The weight of the world

February 22, 2022, was a day that brought the most extreme cosmic light energies streaming onto our Earth.  Two days later, on February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the intent to destroy its democratic government and take it back into Russian control. Even though the Russian army had been amassing on three sides of Ukraine’s borders, even though American intelligence had warned for weeks that an invasion was imminent–  when they actually started dropping bombs and killing Ukrainians, millions of humans, including me, watched it happen in shock and horror.

One of the biggest shocks was the sheer speed at which this war happened, and how quickly Ukraine unraveled. Within the space of mere days, a land which had been a modern, globally connected country in Eastern Europe, has now been reduced to cities reduced to rubble, humanitarian corridors of escape cut off, people trying to survive without food, water, medicine or heat. As I write this, it’s day 13 of this tragic, senseless war and the UN estimates that two million people have fled Ukraine and become refugees in neighboring European countries, especially Poland. The news shows photos and videos of thousands of mothers, children and infants who sheltered in the subways, bomb shelters, and boarded trains. They left in order to protect their families, said farewell to their husbands, brothers, and fathers, not knowing whether they will ever see them alive again.

Many of us alive today in western countries have never had direct experience of living through war, although many of our grandparents and great grandparents lived or died during the terrible wars of the 20th century. World War II began over 80 years ago in Europe. Since then, sadly many other wars have been fought. However, this new invasion of Ukraine by Russia’s Vladimir Putin is particularly chilling.

The United States has committed horrible invasions of countries during the past seventy years. The government always presented their rationale for these wars as necessary, for the higher good… and war is a complex endeavor as we all know. There are many actors involved and often competing goals. But the bottom line is always power and control of the chessboard that is Earth.  The old paradigm was based on winner take all—all the resources, all the money, and all the control over the most vulnerable populations. No matter who declares victory in the moment, it is always the ordinary people who suffer the brunt of brutality. It has been this way for as long as historians have found evidence for human civilization.

Yet, it is the year 2022, C.E. At this moment, after all that humanity has endured, especially over the past decade and pandemic years, it is nearly inconceivable that we are on the brink of yet another global war that could have more serious repercussions than most of us are willing to seriously entertain.  Plenty of humans are happy to watch films and play video games that portray a post-apocalyptic future world. This is very unfortunate, that many derive pleasure from imagining the worst-case scenario for humanity and life on Earth. But I honestly do not believe that most people have a true grasp of what an actual nuclear war between superpowers would mean for us all.  More than fifty years ago, when the memory of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II was still fresh in many people’s psyches, the Peace Movement sprang up and became a large, worldwide resistance to nuclear war. Russia and America decided that rather than have a physical war with bombs and soldiers, they would instead have a Cold War. This went on from the 1950s through the dissolution of Soviet Russia in the early 1990s. Many of us stopped worrying about the threat of Russia after that point. There were other, smaller dictators and authoritarian regimes to worry about and control. And now, 30 years later, suddenly the threat of an insane dictator pushing the button again looms over humanity.

Was peace just a dream some of us had?

Dear Readers, I know many, many millions of people are feeling similar to me right now. We are suddenly once again staring into the abyss. We don’t want to destroy the world and blow everything into oblivion. We are exhausted from endless wars and diseases and weather disasters. The onslaught of unspeakable horrors just seems to keep coming at us now. I was never one to believe in that old story of Armageddon and the Apocalypse of John in the Christian bible. I thought it was absurd, and that surely human beings would never let such a thing actually happen. That we were smarter and more compassionate than to allow Earth be destroyed by greed and hunger for world domination. That somehow, the People of Earth would figure it out in time, would do whatever it took to move beyond the barbaric ways of living we’d been playing out all these long centuries of time.

When I see the heartbreak that is happening in Ukraine at this moment, I don’t want to believe that we were wrong. All of us peace-loving lightworkers who incarnated to the planet for this very moment—were we wrong to believe we could save humanity and Gaia from total destruction?  Many of the lightworker community are still out on social media saying, we’re doing good, just keep holding the light, everything is going according to plan.  To which I simply reply, This is the plan?? To keep endlessly consuming, mindlessly scrolling, numbing out and passing out, while watching despots destroy ordinary people’s lives in a literal second? What kind of plan is THAT, dear Lord? 

All I really have left are questions and wonderings. What are we collectively doing to our planet, to each other, to ourselves? What is the point of all this chaos? What will it take for enough human beings to wake up to what is actually happening, to what we are collectively allowing to happen?  I can think of nothing, nothing, nothing more tragic than for the Earth herself to be blown up by insane, idiotic human beings pushing buttons for nuclear warheads to explode. If the humans are actually stupid enough to destroy us all, well that’s one thing. But this planet Earth, our one and only HOME, is so incredibly beautiful and amazing and wonderous. To annihilate her would be completely unforgivable.

Dear Readers, if you only take one thing away from my ranting in this blog post, take this:

Your life can change in an instant. We are nearly out of time to change this world towards a better future without war, without strife, without such human suffering. Maybe it’s not actually possible, but yet even now, in the 11th hour and 58th minute, some of us alive still believe it is possible, despite all evidence to the contrary. It’s pretty clear that there is no benevolent extraterrestrial race that’s going to swoop down here and save us all. If the human race is to be saved from total destruction, it is up to all of us. We would do well to take a hint from Volodymyr Zelensky, who is telling his countrymen and women to never give up the fight for freedom. Freedom and the principle of democracy is never guaranteed, but rather must be vigilantly guarded and, yes, fought to the end to preserve.

The conversation about diversity, equity, & privilege in America

This is a tricky topic to write a blog post about, dear Readers. Even though it’s potentially asking for backlash, I want to attempt some thoughts around this politically tense issue.

Diversity, equity, and privilege are popular terms in our society these days, especially in the field of education. Being involved in this field for the past several years, I’ve seen these concepts only growing more prevalent. All facets of educating children and youth need to be run through the equity and diversity lens, and all white privilege must be checked at the door.

I like the pendulum analogy:  the pendulum is forever swinging from one extreme to the other in society, and at the moment we are in the wide arc of diversity.

What does this translate to in practical terms? Many things, including the fact that if a person happens to not be “of color” they are likely to be suspected of racism, white privilege, or else unawakened (not woke).  (Disclaimer:  I am a white person, living in the heart of the western United States.) I am in the midst of a graduate program to become a licensed special education teacher for K-12 students. I am a “mid-life career changer” as one recruiter put it to me, a polite way of saying I’m a little old for this game but am doing it, nonetheless.

Let’s face it, racism is as old as history itself. Since there have been different tribes of humans on the planet, there has been bias from one group towards others. Its manifestation as oppression, slavery, and violence is an ancient story here. In fact, I’ve been studying for a Praxis exam I must take and pass in order to obtain licensure; the dreaded Social Studies subtest. This test covers an insane amount of historical facts, from the time of European exploration of the Americas beginning in the 15th century, all the way through our current era. As I’m sure many readers are aware, the story of how America came to be the United States (and its 245 year history) is one of a little cooperation and friendship between different groups, and a lot of fighting, warring, pain and suffering. Abhorrent practices such as near extermination of indigenous tribes and slavery of Africans were common ways that certain white European-Americans got land, wealth and, yes, privilege. From the Spanish conquistadors who decimated Mexico, Central and South America, to the Dutch who brought African slaves to the Caribbean islands, (and consequently to the East Coast of the colonies) to the Spanish and English pirates who stole treasure as they traveled the high seas, to the Europeans who settled the original colonies at the expense of indigenous tribes’ lands and way of life, they eventually pushed across the entire continent and took what they wanted for their own gain in the name of “Manifest Destiny.” With so much bad blood as the foundation of settling and creating the United States of America, it is little wonder that 245 years later, this country is in a very tenuous position on many fronts. There is considerable evidence that we are on the cusp of complete societal collapse.

So here we are, in 2021. Never before have there been so many groups, individuals, famous and influential people of color speaking out, through all available platforms, about ending racism and unfair practices by the government at all levels. The truth of their message could not be any plainer:  People of color must be treated equally in every way as white people in the United States. It is incredible that over 150 years have passed since the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were passed which made slavery illegal and gave rights of citizenship to black people. It took a hundred more years for the Civil Rights Act to be passed, guaranteeing Black people equal protection under federal law. And yet, here we are–Black and Brown skinned people are still being treated as less than white privileged people in lots of places in the United States in the year 2021.

Of course we have made a lot of progress. Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States in 2008. People of color are at the top of their game in many fields of endeavor, such as music, the film industry, visual art, performance art– in fact all the creative industries. Obviously they are leaders in Sports. And in science, innovation, business, government, and also education. Yes, there has been a lot of progress. Still, the struggle to end policies and practices based in racism continues. The school to prison pipeline for youth of color is real in cities across America today. It is still true that in many public school districts, white women make up the majority of teachers, and white men the majority of top administrators. We still have farther to go.

Dear Readers, I’m afraid this blog post turned into a rant tonight. There is so much more to say on this subject. But I will end with a thought to ponder. We must never become complacent, and it’s important to continually check ourselves for hypocrisy. Case in point:  The Met Gala was just held in NYC this past week. It’s an annual event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where many famous celebrities come and model the most outrageous “formal” gowns and evening wear from New York’s fashion designers. I happened to notice that New York’s Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended the gala event, wearing a gown with the words “tax the rich” written on her backside. Although I generally like her spunk and fearlessness at calling out corruption when she sees it on Capitol Hill, I must say that there was more than a little hypocrisy involved in her choice of attending that event, and wearing that particular message. See this article for more.

https://www.businessmayor.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-responds-to-criticism-of-tax-the-rich-dress-worn-at-met-gala/

Elegy for Our Common Identities

September 11, 2021

Today was the 20 year anniversary of the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and Pentagon in Washington, DC.  I, and many other Americans, watched and listened to the event that took place at the 9-11 memorial at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. For several hours, pairs of people took turns to read the names of every person who was killed by the terrorist attack.

The people who read the names of the dead were all relatives of someone who died. Two by two, they stood somberly and read name after name, in alphabetical order.

Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of that fateful and tragic day. As the names of each one were read, I listened. Musicians played lovely, quiet chamber music to accompany the readings. Many emotions washed over me during the course of the memorial service.  Sorrow was the keynote underlying the entire service. One by one, the readers honored the one they had personally lost. Patterns quickly emerged:  father, brother, cousin, mother, sister, daughter, son. People of all ages honored their loved one, including many children and youth who never had the opportunity to know the one who died personally. And yet, each one spoke similar words of knowing them through the stories, pictures, and family ties they had for the past twenty years. Most of the readers remarked that they wished their beloved could have been alive to see their families grow and mark the milestones of their common lives—graduations, births, marriages, and other significant moments. Some readers choked up and cried as they read their memorial, feeling the loss as acutely as if time stood still. Many spoke of the pain they still felt as they remembered their beloved one every single day. And many ended with the words, we will meet again one day.

Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times

The common threads that were repeated over and over during the course of the four hour ceremony became apparent and important to recognize. A few of these threads include:

The names of the dead read as a reminder of who lives in America. The ancestors of these people came from all parts of the world, and yet they were all together in New York on that fateful day. All races, religions, creeds, and belief systems were represented in those who died.

Everyone who died had someone (or many) who cared about them, and misses them very much to this day. And, the important point that each person was simply a human, living their ordinary life on a clear September morning, when something unforeseeable and utterly horrific happened to them that was completely beyond their control.

This blog post is not the place to discuss the implications of everything that came after 9-11-2001, or of how the world changed forever because of that day. This post is simply my way to honor and remember, along with many others, those whose lives were taken from those whom they loved.

During the livestream, they showed the memorial itself. It is a brilliant representation of the eternal nature of life, death and spirit. A deeply built square fountain and pool of water that continually recycles. Around the perimeter are all the names of those who died carved into the stone rim. There were flowers and flags placed next to everyone’s name. The symbolism is profound as a fitting memorial to the human spirit which can never die, regardless of the destruction of the physical body.

Although today’s memorial service was specifically for the ones who died on 9-11-2001, I also sensed the larger memorial to all of those who have left us through no fault of their own. The pandemic has taken many millions of lives and left millions more behind to grieve. In a real sense, this time on Earth seems to be one of intense grieving and loss. There is a line in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Christian-Judeo bible that states, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die … A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”  This is a time to mourn, to remember all that has happened, and to honor it for the lessons we have learned as the whole of humanity.