Fear, Love, Gratitude and the Election

Letter I wrote the day after the election. 

Hi,

I don’t know what’s going to happen – and that is a scary feeling. Currently, it feels like all is lost – my spirit feels like it’s trying to jump out of my body – but the pit in my stomach is keeping it tied down. This morning, last night, I was struggling to find coming from a core place of love. I have to try. I have to do it – because coming from a place of fear is too hard.

I acknowledge that I am afraid, I acknowledge that fear makes me feel separate and that feeling of separation is anxiety-inducing, I acknowledge that I am sad. I acknowledge that there is an awful pit in my stomach. I acknowledge that I am deeply disappointed. I acknowledge that I feel incredibly vulnerable.

I also acknowledge that I love my life and I love this planet and I love making art and doing yoga and riding my bike and reading good books and writing stories and making love. I love the mountains and the air. I love the time we have had together so far.
i-am-the-change_chip-thomas-street-art-holly-troy-10-2016
Street Art by Chip Thomas aka Jetsonorama

I acknowledge that I have the right to be here and to live in joy.

I hope that my visit with Leslie tonight will be helpful – making plans to create – creating, is very helpful, has always been helpful.
I prefer that my friends are peaceful and loving. I am grateful that my friends are peaceful and loving. I acknowledge that we are all feeling some form of fear/disappointment/anger.
It’s going to take a little bit of work, and it’s worth it. I want to feel safe and loved and joyful and valued even with all of this insanity – the misogyny, bigotry, sexism, racism, climate change – that our country seems to be ok with. Steps I can take now:
– renew my passport now before Trump takes office (it expires in August 2017)
– remember I am love: check in, check in, check in with myself
– give love
– have gratitude

My friend Merk has a good plan she shared today. I found it helpful.

From Merk:

Friends, I just posted this on my business page and I think it’s worthwhile to share here as well:

Many people are suffering today under the weight of overwhelming negativity. In my own household, I woke to two highly sensitive teens who are taking on emotions that are compounded by others in their sphere.

In a community of compassionate people who seek to make their lives better, I know that there are many people here who feel as if hate and injustice have been given the upper hand, and are searching today for ways to feel better.

I’d like to help you with some techniques to bring your center back to a place of love. Because love is the way through. It is always the way through, as it is the greatest force in the Universe.

1) List as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for. Take some time to feed your brain and your nervous system with positivity. We all have much to be thankful for in this moment and our focus needs to be there. Go back to this list and this activity as often as necessary over the next week, but certainly do it at least once a day.

2) Be generous. Try to give a small gift to someone each day for the next week. It doesn’t need to cost much at all, but go out of your way to help make someone else smile.

3) Write one thank you card each day for a week. Imagine how good the recipient will feel when they receive it as you are writing it.

4) Clean out a drawer, cupboard, closet or room. Clear through things that no longer serve you and are stagnant in your life and release them by donating them to a worthwhile organization. Create flow and usefulness in your space.

5) Meditate. I can’t stress this enough. Find your center and let love and compassion flow through you so that it can be the filter through which you see life around you.

When our focus is on love and compassion, we can see what possibilities and opportunities exist around us. When we see life through fear, we block that ability and halt any progress that we otherwise would have made.

And if you are already feeling great, and not negatively affected by the news in the world, please have compassion over others who are experiencing fear.

Take a moment right now to feel the love that I have for each and every one of you. Accept it into your heart and pass it along.

With gratitude for a community of beautiful souls,
Merk

What Will The Neighbors Say . . . Op-Ed by Graham Chapman

My favorite member of the Monty Python troupe, Graham Chapman is ahead of his time in this 1984 piece that he did for a program called Opinions.

He was a wise and brutally funny man.

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More details about Graham Chapman and Opinions can be found at Dangerous Minds. 

A fitting farewell by John Cleese.

TED – Halla Tomasdottir: A feminine response to Iceland’s financial crash

Halla Tomasdottir: A feminine response to Iceland’s financial crash

The end of Halla’s speech got cut off – she says:

The final thought I want to leave with you is that I’m fed up with this tyranny of either/or choices in life –either it’s men or it’s women. We need to start embracing the beauty of balance. So let’s move away from thinking about business here and philanthropy there, and let’s start thinking about doing good business. That’s how we change the world. That’s the only sustainable future.

Thank you.

Diversity! It’s important – not only economically and politically, but it’s been proven again and again ecologically. Pretty amazing how all of these subjects are interconnected.

Check out Halla’s bio.

For more ideas on a feminine approach to politics, check out Sister Giant.

“Be realistic, Ask for the Impossible” Vivian Stanshall and a bit of Sacred Folly

Thanks to Dangerous Minds for the link and some roundabout sage advice by Vivian Stanshall!

“Be realistic, ask for the impossible.”

and for your freaky funky listening pleasure . . .

Vivian Stanshall - Sacred Clown! (photographer unknown)
Vivian Stanshall – Sacred Clown! (photographer unknown)

Sustainable Politics through Love – thoughts on Sister Giant (part 1)

Love restores the bottom line, and not the other way around. ~Marianne Williamson

The weekend after our presidential election, I had the great fortune (with some help from my friends and a fundraising site called gofundme.com – check out my site here) to go to Los Angeles for the Sister Giant Conference on Women, Non-Violence, and the Birthing of a New American Politics. “The purpose of SISTER GIANT weekend was to help create a new conversation in American politics, one in which principles of higher consciousness form a new foundation for political involvement.”

I am still trying to find the language for what I felt that weekend—and how to combine politics and spirituality (for me, spirituality boils down to common sense compassion) in a powerful way. So many healers, teachers, and artists have positive impact on individuals in our lives—and so many of us want to be part of a bigger solution, but don’t know where to begin, or, are completely turned off by politics. Most of us do charitable work, but no amount of private charity can make up for lack of social justice. Over the last few years, I have witnessed and experienced the political as personal, and I can’t lie back and close my eyes any longer. This is why I am looking for my voice, and sharing as I go.

Marianne Williamson takes over the stage at Sister Giant with her huge presence

The energy at the Saban Theatre on Saturday morning was overwhelming. The place was packed. So many of us from all over the country arrived with open hearts and minds that just coming together shifted us. The air felt electrified. Marianne Williamson was a powerhouse as she walked onto the stage in a blue dress and platform red heels. She kicked ass! She started out by saying, “Gandhi said, Politics should be sacred.’ And like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King successfully advocated – Love needs to be a broad scale social and political force.”

We’ve got some issues to contend with – a big one even George Bush pointed out – “America is addicted to oil.” I have thought America is an addict many times, and may have shared my thoughts with a few friends, and here was Marianne opening the weekend with this statement, “The United States is a highly functioning addict, the survival of the United States is in peril, and if we do not change, we will die. We need to take a moral inventory of the United States — we need a 12-Steps of the U.S.”

What power restores us to sanity? Love.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King saw Love as a force of non-violence inside the heart of every man, women, and child – a force that would heal political and social relationships. Love restores reason, and Marianne makes a powerful argument that “Love is the only survivable option for the human race.”

For part of the weekend we looked at three topics that could be considered the United States’ “dirty little secrets”. (To go back to the 12-Steps, there is a saying, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”) The discussions were dark, and some made me squirm and sweat with discomfort (close to home), but also inspired me, too.  If we can really look at and sit with the dark, then it is easier to hold our ground in love and compassion when society would want to sway us otherwise.

Marianne asked us to practice Satya Graha – the willingness to bear the agony of others — and to promise to stick around no matter how uncomfortable it might get.

We focused on three issues over the weekend, along with a few statistics for each:

Child Poverty

  • 17,000 children die of starvation everyday
  • Less than 1% of federal funding goes toward funding of poverty reduction around the world (most Americans think it is 25% to 30%)
  • 46 million Americans live in poverty – 16.1 million are children
  • 1 in 4 children in the US are hungry
  • The United States has a 23.1% child-poverty rate, among 35 developed nations, we are ranked second to the worst, just one above Romania

Something to think about: Large groups of desperate people are dangerous.

When the babies are hungry, and your breasts are full of milk, you don’t sit around discussing policy, you feed the babies!

Mass Incarceration

  • We are 5% of the world’s population, yet we have 25% of the world’s prison population.
  • The United States currently has more citizens incarcerated than any nation in history and more than 30 European countries at one time
  • Most people are in prison for non-violent crimes – the War on Drugs created the shift. In 1982 only 2% of the people in the country even thought drugs was an issue.
  • Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics use drugs at the same rate, though Africans Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be targeted for prison
  • A young black man currently living in Chicago is more likely to go to prison than to college.
  • There is a direct correlation with education cuts and higher rates of people in prison
  • Once out of prison for a felony, a person: cannot vote, cannot get housing, cannot get jobs (have you ever had to “check the box” for a conviction?), cannot get food stamps, cannot get student loans.
  • 1 in 7 African American men cannot vote
  • Building prisons is the single largest urban industry in the United States

Something to think about: How can you be an effective member of society if your rights as a citizen can never be restored? How will you not end up back in jail? How is it not dangerous for a society to have large groups of people who have nothing to lose?

Citizens United

  • Current Supreme Court has ruled that money is free speech – which means, if you have no money, you have no speech.
  • SuperPacs raised hundreds of millions of dollars to win the election. They aired 90,000 commercials against Barack Obama in West Virginia.
  • The influx of money from out of state is having a dramatic effect on smaller local elections, which means that special interest groups who don’t even live anywhere near a community can shape the politics and policies of that community

Something to think about: Elections are the will of “We the People”. If Corporations are “people”, then who are “We the People”? How is it sane that companies and people are spending all this money when so many children are starving?

What does your heart tell you when you read about these topics? What action does your heart initially tell you (before the mind jumps in and tells you there is nothing you can do)?

Before we launched into the topics, lecturer and author Charlene Spretnak discussed her research in health and relational physiology. Why this discussion? Because “women tend to perceive the interrelatedness, or the gestalt, of a situation much more than do men; this is a skill that is badly needed in public office!” Why this discussion before the heavy topics? So we could keep in mind that a feminine worldview does have value and power and that our view not only matters but is essential.

Spretnak talked about how a holistic relational worldview (naturally feminine) is becoming more widely accepted in medicine, science, and education. More hospitals are using integrative medicine (yoga and reiki are part of the integrative medicine model in more and more hospitals now), the entire field of microbiology has moved off the mechanistic model to a model of interrelatedness, and relational physiology is a growing field. She shared several examples of how people who have community and strong relationships get sick less and live healthier, happier, and longer lives.

Basically, a relational worldview has life!

The public sphere evolved to become more comfortable to the male psyche, or, a structured, mechanistic view. While the rest of the world is moving forward with a relational model, politics is lagging. The mechanistic view is important, it helps us to categorize and name what is what, but it is a viewpoint that forgets about humanity. Parts are not alive, they are just parts. 

Spretnak calls on us to have confidence in the fact that relational reality is our language. Her message: You don’t have to change to be powerful, BE WHO YOU ALREADY ARE!

I became very excited over Spretnak’s findings, because part of my theory for why we are alive, and how we will survive, is through relationship. I wrote a piece called Beauty and the “What is Sustainability?” Question. Beauty, according to Plato, is that which makes us want to live.

Plato said the only real thing in the universe is Beauty. The far-eastern Vedics said the only real thing in the Universe is Brahma, and that all else is Maya, or illusion. They are talking about the bliss of realizing we are One with everything, of experiencing such completeness that we lose our Selves. It is as if the body becomes a string that sets to humming as it resonates with the vibration of life. Beauty is relational. The relationship is based on harmony that brings about a loss of ego – moments of just “be”-ing are “be”-autiful. The experience of beauty extends beyond the self and out into the world, as well as arising from the cosmos to the self (and the rest of the world).

I am convinced that love has got to be the bottom line in politics, and I do know that we need more heart-centered people to be public in their efforts. Love is the bottom line — but we will be tempted to forget. It can be difficult to be fully invested in the effort but unattached to the results.  If it’s not running for office (even local office) – then we need to bear our gifts (women and men!) to the world as healers, artists, writers, speakers, inspirers and supporters!  We need to help people remember our humanity and compassionate common sense! We need to realize, and to remind one another, and to continue to make love the bottom line.

Martin Luther King, Jr – photographer unknown

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

So much was discussed over the weekend, from problem-solving, to campaigning for office, to how to be a powerful speaker, to being a support for someone campaigning, to the whole system being in a cosmic transition—that I will have to continue writing on this topic in another article. With the lunar eclipse today emotionally processing the angry feminine solar eclipse energy from two weeks ago, Pluto in Capricorn, and Saturn in Scorpio, I thought shining light on some dark energy seemed appropriate. What topics move you? 

If you are interested, Marianne has created Sister Giant National Conversation. The first discussion is on December 5th, 9 pm EST. “Our Monthly conference calls will feature compelling guest speakers, updates on campaigns and issues we care about, and the creation of a space to engage in conversation around national and global peace, non-violence and politics.  Our goal is always the same: how to make love the bottom line. All are welcome to join!”

What is that strange glow in my backyard?

I have been writing a piece on sustainability (again) and politics, when I came across a time lapse map of global temperatures. After the time lapse of global temperatures, I came across a time lapse map of every nuclear explosion since 1945 to 1998.

This is a disturbing video (especially since I live in the American southwest)! It was created by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto. Hashimoto says,

This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.

I remember being terrified of the threat of nuclear war when I was growing up in the 80s! Reagan’s Star Wars program did nothing to make me feel any better about the amount of nuclear weapons on this planet. 

The last U.S. underground nuclear explosion took place in 1992 at the Nevada test site, 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas. On September 24, 1996, President Clinton signed a treaty that would ban all nuclear weapons testing. According the Wikipedia, “Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Parties to the PTBT (Partial Test Ban Treaty) held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests; with strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.”

“Besides advocating the implementation of the chemical weapons treaty, the President called for five additional steps in arms control: freezing the production of nuclear bomb-making material; making further reductions in nuclear arsenals; stregthening measures against nuclear smuggling; improving compliance with a biological weapons treaty and banning anti-personnel land mines.” (Mitchell, pg. A1)

Soldiers being exposed to a nuclear explosion at the Nevada Test Site in 1951.
Representatives of 60 countries signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the end of the day, including the five declared nuclear powers (United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China). “But India, which set off a nuclear explosion in 1974 and is believed to have a clandestine nuclear weapons program that it does not want to give up, has said it will not sign because the treaty does not set a date for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Pakistan, which is also thought to have a covert nuclear program, has indicated that it will boycott the pact if India does.” (pg. A4)

VIP observers watching the spectacle during Operation Greenhouse at Enewetak Atoll, 1951. (What a way to catch up on your tan, hey?)
Though the CTBT was adopted by the United Nations; the United States Senate would not ratify the treaty. It is hard to believe, but the treaty is still not ratified today.

President Obama is currently reviving the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He stated during his 2008 election campaign that “As president, I will reach out to the Senate to secure the ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date.”In his speech in Prague on 5 April 2009, he announced that “[To] achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”

Mitchell, Alison. “Clinton, at U.N., Signs Treaty Banning All Nuclear Testing.” New York Times 24 Sept. 1996, Volume CXLVI ed.: n. pag. Print.

Sister Giant Sizzle Reel and my own weekend summary

The weekend was moving, provocative, inspiring, and validating.

I do believe that love has got to be the bottom line, and that it is time for heart-centered, loving people to speak up and take action!

I took so many notes, and am beginning to pour though them now.

There were moments at Sister Giant where I was incredibly uplifted, and moments where I felt myself plummet to the depths of darkness as I relived how my own life has been affected by poverty and homelessness and fear and violence and sexism and racism and invisibility—and how I am not alone, not today nor in the history of our country! I also felt the relief of light shined on those dark aspects of our collective history, the “dirty little secrets” that are not secrets (sexism, racism, poverty, genocide, hunger, classism, etc.), by the voices of courageous women and men who are taking a stand for humanity—and calling all of us to do the same! I felt myself sweat and squirm, I laughed and cried, I felt the gravity of our collective and individual situations, and I experienced the capacity to love humanity and our potential to bear witness to our struggles and to be light for one another.

Our stories are powerful!

And wow! It was amazing to be in a room packed with women (and some men, too! woohoo!) who care about the world and want to do something about it. There were young women in their early 20s all the way to women in their 70s and 80s! Talk about powerful . . .

There is a lot to be done. I was also incredibly grateful for the practical actions and ideas offered over the weekend regarding working in politics—whether it be running for office, or being in a supportive roll for someone in office or running for office—and to helping ourselves and our (current and future) elected officials stay on track with our (their) bottom line of love and peace. I am grateful for organizations like Sally’s List and The Women’s Campaign School at Yale, too, they are amazing resources for getting involved in politics.


This video touches on a lot of what was discussed, it was put together by glad.is. Some of my images are in there!

Thank you for helping me get there! I could not have done it without you.

Pussies with Gym Muscles are so yesterday . . .

Sarah Silverman talks about Sister Giant!

Sarah Silverman is brilliant — and I am so happy she is talking about Sister Giant. Sarah has been very vocal this election, and her PSA’s are pretty funny.

If you can’t make it to the conference this weekend, check out live streaming of the conference. 

Everyone who is helping me get to Sister Giant – THANKS!

Sarah’s right – we have futures to think about!

This little one believes she can be anything, and I want that to be true for her.

To help fund my trip, check out my gofundme fundraising site.

Politics and Spirituality?

I am planning on going to Sister Giant this weekend to be a part of a discussion for a shift in politics. I created a page for folks to help fund my trip.

A friend of mine asked me what I was going to do with what I learn at Sister Giant. Tonight I made this video:

Marianne Williamson has created Sister Giant in order to “help create a new conversation in American politics, one in which principles of higher consciousness form a new foundation for political involvement.”

I want to take part in that conversation.

On November 10th and 11th, Sister Giant is holding an event in Los Angeles to discuss three issues that are calling for powerful action:

1. At a rate of 23.1%, child poverty in the United States ranks second highest among 35 developed nations (second only to Romania);

2. The U.S. currently incarcerates more of our people than any nation in the world, or any nation in history;

3. Without a Constitutional Amendment to override the effects of the Supreme Court decision “Citizens United,” money will continue to wield increasingly undue influence on American politics.

The Women’s Campaign School at Yale will be there as well, discussing the ins and outs of leading a political life AND a blueprint for moving forward.

I could really use your help in getting there. Although my finances have been incredibly difficult over the last few years—I have a voice, and a mind, and a heart—and I want to be a part of a solution that will benefit all of us.

I will be leaving AZ on November 9th and driving to Los Angeles. I will drive back on November 12th. I am going with two friends – hopefully more. In fact, why not join us?

Thank you,

Holly