Category Archives: Love

The election of the century: steps for surviving, even thriving right now

Like many of you, I’m frustrated with so many things these days.  I want to help make life better for me and for the people I care about.  It’s hard to figure out how to do that when COVID is on the rampage and nefarious interests are seeking to whip up drama and intrigue.
One thing on many of our minds is the U.S. election and the likely tense weeks until the vote numbers are finalized.  I thought I’d share a few thoughts about how to survive the next few weeks until the results of the election are officially certified.
1. VOTE – this election (at ALL LEVELS) is the most important U.S. election in decades.  Vote absentee if possible (leaving a paper trail is a particularly good thing) and hand deliver it to an official drop location if you can . Vote before November 3 if possible in your state (avoid harassment or disruption at the polls). VOTE
2. GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA –  At least until November 10. Make sure Facebook is NOT your news source.  We have repeatedly been warned by the FBI and other Intelligence agencies that nefarious actors, foreign and domestic, are manipulating the messaging, emotional triggers, and advertising on FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms.  None of us need the drama and hype that FaceBook can feed.  Double check your security and privacy settings – and GET OFF. 
    • Times are hard.  I understand that for many of us, social media is our tie to the outside world.  I’m suggesting, though, that right now, the power of social media to manipulate us and ignite stress and drama outweighs its benefits for meaningful connection. GET OFF. 
    • Make REAL human contact.  While the presence of the pandemic means that many of us cannot be physically in the presence of those we love, technology has given us all kinds of tools for having a face to face visit over the Internet (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google meetings, and MANY others).  Call  people you care about. Make time for REAL connection.   Learn something new.  Reach out to people you love.  Talk about things that give you life.
Which brings me to…
3. CHOOSE YOUR HUMAN CONTACTS WISELY.   Now is not the time to be generous with time to the spirit vampires and drama tornadoes in our lives.  Now is about togetherness, solidarity, and love.  Make time for people who bring out the best in you, who help you to focus on what matters most.  Spend time with people who help calm the drama rather than stir it up.  Choose to spend time (communicating, sharing, writing, talking) with people who give you joy, who inspire hope, and encourage your best self.  Reach out to people to whom you can bring joy and to those who bring joy to you. 
4. BE SELECTIVE ABOUT YOUR NEWS SOURCES.   One of the things that has disturbed me most about the last couple of years in the media is how easy it is for reporters of news to be easily distracted by the smoke screens and latest drama thrown in front of them.  As responsible citizens, we need our news sources to provide us with credible information and clear context so we can make wise decisions about things that matter.  We need our news sources to help us steer a steady course through the fireworks and smoke screens.
    • Stick to  trustworthy news sources that provide facts more than drama, science rather than intrigue, context rather than whiplash to the next shiny thing. 
    • Yes, do read and watch opinions from people you trust.  Just make sure you know when you’re getting opinions and when you’re getting verifiable facts and helpful context. There are a number of outlets and voices that make it more and more difficult to know what’s real news, what’s “entertainment” and what’s hoopla funded by entities more interested in profit and power than in people and peace.
    • A web site called Media Bias Fact Check  is an excellent resource for assessing the general factual framework and ideological bias of any source you’re interested in.  That way you know what you’re getting.  For informed citizen decision-making, I strongly suggest seeking out news sources that are high or very high on factual reporting and close-ish to center on ideological bias. (NOTE:  MBFC’s site search is really confusing.  The best way I’ve seen to access it is to do a web search on your chosen news source name followed by “Media Bias Fact Check” included in the search.  That’ll pop up the results page much more quickly and cleanly).
5. STAY VIGILANT:  These are going to be difficult weeks.  As a country, we are battling the resurgence of COVID and we know we are the target of international disinformation, fear-mongering, and division tactics. 
Make sure you know what you are taking into your mind and your heart.
6. BE LOVE, DO LOVE:  Take care of yourself.  Do what you can to make positive differences where you can.  Silence the NOISE of disinformation and smoke screen drama. Read a favorite book.  Feed the hungry.  Make something.  Cook something.  Make love to your partner (or to yourself!).  Do something kind. 
When it comes down to it, we’re in this together. 
Let’s remain indivisible.

Delight: Drawing my way out

I finally gave myself permission to get back to the Lynda Barry cartooning book I started a couple of months ago.  [Making Comics].

[Imagine there is an image here of some of the stuff I’m drawing.]

I’m doing the exercises and drawing up a storm.  It is FUN.  I think this is the first time – in a long time – that I’ve allowed myself time to PLAY.

The current atmosphere in the U.S. is difficult.  It’s a stressful shit storm conflagration created by the virus, by a heightened awareness of (& calling out of) systemic inequities (race and economics being at the forefront right now), and by polarized politics – exacerbated by the moral melt down of the current presidential administration and lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of many party leaders.  These are scary, serious times.

And, these days have called out the most determined, serious parts of myself. I’ve been working with all pistons firing – emergency plans for earthquake scenarios in the midst of a pandemic; finding a notary for revision of the family trust; making masks — making better masks; housework, yard work, filing, and systems; cooking healthy food; LOTS of reading of the news so I’m aware and can plan and can be a conscious, responsible citizen in these times.

It’s exhausting – and depleting.

What my emergency planning did not take into consideration was how important it is to play a little — particularly in the midst of all the seriousness. Refueling the soul is important.

I’ve always wondered how, in stories of our past, people did so much dancing and laughing and music making in the midst of war time and even hostile occupation.  I realize now that it is a matter of survival.

Even in the midst of chaos and prolonged crisis, it’s important  to play — to give your heart and mind a little moment of reprieve.

I think that a key element, at least for me, is doing something for which there is no real expectation of ‘productivity.’ My mother has often said that I can make anything into ‘work’ (how to do it faster, more efficiently, ‘better’).  
Thanks to Barry’s open approach in Making Comics, my adventures completing these assignments defies my own perfectionist tendencies.  

My only goal with the drawing is to respond to the prompts and assignments. I am able to box myself in to the world of the book for a chunk of time. For the first time in ages, I’m able to lose myself in a small activity for an hour or two — and experience sheer delight. 

I look forward to it – every other day or so.  I’m going to stick with it. Playful delight is something I need right now.

What are you doing to play?

Have we forgotten “…by the people, for the people?”

One of the things I’ve been thinking about, as I read the news and hunker down at home, is that it seems we, as Americans, have forgotten a great deal about who WE are.
We talk about “the government” as if it has nothing to do with us.  As if it is a “them” out there, that we can’t impact or influence unless we fall in step behind ideological lines that require we hate half of our fellow citizens.
I admit, from recent reading about how power has shifted in this country over the last 40 years, that there is a considerable distance between most of us and most of the elected officials who walk the halls of government.  That difference, though, seems to be more about people who have SUPER wealth and incorporate the wishes of other SUPER wealthy corporations, industries, and individuals into their votes, stances, and decisions.
And I’m wondering …
What would the next 3 months – and the next 4–8 years look like if we remembered that WE are the ones who are supposed to be in charge?  What if WE reclaim OUR responsibility for who WE elect and how they spend OUR tax dollars?  What would these United States look like?

Lean In White People

Lean in to the ugly of what white people do to black and brown people on American soil.
We kill them – in their beds, on their sofas as they play video games, as they lie on the ground in handcuffs.  Unarmed.  They are always unarmed.
Yes, WE do this because we allow it to happen.  We elect sheriffs who belong to the klan.  We underfund training of law enforcement officers.  We remain silent when trained killers are hired as peace officers. We look away when faced with evidence of ties between some officers and white supremacist groups.
We ignore the horrific irony of white ‘protesters’ armed to the teeth blocking public spaces one week, and unarmed black, brown, and white protesters peppered with rubber bullets and tear gas by officers sworn to protect the public.
This is real.  
This is ugly.
This is inhuman.
Our complicity is real.  Our complaisance is repulsive.
These are our people murdering innocents.  We are the only ones who can stop it.
Speak truth.
Stand up with Jesus.
Love your neighbor.
Demand investigations.
Vote for people who have compassion.