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Bieber’s, and Christie’s, and Miley’s Oh My………Seriously!!!!!

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I consider myself a pretty easy-going person, I really strive to experience my journey and allow others to experience theirs, without judgment, at least I try, ok. Quite frankly as far as preoccupations go, our society has an overabundance of judgers (notice how I am judging the judgers, wonderful isn’t it!!!) So I try to not fill an already overcrowded field. However, today I am wading in up to my eyeballs, and I am owning up to the fact that this post is a complete and mindful departure from how I intend to be in this world. Today I am a big judger. Whew, that long-winded justification certainly makes me feel better how about you??

So buckle your seatbelts here I go. First, I am appalled that we recently had a chemical spill that fouled the drinking water for approximately 300,000 people in West Virginia. That is similar to saying all of St. Louis or Pittsburg were suddenly without water. Further, at the risk of assuming too much, I believe, had it happened in St. Louis or Pittsburg there would be a public outcry along with the kind of political pomp and circumstance we expect when people are suffering, which would have kept this incident front and center. Instead what actually happened when 16% of the state of West Virginia, one of the poorest states in our country, was told not to use their water except to flush their toilets, well, not much really. It did not even warrant the front page of my hometown newspaper or the leading story on our news that night. Huh!?!?! I can’t even begin to understand the hardships people faced and are still facing in West Virginia. These poor people were blithely consuming this contaminated water, no one is certain for how long, before it was detected. Shortly, after the spill the water was declared safe to drink for everyone except pregnant women and then that was rescinded as premature.

I am not even sure where to begin, you see, first we are dealing with a chemical that was never intended to be in drinking water. No one really knows what we are dealing with. I sit in amazement as people are angry with the water company, really?!?!?!? What about the rules, regulations, lack thereof or disregard for, that was perpetrated by anyone along the chain of custody of that chemical?

Folks I am not sure how to properly express this but this is a big damn deal. If you think this could only happen in West Virginia think again the indifference toward West Virginia will bring this injustice to your local hometown very soon.

When I first heard of the spill, it was the next morning after, so I grabbed every newspaper on the counter at the hotel I was at to find out what the heck happened. I expected to see it on the front page, when in fact only one newspaper had an article about the spill, it was one of those small rectangular articles on the third page of the paper filling a gap next to the continuation of a front page article. I don’t even remember the front page article from that day. I do remember I was absolutely incredulous that it was not front page news. I mean Miley Cyrus twerking made front page news, Gov. Christie’s bridgegate scandal made front page news and now Justin Bieber’s latest episode in his ongoing acting out saga is splashed across the front page of the newspaper. These are life changing issues right??!!!?!?!

I found myself thinking it’s too bad it wasn’t a terrorist’s intentional act that contaminated the water, because that would be really sexy and newsworthy and then people would acknowledge the seriousness of this unbelievably tragic situation. The minute that thought ran across my consciousness I internally chastised myself, that’s a terrible thing to think! Really though, what difference does it make if it were some misguided person following a particular fanaticism, hell-bent on hurting others or if it is a careless or clueless business owner? The end result is the same, so why would we rally and become impassioned if it is perpetrated by one and not the other? We actually have more power to change the effect of the latter, so where is our outrage, why the indifference?

There has been such a lack of passionate response about this incident that I find myself wondering, did I unknowingly slip down a rabbit hole and find myself in an alternate reality? As I am typing this I am trying very carefully to keep from typing the obscenities that are bubbling up my throat like bile needing to be expelled to give me relief. I am thinking of all the people, kids, hospitals, schools, and businesses affected and still affected by this spill. Ugh, breathe.

Each time I see that mug shot of Justin Bieber on the TV I find my face getting flush, I see that pompous smile on his face (at least that is what I make it mean) and I feel a mixture of shame, anger and frustration. I feel like answering the call from Howard Beale the fictional news anchor from the movie Network, when he said and I quote “I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” People we need to wake up, we need to decide what is important for us, for our existence, for our kids, for our community. We have too many misguided people deciding what is important for us to know. Twerking, while funny and intriguing, is not important, political folly while filling our need to feel self-righteous, is not making the world safe or more peaceful, scrutinizing a teen-aged train wreck, does not meet our most basic needs.

I mean seriously our water, mother earth provides us precious water which is absolutely necessary for our survival and we foul that precious resource without so much as a whimper. Someone twerking in front of us or our kids, while awkward and unseemly, is not newsworthy. Getting caught in a traffic jam at a bridge crossing, while contrived and inconvenient, is not a tragedy. A young man making bad choices, while a misuse of talent and energy, does not threaten our way of life. But fouling our drinking water does threaten our very existence.  Terrorists frighten me, their ability to destroy life while seemingly detached from the result, frightens the hell out of me. AND I am more frightened by the lack of impassioned response to this incident in West Virginia.

I hope that my fears will be unfounded, when I discover that I simply slipped down a rabbit hole. That the parallel universe I am in, with its complacent and submissive response, is merely an illusion. I hope I emerge from my confines to find out there was indeed outrage, there was concern at the highest levels. That instead of knee-jerk reactions and short-term candy coated fixes, there is deep consideration and thought about what we need to do to make sure that this kind of ridiculous carelessness does not happen again. That in fact our clean water is protected. You will have to excuse me now I have to keep looking for that DRINK ME potion so I can get back to reality!!!!!

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
―     Elie Wiesel

Stronger

The flexible are strong and balanced.

 Yesterday while I was at Yoga we were doing the tree pose, one of my absolute favorites, I love the balance poses, my beautiful teacher Jan reminded us not to be worried about the constant movement and adjustment, that builds strength.  She went on to share that when the Biosphere 2, a completely closed ecological system built in the early 1990’s to mimic earth’s system for research purposes, was created the trees grew quickly, but they fell over and they determined it was due to the lack of wind.  They also realized the trees had softer wood than trees in the wild.  So while they grew faster they were harmed in the long run due a poor root system and soft exterior.  So the wind, in other words the turbulence around the trees, actually created stronger, healthier trees. 

I thought about how my yoga practice improved when I no longer resisted the poses and actually yielded to them.  I still remind myself of that, when I am at my edge in a particular pose.  The more I resist the pose the more uncomfortable it feels and I can feel I am hurting myself instead of building strength and flexibility.  It actually reminded me of when I was in labor and when I would have a contraction my first response was to tense up and resist the pain, which actually made the pain worst.  When I would consciously breathe and practice relaxation the pain was much more tolerable.  The same is true with my long distance running, when I felt myself resisting and tensing I would start to feel discomfort and fatigue.

I reflected on how the last two years of turbulence in my life has actually made me stronger, I feel strong inside and out.  I am less likely to resist the turbulence in my life, I breathe and yield to it.  I recognize when I am resisting and remind myself this is part of my conditioning as a human being.  I lost a friend to cancer last week and rather than resisting my grief I yielded to it and allowed myself to express my feelings.  It was probably extremely uncomfortable for some people around me but it was very balancing for me.

Jan, my yoga teacher and prophet, also shared with us how the salmon when spawning and swimming upstream can find themselves bumping along the rocks at the edges of the stream and they try to find the steady stream of resistance where the path is difficult but clear, because that is their purpose.  What an analogy for life, I have found myself bumping along the rocky shore many times and realize I need to get back into the steady stream where it requires steady action but my path is clear.  She reminded us that intention is the key.  Living life and making decisions fully aware and engaged with your intention is the way to the clear path, that does not mean that it will be easy, but the path will be unhindered.

While Jan was sharing the story of the spawning salmon, I reflected on a recent conversation with a girlfriend who is a single mom and has two daughters in college.  She was sharing with me that she was reading a study about how today’s mom’s unwittingly hold their daughter’s back in an attempt to help them, and she was fighting the urge herself.  My friend’s daughter had decided not to come home for the summer and instead was going to a large metropolitan area to get a job.  My girlfriend started with a litany of safety concerns and financial concerns to justify why she did not want her daughter to go.  You see my friend found a job for her daughter that would pay well and she would be home.  My friend finally confessed to me she really wanted her daughter to come home and be close to her.  My heart went out to her because I have a daughter and I love being with her and I knew how difficult this must be.  She told me she knew her daughter needed to do this, so she supported her decision and said she would use me as her audio journal to share her trepidation without holding her daughter back.  We talked quite a while about this and I told her to remember, we learned from our mistakes, and it’s time for her to learn from hers as well.  Again difficult but clear.  I only hope I remember this advice when I need it in a few years.

I am very connected to mother earth and look to her for inspiration and life lessons.  She always provides both if I am open to receive her gifts of knowledge.  Everything we need to understand in life is reflected by mother earth, she is a strong system particularly when we yield to her rather than resisting the natural order of things.  The greatest lesson we all can learn is that strength and balance are intertwined, if we do not develop strength we cannot develop balance.  Mother earth has taught us that, as we have tried to create more convenience in our life, we as a civilization have weakened ourselves and thrown ourselves out of balance.  I have learned over the last few months as I have embarked on a more balanced system for myself, one that more closely reflects nature, eating more whole foods, drinking lots of water, movement, working hard, playing, engaged in my community, engaged in my family, staying connected to others, as I stay true to this path I feel amazing and balanced.

The message here is that we need to grow strong roots and exterior by weathering the turbulence of our life and as a mother I am reminded I need to allow my saplings to grow strong roots and exterior too, not by sheltering them from the wind but allowing them to yield to the wind.  I will remain alongside them until it is my turn to go back to the earth, so they know I am there with them, witnessing them growing stronger.

“As mother’s of future generations and steward’s of mother earth we must resist the urge to take the convenient path, for in the end it leads to misery.  Instead we must take the more challenging path filled with uncertainty for as we hike this path we learn strength, balance and sustainability.” – Marsia Geldert-Murphey

Do you have a story of strength and balance you are willing to share?  Or do you have a tip or suggestion for leading a more balanced life?  Please share your stories here.

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