The Shift Is Coming – What Is It?

by Gabrielle Price

I used to write a spiritual and progressive column on an internet site that claimed to reach a broad audience and could make me some part time money if I just kept writing and plugging away.  The money was ‘pay per click’ with some commission for ad revenues initially – now that site just gives away coupons, travel miles and vacations or some manner of toy, gadget or consumer item.
For a writer trying to eek out a living is hard enough…to write progressive content about dumping the corporate mindset of political greed and consumption on a page full of ads that I had no control over and could potentially be about the very companies buying our democracy?  It just made me feel like an asshole.  Not that I wasn’t pleased with my final work but I felt the advertising would call my integrity into question.  That and I just can’t eat a coupon.
I quickly created my own site and never looked back.
Until recently.  I revisited both columns – I’m a firm believer that we don’t know where we’re going until we remember where we’ve been.  It was the spiritual column that found me chuckling at myself.  Not because of the work – it was at best indicative of a time during my own personal journey of intention and positivity – at worst it was incredibly naive.
I recall at the time that I struggled internally to write the words ‘power of positive thinking’ and ‘law of attraction.’  Not that there isn’t a little something to that – but I’m also a realist.  That comes through in my photography.  I don’t like to photoshop the hell out of a simple image but work with shadows and lighting until the essence and feeling of that moment reveals itself to me.  Sometimes it is a completely happy accident.  I think the world is plenty photogenic and mother nature doesn’t need candied-up like so much glitterati.
A quote has resonated with me over time that has been attributed to one of my favorite photographers, Dorthea Lange.  “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.“  As one of the photographers who recorded the haunting and famous black and white images of The Great Depression, she would know.
Life, like photography is a balance of shadows and light.  I had to admit to myself that a lot of what I was seeing without my camera was worrisome.  The political and environmental concerns were too real to imagine positive thinking could ‘change’ all that.  It’s the same as praying which I didn’t put too much stock in at age 8, let alone in my 40’s.  Then I saw a video that made me realize I was on the right path and that no path is full of rainbows and unicorn farts – unless you’re a sheltered pre-teen or a character in a Disney movie.

 

Using a photographer’s analogy:  A lot of ‘new age’ spirituality never resonated with me because it literally ‘photoshopped’ right over reality, like many religions before.  I never liked The Secret and was a critic of it from the get go – but there were other ‘new age’ problems.  These problems were made very apparent to me after my first viewing of Josh Fox’s documentary, Gasland.  I had to pause the movie several times because I was moved to tears.  Things were worse than I had ever imagined and something had to be done.  I was changed.  I shared via my social network that I had viewed the film, and stated that, “I wish I could unsee Gasland but what has been seen cannot be unseen.”
Within 5 minutes there were two ‘new age’ folks asking me, ‘Why can’t you?’ and ‘Pretend you didn’t see it.’  This, ladies and gentlemen, in a nutshell is what my intuition had already been telling me was absolutely, inherently wrong – so very, very wrong – about this country’s inability to take their own blinders off.
I have the Smile or Die video bookmarked to share with others like me who share my same concerns.  They are more often than not, deeply spiritual people who know how bad things are right now but that listening to their own intuition serves them well.  They are incredibly vigilant.  The keen observers, scouts and warriors for humanity and the environment that has sustained us.
“Has” being the operative word here.  That’s all about to change in a big way.
What is the shift?
I believe it is an energy shift that is happening in waves.  Part of the shift, the human aspect, is happening right now.  All around us.  You may not believe it has much to do with politics, markets, resources or government – but I put to you that is has everything to do with these things because they are, in fact, globally intrinsic and effect all people.  The web of life.  Whether you pay attention to the news outside the idiot box or not there are many things happening in other countries that your government does not want you to see – and if you are a truth seeker, like me – you dig until you find what resonates with you.
The digging is also a spiritual undertaking.  An excavation.  Investigating for your own peace of mind is one thing, to do it for the benefit of your craft, sometimes your own consciousness can take a good beating.  You learn to assimilate information that makes you uncomfortable – but that is the purpose of any real spiritual undertaking – to get out of our own comfort zone.  Learning to handle the truth, when we have been lied to for so long about so much, takes not only mental but spiritual stamina…stamina we have to want to obtain.  This can be difficult when pushed or pulled in other directions, even from well intentioned others.  This is when solitude beckons and only then can intuition be developed.
When I say ‘consciousness takes a good beating’, what I mean is that it is challenged – you challenge your comfort zone, your own way of thinking.  The outcome of this practice is keener observation and your intuition becomes acute.  A sharpened sword molded under your own blacksmith’s hammer.
This is not an easy task in the world we live in now – shifts are happening faster.  One must make time to do the work, study, practice and meditate.  Yes, meditate.  The mind is a big place with lots of bright lights and swirling data coming at us at an alarming rate every day.  It’s the best tool for quieting one’s mind in order to focus our best intentions even when the information we receive seems confusing.  Finding the truth is like separating the wheat from the chaff.  The best way to start to do this is turning off your television and picking up a book.
The journey isn’t about arriving
I know a lot of people who enjoy traveling but not always for the reasons that seasoned travelers take to the road.  Arriving isn’t the goal – it is the journey that teaches us about observing.  Speed bumps on the road aren’t so much of a surprise when we’re able to slow down and move over them smoothly.  Many people are ill-equipped to deal with the slightest hiccup in their lives – the fastest way from point A to point B can be more fraught with difficulty than if we take our time – and in rushing, we miss an awful lot of the scenery and opportunities to learn from our surroundings and other people.
People in a hurry to get where they’re going are usually not attentive for long periods of time – so reading, researching and absorbing information can be a chore for them.  Perhaps this is why it is frustrating to me to read badly written headlines, when many only read them like so many Twitter updates, rather than reading the content.  Headlines are designed to capture attention.  How long that attention lasts is of no concern to most media spin doctors.  Some headlines are inflammatory, others are just plain shocking.  To the point at which a satirical piece can be taken seriously, even by people we tend to imagine should be much more observant than the average Joe.  Then again, politics doesn’t always denote intelligence.
What I have found is that the more I seek – I am sought by people who share my sensibilities and love of life.  In the past two years, I’ve met people with a lot of courage to change what they see broken in the world we share.  They think little of themselves and more of the greater good.  They know what effects them, effects everyone – we really are all connected in more ways than one – but our biggest connection has been being fellow passengers on this boat.  When people seek to sink the boat, some of us take it personally.  This is exactly why people are in the streets with Occupy.  This is why people complain about their government being corrupt.  It’s also why politicians and banks that own them are nervous – they know we’re right.  Quite simply, there are more of us then there are of them.  When you don’t do right by the people and they finally learn the truth, they will let you know about it.
Imagine all the things that have come to light already by switching off televisions and reading alternative news sources!  There really is an underground college that has taken shape via the internet.  It is a very important tool for learning, sharing ideas and meeting people with common goals and concerns.  Even a thousand miles away!  I have found it to be a marvelous place for spiritual growth in this way as well.  The shifts that are occurring are less scary when you find other people experiencing them – the same problems – the same suffering, and that connection is healing medicine for the planet.  It is what the Buddha taught – that in our suffering, we also learn compassion for ourselves and others – because all beings suffer.  Awakened beings wish to help ease this suffering, or what is called Samsara, by teaching a way of detachment of earthly possessions, among other things, which cause us unnecessary suffering and keep us from enlightenment.
Representation of samsara in Buddhism / wheel of life
Right now, there are many people in the 99% globally, who have learned this lesson quite acutely, not through spiritual practice or a guru but by physically losing their savings, work, homes and loved ones.  You don’t see them giving up, nor their neighbors give up, their towns will not give up and a whole glorious wave of compassion is being unleashed and what I see now is that America, the sleeping giant,  is finally coming out of REM sleep.
The hope is that it does not behave like a rudely awakened child because we have a lot of work ahead of us and we need to catch up with the rest of the world. Begin by embracing the reality that we no longer passengers on this ship, we are all crew.  Prepare to roll up your sleeves.

Mitch Daniels Not Running for Captain of the Titanic

 

Aside from the recent news from Washington that The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in Indiana’s Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has also made headlines by stating he will not be running for the White House next year.

Good news for women on both counts…but I’m not getting too excited, Hoosier ladies…he is still in office, can still pander to the Right and can still touch stuff.

What caught my eye recently were statements he made regarding his decision not to run in 2012.  Specifically, in regards to the economy; something Mitch should know something about as former Budget Director for the Bush White House.  This also means he’s familiar with changing the story when it suits PR.

My question is if he’s not running and can’t seek re-election here in Indiana, these recent statements and pandering are all for what, exactly?

In a recent piece of commentary in my blessedly local county paper; respect for Gov. Daniels shines through as well as disappointment for Mitch not taking that ‘road untraveled’ to the White House.  I myself have much more relief than disappointment.

After doing a lot of research about the current Gov. Daniel’s time in the former Bush White House, I wasn’t surprised to find myself looking directly at yet another inconsistency in his statements.  Seems I can’t even escape fact checking over morning coffee with a weekly suburban paper.  One of Daniels’ statements makes me scratch my head as to what on earth he’s planning to do next because I don’t trust the man as far as I could throw him.  I don’t care how cool his motorcycle is.

This isn’t about why he said he wouldn’t run;  this is obvious from his statements about his family, which (aside from his Planned Parenthood decision) most find noble. But it was the statements about our national economic crisis that continue to leave me questioning his logic. The same logic of wanting a “truce on divisive social issues” to focus on the financial challenge that “threatens us all” yet Indiana women got no such ‘truce’ when he pandered to the Right (breaking federal law) and never planned to run for the White House?

You have to wonder.

In regards to not seeking a White House run, Daniels’ stated, “The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision.” [Mitch is the only male in his family unit. Many Indiana women are curious if the decision about Planned Parenthood was discussed with that mini-caucus.] “Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.”

Daniels continues, “I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic.” Speaking at an Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at IUPUI, Daniels said, “This nation is facing what the president’s own Deficit Commission Chairman says is the most predictable crisis in history and we’re not doing anything about it. And that’s why I thought about it [running] at all.”

Here is the part where I explain why that particular statement made coffee come out of my nose.

After the 2003 Bush Administration budget release, Mitch Daniels went to Capitol Hill to testify and put on the most ridiculous display of his tenure, refusing to admit the role of the tax cut in the country’s fiscal deterioration. When Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, asked Daniels about the deficit during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on February 5, 2003, the OMB director simply denied the role of the 2001 legislation, claiming that “it simply is not true that any policy, let alone the tax cuts, is responsible for the deficit we’re facing today.” Conrad incredulously asked, “The tax cuts have no part of the deficits going forward?” Daniels denied he meant this, but when Conrad said, “I am talking about the ten years of this budget window. The tax cuts have played a major role in the return to deficits and burgeoning debt,” Daniels’ reply was “Well, sir, your comment moves me to use a four letter word: bunk,” to which he later added, “The only deficit we know about is the deficit we’re experiencing right now, perhaps the deficit for next year. Let’s be a little humble about what we can and cannot see going forward.”

 

So now Mitch is deeply concerned about the “most predictable crisis in history”? The hubris was at full speed when the Titanic slammed into the iceberg. Mitch has to see the folly of fighting for that public spot at the Captian’s table, especially since he helped provide the fuel for the ‘full steam ahead’ Bush tax cut policy…the one that has continued to this day.  I’m sure he’s deeply concerned that many of the passengers aboard know just how predictable this part of the crisis was.  Add throwing the ‘national’ female caucus overboard by breaking his own ‘truce’ during such a colossal economic disaster – and ‘humble guy on motorcycle’ really doesn’t fly.

It’s certainly not the first time for many of us ‘out here’ to be deeply concerned. Media is just one aspect of my concern for the Republic. I’m glad Mitch is not running; for whatever reason it is he tells the short-attention-span press, his family or the public. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Gov. has up his sleeve next that made him pander to the Right. A cushy corporate job promised? Perhaps a lobbyist? Or could it have been as simple as a dig at the current administration?

I’d like to suggest a new line of work for the future ‘former’ Governor – something socially harmless, like motorcycle sales. Time to earn those cool points back, Mitch.

The last thing the Republic needs while taking on water is to watch ‘yes men’rearranging deck chairs, pandering to religious zealots, worried only about keeping their political careers afloat while praying on their knees that the ‘too big to fail’ ship really isn’t sinking, but sucking up to the shortsighted assholes that built the thing to fail without regulations in place to prevent it. But who needs regulations when you can kiss some ass to get room on the best lifeboats, right?

Most predictable crisis in history, indeed. And there are other icebergs not being discussed that led to this – but the important thing to know is how to get through it. Molly Brown would have been wise enough to see why Wall Street, Big Banks, Congress, politicians, even the President won’t warn the public. It’s because they don’t have enough lifeboats. They are ill-prepared to deal with a panicked Republic tugging at them for safety. They are in ‘save yourself’ mode.

Which is where we all have to be. We are all going to have to build our own lifeboats, in our states and local communities. If the heart and soul of the Republic is going to make it, we have to focus on our local elections more than ever, grow our own food, know our local farmers, community organizations, banks, police, firefighters and our neighbors. The world is about to get a whole lot smaller and a whole lot simpler. I can’t think of too many people who think that’s a bad thing at all.

Does Mitch have some plan for Indiana that reflects his deep concerns? I don’t know and don’t care because he was not concerned about the national economy a decade ago or my health in this current failed economic decade. So I’m not one for waiting around in chest high water for some guy in the engine room, or Captain Obama himself to tell me I need a lifeboat. I’m happy to report that there are many of us who saw the damn iceberg and are far away from the sinking ship.

The Refreshment Center is transitioning in our lifeboat and connecting with others who are doing the same all over the country and around the world. Make no mistake, this is a global economic crisis – the Republic isn’t alone but it is waking up and catching up with the rest of the world now. And we’re finding we want the same things.

Democracy, accountability, sustainability and peaceful community.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Got Lifeboat?

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What happens next is up to all of us. You can help The Refreshment Center get the word out by donating during our June ‘angel donor’ fund drive – where all donations are DOUBLED through June 29th to launch the The Refreshment Center – Transition News You Can Use radio station on the web. We’re all in this together, let’s prepare, prepare, prepare!

Preparedness | Personal Security

submitted for your consideration by Gabrielle Price

After viewing a streaming event in LA where Mr. Michael C. Ruppert was a guest speaker, I was struck by the three words that he told everyone to remember: Prepare, prepare, prepare.

With the market’s erratic behavior on top of the current disaster in Japan that unfolds hourly, it’s time to address one of the main issues of preparedness when facing systemic industrial and economic collapse.  I will be addressing the current events but for now, I want to focus here at home as our media is focused on points east.  There are valuable lessons to be learned from Japan in how to prepare for other things happening under our noses in the US.

One thing that Mr. Ruppert stressed upon the crowd he addressed was what to expect in what will undoubtedly be called an ‘economic tsunami’.  His concern is the rise in civil unrest that will occur when lack of basic resources becomes the next inconvenient truth America awakens to.  As oil prices continue to rise, we will see a decline of Western cognitive dissonance.  Whether you feel this is good or bad makes no difference to reality, but a very stark line will be drawn between needs and wants – then shock will set in.  Now if you think people fighting over televisions at Christmas was bad – it will be nothing compared to people fighting over loaves of bread.

Once store shelves become increasingly bare, whatever civilized behavior you may be accustomed to could take a dark turn down the road to Jerry Springerville.  The United States public at large is simply not as calmly enlightened as the Japanese public – especially when you consider the religious fervor and ’smile or die‘ optimism running roughshod over reason in this country.  Even as we see the worst unfold in Japan, we can learn valuable lessons in humanity through their calm example.

As much as I like to think that the best in people arises during times of great pressure – I must be a realist and therefore have concerns about public and personal safety.  I decided to seek out a knowledgeable friend to address some questions regarding personal security.

Mr. K.D. Wheeler is a 20 year veteran in the protective services industry, a former bail enforcement agent, private investigator, and former United States Marine.  His word is one I can trust as a friend and former serviceman who continues to uphold an oath to the constitution which remains unshakable.  He also shares my concerns and agreed to answer some questions.

Personal Security Q n A with Mr. K. D. Wheeler

First thing that comes to mind for me is home perimeter security.  Depending on how large the property is, what things should be kept in mind and is there specific gear/technology available that you would recommend for home security?

In our post 9/11 world there are many options for commercial and home perimeter security systems.  The technology being used ranges from motion & heat sensors to fiber optics.  I’ve only had experience with government facilities when it comes to perimeter security systems (microwave systems) and these are far too exotic and expensive for home use.  You can check in your area for what systems are available for home use.  It will be a system that will use motion/heat sensors in a horizontal field with a coverage area of 40-80 ft.  These can be used in a combination with security cameras and connected to your home PC or DVR.  The cost would range from moderate to very expensive depending on the bells and whistles and if you’re using one of the many home security providers like, ADT, Brinks, etc.  If you are technically proficient, you can design and configure your own perimeter system using the same options mentioned before.  At this time there is nothing available on the market that I would recommend above all others.  It really comes down to what you are willing to spend.

In regards to personal security – there are many people who may be uncomfortable when it comes to talk about weapons.  Especially for women.  Education is key to comfort levels – are there books or seminars available that can help or is a ‘hands on’ education the best route?

Although firearm sales have tripled in the last few years, there are many people who are extremely uncomfortable with weapons.   There are books available on the subject, but I would recommend taking a training class when it comes to all firearms.  States that allow a concealed carry license also have a firearms safety class.  These are usually included with the concealed carry course, but most are stand alone classes that are provided by your state for a relatively small fee.  I would also recommend taking a close combat class.  Theory and class work are all fine and good.  Familiarity with your firearm is one thing, practical application is quite another.

These classes are moderately expensive ranging from $250-$1000 and usually last for a few days to a week.  Courses will cover everything from positions, reloading under fire, situational awareness, low light shooting….all of the circumstances that one would encounter in the real world are covered in these courses.  There are many independent instructors available and the NRA has them as well.  There are also courses that are tailored for women.  Check to see if they are available in your area.  If you are contemplating purchasing a firearm, safety and proficient use of it are paramount.  Courses are available for hand guns as well as rifles.  Most accidental firearm shootings are because gun owners were unsafe with their weapon or panicked and shot a loved one.  Do not add to these statistics.

Very good advice.  What types of personal protection do you recommend for those just contemplating home security?

Do a threat assessment on your personal safety.  Think of the areas you work and live in. What types of crimes occur in those areas?  Do you live in an urban environment, suburbs or rural?  All of this and more comes into play when thinking of personal protection.  If you do decide to purchase a home security system, get what you pay for. Home security systems are passive.  Meaning they only work when the bad guys have broken in.   The response will be an alarm and then your security provider calling you and/or emergency services.  Depending on what package you order, a security officer may respond as well.   The most practical personal protection is being aware of your environment.  Do not throw money at the problem, by purchasing a home security system, firearm, taser, mace or self defense class if you are not going to actually follow through and become proficient with it.  Most Americans live under the illusion of security.  They purchase a weapon, buy a security system or take a martial arts class for a short time, then become bored with it and drop it.  When a crime does occur or personal safety is at risk, most people panic and become a victim.

Take all of this into consideration when it comes to personal security.  What are your concerns and needs?  You can start by programming your local precinct or police dept into your mobile phone as well as 911 (speed dial).  Do the same if you have a home phone.  Call 911 and when the operator answers tell them you are simply running an emergency check and want to verify that your name and home address is what the operator has listed on their display.  Insure all doors and windows are secured.  Invest in dead bolt locks.  Do a key count.  You would be surprised how many people have “extra” keys floating about and who has them.  When it comes to personal security I recommend the K.I.S.S. system…Keep It Simple Stupid.  Be aware, be alert.  Make a checklist of pros and cons before spending the money on a security system or purchasing a weapon.

What kind of gear is necessary to stock up on in regards to maintaining or cleaning a weapon? Are their home alternatives to market products for maintenance that you can suggest?

If you have purchased a weapon you most likely have the equipment to maintain that weapon.  You will need a gun cleaner/lubricant/preservative and bore cleaning brushes.  Personally, I use Otis Technology Cleaning Kits.  It’s a small cleaning kit that can be used for handguns, rifles and shotguns and has all of the equipment you will need to maintain your weapon and is very inexpensive.

Right now, inexpensive is good so we appreciate that advice.  Getting to the nitty gritty – when a person is faced with an intruder or threat – I know a million things go through a person’s mind.  Having survived an attack several years ago; my first instinct was just to ‘get the hell out’.  Is there really any kind of mental preparation or home training for that?

Another excellent question and no, there is no home course you can use.  Humans are higher functioning animals, but animals nonetheless.  When confronted with an intruder most people panic and become submissive.  It’s instinctual, fight or flight response.  You have limited options.  If confronted and you can escape – run!  If it is personal property the intruder wants, throw it down and run, it can all be replaced.  Your life, however, cannot.  If the intruder wants to do you harm and you cannot escape – fight, scream, yell!  Make as much noise as possible, fight as hard as you can until you hurt your attacker and can then escape or disable your attacker until they are no longer a threat.

This is not a movie or TV show.  You will not suddenly have Bruce Lee-like fighting ability or quick draw skill with a weapon.  If you have the option to escape, do so.  If you have no other choice,  then fight as if your life depended on it – it just might just depend on it.  Criminals count on your panic and fear.  Use any weapons you have at hand and run to the most public area around you.  It doesn’t sound cool or brave, but it is the reality of the situation.

I can agree that breathing is a better choice than cool or brave.  When it comes to weapons specifically, should choice of home defense be separate from say, hunting weapons?

Actually not at all.  A weapon is a weapon is a weapon.  If you have a firearm and are safe and proficient with it’s use, use it.  I must put in this disclaimer that all firearms should be safe and  secure.  This means unloaded and placed in a gun safe or with a trigger lock.  Personally, I do not have children and I am proficient with weapons, so they are stored in a convenient area, loaded and ready for use.  If you have children at home or loved ones in your household that are unfamiliar with firearms, this should not be the case.  Safety, safety, SAFETY.

What’s a good rule of thumb for stocking up on ammunition?

A case of the ammunition you use for your specific weapon should be more than enough.  Unless you are a survivalist or stocking up for an end of the world scenario a case of ammunition for range use is fine.  I would like to add that if you have a handgun, and it was purchased for personal protection, spend the money and buy jacketed hollow point (JHP) over ball ammunition (FMJ).  Ball ammunition is best used for range qualification and target practice, while hollow points will be your most effective choice to carry in your firearm.

Weapons may not be an option for everyone so I believe it is a good time to be physically fit.  Do you recommend any self-defense training courses that would be of benefit?

There are many self defense systems.  Each has its pros and cons and some are more esoteric than they are practical.  Each practitioner will sing the merits of their system.  That being said, if I had to pick a system, it would be Krav Maga.  My reason for this is that the system is built upon efficiency and brutality.  Again, K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Last question is a “what if” scenario:  If you had to pick up and leave with a moments notice and all you could take was one backpack, what ‘must have’ items would you have ready to go?

The must have items I would have in my backpack would be :

Water – Several bottles.
Food – Dried jerky, MRE’s, Dried fruit and/or Trail Mix.
First Aid Kit
Medications if needed.
Flashlight with batteries.
Hunting knife
Lighters and water proof matches.
Mobile phone and charger
Hand Crank Emergency Radio
Compass
Flares

All items should be packed in water proof storage (zip tight sandwich bags if nothing else) and your backpack can be packed ahead of time and ready in case of emergency. Your backpack should be efficient and lightweight. The Marine in me suggests that you replenish your emergency backpack every 15-30 days (perishable food & water. Batteries every 90 days.)

My sincere thanks to K. D. Wheeler for sharing his expertise. [Oorah!] If there are other questions regarding personal security that you would like to see answered, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below.  I will pass them along to Mr. Wheeler and update as time permits.  I have listed items (as well as links throughout) and research material below that will help you assess your personal security needs.  As a rule of thumb, it’s best to have knowledge and tools and not need them than to need them and not have access to them at all.