keiser of the Keiser Report. Is homelessness a racket in America? Is it big business? When the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, I surmise Nathan Monk is on to something, from someone who experienced poverty and homelessness first hand.

Are Democrats for Voters or Donors?

Here is Ammon Hennacy, close family friend.

     We can decry Trump forever but until and unless the Democrats get with the program in alignment with working people and struggling masses, Trump will win again.

     Only Bernie Sanders is addressing this issue, along with my favorite independent media sources, outlined on this recent post. I forgot to add Lee Camp of Redacted Tonight.

     The oligarchy and plutocracy is in control here in the USA. This means the 1% wants to take our freedoms and money away to make themselves richer. They’ve already essentially done this for decades in the making. Trump is a symptom of this phenomenon.

     Would the corporate democrats rather lose to Trump than win with a progressive democrat? Seems so, at great expense to a democracy existing in name only.

     Freedom lies at the heart of these questions. When our family friend Ammon Hennacy was imprisoned for not paying the WW1 war tax, he came to a vital realization: freedom lies in the heart, mind and soul of the individual. 

     The warden was a controlling individual and disturbed Ammon’s ability to be at peace within himself. When he had his awakening, he forgave the warden. Suddenly, the warden and Ammon could communicate on a human level. 

     What about the democrats? Here is Jimmy Dore going on a classic rant against the Corporate Democrats:

Loving vs the State of Virginia

The Lovings had an amazing and enduring Love Story.
     When I was growing up, my mother told me and my siblings that all the Lovings in America and throughout the world are related. William E. Loving was my grandfather. When he and my grandmother divorced, he moved back to Virginia.
     I thought my mother was an only child, but W.E. Loving went on to have seven more children, a total of eight.
     I met the youngest of W.E.’s children in the 1990’s. Her husband was doing the Loving genealogy, and they wanted to meet me. So we had a reunion in Lancaster, PA.
     Some years later, I became aware of Loving vs the State Of Virginia, of the profound love story between Mildred and Richard Loving.
     They were first arrested in 1958 for the then crime of interracial marriage, outlawed in Virginia. They exiled to Washington DC  and fought to bring their case to the Supreme Court. They succeeded. And they won.
     This case set a precedent for striking down the Defense Of Marriage Act, or DOMA, making marriage between LGBT couples legal. The ACLU was strategic in winning both cases, bringing both to the Supreme Court.
     I recently became a member of the ACLU. It’s the least I can do, under the present circumstances gripping America. We have many battles to fight, and the ACLU has always been on the right side of history. May they continue to wage peace and speak truth to power, as is their way. May we the people support their efforts.
     Another interesting Loving tidbit: Robert Duvall played my great great grandfather, Oliver Loving,  in the mini-series, Lonesome Dove. Names were changed to protect the not so innocent. Lonesome Dove spiced the characters up. I doubt Oliver Loving was as colorful a character as Augustus McCrae–or was he? Thanks to the creative imagination, I can pretend he was.

Ignoring Politics? Is It Possible? Or Wise?

Seek For That Which Makes You Strong.
     Is it wise to ignore politics altogether?
     We survived the 2016 elections, in that we are still breathing. Please remember to breathe deeply and mindfully.
     I predict the CIA and mainstream media are colluding against Donald Trump in the name of Russia, Russia, Russia.
     As mentioned in Day #2 of this blog, Ray McGovern came to town, ex CIA operative, now anti-war activist. In the question and answer period, I asked him to elaborate on the Russia mania being disseminated by Main Stream Media and the Corporate Democrats.
     He smiled and said he can imagine Hillary and her team at the Democratic National Convention, after Wikileaks revealed the theft of the election from Bernie Sanders.
     He said they had to blame someone, so the Russia narrative was born.
     Wikileaks also revealed in the Podesta emails how Trump was elevated by the press and The Hillary campaign, thinking the people would naturally vote for Hillary over Trump who presented himself in a hideous manner. Hillary was so confident in this maneuver she stopped campaigning. She did continue raising money from her corporate donors in the Hamptons, however.
     Ray McGovern said if Bernie would have been given the nomination, which was rightfully his, Bernie would have beaten Trump 11/16.
     Here is Ray McGovern and HA Goodman on a recent Crosstalk about the Russia Mania:

     General Michael Flynn is asking for immunity from the FBI in exchange for his recent communication with a Russian Diplomat. Later on today, reportedly the immunity was denied.
     Many of us have given up on Mainstream Media. They feed the frenzy of fear and propaganda the powers that be want you to believe.
     I may not agree with everything these outlets publish, but I respect all of them. And there are many more.
     Independent Media allows me to continue absorbing the news. Twitter is one of my favorites, too, because all of my independent media favorites flash across my timeline. All of these outlets were formally for Bernie Sanders. Many sprung up in response to the strong progressive voice of the Sanders campaign.
     It is up to me to spiritualized the news and in turn, spiritualized my life. I refuse to ignore the state of our union and our planet. We must tune into the life forces overseeing the Universe and we must pray for peace and healing, first of all, within, through prayer and meditation.  The outer world will evolve accordingly.

Waking Up

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
     I was meditating to one of Diana Lang’s meditations on sound cloud, and something she said struck me.
     She said sometimes a person goes to sleep because miracles, like birth or death are not appearing in that person’s experience.
     Then I thought about all the births I am privileged and have been privileged to attend these last 15 years.
     I am saddened to see nurses who become jaded by these experiences: birth, the joy of communing with patients, death, the miracle of life in all its gory details.
     Why do I continue doing what I do? Birth confronts the great mystery of life. Where do these beings come from, what will their lives be like? How will these beings survive all the sorrows and joys in this lifetime?
     In reality, each of us lives many lifetimes in this seemingly one lifetime we find ourselves in now.
     Who I was a 20 is now a figment of my imagination.
     Yet my soul remains changeless, eternal and intact.
     “Your own Self-realization
is the greatest service you
can render the world.”
–Ramana Maharshi
     This is the key to living the great mystery of birth, death and everything in between.
     Who am I? Who are you?
     The answer to these questions heals our separation with the great divine intelligence who created everything we see, experience and love in this reality.
     Don’t allow politics or Trump or human suffering separate you from the Love always available with each breath of appreciation.
     Seek self-realization for the good of the world.

Meditate Simplify Pray

When politics gets you down, meditate-with your dog,
     I’ve been immersing myself in the works of Wayne W Dyer. One thing he repeated over and over again is when you contemplate the conditions you think are missing in your life, it’s like saying God’s plan for you has missed the mark, as if you presume to know better than god/goddess, the higher power, the unseen force that steers the ship.
     What frequency are you generating in your life? If you make a concerted effort to plug into the divine frequency that created everything, you automatically will go from an ordinary to an extraordinary consciousness experience.
     See goodness and beauty everywhere, by first of all seeing goodness and beauty inside your own soul. Drop the dualities. See the unity in everything. Hear the silence which is the sound of God, because by meditating on our divine creator at all times, profound silence results. That is God.
     When the dualities of the world, of war, of politics becomes overwhelming, turn to the inner worlds.
     Depend on the spark of creation that motivates your creativity and originality.
     Listen to the music that harmonizes the soul. Meditate, simplify and pray.
     Tune into the energy that is radiating vibrations everywhere. Choose those that make you feel joyful and productive.
     What are people around you talking about? Do not accept or agree with it when people emphasize what is missing in their lives. You’ll be doing both of you a favor.
     Hang out in nature. Commune with the animals. They are our harmony barometers. Be in silence and meditate with them. My dog Ulysses would make a beeline to the meditation room every day. Now my dog Pearlie is doing the same thing.
     If we taught every child how to meditate, in as little as one generation, there wouldn’t be any more war. That is with the Dalai Lama says, and I firmly know this to be true.
     Let go and surrender to the truth of your existence.

My Mother’s Kitchen

A book setting the stage for meaningful discourse around the kitchen table.
     When I think of “Kitchen Table Wisdom,” I think of my mother’s kitchen as I was growing up– political discussions, social justice, civil rights, the end of all war, spiritual reality all with coffee brewing 24/7, back kitchen door open to reveal bird song and neighborhood bustle.
     My mother had a morning schedule she followed religiously: up to do yoga, a short meditation, coffee, reading, house cleaning once a week with our Amish cleaning person who came from rural Lancaster county to do the work. My dad dutifully picked her up and took her home, again.
     In the summer, my parents belonged to a swimming pool that allowed people of color to belong. My parents participated in a “swimming pool suit” to put an end to discrimination at local swim clubs in the 1960’s.  We won but it took time to see the results.
     I remember a movement of discourse, community and camaraderie happening in my mother’s kitchen. All opinions were allowed, although those who showed up generally agreed on all matters of importance.
     The religious right weren’t banned, nor un-welcomed. Inside that kitchen, magic happened where free thought flowed, laughter erupted, a hint of grand potential was birthed in all who participated. A memory now, a movement then.
     My mother’s kitchen, something I always aspire to, in my own style.

Birdie Sanders Day

My husband nearly died of a massive coronary on my birthday 3/3/17. He was admitted to our local hospital’s Cardiac Unit 3/2 for chest pain, was on a nitroglycerin drip over night.

     The next day at 6am, he experienced excruciating chest pain, the classic text book symptom described as “Feels like an elephant just sat on my chest.”
     Now we going through cardiac rehab together and visiting the cardiologist. We love this doctor. He is a vegan and we have already begun a plant based life style changing diet. Apparently most of his patients are terrified of giving up meat, more terrified of that than dying of a heart attack.
     Tom’s Cardiac Rehab is covered 100% by Medicare. We want everyone to have Medicare. Now that Trump’s health bill collapsed, (Matt Bruenig describes this well),  Medicare for all Universal Health care is the only replacement worth implementing.
     We can’t accept no for an answer. The Corporate Dems want to preserve and improve Obamacare. This is not possible because the Health Insurance Lobby is more concerned with their stock holdings than they are with We The People’s health.
    We must fight for health care for all people. Pennsylvania did an economic impact study showing billions of dollars will be saved by implementing Single Payer.
     California is introducing a Single Payer bill called SB 562, and if and when it passes, we will all have this state by state. It is only a matter of time.
     Bernie Sanders announced on Birdie Sanders day, the day a year ago when a little birdie landed on Bernie’s podium during a huge rally in Portland Oregon, that he will be introducing a Medicare For All Bill to congress in a matter of days.
     Let us not “Resist” mindlessly. Let us pick an issue close to our heart and “Persist.” Let’s face it, giving up meat is the best thing we can do for the heart of our planet. That action alone would reverse the Climate Crisis. But that is a topic for another day.