MoTabs Betray Lack of Morals in Mormon Leadership

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is singing at his inauguration. I’m so angry.

HOW COULD YOU?!

Fine, do it. But get off that fucking high horse. Your voices reach the stratosphere, but your morals are in the gutter. Don’t even pretend anymore!mormon-tabernacle-choir-750

(I have this belief that he wanted the Mormons to sing for him as a way of forcing naysayers to worship at the altar of Trump. But, then, how Utah voted… we really can’t call ourselves naysayers, now, can we?)

(It’s more likely that no one else said yes. Ask the Mormons! They’ll call it a chance to spread the good word, and stick their tongues right up his asshole!)

Who better to herald a racist than a religion that refused to give black members full status, until threatened with loss of tax-exemption? Who better to honor a misogynist than a religion that sees women as little more than vessels? Who can mark the reign of a pedophile rapist like a church with a legacy of forced child brides? Who else could represent a power-hungry, money-grubbing bully like the wealthiest religion in the U.S., that keeps a political, ideological stranglehold on an entire population?

If nothing else, The MoTabs enter his immutable blandness into history. Is there a human being in the world with less groove? I mean, if you’re going to be a despot, at least be cool. Unfit, unready, petulant, vitriolic, stupid!, BANAL.

Click here  to petition The Mormon Tabernacle Choir to decline Inaugural invitation (and to read a lovely treatise written by a person of conscience, who illustrates the feeling of many decent people in that religious body).

Click here to read about the courageous, principled singer who resigned from the choir! Thank you, Jan Chamberlin! You’ve restored so much faith and pride to me.

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Cranio-Sacral Healing

I belong to a group on Facebook that calls and hosts sweat lodges for women. In my life, the sweat lodge has played the most powerful role in my growth and healing, and the women I meet there inspire and lift me.

Naturally, my membership in the group precipitated many friend requests. I almost never accept invitations from people I’ve not met personally. I find it disingenuous and overwhelming to suppose I have hundreds of friends. In fact, I often “cull the herd,” and end online friendships with those I may have met once, but failed to follow up the connection with another face-to-face, or even a meaningful conversation on Facebook. Often, after attending a sweat lodge where a woman is in attendance who previously sent an anonymous request, I’ll accept when I get home.

Once, such a stranger invited me to an online friendship, and “something” interested me. It’s become one of the most rewarding friendships I’ve enjoyed. It’s crazy at this point that we haven’t met! It’s been years. We have so many friends in common and connections in diverse and unrelated pursuits. I know now that Spirit was telling me to check her out.

There’s another lodge on Saturday and I think, at last, we’ll both attend. I’m so excited to meet her! She’s a healer and a bad ass. Something she wrote recently issued a challenge to me to rise above my anger, and reach across the aisle.

I’m perfectly aware of my tendency to demonize – well, Republicans, really. They threaten my safety. I’m also aware that this is the very bipartisanship I rail against, and does nothing to solve problems. But I’m so angry! Republicans created the stalemate that brought government to a grinding halt, and then reaped the rewards of a campaign that disparaged a government that doesn’t work.

Republicans are a threat to the freedom and safety of all Others.

And, of course, that’s not true. Absolutes never are (hehe). Jon Stewart was interviewed recently by Charlie Rose. He’s succinct where I am not, and made plain the flaw of vilifying the other side. I’ve been guilty myself of “creating people as a monolith,” by grouping all supporters of the President-elect as “the worst of his rhetoric.”

The only way to progress is to listen to one another, even when we disagree, and to speak with respect – not necessarily for each other, even, but with respect to the fact that most behavior is motivated by sincere belief. Our beliefs diverge, but we must not.

This friend has given me permission to print her words verbatim. I’m humbled by her response to the following experience, and frightened a little by her strength. She proves the possibilities that I’m thus far unwilling to welcome. This is the example I have to follow if I wish, not only to heal, but to retain access to my own healing gifts. I must rise above my punitive self if I’m to grow into the role I feel calling me.

Let me tell you, I can feel Saturday’s lodge already, and I am afraid. I’m grieving. I’m hurting. I’m furious! I’m angry that it’s on me to be the bigger person. I’m so sick of being the bigger person! I want to be nasty and bitter. I want to SCREAM!

So I will. With a plea to the ancestors to make my anger useful, productive, motivating, and to release me from it when it no longer serves me or my goals.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

*****

The Story of A Healer:

“The day after the election, I began receiving a flood of calls from (mostly) women in need of healing work. Immediately, I noticed a pattern in that nearly all of them were reporting pain in their jaw. From a craniosacral, bone energetic perspective, the mandible is the place in which we store much of our repressed anger and aggression. It’s where all the masks have been placed to hide our true feelings for every time we’ve been shut up, shut down, cut off at the throat, belittled, abused, beheaded….you get the idea. It’s our voice. It’s extremely powerful and primal and needs to move, talk, scream, roar, sing, kiss, laugh, express itself. As all life does.

“Yesterday began my sessions with woman after woman after woman. Jaws locked. Clearly stressed, triggered and fearful. Afraid if they actually express how they really feel, something extremely bad will happen. What were they angry about? The election. But as we moved deeper into the session it became obvious that their anger is about far more than Donald Trump. It’s about all that he represents and the ancient shadows he is triggering in them. In me. He mirrors the hatred and persecution Women have been horribly subjected to for centuries. I began to see how we can actually thank this man for bringing up the repressed shadows of our own hatred and anger that stems back thousands of years, with our heads being cut off for standing in our gifts, using our voice and being powerful. There is a huge generational cleansing that is happening. Sometimes the greatest healers come disguised as our darkest knight.

“So what could I do besides hold space and be a safe container for the expression of that anger, allow them to scream and roar, unwind, cry, let loose, tap into the deep sadness that lies beneath anger. Allow for the safe return of the mothering heart that stands only for love. Fierce Love. The Kali Ma, fire breathing, Creation and Destruction, you can’t stop me, type of Love.

“Then, a man came in. His first session with me. Filled with Hatred. Anger. Sexist statements. Racist statements. Everything is everyone else’s fault. Millions of dollars involved. He’s a very important man. I mean on and on and on. The ‘Dark Knight’ ‘Monster’ arrived in my room to lie on my table. As you can imagine, when facing your dragon, every trigger is up with ferocity. I slowly, at first begrudgingly, found my way into my heart center and just kept asking the question, ‘How can I love, even here?’ ‘How can I remain open, even here?’ ‘How can I be a safe container for this man, who is clearly suffering and asking to receive a session with me?’ I dropped into neutral, listened to everything he said, and allowed not a single reaction or agenda to arise. Basically I placed him in Divine hands, got myself completely out of the way, and became an empty vessel.

“Lying on my table, he continued to go on and on with no response from [me]. After about 30 min, it was as if he dropped into a deep trance. Silent. Still. Unmoving. What followed is difficult to describe but it was as if I witnessed a golden blanket of light descend over his entire body. I did not move for another hour. When he woke, he looked at me, disarmed, with tears in his eyes and asked ‘What just happened?’ I replied, ‘You’ve been kissed by the divine.’ He did not argue and rescheduled for next week.

“I see everything in terms of birth and death and the processes that come with these rites of passage, whether literal or symbolic. I can’t help it. This is my work and my medicine. To me it was as if this man died on my table as I have seen countless actual deaths. He died and was reborn.

“Of the 5 stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, I’ve come to see that Denial is the one we tend to stay in the longest. Anger is the one we try to get around, repress, or avoid, yet in avoiding it, it becomes an overbearing and enormous shadow that consumes us. Acceptance is both the most difficult to reach and by far the most liberating.

“In facing the dragon and moving through all those stages without resistance or closing off my heart to the suffering of this man and our world at large, I feel completely free. I know with full acceptance, love is the most powerful weapon we can ever use. Not the fluffy unicorn and rainbow kind of love (although it has its place) but Divine love that says, ‘I will respond to nothing other than love.’ ‘No one can take Love away from me.'”

One Week of Trump

trumpery

Not surprisingly, I’ve been in mourning.

This is our Watergate. Political cynicism is the norm after Nixon. Before him was Camelot, for heaven’s sake. Similarly, there’s life before Trump and life after. America is not the same. America is an idea as much as it’s a country, and it is fundamentally changed.

This hit me harder than 9/11! Perhaps that seems hyperbolic, but it’s true.

Trump has no interest in governance. He wants glory and HIS WAY. He’s a would-be dictator. Thank god there’s still enough to our democracy to get him out and save ourselves in 4 years.

In the meantime, what I believed would be a post-election Republican postmortem is, instead, occurring within the Democratic party. With Bernie Sanders to lead the way!

Seeing Plan B’s “One Big Union” couldn’t have been more timely, motivating, and healing for me (though a part of me panicked that, 100 years later, the “bosses” are still winning). America has made great strides, and we’ll fight like hell to keep them. We’ll lose ground, no question, but we’ll reclaim it at midterms in 2018. And there will be sweet victories and progress in the meantime.

That being said, I am terrified by Trump’s choice of a climate change denier for his EPA team [and a rag printer of alt-right rhetoric as top aide]. Currently, with what’s happening – unequivocal crimes against individuals and a sovereign nation – Trump’s role in the already marred energy sector frightens me the most. Only the NRA has better-funded lobbyists than the dirty energy industry. We stand to lose what we cannot recover.

So I donate my small amount to Standing Rock. And I pray. I paint my drums. I put the hope and buoyancy that are my nature back into my big picture, and I WATCH.

Everyone is saying right now, “I hope he proves us wrong.” His choices so far show that he, likely, will not. Of course, the grandiose promises he made to deport everyone and ban everyone can’t be kept entirely, and he’s back-tracking already on what he “meant.” On the one hand, thank goodness. On the other, he’s a fraud. You got suckered.

We’ve been Trumped.

He will be more futile than he realized, I think, as the title doesn’t proffer the cart-blanche he anticipated. He’s so clinically narcissistic, he can’t even see that the job he applied for was not Absolute Ruler. But the damage is done.

Immigrants have been murdered this week. Boys chant at football games, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” People across America are vandalizing brown neighborhoods, and taunting immigrants and Latinos about The Wall and their place on the other side of it. The narrative has changed. As much as we were the land of opportunity, the champion of anyone willing to labor, America is now the intolerant paragon of hate. Racism is normalized. Fear-mongers are emboldened. Bigots feel at liberty to terrorize their neighbors, because their President-elect does the same thing.

There’s a prominent socially-conscious woman in Salt Lake named Mary Dickson. She hosts a public television segment, and wrote a play for Plan-B that I saw. I ran into her the other day and introduced myself. When I asked how she was, her eyes welled with tears. She’s been hosting Saudi Arabian students for years, she told me. When one leaves, another moves in. She loves them and their families. They are family. The day after the election, one boy was dressing in his regular Saudi clothing to head out somewhere, when the other student stopped him. “You can’t go out in that! They’ll kill you!”

The fear is real. It hurts!

It’s the first time that terror has touched me by so close a degree of separation. Yes, Trump hates women. Can’t even see us as beings enough to hate us, really. We’re things to possess and conquer, objects to reflect his prowess and power. While Rape Culture is removed to the 60s, at best, it’s still a theoretical shift. I don’t feel any more at risk of rape today than I did yesterday. (The day after the election, I wondered which men filling their tanks had voted for him, and felt markedly isolated.) (And, naturally, women’s health is a terrifying “we’ll see” for now.)

These boys are afraid for their lives! Their mothers want them to come home. This is as much America as anything we’ve told ourselves before. America is an unsafe place to visit or study, or live. This is the reality for so many! And in one big con, it was all made OKAY. Whitewashing xenophobia makes it that much more shameful. I’m ashamed. Might someone look at me and wonder if I support that hatred and chaos?

I weep for my country.

His supporters are keen to say that only a quarter, not the majority, voted for him (Meaning what?) and “most of those aren’t racist.” Perhaps not, but they’re fine with a dangerous criminal running the country. Is that any better?

And this convenient splitting of hairs offends me. That quarter of the populace told the electorate to give him the keys. That’s the majority! That’s how American democracy is set up. They know that. Everyone knows that. But faced with the consequence of aligning themselves with a racist – being considered racist themselves – they claim that a most fundamental principle of the American democratic process, the existence of the Electoral College, negates their responsibility for electing a bigot to office.

It’s not that they don’t understand basic principles that govern our land. It’s that they want those principles to now abdicate them from the blame they share for bigotry that’s newly strengthened in our country, and from the hate crimes that follow. “We voted for a hatemonger, but we’re not to blame for the danger that puts people in.”

One of the more somber social consequences of the Internet Age is online bullying. Trump epitomizes trolling. He legitimizes malcontents who hide behind computer screens. Those ugly people emerge from behind a cloak they needed a decade ago, before hate-flooding became everyday ho hum. That’s an unsavory population to a invite to a discussion that has real-world gravitas. These people play by virtual rules, and have lost the ability to empathize, if they ever had it.

Speaking of vile internet behavior, what must pedophiles be feeling – worse, doing – right now, with a President-elect on trial for raping a 13 year old?

This is real! I still can’t believe it’s real. People are in danger.

The other frightening thing about the internet is that truth has no meaning. Facts have somehow lost almost all value. How can we feel otherwise when a pathological liar is elected to the highest office in the land?

Anyone can say anything. With conviction, it’s taken as truth. All we want is the loudest ape. How can we be so blinded by bluster?

Do they actually think he’s going to save their jobs? The blue-collar contingent that lapped his pablum is the very population that will lose first!

You know, that brings up an interesting aside for me. I used to do that. In high school, I argued things I didn’t believe, just to see if I could win. When I did, I’d laugh at the chump that I’d convinced of utter bombast, of LIES. “You’re an idiot!” I scoffed.

Making others a fool became a power I abused.

That juvenile behavior characterizes Trump. He gets off on tricking people! I know that high. As I matured, so did my morality, and I made choices to be a kinder person. Trump has no internal compass to guide his choices toward good. He’s pure greed. And success doesn’t count if someone else doesn’t lose, or suffer, for your gains. He’s a dangerous, ironically bankrupt man.

And, still, none of this is the point. The point is the message. In the United States, we don’t respect, protect, or treat with civility anyone who isn’t white, male, Christian, straight, wealthy, and healthy. It’s a terrifying day for immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ, the disabled, the poor, the insecure. This is as much what America stands for, now, as anything we’ve claimed and believed about ourselves previously. It’s a strong, clear, horrifying, and heartbreaking message. And the majority chose it.

“Most of the people who voted for Trump aren’t racist” is a bullshit platitude that makes me scream. Permitting bigotry – while disavowing it in oneself – is a comfortable delusion that Trump supporters created so they can live with what his message tells their neighbors, fellow Americans, and the world. Your vote makes it your message.

“I voted for a man endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, but I’m not a bigot myself” is a pathetic story that no one believes but the people who tell it to themselves. Silence is deference. Anyone who stands idly by while another is marginalized is passively participating in that degradation. So if you vote for it, you are an active adherent of an ideology that tears people down and destroys community.

In other words, actions speak louder than words.

And their actions gave us the most self-serving, cossetted prince to rule America.

trump-and-melania

Has anything reeked of more insecurity and desperation?

“No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things.” -Neal Gabler

One Big Union

one big union.jpg

So excited to see this show today! Joe Hill was a labor activist and musician who was executed 100 years ago for a murder he may or may not have committed. This Plan-B Theatre original play contains Hill’s own songs, recently released to the public domain, and also highlights his work with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who visited him in jail here in Salt Lake, and went on to co-found the ACLU.

rebel-girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for this 1915 battle hymn.

Plan-B is the only theater in the United States that produces entire seasons of original works by local playwrights, with emphasis on socially conscious themes and issues. It’s owned by one of my dearest friends and his husband. http://planbtheatre.org/

It’s a relevant stage experience, following a week that has seen boys at a local football game chanting, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” and a white van trolling Rose Park, a Salt Lake City neighborhood rich with immigrants, screaming, “Trump is President! Build the wall!”

Don’t mourn… ORGANIZE!
joe-hill

*****

It was amazing! Very emotional at times, as they were describing precisely what we’ve been living with this week and for the last 18 months.

I have to go to more shows at Plan-B! I’m so cheap. I always say, “Next time,” and next time never comes. If nothing else, I should be supporting my friends. The real reason, of course, is that theater transforms us! It makes us think, laugh. It gives us a break from everyday and all that that entails, but it can also light the fire of our own creativity. Above all, theater connects us. This was wonderful.organize

I’m Glad I Watched, After All

And I’m glad I took a news-feed break the weekend before election night. I needed it.

If I had woken up to discover a Trump presidency, I would have been more confused than I am having watched it happen. I was resigned, if not resolved, by the time I went to bed.

There is no humor in me. Jax is trying to make jokes this morning. I want to kill him.

Instead, I’m going to marathon “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” and disengage for as long as I can. It will settle in. The pain will subside. Only 4 years.

There will be no revolution. This was the revolution.

Only 4 years. Only 4 years.

The nice thing about middle-age is how quickly time passes.

Only 4 years.

I must be careful what thoughts and energy I put into the new drum I’m working. We need prayer and peaceful intention now more than ever. I’m hoping it will help to heal my broken heart, to focus on art and what these drums have come to represent for me. Drawing the mandala, especially, is meditation. Painting it feels like celebration.

Hopefully, by the time it’s ready to be painted I can feel joy again.

I’m so ashamed. I’m in shock. I hate my country.

I’VE NEVER FELT THAT IN MY LIFE.

trump

It breaks my heart. Absolutely rips my heart out and breaks it.

All Strong Women Are Called Bitch

nasty-womanI woke up Friday morning, suddenly aware that my belief that election stress hadn’t gotten to me was, in fact, a coping strategy to hide from what now feels very much like trauma! It broke my heart to see how disconnected I’d become from my emotions just to survive this shit. It was alarming, because I try to look honestly at myself and what my feelings are telling me. I was hiding from pain!

Post-election is going to be ugly, too. There will be no ideal reconciliation, or even real workability, but thank god this part is OVER. The longest, most vitriolic election in modern history. I feel like I’ve been beaten.

I ached again for the little girl who grew up in a violent home, who developed that coping mechanism just so she could breathe. I read once that Depression isn’t merely a pervasive low feeling, but the absence of all feeling, eventually the inability to feel. A person crying “the tears of the damned,” I call them, will do anything not to feel them. Not to feel. They stop being able to feel at all, even the good stuff. It’s horrible, and it comes from hiding from pain.

I would have thought that I had a special radar for noticing when that technique was creeping into my life. I didn’t see it at all! You hear the buzz words “election anxiety” everywhere, and I had perched myself above it, in very much the same way I would leave my body during violence that I thought would kill me. When I saw it – her – I ached, and went in again to be the grown-up I needed when I was a terrified little girl.

I decided that I will no longer watch any news or footage of any kind until Wednesday, and I haven’t. Of course, it’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it. But I’m not permitting the sound bytes into my life anymore. I’ll know tomorrow what happens tonight.

At one point Friday, I was praying and dancing – with my new beautiful mandala hand drum – and putting peace and healing into the meditation/energy bubble I’ve described before. I had this vision of Hillary Clinton ushering in a reconciliation era. I felt almost elated! I danced and celebrated, and put all of my love into that vision.

The next day, I woke up feeling like such an idiot! I’m so stupid! Hillary won’t be permitted to lead our national recovery. They’re going to eviscerate her! They are going to make her pay so hard! They will never stop trying to SILENCE THE WOMAN. And they want the rest of us to witness what happens when we dare to speak.

I felt like crying. I felt hopeless.

And then I didn’t. Immediately, I thanked her again. She is the only woman who could break this final fucking ceiling. Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, SHE has opened the door at last for women to be taken seriously in U.S. Presidential races.

The United States hates women as much as it hates black people. It’s shameful that it’s taken so long for a woman to break through that insistent wall of fear and desperation. Germany has Angela Merkel. England has Theresa May, and the Iron Lady was taken seriously decades ago. Israel had Golda Meir a lifetime ago! She was born in 1898!

But not here. Never here. Here, they don’t want to hear. SHUT UP, said white male privilege to every woman and every person of color. “It is the existential fear of displacement from a world that has slowly – too slowly, for too long – been chipping away at white male supremacy.” -Rolling Stone

Hillary Clinton was the woman to break through that blockade, not because her place in history is that of a peacekeeper. That woman is a warrior! She’s strong enough to take anything they say and do to her. And only that woman can handle what’s coming after she’s elected. She’s a battering ram! And she’s willing to do it.

So I’m grateful. I don’t love her perfectly. That’s a childish world view. Politics is messy business. No one is 100% happy 100% of the time. That’s dictatorship. But Hillary Clinton is among the most honest politicians (Deal with it), and she’s accomplished things across both sides of the aisle, that make the world a better place. That has been her aim.

Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see any of that ever again. This bipartisan bullshit is an attempt by the Republican party to bring down everyone if they can’t have their way, exactly as they want  it. It’s so dangerous. It breaks my heart.

And that’s where I come in. I have to learn my limit of exposure, and pray. Ironically enough, I’m a warrior, too. But it’s in this way that I came to my calling, which is to heal. Myself. My friends. My family. My neighbors. My world.

I can’t get bogged down by the futility of it all. I just have to believe in my ridiculous mystical bubble – and I do – and send all of my love into it. I can imagine myself into real visions of peace and cooperation, and when that sight takes the pain from my heart, I pray and pray and pray. “Let the world feel this, NOW. Let everyone who sees this in their heart send the power of their healing into the bubble, too, and make it grow!”

“Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
-Maya Angelou

drum

Here she is again. I love this drum so much! She is a healer! I love her voice.

Tonight, I will go to a belly dance class, and come home to work on my next mandala. In this way, I’ll hear none of the nonsense that I don’t need. It’s done.

I’ve found that the repetition of each rotation brings on a trance state, where the mind forgets its being-ness, and what’s inside comes up. I’ve caught myself putting hatred and anger into these beautiful lines and curves, but Sacred Truth stops me. I really feel like something else jumps in and says, “Not here! Not this!” So I redirect my thoughts, and pour love, joy, healing, humor, and everything beautiful about my inner nugget into these drums I’ve come to love so much. They contain prayers and magic!

Kumbaya, bitches!

womens-suffrage

I Forgot Again!

I locked my keys in the car for a second time in 3 weeks!

At least there’s a method to my madness, irritating though it may be. It took a second lockout to get it. Having been chauffeured for the last decade, I only had to worry about throwing down gas money and not how to get back in the car.

Whenever I go camping, hiking, anywhere I don’t want to carry my purse, I have to take special care to see keys in hand when I lock up. I stopped at Crystal Hot Springs yesterday on my way home from Idaho and didn’t think of getting back in the car until I took a few steps and decided to go back for lip balm. Doh!

The locksmith was quick and cheap – and covered by insurance – so I wasn’t delayed too long getting into the highest mineral content waters in the world. Aaah…

****

It was such a great visit! My nephews are the cutest! I played for 2 days straight with the 2-year-old, and cuddled the 1-year-old during movies I hadn’t seen in decades, “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”

I’m pretty sure the neighbors were glad when I left. I brought my drums. 🙂

My sister and 2 nieces were there. They’re always fun to tease and the little boys adore them. I love my family when Melanie’s husband isn’t around.

While we colored eggs, my dad and brother got talking politics in a nearby room (i.e. denigrating Democrats and the President). “Obama is an amazing leader…” I hollered, “who would serve this country and the world in ways you couldn’t imagine if the Republicans wouldn’t block him at every turn just for the sake of tanking his Presidency!” [and who has accomplished great things in spite of their efforts]

They razzed me with no acrimony and my niece asked, incredulous, “You like Obama?”

“I absolutely do!”

During clean-up, I found a forgotten egg. Dark as the dye could stain, it emerged clear as day – no need for adjustment, a message arose from the ether – “Obama blows.” I belly-laughed, hard, and praised my brother’s forbearance.

“I could never hold out that long for pay off. Well done!”

****

Obama rocks.