Troubled Times

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Gosh, with the news being so hard to take about Syrian refugees, ISIS, governments going broke, climate change having passed the tipping point, pre-election machismo issuing from both sexes, and the Pope’s visit — all compelling stuff, all in-my-face, it’s hard to focus or know where to turn, or what to do.

Well, the Pope is a breath of fresh air in these troubled times: a reminder that kindness and compassion is also a Force to be reckoned with, and a feel of what it’s like to be in the presence of someone (albeit only viewed on TV) who harbors no enemies within. Here is this man, so good, fine and kind, so all embracing at a time when our own politicians are honing themselves to be leaner and meaner, with bigger threats and bigger weapons to instill greater fear and devastation. It certainly is a time of extremes!

How does one deal with so much conflicting input in these times when too much information scatters any resolve? It’s hard to find one’s center. I find that the only thing that works for me is to remain grounded, in touch with nature, in good relationship with my cat and my loved ones, to extend compassion where and when I can and to focus on my own life and work, knowing that it has a ripple effect on everything and every one around me. I can’t solve the overall problems of this world, but I can make a difference in my own little world, and I can make an effort to reduce the size of my footprint on this earth by recycling everything, not wasting water, speaking out against local injustice, signing those petitions and calling my politicians to save the lions, whales, oceans, rivers, national parks, air, migrating birds, monarch butterflies and the valiant bees who soldier along in an  environment so poisoned with pesticides that it kills them by the millions, and without whom nothing would pollinate or reproduce.

This culture thrives on people being fearful, insecure, and out of balance all the time. It thrives on a public relying on the craven focus to buy more, more, more of any and everything to feel beautiful, sexy and cool, in order to a maintain a sense of bloated ego and vanity. Granted, shopping is a quick-fix form of therapy (and I’m certainly not immune to it’s siren call) but it’s an addiction that plumes and is accumulative. It’s ultimately a destructive bad habit from which only business profits.

There is much talk in the news about illegal immigrants these days. Has anyone forgotten, this culture is based on immigrants! Has everyone forgotten: we are ALL immigrants on this land! We are all visitors here, bad mannered tourists who have no respect for their native hosts or the land they revere? This land originally belonged to the Native Americans – who, by the way, lived for 2,000 years in harmony with nature! We allocate them to reservations, the equivalent of ghettos, so we don’t have to be reminded of how impoverished they have become or of our guilt at how we treated and continue to treat them. We took their land without asking, then genocided them, decimated their culture, their language, separated children from their families, put them in white man’s boarding schools where their hair was cut, where they were forbidden to practice their spirituality or speak in their native tongue, where they didn’t understand the language, where everything was alien to their native ways, and where electric shock treatment was the punishment of choice for anyone who dared to rebel!!! Those were the lucky ones who survived the white man’s terror of slamming babies against walls and raping and massacreing the women by sticking it to them with machettes  and enslaving the men after burning their teepees, hogans and wickiups and slaughtering their animals. The treatment we imposed upon our native people was no better than ISIS today! In fact, we could be their role model and teach them a thing or two. It’s time to consider the hypocrisy of our history before blowing off more “holier than thou” B.S. in presidential debates!

The Pope’s visit and the extraordinary security necessary to keep him safe from our murderous mentality is a measuring stick of how far we’ve de-evolved as a culture. Man is capable of extraordinary greatness; man is also capable of evil so heinous as to be beyond description. How we live our lives is a CHOICE, one we all must make in order to make this world — which is not just about humans and The Fortune 500 Companies – a more livable and sustainable place for ALL forms of life. We broke it. Now it’s up to us to fix it!

~~Paulette Frankl 9/25/15

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