The aspect of the psyche being torn asunder because of too many responsibilities might be called neurotic. This is something I’ve experienced for the first time in a while, due to taking on two pet sitting jobs at the same time, while away from my own home and additional duties at the permaculture village.
It sounded like a good idea at the time but no one can be in three places at once. I paid for that ‘yes’ with a nasty summer cold, and missed out on another ‘yes’; a visit with family over the Memorial Day weekend.
One of the cats I was watching also went missing for almost 7 days straight — a first on my watch. He returned, after days of calling, emailing, flyer making; completely unscathed and looking healthy as ever. Sometimes, cats just go on walk-about.
It is funny when shit hits fans seemingly all at once. The universe just kind of forces us to take a seat. Not DO — because sometimes nothing can be done. I decided to just BE. While I was nursing my snot-filled head, I was assessing thoughts I’d put aside regarding recent goings-on geopolitically and in US media.
One of the pet sits is now over, and the space I’m in is quite serene.
However, it is Gemini season. The time of year when I find myself suffering from too much mind. When this happens, I don’t get much sleep and that’s when I tend to write. That happens more often when I have roots down, but I’ve traveled the last couple of summers. Travel is a past-time that alleviates a great deal of monkey-mindedness. This summer, I’m feeling roots going plenty deep.
It feels like time to compost some old thinking.
Some Old Bullshit
I watched this house 3 years ago for nearly six months. This was before, during, and in the aftermath of the last presidential election. I did major healing work within these walls covered in art, with a vast library of books at my disposal and surrounded by beautiful permaculture gardens. I appreciated it for the spiritual retreat it was. Now this house feels like an old friend who got me through a dark night of the soul.
I’m relieved to feel this grounded…a different experience than my last visit here. I’ve noticed that I am different. I return to this place healed from relationship wounds. I’m surprised to say some of that had more to do with politics than I’d previously imagined. I’ll sum up the karmic garbage with the title of a favorite Beastie Boy’s EP, called “Some Old Bullshit.”
The realization that I had composted this old bullshit — probably wouldn’t have come to light if I hadn’t spent the last 9 months living in an intentional community. I share common space, gardens and responsibilities with two women elders, both of whom celebrate and embrace crone wisdom. I have been given the title ‘proto-crone’ and the more I continue to learn from them, the more comfortable I find my 52 year-old Self.
We live among young people who are also dealing with some old bullshit, even if they don’t know they are certainly inheriting it. I’m consistently reminded of this and my compassion and understanding spring from that place. There are many joys I’ve discovered since choosing to live in intentional community, but the most surprising discovery has been learning more about myself and the kind of ancestor I am becoming.
It’s possible I lost my mind in 2016. And thank goddess! It wasn’t doing me much good at the time. I was working to get soul-centered. Balanced. I’d already felt that the country lost it’s mind long before the last election. Unfortunately, some folks lost touch with their soul, too.
Celebration of Individuality or Individuation?
The Tao presents itself beautifully when we utilize quiet time to observe our thoughts. To let them pass by, like the river that constantly flows and changes in each moment. It’s about flexibility and a large amount of non-attachment.
It takes practice and patience with yourself. In quiet self-reflection, I can reach a place of understanding and equanimity. This is an important practice in the age of too much information [distraction] especially for a Gemini sun/moon, with too much mind, like myself.
What I’ve discovered in meditation practice is something I’m noticing more and more in co-creative community. Possibilities.
The outer world has many treasures. How often do we allow time for inner exploration? It takes self-excavation to discover our treasures, some we may not have realized we had. Gifts that shine out and burn away vanity, the need to be right…even beyond notions of ‘right or wrong’.
Media, politics and religion love these rigid dualities. I’ve recently welcomed the idea of ‘right and wrong’ being viewed instead as sense and nonsense, as Carl Jung suggested. There is less weight in those words and they feel more playful than shameful. Nonsense invites us to at least have a good-natured laugh at ourselves — even if others aren’t able.
The need to be right creates a lot of nonsense and it’s everywhere you look now. I observed it in my family growing up, and I cop to my own nonsense in that arena. I still work on it. But the nonsense that desperately needs addressed, that I’ve observed most in my life has come from US media. This concern started during my early experience living in the UK for about 4 years in the late 80’s. I found their media [at that time] beyond arguments about religion and even sexual orientation because they recognized the need for sobering talk about the AIDS epidemic. It was a scary time! However, the information was direct, educational, and probably shocking to some sensibilities. It needed to be to protect the public and stop the spread of a disease on an island.
When I returned stateside, I was stunned by the difference in discourse. People were repeating US media fear-mongering and ‘othering’ the gay community. American media wasn’t educating or empowering anyone, gay or straight, to protect themselves and their loved ones. It was spewing divisive nonsense. An Indiana schoolboy, Ryan White, was harassed, ridiculed and not allowed back in school after having contracted HIV through tainted blood during a regular treatment for hemophilia. Even he was on the receiving end of homophobic slurs from the ignorant.
Information is not what US media offers its citizens. I don’t think it ever has.
In this current political climate, I overhear conversations and wonder, “Do people really think this or are they repeating something they heard?” It isn’t difficult to recognize patterns in language when you’ve studied media for 9 years. My early experience in the UK was a valuable lesson about what media can be as public service, while learning to listen to, and take into account many perspectives.
“Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering” ~ Carl Jung
I’ve always tried to counter nonsense with something sensible. The key word is try. Lately, I just try to keep my mouth shut. The reactions to even basic statements are akin to pearl-clutching, as if smelling salts might be required when simply stating that the current president is not the worst man who ever sat in the White House.
This is not an unreasonable thing to say. Based on some reactions, however, it doesn’t pay to say another word because emotions too easily override capacity for reason. We don’t have political discourse but hysteria, manufactured to control political discourse — or, it seems to me, to eliminate it entirely. Whoever paid for that got their money’s worth.
I ditched cable news because I prefer to listen to experience. Maybe it was the time I spent at my grandparent’s home in Virginia when I was little. I sat fascinated while uncles and older cousins debated current affairs and politics on the front porch. Sure, tempers flared sometimes — but the minute someone announced there was pie, the debate ended and it was all grins and good-natured laughs.
The point being that folks used to carefully consider issues and were able to have thoughtful debate without losing their damn minds. There was some decorum.
Adults cannot make informed choices unless information given to them is based on ‘what is’ rather than wishful thinking. Wishing is nice, but it is not how economies work. None of us can ‘wish away’ record debt from war spending. We’d do better to focus on the oikonomikos “practiced in the management of a household or family.” Getting out of debt is better than wishful thinking.
Wishing for peace also does not achieve peace. Not when the electorate is ignorant about foreign policy, the physical limits of growth, currency devaluation, and energy depletion; among other complex issues we’re facing as a human family. A great deal of damage occurred long before this president was elected. We need to concern ourselves with mitigating the damages coming.
We don’t have time for snark, eye-rolling, or pearl-clutching. It’s time to find elders or become one and take our place at the adult table. To start, I would suggest getting and studying a copy of The Constitution. People still carry pocket copies. Heck, order a pack of 10. Pass them around. Make discourse great again!
A fine elder, Chief Oren Lyons, addressed a panel during an indigenous UN forum on climate change in 2007. In the video link above, Chief Oren shared a simple phrase I’ve found helpful for many years, “Value Change For Survival.” [To clarify: Not to value change, but to change our values.]
Who’s Writing Your Story?
Before I sat this house three years ago, I was talking through a rough break-up, trying to analyze my feelings when my Aunt said, “Oh, that’s just ‘Your Story’. Something you’re choosing to identify with.” I meditated on this. The second part of that statement was correct. I didn’t appreciate the dismissive tone of the former.
Of course I identify with my stories. I would like to understand, learn and not repeat the same mistakes. You know, unlearn them to avoid another go-round on the Samsara/Wheel of Suffering ride. My stories live in my bones and why shouldn’t they? I lived them! I can glean the karmic lessons from them and hey, I wanted to be a writer. Each experience was a life lesson – some good and some bad. That’s life! I have no shame about my healed pain. That’s precisely what made me the strong woman I am! Learning from stories led me exactly where I needed to be — and often.
Perhaps I just wasn’t arriving where others were expecting me to go? Expectations are often nonsense, like notions of perfection [unattainable], impossible to live up to because they are scenarios that only exist in someone else’s imagination — often not a reflection of our own reality. Even if a person knows everything about you, they can’t know your experience — or — the observer that is you.
I don’t mind advice. But some folks mind a great deal if you ignore theirs! The trick is to not take it personally and get on with what works for you. The idea of enlightenment is to become your own guru — not the actual Buddha — but a buddha. Western new age folk warp this notion with narcissistic ideas about spirituality, dispensing advice without listening to people who are seeking to actually heal their own suffering, braving it head on, not ‘putting on a happy face’ and pretending in order to make everyone comfortable.
Acclaimed journalist, cancer survivor and author Barbara Ehrenreich said in her brilliant speech called Smile or die, “That is the powerlessness of positive thinking.”
“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” ~ Robert Gary Lee
I loved him dearly. Unfortunately, he came with pre-fab expectations that most folks are programmed with at birth in this country — the same ones I’d ditched long before I met him. I was patient, hoping for him to find the courage to stop complaining about his miserable job, miserable family, and make his own changes. He did have high expectations…just not for himself.
When it ended, he told me, “I didn’t fight for him.” Evidently, I was supposed to ‘save’ him from his miserable life by completely rearranging mine. What I needed in relationship didn’t matter. All that mattered was what he wanted.
Sense or nonsense?
He wasn’t mature enough to understand that I loved myself and my one precious life more. It mattered to be able to explore my own possibilities. And if he truly loved me, he would support that. Any friend would.
We had a great deal more in common than not — which is the damnable thing about it. He assumed I would sacrifice the freedom I found for a lifestyle predicated on debt and ‘stuff’. He later tried to shame me for frugal living within my own means, and without debt. He thought I would make sacrifices to be with him — without him saying where he saw himself in a year or two…let alone where he imagined us in six.
It took six years for him to make changes — most of them outward. I wasn’t going back into debt to ‘save’ a grown man from poor financial choices he made before I came along. Needless to say, our paths weren’t aligned for healthy relationship.
Putting people on pedestals is nonsense. Expecting people to ‘save’ you from your bullshit is also nonsense. I’m not better or less than, or want to be with someone better or less than. I want a partner who meets me halfway, and walks alongside. Being with him while he was miserable would have meant turning away from, or rejecting my self and choosing to be miserable. [It loves company, I hear.]
If someone truly loves you, they wouldn’t dream of asking you to be unhappy, pretending to be something you’re not. Like a movie in his head [or comic book] my role was somewhere between Cosmic Virgin and Wonder Woman: I could read minds! I had the magical ability to save miserable middle-aged men from their bullshit! Coddling man-babies, while never having my own life — and I’d better look like a million bucks doing it!
After turning 50 and raising my own child, I wasn’t signing up for that nonsense.
So who did he fall in love with? I have no clue. I’d imagine he still doesn’t have one. He didn’t fall in love with a person he was waiting or hoping would change without cluing me in to whatever fantasy was going on in his head. Why would he? He knew it was bullshit and was afraid to be honest about it. It wasn’t love but a fantasy.
Fantasies crumble when we lose the masks we wear. Underneath that is honesty, and the vulnerability to take the real risk that someone might love us for exactly who we are. I don’t regret taking that risk. It is regrettable that he couldn’t. Ignoring our humanity for unattainable notions of perfection is one thing. Expecting that from someone else is projection.
We simply can’t ask a human being to be something they’re not, without also asking them to hand over their integrity and self-respect. The strongest people I know understand that this is the fight hard won. I feel it’s the only real currency human beings have in an artificial age.
We will always repeat our bullshit in relationships until we ditch the masks and learn to love our flawed, beautiful, vulnerable, and brave selves first.
Patterns are important to notice in relationships. People in loving adult relationships will call you out on your bullshit, if it’s repetitive, and not ignore it and ‘hope for change.’ I’m a cards on the table, open book kind of gal. At 52, that book is definitely not about a saccharine-sweet Disney Princess, pining for another Prince with a mommy complex.
It’s crone time!
There are as many paths as there are books in a library. I’m unsure what the title of my book will be but the ending could be mighty dull if we’re censoring our own stories simply because they might make people uncomfortable. When we consistently choose to reject or ignore sense, we find ourselves eventually staring at a big ol’ pile of nonsense.
Hopefully, we wake up from the fantasy, see that pile and begin our ascent. If you feel buried deep in the pile of nonsense, grab a shovel and start digging. Unconscious projections are epic and show few signs of slowing. I don’t believe they will subside until we — either by circumstance or choosing courage — deal with reality.
I believe that America is approaching its own dark night of the soul.
I’m new to intentional living, so I’m aware certain topics might be controversial and difficult to approach. Because of my past experiences, I’m extremely thoughtful about this. I adore my community and want to bring the best ideas, solutions and energy I can muster. Not my old bullshit. This means seeking quiet time alone, without distractions, where meditation has proven most effective for me.
Gnothi Seauton, proto-crone. Know thyself!
My name is Gabrielle. I’m a recovering media analyst.
I’m well-suited to work with many forms of media as a Gemini sun/moon. Double Mercurial. Communication. As a photographer, I appreciate both light and shadow. I enjoy humorous word play and language with filigree. My brain is a rolodex full of music lyrics, jingles, movie lines and yes, some old bullshit. Meditation turns the volume down on that. I work on three websites and write for two, including this one. I’m delighted to start work on a new archive project called the Crone Chronicles. I used to promote music. My tarot suit: swords. I’m a long-time cheerleader for the first amendment. It was put first for good reason. One of my favorite phrases: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Today I ask, “Is that so?”
Hearing of Assange’s charges under the Espionage Act, and the responses I’m reading about them, I am more concerned than ever about intellectual freedom. We’ve been warned many times by brilliant writers, journalists, activists, musicians, comedians, artists and our own history about where we are headed. Did we listen?
If we had — we would remember this is history we do not want to repeat. We’ve been desensitized to hearing hard truths, and we can’t heal soul pain without acknowledging it, so maybe this is just a painful lesson we’re going to learn the hard way…
The money behind the pen is mightier than most things, including our fragile democracy. That pen is a double-edged sword. It has blacklisted writers and censored novelists, beheaded poets in countries that never used to be allies [for damn good reason]. Then there is the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ to imprisoned whistleblowers and publishers interested in truth and justice. The noblest things remain elusive in a country that espouses them, even with Wikileaks 100% accuracy record! Many never speak of who wrote the damning emails, still more have never bothered to read them after freedoms were sacrificed for them to do so.
We’re content to shoot the messenger. I relate to Julian’s plight. His pain is my pain. It will be the pain for many of us if this bullshit continues unabated without some reflection about what it really means.
Disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed was a basic attitude of punk rock as a philosophy, if you can call it that. There’s more truth in the lyric insert of the Dead Kennedy’s album, Bedtime for Democracy from 1986 than all the corporate news in 2019. Journalism and music have always been constant companions; brain-food groups. A steady diet of radical because mainstream bored me to tears.
I miss Hunter S. Thompson’s wit and Kentucky wisdom. I bet he’s laughing his ass off at all the rubes. I’m also reminded of Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, John Lennon, George Harrison…my departed friend and mentor, Michael C. Ruppert and the best news man that ever lived, Edward R. Murrow.
‘In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.’ ~ George Orwell
I’m no longer interested in news analysis because there’s nothing inspiring about analyzing bullshit. No one seems to care about integrity, journalism, democracy…just the next election cycle of bullshit. Seems to me there isn’t much left to analyze except the psyche…and permaculture principles. US media is a dull state of affairs compared to intentional [and international] work happening in permaculture. That word may not sound or look radical; a string of black fonts on a glowing screen. Break it down to its roots: ‘permanent culture’ — well, that sounds like fertile soil for story telling. Stories about the history of a place and its people; the good, the bad, and the ugly. The heartland of real stories and I’ve been thinking of it profoundly in terms of journalism.
To journal. To record history — like a field guide for future generations to have a sense of place, where mistakes are learned from, not repeated because they’re remembered. Repeating the same mistakes in a garden means that eventually, you do not eat. That’s reality.
Industrial culture is collapsing under the weight of under-reported greed and corruption. Historically important stories are regulated to the dustbin of algorithms bought and paid for by alphabet agencies in bed with big tech. That’s not a sustainable practice if we care to have a free press. Monocropped corporate media landscapes are poisonous, barren, and lacking nutrients that produce brain food. Idiocracy reigns.
Major print newspapers are becoming a thing of the past. Print a thing on paper, distribute it, and it becomes difficult to reel it back in to correct mistakes. The kind of error that takes time, integrity and requires personal responsibility to fix. That is disappearing.
Frankly, I think the internet has lasted this long because it is owned by alphabet agencies and DARPA. It exists to spy on us and create false news to weaponize it against its own citizens. We are a far cry from journalism in this not-at-all brave or new world of short-attention spans. We’re not just repeating history, we’re regressing back to the time the Espionage Act was penned.
If this is the information age, I’m not impressed.
I’d like to point out that the president’s Twitter account is quite unprecedented in the history of political media. It is the closest we’ll get to knowing an elected official’s thoughts in real time. No matter how we feel about the quality of those thoughts, we’re getting them uncensored. I find that fascinating from a media perspective.
I’ve looked down many streets and have seen results that cannot be unseen, after both conservative and liberal presidents held office. We’ve lost too many veterans to suicide. I’ve lost one too many friends to drugs and crime. I’m witnessing journalism die by the hands of those with the audacity to call themselves journalists, while the warmongers who pay their salaries push to indict a publisher for exposing the crimes of Wall Street’s war cronies — who created the results on those streets.
War. Is. A. Racket.
Corporate media sells it and America is buying it up, despite fake liberal hysterics about this president — they were happy to go to war with a nuclear superpower — as long as stock dividends keep paying out.
Phil Ochs nailed it in 1966.
I remember when Assange was a darling of the left…in 2010, when it was also politically convenient for them. I attended a march in D.C. against the war in Iraq during the George W. administration in 2007 and it was a beautiful sight. When Obama took office and began bombing countries [more than GWB], the call to organize peaceful anti-war marches was met by crickets. Folks on the left have since rehabilitated GWB and call anti-war activists ‘Putin-puppets’ without a hint of irony.
Since 9/11, we’ve been steeped in propaganda to sell never-ending war. That has been the goal of elites and remains the root cause of this country’s social ills. Only a corrupt media could sell the belief that one man who never held an office before 2016, is to blame for decades of bullshit. Pimping pharmaceutical ‘fixes’ during commercial breaks for the anxiety and neurosis created by their 24hr, 24/7, ‘fear and loathing’ news cycles. It’s the same template from the late 80’s when I returned from the UK. The only thing new? Only 6 corporations own 90% of the media landscape instead of 50, and pharmaceutical commercials didn’t exist then.
I’m choosing a principled path called permaculture. I’ll be glad to share a whisky bottle with those who understand this sane path, no matter their neighbor’s, friend’s or family’s political leanings. We need to remember how to build community and lean on each other.
That’s going to require a lot of inner work.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It is worth it.
I’m certain my grandparents knew about the bullshit, especially during the great depression. Government institutions and banks didn’t save them or their neighbors. It was the ability to grow food in a closed system that saved them and their community’s ability to do the same. My family wouldn’t be here — I would not be here — if my grandparents believed that Wall Street or political parties would put food on their table.
I learned from those stories, so I can’t make the mistake of wishful thinking. It seems changing my values for survival wasn’t such a radical undertaking. It was in my DNA.
As far as media is concerned, the only journalism I’m interested in will be birthed after the veils are lifted, hard truths revealed, the corrupt held accountable, and Manning and Assange set free — fully pardoned and vindicated — and news restored as the public service it was meant to be. Anything less is just more bullshit.
Now, if you’ll excuse my absence, it’s time for pie.
Good night and good luck. ~ G
“The Department of Justice just declared war––not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself. This is no longer about Julian Assange: This case will decide the future of media.” – Edward Snowden
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