Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stand by my values

They asked him what his favorite was, and he said, "I don't believe in favorites."

Driving, they asked him, "Do I got right or left here?"  He said, "Either."  They said, "But which way should I go?!" He said, "It doesn't matter.  Either will get you there."

He did not believe in picking one thing, when there was another that was just as good.

He did not take a stand for something unless he truly believed in it.

They saw that in him, and they loved him as he was.  Sometimes they were exasperated, but they loved him.
They also loved his enthusiasm -- for roller coasters, basketball, roller derby, and sweets.  They did not have the same enthusiasm, but they loved his enthusiasm.

It's okay to be me.  The people at my job don't share my values at all.  They don't get the way I am.  But it's okay to be who you are.

When I refuse to choose between two options, they get exasperated.  They think I'm being wishy-washy, but I'm not.  I'm being very firm in my opinion that I can't choose one over the other.

People think it's weird and illogical that I don't believe in sales, coupons, or gambling.  But I don't.  I think a person selling something should have the goal of provide a high quality product or service, and a person buying something should have the goal of providing fair compensation for the seller.  Whenever I feel like either side is trying to squeeze more pennies for themselves, I feel like I don't wan to be a part of that transaction.  Unfortunately, sometimes it's hard to find an alternative.

But that view of financial transactions is one of my values.  Also, I don't want to watch TV or movies or listen to pop music or drink alcohol or play video games or ride on airplanes.  People think this is silly.  The things I want to refrain from are things that everyone does with no ill effects.

My brother stood by his values.  My great grandfather stood by his values.  I can stand by my values.  I can be a druid.

Still searching for my path

Writing the same old things in my blog posts.  Because I keep thinking my life is not right, but I can never find a way out.

I think druids do  not fly in airplanes.

But, seeing family is important, and it's not my choice that some of them live so far that airplane is the only way to see them.

I do want to have a job.  My job is boring now and I feel my intelligence is lessening.  I want to grow my mind, grow my skills, grow my knowledge, and I want to contribute to my community.

One did animal rights.  One does circus performance.  One is a family man earning a living as a musician.  Their paths seem so clear, so right for them.    I wish my path were so clear.  And yet, it is.  I know what it is.  That's not really the question.  The question is really how to translate it from abstraction to action.

My passion: to create a sustainable society.  It's about renewable energy, responsible use of resources, and simple living.  But it is also about how we relate to each other, because if one group is oppressed, that is not sustainable, because the oppressed will rise up.  It is about learning to live together without poverty, violence, or injustice, about creating a society in which all can flourish.  My passion is about building this society, not about protesting against those who live a different way.  My passion is to care for my family, my community, and the earth.  And what I have to contribute to my family, my community, and the earth has to do with writing, compiling information, passing on the stories, passing on the information about what has been tried before, passing on not only facts, but that which will inspire people, whether it is music, photos, or stories.

So that is my passion, but like they say, think globally, act locally.  Pete Seeger cared about the world, but he worked on fixing the Hudson River because that was where he lived.

I can't make the whole world live by my values.  But I can find some little pocket of people working toward the same things I care about, and work with them to put these values into expression in our community.

So that's my implementation problem, to my way to act locally, to find the community to which I can commit myself, and to find the way that I can contribute to that community.

I know some people would say don't wait to find the perfect community, just live out your values in the world in which you find yourself.  But no, that's not the answer.  I do my best in the world in which I find myself, but I know I need to make a move to somewhere else -- at least a different job, if not a different city.  Because there are times when the community in which you find yourself is just not the right one for you.  The town I grew up in was also not the right one for me.  People never trust me when I tell them I need to move on. They tell me I ought to appreciate what I have.  But I know the difference.  I know it was time to move on years ago, I just haven't found a way out.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What do you want

Trying to ascertain the wishes of my family, trying to figure out what course of action would satisfy everyone.

"What do you want?" he asked.

I want to take care of my family.

If you are an activist, if you fight for people or animals whom you don't even know, that makes you a hero.

If you try to take care of the people you do know, that makes you lacking in assertiveness.

One thing I want is I don't want them to co-opt the trip.  It has a serious purpose.  If you don't care about that, don't go.  If you jut think it's an excuse for a lark, don't go.

A catalog full of slogans -- t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, magnets.

I could put a bumper sticker on my car that says care for the earth.

But how do you really care for the earth? I can drive to the farmer's market or the food co-op to buy local, organic food.  Anything with "drive" in it is not exactly caring for the earth.

When the farmer's market is there, the food co-op is there, I'll drive to it.  Sometimes.  Lots of times I'm too tired to do even that.  But if it's not something that's already there, I'm  not going to create it.  If it's not what my family wants, will I do it?

I can buy bumper stickers.  I don't know if I can do anything else.  I am so tired.  This illness, this job, they consume me.  It's a struggle just to get by.  How can I do more? How can I live up to the person I want to be?

"What do you want?" he asked.

I want time and energy, for I have none, and without them, I cannot live as I choose.

I want to take care of my family.

I want to take care of my community.

I want to take care of the earth.

I want to read books.

I want to learn.

I want to write.

I want to revel in the joy of being outdoors, of seeing sky, trees, and sea.

I want to dance.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mind your own business

Humans are attracted to the tragedies of others.
Car accident? Cancer? Adultery? Violence? Death?
Ooh, I wanna go look! Let me see!
I'm only doing it because I'm concerned about you!
I'm just trying to help.
You should be grateful.

Well guys, guess what, you aren't just trying to help.  You are titillated by my tragedy, but I'm not here to titillate you, so get out.


From the 1996 Pete Seeger interview with Larry Long: When Pete Seeger was five years old, his father sent him to the store with a dime to buy something that cost five cents.  He was supposed to bring back the change.  A boy in the store persuaded him to buy candy with the change, and told Pete to tell his father that the thing he was supposed to buy cost a dime.  When Pete got home and told his father it had cost a dime, his father said, "Don't you know you never have to lie to us.  We love you."  Sobbing, Pete confessed that he had bought candy.  His father said, "You could have bought the candy.  That would have been all right.  But you never have to lie to us."

My mother would have said you shouldn't lie and you shouldn't buy candy.

My mother and my teachers approved of me because I was a well-behaved girl.

People criticize me when I make a mistake, and if I don't make a mistake, they criticize me for being a goody-two shoes.

And I see in the world around me, all the time, people snipping at each other.

I wish people could just say to each other, "You're all right."