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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Khortneeeeee3 got a letter!!

Dear Khortne3, 


Recently, a transgender friend of mine posted a 'go-fund-me' style blog on facebook asking for family and friends to send him money ($2000) in order for him to continue his transition into becoming a man. I support my friend in their operation, but I also know that they live in Los Angeles, drive an expensive car, and plan to attend college in the upcoming seasons. I liked their page, but did not contribute financially. A week later I received a message that started off chatty, but quickly got down to the point: can you send money to my cause? 

Though I understand the position they are in must be emotionally taxing, I too have medical bills to pay and expensive future plans that I'm saving for. Am I being selfish for not wanting to send $5 to my friend's Venmo account? Or is my friend's ask inappropriate when it seems like something he could pay for by himself in a short period of time with some planning?

My last questions is this: either way should I send him the money because he asked and he's a friend of mine, or do I tell him how it makes me uncomfortable to be asked for money in such a way?

-Financially confused


Dear Financially Confused,

This is a tricky, tricky problem.  If they were the letter writer, I would advise, NO NO NO, please don't hit up your young friends for money.  As we grow into adulthood, a necessary skill is discerning whom to ask for what.  There are friends you can call at two in the morning who will invite you over to do shots of whiskey and weep with you when you have a broken heart, but can't be relied on for income tax advice; there are those who will bring soup when you're sick, but aren't particularly astute about your emotional life, and those who can contribute money to your cause, but wouldn't hold your forehead when you're throwing up.  

These are merely a few of the categories; I'm sure we could go on and on, Financially Confused, but you get the point, which is that friends aren't interchangeable.  They each contribute unique and invaluable gifts to our well-being, and make life not just bearable, but awesome, and they teach us how to be good friends through their unexpected kindnesses.  The trick is to remember not to set everyone up for disappointment by expecting the wrong thing from the right person.  But alas, he didn't write, you did, so I'll focus on you.

It's probably a disappointing practice to decide what others can or cannot afford.  Me, I drink coffee out way too much; I should sing while I save, but I just get bored, exactly like Bob Dylan.  If your friend thinks he needs financial help with his surgery, there's probably no convincing him otherwise.  Someone could appropriately admonish me to save more for retirement by staying holed up alone in my bunker eating crackers and popcorn, but jeez.  It would bug the pants off me.  (Is that a saying, Financially Confused?).  So, let it go, about their car and their LA lifestyle.  (Did you see LALA Land, btw?  Me neither, of course, because of my movie disability.  But you knew that.  If you do see it, let me know if it's one I could follow.  Keep in mind that the last movie I understood all by myself had only three characters:  an African American man, a red-headed woman, and a white guy with dreds.)

The second thing I'd like to say is that gifts should always be given with generosity, and never because you feel coerced.  What your buddy doesn't understand is that you're the go to person for keeping his spirits high, backing his decision, and standing up for NO HATE.  But you're not the deep pockets friend!  (If you were, I'd so be hitting you up right now!)  So, say that.  Say, "wow, my dear one, it sounds so challenging on so many levels!  Emotionally, physically, financially.  I can't begin to understand all the stress that you're dealing with, and my thoughts are with you.  But alas, I'm not able to contribute money.  I wish you all the best!"

You don't have to explain why.  In the same manner that he doesn't have to explain why he drives a fancy car.  I would leave out the part about how it makes you uncomfortable.  If it becomes a habit, like the next go-fund-me is for his car, and then his new shirt, and then a fence for the dog (oh, wait, that's me...), well, bring it up.  But for now, leave it alone.

Let me know how it goes.  

All my best,
N'3lvra (Pronounced Court-knee, BECAUSE THE THREE IS SILENT!!!)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Carry on, my friends.

Somehow, we need to carry on.  We need to live our lives, show up to our jobs and our friends and loved ones.  Do chores, teach our children right from wrong, and work to care for our little corner of the world.

It feels impossible.  Each day, for months now, a new outrage.  Trump boasting that he grabs women by the pussy.  Mocking a man with a disability.  Planning to take his first weekend in office off.  Loading the government with old white businessmen.  And on and on.  You know all of it.  We sit here and love this country, love what we want it to stand for: the land of the free, the home of the brave.  Lifting our lamp for the oppressed.   And being smacked in the face with the reality that it never really was that.  The dark seed of hatred toward people of color, people with different sexual orientations, people without a penis, has blossomed into a terrible, intolerable fruit.

But we believed.  We believed, as Dr. King said, that “the arc of history bends towards justice.”  We believed that our imperfect government stood for justice.

Now, our government stands for making a small cadre of old white men richer, at the expense of everyone and everything else on the planet.  We’re told by Trump supporters to get over it, to make nice.

And it feels like there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.  We weep, we march, we knit pink hats, we share our outrage on social media, but deep down, I work to stave off a looming sense of dread and helplessness.  I fear that nothing we do will matter.  The train has left the station, with us on it.  We feebly grab at passing branches, knowing they will snap without slowing the train. 

But endings aren’t prophesied.  We think we know how the future will unfold, but we don't.  So let’s write a different one.  Let this be the time where we don’t get outrage fatigue, because the work we do is nourishing and positive, gives us a reason to get up, a reason to feel hopeful.  Let it be the time where finally, we are able look at the small and large injustices and problems in our own communities and the world, and take them on, one at a time, without flinching, without looking away.  Where we believe that love is bigger than hate because we see it every day in our lives.  Where we bring our highest good into the world, right now.  We’ve been training for this.  When we don’t know how to behave, let's imagine how a really strong, kind, principled person would act, and do that.  


Because how we live, how we respond to injustice and hate, is all we have.  We love, we lose, we die – that’s pretty much it.  The only thing we can control is our personal integrity.  We can choose to live in fear, worrying about our eyebrows or perceived slights or whether North Korea will blow us up, or we can be forces for good.  We can live with hope, or we can give up.  We can choose to believe in the basic goodness of humankind, and nurture and delight in our fellow earthlings, or we can put a pillow over our head and wait.  As Clarissa Pinkola Estes said in her beautiful essay, we were made for these times. Let's prove it.





Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's weird out.

Today is my one day a week working for The Man, so I drove a county truck around in the pouring rain.   I forgot my boots, and the truck had squeaky brakes that didn't seem reliable, but I got to the site and climbed the fence and started walking around.  The weather was so dramatic and blustery that I suddenly felt glad for it.  It was raining hard and I imagined I was in the wizard of oz. Everything looked magical and scary at the same time.

It was a huge site, so I drove to the other end where there was a small, sketchy driving bridge across a stream.  The water was coming up so fast that I got out of the truck and walked to the middle of the bridge to watch it.

I must have looked kind of official, like perhaps I was inspecting the bridge and deciding whether to close it, but in fact, I was just being a tourist.  A lady drove up in a big SUV and rolled down her window and started ranting.  I want to say she looked like a republican, but that would be profiling, so I won't say that.  I will say that she was wearing a giant sign on her head that said, "DON'T TAKE MY GUNS AWAY."  I guess you call her apparatus a hat.  She was probably in her seventies, and except for the weird sign on her head, she was put together with make up and a hairdo and so on.  (Is "hairdo" still in use?  Or did that go out with dippity doo?).

She starts ranting that she can't take any more flooding, and it's the county's fault.  She's pointing her finger at me in that particular way that suggests it's actually MY fault.  I look at her and say, "I'm so very sorry," in my inside voice.  She begins to weep then, and says her garbage can, which is on the far side of the bridge, is tipped over and she can't pick it up, because there's too much water, and she doesn't have boots.  I offer to go turn it upright, because why the hell not?  It's not like I have something better to do.  And it fits in with my whole other thing that I'll get to in a bit if I can focus that long.

And the river is coming up really fast, and now it's over the bridge.  And I look out and there are three dead birds -- two ducks and a goose (hey, that sounds like a children's game!  but it's just an honest to goodness species account.)  They've washed downstream and are now caught on the bridge, and its horrible, like Wah Mee of the avian world.  And I'm not a real medical examiner, but it looks suspicious.

 


And the lady is alternately ranting and weeping.  "We never used to have all these dead ducks!  The ducks used to be alive.  And it didn't used to flood before."  And I just keep standing there, and every so often I say how sorry I am about it all.  She asks me who's ass to kick at the County, and I say I have no idea, but I can turn over your garbage can.  This goes on for a while while the water gets higher and higher.  She tells me she has more garbage in her car that she couldn't put in the can because of (yeah, we're back to the beginning again -- the water, the County, no boots.)  I offer to take her garbage, and she hands me these giant plastic sacks of garbage, and as she drove off, I slogged through the by now nearly six inches of water in my shoes with her garbage, because I, too, forgot my boots.  Thanks Obama.

I think it's weird when an actual lame duck washes up on the almost last day of friendly rule in this land.  I also think it's weird that I carry random lady's garbage through a flood, but that's not the point.

Friday I'll post something with fewer dead animals and more of a point.






Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dreams for the New Year

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  Do you suppose that dreams try to interpret the humans?  Like, the dreams  hang out together during the day, saying, "wow, I had the weirdest human last night..."  Pisces, don't be that guy.  Be the best human, the ones the dreams long for.  Be the flying, if you know what I mean.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  Perhaps I've been thinking about dreams a lot because I sleep so much.  I kind of want a fit bit, not to track the 10,000 steps, but for the sleep thing.  I think we split off from the bears evolutionarily about 125 million years ago, but the deep instinct to hibernate remains in our cellular memory.  Embrace your inner ursine, Aries.  Take a nap!

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  The other thing I've been wondering about is this:  where do dreams go if there aren't enough people sleeping?  Is dream unemployment high when everyone's all crazy, "I only need 3 hours of sleep a night!"  I think about that each morning, because lately, I dream so much.  Every single night, dream dream dream, drea-ea-ea-eam.  (do you have the song solidly  stuck in your head now?  I'm sorry.)  Are the dreams hanging around, waiting for a sleeping human, but, due to some people who aren't pulling their weight, I have to carry the burden of hosting more than my share of dreams?   No one can  call me a slacker, Taurus.  Do your part.  Put your head on a pillow and create a spot for a headless dream.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): Someone asked me recently if I had cats.  Of course, as you know, I get asked that a lot, and I'm able to respond, "No, but I have a blog called 'What makes you think I have cats.'"  Which, might make me sound a tiny bit witty, as if I made that up on the spot, but  it's more like a Forrest Gump thing.  At any rate, Gemini, no one has ever answered the question.  Just give it to me straight, Gemini.  Not just a cat, but lots of them? 


Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): I went to the carwash yesterday.  Since I mention it here Every Single Time I go, you know just how dirty my car is.  I discuss it because I love the whole thing so very very much --  the scrub brush, the wand with the different settings, the little cubicle that you work in, and most of all, the special currency.  I know, I've talked about this before, but I still can't get over it.  Special coins for carwashing.  It's so ballsy to do that, as if you're a country.  And I wish there were separate currency for every thing we ever did.  Think of it.  When life gets boring, Cancer, just make it a little tiny bit harder.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  It's that time of year, when we gather to write.  Join us, Leo (and others!)  Just a few spots left.  This will be a fun, nourishing way to spend the dark times and feed your creative soul.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I'm sitting in the coffee shop, doing my job (one of my jobs, anyway), which is "stalker researcher".  My duty is to listen to the conversations going on around me, google what is being discussed, and chime in with new information.  First question today:  what are bobtails, and why do they ring?  Virgo, they ring because they're shortened horses tails, and when they pull the sleigh, jingle jingle happens.  

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  The next bit of workload arrived when people started talking about Bruno Bettelheim, and his theories on why children like to hear the same story again and again.  I did my assigned work, and learned that Bruno Bettelheim was a psychotic savant who arrived in the USA a penniless refugee and had no qualifications whatsoever in psychiatry or psychotherapy he was appointed the Director of the University of Chicago’s Orthogenic School for disturbed children.  The most interesting part of the whole thing is that when I shared this with the others at the coffee shop, the woman who initially mentioned Bettelheim was all, "yeah, whatever about the psychotic thing.  Does it explain his theories about reading books over and over?"  Right?  Libra, this is a volunteer job, but if you must pay, you'll need some special tokens.  Your money is no good here.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  Will we ever learn what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke?  I hope so.  But so far, no DNA relatives have turned up.  I guess in the scheme of things, it doesn't matter, but the world is ever-so-slightly better now that we suspect that Amelia Earhart lived on an island for a little while.  Scorp, you don't have to live on an island to make the world better.  Just show up on this island!

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): I listened to a podcast yesterday about Sarah Sole, who had one romantic/ sexual dream about Hillary Clinton that changed her life.  She spent years painting her and having an imaginary relationship with Hillary, which she says enhanced her life immeasurably, and prepared her for other positive relationships.  Right?  Back to dreaming again, Sag.  Dream big this year!

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  We will shortly have a new president with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I know other people with this -- people who cheat on their partners, and lie to their loved ones. The things to remember about the NPD's are: they can't help it, and they will never change.  Protect yourself accordingly.  Here are some tips.  

Aquarius (1/20-2/18):  The San Francisco Night Ministry has been offering compassionate listening in the streets of the Tenderloin for 52 years, every single night, walking around all night, talking the terror away.  Aquarius, be that.  You don't have to be a priest, or even nocturnal.  Just help your people be less afraid.   Here's the thing, Aquarius:  I looked into a dream interpretation class online, because why not?  And there are only about 2 million to choose from.  But I think we could just do that, right?  Here's what your dream means, since you're wondering:  You're going through a transition of sorts.  It may be bold, it may be subtle; that will reveal itself in due time.  And you are afraid of losing control, but also, eager to let go and shed the old you.  The interplay between these forces is what causes you to wake up and jump back into the rat race every damn day.  (Did I get it right?  If so, please send money.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

#Problemnotaproblem, Episode 1

I thought I'd try something new today, a possible regular feature that needs a name (suggestions welcome).  For the moment, we'll call it RealProblem/Not Real Problem.

Not Real Problem:  Getting out of bed.

I woke up this morning in my 32 degree bedroom, which is perfect for sleeping when you're under a pile of heavy quilts, but not perfect for getting up.  The other thing that makes it not perfect is the sock situation.  They say you can't fully step into your future until you can imagine it.  When I'm snuggled in bed, warm and cozy, all I can see in my future is shivering near the sock drawer because it's time to do laundry and I'm down to that one weird pair of polyester argyle socks that I bought at a creepy outlet store during a sock emergency (water over the rubber boots).

So I lie in bed, stuck, trying to imagine a bright future, and nothing comes.  Trump, and all the scary shit that's going on in the world, and I'll have to face it in bad socks.

Real Problem:  The most powerful job on the planet being turned over to an ugly orange narcissist (UON) with no sense of shame, an utter disregard for the truth, and complete lack of caring for anyone but himself.

Real Problem #2:  Besides the sock thing, which I solved without Putin, an act of congress, or a defiant electoral college, how should we solve our real problems?  What should ordinary, moderately informed, deeply concerned people do now?  March?  Write letters?  Sign petitions?  Piss directly downwind from one's self?  Read poetry by Mark Strand?  I believe that if we all start pulling in the exact same direction, something good will happen.  Step #1:  identify a coxswain.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fake News Meets Fake Astrologist


Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  I saw a person in town a few weeks ago whom I recognized from a Sasquatch tracking website, because I stalk the people who stalk the Big Foot.  If Big Foot were stalking me, it would complete the merry circle of curiosity that makes the world go round.  Anyway, I'm too shy to actually go up and ask him all the questions I have (starting with, "really?"), so I borrowed a book about Big Foot from the library and carried it around prominently, hoping I would bump into him and it would lead to a conversation.  But that didn't happen, and I kept leaving it around, and the good citizens of our town kept returning it to the library, and the librarians, well, I shudder to think what what's going through their heads when they repeatedly returned a book about bigfoot to my shelf. But, my dear Pisces, the point is this:  there are good out there. People who will return your library book.  People who will study mysteries.  People who will stand up for Standing Rock.  Look around and enjoy.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I was "snowed in" for about 24 hours and its made me realize that the last vestiges of upstate NY are disappearing from me.  When I first moved here, I laughed and scoffed at the people who took to their couches the instant snow was mentioned; now I'm one of those people. Even though I had work that I could do from home, I stayed on the couch near the fire and knit a scarf and read my book about trees, because it was a SNOW DAY, knowing all the while that I was being ridiculous.  But what's the point of life if you can't take a snow day once in a while?  Go ahead, do it, Aries.  Knit, read, pull up the blankets.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  It turns out that writing is the opposite of physical exercise -- when you don't move your body for a while, eventually, you just don't feel like it any more.  Legs?  What are these for?  I guess to tuck under my butt when I'm sitting on the couch. I know this from being on bedrest while pregnant.  After a while I was like, yeah, I'm just a big oaf over here.  Feed me.  But writing, it turns out, is like holding your breath.  You eventually just either pass out or you have to write.  Write!  Take a deep breath! Do it, Taurus. 

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): If you need a little happy moment (and let's face it, we do), google images for "tree tents".  See?  That's out there too, along with all the rest.


Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): I met someone recently who explained that he had broken his neck in an accident, and while at the hospital, they diagnosed a brain tumor.  "I guess I'm just lucky," he said.  We're all lucky, Cancer.  We're lucky to be born in this amazing beautiful world, full of all different species and the internet and live music.  And dinosaurs with feathers!  Rejoice.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  Speaking of corrupt bullshit, now that we know that Russia interfered with the election, why aren't we having a new vote?  It seems so basic.  In the Olympics when they discover doping, don't they take that medal away?  When they discover orange man had help from Putin, well, I honestly think he would be relieved if we took his crown away.  It would give him plenty of angry fuel to tweet about, AND he wouldn't have to show up to those pesky briefings every day.  Win win!  Leo, look for the wins this week.  There will be lots.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  Everyone I know is looking around at the deteriorating democracy and wondering what to do.  Well, here's something: join a parade!  (Bet you didn't see that coming.)  We are committed to putting the fun back in dressing up as vegetables, which has, as you know, become rather a somber affair of late.  All of those surly potatoes, trudging.  No no no!  This will be a festive, musical art parade.  Unprepared?  We can help!

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  So, it has occurred to me that I do lots of stuff without being particularly good at anything.  Which has it's plusses, to be sure, but I decided I should try to get better at one thing each day.  Today, I thought jeez, I've made roasted chicken a million times, but I don't really know how; I don't have like a trick for it or anything.  So I looked it up and the first thing it said was to truss the chicken.  Then I looked up "truss", and then I tried it.  Libra, before you do this yourself, I'd like to reveal that holding the little legs together and tying them up seems mighty cruel.  The chicken suddenly grabbing the two legs in one hand reminded me of diapering a baby -- you know that motion where you grab the two legs and lift the butt?  Yeah, that's exactly how you truss a chicken.   I couldn't do it and ended up roasting it all sprawled out.  I guess a dead chicken doesn't care much about it's final resting posture, but still.  So much for skills.  But don't give up on skills!  

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  Scorpio, I may take a brief break from drawing bugs.   I'm not tired of drawing insects, exactly -- just the legs.  So many legs.  I understand why people of all species gravitate toward drawing the humans, (or fish, which are so pleasantly legless).  I'm still looking for a beetle odalisque but beetles don't have couches.  I know.  Scorpio, this week, enjoy one of the many privileges of being a human:  the couch!

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): Ok, I'm reading the most interesting book and once again, I'm learning that the world is ever so much more complex and interconnected than we thought.  Some of the beautiful things:  trees actually parent their young, in a fashion, by limiting their growth until it's a real possibility to grow up.  And speaking of infant mortality (were we?) the poor tree loses so many children.  Maybe one out of several million survives.  No wonder the willows weep, Sag.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19): Remember when computers were new and we were all so excited by the font choices?  We could type letters that were outlined like shadows or looked like script, and everyone printed signs for no apparent reason. Then there were all the forwarded e-mails -- jokes and action items and on and on until we got so damn tired of seeing the same e-mails coming around again and again: the one about the misprinted signs on churches, and the one about the guy who woke up in a bathtub in Chicago without his kidney and a message in lipstick on the mirror -- that one day, without planning, we just stopped forwarding.  Then there was the petition phase, when we thought we could change the world by signing online petitions.  Until we noticed that we signed and signed, but the world didn't change except that we got a bunch more e-mail and requests for money.  Well, guess what, Capricorn?  I'm back to signing petitions.  It's all I can think to do.  And I know it's fruitless.  If a CIA report stating that Russia tipped our election toward Trump doesn't matter, why would a list of names of the outraged make a damn bit of difference?  Should we take to the streets?  As carrots?

Aquarius (1/20-2/18):  I keep waiting (in vain) for the fake news to collide with the actual world, the world where the planet we live on is warming, where CIA is a legitimate agency with real sources, where it's known that vaccines don't cause autism and we actually landed on the moon.  But, we look for what we want to see, I suppose.  When I was in my 20's, living in a group house, one skinny guy was doing a weird fast where he only ate pureed lawnmower castings.  His skin broke out into hideous weeping sores, which seemed to me like a good reason to eat real food, but he saw the puss oozing from his face as evidence that toxins were leaving his body.  (I use my liver for the toxins, personally.)  Anyway, Aquarius, we need more science fairs.  See what you can do.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Upleveling Our Badassery

Twelve years ago, when Bush was re-elected, I felt sad.  The nation seemed to have nonchalantly accepted being at war.  We knew by then that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the war that was killing and maiming so many was based on misinformation at best, and as a nation, we didn’t seem to care.  

My then teen-aged daughter fell into a depressive slump, and stopped wearing shoes as a way to denounce the way things were going.  I was disappointed by the election, but not devastated.  Four more years.  We knew what we were in for, and though I was deeply disturbed, I wasn’t terrified.   We would plod through.

Here we are in 2016, and it’s a whole new ballgame.  We watch, breath held, as the man who believes it’s okay to grab women by the genitals, spew hateful rhetoric against entire countries and religions, and seems unable to focus for more than a few minutes at a time, begins to take charge.  I, like many of you, feel terrified and sickened.  If it weren’t so disgusting, it would be kind of hilarious.  The appointments to top-level posts somehow vaguely remind me of the “Home Alone” movie series.  People who shouldn’t be left home alone with matches are now running with scissors.

In 2004, my concerns became largely personal – the national events triggered despair that my daughter felt, but my focus was directed toward personal despondency of a loved one.  I did what I could, and wrote about it here.

Maybe because of that experience, I feel convinced that despair is our biggest enemy right now.  Yes, it’s rational to feel hopeless.  But it’s also reasonable to feel great hope.

The abyss is there, and it’s real.  But standing at the edge, staring down into it won’t help.  We need to remain aware of, and motivated by, the serious situation we’re in without succumbing to the desire to curl up in the fetal position with a pillow over our head.  

I’ve long had a wish that people’s emotional size would match their physical size.  In my imaginary world, The Little People, who currently inhabit normal or even larger than normal bodies, would be physically tiny.  They’d slip into cracks in the sidewalk or down the shower drain. The rest of us would gently rescue them from the heat vent or wherever, and carefully place them into a little diorama filled with miniature furniture and trees, tiny food bits, toothbrushes, and even dental floss.  There, they would live their tiny lives together, safely ensconced in a diminutive world, leaving the rest of us to do the work of this world: to approach life with hope and sincerity, and to strive toward lives of integrity where all people are treated with respect and dignity.   

Lately, I’ve decided to live as if that is what’s happening, because in a weird metaphorical universe that parallels our own, it is true.  The angry haters aren’t happy; they are shooting their tiny pea-shooters from the miniature world to get attention from the Big People.  They seek happiness by brandishing fear and anger, and it’s our job to go deep into our compassionate selves, and see it for what it is.  Misery is something to be sad about, not something to fear.  Donald Trump is a lonely, fearful, insecure man, a man to be pitied.  He and his followers are not happy people.  Love IS bigger than hate.  Kindness IS more compelling than rudeness and insolence.  Living a life of meaning is worth it.  Let the metaphor of the diorama for the haters come to life for all of us.  Let us live lives of goodness, standing up for oppressed, doing what’s right, thinking hard about problems and trying to solve them.  

But the first order of business is to do whatever it takes to not fall into despair.  You know what works for you.   Take a walk, do yoga, hang out with your peeps.  Some of us can only take tiny sips of the situation without  becoming struck down with grief, while others have the fortitude to track the details and remain informed.  Limit your input to a sustainable level.  When you feel the pull of the abyss, link arms with someone.  Give the abyss a cheery wave and keep working.

It’s easy to look around and find legitimate reasons to despair.  But despair never got us where we want to go.  We need to do whatever it takes so that we can get up each day and give it our best shot.  Find things to celebrate.  Take care of one another.  Summon generosity for the Little People, and don’t jump into their sorry diorama.  

And most of all, we need to up-level our game.  Now is the time to bring our very best selves forward.  We don’t have time to wonder if our pants are cute, or if the gray hair is showing through.  We don’t have time to hang out in relationships that aren’t healthy, or to get caught up in distracting micro-dramas.  This is the moment to shiny-up our talents and show-the-fuck-up.  

As Hannah Senesh said, “There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.” 

Be brighter than you ever thought you could be.  The world needs us.