I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 23, 2017 - 11:40 a.m.
My therapist told me I shouldn't call it doing something scary but rather challenging. It sounds silly but she's helped me so I'm following her advice. I just did my challenging thing for the day. The question is can I do the more challenging thing that led to. We'll see. This will require meditation
Yesterday I had my last session with the aforementioned therapist. That's very sad. She was promoted and has a lighter case load now. She chose a new therapist for me and I trust her. The session went well as I had a very productive week. Today's challenge is the test. I put it on my to-do list. I just had to meditate to ease my anxiety. I can control it. I don't have time to go through a full mediation now and I don't need it to write. Blogging accomplishes much the same thing. It drives the extraneous thoughts from my head. I'm writing about a happy day; all is good.
Even though it was my last session the day was good. I knew she's be happy to see me making progress. She knows she accomplished something. And I took it well This I can accept.
The proof that the day was charmed was that instead of just missing the 2:53 train and having to wait half an hour, I made it. That requires the bus picking me up on time and perhaps the train being a little bit late. Because I caught the train I could go to Stop & Shop and then catch the same bus I would have caught if I had missed that train. That meant getting home the same time I normally do without shopping.
While I was waiting for the bus on the way to therapy I read an article on Muslims raising money to help restore a Jewish cemetery that had been vandalized. That set my mind off. I could feel the evangelical grow inside me. My eyes began to glow. I can't vouch for the last as I didn't have a mirror. I wish I could have written this then I am trying to return to that state now. That state is almost the opposite of meditation. I'm trying to get caught up in my thoughts, for my heart rate to go up, to be energized not relaxed. Meditation helps to get there, once you quiet the extraneous thoughts it leaves you free to focus. I'm working into that state now. I wrote a short note on my phone to act as the starting point. I'm feeling it, not as much passion as yesterday but enough to write this.
There was a wave of hate crimes after the election and it has surged again since the inauguration. You read about it every day. But there are also the stories about the Muslims helping with the Jewish cemetery and the synagogue that let the Muslims use it when their mosque was burned. These stories don't receive as much attention but they are there. When you are feeling despondent about the state of the world remember that these are part of the state of the world too. There are people reaching out to help illegal immigrants, LGBT people, all the people that are feeling threatened.
This is America dammit! The land of the free and the home of the brave. The constitution begins "We the People." Not "We the white people," not "We the Christian people," not "We the straight people." We are the land of e pluribus unum, out of many, one. We are not a collection of warring tribes. We are all part of The People.
The protests, the phone calls, letter writing, the civil disobedience, and the organizing are all vital but they are not enough. We must directly help people just as those Muslims helped those Jews. Reach out to help people different from yourself. It will not just help them but also you appreciate your common humanity.
Love thy neighbor; it sounds easy. It is easy when your neighbor is Mr. Rogers but what if they are blacks, gays trans, Muslims, or Mexicans. What if your neighbor is Archie Bunker? I'm sure My Gentle Readers would have no trouble with those first groups but what if your neighbor was the bigoted Archie Bunker, the stereotype of a Trump supporter? Could you love him? There has been a rise in hate crimes because there's been a rise in hate. If you try to fight hate with hate it just gets worse. Are we ready for a gay organization to pitch in to help rebuild a fundamentalist church? Think of the message that would send. They are all our neighbors and all share our humanity. They are wrong but they are still people. Work at educating them. Work at making them feel less threatened. Your reaction might be, but they aren't threatened. I agree, but they feel threatened. They see two men kissing or a Muslim on a prayer rug or someone with a Spanish accent taking their order and they think, "this is not the America I grew up in. It isn't. It's better. But they see the changes, feel that things aren't what they always have been which to them feels like what's natural.
I read another article by someone that interviewed many Trump supporters. They are of course anti-immigration. Even a Mexican was, he felt all the good Mexicans already left and everyone left there is corrupt. When asked why they supported Trump they far more often mentioned the cultural rather than the economic impact of immigrants.
We need to lower the levels of hate and anger. We need to reestablish civil discourse as the norm. We need to start with ourselves. I am making an effort to not post anything on Facebook or here whose entire effect on me is outrage. I want less rage not more. Our goal is to make the world better not to feel morally superior.
I can feel the fire in my eyes dimming. Did you see it? Did they glow? I'm back down to ground state. I'm not energized but I'm not anxious. I getting to relaxed I closed my eyes and dreamed. I was trying to think of something gentle to leave you with, preferably a poem. That's why I closed my eyes, that and being sleepy. Rummaging through my head became a dream of rummaging an ancient library where everything is on scrolls in nooks.
Nothing is coming to me and I have things to do. I have a photographic surprise coming. If I'm very productive it will come tomorrow. As-Salaam-Alaikum. Aleikhem shalom
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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