Monday, June 27, 2016

Anne Lamott: A Big Juicy Creative Life of Imagination and Radical Silliness


Oh, my God. What if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.

- Anne Lamott
 

Albert Einstein: The Ideas That Have Lighted My Way


The ideas that have lighted my way have been 
kindness, beauty and truth.
 
- Albert Einstein
 

Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP and Israel Occupation

This is a deeply disturbing and a betrayal of us all and of life on Earth. This is also not surprising given the neoliberal nature of today's Democratic Party. Which is what makes it so toxic. And in such profound need of transformation. May the highest good for us all prevail. ~ Molly
 
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Appointees by Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schulz resoundingly rejected proposals put forth by Bernie Sanders surrogates.
 
Members of the Democratic party Platform Committee, including (from left to right) American Federation of State, County, and Muncipal Employees executive assistant to the president, Paul Booth, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), former White House Energy and Climate Change Policy director Carol Browner, and Palestinian rights academic James Zogby. (Photo: DNCC)
 This post first appeared at Common Dreams.
 
Despite its claims to want to unify voters ahead of November's election, the Democratic party appears to be pushing for an agenda that critics say ignores basic progressive policies, “staying true” to their Corporate donors above all else.
During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC's platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.
In a statement, Sanders said he was “disappointed and dismayed” that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.
“Inexplicable” was how Sanders described the move, adding: “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform.”
The panel also rejected amendments suggested by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, another Sanders pick, that would have imposed a carbon tax, declared a national moratorium on fracking as well as new fossil fuel drilling leases on federal lands and waters. 
“This is not a political problem of the sort that we are used to dealing with,” McKibben stated during the marathon debate. “Most political problems yield well to the formula that we’ve kept adopting on thing after thing—compromise, we’ll go halfway, we’ll get part of this done. That’s because most political problems are really between different groups of people. They’re between industry and environmentalists. That is not the case here.”
“Former U.S. Representative Howard Berman, American Federation of State, County, and Muncipal Employees executive assistant to the president, Paul Booth, former White House Energy and Climate Change Policy director Carol Browner, Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, former State Department official Wendy Sherman, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden all raised their hands to prevent a moratorium from becoming a part of the platform,” noted Shadowproof's Kevin Gosztola.
According to Gosztola's reporting on the exchange, Dr. Cornel West lambasted the aforementioned panel members, particularly Browner, for “endorsing reform incrementalism” in the face of an urgent planetary crisis.
“When you’re on the edge of the abyss or when you’re on that stove, to use the language of Malcolm X, you don’t use the language of incrementalism. It hurts, and the species is hurting,” West said.
 Please continue this article here: http://inthesetimes.com/article/19247/betraying-progressives-dnc-platform-backs-fracking-tpp-and-israel-occupatio

On Being Interview With Krista Tippett: PAULINE BOSS — THE MYTH OF CLOSURE

I listened to this interview Krista Tippett did Sunday night on NPR's "On Being" with Pauline Boss and it was Excellent! Truly excellent. I am always so deeply, deeply grateful for all that illuminates the shadows in our nation and in our world and in our own hearts because this is the path to waking up. At least this has certainly been my experience... My dad died suddenly at the age of 60 in 1975, just over 2 years later my twin brother committed suicide, and our mother - before she was successfully treated - was over the top narcissistic. On top of all this, I grew up in our American culture - which denies and avoids death and grief and shame and vulnerability and intimacy and whole-heartedness. I would be among the walking dead today - colluding in the violence and and addiction and epic empathic failures and disconnects from one another and ourselves and other beings and our Earth Mother - if I had not embarked on a path which helped me to break open my heart. Because each time we allow our hearts to break open, more space is cleared for love. So bless this interview and Pauline Boss and Krista Tippett and all who shine bright light on the doorways to our hearts and the One Great Heart that weaves through us all. We can stop the madness. We can open and heal and transform. We can. The time is now. ~ Molly


TRANSCRIPT FOR PAULINE BOSS — THE MYTH OF CLOSURE

Excerpted from this excellent interview:
MS. TIPPETT: I'm Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, exploring complicated grief, the myth of closure, and learning to hold the losses in our midst, with Pauline Boss. She created the field of “ambiguous loss.”
MS. TIPPETT: It's so interesting how there's this whole new field now of epigenetics, of how trauma transmits itself generationally and the way future generations — not so much as an exact memory, but as a response that is conditioned by the trauma that actually happened to previous generations.
And then recently, as I've been writing, I've been thinking a lot about growing up with a father who was adopted, who had this loss of memory. But thinking about how that affected me and the family indirectly. So I’m just curious about how you see that kind of loss that happened to previous generations, like, how you see that turn up, and how you work with that.
DR. BOSS: I think there is a generational transmission of trauma regarding ambiguous loss. Drew Gilpin Faust wrote the book The Republic of Suffering.
MS. TIPPETT: And she was the president of Harvard?
DR. BOSS: Harvard. She was the president of Harvard.
MS. TIPPETT: But she's a psychologist, originally?
DR. BOSS: No, she's a historian.
MS. TIPPETT: Historian. OK, right.
DR. BOSS: And she makes the point that our republic, our country, was founded on unresolved loss because of the Civil War and all the tragedy that happened there, and that many of these bodies never came home, and so on. So it was not really resolved in the usual way, and as a result, our republic is founded on suffering. And I think she pretty much leaves it there, but I would carry it further by saying it wasn't just the Civil War.
It was slavery. It was the uprooting of the American Indians. It was all the immigrants that have come since then. And every genocide that has happened worldwide creates a society of suffering that is ancestral suffering that passes down through family patterns and family processes. Sometimes we don't even know. After the Holocaust, for example, the first generation didn't speak of it.
MS. TIPPETT: Right.
DR. BOSS: Many times, the traumatized first generation doesn't speak of it. The soldiers are that way too. Then the second generation wonders why and are angry at their parents. And it may be the third generation, the grandchildren, who finally get the answer. But at any rate...
MS. TIPPETT: Of what happened.
DR. BOSS: Of what happened, and why grandpa is the way he is, or why grandma is the way she is. And so the story finally comes out, perhaps because the grandparent is now approaching old age and thinks they better share the story while they still can.
MS. TIPPETT: Right.
DR. BOSS: Even when the stories aren't told, however, there's a transmission of the trauma by, let's say, having a parent who is not expressive, a parent who doesn't speak much, a parent who can't show love or emotion, or a parent who may have been brutalized who then passes on the violence. So there's a lot we don't know about what happens when this is transmitted. And what we do need to know is that our society as a whole — not just families, but our society as a whole — I think, is afraid of talking about death, and is afraid of talking about suffering, and having people gone lost and grieving for a long time primarily because of this transmission of trauma ancestrally. That we are a nation founded on unresolved grief — as a result, we don't like to talk about death and we don't, for sure, like to talk about ambiguous loss.
MS. TIPPETT: And one person you refer to often who is Viktor Frankl.
DR. BOSS: I do.
MS. TIPPETT: He wrote Man's Search for Meaning.
DR. BOSS: Mm-hmm.
MS. TIPPETT: Which many people have read. And of course, he was writing out of this example of horrific violence and loss and ambiguity. And yet, insisting on acknowledging the horror of that, right?
DR. BOSS: He did, he did.
MS. TIPPETT: Letting that be true forever and also insisting that meaning can be found.
DR. BOSS: Yes. And he was the one who said, “Without meaning there is no hope, but without hope there is no meaning.” So he tied those together. What we know now is that the search for meaning is critical in situations of loss, clear or ambiguous, and in situations of trauma. This is very difficult. For example, if a child dies, or if a child commits suicide, or is murdered, or if a loved one disappears at sea — it's nonsensical. But my point is that, too, is a meaning. The fact that it's meaningless is a meaning, and it always will be meaningless.
MS. TIPPETT: Say some more. What do you mean?
DR. BOSS: If something is nonsensical, totally without logic, without meaning, as many of these terrible events are, then I think we have to leave it there. But I think we have to label it as it's meaningless.
MS. TIPPETT: Mm-hmm.
DR. BOSS: And I can live with something meaningless, someone might say, but what I've found is as long as I have something else in my life that is meaningful.
MS. TIPPETT: So the search for meaning remains — that stays vital, but you don't necessarily locate the meaning in that terrible thing. You have to find the meaning elsewhere in your life.
DR. BOSS: You may find it elsewhere. And many people...
MS. TIPPETT: And let that be good enough.
DR. BOSS: Exactly. I like that term, “good enough,” Krista. That's — in fact, I wrote a chapter on “good enough.” We really have to give up on perfection, of a perfect answer. There are a lot of situations that have no perfect answer. And so, let's say the mother of a kidnapped child may then in fact devote her life to helping prevent other children from going missing. And you see that all the time.
MS. TIPPETT: Right.
DR. BOSS: Where people who have terrible things happen to them then transform it into something that may help others. That's a way of finding meaning in meaninglessness.
MS. TIPPETT: Mm-hmm. I mean, you've even started talking — I think the writing you're doing now and I feel like what is absorbing you now is really — the phrase you're using is “the myth of closure.”
DR. BOSS: Yes.
MS. TIPPETT: That in fact, I don't know when that word got inserted into our vocabulary. Maybe you can speak to that, but that that word has lead us astray.
DR. BOSS: I believe that. I think “closure,” though, is a perfectly good word for real estate and business deals. So, I don't want to demonize the word “closure.”
MS. TIPPETT: [laughs] Right. Yeah.
DR. BOSS: But “closure” is a terrible word in human relationships. Once you've become attached to somebody, love them, care about them, when they're lost, you still care about them. It's different. It's a different dimension. But you can't just turn it off. And we look around down the street from me — there's a Thai restaurant where there's a plate of fresh food in the window every day for their ancestors. Are they pathological? No. That's a cultural way to remember your ancestors. And somehow in our society, we've decided, once someone is dead, you have to close the door. But we now know that people live with grief. They don't have to get over it. It's perfectly fine. I'm not talking about obsession, but just remembering.
Please go here for the full interview transcript: http://www.onbeing.org/program/pauline-boss-the-myth-of-closure/transcript/8761

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Looking at Trump and Seeing Ourselves

This is such a powerful, illuminating, and deeply needed and important article. May each of us be humble and brave and wise enough to continue to seek to know the larger picture beyond the one we are presently aware of. In the midst of polarization and violence and finger pointing and a great deal of darkness are also great opportunities. If we can be that brave. Courage is contagious. May we spread more now.... Blessings ~ Molly

Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
In mid-March, I was the guest speaker at a graduate seminar on democracy, a racially diverse class that had mastered the art of talking openly and honestly across their lines of difference. For a while we explored American history and political theory, then we turned to the presidential race.
A white student reminded us that David Duke had urged white supremacists to support Donald Trump as a way of advancing their “racial purity” goals. She spoke of how distressed she was that Trump had taken 24 hours to disavow Duke’s support, first saying he knew nothing about this infamous man — a notorious anti-Semite and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan — whenthere’s clear evidence that he did, as do most people who read the news.
She went on to say that she was “truly shocked” at the blatant racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and misogyny in Trump’s public utterances — and at the fact that millions of Americans support his candidacy in spite of all of this.
An African-American student spoke next: “I have to say that, in my view, a great deal of Trump’s support is not in spite of the hateful things he says but because of them.” She continued,
“My black friends and I get almost amused when our white friends tell us how shocked they are at what they’ve seen about this country since Trump began winning primaries with millions of votes.
We’re not at all shocked. White supremacy in the U.S. has never been hidden from us. We’ve known about it for a long time, ever since the first black person was enslaved and shipped to these shores. For generations, we’ve had to be on high alert, lest America’s deep-rooted racism bring us down. Trump simply puts it out there where more people can see it.
Just this morning [here she teared up] I had to stop my beautiful 14-year-old son as he was about to go to school and remind him to take off his hoodie. I won’t allow him to wear it lest someone should see his hoodie and black skin as justification for shooting first and asking questions later. Yes, high alert all the time…”
Watching the class and myself react as this woman spoke, I saw how being compelled to look at hard realities that elude most white Americans can pry open our eyes, our minds, our hearts. Then I realized that I’d found what I’ve been seeking — something potentially redemptive about the sordid, shameful, soul-sucking spectacle called Trump and his campaign.
Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s hateful bloviating will give us a chance to look at ourselves in the mirror, to be appalled by what we see, and to redouble our efforts to clean up our act. Maybe we will develop antibodies to some of the toxins with which our body politic is laced, or at least become more honest and humble about how unwell we are.
Trump is a one-man microcosm of much that’s diseased about American culture: its crudeness, its greed, its braggadocio and bullying — both born of profound insecurity — its lack of empathy, its false equation of wealth with success, its eternal need for “an enemy,” its nativism, its racism, and DNA-deep commitment to white supremacy. The more he rubs our noses in our own pathologies — peddling a version of “greatness” that would be comic if it were not twisted, tragic, and lethal — the more it becomes at least possible that his ugly campaign will strengthen our resolve to make America confess and repent, again and again and again.
Of course, nothing of the sort will happen as long as we focus exclusively on “him” and “them,” as if defeating “the enemy” will do the trick. As that great guru Pogo said nearly fifty years ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Antarctica’s CO2 Level Tops 400 PPM for First Time in Perhaps 4 Million Years

Greenhouse gas emissions have "changed our planet to the very poles," researchers say in announcing the milestone reading.
Tourists cruise close to icebergs in the western Antarctic peninsula. Climate trackers said Antarctica's C02 levels have increased at a record rate and they’re set to stay above that level for many decades, if not centuries, depending on future fossil-fuel combustion. (Photo by Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)
This post originally appeared at Inside Climate News.
The concentration of heat-trapping CO2 pollution in the atmosphere has passed the 400 parts per million (ppm) threshold in Antarctica for the first time in at least 800,000 years, and possibly as long as 4 million years, scientists reported this week.
The new measurements, reported by British and US research stations, show that every corner of the planet is being affected by the burning of fossil fuels, according to British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists who track environmental changes on the frozen continent.
“CO2 is rising faster than it was when we began measurements in the 1980s. We have changed our planet to the very poles,” sad British Antarctic Survey scientist Dr. David Vaughn, who reported on the readings from the Halley VI Research Station.
Independently, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week also reported a similar reading from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Before humans started wide-scale burning of coal, oil and gas in the mid-1800s, the CO2 level had been steady at about 280 ppm for many millennia. Since then, the concentration has increased in lockstep with fossil-fuel combustion, at a rate of about 2.1 ppm per year. The steady increase means more and more heat is trapped near the surface of the Earth, melting ice caps, intensifying heat waves and droughts, raising sea levelsand killing corals reefs.
CO2 concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere first reached the 400 ppm level in 2013, said Pieter Tans, head of NOAA’s long-term greenhouse gas monitoring program. In 2014, they stayed above the mark for three months, and last year for five months. This year, climate trackers said they increased at a record rate and they’re set to stay above that level for many decades, if not centuries, depending on future fossil-fuel combustion.