Friday, January 20, 2012

Walk the Walk


I sent this as an editorial for my local newspaper:

For those who support fracking, oil sands and the northern pipeline or for those who encourage investing in fracking, oil sands or the northern pipeline, I have this suggestion.  Move your home next to a fracking well and put down your water well along side.  Or better yet move your children there or better yet move your grandchildren there.   Let the pipeline filled with toxic fluid come along the boundaries of your land here in lovely Northern Minnesota.  The same for the oil sand works in Canada.   Move your grandchildren up there in the poisonous air and next to the polluted rivers and environmental degradation. 

Here is an interesting quote from a proponent of oil sands:
** from a portion of the interview****

“Ludwig: Where else are oil sands located besides Canada?

Beaumont: There are some oil sands in the United States as well. In Utah there are some oil sands, and in West Texas. But it's harder to produce in the U.S., because it's still environmentally very difficult.

In Canada, it's in very remote places, it's 40 below zero, nobody is going to that neighborhood. In the U.S., in West Texas, people live where the oil reserves are and so you couldn't have the type of environmental impact that they are doing in Canada, where they are basically destroying the environment. If a bird flies over a river near the oil sands, the bird dies just from flying over the river. It's that toxic. They are just dumping all the waste into the waterways. If you did that in the U.S. you would be in jail.

Ludwig: Is that going to be an issue over the long term?

Beaumont: It's an issue. But because it's in remote areas and not inhabited, they aren't worrying about the pollution, because nobody lives in that area. So, they can do it.”

And I say, “We do live there, it is our earth.”

There are major advertisements on television promoting oil and gas from these environmentally intrusive sources.   One is an attack ad like they do in political smear campaigns against those of us who are deeply concerned for the environment and humanities future.  Big money is trying to convince people that it is okay to endanger the future so “business as usual” can continue a little longer.   Short term “benefits” for multiple longer lived problems.  How many truly believe the world can continue as it has for the last hundred or so years with resources and energy use?  

Who puts on the advertisements for the earth and the next generations?

So those of you who would promote monetary gains by investing in what you claim are benign activities, put your life where your money is.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Toward Forgiveness

This is another from my time as a psychologist.

Toward Forgiveness
Energy constantly flows thru and around us. When we are wounded - when our love is imageless - when our hope is dammed - when our dance is bound then the energy does not flow. Two birds are hatched in our chest. The one flies with a broken wing. The other hides in the nest afraid to fly.

Hiding in the nest we hold dreams of goodness and fantasies of loud applause as we soar. The broken wing flier goes in circles; so the world always looks and feels the same. We learn to fly this way. This is how flying is done. When flying is not done this way we fear falling.

How easy it is to be snared in the binds of unforgiveness. Each of us has experienced this trap. We lick the wound not to heal it but to keep it alive. It gives us energy. It gives us meaning. Yet underneath this attitude is energy spent on self protection; the need to not let go of a way of being because there is a great grief and a deep gulf of unknowing that awaits us.

False forgiveness is still being trapped in the binds of unforgiveness. It is still self-protection. It tries to go around the hurt. It is peppered with not knowing, disconnection from an ancient scene. Either or both allows the here and now to disown the then.

Most of our present day hurts have an interwoven history. In the now we fail to see that we are part of the dance that brought the pain. Needs, hopes, fears - a whole range of our humanity let’s us be blind to our knowing. What is it we won’t allow ourselves to know? That we knew. That there was a moment in time when we knew we were in a dance destined for pain but some ache drove us to continue to the dance. Now in the ‘this is how it is for me’ feeling of hurt we forget that moment of knowing. We forget we were a hungry player.

There is also a great grief of a hurt of loving, trust, and belonging. Each of our unfolding young selves reach out to the world. In touching the world it can touches back in ways that leave a hole, a deep longing. My love given but not received. My love given and misused. My unfolding self not received but shaped, molded, distorted for other’s ends. Love given to my young self only if I hold my face a certain way. Speak my words a certain way. Skip the rope a certain way.

These set the stage for the dances of our lives. In a grand paradox we seek to undo, to fill the hole sitting in the middle of our chest and at the same time we create with our necessary blindness a validation that we deserve what we got/get. Here is the self- protection. It is protection from encountering the seemingly bottomless pit radiating from our chest into our gut, stifling our voice, chilling our loins, and burning our brain. It is the great grief of a child’s powerlessness.

To find power we dance the dance. We skip the rope in just the right way. Round we go over and over again. Stillness threatens to bring the sound of the emptiness. So we dance the dance.

And if we need to forgive ourselves that we were a partner in the dance in the present so deeply we must forgive ourselves that our very humanity was the dance partner in the past. We were a girl, not an object; we were a boy, not a machine; we were a child, not a parent; we were a sibling, not a monitor. To be blind to being asked the impossible; to hang on to the burning cycle of resentment; the deep hole of self blame keeps us from self forgiveness, keeps us from accepting the powerlessness of the situation. Keeps our dream alive that there is a fairness in the world; that there is good reason in the world, that we can understand the world in all its complexity.

Love is the active principle to forgiveness - love is the energy of all our emotions - love is accepting all that we are, loving ourselves warts and all. With love forgiveness of self and others does not always come easy; it does come.

Along with self-forgiveness, we realize that a higher power, a grand mystery, an ineffable ‘All’ is love. This connection enters because only faith in a deeper ‘meaning’ to the universe allows a faith in the day to day. We find a solace and a joy in surrendering to not knowing; to not having to control all; to being held in the warming lap of a greater ‘wisdom’. Faith allows the uniting of the fledgling self, it allows the self to soar.

John Weber Nov 97

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

I spent some four decades as a energy researcher and personal explorer. My other hat was several decades on the frontlines in one of the poorest counties in Minnesota as a psychologist in private practice. Several of the postings I have been doing come from that part of my experience. Some may be relevant to the energy issue, some may not but all a part of me.

This poem is brilliant. I don't know who gave it to me. I have shared it with many. I think it is relevant personally and also socially.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

by Portia Nelson

I

I walk, down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewald.

I fall in

I am lost . . . I am helpless

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

but, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.

my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some kind of Violence

Our economy is predatory whether we are talking about hostile takeovers, raping the earth for natural resources, the disparity between rich and poor, downsizing, women and children’s misuse in the work force, the plundering of people and resource of other nations, job security or the play on human frailty by advertising.

Here I would like to look at consumerism. Consumerism generates wants, a sense of lack, both for the product being hawked and, more importantly, for the setting in which the product is portrayed. To fuel consumption inadequacy in our roles as mother, father, provider, male, female, achiever, lover, or other positions of social value is evoke.

For the product on sale the messages may range from simple product display to deep titillation. We can ‘get that tingle’ or achieve the mystery and ecstasy of great intimacy with ourselves, another, or nature. Our children are immersed in and continually bombarded by the psychological agendas of advertising.1

Far more subtle and powerful is the background in which the product is displayed. The immaculate kitchen with all the requisite appliances, the luxurious bedroom, the nicely appointed office, the serenity or thrill of ‘getting away’ to nature, each of these promulgates an atmosphere of what is necessary to be a part of and to live within the greater society as well as to have a feeling of inner completion and wholeness.

Advertisers have realized the influence of setting. Large amounts of money are spent to have products placed in movie and television scenes. Many children’s shows are simply continuous displays of products worked into a story line.

To meet these implanted expectations requires money, so most parents work. Children find whatever nurturance and safety is available by both adapting to parental moods and modeling parental behavior. On the treadmill chasing the desires and illusions of consuming, parents are tired, stressed, and frustrated. Children become scheduled appointments. A child needs organic presence, not time slots. ‘Quality time’ is both hype and rationalization.

There are many families that no matter how much labor they put forth will never earn enough to match the vague and changing norms generated by advertising. They simply cannot afford the ‘right’ shoes or the ‘in’ clothing. The home and car when matched against the social template are marginal. For many there is a sense of failure, loss, sadness, and anger.

For single-parent families - somewhere around a third - all these problems are magnified. This is not being critical of single parents, working or not. They are the product of a fragmenting social environment. Of course, single parent families are the perfect answer to an economic system based on consumption of materials and services. The more households, the more blenders.

Our economy is predatory - whether it is the soul of the individual, a demographic focus or another nation.

Secondly and intimately tied to the above is the ongoing state of the world. Wars, famines, child abuse, ozone depletion, child abductions, chemical pollution, overpopulation, violence on the streets, greenhouse gases, AIDS, corruption in government, brutality towards women, nuclear wastes; the list is long, pervasive in our lives, and overwhelming.

As the previous generations have lived with Toffler’s Future Shock2, our children live with ‘No Future Shock.’ Future shock can be seen as a moving ground where the only way you can stay even is to keep running like hell. No Future shock is having no ground at all.

There is an age group that has been called Generation X. These are the first full blown electronic media advertising babies. The generation that is following them might rightly be called Generation Y. Why care? Why respect? Why work? Why value? They have a sound bite view of the future. They are electronically embedded in the runaway engine of commerce. The defense of denial is an eroding veneer.

Consumerism and No Future Shock dovetail at the confluence of resource depletion, pollution, over-population and worldwide exploitation. Our children know this in their bones. They know that they inherit a systemic attack on both human and planetary adaptability. They know they are being invited onto the consuming treadmill that is ever increasing in speed, with more and more people trying to get on, with hazard of being poisoned imminent, and with sheer terror awaiting those who can’t keep up. No Future Shock is the meeting ground of angst and rage.

John Weber 1998

1 Bakan, Joel. 2011. Childhood Under Siege. Penguin. Canada.

2 Toffler, Alvin. 1970. Future Shock. Random House. N.Y.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Create the Things We Fear

We create what we fear,

what strange birds we are.

Out of our deep needs thwarted,

filled with energy

and driven by layers of desire,

we create what we fear.


Abusers of our own souls,

trained in the not knowing,

hungry in the unmet,

we create what we fear.


We become images of our unmet desires,

we become desirous of our unmet image

and in the meeting of these

we create the things we fear.


“As we cradle the withered arm

we favor the place the knife went in.1

As a wounded finger

leads the arm to the wall,

we fill our world to gain

what we were never given

and ache in the illusion.


Longings tie us by a string to our core

and we travel our route in ever smaller circles.

Marking time out of fear

We numb our living

We go crying for the vibrations of life.

Our narrowed vision

finds only the echo of our longings,

and we create what we fear.


John Weber Jan 1998

1 From Hearts that we Broke Long Ago by Merle Shain


From: Hearts That We Broke Long Ago. By Merle Shain Page. 5

I would start at the beginning if I knew where the beginning was, but I do not know for sure.


I only suspect that it all starts with the first deep wound, and after that, like a person who limps or cradles their withered arm close to their side, we favor the place where the knife went in.


Each of us carries with us an inner knowledge about the way we have been and will be betrayed; so there are those who believe we make it happen out of our unrest.

But maybe it is simply that great needs, cause great fears, and great fears keep us needful long into the night.


I do not know the answers, I only know it happens far more than one would wish and that many people remain pilgrims and never come to peace.