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Say it like it is!

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I hope you will take to heart this interesting and timely article on how to educate your children and young adults about rape culture.

Unfortunately too many parents shy away– not only from “the talk” but also (and perhaps even more importantly in these challenging times) calling non-consensual sexual activity, whether perpetrated by or against someone of any gender, what it actually is:  Rape.

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Summer Solstice Full Moon!

 

 

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As if things couldn’t get any wilder, on June 20 we will have an astrological event  of monumental proportions!  This happens only once in 30 years.  Where were you 30 years ago?  What was going on in your life back then?

As I remember,  I was living in Elk, a tiny village on California’s North Coast–in the midst of a healing crisis that changed my life.  But my healing is not the topic of this post.  What’s up for you, on the other hand, is.

We’ve all read about Stanford’s shocking cover-up of sexual predation on campus, and the world is collectively mourning the unconscionable targeting and massacre of over 50 people in Orlando.  No need to mention the crazy-making US political situation, or the intensification of threatening international incidents.  But you’d be stunned to learn how many people I’ve talked with in the last few days alone who are experiencing chaotic events in their own lives– the death or sudden departure of friends or family members, loss of employment, geographical relocation, frightening health crises– you name it, it’s coming down!

So apart from the fact that this proves we really aren’t alone after all, and regardless of our own upsurging issues, it indicates that something big is taking place– a series of cosmic-scale events– that must necessarily affect all of the inhabitants of this little blue planet.  Somewhere I read “The stars impel– they do not compel.”  (Small comfort for those of us whose stars are directly and immediately impacted by these powerful alignments!)  But actually, while we may not be able to choose what happens to us we can definitely choose how we deal with it.

I’ve found that it helps to try to surrender and go with the flow–kind of like body surfing, when you see that big wave coming at you, best to duck your head and dive right into it.  It can be scary at first, until you learn the ocean isn’t really out to drown you, and you can relax enough, like the young heroine of Whale Rider , to begin to enjoy not only the beauty of the world underwater but the thrill of discovering you’re far more capable,  far more powerful, than you or anyone else ever imagined.

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Fire Season!

It’s June 16 and Fire Season is in full swing!   Some wildfires are caused by lightning strikes, some by careless humans, and some, started by forest and fire management teams, are “controlled burns.”  (It escapes me how a wildfire can be controlled in hot, dry, windy weather– but I am thankfully not a fire fighter.)

Fortunately the 16-odd wildfires currently burning in New Mexico and Arizona are  grassland and forest understory (the brush, pine cones, and debris beneath taller trees), rather than burning buildings and toxic substances, so the smoke is mostly “clean.”  But clean or not, smoke is no joke.

However, you can protect your health and that of your family members and pets by following the 5-3-1 Mile Rule.   When in doubt, stay inside!

Another important point is to be aware of the tendency of fire in  Urban/Wildland Interface areas to defeat all efforts at containment and destroy entire neighborhoods.  In 2009 this happened  to several urban California communities.

California-Sep2009

A homeowner needs to be sure that there is a substantial weed-, brush-, and tinder-free space around all houses and outbuildings.  In many states this is mandated by law and the amount of space is clearly defined.

Conifers are especially dangerous because when on fire, the resin inside the tree ignites and explodes, causing the burning conifer to hurl fireballs surprisingly great distances, thus igniting surrounding trees and homes.  (Not that I’m going to cut down my two back yard junipers, but I am careful to rake up all the dead grasses and fallen twigs and branches from beneath them, and water the area regularly to keep it from becoming too dry.)

Whether the wildfire is far away or close to home, it’s sensible to keep updated on its progress.  Remember, fire is one of those elements with potential for great good and great harm.  It demands our respect!

(Thanks to J.G. Pausas for the riveting photo!)

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Peace in the Heart

There are no words to express the sadness that we feel for those in Orlando whose hopeful, bright lives were so brutally cut short, and for their loved ones, whose loss is too great to bear.

It is said that anger and hatred are really masks for fear.  Perhaps this is true– certainly in these troubled times there are people who believe there is much to fear, and some argue for excusing the vicious behavior of fearful people.  Based on that belief, a case could be made not just for individuals but for the violent behavior of organizations and even entire countries.

But to paraphrase the words of Chief Dan George:

We fear what we do not understand.  We hate what we fear.  And what we hate, we destroy.

So let us try our utmost to understand others– especially those who are different from ourselves.  Let us not fear the difference.  And when we encounter the cruelty of those who do fear difference, let us remember that behind every angry, hurtful mask is a spirit struggling to break free from the darkness of delusion and return home to the Peace in the Heart.

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Violence in the “Best of All Possible Worlds”

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The recent report released yesterday by Stanford student Brock Turner’s  victim has stirred up a storm of controversy about the perils of privilege and much more.  Sadly, Brock Turner’s assumption of privilege is not the disease  under discussion.  It is the symptom of something much deeper.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, when an incident like this one occurred, I often heard the comment “She deserved it– look how she dresses, the slut!”  Those commenting were not only the young men at fault but their parents, other family members, and adult friends as well.  Another favorite was “Boys will be boys!”  That’s fine, but then what are girls?  Their play toys?

There have been cultures where women, and a woman’s role as procreatix  and nurturer of the young, were honored.  Those cultures still exist– most notably in Native American communities.  I still remember Charlotte Black Elk’s visit to students at John F. Kennedy University, back in the 80s.  At one point in her presentation she showed us a long knife in a beautiful scabbard.  We asked what it was for.  She said (I’m paraphrasing) “This is a marriage knife.  Every young bride is given one when she marries.  Our people believe that if a man doesn’t honor his woman, if he abuses her in any way, he doesn’t deserve to live.  This knife is for cleansing the planet of men like that.”  Those of us who’d been divorced muttered with grim humor that  we wished we’d known about the marriage knife earlier, and I was one of them.  But I never forgot Charlotte’s statement– so matter of fact, so calmly made, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to cleanse the planet of undesirable people.  And as time passed and more horrible things happened to women much younger than I, I began to investigate the reasons why.  Here are some of them, and we are all, not only the people in places like Brock Turner’s hometown, responsible.

Ours is a culture of conquerors. Patriarchal from its inception, Western civilization has survived  through warfare, exploitation, and rape.  The societies that were subsumed were largely peaceful ones– they didn’t know what hit them.  What happened to native people on this continent alone  is a case in point.  They couldn’t believe that other humans could be so dishonorable, so cruel.  They were the perfect victims.

Such a society as ours accepts violence as a matter of fact.  We may not teach it openly, but it is part of every child’s training–through playground bullying, peer pressure, and now the scintillating allure of the media and video games that actually extol killing.  Boys are particularly vulnerable to this because our young men are taught that competition, being the first with the most, is the only way to survive in our culture.  As a result not only are we engaging in appalling acts of violence at home, we are attempting to control the rest of the world with the same tactics.

Because this is the American MO, because we are a nation of individualists, because collaboration and community (meaning people look out for each other) are so low on our list of priorities, it’s easy for adults confronted with their offsprings’ shocking behavior to excuse it– and in far too many cases to condone it.  Perhaps they believe it’s for the best– after all, what about the boy’s future?  And  the girl probably asked for it one way or another.  Why did she drink so much anyway?  Why did she take that drug?

But the question we have to ask ourselves– parents, grandparents, educators, clergy– we who are (theoretically at least) in charge of the moral development of the young– the question we have to ask ourselves is “How can I best serve this child?  What will, in the long run, be more helpful to him?  Let him go scot free and excuse his wrong behavior or teach him that this is unacceptable in a truly civilized society?”  And the next question we must ask is “When should I start this teaching?”

The answer is pretty clear.  Right away.  The first time a child acts out, whether with his parents, his teachers, or his playmates, is the time to begin.  It needn’t be brutal or harsh.  Simply make it clear that bad behavior is not accepted and if he needs convincing, apply a reasonable and appropriate form of punishment– “OK, when you do this then that happens.  When you hit your buddy in the head with the sand shovel, I take it away.  It’s not OK to hurt your buddy, and besides it’s a lot more fun to share.”

Until we teach caring and compassion our children will continue to run afoul of the permissive attitudes our society has put in place.  Until we teach that privilege is something one earns through responsible action, not something one is born with to use as one wishes, our children will overstep the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Yes, Brock Turner was terribly wrong to do what he did.  But his parents and the other adults in his community did something much worse.  Not only did they fail to teach him his true responsibility as a fellow being in a world with other beings, they have excused his inexcusable behavior.

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June is bustin’ out all over!

Possible Starfriends Cover with Lens Clouds

 

Remember the song from “Carousel?”  Great 50s musical,  with lots of singing, dancing, romance…

However this time around June really is “bustin’ out”– and in more ways than one!  If you’ve been feeling particularly weird lately, bizarre physical manifestations, moments of deep despair, inexplicable little spurts of anger, high (and possibly unreasonable) expectations and over-the-top disappointment when they aren’t met– guess what:  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Gaia is amping up her energy– she’s going to ascend, with us or without us.  And those who are feeling this surge most strongly are those who have at some point agreed to go with her.  But here’s the trick:  we have to let go of the baggage of fear, anger, self-hatred, envy, or any other dark emotion.  According to Sherry Wilde, a rather interesting author, in Gaia’s new dimension we will be able to manifest instantly.  Imagine what could happen with all that power!   We want the good stuff, not the scary stuff, right?  So now is the perfect time to review all our feelings.  Let our bodies speak to us about our true feelings.  Let our challenging relationships show us where things aren’t working quite right.

So you feel nauseous when your boss loads you with extra work (and no extra pay)?  You get hot flashes when your partner takes some nice thing you’ve done for granted or overreacts to something you’ve said?  You feel like a cruel parent when you have to discipline your kids’ bad behavior?  Or you wake up in the morning and wonder what the heck you’re still doing here and why hasn’t anything worked out the way you wanted and what’s the point of going on anyway?

Welcome to the Club!  Don’t despair!  Count yourself lucky– you are probably one of those who volunteered eons ago (in a galaxy far far away!) to raise your own vibration so that Gaia can take as many of her children with her as possible.

But how does this happen?  It’s not about knocking on people’s doors early in the morning to tell them about the wonderful opportunity that awaits them– if only.  It’s not about becoming an activist and opposing evil.  It’s not even about becoming a teacher or a healer and “fixing” what’s broken.  We can’t really do any of that.  What we can do is clean up our own act.  And this works, because according to Gary Zukav‘s explanation of Quantum Physics, everything is energy, and all energy affects all other energy.  So the best way to help ourselves, our fellow Terrans, and our planet, is to cultivate the positive energies:  trust, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and love.  And don’t forget laughter!  Laughter is possibly one of the most healing things we can do for ourselves and others.  (Besides, it’s kind of humorous, don’t you think?  That a whole planet full of Star Beings has been duped into thinking we’re stuck here in this dark lonely little place, all by ourselves, with no help from anything or anyone– especially when we’re surrounded by helpers day and night.)

Just to remind you, though, that you are not really flapping around in space (or cyberspace) all by yourself, here’s a good read on the astrology of these “interesting times” by Pat Liles .  Enjoy, take a deep breath, hug your loved ones, and laugh.)

(Photo credit:  Lewis T. Riddell)