what is our world doing to me?

I’d ask each of you to ask the question:   What is our world and culture doing to me?   Is it making me more human or less human?

I recently watched the excellent and possibly most aggressive film Ingmar Bergman ever directed.   It’s called SHAME.  Even though the setting is an imagined Civil War it is a reflection of his thoughts and feelings about WWII and the Vietnam War.   It is one of the better anti-war films because it graphically shows what happens to “third parties” in a conflict (i.e. not the principal players) On the Criterion Collection edition DVD there is an interview with Bergman’s muse at-the-time,  Liv Ullman.   She recounts what Bergman said at the time:

“He said, ‘What we have to be aware of for ourselves is coldness, indifference, looking down at other people, lack of contact with other people….'”

I love that quote and I think it is a perfect thing for us to meditate on in these times in which we live, where there is rapidly rising partisanship, greater ideological divides and an onslaught of excessive blame, cruel judgement, harsh criticism, hatred, lies and extremism in every format (even advertisements – I’m thinking of a weed killer commercial where a woman shouts “Kill em ALL”).  And when extremism is presented as humorous or justified as mocking and we laugh – we add to the problem and become insensitive.  We need to THINK and think critically about what we consume in media and advertisements.    It’s easy to get caught up in all the reporting about this and that twitter feud but as we do we also become more emotionally trapped by that.   We begin to choose sides.   We are blind to the fact about how that is slowly stripping away our humanity.   We cease to see people, who disagree with us, as human.   We desire to see them treated as the animals we perceive in their reported and confessed behavior.  It’s the old trap:   An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth……  Before you know we become the animals ourselves.

 

So how do we rise above?   And even though I don’t identify as Christian anymore – I’ve always loved Jesus Christ and am amazed that religious people (especially in America), who seek positions of power in their religion and in politics, fail to see that what they seek is what killed their Savior to begin with.   It was not the Jews (as a race) who killed Christ it was religion and politics.   Politics because of Roman leadership that refused to get involved and handed Christ over to the religious leaders; it was then religious moral high-mindedness, protectionism and fear that finished the job.  Both politicians and religious leaders wanted to maintain control of the people and how did they do that?  They killed love.

So back to my question how do we rise above it?  First we need to come down to earth.   How do we stop ourselves from becoming the thing we hate?  I think the answer lies in Bergman’s quote.   We need to remain warm in our observations of others and realize that those in the news, twitter, facebook, youtube or whatever other outlet that allows their dehumanizing hate to be vomited out into the world,  are still human.   Human in spite of the latest outrage.  We NEED to find a way to see them as human beings that are worth saving.   We need to reach out to hear them, understand them and meet them part way.    If we criticize them and ridicule them, judge them, shame them and embarrass them we do nothing to win them over.  We only become more like them and when we realize that – then shame sets in and we are filled with shame and self-loathing.  Lost in a cycle we can see no way out of.  It takes someone to step outside the self-perpetuating cycle and say, “Wait….   I’m sorry,  while I disagree with what you are saying or how your are expressing it I’d like to hear more about why you feel that way and see if there’s a way we can work through it together.”   And when they say something you disagree with ask them, “Why do you think that will work or how will that help the situation?”  There is NOT one way to do things.

That sets the stage for dialog – it’s the beginning of change.  We cease to be lost in the coldness of our own defenses.   When we stop the polemicizing and start listening to other peoples stores we cease to be trapped by the indifference we feel toward others.  We stop looking down on others and take steps to heal the contact, the bond between us that makes us uniquely human.  We stop defining the other person as “them” or “the other”.  We also need to stop being offended by criticism.  Remember offense is something you take = it’s not given to you.   Accept criticism and respond lovingly and appropriately.   And if you give criticism and the other person is offended you can be the salve, the healing balm with a simple “I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend I was just trying to express what I feel.  Why does that offend you?”

So are you tired of the “ball of confusion” that perpetuates modern society?

If you are, I dare you seek out difference and find a way to meet it and meet with it. You can rise above it all. WE can rise above it all.  When we help others rise up – especially those who are different with different ideologies, beliefs, moral centers, values ….. when we help others we help ourselves.  I dare you.  Will you dare?  You might be surprised who will come along.

RISE UP

STAY HUMAN – “All I want to do is stay human with you…..”

It’s not going to happen unless we (you and I) make it happen.
BE THE CHANGE

BLACK AS NIGHT “I believe in the good things coming…”

Pass it on.  Link this post to your blog, tweet it to everyone!

haiku on birds 2

regal, pompous
purple martins majesty
live in mansions

******************

run, run away
a honking, snapping terror
the goose is loose

******************

blue heron
fishes in reflections
one stiff leg

haiku on birds

flock of pigeons
flying over — blue skies
poop on my head

*****************

feeding time
excited sparrows chirp ’round
flower box

*****************

egg adopted
screech owl hatches wood duck
one family

LOL

There is a long proud history of bawdy humor in literature of all types including poetry.  I’ve decided it’s time I give it a go at low brow humor.
Laugh Out Loud

Body Music

Farting is the sound
of the body’s marching band.
Its trumpeting brass,
thunderous drums, and
the delicate squeak of the clarinet.

Gaseous humors
released from within,
expelled with force or
slipping out through the cracks
in a hissing wind.

Grand multi-sensory experience –
whether earthquaking, embarrassingly obvious
or silent and deadly;
a bowel-shaking satisfaction
will always make you smile.

Polite society is no place for me.
Let the face bunch up in laughter
and let the ears tingle.
LET IT RIP! (and of course)
pass the nose-plugs please.

for more laughs….
http://mentalfloss.com/article/52419/11-literary-fart-jokes

new untitled poem

(untitled) 1/29/19 1AM

… with bigoted clam-shelled-shut heart
pinched accusation and fervent digit all gesticulation…
… their unctuous moral fortitude, no reverence for creation
razes the standard none can achieve
happy to fail, happy to fall
into the boiling cauldron of righteousness…
… reason lost.

Who will avail the good, decent, compassionate
and forgiving soil?
… planting seeds to each grow its own kind
fruit bearing and fruitless
watered by streams of untethered acceptance.

Virtues are best left in deep shadows
where they are not exposed to the light of…
… haughty self-aggrandizement,
bleached by self-promotion or discolored by false humility…
… left in the heavy darkness when eyes close
and sound fades to sleep…
… perchance to dream.

 Anatomies of Pain #2

… on… being… and… becoming….

Happy New Year everyone!

This is the time of year where  people make resolution after pointless resolution.   They are ALL a waste of time.   I even overheard someone the other day say, “well I better make my New Years resolution – even though I know I will fail after 2 weeks.”   This kind of futility will kill us – if not our body it will kill our soul.   We need to stop talking like this.   We need to stop committing to things we know we will fail at or have no true intention of completing.  In addition to this we need to STOP looking to others for the changes we want to see.

messages from the future #77 wm sm

It’s time to stop trying and start being!

BE the peace you want to see in the world.

BE the joy you wish others to have.

BE the happiness you seek.

BE the faith you want to see others convert to.

BE the acceptance you would want in others.

BE the tolerance you wish to see in others.

BE the kindness where you find it impossible.

BE the love that others cannot or will not give you.

BE.

Just BE.

When you find your being… you will find your becoming… a light to the world….

messages from the future #57 evn smlr

You need to understand “being” won’t be easy and you may suffer for it because others want you to be what they want not what you are.   But it’s time to terraform this desert that has become humanity.  You are all Desert Roses – bloom free for the world to see. It’s a new year with 365 brand new days.

Your music moment today is provide by Sting – “Brand New Day” the title track from the album BRAND NEW DAY.  May it give you the energy you need to start to bloom in this new year.  🙂

… on… navigating storms….

Love Is The Lighthouse In A Storm

When we are in the midst of a storm – like the culture war that is raging here in America – there is only one way to get through it.  Love is the lighthouse and forgiveness is the light in the lighthouse.  Sure many people may say love is the light but that just seems to easy – even cliche.  I think that the lighthouse is love because it is the foundation that holds the light.  Forgiveness radiates.  How does this work?  Love is what we give to others and forgiveness is what we ask for ourselves.  We are all perfectly imperfect.  Have you ever noticed what happens when someone asks for forgiveness?  There is an immediate pause, a respite, a calm, things immediately de-escalate.  What would happen if the US asked Korea for forgiveness?  What would happen if the opposing sides – non-racists and racists asked for forgiveness from each other?  Would that not bring calm and open the opportunity for dialogue?  That’s what we need – and we don’t need to agree – we just need to stop hurting each other when we disagree.

So please, let this be our mantra: “I love you, forgive me.”
We can ALL learn how to live on love and forgiveness.

 

 

… on color or b&w….

Some people prefer color and others prefer b&w.

In an image saturated society which has more impact and why?
Of course there are several considerations to make before answering such a question.

“image saturated society” ~
What does that mean?
How does it shape our perceptions and tastes?
How does it determine our escalating sense of reality?
How does it change how we process/create the images we see?
Where is the “truth” in an image? – What is “true” in an image?

reeds-and-ropes-bw

reeds-and-ropes

…on… nowhere

EXIT TO NOWHERE
Exit To Nowhere smlr

Where is Nowhere?
Can you take me there?
Will others welcome me?

What will it look like?
Will it be someplace just like here?
Will I be entering a place everyone else is trying to leave?

Is there a road to nowhere?
Is there a train to nowhere?
Is there a door to nowhere?

Nowhere is home
Somewhere is always someplace else
The elusive “other”

Always going and never arriving
Living the dream
While ignoring reality

White line fever
Tracks of our tears
Knocking on the doors of opportunity never to be opened.

We have taken the exit and are now here.