Monday, June 18, 2012

So Glad I Asked. So Glad You Told

What if, someone asked you how you really want this country to run; the way you’d really like it to be? What if someone wanted to know, sincerely, what you think about our national concerns, without having an agenda to sell you on buying?

What if someone wanted to know what your vision is, presently, for a healthfully functioning U.S.A.? Just simply for the sake of the dreaming, the hoping that we can, indeed, be the best we know how to be, in a great country also being at its best. No real agenda, other than helping to enhance our standing, individually and collectively, for that which we believe in. What if someone wanted to hear what you think? Not just leave you with your dreams for peace and unity as little more than as a voice blowing in the wind? What if someone wanted to know what you think that is not about complaining, polarization or protest?

If no one else has been asking, I may just be the one.

Last year at this time it would not entered my mind that I might be the one asking questions most others had not considered inquiring about. But here I am, now, less than a year later, wondering if I just might, at least, be one someone who is doing that probing. Though truth be told, I would hope to have a whole lot more company in the doing. And, maybe I do, but we just haven’t quite found one another quite yet.

Anyway, now, with the addition of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study, these two blogs I write are now taking inspiration from the hopes and dreams of people in our study. So I’ve got to state, here, what I am thinking, loud and clear, about many of the responses being collected: I’m glad I’m asking and so glad you, who are now in our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, are telling; what a healthfully functioning U.S.A. might look like to you.

For me -- and possibly for visitors to these two sites -- this is a much better conversation than all the complaints and polarization the politicians and the media are feeding us these days. And, against which few of us are amply protected. Who knows, if enough people start saying what they do want in this country, instead of what they don’t want, maybe we can find our way to change, sooner rather than later. And, possibly, achieve this objective with less than the chaos surrounding us now.

For me, personally, the asking and the telling that is going on in our study might just be the option to help me let go of considering selling the one single vote I have on e-bay for all the difference it might make in the November election, 2012. Of course, you know, if such an endeavor is possible I will give that money to New Horizons, my favorite charity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I Can Do

Helen Keller had a favorite quote, written by a friend of her’s, Everett Edward Hale.

I am only one,
But still I am one,
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something,
And, because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Today I am reflecting on how I might apply these thoughts to my concerns and clonflicts over the coming election.

Realizing that I have only one vote and that will not go very far in the whole scheme of things, I had a few added thoughts of things I could do so that I can be doing the “somethings”: I can do.

  • I can speak the truths I am carrying that best represent ME
  • I can share my truths through my blog postings
  • I can use the various forums of New Horizons’ programs to speak my truths
  • I can engage others in dialogue in settings that I am assured will invite conversations that are open hearted and high minded. (None of that solely intellectual stuff for me, day in and day out. I want to get to the real heart of the issues, or at least some of them.)
  • Sue and I (and our volunteers and supporters) can use New Horizons Bus Ride Story Adventure series to model, encourage and inspire others in our community to speak out similarly --- from their minds and their hearts.
This is my hope:

If each of us is only one and has only one vote, which, of course, we are and can only do, when we speak out, as we will be encouraging, without polorizing, but instead listening with our hearts as well as our mind, perhaps --

one plus one plus many other ones -- will become larger than the sum of the parts.

Thus, perhaps, we can a bigger difference together with our voices joining than any one of us can do by ourselves.  Not by just complaining but by sharing our hopes and our dreams.

I hope and I pray.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Election Reflection

I don’t want Obama for president!

A Spiritual Perspective

I reflected on what I had written for my last posting, feeling liberated, as if a place of clutter had been cleared away inside of me. I didn’t understand the experience. Generally I can name the emotion, sad or scared, resentful or angry, joyful or elated, even if I cannot yet quite comprehend its immediate significance. So I felt rather at odds with myself and somewhat confused.

The experience was similar to how I felt the other morning when I awoke, after having read a collection of the “Friends Journal: Quaker Thought And Life Today.” Sue, my collaborator, also called “Quaker Sue” by some of our associates, had been clearing away her own clutter lately and had given them to me. Sue and her husband, Paul, are in the midst of moving these days. De-cluttering is thus common practice for her right now. So once again, perhaps, Sue’s trash become my treasure? One can only wonder at that.

Nonetheless, after reading these journals, I awoke feeling mystified and confused. I was unable to pin down how and why what I had read on these pages had evoked a feeling of such utter amazement in me.

Eye-opener: There were actually real people nearby who thought through the congruency or incongruency of their values, behaviors and feelings and how they lived these out with one another as community. People, like my “Quaker Sue,” that had been there all along. But I had been too distracted by the contention I saw around me in the local Jewish community to even see them, except for Sue.

After all, other Jews were my landsman, the people of the land from whence I originated, my heritage. Were we not all supposed to be as one? And, if other Jews would not be for one another, where was that One-ness to be found?

It would take too long and be too complicated to explain what I mean by this comment here. Besides I don’t know that I understand what these journals evoked in me well enough at this point to articulate yet.

But the time will come as finally it did, after the adventures of my vacation had settled. I am confident of this more and more, only this past week or so. What I have to say and express through New Horizons and my writing and speaking efforts will find expression in due time. Even when my writer’s block appears to be a terminal illness, I know now, with greater confidence, that it will soon pass.

On one thing I am already gaining clarity:

I do not want Barak Obama to be president!

And, the very notion that I would think this, much less voice it stringently, feels as an anathema for me. Thus, along with the myriad of other changes now going on in my life, I am somewhat mystified presently.

A values clarification is, indeed, occurring at what feels to be the deepest levels of my being. I trust you, too, may be as bewildered these days as am I; a sign of the times, don’t you agree?

Beyond the collective, one slice of that whole pie that I have come to call ME has, over the past two years (In fact right before your eyes on this blog, if you’ve been following it.), I have recovered from being an anti-Semitic Jew. I have come to take pride in my being a member of such an illustrious tribe. For a tribal Jew is what I now feel myself to be.

Forget religion as the issue. Forget Israel as the issue. I am a member of an ancient tribe with a rich heritage. And, though it be based on illusion and a somewhat childlike belief in what my grown-ups said, I grew up believing that Democrats in America helped protect my people from extinction, albeit quite late for the six million of us who were exterminated.

If the Republicans take office, who will protect my tribe from extinction? It is too big of a job for us alone. Like all else in this global village of today, we need good leaders that we can trust and rely upon. Leadership!

Where is that for us, as Americans, and as Jewish Americans?

Letting go of Obama is, for me, letting go of a vision of leadership I had believed in; the vision that brought me to Washington, D.C., as if to Camelot many years ago.

But no more! Gone!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I don’t want to vote for Obama!

Values clarification quandary.

I don’t want to see this man, Barak Obama, in office again. Of this I am quite certain. Yet, as is my customary way, I am open to change, open to the learning that may bring about that change. For now, however, his campaign ads offend me. His wife, in these ads, calls up disgust in me which I am not all that proud to admit. Still, I am a registered Democrat who has almost never voted anything else.

So why would I even consider voting for the Republican nominees for this coming presidential term? How about independent? Or, not voting at all?

I know that if you are reading this, as an American citizen with voting rights, you are likely in a quandary yourself on the subject of the coming elections in November. But what to do? What to do?

Mayor Deborah Burgoyne, our guest speaker at our recent Abkhazian Dinner, cleared away any thoughts I might have still been harboring as to the latter being an option. Not voting is not an option for me anymore. On that point I have been straightened out and have Mayor Deborah to thank for that. Though I must admit that other than the year Geraldine Ferraro ran for vice president, I have really not cared much one way or the other.

Most of my adult life I have been a sporadic voter, at best, and almost totally disinterested and not at all informed. In fact there were times when I thought that voting might just be beneathe me. Although there was that one election when myself and my employees ran around on a skooter doing errands for the Democratic National Committee and looked pretty for them in some photo shoots. I have recovered from my complacency though. I can, at least, attest to that. I think?

So why do I care this time? And, what to do about the quandary I am in over it?

Well, if nothing else, if I don’t allow myself to get in a tizzy over it as the media and the politicians appear to want us to do, I might learn a few things. Maybe even have a few stories to tell the youngins when I am really elderly. Something like, “Let me tell you a story about the election of 2012.” My, oh, my. now you should have seen that one!”

Of course, by this time there will have come to be a moral or two for the story; a few teachable moments from which we can learn for our future betterment, should we survive that long. And, given my enhanced maturity, at this time, particularly in the realm of my spiritual perspectives, perhaps, I will be able, by that time, to tell about the fact that it was just simply important that we did what we could, but not do nothing.

Also, maybe I can tell how sending prayers out into the cosmos, brought us all through some rough and stormy waters until, finally, we somehow discovered our ability to unite in the service of democracy. And, that it was all only about the evolution of our humanity and our human consciousness in the end anyway.

Still for now, I know one thing; I don’t want to vote for Barak Obama. But let’s see how it goes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

To See Or Not To See

To hear or not to hear, to see or not to see, to say or not to say; all of this can be a challenge. To be whole and truthful and carry goodness in your heart and, then, out into the world, is not always easy; to know the right thing to do.
It was so costly
not to see.

I have been tested, once again, by the enormity of following this path, each and every day of my life, as I live it today, having formerly paid my dues by doing otherwise. That kind of facing up to life was what I carried with me on my vacation as I yearned, wholeheartedly, to find the highest truths of my heart. The teachings of Murat’s tradition call it Marjah, I understand this to mean the reflection of the Divine as it is within the Self, a state not so easily come by.

H.D. Johns, my first clinical trainer, long deceased, pointed out to a group of trainees, of which I was a part, that deciding whether or not a particular action is one of co-dependency (i.e. caretaking others in a way that deprives both oneself and others of their wholeness), rather than being genuinely caring and, thus, life-affirming, is a tricky kind of thing.

He told us that choosing which way to go can sometimes be as comfortable as sitting on the very head of a pin. And, said, H.D. to a room full of eager new psychotherapists, “I hope you never get off of it.”

Moral of the story: Never believe you can be certain as to the best choices to make when it comes to how you care for others (and yourself).

Of course, H.D. was right, I have come to understand this lesson well. It is often the hottest of those trials by fire. So, earnestly seeking my Marjah, I was challenged about certain choices I believed I needed to make, as executive director of New Horizons and the designer and chief implementer of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, as I vacationed and then returned.

I pondered and I pondered. I sought counsel from the most able I could find. I hope I chose wisely and with care and compassion. As I have said, again and again, recently, referring to our recent Abkhazian Dinner event with its array of teachable moments; the good, the bad and the ugly, this event brought New Horizons to a turning point. Event became process without our needing to do more than our planned presentation up against the backdrop of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study and a most interesting selection of guests.

I made the best leadership choices I could manage out of circumstances as they presented themselves, hearing, seeing and speaking truth in the most caring ways I could discern. So I state, once more --

“We will never see the end of what began …. but we will always remember where our adventure originated.”

Stay tuned into the adventure. Our blogs will surely assist you in understanding, more and more clearly, at least from my perspective, how a bus ride can, also, be a labyrinth.