Friday, December 21

The Plan

Not only is it the end of the year, but in 2012, today is the end of times .  It's 10 a.m., and the sun is still shining, the earth spinning, and everything seems quite pleasant and normal.  Life is good and that's saying a lot.

For years, the time before and after Christmas has been devoted to "getting through the holidays" with very little reflection on accomplishments and set-backs throughout the year.  There is always at least one person who will ask what "my plan" is for the new year, and I'm always thinking that I need to lose weight, exercise more, make more money, do more with family, yadda yadda, yadda.  The operative word in all of this is "thinking."

These are mindless and repetitive new year's resolutions that seem to set the stage for disappointment.  So, this year, my "plan" is to Be Here Now.  As I argue with myself over what to eat, when to exercise, who to visit and when, I'm losing the opportunity to step outside my door and explore my world.  If exploring and adventure are beyond me, I can step inside myself and do some interior work.  Or, enjoy the moments given to me and make some moments to give to others.

The "live in the moment" idea is not new for me.  It has taken maturity to put value on this simple and profound concept.  Rather than strive for happiness, I realize that it will come to me if I let it in.  Despite all of the sadness and chaos in the world, sentient beings are meant to do what they do and accept life on its own terms, no matter if the terms are comfortable or tortuous.  Just being alive enough to accept what comes our way, whether we created it or not, is a gift and a blessing.

What prompted all of this reflection?  A beautiful poem by Octavio Paz....

Between Going and Coming

Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause. 

May all beings know love and peace moment by moment.

Tuesday, December 18

I'm Gonna Say It Again....

“I wish to God [Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hoschsprung] had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out…and takes [the gunman] out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” -Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

I know teachers. My father was a teacher. They have very hard jobs and while their job is publicly lauded, the reality is that what happens in today's classrooms is not understood or appreciated by people like Gohmert.

Teachers have a desire and responsibility to develop reading, writing, math, science and social skills in children. They are academic professionals who have spent years learning their profession and who continually evaluate and update their knowledge and skills. Here is just one video on what a teacher does:

She is a teacher who spends her own money on supplies and does not get paid for many hours and days of classroom preparation. Her mission and her job is to help children learn in a pleasant, structured and caring environment. If she wanted to blow the head off of criminals, she would have become a soldier or a policewoman. She chose a different path and should not be burdened with the task of killing people.

The Gun Owners of America only see one solution to school shootings "arm" the teachers. They cannot comprehend that it takes a lot of effort to desensitize oneself to taking a human life, even when your own life is at stake. Maybe they are so desensitized that it would be simple for them to just pull the trigger and kill a maniac, so why can't someone else. Let the teachers do the bloody work. Oh, and btw, they will most likely have to provide their own firearm, bullets, training, permits, etc., to be able to do something that Gohmert only talks about.

One more time, America...Are We Crazy?


The Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, supported by like-mindless citizens, came up with a solution to one of America's most tragic social problems, shooting sprees - LINK - and answers my question above.  Maybe his name should be the first one on his proposed database of the mentally ill.  

Sunday, December 16

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

"Christmas, my child, is love in action.
Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. "