The Painful Truth

helping-handsI have never found it entertaining to watch people get hurt on tv “ video” shows. It is physically painful just watching. I have never found it entertaining to watch someone on tv in a situation that is very uncomfortable for them….it becomes very uncomfortable for me. There is an overwhelming ache of uselessness in knowing I possess no ability to intervene and help them. So is the life of an Empath. I suggest to you that it can be truly painful to the spirit. It is also the pain I experience when watching a lifeless child being scooped up off a foreign shoreline, or the nameless face of a war victim, stunned and shell shocked, calmly wiping blood from his 3 year old eyes….Pure agony.

It might be hard to believe that I suffer from this overload of sappy empathy. Stupid to some, I’m sure of it. Ironic since I have looked into the faces of numerous dead babies- victims from abuse, held the hand of children too afraid to talk of the monster in their home, and listened to the cries of women who were raped at the hand of a trusted friend. But in those situations I could help or at least try to make a semblance of such. That is what an Empath does.

I believe that the nature of an Empath can be found in many progressive liberals. It is necessary for us to feel the pain, the joy, and the despair of the desperate. It is within us to try to make life better for them. We are mocked for our bleeding hearts and our inability to see the justice in survival of the fittest. We are tomorrow’s victims in the world of bullies and yesterday’s crybabies. We find life bound together with others not by our differences but by our souls. We care too much… to the dissatisfaction of some.

Today, my spirit and soul hurt with such pain. I know there are many very fearful and overwhelmed people in America who do not know what tomorrow will bring. In life, competition is the daily bread for many. In life, many cannot afford bread nor have the will to compete. Someone must feed their spirit and guard their souls and we take it upon ourselves to do it. If you are not an Empath this may never make sense to you, but if you are, I send you many hugs. Almost intolerable at times, this witnessing of empowered haters and racists, misogynists and those who just simply don’t get looking out for the other guy takes its toll. So I say to you, be kind to yourself dear empathetic friends. Rest well, reduce the toxicity around you and connect with like individuals. You are needed to continue the call…and the caring. This is your painful truth.

 

I voted for you today…

voteI voted for you today….my dear daughter, granddaughter and all other female family members, friends and women of this country. I want you to have the freedom to make decisions about your own body. I want you to walk the path of equality with men. Never to feel that you are the lesser sex because of lesser pay. Never to feel unworthy as a woman and undervalue your spirit and soul. You are beautiful inside and out, no matter your size and without judgement of your physical looks. You deserve a place beside men and not behind men. You are nurturers and compassionate caretakers, not sexual objects for the fancy of men and boys. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…the racial minorities of this country. I want you to have the same advantages to succeed in this country without bigotry and hatred toward your ethnicity and heritage. You deserve to practice your faith, your traditions and your customs without retribution for being “different” than the white man who claims the throne. We are all immigrants here in a historical sense yet many of us deny our own ancestors in order to appear  “The American”. You and I are the melting pot of our country, the rich and diverse culture that makes America the beautiful. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…the poor and the homeless, the forgotten ones of this country. I want you to have food in your belly, a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head. Everyone in this country deserves to have health care, including you. Many of you work full-time yet can not afford to provide for your family. You deserve decent wages for your work and a fair minimum wage. Your children need to have hope that their life can be better. They need to be able to see past the desperate lives of living day-to-day not knowing what comes tomorrow. I voted for you and them today.

I voted for you today…LGBT community of this country. It is your right to love another without the intrusion of society dictating to whom you may love or marry. You are entitled to the same economic benefits given to other married couples. You deserve equal protection under the law against discrimination whether at work or in your community. You are a beacon for others to come together in humanity as one and accept each other for our wonderful individuality. You are brave and true to your soul for declaring who you really are in life. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…men and women in blue of this country. Your everyday “life on the line” is truly that. You deserve the respect of the public and the support of your community in order to do your job well. You are entitled to be trained well to answer the call and give your best judgement in every situation. You deserve to have your community come together and work through the difficult issues together. The effort needs to be made to assist you in finding the path to walk alongside those you serve. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…the black men and women who feel that their lives no longer hold value in our communities of this country. Those who struggle to stay above the current issues yet are pulled down by feeling robbed of their dignity and life worth. Those that struggle to break the stereotypes placed upon their backs, heavy and burdensome. You deserve to have your community come together and work through the difficult issues together. The effort needs to be made to assist you in finding the path to walk alongside those you live amongst, with dignity and respect for both. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…our veterans and armed services personnel of this country.  Your service should never be disgraced by our lack of commitment to you when returning from war. You are entitled to be respected and provided for…never left to be homeless, unserved by medical care or inaction towards your disabilities obtained by serving us. You deserve fair wages and benefits for protecting us. We should be committed to you by not sending you into battles that are not ours to fight…only ours to lose life. War is death, ugly and you deserve a Commander In Chief who will never forget the consequences of war, who will exhaust all conflict resolution practices and treaties. It is easy for Americans to say that we support you…but our actions need to support our words. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today…the adults of tomorrow of this country. The seekers of science and technology..the philosophers and deep thinkers…the musicians and artists and writers. You deserve to gain a full education whether it is in medicine, engineering, the fine arts or technical schools. We need you all to build a better future. You need us to make it affordable for you to pursue your goals and in turn give us a return on our investment…your growth and wisdom. You deserve to have a future on this planet to raise your families. Climate change must be faced and decisions made to give you and your descendants a place here to call home…like your parents and grandparents have had. I think of you often and wonder when we will finally wake up to realizing that your physical future on this planet is even more dire than your economic future. I voted for you today.

I voted for you today….those of you consumed with anger and feeling that nothing has changed these past 8 years in this country. You have not seen jobs bills created, infrastructure created and changes to our way of life to make your hard work pay off. Your taxes seem to take it all, your hours of work are endless and some of you are being phased out…(coal mining is hit hard for one) You deserve the truth about your future and the support to provide you with necessary skills to change for our evolving world. We must make changes and you are being fooled by corporate America in thinking otherwise. While I understand the frustration and anger, I truly wish you would understand who is holding back the cogs of the system. It is Congress and obstructionism. They must be shown that we will not tolerate their playing politics above the good of our country. I want change too. I want a strong economy, a healthy workforce and lower taxes…for those of us not at the top. I want loopholes to be closed and the top 1% to pay their fair share. I want you to understand that it is not the woman at the checkout line using food stamps that is taking so much out of your pocket…it is the corporations. I want you to see beyond the glare and ugliness of this campaign season, beyond the fear mongering and hyperbole fed to all of us. I want you and I to be able to discuss our views and opinions without insults thrown and emojis strewn without forethought. I care about you. I care about our country. I care about humanity. I voted for all of us today…except Donald Trump.

Who do we want to become?

Who do we want to become? Is it wealth that will make us feel fulfilled and successful? Making sure that those who lie below us in the financial bed either rise and shine to work (because they are all just lazy) and get off public assistance…or be drug tested and continuously reminded that they are less valuable and less deserving of our respect…or tax dollars. While we all know many CEO’s and corporate individuals abuse drugs in abandon yet are handed our $$ without anyone giving a care or asking them to be drug tested. Why I ask?

Who do we want to become? Is it kissing the feet of corporate America, while providing them with millions in tax cuts as we silently wish to be them? Chanting the mantra of capitalism in the hope and dream that we too can reach this peak and look down upon those who have not “made it” as we count our money and feeling “blessed” that our God has given us such a life. Yet fault the less fortunate for not making their life better.

Who do we want to become? Is it stoking the fire of fear and despair and creating a world where we believe first and second amendment rights are ready to be ripped away from us from some unknown force? Where in turn we pack on the guns, (to protect ourselves from ourselves), store survival gear in preparation of Armageddon and ready ourselves to kill our neighbors if necessary.

Who do we want to become? I want none of the above. Yet daily I read of Bills being passed that are leading us down this dangerous, self-righteous slope. Soon to hit a very dark bottom. I have the desire and the will to fight this with compassion, love, and a desperation that our world will not end up this way. I refuse to spit upon those who have not what I have, I refuse to fuel the fire of fear, I refuse to think that one religion is the only way out of here. I refuse to think that more guns are the answer as I watch time and again the young children dying needlessly. I refuse to believe that the little guy does not matter. So I will help you someday, if I see that you need something and I can help. I will give you my hand without asking your religion or political interests. I will share a smile with you without asking if you pay your taxes or have a green card handy. I will not look at your age, race or sexual orientation in determining if you are worthy of my time. I refuse to lose my humanity. Who do you want to become?imagesQUJGV984

An Attitude Adjustment

 

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It becomes part of our being, hugging us like skin. Not something that you can slip off at night and toss on the floor with the clothing of the day. No, attitude is much deeper and harder to change. Attitude begins to grow within us as babies when we are introduced to the world around us. We learn to love, we learn to hate, we learn to discern as bad and good. Yet somewhere along the journey of life, some of us may find ourselves consumed with the negative…like straining to see in the dark of the night…only making out the bad things around us.

Many times a parent declares, “I don’t like your attitude” or “you need to change your attitude” without understanding how difficult this process of change can be… We are asking one to quickly morph into another… or face our consequences. Yet we as parents have helped define their attitudes.  Combine that with the world we currently live in…wow it is a ticking time bomb. Take a moment and consider that children are living in a very complex world today. You and I may have walked a mile to school  (I confess I did not) but we never dealt with the intensity and gravity of cyber bullying. We may have had to eat what was on our plate or go hungry ( I hated roast beef) yet we never felt the aggression and severe emotional pressure many kids of today experience. Today for fun, our children occupy their time with a never-ending visual stimulation of violence through our media and high def gaming videos. They kill with a deft handling the game  a skill once acquired by playing jacks or marbles. They watch live social media capturing death, destruction, mayhem and violence. Some kids have had siblings, friends, parents die on the streets.  Today doomsday preppers are glamorized on tv as they are proudly hording guns and ammunition…life and death, killing and survival concepts discussed as matter of fact like cooking shows and recipes. It has become a harsh world. Attitudes become armor to protect from that which is so difficult to deal with in life. And we are partially responsible as parents. As adults we become blind to the attitudes we carry as we strive to make the dollar, pay the bills and seek our own escape from the craziness. But we all travel with deep feelings and beliefs that keep us separated from each other.  And we teach our children to do the same. Attitudes, they are so hard to change…

So what happens to tomorrow if there is not a positive shift in attitude? What happens if the adults do not begin to see that their bigotry, intolerance and closed minds are imprinted upon their children?  I do not want to go there. Attitude…while deeply ingrained does carry ability to change. We see an epiphany realized by the family who adamantly declares strong anti-gay attitudes…until a loved one comes out. We see the ability to empathize during a natural catastrophe…as strangers extend a hand or even risk their life for another. Why is it only then that we are willing to see beyond the dark…why is it only then that we feel we are all a part of a larger whole?  Those beautiful moments when a connection of respect for life of another is made with no thought of what is to be gained in return- action without attitude.

I often wonder why we wait until desperate times to rise above our attitudes. Why do we join the cause only after we feel personally affected by the war.  Cancer, poverty, unemployment, inequality, gun violence, bullying, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction…on and on they march in front of us. Our attitudes block us from the fight unless life has chosen to throw us through the ropes. Only then do many of us awaken and see that the fight is worthy.  We take up our sword and add cause to our existence. But I ask, why wait?

The Beast

     All too often, we mourn the senseless suicide of very distraught young people due to the intolerance and ignorance of the socially inept. The ones who are driven to taunt and make life hell for others in order to feel they are somehow better than those they pound down with words and violence. Their bullying rips into the very fiber of those they hurt and many victims can no longer take the assault on their individuality. Their pain is magnified by millions as many times they are emotionally destroyed through social media….mind you not a note written in class but written to the world. We feel saddened, unable to stop this horrible beast. Studies are run, awareness campaigns are developed and school prevention programs and protocols created. Yet the beast lives on.

     I suggest we take a good, long mature look at ourselves. Take off the blinders, shed the ego armor, and stand naked within the light of truth. We must own our part in begetting the beast. We have fed it with our own behaviors and nurtured it with our hate. Simply put, our children have been watching us closely and learning well from us.

     Telling children that bullying is wrong-yet demonstrating our own muscle flexing and power/control only negates the message. Do as I say and not as I do never flies. You may roll your eyes and shake your head in denial. I stand my ground as I am willing to call it like I see it. 

Let’s take a look…

 How many times have we seen individuals charge one another on the field of play at a sporting event? (This makes the 6:00 news) How many times have we heard the verbal exchanges between fans or directed at coaches while sitting in the stands? Do we think our children are deaf and blind to this? And when we talk in conversation about those who are different from us whether it is race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or even their dress- our views become attached to our children like lint to a cloth. When we beat our spouse, abuse our animals and our family – we teach our children that this is what to expect in life. And then we wonder when they treat others with such disregard.

     And now we are in the midst of a very emotionally charged national election. So deep are the crevasses between many of us, we now have separated into the “us” and the “them.” The divisions spread with the ugliness of intolerance, anger and ignorance. The crevasses become a canyon. Our beliefs become our mantra and we sever from those so different from us. Self righteousness pervades our thinking and clouds our virtues. The beast is released and the bullying runs rampant. It grows. In our self-righteousness, we determine we have the right to exert our power and control. For example: we intimidate our employees as we offer “suggestions” about their voting. Such a personal and private right that men and women have given their lives for…to now be held hostage- by The Company Store. I resent seeing that happen in our country.  Seeing racial slurs on billboards and t-shirts and the silent hanging of a noose in a tree- so heavy in its connotation. Why in 2012 is this happening? As our children watch with wide eyes and open ears.

     Oh but bullying comes in many forms and while we may recognize it we ignore its presence and that too feeds the beast. Have we reached a time when we turn our heads on the founding democracy of this country? Have we determined the end is more important than the means to getting there? I fear it is so.

     We have determined the way to success is to bully others to achieve. We are teaching our children to be intolerant. We are teaching them that intimidation is power. We are teaching them that racism and oppression = power.  As a result we are teaching them that bullying begets power. We are teaching them that this unearned power is what we are here to obtain. As long as we march with this deprecating self-righteousness as our banner- we will never slay the beast and sadly more innocent will die.  Seriously, we as adults must therefore…grow up and take responsibility.  Our behavior created the beast, our behavior can end it.

 

My Love For Letters

     It is a lost art, writing handwritten letters. Something that I miss terribly in our world of keyboards and touch screens. When one takes the time and effort to dance their pen in loops and lines forming in an effort to express themselves to another- this is true eloquence. Passion for the written word, long ago lost to the pecking of plastic keys and quick texts exchanged like brief looks. Yes, I miss the handwritten letters. I am known to save them as to me they are a connection to the writer. Showing me their own style of script, that is solely theirs like a fingerprint. Telling me that I was worthy of their time and effort (alas whether for love or anger, sorrow or friendship). Emotion exudes from a personal handwritten letter with no need for emoticons of smiley faces or higher case screaming to get one’s point across.

     I recall my family getting regular letters in the mail from my grandmother, living on the other side of Ohio. I so looked forward to the envelopes arriving. I imagine her sitting at her table, taking the time to declare what was happening in her life while inquiring about ours. Her patience at writing letters to all four of her children and their families. She was such a fair and considerate woman that she would not have finished until everyone was written one.

     But now we live in a world that is as close as our phone and laptop screens.  We send out to multiple contacts in a blink of an eye. We get immediate gratification, the name of the game today. And we are dependent on these devices to keep us connected. I truly don’t know that we are any better for it.  Cold and impersonal like a form letter addressing one as “to whom it may concern,” the digital world has tricked us to believe otherwise. I am not so easily fooled. I know that blogs and posts and texts are not the same. So every once in a while I have been known to sit and handwrite a letter to my husband. In my own way telling him that he is worthy of my time and effort. I miss the handwritten letters. I will always miss them.

The Power Of Fear And Intolerance

      Fear and intolerance go hand in hand in our world today. It is as if they are intertwined at the root and feed off of each other in a vicious, toxic cycle. Fear is defined as an emotion induced by a perceived threat that causes animals to move quickly away from the location of the perceived threat, and sometimes hide.(Wikipedia). Intolerance is defined as refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs…. (Dictionay.com) The two together create a caustic mix with dangerous and possibly violent results.    

      I believe we have created this poisonous combo to serve our own interests. By using fear, we can impress our own intolerant beliefs upon others. It is so very prevalent in our society stinging it’s victims with a venom of hate unlike any other. Why do we perpetuate this bad relationship? Why can’t we see through the fog of fear as it surrounds us and we lose our way? Instead we blindly follow others down their path and cling to their intolerance, owning it as ours.    

      Sometimes I wonder where the human race is headed. It has always been my hope that through life lessons we would learn not to fear and to beat back the bully of intolerance. I think it is a very hard battle to win. The early days of equal rights was a long and hard-fought fight. Many lives lost along the way- lost to intolerance and fear. But have we learned from the past? Unfortunately, I don’t think we have. Yes, these are powerful forces that can literally kill and do still take lives today. And we stand by and shake our heads and feel lucky that it did not happen where we live. Forgetting that fear and intolerance know no boundaries. Eventually you will have a loved one affected directly and then you may arise from indifference -feeling the sting from a reality awakening.    

       Don’t stand for intolerance. It doesn’t become you. It doesn’t become our society either. If you don’t rid yourself of bigoted thoughts and ideals you will never truly see the beauty of humanity. The beauty in all of us regardless of the color of our skin, age, gender, sexual preference, and religious beliefs just to name a few. You will be taught to fear that which is different from you instead of embracing the variety of life. Empathy is the key. It is the antidote for which we should all seek. It will take time. No more hiding in fear. No more refusing to respect contrary beliefs, opinions, and those who are different that ourselves. Are we up for it? Oh, but can we afford the alternative?