Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Finding Joy In The Era of Trump

People don't, often enough, celebrate the profound potency of simply, but not so simply at all, speaking truth to power. But today the joy of it must not be passed over. All of this wordiness on my part comes of my struggle from the inside out to share how very much today feels like springtime, at last.  And springtime for me is very much tied to the many ways truth can set us free!

Last week’s snow is melted and yesterday I had a joyous sunshiny day out and about in my beloved spanking clean red car, just fixed after months in and out of repair garages. So I was all set for happiness this morning when I woke up.

It was just one of those, “It’s the first day of the rest of my life,” all is right with the world days. Then I checked in with the morning news. NBC’s Comey Disclosures Leave Trump Alone on Island of Conspiracy Theories article told me everything and more I needed to know that springtime is really here, at last!

What a long cold winter season it has been! I think it lasted from the summer of 2015 until now. That whole time of the American public being held hostage to the worst presidential election campaign I remember, culminating in the devastating election of Donald Trump to our presidency. That was the winter of the U.S. A.!

Now don’t mistake this bold revelation to tell you where I might stand on politics. I am a registered Independent. I was ready, willing and able to vote for either major party or none. And, none is what I would have chosen if I thought it might be the right and just way to go.

But no, not voting wasn’t an option! So I metaphorically flipped a coin and picked Hillary though I sure wasn’t crazy about her – and – totally did not want to see Bill Clinton, again, anywhere near the Oval Office he had besmirched with Monica Lewinsky. No, for me it was about character in this election Maybe it generally is, now that I put words to inner process on it.  Anyway that’s how I voted.

So I was devastated like many others to see Donald Trump win the election. But liking Trump or not liking Trump is not necessarily a political call.

And, it sure has been scary ever since. OMG!! What this man has intended for America!

But, bad as it’s been I have kept having faith in our constitutional democracy and the millions of people in this country who unstintingly believe, like me, in speaking truth to power. And, now look what we get! Our system works! Yesterday’s hearings with Comey testifying say it all, for me. The truth will set you free. And darkness cannot survive the Light.

The Games On You, Mr. President!!! Meticulous fact finding and truth telling is about to topple your sloppy, shyster’s ways!

Thank you, Mr. Comey. Those of us who believe in truth and integrity and basic human decency, above all, needed what you gave us yesterday! A sure sign that our constitutional government is not easily corrupted.

Welcome springtime in the U.S.A.!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Finding My Peace With Election 2016

It is Saturday and I am conducting a discussion seminar on “Overcoming The Polarization Of ….. Everything.” Most of the regular participants of New Horizons Counterculture Community Development Experiment are present with me. 

After close to one year with some of these dedicated people – and – of course more than ten  with my Beloved collaborator, Sue deVeer, we are beginning to welcome newcomers to our fold with ease; synergy would best describe how well we work together to present a discussion forum such as this. The sense of community unity we have, in and of itself, is a fine start to our event, held, once again, at the Frederick Friends Meeting House.

For starters, after a few opening comments from me, we get to know one another and the wishes attendees have for joining us on this chilly Saturday afternoon.

To the person, introducing themselves, people express distress about the current state of political and social conditions, on the heels of our 2016 presidential election. Yet, overall, we will spend our time skirting politics. Instead we will focus on personal reactions to what has occurred. And the effect the election fallout is having on close relationships.

To the person, each expresses a lack of ease with current circumstances, especially a disconnect with close family and friends. One woman poignantly voices the main thrust of hopes and desires; finding peace with the situation as it presently stands. After a few more introductory comments from me, suggesting the direction our program will take, attendees are willing to settle for improving communication skills with the hope that these may be able to increase their comfort, if only……, if only they can find ways to reach across current barriers.

So we begin. Dialogue versus debate as a practice takes center stage with people barely able to truly grasp the full significance of the exercise. But we make a start and everyone makes a respectable effort. By the end of our forum we have found an ease with one another that we may not readily find outside our meeting room, especially as most people say that these days it is even hard to acknowledge for whom you voted in the election without fear of stirring an upset.

I get high marks for content and presentation and feel gratified that New Horizons and myself have made a start going in the best post-election direction we can find; teaching the art of leaning in and, apparently, creating a safe, caring space within which others can make a beginning in that noble, often challenging, direction – leaning in.

I return home that night, get a good night’s sleep, waking to the joy of a sunshiny morning in the fresh mountain air. For my efforts of yesterday and all the pre-planning it took, I find myself, at last, feeling at peace with the election outcome and as at ease as I can be with the new administration under a president that I firmly believe "acts crazy" in my estimation regardless of what the psych tests might reveal.

I don’t like so many things now going on in our society and politics. I know I will remain cautious and vigilant for the coming term. And I don’t like that either.

I am tired of the shenanigans of both Republicans and Democrats but I’ll be darned if I will give up my faith in the Constitution of the United States and the American people and how these have successfully, until now, guided us to set our country aright in times it gets off. Barbra Streisand’s approach of blaming Donald Trump for her weight gain is far and away distasteful to me as an option for how to live my life under Trump or anyone else for that matter. 

As one of my old friends once said, "I am not about to allow politics to hijack my serenity!"

I voted for Hillary but sure didn’t want Bill back in the White House. I wasn’t too crazy about her either. They were just familiar and might not have been better at all to help get this country where it needs to go.

Next month New Horizons and myself will put on another Overcoming The Polarization of ….. Everything seminar, on April 1st. Our topic will be “Making Friends With The Enemy.”

I hope folks will join us as we get better and better, ourselves, and teach others the art of  “leaning in” in times of peace and in times of crisis in the U.S.A.

I think the magic lies in if we just keep talking as our friend Pastor George Earle, Jr. told us to do when we "saved Centennial."  

After all, just think about it; our First Amendment grants  us the freedom of speech. So if we are protesting, writing, teaching, lecturing as I am doing, meeting with others for dialogue as we did on Saturday, investigating and reporting as the media is doing, even arguing as lots of folks are now doing over social and poltical issues, we are exercising this freedom. This simple, yet not so easy track has brought us to where we are now, without too much bloodshed. 

Let's keep it up!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is It Truth Or Not?

On Playing New Horizons Truth Or Dare Game 

Thirty men and women are gathered at New Horizons’ Harpers Ferry Retreat Center for a weekend intensive. They are the self-proclaimed “Truth Squad”; New Horizons’ warriors of truth and reality. These are the regulars of New Horizons therapeutic community project that have endured the rigors of our Truth or Dare Game, originally called the Discount Derby. And come through it with their metaphorical badges of courage.

Having accomplished this, Truth Squad members know full well how to spot “untruths’ and systematically transform and transcend them to reach the higher levels of human consciousness.

No guessing here, as the American public is now struggling to do!

In the process of systematically working on this endeavor; knowing truth, to its completion, as best possible, we find so much joy, freedom, creativity and love we can hardly wait for the next round of Truth or Dare, one month away.

Imagine if you will, this group of thirty people happily packed together into a not particularly huge space for a weekend, having as their main objective the “vacuuming” up of each and every indicator of these things we call “discounts (i.e. “elements of reality being ignored or minimized),” as if they were dust motes. Each discount must be located and done away with for the GAME we are playing to have a successful outcome.

Not easy to imagine, is it?

That’s one reason why New Horizons’ Truth or Dare GAME is one of those most powerful processes and programs where you just have to be there and experience it to know it. And knowing “about it” will not get you very far into experiencing the MAGIC!

Because MAGIC is what it is, and a hard-won MAGIC at that!

I can try and try to tell you “about it” and still you will never know “IT” unless and until you experience “IT”; the alchemy of shared human transformation.

Now, as it turns out, New Horizons’ Making Violence Obsolete/Counterculture Community Development Experiment is heading itself into a new, updated Truth or Dare GAME format, along with our Bus Ride Story Adventure. Look for details as they unfold.

To say the least, given the conditions of our present national dissonance in society and politics, learning to know when truth and reality are truly the whole truth and nothing but the truth has now become a survival necessity. And knowing when a lie is a lie or not a lie – and – then what to do about the “lie,” if there is one, has now also become a national pass time, as well as a survival necessity.

Thus I/we strongly urge YOU to learn to play New Horizons Truth or Dare Game. Knowing its intricacies and skills can make all the difference in your health and well-being and that of those nearest and dearest to you in the coming weeks, months and years.

Maybe Trump and team are our great blessing, now, to clean up many of the dust caked corners of life in these United States where we haven’t been dealing with full reality for a very long time, if ever.

Now is our time and our opportunity!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Watching A President Lie

August 7, 1974; The Day Richard Nixon Lied And 
Anastasia's Prophecy Came To Be

I am a captive audience, bound to the television in my room at Doctor’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. I am scheduled for a cornea transplant. In these days of relatively early tissue donation procedures, recipients must be hospitalized, often for days as in my case, awaiting the death of someone whose cornea tissue will next be theirs.

I am not typically a regular television viewer but there is nothing else for me to do here, in the hospital day after day as I wait. But the watching is not as dull and boring as it might be, as I have created an interesting pass time for myself.

I am in my second year of clinical training to become a psychotherapist, using Transactional Analysis as a treatment modality. This is the psychological approach that bases its analysis on recognizing the ego states, Parent, Adult and Child, and the dynamics of interpersonal exchanges, identified in this model as “transactions.”

The Watergate hearings are being televised and it is them that has attracted my attention as I sit here, propped up in my hospital bed waiting. Friends and family visit. They too are drawn to this televised inquiry. We are actually all quite stunned. 

Could it be that our president, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, has been lying to the American people about his involvement in the scandal of a break in at the Watergate complex where the Democratic National Committee is housed? 

Trying to make sense of this devastating situation, I am entertaining myself analyzing the ego states of the players in this drama, especially Richard Nixon and John Dean. Without realizing, I am, right here and now, in this instance of watching the Watergate trials, developing skills of observation that will last my lifetime.

Out of this will grow my devotion to exploring, analyzing and understanding the Dark Side of humanity, especially how it plays out in society and politics. In the process I will develop expertise at transforming the Dark Side; lead into gold!

But here initially, I, like others around me, are shocked. Richard Nixon is lying!

No, how can that be? Presidents don’t lie!

Look back at George Washington, one of our Founding Fathers and the first president of the United Sates. George Washington is known for telling the truth! This is our standard for presidents. 

And, look back to Abraham Lincoln, another of our hero presidents!

What about Franklin Delano Roosevelt? I remember my mother crying as she sat by the radio listening to news of FDR’s sudden death.

And John Fitzgerald Kennedy? I can still see, vividly, in my mind’s eye, the very instant my friend and I discover that JFK has been shot. That moment and that day and the one’s following are indelible in my mind. We are devastated, our world turned upside down!

Our presidents’ lives are inextricably interwoven with our own. Presidents are our pillars of security, the highest leadership in our land that we honor and look to to keep our country and its people safe.

How could it be that the president of the United States of America could be lying? Shocking! Frightening! Devastating!

Our world is turned upside down, once more. Recovering from the three assassinations of the 60's; JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy. And now this! Our innocence is truly gone now.

But it is true! Richard Nixon has lied to the American people, leaving many of us traumatized by his almost unheard of actions in an American president. Later, of course, we will come to know of more moral failings in presidents. But for now we are still quite innocent. 

Next there is Bill Clinton. I see him, too, in my mind’s eye, lying to the American people about Monica Lewinsky in his Map Room address to his loyal followers. We, the people of the United States of America .

This time many make light of the lying. Why is that so?

Not I! I actually go blind as a result. But that is a tale for another day.

Now we have Donald Trump and millions seem to have little to no difficulty at all in accepting his lies; big and small, as ordinary.

How did this happen? Where has it all gone; the values of human valour and integrity that made this country great?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why Telling The Truth Is So Hard

(Even the New York Times, in their new ad campaign, “The Truth Is Hard,” is pushing the message that we’ve  got to all get on board with truth.)

Here is a selection of articles from my take on the issue.  Dig into them, again and again. They are filled with nuggets of wisdom on truth telling!

The “real deal” about telling the truth that makes it so hard is that –
  1. Most of us learned to, at least, bend the truth as kids growing up to keep the grown-ups off our backs; and then --
  2. Certain of our experiences even went so far as to teach us the lesson that our survival might depend on not telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth;
  3. Furthermore most of us have not gotten a fair enough dose of healthy role modeling on the pride and the joy of truth-telling;
  4. Finally, for now, ours is not a culture where truth telling is praised and honored. Quite the contrary, frequently there are daunting consequences for truth telling.  
Here is a quote from noted psychiatrist R.D. Laing that I have found to best state some of our learned challenges with truth telling, even knowing how to assess truth. I’ve witnessed the difficulies repeatedly in my close to forty-five years in the mental health field --  and – in my personal life too.

Lecturing on findings of some of his important research on the origins of mental illness, Laing stated –
In most families, children are taught “not to see what they are seeing, or to forget what they have seen, and then to remember to forget what they have seen, because if you don’t remember to forget you will remember. So, you’ve got to remember to forget it, or you’ve got to remember all the time not to see what you are seeing.  And then you’ve got to somehow or other cut yourself off from a recognition that that is what you are doing – so that you no longer are aware, or you can no longer know that you are remembering to forget what you’ve seen. Or you have to act upon yourself in order not to see what you are seeing…. 
All is finally cut off by a final injunction… against seeing that any of that behind what you are allowed to see is going on at all. And by that time, you have rendered yourself, by action of your mind on your mind, almost totally unconscious.
Now, take a moment and think on that!  Pretty complex stuff to wrap your mind around, dontch'a think? But unfortunately more true than not!

Then go further and ask yourself how a person like Donald Trump might have learned to separate himself so fully from seeing and dealing with reality! And what does his election say about his supporters who think his lying is okay? (Not all do, I know. They are not who I am addressing here.)

Now what about you?

If you’ve been reading my blogs you know I have been believing for a long, long time that my eye problems are directly tied to an injunction I experienced as coming from a mentally ill mother to not see what I see! An even greater difficulty seems to have been, however, that somehow I did not have trouble seeing and knowing what I saw. Rather my borderline mother cursed me not to“say” what I “saw” under threat of punishment by death!

Or so I believed, as that is what I was told, often while I was being beaten. 

I’m doing real well now speaking of whatever I see. Writing for this blog site has helped me immeasurable. Additionally, I have, for close forty-five years, been teaching, guiding and supporting others in learning to do the same; telling the truth to power or otherwise, just to know it and say it.

Please get out from whatever obstacles you may be facing about telling truth, knowing truth, facing truth and expecting others to do that same!!

Our country’s well being needs this kind of soldiering from each and every one of us.

Now please join New Horizons and myself in our Truth or Dare campaign, a part of our new Making Violence Obsolete Movement which is under our overall Small "Zones of Peace" Project.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Praise For The Washington Post

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The Washington Post has done it again; taken one more  big bold step to ensure the integrity of the United States!  Reminds me of Watergate; please let it be, let it be!

Their new tag line says it all --

Democracy dies in darkness” 

I was at a dinner meeting last week with a group that prides itself on “civil discourse.” It certainly was that; discourse and civil!

The most heartwarming, inspiring quality was that there were people there of many persuasions; politically and otherwise. 

Surprise, surprise – there was also a good bit of laughter along with the open mindedness to the issues discussed. These went from politics to religion to values such as integrity, concerns about our present polarized society and more.

I loved that gathering so much I wish I could have gone back the next day and the day after that.

Eventually we got around to discussing the media and its role, or lack thereof, in our current chaos under the Trump administration. Or, is it Trump himself?

Who knows? To the latter question, I try to not give much heed, finding it more to my liking in the service of my emotional health and well-being to steer clear of Trump, the man, and his everyday doings.

One of the most impactful comments I took away with me from that gathering was that of one gentleman, on the subject of the media, stressed how very much we citizens need the media! 

As he continued on, making his opinion stand, he pointed out that it is the newspapers who have the resources to speak truth to power with POWER, in terms of money, talent, investigative skills, readership following etc. Most of the latter; readership following, for such as the Washington Post and New York Times, is built on  long-term reader-publication relationships. 

Relationships are the BIG, Power word here! Relationships is a big piece of what we are needing and even having destroyed by Trump and Team!

But the media -- these are the folks to do the leg work as well as the writing, presenting etc. to keep citizens informed, the man pointed out. 

Point well taken!

Our consensus, thus, was that if we were going to be holding any feet to the fire throughout this present nationwide ordeal we are now experiencing in society and politics, it is the newspaper publications we must be pushing for best actions and standards.

We need the media!

Let us not abandon the media, especially when we most need them. 

"United we stand, divided we fall!"

Now, without the promptings of our fine civil discourse gathering group, look what the Washington Post has decided on their own –

Democracy dies in darkness

Personally, I thank The Washington Post for helping me survive Watergate and a few other related ordeals; Vice President Spiro Agnew and a guy you may never have heard of, Joel Klein who was corruption bedfellows with Agnew. Joel played an important role in my learning about the Dark Side. I’ll get t0 him later!

For now, I am saying --
“Right on, Washington Post!  Right on, folks who engage in bipartisan civil discourse. Right on, to those who are about “leaning in,” not dividing! 

And doing our damnest to not let the Dark Side run our country!”

Friday, January 27, 2017

The United States Of America – And – It’s Flagrant Disregard For The Truth: The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Come on folks! Admit it! Donald Trump didn’t get himself elected in a nation of people who totally believe the truth will set you free! 

No sirree! Bunches of people were willing to compromise and allow the importance of truth  fall by the wayside to get this man elected!

(Also see: Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime -- The Dark Side Warrior And The Issue of Truth)

But then again, Hillary didn’t offer much of an alternative either, especially with husband Bill Clinton by her side; a man who stood in the White House Map room and lied to the American people. (Just like Cosby, this Bill, also, takes the cake.)  And we let that action be o.k.?

Is that a way to honor our White House? And our country?

Yeah, I know lots of people thought there wasn’t much of a selection for the presidential election campaign process any way you looked at it.

But how did we get ourselves into such a mess to begin with; with candidates whose flagrant disregard for truth must somehow reflect our own?

Now, I’m not pointing fingers here at our politicians. I am actually asking you to start looking at your own self.

Where does truth telling, let alone truth knowing – the whole truth and nothing but the truth – fit into your life?

How about the issue of speaking truth to power?

Want to take action to make social change?

I am going to be urging you all to make a pledge to begin your effort by taking on a devotion to the honoring of the role of truth telling, no matter what, in your life from here forth; make truth (and its bedfellow reality) standards in your life! 

In fact, making truth and reality standard bearers for our United States of America!

That is one small, yet very BIG way, you can help us all turn our country around; get it back on track, from the mess we are in, telling the truth and hearing the truth; patiently and non-defensively. If you can do that you are just a step or two away from having genuine dialogue with others; the building blocks of bridges to move beyond polarization.

Then you've really got something BIG started in the way of being a part of solutions

And, self-adjusting to get closer and closer to reality!!

Let us strive to get ourselves to a place where truth and integrity, along with compassion and caring for all of life, fills the White House. Because truth is a priority -- and -- we choose it!

For one of my contributions, I am going to, shortly, post, in several parts, a piece I wrote on “Telling The Truth” for my first book of my “Random House Trilogy.”  I hope as I get the parts up you will heed my words and start applying them to do, at least, a bit of healthy soul searching on the issue of how you hold telling the truth in your own life.

Don’t disparage our newly elected president on this point, telling the truth, unless you have a lily white slate of your own.

Let’s make America greater! Let’s make America honest!

The truth will set us free!