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.

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

Co-operative Ventures

I saw this cube for cats, set it up and didn’t expect much. We have a lot of cat toys moldering and unused. But this one got attention right away. Liam gets in it and on it. Everyone wants to be part of this co-operative. The bottom bunk has two entrances which is probably why it’s so popular. The top is the most sought after.

My daughter Becky posted a quote by Thich Nhat Hahn, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
I think this cube does that. It lets the one on top have control and many exits, inside is cosy and also two exits.
If I am in relationship with you and I have to look for an exit I am likely to feel trapped. If I know where to go and have a choice I’ll likely feel free.
When I feel my own self and accept what’s there – freedom. My body feels looser. I’m likely to be smiling when you see me.
Tighten up on myself and my mouth’s a straight line. Squinty eyes.
The cube’s an inside job too.

The other day I was in a hurry. I was also introducing Eli and Liam. They were stiff with each other. I looked at my desk – should be there, things to do, make myself worth something. I looked down. There Liam and Eli were seeking guidance from me the resident human. I remembered what I tell my clients – “what’s important? What are your goals, what is your vision? What do you want to create?”
I bent down to be more available, my desk sat there, I sat on the floor until Liam and Eli were comfortable and convinced we were all on the same path. We are. And my desk was part of the next vision. The next goal. All good time – all a fit.

What Matters

Paula has been up in New Hampshire since last month. She and campaign workers of all ages have been working in states near and far to them for months. Yes most of them are younger, without homes, jobs and families to take care of while those of us who have those things do what we can. We cross borders to help. For disasters, family gatherings, celebrations of all kinds.

I live in an area of three states where a few steps takes you into another tax rate, school system, set of rules and regulations. When Paula and I moved from Massachusetts, where we were legally married, to Connecticut where we had to do a ceremony with a justice of the peace to get some of the rights we had left behind reinstated, we joked that if we moved to New York, which we abut, we would have to do something else. At the time – six years ago – each state was separate and unequal.

Now they all recognize us. Cross pollination of people and ideas, different ways of being has made it easier to see the humanity in us all. When we cross a barrier we take a step in the unknowable. How will we create change, how will we be changed. I know for my own self that when I went door to door campaigning for Obama last election my life was changed forever. I am not easy with people, shy in a crowd, even shyer at your doorstep. In 2008 all the passion I experienced in my life – the civil rights movement, all the issues of the 60’s, Stonewall, and Equal Rights – came into play. I felt these issues come together in a tsunami of action I could take and believe a difference would be made.

I went door to door with a man I respected as very savvy, very used to the world I was stepping into. At the end of each day he remarked on my effectiveness, my ability to inspire and my compassion. He hardly said a word, he let me lead. Transformation. I don’t think others were as surprised as I was. The fire within me had found a place to go and a voice to give it oxygen. When I was going house to house I felt I was making the difference I was born to. I felt like the story I’d heard of the man on the beach after a storm putting stranded fish back into the ocean. When someone looked at him and the miles of beached fish and said, “you’re not making much of a difference,” and he replied, “I am to this one and this one and this one,” as he picked fish after fish and put them in the water.

I am changed by my actions. By reaching out I got feedback I couldn’t have gotten otherwise. As we get to know each other, we change. As we reach out to touch we are touched. We are not acting without the combined actions of people worldwide who we may never meet but whose light, air and water we share. If there is inequality of opportunity there is no peace among us. Yes, we are different and we don’t have to like what each one of us does or doesn’t do, but we share what we share – this earth, this life, this time – and peace within diversity is our choice. Take yourself out into the world. Stand your ground. Be a friend, love yourself, know you are loved.

Weather/ Climate

Well, it finally happened. We’re talking about the weather. When I was growing up people used to say, “you can always talk about the weather but you can’t do anything about it!” It was a way of exposing our basic need to connect, to say something to each other and, not knowing what else to say or how to connect, we could depend on the weather to give us something to talk about. Talking about the weather today has become controversial, disquieting,  something to avoid, certainly for politicians.

Weather exposes our insecurity as individuals to have control over not just our future but the future of our next generations. Like looking into a void we don’t have a reference for. It feels really far away and we don’t have a dependable cultural mechanism to talk about the future. “Seventh generation” is a model some of us give lip service to but we don’t have a cultural basis for. Are we really thinking of the coming generations when we decide not to fund what we blithely call “infrastructure” – tiresome word – are we really thinking about our great great great great grandchildren when we cast a vote, think a thought that is applicable only to ourself and our immediate need? When we get bent out of shape because the stock market went up or down a few points is that thinking about future generations? That’s weather.

Climate is what we pass on. Climate is like who we are at our soul’s level, weather is how we are today. Weather is the exam I just blew, the fight I just lost or won but our ability to be equanimous – or not – our love and compassion for all creatures, friends, lovers, exes of each category; that’s climate. It’s our climate, who we are and who we’ll be when all we know of ourselves is no longer here now.

Looking into the future is scary for all of us. Who will we be, how will we live, how we will care or be cared for? These are questions we all face unless we have a cultural/emotional community of trust to rely on. The main thrust of science in my lifetime has been to get things under control. We need not experience what is going on outside – we have climate control in our homes, cars, places of work and play. We have insurance and all manner of products to keep us stable in this chaotic world. We’ve got everything we need to be comfortable except knowing how to adapt, to respond to what is here now. We’re learning that. I think we’ll “get it” for the next generations, I think we’ll learn how to adapt – we already know – but we’ll have to act and talk about it while we wait and see.

 

 

My Life As A Cat Post

When I sat down at my computer to write, my catfriend Tallula jumped up on my shoulder – as she often does. I thought well, I can show what it’s like to write at my computer with Tallula settled into her routine.

I get settled in too.

Then she has a thought.

A cat’s life is never dull

every moment is watched

never anticipated

which makes us happy

I thought that was a good thing to pass along. She’s right, you know. As is Liam, the sage.

Time for us all to take a breather.

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.

Fidelity/Perseverance

 

Sometimes people ask for fidelity when they want perseverance. It is after all the workhorse of fidelity. It is the truth behind the truth.

Perseverance does not take everything personally. It does measure worth while waiting to see what happens next. In my experience it takes the world and what is said with a grain of salt.

There is something wonderful implied in perseverance. It is faith. Starting at the top – the Me in all of us, is focussed on my own actions, my own goals and the expectation I throw out into the world passes through me first.

Often when we look at our partner’s actions and find they fall short – the question could be, “short of what?” Our expectations, of course, I know that. But I can forget it as well as anyone. I can forget that in a moment of frustration I expected more of someone than I ask of myself. I can forget that I was too fast with my thoughts and turned to words before I understood them myself.

Perseverance is seeing through that. Loving the self and the other no matter what. Letting go of the Count; you did this when, I do so much, I always, you never. That sort of thinking is faithful only to the pivot, the back turned. It’s what we see in the media, it’s what we believe is “cool.”

What’s really cool is being there, hanging in, taking the plunge, staying for the finish. I’m not talking just about two people in relationship. I’m talking about the honesty with which we live our lives. About the face you see in the mirror. Is it a face you can love? Has it been cared for?

Don’t give up (on) yourself – ever. Give yourself a break – always. Keep to your goals and expectations of yourself – always. Start with compassion, end with compassion. Ask yourself if this is what I want. Is this who I want to be, am I where I want to be.

COUNTING

The flowers are getting sparse. The spiders are working overtime, as are the wasps and hornets. Their time is up. They go out with the flowers.
Shortening days, my darker time is coming. Actually it’s been here since June 21st but I didn’t notice – it was summer, light seemed forever. Night came just in time to catch me so I could gather enough energy for another day.

Now the gathering is done by all the Beings whose nests must serve as pantries. The birds and deer have to get by with what’s left on the bushes and trees – which is why I’m happy to see so many apples and pears out of my reach.

There are some things I can’t fathom the use for. I’m as glad to see these as the pears I cannot reach. Not fathoming something, not knowing means I can keep going. Means I can delve and play, follow a line, an arc, a mood. There’ll be more of that now. More for me to deeply witness because there’s less to see.

TODAY’S POEM

Today’s Poem

When I’m reminded of being alive,
Like taking a big breath,
It can be scary.

It can be so strong.
This morning it was a letter
From a man I don’t know.

He’s my “friend” on Facebook
And I know him well.
In the letter he said he was writing

Because in all his internet writing before
He said he didn’t express himself.
He said he told us what

He didn’t tell himself.
He left stuff out like
How he felt about what he

Does. He said all this good stuff but,
Left out his divorce and meeting a
Wonderful woman

Now she’s here – there
Moving in. Sharing a life.
And he wants us to know.

Is it just men who can do that?
I have another (man) friend,
His story is similar.

A woman turned their insides
Out.
What can a woman do?

Pam White
August 5th 2011