(source: gambar.wiki) Al-Shabaaab, the Somalia-based terror group, has been largely portrayed as a male organization in its more-than-decade-long operational history, but it’s now emerging that women are also at the center of one of Africa’s deadliest insurgencies. The group, al-Qaeda’s terror network affiliate in East Africa, is waging its […]
This past week of Thanksgiving and multi-legged travel across the country to see grandchildren during heightened fear and security levels was enlightening for me in so many ways. Not the least of these ways was that 5 year old twin girls with Thanksgiving birthdays are wonderful bundles of joy and non-stop energies of all sorts.
Other darker understanding also dawned on me. I consciously refuse to allow fear to shape my life. I have control over how I choose to respond to life and cultural events. I have control over how I shape my reality. Not everyone, in fact most people, do not understand the power they have to shape how they feel about and see the world. Collectively this ability can transform interaction, processes and ultimately the world.
I recognized fear in those around me as I traveled. Fear in airline passengers, fear in crowds, people with distrust of authority who embrace irrational solutions. I am calling this fear out as manufactured paranoia. So much goes on in our lives at this time of year, that stress alone makes it challenging to navigate the Holidays in the best of times, but when the larger world adds to the stress, things begin to break.
The good news is that women, as always, have the power to shape the information and reaction to that information that comes into their homes. When we do not actively engage in understanding and processing information, we allow it to wash over us, to be delivered to us as a finished product rather than as a bits and pieces of data that have to be assembled.
Big media news adheres to policy and structure of news delivery and analysis that convey a distinct view, a style of delivery that is a branded viewpoint. That view is presented as though it is objective. One of the few things of which I am sure is that nothing is objective.
Who says we have to buy things in stores on a Friday, or shop locally on a Saturday, or order things online on a Monday, or “give back” on a Tuesday? Companies who are selling things and the media that carry their advertising and messages are the only ones I can think of who promote these things. I shop locally all year long. I do purchase from major online retailers who can get things to me quickly when necessary. I try to give and give back all the time.
To me the day after Thanksgiving is a day to play games, take walks, construct models, and put together puzzles, I try to buy nothing on that day and just be with the family with whom I am sharing the holiday.
I will not allow fear to manipulate my healthcare choices or travel decisions. I am sad. I will spend as much time as I can with family. I will maintain my informational autonomy as best I can.
“It is the June Solstice wherever you go today,” I wrote last week. In the Northern Hemisphere we observe the Summer Solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice is observed. Like everything humans do, there is some disagreement about what this means, except that old Sol aligns with the Tropic of Cancer.
I live in Tucson, Arizona, so for me that means that June is the height of the dry Summer. Summer Solstice is definitely the middle of summer in my book. The monsoons usually start in July during which time the humidity spikes while temperatures remain quite high.
This has been an unusual year, weather-wise. Spring often is only evident here by the blooms of plants. Here is southern Arizona we say that, “The ice breaks on the Santa Cruz River” the first day it reaches 100 degrees F. It usually happens in April, but this year it was mid-May before we hit a hundred; it was on May 17th, my birthday, June 17, our wedding anniversary, often records temperatures well over 110 degrees. I do not remember what the temperature was last week on the 17th. That information was lost, completely overwritten, with the slaughter of nine good people at Bible study at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, SC by a hateful, domestic terrorist.
I often wish others, “Happy Solstice.” The main reason I am pleased when Mid-Summer arrives is that the monsoons will soon arrive.
But this year there is a pall over the anniversaries and celestial celebrations that has finally broken through my resolve to exclude sadness from this time of year. I am tired of being parched. It is so dry around here that things can mummify. That can put one in a foul mood. In these days of air conditioners, central air, evaporative cooling, and electric fans it is rather hard to explain why I am living in a hot-house. It is not for the plants. My husband and I are trying to stay on budget and pay off all debt. Obviously to do this we cannot accumulate more debt. So we are limping along with a 20-year-old A/C unit that needs to be replaced. There are parts of our home that will not get below 80 degrees. That makes me a bit irritable too. We will pay cash for a new unit when a tax return is generated for us; did I tell you that some thief filed our taxes for us this year?
With the already evident climatic fluctuations caused by the increase in overall global temperatures, what the future holds for us here is not promising.
Then there is this year’s unsuccessful attempt to push back the memories that come forward every year near the anniversary of my mother’s death. June 25th.
I was to have a Grand Opening for the Women’s Legacy Project on June 25th. But I just could not finish the last bits and pieces of the remaining tasks. Thoughts about religion and racist beliefs have been on my mind constantly these past 10 days and that is not conducive to the concentration needed for a few more launch tasks. Looks like September is the next window for an opening.
Where does protected public expression of your beliefs end and imposition of your beliefs on others begin? It starts way before the killing of 9 good people. I do not say any pledges to flags. I do not support any organized religion. Personal faith is another matter and should be kept personal. But everyone believe they are right. In this area I just do not know, but I do know that freedoms granted by the constitution allow me to do business in public and have my private beliefs.
I will not actively or passively support the public imposition of a religion that was conceptualized at the same time that human sacrifice was practiced. Abraham was going to ritually slaughter his son. Perverse. I am just as suspicious of beliefs related to these practices as I am of any system that has incorporated ritual sacrifice of living creatures. I am extremely uncomfortable with patriarchal, segmentary lineage beliefs and practices that trace to North Africa 5,000 years ago.
Faith is a decision, said Mother Teresa.
Mysticism is “belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.”
I have had mystical experiences and from those I have decided to have faith. But I do not want to impose my beliefs on others. That is one of the reasons I like written words so much. We can choose not to read. But please do not expect me to quietly support your ritual practices in my presence unless I have willingly and overtly made a decision to participate in them. Flag flying, a behavior, can be a very dangerous thing. One thing can stand for another. One thing can represent another. One thing often points to other things.
Love and grace are real to me. Everything else is questionable. Even summer and winter depends on where you are standing. I stand firm in my understanding that everything is relative.
Corporate Financed Terrorism
Today I listen to yet another day of media coverage of yet another mass shooting. 13 dead. Around 300 people are shot every day in the U.S. by guns. For a crowd-sourced data site that lists the basic statistics for named gun deaths in the US starting with the Newtown massacre go to Gun-death Tally. The interactive map can be searched by age, gender, location, or date.
I just checked the tally and the shooter in today’s massacre at the naval yard is the third from the last death listed. The list contains over 8000 names. It is inaccurate as these are publicly reported gun deaths. It is probably grossly under-reporting gun deaths because suicides account for 60% of gun deaths but are rarely publicly identified as such. That means over 17,000 deaths in the last 9 months. That is almost 6 times as many people in 3/4 of a year compared to those killed on 9/11.
Our culture apparently values money more than life. My views on the problem and where efforts to stop the slaughter should begin:
- The NRA is a terrorist arms dealer.
- Violent games in which players kill people over and over and over are terrorist training camps.
Maybe it is time for women who love their families and are sick of the growth of industries that promote slaughter to consider monkey-wrenching.