Why Hillary Lost   part 2

At the Womens March this January, the word intersectional

was widely visible.

Google gave me this: “Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.”

I believe this focus allowed men, women, children, dogs (I saw no cats) of all ages and sizes, economic interests and everyone who wanted to be represented there to be there. It was the most harmonious experience I have ever known; there truly was room for us all.
This mood/feeling was not active during the election. I saw in the young man’s rejection of Hillary (I mentioned yesterday) the cry for separation. Devotion to separation, to the isolation of our own type or group identity was the Cri De Coeur during the interminable period leading up to the vote last year. By the time we voted, we were ready to kill one another.

Last year wasn’t so much about age as attitude. The delicious taste of freedom to hate, to blame, to say things that hadn’t been said “for eight years.” To take ourselves to such an extreme focus as not to see anything else.

We must seek a better outcome. To be here in this human body, on this earth plane is to seek wholeness and the more we include, the better off we are. We depend on the tree, the bee, the lion and all who show up here. There is nothing among us expendable or valueless. Please join me in listening to the originator of this most useful word. Let Kimberle Williams Crenshaw speak from her Ted Talk to all our hearts.

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In my small bucolic New England town sitting at the foot of rounded tree-filled mounds of earth we call mountains, I am nestled in the valley of the Housatonic with my fellows. Humans are not necessarily the majority of inhabitants here, although they claim to be in charge.
Some of us have been here a long time and some of us have been here longer. Personally I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. My own history in this place where I live now is very brief – I just moved in a year ago. Before that I was somewhere else I hadn’t lived long in and before that the same. I have always been welcomed as a native although that is hardly the case. Before my ancestors came here, they were some place else. Who can say otherwise?
It happens that here, where I live now, there are many we call Hispanic, they have been here far longer than I. They might have moved here, as I did, recently or years ago but they are only called Hispanic because the country I call mine invaded their country and won.
For some reason, perhaps because of the might of Teddy Rooseveldt and others, I do not call myself English-German-Dutch-French-Irish American, nor do I have to fill out forms or be counted as anything much. Demographics in this country have largely confined themselves to my gender and my politics, neither of which I have to explore to any degree.
I once did live in a place – Concord, MA, with three small, quiet rivers surrounding and running through my environs. It was only when they flooded and I had to drive thirty or forty minutes to get to a destination five minutes away that I noticed their existence. Time is relative until it isn’t and now the people I work with who far outdate my contribution to this area are being threatened. If not they themselves, their relatives, friends – you know what I mean.
Living here has become very stressful, we are being raided and rounded up. I used to ask my mother, “What did you think when you heard about the pogroms? About the raids? About the trains? What did you do? How did you act? What did it feel like?”
Her reply, like many of her answers to other questions, was more than disappointing. She didn’t know – about anything. She didn’t know what to do and she didn’t ask. In fact in her life she didn’t feel safe emotionally, I know that colored her heart. And she felt she had made her mark, made her life, even though she felt vulnerable in it as a woman. In truth if she had set herself free with her opinions and desires, she would have been shunned, pushed aside. She was pushed aside anyway and she didn’t invite more. It also wasn’t happening “here.”
Now it is. When Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is pushed out of a meeting of his peers in the House of Representatives, we are in trouble. When my friends are rounded up all over the country –including the ones I know along this corridor between CT and NY – I am afraid.
Now is the time. This is on us.
People talk of Hitler and his ilk. They only mean they ones we know – Papa Doc, Idi Amin, Pol Pot – to touch the surface. But these days, this month, has caused me to think there are many Hitlers. We are surrounded. I asked a friend who lives in VT and has gone to Canada for decades – weekends visiting friends. She says that after this election when she comes back, they hassel her, take her phone, keep her and her husband pulled over. I asked after the tone of her interaction, what was on the minds of these agents who had been quiescent for decades. How could one person’s voice give them this power, this drive? Did she think they had been waiting for the chance? She thought it was that they could. Now, it was supported, they could be kings, they had a mission. That simple.
In such a simple world, I find simplicity too.
RESIST

This Day Is Every Day

This is the day the electors meet – in their separate states. I confess I didn’t know much about them until recently. I’m not sure what the larger reason there is to be an elector, what role they play in their respective parties, how they are chosen. I never studied it but the news I am surprised to find is that the electors take the heart of the election in their hands far more than I do when I vote. It is clear how much districting counts and how much Democrats lost in the last shuffle – I wasn’t awake – guess I had company.

And they have far more power than they use – or perhaps care to use. They must get something else with the role – I have not been able yet to ascertain what that might be.

This is the day they will send their posts to Washington. By horse or train, coach or truck, perchance to fly: the packages arrive in Washington, in the District of Columbia – another civics lesson unclear, to be opened on January 6th. – is this date the house and senate meet on due to travel time, Three Kings Day? Ponies from the states to D.C. marching with their orders?

Governance is not clear; neither is it necessarily sane or supported by reason. I found this out during my own parenting – and that of my parents’. Quite often thoughts seem to come from above us, or from our wisest place (wherever that is) but knowing anything for sure is a smokescreen as thick as anything growing over the densest of manufacturing cities. With great faith we kneel to a higher being forgetting that the thoughts that we will turn to action are ours and their seeming justice is but a thin slivered veneer of our own upbringing.

There is no person-made system to fix every system every time, forever. Much as we might try to insure stability through rules and habits, things change and we change, not always in sync with our times. Change comes when it comes, ask the glacier and the sun.

There is a saying about the tough getting going as the going gets tough. I would like to posit that the tough who resist change – in this case the browning of the world and the rise of differing states of being, are deepening their foxhole while the floodwaters rise.

There is no substitute for adaptation to what is. Our lives are directed by our thoughts and when wishful thinking is not recognized for what it is, suffering follows. My liberal heart knows this well, and in the suffering of my moment, in the pulse of my ideals there is a thread, a path to higher ideals and intentions that I will do my best to voice and walk.

Whoever you are, wherever you go, I will turn to look for you, no matter what. And in my mind and heart – my human, flawed, beautiful and political heart – I will remember the trend of this country’s young voters; pale blue, it was sparsely, selectively progressive and a beautiful shade of Robin’s egg blue.

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Stand With Me

Little Fictions, Ragged Memoirs on Indiegogo

DSC00616As someone who spends a lot of time searching for words, I am always relieved to find engagement apart from the written or spoken word. Don’t get me wrong, I love words. I’m using them now to give voice to the transformative power of dance.

And theater. I love movement with supporting visual orientation and Paula Josa-Jones is a master of the theatrical move.

But, as important as that is, it’s not why I’m writing. I’m here to tell a story. It’s about passion and commitment and collaboration. I’ve been photographing Paula since early in 1985. When I saw her in front of my lens I knew I’d been waiting for this mixture of innovative movement, comfort with the camera and an eye for detail that allowed my wild eye to flourish.

Now, when I talk about passion and commitment, I am not talking about us, Paula and me. I’m talking about Paula reaching out, asking dancers, set designers, and all those connected to production to plunge into their most authentic selves and come together to make truth in the work.

It takes courage and steadfast wildness to come to this place. And that’s where my story begins.

A few years back Paula was searching. We had moved here to the NW corner of Connecticut. Dancers were in Boston. Horses on the Vineyard where we had spent twelve years and major production of RIDE, dance theater with horses.

Now that I’m writing this, it seems simple. If you’re alone, do solo work. Duh. But then it was a revelation. Like a sword finally untethered, sharp and ready to strike. So, use it, duh.

When she asked me, I said, do a solo, you’re really good at it. But something had been hiding, Paula was shy. Who knew? Her company of beautiful dancers acted as a shield and we had chosen to live in a new place without “protection.”

She started rehearsing. Building this new solo work, Little Fictions, Ragged Memoirs.  This is a lengthy process and now – I’m not sure how many years later – performances, dance showcases, artistic residencies, 1000 hours of listening to music, collecting brilliant collaborators. looking at costumes and photographs – not all mine, check out her Pinterest site.

This is serious work. Important work. Evocative and smart work. She does her best, is doing her best. You too, please. Thank you.

Open the gate – you won’t be sorry!

Little Fictions, Ragged Memoirs on Indiegogo

Enter This Life

“Just come back more as you are!”

Was what one of my teachers was told when she trekked to Japan to meet an abbess with a question about her own re-birth.

Startled and speechless she entered her three month retreat with the fulness of her being and continued just as she was – as she is.

Here is something for all of us. No matter what. It’s about belief, faith and acceptance.

Just be yourself. No matter what.

Need help? Ask your companion animal.

20130830-155609.jpgHAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!

 

Beautiful Mama

Who you are and where you are is important in what you see as beautiful and what is not.
This beautiful mama will not lay her eyes (all puns intended) on her progeny. No bonding needs to take place for the tikes – in this case expected about the end of July – issuing forth from what is to my eye a hastily dug hideout/birth place. She will be far away and they will somehow make their way to her. I know I could do it by the smell alone except the first steps would be hard – she came from a place way beyond my olfactory abilities!

This one, however, is well within my reach! And when we walk around in our world with her, she is mightily sniffed! All manner of human experiments come close to place their noses on her head. She responds positively; luckily for us! I suspect the tiny turtles have the same response to their mom. For all I know she might be recognizable to them if met.

The President-Elect

In 2008 I was ecstatic to find myself working to elect an off-white president. As someone who has a degree in white man’s literature, it is not immediately necessary to diverge to a specific color, race or creed. Much as those who do not want something built near them – “anywhere but here” – I wanted something different. Almost anything.
And now the difference between the president of 2008 and the current president is opening places in me that have never been expressed, hardly thought. Each day of acknowledging the support I feel builds a bridge to expression inside me. When my first woman lover – my 10th grade English teacher, some years after she taught me –  wanted to initiate me to the life I had entered she gave me Nightwood by Djuna Barnes. I was horrified. I didn’t want to move a muscle. I knew for sure then I was alone and I was very afraid. I went on to read Jean Genet who convinced me of my doom.
But I had always felt doomed. I loved John Keats’ poem, Hyperion, identifying with every word about the Titans and their exile. Nevermind that I had risen to no height, I was willing to fall from any.

My mother always called me a rebel without a cause, maddening me and in so doing, making her point! So all this time I have looked for causes – there are many, it’s not a hard pull. I have written and photographed and called and given and stood firm and done it again and again. I have never looked in this mirror.
For over thirty years I have studied the philosophy of authenticity. Call it Buddhist, call it Christian, Muslim, Jain, Sufi, Theosophy, all the ancients and not so ancient. Now I find a thread of myself hidden in my own view, in your view – no mystery or particularly hidden, just not expressed the way I find its expression now, today.

Today I find compassion
in the flower
for me

Today I find meaning
in the word
for me

Today I celebrate
freedom and integrity
for me

Today there is enough
in life’s roundabout
for me

And when I open my eyes
in the reading of a book
to the force of a song
I realize I am singing
I am reading
with you.

 

 

Far Out

We used to say “far out” in the seventies when we meant “awesome” or “epic!” It’s a way of defining an all-out action. I came across these photos which reminded me to live a full out, far out life. Reach way beyond my grasp, nevermind steadiness, it’ll work itself out.

That’s Paula’s dancer DeAnna Pellecchia and my horse Sanne. They both give it all.

I gave a talk at Toastmasters today about a meditation strategy I’ve been teaching and practicing. And yes, I am equating dance and meditation – most everything can be equated, related. There is no one among us who cannot give their All.

The strategy is simple. Breathing in, say to yourself, “Just.” Breathing out say to yourself, “This.” For ten minutes. Then hold your hand to your heart. Ask, “Who am I?” “What do I want?”

 

Rhythm

A friend called me and asked why I hadn’t posted for awhile. I guess I got out of rhythm and I’m having my second cataract surgery on Thursday this week. It’s “simple” but still involves my eyes so not so simple really. After the first surgery 3 weeks ago it was quite miraculous to see clearly – out of one eye! So my brain’s a bit fuddled and monovision does not a depth perceiver or a reader make. I’m looking forward to getting back to balance – literally. She suggested a fuzzy photo as a way of explanation, for me I’m just waiting to type without my face so close to the screen!

Also the election left me confused. After a lot of phone banking, hand-wringing and poll cursing I’m left with a lot of wins – confusing to this stubborn rebel looking for change. I’ve spent my life so far working to right what I consider wrongs. I grew up with signs for “coloreds only” and am used to civil wrongs and unequal lots of things. So it is exhilarating to meet with co-workers on phone banks to talk about building on the wins we’ve just won. I find myself planning to work even harder to bring sanity to what has become a polar and very parochial election process.

In the sixties I was elated to be part of a generation of iconoclasts who did I think stop the war in Viet Nam, who did open society to huge change and I’m proud of that. What I find disturbing is that more of those ideas haven’t stayed around. I find it disturbing that the battles weren’t won. Some are forgotten – who thinks of the ERA on any consistent basis. Why should we have to have the Lilly Ledbetter Act, as important as it is, when the Equal Rights Amendment  would have made it unnecessary.

So, with my next lens, I want to help create news to remember, news that turns to history and policy and something the generations to follow can build on and trust. I want to see clearly to build a foundation on what we’ve done and what we will do. I want to stand next to all of you, different views, opposing positions, and varying abilities yet loyal to the larger commitment that each of us has a right to pursue happiness, peace and lives of our choice.

I hope each one of us will put down out partisan signs and put out energy and faith for all of us. We have a lot to do and it’ll be easier to work together.

 

Leadership

There is a conversation going on in this country that is completely, solely about women and in which I have not heard the voice of a woman.

There is a complacency shared by many – men and women – that the 1973  Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court is immutable.

We stand in a moment of time when this cannot be farther from the truth.

Since the elections of 2010 when ideologists flooded congress and passed legislation limiting a woman’s right to options for birth control, defining rape, curbing funding for healthcare specific to women; the climate changed. This summer when were seeking information for our daughter, there was no talk of anything but having a baby. Our family doctor told her she could go on Medicaid – sign up in any doctor’s office – and the baby’s expenses would be paid for. She would have to have a vaginal ultrasound in order to further explore options for termination.

In 1962 I was living in Connecticut. Contraception was illegal, any form of birth control was available only to those who were married and available only through their doctor. Very few had medical insurance, it was not the norm and not offered by employers. Any doctor visit was paid for by the patient.  Abortion was illegal and a young woman without money and/or the support of her family – I had neither – was bound to have a child. Florence Crittenden homes were available, excuses were made for young pregnant women who were shuttled off to the nether regions to have their babies. Shame and stigma were the rule.

I am not putting too blunt a face on this. When it is your life that is on the line, there is no “act of god” that will ameliorate circumstances and make everything better.

When the rule of the land states that a woman must not have control over her body there is a trickle down that is like a social torrent of shame and lost opportunities. Never, ever, underestimate the importance of who is in charge – who you give or who takes a leadership role in your life.

Freedom’s wings are fragile. Judgement is strong. Do not get caught in the trap of denial.