because we all need some good news right now.

Congratulations to the International Space Station as it celebrates 20 years of continuous habitation.   The things that are possible when we dream and work together. 

Night Rain

Night Rain

Splashes and Rivulets.
The rain dances then flows
washing, cleansing the
streets and sidewalks
by lamplight
while the city sleeps.

The sins of Winter
washed into the gutter and
time moves slowly.
I stare impatient
by the window
waiting for repentant Spring.

… on… a new baby….

I created a couple of Haiku’s to go with this favorite non-traditional Christmas song.

Heard the baby cry
Neighbors gently hush back to sleep
Thin walls breathe hope

Young woman, young man
Their Christmas gift arrived early
Joy all season long

 

… on… hate….

messages-from-the-future-22-evn-smlr
Being a citizen of the United States Of America the past 8 months have been excruciatingly difficult to endure.  We have a President (along with other White House leadership) with no self-control, no discretion, no discipline, no compassion and no love who continues to emotionally/psychologically abuse, harass and harm the very people he is supposed to lead.  Never has so much damage been done in and to the office of President of the United States than has occurred under Donald Trump.  It will only go to deepen the cynicism and distrust that people have for politicians.  I think the notion of a politician being a force for good is not even possible with the current leadership.  It has been depressing to daily and sometimes hourly see breaking news stories of how the President has, yet again, done something so outrageous and shocking that it is virtually unbelievable.  We are being forced to watch a reality media show that is seemingly never-ending.  And the media is focusing on the sensational.  Now I have no great love for the media and that is about the only thing Donald Trump and I have in common.  Our reasons for disliking the media are completely different.  I would like to see more investigative journalism and less sensational journalism.  Trump just decries anything he doesn’t like as “fake news”.  But it’s NOT fake news it is the reality we live in.

This past weekend we saw many developments in the United States.  The rise of racism, talks of secession, hatred for all things non-white.  And in the past few months we’ve been seeing the increased likelihood of nuclear war with North Korea, Venezuela, and a trade war with China.  Sure with all this “madness” it would be easy to throw in the towel and say it is WAY bigger than anything I can have any power over or change.  But I’m not ready to do that.  Now more than ever we need to be strong.

We do need to look at both sides of a story but we also need to address and stand up to those values and positions that would harm others or enslave them for ones own enrichment.  For example: The American Constitution has a provision for free speech and lawful assembly.  These laws apply to ALL people – even people who believe differently from me. So for neo-nazis, white supremacists etc; we must acknowledge they have the right to protected free speech (we just don’t have to like it).  Just like people who oppose them have the right to protected free speech.  Now I know a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable with that notion. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am a FIRM believer in what he taught about loving ones enemies (I’ll explain more on that later). It’s just that in these troubled times it is difficult to STOP, take a moment, consider, weigh ones reactions before making those reactions public.  But that is exactly what we must do.  I do not love Donald Trump’s policies I specifically hate his approach to what should be collaborative, positive working relationships.  I hate his non-stop “twittering”.  But I do NOT wish him dead.  I hate now Trump and many in the white house continues to hold his business interests (even if they are in his children’s names – who are his official presidential advisors and aides) creating conflicts of interest. I cannot hate a man who is misguided, foolish, delusional and emotionally unstable.  I can honestly say I’ve had to think about this long and hard.  The past 8 months have shown me that we all have the capacity for hatred but we do not all act on that.  I understand why people may think that the only way to solve this crisis we face in America is to kill or assassinate Donald Trump.  I understand because I felt myself slipping into the same hate for hate thinking and had to stop myself.  I pray to God that Donald Trump is not assassinated.  Here’s why.  I don’t have any confidence in the Vice President that would take his place.  And killing Donald Trump would only give the alt-right extremists the martyr they’d love to have – which they would use to justify further violence.  On top of that as a Christian I am against the death penalty for anyone because I believe that just as God gives life he also takes it away it is not up to man take life away.  And anyone who behaves abominably should have the opportunity to change or, to use an archaic term, repent.  If they are killed we are depriving them of that opportunity.  So death is NOT the answer.  But Donald Trump should be impeached and that needs to happen ASAP (in my opinion).  I seriously doubt that Trump will survive to the end of his first term.

Sadly America can only blame itself for creating AND electing Donald Trump the tyrant. No one should be surprised by what he is doing.  He used the same tactics in his reality TV shows.  People who have participated in his shows “THE APPRENTICE” and “CELEBRITY APPRENTICE” have noted how Trump would pit people against each other, he would harass and harangue people to create and build drama in the show.  He is a victim of his own celebrity – believing in a false value of self.  Unfortunately, we can see that what works on television isn’t what works as a world leader.  He has also gotten support from an “Evangelical Right” that uses scripture to justify and encourage Donald Trump giving him a false moral justification for all he does.  This same type of Evangelical movement that uses the Christian Bible to justify white supremacy also supported Hitler and The Third Reich (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Evangelical_Church).   I also think it may be time to do away with the electoral college.  There was a time when the electoral college had value.  But in the internet age the electoral college is an archaic institution that can only do more harm than good.  It is time to elect leaders only by popular vote.

Now about love.  It may seem odd and unlikely to read about love in this type of post.  I think it is necessary to bring the needed balance and provide level-headed options to the discussion.   Please consider this; how do we love a tyrant, a despot, an oligarch, a hate-filled man? We CANNOT react in the ways he reacts.  We can find ways to slow down the discussion allowing time for all parties to think about their positions.  We can act respectful to them without agreeing with them.  We can seek to remove them from their position for their own good.  Donald Trump is clearly over his head and he is being battered on all sides continually and that would be enough to make anyone crack.  The kindest thing we can do for America is also the kindest thing we can do for Donald Trump.  Impeach him.  Remove him from the position that is causing him so much distress.  And wish him well as he leaves.  Now I’ll be the first to admit this is easier to type than actually practice.  Love is not some easy fluffy romantic notion – it is something we have to work at.

One of the benefits of writing this is that it also reaffirms what I believe and helps give me the strength I need to practice what I “preach”.  I cannot hate Donald Trump I can only hate the carnage he has created while in office.  I do not believe there are evil people only evil actions.  And I choose to not act evil or out of malice toward my fellow Americans, or any living beings.  And if I do act evil (because I am human and have occasional weakness) it is a weakness that I quickly seek to remedy.

Matthew 4:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Feel free to agree or disagree on any and all points.  That’s why it’s called free speech.  We can disagree and still be respectful.

***If you think more people should see this post – feel free to re-post.

… on… wanting….

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”

~ Epicurus

2011-bystander

… on nirvana/heaven…

The Kingdom of Heaven is near. ~ Jesus Christ [Matthew 10:7]

messages from the future #14 wm sm

This is Nirvana
We do not see that our life right here, right now, is nirvana. Maybe we think that nirvana is a place where there are no problems, no more delusions. Maybe we think nirvana is something very beautiful, something unattainable. We always think nirvana is something very different from our own life.
—Maezumi Roshi, “Appreciate Your Life”

Bones…Flesh…Breath…Life

[fyi – this article originally posted on my prev blog 3/10/13]
craw #7

To many titles came to mind when I created the image:
“TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MOTHERS”
“BESIDE MYSELF”
“GEMINI CRIES”
….. etc.

What would you title this?

Music today is by post-rock band HAMMOCK. Enjoy their song and this inspired video (best in full screen), BREATHTURN

I’ve always been drawn to the old testament prophets in the Bible they were the creative masters of their time. One such prophet was Ezekiel and the following passage has always inspired me when I’m feeling close to death (physically, creatively, spiritually etc.) It is unusual in that is starts from a place of death/decay/destruction and comes to life. It seems to fit this image and the inspirational music. And this text about moving from death back to life is better than any Frankenstein story. Enjoy.

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he set me in the middle of a valley; it was full o bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of Man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will come to live.'” So I spoke to the bones and as I was speaking there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together bone to bone. I looked and the tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them. Then, I said, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these bones, that they may live.” And breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet.
…Son of Man, people say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone.” Tell the people this, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.” ~ Ezekiel 37:1-14

The bottom line: no matter how dead we may feel. It doesn’t matter how dead we perceive others to be, there is ALWAYS hope. There is a Universal force (whatever name you give it – God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha nature, Jesus etc) that can and will give us what we need to carry on. You can be the light. I believe in your victory!

Hope, For the Weekend, For Life.

A couple of quotes on hope.

“Well, it’s important to have hope that something can be done at some level to protect what’s of value in the world, and I think something can be done, But such hope must be informed by a realistic understanding of human beings as they are.

There’s a type of hope now which I think is very harmful, which is essentially a form of blocking out reality because it’s too difficult to contemplate. Now, I think , that’s a much more hopeless view.” – John Gray

“Hope is only where despair is. Something truly new-beginning happens only when you are in such deep shit that, within the existing coordinates you can find no way out, and then, in order to survive you have to invent something new. The magic is to turn a desperate situation into something new.” – Slavoj Zizek

A great documentary by Alfonzo Cuaron.
The Possibility of Hope – Part 1


The Possibility of Hope – Part 2

The Possibility of Hope – Part 3