We Are All French Today

Watching the numbers grow higher last night, I couldn’t help but cry. I was able to hold my own children closer and tuck them in bed and tell them I love them. And I knew countless families are in mourning, lives cut so short by actualized hate.

I am a softy. I will be crying over everything for the foreseeable future. But I cry for those lost and for those grieving. I cry for myself as there are now much lost in our world. What amazing people we have lost, what could they have become and done is gone. The world today is just a bit smaller and sadder.

I don’t like commenting on the news. What would my few words do to help? And then it hit me, we have to add back to the love in the universe. We need to feel the horror to remind us we are not as separate as we might think even though we may be countries apart. Such actions ripple though all of us, affects every single one of us. And we have to let love, kindness and generosity guide us. Above all we can not let hate guide us or will be no different than those who carried out those attacks, who’s hearts was twisted and hardened by hate.

Today I am French in my heart and in grief.

https://isabellalecour.wordpress.com/

Colorblind

My children are colorblind.

I find it interesting that somehow I have managed to raise colorblind children. I never fully believed that it was possible. I was taught that race was something innate in the human species, that each one of us would know what race is and if we were or were not a part of any particular race. I questioned that belief. And now I see proof through my children that race is something learned.

I was ironing my girls hair in the bathroom when I got to asking questions about their classmates. Some girls had straight hair and others didn’t. I wanted to know what kind of hair their classmates had and I asked if they were black. My eldest looked at me like I was funny, not in a ha-ha way and flat out told me there was no such thing as black people! I was stunned and very proud. She was adamant there was no such thing and told me in no uncertain terms that I was trying to pull a fast one on her. She’s only eight years old.

flesh crayons

Race was never a line of thought I feel comfortable in teaching them. So I tried to ask my question another way. Well, what color are they. Tan. Flabbergasted I asked what color am I. Peach. My husband. Brown. To my daughters minds, we are all colored like a box of crayons and it has nothing to do with race.

All I wanted to know was if the girls with straight hair in their class was either Hispanic or Black as this makes a difference in how their hair is straighten and I was wanting to talk about all the different ways hair can be treated to make it straight. But race or call it ethnicity comes up when it comes to hair. Looking back at this, there are others ways to discuss hair issues without consideration of race.

Facing their innocence, and yes it is the innocence of childhood– I dropped the entire conversation. I have no wish to pop this endearing innocence in their lives. They know nothing of hatred, nothing of hating based on race. Oh, but I did at their age.

My parents were extreme. Fundamentalist Christians that had no allegiance to any church but my father as the de facto kitchen table bible thumbing preacher slash head of the household as mandated by God himself. Race was an important issue to my parents. It choose who my friends were. It ruled who I could play with and where I could go. It ruled how I was to behave with others.

Race was also very important to my classmates as well. I was the outsider, not of their race. And it also determined how I was treated, who I could play with and where I could go. I understood at an early age that I was hated solely based on the color of my skin. How is it at ages of six and seven that race is such an important issue?

It seamed a reasonable premise, that understanding race is innate in humanity. My childhood seamed to prove the idea. Until I had my own children to raise. I will never raise my kids to view race as important and I never have. So when just tip toeing around the question makes me so uncomfortable and I find my children colorblind, I have to ask – How did this happen?

Race is taught. Racism is taught at home. From parent to child, it is taught and then reinforced over and over as to where racism exists. What’s worse is the idea of race is false. It is not a biological reality and it never was. Race has been a sociological and political construct designed to preserve power for the cultural “elite” in the United States.

Race is about the business of hate. It creates that boundary of “us verse them” and historically been used to justify inequality and injustice as “morally right.” Race is not a social concept that should be accepted as a reality. It should be confronted for the falsehood that it is and rejected at every turn. Reality is simple. Skin color is not race. Culture is not race. Culture is not skin color. Hate should never be encouraged.

January 2015

January 2015

1) New Year Resolutions

With the coming New Year and saying goodbye to the past I ponder on the meaning of this yearly ritual. Watching the review shows, the almost funerary dissection of the past year, memorializing everyone that had passed away during the year, the endless testimony of those who had once again failed their previous resolutions and all the advice on how to make and stick to such a mental resolve….Why does it take A brand New Year for Us to decide to be better people than we were before? And yet most of us fail in this task if for no other reason that it is tradition to both make such internal promises and to fail them. Why is this?

Is it a white flag of hope we wave in the midst of the loud reminder of mortality? The awareness that our life does not last forever so we offer up promises to the Gods of Time trying to buy and bribe our way to a better, longer and more inspired and meaningful life as all the voices cry out at once to the heavens pouring out personal sorrows of the pains and afflictions of the year before as we review our life?

These broken promises, year after year made; held out before us as if proof that we can not do anything but fail. As if this is the proof of our eternal state of sin, this first stumble out of the race gates of the new year. And Yet we as a society have missed the essential flaw in this whole tradition. One should Never make a promise that they can Not keep. If there is so much a one drop of doubt, a promise should not be made. That one little change would turn the whole tradition and self flagellation’s of broken promises, knowable sins and mistakes into a procession of hopes, dreams, and goals to strive for. One little change in the way to view the endless cycle of the year that removes that equally propagated cycle of self-hatred that I could so easily point a finger at in certain religious circles that perpetuate the belief of sins, that can so easily cripple us emotionally.

The ending of the year is a sorrow and a joy, a celebration of life, death, hope and dreams and an eventual rebirth of all the good that is in humanity. It is a time of introspection as we await the return of the sun and the long days it brings.

Rarely have I made resolutions. As a rule I avoid making promises, to others and even to myself. I know that this year, I have broken that and in turn broke the faith to the One I made such promises too. Such is the learning of mistakes in life. And so before this year is over, I am looking forward to the next one; with hopes and goals laid out for once. Eager I am to see the Year begin…for I have no time to waste. My resolutions are not promises..but goals with deadlines as I chase my dreams into the future, resolving to strengthen my character, to stay on the path set out for me as I run forward with a glad heart, a thankful heart ever mindful of the present. I am joyfully alive!

2) Question:

At the ending of the Year, society seems to turn an eye backwards to take in the lesson of year, to memorialize those who have passed away before turning a focus inward and towards the future, making promises of change on every level. It feels very much American mainstream social thinking. What I wonder about is, how true is this? And just how much is done promoted by the media..

Do people actually make New Year Resolutions?

Do you encourage your children to do so or not?

Does it even have a place in religious viewpoints?

Is this purely an American social experience?

 

BNP’s are not our gods…

This Month’s Headlines…

Big name Pagans behaving badly sparks off Regular Pagans behaving badly.

Sighs….Monkey see, monkey do?

Some of the current rage on the Pagan blogosphere just makes me want to beat my head up against the wall. Outting a fellow Pagan and saying some rather distasteful things does not excuse anyone else of acting on that same level. And yes, I’m standing on my soapbox shaking my finger at all of the guilty for whatever that’s worth.

GROW UP!

Stop sinking down to the very level you claim to be rising above.

Takes a seat in her rocking chair, picking up her dropped kitting and returns to casting on the stitches…

Now there is an important issue here that’s been addressed many times over the long years, the use of pseudonyms. In the interest of fair disclosure, I use a pseudonym and have for many many long years. It is a religious name, a public Pagan name; it is my name.

For a community that every so often holds up the banner of Freedom waving it wildly, the Freedom to choose the name to be called by has been often attacked. I remember when the issue was accountability and now the issue is outings. Both are two sides of the same coin.

I’ve seen this before on countless sites, countless times, always following the same formula; someone gets offended by another online poster  and then attacks the person on a personal emotional level. Never mind that this is a logical fallacy in debate; attacking the person for whatever flaws they may or may not have does not erase the original discussion. It instead muddies the water from all the mudslinging. And that is what I see going on, classic internet trolling with a lot of mud flinging that’s caused me to drag out my hip waders and umbrella just to get close to this mudfest.

And now, the pendulum has swung the other way to the destructive outings of pseudonyms. The recent incident that set off a rash of bad behavior was down to no good reason I can see, beyond petty revenge. Remember, Do Not Feed The Trolls. But I think it bears to keep in mind some old childhood advice, every bully is hurting deep down inside..and for whatever reason they are trying to see their pain on the outside instead of feeling it on the inside.

And this is the second important issue here; our behavior as a community and as individuals does reflect on each of us. We see this far clearer in other communities than our own when an individual is held up to representing the whole of that community and fails, breaks a law and commits a crime usually denounced as not be a “True Blah Blah Blah” to sooth everyone’s ruffled feathers.

And that is the down side to having Big Name Pagans, leaders, grues, priests, preachers, teachers, ministers…of anyone in authority….they can and do fall gruesomely off the podium we of the community place them on. They are after all, only Human and not gods.

So walk softly and walk in love. Think before you speak…check to see if your words help more than harm, uplift more than tear down, support growth instead of destroying it.

Be the good you want to see in the world. It starts with you.

 Sets down her knitting as she gets up from her rocking chair, turning to look at you smiling with a wink as she steps quickly to playful chase her children as lighthearted laughter fills the air…

Kumaré

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1865425/

Netflix can be downright amazing at times. Kumare is a film that’s hard to place. It’s a documentary film about religion, false Gurus and perhaps the innate drive to seek religious truth.

While watching, I found that I wanted to write to Bonewits about several questions that occurred to me. I found it intriguing to see a variety of people from all walks of life confirm this man’s special qualities by what looked like gut feeling alone. I kept thinking about Bonewit’s switchboard theory and wondering if it could be applied to the situation that I was watching unfold.

Kumare’s charisma seamed to grow larger as the devotes poured more into their response to him. Watching this, I had a vague unease about hero worship, that what is being worshiped is a personal idea and not what reality is. This seamed to be the crux of what was happening with the Kumare’s teachings.

His teachings, coming from an honest place inside the film maker was one the resented within me. The Mirrow teachings essence, that we are our own guru is one that I firmly believe in. Yeah, some of the meditation and yogi looked hooky to me but I can see how it would easy to set aside a few minor snags to keep the better teachings.

IT is disturbing to see just how easy it is to create cults. Our innate need for connection, community and guidance does come with a price. Even if the teachings are strong and valuable, it doesn’t erase the possibility that there is fraud. Too often scammers offer a good product at first and then switch to a cheeper and inferior product. It may be the same when creating destructive cults.

On a SideNote: This has been sitting in the drafts section sense April 27, 2013.

Other Reviews:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/04/kumare-lives-every-indian-americans-secret-fantasy-lakshmi-nai/

http://remysmoviereviews.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/remy-reviews-kumare/

http://lvchangesyou.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/kumare-the-biggest-lie-ever-told/

http://hardcorezen.info/kumare/1081

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-ben-greenberg/kumare-and-the-allure-of-otherness_b_3140855.html